Monday, November 30, 2009

Things I don't understand about America's relationship with guns

By now you've probably heard about the horrific shooting of 4 police officers in a Washington state coffee shop. As if it's not bad enough that you have to put your life on the line for a bunch of ungrateful (and often dumbass) strangers every day, now if you're a police man, you're going to be watching your back while you're sipping a latte with your family. Horrible.

My sympathies aside, on my way back from the gym this morning I was listening to an NPR report on the aftermath of the shootings. The reporter was interviewing locals and getting their reaction to the tragedy and he came across one man, a taxi driver, who had this to say (and I paraphrase): "I think more people should carry guns... and be ready."

Um...I'm sorry. WHAT!?

Help me understand this America, please, coz Lord knows my English powers of logic are failing me here.

Four trained, armed police officers were sitting in a coffee shop, minding their own beeswax and, despite their on-the-job experience and years of training, were unable to pull their guns out of their holsters in time to protect themselves from this random lunatic. How EXACTLY would you, Mr. Taxi Driver, fair better under the same circumstances with a pistol in your pocket?

Is the argument that if other by-standers in the coffee shop had seen the gunman and were armed, they could have perhaps taken him down before he made his way through all four cops? Because that sounds suspiciously like a gunfight at the OK Corale to me. Maybe two of the cops would have been given time to pull out their guns if the barista had dropped the frothy milk and brandished a shot gun but then maybe the little 3 year old girl sitting with her mother and her hot chocolate would have got a bullet in the head instead.

The circular argument that, because some people have guns more people should have guns, just seems like the ramblings of a bunch of lunatics to me. And I'm sorry if you're pro-gun, I just can't get my head around this stuff, even after 15 years of living in this place.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving 2009 and time to count my blessings. Here are the things I am thankful for this year:
  • A healthy, happy daughter who brightens every day with her goofy smile.
  • That Daisy has lots of people around her every day who love her - Nanny, Grandad, and Aunty Brandy to name just a few.
  • My friends (you know who you are) who support me when things aren't going great and never fail to make me laugh whenever we get together.
  • My husband for being the other half of our great team, for understanding and accepting me just the way I am, and for working hard with me every day to ensure that our marriage remains a sanctuary of love, friendship, and support for us to retreat to each day.
  • Brief moments that I am allowed to spend with Daisy throughout my day by virtue of the fact that I work from home.
  • I have a job - in this economy that's one thing alone to give thanks for indeed.
  • My planned vacation to Jamaica... my deep breath at the end of what has sometimes been a tough year.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I hope you have many, many things to be thankful for this year and that your list of blessings only grows in the year to come.

We're off up the hill to spend Thanksgiving with the family - party of 12 this year, in a 1,000 sq.ft. house. Yup.. one more thing to be thankful for - 2.5 acres of forest and a sunny day! No doubt there will be pics to come...

New Swooooon

Ohhhhhhhmagawwwwwwd. I finally saw New Moon last night and have to say that Team Jacob gave Team Edward a run for his money. Jeeeez... as my husband said, there is no aylor Lautner bulked-up that fast without artificial assistance. (Yes, Hubby came with me. I'm a lucky woman!)

I mean... HELLLO 6 pack abs! (And that little V that comes from the hips... fwoah... I need a fan!)

But, at the end of the day, there's just no resisting the broody, come-to-bed eyes of a tortured-soul vampire. Team Edward will win every time, which (for those of us who have read and re-read the 4 books) we already know; poor Jacob is doomed to failure.

Although this post isn't intended to be a review of the movie, nor a Twihard gushing about the respective heart-throb's abs, here is my quick take on the movie.

I liked it better than Twilight... much better. I can see how some people are feeling it's a bit cheesy and I definitely felt that in the beginning but then I also felt the same way about Twilight. There are just such intense emotions in the books that develop over multiple scenes and conversations and this just can't be played-out in a movie (unless it was 5 hours long). So, by their very nature, movies of books always feel like they make jumps or leaps of logic or emotion, which can be awkward and, yes, a little cheesy at times. However, about a third of the way through, the intensity of the relationships in New Moon took over and I was into it.

I thought the special effects and the production values of New Moon were much better overall - although the scenes of the Quilettes changing into wolves had potential to look silly, they didn't; they did a good job with the transitions and with the movement of the wolves overall so that it was somewhat believeable (as believable as five men-come-wolves the size of grizzly bears moving at the speed of light can be!)

I also liked the changes they made from the book to the movie. In Twilight I felt that the added-in scenes were pointless and distracted you from the intensity of the love story (which really needed to be solidly established in the first movie for the rest to make sense.) Whereas, in New Moon, I thought the scenes they cut and added moved the story along without taking away too much from the central theme of Bella's pain and the developing relationship with Jacob. I especially liked the amped-up action scenes. I thought New Moon was the least interesting book overall and I thought that the movie improved on some of the pivotal moments that were somewhat lacklustre in the book.

What I didn't like as much was the soundtrack. I walked away from Twilight with each scene's music almost indelibly embedded in my head and, when I bought the CD, could picture which scene each song went with. I didn't get that same connection with New Moon. The soundtrack was forgettable and therefore the overall movie didn't seem to have that same "it" feel about it, if that makes sense.

Yet, the point of this post is more to wonder at the draw of these books and movies. WHAT IS IT about them? Yes, I have been somewhat vampire-crazy for many years and so I was pre-disposed to like these books regardless. But the impact they had on me when I read them and the level of giddy excitement I had waiting for the movie to start, is quite funny (haha and peculiar) to me.

I'll tell you that I shed a tear when I finished the last of the Twilight books. Those books got me through sleepless pregnant nights and plane journeys and, when I turned over the last page of Breaking Dawn, I literally mourned for the loss of Edward and Bella in my life, so much so that I picked book 1 back up again and started reading back through them. I have probably read each book at least three times by now and am again re-reading New Moon. Isn't that completely nuts???? I mean, I'm 34 years old! Aren't I supposed to be beyond the stage of getting obsessed with the latest teen craze?

Aparently not.

It's like Romeo and Juliet meets Dawson's Creek meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets... well, every major romantic plot line rolled into one. How many great movies or books can we name that meet these criteria!?
  • Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy and girl re-unite.
  • Good girl falls in love with 'bad' guy. Amazingly, he loves her back.
  • Guy has scary secret he's afraid to reveal for fear of losing his girl but girl finds out and loves him anyway.
  • Girl is put in danger and guy saves her.
  • Guy or girl would rather die than be parted.
  • Young love and lust denied and prohibited; the constant struggle with chastity.
  • The love triangle. Girl is torn between two guys who fight for her attention.
  • Best friend falls in love with best friend but he/she doesn't love him back the same way.
  • Teenage rebellion.

... and more besides. The point is that Stephanie Meyer's genius is in the fact that she wraps all of these up into one saga and throws a little mystery and legend in for good measure. Regardless of the fact that she's no Shakespeare, her story is intoxicating and I am one big sucker for the whole shebang.

Roll on 2010 and the movie of my favorite book, Eclipse.


Footnote: And, I might add, I left that movie theater without a single pain in either back or hip for the first time in WEEKS. Aparently Edward and Jacob's abs have restorative properties!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Friday Sharings

From NPR this morning: One of the most touching stories I have ever heard. The part about the child's premonitions definitely pulls at your heart-strings but it was the father's acceptance, in reflection, that made tears prick my eyes.

Santa no longer returning mail in the U.S.

Yes, it's true. If you're a kid in any other country in the world, you can send a letter to good ole Saint Nick but here in the U.S., we've perfected the art of the knee-jerk reaction to such an extent that one issue last year has led to the canceling of the Letters to Santa program.

(See more from CBS news here)

I don't care what cock-and-bull excuse the USPS come up with for this, as usual with everything in this country, people over-react because of the fear of litigation. All it takes is one whiff of a situation that may result in a law-suit and organizations (over) react faster than Billy the Kid at the OK Corale.

I used to groan at one of my friends for claiming that the world will have gone to hell in a handbasket by the time her kid is old enough to enjoy it but now I see what she means.

So, it looks like Daisy will have to write to Father Christmas (the English version of Santa) via the Royal Mail. If you have a kid that would like to get a nice, personalized reply from Father Christmas on a nice Christmas card (just like I got when I was a kid) here is the UK address:

Father Christmas
Santa's Grotto

You might also want to include an international stamp to encourage the cross-Atlantic response. Deadline for replies is December 13th.

Friday Motivation - Week 9: BOOOOOOOOOO!

Me and the beautiful bride
Pic above is of me and my good friend "Nike" (Jenny) at her wedding in Dallas, October of 2007. Nike is now pregnant and her first baby is due in March of next year.

Again, another pic from 2007. I can't believe it was just 2 years ago - I look so much younger and healthier, it's SICK. If you go downhill so far in just 24 months, think what can happen by the time you hit your 60s! I think I'll maybe just drink myself into oblivion by then or something - go out with big bang rather than a slow creak.

Well, time to get down to the depressing stats for this week.

LBS TO GOAL: 10lbs

It's becoming increasingly more obvious that I am not going to meet my goal weight by the time we head-off to Jamaica. I've lost only 6lbs in 9 weeks, despite cutting out my evening meal, bread, and most processed foods as well as adding 3 trips to the gym each week.

Depressed. Dejected.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things that are pissing me off right now

  1. That I have to start my day with two mega pain pills
  2. That every time I turn on my tv set I see Sarah Palin - she just assaults every one of my senses. I'm sure if I could smell her, she'd make me vomit.
  3. That I am yet again considering hiring yet another 'expert' to help me try and figure out why I keep injuring my hip/back/pelvis and that this will take more $$ and more time, both of which are in short supply lately.
  4. That I have to end my day with two mega pain pills and a muscle relaxer. (With any more of #2, I might also need a valium.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Small things

As I alluded to in a previous post, I put my back out this past weekend. I'm not exactly sure what I did or how I did it but all I know is that I was walking up the stairs with Daisy in-arms one minute, and unable to put my left foot down, lift, or bend the next.

Unfortunately, this event coincided with my Goddess of Pain Relief - my massage therapist, Tanya - falling violently ill and winding up in the hospital. She got better from the hospitalizing event, by the way, but now appears to have contracted the flu, poor thing. Obviously I feel horrible for her and want her to take the time she needs for her recovery but, from a purely selfish standpoint, the timing really sucked lemons.

Without her healing hands I was left somewhat blowing in the wind. What to do to relieve this pain???

I took a trip to the chiropractor on Monday (somebody I had visited during my pregnancy and the rotten pubic malfunction incident) but honestly don't know if I believe that those little activators actually do anything. A little click here and a little bump there, lift your head, tilt your head, move this arm, push here... ten minutes and $50 later and you're walking out the door wondering if you're feeling relieved because someone told you that you should be feeling less pain, or because you are actually feeling less pain. (If it were really that easy, wouldn't we all just be going to the chiro for ten minutes?) I can never quite tell but I was in enough pain to pay $50 and try.

Tuesday, although bringing slightly less pain and stiffness (and enabling me to kick the pain killers for 8 hours) still presented enough discomfort to make me grouchy by the time the afternoon rolled around. Not wanting to resort to pills again, I decided to pull out the Kundalini Yoga videos.

Kundalini Yoga was my first experience with yoga. Back in 2005, I was under a lot of stress at work and started getting muscle spasms in my upper back and neck. I did a lot of research online and found Ravi Singh and Ana Brett. Their style of yoga promised relaxation and relief without all the pretzel-twisting and, as favored yogis of celebrities such as Gwynneth Paltrow, Madonna, Sting, and the Red Hot Chilie Peppers, I figured there must be something to it. I did their first DVD, Ultimate Stretch, and was hooked. Although it felt as though I hadn't done much at all (I was a gym rat in those days and was used to huffing and puffing my way through a workouts like the Big Bad Wolf), I woke up the next day sore but in a good way. Plus, at the end of every practice, I began to feel energized, loose, and happy. Best of all, the muscle spasms started to go away.

After a while, however, I got more and more interested in other types of yoga and delved into more physically challenging practices focused on building strength and stability. I slowly all-but gave-up by Ravi and Ana workouts.

So, yesterday, was a return to basics, if you will. I let go of the voice in my head that said I needed to be doing something physically challenging that promoted weight-loss and strength-building, let go of "achieving" anything at all really, and did a 45 minute practice, breathing, meditation, (which I often skipped) and all. Once again I was reminded why I turned to Ravi and Ana in the first place: I stood up and felt immediate, palpable relief in my back. The pain wasn't gone but I felt as though something had "let go". It's amazing how the smaller, less ambitious movements of Kundalini yoga, coupled with the somewhat unusual breathing techniques, can really make a difference.

Later that night I dug back again into my tool-chest of things I've learned from past pains and injuries and remembered what a physical therapist suggested for piriformis issues - a tennis ball and a wall. Since I was experiencing pain in my right buttock, radiating out from my back, I fished-out a tennis ball and stood up against a wall, using the ball to massage out the gnarly, painful bits of my back, butt, and thigh. It was painful but oh-so-relieving.

By the time I was ready for bed, my pain had reduced by a good 50%!

So, the lesson of Tuesday was to remember that small things can make a difference; whether a little activator, a deeper breath, or a little yellow tennis ball.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday Motivation - Week 8: Late

Just a quick update so you know I'm not slacking off.

Weight last Friday was 155.0lbs. Grand total loss last week of only 0.2lbs. Drats!

Went to Trader Joes yesterday and bought all kinds of yummy healthy stuff in an attempt to avoid falling off the wagon in any way, shape, or form.

Unfortunately, this blasted back strain has prevented me from working out. It's been almost a week since I got to the gym or got on the Total Gym. Pain has started to fade a bit today and I've been able to not take any painkillers, although I'll probably give in tonight to get some sleep.

Chiropractor said I've strained my iliolumbar ligament. Great. Even more parts of my body that I didn't know existed are hurting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shame on US.

A compassionate, yet rational, perspective on our health care crisis.

"As many people die every three weeks from lack of health insurance as were killed in the 9/11 attacks." -- WOW.

November 12, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

America’s Defining Choice

President Obama and Congress will soon make defining choices about health care and troops for Afghanistan.

These two choices have something in common — each has a bill of around $100 billion per year. So one question is whether we’re better off spending that money blowing up things in Helmand Province or building up things in America.

The total bill in Afghanistan has been running around $1 million per year per soldier deployed there. That doesn’t include the long-term costs that will be incurred in coming decades — such as disability benefits, or up to $5 million to provide round-the-clock nursing care indefinitely for a single soldier who suffers brain injuries.

So if President Obama dispatches another 30,000 or 40,000 troops, on top of the 68,000 already there, that would bring the total annual bill for our military presence there to perhaps $100 billion — or more. And we haven’t even come to the human costs.

As for health care reforms, the 10-year cost suggests an average of $80 billion to $110 billion per year, depending on what the final bill looks like.

Granted, the health care costs will continue indefinitely, while the United States cannot sustain 100,000 troops in Afghanistan for many years. On the other hand, the health care legislation pays for itself, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while the deployment in Afghanistan is unfinanced and will raise our budget deficits and undermine our long-term economic security.

So doesn’t it seem odd to hear hawks say that health reform is fiscally irresponsible, while in the next breath they cheer a larger deployment of troops in Afghanistan?

Meanwhile, lack of health insurance kills about 45,000 Americans a year, according to a Harvard study released in September. So which is the greater danger to our homeland security, the Taliban or our dysfunctional insurance system?

Who are these Americans who die for lack of insurance? Dr. Linda Harris, an ob-gyn in Oregon tells of Sue, a 31-year-old patient of hers. Sue was a single mom who worked hard — sometimes two jobs at once — to ensure that her beloved daughter would enjoy a better life.

Sue’s jobs never provided health insurance, and Sue felt she couldn’t afford to splurge on herself to get gynecological checkups. For more than a dozen years, she never had a Pap smear, although one is recommended annually. Even when Sue began bleeding and suffering abdominal pain, she was reluctant to see a doctor because she didn’t know how she would pay the bills.
Finally, Sue sought help from a hospital emergency room, and then from the low-cost public clinic where Dr. Harris works. Dr. Harris found that Sue had advanced cervical cancer. Three months later, she died. Her daughter was 13.

“I get teary whenever I think about her,” Dr. Harris said. “It was so needless.”

Cervical cancer has a long preinvasive stage that can be detected with Pap smears, and then effectively treated with relatively minor procedures, Dr. Harris said.

“People talk about waiting lines in Canada,” Dr. Harris added. “I say, well, at least they have a line to wait in.”

Based on the numbers from the Harvard study, a person like Sue dies as a consequence of lack of health care coverage every 12 minutes in America. As many people die every three weeks from lack of health insurance as were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

Health coverage is becoming steadily more precarious as companies try to cut costs and insurance companies boost profits by denying claims and canceling coverage of people who get sick. I grew up on a farm in Yamhill, Ore., where we sometimes had greased pig contests. I’m not sure which is harder: getting a good grip on a greased hog or wrestling with an insurance company trying to avoid paying a claim it should.

Joe Lieberman, a pivotal vote in the Senate, says he recognizes that there are problems and would like reform, but he denounces “another government health insurance entitlement, the government going into the health insurance business.” Look out — it sounds as if Mr. Lieberman is planning to ax Medicare.

The health reform legislation in Congress is imperfect, of course. It won’t do enough to hold down costs; it may restrict access even to private insurance coverage for abortion services; it won’t do enough to address public health or unhealthy lifestyles.

Likewise, troop deployment plans in Afghanistan are imperfect. Some experts think more troops will help. Others think they will foster a nationalist backlash and feed the insurgency (that’s my view).

So where’s the best place to spend $100 billion a year? Is it on patrols in Helmand? Or is it to refurbish our health care system so that people like Sue don’t die unnecessarily every 12 minutes?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The story of who I am

The story of who I am consists of a chapter about how I just don't tune into other people's feelings and emotions. Although I have played along with this with many of my friends for a long time, I have recently decided that this is a load of codswallap (to coin an English phrase.)

Reason number one for the cod is that this is a relatively new chapter, one that has emerged since I moved to the U.S. There were many stories of who I was back in the U.K. but this was not one of them. So, it got me to thinking that either something drastic changed in my personality immediately after I moved to rhe U.S. (possible but unlikely), that the story was untrue, or that there was some underlying cultural factor that was leading me to be misunderstood.

After my soul-searching and self-analysis I realize that this is one of those areas in life where I have been (and continue to be) classically misunderstood.

For those of you who don't know many Brits, you don't understand how people are back where I was brought up. The expression "chin-up" is the best way to begin: when a friend or family member is going through a rough time, it's generally accepted that you bitch along with them to a certain extent and then tell them that it will all turn out alright in the end. Support is considered to be bolstering one's friends' outlook on the problem, not wallowing in the mud with them. We're a nation of eternal optimism underneath our grouching. Nobody expects much sympathy or empathy; people get on with it because they know there really is little else choice. A good friend "snaps you out of it".

This doesn't translate to the U.S.

When trying to deliver the same friendly support in the U.S., it's interpreted as insensitive. People out here want empathy, they want sympathy, they want you to emotionally connect with their feelings, their problem, they want you to cry along with them. In short: they want you to be their own personal Oprah.

Don't get me wrong, I am not downplaying the importance of empathy or sympathy or judging the American psyche negatively here, just pointing out a major difference and trying to explain that this is not what I was brought up to do. It's not what my culture does. It's not in my DNA.

But, does it mean I'm insensitive or that I can't tune into other people's emotions? NO. IT. DOES. NOT.

An experience with a good friend in the last few years taught me this lesson that I have only recently been able to see with clarity, in hindsight. I thought I was being supportive at a difficult time in every way I knew how. She thought I was being insensitive and expecting too much of her (as if my "chin up" attitude were a critique on her emotionality.) The reality was that I was being supportive but in the way I knew how, just not the way she wanted me to be.

Of course, there are lessons for me to learn here about how to look at people as individuals and try to understand what they need from me as opposed to using a cookie-cutter approach for each friend or loved-one in my life. BUT there are also lessons to be learned on the other side of the equation and, some experiences of my own in the last two weeks have made me realize this acutely: Just because someone does not give you exactly the kind of support you want in your time of need, it does not mean that they do not care. The "understanding the other person" equation is not a one-way street. Sometimes, when you feel someone doesn't understand or "get" you, it could be just as true that you are not understanding or "gettting" them.

Anyone who has known me intimately for any length of time knows that I am generally thoughtful, loving, and loyal as a friend or family member. Yes, I am also frank-speaking, sometimes tactless, and often put my foot in my mouth but we're talking about the difference between intention and action here. The people closest to me, I am confident, would say that I am insightful into other's motives and personalities and that I understand (and empathize with) far more than people expect of me on the surface. (If you don't think this then I'm open to hearing about it but suggest that perhaps you haven't taken the time to know me the way you expect to be known yourself.) How this comes out, how I embody this, may, however, be different to what's expected in the U.S.

I take that onboard and I look to find ways to be a better friend, wife, and family-member every day. BUT, I still say phooey to the story that I am not sensitive or tuned into other people's emotions. I am re-writing this story. If you have been a contributer to my narrative, wipe this slate clean.

Report from the inner sanctum: First night on the TP bed

Ehhh... nothing really bloggable here except to say that I had a freak-out/tantrum about the bed being 4 feet off the floor. I just couldn't get past it last night; it was irritating me all evening.

Not only do I have to climb-up onto it (which just bothers me - you should be able to fall onto a bed, in my opinion) but it engulfs the entire room. I thought we had a great sized master until that monstrosity erected itself in the middle. Of course, the bed takes up just as much floor space as it did before, but the vertical space it now occupies make a lot of difference to how big the room feels. This is all not to mention the fact that our bedside tables are now 3ft below us (I couldn't even see my alarm clock without all-but falling out of the bed to reach for it and pull it up to me) and we would need all new bedding (or, at least, a new stock of dust ruffles, which I HATE WITH A PASSION) just to cover up the foundation. I have one dust ruffle that we have barely ever used. I put it on last night, just so I could have some kind of mental and visual "peace" (I know, I'm a lunatic) but it looks too busy. I'm a simple, no-frills bed kind of girl (think IKEA).

So, in a frenzy, I did some research online last night and found that the mattress alone can be used on a slatted bed base (such as we have), as long as the slats are not more than 6" apart. We fit the bill and so Hubby will be removing the foundation from the equation tonight. Now the question remains: what do we do with a $400 mattress foundation?

As for how it slept, obviously it's too soon to make any judgments yet. What I can say is that I stayed on my back most of the night (which used to be my default sleeping position until a few years ago, when I wound-up waking up with a stiff back) and only turned onto my side at 4am to look at the clock. The difference, to me at least, was that I didn't feel the mattress under me the same way I did with my bachelorette mattress. Hubby, however, woke up a few times in the night, probably just because it was all new. I think we're going to like it but we need to make some adjustments and it will probably take some time to feel any real benefits.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


For the last year, Hubby and I have been toying with purchasing a new mattress. Or, more specifically, Hubby has been saying that our back/leg/hip pain (he has some too) is probably, at least in part, related to the fact that we have been sleeping on a 10 year old, $400 IKEA mattress from my bachelorette days.

I, however, have been resistant. This mattress has been through it with me, ya know? It came with me to my first house where I lived on my own after my divorce and has followed me from Southern California up to Northern California, for a total of 6 moves in 10 years. Like my dog, Frankie, and the entertainment center in my front room, it's my buddy. (Don't tell Frankie I likened him to a mattress and a piece of furniture, however. He'll just growl.)

But, after analyzing our aches and pains in the hotel on Sunday morning, we decided that a visit to the mattress store was in order. So, we packed-up baby and drove out to Sleep Train on Sunday afternoon.

Prior to accepting that I really did need to fork-out hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars for a new mattress, I had done some research online and asked around a bit about what mattresses are good for people with bad backs and hips. Resoundingly, with only a couple of notable exceptions, I heard Tempur-Pedic was the way to go.

So, at Sleep Train, napping baby in stroller, we jumped right on a TP mattress and were instantly sold - the perfect mix of softness and support! We then tried all the traditional mattresses, going through the "mattress tour" that the salesman takes you on to discern if you're a softie or a firmie. (We're firmies, btw.) Unfortunately, it kind of reminded me of going shopping for my car 6 years ago: I got in the fastest, top-of-my-price-range car on my list first and, well, couldn't very well accept anything less after that.

I can see how some people just wouldn't dig the Tempur-Pedic feel - the salesman said that some of his customers felt like they were laying in mud - because when you first lay on it, it's pretty flat and firm but then, slowly, you begin to feel the mattress conform around your body, softening in all the high-pressure spots. So, when you change positions, for the first ten seconds, your body continues to move with the mattress, as body and mattress settle-in together. I'm imagining it will take US some time to get used to as well but the bottom line was that every other mattress we layed on after the TP felt either bouncy and unsupportive or like an immovable rock.

Once we were convinced on a TP mattress, I knew we were in for a quite a shopping spree; Queen-size TP mattresses begin in the low $1,000s. Fortunately for us, we actually didn't like the 'sloppiness' and the high-profile of the more expensive models (I like to sleep as close to the floor as possible) and, instead, settled on the "Advantage" bed and foundation. Better still, we were able to get the floor model for $300 off and buy two absolutely heavenly, $100 latex pillows for 1/2 off.

I know there are some of you out there who would die before purchasing a mattress that had been layed on by a bunch of strangers but, what can I say, we actually thought it was a benefit - we saved money and the bed was already broken in for us. (The TP usually takes 6-8 weeks to break in, during which time it is not at it's most comfortable and, oddly enough, it emits a strange smell, we're told!.)

Once we'd done the deal, we spent the last two nights feeling pretty depressed to get into our old bed and, this morning, we woke up all giddy that we would be getting our new bed today. Email exchange from me and Hubby this morning:

Subject: I hope I'm not making too big a deal about it.....

Hubby: But I can’t wait for the bed to be delivered! It’s like
we’re getting a new car or something…

Me: Me too! we should be careful not to set ourselves up for
disappointment; it may take some getting used to!

... later...

Me: It will be here in 20 to 30 minutes.... soooooooooo

Hubby: Now, now, it may take some time to get used too…….I’m so excited

Me: This is sad.


So, we have the bed now and problem #1 is that it's like 4 feet off the floor (see below pic). What with the bed frame, the mattress base, and the mattress, I'm going to have to consider it part of my workout routine, just getting in bed at night. As I said earlier in this post, I don't like high beds - I like to swing my feet off the side and plant them firmly on the floor - so we're going to have to compromise and take the slats off the bottom of the bed frame and just use the base directly on the floor. Not ideal, but still.

My mother also pointed out to me that, with the current set-up, I'll need all new bedding because it won't reach any further than the depth of the mattress, leaving the bed base and frame exposed. Given that we just spent almost $2k on the new mattress, new bedding is not viable in the near future.

So, some adjustments to be made.

Tomorrow: A report from the inner sanctum: First night on the TP bed.

Monday, November 09, 2009

3rd Anniversary Celebration

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Although our actual anniversary isn't until Wednesday (the 11th), Hubby and I decided to do something this past weekend to celebrate.

Those of you who were around on December 2nd, 2005, know that we got engaged on the roof of the exclusive Sutter Club in Downtown Sacramento, at a Lyon Real Estate Christmas Party (during the days when the housing market was good and they had swank things like that.) That night we walked gleefully back to our hotel room at the Hyatt hotel, just opposite the Capitol building. (For those of you who don't know Sacramento well, the Hyatt is where Schwarzenegger stays when he's in town. ) It follows that the Hyatt has a pretty special place in our hearts. (Not because of Schwarzenegger but... ok, you probably got it.)

So, when we were thinking about what to do with ourselves this anniversary, we turned to a friend with "connections" at the hotel and landed ourselves a super-swank suite with a killer view of the Capitol from the 8th floor of the Hyatt for one night and at an unbelievable price.

We checked-in late on Saturday afternoon, had drinks and licked the plate of a bad-for-us appetizer (chips with stinky, melted Roquefort cheese) in the hotel bar and then head-out at the crazily late hour of 5:30 to meander around downtown and old town Sacramento. We browsed some shops, stopped for a drink in an Irish Pub and then walked back to an Asian restaurant we've been dying to try for a while called Ma Jong's, just up the street from our hotel. (I highly recommend it, by the way. Well-priced, seat-yourself restaurant with the feel and food of a high-end establishment. Yumm!) Then it was back to the hotel bar for a night-cap...and in our room by 8:30pm, where we languished on the couch watching the big-screen TV until we fell asleep.

And now for the really cool part that every parent out there will totally appreciate: we didn't get up until 9am. That's right. NINE. IN. THE. MORNING. Wow! Yes, that felt AWESOME!

Our final hoorah was a walk back up L street to my favorite breakfast spot, Crepeville where we got to sit outside in the cool, sunny weather, and have a side of people-watching with our scrambled eggs.

Random sightings of the weekend:
  1. Two Jerry Garcia look-alikes on a deserted downtown street corner on Sunday morning, blasting reggae music and holding signs that said "One Love" and "Bring them Home" plus something about health care that was either for the public option or against it, not sure. Talk about mixed messages!
  2. 100 cyclists dressed in period costume (circa 1930s/40s) and pedaling silently down L street. Later research revealed it to be Sacramento's first annual "Tweed Ride". Who knew it, but there is actually a club for people who shun the modern bicycle uniform of tight-fitting Lycra!

Overhead at breakfast:

"Sacramento is such a fascinating city!" Uttered, one can only assume, by someone who doesn't get around much.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Motivation - Week 7: I needed good news!

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Setting the table at our first anniversary/homewarming party - November 2007

Next week is our 3rd anniversary, so I thought the above picture was appropriate. It occurs to me that I seem to like a lot of pics of myself from the fall of '07. Innnnnteresting. I wonder how much of that is how much I weighed/how I looked and how much of it was how much of a good time I was having at that point in my life? Things to think about: does our inner happiness shine through in pictures and/or does our memory of the time the picture was taken affect the way we view the pic?

Anyway, this weeks stats.

LBS TO GOAL: 10.2lbs

Not as good as last week but not too shabby either, especially considering it's been a rough week and I could have turned to bad-for-me foods for comfort. Instead, I managed to add in more exercise than normal, including a very nice and cathartic lunchtime walk with a good friend. Instead of pigging out and spending money at a local restaurant, we donned our walking shoes and chatted while we walked around some local trails. Something I'll have to do/suggest more.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


My absence may have been telling - it has been a rough, emotional week.

Unfortunately, it's not something I can share on this blog (or fortunately, depending on your perspective to the issues at hand) or, I might add, even if you email me and beg for juicy details. Sometimes life presents you with situations that can't be translated into tittilating gossip - this is one of those situations.

One observation I've had during my less-than-stellar week is how much (or, more appropriately, little) bandwidth I have left in my life for "new stuff" these days. Between my hip/leg issues, being a mommy, trying to lose weight, and working full-time, there just isn't much "me" left at the end of the day for anything else. My emotional bandwidth is taken up and, as far as I can tell, I'm not eligible for an upgrade any time soon.

In turn, this lack of breathing room has brought my meltdown button closer to the surface.

Those of you who are FB friends with me know that I had one of those on Tuesday night after a bunch of superfluous issues that would not normally even prick at the surface of my emotional resilience, literally lampooned me and sent me over the edge.

Every now and then, but extremely rarely, I get to a level of frustration and anger that can no longer be contained and one of two things happens: I walk away stat or (if I miss the trigger and don't get out fast enough) I verbally or physically abuse someone or something. (The physical abuse usually happens to things, I might add - remember the battered motherboard that cost me $700 a year or so back?) Fortunately, this was one of those times where I reached the door in time. (Having a 7-month old napping in her room next door to you also has a tendency to change your judgment on when and where to freak out.)

This is one of those times in life when you can't just turn your back on the problem, you can't distance yourself, you can't opt-out, you must engaage because it's not only the right thing to do but also because you care too much about the people involved not to. So, I find myself only at a beginning, not an end.

And, what I realize is that I do have more bandwidth. From where, you might ask? Gimme some, right?

On Tuesday the tech person at work was talking about load balancers. For the technically inept of us, it's a machine that manages traffic to or from a number of servers. It's smart enough to know which of the servers have the most bandwidth left to handle the incoming traffic at any moment in time, and it sends the traffic to the least busy server to handle, thus ensuring that no one server ever becomes completely maxed-out.

It occurred to me today that, in life, our load balancers are our friends and family. For me, the person that showed up this week and who continues to show up for me in every way humanly possible during good times and bad, is my husband. Therefore, our marriage is like a load-balancer, taking the incoming traffic and distributing it wherever there is the most bandwidth. Last week I took some of his load, this week he took some of mine. We take whatever comes at us as a team, no matter which side it's coming from, and we field it together.

Last month marked 9 years that we have been together and next week is our 3 year wedding anniversary. We're going to be staying overnight in a hotel downown this weekend and, hopefully, clearing our collective bandwidth for another week and whatever it might bring.
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