April 14, 2011 § 6 Comments

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Beatrice: The Woogs of the Bathroom

April 12, 2011 § 9 Comments

Beatrice. Bea-Bea. Baby Bea-Bea. Booger. Booger-Wooger. Woogie-Bea. The Woogs.

Gorgeous Bea-Bea: Queen of all Woogs

As with many pet owners, I have specific situations when I pull out a nickname to attach to Beatrice. When she is behaving like a grown lady cat, it’s Beatrice or sometimes Bea. When she’s behaving like a little baby (which is most of the time), I call her Baby Bea-Bea, Bea-Bea, or Bea-Bea Gun. When she is being plain silly, I append the silliest nicknames to her.

This beautiful girl, all over bright pink, used to have bad boogers when she was an itty-bitty baby. And, ever the watchful Cat Mommy, I would dutifully dab at her nostrils with the edge of a moistened paper towel to reopen her nasal passages to facilitate, you know, breathing. It was during this time that she was known as “Booger Baby Bea-Bea.”

“Booger” led to “Booger-Wooger”…for when she was being particularly silly. Her delight at hearing that name only encouraged me to follow my tangent further…and so “Woogie” and “Woogs” were born…and cheerfully borne by her.

My Woogie sometimes finds herself trapped in sticky situations. She is a fairly quiet girl. Unlike her vocal feline sister (Callie the super “talkative”), Bea is content to chirrup and purr her feelings. Unfortunately…sometimes this sweet vocalization leads to trouble.

Like today for instance.

When she was stuck in the bathroom for an untold number of hours (at least one, probably as many as four). Having secretly slipped into the otherwise closed bathroom, following my heels entirely undetected, the Woogs was left all alone in the dark, enclosed bathroom…bereft of food and litter box. Robert would find her after he returned from work and heard her panicked mews from behind the closed door.

Sleeping: Peacefully Plotting Her Next Bathroom Occupation

This time, fortunately for us, she did not feel the need to evacuate her bladder or bowels all over our rugs.

Thanks, Woogs.

On hesitation: a meditation

April 5, 2011 § 10 Comments

Savasana. Corpse pose. My favorite. I lie on my mat, palms turned upward in reception, eyes gently closed, facial muscles newly relaxed, feet slightly spread apart. This pose mimics my favorite time of the day. My favorite position of the day. Sleep tastes like a rare delicacy. I luxuriate in it. I treasure it. I protect it.

But I’m not asleep, I have to remind myself. Savasana is separate from sleep because, although it is a resting pose, it is a meditative pose. Not a sleeping one. I shift gears. Meditate. Meditate. C’mon, Amanda. You can do this.

What a funny phrase.

“You can do this.”

Both forceful and encouraging. At once a command and a reassurance.

If I truly can do this, why should I need a reminder? Shouldn’t strength of will outweigh simple potential to act? Then why, with all the capacity necessary to accomplish, why do I just not?

Don’t forget. I always struggle to focus on the meditation during savasana. I’m in pain and allow the distraction to wash me ashore. Don’t forget the cover letter and resume. I acknowledge the distraction. Don’t forget that you have no practice. But you can do this.

The cover letter and resume. The job. Posted on March 29th; applications to be reviewed on April 15th. Tax day. Don’t forget. I won’t. The cover letter and resume. My stomach twists, and I sink into the sand. You can do this.

The reminder is insistent. Persistent.

I’m unsure.

Meditation rises and crashes over me, dragging me under; slowly, I float again.

I’m unsure.

Why hesitate? Meditation wonders, gently rocking me.
Because. I respond, a defiant teenager.
You have some experience. You have credentials. Meditation brings me closer. She’s warm, but I feel cool.
But. My feeble retort.
It doesn’t hurt to try. She returns me ashore. You can do this. I feel the ground beneath me.

I’m awake, alert, aware.

And unsure.

Eyes still closed, I know what to do. I know how to do it. But I’m unsure.

Tension, taxes, and ticks–oh my!

April 4, 2011 § 11 Comments

Today was marked by three things:

1. Tension
I keep forgetting to post the update from my orthopedist last Wednesday. He X-rayed my back and said that the vertebrae from the first surgical site were still intact. The best, educated guess at this point is that my left-side sciatic nerve is “traumatized” from the herniation in 2008. He said that sometimes what can happen is that when that area becomes inflamed, the nerve sort of “overreacts” and shoots pain signals down the leg. He put me on a steroid and a pain killer. I take the pain killer at bedtime to help me sleep (and boy does it ever!), and this morning was my final dose of the steroid. I still feel pain in my left leg–it’s similar to tension. I generally want to just remove my leg and let it hurt apart from me for a while. I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor on the 13th. I’m still holding out hope that the steroid will take a little more time to work in my body and will do something amazing over the next couple of weeks.

2. Taxes
This basically says it all, right? I hate taxes. Like, hate them. I’m always nervous that I’ve done them dreadfully wrong. I guess if I were really concerned about it, I could take some courses from H&R Block or someone similar, but in the meantime, I’ll just sit around and chew my fingernails to nibs. The good news is that our forms are filled out. Now I just need my spouse’s signature, and these puppies plus one ginormo check will be headed toward their disparate treasuries tout-suite.

3. Ticks
I found a little, eensy-weensy tick on Annie’s foot earlier today. I panicked and called V…and then the vet when V wasn’t able to answer. The receptionist I spoke to was really sweet and helped calm me down. Of course, my first thought was, “Lyme Disease of Torture and Death!!!” But the receptionist assured me that I could remove it and kill it myself, otherwise the vet would be more than happy to do it for me. I took some breaths and told her I’d try first, and would seek veterinary assistance only if I absolutely couldn’t get the tick. I managed to get Annie to lay down calmly; then I took a pair of tweezers, some rubbing alcohol, and got to work. It took no time whatsoever because this eensy-weensy tick wasn’t even properly attached yet. It was definitely trying, but it didn’t have its head fully buried (thank goodness). I put it in the rubbing alcohol bath to die and watched it carefully to make sure I saw a head and pincers. I’m pretty sure I did see them…but I’ll be watching Annie’s leg closely over the next couple of days, just in case.

And, there you have it, folks. My busy Monday. Back pain. Uncle Sam’s money. And my first encounter with a tick.

It’s been a banner day in the Hab. household!

Not really in the mood…

March 27, 2011 § 5 Comments

…damn Post a Day in 2011 challenge. I am not really in the mood to post. If I weren’t participating in the post a day challenge, I wouldn’t post today. I am currently feeling pretty down and just generally dejected with myself. I can point to a myriad of reasons why I’m not a big fan of A.Hab. at the moment…but I honestly don’t feel like airing that in great detail on the blog.

So, I’m going to let this just be a rather short, rather crappy little post. My sincerest apologies to my faithful readers. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

You know you’ve hit a low point when…

March 18, 2011 § 25 Comments

…when you wanted to spend money on new capris, realized you couldn’t fit in any of the sizes you’re willing to house in your closet, went home utterly dejected, and decided to spend the new clothing money instead on an online membership for Weight Watchers.

Am I ready for this? No. I don’t feel like counting points and working on my diet. God knows I barely have the wherewithal to remember to eat in the first place, let alone counting points when attempting to remember to eat.

Do I have to do this? Yes. It’s bad. I didn’t keep to my original plan to lose weight (I would be almost 30 pounds lighter than I am right now), and now I’m feeling kind of like I want to be sick. I feel so gross.

Will I be successful with Weight Watchers? Considering this will be my fifth time to join, yes. I always lose weight on Weight Watchers. I am incredibly successful on this program. The problem is that I never stick it out long enough to get to the maintenance phase. I typically get about a week or so away from maintenance (which means I’d be rather close to my goal weight), and then I just stop doing the program entirely. So I never learn how to maintain the new weight I’ve reached.

So there you go. A.Hab. feels like a big fat cow (and doesn’t really want to be comforted at the moment, but thank you in advance for any and all kind sentiments), and she desperately needs to make a change, no matter how inconvenient that is for her right now.

Edit: Before anyone asks or offers recommendations, I thought I should catalogue the programs I’ve already attempted and when and to what success:

1. Weight Watchers: the first time was in tenth grade and I lost all the weight I intended to lose; the second time was a couple years later when I started college, but I was unable to cook my own meals so I quickly failed; the third time was another year or so later when I moved to an apartment-style dorm and could cook my own meals, I did lose weight but failed to keep it off; the fourth time was at the beginning of graduate school, and I lost a great deal of weight because I was also starting a personal training program, but again, I gained it all back plus a great deal more.

2. Atkins: of course, like everyone on the planet who tries this or other low-carb programs, I was immediately successful. I was on this in between the second and third tries with Weight Watchers. I was kind of a bitch on it, though. Turns out that my niceness comes from carbs. Big FAIL for low-carb programs.

3. Jenny Craig: I was on this after the fourth time with Weight Watchers fell through. I was successful with this as well, and I was keeping up with an exercise program. It was during my time on this program, though, that my L5/S1 disk herniated, so my exercising came to a screeching halt once the pain was agonizing. I found myself lying to my over-the-phone consultant about my weight loss. I wasted a lot of my parents’ money buying food that I never ate.

4. Counting calories/low-fat: in the interim between programs I’m almost always doing some form of this or other…until I become utterly dejected and depressed. I am less successful on these sort of home-grown programs (the kinds where you’re accountable really only to yourself and the expanding gut in the mirror). Technically this is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. But once I fell into a good routine and started to lose weight consistently (averaging between 1.5-2 pounds a week) last year, I eventually stopped because I grew bored with the foods I normally ate.

Since the time that I was 15 and a half, I have always been on some weight loss program or other, which is quickly coming upon half of my lifetime with my 30th birthday approaching in September. I started too early. When I was 15 and a half (and starting Weight Watchers), I weighed 126. I remember that number because it horrified me so much. Now, I weigh 247. And I want to hide in the darkness of my bedroom and never see the light of day again. Or so much as a morsel of food. I will never see the 120s again, and I don’t want to. I was adorable at that size, but I was still growing my breasts and hips. Now that I have them, I’d like for them to still look womanly…just not…grotesque. Google search images for the “Hottentot Venus,” and you’ll get a general idea as to what I look like right now. This woman was paraded around in Europe as an example of a typical exotic African woman. Today…well, I can barely look at myself in the mirror without seeing her reflected back at me. It makes me want to be ill. Seriously ill.

Before I weighed 126, I hated my body too. I compared myself to the other skinny girls in my ballet classes and at school. In fourth grade, when we were seated around the floor in a circle to watch a movie, my friends and I would lay our bony, undeveloped forearms upon one another’s, and I would rejoice to myself when I discovered that I had the skinniest wrists in class. (The same was true for boniest ankles, most observable collar bones, and most prominent hips.) I was not beautiful then either. But I wasn’t looking for beautiful. I was looking for skinniest. Skinniest meant best. And then I hit puberty and all that Sicilian genetic coding kicked in, and I grew breasts and hips. When I was in sixth grade, I weighed 101 for the first time, and came downstairs after a shower in tears, begging my mom to explain to me what this pouch was on top of my abdomen. She calmly said, “That’s just your body growing into adolescence, Amanda. You can’t have a period without it.” I got my first period a year later. And I hated my body from the time it weighed 101 pounds and had a teensy little pouch over the abdomen all the way up to the moment I am writing this post.

I have never loved my body, not even when I was young, undeveloped, and skinny.

Daily I wonder and worry that I might have a mental disorder that will prevent me from ever seeing my body as beautiful and worthy of self-love. Will I ever be a weight that will be “good enough”? Or have I already destroyed my sense of physical self from the tender age of eight (the age I first began dancing and comparing my body to the other girls’)? Am I doomed? If I am doomed to always hate my body…then what is the value in losing all this weight in the first place? Sure, I want to get to a weight where the doctors will stop telling me how obese and disgusting I am (my word, not theirs…they say “dangerously overweight” and “borderline for major diseases”). But once I reach that weight, then what?

Ah, these are the thoughts of an A.Hab. driven crazy. Turns out her white whale isn’t a dissertation, friends. It’s actually aligning the image that Robert must have of her with the image she sees reflected in that horrible, horrible glass.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2011 § 6 Comments

This is the first St. Patrick’s Day that I’ve celebrated with my husband in our four-year history together! Year One: he went to Panama City Beach with the guys; Year Two: he went on a bachelor party cruise before the wedding with the guys; Year Three: I was in Rochester, NY visiting a friend; Year Four: we are doing it right and going to a new-ish Irish pub with a bunch of friends! 🙂

I’m looking forward to a few hours of Irish music, some traditional Irish fare, and hopefully some green beer! Oh yeah, and of course I’ll be happy to spend St. Patrick’s Day with my husband for the first time!

Anyone else donning green as an excuse to imbibe copious amounts of green alcohol? 😉

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Domestic adventures, Hab. style!

March 16, 2011 § 8 Comments

This morning, Robert and I were enjoying a rare, slow-moving weekday morning together…when the giant (think: Sam’s Club) jar of salsa that Robert was putting into the fridge slipped from his hands and crashed onto the floor. The amazing part of it was that it landed on its bottom, which temporarily contained the salsa until I could get over to him and help him clean it up. Of course, as soon as we lifted the jar, the salsa poured out. My genius plan was to try to “catch” it into a paper towel as Robert lifted the jar…what I hadn’t thought about was that the bottom was utterly demolished, so scooping up the salsa would have required me to cut the crap out of my hand. I abandoned the plan immediately and watched while the salsa mountain grew in front of the fridge door.

We flew into action cleaning up and trying to watch where we stepped. Callie bounded past us, much to our displeasure, but we couldn’t really stop her because we didn’t want to cut ourselves up in the process. She made it to the bedroom, so we decided to deal with her once it was safe for us to move about freely. Robert, slightly further away from the slivers of glass than I was, grabbed the vacuum cleaner, and then I set to work.

I must have vacuumed for ten minutes, listening carefully for the gentle “clink, clink” sound of glass working its way through the hose into the bag. Then, I vacuumed again, satisfied with the lack of clinking. I caught Cal, and Robert examined her sweet little feet: glass-free! Brilliant Callie avoided all the teensy little shards that were literally everywhere.

Our day moved on as days do; Robert went on to work, and I met V at the coffee shop for another work session. We both arrived home in the afternoon, and we picked up the dogs from the boarders’ where they’ve been since Friday. I was grateful that the salsa jar accident happened while they were gone so that we could take care of all the glass without worrying about all four animals, especially one as curious as Annie.

Then, as I was cooking my dinner, I spun away from the stove and suddenly: OUCH!! I looked at the bottom of my foot and my fear was confirmed by the blossom of blood spreading slowly: I found another shard of glass that I missed while vacuuming. I hobbled around the house until I got my hands on my tweezers, and then I hobbled back to the living room where I plopped down on the couch and extracted the offending intruder. I’m now properly bandaged, and the little drips of blood that fell onto the floors at odd intervals have been cleaned up. I really hope that that was the last of the shards.

I did call my husband in between the pirouette of torture and the home extraction, and he immediately responded by getting into his maroon steed to come to my rescue. I wasn’t sure at the time if I could reach the glass; it was in an awkward location in my foot. But I decided I might as well try at least once, and that one little try worked like a charm. I called Robert back and sent him to return to the guys for the rest of their evening. Of course, I felt awful interrupting his fun with them like that, but he was more concerned that I did in fact get all of the glass out of my foot.

So, those were our domestic adventures today. I’m grateful I have the kind of husband who would drop what he was doing just to come home and dig out a little piece of glass from his wife’s foot. 🙂

Favorite Food and Daydreams

March 10, 2011 § 3 Comments

On Thursdays, Robert and I eat take-out. He opts for soy-free BBQ from his favorite place in town; I always eat chicken fried rice from one of the most delicious Chinese places in town. Sometimes I get a cup of egg drop soup as well.

Imagination Land, here I come!

Sometimes when I eat egg drop soup and the egg flowers are just perfect-looking, I like to pretend that I am eating shredded dandelion flower petals.

When I was little, my sister and I would pretend that different foods were actually something else. We would turn our mint chocolate chip ice cream into soup, pretend we were ill (sometimes ill giants) and our soupy concoction was the remedy. We would eat it slowly at first, as though we hated the taste…and then we’d let our eyes get big at the wondrous sugary joy…and then we’d devour it.

My shredded dandelion egg drop soup reminds me of those times.

Do any of you have any foods that stir up your imaginations?

(Photo courtesy of Homemade Chinese Soups)

Me, MORE!!!!

March 1, 2011 § 8 Comments

I don’t drink coffee. I don’t like the way it tastes, and I don’t like the way it makes my stomach feel crampy. Gross.

But I’m also a really sleepy person. I do not have a normal, reliable method of caffeinating myself. Until, in a moment of utter lethargy (I was literally about to pass out at the checkout), Robert and I purchased a pair of 5-Hour Energy shots. We felt it almost instantly.

My experience with 5-Hour Energy can consistently be described as: Me, MORE!!!!!!!!!

Da-da-da-daaaa!!! More A.Hab., five hours at a time!

With 5-Hour Energy, I am an illuminated version of myself. I’m more cheerful. I think much more quickly. I think I’m funnier (heh…). I feel like I can actually see better–my eyelids are opened a little wider.

I am me, more!

I walked into my 8 a.m. class this morning, and my students were silent. Like…nobody was talking about anything! Today was day one of Oscar Wilde, and nobody had a single thing to say before we got started? Really?? I wanted to say to them, “You people desperately need to drink a shot of 5-Hour Energy.”

I love this stuff.

So, of course, a great big shout-out and thanks goes to 5-Hour Energy.

Note: It probably works best on people who don’t have much of a resistance built up to caffeine. Oh…and you really shouldn’t drink drink this after coffee. That might result in you rocketing yourself to the moon. Or something.

(Photo courtesy BloomingtonNeeds.com)

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