Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Angsty Musical

"What if you had one year to live, what would you do?"

I read this question on the internets today and initially heard a lot of crickets in my brain in response.

Chirp chirp.

And then a thought started in the back of my brain and wound it's way forward, despite a valiant attempt by the rest of my brain to stop it - "not this."

Not. This.

My initial response to my initial response (are we confused yet?) was, "shut up Back Brain (the technical, medical term), life is great."

Which is true.

I have a job where on Friday a co-worker followed me around playing the theme song to Chariots of Fire on her phone while I slow motion ran.

I have a husband who makes me nests and doesn't judge me when I sit in them and watch Doctor Who until my brain melts.

I am working on a degree that makes me feel alive and like I might have a purpose on earth one day, and that I'm pretty damn good at.

I have friends and family who are so supportive, it's almost painful for all involved.

...But... (AHH! The dreaded Back Brain But!)

 My first thought was crickets, followed quickly by "Not. This."


I'm tired. I have no time. Every week I have four 12+ hour days, and zero days with no commitments. I often feel like I'm putting on a show for an invisible audience.

Worker. Student. Counselor. Wife. Worker. Student. Worker. Counselor. Wife. Student. Friend . WORKER. SISTER. STUDENT. FRIEND. COUNSELOR. STUDENT. WIFE. DAUGHTER. Kick ball change! ONCE MORE WITH FEEEEEEEEELLLLLLING!!!!!!

Cha cha cha! JAZZ HANDS!

It's like that episode of Buffy where they are in danger of dancing to death (funnily enough, called, "Once More with Feeling"). My feet are smoking and I can't stop.

Now, I'm not writing to pout (all though I realize it looks suspiciously like that, whoopsy daisy!)

I'm writing because regardless of what's happening, how many dance numbers I have, how fast my feet are, I don't ever want to live a life where my first thought is "not this."

SO! This brings us to the point of today's rambling post!

Little things that have made me happy (in no particular order) in the midst of this batch of chaos:

1. Smushing my face into my puppy.
2. Clean underwear.
3. Office dance party to "Fancy".
4. The feeling of taking shoes and socks off after wearing them all day.
5. Smushing my face into my husband's back.
6. Hot, fresh Dazbog coffee.
7. Reading crappy young adult fiction.
8. My new hipster scarf.
9. Homemade dressing from my mom.
10. Cotton candy pink hair.

So. After some refocusing and mental furniture rearranging, I think I can change my initial thought to that question to - "not this forever, but for now it's good."

Yes. I KNOW the question was based on the premise of time being finite, in this case 365 day, but that's not the point I'm addressing. If it was my answer would be: become a wizard, travel the world with my new found wizardy abilities (oh hey never having to get out of bed to turn off the light!), eat a TON of cheese, have tea with the Queen, tousle David Tennant's hair, race a kangaroo, and enter/win a backgammon tournament.    

And to wrap all this up - TAKE IT AWAY JAMES MARSTERS! #teamspikeforlife

How about you - what little things help you counter the Back Brain But?

Monday, September 22, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish, Cat Fish, Moo Fish

While working on this post, I was using the internets to find weird animals. The things I've seen today. Yowza. YOW-ZA. If you ever need a jolt to your nervous system, go ahead and take a gander at the search results from that topic (be warned that despite the adorable name of "Star Nosed Mole," IT IS THE THING OF NIGHTMARES. It cannot be unseen. Shudder).

With that said, I have tried to pick animals that are more on the "cute" side than the "auuuuGHHAAAGGHHHH!!" side.

When I started my incredibly scientific research of strange animals, the end goal was to help my loyal readers discover their spirit animal, because I care. AND THEN I decided that I would help you discover what your Patronus would be, because everyone wants to know that.

If you don't know what a Patronus is, I have to say I'm highly disappointed in you. Again without going to deep into the science of this process, all you need to know is that this is a Patronus and OF COURSE you want to know what form yours would take (and honestly, go watch Harry Potter, go. We'll wait):


Obviously, I will not be helping you find out if your Patronus is an adorable Otter or a regal Stag, because that's no fun and I have a strong suspicion that my Patronus would not fall under the category of "normal" and I have no qualms of dragging you down to my level.

By now I know you are pumped to get started, so please pick a cluster of characteristics (this is a technical process, but hang in there, it's worth it).

1. Easy going, fun loving, life of the party. Potential traditional Patronus: fluffy bunny, golden retriever, or ferret in a toilet paper roll.

2. Aggressive, driven, get 'er done attitude. Potential traditional Patronus: panther, stallion, or honey badger.

3. Serious, intense, rule follower. Potential traditional Patronus: wood pecker, beaver, or eagle (bald or with hair, your choice).

4. Steady, reasonable, calm. Potential traditional Patronus: plow horse, koala, or pre-hibernation polar bear.  

Did you pick one?

Okay. Next step. There is no next step. See the number below with a picture of your Patronus. You are welcome for this insight.





So, what would your Patronus be? What would it be if I wasn't in charge of the choices?

Pics: via, via, via, via

Monday, September 15, 2014

Neurosurgeons LOVE Me. Obvs.

Once upon a time I worked in a Neurology department at a hospital. The timing of this story was soon after I had transferred from OB/GYN (which had it's own share of painful stories), and I was in the throes of trying to make a good impression.

Some important stereotypes, that are relevant to this story*:

1. Neurosurgeons believe that they are gods. They want what they want when they want it. STAT.

2. Results are important to them, not good intentions. If you've been a reader for any amount of time then you know that I am chalk full of good intentions. Results.... not as much.

3. Communication from them can be incredibly minimal, which can lead to a significant amount of room for interpretation.

In this particular department there were administrative/front desk people (me!) and medical assistants (not me!) that sat in the common areas. We had admin people sitting at the front desk (the check-in area) and one admin person sitting at the back desk (for check-out) in the midst of the clinical staff. The back desk was smack in the middle of the clinic and was the area that doctors would pop over to if they needed anything. STAT.

On my second (ish) day I was sitting at the back desk, perky and helpful, ready to conquer any problems to come my way. And boy howdy was a problem coming my way.

The surgeon standing before me was not young and not smiling. He had a startling resemblance to Grumpy Cat and the Emperor. 

He gave zero flips about my peppiness.

It was like facing a dementor. I immediately had all happiness sucked out of me. I'm pretty sure the room darkened and silenced, except for slightly ominous music. It's possible a tumbleweed blew by.

"H-h-h-h-how can I h-h-h-help you? S-s-s-s-sir?" Oh man. Oh man. There's no way I am going to be able to help him and then he is going to use the force to murder me.

"Staple remover." STAT (unsaid, implied).

Blink. Blink. Oh. OH! I CAN DO THAT! 

Everyone knows what a staple remover is!!

Death stare. 

Frantic digging in the drawers around me, flinging of any objects that were in my way, realistic impression of a confused golden retriever. 

"Here you go! Anything else you need, I'm your girl!" No need to be afraid, he just needs a staple remover! I bet it's  because his fingernails are insured or something. 

Holding up staple remover, beaming triumphantly, clicking it like you do tongs when you are testing them after you pick them up. Best moment of my hospital career. Click click click click. 

Death stare. Click click click. 

Smile starts fading. What's happening? Is it the wrong color? Am I suppose to remove the staples for him? Do I need to find a pillow to present it on? Should I bow? Click click click click. STOP CLICKING. 

"I need a staple remover for human skin." STAT. Click click click. 

Still holding up staple remover, now with a pained, frozen smile. I. I. Don't understand. Is that a threat? IS HE GOING TO SKIN ME?!?! Click.

At that moment one of the MAs reached around me and handed him a staple remover. For human flesh. That's a thing. 

I need to get out more. VIA

Still holding up my staple remover. Click click click. I start hysterically laughing. Painful, loud, abrasive laughter accompanied by obsessive clicking.

Death stare.

Snort snort, hiccup. Click click click.

Death stare.

He turns and leaves. Turns around for one more death stare. CLICK CLICK CLICK. I fling myself on the ground and don't move for five minutes while everyone, including patients, laughs around me.

*Yes, I know some great brain surgeons who not only are fantastic practitioners but wonderful, personable people. Miracles do happen. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Tough Mudder Style

As proof of what I was talking about last post regarding completing the Tough Mudder, please enjoy these pictures along with my (made-up) commentary of what we were thinking.
As a note, those are ice cubes all over the surface, not little waves.

"Hm. This is not comfortable. I do not think I'm enjoying this."
"Ommmmmmmmm. Mind over matter. I am at the spa."

"Who knew my beard could hold so much water?"


"Huh. I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

"I've always thought that the bigger question is, which came first the taco or the burrito?"

 "Burrito? I could go for a burrito."

"Pft. Forget burritos, look at my awesome form. Left right left right!"

Alexis: "I've go to remember to pick up laundry detergent at the store next time."
Joel: "Yeah, I think I want to go with a more piney scent this time."


Monday, September 8, 2014

Overweight + Tough Mudder = ???

November, 2013, "The Beginning": My dear, sweet, optimistic husband convinces me and our best friends that we should sign up for the Tough Mudder. There is inspiring talk of the training that will ensue to ensure that we kick the crap out of the course. I convince myself that it doesn't matter that I am fat now because I have buckets of time to fix that. Huzzah! Let's do it!

December, 2013 - July, 2014, "Good Intentions": Some halfhearted running. Extensive justification of how much time I have until the Tough Mudder. Significant Netflixing, Pinteresting, and french fry eating.

August 2014, "Manic Avoidance": My subconscious decides that the best possible training I can do is plumping up as much as possible. Panic eating ensues. Convince myself that Jesus will come back before September 6th.

First week of September 2014, "Oh, *expletive of choice*": I'm no longer able to deny that I now know the date of my death, and it's Saturday. Frantic Googling because knowledge is power, duh. I swing back and forth between searching for "can fat people do the Tough Mudder?" and "I need in-depth descriptions of the horrors that might happen during the Tough Mudder." Both topics were moderately enlightening.

After seeing how often the first question is asked on the internets, and how not answered it is, I swore if I lived I'd answer it.

Spoiler alert, I lived, thus this post.

For those of you who do not know what the Tough Mudder is, let me paint you a picture of the one I just dragged my poor, squishy body through. 11 miles, 2,700 feet of elevation, 20 some odd obstacles. Some highlights of the obstacles - a dumpster full of ice water, running through live wires, crawling in sludge under barbwire, so many unnecessary walls, mud on mud on mud, lots of tubes that need to be climbed, shimmied, ducked, etc. Good times!

Also, for those of you who don't know me personally, I'm overweight and out of shape. I really wish I could see in people's minds when I told them I was going to do this. I don't say this to  be self-deprecating, but because if you are genuinely searching for this topic on the world wide web, I want you to know you came to the right place!

So, the big question. Can someone who is overweight survive the Tough Mudder? Yes. You can.

And it sucks.

And it's wonderful.

And heartbreaking.

And inspiring.

Let me explain. I STRUGGLED. Like, get me an ambulance because I'm seeing the white light struggled. What some of my thought process was, "I'm a Comic Con kind of girl, not an obstacle course from hell kind of girl. What am I doing here? I HURT SO BAD MAKE IT END. I didn't even know I had muscles there. Jesus take the wheel. CURSE WORD CURSE WORD CURSE WORD CURSE WORD."

Let me also add, my husband and friends stuck with me. They convinced me that I could survive and that it wasn't my time. They waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. (If you do something like this with me, bring a book). And guess what?

I freaking did it. I'm bruised and battered and seriously can't walk, but I did it. I found strength in myself, and what I couldn't cover my friends did. I honestly think they would have gotten a wagon and dragged me along as opposed to letting me give up.

I will say, next year, I will be in better shape and hopefully up my game. Maybe I'll end up waiting on someone. But there will be a next year.

So if you are fat and find yourself signed up for something like this JUST DO IT. You'll regret if you don't.

You might regret it a little if you do, but I think the electro shock therapy at the end erases some of that. Win Win.

And for entertainment purposes, some of my finer moments from Saturday:

"Oh goodness, the man in the gold hot pants is bending over to stretch. Bad choices."

"Fat people should get bigger medals, because I'm working way hard over here."

"All I want is that headband. PUT IT ON MY HEAD."

"I feel fairly sure that when I go through the electroshock therapy, I'm going to shit my pants."

And on the phone with the pizza guy after the race, "and finally, we would like whatever chicken you feel most strongly about." It had barbecue sauce and bacon, he had good strong feelings.