Saturday, February 6, 2016

I might have a stalker now. Neat.

So, I got my hair done on Thursday.  My first time since we moved here, in fact.  My cousin is getting married next weekend, and I wanted to look all cute and stuff, like we women-folk are wont to do.  But the outcome of this haircut is not what I'm here to tell you about.  Oh no, that would be pretty boring.  I'm here to tell you ll about the events surrounding and during the hair appointment, because they are far more interesting.

So, I bought my Groupon for my hair appointment (don't judge, I don't know the area, and we're trying to be thrifty), and made my appointment.  I was a little surprised when the stylist told me she could fit me in the next day.  It was a quick conversation, which was great, because I was at work, and I don't like taking personal calls during the day. 

Except that a few hours later, she called me again.  I was busy, and didn't answer, so she sent me a text message requesting that I call her.  Okay...?  So while I was making our dinner, I decided to call her back, just to make sure she didn't need to reschedule.  It turns out she just "felt bad" that she had to rush our earlier conversation, and just wanted to chat.  Uhm... thanks, but my introverted self doesn't want to make small talk to a stranger over the phone.  I have a mother for doing that with.  So I get her off the phone, and she immediately sends me several LONG text messages with directions to her salon (helpful), and a full recap of the conversation we just had (pointless).  At this point, I was about 10 seconds from cancelling my appointment, but I had already dropped $57 on this venture, and I decided that my hard earned money shouldn't go to waste... after all, it could be a great haircut and highlights, right?

So Thursday evening I get to the salon a few minutes early, and it's obvious she isn't there.  No problem, I just worked all day.  A few minutes alone in my car scrolling through Instagram and Facebook is like heaven.  My social anxiety and depression have been pretty bad since we moved, and going straight from work to an appointment with a chatty hairstylist had me in a near panic.  Except, my bliss was shattered when she called me to tell me that she was running late, and to "chat" yet again.  I assured her repeatedly that I didn't mind the delay (because I really wanted to take off for the hills screaming at this point), and tried to dodge her attempts to drag me into a conversation.  So I scrolled a little faster through Facebook, desperately searching for those last minutes of peace before the deluge of anxiety riddled conversation that I knew was coming.  Boy, did it not disappoint.

So, she arrives at the salon.  We walk in, and I start explaining my strange hair, and exactly what I want.  We fumble through the consultation and I hope that maybe, just maybe, she will read body language and realize that I'm not a chatty hair client.  I'm a bliss out in peaceful quiet for 2.5 hours client.  Instead, she launches into a barrage of personal questions, including asking me if I have kids, and if we want kids.  I tell her yes, and that we would like them sooner rather than later.  Immediately, she responds with -

"Oh, I have a recipe for that.  It's so natural, and even women with fertility issues always get pregnant when they try it.  Even women who try IVF."

So, I nod and laugh nervously, hoping she realizes I don't want to know her secret recipe and more than I want to know what McDonald's puts in their "special sauce".  Instead, I get treated to -

"It's all about position.  You have to do doggy style, and then stay with your hips in the air for 20 minutes afterward to keep everything inside you."

Oh God.  I've been here 20 minutes, and she's telling me about how to have sex with my husband.  Someone please send a life raft equipped with Xanax.  She has color on my hair now, there's nowhere for me to go.  What am I supposed to do?  She's asking me even more personal questions now, and I'm so shocked that I'm just answering every question she asks.  It's like my own 5th circle of hell in that little salon chair as she tries to find out more about me than my closest friends know in under an hour.

And then she asks me if I have life insurance on my husband.  And this is where things take a turn and I just start outright lying to her.  She is asking specifics about what kind of policy it is, how much it's worth, what the long term benefits are.  Luckily, I know enough about life insurance to tell her all about a policy that we don't actually have, because I'm convinced that her goal is either to a) steal my or my husband's identity, or b) kill my husband so that I can get his life insurance proceeds.  Neither option is very appealing to me, honestly.

By now, I've been there for almost 2 hours, and I still have foils on my head.  She keeps repeating bits of our conversation entirely out of context, and it's freaking me out.  I have nothing to say, and I just want to run away, even if it means losing the value of my groupon, but again, she as me by the hair, and I'm worried that if I wait until I'm home to take the foils out of my hair, it's going to be bright orange (I worry about this because one time my cousin had a reaction to hair-dye once that streaked her hair safety-cone orange.  Sexy).    So I'm still stuck.  THEN it hits me:  if she puts me under the dryer, she won't be able to talk to me.  Why I didn't think of this sooner, I don't know.  So, I get her to put me under the dryer because I know it will move the foils along faster, and simultaneously keep her from telling me about the intricacies of sexual positions as they relate to various reproductive goals.  It's the most relaxing, wonderful 15 minutes of the entire 3.5 hours I was there, I tell you.

I think I blacked out most of the rest of the appointment, but I do remember her talking to me about how she isn't attracted to her husband physically, and how she never wanted to marry someone who was charming or attractive.  Which was weird, because she had just asked me to show her pictures of Ammon, where I had pointedly mentioned I found him to be very attractive.  I think she also tried to find out exactly where I live.  I told her our apartment complex's name, and took heart that it's a big complex... the chances that she'll figure out which apartment is ours are slim.

And at last, I was ready to escape with hair that doesn't meet my expectations for a "good" haircut, but was good enough.  But she follows me out the door chatting the whole way, and demanding that I follow up with her about how much I like my hair.  She also asks me to text her when I get home.  She also tells me that now I have a friend in the area, and she will tell me all of the best places to get food, drinks, household goods, etc.  Uhhhhh, when did we become friends???  I was working hard to be polite, because all women know that the cardinal rule of the hair salon is to never piss off the stylist.  But I definitely was not trying to give off the "let's be friends vibe".

I texted her when I got home, because I knew that if I didn't, she would be calling me to inquire about my whereabouts, or might even do a drive-by of the complex.  She sent me three text messages in response, and reminded me again that I have a "friend" in the area.

It's a good thing that I live right next to the police station.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My kitchen mojo

Guys, if there is one really, truly positive thing that our move has done, it is this:  it has given me some serious kitchen mojo.  I have always liked to cook and bake, but I tend to be somewhat mercurial about cooking, and in the past I let that "I don't want to cook" attitude take us right to the loving embrace of Chipotle.  But not anymore.

I will say, having a shiny new kitchen with pretty appliances probably helps a little.  It is TINY, but has decent storage, and almost enough counter space.

That picture is from moving day.  Like I said, it's tiny, but surprisingly functional.  So far in my tiny kitchen, I have made many things.  Things like:

Spaghetti Squash with homemade tomato sauce (our first home-cooked meal in our new home!)

Fresh artisan bread (no kneading required!)

Pesto BLT with roasted broccoli (on homemade bread)

 Sloppy joes on homemade rolls with roasted potatoes and green beans

Grilled apple and cheese sandwich on homemade bread (are you noticing a theme here?) with extra apple slices for good measure

Homemade pita bread for gyros and pita pizzas

Whole wheat bread I made yesterday to go with creamy chicken and rice soup.

Oh my goodness, the bread I have made lately!  I always used to think Ammon didn't like bread, but it's far more complicated than that.  Ammon LOVES bread, but only when it is baked fresh.  He doesn't do store bought, or 2nd day bread, he's all about bread I bake, or bread that is totally fresh from a bakery.  And now that I have discovered how easy and cheap it is to bake my own bread from scratch, we are eating more bread than I have in an awfully long time.  It's certainly a far cry from the low carb, high fat diets I have tried in the past, and I'm totally okay with it.  We're following a meal plan that's goal is to feed families real unprocessed foods, while still being budget friendly.  It is working for us.  The food is that throw-back food to the stuff I imagine that my grandparents and great-grandparents would eat with little complaint.  We're eating a lot less meat, and this one-time vegan really likes that.  All around, it's been a big win for us.

My love of baking is starting to transcend to a whole new level.  I remember this happened when I discovered the world of vegan cupcakes and cakes.  I could not get enough of making desserts.  This time, I literally can not get enough of making bread.  I have a pan of homemade cornbread drying out as we speak for cornbread dressing, which I'm going to stuff into acorn squash for dinner.  And if this is a sickness, I desperately hope there is no cure.  I'll take all of the homemade breads and goodies, please.  Ammon just needs to keep paying for my gym membership =).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Different goals for a different time

It took 4 weeks of healing, but last week I was finally able to get back to working out.  Woohoo!  That silly little cyst in my armpit knocked me farther back than I ever could have imagined.  Even now, I still have an open wound there, but it's managed by a band-aid, rather than the tender loving care of the medical team at Kaiser.  Oh, have I mentioned how much I love Kaiser healthcare?  I had it briefly in CO way back in 2007, and LOVED it.  It was an option through Ammon's work when we moved out here, and I was quick to jump back on the wagon.  A lot of people in CA are actually not big fans of the Kaiser model, but we love their integrated model of care, how streamlined everything is, and their focus on prevention.

My love of Kaiser is not the point of this post, though it is an interesting aside (I think).  The point of this post is that I'm doing things differently with fitness this time around.  It hit me last week that what I'm really all about right now is getting to a point where I can maintain a reasonable level of fitness throughout pregnancy.  I have little interest in doing races right now (even though we have a 5k tomorrow - it's just for fun!), or in chasing some unrealistic body-image expectation, like 6-pack abs.  I don't even care so much that my weight is a little up again.  I'm trying to make fitness something enjoyable and sustainable right now.  Which is hard for me, because those aren't words that fit into my view of working out.
Beckham approves of my new workout goals, and rewards me with cuddles post-run

Right now, all of this means that I'm chasing a crazy goal, just for fun with running.  I'm using this Zero to Running plan to work on building up to running for 30 minutes at an 8:00/mile pace.  I sure love Jenny Hadfield's plans because they're realistic and customizable.  I love one of the notes to this plan, which says to replace the "weeks" with levels, and keep at a level until you can comfortably complete the prescribed workout 3 times in one week.  Since I'm chasing a goal that is pretty big and unrealistic given my previous experiences with running, I anticipate that this will be a long-range endeavor.  So far, I'm on week (level) 2, and so I'm doing 1 minute intervals at and 8:00 pace.

I'm also making an effort to lift heavy-ish things twice a week.  I've always been fully aware of the many benefits that this can have for sport performance, but it just hasn't been a priority, because I hate it.  I hate being so sore that I have a hard time going to the bathroom.  I know other people love this, I just don't.  But I'm trying to come to terms with it, since it's such a beneficial thing.  I've found that variety is key here, and I haven't done the same strength workout twice since moving out here.  I'm also thinking about doing this 3 week challenge.  Even though it repeats workouts, it's only a few times, and it's a do-able time duration for me.  Plus, despite being a "booty" challenge, it makes a point of providing total-body workouts and being kind-of balanced, which is good.  Booty strength is a big part of running, and a nice booty is a big part of a happy marriage, so it's a double-win for me right now.

Proof I go to a gym, because I'm not sure anyone would believe me otherwise.

Also, if you don't believe me that a poppin' booty is good for marriage, go ask your man-friend. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Recent thoughts

I keep wanting to blog, but then deciding that the random little things that I want to talk about can't round out to a good blog post without getting boring, or depressing, or straight up strange.  But I remember that sometimes, I used to just throw all of the random thoughts in my head out there list-style, and that seemed to fit the bill.  So without any further explanation, here are my recent thoughts:

  • We bought a new rug right before we moved out here, and I love it.  It's completely different from anything else we have, and I think that's what makes it so great.  It really highlights Gunner's Chocolate lab-ness too.
  • I always forget how much I love running until I have taken a break and I start over from scratch.  Something about working through running from the beginning stages really reminds me of what running does for me.
  • When I left my job at the Housing Authority, I really wasn't emotionally prepared to leave.  It has made the transition to my new job incredibly difficult.
  • The COO at my new company reminds me of Michael Scott from "The Office".  He's not a 100% ringer, but there are little mannerisms there that totally get me every time.
  • Trees should not still have green leaves in mid-November.  Get it together, CA.
  • I forgot how much I enjoy tax law and tax preparation until I started my tax class a few weeks ago.  Taxes are the reason I got into accounting in the first place, and it's completely re-affirming that I need to go into the tax field after I graduate.  I was debating some other paths, but there really is no more obvious path for me right now.
  • I feel really isolated and alone out here.  The people I work with are never going to become as close of friends as those I made at work in CO, and since I was out of commission with that cyst-issue for 4 weeks, I really haven't been doing anything that gets me out and meeting people.  
  • Probably as a result of feeling so lonely and isolated, I really miss blogging, and the amazing community that I used to have in blog-land.  Does the blogging community exist anymore?  Or did it disappear like a rainbow unicorn?
  • One of my cousins that I have never met invited us for Thanksgiving.  Her parents will be there, and her dad is the guy who dressed up as a farmer for our wedding.  Do you remember that story?  Anyway, my Aunt and Uncle are awesome, so we will be going.
  • Blogger is being stupid right now, and only inserting images above the bullets.  I just tried to insert a picture of my uncle as the farmer 6 times, no dice.  If I was a real blogger, I would care more, but let's be real... those of you actually reading this anymore have seen the picture before.  It's nothing new.
  • The produce we are able to get out here is unreal compared to what we got in Colorado.  And the prices!  Everything is so much better when you can actually get it locally.
  • I agreed to be the "wellness champion" at work for the wellness program.  The program is pre-designed, and it's super easy to implement.  This is awesome, because I just want to do all of the fun stuff associated with wellness programs anyway, like organizing water drinking challenges, healthy snack pot-lucks, and fun runs.
  • We had a black IPA last night that neither Ammon or I liked at all, which is sad since black IPA is my favorite style of beer.  It was ridiculously strong, too:  One pint knocked me down pretty hard.
  • I think we're finally ready to get serious about having a baby.  I know I am... for the first time in a long time, I'm not all that jazzed about finding a race to train for, I just want to work out to be balanced.  This is a strange feeling for me.
What random thoughts have you had lately?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

6 years

 It's hard to believe it, but 6 years ago today, a cute boy asked me to get a burrito with him after work.  I didn't want to go, I was tired from working all day and I needed to get home and feed my cat.  That cute boy convinced me to go anyway.

The first ever photographic evidence of our relationship.  Look how young we were!
Back when I was younger, it turns out that I went on a lot of first dates, and I never knew that they were dates.  Dates with boys I really liked, and thought that they were way out of my league.  If we're being honest, it didn't even cross my mind that I was going on a date with him, because he was a cute boy, and it was just a burrito, you know?  Also, his work uniform made him look like he was 12, so I was entirely unsure if he was even 21 yet.
Well, after finding out that not only was he over 21, that he was older than me, one major issue was overcome.  And then I saw him in real clothes, and realized that the cute boy was a handsome man.  And somehow, despite better judgement, he agreed to keep dating a clueless girl who never knew when she was being asked out.

And 6 years later, I'm still the clueless girl, and he's still the cute boy.

We've both changed in the last 6 years, maybe even more than our hair has changed.  But the flutters I get over that cute boy that I get to date haven't changed one bit.  I'm glad that he was my last-first date, even if I was entirely unaware of the circumstances.

And tonight, we'll go get a burrito, because that's just what we do.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Workout setbacks

***Warning***  If you are easily grossed out by body stuff, just skip this post and come back some other time.
If there's anything that runs like clockwork just as much as my propensity for cycling in and out of shape, it's that once I decide it's time to get back into shape, I will face some sort of major setback early on.  And guys, that most definitely happened, and in a big way.

I have had a little cyst in my right armpit for several years now.  It was a benign little sebaceous cyst, and it was really deep, so there was nothing to do about it, except see if it was going to get worse or better on its own.  Well, it decided to get worse, and on Tuesday morning, I woke up to an ache in my armipt.  When I took a look, it was swollen.  I wasn't sure what was happening, because I had heard that painful swelling could mean that the cyst was working itself out, or that it had burst and was infected.  Since our insurance is still in processing right now and out finalized, I also wanted to wait and make sure that there was a problem before trying to get in to the Dr.  By Thursday, things were much worse, and I was pretty much constantly in agony.  So I got myself in to the Doctor's office, where it was confirmed that I definitely had a burst infected cyst.  And so now we're treating that loveliness with antibiotics, hot compresses, and ibuprofen.  There is definitely no working out happening, because I'm pretty much in agony anytime I move quickly, or my right arm moves.  Fun, right?  We're hoping hat by Monday, things will have progressed to the point where either my body can re-absorb the cyst, or it will start seeping out and the doctor can excise it.  Obviously, I'm hoping for re-absorption, because it's a much faster healing time.  However, I'll really be happy for progress either way, because it will mean that this setback is that closer to being over.

Ya know, just putting a hot compress on my armpit.  No big.

I hate that these setbacks happen, but I realize that they serve such a valid purpose. They serve as evidence of my desire and dedication to my goal.  If I am just as motivated to get back to my workouts afterward, I know that my goal is valid and important.  If I have no desire, it's  wake-up call that I should probably stop and re-evaluate what I'm doing and why I thought it was a good idea.  Right now, I would love to be able to go workout and keep improving my fitness again.  Every time I drive by our new gym, I wish I could go in and get to work.  These are good signs.  I know that I'm on the right track.  It's going to happen for me, and before I know it, I'm be back in the game.

Do you have workout setbacks?  If so, how do you handle them?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A viscious cycle

When it comes to working out, I am a total glutton for punishment.  I am in this cycle where I get super out of shape, get motivated, have to work super hard to get back into shape, get into great shape, get burnt out, and get out of shape again.  Over, and over, and over.  I try to tell myself that it's normal, and natural.  Right.  Normal and natural like orange colored chocolate.
Like, after the marathon, I needed to take a break for a bit.  That's normal.  Good, even, according to most experts.  It isn't healthy to push your body that hard, and then not give it a minute.  I think it took me 4 months to start running again.  Oops.  That's probably longer than you should give it.  Just a guess.

Then, I got in great shape again for the triathlon, and CRUSHED my time goal.  I set a pretty high bar for future sprint triathlons, in fact.  So what did I do after that?  I quit working out.  Oops.  Granted, right after the triathlon our world got turned upside down, but still.  Taking 12 weeks off was not part of the plan.  Thankfully, packing and moving boxes counts towards daily activity, otherwise I would have gained all of the weight in that 12-ish weeks.  No exercise and all of the ice cream and cookies does not equal maintaining a leaner physique.

Hi, my name is Kristen, and I stress bake.

And now here we are again.  Life finally got to the point where I needed the endorphins again, because "Happy people don't kill their husbands", or something like that.  I also have a triathlon in April, and I'm feeling the pressure to improve on my time.  So to the gym we have gone.  Last week really kicked it off for us, we managed to go 3 times.

And then we even went again tonight!  My life has devolved into that place of perpetual muscle soreness lately.  I have been sending Ammon really sexy text messages lately about how my legs are going to revolt against me, and how going to the bathroom hurts my abs.  Also, when we get home from the gym and have to walk upstairs to our apartment, he walks behind me, "just in case you can't make it on your own".  That flight of stairs manages to look just like Mt. Everest after the gym.  It's a cruel, cruel trick.

Another fun fact is that we dropped our old gym tonight like a ton of bricks, and got a fancy new membership at a place that is much nicer.  It's also cheaper!  Yay for corporate membership deals, and Ammon having a big boy job!!!