Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kat's Bad Day

I wish I could say “It all started when … (insert appropriate bad scenario here).  But it didn’t.  Truth be told, my bad day started DAYS earlier, rolling and festering into the massive pile of putridity known as “Thursday.”  Issues at work…feeling under the weather, but never actually getting sick so that I could actually GET BETTER…dentist appointments…building upon each other, beating me down, wearing away my shell, generally making me cranky.  By 5:30 on Thursday, I’d had ENOUGH.  So I did what any self-respecting sex goddess would do.  I hit the drive-through at Krispy Kreme.

It’s 2 miles from Krispy Kreme to my apartment, but that certainly isn’t going to stop me from immediately opening that white box. It held The Boy’s favorite – chocolate covered Kreme filled.  (yes, I know ‘cream’ is spelled with a “c” and an “a”, but they don’t.)  And nestled right in there next to his – a powdered sugar-covered, strawberry filled.  That’s Kat’s right there.

Left hand on the wheel, right hand sliding into the box, I pondered my crap week.  As I approached a red light, my elbow bent, my powdered-sugar doughnut balanced on my slender fingertips, I wrestled with the great mysteries of life.  Am I truly happy?  Am I content?  Am I using my life, my skill set, my desires to their fullest extent?  Blue eyes searched the horizon as my mind stretched for some far-off, unseen answer.  The human side of me noticed that the car’s interior was a little stuffy as the afternoon sun beat through my windshield.  As the light changed to green, my foot slid from the brake as my left hand crossed over and turned the air vent on.

There are a certain few times in your life when you find yourself ensconced in a situation you don’t  fully understand; all you know is, for the sake of your survival, you must take action IMMEDIATELY.  I’m talking about that little adrenalin-fueled mental rush when something has just happened – maybe even something really painful – when the consequences of said action haven’t fully registered with you, but your body takes action on behalf of your muddled brain.  You touch a hot stove, for example – you pull your hand away before the pain of the burn has even registered.  It was such a moment in my car on that day we will call “Thursday.”

There was air.  There was powdered sugar.  All my brain knew was, I was being SANDBLASTED by powdered sugar and action must be taken.  As my face was assailed by silky powdered air blasting my face, my mouth making a “pbbt pbbbt pbbt” noise like an outboard motor the first time you fire it up in the Spring, my evolved mind snapped through a series of possibilities.   Do I lift the doughnut out of the stream of air?  Do I take my left hand off the wheel again and turn the air off?  Is the guy who was sitting next to me at the light laughing at me?  Do I flip him off?

Within, oh, 2 minutes or so, my firefighter training shifted into gear and took control of the situation.  I put the doughnut back on the box, shut off the air, and hit the gas.  I couldn’t bear to look until I pulled into my parking space in front of my apartment.

A quick mirror assessment revealed that I was covered in powdered sugar from my nose to my waist. Oh, and I don’t mean in that “I just ate a powdered-sugar doughnut and I got a few sprinkles on me, aren’t I cute” way.  I mean in a “I just opened a cocaine brick and dumped it all over myself” way.  Irritation gave way to foreboding as my eyes drifted over to my doughnut.  It looked like a plucked chicken, oozing its strawberry gizzards all over the half-closed box lid.  Every non-microscopic particle of powdered sugar had been gusted away and unceremoniously deposited onto my sweater.  I don’t know which one of us was more ashamed.  To put it out of its misery, I shoved the denuded pastry into my mouth.  Three bites and one of us was dispatched.
I didn’t bother dusting off my sweater before I went in the house; the sheer volume of powdered sugar made that endeavor pointless.  In his excitement over the appearance of the coveted box, The Boy didn’t even notice my condition.   I made dinner, I took a bath, I went to bed, disgusted with the world in general.

Then – guess what?  Friday rocked.  The rockage of said Friday to be written about very soon. 

Next time – maple bar.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You Can't Wear Spanx With A Bathing Suit.

Well, crapola.

I have to say the hardest part of this whole lifestyle thing is - drinking all the water.  I drink water - a little.  Maybe 48 oz a day.  Now my goal is 75 oz a day.  I am either drinking or peeing at any given moment.

And Jillian - seriously, babe.  Your "Week 1" workout is going to take me about 3 weeks to master.  I cannot hold a plank position for that long.  And when you tell me that 300-pound people do it for you all the time, well, that doesn't seem to be helping.  However, since this is a marathon and not a sprint, I see no reason to move on to the more difficult workout before I can complete the first one with good form.  Jillian would agree with me. 


We gots us a little situation.

Thor and I are going away for a lovely weekend at my favorite Small Town.  We will be joined by one of his closest friends and his wife.  Reservations have been made at the nicest place in town; I'm planning my winery stops and shopping excursion;  a good time will be had by all.  Anyhow, the other evening I was at Thor's, daydreaming about this super-amazing weekend, and he chimes in.  "There's a hot tub AND a pool.  Make sure you bring your suit!"


I now have to be swimsuit-ready by Mother's day weekend.  This was not part of the plan, my little chickens.  Moderately nauseous, I texted my accountability partner, Kas.  Her response:

"Start running."


So Jillian and I might be getting a little more up close and personal that I originally intended.  But you know what?  My legs will look amazing, my tummy will be flat(ter) and Thor's jaw will hang slightly loose at the sight of me, all of which are GOOD THINGS.

Bring it.  We are fast tracking, baby.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time for a Jillian Throwdown.

Alas, the time has come to face our fear of all things Jillian.  I was going to wait until this summer, because let's face it, everything is easier in the summer - but my jeans are too tight NOW.  So after careful deliberation, I've decided to move it up to MONDAY.

Here's the plan.  I've come up with a set of "healthy lifestyle" guidelines, which I will follow until I reach my goal weight.  It could take a month (doubtful) or maybe two (much more likely).  My friend Kas, who has seen me through pretty much every major life event since 1987, has agreed to serve as my accountability partner and bust my metaphorical balls as necessary.

You are HIGHLY encouraged to join me!  Without further ado, I present:

Kat’s Super Amazing Personalized Lifestyle Plan
  • Daily movement with Jillian, minimum 30 minutes
  • No fast food (meaning fried/processed)
  • Latte (sugarfree/soy) allowed once per week, coffee from home the rest of the week
  • Drink water - half body weight in ounces daily
  • Pack lunches and snacks for work, no junk food during the work day
  • Avoid processed food whenever possible
  • No beef, no pork, no shellfish
  • Weigh once per week
  • Liberty call one 24 hr period per week for diet and exercise each– no restrictions on eating on diet day, can skip exercise on exercise day.
  • Check in with Kas once per week with status of these bullet items and weight.  Allow her to beat me with a stick if necessary.  She is allowed to check on me whenever she wishes.
  • Violations:  Each violation will result in a $10 fine, which I will have to donate to the **** ***** ******* Church Men’s Ministry, the most evil thing on the planet.  Well, maybe not the MOST evil, but certainly in the top 5.
(Said entity shall remain nameless, for two reasons - first, I'm a class act; and second, if you know me personally, you know which entity I'm talking about, and if you don't know me, well, I can't imagine you care.)

I figure, when I'm struggling to get out of bed at 5:45 a.m., the thought of donating money I can't spare to a group that I find morally reprehensible should get my tuckus moving.  I read that in a "ways to motivate yourself" article online, and the guy who wrote it was a big fan.  He actually gave $100 a pop to the American Nazi Party, and as I recall, he only wrote 1 check. 

So tomorrow I will email Kas with my official starting weight.  And away we go, baby.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What It's All About

Congratulations to my friend Kas, for correctly guessing the meaning behind my amazing poetic work.  Of course, she is my oldest friend, so she's got a bit of an edge over the rest of you.

I wrote the blog post, below, back in the Spring of 2010.  I absolutely, positively cannot believe that 3 years have passed.  Anyhow, this is what my poem was about.  My son is the tree, the eight leaves representing the eight years between September 11, 2001 and September 27, 2009 when I sent my son to war.  As long as I live, wherever I go, whatever I do - I will never, never forget the soul-wrenching pain of that day. 

I've been thinking about my son a lot lately.

My son, Chris, is a very quiet 20 year old. He's taller and thinner than me, and I think he's handsome. I wouldn't say he's shy; instead, I think that it just doesn't occur to him that a conversation would be an appropriate thing at any given time. He would be quite content to spend the entirety of his day in front of a screen of some sort, be it the TV, computer, or game console, while taking the occasional bathroom/meal break.

My son is also currently sitting somewhere in the vicinity of the Bagdad International Airport. He's a soldier, and he's at work.

I try not to follow the news; in fact, if I hear anything about Iraq, I intentionally shut down and go someplace else in my mind. I don't want to hear about how many people were killed. I don't want to hear about civil unrest. I don't want to know that more/less troops are being sent over. I don't even want to hear anything positive. I just don't want to know, so don't tell me.

I get an e-mail from Chris about every 3 to 4 weeks. It usually consists of less than 100 words, in which he tells me that he's bored and everything is fine. These e-mails constitute all of my contact with my son.

I haven't spoken to him on the phone since the day before he shipped out, which happened to be a Saturday afternoon. My 40th birthday had fallen on the prior Wednesday. When the phone rang, I knew it was he, because nobody ever calls me - especially on a Saturday afternoon. Our conversation was stilted, broken, awkward. We both knew that once certain words were said, that the entire call would break down and that would be that. So I bit the bullet and said the things that I knew, as Mom, it was my job to say. I told him how proud I was of his decision to join the Army, that God protects His children, that I loved him and would miss him. Then, of course, came the tears.

I don't know if you know what it's like to just sob on the phone, if you know how it feels when your world just stops and you can't speak, all you can do is cry. Let me assure you, dear reader, that it sucks. As emotional, as gut-wrenching, as shattering as the phone call was, the hardest part had already occurred several weeks before.

We had said our "goodbye" in person about a month before when he came home on leave for 10 days. I took Chris to the bus station - which in our area, consists of the parking lot of a mini-mart that's gone out of business - and waited for the bus to show. We both tried to make some small talk about the trip - "I hope the bus isn't too full" - "Do you have any cash on you to buy snacks?" - but again, it was stilted, broken, awkward. When the bus did show, Chris was the only person to be picked up, so there was no delaying the inevitable. I held my oldest child, told him how proud I was of him, how God takes care of His children, how much I would miss him and that I loved him. And then came the tears.

My son sobbed in my arms and all I could do was join him. Instinctively, I rocked him back and forth in my arms and rubbed the back of his neck like I always had when he was a child. I knew that optimistically, I would see him in no less than 7 months; pessimistically, 13 months. Once I let go, that would be it, and he would be gone. So I did my duty as a Mom - I let go first and sent him to the bus.

I let go first.

Who would have ever thought that a single action, taken during a moment of a mother's acute pain, could be so haunting?

If, God forbid, anything should happen to my son while he is in Iraq, that is what I will remember. I let go first.

I let go first.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poetry In Motion

Okay, dearest reader - we are on a "facing our fears" roll.
Next we tackle the world of poetry.  I, a writer, despise poetry.  I find it dull.  Tedious.  Unnecessary.  And I, a writer, can't do it.  So I mask my fear of failure with a lifting of the nose and a rolling of the eyes.  But truth be told - and our blog is all about truth, is it not - I'm just afraid of sucking at it.  But fears be dashed, we are going to make this happen.
I figured the best poetry is based in strong emotion.  So I put myself back on the worst day of my life, which took place a few years ago.  I sat alone in my room and tried to remember every facet of that day.  Sounds, smells.  The temperature of the air.  Where I was sitting, and who I was sitting with.  The way the blood felt in my veins as I willed my heart to keep beating; not sure if I would survive, not sure if I even wanted to.  And then I wrote.
Here's what I came up with.  I took an informal Facebook poll - to explain its meaning, or not to explain? - and the consensus was, post it, and if people want to know what it means, they will ask.
Yeah, it's pretty lousy.  Yeah, it's completely allegorical.  I wrote it out, I went to bed, I figured my project was done.  Then I got up this morning, looked in the mirror, and burst into tears.
Now I know why so many famous poets either become addicted to opiates, off themselves, or both.  The raw emotion, even in a lousy poem, is overwhelming.

Eight Leaves

In my orchard, I stand at a tree

Young, vibrant-I wonder, when did it grow so?

Budding, stretching, cleaving;

As eight leaves slipped away from its branches

A flutter at my feet.

I bent to pick them up and noticed

That they were dried, yet velvet

Shriveled, yet supple,

Preserved, yet consumed.

I placed my flat palm against the trunk

Strong, firm

Vulnerable, childlike

Brash and arrogant, fragile and broken.

In my hand

Eight leaves in September;

I put them in my pocket as I turned

From the tree of my own planting

And the day was colder for it.

 There you have it.   Fear, conquered.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Vodka. Done.

Thor actually set the date for this one.  "Tonight we are doing the vodka shots."  Well, hell, who am I to argue with a guy with a nickname like Thor?  I love it when he takes charge...makes me feel like the girl in a John Wayne western.

We walked to the local dive bar, which is a little over a half mile from his house, because we didn't want "Kat's first shot" to double as "Kat's first DUI."  During the course of that walk, I had to stop and tie my shoe twice.  During the second tie-up, my effort was met with an exasperated "What are you, FIVE?" from the man I love.  Evidently he was in some sort of hurry.  I was not. 

Once seated, we were greeted by the cutest little waitress.  Thor explained our assignment to her, and she was totally on board.  My original goal was to have a shot of Voli - but trust me, this place doesn't serve Pitbull's vodka.  Since I couldn't name another brand of vodka if you held a revolver to my head, I put myself in Cute Waitress's capable hands.

Cute Waitress came up with the idea of a cherry-flavored vodka, chilled and muddled with some lime.  Hmm, I thought.  Cherry and lime.  Just like the cherry limeade at Sonic.  I like that.  It's sparkly and sweet and limey all the same time.  This will be great!  Just great!

She brought me the largest shot glass I've ever seen in my life.  I was hoping for the teeny tiny one you get off the souvenir rack at the airport.  Oh, but not here.  This one was roughly the size of Salem, Oregon.  And it smelled like Dimetapp.

I eyeballed my glass and Thor alternately.  He decided to join me on this little adventure, and guess what - it was his first vodka shot, too.  The main difference being, the thought of downing that poison didn't seem to make him want to cry.

"There's no way I can stiff-arm that.  It's too much.  I can take, like, 2 sips, right?"

Thor gave me the endearing little brow raise that I've grown so accustomed to seeing.   "You should drink it all at once."

"I can't.  It will taste bad and I can't stand things that taste bad.  I can do it in 3 sips, right?"

His answer was to down his shot.  I was hoping he'd slam his empty glass upside-down on the table like they do in the movies, but he just set it down all normal-like.  Maybe next time.

I threw a glance around the bar to see if I was being watched.  There was a man, alone at the bar, who seemed to be watching me.   I soothed my fried nerves by telling myself that he was checking me out, but he probably was just wondering why Psycho Girl was making all sorts of frantic gestures at the poor guy she was sitting with, rather than drinking the shot that the hot waitress had just given her.

I raised the glass to my lips.  This was going to happen.  It took 3 swallows, and it was over.  It tasted like cherry cough syrup served on a lime spoon.  But my brain didn't explode, and I didn't throw up.


I noticed that Thor was watching me intently.  About 10 minutes later, I figured out why.

"I am dizzy.  And hungry.  Can we get food?"

After ordering sandwiches, Thor told me the funniest story ever.  Something about his neighbor having a stroke.  I laughed and laughed and laughed. 

"You are wasted.  One shot, and you are gone."

"I consider that to be a compliment as to my character."  And then I laughed some more, because at this point in the evening, I am so very, very clever, I can hardly stand myself.

We sat for a while longer, eating our rather crappy sandwiches and giving me a chance to regain use of my legs.  Cute Waitress signed our receipt as a memento of our visit.  As we walked back to his place, I noticed that my stride was a little more confident, my chin a little higher.  I am Kat the Fearless, bad ass who drinks straight vodka.

And I will never, ever do it again.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

120 After-Dinner Mints.

So, when we last left Kat, she was heading to Barnes and Noble to pick up an Intro to Cooking cookbook for her son's and boyfriend's torture sessions cooking lessons.

I love buying this was just a heckuva lotta fun for me.  Not only did I find a great cookbook for Kat's Awesome Cooking School (yes, I've named it), but it was on the clearance rack.  Score.  Oh, but here's the COOL part.

You have to understand something, dearest reader.  Once you start blogging - and this is my fourth year now - you see EVERYTHING as a potential blog topic.  EVERYTHING.  If I actually ACCOMPLISHED, oh, even 20% of my hare-brained ideas, I would be broke, exhausted, my laptop keyboard would be worn out, and I would possibly be in a full-body cast.  That being said, I saw idea after idea staring back at me on the bookshelves.   I immediately discounted most of them, as Julie Powell already did the whole "cooking through a cookbook" blog thing, and I don't want to be a copy Kat.  (do you see what I did there?)  I sauntered down the aisle, and found myself in the "local cuisine" section.  This one jumped out at me - the "Places to Kiss Cookbook."  A charming tome, filled with write-ups and recipes from inns and restaurants all over the Pacific Northwest.  The wheels started turning as I pictured Thor and me driving from town to town, sampling scrumptious little dainties and, of course, kissing at each place.  And YOU, dearest reader - YOU would get to read about it!  I snatched it like Golam and wrapped my arm around it so nobody would try to wrestle this one and only copy from my clutches.

My blog fantasy came crashing down about 5 pages in, as I realized that the author's definition of "Pacific Northwest" and my personal definition differed greatly.  I naively assumed the author meant an area within 200 miles or so of my front door.  I assumed incorrectly.  Since Canada and Northern California are both rather far to drive for dinner, not to mention spendy - I decided, with a sigh, to slide my ticket to the Pulitzer back on the shelf.   Fear not- I was only slightly miffed.  This basic scenario, with only slight modification of detail, happens to me at least 8 times a week.  I've learned to deal with disappointment and have lost more Pulitzer ideas than most real writers will ever actually have.

I turned to go, wistful about what could have been, when I saw the word "Spokane."  Hey, I live there.  I willed my hand not to tremble as I slowly, slowly pulled a thin book from the shelf.   As I turned it over, here's what I saw:

120 restaurants - all in Spokane.  Each with its own page, its own recipe.  Published in 2011 - so I'm guessing most are still in business.  My jaw dropped, my Michael Kors bag hit the floor, and I started jumping up and down. 
I called Thor right there in the middle of the bookstore and left him this message:
Yeah, that's not unusual either.  I provide entertainment wherever I go.
So when I saw Thor later that night, I shared my idea about how we could go to all these restaurants, eat at them - maybe even eat the food featured in the recipe! - and write about it for you.  My presentation of my idea is probably best described as "enthusiastic."
I eventually stopped to inhale.  Thor blinked a few times, gave his head a little tilt, and said, "So...your 'idea' is, basically, a list of places that I have to take you out to eat at?"  I told you all he's quick on the draw. 
Fear not, dearest reader.  The idea has grown on him.  He even suggested that we take the book with us and have the pages signed by the chef at the restaurant when we eat there.   He's totally in.  I am so beyond excited, it's not even funny. Where do we go first????  How do we decide????   Your suggestions are welcome.