Friday, January 16, 2015

The Dating Game

My friend has dipped her toe into the world of online dating, and from the sound of things that world is as interesting as it was 15+ years ago.

I have a different friend who watched me navigate all those online dating pitfalls and always swore she was going to write a screen play based on my loser dating life. So for your amusement, I offer up a couple of examples:

  • The man who had a belt buckle as big as his face. I am only slightly exaggerating. He seemed really nice but the sum total of what we had in common was both being human beings living in the Kansas City metro.
  • The law professor who drooled. No really, he did. I’m sure you’ve met people like that, who sort of make too much saliva so they always look as though they were about to drool? Yeah, that was him. Plus he was so painfully nervous and dressed in clothes fit for the 80s (this was nearly 2000). I had made a resolution to stay more open minded so despite my misgivings, I agreed to meet him for drinks. He showed up in a silly little Geo Metro Tracker, wearing 80s jeans and a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches. He had braces, too. I just couldn’t even. The kicker was him telling me how much he admired my self confidence, and he was so nervous in his own skin that it was clear he was looking for someone else to prop him up. Not it.
  • Then there was the man whose name escapes me. Gorgeous, totally gorgeous but he hadn’t yet been divorced a year according to his profile. You should know that I strongly believe that people are insane for the first 12 months after the divorce is final so I wouldn’t date anyone in that crazy pants time of life. But again, I was trying to be less of a naysayer so I agreed to meet him too. In casual conversation, I asked him when he’d gotten divorced. “Oh . . .” he said, “it’s not final yet.” Hmmm. So how long till it’s final? “Well we haven’t filed just yet.” Uh OK. When did you separate? “Uh I haven’t moved out yet.” Ah OK—you mean you are still married! Got it and buh bye!
  • But the worst, the one that was just absolutely jaw-dropping horrible was the man who decided that because I liked a band he liked (Stabbing Westward if you must know), we had to be soul mates destined to be together forever—he brought his five year old daughter to our first meeting at, I believe, an iHop. I was absolutely livid that he brought her, that was so completely inappropriate in so many ways. And the kicker was that he was surprised I had a problem with it. 

There are other stories, but hey my kids sometimes read this blog (and my mom too), so that’s all I’m putting out here on the world wide web. But that’s probably enough for you to get a sense of the kind of movie my friend would write—and of course she knows Kent and she’s part of that story too, so she’s already got the Hollywood ending that really happened.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Right this second

One cat is snoring on the bed on the left side of my desk, one cat is curled up in the bed on the right side of my desk. And Wally is holding my hand.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A get well plan

I have a theory about the vertigo, shoulder pain and piroformis pain I’ve been enduring for the last half a year.

When I experienced the last awful round of vertigo (awful being characterized by not being able to stand up and also puking my guts out, no exaggeration, for several hours), I did a lot of online research. Yes, there’s a ton of misinformed advice out there, but I stuck to the more reputable sites like the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkin and other places like that. I learned that our ears have these crystals or rocks that can get all out of whack—although the first time I read about ear crystals, I thought it was utter bunk, I’ll be honest. Apparently these crystals get displaced and that’s what may cause the vertigo.

In addition to some drug treatments (which I am not really interested in, the side effects are not great plus I’d rather not be on drugs for the rest of my life), there’s a maneuver you can do which sort of treats your head as a snow globe and helps get those crystals back where they belong. As I read all this and looked at the maneuver, I realized that the increase in debilitating vertigo also coincided with some changes I’d made in my workout routines.

For the last 18 months, I’d shifted my focus from yoga and Pilates for strength to weight workout. I like being stronger and thought the weight workouts probably gave me more bang for my workout bucks. But this change meant that I neglected flexibility and also didn’t really get into any twisty, head down positions (hard to lift weights downward, right?). That meant I wasn’t doing poses that mimic the Epley maneuver, a possible treatment for vertigo. It also meant my hamstrings, piroformis and shoulder muscles weren’t getting stretched and strengthened in ways that mimic normal physical activities.

The week after Christmas, I went ahead and did the Epley maneuver at home and haven’t felt any worse (figured it was a low risk chance to take—doing that might help me and certainly wouldn’t hurt me). At the same time, I ordered a couple of new workout DVDs that are more about flexibility with strength rather than just strength.

So I'm incorporating the flexbility workouts while continuing with physical therapy. I’m hopeful these changes will help me with all three issues. It almost certainly won't hurt.

Here's a video of the Epley maneuver:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My weekend

I’m in Salt Lake City today—I flew in early this morning for a Global Entry interview. SLC is one of just a couple locations that has weekend hours. Since it’s also a hub for Delta, I was able to get a direct, non-stop flight even if it did require getting up at 2:15 AM.

I was done with the interview by 11 (approved, hurrah!), and in my hotel room before noon. So I walked over to Temple Square which is just under a mile from my hotel. There’s a light rail here in SLC, and it’s free, but since the next train was 14 minutes out when I got to the stop, I figured I was better off just walking.

I saw at least five weddings going on, and a whole lot of dark suits, and very plain sensible shoes. I took a family’s picture (yes, they said, we would like to have some of the temple in the background), peeked into where the Tabernacle organ recitals are held. Unfortunately I couldn’t have gotten to the recital hall in time for the free noon performance, and I’ll be in the air tomorrow for the 2 PM show. Too bad, the acoustics were great in there and I bet it’s a real treat.

Otherwise, here are a few random pictures. The weather is pretty blah here—in addition to the normal inversion that SLC tends to get in the winter, there’s also fog in the area. I took this at the airport around 10 AM; that's the air traffic control building sort of hovering in the distance.

I saw a lot of these dotted all around the grounds and don't know if they have any significance other than looking really neat. This first one is at the front gate on the east side (I think, hard to tell because it's so grey out). What doesn't show up very well is the steam rising all around it from the water it's in.

Here's another one that wasn't in water. Isn't that an interesting shape? The vegetation on top looked to be native or at least plants that don't need a lot of water and might do really well in the endless sunshine Utah normally has.

This is on part of the wall as you move from the grounds toward Temple Square itself (the grounds have things like the museum, visitors center and so on). I noticed that my camera focused on each of these little faces when I got the picture.

And finally the obligatory photo of the Temple itself.

And then I walked back to my hotel and now I'm contemplating room service for dinner.

Friday, January 2, 2015

When did this happen?

You know how when you go to a new medical provider, you have to fill out a bazillion forms that ask all about your health from the very second you took your first breath up till now? And list all your medications, and surgeries? All of that makes sense to me—sure, I grumble because my handwriting sucks and I get hand cramps writing all that stuff down but I realize it’s necessary for the new medical provider to get a full picture of me and my health.

But in the last couple of years, I’ve noticed an increase in what I’ll call touchy-feely questions. Take these, for example, from a couple of the forms I need to complete prior to see someone who specializes in vertigo (along with my commentary in italics):

A form about hearing
  • Does your hearing cause you to feel embarrassed when you meet new people? This is the very first question on a form about hearing. That just blows my mind, that potential embarrassment would be the first question on the list. 
  • Do you have difficulty hearing or understanding co-workers, clients or customers? Now this question makes sense—but why is it the third question on this form? 
A form about tinnitus—first, a couple that make sense to me:
  • My tinnitus has led me to avoid noisy situations
  • My tinnitus has led me to avoid social situations
And a couple that absolutely don't:
  • My tinnitus has made me unhappy. Snort.
  • My tinnitus has led me to cry. Seriously??
Instead of listing the rest of the feeling statements about tinnitus, here’s a list of the feeling words that are covered:
  1. Annoyed
  2. Depressed
  3. Angry
  4. Irritable 
  5. Confused
  6. Helpless
  7. Distressed
  8. Hopeless about the future
  9. Panicky
  10. Tormented
  11. Despair
Others that I haven't copied sound like leading questions to me (i.e. to get me to buy some device or a treatment that might not be covered by insurance). Overall, this just feels a little scammy to me, similar to the stereotypical used car salesman. Yes, I want to find out what’s going on. No, I don’t want my medical provider to go all emo on me or try to upsell me on things I don’t want, probably don’t need and could well be not all that helpful.

I mean, really. Couldn't these forms just ask if this condition has negatively affected my life? Am I so stupid I need eleven separate questions asking me what I've just said in one?

Have you noticed this too? If you have, does it bother you? Or am I just a cold, unfeeling brick?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 in review

I’m a day late in getting my review of 2014 written and posted, but that’s OK. One of the lessons for me this year was to relax and follow Kent’s leaf-on-a-stream approach a little more in life. It’s all well and good to be disciplined and get stuff done, but it’s equally important to enjoy the trip.

Using mostly the same questions I’ve used in previous year end reviews, here’s my take on 2014.

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? I didn’t spaz out after quitting my job in December 2013. In fact, I seem to be doing just fine on the job front, which has helped a ton with me relaxing.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes – more of our dear Boston friends had or are going to have babies. That’s the stage of life they are in and I expect we’ll see a few more babies from that group.

Did anyone close to you die? No one close to me has died; all’s quiet on that front.

What countries did you visit? Mexico, England, and Germany. We didn’t take as many Crazy Trips™ this year, mostly because I’m working as an external consultant and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? Well, I’d love to have this low frequency hearing loss magically resolve, but that’s not likely to happen.

What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Again, this wasn’t a dramatic OMG kind of year, so here are some highlights not covered by other questions:

  • I was diagnosed with moderate low frequency hearing loss (reverse slope). Looking back, it’s clear I’ve had this hearing loss for a long time; without realizing I do it, I’ve accommodated it for years. 
  • This was a rather solitary year for me because K was out of the country every other week beginning the first of July. While I dislike him being gone like that, he’s really good at his job and enjoys the work he does and of course it’s always a plus to remain gainfully employed.
  • I injured my piroformis and had some shoulder issues due to overly tight muscles, so I’ve been in rehab for several months. It’s slow going and has meant no running, which is horrible for me. I’m diligent and disciplined about the rehab exercises and hope this all gets resolved sooner rather than later. 

What was your biggest achievement of the year? This will sound like bragging, but teaching my granddaughter to sew tops the list. I was so afraid I would get impatient and then she'd hate sewing and me but we had a great time.

Did you suffer illness or injury? Sadly, yes I did with the butt muscle and the shoulder issue. I haven’t really been sick, but I’ve had several bouts of awful vertigo, the kind that makes me puke for hours.

What was the best thing you bought? We made the switch to messenger style bags for traveling, which has been wonderful. Since they are squishy, they will fit into any overhead bin. That suits our travel style perfectly.

Whose behavior merited celebration? I’ll go ahead and sound arrogant—this year, it’s my behavior that deserves the celebration. In addition to emulating Kent’s more mellow nature, I have also aimed higher in my job aspirations. Typically women do not apply for jobs that might be a stretch in terms of qualifications or amount of experience. Last month, I’ve done something most men would do without a second thought and applied for the higher position of two similar jobs (one is an analyst role, and the other, higher level role is consultant). My experience doesn’t exactly match what’s required for the higher level job but I definitely exceed the lower level job. As someone I know often says, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.

Where did most of your money go? Travel and fabric again. Also dinners out at Story (pricey but oh so good).

What did you get really excited about? Last year’s trip to Cancun was just what we needed, when we needed it. We hope to go again this winter.

What song will always remind you of 2014? Definitely this one (and all the related parodies of it):