Monday, June 27, 2011

Beach 2011

If my face were my friend, and I treated my friend like how I treated my face Saturday, we would no longer be friends. As a matter of fact, if my face could slap me right now, it would.

Other parts of my body would too. Like my back, and a random strip of flesh across my hips that must have been exposed when the wind lifted my tank top up.

Moral of the story, you should never, ever fall asleep on your stomach on the beach. Or at least, be me and fall asleep on the beach.

I applied sunscreen, but admittedly it wasn’t made for much protection because it was SPF 6, which if you ask my mother, is like wearing a condom with a hole in it – no protection at all. I did not put any on my face, or on the random strip of flesh across my hips. Sunscreen EPIC FAIL.

So today I sat on a pillow so I didn’t have to have the leather touch my sensitive legs, and now I’m sitting on my jacket in my office chair. I brought moisturizer for my face, and ask my colleague and friend periodically to please inspect it for blisters. Everyone tells me there are no blisters and that it’ll be a nice tan…when it’s not so flipping angry.

Last night, my mom bought me enough Gatorade and vitamin water to float a small boat or canoe, and I lubed up with Aloe Vera before bed and at 4 a.m. I was more nervous about my shower this morning then any other shower in my life, but surprisingly it felt good? Mostly it felt good to wash my hair that I hadn’t washed in three days.

Who wants to wash their hair on a beach getaway?

That was the first big question my friend and I faced at 5 o’clock Saturday morning getting ready to leave for our grand adventure. She was throwing ice from her ice-maker into our small cooler sitting on the counter, and I’d just rolled out of bed in my moo-moo and hair a-mess.

“Are you showering?”


“Neither am I. Let’s be rebellious.”

So we were. All weekend long.

We did not make a hotel reservation, we got cranky when we went too long without eating, we self-indulged on mimosas at 11 a.m. on a Sunday, we drank two margaritas at dinner Saturday and then hiked a couple miles to the beach front. We were honked at, cat-called, and yelled at. We oohed and aahed over menu designs and ate twice at one restaurant because it was that good.

When two newspaper editors hit the road for a rebellious weekend, it includes things like picking out gas stations with “national average” gas prices, and commenting on grammatical errors on billboards.

“Sometimes, grammatically incorrect words are okay. But “get wetter” just sounds stupid.”

And what would be a road trip without doing some last minute editing on the road, and questioning the editorial decisions made by every newspaper we saw in gas stations along the way?

We were in Corpus Christi for about 28 hours, but it was relaxing, peaceful, and the beach get-away we’d been spontaneously planning for about a week.

Now, I just have to convince my face it was worth it. And get back on its good side.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

uh-huh, well, I don't like you either

I don’t like the crease between my armpit and boobs. It’s a problem area. I have others, trust me, and it seems of late I’ve been focusing on the parts of my body I don’t like.

My stomach, my back, my thighs, my butt. I wish I could run for miles or pound away the fat in a gym. I wish my mental desire to be lithe and lean were actually true. That I could find a damn bathing suit that did more uplifting then letting some of my more favorite assets sag. Is it too much to ask that the girls look happy while swimming? I think not.

I’m a little frustrated right now, and the frustration is bordering on melancholy.

It’s not that I’m not happy with myself. I am. I’ve lost 50 pounds. I haven’t drank a regular soda in almost a year, and my coffee’s been sugarless for about the same amount of time. I pack my lunches to work almost every day and plan my dinners too.

But I don’t exercise enough and I fail sometimes – two points of frustration for me.

I try to exercise, but my internal organs profusely protest and make me think I should not try running again if I want my kidneys, heart and liver to be happy with me. I can’t actually pinpoint that my liver hates me when I run, but it hurts in the general liver area. I don’t think my ovaries like it either.

Enter points of frustration No. 3, and that’s this ghostly fight I wage against Lyme Disease. Most day, I’m not waging anything – I’m nodding my head and “yes, sir’ing”, “no, ma’am’ing” to it.

That’s what happens when I exercise. My muscles, joints, organs scream, “hell, no!” and I obediently cease and answer, “yes, sir.”

And then when I’m lamenting my one or two pound weight fluctuation, I’m told to exercise more and I can’t. That’s depressing so I’m tempted to eat a cookie, which only adds to the weight problem, and then the need for exercise and then the realization I can’t, and then more depression, another cookie, and so on.

I’m breaking the cycle, though, and in the last year I’ve made incredible progress. Yes, I still eat a cookie occasionally, but I bypass the fast food cheeseburger that’s bound to cure all my ails, and despite the fact that chicken nuggets might hold a magical healing potion, I decline and eat my rice and chicken.

A friend from work went shopping with me last night I preparation for our upcoming trip to a beach. I knew it was a risk going in my current frame of mind, but she helped me. She helped me buy a cute, fun skirt, which I love dearly.

And today she brought a dress to work that didn’t fit her, but fit me beautifully. We snuck into the photo studio in the office, I tried it on and she gushed.

So there, butt, boob/armpit area, thighs, stomach and back – you are beautiful.

Monday, June 20, 2011

pregnancy guide

A week-by-week guide to pregnancy web page was minimized on our desktop yesterday and subsequently created a game of Clue in our living room.

We eyed each other and tried to nail down who it was, leading one sister to divulge too much information to clear her name.

My little brother led the prosecution-style questioning, which included statements like, “I can tell it was you by that little grin,” and “I know it wasn’t Holly.”

My name was exonerated rather quickly, as it always is in conversations like this, with no consideration that it might be me who needed to know my ovulation schedule and how the egg travels through conception.

Everyone had to state clearly what time they were on the computer and what they looked at. Someone suggested looking at the web history and Google searches for the day, so we got to listen to my brother rattle off recently visited web.

Victoria’s Secret
Online banking
Naughty Monkey shoes?

He questioned the validity of that – deducing the word ‘naughty’ would’ve rendered a web page with a diagram of a woman’s reproductive system.

I assured him that was me, and that it’s a legitimate brand of shoe.

We thought my older brother did it as a joke knowing the obsessive minds in the family would feast on the possibilities, and that we’d examine each other with X-ray-like vision.

Are you pregnant? Or are you pregnant?

I suggested it was “Eddie in the library with Katie,” but he said he didn’t like to read so it definitely wasn’t him.

I said I’d probably do it in the library and no one was surprised.

Katie’s name was taken out of the hat. She’s been pregnant and therefore would know what to expect.

Another sister is never out of sight, and the other. Well, I already told you. TMI.

By the end of the night, we determined it was spam.

I like stress

I learn the most about myself when I’m with people who know me. And the people who know me know I like to function under copious amounts of stress.

You can ask any member in my family – they will tell you.

It’s a strange addiction, and like any addiction, it bites me in the ass some days.

Sometimes I overdose.

Thoughts are typically running together in my head all the time anyway, but in the case of stress overdosing, the thoughts collide at electrifying speed. Surprisingly, they still make sense, though, which is good since a lot of decisions are made during this phase.

Sometimes I crash.

I am human, and despite my tenacity under pressure, I can’t live under it all the time. But it’s hard to come off it. So when I’m home and after my weekend work is done, I fill my editorial stress with stress of laundry, cleaning, cooking, packing for my next week, and taking care of the animals. I also like to sit on the back porch, and even that is routinized.

Sometimes it’s just enough.

On most days, I maintain a healthy balance between stress and a low heart rate. It’s a motivator for me, it inspires me to change, to make things better, to enjoy simplicity and to pursue moments of solitude.

It keeps me grounded, tense, and sometimes desperately seeking its antithesis.

It also produces good newspapers, hearty decisions and resiliency.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

attitude failure

Holly is not in a good mood today.

My Facebook status summed it up and while 250 friends read it and probably chuckled to themselves, the eight people in the house with me were not laughing.

As a matter of fact, it was suggested to me at one point that I "go far away."

I'll take a moment and defend myself.

My brother hit me in the face with a ball on purpose while I was looking at the TV. Later, the same brother was propelling me to go to Wal-Mart and I rebelled against his time table. He kept nagging. I don't like being nagged.

By 5 p.m. the angst I'd felt all day had dissipated and I apologized to everyone in my path.

There's really no excuse, but there might be a reason.

When I left work Friday night, I didn't have time to do all the editing I needed to do so I emailed stories to myself and told the news editor I would read them Saturday morning and get them back to her.

What should have been an hour's worth of work turned into three and the longer I read and the more severe my edits had to be, the more frustrated, then angry I became.

The list of all the things I shouldn't have to be correcting and the editorial decisions that had to be made in the 11th hour stacked up to push me to a new height of stress.

And that stress (combined with weariness) leaked out to the people around me.

Sometimes, that's the part I'm not good at - learning how to separate myself from my job, my work, my baby, which exists in the form of a 7-day-a-week newspaper.

It's not work that I can leave at the office. It comes home with me, it's in the car with me while I'm driving to meet friends, it's at the bar where I'm grabbing a drink, it lays in the bed next to me, it's always in my vehicle, in my email, on my phone, in folders throughout the house, and most pervasively, it's always on my mind.

So yesterday I failed, and let it spoil the emissions of my heart to the people around me.

I don't hate it for that. It just needs a boundary.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

into the details

Fixing my lunch is as cathartic to me as eating it.

I disappear into the break room, which my boss jokes should have my name on a plaque on the door because of my deeply expressed affection for the break room. It’s not that I spend a lot of time there; it’s that I love the time I spend there. One of the other editors usually joins me and typically our mentor is there too. Lately, though, more people have circulated through and have started eating lunch with us. The web guy, a circulation manager, a couple reporters, some of the press operators – people who I don’t usually see, but end up talking to for the duration of my half-hour lunch.

It’s a familiar session.

They ask me questions like, “So how’s your diet going?” “You were raised on a farm?” “Is it safe for me to walk through the newsroom?”

I’ve introduced some of my staff to them.

“This is Eric, he works in circulation.” And when he musters up the courage to walk through the editorial department, I always wave. No matter what I’m doing or who I’m talking to. He waves back with both hands.

I always bring my lunch to work, and if you should really know, my breakfast and dinner too.

One night last week I popped out of the break room with my dinner and one of my reporters asked, “Do you eat all your meals here?”

I replied with a hasty, “no!”

But I usually do.

Oatmeal and coffee at 9:15 a.m., lunch at noon, dinner usually at 6.

Sometimes when it’s 8 p.m. and I’ve been here for 12 hours and haven’t left the building, and I’m walking out of the newsroom and telling the copy desk, “Call me if you need anything,” I wonder if they think my life is pathetic.

I go back to my space and eat my trail mix and drink my glass of wine.

Back to lunch preparation.

My meal prep actually begins on Sunday nights, and like clockwork, that’s where you can find me until the wee hours of the morning. When I leave for work Monday, I have everything with me I need for 8-10 meals to last me through the week. And usually a bottle of wine.

I unpack my groceries and prepared meals at the woman’s house I stay with during the week, and every day I bring my meals to the office.

Today, I had a ham sandwich and green beans.

Sounds simple, but somehow I end up with multiple containers on the table. The sandwich container, the container with lettuce and tomatoes, another with blue cheese, another for the green beans, a small salt and pepper shaker, a can of Diet Mt. Dew, and a container of strawberries.

I always bring Tupperware to eliminate waste in the form of Ziploc bags.

I’m not sure when I started caring about these things. Ziploc bags vs. Tupperware, Googling TCBY nutrition facts prior to ordering at TCBY, Googling the difference between “good” and “well”, pumping gas in the morning only, and cutting up extra budgets for scrap paper before I even leave the editorial meetings.

And they call me detail oriented.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Busy and tired

I can't say that I'm sick and tired, because I'm not.

Although my episode with fire ants and Benadryl was repeated briefly Saturday night. Before long, you'll start thinking I'm doing this on purpose, but I'm really not. This time I was laying on the shoreline at a lake and felt a bite, but I didn't think much of it. I was outside on the shoreline at a lake afterall. But then I was driving home with my little brother and the hives started and before long, the itching and burning eyes, ears and nose. I carefully monitored my throat, alerted the home front I was rolling in in desperate need of Benadryl ASAP upon arrival, and swallowed two when I walked in the door.

Subsequently, I fell asleep in the recliner for an hour, went to bed at 9 p.m. and didn't get up till 12 hours later.

But aside from that, I'm not sick and tired.

I'm just busy and tired.

Like, supercalifragilisticexbealidocious-busy.

Uh-huh. That busy.

Aside from two elements, I would liken my life to that of a cat. I eat, I sleep, I work, I drink wine, I eat, I sleep, I work, I drink wine.

I'm assuming a cat doesn't work and most likely doesn't drink wine. But in the eating and sleeping department, we are very similar.

You will hear more from me in the upcoming days. Because I am awesome, and so are you.