Hi! I'm Lauren, and I need a Lobotomy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Working Out With Wind

Haha! With a title like that you thought this would be off-colour, didn’t ya?

Sorry to bust your bubble.

When I was nine years old we moved to Switzerland. My mom spent the better part of four months before we got there teasing me about some of the changes we were going to be experiencing when we arrived. One of my favorite examples of this special sort of bonding is when she told me that all of the cows in Switzerland have one side of their legs shorter than the other due to grazing in a circular motion around the tops of the mountains. I didn’t know a whole lot about mountains at that time - I had spent most of my life in the Midwest up until then - and didn’t realize that mountains are huge and not every single one of them has a farm at the way tippy- toppity of it; where cows continuously walk around in circles like they have some weird sort of mad cow disease. To my nine year old mind it made perfect sense that the cows would have one side of their legs shorter. I was scared to death and I vowed to make sure that I walked equally up and down the streets. I think I was fairly successful because both of my legs are still the same length. Score!

Yes. They wear bells. And yes. It is awesome!
I was reminded of the short-legged-on-one-side cows when I walked out of a building today in Cheyenne. It was windy. Not just the blustery-and-you-deal-with-it kind, but the full-blown 35 mph gusts that alternate between forcing you to practically crawl along the pavement in order to keep moving forward and then knocking you over when it swirls behind you and you haven’t recovered from the stooped position. It was really fun.

I imagine this mode of transportation would be infinitely more dangerous here...
Everyone always says how windy Wyoming is but I hadn’t really experienced it because the summer was so pleasant, so I guess I didn’t really (want to) believe them. I wish I had a video of my odd zombie walk back the car. I tried to keep my arms down but they kept wanting to pop up to keep me from bashing my face in on some cement.

When I got back to the car I noticed that my muscles were sore, as if I had been working out. I’m not really a fan of that whole ‘working out until your muscles hurt’ stuff so this certainly perplexed me. It was then that I realized that by being forced to keep all of my muscles tensed so the wind couldn’t sneak up on me I was getting a bit of exercise. Totally my kind of exercise – totally the only kind worth doing. Or not doing, as the case may be. You don’t even have to think about it and you’re getting fit! It reminds me of Couch Tai-Bo that was totally the craze between me and some of my friends in High school. It obviously counts because you are exercising. Anyone remember “Sit and Be Fit”? I digress.
Like this, but with kicking and punching instead of towels, or whatever those are. Oh, and old people. None of that, either.

I have a new one now: ‘Working Out With Wind’. Do what you will with that one... I plan to do it every day for the unforeseeable future.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Tribute to a Special Dog

I have taken a HUGE break from blogging due to changes in latitudes (and some attitudes) and I am breaking my silence to offer a tribute to a wonderful dog. Our beloved Jasmine Genevieve (Spelts) Carver went to Heaven today. She hadn’t been feeling well for a while, was mostly deaf and blind, and would get lost in corners, scared and cowering. She didn’t like the confusion she was experiencing, we called it her doghaimers, and I hated seeing her in pain. I know it was the right time to let her go but it doesn’t make it any easier.

I have a belief that we should not mourn those that have passed but celebrate the time we had with them. Obviously tears will be shed but I try and stay positive with happy memories to ease the transitions in life. I do not believe that those we love who pass on want us to be sad but rather to be happy for the special time we had with them.

Jasmine was truly one of the best dogs to ever live. I am not saying that because I had the privilege of being her caretaker and dog-mommy but because it is simply true. I think if we got right down to it, and she could use facebook and twitter, she would have more friends than I do. I can’t think of one person who met her that didn’t love her.

I rescued her from a pet shop in 2000. She had lived in a cage for the better part of her puppyhood and was on deep discount because she had been there so long and was pretty ill. She spent 5 days in intensive care before I even got to take her home. Once home she fit into college life extremely well. She went to class with me (Boulder, CO, awesome) and all of the parties and events I cared to attend. She was so popular that if there was a shortage of ladies at a party the guys would take her for walks and come home with a trail of females just wanting to scoop her up and cuddle. Jazzy was a bearded collie, and by golly, those puppies are the cutest little fluffballs!

We frequently hiked and she would rock climb with us. Random strangers would tell me she needed to be in a dog food commercial due to her dexterity on the rocks and cliffs. Jazz never met a mountain she couldn’t climb! Once, when she was scared to get back down and I couldn’t carry her, I opened a can of Vienna Sausages, promising her some when she got to the bottom, and I swear she walked on her back feet almost the whole way down. She got the can and then some.

Being a sheep dog she was extremely protective of her flock. She would just sit somewhere and bark her crazy head off until we all showed up and then she would walk off, content that we were still in her care. When the kids were born she wouldn’t let them out of her sight. When the little guy was just a few weeks old, my Mom took us to Galveston where Jazz, who was so incredibly afraid of the water, went into the ocean because I had Yaya and Finn in my arms. She would not let her babies get hurt no matter what it cost her. That dog had a heart of gold.

Jasmine raised a bunch of dogs from puppyhood, and while they were not biologically hers, they are some of the most well behaved dogs I have ever met. Her spirit lives within them and I know she is never far from their hearts.

When I was in college I had a Suzuki Samurai and Jazz and I rocked that Barbie-mobile. We would drive aimlessly around together, the top off and our hair blowing in the wind. I reminisced with her the other day about how sexy we were, rocking out to pop tunes. She smiled at me in her doggy way.

She loved anything to do with the outdoors, including camping, hiking, fishing and snowshoeing. I bet she even would have loved skiing if she could have figured that out. We took an extended camping trip before Yaya was born and I don’t think she’d ever been happier.

We lived in Steamboat Springs two years ago and Jasmine went missing in the woods a couple of days before Memorial Day. I cried my eyes out until she came back two days later, exhausted and missing some teeth. When I think about that weekend I feel so incredibly lucky that she came home and we were able to gain an extra two and a half years with her. She tried so hard to come home and I will forever be grateful for that extra time.

Jasmine always knew when you were sad or upset or scared about something. She was truly my battle buddy during all of Brian’s deployments. Something about that scruffy face could always make me smile, and when I was at my lowest she would sit beside me, her head in my lap, and just be there for me. I will miss her quiet, calming manner. She was my best dog friend, there beside me as I found my path in the world, and she will be so incredibly missed.

I think Brian put it well: “After deafness, blindness, dementia, and multiple tumors; our amazing dog, Jasmine went to heaven today. I sure will miss my trail running, rock climbing, snow shoeing, chick magnet mountain dog. I miss you Jazz, and will see you again someday!

Jazzy, we send you to Heaven with the best wishes and the most love. There will never be another dog like you! We love you!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maybe I Shouldn't Be Involved in Yard Work...

It has recently - as in today - come to my attention that maybe I'm not cut out for yard work. I try, I really do, but maybe it's just not for me. I'm really good at home improvement activities, I'm just not sure that extends to the out-of-doors. I can change light fixtures, I'm darn good at painting and woodwork, I can reface a kitchen, and I'm sure that if I set out to re-carpet or redo hardwood floors I would be successful. (haha-my computer changed that to stressful - a little Freudian slip on my part??)

One thing I am apparently not Super Woman at is yard work and lawn care.

This morning I decided that we needed to finally cut our lawn. It hasn't been cut since last fall and I'm fairly certain that if I didn't keep a close eye on the little guy he would be lost in the verdant undergrowth. It was at least a foot tall in places, and we don't call the little guy that for no reason.

A little back story - last night my glasses went missing. I was pretty certain the dog took them, but when I was clearing the lawn of debris I didn't see them anywhere. Have you figured out where this is going? I hadn't...

I got the lawnmower out of it's coveted home by the side of the house, not even certain if it would run. I took it over to the edge of the lawn, and lo and behold, after about 5 minutes of pulling on that annoying string that I think only exists to annoy the weaker among us, I got the darn thing started. I only had to do three rows of strenuous pushing before I remembered that we had an automatic-thingy that made the wheels go on their own! Only three rows this year!!

As I was on my fourth row I sort of noticed something shining in the grass. Now, this would be the point at which you remember that my glasses were missing... Yep. I looked down just as the lawnmower spit out my $500 glasses. They were mangled. I wanted to cry but instead just handed them to Yaya to take inside because I was still riding the high of actually turning on and operating the mower. I made a bunch more passes and actually made it to the swing set. I was so proud of myself!

After I had mowed the grass next to the side of the swing set I was ready to do the back part of the yard. On my first pass I came upon some sort of obstacle. I didn't stop to think about what it could be and so I pushed and pushed until I was victorious. As soon as I broke through of the hang-up I about passed out when I saw what it was. Can you guess? Do you want to?

I had pulled the sprinkler out. I didn't just rip the top off - I pulled the entire dang thing out of the ground. It was broken off where I can hardly fit my hand to repair it. I don't even want to know how much this is going to cost.

Needless to say, I told Brian all about it and he is hiring me a lawn service. Wise decision.

Oh, and the glasses, which I desperately need to be able to see? Those are going to take 10 days to get back. Oh, my life.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Five 5/11/2012

A fellow blogger - http://heatherlgalaska.wordpress.com/ - has been posting the Friday Five for quite a while now, and I thought I would try and follow in her excellent footsteps... Here are the question for this week:

  1. If you could get on a plane tomorrow, where would you go for a
    week? Where would you go for a month?

I have really been missing Hawaii lately. We were fortunate to be able to go twice last year and I really miss it. It certainly doesn't hurt that my husband lived on Oahu while he was growing up and knows where the best beaches are... If I were to go anywhere for a month I would go to Europe (anywhere).

  1. Where do you want most to return to?

I would go to Germany. I lived there while I was growing up and there are so many places from my childhood that I would like to visit again that it would take at least a month to see everything.

  1. What was your most memorable meal or drink while traveling?

How do I choose? 

There were memorable meals and drinks in so many places I have visited. I have a couple that stand out in my mind tho - Pizzeria Franco in Bad Vilbel for the lasagna. And yes, I would be sicker than sick if I ate it again, because of the gluten, but I'm willing to take that risk. I have never tasted anything better. The cheese was so bubbly and the sauce was divine. They were across the creek from us and we ate there at least every week for two years.

I love the chorizo tacos as Serg's on Oahu, HI. If you make it out that way, stop at his taco stand. There is one in Waimanalo and one in Honolulu. I kid you not - I have a pretty small stomach and I force myself to eat four of them every time I get to the restaurant (two or three visits a trip). Try the guacamole sauce - you won't be disappointed! For you Colorado readers: his brother in law was the coach of the Buffs for a few years (he may still be but I don't keep up on that stuff). I know this because I was wearing a CU shirt the first time we were there and Serg spoke with us for quite a while. Just a little bit of cool trivia!

  1. What is the most breathtaking view in your city? How about from your travels?

The best view in my city would be any view from Lookout Mountain. There's just something about the city lights and the stars that can't be beat. In all of my travels I would say the best view is from Rigi Mountain, in Zug, Switzerland. I lived there as a child and there was nothing more amazing to me than eating Rusti from the top of the peak and looking over the mountains and down at the lake. I love it. 

  1. What’s the most touristy thing you’ve done?

The most touristy things I have done would probably have to be during any of my travels since I was about 18 years old. I was used to travel and living in a lot of places, and so in my mind I always thought it would be that way and I would have all of the time in the world to see everything. Now that I am older I make a point to always visit the main attractions wherever we are so we never miss anything. When it wasn't my money being spent I didn't worry about putting something off because I would be back. Now that I have to pay for it I make sure to see everything because it might be my only chance!

Happy Travels!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Internet Wasn't Working - So I Shot My Computer

The internet wasn’t working, so I shot my computer. (You have to say that with a southern accent, it works much better…)
It seems as if the computer gods are out to get me. I am thwarted at every turn. Shmer.

I am a Petroleum Landman by trade (I know, get the pitchforks, I’m part of the problem, not the solution to pretty much everything you can think of right now, I bet) and I utilize the internet for pretty much everything I do. Many of the websites are state-run, which I can only access through Internet Explorer, or county-run, which seem to be ok with Chrome, and, like all things the government gets involved in, sometimes they just don’t work right. Surprised? I’m not, but I am working on a project right now with pretty strict deadlines, and if I can’t get online, I can’t get this done, and then I won’t have a job. I know this is a problem many people face. It is not just my problem, it is a collective problem, but today, I am sharing my story.

For instance, I am on the state-run website, and I can SEE that there are oil and gas wells, but when I pull up the county site it says that there are no documents. ‘No Results Found’ I mimic, sneering to my computer before making Grrrrr sounds at it. I should just start banging on the keyboard and it might reflect the sounds I am currently making.

This was my conversation with IE earlier this morning. See how nice and polite I was?
Me: Hello, Internet Explorer, it is very nice to see you today! Will you please let me pull up the information I need?
IE: Maybe, but it’s going to cost you.
Me: Whatever do you mean, my dear friend Internet Explorer?
IE: It’s just that I’m getting pretty sick and tired of doing this and doing that and pulling up the pages you want to look at only to have you close them a second later. It’s a lot of work and I’m tired. I need a vacation.
Me: Please, Internet Explorer, my friend, my pal, will you please help me today? I need you, and then you can have a break. It’s Friday! I don’t make you work weekends! Please, I’m begging you now!
IE: We’ll see. I’m not very motivated today.
Me: Well, if that’s the best you can do, then I guess that’s that.
IE: Yup.

So, we end our conversation and I try to pull something up. Nothing. It is clear to me that IE wasn’t trying to be silly or facetious. He was telling me the truth. He kept trying to tell me that he couldn’t find the page. I had to hit refresh numerous times before he got his lazy butt up and went to his file cabinet to pull the magical information and paste it to my screen.

This is my later conversation:
Me: Fine, IE, you are NOT my friend anymore and I’m going to tell all of my REAL friends not to use you, because you are worthless. You hear me? WORTHLESS!
IE: You can’t do that.
Me: Why not? (now I am worried I will lose this battle)
IE: Because many sites depend on me and only work with me.
Me: (trying to click open the page again. IE is lazy again. We get into the clicking war. AGAIN) You are, ugh! I don’t even know the word! I am so more than frustrated right now.
IE: Smug. I am smug. I choose what you will and won’t get done today. That makes me smug.
Me: I’m sooo glad you’ve been reading dictionary.com again. It seems to be doing you wonders. Now. OPEN UP THIS PAGE!
IE: No.
Me: ARGH ARGH ARGH! I really don’t like you right now, IE. You are ruining my day.
IE: Now you know what it feels like. Ha ha. I win.
Me: No you don’t. I win. I will just shoot the computer and solve the whole problem.

(IE immediately decides to work again. I am happy with the outcome. It just took a little threatening to solve the problem, although it will happen all over again on Monday.)

Now, if I could only get Chrome to work. It doesn’t seem to respond to my threats as much. I think it is ignoring me. I think it thinks that I’ve gone off my rocker. Probably. Yeah, pretty much. Can somebody give me a lobotomy? Please?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Wisdom" Teeth

I do not fully comprehend the IQ of my so-called ‘wisdom’ teeth. They do not seem very smart to me. It turns out that my lower ‘wisdom’ teeth are impacted. Well, it doesn’t ‘turn out’ that they are - I knew they were when they first attempted to break through and failed. I have known this for many years. I am also not that smart because the dentists told me they should come out years ago but I failed to heed their advice and now I am paying the price. The uppers had been impacted but sometime during the last 2 years they popped out of the gums all of the way.

On Super Bowl Sunday my jaw really started hurting. I figured it was just a massive sinus infection because I have had the ones where it makes you feel like your teeth are shifting in your head and you want to scream. I, not so wisely, assumed it would go away. I was already scheduled for a teef cleaning on Tuesday morning so I just suffered through it, taking two twelve-hour Aleve every two hours, assuming the dentist would see the massive infection in my sinuses and I could head straight to Urgent Care to get the antibiotics I so desperately needed.

Alas, that was not the case. It turns out that my not-so-smart tooth caused a massive infection in itself and my gums. The dental hygienist basically told me it was causing gingivitis.


OK – that is my ‘before’ story. I stopped writing this blog because the pain was too bad and it was all I could do to work and take care of the kids. Brian actually did most of the care-taking and for that I am deeply appreciative. I did get antibiotics for the initial infection of the wisdom tooth and then was told I needed to have it removed because they couldn’t guarantee an infection wouldn’t come back. I decided they all needed to come out at the same time. That was smart… (queue a string quartet for da teefs)

I had all four stinkin’ wisdom teeth out on Wednesday afternoon. It is now Sunday and the pain has mostly subsided for the top ones. The bottoms, however, are a different story and I think I may have dry sockets. Ah, yes, the dreaded ‘dry socket’.

I listened to everyone’s advice about avoiding dry sockets and I really tried my best. However, apparently my best isn’t enough.  The pain of a dry socket is absolutely unbearable. (I’m sorry to all of you that I didn’t listen to in the first place) It makes me want to rip my jaw off and pay the consequence of healing from entire mouth removal. (Ok, I know that is a bit drastic) I can’t really talk without pain and any sound sends shockwaves through my body, and it is not fun!

Tomorrow I will hopefully find out what is up with the tooth situation. Wish me luck! I have so much more respect for the whole ‘wisdom’ tooth removal thing. (but I still don’t think those teeth are all that smart!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Is it Morally or Ethically Wrong to Cage a Two Year Old?

The little guy can be the sweetest person on the planet, and then, in the blink of an eye, he can become a holy terror. It is enough to drive a person mad! One minute he will be hugging you, kissing you, telling you he loves you and just generally being the best baby boy I have ever met (not biased at all…). The next minute he will have dropped something or broken something or made a mess of everything I had just managed to clean and then demand that I pick it up, fix it, or put it away for him.

For instance, he spilled his juice for the umpteenth time this morning (I lost count between 5 and 500 – and yes, I do use sippy cups) so I handed the rag to him. He looked at me as if I had two heads and a snake coming out of my mouth and said, “No. Mommy do it. Mommy clean up.” I argued back and forth with him for way too long for my own sanity before he ran off, screaming with laughter, continuing his rant about “Mommy do it! Mommy do it!” Well, I was beat by the logic of a two year old. I’m still scratching my head on that one. Short of grabbing his scrawny arm and wiping the mess up with it (which I’m sure in some circles would get the pitchforks gathered around my house for child abuse) I was left with nothing to do but wipe it up myself.

Then, at lunch time, he spilled some shredded cheese on his seat. Guess what happened? Oh yeah, the same dance from snack time with the same chant that is really starting to get on my nerves. After a morning of this I decided I had endured enough and did the next best thing to caging him and shipping him off to join the circus – I locked him in his room and forced him to take a nap. Bad Mommy? Maybe. I think it’s probably the best option out of all of the other things I was thinking of doing with him.

It is like living with Napoleon, or how I imagine living with Napoleon would be. He is tiny for his age but so certain of his role as ‘boss’ in the house that he will do anything in his power to get you to do something for him. If he doesn’t get his way he will shriek the most ear-splitting scream that I want to yell right back at this diminutive dictator. I want to cage him like I can the puppy when he gets out of line. I want to rip my hair out of my head and stick forks in my ears to stop the ringing.

Fortunately for me I haven’t done any of these things, because this, like all trials and tribulations of living with a two year old, will soon pass. Then I would be left with sparse hair and no hearing and that would be no fun when I try and intimidate his dates when he starts dating. Actually, maybe I should just get it over with now, because I’m sure there will be no rest for this wicked Mama for the rest of her life. Then, when that was done, I could come up with other delightful ways of inflicting pain on myself. I will get back at him one day, though. I just have to figure out the right mode for revenge…

Sometimes, though, I wonder at the legality of caging him. Do you think anyone would tell on me?

How could I lock up that face? I'm screwed.