Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Power Curve-1, Erika-0

I would like to know who these proverbial self-made accomplished people are.  You know the ones.  The ones that work highly-competitive jobs, are in a constant cycle of training for their next marathon or triathlon or iron man or climb to the summit of whatever peak is trending this month, stay well-versed in current events and actually work through their reading list.  Then get inspired by a fellow athlete, news story, or child they mentor and start some epic non-profit that is eventually featured in an American Express commercial.  I would like to know who these people are because today, oh, today, I would consider hunting them down and water boarding them until they tell me their secret.  Except I am too tired.

The black hole that is the end of the calendar year has started for me.  Right now I am up to my eyeballs trying to play catch up after a truly fantastic weekend with a visiting friend, while at the same time working a couple extra hours every day to build up some extra comp time because next week "pterodactyl" and I leave for a small vacation in Canada.  (WooHoo!)  Then, whatever reprieve we have between that and the holidays will be filled holiday shopping, home improvement projects, and whatever other crazy stuff we get ourselves into.

In the mean time I am painting rooms, desperately trying to keep up with some reading (and failing miserably), and continuing trying to maintain some habitual running, and going to yoga as frequently as I can (ideally three times a week).  Although this week the working out is going to be a major fail too.  Last night we had a dinner date with friends and tomorrow we are going to see Jason Mraz in concert so you know what?  I am going to take my crankiness as a win and say that I am officially now one of those people that gets all cranky when they can't work out.  Yeah, we'll go with that.

Oh and remember how much I adore TV?  I am sort of in crisis mode right now cause this week and next week are all my premiers and I have no idea how that is going to work out for me.  I have strictly regimented afternoons already.....but I do have my dear friend TiVo.  He is a life-saver.

And with that, off I go so that I can, again, greet the morning at 4:30 AM.  It is a great time to greet from the backside but and unholy one at which to be jumping out of bed.  It truly sickens me that there was a time in my life when I though 6:30 AM was really early, and now, it is sleeping in.  Hope you are all having a good week, take a nap for me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

West Virginia, Mountain Mama, Take Me Home.......

This past weekend was the 9th year since Sept 11, 2001.  Now instead of giving you all a story about where I was when the planes hit the towers I wanted to do something a little different.  As our country goes through some growing pains (after all, in the grand scheme of things America is the global equivalent of a teenager) I wanted to tell you a different sort of story.

A few years ago "pterodactyl" and I went on a trip with a couple of friends we knew through the Navy.  We flew space available (a.k.a- on a military cargo flight, by the seat of our pants) out to Germany.  After we landed we promptly grabbed a beer and a brat at some random train station vendor then we went our respective ways with the plan to meet back in Fussen to see the Neuschwanstein Castle, spend a night in Munich then make our way back to the air base in Ramstein to wait for a flight back.

Now this was back in the day when I panicked about vacations.  My parents are not huge travelers so I always grew up with the assumption that the opportunity to travel only came along once or twice, so when I got the chance to go somewhere I adopted a "you can sleep when you are dead" philosophy.  This was no exception and I over scheduled our trip.  So by the time we met up with our friends towards the end of our vacation we were delirious and exhausted, but, in the best way possible.

The four of us went and saw the castle that inspired Disney and it was great.  Then, we all headed back to Munich, found a tidy little hostel where all four of us could share a room, and promptly made the requisite trip out to the Hofbrauhaus.  We settled into a giant table and ordered beers and let the night begin.  Eventually we started chatting with the group of guys that sat at our table, all friends from random places in northern Europe who played cards together.  As the night wore on and the beer hall got louder we started to pay attention to the polka band that was playing.

I have known various people who have done an extensive amount of traveling and say that one of the best moments in your travels is the moment you get back, get your passport stamped, and the employee stamping your passport says, "Welcome home."  And that is a really damn good moment.  However, sitting in the beer hall in Munich, I believe, will forever be imprinted in my brain in a way that outshines that moment you leave the international terminal at the airport.

As we sat there in Munich, in the giant beer hall full of drunk folks from all over the world we heard a familiar tune.  The polka band had started playing "Country Roads" by John Denver.  And even better, the entire beer hall started singing along.  I can't exactly explain why or how, but hearing couple hundred  intoxicated Europeans sing a song, heavily accented, about West Virginia made me really happy.  Happy that I was there witnessing a positive and unifying American mark on the world (however small and trivial it might be) and happy that, out of all the places in the world, I got to come home to here.

In other news:

New photo post here.

Also, I will be taking the rest of this week off and should be putting up my next post next Tuesday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I am the Chicken Little of Home Ownership

One of the most super-awesome things about home ownership is the unholy amount of paranoia that takes over.  On any given day I am convinced there is going to be a major home disaster.  Not like a major act of god that takes out an entire city block sort of disaster, (at least then I would know it was entirely been out of my hands) but a disaster that would be the home-buying equivalent of using a pay day loan to buy a Rolex off a street vendor.

For example, I am scared that our home might have secret infestations of any and all sorts insects.  Today my husband replaced the weather stripping on our exterior doors.  There were a couple spots that were big enough to let random insects into our downstairs foyer.  We had been finding all sorts of spiders that had wandered in ranging in size from barely visible to "holy crap if I squish that it will leave a sizable stain on the carpet" big.  And, as previously discussed, I am generally convinced that all these spiders are lethal, compounding the general sense of impending doom and the belief we will need to hire and exterminator.  Last week, we started seeing these mammoth centipedes find their way in, much to the delight of our kitten who spent some quality time batting at them and watching them coil up and slide across the tiles like gross little hockey pucks.  For me, it is a logical progression to think that all these insects have formed a union and are amassing forces within the walls of our home, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

I am also scared of mold and water damage.  That stuff could be anywhere.  There could be one little spot in our shower that isn't sealed off well enough and then black mold will eat away at the structure and weaken the wall.  Then one day I will be showering, minding my own business and the walls will fall in on themselves exposing all sorts of mold and giving me life-long respiratory issues and a paralyzing fear of bathrooms.

Or,  there is my general fear that the entire unit will just fall in on us and kill us while we sleep.  As we have started painting some of the rooms we are noticing tiny cracks in the dry wall, which is natural.  This is a brand new unit, we are the first people to live here, it makes sense for the building to settle a little.  But I can't help but obsess a little.  I will call my husband into the room and look at him with a haggard face and ask if he sees that crack?  Does he think that it effects the structural integrity of the home?

And those are just a few of the home-related things.  There is always the silly fear looming in the back of my mind about, I don't know, someone robbing the Home Depot down the street or the sushi place turning into a strip club overnight and the property values in the neighborhood plummeting.  What happens then?  What do we do with our insect and mold infested condo that is 2 seconds from falling in on itself and now located in the combat zone?  Do we develop and elaborate insurance fraud scheme, route the claim money to the Caymans and hope for the best?  I don't know!

So, I do what any intelligent person would do.  I remind myself that I am over reacting (good idea), force myself to examine how unfounded my fears are to begin with (good idea), then I educate myself my turning on HGTV (bad idea).  Watching HGTV (I sort of love "Income Property" and "Holmes on Homes") is a lot like researching an ailment on WebMD.  You get just enough knowledge to make you dangerously stupid.  I have all the same concerns, plus a few extra.  Now I just get to sound a little smarter when freaking out about them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Yikes!  The husband had today and tomorrow morning off so he sorta hijacked my whole evening.  (Went and saw Scott Pilgrim for the second time....LOVE IT, then ended up watching loads of movie trailers on the Apple TV.)

Will post tomorrow.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We Used to Write Letters.....

I am not a particularly sensitive person.  I like to think I have a pretty thick-skin.  My feathers don't ruffle easily.  Except when it comes to.....well, I guess, art in general.  Photos and illustrations that are particularly moving will get me misty eyed.  I have already discussed the ability for books to make me weepy.  Movies and certain TV episodes will cause me to break down in such away that "pterodactyl" will look at me, half smiling, and ask "are you okay?"  I tell him to shut up and usually throw a pillow at him.  (Though I am pretty sure he finds the whole scenario endearing.)

In any case,  I am not sure I can put my thumb on it.

Maybe I am just having an emotional little day for no real reason.

Maybe it is because I am just the right age to barely remember when there was no internet and this is so advanced it is mind blowing.

Maybe it is because I grew up with a father that holds a true reverence for childhood and that was passed on to me even while I was just a kid.

Maybe it is because since graduating high school I have moved 7 times (well 8 if you count the month I was in Germany for school) so I have a lot of "I used to"s in my life and my definition of "home" gets hazier and more all-encompassing every year (both a good and a bad thing).

I am not totally sure what it was but this seriously moved me to tears, like REALLY moved me to tears, and I thought I would pass it on..... 

(Note:  There will be lots of windows that pop up on your desktop.  They aren't ads or anything.  Leave your cursor alone and just sit back and enjoy the show.  Also, NPR tells me it must be viewed in Safari or Google Chrome.  The linked article also has some more info about the project - but watch the video first.)

P.S.  This week's photo is here...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post

Hey all!

I just wrote a guest post over at Ramblings of a Singleton, a great little blog about relationships.  So if you ever had any questions about how me and the pterodactyl got to be me and the pterodactyl, go here and check it out.