Massage

I’ve never had a massage. I mean, a real, professional massage. Not to suggest that I’ve gotten massages from random homeless men on the street, but I don’t consider Paul rubbing my shoulders when they are sore a massage.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that Paul and I have some time off together at the end of the month, and briefly considered going away together, but decided that it might be better to have a “stay-cation” and do some fun local things. One of the things I suggested was getting a couples massage. Paul, of course, immediately poo poo’d it.

I was a little upset that he so quickly shut it down without giving a reason why. I have a funny feeling it has to do with, how should I put this, the small amount of hair growing on his back. (I’m over it.) But he would never admit that. It also upset me that the only suggestion he was making was to take a hot air balloon ride with our cat Jersey in a top hat.

Seriously.

He was serious.

About the cat in a hot air balloon.

So she could “see the world”.

In a top hat.

So today I researched some massages that I could go to myself. And my area of Northern New Jersey has what appear to be some nice spas. But since I’ve never had a massage, I don’t really know what I’m looking for. Do I just want a regular Swedish massage? Hot Stone? Aromatherapy?

And then, there is a spa nearby that has “Pacific Massages” and let me tell you, they sound delightful! The Lomi Lomi! The Jamu! They sound so tropical! I LOVE tropical! I have a tattoo of a hibiscus flower on my foot! That should surely get me a discount, right??? Massages with coconut oil and ylang-ylang flower essence and aloe, oh my!

Granted, these cost $120 for an hour, but I’m sure, somewhere in the recess of my mind, I can rationalize that it’s worth it, right?

And that’s the thing. I RARELY treat myself. I do my own nails. I get my hair cut twice a year (if that). I use coupons to get make up once a century. I buy shampoo in bulk. So really, I could go out and get myself a massage.

So, since I know I’m 99.999999% likely to talk myself out of it, could you please share your massage experience, what you’d recommend, and remind me why I need to pamper myself a little?

Thanks! Happy Tuesday!

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Another Fuzzy Alarm Clock

Tee. Hee.

Hi. I don’t really need to explain do I? I’m just going to go with it. When I write, I write. When I don’t, I don’t. As a wise mid-90’s musical about NYC proudly proclaimed: Take Me or Leave Me!

So I suppose I’m due for about 3 months of updates on life.

I guess the most notable thing is that work as been OK. And by ok, I mean reasonably tolerable. My secretary left mid-March to go work in another office, and I think my boss realized that she could choose to either work with me or against me.  Thankfully, it appears that for the most part, she has chosen to work with me. She has even COMPLIMENTED me in the past few months on my work. Needless to say, my jaw hit the floor quite a few times. We did a search for a new secretary and for the past 3 weeks have had a young man who graduated from the school a few years ago behind that desk. So far so good.

With that said, tonight is the first night in MONTHS that I’m actually cooking dinner (turkey burgers and fries, as per Paul’s request). I’m actually blogging from the kitchen counter as I let the burgers cook on the Forman because, a) the thoughts of what I wanted to write were in my head and I knew if I waited I’d forget, and b) I have a laptop, so why I insist on keeping it on the same end table next to the couch I’ll never know. The point of that rant is that I’ve been crazy-busy at work. Lots of long hours and multiple 12-hour days have added up and taken their toll, but the end of the semester is near and the glory of summer is upon us, bring with it 9-5 work days, 4 day weeks, and not a single snowflake in sight.

Let’s see, what else had happened in the past three months? Paul and I signed up for, along with Kay, G, and Queens for a Warrior Dash in June. I earnestly signed up (again) for Weight Watchers back in February, shortly after my birthday, and gave it the old college try for about a month, but then my secretary left and the 12-hours days hit and McDonald’s was oh-so convenient. But, I do get on the elliptical about once a week, which is more than before, and once the semester ends I can devote an honest to goodness 3 days a week to working out, and really I just want to finish the race, not have the best time. And I think I can do that.

Paul and I finally painted the living room/dining room last weekend. I had a 3-day weekend due to the glory of Easter, and we took advantage of that and I spent 4 days painting away. It’s not a drastic change from what it was. The room went from industrial white to Linen. If you glance at the walls without looking at the trim, you think it’s white, but it’s actually a greyish beige upon further inspection. And I must say, we did a pretty damn good job. And it only took us a year to do it.

That’s right, folks. As of, well today actually, Paul and I have lived together for an entire year. And we still like each other. In fact, we still love each other a whole lot. My sex drive still isn’t that high, but it is entirely due to stress and tiredness than lack of wanting, and he understands. Our two-year anniversary is a short 30 days away, and I’m hoping a shiny ring turns up sometime soon. I know a MAJOR consideration on his part is money. He wants to have a certain amount in his bank account before he buys a ring. But it’s coming soon. Because lord knows that I’ve been dropping lead bricks in the disguise of hints for a while now. He will when he’s ready, but I wish he’d be ready yesterday (oh, and that Royal Wedding didn’t help, especially because I was MADLY in love with Wills when I was younger, pre-Baldy McBalderson…)

But, I do have to say that despite the fact that we aren’t engaged yet, that isn’t stopping us from becoming parents! We are currently in the process of adoption. We’re actually supposed to have a home visit on Monday. We’re hoping for a beautiful baby that’s both black and white and already house-trained. Yup, we’re rescuing a Boston Terrier! We found a great rescue group that serves our area, and have been going through their adoption process. They’ve called Paul’s Aunt, our landlord, for a reference, done a phone interview, and the next step is for someone to visit out house. She was actually scheduled to come today, but had an emergency and will be coming on Monday. After that, if we are approved, we will hopefully be matched with a dog in the next few weeks! I’ve already started clipping dog food coupons in anticipation. How will Jersey react? We’re not sure yet, but two things are on the top of our priority lists with getting a dog: a) the dog is documented as getting along with cats, and b) Jersey was here first and will always be my Bubby Princess Kitty Kat.  It will be a new challenge, but one that I’m open to and excited for, and hopefully will all work out, plus it’s coming at a time of year that I feel good about, and know that I will have the time and opportunity to get used to a new fuzzy alarm clock waking me up in the morning.

So, no promises that I’ll write again soon. It could be tomorrow, a week from now, or 3 months, but know that, with a couple of exceptions and moments of anxiety, I’m doing fine and so are Paul and Jersey and no matter what we will continue to be doing fine. Great even. Amazingly: Happy.

P.S.- Except for the phantom bagpipes I was hearing today that makes Paul think I’m going crazy. Follow me on Twitter for the whole story on that!

“Living With UC” Sucks.

If reading about bowel movements bothers you, you may not want to read this post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

As many of you (who am I kidding, I stopped writing for so long, only 1 of you has stuck around to read my posts. Whoever you are, thank you!), I am living with Ulcerative Colitis. It’s a fucking bitch.

Basically, if you are unaware of what UC is, it’s when you develop an ulcer in your colon. That means it can be anywhere along your large intestine or your rectum. People are generally diagnosed when they are in their late 20’s to early 30’s, or then their late 40’s to early 50’s. It causes mucus and blood in your stool, gas, frequency and urgency of bowel movements, and all around annoyingness. It is the kind of condition that can’t be cured, but can go into a period of remission and have flair-ups. There is medicine you can take to control it, but you will always have it. You may have seen the commercials with the hockey player talking about Living with UC, and that’s what I have.

I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago, and apparently I’m a pretty textbook case. At first, my original gastro doctor had me do enemas (that was fun in the early stages of dating Paul, let me tel you!), but that is a very old treatment and so I switched gastro’s and started taking Lialda. I’ve been on it now for over a year.

The problem I have, despite my many attempts to make a routine, is that you have to take the medicine when you eat, and I have anything but a routine eating schedule, and that means I often forget to take my medicine, and therefore, I’ve been living in a state of “flare-up” for the past year and a half. So, that means that for a year and a half, I’ve had mucous, frequency, urgency, and gas. It really hasn’t prevented me from living my life, but its super annoying. I actually can’t remember what it’s like to have 1 bowel movement a day and not have to constantly fart and rush to the bathroom.

The purpose for me providing you with this lovely summary of Ulcerative Colitis is that I had a bit of an “attack” this morning. I woke up and went to the bathroom, and there was blood. At first, I thought it was spotting, because I just changed my birth control pills. I put in a tampon and went on my way. But about 5 minutes later I had to go again (yup, I generally have 2-3 bowel movements in the hour and a half I’m up before work), and my stool was a little bloody and there wasn’t anything on the tampon. I was cautious and figured I needed to give it some more time.

Fast forward about 4 hours, I has to go to the bathroom again. No blood in my stool this time, but nothing on the tampon either. So this has left me to believe that all that lovely blood this morning came from my ass.

Whoopie.

I know it’s partially my fault, because I have medicine I can take and I don’t as frequently as I should. But it’s incredibly frustrating to be a 27-year-old woman and be practically shitting your pants everyday. I guess after a year and a half, I’m still in denial.

And so, to end on a funny note after this incredibly gross post, I leave you with this:

Crap.

I Have A Bush

**Disclaimer: This post is about pubic hair. If that freaks you out, don’t read. I won’t be mad.**

So, since Vagina-Gate 2010, an interesting phenomenon has occurred. Since I started having sex way back in 2003 (wow… 7 years of sex…) I have always been… ahem… clean-shaven. It’s just how I prefer it down there. Actually, in the past 3 or so years I’ve had a landing strip, but everything else is gone. I shave, mostly because I can’t afford to be spending $50 every 6 weeks on a Brazilian wax. I keep it this way, even when I was in periods of single sexlessness, because I don’t like hair down there. Paul just reaps the benefits, I guess.

Well, ever since last week, with the itching and the pain (which has since gone away, thankgod), I can’t bear to shave down there. So, needless to say, Paul has seen me with somewhat of a bush. Normally, I’d be completely freaked out by this, but, for whatever reason, I don’t care. Paul will not love me any less if I let my pubic hair grow out a little, especially after what I went through last week.

On a similar note, trust me with this one, I sang in public today. Once a week our office hosts a Coffee House program, and every 3-4 weeks we do karaoke. Well, since I’m so good on the microphone, my boss makes me host it each time. I don’t mind hosting, other than the fact that someone has to sing to get the ball rolling. That person has turned into me.

I belted out Total Eclipse of the Heart with gusto this afternoon, aptly changing the words when appropriate to encourage the students to sing. They eventually did, so I only had to subject them to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Love Song sprinkled into the low periods. They were actually quite amused by my off-key rendition of the tunes; mostly because I refused to take myself seriously.

And so the tie in is this: I used to be petrified of singing in public. I had a moment back in high school when I had to sing for acting class, and almost failed (hello! I was the class actress!) because I was so scared to sing on stage. And today, that girl was a phantom of my past. Just like the hairless va-jay-jay. I guess what I’m trying to say is that slowly and surely, bit by bit, hour by hour, day by day, I’m learning to love myself. Truly, madly, deeply love myself. And slowly and surely, bit by bit, hour by hour, day by day, I’m learning to not place so much weight on what other people think of me.

And that feels pretty damn good.

Did I Mention I Was Half Naked?

It occurred to me this morning in the shower, where I do my best thinking, that I may have skimmed over a very important life moment when I was telling you about my weekend.

I briefly mentioned that I “rocked a tankini” all day. But, PEOPLE, that was big. This requires more detail.

When we got to the lockers, I had a moment where I was debating whether or not I should leave my shorts on. At that point Kay, my Never-Has-Even-Been-Considered-Remotely-Fat-And-Walks-Around-In-String-Bikinis-And-Looks-Hot-And-I-Love-Her-But-I-Hate-Her sister, says to me, “Jerz, just take off your shorts. There are people here who look way worse wearing way less.” Oddly, that did it for me. And I walked around all day in just a bathing suit. Not even shoes. Not even a towel. I just dripped and dried and moved on.

There are two very important points about that interaction that I need to discuss. The first is my emotional response to the whole situation. The second is my intellectual response to the comment my sister made.

So to start off. I have always “struggled” with my weight. I say struggled with that because I think, now that I’m a little older and wiser, that the struggle wasn’t a physical one with my body losing weight. I think the “struggle” was with my head to accept who I am and how I look. You see, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being a Vikki’s underwear model, 10 being a gelatinous blob of whale fat, I’m probably a 6.5 (Kay is a 2). I’m a little on the curvier side of average. Not Jersey Shore average, NORMAL AMERICAN WOMAN average. But growing up where I did, with the sister I did, well, that left me a little down in the dumps about my body.

It didn’t help that my mom was always trying to get me to lose weight. It also didn’t help that my mom, to this day, is a 3, and she’s almost 60.

Anyway, so here I was schlepping thorough Mountain Creek practically naked, and you know what, I was ok. I felt good. Not in a “hey boys check me out” kind of way, but in a “hey, this is my body. I like it. Achoo likes it. I don’t really care if you do or not” kind of way.

And it was the most wonderful thing in the world.

I think a lot of it has to do with Achoo. With boyfriends of the past, I was always self-conscious. If I gain weight he’ll dump me. If I let him see my fat he’ll dump me. There was never affirmation that I looked good. Until Achoo. One of my favorite things in the world is when he has the day off, and he’s still in bed half asleep, and I am drying off after a shower, totally naked and exposed, and I here a little “mmm,” a short, purposeful I like what I see affirmation.

And that is one of many reasons why I love him.

Now, onto my second point. My intellectual response to my sister’s comment. As I mentioned, in an effort to get me to go sans shorts, she said, “Jerz, just take off your shorts. There are people here who look way worse wearing way less.”

In hindsight, this bothers me. A lot.

Why did the knowledge that someone was fatter, someone was uglier, or someone was in worse condition and sanity make me feel ok? Why was that a motivating factor? And, I’m ashamed to admit it, I found myself, the part of me that is still not thrilled with my body (she didn’t like VANISH), looking around at the other curvier girls trying to judge whether or not I was bigger or smaller, and if my bathing suit choice was better than theirs.

What I should have been thinking was, “you go girl! You rock whatever makes you feel comfortable! I’m proud of us for not giving in to societies view of how we should look!”

But I wasn’t.

I think I still have a long way to go. My level of body acceptance has certainly risen in a year (last year when Achoo and I went to Mountain Creek, I rocked the shorts). But as I’m learning to accept my own body, I also need to learn to accept others. Those girls at Mountain Creek probably had the same feelings I did that day. And maybe the were having the “I look good” moment. How dare I, even if it’s only in my inner monologue, take that away from them to make myself feel better.

Yup. Still have a long way to go.

My Wet and Wild Weekend

I’m pretty sure that if I told Achoo we were going to move to Mountain Creek he’d be all for it.That boy loves him some water park.

We had a GREAT weekend with Kay and G. They drove up early on Friday morning and we headed up to Mountain Creek. It only took us about 45 minutes to get there, and really only had to wait on 1 long line (more on that later).

We started off by renting a locker, and the age-old debate roared in my head: do I wear shorts or do I just rock the tankini? Well, in a “I am woman hear me roar” moment, I rocked the tankini all day. Let me reiterate: I walked around all day in public just wearing a bathing suit. Yikes. But I did it. And you know what? I felt good. Not in a “oh I look hot” kind of way, but in a “yeah, this is my body. We’re friends.” kind of way.

Anyway, things were going great. We went on a bunch of rides, and I was masking my huffing and puffing as I climbed a mountain like 30 times. Around 1pm, we decided to go on the Colorado River ride. You know the type: large raft with 4 people in it? Well, there was a long line. One of those windy ones where you feel like human cattle, all smushed up together? About half way through my body realized it was 95 degrees out, I had only had 100 calories so far that day, and was feeling a little claustrophobic. Needless to say, I was about 20 seconds away from being the fat girl who passed out on line. I sat down (in the middle of the cattle herd line, mind you), and did my best to keep breathing. I knew that if I could just get through that line, and that ride, we’d go get food. So, to make the story completely anticlimactic, I didn’t pass out. I did make it through and eventually housed a hot dog and fries.

We went on more rides later in the afternoon, and ended up spending 5 and a half hours there. Crazy!

Then for dinner we went and got some yummy sushi. Yummy. And after dinner, like the dorky 20-somethings that we are, we played Apples to Apples. Have you ever played? Excellent party game. I won’t go into the details about the rules, but I will say if you haven’t already, definitely look into it.

The next day we all drove down the shore to our parent’s house. We had a lovely afternoon by the pool and then my mom and dad went out to dinner, and the four of us bbq’d up some steaks and hot dogs. After dinner we got a great game of darts going, and Mom and Dad came home around 8pm. They hopped in the game and we played darted and listed to music for about two hours.

Now, here’s the special part. Ever since Kay and I were little, there were always the few and far between nights were Dad didn’t watch TV; he’d put on music. Eric Clapton: Unplugged, The Traveling Wilbury’s, Dire Straits, the Talking Heads and Fine Young Cannibals were the sound track of my childhood. About 3 years ago, I compiled all these songs that stood out so predominantly in my mind and gave each member of my family a copy, entitled “A Jersey Family Christmas” (Christmas Eve was always a ‘no TV’ night).

So on Saturday night, A Jersey Family Christmas was brought out. And we danced. Poor Achoo and G, I thought they’d both run screaming. But they didn’t. They danced, too. And that’s especially shocking coming from Achoo, considering he has the rhythm of a dying fish.

After the dance party had died down, Achoo and I went out back and stuck our feet in the pool. On this crystal clear night, so quiet and peaceful, I made myself a promise. My children will dance. My family doesn’t have many traditions, and if you saw us on a normal night, you’d never think that dancing is one of them, but it is. So my kids will dance. They will dance their way through “A Jersey Family Christmas,” and they will learn my fathers patented: You-Don’t-Have-to-Move-Your-Feet-to-Dance dance. (See appendix 1)

Achoo and I headed home around 11:30pm, and passed out like lights when we got home. He had to work yesterday and I spent the day napping and doing laundry.

Finally, on a less fun note, my ulcerative colitis has been acting way up lately. I am trying really hard to take my medicine twice a day like I’m supposed to, but I’m still getting a lot of stomach aches (grated, I noticed I get them every time I think of work). I have an appointment for the first Friday in August to go to my doctor and review my status. I know he’s going to want me to have a colonoscopy again, but lord only knows when I’m going to be able to schedule that. Having UC is shitty people, pun intended.

So that all there is to say about that. My boss is out again today, which I’m actually glad for, because it means I can work in peace. Happy Monday!

And baby when you call me, you can call me Al.

Appedix 1-

The Don't-Have-To-Move-Your-Feet-To-Dance Dance