Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Week 4 is KILLING me!

 Recently, I came across the Cool Running Couch-to-5k training program.  I had been toying with the idea of trying to become a runner for awhile.  I have a few friends who are runners and they seem so fit and happy.  I wanted to be fit and happy too, so Roomy and I left our couch behind and decided to become runners.

My pink, extra wide, New Balance balance cross
trainers and my pink I-pod, the accessories that
belong to my new runner lifestyle.

The first day was MISERABLE!  I mean MISERABLE!  It was eight intervals of 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking.  After the third jogging interval, I literally thought my chest was going to explode into flames!  Every breath felt like a million tiny knives shredding my lungs and esophagus.  As I jogged at a snail's pace, questioning my decision to try this insanity, I chanted to myself, "I'm not a runner.  I'm not a runner."  I did not think there was any way I could make it up the steps to our third-floor apartment.  I'm sure it was a pain greater than child birth!  I vowed I would never run again.
A few days later, Roomy somehow convinced me to try again.  And it was easier!  In fact, every day it got easier to run.  I felt myself getting fitter and stronger and my lung capacity increasing.  My gasping chant to myself changed to, "I am a runner. I am a runner."
Roomy's totally in the "runner zone."  It's just her and the track! 

It was so motivating that I became a sort of Couch-to-5k evangelist.  I couldn't stop telling everybody what an amazing program it was!  I waxed poetic about the greatness of the gradual increases and how nice it was to have a program to follow.  I almost begged people to download the podcasts (specifically the Chubby Jones podcast). I told everybody they needed to be awesome, like me, and become runners.  I looked with scorn on all the people I knew who weren't tenacious enough to be a runner like me. 
And then came week 4.  It is HARD!  It involves "running" 5 minutes straight... more than once!  I know jogging for 5 minutes does not sound like that long, but seriously, I know I haven't done it since at least high school.  It is HARD!  I think I've reached what they call a plateau.  I'm stuck on week 4 because week 5 is even HARDER!  Seriously, I've attempted the week 4 workout at least 5 times and only successfully completed it once!  
I guess I have to celebrate the victory that I have been able to complete week 4 one time.  If I did it once, I can do it again.  And of course, I really appreciate the chance to look back at where I was when I started and see where I am now.  I feel so close to my 5k goal, but stupid week 4 is KILLING me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

I am so sorry for...#1 that EXCELLENT song embedding it self in your head for the rest of the day, and #2 the horrifically cliche title for a post about an 80s party.  I couldn't resist!
Roomy had an 80s bowling party for her birthday because she's, you know, from the 80s.  It was super fun and super silly and all our friends got super into it!
My outfit started with a trip to the thrift store, where I found a lacy H&M mini dress and an over sized, acid washed sweatshirt.  I wanted to channel vintage Madonna, but I think the look ended up a little more mish-mashy.

I wasn't really old enough to wear makeup or style my hair in the 80s, so I did an exhaustive Internet search to make sure my outfit was authentic.  I'm glad I googled because I had TOTALLY forgotten about the stripe of bright blush!  I also was inspired by multicolored eye shadow, so I did the inner halves of my eyelids pink and the outer halves blue.  Heavy, black eyeliner and bright lips completed my totally 80s face!  We all felt like we had WAY too much makeup on though!

I'm not sure why 80s  Party = mouth open so big, but at least half of the pictures of me from this night have this EXACT facial expression.  Maybe it's a tick?  Also, PLEASE note my fabulous bowling pin earrings inherited from my great grandmother!

 I realized that 80s makeup was so bright because it had to compete with all the BIG hair.  That was a tough one for me because my hair is stick straight.  Seriously, it's fine and straight and barely stays in a pony tail, but I had a plan to make it big!  Roomy is lovely and generous with her time and graciously agreed to put my hair in french braids while it was wet.  The one flaw in my plan was that I had to wear the braids all night and all day so that my hair could dry and look crimpy.  I rocked my three french braids at the track, when I went for a jog.  I even felt okay with them in at the grocery store, but I definitely felt awkward with my three french braids in at work.  When I mentioned it to a coworker, she said it looked fine.  Then, I asked, "Really?  Who wears not two, but three french braids?" 
She replied, "Snoop Dogg?"  Who is EXACTLY the person I should be channeling on a regular basis.  I'm SO hood!

Overall, 80s night was a smashing success, even though I had to wear Snoop Dogg braids to work and plaster my face with outrageous makeup colors.  I think Roomy should have birthday parties more often!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Lost Art of Ironing

On Easter, one of my friends dressed up as the resurrected Jesus and took pictures with all the Sunday school kids.  Some might call that irreverent, but I call it good, clean fun.  Part of my job was to help "Jesus" get ready for his photo ops.  When we pulled the costume of of storage, it was REALLY wrinkly.  I tried to fix it with a steam wand, but it definitely needed a good old fashioned iron! Even though many of the pictures are adorable and quite kitschy, ALL I see when I look at him is the wrinkled robe!  For the love of all that is holy, somebody get Jesus to an ironing board, STAT!

Actually, this is not the first time that my pictures have been ruined by wrinkled clothing.  My iron and I are not really friends.  In fact, I don't know when I last used it.  Part of my problem is that I only have a baby-sized ironing board.  It's tough to maneuver woman-sized pants on it.  The larger problem is that I have NO IDEA how to iron! 
Seriously, I am kind of a nightmare around that hot, heavy thing.  Best case scenario, I end up with creases in weird, inappropriate spots.  Worse case, I often end up with burns and one particularly memorable time, I glued the iron to the ironing board with a pair of brand new pants that melted when I used the "cotton" setting. 
Living with Roomy has made me realize that this might be a generational problem.  She irons more often than I do, but definitely prefers to de-wrinkle her clothes in the dryer.  Her ironing nightmares include melting her carpet with the iron because she too dislikes the baby ironing board.
Why didn't our mothers teach us this valuable woman skill?  In the case of my mom, it's because she doesn't really know how to iron either.  So, I'm searching for an ironing mentor.  If you are an accomplished ironer, please share your tips and tricks!
With sincere thanks,
Hopeless with Heat

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On Coworkers and Whimsical Thinking

This post is dedicated to Kate and Allison, who follow my blog even though they are not obligated to do so.  They are both coworkers; Allison is mine and Kate works with Roomy.  Ladies: Thanks for reading and making me feel like a real blogger!  I sincerely hope you enjoy this. :)

Coworkers can make or break a job.  Even the worst job in the world can be bearable with great coworkers!  I'm super fortunate because I work with a really fun group of people.  Despite the fact that I work at a hospital, where things can get busy and intense, I spend an inordinate amount of time laughing.  My coworkers are definitely one of the best parts of my job.
Part of the greatness of coworkers at the hospital is that I have a whole bunch (honestly I think the hospital has 3,000 employees!) of them from many departments.  There are people from some departments that I see frequently, but never really interact with.   I sometimes make up stories about them.
Specifically, I make up stories about the staff members of the Inpatient Psych Unit (IPU).  In my mind, if the hospital was high school, they'd totally be the cool click.  They're all attractive and cool and always look like they just stepped out of an Anthropologie catalog. When someone from the IPU gets on the elevator, one glance at their cute little outfit and their amazing accessories tells you where they work.  The fact that they work on a locked unit really adds to their air of mystery and coolness.  It's like they're all members of an exclusive club from which I am excluded.

The IPU communal closet where they all find their adorable outfits.
An IPU staffer hanging out, waiting for group therapy to start.

An IPU charge nurse getting ready to round on patients.

The whole IPU gang.

Just kidding!  Although many of the people who work on the IPU seriously dress like this - at work - the above captions are totally made up and all images are in fact from Anthropologie.  In reality, there is not some hipster version of Grey's Anatomy happening in the super-exclusive IPU.  Actually, they do some amazing work with tough patients and every time I talk to any of them on the phone, they are lovely and kind.

My own unique brand of whimsical thinking extends past the end of the work day. A good example of this is occurred when Roomy and I first moved into our apartment.  I kept seeing a small shadow out of the corner of my eye.  Naturally, I decided we had a ghost cat.  Roomy sort of humored me and it was sort of a peripheral inside joke for a while.  Then, late one night, I noticed some smudges on our sliding glass door that looked like someone had written us a note.  I squinted and turned my head and I thought I read "LET ME OUT."
I looked at Roomy, who was getting ready to go to work and leave me home alone for the night and said "I think something is trying to get out of our apartment."  I began that statement with a casual flippancy, but by the end, I realized that it was a statement that really belonged in a horror movie.  I started to freak myself out.  Then I thought about the spectral shadows that I had seen and I really started to freak myself out.  Of course, as a grown woman, I do not believe there is really a ghost cat in our apartment, but what grown woman doesn't have a small remnant of a little girl lingering inside, and Little Nicole is terrified of ghosts!  "Roomy," I said. "You CAN'T leave me home alone all night with Ghost Cat!"
We all know that hysteria is catchy, so within a microsecond, Roomy, our friend, Christina, and I all went from casually hanging out to genuinely scared.  I was about to beg Christina to stay the night so that I didn't have to be alone, but decided to suck it up and investigate the lettering on the sliding glass door more carefully.
It turned out that it actually said "LET ME IN," which scared me significantly less.  It is much less scary to have a creepy thing lurking outside the apartment than inside. Then Grown-Up Nicole started thinking about how words might have been written on the outside of our third-story apartment.  I thought back to a few months before, when we had a party and some of the boys locked another boy on the deck.  I suddenly recalled that he had breathed on the door and written LET ME IN and made a sad, puppy dog face until they unlocked the door.
Mystery solved. But Roomy and I decided it was much more fun to imagine that we had a Ghost Cat than to own up to the reality that we do not clean our sliding glass door very often.  Since then, Ghost Cat is the official third member of our household.  He's the destructive, messy one.  He's constantly doing naughty things, like spilling bleach on the carpet, eating the last cookie and bending the tips of my expensive knives.  He's a jerk.  He's also a whimsical figment of my imagination.