Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring has not yet sprung.

I went to a conference in Denver for work this week. I was nervous about how it would go, since I was responsible for a lot of the branding and display of our giveaways and trinkets. I’m trying to get into marketing and public relations so it was great practice. Everything went over fabulously and our booth was clearly the most popular. I feel really lucky to work for such a great company and to work with such great people.

However, the lifestyle that many traveling consultants lead is one that is alien to me, and this was dramatically underscored during my time in Denver. After five days I felt like I had been working for three weeks, what with the schmoozing all day and eating and drinking well into the night. I was ready to come home and I’m happy to be home. It’s a fun life to visit sometimes but ultimately I’m just fine in my humble abode with my husband and beast sitting on the couch across from me.

Spring is supposed to be here by now, but we are expecting a snowstorm tomorrow that could bring up to an entire foot of snow in some areas. This presents an interesting conflict between my various senses – my nose and eyes will not stop itching from the budding tree pollen but my body is shivering even thinking about how much snow we’re going to get. I’m so ready for spring…green grass and trees, jewel blue sky, sun shining on my pasty-ass white skin…

I’m just happier in spring and summer. Everything I do feels like an adventure, even if it’s driving to Walmart to pick up allergy medication or walking my dog outside. In the winter I feel cranky, which somehow is physically manifested in my body as my skin cracks and my knees creak. I keep telling Rob that winter will be the death of me but I have a feeling I’ll lose out on that battle no matter how hard I try. I love the man but damn, I wish I had his innate ability to be warm all the time.

My half-sleeve will finally be finished and I absolutely cannot wait to see the final product. I took a somewhat nicer picture of it today:

I couldn’t be in more in love with it, truly. I am so happy with my artist that I’m already drawing up another one in my head, perhaps as soon as this summer. I’m trying to remind myself not to hurry and that I have the rest of my life to get tattooed but…it’s difficult, as other tattooed people would surely commiserate.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Dog is a Creep, Vol. II

Perhaps I brought this creepiness on myself, as I was peeing with the bathroom door open...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thoughts on Trust

Something hit me the other day like a Mack truck.

I don't always, and fully, trust my husband.

To elaborate: my trust isn't something that he has ever (ever, ever, ever) violated or even suggested violating. But as I get older, and signs of aging creep up on me, I start to drive myself crazy with ideas that he'll leave me the second I turn 40 and can't keep my ass as perky as it is in my current 25-year-old body.

I know, I know, I'm 25 and I should enjoy my current body as much as possible. And truthfully the "signs of aging" aren't anything too extreme...just a slightly slower metabolism, spider veins and cellulite creeping around my thighs and ass...but they are reminders nonetheless. I know that one day, once we've had our children, my stomach won't be as tight, my knees as limber, my boobs and ass as perky...and the thought scares me.

As a result I end up torturing myself with bizarre ideas. I think things like, if we have sex enough then he won't feel the urge to stray, which of course makes me think too much about that and get far too stressed to feel remotely sexy. I work out partially because I want it to become a habit and therefore something I'll be more likely to do when I'm older, not so much because I'll be healthier.

This discussion came up a few days ago and Rob told me, "You have to trust me."
And I said, "I do trust you, but...no, you're right, I don't trust you. And that's not your fault."

I felt terrible about it, because how much more insulting could I get? It's basically saying, "I know we've been through hell and back together, but I'm still relatively sure you're only with me because I'm youthful and attractive." It was a big slap in the face to me because I realized how ridiculously I was acting.

He told me, "Just think of me as the only thing you don't have to worry about."

It's an issue that, now that I've identified it, I think I can work through. I feel very fortunate that I am able to speak so frankly about these things with my husband, who I can and should be able to trust with everything I have.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Newest Addition...More or Less Complete

I visited my tattoo artist for the fourth and penultimate time this last Saturday to finish up my half-sleeve. During this session he colored in the plane and the paratroopers, plus cleaned up the sky a little bit.

Here is an admittedly sketchy picture:

(Pardon the strange angle)

I am absolutely in LOVE with this piece. As I've spent more time thinking about it it means more and more to me...and the session is a breeze to sit through despite lasting six hours.

Rob and I recently watched the movie Restrepo, which, if you haven't seen, you should go watch right now. The deployment depicted was one very similar to Rob's (heavy contact, several casualties) so it gave me a completely new perspective on what Rob was going through while I was in college whining about how hard my life was. I had no words once it was over, but my heart was proud; proud both of him for going through it and for us for coming so far. The tattoo gained a whole new dimension and I can't help but think about everything we've gone through every time I look at it.

Rob loves it, and has told me that (1) he wants to bite the blue sky because it looks so bright and colorful and (2) he wants to grab the plane because it looks 3-dimensional.

Anyway, I go back in early April to work on the clouds surrounding the image and tighten the rest of the image up as well.

I've already started moving on to another piece. Thinking a matryoshka (nesting) doll on my thigh with a banner in Russian, saying "Из России с любовью" (From Russia with Love).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thoughts on Travel and Gluten

One of the things I love about traveling for work is the ability to see places I never would have visited otherwise. So far in almost 2 years I've been to Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Denver, Houston, Kutztown (PA), Reading (PA), and if you count airports, Philadelphia, Newark, and Charlotte.

I've been able to meet a few online friends, see old friends I haven't seen in years, and even got drunk with Rob's aunt and uncle, who I rarely see.

That said, traveling is, of course, pretty obnoxious. All the germs, rude people, delays, uncomfortable seats, and nights alone in hotel rooms quickly get old and make me long for home.

When I went gluten-free, travel became somehow more frustrating. As a traveling consultant my diet was almost all restaurant-based until my celiac diagnosis, and truly I had taken it for granted that I could go out with fellow consultants to any restaurant we agreed upon.

Being gluten-free isolated me from my fellow consultants and forced me to actually think about what I ate.

I was diagnosed while on a project in Houston, Texas, which was truly a blessing. Houston had a ton of gluten-free options, such as P.F. Chang's, Carrabba's (both of which have gluten-free menus) and a giant grocery store called H-E-B, which has a magically extensive selection of gluten-free foods. I learned how to be gluten-free inside of H-E-B.

That last sentence sounds like the most boring country song ever.

And now I'm in rural Pennsylvania, with just a Wegmans, a hotel refrigerator, and a hotel microwave. You can figure out how well that goes for me.

But TODAY, my friends. TODAY. I drove 30 miles to a small cafe in West Reading, PA that serves all gluten-free food. I was hesitant, since gluten-free food can be done well or terribly. I ordered a gluten-free pasta primavera with garlic aioli and a "bread"stick. Here it is:

Pictured: nom nom nom

It was DELICIOUS. I love when restaurants make me feel like I'm eating REAL food instead of some afterthought.

It was SO delicious, in fact, that I ordered the FUDGY CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIE.

It was truly a fabulous experience. If you're ever in the West Reading, PA area and you eat gluten-free (and/or vegan and dairy-free!) I highly recommend the GoodEatz Gluten Free Bakery. Free wine on Tuesday nights for ladies!

Basically this is my long way of asking, would anyone be interested in a blog about eating gluten-free as a frequent traveler?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Unknown.

I've been feeling a bit aimless lately, like there's some big, unknown event coming and I'm waiting in anticipation of it.

I realized that for the last few years, I had some upcoming or current event to keep my focus and to keep me in anticipation. In 2008, it was a new job, adulthood, bills. In 2009, it was another new job, being engaged, the birth of my niece. In 2010, it was the wedding and a stressful, time-consuming project at work.

As 2011 came the cacophony of the last three years evaporated instantly. Everything is quiet and at peace. I keep wondering, what's the next big thing?

I think a lot of people my age feel this aimlessness and I think that's when many of us scramble for babies. It just feels like the next big unavoidable step in the newfound quietness of life. Though I don't feel ready for children in the least, I find myself unconciously looking at baby clothes, reading birth stories, composing a birth plan in my head, considering how we would raise our children.

In part I think I have filled this quiet with tattoos, at least of late. As I struggle to figure out who I am they, along with my husband and my home, feel like the only "right" thing. Recently I've been considering a chest tattoo (with the words "Don't Think Twice" emblazoned on a banner betwixt two sparrows and several cabbage roses) and though I can come up with a billion and one reasons not to get one (stuffy job, formal events, etc.) my mind and my desire have not quieted.

By the way, I'm totally aware that I could've used at least three other words in place of "betwixted," but what can I say, I'm feeling creative.

Ultimately I think I need to learn to live in the quiet and to relish it. It's the day-to-day quiet that we miss the most when life is blaring loud music from a billion different sources around us. I know when Rob was gone the monotony of just sitting together, even without talking, was what I ached for.