Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bathroom Wall Pranks: How Paul's Mind Works

Once upon a time, there was a hole in the bathroom wall.*

And there was a Mum, who played this prank. Many, many times:

And then there was tonight's prank, which I think might be the BEST. Or, at least, it is more thought out than the others have been.

I had wondered why Paul was so interested in when I was working out...he seemed to be way more curious about what time I was going to exercise than he used to be. Finally, today, when I revealed that I wouldn't be working out tonight, he said, "FINE. I'll show you what I was going to do."

And he handed me a piece of paper. I lost it.

"I was going to stick it in the hole in the bathroom wall," he said.

So we did.

And then I took a picture.

That is Paul's Bathroom Wall Prank. I'm going to have to come up with one of these. It's becoming a thing.

In case you can't tell, that's Jack Nicholson in that scene from The Shining when he breaks down the door and screams, "Here's Johnny," and the mom and kid scream and run away so he won't slaughter them terribly. That's precisely what you want to see when you're taking a bath.

Also I taped that picture onto the back of thag wall, so it can stay up for as long as possible. Because it's genius. Now we just have to wait for Mom or Dad to notice it. Waiting is hard.

*Wondering why there's still a hole? Turns out, we don't have enough left over bathroom wall tile (the previous owners of the house did leave us a bit, but not much) to cover the gap. So Mom, who had picked new tile for the floor based on the colors of the wall tile, now has to pick new wall tile too. So she has tossed her floor tile choice and is picking ENTIRELY new tile. But she won't make a choice. So we still have the hole.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Distraction

I owe you lots of blog posts; I know this.

Look! Some distractions!

All videos are via The Brother, who sent them to me when I mentioned I was bored one evening.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Am Sick: In Which Laura Whinges About Being Sick


Apparently, I have had this same sinus infection for over a month and a half. But because I am so used to having splitting sinus headaches, I did not notice that it never went away.

It's at times like these that we need memes to help tell the story.

Or, frankly, you can just read these. I identify with most of them. If they didn't make me laugh, I would probably be crying.

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Which I Am Under Arrest

This happened, and it made my life.


I cannot tell you how much joy this experience brought to Past Laura. It was brilliant.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Which Everything Gets Better

Hot water is awesome. There really isn't anything better that having water that comes out of the tap all lovely warm, with steam rising into the air and fogging mirrors and my glasses. Hot water is the best.

Yesterday, the water heater installer guy rushed over to our house. He'd worked on our oven before, so he'd recognized our name. When he called us, he said "I can't just leave you without hot water!"

And he came, he installed, and somehow, he single-handedly carried the defunct water heater AND the older defunct water heater up the basement stairs, out the door, and into his truck.

It bears mentioning that the older water heater was filled with what he referred to as "limestone." That's right. We have so much lime in our water, it FOSSILIZED OUR OLD-OLD WATER HEATER.

The new-old one was just broken. It had not been turned to stone.

The new-new water heater makes a different noise than the old ones did, which I suppose is fine, but it made me stare at it strangely for a while. But it makes hot water, so it can make any noise it wants to make. And it isn't an expensive noise, it's just a "I am working" noise. "I am working" noises are okay. We allow those.

And yesterday, I went home, worked out, and was able to bathe without boiling giant pots of water. So I call that a victory.

(See how I cleverly tried to make this a workout-Wednesday post without actually writing a workout Wednesday post? Yeah. I did that.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Which Something Is Right and Something Is Very Wrong

A few things.

First, as of Sunday, my parents have been married 35 years. They celebrated by signing the first two lines of "Happy Anniversary Baby" by Little River Band.

Then they enacted what the same song will sound like if they try singing it when they are both in their eighties. Dad yelled, "NO, I DON'T WANT ANY GRAVY!" And Mom replied, "WHAT?" Then she turned to me and said, "HE'S ALWAYS TALKING TO ME. DOESN'T HE KNOW I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING HE'S SAYING?"

My parents are hilarious.

Second, I woke up for work on Monday morning to discover there was no hot water.

The sink in the bathroom has been draining slowly, and it filled almost to the top whilst I waited for the hot water to start. When no hot water came, I washed my face in cold water. Then I washed my hair in cold water.

It was cold.

I was certain the problem was that we'd run out of heating fuel for the house. This happens from time to time when we forget to check the amount of fuel in the big tank behind the house. But apparently, this was not the case.

I discovered later in the day that the plumber thought it was a broken thermocoil or some such thing, and he was coming to the house in the afternoon (after my parents went out to celebrate their anniversary) to fix it.

When I arrived home, my mother alerted me that it was NOT the theromocore or what have you, it was the whole water heater.

Which is just about a month over six years old.

And it had a six year warranty.

That's right. The water heater waited ONE MONTH after its warranty ran out, and then it failed catastrophically.

Mom wanted to replace it right away, so she called Lowe's to order one and set up installation.

Apparently, having a water heater that runs on gas rather than electricity means EXPENSIVE. Mom could special-order one for $500 or buy an in-stock model for $450.

"What if we switch to electric?" Mom asked.

The Lowe's guy quoted her a few prices. Then the plumber called back after talking to Lowe's about the model Mom thought she wanted.

"You would have to rewire your entire house," the Lowe's guy said. "Your wiring would explode."

Visions of holes in walls and huge electrician bills swam in front of Mom's eyes, so she called Lowe's back and ordered a gas-powered water heater.

Because we really need hot water.

I still wanted to work out yesterday, so I boiled a huge pot of water, took it to the bathroom, dumped it in the tub, and added a micron of cold water to make it safe for my toes, as second-degree toe-burns sounded unpleasant.

But that tiny little bit of cold water, added to the space in the tub spreading out the hot water over a large (cold) area, chilled the boiling water to tepid in seconds. So I ended up taking a cold bath no matter the prep work I put into having a warm one.

So cold.

I got dressed afterward and went out to find my parents.

"I have a theory," I said.

Mom paused the movie she was watching with Dad.

"I think the reason why the Little House books are so popular is that we all go through huge chunks of our lives here in the country reliving the books. I bet in the city they aren't that popular, because city people never have to go without light or heat for more than 24 hours, and they've never had to boil water to bathe."

"That's a good theory," Mom said.

"Because we're only a thunderstorm away from 1816 out here," I added.

My parents found that highly amusing.

And yes, I washed my face and my hair with ice-cold water again this morning. I will likely do the same tomorrow.

And when I get home, I will also churn butter and slice homemade bread and knit a sweater.

Only one of those things is a lie. I'll let you guess which thing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

At Long Last, Dad's Story Is Revealed.

Workout Wednesday is on hold for this week due to a story of unprecedented hilarity.

Remember when I urged you all to beg my father to share his airport story? And I said only you could convince him, because he'd made me promise not to tell you anything myself?

Well, your persistence paid off. Dad told his airport story, in which he arrived at the airport to fly to Colorado a full 24 hours early.

Why don't you go read it and have a laugh at his expense? Because it really is a hilarious story. Poor Dad.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Ripped in 30 Has Begun

This week, I kept up level three of 30 Day Shred, or as Mom has begun calling it, "30 Day Tread." It was fine. But I noticed that I wasn't in complete and utter agony, I hadn't collapsed in days, and I'd completely stopped thinking up creative ways to pay Jillian Michaels back for all the torment she has inflicted upon me.

So I knew it was time to change things up. I started Ripped in 30. Not only are the workouts longer (the DVD case tells you differently, but my DVD player displays how many minutes a show has been playing, so I can tell you with confidence that the DVD case is a LIE), they also work more of your body and result in you begging for a sudden onset of unconsciousness mid-workout.

Do not start exercising with Ripped in 30. You will die.

And Jillian will say, "You're going to be fine. Four hundred pound people can do this move." And she is right. Four hundred pound people CAN do that move she's talking about, but only if it is the first physical thing they've done all day. And then I doubt they can do anything else afterward. In fact, I am pretty confident that there's a guy on the set of The Biggest Loser, stabbing people with needles full of adrenaline so they'll keep running.

"Keep running!" The adrenaline guy howls at his victims. "We need another 30 minutes of footage, and you'd better be sweating the whole time! And when you're done dripping on the floor, TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT SO WE CAN TAKE YOUR PICTURE."

I'm almost positive that's exactly what it looks like on set.

Yesterday, Mom said to me, "Jillian would be proud of you!"

And I said, "Jillian doesn't feel pride. She only feels victory. And she cannot feel defeat. That is why all her victims fall before her."

And then Mom said, "Won't you pass me that plate over there, Laura?"

And we finished doing the dishes.

Mom knows better than to engage me when I start talking Jillian Michaels. Mostly because Jillian haunts my dreams and makes obnoxious comments about everything I plan to eat. I blame Jillian for a lot, especially for the lack of chocolate in my life these past weeks.

And don't tell me I can have dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is poison. They give dark chocolate to prisoners of war to get them to spill state secrets. Dark chocolate is what bad little boys and girls get in their stockings now that we know how harmful coal is to the environment. And the evil Santa who delivers it? That's Jillian Michaels. And once you've hacked down your dark chocolate, she stuffs you in a sack and takes you back to her lair for Christmas dinner.

Because that's what Krampus does.

I'm going to go have a glass of orange juice now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Modest Proposal: In Which Dad Is Hilarious But Also Shy

I am a good daughter.

I might be snide and obnoxious. I might reply sarcastically and roll my eyes from time to time. But I am a good daughter.

I always remember birthdays and Father's Day and Mother's day. I do odd jobs without being asked. I fold clothing that doesn't belong to me. I trade cars so vehicles other than my own can get fixed.

I just want that on the record.

Dad went hiking on the Knobstone Trail. And when he got there, the trail kicked him around like a gangly freshman facing off against the whole varsity football team. That trail was really something, and unfortunately, Dad wasn't. He tells the whole story here.

At the last leg of the trail, Dad left his pack behind. And when he came back for wasn't there anymore.


But that isn't all. Early this morning he left for Colorado--

And something so hilarious happened, that I cannot stop laughing.

Unfortunately, Dad told Mom that he didn't want me talking about it on the blog. Or on Facebook. Which is tragic. Because it is the BEST STORY EVER.

So there is only one recourse. One thing that YOU can do to ensure that this story GETS TOLD.

My dad has a blog. You, if you are so inclined, can go to his blog and leave a comment on his latest post telling him that he needs to let me tell you what happened. He hasn't been getting tons of hits on his blog, because it is so new, so if you impress him by commenting, he'll realize that THE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW. You can also, if you're a member of our church or a friend of Dad's on Facebook, go harass him on Facebook or by texting him your requests. Feel free to completely spam his blog, Facebook, and phone if you have the capability.

I leave this all in your capable hands.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Workout Wednesday: In Which I Suck at Running. Plus--NEW JEANS!

I suck at running.

See, there was an INCIDENT. This semi driver tried to kill me, and also this dude whistled at me. All within a minute. And it was unpleasant. Which made me decide that I ought to not run by my house. And where else is there for me to run? In the town where I work? Where the drug addicts and deranged library patrons will abduct and murder me?

So I am out of running luck. I need to find out a good place to run. Where I won't be killed. And where I won't have to pay five-hundred-something dollars just to run. So...running is on hold. Any ideas?

Meanwhile, I discovered that all of my jeans fell right off when I removed my belt. So that was a problem.

I went to American Eagle. I found two pairs of jeans.

And they do not fall off when I stand up. Which is great! And that means that I'm making progress with the whole fitness thing, because SMALLER PANTS!

And this has been Workout Wednesday.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Which Sarah Rees Brennan Is Awesome

Every year, kids come in the library looking for biographies so they can write a report based on the biography. And invariably, they come looking for athletes, scientists, or politicians...and the people they want to write about all have a few things in common. And those commonalities are: They are dead, they are white, and they are male.

This bores me.

So I tend to steer them away from Ronald Reagan (ugh. I mean, really? REAGAN? I want to vomit just thinking about him.), the George Bushes (don't get me started), Lincoln (who rocked, of course, but is a rather unoriginal subject for a report), and George Washington (do we need any more published material on him? No. Seriously. The guy has his own SHELF.).

I take the students over and I show them less-famous but VERY interesting people they can write papers on. Like, say, NELLIE BLY. Who was freaking made of awesome in a time when women were not so much allowed to be made of awesome. But she FOUND A WAY.

And very rarely, I am able to convince one young girl or boy to pick up one of these alternate famous people, and I consider my day to be a success. It is hard work. Especially because the biography section of your average library is filled with tomes based on the lives of...Dead. White. Men.

There is nothing wrong with biographies of dead white men. But there are boundless examples of non-white non-male folk who did fantastic things worth remembering. And they deserve biographies, too.

Today I took a look at Sarah Rees Brennan's blog, and she has written an absolutely fantastic Sleuth Thursday post on REAL lady sleuths from history, and they are all women who deserve their own shelf in the biography section. Or their own SHELVES. Seriously. So you should read Sarah's post.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Workout Wednesday: What Is this Strange Madness?

On Saturday (I think it was Saturday. Could have been Sunday. Or Monday. That too.) I took a brief nap. This nap was because Paul wanted to have a bath and not a shower after mowing the lawn. That's cool, but I'd wanted to work out, and if he took a bath, I would likely have no hot water for mine. Because that happens.

I need hot water. Baths made of cold water are a form of torture. Seriously. Check out what they said about them during the Geneva Convention*.

So I took a nap, knowing I would then work out when I woke up.

During my nap, I had a dream.

Now, the last nap I took resulted in the Dogs of the Dance dream, which was pretty freaky. In this dream, I was in a small studio--like a yoga studio--only this studio was for people who wanted to do 30 Day Shred. And Jillian Michaels was leading the group. Like in the DVD, only what it would be like if you were IN the DVD. So we worked out.

And then Jillian was like, "It's time to settle our accounts!" And it turned out that for each workout session, we had to pay $7.00. Not bad. Plus there was a $19.99 registration fee. I tried to give her my debit card, but she was like, "We don't have a card reader until after January 1st, so I said "Okay, I will go next door to my bank."

She then gave me a discount because I had stuck with her program for so long. See? All this dedication even pays off in my DREAMS**.

So I went to the bank and came back and paid Jillian, and that was my dream. But here's the thing. I started thinking after I woke up about how expensive it would be to actually pay that kind of money for doing the 30 Day Shred. So I MATHED it.

Say I had only done this workout plan thing for the minimum 30 days. At $7.00 per day for 30 days, I would end up paying $210.00 PLUS the $19.99 registration fee. Meaning I would pay $229.99 for 30 days at this dream-studio.

Which means it would ALMOST BE AS EXPENSIVE AS JOINING THE YMCA. Except not really. The Y is more like twice that much for a year. Because it wants to support the community, so it has to be affordable for everyone. Everyone who can pay $495.00***. (Hint: that is not me****.)

Did I mention that the YMCA is the only option if you want to join any kind of gym in the town where I work? It would be cheaper if I were willing to make a 30 minute drive to work out at my alma mater, but I can't join there and pay for the extra gas it will take to make the trip. I can do one or the other. Hence the DVDs.

But back to my dream. Did you notice that Jillian has invaded my dreams? Because I DID. She will not even let me take a nap without plaguing me. See? Instead of resting, I had to do the 30 Day Shred in my dream and then I had to do it AGAIN when I woke up! That is totally not fair.

No one should have to double up on exercise in their dreams.

In other news, I figured out how I was getting those strange bruises on my knees. Yeah. 30 Day Shred. It is when I am doing the lunges and lose my balance, as I often do. I randomly dropped to one knee yesterday and I knew, that was where the bruises were coming from. So now, to avoid knee bruises, I have to fall backwards or sideways instead of forward.

Because not falling is not an option.

* I totally made that up. But it SHOULD have been in the Geneva Accords.

** Usually my dreams are not this nice. They usually involve me being suddenly struck mute, being blinded, or being unable to stand. Kind of like my life while I'm awake.

*** This is the annual price for a single adult. It can be paid up front or monthly, but paying monthly makes it more expensive. Also, you MUST commit for an entire year. So, even if you like to run outdoors except when there is a foot of snow on the ground, you don't get the option of joining for part of the year. They have to pay off that fancy new building.

**** Yes, I'm bitter about this. And sure, they have an arrangement where you can apply for a "scholarship" to make it cheaper for you to join, but the problem with that is the same as with financial aid for colleges: the poor get help. The rich don't need help. The middle income folks get no help (and cannot afford to go while still paying for things like a car, a house, medical stuff, heat, electricity, and the like). I have the form at home to apply for this aid, since my student loans take out such a big chunk from my income, but I haven't gotten over the rage enough to fill it out. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Coupons Make Laura Spend All Her Money

I have taken to spending several hours a day on Pinterest, looking at all the fitness pins.

I know that makes me pathetic in every possible way.

I also rant periodically about how cruel it is for people to pin dessert recipes in the health and fitness section. Because that's just mean.

Also I have discovered a giant coupon racket that is making the local sports store possibly thousands of extra dollars per year. You buy something, they give you a coupon (this happened on Sunday with Mum). Then when you come back to use the coupon, you can't, because everything is on sale. But when you check out with your adorable purple running shorts that you're still buying because they're so darn cute (Monday afternoon), you get another coupon. So now you have two. And if you go back again, you'll have THREE. This is clearly a devious plan by said sports store to make me spend any and all available funds on workout clothes and possibly a kettleball weight.

Still, if you want a good deal on exercise-wear, there are two places you should go. First, hit up T.J. Maxx. I love this place. It is fantastic. I found this long-sleeved Nike running top yesterday. These things are usually $70. But I got it for $20. Because that is how much you save at T.J. Maxx.

And, of course, TARGET. They have bright fun workout clothes that are TRENDY while still being inexpensive. But really, I need to stop spending money on workout clothes and start spending it on, I don't repair. That. But like that's going to happen anytime soon.

UPDATE: Monday Evening The adorable running shorts? They are too big. Like, they seem designed for someone who is expecting a child. Which I am not. In fact, they really look like a last-trimester kind of clothing choice. Which would be okay if they were worn by a pregnant person, but I am not a pregnant person. In fact, I am as barren as the desert sands. These look like they have to be maternity shorts, but I checked--they aren't. They are just HUGE. So the shorts are getting exchanged. But who knew I was a small? I mean, REALLY. What kind of vanity sizing is this, Nike? I am a MEDIUM. Sometimes I am even a large, but NEVER a small. Nike is trying to trick me into thinking that my exercise plan is more effective than it really is.

MORE OF AN UPDATE: Tuesday The adorable running shorts went back to the store today. I went to the sports store at lunchtime BEFORE I ate just to increase the possibility of finding the only other pair of the adorable running shorts on the mannequin where they'd been on Monday. They were there. Then I waited while the sports store lady tried to find the other employee, who was a dressing-room key-thief, so I could try on a different pair of running shorts in size SMALL. Still looks strange when I type that...I am a MEDIUM. Normally. Except no. So I tried on Alternate Running Shorts, and the small FIT. I was shocked. Then, sports store lady and I stripped the mannequin down to its skivvies so I could have the adorable purple running shorts in size small, because the mannequin was fortunately wearing a size small and not some other, less me-sized shorts. So I have the adorable running shorts--and they fit me!

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Workout Wedn---Thursday. Workout Thursday. Oops.

I forgot to blog yesterday.

I suck.

But I did move up to level three of 30 Day Shred! After the hideous stomach ailment derailed my plans, I kept going with level two until I felt like I could eat solid food without taking any kind of stomach medicine. That waiting took until Monday.

I probably should have gone to the doctor.


So Monday night, I tried level three. And I have to say: it's not so bad! I expected the transition between level two and three to be similarly horrific to the switch between one and two. But no.

For one, you are doing cardio on your FEET. Level two had lots of cardio in plank. But it is hard to move your legs around wildly when you're in plank, because you have to put all your weight on your wimpy girl arms. It is made more difficult when your legs are freakishly long in comparison to your overall height. Why? Because when you can accidentally kick yourself in the face. Or you can break your furniture because your room is too small to accommodate your kicking legs. Or you can bruise yourself badly hitting your leg against another part of your body, like your other leg.

Also, there are no skaters. And no weird twisty jump things. And especially, NO PENDULUM LUNGES!

The difficult moves in level three are mostly difficult because when I lie on my back and do scissor crunches, what is supposed to be a mostly-immovable joint, my sacroiliac joint proves yet again that it is, in fact, highly moveable. It is only supposed to shift around and expand your pelvic girdle when you are giving birth. So that means when I work out, it should stay put. But no.

And let me tell you, it is pretty freaky to hear a popping noise every time you move your left leg from side to side. Pretty darn freaky.

I could really live without that experience.

Since Monday I have stuck with level three, and though it is exhausting, it is doable. So level three will continue.

Unless my left leg flies right off and breaks through a window or something. Then I will be in hospital. And leg-detachment physical therapy. If that happens, I bet the doctor would rather I didn't do level three anymore.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Insurance Claims Are Annoying and I Hate Making Them

Let this officially be known as The Week of Things Laura Would Rather Avoid.

I kinda crashed my car a little bit. It still runs, but it is dented and scraped because of a thing.

And so I called the insurance people, and they gave me a claim number, and now I have to find a freaking body shop that will repair the dents and scrapes and bill my insurance company, because the dent-y-ness has to be fixed.

But I also have to call my actual insurance agent, because he is in charge of all of the things, and unfortunately, all I have is a claim number but hardly any other information. So yeah.

Not only that, I have to go to various businesses and interrogate their managers because of reasons, and I hate doing things like that. I am almost done. But STILL. Nothing is worth this kind of sales-person-y thing. I do not work in sales for THIS REASON.

Can't I just curl up in the fetal position and sleep? I did not sleep last night. I miss sleep. I like sleep. Sleep good.

But no. I have too much stress to sleep, because I have so much stuff that I am dreading.

Can I have a vacation? Please?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update: Solid Food Is the Best Ever

I ate solid food, and it stayed down! Things are looking up. I think I will celebrate, with Greek yogurt. The blood orange kind, which is clearly the most superior of flavors.

Also I will celebrate with 30 Day Shred. Because I missed yesterday due to violent death, and I feel like a lazy slob.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Workout Wednesday: In Which Laura's Stomach Explodes

Strictly speaking, this is not a post about exercise, but it is about health and diet, so I am counting it as worthy of Workout Wednesday.

Having a gallbladder can mean a lot of things. It can mean that your body is digesting fats. It can mean that your body refuses to digest anything. It can keep you healthy. It can almost (or actually) kill you. But not having a gallbladder means only one thing: You aren't digesting any of the fatty foods or oils that go into your body. What does that mean? They pass out of your body in the way that things pass through. Only faster. And sometimes that means pain, folks. It means PAIN.

When my gallbladder left me behind and went to the great big medical waste incinerator in the sky, I altered my diet. I cut out LOTS of fat. I tried my very best to avoid things that would make me sick. I started buying eggs from free-range chickens because they are low in fat and cholesterol. I switched to low or no-fat yogurt. I stopped eating chips, I cut down on butter and other spreads...and I tried my very best to make my diet healthier.

That wasn't hard, because the change in my diet was really that I added back in a lot of the foods I'd had to stop eating. Before my gallbladder surgery, I was eating bagels with low-fat strawberry cream cheese and fresh mozzarella.

Yeah. That's the end of the list. There was no other food. And yet, I survived! What a surprise.

The changes worked, and I felt good. I didn't have to go get the medicine they make to help gallbladderless folk digest fat. I was in the clear.

But this last week has involved lots of crazy. Thursday I went to Chicago, grabbing food as I went. Friday I ran to Kokomo, then I quickly made a salad and cake for Jen's reception, and I ate a few slices of pizza for dinner, because it was there. And then Saturday, I ate at Jen's reception (lots of yummy salads with creamy dressings) and then pizza in the evening at her grandma's house. And Sunday I ate leftovers at home of the first pizza and the broccoli salad. And Monday I grabbed fast food for lunch and then had pasta for dinner with a yummy creamy sauce--

And all of that translates to lots and lots of unnecessary fats in my diet.

That might explain today's horror. Or I may have eaten something today that didn't settle well. It could have been a bad batch of sweet tea. It could have been a funky yogurt, or bad melon. Heck, Drugged Out Waiter could have given me food poisoning. He could have dropped meth in with the bread. Who knows.

All I know for sure is that I was half-convinced that I should head straight to the emergency room at around 3:00. It was the worst pain ever. The kind of pain no one should ever feel.

Part of me kept wanting to check and see if someone had walked into the library and actually shot me, or perhaps left a knife lodged in my stomach, right below the last rib. Somebody could have come in to kill me, and maybe I was in shock! That was why I thought I should keep working on the teen fall brochure instead of passing out from blood loss and sheer agony! But no. No one had actually stabbed me. Not yet.

The worst part was, I'm pretty sure I did this to myself. TO MYSELF. So this is me saying: I am not letting that happen again. That might mean I drag you out of your way so I can get healthier food when we're running around having fun. And if that's the case, I am sorry. But I simply cannot go through that again.

I am feeling much better now; well enough that I came home from meeting Rachael and worked out. What I didn't do was move up to level three of 30 Day Shred. I didn't quite have that in me today.

Here's hoping tomorrow I feel even better and can move up a level. I am starting to do so well at level two, it feels like I'm cheating just because I'm not finishing my workout pleading with my television for mercy.

Why does begging Jillian Michaels to please let me die feel normal now? (I'm pretty sure that's a rhetorical question...)

Girls' Night

Jennifer and I had a girls' night last night, because it had been far too long since we'd had one and it was NECESSARY. And we went to our favorite Italian place, because it is delicious and because pasta.

Our waiter approached the table and began describing the specials. I noticed something was wrong when he used the word "smokey" around ten times to describe a chicken salad. When he had to pause and think to remember the word "sweet," our suspicions were proven correct. Either our waiter was as dumb as a bag of potatoes, or he was stoned out of his mind.

First, he made the yummy butter dipping stuff. Then he promised us bread. But no bread came. We waited and waited. I began wondering who I would have to slay in order to obtain the bread, as I stared at the cheese and browned butter and pepper. This dipping sauce is amazing. It is the sort of stuff you want to mainline, but instead you eat it.

But for all I know, Waiter Guy WAS mainlining the browned butter. Either that, or something much stronger.

Something like meth.

When he returned and discovered no bread had appeared, he said he'd find one of the bread people. They were confused, he said. But he wanted us to have a phenomenal time. He then used the word "phenomenal" four more times. I counted.

He took our orders, we both wanted the same penne dish. Moments later, he returned.

"The chef is a little confused about your order," he explained. "You wanted the butternut squash ravioli?" He asked, staring at me intently.

"No," I said. "I wanted the mushroom penne. And so did Jennifer. And we wanted bruschetta."

"Ohhhh," he said. "Right!"

And then he promised us bread again.

I wanted to go find the bread. I was hungry. The 30 Day Shred has made me hungry all the time, and I imagined that taking down Waiter Boy, stealing his notebook, and writing out various orders to the kitchen that would result in food appearing much faster, and much more accurately. It didn't help that he appeared so dazed. Jennifer and I found it difficult to believe that both the bread guys AND the chef would be so confused. We were positive it was our waiter that was confused, especially since he had forgotten our relatively simple order in less than a minute.

When the bread finally appeared, I was half-certain it was a mirage.

But then the restaurant manager came over to our table.

"I wanted to let you know that I'll be taking over your table," she said kindly. "Your waiter had an emergency. I didn't want you to think you'd been abandoned!"

When she left, Jennifer and I met eyes over the table.

"I think the emergency was that he got fired," Jen said.

"It was the emergency of sleeping off controlled substances," I said. Undoubtedly, our waiter was passed out in the walk-in, or in the backseat of his ramshackle car, which was almost certainly the kind of car with fist-sized holes in the side paneling where rust had eaten away the metal much the way drugs were eating away the waiter's brain.

This is your brain, I thought, picking up a bruschetta toast. Then I took a bite. This is your brain on meth. Apparently, meth thinks your brain is delicious. Because I thought the bruschetta was delicious.

"At least he wasn't like Staring Guy," I continued.

I had discovered from sources within Staring Guy's restaurant that he had, in fact, been discovered in the kitchen...taking matters into his own hands, as it were. Apparently, he found the female restaurant-goers attractive enough, this was how he had decided to spend the time he wasn't spending refilling water glasses or removing plates from tables one at a time. Thankfully, my source knew which night the chef had walked in on Staring Guy, and it wasn't the same night he was staring at us. We can only hope it was a one-time event.

I am going to maintain the belief that it didn't happen more than once. Otherwise, I would never be able to eat in a restaurant again. Especially not at that one.

Jennifer agreed. Staring Guy had been incredibly unpleasant to be around for all of us. Apparently, he had also been unpleasant for his employers (not to mention unhygienic).

I looked around for Drugged Out Waiter when we left the restaurant, in case he was loitering around waiting for his drug dealer or parole officer to come pick him up. But no.

Monday, August 13, 2012

What's Next? Day 31 and Beyond!

Some of you have asked what I will be doing with the blog now that my official 30 days of shredding are over. And since I had barely considered that before yesterday morning when I'd finished the 30th day, I did some thinking.

And I came up with Workout Wednesdays.

I will be continuing to run, continuing with level 3 of 30 Day Shred (I am moving up tomorrow after knit night), and continuing to make healthier eating choices. The only difference will be that I'll be blogging about my fitness quest one day a week instead of seven.

This is for several reasons: 1. blogging every day is sometimes difficult, especially when my schedule is crammed so tight I'm hard pressed to make time for exercise in the first place and 2. after a while, the body gets used to being pushed around and the agony one feels post-workout diminishes. This means that the funny wears off. And what's the use of blogging about exercise if it can't be funny? Me trying to be fit is SUPPOSED to be funny, because me being fit is so...out of character.

I hope you'll still keep up with the horrible things I do to myself in the name of healthy living. Because I have to. And when people say "misery loves company," well...they're right. Somehow, knowing that you're here reading and laughing about my exercise-related miseries makes them more bearable.

See you Wednesday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 29 and 30. DAY 30!

Day 29

Laura wakes up, dutifully performs the 30 Day Shred (level two) as required prior to going to Jennifer and Brandon's reception.

Laura goes to reception.

Laura returns home. Laura runs.

Semi crosses into opposite lane in order to give Laura a scare. Because that's friendly.

Laura continues to run, feeling disgusting but proud that running is still taking place.

Pickup truck slows down in order to permit driver to whistle at Laura. Laura flips driver off.

Laura might be sweaty and disgusting, but she is not an object.

Laura concludes that she may have alienated only remaining single male in 50 mile radius. Nevertheless, Laura does not regret hand gesture.

Day 30

Laura wakes up. Laura performs 30 Day Shred. Laura realizes that today is day 30.


Where the heck is Laura's confetti?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 28: In Which Laura Proves She Will Be the First to Die in the Case of a Zombie Apocalypse.

There is broccoli on my laptop.


Today was day 28 (GASP) and I celebrated by running and doing the 30 Day Shred. Also, today we learned something.

I cannot run for three minutes.

I can wimpily run in a manner that is similar to a jog-walk...but that does not count as running, so no. I cannot run for three minutes. I can run for about two and a half minutes. And then I want to die.

I am trying to convince myself that this was because 1. I was running on a road that cars were using and I had to keep darting off and running on the uneven shoulder/ditch until the cars passed and 2. Because it was super windy due to a massive temperature change, and I was running into the wind. But really it is because I am not so good at running.

Good news, everyone. In the case of a bear/zombie attack, you will easily be able to outrun me and therefore survive to plan my funeral!

But then, when the running travesty was over, I went back inside and managed to do the 30 Day Shred. So there's that at least.

And then I made broccoli slaw and blueberry buttermilk cake for Jennifer's reception. Because why not?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 27: Have I really been doing this for THAT long?

I realized this morning that it is day 27, and that means ONLY THREE DAYS UNTIL MY 30TH DAY!

This is huge.

This is OFFICIALLY the LONGEST I have ever stuck to any kind of workout program. It is also the most effective. Two weeks before I started 30 Day Shred, I bought two pairs of new work pants. Which are now huge on me.

Part of me is like, "This sucks! I just bought these pants!!"

The other, bigger part of me says, "That's what tailors are for!"

I'm sure that part of the change I'm seeing is related to diet. I have all but stopped drinking sugary things like soda and sweet tea. I am allowed one such thing per day, since giving up sweet tea is out of the question. I've also started snacking on things like cheese, yogurt, or fruit instead of grabbing chips or a cookie when I'm hungry.

But really. I have never gotten any kind of result from changing my diet before. Or from any self-planned workout program. Nothing. So I am very happy.

That being said, tomorrow I will be in Chicago with Rachael for most of the day (if not all of it) so we can see our friends Kate and Megan and Forest (and maybe hit up a yarn store while we're at it), so I will be taking the day off, aside from all the walking I'll be doing in the city. I'll pick it back up Friday with running and 30 Day Shred.

No quitting will occur now that I've seen what a big difference that challenging exercise can do to my body. Nope. I am sold. Exercise is a thing now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 26: See Darcy. See Darcy walk. See Darcy...walk slightly faster.

Today when I finally got home from work, I got Darcy's collar and we went out to train together.

I knew what Darcy would need to be able to do as my running buddy, and I thought it would be a good idea to start training her when I was only running in two minute bursts, so she would be used to the whole running-on-a-lead scenario later on. Apparently, lots of dogs have trouble with this, so I was prepared for today being more of a teaching thing and less of an actual run for me. But that's not how it went at all.

She was brilliant.

Darcy, as a Sheltie, is immensely trainable. She is wicked smart and tends to pick up on what you want her to do by following your body language. She knows to look where you're pointing, and she follows hand signals like the dogs that do agility challenges at the dog shows on TV. Seriously.

So after about a minute, Darcy figured out what we were doing. And then she was perfect. She stayed with me, never letting me get too far ahead or trying to run ahead of me. She listened when I told her to speed up or slow down. She had no trouble with the transition between my running and walking. She was brilliant.

But she didn't even have to run. I suck as a runner.

All she had to do was walk slightly faster. But I suppose that's okay. I'll get faster, the temperature will get lower, and it will be better for both of us to run outside. But in the meantime, I have a dog that is absolutely awesome at running on a lead, and I didn't even have to try to teach her.

I love my dog.

If you are interested in running with your dog, click the little running puppy for good advice.

Now I'm off to do the 30 Day Shred while Darcy enjoys her special treat (roast turkey from the deli).

Happy Tuesday, Everyone.

Today I woke up, and it was HARD. Sometimes mornings are so difficult, they HURT. But I managed to drag myself out of bed and start getting ready for work. And then I heard a knock on my door and it was Mum.

Because I had a flat tire.

There was a huge roofing nail stuck in my tire, and it was completely flat. Luckily, Dad had noticed it before rushing off to get bloodwork done at the doctor's office, and he was changing it.

But then he saw how low the spare was.

So he drove off to the local gas station and filled up the spare while I sat at home and e-mailed various people at work, hoping they would notice the message, "LAURA WILL BE LATE" before they gave up hope altogether and sent out search parties.

When Dad came back with the spare all filled up nicely, I left for work. I wasn't even late. It was a lucky break.

And then moments later, Dad was back, because he'd sent me off without having tightened the lug nuts.

"Your tire could have just flown right off!" He told me.

This was reassuring.

But he fixed that, too. And then I called the tire place and the tire guys said that yes, they could fix the messed up tire during my lunch hour. We hope. (I think tire sounds like a delicious lunch, personally.)

I may end up having to beg a ride home from my father. And then I will be car-less. So all hope of knitting this evening may be lost. This is depressing.

And then, if the tire drama wasn't enough, I found a giant spider on the library wall. I swear it was a brown recluse. It had clearly come to kill me.

This morning is evil. I think we should protest.

Let's all just leave wherever we happen to leave right now, and we will all go to our respective places of residence and go back to sleep. I feel that this is only right.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 25: See Laura. See Laura run. Run, Laura, Run!

After work today, I went to the park. And I ran.

I am doing this version of the Couch-to-5K training dealie Pinterest can't shut up about:

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

And, as you can see, week one is the kind of running I'd like to do all of the time. You walk for a while. Then you run. Then you walk for a while again. It is basically the same as taking a stroll, then seeing the ice cream truck, and running to catch it. When you realize the ice cream man doesn't care that you are stumbling behind his truck, flailing your arms, you slow back down again and trudge back to your car so you can drive to the store and get more ice cream*. It is like that! But without the ice cream.

Dang. Now I want ice cream.

So after work, there I was in the park. This is the park where Jen and I walked back in the spring before the temperature rose past "Hot" and hit "Hellfire." So I thought, "I shall run the course that we walked, so I will not get lost!" And so I did.

I walked a bit. I ran. I walked back to the car. It was timed almost perfectly, and completely by accident.

And then I went home, all the while feeling like I completely cheated because I finished my run without sweating profusely or swearing like a sailor or crawling hand over hand back to my car whilst praying for death.

See what Jillian has done to me?

So after I got home, I did the 30 Day Shred. I earned my freaking ice cream. GIVE ME SOME ICE CREAM.

* What? That never happened to you? No ice cream truck guy has EVER stopped for me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 24: Wardrobe

When I started doing the 30 Day Shred, I opened up my bottom right dresser drawer and pulled out my exercise clothes.

And what did I discover, you ask?

I found adorable clothes. But they were...too small. Probably because I purchased them when I was 18. That would be ten years ago (for those of you keeping track of such things). I was a smaller person at the age of 18. Determined not to let this stop me, I wore them anyway. And now they are slightly less too-small.

But now I am starting a running plan! Which is terrific and exciting, but when I realized this would mean I'd have to go out in front of people, I decided it was important that I get some shirts that were...flattering.

And so today (since I forgot to do this yesterday when I was at Target), I went (BACK) to Target, and I got plain tees on the cheap. Because that's how I roll.

Now when I go running, people will not be struck blind by my appearance, just by my lack of running technique.

Also, I did 30 Day Shred. And I'm starting to think I have to move up to level three.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 22 and Day 23: Jennifer Gets Married (and Laura Gets Running Shoes)

So yesterday, 30 Day Shred happened. Then, this morning, it happened again.

But more importantly: today, Jennifer got married. And I got running shoes. I told her that while she was committing to her husband, I was committing to shoes. Which is the same, except different.

For one, your shoes need to be supportive. They need to travel with you for a really long time. You should probably love them. And while they keep you from hurting, you do the same for them by not randomly lighting them on fire. Just like marriage!

Except shoes don't really have feelings.

I think.

Let's all take a moment and cheer for Jennifer and her new husband, Brandon, in the comments!

So on my quest for shoes, I drove to Fort Wayne and went to Three Rivers Running Company, in the hope that they would know how to MAKE THE HURTING STOP.

As ordered, I brought along my old shoes. I put them in my bag with some socks. Socks are important. When I went inside, there were all kinds of people of all different ages getting shoes! And they had a treadmill and a camera and this long strip in the middle of the store for you to run on. And I almost got run over! It was very exciting.

When the Running Store Lady, whose name is actually Liz, said hello to me and asked what I was looking for, I opened up my bag and handed her a shoe. And then I said, "Not these. These shoes are the devil. They are instruments of evil."

"Okay," she said.

"I run in them, and I hurt. I stand in them, and I hurt. Then I run in my TOMS, and I have no pain. These shoes are manufactured by Satan."


Liz was clearly horrified.

"Just a little bit," I said. "I mostly wanted to see if the pain was because I am prone to random bouts of agony, or if it was because of those shoes. And it's the shoes."

She nodded. Then she got me a pair of TEST SHOES. These were the brightest pink I have ever seen. You could not look directly at the shoes, because blindness.

I ran on a treadmill. I was terrified. I have never run on a treadmill before. I proved this by running on only the very front of my feet. It was like tip-toeing, only faster. Liz quickly realized that I was not a treadmill sort of girl.

Then she had me run on their indoor sidewalk. And I ran heel to toe, like you are supposed to. Only apparently, I over-pronate. But only with my left foot.

"Did you injure your left foot?" Liz asked.

"No," I said. "I injured my right one."

Explain that, orthopedists.

So she quickly decided I needed the kind of shoe that forcibly prevents you from hurting yourself by any means necessary.

Seriously, are we surprised?

She pulled out a bunch of shoes, and I tried them on, and I ran some more. And some of the shoes felt funky, some of them felt loose, some of them felt like I was running with wooden boards strapped to my feet.

And then we found them.

They are Nikes, which I did not expect to like after the brutal violent murderous experience I had with the Devil Shoes. But they run a bit narrower than the other sorts, and with my freakishly narrow feet, that ended up being a huge plus.

Also, they feel like I am running on marshmallows, not on hard concrete. They are wicked comfy.

So, the shoe for me ended up being "Nike Zoom Structure +15," whatever the heck kind of name for a shoe that is.

And I am very happy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Laura and Rachael Go to Noblesville

Today, Rachael and I went to see Sarah Rees Brennan, Christine Johnson, and Saundra Mitchell in Noblesville. And it was epic. On our way, we stopped for cupcakes, which we promptly delivered to the authors, because authors love cupcakes.

I called this "Operation Cupcake."

And we went to the Barnes and Noble. And gave the cupcakes, which Sarah thought were just for her. But we tried to convince her that sharing is good.

Then Sarah told a story about climbing on Millennium Bridge in London to see if it would support human weight. (It did.)

To properly tell the story, she had to climb on her chair.

And all three of them read from their books, and we fangirled. And Sarah threw a Team Human shirt, and I caught it. Which means I have two shirts from Sarah's books, and I am in fangirl heaven.

And books got signed. And this happened.

And then this happened.

And this.

And there may have been a group hug. Yeah. There was a group hug.

Thanks to Saundra, Sarah, and Christine! It was awesome to get to see you all! You are wonderful. You deserve all of the cupcakes.

And a special thanks to the Noblesville Barnes and Noble! You brought us authors. We love you lots.

Day 20. And Day 21.

I came home last night and worked out. Then I woke up this morning and did the same. Day 20, check. Day 21, check. And no, I did not move up to level three yet. That would be insanity.

Now I am preparing to go to Noblesville. Because that is where Sarah Rees Brennan will be. And Saundra Mitchell. And Christine Johnson. And there will be books.

It will basically be YA Lit Heaven. Be jealous.

And yes, I am wearing my "Alan Ryves for Life" shirt. Because I am cool like that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Reason Why I Love England.

Day 19!

Yes, I did work out on Tuesday. No, I did not remember to blog. Or, rather, I tried to blog, discovered our internet was down, fixed the internet by resetting our router repeatedly, then sat down and forgot that I'd intended to blog. Instead, I watched Law and Order: Criminal Intent and looked at Pinterest until I went to sleep. It was a very productive evening.

At this point, I am counting down the hours until I can replace these blasted shoes. I am working out barefoot to avoid the agony of my shoes. It is honestly better without them. Shoes should make you fell BETTER, not worse.

I think my shoes were manufactured and distributed by Beelzebub Industries.

I looked, but I couldn't find the sign of The Beast anywhere on them, but then, they do have the Nike's possible that the swoosh IS the sign of The Beast, and all athletes and Indiana public school students are already wearing it. You never know.

Today I plan on reveling in the fact that TODAY is day 20. That means, when I am done with today's workout, I will be a mere 10 days from the OFFICIAL end of 30 Day Shred. Although with as horrible as I feel after level 2, I doubt I will be moving up to level 3 right away. So this will go on a bit longer than 30 days.

What will come next? A running program and some other horrific torturous workout DVD. So you have that to look forward to.

And I will undoubtedly continue to complain my way toward fitness. If there's a better way to get fit, I don't want to know about it.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Well. It happened. I looked in the mirror, and I noticed a difference.

Last week, Paul told me HE could see a difference. I thanked him, and it felt good that he said it...but Paul was straight-up lying to me, we all know it. Or maybe he did see a difference, because he turned around from the Wii for a moment and realized I was not a disembodied voice. Who knows.

But now I see a difference.

It is not a big difference. But who the heck cares? I am getting FIT!

(This would be the part where I show you a before/after photograph. Except I took no before picture. Because no one wants to look at the before.)

Meanwhile, in the saga of bone/joint/muscle pain that is my life, I have a giant bruise on the top of my left foot from dropping a 50+ pound roll of paper on my poor defenseless foot on Thursday. The other ankle screams every time I flex it from the random twist-related injury from last Friday. The shin splints are still there, still splinty.

And so I have made an executive decision.

Since my various agonies are making it hard for me to keep up with my self-inflicted demands, I will be heading to the shoe experts in Fort Wayne on Saturday to get fitted for actual running shoes.

My original plan had been to reward myself with new shoes AFTER completing 30 Day Shred. But the agony has forced a change. I'll have to think of some other reward for completing 30 Day Shred. Maybe a cheap one, as I'll have spent goodness-knows how much on decent shoes.

And my wimpy-girl running program starts next Monday. Erin and I will be making a valiant attempt at becoming runners. Heh.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 17: Please Make the Hurting Stop

Shin splints HURT. Also, something about that yoga DVD made me mess up my ankle. And it HURTS too. So Saturday's rest was probably a good idea.

Today I went right back in to 30 Day Shred. I added a bonus ankle-dealie the doctor gave me from the LAST time I freaked my ankle out.

Did I tell you that story?

I was at Vacation Bible School, running something from one group of kids to another group. I was running in these adorable slip-on shoes. They had no backs. One kid saw me and thought, "Gee, I know what would be funny! I will stomp on her foot while she runs!" And so he did.

He missed my toe, though. Instead, he got the bottom of my shoe. This meant my foot was in one spot while the rest of my body was still moving. And obviously, I fell.

The next day, I could put no weight on my foot, so there was a doctor's visit. I had torn something or other, so I wore this brace thing until it "healed." I say "healed" because my ankle bones still grind together in a freaky way. Like broken marbles.

That's healthy.

So I wore that ankle dealie today, just in case.

And before I worked out, I went to Fort Wayne and stopped at the sporting goods store in the vain hope of getting advice for shin-splint relief from someone who could answer questions.

After spending 20 minutes scouring the store for the little sleevey things, I realized that if I wanted help, I would have to start removing my clothing one article at a time while singing the national anthem. So I looked at some of the shoes I'd seen online (still no offer of help), and by then, I'd been in the store SO LONG without any employee so much as looking at me, I gave up.

Can I just say, this store had at least 50 varieties of support for male athletes, but not a single shin-splint sleevey thing.

So I went to Target and then went home to work out, having wasted over two hours of my life driving back and forth to Fort Wayne.

Now, of course, after having Googled "running stores in Fort Wayne," and I discovered a running store in Fort Wayne that is SPECIFICALLY for running (not all sports in general), that happened to be open while I was in town. That's nice. Next time I will search before I leave the house.

The good news is that this store, Three Rivers Running Company, will check the way I walk, the way I run, measure my feet, look at my old shoes, and find out the best possible new running shoes for me. So I wrote down all their info, next time I'm in town, I'll visit and see what they can do for me.

In the meantime, if this pain doesn't start to improve over the next week, I am so totally going to the doctor. But I'd rather not pay for x-rays (again) unless I absolutely have to. Hence the waiting. How many times do I have to be diagnosed with shin splints before someone tells me how I can change my walk to make them go away?

So. Hooray, day 17!

On to the next.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fitness People: Laura Needs YOUR Help!

No 30 Day Shred today, as it is my day off (for birthday purposes).

Erin has been insistent that we do this running program. And that's fine, I'll run. But the problem is...SHIN SPLINTS.

It seems as if I walk wrong, and am rewarded with shin splints. Yesterday I sneezed. Shin splints. I know what they are, I know what my foot does to make them happen. I try not to do the thing! But there is nothing I can do to stop my over-pronation. So there's that.

I do the stretches! Stretching! It is supposed to help! It does nothing. The only thing that prevents shin splints is my sitting still in front of the television until I slowly grow to resemble my couch.

Does anyone know something helpful I can do? Do those tight sock things work? And I am in the market for new running shoes (in the vain hope that changing shoes will fix me, even though all of my shoes cause this problem), so maybe someone knows of shoes with really awesome arch support or something else that should help me avoid agony*? Is there something specific and anti-shin-splint-y that I should look for in a running shoe?

Or should I just give up and go to the doctor. I really would rather not have the whole x-ray kit and caboodle. Plus he would advise rest, and I honestly have done that REPEATEDLY over the years and it doesn't fix the problem, it just delays it until I pick up my exercise program again. Resting and letting the shin splints heal...that's why I end up quitting various methods of exercise. Always. And changing programs doesn't help. I don't just need a low-impact exercise, I need a NO-impact exercise. Walking is enough to aggravate the problem.

I need Dr. Temperance Brennan to come down here and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.

* Agony can include, but is not limited to: shin splints, blisters, and random slices across the back of the heel so shoe can drink runner's blood like little Nike vampires.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 16: I Have a Type A Personality and a Death Wish

Okay. Here's the thing.

I worked out first thing in the morning. Usually I do it in the evening. That is ROUTINE. But today was morning. And that was strange.

And I was sitting around after dinner, when I usually do 30 Day Shred, and I said to myself, "I should be working out right now. I should be working out RIGHT NOW."

And then I ignored it and watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics* and it made me cry in the first five seconds when the kids sang Gran's favorite hymn. My mother also burst into tears. And then Kenneth Branagh did a piece from The Tempest, and it was awesome and I want to have a clip of it to play over and over and over again, because that is my favorite part of The Tempest and Kenneth Branagh is made of awesome.

So. Back to my Type A personality...

I was thinking that tomorrow, I would not be working out. I WOULD NOT BE WORKING OUT. Maybe that decision would be disappointing to you, the blog. Maybe you would think, "Laura is not fully committed to this. Maybe Laura doesn't really want to get fit!"

And I did just get that new blu-ray player for my birthday. And that can play DVDs. And when I went out, I stopped at T.J. Maxx and found workout clothes ON THE CHEAP that were super cute.

And one thing led to another, and I ended up doing that Yoga Meltdown DVD I picked up last weekend. Yeah. I worked out twice in one day.

My impression? It is FUN and challenging. But challenging is okay because I really love yoga. But by the end, I wondered, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??" Because I just became the person who feels like a slacker when they think of not exercising.

I hope this proves to you that I really want to not be taking a day off. But I have to. Because I deserve to have some fun, too. And I hear there will be pasta.

* Dear Olympic committee, I hope I am allowed to reference the Olympics by name when referring to an Olympic event. Please direct all lawsuits to this waste basket. Thanks. Love, Laura

Day 16: Happy Birthday to Me!

It is day 16, also known as MY BIRTHDAY! I woke up, had a glass of milk and a yogurt, and then I did level two to celebrate. Level two is getting easier. This makes me feel better about myself.

I wanted to get my workout finished early so that I can fully enjoy today! Tomorrow's session might not happen, so it was important to me to make sure I got today's DONE.

See, tomorrow I am working, then going out with Jen and Brandon and Paul to celebrate my birthday, and no way am I leaving early just to work out. I will do my best to squeeze in a workout, but tomorrow is a SPECIAL day. And after 16 days of exercise, I have earned a day off. We'll see what happens.

I hope everyone enjoys the big party they're throwing for me in London!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day...15? Day 15.

We have passed the number of days that I can remember without confusion. Also after finishing my workout today...Well, I am now halfway through 30 Day Shred. HALFWAY THROUGH.

This means I am 15 more days from those new bloodstain-free shoes I promised myself. Imagine, working out in shoes that aren't stained with your own blood! What a luxury.

Although, frankly, they are Nikes. I think that means they thirst for blood. The Nike commercials always show people sweating and falling and bleeding, after all. It makes sense that their shoes could have something resembling a hunger for human flesh.

Great. I have shoes that want to kill and eat me. I'm so glad I thought this through.

Anyway, It was day 15. I took off my glasses before the plank jacks so I could sweat freely.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday. I will be celebrating by doing the 30 Day Shred. Also, I hear they are throwing this huge party in my honor in London, so that's cool. It's even going to be on TV. And the royal family will be there!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 14: Two Week Mark. Or, In Which I Talk To Jillian Like She Is an Imaginary Friend.

I've mentioned before how the phrase "30 Day Shred" has overtaken my vocabulary like the Black Death ripped through Europe. Mostly, I say things about 30 Day Shred now. I know how annoying it is. I know it drives my friends, family, and coworkers insane. I really try to stop myself, but I can't. It is like I have 30 Day Shred Tourette's. Like Glenn Beck with Nazis. Did you see that back when it was on the Daily Show? Because if not, please enjoy.

That is one of my favorite mockeries of Glenn Beck ever, and frankly, the man does invite my disdain, what with his theatrical crying and insincere Christmas stories.

What can I say. I am bitter, I am cynical.

But now, where Glenn sees Nazis, I see Jillian Michaels.

You say, "Have a cookie, Laura."

I take the cookie, I look over my shoulder, and I say, "SHUT UP, JILLIAN. I CAN EAT A COOKIE."

And then I eat the cookie.

But seriously. I feel as if I have to justify the things I do to Jillian Michaels, like she is some kind of demented fairy following me around wherever I go.

And when she tells me to drink water and not pop, I am like, "Sure!"

But when she says, "Don't you dare eat that bagel," I am like, "I will eat this bagel, you skinny twig woman, because I am over a head taller than you, and only your speedy running will stop me from taking your video camera and your microphone and putting them on this tall shelf where you cannot reach them!"

Because Jillian, with her videos and her website, likely needs those two things to make all of the money.

Today, I thought I would listen to Jillian and be healthy and eat some fresh tomatoes instead of the chips someone left in the break room, so I did, but I have an intolerance to tomatoes, which is like an allergy, but not quite. So I ate my tomatoes, and then twenty minutes later, I was doubled over in agony, because tomatoes hit my stomach and then irritate it and it HURTS. That is what I get for trying to be healthy. And for ignoring the various warnings that health professionals have given me about this tomato thing.

But seriously: tomatoes taste awesome. I am going to eat them until I land in the hospital. Then I'm getting an epi pen, and I am still eating tomatoes. That is what I say.

This stupid pin on Pinterest said that by the end of week two of whatever exercise thing the pinner was imagining, one would notice a difference. So after my workout, I looked in the mirror. And you know what?

There is no difference, aside from this new-found psychosis of mine.

But hey, at least I'm getting something out of this.

The pinner also said that in FOUR weeks, you guys would notice a difference. That's the kind of thing that makes me wish I'd taken "before" pictures to compare with the "after." But that's the kind of forethought that would have had me exercising before now. And also, would I have wanted those "before" pictures hanging around and haunting me in years to come? No. No I wouldn't.

Tomorrow will be the start of week three. I'm hoping to begin to grow accustomed to the violent physical torture of level two during this time. I've made a goal for myself for week three. It is a humble sort of goal.

I would like to stop sweating my glasses off my nose during plank jacks.

Because that's just depressing.

Day Thirteen: In Which Laura Forgets to Blog

Yeah...I totally forgot to blog yesterday.

This is because, after getting out of work at 11:00 AM due to a power outage, I went home, played Zelda, did LEVEL TWO of 30 Day Shred, and then I went to Rachael's and we ate eggplant parmesan and it was YUMMY and then we talked about her crazy neighbor lady who is GENUINELY CERTIFIABLE and it was lots of fun.

And after that, I went home and collapsed, watched Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and finally fell asleep at the late hour of 11:00 PM*.

As for day two of level two...It was easier. This is because I figured out how to do a "skater," and it looked a whole lot less like a Riverdance routine when I figured out how to do it right.

But for now, I am rushing off to dinner before my evening of work! I just wanted you to know I didn't cheat and skip a day, and I won't tonight, either. Promise.

* SHOCKING, I know. For some reason, the insomnia took the night off. It was glorious.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day Twelve. I just. No.

I would write you a long, detailed account of day twelve, level two, and the horrors therein, but I am just going to let Twitter tell the story for me.

Staring Guy: No Water Refill Is Worth This

Jennifer is getting married.

So what do you do when your friend is getting married? You have a bachelorette dealie.

I have had a traumatic experience at a bachelorette party before. And therefore, I avoid them like the plague. But Becky and I wanted to do something special for Jen, and that became a bachelorette party. Minus the food shaped like body parts, because eww.

Also, minus other traumatic things.

Instead, we went to dinner.

We sat down at the restaurant, the waitress brought us menus and took our drink orders. That was when I noticed the water-guy.

He was standing by this wall partition thing, kind of like a pillar, but not round. And every once and a while, he would lean his head out from around the pillar, and stare.

I have told you about the freaks and weirdos I attract.

It's true. I attract the strangest people. If a crowd of men were assembled in the town square (if we had a town square), and I were brought before them, and the men were asked to stand on one side of the square if they found me attractive or on the other if they found me repugnant, the vast majority of normal guys would go to the repugnant side and the men left over would be the ones with criminal records (we're talking felonies here), those on watch lists, the psychopaths, and the crazies. Sure, there would be some normal guys on that side, too, but when they noticed that the other men around them were foaming at the mouth and sharpening switchblades, they would scuttle over to the other side of the square, leaving me with prospective boyfriends that were destined to grace the most-wanted list.

At first, I ignored Staring Guy. He was pale, in his late teens with dark hair and an earring. The earring alone was a warning, because it was a big faux-diamond, which made me think that Staring Guy, while off duty, liked to wear huge, over-sized pants belted just above the knee and some kind of cap tilted to the back or side. He was a gangsta-wannabe.

But Staring Guy kept darting back out, staring, and giving me this weird look.

Finally, Becky and Jen noticed my expression, and they asked me what was going on. When I explained, Jen (who was next to me in the booth) started watching where Staring Guy had first appeared. When he looked around the pillar again, she stared back at him with her angry teacher-stare*.

"I cannot tell if he is watching our water glasses to see when he should refill them, or if he finds us attractive," I said.

"I bet it's the water," Jen replied.

"Maybe we shouldn't stare back," I continued. "You never know. This could be my future husband."

And he just kept staring. He began an elaborate technique of circling the dining area, watching us--or was it me?--as he walked around the room, ducking for cover behind walls and booths when he felt his staring was becoming obvious to us.

He had even put the water down. There was no water pitcher anymore. Only staring.

Eventually, when another guy came over to refill Jen's tea, she told him, "You know the guy with the earring? He is being creepy. He keeps staring. It's freaking us out. You need to tell him to stop."

This was not effective.

Staring Guy kept it up through our whole meal, and when we'd finished eating, he returned to our table three separate times to get plates. He would take a plate, leave watch us for a while, come back, take a salad plate, go away, watch, then return for another. He was taking, like, one plate at a time. You know how people busing tables can carry every plate from a table on one arm? Or at least most of them? This guy did not even attempt it. He was a one-plate-at-a-time kind of person. Because it gave him a better opportunity to BE CREEPY.

I watched on the way out to the car. He didn't write down Jen's license plate number. So she is safe.

But seriously. This is why people carry mace. So psychotic busboys do not slash your tires, throw you in the back of their van, drive you out into the woods, and bolt your ankle to a chain hooked to the floor so they can watch you through a tiny window built into the wall until you eventually starve and die. This is why the mace.

Maybe this would be a good idea for my birthday? Or a taser, like Darcy has in Thor. Nothing says "Happy 28th" like self-defense-related presents**.

* You do not mess with the teacher-stare.

** Or stuff with The Avengers on it. Like my new folder. And my new markers. And my new pencils. And my shirt. I love The Avengers.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day Eleven: Uh Oh.

Today I did my workout (after first visiting Target and buying myself some extra socks and workout clothes as the last time I bought workout clothes was freshman year of college in 2003). And I whipped through everything, and I realized something terrible.

I need to move up to level two.

I just have no words.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day Ten...Jillian Was Right.

If you know me, you know how much I enjoy being right. I really do. It is like chocolate for me, because it means everything is okay in the world.

And when I started 30 Day Shred, I turned to people and I said, "Jillian is psychotic. She is a sadist. She likes to see other people in pain."

And Jillian said, "If you're on day six, seven, or eight, you're probably noticing your endurance is getting better!" Or something like that. And I said, "Jillian, stop smoking crack and eat a cupcake."

And then it became day six, and I tried to ignore her. And it was day seven, and I pretended I wasn't listening, and then it was day eight, and I blocked my ears. And on day nine, I was in full-on denial.

But it is day ten now, and darn it.

Jillian was right.

It is getting easier.

Stupid Jillian.

Also, I bought a new DVD, which is again a Jillian one, and it is called Yoga Meltdown. I did this because I LOVE yoga. And Jillian, while not someone I would consider a yogi, isn't a middle-aged man wearing a skin-tight pair of short shorts doing pelvic thrusts while a camera films a close up of his pelvis. Yeah. I could live without seeing that. And nearly every yoga video features HIM. But not this one. So I was sold on it instantly. Because eww. Put on real pants, Yoga Man, and I will watch your DVD. But first, REAL pants. That cover you. ALL the way.

I will probably mix the new DVD in with 30 Day Shred at some point when I get bored. Bailey said this was a good idea, and we trust Bailey. She is a workout genius. If she didn't live far, far away, I would have her be my personal trainer*. She would get me fit in no time.

* Meaning, I would follow her to the gym like a puppy and do exactly what she does until she files for a restraining order.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day Nine: Will She or Won't She?

It is day nine. Or it will be when I finally get home this evening. But here's the thing. It is girl's night. And girl's night is for FUN. Also it is taking place starting right after work. And who knows how long it will last? Hopefully forever.


When will I fit in 30 Day Shred?

I can just see myself at midnight, clicking on the DVD player. That's bound to be fun.

But really who needs sleep? Sleep is overrated.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day Eight. Seriously?

I looked at my schedule for today last night and I thought...this is not going to happen. So I set my alarm, work up early, and worked out.

Granted, early in this case was 7:00 AM. Not 5:00 AM.

And I woke up to Dad on his Irish whistle, and every note said, "I hate you, Laura. I hate you, Laura." And I bitterly gathered my breakfast together, chewing my waffles while thinking, "I will jam that whistle down your trachea, old man."

I turned on the DVD, I worked out, and every punch and kick and whatnot was directed toward Dad's whistle instead of at Jillian Michaels. Because there is no excuse for a whistle before 9:00 AM. The whistle should come out after your family is awake. That is how you show them love.

Stupid whistle.

Anyway, now that 30 Day Shred is done for the day, I find myself with no end goal for the day, and I am somewhat listless. One would think I would be filled with glee at having nothing to dread. But no.

Instead I am obsessing about tomorrow and the weirdly awkward thing that will be happening. WEIRDLY AWKWARD THING, WHY DO YOU EXIST? Wish me luck, everyone. Because I will need it.

And it has been a whole week. Actually, a week and a day. And I have not quit this thing. So that's a good sign, right?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day Seven: Why I Need New Shoes

I worked out. It feels like someone has jabbed a screwdriver (flat head) through the top of my skull. This is because I had a sinus headache when I turned on the DVD. This is a present Jillian gave me.

I was talking to Mum this morning, and I said, "I think if I stick with this, I will get new shoes for working out!"

Mom replied, "Those ARE new shoes! I thought you bought those when you started that running thing a few years ago. Then you put them in your closet and never wore them!"

I nodded. This was completely true.

"They are covered with bloodstains," I said. "I cannot get the stains out."

Mom stared.

Here is the story.

A few years ago, I decided that my constant run-down feeling was due to a lack of physical fitness. Yoga, I thought, was doing nothing at all. I was a wreck, and I needed to work out harder. Then I would feel better. Really the reason I felt sick was because my gallbladder was slowly dying inside me. But that is beside the point.

I decided I would become a runner. I had always admired runners. I still do.

I see them out and about in town, and they are in cute running clothes, and they are moving at a good pace, and they have ponytails and iPods and they look like they were in a Nike ad, and they just ran right off the billboard and into real life. And they don't seem to care what the temperature is, or that they're running when nothing is chasing them. They just run.

I have a friend, Jaren, and she ran for like 22 miles for FUN. It was her thing that she did! And then she saved me from falling of a mountain.

I bet the running helped her reflexes.

And then I was driving today, and I saw this girl out running. And then I ate lunch and an hour later, I saw her on my way back to work, and she was STILL RUNNING.

That is pretty impressive.

Anyway, I wanted that for me. I would have a runner's physique. I would have a running playlist. And so I ran.

First, I got shin splints. I get them whenever I try any workout that involves impact. But I kept going and tried all kinds of stretches and massage techniques that were supposed to help prevent shin splints. And then a giant semi truck almost mowed me down on the road, and I decided it was a good idea to be a cross country runner and stay far away from traffic of any kind, except maybe geese or fish swimming in the river alongside me.

Usually, geese or fish, they do not crush you under their tires.

So I ran. And after a week or so, I decided that washing all my socks repeatedly was cramping my style, so I bought new socks. I thought they were the same as my old socks, but they were not. These socks were shorter.

No biggie, I thought. The socks would not take away from the sheer awesomeness of my running shoes, which were clearly epic in every sense of the word. Plus they were narrow enough for my feet, so less chances of ankle injury! I was thrilled.

Then I went running.

I noticed after the first lap (I was running a course around my family's property that amounted to around two miles), I noticed my Achilles tendons felt a little tight. So I stopped and did more stretching, and I kept going. I was hard core. I could take this. When the tightness didn't go away, I told myself I was being a wimp. And I kept running. When I'd finished my course, I stretched more, did my cool-down, and I went inside.

"Hey," I gasped at my father.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LEGS???" Dad asked. He looked horrified.

When I leaned over and looked, I noticed my shoes were covered with blood. And filled with blood. And my socks were soaked in blood. My blood. Because my shoes, my adorable running shoes, had basically scissored open my skin where the back of the shoe ended at the top. Right where my tendon was. Right where it had been feeling tight.

I was forced to toss the new socks and I tried with all the stain-fighter stuff I had to get the blood out of my shoes. And it kinda worked...but there was this trendy mesh stuff, and under that, there is still a stain. My DNA, folks. So if you ever need to clone me, you know where to look.

And that is why, when I finish 30 Day Shred, I may just invest in some trendy new running shoes. Or I will take my shoes to a hospital or CSI unit and ask to borrow some industrial cleaner of some kind.

It is also why I will never be a runner. I cannot handle that sort of thing again. I looked like a Quentin Tarantino move.