Fresh Flowers from Pike Place

Today started out less than pleasant for me. I tend to forget that things don’t agree with me, in this case vodka. As a result of this forgetfulness I treated myself to an indulgence of four raspberry lemon drops after dinner last night (yes, yes, in the safety of my own home where I wouldn’t be tempted to drive anywhere and where minimal mayhem could be caused). These drinks, although delicious and refreshing, with fresh squeezed lemon juice, turned out to be a bad judgement call. Around six-thirty this morning I woke up with a pounding headache, my head spinning. I got up to blow my nose, movement made me queasy, and I spent a good long while in the bathroom hurling. Once my system seemed clear of the vodka, I felt a bit better, and went back to bed for a couple hours. When I woke up, I didn’t feel one bit better, and was incredibly unhappy with myself for causing this self-inflicted agony. Strains of “The Worst Hangover Ever” by the Offspring rang in my achy head as I forced myself to eat a little oatmeal so I could take aspirin. Task accomplished, I dragged myself back upstairs and slept until eleven. By then, I was feeling a whole lot better, although Paul took great enjoyment in taunting me for my hangover and for my late sleeping.

The weather was rainy and very windy, but by afternoon the sun was breaking through and we decided to get out of the house. As we drove into Seattle, the sky opened up and rained on us some more, and the temperature was only 49 degrees. Brrr! Luckily the rain had pretty much stopped by the time we parked downtown, but the wind gusted and I felt like I would fall over as we stood waiting to cross the street. I didn’t mind it, though. It felt so good to be outside walking in the fresh air.

We ducked into Sur La Table, and Paul admired the expensive pots and pans like a kid in a candy store. He picked out a new pair of kitchen shears and I got myself a new coffee cup for my desk. After that, we headed down the street to Pike Place Market. It was the first time we’d been since moving up here. I went downstairs to the restroom and when I came back, Paul handed me an absolutely gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers. “Here, I know you like stuff like this,” he said. I was so excited! I hardly ever get flowers, and flowers for no occasion at all, just because he loves me and wants to make me happy, are just the very best. I was beaming the whole time we walked through the market, holding my flowers proudly. When we got home I lovingly put them in my best vase and displayed them on the dresser in our room. I may have also taken several photos of them to post on Facebook. Just sayin.

We hung around downtown awhile longer, browsing in shops and talking. I love Sundays now. Since they are the only time Paul and I get together where one of us doesn’t have to work, they are special and we are making the most of them by spending time together. Everything seems to be going so incredibly well right now, I can hardly believe it. Paul and I are getting along great and having fun together, work’s been good, and of course I am loving the fall season and am super happy we are in Washington.

On the way home we stopped at a Tully’s in Woodinville and sat by the fireplace, sipping our lattes. I got my pumpkin spice latte, which is my fall favorite. The evening was simple but pleasant. We finished our coffee and headed home, stopping on the way at Haggen’s for our weekly groceries. We had dinner at Wendy’s because I was craving a cheeseburger (yes, I know that is not diet friendly food, but I lost three pounds by throwing up vodka, so I figure it’s okay).

With things going so well, I am calm and relaxed and feel really good.


I can’t pinpoint the moment in which I fully, consciously realized that there was something more to my nervousness than just normal daily stress. I can remember waking up in the middle of the night as if I’d just had a terrible nightmare – heart pounding, mouth dry, gasping for breath, sweating. The strange thing? I hadn’t had a bad dream at all. This continued for awhile, until finally I overheard women at work talking about similar symptoms, and their subsequent diagnosis with anxiety disorders. I’d never heard of such a thing, but with no other real way to solve my mystifying midnight mania, I made a doctor’s appointment and explained to my m.d. exactly what was going on. He explained that what I was experiencing were panic attacks, a result of my very own anxiety disorder, and he prescribed Xanax to ease my anxiety.

Fast-forward a year: I am usually okay without the meds, and I can pretty much talk myself down from anxiety on my own. I’ve learned things that trigger a calm response, like the scent of lavender, or certain music. I’ve determined that my (mild, I think) OCD is linked to the anxiety disorder. For the most part, this issue doesn’t affect anyone but myself, although it does get annoying to just have to double- triple- quadruple-check that I’ve shut the garage door, or replaced the gas cap, or remembered my cell phone. Seeing it once, apparently, is not enough for my brain. Other things, like the need to have everything organized, alphabetized, and orderly, can be a bit much for Paul at times. Although he is incredibly helpful and does not tease me, he also does not indulge me in my obsessive compulsive tendencies. When I ask him to vacuum the floor for the third time in a week, he looks me straight in the face and says, “no, it doesn’t need it again” (this only happened once, and no, I was not happy about it). I grudgingly admit that working out has a very calming effect on me and that since I started Zumba, I have been doing a lot better.

So, what got me thinking about all this? It certainly wasn’t anything bad that happened today. Paul and I both impulsively called and asked for vacation days at work. Our bosses generously allowed us the day off. We had lunch at Panda Express and then headed to Seattle to walk all the way around Green Lake. The distance is only 2.8 miles and we completed the walk in about an hour. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. The sun was shining down on us, a breeze kept things cool and comfortable, and we talked and teased each other as we walked around. After our walk, we headed to Trophy Cupcakes to get a treat. Gourmet cupcakes are my new favoritest indulgence, having had a mint chocolate one in Vancouver that just made me sooo happy. After cupcakes we finished the afternoon relaxing together, Paul napping and me finishing a book I’ve been reading (“In Her Shoes” by Jennifer Weiner, love her). The day finished with Paul making me steak, green beans, and rice for dinner and settling in to watch “Family Guy” and play on our laptops.

It was the perfect day, and it certainly did not cause me any anxiety. That, to me, is an improvement. Not too long ago, I would get nervous and irritable and could even spoil a really good day with my exaggerated views on, well, whatever was getting blown out of proportion in my head. I’m glad that I can have days like this now, where there are no demands placed on me, where I can just relax and enjoy the place I live in and the wonderful boyfriend who loves me even when I do act like an anxious crazy person.

I know that my anxiety disorder is not something that will ever fully go away. I do feel, though, like I have gotten a lot of control over it in the last year, and that I understand myself a lot better.

Shaking It Up

Last week, I decided to kick off the month of October by focusing on losing some of the excess weight I’ve put on since moving to the Northwest earlier this year. Overall, I’d say I had mixed success with my first week of true weight-loss efforts. I did lose one pound, so I’m at a good start. My friend and coworker Angela has been trying to get me to go to her Zumba class for months now, and I finally agreed to go even though “coordinated” will never be the first word that comes to anyone’s mind when describing me. To my own surprise, I actually love Zumba. It’s so fun! The dance moves aren’t so challenging that I can’t figure them out, and following the steps and listening to the music is a great distraction from the fact that I’m working out. I was so instantly hooked, that I ended up staying and taking a second class. That was great, but two back-to-back Zumba classes left me so sore I was only able to drag my lazy ass to the gym again once this week.

I have a new focus on my diet, too. That part was instigated by a trainer at my gym. I complained to her about my struggles and we went over what I eat together. Then she reprimanded me for the food choices I make, and outlined what I should be eating to get successful results (she was also pretty anti-Zumba, but I think that’s more because it’s the hot exercise right now and she’s losing customers to it whether or not it actually works). After my lone gym workout with her, I headed straight to the grocery store to buy the suggested new foods. At the checkout, I paid for chocolate flavored protein powder for shakes, baby carrots, a cucumber, and some string cheese. The idea is that instead of snacking on hundred calorie packs, which are still full of carbs, I’d eat my veggies and the little cheese.

For breakfast, I’m having a protein shake and some low-sugar oatmeal. Morning snack is carrots, afternoon snack is cucumber slices and string cheese. For lunch I have those frozen Healthy Choice Steamers meals. Dinner is whatever Paul cooks, which lately has been a lot of chicken, fish, and salad.

The protein shake has been the hardest thing to, er, swallow. The first morning, I added the powder to some milk. It was grainy and didn’t desolve all the way, so I was less than thrilled. The next morning we didn’t have any milk, so I added the stuff to water. Oh. My. Lord. That. Is. Some. Nasty. Shit. Do not try this method unless your taste buds are completely dead or you feel the need to punish yourself for some dastardly deed. So this morning I finally got the shake, if not right, at least much better. I got some frozen raspberries at the grocery store last night and threw them, the powder, and the milk into the blender. The only issue I’ve had with this is that the mixture needs to be consumed rather quickly, as if it sits it sorta develops a weird consistency.

Although my first week wasn’t fabulous for workouts, this week I will improve. Tomorrow, I will attend both Zumba classes and hopefully I can stagger into the gym Tuesday morning. I rearranged my schedule on Wednesdays so that I can make the night Zumba class. And soon the gym at work will be opening up, so Angela and I will work out on my lunch hour together. If I can keep losing a pound a week, I’ll be satisfied (although more would be awesome), and I think I can probably step it up to two pounds a week once I’m not struggling to move after the increased activity.

I think this can actually be done.