Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eeyore syndrome

I've been feeling pretty depressed this weekend for some reason. It's insane, I know! I just got engaged to my knight in shining armor and I'm about to move to Hawaii! Who could be depressed about that?! Hormones? Just a general sense of being overwhelmed? Slacking on my workouts and nutrition? Probably a combination of all three. Nothing can send me into a tailspin faster than feeling overwhelmed to the point that even going to the grocery store seems like an impossible task.

I took myself out for a run, and I felt pretty good until the end where I lost tree cover and it was hellishly hot and humid. I had to do some walking there and had a terrible side stitch - plus I kept burping up this sausage I ate for breakfast, which was so salty and made me feel so awful afterwards that I chucked the rest of the package in the garbage can. It was an apple-turkey sausage from Whole Foods and the ingredients list looked pretty innocuous but there must have been some MSG or something in there because I still feel like the Sta-Puff marshmallow man even after sweating it out on my run!

Normally getting a run in makes me feel better with the flood of endorphins, but not today. I have to go get some groceries for the week and I just feel a sense of dread or foreboding, like I want to crawl back in bed or eat my weight in chocolate, neither of which is going to help me in the long run! If I did that, tomorrow would be even worse because I'd feel like I gained a million pounds AND I wouldn't have anything to eat in the fridge.... and I'd still have to get up and go to work and sit there at my desk festering all day!!! No, the logic center in my brain is going to win the argument over the pleasure center this time!!

Sigh. Off to the shower and hoping this is something weird and temporary that will be gone tomorrow.....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My!

The day I got to Kansas was a looong day. I was up at 3:45 am to drive to Baltimore (which was great because there was almost no traffic at that ungodly hour, although there WAS still some! DC - grumble). I landed in Kansas at 8:00 am local time and got my bags no problem. It's amazing how ... empty the Kansas City International Airport was compared to BWI. Adam was an hour late picking me up because he got stuck behind an accident involving a semi splayed across the entire highway. But we finally got on the road and had a three hour drive back to Wichita through the vast nothingness of the prairie state. Back at the Seiler residence, we barely had time to grab some lunch before Adam's dad was piling us into his pickup truck to run some veterinary calls with him!

First we visited a sick buffalo, and then we drove over the exotic animal ranch that he takes care of - Tanganiyka. It was pretty amazing - they have all kinds of exotic animals - a ton of cats of all kinds, rhinos, giraffes, primates, kangaroos, birds - it was pretty crazy! And in most cases you can get right up next to them - wait till you see the pics of us with the white tigers! Of course, animals running around everywhere means there's dirt and poo and other untold wonders crusting the ground, and Adam's dad is just striding around through everything, totally unafraid... and here's me daintily picking my way around puddles of ... water? and piles of crusted... mud? Trying not to step in ANythING.

First stop was the ring tailed lemurs! They were the funniest little creatures. So curious and energetic - they were bouncing all over the cage trying to inspect us.

Well, except for this guy - he was old or stoned or something because he didn't move from that spot the entire time. Meanwhile his buddies were pouncing all around him.

They have these fat, squishy hands and they'll reach out and grab your finger with those soft little pads - it feels funny! They grab on and then stare at you with their bulging, curious eyes.

Next we went over to the giraffes and met Dudley. Here he is trying to give me a kiss. You can see the mama giraffe in the cage behind watching warily. She was skittish and so was her baby, which you can't see. Dudley was fearless though.

He didn't stick his tongue out at me, but he kept trying to get a taste of Adam.

And Greg! He kept coming up behind Greg (Adam's dad) and poking him and licking him with his long black tongue!

Then we went on to the white tigers. There were cages on either side of us and we were standing only a few feet from a tiger in either direction! The adrenaline was flowing - that is definitely the closest I've ever been to a tiger! The tiger in the first cage inside the door pounced up on her ledge and put her ears back and started hissing and spitting and bearing her fangs at us when we walked in the door. She was pissed! The other two were males and they were pretty friendly. They were chuffing (tiger hello) and pacing back and forth wanting attention. Both of them were still babies.

Here is me crouched down right next to one. Adam says, here get right in front of the cage... little bit closer! Little more! and I'm leaning in and freaking out because- hi! zOMG TIGER! Go ahead and click on it, you gotta get the full effect.

Me: oh, hai! nice kitteh!
Tiger: i's in dis cage, sniffing ur yumminess

Adam: yeh
Tiger: *growlz* - scuse me, dats mah belleh!

It's darn hard to take good pictures of wildlife with a digital camera! They don't exactly hold still for very long. This one was standing up peering at Adam...

Greg was the bravest - he put his hand right in front of the tiger's mouth. He was just a baby and playful, he was sniffing Greg's hand and hamming it up trying to get attention.

Here's one of the baby snow leopards! So cute! Big fangs! We saw another smaller one in a baby playpen playing with a basketball that was just about the same size as him. And also a baby kangaroo in a playpen, inside a shearling-lined purse that was hanging in the pen for him! Tee!

This is one of the adult snow leopards. This one was skittish and suspicious.

And this one looked suspicious but when we tried to walk away she jumped up and followed us looking for more attention. She only had three legs - one of her front legs got injured and had to be removed. She didn't seem to mind, though.

Another baby leopard peeking out from his house!

Oh, and here's us at the Original Pizza Hut, which is located on the campus of Wichita State University in this tiny brick building you see here. Who knew?!

That's all for now!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Countdown Begins!

I just filled out the form to request 12 days leave without pay before starting my new job in Hawaii. If my boss approves, that means I'll be done working at State a short four weeks from today! EGADS!!! I think I need to start packing.....

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Adam and I got engaged yesterday!! I’ve been walking on air ever since! It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I got here and I have a ton of pictures to upload. I just wanted to log in and tell you all! He asked me yesterday afternoon at this botanical garden. We got to a secluded area where there was a little fountain and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was a little suspicious when we went to the gardens that he might ask me… but he kind of took me by surprise!
Isn't it gorgeous?! I love it. He really outdid himself. It's exactly what I would have picked. He's a brave man because we only looked at rings together once online for about 15 minutes. We were both picking out the same ones when we looked together, so I figured he'd probably pick the right one!

Apparently he’s had the ring for a while and has been carrying it around in his pocket – even when he was out to visit me in DC in July, he had the ring in his pocket the whole time and was just waiting for the right time! He said he was debating waiting till we were in Hawaii, since the beach is so beautiful and would be the obvious place to propose, but I’m really glad he didn’t wait.

I’m glad we got to be here with his family to celebrate and I know they were happy we are here! We went out to dinner at this Brazilian barbecue place last night and drank some wine and ate a ton of food and today his mom had his whole extended family over for brunch. I met about 70 people today – and that’s not even all of them! Everyone was asking when and where the wedding is. We haven’t figured anything out yet. I’m just trying to enjoy the engagement for right now!
I’m so excited and happy to finally get engaged to this man. We’ve been through a LOT of stuff together the last almost five years. It’s brought us so close together and I just can’t imagine my life without him.
This picture is actually the spot where he asked me! Afterwards, we walked around the rest of the gardens - both of us were giddy and just enjoying the moment. Then we decided to go back and take a picture at the spot where he proposed.

This is another spot in the gardens after the proposal.

And check out this rose!

This is at the Brazilian restaurant where we had dinner - 18 different kinds of meat they bring around to your table to try! It was definitely an experience ... we sat there and watched Adam's two brothers Blake and Garret eat their way through all of them. And Adam's dad held his own too - he said he's still not feeling well 24 hours later. Blake and Garret weren't feeling so hot this morning, but by brunch-time, they were chowing down again... they are big boys. Blake played college football and weighs 250 lbs and they are both about 6'5".

Here's the whole family at the restaurant. From left to right dad Greg, Garret, Inga (Blake's girlfriend), Blake, our meat-carver Juan, me, Adam and mom Diane.

Last one for tonight - me, Adam, Blake and Inga at a local high school football game Friday night. That was a LONG day. I was up at 3:45 am to drive to Baltimore to catch my flight and didn't end the night until around midnight. One of the teams playing was the school where Adam was in high school.
Ok, no more for tonight. I have a ton of stories and pictures from the rest of the trip, but I'll put them up later. Hope y'all are having as much fun as I am!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anyone got a chill pill?

Man, have I been stressed the last couple of weeks. I'm tired, run down, work is insane, and I need a vacation. That chubby little hamster was totally me over the weekend. I'm a stress eater - when life gets rough, I turn to my old friends chocolate and chip. They're gluttons and usually don't make me feel any better, except temporarily. I actually have been kind of feeling like I did when I was hypothyroid - like puffy and groggy and out of it. I'm hoping I will start to feel normal again after some time off.

I'm on my way to Kansas tomorrow! Adam is already there, he landed a few hours ago. My flight leaves at 6:40 am tomorrow from Baltimore, which means I have to leave my apartment at about 4! Eek!

I am so looking forward to it. Working until 8:30 pm is seriously out of control and it needs to stop. I'm afraid it might be like this until I leave, though, as the Administration works at a fever pitch to tie up loose ends and set initiatives in stone. To make matters worse, I have senioritis! Half the time it's like, hey, I'm on my way out the door and I don't really feel like being bothered with this minutia anymore!

I left work a little early today to finish packing and just chill out for an hour or so. I'm pretty sure I won't have this stress level in Hawaii. It's much more of a laid back pace there, and of course, I won't be answering to the highest levels of the U.S. government anymore. Plus, you've heard of Aloha Fridays before? Every Friday is a "holiday" in Hawaii. :D

I'll be starting there November 10! It's going to come up so fast... it gives me a huge stress knot in my stomach to think about packing all my stuff up and uprooting my life and moving to a tiny island thousands of miles away.

I always said I wanted adventure...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Increase your happiness.... by limiting choices

Here's a video of the author who wrote a book on limiting choices like I was telling you about... speaking about how limitless choices lead to lowered happiness. Interesting! What do you think? Is the secret to happiness really limited choices?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Work work work... and a marriage proposal??

Man! Work has had me busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Primarily with this. Which I know means nothing to any of you, but I'm just throwing it out there so you know your tax dollars are in fact hard at work trying to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. See! Now you actually *know* one of the nameless, faceless bureaucrats who make things like that happen! Or at least know in the webby sense of the word...

I'm hoping to talk to my boss today about my impending departure. It's no use if he is in a caustic mood and he's been wavering today - hot/cold... it has to be done though. I just want to do it while he's feeling chipper.

A week from today I will be on a plane on my way to Kansas to see Adam! Do you guys think he's going to ask me to marry him there? I don't know... I kinda think he might? But I don't know for sure. We've talked about getting married a lot lately, but he's not letting the cat out of the bag on his plans. Guess I'll find out soon!

And... since I don't have much else to talk about at the moment, I thought I'd entertain you all with a picture of the building where I'll be working in Hawaii. Behold PACOM headquarters at Camp Smith. What you don't see here is that this building is perched on top of a hill overlooking Pearl Harbor, with unobstructed 280 degree views of the ocean. Yeah, I'm bragging a little bit!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday again?!

Yesterday the weather was absolutely perfect and I needed to wander quietly through the forest, so I drove up to Dickerson, MD to my favorite hiking spot: Sugarloaf. It was cool and crisp and the air was all clean after the rain and everything was bright and green. Most of my uncertainty seems to have passed for now and I'm feeling committed to the move. I lay awake all night worrying about my security clearance - lord knows why - don't you just hate when you can't seem to shut off the thoughts in your brain?! So then I blew off my workout this morning - which, waahhh, because I will be stuck with the 5:00 crowd again this evening. I go from being super excited to super anxious all in the same breath it seems. About Hawaii I mean. Because OMG I'M MOVING TO HAWAII. And also? OMG. I'm? Moving. To HAWAII! HAWAII, y'all!

Less than two weeks until I fly out to Kansas to spend some time with Adam's family! The next couple months are going to be a whirlwind!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I was feeling apprehensive and disconsolate yesterday evening. I have so many questions in my heart - am I making the right decision? Is this what I really want? It feels like closing the door on a thousand fates I could live out - what if there is one that would make me happier and more fulfilled? I try to picture myself in the future - 4 months, 4 years, 40 years - what's it like? How do I regard this pivotal moment in my life? Do I think back and say, that was the best decision I ever made? Do I look back and wonder what might have happened if I made a different decision? Do I look back with regret? I feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff. And I've sort of started to slide down the side, but it's not too late to pull myself back up and go back into the forest. If I don't, I'm gonna start falling fast and things will come rushing towards me uncontrollably into the unknown -- but into a certain kind of future.

So as I got in bed, feeling like I needed comfort... like I wanted a glimpse of the future to know for certain this is RIGHT and TRUE and GOOD... I spotted my copy of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and decided to flip it open. It is probably my favorite book of all time. It found me during a difficult time in my life and was like a shining light. I've read it a hundred times and given many copies away as gifts. It never disappoints me:

Letter Four

... I have left a letter from you long unanswered, not that I had forgotten it -- on the contrary: it was of the sort that one reads again, when one finds them among one's correspondence, and I recognized you in it as though you had been close at hand. It was the letter of May 2nd, and you surely remember it. When I read it, as now in the great quiet of these distances, I am touched by your beautiful concern about life, more even than I had felt it in Paris, where everything resounds and dies away differently because of the too great noise that makes things vibrate. Here, where an immense country lies about me, over which the winds pass coming from the seas, here I feel that no human being anywhere can answer for you those questions and feelings that deep within them have a life of their own; for even the best err in words when they are meant to mean most delicate and almost inexpressible things.

But I believe nevertheless that you will not have to remain without a solution if you will hold to objects that are similar to those from which my eyes now draw refreshment. If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance.

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Where'd I leave my grass skirt?

I accepted the job yesterday!!!

I am terrified and excited and completely unbelieving at this point.

Now I have to break the news to my boss. I need to find a good time to do that... when we are not too busy! He is going to be sad, but I think he will understand.

We are getting drenched by Hanna this morning on the west coast. Yes I went over to the gym for my scheduled workout. I was pretty much soaked by the time I got there, and had to slosh around the weight room in wet sneakers!

I'm doing a TT workout called Hot Zone that looks like this:

dynamic warmup
A) split squat / pushup
B) standing 1 arm shoulder press / SB jack knife plank
C) chest supported row / x body mountain climber
intervals on step mill - 6 rounds of 90 seconds hard, 90 seconds easy

I came home and ate a huge bowl of pumpkin and turned on the weather channel to see what we have in store. Evidently this is not even the worst of it. They are now evacuating people in Alexandria due to flooding!

Nevertheless, I am going to go out and brave the weather to get some groceries. It's either that or sit here at home doing nothing!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Decision time

OK, I finally got a salary offer. If I stay in my current job, I will be promoted in January... so while they are offering me 5% more than my current income, it amounts to a pay cut of more than $7,000.

I suppose there are some things money can't buy. Now it's decision time!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Random post for a Wednesday

In the gym this morning, I overheard two different people chatting to their workout buddies about how Sara Palin's 17 year old daughter is pregnant. And one woman was even remarking that that's what happens when you focus so much on politics and aren't home to raise your family! Wha...? Did I hallucinate or isn't this 2008? WHO CARES?! Honestly, I don't think that says anything about her ability to be the Vice President. Plenty of conservative, even religious, stay at home moms have kids who get pregnant or worse! And plenty of parental screw-ups have kids who do just fine and escape their subpar upbringing unscathed. Honestly.

I don't have much to update on, can you tell! I wrote a couple posts, but they bored me to tears so I deleted them.

I'm starting to get a little paranoid because I haven't heard from Hawaii about a formal job offer yet. I've been corresponding with the HR department, sending forms and whatnot, but they say they are waiting to hear about a salary determination and my security clearance and they don't know how long it's going to take! I'm sure it's just bureaucratic molasses, but I can't help but freak out a little inside... what if it doesn't happen, what if something is wrong? What if it just TAKES FOREVER and then it's next year and we might as well have just done nothing because Adam's assignment is almost over anyway!!! Gah!

I almost never give money or talk to the homeless people in DC. Does that make me a terrible person? I was walking on the mall yesterday on my lunch break by the reflecting pool and I ignored this homeless guy. You know how when you walk by, you can feel someone watching you? He said, how are you? And I just ignored him and kept walking. And then he asked me again louder (and I walked quicker). There are a lot of homeless people in DC, which seems crazy because there are so many services here for people. And I feel bad about it, but I also feel like wtf, you know, because sometimes I see homeless people who don't LOOK like they live on the streets and I've heard that you can make a dollar a minute begging on a busy DC street corner! There used to be a lady and guy who begged outside my church in Georgetown and she would sit there on a crate every Sunday and talk on her cell phone! WTF? There's also a homeless guy who sits near Foggy Bottom Metro where TONS of tourists pass through. I overheard him telling a woman one day that he'd been begging there for 17 years! He always looks well-fed and healthy and well-clothed too, even though I do think he lives there by that building. I've seen sad things too - like this total crack-head of a man who used to hang out at the metro near my apartment and then one day I noticed he wasn't in his usual spot... but I saw him later sitting by the bus stop in a hospital gown. Like, with nothing else on, his naked bum was out in the breeze. I haven't seen him since...