Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Accidental Detox Weekend

As noted in my previous post, this past weekend was a vacation. We left Thursday night after work and traveled to St. Louis. We spent the night with Mr. Goofy's parents and they kept Goofy Junior for the weekend. We headed off Friday morning to Missouri Wine Country.

My intent was to relax, de-stress, enjoy the company of some friends, eat well, drink some wine. As usual in the Goofy world, my plans got derailed.

Oh it started out well. Mr. Goofy and I landed at the Augusta Brewing Company for a microbrew and lunch. Mmmmm....I had a German-style Maibock beer. It was delicious. The lunch was not so great, but it was Friday afternoon at a place that really doesn't get busy until the 'true' weekend - Friday night - Saturday night. Our friends met us there and we proceeded to our first winery of the day.

So we are standing there at the first winery, sipping away, and I start to get the cold sweats. My stomach does a great big double roll and I get the shakes. This was WAY too early in the wine tasting to be anywhere near drunk (especially since I was pacing myself), so I was confused. I excused myself and went outside to sit down. It helped enough to get me to the next winery.

The next winery was awesome! Very cold inside, great wine, great hosts. As we were standing there sipping some yummy wine, I looked over and saw a Coke machine. Gads! Could it be Diet Coke withdrawl that I was going through? Still!!?!? It had been almost two weeks since I quit. But I couldn't think of another reason. But I was feeling better, so I plodded on.

Our last winery of the day was a small, out of the way place. The owner was this 70-year-old character, that took us downstairs to his cellar to taste some wine not even out of the stainless steel barrel yet! He talked our ears off, but we loved every minute of it. This guy had first tried making wine many years ago, and said it was "horrible. You could have cut it with a knife." But instead of giving up, he enrolled in UC-Davis to learn how to make wine. Years later, he is pulling in medals left and right for his wines, and selling out each bottling.

I should have been loving this experience, but I had this nagging ache in between my eyeballs, that was becoming hard to ignore. Since it was around 6:00pm (closing time for the wineries), we headed off in search of our B&B. We took a few 'detours' (we got lost) and finally made it there around 7:00pm.

At this point, I felt on the verge of death. I had two searing hot knives stuck in the corners of each eyeball (at least it felt like it) and my stomach was doing the wave. I couldn't decide whether my head or my stomach was going to implode first. I barely made it upstairs before passing out on the bed. A very worried Mr. Goofy did what he could until Grouchy Me told him to "get out!", so he went to dinner with our friends.

I re-surfaced around 9:30pm, feeling like I had slept about 20 minutes (in actuality about 2 hours!) and the headache was gone. I still felt very shaky but managed to eat some dinner that Mr. Goofy (Oh-Boy-Do-I-Love-Him!) brought me back from the home-made fried chicken place.

After all that, the next day I bounced out of bed and rode my bike 23 miles on the KATY trail.

So, did I detox the Diet Coke? Did I get a bad sandwich at lunch? Did I get really, really carsick? Spectulation ensued, but I don't think I'll ever know. I'm just happy to be back in the land of the living. And still aspartame-free!

NOTE: While surfing around for a link for the word "aspartame" (and trying to figure out how to actually spell this word), I found a plethora of links to sites about "aspartame detoxification" and "aspartame kills". Damn! Who knew!?!?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Learn Something, Dammit

While I traipse off to Hermann, Missouri for the weekend - home of many fine wineries, well, many fine wineries, here's my favorite Site du Jour:

The Word Detective

I found this site while trying to explain to someone the meaning of being a "pollyanna". We have a joint friend that's always getting herself into a pickle because she assumes that everyone, including strangers, are always looking after her best interest, instead of their own. I was beginning to think I had imagined this term, until I found it on this site.

It's good stuff for you if you're a logophile (lover of words) or a bibliophile (book lover) or glossophile (you really dig languages).

And if you love knowing the words for folks that love specific things, go here.

Feel smarter yet?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Brain Dead Goofy

I've lost half my brain! No, not my real electronic brain (aka my PDA). For about the last six years, I've used some sort of Personal Digital Assistant. I recently upgraded to the Treo 650.

My Treo 600 finally bit the digital bullet, so I got the 650. Upgrades on these things are always painful, so I was already gritting my teeth and crossing my fingers as I diligently uninstalled my old software, installed the new, and fired up the synch. Would my data come over to the new device? Would it stubbornly refuse to move? Would it vaporize into never-never land? Oh, the suspense...

As it turned out, everything synched perfectly... except for my calendar. One problem: the calendar is the main thing I use on my PDA. Anytime of the day or night, I can whip out my PDA and check my lunch plans, er, I mean my important business meetings.

So I called Sprint. They worked with me a while, then told me to call my company help desk. They worked with me a while, they decided a live person (let's call him Neo) actually needed to come take a look. Neo came and was very optimistic. "We'll get you going in no time!" he said. I had to love his attitude. I should have known better.

So after two days of Neo popping in and out of my life, disrupting my work flow, he finally discovered the problem. "Hey! You've got like six years of calendar on this thing!" (this said like I had been testing him this entire time or something). "You've blown up your account on the Outlook Exchange server. That's why things don't work."

"Er. I'm an information junkie," I admitted. "I need all that info. You never know when someone might ask me for the date of that Hatha Yoga class I took back in 2001. C'MON MAN...I GOTTA HAVE IT!" (this was followed up by much whining and groveling on my part to PLEASE NOT LOSE MY DATA). And so....

I lost my data.

Well, to be truthful, I only kinda lost my data. All six years of goodness are on my desktop computer, at work, not very portable at all. And I now have only a paltry three months of calendar on my PDA. I can almost remember that much stuff...what good is that?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Sweet Life

I'm on my FOURTH DAY of no Diet Coke. I read a convincing article that talked about how the artificial sweetener in diet drinks (aspartame? saccharin? whatever it is nowadays) makes you used to the extra-sweet taste, so that you actually crave sweets more than normal. After reading this, and knowing how much I crave sweets on a daily (okay, okay...HOURLY) basis, I thought I'd try a week without Diet Coke.

This is no small endeavor. I drink DC all day long. I manage to not start until after lunch, but lunch is usually a QuickTrip 305-ouncer, which I suck down by 2:00pm and refill from the cans of DC I keep in the work fridge.

I started on Sunday. Even after much coffee, I quickly ran out of energy. Fortunately, Mr. Goofy needed a trip to the hardware store and took Junior with him, so a nap ensued. After that, I felt pretty good.

Monday was tricky. The bad news was: I keep a 12-pack of DC in the work fridge. The good new was: There was only one left! So even if I fell off the wagon, I would only fall 12 ounces. Monday was also very stressful, but I managed to persevere.

Tuesday morning a headache struck. Keep in mind...I'm still drinking just as much coffee, or more, so I doubt that this was a caffeine withdrawl headache. It was a Diet Coke withdrawl headache! How scary is that!? But I kept on keeping on...

Today went well. I realized today that I haven't had any cookies, cakes, donuts, pastries, cinnamon crunch bagels, or anything sweet other than fruit since I started my little "experiment". It just hasn't sounded good. I repeat: HOW SCARY IS THAT?!?!?

This realization is especially scary. I am the sweet tooth extraordinaire. My nickname after two months in my new department was "Donut Queen". Every roommate I've ever had has gained weight after living with me more than three months. It's something I've just grown used to.

I'm optimistic about the rest of the week. We have a picnic Thursday night, so I'll probably stick with water (or beer). Friday we are going to The Yard House with some friends, so it would be rude to not drink beer, right? Then Saturday we have our company picnic, so I'll try to stick with water, as much highly-competitive volleyball, badminton and horseshoes will certainly ensue. After that, we go to a three-year-old's birthday party, where there will hopefully be some adult bevs for the parent-types.

So, ding, dong...the Donut Queen is dead. Love live the Beer Queen. Oh wait...maybe this isn't such a clever idea...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Potty-Training Gods Be Damned!

Okay, the coast is clear. I think. I can blog freely about this without pissing off the Toddler Potty-Training Gods. Here goes...

It's been almost two months since Goofy Junior has been potty trained. Or rather, since he potty trained himself. Yes, you heard that right. Here's the scoop.

The day before his third birthday, we got a note on his Daily Activity Sheet. "Alex told me he didn't want to wear his diaper today. He had an accident at 11:30am. Bring extra underwear and we will try again."

Okay, lest you think my boy was running around daycare commando, let me clarify that since Grammie Goofy bought him several pairs of underwear (f'ing Bob the Builder, no less), he had requested to wear said underwear every day. So we put them over his diaper. We're no dummies.

We weren't ready for a potty-trained boy. I've seen potty-trained boys in Target grab their crotch while their moms are in the midst of power-shopping at the exact opposite end of the store as the bathrooms. Ugh.

I wanted the freedom of the diaper. The freedom to take a long car ride without stopping for Junior's bladder. The freedom of grocery store, library and restaurant outings without needing to accompany Junior to the restroom, help him "perch" on the giant toilet seat, before deciding, no, he doesn't really have to go. Then watching in horror as he hops down and opens the sanitary napkin disposal box. Eek! Where's that hand sanitizer!?!?!

Anyway, the following day, Wednesday (his birthday), he informed us that he was simply not doing the diaper thing anymore. After much whining (from Mr. Goofy & I), we caved. We sent extra pairs of underwear to school and expected the worst. We were so accidents! Then Thursday - no accidents. Then Friday - no accidents. Then (uh-oh!) the weekend. Now we had to deal with this potty-training gig. But we passed with flying accidents. I think I asked him every fifteen minutes if he had to "go".

Thinking that we had somehow raised a genius (since he is adopted, we can't really take genetic credit for this), we mentioned it to our peditrician at his visit a few weeks later (and still no accidents). She said, "Yeah, that happens a lot". HUH!?!?!? WHY DID NO ONE TELL US THIS? She also said, "A lot of times, kids just know when they are ready." WTF?!?!

All those books with all those methods for "potty learning", "early potty training", "painless potty training". Stickers. Charts. CIA-like bribery methods. All that fucking pressure!!!!! On the kids AND the parents. WHY?!?!?

After discussing this with several other parents, it hit me. The "do nothing" method does not sell books! Stickers, charts and CIA bribery methods do. Parents want their kids to succeed. To excel. And hell, yes, we want to brag about them succeeding and excelling, too. I'll be the first to admit it.

I'm not really sure how to conclude this other than to just get the word out. If you darling-dear is not seeming to "get" the potty training thing, RELAX. WAIT. Give them the tools they need (underwear, little potty seat/chair, etc.) When they are ready, they will make their move.

And you'll save a lot of stickers.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fuck up - Follow up

My horoscope said, "You should try working from home or off-site if possible." Did I listen? Noooooooooooo. Should I have? Yessssssssss.

My day started with a tech coming to look at my computer. I got a new Treo 650 last week and was able to synch everything with Outlook...except for my calendar. What do I use most on my Treo? Bingo! My calendar. It's like the other half of my brain. I never remember what appointments I have, day to day, because they are securely stored in my Treo, at arm's reach any time, day or night. But not anymore....

Anyway, the techie guy comes, confidently clicking away for the first while. Then he calls an co-techie to come and look. Co-techie helps, then leaves. Original technie needs help again.

Final result: I still cannot synch with my Treo AND I've lost all my personal folders in email. Only three years of work. !!!!! I'm not totally freaking out, because I think (hope!) they are on the email server somewhere. Crossing my fingers here, folks.... I also can't add or update anything on my calendar, unless I do an export of the entire thing afterwards. I could explain why, but it would put you all to sleep, so I won't.

I finally decided to follow-up on the Russia/China adoption mix-up saga. Read this first if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I called the local CIS office (aka the Immigration Office), earlier this week, and found out that, since I didn't have a "case number" I would have to call the National Customer Service line. I called the Customer Service line today, made many selections via the menus and was told to expect "a 10 to 15 minute wait". No problem, I wanted some answers. After 30 minutes, I was told to call back to the local office. Arg!

This time, somehow I got through to a Real Live Person at the local office. Score! Unfortunately, she couldn't give me any answers. I explained the situation, that we had paperwork in to adopt a boy from Russia and had gotten a confirmation letter from China, then gave her some key bits of info. She asked, "are you adopting 1 or 2 children?". Huh?! How is this pertinent? Yeah, lady... I'm adoption one from China and one from Russia, and I just forgot. Silly me! It's not like I'm Angelina Jolie or something! Actually, I don't think she knew what else to ask.

She put me on hold several times, then came back and said that they had somehow verified that they had cabled Russia with our paperwork, but would cable them again and make sure they knew it was Russia, not China. We would be notified with any details they got back.

Not sure if this puts me at ease or not. We will probably end up getting two kids. Both from China. And both girls. Gah!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Supersized Me

I realized this afternoon that so far today, I've eaten all my meals at McDonald's. I was in a rush this morning, so I did the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit drive-through for breakfast. Then I was running late over lunch, so I did the Double Cheeseburger (plain, please) and Supersize Diet Coke for lunch.

I realized my McMistake as I visited the bathroom yet again this afternoon. It seems that (how to put this nicely?) McDonald's puts a lot of "fillers" in their food. How's that for TMI* for ya?

I should have driven an extra block and gone to Whole Foods for a nice slice of Grilled Veggie Pizza. But by the time I would have driven there, parked the car, gone in, order said slice of pizza, waited for guy to heat it up in the brick oven, grabbed bottle of tea, paid, and gone back to car...I would have been late.

What a shame that decisions like these are based on time. What a shame that we pay the price with our health. Or our weight.

It's easy to make up for one day, but I know folks that do this a LOT. And pay the price.

Luckily, my schedule has eased up this evening, so I plan to pop over to Whole Foods and get a slice of the aforementioned pizza. Yum. Time to stop and smell the pizza!

*TMI = Too Much Information