A Precarious Balance

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I run. Not far and not fast. But I run.

I love running through the woods, listening to my audiobook, letting Bella frolic. But there is a precarious balance when it comes to running. Food / water vs. intestinal issues.

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Let me explain. Some people eat before they run, so they have energy. Some people don’t like to eat anything before they run, so they don’t cramp up or feel goop jostling around in their stomach while running. Either way, you face the fear of the running-induced intestinal explosion.

Gross, you say? Real life, I say.

When you run on an empty stomach, the acid churns and can cause gas and cramps. When you run on a full stomach, food bounces with you and you want to throw up. A few bites of something is a good compromise.

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Running jostles your organs. Your organs have to fight against gravity and tighten up to keep you from peeing and pooping all the time. A healthy sphincter = no dribbling. Kegels? Yes.

You may have heard stories of ultimate marathons defeating while running, so as not to stop. This is not a “He should have gone to the bathroom before his run” situation. This is more of a “he has been running for 4 hours and his system cannot contain his innards anymore” situation.

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And while I am not an ultra-marathoner, I often face the troubling gurgle on my 3-5-mile runs and have to make a decision. Run home as fast as possible? Or walk to stop the jostle, but take longer to return home? Sometimes you have few choices and need to call in reinforcements to come pick you up (always run with your cell phone and a loving fiancé at home). When in the woods…. Well, what happens in the woods stays in the woods… and eventually works back into the ecosystem.

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Running… the precarious balance of exercise and bodily functions.

Run on, my friends. But bring your phone.

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Operation: Wedding Dress – Lauren

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Ok, so I went wedding dress shopping with my mother and my 16yr old sister, Emma, on Saturday. Those of you who have ever shopped with me, much less dress shopped, know that it can be…   a challenge. I am not exactly…. good at shopping. As in, I get grumpy and frustrated QUICKLY. Nothing seems to fit me correctly. They oftentimes don’t have my size. ETC. When I am with people who I am less comfortable with, I try to keep it in, but they can see it in my eyes, rising panic and ire. The suggestion of a Starbucks run, decaf coffee and chocolate chip cookie, really helps me get through the attack of fury and then we can continue. 

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So, wedding dress shopping. A tad different.

First of all, wedding dresses are gorgeous and make you look beautiful. However, other issues came up. 

Many dresses have an abundance of puff, fluff, and poof, Cinderella style. And they say, oh we can totally remove some of the crinoline (I learned a new word!), but I’m thinking then the dress will look deflated and sad…. It’s meant to be A-PUFF!

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Heavy = sweaty…

Some of these dresses are heeeeeeavy, like many layers, thick fabrics that don’t “breathe”… and the more you put them on and take them off, the more you sweat. But when searching for the perfect dress, at least you do get to take them off after a few minutes! I could not IMAGINE being entrapped in some of those heat/death traps for hours, and have to smile and look pretty as sweat and makeup dripped down my face. Emma: “But if you get your makeup done professionally you won’t sweat it off.” Correction, Emma, professionals use makeup that stays on, the practically paint you, but it doesn’t breathe, so my pores are screaming out in pain and heat and confusion and finally overflow with streams of sweat anyway. Cute beads, fixable with a dab here and there? NOPE! Full on emergency situation, time to rehydrate, stand in front of the AC vent, drink ice ice ice cold water, and wait for the attack to pass. And then if you don’t look too much a mess or smell too bad, you can return to the party…. 

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The cut…

Trying to both contain the “ladies” and also hide as much of the pudge as possible. Many of these dresses are made to be super tight at the top so they don’t go anywhere when you’re dancing. They insist that if it’s tailored properly you will not need undergarments for support. For those of you who know me…. I am skeptical. By the time that dress would be tight enough to allow me to jump around and dance and by goofy, I will have such an overflow of back being squeezed up. Attractive, right?

Also, the “ladies” don’t like to be contained, they like to be free and try to escape of their own free will.  (Enjoy this.)

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Get a dress with straps, you say? Well, I haven’t seen many. Especially not that are cute and within my modest budget. A few have gorgeous decorative straps, but they’re not there to offer support, they’re totally just there as design.

There’s also the issue of sample size. Wedding dress boutiques tend to have one of each dress, maybe two, and the size is often a midrange, like a 10 or 12, so that smaller people can be clipped into it, and larger people can put it on but not do up the back.   However, there was still one that I couldn’t get over my hips. Put it over your head, you say? We tried, we couldn’t get it over the ladies. It was NOT happening. So, we ended up just holding the dress in front of me and imaging what it will look like on, how it will hug. 

Then there are the women there helping you. There was a lot of nekkid happening. And sweat. And they just keep bring dresses and helping you into them and tying / buttoning / zipping you into them. Quite an intimate job.

By the end of the day, I am pretty sure my mom and Emma and I were all going blind from all the bright white. They all started to look the same. And my hydration level had reached a scary low. It was time to go home and detox from the day. 

This weekend: Round 2.  

 *sigh.

 

For your entertainment: 

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The Dress Stress…and everything else

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Happy Friday!

As you all know, Lauren has asked me to be in her wedding. I cannot tell you how excited and honored I am to be a part of her special day. But, as you can imagine, my fear is brimming just below the surface. What fear, you ask? There are so many.

Most of you by now have probably been involved in someone’s wedding in one way or another. And I know the excitement of that. I also know the horror that wedding attire causes. Have huge boobs? Here – wear a strapless dress. Oh, you “think” you are a size 10-12? Nope – bridal stores fat shame you and make you order a size 24 (WTF????) and pay for “additional fabric.” Um no. Eff you.

HeeHee! I should never have complained about some of the bridesmaid dresses I had to buy and wear - least I did not have to 'do' this wedding party!

Our dear Lauren is sympathetic to all of this. So, being that practical, sweet, understand person, has decided to let us pick out our own dresses from where ever we want as long as they stay within her color wheel. OMG YES. Finally. I kid you not, even typing this I am fist pumping. Someone get over here and give me a high 5.

Here is where my fear starts. I just turned 36. I missed the point in life where I was supposed to learn how to “dress for my body type” and “feel confident” and “know what looks good on me.” I don’t. At all. Our friend Little D is terrific at this. She can walk into a store and know which style, shape, neckline, color, etc. will look great on her. I walk into a store, have no idea, grab whatever and usually buy it in the wrong size. I hear Lauren shouting ‘That is NOT TRUE, KATIE’ from over here. Shut it. It totally is. The husband is a great dresser – even when we go to the gym or do yard work he seems put together. Most of the time I am like – does this zipper work? Does it smell? How many people will I be seeing?

I have started looking at dresses for the wedding. I sat myself down and hopped on the interwebs. OMG CHOICES. They are all so pretty. I LOVE dresses. I love wedding dresses. I love sparkles. I love frills. I LOVE IT ALL. Lauren is going to start wedding dress shopping soon and I told her I would be like rolling around on the floor of the shop amongst the bridal gowns. So fun. So exciting.

But let’s get to the real nitty gritty. I’m often inappropriate. I have self diagnosed myself with Aspergers. The Google definition is “Asperger syndrome is often considered a high functioning form of autism. It can lead to difficulty interacting socially, repeat behaviors, and clumsiness.” Please don’t mistake this as me being mean or insensitive. This is actually so real. In my advanced age, I have actually learned (sort of) to temper this behavior but as Lauren can tell you (or you may have deduced on your own by now…) but it is still so bad. I think things in my head and then I cannot stop my mouth from saying them. I like to think of it as honesty. Being real. Keeping it real. OMG I cannot believe I just typed that. I said it out loud, too. Have you ever seen the Amy Schumer stand up bit about the wedding shower she attended? That is my fear. When you see the pictures of me rocking back and forth in the corner of her showers, know it is because I’m trying to not put my foot in my mouth.

And finally….I’m horrible at taking pictures. So bad, in fact, that the only ones that ever see the light of day are censored by me. EVERY PICTURE I screw up. It’s like I could look so great but the minute that shutter snaps, I blink/sneeze/have wonk eye/look away. Something horrible. It is alarming. Not many pictures get ok’d. Let’s all hope that amongst Lauren’s other friends who are quite put together and perfect, I don’t look like this:

Glamour shots gone wrong. This has been photoshopped. Still funny though.

 

12 Ways to Achieve The Very Best Glamour Shot

 

Cheers!

 

Getting to the core of things

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Last night I took my second body sculpt class. Now, maybe you have read my previous blog about the gym and know that I am trying to get into shape. Well, let’s be honest. I have a “shape,” just not the one that I actually want. How long can I claim it’s baby weight? I’m approaching six years..I say I have about 15 left.

Let’s be honest. Growing a person is hard work. It does some wacky things to your body. Also, cheese.

I hear all of these rumors about your “core.” I have no idea what that is. I know, for a fact, that I do not have a “core.” I should start a support group for folks like me. Each time I have taken this class, the teachers are these really small, fit women who make everything look so effortless. I’m too terrified I’ll drop a weight or have a heart attack or start sobbing to even look around at my fellow class members to see if they, too, struggle like me. These teachers are incredible. Not even a sweat. I’m a mess just dragging out the mats we need. On one hand, I love that they are casually lifting weights while the rest of us are trying not to break our feet after dropping that heavy three pounder. But on the other hand – can you try to look like this is a bit of a struggle for you, too? PRETEND. Make me feel a little better about my plight. But hopefully, the payoff will be that I will be like that one day and the gal next to me will write a blog post about how fit I am and how annoying it is. *fingers crossed*

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Things I learned last night:
1 – I have zero muscles. None. Nada. No muscles.I thought I was going to die. Plank, you say? No thanks, I say. I was almost in tears.And she had us doing these leg inner thigh things and UGH.Why has my body become such a bag of mush?!? Well then, Super In Shape Teacher Lady was like now rock back and forth on your toes. And when i stopped internally screaming and crying, i tried it and then  my “core” almost exploded.
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2 – I noticed on my way out of the gym a girl taking a selfie. People look so stupid doing that in real life. I mean, me at my desk, sure. In the parking lot? No thank you. Send me funny ones? Always acceptable.
 
3 – I had fun. I waited until the very end to tell you that. But it is true.
 
4 – My fantasy that people don’t see me while I’m working out at the gym still rings true. I like to extend the same courtesy to the folks also there working out. I literally have no idea who is doing what or where they are. I’m too busy trying not to sing out loud or cry.
 
Things for you to enjoy today:
 
I have a ton of relationships with people in my head who don’t know that we are already friends. This has created many, many weird situations for me. I’m glad I’m not alone.
 
I may or may not use all of these
 
Random fun fact – I LOVE local commercials. They are so  bad. So weird. I just can’t even with this one
 

Dragons and all their majesty, Part Deux

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Dragons were a large part of yesterday’s conversation. Lauren forgot to include the catalyst behind the creation of said blog…

It was most important for us to partake in Buzzfeed’s “Which Fictional Pop Culture Dragon Are You?” It is very eye opening. I mean, everyone should know that, right? Here are our results:

K: I am, apparently, Toothless. (Clearly the cutest dragon in the world, FYI)

L: BAMF

K: Results: You are one of a kind! People who don’t know you are intimidated by you, but those who do would describe you as a good friend with a sassy sense of humor.

I am eager to see what you get.

L: I got: Norbert from Harry Potter (Super fitting for our HP loving buddy). You’re still working on figuring our who y ou really are. You may look sweet, but there’s a ferocious side to you that you’re not afraid to hide.

K: hahahaha OMG

So now you know.

Katie:

Lauren:

Good day.

 

Dragons in all their Majesty

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Let’s take a moment to discuss dragons… in all of their majesty. Yes. Majesty.

I think dragons are probably my most favorite animal of all times (yes, penguins, I will always love you, but I am not 8 anymore).

Dragons are impressive. They can fly and breathe fire. Depending on the lore you follow, they can live for hundreds of years, “hibernate” and lay in waiting for that epic moment, and they sleep on a bed of gold. Scrooge McDuck would be a great dragon sidekick.

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Pop culture depicts dragons as smart, greedy jerks. They hoard. In fact, when I learned the word “hoard,” the use-it-in-a-sentence sample was about a dragon’s hoard of gold. Thanks Smaug.

My brother, Brian, and I grew up cartoons like Flight of Dragons – 1982 (which is amazing, if you haven’t seen it, voices of James Earl Jones and John Ritter). Here is the preview, if you’re interested. I have a copy and would be happy to lend out. It’s from the amazing cartoon era of the ‘80s that produced The Last Unicorn…. Sigh ….

the_flight_of_dragons_by_ssstawa-d53nunw.pngFlight of Dragons – more cartoony dragons, complete personalities, insecurities, jokes, and cultural stereotypes

My father read us The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings before I was 8 and I grew up just knowing that there were hidden mountains where dragons snoozed for 100s of years on their piles of gold, waiting for a time when they could fly freely again.

And while Smaug might be somewhat evil (I mean, they did wake him from his slumber and try to steal from him – who wouldn’t be cranky… and the fire? I mean, we all have bad breath when we wake up), who wouldn’t want a pet dragon like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon? Again, if you haven’t seen it, so cute, totally worth the watch (Trailer).

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I think dragons get a bad rep. They’re almost always portrayed as evil and snarky. Sometimes they are redeemed through further character development, like Dragon in Shrek (“Look at my little, mutant babies!”). It also doesn’t help that most live-action movie dragons are, let’s face it, LAME. Who remembers Dragonheart? I know, you’re thinking Sean Connery and Dennis Quaid, it should be good, but it was stupid and horrible. Don’t even get me started on Eragon!

Some may not count him, but Falcor, the Luck Dragon (a.k.a. – giant furry dog dragon) from The Never-Ending Story was one of the best dragons ever: loyal, cuddly, cute, searched for you when you fell off his back…

For those of you who didn’t go to college in their early 2000s, and unfortunately didn’t watch Home Star Runner Strongbad Emails – here is a classic short video about a BAMF dragon, called Trogdor: The Burninator.

Disney dragons are extremely diverse and span the years, representing the various stages of 20th century pop dragon culture. From evil soulless demons to be defeated in Sleeping Beauty, and the witch who turns into an evil dragon who must be outwitted in The Sword in the Stone, the goofy, friendly, somewhat druggy dragon in Pete’s Dragon, the small and humorous sidekick dragon, Mushu in Mulan, and then the dragon-like Hydra of Greek mythology in Hercules.

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And then there is the tradition, Chinese Dragon: Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and Chinese folklore. Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it. With this, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength. – Wikipedia

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FYI:

List of dragons in literature – works as early as the Bible and Beowulf reference dragons, though not necessarily in the form we think of today. Middle age stories of knights mention brave men slaying dragon beasts.

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Entitled, Beowulf Against the Dragon– a fearsome beast to be destroyed to protect good from evil

In the early/min 1900s, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein, legendary friends and authors, both featured dragons as beasts of insurmountable majesty and represented powers heroes and heroines had to outsmart or defeat along their journey to greatness, or their path to righteousness.

on_the_doorstep_smaug_the_golden_by_christopherburdett-d5x1ed3Smaug the Magnificent (From Tolkein’s The Hobbit) – a riddle-speaking hoarder to be outwitted and defeated

And then there was Puff the Magic Dragon, because at some point, the ‘60s and ‘70s happened, and everything was about being high. Even children’s cartoons.

And then mid 1900s to today, you’ll see dragons in more “hard-core” fantasy books and movies. They no longer represent a metaphorical struggle characters encounter to face their fears, surmount the insurmountable, etc., they now more literally represent giant lizards who can fly and often bring destruction with their fiery breath.

OB-QS212_pern1_EV_20111123084747The Dragonriders of Pern series, by Anne McAffrey – an entire world and history of dragons

It was onetime suggested to me that I open a museum for children on dragons, the origin, the lore, the adventures, sort of the Museum of Natural History meets Port Discovery. And while I think it sounds great, complete with stories, books, activities, rides, etc… not for me at this time in my life.

I shall leave you with this: “Meddle not in the affairs of the dragon; for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”