Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventures at Home - Meet Ralph.

Not to go all night before Christmas on you, but last night as I lay nestled all snug in my bed, there arose such a clatter. Instead of springing from my bed I just yelled "What the hell?!" (It was 2 a.m. I don't spring out of anything at 2:00 in the morning.)  Turns out, some creatures were stirring and one was a mouse.

For the last few weeks, Gracie has been completely entranced by the area near the stove. She's spent hours staring under the dishwasher. And for the last week, every morning when we wake up, she has opened the cupboard door under the sink. I've been saying it's a mouse but after we looked EVERYWHERE for a sign of one, we chalked it up to a friendly ghost and let the little monster do her thing.

Until last night, as I'm sleeping and I can hear furniture being moved down stairs. My "What the hell?!" was met with "I found the mouse." Tom had gotten up to get some water when our littlest and newest house mate went for a quick run across the kitchen.

Now my first thought was, we've got a cat. She'll take care of this. That's when we learned that Gracie is more interested in playing with a mouse than killing it. She'd chase it throughout the house but if she caught up to it, she'd slow down and just follow closely. Her favorite part about this game of cat and mouse was actually when the mouse would be hiding and she could just watch it. (Which I imagine made the last few weeks the most fun for her. We've actually began to wonder if she's been opening the cupboard door to let her little friend out to play while we're sleeping.)

I will be the first to admit I knew I was going to be possibly the least helpful component of this little battle. I immediately think of Ralph from the Mouse and the Motorcycle and how scared that little bugger must be and honestly he was probably just trying to keep warm, I mean it's REALLY cold outside. But at the exact same time I'm having and expressing those thoughts I'm also SCREAMING that I'd like the mouse removed from my house immediately because EW. (Helpful, no?) So I figured I'd just post up at the top of the stairs. I could watch for it from there and also conveniently bark orders about how I'd go about catching him, you know, if I had the guts to actually try.

This is also when we learn I won't be the LEAST helpful in this equation, that coveted position was (at no surprise to anyone) held by Bella. Having absolutely NOT A SINGLE CLUE as to what everyone was doing, she just wanted to be in on it. She'd chase Gracie around, which would freak her out enough that she didn't want to be near the mouse. She'd sniff around and paw at stuff (which was no where near the mouse but loud enough to make it run scared from whatever corner we had pinned it into) and she tried to get out of every door we had propped open for when we actually did catch it.

Gracie managed to get so freaked out by the combination of Bella and the weapon Tom had been carrying (a lacrosse stick) that she refused to go anywhere near the pile of shoes where Ralph had taken up residence. I found a shoebox upstairs we could use and threw it down to Tom (seriously, I'm not going anywhere near that adorable and disgusting little creature).

So here we are. I'm at the top of the stairs trying to convince Bella whatever is happening down there is not NEARLY as cool as what I've got going on upstairs. Tom's got a lacrosse stick in one hand and a box in the other. Gracie has decided she'll come back over because Tom has a box in his hand and that girl LOVES her some cardboard condos. She's trying to get in the box, Tom's trying to coerce the mouse into his lacrosse stick (because that man is a lover and desperately doesn't want to have to hurt the mouse), I'm screaming and cooing at the fact that it IS really cute and that's so adorable that you're giving him a chance to climb in the stick. Until it moves and I'm screaming bloody murder about how "IF THAT DAMN THING COMES UP THESE STAIRS..."

When Tom finally traps it in the box. I hold the door open with the lacrosse stick, the dog in the house with my foot and thankfully my screaming kept the cat terrified in a corner. After my heart rate returned to a tolerable pace, I said to Tom, "How did you manage to get it in the box?!" To which he responded "I mean, I'm pretty sure it was in there."

"Fuck it, I'm going to bed." I mean, it'll probably ride it's motorcycle straight outta dodge after this hoopla.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Checking in…

…mostly out of guilt. (Kidding! Thanks Rach & mom for the little nudging.)

I was going to start this post by saying that I haven't posted much because I didn't have much to say, but I guess that's not true at all. I just haven't had the mental gumption to string together a bunch of thoughts into a cohesive post. So I've got a list of things I can write about. Today we'll start with work.

I started a new job! I'm officially over one month in and I absolutely love it. It's a much better fit for my personality type (as in, they appreciate my personality type) and the overall vibe in the agency is much more what I hope for out of a workplace. I like fun and I like laughing and so do people here. So you know, that makes work far more tolerable.

Also, I'm back downtown. And while some days I might curse the traffic or the stupid people on the road causing my commute to go from 30 minutes to closer to an hour, I love being back in the hustle and bustle of downtown.

I get to drive over my favorite bridge in Milwaukee every day.

I get to see views like this from my parking spot.

There are views like this from my conference room. 

I get to go on walks through the city and find new buildings to look up at like this.

This job will challenge me in new ways, force me to perform at a more engaged and strategic level and the people here make doing that all the more worth it. Plus they say nice things like this about me. I'm thankful for the opportunities that got me here, but I am already in a much better place professionally and personally having taken this job and finding these people to work with. The mantra here is "We" and it's one that I personally believe strongly in and am happy to find a workplace with a leadership team who believes just as strongly in working together. 

Also they take pictures of me like this. I think I'll keep them. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Surviving the Weekend: Whole30 Edition

On a weekday, where I wake up at home, make a lunch to eat at work and return home for dinner I can essentially pretend there aren't any cheeses/grains/pizzas/beers to be consumed and I'm merely just eating what's available. I can convince myself that spaghetti squash with cheeseless, bread crumbless meatballs are basically the same thing. And when that doesn't work? There's bacon.

But low and behold, eventually a weekend came along and sweet baby Jesus that shit is real. And it is in your face. And basically, I'm sorry I'm not the least bit sorry that I spent most of the weekend sleeping or locked in my home because it's scary out there for a girl trying to avoid eating all things delicious.

Now we're not following strictly and we kind of knew that. September lent itself to being the perfect month to test this out, however we have known all along that September 13th we were having a once in a life time opportunity to go and see Garth Brooks with my parents. And before you go all "Angie, you can be sober for a concert" preachy on me, know this. I can be sober for a concert, in fact I'll do it this Thursday when I see Chase Rice. But I'll be damned if I'm finally going to see Garth Brooks and not raising my cold beer to cheers him as the thunder rolls or we talk about our friends in low places.

I have listened to Garth since I was a kid. I remember my dad playing it out on the garage as he tinkered around on Saturday mornings. The first time I ever performed karoake I was 12 years old, it was the Waukesha County Fair and I belted out "Friends in Low Places" in the best Garth impression I could. I remember my dad telling me, as I grew into the not-so-pleasant teenage years that no matter how angry you are or upset you think you might be with someone, you tell them you love them. Because some day "Tomorrow Never Comes" and you'll wish you had, just like he wishes he and his dad had done. To this day "The Thunder Rolls" can't start playing on a radio without my dad saying "Ooooh, good one!" and cranking it up.

The "Rules" of whole 30 clearly state, if you slip up, you start over. And I get all the science and explanations of why. And I support it. But I also support sane living. If my man needs to indulge in a sandwich to keep from losing his shit, indulge. If Garth comes calling, we're celebrating. We'll call it our own version of figuring out how the hell to eat. 

I have MANY good things to say about whole30 so far, and I look forward to feeling MANY more benefits from it. I have already felt a change in the way I approach food and why I need to change what needs changing. But I'll be damned if I'm not enjoying the hell out of a concert that I've been dying to see for the better part of three decades. We'll be back on the train come Sunday morning.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Whole 30 - Day 4

Alternate title: Why does there have to be a 0 after the 3?

Today is day 4 of Whole30 eating and despite reading all the blogs, I was not truly prepared for day 4. It seems pretty consistent among those brave enough to try before me that day 3 gets a little rocky. The sugar cravings are real, the withdrawal symptoms are real, and dammit I just want pizza. I noticed myself becoming a little bit of a monster last night (WHY CAN'T THE FUCKING PROCESSOR JUST MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE WITHOUT ME GETTING IT ALL OVER THE KITCHEN!?). And by "noticed" I mean, Tom, the nicest man in the whole entire world, finally said to me as we sat down for dinner, "Wow, you're a little on edge tonight." After multiple arm rubs and "honey, it's okay" as I prepped dinner. Mind you, I was prepping fajitas (made them a hundred times) and cauliflower rice (new recipe of the night). I wasn't preparing a formal dinner for 50.

When I thought about doing this, I knew a few things. First, I have never had a surprlus of willpower. Second, I become a BABY when I don't get what I want. So naturally, I figured at some point I'd hit a wall where I would be just a pill. I did not expect that to happen this soon.

So here we are day 4 and I am having a BIG OL' PITY PARTY. I tried to curb it by making something new for breakfast.  A stop at the organic grocery store led to some new apple chicken breakfast sausages so I figured I'd really spice it up. A hash of sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms served with sausage and fried eggs. LOOK! New breakfast foods. Yeah, whatever it was fine and delicious and all.

I hallucinated my coworkers iced black coffee (she's doing it too) as diet coke. The avocado for my fajitas leftover salad was bad. I sat with friends at lunch and pouted through my leftovers while they had Jimmy John's. I actually felt myself drool over a diet coke. I think I've said "I just want pizza" more than anything else to anyone who'll listen. The thing is, 5 days ago, if you had asked me my favorite foods, pizza probably wouldn't have even made the top 3 list. I just want what I can't have.

But, naturally because the science is sound and these people do know what they're talking about, I checked out the Whole30 timeline and would you look at that? Days 4 & 5 are known as "KILL ALL THE THINGS". So I guess I'm right on track!

Up next? Our first weekend following Whole30. (Alternate title: What the hell do you do for 2 days where you can't eat out anywhere/drink all the booze?)

Mostly Whining with Minimal Information

It took me a while to come up with some god forsaken title that didn't include whining so then I just decided to call this blog post what it is, whining with some tid bits of information.

On Tuesday 9/2 I decided, along with the support and participation of Tom and a couple friends, to give this Whole30 thing a try. I had read about Elisa and her husband doing it, had heard of a couple other bloggers giving it a go, and after putting on some substantial new boyfriend weight mixed with a diet of "eat whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want" I decided it was time to do something drastic.

Basically, Whole30 is a 30 day cleanse of your body to rid it of processed foods, added sugars and any remnants from dairy, gluten, grains, booze, etc. Throughout the 30 days you can have meat, vegetables, some fruits and sauces made with whole ingredients not a part of the "no" list. The idea is that you get used to what your body feels like when it's fueled only with things actually fueling it. Then, you slowly reintroduce those non-approved food groups and observe the affect they have on you. The science is sound and the reasoning all makes sense. I "bought" into it.

So we set a date. We emptied the house of non-approved foods, made a trip to Costco (and Trader Joe's, and the grocery store and organic grocery store) and stocked up on the necessities to make it through. I read blogs, forums, and books. I learned all there was I could learn before officially starting to make it as easy a possible.

As of today I am 3 days into it and have already noticed some observations. Obviously, there's a long way to go...but I figured I'd document these while I'm at it. Mostly because I"m already kicking myself for not taking measurements/weight before I started. But I also said (repeatedly) this wasn't about losing weight or external changes, it was internal changes I needed to make for my healthy body. (blah, blah blah.)

Observations of a positive nature:
  • I am fuller, longer. I, as the suggestions instruct, eat a protein packed breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. Rarely am I noticeably hungry by lunch time. 
  • I eat a TON more vegetables than I was previously. 
  • The first two nights I had horrible sleep, but by last night I was out like a light, stayed asleep and woke up before my alarm this morning feeling rested and awake. 
  • I feel noticeably less bloated and "ick" after I eat. Admittedly, prior to this I was eating just terrible for you things but I constantly felt just uncomfortable after eating. It wasn't always a sick feeling, but I definitely felt uncomfortable.
  • You can cook real, whole foods in minimal time with minimal effort. Sure, it looks like a hurricane tore through your kitchen and you produce more garbage than you thought possible, but you CAN cook real food without spending hours preparing and cooking.
 Observations of a different nature:
  • Sugar cravings are real and you WILL feel the affects of not having any. Mostly in the form of headaches.
  • You will be constantly shocked at how many things have added sugar. Don't believe me? I dare you to find a pack of bacon without sugar listed in the ingredients.
  • You will probably start to feel disdain for people who get to eat whatever they want. Despite you choosing this and knowing you too could eat whatever you want, you will be angry at them. In these times, cling to the fact that you feel good! You're really doing it!
  • Football is hard to watch sober. 
So here we go, Whole30 (why can't it be 7 or 14 or even 21...)

Friday, August 29, 2014


I got Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink on CD from the library this week in hopes of filling the commute to and from work with something slightly more fulfilling. In the past I've had a hard time concentrating when audiobooks are playing. I get distracted and all of a sudden realize I don't know when I stopped listening and have to rewind until I can find where I last recall hearing the information. Not surprisingly, the same thing happens when I'm reading a book but it's slightly easier to just backtrack with words than sound.

The whole concept of the book is the "power of thinking without thinking" and how we are pretty much hardwired to make accurate and sound decisions in a matter of seconds, despite feeling like for most decision (specifically the big ones) we need months, folders of research and opinions of many.

In hearing Malcolm talk about this power we have but rarely use, our intuition, I realize I've been "blinking" my whole life. See, when I'm presented with a menu I panic. Too many choices. What if I like the burger but the garlic aoili isn't right? Do I want chips or fries? Is the ranch dressing super watery because then I want the vinaigrette. I will agonize over my decision. Second guess it the second the waiter walks away. Look at everyone's meal as it arrives wishing I would've ordered what they did. In the end, I've never had a decision about a meal kill me, so it's interesting that I stress that much about such an insignificant decision.

But when it comes the big ones, the ones that matter, the impacting, life-altering choices? I've made most of them in an essential "blink". I know I've touched on it before here. I only applied to one college. My house was the only house I walked through before placing an offer. I decided to look for a new car, test drove one and bought it that afternoon. Tom and I met and less than two months later I'm pretty damn sure about this one. The big stuff, I go with my gut and I just KNOW.

Now, the people in my life might not always love the fact that I go full force, balls to the wall with such big things. On occasion they'll encourage me to think a little longer. Mom forced a visit to UW-Madison so that I'd have at least visited another school. Dad insisted you can't put an offer on the first house you see. They both came to see the car before I bought it. However, in all these instances, they agreed (after trying to do more calculated and careful consideration) that I was right. It was a solid decision.

Given this, I've been entirely fascinated by Gladwell's book. Learning that perhaps I'm not just making rash decisions without regard for logic. That our subconscious knows things well before our conscious picks up on them and that more often than not, that subconscious decision is right. Now if only my subconscious could start making meal decisions!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Alright already! (aka More About Tom)

I get it, my loyal fanbase (a whole three people deep) are begging for a blog post. It turns out, being in love has changed a few things for me and apparently not knowing how to blog is one of those things. (Can anyone say "apparently" without thinking of this kid anymore? I love him.

Last night, while being texted from one of said loyal fans all the way from China, I promised I'd write a "Meet the Tom" post. And while I feel about 20% ick about the fact that I'd write this, I'm here to please the people. Some of you have already met Tom and he's gotten an overwhelmingly high approval rating. Take note 2016 presidential candidates, this guy has hit home runs with almost every category of people in my life. Internet strangers? Love him. Family? Texting him without including me already. Nephew? Calls him Tommy. Longlasting and typically harsh critic best friends? Asked if we could keep him. Bella and Gracie? They can't keep their paws off him. He's just really doing well in the polls.

But for those of you who haven't met him, or those who have but didn't ask all the questions you wanted to because you were trying to play it cool. Here's some more about that man who stole my heart and makes it burst with happy on a pretty much daily basis.

Tom and I met on Tinder which is ironic because I was basically it's biggest opponent and waxed poetically and frequently about how freakin' stupid the app was, how it was OBVIOUSLY only for hookups and how you'd never find someone actually interested in getting to you. And, because the universe is hilarious and loves to mess with me, I met this amazing man there. I get it, Universe, you win.

He quickly has become my best friend and fully ingrained in my life. He's been just a real trooper as I threw him into the lion's den of friends, coworkers and family. I mean, truly. He met my parents ONE day after he met me. I had plans to go to Summerfest with them but we both really wanted to keep seeing each other's faces. My mom, being my mom, was all, "OMG, CAN TOM COME TO SUMMERFEST!?" and I was all, "What's one sure fire way to make a man who likes you run for the hills?? OH, I know, introduce him to your parents before your first date is even officially over! LET'S DO IT!" But friends, it's with the biggest smile on my face that I inform you, this man does not scare easily. He came with, they loved him, he loved them, and I basically spent the entire time not trying to cry because HOLY SHIT ALL THESE PEOPLE I LIKE ARE LIKING EACH OTHER THE SAME INAPPROPRIATELY HIGH LEVEL THAT I AM.

I've even tried to completely overwhelm him via a very special tactic I like to call "The Inquisitive Six Year Old." Within 15 minutes of meeting him, my nephew started calling him "Tommy" (through no suggestion of anyone else) and was barking out orders. "Tommy, come swimming with me. Tommy come throw me in the pool. Tommy, quit playing in the deep end, I'm not allowed over there." Not long after his demands, Joey followed up with all the questions. "Are you married? Are you going to get married? When you marry Angie will you be my uncle? Do you guys live together? Do you stay at her house?" All of these endearing inquisitions within ear shot of my parents. Just what every man hopes for! They've since become best friends. We've survived our first sleep over and full day zoo trip with the little man and well, if this picture doesn't simultaneously explain their relationship and also melt your heart into a thousand little pieces, I certainly won't find words to do so.

Beyond the family, he's met and spent time with some of my favorite coworkers turned friends. Including some incredibly loud lunches, a first experience at a county fair and some random nights out. Last weekend we went to a concert and all of a sudden he handed me his beer. Not paying attention I took it only to look back a few minutes later to see him twirling an enthusiastic Beatles lover around on the dance floor as the Polyphonic Spree covered "Live and Let Die". Again... my heart? THOUSANDS of little pieces all over the floor.

He's survived a weekend at Silvercryst with a bunch of strangers. He's met tipsy, drunk and hungover Angie, and still claims to love all three. We've spent a full week together and still like each other. We've traveled and enjoyed hours in the car. We've cooked and cleaned and grocery shopped and every single one of them feels like so much fun when he's around. I've met his mom, he's met my entire family and almost all of my closest people (MN friends, we're comin for ya soon!). His things keep trickling in to my home and I can't wait for them to just all be there. It's fast, I fell hard, but after three years of singledom and wondering if this was even in the cards for me, I'm taking it for what it is. A wonderful man with a big ol' heart who loves me for me and wants to spend just as much time with me as I do with him.

Whew, just all the swooning.