If you're wondering...


Starting today, I'll be attending Weight Watchers meetings at work. The Human Resources department at our company has done a great job of continually adding benefits for employees, and one of the most recent additions is on-site discounted WW meetings. The group has been meeting for a couple weeks, and at first I didn't want to go - I track my calories, I'm exercising, everything's cool. But my weight has been going nowhere lately - a .2 drop here, a .6 drop there. I know a drop is a drop, but I also know I haven't been eating as well as I could. And I'm about five pounds away from a huge milestone that I'd like to hit before surgery. So I had a little "come to Jesus!" moment with myself yesterday and decided to sign up and get some accountability. The meetings will last through August - I think there's some sort of 12-week plan - at which point everyone will decide if they want to continue. Here's hoping I see some results.

Speaking of surgery, I've been scheduled for the morning of Thursday, July 20. I have my pre-op appointments at the hospital and with Dr. Tuchler on the 12th. All. happening. so. fast!

After a mere two weeks - half as long as I expected to wait - Dr. Tuchler's office received official approval from our insurance company to schedule my breast reduction. They're going to cover it! Which means that, if the United Healthcare's surgery costs calculator is to be believed, my total out-of-pocket cost will be about $500.

I love just about everything about my life, so I have trouble imagining it getting any better. But it will.

If you're wondering, I'm bitter that Jason won't let me drive the Fit to work every day. Other than that, I'm golden.

It only took a few weeks and clicking on every single link on the State of Colorado's website, but I finally managed to set up a handful of trade names within my LLC. No random trips to Denver with stacks of paperwork, no having to stand in line during horribly inconvenient business hours. no, I was able to do everything online. And for the whopping final cost of SEVEN DOLLARS.

So thank you, State of Colorado - your https://www.chaturbaterooms.com/ website isn't user-friendly, so much, but you sure do make it easy to be an entrepreneur.

My post

There's a man named Stanley who comes to our building every other week to give chair massages to anyone who wants one. They're $16 a pop for 20 minutes, so I'd never signed up. But our project manager (kind of an account executive more than anything) let the department know earlier this week that our boss set up a charge account with Stanley the Chair Massage Man so we could all get free massages. We all immediately swarmed the sign-up list, and I had my massage yesterday, just before lunch. It felt so incredibly good. for about 30 minutes. Then everything immediately tightened up and I was back to being hunched over and cracking my back every few minutes. The dark, painful side of having a large rack.

Our new traffic manager started on Tuesday, and yesterday we all went out to lunch at Bloom, a very hip place at our local mall (can "hip" and "mall" exist together?). It's one of those places with the kind of decor that looks much better at low light levels, for the swanky evening crowd, than it does at midday. I had the ravioli of the day (they have a ravioli for every day of the week!), which was "wild mushroom with [insert foreign word here] meat sauce garnished with [insert foreign word here] cheese." The ravioli was good, although I was the only person who didn't have a salad, and I got to chat with a co-worker who I never get to talk to and, subsequently, have suspected does not like me. It was a pleasant conversation but. I still think she doesn't like me.

I enjoyed the wild mushrooms though, especially because my boss - the VP of Marketing-Creative Services - used them as an excuse to ask me if I was on "'shrooms" for the rest of the afternoon. When I mentioned it to Jason, he said I work with some pretty cool people.

Speaking of my boss - turns out unseen gears are turning and he's spoken to HR on my behalf. They still can't hire me permanently, but they're looking to bring me on as a long-term contractor in a hybrid design/production role. As an assistant manager ON https://www.jasminelive.online/, no less! The downside is that I'll be doing less design work. The huge upside, though, is that I'll be building relationships with all our printing vendors and learning way more than I ever thought I needed to know about pre-press. And that information will be very useful to me. Now I just have to figure out how much, exactly, my lack of benefits will increase my salary requirement. I've heard that benefits can account for anywhere from 10-30 percent of total compensation, but when I tack that on to actual pay - what I'm making now, plus a slight raise - it seems so high. Oh the pressure!

Today we celebrate

I celebrated Texas' big win in the Rose Bowl by having my feet casted.

I met my new (heck, only) podiatrist, Dr. Kassel, at 9 a.m. - 30 minutes later than scheduled thanks to "some bad traffic out of Denver." So much for Jason getting to work for that 10 a.m. meeting. The good doctor looked at my feet, made me stand up, and proceeded to tell me that I had quite possibly the flatest feet he'd ever seen. He said they were so flat that my heels were also rolling in, making me knock-kneed and sending my hips and back out of alignment. I mean, these suckers are flat. Since he looks at feet for a living and therefore had seen quite a large number of them, I happily agreed that yes, they were exceptionally flat, and told him to fix it. You know, so I could do things like walk (or even stand up) for more than an hour without limping, or run for more than a couple seconds without pain shooting up my legs.

Orthotics will help, he told me. I kinda figured as much. I'll never have an arch - so I can still walk barefoot at parties and thrill guests with my ability to touch both inner ankles to the ground simultaneously - but the right orthotics will let me fake it fairly effectively. He went over the required info, letting me know that not all insurance companies cover orthotics (ours doesn't, but we can be reimbured as part of a company "wellness" benefit) and he didn't want us to be surprised by a bill if we were expecting coverage. I told him I enjoy walking and standing, so we'd be up for paying out of pocket if necessary. And with that, he whisked me into the casting room.

The closest approximation of being casted that I have is getting a pedicure. The doctor works with a rigid gauze that's covered in plaster, and the gauze becomes pliable when wet. So he dipped it into a bowl of warm water and then wrapped my foot in it. While the slipper cast dried, Dr. Kassel gently rubbed my foot to make sure the plaster was touching my skin everywhere. It felt quite lovely, and when I mentioned the spa-like effects, he offered to bring in a deli tray and some scented candles. Funny guys, podiatrists. Makes me wonder about the range of foot maladies they see. By comparison, my feet must have seemed like they were crafted of fine porcelain; I even shaved the lower half of my lower legs, suspecting they'd need to roll up my jeans to get a good view (and they did). Since I didn't have to worry about him noticing any hairy man-legs, I was able to relax. I really do think if there had been scented candles I might have passed out.

But the whole thing was over after a few minutes. The casts dried quickly, the nurse came in to pop them off, and in no time I was wiping off stray plaster with a wipe. In 4-6 weeks I'll have custom-made sport orthotics, complete with a neoprene top for comfort, to get my feet in line. They'll get slightly worse before they get better; the doctor told me to wear the orthotics for only two hours on the first day, and he'd be surprised if I kept them on that long. But in a couple months, Veronica can make me run without bringing to mind exotic forms of torture that would be more comfortable. I'm actually looking forward to running, mostly because I've never been able to do it.

Update: Just got home to an answering machine message from Dr. Kassel's office. They called our health insurance provider, and orthotics are indeed part of our benefits. So. that's good. After my recent history with insurance companies (namely the $14K surgery I had six weeks before our wedding that will finally be paid off in August, completely out of pocket), I was incredulous that they'd ever willingly pay for something.

About my flat feet

And just like that, another holiday season has come and gone. I got in some quality vacation time, I spent over a week hanging out with my cool in-laws, and I got some nice schwag under the tree. Cut, print, done.

Traditionally I take my vacation before Christmas and then work between Christmas and New Year's. So it felt a little odd to celebrate Christmas. and then have a whole week left to veg. The short version:

We took Jason's parents to see the Colorado Ballet's version of The Nutcracker. It was lovely and wonderful, and the second half - the part where I lose focus because they go from having an actual plot to just having an excuse for people to dance around in costume - was made much more interesting thanks to some cool display screens in the backs of the seats at the Opera House that gave us "cues" about what was going on in the jasminlive production.

Although we had a list of movies to see, we only made it to two: The Chronicles of Narnia and The Producers. I enjoyed both, but I was distracted during Producers by the overacting of the two leads. It felt like they were still on stage and needed to dial it down a notch for their close-ups.

Together with friends, we went to see the Denver Zoo Lights - a great display of all sorts of lights and decorations mixed with animals. I had a good time, but after three hours of walking, my feet were killing me.

Jason bought me a new phone, and I haven't been able to put it down. It makes fun noises, and I hear a quote from Team America: World Police every time I get a text message. (Don't abuse that knowledge.)

I shopped. A lot.

So now, back to work. Getting up this morning wasn't as hard as I expected it to be, seeing as how I've been sleeping in two hours later than normal most mornings for almost two weeks, but I'm already starting to feel the need for a nap.

Jason's parents were very impressed with my workout regime. And Jason confided in me that he didn't expect me to last this long - I usually fall back to my old habits after a few weeks. But in the past week or so, I've actually begun exercising more. So now I have three days a week at the gym with Veronica, and I do cardio the rest of the week on my own. My clothes are starting to fit better. Feels good.

And Thursday morning I have an appointment with a podiatrist so I can finally get orthotics to correct my flat feet and severe overpronation so I can walk through a zoo for three hours without limping my way out.

Frustrated days

As I was doing leg lifts yesterday, Veronica smacked my tush and told me my butt was looking cute. It's one thing when your husband tells you your butt is slammin', but when your personal trainer comments on it, well. that's special. And there I was, feeling all self-concious because the pants I usually wear to the gym - loose-fitting jersey-knit capri-length numbers - were in the wash so I had to wear my spandex jazz pants. I was a boot cut away from essentially wearing leggings, and my booty looked cute. That hasn't happened in a long time.

As Veronica put it yesterday, I've turned a corner in my weight loss journey. I had been frustrated because, although I'd been working out and eating more fruit and trying to eat less of all the other crap I stuff in my mouth, my weight hadn't really been going anywhere. I'd definitely been building muscle - Jason noticed I was more defined, even under all my flubber - but I'd only lost somewhere in the vicinity of a pound in well over a month. But when I weighed in on Monday, I was down three pounds. Three pounds! Woot! Suddenly, all the internal whining I'd been doing about getting up at 5:30 to trek in the cold to the rec center disappeared. I actually showed up early yesterday to get in some extra cardio. As Tara, my training buddy, said, I was "bustin' a nut."

Even though it's helping jam-pack my days since I see Veronica three times a week, I don't know how well I'd be coping with life if I weren't exercising. The holidays stress me out in a major way, and I've already had a couple little "I'm overwhelmed and I need some help!" breakdowns in the last week or so; Jason tries to avoid looking at me like I'm crazy as he strokes my hair and tells me he can do the dishes. Plus, Jason's had lung troubles this week, so I'm the only one in the house who is functioning on all cylinders (I tried to make the cats do laundry, but Meatwad just sat in front of their dish waiting to be fed, and Boo stuck her tail up in the air and walked off). My in-laws arrive next Wednesday, and I feel like my to-do list isn't getting any shorter. I'm absolutely certain that Jason's parents could care less about the guest bedroom - I could point them to a bed of nails and they'd still make me breakfast the next morning - but I want it to look fabulous so they don't think their son married a slob who can't keep house. And the rest of the house could use some work too - a top-to-bottom cleaning, finishing the outside Christmas lights that we started last week, organizing the garage and basement dumping grounds, taking nine months of recycling to the recycling center. plus Christmas shopping still to be done, and figuring out what to cook for two low-carb eaters when my diet has a food group called "mashed potatoes and gravy." And on top of that I've got some freelance work to finish, plus a big release of some software we're developing at work for which I overhauled the entire UI. Hooray for freelance work! But boo to having so much to do that it's giving me night sweats. At least this month it has paid off - I billed in freelance work the equivalent of a month of paychecks at my day job. And one week from today, I'm officially on vacation. Man, do I need it.