Princess travel day

I’m currently sitting in the Houston airport waiting for my connecting flight to Orlando. It’s been a multi-hour layover already, which allowed me to eat an egg sandwich, buy a couple of products from Kiehl’s (I forgot to pack body lotion), and contemplate ordering a milkshake from Potbelly. Also, it means I have time to sit here and write a little something. Even though there was an empty middle seat next to me on my flight from Orange County this morning, there still wasn’t enough room for me to comfortably use my laptop. And that was in a United Economy Plus seat. Fortunately, the plane was incredibly empty so I could relax a bit more than usual. I decided to watch “Jojo Rabbit” to pass the time, but it turned out to be much darker and more disturbing that I expected. Really only the first fifteen minutes of the movie were the comedic romp that the trailer promised. The rest was very unsettling. I wish I had queued up “Frozen,” or at least stuck with CNN while inflight. Current events are upsetting enough without adding fictional angst to the mix! If I was trying to make better use of my free time, as I alluded to in my previous blog post, I would have opted to read a book instead. The fact that I didn’t should tell you all you need to know about my progress on that front. I’ve been wasting just as much time while off social media as I did before my break this month. But that’s a story for another post.

I’m headed to Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. (Like since my previous trip in January 2019.) Unfortunately I’m not in satisfactory shape to run the half marathon itself, but I’ll still be participating in the 5K and 10K. I haven’t done much running in the past year or so and I really miss it. My endurance just isn’t what it should be anymore, but I am still going to enjoy running at Disney World this weekend, even if it is only the shorter races. The weather is mostly going to cooperate too. It’s hot in Orlando today, but there’s a cold front coming through sometime tomorrow so Friday and Saturday are going to be lovely. By my standards, at least. I’d much rather be cold than hot, especially while running. However, I didn’t think to check the latest forecast before I left for the airport this morning, and that means I only brought a medium-weight hoodie with me. There’s a possibility I’ll have to buy something warmer if we really do get a couple of days with highs in the 50s and 60s. Not that I mind shopping at Disney World. I’ll look around the race expo in the morning to see if there’s a jacket or sweatshirt that I can’t live without. I only brought my small suitcase with me, though, so I can’t go too crazy. There was a little free space in there when I zipped it up this morning, but not much!

I’d better get going so I can find the gate for my flight to Orlando. I’ve been camped out in a quiet corner of IAH for the past hour so I could write this post without worrying about a whole crowd of people reading over my shoulder. I’m sure this description of my travel day would bore them to tears, but I’d still rather have a little privacy if I can find it. It’s funny how quickly I penned this post, considering how much time and brainpower it usually takes me to craft something that I feel is worthy of publishing. I definitely overthink my blogging at times. OK, most of the time. Funny enough, I have a copy of The Artist’s Way in my backpack which I’ve been dying to read. I’m hoping to find a few creative strategies that I can implement to improve the quality and volume of my writing. Since I probably won’t be able to use my laptop on the plane, I’ll crack the book open on my way to Orlando and see what wisdom I can glean. It’s sure to be a better way to pass the time than watching “Jojo Rabbit!”

Social media break

As January came to an end I wasn’t feeling very well. After a week of more physical activity than usual my energy level was incredibly low, and I spent a lot of time on the couch. During this prolonged rest period I realized that I was nearly always scrolling through content on one social media platform or another. Now, I’m not young or hip enough to hang with the cool kids on Snapchat or TikTok, but I am a heavy user of Facebook and Instagram. I generally prefer to post photos more than anything else, which makes Instragram my favorite app, but I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. Not only old friends that I made long before social media existed, but also friends I met through social media. And I have been known to argue with misogynistic jerks on Twitter from time to time. (Now that I think of it, I’ve been argumentative on every platform. I’ve even been blocked by a few accounts for pestering them with crazy stuff like acceptance and equality. Some nerve, huh?) Basically, given an internet connection, I can waste time like a pro. The real problem is that I have absolutely nothing to show for all those hours on my laptop and phone.

Reflecting on my downtime over the last two weeks I realized that I should have been participating in an activity that was actually fulfilling – like blogging (hello lovely readers!), reading, making videos, uploading photos (I’m so far behind on Flickr), or even picking up cross-stitch again. You know, basically anything except staring at a screen like a brainless zombie. To see what I could do to turn the tide, on January 31st I decided to take a social media break during the month of February. I logged off Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that evening hopeful that this would allow me to refocus on endeavors that are productive in one form or another. (Plus, the cumulative effect of social media on my psyche has always been unfavorable, so getting away from it for a while should be beneficial.) I read a few books towards the end of 2019 about forming positive habits and finding time for creative endeavors, and now it’s time to put some of those ideas into effect. First up, my blog. I always lament the state of it when I don’t post as often as I’d like, so I’m going to use a large portion of my reclaimed free time for writing. I get a good deal of satisfaction out of this creative expression, even if no one else reads it. I’ll never be a career blogger or anything like that, but I’d like to write something meaningful from time to time. That’s going to take practice. We’ll see what I can about that do over the next four weeks.

Someone stole my Disney magnets!

When I went back to work on January 2nd I was excited to get back to my routine, but I was also a little bit nervous. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to handle the increased activity, even just working part-time. Fortunately my four hours went smoothly that day (I even remembered my computer password) and I left that afternoon feeling pretty good. On my way home I had to swing by the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions (I take so many now). As walked out of CVS I noticed that something was awry. Two of the magnets on the back of my car were missing. I stood there in shock for a minute because I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the situation. Someone had swiped my Disney Premier AP magnet, and also my special Halloween edition Disneyland AP magnet (see above photo). This was extremely upsetting. I wasn’t 100% sure if the theft happened while I was working or the during the few minutes I spent inside the pharmacy, but I find it unlikely that anyone at work was to blame. The most likely scenario is that the time my car was in the CVS parking lot allowed a thief to brazenly remove two magnets off my car. Luckily they didn’t want my Florida Gator magnet so that one remained in place. Small mercies. Fortunately I had a replacement for the Premier AP magnet at home , but I went through a lot of trouble to get that Halloween magnet in the fall!

I never got around to blogging about it (not yet, at least), but I went to the Disneyland Halloween Party with my BFF and her family on September 29th. Needless to say, we had an amazing time. The party was moved to California Adventure park in 2019 so a lot of things were different, but we still really enjoyed ourselves. The location change meant that I wasn’t able to hit the location inside Disneyland park where the limited edition Halloween AP magnets were being distributed. Luckily we had already planned to spend the night in Anaheim after the party (a Friday night) and go to Disneyland the next morning. My energy level was particularly low that Saturday, and I was pretty much ready for a nap after three hours at the park, but I was determined to get a magnet. From what I saw online it was a hot commodity amongst annual passholders. Shortly before I went home I swung by the Star Wars Launch Bay, stood in line, and acquired my very own Halloween AP magnet. Success! Since I’ve had that magnet proudly displayed on the back of my car. Well, until January 2nd, at least. I’m glad I have photographic evidence that I owned one of those babies, if only briefly. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but still mildly infuriating. I’m sure I could get another magnet one on eBay, but I don’t want to spend money on something so insignificant right now.

Funny enough, when I got home the evening of the magnet theft I wrote a Facebook post about the incident, and several of my local friends commented that this had happened to them as well. I had no idea there was such a rash of Disneyland AP magnet thefts in Southern California. I guess it is a ridiculously easy thing to steal, but I’m not quite sure why. False prestige? Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout for something new to replace the Halloween magnet this year. Or maybe I should just put it on my fridge instead? At least it would be safe there!

Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving Eve
I was still on medical leave over Thanksgiving and I was struggling with fatigue, like always. But the day before Thanksgiving I had a full schedule of things to do so I couldn’t stay home and nap. First of all, I had a rheumatologist appointment in Pasadena. Having to drive that far the day before a major holiday wasn’t ideal, but it was the only time I could get an appointment before December. And to make things worse, it was raining. Adding precipitation to already busy freeways is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately it only took me an hour to get to my doctor’s office Pasadena, which is pretty average. (The first photo above was taken from the parking lot when I got there. The storm made the foothills very picturesque.) Things got crazier afterwards, though. I needed to pick up my OC Turkey Trot race packet in Laguna Hills which, if you’re unfamiliar with Los Angeles geography, is nowhere near Pasadena. Plus, it was still raining. That drive took me 1.5 hours because I was on the road with everyone trying to leave town for the holiday weekend. The race bib and shirt pickup process was a breeze, but then I was faced with another long drive back home. I spent nearly 4 hours driving that day, but I got everything done that I needed to. Including going to boot camp class at 8 PM.

Thanksgiving Day
OC Turkey Trot day! And it was still raining. Had I not committed to driving some ladies from my running group to the race in Irvine I would probably have stayed in bed. Even though I had paid to run the 5K I would have had zero qualms remaining warm and dry inside my house that holiday morning rather than venturing out into the winter storm (by LA standards only). I crossed all of my fingers and toes that it would be merely sprinkling by the time we arrived at Irvine College for the race, but I didn’t get that lucky. It was not only raining fairly heavily, but it was also cold and windy. So while the other ladies in my carpool braved the inclement weather to earn their medals, I chickened out and stayed in my car the whole time! I was a little disappointed in myself for bailing, but I knew I would have been miserable running without any proper rain gear.

My plan for the rest of Thanksgiving was to go to my happy place. You guessed it – Disneyland. So after I got home from the turkey trot, showered, and packed an overnight bag, I drove to a hotel in Anaheim to spend the next two days. Surprise, surprise, it was still raining. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when we get much-needed rain in Southern California, but it was seriously impacting my holiday. Before leaving my house I put on my circa 2010 rain coat only to discover that it is too small. Ugh. Like I needed another reminder that I’ve put on weight lately. Since I couldn’t zip it up I got pretty soaked walking from my car to my hotel room with my backpack and duffel bag. I was completely fed up at this point and had no desire to leave the room again that night. The rain still hadn’t stopped so I blew off my dinner reservation at Disneyland and ordered room service instead. About 20 minutes later I got a call to tell me that my food was undeliverable due to flooding on the path between the kitchen and my building. I walked outside to survey the situation and there was indeed a sizable lake that hadn’t been there when I checked in. To avoid going hungry that night I removed my shoes and socks, rolled up my jeans, and waded to the hotel restaurant for dinner. Room service couldn’t come up with that simple solution, of course. My Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a mediocre pepperoni pizza and a Coke. Not very festive, but it was the only food I had access to that evening. The rest of my holiday was spent watching TV in bed, which could have been worse, honestly.

Black Friday
I took advantage of the Black Friday online sales to buy a couple of new rain jackets from Columbia. I wasn’t going to get caught without a properly sized rain coat again!

The following weekend
I finally had a festive Thanksgiving meal at my BFF’s in-law’s house over a week later. I made my usual homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin dip to share with everyone. It was wonderful to sit down and eat turkey and all the trimmings with a lovely family that has adopted me as one of their own. I got to hug not only my BFF, but also my precious goddaughter, which is the best medicine in the world. I had been in a bit of a funk since my disastrous Thanksgiving Day and spending time with people I love helped immensely. And of course they sent me home with delicious leftovers too! Next year I am going to be in Hawaii with my own family over the holiday so that’s something I’m really looking forward to. Hopefully Thanksgiving 2020 will be much better than 2019!

State #37

“Back in 2014 I made a New Year’s resolution to visit as many new states as possible. By the end of that year the number of states I had personally visited rose from 27 to 33, thanks to an East Coast road trip and a Yellowstone National Park vacation. 6 new states in one year wasn’t too bad. Then in 2015 I added another two states to the list (New Jersey and Alaska). But since then my travel has stagnated somewhat. However, I am happy to announce that in 2018 I have finally added state #36 – Oregon! It’s hard to believe I’d never been there before considering how long I’ve been living on the West Coast.”
09/10/18 webpage post

I went more than a year without setting foot in a new state. What a disappointment! In early 2019 I realized that I didn’t have any trips planned to unvisited states, so I checked the University of Florida football schedule to see if there were any away games that would fit the bill. My first idea was to go to the Mizzou game in Columbia, MO on 11/16, but I already had plans that weekend. My second choice was the South Carolina game on 10/19, which fit perfectly in my schedule.

I flew into Columbia, SC a couple of days ahead of time (it’s funny that both games I considered attending took place in cities named Columbia) and my parents drove up from Florida to meet me. The Friday before the football game we took advantage of the beautiful weather and visited Congaree National Park. We also walked along the river a bit and had an incredible BBQ meal, complete with banana pudding for dessert. You can’t visit South Carolina without sampling their BBQ. On Saturday morning we spent some time walking around the lovely state capitol complex (except for the many disconcerting Confederate monuments), which was close to our hotel, but then the weather took an unfortunate turn. Tropical Storm Nestor barreled onto the scene around midday and it started raining cats and dogs. My parents and I had really great seats for the football game, but we would have to brave the cold, wet weather in order to use them. And football games aren’t short either. We weighed our options all morning, and eventually decided that we would be much happier watching from the warmth and comfort of our hotel room rather than getting soaked at the stadium. Luckily Florida still won. Go Gators!

On Sunday morning we visited the Riverbanks Zoo before I had to go to the airport. It’s a fantastic zoo and we all really enjoyed it. Lots of interesting animals. We saw a mama gorilla with a baby on her back, got pretty close to some giraffes as they were feeding, and watched a penguin perform the same trick over and over to amuse his fans. Plus, I took some really silly pictures with a llama for Instagram. We would have liked to stay longer, but I had a flight back to California to catch. I wasn’t at all disappointed that we missed seeing the football game in person on Saturday because that wasn’t the only reason for this trip. Not only did I get to fill in South Carolina on my states visited map (see above), but I also got to see my parents for the first time since Christmas. Plus, SC is really beautiful. I want to go back sometime and see more.

Looking my age?

On Thursday I turned 41, but it wasn’t exactly an exciting day. I went back to work on January 2nd after more than five months on medical leave. It was a Thursday, and the office was incredibly quiet since most folks made the smart decision to stay home on the first two workdays of 2020. I’m only working part-time for a while in order to ease myself back into employment, so I spent roughly 4 hours on both Thursday and Friday sorting through thousands of unread emails that had accumulated in my inbox while I was gone. It was pretty draining, but I’m glad to be back in the office and using my brain for something other than arguing with jerks on the internet. (That’s a story for another time!) Unfortunately over the weekend I caught a terrible cold. I felt so terrible that I had to take the first three days of the next week off to recover. Not exactly the way I expected my return to work was going to go! I also missed my boot camp classes those three days due to the illness. Thursday January 9th was my birthday and I was finally able to drag myself not only to work, but also to the gym. (I originally planned to celebrate at Disneyland, but I missed way too much work to be out yet another day that week.) Traditionally all of the gym goers have to do as many burpees as the age of the birthday boy or girl, but I was absolutely not going to force the folks who came for a regular workout to do 41 burpees on top of the cardio class they had already completed. Fortunately the trainer was merciful and we only did 21 burpees instead. Still tough at the end of class, but we all did it. When the ladies at the gym found out that I’m 41 they were shocked. I’ve always looked young for my age, but bow that I’m no longer as slim as I used to be I figured that effect had diminished. It was flattering when the ladies asked me what I do to stay youthful. Besides my obsession with sunscreen and an embarrassingly extensive skincare routine, I have no idea. Moisturizers and serums can’t be the full explanation. Obviously there is an element of luck (i.e., good genes) at play. Still, it’s nice to know that I don’t look my age just yet.

This reminds me of a funny story. Back in March I went to see a hematologist because I’m a carrier of a blood disorder called beta thalassemia, and I wanted to make sure this wasn’t contributing to my fatigue. For reference, the Mayo Clinic website states, “Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that make hemoglobin — the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body.” Additionally, “In thalassemia, the production of either the alpha or beta chains are reduced, resulting in either alpha-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia.” Boring, I know, but better than any explanation I could formulate on my own. Fortunately for me I only have the trait, or minor, version of this disorder so it doesn’t affect my daily life. When the hematologist walked into the examination room for my appointment she was visibly surprised. She said something to the tune of, “You don’t look anything like what I imagined! I was expecting dark hair and olive skin!” This made me laugh because my appearance is decidedly northern European in nature. To let you in on the joke, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Thalassemia occurs most often in African Americans and in people of Mediterranean and Southeast Asian descent.” So this is obviously something that a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Irish girl needs to worry about, right? It was funny to surprise a doctor for a change! I inherited beta thalassemia came from my mother’s side of the family, but besides that we have absolutely no idea where the it came from. Even her 23andMe results don’t shed much light on the origin. We were fully expecting Italian, Greek, or Spanish ancestry somewhere in her report, but that’s not what showed up. It’s a mystery! Fortunately the hematologist assured me that because I’m only a carrier that this blood disorder isn’t causing my fatigue. That was one diagnostic avenue that lead to a dead end, but not an unexpected one. It allowed me to focus on other options instead. I’ll get to the bottom of this eventually.

Catching up on my health

“I know that in the grand scheme of things my medical problems are not nearly as devastating as other have to deal with, and for that I am grateful. That doesn’t mean I’m not worried about the future, though. What if this is a symptom of a more serious affliction? This is another bridge to cross later, if needed.”
08/04/18 webpage post

Written in August 2019
Last August I was a lot more optimistic about my medical problems than I am now. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t know back then that I’d be having just as much, if not more, difficulties a year later. So far I’ve been out of work for almost three weeks and trying to make the most of this time. The upside is that my stress level is significantly lower than when I was working, but I am still just as tired as I was before. That makes getting anything done quite difficult, especially when I’m trying to make progress on my long list of “must do” activities during this leave of absence. I really hate that my body isn’t allowing be to be more productive with this free time. My best friend recommended finding three things that I can accomplish each day to keep my spirits up. Apparently this is something that folks who are suffering from chronic illnesses are counseled to do so that the days don’t bleed into one another with nothing getting done. So I’ve been maintaining my daily to-do lists and trying to cross off at least three items each day, no mater how small. It certainly makes me feel like less of a useless sack of skin.

January 2020 addition
My leave of absence from work turned out to be five months long. During that time I had good days where I was able to function more or less like a normal human being, but those were greatly outnumbered by the bad days where I was lucky to change out of my pajamas. Sometimes being upright for any period of time is just too much for my body. And forget leaving the house! Fortunately I did make some progress on my diagnosis during that timeframe. After exhausting the usefulness of my original neurologist, I found a good rheumatologist back in November. The first round of blood work that he ordered returned a positive result on the Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test, which means that something is amiss. This prompted a second round of blood work right after Thanksgiving. (Slight digression, but I had a miserable experience that time around. Two different phlebotomists had to stick me five times, and tap both arms in order to get enough blood or the order. The insides of my elbows looked like they had gotten repeatedly punched.) When I went back to the doctor in mid-December to review the new numbers there was more data, but no clear conclusion. As well as the ANA, I have a positive rheumatoid factor, which is another indication of an autoimmune disease. The kicker is that none of this is enough to assign a specific name to my health problems. It’s pretty obvious that I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), at least not at this point in my life, and I also don’t have full-blown lupus. A truly positive discovery on both counts, but it leaves me in a sort of limbo. The rheumatologist used the phrase undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) – in my case, an affliction with markers for both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but falling somewhere in between the two. It’s frustrating to still have so many unanswered questions, but it’s also a relief to feel like my medical team is making progress. As a first measure, I started taking a lupus medication that may or may not alleviate my symptoms. I won’t know for sure for about six months, though. Still, it’s something.

The bottom line is that I am battling at least two different chronic conditions simultaneously (PLMD and UCTD), and I probably will be for the rest of my life. Nothing is ever going to be the same again. I know that pretty grim, but I don’t see it that way. It just means that I have to adjust my expectations going forward. When my energy is low I have to budget it for important things like work and exercise. Little things are going to fall by the wayside, and I have to be ok with that. I’ll survive, and I might even start having fun again.

Just a silly story from the end of 2019

Written on 1/1/20
Happy New Year, everyone! I’m sitting at my dining room table wrapped in a blanket (my thermostat is currently inoperable so no central heat) trying to figure out what to do on this first day of January. New Year’s Day 2020 looks a lot different when compared to previous iterations. First of all, it’s 10:30 AM and I’m still in my pajamas. My usual January 1st tradition is to go to Disneyland in the early morning, before the large crowds arrive, but due to my myriad of health issues that is not something that I can count on being able to do. I went to bed at 10 PM last night because I wanted to give myself the best chance of fulfilling my tradition, but when I woke up at 6:30 AM today my body told me it wasn’t going to happen. I have gotten much better at listening to my body when it tells me I don’t have the energy for a particular activity, so I wasn’t going to push myself. Hence why I’m still in my pajamas!

So my energy level was so low on January 1st that I never even finished this post! Having chronic illnesses means that nonessential activities often fall by the wayside. I really hate it, but sometimes I’m forced to operate in survival mode where rest trumps everything. That was basically the entirety of my New Year’s Day. However, one of my goals for 2020 is to blog regularly. (In order to avoid undue stress I’m not going to explicitly define what “regularly” means. At least not yet.) Making New Year’s resolutions have never worked out well for me so I’m not going to write a traditional list or anything. I just have a few goals for the year that I want to work on. So for my first post of 2020 here is a little story from the end of 2019!

I took my large suitcase to Tallahassee for Christmas because I was going to be there for a full week, and December weather in Florida weather can be extremely variable. I needed clothes for warm weather, plus coats of different weights in case winter decided to show up for any period of time. This suitcase was a Christmas gift from my ex-husband back in 2008 (see the first photo above) when we were traveling to New Zealand for the holidays. An amazing present. It was a really nice (and expensive) suitcase, but back then luggage didn’t have the multi-directional spinner wheels like they do now. A suitcase only had two wheels so you could tilt it by the handle and drag it behind you through the airport. Not ideal these days, but still perfectly functional, even at 11 years-old. Except for the antiquated wheel technology this suitcase is perfect. First of all, it’s bright green (i.e., easily identifiable on any baggage claim carousel). Also, it’s big enough to hold a lot, but not so big that I have to worry about it being over any airline’s checked baggage weight limit. I had absolutely no complaints about this piece of luggage…until December 29th. On my way home from the holidays I flew from Tallahassee to Orange County with a layover in Dallas. I was tired when my flight arrived at the John Wayne airport that evening so as soon as my suitcase appeared in baggage claim I was happy to grab it and start my journey back home. As I began the long walk to the parking structure I wondered why my bag felt so sluggish. Maybe the wheels didn’t function well on the airport carpet? I wasn’t sure. But when I got outside onto the concrete I knew something was amiss. Upon further inspection one of the two wheels on my trusty green suitcase was gone (see the second photo above). So sad! (And so much harder to drag to my car with only one wheel!) He had flown his last flight. Farewell to my trusty traveling companion of 11 years! You will be missed!

Major NaBloPoMo fail!

Who has two thumbs and wasn’t even able to keep up with NaBloPoMo for a full week? This gal! The writing was already on the wall by day 3 when I first mentioned my exhaustion, and it only got worse after that. I’m not sure what precisely prevented me from publishing anything on day 6, but I’m sure it had something to do with being tired. Big surprise, I know! I looked back at my day planner to see if I could figure it out, but there were no entries for November 6th or 7th. That general means that I slept an excessive number of hours those two days. Unexplained fatigue is no joke, folks! I guarantee that blogging wasn’t the only thing that was neglected in that time period. When I started the month I was afraid that my health would jeopardize this blogging challenge, but I wanted to attempt it anyway. If nothing else, I got five posts out of my abbreviated NaBloPoMo that I probably wouldn’t have written otherwise. In spite of my medical issues I do still have things going on in my life that I want to document. Like my insane Thanksgiving yesterday. Stay tuned for that post, hopefully this weekend.

Things women deal with (NaBloPoMo day 5)

Tonight I’m once again so exhausted that I don’t know how I’m going to write my daily post. It’s nearly 9 PM, I’ve been working on a few different posts for hours, and still I have nothing ready to publish. My brain is pretty much fried. I had an unusually busy morning and my energy level never recovered after I got home at 2 PM. I thought I would have plenty of time to rest and recuperate before heading to the gym at 8 PM, but the downtime didn’t have the desired effect. I’ll get back to boot camp tomorrow night. Funny enough, sitting here typing on my laptop seems just as difficult as the weight training I missed. I don’t want to rehash my post from two days ago, but I do want to be transparent about how much more challenging NaBloPoMo is for me now than it has been in years past. I’m still going to see if I can complete it!

In order to make this post slightly more interesting I’ll tell you about an incident that happened to me last night. I was in my car on my way from boot camp to the grocery store because I had a craving for cereal. Not the best thing to eat after a workout, but probably not the worst either. I was waiting at a red light in one of two left turn lanes and digging around for something in my purse. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the car in the other left turn lane inching forward so that their passenger side window was aligned with my driver side window. I had a gut feeling that whoever was in the car was being a weirdo so I deliberately didn’t look in the other car’s direction. I wanted no part in any shenanigans. Under normal circumstances both cars would have gone on their way without any interaction when the light turned green, but unfortunately for the state of our society these days that’s not how this story ends. Suddenly the person in the car next to me honked their horn. I finally glanced in that direction to see what the ruckus was all about, and I saw a male driver smiling broadly at me. He leaned as far as he could towards my driver’s side window and shouted, “Smile!” He also pointed at the corners of his lips, which were still upturned in a Joker-like grin, in case I wasn’t familiar with the facial expression he was demanding from me. Yes, you read that right. Some man decided to use his car horn (generally employed to indicate automotive distress) to inform a random woman in a separate car that she needed to look happy for his benefit. In what universe is that acceptable? And yet, this is a situation that women face on a daily basis. It’s absolutely ridiculous. In that moment, tired and sweaty, I had never been less inclined to comply with a man’s request. All this dude got was an exasperated eye roll and my middle finger extended in his direction before the light turned green and our brief encounter was over. I wish I could have given him a piece of my mind along with flipping the bird, but I didn’t get the opportunity. So if you’re of the male persuasion and happen to be reading this post, please think about how you interact with women to make sure you fall into the same category as this jerk!