Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Blog Location

Thank you for visiting this blog site.  Whether you're a loyal reader, or you stumbled across my blog recently, I appreciate you stopping by.  Unfortunately for you, this site will no longer be updated.  BUT, I have all my old posts, and plenty of new posts at my new site: "Yeah, I'm A Nerd."

You can just click on the link above, or type it in yourself.  It's simply: yeah im a nerd dot com.  Go ahead and check it out, and don't forget to update your bookmarks or blog readers!     

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Internet Hates Me

Sorry if you're having trouble interacting with my site (especially involving the viewing or leaving of comments).  I'm currently negotiating with the internet, so hopefully it'll be resolved soon.  Please come back and leave me awesome comments later, since my validation as a blogger comes from you.  :)

**UPDATE**  It was totally Blogger's fault.  I'm glad they fixed it and that all my old links work again, but I've since moved on to bigger and better things.  Come back soon to get details about my new and improved blog.  Don't worry!  All of your old favorites will be there waiting for you.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Future Zombie

Confession: When I get nervous or anxious, I eat myself.  Literally.  I pick at the skin around my nails and tear it away with my teeth.  And when I’m trying to give the open wounds on my hands a chance to heal, I start gnawing on my bottom lip.  For the most part, I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I’ve drawn blood.  I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and because of it, I have callused thumbs and a permanent crater on my bottom lip.  I can’t seem to shake this anxiety trigger no matter how mindful I try to be.  I’m starting to think that this gross habit of mine predisposes me to becoming a great zombie.

Greg and I have had countless discussions about what would happen to us during the zombie apocalypse.  Though I’ve instructed him to shoot me in the case of our apartment getting overrun, there’s a huge chance I’ll be bitten too quickly for him to help.  The reality of it is that I would be eaten immediately (my hopes being that enough of me survived to become a walking dead).  Greg would likely survive, and he may or may not come back to collect me and lock me up in a cage waiting for a cure. 

We’ve thought about the different options for me as a zombie.  Because of my passive personality and love for everything, it wouldn’t be so far fetched to see me sitting in someone’s front lawn eating daisies as opposed to the helpless child wandering the streets.  Greg and I have laughed over the humorous prospect of me trying to convert my zombie friends to vegetarianism. 

However, with relation to my skin biting, it’s likely that I may find brains delicious.  My worry is over the execution of retrieving said brains.  I’m a pacifist by nature, and I just can’t see myself hunting down an innocent human, no matter how black my own brain becomes.  It’d probably be more likely that I would just be softly growling from a distance and gnashing my teeth together ever so lightly in the hopes that the living would approach me.

Or maybe I'll just end up resorting to this:

Zombie Erica enjoying a chicken nugget.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dress to Impress (Myself)

I bought myself a girly shirt the other day.  Really, it’s just a glorified tank top with tiny flowing pleats and a sash to tie a bow with.  I’m still not sure whether the bow is supposed to be tied in the front or the back.  Which brings me to my point: a girly purchase is a break-through for me.

I like my clothes to be casual, comfortable, and sensible.  This new shirt is maybe one of the three, so I felt a little guilty buying it.  Plus, I feel like I need to be invited to a fancy barbeque or a semi-casual girls night out to wear it.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  It’s cute, and many other girls or women my age would wear it on a weekly excursion to Target (weekly? Who am I kidding? I visit Target, at minimum, twice a week).  Anyway, I could wear it today with some jean shorts and sandals, but I’d feel dressy.  Strangers would think I looked normal, but I’d know I wasn’t.  I’d know that I was way too dressed up.  As much as I’ve wanted to buy more girly clothes lately, the greater part of me knows they aren’t practical, and they’re not me.  Yeah, I might look cute in them, but at what expense?  To losing the sense of me-ness? 

I think my mom will literally kill me if I don’t give her a girly granddaughter one day.  I always hated those foo-foo dresses my mom would force upon me.  The lace all over the dresses itched like crazy!  I’m told that I would stick my finger under my collar, tug it away from my neck and say in slow, staccato words, “Take. It. Off.”  The only joy I found in dressing up was wearing my shiny black buckle shoes with the quarter inch chunky heel.  They were not at all comfortable, as they pretty much tore into my anklebone, rubbing my skin raw through my tights.  However, if I walked on the backs of my heels across the kitchen floor, they would leave the most satisfying black “half-moon” marks all over the ground!  Sometimes I would purposely slip, so that I could see the line of black tear across the floor.  I found use for my impractical shoes.

So I guess that’s what I’m going to have to do in my adult life.  Find use for my cute purchases.  Ideas?


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This boot was NOT made for walking

Last October, I began noticing pain on the outer edge of my right foot during and after my runs.  At the time, I was running in Vibrams (those toe shoes) because I like to show off that I don’t have webbed toes.  Not really.  They just truly helped with my IT issues and knee pain.  I figured my new foot discomfort was due to the lack of support in my ankle, so I switched back to my regular running shoes, which helped at first…until it didn’t.  A doctor diagnosed tendonitis, so to let it heal, I gave up running for three months (but not Ultimate Frisbee, ‘cause I’m brilliant like that).  Long story short: I didn’t have tendonitis; I had torn my peroneus brevis tendon right below my anklebone and needed surgery.

I was told that after surgery I’d be in a walking boot for two weeks, after which, I’d be able to walk in a normal shoe, and then be back to running again in an additional four weeks.  Six weeks out would still keep me right on schedule for the beginning of my marathon training in April, so I went for it.  The reality was that I was in that damn boot for three full weeks, and then intermittently for an additional two weeks so I could build up hours of normal shoe wear vs. the boot.  And by “normal shoe,” I’m talking about supportive running shoes; not my beloved flat-soled Chucks.  I wasn’t cleared to run until eight weeks post surgery, and was told that Ultimate Frisbee was “the worst possible thing I could be doing to my foot” and I would need to ease myself back in, as tolerance would allow. (I'm still easing.)

Elevating my foot and being confined to a couch all day every day was torture!  I was forced to depend on people for every little thing.  I’m one of those independent types who gets off my ass to grab the remote sitting next to you just because I see no reason to make you get up and hand it to me when I’m perfectly capable of getting it myself.  So yes, Greg bringing me something to drink, or grabbing my Kindle from the bedroom, was torture, and a constant battle between us.  Being gimpy and in pain, I usually lost. 

At one point in my recovery, when I was still wearing the boot and using crutches, my pain had substantially subsided, so it was deemed okay to leave me home alone for the entire day.  When it came time for lunch, I was thrilled to be up at the stove heating up my soup and pouring my own juice.  However, once prepared, I suddenly realized that I needed to get the bowl of hot soup from the counter to the folding tray near the couch where I was stationed, and there was no way I could hold both my crutches and the heavy bowl at the same time while walking.  But I’m a problem solver.  I dropped carefully to my knees and placed the soup and juice on the ground.  Then slowly and carefully, I pushed the bowl and cup a few inches ahead of me, crawled forward on my hands and knees dragging my 20lb boot-foot behind me, and then pushed the dishes ahead of me again.  I tediously worked my way back to the couch in that manner.  I continued this ritual in secret for a few days until it was finally bearable to place some weight down on my boot clad foot; thus, making me able to walk a few steps sans crutches.

I was able to ditch the boot altogether after about six weeks, and continued exclusively wearing running shoes for an additional five weeks.  While I’m not a hundred percent better, and my marathon training is officially a wash, I’m at least glad that I’m finally back in flip flops and can carry my lunch easily to wherever I want it!  It’s the little things that I missed the most.

My boot would wait for me outside the bathroom door while I showered.
Now it waits for me in my storage unit.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Running (or lack thereof)

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad is the Athletic Director for San Pedro High School--my alma mater’s hugest rival.  Despite attending Narbonne High, my brothers and I pretty much grew up within the PE department of Pedro, and the coaches and teachers became like a second family to us.  Because of the prestige we’ve gained from our father, and the fact that we all ran Cross Country in high school, we were invited to run in their Alumni Cross Country meet at our home course tomorrow.  I’ve heard that Valerie, Pedro’s best runner during my time, and my fiercest competitor, will be racing.  By “fiercest” I mean, friendliest and humblest non-teammate I’ve ever had the privilege to run against (and beat once…in the mile…at my home track…but that’s another story).

I probably would have ignored the pain of my recovering ankle surgery and negligently ran in the meet for nostalgic purposes, but as soon as I heard Valerie was going to be there, I opted to be a supporting observer.  Marissa humorously expressed my exact sentiment when I told her she could run, and that Valerie would be there, by replying:  “I’m not about to make a fool of myself.”  Back in high school, Valerie was a top notch runner, as well as the entire San Pedro Cross Country team, and while Marissa and I still run occasionally to keep in shape, we are nowhere near the racing speeds or endurance of our youth, and we’re betting that Valerie still is.

Without coming across as a braggart, I just want to state that Marissa and I were born with some raw talent in running.  As freshmen, we were the fastest on our team, and went to City Finals every year of high school.  We quickly overcame our competitor from Banning High, Juana, in our freshman year, and were living large until San Pedro’s team stepped it up and started producing some bomb runners.  We had some goodhearted coaches who believed in us and worked with us to the best of our abilities, but we just weren’t as dedicated as the San Pedro runners, and our high school’s running program was just not as well organized as theirs, so it became increasingly difficult to individually win meets.

I wish I could say that we tried our hardest, but looking back at my high school running days, it’s clear that we did not.  Our coaches continually told us girls to separate during practice runs, so that we’d be training at each of our ability levels, but we stubbornly stayed in a group so that we could chat together for the 5 or so miles.  As soon as we got a few blocks away from school, we’d slow down and plan out the order of a natural arrival, leaving in waves so that it would appear to our coaches and teammates that we weren’t actually running together the entire time.  Sadly, our coaches eventually caught on and would periodically monitor our runs more closely.

Also, on hot afternoons, or days that we just didn’t feel like running, us girls would run to my house (which was right off our route and only a quarter of a mile away) to gorge ourselves on granola bars and fresh oranges picked from my tree, all while jumping on our huge backyard trampoline.  It could be argued that we were still getting some sort of endurance training through the constant jumping, but really, it was purely a time for rest, relaxation, and sweet, sweet snacking.  Our workout was so minimal that we’d have to “sweat” ourselves with the water hose before we took off back to school to make it look like we actually did our run. 

I’m not saying we did this all the time, or even every week, but I can imagine what sorts of runners we could have become had we actually trained correctly.  We relied on our natural abilities to get us through our meets, and it’s amazing that we got as far as we did.  That said, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.  No, I never made it past City Finals to State Championships, and yes, San Pedro’s growing team eventually overtook ours, but I have some amazingly fun and silly memories with my cross country teammates that I wouldn’t have had I actually listened to my coaches and broke away from the pack during practices.  What other cross country team sings camp songs together while running for miles?  Instead of focusing on medals, we focused on friendships, and I’m thankful for it, because you know what?  I got both.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Standing To Pee

**If you got here through pStyle's website, or just stumbled across this post, thanks for stopping by!  I have transferred this blog to http://www.yeahimanerd.com.  If you want to purchase one of these pStyles, you can do so through me, by clicking HERE or using the PayPal button at the bottom of this entry.***

Three weeks ago, I posted this picture of my newly purchased pStyle on Facebook and Instagram.

It caused many dudes to question why, and many girls to ask where they could get one.  It even sparked a curiosity as to whether the GoGirl was better.

I'm only including a picture for comparison purposes. I have
never tried this product and cannot endorse it's use. Though if someone
buys me one, I'll totally go use it and review it.

I love camping and backpacking, but I’m getting too old and tired of hiking a mile away from my companions, digging a six inch hole to bury toilet paper, and popping a squat every time I have to pee.  I also do not enjoy the times I accidently pee on my shorts or ankles while attempting this squatting process, so I decided to spend the last half a year researching stand up urination contraptions.  Though the GoGirl seemed to be the most well known, it also had extremely varying reviews, which troubled me and delayed my purchase of a device.  The women who loved the GoGirl, professed that much practice would be needed before taking it to the wild, and the women who had problems with it…dude…they had problems!  I read review after review of the flexible rubbered GoGirl collapsing and leaving a puddled pee mess in their pants.  And then I also read many horrible accounts of women filling the funnel faster than it could be expelled; overflowing the container and again, making a wet mess.  I just wasn’t sold on the GoGirl, so I kept looking; and that’s when I found the pStyle.

Though the pStyle didn’t have as many reviews as the GoGirl, every single review it had, was positive!  I couldn’t even find a review lower than 4 (out of 5) on Amazon.  The 5 star reviews raved of it’s greatness, and the 4 star reviews pointed out petty complaints such as: it’s too long and made of hard plastic (making it less discrete than competitors) and it didn’t come with a carrying case.  That’s it.  No horror stories of pee leaking all over themselves, no woes of hot urine splashing back or dribbling on their feet, basically, no functionality complaints whatsoever!  I was sold!  After receiving it and posting the picture above, I decided that I would come back from a backpacking trip and review the shit out of this product for my inquiring friends and family.  So here’s what I found:

The pStyle rocks!

The day I got it in the mail, I drank copious amounts of water so that I could test it multiple times that afternoon in my home before I left for my backpacking trip the following morning.  For my first test, I dropped my chonies and shorts, stood over the edge of the tub, slightly bent my knees (as instructed) and peed into my shower.  The stream never even came close to flowing over the outer edge of the pStyle, and it drained out and away from my body just like it said it would.  The last step was to gently press upward as I pulled the pStyle away from my body to simulate wiping.  Afterwards, I grabbed some toilet paper and did a regular wipe anyway, to see how well the device actually “wiped,” and I gotta say, it did pretty well.  I only had a small drop on that piece of toilet paper. 

For my next test, I dropped my shorts and chonies again, but stood over the toilet.  Though I had to badly urinate, it took my body a few seconds to respond to the awkward positioning and overcome the fear of peeing all over my bathroom floor.  As soon as I relaxed, the pee came, and it went perfectly into the toilet!  I was ecstatic!  However, I didn’t let my excitement completely overtake me, as this tool would not prove to be perfect unless I could pee without dropping my pants and exposing my butt to the world.  Half the reason I got the pStyle was so that I could turn my back to my friends and pee on a tree!  Anyway, my last home-test worked.  I unzipped my shorts, pushed my chonies to the side, positioned the pStyle, and peed with ease over the toilet.  I was ready to go camping! 

The next morning, I left on an overnight backpacking trip with my dad and uncle.  I was eager to try out my pStyle after we stopped for lunch on the trail.  Unfortunately for me, my body freaked out.  Even though I had hiked out of view, as I stood there pushing and willing the pee to come, it would not.  I don’t, however, blame this on the pStyle.  As this unfortunate event was taking place, I remembered that this happens almost every time I try my first outdoor pee.  I usually squat and push and nothing comes out due to my body telling me that it is unnatural, and this was what was happening to me then.  Dejected, I zipped up my pants and returned to our lunch spot.  Of course, as soon as we began to walk, I felt the urge to urinate, but we were on our way, and I wasn’t about to ask my dad and uncle to stop just so I could fail again.  I waited until our next break, and then, despite my body not wanting to urinate in nature, I HAD TO PEE, and what a glorious and perfect pee I had using my pStyle!  No leaks, no hesitation, and very easy to use in the wild!

This is what it looked like from my perspective after
positioning it.  See?  All lady parts covered!
Also, please erase from your memory my dorky
Tevas with socks. Coolness is a low priority out in
the wilderness.

I wanted to post a picture of my urine actually coming out of the pStyle (‘cause yes, I totally took a picture of that!), but my brother, who is as gross and unashamed as me, pretty much told me (through his laughter and shaking of his head) that it would be a bit over the line, so I decided against it.  However, what’s a good review without pictures of the product in use?  For those of you who would like to see how it worked, I created a Flikr account just to give you the chance to witness it in it’s glory.  To see that picture, click HERE.  That way, for those of you who think pictures of pee are the grossest thing in the world, and better kept to our imaginations, just keep reading and don’t click on the link!  We all win.

The rest of the trip, I was able to use the pStyle successfully, and I was so thankful to have it!  Our campsite was wide open, with thin bushes scattered throughout, so if not for the pStyle, I would have had to hike quite a ways before finding a decent place to drop my pants and pee.  Instead, I was able to duck behind a bush, turn my back, and urinate.  Alas, I never did walk up to a tree to pee.  Even though my private areas were completely covered, my embarrassment of peeing in front of others overcame me, and I felt that I still needed to hide.

If you are a camper, or you just don’t like using public toilets, I highly suggest the pStyle.  Not only did it function perfectly, but it was also easy to clean and put away.  The shape of the device allows the pee to drain right off, so when it was stored in the Ziploc it came in, there were no lingering drops of urine.  Though the wiping effect isn’t perfect, it’s damn near close, and I didn’t have to use toilet paper on the trip.  Also, it was small enough to carry in my fanny pack (heck yeah I rocked a fanny pack!) and I felt pretty discrete whenever I brought the pStyle out.  Seriously, I have no complaints about this device whatsoever.  I can’t wait to add my review to Amazon and inspire more women to get this product!

Buy one for yourself today!!