Dr. Bunny

A Requiem for Merle

First off - much love to Abby because I absolutely love our weekly facetime Walking Dead dates. Years of customer service has pretty much destroyed talking on the phone for me. I just hate it. Facetime, however, is fantastic. It's like Abby is in the room with me and best of all I can use my laptop so it doesn't even feel like a phone call. Pretty awesome. I think this is the go-to communication method for me. If anybody wants to set up a weekly facetime date with me, I would love it.

ANYWAYS - Merle.

Merle is a victim of the silence of a post apocalyptic world.

We don't know a lot about the life Merle and Daryl lived in the before time. We knew their father beat them. We knew they were poor. We knew Merle and Daryl felt beholden to each other because they were all that they had. Merle didn't kill any body before the zombies came. He was a drug addict, a small time criminal, probably did some time in prison or jail but for smaller crimes - theft, aggravated assault, possession. It was the only world he knew and the only chance he felt he had. Merle believed that this was the only world for him. Good things happened to other people, they didn't happen to Merle.

But we also knew that Merle read. He read the bible - not for any religious reason but because he needed something to read. I imagine that Merle actually read a lot. Woodbury had a library, he said. He read a lot of books. At first I thought this was out of character; a stupid trope thrown in by the writers to tug at our heart strings but then I realized it wasn't. The reason Merle read and read so much was the same reason he did drugs. Merle needed background noise. He needed distractions he needed noise he needed means to block out what was actually going on in his life.

And then the zombies came and with them they brought the silence.

No cars, no electricity buzzing, no generators, no planes, no radios. All of the ambient background noise that we have had our entire lives is gone. Even if you go out into the forest with no civilization of miles eventually you'll hear a plane go overhead. YOu have to seek out silence but now? Now it's everywhere.

There's a room in Minnesota that it the quietest room in the world. It's -9 decibels. People can't stay there for very long because they start to go crazy. They hallucinate. They start to hear the function of their own organs. For Merle, where background noise is not enough, the quiet of the zombie world forced him to face things he didn't want to. Face his past, face the abuse from his father, face what he felt was his brother's betrayl. This is not a world that Merle could understand.

He tried, very hard, to make the world like it used to be. So when the Governor came along Merle could understand him. Merle understood violence. Merle understood power. But Merle didn't understand sociopaths. The Governor molded Merle who wasn't a killer at heart into a killer, convinced Merle it was a natural part of his evolution but Merle knew it wasn't right. Merle could beat a person up, he could get high, he could get drunk but kill a person? For Merle, it was the only option he thought he had.

All of Merle's actions was about Merle trying to find redemption in the only way he knew how. He was unclean now, he felt he had no redemption. He was the Governor's henchman. He knew that if Rick took Michonne to the Governor that would be it for Rick, Rick would never come back from that just as Merle hadn't. So to protect the jail and to protect Rick he took Michonne. But then Michonne talked to Merle and he realized that there was something else he could do.

Was it a noble sacrafice? It's hard to say. IN the end it was tragic because he didn't kill the Governor (although he did cripple his defenses) but he also was finally able to escape the silence. He might not have been able to forgive himself, to redeem himself, and he left his brother with A LOT of unresolved emotions. When Daryl found Merle as a zombie he lost it, lost it completely but that's a post about Daryl, not Merle.

Merle, as hard as he was and as tough as he was in the end succumbed to the apocalypse after all. The zombies are not what killed him but the loss of the world he needed.
Love Bunny

Changing the way I view my diet

I kind of had a revelation last week. So far, the results of this have been incredibly positive and empowering, and I'd like to share that with you guys because maybe it'll help. I know that it's been helpful for me.


Lately I've been having trouble with my diet. I've been either over eating or under eating or not eating good things or just not caring about what I put inside me. This hasn't been very productive, and I was upset with myself because I had all the information at my fingertips. In my skills binder, I have all the information of what I should be eating. My problem was that I was focusing so much on the "can'ts" that I wasn't paying attention to the "musts." What do I mean by that?

I noticed that most diet plans all rotate around the "can'ts:" Can't have this, can't have that. Can't have sugar, can't have fat, can't have meat, etc. Different diets have different can'ts. I found that I would slip up, have something I "couldn't" and then it would lead to a lot of guilt and frustration. It's really not helpful when you're either trying lose or maintain your weight.

I decided that I needed to focus on my MUSTS HAVES. This list would be the bare minimum of what I HAD TO HAVE in order to eat healthy. I could have more of an item BUT NOT LESS. I could have items not listed if I chose to, but I had to get this food into my body. Here's my list:

MUST HAVES
3 liters of water
1-2 cups of fruit
4-6 cups of veggies
1/2 cup complex carbs (whole grain wheat, beans, oatmeal, etc)
1/2 cup dairy
90 grams of protein
30 minutes of physical activity

This whole week I have been implementing this and so far, I have noticed some really positive changes:

1) I feel more in control. I know what I need to have and I make my plans around that. When I have everything listed out and check it daily, I feel that I am in control of my food, and my food is not in control of me.

2) I feel more positive about my food choices. You'll notice that there's nothing mentioned in that list about CAN'T HAVE. I can choose to have anything I want, but I need to focus on what I should have. If I do have something that would be considered bad (like a piece of candy) I don't feel guilty about it because I know that it's not one of my must haves so it's not going to be in my diet every day. The MUST HAVES focus on the positives, not the negatives

3) Record keeping is so much easier. I keep records. My records are not to guilt me into submission and my records do not control what I eat. My records now are simply to help me insure that I get all my must haves in.

I shared this list with my parents and my dad had one addition to make: Take Time Love Your Self. We spend so much of our day saying negative things. "Oh I'm so stupid" when we make a mistake. "I shouldn't have eaten that!" when we have a cookie. "Ugh I feel so horrible." It's hard to actually take the time to say "YAY FOR ME!" for whatever reason.

"Yay I went for a walk!"
"Hey, I'm pretty awesome at this!"
"I deserve a hug!"
"I deserve a healthy body!"

I hope this is helpful for some of you. So far, it's been amazingly helpful for me.
Chair Leg of Truth

I'm only gonna say this once....

...but I'll make sure to use lots of caps so you know I mean it....

If a restaurant cannot accommodate your (very)large party, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

No restaurant would EVER voluntarily turn people away (HI! YOU'RE WALKING WALLETS! PLEASE DROP CASH HERE!).

HOWEVER, if you're asking for a party of 12 or 13 or 14, odds are that they won't be able to seat all of you at one table. Why? MANY REASONS! The restaurant may not be large enough, the seating layout might not be moveable, the kitchen might not be able to handle such a heavy load, THE LIST GOES ON!

But it is not - REPEAT, IT IS NOT because they don't want your money!

ON THE PLUS SIDE!!! *smiley face goes here* THERE MIGHT BE OPTIONS!

The best case scenario is that they can, through some miracle, be able to handle your huge party. Odds are it will either be early (between 5:30-6:15) or late (8:30 or 9). DON'T GET PISSED!! To guarantee the best service that you and your guests deserve, it needs to be when the kitchen and servers will not be over-run with other guests. DOESN'T THAT SOUND NICE? DON'T YOU WANT GOOD SERVICE??

Not the best case scenario is that they can't seat you all at one table, but could split up the table into three groups of smaller parties. HOWEVER - odds are good that while they will do their best to make sure you are seated close to each other, without prior knowledge of how the rest of the night is going to go, how the tables are set up, how big the dining room is, it's not certain that they can guarantee that. DON'T FREAK OUT!

The last choice is that they can only handle your large party as a private dining event. It'll be more money but you'll probably get exactly what you want. Sooooo - do you shell out the cash to make sure you get what you want, or will you complain loudly to whomever listens that (because you are cheap) this damn restaurant wouldn't give you what you RIGHTFULLY DESERVED?? hmmmmmm

Oh - protip: being passive aggressive to the reservationist, saying such gems as "Gaaaawsh, I just don't understaaaaand why you won't give me what I waaaaant. I mean, we're giving you moooooney and EVERYTHING. Why would you turn us away like thaaaat???" after the kind reservationist explained why they are unable to handle such a large party without breaking down a wall and doing some major remodeling, WILL NOT GARNER YOU SYMPATHY. In fact, it will cause the reservationist to hate you more and probably do less to help you out.
Dr. Bunny

Holy Crap Update!

1. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
About four or five years ago, I was introduced to Fforde's writing by my friend Kaela, who recommended the Thursday Next series. "It's an english major's wet dream" she told me. Even though I was woefully behind in my English Literature (I preferred American Lit whilst in college) I managed to follow along with all the references made. I readily devoured all of the books in the Next series and then followed with the Nursery Crime series. Even though it kind of gets a little odd at times, and I think that he breaks his own rules, I generally allow him to do it because, gosh darn it, he's just such an engaging writer!

Shades of Grey isn't a part of Thursday Next or Nursery Crime. It's a whole new series and I absolutely love it. It's fun because I as the reader have to peice together the puzzle and figure out how it all works. This is made even more interesting because not even the characters know. The concept is very fun and it's a wonderful take on a post-apocalyptic society. It's slightly reminiscent of To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, but perhaps that's just the victorian England references.

He's planning at least two other books for this series and I just can't wait for them to come out. Right now I'm suffering from book withdrawal and I need something to fill it up.

2. My schedule for the next month or so is slightly insane.
Weekend of 3/19 - 3/21: Home in Albany
Weekend of 3/36 - 3/28: Up in Seattle to visit my brother for his 30th birthday
Weekend of 4/2 - 4/4: Home in Albany; Easter weekend
Weekend of 4/9 - 4/11: Down to San Diego for Weibe's wedding
Weekend of 4/16 - 4/18: Home to Davis for Picnic Day celebrations

After that I'm back to the regularly scheduled program.

3. Sasha is a broken kitty, but I still love him
On Saturday I spent over $350 to find out that nothing was wrong with my cat. Saturday morning he had puked on the carpet (which isn't new) and had some bowel issues (also nothing new). It looked like he had just gotten into Molly's dried cat food and was having his regular problems (we keep her food out of reach but sometimes he still gets to it). Jonathan and I went off to the store and Kevin called to say that something was really wrong, he was puking and dribbling an inky substance out of his butt. I thought Kevin was over reacting until I got home and saw the mess. Sasha was howling and it did look like he was shitting ink droplets all over the carpet.

I took him to the vet where they did a blood panel and a body x-ray, only to find nothing wrong. There was no blood in his dribbley stools and he wasn't constipated or blocked. He was still a little leaky but I took him home. I did some internet sleuthing and I think he might have feline IBD. He's always had a sensitive GI tract, but the vets I have taken him to haven't found anything wrong with that. He sometimes is reluctant to use his litter box, even though we've changed his litter to something more pleasing to cats, not to humans. He pukes on a weekly basis, but there's never any blood or discoloration. All of these are symptoms of IBD, but to get it officially diagnosed is a lengthy processes of elimination. I think my best course of action now is to simply change his diet to a simpler, healthier, no gluten high protein diet and follow the suggestions online to see if there is any improvement. It's going to be a lengthy processes, but if it helps him out and eases his discomfort, rock on.
Dr. Bunny

Boring Saturday - Music Play List

Well, I'm the lone bird at work today until 3pm when the other reservationist comes in and I can take my break. Saturdays aren't bad shifts - the phones are pretty quiet and as long as I have something to keep me busy I don't go crazy bored. Thanks to having Plants vs Zombies on my iphone, this should keep me relatively entertained for quite sometime.

Anyways, as some of you know I've been doing the Couch to 5K program for the past two weeks. I start week three on Monday and I'm pretty happy with how I've been doing, namely just happy that I've been waking up and getting my butt to the gym. Having the iPhone app has been a great motivator. It tells me when to run/walk and allows me to build my own playlist. I have to say - I think I picked an excellent mix of music for myself. It's not terribly long and I hear most of the songs every time I work out, but I never hear the same song twice in one go. It's a mix of fast and slow, but they're all pretty positive. I thought I'd list my songs here and ask:

WHAT'S ON YOUR WORKOUT PLAYLIST?

Here's mine: (mind you, it's always on shuffle)
Don't Stop Believin' (Glee version)
Smile (Glee version, Lily Allen cover)
The Mating Game (Bitter:Sweet)
Nearer Than Heaven (Delays)
One Night Away (Delays)
Daylight Robbery (Morcheeba)
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome (Madeleine Peyroux)
Music is the Victim (Scissor Sisters)
Taking it All the Way (U.S.E)
1234 (Feist)
Love Today (Mika)
Love You Madly (Cake)
Short Skirt, London Bridge (Cake/Fergie mash-up)
Dr. Bunny

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program

Oh hi January, how YOU doin'?

Last night I read all my tweets from the past year. Seeing how I'm not a mega tweeter, this was not a lengthy process, but it was fun. What did I glean from the past year? I was bored at work a lot but I have awesome friends. Maybe this year I can FINALLY get out of the broom closet. How I'm going to achieve that, I'm not entirely sure. School? Outside programs? Write that teen exploitation novel I've been talking about? The pirate romance novel I've been sitting on for five years? Or maybe I could figure out how to make my broom closet more interesting. Time to play hardball? Who knows.

I hope my friends stay as awesome this year as they were last year, and I hope less shitty things happen to them and their loved ones. I hope that I can work on being as awesome to them as well. I miss my midwest friends something fierce but I'm really thankful that I have met some amazing people out in SF. I don't think I could have survived out here with out them.

Here are some things I'm thinking of doing in 2010:

Get a lot of wedding planning done. Even though the wedding is in 2011 it's probably best to get as much planned as soon as possible. I fully believe that I can plan a wedding and not go completely batshit crazy or bankrupt. What's important is that I know I want to do this and I'm doing it *not* because I *have* to, but because I want to. If I wanted to elope, yeah, I'd go do that. But I don't want to.

Friends who have planned weddings: What have you found to be useful and what have you found to be not so helpful?

I want to have fewer long distance travel plans and more weekend trips. More camping trips for weekends, or getting deals on flights to southern California to visit our friend Weibie. He can get great deals for Disney Land thanks to his military discount. It'm not talking about EVERY weekend, but at least one weekend a month GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Even if it's just to a local state park near by.

Those, I think, are pretty much the jist of it. I want to hang out with friends, be awesome to each other, and have a good, healthy, 2010.

Oh, and update more often. Yes.
Dr. Bunny

I'm hella bored at work....let's share holiday memories!

Okay kiddies, let's celebrate the spirit of consumerism by posting our favorite holiday gift memories! You know, the toy you really really REALLY wanted and actually GOT that year!

Also - if you never did get the toy you wanted, what was it?

MINE:
I wanted this track racer that was glow in the dark AND DEFIED GRAVITY! It went up the wall and I think upside down too. I was probably five or six and this is what I REALLY wanted. Not the typical gift for a young girl. But I got it and it was AWESOME (at least in my memory).

I know I've gotten a lot of other awesome gifts since then but for some reason THAT stands out in my mind as one of the best.
Dr. Bunny

Chapter 3: Portland's Public Transportation, Voodoo Donuts, Saturday Market, Powell's

Saturday morning started with us prying ourselves out of the most comfortable bed ever. I kind of feel like I cheated on my own bed back home, that I was some how unfaithful to it by having such lurid thoughts about the one we were sleeping on. IT'S NOT MY FAULT THOUGH! The feather pillow top and the sheets and blankets just made for a sleeping experience that was heavenly. We also had the space heater on in our room, a luxury for us seeing how back at home we normally just pile on the blankets (however, thanks to the below freezing temps we've been getting this week, we have turned the heat on). As I said in my previous post, the Lion and The Rose is only a few blocks away from Portland's Light Rail, which is called MAX.

I feel bad about saying this, BUT IT WAS JUST SO CUTE AND QUAINT! That's a horribly disrespectful thing to say to a city's light rail but dude - it was so clean and there were this cute little signs about how to ride the train and how to be polite to each other and everything was just so nice. It wasn't like MUNI or BART in which you're kind of afraid to sit down on the benches with the mysterious stains. It was welcoming and almost respectful in a way. Kind of nice. Also - it was free!! There's a section of the track that is a no-fare zone. Luckily, we were in that zone so woo! Go team us (and go team MAX!)

We started our morning with a trip to VooDoo donuts. I had seen this place on the food network and our roommates Tara and Kevin stopped there last time they drove through. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had eaten one of their "cooler" donuts, like the ones covered with breakfast cereal, but it's hard for me to resist a raspberry jelly filled donut. Jonathan's donut was bigger than a salad plate. I was disappointed he didn't try the maple glazed bacon donuts. Sad panda :(

The Saturday market is just plain awesome. It's held down by the river walk and is filled with local artists who come to sell their wares. I got some christmas presents there last year and managed to find some more this year too. We also found a piece of art for our apartment. I should take a picture of it because it's so hard to describe. However, I did remember to get his business card because he has a website! His name is Matt Hellner and I would suggest you check out his Static Artwork. The Starry Night piece is simply amazing in person.

After that we went to Powells. Do I need to tell you more about Powells? I don't think so. It's a city block worth of books. I was in book geek heaven. You can read my post from last year. What was important is that we went, I bought books, we got lost, we found ourselves, we bought a book about canning so perhaps this year we'll really hit up the organic markets and local farms. It's pretty exciting.

OH! I need to tell you about THE MOST DETERMINED DOG EVER.
On our walk back to the B&B, we went through a small park. As we were nearing the edge, in front of us was a guy about our age walking what looked like a type of sheep herding dog - you know the kind I mean: medium build, floppy ears, streamlined silhouette. But it was the look in the dog's face that really got to me. This was a dog that KNEW they were going to the park, KNEW that the leash was about to come off, and KNEW that today - yes today - was going to be THE DAY. I commented to the owner and he said it's all she dreams about, all the thinks about, is squirrels. I bet that on Saturday mornings this dog wakes up and preps herself, psychs herself up.

What really struck me was that this wasn't the ecstatic, bouncy, floppy body langugage dogs get when they are at the park. This was a streamlined dog who was going to GET. A. SQUIRREL.

Tomorrow: THE PROPOSAL
Dr. Bunny

Chapter 2: The Best Bed and Breakfast EVAH

Okay kiddies, here's the deal: if you guys ever find yourself planning a trip to Portland and feel the need for a romantic place to stay (or even just an adorable place to stay for that matter) you need to check out THe Lion and The Rose. I'm not shitting you guys, this place was awesome.

How awesome? Well, check out these pictures, okay?
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That's the room we stayed in: The Rose Room

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That's our OMG AMAZING jacuzzi bathtub that fit both of us (only the Rose Room has this tub)

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See that bed? That bed had a feather/pillow top and basically sucked you down into warm squishy soft bliss. It was also so high up that I had to use a stepstool to get myself up there.

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Guys, they even decorated for the holidays. How sweet is that?

I wish I had taken more pictures of the inside of the house. There was a nice dining room set up for breakfast, the kitchen was the kind of kitchen people (well, people like me at least) lust for in spaciousness and beauty. There was a snack table 24 hours a day, free sodas and waters, a place to store leftovers/heat up leftovers, and overall a charm that I just can't fully explain. THe owners were nice, happy, enthusiastic people who always seemed happy to see us.

Another benefit? They were located only a few blocks away from the light rail, cute restaurants, a mall, and two movie theaters. Even though we spent most of our time on the other side of the river, next time we go up we will definitely spend more time in that neighborhood. In fact, I was even able to find a yarn store within six blocks!

I know I sound like a silly advertisement but I never had so much fun at a B&B/Hotel/Inn before, and it's been rare for me to have to dedicate a whole post about it either. It was a little spendy for us, but it was sooooo worth it. Also - when I first found it I was kind of worried that Jonathan would think it was too girly or frilly or something, but he actually REALLY enjoyed it (but I think that was because of the bed and bathtub, personally).

Tomorrow: Gonna be a long one; Portland's Public Transportation, Saturday Market, VooDoo Donuts, Powell's