Chocpocalypse Now

This is a bear.

A chocolate bear. A delicious Lindt milk chocolate bear. A tasty holiday morsel, a gift, a happy chocolatey treat with a red bow around his tiny bearlike neck.

This bear is a survivor. It has outlasted all of the cookies, both biscochito and sugar cookies. It outlasted the holiday decorated six pack of Toblerone that was a gift from a coworker. It has outlasted all of the Christmas 2013 bits and bobs of delicious sugary treats. It has even outlasted the giant candy cane, which is always the last to be eaten around here.

Oh yes. This bear is a survivor.

The bear was gifted to The Good Man. It is The Good Man’s bear, and so by the laws of respect and decency, I have neither opened nor nibbled on the bear. Sure, by the laws of the State of California that bear is half mine to do with as I please. But I am a nice spouse and I give The Good Man the space to open and nibble on his own present first.

But this bear. It challenges me. It torments me.

There it sits in its thin gold foil, smirking at me while I rummage and forage for holiday sugar snacks that aren’t there anymore. Oh sure, I came home from work loaded with sweet meats in the week before the actual day of Christmas. We had a dedicated shelf for all of the sugary holiday yum-yums.

But they are gone. Noshed. Dispatched with.

All except this freaking smiling bear. The bear that isn’t mine but make me want to p0wn it like the little chocolately bitch that it is.

I want to bash in its little head and gobble at its ears. I want to reach into its gullet and pull out the still beating chocolate heart and bite into it with fury and insanity and let the juices dribble down my chin.

I want to fry up its little chocolatey liver and sip from its corpuscles.

Oh yes, I want, need, must have it. It vexes me. It taxes me. I shall dominate this milky chocolate bear that hails from Switzerland and mocks me and doesn’t understand the needs of a sugar fiend.

Must. Smash. Bear.

And gobble the remains.



Do you think I probably need to back off the sugar a bit? Probably need to get a few more veg in the maw and less processed sugar snax? Maybe something protein based with a little less fat? Something with actual nutritional value?

Yeah. Me too.

Happy Post-Holiday Food Hangover.

Slightly askew photo of my chocolatey prey is Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and a dash of maniacal insanity.

Boring Training, Day 3

Here I am, day three of my three day training. On a Friday, no less. Today is the final uphill slog for this training class.

It is a long climb and this hiker is weary.

Not sure whether I can continue on. Sooooo booored.

Today, instead of being “that guy” I have gone into slump mode. I already got called out for looking at my phone. I’ve eaten every pastry they offer (all terrible!) and I’m drinking caffeinated tea. Nothing is helping.

So now, instead of paying attention, I’m obsessing on a white board marker.

This marker, particularly.

This is a very respectable marker. It’s green, made from 90% post-consumer product, almost fully recyclable and refillable. This is a very smart and responsible pen, a good business choice by whomever purchased it.

So why am I obsessing? Well, one, it’s orange which is my current favorite color (it changes all of the time). And two because of this…(Look at the yellow tag)

That little pen reservoir holds the orange ink. You can watch it sloshing around in there. Neat!

And that tag, it tells me not to open up that sloshy ink container. Why!?! Because it is a brand new pen and opening it now will splash ink everywhere. So!?

I wanna! I wanna I wanna I wanna!

I am having to exercise the utmost in restraint, something I don’t have a lot of, to keep from ripping the end off that marker. Then I tell myself, “I’m steady handed enough, I can pull that off of there and have no problem! Without spilling a drop! Let me prove it to myself!”

But I know the truth. I’m not sure handed. I’m the girl that falls down. I will pop that cap off and ink will spring up in the air and aerosolize and there will orange ink from here to there, ceiling to floor.

That sure would be awesome, though.

Way more fun than talking about warranty claims, insurance provisions and cost accounting.


Images Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, not that you’d want to steal photos of an orange marker, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone 5, the Camera+ app and no small amount of lack of attention to the subject at hand.

Trying Not To Be “That Guy”

The rest of this week is going to be a drag. Any joy I feel at having a short week after a long weekend is dried up by the fact that I am required (not suggested, not a choice, required) to attend three full days of training here at the ol’ place of work.

Three. Full. Days.

Somewhere around that time in history when the first smartphone came out, I developed a pretty severe case of adult ADD. I cannot sit still like a good kid for more than an hour at a time. In order to get me to do that, the topic better be damn interesting.

Sneak preview: The topic of this training is not. At all.

The guy giving the training is doing a good job. He is trying his hardest to make this interesting. Cracking a joke here and there. But even he knows this is a drudge and we all just gotta get through it.

And so the first couple hours were fine. It was all new and somewhat interesting. The next couple hours were hell. Part of the “rules of the road” for the class are no open laptops and no looking at phones.


So I’m bored. I doodle in the margins of my notepad. I let my mind wander to far off topics (at one point I was wondering if I should cut my nails or keep them a bit longer since they are so strong right now).

And then I run out of things to wander off about and supposedly I’m supposed to be paying attention and learning something and getting something out of this class that my department paid big money to force me to attend.

So then boredom gives way to something else. Something sinister. I become “that guy” in the training class. You know that guy. Or girl. Whatever. You know, the person who participates. Who answers questions. Who offers suggestions. Who always has something to say. That person who everyone is sick and tired of by the end of day one with two more days of class ahead.

I hate that guy! Except when I’m being that guy and then it’s a crap load of fun!

It’s a…you know…big mouth bass. *snork*

Image found here.

Interrupting My Body’s Natural Rhythms

Sleep. What a beautiful thing it is. When it happens.

During my early life, sleep was never an issue for me. I would lay down, think up a story or something in my head, and soon I’d drift into good sleep. Then I’d sleep many good solid hours and I’d wake up feeling fine.

In my twenties when I dated a blues musician and I used to attend his gigs which often ended at 2am. I’d go home and get up and be at work by 8am. I’d work a full day, then come home, go to bed by 7pm, sleep something like twelve hours and be fine. How audacious.

That’s how easy sleep has always been for me until the last five years or so. Now sleep is an elusive thing. A will-o’-the-wisp that seems to dance at the periphery, just out of grasp.

I still go to sleep with relative ease, but staying asleep, that’s a whole other matter.

I have consulted with professionals on this matter. The answer? “Well, you know, it’s common for women of a certain age to have this problem.”

Bah! I know plenty of women my age who sleep just fine through the night. I also know quite a few women who struggle like me. Men too.

So last night, as I lay there in my familiar bed in my still unfamiliar home, not sleeping at 3am, I started feeling like I am going crazy. Seriously. The thoughts went like this:

“I am going insane. I mean…truly insane. I am not sure I can keep a grasp on the little bit of sanity I have left. Wait, is someone who is going insane aware of that they are going bugnutty? Or does the slide into crazyville go unnoticed? How does one go insane? Probably like that old saying, slowly and then quickly. If I slip my nut does that mean I have to go into an institution? How will The Good Man deal with that? He would not be happy to have me in a hospital, pent up and pulling at the tethers holding me down while shouting strange things.”

Of course, all of that kind of obsessive thinking does NOTHING to help sleep show up again.

So I got up for a while and The Feline joined me. She had a snack, I looked at email on my phone (with the brightness at the lowest possible setting).

After a while we trooped to the bathroom together and then went back to bed. The Feline was snoring within minutes. Sleep was a little more elusive for me.

I woke up with my alarm and reassessed my situation. Am I going insane? I asked The Good Man. He reminded me that lack of sleep sure feels like a short ride into crazyville.

Today, just past lunch time, sitting at my desk, I feel fine. Reasonably sane and a fairly normal working drone. I am tired but I don’t feel like my sanity is at stake.

All is well.

Until 3am rolls around again and I’m tearing at the sheets desperately trying to find sleep.

Photo by superburg and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Energy Good. Nerve Damage Bad.

Last week I went through several days where sleep and I just weren’t going to be friends. This happens off and on and it’s a real bear to get through.

On top of my bad sleep, I was having crazy busy days at the old place of employment. The kind of days where a little “top of my game” would sure have helped me get through the challenges.

So I was over in the building were our IT team sits because I had to deliver some documents for the signature of a Director of Important IT Things.

I was in his office kibitzing when he asked how I was doing.

“Tired,” I said. “Just trying to get through the day.”

“Here,” he replied, waving toward his bookshelves loaded with candy and snacks of all kinds, “Grab something to give you some energy.”

Among the snack packs of Cheetos and Oreos and full size candy bars was a box of 5-hour Energy drinks.

“Hey,” I said, “That’s probably what I need.” I grabbed one and shoved it in my pocket and then took off, late for my next meeting.

I’ve seen the compelling advertisements for this 5-Hour Energy stuff. The announcer promises us, the worthy consumers, that the energy boost will get us through the afternoon slump we all experience. I know quite a few folks who regularly use these little energy shots (mostly the IT boys), so I was interested.

That said, I can get the jitters from a single cup of regular coffee, so I know I have to be careful about these kinds of things. I thought maybe I could take half or something.

Later, back at my desk, I took out the bottle and flipped it over to see exactly what is inside this magical elixir of energy.

Here’s what the label says it contains: Caffeine, huge amounts of niacin, and massive doses of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic acid.

I thought back about what I know about all of these things, as given my delicate nature, I have to really study the effects of any supplement I decide to ingest.

Caffeine…we all know what that does.

Niacin, gives you quite a flush.

And B vitamins will, in fact, hype you up.

Ok, I get what this is doing. Nothing magic here. In fact, this crap kind of worries me.

Niacin, in high doses, can bring on niacin toxicity. The label shows Niacin at 150% of RDA which while not terrible is still quite a lot.

Vitamin B6 and B12 are certainly very important vitamins, and when in deficiency can cause a variety of unpleasant issues. Most B vitamins come from food and unless people have difficulty eating or digesting food, vitamin B shouldn’t be in deficiency. Vitamin B supplements, from what I understand, should be approached cautiously. Prolonged supplement use in excessive high doses (the energy shot bottle says 2000% of RDA) can cause nerve and brain damage.

“chronic administration of 1–6 g oral pyridoxine per day for 12–40 months can cause severe and progressive sensory neuropathy characterized by ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements). Symptom severity appears to be dose dependent, and the symptoms usually stop if the patient discontinues the pyridoxine supplements as soon as the neurologic symptoms appear.”


Most people will say that Vitamin B is water soluble and so the body will excrete most of the excess dosage and it’s not that big of deal. Mostly, that’s true, especially if the excess dosage is intermittent, not daily.

Now let’s turn to the sketchy answer to the question about B vitamins in the FAQs on the 5-hour Energy website. This does nothing to make me feel better. Note that the answer moves from “minimum not optimium” and then quickly talks about caffeine instead of vitamins.

Myth: 5-hour ENERGY®contains dangerous levels of Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 and Niacin (Vitamin B3).

Fact: The amounts of B vitamins in 5-hour ENERGY®are well within safe limits. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is the minimum (not optimum) daily amount set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Of course, if you are sensitive to caffeine, have any medical conditions, are taking any medications, or otherwise have any concerns whether 5-hour ENERGY® is right for you please check with your physician before taking it. 5-hour ENERGY® is available in a Decaf version which has only 6mg of caffeine – about as much as a half cup of decaffeinated coffee.


Um, why are they talking about a decaf version when the question is about excess vitamins? Sketchy.

So I’m thinking this energy stuff may be ok every once in a while, but what about these people who use it every day? And several times a day?


Anyhow, we’re all big kids and can make our own choices. For me, that little bottle of 5-hour Energy drink is still sitting on my desk, untouched. No plans to down that bad boy anytime soon.

Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 with terrible office florescent lighting and the Camera+ app.