Thursday, December 27, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

2013 is quickly approaching. For my family and me, 2012 was pretty good. The highlight was likely my husband getting a new job. He's happier with more challenges, learning new skills, and a new change of scenery. Overall, I had a good year. No big changes, but nothing bad. We have our health thus far, love, family, friends, jobs, money for all of our needs and wants (but we don't want much).

I try not to do resolutions because I suck at them. Let's see an example of a resolution:

Resolution: I will be nicer and more patient.

Works quite well until 11am on January 1st. Then I attempt to go to a grocery store. Someone cuts me off, I swear in my head. (Resolution violated.)

If I got past January 1st with a resolution intact, it would be a miracle.

Instead, I'll try to aim for goals rather than resolutions. It's really just semantics.

2013 Goals (not resolutions)

1. I will increase my turn signal usage.

2. I will exercise on the elliptical at least 2 hours per week. Or run. Or do weights. (Basically, get off my butt.)

3. I will do once-a-month cooking--when you cook several different big meals and freeze them in meal-sized portions.

4. I will read at least 30 books. (I would love more Goodreads friends: )

5. Keep up smoothies (especially with kale and spinach!) and chia seeds. Find more substitutes for the unhealthy food I eat.

6. Max out tax-deferred retirement - both 401k and Roth IRA.

7. I will volunteer with Miss J. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fill in the Blanks

1. I want to...publish a young adult novel.
2.  I’ve never…been to Jamaica.
3. I believe…in true love.
4. My mind often wonders…so many things. At this moment, I'm wondering why the French musical Beloved is so popular on instantwatcher. I just don't get.
5. Last night I dreamed that…I don't remember my dreams from last night. I slept like the dead.
6. This morning for breakfast I ate…turkey, black beans, tomatoes & chiles. I don't like traditional breakfast food.
7. My love life is…intense. lol
8. I enjoy…cookies, candy and people. And reading essays about the hideous Elf on the Shelf:
9. When I was a child I used to…eat pencils all the way down to the lead.
10. When I’m in the kitchen I…want to bake. 
11. My favorite exercise is...elliptical, walking, tae bo.
12. When I travel I…bring my favorite pillow.
13. My friends would tell you that I am…sarcastic and reliable.
14.  If I had to eat at a fast food restaurant today I would choose…Wendy's. Their cheeseburgers make your hands smell interesting.
15. My favorite animal is a frog.
16. My home is…spacious and pretty.
17. I read…a LOT!
18. The last movie I saw was….that awful French musical Beloved. #4 up above.
19. Music makes me feel…almost any emotion possible.
20. All I want for Christmas is…freeze dried bananas and socks - yep, that's my list.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Journal

In 2002 I started a written journal as an adult. I wrote each entry to my as-of-yet unborn child(ren). The reason behind it was that I have never really known my parents. Sure, I know my mother was born in 1950 and had an older sister, that kind of stuff. But I know nothing about what makes her tick and WHY certain events shaped her so much.  She's so very closed off about many parts of her life. So was my dad. The result is that I know very little about either of my parents. The info I've gotten has been gleaned out of my uncle, and he didn't know my mother that well. At least he can fill in some parts about my dad though.

I urged myself to be more open with my own child(ren). I wanted to confess my mistakes, acknowledge them, and then show how I've used those events to change or, in some cases, explain why I likely won't ever fully get over them. 

I plan to give the journals to my child when she turns 18. There was a dilemma I had if I ended up having 2 kids because there would only be one copy. But, alas, it turns out that I will very likely only have 1 kid, so that's not a problem now.

My problem has been that I've slacked off on the journal writing. My last entry was in 2008, a few months after she was born. Yep, I slacked for a whole 4 years! We all know why. I've been blogging more and physically writing less.

I didn't rave about her first steps, her first words, etc. It's okay. She probably realizes that I'm not that kind of mom. I'm more of the mom that looks at her and wonders about the 143 ways I'm going to screw her up and hope she can somehow thrive nonetheless.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Recipe for good sleep

I've read a lot of exercise advice, which was likely written by people who get up at 4am. They all advocate waking up at 4am and exercising first thing in the morning. They claim that you get it done early in the day, and then you're good for the rest of the day. If you exercise at night, it's apparently a sin. And then you stay up all night.

They also advocate running, but everyone I know who runs has knee problems. Coincidence? I think not.

I just want to say that, for heaven's sakes, do what works for you.

Last night I wanted to watch a movie. I popped it in, and then I decided to work on my newly-arrived, replacement elliptical. (By the way, it works a heckuva lot better than the awful one it replaced.) My logic being that if I could exercise while watching the movie, I would be multi-tasking and could maybe burn one or two cookies off.

I did the elliptical for 90 minutes, the length of the movie. The movie ended at 10pm. I got into bed and read 5 pages of my book before I felt too tired to continue. After brushing my teeth and whatnot, it was 10:10pm. I fell asleep right away and slept all the way through the night. Hallelujah!

A good night's sleep. Burning extra calories. No need to travel to a gym.

I ♥ my elliptical. And, no, I hate exercising in the morning. And I hate running.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An introvert's worst nightmare

Whatta week, and it's not over!

Saturday is an all-day training. Last December I gave a 4-hour training to 20 people, and then in April I gave a 4-hour training to 40 people. This Saturday I'm giving a 3-hour training to 30 people and then a 3-hour training to another 30 people. So 6 hours of me yakking to 60 people total. All by myself.

Keep in mind that I'm very much an "I" on the introvert/extrovert scale.

I'm going to need 3 weeks to recuperate.

And I should probably go over my lesson plans before Saturday.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Rant

I try to be open-minded. As in, I can see why someone might theoretically like satin sheets...although flannel or fleece sheets are clearly superior. Or why they might like Twilight...even though it's complete crap.

Ummm, okay, I'm not all that open-minded.


There are three things that have been bugging me because they are so CLEARLY WRONG that I feel compelled to say something. And it has to do with parenting, which is already so controversial: stay-at-home moms vs. working moms, disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers, cry it out vs. attachment parenting, and so on. To show you just how open-minded I am, I will tell you that on any of the issues I just brought up, I can see both ways...except that I do think it's kind of creepy when the whole family sleeps in the same bed even when the kids are in their teens.

First let me get philosophical for a moment. What is the goal of raising little Junior? I see that the end goal is to have Junior become a successful, independent adult. "Successful" defined as pursuing a lawful passion of theirs that makes them happy and hopefully provides an income. "Independent" defined as not calling me a billion times a day with all of their problems AND not living with me after they turn 21 years old. Keeping that in mind, here are my 3 parenting issues that I have a strong opinion on.

1. Paying your kids for good grades is not wise. They don't develop an intrinsic love of learning if you reward them with money. Proponents say that it's the kid version of working, and they need to be paid for doing a good job. In response, I say, "No, that's stupid." My more articulate argument is in the aforementioned paragraph.

2. Spanking is a poor choice of punishment. Spanking is using aggression to punish. Hitting teaches....ummm, hitting. So when Junior starts hitting other people and you wonder why, maybe you should rethink how you dole out punishments.

3. Elf on the Shelf is stupid. Have you heard of this inane concept? I already think the Santa thing is stupid, but I go along with it because I have a 4 year old who's been brainwashed by her friends at school. Elf on the Shelf is basically Santa's tattletale. You put a toy elf on a ... shelf and move it around to other ... shelves (get it?). You tell your kids that it's going to watch them and know whether they're being naughty or nice and tell Santa.

So it breeds:

- Paranoia. This creepy little doll that moves around is WATCHING YOU.

- Only good behavior from Thanksgiving to Christmas (i.e., the other 11 months of the year you can be a hellion)
- Parental work in the form of reminding your children that it is WATCHING YOU, and of course you have to move the dang thing around from shelf to shelf.

I admit I'm lazy and don't want to deal with the dang elf. I also think it teaches the wrong thing...only be good so that you get presents. If you want to move around novelty items around your home for the fun of it, go right ahead. I suppose it's the "so that you get presents" part that really annoys me, kind of like paying for grades. Shouldn't you be a good citizen and a good learner because it's the "right" thing to do, not because you're trying to get the proverbial carrot?


I did find this link highly amusing:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A potential connection

I never really liked kids much. I babysat when I was young because it was pretty much the only job you could get between the ages of 13 and 15, and I figured that watching kids would be a cautionary tale of why teenage pregnancy is a bad, bad thing. And it worked. I got pocket money, and it was excellent birth control. Don't forget to add that most people had better food than I had at my house.

I wasn't an awful babysitter. Most of the time, I even liked the kids. A few hours at a time is enough time to build up a rapport, play a few games, watch a movie with them, and tuck them into bed. It usually didn't last long enough that you went crazy. There was one horrible, horrible job where I was sooooo outnumbered by 5 little girls. It was mayhem that lasted all day long. Infant twins that cried and puked nonstop, a potty-training 2 year old who pooped on the carpet, a 6 year old who got into her mom's makeup and an 8 year old. That truly was a cautionary tale.

They say that even if you don't like kids, you like your own. I like my kid. She's reasonably quiet, she clings to me in public, she so very much wants to be accepted (which tugs at my heart strings), and she wants to do the "right" thing. It also worked to our advantage that one of her big strengths was that she has never been a kid that gets into anything. Never once has she tried to put her finger in a light socket or even tried to leave the house on her own. We've never had to child proof the house, which astonishes most people that come to visit. No cabinet locks, no toilet locks, no gates. That has its own drawbacks, such as she's usually extremely anxious because she doesn't want to do anything wrong. We'll deal with that later or enroll her in a class that teaches her to bend the rules more. Right now we have a decent kid, on the whole.  She has her annoying moments, which tend to be right before bed, because she's hyped up (I swear, she's going to be a night owl when she gets older).

When you have a kid, especially one kid, that becomes your baseline when you encounter any kids approximately the same age. I'm always taken aback when other kids display far more outgoing behavior than my kid. For instance, some kids at daycare come up and hug me whenever they see me. I could NEVER EVER imagine my kid doing that to someone else's parent. Then there are some kids with apparent speech issues because I cannot understand a word they're saying, and they're older than my kid. Or kids older than mine who spit objects at one another. I'm like WTF when I see this because I cannot imagine my kid ever spitting at another kid. What's even more funny is when my kid gives the spitting kid the same look I just did.

What was great about Mean Girl was that she was a lot like my kid - she was reasonably well-mannered in the presence of adults, didn't spit objects at people (yes, some girls do this), was clean and neat, and thought before doing things. What was bad about Mean Girl = she was mean.

And, yes, my kid still laments Mean Girl being gone. And, no, they still haven't had a playdate because her mother still hasn't gotten back to me after our long talk before Halloween. Yet Mean Girl's mother's profile picture is the two girls sitting together. Which I think is kind of weird that my kid is in a non-relative's profile picture...

So with Mean Girl gone, I've been hoping to find other girls that she wants to play with. There is one really sweet girl at her school who seems so polite and welcoming and thoughtful. Last night my kid made her a card with a kitty cat on it. It was so cute how excited she was to give it to her today at school. I briefly met her parents at the school Halloween party because I recognized the little girl from seeing her at drop-off every morning, and the mother seemed so nice. That moment when you "click" with someone and think to yourself "hey, this could become a good friend." But someone else came up to me, and she and her husband ambled away, and we never got a chance to connect again.

Today when I dropped my kid off, I asked one of the teachers if she could try to hook me up with that girl's mother. Maybe it could lead somewhere.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The journey of NaNo

My husband and I have different writing journeys.

Not that I know this from actual experience. We've rarely read each other's stuff. Why? Because I'm intensely paranoid about my writing...that is, the stuff I DON'T put on the internet for anyone to stumble upon. He, apparently, is also paranoid. And he writes science fiction/fantasy, which is a genre I'm not terribly interested in, so I wouldn't have any feedback other than asking why his characters had such horrible names like Dramenod (I don't know that this is what his character names are since I haven't read anything he's written).

We were having a conversation this past weekend when I was lamenting that I don't quite know how my story was going to end. "Don't you know where you're going when you start?" he asked quizzically as if anyone who writes always has a well thought-out plan.

(I don't.)

"No, not really," I bite my lip nervously.

"I always know where the story is going to end before I start." He really doesn't sound holier than thou when he says this although it may come across that way. He's much more matter-of-fact about it.


I had outlined NaNo 2011 before I started. I had a path, and I worked backward methodically in order to set the stage for the ending. It was a pretty sweet deal how it all came together so well.  Almost like I should give up my day job and become a writer. No, not really (I like steady income and health insurance), but it went far better than I had expected it would go.

Several months ago I had an idea for NaNo 2012. But it was a very painful idea that brought up feelings of guilt and regret. Nothing really horrible, but I just didn't want to go there. I'm not ready yet. And that's okay. There's plenty more NaNos in the future, or I can just do it when I *am* ready.

That left me in a bit of a lurch when I realized my original 2012 idea wasn't going to work. When I was sleeping one night, an image came into my head - a crisp, Technicolor picture. And that was what I used for my opening scene, and it became the main fixture for the story. Dreams can be so helpful...and other things, but in this instance it was helpful.

When you base a book on a picture, the plot doesn't reveal itself right away. I had to understand the characters - absorb them, understand their motivations, their values, what makes them tick. That process took a long while, and I watched like any other reader as they slowly revealed the cards in their hands.

So, no, I didn't know how it was going to turn out. I had a potential lead when I started the journey, but decided that it didn't quite mesh with how the character had developed over the month when I got to starting to tie up the book on Sunday night. And so it went in a slightly different direction.

It's hard to judge if I'm happy how it turned out. When I go back and read the beginning, I think it reads stronger than I thought it was at the time. Toward the end, I started to get fatigued, and I think it slacks way off. But in editing I think it can be brought back.

All in all, I think NaNo is a wonderful exercise. It does take a lot of energy to do. Around the 15th of the month, I was just exhausted and couldn't really figure out why until I realized that I was spending hours a night after work thinking and writing and typing toward a mission.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNo: Coming to a Close

I'm on the tail end of NaNoWriMo. As of this moment, my word count is 48,003. I need to get to 50,000, which is completely attainable since I have 4 additional days in which to cross the finish line. Unless I get hit by a bus in the next couple of days, it will be my second NaNoWriMo down. Two novels written (at least in word count only) in the past 13 months.

I wonder when or if the sense of elation will hit me. Right now I'm still in the "eh" phase.

I hate that about myself. I'm so unimpressed by things.

I want to want something with all of my heart. I want to go after it with passion and zeal. I want to continue to want it, even if it doesn't want me back. I don't want to give up. I want to persevere, eventually conquering it with a euphoria that lasts long after the victory.

Alas, I doubt that will happen in this instance. I will go back to my normal, which will be reading books that sound interesting to me, writing, editing my NaNo pieces, finding quirky things to watch on Netflix, napping, chastising myself for not taking more pictures, etc.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Friday Crash

I have a tradition that is many decades old (ok, 2 decades, but since I've only been alive 3 decades, I think I can use the term "many"). That would be that I work myself to the bone Monday - Friday afternoon, and then...I kind of die.

In high school/college, I took full class loads, I worked, I had an active social life, I studied, I dated. Monday - Friday afternoon was a sea of writing papers, going to class, working at a stock brokerage firm, dating, going out with friends. I'd stay up until 2-4am burning the midnight oil writing a paper or playing a fun computer game. Come Friday afternoon, I was done. Done.

When I went away to college, it was very similar. I'd work hard, I'd play hard. Come Friday afternoon, I was done.

Most Fridays I'd be in bed by 7pm. Other kids my age? They'd be getting drunk in someone's dorm room, partying. I would dread if a friend asked me to do something on a Friday night. Why can't it be Saturday? I can do Saturday. Friday night? I just can't do. Even now, I just can't do it. Last month my husband had a work function on a Friday night. I grumbled, I complained. I don't DO Friday night events.

Friday nights are when I get in my least romantic pajamas (fleece), crawl in bed, and just sleep.

In college, my boyfriend was impressed by my Friday night fortitude. I would be in bed by 7pm (because I eat dinner at 5pm like a senior citizen). He would be awake until his normal 1am, a whole 6 hours after I fell asleep. He would then wake up at 9am, and I would STILL be asleep. I'd usually wake up at 10am after sleeping a good 14-15 hours in a row. I didn't move the whole time. He would check to make sure I was still breathing.

I miss those Friday nights.

Now I still like Friday nights, but I just can't do the marathon sleeping as well as I used to. I can make it about 10 hours, which is profoundly awesome in its own right; it just sucks in comparison to 14-15 hours. Last night was 7:30pm - 5:30am. 

I am jealous of people who sleep like that every night.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fun Size Bars

Get these fun size bars out of the house. I've eaten a hideous amount.

Julia eats them at the rate of about 1 per day. There are A LOT. Well, there WERE a lot. Now there's not that many. Was it the 7 she has eaten, or was it the 100 I have eaten?


On the bright side, I've been running. 15-30 minutes at a time. For me, that's not too bad.

My intake eating all those fun size bars has greatly exceeded the calories burned during running.

Nano is kind of going okay.

With the election and general stress and Nano and "I'm thrilled soccer is done" and I'm catching up on some TV watching, my blogging here has decreased.

I'll bring it back up soon...I promise.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


November is National Novel Writing Month.

I participated last year. It was difficult to push yourself so hard, but it was good. Why was it good? Because you HAD to push yourself to write 50,000 words in one month.

I like to write. I want to write more. Somehow this blog and my other writing has taken the place of the journal I used to keep, and that's okay. But my more creative side has been put on the wayside for a number of years. That's par for the course when you work full-time, have a child, have a husband, etc. There are tradeoffs in life, and in the end I'm very grateful because I still get the opportunity to pursue much of what I want to pursue. Things would be different if I had a less supportive husband or I had 8 kids.

In the past, when I have attempted to write fiction, I get to a decent 30-50 pages, and I lose momentum so I put it down. For months, for years it just sits. Anyway, when I get enough momentum again, I have to read all the pages I wrote and try to get into that mindset. It's easy to lose that mindset and very difficult to get back into it.

That's why I like NaNoWriMo. You don't put down your writing long enough to forget. You may forget the specific scene you're in the middle of writing, but you don't forget the overall mission you're on.

There are so many entries I want to do here in the next few weeks (since I've been feeling like I've let this blog slide a bit), but at the same time I'm excited for NaNoWriMo. I have been trying to come up with ideas for NaNoWriMo, but most of my ideas centered around one theme & I suppose I felt boxed into a corner because I couldn't fully develop it. Last night, though, I had an unrelated thought path in my brain, and I realized that it could be a very good NaNoWriMo path. It will push me, though, in ways I don't want to be pushed but probably be well-served in being pushed.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Save me from this week

My life through next Sunday is, in short, going to suck.

Monday: work, pick up 40 lbs of chicken (long story), meeting right after work until 8:30pm, try to figure out how to keep chicken cold until I get home
Tuesday: work, errands, tae kwon do
Wednesday: work, soccer, book club
Thursday: work, tae kwon do
Friday: work, "celebration" dinner (semi-formal, finally found a dress to wear)
Saturday: soccer game, errands, soccer party, costume party at J's school (we can't call it a Halloween party although there are costumes, candy & trick or treating...I don't understand evangelicals)
Sunday: birthday party, going out to movie

I can feel that I'm getting sick: achy, tired and feeling really cold. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dress Angst

My husband's new job is celebrating an awesome 3rd quarter by putting on a cocktail party.

Personally if I worked for a for-profit, I'd want a cash bonus. But instead they do rah rah things like cocktail parties with valet service after a good quarter. (See, I can complain about ANYthing.)

Why it makes me cranky:
1. It's on a Friday night. Friday nights are my night to change into fleece when I get home, read US Weekly & watch a movie.

2. I have to get out of my fleece and put on a stupid cocktail dress.

I know his company is rah rah (kind of like a high school pep assembly that's aged 20 years), and I know it's kind of expected that he (and I) show up. So we will.

Enter Dressamaggedon 2012. What do I WEAR to a cocktail party??? My willingness to spend money on a dress is pretty much nil. My willingness to go through trying on dresses is nil. Therefore, I commenced closet destruction in search of a dress, any dress, to wear to this thing.

Contender A: The dress I wore last year to the wedding. It's a bit...warm weather, but it's a really pretty blue.

Contender B: Basic black dress, sleeveless. It's a little big. Safety pins will be required.

Contender C: Ohmygod, my Homecoming dress from when I was 16 fits!!!! See, I told you I don't weigh that much more than I did in high school. Potential objections: 1) Are you allowed to wear a dress that you wore to an event with a different guy? 2) The dress is kind of funky. Timeless - it is NOT. I wore it in 1994, and multicolored dresses were fashionable. What WAS I thinking???

I did go to a store and look for a dress. I hate trying dresses on because either my boobs fit but the rest of the dress is a sack, or the bottom fits and my boobs are exploding. It's really discouraging. Unsurprisingly, I didn't find anything during my search.

I'm thinking Contender B. Basic, fade into the wall black with a black scarf. Simple, and I won't end up in the "she wore WHAT?!" highlight reel the next week.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So Long Mean Girl

I've stated before that my 4-year old girl has selected a little Mean Girl as her main friend. Mean Girl will play with her one day, then tell my daughter "You're not my friend" the next day, which my daughter then repeats in various mean ways to other kids and my husband and me.

I figured out where Mean Girl gets it very early on. Her mother is very hot and cold. I've noticed this when I see her places around town. One day she'll chat with me for 15 minutes; the next time she'll ignore me. It's very much a mind game when you don't know where you stand with someone.

Mean Girl's mom has decided to put her little cherub in a private school with a pre-K program.

My daughter is devastated.

I am super joyous.

Mean Girl has been gone for over a month. There are almost daily iterations of, "I miss Mean Girl. When am I going to see Mean Girl?"

I think, ummmm never if we're lucky. I say, I can ask her mom if we can meet at the park.

And I actually did this; I'm not one of those mothers who tells my kid empty promises. Mean Girl's mother responded "sure" the first time. I asked for a specific date and then suggested a few dates, and she never responded. It's not like I expected her to, but I at least had to try for the sake of my begging daughter.

I'm not going to pester Mean Girl's mother. Obviously, Mean Girl has forgotten about Little J, or her mother wants to put the kibosh on it for some reason (probably because we're such riff raff that will be going to public school).

Regardless of the reason, Mean Girl continues to be out of our lives. And guess what? The "you're not my friend" crap has ceased. The mind games (a crushed little girl whose friend wouldn't play with her that day) have ceased.

Little J still talks about Mean Girl. Hopefully, it will fade over time. I'm not sure why J doesn't have those connections with the other kids at school. She talks about the other kids, she plays with the other kids, but she's not that passionate about any of the other kids as more than a temporary playmate for a few minutes.

I'm worried that she'll latch on to another Mean Girl the moment the opportunity arises. But it's not my life; it's hers.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Facebook Statuses I Really Want To Write

I totally want to play Calvin Broadus, Jr., in Celebrity Words with Friends.

If I get invited to another MLM "party," I may become homicidal.

Isn't it enough that you take dozens of pictures of yourself in the bathroom mirror every day and post them? Must you rotate your profile picture amongst the gazillion pictures EVERY DAMN HOUR????!!!!!

I love Scott Weiland's gravelly voice.

Thank you to ex-boyfriend in college who was obsessed with Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. You've helped my 90s Alternative SongPop score tremendously.

63 SongPop challenges against my husband in the last week = need a life

I've been sucked into the Pretty Little Liars book series. And watching Downton Abbey. There's not enough hours in the day if you consider that I have to work and sleep! Oh yeah, and take care of my child and talk to my husband.

Soccer countdown: 4 more games, 3 more practices. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Do we stay or do we go?

My MLS moratorium is about over. For those of you who don't know what the MLS is, it's the Multiple Listing Service, aka the houses up for sale. When we bought this house, we got $6,500 from the IRS. Why? I have no idea; it was Congress's stupid idea to revive the housing market. But, hey, they offered it. We took it. As part of the agreement for that $6,500, we had to stay in the house for 3 years or pay back the $6,500.

We closed on this house on December 14, 2009. Not that I keep track of these things...

So we can sell the house as of December 14, 2012 without having to pay anything back. Which means we're in an acceptable window to put this house up for sale to potentially have a mid-December closing.

I don't like this house. I always wanted to have a big house. I can now say I've had one. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Now get me out!

The house is too big. The yard is too big. I've never felt like it was home. It is nice to watch the water from almost every room in the house. That part is nice. But we can get a smaller house with a water view. Something more homey, more manageable.

My husband really likes the house. It does have some really nice features. He wants to stay.

I want to go.

I think I could persuade him if I found a cool house with a water view up for sale.


Monday, September 24, 2012


I've been trying to exercise a lot more in the past two months (moved from my traditional 3 hours a week to 6 hours a week). And eat less or at least be more mindful of what I was eating. It was rather frustrating last month because NOTHING was happening other than my abs and thighs were hurting and my stomach was growling. Hunger and soreness without weight loss just make me cranky, along with multi-level marketing "parties."

I'm happy to report that in two months I'm finally down 4 pounds. I think. I've probably gone through my weight loss math before, and it's rather hard to follow. It's so hard to follow that I get lost myself. So I'm either 4 pounds down or 6 pounds down from two months ago. 4 is more conservative, so that's the one I'm going with. I'm at my pre-pregnancy weight. Actually I'm down to what I lost in anticipation of getting pregnant.

* breathes sigh of relief *

I'm actually also below my driver's license weight. I think if your weight is ever below your driver license weight, you should get a free redo of your license. Wouldn't that be nice? (Aren't you proud of me for putting down a weight that's somewhat close to my actual weight in the first place? I'm not one of those who claims to be half the weight I actually am. Sometimes I have a somewhat realistic view of reality.)

I hope I can keep up the trend or maintain. 7 more pounds would be awesome. If it I was feeling really greedy, then 17 would be even more awesome. But let's face it, 7 more will be even hard enough for me to attain.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Permanent Stamps

I can't remember if I blogged about this subject. If I already have, sorry for the repeat.


Call me passionless, but there's nothing that I would want etched onto my body forever - or until I am incinerated or my skin decomposes (for the literal, sorry for the macabre). It seems like many people have tattoos with pictures, quotes, names, symbols, etc. Maybe it's only half. Or even less than half. Or maybe that the people with tattoos are likely to wear less clothes.

We should commission a study.

Maybe it's a medium that many people use to show the rest of the world (or significant others, for those more "hidden" tattoos) what is important to them. I choose not to partake in that medium. The pain doesn't deter me. I just don't see the point in getting a tattoo. Whenever I get a stamp on my hand for one reason or the other, I'm ready to scrub it off in a few minutes. I think I'd have a similar disgust for tattoos on myself.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision. If tattoos are the way to display your passions and what's important to you, have at it. My un-tattooed self will sit on the sidelines and watch you get your tattoo.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I hate soccer

These past few weeks have been kicking my butt: going back to longer work hours (I know, a whole HALF HOUR longer each day), soccer, Miss J's upcoming surgery and...ummm...I don't know what else.

Soccer gives me angst. Two practices a week that I have to be sitting on the sidelines, 1) pretending to care about soccer and 2) pretending to care about trivial discussions that the parents have about the first day of school, redshirting, food allergies & Groupon deals. Let's not forget that soccer starts extremely early so I have to pack all the soccer sh&% before I leave for work, try to squeeze out of work a few minutes early, race across town to pick her up, change her in the car or the bathroom at school really fast, and race to the soccer field.

She kind of sucks at soccer. I mean, I know I'm supposed to tell HER that she's doing great. And I do. But she really does suck at it. She skips across the field at a snail's pace. She will only kick the ball if it rolls precisely to her, and there's no chance of anyone else getting it. Compared to her, everyone on her team is practically professional (do they start these kids in soccer before they can walk???). I feel like she's holding back the rest of the team, which makes ME anxious. On the bright side, she hasn't had a soccer field meltdown like the other kids because she doesn't ever get close enough to the ball or the other kids to get any sort of injuries. She just skips across the field with a smile on her face and her tongue sticking out while everyone else kicks each other.

I was obviously smoking crack when I signed her up.

She does seem to like it though. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Not very substantial

Sorry so long since I posted. This past Sunday we had 25 people at our house for a BBQ. Clean - get ready (grocery shop, food prep, etc.) - BBQ - clean - put everything away - get ready for the week.

I'm still recovering. I really don't like hosting things, but I know I "should." And it was on my summer to do list to have a BBQ.

This week is full of soccer, trying to get things done, and falling asleep rather early - which results in waking up at 3 or 4am. When I wake up that early, I usually just listen to music with headphones. I don't want to wake up my husband by getting out the computer.

Just checking in, I'll try to post something more substantial sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The post that's a bit esoteric

I hate to be vague. I am quite literal usually, but since this is public, I should have some level of discretion, right?  Please excuse my ambiguity.

There's someone in my life that I really don't like dealing with. My life is much easier when I lie low and stay off this person's radar. Sometimes lying low involves squelching my own wants and acquiescing to this person's wants, which makes me somewhat resentful when it happens with great regularity, but the greater good is peaceful relations. It's not the best set-up, yet constantly butting heads doesn't seem productive either.

Right now this person wants something I have. Let's say it is an apple, for the sake of making this less ambiguous. I have an apple. This person wants the apple. Why? I'm an amateur psychologist, no PhD here; my best guess is because then this person can lord his/her "I have an apple and you don't" mantra over everyone else. That's kind of par for the course with this person, which is the main reason I dislike this person.

In actuality, I don't have an apple. I have a responsibility/duty. I was handpicked three years ago to fulfill a role because of my strength, competence, and adeptness. I take it seriously. There are psychological rewards that go along with this responsibility/duty, but I don't focus on them at all. What I focus on is the responsibility and fulfilling the role the best way I can.

By the way, this is why I could never be a CEO.  I'd focus so much on the responsibility of running a whole company that I couldn't permit myself to enjoy the rewards of being a CEO.

This person wants my role. Again, my best guess is for the power. For the past few weeks, I had convinced myself that this person had succeeded. I felt crummy. I thought I was on my way out of this role because this person had persuaded everyone that I suck at fulfilling the obligations of this role & that this person would be a much better alternative than I. (This person might have said a few choice phrases that alluded to this person being in the role instead of me.)

I hated that I was in a mental place like that. I felt like I let everyone down, that I wasn't competent, that I wasn't good enough. One person (who I don't respect as a person all that much) practically crumbled my self-confidence in that area completely. I know, I'm not a pillar of self-confidence to begin with, so it's not like it took a lot of work.

After hemming and hawing, I finally got the courage to talk to the powers that be. I asked for feedback on how I was doing in the role. My thought was that if I got the sense that my presence wasn't wanted, then I would just step down from that specific role. If someone doesn't want my skills anymore, then it makes sense to step aside for someone else to try. There's something to be said for bowing out gracefully. However, the feedback that I got was that I was doing great. This person may have TRIED to take away my role to obtain it himself/herself, but it didn't work.

I have a sense of relief now. Various things bugged me about the whole thing, and of course I hated that any part of it bugged me. I should have known that I was doing at least an adequate job. That had been my personal sense about the whole situation. But then a few sentences from this person make me question myself - not just in a "hmmm, what's going on?" way, but in a way that could potentially devastate me to the core. I like to think that I'm strong and resilient, but the past few weeks made me realize just how fragile I really am. I feel awful at the thought of disappointing people who are relying on me.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I struggle with some of the things that are automatic for others. Most notably, I don't know my own hair or eye color.

For the record, I'm not color blind. I'm just an idiot.

My eyes are a weird bluish/greenish/grayish/gold-ish cacophony. I don't know whether to round my cacophony to hazel or blue. I usually pick blue because hazel brings to mind a light shade of brown. Nothing's wrong with hazel; it's merely that my eyes are closer to blue than brown. Usually I round to blue for that reason.

My hair, though, totally befuddles me. I have no idea what color it is. I haven't dyed it since 2007, so right now I'm dealing with my completely natural color. Back in '03, I dyed my hair BLACK. Permanent BLACK. That was a bad idea because I totally looked goth. It took forever to get my hair completely back to "normal," and I ended up getting addicted to hair dye to ease my transition back to what it used to be.

After 5 years of having completely natural hair now, I am stymied by those little questionnaires that ask your hair color. I simply have no idea what color my hair is. Some people are adamant that I have red hair. I don't think I have red hair since I don't see any red. A few others say I have brown hair. If you think of the huge spectrum of brown hair, it's definitely on the lighter side of brown. Then there are others that say I have blond hair. The sun has really lightened my hair this year, and there are definitely strands that I would consider blond. On the whole, though, I'm not completely blond.

I suppose, then, my hair is brown. Light brown with blond and red highlights, just to cover all of the bases.

Since this is a complete nonsense post, I will add a P.S.

P.S. I want to grow out my hair for Locks of Love, and it's getting really, really long. But I've still got to grow it another 6-8 inches; I'm not sure I'll last that long without hacking at it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Food

You might wonder what that lump is. It looks gross, I know. It's that liquid egg stuff, salsa (hence the pink tinge with dark chunks) and a bit of cheese.
Lunch: 2 corn tortillas, chicken underneath the lettuce, sharp cheddar, lettuce, salsa, black beans
1 serving of Dreyer's/Edy's Berry Rainbow Sherbet + 2 organic Yummy Earth lollipops
Dinner: Zone bar

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small, Sustained Changes

This month I've focused on cutting portions and eating a reasonable amount of calories each day. Way back in 2000 I got into an eating mindfulness regimen. I ate reasonable portions. If I wanted something sweet, I'd have just a little bit. I was, for lack of a better word, restrained. I was the epitome of eating restraint for about a year and a half, and then I just gave up. I went back to a more limited version of my old ways (i.e., way less eating out but still doing plenty of baking). That basically means I went to a weight that I have been at for the last 10 years. A little higher than I would like, but a perfectly maintainable weight by watching what I eat for a couple of days per week and then eating whatever I want for the other days of the week.

This month's priority is trying to stay at 1,500 calories per day. Let me not even count how many calories I ate before this month. 2,000 on a good day, probably 2,500 on average with some 3,000 days. But I exercised. So I maintained my weight for the most part. I might gain 5 pounds over Christmas, but in January I kicked my butt in gear and would be back to normal by the end of January or early February.

August has been interesting since it's been so long since I've concentrated on calories for such an extended amount of time. Sure, I might be interested in calorie counting for a day or a week, but I soon realize that I eat all of what I'm supposed to by 3pm, and then I just scrap counting for the rest of the day.

This time is a little different. I've done it for 3 weeks now, and I'm getting into a rhythm. It's not as hard as it was for the first week anymore. I'm not "starving" anymore. I think they say it takes 3 weeks for a habit to develop, and I think that's true.

What's weird is that my diet hasn't changed much. I still pack my lunch for work every day. I'm still packing similar food (fruit, veggies, protein). The big difference is that when I get home, I try not to graze for snack-type foods. My problem time is when I used to get home from work and was ravenous. I would mindlessly eat cookies/tortilla chips/chocolate chips.Instead, now I suck on my brown rice syrup lollipops or veggies.  That saves at least 500 calories a day. Then I limit my dessert to a couple of those lollipops or a tiny bowl of ice cream (if I have the calories remaining). That probably saves another 200-300 calories. If I don't have the calories remaining, then I won't allow myself to even go to the kitchen.

And I'm trying to eat more soup because it tends to be more filling (and trying to make it homemade so there's less salt).

And I'm upping my exercise. It's a bit more than I sometimes am in the mood for (7-10 hours a week), but I'm sticking with it.

After 3 weeks, I'd love to say I've lost 20 pounds and am exactly where I want to be. I am jealous of those people who can do that. Or on Biggest Loser, people who lose 20 pounds in one freaking week.

Alas, it is slow-going for me. My weight's been very erratic. My body is trying to figure out this new normal, I think. One day it's down 3 pounds, up 2 pounds the next, up another 3 pounds the next. I can safely say that the scale hasn't budged, if at all (there's no overall trend in the numbers). In my old mindset, I'd get frustrated by this. I'm the type that would need positive feedback within 2 weeks or I'd say, "Screw it!"

This time I have to admit that the little voice in my head is a tad frustrated because it thinks there should be some results by this point. That voice will never completely go away. But I'm not changing anything or even close to giving up. I'm plodding along with my, let's be honest, small changes. Staying away from the Oreos should be something that I should be doing already. Upping exercise never hurt anyone either. All in all, they ARE small changes that I can sustain.

I was thinking of doing a food log for next week. Maybe I'll show improvement over the last time I did such a log where my diet was popsicle, candy, okay food, popsicle, popsicle.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Stereotype

Our culture has created an image of a stereotypical guy. He drinks beer, doesn't talk about his feelings, watches sports, only does "manly" chores, and lives in his garage with a workbench, artwork (i.e., posters of scantily clad women) and a mini fridge stocked with beer. He may also resemble Al Bundy.

I often chuckle at this stereotype because I've never dated anyone like this. I have purposely avoided drinkers because all of the men in my family liked alcohol a little too much. I'd have to say almost all of the guys I dated were more the emo type, versus the silent type. All had decent cleaning abilities and didn't mind washing dishes or folding clothes. And most were of the computer/active athletic type instead of the live-in-the-garage type.

I did actively disregard the frat boy type - you know, the type who would turn into the stereotype if they weren't already there. To be honest, most of the frat boy type didn't bring much to the table. They tended to be exasperating (both in what they said and what they did), chauvinistic, and annoying.

Soooooo... when I go to a party and see these Al Bundy types that are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, I cringe. There are people who are really like that. And they marry women who then complain about stoic men who don't show emotion and who are obsessed with garages and workshops and sports. These guys guzzle beers and tend the barbecue while the womenfolk do "womenfolk" things.

And I leave the party appreciating my non-stereotypical guy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Balls balls balls

When I was a kid, I was raised by a single mom whose first priority was to put food on the table. Her job demanded long hours; she would usually bring home work on top of the long hours. She was often on call, which would necessitate taking me with her to the hospital at all hours of the night. (I was traumatized by seeing a fetus in a jar once.)

Thus, my mom coordinated after school care for me. The YMCA or that town's equivalent usually picked me up from school in a van. I hung out at the YMCA for a few hours. There I either read or played those torturous arm pinching and scratching games with other girls. Sometimes I made friendship bracelets or played horse on the basketball court.

I completely missed out on extracurricular/after school sports activities growing up, which for the most part I'm fine with. When I was in 5th grade, I harbored a bit of resentment for not being able to join the Pepettes, which was some junior cheerleading thing in Texas. Every single girl in my class except for me was a Pepette. How I coped was being a cheerleader in college, which was far more painful but got my Pepette resentment out of my system.

Since I didn't get an opportunity to do this stuff as a kid, I want to at least offer some extracurricular opportunities to Miss J. She wanted to do soccer. The community we're in has a big soccer program (errr....religion). I signed her up. There was no communication about what specifically was needed in terms of equipment or uniforms, and remember I've never played any organized sports outside of PE.

I was cranky that we were given so little notice. We were told to bring a soccer ball plus cleats plus shinguards the night before. Husband gets a soccer ball. Who knew that there were different types of soccer balls? Not me. Or him apparently. My friend let me know we needed a size 3; my husband had gotten a size 4. We couldn't find soccer socks or shinguards small enough for Miss J at 9pm the night before.

When we get to the welcome meeting, we realize that the micro league is from 4-6 years old. Did you know that some 6 year olds are giants? We also are told by the coach that practice is at 5pm. Buttttt....what if you work? Well, you better figure it out, buddy. We're also told that there's a parade, and each soccer team makes a banner. There's a first place, second place, third place. Last year they won second place. One of the moms says she has ideas for the banner this year. We're told that we're going to all get together to make this banner on a Friday night at the local pizza place. My eyes get huge, and I give a worried look to my husband. Ummm...arts and crafts???

The thought of making a banner with all the kids and parents makes me want to hyperventilate. I don't know why. It just does. I suppose I thought we signed up for soccer, and what does banner making have anything to do with soccer?

Then we were told last night that there would be no parade this year. Awwww shucks! I couldn't even pretend to be sad. No banner! No parade! No arts and crafts!

And then I started to get a little excited about watching Miss J try to play soccer. Maybe it will help build her confidence. Maybe it will help her be a little more outgoing. Maybe we'll meet some parents. Maybe I'll learn the rules of soccer.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting off the fence for once

There are a lot of issues that I'm "eh" about. I wish I had more passion; I wish I wasn't so apathetic. I want to have a strong opinion about something and valiantly defend it. Most of the time, though, I can see both sides. I acknowledge both sides have points, and then I stand on the fence.

Fence sitting allows you to acquire a lot of information. Occasionally, I actually form an opinion after taking it all in. More often than not, I feel like I'm the person that can write both sides of the pro/con list for each option.

A few issues I am passionate about. Passionate enough to not really understand the other side and what they're thinking. Are they even thinking?

The topic is....spanking.

I was shocked to find that there are people I know who spank their kids. They don't live around here, or if they do they don't admit it. They are in a different region of the country than the west coast.

I try to be all "however you want to raise your kids is cool." I try, but I don't succeed well when it comes to spanking. WHY do people think it's okay to hit your kids? When does hitting resolve anything? It's exerting brute force over someone who can't defend him/herself anywhere close to your ability. It's teaching that hitting is okay. It's barbaric.

I would like to understand the rationale that spanking advocates have. Yet I can't get over being appalled by it to even conjure up a reason why people do it. And what's a nice way to ask, "Why do you choose to spank as a punishment?" It totally gives away your thesis, you make the person defensive, and it's just bad all around.

So instead I sit and wonder why people make that specific parenting choice. I'm too afraid to ask. There's not a lot in the way of resources about "why it's okay to spank your kids." Even if I read an article about it, I would probably be lost because I would be coming at it from a completely different angle.

My thesis: You should not spank your kids (or anyone else's). 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bad Influence

When you're a parent, you realize that it's only a matter of time before your kid meets a Bad Influence. Preferably, your daughter will be 18 the first time it happens, and the Bad Influence will be a girl (not a boy) who drives a sports car 5 miles above the speed limit and offers your daughter a sip of beer (just a sip). Right? Isn't that the best scenario? For my husband's sanity and blood pressure, let's hope the Bad Influence isn't an 18 year old boy with a studded leather collar while our daughter is only 14. As we all know, that type of Bad Influence would create all sorts of havoc.

The thing is, I really didn't think the first Bad Influence would be a kinda mean 4 year old decked out in hair bows and a ballet tutu. I don't even blame the kid. I blame the parents for creating a 4 year old Mean Girl. (Not that I'm blaming them for her mere existence, but I'm rather blaming them for starting a behavioral pattern that has created the meanness in her.)

Bad Influence only goes to daycare once or twice a week. She's that unpredictable storm that you never know when is going to strike. However, you always know when she's been there because your child picks up certain sayings and behaviors.

1) "You're not my friend anymore!" with the corollary of "You're not coming to my birthday party!" (in 10 months...okaaaaaaay)
2) Talks in absolutes, usually after you tell her no and explain why. "I NEVER want to eat ice cream again." Then proceeds to ask for ice cream 5 minutes later.
3) Slams doors, dramatic floor antics, etc.

In other words, she acts just like Bad Influence. It's been about a year or so since I've noticed that Bad Influence is the main reason for my daughter's unwanted behavior. Sure, I bet there's some other kids at daycare she's picked it up from, but the timing of when it becomes a huge problem is usually right after Bad Influence showed up to daycare that day. We try to kick it out of her, and by the time she's back to her status quo, Bad Influence is there again.

Bad Influence's mother is interesting. We had a playdate last year, and she praised herself to me for being a Tiger Mom (flashcard drills every night, extracurricular activities every night of the week, overprotective, etc.). I don't do flashcards. My limit is one extracurricular activity per week. And I don't think I'm that overprotective, but it's really hard to judge your protectiveness as compared to other mothers.

It seemed to be a decent playdate that one time. The girls had fun. Afterwards, though, the mother was kind of cold toward me. I saw her in a store, and she just nodded and walked away. Ooooookay. Then I saw her while we were dropping off the girls at daycare, and she didn't even acknowledge me. But then I saw her in a store another time after that, and she talked to me for about 10 minutes. I had to get rid of her because of my time constraints. Needless to say, I'm really confused about where I stand with her. Maybe she's one of those hot/cold people, which might be why her kid is so hot/cold. One day Bad Influence wants to be J's best friend. The next day she wants nothing to do with her, which of course breaks J's heart and we get to hear about the crushing disappointment once she gets home that day.

I really don't like that Bad Influence's mother lies to her kid. My husband and I both observed one instance where she lied to her kid, and then she told me another time that she lied. I don't know, it seems to me that if you lie to your kid that your kid might have trust issues and be insecure. Which might then logically manifest itself into being a Mean Girl at daycare, but I digress.

If only my daughter didn't think the sun rose and set on Bad Influence. I suppose this is a learning experience for us as parents and my daughter. There will always be Bad Influences around; you can't control that. But what you can control is your behavior and how you respond to it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Optimistic about Resolution

It looks like BOTH things that I had been hoping to pan out actually will pan out. Not 100% chance but at least 90% chance.

So my husband has been looking for a new J-O-B for a while now. It's probably been about a year although he was initially exceedingly picky about what jobs he'd actually apply for. The main reason that he's been looking for a new job is that his company is going to close his current location at some point. They have a few locations across the nation, albeit less locations than 5 years ago because they keep closing locations. He knew it was only a matter of time. Plus he works in a dying industry.

Back in December he got pretty far along in the process with a company that writes A --> Z on its boxes that they send you. If you don't know this company, then you live under a rock and don't use the Internet so then you wouldn't be reading this, now would you??? THAT company was a pretty far drive, they expected 12 hour days, and my husband expressed his personal preference to have more of a life. However, the job WAS pretty cool. Well, that didn't pan out, which actually was good because I'd never see my husband.

During 2012 he had a few phone interviews. Two were at different gaming companies; one I was particularly excited about because I play their addictive games All. The. Time. He didn't get past the phone interview stages at either company. Oh well. A few other applications were sent in without phone calls. Such is the job market unless you're in an "in demand" field.

Well, he got a call about 3-4 weeks ago for an in-person interview at a company. It seemed odd because I thought phone interviews were the first step. Before the interview, he had to do a case study. They sent him a case, and he had a few hours to complete it and send it back. He had a panel interview. This was all on a Monday. It turns out that he knew someone who works there, so that could have eased him in. By Thursday they contacted him to come back to a second interview and testing. The second interview was the next Thursday. It was also the day after Julia was up all night puking. She has great timing, that girl. Last month she puked all day before her birthday party. Impeccable timing.

So with maybe two hours of sleep, my husband went to his second interview that started sharply at 8am. It was a series of interviews with various directors. Then he had to take a series of tests on Excel, Access, SQL & Visual Basic. It lasted until after noon.

What surprised us was that they offered him a contingent job offer (contingent on the results of his tests and references) before he left the interview that day. I'm not sure how often that happens these days, but I would think they would want more time to make a job offer. However, we were very excited and he was intrigued about the contingent job offer.

Then comes Friday at his work. The new job hadn't yet gotten back to him about his test scores and references (they wouldn't end up getting back to him until Monday). His current job, however, announced that they are offering people severance packages if they tell HR by August 3rd that they will vacate their jobs by August 17th. The severance package isn't that great, but it's definitely something.

So he was hoping that he could firmly line up the new job and then take the extremely well-timed severance package offer at the old job. He could work the old job until the 17th, start the new job on the 20th. Funny thing, this is kind of like deja vu because this is what happened at his job before his current job. They ended up closing the Seattle location, and his last day was a Friday and his new job started on the subsequent Monday & he also got a severance package out of the deal. Nine years later, this would essentially be a repeat.

One wrinkle this time around. You could apply for the severance package, but they could deny you. Why? They had some vague excuse that if you were deemed too necessary by upper management, you couldn't leave under the terms of the severance.

Early this week it's been kind of crazy. My husband's trying to line up the details of the new job, including salary and start date, trying to feel out management in his current job to see if they would deem him "necessary" or if they would let him take the severance, not let the current job know that he actually has a new job lined up (because why would they give him the severance if he was going to leave anyway?), and otherwise be a nervous wreck.

Thus far, we're optimistic. He's starting the new job on the 20th. It looks like he's sweet talked his current management into thinking he's not necessary, so he thinks his severance is going to be approved. He negotiated a slight increase in pay in the new job.

I'm very proud of him and his new adventure. Some other good things about the new job: the new job is about 10 miles away (pretty decent given this area), he gets a new and better title, there are more opportunities for growth in the new company, and it's NOT in a dying industry.

Oh, and on Tuesday his current company announced they would be completely closing this location by the end of the year. So instead of having imminent unemployment looming, he'll be out for beforehand. Still, we're sad for everyone who's left there knowing that they will be jobless right around Christmas. Ugh!

Anyway, this is all great timing for my husband, and we're both very relieved at how things are working out.

Friday, August 3, 2012

FullFirstName vs. Nickname

If I ever have to fill out an official form where there's a line (like this: _________________________) for me to write or type in my name, I always write my FullFirstName and LastName. It seems proper. It seems correct. When I applied for a job where I work now, FullFirstName was what I wrote in the box. They never asked if I had a nickname. They ordered my name placard and business cards with my FullFirstName, and my e-mail address alias also had FullFirstName.

So I became the type of person who goes by FullFirstName even though FullFirstName is kind of long with more than two syllables. It's begging to be shortened.

I'm not a stuffy FullFirstName kind of person! Really! When I introduce myself, I call myself Nickname. It's always easy to tell how a person met me. If you met me in person, you call me Nickname. If you met me through work or somewhere where I filled out a form (i.e., doctor's office), you call me FullFirstName.

However, there's a quirk. I despise the rhythm of my Nickname + LastName. Completely sucks. Independently each is fine but together it's a mess. It's short and awkward; it doesn't flow well because the last letter of the nickname and first letter of the last name shouldn't occur in that order. FullFirstName + LastName sounds much, much better. The longer version flows better; the syllables work well together.

So when I introduce myself, I call myself Nickname. And then people just sit there expectantly waiting for my last name, which I don't say. Not because I don't like it, but rather because it just doesn't work well with Nickname. Then they say THEIR last name, and I feel like I have to say my last name. But because there's that pause, I just say my last name. I let them put the two together and realize on their own that the name rhythm is just plain wrong. And then when I see Nickname + LastName in print (which doesn't happen that often because of my aforementioned hate of writing Nickname + LastName in print), I recoil. It even looks wrong on paper.

Alas, I'm cool with Nickname all by itself. When LastName is added, it looks wrong. It sounds wrong. It's just plan wrong.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why I don't wear white shirts

Quite a while ago I found 3 white shirts on clearance. The tight white t-shirt type that go with skirts or jeans, and they are easy to layer with a light sweater. I bought 3 since they were like $4 each. And then I proceeded to ruin all 3 of them with various stains. Mostly food stains, but then throw in some pen stains, grease stains, smudge marks from who knows what, etc. Maybe one became gray in the washer. Soon they became only appropriate to wear under certain sweaters that hid the stains. Now they are all out of commission.

Then I put myself under a ban of buying white shirts. Even at a bargain basement price of $4, they are more grief than a blessing.

Now I decided that I need some more white shirts. Why? I have no freaking idea. Sure, they're a good basic piece of clothing to have...I theory.

Today I wore my new white shirt ($7.67...damn you, inflation!). Here are today's thoughts about my shirt.

1. I always wear a black or royal blue bra. Why? I have no idea. Today I put on a royal blue bra, put on my new shirt, realized why white shirts don't go with dark bras, took off my shirt, took off my bra, scrounged up a white bra.... blah, what a waste of time. And I'm in an inferior color of bra just because it's kind of trashy to wear a dark bra under a white shirt.

2. I had an orange juice accident this morning. I freeze orange juice in little containers, and I had a klutzy moment (kind of par for me) where the orange juice container did a double flip, landed upside down and had cracked. I had picked it up, not knowing there was a crack, and it leaked out onto my sparkly new white shirt.

3. Go to bathroom to clean out stain.

4. Get to work. Eat a nectarine. Get nectarine juice on my white shirt. Swear.

5. Repeat #3 from above.

6. Eat chicken teriyaki. There's teriyaki sauce splatter on my white shirt. Swear twice.

7. Repeat #3 from above.

8. I look like I'm in a wet t-shirt contest (at work!) (but at least I have on a white bra!).

It is not even 1pm. I've had THREE stains on my white shirt on the first day I've ever worn it.

I really think black is my color.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Need Resolution

What a crazy few days!

Seriously, there are things that could be happening. Or not. It will probably be next week before the chips fall into place...or not.

I don't want to jinx it by talking about it because the "or not" could is a possibility, and then I'd be super sad if the "or not" became a reality. Right now I'm trying not to get too optimistic. I'm trying to be a realist. The realist in me says that only half might work out. If half works out, it will be GOOD, don't get me wrong. But if the whole thing works out, then it will be AWESOME.

I will describe the whole thing after there's some sort of resolution.

My head is still spinning.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Honey, let's sing along with Christian pop

Sometimes I can be...overcritical. You're thinking, "Duh." I do know I can be overcritical, but sometimes I like to think I merely have high standards.

I had to go to the dentist last week. I don't mind the dentist in theory. Of all of my orifices, my mouth is the orifice that I'm least reticent about being prodded with metal.  :-)  You're supposed to chuckle. Thank you, even if the chuckle was delayed.

I have had many dentist woes in the past few years. Not as in the procedures, but the people. I just can't find a place that I want to be my mouth-prodding place of choice.

My old dentist retired, and I chose that time to switch dentists.

1. First dentist was a pushy just-out-of-dental-school dentist who didn't speak English well. She talked really fast, and I had not a clue what she was saying. The hygienist, the one who does the cleanings, seemed good, but the dentist gave me a headache.

2. Second dentist had the TVs and massage chairs while you got a cleaning. Sweet. The hygienist was good. But the dentist didn't seem all that competent. Maybe I've read too much true crime, but I kind of got the impression that something wasn't quite right with him. Too slick...cross a marketing major with a used car salesman and give him a dental degree. He didn't catch the things that the first dentist saw (some old fillings needed to be replaced). I decided to try out a new dentist.

3. I'm on my third dentist. He does seem competent. Very competent. BUT... it's the hygienist and the environment that I don't like. I can't stand the religious music station playing. A dentist office is a public place; don't play religious music in public places. Play all the religious music you want in your home, not your work (unless you work at a church). Employees at the dentist office hum and sing along with the religious music, which drives me batty. Unless you are a professional singer, do not sing in my ear, especially to religious music that sounds like a cross between country music and Christian pop. The dentist, while competent, calls everyone "honey." Drives. Me. Batty. After the tenth time, I want to scream. However, this is usually after an hour of someone singing along to Christian country/pop music, which has already made me a tad homicidal.

I don't like the hygienists there. 1) Singing along to Christian music in your ear. 2) They do things in the wrong order. Everyone knows (right?) that the tartar scraping is supposed to happen before the polishing. Polishing before the tartar scraping means that you don't leave all freshly polished; it means you leave freshly scraped (i.e., kind of bloody-tasting). Because the hygienist did it again this time, I asked why. She basically said there's less scraping to do if you do polishing first. So you're...lazy....thanks for letting me know. 3) They ask me which church I go to.  4) This time was a really lackluster dental cleaning. They were running behind and the hygienist was trying to make up some time, so I ended up with a 20 minute cleaning (time-saving polish first just like last time, a very lackluster scraping, and a quick fluoride treatment).

I was dreading this dental experience because last time was so religion-laden and patronizing with the "honey." My husband recommended taking along headphones to avoid the religious talk, religious music, and honey" this time. Since I didn't want to subject anyone to my awful rap and 80s music, I didn't have the volume on that high and could still hear the annoying singing and "honeys." And of course they chatter at you even if you have headphones in. I realized that I'm going to change dentists...again. I want a non-lazy dental hygienist; I don't want to be subjected to religious music in a public place, and I detest being called "honey" repeatedly.

Plus I put all of this on the comment card last time, and they didn't change any of it. Call me overcritical.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Too close to home

After a reprieve from true crime for a few months, I've started to watch it again.

I've been watching the "Disappeared" series, which is actually quite anticlimactic because most of the cases remain unsolved. As you might imagine from the title, people disappeared for unknown reasons and, well, still haven't been found. If the show was called "Found Dead," "Lost and Found," or something that indicated some resolution, then perhaps I'd say there was false advertising involved if no one was ever found.

Last night was a little too creepy. One of the cases literally happened a few minutes from my house and where I drive by every day.  I had a friend in high school who lived within spitting distance of this guy's house. I had no idea this case had been open. It happened back in 2005, but one might have thought it would have made the news. It did make two national shows, including the one I watched last night, but I couldn't find anything in the local news archives.

One of the reasons might be because it's a guy. It seems like guys who have gone missing don't get as much media attention. But without any local media attention?

The case is rather shady. The guy who went missing had been going unglued in the weeks/months prior. His relationship with his girlfriend was rocky. He was in a band, and his relationship with his bandmates was rocky; he had recently quit the band. He had just seen a mental health counselor. Suicide was a possibility. Walking away from his life and starting anew was a possibility. Murder was a possibility. So many unknowns.

The local police department (not the city where I technically live) seemed like idiots in the interviews. Maybe I'm harder on the police department nearby than, say, a police department in rural Oklahoma. I felt embarrassed FOR them. One of the officers was a little kooky. She said she had a "vibe that something happened there." (They didn't find any evidence of anything happening there.) Police work goes off of vibes*??? At the end, she said that she thinks he was murdered. Again, no evidence. If she legitimately thinks he was murdered, then get your ass out there and get the evidence to put the perpetrator behind bars. Otherwise, shut up or be diplomatic and say that you couldn't find evidence. You look idiotic talking about your personal theories when you can't back it up! There was another officer interviewed, but he was completely stiff and then was talking about going back to the apartment months later (without a warrant) to look for evidence in the apartment. Ummm...shouldn't you have done that originally and why didn't you get a warrant?

All that aside, it's really creepy to think an unsolved crime could have happened just a few miles away. I suppose it's easier to think the "bad" things happen in different places, but once I realize that it could happen such a short distance away, it makes me kind of afraid to go to sleep at night.

* The rest of us non-police officers can talk about our vibes as a personal opinion. But police officers? Um, let's stick with the facts.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How much do I want it?

In February 2007 I got back in touch with an old friend. We were buddies in college. Back in college, we did the typical things that 2 college girls do: eat, talk about boys, play games, go to the mall. Then we lost touch for several years, and then we were baaaaack!

During the several-year intermission, she went and got healthy. I didn't quite get the whole story, but it seemed like her boyfriend was in a position to take care of all expenses, so she had a lot of free time (more free time than the average person has). She chose to get serious about running initially, and then she got really into cycling, and then she got really into weights. By the time we reconnected, she had lost 50 or so pounds and was in great shape because she would literally exercise 3-4 hours a day.

Like a lot of people who really get into fitness and want to convert everyone else they know into a fitness lifestyle, she told me that I could do this too. Which I suppose I could have, but I worked for 40 hours a week, at the time I volunteered, and my zeal for exercising didn't quite approach her zeal.

Even back then, I typically walked 2 miles at least 5 times a week. Not too shabby, but let's just say it really wasn't intense exercise. It was about 3 hours a week of moderate exercise.

I told my friend at the time that I'd like to lose 10 pounds. She gave me an exercise regimen of 6 workouts a week (with weights/cardio) and then gave me a food regimen that limited me to something like 1,300 calories a day.

I was better at keeping with the exercise than the food. I could do an hour per day of more strenuous exercise pretty easily. Even eating really healthy, I'd get through the 1,300 calories by 3pm and then be starving, so I'd eat bad stuff when I got home while I was waiting for my dinner to cook. Plus I was exercising more, which increased my appetite. I was easily at 2,000 calories a day, but probably more like 2,300.

She would check in on me, and I'd feel bad that I wasn't keeping to the regimen that she gave me.

When all was said and done, after five months I ended up losing about 8 pounds (mostly through the increased exercise).

Then I got pregnant a month later. Gained 45 pounds over my new (low) weight. Lost 30 pounds within 3 weeks of having the baby. Gained 10-15 pounds due to having a colicky, cranky baby and being home all day and stress eating.

Lost 15 pounds after I went back to work pretty quickly. Then I lost lost another 5-10 pounds. If you're keeping up with the math, I'm now 5-9 pounds (depending on the day) up over what I was the second I got pregnant. But at the time I got pregnant I was down 8 pounds compared to what I had been for years, so now I'm essentially what I was at before I got all fitness-ified for those five months back in 2007.

This is a long-winded way of saying that if I really want it, I can probably lose those 8 pounds again. I just have to have a plan and stick to the said plan.

As I sit here and think about making a plan to do just that, I realize that I don't really want it that bad. I know I should want it. I want it enough that I'll get rid of the frozen fruit bars and Oreo cookies that are hanging out at our house. BUT... I want to keep lollipops as my chosen sweet. They take longer to eat. They are like 60 calories each and take 10 minutes to eat vs. a piece of cheesecake that's something like 800 calories and takes the same amount of time to eat. I found some lollipops on Amazon that don't have high fructose corn syrup, plus they don't have dairy in them (my current ones do have dairy in them). I can't wait til they arrive!

As for fitness, I want to keep it up. It's important to be fit and enjoy the exercise you're doing. But I don't have any desire to run a marathon or become a power builder. I just want to have fun and be healthy.

So here is my promise:
  • My chosen sweet will be naturally flavored fruit lollipops without HFCS. I can also do fruit smoothies with no added sugar. (Try not to keep ice cream, other candy, cakes, cookies, etc. in the house. Once in a while something delectable as a treat is okay in a small portion if other people are having some.)
  • 2 hours of exercise per week, whatever I want. I basically do this now, and even more than that because it's probably more like 3 hours, but I should really focus on varying my exercise and trying to incorporate more into my workouts.
That's what I feel comfortable with. I think I can keep to it. Will it make a difference? Who knows, time will tell. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I just finished reading a book that was so emotionally hard to read, especially for fiction. It was about a man who couldn't find work and found himself in a desperate situation in order to keep himself and his 4-year old daughter fed and with a roof over their heads.

I find the responsibility of being a parent so daunting. There are those happy-go-lucky parent types who are so incredibly chill about everything...and then there's me. I worry about the 1,287 ways I'm going to screw up my daughter. (Cue hyperventilation into a paper bag)

My daughter had her 4-year check-up last week. She's not quite 30 lbs without her clothes on. 10th percentile for weight. Then the doctor hit me with the news that her height ... sucks. She should be tall. My husband's taller than average. I'm slightly taller than average. Tall + slightly tall should equal more than 20th percentile for height. He doesn't think she's getting enough nutrients. As I've said her whole life, she doesn't eat much. We offer food; she just doesn't eat it. Now I am obsessed that I'm stunting my child's growth because I can't get her to eat. When other parents list the 20 things their kid ate that day and my kid has eaten 400 calories total, I get even more discouraged. I suck as a mother; I can't even feed my kid enough to keep her healthy. (Cue even more hyperventilation)

I can't believe this book even gave more angst on top of the angst I already have, as described above. The new angst is about myself as a provider. I sat back and thought more about this. As I've said on here before, I couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. It's just not me. My domestic skills are rather lackluster, I'm not very patient, I need more of an identity than the identity I have as a mother for my own sanity. BUT, upon reflection, these might be excuses for the bigger issue. The bigger issue might be that I would feel so vulnerable as a stay-at-home parent. I wouldn't have up-to-date job skills and would fall further behind the rest of the workforce in skills. I would be relying on my husband for so, so much. He would bring home ALL the money. I wouldn't bring home any. If he wanted to leave the marriage, he would have ALL of the money, and I wouldn't have much in the way of resources. I would feel that the only thing I brought to the table would be my domestic skills, which as I said are lacking. I would be incredibly vulnerable.

I need to feel like I bring something to the table. I need to feel like I could be self-sufficient and take care of my daughter. Right now I feel that way. The thought of NOT having self-sufficiency makes me want to hyperventilate. I don't like feeling vulnerable. I don't like feeling weak.

Why? This troubles me because the psychology major in me thinks it's because I feel exactly that: vulnerable and weak.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thoughts from my picture food diary

This week I did a picture blog of the food I ate throughout the day. I didn't get any big epiphanies since I kind of already knew what I ate. I eat healthy stuff intermixed with junk: frozen fruit bars, lollipops, cookies, etc.

One thing that did become more clear was that when you *need* to eat something, it's more calorie efficient to eat something that takes longer to eat (like a lollipop) than shoving a handful of cookies in your mouth.

Thus, it probably makes sense to severely limit the sweets in the house to lollipops or something like that. It's amazing how quickly I can eat 10 cookies.

This past week I had off from work for a paid mandatory, week-long vacation. When I started at the organization 11.5 years ago, I loved my first paid mandatory vacation in the summer. Back then it was 2 weeks. I was a newlywed, had a newly built house with not much work to do, no child. It was basically 2 weeks of complete freedom, which meant staying up until all hours of the night watching movies or Nick at Nite, sleeping in until noon, eating popsicles, and reading. It was ultimate laziness, and I loved it!

Now the vacation has a much different feel. It's shorter. There are more responsibilities, I suppose. My schedule can't get too haywire since I have a perky 4-year old who is going to wake me up by 6:30am whether I go to bed at 9pm or 4am. On this vacation I woke up to a to-do list each day. Friday was nice because I took Miss J to the amusement park (she likes roller coasters!), but it was taxing at the same time.

Times change, and I suppose people need to change with them.

Saturday food

Turkey burger and piece of salmon
Frozen fruit bars
At least I remembered to take the picture before it was completely gone! ;-)
Taco salad
Not pictured are 2 more frozen fruit bars and 3 butterscotch lollipops.

Friday food

Half the bag of snap peas (1 lb) and a cucumber
Teriyaki salmon and turkey burger
Frozen fruit bars - I ate about 4 more that aren't pictured
2 small baked potatoes plus a bit of garlic butter
1.5 oz serving of Sun Chips

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday Fail

I forgot to take pictures of my food today. (And I had a few cookies.) Ugh, I suck.

Back on the saddle on Friday.

Wednesday food

Black bean burger (no bun or cheese) and cherries
Frozen fruit bars
Snap peas, carrots, turkey burger (no bun or cheese)
More frozen fruit bars
caesar salad with 1.5 pieces of teriyaki chicken

Tuesday food

Caesar salad
sweet potato fries
1.5 pieces of teriyaki chicken, corn, green beans, 2 lollipops
tater tots and a frozen fruit bar