Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Learning

After spending two evenings with several people over the age of 60, I have learned that they spend an inordinate amount of time talking about their health: aches, pains, insurance, chronic disease, medicare, etc.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy Holidays

We're leaving for an Arizona Christmas on Friday morning. I'll have time to blog, but I'm not particularly savvy with touchscreen keyboards and I'm only taking touchscreen electronics with me. Call me old school. I suck at texting too.

If I don't get a chance to post before Christmas, have a relaxing holiday. Too bad I don't drink, or I'd be chugging tequila the whole week I'm gone. Ok, maybe just the last 6 days.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Three Nanos Down

Today I completed Nanowrimo. This year it was more like Nanowriyear (National Novel Writing Year instead of National Novel Writing Month). Back in February I started brainstorming this year's Nano and decided to get started once I had plotted it out. So essentially I cheated. By the beginning of November, I had 30,000 out of the 50,000 words written. During November I only wrote 20,000 words toward the story. Oh well. I think the philosophy behind Nano is to get a novel behind you in November, and I did accomplish that.

Three Nanos in a row. I am most proud of my first Nano. For so many years, I'd attempt to write a novel and give up 30-40 pages in at the most. Sometimes I wouldn't even make it a page before I scrapped the concept. Forging ahead even when the going got tough wasn't something I was particularly accustomed to. I did it, though, and it worked out.

Will any of these three novels be publishable? Probably not unless I do a LOT of work on them. Maybe at some point I'll want to put in the effort to pick one and hone it. Maybe I won't. But still, I think it's an accomplishment to get as far as I did.

Happy Almost December!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's been awhile

It feels like forever since I've written. (Looks at calendar) Ah, yes, it's been a while. I could give the usual list of excuses things I've been up to, but I won't. I think I foretold them in my last post anyway.

Holidays
1.  What are you plans for Thanksgiving this year?  We are keeping it low-key. I love keeping things low-key.

2.  At what point do you being celebrating the Christmas season? Usually the day after Thanksgiving.

3.  Do you celebrate Christmas, or do you celebrate another holiday? Christmas but I'm not opposed to celebrating others as well.

4.  If you could have one present (you know, a material good, not love or world peace) what would you want?  Telephoto lens

5.  Share an idea or two that you can plan to do for someone who may need to feel loved throughout the holiday season.  I think my daughter is old enough to understand the giving tree concept, so I'd like to do that with her.

6.  Would you rather spend the holiday season on the beach or in the snow?  I've never been on the beach for the holiday season...intriguing concept! Gotta definitely try that at some point.

7. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?  Most of them? Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie filling, apple pie filling, green bean casserole...

8.  Will you participate in Black Friday shopping?  I usually do although I haven't looked at the ads yet.

9.  Will you travel for the holidays or stay at home?  If you’re traveling, are you flying or driving or making alternate plans?  For Thanksgiving? Staying home. I really don't like to travel around the holidays...or really at all. I'm just a homebody!

10.  List at least 5 things for which you are currently thankful.
  1.  My husband
  2. My daughter
  3. Friends
  4. Life and all the opportunity it provides
  5. Books

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October by the Numbers

October is over! Whew! It was a busy whirlwind. I felt like I was 2 weeks behind doing everything (because I was!). I believe my amount of exercise was the lowest of any month thus far in 2013. I still lost 1.4 lbs though, and this was the lowest weigh-in I've had at the start of the month. It doesn't make sense to me that less exercise equals weight loss.
 
My computer finally died after living 4 arduous years. It's been giving me error messages about 10x a day. The speakers were crappy to begin with, but now they didn't exceed a whisper. The nail in the coffin is that my laptop didn't want to access the internet. My husband was going to work on it, and I told him to just scrap the plan because I wanted to get a new laptop anyway.
 
I have an HP touch screen laptop. Thus far, it has nice sound and seems to work well. The keyboard is a little funky, and I'm noticing that I'm making more typos than usual. Hopefully it will be a quick adjustment for me.
 
 



Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Busy but still here

I don't know why I haven't been here much. When I take a step back, the reasons start to come into focus.
  • We've had a major water leak at our house (not IN our house - woot woot - but on our property).
  • Soccer. Both my daughter and husband are in soccer leagues. Practices, games, oh how I am tired of soccer.
  • It seems like there's lots of *stuff* going on. Some is actually very cool, and it's GOOD that I'm booked weeks/months in advance versus looking at an empty calendar.
  • I'm reading this completely tedious book for book club. It's long and in the fantasy genre, which really isn't my thing (although I know many who love the fantasy genre).
  • Work is continuing to be weird. I'm on this very visible project - which is GOOD - but I'm rather high-strung about it & it's kind of absorbing my time.
I feel like exercise and blogging and just vegging out have taken a backseat. Maybe I can schedule some veg out time on my calendar! :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Notes on September

My last post was September By the Numbers. Overall, September was a stressful month. I worked a LOT. My husband worked a LOT. There were multiple things to do on the weekend days on top of working. Kindergarten started for my daughter, which meant a new schedule/routine. Soccer started for my daughter AND husband.

September kind of sucked actually.

I exercised an okay amount. We're starting to focus on our neglected yard, so when I put down "yardwork," it's actually quite a workout.

Somehow I read 8 books and wrote a few pages of my novel. It had been several months since I had last written, so I had to read everything I had written thus far to jog my memory about what I'm actually doing.

Oh, and I forgot to report that I finished up two classes in September: one on Intermediate Access and another on digital photography.

I am kind of busy. I like being busy, but sometimes I crave downtime where I can just lose myself in a video game or a book. I'd really like one day off with nothing to do except goof off.

For October, I'd really like to eat better. I have good days and bad days. When I get super stressed, I reach for junk food. It's a hard habit to overcome.



Monday, September 30, 2013

This or That?

This or That? 


1.  Meat and potatoes or pasta?  Potatoes. Just potatoes. I LOVE potatoes!  

2.  Do you prefer Apple or Android?  I think I'm one of the few that doesn't really care about this issue. I do have an iPhone though.

3.  Do you kiss and tell, or do you keep it private?  A little of both ;)

4. If you had to choose one, would you choose Facebook or Twitter?  I'm not on Twitter so Facebook by default.

5.  Christmas or Valentine’s Day?   Can there be a "neither" option? Really...just not into either. I like the message of Christmas, but there's usually far too much family drama for my tastes.

6.  If you joined a band, would you prefer to do vocals or play an instrument? Ummm, you probably don't want to hear either from me. :)

7.  Hot weather or cold weather?  COLD!

8.  Yoga or kickboxing?  Kickboxing. I don't do well in a stationary position for long. I get antsy.

9.  East Coast or West Coast?  Born East Coast, but I'm really a West Coast gal at heart.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Loner

I am a loner.

I can blame genetics. Both of my parents are/were loners. Actually, compared to my parents, you would probably call me outgoing. My mom has ONE friend. I define "friend" as someone you call up on the phone and you go out and do things with. My dad...I'm not even sure he had one long-term friend. He went through people, if that makes any sense.

I can blame my upbringing for being a loner. My mom moved around a lot. I didn't have any siblings. So it was basically me home alone after school. During summers, it was me by myself almost 24 hours a day. We moved so often that I knew whatever friends I had would disappear once we moved. I wasn't a complete hermit. I talked with other kids at school, I had sleepovers occasionally, and I had a few close friends over the years. But I never had those really deep friendships as a kid and grew up closely with anyone due to moving so often.

I can also blame my personality for being a loner. My personality is probably a hybrid of genetics and upbringing. I don't really "need" people like a lot of other people seem to. I don't need to go into the minutia of my day with anyone. I can go long amounts of time without needing human interaction. I get annoyed by clingy people. I like my space. I like to do my own thing on my own terms. I don't like going anywhere in a large group because groups can only move as fast as their slowest member.

I realize that I'm an anomaly. I know that humans want to feel part of a group. They want to be wanted. I do too to a certain extent. I love when people trust me enough to confide in me. I like to problem solve OTHER people's problems with them.  But when push comes to shove, I like being by myself.

Especially after becoming a parent, I feel that I've lost part of myself. Believe me, you gain other things when you're a parent, but you can lose track of yourself for a while if you don't keep yourself in check. With a demanding schedule, I crave time alone where I can just...be. And every morsel that's taken away (whether it is for work, child's activities, parties, various meetings, etc.) makes me a bit resentful on the inside.

When I was a kid, I had so much time to just be. I think back fondly to summers as a kid, and I spent the vast majority of it by myself doing whatever I wanted. As much as I prefer being an adult over a kid any day, I miss the endless chain of lazy days doing whatever I felt like.

I worry that my child is going to be a loner like me. She must pick up on the fact that I prefer to be alone. Genetically, with two parents who are loners, she's biologically predisposed to being a loner.

After knowing my child for 5 years, I see that she's well on her way to becoming a loner. She doesn't crave bonding and friendships like other kids her age. It's not to an alarming degree. It's more that she's the kid who observes, she won't initiate contact, but rather she'll wait for others to approach her. She might play for a little bit with a new kid, but if she finds the new playmate too loud/obnoxious/irritating, she'll just walk away and not play with the kid again. She'd rather play by herself instead of with someone she doesn't like.

I feel my own issues come to light in these instances. I should urge her to play with kids even if she doesn't like them because to refuse them is snooty, right? I don't want the snooty, aloof kid. (Although I'm an aloof adult. It's not purposeful. I'm just shy and not very outgoing unless I try really hard and then I probably come across as overbearing.)  Pushing her to act differently than I myself want to/would act is so counterintuitive, but I don't want her to end up like me. I don't want her to dread invitations to do things like I do. I want her to seek out others, to form bonds. Of course, it would probably be best if I role modeled that versus just told her what to do.

It's so difficult for me to disguise the dread to her when I have to go to a party. Most of the time it's just another (uncomfortable) thing to check off the list.

I am a loner.




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Vulnerability

I have been blogging since early 2007. I find it a fairly easy way to reflect and express myself without the tedium of writing by hand. Even more than I enjoy blogging, I really like keeping up with people. I’ve followed people over the years who blogged when blogging was cool and then dropped it when they moved onto the next fad. I have followed specialized blogs that follow my interests. I’ve followed some that I can’t recall by what path I got to them (some were very winding paths).

Of all of them, I really enjoy those people that I have gotten to know over the years: the consistent bloggers who have really showed themselves. Some of the specialized/business blogs have been consistent but haven’t been as deep. I desire to really get to know people—what makes them tick, what they value, what experiences they have had that have made them the people they are. The main deficit of the specialized/business blogs is that it’s usually hard to get to know the author beyond a superficial level. I find that frustrating because I want to go a few layers deeper than I’m being shown. 

I have a different blogging perspective than most. I don’t really want people to go to my blog who don’t want to go or who only go because they feel obligated to. I tend not to comment much on other people’s blogs because I don’t want them to feel obligated to read mine. I’m not interesting. And I’d feel stressed if I thought people were waiting for me to have something interesting to say. I like the absence of pressure and obligation as it has been and is now. And when someone I know asks me for my blog address if the subject ever comes up, I try to steer them away. I like my un-interesting corner of the internet that I can do whatever I want.

It's surprising how well you can know a person over several years of reading their blog. If it is a blogger that reveals more than the superficial, you can probably know more about that person than even a good friend.

A few years ago I started reading someone's blog. I came across it by way of a winding path that I can't recall. I enjoyed the writer and the self-disclosure. After a few months, something seemed off. One small thing didn't corroborate with something that was said previously. Because I'm a freak of nature and remember even the tiniest details, something jostled in me and then I went back through the archives and said, "Aha!" when I found the contradiction. I kept reading the blogger, but I put the writer in the category of being a novelty. Don't get emotionally invested or even care about anything this person writes because something is not right. So I kept on for the entertainment value (and I couldn't figure out how to un-follow someone). As time went on, my initial assessment remained. I didn't look for inconsistencies anymore because my faith had already dissipated. When I'm continually told that 4 + 4 = 7 when I know it's 8, I just tell myself "yeah yeah yeah" and go on believing what I believe even if someone keeps saying that it's 7.

After a few years of steady blogging, a month or two ago the blogger has finally confessed that there was a Great Deception that has been going on for a few years. The readers are shocked but supportive. So supportive. I am amazed by how supportive people who have been lied to for years can be. I'm not necessarily shocked because I figured things out a long time ago (and everyone else might be in that camp with me). I'm not necessarily supportive, other than I think it's good that the weight of the deception is off the blogger's mind. That had to be difficult for the person to keep up the charade, and now there must be some more inner peace.

Sometimes I wish I was less cynical and more supportive. The downside is that I would have to be more vulnerable to pull that off. I hate feeling vulnerable.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Passage of Time

Coming to you live at 1am after a few hours of sleep, but I know I won't be able to get back to sleep for a few hours, which will put me at approximately a 1-2 hour nap before I get up for the day. (sigh)

I woke up to my daughter sniffling. Cue my thoughts of her being allergic to the house. Or her bedroom. She  always sneezes and sniffles in there. Outside of taking all her stuffed animals out of there and vacuuming regularly, I'm not sure what else I can do. :/

Then I heard a weird trickle. Is something leaking? What could it be? Maybe it's just rain. Let me lift my head and look outside from the bed. Eh, it looks gray outside, the same it always looks at 1am. Do I have enough energy to get up and look closer? Not really.

At that point, I gave up getting back to sleep. I decided to move into the bathroom. Lest you think I'm a weirdo (which I am, but that's beside the point), I'm less likely to disrupt my husband being an insomniac in the bathroom. AND I have a big bathroom. There's approximately 90 sq ft of carpeted floor space in there. So I'm lounging on the floor in front of the bathtub in my pajamas. The bathroom is really like a sitting room--with closer proximity to plumbing. Now I'm hearing an occasional pitter patter on the skylight in here. Rain, drizzle, mist, showers, sprinkling. That solves the trickle mystery.

I do love my middle-of-the-night blogging/reading time. Quality "me" time.

It's my husband's 20 year high school reunion time. 20 years. Of course he's a couple years ahead of me, so I'm not to that big milestone yet. I'm just vicariously panicking. I remember panicking when I was 25, thinking how I had "lost" so much time, and here I am another decade into my life. This time it's not as much "what have I done with my life?" It's that to a certain degree. It's more like "where has time gone?" It feels like I've been on a path for a while, and I'm turning around to see how much of the path I've already walked.

I started at a four-year university at 17 years old. Now I'm 35. That was more than half my life ago. I met my husband when I was 18. That's almost half my life ago. I got married at 22--a good chunk of my life has passed since then.

Another thing swirling around in my head right now is that I spent some time with my mother this past weekend, and I had the realization that there is only a very slim chance that we're ever going to have a reasonable relationship. I had been holding out hope that things could turn around, that we could have the kind of relationship my aunt and I have. But it's just not going to happen. I can only do so much. She would have to change her mindset. The chance of that is slim. I find it sad because I like to feel in charge of my destiny, but I only have the power to change myself/my thoughts/my attitudes.

I think I'll read a few pages of my book before attempting to go back to bed.

G'night!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August By The Numbers

Sorry it's been a while. I've felt "off" lately. Work's been busy, I had jury duty, but there's something else - something's "off." I don't precisely know what it is, or it could be recovering from a weirdly disjointed month.

Anyway, it's been a good month for everything but exercising. August has been hot and muggy, both deterrents to me going outside much. I went to a fancy schmancy hotel with free food for a few days in mid-August AND had many meals out in mid-August (like 8 meals out in one week). Less exercise and eating out could have set me up for gaining even more after Julypalooza. However, I kept it in check and actually lost weight. I'm practically back to where I was at the beginning of July, in fact. I've been trying to be more diligent in knowing what I'm eating. I had 8 clean days, my record thus far in one month. I don't think I've EVER lost this much in a month. (Although it's not a real loss, it's just shedding what I gained last month.)

I had a great reading month too: 16 books. Jury duty helped with that. For five days, I was holed up in a jury room. There's only so much work I can do with just my phone. That was nice that I could get something done while sitting sitting sitting.

Determined to make it a good September even though it's going to be odd with J starting school, I have to testify at a court case, I'm giving a training, I'm starting a high-profile work project, etc. Yeah, September's going to be kind of crazy; I'm glad I have here as an outlet. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Poor

It's been a weird week--mostly because I'm on jury duty. I haven't been to work; I haven't vegged at home. I've been at a courthouse for 4 days in a row from 8-5 on Monday, 8-3 on Tuesday, 8-3 on Wednesday and 8-4 on Thursday. I've been working a little bit--such as what I can do over e-mail--but mostly I've been reading and observing. I'll write about jury duty after the gag order has been lifted. For now, though, I'll write about something I have learned outside the courthouse this week.

When I was growing up, I had a large dose of being poor. My mom and dad divorced when I was really little, and she decided to get her master's degree in a slightly obscure medical-related field. She had an internship during her schooling, but it didn't pay much at all. The two of us lived in a ramshackle Section 8-type place in Ohio and subsisted on government-subsidized food. And while we were there, our ramshackle apartment got burglarized so all the valuable (?) possessions we did have (a color TV that you had to turn the dial really hard to change the station with no remote and a camera) were stolen. Kick people when they're down.

Eventually my mom graduated, and she got a "real" job but we had to pay our own moving expenses to Texas. You might think all medical fields are high-paying. They're not. A slightly obscure medical field where you play with bodily fluids isn't that high-paying. It's one of those noble professions that you do because you like to play with bodily fluids for the intrinsic (?) reward or something like that.

Life improved for us, i.e., certain things got easier. We were no longer government-subsidized in any way. My mom bought a little house. We reduced our hot dog intake from 5 days a week (ick) to 2-3 days a week. But a lot stayed the same. We were on a tight budget. I was never allowed to buy a school yearbook because it was a waste of money. I rarely got new clothes and, if I did, they had to be off the 70% clearance rack. I couldn't join any school clubs with fees. Being a cheerleader while in middle school was not an option because it cost several hundred for all the stuff.

Now, despite things getting a lot better for my mom (since she's an awesome saver, not because she gets paid a lot), she is still extremely frugal. We all make fun of my mom's car. It's a 1991 economy sedan that is rusty, and when you open the doors, they squeak and groan like an elderly person's joints. It has well over 200,000 miles on it. The rest of us would have sold it or junked it ten years ago, but she keeps driving it because "it still works just fine." My mom isn't one to waste money. She thinks decorating a house is a waste of money, so she still has her couches from 1976, and they sure look it. If she does need/want something, she scours Craigslist for good deals. We often get these Craigslist "deals" as Christmas presents. "Mom, really, you don't need to get us anything for Christmas. REALLY!" (I am proud that she is computer savvy at over 60 years old though. She's even on Facebook even though she made up a fake name and has no profile picture because she's a bit paranoid.)

I have told people that I grew up poor because 1) I did and 2) I'm proud of where I came from. My mom is the shining example of the intent of government programs--to help when you're down and out and then give you the skills you need to be successful on your own.

What I've learned this week is that there is more than type of poor. I haven't had much time to ruminate on the other types of poor, but I know I wasn't those. They are the hopeless, quicksand versions of poor that you can't get yourself out of and you can't even see how to. There are so many things stacked against you (education, addiction, no drive, etc.) that there is such a small chance that you will overcome them to be successful.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Getting back on track

July was a difficult month food-wise. My in-laws were staying with us, and there were treats constantly around. I have a hard time saying no to such things, but I think it was more that I was so on edge while they were here that I reached for food to make me feel better, even if it is temporarily.


After being married 13 years and working for the same organization for almost as long, my in-laws STILL do not know where I work or what I do. 13 YEARS! They tell me that I should move wherever my husband gets a job; I can get a job anywhere. (Let's ignore the part that I earn more and have the health benefits for us.) Apparently, they think I'm a typist, and that's it. Thank goodness my husband doesn't think I'm just a typist. He thinks we should make any career/moving decisions together.
The message I hear from the in-laws: My job is not important. Eat a piece of cheesecake.


The in-laws made comments about how they think we should parent our child. They think we're hard on our daughter. For instance, we were at a restaurant together, and my daughter ordered orange juice. She took one sip and said she didn't want it. They wanted to get her apple juice, but I said no. If she doesn't want her oj, she can have water. My intent in that parenting decision is not to be mean. My intent is to show her that you have to think about decisions carefully, and once you make your choice, you need to follow through. They don't understand our parenting philosophy.
The message I hear from the in-laws: We don't know how to parent our child. Eat a bowl of ice cream.

Two big aspects of my self-worth--my job and being a parent--were shaken a bit in July. Although I know with all my heart that I like my job and understand the bigger picture as I'm raising my child, I feel like I'm not good enough to be a "proper" wife and mother in their eyes. That makes me sad. It makes me slightly angry.

I've felt so much better since they left. I feel back to normal. I still have a few residue pounds to work off, but I feel more like "me" now. And I feel slightly more disciplined, like I can get those pounds off with a laser focus on getting back to where I was physically before they arrived.

Feeling energetic and hopeful. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Family Secrets

A few weekends ago we had a hectic weekend. Usually our lives are pretty calm. But that weekend we had the in-laws in town, my aunt was in town, we got invited to 3 BBQs, 4 birthday parties, and 2 other events. I usually like to go to everything, but that weekend it was physically impossible without cloning being an option. We ended up spending time with family and going to 1 birthday party, and even that felt like a lot. I took off that Friday so I could spend some time with my aunt.

Some families are those warm, fuzzy families where everyone knows everyone's business, and they text 243 times a day. I wasn't born into one of those families. I was born into two families (speaking about my mom's side and my dad's side) that didn't really talk. My grandparents on my dad's side made stuff up, so I never believed anything they said anyway. My mom has never been open, and I learned quickly that there's a long list of Things You Should Never Bring Up In Front of My Mother Unless You Want To Die. In order to avoid death, I tried to only speak when spoken to. When I did talk, it was only about facts and never about such things as feelings.

When my mom was in the Persian Gulf War, I lived with my aunt and uncle (from my mom's side). It was a short war, and I was only living with them for a couple months. At the time, I was 13, which is perhaps my most embarrassing time, as I wore a black hat all the time, put oodles of obnoxious-smelling perfume on, and had a penchant for green eyeshadow. I was still a kid in although at the time I thought I was a very mature almost-adult.

I talk with my aunt, but we really have never spent any time alone since I was 13. My mom has always been around when my aunt comes up for a visit. I did go down to California to visit my aunt, but my uncle was always around.

I took off that Friday a couple of weeks ago, and she, my stepdad, and I went to the casino while my mom was at work. My stepdad went off to do his own thing when we got there, so it was just my aunt and I in a nearly empty casino, as it was 10am. Only the hardcore (and us) were there at such a weird hour.

My aunt and I had a good conversation. As for gambling, neither of us are gamblers. So we really spent the time talking instead of tending to the slot machines. My aunt was concerned about my mom and stepdad, and that led us to talk about other things. I asked my aunt about my mom's past, as there were some things I never really understood. Either my mom had said something in an offhanded way that related to the Things You Should Never Bring Up list, or I had always wondered. Conversely, there were things I knew about my mom that my aunt didn't know about. Basically we exchanged information to get us to approximately the same knowledge base.

It was enlightening. I've always wondered so much about my mother and WHY she is the way she is. I wondered WHY she married my dad. I wondered WHY she made some of the decisions she did. My aunt didn't necessarily know the answers to those questions, as she and my mom have a weird relationship just like my mom and I do. But she could at least give me more context, and that was very much appreciated.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Priorities

Last summer I made it my mission to connect with a lot of people. Basically at the beginning of the summer I wrote a list of people that I wanted to see in person, and then I took the lead in making a "date" with each of them. I had envisioned that I would spend my entire summer stalking people, but surprisingly everyone I had on my list was far easier to schedule some time with than I had expected.

This summer, in contrast, I made it my mission to do stuff. I did stuff last summer as well, after all we had to do something on these "dates." But this summer I really focused on pushing myself to DO. I have gone to the amusement park twice. I did an aerial cable/hanging thing. I ziplined. I went to a concert. I went to a few parties/socials/outings that I would have preferred not to go on if left to my own devices. We took J to the kiddie amusement park. We geocached. I went on a four mile hike in the forest. I got a day pass to the fitness center. We had some nice playdates. We have volunteered as a family almost weekly. We took the in-laws out to a nice dinner. Sure, I could have done more. I could have scheduled something every day instead of two "big" events per week. At that kind of pace, I would have burned out quickly. The pace I chose was decent to experience some old things, new things, and have some downtime or just veg out reading a book.

The downside to the summer of DOing things is that I haven't been able to connect with as many people as I wanted to. I've seen some friends, and we did some of these activities together. But last year it seemed like I had much more in the way of interactions.

I suppose you can't achieve everything when you have a limited amount of time. You just have to identify your priorities and shovel time and resources into their directions.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Almost the end of the month

The in-laws in town, and I'm majorly stress eating. I was up 3 lbs for the month last Friday, and that was before the cheesecake the size of my kitchen island appeared. I have no willpower, so that's why I try to not bring the gooey food home.

On the upside, I've been exercising. However, as I've learned, the more I exercise the more I gain. When I actually have a low exercise month, I tend to lose weight.

August is going to be the Month of Discipline, and hopefully I can get back on track!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anchor

Every summer, particularly when we have torrential downpours and lightning storms here in Washington State, I think of my summers on the east coast. Every summer when I was 8 years old - 17 years old (I think I missed the year I was 15 years old  due to college classes), I went to Pittsburgh to visit my dad and grandparents. Every year there was always at least one horrible storm while I was there--sticky heat, lightning, thunder, incessant rain. I loved those storms.

During those years that my mom and I moved so very often, my grandparents' house was like a home. It was an anchor in my chaotic life. Every time I arrived I'd go through the house and notice the small, and sometimes large, changes that occurred since the previous summer. Mostly it was sigh-worthy DIY projects that my grandfather attempted. Occasionally the change was a new piece of furniture. I would always find my library card at its spot on the fireplace, and I'd blow off the year's worth of dust that had accumulated on it. My dad's family wasn't into reading. They were so not into reading that they didn't even read trashy magazines.

While my grandparents and father technically lived at the house, my grandparents kept grandparent hours (awake from what seemed like 5am - 8pm), my dad was rarely home (who knows what he was doing), so I was by myself a lot. My grandparents were in the house, but they were sleeping while I stayed up until 3 or 4am and slept in until noon.

I spent a lot of time alone those summers. I had a friend next door until her parents got divorced, and she moved away. There weren't many other kids in the neighborhood. My grandmother was quite ill. My grandfather was curmudgeonly. My father--who knows where he was. Like I said, it was usually just me. I'd ride my bike by myself around the neighborhood. I'd watch MTV. I read. I'd take walks.

My grandparents didn't even believe that kids should have chores, so I really had NOTHING that I had to do. And you know what? I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Most other kids would probably HATE being away from their friends, stuck with their grandparents, and pretty much nothing to do. I wasn't like that. I loved every minute. I savored just being. During those torrential downpours, I'd put my nose to the window screen and breathe in as much of that acrid smell as I could. On clear nights, I'd try to find Orion and the Big/Little Dipper. I'd go into scary walk-in closets and see what I could find. I'd snuggle in bed and read by flashlight. I'd think. I'd put my ear to the air vent on the second floor and listen to a conversation that was happening in the basement. I'd play Munchman (poor person's version of PacMan) on the TI-99.

Sometimes I wish I had that metaphorical anchor to go back to each summer. My uncle sold the house after my grandfather got senile (he outlived both my grandmother and father), and the new owners completely renovated it. It no longer looks like the same house on the outside or inside. Different owners, practically different house, it's true that I could never go back. But it's not the house I want. It's the feeling that I want. I want to feel that anchor.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The runner's nod and cargo shorts

Occasionally I run. I hate to run. Maybe it's not "hate" exactly, maybe it's more like "I really don't like it." I'm trying to like it more. It's not really working, but I am trying.

One of my many running problems is that I didn't have that iPod arm thingy that holds your music while you run. So...I've had to wear shorts with pockets when I run. This means wearing denim shorts because, as of last week, I've only had 2 pairs of shorts with pockets and they were both denim. And I don't really like one of the pairs, which meant I've basically had 1 pair of shorts with pockets and several days of 80+ degree weather in a row. Do you know how much of a fool you are to run in denim shorts? Suffice it to say, I only do it in the dark, and it's not dark here until 11pm or so...

I went to Target last week to buy 2 new pairs of shorts: 1 pair of denim shorts to replace the inferior pair I've had and a khaki pair of shorts. I found the denim pair without too much problem, but I was having a problem finding the khaki pair. I did find a few pairs, but they were REALLY short or not my size. I was bummed and went to the men's department and found this really cute pair of khaki cargo shorts. They are so AH-mazing! They are this incredibly soft--but sturdy--fabric. There are oodles of pockets, like if I have 8 cell phones, 2 cameras & 2 wallets, this pair of shorts will fit it all. They fit well too. I am in LOVE! Why has no one ever told me that men's khaki cargo shorts are the most AH-mazing piece of clothing ever???? AH-mazing.

Another thing I splurged on was that armband thingy.

Now I can run in my running shorts, and I look all official with my armband. Today I even got up super early, donned my running shorts and armband, and went outside to run. I looked like one of those runners I give the stink eye to on my way to work for their holier-than-thou commitment to running, except I'm the much fatter version. So I'm huffing and puffing doing my 2 miles (and cursing the whole time because I have PTSD memories of my 9th grade gym teacher calling me by my last name and telling me to "hustle"), and I see a REAL runner coming toward me with her springy ponytail, coordinated running clothes (in size 0, of course) and perma-tan --note that I was running in the Stepford Wives neighborhood because it's flat & homey doesn't do running uphill yet-- and she gave me that runner's nod.

Like I was one of them.

And suddenly I could hear the birds chirping through Tupac blasting in my ears, my PE teacher's "hustle" faded, and I ran. Not like Forrest Gump, but I huffed and puffed with a little less disdain and a little bit more perseverance.

I ran...kind of like the Flock of Seagulls but with less oomph in my bangs.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Let the zaniness begin

Two nights where I came home after midnight and in-laws arrived on Wednesday for 2-3 weeks.

I am tired.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ignorance is bliss and other vacation learnings

My week-long vacation has come to an end. Boo.

It wasn't that interesting of a vacation since I went...nowhere. Except if you count the SIX doctor's appointments I had.

2 acupuncture
2 chiropractor
eye doctor
dentist

Four of these appointments were on the same day. Do you know how exhausting four doctor's appointments in one day are? Not. A. Vacation.

Remember my flexible spending account woes? No? Quick refresher. I requested more than I could use to be put into the account, and as the school year comes to a close, I'm frantically trying to spend the money. I've been going to acupuncture because it's multiple times a week, and it uses up some of the money.

My logic for going to the chiropractor is the same as acupuncture. They want you to go multiple times per week, and they charge a copay each time.

My stated reason for going to the chiropractor (that I told them) was that I had a desk job and my back sometimes hurt. True if you define "sometimes" as a few times per year, and I've never taken so much as Tylenol for the pain. I felt like such an idiot for going, believe me. But the acupuncturist was going to put me on 1x per week instead of 2x per week, and that won't use up all the money.

First world problems. Please, I know.

So I went to the chiropractor. The medical assistant guy started out by giving me a tour of the place, like I'm moving in or something. (First warning sign) Then he asked me a litany of questions, mostly revolving around my back pain, which is pretty much non-existent but I inflated a tiny bit. Then the doctor came in and gave me a range of motion test. I sailed through that since 1) I exercise regularly and 2) I've never noticed anything wrong with my back. Then the doctor says I need X-rays to see what's going on with my back. (Second warning sign)

I just want them to sign me up for 2x per week back adjustments for a few weeks. But, no, they want X-rays. Then I realize this is a blessing in disguise because it will eat up a lot of my money, and perhaps I won't have to go for these 2x per week visits. I can just get the X-rays and call it a day on both acupuncture and the chiropractor.

After the X-rays, I get sent to a room, and the chiropractor comes in looking all dour. We start with back X-rays. Good news! I have no degeneration (which I didn't think I have because I am a sturdy girl). So-so news is that one of my vertebrae is tilting a little.  Then comes the neck X-rays.

I should be thankful to be alive. My neck curves the opposite way that it should. I have mangled it, and it will never be the way it should. How did I mangle it so, you ask? Stomach sleeping. Over 30 years of stomach sleeping will mess up your neck. He forbid me to ever sleep on my stomach again. And I need to go to a chiropractor until I die.

Mind you, I've never had any neck pain. I have neck tension, like we all do. But I had no clue I was such a freak of nature.

I got adjusted twice last week. It's basically having your neck and back cracked. I like the process, but I guess I'm kind of a masochist. It helps when the chiropractor who does the adjusting is the most gorgeous guy I've seen in months. However, my back hurt like the dickens afterward. Like something got twisted out of joint.

And now I feel guilt about how I sleep. I tried tried tried to sleep on my back for the past week. But I always wake up on my stomach, and I feel like I was sleeping most of the night on my stomach. I need an electric shock every time I move onto my stomach.

Soooo, in conclusion:

- I've finally used my flexible spending account money.
- Acupuncture doesn't help me at all.
- My neck is beyond messed up, which I had no idea about.
- Having a chiropractor adjust me hurts my back.
- I feel good ol' Catholic guilt about my sleeping position.
- Ignorance is bliss.

Monday, July 1, 2013

June by the Numbers

Time to report on June. Overall, an okay month. 

The good: I took a lot of time to read. I ate clean for 4 days. Not great, but I had several almost-clean days, which I didn't count in the 4. I started the Couch to 5k program, which I did back in 2009. Somehow I lost 1.6 pounds in June.  

The bad: It was hot this month. As I write this, it's 86 degrees in my bedroom. When it's hot, I don't like to exercise. I only averaged 27 minutes of exercise per day, which really isn't bad--especially considering that a lot of it was running. Work smarter, not harder, right? I fell short of my goal, though, which is to average 30 min per day. I would have liked more clean days too. 

I have lost 3 pounds since January 1st. Ugh. Most people can lose that in a week, and I lose that much in 26 weeks. Let's hope I find some sort of groove in the second half of the year.




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why I wear skirts and sandals on Mondays and Thursdays

Here is a rambling post with lots of back story. It's kind of a window to my odd mind.

Back Story to the Back Story: For the 2012-13 school year I signed up for $60/month to come out of my paycheck each month for the medical flexible spending account. You get reimbursed for medical expenses on a pre-tax basis from the payroll deductions when you submit receipts. This is higher than I have elected in past years, but I knew J was having surgery in September so we would have higher medical expenses than usual. Well, for some weird reason, her surgery only cost us $250 out-of-pocket (I had thought it would be more like $500), which I submitted reimbursement for. Then J and I got pink eye, with multiple doctor visits and prescriptions. That helped make a dent, but we have only used about $450 of the $720. So I need to spend $270 on medical between now and the end of August, or I forfeit it completely. Which I don't want to do.

Back Story: I wanted to find an acupuncturist. Kind of like a chiropractor, acupuncturists (at least from my experience) try to get you to come for visits multiple times per week - which is a copay each time. I don't mind being pricked with needles (high pain tolerance...bet you would have never guessed). And I figure I can get some relaxation done while I'm there. From my one acupuncture experience last year, I know they leave you in a dark room with soothing music while there are needles in you. I'll take a nap mid-day multiple times per week.

My Decision-Making Process: Did you know that there are a lot of acupuncturists in my city? I went to the provider directory, and there's something like 30-40 acupuncturists in my city. I suppose I could have gone to the lady I went to last year, but I dunno...she was kind of eh. And since I can have my pick from 30-40 different ones, I decided based on address. I have lived in this town for over 20 years, and I can pretty much pinpoint where any location in the city is just based on the address. One of the acupuncturist addresses was for the building I used to work in at my first job: the Merrill Lynch building. It was just a normal office building, but ML took up about 1/4 of the building so I guess they were important enough to get their name put up on a big sign in front of the building. They have since moved, and now I don't know what the building is called but I certainly remembered the street address. I hadn't been in that building for 18 years because I haven't had a reason to go into it. Now that I had a reason to go in, I wondered how it changed...or how my perspective has changed. You know, kind of like when you go back to your old school after being gone for so long and you see it with different eyes. I called, he was willing to schedule me during lunch in a few days, and I was looking forward to my first acupuncture visit with him. I stated my reason for going was allergies because I thought "using up my flexible spending account money" may not be the best response.

The building didn't really change much in the past 20 years. With ML not there anymore, they converted their portion of the building. At some point it was a dentist's office based on what I saw when I drove past about 10 years ago; now it looks vacant. I put my nose to the glass and saw empty rooms. Kind of sad. Other than that, the smaller offices rotated names after all this time, as you would expect, but the layout and lobby seemed nearly identical. Maybe new carpet at some time along the way, but doors and trimwork were definitely the same.

Acupuncture--the reason I have been visiting this building twice per week for the past two weeks--is intimate. Intimate in both the literal and figurative way. Maybe it's because he's a guy that it feels kind of awkward. But I think he does his exams different than the lady last year. He runs his hands down my hands and legs. The first day I just happened to be wearing a skirt, sandals and a t-shirt. But it was nice happenstance because I didn't have to take off any clothes and put on the hospital gown (which would be even more uncomfortable for me). His hands went up up up my naked legs and down them, almost like kneading me. He asked me embarrassing questions. The whole things was very...intimate, as I said.

To make things even more ... intimate, he's the only person in his office. He's the receptionist, insurance biller, acupuncturist, medical assistant. As in, you would have to scream really, really loudly to get anyone else's attention in the event that something weird happened. The offices next to him are vacant. So your scream would have to go through three walls between the exam room in the back to the hallway, all the way down a long hallway, and through the door to another office.

Every Monday and Thursday I have a few rules:
- Must shave my legs in the morning.
- Must wear a skirt and sandals.
- Must wear short sleeves or a shirt where the sleeves can be rolled up.
- He always asks me how it feels as he runs his hands up and down my legs. I must say the standard, "Fine" instead of "OMG, this is weird to be in this tiny room with you and a thermostat that says 75 degrees with your hands going up my skirt...but you're kind of cute, so I suppose I should just relax and go with it." 

He's kind of compulsive with his hand sanitizer, which I kind of admire because gosh I like his germophobe ways, but I'm thinking acupuncture might not be an ideal occupation for a germophobe. And then I wonder if he uses more hand sanitizer with me than he does with his other patients. Am I grimy?

And then I add a couple new rules:
- Wear twice as much deodorant as I usually do.
- Rub hand sanitizer all over my exposed skin before I go there just in case the 4 hours since my shower have made me a toxic mess.

I have more rules for a visit with my acupuncturist than I did back when I was dating. Seriously.

As far as the acupuncture goes, which is why I am there after all, it's okay. He does this test on me every time I visit. It's with electrodes and meridians and other things I don't understand. Apparently this test tells you all about the imbalances in your body. The first visit I was really interested until I got the results: bad heart (not my real heart, but the meridian going to/from my heart), my spleen, my lungs. I got this weird "report" that didn't really say anything. I guess it kind of gives a Western diagnosis to Eastern medicine. Basically it said my symptoms will be fatigue, stress, and anxiety. Which ARE my symptoms, but isn't everyone else in the country tired, stressed and anxious? Ah well, acupuncture is supposed to cure all that.

On the second visit he re-did the test, and I was like a completely different person than I was on the first visit. I had completely different organs that weren't not balanced. On my third visit he re-did the test again, and now I'm back to my first visit's imbalances. Let's just say that now I'm skeptical about this whole thing when the readings are so different from day to day.

Does acupuncture work? Heck if I know. I changed allergy medicines, and I do feel better. But it's hard to determine if it's the switch in medicine or acupuncture. But I'm keeping with it because, after all, I still have about $200 to spend in co-pays that I need to get reimbursed for.



The Lesson: If you're torn on how much to put in your flexible spending account, go low instead of going high.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Selective Hoarding

My laundry detergent stash

Confession: I am a hoarder. But not the type that gets her own episode on Hoarders. No, I don't have piles four feet high and a few dead cats lying around the house. Sorry to disappoint in case you were waiting for that.

You see, I have selective hoarding. I don't hoard everything. In fact, I'm pretty good at keeping an uncluttered closet. However, I do have some hoarding specializations:

1.       Food—a ton of food. I'm prepared for the apocalypse.
2.       Pens—I don't get it either. I have gobs of pens on me at all times. Must. Have. Ink.
3.       Laundry detergent

The laundry detergent preoccupation is a little odd. Here is my stash of laundry detergent. Based on what the bottles say, this represents 850 loads of laundry. We do about 4 loads of laundry per week (3 people), so this roughly represents 4 years worth of laundry detergent.

I can understand having food helping you to feel safe. Pens and laundry detergent? I don't necessarily "get it." Clean clothes and writing instruments…apparently they rate just below food.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bountiful Baskets

I've been trying to eat cleaner--i.e., less processed foods, staying away from dairy & gluten. On the whole, I don't eat out much, avoid a lot of freezer--> microwave food, and stay away from milk. But I DO have a penchant for high fructose corn syrup (candy mostly) and cake, and I will occasionally eat a frozen dinner. And I may be able to eat my body weight in cheese and ice cream.

My strategy before now was to buy more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. After years of this (and slipping when I even hear a whisper that there's cake in the lunch room), I've found that I get the same fruits and veggies week after week. I rarely branch out from the lettuce, celery, carrots, cucumber, strawberry, apple, orange refrain.

A week ago we signed up for our first Bountiful Basket, which operates in several states. For $16.50, you purchase into the food coop that week. Like a CSA, you are just guaranteed that you will get a selection of fruits and veggies, not specific fruits and veggies. And each week the selection changes. I see this as a great way to bring some novelty into my produce for the week, and I see it as a way to essentially guilt myself into eating the Bountiful Basket for that week. Eating more produce = less room for "junk."

Last week we got a nice assortment of produce, including bananas, yellow peppers, plums, lettuce, tomatoes, chiles. The only "weird" item we received was fennel. Not that fennel is that odd, but I only know it as a spice and not this big thing that resembled celery with little grass-like fronds coming off it. Hey, I still tried it. (Yay me!)

This week we didn't get anything "weird," but we got a few things that I really, really like and a few things I don't really like. I love nectarines, butter lettuce, melon, apples, peppers and bananas. I'm not so hot about mushrooms, avocados and brussel sprouts. It's all good because we gave those to my mom.

It's also a good deal because what you get in the basket is usually worth at least $25 if you got the same items at the supermarket, and you get it for $16.50. They will also be a bit fresher because Bountiful Baskets cut out the middleman.

We are really enjoying the Bountiful Baskets each week. Aside from ending up with something you may not like or know what to do with, the only negative is that you will likely have to wait to do your produce shopping after you get your Bountiful Basket for the week. Then you can fill any produce holes and don't risk duplication.

I highly recommend it if Bountiful Baskets are in your area. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Two Weeks

When I graduated from college in 1998 and went into the real world (which, unfortunately, wasn't anything like the movie Reality Bites...I say unfortunately since I really like angst), I was thrust into a certain loss of freedom Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. After having a relatively flexible school schedule for years, this new regimen was hard to adjust to. I mean, this is what I was coming from. Let's pick a sample Tuesday from when I was in college:

9am wake up
10-11am class
11-12 class
12-3pm video games
3-5pm hang out with friends or nap
5-5:30 dinner
5:30-8:00 video games, computer, TV
8pm - 11pm work, includes study time
11pm-2am hang out with boyfriend
2am-3am study/computer
3am-9am sleep

And then going to this:

6am wake up
7am leave house, commute
8am - 5pm work
5-6pm commute
6-7pm wind down/dinner
OMG I'm tired, too tired to play video games so I stare at Wheel of Fortune with a glazed over look
8pm fall asleep

It wasn't that work was hard. It's just that I wasn't used to spending 9 consecutive hours doing ANYthing, and it was daunting to figure out how to fit in my normal amount of goofing off into my day. I suppose it doesn't help that when you're in an entry level job, you don't get to dictate how you arrange your time, so you're at the mercy of everyone else--who love to dump work onto the newbie.

The schedule adjustment is rough. Even rougher is that new employees rarely get much, if any, vacation time. So not only are you adjusting to a way different schedule, it also never stops repeating. No vacation days for you! 

I had a bit of wanderlust in me when I got out of school. I switched jobs frequently--not just jobs, but careers. I was in HR, then accounting, then customer service, then databases/IT, then research. When you career hop like that, you really never accumulate much in the way of vacation. So by the time of our wedding and honeymoon, I was pleased to have earned 5 whole vacation days, which I used for our honeymoon. After 2 years of steady work, I had that one week off and that was it. Not that I'm complaining; it's just what it was.

When I started working at my current employer in late 2000, I was excited to find out that they were closed for a week in December and TWO WEEKS in July. And you still got paid for those 3 weeks. AND you got 4 more weeks off that you could take off whenever you wanted. The Christmas week of 2000 I don't remember. We probably had the in-laws staying with us or were busy with other things.

What I do remember is having TWO WEEKS off in July of 2001. It was beyond awesome. Waking up whenever I wanted, going to sleep whenever I wanted (I seem to recall watching Nick at Night until 3am), napping, reading, walking, exercising, hanging out with friends. It was a vacation that I so very much wanted and needed. I still remember my joy at having the time and not wanting to waste a second of it. Well, you might think I wasted it by watching Nick at Night. But I don't think I did. I relished the freedom of it, but, unlike college, I realized that it would come to a jarring end and back to work I would go.

I am so looking forward to our week off in July. It has been shortened over the years to one week off in July. That's okay because the other week we used to have you can now use whenever you want. Despite being able to use my vacation time whenever I want, I see the mandatory vacations more like real vacations. When the office shuts down for the mandatory vacation, e-mail stops, calls stop. It's like you left work on Friday and those 9 days until you show up again didn't even happen work-wise. As opposed to the other vacation when the e-mail just stacks starting the hour you leave. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

What I really don't understand

I don't understand much in this world, but I really, really, really don't understand my own body.

June has pretty much been a bust health-wise so far. We had family in town, two parties, I was experimenting with a strawberry cake and cupcakes and then strawberry cream cheese frosting from scratch (i.e., lots of tasting). I have been eating crap on top of crap. I have exercised some but not as much as usual.

I try to weigh myself once a week. Keep myself on track but not be crazy obsessive about it. Believe me, I CAN be crazy obsessive and I often AM crazy obsessive. But about weight? I don't really see the point in getting too wrapped up in it, unless you're morbidly obese and need to lose quickly for health reasons.

So I get on the scale this morning with lots of trepidation. It's like when I'd go to Catholic reconciliation back in grade school, and the nun would tell you to confess your sins and I had SO many sins to confess that I was paralyzed in fear about where to start and if I started to list them all, I'd surely accidentally miss at least 5. And then was it a sin to forget your sins??? Cue need for Xanax.

I started to silently list all of my sins of the past week, realizing that I was in for a 3 pound gain. I mentally calculated what would be a realistic weight after eating probably 3,000 calories per day for 4 days in a row and then 2,200 calories per day for the next 3 days. Yeah, a 3 pound gain was realistic.

And then...the scale tells me that I have a 2 pound LOSS. I'm so confused that I can't even process it. How does that math work? Or is my body just behind? Is the loss really from several weeks ago when I was good: having clean days, working out for 45 minutes+ per day? Is it water weight? Will the 2-3 pounds I should have gained show up next week or the week after?

I'm so confused.

Monday, June 3, 2013

May

My May was pretty good (see last post). I read a lot, I ate clean for 6 days, I exercised for a little over 20 hours. I did quite a bit of walking, but the vast majority of the walking is with weights or it's scaling the hills we live on. So I think it really does count as exercise. I was weak on exercising my abs. I have to do better in June on that in particular. I wrote 6,000 words toward my current writing project. All in all, it wasn't too shabby--a lot done and most toward good goals. Except for my weight. I went up a pound. So, since January 1, my total weight loss is 1.4 pounds. Umm, yeah, that sucks. And in May I really kept it together when it comes to eating. My one indulgence were nut clusters. I did have a slight obsession with them. I ate two whole packs of them. 24 servings each x 2 packs x 170 calories per serving = probably a week's worth of calories.

Thus far, June is abysmal. Exercise = zilch. Food = oh geez, I have probably eaten a week's worth of calories on just June 1st and 2nd. It was J's birthday weekend, and we had family in town (hosted several meals), and then J had her friend party today. When I host, I get nervous. When I get nervous, I eat.

I have really got to pull it together starting Monday. Eat well, exercise, although it seems like I gain weight when I exercise a lot.

So it starts a new week, and I'm in a major sleep deficit. This will be *fun*. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Fun

Summer Fun
1.  What is your favorite summer fruit? Cherries, strawberries, blueberries. I've read that tropical fruits are no-nos (too much sugar), and my food intolerance test came back that I should stay away from pineapples, bananas, etc. So I'll stick with berries.
2.  Do you know how to swim?  Yeah, doesn't everyone???
3.  Do you prefer sun or snow?  Snow
4.  What temperature do you like most inside your home? My ideal temp is 65, and I walk around in shorts and a t-shirt at that temp. I run warmer than most girls.
5.  Is it humid where you live?  Sometimes
6. What is your favorite food to put on the grill?  Salmon, chicken, corn, but honestly I'm too lazy to grill. If someone wants to grill for me, please do. 
7. Do you prefer to wear a one-piece  or two-piece swim suit?  two-piece except that I'm at high risk for a wardrobe malfunction
8.  What is your favorite summer drink?  Smoothies! Cherries, strawberries, blueberries & almond milk
9.  Do you prefer the pool or the ocean?  Either, pluses and minuses to both
10.  What are you looking forward to most over the summer?  Getting some time off work! This school year has kicked my butt.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick Check-in

Just a quick check-in. I've felt anxious lately. Work is overwhelming, I have a fuller home schedule than I'd like, I haven't been sleeping well, my mother is driving me nuts, national tragedies make me more melancholy than usual, blah blah blah.

I accidentally lit my hair on fire last week. I think that means I need to cut it, especially since I had to carve out the seared section. Please be glad that my job doesn't have me work with fire; I would have burned the whole place down by now.

Up to 6 clean-eating days this month. Not ideal since 21 thus far would be ideal. But 6 is better than 0, right?

As my good friend John would say, "Sometimes you just need a cheeseburger." I would insert "chocolate" instead of "cheeseburger," but the sentiment is indeed true.

Have a good one! 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday Food

Food at work: 1/2 lb carrots, 8 oz of spring mix (no dressing), shredded cinnamon lime chicken, and an orange
Dinner: the same shredded chicken but this time with black beans
Mexican rice
Cup of unsweetened almond milk & strawberries, which made strawberry milk when all was said and blended
I think I did pretty decent - healthy and gluten/dairy free. I thought rice was clean, but I looked it up afterward and found that only brown rice is clean. I'm still counting the day as a success.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The minority and the majority

Eating clean this month isn't going so well. It went well for 3 days, and then ... one day there was a party, and then my friend wanted me to sample her new baked goods the next, and then I had a lollipop, and then there was a sale on mini tacos at Costco (which aren't too bad since it's a corn tortilla, chicken, but then there's cheese...), and then my husband made my favorite foods on Mothers' Day. And then, and then. There's always some excuse. There will always be an excuse. I need to make the right decisions despite the obstacles.

I commit to recording all the food I eat on Wednesday. Albeit all that has gone on, I think my eating has slightly improved over what it was even a few months ago.

Over the past week and a half, which coincides with when I started derailing, I've felt a bit rattled. For the past few years, especially since being a mother, I realized just how non-mainstream I am. If there's a national tragedy (e.g., Newtown), most of the mothers I know get up in arms and outraged. I calmly calculate the odds and realize that it was a statistical anomaly. I realize how much stupid crap is done for the benefit of parents instead of the benefit of students. For instance, those dance recitals that feature 3-year olds. It's all for the parents. I don't want my daughter to participate so that she can have a photo op or so I can brag to family and friends. In fact, I don't want my daughter to be involved in it at all. There's also the stupidity of p r e s c h o o l graduation. That is some stupid shidizzle. What 4-5 year old WON'T go on to kindergarten? Why must we put on a freaking graduation from circle time? Do they do a graduation ceremony every year nowadays? This is akin to the trophy for just participating. What entitled little kids society is raising!

I am mean. I don't think you should get a trophy for just participating. I don't think you should have a stupid graduation ceremony for 4-5 year olds. I don't think toddlers should have to perform in a recital.

But you know what? I am in the very slim minority of those I know with kids who think this way. Fortunately, my husband's reaction is very similar to mine. And fortunately he likes how I view these things. With everyone else, though, I find it isolating. I am the sole "it's stupid to do this to feed our own egos" in the room with other people who are advocating for everyone to get a trophy for just existing. I fear. I'm not sure what I fear more: 1) that I will always feel this isolated or 2) that I will think like the majority at some point. Reframing would probably help. I'm looking at the downside of being a minority and a majority. On the other hand, there are advantages to being in either group. Reframe, I need to reframe.


Monday, May 6, 2013

The differences between here and there

From several people, I've heard a certain saying. It's kind of like a Mad Lib:

"People from ___________ are ______________ and ____________." (insert deplorable adjectives)


After spending a week on the east coast, which is where I'm originally from (so perhaps I'm reticent to insert deplorable adjectives), I did notice two slight differences between here and there.

The first, mainly learned from driving there and a few other experiences within the city: people on the east coast don't seem to be as patient as west coasters. I don't consider myself that patient, but - goodness - east coasters seemed like an impatient group. Like....everyone we encountered. 

The second learning, which I already knew from visiting there over the years, is that people tend to dress/be more "put together" than the west coast. It's not unusual to see people walk around in their pajamas here. There wasn't even one instance while I was on the east coast where I thought, "You're wearing THAT?" They dress more appropriately. Even on the Jersey Shore, I wasn't appalled at all by anyone's attire.

My husband and I did feel outnumbered politically. His family are all NRA, Fox News Republicans. My friends from there lean Republican. I know we encountered a small size of people from that area, b. ut it felt like everyone is Republican and we're the only Obama voters. Which I know is ridiculous because he won the freaking election.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vacation Rundown

I finally have some time and energy to write about the trip--you know, the one to the east coast that I have been all angsty about for the past 3 months.

Short Rundown: We survived. Would have preferred to stay in a hotel. It was exhausting. We got a little time to ourselves on the beach, which we should have extended. J did pretty good on the trip.  I'm glad I'm an only child.

Long Rundown:

We got up at 2am on a Tuesday to start our vacation because our flight departed at 5am. Weirdly enough, all three of us woke up naturally by 1:45am (I have told you that I'm an insomniac and my daughter is a poor sleeper, right?). I thought this was a good omen for the trip because J is a beast if you wake her up. J who wakes up naturally is much more pleasant, and she was.

The plane trip to the east coast had a layover in Denver. All went okay except that J started to get really tired an hour before we got to Philly and fell asleep and we had to wake her up when we landed. (I've told you about her being a beast when woken, right?) So she was cranky, S's luggage got lost, getting the rental car turned out to be a bizarre ordeal even though I had already reserved and paid for it - I think we were all tired and fried. Then we had to navigate our way to the aunt's house in 5pm traffic.

The aunt we stayed with is nice. She's in her 70s. More importantly, she's low-key except for her penchant for Fox News (what is up with all of S's family being obsessed with that stupid channel?!).

Wednesday we went to the natural science museum in Philly; the aunt didn't want to go. Navigated the roads semi-successfully, was outraged at the cost of parking ($26 for a few hours!!!), J had a blast. Came back to the house, ate dinner with S's aunt, tried to unsuccessfully sleep.

As a side note, I didn't sleep more than 3 hours a night while we were on the east coast. S didn't sleep well either. J slept just fine.

Thursday S's aunt took us to her condo at the shore. We took 2 cars there because she was coming back the same day while we were staying the night. On Friday we went to the beach and walked the boardwalk. We were debating spending Friday night at the condo, but for some reason we thought we should go back to his aunt's house.

(BAD DECISION!) And that's when Pleasant Part I of the vacation turns into OMG! Let's Go Home! Part II of the vacation.

Disclaimer: I am an only child, and I've never really minded that fact. I've never lamented for a big family. I know that if I had siblings, the chances that I'd like them are 50/50. Even if I did like them most of the time, we'd probably still squabble - over property, attention, different ways of doing things, etc. If my sibling(s) had been younger, I probably would have been a caretaker, at least in some respects.

Second Disclaimer: I don't have the need for a lot of family togetherness and neither does the family I was raised in. We were the type to see each other once a year for a few hours. "Hi, let's eat a meal together and chit chat for a while, and then I'll go to my house and you go to your house, and see you again next year - or, if that doesn't work out, see ya next decade." I don't really get everyone coming from far and wide (i.e., the middle of the Pacific Ocean) for a birthday party near Philly that lasts for a few hours AND all sleeping together in the same house. There were 8 of us in a 2 bedroom house.

Remember I had wanted to avoid S's parents joining us on this trip? SURPRISE - his mom and sister made a surprise appearance on that Friday night. 3 aunts, his mom, his sister plus J and me - S must have LOVED being bossed around by so many women.

Saturday, the day of the aunt's birthday party, was hell. The birthday party itself was at an Italian restaurant, 6 courses, I have never eaten so much in my life. The party was nice. But the party was only 2 hours. The rest of the time was preparing for the party with all of these women and fussing over stuff and generally doing things I'm not good at or don't like to do. After the party was another party at the aunt's house with 12 more people. More fussing. S's sister was irritating the heck out of me with all her competitiveness. She can make anything competitive, even when you're not doing or saying ANYthing.

His mom and sister left Sunday morning. One additional aunt hung around. Sunday afternoon was my scheduled date with friends. That went great, but I was tired after - the past two days had exceeded my socialization allotment.

Monday we basically hung around with the two aunts. I did some work. We packed. We had a 6pm flight, which is very late to travel east --> west.  The flight back was so much longer, but it went okay. It was hard for J to wind down to go to sleep. We arrived home at 2am west coast time (5am east coast).

I got up at 7:30am to go to work on Tuesday.

And there you have it. NotAVacation is over. Operation Real Vacation is being planned for 2014.