Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers!

Yes, I am secretly the Blue Power Ranger. Triceratops!

Best. Christmas. Present! Thanks Lil C!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Work Out Wednesday: Part 2

Well, let's be honest, the first time I tried this, it was a bust. A complete bust. It wasn't for a lack of trying, but the point of it was to develop a strategy to help me lose weight and keep it off. And it did teach me some things about myself, even if I did manage to negate any of the work I'd done in the past week of Christmas food. Here's what it taught me:
  1. While I can eat healthy when I'm at work, I eat the majority of the calories when I get home from work.
  2. I spend too much time sitting around when I could be doing things around the house.
  3. I don't spend enough time planning out what I will eat for things like lunch and dinner. Most of the time, I assume that I can make something "healthy" with what we have, but by the time I get home, everything goes downhill fast. 
  4. My weight fluctuates a lot. I knew it could fluctuate by a pound or two from day to day, but I was confusing progress with the days when I just happened to lose a pound and falling behind when I would gain.
  5. I feel so much better once I've done some cardio. I love the feeling when I'm able to push myself on the treadmill. But I also get bored very easily. I can run every day for about two weeks, but past that point, you couldn't pay me to get on it. The problem is the treadmill is easy. Wait for the episode you're watching to finish, pop in some headphones, and chug along when you can fit it in. I was fitting exercise into my life rather than planning my life around my exercise.
Alright. Well, I learned. Now, what am I going to do with it?
  1. I will plan to work out every day. Every night, before I go to bed, I will plan out how I will work out the next day. Even if it's just working out my arms with my silly little weights while watching "HIMYM" or walking on the treadmill while catching up on reading, I will find a way to get off the couch and integrate movement into my life. 
  2. I will use the treadmill for a max of four times a week. I need to mix up my work outs so I won't get bored. I will get outside and run. I will work more zumba into my life. I will take my mom up on her guest passes to her gym. I will find more exercise videos online (there are a surprising amount on Hulu!)
  3. I will plan out recipes for a week. I will plan out at least 5 recipes for a week and stock up on the ingredients early in the week. Even if it's a frozen Lean Cuisine, I will make sure that there is healthy food in the house.
  4. I will plan out what I will eat every day. As Gina commented on my very first post, it's very helpful to write down what you eat so you will be aware of it. Well, I'm going to spin it. I will list everything I plan on eating the next day. Knowing my schedule and what's in my fridge, it shouldn't be too difficult and should keep me from straying and grazing on Cheetos. 
  5. I will only weigh myself twice a week, on Monday and Friday mornings. Monday mornings are always my worst after a weekend of bad eating and Friday's are always my best after a week of healthy eating. Hopefully, this will help me be more mindful on weekends and eliminate the mood swings with the weight swings. 
Let's give this another go. I'm ready. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Cookie!

Hope everyone is having an awesome day, full of scraps of paper, waaaaaaay too much food, and quality time with people you care about.

Merry Christmas from Dan and Carolyn cookie!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

England: Part 2

So, it's been a while since I played catch-up and updated my blog with what I've been up to. You know how in my post about my trip to England I said I would be back in early December? Well, it was awesome! This time I brought Dan along and we took some time to really explore England, especially London. We spent three days in the little country town of Basingstoke, where I was working. Then, we took a day trip to the ancient city of Bath. Finally, we spent two days feeling the Christmas spirit in London.

I actually went to London on a tour when I was 15. Piece of advice right now: you will learn so much more about a city when you have to navigate it yourself. When you only have a guidebook and a map from the subway, rather than a guide and a tour bus, you quickly feel like part of the city. You have to remember not only what things are, but where they are in relation to other things, why they are important, and what they really look like.

When I was 15, I remember being on a walking tour and seeing a bunch of tourists climbing on some giant lion statues. Now, I can tell you I was in Trafalgar Square, just off the mall from Buckingham Palace. And I could tell you the significance of the square. I could tell you how to get to the Thames, the subway, and a pretty good noodle restaurant where the wait staff will ignore you.

There was one major pro and one major con to going to England in December. Pro: the Brits know how to go all out for Christmas. The lights, the decorations, the markets, the food. Oh, the food. I will attempting to make a Christmas pudding for Christmas Eve this year, if I can ever figure out what a "pudding mold" is.

Look! A Christmas market selling AMAZING food in the center of Bath!
The downside: it. was. cold! Soooooooooo cold! I'm a desert rat and there is only so much cold I can take. I apparently don't know what cold weather shoes are, so I tried to compensate with three pairs of socks. My toes were just a crumpled mess by the end of that day. Not a happy Carolyn. But finding this silly looking hat for only two pounds did save my ears.

Yes, we are ridiculous, cold, and on the very cool Millennium Bridge in London.
Anyway, now onto a photographic recap of our epic journey!

Basingstoke is the cutest little sleepy town.  It's exactly what you imagine when you think of the English countryside. Small houses with thatched roofs, sheep, little one lane streets, and old stone churches. There is a more modern portion of the city with shopping malls and skyscrapers, but this is the part I love and make an effort to see.

Small street in the oldest part of town.

Look! A cottage with a cat! Stay warm kitty!
 Once we were done working, it was off to Bath to see the Roman baths and the Abbey.

A Christmas carousel in the middle of the town square

The Bath Abbey with the Christmas shops.

Deep inside the ancient Roman Baths.

This one probably needs some explaining. I was pretending to be trapped in a phone booth. Not only did I make an awesome face, I made the accompanying noises, scaring the bejesus out of some locals before making them laugh.  Afterward, I kept referencing the movie "Phonebooth", starring Colin Farrell (yummy) and singing a remixed version of R. Kelly's "Trapped in a Closet". I'm trapped in a phonebooth...

And finally, LONDON!

On the London Eye with Parliament in the background.

The park squirrels are so used to people that they attack you for food.

Hey! Trafalgar Square and those lions!

Shout out to my momma! I tried so hard to find you a t-shirt with this written on it!

Dan wanted so badly to take this picture by the Rosetta stone in the British Museum, but there was always a crowd. When the museum was closing, with ninja speed, we finally got his "It's all Greek to me" picture.
And in case I don't blog again before Christmas...

Happy Christmas! (Or Merry, whatevs...)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Ghost of Grad School's Past

Even though I graduate with my master's degree almost exactly a year ago, my university email account is still open and active. After months of forwarding, filters, and editing my profile on just about any website I visit, about 95% of my emails actually now reach my non-school address.

Every week or so, though, I go through the old account and clean things up. I delete the dozens, if not hundreds, of spam emails that have somehow accumulated, make sure there isn't some important website that keeps sending emails to the wrong place (somehow Facebook has never managed to get switch over), and marvel at the amount of people that think I'll just send them my social security number (I ended up on some spam list and it's just dozens of emails a day now).

The most dangerous part though is scanning through, hoping not to see an email that I haven't forwarded onto my new email address for a reason. The people I am slowly trying to phase out of my life by phasing them out of my email. I'm not blocking them, I'm just choosing not to forward them.

Anyway, point of the story, this morning, after about three weeks of putting off cleaning it out, I took a crack at it. The typical stuff: emails about engineering job opportunities, home owner's association meeting notes, and facebook notification. Oh, and one little passive aggressive email from my advisor.

It's amazing how even an email from him can make my heart speed up and all my skin tense. For a year and a half, he made my life miserable. Utterly miserable. There's a reason I finished my degree six months faster than everyone else: I wanted to get the hell out of there. Although my advisor would be quick to tell me that that is still six months slower than his perfect Indian PhD student who only did it in a year. The squeak of the lab door opening still haunts my dreams. We hated that sound because it usually meant he was coming to yell at one of us.

He had to be the most egotistical, self-centered, mean spirited person I have ever met. He was the one that made me spend my summer in Ohio, the summer I was supposed to be working on my thesis and planning my wedding, so he wouldn't lose his contacts with the Air Force when I was his only American student. He was the one who screamed at me and threatened to not let me graduate AFTER all the paperwork had been signed because I gave his students extra study help before the final because I knew at least 40% would fail the class without it. He was the one that called me names to my face and when I reported it to the department, all the administration staff was on my side because he had done that to them too, but the dean of the department just tried to blame it on his divorce...which occurred 4 years ago.

Last time I had heard from him was about seven months ago. One of my fellow survivors was presenting her thesis and I was planning on attending to ask easy questions to make things easier on her. That same week, I got an email from my advisor inviting me to a barbeque at his house to celebrate the end of  the semester. Well, here's what I mean by an invite, it was an email, sent to me, about a barbeque. Nowhere on it was my name, it was just sent to a listserv of all his students. And he had timed it on Mother's Day. And he had sent it about four days before the barbeque.

I just assumed he had forgotten to take my name off the listserv (it had taken him six months to actually add my name to the listserv) and went on my merry way. Well, I found out at the thesis defense that he was really angry with me. Apparently I was the rude one for not responding at all to his email. Silly me for being the rude one in all of that etiquette jumble. He refused to address me at the defense and just acted like a big passive-aggressive weenie.

Made my life easier that day.

Just this morning, there was another email in my old university inbox from him. It invited me (well, again, my name was nowhere on it) to a barbeque to celebrate the end of the semester...two weeks ago.

My initial reaction was anger. After all the steps I've taken to cut this man out of my life, he keeps coming back, dredging up this horrible memories for me. Why won't he just leave me alone? I don't need him anymore. If I needed a new job now, I wouldn't ask him for a recommendation. I don't need to keep this bridge intact.

But after a couple of minutes of fuming, the anger subsided. Yes, he was only inviting me to help his ego. He wants his new students to meet his old students and I am a pretty awesome old student. And he wasn't that bad out of context. When he would take us out to lunch, the conversation would usually be pretty fun. He would have no reason to yell at me now, except maybe the perceived snub about the barbeque invite.

After thinking about it for a while now, I decide that I will send him an email explaining things. I WAS out of the country from the time he sent the invite to the four days later when the barbeque actually was (seriously? not even a week's notice around the end of the semester/Christmas time?) and for a while after. And even if I had been in the country, it would have been on my grandfather's 96th birthday. And I WAS finishing up projects for work before the end of the year, my university email went unchecked (without giving him my new address).

Maybe I should send him a note apologizing for my snub and see if I get an invite for the spring barbeque. So now only five months to come up with some sort of excuse to get out of it...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sabrina the Teenage Witch Reunion

Were you like me in fifth grade? Did you try and stay up on Friday nights to watch the awesomeness that was TGIF? And now, do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to the reruns of "Boy Meets World", "Full House", and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" on ABC Family?

Well, have I got a video for you! A hilarious reunion between Sabrina and Salem. It's fantastic! It's even got a Harry Potter reference.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Fan of Friday: Week of 12/02/11

You know what I'm a fan of? Not having to blog every freaking day anymore.

I survived NoBloPoMo (which I still think sounds like taking a hiatus from doing inappropriate things to a police officer) and posted every. single. day.

And now, now I'm taking a break. Don't expect anything new over the next couple of days. I'm going metaphorically fishing and will probably be itching to post once my break is over.

So, I'm taking a little vacation from blogging and I'll see you on the other side. I'm out!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So, how's married life? Part II

I wrote this post originally five months ago, after only being married for four months. At the time, it felt so good to get everything off my chest. I was being dragged down into a deep sea trench, slowly drowning, by this anchor of what marriage was supposed to be. After five months and some pretty big changes, things are better. Things are infinitely better. I figured I owed the internet an update, that way anyone reading this blog doesn't think my marriage still sucks. It may not be all rainbows and gumdrops and fluffy kittens, but it's at least sunny skies and Smarties and old cats, whatever that means.

There were a lot of issues I was having at the beginning. My life had been completely and utterly turned upside down and what happened to my husband? He now had someone else encroaching on his big old bed and that was about it. Part of the reason it was weighing on me was there was suddenly this feeling that if there was a problem and I didn't fix it, it would be a problem for the rest of our lives. And I'm young so the rest of my life is a loooooong ass time. Eventually, it started to sink in that a lot of problems will only be fixed by time. I can't force a solution and trying to fix everything all the time was only stressing me out and annoying my husband.

Secondly, a big shift came when we moved. I was really hoping it would make things better and it truly did. When I moved in with my husband, although he would argue otherwise, I didn't bring that much. My apartment had come furnished so I only had a couple of large pieces and most everything else was clothes, but I totally already had dibs on the closet. Basically, it was still his house and I didn't feel 100% comfortable there. He had his way of doing things and most of the time, it still felt like I'd be packing up my stuff and heading back to my apartment at the end of the weekend.

Now, in our new house, it is our house. He has his stuff and I have mine. He has his areas he makes a mess of and I have mine. He knows that if I'm in a certain room in the house with the door closed, it probably means I want alone time and he shouldn't bug me. It's finally our home and I'm not constantly battling to feel comfortable there.

Also, small changes have made some huge differences. I finally get a good night's sleep. Why? Because we got separate bedding. Not beds, just bedding. On our big bed, he's got his comforter from his small college bed and I've got mine and the only fighting we do is over where the middle line is. It's just amazing how a little thing like that has made such a difference.

And part of the reason it made a difference was because I caved to how he likes to solve problems. Dan likes action. Like a typical guy, he wants to do something to fix the problem. It's annoying most of the time because I'm a typical girl and I don't want someone to solve it for me. I just want to talk about the problem and odds are that's all I need. Turns out, that wasn't the case. I needed solutions. We've finally developed a system of me bitching until it's all out in the open, with him just quietly listening. Once it's all out there, he's allowed to act. We both get what we need and it's working pretty well.

So, all in all, it's gotten better. I don't feel as much anymore that everyone has been lying to me about what marriage is supposed to be like. Throw in the fact that his work schedule has calmed down and I'd say I'm pretty happy with marriage most of the time now. There are still days when I am super excited to have the house to myself, but now I'm glad when I hear his car in the garage. Things are getting better and, as long as we don't kill each other over the upcoming Christmas break, I think we're finally getting the hang of this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Work Out Wednesdays: The Bad Days

There will be no numbers today. Why, you ask? Because it's been a couple of bad days.

When I started this series, I thought it would be good motivation. If it's out on the internet, someone might read it and someone might care, so I should try reaaaaaally hard. And that's still true, but it's a lot of pressure, too.

The good days are that much better. Yay! I'm proud of myself and now everyone else will be too!

But the bad days. The bad days are that much worse. And it's been some bad days.

I was doing so well before Thanksgiving. I was at my lowest weight in a long time, without extreme measures (cleanses suck). But then, a couple of bad days after Thanksgiving (I actually did pretty good at Thanksgiving dinner!) and PMS and I feel like I'm back at the beginning.

I've been working hard for four weeks and I feel like I'm back at the beginning. After four weeks of increased workouts and watching what I eat, my pants don't fit any better. I can run a little farther, but I feel the same.

I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. I can up my workouts and watch what I eat even more closely or I can accept the body I have now and throw in the towel. It's lose-lose. I don't want to have to think about food and working out all the time. I found this blog, Undressed Skeleton, and it's full of helpful tips, but I don't want the life of the writer. I want to go to the beach and eat ice cream. I don't want to know the caloric intake off every item on the Olive Garden menu. I don't want to eat my soup with a fork since broth contains sodium.

The only way I think I can move forward is to focus on what I want rather than the numbers. The numbers are important quantifiers but it's really not the reason I'm doing all of this, right? So, here are my goals (most of which I will probably need to quantify at some later date):
  • Eat less fast-food
  • Make more home cooked meals, less prepackaged food
  • Run 5k straight on the treadmill
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet
  • Be able to do a pull-up
  • Do 20 straight leg push-ups
I'm going to keep trying, at least until the new year. I need to keep trying and hoping that these last couple of days are purely a fluke. The next few weeks will be incredibly hard, but I am committed to trying. Maybe I'll even have completed a goal or two.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turtle's Last Hurrah

Since Turtle hibernates for a good portion of the year, I've been constantly checking on him lately to see if it's finally that time of year. Although I think it finally is, here are some pictures from the last time I saw him a couple of weeks ago.

He was trying to hide from me. You can't sit there, eying the petunias you can't reach, trying to avoid me. I will find your cute, tiny face.

So I picked him some flowers. Usually, he eats them up! Just inhales them! Ignored them. Went straight for my feet.


For some reason, he loves to walk over feet. I like to think it's his version of cuddling. But this is the first time he decided to use me as a tunnel. He just hung out between my feet for like 15 minutes. He's just so cute!

I'll be waiting, checking my plants for nibbles and fresh tortoise poops in the spring to signal his awakening.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Perfect Manicure!

After years of trying, I have finally achieved it! The perfect manicure! 24 hours later and not one chip!

Don't mind me as my hand attacks my face.

I'm crazy proud of myself!

Ok, here's how I did it.
  1. Cut and file nails to the perfect shape.
  2. Go pee. Eat dinner. Do anything that will require your hands in the immediate future.
  3. Pick out the perfect color.
  4. Paint on two coats.
  5. Let it dry completely. Like three hours to dry. Avoid zippers, buttons, bottles, etc. Don't poke at the little bits that end up on the surrounding skin. Just do whatever you need to to not screw them up.
  6. About an hour before heading to bed, paint on a coat of no-chip top coat. 
  7. Dip each nail in water. Then, blow dry with a hairdryer until the water beaded on the surface is gone.
BAM! Pretty, shiny nails! I'll probably top coat them every other day just to see how long I can make them last.

It's the little things people! Geez...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Well, my vacation is winding to an end. It's just so sad! Granted I don't have a full week remaining this year, but I don't want to go back to staring at a computer screen, trying to pay attention/understand what's going on in meetings, and getting up early.

I'm a sad panda...

He doesn't want to go back to work either.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 Tips to Get Over a Breakup

This list was posted by a guest columnist on one of my favorite sites and, let's be honest, it wasn't that innovative. It's cliched and vague and I think I can do better. So here's my list for healing, whether you were the one who chose to end things, you were blindsided, or it was fairly mutual.
  1. Don't do anything drastic. Any big changes right now are a bad idea. You may be lonely, but you may regret that new puppy really quickly. And why the sudden need to build schools in Guatemala? I'm not saying you shouldn't do these things, but wait. Wait at least a couple of weeks. Really think about why you want to do these things. Make sure your motives are true. The last you probably want is to think about your ex everytime you look at your new puppy because its fuzzy butt was a substitute for his.
  2. Get a haircut. It's a cliche for a reason; it works.
  3. Set up a reliable lifeline. Have that go-to friend who you know will be there for you when you need them. When I broke up with my ex, I had a friend who was supposed to be there for me. She was great at cheering me up and knew what a hard time I was going through. But she was also a flake. A huge flake who wasn't there for me. She cancelled our plans without rescheduling and constantly blew me off. It hurt almost as bad as the breakup. I'm not saying you should call her at all hours of the night sobbing, but you should have someone lined up for nights on the town and to rent chick flicks and do manicures. Take my word on it, someone reliable. 
  4. Take some sort of exercise class. Whether it be dance, spin, yoga, or a running or training group that meet at a local park, exercise with other people. There are a couple of reasons for a class. First, it forces you to be on good behavior. You can't break down in the middle like you might when working out by yourself. It also forces you to look a little cuter. You really shouldn't wear your crappy workout clothes out, right? And lastly, it kind of holds you accountable to working out. Say you go to the class and like it. Afterward, introduce yourself to the instructor. Introduce yourself to several people in the class. Do it each time for a couple of classes and people will start to expect you to come. Can't disappoint them, right?
  5. Get out of the house every day. EVERY DAY! Make an effort to change out of your pajamas, clean yourself up, and get off the couch. Even if it's just to get more chips from the local gas station, don't become a hermit. 
  6. Box up everything that reminds you of him. Absolutely everything. All the presents he ever gave you. The movie you used to watch together all the time. The sweater that still smells like him. Even write down his email address and cellphone number, put them in the box, and then delete the electronic copies. Now, take that box and put it somewhere you will forget about it. In the closet that you barely use. At your parent's house. In the trunk of your car. I don't care, just get it out of sight, but don't throw anything away. After two of three months, go through it. Anything that doesn't make you nausea anymore, feel free to keep, but trash what you need to. There will always be some stuff that makes you sick, but weigh its importance to you versus the negative associations. 
  7. Avoid people who ask the wrong questions. We all have those friends who, although they mean well, will probably inadvertantly make you feel crappy. "Why couldn't you make it work?" "What are you going to do to try to win him back?" "You can't just forgive him for that one, little mistake?" Why put yourself in a situation where you just want to scream, "Mind your own business, you dumb bitch!"? It's ok to avoid people. Just tell them you are a mess right now and don't want to burden them and when they are annoying and persist, avoid their phone calls. 
  8. Don't be afraid to do things by yourself. After my last break-up, I kept trying to get out of the house by inviting people to dinner and movies. When the plans would fall through, I was just left at home, feeling sad and lonely. Eventually, anytime it happened, I went by myself. It's so liberating doing things by yourself. No need to worry about laughing at the correct time or sharing the bread basket. You can see whatever movie you want. You can flirt with the cute waiter or ticket seller. Don't let your life stop because you're a single rather than a double. 
  9. Make a list of everything you want to get done. It can be long-term like 'get married and have kids' to things like 'organize my dresser', but think about what you really want. Write down at least five things and make it your goal to get one of them done within the next two months (so make sure one of them is more short-term). Focus on who you are and what you want rather than your former relationship identity and the chaos that's probably your personal life.
  10. Write down how you feel every day. For a couple of weeks, at the end of each day, write down how you feel. It doesn't necessarily need to be about the break-up, but write about whatever is on your mind. And keep it private, don't blog it or put it on facebook. Just reflect on how you feel and write it down. It's ok if you're angry or hurt or sad or relieved, but it'll help to process your emotions by actually thinking about them.
Did I miss any good ones?

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/25/11

    Best Black Friday deal? How about Australian non-alcoholic ginger beer?

    This ginger is excited!

    And yes, my fridge is that awesome. Yours doesn't have Hello Kitty coloring book pictures and Elvis magnets?

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    The First Thanksgiving

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    We survived hosting it for the first time and it appears, so far, that we've given nobody food poisoning. It was fun, but yeah, can't say I want to do this again. Sorry Mom, you can't make me!

    But I am thankful for a lot this year. I'm thankful we have this awesome "vintage" house to host in. I'm  thankful my grandparents were able to attend (my grandpa will be 96 in a couple of weeks and my grandma will be 83). I'm thankful Dan and I both have jobs that we love in this crappy economy. I'm thankful my parents and sister live just up the street and I get to see them more often. And I'm thankful I have the world's most awesome pet, Turtle. There will be another post about Turtle soon because, well, let's be honest, I think a lot of people like reading about him more than me.

    And I'm ok with that.

    PS: Helpful Thanksgiving advice - make sure the roasting pan you borrowed from your mom fits in your tiny "vintage" oven BEFORE the morning you need to roast it...

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Work Out Wednesdays: The Credit Card System

    In honor of Black Friday, here's my new dieting strategy: the credit card system.

    Let me first say that I am much better at money than I am at dieting. Actually, I'm awesome at money. I realized that if I treat dieting like my credit card bill, I'm much better at that too.

    Ok, so let's break it down. Any extra weight I'm carrying I count as debt. At the beginning of this, I was 17.6 pounds in debt. It's earning interest and dragging me down, just like regular debt.

    I give each piece of food I eat some value. Things like salad, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, and yogurt are all free. Anything associated with my planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner are free. That brownie that I broke down and ate? That's worth 20 minutes on the treadmill. That handful of Cheetos? An ab workout. All of this debt then goes onto my body "credit card".

    From there, I consider each day as it's own credit card cycle. It must be paid off by the end of the day to not earn interest. If I owe 30 minutes on the treadmill, I must pay up by the end of the day. I know it's weird, but for some reason, it works pretty well for me. And it's nice because it prevents me from eating really crappy at the end of the day. If I don't have the time to pay it off before bed, I can't eat it. It also takes some of the guilt away. It's ok to eat the cookie if I'm having a bad day and just need it, as long as I step up later and burn it off. Any time I manage to workout more than what I owe for the day, it reduces the long-term weight debt I'm trying to overcome.

    It's been working pretty well for me this week. This week I went from 146.4 to 145.4, a loss of one pound.

    It's not much, but it's a loss. Total, I'm down 2.2 pounds. Would I like to be down more? Absolutely, but I can't let this take over my life right now. With the time I have off right now, I should probably be doubling up on my workouts, but I wouldn't change what I'm eating. I need the energy that is not associated with extreme calorie counting.

    Anyway, I've kind of got a goal in mind now. At the end of December, I've got an informal high school reunion and I would love to be under 140. It's not an extreme goal. I just need to lose 5.4 pounds in five weeks.

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy, ignoring all the crazy holiday eating.

    Ok, nevermind. I may be screwed.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    I Get Sucked in by the Worst Things

    She used to be annoying, but you know you look forward to the commercials now.

    It's the Target Christmas Lady! I wish I had ever been half as excited about anything as she is about Black Friday sales.

    Admit it! You like her, too!

    UPDATE: We found this one last night and I have never seen Dan laugh at something as much as he laughed at this. "Her face is just hilarious." I really thought he was going to start crying. 

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Project House Update: Laundry Room

    I know I posted a couple of weeks ago how lame it is to get excited over a washer and a dryer, but apparently I'm a big old nerd.

    We finally got a washer and a dryer!

    Isn't that the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? Ignore the reflection of me in the doors...

    Anyway, we were originally looking only at white ones, that way if one of them broke, we would most likely be able to get one that matched. Then Dan found an amazing deal on these brushed steel ones and we couldn't pass it up. The rest of our appliances are brushed steel so at least they match each other.

    I can't say I do laundry more often now, but I'm so happy I don't have to trying to make two laundry baskets in my small Volkswagen and cart them over to my parent's house. I can through a load in the wash when I take my nighttime shower, then run the dryer when I get ready in the morning, and fold slightly wrinkled clothes when I get home from work. Probably not the best system, but it works none the less.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Pet Peeve #1

    Best watch yourselves, Yankees fans.
    A lot of things annoy me, I admit it. However, whenever someone asks me what bugs me, I can never think of anything on the spot. Well, I figured I'd just write them down when I come up with one.

    Pet Peeve #1: People who think they are part of their favorite sports team. Just because they are your favorite, it does NOT mean you are on the team. Don't pretend to be the coach and talk strategy before, during, or after the game. It is NOT some sort of personal accomplishment if they win, especially if they have a fairly strong winning streak. People just think you are an ass. There. I said it. I think you are an ass.

    These may or may not be a couple of facebook statuses from one of my friends: 

         So stoked for this game! Fight on! Beat the Ducks! (And there's no way in hell we're letting
         Ucla go to the championship in our stead.)

    And I can't forget this gem:

         Loved my Trojans last night! It may have been a boring game, but we needed a boring
         game. I did manage to be awake for every touchdown, including Matty's record-breaking
         sixth! Congrats, Barkley! Now let's get ready for an exciting Homecoming game. Fight on!
         Beat the Huskies!

    Unless all your friends are fans of the exact same teams, trust me, you are bugging the crap out of someone if you act like this.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    A Fabulous Saturday

    I don't know about you, but today was a pretty good day. An especially good Saturday.

    With the craziness that's been going on with both my job and Dan's (he's finally back in town!), we rarely get a restful weekend. And this weekend definitely will be.

    As Dan slept off his late night flight, my mom and I met up to cheer on the El Tour de Tucson riders as they rode past our neighbor. It's a 100+ mile bike race around the entire city, totally screwing up traffic for hours. I was resigned to the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to drive anywhere today because the race ran right up my street. So, my mom packed up some fold up chairs and we walked to a good corner and clapped for each bicyclist.

    We were doing a really good job cheering for about half an hour when the cops started packing up their traffic directing stuff and told us that was the last of them. No more cyclists. Slight fail on our part, but at least we got to see some of them.

    The rest of my day involved watching PBS cooking shows, doing some gardening in both the front and back yards, following Dan around annoying him because I had all this pent-up annoyance to unleash, "Sweet Home Alabama" on TV, and an accidental nap.

    And most importantly, in 15 minutes, I will be eating the vegetarian version of this:

    Paula Dean's lasagna soup. Note: if making the vegetarian version by subbing in fake meat for the ground beef, it will become meat particles floating around in the soup. But it still tastes good!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/18/2011

    Vacation time. Plan and simple. I am a huge fan of vacation time. As of 5:00 PM today, I will officially be on my first vacation break since starting this job. Nine days of unadulterated freedom. 

    Is it just me or does this seem uncomfortable? Pokey bark and a sunburn? Pass.

    We won't be up to much except for prepping for Thanksgiving, which my husband begged to have at our house this year (train-wreck ahoy!) and working on the house. But I don't care. It'll be full of sleeping in, working out in the mornings, cooking, wearing stretchy pants.

    Just a warning, even though I promised to post everyday in November, out of shear vacation laziness, there may be a lot posts that are just a picture of an animal with some sort of "Awww..." comment. So sue me.

    Here's hoping that you have a full week off for Thanksgiving and if you don't, let's be honest, I bet your motivation is lacking at this point and you won't get much done anyway. No judgment, just speaking from experience...

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    You Have Been Warned NBC!

    NBC just announced their mid-season schedule and do you know what they did? They misplaced "Community"! It's nowhere to be found! How dare they! It's one of the most creative shows on TV right now and you just choose not to air it? What is wrong with you!?!

    Anyway, apparently there's a movement going on right now to get it back on the air by goatee-ing yourself. There was an episode recently where some of the characters created the evil version of themselves with a felt goatee (you can catch it here and, trust me, it's awesome).

    Here's Evil Carolyn, who is apparently going to a 3D movie at Disneyland.

    You know you're jealous. You can find the goatee template here. Try it out and see if you look as awesome as I do.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Work Out Wednesdays: Zumba

    I hate to admit it, but it's been a loooooong time since I've been to a good dance class and I was jonesing for one. For some reason, dance is in my blood (awww, look how cute I was?!)

    I took dance classes from about the age of 3 to 6, hence this awesome picture of me and my little sister.  From ages 14 to 19, I basically just danced in my room. The door would lock, I would blast the stereo, and just pretend I was some pop star for hours on end. It probably drove everyone else in my house insane. 

    My senior year of high school, I started to really get into Bollywood. The movies were colorful, beautiful, and musical and the food is almost exclusively vegetarian. It's like it was made just for me. Anyway, after dwelling on Indian culture for a couple of years, I decided to take an Indian dance class. However, I was dumb and thought that Indian dancing and bellydancing were the same thing. 

    After my first bellydance class, I was hooked. Every Friday night I would tie on my coin skirt and shake my hips. And I was actually pretty good at it. About a year after I started taking the class, the teacher approached me with an opportunity. She was pregnant and apparently there are moves you aren't supposed to do when pregnant, so would I be interested in being her demonstration? I would stand at the front of the class, help her teach, and show the moves her doctor wouldn't let her do. It was so much fun until she had her baby and the class just dissolved. 

    A couple of years later, I was having the dance itch again. My friend jokingly forwarded me an email for a pole dance class. She had tried it at a bachelorette party and thought I might find it entertaining. After an introductory class, I signed up for a six week course. It has to be the best arm workout I've ever had. But besides that, the bruises were horrendous and the pace of the class was just too fast for me. Even with supplemental sessions, it was just too hard for me. 

    Since then, I've been trying to fill the void. After a couple of Google searches I found a contemporary dance studio on my side of town. And wouldn't you know it, it was run by a girl I went to high school with.

    I finally got around to trying it out Monday night. I'd heard a lot about Zumba (and by heard, I mean watched infomercials) so I wanted to give it a try. I don't think I've ever felt as good or looked as worse as I did at the end of that workout. It was brutal, but so much fun. After a couple more weeks of it, I can only assume that I will be in as good of shape as the instructor. 

    If you live in Tucson, check out Steps Studio.

    So, onto the ugly stuff, my progress:

    As you can see, this week didn't go so great. I went from 145.6 to 146.4, a gain of 0.8 pounds.  I should probably be harder on myself, but I'm not going to be. I'm still down 1.2 pounds since the beginning. And there was going to be no way in hell that I had lost weight this week. Over the weekend, it was Dan's birthday and I may not be great when it comes to buying presents, but I am great when it comes to feeding him. Mmm, pizza, buffalo wings, spinach dip, cheetos, gorilla bread, IBC root beer, Texas Roadhouse, Taco Bell. Yeah, it adds up. Actually, I'm amazed I only gained the weight I did. 

    Just have to keep telling myself that it was slow to put on, so it will be slow to come off. And the holidays sure as hell won't help.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Random Fact of the Day: 11/15/11

    Did you know that when "Beauty and the Beast" was released in China, the Beast's speaking and singing voices were dubbed by Jackie Chan?

    That's just plain weird. And awesome. Jackie Chan is amazing.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    I Am Terribly Ashamed of Myself

    I don't know how it happened. I really don't know how I let myself fall for it. I thought I was smarter than this.

    Somehow, against ALL my better judgement, I am actually looking forward to the release of the next Twilight movie.

    Ugh! Don't judge me! I don't know how it happened.

    I saw the first one when I had the flu a couple of years ago. Dan rented it for me because he knew with my flu headache, I shouldn't be watching movies with loud noises and explosions. And the first Twilight is just soft music in cloudy meadows of lilac.

    And let's make this clear, I did not like the first one. Snooze fest. None of the characters were enjoyable (Pretty sure I hate Edward), except maybe the dad. And it just willy-nilly made up rules about vampires. Fine, I will accept the sparkly thing, but what happened to a wooden stake through the heart? That's just classic! The only thing good to come out of that one was the jacket Bella wore (I have it in green).

    I recorded "New Moon" on my parent's DVR just to bug Dan with it. He was miserable through the first one and I thought it would be funny to make him watch the second one with me. And, again, not good. I can't even recall what the storyline really was. Wasn't it just vampires and werewolves don't get along? Period. Only good thing from that one was a now buff Taylor Lautner.

    We finally caught up on the third one a couple of weeks ago. Again, I recorded it on my parent's DVR to torture Dan, but he just slept through it as my sister and I watched. Most of our time was spent mocking it.

    Somehow, after all these bad experiences with the franchise, the advertising for the latest one is dragging me in. I need to know what the wedding dress looks like! And the honeymoon! I need to know how the sex finally goes down. And the horrible birth! Must know!

    Don't tell anyone, but I'm secretly hoping my sister invites me to see it Friday.

    Ugh, I am so disappointed in myself.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    I Will Outsmart You, AdSense!

    Out of boredom last night, I played around with the idea of creating an AdSense account for this blog. I wouldn't place some huge, obnoxious ads all over everything, but it would be nice to slowly generate a ridiculously small amount of money if anyone accidentally clicked on them.

    Anyway, even though I did a presentation in one of graduate school classes on AdSense, it completely baffles me. It won't tell me how much it pays or what the conditions are. It's like, "Sign up and then we'll tell you." Really? You can't have a nice little table that says 2 cents for every click on a sidebar ad and 3 cents for every post ad?

    Does anyone have a clue and can help me? Is it worth it for me? What amount of traffic do you need for it to be worth it? Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse and should hold off until, I don't know, I have at least a dozen followers or some other arbitrary gauge.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Clint Eastwood is my Grandpa

    Or more accurately, my Grandpa is like Clint Eastwood. Have you seen "Gran Turino"? We watched it last night for Dan's birthday (I checked it out from the library, so it was free baby!) and Clint Eastwood is bad-ass. Just like my Grandpa.

    My Grandpa is 95 years old and always wears his rattlesnake skin cowboy boots. He golfed every other day until his doctor finally ordered him to stop a couple months ago. He's killed more snakes with golf club s than I care to admit.

    But he's also incredibly sweet and understanding. He was the first one in the family to embrace my vegetarianism, even though he raised cattle for dozens of years. He once told me how proud he  was of all his granddaughters because we had college educations so we would never have to depend on a man. He's awesome.

    Anyway, after watching "Gran Turino" last night, I came across this quote from Clint Eastwood and it's definitely something I could imagine my Grandpa surprising me by saying.

         These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don't give a fuck about
         who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of
         things we shouldn't be making a deal out of. They go on and on with all this bullshit about
         "sanctity" — don't give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the
         life they want.

    Bad-ass and sweet. Just like my Grandpa.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/11/11

    Do you remember a couple of years ago when NBC brought back American Gladiators? I loved it and I'm sad they only brought it back for two seasons (seriously, it's better than 90% of the programming they currently air). Anyway, one of the Gladiators was named Crush and she was undefeated in her tenure. She was awesome.

    Her real name is Gina Carano she's an undefeated MMA fighter. And, as of Januart 20th, 2012, she'll be a movie star. Director Steven Soderbergh handpicked her for the lead in his movie "Haywire". Basically, she plays the female Jason Bourne, only without the amnesia. It has an amazing cast, too. Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender (300, X-Men, just plain yummy).

    Anyway, Entertainment Weekly released a new trailer for it this week and I can officially say this is the first movie in a long time I'm actually looking forward to seeing.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    My Favorite Purses

    I've mentioned it before, but I love purses and over the years, I've amassed a pretty quirky collection. So without further ado, here are my seven favorite! (It was going to only be five, but I can't cut it down anymore. It's like Sophie's Choice)

    The car purse. I always take it to car shows because it has yet to start a conversation. People love this purse and they love to tell me that they love it. And it's deceptively large. I can usually fit an entire outfit in it.

    My stripper purse! I love this purse, it's probably my favorite. I've never seen any other purse like it. I always end up taking it to the most inopportune places, such as my Mormon friends' parent's house. But I did name each of the strippers! From left to right, they are Slater, Screech, Zack, and Mr. Belding. It's really hard to see in this picture, but one of the women in the audience threw her key to her hotel room onstage.

    The syphilis purse. You're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Ahh, the things you find at second-hand stores.

    The Freitag bag. Freitag is a Swiss company that recycles semi-truck tarps and seat belts into handbags. They. are. awesome! My dad brought this one back for me from Switzerland on one of his business trips. And it's waterproof!

    My French tote bag. I bought this one from my favorite toy store, which sadly recently closed its doors, Miss Tiggywinkles. Loosely translated, it says, "Candy party under the starry sky and they taste delicious". It's so cute and random and I love it. 

    My Japanese clutches. More souvenirs from my dad's business trips. These ones are small and oh so fancy. They could be from some knock off vendor on the street in front of the hotel where my dad stayed but I don't care. They're awesome and I only use them for special occasions.

    Hopefully with the holidays and my birthday coming up, I'll have some new ones to post in the New Year! (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge...)