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.