Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Filings

1) Where did July go?

2) Humming makes me uncomfortable sometimes.  The woman who cleans our kitchen at work hums all day.  Mostly really loud, soulful-type songs.  I feel very, very uncomfortable when I'm in the kitchen with her, like I'm intruding.

3) Speaking of the kitchen at work, you would think a group of adults would be able to keep the space a little cleaner, ie, not pile dirty dishes so high in the sink that they're above the faucet; clean up coffee when it spills on the counter; keep track of what they have in the refrigerator such that something doesn't go so moldy & smelly that the fridge has to be completely cleaned/sterilized every couple months.

4) We're in the process of planning a little week vacay to Riviera Maya in Mexico (an early anniversary trip, of sorts).  I wish the trip was next week!  Looking at all the beach pictures online is giving me the itch to travel asap.

5) Did any high school people see that a certain person's birthday was yesterday (his nickname might or might not rhyme with "The Froz")?  Did you see some of his responses to people's birthday wishes?  To Fred, for example, "broheezy, thanks for the birthday wishes.  you ought to make your way to kc sometime to kick it with your boy!!"  HA!  Some people don't really change as they grow up, I guess.

6) I am dying for the weekend!  This week at work has been super busy.  Have a good one, guys!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

To Stripe or Not To Stripe?

Do you guys have any thoughts on pinstripes?  I ask because today was the third time this week that I've seen a case of pinstripes-gone-horribly-wrong.

To classify as "horribly wrong" in my book, the stripe/wearer must commit at least one of the following offenses:

1) too dark a fabric with too light a pinstripe (think white stripe on black suit);
2) too tight a fit (particularly the bottom half - pants or skirt);
3) too cheap a fabric;
and/or 4) an actual stripe that's too thick.

The fit being too tight I think is the main reason pinstripes look bad on a lot of people.  If you have a curvy bottom half, you shouldn't wear pants that are 1 or 2 sizes too small; but if you do, don't make them striped pants!  When the stripe isn't vertical because it's squeeeezed around your butt, you don't look good.

And, is it just me, or when you see a black suit with a thick white pinstripe (or even a medium width one), do you not think of jail?  Or a referee?  Or if you see a man in said suit (particularly if it has a big double breast with gold decorative buttons), do you not think of the mob?  Because I do!

Isn't there some kind of etiquette rule about pinstriped suits?  Like, a pinstriped suit is the dressiest suit you can own?  Or have I totally made that up?  If that is in fact true, I have to say I see a real lack of them in my suit-everyday workplace.

I personally don't own one.  I wouldn't be opposed, I've just never encountered one that I wanted to buy.  I've seen pinstripes done really well - especially the ones that are visually interesting (think a tan suit with light peach stripe, or a navy suit with dark magenta stripe - beautiful!).  I like the ones, too, where the stripe is actually sewn in with one strand of colored thread (vs. just having the stripe as part of the fabric).  And I've seen men do pinstripes pretty well - especially ones where there's barely a difference in color (so maybe a grey suit with a greyish-white or greyish black line).

But don't you guys agree that there are a lot of pinstripes done really, really poorly out there?  Especially ones made with cheap fabric - it just looks tackier than the same material used to make a plain black pant.  Am I just super plain conservative, or are pinstripes tough to get right?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Suppers

I don't know if you guys feel the same way, but now that we're in the real thick of summer, I haven't wanted to eat the way we do when the temperature is lower.  It's just so hot outside right now and the days are so long.

Now we certainly don't eat unhealthfully during the rest of the year, but maybe heavier is the term?  Because of late, I've wanted nothing to do with any super rich foods; no pastas; no casseroles; no soups, no heavy sauces.  I've just been craving clean foods.  Salads, fruit (especially grapes - oh my gosh, I can't get enough grapes!), vegetables, gazpacho, stuff that leans towards room temperature (vs. hot), nuts/seeds, basically things that are simple.  And I've wanted to eat less; I don't know, but summer just doesn't seem like the time to have huge meals.

So this week I've tried making a few new dinners.  And all have been somewhat successful, I'd say.  One night we had a cabbage salad with various veggies topped with salmon (all with a light soy/lime/peanuty dressing).  One night we had a lovely little broccoli/shallot frittata with a salad.  And the standout, by far, was an awesome black bean burger with a tzatziki-type yogurt sauce.  The recipe is here (from Kirsten's blog) and to pat myself on the back, it was so good!  To echo what she says in her post, the burger is super moist (which isn't always the case with bean burgers).  Jonathan had his on a bun, but I just ate mine on top of some lettuce & served with fresh tomatoes.  Yum.  Follow that with a popsicle and you're in business.

Do you guys have any thoughts for delicious, light, summer dinners?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

+ or -

On Sunday of this past weekend, I did something for the first time ever: took a pregnancy test.

And....I'm....

NOT pregnant.  (Ha ha ha my funny joke).

Anyway.  I didn't actually think I was pregnant.  When telling Jonathan I was going to grab a kit at Walgreens, I followed it with, "but I'm 99.999% sure I'm not."  (I wanted to take one before going to the doctor this Friday.  I had a long talk with the nurse practitioner last week about a prescription I need and I assured her that she could go ahead and prescribe it - because I'm not pregnant.  But she said I needed to make an appointment regardless.  So even though I knew [99.9999%] I wasn't, I figured I better go into the thing 100% sure [because how much of a fool would I look like if I actually was and had so vehemently argued that I wasn't?].)

For me it wasn't a big deal.  Meant nothing, actually, because I knew I wasn't pregnant.  But I couldn't help thinking about how loaded the simple act of peeing on a stick could be in other situations.

I thought about the woman who desperately doesn't want to be pregnant.  She holds the stick in her hand, probably about to puke from (hopefully just) nerves.  The two minutes drag by, while she tries to keep her mind in the present.  "No need to worry about something that isn't even confirmed yet" her mind says to the empty bathroom. **  And then the two possible outcomes: either a huge sigh of relief; or a huge sigh in deflation - perhaps both accompanied by tears.

I thought about the woman who desperately wants to be pregnant.  Her stomach is a cage of butterflies while she positions the stick just perfectly in her stream of urine so she can maximize the amount that's absorbed by the little pad.  Perhaps her husband is in the bathroom with her.  They stare at the plastic, hoping, willing, a plus sign to appear.  They know a simple "+" would change their lives forever - and they want it.  **  And then their two possible outcomes: pure joy, or pure sadness - also, perhaps both accompanied by tears.

I thought about the woman who desperately wants to be pregnant, and has tried so many times, always getting a "-" sign.  As she unwraps the package, she's reminded of the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that.  She knows exactly how to do it: where to place the stick, where to rest the stick during the 2 minutes, and sadly, in which trashcan to dispose of the "-" stick.  She's anxious, but somewhat deflated to begin with.  Her husband might not even be with her this time.  **  And then her two possible outcomes: shocked, unabashed joy; or sadness - the same sadness she's felt every time, but a little more intense each negative.

And finally, I thought about future me.  Future me that I think will soon be ready for scenario two.  Future me who hopefully won't know the pain of scenario three, or the fright of scenario one.  Future me who wants the positive; present-day me who's starting to warm up to the "+."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Swim

One of my most vivid memories of childhood was when I was at my dad's house during the summer (I spent ~6 weeks with him every year, circa 3rd grade to 7th grade).  Early every weekday morning, my stepmom would wake me up.  In the dark, I'd squeeze into my Speedo swimsuit, and cover it with a heather gray Jefferson Gators hooded sweatshirt, which, appropriately had an alligator graphic on the front.  (It was actually chilly enough in Ohio at 7am that I needed a sweatshirt to stay warm.)  In a sort of early morning haze, my stepmom would drive me and my friend Erin to Jefferson Country Club for swim team practice.

Speedo-clad, we'd all sit around the pool on lawn chairs waiting for our coach to arrive.  She was in college and had an androgynous, Pottery Barn Chandelier-type name: Hadley or Hartley, or maybe Halton?  Anyway, when she got to the pool, remnants from the previous night's mascara still clinging to her eyes (and smelling like alcohol, although I didn't know what exactly the smell was back then), she'd immediately collapse on the lawn chair, "warm up with a 500 Free."

The pool was cold.  It always was.  But once we got swimming, it felt warm, like the absolute perfect place to spend the morning (aside from a warm bed, which would have been the absolute).  She'd choose a different person to "pace" the lane everyday, and we'd fall into a graceful line of arms & legs & splashing water.  The distance didn't phase us.  Swimming a 500 Free to warm up exerted the same amount of energy as our nighttime family walks around the neighborhood.

We went on to swim many more 100s after that in our hour and a half practice, the only truly difficult part being sprints at the end.  Five days a week.  An hour and a half each morning.

*****

I'll clarify, in case you guys weren't swimmers growing up: one lap down the pool is 25 meters - so a "100" is four lengths of the pool (down & back, down & back).

This past weekend, I decided to switch up my cardio by swimming laps.  I don't think I've swam for exercise in the past decade.  And boy oh boy!  It was 3,000,000x harder than I would've expected.  Like, really hard.  Like, gasping for breath hard.  Like, lactic acid explosion at the end, hard.

I think part of my problem was pacing.  I couldn't swim slowly, which I know doesn't really make sense, but my body was just moving fast and I couldn't control it.  Then I'd forgotten that swimming can put a lot of pressure on your achilles tendon, didn't stretch beforehand, and thus managed to strain my left one.  And the outdoor Rhodes pool was pretty hot, which isn't exactly ideal.

But you guys, I got out of the pool and was shaking in the way your body shakes when you've had too many coffees.  My legs were jello, but jello with a strained achilles tendon.  And I was tired.  And hungry.  It was an undesirable state to be in.

But mostly, I was dumbfounded.  Because I'm in pretty good cardio shape right now, I think.  I can run five miles (albeit slow) somewhat easily, I just usually have to quit because my knees start bothering me.  And I'm pretty positive that when I was a middle school-aged kid, I could not have run 5 miles.  Or even close to that.  The day in gym class when we had to run the mile was my personal nightmare.  So how was I able to swim so many laps?  Butterfly was my stroke of choice - the one I did in meets - I'm positive I'm not sure I could do a 50 Fly right now, even at a practice pace.

Do you guys ever swim for exercise now?  Have you had similar difficulties?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ciao Cola

About two months ago, I unofficially gave up soda; or more accurately, about two months ago, I unofficially gave up Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper (since those were the only two sodas I ever drank).

I say "unofficially" because it didn't feel like a big, grand gesture.  I didn't need to tell anyone (I'm not sure I even told Jonathan) as I would have if it was a more important life change, ie, "I'm not eating carbs anymore" or "I'm going to start eating meat again."  It was just this little thing I wanted to try to do.  (I should say, too, that it was prompted by reading an article in a health magazine about how Diet Coke has a weird chemical reaction in your body that turns it into a formaldehyde-type substance for a few hours.)

So I just up and stopped drinking them one day.  And actually, I don't really think I've had one since (minus a sip here & there if Jonathan is drinking one).  And it's fine, as you'd expect.  I've not really noticed any bodily change - but I keep telling myself that the change is on the inside, and that's what matters.

My main times of drinking soda were either 1) right after work, as a little pick-me-up so I could stay awake past 10, 2) in line at places like the grocery store/Target/etc. where there's a case of cold drinks, and 3) at lunch-type restaurants that have a soda fountain.  The only place I'm really missing having a non-water drink is the after-work slot (although I've been able to stay up past 10 just fine, so caffeine isn't really a factor anymore). 

Do you guys have any thoughts on a delicious, no/low-calorie, non-chemical drink?  I sometimes do the Crystal Light single serve packets.  They're fine.  And I imagine when the weather is cooler I could always do an after-work coffee.  But is there anything else I'm not thinking of?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Local v. Organic

To buy local or to buy organic, that is the question.

If thinking about food in this context is something you're interested in, I'd love to have others weigh into the debate, as well!  Personally, I think the question is a tough one.

**

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to make an extended effort to lessen our exposure to chemicals in the house.  I say "in the house" because I don't really think it's realistic to expect that 100% of our lives can be spent chemical-free.  So for our house, I started buying more organic foods (following the generally understood principles of buying organic produce on a budget [ie, if you eat the skin of something or it's a root, you probably want the organic version]).  I buy organic milk.  When buying soy, I try to buy a "no-GMO."  And Jonathan and I decided that we'd use all the chemical cleaners we have until they run out, and when they do, we'll replace them with a natural product.

Similarly, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to clean up my environmental footprint a little.  So when shopping, I only use re-usable bags.  I recycle everything I can (including using plastic products multiple times/until they break).  I switched from a daily styrofoam cup of coffee to a ceramic mug (seriously, I can't believe I spent so many years using a new piece of styrofoam every morning at work!).  We paid extra to have a low emissions thing on our new car.  We try to not have our heat/air conditioner run around the clock (although that's quite difficult in the summer).  I buy used books.  Basically, baby steps that might make us a little less Earth-consuming than the next guy.

And both of those things are great, and I feel good about them; except that the food aspect of the equation doesn't really line up.  Either I buy local and spare the environment, or I buy organic and spare my body.

My first selfish thought is to spare my body.  It's my body, after all.  But one of the super annoying aspects of buying a lot of organic for me is that the nice grocery stores that carry the wide selection of organic are pretty far away (thus using more gas to get out there - damaging the environment on an even greater level), so that makes it tough.

And then when I get over my selfishness, it seems like I should be concerned with the environment and the future of our planet more than my measly little body.  But then I think about the possibility of having a baby (which could affect the planet beyond my "measly little body") and I'm more interested in eating organic over local so I can create healthy progeny.  (Ha - I'm so scientific.)

But really, I just don't know!  What do you guys think?  Have you ever thought about the two as opposites?  One thing I can say is that I appreciate the fun, chill vibe at the farmer's market much more than the snobby east Memphis vibe of Whole Foods or Fresh Market.  That's for sure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reassuring Night

Last night I hosted Bible study at my house, and I just have to say, I love having that group of women in my life.  Just about everyone is in their late 20s/early 30s, and while some of us are friends outside the group, it's a very welcoming and warm environment no matter who attends. (Which is another sort of cool aspect of it: its very "come when you can," so there isn't a ton of pressure to reschedule your life around it - if you miss one, just come to the next.)

But there's something about having a distinct group for "Bible study" and "fellowship" that fulfills a need different than that of just having a good, meaningful chat with a close girlfriend.  And perhaps it's having our leader who sort of facilitates meaningful conversation (since we usually spend 1/3 of the time chit-chatting, and 2/3 doing the actual Bible study).  But it's nice.  It's nice to be in a comfortable environment where you can express anxiety/joy/sadness/happiness and know you'll be supported and prayed for.

Last night really turned on a light switch for me as I realized that late 20s/early 30s is sort of a tough time in life for most women (and maybe men too?  Don't know - we're ladies only).  "Tough" isn't quite the right word, though.  Eventful?  Up in the air?  Unknowing?

It's a time when marriage is on the brain.  If you aren't married, you're thinking about if you will be someday - and you're dating around (or not dating, which presents its own slew of anxiety).  If you're married, you're thinking about kids (again - I'm saying the whole age group late 20s/early 30s).  If you have kids, you're sort of redefining your life as a mother and figuring out how that plays into your own personal life/aspirations.  You're maybe finishing grad school and trying to assess where you'll go after that.  If you've been in a job for awhile (5+ years, I'd say), you're starting to wonder if it's a job/company you'd like for another 5, or if you should switch fields/companies while you can (when you're still "young").  Or if you should go to grad school.

I was expressing some personal anxieties last night, and while I wasn't sure exactly how they'd be received, or if others could relate, I was relieved when everyone chimed in with their own personal anxieties.  And all of ours are somewhat different, but also somewhat related.  Each one seems to ask this great overarching question: where am I going from here?

The women left my house and I felt a calm about things that I haven't in awhile.  And it's not that I don't feel comforted when I talk to one of my close friends.  But I think I was reassured to know it's not just me and my few best friends who are having some life questions, it's this whole group of very diverse women who are only brought together by church and age group.

Do you guys agree about this age being in limbo to a certain extent?  Do you feel anxious about what the next decade has in store?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inception

No Spoilers Here!  Don't Worry!
*******
Inception was everything I could've hoped for (and more!) in a big, action-packed, summer blockbuster.  There was a lot of "sitting at the edge of your seat" tension; loud sounds; sensory overload; cool but outrageous sets & computer-generated set models; action-filled fight scenes; car chases - basically, everything you would expect.

In addition, though, you have a really cool plot concept.  Not spoiling anything, the plot is about a guy who's hired to tap into people's dreams.  The theory being that when you're dreaming, your subconscious is flowing freely, so the guy is able to come into the dream and extract the desired information.  That's cool.  And original.  And a lot of thought was paid to coming up with little details about this (for example, if you're in someone else's dream and you start to do weird stuff that might make the dreamer question the reality [allowing him to rationally understand that he's in a dream], all the people in the dream start to look at the person doing weird stuff, since they are all projections of the dreamer's subconscious).  Cool stuff.

And the setup of the movie is cool in that there's a sort of ethereal, dreamlike quality to the whole thing.  The first scene opens and you have no idea what's going on or where you are - sort of the same as when you first start dreaming & have no idea how you got to where you are.  But then some stuff is explained, which is what I liked most, because as the watcher of the movie, you start to understand what's going on.  I think the problem with some of the big summer action movies (the Borne series, Mission Impossible, etc.) is that sometimes you don't know what's really going on until the end, which is fine, and adds some complexity.  But with this one, there's inherent complexity in the idea itself, so the plot doesn't need to try to "trick" the viewer, because dreams and the subconscious are tricky enough.

I personally love to dream (which I don't do as often as I'd like) and I love to then wake up and think about everything that was in the dream.  So the movie just sort of resonated with me because of that; that is, to think that what's going on in the dream could actually influence something in the "real world."

The acting was good, too.  I thought the characters were well cast.  And Leonardo DiCap - he's just a cool guy and a great actor.  I definitely recommend overall.  It's the perfect way to kill the summer heat for a couple hours.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Filings

Here is a random collection of recent thoughts - probably not deserving of their own post, but might make this one super long.  Fair warning.

1) Have you guys noticed how pretty much all men's body products have a distinct "manly smell?"  And women's on the other hand, are usually just lightly scented - but not "feminine," except purely by contrast to the "manly" ones?  But this sort of sucks, because men could easily use male or female, and it wouldn't matter in terms of smell - while women can't really use men's products or they'd smell like a dude.  The only reason I care is because I'm convinced the best facial moisturizer on the drugstore market is "Nivea for Men Protective Lotion."  The best!  Great texture, oil free, leaves no residue, and has spf 15!  But I can't really wear it or I'll smell like a man.  Lame.

2) I don't know if you guys already know this or not - but when you order contact lenses from an online retailer (Contact Lens King is my favorite), you don't need a prescription.  After I completed my order transaction, an email was sent to me that basically said: "we just sent an email to your eye doctor to verify your prescription, but if we don't hear from him in 24 hours, we'll just trust that you know what your prescription is and send your package."  This would've saved me at least a few times in the past when I was out of contacts and had to go out of my way to get a dr's appointment so I could reorder.

3) Recently at my office, an email was sent from the CEO about our dresscode.  We're "formal business" M-Th and "business casual" on Friday.  And we're one of those old school companies that really does mean "formal" attire.  I wear a suit M-Th; and because I'm dressed so formally, I usually dress way down on Friday: casual dresses, khaki pants & knit shirts, that kind of thing.  But in my department, every other woman (except one) wears the kind of stuff I wear on Friday, everyday of the week.  I'd say in theory for our office code, I would be wearing a suit M-Th, and nice dress pants with a knit shirt on Friday; but because most of the women I work with don't even necessarily do dress pants with a knit shirt most days of the week, I don't want to do that on Friday because it feels like I deserve to wear something casual at least one day of the week if they're all doing it everyday.  Sometimes I feel lame during the week because I'm in my boring suit and I'll see another younger woman from a different department in a super cute (but business casual) outfit.  I saw a girl yesterday in cute wedge heals, a khaki skirt, a pink cardigan with a little lace tank underneath, and a big chunky white belt defining her waist.  So cute!  But not "formal business attire."

4) I don't really need to dwell on this, but being in St. Louis was awesome last weekend and made me wish, to some extent, that we lived there.  It's just such a bigger city than Memphis, there are so many cool things to do.  And so many different, great neighborhoods across the whole St. Louis area.  And it's not so ghetto.  And the weather was glorious - which made me remember how much I love having a very distinct Fall (whereas here it's often hot until November and then it just turns cold one day).  But also, in talking with Sarah, I think it'd be cool to live in the same city you grew up in from a friends perspective.  I guess it's the same in Memphis for Jonathan (that is, he went to MUS and has the camaraderie with any other guy that went there). 

5) And finally, it was so good to see both Sarah and Brad last weekend!  Sare & I (and a table of middle-aged women) closed down Brio on Friday night; and then the three of us and my mom went to the cutest little breakfast place on Sunday morning.  It was a lovely family and friend-filled weekend!

On that note - I hope you guys enjoy this weekend!  Other than a boardgame & pastry-filled night planned for Saturday, we're probably not doing much.  Although, Jonathan has said "I want to see that" every time the Inception commercial comes on tv - so maybe that'll be in the cards?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mel Boy

I think it's pretty safe to say that Mel Gibson has gone off the friggin deep end!  Right?  I don't know what it is about the whole thing (perhaps car accident on a highway syndrome?), but I can't stop watching the news coverage of this story!

A few thoughts on the matter.

1) Mel was married for 30 years and has TONS of kids.  It just seems like a very strange reaction to someone who has presumably had to deal with lots of stressful issues throughout his life.  And the fact that his marriage lasted for 30 years is either a) really sad - because he was like that to her, or b) suggests (I think more likely) that he wasn't such a freak during that time.

2) He has so much rage in the tape!  I mean, can you guys ever imagine being so mad for such a long conversation?  A phone conversation, at that?

3) Wasn't he the one who produced the Jesus movie a few years ago?  That movie was powerful and beautiful and probably affected quite a few lives.  It was made by Mel?  The psycho?

4) Today, some forensic analysts have come out to say they don't think the tape has been doctored in any way; they just think that Oksana was using high tech broadcasting equipment on her end.

Cool.  Carry on with your day, now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

If You Smoke, I Judge You...

To a certain extent.

I don't judge old people who smoke.  Or Europeans.  Or even high school or college-aged kids.  Or people in grad school other than medical.  Reasons being that: 1) it's hard to break habits that have existed for 50 years; 2) I can't really judge someone for something that's not frowned upon in their culture; 3) peer pressure is tough; and then 4) so is college/grad school.

If people are socially smoking in bars/clubs (since I go to so many), I can give them the pass, too, I think.  (Goodness knows we smoked in enough bars/clubs in college to explain the phenomenon.)

BUT - but - everyone else, I judge.

When I got to work this morning at 8 and two women were getting off the elevator with packs in hands, I judged.  When I see a parent smoking while holding their young child's hand, I judge.  When I see a person leave a restaurant table to step outside for a minute with a pack, I judge him.  When I see someone in their car with the windows up smoking, I judge.  When I see people on the front porch of their house smoking, I judge.  When I walk back to my office after a lunch out, and see 30 people smoking on the outside patio, I judge.  All of them.  When I see a pregnant woman smoking, oh man!  I judge her.

And this is judgement in the worst form.  I'm not judging the act of smoking, I'm straight up judging the person with butt in hand.  Even if I don't know them.  Even if they would have a "reasonable" explanation if asked.

Because smoking is so gross.  Smoking is really, really bad for your health.  Smoking causes an intense addiction - and something about that seems so weak to me, like, how can someone not overcome an addiction that's literally killing them faster than other people?  Smoking seems sort of redneck.  Smoking is so bad for you, that it makes the person doing it appear to have a lower intelligence.

I know three adults (that is, outside my criteria for non-judgement) who smoke.  I can understand why two of them do - I can't understand why the third one does.  But just look at the number for a second - three people - out of, what, a pool of 100?  It's ridiculously low, right?

What do you guys think?  Do you know a lot of smokers?  Do you also cast a judgement when you see people smoking?  Are you casting judgement on me for being a person who casts judgement?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Starting Over And Over And Over Again...

I'm a little annoyed with myself at the moment because I feel like I've not paid enough attention to my health.  I weigh the most I've weighed in the past two years; I've been exercising sporadically, without any kind of plan or purpose; and I haven't been carefully thinking about my food choices.

I shouldn't need to constantly remind myself (and also shouldn't need to "start over" over and over and over again), but here goes:

1) I want to eat healthfully - whole foods, organic, fruits & veg, lean protein, etc.
          a) I want to stop snacking so much!  I want to be able to control myself when I do start snacking.
          b) I need to completely end the "tomorrow I'll worry about what I eat" mentality.
          c) I want to have options other than going out to eat as a way to meet up with friends or have a special night out with my husband.

2) I want to exercise for my health.  Exercise isn't the way my body loses weight - it just isn't (calorie restriction is) - but I need to exercise for my health.  I want to have a super healthy heart.  I want to have healthy cholesterol and low blood pressure.  Even if it's only briskly walking for half an hour a day, I need to do this.

3) I want to lose the now ten pounds I've gained since my wedding.  Ew.  It's making me uncomfortable, especially the past few weeks.  I feel like my clothes are clinging & gathering more than normal and that I'm tugging at them more to reposition.  There's a certain lack of confidence that comes with always having to readjust what you're wearing because it's clinging to an unsightly part of your body.

So I just need to plain old get back into monitoring my daily calories (consuming healthy stuff), even though that can be so lame and boring.  And I really, really need to get my heart rate up just about every day of the week.

Why is it so easy to fail at healthful living?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

When I was 7, I was convinced that my 22 year old cousin Dianne was the coolest person on Earth.  She's actually my mom's cousin, but given our super small family, we sort of consider everyone a "cousin" even if they're in fact slightly more removed.

Visiting Dianne's side of the family (her parents, my "aunt and uncle," and her brother, my other "cousin") was the best.  They lived in Las Vegas after, years before, my uncle had some serious heart problems; he was told if he didn't move away from the harsh winter weather of Cleveland, he'd die within 10 years.  So their little family moved away from my uncle's 5 siblings & their families (my grandmother being the relation) to the "up & coming" city out West, Las Vegas.

We always took a yearly trip to visit the family - one that included swimming everyday in their backyard pool, walking around on the strip (visiting the kid's section of the Excalibur if I was lucky), eating my aunt's delicious cooking, hearing my uncle and grandmother use the random Polish words that still lingered in their vernacular, and hanging out with Dianne and her friends.  Everything about them was cool in my eyes: they talked to me like I was one of their peers, they dressed awesomely (think bright/tight late 80s-early 90s wear), they had crazy stories about their wild lives, they used very cool terms like "rad," and they were generally just super nice.

Rewind that scenario 15 years: Dianne was 7, my mom was 22, and they had a similar relationship, in that Dianne thought my mom was the most rad person on Earth.

Fast forward to now, Dianne's daughter Halle is about to turn 11, and the cycle has restarted.  (No pressure or anything to have a daughter in exactly 4 years to again restart the cycle.)  So this past weekend I was in St. Louis where Halle had been visiting my mom for the past 10 days.

It was so fun because I remember what it was like to be young and look up to my older cousin.  She and I spent all day Friday (literally, like 7 hours) at the St. Louis Zoo.  It was just the two of us and such a wonderful time.  She's a super mature, cool little girl - it was actually hard at some moments to remember that she's only 10.  We talked a lot about the drama that was 5th grade at her school.  And about how she's pumped about 6th grade because they have new school uniforms.  And about how she's looking forward to a summer of sleeping in and swimming everyday. 

I'm so lucky to actually enjoy the members of my family.

It was a great weekend in St. Louis - probably more to come on that - but it's almost 10pm on Sunday and we're about to go out.  Stupid Memphis only getting awesome concerts (The Hold Steady) on school nights...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Life, My Blog

I read a lot of blogs each day - about a 50/50 split between people I know in "real life" and people whose blogs I've somehow stumbled across and become an avid reader.  And I love them!  I love hearing the different styles of writing, and the varying levels of personal information shared, and I just love the general sort of voyheuristic appeal of stepping inside someone's mind.

I have to say, though, that I get this overwhelming feeling that other people are doing a lot more in their lives than I am.  And this could just be a case of someone else sharing more personal info with the world than I do.  Or it could be a case of awesome writing skills (seriously, I just read someone's post the other day about pinning laundry to a drying line that was fascinating).  But other people have a lot more going on than me - and they know how to share it in a way that's interesting.

I leave a lot of the things Jonathan & I do out of the blog, frankly, because I think it might be boring.  Or, on a Monday, say, I don't really know how to explain what we did that weekend without: 1) writing a boring little essay that goes day to day through our activities, 2) writing a post that is witty and fun, but suuuuper long, or 3) writing a couple posts that are witty & fun about the weekend, which then only leaves a day or two of writing about anything other than the stuff we do.  Can you see the cunundrum?

Weekends aside, though, I still feel like other people have more stuff going on daily than I do.  (And no, I don't want to ever write about work - even though it can be so ridiculous and funny sometimes - it's just crossing a personal line.)  If I were to write about my day to day, it would go something like this:

I woke up a little later than I wanted and raced to get ready for work.  I spent the day at work.  I got home and cleaned up the house a little.  Exercised.  Showered.  Made and ate dinner.  Then Jonathan & I retreated to the couch to read and/or watch tv until 10, when we went to bed.  Seriously!  Those are my days - throw in yoga or zumba, a monthly book club, a monthly bible study, dinner at my in-law's house, and that's that.

And I'm not really complaining.  In fact, I get a little overwhelmed when I have a ton of stuff going on in the week.  And I don't love to go out on "school nights" - I like to be able to exercise & feel healthy during the week.  I guess I'm more curious about why/how other people are doing so many more things than I am.  Or -  if they really are doing more, or just writing better about key points?

I think a new goal of mine for the blog is to write better about key things, really focusing on details - not just telling a line of events "...and then we did this, and then this, followed by this."

***

And also, just to note while we're talking about goals for the blog - I'm going to start doing some creative writing.  I have a book of writing prompts I'll probably use for awhile until I feel inspired to write on my own.  I recognize that a post of creative writing isn't going to be all that interesting to read - but, it's my blog, ha.  No really, though, the reason I would post it to this at all is so I can have an account of what I'm writing and when.  It will be labeled as "creative writing" and I'll probably post the prompt the first few times I do it.  Feel free to skip over those posts, again, they're going to be for me - to help my little creative brain get back on the creative wagon.  And maybe, just maybe, inspire my great American novel...

(Also - another fun side note - this is the first post I've ever written without a spelling error caught by the spell check!  Moving up in the world...)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Summer is my least favorite season.  I know, I know - it's strange.  It seems equatable to people who actually enjoy going to the doctor - or people who actually choose to eat at TGI Fridays.  It's totally weird and against the norm.

So I started to wonder, of late, exactly why I hate the season. 

Especially because I like it in theory.  I like summer cook outs.  Bright, summery colors.  Popsicles.  Lightweight clothing.  Sandals.  No school.  Fresh, local produce.  Catching fireflies.  Sunglasses.  Hydrangeas.  White wine.  Long days.  Ice cream.  Beach balls.  Outdoor festivals.  Fireworks.  Farmer's markets.  Lakes.  Beach reads.  Family vacation.  And I like the way Fall looms on the horizon - that there's a certain amount of anticipation with that - as in, we can goof off now, but soon it'll be Fall and we'll need to buckle down.  There's even a shift at my office (since I'm no longer on a student's schedule), where come September 1, it's time to get back to normal functioning, no more laid-back attitudes.

So really, the conclusion I've come to about my dislike of summer is pretty lame, especially given all the wonderful aspects of the season:

1) heat/humidity
2) mosquitoes

I know!  Pathetic.  Not just someone who enjoys going to the doctor, but someone who's favorite part of the visit is the pap smear.  Or someone who goes to TGI Fridays every week because "they have the best margarita in town."  Absolutely absurd.

But seriously, the heat is hot here. It's oppressive.  And the mosquitoes are bad.  Both such that all fun, outdoor summer activities are somewhat hindered.  The heat, just, yuck.  Sticky.  Sweaty.  Gross.  And the mosquitoes.  I mean, I can rarely sit outside and not get at least 3 bites.  When I go outside to wipe down the table and chairs so we can even go out there and sit, I get a couple bites.

One thing I will say is that having a membership to a pool this summer might significantly add to my enjoyment of the season (we didn't have one last year).  You sort of forget when you can't go to a pool, how awesome it is to spend both weekend days laying around.  Because really, when it's this hot, you don't have many other options during the day aside from pool lounging.

I will also say that if we lived in a city with a cooler climate, I think summer would be my favorite season.  Jonathan....?  Chicago, maybe?  Minnesota?  Colorado?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The One Where I Fanatically Talk For A Ridiculously Long Time About Twilight

I'm fresh out of seeing Twilight: Eclipse at the theatre, feeling totally absorbed by my old friends Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

I was a late-ish bloomer in the Twilight fanaticism.  And actually, I had no intention or even inclination, really,  to read them.  I'm a big Harry Potter fan, and so, everything I'd heard about Twilight made it sound utterly sub-par to HP; and I didn't think I needed to go around reading every "good" children's book that came out.

Then we were on a beach vacation at Christmas in 2008.  The house we rented had a pretty stocked bookshelf - everything from Nabokov to Nancy Drew - and including, naturally, the Twilight series.  Jonathan was actually the first one to step foot in Forks when he brought Twilight to the beach with him one day.  And even as we were on the beach, I made fun of him while he flew through the book.  But I noticed how absorbed he was in it - similar to the way Harry Potter had sucked us both in.  He had the first one done by the next morning & urged me to give it a shot - calling it a great "beach read."

That was the first day of a two-week, four-book devouring session, which might or might not have included: closing the door to my office so I could read, going to every. single. bookstore in the C concourse of the Atlanta airport to find book two, and staying in on weekend nights to read more.  I was totally hooked - and genuinely enjoyed each one.

The first movie was terrible, in my opinion.  And I thought because of some of the fatal flaws in the first, the second was good, but still suffered in the wake of #1.  Fatal flaws including: 1) Not showing enough of Bella & Edward falling in love - they have a sweet, genuine love story in the book that includes TONS of talking & getting to know each other; 2) Kristen Stewart maybe being a little too intense?  I'm not sure that's the word...maybe surly?  Either way, I don't think Bella comes across quite right - she's a lot cooler in the books; 3) Bella & Alice's friendship - they are basically BFF in the books and I don't think you get that enough; 4) Robert Pattinson not being hot enough to be Edwar...oh wait, actually he is really, really hot - scratch that one; 5) But again, Robert Pattinson not quite getting Edward right; Edward is definitely conflicted about loving Bella, but like Kristen, I think the movie shows too much of him being surly and not enough of him being sweet & cute & cool.

Not that I watched the second movie twice this weekend or anything to prepare for seeing the third, AHEM, but I did think it was a lot better than the first.  Still not quite right, though.  Bella was maybe sliiiiightly cooler than in the first - but still a little too intense.  Jacob has been great all around, I think - but I have to say I feel that slightly deviates from the book.  This huge Edward vs. Jacob battle that's part of these movies' marketing seems more pronounced than it actually is in the book.  Jacob is a good, cool guy in the books - but he's no Edward.  The movies puts them on more equal footing.

So the third movie.  The glorious third.  The third time's a charm.  Finally! 

Everything about this movie was better than the first two.  The special effects were great - really smooth between people and wolves.  We got some great back story on some of the major characters.  But just generally, all the actors seemed to get their characters more.  We saw Bella do something other than scowl and be serious - and actually saw her be a good kid to her parents - because she is a good kid in the books.  One thing that's been left out of all the movies is that Bella cooks dinner for her dad every night.  And we saw Bella stand up to Edward - you get this in the books, but having her stand up to him in the movie shows that he isn't just controlling everything she does.

So yeah - Edward was better too.  To be fair, he doesn't play a huge role in #2, but contrasting Edward in this one to Edward in #1 is night and day.  He's a lot more laid back, not showing so much conflict; and he's not so mean or ornery all the time.

I loved some cute/witty one-liners inserted here and there.  I loved Taylor Lautner's abs who said that?  Charlie was cool, as always.  And the battle scene at the end was great!  Seamless vampire/wolf effects.  At one point in the movie, I leaned into Jonathan and said, "I don't want this movie to ever end."  I'd say that sort of sums up: 1) my thoughts about it, and 2) my extreme nerdiness.  Go see it!  (Or actually, read the books first, then go see it!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day

Generally speaking, I've always been a fan of the 4th of July.  It was fun when I lived in St. Louis because there are tons of different fireworks displays to choose from (including a lovely show right behind the arch downtown).  And when I lived there, we always had big groups of friends who did stuff to celebrate - so BBQs and parties and pool time.  It was always festive and America-y.

My most memorable 4th of July, though, was 2006 in Memphis.  The 4th fell on a Tuesday, so we all had just one random day off work instead of an awesome 3-day weekend.  I was living with Katie & LB; and because we'd been in our house since the end of December and hadn't hosted any major parties, we decided the 4th was our chance.

Things we had at our party:
1) a keg of Natural Light
2) a volleyball net
3) a cake with strawberries & blueberries arranged like a flag
4) a stereo set up outside
5) a slip n' slide

Life was so simple then.

At that point in time, we had a huge group of friends and random acquaintances between the three of us - so we basically invited everyone we knew who would be up for a party.  And throughout the day, we had quite a few people stop in and have a beer or two.  We had the World Cup on the tv inside in the living room.  The day was h-o-t, - I mean, completely sweltering, sweat drips off you just to be outside, hot.  We started a thing where you'd stick your arm as far into the keg ice as you could to cool down a little.  The only drink we really offered was beer - so again, the heat was so intense that drinking beer was quite abundant, especially for the hostesses.

We were drunk.  The kind of drunk you can only get when it's 115 outside and all you've had to drink is an absurdly large amount of keg beer and no food but chips and cake.  We had set up the slip n' slide earlier in the day - but at that time, modestly certainly outweighed the fun-potential of the thing.  Fast forward to 10 beers later, all modesty is out the window, and we're down the slip n' slide!  I remember two funny things about the SNS:

1) a male acquaintance of ours arrived at our party right when we came out of the house in swimsuits ready to go - so if you're sober and come to a house with 3 girls in bikinis spraying each other with a hose to prep for slip n' slide (and possibly rubbing some kind of lotion on each other to make us slip more - is that correct - did we do that??), that's pretty awesome, right?
2) I think the three of us, the male acquaintance, and my cousin were the only ones who went down it.  So I'm wondering what the rest of the people at the party were doing at that time?

In my memories of that slip n' slide, time is sort of frozen.  It was nothing but us and the slide.  There was no pain involved with flinging ourselves onto the ground, or with skidding after the end of the slide into the yard with sticks and rocks - it was just me/Katie/LB, the green lawn, a sprinkler, and the yellow plastic.  We had to have done it for awhile, because I have pictures of us when we started and pictures of us later where it's starting to get dark outside.

The slip n' slide started a natural progression into keg stands (because we had to finish the keg).  Again, it's all a little hazy in my memory, but I'm pretty sure at one point, we decided to close up shop.  I think a few people went for hamburgers, but I passed out.  It was a Tuesday, mind you.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 was the still-drunkest/most hungover I've ever been at work.  I sat in my office chair when I got there & the room was spinning.  At one point, I had to go sit on the toilet because I thought I was going to throw up.  I'm sure I smelled horrible - like, the most awful post-drinking smell imaginable.  My whole body was bruised and scraped from the SNS.  We had left the stereo outside and it rained the morning of July 5th, so I think someone set up an umbrella to cover it (not actually bring it inside, because we were too hungover to do that).  I'm pretty sure, as well, that remnants of that slip n' slide stayed in our yard for years (again, too hungover to clean them up initially, and then just never did).

But it was all awesome!  We hosted a great first party at our house!  So happy 4th of July, guys - I hope your weekend involves some form of beer, cake, and water sport - but maybe a little classier than Independence Days of yore.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Golden Illusions

Wimbledon is probably my favorite tennis tournament of the year.  I love the grass courts, the white, the British-ness of the whole thing; I love having "breakfast at Wimbledon" at our house (and yes - it obviously includes some element of berries & cream).  I'm always excited around mid-June knowing there will be some great tennis on tv.

So this year especially, I've watched a lot of Wimbledon (as my boss might or might not be in Greece for two weeks, and productivity might or might not be at its lowest of the year).  Anyway - if anyone watched yesterday or tuned into the news, you saw that the King of Tennis lost in the quarterfinals to some random Czech guy.

While I was sad to see Federer out, I have to admit that now, the whole time I watch him play or hear him interviewed, I can't stop the nagging thought that has been bugging me for awhile:

Do you think Roger cheats on his wife?

I know this is silly.  And it certainly doesn't deserve to occupy any brain space in my head, but still, the thought is there constantly. 

When the King of Golf's "transgressions" came out a few months ago, I was dumbfounded.  Were you guys?  I know Jonathan wasn't all that surprised, his theory being that when you're the best golfer in the World, you have thousands of women offering themselves to you constantly.  But I had been totally sucked into the illusion of Tiger - his sort of nerdiness, his pretty blond wife, the adorable kids, the dog.  I didn't let my brain go to the many possibilities fame offers you in terms of infidelity.

And so, as you can imagine, I've also been sucked into the illusion of Roger Federer - his sort of nerdiness, the devoted, but not that attractive wife, the twins.  Naturally I start to wonder if he too could have his golden reputation blemished if a woman happens to come forward.

What do you guys think - does Fed cheat or not?  Do all professional athletes cheat if they're married?