Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thank goodness that's over

You guys, Guys and Dolls was awesome. So much fun. I'm absolutely glad I did it. But. I am so glad it's over.

See, I get up for work at 4:10. So being in rehearsal until 10 (or 11 during tech week, ugh) means I'm not getting a lot of sleep. Which means I would get home from work, take a nap, get up, shower, go to rehearsal, come back, crash, and get up for work. It was pretty draining, I assure you.

But now! Now! We have moved into our new house (which we haven't closed on yet, shhh, so we're just "renting" it now) and our house guests have returned to their house. My kitchen is unpacked and my fridge is full of Thanksgiving leftovers. I've been having delicious homemade rolls with what is essentially a sweet potato cobbler for breakfast. I can actually start going to the gym! (I also bought a groupon for yogadownload.com, and got the one that comes with unlimited downloads. So...yeah, I'mma download them all.)

I digress. Guys and Dolls was a great experience, and I totally encourage everyone to follow their dreams and fulfill their life goals. Next I'm going to learn how to rollerskate. And work to once again weigh what it says on my driver license. And I'm going to avoid all stores but the grocery store until everyone stops playing Christmas music. This is why I do 99% of my Christmas shopping on Amazon, which I WHOLEHEARTEDLY recommend if you too hate busy sidewalks, city sidewalks dressed in holiday style, silver bells, traffic, people, etc. If you decided you'd like to make your life infinitely easier as well, feel free to use my little Amazon widget at the right, which gives me a tiny percentage of whatever you end up buying. No pressure. If you like the Salvation Army bellringers, you do your thing.

I digress again. Go live your dreams, people! No day but today! Carpe diem! Et cetera!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Birthday review

So, several days late. It's been busy, and only going to get busier because of the musical I'm in. But let's talk about the things we've done in the last year, no?


Saw my insides; confimed that my fallopian tubes are clear
Spent Thanksgiving in California
Got a Kindle touch for Christmas
Went to a whole lot of doctors appointments; didn't find cause for chronic infection issue
Moved units at our condo complex
Bought an actual bed frame, after months of just leaving the mattress and box springs on the floor
Several trips to Tucson
Got my Reluctant Reader of a husband hooked on books
Quit my crappy job
Got a much better paying job
Went to my favorite aunt's wedding
Bought favorite aunt's couch, ended husband's whining for a sectional
Bought a brand new car (12 miles on it when we got it!)
Was made permanent at much better paying job
Started taking advantage of much better paying job's health insurance, which covers infertility treatment
Started taking public transportation, which saves us tons of money and gives me lots of reading time
Got cast in a musical
Found out our friends are moving; offered to buy their house (it might even happen, too!)

I'm sure lots more happened, but those are the highlights off the top of my head. Not a bad year, even if it is two birthdays in a row that my husband was too sick to go out to dinner. Not sure what that's about; if it happens next year, we're going to have to talk about why he resents my birth.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In lieu of bucket lists

I hate the term "bucket list." It was cute-ish for a movie title, but it doesn't need to become a Real Thing. We can still refer to things as goals, ambitions, hopes, dreams. All I think of when I hear "bucket list" is a scene from 30 Rock when Tracy says, "But there were still so many things on my bucket list! So many buckets I wanted to own!"

Aaaanyway, the point is that one of my life's ambitions is to be in a musical. Last night I auditioned for Guys and Dolls with a very nervous-sounding 16 bars (okay, 18) of "A Little Bit in Love" from the musical Wonderful Town. The director, bless his heart, said I have a better voice than the woman he saw do the role on Broadway. Ridiculous, I know. Charming lies, regardless. Plus he loved my resume. It was very tongue-in-cheeky, which I suppose was a gamble. But who is interested in a list of the shows I did in high school? It was amusing and memorable, full of things like "I saw my high school's production of Guys and Dolls" and "My favorite flavor of ice cream is dulce de leche." It go the job done.

Call backs were supposed to be tonight. Oh, callbacks, where they find out I can't dance. Callbacks are my nemesis. Lucky for me, they decided to cast the show just from the auditions--which frankly seems risky to me, unless they had people read and not me--and there, as number seven of eighteen Save a Soul Mission ensemble members, was my name. I'm going to be in a musical.

Rehearsals are 7-10 pm Mondays through Thursdays, which means I'll be going to bed two hours later than I'd prefer. Which means lots of afternoon naps, and lots of complaining about how tired I am. But still. IN A MUSICAL. And anyway, it's only six weeks or so.

So, if your interests include seeing shows where people you vaguely know from the internet periodically break into song, might I suggest you clear some time in mid-November?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On books

I've been reading a bunch lately, thanks to my use of mass transit. Not just mass transit, but the slower, cheaper (for me) version. I put my makeup on and catch up on everything that happened on Twitter and Facebook after I went to bed, but then I read the rest of the way there, plus the whole way home. One day last week I was so involved in my book I wasn't paying attention to the stop announcements and ended up going too far. That was a great day. :-/

It's nice to have so much dedicated reading time during the week. I love it. I love it both as a consumer of books and a student of literature. It's fun to read something fluffy and light and be done, but it's also fun--dare I say more fun?--to really engage with it and look behind the curtain, as it were. The whole mechanics of how and why authors do what they do is fascinating, and of course helps me/us write better.

The downside, of course, is that it also shines light on all the flaws. To use one example, I recently(ish) read The Hangman's Daughter, which I was given to understand was a fairly successful book. Had to be, to get translated to English. But maybe it was mostly because it was cheap on Amazon Kindle? It has four stars out of nearly 600 ratings, but...man, I guess people have low standards. I did not like it and considered giving up enough times that if I weren't such a fast reader I probably would have. (See also the #4 Amazon Prime lending library book [behind the three Hunger Games books], War Brides, which I recently started and just  could not get past the bland prose in the prologue. I get that you need exposition, but man it just wasn't very gracefully done. As far as I could tell; I literally did not finish the prologue, I was so fed up.)

For one, the book isn't about the hangman's daughter at all. I mean, I spent a good half the book waiting for her to show up at all. And then she was at most a secondary character! She really didn't impact the plot much at all. She, to quote Friends, lifts right out. And, this is my pet peeve of all books and why I'll never read another Dan Brown novel, it's written like a screenplay. If the character pries back the tile above the fireplace and is shocked by what he sees, or finally recognizes the voice of the villain, you don't get to cut to another character somewhere else. That is cheating. That is how you add drama in a movie or TV show, not a book. You don't get to be as omniscient as you want until it ruins your cliffhanger.

Anyway, yeah. I don't regret being an English major. Except that my get rich "quick" scheme is to write a popular, though not particularly literary, novel and become comfortably wealthy and relatively anonymous. All I'm saying is if Stephenie Meyer can become a bajillionaire on a so-so idea, why can't I?

And in that vein, I am now open to your suggestions for story ideas.

Friday, September 14, 2012

What's in the daily news? I'll tell you what's in the daily news.

Name that musical.

Besides all the terrible attacks and deaths and things going on--honestly, I can't tell why flags are at half staff on any given day--I read a couple articles today that really rankled. So now you can read them and be rankled too. If you want to. No pressure.

The first one was titled (somewhat provocatively) "How To Buy a Daughter: Choosing the sex of your baby has become a multimillion-dollar industry." Bottom line, this is messed up, both as a concept and in the woman's individual story. People want so badly to have daughters that they will pay tens of thousands of dollars to try to get one. Okay, that's not great. A little eugenics-y, no? But the woman! Oh, my. So she keeps having boys. The last one she considers aborting just because it isn't a girl. Seriously? Seriously people? This is okay? "Oh, well, we'll just terminate our child because we can't paint the nursery pink and play pretty pretty princesses"? How nice it must feel to be THAT son.

Not that things are great for any of her sons, I'm guessing. You know they know, either having explicitly been told or just being around. Kids pick things up, figure stuff out. But surely you had to tell them! How else do you explain why mom and dad disappeared to California for a few days, then dad came back a few days before mom? That would be a pretty strange "vacation." How do you explain that mom (a nurse, who generally work 12-hour shifts) worked six days a week for over a year during and after her pregnancy--72 hours or more a week for months and months, and no doubt sleeping all day on her day off--so that she could pay for Dr. Frankenstein to pick her female embryos and implant them? How could those poor boys feel knowing that they rarely saw their mom, and certainly her not particularly well-rested when they did, because of all the money she spent trying to get a girl? Talk about second class citizens in your own home. It just disgusts me, really. All of her reasons for wanting a girl are so shallow and selfish. And newsflash? Boys can bake, sew, and do hair and makeup, too. Go fig.

The second article is about Nanny Bloomburg's soda ban. But not so much a soda ban as "we're going to make it inconvenient for you to get a large soda in these very specific places." Look, I enjoy soda, but I drink it, oh, maybe three times a month? And I have no need for bathtub-sized vessels. But I don't really think it's the government's place to say no. Sin tax, fine. Post calories on the menu, fine. None of that actually controls one's choices, they merely attempt to influence them. But honestly, the soda thing is ridiculous.

Also ridiculous is the last blurb, which argues that  the sodas bans "are not infringing on personal freedom, but helpful ways of making it easier for people to simply say 'No.'" Um, how can you choose to say no if there's no option to say yes? If you force someone to make the right decision, it isn't a decision at all. Of course, this same blurb also says that requiring them to post the calories on the menu resulted in customers buying 6 percent fewer calories at a Starbucks they studied. Six percent. Do you know what that means? It means instead of buying the 600 calorie chocolate chip muffin, they went for the blueberry at 564. I'd hardly consider six percent a rousing success. Regardless, at least they could still choose the extra whip cream if they wanted to.

So, that's what's been bugging me lately. Oh, and loan officers. I just looove when they get all snappish and rude in the conversation log, only to have been the one in the wrong the whole time. And do they ever follow up with, "oops, my mistake"? Of course not. People are just terrible, you guys. Just terrible.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stalker songs

Every time I hear The Police's song "Every Breath You Take," I'm reminded of a quote from Sting I once saw or heard somewhere (or smelled or tasted or felt?). The gist of it was that he was surprised that people choose it for their wedding song, since it's mostly about stalking/controlling someone.

I was reminded of that the other day when I was leaving work, singing The Bangle's "Eternal Flame" to myself. You know, as one does. But for perhaps the first time ever, I considered the words as statements, rather than just lyrics. "I believe it's meant to be, darling. I watch you when you are sleeping--you belong with me. Do you feel the same? Am I only dreaming...." Dude, you guys, the narrator is totally a stalker. I mean...you watch him while he sleeps, but you're not sure that he feels the same?" Hey, I get it; sometimes on a Saturday I'll wake up before Adam and he'll wake up and be freaked out that I was looking at him. (Which always reminds me of the episode of Friends where Chandler freaks out when he finds his  roommate watching him sleep and the roommate asks "But what about all the times you didn't wake up?!") But at least I know that he shares similar views on the longevity of our relationship.

I suppose this isn't unique, the romantic sinister songs. But it's...it's weird. I know I heard another one lately, but it escapes me. Anyway, moral of the story, neither of these songs should be your wedding song. Especially since it's 2012 and how much are you living in the past? but mostly because they're creepy and not lovey.

Friday, September 7, 2012

stupid Blogger

So...there has been an issue with people (mostly Jane) commenting and it not showing up, except I get an email with the comment, so we had no idea what was going on--turns out they were being marked as spam. I don't see why, since they don't have any links (let alone links of dubious nature) nor are there suspicious keywords about overseas pharmacies or b00bs. Anyway, there you have it, and if you have comments missing from your blog, that's probably where they are, too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Resumes

I suppose it would be funnier if I didn't point out the post title, since it's actually résumés but who bothers with the accents? and it's been a while since my last post so now my posting resumes and..and it's just a great play on words and I have to make sure you all acknowledge how clever it is.

Anyway, yeah. Résumés. I have been volunteered to edit a lot of résumés lately--mostly by my husband--and I realize that while I can make a terrible resume good, I can't make good résumés great. (Which explains why mine is so pedestrian.) But last week I totally overhauled a résumé for someone, and I was pretty pleased with myself, so now I'm telling you about it. (I'm kind of tired of being volunteered, though, since I do put a lot of time into it and could reasonably make a side job of it, except I can't exactly shake down unemployed relatives, now can I?)

You see, I've decided that a good résumé is like a good outfit. It minimizes your flaws and plays up your assets. Not that I would ever falsify or condone falsifying one's job history, but you can present it in a way that puts you at your most attractive.

So I realized off the bat that the standard reverse-chronological format was not going to do this...well, I can't call him a customer, since that implies payment, and client isn't much better but I guess it will have to do...client any favors. Lots of gaps, hopping from field to field, short two- or three-month gigs, etc., and the typical format would do nothing but highlight that. I remembered when we were interviewing at my last job for a temp to replace the temp who replaced me, and the one we ended up picking had a unique format that highlighted the types of jobs and industries she had worked in. I can't remember specifically what it looked like, but it was enough of an idea that I came up with this:



Well, not this exactly, obviously, as the fake contact info and heavy blurring would hardly get you a job, but names have been changed to protect the innocent, etc. You get the point, though. Instead of highlighting the time at each job and how the history jumps industries, we highlight the different fields and how much experience he has. There was some debate as to if we should put the dates for each job, but I don't think people really care that much, especially for entry level applications. They're more interested to see how much time you have in that line of work, which we did include.

It took some selling, but I finally won over the client to my vision for his résumé. And I think once the logic of my air-tight reasoning sunk in, he was actually really enthusiastic about it. He handed out a bunch on Tuesday and by Thursday already had a couple interviews scheduled. And again, like a good outfit, a résumé you feel good about can give you the boost of encouragement you need to get out there and show people how awesome you actually are.

So there you have it, that's what I did last week. (And then I went to Utah this weekend and took zero pictures with me in them, which was stupid because there were SO MANY cute babies to pose with.) And not that I am volunteering to overhaul your résumé--unless you make it worth my while, heh--but you can at least consider this my permission to do something totally unorthodox with your résumé.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bountiful Baskets

Are you familiar with Bountiful Baskets? You contribute fifteen bucks (plus $1.50 for card processing/servers/etc and $3 if you're new, so $19.50 your first time and then $16.50, which is still a good deal.) and get fifty-ish worth of fruits and veggies. And for an extra $10 you can get organics but, eh, I'm too cheap to be that concerned. But you don't know what you'll get! It's like a box of healthy chocolates! And it's not just an Arizona thing! It appears to be huge in Utah, and I think it's in 16 states total. But it's not available in California--sorry friends--probably because of some cumbersome law? Cuz you know those hippies would be all over if they could.  I've known about it for a while, but I finally broke down and joined in this week.

As I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, I'm particular about fruits and vegetables because I've got weird texture issues. But I am learning to eat more than I used to, so I thought maybe if I was forced to take them and figure something to do with them, I might try/learn to like more. And anyway, I can handle more in smoothies now (even strawberries! ...in limited amounts), and they say it takes seven exposures to something new for kids to like it, so surely I shouldn't give up on healthy things after trying them once.

The real driving factor, though, is that it's healthy food. If I'm working to eat my way through a basket of produce, I won't have as much room for eating half a bag of parmesan and garlic pita chips or a bowl of marshmallow caramel popcorn. I don't want to give up the foods I like--I like them! they make me happy!--but I certainly don't need to eat as much as I do. I've got a few pounds I'd like to lose, and surely eating more nutrient-dense, lower calorie foods is a good part of that. I'm not looking for a miracle. All I really want is to get to a point that I can fit all the clothes I already own. I could just buy bigger ones, but I'm already wearing my "fat" wardrobe, and if I buy another size up, where does it stop? When I'm washing myself with a rag on a stick because I can't reach around myself?
 
(in case you don't get that reference, which I use a lot)

Anyway, I just had a banana from my basket instead of the butter-drenched toast I normally have on Saturday mornings because I literally don't have time to make perfectly golden toast before I leave for work. So, you know. Already winning. And most of the stuff in this week's basket is stuff I like or can stand. I guess sometimes they get things people aren't familiar with or even recognize, but this is all pretty straightforward. To wit:

Nine bananas, three mangoes, bag of red grapes, bag of baby carrots, head of lettuce, two English cucumbers, ten red potatoes, one cantaloupe, two peaches, seven plums, red pepper, pint grape tomatoes. Really, a pretty good haul for the price.

I won't even bother trying to like red peppers, because that is a deep and abiding hatred. I could find something to do with the grape tomatoes, but I'm not going to eat a whole pint, so I think I'll keep a couple and give the rest to a friend. 

Anyway, yeah, isn't it exciting? I never have that much produce in the house. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the plums. Besides making a cake or tart or something. I guess that's still better than a fruit-less tart?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

texts from a stranger

You guys! I totally typed this up a month ago and didn't post it! I'm sorry! Enjoy.

I got a text from a wrong number. Rather than explaining that I had no idea what they were talking about, I decided to play along. The following is an exact transcription of our conversation.

Stranger: Hey its ari did scotty find his altoids?

Me: I dunno

S: Are you guys still at his place?

M: Oh, I've been home for ages.

S: Well i asked everyone to empty their pockets no one has anything

M: Well what am I supposed to do about it?

S: I will fix it when i get back

M: He needs to get over it.

At this point I went to bed, and when I woke up there were texts saying "Get over what?" "???" "Who is this?"

I didn't respond, but I was pretty disappointed that it unraveled so fast. Still, it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

the new job

So I got a new job. It...it's pretty miraculous. Not the job, just the circumstances around it.

As we all know, I have been looking for a new job, basically since I got my old job. I  was talking with some women from church and they were asking if there were any needs of mine they could help fill, and I was like, "Nah, I'm good." But then the thought came to me, I need a new job. So I told them, yes, actually, I need a sweet new job. One of them mentioned that her cousin worked for a bank that was hiring. She didn't know a lot about it, but it was something about reviewing other people's work for errors. "That's basically what I do now!" I told her, so she gave me her cousin's info.

I called the cousin and left a message, she called me back, it turned out the position was for mortgage quality assurance. I did loans! I do quality assurance! I'm totally qualified for this job! And it pays nearly 60 percent more than what I was making. That's a lot of money, you guys. In one year I would make enough more to buy a brand new car. A whole car more. And not a crappy base subcompact or something stripped, but a good car, like a good midsized sedan!

I submitted an application online, got a call back a couple weeks later, had a phone interview, got an offer, negotiated the salary a bit, gave my notice. Felt pretty good, although I feel bad for my coworkers left behind, and my poor boss who was on vacation when she got my email giving my two-and-a-half weeks' notice. My last day of work was June 1, last Friday, then I started work on Monday. On Wednesday I found out that my old job sold off the department and all my old coworkers will either have to find new jobs in the next six months or else apply for a transfer with the company, since they don't have any offices in Arizona. Who knows what that will do for their benefits or whatever, but all I know is that I got out at the last possible minute before it all hit the fan. Talk about a miracle!

This has happened before, too. I have the very good fortune to leave jobs right before they get bought out and lay everyone off. Finally it feels like things are working out. Everything's coming up Milhouse!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wherein I end up giving more of an idea than recipe

Now, I really don't think fruit qualifies as a dessert, but we had these pineapple fruit cups that the husband didn't end up liking, so I was trying to figure out a way to eat them. And then I realized...if you put enough crumbly, streuselly, sugary, oaty goodness on it, I'll eat almost anything. And thus was born my Individual Fruit Crisp. Unfortunately, I tend to eyeball things, which is bad recipe creating. For instance, this batch was probably closer to one tablespoon of butter than two, and I think it needed a little more. These are more of guidelines than actual rules.

Individual Fruit Crisps
1/4 cup oats
scant 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed according to your tolerance for deliciousness--I assure you mine was packed)
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon (or more, to taste)
dash salt
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup fruit (drained)

Combine all the dry ingredients, cut in the butter. (Honestly, I use the softened butter I leave on the counter, which is why I can only give you a ballpark on the amount. Just glop in what looks good.) Put the fruit in a toaster oven-safe ramekin, top with 1/4 cup of the topping. Reserve remaining 1/2 cup for later. Bake at 350ish in the toaster oven for 15-20 minutes, or until it smells delicious and is golden.

before baking

I don't know if the baking powder or soda actually do anything, but all the recipes I consulted had them, so I left them in. (I told you, I'm a terrible recipe creator!) And I don't know what to tell you if you don't have tiny creme brulee ramekins; I suppose any toaster oven-safe dish would work. Tartlette pans, ceramic, whatever. (FYI, my Pyrex said no toaster oven, although I have pressed my luck in the past and lived to tell the tale.) You could probably make a little tinfoil boat and do it in that, although the metal might react with the pineapple? I don't know; I'm not Alton Brown here. This is a great, low-risk opportunity for improvising. I'm a big believer in cooking by feel. Most dishes are not so delicate that you can't add your own spin on things. Anyway, it's cooked fruit, there's some whole grains, I'm still willing to eat it...talk about a success. Nevermind the sugar.

bad lighting on the couch makes it look orange...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Did you know my middle name means "grace"?

The other day on the elliptical, I looked at the gear cover behind me and thought, "One of these days, I'm going to fall backwards and end up hitting that." A few days later, while getting on that same elliptical (and maybe reading something on my phone) the pedal moved more than I expected and I lost my balance. Down and backwards I went, flailing for something to grab on to, but there was nothing. My other foot caught on something--maybe under the other pedal, who knows--and I tipped back back back until I hit that blasted gear cover. From there I tipped over and hit my head on the machine next to me. Pure grace. (My middle name does mean "grace," but I think it's more in the "grace of God" definition, not "such grace in the way you fell off the elliptical.")

I popped back up and on the machine, and bless their hearts, two men stopped to ask if I was okay. I said yes, of course, but actually my ankle was pretty sore. I was afraid I had actually cut it, but mostly just sloughed off a swath of skin. It hurt enough that I wanted to get right back off and go home, but my it was embarrassing enough falling; I didn't need them to see me turn tail and leave. Anyway, I thought my pride was wounded more than my ankle, but apparently not. I can tell the story and laugh about it, but it still hurts to walk. In pretty much all shoes. It also hurts to wear pants, sit cross legged, shave, put on lotion, point my toes, etc. I even had to skip the gym on Friday, much to my disappointment.

On the upside, I feel less moochy asking the husband to get things for me. Gonna milk that as long as I can.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dear people on Pinterest,


(Generally speaking. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent ant disease.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

The joy of trying new things

You know the chocolate chip cookie bowls that have been all over Pinterest? These:


Has anyone actually made these? I googled a recipe and, while I didn't use the bowl-in-bowl technique that the blogger used, I figured it would translate reasonably well to my "inverted mini Bundt pan" plan.

nailedit
Nailed it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Water for Elephants

Have any of you read Water for Elephants? I just finished it this week, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. If I were in college (and college English programs ever covered books written in the last 50 years) I could write a really sweet essay about unreliable narrators versus author trickery.

I don't have a problem with an unreliable narrator, but I do have a problem with authors who manipulate the storytelling because they weren't clever enough to figure out how to build suspense otherwise. This is a big issue with Dan Brown novels, absolutely.

I don't want to ruin it, in case you randomly want to read it but haven't yet despite it being out for several years (and knowing the sensibilities of many of my readers, I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend it to all of you) but the prologue is repeated at the end but with slight differences. Why? Why tell the same scene in two slightly different versions? Is the nonagenarian narrator unreliable? Has he perhaps convinced himself that it happened differently because he couldn't live with the truth? Or did the author do it to intentionally convince us of one thing so that we'd be that much more surprised when we read it again later? I'm cool with the former, but if the latter...I can't get behind that.

Anyone read it? Or thoughts on unreliable narrators in general? Or how terrible Dan Brown is?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

word cloud

I used Wordle to make a word cloud of my blog. I guess I really just like talking about books I love.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

keepin on keepin on/starting over

So, it's been a while. Oops. It feels like life is very consistent and uninteresting, so why bother updating? Although plenty has happened:

I ended up taking basically a month off from the gym. Husband wasn't feeling so fabulous and gets, uh, a little clingy when he's under the weather. My coworkers agree that husbands are big babies when the least bit ill. Admittedly, he was quite sick for a couple days, lots of vomiting and whatnot, but what good is me skipping the gym going to do? Kind of undermining my efforts, too.

Anyway, after that I was feeling kind of iffy for a couple days, and was in no mood to exercise. Really in no mood to do anything but sit on the couch and feel sick. Then there was some packing, because we decided to move...to another unit in the complex. Don't ask me why. I hate packing, I reeally hate moving, and I hate unpacking. Basically, unless we win the Powerball or move back to Utah, we aren't moving out of here for a long time. I have no interest in buying a house unless we're bloody well sure this is where we want to stay.

But I've vowed to get back to the gym tomorrow. It's so much harder to go back once you've missed, and being gone several weeks, I'll basically be starting from scratch. But better that than continuing to do nothing, I guess.

How's everyone else's New Year's Resolutions going?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What I lack in ambition I make up for in ability

My performance review was at work yesterday. It was very interesting. We spent only a few minutes talking about the actual goals of the evaluation and most of the time doing good ol' fashioned mentoring. We talked about career planning, finding what you want to do, doing it sooner than later, etc.

I was (kindly) scolded for not living up to my potential, not using all my talents. I go in and do my job well, but that's really all I do. I have no interest in becoming a leader, being groomed to be promoted or one day be a manager. I have zero ambition at this job. I know it, and it's pretty clear that my boss knows it.

She suggested considering what I love to do. What am I passionate about, and how can I turn that into a job? I love books. Really, really, love them. Reading them, talking about them, pretending that I'm capable of writing them....everything. And I interviewed today for a job doing admin stuff at a used bookstore--where you can use your free time at work to do other stuff in the store.And get a discount. On books! AND the store is right by my house! But there's one not-so-tiny problem: it would be a 30% pay cut, and we just can't afford that. sadface. sad panda. sad panda face.

So, goodbye to that specific version of the dream. And is there anything else I'm passionate about? I like to bake, but I don't think I love it enough to get up at 4 in the morning to bake for my own bakery. I like babies, but I'm not very good at producing them. Anyway, that doesn't really pay well.

Really, the thing I love best is books. I spent like, 20 minutes yesterday talking about the Hunger Games, and then another few minutes talking about it during my review. I want a job with books! And since I don't seem to have the ideas/self-discipline to become a moderately successful young-adult fiction novelist, I guess I'll just have to find a job that pays decent, isn't too soul-sucking, and leaves plenty of time for recreational reading.

Also, I need to get a (nother) library card. I'm so glad you can get Kindle books from the library...between that and Safeway grocery delivery, I never need leave the house again.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

May the odds be ever in your favor

Who is excited for the Hunger Games movie coming out next month?! I mean, who else is excited? Obviously I am. Sure, the anticipation is so great that we're almost certain to be disappointed, but still. Can't wait. I just bought the books for my Kindle so I can read them one last time before the actors become the characters in my mind. Am I the only one that happens to? I never really imagine specific faces (or see them in dreams, actually...I wonder what that means?) so seeing the movie always cements the actors as what I  "see." Which is maybe too bad, since I think Jennifer Lawrence looks a little to...sturdy to play a character that's just a bad day away from starving.

And of course I'll be terribly disappointed with the changes they make, because the book will be fresh in my mind. This is the price you pay with the final re-read. And yes, the book is always better. Almost always...I've heard that the Princess Bride is better as a movie? I wouldn't know firsthand, and I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but there are always exceptions. Still, I find it hard to believe that I'll like the movie better than the book.

I was reading a blog the other day that asked why We like the book, inasmuch as it's just an awkward love triangle and a whole lot of brutal violence. I didn't respond, but it got me to thinking. Why do we like the book?

Well, for that matter, why do we like any dystopian literature? I joke that if you've read two, you've read them all. I would say there are very few dystopian novels that don't fall under "government control." A lot of them also feature issues of reproductive rights, but really, that's still just a form of government control. Do we read it as a warning of what life could be like? Or to feel better that at least things aren't that bad? It's not like they're ever particularly cheerful.

The thing that I've been thinking about, though, is the indictment of popular entertainment. It's shocking and terrible that people of the Capitol would force children to fight to the death for their entertainment, but we're not much better. They've brought back Fear Factor, have you heard? I can't watch that show, particularly the food parts. This is our idea of entertainment? Or America's Funniest Home Videos, which I have no need for now that I can find funny cat videos on the internet, since I don't find footballs to the groin particularly amusing. But the violence in a novel doesn't bother me. For one thing, it's only as bad as I imagine it (as a storyteller once said, they haven't figured out how to put ratings on books yet!), and for another, I find more meaning in it. Maybe it's just the English major in me?

So who else has read the Hunger Games? Like or dislike?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Overheard in the elevator

Two older me were in mid-conversation when the doors opened, apparently talking about a mutual acquaintance.

"She looks like she's gained weight," said the first. "But you can't ask a woman that."

"You just have to ask the right question," said the second. "'Pam, you look great! Have you lost weight?'" He switched to a falsetto. "Are you kidding, I've gained ten pounds!" They both laughed.

I laughed all the way to the car. That man knows women.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Notes from the gym

So, exercising is going pretty well. By "well," I mean consistently. I can't say I genuinely enjoy it. Well, no, I do, just not necessarily while I'm doing it. I discovered this site, Reluctant Runners, from one of their funny (unrelated) videos on youtube, and I very much agree with their philosophy. For example, I like...as much as I "like" exercising...to run in yoga pants. Regular length shorts. etc.

Speaking of gym attire...can we just all agree that panty lines are okay at the gym? Because c'mon. We're exercising. Our hair looks bad, makeup is smeared or gone (remind me to get some makeup removing wipes...I really prefer to exercise without makeup) and we're sweating. Sweating a lot, sometimes. Like you look at yourself in the walls and walls of mirrors and think "Whoa, did I spill my water?" And that's a good thing! You shouldn't have to worry about how you look while exercising! You certainly shouldn't have to wear highly uncomfortable underwears at the gym. Unless you're one of those crazy people who find them comfortable? Anyway at the point I can see your thong lines through your shorts and oversized tee, the purpose is kind of missed.

This picture has been going around a lot lately, and I wish it was true, but I don't even feel that graceful:


But, but, there's also this. THIS is how I feel when I run:


"Nurse, cancel my one o'clock."

I do enjoy the gym, though, my general unfitness notwithstanding. I kind of feel like some sort of gym anthropologist, observing interesting behaviors and trends. (My friend had a professor or something who was an exercise anthropologist. Crazy!) I make all these amusing observations--for example, what does it say about you if you're a middle-aged lady wearing a Jagermeister tank top to the gym? That seems more like a...pajama shirt. Hair coloring shirt. A "I'm not an alcoholic, really" shirt. I needed somewhere to chronicle these amusing thoughts...Hence the new box in the sidebar, with my gym-related twitter feed. I can't imagine anyone would actually want to read an entire feed of my thoughts from the gym, but they're there if you want them.

Anyway, I like to imagine that I'm seeing tiny results. It's only been two weeks, so it's not like a miracle has happened, but...I can pretend. I put a little star on my pocket calendar each day I go to the gym. It's kind of nice, all those lines of stars. Maybe when I get thirty stars, I'll get myself a prize. Hey, I should make a sticker chart! Every day, I could put a little smiley face sticker on it. That would be fun.

I'm starting to feel like a real athlete in at least one regard...I've got my first injury! I got on the treadmill today and was like "WHOA, what's wrong with my toe?!" It felt like the whole joint was broken or out of socket or something. But, like the true athlete I am, I soldiered through it, until it either went away or I stopped noticing it. Of course, then I got home and saw this:

What the heck happened to my toe?! Maybe I tied my shoe too tight or something today? It's never happened before, and the other toe is fine. Maybe I need new shoes; I'm not a huge fan of my current ones. But still. Woo for injuries?

So, there you have it. Two weeks into the year, two weeks into my new year's resolution, still going--even if I'm not particularly strong....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolved

I don't generally make new year's resolutions, but I think I kind of had to do this one. I did keep it intentionally vague, so that I have a chance of achieving it. I've gotten a little pudgy lately (like, get out the box of clothes that used to be ludicrously overlarge, because they're the only ones that fit now) and I pestered my mom into getting me a 24 Hour Fitness membership for Christmas (two years prepaid from Costco works out to like, $13.33 a month!). And so, dear readers, my resolution this year is simply to lose enough weight that I don't have to buy new underwears. The waist is getting a bit pinchy, and there's nothing worse than ill-fitting undies. So as long as I lose enough weight that I can wear the clothes I already own, I'll consider it a success. Everything else is gravy. Calorie-free, metaphorical gravy.

It's a delicate thing, though, because it's so easy for me to become obsessive about what I weigh or how many calories I've eaten, and I very much don't want to start down that slippery slope. So as my boss called it today, I'm "releasing it to the universe," or what I call making peace. I don't care what I weigh, and I don't care what I eat--within reason. We went to YC's for "Mongolian" bbq today, which has to be at least 1000 delicious delicious calories, so I'mma have to have a more simple dinner. But I'm not going to obsess about it, nope. If I want a handful of "Hershey-ets" (knock off M&Ms) from my stocking, or a glass of Martinelli's before it goes flat, so be it. If I'm going to be crazy, I would prefer it be about something that matters.

So today is day two at the gym. Again, I don't want to overdo it in my enthusiasm. A little sore is fine, a bunch of sweat is great. But I don't want to push it so hard on my first week that I don't want to go back. Fabulous Husband had to work late (a suitable punishment for gloating about his two weeks paid holiday) so I stayed longer than yesterday, but still tried to keep it within my current limits. And then as my fitness improves, I can push it more.

Of course, the other problem is being patient for results. I mean I can't reasonably expect much change after two days. It took me longer than two days to reach this point (although honestly, I can gain weight so much faster than lose it...) so I guess I should at least give it a few weeks before I feel frustrated. I read something somewhere...Pinterest, probably...that it takes four weeks to notice a difference in yourself, eight weeks for others to notice, and...I forget the rest. Point is, be patient.

There's my resolution. It's also a money saver, too, because I have tons of clothes that don't fit and only a few that do, so losing weight would be like a whole new wardrobe again. Bonus!

Anyone else make a resolution?