Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Taking Over!

Okay, so our goal has usually been for Pat to at least have one post up on the front page. That's as much a goal for me to post less often as it is for him to post more, because I could quite easily post every day. It wouldn't necessarily be interesting, but I'm much more of a writer than he is. (And I don't mean that to say that I'm a GOOD writer necessarily, I just write. A lot.) And a lot of times when I go two months (or more) without posting, it's partly because I'm consciously trying to not post too often, and then I get lazy or forget.

In the new year I seem to have settled in to about 2 a week. My weekly health/fitness update, and then maybe another post earlier in the week.

But, regardless of the fact that the front page is usually mostly blue text as opposed to orange, I've slowly started taking over the side bar as well! First I put up what I was currently reading. Then I added my widget for the 2011 reading challenge. And now there's another new addition: my MFP badge showing how much I've lost since the beginning of the year.

I debated putting this up. I've intentionally been vague about my weight since I started posting about it (though if you check older posts I believe I've mentioned it before). I don't know why. It's not that I'm ashamed, exactly. I mean, I know it's not a GOOD thing that I've gotten this way, but it's still just another fact about me, and in the interest of staying accountable I really should give you guys all the information. I guess the main reason is that this isn't specifically about weight, for me. It's about being healthier. Yes, I'd like to look better, but that's not the primary goal, just a nice side effect. So, the steps I'm taking are more important to me than where I started or where I end up.

But at the same time . . . it's still nice to share my progress. Not to mention I've been so gung ho about this website since I started using it (yes, I realize it's been less than a week), that I feel like incorporating at least a small part of it here. Whether it makes sense or not, those are my reasons. At least, I think they are. It's hard to tell sometimes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal

Got this app for my new Android phone and am loving it. First of all, I can use it through my phone or online, which is nice. I use the online version for doing more complicated stuff, especially now at the beginning, like entering in custom foods/recipes, and probably workout routines (I'll get to that tomorrow). As I add more things to it, though, I'll be able to pull up those items I've used before, and it'll be a lot easier to do it just real quick on the phone. But one of the REALLY cool features of the app is a barcode scanner, which makes it really easy if I'm just having a glass of juice, or a granola bar, to just scan the code, and all the nutrition info gets entered automatically.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. To set up my profile, I entered in my current weight, my target weight (which is a looooooong way off), and the rate at which I'd like to lose the pounds. Also in there is my exercise plan (3 times a week for 45 minutes each; leaving it at that for now since my non-Y workouts have been sporadic at best), so it takes that into account, and determines how many net calories I need each day in order to reach my goal (in other words, calories consumed minus whatever I burn off by exercising that day). Also, it's not evident in the app itself, but when I was looking on the website it seems to take into account that I am burning calories during the day just by existing, based on my weight, and my sedentary lifestyle. My next trip to the Y is tomorrow morning, so I guess that means I'll have to learn the actual names for the machines I've been using, so I can enter that in.

As far as my actual progress, and not just my new toy, I've been doing pretty well this week in terms of food, not as great with exercise. Again, it's the days I don't go to the Y that are the issue. Hopefully this app will motivate me to actually do something substantial on those days so I can enter it into my phone . . . stupid reason maybe, but hey, whatever works!

Anyway, just to get an idea of my "diet plan," here's my entries from yesterday:

Nature Valley Granola Thin, Dark Chocolate - 80 cal
My Smoothie - 223 cal

Jimmy John's Turkey Tom Unwich - 87 cal (<--- LOVE THIS!!!)
Jimmy John's Pickle - 22 cal

Red Robin Chicken Caprese Sandwich (only half bun) - 556 cal
Red Robin Steak Fries - 434 cal
Raspberry Iced Tea - 3 cal

Yoplait Light, Blueberry - 100 cal
V8 V-Fusion, Passionfruit Tangerine (small glass) - 60 cal

Water: 3 cups
Total calories for the day: 1565

This is fairly typical of my diet lately. "My Smoothie" is a blend of skim milk, frozen berries, and a Carnation Instant Breakfast package, so I calculated the nutritional info based on those ingredients (using the nifty barcode scanner). I try to eat lunch out when I can, sticking to healthier options, simply because I'm still sort of at a loss when I make my own at home. My lunch staples in the past have been stuff like PastaRoni. I could just do sandwiches, but all that bread isn't great for my diet either. It's nice that so many places have nutritional info on their websites now, so I can customize what I want and they tell me what the stats are. For my JJ wrap, for example, I add the lettuce wrap instead of bread, added cucumbers and onion to the tomato and alfalfa sprouts already in there, and REMOVE THE MAYO! Holy crap, that stuff added on like 200 calories, and it was almost all fat! I was going to substitute either mustard or a vinaigrette for next time if I needed, but it was perfectly fine without any extra condiments at all. And honestly I added the giant dill pickle as a side simply because I felt a little uneasy about a meal that was under 100 calories, but it was still a decent-sized lunch, it was just almost all vegetables. This is the sort of thing I need to start making for myself.

Dinner is my one "bad" meal a day. I'm hoping to change this in the near future, but in the beginning of my diet I've been mostly concerned with just not overdoing it (as I've mentioned). Doing this calorie counting thing really shows where those pitfalls are, though. Even a modest dinner, amount-wise, ran me almost 1000 calories! And the fries were almost as many calories as my sandwich?! They were fairly healthy looking fries! Unfortunately I looked up the nutrition info on my dinner AFTER we got home from the restaurant, otherwise I probably would have avoided them altogether (and I calculated my sandwich by getting the stats for regular, and then the stats for no bun at all, and then adding half of the bun stats back in; the sandwich was getting really messy about halfway through, so I just decided to eat the insides and leave the rest of the bread). It will get more complicated when I make dinner at home, rather than just copying nutritional info from a restaurant website, but it should be easier to keep those dinners a bit healthier.

Anyway . . . this is fairly representative of how I've been eating the past couple weeks. Nice to see I came out at a decent calorie number, but it's also easy to see how a different lunch or dinner could swing that number pretty far in either direction. So just because yesterday was a good day doesn't mean that every day has been that good.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Christmas in January!

Pat and I got new toys yesterday!

After much deliberation (and frustration), we decided to switch from Verizon to Sprint. And to go along with our new plan, we decided to try these newfangled smartphones everyone seems to have nowadays. I had first gotten the idea in my head simply because I didn't know if they even made regular flip-phones anymore. Turns out they do. Not many, but I could have gone with this Samsung model if I wanted, which is pretty dang close to the phone I've had for a couple years now, just a little newer.

But by this time we'd already kind of started liking the idea of getting cool new phones, besides the fact that with Sprint's plan we could get unlimited web, texts, pictures, etc., for about the same as our current bill with Verizon (which doesn't include unlimited anything). So even if we only use our phones for calling and texting -- all we've had up till now -- it's not costing us any extra. Not to mention we have the option of doing a zillion other things.

My biggest sell on getting a smartphone was being able to stream Pandora to my phone. Now that I've been working out at the Y, I've been kind of wishing I had an mp3 player to bring along and keep it more interesting. Now that's built-in.

So of course, I've been spending all day playing with my new phone and messing with apps. I really haven't added that many apps. I did get Pandora and Facebook . . . and a nifty little fitness app that I'll write more about tomorrow, in what's become my weekly diet/exercise update.

Really, though . . . I'm curious to see how this whole smartphone thing works out for me. Because I tend to like to keep things simple. On the other hand, I'm having TONS of fun with it right now. It'll be interesting to see how I start to use it on a day-to-day basis.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My thoughts after the Bears/Packers game

This is a rant. You have been warned.

I'm a Bears fan so I'd better get this one done at the beginning. Great job to Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packer's offense to start the game. Green Bay came in wanting to win that game and they earned their Superbowl spot. Especially a great job by their receivers. Rodgers was zipping passes to his receivers and they were catching and holding onto the ball. I add this second part because the Bears defenders were hitting them hard after catches. There were more than a few times that I was shocked that the ball hadn't come loose.

Also a great job by the Packer's punter, Tim Masthay, and the rest of the punting team. He never once gave Devin Hester an opportunity to return the ball well. I think Hester's longest was 11 yards. When he averages about 40, that's saying something.

Given the Bear's poor performance on offense, I probably am not giving enough credit to the Packer's D, but since they're something like number 5 in the league this year, they're probably doing something right.

(Brushes teeth to get the taste of complimenting the Cheeseheads out)

Ok, now that that's done. Since I'm on the topic of the Packer's Defense. I think that the Green Bay's coaching staff isn't doing their job right if at some point number 90 doesn't get his (enormous) butt chewed out. He intercepted the ball on the 14 yard line (good for him so far). He starts booking it towards the end zone (again, not happy since I'm rooting for the other team, but good for him). He then starts victory dancing and holding the ball out in one arm for the last 8 yards...with one of the Bears (Caleb Hanie) booking towards him within 10 yards (This is the part where I have an issue and his coach should too). When you only have to run 14 yards to get to the end zone, and half of the opposing team is in the immediate area, and you are not someone designed for speed, you do your dance AFTER you score. As it was Hanie knocked the ball out of his hands a split second after he crossed the goal line. Let me stop and say that this has nothing to do with the fact that he plays for Green Bay. I can understand showboating to an extent once you score, especially for a defensive player, but showboating early when there's a good chance that it could cost you points is inexcusable. To finish my point on him, giving yourself a nickname, any nickname let alone a nickname that's a sad copy of a truly great player is just lame. Calling yourself the "freezer", come on that's just sad and rates you right up there with Chad Eight Five.

Onto the Jay Cutler topic since it seems to be all over the news right now. I'm a bit torn on where I stand. He came out of the game after the half and no one really saw him take a specific hit to knock him out of the game. The official word was he has a knee injury that he was trying to loosen up on the bike. After he was replaced by Todd Collins, he was standing on the sideline. This is my one big contention. I don't want to jump down the guy's throat because I don't know him personally and maybe he's not one to visibly show pain too much. My issue is, if I have a knee injury that is severe enough to take me out of a game as big as yesterday's, would I be standing? I don't doubt that he had a knee injury of some kind. Based on his center, it was giving him problems in the first half. But if it's that bad that either Cutler said he's done or he was told by the trainers that he was done, I don't see him standing on it. The reports coming out today is that he has a torn MCL and he's scheduled for an MRI to determine the severity. I'm not a medical expert by any means, but if tearing the MCL is anything like tearing the ACL (MCL and ACL are 2 of the 4 main ligaments around the knee), then he probably shouldn't be standing and walking around on it. I could be wrong. Standing may have felt better than sitting and bending the knee, he could have been TOLD that he was done instead of asked. (I wrote this on Monday and today I did hear that he was told by the coaching staff that he was done) If it is a torn MCL, then his season was probably done anyway Superbowl or no, but it was still disappointing.

Speaking of disappointing, what's the deal with Mike Martz(offensive coordinator)? We started the season with no stability in the O-line. Martz eventually dealt with that a bit after the bye week and changed up his play calling to include a lot more running plays and a lot more short passes. This coupled with some stability on the O-line led to a bears offense that was firing on more cylinders than our team has had in the last 10 years. Now, the just because the line was stable, doesn't mean they were fantastic. They still had the most sacs allowed in the NFL this year. So when we get to the NFC championship game, why did Martz decide that he needed to put more plays in where Cutler was taking 7 step drops before throwing? WE DON'T HAVE THE OFFENSIVE LINE TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT!!! Not to mention that as much as I love Johnny Knox, a star receiver he is not. He's a great receiver, but he's not a "I'm throwing the ball to him and there's nothing the defenders can do about it" guy. Don't even get me started on Hester. He's better than I thought he'd be, but he's a return guy, not a #1 or #2 receiver. Anyway, back to Martz. Our key to moving the ball on Offense has been short passes and run plays. Case in point, Matt Forte had well over 100 yards by himself. Unfortunately most of that came after Cutler was out and Martz was forced to use backup QBs so he pretty much threw out his passing playbook. The really annoying part is that I've seen Martz in action this year where he had an offensive scheme that wasn't working great and suddenly in the second half they made some changes and it's tearing the other Defense apart. Why he feels the need to put Cutler's health in danger by working in these long pass plays is beyond me. Short passes, run the ball. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

My final thought is that if I'm disappointed as a fan, imagine how the Bear's Defense feels. They put everything they had into that game. After the Packers scored their second touchdown early in the second quarter, did they throw in the towel? NO!!! They didn't allow a single point for the remainder of the game. They got a couple of interceptions that gave the offense great field position. They kept the Bears in the game and made it much closer than I thought it would be after the first 20 minutes. They kept me from turning the TV off in disgust, but unfortunately for those guys, the defense can't always do it all.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Currently Reading

I am pretty much constantly reading. I'm not one of those people who can have two or three different books going at once, but as soon as I finish one book, I almost always have another one ready to begin. I stealthily added some new info to the sidebar a while ago. My "Currently Reading" link was added a couple months ago, I think. And then with the new year, my favorite book site Goodreads added a goal-setting widget, so I added that as well. Currently up to 6 out of 75 for the year, working on #7.

Last year I joined a group on GR to read 75 books in the year. I chose to count only new books, and ended the year with 82, with an additional 28 re-reads. I actually read the majority of that (including all but 1 of the "new reads") by September, and my reading pretty much came to a screeching halt when I moved to Iowa. (Rediscovering World of Warcraft probably had a part to play in that.) Took me a few months to actually get into it again, to the point where I wondered if 75 was a realistic goal for me this year. Now that I'm 22 days and 6 books in, most of those doubts have gone away (though my WOW friends have probably noticed I haven't been on nearly as much as I was when I first came back to the game . . . more on that another time).

Probably the two most notable things I plan to read this year are the Millennium trilogy (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, etc) and the Hunger Games trilogy. I'm also super-excited about The Devil Colony, the latest release by my favorite author. It was supposed to come out last summer, but I guess Rollins had a lot on his plate last year and it got pushed back. Bad news for impatient fans like me, but definitely better than throwing together a sub-par book just to make deadline.

Other than that . . . I've got well over 100 books in my TBR spreadsheet (that's to-be-read, for you non-book-obsessed people out there). Definitely no lack of reading material any time soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I've Been Up To

Last time I talked a little bit about my little steps toward leading a healthier life, and some goals for the week that just passed. So, here's how I did:

~ 4+ glasses of water a day
The only day this happened was Sunday, because we went to a bar to watch the Bears/Seahawks game, and I was chugging water the whole time we were there (don't worry, we gave our waitress a great tip despite the bill being so low). I have been drinking MORE water this week, but usually only about 2 glasses a day. So, still working on this. But yay for improving over last week (when there were a couple days I didn't drink ANY).

~ no more sad faces in my [food] journal
Check! Definitely controlling my portions. Probably my biggest accomplishment is that we ordered pizza Monday evening, and I held myself to only 2 slices at a time, getting 4 meals out of it over the next couple days. Next up is making better choices about what those small portions consist of.

~ Y 3 times a week, Wii Fit on the other days
Eh, not as great here. Didn't go on Monday like I'd hoped (it snowed ALL DAY and I just didn't feel like driving in that), but I did go Wednesday and today. The bigger issue is that I didn't touch the Wii Fit aside from Monday when I did my body test. I have been doing pushups and crunches on the days I don't go, but still not as much activity as I was hoping to do. I think it'll get easier as the weather gets nicer, because I'll be able to go for walks on my non-Y days as well as working out in the apartment (and won't run the risk of snow messing with my plans), but I can't let that be my excuse for not being active now.

Goals for next week, mostly more of the same. Get back on that Wii Fit board, keep improving on my workouts at the Y, drink drink drink, and (as a change from last time) start paying more attention to what I'm eating rather than just how much. We'll see how that goes when I check in next week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Food Revelations

I've started keeping a food journal. Nothing so in depth as calorie counting or any other nutritional info, just what I eat/drink and when. I've been doing it for about a week now (well, I started earlier, but then got knocked out with a really bad flu for a couple days, so got back on track once I was actually able to eat again), and here are a couple things I'm noticing:

1) I don't drink enough. Water especially, but I really don't drink much of anything. Which means I'm not chugging down the soda the way I have in the past, so that's good, but still. Definitely need to drink more water. Milk is probably not a bad idea either (what with that darn osteoporosis threat looming).

2) About every other day there is a little sad face in my notebook because I did something that I know I shouldn't have. For example, on Monday we went out with some people to a Mongolian grill. An all-you-can-eat Mongolian grill. Which I took advantage of. *sadface* Granted, I only went back for a second plate, not like I was going up three and four times (which I've done in the past), and I can blame it on the admittedly-flimsy excuse that we were out and it was a rare occasion and I had to get my money's worth, but I do the same thing at home. Tonight, for example, we had burritos. I should have stopped after one. Or, since I was still hungry, had a glass of milk or something. Not gone and made myself another whole big burrito! On the plus side (sort of?) I was STUFFED afterwards, which means that my stomach is adjusting to these smaller portions. A couple months ago, I could have eaten two burritos easy, and contemplated a third. But anyway, yes . . . need to be better about controlling myself.

I'm really not focused too much on WHAT I'm eating right now, so much as eating small portions. I figure if I can get a handle on that first, then I'll start being more picky about what I'm actually putting in my body.

I have gone to the Y a few times as well. Getting sick last week got in the way a little, but my plan is to go 3 times a week. I can't work out for very long right now because I have NO endurance (seriously, I feel like falling over after 10 minutes on the elliptical) but I try to do 15-20 minutes of cardio, and then a few sets on some of their weight machines. I'm also doing crunches at home on the days I don't go, and today I tried push-ups as well. Again, not very many, but definitely making a point of doing SOMETHING every day.

We're going out of town this weekend, which will obviously throw things off a bit, but of course I'll stay conscious of not stuffing myself . . . and maybe I can get an extra glass or two of water in there as well. Once we get back, here are some things to work on next week:

~ 4+ glasses of water a day (yes, I know it's supposed to be more, but I'm going for attainable goals here)
~ no more sad faces in my journal
~ Y 3 times a week, Wii Fit on the other days (at least 30 minutes)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So, about a million years ago (actual time, circa 2005), a friend of mine taught me how to crochet. I made a few things, and then stopped. Can't remember if I just lost interest, was busy with school, ran out of money to buy supplies, or it was some combination of the above.

Well I've been meaning to start up again for a while. Then, the same friend who taught me how to do it in the first place sent a bunch of us a link to Ravelry, which is one of those specialized social networking sites, this one for crafters. So I started an account, started browsing around, and the next thing I knew I was digging out my old crocheting stuff. Over the past three days, I've made a blanket (actually, finished one that was about 25% done when I quit the last time), a scarf, and some cute little wrist-warmers.

The blanket is one that I was supposed to make my brother all those years ago, and he just loves to remind me about it from time to time. So, he'll have to find something new to complain about now. I was really excited about the wrist-warmers because they're the first thing I've made that's not flat. I pretty much just stuck to blankets and scarves before.

And speaking of scarves, I'd love to make one to match the wrist-warmers, more decorative than functional, but I don't have enough of that particular yarn left to make even a small one. I've been trying to use up the leftovers I have from old projects before I go buying more. However, I am driving Pat to work tomorrow so I can have the car. Mainly so I can go to the Y, but there may be a shopping trip in my future as well. I'll have to control myself.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year Post

I know I'm completely behind the times in filling out one of these surveys with it already being the 6th of January and all, but I could use the excuse for writing a post. Also, if the format looks familiar, thank TJ.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

I moved into and out of my in-laws house. (don't take that the wrong way, my in-laws are great people)
I moved to Iowa.
I got a new drivers license from Iowa.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I'm not really much of a resolution least I don't remember any if I did make any. (actually went back and checked in case I mentioned anything on the blog at the beginning of 2010) Wow, have we been going on this blog for a year and a half now? Anyway, back to the topic, I guess this brings up a decent resolution. Nothing major, but one that I can probably achieve. I will make a solid effort to post more this year than I did last year. Ok, that's depressing. My grand total was 7 posts from last year...Yeah, let's see if we can increase that number.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A high school friend of ours and his wife had a baby.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

None. Though I did use my almost-10-year-old passport this year to get my Iowa drivers license. The lady at the DMV commented on how it was strange that it was basically a photo that was laminated to the passport. I guess they're printed directly on there now after 9/11 and all. My passport was from earlier that year.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

A vacation. Charleen and I haven't gone on one since our honeymoon really and I think we're about due.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 24: I started my new Job.
September 19: Charleen and I moved into our new apt.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally landing an engineering job after being out of my field for a year and a half.

9. What was your biggest failure?

We'll go with only posting 7 times because I'm trying really hard not to consider all the job (or lack of job) stuff a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I've been sick a couple of times, but nothing of note.
No injuries to report either. Very thankful for that one given the lack of insurance for a good portion of the year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Bought a Wii this year and thanks to Netflix, it's been a fantastic investment. We don't have television, just internet and lots of DVDs to watch.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Bills mostly. Sadly a lot of it to credit card companies.

13. What did you get really excited about?

The Bears making it to the playoffs! Seriously, after last year's implosion, I thought it would be years before we had a good team again. This year they've looked very good. They're not at the point of being consistently good, but the potential is there and as long as the coaching staff keeps their head out of their rear ends, the players are fun to watch.

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?

I'd have to go with Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold". Not because of the song, which isn't bad, but because of the Sesame Street controversy over her video with Elmo having too much cleavage and the following SNL bit making fun of it. Personally I thought the video was cute and appropriate for little kids and the people at Sesame Street were making a big deal out of nothing. Regardless, I'll remember it.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Tough to say. I'm stressed in a different way than I was last year.
– thinner or fatter? Pretty much the same. Many people want to kill me for this, but I stay pretty much the same weight unless I have been working out for months, then I'll start to gain a little muscle weight.
– richer or poorer? Not so much richer as...not being as far in the hole. Things are definitely moving in the right direction though.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Worked out. Both endurance training and weight lifting. Charleen and I were using an old weight set of mine for several months in 2009, but I didn't do much of anything last year.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Driving. Back and forth about every other weekend from Dubuque to Chicago for the 3 months that Charleen and I were living in different places was taxing.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

The holidays were pretty hectic, but to keep it short: Christmas day we went to my Aunt and Uncle's house and spent a few hours there getting to see family from MN and KY that I hadn't seen in a while as well as getting to see a cousin that I haven't seen since my wedding.

The day after Christmas we had Christmas with Charleen's family at her Grandma's house. Lots of seeing family which was nice. That and the Bears beat the Jets. :)

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Well, for the first part of the year, I was catching up on NCIS and Char and I were watching Castle. Then we got Netflix and have been working our way through Stargate SG1.

Out of those 3, I'm going to have to go with Castle simply because it's hilarious and reminds me of Firefly. We're going to have to start watching that again.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

As sad as this is since Charleen read about a bazillion books last year, I didn't read very many new ones. I remember reading "Heat Wave" the novel "written" by the main character from Castle, but that's about the only new book I read. I've been re-reading the Harry Potter and Eragon books. So we'll go with those as my favorites for the year.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Didn't really have any favorite music this year.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I'm going to go with Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Avatar. Dawn Treader is my favorite of the Narnia books, and I thought the director did a great job turning all the little broken up stories into one cohesive plot. Avatar was my first 3D movie. I didn't go see it the first time it was in theaters because I was expecting a "Dances with Wolves" remake and it was a great story all on its own.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I worked, drove from Dubuque to Chicago...and I think we watched Ice Age 3 and had dinner with my family. I turned 27.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Winning the lottery? It's a goofy answer, but it's an honest one. A lot of the issues that came up last year were due to money and winning the lottery would definitely have made those stresses go away.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

The same as it's been for about the last 15 years. Dressing nicer when I have to, but otherwise reverting to jeans and a t-shirt any other time.

26. What kept you sane?

Sane? That's being generous. But I'd have to say Slider's been a big help. I've found that as long as he's happy and relaxed, I can be. Especially over the holidays, it helped a lot that he warmed up to the in-laws' house so quickly and that I could go back to his room and pet him and relax a bit.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Living out of a motel may sound fun, but in reality it's pretty boring and you'll miss real food after about two days.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Decade

New Year's Eve was an interesting night. Maybe I'll post the details later, but I wouldn't count on it. Suffice it to say, there was alcohol involved, but everyone got home safe.

Personally, it was a real eye opener to just how much I've missed all my friends since we moved to Iowa. I've always been a private person, very introverted. I don't like big groups, and I've never been one to make friends quickly or easily. But my group of friends from back home . . . they really are like family. And I don't know why it's taken me till now to fully realize that fact.

Anyway, at one point during the night, one of our friends commented that we were entering a new decade, which I guess I had just not thought about in the midst of all the holidays. I knew the year was coming to an end WAY more quickly than it seemed like it should. But the decade? Seriously, that one caught me off guard. I guess it depends on where you consider the decade to end, but I'm member of the Class of 2001, and we were strict advocates of the belief that the decade/century/millennium (that last one being most important at the time) started in 2001 and not 2000. So, following that thinking . . . hello, new decade.

2001 - 2010 was an interesting time for me. Just so happens, like I said, that I started that decade by graduating high school. Went on to spend half of it in college, and . . . well, I haven't really done much since then. At least it doesn't feel like it, not with no job, no kids, my ten-year reunion coming up, and the fact that I got married being really the only thing to report. Oh, right, and a useless BA in music.

So, my life isn't exactly where I thought it would be 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. But that's okay. Stuff happens. And if things happened exactly the way I had planned, life would be pretty boring, right? That's what I keep telling myself, but the truth is, I'm a planner. I like when everything goes the way I expect it to. And having a whole lot up in the air right now -- both getting-life-on-track things as well as recent family developments that I won't go into right now -- well, I'm not handling it all that well.

So I'm trying to turn this whole "new decade" thing into a positive. No, the last decade wasn't a great one for me. I'm sure a lot of people feel that way -- that's just the kind of world we're in right now -- but I can't do anything about all that. What I can do something about is myself, and my attitude, and some aspects of my situation, if not all of it.

So, in an effort to get control over things that I CAN control, my new resolution is to really commit to losing weight and getting healthier. I've half-assed this in the past, but it's time to really buckle down. I've always told myself that I need to get in better shape before we have kids so I have the energy to be a good mom. Well, we're not quite to that point yet, but it'll sneak up on me, just like this whole decade thing snuck up on me. What a terrible day it would be to finally decide we're financially able to start thinking about a family, but feel like I'm not healthy enough to survive the pregnancy.

But really, it's about more than just losing weight, which is why I hate to think of this as a typical new year's resolution. This is just one step, one thing I can do, to get my life moving in a direction I want it to go.

Anyway, I plan on using this blog as a way to keep myself accountable, and keep track of my progress as I tackle this. I've been wanting to post more regularly, and while this isn't exactly what I had in mind, it's as good an excuse as any. We'll see how this thing goes.