Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Letting Go.

I think that the time has come for me to accept that the blog isn't coming back in any meaningful way. I've thought about ways to revive it, and things to do with it, but the fact of the matter is that it's really just a historical record of a certain point in my life now, and I'm ready to close that book.

So with that, I am signing off. There will be no more updates to this blog, with the singular exception of letting people know that there's a new one on a certain topic, since writing about my life has given way to Facebook and other social media, leaving this as a half-forgotten project.

Quote of the Day: Jack: "Where are we?
Christian: This is a place you all made together so you could find one another...Nobody does it all alone. You needed them and they needed you.
Jack: For what?
Christian: To remember and to let go."
Christian and Jack Shephard (John Terry and Matthew Fox), Lost.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Let's just call it my need to know."

So I've jumped back into the dating game.

Maybe I should rephrase that--I've jumped back into the dating game in a purely secondary sort of way. I'm not dating anyone except Indie Rocker. That said, I have become involved in some of my friends' love lives in some interesting ways. I'm attempting to set up friends, be their sounding boards, and encourage them to date online/in real life--sometimes all at the same time.

It's interesting now that I've been married for over a year and happily to boot, that I seem to have become something of a magnet for advice-seeking friends. It's almost like I appear to have answers, which is kind of amusing and amazing to me at the same time. Clearly, I have no innate knowledge that I didn't have when I was single, but apparently from an outside perspective, relationship success = good relationship advice. Or something like that.

Obviously the most fraught experiment has been setting friends up with each other. This little project has both the biggest potential for failure and the most disaster potential. It also has the biggest potential to make people totally happy, and take the scary unknowingness out of dating, especially for friends who are tired of online dating and the weirdos they've been subjected to. One of my friends told me perhaps the funniest story I've ever heard about being slapped during intimacy and realizing that he just wanted to go home and possibly never date again. Awesome.

I have realized pretty quickly that the only way two people are meant to meet is if they have something more in common than being single. I haven't been married so long that I've forgotten that. One of my friends asked me this week why I had introduced her to another friend of mine--coming up with valid reasons wasn't easy and they sounded better in my head, but I appreciated the exercise. I liked that she was challenging me to make sure that I had my priorities straight--that is, that the best interests of my friends were my best interests, and forcing them to make small talk with total strangers with spurious connections wasn't a winning strategy.

It's too early to say if I'm any good at this or not, but at least everyone appears to still be having fun. If I find myself down a few friends in the next few months, I'll know that I blew it somewhere.

Quote of the Day: "Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships." Sharon Stone.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Less of me.

I'm happy to announce that there is five pounds less of me around than there was in 2009. I've been eating better, running several times a week, and generally taking better care of myself.

This weight-loss thing has actually been a goal of mine for a long time, but rather than doing something about it, I've generally just felt bad and wanted to do something about it. I'm training for a half-marathon and generally eating less than I had been. I'm still drinking beer and eating pizza, just less of both.

I think I'm finally starting to succeed for two reasons--I'm doing it in such a way that I'm still eating things I like to eat, but I'm regularly working out and I'm also paying more attention to what I eat. Mindlessly eating and drinking too much have always been issues for me, so solving both of these problems and losing weight to boot is pretty freaking awesome.

I realize that moderation isn't exactly rocket science, but apparently it took me a while to catch on. But now that I have caught on, it feels pretty freaking good.

Quote of the Day: "Liberty Bell, if you put one more Baco on that potato, I'm gonna kick your little monkey butt." Mac MacGuff (J. K. Simmons), Juno.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Month in review

So I started making some monthly resolutions in January when I made my 2010 resolutions. One of them was to stick some money in my savings account and leave it there. For once, this has actually happened. I am kind of pleasantly shocked.

I've read a number of articles, like this one and this one, about renewing savings and having a certain amount (in this case, $500) in the bank as a safety cushion. Now that I have that, I'm grappling with the next steps. Obviously, paying down the credit card debt amassed from Christmas and France are the next big steps, and then starting to tackle my student loans, since my grace period ends in April.

It's really interesting to find myself in this position, of truly dealing with money in a "grown-up" manner. I like it for a number of reasons, namely that I finally feel like I'm in charge of the money that comes through my household. Indie Rocker and I are saving up to hire an architect to create blueprints for the house renovations we want to start working on; ideally, we'll be able to afford him by May.

Obviously, the thought of renovating the house excites me to no end, because it means that someday I might actually be able to live in the house I want, rather than the one I'm currently stuck with. I will admit that I've done a lot with what's currently there, but until we can really dig in and get rid of the crap that the last remodel did to the house, I'm not going to be truly satisfied. We've made a start, and are working towards making real changes, so I'm happy for the time being.

I'm still looking for a new job, preferably one that makes more money, so we'll see where that search goes. I definitely need to start devoting more time to it, since I've been side-burnering it forever. I just need to suck it up and do the work, even if I hate it. I mean, really, who likes job hunting?

Quote of the Day: "Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five." W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easier than I thought...

So in a follow-up to the last post, apparently all I needed to do was tell Indie Rocker that I hate sitting on the couch to eat dinner.

I told him all three of the reasons I listed, and we haven't eaten on the couch since.

Had I realized that, I would have said something years ago. Go figure.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Francophilia in full effect

Now, this isn't a new thing, as I've been a Francophile since the age of 7, which I first starting taking French language classes. However, it got revved back up again after spending the entirety of last week in France, with some layovers in Geneva, Switzerland.

I love France. I always have, and I probably always will. I love the language, I like the people, I love the country, and I truly adore the food and culture. French people have gotten a bad rap for a variety of reasons, very few of which I think have any merit. I have spent time in Paris and found Parisiens to be accomodating, polite, and downright nice to me. I found Meribel and Les Trois Vallees to be absolutely no different.

My personal biases aside, I have had a series of interesting conversations regarding food and eating both on the trip and afterwards that have me thinking quite a bit about food issues in the US and abroad. We ate so well on the trip, and came back feeling so good that it made me wonder why it's so easy to eat well abroad and so difficult to eat as well here.

I think the crux of the issue is really the availability of locally produced, inexpensive, minimally processed food. I don't mean to sound like Michael Pollan, but we spent a bunch of money on food in France, and it was totally worth it. Americans seem to insist that cheap is the norm and that they as a whole are generally totally unwilling or unable to pay more for food.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know what to do with Swiss chard either, but I can usually figure out how to whip something up from a few ingredients. And I live in a place where inexpensive (to me) fresh produce and other locally produced goods are readily available. If I'm really lazy, I can get in the car and be at a supermarket in under 5 minutes. Three, in fact. That's about as far from a food desert as you can get.

Now that I've managed to excuse myself into a corner, it's time to back out. I think that the major American excuse for eating poorly is convenience. I do this myself--it's a hell of a lot easier to pour a bowl of cereal in the morning and inhale it than it is to prepare a morning meal like I did this morning: yogurt, slices of Comte cheese, slices of prosciutto, slices of baguette spread with Nutella with fruit and nuts packed for snacks during the day.

Disclaimer: I still ate the whole thing standing over the kitchen counter, which no self-respecting Frenchwoman would ever do. She'd have sat down at a table and enjoyed her meal with a cup of coffee, rather than making it to-go like I did.

What's also funny to me is how all six of us pretty much ate every single meal abroad sitting around a table talking, laughing, sharing plates, and focusing on the meal, rather than anything else. This scenario is in direct contrast to my house, because getting Indie Rocker to eat a meal at the table instead of on the couch in front of the TV feels like punishment to him.

Which is patently ridiculous, and finding a solution to that is driving me berserk. I don't really care how he did things when he lived by himself, but that ship has sailed and I'm tired of eating on the couch. I want to enjoy my damned meal instead of trying to balance it on my knees, eat without spilling all over myself, and yell at the dog to stop begging every 19 seconds.

Which leads me to my last point, that stream-of-consciousness rant makes me realize that American food consumption isn't going to change until we change our relationships to meals. Food needs to be more of an experience, and less of a commodity. Meals should be prepared and enjoyed rather than inhaled in between frantic activities. And that doesn't need to be an arduous process--I think there's clearly a place for Mac & Cheese when it's been a ridiculous day and there's nothing else to eat.

But for me, I do think that I need to spend a little bit more time and money making sure that my house has a little bit less crap in it, a little bit more real food, and a little bit more time to truly enjoy it. Wish me luck!

Quote of the Day: "There is no French paradox, really, only an American paradox: a notable unhealthy people obsessed with the idea of eating healthily. So, relax. Eat Food. And savor it." Michael Pollan.

Monday, January 04, 2010

2010 resolutions - sort of.

I gave some serious thought to these new resolutions over the weekend, and I decided that I need to have some yearlong goals, but also some smaller, monthly goals as well. I tend to think big, and then the details fall through. Much like my savings goals, which totally have never happened.

That said, I have two main goals for the New Year:

1. Take care of my back problem, and stop being in constant pain. I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disorder in 2008, and have had lower back pain since then pretty much consistently. I'm always concerned about my back, but since I don't really know what to do about it, I've done nothing. I plan to see another doctor about this, eat better, lose some weight and focus on strengthening my core muscles in order to try and eliminate some of the back pain.

2. Get a new job. I applied for a new job at the end of last year, and intend to network, apply for new jobs, and just keep chipping away at this one until I am somewhere I want to be, which is ideally working as a program/project manager working on renewable energy or conservation.

My monthly goals for January are a little simpler:
1. Put money into my savings account and leave it there
2. Work up to a manageable workout program by running a few times a week, going to yoga once a week, riding my bike to work at least once a week, and skiing.
3. Put together a budget for the month of January, taking into account that I will be going on a major vacation on the 29th and will need to buy clothes, a ski pass, and some other bigger ticket items. Start putting together a February budget to pay off the credit card bills these items will inevitably incur.

I like the idea of breaking down the bigger goals into littler ones. I think working up to a manageable workout schedule is good, because I tend to have these grand goals and throw myself straight into them without regard for the fact that I fail for a reason and it's usually that I can't keep up with the crazy schedule/expectations that I set for myself.

So perhaps the model for 2010 should be moderation, since 2009 was clearly the year to go big. Hmmm...

Quote of the Day: "Why don't we remember a Goddamn thing from last night?"
"Obviously because we had a great fucking time." Stu Price & Phil Wenneck (Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper), The Hangover.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Resolutions Recap

So, here's the annual recap of how I did on the year's resolutions. All disclaimers aside, I had a Really Big Year in 2009, so I think that accomplishing anything on my list is pretty good.

Anyway, here's the resolutions themselves, and how I think I did:
1. Establish a workout plan that is interesting and consistently maintainable. Currently, my workouts are a little haphazard. That's kind of always been the case. Training for the half-marathon helped, and I'd like to diversify my workouts a little bit. I'm interested in starting Spinning classes again, and taking more Pilates. I'm not crazy about my body right now, and I definitely think I would be happier if I were stronger and worked out more consistently.
Yeah, I didn't do this. Again. I started to get on track, and then I'd get sick, or school would get crazy, and I'd be back to square one. I'm currently sitting at square one, having gotten two illnesses this fall that totally screwed up my workout schedule. Oh well. I'm not actually going to beat myself up about this too much, since I can't do anything about it now, except try again next year.

2. Get massages more often.
Success! I actually did this, in no small part to the fact that our good friend Deboner is a massage therapist in her spare time and gives cheap massages to her hasher friends. Awesome!

3. Put money in my savings account and leave it there. I have a tendency to have great financial goals and absolutely no follow-through. Argh.
Argh indeed--this year was absolutely no different from a follow-through perspective. In my defense, I did have a host of unexpected things I needed to shell out money for, like wedding expenses, etc. That said, I sold my car and wiped out a bunch of debt this year, so I'm thinking next year might actually be the year for this. We'll see.

4. Overhaul the wardrobe with new pieces that work both with the old ones and with new, more professional looks. This one's pretty self-explanatory, but I feel like I haven't been making very strong purchases except for a few in the last few months, and a good chunk of my clothes are starting to wear out. Argh.
Actually, I really think that this happened. I don't have a ton of new clothes, but I have been pretty careful about choosing pieces to add to my wardrobe this year, and the ones I've added have been awesome. I got a terrific new dress in Amsterdam, Indie Rocker bought me excellent Frye boots as a grad present, and the sweaters I got for Christmas fit right in. All in all, I'm giving myself a gold star for this one.

So I got about half done. I think I can feel pretty good about that, considering the rest of the year. Now I guess I need to come up with something for next year--Ulp!

Quote of the Day: "Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I'm saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you'll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?" Mr. Fox (George Clooney), The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

So, definitely not a heart attack

I did finally go to the doctor about the lightheadedness, which turned out to be a vigorous bout of labyrinthitis, which does not come with either Muppets or David Bowie. Rather, it's the byproduct of a virus that affects the inner ear and makes you dizzy. I got some anti-vertigo drugs, which were worse that the lightheadedness, so those got taken about three times before I just gave up and waited out the 7-10 days the thing was supposed to last.

So on the bright side, that's gone, but I have now caught Indie Rocker's cold. I really, really, really hope (and have been knocking on wood all day) that I caught the mild form, because he has been a six foot tall phlegm factory for almost a week, and I definitely don't want that version. I'm ok with the mildly congested version.

Yikes, that was a little more visceral than I intended it to be. Yuk.

Quote of the Day: "Ah, don't pay any attention to them, they're just false alarms. You get a lot of them in the Labyrinth, especially when you're on the right track." Hoggle (Shari Weiser/Brian Henson), Labyrinth.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Tne what now?

So I've been lightheaded all weekend, which gets worse when I lean down or turn my head while lying down.

WedMD (which Indie Rocker actually encouraged me to check for once) tells me that it's a sympton of everything from anemia to a heart attack. Awesome.

So I'll be going to the doctor this week. I would have gone to the ER, but after slicing my finger open a few months ago, I have no interest in dealing with OHSU again anytime soon!

No quote--can't think straight.