Sunday, May 23, 2010

Just a reminder, I've moved!

If you haven't yet, please update your reader to:

See ya'll over there!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Moving! (new blog address)

Well, just the blog.

Decided to try WordPress:

It's really, really boring and ugly right now because I am still figuring it out. This blog will remain active, but please update your links/feeds to my new blog since I'll be posting over there now!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vacation Day Two

Well, I didn't perform at the Condor today, but I was topless and bottomless (albeit wrapped in a towel and covered in comfy soft blankies) for a lovely facial today. :)
  • Woke up at 8:30 and headed out to Berkeley Bowl for provisions. I'm on vacation, but we've still got to eat, right?
  • Got home and lounged around, had coffee, read blogs (am sadly behind on all blog reading...)
  • Headed around the corner to the day spa (so nice that it's literally around the corner from my house) and had a very nice facial, and a manicure and pedicure. The facial I loved. I've only had maybe two facials before, but I think I'm going to get one each season (4x/year is reasonable, right?). My skin feels great and it was genuinely relaxing. The manicure I can do without. Frankly I don't care that much about my nails, which are short and unpolished (for some reason polish does not stay on my fingernails for more than a day, no matter what). I like the results of the pedicure but I always feel incredibly awkward being in the high chair with someone kneeling in front of me, pampering my feet. I just have a hard time relaxing. Although it was better today; the nail tech was very sweet and genuinely kind, so that helped. Still, I think next time I will just go for the facial.
  • Came home and Terri made brownies for me. Thanks, sweetie!
  • Went for a walk with my friend even though I really didn't want to. We went through the local rose garden park, which was lovely. I would have rather strolled through, taking time to smell the roses (literally), but we power-walked around the park twice (with me only stopping a *few* times...). I actually really enjoy exercising but lately I have just not been in the mood. I think I'd rather take a long slow hike with my camera than power-walk.
  • Am now home, where I am going to take a shower to clean all the facial gunk out of my hair, and have roasted potatoes and asparagus for dinner, and watch Buffy.
Tomorrow it's supposed to thunderstorm and be cold and rainy. I think we are going to stay in bed all day and watch spooky movies. Includes: The Orphanage, Let The Right One In, The Entity and possibly The Innocents (based on Turn of the Screw). I haven't been able to read much, even though I'm really enjoying Carry On, Jeeves. I'm feeling incredibly overstimulated by everything, and can barely watch movies. My attention span just can't seem to handle a book. I'm hoping to feel better in the next day or two.

Doesn't help that we heard today from the SSDI department that it could take as long as six months to get a decision (we are hoping there was some sort of misunderstanding, since originally we were told a week to 90 days), nor that Terri's doctor is recommending an out-of-the-country treatment which would cost $20,000. I don't know if that covers travel costs or what. You know what that means! Bake Sale of the Century! (do you think I could raise $20,000 by selling home baked brownies?)

Vacation Day One

Ahhh. Vacation.

Since I had to be busy all day up until 1 AM on Saturday, I didn't consider my vacation started until Sunday. So. Yesterday, I:
  • Slept in until 10 (which was still only 8 hours since I went to bed at 2)
  • Had too much coffee
  • Read the paper
  • Half-watched a couple Lifetime movies
  • Went out with Terri to the garden center and got some plants for the porch, including a hanging strawberry plant, which I'm very excited about
  • Planted all the plants (which was maybe 3-4)
  • Did quickie sand/refinish to a small table I'm going to use for my jewelry (found at garage sale)
  • Made two more fancy necklaces for myself while watching another Lifetime movie
  • Made roasted new potatoes and asparagus for dinner
  • Watched a couple episodes of Buffy and then something on PBS about cemeteries
I don't usually like Lifetime movies but they were kind of perfect yesterday. It was a gorgeous day, almost too warm, but so nice.

Today I am going to have a facial and mani/pedi at the day spa around the corner from our house. And then come home and fall back into bed for a nap. Ahh.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

3/4 of a day to go... (plus, the painting)

A terrible photo of my latest painting, my first real foray into abstract, wherein I have no idea what I'm doing but just messed around. Am still not sure what I think. Anyway. Here it is. A decent first attempt, perhaps. (or not). I go between thinking it's okay and hating it. Oh well.

Tomorrow starts my week's vacation. No babysitting, petsitting, graphic design or day job, and no worrying or thinking about any of those things either. I can't WAIT. Today, I am still doing two of those four jobs, so it's not exactly a vacation yet.

Giant list of stuff I intend to do over the next week or so:
  • Finish the companion painting to the one above
  • Study abstract art (I got a ton of library books on the subject as review)
  • Go to at least one museum or art gallery
  • Go to day spa around the corner for facial and mani/pedi
  • Have mid-30s makeover at fancy makeup store (I figure this is a good idea once a decade or so)
  • A few chores: wash all bedding, sort closet, etc.
  • Watch a bunch of movies
  • Work on my cross stitch project
  • Finish current TBR stack
  • Go to the city for T. medical test and hopefully a bit of city fun
  • Maybe a springtime hike in the hills
  • Oh yeah, and rest a bunch too
Who knows what I'll manage to do off that list, but mostly I intend to catch up on rest and really do a lot of soul-nourishing stuff so I feel actually rejuvenated. We were *hoping* to have our good news by now so we could celebrate, but alas. Still, can enjoy ourselves in any case.

Friday, April 16, 2010

flowers make it better

I was in charge of purchasing and arranging flowers for a work-related event on Wednesday. So pretty. I think I need to go back to the flower market and get armfuls of lilacs for next week's vacation.

small ranty post so I can get on with my day

Point #1: receiving a grumpy email first thing in the morning does not set a good tone for the day. If you see an email in your inbox and suspect it might be grump-inducing, save it for later. I'm just sayin'.

Point #2: These generic Facebook posts about Day of Prayer and Christmas Trees and Healthcare and all that stuff drive me crazy. They are all about getting people riled up, based on untruths, and never serve any purpose except to make people all righteous and uppity. What strikes me as ironic and also detrimental is that there are never any posts about, say, the awesomeness that is the separation of church and state, or the fact that anyone can have a Christmas tree and call it a Holiday Tree or Solstice Tree or anything they damn well please, because, hello, it's a FREE COUNTRY. That is what it means = you can say Happy Holidays if you don't celebrate Christmas. You can have an freaking St. Patty's Tree if you want. So why no Facebook posts saying, "I'm thrilled that my country holds millions of points of view and that we all get to learn from one another and increase our tolerance for "otherness"? This stuff drives me crazy.

Point #3: I am going on vacation on Sunday and apparently I need it, badly. Tears, anger, upset tummy, etc. All indications that perhaps a break is needed. One that includes a massage and a makeover and a trip to the museum and delicious smoothies and naps.

Yep, that's about the size of it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stress Eating a la NY Magazine

(delicious latte from downtown Oakland... love the little heart on top!)

Does anyone else love to read that NY Magazine feature about what people eat during the week?

Like this one, or this one. They interview all kinds of people; I just happened to find two models, but it's not just about what models (don't) eat. I'm just fascinated by what people eat every day. I'm not talking about calories in and calories burned, I'm just talking about what people choose to eat every day. It's so interesting

I did a little experiment to see what I ate in the days leading up to the hearing. I was stressed, tired, wiped out and needed comfort food. This is about as bad as my eating gets. I can tolerate this sort of diet for about a week and then I start craving vegetables (see: the last dinner entry). I wrote down everything that I ate for a few days, but, same as the article, did not write down exact quantities. Also, a few notes here and there about what I was eating. I refuse to calculate calories or to judge myself: crappy times call for crappy food (sometimes).

Friday, April 9, 2010

  • Coffee + no-sugar-added hot chocolate mix (faux mocha)
  • Peppermint tea (plain, to combat tummy upset from coffee)
  • 2 small granola bars
  • Taro bun (taro-stuffed sweet bun, brought in by sweet co-worker)
  • handful cocoa-covered almonds (were in the office kitchen, and were delicious)
  • Amy’s frozen beans-and-rice burrito
  • Small cup of coffee with cream
  • Small bag of potato chips
  • Giant salad (romaine, corn-onion mix, tomato, avocado, cilantro) (this was really good)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

  • Pop-tart (1) (we don't usually have Pop-Tarts and so forth in the house, but Terri has had a hard time eating much of anything, so we've been going for easy-to-eat high-calorie foods. Unfortunately, for me, they are very easy to grab in the morning.)
  • Granola and unflavored (plain) lowfat yogurt
  • Corn nuts (um, a lot of corn nuts. way too many corn nuts)
  • Tortilla and very light cheese sprinkling, melted in micro (babysitting food)
  • Couple bites BBQ chicken (don't usually eat chicken, but I sampled what the kids were eating. Two bites was enough for me)
  • Zero-cal flavored sparkling water (black raspberry)
  • Bowl of Weetabix cereal w/So Delicious (nondairy coconut “milk”) (got home and was starving)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

  • Pop-tart (the other one from the pack I opened the day before)
  • Coffee with evap. milk (I've been using evaporated milk rather than cream. Cheaper, lowfat, and tastes good)
  • Granola and plain yogurt
  • Salad with romaine, tomato, avocado, cilantro
  • Small handful Panda raspberry licorice
  • Pop-tarts (succumbed to the cherry poptarts again in the afternoon. We really have to get these out of the house)
  • Pizza (I decided to take the easy road and ordered pizza. Got roasted red pepper and garlic. Was delicious)

Monday, April 12, 2010

  • Pizza for breakfast (slice) (Terri can't eat pizza right now so it was up to me to finish it all)
  • Pizza for lunch (slice) (by now I am really sick of pizza)
  • Coffee with evap milk
  • 2 pc chocolate
  • Last piece of pizza (thank god) (felt crappy by this time)
  • More Weetabix, with soymilk

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 (Morning of the hearing, didn't eat until we got home at 10 am)

  • Piece cranberry-orange bread (Terri's sister made this. It was amazing)
  • Small piece poundcake (she also brought a ton of other goodies, so I had to sample some)
  • Tea (plain)
  • Chocolate chip cookie (also from her sister... dang you, Liz!!)
  • Gigantic plate of steamed broccoli, carrots, Jasmine rice (I could not take any more sugar, flour, or processed food by this point. This plate of vegetables and rice tasted AMAZING!!)
Thoughts from the experiment:

Well, I know that this is a fairly skewed towards a highly-processed diet, which we usually do not eat. However, in times of great stress and exhaustion, apparently I am as susceptible as anyone to the easy and yummy, if sorta crappy. I also found that after eating all the dreck, I felt terrible and now just want to eat vegetables 24/7 for the next month.

High points: mmm, the salads were delicious. Need more of those. So yummy.

Low points: corn nuts and pop-tarts? you know it's bad when...

Onward to happy fresh spring eating and good news from the judge (crossing fingers!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book: Witches Abroad

This is my first Terry Pratchett book (well, Terry Pratchett alone; I did read Good Omens, by him and Neil Gaiman). I knew a couple of things going into it: it was going to be funny, it was going to be fantasy, and that everyone adores Terry Pratchett. So how could it go wrong?

Well... it didn't!

It was a super-fun romp through Discworld, with witches Granny Weatherwax, Magrat Garlicke, and Nanny Ogg. When Magrat discovers that she is, in fact, a fairy godmother; and what's more, a fairy godmother with a mission to help fair Ella in far off Genua, the other two (slightly meddlesome, as of course the best witches would be) accompany her.

The witches must travel across Discworld. None of them have traveled much before, so they are constantly adjusting to 'foreigners.' Along the way, they fall in and out of various well-known stories. Gollum makes an appearance, as does Red Riding Hood, the wolf, Dracula, etc. They finally reach Genua (obviously modeled after New Orleans... with a bit of The Frog Prince and Cinderella thrown in for good measure) and must help Emberella ("Ella" or "Ember"), who does NOT wish to marry the prince. Unfortunately, she has TWO fairy godmothers: the good one, and the bad one. But which witch is which?

The only thing about this book is that I didn't immediately catch on that the whole thing was essentially parody after parody after parody, so at first I was like, "What is Gollum doing here?" The other thing is that sometimes this sort of humor, similar to Douglas Adams books or even Mel Brooks movies, sometimes doesn't really work for me. I don't know why... I have to be in just the right mood for this kind of playful absurdity.

I started off not in the right mood and so was unsure if the book was going to work for me, but by the time I finished the book, it was exactly what I needed. Silly and smart and playful and pun-y and joke after joke after joke. I was feeling so stressed and anxious that I really needed this sort of lighthearted, goodnatured fun.

So I ended up loving it.

With great relief.

After all, I have heard so many amazing things about Terry Pratchett and I didn't want to be the only one in the world not to "get" it! So, with a deep sigh of relief, I now include the amazing Terry Pratchett in my list of "Authors To Turn To In Times Of Need!" I am excited to read more Discworld novels.