Saturday, April 30, 2005

Next time, check Albuquerque

Check out the Runaway Bride story from CNN.

Summary for those who don't want to read the link. Bride to be goes jogging last Tuesday. Gets nervous about her large, poofy wedding (14 bridesmaids!) coming up on Saturday. Chops off her hair in an attempt to disguise herself and hops a bus to Las Vegas, then Albuquerque. Family and friends frantically search for her day and night for 3+ days, as they think she's been abducted. She runs out of money then calls fiance on Saturday and tells him she's been kidnapped. After some more questioning by the FBI, admits its a lie and says she got "cold feet" so she just left. A case of the crazy, is more like it. And police *aren't* planning to charge her with a crime. It probably helps that she's white, pretty, and well-off. IMO, she should serve jail time (even if it's just a day or two) for the time and resources of the police depts that she wasted, plus what she put her family and friends through. Of course, I guess that would be wasting even more of the taxpayers' money on her selfish little scam.

Why do I care? I'm not sure. Maybe because my wedding is exactly a week from today. Granted, I don't have 14 bridesmaids and I have no doubts that TJ is the right one for me. We were watching "numb3rs" TiVod from Friday and I noticed the "Missing Bride" story being touted by the local channel. So I Googled it and found the initial stories where she went missing and felt really sympathetic (fellow bride-to-be and all). Then I saw the stories where it was reported to be a hoax. That's just wrong. If her fiance decides to still go through with marrying her, he's either the dumbest man alive or a saint.

Rather than ending this post on such an angry note, I'd just like to thank my parents for being especially supportive as the last minute wedding "issues" crop up. I really needed it today. Thanks Amma and Appa, you rock!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Roid Rage Peanut

Watch out for Peanut. He's thirsty, bloated, and a little grumpy. That's right, he's on steroids. Yesterday's vet visit resulted in a prescription of prednisone and a new kind of food that's twice as expensive as his already snooty food. She thinks it might be a food allergy so he's now supposed to eat Potato and Duck food you can only buy at the vet (of course!) and costs $25 for 10#, which he will go through in about a week...

On the bright side, after one steroid pill, he's already less itchy and isn't bothering that hotspot. They had to shave the area around it so he has a little bald spot near his tail stub. Sad for Peanut, especially when all the relatives are coming into town next week to see him. (The wedding is just an extra bonus - everyone knows The Peanut is the important reason.)

If Spike needs to walk past Peanut, he finds a different "Peanut bypass" route, which takes him the farthest away from the Peanut. When Peanut is grumpy like this, and gives Spike the Peanut Eye, Spike knows to stay far, far away. I guess he's not as dumb as we thought :)

Jasmine invited us to walk the Race for the Cure in June. Unfortunately, they may not allow dogs. That's not right! Dogs are people too! We're trying to confirm that info. I know the dogs would enjoy it and Lord knows they need the exercise.

Since I'm working from home today, I better get back to some real work. I need to come up with an entry for my Microsoft blog as I promised to write in it weekly. It's much easier to write about Peanut, but somehow I don't think that would cut it.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bo is my American Idol

I can't believe I've never posted about my obsession with American Idol. Since Season 1, when I was trapped in a hotel in Oakland, working at Clorox for Deloitte Consulting, I got sucked into this awful cheesy show. I missed most of Season 2 (Clay/Ruben) because I was busy settling into my new job at Microsoft and living in Seattle. I got back into it for Season 3 and have been watching since the beginning of this season. I do like the singing (mostly, except for the cheesy Celine Dion action) and it's just such a lame show that oddly, I love it. Simon does speak the truth, though he's harsh. Anyway, this year, they raised the age limit and so now the contestants aren't all 12. Bo Bice is my fave (teenage girl swoon) - he's 29 (old!), from Alabama, and all his songs sound like Lynyrd Skynrd or some other Southern rock band. He's got this cool gravelly voice, entered AI on a bet, and doesn't care if he wins or not. I like him because he is the anti-Idol. It makes me sad to see him sing and dance in those cheesy group songs they make them do, but they did sign their souls away to be on the show. Anyway, check out the Sugar Money website - it's got some of Bo's band's original songs on it and they're really good. I am waiting for them to get more CDs so I can buy one. :) So if you want to watch the show, they're down to 5 finalists, and it's on Tuesdays at 8pm on Fox. You'll get addicted too. (Oh, but you need TiVo to watch it - the commercial breaks and the host Ryan Seacrest are unbearable otherwise.) With all that cut out, the show is compressed to about 25 minutes. Much more efficient. So watch and VOTE FOR BO. Remember, if you watch, but don't vote, it's like stealing. - Another brillant comment by Ryan Seacrest.

I'm now Acceptable

Today was my last workout with Nelson so I asked him to do a body fat measurement. They use the biolelectrical impedance method at my gym, which involves some electrodes and running a current through you. Last year around this time, it reported my body fat percent at 38% (!). I'm not sure I believe that number, because at my most unfit time in college, it was measured at 33% and I was in way better shape last year. Maybe I'm just in denial, though. The good news is that now I'm at 31%, now in the "Acceptable" range. I've got to lose 7% more to get into the "Fitness" range. So yay, just in time for my wedding, I have become Acceptable.

Looks like Anandi Raman Creath is winning in the poll (both on the blog and in conversations I've had.) I really like it better, so I'm going to be brave. Jasmine told me I had to actually correct people when they called me the wrong name. I don't even do that now with my first name.

Peanut has a giant hotspot near his tail stub (which explains all the biting and scratching he's been doing). Off to the vet today to see if we can get some allergy stuff for the Peanut. Poor Peanut.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Vote: What's my new name going to be?

Hey y'all! Use the Comments to vote on what my new name should be after I get married on May 7:

1. Anandi Raman Creath
(Problem: the obligatory explanation that people need to use both last names)

2. Anandi Raman-Creath
(Problem: the hyphen just annoys me.)

I can't decide. I know I want to change my name, but I don't want to just be "Anandi Creath". So help! I'm torn and need to sort this out.

Monday, April 25, 2005

If the sun refused to shine

People actually commented on my blog. Woo hoo! I'm not sure how folks are coming across it. Or why people who don't know me find it interesting at all? But that's so cool.

We got some kitchen stuff today from our registry (thanks Debbie and David!). Always nice to come home to a large UPS package. Debbie and David bought us a salad spinner (i've always wanted one!), measuring spoons, a spatula and some other Oxo things. When I went to a software design class last month, the instructor pointed to the Oxo line of products as good design that made people "feel good" about the product even though they are ordinary kitchen tools. I guess it's the same concept behind all the lovely Apple designs - make ordinary electronics "cute" and "lovable" so people will want to own them. That is why I got sucked into buying a Saturn 6 years ago - ever since I saw the first commercials about people loving their cars, etc. I was totally hooked. (Too bad the car is falling apart on the inside. I guess what counts is that it's still running.)

Oh, and even more good news from this morning. I weighed myself at home (I try not to do this more than once a week since it fluctuates so much) and I *finally* reached my first major goal, which was to lose 10% of my total weight. Never mind that it took 6 months to do it... (Or 3 years, depending on how you look at it!) Of course I celebrated at lunch with Irish whiskey bread pudding at a new Irish pub in Redmond (awesome, but not as good as Andre's Eurasian Bistro banana bread pudding). And pizza this evening at Frankie's. If I could just curb my eating out this would be easy, I think. But all the new kitchen stuff should motivate me :)

I was a dieting model citizen this weekend by shopping for groceries and portioning the snacks and fruit into baggies so I could grab them for work. Though annoying, it really makes it easy for me to be lazy and still eat right. I think the new way of eating (more protein, no refined carbs - it was whole wheat bread pudding, right?) is kind of sinking in so it doesn't seem so *hard* anymore. I'm optimistic about it. And more patient. Even if it takes me until the end of the year to reach my goal (or longer), that's ok. The slower it is, the less painful it will be for me in the short term and also I'm more likely to keep it off. So yeah!

I've also been walking to work 2-3 days a week now. I love it. It's about a 20-25 min walk, and the weather has been perfect. It makes me so mellow on my way to work and is a nice way to wind down on the way back. I've been very anti-gym lately so it makes me feel like I'm getting *some* exercise. I have an 8am appointment with Nelson tomorrow so I need to be prepared to work hard. But I only meet with him twice more so I can deal with it.

Poor Peanut is so itchy that I think the warm weather allergy thing is starting again. We spent most of last summer with one or the other dog on medication and/or recovering from various allergic skin ailments. I think we need to take them to the vet and get them on some kind of long-term, low dose Benadryl sort of thing before the problems start. Though Spike's new food may be making him less prone to allergies - I guess we'll find out when it gets really warm out. Poor guys - I really want them to be comfortable and it's sad to see Peanut so itchy. We've tried everything, several different shampoos, soothing creme rinse, change in diet, flea protection, etc. but Peanut is still itchy and somewhat dandruffy. Which makes me feel like a bad dog parent. So if anyone has any ideas, let me know. I want my boys to be happy and skin goo-free this summer :)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

At this point in my life

Short post tonight as it's already late and I should get to bed so I can start my week off on the right foot.

Lots of wedding stuff sorted out this weekend. Program finalized and printed (yay Kinkos), ceremony script finalized with Susan and sent off to photographer and videographer so they can plan their shots, wedding day schedule outlined with Susan, seating chart finished up and sent to Canlis, directions to Canlis left with Regent Bakery (sure hope the cake gets there!), dress tried on after alterations.

Ooh, yes. The dress. I went back to Cicada on Saturday to try it on. I did have one of those revelatory moments. It was *perfect*. They did an amazing job with the sari border my mom brought back from India, and the alterations made the whole dress fit perfectly. The hem is "ballet length" which means it's not dragging on the floor and you can see my cute red shoes. (Yay online shoe store). The dressmaker found some weirdness she didn't like about how the lining was attached to the dress and wanted to fix that, so I didn't take it home. TJ is nice enough to pick it up for me sometime next week or the week after. Reason #26 I'm happy to be marrying him. Since he helped me pick it out, I'm not too worried about him seeing it before the wedding. (Marriage is probably going to be hard enough without throwing in silly superstitions at the same time.)

Not too many major items left - meet w/ the florist next weekend since she was sick this weekend, final conversation with Kellie at Canlis, figure out the "must-have" posed pictures, pay the final bills, and then just sit back and wait for people to show up.

Talked to my parents briefly and it seems like plans are coming along for the reception in Savannah as well. They have a harder job, with almost an order of magnitude more guests to deal with... I'm looking forward to that party. I'll be wearing a pink silk sari that my grandmother bought me when I went to India last year. I've never worn it so this is the perfect occasion. It's only too bad she won't get to see me in it - occasions where I wear a sari are definitely few and far between.

We went to the park TWICE today. Both boys got a bath this evening. The weather was lovely all weekend and reminded me why I live in Seattle. Fingers crossed that it'll hold up the weekend of May 7!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Intolerant People Suck

(Political rant starting, so watch out.)

This week there was a lot of uproar over Microsoft withdrawing its support for a Washington state anti-gay-discrimination bill. You can read more about it in this article (somewhat biased) in our alternative newspaper The Stranger. I'm fairly apathetic when it comes to politics, but civil rights and abortion rights have always been of interest to me.

The fact that someone would oppose an anti-discrimination bill baffles me. I haven't read much about it, but I'm still astonished as to why the Equal Rights Amendment never passed. Some people argue these bills are "redundant" with other laws. So what? If some large group is feeling discriminated against, and there's sufficient evidence that it's true, why not pass the bill? Isn't voting against something like this in effect saying it's ok to discriminate against x kind of people?

I'm not sure why some segment of Americans (and in most cases it seems to be conservative, usually evangelical Christians) feels like they need to get up in everyone else's personal business. One of my favorite bumper stickers says "Against abortion? Then don't have one."

So if you read the Stranger article, it says Microsoft caved under pressure from this crazy preacher named Ken Hutcheson who has this mega church that meets in the Kirkland High School auditorium. I wish I could say this was somewhere rural, in the middle of the state, out in the backwoods. Unfortunately it's about 15 minutes from where we live in Redmond. And the congregation has several members who work at Microsoft. I know a company as large as Microsoft is bound to have a diverse collection of views and religious beliefs, so I guess I shouldn't be disappointed by that, even though my past experience has shown smart geeky people are usually pretty tolerant (or at least, apathetic) of people's differences.

The thing that gets me is this preacher. How can someone who claims to be doing "God's work" spew such intolerance towards others? And why does he use his position of authority to spread his intolerance? And why doesn't he just stick with preaching and charitable works, rather than meeting with business leaders to threaten them with boycotts so that he can spread his intolerance into our laws. And why does Microsoft give this guy the time of day? He got to meet with Brad Smith, our chief counsel, plus some other high level execs. Why are our execs wasting their time on this crap? In addition "Rev." Hutcheson demanded that two Microsoft employees who testified in the House in support of the bill be fired. (They were reflecting their own personal stance, not representing Microsoft.)

Steve Ballmer explained Microsoft withdrawing support for the bill yesterday in an email he sent to employees. He said they were planning to do it all along (Microsoft is officially "neutral" now) because they had to pick and choose their battles, as well as respect the wishes of *all* shareholders, including the intolerant homophobe ones. (Obviously I'm paraphrasing here.) I can understand not wanting to have a corporate position on this. He did mention that they did not cave in response to this preacher guy - the decision had been made long before that. And they are, of course, not going to fire those two employees. I actually felt better about the whole thing after reading this message. It seemed genuine and heartfelt (maybe his communications staff are just really good) but I didn't get the sense that "the man" was trying to spin the story. And that makes me feel good about working at Microsoft.

There was an article in Seattle magazine a few months ago about Rev. Hutcheson and it just made my skin crawl. He grew up playing football because it was the only way he could beat the crap out of white people. But apparently he changed his racist ways when he met his wife, who's white. I guess his viewpoint changes whenever it suits him (or when it comes to cute women). Plus, having a giant multiracial congregation is probably more lucrative for him anyway. They're saving up money to build one of those giant "megachurches" somewhere in the area. Maybe it'll have a McDonald's in it (see previous post about "Supersize Me") I can't believe this man has so many followers, in what I thought was a liberal city. I'm all for religious freedom but I do strongly believe in separation of church and state, and church and business. And it should stay the heck out of other peoples' (ie non-members) personal business.

Against gay marriage? Then don't have one.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The End Game

Only 2 more weeks until the wedding. Woo hoo! I think I can knock out most of the final details this weekend. TJ had a brilliant idea - rather than printing the programs ourselves, why not just send the file to Kinkos and have them make the copies. I have already designed the program, I was just putting off the tedium of printing 40 double sided copies and folding them. At this point I'm willing to pay someone else to do it.

Reason #n I am glad to be marrying him.

Next weekend is the last one before the wedding. TJ will be gone most of the day both days at a motorcycle track day. People seem amazed that I "let him" go. He was nice enough to ask me, but there's no way I'd tell him not to have fun and relax before all the wedding hoo-hah starts. I'd want the same from him. I think we have pretty similar ideas on that stuff - there are things we like to do independently of each other, and we're not too particular about it being a long time apart, etc. It seems to be working well for us.

We went to Claim Jumper for dinner. I was craving their spinach salad (no crunchy noodles, no bacon, dressing on the side) and their giant chocolate cake (bring it on!). For the first time in months I didn't feel guilty about eating something "forbidden". I guess it helped that when I weighed myself this morning it's one of the lowest numbers I've seen in the last 5 years (woo hoo!). I started counting Weight Watchers points just to see how I'm doing, and it's difficult, but doable. I've got a couple more appointments with Sarah, then I'm on my own. I think my last appointments with Nelson will be next week. (Whatever will I do with all that extra cash and no one yelling at me to work harder!) I'm kind of looking forward to having a lot fewer "appointments" each week. Those guys were really helpful but I want to settle into my own kind of routine, with the new job, once the wedding is over.

I walked to work the last couple of days. The weather here has been lovely. Makes me really glad to live here. Plus the walk is almost all uphill on the way to work, which is a pretty decent workout and gives me time to figure out what my plan is for the day. I'm trying to walk 2-3x a week, since it's good for me and only takes about 25 minutes. It's also good for my car and good for my wallet since I almost never have to buy gas when I walk that much.

Well, this should be a mellow weekend. I pick up my wedding dress tomorrow. I guess that means I shouldn't lose 10 more pounds in the next couple of weeks. There's probably no danger in that since it's taken me the better part of a year to lose 16... But it makes me feel confident about keeping it off as I'm not working too hard to maintain it. Getting it to go lower is another story, though.

Next weekend there is a beagle play date at a dog park I haven't been to, near Lake Washington, south of Seattle. I will probably take Spike so he can socialize with other beagles and I can get my share of beagle lovin' since Spike isn't all that cuddly. Plus it's something I know TJ will be glad to miss. Hopefully Peanut won't be too sad to be left at home.

I've been up since 4:30am with only an hour's nap so I'm ready to get some zzzz's. Peace out.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Where are we going, so far away?

I started a blog for work-related stuff (see link at right). I can't figure out what to write there. I've been in my job for about 3 weeks now, so I don't really know enough to tell the world about anything. Oddly, that blog has made it to Google, while this one still doesn't come up when I search for it.

I'm really hungry. But I've eaten my calorie allotment for the day, and thanks to being sick, haven't really exercised much in the past few days either. So chowing down on mango tofu snax or whatever else is in the fridge is probably not a good option for me at 11pm. But I'm also not tired enough to go to sleep either.

A family friend sent us an gift certificate for the wedding so I just bought us a George Foreman grill (woo hoo) and The Princess Bride on DVD. I'm betting that the grill will help me keep my protein intake up after I'm no longer under the watchful eye of Sarah the dietician. And I had The Princess Bride on video, but since we haven't yet unpacked the VCR since moving to Seattle in November 2002, I think it's just time to move to the 21st century and get it on DVD.

I watched "Supersize Me" yesterday. Yikes. Having talked to a lot of people who saw it, I kind of knew what to expect, but it makes a pretty powerful (if biased) statement. That's about all I needed to stop eating fast food forever. Except Kidd Valley, a local Seattle burger chain, which I think isn't as processed as McD's, etc. And In N Out, which to my great pleasure, was deemed free of fast food evilnesss in the book Fast Food Nation. I love that place. Though their "made from real potatoes" fries suck. After watching the "extra" segment on the "Supersize Me" DVD where the McD's french fries did not decompose after 10 weeks of being in an unrefrigerated glass jar, I'm pretty sure I can do without those. But good french fries are still one of my favorite foods ever. (Thanks Amma, for passing on the salty-deep-fried tooth, instead of a sweet tooth!)

I'm trying to convince myself to get up and go to 8am low-impact aerobics. They do weights on Friday and it's a pretty good workout. I feel out of place because there are not too many people under 50 years old in that class. And they all know each other and have inside jokes and stuff. Kind of weird for a group fitness class, but at least they're having fun. I've never really understood the idea of socializing at the gym. I'm smelly and wearing fairly ratty clothes, little makeup, and my hair's all over the place. Doesn't make me feel like introducing myself and making new friends, that's for sure! Plus I really don't want to spend any more time there than I have to, so let me just get my 1 hour workout in and leave. But maybe I'm just antisocial...

Speaking of antisocial, I think I'm done blogging for today. A shout out to Kristin who is spending the weekend in sunny Florida. Drink a mai tai for me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Been a long time

Busy weekend! On Saturday I had my hair and makeup "trial" along with a mandatory workout to pre-empt the major off-plan eating I was going to do at Canlis that evening. I spent about 3.5 hours at the salon, getting my nails done and then having my hair and makeup done by Lindsay, who totally rocks. She curled little sections with a curling iron, then loosened it up and pinned some of it up on top of my head. She even managed to work in the sun pin I found at Macy's. She did a really nice job, and the hairstyle held up pretty well all night. Having someone else do my makeup was interesting, especially the eyeliner and mascara parts. (Yikes). But that looked good too, very glamorous. It was a lot more than I usually wear, so I might ask her to do a little less next time, but then again, it has to survive about 10 hours that day, and also get me through a lot of photographs...

Dinner at Canlis was YUM. Menu choices for the wedding: Misty Isle Petit Filet Mignon, Washington Chicken, Potato Napoleon, and some kind of vegetarian Israeli couscous dish suggested by the chef. Our server that evening was awesome, and brought us a sample of the Napoleon, the chef brought over samples of the hors doeuvres, and the server even brought us creme brulee for dessert, and a fruit plate when I told her I wasn't allowed to have dessert. All free of charge. So nice :) TJ and I decided we needed to come to Canlis more often, so we made reservations there for my birthday in June. Woo hoo!

On Sunday Jasmine and I went "power shopping" at Bellevue Square. There are only a few people in my life who I'm able to do this kind of intense shopping with - Kristin, Jasmine, and my mom. We spent about 5 hours, and only got through Nordstrom, Aveda, Arden B, and Banana Republic. Pretty impressive. Jasmine found some clothes to wear to the ballet (see previous post) and I got a couple of tops to match some skirts I already had. Plus a cool white poofy peasant skirt. I've been coveting this item for a couple of years now, ever since it came back into style and I finally broke down and bought one at Nordstrom.

After that much shopping, I was exhausted. We took the dogs to the park and I did some grocery shopping and attempted to plan what I was going to eat during the week.

Yesterday we went back to Canlis and met with Kellie, the dining coordinator, and Sean, our video/music guy. Most of the details have been sorted out. Kellie brought up some things we hadn't thought of, like when were we planning to do the toasts, and who was going to come and get us in the small private room we've booked to tell us to start the ceremony. She said someone from Canlis would be there to help us out with that stuff. Yay again for Canlis.

I then spent the rest of the day sleeping off a horrible sinus headache which is still lingering. Yuck...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Long Time Gone...

You can guess what kind of week I've been having since I haven't written since Tuesday. Work is getting busier, now that I have some idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, but unfortunately the wedding planning is heating up too, given that there are only 21 more days till the wedding (yikes!).

Tonight I'm babysitting Catie, a cute roundheaded baby who belongs to Jasmine and Chris, friends of mine from Caltech. They had tickets to the ballet and their babysitter cancelled at the last minute, so I agreed to do it. They put Catie to bed before they left, so basically I signed up to sit on their couch and surf the Internet all evening. But Ms. Catie had other plans. She cried for about 25 more minutes after they left so I went upstairs to see if I could get her to sleep. After rubbing her back for a little while, she fell asleep. Woo hoo! Maybe I'm the baby whisperer. Or maybe Catie's just an easy baby (more likely). Now I can hear her breathing on the baby monitor. Yay technology.

My eating plan has gone all awry this week and last. Sadly, I gained a pound last week, but not surprising since I had nachos, pizza (twice), and a giant Italian dinner with dessert all in the same week. I saw Sarah, my dietician, this week and vowed to do better. Yesterday was ok. But today I had Mexican food at lunch with Dre (who I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks since she was in Hawaii) and Indian food with Jaz and Chris. So I've been uncomfortably full for most of the day, which doesn't bode well. But tomorrow is another day and I can salvage what's left of today by NOT eating any more. I used to think my eating habits were pretty good but when I actually write things down, turns out they're not. :( But I can get back on track tomorrow. I promised both Nelson and Sarah I would not have dessert at Canlis tomorrow night. Since we're not putting dessert on our wedding dinner menu there's no reason for me to eat it. So I won't. I guess I'm promising you all now too.

Spike is continuing his green bean diet. Our vet told us to replace 1/4 of his food with low salt canned green beans to cut the calories. Spike thinks it's a special treat and Peanut is definitely jealous so I always toss a couple of beans in Peanut's bowl as well. I don't know how people can eat canned green beans. Nasty tasting and bad texture. The fresh ones are sooo much better.

Tomorrow I'll be spending a long time at the spa - manicure, pedicure, hair and makeup trial for wedding. Woo hoo! I got a haircut and highlights done yesterday by the same woman who's doing my hair for the wedding. I hadn't been to her before, but she did a great job. Yay Lindsay! My highlights are a lot brighter red than I was expecting but I suspect it'll be toned down by the time the wedding comes around.

TJ bought me a Humane Society sweatshirt today because it was so cold when we volunteered there. He's so thoughtful. Another reason I'm glad to be marrying him.

I only got to take out 4 or 5 dogs before I had to leave for Chris and Jasmine's house because the traffic here is so bad going from Bellevue to the part of Seattle where they live. I was having a not-so-great day with those dogs anyway. A lot of them weren't too interested in playing, or treats, or training. One of them was pretty mouthy and grabbed my arm with his teeth. Good thing I was wearing a bunch of layers... We'll only do this one more time, and then we're taking a few months off because of all the wedding-related stuff. In July we'll need to decide whether to continue volunteering.

Still no comments on the blog. Come on people!! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bottle of Red, Bottle of White

Ate dinner at Tropea. Yum! Discussed catering with owner. Made arrangements and paid him money. Sunday lunch ready to go. Woo hoo!

Meet you anytime you want, at our Italian restaurant

More wedding stress today. I called Frankie's House of Pizza and Pasta to get the catering set up for the Sunday lunch after the wedding, now that I finally know how many people are coming. Apparently Frankie's doesn't deliver lunch on Sundays since they don't open till 4pm. I didn't even think to ask - I guess we've gone there for lunch on Saturdays but never on Sunday so it didn't even occur to me that they might not be open. Bleh.

So tonight TJ and I are going to try out Tropea Italian Restaurant, also in Redmond. Since I had a truly nasty piece of fish for lunch I am really looking forward to a nice dinner. I have been trying to like fish ever since I started this higher protein diet - it's a great lean source of protein. But unless it's sushi, I don't want to eat it. I read somewhere you should try a food you don't like three times before deciding. I'm way over that, and I think I'm done with cooked fish. Shellfish is a different story - I could eat shrimp, crab or scallops all day.

Spike is poking around alternately at the garbage can (which has my leftover fish in it), Peanut's empty food bowl, and his empty food bowl. I just fed that beagle 20 minutes ago and he acts like he's starving. He carefully licks his entire empty bowl just to make sure there are no food crumbs. And then repeats the process for Peanut's bowl. (And before you start feeling sorry for him, we took him to the vet and he's about 5 lbs overweight, which is a lot when you only weigh 29 lbs!) We were told to feed him canned green beans in place of 1/4 of his food. He seems to really like them, which is good. Sadly, he's gained that weight since he's been living with us - his previous owners took him running, plus he was probably more active as a puppy than he is as a middle-aged BeagleMan.

Pogi left us today - that makes me sad. I think it makes Peanut sad too, or maybe he's just relieved he can get in some good napping now that the Woolly Mammoth has left us. Cara, Pogi's aunt, came to pick him up this afternoon. He was really happy to see her. If you started to pet Pogi and you were sitting on the floor, he would come and sit in your lap. (And he weighs 90 lbs so you weren't getting up!) We really enjoyed Pogi's visit. Peanut and he got in a couple rounds of "bite your ear" today, and were getting along famously. So maybe next time John and Jenna go on vacation, they will leave the Pog-ster with us. Goodbye, Pogi!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Last ditch effort

I worked out at the gym today for almost 2 hours. I've been working out with Nelson, a personal trainer at the Pro Club for the last 6 months or so.

Some background - the Pro Club is the gym that Microsoft pays for - it's about the snootiest gym I have *ever* seen. And I've seen a lot of gyms, especially when I worked for Deloitte Consulting and traveled a lot. This gym also has a full service spa, medical center, cafe, gift shop and restaurant. For those who want to be really healthy, they also have tanning and Botox. (Go figure.)

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program. A month ago, Nelson decided to change our workouts from an hour to 1.5 hours, and was nice enough *not* to charge me for the extra time. (I'd probably have to sell the Peanut in order to pay them more money...) We spent 45 minutes doing insanely hard cardio, with my heart rate around 160 bpm (80%) up to 190 bpm (gasping for air). The problem is, I couldn't listen to music or read a magazine during these cardio sessions because Nelson was there. So I got to stare at the console and watch every passing minute. Nelson would talk to me, but most of the time I was working too hard to answer him back. Horrible!

So today I took matters into my own hands. I went to the gym an hour early and did my 45 minutes of cardio before my appointment with Nelson. I stayed on the evil Stepmill for 20 minutes, thanks to Live's first album, Mental Jewelry. Matchbox 20's Yourself or Someone Like You provided me with an awesome soundtrack for a really good 25 minute run/walk interval training session. Yay for MP3 players and Rob Thomas (who I met several years ago, but that's another story.) Then I met up with Nelson and did an hour of weight training.

I'm not sure if all of this insane working out is really helping much, but I've lost 5 lbs in the past 5 weeks. I'm also seeing a nutritionist at the Pro Club (I've basically signed over my entire paycheck to them...) and she has me on a low-sugar, no-refined-carb meal plan. It involves eating *a lot* of protein (about 100+ g per day) and pretty much no sugar (except sugars that naturally occur in fruit and dairy products) or bread or chips, etc. I am allowed one piece of whole wheat bread per day, or one packet of the Low Sugar Quaker Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal (manna from heaven, I say). *However*, I need to eat my carb fix with some fat and 2 oz of protein.

Is this much suffering worth it? I suppose so. Since last fall, I have lost about 15 pounds. I think it's been slow because I am pretty bad at sticking to any sort of diet. I LOVE food, and eating out, and nachos, and cheese, and chocolate cake ... you get the picture. I halfheartedly did Weight Watchers Online for a while. But I think there's something to the *way* I'm eating now. I've got a lot more energy, I'm not supertired in the afternoons and I seem to be doing ok without my usual 10 hours of sleep. So after the wedding, I'll probably go back to Weight Watchers (much easier to "count" - I hate tracking calories!) and just keep the eating patterns I have now. I'd like to lose the equivalent of Spike (actually, what Spike weighed when we got him - he's kind of pudgy now too) and then if I could maintain that, I'd be done with this whole thing. I've vaguely "dieted" for the past 15 years (half my life!!) and I'm so sick of it. Enough already and let's just get rid of this last beagle!

And on that inspiring note, I should give the computer back to TJ so he can continue with his current project, cataloging his coin collection using a Microsoft Access database. He's got so much more patience than I have. Good thing I'm marrying him!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Comments Please!

One more thing: I'm hoping for some comments on these posts. A little discussion, maybe, of the merits of an Airedale vs. a Rottweiler vs. a Beagle. Or a commentary on the state of Toasterovens today. Click the purple link at the bottom of the post you'd like to comment on, and type away. At least then I'll know someone is reading this!

Pogi means 'handsome' in Tagalog

Sad Toasteroven Blues

Yikes, so I've already broken my promise to write here every day! But Blogger was acting weird on Friday so that's my excuse.

Yesterday I went down to Cicada and had the first fitting for my dress. It needs to be taken in at the waist (YAY!) and at the shoulders (YAY). There was a mixup and they had just gone ahead and made the whole dress, rather than waiting for the sari border my mom was going to bring back from India. They thought I was supposed to call them about it, while I maintain that they told me just to bring it to the fitting. Anyway, I didn't have to pitch a hissy fit - they offered to re-do the sash if I wanted, but it turns out the border actually looks good on the material they used. So it'll be just fine. While I love the dress, I didn't have any weird revelatory moments when I tried it on. Don't get me wrong, it looks good, but I guess I was hoping for some kind of magical effect. The fact I wasn't wearing any makeup at all and had to throw my hair in a ponytail probably didn't help either. At least I had time to take a shower after going to the gym. I suppose the hair and makeup on the wedding day will do it.

TJ and I finally dug out from under the pile of accumulating wedding presents in the entryway of our house. Boxes arrived every day last week, thanks to our generous relatives and friends - fun fun fun! TJ managed to break our new toasteroven on the first try yesterday. So I took it back to Macy's today and got its replacement, Toasteroven II. Many people at Redmond Town Center were impressed I could carry it all by myself (?!) - it only weighs about 10 lbs... It's much bigger and nicer than my trusty old Black n Decker that I bought 5 years ago in Tucson.

Peanut and Pogi are *finally* playing nice together. They got into a rousing game of "jump on your head" yesterday on the hardwood floor in the living room. They seem to be much better friends now, and Peanut isn't as upset about another big boy dog in the house. It's too bad Pogi is leaving us on Tuesday. Spike and Pogi have had a few faceoffs, usually with respect to the mailman toy. Spike will grab it, Pogi will chase after him, then Spike starts growling ferociously and barking like he's big. This disturbs Pogi greatly so he starts whining and yelping too. Oddly, though Pogi weighs at least 3x more than Spike, he won't take the toy from him. Peanut won't either. It's like Spike has some sort of secret ferocious power over the big dogs. Go BeagleMan!

We took all three boys to the park this morning. PARK PARK PARK! (I can say it here because the dogs can't hear me...) The ride there was interesting - Peanut and Pogi fussed at each other in the backseat and stuck their cold wet noses on us while Spike hung out with me in front and tried to shift gears for TJ. Needless to say, TJ wasn't very happy about this. We found 2 other Airedales at the park who wanted to play with Pogi. Peanut also tried to drown another dog in the river by climbing on him. TJ (lucky guy) had to go into the water in his jeans to get him out. That pretty much ended our day at the park. Everyone (including the people) came home and took a nap.

I got an outfit (well, half of an outfit) for the rehearsal dinner on May 6. Ann Taylor has a lot of lovely spring green items - my favorite shade of green, but unfortunately, nothing fit (and I tried on about 20 things). That made me sad, so I went over to Eileen Fisher, one of those stores that has more open space than clothes hanging inside. I knew it would be expensive, but after finding nothing in either Macy's or Ann Taylor, I was feeling belligerent. I ended up buying a very sheer white linen sweater with a lilac camisole. The skirt I want is being transferred next week from the downtown store (size Medium - woo hoo!) and is lilac silk, very floaty and long. A lot of the clothes in the store seem suited for older women (or maybe just people who hate bright colors and anything fitted) but after a lot of trying on, I found this outfit. And heck, I gotta buy something at a store where I can fit into a Small. Now I just need to make sure not to spill any of Shamiana's yummy Indian food on my outfit that day.

Since it's not raining, I'm going outside to tame the ivy-like jasmine plant thingy outside our front door. It creeps TJ out, and it's trying to take over the roof of our garage. You can hack it with the clippers and it just grows back. That's my kind of gardening.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Pogi, our Airedale friend, has spent nearly 24 hours with us. The dogs seem to have reached some kind of agreement - Peanut says he's the biggest, and Spike runs away whenever Pogi cruises by. Yesterday there was some contention over peanut-butter dog cookies. Each dog got one. Spike ate his, Peanut ate his, and Pogi started to fling his around the room. (I'm not sure he realized it was for eating.) Peanut decided he was going to take it from Pogi and in the resulting dog altercation, the cookie was dropped and Spike swooped in to pick it up. Nice move, BeagleMan!

Last night was a little bit tough. I went to bed early and took Pogi with me, while Peanut and Spike stayed downstairs watching TV with TJ. When they came up to sleep, Peanut decided Pogi wasn't supposed to be there so they had a few dog face-offs and barking episodes. Eventually everyone settled down into their respective spot - Pogi across the room on the rug, Spike in his bed, and Peanut next to TJ on the floor. Every couple of hours, Peanut woke TJ up to remind him there was another dog here, and to ask for some petting. Highly unusual and I'm glad he wasn't on my side!

One of my favorite Pogi trick is asking him "Pogi, can you sing?" He starts up this awful yowling sound, not unlike Spike's beagle bay. On command. Fabulous. TJ hates this.  He thinks dogs should be quiet and still.

Things have suddenly gotten very quiet in the house. I better go see what's going on.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Taking Notes

I'm in a training class all day today and tomorrow. It's called "Engineering Excellence for New Program Managers". I'm not a new PM but my old manager suggested I take this class. Possibly because he had to suggest *something* on my review, because it seems pretty basic. It's not a complete waste of time because the instructor is pretty good and he throws out little helpful tips every now and then. And he looks like Russell Crowe. (Disclaimer - I don't particularly think Russell Crowe is attractive, but it's amusing to think about Russell Crowe teaching this class...)

This evening Pogi is coming to stay with us for a few days. He's a HUGE Airedale who belongs to John and Jenna, some friends of ours. They are going on vacation to France so we offered to dog-sit. Sometimes it's fun having three dogs. Peanut will probably get a little grumpy about it at first but will settle down pretty quick once they establish that he's big. Spike just wanders around and mostly ignores the big dogs. I'll see if I can get some pictures and post them here. We'll probably take all three dogs to the park at some point, if the weather cooperates.

Well, back to class. "Gladiator" meets "developing leadership skills"!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

32 Days!

In 32 days, TJ and I are getting married. I can't believe it's so close. We got engaged on March 9, 2004 and it seemed *so* far away. I'm hoping to get the details wrapped up by April 20 or so - I'm so sick of wedding planning now!

This Saturday I have an appointment for my first dress fitting at Cicada Bridal in downtown Seattle. I've lost about 10 lbs since they measured me so I'm curious to see how the dress fits. It's being custom made, but it's based on their Karina dress.

We're still waiting for a few RSVP cards to come back but have heard from almost everyone. Looks like there will be about 35 guests, which is perfect - we wanted an intimate wedding where we'd have the chance to talk to everyone there. Both the ceremony and reception will be held in the Penthouse at Canlis, a 50-year old Seattle restaurant.

We're going to Canlis on April 16th to have dinner and try out different items from the Spring menu, so we can select the choices for the wedding. That same day is my hair and makeup "trial" - who knew you had to have a trial run? So it'll be a nice romantic evening for us before the crazy wedding stuff starts a few weeks later.

We're still working through the details of the ceremony with our officiant, Susan Waterworth. She's great to work with, and will also be our wedding coordinator on that day, just to handle all the little things so we don't have to worry about them.

Well, back to work - I've got meetings all afternoon so I should attempt to get some work done in the meantime...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Good Day Sunshine

I had a good day at work today. I have been in my new job on the Microsoft Speech Server team for a week. My office is set up the way I like it. I already have a couple of different things to work on and felt like I made some progress today. All in all, a satisfying day.

Daylight Savings time robbed us of an hour yesterday, but TJ and I took advantage of it today by taking the dogs to the PARK. Marymoor Park, to be precise. It's about 2 miles from our house and the most amazing off-leash area ever, with more than 40 acres of open fields, a river, and lots of trails for the dogs to explore. Peanut loves it so much that you can't even say the work PARK around him unless you want a giant excited dog jumping around all over the place. And then you better get ready and get in the CAR and GO to the PARK.

Today Peanut played the ever popular "jump on your head" and "bitechu" games with Java, his boxer buddy. We see Java a lot at Marymoor and he's always up for a good Peanut game. That made up for the disappointing trip yesterday when Peanut didn't find *any* dogs who wanted to play his Peanut games. Spike is quite the BeagleMan about town, just rummaging and sniffing, and doing his own thing. Sometimes he'll chase the Peanut and bark at him, or try to mount Peanut while he's distracted. I think Spike believes one day he WILL be the big dog. It's good to have goals.

Now both dogs are crashed out in their respective sleeping areas - Spike has spent the last couple of nights in his "box" and Peanut is sprawled out on the carpet, triangulating me in the bedroom and TJ at the computer. You can always find Peanut about halfway between the two of us if we're in different rooms. I guess he likes to keep an eye on us so he doesn't miss anything. Good night, puppies.

Hello World!

Today we had a meeting at work for all the women in my division. A couple of folks talked about blogging, in the context of using it to connect with customers. I'm not sure what this had to do with being a woman, but it's something I've been wanting to do for a while. So here it is. I'm mostly planning to use this as a way to keep in touch with friends and family and let them know what I'm up to, since I'm so bad at email.

sharing is nice

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