Saturday, December 31, 2005

something's burning

Ick. Who's lame enough to come down with a cough and fever the morning of New Year's Eve, when we have not one, but two fun parties to attend? And even lamer, to get sick on the Saturday of a 3 day weekend. Can't even get a sick day from work.

This always seems to happen when I get back into the exercising and eating right groove. You'd think my body would be happier with all the clean living. My trusty digital thermometer (cheapy one from Longs Drugstore) tells me I'm at 101.4 degrees. (How do you get a degree sign to show up anyway when there isn't one on they keyboard??)

And we bought a fairly expensive chocolate mousse cake to take to Nathalie's party tonight, which will now sit in the fridge because TJ doesn't know them well enough to go there by himself. Danger Will Robinson! At least he will go to the Calixtos' for a few hours and take them the cute little bottles of bubbly we bought them at Seattle Cellars.

Weighing myself today was lame too. (It's been a lame day all around, ladies and gentlemen.) I lost the mysterious half pound I gained last week. So I'm where I was 2 weeks ago. Fabulous. But I have completed 11 workouts in the past 2 weeks which is probably more than I worked out in the 3 months before that, so that's still an accomplishment.

Actually, the one high point of the day was watching the Pilot episode of The Closer on TNT, starring Kyra Sedgwick. We watch so many crime dramas (3 flavors of Law & Order and CSI) that I didn't think it would be all that good, but WOW, was I wrong. An interesting plot line, though TJ, smartypants and TV connoisseur that he is, picked up on it at the beginning, but it wasn't blatantly obvious like on bad shows.

Here are some of the other reasons why I liked it so much:

1. Kyra Sedgwick's character is quirky, not in a TV, outlandish, Mimi sort of way, but reassuringly normal. I *loved* the part where she's faced with a box of donuts, keeps giving them sideways glances, finally picks one up, holds it, puts it down on her desk and licks off the glaze from her finger. Later in the episode she finds the donut and finally just tosses it into the trash with conviction. (Now all of this is kind of in the background while she's talking about something critical to the plot.) Just a really cool little real-life attention to detail there.

2. She's not "too pretty" for the role, and dresses in a way that's actually believable for a detective. (Don't talk to me about Ally McBeal or Angie Harmon, etc.) Her accent is also adorable, though I think people from Atlanta don't really have such a thick accent. Maybe the Georgians out there can correct me...

3. There's a lot of subtext about being a woman in a position of power, and having to come in and lead a reluctant team, especially one full of guys who aren't the most enlightened bunch in the world.

4. The detectives on her team, and the characters in the show are pretty diverse, almost a bit contrivedly so, but nice to see they're making an effort. Black and white, Latino, male and female, and even an Asian cop. Nice to see an Asian on TV as something other than a doctor. Don't get me wrong, it's better than always being portrayed as a thug or gang member or the Good Guy Who Always Gets Killed First, but it's great to see Asians playing other roles as well. Now all we need is that cute British Indian chick from ER/Bend it Like Beckham to become a detective too and we'll be all set!

So I was sad when it was over, because we just had one episode on the TiVo. But now we have a Season pass! Unfortunately it's only on once a week, but this gives me hope and something else to watch until American Idol 5 starts again in earnest.

Well, back to sleep. Hopefully I won't miss the ball dropping. It's so lame that we here in Seattle have to watch it on tape delay. What kind of idiocy is that? Lame, I tell you!

Happy New Year, my loyal readers!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Used to have a little now I have a lot

Just a quick post to mention that TJ rocks. I was bored and milling about the house and he suggested that I actually (god forbid!) use the treadmill I bought and watch TV. Brilliant. I caught up on the Faith Hill and "Crash" Oprah episodes from this week. I'm not actually into Faith Hill but she just seems like a genuinely nice person so it was a nice, pleasant interview to watch. Her songs are just a bit too vanilla for me, nice as background music but they don't really reach out and grab me or anything.

The best part was about this woman, Lori McKenna, who wrote 3 of the songs on Faith's new album. She's a mom in Massachusetts who writes her own songs and somehow they found their way to Faith Hill and she decided to record them. Her voice is great and the one song of hers that she sang was awesome. So it was the usual Oprah, feel-good story about this mom whose life changed by Faith Hill picking her songs. Well, a Google search turned up the backstory. Turns out Lori has several albums out. She's nowhere near the household name that Faith Hill is, but it sucks that Oprah didn't happen to mention these albums at all. Dang, with that kind of audience, she could have at least done that for Lori McKenna. Hopefully others watching will also Google, and find Lori's site. I've bought one of her CDs. Can't wait to get it!

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got

I finally had time to rip some more CDs into MP3s and refill my iPOD with booty-shakin, gym-worthy music. Which is good because I just started the Couch to 5K running program a few weeks ago. I'm on the last workout of Week 2 right now. So far it's easy - running 1:30 is nothing. I'm a little apprehensive about the 3 minute stretch next week as I tend to get bored and then fixate on how much running sucks. But we'll see how it goes. I swear, there's nothing like running to make you sweat and feel like you're getting a fabulous workout. I don't yet have a 5K I'm targeting - I'm not sure which ones are in March, and I don't want to run in the cold. But before 2006 is over, I want to run a 5K in under 30 min. And so it was written, and so it shall be.

Ginger went home today. It's now very quiet in the house, except for the rain outside. I changed the blog colors to something more winter and New Year-ish. For some reason I always associate the color blue with New Year stuff. Dunno why.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The light was shining from the radio

I got the cutest e-card from Michelle. For a corporate marketing idea, Hoops&Yoyo is pretty slick. These guys are adorable. Kind of like a less offensive South Park.

Seeing Suz was very cool. We also went over to Stan and Ada's house to see new baby Ella. Very cute pudgy little cheeks. We also saw Little Stan/Bo, briefly, before he had to go take a nap.

Omakase? OMG!
And I can't believe I forgot to blog about dinner last week at Flo Japanese Restaurant. Leslie and I ordered the Chef's tasting menu, called Omakase, and it was *incredible*. We had a little of everything: clam, oyster, sushi, salmon, a yummy steamed eggwhite dish, and fresh fruit and chocolate fondue at the end. Being the good little WW girl, I skipped out on the chocolate. But even after multiple courses, I wasn't busting-out full. That's the coooool part about Japanese food - when done well, it's light and delicate. mmm, I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

Tomorrow TJ and I are going wine-tasting at Seattle Cellars, then to Red Fin for more sushi. (Well, him for burger, me for sushi). I'm excited since I haven't tried that restaurant. Sadly, it replaces the yummy Yakima Grill, which is no more.

Well, TJ is inviting me to snuggle with him on the couch, and really, who could resist that? :) Hope you're all having a nice final week of 2005!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Fall on your knees and hear the angel voices

Random thought of the day - "O Holy Night" is one of my favorite Christmas carols, just behind "Little Drummer Boy". Tracy Chapman has a kickass version of it on one of the "A Very Special Christmas" collections.

Merry Christmas. Today has been a very low key day. Ginger and Peanut have now progressed to lots of growly playing and games of tug and "bite your ear". Unfortunately, due to Ginger's bad leg, we're not comfortable leaving them alone in case they exert themselves too much and Ginger gets hurt. So one of us is stuck at home for most of the time this week. But it's much better now that they get along - they even slept the whole night without barking at each other last night.

I worked out with Maya again today and she made a pointed comment about working out with her more often. I retorted with a very witty remark, of course, but got no response. Maybe that'll come in version 2.0. TJ probably thinks I'm crazy, talking back to the TV like htat. I was pleased to note she wears a different outfit when I picked the "Urban Oasis" workout room.

Tomorrow I'm going to see Suz. Yay! We will probably go visit Ella, Stan and Ada's new baby.

So, what's your favorite Christmas carol?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Can't find my way home

Now Ginger is defending the kitchen from both Peanut and Spike. She has decided they can't come in here. And she and Peanut are playing the "I'm not looking at you directly" game. Peanut looks very sad and has found himself a spot right outside the kitchen to flop down. I think all he's looking for is a good nap.

Dog behavior sure is a funny thing.

Gone away are the bluebirds

Well, it's Christmas Eve, and I've got a sinus headache, two huge dogs with an uneasy truce between them and a beagle who's trying to hide behind me. I also have baked acorn squash with garlic and thyme, potato/parsnip mash, and some more steamed green beans. It's been a good cooking day for me.

TJ is at the Seahawks game with his friend Tai from work. Thanks to this sinus infection, I couldn't go. Which is probably just as well since the three dogs here still need a referee.

Ginger and Peanut are still sorting out who's big and who's gonna tell the other one what to do (or what not to do). Poor TJ had to get up a few times last night when Peanut decided Ginger was not allowed to cross some invisible line in the bedroom. Yesterday, Ginger also decided she had enough of Spike barking at her, so she tried to tell him she was big in that "I'm not gonna hurt you but I'm gonna scare you real good" growly lunging snarly way. Since we weren't actually sure how that would end, because Spike isn't smart enough to give up, we had to separate everyone. And just to be sure, Spike and I slept in Dog Bed downstairs, all curled up together. We slept well :)

Today Ginger is following Spike around a little less, but Spike still thinks hiding behind me is the safest spot. Peanut is really, really tired and trying to ignore everyone else. I think Ginger misses Dave, too, because she keeps looking hopefully at the door everytime we go near it. Poor Ginger.

Until these guys sort themselves out, we're stuck at home (at least one of us is). So we've had to turn down a couple of nice invitations for Christmas dinner. TJ and I are going to meet Suz in Tacoma for lunch on Monday, which is awesome because I haven't seen her in about 7 or 8 years, since she went to grad school. So I hope these guys sort out who's big by then.

Well, I hope you all have a nice Christmas Eve! Go Seahawks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'd buy you a green dress

Grades were finally posted today for UW. I got a 4.0 for my CSS 301 Tech Writing course. That was nice to see. What's also cool is seeing that my cumulative UW GPA for this year is a 4.0. That's not a sight I ever saw at Caltech, except for the one brief shining quarter my sophomore year when my GPA was a 4.2 or something crazy like that. (That was the quarter that started with the guy I was dating getting engaged to someone else *while* I was still dating him. Nothing like anger to motivate a girl.)

I also gave into the wacky cultishness and bought a Moleskine notebook today. You know, the kind that was used by Picasso, Van Gogh and some guy named Chatwin no one has ever heard of except in reference to Moleskine notebooks. Fortunately I didn't need to go hunting for one - the Crossroads Barnes and Noble had one. It's really a gorgeous notebook - very posh look and feel.

Anyway, I'm determined not to spend the next 15 years "trying" to lose weight, as I have spent the last 15. So I'm going to use the notebook to document this project as if it were a lab experiment - one with a specific beginning and end. I think it'll help me when I want to ditch the whole thing, just to read previous entries and see what progress I've made. That's the plan, anyway. It will also spare you having to read a lot of whiny angst over pants not fitting or pudgy face days, or whatever other things I choose to obsess about in private. :)

The good news is that I've completed 3 workouts now for the Bon Jovi Challenge - 2 running and one with Maya. Tomorrow is another Maya day, which I'm dreading because my legs are sooo sore from the lunges she made me do on Tuesday.

I sent some Christmas "surprises" online today to our families, which should get there later this week. I hope they enjoy them, as much as I had fun picking them out.

TJ and I are dogsitting Ginger, the fabulous chocolate ice cream colored dog who belongs to Dave (no blog) for 6 days starting Friday. We'll need to closely supervise the dogs during that initial uneasy first couple of days before Peanut and she sort out who's big. I can't wait to see who that is! I think Ginger may be a bit taller than Peanut. And she's got a very dominant personality. She also tormented Spike the last time she was here by following him around the room and just looking at him quizzically when he barked his "Go away you big dumb dog" bark. We'll see how that goes.

Good times. Oh, and Happy Birthday to Kristin whose birthday is either today or tomorrow - I'm so bad at remembering and it's on my calendar on both days, unfortunately. I'll have to fix that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beagle beagle beagle I made him out of clay

That darn Spike - he keeps having adventures without me!

Everyone's looking for the little guy.
The Search for Beagle 2

Even NASA is trying to help.
NASA Eyeballs Lost Beagle 2

Ooh, NASA caught Beagle being naughty!
NASA may have Images of Beagle on Mars

Wait, I think we found him!
The Beagle Had Landed

Oh dear, it was only the getaway car.
Missing Beagle craft found on Mars

Hey look, now we got him. We think.
Scientists 'Find' Beagle on Mars

Poor beagle.
Wreckage of Beagle Found Scattered in Mars Crater

Despite the fun times Spike had on Mars, we found him sleeping in his bed this morning. Pretty impressive, that Beagle.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I ain't gonna do what I don't want to

The March 2006 Bon Jovi Challenge has officially begun. TJ has agreed to take me to the Bon Jovi concert in Seattle on March 6, with good seats bought from a ticket agency (as the show is mostly sold out now), if I work out 50 times between now and then. Those who are math-inclined realize I have about 75 days to complete those 50 workouts, so not a lot of wiggle room there. Workouts can only be counted once a day, and have to be at the gym, or with Maya, my XBox virtual trainer. Walking at the dog park or to work, though good for me, doesn't count.

I have officially completed 1/50 and am pretty motivated again. My love for Bon Jovi is coming back again, though I'm not sure I can match the crazy devotion I had to them when I was 11 years old :). The new album "Have a Nice Day" *really* rocks. Most of the songs are typical Bon Jovi, could have been recorded in 1988, stuff, but there are a few mellower songs that sound Gin Blossoms/Matchbox 20/random post-grunge band of the day-ish as well. So I really want to go to the concert, and an added bonus is that I might get to buy a cute outfit to fit my newly skinny self by then! (One can dream!)

Spike was quite the Beagleman about town yesterday. *Everyone* wanted to talk to him or pet him. Unfortunately this made him very nervous, and as a result, dandruffy, which made me look like a bad dog parent. I swear we just bathed him on Saturday! Of course, today, he looks fine. We made friends with another beagle at the downtown dog park, some friendly homeless guys, a dad and his daughter out for some Christmas shopping, a man who had a picture of *his* beagle tattooed on his arm (not kidding!), an Australian woman who really wanted a beagle, a sailor from the Navy, and the saleslady at J. Gilbert footwear, who gave Spike a dog cookie in the store. Spike didn't like the shoes at J. Gilbert, so we didn't spend much time there. I on the other hand, was drooling and vowed to return. I will surely celebrate my intermediate weight loss achievements by buying fancy shoes there. Spike slept like a beagle baby when we returned home, and Peanut got to go to the dog park with TJ.

I made a nice meaty pasta sauce called "Sandro's Ragu" from the Seattle Times and we ate it with farfalle and a glass of the $6 Snoqualmie sauvignon blanc I bought to make the sauce. The wine was pretty dry and not something I'd really want to drink again but didn't taste as crappy as one might expect for the low price. The sauce looks like it'll make a great lasagna so that's the plan for later this week.

Today I'm baking a low-fat pumpkin bread. Turns out Spike is fiendishly fond of canned pumpkin. Who'da thunk it?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Now I'm leaving this all behind

Playing DDR has opened up my world to a whole lot of new, annoying techno music that won't get out of my head. In the game, each song clip is only about a minute and a half, so I haven't even heard the whole song - just snippets of each one.

I'm so not feeling the Christmas thing this year. Perhaps it's because stores around here had their Christmas trees up since Halloween. But I am looking forward to having a couple of days off and being able to organize some stuff around the house. We have so much *stuff* and not a lot of storage space so I'd like to really sort through some of it.

Grades haven't yet posted for my pseudo-technical writing class yet. I've been stalking the UW website for a week, trying to get some closure. I'm definitely not taking a class next quarter.

It occurred to me that I tend to take on projects that I'm good at, where I know I'll succeed, rather than working harder on the stuff I'm not very good at (such as regular exercise or eating right). So I think I need to shift the balance in the other direction and really try to get down to a healthy BMI before I get any older and it becomes too hard to do. I can already tell it was easier to lose weight at 24 than it is now. Someone made an interesting comment to me once, about how women tend to take weight loss and fitness programs *personally*, while men just see it as a plan then need to follow and do it. So a setback doesn't cause men any major emotional distress - they just get back on track and do it. I don't know if that's really true for men, but it sort of explains my behavior anyway.

Today, TJ is going to clean out some of the big stuff at his office at work, so Spike and I are going downtown with him to wander around. Unfortunately, Peanut is too big to fit in the car with all of TJ's stuff, so he'll stay home. There's a very nice shoe store downtown called J. Gilbert, which, oddly enough has its other store in Tucson, just down the road from my old house. Since they allow dogs in their store, I thought I'd go take a look.

We played poker last night with a bunch of folks TJ works with. I got crappy cards all night and slowly lost all my money. TJ got second place, which was pretty good, and Travis kicked butt and won. I forgot how much I like having people over for a low key evening like that - I got some snacks and beer at Trader Joe's and people brought over even more so it was pretty low stress entertaining.

Well, off to put Spike's jingle bell collar on him so he can share the Christmas spirit with Seattle!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Imagine all the people, living life at peace

Dear Mr. Balding 40-something Overgrown Frat Boy with Cell Phone Earpiece:

I was so pleased to meet you today at Crossroads Mall, when you pulled out in front of my car to make an illegal U-turn, stopping two lanes of traffic. I understand that it must have been horribly inconvenient for your phone call to be interrupted by my horn honking.

I'm sorry I couldn't step out of my car like you asked, to kiss the boo-boo on your middle finger. Since it was cold out and my windows were up, I couldn't hear the enthusiastic holiday greetings you were yelling at me. Merry Christmas to you too, sir. I hope Santa finally brings you that brain cell.

I suggest taking a course in Effective Communication at your alma mater, FU.


Monday, December 12, 2005

See, hear, feel the real thing

Hey! I've been quoted on the LibraryThing buzz page. Too cool. Maybe a zillion people will now read my blog. Then again, maybe not :)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm headed for who knows where

Ok, whaddya think about the new look? The pink was too much, too syrupy, like that cotton candy you bought and took one bite, and was instantly sick of it. I'm back to the original design, with a slight change in color for the holidays. I guess I'm really a simple girl at heart.

This is too much fun.

Now it's really time for bed.

Don't ask the past to last

TJ pointed out I haven't written in a while. He doesn't usually read my blog, so that surprised me. Of course, then I realized that in 2 short weeks he will be Unemployed Man. Yes, he finally quit the job that has been making him unhappy for the past 2 years. And I am proud of him for that - it takes a lot to walk away from a paycheck when you don't have the next one lined up. That's one of the nice things about being married (or for that matter, any committed relationship where you share money). One of us can quit our sucky job and take some time to find a new better one, without The Man coming to repossess The Peanut.

Here's a blog post about eeeevil Banana Republic that made me bust a gut laughing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I'm finally done with my wretched Technical Writing class, in which we did hardly any Technical Writing and a lot of English 101. I did well on my Writing Portfolio (yay) and got the highest score in the class for our last in-class writing exercise (impressive considering my total studying time was about 5 minutes). So I'll end up with a decent grade, but really, I'm just relieved to be done. It annoyed me way too much. I did appreciate practicing my writing and learning about visual design and a bit about writing instructions and process descriptions. But the class seemed just so much about "what does the professor want" and less about learning for its own sake. On the bright side, I am now much more thoughtful about the status reports and other writing I do at work. So it wasn't a total loss. I guess now that I am *choosing* to take classes, I have very high expectations. Yes, I'm *that* snotty student with the bad attitude.

I now have two new obsessions, stemming from my recent purchase of an older Xbox for a very low price from the Micronews, our classified ads site. The first is Dance Dance Revolution, something I've played on more than one occasion with Kristin, and once with Kristine as well in Las Vegas this summer. It's nice to be able to play in the privacy of one's own home, where embarassing acts of un-coordinated flailing around are hidden from everyone except Spike and Peanut who can't laugh at me because they're DOGS. I wouldn't go so far as to call it exercise but it beats sitting on the couch.

The second "game" I bought is Yourself! Fitness, which features a virtual personal trainer named Maya who gives you a different workout each time based on your fitness goals and performance on fitness evaluations. I hate working out so any unique gadget that gets me off my butt (one of those that doesn't fit into Banana Republic pants, see link above) is a good thing. My fitness evaluation and first workout with Maya went well today. Though she was pretty mean about making me do 2 minutes of jumping jacks. I also had to do 50 squats (aced that thanks to aforementioned butt) and 40 girl pushups (could barely do 20) for the eval. Ugh, I'm in so much worse shape than I was when working out with Nelson before the wedding. I hate to represent the cliche about married life! My next workout with Maya is tomorrow, for 30 minutes. I'm starting out slow since I'm really in that gym-hating frame of mind right now.

And I started following the Weight Watchers plan again (they should pay me now, for the amount of money I've spent there over the years!). Through empirical evidence, (yes, I know I'm slow to pick this up) I realize I actually need to change the way I always eat, not just go on a diet for some short term goal. So I'll never be able to eat "whatever I want", which is kind of sad, but just the way things are, I guess. Of course, if I ever get back to running, I can be a bit more lax about it. But alas, that time is not now.

I'm sort of happy to get back into this frame of mind before the other 10000000 people do this in a month. And I will probably avoid the gym for a while until that craziness subsides. Anyway, wish me luck (again). I can't believe I've undone all the good work I did earlier this year. It's amazing how quickly that happens. Next time I'll be smarter about it. (Lord knows, even lab rats learn from their experiences...)

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