Saturday, January 27, 2007

I made my baby cry

TJ is keeping his distance from me because I'm "nesting" this weekend. Every so often, I get the urge to move the furniture around, tackle house projects I've been procrastinating on, and try to conquer the clutter that creeps up on us when we're not paying attention.

Yesterday was a good start to this weekend.

I dropped off a bunch of stuff at Goodwill: a giant printer I got for free to use until Epson sent me a new printer because our old one died just after the warranty ran out, some ugly wine glasses I bought at Target, old clothes and shoes, and some random household stuff I wasn't able to sell at Microsoft or on Craig's List.

I also discovered that the brand-new Bellevue Goodwill store is an excellent place to get used books. Apparently Seattleites read really good books and then give them to Goodwill when they're done. I went through one half of an aisle and came home with 10 books for under $10. Most of the nice paperbacks (not the airport cheapy size, but the $12 size) were only 69 cents! Hardbacks are only $2 or $3. So I'll definitely go back there. The store is bright and clean and not in the least bit skeezy.

I returned the extra wall switch we didn't need from our remodeling project in the living room. Speaking of which, if you're in the market for a light fixture or ceiling fan, I highly recommend Lamps Plus. Their customer service is just unbelievable, both before and after you buy something from them. I thought I'd get hassled when I returned the switch, but I was out of the store in 5 minutes with a refund. Plus they get extra points for letting you return online purchases in-store.

I picked up drycleaning that was 3 weeks overdue, and bought lots of healthy food at Trader Joes to get me through the weekend. Sadly, the green dress I wore to Kristine's wedding didn't fare too well at the drycleaner. The beads were just glued on, so the trim got completely trashed when they cleaned the dress. Well, I knew drycleaning was an experiment - the tag said "spot clean only".

Note to self: do not buy throwaway cocktail dresses in the future. I was desperate to find something that fit. Technically I only needed the dress to get me through Kristine's wedding and the holiday season. But that's pretty wasteful. And obviously you can't wear the same dress too many times without having to clean the whole thing. I'm going to take it to the seamstress who does my alterations and find out if she can sew on something to cover up the damaged parts - a sari border would be perfect for this.

I posted some more of our pictures online. I've been going through each set, deleting the ones we don't want to keep, and fixing up the rest by cropping them, removing redeye, etc. I haven't done all of our old pics yet, and still need to post the really old ones, but at least now I've got the recent ones all done.

Here are the new pics:
December in Creath-land
Snowstorm 2007
Girls Gone Wild in DC

I hope you enjoy them! You can leave comments on them, and vote on the ones you like best.

And if you want to use Smugmug for your own pictures, you can use the discount code on my page. We have been very pleased with the site: no ads, doesn't require people to register to see your pictures, very easy to use, with unlimited storage.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm just a bill

I'm back from our nation's capital. It was a really fun, whirlwind trip. I stayed with Kristin in her very nice condo in Alexandria, which is a very neat town. I forgot how different the East Coast *looks*. Houses are brick and pointy and OLD. Oh, and the sun comes out there.

We had a great time eating and shopping and spa-ing. I also saw Kristine almost every day I was out there, which was great, and saw Asha a few times as well. I didn't get to meet Beanie, Asha and Sanjay's dog, but I guess I'll do that next time.

I took Kristin out for her birthday to Restaurant Eve. Go there. Get any one of the drinks from the special cocktail menu. That bartender is amazing. I had a Black Currant fizz that tasted like flowers and an interesting lemon-licorice concoction. Yum.

Dessert was actually not great, but the rest of the meal more than made up for it. We had a five course tasting menu which was more like 9 courses when you count the amuse bouche, the sorbet, random chocolaty truffle things, etc.

And then we tried to get into the oh so cool "secret" speakeasy bar, PX. And got rejected. Twice. There's a secret password, and apparently I just wasn't getting it right that night. I guess they're too cool for me. From the link here, I guess I was supposed to tell them we had a reservation. Not sure if you were supposed to lie about it. Hmmm, I guess I should have done some Googling before we went there. I mean Windows Live Searching. Whatever.

Kristin and I caught up with Delwyn, a college friend we hadn't seen in about 15 years and met his fiance Christy (sp?) as well. They were fun. We had a lot of drinks, then called it a night.

The next night was Asha's surprise birthday dinner for her husband Sanjay. He was really surprised to see us all there. I also got to see Asha's brother Ashok and his wife Larissa, so the "catching up with people" quotient was high on this trip.

And of course Kristin and I marathon shopped. On multiple days. I am now the proud owner of four (!) new pairs of shoes and a nice digital Kenneth Cole watch.

And then I tried to go home. About 2 hours before my flight it started to snow. Hard. By the time I boarded the plane, the snow was piling up and we had to be de-iced 3 times. We finally took off about an hour and a half late. Annoying, but not awful, since I was in the first row of coach, with no one sitting beside me. Probably the best seat I could have had in coach, so I'm not complaining! It was a loooong flight.

But now I'm home, and settling back into the usual routine, which includes going back to Phase I of the phenomenally successful Fat Smash. The first 8 days (horrible cheating on the 9th) worked really well. YAY!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I never meant to do you wrong

Ick, I feel really bad today. It snowed a lot yesterday so we decided to take the dogs to the park for some dog fun in the snow.

I found out that Peanut was interested in snowballs. I'd throw them and he'd run off in that same direction, and then look confused when he couldn't find them after they hit the ground and fell apart. It was hilarious.

And then I threw one up in the air, over his head. He jumped up to catch it, and then landed on his back. It looked awful. But because he's the Peanut, he just got up, limped a little, and then a few min later, walked around fine.

So we thought he might just be sore, but mostly ok. Then at home he took a nap (as usual) and when he got up he was limping again. Spike already had a vet appointment today (for a regular procedure we do not discuss in polite company) so we asked if we could bring Peanut in too.

The doctor looked at him, poked at his knee and said she felt some swelling there. Sad. She prescribed some Rimadyl (which, to make matters worse, has some nasty side effects in a small percentage of dogs) and told us to keep him as still as possible for the next week. If he's still limping in a week, they need to do XRays under sedation. Big dogs run the risk of tearing their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) just like football players. She suspects that if he doesn't get better in a week. And the treatment for that is a major surgery. Peanut's friend Ginger has had that surgery twice since there's a huge chance that the second ligament tears after the first one.

I feel so awful about it. I shouldn't have thrown that stupid snowball up high like that. But I guess we'll just take it day by day and hope it's just a sprain.

Norman is coming over tonight - he's Aunt Susie's fuzzy gray dog, and normally, he and Peanut would have a good time wrestling. But this weekend will be a quiet one. Maybe Spike will play with him. Poor Peanut.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm so delicious

It's snowing and we have no TV. Thus I will post again.

I made thairchadham today for dinner. Translation for everyone else except my parents: rice, yogurt, and some toasted spices (mustard seeds, urad dal, asafetida) all mixed together. It took about 5 minutes to make since I used my favorite Trader Joe's microwave brown rice. And on a side note, does Wikipedia rock your world or what? They have an entry on *everything*!

So yummy, and completely allowed within the confines of The New Plan. Another successful day! Except for that teeny, tiny slice of homemade King CakeI had, thanks to a coworker's wife.

Today has been a pretty good food day. Except for my obscene craving for a Kidd Valley cheeseburger. Probably only because I'm specifically *not* supposed to have it.

It's the end of the world as we know it

TJ is convinced that the Apocalypse is upon us. For the second time this year, we got serious snow in Seattle. Right at rush hour, conveniently. There's about 2-3 inches on the ground (I know my East Coast friends are laughing about this "serious" snowfall) and people are abandoning their cars all over the roads and the traffic is horrendous.

TJ and I were smart this time and just walked home. Neither of us had our winter coats at work today but I had my gym clothes and a big sweater, and he had a very heavy flannel shirt and boots on. So it wasn't too bad. Kind of quiet, very pretty and much more relaxing than being stuck in traffic for 45 min trying to drive 1 mile.

I hope to get some good pictures of the house and dogs in the snow, especially since TJ hates the pictures I got of Peanut in the snow a few years ago.

And just in time for all this crappy weather, I got an amazing invitation from Kristin. Her family is going on a Caribbean cruise in April and she invited me. YAY! It starts and ends in Puerto Rico and goes to Martinique, Guadeloupe and St Kitts. I am soooo excited. I think Kristin and I will spend a couple of days before the cruise hanging out in Puerto Rico, which is lucky for me since Kristin actually speaks Spanish. YAY!

Now I'm just waiting for Alaska Airlines to find me a way to use my frequent flier miles for the airfare since Delta Airlines is being bratty about it. (Their program sucks - you can never use their miles unless you're willing to use double. Their "Saver" award is a scam.)

So now I need to figure out how to work some extra hours so I don't blow half my vacation by early April! I guess I might start working half days on Thursdays for the next couple of months.

Yay for vacations to warm places.

Monday, January 08, 2007

You're the one that I want, ooh ooh ooh

You have no idea how much self-control it's taking me not to watch the TV reality show where you get to vote for a new cast for the musical Grease. It does help that the only working TV we have is in the dog/exercise room, which smells like wet dog all winter. Not exactly a comfy place to sit and watch TV, though TJ does it. (Our couch is wedged in there sideways while we work on our real living room so if you want to watch TV together you have to sit on the couch like you're in a bobsled.)

I'm much happier today then when I wrote my last post. Yay mood swings! But part of that is due to the unexplained 3.5 lbs I've lost in the last week - I'm hoping that's the obsessive water drinking finally catching up, and part of it is that I *think* (fingers crossed!) that I actually found an eating plan that I can live with for the rest of my life. Seriously. I read a lot of diet/nutrition books and magazines. I've tried a lot of different things (South Beach and the Pro Club 20/20 being tied for my least favorites). But I kept looking for that elusive "diet" that wouldn't feel like a diet, where I wouldn't be thinking about the time that I could stop "dieting" and just eat whatever the hell I wanted.

I picked up Dr. Ian Smith's "Fat Smash Diet" book on Sunday. (After walking 30 min to the bookstore to get it!) Because it's the diet they use on Celebrity Fit Club (awful show) it was placed front and center on the New Diet Books table. But if you look beyond the cheesiness of the title and its background, it's an amazingly sane way to eat. And it fits exactly with the stuff I like to eat/usually eat.

The first 9 days is a "Detox" phase, which is a concept I don't believe in, but it's sort of a jumpstart to the rest of the program. For a "Phase 1" it's surprisingly easy to follow. I lasted about 2 days on South Beach, so this is high praise coming from me. I can eat as much fruit, veggies and beans as I want (even corn and peas and sweet potatoes), and can have 2c nf milk, a couple of yogurts, 4 eggwhites, 2c brown rice, and a cup of oatmeal each day. That's a lot of food. And all of those are things I eat anyway. I imagine for people who are meat eaters, this phase is difficult. Or those who eat a lot of sweets or drink a lot of coffee or soda.

The only things that I'm not "allowed" to eat, that will be hard for me, are cheese and bread/crackers/pretzels/cereal. But for 9 days? I can do that. Day 1 was a stunning success, and I didn't even eat all of those things I was "allowed" to have. I had dinner plans with Jasmine, and luckily we picked an amazing Thai restaurant that serves brown rice. Woo hoo. I think I actually like brown rice better than white rice. It rocks my world.

The dinner didn't quite follow the letter of the diet since I'm not supposed to have the amt of oil used in the stirfry, but I didn't want to cancel my plans with her. So no more eating out for the rest of the 9 days.

I went to the grocery store and stocked up on fruit, yogurt, and veggies for the next 8 days. I'm excited about this diet because it meets my requirements:

1. No counting (points, calories, etc.)
2. No restrictions I can't live with (ie complete elimination of carbs)
3. Lets me have my morning breakfast of banana and oatmeal
4. Is something I can see myself doing long term. Seriously.

The next three phases involve adding things back like whole grain bread, cereal, cheese, and occasional (daily!) treats. The idea is to slowly change your habits over 90 days so that you can maintain this as a lifestyle change and not just a short term fix.

I know, it all sounds good, and like a great first date this might turn out to be a stalker or just plain annoying in the end, but right now I'm very happy with my new plan. Ask me again after the 9 days are up.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You got me so I don't know what I'm doin'

Happy New Year! I've been feeling sort of bleh lately and haven't been motivated to post. I've been frustrated by my lack of progress losing weight. Some of you might have noticed I stopped posting on my other blog.

I'm still in the Sound Health Solutions program, but to be honest, I am not doing a very good job taking advantage of it. I'm having a hard time accepting that I won't lose weight just by working out a couple of times a week with my trainer, plus some haphazard cardio, and sort of vaguely watching what I eat. That may have worked in my early 20s, but now I've got a slower metabolism and in general, a more sedentary lifestyle.

And I've been grumpy about it. Which is dumb. My inner monologue has gone all whiny on me - "why can't I eat grilled cheese and french fries 3x a week for dinner? is that one donut really going to make a difference? do i have to work out today? i'm so tired. but it's new year's/kwanzaa/Peanut's birthday, so I can eat what I want, right?"

And all I want to do is wear one of my many pairs of sweats and play online poker. (Which is fun, by the way. I've been playing on MSN for free.) And of course, that doesn't really help matters. I'm sick of it. I know I was happier with myself for the 5 minutes in 1999 when I was actually a healthy weight.

But just wishing for something doesn't make it happen. I should know that, having busted my ass at Caltech, then at Deloitte and now at Microsoft. It's so weird that weight loss is the one thing that stumps me. It's not rocket science. But it does require sustained good choices, and lots of hard work for a long time, with a payoff far in the future. And not surprisingly that's hard for me (Ms. Instant Gratification) to deal with.

A few weeks ago, I had one of the counseling sessions that comes with the Sound Health program. I went in rather closeminded about it. After all, I don't eat emotionally and have really had an easy (and happy) life. So what could a shrink really do for me?

But the weird thing was, Dr. Steve made an impression on me. He did most of the talking, so it was more of a learning opportunity for me, which made me more comfortable. He talked about Tibetan Buddhist sand paintings. Some Buddhist monks place each grain of sand individually (I don't know if this is really true) but they have to make a decision - use this grain in the painting, or toss it behind into a trash pile. If too much goes into the trash pile, then there isn't enough for the painting and the painting won't be as elaborate (or finished).

This is a simple metaphor for the everyday choices I have with food and exercise. Each one contributes a tiny bit to losing weight, not enough to make a huge difference, but a lot of bad choices (or choosing not to do the right thing) are going to end up affecting the end goal. Somehow that was an effective metaphor for me. Especially because a lot of the choices I make are when I'm too hungry or too tired to really focus and make the right choice.

So here's to 2007 filled with many more good choices than bad ones!

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