February 27, 2009

Wordpress Wary

Haiku Friday

Have you noticed it?
The identity crisis
that my blog suffers?

Lately, I have made
changes to backgrounds, headers,
colors, layout, look.

The way it looks, it
hasn't made me happy so
I keep changing it

Wordpress lurks, peeking
at me around a corner -
I know it wants me

But I am afraid
Do I have the brains for it?
Technology fright!

Okay, so here's the thing. Clearly, as you can tell by my changing header and background, I am not happy with the appearance of my blog. There are things I want to do with the design that I can't really do here. Wordpress has some cool features, and my husband thinks I should make the switch. But... well, I admit it, I'm afraid. It's more complicated and more techy than blogger, which is pretty close to point and click. But I feel like if I switch, I can make my blog more my own, does that even make sense?

I have questions, and I don't really know the answers. So, here is my cry for help - if you use Wordpress or have switched to it from another blog, let me know if you have any advice or answers for me!

Is there a way to have categories on Wordpress like I have labels on Blogger? When you import a blog to WP it automatically converts the labels into tags, which when you click them will take you to all WP posts with that tag instead of just YOUR posts with that tag.

What exactly does it mean to self host? What is involved in that?

How much do you really have to know to create your own WP template? Is it easy to learn?

What are the biggest advantages of switching or not?

To read more Friday Haikus, click here.
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February 26, 2009

WW Week 4 Update

Current Weight: 263.6
+/- this week: 0
+/- total: -3.6
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

So, went to my 2nd meeting with my Mom this week. It's fun to be doing this together, it's just even more support and it is a fun shared experience. This week, my weigh in was flat. I didn't gain weight, which is good, but I also didn't lose anything.

I am staying within my points, and not using all of my weekly points. But I definitely slipped a little bit in the last week of eating enough fruit. I'm still trying to get used to the changes, and I know it takes time. I know I need to eat healthier foods, and definitely need to work more filling foods into my diet. I am also having trouble getting the 3 servings of milk I'm supposed to drink, so I bought some chocolate mix at WW and it is delicious.

I definitely need to exercise more, my goal last week was to go to the gym 3 times, and I only went once. My goal this week is to go to the gym at least 2 times and to do the Wii Fit 4 times. So we'll see how that goes.

Last night, Justin made pizza and it was delicious. He did the crust & sauce then put TONS of green peppers, onion and green onion on it then cheese and some pepperoni. It was a lot of veggies, and I'm not really used to that, but it was super good. I like it that we can still eat things we like, just with modifications.

Well, I need to go get ready and get Justin from work then go get Sam from the babysitter. I will make sure to do my updates on time!
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My Target is Target


One of my favorite bloggers, Auds over at Barking Mad, is running a super cool contest right now. Not only could I be a winner, but she is giving away the prize of prizes - a $250 gift certificate to TARGET! Who would not LOVE to win that? Seriously.

The best part is that all you have to do to enter is to make a post about the contest, and tell Auds about your best posts. According to Auds, "The idea behind the contest came from me surfing so many new blogs and really enjoying what I was reading, but yet wanting to get to know the writer/blogger better. Anyhow, I thought this would be a cool way to show off your best and share it with other people too!"

And, if you're a little crazy like me, maybe you'll find some awesome new blogs to add to your feedreader, because obviously you ALWAYS need new things to read.

Without further ado, here are my favorites...

Prosthetic Scrotums & Other Things That Annoyed Me This Week

An Amazing Life in Descent
A Perfect Moment
My Future, My Hope
You Are My Peace

Hope you enjoy them, now head over to Barking Mad to read some more great posts and enter to win, if you want to!
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13 Things Making Me Smile

I haven't done the Thursday Thirteen for a little while, but this week I had some little bites I wanted to post about, and this seemed like the perfect way! So, I present...

Thirteen Things Making Me Smile Lately

1. I wasn't that happy last night when it snowed like 5 inches, but seeing all the snow with the sun shining down so bright on it is gorgeous. Wish my camera wasn't broken so I could take some pictures!

2. Dennis Leary as Diego the Saber-tooth Tiger in the Ice Age movies.

3. My best friend's 15 month old daughter not only recognizes me now, but comes to me and holds up her arms to ask me to pick her up. Melt my heart!

4. Finally getting a Wii Fit - every store in Bellingham was sold out, but we made a trip down south last weekend, and they had a bunch at Frye's. I haven't played it that much yet, but it's pretty awesome (and kicks my butt).

5. People complimenting my knitting and asking if I would make things for them! Last week Justin wore a scarf I made to work, and the women at one of the places he does IT asked about them and they want me to make scarfs for them to buy from me!

6. Ben Stiller spoofing Joaquin Phoenix at the Oscars. Freaking hilarious. Also, Judd Apatow's little short film with Seth Rogan and James Franco. But could someone please explain to me WHY Hugh Jackman and Beyonce did that weird ass tribute to musicals? Then a weird cameo by Zac and Vanessa and the people from Abba? WTF man?

7. My fleece sheets. I know, I know, I've talked about them before, but they are just THAT GOOD. Seriously, getting in bed at night is so freaking cozy and soft. LOVE THEM.

8. Talking to my sister. The other day my sister called me and we talked on the phone for like half an hour. She lives about 1.5 hours south of me and I don't see her as much as I would like. We don't talk on the phone that often, but when we do, I just feel so happy afterwards. She's 2 years younger than me, and I feel so blessed to have a sister who I've been able to be so close to!

9. Seeing my sister-in-law (even though it makes me sad we don't live closer together). She and my brother-in-law and their 2 kids live a little over 2 hours south of us, and I only see her a few times a year. I really wish we lived closer together, because she's really awesome and we have a lot in common. My brother-in-law is in the military, and when he's done his residency he'll have to serve for a few years (he's a doctor), but I'm hoping after that they'll be able to move back to Bellingham so we can see each other more.

10. Getting a random text message last night from my friend Xotchil who lives in Portland and touching bases with her.

11. Sam randomly pulling out words we haven't heard, like the other day when I said Thank You and he said 'You're Welcome'.

12. The new season of LOST. Seriously. I love it so.

13. Making my own cards. I love going to Michael's and getting blank cards and scrapbooking stickers and making my own stationary and blank cards and thank you cards to send out.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

This is my 8th time doing the Thursday Thirteen - you can join me! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

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Top Chef NY: FINALE

So, obviously I missed last week's post because our computer was down and I wasn't able to use our DVR for several days. I was sort of sad to see Fabio go, but Carla & Hosea were my favorites, so I'm happy about that. I'm rooting for Carla because I have just fallen in love with her! I have come to love her crazy eyes, and sort of just want to be her friend.

The finale was last night, and I've dropped Sam off at the babysitter and am ready to watch! I can't wait to see what happens.

At this point Stefan is bugging the shit out of me. He's so smug, why does he have to be so jerky? I hope his ego bites him in the ass.

When they brought out the past contestants, I thought 2 things. 1. I love Richard! and 2. Team Stefan/Marcel? Nightmare! I would have loved Carla & Richard paired up, but Casey will do.

And RIGHT AWAY Hosea & Stefan are getting in a fight. I don't know who was in the right there, Hosea did offer to split it, and Stefan turned him down, so his loss.

I love that Stefan asked the voodoo tarot lady about Jamie! How funny.

When they arrive the next day there is Tom with some crazy ass ingredients. They are now ADDING a course, increasing the time crunch... and they have to make an appetizer out of crab, redfish or alligator. Hosea found the baby, so he got to choose, and I just KNEW he would stick Stefan with the alligator. Of COURSE! I think their bald-guy rivalry is pretty funny. Not only did Stefan have to cook with alligator, he had to figure out how to butcher it and what part to use.

I was so rooting for Carla, I didn't like it that the appetizer thing was tripping her up because she needs to get in gear! I was sort of surprised that Stefan chose to do a dessert. I get what he said though - when he has a three course dinner, he wants a dessert! I wasn't that impressed by the description, but we'll see during service. I wasn't as surprised to see Carla do something sweet, because she has background in it, and she was sticking with how the traditional French menu works.

I loved the presentation of Hosea's appetizers on the little glasses. They looked really pretty! So far, things are going well for Hosea. Stefan made a soup with the alligator and... they liked it! I think that once you get to the finale, if you cook ANY dish that people don't like, you are kind of screwed. They should like everything, and they should have to choose between what's BEST. So far, so good on that front.

First course, all fish dishes. Hosea's dish seemed to be missing seasoning, Ti said that it looked pretty, but didn't pop. Carla's dish seemed to be the favorite in this round.

Second course, squab, steak, and scallops. I'm bummed that Carla's steak was tough because she used a different cooking technique than she was going to. She should have stuck to what she was going to do. They liked Stefan's squab, and Hosea's dish. It seemed like Carla was the bottom in this round.

Third course, two desserts and vennison. I don't fault Hosea at all for not making a dessert - if that's not your forte, why would he do it? I wish that Carla had stuck with her tarts. I'm totally bummed that her souffle got messed up. She decided not to serve it. I could feel her pain, it just sucked. Stefan's dessert looked so pretty I wanted to reach into the TV and grab it and eat it. I wish that she hadn't said anything about the souffle and had just let them decide if they liked it or not. But then, it's true what Gail said, at least they had an explanation for why the dish looked like that. Hosea's dish also looked very good! The blackberries on the plate looked gorgeous. I love that Fabio had to say that he liked Hosea's dish better.

At this point, it looks like it's between Hosea and Stefan, which makes me sad. I really wanted Carla to take it, but I'm kind of leaning towards Hosea winning now.

Judges Table finally comes. I wish that Carla hadn't let Casey influence her menu so much. She should have stuck with her original ideas. Like Tom said, it seemed like she let Casey talk her out of cooking the food that got her to the finale. I love the emotion that Carla showed durng the judging, because I would totally be like that too. And then Stefan started getting all emotional, which was awesome.

And the winner is... HOSEA! YAY! I was rooting for Carla, but Hosea was DEFINITELY my 2nd choice.
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February 25, 2009

Bedtime Blues: Toddler Edition

I am really hating this transition to the big boy bed. It is physically painful to me to sit in the living room (RIGHT around the corner from where he is, because our house is the size of a VW Van) and listen to him cry and say "Mama come back". I absolutely hate it.

Right now he is standing only a short distance away from me, seperated by a while crying and saying "come on, come on". I can see him in the mirror behind me, his bedroom door doesn't have a lock on it or anything. He doesn't always open the door, but tonight he did. We have a gate up in the doorway so even if he opens the door he can't come out into the rest of the house. Justin just went in there and I could hear Sam telling him to "lay down". Justin is going to lay with him for one song, maybe I will get a 2 minute rest from the crying, but I fear that once Justin comes back out, it'll just be more crying and begging.

It sucks so much that I have a hard time putting it in words, and some nights I find myself with tears in my eyes.

At the same time, I know that laying in his bed with him every night until he falls asleep is not a good option. It might be easier, sometimes. But it also means I get less time to myself after Sam goes to bed because I'm laying in there with him, and then I'm so tired when I come out that I don't really get anything done. Since he got the bed, we haven't been strict about it, but it's time.
We need to be able to tuck him in and leave him to put himself to sleep because it really affects what happens when he wakes up in the middle of the night. If he has been going to be on his own, he can sooth himself and put himself back to sleep when he wakes up during the night. The nights I fall alseep in bed with him, he wants me to come in and lie with him until he falls asleep again in the middle of the night.

It's harder for me than for Justin, he's more able to look at it logically and knows there's an end goal in sight.

We've been here before. We've done cry-it-out before and it worked. I know that if we keep this up for a couple of weeks, it will most likely even out, he'll start going to bed on his own and it will be completely awesome.

Justin just came back out, and all is quiet. Maybe he's going to sleep on his own. In the long run, it's not a huge trama. It's just that it's hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel while I listen to my baby crying.
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February 23, 2009

Wii Are Having Fun!

On Saturday, Justin and I got a little time off from the kid and we stopped at Frye's down in Seattle. Frye's is a freaking ginormous electronics store. It's kind of like Best Buy but with more of everything and more technical stuff, tons of computer parts, appliances, DVDs, office furniture, books, movies, and random other stuff. We were there for over 2 hours and by the time we left I was completely EXHAUSTED. But...

I finally got a Wii Fit! I have been wanting one for a while because I've heard it's good and that it's fun, and I thought it would be really good for those days when I can't get to the gym, or don't get out. I can do it after Sam goes to bed at night, in my house, and still get in at least my 30 minutes of activity for the day.

So the night after we got it, we came home and I hooked it up and popped the game disc in. It weighed me and was very accurate. It's funny because after it weighs you it makes your little character fat. Ha! So basically, it comes with a balance board that you stand on. It can weigh you and tell where your center of balance is by how much weight you're putting on which foot on the board.

The Wii Fit comes with 4 types of exercise - Aerobic, Strength Training, Balance and Yoga. The Aerobic includes things like hula hooping and running in place, Strength Training includes things like pushups etc, Balance includes games where you have to place weight differently on each foot and Yoga has different yoga positions that you do while also working on your center of balance to make sure you're putting weight in the right places.

It's fun, yes, but do you know what was most surprising? It's freaking HARD! After three minutes of doing the hula hooping, I was totally sweating and breathing hard already. I like it a lot so far, because it's fun but it's definitely exercise. I did all of the yoga poses in there, and was surprised at how hard it was, but also how calming it can be. I've never done yoga today, and I'm excited about doing more of it. As you play and get higher scores, you unlock new games/yoga positions/aerobic activities etc.

So, here's to the beginning of a wonderful relationship with my gaming system! Who ever thought you'd see that on a weight loss blog?
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Smooth Away?

So, if you've got a television set, you've surely seen it. One of the latest additions to Oxy Clean, Mighty Putty, and the Snuggie. SMOOTH AWAY. It looks like a giant nail buffer, and it claims that it will remove the hair from your legs without the hassle of shaving. Here, take a look:
The first time I saw the infomercial, it was one of thsoe things. I saw it, and I wanted it. I don't buy things from the TV, but I decided that if they got them in at Walgreens on their "As seen on TV" shelf, I'd try it. Mostly because it wasn't pricy and I just ALWAYS wonder if these things can actually do what they claim and work.



I bought my Smooth Away last week. It comes in a little foldup plastic pouch, the small and large smoothers and the 'crystalized' pads. They look sort of like a nail file, but are smooth to the touch. They're not even as rough as an emory board. In fact, touching it with your fingers, you kind of wonder how it could possibly work.


Now, I admit that when I started, my hair was... well, let's just say it was significantly longer than the 1/4" that's recommended in the instructions (shut up, it's winter). So I started buffing. Clockwise, then counter clockwise. The instructions say 3 times each way, but I found that with the length of my hair, I needed more than 6 rotations in some areas.


The end result? My legs were smooth, but not quite as smooth as with a shave. If I ran my hands down towards my ankles, they felt perfectly smooth, but if I ran them against the grain of the hair, I could feel stubbly-ness. I couldn't SEE anything, but I could feel it.


I did do some research beforehand, and I found mixed reviews. Some people liked it, some thought it was somewhat painful. When I was done, I did have one area where my skin was irritated. It basically felt like a rug burn, not horrible, but it was an area that I did towards the end, and maybe rubbed a little too long or a little too hard.


In the end, I was satisfied. Here's what I think:


  • It would be a good product for summer, when you need to keep your legs smooth for skirt and shorts wearing.

  • I think it would be great for people who need to remove hair from their face. It is gentle enough and would be easier than shaving in that area.

  • I'm not sure about the bikini area. You have to keep the whole area dry, so that could possibly be a little difficult. I guess because the area is usually pretty sensitive I'd be a little wary of using it there. Who knows though... maybe I'll try it later and let you know.

  • If you have sensitive skin, I would not try it. It's not worth the risk, and it could just end up really irritating your skin.

  • It's not quick. In fact, it's possible it takes longer than shaving. But... you can't shave in front of the TV, can you?

I guess it's a trade off. It seems to work fine, but I don't know that I would say that it's BETTER than just trusting the handy old razor. It seem like just another equal option for the most part.

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February 20, 2009

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

"There were all kinds of stories told about the war that made it sound as if it was happening in a faraway and different land." So begins the memoirs of Ishmael Beah.

Born in Sierra Leone in 1980, Beah is the same age as me, but has been through things in his lifetime that I cannot even bear to imagine. I picked this book up over a year ago, probably fairly close to the time I saw Blood Diamond in the theater and my heart was wrenched by the idea that in this time, there are still child soldiers trained to fight in this world.

From the very beginning of the book, I felt a connection to Beah, his voice was strong and steady and drew me in immediately to his story. The book begins when he is 12 years old, and leaves home with his older brother and friend to participate in a talent show in a neighboring town. The had no idea that it would be the last time they saw their homes, and that they would soon be running from unspeakable violence with only the clothes on their backs and each other.

There are no characters in this story that make it all the way through. In Beah's life during those times people came and went, and the only constant is himself. He tells his story through his own eyes and through the things he remembers being said to him, voices of people in a nation that was under attach by it's own people trying to make sense out of the violence and heartache that fills their world.

Just before Beah and his companions are forced to start running for their lives, he talks about being in Mattru Jong as the townspeople start to desert the town to hide in the surrounding bush in fear of the rebels they know are coming.

"That night for the first time in my life I realized that it is the physical presence of people and their spirits that gives a town life. With the absence of so many people, the town became scary, thenight darker, and the silence unbearable agitating... The moon wasn't in the sky; the air was stiff, as if nature itself was afraid of what was happening."

As they run, Beah and his brother meet up with some other boys. Even as children, they faced harships trying to find food and shelter. People were terrified of a group of boys their age, because they were unsure if they were running from the violence, or perpetrating it as members of the rebel forces.

The turn that most surprised me is that Beah was taken and trained to be a soldier, at only 13 years old, not by the rebels attacking the government and the people, but by the soldiers who were supposedly defending the country. In all reality, there was not much difference. Soldiers and rebels alike killed many civilians, burned villages and were addicted to drugs. Despite the fact that they are being trained in the same kind of ruthless violence, they are trained to hate the other side. Beah remembers being told by his lieutenant...

"They [rebels] have lost everything that makes them human. They do not deserve to live. That is why we must kill every single on eof them. Think of it as destroying a great evil. It is the highest service you can perform for your country."

When he was 15 years old, UNICEF suddenly showed up, and Beah and several other boys were sent to be rehabilitated. Listening to him describe his feelings for these people who came to help him is heartbreaking in itself:

"Our faces followed teh lietenant as he walked to his house. Why had the lieutentant decided to give us up to these civilians? We thought that we were part of the war until the end. The squad had been our family. Now we were being taken away... I was beginning to get angry, anxious. I hadn't parted with my gun since the day I became a soldier."

Immediately upon being brought to the first center, a bloody fight breaks out between children rescued from the rebels, and children rescued from the government army. The violence is all they have, the hatred they have for each other is so ingrained that the change of setting doesn't matter.

Later during the healing process, Beah describes how he could not remember his life before the war:

"I would try desperately to think about my childhood, but I couldn't. The war memories had formed a barrier that I had to break in order to think about any moment in my life before the war."

This book is horrific and beautiful at once. At the same time we root for Beah, knowing he will find a new life, we think of the children he fought beside, and what their fates might be. I'm 28 years old, and up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea that this kind of thing was still going on. No idea that there are people my age who were put into these awful situations, that there are children less than 10 years older than my son who are handed AK-47s and taught how to slit a throat with a bayonette.

It's not for the faint of heart, but if you choose to take on this story, there is certainly something to be learned about the state of the world and teh human spirit. I've included several links below that relate to the story and to organizations dedicated to stopping the tragedy of children being trained to kill.

A Long Way Gone Official Website
UNICEF
Amnesty International: Child Soldiers
UN: Children & Armed Conflict
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Heartbreakingly Beautiful

Haiku Friday

The world is full of
amazing stories, they can
touch your heart daily

Ishmael Beah is
from Sierra Leone, now
lives here, in New York

Only thirteen, he
was trained to kill, ruthlessly
and without remorse

Threatened, he skirted
death many times, but he made
it, he survived it

Heartbreaking in it's
language, events, and in the
lives of his people

"There were all kinds of stories told about the war that made it sound as if it was happening in a faraway and different land." So begins the memoirs of Ishmael Beah.

Born in Sierra Leone in 1980, Beah is the same age as me, but has been through things in his lifetime that I cannot even bear to imagine. I picked this book up over a year ago, probably fairly close to the time I saw Blood Diamond in the theater and my heart was wrenched by the idea that in this time, there are still child soldiers trained to fight in this world.

To read more about Beah, and my review of his book, head over to SNOTW Presents.

To read more Haikus, click here!
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February 19, 2009

Coraline

As soon as I saw previews for Coraline, I wanted to see it. I read the book when it came out, my best friend is a big fan of Neil Gaiman, and I've enjoyed a couple of his books. I thought it was a great story, and I hadn't heard that there was a movie in production before I saw the previews in the theater a couple of months ago.

I'm a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and this movie was in a somewhat similar style, so I knew I'd like the visual aspect of it. My best friend and I went and saw it because we wanted to, but also so she could pre-screen it - she has a 5 year old son and a 7 year old daughter and they had expressed interested, but she wasn't sure if it would be appropriate for them.
This movie was almost worth the price of admission just to stare at Coraline beautiful, beautiful animated blue hair. I don't know what it was about it - the color, the texture, the shape - but I just couldn't stop staring at it and wishing that somehow my hair would look like that.

Beyond that, I really enjoyed it. I thought the style was great. It was a very creepy movie. I was a little creeped out by the music and some of the imagery, but in a fun, giggly, oh my gosh kind of way. However, if I had been a child I would definitely have been scared. We decided that it would definitely not be an 'in the theater' movie for my friend's kids - maybe when it comes out on DVD they can watch it on the small screen. I think it's probably more generally appropriate for kids who are 8 or 9 and older. There are exceptions to every rule of course, I'm just generalizing.

If you're a fan of different animation styles, or if you were a fan of Nightmare Before Christmas and/or Corpse Bride, I think you'd definitely enjoy this movie!
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The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I know I need to write something, but when I sit down in front of the computer at night, I'm just so tired. I get all these ideas during the day, I get inspired by things. But it's already 9 or 9:30 after Sam finally goes down. I am tired, worn out, and drained. I don't have a solution. I get one day a week to myself, when Sam is at the babysitter. Some weeks, I get almost the whole day to myself. I can write, read, do whatever. But other weeks, I don't. I have meetings, appointments, errands to run, and before I know it the whole day is gone and I don't feel relaxed or like I've really had a moment to myself.

Lately, I feel like I'm with Sam 24/7. I feel exhausted. Justin has been working long hours, half the time he doesn't get home until 6 or 6:30. He works at home. On the weekends, he sleeps in. I haven't slept in for a while. We try to split bedtime duties, so half the nights I end up in bed with Sam for a while. The transition to the big boy bed isn't easy, but that's a whole other post. Some nights I fall asleep in his bed, or end up there in the middle of the night. I wake up with a sore back and not feeling rested. Because of everything that's going on with my thyroid and hormones, I am fatigued. I feel tired during the day, and then at night I can barely bring myself to even cook something to eat for myself.

I don't know how to find a balance. I'm still looking for a job, and we need the money, but trying to think about how that can possibly fit in to my life and not make my head explode. I am completely overwhelmed. I don't know how to fix it.

Talking about it out loud brings tears to my eyes, and as I tell him how I'm feeling, I feel like an ass for being so emotional. I feel like I'm asking too much. He works so that we can survive. He doesn't get time off etiher. I feel selfish saying I feel like I'm not getting any time to myself, and that sometimes I feel like I'm losing myself. I feel selfish for feeling like my little boy is too much sometimes. I love him so much, if I think of motherhood as a burden for even a second then I feel like I'm failing.

I saw an endocrinologist the other day and she told me a lot of things. It felt great to be at a doctor giving me useful information about symptoms that I've been having and one of the things she mentioned during the conversation about my thyroid and fatigue is asking me if I felt like my creativity was hampered. I didn't know that could even be a symptom, but it makes me wonder if it's not just my body that's tired but my mind? I want so badly to write. I know that I have it in me, this passion, these things that I want to share. I know I have the potential to create something beautiful, but I just can't get it out. And it's God damn frustrating. Maybe there's hope, but waiting is just so hard.


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The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I know I need to write something, but when I sit down in front of the computer at night, I'm just so tired. I get all these ideas during the day, I get inspired by things. But it's already 9 or 9:30 after Sam finally goes down. I am tired, worn out, and drained. I don't have a solution. I get one day a week to myself, when Sam is at the babysitter. Some weeks, I get almost the whole day to myself. I can write, read, do whatever. But other weeks, I don't. I have meetings, appointments, errands to run, and before I know it the whole day is gone and I don't feel relaxed or like I've really had a moment to myself.

Lately, I feel like I'm with Sam 24/7. I feel exhausted. Justin has been working long hours, half the time he doesn't get home until 6 or 6:30. He works at home. On the weekends, he sleeps in. I haven't slept in for a while. We try to split bedtime duties, so half the nights I end up in bed with Sam for a while. The transition to the big boy bed isn't easy, but that's a whole other post. Some nights I fall asleep in his bed, or end up there in the middle of the night. I wake up with a sore back and not feeling rested. Because of everything that's going on with my thyroid and hormones, I am fatigued. I feel tired during the day, and then at night I can barely bring myself to even cook something to eat for myself.

I don't know how to find a balance. I'm still looking for a job, and we need the money, but trying to think about how that can possibly fit in to my life and not make my head explode. I am completely overwhelmed. I don't know how to fix it.

Talking about it out loud brings tears to my eyes, and as I tell him how I'm feeling, I feel like an ass for being so emotional. I feel like I'm asking too much. He works so that we can survive. He doesn't get time off etiher. I feel selfish saying I feel like I'm not getting any time to myself, and that sometimes I feel like I'm losing myself. I feel selfish for feeling like my little boy is too much sometimes. I love him so much, if I think of motherhood as a burden for even a second then I feel like I'm failing.

I saw an endocrinologist the other day and she told me a lot of things. It felt great to be at a doctor giving me useful information about symptoms that I've been having and one of the things she mentioned during the conversation about my thyroid and fatigue is asking me if I felt like my creativity was hampered. I didn't know that could even be a symptom, but it makes me wonder if it's not just my body that's tired but my mind? I want so badly to write. I know that I have it in me, this passion, these things that I want to share. I know I have the potential to create something beautiful, but I just can't get it out. And it's God damn frustrating. Maybe there's hope, but waiting is just so hard.
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February 18, 2009

WW Week 3 Update

Current Weight: 263.6
+/- this week: +0.6
+/- total: -3.6
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

Sorry I'm getting this up so late! I was a little bit disappointed after my week 3 weigh in. I gained 0.6 pounds. The thing is, it's very difficult when you're dealing with such small amounts. I mean, 0.6 pounds could be ANYTHING. It could be water weight, it could be how much I ate before the meeting vs. after the meeting. I also switched from Thursday meetings to Tuesday, so it wasn't even a week between meetings.

But I still felt a little discouraged about the weigh in. The day after though, I went on a walk around Lake Padden with my Mom. It's a 2.6 mile hike on dirt/gravel trails with some small hills, but nothing too hard. We took Sam with us, and he ended up only walking probably 0.6 miles, so we had to carry him the rest of the way. So basically, I walked 2.6 miles, 1 of which I was carrying a 30+ pound toddler on my shoulders. Talk about a workout! But it did make me feel good afterwards. Good and TIRED!

I know that tomorrow is another day, that next week is another weigh in and that it's not all going to happen at once. I will be really happy when my thyroid medication starts taking affect to see if that helps. The biggest change I need to make now is getting on track with my exercise.
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Push

When I first saw the previews for Push, the first words out of my mouth were "I saw that the first time, when it was called Heroes". Of course, that didn't mean I didn't want to see it. I am a pretty big fan of Dakota Fanning, so I'm automatically more likely to see something if she's in it. I've always been really impressed by her, and I'm eager to see what she'll do as she grows up.

I liked this movie. I liked it a lot actually! I am always looking out for a movie that actually has original ideas, something new. The plot was original, and Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans had a good chemistry - sort of a big brother/little sister thing going on. It wasn't a rip off of Heroes, it's a different world. In this world, there are several different powers but all are based on psychic ability (seeing the future, or pushing thoughts on people) or telekenisis (repairing injuries or controlling objects).

There was some interesting camerawork and I really liked the way they did some of the effects related to the psychic powers, particularly to the people able to move objects and repel objects.

It was a good story, the plot had twists, and I didn't know exactly what was going to happen in the end. The ending had enough closure, but definitely left things open for a possible sequel if the movie does well enough. If they make one, I'll definitely be there.
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I Know What You Did Last Weekend

Actually, I don't. Here's what I did.

I had a great weekend. Friday didn't start out great, in fact, I was having a kind of crappy day. But I knew I could look forward that evening to a visit from my best friend, her husband, and three kids from down in Seattle. Since it's easier for me to get down there, they don't get up this way as often. Plus the kids have school, and in all reality it's easier to take a trip with one toddler than two kids and a baby!

In any case, they came down and we made pizza, which was fun. It was so great to watch Sam play with her kids (her older daughter is almost 7, and her son is almost 5). Sam played SO well with them, and he was totally entertained by her son. They all played together and had a great time, and then after we got all the kids to bed, Violet and I went and saw Coraline.
On Saturday we went to downtown Bellingham and explored around and showed them part of where we live. We walked down and the kids played on the fountain down the steps from the museum, and then we had a yummy Mexican lunch together. We ended up back at the house hanging out before they headed home around 5:30.

It was just so much fun to have them visiting up here. Violet's my closest friend, and even though we're not great at keeping in touch by phone/e-mail, I've managed to see her pretty much every week since we moved back to Bellingham a year ago. It's really important to me to maintain that connection. I've known all of her kids since before they were born, and I love them almost as much as I love my own. Both Violet and her husband are only children, so Justin and I are sort of honorary Aunt/Uncle for her kids.

Sunday I went down to Seattle to go see Christopher Moore speak at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. Violet and I went and saw him speak there when his last book, "You Suck", came out, and there were easily twice as many people there this time. Word of mouth? I guess! He is a great author, and I've enjoyed his books. I didn't buy the new one, which is a retelling of the story of King Lear from the perspective of the Fool. I didn't buy it because it's still in hardback, but maybe I'll borrow it from Violet when she's done with it. We didn't stay to get our books signed because there were easily 400 people there and we didn't want to wait. That night we went and saw Push, then I drove home.

It was a good day. I have been feeling really overwhelmed lately, and even just having that drive time to myself was really good for me. I've got things to look forward to this week - two playdates, Weight WAtchers with my Mom, my day off on Thursday that will REALLY be a day off this week - no appointments or anything, and maybe trying out the Zumba class at the gym on Thursday night.

Now tell me, what DID you do last weekend? Did you get Monday off? I didn't, because guess what? I don't GET days off!
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February 17, 2009

Heads or Tails Tuesday: Legend

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is 'Legend'. When I hear Legend, I only think of one thing. It involves Tom Cruise, and unicorns. I have a unicorn... problem? Obsession? I have an enormous collection of all kinds of unicorn stuff, including a tattoo on my arm. This is probably the most famous unicorn movie aside from 'The Last Unicorn'. Here's a taste.



You know you want to see this awesome 80's movie now, because what could be better than unicorns and Tom Cruise before he went nutjob?

To read what Legend brought to mind for others, visit Heads or Tails Tuesday!
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February 16, 2009

Top Chef NY: Week 12 - "Tomorrow I will deal with nine fingers."

So, down to five and during this episode the top 4, who would be going to New Orleans for the finale, would be revealed. We are left with Carla, Stefan, Fabio, Hosea & Leah. Going in to the episode, I'm hoping that it's Leah who goes home, but you never know how the cookie will crumble on Top Chef.

Quickfire Challenge

I was excited to see Wylie Dufresne. I am really fascinated by molecular gastronomy and all of the kinds of things he's known to do with food, and with experimenting with new techniques. And... it's down to the eggs.

Create a dish with eggs. Seems pretty simple, but from what I've seen in the past, cooking a perfect egg is actually one of the great challenges of learning to be a chef.

I thought that Hosea's ideas were really interesting from the get-go, if he could pull them off. Doing things you've never done before can be a huge risk, because if you pull it off you look smart, but if you fail you just seem dumb for trying something you're not familiar with.

"I'm the tortise here" - Carla about her dish. She was so calm, instead of trying something really crazy, she was trying to do something simple, but perfect.

Carla and Stefan were the ones he liked, and the win went to Carla! At this point in the game, I think Carla is my favorite, and I'm rooting for her to win.

Elimination Challenge

Cook "The Last Meal" for a culinary master.

What an interesting challenge! It's not necessarily the most complex or hardest dishes, but cooking for some of the biggest names, and best palates in the field. Carla's advantage for winning the Quickfire was that she could swap meals with anyone else in the group.
I liked that they went to eat at Harold's restaurant (winner of first season of Top Chef). What a cool night out before finding out who is in the final four.

"It doesn't matter how good a cook you are, you make one mistake and you can go home." Hosea said that at the store, and it's so true. Just like Jamie last week, you never know who is going to stay and go. It depends on the meal you are cooking here and now.

Stefan was thinking very highly of himself with the salmon, that he's been doing it for years and cannot possibly mess it up. Carla was going with the philosophy that less is more.

Suddenly, there was a crash. Fabio broke his freaking finger. Good God! Right in the middle of the challenge. The medic asked if he wanted to go to the hospital. "Hospital? No. I'll chop it off and sear it on the grill to stop the bleeding, and tomorrow I will deal with nine finger." Dude, Fabio? Hardcore. I know it was a finger, but that crap hurts. Unfortunately, it did put him at a disadvantage throughout the challenge, because of course his hand was wrapped, and he couldn't move the way he normally does. I like him, and it sucked watching him struggle with it.
Tom Coliccio came into the kitchen and just said not to embarrass him. So, if they weren't feeling nervous already... they HAVE to be after that. The guest judge representing at judges table would be Jaques Pepin.

I like that even in the end they help each other get ready. It's one of the things I like about this show in particular, the chefs are almost always willing to help each other out, and it makes it more of a fair game. About the cooking, not the plating etc.

Wylie thought the egg whites were runny on his choice for a last meal. The judge that Stefan cooked for was FROM Sweden, so they both had the same idea. Unfortunately, they all thought the fish was overcooked. Poor Fabio had trouble cutting the chicken because of his hand. The judges really liked Fabio's dish, and the chef who picked it thought it was great. Jaques Pepin loved his squab that Carla cooked.

I agreed with Hosea, as a whole, they did a very good job with the challenge. Going into the judges table, I was thinking that Leah and Stefan would be in the bottom based on this challenge only.

"It's Top Chef, not Top Pussy", Fabio's remark about why and how he kept going after busting his hand. Way to go giving me the favorite quote of the episode AGAIN.

Then, judges table. I couldn't believe that Stefan's dish was so much in the bottom of the judging, after him throughout the competition. I don't know why they cared about Fabio's salad. Maybe it was less refined and to the point than if it hadn't had the salad. As for Carla's squab, since it was Pepin's dish and he really liked the squab, I think he should overrule anyone who thought it was overcooked. In the end, I was thinking that Carla and Fabio were definitely staying. It seemed like Stefan was going to go home, and I was honestly surprised. It really does go to show that it depends on THIS challenge.

In the end, Fabio won the challenge, broken finger and all! He also won a trip to a vineyard for 3 days, which was cool. I'm glad he's going to the finals, after all, who else will provide me with the best quotes every week?

Carla then did an impression of a tortise which was hilarious, but lead into ominous music and tension for Hosea, Stefan and Leah.

Who had to pack their knives and go? Leah. I can't say I was disappoitned. Hosea, Carla, Stefan & Fabio would go to New Orleans for the Top 4 Semifinals.
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Screw you, Thyroid, I got a new doctor!

I FINALLY had my appointment with the endocrinologist last Thursday. I have been looking forward to it for weeks, but when I got there and I got into the little room I found myself feeling nervous, and when she took my pulse it was elevated. I guess I just felt like I had so much riding on the appointment - what this doctor and medication will do for me has the potential to really change my life for the better.

The doctor was great. She was really nice and she spent a LOT of time talking to me. She asked me tons of questions, really listened to my history, and she gave me a ton of really good information. If you've had frustrating health issues/doctors, you'll understand how AMAZING it is when you finally discover a doctor who listens and give you relevant, useful information that makes sense and relates to what you've been experiencing.

There's no way for me to remember and repeat everything she said to me, but here are a few things:

1. Based on my tests etc, I am not at risk for diabetes right now. I don't have pre-diabetes and my glucose test was fine, so as long as I keep eating the way I have been, and start exercising, that's not even a concern. Whew... that's one of the things I was really pretty worried about because of my weight etc - one of my motivations for wanting to get healthier was to make sure that I didn't end up diabetic.

2. It is somewhat questionable whether I actually have PCOS right now. I have had symptoms consistant with it, but it's possible that the polysystic ovaries that I had were a result of being completely overdosed on Clomid. The other symptoms I've had could also relate to the thyroid or to Insulin Resistance.

3. I learned that Insulin Resistance can actually do a lot to mess with your cycles, so it's possible that my messed up cycles are actually related to or caused by that.

So, my current course of treatment is that she started me on Levoxyl for my thyroid. She gave me enough samples to last 2 months, and at the end of March I'm going to get bloodwork done again to check my levels. Adjustments will be made if necessary, and then more bloodwork. She said that sometimes even if the inital dose works, your body acclimates and starts using it faster, and you need a higher dose. Once we have the thyroid leveled out, THEN the doctor will decide if she wants to put me on Metformin for the Insulin Resistance, because that could help my cycles etc.

I am happy with it. I like the idea of treating one thing at a time and getting straightened out. She was very supportive of the Weight Watchers thing and of my wanting to exercise more, she said that once the medication starts to take effect I'll have more energy so I'll be more able to work out and be motivated to do that kind of thing.

I've been having a lot of symptoms, especially in the last month, related to feeling depressed/irritable and being snappy and having mood swings. We talked about those things, and they could all be related to my thyroid. At one point during the hour, she posed an interesting question to me, asking me basically if I felt that my creativity was stifled. I hadn't really thought about it as it's own symptom, but I've been having a hell of a time writing lately, and it's been very frustrating.

The Levoxyl will take at least 3-4 weeks to start making a noticable difference. I can't wait to see what happens. I'm hoping that big things are coming for me, including getting back on track with my writing and where I really want to be with that.
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Hurley Encourages Cannibalism

Thanks to the good folks at Sussing Out Lost, I just discovered that Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley on LOST, has his very own blog, Dispatches from the Island. Yes, I know that is it Jorge blogging and not Hurley, but I thought that it would be a funnier title if I wrote Hurley. I have only read five posts and have already realized that it is 1. hilarious and 2. awesome. I mean, look at this post, and then tell me that you don't want to keep reading:

Friday, February 6, 2009

I feel so disturbed

A wild pig showed up on set yesterday. And we noticed he had a wounded front leg. Now law of the jungle tells me that this pig is doomed. How will he be able to compete with the other wild pigs in the search for food? So when I finished work and was about to get into the van I tossed the pig the rest of my sandwich.

As the sandwich left my hand I realized, "Wait a minute! THERE'S HAM IN THAT SANDWICH!"
Turning back to the pig I saw no signs of the sandwich. This pig had no idea that I had just turned him into a cannibal. He was just hungry.

I will never be the same again.

Neither will he.
69 comments
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Dispatches from the Island - Jorge Garcia cracks me up

Thanks to the good folks at Sussing Out Lost, I just discovered that Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley on LOST, has his very own blog, Dispatches from the Island. I have only read five posts and have already realized that it is 1. hilarious and 2. awesome. I mean, look at this post, and then tell me that you don't want to keep reading:

Friday, February 6, 2009

I feel so disturbed

A wild pig showed up on set yesterday. And we noticed he had a wounded front leg. Now law of the jungle tells me that this pig is doomed. How will he be able to compete with the other wild pigs in the search for food? So when I finished work and was about to get into the van I tossed the pig the rest of my sandwich.

As the sandwich left my hand I realized, "Wait a minute! THERE'S HAM IN THAT SANDWICH!"
Turning back to the pig I saw no signs of the sandwich. This pig had no idea that I had just turned him into a cannibal. He was just hungry.

I will never be the same again.

Neither will he.
69 comments
[Continue reading...]

Stupidest Post Ever

Well, I'm really tired. I had an exciting weekend, but haven't had time to write about it yet. I promise there will be an actual, good post tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite stupid jokes for your entertainment....

What did the Zen master say to the hot dog vendor?

Make me one with everything.

__________

Why can't a bike stand on it's own?

Because it is two tired.

__________

Why couldn't the pony talk?

Because he was a little horse.

__________

Did you hear about the guy whose left side was cut off?

He's all right now.

__________

What did the grape say when it got stepped on?

Nothing, but it let out a little wine.

__________

And, one of my favorites:

A piece of rope walks into a bar.

The bartender says, "We don't serve your kind in here! Get out!".

The piece of rope, dejected, walks outside. He looks around and gets an idea. He ties himself in a knot and toussles his hair.

He walks back into the bar, and the bartender says "Hey, aren't you the same piece of rope I just kicked out of here?"

The rope looks at him, and says "Nope, I'm a frayed knot!"
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February 13, 2009

WW Week 2 Update

Current Weight: 263
+/- this week: -2.8
+/- total: -4.2
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150

I was really surprised to get weighed in at my third meeting to find out that I lost 2.8 more pounds last week! I didn't really expect to be able to lose anything before getting on the thyroid medication, but I guess I am eating much better than I used to, and even after only two weeks, I can tell that my diet affects how I feel. Eating so much fruit and vegetables not only makes me feel better physically, but mentally it makes me proud of myself for eating things that are more healthy for me.

I have to tell you, having such a good weigh in this week was sort of a push for me. I sort of feel like I've been pushed over the edge into hopefulness. Before now, I'm not sure how much I really thought that this might work. But after the last week, I really feel like I can do this. I feel like I'm on my way to being a healthy person, and being happier with myself and the way I live.

My goal this week was to go to the gym twice. I didn't make twice, but I did go once. I haven't been to the gym for over a year. I went and did the treadmill for a mile, about 30 min with warmup/warmdown. The rest of the time I had it set to 3 miles per hour, which is a good level to get me excercising at a moderate to high level. It felt really good... mentally! Physically it didn't feel great, it was really hard and my legs were a little sore. But I was really proud of myself for doing it. I didn't do any strength training because I wanted to get home since I got there later than I wanted to.

My goal for the next week is to exercise 3 times, and go to the gym at least twice. When I was there last week, I picked up a schedule for their classes - it's included in the cost of membership, and all the classes are drop in. I noticed they had a Zumba class, and I'd never heard of it but the description sounded interesting, and the next day Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil posted about it! The class is Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00 and I can't go next Tuesday, but I think I will try to make the Thursday class.

My Mom called me this week because she thinks she wants to join WW and do it with me. She's not really very overweight, but she said she has gained 20 pounds in the last 2 years, and according to charts her BMI is too high. Honestly, I was really surprised by that, but I guess I don't really see her naked! Lol. In any case, she wants to join not to lose a bunch of weight, but mroe to maintain and not gain any more. So, I'm going to switch to evening meetings so that we can go together, probably Tuesdays. We're going on Tuesday, so my next weekly update will be less than a week!
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For Valentines Day - A Different Kind of Love

Haiku Friday

I loved you before
you were born, I sang to you
and told you I did

"I love you", words I
whispered for the first time, in
a hospital room

"I love you" as I
rocked you, through first cries, first teeth,
baths, bites, steps, and falls.

"I love you" as you
grew, so tall, your face losing
pudge, becoming boy.

"I love you" as I
hold you while you watch favorite
shows, nuzzling your hair.

"I love you" as we
switch from crib to big bed,
changes as you grow.

"I love you" and then
one day, words I'd seen in your
eyes since you were small.

"I love you" and I
melt, hearing it the first time -
"I lubbu Mama."
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February 12, 2009

Octuplets? Not an option!

Well, everyone is talking about it. I haven't written anything here about the Suleman octuplets because I have a really hard time thinking about it. In fact, I don't think it would be too strong to say that I am enraged by the whole situation. There are SO MANY things wrong about the situation that I barely even know where to start.

In case you've been hiding in a closet, here are the facts:
  • Californian Nadia Suleman has had six in vitro fertilizations that resulted in four single-births, one set of twins and the octuplets.
  • All six IVF implantations were done by the same doctor.
  • Suleman is divorced and unemployed, and lives with her parents.
  • Supposedly she is planning to go back to school and finish her master's degree and work as a counselor.
  • The hospital stay for her six premature newborns will cost upwards of $1.5 million.
  • The California Medical Board is investigating the doctor who implanted the latest six embryos to see if there was a violation of the standard of care.
  • Suleman is collecting almost $500 a month in food stamps.
  • Three of her older children are disabled, and undoubtedly there will be some problems with the octuplets.
  • FOURTEEN CHILDREN UNDER EIGHT YEARS OLD.
This is such a hot mess that I don't even know where to begin. How about with this fuck-up of a doctor who decided he should implant her with six embryos when she already had six children, three of whom are disabled? I know that this is a controversial opinion, but I believe that if you are going to take the risk of implanting that many embryos, you need to be willing to do selective reduction if they all take. If you are not willing to do that, fine, don't get six embryos implanted at once. We never did IVF for many reasons, one of which being oh hells no, I did not want triplets. Twins, maybe. Triplets? Oh holy hell. Octuplets? NOT AN OPTION!

On a related note, who the fuck paid for all this IVF? It's $20,000 or more per IVF cycle. How did she get that much money? Wouldn't it have been more responsible to save some of the money she spent to take care of her younger children instead of being on food stamps and living with her parents? Beyond that, who is going to pick up this several million dollar bill for her hospital stay? She may be denying that she's on welfare now, but after she brings home her eight new babies? You bet your ASS that she is going to be on welfare soon.

AND... Loralee made a really good point:

"As for the father of her 14 kids, it is the same man. A friend who donated. So, what about her “donor-friend” and his responsibilities? This is not some anonymous guy who jerks off in a cup to help infertile couples or put himself through med school. This is someone who KNEW she already had SIX of his kids and somehow thought it was a good idea to keep it going, despite her history.

I remember a suit for child support of a sperm donor some time back and I totally disagreed with it. I feel with anonymous sperm bank donation, that responsibility ends there. THIS IS DIFFERENT. If she collects or tries to collect Medicaid or welfare, I absolutely think that they should go after this guy."

On to the pregnancy itself... I'm sorry, but there is a ton of risk involved in a multiples pregnancy. Twins or triplets are risky enough, but octuplets? She put her own life and the life of every single one of those eight babies at risk. How could you have six children, but put your health at risk that way?

This mother insists she is going to be able to take care of her children when she be a counselor. I'm wondering what type of counselor she is planning on becoming that she thinks she is going to make so much money?

I'm not against large families necessarily. There is nothing in me that at all understands WHY anyone would want to have 14, 18, 20 children. I would not want it. EVER. I have ONE, and sometimes I can barely even keep control here. There are certain aspects that I personally don't believe in - by having that many kids, the older kids are forced to act as caretakers, nannies, and surrogate parents to the younger children. It is impossible for two parents to take care of that many kids on their own.

However, you look at a family like the Duggars, and they are self sufficient. They own and run a successful business, they make their own clothes, they shop smartly, and all of their children were conceived naturally. I don't GET it, but whatever.

This is a completely different situation. This is a person who was unable to have children without having her eggs taken out, fertilized, and put back in. She chose to do that multiple times. She chose to put all of her children into a poor childhood. She chose to put them into a less than ideal living situation. She chose a path for her older children that will undoubtedly involve growing up too soon to help parent their younger siblings. She chose to saddle her parents with some of the responsibilities, which they will be forced to take on whether they like it or not.

It's irresponsible.

What do you think?
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February 11, 2009

Every drop

Thoughts come to me.

They pop into my head throughout the day. Sometimes I look off into space and think about how I could write it.

Like clay, I work and re-work the sentences, phrases and words in my head. I stretch them and add substance and prose and take away the bits that don't fit.

Often, I'm not in a place where I can do anything to record these thoughts. At a playgroup with Sam. Playing with him, or riding in the car with him.

I start to feel excited, and I can't wait for that time after Sam goes to bed when I can sit down with the laptop and just WRITE. I feel so full of ideas and the promise of these amazing posts fuels me.

But the day goes on. And on.

I get tired. I start to get irritable. Sam is climbing on me again, and all I want is some space of my own.

By the time he's in bed, I sit down at the computer.

And stare at a blank screen.

And wish that I could remember every single brilliant thought, every drop of passion, every tear in my eye and sigh in my lungs.

And for another night, it just escapes me.
[Continue reading...]

February 10, 2009

Top Chef NY: Week 11 - No Fabio, YOU rule in MY world!

And then there were 6. At the beginning of the show last week they showed Fabio talking on the phone to his wife, and then talking to the camera about how he needed to win. Do you know what that did? Totally convinced me that Fabio was going to be eliminated this week.

I found that this week I really couldn't figure out who was going to go, and in the end I was still a little surprised.

Quickfire Challenge

3 Round fish filleting tournament.

Round 1: 5 minutes to clean and butterfly sardines. Carla cracked me up, she was hilarious talking about the sardines, and telling them that they really didn't have to tell her what she did wrong because she was fully aware how bad hers looked. Carla & Jamie were out.

Round 2: Fillet an Arctic Char. During this challenge, Leah literally gave up. As in, she threw her hands up and said "I give up.". Out loud. WTF, Leah? That was really lame. Leah & Fabio were out in this round.

Round 3: Peel and fillet an eel. I couldn't deal with the fact that the eels were dead, but because of residual nervous system activity they were MOVING AROUND. Uck. Stefan won. By a lot. Hosea had never worked with eel before.


Elimination Challenge

Hey, here's a perfect opportunity to remind you of Rachael's Rule of Reality TV... there is never JUST an outing unless you've won it as a prize (ala outings with Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares). If you have done a quickfire, but not an elimination, and then they say they are going to surprise you with this nice meal, you bet your ASS this is going to turn into a challenge somehow.

They had their nice meal with Eric Ripert, and the challenge was to recreate one of Chef Riperts dishes. Stefan's advantage for winning the quickfire was that he got to choose which of the dishes he wanted to cook.

Poor Jamie pulled her least favorite of all the dishes to recreate. They had a tray with all the ingredients, so they weren't necessarily trying to figure out WHAT was in it, but how and in what quantities. It was nice that Ripert came through and tasted their dishes and gave them advice while they were cooking.

I liked watching Carla in this episode. She said she was in her comfort zone with the dish because she went to French cooking school. It was really cool to see her in her element, and comfortable with what she was doing.

During judging, it was cool how they showed the contestants dishes side by side with the real dishes to give a comparison. The judging started, and it wasn't all good. The looks on the judges faces when they were tasting Jamie's dish were just terrible! During the judging, I started to turn my eyes from Fabio to Hosea, and started to worry that he was going to be the one to get eliminated.

When they called in the top 3, I was disappointed. It was Fabio, Carla and Stefan. I was really worried at that point, because I was convinced they were going to send Hosea home. Stefan won the challenge, and he gets to go on a tour of Ripert's three restaurants and then to a food & wine festival with him.

Then it was time for Jamie to get judged. Padma said her dish "wasn't appetizing to look at or to eat." During thed judging of the final 3, it became clear that Jamie was going to be the one to go home. I was disappointed. I would have much rather seen Leah go, especially after her kind of bad attitude this week. I thought Jamie had a very gracious exit, and she seemed to have really learned & grown during her time on the show.

So, now there are 5. Can't wait for next week!
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This is IT

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in over a year. I did the treadmill, walked a mile (about 20 min plus warmup/warmdown). It felt so good. I mean, not physically. Physically it made my legs ache and my breath come hard and fast.

I've only been on Weight Watchers for a little under two weeks, but the funny thing is that I already feel better about myself. I'm eating healthier, and it's affecting the way I feel. I am proud of myself, I feel better about the way I'm taking care of myself.

I went to the gym today and realized how good it will feel to be there three times a week. I looked at the huge list of drop in classes that they have, and I got excited about trying some of them out.

I really feel like this is GOING to be my year. I'm starting to have faith again. I'm starting to feel like I really CAN do this, that there is hope. That maybe I'm not doomed after all. And it feels good.
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Heads or Tails: Love is in the Air

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is "A Love Story". As I think about all of the people in my life that I love beyond even saying, it's hard to choose one story to share. So, here is a simple love story - one of the most simple there should be for any person.

I had wanted a baby for as long as I could remember. My best friend had her first child, a daughter, and she was about 18 months old. She was then pregnant with her 2nd child, a boy, who would be born in March of 2004. When my husband and I had been married for about 6 months, we decided it was time to ditch the pills. We wanted to bring another person into this world to share our love with. We both felt that we were meant to be a family of more than two, so we started trying.

At first it wasn't so hard. We started the journey in November 2003. We figured it would be easy, and I was SO looking forward to having my first baby less than a year apart from by best friend's second child. I imagined them growing up together, hanging out together with our babies, and I couldn't wait.

It didn't happen. We went from fun sex to ovulation kits and we have to do it now I'm fertile NOW to heartbreak every month when I got my period. We went to fertility drugs, and eventually to a fertility doctor. It was so painful because I wanted SO BADLY to be a mother, I knew how much I was going to love my little one. I watched other people in my book club get pregnant and have babies, each time thinking 'when will it be MY turn'? I watched one of my best friend's sixteen year old sister get pregnant by accident and wondered how that was fair.

After two years, and three failed attempts at artificial insemination (still J's stuff & my stuff, just with help), I was convinced I was never going to have a baby. We started saving up to adopt, and while I knew that I would love an adopted baby just as much, my heart was broken. I wanted to be pregnant, I wanted to give birth, to bring my own child into this world.

In August 2005, we did one final try at IUI. I figured that it was the right time of the month, and at the time we had really good insurance that covered much of it, so I figured why not. I wasn't even thinking about it, I didn't really consider it a possibility.

A week later, my feet started to swell. I brushed it off.

Another week went by, and no period. I took a test. It was positive.

I couldn't even allow myself to be excited. I was too afraid that it wasn't real.

I went to the doctor. Two blood tests later, I allowed myself to get excited.

It was for real. And I loved that little baby. I loved those few cells growing inside me so much already that it was almost unbearable.

I couldn't wait to find out if it was a little boy or a little girl. I couldn't wait to feel it kick. I couldn't wait... for everything. For a lifetime with this baby.

I waited 12 weeks to tell most people. It was unbearable. I was so excited. I was also sick, and people kept asking if I was feeling better, and I wanted to tell them why I absolutely was not feeling better, but did not really care.

We had had names picked out for at least a year before we even got pregnant. So, when we found out it was a boy, we started calling him Sam. That was his name, and I loved saying it.

I loved talking to him. I loved singing to him. Every day in the car, I would sing to him. I felt him kick for the first time in January. I loved it every time. I loved watching my belly expand.

Then, on May 2, 2006 I woke at 3 in the morning to my water breaking. 12 hours later, I met my son.
I was completely overcome. As I write this, I have tears in my eyes because it is impossible to describe the love I felt when he was placed in my arms, the love I felt holding him.

Over time, my love has grown. It can only grow. He will be three in a couple of months, and he is one of the great loves of my life. He is my baby, and he stole my heart.


To read more Love Stories, click here.
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February 9, 2009

WW Week One Update

2/5/09 Weigh In:
+/-: -1.4 lbs
Short Term Goal: 250 lbs (-17 lbs)
Long Term Goal: 150 lbs

Went to my 2nd WW meeting on Thursday, which marks the end of my 1st week. I lost a little over a pound! Well, it could just be water or other stuff, but I still feel good about seeing the number go down, even if it's a tiny bit. This Thursday is my first appointment with the Endocrinologist, so I'm really excited about that. I'm hoping that after I get on medication for the thyroid & possibly the PCOS, I will really be able to start losing weight.

One of my goals for the week is to work out at least twice. Next week, it will be more and I want to get up to exercising in SOME way at least 5 times a week, including at least 3 visits to the gym.

I will do a weekly update like this every week to allow me to post my progress!
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100 Life Experiences

Megan posted this on her blog, and I thought it looked fun, so I'm giving it a whirl!

RULES: There are 100 statements and you bold the ones you have done. Grab it and play for yourself!!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

I ended up at 44 - two higher than Megan! There are a bunch of things on this list that I would really like to do though, particularly:

  1. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  2. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
  3. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  4. Seen an Amish community
  5. Taught yourself a new language
  6. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  7. Seen Michelangelo's David
  8. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  9. Visited Africa
  10. Been in a movie
  11. Visited the Great Wall of China
  12. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  13. Pieced a quilt
  14. Published a book
  15. Walked in Jerusalem
  16. Read the entire Bible
  17. Sat on a jury
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February 7, 2009

Veggies, Werewolves & Weddings

As you can see over on the left sidebar, I am also writing at my two other blogs: SNOTW Presents and Unconventional Fear. Here's what I wrote about this week:
Hope you enjoy!
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February 6, 2009

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans

Of COURSE I went to see Underworld 3! If a new movie comes out involving vampires or werewolves, you can pretty much assume I'll be there. If you've got both? Count me in bigtime. I really liked the other Underworld movies, and was really impressed by Scott Speedman's performance in the second one.

I really like Michael Sheen. He has such an interesting face, and he fits so well in so many roles. He's great in the Underworld movies, and he was great as Tony Blair in The Queen. He is currently also starring in Frost/Nixon, which I am looking forward to seeing. He had a larger role in this movie, which was great. I didn't realize that I thought he was a little hot until I watched this movie though!

He was paired with Rhona Mitra in a Romeo and Juliet-esque forbidden relationship. The thing is, I don't really like Rhona Mitra. There's just something about her that bugs me. I REALLY didn't like her character on Nip/Tuck and didn't care for her on Boston Legal either. It wasn't enough for it to ruin this movie for me, but I was definitely aware of it the entire time I was watching.

They did a great job connecting this back to the other movies, this is a story that was alluded to and explained in the other Underworld movies fleshed out to a full story of it's own. If you were a fan of the other movies, you'll certainly enjoy this one. There are parts that are hokey. But it's to be expected. I like the way they do the morphing for the werewolves when they turn.

I don't know what werewolves are supposed to look like in my head, but no movie has gotten it right. I guess it's a difficult fact, I do wonder what year it will be before I see one that looks like the real thing to me. At least with these movies, they've chosen their look and they're sticking to it. It's not perfect, but it works.

As for Bill Nighy, I am half convinced that he actually looks like this in real life. And is a vampire.
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Mabel's Labels Makes Dreams Come True

Blogher '09, it's
only a dream to me, I
can't make it happen

The money is non-
existent, if not for that
I'd be there so fast

I want to meet YOU,
are you going? Please, can't you
just take me with you?!

I discovered this
long shot out there and I would
be crazy not to try!

Hey, guess what? The nice people over at
Mabel's Labels are going to make one lucky blogger's dream come true by sending them to Blogher '09 in Chicago! You can find more information about the contest here. I would love to be at Blogher '09, but I just don't financially have the means to do it myself this year. So, I decided that I would throw my hat int he ring over at Mabel's Labels. So now, I have to tell you all about what the rewards and benefits have been of participating in the blogger community.

I started blogging 'for real' in the spring of 2008. I had dabbled before, but hadn't done anything to increase my readership or get involved in the blogging community. Suddenly, there I was. I wanted to write, and I wanted to communicate with other writers. I used to write a lot when I was younger, poetry and short stories, but I got a job, got a husband, had a kid, and all of that fell by the wayside. When my husband and I moved home to Bellingham, which is a much more artistic community than where we had been living, I started to feel creative again and realized that I needed an outlet, and that I missed the writing community I used to be a part of.

I wrote, and I discovered. I filled my Google Reader with amazing writers who I admired. I commented, I read about their lives. I laughed and I cried. Some of them came. They read my blog, they commented. Less than a year later, I feel like I am really a part of something amazing. When I have a bad day, I know someone out there has had the same day. When my son does something funny or amazing, I know there are people out there who will laugh or be proud with me. When I feel hopeless, there are voices speaking to me and giving that hope back.

I have learned a lot from these people who I've never met. I have shared their heartache, their frustration, their love and their pride. I have been reminded how blessed I am time and time again. There are those I know if I met them in the flesh that I would be starstruck, even though I know they are normal women from day to day. There are others that I imagine it would be like seeing an old friend again, and others that I would run up to and hug as hard as I could then buy them a martini.

There is a special bond between mothers, between writers, between women. I have seen amazing things here - when someone experiences a tragedy, I have seen the word spread like wildfire until hundreds of people are praying for peace, for recovery, for whatever is needed. I am able to use the time I have to pray for people who really need it.

I write for them. I write to share with them. I write to tell my story to those who will understand. I write to have a voice. I write to let someone else know that they are not alone. I write because I am compelled, because it's in my blood. But I do not write alone.

I write, and yet I cannot find the words to express what it all means to me. What have I found in this community? I've found myself again.

*To read more Haiku Friday posts, click here!*
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February 5, 2009

Lost in the Past

I don't want to go back.

But there is something about it. Something about watching a young couple in love. About looking at a young girl and a young attractive man next to each other, holding hands, new love in the air.

I still remember the days of freedom. The days of dating, of making eye contact with THAT GUY, of flirting. Of a first brush of hand on hand, that first touch of lips on lips. It stirs up a longing so deep it almost hurts.

Is it a true desire, or is it just the way one feels when looking back at something they know they can never have again?

I don't want to go back.

I love my family, my husband, my beautiful son. The life I have created for myself is a happy one.

But I still remember the days of freedom. The days of time with a boyfriend or fiance when a child was not in the picture and we could do whatever we pleased. The sleeping in. Being responsible for only ourselves and being able to change our minds at a moments notice.

I wouldn't give up what I have now, but I wonder if it will always be this way. Will I always remember so clearly and deeply? Will I always wake up from dreams of people of my past, feeling the way I felt, and have this small part of me wishing that I was there? Is this just... life?
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February 4, 2009

Randomosity

This Wordless Wednesday, I'm thinking of the fact that my son is going to be 3 in only two months. how did this happen? Here is a picture from three years ago this week:


For reference, here's a picture taken 3 days before I had Sam.


I can't believe we've gone from that to three already!

For more Wordless Wednesday posts, click here.
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