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Resolute January 13, 2010

Filed under: Battle of the Scale,Daily Grind,Naval Gazing — booksunread @ 4:41 pm

This post has been rattling around in my head for a while now so it’s time to get it all out in to fully formed ideas.  I never start my New Year’s Resolutions the first week of January-Hello! There are still leftover Christmas chocolate, cookies, cheese, what have you to be cleaned out of the house.

So I embarked on my New Year’s plan starting this week. Of course, the biggest one is the old standby to lose weight/get in shape/be more healthy.  For the last two months, I’ve been eating pretty much every day like I’m going to the chair, and haven’t run since the end of September.  In the back of my mind, I kept telling myself it was no big deal as once I stopped eating all the junk and started exercising it would be such a drastic shift that any added weight would just fall right off. 

I’ll hold while you finish laughing at the depths of my self delusion.

So, yeah now it’s January and I am pushing 150.  A buck fifty may not sound that big, especially when you’re looking at the record breaking fatties on the Biggest Loser, but it is not a healthy weight for someone who is 5’1”.  It is at least 20lbs more than I should be carrying.

So this whole lose weight/get in shape/be more healthy resolution is actually comprised of a number of changes I want to make so it really breaks down into a number of specific steps/changes I want to make.

1. Rather than focusing on simply cutting calories and fat, and carbs, etc., I want to eat better overall by:

  • Reducing the amount of processed foods, unidentifiable ingredients and chemicals I eat.  Reading labels and knowing what I’m eating.
  • Buying organic when I can, but being mindful that “organic” does not always mean healthy-the amount of fat, sugars and sodium can be excessive in these products.
  • Cutting out artificial sweeteners-I’ve dropped my usual morning coffee Splenda habit from three to one packet and will eventually start drinking it unsweetened.  I typically have one Coke Zero with my lunch and another Zero or caffeine free diet with dinner.  I’m keeping the lunchtime Zero, but cutting out the evening soda. 
  • Making the food I eat count more by incorporating more whole foods/vegetables that have health benefits-not just rely on plain chicken tenders and steamed veggies.  This means I’m going to have to work on the way I grocery shop and cook, make more time to cook and cook smarter.  I started this last weekend by making two large batches of lean turkey chili and sloppy joe. I incorporated lots of red and green peppers in to both, and actually hid a cup of pumpkin in the sloppy joe sauce for more fiber and vitamins (it was really good!).  Half of each batch went in the freezer for a quick healthy meal later. 

 2. Increase my physical fitness by:

  • Of course, duh, getting more regular exercise. It’s hard to fit in, especially as the winter months make walking/running with Squidgey out of the question.  So uh, I don’t really have a concrete plan for this besides trying harder, which we’ve seen how that worked out before. I do have a couple goals to work towards again-a party in mid-February I’d like to feel comfortable buying new sassy jeans for and on the fitness side, the Shamrock Shuffle 5K I need to be ready for in March.  As further motivation to hopefully make this time different, I took a “before” picture the other night. Not pretty. Maybe someday if I have a significantly better “after,” I’ll post them both here for your amusement/horror.
  • Making little changes like ALWAYS taking the stairs to my third floor office rather than frequently making excuses like, “It’s Monday,” “My bag is heavy today,” and “I’m rushing back from running lunch errands and don’t want to delay cramming food into my mouth by wasting precious time catching my breath.”  Another frequently suggested one is parking farther away but, eh…it’s cold outside.  Maybe this spring on that one.
  • Taking better care of my posture. I’m having a lot of trouble still with carpal tunnel pain in both hands/arms and also pinchyness and pain in my shoulders.  Most days, I sit at my desk pretty much from 7 am until 2:30, with only a couple short bathroom and grab my lunch breaks.  I have terrible posture, slouching with my chin propped in my hand as I squint at the screen.  I have a computer program that prompts you to stretch at set intervals, but I’ve been closing the window when it pops up more often than I do the stretches.  So long story short, be aware of and use good posture at my desk and move around more by actually using the stretching tool I have.

 3. Get more sleep. Typically, I don’t turn the lights out until 11 and I get up at 5:15.  Six hours a night is not enough sleep for me.  In addition to all the study evidence pointing to lack of sleep as a factor in weight gain, I feel like shit all the time.  This one is hard because it seems no matter how hard I try to go to bed early, by the time I’ve done any household chores, any work that has to be done at home and maybe sometimes worked out, or maybe gotten to sit slack in front of the tv doing nothing for a little bit, it is inevitably, always at least 10.  By the time I’ve gone through the going to bed routine it’s at least 10:30. 

One of the things I love to do is read, and I always use it to wind down from the day before bed.  I’ll get in to bed promising myself I’ll only read for 5-10 minutes, but I’ll often get so engrossed it’s at least 11 before I turn out the lights.  I hate to cut short/let go of something I enjoy so much and consider a luxury but something has got to give somewhere. 

I don’t know where the answer lies on this one…be more organized so I have more free time at night and can go to bed earlier?  Try to get more done in the afternoon when I’m home with Squidgey, which kind if negates the whole purpose of me being there with him if I’m busy emptying the dishwasher and sorting laundry? Give up on some of the time consuming things I do, even though I consider them important (making Squidgey’s food, couponing which saved me almost $40 this week alone, etc.)?  Stop reading?  Stop watching any tv at all? (I usually have it on for company while I work in the office, which admittedly is distracting and probably slows me down, plus I DVR a small handful of shows and then zip through them when I have a spare minute. Overall, I follow a fraction of what I used to pre-Squidgey.  Our DVR was constantly chugging, often recording two shoes at once (and still I had conflicts with a third show). So I’ve cut way back, but maybe I should give it up entirely? Or hey, how about stop wasting time bitching about life on a stupid blog?

God, now I’m feeling discouraged before I’ve even begun. How am I supposed to add in all these other time-consuming tasks like cooking more and working out more when I can’t figure out how to manage the shit I have now?  I mean really, you don’t even want to know the last time I cleaned my bathroom.  Because I feel like this whole thing boils down to “be better.” “Stop sucking.”  Be someone I’m not-the perfect soccer mom who seems to have all her shit together and manages the kids and the household and maintains a perfect figure and dashes about town, perfectly made up, wearing her coordinated little nike workout outfit, who doesn’t waste time on silly tv shows or other indulgences.

Wow, we quickly spiraled from determined optimism to excuses and panic. I’m not even done detailing all the resolutions I wanted to make this year.

And…and…and…the sky is falling. I give up.


Secrets Secrets are no fun! Secrets Secrets Hurt Someone! April 30, 2008

Filed under: Naval Gazing — booksunread @ 6:01 pm

Hmm, I’m not sure I have anything witty/funny/amusing/non-baby related to say today, but I don’t want to leave my many, many loyal readers dangling with just one post this week. So today, I will make a confession. This blog is super-duper top secret. Only two people in my real life know about it, and neither of them is my husband.

Yes, I am one of those assholes who keeps secrets from her husband. I always thought that people who lied to their husbands, either directly or through omission, had crappy relationships and were kind of stupid. I still think women who shop more than they know their husbands would like then play shell games with the family finances or hide their purchases are annoying stereotypes. Plus living in fear of getting caught doing that shit is no way to live.

Of course, I can say that knowing that 1. I do not have a crazy expensive shopping habit and 2. Miguel has never shown much interest in my shopping sprees; in fact, he gets annoyed when I come home and regale him with my bargain shopping skillz. I think he thinks I’m trying to justify my purchases to him, which he doesn’t see as necessary…really I am just showing off and want some validation that I am indeed a super shopper.

There are some other lies and half truths in your relationships-what you’re doing when you’re apart, who you’re with, where you are going-that are all no-no’s as far as I’m concerned. Even if you know what you’re doing is completely innocent but your husband is just overprotective/jealous/possessive/what have you, that is a problem right there in your relationship that needs to be addressed. The golden rule applies here; if you wouldn’t like to find out your husband failed to mention he had lunch with an old girlfriend, then you shouldn’t be pulling it either. Even if you know that something is going to cause friction, you should either be able to come to an agreement about it, or respect the other’s feelings and compromise.

All that said, after 5 years of marriage, I have come to value the peace keeping that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy can sometimes bring. Take the blog for instance. Miguel does not get personal journaling/blogs. He doesn’t read them, does not see the value in them to the reader or the blogger. What can I say? He is a man’s man, he doesn’t admit to having feelings when he can help it, he certainly doesn’t understand anyone else’s need to get their feelings out, share them, get feedback on them, etc.

At the same time, he’s also old-fashioned and highly image conscious professionally, and places a high amount of value on projecting the right persona for career-advancement. Airing one’s dirty laundry on the internets where anyone might see it is completely counter to this mission.

This old-fashioned attitude also extends to conducting personal business at work; at the office, one should never admit to having a personal life, let alone try to manage it during business hours. He is lucky that he has a personal assistant (me) who happily manages his shit for him from her work, because sometimes, you just have to make calls, send e-mails, and run errands during business hours. He is always making fun of me for doing things like checking the bank balance from work, etc., even though my company’s extremely liberal media use policy openly acknowledges that personal business may need to be conducted on work hours using the company’s phone, internet and e-mail. Basically all they ask is that it not be egregious to the point of interfering with work and obviously that it not be pornographic or otherwise inappropriate. Miguel would not visit a non-work related website from the office if you put a gun to his head.

All this to come to shameful admission number two in this post…I write most of my posts from work, another aspect of this whole blog business of which Miguel would whole-heartedly disapprove. If I didn’t, well, then I just wouldn’t have a blog. After spending nine hours a day at the computer (I rarely leave for lunch), it is at the bottom of my list to go sit in front of the computer some more after work hours. I have errands to run, a gym to get to (sporadically), dinner to be made, a dog to be walked, books to read, and a DVR crammed full of garbage TV to watch, etc.

And finally, the last reason to keep this blog a secret from Miguel, and in fact most of the people in my real life, is that I want to be able to write candidly without censoring. If I want to vent, I want to be able to do it without worrying that the object of the venting will read it and get his/her feelings hurt. If I want to share things that Miguel would deem too personal for public consumption, like our fertility struggles, then I want that freedom.

I’m not a complete idiot; I do make an effort to avoid any references that would make me identifiable or allow people to trace this blog back to the real life me. I don’t give my real name, or Miguel’s, I don’t even use my dog’s name! You will never see me make more than vague mention of where I work or live, or post any pictures of people. I do limit any references to my work or professional life in case this should happen to come to the attention of the powers that be; they will never have the option of saying I disparaged the company in any way through my blogging (unless bitching about the bathrooms counts!).

I don’t know, I’m not completely web-tech savvy, so I guess it’s possible that someone could out me if they really tried. I built this under my real e-mail address, though I don’t post it anywhere on the site, so maybe in secret code somewhere the two are linked. I’ve tried googling my e-mail address and don’t get any cross over, so I’m assuming I’m safe from basic-cross contamination.

So anyway, now that I’ve been doing this for close to a year (holy crap!) I’m kind of stuck. If I tell Miguel about it now, he will want to see it, and be pissed that I somehow never mentioned it in 10 months. If I do continue to keep it a secret, I will always have it in the back of my mind that he could find out some other way, and be even more pissed. See, this is why secrets in relationship are bad, m’kay.


Contemplating Birth Order January 8, 2008

Filed under: Naval Gazing — booksunread @ 4:52 pm

OR: The Oops, The Golden Child and the Failed IUD

So I’ve been thinking a little bit about family dynamics now that I’m pregnant. Specifically, my mom’s sort of underwhelmed reaction over Christmas to the news of another grandchild pending relative to her unending fascinating with her other grandchildren (my brother’s kids).

Miguel was very put out with what he saw as my mom’s lack of interest once the news was out.  Sure she teared up at the announcement and expressed appropriate congrats, but after that, there were not a lot follow-up questions, and instead there were many stories about the cute thing grandson or granddaughter did the other day.  I think the final straw for Miguel was when instead of inquiring Christmas morning how I was feeling, how the baby was doing, my mom’s first musings were “I wonder what time grandson’s helicopter took off this morning?”

I think I was less bothered by it than he is for a lot of reasons.  One, Salsera and I have complained for years about how my brother is the favorite, so no big surprise with the doting on his kids (more on that below).  Two, my mom is just more private and reserved in general than his family; she was not going to ask a lot of questions that she felt like would be intrusive.  This is probably compounded by the fact that at our last visit in October, I kind of let her have it about her seeming (to me) assumption that we weren’t going to be having kids, and then I had to bail out early for an appointment (pre-insem ultrasound) on a Sunday, so she knows something was going on in that arena that I wasn’t sharing any detail with her on.  (Which, I feel like she should have been figure out on her own before now…3 years since we lost a tried for and wanted pregnancy + still no baby=having trouble there, obviously.) I’m sure that made her tread more lightly around the subject.

Third and finally, since she wasn’t filling the conversation time with all those pesky follow up questions, she had to fill it with something else, and the other grandkids are the most happening thing in her life.   They live close by and she sees them a few times a week usually.  In contrast, we live 6 hours away. I’m sure after a visit to our house, my brother gets an earful about our house, our dog and us-we’re just not there to hear it.  She’s just making conversation.

To circle back to the title of the post though, sorting all this out in my head did also lead me to think a bit more about our family dynamic and the perceived “favorite”–especially in terms of how we all came to be.

Now, no one has ever used the word “mistake” when describing Salsera’s arrival. However, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that her arriving 14 months after they were married, while my dad was still finishing school and they were living in a trailer, was a product of two Catholic school kids believing the rhythm method actually worked.  (And while she may have been unplanned, my aunt assures me that Salsera was never the less very much wanted and loved when she did arrive.)

Subsequently, it appears that my parents found a more reliable form of birth control, because my brother did not arrive until almost 5 years later, when my parents were more established.  Clearly, his arrival seems to have been a timed event-planned for and wanted.

I learned a few years ago that my arrival just 14 months after my brother can be squarely blamed on a failed IUD.  Nice, right?  Again, in context, I wasn’t told this out of any malicious intent; we were having a convo some years ago about how I’d been thinking once baby making time was over that I would switch to an IUD for long term birth control, when my mom countered with the fact that IUDs weren’t 100% effective-and I was the proof.  Innocent convo, still why would you tell your kid that they were anything less than hoped for and wanted with all your heart?

And as I was thinking about this more the other day, I realized that an IUD is not a short-term birth control method. It is a “I am done having kids/I don’t want to think about having a kid for 5+ years” method.  Considering that my parents already had two kids five years apart, the odds that they were planning on going for three five years down the line are pretty slim.  It’s logical to assume that they had decided not to have any more kids after my brother.  While Salsera can complain she was the kid they didn’t want-YET, it dawned on me that I was the kid they didn’t want-EVER.

Okay, and I’m not trying to get all melodramatic here, all “Wah, my parents didn’t want me, they didn’t love me, wah,” because it wasn’t like they were all “you were a mistake, we wish you’d never been born.”  I had a totally normal (all be it a little strict and somewhat less emotionally expressive) childhood.  My parents raised us with good values and work ethic, gave us opportunities for extra-curriculars like music and sports, made sure we did well in school, supported us through college (as long as we pulled acceptable grades) and have given financial support when needed.  I have a good relationship with my parents as an adult, we visit home and they come to see us several times a year and we enjoy each other’s company (you know, within reason :)).  Specifically, while I may not have been planned for, I have been doted on as the baby of the family and I don’t doubt that my parents love me and are proud of my achievements.

So why the big belly button lint inspecting post here, then? I dunno, it was just sort of a weird thing to realize, I guess.  It makes me wish I could be a fly on the wall back then and see what it was like for my mom when she found out she was pregnant again.  Was she dismayed for a while before getting used to the idea? Was she immediately excited because even though they’d decided to cut it off at two for practical financial reasons (something my parent’s would TOTALLY do-planners and savers!), she was really happy for another baby?  Was she reluctantly resigned until I got here and she got to know me?  None of the above because you just didn’t think like that back then and she was busy wrangling a precocious preschooler and a newborn?

I suppose I could just, you know, ask.  But we don’t talk about that stuff in my family.


Sybil September 21, 2007

Filed under: ?Baby?,Naval Gazing — booksunread @ 12:51 pm

It’s Friday and I am cashed out. How sad is it that by 7am I am plotting my Friday evening something like this: acupuncture, dinner, walk dog, kiss husband, bed.  I have not been getting enough sleep this week. I think it’s a festive combo of having my thoughts on this current cycle, some library books I’m reluctant to put down at lights out and a bad, crying in my sleep nightmare Monday night that makes lights out even less attractive.

It’s so stupid that this nightmare in particular should keep me up, but I am ridiculous and full of irrational fears.  Basically in the dream, a creepy, mean little girl ghost was terrorizing us in our house.  Which was made all the more vivid by the fact that it was actually very visually in our house-you know how sometimes in your dream, you’re in your “house” but it’s nothing like your real life house so you can dismiss the rest of the dream as totally ridiculous as well?  Well, totally the opposite of that. And she had a creepy baby brother ghost with her and it was all very much like a cheesy crap Lifetime “scary” movie where the barren woman gets haunted by a creepy kid only to discover a creepy kid died in her house under mysterious circumstances and it was all an accident and the kid just wants to be forgiven. Which I haven’t watched such a crap fest in years, and have not even recently seen a commercial for one, so I don’t even know how this penetrated my subconscious (except maybe I’m equating myself with the barren woman?).

In my logical, rational, real life head, I don’t believe in the existence of ghosts.  I roll my eyes at people who earnestly tell me about the family ghost that turned on the tv or moved the pictures around and one time, they woke up and dead grandma was standing at the foot of the bed or something.  I’m a pretty cynical person and I operate on a “I’ll believe it when I see it” system (see also: agnostic).  That being said, on the ghost front, I do not have any interest in confronted with proof that I’m wrong.

On a good night, when I’m home alone, or sometimes just when I’m up kind of late, even with Miguel sleeping in the bed beside me, I’ll hear a creek or a noise, and lay there wide eyed in the dark, straining to hear the sounds of a psycho killer approaching our ostensibly slumbering, vulnerable forms.  I think maybe I watch too much CSI and Law and Order.  So you pile in a new fear of not wanting to look too closely into dark corners for fear that there is a creepy little girl ghost standing right there, and you have a recipe for a hard time turning off the light and dozing off.

I’ve camped out in the guest room the last couple nights b/c I’ve gone to bed late and wanted to read for a while before bed.  Last night, I seriously considered going back to crawl into bed with Miguel, just like a little kid who had a nightmare. If it hadn’t meant rousing the dog from her pup bed and dragging her along, I totally would have done it.  (Yes, I have a dog, which adds a whole level of irrational to the psycho killer stalker paranoia; as Miguel keeps trying to reassure me, she would warn us if there was an intruder…as she barely cocks an eye when you get of bed and practically step on her late at night, I have my doubts).

So I read until pretty late last night and then when I finally turned the lights out, my mind kept wandering back to scary dream.  So I started thinking of other things, like this cycle and the fact that it feels like my ovaries are literally twitching and I’m worried we’ll overshoot and get cancelled, and the fact that I have a new employee starting in a week and all I have to do to get ready for him and what it will be like managing someone new, etc.

Which leads me (FINALLY!) to the title of this post, because as my brain was on the hamster wheel, I noticed that I was kind of thinking in the “voice” of the character of the book I’d just read.  Like I was writing a book in my head.  Which led me to think about the fact that I tend to do this a lot; after reading Bridget Jones for the billionth time, I find myself thinking that “I’d quite fancy a fag right now; that would be brilliant. But n.v.g. as am trying to be super committed non-smoking type person.”  I do the same thing after talking to/hanging out with Salsera for a while; I’m suddenly all about the “y’alls” and “I’m fucking this cat.”  So then I was thinking, “Damn, I am weird. I have multiple personalities.” 

Like Sybil, geddit? That’s your payoff for reading through this ramble. You’re welcome.


Peeping Again August 1, 2007

Filed under: Naval Gazing — booksunread @ 5:47 pm

I am obsessed with Ladies Home Journal’s “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” column.  I think it is the nosy peeping tom/Harriet the Spy in me that is fascinated with the fly on the wall view into how other’s relationships work. 


Books the Spy June 14, 2007

Filed under: Naval Gazing — booksunread @ 7:30 pm

It’s no wonder that I enjoy reading other people’s blogs as much as I do…the book Harriet the Spy was a great favorite of mine growing up.  A read over and over, wear the cover off of it book. 

Like Harriet, I am fascinated by the mundane details of other people’s lives.  People who live in different cities on different coasts, have different politics, hobbies, values and families than I do.  In the blogs of good writers, who can paint a rich picture of their every day, no matter how different most of my life is, I usually find something to connect with. 

What do I have in common with a stay at home mom of four boys living up in Michigan?  Not much, but apparently a fetish for frilly vintage aprons.  I will probably never start a collection of my own, I’m just not a collector in general, but I love to see hers.  With an adamantly DINK (as I am desperately trying to unDINK myself), politically conscious woman in Philly?  A fetish for cheese, chocolate and other culinary delights.  While she is far more dedicated and adventurous than I will ever be, I love to read about her culinary endeavors. And the list goes on.

I have serious peeping tom potential.  When I walk the dog at night, I delight when neighbors have full rooms lit up and I can catch a glimpse into their houses.  I’m not trying to spot them doing anything unseemly, I’m just curious to see their stuff, observe their décor, etc.  And with blogs, people leave the blinds up with every light in the room glaring.  They’re giving you full permission to stand on the sidewalk in front of their houses and peer in the windows.   I can’t not look.