Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 Holiday Spirit Quest Continues...

Okay, I didn't get much help this year, but I'm trying my best. Some of these are the same because I liked them or liked doing them or they just didn't pan out like I had hoped last year. Some are new. Some are variations. All are designed to get me humming "Deck the Halls" under my breath and wishing every one I meet a "Happy Holidays." I'm slightly in denial that it's that time of year, but that's just me. The quest continues. . .
  1. Drink a holiday-flavored latte.
  2. Visit the beach during the Christmas season.
  3. Dress a cat in something holiday.
  4. Touch snow.
  5. Wear something that sparkles on a weekday for fun.
  6. Sing a Christmas carol at the top of my lungs.
  7. Donate to charity.
  8. Give a gift to a stranger.
  9. Have my Christmas shopping done before December 16th. 
  10. Ship my gifts to arrive on time.
  11. Craft something.
  12. Make gingerbread men/ women from scratch.
  13. Make my mom's famous zucchini bread.
  14. Dress up in something fancy for fun.
  15. Stuff Chef's stocking and have him stuff mine.
  16. Listen to Christmas music for one week's worth of commutes.
  17. Try a holiday libation.
  18. Visit ICE at Santa Monica and skate. 
  19. Watch a Christmas movie that I haven't seen in a long time or ever before.
  20. Paint my nails with festive polish.
  21. Put up Christmas Decorations.
  22. Buy a new Christmas decoration. 
  23. Wrap all my Christmas presents (no bags allowed!).
  24. Write a ridiculous Christmas list.
  25. Drive through Beverly Hills to look at the lights.
As usual, progress reports to come!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary, LA!

Two years ago today Chef and I made our way with the cats, a Nissan Sentra and a large Penske truck into Los Angeles where we headed to our new apartment and started to lay down roots in the city of angels. It's hard to believe that it's been two years since I left Nashville. I still miss my friends there and have yet to make as many friends here (but I have made some, which I'm proud of), but I'm happy we moved here.

Los Angeles has been an adventure and I don't think I was having enough of them before I got here. Despite anything else that has happened in my life, I'm always a little proud that I took a risk and moved across country with little knowledge of the area and only a hunch. While it was easier mentally to move to Los Angeles than Nashville because I have a partner in crime, it was way harder physically. Knowing that we're far enough away from family that I couldn't hop in car and get there in a couple of hours was a sobering experience. But thank goodness for modern technology. It's made the distance between the other ones I love seem much less expansive.

I can't believe how much I've done since I've been here. Here's a recap of some of the highlights:

  • I've gotten married. :)
  • Had two different jobs at two different companies. I've worked at more companies in two years in LA than my entire 9 years in Nashville. 
  • Traveled the US and a small part of Canada. Non-profits don't have a ton of "business trip" kind of jobs. For-profits do. While I miss Chef while I'm away, I've liked being able to see different areas of the country. Got to see Washington DC, Philadelphia and Las Vegas a LOT more than ever before. 
  • Went to the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Getty Villa, the Aquarium of the Pacific, a Hollywood homes tour, the Griffith Observatory, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, the American Horror Story Season One house, Staple Center, Angels Stadium, and so many more cool places.
  • I've become a redhead.
  • I've learned what the word "commute" really means and that estimating the time it takes to go one mile only works if you're on foot. I've also learned the hard way how much of my daily life that I'm willing to spend in a car for a job. 
  • I've found great sushi and shitty pizza.
  • I've gained the confidence in knowing that I can live and make it.
Now on next year's list, I want to add that I finished my novel and made headway in getting an agent. :) It's been a hell of a two years and cheers to many more!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30-something going on 20-something?

Chef got the new Taylor Swift album for me. Feel free to poke fun all you want. Mostly he did it because I asked him too and then because he loves to make me happy. I've been listening to it shamelessly for the past few days. I like to turn it up, roll the windows down and then watch the hipsters and Hollywood homeless look at the old weirdo listening to Taylor Swift in her Nissan Sentra. It's fun.

Part of the reason I like listening to Taylor Swift is because it reminds me of my late teens and early twenties. The whole being bad at relationships (although I don't think anyone is ever really GOOD at them; we're all varying shades of bad), hanging out with my girlfriends until the wee hours of the morning, eating at Denny's or Steak 'N Shake because they were the only things open. It was awesome.

And I don't really want to repeat it. I love getting together with my girls every now and again for some wine and good food, but I'm fairly certain that my intestinal tract and liver can't handle the kind of abuse I used to put my body through.

But more than anything, what I realize is that I didn't have all those failed relationships that most girls get to have when they're young. I spent most of my efforts on massive unrequited crushes that took up my time and energy but only left me wounded for a moment before I moved on to the next. There were a few that were stronger than others, but in the end, did I ever have those guys that I hung out with forever, made out with just as long and then dumped or got dumped? Not really. Part of that was being overweight and not feeling that I was attractive enough to land a guy. Part of it was having high enough self-worth to know that I didn't find most of these guys all that interesting.

Sometimes I wonder if I would do things differently if I were to go back. Would I truly try to be in more relationships? (Poor Chef had to deal with the brunt of a lot of my relationship naivete) Or do I just feel like I missed out on something that I probably wouldn't have enjoyed all that much in the end? Who's to say, I guess. In the end, things didn't turn out too shabby. Which is something else I also bob my head to and think about as I'm rocking out to my Taylor Swift songs.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What to do for my Christmas Spirit Quest? I Need Your Opinion

So last year I decided that living in Southern California is awesome (well, I clearly decided that before last year, but I digress) except for the fact that I have to try and conjure up the holiday spirit in 72 degree weather. The only thing that helps replicate the winter is that sun going down at 4 p.m.

It was fun. I came up with a list of 25 things and spent the month working through them all. I loved ice skating, adored my Gingerbread house, still have my tacky ornament and gained weight with all the goodies I made (although I read today in Real Simple that the average person only gains 0.8 lbs per holiday season--hooray!). The question is:

What should be on this year's Christmas Spirit Quest list?

Here's a review of last year's list:

Some items can be repeated, but I an open to new ideas!! What makes you feel like it's really Christmas?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Official: I Quit Weight Watchers

Delicious downfall: Ravioli purses with ricotta
pears,  sage butter and dried cranberries
The weight loss saga continues. Let's be honest. At least I'm being honest with myself. The saga will continue for my entire life. It's just how it goes. However, this chapter has closed. The Weight Watchers chapter, not the weight loss chapter.

I officially cancelled my Weight Watchers subscription this week. Part of it was because I was not losing  ton of weight. Part of it was because I had stopped tracking for about five days, which is always the beginning of the end, and part of it was because I didn't really think it was for me. To be fair, when I actually concentrated on losing weight, I did. But I didn't really like the points system. And although I was heavier AT ONE TIME when I merely counted calories, I wasn't the last time--when I lost 20 lbs in found months. With WW, I lost 6 pounds in 4 months. Part of that was because I wasn't super into it.

The tracking system was okay. It had far less food in its database than other systems--like myfitnesspal--and was easy enough to use. But in the end, I just didn't like it. Perhaps it gave me too much freedom with weekly bonus points and exercise points. Perhaps it would've been nice to use to maintain weight (I certainly didn't gain any), but wouldn't work for me for the mean time.

That being said I'm going back to what worked for me...again. Calorie counting. High protein. More fruits and veggies. Daily exercise.  All starting. . . Monday :). I should at least get my holiday.In the end, I don't consider Weight Watchers a failure. I did end the program weighing less than I started. And that should count for something.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Regaining the Will to Live

I wish the headline was an exaggeration, but it's not. yesterday I had the will to live slowly drained from me as I had a migraine for about 12 hours. It was my longest migraine to date and the only one that got so bad that I had trouble seeing, which caused me to be nauseous and sent me home from work. I figured it would generally be frowned upon to lay my head on my keyboard all day and pray for the sweet relief of sleep. Not exactly billable hours.

I drove home and then curled up in  bed with the blinds closed for a few hours. I drifted in and out of sleep and then got up and moved to the couch. When I could deal with sound again, I laid there with my eyes closed and tried to keep the room from spinning. About 5 pm, I was able to not want to die. At 10 p.m., I could read again without feeling nauseous and this morning I was back to normal. Or as normal as I usually am.

I'm happy this happened yesterday and not last week. I was in Las Vegas for the second time in two weeks for work. By Sunday, I was ready to be home. The sounds of slot machines would ring in my ears at night (not that I was gambling. I prefer to keep my money in the mall--where I'm always a winner!). I did, however, get to take a 5 mile walk and see the new Twilight movie in between the convention and a lot of eating. Mostly I just wished I was at home with my hubby. :)

Here are some shots from the trip:

Stayed at Caesar's and saw these t-shirts in the gift shop. They made me chuckle.

Walked over to the Bellagio to visit the work of one of my favorite artists--Dale Chihuly

The Bellagio also had this cool Fall scene with a beautiful talking tree

The tub in my room was large and jacuzzi. I took about 2-3 baths a day while I was there.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sometimes It's the Little Things

People may find it hard to believe, but my new job is much like my old job at the American Heart Association. And in a good way. I say it may be hard to believe because my new job is working with a quick service restaurant and its accompanying charity. Heart disease and fast food that's the same? Yes. Mostly because the issue of obesity is literally and figuratively so large that everyone is working on it.

But I digress. I really like this job and I have fun doing things I like. I get to work with healthcare professionals and charity volunteers and media. I may start the day at a High Tea and end it chatting with physicians assistants. It's that the days are all different that's exhilarating and infuriating at the same time.

But mostly I try and appreciate the little things. And one of the little things is going to happen this week. And next week. First of all, I'm excited because I get to go to Las Vegas for the second time in two weeks. You might wonder why I'm excited this time, but it's because of this: the conference I'm working at is unlike any other that I've been at. It's only open from 7 a.m. to noon. Then it's free time! That's 19 hours every day to do what I want. I'm sure I'll work and I'll probably get caught up on sleep, but I know I'll also eat well, write and do some hanging out. I'll miss Chef, but if he wants to, he can totally come too.

The second thing is this: one of our staffers is leaving. Now that's not a good thing; don't get me wrong. She's been here forever (kinda like me at the AHA), and she's very good at what she does. I hope that I can contribute to the team like she does. But her departure brings me something to be thankful for: an office. I have been working in an open plan desk area for the four months I've been here. It's been good because I've been able to work and meet my new coworkers and get to know the account.

But let's face it. There's something nice about having  a door to shut when you don't want to be bothered. And some clearly defined space to call your own. I don't have my own "room" any more at home so having it work again will be nice. It had been about a decade since I hadn't had an office and I will now appreciate it more than ever. Fingers are crossed that the office comes through. While it has been mentioned, I know that it's not a done deal until my stuff is moved in.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Day

Do you remember the first election you voted in? Or better yet, the first PRESIDENTIAL election that you voted in? I remember waiting in line for about 30 minutes on that Tuesday morning at a local elementary school in my hometown. I was nervous. Something about showing my ID and voter registration card makes me nervous. I'm the same way with most government offices: the courthouse when Chef and I got married, voting, driver's licenses-you name it.

Anyway, I remember thinking this as I was casting my vote "I just cancelled out my Dad's vote." And it was glorious. Suddenly I realized that you didn't have to be a parent or older to have an opinion. I was able to say that my opinion was just as valuable as the next person's and in return so was theirs. The only stipulation was that I had to voice my opinion for it to count.  And voicing my opinion has never been a problem for me.

I won't get all political here, but only urge you to vote. Even if you are just cancelling out the vote of someone who disagrees with you. :)


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