March 25, 2010

Clear As Mud

Last night I felt beat up after a long day and when I pulled in the driveway there was a cat in my front yard that proceeded to stare me down and give me the evil eye the entire time it was taking a giant dump on my lawn. It then got up and walked away as it wagged its victorious tail at me and I laughed thinking that it was just such a fitting metaphor for how I felt. A bit of The Anxiety has been creeping into my life lately. I have had some confusing things to think about and impending big decisions that will ultimately need to me made, and yes I know I’m being Vaguey McVaguerson at this point, but trust me when I tell you that the specifics don’t really matter. What matters is how do you know when you are making The Right Decision?

That’s kind of a stupid question I realize, because I firmly subscribe to the philosophy that there is no Right or Wrong - but I’m still stewing on it. Actually Amber  tweeted something the other day that pretty much summed up my feeling about the illusion that is "right and wrong" or "good and bad", for that matter.

Behold! Twitter wisdom:

I find this so true when you think about it!  Everything is relative.  Hell, just call me Einstein. Something that was devastating and awful at one point in life may later be fruitful in a way that you never imagined. The universe has a funny way of working in that manner I’ve learned, so I generally try to make difficult times a springboard for growth and appreciate that I may not have ever encountered that opportunity had the difficult time never come about. And while I really do feel like things always end up working out in the end if you have the right attitude (whether it happened the way I wanted it to, or the way I thought it should) I still struggle A LOT what the hell to do in the meantime? What do you do when that anxiety creeps in and you feel like you are standing at a fork in the road? You know things will work out no matter what path you choose because you are capable and can make the best of any situations, but you are still not exactly sure which road to take.  That, is a confusing moment.   

Henry David Thoreau is always quoted as saying “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” and there are times in life when this is so black and white that I have no problem putting my confident face on and getting moving. But it is those times when I’m not sure if it’s my own dreams that I am chasing or the dreams other people have for me. How does one know that they are in possession of a dream that should be pursued with confidence?  Where is the instruction manual?  I have tried to google it to no avail!  Because the problem is sometimes I dream of living on an artists’ commune, sometimes I dream of having 5 children and home-schooling all of them, sometimes I dream of having a corner office, sometimes I dream of travelling the world alone and speaking only to strangers, and sometimes I dream of taking a really long nap. Which dream is the right dream? I know having clarity makes all decisions easier, but how does one get clarity?

How do you make difficult decisions?

March 24, 2010

Spring Fever!

The problem with living in Sacramento is that the second it gets even a little bit warm, I want to be by the water, soaking up the sun with a great book in hand, and well -- the Sacramento River just doesn't really do it for me.  I mean, sure it's fun to raft down in a moment of excrutiating heat and desperation, but I prefer the ocean! the beach! the sand! icy cold beverages!  Why does coastal living in California have to cost an arm and a leg (and then your firstborn! yikes!) 

I'm already dreaming about the weekend -- customary for a Wednesday, I'll have you know -- and although I don't think we'll be headed to the beach, we may head up to Oroville and do our favorite hike up to Feather Falls because at least if we aren't going to get to see the ocean, this is a nice substitute:

I am also woefully behind on my bookclub reading, so I best make some time to do that this weekend as well. 

What are you fantasizing about doing this weekend.  Do tell -- it makes the week go by faster, I promise!

March 22, 2010

Monday Musings – Meatless Edition

So the first few weeks of March found Garrett and I feeling particularly harried, although when I think back for a specific reason as to why we felt that way, I can’t really find one – Cult of Busy, much? One of the main ways this generally manifests itself in our lives is that we end up eating a lot of takeout. I don’t make time to throw our lunches together in the morning, I skip meal planning and grocery shopping on Sundays, and during the rest of the week we end up ingesting a lot more restaurant food that normal purely out of convenience – and really, it kind of sucks. I was not meant to be Carrie Bradshaw, where eating at the hippest restaurant every night feels like an extension of my already fabulous self. This doesn’t work for me mainly because I have no self control and in my mind if I eat at a restaurant I get to order whatever the hell I want (see: rich food, BOOZE! salty food, STEAK!) of course because I’m “dining out” and, you know, it is “special.” Obviously, it becomes a problem when it is not special and you are doing it 5-7 times in one week and not amending your ordering behavior. Not to mention, HELLO! It’s expensive, yo!

So on the Sunday before last, Garrett and I had a little Come to Jesus conversation because neither of us was really feeling our best. Two weeks of hard living (Steak! Booze! Steak!) had us feeling like major sloths and we both knew we needed to switch some things up. So what to do? Colonic? Cocaine Bender? Oh the choices, we had! Although at this point none of those options sounded that great, so we kissed the fantasy of becoming a celebrity goodbye and decided instead to spend last week hitting the gym a little more vigorously than usual, and to go meatless for the week.

I’d be lying to you if I told you Jennie wasn’t a huge inspiration. Have you seen her Meatless March photos? I basically bogarted some of the good looking recipes she has been cooking, and pulled a few out of my own arsenal and had a very good looking weekly menu written out in record time! Among other things, we made Baked Penne with Grilled Vegetables (this made great lunch leftovers!), Stuffed Poblano Peppers, Veggie Fajitas (One word: Orgasmic), Pasta with Artichokes and Tomatoes (Quick and Tasty)  -- I mean, really we really had some delicious dinners! And not even once did we have the OMG I ate Cheesecake Factory for Lunch and Sushi for Dinner type of food hangover. It was awesome!

Also, as I mentioned earlier, we really decided to hit the gym hardcore this week too, and in an effort to step out of our comfort zone (and hopefully make up for the excess amount of cheese involved in this meatless week) we tried a Spin Class for the first time. Can I tell you? Holy Shit. And also, Ouch! But in a good way, I swear. As we stood in line to sign in for that class with all the other junkies, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Amy’s post about her Spin experiences  because wow -- people get hardcore about spin, my god. But it was definitely a good time and we plan to do another couple of classes this week, you know assuming my legs come out of the noodle like state they are currently in.

So, in sum, less meat and more exercise seemed to work out swimmingly. What a concept, eh? Before you go patting us on the back though, I do have one confession – I went out for brunch on Saturday and felt compelled to order a hamburger (it had blue cheese on it, people!) I’m not kidding you it was primal – I was like, “Meat, get in my belly” as if it was going to be the last opportunity I would ever have for a hamburger. And then last night while we were going through the fridge getting out leftovers for dinner Garrett decided to celebrate his week of meat-less-ness by grilling up a big old rib-eye. So you know, we definitely aren’t perfect or up for making a giant life change just yet. But we did write out our menu/workout schedule again this week and what do you know – 5 meatless meals and some major priority went to spin! This week I’m going to try and use some other protein sources besides beans and cheese, so we will see how that goes.

Do you have any favorite veggie recipes you want to share? I’m all ears!

March 19, 2010

A Reason to Eat Cake

He was the first man to hold my hand.
He was the first man to kiss my forehead.
He was the first man to protect me from harm.
He was the first man to call me Princess. 
He was the first man to tell me he loved me. 

He taught me to be humble while still having confidence in myself.
He taught me to be coachable instead of defensive.
He taught me to be silly and to laugh, most often, at myself. 
He taught me how to catch.
He taught me to include everyone because it doesn't feel good to be left out.
He taught me that integrity is worth more than money.
He taught me that education can never be taken away from you.
He taught me to parallel park in a Suburban.
He taught me to live for adventure.
He taught me to be relentless. 

He told me that one day I would appreciate a cold beer on a hot day.
He told me I was smart, and I shouldn't let guys take advantage of me.
He told me to follow my dreams whether people said I was crazy or not.
He told me I should respect my elders. 
He told me that one day I would be as beautiful as my mother. 
He told me that everyday was my masterpiece. 
He told me to always remember that family was the most important thing in life. 

He gave me the gift of gab.
He gave me a laugh that's contagious.
He gave me unconditional love even when I was bratty.
He gave me lectures when I wanted to pierce my tongue and get a tattoo.
He gave me shit for loving New Kids on the Block. 
He gave me everything I ever asked for and never asked for anything in return.

He would love that I grew up to be a ball-breaker.
He would love that I graduated college like I promised when I told him I was dropping out. 
He would love that his nieces and nephews grew up to act like siblings. 
He would love that I FINALLY learned how to grill.
He would love busting Garrett's chops. 

He would have walked me down the aisle with pride.
He would have hugged me tightly during the father/daughter dance at my wedding.
He would have been the world's best grandpa.
He would have been proud of what I've accomplished.
He would have high fived my mom over a job well done.
He would have been my biggest cheerleader. 

He would have been 56 today.

Happy Birthday Dad. 

March 18, 2010

Prioritizing Nothing

This week has felt incredibly busy!
Gym/Meeting/Social Activity.
Cook Dinner.
Eat Dinner.
Straighten Up The House/Laundry.
Check Email.
Read Until I Fall Asleep.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
(And no, I don’t shower twice everyday, just the days I go to the gym.)

Catching up with some friends in these last couple of weeks has prompted me to answer the “What's new?” question, and I always seem to end up responding with a broken record version of “I’ve been soooo busy lately.” After reading this bit of perspective the other day I’m actually kind of horrified when I think of how often I say this without event thinking about it.

"Busy" is totally a cult.

Now granted, this week HAS been busy or at least full and I have definitely felt pulled in many directions. But when I look at that list up there, I’m comforted at least in how it reflects my priorities. But I definitely have been feeling a little “time poor” for the last few weeks and I want to get that under control. I have many times reiterated Berkun's stand on the concept of "I don't have time for..." because we all totally make time for the things that are important to us.  It's not about how much time I have versus the time you have, because we all have the same finite amount.  It's about where that task ranks given the context of that time.  I love to have lots of fulfilling things going on in my life, and I love to make goals and take the time to make progress towards achieving them, but I'm starting to think that I am flawed in not ranking General Decompression up a little higher.  Berkun brings up a great point when he says

It’s the ability to pause, reflect, and relax, to let the mind wander, that’s perhaps the true sign of mastery, for when the mind returns it’s often sharper and more efficient, but most important happier than it was before.

Um, can I get an Amen on that!

Someone remind me who recently wrote that we are human beings and not human doings? Because I have totally forgetten, but whoever they are, they are brilliant!

March 17, 2010

Do Vegetarians Eat Animal Crackers?

I posted a link to this article on Twitter and Facebook yesterday (via) because it is one of the simplest, bullet-pointed posts that I have ever read about fitness and health -- and three of his points really rang so true in my mind that I'm still thinking about them. I know this is a deviation from our standard programming around here, and my official disclaimer is that I am not an expert and these are just my opinions on the topic, so if this bores you, I totally understand.  No hard feelings.  Come back again tomorrow and we can talk about shoes or books or celebrities! Or how Kate Winslet is getting divorced…OMG, so sad!

Anyway, my favorite items stolen from that article were as follows:

• If you eat whole foods that have been around for 1000s of years, you probably don’t have to worry about counting calories
• High Fructose Corn Syrup is making people fat and sick
• The only real cure is prevention…don’t get sick in the first place otherwise you may be in for a long road back to health

There is so much to say on these topics, I don’t even know where to start. I am a card carrying member of the cult that thinks that the American Diet is the biggest factor in making people sick.  And even though it is one of the things we have the most control over, most of us don’t prioritize it all the time (myself included) and that is sort of baffling. I baffle myself on a regular basis, actually. I have watched some incredible and  enlightening documentaries on the subject of the American Diet (um…hi, corn products are in EVERYTHING because that is a crop the government subsidizes. Dear Government, please consider subsidizing other vegetables too, yes? ) And I am a total Michael Pollan zealot, yet I TOO am still guilty of not prioritizing my diet when crafting my own plan for health. It is such a battle!

For example, there is so much evidence out there supporting that idea that a (thoughtful) vegan diet really helps reduce inflammation and disease later on in life, and I know this, yet I can’t seem to let go of my love affair with cheese. Just the thought of it makes me panic a little.  Also, like many of us, I have certainly tried my share of fad diets out there in search of quicker/better/longer/easier weight loss in an effort to be healthier, but in the end I really think sometimes the big picture gets lost in all of that. It is not about being a certain weight or at this magic number, general health is what should be important, and there are so many factors contributing to that.

I went to a conference once where Dr. Pam Popper was speaking, and she said quite a few things that really affected my opinions on this stuff. A woman in the audience stood up and asked her how she felt about the Atkins diet, and boy did she unleash the beast. Well, if the beast includes a lot of scientific evidence about what it does to the body and why it was not good for your health. “But it works, I’ve done it and had success,” replied the woman in the audience, and of course don't we all know someone who has great success with Atkins, right?  But Dr. Popper’s response slayed me, “You are correct, the Atkins diet does work. But so does cocaine, and I don’t recommend that for health either.”

(Damnit!  I never tried cocaine for weight loss.  That is brilliant!) 

Ok, ok all jokes aside, that was kind of a turning point for me when it comes to my philosophy on weight loss and health. I’m not in this life just to weigh less (although yes, I need to get there and it is very important.) But really? What I want is to live more. And for longer. And I want to be healthy the entire time, not decrepit or disease ridden, or managing a slough of symptoms all the time. And I do think it is possible.  But if you could just remind me of that the next time I’m walking around the cheese department at Whole Foods (you know how I get when I'm there) I think that would be a great start! 

Do we have a deal?

March 16, 2010

Care To Play Armchair Psychologist?

I was raised in a feminist household. I don’t think we called it that around the dinner table so maybe I should use a less inflammatory adjective, but as I grew older and became more aware of sociological concepts to my life, it seemed to fit. For the purpose of clarification, how I interpret that label to fit my house growing up is that men and women were equals. (Sidebar: I hate that feminist is such an inflammatory adjective, but that is another post. I’m not really looking to debate it here.) If you asked my father, a man raised by his mother and three sisters, he probably would have told you that our society should get on the matriarchal bus! He was a sweet guy, my dad, and he never let a day go by where he didn’t remind me that other people’s attitude toward gender roles should never be something that dictates what I choose to accomplish in my life. And even though he worked outside of the home and my mom always worked inside of the home, which is pretty darn traditional when you look at it, I never felt like I had to pigeonhole myself because I was female.

My foray into corporate America has surely tested that attitude. I’ve worked in offices where the men who play poker get ahead and the women with the corner offices are that stereotypical combination of bitchy and sterile. I have encountered that irritating type of unconscious sexism – which, in my opinion, is almost more anger inducing that those overt a-holes who think I should be barefoot in the kitchen and want to tell me about it.  An example: I once had a disagreement with another female co-worker (a very respectful one, I might add, that the two of us resolved like adults) only to have her older, male, supervisor come over a day later and pat me on the shoulder and say, “Boy I’m so glad that’s over, I hate to see you girls fighting on the playground.” Thanks for comparing my professional and respectful disagreement to a catty, schoolyard cat-fight, buddy. Us women – we just love to hate each other! But even amidst all that, I think you deal with lots of different types of idiocy in life, and those with a gender bias are just one type, so I don’t generally let its existence really influence my career goals. And I’m in a good spot.

That’s all I really want to say about that, I think. I’m actually I’m starting to get anxiety over the Work-Discussion word count on here, so I will get to my point. (If nothing else this blog has made me realize that I know just how to bury the lede and should probably try to work on that. Thanks for indulging me, guys!) The point is that Garrett is not in the same good career place, and boy it is not for lack of trying, objective hand on a stack of bibles, I swear. Now granted, I am 3 years older than him, but if you put our career trajectories side by side, I have clearly had EXTREMELY better luck. And for no good reason really. It’s like this enormous mystery we keep trying to figure out. Garrett is the guy who never skipped a class in college. Got perfect grades. He was that guy who made friends with his Professors and some of them are even still his mentors today. He walked at graduation with all sorts of ropes and tassels and fanfare and acknowledgment, whereas I just kind of sat in the back with my friend giggling about potentially firing off some spitballs and rolling eyes at the people like Garrett. Yet he is not That Obnoxious Guy. He is well spoken, professional, and is hard working to a fault. He is basically an employer’s wet dream.

Yet here I am – The Breadwinner.

The Breadwinner.  

That word feels like a ton of bricks. 

The emotional fallout of Garrett’s career right now is something that has to be managed daily, and is definitely stressful, but what I am really struggling with is this idea of being The Breadwinner. (Enough with that word!)  We joke about it in a lighthearted way, Garrett and I, but lately and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it's driving me nuts. I was raised in this house where I was clearly prepared for this role. Garrett and I certainly approach our relationship as a partnership and wholeheartedly support the idea that sometimes one person pulls more weight than the other. That's the benefit of partnership!  It's written right in the contract!  And with that in mind, there are areas in our relationship where Garrett pulls WAY MORE weight than me, so the problem isn’t that I feel resentful at all. I think it is just the pressure of it all. The responsibility, you know?

I wonder to myself if men feel this way? Do they struggle with the responsibility of being in charge of the winning of said bread or do they just accept that having this responsibility signifies success? I'm starting to wonder if after all this time, even though I always assumed I would go out into the world and kick ass and take names – if I unconsciously had an expectation in the back of my mind that I would pair up with someone who would have that role and I wouldn't have to worry about it.  I mean, that’s the way it worked in my household, after all. Even though my mom could have gone out and worked, she chose not to. They chose not to have my mom work outside the home. And I wonder if maybe that is what I’m struggling with – the fact that at this point there really isn’t a choice. This is my role, and until Garrett finds something better, it is going to be my role. Or until we have kids it will be role.  I mean, hell, what happens then?  The mind boggles.  My salary does the bulk of supporting us, and Garrett’s salary keeps us traveling, and eating the fancy cheese we like so much.  I’m obviously over-simplifying our finances to the extreme right now…but internet – what is with me and my semantic allergic reaction???

Paging Dr. Internet…

March 15, 2010

Monday Musings

So last week? Pile of Suck. With a CAPITAL P.  Let's just erase it, shall we?

It was so bad, I’m not even going to blog about it, but I’m just going to bury it until my next kickboxing class and then release the rage via round house kicks. You just wait – you will wish you were privy to my ninja skills inside the four walls of 24 hour fitness.

But this weekend? Ultimate Antidote.  And yeah, with a Capital U and an A and all that.  

There were so many things brought a smile to my face, I don't even know where to start. Here, let me and my mediocre photography skills show you:

Neon Tomato Cages

So let me tell you all the fun things I know about gardening. Um…huh…yeah…so…well, the list isn’t too long now that I think about it. But I successfully grew some stuff last year, so I’m moving forward with the same philosophy -- which includes: plant some stuff, water it, and tell the plants they are pretty. The power of positive thinking people – don’t laugh, it worked last year when I grew an 18 inch yellow squash. I’m pretty sure we are done with the frost, so I have planted the bulk of my veggies and herbs and cute little baby seedlings, so we’ll see how it goes this year. But even if it all goes to hell – how cute are those tomato cages? Hot Pink! Bright Green! It’s so reminiscent of my favorite outfit in the first grade – the one when I looked EXACTLY like Cyndi Lauper, I was just sure of it! You know, except it’s for the garden. C’mon tell her she’s pretty.

Garrett's Idea of Picking Up Some Fruit

If you send a boy to the grocery store, you have to know it's kind of a crap shoot.  At least that's the way it is in my house.  He always ends up coming home with like 10 bags of chips, 3 flavors of ice cream, bunches of steaks (but they were on sale! he says).  So this weekend, he came home with fruit!  Um, of the beer variety?  I don't know.  I enjoyed it though.  

Coconut Cupcakes

I went on a little baking bonanza this weekend which is fine, except only two people live at our house. Coconut cupcakes were the final product and OH MAH GAH, you all. They are where it's at! Although 18 cupcakes is a lot for 2 people. Well at least when you use as much butter as I was forced to do on Sunday. (Don’t ask, you don’t want to know). But they are damn good, and as such, my coworkers reaped the benefit this morning. It's so nice to take one for the team.

New Appliances

Meet our new Garage Fridge.  We've had a mini "Man Fridge" in our garage for a while but had still been lusting for an extra freezer, so when a friend was off-loading her full size fridge/freezer for a steal, we jumped at the chance and set it up this weekend.  Why does this make me feel like such an adult?  Or like I could host a Barefoot Contessa style party with all of my food pre-made sitting on fabulous white trays in my fridge just waiting for my filthy rich guests to show up with white wine!  Seriously, something about an entire extra appliance just for luxury feels a little bit sickening, but also, it's really is going to help me out immensely.  Our house fridge is so old (and also a side by side, which: um, HATE. HATE. HATE) and frankly it is mostly just a testament to inefficient space usage.  A mixing bowl takes up an ENTIRE SHELF.  If we ever entertain, I basically have to do it on nights when we have no groceries in the fridge because they take up all the usable space.  And our freezer?  Don't even get me started.  Finding things in there is like spelunking in a cave on Mount Everest.  And um, no thank you!  This shiny little gem out in the garage is like a dream come true!  (Can somebody tell me when I turned into an old person?)

My Bathtub

This weekend was sunny – but still a bit chilly. This means I spent a serious amount of time in my bubble filled bathtub this weekend and it was much needed. The best part of my bathtub is that even though it isn’t a circle tub with jets – it’s extra long and extra deep (if there is a way to explain that without it attracting the porno crowd to my site, I would love to know) – but anyway, this means that even though I am 5’10 I can still chill out and relax and soak all my troubles away. And frankly, that’s just what I did until my toes got pruney, with the help of some brain candy.

Brain Candy

Yes, I did mountains of Sudoku and poured through this book like it was going out of style in the bath. I was starting to wonder how I could configure that bathtub as an office space when Sunday night rolled around. I mean, I could totally juggle my laptop in there, I promise! But alas, my job said No Dice to my bathtub office idea. 

I guess today (Monday, ARGH)  I'm just trying to take my happiness where I can get it.  In the bits of sunshine that are outside, in the fact that Spring has almost sprung and that means more beautiful days and big adventures.  More time at the grill (yes!) and more time outside.  Patio dates with good friends.  Bring it on, I say!

What are you looking forward to this Spring? 

March 09, 2010

Well It Put A Smile On My Face And That's Really Saying Something

Seriously, I want to be blogging kitties, puppies, and unicorn farts today but I am in an oddly bad mood and practicaly giving the stink eye to old ladies on the street. I need a nap, a reboot, and to start over again tomorrow; however, a few things have made me smile today.

And for your viewing pleasure, those things are as follows:

This website via Metalia.  Partly because it is hysterical, and also partly because when she tweeted it, she warned that it was slightly NSFW due to "partially nude hobos," which, I mean come can't NOT laugh at that. It makes me very grateful that I drive my car to work.

Also, this post via Sarah Brown.  I was practically snorting my iced tea, which in itself was not very funny, but the post was.   

(Mmmm...Peet's Summer House Iced Tea made me smile today.  Yummy.)

Also these lame jokes:
Did you hear about the guy who was addicted to line dancing?  He entered a 2 step program.
What about the guy who was addicted to drinking brake fluid? He could stop anytime he wanted.
(Via Ken Koch via Becky Johnson on Facebook.  Thank you for those, Becky...really.)

And last but not least, DJ Pauly D is going to be in Sacramento on Thursday night.  And if there is anything funnier than sorting through Google Images to fine a picture of Pauly D to post, I don't know what it is. 

He loves Cadillac and Peace...what a guy!  I'm hoping a workout, asparagus, bacon, and pinenut pasta and some bad television will be just what the doctor ordered. 

March 05, 2010

Ah, Sweet Weekend!

So when Friday evening comes around, I usually get a little giddy with excitement.  This should not come as a surprise if you are, you know, human.  Sometimes my excitement has to do with all the unadulterated weekend time I'm going to spend with my DVR (Bravo, FTW!), a DVD I've rented from Netflix (this weekend I'm watching this) or the book I'm reading (which is definitely going to get some attention tomorrow afternoon.)  But 9 times out of 10 it involves excitement over something I'm going to cook.  The weekend is when I make all my time consuming recipes, stockpile things to serve as leftovers for the week ahead, or generally experiment in the kitchen -- and this weekend is no different. 

It's been a busy week though (in a good way -- socializing, working out, meetings, etc) and I have hardly had a minute to think about my cooking adventures for the weekend; however, last night I busted out one of my most used cookbooks to see if there was any inspiration inside, and I was seriously struck over the head with about 25 recipes I wanted to make right this second. 

Do you own this:

I really can't adequately express my love for this book enough.  It is full of (wouldn't you know) great food!  That's fast!  And there are beautiful, glossy photos to accompany each recipe, and I think the bulk of them are pretty foolproof.  It's the kind of food that takes very little effort, but makes you feel all fancy!  I love that.  So this weekend, since I want to cook but I am definitely running on a bit of an empty tank, I think I am going to take a cue from this book and do some delicious, quick cooking. 

I know this Asparagus Gruyere Tart is definitely in my future...and seriously, how easy is that!  Fancy, Easy, yet Incredibly Delicious.  I'm  kind of hoping that's how my weekend turns out as well!

What are you up to, friends?

March 03, 2010

Crafts and Books and Trips, Oh My!

I was looking over my calendar making some plans today and I realized that there are quite a few things coming up in the next few months that I am pretty giddy with excitement about! If you are local, you may even want to put some of these fun happenings on your calendar:


Indie Sacramento – This is a craft bazaar here in Sac promoting local business and local crafting. How fun, right? I have really had a crafty itch lately and I can’t think of anything more inspirational to scratch that itch that some fun local crafters.

Offbeat Bride reading in SF  -- One of my favorite bloggers EVER will be in SF to sign copies of the second edition of her book Offbeat Bride. (I know what you are thinking -- Holly, tone it down on the wedding books, you are not engaged.  But seriously, I was reading her blog long before she ever wrote a wedding book, so that just happens to be a coincidence, I promise.) I feel like kind of a dork going, but I totally think I’m going to! What the hell, right?  Blogger Nerd Alert.

Well, thanks to some budget friendly deals on Southwest this week, Seattle is looking like the weekend locale of choice to celebrate Garrett’s birthday. I’m sort of scared to mention it in case I jinx it (the tickets are not yet purchased) -- and our last trip to Seattle did not pan out as we had hoped-- but the thought of four glorious days in the Pacific Northwest -- I can’t wait. Seattleites (and of course anyone with an opinion) – what is on the MUST DO list? (And of course the Must Eat list...we all know this is paramount to a succesful weekender!) Do tell!

Sacramento MCM Home Tour –  A tour of local MCM homes? I am so in! First of all, I’ll go on any House Tour because I love seeing how other people live -- I'm curious like that. But an MCM tour? Swoon! I'm dying to see this one on the inside.

I’d say the first half of this year is looking to shaping up quite nicely.

March 02, 2010

Fat Girl

When my mother was 16, eagerly anticipating the independence that came in the form of a Volkswagen Beetle, she passed her drivers test. As she filled out the paperwork for what would be her first Drivers License she encountered the Universal DMV Dilemma of what to write for her weight. Ultimately she decided to lie as many of us do, and so she got ballsy and put down 112 lbs.  God forbid anyone find out she only weighed in at 104. 
 If I hadn’t seen the pictures from the hospital, I would question whether or not we were actually related.  I have never had the occasion to make myself appear less…skinny – not in real life, and certainly never on paper. I have always taken after my dad’s side of the family who embody their German heritage not only in their ability to empty a stein, but in their sturdy frames.

We looked a lot alike, my father and I – same hair, same eyes, same NFL lineman shoulders. If I had a brother, he would have spent his life envious.  Our legs could have been carved out of the same marble slab.  We were a formidable pair. 

“Holy Shit, Holly, he looks like Conan the Barbarian,” Garrett said the first time he saw my parents wedding photo.  The fact that he never got to meet my father was surely a relief to him in some ways.

*Obviously Garrett meant Conan the Barbarian if he ditched the loin cloth and headdress for a baby blue tux and a paisley bowtie. God I love the 70s*

I understood what he meant but the comment made me cringe a bit because I recognized my own body in that picture and I thought of the words that I hoped my one day boyfriend would use to describe me, an Arnold Schwartzenegger character never came to mind.  But I was also proud of my father’s strength, and of the physique that he earned after decades of football.  I saw the aftermath of the NFL that they don't discuss on SportCenter -- the bruises, the surgeries. 

But my career goals never involved the NFL, so I’ve definitely struggled a bit to love this body I was gifted. I’ve told you before about my childhood foray into dance, and as a dancer my body was never a perfect fit.  Despite dedication and passion, I learned at a very early age that my body would prevent any chance I would ever have at that profession no matter how many times I casually hugged the toilet, but just in case I should try to lose about 20 lbs. I think I was 9 when this sunk in.
 Though no Swan Queen, my imperfect body has done unbelievable things for me and as someone who hopes to have children one day I look to the future now and think of all the things my body is still going to do for me – what it is capable of doing for me, and I have begun to appreciate it.  When I think of the plans I have it’s hard not to feel a little proud. Sure my body isn’t perfect, and I have definitely gotten the memo that it isn’t The Ideal (Loud and Clear! Thank you, American Media!) But this body is mine, and the narcissist inside of me finds that hard not to love.  And this is mostly why I was pretty disgusted with Fat Girl, Judith Moore’s autobiographical account of her life growing up fat.

Though chock full of writing that will just absolutely knock your socks off, she spends page after page discussing herself with such disdain. She wrote an interesting commentary about why she wrote the book, and although the book is refreshing in its frankness, I am also finding it very hard to read. Writing about something that generally doesn’t have a voice deserves praise, but having that voice be so incredibly disparaging is hard for someone with my history to reconcile, and ultimately it doesn't accomplish much.  The only place the story goes is down 30 floors to the basement of your worst shame spiral, and yet  there is nothing earned for the trip. 

I don't need every book to have a silver lining lesson, but every few pages I find it difficult to not immediately set the book down, and whisper to that little dreamer inside of her that it doesn't matter if the world doesn't thinks you are perfect.  Everything will work out just as it should – even if it doesn't end up looking quite as much like Flashdance as you once hoped it would.

March 01, 2010

Monday Musings

*image via

  • I mentioned this on Facebook this weekend, but if we are not friends I think it bares (bears?) repeating.  Is there anything worse than spending 90 minutes of your Saturday going up and down every aisle of Costco playing bumper cars (on the last day of the coupon, by the way and damn if people don't come out in droves to get $1.50 off of all 800 of those rolls of toilet paper)  only to pilgrimage all the way out to your car parked in Siberia for a fierce game of Trunk Tetris?  Man I hate that.  As someone who always tried to force the square peg in the round hole, that shit makes me tired!  If there is something worse than this can you please tell me, so that I can think of it the next time I'm swearing at my car like a lunatic while people pass by asking me how long I'm going to be so they can decide if they want to play parking lot shark on my spot or roll the dice on a better spot.  Thanks.
  • Have you looked at the March Issue of Cooking Light?  There are like 900 recipes that I want to make, immediately.  Actually I made one last night (with a few switch-a-rooskies) and I may have to post about it this was THAT GOOD. There was also a fabulous article in it (oooh and look, it's online too!) about The 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes that I thought it was super informative.  Nothing extreme, just a really good reminder of basics, but I definitely picked up a few tips.  Anyway, while I'm playing link-master, check out their Recipe Index for March.  It's a total Jackpot!
  • I finally finished 500 Days of Summer and it ended up being ok.  I didn't love it, but there were definitely some cute parts.  I'm convinced that anyone who didn't crack a smile during the entire Hall & Oats musical section has a cold black heart.  I fracking LOVE Hall & Oats!  Don't judge me.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Joseph Gordon Levitt, who I had previously put in my Famous-People-With Irritating-Squinty-Faces category (see also:  Renee Zellweger and Josh Hartnett), has seemed to grow out of that.  He was a pretty adorable regular-guy leading man.  Granted the last time he even registered on my radar was in like 2001 when I was living in LA and got free tickets to see an episode of Third Rock From the Sun be filmed, so he probably deserved a break -- I'm pretty sure that was probably his most awkward adolescent phase, and come on, that is a phase by which no one should be judged.
  • Speaking of awkward adolescent phases, I've been scanning a bunch of old pics lately and getting a real good laugh.  I may have to post a few here if you promise not to be too brutal. 
Did you have a nice weekend?


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