Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last day.....of JANUARY

In a blink of an eye...January is done. Whoa...slow this shit down!

So this last week was another Quarterly ThanksUnlimited at the job.  I do love that they do this monthly, but the quarterly one, for me, is even a bit better. More numbers are discussed, more is revealed and there sure seems to be a lot more people there.

But the best part of this is the unvealing of the Quarterly Star Award winner. This winner is voted on by the people. You may remember back in May I won this award...and this quarter....????

I WON IT AGAIN!

That's right! Me and our IT guy (dah, who wouldn't vote for your IT guy) won this. And again, I was stunned. I mean I know I do a good job. But that's just it...it's my job. I don't see myself as going above and beyond and what not. If I take a step out of my body and look at all that I'm doing, then yah, I'm kinda a big deal.

Truthfully though, I'm pretty happy about this. It does show that they see all my hard work and appreciate it. I'll go for months on this type of recognition.

Last time, they sang a version of California Girls to me. This year they sang a version of "Let's Dance" from David Bowie. Our HR gal is pretty clever when it comes to rewriting lyrics.

So in case you don't know the melody...

Now the lyrics...

Your Vote!
Gave us results we've never seen before

Because
We all pushed hard to make our best Q4

This Star's
IT magic topped the charts

This Star's 
PM smarts set her apart

Thanks Joe & Jenn you've earned our praise
Gave it your all with amazing grace
But what are we to do 
One parking space for two?
You've both been great, and now you rate
That single winning clap



Ok, maybe not her best, but it's pretty amusing. Oh and as to the parking spot? I told Joe I get in way earlier than him. His response was he controls my Internet connection. DOH!

Turns out he has a super secret parking spot so I get the spot.

And with that, bring on February!!! I'm ready for another month of crazy.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All is well on the home front

As I sit here thinking about what to write about, an aroma floats into the room.  I have a roast in the crock pot and it's been cooking for 8 hours. I can barely stand it. It smells so good and reminds me of winter weekends with Mom and Dad growing up. Ahhh how smells take you back.

Work is work. It's an oddly slow week for me and thus allowed me to have a free weekend. I needed it, so it's just fine by me. Next week should get a bit busier, but nothing I can't handle. My colleague and I have been evaluating a PM tool that I absolutely just love. That tool has single-handedly changed how I manage my day. They say it helps you work more efficiently, but I doubted that. Turns out, it sure does. When we started evaluating it, I dedicated myself to working with it wholeheartedly so that I could really improve my work/live balance. We're very close to getting the approval we need to purchase it - which, in and of itself has been a roller coaster.

On the 20th I took, and failed, the CIPP exam. I figured I would fail it first time out, so I wasn't disappointed or upset in any way. It does give me a good idea of what the test is like, and jeez-whiz is it detailed. Its one of the biggest complaints I've had in studying for it. They aren't just asking for you knowing the broad picture of privacy and the law of privacy...no they want you to know the nitty-gritty details. Of which, apparently, I did not.

No worries. I'll take it again. I want this certification, and I just need to really focus and study hard for the next round.

Because I have to wait a month before I can reschedule the exam, I decided to take this weekend off from everything.  I have had a laundry list of things I've wanted to do in the house, and finally got a chance to do just that. I de-furred the place, cleaned the kitchen, mopped, laundry, a bit of scrapbooking, and some reading not related to privacy. It feels good to be slightly free again.

oooo the crock pot buzzer just went off. Guess that means it's time to do some eating...

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Today we say farewell...

2016 isn't starting out as great as I had hoped.

Today the MomUnit had to say goodbye to her best friend and co-conspirator, Count Beau of Hershey. 

Beau was one of those dogs that every dog owner would love to have. He was mild in temperament and the best damn dog I've ever met. He loved his tennis ball and would run himself to death chasing it if you didn't stop throwing the darn thing.

He went everywhere with mom and dad. He traveled the US with them when they retired. He went to every appointment with mom, he visited the hospitals in Tucson to make others happy, and he stood by mom's side when she said goodbye to dad.

He was regal, smart, and so full of live that I would often forget he was a dog. Everyone loved him and everyone wanted to take him home. 

It's a sad day for us Wraspir's...we'll miss you Beau. Say hi to the other Wraspir animals on the other side (Sylvester, Toby, Josephine, Jose, Juanito, Babe, Pookie, etc)

In other news, I am back to focusing on my high protein/low carb eating lifestyle. I fell really hard off the wagon over the holidays. I'll weigh myself tomorrow to find out how much I gained back.  But no worries, I'm feeling motivated and have a partner in crime with me who will be eating and exercising just like me starting tomorrow. We'll hold each other accountable and hopefully that'll make us both successful.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Hello 2016!!!

Well here it is.  A new year. A new beginning. A clean slate.

I happen to love new years day. I spend a good chunk of the day thinking what this year will bring to me...the good? The bad? And the ugly? All of it part of life and part of making me who I am.

Will I be prepared for what lies ahead? Probably not. But that's part of the fun.

This year I won't be doing goals as such. I'll still have my general goals like I have for many MANY years. Things like # of books read, scrapbooking, photography, weight, etc. Those were starting to just be my general need goals.

This year I've decided to go with the ever so popular "choose a word" idea. I've had friends who have done this in the past and I've been impressed with how their year blossoms by keeping one word, or a phase in mind.

This year I've chosen the word "PURPOSE".

I really am not 100% sure what this means yet, but as the year progresses I'm sure it' will unfold. The main thing with purpose is I want to really have purpose in everything I do. To think about what I'm doing, what I'm saying, what I'm eating etc...everything with purpose.

Meriam Webster defines purpose as:
  • : the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something
  • : the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something
  • : the aim or goal of a person : what a person is trying to do, become, etc.


So we shall see how this goes. I'm not even sure what I really want to get out of this other than to really be a part of my life.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Goals? How'd I do?

Well, the goals didn't do so well this year. Work got so busy and that took over my life it seems. That has got to change in 2016. I've got a plan for how that's going to happen, but more on that later.

When I review these goals I smile at how ambiteous I was in January.  I'm changing it up this next year since I've discovered my goals have stayed the same for years. So are they really goals? They just feel like what I like to do every year.

At any rate, let's look at the goals.

Goals
Scrapbooking
  1. Discontinue random purchasing. Purchasing only allowed when the item has a purpose.
  2. Quarterly, review all supplies and purge. Donate to local charity.
  3. Have photos scrapbooked within the same quarter they were taken
  4. Begin putting together planned pages for heritage photos. Have 6 pages done by march. 10 by June, 15 done by Sept and all done by Dec
Right so scrapbooking... This really took a back seat this year. I struggled with whether I want to, or should, continue to do this hobby. No one every looks at the end result. And then I remember I love it. I love the creative outlet. Not to mention all the crap I have.

I did stop buying random crap - mostly. There were a couple of shopping trips in which unnecessary items were purchased. But truthfully, work got so busy I didn't have the time to surf the normal scrapbooking sites I used to. So less was purchased. That's progress, right?

The purging happened a lot. Not sure it was quarterly, but I found when I was feeling like I wanted to stop this hobby, I purged. Always a good thing.

Heritage pages got no where. And I'm behind with regards to scrapping the Spain trip and Philly and  - well a lot.
Read
  1. 52 books
  2. Read all 12 book club books
  3. Read 1 photography book
  4. Read 1 PM book
  5. Read 1 finance book
  6. Create a list of books sitting around the house and read those books - Done
Total books read: 28. Not quite the 52. And that 28 include the book club books. I didn't read all 12 book club books, but oh well. No photography books read. No real PM books read - though the CIPP books I read for the CIPP exams I think covers that. I started the finance book. Does that count?
Photography
  1. 6 photo trips with themes
  2. Do 80% of the monthly challenge lists on CaptureYour365
  3. Read the Orange books on your TV stand
  4. Begin using LR more
Um, yah. Photography definitely took a back seat. I don't think we got out but on one photo stroll this year. Wait, did we? Or was that last year? Oh hell. If I can't remember then I certainly didn't take enough photos.

I actually tossed the "orange books" on my TV stand. I started flipping through them and found they were pretty specific and nothing I needed, or wanted to read.
Finances
  1. 52 week challenge
  2. PAY off credit cards
  3. By year end, up 401K percentage
So 52 weeks challenge is done. Where is that $$ going? Undecided this year. I did a little charting on my budget and found WAY too much $$ going to credit card payments. Didn't pay them all off - thanks to the Spain trip and Philly. But they're better and closer to being paid off than they were last year. 
Healthy
  1. Koko Fit Gym 4-6 times a week
  2. Focus on healthy eating habits by planning weekly food
  3. Lose 50 lbs (3-4 lbs/mon or 1 lb per week)
  4. C25K - should you try to run a 5K this year?
Health was a big focus again this year. Down 22 lbs (well I was. Who knows after being in Tucson for a week.). Koko Fit was a big part of that. I think on average I only got to the gym 2 X a week - on average. Some weeks were all 7 days and some weeks none. Clearly didn't hit the 50 lbs loss. That was pretty aggressive. Next year my plan/goal is 30 lbs. 
Blog
  1. Write 3X a week
  2. Work through the blog topics on file
Hah! 3 X a week. That's funny. Three times a month is more like it. 
Give Back
  1. 1 random act of kindness a week
  2. Donate to food bank quarterly
  3. Consider volunteering
This is a harder one to track. I definitely gave to the food banks. Especially this time of year - I find the food drives easy to donate to.

Random act of kindness? Hmmmm - I'm sure I did this. I often buy the coffee for the person behind me. I've let people with fewer groceries go in front of me too. Those aren't what I was thinking though. I'll have to think about this one for sure.

I did decide this year I'd donate to five charities in December. Since I don't actually buy Christmas gifts for the family, I decided to find 5 new and different charities. So far 4 have been donated to...one to go. I'm saving that one for New Year's Eve.

Next year I'd like to donate to one new/different charity a month, but think it's more likely to be a quarter.
Relationships:
  1. Send a note to 2-3 people once a month just because and telling them how important they are to you.
This is the one I'm most sad about. I let my job get in my way of living my life. My work / life balance is way off and I've got to make a change there. I have no excuses other than well, work has me busy and when I get home I just want to rest. 
Travel
  1. 2 road trips during the summer to somewhere new
  2. Philly in October
  3. Europe in April
This was the easy one. All these were done! Check!
Cooking
  1. 50 new recipes tried
  2. Learn to cook dad's biscuits flawlessly
  3. Maybe try gma's cinnamon rolls
Another one that made me laugh at how much time I thought I'd have when I put this in the goals last January. Definitely didn't learn how to bake Dad's biscuits or the cinnamon rolls. I focused more on protein for the second half of the year, so the 50 recipes just didn't happen. 
Do one scary thing.

I don't think I did this one. While stepping on the scale is scary, that's not what this meant.  I'm going to have to rethink this one. I really want this to be part of my every day life, and yet my everyday life seems to be too busy to even remember this one. 
Education
  1. PM classes for certification
  2. Photography classes
  3. Scrapbooking classes
  4. Cooking classes
  5. Privacy training
Yah so, none of these but the privacy training happened. I did read several articles regarding scrapbooking things...but that's kinda lame.  I feel like I did do a scrapbooking class, but I think it was last year that I'm thinking. At any rate, education needs to be a focus. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 In Review

I was thinking about the whole It's a Wonderful Life thing and how I didn't feel like I was really impacting people's lives.  While I may be no George Bailey there are things that happen in my life that wouldn't if I wasn't around.

For instance, credit card companies wouldn't get so much of my hard earned cash...

Ok, seriously though.  When I went back and looked at my year in review, there were a couple things that stood out that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't here to instigate them.

Vines & Spines Book Club
This book club would never have been created had I not invited a bunch of my favorite girls out to dinner. And had we not started discussing books we liked. This year we read some great books, some crap book, and some books I didn't read at all.
  1. How to  Build a Girl, Caitlan Moran****
  2. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern *****
  3. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doer**
  4. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty*****
  5. A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah - hated it.
  6. The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty****
  7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin*****
  8. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins *****
  9. The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve
  10. Killing Lincoln , Bill Reily *****
  11. The Pilot's Wife, Anita Shreve
  12. Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls ****
There were two I didn't read: The Weight of Water and the Pilot's Wife. Not because it was the same author, just because it was bad timing for me to actually do any reading.

My favorite of the year? Oh gosh. Probably The Night Circus and Killing Lincoln.

The one I hated was A Long Way Gone. Couldn't even get past the first hundred pages. Blech!

Side note: I read 52 books last year. This year, including privacy books, I've ready 28. Ugh.

 The other activity that wouldn't happen if I wasn't here is Dinner club. The Landlord, Blueberry and I find a new restaurant every month and try it out. The "rule" has been that you have not been there before.  We had some hits, and some misses this year. I love doing this though. Getting an opportunity to try new places seems like it's always what we want to do, but never do.

January -Sear Grill
February -Prime Steak House
March -Volterra
April -Indigo Grill
May -Best Wok in Bellevue
June -Amaro
July -Big fish Grill
August -Chanterelle
September -Hugo's
October -No dinner club...too much work
November -Bottle and Bull
December - Some Thai restaurant in Lynnwood. I missed this one too due to work.

So what else happened in 2015?

Well, I know I didn't blog as much as I wanted to. A total of 51, well 52 after this one, blogs were written. I didn't even cover big events that happened this year. Life got too busy I guess.

Travel
Whoa! It was another year of fantastic travel.
  • Spain and the Canary Islands - The big trip was the cruise around the Canary Islands. SIL and I spent 5 days in Barcelona, then hopped on the ship to cruise. I need to go back to Barcelona. Such a beautiful place. 
  • Philadelphia in October - Went to Philly for the 3 Day and spent a couple days before checking out the city. LOVED it! 
  • La Conner and those damn Snow Geese - SIL and I took TWO trips to see those damn snow geese. We saw nothing. What we saw weren't geese, but swans. Maybe this year I'll give it another shot.
  • Road Trip with the Niece - Deception Pass, Mt. Vernon area, other areas up there checking out the back roads. 
  • Tucson - Like every year. Tucson for Christmas

Sunday Dinners
Still doing these darn things. Chose to not have one in November, then ended up having an impromptu Rib Saturday Gathering. The biggest Sunday Dinner was in December. 15 people here. I had originally had 17 coming and was sure I wouldn't fit them all in the place, but alas, 15 were all we had. Two were at other folks places. Maybe this next year we'll do more traveling Ssunday dinners.

Other things:
  • Went to see Pompeii at the Pacific Science Center. LOVED it. 
  • The Niece graduated from Vet Tech School - she ultimately passed the exams too and became an official Vet Tech. So proud of her.
  • 3 day - of course
And that's pretty much it!





Friday, December 25, 2015

It IS a wonderful life...Or is it?

Last night the MomUnit and I watched the Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." You know the story. Man wishes he was never born and an angel comes down and shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. Man realizes life is great and poof...he's back to reality.

I started thinking last night what would be different if I had never been born.

And you know what's sad? I came up with nothing.

I've done nothing "amazing" enough in my life that would seem it would change anything if I wasn't born.

So I started thinking about the people in my life and what their lives would be like without me.

And I really couldn't imagine it. Not that I think I'm such a fantastic person, but I couldn't, literally, think about what life would be like for them. I mean, I wouldn't be around to know anything about their lives...and would their lives be any worse or better without me? Hard to say. I'm not always a ray of sunshine, you know?

By the time I was dosing off I came to a conclusion...perhaps the world would be different without me. Maybe a better place. Maybe a worse place. But the truth is, I'm glad I'm here. And I really don't want to go anywhere anytime soon.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Happy December

I was sitting at my desk on Tuesday and couldn't believe it was December 1st already. I know time flies when you get older, but good heavens this year went by fast!!! I'll be 47 before I know it.

There feels like there's a lot going on lately, but nothing overly exciting to really discuss. So instead I thought I'd fall back to this little list.

Listening:
Its anyone's guess these days. I bought myself an Amazon Echo. And oh boy do I love it!!! Because I have Amazon Prime the list of music playlists and stations I can listen to is pretty extensive. I find that I now have A.D.D. over music though. As soon as a playlist plays something I don't like I say, "Alexa - play 80's One Hit Wonders." or something similar. Yes her name is Alexa. 

She also does things like tells you the weather, will find a recipe for you, tell you jokes, and she'll put things in your Amazon shopping cart - scary, I know.

Alexa! Play Classic Christmas Songs!

Reading:
I didn't read last month's book club book (The Pilot's Wife) I was reading instead a plethora of study books for the CIPP exam I was scheduled to take on the 15th of December. But alas, I moved the date out to January 15th. I was getting too stressed and it just wasn't worth it. So I moved the date.

In addition I'm reading the December Book Club book called The Glass Castle.  I'm about a third through it and am hoping it gets moving pretty soon. So far I don't like any of the characters and am going to do my best to stick with it so I can at least participate in book club this month. Well, besides drinking wine during book club.

Eating:
You may remember that I've moved my eating plan into a high protein / low carb eating plan through a local clinic that specializes in overweight people. According to my scale I've lost 22 lbs. According to there's I've lost 18. But I weigh at the end of the day and fully clothed on their scale, so I figure I'm somewhere in the middle.

When I started this I went to sit in a BOD POD to get my body composition. It wasn't great, but we knew that. This last week I went back - 3.5 months in. We expected all the right numbers to go down. And they did. My % of fat is down 5%, which don't be impressed by that, it's not a lot - it's something but there's a lot to go. My fat weight was down. But my muscle mass was also down! Not the right idea. Turns out I'm not eating enough protein. While the working out and eating relatively good has been a benefit - I'm not getting the 109 g of protein that I need to keep the muscle I'm creating when working out. It's only down slightly and completely recoverable. It was good to see that because now I can adjust and know exactly where my issues are. So I went out and bought some protein powder. My goal is to have at least one meal a day of protein powder - essentially I'll be having this for breakfast. In 4 months we'll go back and check again. 

Loving:
My holiday decorations. The Friday after Thanksgiving is my tradition to put up the Christmas tree. This year it was also the Apple Cup. So I had a bunch of friends over to watch the Cougs totally blow the game and then decorate the Christmas tree.  The demons cats love it. It's like I put up a big sparkle-ly toy for them. The first night I had 5 ornaments brought to me in bed. Those ornaments have been moved up. I bought some spray that is supposed to be gross to cats so they won't chew on the tree, instead it's like it had cat nip in it. All they want to do is chew on the tree.

Contemplating:
This time of year it's all about thinking about next year and what lies ahead. I recently had my one year anniversary at work and was disappointed in myself that I hadn't gotten around to writing myself a letter after I started. See each year I write a letter to the future Jenn. I read that letter on New Year's Day and think about what I accomplished, and what I didn't expect etc. Then I sit down and write my future self another letter. I wanted to do that for work to see just where I think I would have been and where I am. I'm pretty sure I would not have anticipated being the value to the company that I feel I am now (and that I'm told I am - which I love). So I started a letter to my future work self and am looking forward to getting out a letter to my future personal self.

And with that I'm going to go study for the CIPP.  Heading to the Winter Beer Festival today with some friends and then tomorrow is the company Holiday Party...oh goody. So I need to get some studying in while I can.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One Tribe y'all



One Tribe y’all

The Black Eyed Peas got it right.
"One tribe y'all
We are one people
Let's catch amnesia, forget about all that evil...

Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let's catch amnesia, forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya
Remember that we're one people"



My heart hurts. I’m sad not only for what happened in France, but even sadder at the hatred that has spread through our lives because of it.

I’m speaking specifically of the constant, hateful, comments and attitudes towards refugees from Syria. One of the terrorists involved in the horrific bombings in France has been labeled as “a refugee from Syria” and suddenly ALL refugees from Syria are out to kill us. So many people are commenting, out of fear I assume, that none of the refugees should be allowed in the US. “SAVE our LIVES by not letting the terrorist in!” Really? That’s what you get out of seeing the images of thousands, THOUSANDS of people being forced to leave everything behind to save their lives. 

Stop to think for a minute. 

Look around you. See everything you have. 

Your pretty phone, your Starbucks coffee, the fact you’re typing on a computer, with electricity. The fact you can go to your sink at any moment and get water. Or go to your fridge and get something to eat. OR, drive a bit to buy something to eat with money you got out of a bank.  

Think about your family. The family members who are going to sit at your table for Thanksgiving. You remember Thanksgiving? The day we all give thanks for what we have.

Now think about all of that being obliterated.

No food. No water. Nothing. You have to leave it all behind with just the clothing on your back. Your destination? Unknown. You have to walk for miles and miles and hope that whatever country will let you in. 

Oh and one more think, that family that was at your table, you now have no idea where any of them are or if they’re alive. Take a moment. I’ll wait. Think about that. 

**sigh**

My heart just aches when I think about the hatred I see being spread on social media. People I love and respect actually posting to “Stop all aid to Islamic countries. Let them hate us for free.” Wow. Just wow. So every single person who practices the Islamic religion (which is ironically a very peaceful religion) are now evil and should be shunned. What if I converted to Islam? Would you shun me? 

Or my favorite are my “Christian” friends – and I will say this has been more than I expected – these same people who scream from the roof top “GOD IS LOVE” and then turn around and hate on people who are “Islamic” or “refugee”. How can you say you practice a faith of love, follow a God who is love, and tell the world that you accept all, and then turn around and not accept? Worse – judge so incorrectly. Has fear really gripped your heart so much that you can’t see that you are exactly like them in so many ways? 

What? Did I just say you’re exactly like them?

Yes. We are all human beings. Some of us hate. Some of us are evil. Some of us do horrific things in the name of religion (funny how so many “religious” people forget about the Crusades. You remember? Catholics going into other countries and terrorizing their people. Yah – about that…) Some of are homeless. Some of us drive fancy cars. Some of us are fat, skinny, ugly, beautiful…whatever the label. We are all humans. We are all trying to figure out how to get along. The more YOU…yes YOU – send hate into the world, you are not helping anything. You are part of the problem. 

Stop blaming a President. Stop blaming a religion. Start looking at your heart. At your soul…and as stupid as it sounds – especially coming from someone who doesn’t practice a specific religion anymore – think about “What would Jesus do?”

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

42... or 26

This little game is going around FB and I figured, why not make it a blog post. Since clearly actually posting about the going's on's in my life isn't what's happening...




Twenty-six about me...cuz I know you're dying to know.

A- Age: 46 and three quarters
B- Biggest fear: BEES
C- Current time: 7:45AM
D- Drink you last had: Venti Vanilla Americano...and still enjoying it
E- Every day starts with: Moving the cats to get out of bed
F- Favorite song: Fight Song - Rachel Platten
G- Ghosts, are they real?: Yep - even seen one
H- Hometown: Don't really have one...Moved around too much - but if I had to pick - I'd pick Seattle
I- In love with: Myself...hahahaha
J- Jealous of: Healthy, skinny people who don't have to work hard at it
K- Killed someone?: Not yet
L- Last time you cried?: Stupid Ellen show from last week
M- Middle name: Joy - cuz I'm such a Joy to be around
N- Number of siblings: 5 - sorta...
O- One wish: Health and happiness for all
P- Person you last called: My mom - dah.
Q- Question you're always asked: Are you dating?
R- Reason to smile: Today's my 1 year anniversary at work, and it's BONUS $$ day
S- Song last sang: Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
T- Time you woke up: 6:30am
U- Underwear color: Black
V- Vacation destination: Spain
W- Worst habit: Judging
Y- Your favorite food: Italian
X- X-Rays you've had: lungs
Z- Zodiac sign: Capricorn! The best sign.

In other news, today is my one year anniversary at MP. I wish I had written my future self a letter one year ago. I'm sure I wouldn't have imagined I'd be as happy as I am right now. That person probably thought she'd stick around for a year and then move on. That person hadn't ever experienced quite the joy of working for a manager who has your back and you know exactly where you stand with. That person wouldn't have imagined this person imagining a career here. Or planning for the next year's challenges. That person was slightly broken by a string of jobs that meant nothing. That person wouldn't have smiled all the way into work because she was going to work.

I'm glad I'm not that person any more.



Friday, October 23, 2015

Surprise!

Surprises are few and far between these days. In fact, surprising me is a tough thing to do. I started thinking about the most significant surprises in my life and thought it was worth writing it down.


Surprise 1: Volleyball Award
In my sophomore year in high school I started playing volleyball. After a summer of practicing I found myself as a "floater" between junior varsity and varsity. I made it to every single game. I played in all the JV games and just one varsity - and only briefly. Yet I showed up for practice, and games to help and be available.


At the end of the season, we had a dinner and award ceremony. Most of the awards were obvious who was going to win them. Then there was the "Coaches Award". The award the coaches gave to the one player they appreciated for all their effort. That person was me! I was completely shocked. I never imagined I'd get an award.


Surprise 2: Surprise Party
Sometime in the early years of the 2000's Blueberry managed to plan and pull off a surprise party for me. Being that I was, and still am, the hub of all our friends, I was shocked that she pulled it off without me finding out. And to say I was surprised is really putting it mildly. It was awesome! And one of my most treasured memories.


Surprise 3: Quarterly Star Award
Its funny how I feel ok with other people getting an award, and never really thinking you will. Yet when I received this award a couple of months ago I was truly shocked. First the overwhelming feeling of being valued, and second, knowing, and feeling, like I had found my place.


And probably the biggest surprise of them all...is that I'm writing on the blog again. hahaha.


I've wanted to write. I planned on writing. And somehow life keeps getting in the way of me writing.


I miss writing and I miss sharing what's been what in my life. And I'm sure you've missed hearing it. As if.  Rest assured, I will endeavor to write more often. Aren't you lucky?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The City of Brotherly Love - Day 1

So we made it to Philly!!! Didn't really see much as our flight got in around 4. We got to the hotel, dropped our bags and walked to dinner.

Recommended to us from friends and through guide books was the City Tavern. We figured it would be super cheesy and not great food. Turns out we were wrong. 

Its an old house that they've restored back to colonial days. The staff all dressed in era clothing, and the food is supposed to be from that era too.

Shocked to find that the food was out of this world. All of us had fantastic meals. Princess and I shared a turkey pot pie that was one of the best I've had. It was huge too. So glad we shared it.

Before the meal though, we had the sampler beer platter. Out of the 4 beers, I only liked the first two. The last two were too bitter for my taste.

Back to the hotel, which is in Penn's Landing and right on the Delaware river - and by "right" I mean across the street.

Tomorrow we're doing the hop on hop off bus and will spend the day being tourist. The weather is kinda gross and no forecast of sunny weather in the next several days. Its still 75 degrees and 86% humidity - blech. I don't do humidity well.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

10

That's the number of pounds lost. Yep. A whole 10. And let me tell you... I feel GREAT.

Tonight I went to the gym. I really, really, really didn't want to go to the gym. I tried to talk myself out it and somehow ended up there anyhow.

Then I figured I'd just do a 15 minute cardio. I did a program I've done many times before but only at about 70% of the effort. I never follow the program with regards to strides per minute, crossramp and resistance. Check that. I couldn't keep up with the program.

Tonight I kept up with the program and kept my heart rate reasonable. You can't see it, but I'm grinning like a doofus.

When that was done, I got off the elliptical and got some water. The next thing I knew I was doing another 15 minute cardio session. It felt great. I was so glad I went.

The gym has a challenge this month for an orange medallion. I want that medallion. It's 12 cardio and 12 strength. Tonight I finished the 12th cardio. I've got 3 strengths. I have a plan for getting the strength done. I'm going to get that darn medallion.

Recently I passed another milestone and got my orange lanyard. 50,000 points gets you the orange lanyard. Each cardio session is 500 points and each strength is about 1000 (depends on how good you are at keeping with the pace).

Last week I didn't lose a single, solitary pound. I was feeling a bit discourage today when I realized that I felt pretty good, regardless. I went to the gym 6 out of 7 nights last week. I ate relatively well last week - made a couple of meal decisions that I'm not guilty over, but weren't certainly on my plan.

All week I planned on having a cheeseburger today. I had that burger. And you know what? It made me a bit sick. It tasted just OK. Guess I don't need to have a burger for a bit.

All in all I'm feeling really good about how my life has changed. I like the cleaner eating but recognize that I will have days when I want something not so great for me. That's how life is.

Next week I plan on sticking to my plan 100%. I've got all the protein cooked and all the planned meals set. That's what makes me successful.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Spanish Coat of Arms



This weekend I said goodbye to a part of my childhood. It didn’t go far and should I need to I can visit it. It’s not something that really helped me develop into the person I am. It’s really just something that’s been there from the start – well from the start of my second life with the DadUnit. 

Dad loved to travel. Before he and mom were married he had seen so many exotic places. Places I had only imagined seeing as a young teenager. I was wow’d at all the stories he’d tell about his travels. His house was full of unique and different things that he’d collect in his travels. 

And this was one of them. 
Spain was one of Dad’s favorite places. On his first trip there he bought this coat of arms. I never asked him why he bought it or what about it made him think to send it all the way home from Spain. It weighed a ton so I can imagine the shipping cost a pretty penny. Oddly that story never was told, at least to me. 

I imagine that dad just loved the way it looked. It was something he felt that could represent him and the Wraspir clan. 

This coat of arms hung over every fire place I’ve known since 1981. I used it in a Jr. High project we had to do about our family. It was the “Wraspir Coat of Arms”. In fact, I think the MomUnit drew it for my project. 

When the ParentalUnits moved to Tucson, the coat of arms went into storage of sorts. Then when the DadUnit passed it sat in storage. It always had my name on as the owner once the ParentalUnits released it. Middle brother brought it over to me a couple of years ago. And since then it’s just sat in my spare room. Never hung in my house.  While it's really not my style, I couldn't find it in my heart to get rid of them just yet.

I’m not a sentimental type, it seems, about keeping family “heirlooms”. I don’t see how they have meaning, generally. Then there’s these swords (and a couple other items). I couldn’t just take them to Goodwill. Or sale them at the family garage sales. No, they needed something special. 

Enter the SisterUnit. I also came into possession of a teak rocking chair that was bought and shipped from Thailand. It too was sitting in my spare room. The SisterUnit decided she’d like both. It was a win-win to me. Not only do I get rid of them from my spare room, but they stay within the family and I could visit them whenever I wanted to. 

So yesterday they left for their new home in Oregon. I’m not sad they’re gone, but it did make me stop and think about “stuff”, “things”, and all those items we have in our homes. It amazes me how attached we get to them. I watched a show on Katrina yesterday and watching all those families lose everything. Having to start over and buy new “stuff”. What must that feel like? I couldn’t imagine, and don’t want to frankly. I like my stuff. And yes, I think I’m attached to it – mostly.  But it is just “stuff”. What I’m attached to more are the memories. And those coat of arms are full of them for me. So thanks for the memories Spanish coat of arms.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Numbers don't lie

I was having some health concerns and finally decided I needed to get back on the wagon of healthy eating. Last time I did, I lost no weight and was super frustrated. It made me think I had a thyroid issue. It seems every woman my age or older does, so why not me?

It took weeks...WEEKS... to get an appointment. When I finally did the doctor had an emergency and I got cancelled.

Then a happenstance conversation with a co-worker hooked me up with a clinic in Woodinville that specializes with overweight people. The doctors and nurses there are trained specifically to help overweight folk. My thought was the same as to why I go to a female doctor...surely she knows more about a female body?

At any rate, my first visit there we discussed what my goals were, my issues, any medical stuff and oh yah, a blood draw for good measure. One of my major issues was I was sick and tired with thinking about food all the time.

That day the doctor put me on phentermine. A drug that helps with any cravings, or thinking about eating at all. It was part of the Phen-Phen craze of the 80's...only this was the good half of that crazy.  It also pushes serotonin through your body to keep you from being depressed. The first couple of days on it, food was the LAST thing on my mind. In fact, I ate less than 900 calories those days. NOT the way I want to do this.

I finally got into a rhythm and was able to grocery shop for decent ish food. The last couple of days last week were pretty good. I love 5Lbs that week.

On Friday of last week they asked me to do the BodPod thing, which I think I already wrote about...So those numbers in hand, I went in for a check up appointment. The Dr. had my blood work back and it was time to get serious.

Here's what I learned:
  • My metabolism is actually quite high. Which is weird considering...
  • My cholesterol is good at 161, though the "good" cholesterol could be a bit better.
  • No thyroid issue
  • My potassum is quite high. 5.4 when the range is 3.5 - 5.3. We'll be watching this number. She's not overly concerned with it and had a reasonable explanation as to why.
  • My glucose was elevated - 105 when the range is 70-99. She's not overly concerned with it either and thinks an improved diet and exercise will see that number go down. I am not at the pre-diabetic range...yet. 
  • My insulin was elevated too. She's concerned that I may be insulin resistant and she went into a long explanation about why that would be bad. Again, we're going to watch that number and see. 
  • Lastly, my vitamin D was L-O-W. 14. The range is 30-80. So lucky me gets to on some prescribed Vitamin D pills (50,000 ibus) for a couple of months. She said this is pretty common in Seattle. To which I said, "You'd think I'd be fine driving around in a convertible." 
So we have my numbers and I have a plan. 1800 calories a day. 105 grams of protein and only 50 grams of carbs (almost impossible I think). I'll continue on the phentermine for now and we'll revisit it in 3 months.

I'm both encouraged and discouraged with all this. I'm tired of the fight. I'm tired of the constant battle between me and food. My relationship with food has never been healthy and I'm full of hope (which really could be the phentermine - which I call my "happy pills") for what this might bring.

The sad, and a bit scary, realization is there will never be an end to this. There in lies the rub. The diet industry has done a good job telling us that it's only "temporary". The truth is healthy eating, and living is a way of live. I will never be "done". It'll be easier, sure. But there is no end date. And that, my friends, makes me tired to even think that.

Thankfully I have my happy pills that just lift me right back up.