Saturday, December 06, 2008

492

Well, that is an overwhelming number, when you see it as your Google Reader count. But, that is my life at the moment. No time to do anything but work.

The other day, while driving to work, I thought to myself how ironic that I've shared so much of myself on this blog about my hoo-ha-ha, but nothing about what I do from 8 to 14 hours, Monday thru Friday (and sometimes Saturday and Sunday). And it is a bit ironic. Considering I felt a need to share information on daily draws and nothing about what I do, except for my title.

So, I think I need to share a bit. I am a paralegal, and have been one for about 8 years. My first years, I worked as an US immigration paralegal. I love it, but immigration is very personal to the client, so it is also very draining emotionally.

About four years ago, I went to work "in-house" for a international corporation. Along with immigration (US and worldwide now), I was focusing on employment and corporate. And I am the only person that does what I do in a rather large company. At the beginning, I was overwhelmed because of the knowledge I didn't have. But, I quickly learned what I didn't know and went from there. Three years went by quickly and leaving me feeling respected, in an environment that wasn't glamorous but comfortable and peaceful.

Then the acquisition happened, and all hell broke loose. My hours became chaotic. I was told it should get better. But, the reality is, it hasn't. Yesterday, I got to work at 6:30 am and didn't leave until 7:15 pm. I didn't eat lunch, and only got up to go to the bathroom. At the end of the day, I didn't get to some basic work and have over 400 pages to read this weekend for new matters that I am now helping with.

My new supervisor asked me how I was doing. And I flat out told her I am overwhelmed. She asked if it was the content. I told her it is the volumn. Believe me when I say, she said all the right things. But, I don't think I can physically and mentally keep up this pace.

T tells me that my previous position was not reality and this is real life. But, if this is real life, than I need to get paid more. Because I can work these hours for a law firm and make more money. But, that was before this economy.

I am afraid to make a move. One, at the end of the day, I truly enjoy my job and two, in this economy -- last one hired, first one fired.

Any assvice out there?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The insanity continues.

I know, talk about something new! But, when you spend more than 10 hours a day in a place without any breaks....well you get a little single minded :).

Has been very hectic to say the least. The big move happens tomorrow and I have a half packed desk at the moment. And still have work to do.

Say a prayer.

The sad thing, tomorrow what I thought would be an early release for me (you know a reward). I have a meeting to attend -- teleconference. For something else. And Sunday, I'll probably unpacking so that next week isn't a complete and total waste.

But, Thanksgiving is in a week. It has turned into my favorite holiday. Giving thanks for the things you want and GREAT/FANTABULOUS food!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More of the same.



Thank you to G**GLE Image for finding me the right photo. A chicken with no head. If you are interested in the article that included the photo. Check out.

So, my complaints regarding the place I spend more than 8 hours continues.

Thank you for your comments. Ironically, I started this job because it cut down my 21/2 to 3 hour commute into Boston. Isn't that ironic? That almost four years later and I find myself facing that same commute. Except, that past commute was positions that my hours were more consistent and involved a train ride(s). I know what it does to me. Overtired? Yes. Exhausted? Yes, both physicall and mentally.

Which isn't great that I am starting from that point. I am all ready mentally exhausted. Last week, I cried after being given a task that I had no idea how to complete it. It isn't the first time that I've been given a task that I had no idea how to do. Actually, I get a lot of those. But, it was the first time I cried in this job about it. By the way, it isn't the first time I've cried because of stress and work load. The last time, almost 5 years ago. (Not happy memmories).

Coumpounding the stress is that lately, I feel spastic. Before, the constant change and unpredictability of my job kept me interested. Now, I feel overwhelmed. And I know it is because the volumn. My hours keep on getting longer and I don't believe that will be changing in the new environment. Actually, anticipating it to be worse.

If I look at this objectively, a few steps removed from the situation, there are opportunities to be had. But, my position has its limitations. We will have to see. Ultimately, money will come to play. And my review will be early next year. Once the review happens, I will know if this is a permanent position for me (from my position as much as my employer). Or if it is time to move on. The ugly truth is that with so much transition, I don't feel steady - secure. Time will give me that knowledge, and I will have to go from there.

Obviously, if that is the vibe I receive, then maybe we can move closer to those offices. It work out in T's advantage too. But, with articles like this. I doubt that will be an option until late next year.

On a positive note, we leave for Aruba in less than 45 days! Very excited for that trip :).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So much to say....

Yet, I don't know what I can say. See, I want to talk about the place I spend more than 8 hours a day. And how things are drastically changing. It is leaving me a bit anxious.

See my the environment is changing. Angry emails. Tert phonecalls. Drill sargeants for supervisors. At least they aren't my "direct" supervisors. But, the problem is shortly, I will be under the same roof as these people and it scares me, since I will not be shielded by the computer or the phone. Instead they will be able to see me and I them.

Which leads me to my anxiety over wearing the right thing. Shallow I know. But lets face it people, appearances matter. I've bought several new pants, tops, and a new coat. Seriously, spent money on clothing. Something I haven't had to do in 4 years in my casual environment. Can't wait to see the dry cleaning bills. I've actually bought Dr*ell to see if that is an option.

Which only antagonizes the fact that my pay is less than the lowest average. S*lary dot com is not always helpful. It makes you very aware of what you should be getting paid. But in this economy, who is to say what you should be getting paid? Oh did I mention that I barely get 10 days for vacation and the insurance and 4*1K matching is a joke.

My commute will be about 3 hours a day. Less time actually at home. And more money used to buy gas and audio books (bought several last night -- they were all on sale!). Will need to hire a cleaning person, since I will be home to sleep.

But what to do. The end of the day, I like what I do. Which is important. And I can't easily find another place that I would do what I am doing. I could go back to a firm. And I've started to think that might be the right option. Since I don't want to make a move unless I get a significant pay increase.

Suggestions? Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted today, did you?



I got to their five minutes before 7 am. The line was out the door, but it moved quickly. And I feel great that it is over with. I did my part.

Now, the wait. So excited about this election. May God Bless America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Where do I start?

The photos are from our short get-a-way to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to visit friends. We really had a great time. Actually, we got home last week. But, I did something to my stomach muscles while riding the horse. Who knew you had to "post" when you are "trotting"? Not this very beginner. The ride was loads of fun, and now I know. So the "next time" I will remember to "post," because that was a painful pull.

As a result, the exercising was put on hold. Actually, it was put on hold the week before, since work has been very busy. I did go for a walk today at lunch, and I hope to start that up again. However, that isn't promising since my co-worker retired on Friday. And we haven't hired a replacement. I fear that they may not, considering the CEO is desperately trying "to make numbers". So, my fingers are crossed. Did I tell you with her gone, I am the low man on the totem pole and in my experience, the person on the bottom generally has to do the work that "trickles" down? And that we are moving offices in less than 20 days? I anticipate that I will be doing the majority of the packing. My new commute will be twice as long.

So not looking forward to any of it.

But, I must remember that my anticipation is usually far worse than the reality. Must go back to work.

By the way, I am so excited about voting tomorrow! :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Texas












Last weekend, T and I went to visit friends in Texas. We had a total blast. Thought I'd share some photos.




Thursday, October 30, 2008

A must read.

If you haven't read this, you should.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meme -- Tagged


By LoriBeth of The Road Less Travelled . Thanks, I haven’t done a Meme in a long time and ditto.

The way this works: I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers. (But, since I’ve seen this on many others blogs, consider yourself tagged if you haven’t been.)

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? Work
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Demanding
5. Your father? Reliable
6. Your favorite thing? Peace
7. Your dream last night? Panic
8. Your dream/goal? Travel
9. The room you’re in? Office
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Hell
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Travelling
13. Where were you last night? Shopping
14. What you’re not? Perfect
15. One of your wish list items? Retirement
16. Where you grew up? Massachusetts
17. The last thing you did? Work
18. What are you wearing? Sweater
19. Your T.V.? Scifi
20. Your pet? Cats
21. Your computer? Useful
22. Your mood? Excited
23. Missing someone? Sister
24. Your car? Toyota
25. Something you’re not wearing? Sunscreen
26. Favorite store? Marshalls
27. Your Summer? Busy
28. Love someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Sunday

Monday, October 20, 2008

An important image.

After a conversation we had at my Aunt and Uncle's house, after a memorial for my cousin (their son) B. I came across this image and I wonder what he would think.

Go and click. It is one of the most important images I've seen in a long while.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

It is amazing, what a few endorphines can do.

So, after my minor breakdown. I decided to take a lunch break and go to the gym. Heck, no one is here so I don't feel guilty for being in my gym clothing and sweaty.

Actually, 2.5 miles later, I feel really good.

A few people asked me about my progress. Well, I think I have been doing well. So far, after a week and only meeting the 10,000 goal once, I've lost two pounds. Not bad :).

Only eleven weeks before Aruba and Christmas.

I found the best Christmas card. It may trump the baby ones. Santa snorkeling. Exactly what I hope to be doing on that day.

So many things that I could write about instead...

but the one thing that seems to come out is my latest bought of infertility sadness.

Really, my blog represents me. And I've been to preoccupied to notice any infertility sadness for months. My feelings of happiness, well being, and contentment have been far out waying anything that is remotely sadness. Ironically, I thought I was ready to write about my depression of earlier in the year. How I got a speaking to by T, and somehow have been getting out of that funk.

But, just when I feel like I am doing better. I get whacked.

Four pregnancy and one birth announcements all at once. I guess the blows just get harder and harder. And the feeling of being left behind arises all over again.

Crap.

Just when I feel like I am getting over this bullshit, the evil forces of the world come to play.

Can't people just get pregnant and have children in the privacy of their own home and leave me out of it?

Err.

So frustrated.

Because if I were to get pregnant now, I would be angry. Rage would find a new meaning. But, it is still the one thing that I would love to experience. And that is the saddest truth of my life.

Good thing no one is in the office, since I am crying now. The tears are only several weeks late.

Friday, October 03, 2008

8,251

After parking further from where I have to go, a fifteen minute walk, and two miles on the treadmill, that is all I got.

But, this morning, I felt it. Personally, I think that is a good sign. Even if it took me a while to get out of bed, I did feel like I had a flat tire.

Ironically, my car did. I luckily walked around the car and noticed that my right front tire was nearly flat. Took the car to the mechanic up the street and it turns out that I had a rim leak. Who knew those existed?

Like the tire, I feel better.

So today, I think I will do the same and go to the grocery store. Lets see were that leaves me?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My 10,000 Step Project

Yes, it has begun. Today, I am wearing the pedometer and trying to find out what I walk "in an active day". So far, I've parked as far as I can from the office, and gone for a fifteen minute walk at lunch. I plan on going to the gym after work to, and walk on the treadmill.

By the way, 10,000 steps equals approximately 5 miles.

It seems like a lot to me. But, if that is what is needed to feel some progress, I need to do it. You know the old saying, shit or get off the pot. I really feel that is true. If you want to change something you got to do something about it.

So, with that said, the only two options that I can think of to increase my steps are parking further from where I want to get and taking walks daily at lunch. Obviously the gym is an option too, but I am realistic, that is not a daily option for me. And currently, there are no steps in my building or home.

I found this interesting article on the topic of weight loss and 10,000 step theory. Also, it has a good list of options on how to increase your steps.

How would you increase your steps? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Did I tell you I have to be in a bathing suit in 12 weeks?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What have I been up to?

Well, were do I begin?


The new refrigerator is a good place to start. Do you want to see a photo?



Isn’t it pretty? As you figured out, it came immediately after me finishing “In Defense of Food.” And I immediately went to the store and filled the new refrigerator with all wholesome foods. Vegetables galore! My husband, the very next day filled it with practical snack foods. (Did I ever tell you we balance each other?)



To be truthful, like with most of my kicks with food, I have been half hearted in efforts and practice. But, I found something new that I thought I’d share:

The Cl*f Nect*r B*rs and as their site indicates, they are a 100% organic, 5 or fewer ingredients, and 2 servings of fruit. So saying all of that, I doubt my grandmother would of eaten it (no access), but it is still good for you and good tasting.

The newest fad diet that has made it to my attention, is the Fl*t belly diet. R*chel R*y was boasting about it and it got my attention. But, I couldn’t find anything on line without a signup requirement. Yesterday, when I was at the book store picking up a few more audio books (they are also my latest obsession), I saw a magazine about it.

It was interesting, very similar to the principles of the Z*ne, because they both require eating monounsaturated fats with every meal. The one thing that is easier regarding Fl*t belly is that they are more loose with the percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. They simply stated to eat three meals of 400 calories with a portion of monounsaturated fats in each meal. (Obviously, very simplified.) And, they included in their list of monounsaturated fats dark chocolate. (So how can a girl resist?)

So, I’ve bought two bags of dark chocolate and eating one piece after lunch. I usually cook with olive oil, so that covers dinner. My only meal which I still need to figure something out with is breakfast.

Also, it made the point that people in order to maintain a healthy weight should walk a minimum of 10,000 steps, which equals about 500 calories, a day. Now, this is what made my jaw drop. I know that I don’t come near to that and even when I exercise. And that is when I realized my “problem.”

See even with all of the health conscious choices I make and the exercise program that I was diligently doing for several months, my weight remained the same. When I look at my past weight gain, it does have to do with my lack of physical activity. I used to work in a city and walked everywhere from getting to the office to getting something done for work. Now, I work in a small office and rarely have to leave my desk. That equals 8-10 pounds which I have not been able to get rid of. (I blamed it on the treatments, and they did come on at that time, but they didn't leave.)

T got a pedometer in a cereal box and I thought why not do a little experiment? So, today I am wearing the pedometer to figure out what my starting point is and then I need to go from there. My end result was 2,460.

The reality is that I know that I am not overweight. But, I would like to slim down a bit and to be more comfortable with what the scale reads. I also know that I am a healthy eater (for the most part, I will eat ice cream and cake, but in moderation). This was my breakfast and lunch for today (plus a Bliss Dark Chocolate).



If the answer is that I need to try to reach this target of 10,000 steps, to maintain a healthy weight, it is a goal to aim for and worth my while in trying. And maybe for me it is a better gauge than 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. Obviously I need a bit more exercise.

So maybe my obsession will change from food to increasing my steps. For some reason, I’d rather have that as an obsession, it causes a less adversarial role with something I love. Did I tell you the magazine had some great recipes? (I’ll share soon.)

Ultimately, in my opinion, fad diets aren't the best way of loosing weight. But, they always have some truth to them. (That is why I read them.)

Doing just fine.

The previous post, a remembrance of sad times, but surprisingly I am doing just fine. No tears feel on that day or any days since. I spoke to my Aunt, B's mom, and I admit I swallowed some tears and there were moments of silence from me. But, I wasn't overcome with tears like in the past.

Maybe it is a sign that the sadness, when it is all mine (not drug induced), is a part of my heart, mind, soul, but a manageable part.

My happiness is far larger than my sadnesses. And I am grateful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Double Meaning

Last year, on this day, a double meaning sprang to this mournful day. It was the first anniversary of my cousin's death. It was the end of our pursuit of a child.

As I sat in a memorial mass for B, I cried. And it was as much for missing him, as it was for missing my unborn child(ren).

Today, I will remember them both again while I play the song that reminds me of B.

**At least my emotions today will be my own and not even slightly drug induced.**

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I am alive.

Yes, I apologize for falling off the face of the planet. It has been CRAZY at work. No end in site. Working long hours, doing calls from home, and there is more on my plate then I care to mention.

I did manage to sneak out today for an hour to run on the treadmill. But, I've been horrible on the work out front. Today was my first day back at the gym in a month. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been better on the yoga front. I only abstained for a full week from that. Goodness.

I do owe you several things:

1. Read Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult.
2. Listened to The Last Lecture by Pausch.
3. Listening to Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.
4. Last installment of why - Vanity.

Also, found a great book on Kundalini yoga that I am enjoying. And I had a lovely weekend in N*ntucket visiting my sister. Made a vow to visit atleast once a month in the summer. It really was perfect.

OK, that is enough for now...be back soon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Book Club Thoughts....



Yes, another book. I finished it last night, In Defense of Food an eater’s manifesto by Michael Pollan. It was a quick read, but interesting and powerful. The realizations are not rocket science, but practical – perfect for the average person like me. And with a quote like: “the whole may well be more than, or maybe just different from, the sum of its parts.”

How could I not like it?

A few more tidbits that I enjoyed:

Did you know that before 1898, imitation butter had to be pink? And labeled. Anything that wasn’t a whole food had to admit it!

Senator McGovern in 1976 was not elected. The author suggested that McGovern’s advocacy to use food in the food pyramid may have angered a few people in the cattle industry. Interesting, very interesting – interests groups.

The book takes us through the history of “nutritionism.” I never realized how effected I am personally to this thought process. Yes, it may not come much of a surprise reading my blog. During my treatment days, I was very focused on not eating certain foods, eating the right ones and taking supplements that may help. I was looking for the “magic bullet.” To be honest, for the most part I am conscious of what I eat, but I still eat. If I want something “bad” I eat it in a small portion. I know that if I don’t squash the craving it will be much worse the next day. So when I was reading it and thinking in relation to the Zone (which I haven’t followed for 9 months). I thought, wow, I am so stuck in nutritionism – more than I ever imagined myself.

Pollan focuses very much on the metabolic diseases, so it did peak my interests since I am hell bent against getting diabetes or cancer or high blood pressure or heart disease. I feel that PCOS has taken more than it deserves when it comes to my health and the fact that it is a precursor (in my case) to all the above named diseases – I am a little health bent on getting ahead of those diseases.

To say I liked this book seems to be a bit of an understatement. I actually went as far as to type in a few key AVOIDS that I thought I would try to put into practice. Just to see how well it works. Also, I am interested in getting fruits and vegetables directly from a farm. (You should read that section, I am shocked, basically our fruits have been so fertilized and are so rushed that they have technically less nutrients than they had 50 years ago. This is the kicker, organic is not much better because it doesn’t mean that the standards are any better!)

It was very informative, worth the read, and makes you think.

On that note, enjoy your long weekend

My Book Club Thoughts....

My late month book club chose, Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh. A short synopsis:



Bakerton is a community of company houses and church festivals, of union squabbles and firemen's parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. For its tight-knit citizens -- and the five children of the Novak family -- the 1940s will be a decade of excitement, tragedy, and stunning change. Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past, and to the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. It is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill.

Did I ever tell you that I went to school in an old mining town? Sadly, fifty years after the last coal was removed from the area, and the town was still effected by the loss of that industry. However, this story had more to it than just the mining town. It focused on the Novak children. Like my Grandmother used to say of her own children, “No two were alike, just like her fingers.” (So you are bound to find one that you relate to or at least find interesting.)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. To be honest, I almost missed how much I enjoyed this book (thank goodness for the book club!), because I enjoyed the next book so much!



Peony in Love by Lisa See has the privilege of being my first audio book. I actually shamefully picked it up because someone at early month book club recommended it, but it was also the cheapest one that I could find. Yes, I know – but I didn’t know if I would enjoy an audio book. It felt like a stretch.

After the first CD, I was hooked and remembered why I was a history major. I love stories, especially when they are shared orally!

A short synopsis:

“In Peony in Love the opera The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu, The Three Wives' Commentary on The Peony Pavilion [1], and the theme of love all play important roles. Of the latter, See has said: "I wanted to explore different aspects of love: gratitude love, pity love, respectful love, romantic love, sexual love, sacrificing love, duty love, and finally mother love". [2] See also states that The Three Wives' Commentary had a special influence on her as she researched the large amount of writing done by Chinese women in the 17th century, most of it largely unknown today. "Then I came across The Three Wives' Commentary -- the first book of its kind to have been published anywhere in the world to have been written by women -- three wives, no less. With that, my interest turned into an obsession". [3] The three wives of Wu Ren in the novel -- Chen Tong (Peony), Tan Ze, and Qian Yi were, in fact, the real women who wrote The Three Wives' Commentary. [4]”

The story is beautiful. In the beginning you are introduced to Peony a teenage betrothed girl turning 16 in 16th century China. She is cloistered and the only child of a first wife. Peony is adored by her parents, and is granted privileges by her father that are not socially acceptable. For example, he allows for a play to be performed for Peony’s 16th birthday. A forbidden affair, since unrelated men will be present. From there Peony, well a lot happens and we see her life unfold. It truly is beautiful. I maybe one of the best stories that I’ve heard in many – many - many years.

What is next? Actually “In Defense of Food” by Michael Poulton. Very interesting so far. Also, a book on McCain and another on Obama. Yes, my book club decided they wanted to learn a bit more about the pair of Presidential candidates.

Should be interesting :).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My book club thoughts...



I guess I have been busy reading, just not posting about it. (By the way, my next post will also be about books.)

The Gathering by Anne Enright was read as the result of my early month book club. Our leader decided that it was time to read a book from the Irish genre. Ironically, I didn’t know that there was anything of the sort. But, I was up for anything and after hearing the synopsis we decided that we had to read it!

“A dazzling writer of international stature, Anne Enright is one of Ireland’s singular voices. Now she deliver The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family haunted by the past. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, who drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him --- something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester. As in all Enright’s work, her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction, and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light.”

Well, everyone in the book club agreed, it was a complete and total bust. Not one of us enjoyed one iota of this non-cohesive, fragmented, confusing, sad novel. It was hard for me to find one good thing about it.



The one piece that I liked - the wake scene, I actually enjoyed reading that to a certain extent. It was my first introduction to an Irish wake and it was very interesting. How it was held at home, how the family never leaves the body, and how it is a social gathering.

Otherwise the main character and narrator Veronica completely did not appeal to me nor did the story have any rhyme or reason. It was totally and completely fragmented. And we believe may be the point of the story which is about sexual abuse. However, it failed to make a point. But, maybe that was the point? I'm still confused.


Enough of that, I also read, Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama. I picked this novel up months ago. I knew that it discussed Obama’s family history and that it was written after his studies at Harvard. To be honest, I wanted to read to know more of what made this man tick (for obvious reasons). The synopsis:



“In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father --- a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man --- has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey --- first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was less of a memoir and more of a story. Obama had me enthralled. It truly is his journey to realizing who he is and the introduction to “Audacity for Hope” (which I have no intent to read). But, his journey to realizing himself is beautiful, circular, eventful, and worth the read.

I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving too much away. However, his struggle was palpable and I am glad that it is resolved for him.

Ironically, both of these authors were reviewing their past to come to a conclusion on their present. The first was so negative, that it simply lost me. But, the second was very matter of fact in the situations (and as a result the events were neither good nor bad). And as a result, the story unfolded beautifully, hopeful. If Obama doesn’t become President, I like to see him write some more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update

I am sorry that I have been MIA. Life here has been crazy, so let me start from the beginning:

1. Work. I basically have a new job with the same salary and benefits. As of now, I still report to my direct report, however CHANGE is the big word for work. So many changes, that it has my head spinning. To add to the stress, my office is moving. My once manageable commute of an hour and half (total) is turning to three hours (total). Yes, you got that right - it is doubling. Gas prices anyone? Not to mention that the attire will be changing - not necessarily a bad thing, but in the last three and half years I saved so much on dry cleanning. And now that is changing as well.

The good news is that the new company has many possibilities. And I've promised to give a year and see where it takes me. Afterall, I really do love my job. It is just that I see so many changes, that I wonder if my job will be still the same.

2. Refrigerator. Basically, we had a tax free holiday. We decided that it was time to replace our twenty something year old fridge. On the Friday before the weekend we went to S.e.a.r.s and found a lovely fridge. I provided the clerk our new information, from the last time we made an appliance purchase and requested a Saturday/Sunday delivery.

Well, you guessed it. A complete and total FUBAR. The clerk didn't give us a weekend delivery date which I justified that there more than likely wasn't any left. So, I decided to work from home until the fridge was delivered today. Well, last night I realized there was a problem when I didn't have a message. The clerk didn't update our current telephone numbers or have our unit number listed on the receipt. Basically the delivery people don't know where to deliver the fridge. And I have called and provided the information three times thus far. I am thrilled. They already tried to make the delivery once.

Oh and did I mention that muckity mucks are in the office today looking for me.

I've been answering their questions via email. But seriously, I'd like to make a good impression to make sure I still have a job to pay for the fridge.

Err.....frustrated.

By the way, I am behind on my fitness report for last week. You guessed it, more Yoga. But I think I only managed the required three days - if that. I should do it everyday considering how much stress I am currently feeling.

And I did try the audio books which I really enjoy. It reminded me why I was a history major - story time! I love it. I am almost done with "Peony in Love" by Lisa See. I'll provide a review along with the others. Maybe this weekend.

I am so excited for the long weekend. An extra day off. I cannot wait.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's for dinner?

The latest and greatest:



Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops by Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 1-inch thick center-cut pork loin chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup chicken stock or broth


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for the chops. Add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO (twice around the pan). Season the chops with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet. Cook the chops for 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chops to a platter and cover with foil. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of EVOO and the onions, thyme, rosemary, and garlic, then saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and chicken stock. Cook until the liquids have reduced by half.

Once the balsamic glaze has reduced by half, turn off the heat and add the two tablespoons of cold butter. Stir and shake the pan until the butter melts. Add the chops to the pan and coat them in the balsamic glaze.

The recipe was easy enough. My only complication was that our pork chops were larger than 1 inch and took longer to cook. Also, instead of cooking the pork chops on the stove, I'd rather broil. Then transfer the liquid to the reduction.

Also, T actually cut the chops in half to make it easier to glaze.

It is definitely another recipe for the arsenal :). Overall, very yummy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Marching with the Barren Bitches Book Brigade--Tour Fourteen

This is my first Barren Bitches Book Brigade. I am so excited to finally talk about Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert!


I absolutely adored this book. It had me hooked from the beginning. Even with a few bits that threatened to loose me, I felt overwhelming at home with this book. It could have been that I simply related to Gilbert. And the times I didn’t she made me laugh out loud.

To the questions:


What is the word that defines your city? workplace? home? yourself? Why?

History defines me and my city. I live very close to Boston. And I identify very much to the city. It is the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It has the cobble stones and old building mixed in with the new and modern. It attempts to be contemporary while maintaining its past.

Which of the three sections of the book -- Eat (Italy), Pray (India) or Love (Indonesia) -- could you most relate to & why?

At this point, I don’t think that it is a secret that I’ve been searching for gratification. And I love to eat. So, Italy was the section which I most identified with, also the place I long to visit. The descriptions of the food had my mouth watering.

Taking this question one step further, ironically the section in India I related to the least. But, it is because I love yoga, but I don’t use it to pray. I don’t relate the two. And the section that almost lost me was this section. There were descriptions of transcendence and spiritual connections – which out of my realm of comprehension.

In chapter 25, on page 75, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how "the Augusteum in Rome warns (us) not to get attached to any obsolete ideas of who (we are), what (we) represent, whom (we) belong to or what function (we) may once have intended to serve." Through our struggles with infertility and/or loss many of us have had to revisit our ideas about what our life would be like and who we thought we were supposed to be. How have your ideas about your identity and purpose in life changed since your began your journey to have a child(ren)? Have you been able to make peace with your new found identity and/or purpose if it doesn't embody the dream you originally had for yourself at this point in your life as an adult and/or parent?

Since deciding not pursuing treatments or adoption, I’ve been struggling with my new definition, identity, wants out of life. The passage spoke volumes to me. It shows with a place how I feel in many ways. The passage of infertility made me feel that my body was aging and decaying. With the passage of time, I feel better in my own skin, that the age and decay, may just be another element to my history. To where I have been.

Personally, at this point, I feel that I am beginning to undergo renovation. As I am taking more interest in the corners of my existence – nurturing other parts of me.

As you can tell, I adored this book. So if you don't believe me, hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fitness - Being Fit

Yes, you must be thinking, when did this blog become weekly updates on exercise? Well, I promise I have more to come. In the next few days you'll see my thoughts on Elizabeth Gilbert's book - Eat, Pray, Love - and a new recipe! Also, I did finish two other books which I need to update you on, The Gathering by Anne Enright and Dreams of My Father by Barrack Obama. Not to mention everything that is going on at work. Oh what fun!

But, today a fitness report. This week again was less about physical exertion and more about calming my mind. It was a very stressful week and as a result:

Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: Yoga
Saturday: Yoga

See a theme?

Like I said, today is a continuation of my why. I believe the best way for me to put this is to take a quote from Jen Lancaster, I want to be a "fit bitch." Now, I will say, as previously disclosed, I am not overweight. But, I would not call myself "fit."

And I know that means very different things for different people. So let me attempt to explain, I will always be asmatic, therefore running will involve my inhaler etc. But, the fact that I can run. Well, that is my estimate of being fit. As well as being tone, healthy, and in shape. Yes, that is a high order. But, that is what I want.

The years of infertility treatments have left more scars than I care to mention. The biggest one is an accute awareness of the inadequacies of my body. The extras that I am not proud of, etc. Infertility also made me feel the failure of my body. Therefore coming to peace with it, involves becoming proud of it again. And the only way I can think of becoming proud of it, is to be comfortable in a bikini, at a beach, where other people know me.

Ahh, but that is next week's topic. Vanity.

I promise to make some time to update on life's events. But, I have a feeling that it will take me some time to find the time. I will leave you with this question, does anyone know of any good services for books on tape? More specifically a rental service for audio books - preferrably on CD? Thanks!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fitness - Aging

This week, I would call it less successful. Work was crazy. I had to prepare for my mother’s big birthday. And I wanted to spend some time with T. As a result, exercising took a back seat. But, I did manage to still hold up the three workout rule and they were:

Tuesday: Yoga
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: Yoga

(I needed the nirvana feeling.)

As promised the Whys - Ageing is my first reason. It is an ugly and scary thought to think what becoming older can mean.

Let me preface this by saying I am not afraid of being older. I think with age comes respect and some comfort of knowing who you are, were you have been, and where you are going. I like to think acceptance with it all also comes with age. So in many ways, I think it can be a blessing – it is much needed time. However, I am afraid of looking and medically feeling older.

Looking older is complete and total vanity. I know that. It is the fear of wrinkles and what they mean. Not necessarily laugh lines. I actually think the right amount of those are attractive. Heck, it shows that you have laughed often. It is the aging with out a purpose. I know it is vanity and a fear of being discriminated against. Beyond using a good moisturizer, eye cream (just started this year), and sunscreen – I’m not really willing to do much else. But, having someone look at me with a thought that I’ve outlasted my usefulness doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies.

The medical complications of getting older terrifies me the most. The cost and the mediocre health insurance that is becoming the norm doesn’t help the situation. When I think that I have PCOS and all the possibilities of getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, it doesn’t exactly give me peace of mind. But, these are all diseases that I would rather fight then get.

Then there is the issues of old age like the ability to walk. I intend to make sure that I am fit enough to do so as long as I can. My much adored paternal grandmother had a difficult time doing so from an early age. It had to do with weight, her sciatica (which I’ve inherited), and poor circulation.

Getting old is one reason to attempt to stay fit. Especially when you read articles such as this one about yoga. I hope that it is the fountain of youth.

Ultimately, I am hoping that becoming fit will add to my arsenal.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fitness Report - The Why.

Recently, I realized how crazy my blog may seem. Granted I did post about my evolution. Lately, it was more than that it is my deliberate attempt at being happy and reforming my thought on who I want to be. And it is working. I feel more content and slowly am invisioning someone other than what I thought I would be as a 30 something.

Part of that new vision is being fit. Hence, the weekly fitness reports. Oh, before I forget. Lets get that over with - this weeks fitness report:

Sunday: Yoga/Pilates (Stomach)
Monday: Eliptical/Bike/Yoga
Tuesday: Two Miles on the Eliptical (Under 25 Minutes!)/Pilates (Stomach)
Thursday: Yoga
Saturday: Pilates

Not bad.

Back to business.

Ultimately I have three reasons to why I am pursuing fitness, they are:

1. Aging;
2. Fitness; and
3. Vanity.

And they are actually all tied to eachother. But, they are also seperate. So I'll talk more on those topics later. Now, I got to go and be happy.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Crazy thought?

So, after the my Book Meme, I was thinking that I would like to read most of those books. And wouldn't it be cool to say you did it? Granted there are a load of books there and it could/should take years. But, wouldn't it be cool to make it a challenge?

I joined Shelfari after seeing cool bookshelves on other people's blogs. (Yes, I am that lame that joined because I wanted the widget.) But, I am really enjoying it. It would be a great tool to discuss our progress on a challenge such as this one. Especially it would allow for discussions on the books and even swapping the books.

I could set up the group.

Thoughts? Takers?

Did I tell you that one of The 100 Simple Secrets to Happiness is Read ;D?

A book meme.

I saw this over at Loribeth's and Erin’s blogs. On this list of books, I've bolded those that I have read -- those that I love are in GREEN -- and books that I plan to read are GREEN and italicized.

Apparently the average American has only read six books from this list. I do love being above average. : )

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible (I have read parts of it, does that count?)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (I tried. Really I did.)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
(I love all of John Irving’s books.)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel(It has been sitting in my to read pile.)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (I’ve been looking for a copy of this book since reading “Lolita in Tehran”.)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (brilliant)
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad(I hated it. It was for high school.)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (In French – May explain why I don’t remember it.)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (I read this in high school and I adored it.)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I saw this on Pam's site and wondered what the Irish Tarot cards would come up for my question -

Will I be Happy in my future?

This has been a question mulling over in my mind for some time. And there is a longer post brewing on the topic. For the most part, I am currently happy. But, I can't say that wasn't hard faught for or easy. I've been thinking what I can do to make it easier. What I can do, to make it permanent. Like I said, to long for today. So the answer I got from the fun game:

The OPPORTUNITY



8 - Strength
Courage and inner fire

You have the opportunity to develop your inner fortitude, which is the unseen blessing of difficult times. When you face your fears, an unpleasant situation or an inner truth that you don't want to acknowledge, you develop the courage that allows you to persevere during chaotic, stressful times. If you've never before been tested, you may be surprised to discover a wild source of strength you didn't know you had — like a woman giving birth alone in the wilderness. Afterwards, you will be changed, and your sense of personal power will grow. Others will see it in you and call it "charisma." Your inner fire will be awakened, and it will never again go out.

The CHALLENGE



11 - Justice
Karmic balance

You are being challenged to face the consequences of your past actions, which may be positive or negative. This is a card of cause and effect, of karmic balance. You are held accountable for your choices and actions — you will reap what you have sown. Examine the values that you live by, and your motives. It is best to act with integrity in all that you do. Perhaps a conflict is about to be resolved in your life, or a legal matter brought to closure. Or perhaps you must deal with the negative consequences of past actions that were less than honorable. You may be coming to an understanding of your place in the web of life, and of how far-reaching the consequences of your actions can be. It may be time to take a stand for social or environmental justice in your own neighborhood or on a global level. Each of us has a responsibility to leave this world in better shape than the way we found it.

The RESOLUTION



14 - Temperance
Combining opposites

Resolution comes with finding the serenity of the middle way between polarities. You are ready to embrace the different parts of your personality, both light and shadow, that combine to make your own unique self. Your inner, spiritual life harmonizes with your life in the workaday world. You have discovered that your whole life is a work of art. You may be in need of healing on a spiritual or physical level, and the Winged One — a descendant of the ancient Bird Goddesses — is here to facilitate that for you. She may also aid you as you move into the role of healer yourself.

My interpretation: You will be if you try to be. But, what do you think?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fitness Report - Yoga

Well, I'm a little late on disclosing my latest week of fitness, so here goes:

Sunday: Yoga
Thursday: Bike
Friday: Yoga

As I did yoga twice, I thought it would be a good time to talk about my practice. I started practicing yoga formally in January 2007. (But, I had done tapes long before this initial class. My favorite continues to be Rodney Yee.)

My counselor propelled me to seeking a class. She thought that it would help me relax thru treatments, aid my anxiety (that developed after my cousin died), and be something that I would enjoy.

She was right on all counts. Most of the time yoga made me feel like:



Completely and totally zen - at peace - grounded. No matter how sad I was, or bloated (from the injections), nauseous, troubled - I was glad I had attended. A few times I found myself dosing during my pranayama (breathing) and meditation practice. My classes in the Kripalu tradition opened the door. Please know that during many asanas (poses) I feel at times like this to:



But overall - I am zen.

Since the craziness at work in the beginning of the year, I haven't been back to class. My schedule was just to up in the air for the last six months and it is difficult to swallow paying for classes that you don't use. But, I've missed yoga tremendously.

Also, I know (from going to class) that I need to establish a daily practice. There are too many benefits to yoga for me that I would be remiss if I don't start doing it at least every other day. I simply feel more centered. The physical fitness is secondary when it comes to yoga. For me the stillness of my mind is nirvana.

So two weeks ago, I found the beauty of the OnDemand fitness classes. And this last week, I found a yoga book on deep discount at Barnes & Noble called Yoga for Everybody: Simple Routines to Reduce Stress, Improve Fitness, and Make You Feel Good at Any Stage of Life. by Paul Harvey.



I really enjoy this book. It explains pranayamas (breath) and asanas (poses) in great detail. But, in my opinion, the best part are the various practices! And that has what I've been enjoying for the last week.

I also found a yoga class closer to my home held on Saturdays - which is a good option for me as well.

It feels good to delve back into my practice. To you all - Namaste!

Monday, July 28, 2008

ABBA the Tour



On Friday night, I went with a couple of friends to see ABBA the Tour. No it isn't the original group. The concert has some original "guest" ABBA musicians and a other members who do the vocals. They are fairly good. By the way, the custumes were all original. They had to be! If only I had my camera.

It was a fun night.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I'm Doing Tonight?



Need I say more?

Maybe I do. I'm going to see them in concert tonight. Very excited. I do plan on seeing the movie and will definetly report back when I do. :).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fitness Report

This week was a mix bag. Work was stressful as predicted, and next will be worse. I know if I think it will be, than it will be. In this situation, no amount of positive thinking will change it. I know - very defetist.

Truth be told, I am trying to be more open about what will be next week. The good news is that it is almost done. By the end of the month, if everything goes right - this will be over. Ironically, it (all the work) may be for all for not.

The latest bit of stress is that I know in the next round of revisions there will include a list of individuals will be given a bonus and a list given the ax. It is a bit stressful on both counts. Considering the first, will be a bit more of a slap in the face if I'm not granted some type of bonus and the second - well - it may be a relief. And both of these things may not happen - since it still needs to be approved and all.

So to counter the stress, I did:

Monday: The eliptical for two miles.
Wednesday: A crazy contraption called the Cybex for a mile with weight.
Thursday: Yoga from OnDemand.
Saturday: Yoga from OnDemand.

Not bad, considering I was/am a bit sore - especially in the hamstrings and quadriceps. But, I am feeling relief from the stress once I finish.


On Monday, I also started Such A Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. It is hysterical - literally laughing outloud funny. And a book about fitness. Not traditional in any sense, but in my opinion, in a good way. As a girl who loves to eat, dieting is not easy for me. Jen makes me feel OK and does give me a big hug when I decide to eat this heavenly and horrible treat. (I had intended to finish this book this weekend, but I left it at the office in my gym bag. So, maybe Monday I will use the bike and finish the book?)

As a result of leaving the abovementioned at work, I picked up and finished this very well done short book - 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven, Ph.D.

It is exactly what it states. David Niven provides 100 Simple Secrets, a short story, and a scientific reference. Some of my favorites:

1. Exercise
2. Think in Concrete Terms
3. Keep reading

I wonder why I like those so much :).

By the way, in the spirit of trying to keep up with my exercise, I'd like to put my goals into writing or concrete terms.

It is my goal to work out a minimum of three days a week. This may include any physical activity including running, walking, biking, yoga, weights, etc.

Lets see how well this goes, especially in the chaotic week that is lying ahead of me.

As I just wrote that I am still smiling.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What’s for dinner?



This month’s feature is a tried and true. I first mentioned this recipe a long while ago. It was a recipe that I fell in love with for its simplicity and tastiness. So, let me introduce you to Feta Topped Chicken:

Prep Time:10 min
Start to Finish:25 min
Makes:4 servings
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/4 lb)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 large roma (plum) tomato, cut into 8 slices
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
1. Set oven control to broil. Brush both sides of chicken breasts with dressing. Sprinkle both sides with Italian seasoning and seasoned pepper. Place on rack in broiler pan.
2. Broil with tops 4 inches from heat about 10 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Top with tomato and cheese. Broil 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Broil chicken about 15 minutes. Top with tomato and cheese. Broil 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Instead of plum tomatoes I used vine tomatoes. I usually use two beef tomoatoes. Also, I use two to three slices of tomato on each piece of chicken and the entire package of the feta. In addition, I generally marinate the chicken with the balsamic for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Again, it is super easy – hence why I can make it – and always a success!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Book Club Thoughts

I’ve been doing a little bit more reading - both on my own and for book club. By the way, if you are looking for cheap books, with one low shipping and handling fee; I highly suggest using Overst*ck. I am so impressed by their overall service. However, when I received a follow-up email asking for a review on a book! (A great idea, considering I am very unlikely to provide one unprompted.)

The book which they prompted me for a review, Exposing Darwinism’s Weakest Link by Kenneth Poppe, will unfortunately be receiving a thumbs down from me. I read a review by My Friend Amy, her opinion was much kinder than mine.

To be honest, this isn’t my cup of tea. As a public school student (yes I went to a Jesuit University, but I didn’t frequent the science labs all that much), I wonder what my view on the creation of the world would be considered creationism or Darwinist? And this is why I was interested in this book. Also, several years ago, I read a science-fiction book called Footprints of God by Greg Iles. (I would categorize this book very science fictiony.) That book solidified my opinion on evolution/creation of the world. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. But, if you consider that I also am using my knowledge of Genesis and Darwinism into that context, it may explain my thought.

Ultimately, the reason I was most turned off by Exposing Darwinism was the author’s negative tone. Through out the book, he cannot mask his distaste for Darwinists. (And it may be a reaction to how Darwinists treat Creationists.) But, after page 200, I just couldn’t read it any more – I get it - you don’t agree with the Darwinists.

Sadly, I am still confused. Ultimately, I do believe that God had to do with the creation of the world, but I also believe the Darwinists (Big Bang and evolution). (Who is to say God did not use Darwinists theory of the Big Bang to start the process? Who is to say that God created the world in human 24 hours? How do we know how God accounts for time? Thousand, Millions, and Billions of years may pass in a blink of an eye for God. I don’t presume to know.)

Also, the book makes it all or nothing. Meaning the Darwinists or Creationists couldn't be partially correct. In my opinion, I understand the pretense of either God was involved or not is a large part of the difference of thought. But, in my opinion, it also leaves room for partial credit. I think I can go on and on. At the very least, this novel did make me think.

Enough of that and on to a more enjoyable novel, Sea Glass by Anita Shreve. This novel was picked by my book club long before I joined. And when I saw it on the list – I knew that I found the book club for me. I am a fan of Anita Shreve. This is actually the second time reading this novel, and the fourth novel that I read by Anita Shreve. She always spins a lovely tale.

Sea Glass is set in New England in 1929. It focuses on the lives of six main characters during the stock market crash and great depression. In light of today’s headlines of bank runs, lowest values of the US dollar, and big business trying to keep up their stock by laying off many ; this story is very apropos of today.

The story from the start will draw you in and will keep you riveted until the end. I highly recommend it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Help by clicking!


Please do this it will take two minutes of your time.
Free Food for Animal Shelter

Hi, all you animal lovers. This is pretty simple. Please tell your friends! The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on 'feed an animal in need' for free. It's in a purple box in the middle of the page. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

So please click!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Crazy thoughts of the day!



Or maybe of the week :). Well, work is picking up - as promised. Hence the silence. It will be going full speed starting this week and continuing on until the end of the month. Enough of my whinning!

Lets see, there were a few things I wanted to share:

1. Last week, I ran 6 miles. Very slowly, but I did it in three days in two mile increments. For this asmatic, not bad. My first 2: 17 minutes, the second 2: 14 minutes, and the last 2: 15 minutes. By Thursday, I was feeling the burn. And I've lost three pounds, but I think that was all 4th of July bbq weight!

2. Realized on Thursday, that my car's inspection sticker is expired. Yes, I know it is 13th day of the month. But what is a girl to do? I'll get it done this week. I can't believe I did this, I've never done anything like it!

3. I finished "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am dying to talk about it. Actually, I adored the book. But, I've signed up for Mel's Barren Bitches Book Brigade, so I will wait to talk directly about the book. However, I think talking about my own yoga and meditation will not count. So that is up on my list of things to blog about.

4. Lastly, if you were wondering how the cartoon had to do with anything to do with this post. I cleaned house. After having another cartoon like dream with a walking toilet. Well, I decided in light of how a dirty house stresses me out, that I need to make sure was nice and clean before the craziness of work started. It also included six loads of laundry. I think we are hiring a maid.

All right, I think that is it for now. I will try to be better, but don't be surprised if my posts become more sporadic. Until the end of this work chaos - I'll be lucky to get lunch!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Exercise, the key to forgiveness?

I've been thinking thinking about forgiving my body. The question that continously comes into my mind is how do you forgive something that cannot ask for forgiveness?

In my school of thought you need to make peace with it.

Last November, my Yoga teacher had us do a practice which required us to name one thing about our body that we were grateful for. At the time, I thought not much - all I could see were its failures. But, I couldn't share that.

So I delved deeper in to what I was grateful - my eyes.

After all, it was right after my eye surgery. I was realizing the enormous benefits of seeing 20/20.

A few weeks later, after my co-worker who had the same procedure as I took over a month to heal. I was grateful that it took me three days.

By March, I was ecstatic that my eyes had healed to 20/15.

As I look at this, maybe just maybe, this was my peace offering. It could just be that my body is saying - Sorry.

As the bitter person that I am. I'm not ready to accept this peace offering. Instead, I am seeking more. Testing the true remorse.

In October, when I first joined the gym. It was invigorating to run on the treadmill. It was awesome to feel my body tingle after the exercise. But as time went on I forgot those feelings.

Today, I was reminded. After feeling frustrated with work. I went at lunch to the gym for a half hour. And I felt that exiliration. Affirmation that I/it was indeed alive and willing to work.

Which left me feeling calm and peaceful. (I could just need a nap?)

My body did the work, so that my mind could find peace. A ying and yang of sorts.

What I am trying to say is at this exact moment, I feel grateful for being able to release my stress through running. I feel grateful that my body allowed me to do this. I am grateful that it responded with this calming effect.

It could very well be that I've found the door to my forgiveness.

N.B. Please do not worry. After realizing my previous post and this one - I know that I should do this more often and will.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reminder - Must learn to think of numero uno.

I am becoming very frustrated at work. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part - I enjoy my position. Believe me, I know how lucky I am in that respect.

But, it has its problems: 1. They rely on me. It is a true double edge sword. 2. They tell me no, when I asked for time off. Because see number one. This is new. In the past I’ve been able to without issue. 3. And the same rules do not apply to others.

My position is unique. I am the only one that does what I do. When I am on vacation, there will be a huge pile waiting for me. So, even when I go on vacation there is no vacation. Since when I return, I need to do everything that no one has done for me and usually requires me putting in extra time.

When others go on vacations, I try to do as much as possible for them plus my own work - so that they don’t need to come back to a pile. You know as a good Catholic girl, I was taught to do for others as I would like to be done for me.

The Company I work for is going thru some changes which are stressing me out. At this point, I am not concerned with the out come. Ironically, I am looking at a potential layoff as some time off – in lieu of a maternity leave.

I am worried about my work load.

Last December/February, I had my first inkling of what that would entail. Lets put it this way, as a person who will not be extremely rewarded for their time and efforts. (By the way, I was given $1,000 before taxes for 90 hours of work.) I am not looking forward to what my July/August will be looking like.

It is frustrating beyond belief – in so many ways. Especially since the individuals who will be highly compensated for their time and efforts are able to take vacation time. While, every time in the recent months, I am only faced with hemming and hawing or a flat out “no.” Yet, the person who is telling me these things has vacations scheduled and is not planning on cancelling those trips. Yes I said trips.

And this is my first summer without injections, daily draws, and empty uterus scans. I was hoping for a normal fun summer. You know one that includes weekend get-a-ways, etc.

Instead I have something else bogging me down that is out of my control.

Yes, I consider it to be out of my control. When you factor in:

1. I like my job;
2. This is only temporary;
3. The economy;
4. The new owners have potential (pay, benefits – it may even be a MA based company!, tuition reimbursement);
5. It is only temporary.

I know what makes me “exceptional employee” is also what is making me frustrated. I will do what it takes to get my job done – including as much as I can of someone else’s job. And this makes me frustrated because I feel as if I am the only one that does that. Most of my colleagues value their own lives more and I am frustrated in equal parts with myself as well as them. Since I would like to be more like them – but see my conscious leaves me feeling guilty if I did what they do.

Also, it makes me feel unappreciated. Because, quiet frankly, sometimes “appreciation” needs to come in the form of dollar signs. While I’ve received raises, I feel like – especially during these times – I am not being compensated as much as I deserve. Right now, I am not seeing the benefits of this job – you know 9 to 5.

It is only compounded because I am given a laptop but it is the only one without remote access. So, it is a computer which requires internet access via my own internet which they don’t pay for. To make myself “happier” with the situation, I decided to get a Bl*ckberry out of pocket. They could of at least offered to pay for the next few months. Actually, when I informed of the fact, I was reminded that the Company would not pay for that service.

It makes for a disgruntled person.

It makes for a disgruntled person who needs a vacation.

Err, imagine how I would be if I didn’t have a few days in May/June? You know the Friday and Monday that I still answered emails. You know. Because I was made to feel guilty for taking the time.

I cannot wait for Thursday at 5, since everyone else is taking the day and I need to be the one here holding up the fort. But, who can take days off when you only get ten vacation days a year?

Frustrated and I need to learn how to say no and that I am taking a few days instead of asking.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Baby Borrowers

I watched it last night. Did you? What did you think?

If you didn't watch and you want to learn a little bit more, this article did a great job in explaining "the experiment."

My thoughts:

Overall, so far so good. The show eases the teens into becoming parents. I found it interesting how one girl fell apart over using the pregnant belly. (I sincerely felt bad, she must have some sever body issues.)

Also, I found it interesting that the actual parents could suprovise and when they decided and how they interacted with the teen parents. Most telling is that one set of parents are educators and one mother was herself a single mom. They probably know something of the value of a show such as this.

Surprisingly was that one teen boy felt like this was the best decision for him and his girlfriend. And that it may make her change her mind in wanting a baby soon.

I must admit that I was intrigued in a morbid "need to see what the accident looks like" way. But, now I am more impressed with the shows creators, the teens, and the parents who are involved with the show.

I'll be calling my friends with teens and telling them about this "experiment" - I sincerely can see the value.

Now, I really want to know your thoughts. Did you watch? If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Crazy thoughts of the day.



Last night, I had a crazy dream. I was in high school/college and I didn't have my schedule. It should have been mailed to me, but for whatever reason I didn't have it. And I kept looking down at my cartoon vulture notebook.

Odd.

It was one of those dreams that you're left thinking about. It was so vivid. The colors were bright and cartoon like. Not sure if that was why it left such an impression.

It was probably brought on by the fact that I'm thinking of going back to school. Yes, grad school. Maybe I think that I'll be thrown to the vultures?

If I go, it won't be until next year. The program I'm interested in requires a language proficiency exam. So, I'm actually taking a Spanish class this fall. Then next Spring, assuming it doesn't collide with Aruba, I'll take a class in the program to try it out, with a another Spanish class.

I like the job I'm in currently. My intent is to do the program part time and it will take me years to complete. But, I'm all right with that. It will compliment my current position. For all these reasons I like the degree and it would allow me to pursue my dream position - Director of International Students.

I know random.

But -- I think -- it would be my dream position. It would allow me to use my immigration knowledge, with college aged students, in academia. All of those things sound intriguing to me.

If I'm honest, some days I want to go back to school and work full time. And other days I think to myself - you're crazy - you really want to do that?

So I think the Spanish class will ease me into the thought process and practice of studying.

The book club is also allowing me to use my brain. I am greatly enjoying the books, which I know I wouldn't necessarily choose for myself. Also, the women are really nice and interesting. Sadly, I don't want to give up the book club to go to class. I know really mature! At this point, I am enjoying it. Why take something out that makes me happy?

So more happy/fun dilemmas.

The wonderful Lolly, or Mel, has me searching for a Blog Name. You need to read the post to understand, go ahead read it, while you are there, whish Lolly a happy blogoversary!

Ok, I need a new name. Lolly and I both agree that Flutter needs to be part of my name. Lolly thinks it should be my first name and I'm leaning towards it being my last name.

What do you think? And thoughts on what my new name should be?

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Book Club Thoughts - Daughter of Destiny by Benazir Bhutto



Benazir Bhutto's autobiography, Daughter of Destiny, made me think of so many things. The autobiography focused mostly on her father's rise to Prime Minister, the take over of his government by a dictatorship, her subsequent detainments, her mother and husband's incarcerations, the death of her brothers and escalation to power.

The book for me was a slow read. So many details and facts, that I didn't want to miss a thing. Benazir was an interesting person. Raised in a political family (think the Kennedys), well educated (Radcliff and Oxford), Muslim and a feminist. Many of her characteristics seem to be contradictory, but somehow she blended them together.

Thrust into politics after her father's murder, she became the people's politician. Her intentions seemed exceptionally pure. It is tough not to read this book and not like her. She endured so much, and yet rose above it all.

Besides I have a special place for all woman leaders. I know it is a bit biased. But, since I can only think of three - Indira Gandhi (Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and 1980 to 1984); Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979 to 1990); and Benazir Bhutto (Prime Minister of Pakistan on December 2, 1988)

But part of her "wedding vows" for her husband:

"Asif must look after the children while I am out campaigning and not prevent me from going to jail, You must agree that Benazir will serve the nation"

His response:

"That is all right with me, for I will serve the nation by serving my wife."

I found it interesting that Benazir said, "Despite the great strides women have made, the double standards in viewing the conduct of male and female leaders obviously remains." This quote resonated with me especially considering the recent race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

All in all, I enjoyed my time with Benazir. As the book neared the end, I faught with myself over whether or not to read the final pages dealing with her murder. All I can say for certain, is that the world lost a very special person.

What's in the news?

By this point, most of you have probably heard about the seventeen teen pregnancies occurring in Gloucester, MA. If you haven’t, please go read the Time article.

The article sounds like something out of a Jodi Picoult book. Maybe it is?

I chuckle at the idea that Juno or Knocked up were the reason. I am more inclined to believe that Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney Spears, Nicole Ritchie, or Ashlee Simpson – to name just a few. After all, in my humble opinion, in the last few years it has been glamorous to be a mom. And all of these women – and I’m not saying that they shouldn’t – gush over their children. But, the simple fact is that these very young women have money. Therefore, they can afford these children. They can afford nannies to continue school or their careers. They can afford diapers and food.

For the most part, their fans cannot. But, it is not surprising to me that teen pregnancy is starting to rise. This article touches upon a multitude of scary truths.

Teen pregnancy is intriguing to me – maybe because it is the opposite of my situation – I feel fear and compassion for the unborn child. I feel as if the circumstances are a tragedy, but that the child is a blessing. My interest has escalated in the new reality show on NBC entitled Baby Borrowers. It is too late for these 17 girls, but it may help others, after all, as the show states “It may be the best birth control.”

I think it may be very true considering this quote from a teen mother in the Time article:

“But Amanda Ireland, who graduated from Gloucester High on June 8, thinks she knows why these girls wanted to get pregnant. Ireland, 18, gave birth her freshman year and says some of her now pregnant schoolmates regularly approached her in the hall, remarking how lucky she was to have a baby. "They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Ireland says. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."

Maybe teen parents, should be asked to talk to the general school population to deglamourize children? They could tell them a little about their daily struggles and give others the reality of parenting – hard work!

As I get off my soap box, this is the latest:

The School Committee is now disputing that the girls made a pact. Instead, they are saying that the pact happened after the pregnancies. However, several of the girls’s baby daddy is a homeless twenty-four year old.

Because that makes it so much better.