Archive for May, 2008

Hope

May 29, 2008

Lately, I’ve been feeling very scared and nervous for this presidential election. Things like the possibility of McCain getting to chose some Supreme Court judges freak me out. Goodbye Roe v Wade! I used to be okay with McCain’s stance on some issues, but as the campaign has continued, he has moved further to the right to please, it seems, his fellow Republicans.

Reproductive rights are a huge issue to me. See this article for one major reason why I no longer can agree with McCain. While I feel you can still argue the merits of abstinence-only sex education (though I’ll find it laughable), to rule out other options and methods seems ridiculous. Not that abortion should ever be an “option” for birth control, but I do believe that it should be available in a regulated and healthy way.

I have too many major issues this election season to pick just one. The war is a big one too. I really believe that we need to GET OUT. I feel that what we are doing is NOT WORKING. I like Obama’s plan to slowly remove troops and urge Iraq’s leaders to take more responsibility while still addressing the refugee and humanitarian issues.

Healthcare and educationare biggies for me too. David sometimes sees insurances at his work that have $10,000 deductibles. My mom’s cheapie insurance doesn’t even cover all of a preventative visit. But these people have it better than millions of Americans who have nothing. I didn’t have insurance at my last job because it would have been a minimum of $250 per month! I am incredibly lucky to have the insurance I do now. Is Obama’s way the right way to go about it? I’m not certain, but I think it’s something to strive for.

Our educational system right now makes me nervous about having kids. I did okay in school. I even liked school thanks to some great teachers. But what if my kid doesn’t have that? You see so many kids now that seem so developmentally behind based on their age. What kind of adults will they grow up to be? Education is often at the core of who we are and what shapes us into the adults we will be. I believe it is a SHAME that education and teachers are poorly funded and that college costs are astronomical. No Child Left Behind, while good in theory, did not and does not work. Kids need more than standardized test knowledge. We need a change.

Change. And hope. Opponents of Obama say that’s all he talks about. That he’s an idealist. I guess that is the difference between those who support him and those who don’t.  Those of us who do don’t see anything wrong with that. What’s wrong with striving for an ideal solution? What’s wrong with wanting a change for our country? Hoping that we will once again be a country that is respected and admired. I’m not suggesting that those who don’t support Obama DON’T want some of that. But Obama has filled some of us with the hope that it is achievable and the desire to help achieve it. How can that be a bad thing?

David showed me this video last night from the Move On site. I don’t know much about Move On, so I can’t speak at much length about them, but they are a grassroots organizations working for liberal issues. They sponsored a video contest and you can see the results here. But I’d like to share the one that won in the “Funny” category for two reasons. One, it asks when hope became a bad thing. Two, it has Rider Strong whom I still have a crush on from my Boy Meets World days.

We Named The Dog Indiana

May 23, 2008

I saw it last night! The new Indiana Jones movie. I had been hearing rumbles of discontent about the movie, so I went in with lowered expectations. And you know? I enjoyed myself. I thought it was a fun movie. There really were some great moments. I was excited and entertained and it made me laugh. But then it also made me laugh AT it. I never want to laugh AT a movie series that I love so very much. Fortunately, it was not as much of a joke as Star Wars Episode One felt like.

I feel like there were some “jokes” and scenes that were inserted because the writer/director/George Lucas thought it would be FUNNY, but didn’t think how it fit with the feel of the movie or how it would be received by audiences. (Ahem, Jar Jar Binks, cough.) The monkeys really did it for me. And the refrigerator.

Oh, and don’t ask me what the plot was, because I lost that halfway through the movie. But I didn’t really care that much, because it was still fun. Mostly. I am more than a little in love with Harrison Ford, and I think he is still super sexy. I am really liking Shia Labeouf more and more. I thought it was great that they brought back Karen Allen and she looks like a REAL woman! Cate Blanchett is always good, but I can’t really hear a Russian-ish accent without thinking of Boris and Natasha from “Rocky and Bulwinkle.”

Would I see it again? Yeah, probably. But it wasn’t quite the thrill I was hoping for. I may have to watch some of the originals this weekend to remind me of how good it used to be.

In other news, my scale said 188.5 this morning!! Incredible! I am so happy, but I’m also nervous. I plan to start myself on Phase Two this weekend. I think this will be harder than Phase One, because it’s going to involve more planning. On Phase Two, I will begin SLOWLY reintroducing healthy carbs into my diet. Slowly, meaning one serving a day. So if I have oatmeal for breakfast, I can’t have a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner. Also, I’m nervous because my weight loss will slow. The book says you can expect to lose one or two pounds a week on Phase Two. On Phase one, I’m losing around 3 or 4 pounds a week. But as long as I keep seeing another half pound drop every couple of days, I’m hoping I’ll be okay. I decided it’s time to switch phases because I got a great initial loss, and I’m now starting to feel a little bored with the foods I’m allowed to eat. I’m looking forward to adding some foods back, especially fruit.

My dad wrote something nice, though slightly creepy seeming, on my Facebook wall about my weight loss. He talked about watching me walk up some stairs and thinking I looked great, etc. It made me laugh. He’s foreign, what can you do? I also think he was feeling a little shmoopy because he’s leaving the country for two weeks, and that was the last time I’d see him before he left.

He’s leaving for Iran today. I feel butterflies in my stomach. I’m sure everything will be fine. He has his visas in order. But there are so many risks. What if something happens while he’s there? What if he can’t come back? I’m sure he’ll encounter some hassle while he’s travelling, so I hope he packed his bags to be easily searchable! It’s also a little bittersweet, because I wish I was going with him. I want to go to Iran so badly. But all I get to see are pictures. It’s extremely difficult for an American to get a visa for Iran, I guess. Even though I’m the daughter of an Iranian citizen? Apparently. Maybe someday I’ll get to go, but it doesn’t look good any time soon. I wish I could go now, while my grandparents are still alive and healthy. I want to experience their life and culture. Not to mention it’s been a couple years since I’ve seen my grandpa, and much longer for my grandma. But for now, I’ll just wait for pictures of my dad and his brothers having a great time.

Flickrrr

May 22, 2008

If you were to ask, I’d have to admit that, YES, I am a little obsessed with this picture I created last night:

Pic120- Scream

Booyah!

May 20, 2008

I have three numbers for you…

1
9
0

I hit 190 on the scale today!! I’m going to count from 205, because it’s easier to keep track of. Which means I’m down FIFTEEN POUNDS today! When I told David this morning, he wrapped me up in a huge hug and told me how proud he was. It almost felt better than seeing the number on the scale.

I’m proud of me too! I don’t really know what is different about this time, though. I’ve done South Beach, exercised more, ate less, and been desperate about my weight before now, but nothing ever stuck. Was it time? I turned down shows to focus my time on ME and my health and weight. Maybe that’s the difference now.

I lack willpower. That was always my problem before. I’d want unhealthy food, so I’d eat it. Now I have learned restraint. Ohhh believe me, I would love to have a big slice of pizza or a bagel or some cake or a chocolate martini. And some day I will. Just not all the time.

When I hit 185 I am thinking about giving myself a little treat. It might be a scoop of ice cream or maybe a mojito, we’ll see. When I hit 180, however, I know I want to do something special. Like dinner and drinks, where I can pay less attention to what I can eat, and more attention to whatever I want to eat! Mmm, and drink!

Although that celebration might fall near my little sister’s 21st birthday (OMG!!!!) so drinking with her might also be my celebration.

I don’t always want to celebrate with food, of course. That’s a bad habit to get into. It’s just been so long since I’ve had some of those foods I used to crave, and the fun that goes along with it. A night of mojitos and beer, followed by drunken Taco Bell would be a superfun night for me right now. As I get closer to my goal weight, I can go out and party again, I just can’t do it as much as I used to. Beer is pretty much the worst thing you can possibly have on this diet, according to the book. So that sucks. But sitting out on my porch with a Summer Shandy will feel like a REALLY nice reward for losing 25 pounds.

When I reach my goal weight, I want to buy a FANTASTIC pair of jeans. I’m talking designer quality. Celebrity jeans. I still have a lot of old clothes in my smaller size, so I won’t have to rush out and buy a new wardrobe (though I’d like to). I just want to get a few great pieces that make me feel awesome. And a nice pair of jeans will be the perfect kick off to that.

If things work out, I could be debt free and 50 pounds lighter by this time next year. That will go SO far into making me the happy, healthy, successful person that I want to be!

On a final note, I checked in on my BMI today. I am now officially “overweight.” I was (just barely) in the “obese” category for a long while. I’m anxious to measure my waist and see where I’m at. I’m feeling like I must be down at least two inches now!

 

I have a long way to go, yet, but it sure is fun to enjoy the small victories along the way!

TGIF

May 16, 2008

These last couple days of work have truly been terrible. My job is full of technical jargon, so I can’t even explain it to David, let alone the blog world. But I think yesterday was the hardest day I’ve ever worked here. SO much stuff going on. Some of it has trickled to today, but I’m a little brain dead, so it’s easy to care about it less.

So thank goodness it’s weekend time! Tonight, I’m going to see A New Brain at Windfall Theatre. I don’t really know this show, but it’s one of David’s favorites. We also know about half the cast really well. It’ll be fun to sit and watch them perform, rather than being next to them on the stage!

Afterwards, we’re meeting our favorite double date couple, Chuck and Lisa for a late dinner and drinks at Tulip. This place is delicious. I hope we can sit outside, but if we can’t, the atmosphere inside is very nice.

I’m going on a Flickr Photowalk tomorrow with some random photographer people from the Milwaukee area. I’m looking forward to that and getting some artsy shots of the Walkers Point area. David will be helping a friend move. I think our schedule is open in the evening. Maybe we’ll see a movie or just hang at home. Either options sounds nice to me!

In other random news, my scale said 191 this morning!!! YES! That gives me extra motivation to stick with the diet tonight. It would be great to see 190 by Monday. That would be such a nice milestone. I haven’t seen this much weight loss in at least three years. It feels so good!!

I didn’t work out today, but I wanted to! I took the lunch hour off to run some errands, like cash a check that’s been in my purse for two weeks! I wish I could have hit the gym, but these things needed to be done and my bank has a location very close to my work, but nowhere near my house!

Also, it was nice to see one of my high credit card balances is finally under $2,000 and it will stay that way! I found this great calculator for those of us who have multiple credit cards with different interest rates. It was helpful to organize my payments and see when I’d be able to be paid off. By this time next year, I should be debt free!

Downtown Dining Week is coming up soon! I love this, although I’ll have to limit myself to fewer visits than last year due to my desire to stick with my diet. It’s such a fun way to try out new restaurants and get a great meal at an expensive place you might be to poor to visit. Our favorite last year was Osteria Del Mondo. A three course dinner for $20? Yes please!

Since I’m not doing a show this summer (for the first time in at least FIVE years!) I plan to enjoy the heck out of my summer. The kickoff to the summer festival season starts at the end of this month, with Riversplash. I can’t wait to be able to have fun and do what I want with my summer!

Fighting The Scale

May 15, 2008

And winning!

It’s been almost exactly a month since I started South Beach. I cheated quite a bit in Arizona. I tried to follow the diet, but my options were often limited and I had to go out drinking one night with my cousin. Oh, and I HAD to share that piece of cheesecake with her. That’s girl code. (White chocolate caramel macadamia nut cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory ROCKS, by the way.) And I ate the Midwest chocolate chip cookies.

When I came back, I was up about 3 or 4 pounds from when I left. Not cool! I went back on Phase One with few problems. I had to retrain my brain a little to say NO to all carbs and not say “Well, it’s just one tortilla chip.”

This morning the scale had my new lowest weight. 192. Down 12.5 pounds! And I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror while getting dressed this morning. In profile, my thighs looked thinner. And I think my back fat rolls are smaller! And I buttoned up my somewhat-skinny jeans, which had just been washed (you know how that tightens jeans up) without any trouble. I have a long way to go, but it put a little extra spring in my step this morning.

My gym routine has got to be helping a little. At the very least, it’s not hurting! I’m on a roll. I’ve gone every day at lunch this week. I’ll go today, and I even plan to go tomorrow. It’s like a routine now. I don’t dread it. I just go. 15 minutes can’t do THAT much, but according to my elliptical, I burn 175-200 calories, and that can’t be a bad thing!

I’m going out with some friends tomorrow night and I’m going to have to force myself to stick to the diet. This is really the only time it’s hard to do. When I go out, I want to have a couple girly drinks and order something yummy off the menu. If I feel the need for a drink, I’ll have a bacardi and diet. And we’re going to Tulip, so there’s plenty of meat for me to eat. But it sucks that their bread is so good and you can’t really enjoy hummus with a fork.

On a different note, I made myself an iced coffee for this morning. I brewed some coffee last night and spun it in the blender with some ice cubes, sugar-free french vanilla creamer, and a packet of splenda and stuck it in the fridge overnight. It’s really yummy, but it has given me a headache. The last time I had coffee it gave me the same feeling. These two times it was new coffee that I had just bought. I went cheap and got Foldgers. The other times that I bought coffee recently, I got the Organic, Free Trade bulk coffees. Is it just Foldgers? Or am I suddenly adverse to caffiene? This is weird.

Work is hellish this morning. I can’t wait to work out my frustrations at the gym.

Planning For Life

May 13, 2008

At 23 years old, I often feel like I should have more of a purpose, direction, or plan. I know that 23 is still pretty young, but it won’t last forever, and there’s still so much I want to do. I’ve touched on this theme before, but it’s weighing on my mind again.

I work full time. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it (usually). I took a break from theater to get my house in order, and it will get there, slowly but surely. But I feel like there’s so much to do in my LIFE and I don’t know when to do it all.

Here’s some of what I want to do:
– Go back to school and get some kind of degree in something!
– Get married
– Have or adopt kids
– Find a job that I love
– Move somewhere new
– Travel

I have long wanted to work in events. I love acting, but I don’t think that’s where I’m meant to make a living! I love photography, but I don’t know enough to work in that field (yet). Events (or public relations, marketing, etc) seem like the perfect place for me to use my creative AND practical sides. It just so happens that David’s sister feels the same way. In fact, she recently got a great job working events. We have talked a lot about opening our own event-planning business, and I really love the idea.

I would like to at least get my associates degree (if my past credits transfer, it wouldn’t take THAT long) in business. It seems like the program at MATC has a lot of practical courses on starting your own business. That would help both of us out.

The big time thing to me is kids. I think I want them. I’m 99.9999% sure I do. I think David is almost as sure as I am. I don’t know if I want to have my own or adopt. Either way, 30 seems like a deadline there. Sure, I could probably push it to 35 for bio kids. Could I adopt up to 40? Probably, but I don’t know that I’d want to. 30 seems like a good time. Not too old, not too young. I want to be able to keep up with a baby or two! Plus, I’m too selfish with my time right now to even have PETS, let alone kids!!

The “problem” I run into while trying to think about where my life is going and what I should be planning for, is that there are SO many things I want to do before I have kids!!

My degree should definitely be done before kids. I will obviously be married before having kids.

David and I have talked a lot about picking up and moving somewhere. Just for the heck of it! To experience a new city, to start a life together, to get out there and try something new, to go on an adventure! We’ve done a lot of casual browsing, taking “Where Should I Live” quizzes, etc. We’ve thought of Portland OR, Richmond VA, Baltimore MD, and many others. We like the feel of Milwaukee, but want something a little different. Of course, my dream is Chicago or New York, but David doesn’t like the thought of living in those places.

My current obsession is Lexington or Louisville KY. I know, I know… Kentucky??? What am I thinking? Well, my dad recently came back from a road trip where he visited some friends in Louisville. He could not stop raving about how nice of a city it is. He literally said “I want to move there!” I could barely take him seriously. I mean, it’s Kentucky! But after seeing pictures and browsing the Wikipedia and Craigslist pages, it doesn’t look that bad. They’re on a similar scale as Milwaukee. They’re not TOO far from home (Lexington is about 8 hours from Milwaukee). They are affordable and plenty of major corporations call one of those cities home. They’re safe. They have tons of art and history and culture. They both have summer festivals. And lots of theater. They look pretty good! Don’t believe me? Read their Wikipedia pages (linked above).

Ideally, we’d like to try out a new city for maybe a year or two. If we like it, we stay. If not, we move back to Milwaukee. I want to do this before we have kids for many reasons. But after we’re married. But then what does that say for the hopes of an event planning businesss?

I was thinking about going back to school in the fall. But how will that affect my debt-free goal? They say that student-loan debt is “good debt” and hopefully with a degree, I’d be able to get a job that pays more than my current one. But still. I am really against owing ANYTHING right now, and I don’t want to think about making more payments to anyone.

Also, how am I supposed to justify saving up buttloads of money for a wedding, when that money COULD be going to student loans? Argghh!

If money didn’t get in the way, I’d go back to school in the fall. At most, I’d be done in two years. At that point I’d get or be married. We’d take a kick-ass honeymoon somewhere exotic. Then we’d look for a job in the city of our choice, and move there for about two years. At this point it would be 2012 and I would be around 28. Perfect time to settle down in Milwaukee and do the kid-thing (close to family aka built-in-babysitters). Having kids seems like the ideal time to kick start a home business.

Even if I don’t start that plan for another year, to save money, or what not, I’ll be around 29 when I’m ready for settling down/kid time. That’s not too bad. I’ve thought that my life might be over once I have kids, but I don’t think that has to be the case. I’m sure my mom or David’s sister would be willing to baby sit while we went on vacation. And when they’re older, they could come along.

This is all pretty overwhelming. I like to live in the moment and be spontaneous. I don’t want to plan everything out. But I also don’t want to turn 30 and feel trapped or feel like I didn’t do anything with my young years or like my dreams of adventure can’t be achieved.

 

I Just Realized

May 12, 2008

David is a big geek. And I totally love that about him. So it didn’t really come as a surprise that he was super excited to get a jury duty summons a few weeks ago. He filled out the initial info and a couple weeks ago got a potential case assignment. A BIG case. Even I jumped around and screamed with him. Sure, I’m probably not supposed to know about it, but he couldn’t help but tell. Very exciting. He’s not a juror yet, but not only does he want to be, but he wants to be the jury foreman!

I think he’d be great at it. Even though he has heard of the case before, he doesn’t know much about it, and doesn’t really have any opinions on it. So I have my fingers crossed for him. He’s sending back the questionnaire (all 19 pages of it) this week.

If he gets on, he’ll probably be gone from work for 2-3 weeks. He likes that idea! The courthouse is in the opposite direction from our house and my work, so he’d most likely take the bus or get a ride from his dad.

Which means I’ll have the car. And will only be responsible for taking myself to work. Which means I can leave about 20-30 minutes later than we usually do. Which means I can sleep later!

YES!!!! Now my fingers are extra crossed.

The Material Girl

May 12, 2008

I get the occasional “special offer” e-mail from my credit cards. Normally I delete them, but this one caught my eye. It’s a special pre-sale for card members for some of Madonna’s future tour dates. Including Chicago. On Sunday October 26th.

I love Madonna. However, I’m weird in that I don’t love concerts. I’ve been to very few, and although I’ve enjoyed many of them, they’re just not my thing. But Madonna… well, she’s a showstopper, isn’t she? A performer, to be sure.

There are very few concerts that I would hear about and say “YES PLEASE!!!” The only ones to really pop into my head are Madonna, Aerosmith, and Bare Naked Ladies. I would like to see these people before I die. Or, actually, before they die.

So now I need to somehow justify that this is worth spending huge amounts of money on, including the tickets, and the drive to Chicago, and probably the day off work on Monday, and possibly a hotel in Chicago on Sunday night.

With credit cards to pay off, a wedding to save for, and a fiance who wants to take a golden birthday trip to Disney World next year, I’m not so sure I can justify this.

But I love you Madonna. While I may confess to liking your 80s stuff more (Immaculate Collection, anyone?) and Like A Prayer may be my favorite song, I still like almost everything that you put out, and I can’t help but dance like a freak when I hear “Four Minutes.”

Dude

May 2, 2008

Whoa dude. I leave for Arizona on Sunday. That’s two days from now. Less, technically, since I fly out at 7:30 AM.

I have to figure out what to pack! It looks like it’s going to be in the 90s! Then again, I did survive Thailand earlier this year, so I’m sure I can survive the desert. The problem I’m having is everything I hear about Phoenix is superficial. My cousin said she felt fat when she moved there. And she’s like a size 8! I hear people are blond, thin, and LA-like. This is SO not me! Especially since my hair is now a dark brown. But hey, I’ve always been different, so I think I can handle this. It’s not like I need dudes at the bar to look at me. I will have my own dude waiting for me at home. 🙂

My cousin seems to have a bunch of fun stuff planned for me. I fly in (Midwest Express!) early Sunday morning. She and some of her friends want to take me to the zoo once I’m settled in. Sounds like fun! Monday she has to work, so I will take that day to lounge by the gorgeous pools and read a book. Monday is Cinco de Mayo!! I’m sure there have to be some big parties going on in Phoenix, so we’ll probably go out and celebrate with tequila.

Tuesday she wants to take me shopping in Scottsdale at the Fashion Square Mall. I am incredibly excited about this! They’re getting a Barney’s! Not until 2009, though. Holy crap. Visit that website. Check out their map. Scrolling over the stores gives me chills as the names pop up. Max Mara, Juicy Couture, Burberry, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Jimmy Choo… Oh my goodness. All in one place! It’s like all the 5th and Madison Avenue stores, all in a mall!! I don’t think my cousin knows what she’s in for when she releases me on this place.

Wednesday I don’t leave until the evening, so we’ll probably hang out by the pools or wander around downtown. Or do whatever we feel like doing. The only thing that sucks is our plane doesn’t get back to Milwaukee until 11:30 PM! And I’m going to work at 8 the next morning. Sigh. At least I can sleep on the plane.

Speaking of the plane… the anxiety is starting to set in now. After spending about 40 hours on a plane to and from Thailand, I did NOT want to get on a plane for at least a year. And here I am, two and a half months later. At least it’s Midwest Express and at least I’ll be sitting next to my dad. I feel that panicked “Will I make it home safely” feeling in my stomach, though. I hate that.

Okay, I’ll just shove this in at the bottom of my post here… I spent THREE hours at Neroli last night getting my hair cut, dyed, and highlighted. It’s not a huge change on the cut, and I’m a little disappointed. It has more layers and it feels lighter and has more movement and body, but it’s not a different style. That was my choice, but I think this tells me that NEXT time, I will ask for something a little more drastic.

I loooove the color. It’s very natural, but different enough that my coworkers noticed right away. I wanted a deep, rich brown, and my stylist talked me into some soft brown highlights so it wouldn’t be harsh around my face. I just think the color is beautiful. Pictures don’t capture it too well, but here’s what I could do: