Sunday, November 30, 2008

And here we are, almost December. It's ick-ing outside, but not so much as to be annoying. Yet. Knock on wood.

Thanksgiving came and went with minimal carnage. Saw a couple of movies. Watched a bunch of television, including Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of Star Wars. Man, are those bad movies. There was such potential, but the scripts are just plain bad. They lack any sort of personality or humor or interesting dialogue. The production value (granted, 90% of it is cgi) is fun, though the costumes are really impractical. So they're really pretty to watch, if you can stomach the really bad dialogue. Oh well. If I ever have kids, I'm not even going to let them watch these ones. They will only see the original trilogy (minus the added bad cgi Jabba the Hut scenes in A New Hope) until they are so in love with the series that they can overlook the trite crap that is Episodes 1-3.

And yeah. That's about that. Here's hoping Christmas isn't too painful. And the turn over to December means it's just about four months until Opening Day. Hurrah! Maybe even a huzzah.

Happy December.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So it was a little slow at the office today, so I decorated (per my co-worker's request) for the holidays. I think I kept it tasteful, yet festive.

Thing is, it made me feel festive. So when I stopped on my way home to get an onion, I also got some little white lights to hang around my windows. And I hung them up. And I stopped to get some stuff with which to make a Christmas present. Granted, traffic was horrible, and this whole lights thing might make it hard for me to put that plastic stuff up on my windows, but I have to admit, there is something nice about being even just a little bit festive. Nice smells in the house. Lights in the window. If this is all the holiday season was about, I think I might be okay with that.

Then again, ask me again tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

So I have to apologize; I just kind of feel like griping today.

Thanksgiving. It used to be my favorite holiday. Well, up there anyway. Halloween always kind of kicked ass, but when it came down to the winter holidays, the ones that you actually get time off of school or work for, I have always preferred Thanksgiving to Christmas. Essentially, they play out the same way - the whole family gathers somewhere and eats themselves silly. Christmas has the added hassle of presents, though, which is too much pressure. Thanksgiving is all about quality time with the family, just enjoying each other's company.

Thing is, as a vegan, and (I think) the only one in my family with any weird dietary restrictions, it has become more and more of a hassle to participate in Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong - I still love spending time with my family. But transporting a Tofurkey when I'm the only one eating it is a pain. And by the time I get there, it's cold, so basically, I get to eat microwaved Tofurkey and whatever side-dishes my sister-in-law has been gracious enough to make vegan. Which is really sweet of her to do.

Continuing along the whiny road, the family that comes to Thanksgiving is significantly different that they used to be, too. A lot of the people I used to look forward to seeing don't come anymore 'cuz they live too far away or have other engagements. And somebody always now brings a friend who had nowhere else to go, so the conversation leans primarily towards a "let's get to know the new person" theme which is one of the reasons my family is so great - they're very welcoming - but it doesn't make for the nice, warm, homey feeling that the Thanksgivings of my childhood held.

I know, I'm being awful. I love my family. Please don't ever doubt that. They are wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, loving people and I am so blessed to have them in my life. But as I'm sitting here thinking about the gathering on Thursday, I'm having little anxiety attacks. The preparation. The chit-chat. The fact that I will most likely be cold the whole day. The schlepping. The fact that my car needs new brakes and new tires. The having nothing interesting to say because I still don't have a band, I'm not in any theatrical productions, I'm not working on any interesting projects, and I'm not really looking forward to anything at the moment. How awful would I be if I just wanted to stay home and be thankful from afar?

Pretty awful. I know.
You know, I love it when I tell someone how much I hate being cold, and that my body temperature is naturally low so it takes me a really long time to warm up, and that I get panicky when I get too cold, so I'd rather be warm, and that person explains to me how when you're cold, you can always snuggle up under a blanket and get warm.

Oh, wait. No I don't.

I realize that there are about six of us world wide who would rather be too hot than too cold. And I might even be in the minority in that group because my comfort temperature is closer to 80 degrees Farenheit than say, sixty-eight. But really. Think about this for a minute:

If you put a blanket over an inanimate object that is cold, i.e. a car, a chair, etc, the inanimate object does not warm up. Why? The blanket is not producing heat. The blanket itself is probably cold, too. You know how blankets work? They trap the heat being given off by a warm (or warm-ish) something. If a person sits under a blanket and it's a good blanket, the blanket traps that person's body heat and makes everything feel all nice and cozy. Now think about this: if you put a blanket over, say, a person with an internal temperature of 98.6 degrees Farenheit, versus over a person with an internal temperature of 97 degrees Farenheit, the person whose internal temperature is 97 degrees isn't going to be as warm as the other guy. Why? There wasn't as much heat to begin with. Said person might get there eventually, but it's going to take longer. Imagine having one heating vent in your house and expecting that to heat the whole house. It's going to take a while.

Same thing with me. My body temperature is low. I am very sensitive to the cold. It takes me a long time to warm up. So while I can appreciate that most people are fine walking around their 68 degree houses in a sweater and socks, I would very much like it if people would stop looking at me funny when I tell them that for me, that temperature warrants sweater, sweatshirt, socks, slippers and a blanket. Maybe a scarf. I know me better than you.

Okay, I'm done. Sorry.

Friday, November 21, 2008

So I think I may have figured out the key - I have to not rely on my morning 1-mile walk to be my exercise for the day. I have to do something that really makes me sweat. I'm going to have to be careful to not become obsessive about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So I've been doing the online weight loss thing for two weeks now, and have lost a total of eight pounds. I wish I was losing weight faster than one pound a week, but on the up side, losing at this rate means I'm losing real weight (not water weight) in a healthy manner, thus increasing the likelihood that I will keep it off. I was reading about plateaus, though, and how to jump start things when you're not really losing anymore. (Maybe a little freak out considering I haven't been doing this that long, but whatever.) A lot of the suggestions include eating more fruits and vegetables (which is a little silly for me) and putting more dairy in your diet (also silly for me). So I'm trying to work more soy dairy substitutes into my daily routine, thinking maybe it's a calcium thing. It also said that you should eat all of your points, including your weekly extras, every week, which in a weird way seems odd to me. I understand the whole "if you don't eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode and you'll actually gain weight" thing, but why build in screw up points if you're supposed to eat all of them? Why not just up the daily allowance? I guess so you can go over by a bunch one day and then not the next. But still. That might be the biggest challenge for me - eating all of my points every week. When I know I'm supposed to be watching my portions, and when I eat lots of vegetables that have no points, it might take some conscious effort to eat that much. But it's worth a shot. More soy yogurt and soy milk. More food in general.

The really nice part about the whole thing thus far is that I've been cooking more. I'm really enjoying cooking. I've re-instituted the mid-afternoon snack so that I'm not starving by the time I get home and I can actually take the time to make soup or chili or bake bread or make a fresh salad. The other night, I had homemade soup, a homemade salad, and freshly baked homemade bread for dinner. Tell me that doesn't make your heart and soul feel good to eat like that. It certainly helps mine.
I've been enjoying eating oranges lately, but in many ways, they're worse than corn on the cob. Mostly for the "crap stuck in your teeth" factor.
Okay, so I was really disappointed that Kerry Wood got traded. He came up in the Cubs system, he spent his whole career as a Cub, he was a Cub, through and through. And while I understand the move, it still makes me sad to see him go.

But on the flip side of things, thank god or jebus or whoever you thank in these situations that we re-signed Dempster. Without him, I think our rotation would be sunk. How weird that in one season, he went from Dumpster to "without him, our rotation would be sunk?" Whatever. I'm glad he's sticking around.

And a belated congratulations to the 2008 National League Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto. Booyah, baby!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So today was one of those days that called for sitting at home under a blanket with a cat on my lap and perhaps a mug of hot chocolate. But I had to venture out to the grocery store and in a really strange way, I'm glad I did. There was something really peaceful about walking down the street while it snowed lightly and "Falling Slowly" played on my iPod. For a minute, I didn't hate snow or winter or being cold. It was really nice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

So I think we all know that I love the piano. I love songs with piano in them. I didn't used to enjoy playing it so much because my teacher was kind of strict, but I'm a sucker for a good piano player. And I have recently rediscovered my favorite piano solo ever. It's in the middle of Nina Simone's version of "Love Me or Leave Me." If you've not heard this song, go purchase it somewhere and have a listen. Not only is it the fantastic Nina Simone, but the piano makes me so happy I just end up grinning like an idiot through the whole song.

Yeah, Nina.

Yeah, piano.

Yay, it's Friday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And again with the nightmares. Except in this one, I was extremely calm. Kind of resigned to what I was doing.

There were two buildings next door to each other. The one on the left was higher than the one on the right, or at least the back door was, like it was a tree house or something. And the building on the right had these two big back doors that opened up, almost like barn doors, to reveal a large disposal unit of sorts. Like a giant wood chipper or something, except missing the spout that spits out the wood chips. And I know there was another person there, but I'm not sure who it was. And we were taking turns throwing things down from the higher building to the ground and then picking them up and throwing them in the disposal unit. If you were really good, you could fling them from the one building directly into the disposal unit, and when that happened enough times in a row is usually when we would switch, because it would allow the person on the ground enough time to get up to the higher platform. The thing that made it a nightmare, though, is that we were disposing of bodies and body parts. Sometimes clothing (i.e. a boot), sometimes just bones, sometimes in-tact parts, sometimes whole bodies.

Yeah, have fun analyzing that one.

Which is why I'm up at three in the morning. Thinking about how I probably shouldn't have eaten those chocolate chips when I got home, but that if my weight goes up by a pound, I know it's a pound I can easily lose again. Thinking about trying to wake up early so I can do 20 minutes of Pilates before work. Wondering if I did top-two-percent good, or if I'm just in the top five.

Wherever you are, I hope you are sleeping well and not dreaming of disposing of body parts. Not so nice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh! I almost forgot. Congratulations to Geovany Soto for winning the National League Rookie of the Year. Booyah, Cubbies!

And for those of you who are counting (me), we are just under 5 months to opening day. Woo hoo!
So I'm down seven pounds in two weeks. I thought it might be more, and six of that was lost in the first week. Mostly, I think, because when I hit that number on the scale, it was artificially high. But then only one pound during week two. Kind of makes me wonder if I am at/near where my body wants to be anyway. What my actual weight is supposed to be. Which wouldn't be all bad, I guess. I'm still going to try to get down a little more. Thing is, I'm not hungry. I don't feel like I'm depriving myself. And I'm not even eating as much as they're telling me I can eat. On the up side, my pants are fitting better and really, that's what this was all about anyway. So I'm going to keep plugging away and hopefully getting smaller.

I'm also going to send my demo CD to a record label today. Keep your fingers crossed - I like this label and would like it if they liked me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I feel like I need to write something about the historical significance of what happened yesterday, but I also know that any words I use will be inadequate and I will sound like a crazy person writing about the struggles of other people and what this must mean to them. (Side note: I also don't really see Mr. Obama as the first African-American president, even though that's what he is. I see him as a strong, intelligent man with good ideas who I'd like to see in charge of things for a while. For me, this was an election about ideas, not skin color. I would like to say that I understand what his election must mean to the African-American population, I probably can't really as I'm not African-American, but I do know that his presidency is something great and about that, all of us can be happy and excited and hopeful.) So I'll tell you what it means to me, even though I'm pretty sure that will also show at least some of you that I am, in fact, a crazy person. But this whole blog is filled with my ideas and opinions. In the grand scheme of things, I could be totally wrong. But these are my opinions and the beautiful thing about this country is that I'm allowed to publish them on the interweb for anyone who wants to read them.

I think that there are those events in everyone's life that change you. Some of them are really horrific moments, frozen forever into our memories, like September 11, the Kennedy assassination, or the Challenger explosion. Some of them are wonderful, like the birth of a child, falling in love, or finding a mentor. I have some of these already, but last night felt like another Moment. With a capital M. I also think that once in everyone's life (maybe more for some people), there is a significant public figure who inspires them and makes them want to believe in something. I think for a lot of people, it was Kennedy. I think for me, it is Obama. Would I elevate him to regal status? No. But I think that he's going to do his damnedest to effect at least some of the changes he has promised us. I'm inspired because we have a leader in this country now who doesn't make me cringe in fear when he opens his mouth. I'm inspired because we have a leader in this country now who said, "...I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree." I'm inspired because we have a leader in this country who understands the importance of preserving not only the country in which we live, but also the planet which we inhabit. I'm inspired because we have a leader in this country now who is looking forward, not behind, and is ready, willing, and able to face the challenges that my children will encounter head-on. And I'm inspired that he has the support of so much of the nation behind him already. I want to give him a chance. I want to see him succeed, because if he succeeds, we all will, in one way or another. Even if it just means other countries won't hate us (as much) anymore.

When the election was called, I screamed so loud I tore my throat. I jumped in the air and clapped and hugged my friend and cried for about three hours, until my face was chapped from the salt. I'm in awe. I'm excited that this is the beginning of something. It may go down in flames and be a horrible disaster. It would most certainly go differently if the country wasn't in such horrible shape at the moment. But I think what gets me the most is that SO MANY PEOPLE voiced their desire for something different. "Stay the course" is no longer good enough. That, by itself, is inspiring to me.

Thank you everyone who voted. All of your voices were heard and will continue to be heard over the next four years. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard on Obama's campaign to make it an historical feat by itself. And thank you to Mr. Obama, our President Elect Mr. Obama, for standing up to take on this country and all of it's problems in the hopes that things will get better. I wish you all the luck in the world and if there's some way I can help out, please let me know. I'm ready to make change happen.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank you.
So I did my job today. I voted shortly after 7am. See, four years ago, I went to vote at about 6:30 am and it took about ten minutes. There was nobody in line. This morning, I showed up at 6:45 am and didn't leave until 7:25. There was a line out the door. It almost had me crying, I was so happy.

Thing is, I want to see the results now. I want the numbers to be in. I want to know if the guys I voted for won so I can celebrate, or if the other guys won so I should start considering moving to another country. Thing is, I really love America. And I really love Chicago. It would be hard to live in a city that didn't have the Cubs, or our skyline, or my family. So please please please let the guys I voted for win.


Monday, November 03, 2008

So I'm kind of excited for tomorrow. All this hype and all of this build up and after tomorrow, it will all be over. I plan on waking up early and walking over to my polling location and casting my vote before work. I know a lot of people voted early, which is fine, but I kind of like the pseudo pageantry of voting on Election Day. The same way I like paying my bills with checks even though it's really environmentally unfriendly.

Please, whatever you are doing tomorrow, take the ten minutes and go cast your vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

So I'm thinking I might turn into the kind of person who cooks a lot. I'm currently making soup and it makes my house smell so good! I could get used to this. But I think the key to becoming the kind of person who cooks is to have good tools with which to do the actual cooking. In the last year, I've come into some good knives. I bought new spoons. And today, I splurged and bought myself a Cephalon 6 qt stock pot so I can make soup. I'm making an Italian type vegetable soup with white kidney beans now, and I'm planning on making an Asian inspired tofu noodle soup later (both recipies from the website that is helping me lose weight). And I even got more plastic containers so I can easily portion out one serving, freeze it, and thaw it out for later consumption. And/or, for easy transport to work. I could turn into one of those people who cooks a lot on Sundays so her meals are prepared for the rest of the week. Sounds like kind of a fun way to spend the winter.

Wherever you are, I hope your house smells as yummy as mine does right now.

Saturday, November 01, 2008