Sunday, March 31, 2013

Let's go Fly a Kite!

Yesterday my college friend flew in for a work trip, and I used it as a perfect opportunity to get my husband to agree to come into the city with us.  While the Cherry Blossom trees aren't blooming...really at all, the festivities are in full swing.  Before we left, I discovered that yesterday was the Bloom Kite festival, and we were excited to see if we could get down to the Mall in time to fly one of the finger kites my mother in law gifted me a few years ago.

Looking at the Capitol

Washington Monument covered in scaffoling

The Smithsonian Metro station was packed with tourists coming down from the Mall attempting to get on trains, and it lent an air of excitement to the crowds de-training.  As we stepped onto the Mall...we saw kites (and a whole lotta people!).  People stood from Capitol all of the way down to behind the Washington Monument, and the splendor of these kites ranged from  the Power Ranger one, the woman near us was trying to get into the air for her son, to finger kites, to extremely expensive trick kites that did dives and flips in the air.  There were huge kites that must have been bigger than a person, and teeny kites.  I was frankly, shocked, at the lack of run ins I saw. I've always wondered how people managed to not get all of the kite lines messed up.  Some people did, but for the majority of people, once they got the kites up, they sort of stayed up on their own.

all of the dots to the Washington Monument are kites

After discovering that the finger kite wouldn't fly, since the adhesive holding on the streamers was too old, we just watched for awhile, and then walked down the Mall, around the Washington Monument, and then turned around and came back. We then went to indulge in delicious Thai food at Thaiphoon in Dupont Circle. I was first introduced to this place (and Thai food) in college, and fell in love with their garden rolls.  My husband declared that he could eat those every morning for breakfast, and longingly looked at me, hoping I would volunteer to get right on making them.  I'll look up a recipe, and see what I can do, that's all the commitment he's getting.

We had a wonderful day, full of beautiful sunshine, kites, friends, food, and laughter.  I was so glad to get to spend this time making awesome memories with the people I love.   I've got a post going about Easter memories as well that I hope to share soon!

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Confessions of an angry fat woman, what no one told me about weight loss

I've been thinking up this title for awhile.  I started this blog to talk about my weight loss journey, and despite my posts about book reviews and recipes, the core of this blog has remained the same; it's a blog about health, fitness, and my journey to finding them.

People aren't comfortable talking about being fat it seems, unless they were there, and are actively working towards not being obese any longer.  Lately, I've had the honor of having some really frank conversations about what it's like to be fat, lose weight, and both the psychological toll it takes, along with the things that no one really told us about losing weight. I'll own all of these, but some of of them are also taken from discussions with friends.  And before people start commenting about it, here is my take on my use of the word 'hate.' Being angry, hating something isn't wrong.  Mourning that loss of understanding of who I was, is never wrong.  But I have to get over the mourning, get past the anger, and get to acceptance and moving on.  

  • I hate when people say how nice I look since it makes me think they lied  to me when I was fatter. 
  • I hate feeling like I'm being lied to. 
  • I absolutely hate being told how beautiful I'll look when I hit my 'goal' weight. 
  • I hate when people ask how I lost the weight. Taking drugs makes me feel like I cheated to do it. In my case, I took phentermine to help start my weight loss, and the last 40lbs have been been I started taking Vyvanse for my ADD.  Appetite suppression is one of the side effects, as is increased energy.  This is why I need to work on fitness, and getting those healthy lifestyle changes in place for when I don't have the medicine to help me.  
  • I worry about how I see myself, and how pretty I feel now, and how I probably got fat to keep potential myself from getting hurt.  
  • I'm scared of getting attention from people I don't know, and I really hate getting unwanted attention from men I don't know.
  • I'm the same damn person. How dare people treat me differently now. 
  • I hate that skinny people watch Biggest Loser and talk about how pretty they are when they are 'normal' sized.  I'm fat, but, I'm still 'normal.'  I almost feel like Biggest Loser watching should be restricted to overweight people, because I'm pretty sure skinny people aren't learning empathy watching it, but rather enforcing the mindset that you can lose this weight really fast, if you just tried hard enough. 
  • I hate fitting into someone else's view of beautiful and what that means, and I hate that I want to be that person. I hate that there is a part of me that doesn't care about the healthy aspect of this, I just want to be hot and skinny. 
  • I hate how scared I am about losing weight, and how my body is changing.  
  • I hate being constantly scared of gaining the weight back.  
  • I'm pissed when skinny people assume that I have a shitty self esteem because I'm fat, and treat me patronizingly, telling me to 'love myself.' Thanks, I don't need your brand of therapy.  
  • And...I hate that I let myself ever get to the point where I was at, where I let fear, self doubt, depression and pain lead myself, and I forgot to let health and fitness take the lead.  

I've said this before, and I'll say it again; losing weight is a psychological battle, as much as a physical one.  You can lose the weight, but if you don't deal with the reasons you gained it, you'll gain the weight back.  Every single day, we have to choose what we eat, how we move, and what we do. Every day we're given a chance, and simultaneously have one taken away from us that we can never get back.  We have to constantly motivate ourselves, to change our lifestyles, to change our habits, to change our mindset, and to change our hearts. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review - Crimson Flames

Woah! I have two book reviews this month and they are less than a week apart.  I hope you enjoy! 

Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours


Half-vampire Abby Tate is determined to learn more about the sorceress powers that were awakened inside her when she was turned into a vampire—making her a whole new hybrid species. There’s a group of rogue vamps banding together and forming a Resistance against the vampire governing body, The Head Council, and Abby’s newly discovered powers are the key to the Council’s victory. Now the Resistance will do anything possible to remove the hybrid threat, and with no other options, Abby is forced to rely on the aid of the Council, yet can she trust the very vampires that hunt for her human lover? And even worse, can she fight the unwelcome attraction that’s growing between her and one of those ancient vampire rulers?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Delectable Desserts - Strawberry shortcake

I try to stay away from dairy as much as possible, but after a visit to the Amish market left me with some blackberries and strawberries, and three friends coming into town, I decided I needed to make some strawberry shortcake.

I have a love hate relationship with shortcake.  When I was a kid, we always used bisquick, and it always tasted salty to me. I don't want salty in my dessert cake! This was an issue I had with almost all foods made with bisquick though, and I'm not sure if they've changed the formula over the years, or if I can't taste salt anymore, but after my friend's sister made us pancakes recently, I didn't taste the salt.  I still don't keep it on hand though, so I needed to find a good recipe to make these from scratch.

Even from scratch recipes tend to be a bit salty to me though, and contain things like a huge stick of Crisco.  I never have cream in the house, but I'd just gone to Costco, and out of a desire to not stop at the regular grocery store as well, picked up a whole quart of cream.  "Holy crap...that's a lot of cream that I don't want my husband to put in Kahlua,"  I wisely think to myself.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Things that make you go ooh la la

I've always struggled to get my husband to remember what should and should not go into the dryer.  I realized after years of having clothing die quickly, that I was murdering it by putting it in the dryer too hot.  One day I finally figured it out and said to him, "listen, if it makes you go ooh la la, don't put it in the dryer!"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Review: To Breathe the Breath of Isis

To Breathe the Breath of Isis
Author: Elizabeth Marx
Genre: Historical Romance/Time Travel
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours


One woman. One man. An eternity of love hammered into twenty-one pieces of silver.

Marguerite is a victim of a vicious attack. The resulting brain damage causes amnesia and
when she inexplicably appears in a tomb in Thebes, she insists she was coming to meet
Robert Bruton. Disorientated, destitute, and alone, she senses that her necklace has led
her to this familiar swashbuckler who takes her breath away; however, he claims he does
not know her.

Lord Robert Bruton, eminent Egyptologist, and possible spy for the crown, has never
discovered anything as captivating as the young woman he recovers unconscious on
his dig. He has staked his career on finding the final resting place of Queen Tiye and
wonders why Marguerite possesses a piece of jewelry belonging to the Eighteenth
Dynasty queen. She could be a tomb robber, an American spy, or a madwoman spouting
fantastical stories.

As the necklace’s curse is revealed, the fire of Marguerite’s and Bruton’s ancient bond
burns between them. But when Marguerite disappears, Bruton fears that the wings of Isis
have carried away the true treasure he has been seeking his entire life.
For to breathe the breath of Isis is to be reborn.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vacation Adventures --- You know you're sick...

when you're willing to sleep on an airport floor.  Okay, at least I knew my husband was sick when he was willing to do it...twice.  I think he would have preferred checking into a hotel for the 6 hours between us checking out of our hotel, and being able to go to the airport, but I'm a mean taskmaster, so I wouldn't let him.  Truthfully, neither of us realized how sick he was, and we wanted to attempt to get our last day of Universal Studios in.  Yeah, that didn't happen.

We had to check out of our hotel by 10am, but since the husband wasn't feeling well, I did all of the packing and it took me a couple of hours that morning to get my tired butt up, and to get two suitcases packed to perfection.  Have you seen this video? It was totally my packing inspiration. I had one suitcase packed with nothing but 90% of our clothing, and the other was our 10% that we had been wearing the night before, or were dirty, or were being used to wrap up our souvenir glasses.  It works, well, but don't expect to be able to shove stuff in around your clothing.  

So we were off, and then stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some breakfast, and then went to the park. I even paid the extra $5 to get the preferred parking so that we didn't have to walk 'as far.' That sort of a crock though, since you have to walk a half mile from the garage just to get to either park.  Since we weren't there when they opened, but 3 hours later...Harry Potter World was PACKED, and any chance of hitting up rides that last day, with a sick husband in tow, were dashed. I took a couple of pictures and then we started the long walk back around the park to the car.  It's like...11:30 at this point and our flight doesn't leave until 8pm.  So...I tell him to put his seat back and take a nap...and I start reading the book I'm posting a review for tomorrow. 

'Throngs' of people, as the husband calls them, and a 126 minute wait, at 10:30am. First time we went, I walked in, no line at all. I should have ridden everything 5 times, instead of once!  
Around 1pm, we go get gas, drive to the airport, return the car and are hanging out on the bottom floor. In the Orlando airport, they have these (bolted the floor lest you start to think they are nice) wicker seating areas, and it's quieter and much emptier than the gates upstairs.  After attempting to sleep sitting up, the hubby just says, I'm laying on the floor and proceeds to wedge himself between the chair and a column.  After warning him that he would contract a communicable disease, and that I was burning his clothing when we got home, I gave him my coat to lay on, and kindly arranged our luggage so it sort of shielded him from people looking at him. 

There we sat for a couple of hours while I found out about a new Pope being selected and stalked Huffington Post waiting to find out who it was. A nice girl, a college sophomore in town to play golf, asked to borrow my phone to call her ride, and we ended up finding out about Pope Francis at the same time, and I even was able to watch his first remarks LIVE...all from my phone, in an airport in Orlando.  Seriously, I love love love technology.  

Sadly, that technology  didn't serve us terribly well at the Southwest/AirTran counter were the poor women couldn't figure out how to check our bags as well as get our tickets. Apparently they just changed it that week, and it was giving them a massive headache. Luckily, that gave me time to realize that one of our bags was over weight by 5lbs, and I quickly shoved my husbands shoes (umm..3lbs..he has some heavy shoes), the candy from Harry Potter World, and a beach towel (1.5lbs!) into the duffel bag I'd smartly gotten the hubs to buy the day before.  

Getting through security it's own adventure, with TSA agents telling us (as we funneled from one line to the next), that we needed to be 'assertive' to get into line. Seriously?  I'm not a fan of crowds like that...not a fan at all.  Luckily it was moving quickly, although they made me go through one of the body scanners I generally abhor. I wasn't standing around for an hour waiting to get pat down, so I just went through the thing, all the while the TSA agent insisting that it gave off, 'like a thousand less times the amount of radiation than a cell phone.' Uh-huh.   It showed a spot on my arm, and while the lady patted my arm down, I mentioned I'd given myself a huge bruise there the night before. I'm pretty sure that set it off, but at least the underwire in my bra didn't set off the metal detector this time. 

The lady behind me in line had her luggage stopped under the x-ray machine and was worried because she'd packed her son's toy ax, and thought they might think it was a weapon. Uh nope...they were more concerned about the 4 large bottles of suntan lotion in her bag.  Yep! Totally slipped her mind. 

Long story short, I drugged my husband up with Sudafed and ibuprofen at our gate, and tried really hard to get him to not try to sleep on the mashed into the carpet Craisins that were on the floor that he, once again, insisted on laying on.  We rolled onto a plane that was VERY luckily only about 25% full, and after a rather scary landing that made me question the sanity, and ability of the pilot, we got home.  Seriously, that landing was so bad and shaky that some poor woman a few rows up puked. Apparently all of us were feeling pretty motion sick.  After that, I was happy that we paid an extra couple of dollars a day to have a bus that drove us to our car, this time the bus even had a nice Chevy Chase doppelganger on it. The husband insists that the 'real' Chevy Chase wouldn't be wearing a tie. Who knows.  

So we're home, with the kitties, and nothing like being away to make you more grateful to be home.  Now if only all the laundry were done!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vacation Adventures -- That time I almost met Justin Bieber...with photographic proof

We have had a couple of really fun days...and it was nice to take yesterday to do very little.  Yesterday morning my husband woke up and told me to call and get a massage. I'm not sure if it was as a treat, to keep me out of pain, or to keep me out of his hair for an hour, but either way I was taking it.  I had a wonderful massage at 4pm, and came out to find him by the pool.  As I walked out I saw a kid fully dressed, in glasses, and a wacky hat sitting on the side of a lounge chair. I said to myself, "hrmm...he sorta looks like the beebs, but no way..." and sat down with my husband.

Let me insert here that my husband knows jack crap about pop culture, and is proud of this fact.  He turns to me and says " you know who that is?" to which I respond, "he looks like Justin Bieber, but he's supposed to be in Europe right now, right? (sue me, I read the Huffington Post!) Wait..are you shitting me? Is that really him?"

Up until about a year ago, I had no idea who this kid was, and thought his last name was beaver the first time I heard it. I'm as vulnerable to being starstruck as the next person though, and I thought it was pretty damn cool that I was sitting 10 feet away from a really famous dude.  And my phone was almost dead. I got one picture off, and my husband and I sat and chatted for a bit.  While I had been getting a massage, he had actually talked to some people in the Beeb's posse, and every once in awhile people had come up and asked him for a picture.  People generally were polite...but I think that's because 99% of them had no idea who he was. Just for the record, had he been wearing a swimsuit, no sunglasses or huge ass hat, I probably wouldn't have recognized him.  I did not ask for a picture with him, because the kid was trying to relax and watch his friends play volleyball, and I'm by no stretch of the imagination a fan.   For all those that are wondering, yes...his pants were pulled up and secured at his waist.

So here is the picture you asked for, since my friend Paige is fond of reminding me, "picture or it didn't happen."

Fast forward to tonight where we decided to play some water volleyball and invited all of the kids that were looking at the ball longingly to play with us.  I had no idea what fodder for hilarious conversation this decision would render.

I'm 28, so it's been quite a few years since I was some screechy 12 year old girl. I really should have remembered this when I made the tactical error (for my ears) of telling the girls that we invited to play volleyball with us that Justin Bieber was at our pool the day before.  Yes, he was. I was not lying, and yes I had a picture to prove it.  What?!?!?!?! (insert copious amounts of screaming here, and a burgeoning headache...not to mention a ruined pseudo volleyball game that was left at the wayside as all three girls converged and started screaming in unison.

  • Some hilarious quotes include, "I take my Bieber very seriously!"
  • After much screaming about whether or not he was still here, my husband saying "What if he was still here? What would you do? What would you do if David Bowie was here instead?" to which a 12 year old said "Who is that? Is that a guy that looks like Justin Bieber?" (Clearly my 40 year old husband hasn't had a conversation with a 12 year old girl in a very long time).  
  • Going along with the age thing...the girls on the husband 'team' (we really weren't playing) thought that he was my father. When I told them that I was almost 30, they thought I was lying. Apparently 30 year olds are really old, and I didn't look old enough. It seems to be a reoccurring theme that I don't look old enough.  Ha.  
  • One of the girls that we were playing with was a 13 year old Canadian.  She introduced herself to the other girls and said "Hi, I'm Dee, I'm from Canada." Other girls response "OMG YOU'RE CANADIAN  YOU'RE LIKE AN ALIEN!"  
  • These girls became pretty social after we stopped playing and decided to introduce themselves to other people in the pool. I heard Dee introducing herself by saying "Hi! I'm Canadian  I'm like an alien!" to which the people she was introducing herself to responded with, "uhh...hi. We're Canadian too." Umm...awkward!  
  • I need to mention that even after showing them a picture of the Beebs, they didn't believe that he was actually here. They were fainting over themselves about it, but didn't believe us. Cause, we have nothing better to do than lie to pre-teens. Anyways, about 90 minutes later as we were leaving the girl Dee walked over and said, very proudly to us, "I believe you now that Juster Bieber was here. I talked to the security people and they said he left at 5am today." Oh good! Now we can sleep tonight knowing that you believe that we'd tell the truth.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vacation highlights, life updates and blogging confessions

I realized today, while my husband was giving me another HTML/CSS lesson that, in the midst of the insanity of the last week, I had neglected to post much. Some of these updates are short on purpose--I want to expound on them in other entries that I haven't had the time to write yet. I feel bad 'stealing' my husband's laptop while we're out of town, and I can feel his palpable desire to be playing a video game from the other room.

I was reluctant to post about this immediately afterwards because I didn't want to come off as bitchy, but here goes. It did not, in any way, go as planned. In the past, I spend a week frantically attempting to clean my house,  begging for tables, and having everything prepared, then on the appointed morning, everyone shows up on time and swaps. At the end, people take all the leftover stuff to charity, leaving me exhausted but with a moderately clean house.  This time though, most people seemed to cancel, show up really late, or just showed up to hang out.

 I can't overstate the awesome of having few enough people in my house that I was able to sit down and have real conversations with people. However,  I have to admit that it was frustrating to spend so much time, energy and money, only to have the swap aspect of it...sort of flop.  I know my husband had an awesome time gathering geeky stuff for his side of the swap, but since none of his friends seemed to show up at the same time, he's going to basically warehouse all of the stuff people brought, and have another event in the future.   I also felt bad for the people that brought things to swap, and took home very little.  I feel like I need to apologize to them, even though so much of this was out of my control.  All ends well though, since the high schooler that scored all of our leftover clothing to give away to our local community, was super psyched. I would also like to give a huge thank you to our friends that came and hung out all day, and made it a really fun time. Also a thank you to my table providers, food cookers, people who moved stuff for me, and everyone that showed up.

Trainer: I've been somewhat steadily losing weight over the last 15 months, and have realized that I really need to kick up the physical activity aspect of my weight loss, and work on getting muscle tone back and getting some endurance. I'm pretty pitiful in the endurance department right now.  Watching Biggest Loser has actually inspired me to get more active, and in that spirit, I took my friend up on her recommendation of a personal trainer.  This woman is beyond perky. Think...hyper without caffeine, now add in a gallon of coffee to the mix. I have to admit, when I met her at her gym for our first session, the fact that it was filled with skinny fit people...very intimidating.  Just for the record--I was rightfully scared of the hyper one, because my quads were so sore the next day, that I could barely walk.  She failed in the 'taking it easy' aspect of our first session.   This session is short because I'm going to write more about this later.

Ha...ha...ha. Oh so many stories already.  Did you know this massive blizzard was supposed to hit the DC area last week? Actually supposed to hit the same time yours truly was supposed to fly out of a DC area airport to fly to sunny Florida?  Oh well, it was, but in true DC style, the storm was a dud.  We didn't know that though, so we ended up in Florida a day ahead of schedule, sans a hotel room or car. Here are some highlights so far though:

  • It sucks, but you can pack for vacation in an hour. You'll forget your camera, an extra duffle bag, cash and a variety of other things, but it can be done.
  • Getting a rental car that I've dubbed 'the dickmobile!
  • Buying a vacation package and when we arrive finding out that it's a timeshare.  Kitchen and laundry for the win!
  • Finding out that there are two outlet malls in Orlando and we're at the wrong one
  • Rainforest Cafe -- definitely about the experience, and the experience is better if you're under 10
  • Heated pools are manna from heaven
  • 5 story arcades make 40th birthday's awesome
  • So does getting a blue handprint on your head
  • BUTTERBEER BUTTERBEER BUTTERBEER!!!!! Harry Potter Harry Potter Harry Potter!!!!
  • I likey resorts...

Overall, a hectic, crazy, but fun couple of weeks.  I think blog writing is sort of like exercising, the more you do it, the more you want to do it.  If you stop for awhile though, it's much much harder to get back into it. Consistency is key in so many aspects of life and has always been what I struggle with.  I however, love writing this blog, love getting the feedback, and love having random people I didn't know read my blog, quote it to me.  Yes, I'm a bit of an attention whore and it makes me feel special inside.

I have a confession to make though. I don't ever feel like I can be completely open here. I really struggle with not wanting to hurt peoples feelings, or having stuff that I write come back and bite me in the ass.  The two times I've written and posted opinions about people in here, I was immediately told how wrong my opinions were, or that my recounting of a story was incorrect.  Just for the record--I'm not changing a post simply because you don't like how I perceive a situation.  That would ruin the entire point of blogging for me.

My husband has even given me a strict directive to not make fun of him here, although I may tease, cajole, and regale you with tails of his funny antics, I have no intention of mocking him or hurting his feelings.  I never want to do that, but at the same time, I do want to be open, raw, and honest with my writing.  I have an unfortunate tendency to lean towards the negative in my speech and writing, and I make a conscious effort to keep my blog on the happier sunshiney side of things.  I also have this odd, pathological need to have some conclusion in what I do--in my writings you'll see that I always have to 'finish' a post, or in games (why I can't stand games that take too long to play) or books (I like finishing them in 2-3 sittings max).  This need for conclusion makes it really hard for me to open up about issues that I haven't figured out myself yet.

Conclusion?  We will see.  I'm learning a lot about blogging, myself, growing older...and it will be really interesting to see how this blog evolves with me.  My husband originally named my blog, when he set it up, but I never changed it because it resounded so well with me. We all start on square one, and then figure it out as we go. Here's to attempting to figure stuff out.