Buttercream is Awesome. So are running, biking and many other things.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why Structure is Important. Very Important. For Me.

For the last twenty years, I have been living my life on a semester based year.  That's a long time.

Now I that I have graduated, I no longer live my life based on semesters.  It's weird.  But I have been trying to get into a rhythm, a routine to keep me from wasting time while I look for a job.

I get up sometime between 8 and 9 am, if I sleep til 10, the rest of the day just disappears and I don't get anything done.  I eat breakfast and on Monday/Wednesday/Friday I wait an hour or so to digest and then I go to the gym to workout, shower, eat lunch and blog.  And after I eat lunch, I get really sleepy.  I have been trying to keep from succumbing every day, but today it's extra difficult.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are difficult, because yoga is at 7:30p.  I have no real structure on those days.
Those two days, and M/W/F afternoons are really where the time suck happens, because I don't have anything planned.  I try and keep busy with projects around the house. Like, making a new papasan chair cushion or a case for my kindle, unpacking things and getting ready for Courtney's Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party.  But eventually, you just plain run out of stuff to do.

I need to find a job.  I am running out of things to do around here, and it's beginning to drive me mad.

I am trying to not get to the point of boredom, but I feel it's not far off.

Structure, for me is so important.  And if I had kids I would be able to have time to help them learn new things, and do all kinds of stuff, but that ship will not come into the harbor for several years.  With structure, deadlines and projects, I feel productive.  And it doesn't hurt to get paid for those things.

In the mean time I will spend my time working out, blogging, watching movies and reading lots of books!

And job hunting.

Weekly Weigh In - 5/27/11

Starting Weight: 200.6 lbs
Ending Weight: 199.4 lbs
Total Change: -1.2 lbs

Exercise Week


I haven't explicitly said this during these posts, but in the sense of full disclosure, I do not go to the gym on the weekend.  Any exercise I get is an outdoor activity with my family and/or my hubby.


Monday Adam and I went to the service center of our apartment complex to fill out paperwork to be allowed to use the gym facilities on the premises.  After a long debate which involves the fact that I have to get an MSU affiliate ID to be able to use the gym, I was allowed an exception, this time, to be able to use the gym without an MSU ID.  This place is really getting on my nerves and I will write about the continuing saga that is living here later.

I worked out for an hour, ran for 10 minutes, did every machine, every way possible (there aren't many) and did 3 sets of 10 (3x10) of everything.  I also did some core work and a lower body circuit from the previous work out plan I was following.  And stretching. Stretching is important.  I was jelly by the end, and I will probably be sore on Tuesday. Ouchie.  But Tuesday is YOGA DAY! YAY!!!

Tuesday was yoga day!  At the community center here in our complex, they offer some classes, including YOGA.  YES!  Yoga is offered in the evenings from 7:30-8:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  All summer.  For $20. Excellent.  It was amazing!  The teacher is of the same teaching background as the Ombodies Studio in Mount Pleasant.  I love it.  I am so glad I get to spend two hours a week doing this!!  And I fully plan to continue to do it beyond this summer too.  Love it.  When I am in yoga class, I am so focused, everything melts away.  I wish like crazy that I had sought out a class sooner instead of doing the DVDs at home.  Love. It.

Wednesday I went to the gym again in the morning.  I'm allowed to do that for the month of June so we have time to find our marriage license which, is in a hidden box somewhere.  Why would I need my marriage license to be allow to use the gym, you might ask? Because our wedding rings, the fact that I am listed on the application for our apartment as his spouse, and the fact that I HAVE HIS LAST NAME aren't enough.  Argh.

Anyway,  I worked out and the longer I went, the better I felt.  And I was wiped by the end of the work out.  Whew. If you want to read about how I structure my work outs go here.

Thursday: yoga day again!  As you can tell from my post last night, yoga was amazing.  I love it.  I am never going without it again, ever, if I can help it.  Wonderful.  Spectacular. Awesome. I love yoga.

Friday I hit the gym in the am again.  Full Body Circuit today along with cardio, all of the machines in the fitness center and abdominal exercises/stretching.  Good work out, tired and felt like jelly by the end!

I'm going to check out a belly dancing class tonight, I'm a little nervous, but excited.  I'll let you know how it goes and if I am going to keep doing it past this week.

Eating Week


Friday, Saturday and Sunday  did not track points.  We went home to celebrate my Dad's and my birthdays.  So points wise it was an expensive weekend.  Cake all around.  Ouch.  I don't want to think about it.  But I did practice moderation, even if I didn't count the points.

Monday I tracked very well.  I am still working on getting all my veggies in every day.  Also, Gomtang noodles: Delicious.

Tuesday I did excellent with the tracking!!  I tracked everything I put in my mouth.  I got my water in, still not all my veggies though.  We really need to go grocery shopping.  Really, really need to go shopping.

Wednesday I tracked right through to the end.  And again, I failed to get all my veggies/fruits in.  But Adam and I went grocery shopping tonight and got celery (and Schuler's cheese, YUM), watermelon and light veggie dip (for carrots that we already have).  They didn't have the Fat Free Marzetti's Ranch Veggie Dip.  I had 18 points left for dinner and we went out to dinner with my momma-in-law (who is in town this week for training) at Sophia's House of Pancakes in Grand Ledge.  Yummy.  I had Apple Cinnamon French Toast.  It was SO GOOD.  If you're ever in the area and want a local eatery to go to, go there. Delicious.

Thursday: I got all of my fruits and veggies in!! YAY!  Since that is all I had for lunch, I got them all in in one meal.  Yuuuuuuuummmmmmm....  I tracked everything I ate, got all of my water in. All food groups and healthy checks here and accounted for. Wondermous!  

All in all the week was a success!  Let's hope that I continue to be successful past this week and FINALLY get out of this damn plateau.  On Wednesday I will be saving a lot of points for later in the day, because it's Courtney's Bachelorette Party, woo!!!  I have several events this week that necessitate saving points, oh dear!  Sunday is my birthday and Adam and I will be celebrating by doing various things, including a trip to Olive Garden (I love the food there, so good...) and Monday my parents and brothers are coming down to celebrate and we're going to BD's Mongolian BBQ.  That place is so amazing......  Make your own stir fry............ ooooooooohhhhh yeeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh.......  Oh, and before you just die of curiousity, I'll be turning 24 on Sunday, weee!!!  Next year I get a new license and picture!  Which will hopefully be a picture of a fabulous at weight me. :)

----

Side Note: I changed how I explain my weeks.  Here is why: I track exercise Monday-Friday because I want to post this immediately after my workouts on Friday.  Convenience is the only reason I do it that way.  I track my eating habits on here from Friday to Thursday because my weigh in day is on Friday, so my points reset on Fridays and I like continuity.  So now you know. ('Cause it's Miiiiike's super short show!  .........Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Relaxed and Centered

As I've mentioned several times, I recently started taking yoga classes with a real live person instead of a DVD.

It is so wonderful.  I only had ever done a solstice meditation at Joy Tree, and only got one class in at Ombodies Yoga.  But here, I am in a full session.  It is a wonderful experience.  All of the yoga I have done so far is in the Ashtanga Tradition with vinyasa flow.  It is such a calming, dynamic, brilliant experience.  I am so calm and centered after class.  I float out of the building for crying out loud!

This has been such a good thing for me, with all of the crap that has been piling up lately.  My instructor's favorite saying is 'Leave it on the mat.'  And I do.  I am so completely focused on my practice when I am in that room.  Nothing invades my mind, it is blissfully empty of worry and thought.

After every class I wonder what took me so long to seek out a class instead of plowing on with the DVDs. It's a fleeting worry because I am so calm afterwards, but I wonder still.  And I know that I will never go back to DVDs of yoga, never, ever.

It's hard to find the right words to describe how I feel during my practice.  I'm sweating like crazy, my heart is beating like mad, but my breathing is slow, deep and even.  My legs are shaking but I breathe into those muscles; I find the connection between mind and muscle and I can make it through.

Of course, sometimes my knees hurt in the plank position because my muscles are fatigued and I have to adjust.  But I feel my body growing stronger and my connection to myself is growing every class.

I highly recommend taking yoga for anyone.  Especially people who have high stress levels, but anyone who wants a great work out and a place that centers, calms and relaxes them, should definitely go too.  And for all the pregnant ladies out there, a lot of studios have pre-natal yoga as well.

I think that if everyone in the world took yoga, there would be a lot more calm discussion than rash anger.

Namaste.

My New Work Out Plan!

As you know, I have been following the Get Fit by Memorial Day Work Out Plan at RealBeauty.com.  Though I question their idea of real beauty if they have a picture of an obviously unhealthily skinny woman next to an article on bathing suit bodies.  I mean, she has to be anorexic to be that skinny.  I could count her ribs.

Anyway.


This post requires a little back story.

The summer before I started college full time, I got a job at Ferris State University working for the best boss in the world.  This best boss in the world, Debby, allowed me to work from 7:30a-3:30p so I could change and walk over to the Student Recreation Center not far from the office to work out for an hour or so before my Dad got out of work and come pick me up.  (We were carpooling to and from work together.)  I did this five days a week all summer.  I lost 50 lbs.  I loved how I felt, looked and how healthy I was.

How did I do it?!  I cut down on my snacking and followed this work out plan, every day, Monday through Friday:

-Stretch and do my abdominal work and as many push ups as I could muster.
-Run a mile as fast and as hard as I could on an elliptical machine.  My knees aren't the best.
-Do whatever machines fit my fancy that day, but generally, I would do arm machines and a lot of thigh machines, adductors/abductors especially.
-Free Weights working the triceps a lot.
-Walk around the track a few times to cool down.

That worked very well.  Obviously, or I wouldn't have lost that weight.

But then tragedy struck!  I met my future husband, who has the metabolism of a lightening bolt.  I stopped going to the gym after we started getting serious.  I chose to go to class, work, pep band and spend time with Adam, than go work out.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Shame on me!

I have decided that because it is summer, it is time to go back to this tried an true work out routine, with a tweak.  And of course, continuing with eating on the Weight Watchers plan.

There are very few machines in the Community Center Fitness Room in our apartment complex, but here is my plan.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go in the morning to the gym and follow the plan I followed 6 summers ago.  Except: I do every machine in the room, instead of just the ones I feel like because there are so few.  I also copied and pasted all of the Upper Body and Lower Body Circuit Work Outs from RealBeauty.com and organized them into a chart that I take with me to the gym.  I take the free weight set that I have with me also, because they don't have any free weights there.

I also decided to run for 10 minutes as fast as I can, the elliptical machines here are not calibrated properly.  There is no possible way that I ran a mile in 3 minutes.  Sorry, no.  It also told me I was running 13.1 mph. Um. no.  And the other one tells me that I don't go any faster than 2 mph at any given time no matter how fast or slow I go.

So:
-Walk to the Fitness Center for warm up
-Stretch and abdominal work outs
-10 minutes as fast as I can on the elliptical
-Circuit Work Out.  Upper Body Mondays, Lower Body Wednesdays and Full Body Fridays.
-Every machine in the room.
-Walking back to my apartment for cool down.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I take a yoga class.  Which is amazing.  More about that later.

This week is the first week of this plan.  And so far, I love it.  I sweat like crazy.  Yesterday, I felt like I had just climbed out of a lake.  And the weird thing is, that despite my intense work out, I am not sore at all today.  Not that I want to be sore, but I would expect that when I work that hard, then my muscles would be stiff the next day, or sore when I use them.

You can follow the circuit plan if you would like, I have made the chart sheets available online for you.  It will automatically download when you click on it.  Merry Christmas to you, my followers!

I look forward to doing this all summer, and beyond.  AH!  Keep me updated on your progress too!

And tomorrow night?  I start a belly dancing class: EXCITED!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Made Another Pretty!

The project: A new papasan chair cushion.


 The old cushion wasn't cutting it.  This is what it looked like after Mom and I re-stuffed the original cushion when I first bought the chair from a garage sale.  The cushion was stanky.  So we dumped the old stuffing, washed the cover and re-stuffed it.

Here are the materials: Quilt batting and fabric.


1. Lay out the material and put the seat of the chair face down on the material.


2. Cut around the chair, leaving a wide, 2-3" or so, berth around it.


3. Repeat with the quilt batting until the cushion is as thick as you want.




4. Now you can either sew the cover right sides together, flip the cover right side out, cover the batting and then pin the opening closed and sew it shut.  Or you can take the long way around and pin the cover over the batting and then sew it down.  I did the former.



Project #2: Pillows for the Papasan Chair.

Materials: Pillow forms and material.


1. Cut out the material to the size of the pillow.  When you do this, make sure to take into account the fluffiness of the pillow.


2. Repeat with all of the material that you will need.  Sew the materials together, right side together, flip right side out, shove the pillow in there, pin the opening closed and sew shut.  Then you'll have perfect pillows!





Ta-da!  A brand new chair and pillows!!


It's comfy too :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Made Something Pretty!

This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but events that I will write about soon happened instead.  So enjoy this 18 hours or so later than originally planned.
-J

---------

So, as you all know, I received an Amazon Kindle as a graduation present from the awesomest parents in the world.

Now, this wonderful invention can't just sit in the box that it came in and it can't just sit out, I want to protect it.  IT'S SO PRETTY!

I spent some time searching the cases on Amazon, Google and Etsy, but nothing looked like it would work for what I want/need.  And they're expensive.  I want to be able to read the the Kindle anywhere, including the beach.  I want to have a personalized case, one that speaks to my individuality.  I want it so be soft, but firm to cushion and protect it.

Nothing I saw was what I wanted, or in my price range.  Then the thought struck me, or maybe Adam suggested it, to make my own case!

Hmmm...

Hmmmmm.....

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.........!

I didn't even know where to begin to make a pattern for a Kindle, no clue!  But, once again, Etsy to the rescue!  I stumbled onto Red Hippo Studio's Etsy Shop and she has a Kindle 3 Case pattern for $6 (and IPad and Nook).  It's a PDF that she created and sells. It is the same pattern that she uses to make the completed Kindle 3 cases that she sells.  Obviously, you can use it for personal use only, you can't sell the covers you make using her pattern.

This particular pattern is perfect for what I want in a case because I could easily adapt it.  However, I didn't make any of those adaptations for my first cover.  I also did a terrible job making the first cover, just awful.




I also didn't like the materials I had chosen (Vera Bradley Napkins bought at Trillium in Mount Pleasant)  together as much as I thought I would.





Because of this, I spent a considerable amount of time at the Joann Fabric and Crafts in Frandor on Friday.  I looked through all of their fabric, and I mean all of it.  I finally found a very pretty yellow fabric with bright pink flowers and a white fabric with swirly yellow thingies on it that matched very well.  While I was at the cutting counter, I saw a Belle applique that I really liked - she's my favorite Disney Princess, because she loves to read.  Then I saw a Minnie Mouse applique and the pink bow matched the pink flowers and would make my case a very personalized thing, just like I wanted!

I got the fabric I needed, the appliques, heavy duty pattern plastic, fusible fleece, table cloth plastic, a zipper and velcro.  I also got a magnetic pin cushion that I absolutely love and a seam ripper with a longer handle that doesn't hurt my hand.  Both of those impulse purchases turned out to be spectacular investments, I used the seam ripper A LOT on Friday and the magnetic pin cushion is just so handy.  You throw the pins at the head of the cushion and keep on trucking sewing.

I arrived home with my supplies ready to begin anew with my very own Kindle case.  Since I was altering the pattern to fit what I wanted it took several hours to complete.  I went through two pieces of table cloth plastic before I got it the right size, and a couple squares of the pink flower fabric for the corners.  I also broke my last sewing machine needle on the zipper, so I had to trek to Joann's again later, but ended up at Michael's, long story.

I cut out all of the fabric, fleece and plastic.  At this point I need to stop and apologize because I don't have in-progress pictures because I get so focused on finishing a project, that I forget to take pictures along the way. Anyway, I cut everything out and started stitchin'.  I also ironed on the appliques to make my case all fancy.  After several attempts with the plastic and the zipper and the inside of the case where there were several casualties of fabric, plastic and metal, I finished step one of my modification, a zippered, plastic pocket to keep the Kindle safely in the case, always.

My second modification was to insert a hard plastic in between the inner and outer shells before sewing them to each other.  Soft from the fleece, firm from the plastic and totally awesome.


I originally had ironed the Belle applique in what would have been the center of the front cover, but that was in the way of the velcro.  Whoops.


Of course, once I pulled it off, I couldn't iron it on again.  Shoot.  So I hot glued that baby right on there. I also realized that I had sewn the pieces together without sewing the spiky side of the velcro on.  So I hot glued that on too.  I'll hand stitch both once I find my cloth pin cushion.


Minnie Mouse!! Also, pockets that are big enough for my Kindle to fit in.  They are currently holding the Kindle User Guide that comes in the box with the Kindle and a one quart Ziploc (TM) bag. 


 You probably want to know why I have a 1 qt Ziploc (TM) bag in my Kindle case.


It's so I can have an added layer of protection for my Kindle whilst I am at the beach.

Yes, it fits, I checked. :)


And it's pretty.

Monday, May 23, 2011

For the Love of Cake

Today is my Daddy's birthday.

We celebrated his birthday this weekend, on Sunday.  But on Friday, I made a cake.


With concentrated gel food dye.


Don't worry, I dropped my wedding rings off for a cleaning, check up and re-dipping.  I didn't lose them.


The concentrated gel did fun things to my fingers.  And my icing bag.  And my counter.  And my mixing bowl.


It turned them pink.  Everything is returning to it's normal color, but I've had pink tinged hands all weekend....  and I need to drink more water, my hands are so swollen!

I really wanted to make this cake, though.  My sketch turned out better than the actual cake, but, I still like it a lot.


And my Dad did, too.  Even though he called it a loser cake since the Wings got knocked out in the second round of the playoffs.



Happy Birthday Daddy!

Love,
Your Little Girl

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekly Weigh In - 5/20/11

Starting Weight: 200.2 lbs
Ending Weight: 200.6 lbs
Total Change:  +0.4 lbs

Exercise Week

Monday


I did not do my endurance intervals.  I fail.

Tuesday


I did not do my lower body circuit.  I fail.

I did, however, head back to Mount Pleasant with Adam to finish packing and cleaning.  So, I didn't just sit on my ass all day like I did Monday.

Wednesday


I did not do my endurance intervals.  I fail.

I did, however, do the lower body circuit that I failed to do Tuesday.  At 10:30 at night.  I liked it :D  I was pseudo-jump roping in between exercises, but I did it! Woo!  I also walked a considerable distance to the grocery store and back.  In flip flops, because I'm an idiot.

Thursday


I didn't do the full body circuit :(  I am going to try and do it this weekend.

I did apply for a few more jobs though!


Friday


There was nothing on the week for Friday, but I completed a couple things that I will write about shortly.


Eating Week


Monday


I did not track points.  I fail.

Tuesday


I did not track points.  I fail.

Wednesday


I semi tracked points.  I semi-fail.

Thursday


Fail, fail, fail.


Friday


Fail, Fail, Fail.


So all in all, it was a failed week.  But, next week is a new week.  And the classes at the community center of our complex start up next week and I'm really excited about the Yoga, Belly Dancing and Salsa classes!

Also, this will be the only post up today, I'm trying to keep my blogging to during the week...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Necessary EVIL

Credit Cards.

Necessary to build credit, so you can get things like car loans and mortgages.

But desired to be stolen by thieves who want fancy things, but don't want to pay for them.

While I was in Europe, I used my credit card for two purchases while I was in Ireland.  One for a blanket and one for a sweater.  The sweater is what my parents got me as an early birthday present.  I also had to write a credit card number on the VAT return receipts so they would be able to easily return my VAT.

Well, during one of those transactions, or off one of those forms, my credit card number was stolen.  I have to be very careful to say number, because I still had the card on me.

Adam is in charge of all of our finances, paying bills, etc.  We discuss everything that happens with our money, but he is in charge of paying the bills.  Which just got drastically easier since all of our utilities are included in our rent here.  He's in charge because I would spend our savings.  I understand that savings are important, but I am TERRIBLE at saving.  Because I see things I desire, and if I have the savings, I will buy it.  So, Adam's in charge.  He checks our statements frequently, making sure things hit when they are supposed to.  Our bills, etc.  Well, Thursday night he noticed a fraudulent charge from a Tax Free Return Company in the UK.

I used a company called Fexco Tax Free while in Ireland.  I do not recommend it.  They keep 40% of your VAT as a fee, which I didn't know until after I got back.  Lame, do NOT use them.  I will not when I travel again.  I emailed Fexco to ask them to fix this, because even though the name that appeared with the charge wasn't Fexco, I wanted to make sure that it wasn't some trick by them.  I got an email back Friday morning confirming my worst fears.  It wasn't from them.  Our number was stolen.

This is fraught with issues.  The Friday in question is May 13th.  We were supposed to pick up our moving truck that night and the Credit Union told us to keep future fraudulent charges from coming through we would have to cancel the card and issue new ones.  Which, is not a big deal for normal situations, but we wouldn't be in Lansing again until Saturday and we needed that card to be able to rent our truck. Craaaaaaap!

After much juggling, one of my friends who lives in Lansing and was coming up to help us move agreed to pick up our new cards for us and the Credit Union okayed it.  They still called me to verify that it was ok even after the lady I had spoken with said she would put a note in our account and I had sent a message through their secure message center.

I am very happy with how the Credit Union handled everything.  Their customer service is top notch.  We ended up having to use our debit card to pay for the truck instead of our credit card because Courtney got to Mount Pleasant after our reserved pick up time.

Everything worked out in the end, and they reverted the fraudulent charge, but it was stress I really could have done without during our moving time while I was already stressed out to the max and a great big bottle of emotions as it was.  I cry easily, especially when I am frustrated and I was close to tears most of the day.  Vomit.

Bottom line: You can be as careful as you want, but eventually, your credit card number will probably be guessed or stolen.  *Sigh*

Constant Vigilance!

My First Yoga Class Experience

For my first class of Beginner Vinyasa Yoga, I went to Ombodies Yoga Studio over on Main Street in Mount Pleasant.

I went to a solstice meditation with Adam and my momma-in-law in December at Joy Tree Yoga in Big Rapids, and that was very, very relaxing and a nice introduction into the group yoga sessions.  Prior, I had only ever done yoga at home with a DVD.  And the current work out plan I am following suggested I go to a Vinyasa Yoga class last Friday.  So I did.

I had a wonderful time!

I figured that I would enjoy it, but I had a little nagging voice in the back of my head.  I proved that voice wrong though!

We went through Warrior 1, 2 and 3 with Vinyasa flows in the midst.  I really enjoyed it.  My arms were shaking and my quads were a little weak by the end and I was sweating like crazy.  I LOVED it.  I fully plan to make it a part of my weekly workout routine.  At the very end when we were coming back into our breathing, etc, our yogi came around and put oil (at least, it felt like oil, it made my feet soft!) on the tops of our feet and the middle of the arch of our feet.  It startled me at first, being my first Vinyasa class, but it felt nice and even as I was feeling very tired from the work out, I was very relaxed and centered.

I would highly recommend yoga and my sister-in-law just raves about the Hot Yoga classes she goes to in Grand Rapids.

I asked my Yogi in Mount Pleasant to recommend a studio down in Lansing and she said that if I can get into the classes on campus to do that because they are great (that's a quote) and she recommended another studio that I am going to go to a class later this week.

I'd like to get a multi-class pass, but to do that I need to find a job first.  Another post, another time.

But, regardless of where you are in your fitness, check out yoga, any place you go should have beginners classes, and I am sure that they would be more than willing to talk to you and help you figure out what class, or classes, are for you.

Namaste.

Weekly Weigh In - 5/13/11

Starting Weight: 200.2 lbs
Ending Weight: 200.2 lbs
Total Change: 0 lbs

No change this week. I didn't do my intervals Monday, but I did work out every day for the rest of the week.  I'll be writing about my first yoga class later today.

I ate pretty well also.  Healthy and yummy!

Whelp, this is going to be short, not a lot to say regarding this week.

Yoga post coming!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's That Time of Year

Graduation time, of course!

I graduated May 7 from CMU with a Bachelor Degree in Theatre, Interpretation and Dance.  As I have mentioned before, I learned so much in the last year and a half.  I loved my time in the theatre department at Central.

But that is not what this post is about.

My parents, who are totally awesome!, decided that they would get me an Amazon Kindle for completing my undergraduate education.  THANKS MOM AND DAD!!



I have had it for about four days and I love it.

I mean, I knew I would, but I mean, I LOVE IT.

Of course, there are things I would like to see improve, but I will start with the positive.

First, I love that I have a Kindle.  And it has my name on it.  I'm also craaaazy.

Second, I love that they offer some books for free at varying times!  I like to expand my horizons, and if I can find new authors to love without going broke, I will!  I mean, I got like 50 books for free last night!  Ok, maybe not 50, but a lot.  I spent my evening downloading and organizing into collections, which is another feature I like.  I like being to able to go from having 8 or 9 pages of books listed out to a little over one page of collections.  And you can add books to more than one collection.  For example, I can put Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau in History and in non-Fiction.  Or any of Jane Austen's works into Classical Literature and Jane Austen (I love her, so she gets her own collection.  So does Nora Roberts.)

There are so many books that I would love to read, that I am now able to read because they are free on the Kindle.  Some I read in High School that I want to read again, so I can better understand them, some I haven't had the time to read before, but now I do and I don't have to carry it around with me and try and fit a huge book in my purse.

I also like (most) of the book prices.  I wonder what the point of having a Kindle is, if a paperback copy used or new, is so much cheaper than the digital copy.  But then there are shining examples of awesome.  For example, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything That Your American History Book Got Wrong by James W. Loewen is $4.55 for the Kindle Edition and the list price is $26.95.  That is what you expect from getting a digital copy that requires no paper or shipping.  It is also a very interesting read so far.



But then we look at Nora Roberts' books.



I just purchased Vision in White on recommendation from a friend (Hi Lisa!  I really enjoyed it, a really nice, feel good story, just like you said :-) ) and it was $12!?!  The list price? $16.  The paperback price? $9.60.  That is not what you would, or should, expect.  Despite the fact that I love Ms. Roberts and her books, I am disappointed in the pricing for the Kindle Edition of all of her books.  All of the ones that I have looked at are more expensive than they should be for a digital copy, no matter if the titles are new or old.  I do appreciate though, that a lot of her books are available in Kindle format.  I like that a lot.  In my research for this post, I found that a lot of Ms. Roberts books cost the same or more in Kindle edition than in print.  A large number of them are the exact same price, $7.99, for the hard copy and the Kindle edition.  Which is slightly easier to stomach than having the digital version be more than the hard copy, but still not ideal.

I find this to be ridiculous.  It should never cost more for a digital copy of a book than the print copy.  Ever.  And there is no way that it costs that much to format the book for Kindle or other eReaders.  Even if you write out your first draft of a book with a pen and paper, to send it to print, it needs to be put into an electronic format, I assume.  And I would guess that if you don't live within walking range of your publisher, you wouldn't want to spend the money to ship the book when you can email it to them for free.  So, I feel that there are no excuses, only greed, for Kindle books to be as expensive - or more - than a hard copy.

I also spent some time searching the site for my favorite books, and requesting to the publisher that they be made available for the Kindle.  Although, I feel that if I have already paid for a book in hard copy and it becomes available in a digital format, such as the Kindle, I should not have to pay for it again.  I already paid for the right to read it as many times as I want, so I shouldn't have to pay for it again.  But, you can't get everything you want.

Another feature that I wish was easier to figure out is moving books from Kindle to Kindle.  I have a couple books on the first generation Kindle that Adam has and I want them to move to mine, but I can't figure out how to do it.  I have searched and searched on the Amazon website.  Oh! And as I just took a last gander under 'My Account' I think I figured it out!!  I will post step by step instructions once I figure them out!

*EDIT* I did not figure out how to transfer.  I will write more about the lameness of loaning and gifting in a later post.

Anyway, I would like to finish this post with a positive note about print books.  There is nothing quite like cracking open a new book.  The smell of the paper and ink, the stiffness of the binding and the feel of the pages.  I love buying new books, but if I can save a few dozen trees by buying books on the Kindle and forgoing that feeling, I will do it gladly.  And if I have them on the Kindle, they are much easier to move.  And take on vacation.  And take to the gym.  And a lot of other things.

I <3 all books, no matter the format of delivery!!

Whew! What. A. Weekend.

So as I posted on Friday, I had a very busy couple days!

Friday had several things go down that I will emulate in later posts, but for now, the weekend.

Friday afternoon, my brothers, Matt and Zack, and my friends Melissa, Courtney and her sister Jess descended on our apartment to help us pack up and move to East Lansing, which we have now done.

After complications in renting the truck because our credit card number was stolen, we started the long process of packing.  We got a 16 foot truck and there was some concern of whether or not all of our crap that we have accumulated would fit.  We have a lot of crap.

We had originally planned to leave out our bed, and the futons til last so our movers would have a place to sleep.  But, once we assessed the size of the truck, we decided that we couldn't wait to put those in.  So, we all slept on the floor.

Thanks to my neurosis, I had to stop carrying things to the truck and stay inside and pack more.  I would look around the apartment and then look at the truck and then look around the apartment and then look at the truck and start to wig out because I didn't think it would all fit.

Then super-packer Zack took over in the truck and he kicked some serious ass and it fit.  I don't know how he did it, but he did, THANK GOODNESS!!

We are still driving back up to Mount Pleasant today to finish cleaning the apartment, vacuum, clean the bathroom, etc.  And to get our bikes.  Since we had such lovely weather on Saturday (read: awful, cold and rainy) we left the bikes so they wouldn't get wet, so we have to get those too.

It was the most fun I've had moving though.  After we finished loading most of the apartment Friday night we went to Doozie's for ice cream and played X-BOX.

Saturday we finished loading in the rain, and drove to chilly EL to unload quickly and return the truck.  The truck leaked and soaked our mattress, which kind of sucks, but we turned fans on it immediately and it dried pretty quickly.  My brothers stayed with us Saturday so we played Nazi Zombies, they played NHL 2K10 and just hung out which was really nice, Adam and I hadn't hung out with Matt for longer than a couple hours in a long time, it was nice.

My parents came by Sunday to pick up the boys and head home and we had lunch at the Harrison Roadhouse (Roadhouse!) and then Adam and I went to an indoor BBQ for some of his colleagues who just graduated with their PhDs for dinner.

Busy weekend, lots of fun.  And a lot of stuff.  We are going to unpack with garbage and donation bags in hand.  This picture is just the closet in the second bedroom - Egads!



And now: job search.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Never Could Get the Hang of Thursdays

Oh, wait, it's Friday isn't it?

Well, I'm rather busy today, so I am going to have to short list all the excitement of Friday.

-Went to a Yoga class this morning: Good.
-Discovered my credit card number was stolen whilst in Europe: BAD, which I will describe later.
-Moving tomorrow: Good, I think.
-Wings lost last night: Disappointing
-My parents got me a Kindle for graduation: GREAT! THANKS MOM  AND DAD!!!


Run away!  Run away!  Run away!  Run away!

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I DON'T WANNA AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!

I started out this morning feeling a little like I my heart was going to stop before game time. It probably didn't help that I spent time over breakfast watching different Red Wings videos, getting PUMPED for game six tonight. (It starts, well, very soon.)

I used my pumped energy to play Call of Duty: World at War, Nazi Zombies (I can NOT get past level five by myself!) and pack up more of the apartment, since moving day is getting closer and closer.  Then I made the mistake of stopping for lunch.

After lunch I couldn't shake the funk I was in.  I tried actually playing a solo mission on COD: WAW for a change.  I didn't do too bad.  But I was very blaaah.  I tried to take a nap, re-energize.  None of it.  I couldn't fall asleep, but I didn't want to move.

I knew I had to do my workout still, and I had to do it before game time.

BUT I DIDN'T WANT TO!!

I hate that feeling.  HATE IT.

Eventually, I hauled my carcass off the floor and did my upper body circuit, took a shower and ate dinner.  Which kicked my lethargic feelings out the door, thankfully.

They better stay away, I need to move in three days.

So tell me, my imaginary friends, what do you do to kick your lethargic streaks?

Also, GO WINGS! :-D

Also, sorry this post was boring.  I find it very boring.  So, sorry.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Weigh In - 5/6/11

Sorry this is late, I was slacking.  As will become apparent in a few minutes.

Stats
Start Weight: 199.5 lbs
End Weight: 200.2 lbs
Total Change: +0.7 lbs

Eating Habits
Yeah... I didn't track this week. 

My points start over on Fridays, so I actually have been tracking since then, but the rest of the week was a big zero.

Exercise Routine
Monday: Cardio intervals.  As I wrote on Monday, with picture, I did indeed do my intervals.

Tuesday-Saturday: Nothing.

I could give you all kinds of excuses, but I won't.  The work out plan I am following is easily followable for every day. 

I just suck. 

I got lucky this week that I didn't gain more weight.  Really lucky.  I need to stop sucking at this.

So, new tactic: leaving the tab with the week's work out open all the time. 

I also am going to re-do week two, since I didn't really do it the first time.

I'm stoked for Friday's yoga class.

I need strength for a good week!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Graduation

I walked in my Bachelor of Science degree ceremony at 5pm on Saturday.

I am no longer a CMU student, but a CMU alum.

I feel no different.

I have lived my life based on semesters for twenty years, ever since I started pre-school.  Maybe 21 years, I don't remember when I started pre-school.

I don't know how to live without that kind of structure.

I'm sure I'll figure it out, but first I have to pack up my life and my husband and move to Lansing.

Then I have to find a job.  Or jobs.

And then I have to throw a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, be in a wedding and then turn 24.  I also want to plant a garden after we move.  And find a house.  And go camping sometime this summer.

I'd also like to root the Red Wings on to their 12th Stanley Cup.

We'll see.

Until then, graduation was an experience, nothing different than I've done before, however I do wish that Kat and I had been able to walk with our other classmates at the 1:30p ceremony instead.  But we had a good time anyway.



And I got to see my Mom stand and be recognized as being my Mom at the ceremony.  And I am so, so glad that she could be there with only a walking stick.  I love you, Mom!

Happy Mother's Day!

For Momma's Day this year, I made cakes.

After what we've been through this year, we are extra, extra, extra thankful for our moms this year.  And all of our family, really.

So, to celebrate, I made cakes, one for each mom.

This is my Mom's cake:



Complete with my parents' crazy dog, TJ chasing a baseball!

And this is my Mother-in-Law's cake:



This got decorated really, really quickly, while everyone was at my apartment because the pan arrived at 12:15p or so on Saturday.  1 hr 45 min before everyone was due to arrive at our apartment.  Not enough time to bake, cool and decorate a cake properly.  But it turned out cute.  I was hoping to make the coloring the same as Shelton the Sheltie, but all shelties are colored differently, so this one would do.

Both cakes were a big hit.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out :)

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, my mother-in-law, Ellen, all of my grandmas and aunts - I love you all.  Also, to all of the mothers out there, especially the ones who are often forgotten on today.  Mothers who are of the foster, adoptive and any other variety than the conventional version, you deserve a happy, relaxing day too.

Now go hug your mom!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Not Us?

As you all probably have figured out by now, I am a huge Detroit Red Wings Fan.  And as I write this, I am watching my boys fight for breath in the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.

I follow the Detroit Red Wings on Twitter and they asked for motivational videos.  I, of course, tweeted back with this:


and a fantastic re-speeching (I didn't know what else to call it) done by the cutest five-year-old!


He watched Miracle so many times he had the speech memorized!  And he's so freaking cute.

Anyway, as a part of their motivational movement, they started a hash tag, #whynotus because the (1-0 Detroit) Wings have never, in franchise history, come back from an 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.

This season is special.  It's the 20th season in a row that Detroit has made the playoffs.  20 seasons straight.  Since I was four.  (yes, I'll be 24 at the end of the month)

So let me say this to you, my wonderful, talented, hardworking Red Wings.

I believe in you.  You have won four Cups in my lifetime.  You can make it five.

When you first signed Datsyuk, my Dad and brothers didn't think he was very good, didn't think he'd be able to hack it in the NHL.  I believed in him, he was my instant favorite, right behind (2-0 Detroit) Yzerman and when Stevie retired, he became my #1 man.

I admit there are and have been players that I haven't particularly liked, but I refuse to abandon my Wings.

You guys are rocking it out so far this game.

Be the first.  Come from behind.

I'll be here, on my couch, in the stands, for years to come.


Wearing my gear.  Loving my Wings.

Why. Not. You.

Even if you lose tonight, I will throw my wings up at graduation tomorrow.



GO WINGS.

http://thejacketsblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/det.png?w=300&h=300

Easy A

To those I've met since I changed my major to Theatre (Interpretation and Dance):

Thank you.

Thank you for everything I've learned from you all.  Whether they were good things, or bad, I learned a lot in the last year and a half.  About myself, about theatre - on stage and back stage, about CMU and so many other things.

As I look to graduation tomorrow, I know that changing my major was the best decision I ever could have made.  I have met so many wonderful people, people who have changed me forever.

To my professors, Dr. C, Keeley, Jill, Annette, Lauren, Jim, Doris.  Thank you, I have learned loads from you.  Thank you for your patience and willingness to teach me.  And for those of you whom I had this semester, thank you for allowing me to do what I needed to while my Mom was so very sick.

To the other staff and faculty that I worked with on various productions, thank you for teaching me and allowing me the opportunity to work on those shows and build my resume.  A special thanks to Ann, Doris, Joanna, Catherine and Katie for all that I learned working in the costume shop during Into the Woods.  That was the longest, horrible-est photo call.  Awful.  And another to Neil for casting me in Everyman.

I wish you all the best in your futures, and I hope that we get to work together again.

And thank you to my husband and my family and friends for all of your support through all of the years, not just the last year and a half.

This has been anything but an Easy A.

P.S. Hey Kat, let's go get our B.S.s in Make Believe and Dress Up!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let Me Introduce You to Someone Awesome....

With Mother's Day coming up the day after graduation and both my Mommy and my Mommy-In-Law coming here for graduation, we decided to celebrate Momma's Day on Saturday as well as graduation.

Normally, we don't do cakes for Mother's Day, but with the insanity of the last 4 months, we felt that Mother's Day this year deserved a cake.  Or seven.  And I, of course, would make them, because I LOVE to bake things.

Now, we didn't decide to celebrate Mother's Day the same day as graduation until this past weekend.  Which meant, oh snap!  I can't give my Mom a cake and not my Mom-In-Law!  So I have to make 2 cakes.  By Saturday.

I only have one designed, what do I do!?

I did some quick thinking about my Mother-In-Law, what does she like? What are her favorite things?  Bingo.  I had a theme in mind.  I thought about free handing the design on a sheet cake, but with the short time frame, I'd probably end up throwing the cake out the window in frustration.

Then I had a stroke of PURE and UTTER GENIUS.

Special Pan.

Why didn't I think of it before?!

So, I went to my trusty stand-by, Joann.com.  But alas, despite their amazing baking supplies and other craftiness, they did not have the exact pan I need.  They had specialty pans that were close, and I could modify in a pinch, but I really wanted to try and find the type of pan I needed.

Enter: Google.

I search for what I need, finding pans in the right category, but not quite what I need.  I even found a cookie cutter that I almost fell off the couch in excitement when I saw it.  Until I realized it was a cookie cutter.  Cute, but useless in this case.

But finally, finally!  I find a website for a store in Philadelphia: Fante's.

They have the pan I need.

Alleluia!

They also have a bunch of other sweet baking stuff.  Go check it out!!!

I placed an order, asked for priority shipping and wrote a note saying I needed it by Friday in the notes section.  I also put my phone number in too, just to help speed up the process, if they need anything.

My phone rings two hours later.  It's Fante's.  They needed to clarify information, so I clarified what they needed and before we hung up, he told me that they saw my note about needing it by Friday and that they would ship it today so I would have it Friday.

I will reserve full judgement for later this week, but right now -

That's some customer service.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), now being falsely advertised as Corn Sugar!

Whether you call it HFCS, or Corn Sugar there is no denying that it is in just about EVERYTHING.  It is in everything because it's cheap.  Why is it cheap? Because there are government subsidies that makes it very profitable for big farms and forces small farms out of the business.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

And they aren't subsidies for corn edible immediately off of the stalk either.  It's for corn that gets ripped off the cob, thrown in silos and in piles when the silos get full - and they do - then the kernels sit, sometimes for months, years.  Then they get chemically cleaned and processed into HFCS.

If we actually put subsidies into corn edible from the stalk without any processing, do you know how many people that could feed, healthily?  A lot.  I don't know an exact number, but I will look into it and get back to you.  And, do you know how much healthier our meat would be if cows and pigs were fed grass, instead of corn?  Right now, cattle farms are feeding cows feed corn, which is not a natural part of their diet, but they feed it to them because it fattens them fast.  This in turn gets them to slaughter sooner and turns a profit sooner.  

But what does this do to the cows?  It causes all kinds of health problems for them!  The cows need antibiotics, and they get so many illnesses, and if they live too long, they die horribly.  Although being slaughtered for beef doesn't sound like the way to go either.  Anyway, in addition to that, the meat is fattier and less healthy than when cows are grass fed and free range.  You know, back in the day, when working in a slaughterhouse was an acquired skill?  But that's a rant for another day.

Alright now that I have that off my chest, a summary of a scientific article of a study about why HFCS is bad for you, with a link to the original article, will follow.

huff, I feel better.  At least until I see another frigging corn sugar commercial.

I'll leave you with a link to an article in The Consumerist about how Big Sugar is suing Big Corn for false advertising.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Life Decisions

There comes a day in every health nut's life that they have to decide between two very strong desires.  The strong desire to take a nap and the strong desire to work out.  This seems like it would be an easy decision, but when you only have time for one, you have to actually pick only one.

Today, was my day.  As you know I'm in Week 2 of Get Fit By Memorial Day.  Monday is cardio intervals, and also, the first day of exam week, which I had three of today.  I ate lunch after my exams and waited an hour or so to allow myself to digest.  Which makes it about 4:30p and I have rehearsal at 6p and intervals take about 30 minutes, and if I pick to work out I also have to have time to take a shower.  If I take a nap, I can sleep for an hour.

What do I do?


I got a text from my director and rehearsal was moved from 6 to 6:30.... oohhhh, now I can sleep for an hour and a half.....

What do you think I did? :-)


Oh yeah, I went for my first bike ride of the year!

It was windy, it was rough, but I did it.  A huge hurdle to jump, let's hope I keep on going!