Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rising above the lameness

So, here are a couple things that aren't so lame about me. Just so we're clear about the fact that I'm not a total disgrace.

1st - I have managed to keep somewhat abreast of the mess and clutter that is my home, especially with having 3 dogs around. I cannot even comprehend what it will be like to have kids. The dogs are just...messy. There have been bodily fluids of all sorts spewing around my house, not to mention that we've been feeding the puppy and the new boy inside, and they are both messy. Yikes. But--my kitchen counters are at least relatively clean and I swept the floor yesterday. There. That's it. That's my big accomplishment.

2nd - Yesterday I started The Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up. I've desperately wanted to get into a new workout routine...specifically P90x, because I like someone on TV telling me what to do, but most workout videos are either too short or too long or too easy or too boring. But P90x costs a buttload. So I've got to motivate myself but at least I've got a program to follow. Today is Day 2 for me: 30 minutes of sweaty cardio. I can totally do that. And it's been a long time since I've gotten reeeaally sweaty. Lately mostly it's just been lots of leisurely walks with the dogs, so I'm looking forward to this!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It is June and I am Lame

I'm still here. For now. May was a crazy month. Just crazy. This is what happened:
  • Celebrated my Dad's and my Father-in-law's birthdays as well as Mother's Day (x2).
  • Got accepted into nursing school!! I start in the fall and I am stoked and scared. I also have a million things I have to do over the summer, include take 2 more classes, buy a bunch of stuff, and get CPR certified and vaccinated and whatnot.
  • Celebrated my sister's graduation from college with a LONG ceremony and a fun party.
  • Stood up for my sister-in-law's wedding. This entailed a lot of work, including making two cakes for the reception.
  • Rescued a Doberman/German shorthair pointer mix from a shelter. He is our new baby. Except for the other baby, a Cavalier King Charles/beagle mix puppy that we are puppy-sitting. There are 3 dogs at my house. It's crazy. Our first dog, Penny, has a chipped tooth that we just noticed is looking a little gnarly, so we have to take her to the vet on Friday. Our new dog, Cinco, had major stomach issues the day after we brought him home (probably due to stress), and the puppy we we're watching ate an ibuprofen that was on the floor so we had to induce vomiting by squirting hydrogen peroxide down her throat, and now the incision from her spay is looking infected. PETS ARE FUN!
  • Celebrated my mom's birthday.
  • Got on my bike for the first time all year (sad but true) and rode about 35 miles.
  • Relaxed over Memorial Day Weekend, then started up on my online class for the summer, pathophysiology.
Let's not even talk about all the things I didn't do. It was a whirlwind of a month but for some reason everything seems like it was forever ago. I'm ready to get on with summer. I get to quit my job in two months!!! I will still be freelancing on an occasional basis during my first semester at school, just for the extra income and the fact that's it's easy-ish work that I can do from home. Because oh yeah--when I quit my job, our income will get slashed in half. That's going to be interesting.

I can't believe how much of a slacker I am at blogging. I really admire all those bloggers out there who manage to write really interesting, regular posts and at the same time get really involved in the blogging community, all the while dealing with their own crazy real-life lives. I'm surprised at myself, being a natural writer who can't write a good blog! I just don't get it. I like to think that blogging is the perfect thing for me, but when I actually try and do it, it just isn't clicking. I wonder why?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Random Wednesday

So that whole running thang hasn't taken hold as much as I've intended. Reasons being: I'm busy, I'm busy, and...I'm busy. Actually, I just finished a final for my online class this semester yesterday, so now I have more FREE! TIME! I'll get back on the bandwagon, promise. Also, I took the weekend off from running to insanely deep clean my house. I probably burned more calories than I would have on a run since I cleaned for SIX HOURS (including scrubbing my floors, hands-and-knees-Cinderella-style) and my house looks incredible. So there.

I've been neglecting my corner of the blogosphere, I know this. But maybe now I'll have some time to think up some good posts and maybe, you know, find some people to read the blog. Oh well.

This week I will likely get a letter in the mail stating whether I've been accepted into the nursing program at the school I want to attend in the fall. Yesterday was their admissions committee meeting, and I was hyperventilating throughout the day knowing that my fate was being decided. I honestly don't know what to expect. (Getting into nursing programs is harder than you'd think. The average GPA for the new class at another local school was 3.8. Yes, that is the AVERAGE.) So yesterday I spent some time trying to breathe and also trying to think about what I might do if I don't get in, which is totally a possibility and I've accepted that and I'm okay with it. I know I'll figure stuff out, and I think I have a semi-good backup plan. In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on positive, fun things like the upcoming wedding I'm standing up in and my sister's graduation. Not dealing with the what-ifs. I just can't wait to get The Letter!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gettin' Healthy

So, here's the thing: I have been kicked in the ass by 2010 more times than I care to count. Some crappy things have happened this year that were seemingly beyond my control, and I'm down for the count and feeling defeated. I want to accomplish something. I want that feeling of "I totally did it!" So I need something to work on that I can control (to an extent) and accomplish.

That, my friends, would be running. Kind of surprising because I'm not a natural-born runner. I take walk breaks. A lot of walk breaks. For the longest time, the fact that I took walk breaks made me feel inferior and as if I weren't worthy of saying "I just went for a run" without adding a disclaimer of "but I actually walked for a few minutes." I just thought it didn't count if you didn't run the whole time.

I guess I was wrong, because I found out that many people do this. And it works. And you can run half marathons. And marathons! Will I run a marathon? Maybe. I've been inspired by several friends who have run or are training for a marathon. I think it would be an awesome thing to accomplish.

For now, I'm setting small goals of running three times per week and working on increasing my mileage slightly each week. When I can run 5 miles without feeling like dying, I might see how I feel about signing up for a race of some sort and training for longer runs and/or working on my pace.

In other healthy news, I just went to the Doc about my lady business today, and it seems that one of my ovaries looks like it may not be 100% normal. Which means that I *could* have PCOS. Which means that I could have trouble down the road if and when I want to get pregnant. One of the things that apparently helps PCOS is following a low glycemic index diet (read: cut out refined carbs and sugars). This sucks, because I love sugar. Like, way love it. But I don't want this whole Possible PCOS (PPCOS) to become a problem for me, so I'm going to work on fine-tuning my diet. Also, I just bought a kickass shirt at the concert of one of my favorite bands, and it's just a wee smidge tight. So no more weekly bags of Swedish Fish and nightly bowls of Moose Tracks. I'll let myself indulge once or twice a week. Which is a major step because in recent weeks indulgences have become an every day occurrence.

So here we go! (I was going to make May a whole minimalism-themed month for me, but I'm too busy for that. I actually think that working on my diet and exercise will be easier for me this month.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Un-Entertainer

A couple weeks ago I hosted a bridal shower. It was perhaps the first formal-ish occasion I've ever hosted all by myself. And I can say with absolute certainty that I do NOT enjoy entertaining. I was just reading The Kitchn when I came across a post about dinner parties. The thought of hosting a real Martha Stewart grown-up party kind of makes me break out into hives. It positively sounds like one of the absolute LAST things I would ever want to do on this earth.

When my friends and I got our first apartment during college, we were all "Let's have dinner parties!" basically so we would have excuse to buy cute things. We had parties, and there was food, but they weren't like, dinner parties. My entertaining style is decidedly lax. I'm all for having people over (motivation to keep my house clean), but we basically just invite a few friends and do super casual food, and people can bring their own drinks and basically take care of themselves.

I think anything above pot luck or BYOB is too much for me to handle. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person. It's not that I don't care about people, I just don't want to be responsible for their drinks and their satisfaction or even the quality of the food. Note to self: I should definitely never wait tables. All the prep, the fuss over d├ęcor and "table scapes" (gag me) and the menu... No. Thanks.

I'm sure the bridal shower won't actually be the last thing I ever host where I actually have to make a solid effort to please/impress. I just hope my future guests will be content with my uber-simplified approach. Compostable plates, WHAT. Store-bought veggie tray, YEAH I SAID IT. I'm definitely not looking to win any Hostess With The Mostest awards. Because to me, a Hostess is just something that is chocolate with squiggly frosting. And I think that's okay.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mini Me

I'm currently on the journey to a more minimalist lifestyle. For me, that just means less lusting after stuff, less consuming, and less stuff in general in my home. We have a modest-size home, and the rooms are fairly small so the minimalist thing works well. I'm thinking about making May my Month of Minimalism to help me stay focused. My biggest challenge is clutter: I don't deal with it well. So I'm thinking about writing a series of posts related to the whole minimalism/home organization/simplicity thing. Starting here.

My whole "living with less" thing really got started when the Homeboy and I moved to Northern California. I went there for an Americorps volunteer position, which meant I wasn't going to be making any money and thus, we'd be living as po' folk. We didn't know much about our living situation before we moved, and couldn't afford to take anything more than my car and a small U-Haul towed behind it, so we only took what we could fit--only what was necessary. So before we moved, I spent days packing up our belongings and sorting them: To Move or To Store.

Fast forward to 2009, after we moved back to the Midwest when my Americorps commitment had ended and bought a house. When we moved in, we designated one of our bedrooms as the staging area with all our boxes from the stuff we had in CA to the stuff we stored. About four months later, the stuff we had stored was all still in boxes, because I discovered we really didn't need any of that stuff anymore.

Just recently I found a box full of extra kitchen stuff--dishes and glassware mostly--that I had stored in my in-laws' home. The box is sitting in my kitchen, untouched, because I don't have room for most of it and, more importantly, I don't need or even want it around.

All this, combined with my fervent following of Zen Habits has really helped change my attitude about stuff. I definitely used to appreciate things like a fabulous shoe collection, designer handbags, cool kitchen gadgetry, etc., but now? I only want to have what's essential. Mostly because, for me, it means a more organized and clean home, and also because I no longer care/lust over things, I can save a lot of money.

I just read this post today about "Losing the Lust for New Things" at Everyday Minimalist, which I loved. Check it out if you're interested!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Hard Loss

This week I've been dealing with the loss of one of our dogs. It's been pretty painful for me mainly because this is really the first time in my life I've seriously had to deal with grieving for a lost loved one. I've been very lucky to not have lost anyone/anything I've been very close to before now. It's hard.

I'm still sort of in shock that she's not coming back and that I'll never see her again. I'm angry at myself for reasons I don't even know, but mostly I'm just overwhelmingly sad. I'm sad for her, and I'm sad for our other dog, who is now lonely and bored. And I'm sad that I won't get to pet her again or laugh at her crazy antics. I'm sad I won't get to call her name again or call her any of the possibly hundreds of nicknames we came up with for the year she was with us.

Juno was a German shorthair pointer. We rescued her from the Humane Society, and we presumed she came from a puppy mill down south, where there were purportedly lots of GSPs. She was starving thin, weak, very small for her breed, and had obviously had at least one litter of puppies before she was a year old. But she was also beautiful, sweet, and bat-shit insane (just the way we like our pets). She howled at ambulances and taught our other dog, Penny, to howl as well. She could never stand in one place for very long--she was very jittery, especially to begin with. Over the course of several months, she acquired a calmer disposition, but she was still a jumpy little Juno. She could not eat her food over the food bowl: she would scoop up a mouthful of kibble and run around the house, chewing along the way and spewing food in random spots.

The qualities that were a tad annoying to us at the time are now the things that I miss--the way she would spastically jump onto our bed and attack our faces, snuggling up with us as close as possible. But despite her spazzy tendencies, she was smart as a whip. She could learn a new command in a snap, and would respond to a simple verbal cue (whereas our other dog who is quite stubborn, requires more physical coaxing).

She was loved, although it took some getting used to. At first I wasn't her biggest fan, because I was already so in love with our first dog. It's been just in these past few months where she really started to grow on me. So losing her has seems especially hard now. I am trying to remain thankful for the time she was with us and think that she is resting peacefully now. I know I'll be okay and that I'll get through it, but it is hard.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Cheapskate's Guide To Vegas

I just returned from a three-night stay in Las Vegas with a couple of my best pals from college. It was a trip for pure fun and relaxation, and did I ever need it. However, I almost didn't even get to go on this trip on account of my super-slim budget. But I made it work, had fun, and spent less than $500 total. Here's how:
  • First, my friends are awesome. They invited me to come with them after they had already basically booked the trip and the hotel. I told them I wouldn't be able to due to my financial situation. They stepped in and covered the entire cost of the hotel (Caesar's, baby!), and one of my friends whose budget isn't so slim actually offered to lend me the money for my flight. I've already given her $60 towards it and will continue to send her $50 each month, so it should take me 4-5 months to pay her back in full. Obviously this method doesn't work for everyone, but if you can't afford to go along on a cool trip out of pocket, consider a personal loan from a good friend or family member who knows you're good for it and won't be offended if you ask. It worked out in my case because my friend really wanted me to come on the trip with her, so she offered me the money as soon as she heard about my financial situation.
  • Avoided airport food at all costs--instead I packed a Clif bar and ate the plane peanuts. My husband (aka Homeboy), also snuck a bag of Skittles into my carry-on. He's a keeper.
  • Packed extra snacks for breakfast and in between meals. Blueberry Clif bars were my weapon of choice. My friends also brought candy to share in the hotel room.
  • I spent an average of $20 for each meal I paid for, plus or minus a few cheap snacks here and there. Fried Twinkie anyone?
  • I set a budget. Before I left, I withdrew $200 in cash, and that was it. I did use my debit card for a couple of purchases (a bus ticket and Band-Aids at Walgreens). At the end of the trip, I had $60 left, which I gave to my friend who paid for my flight.
  • I didn't gamble. I know, who goes to Vegas and doesn't gamble, right? A tightwad, that's who! I threw about $15 down the slots and lost it all, so I stopped there. I watched my friends play Black Jack and Roulette, and it was mildly fun just to watch. The rest of the time I took advantage of the free attractions at the casinos and people-watched.
  • Okay, so I didn't drink much either. We worked the system and scored a few sweet deals from one club promoter where we got free cover and free drinks, then we let some boys buy us a round at another club. The remainder of the time I ordered water and cranberry juice, and I mostly didn't have to pay for any of those (I did get charged $4 for a microscopic bottle of water at one place, which was ridiculous, but oh well).
  • Being cheap in Vegas does mean giving up some of the "Go Wild"-ness of it all, but I'm not the kind of person to bet my fortune or drink a lot anyway. So it worked for me. Obviously, most people my age go to Vegas to get a little crazy. But I was there mostly to hang out with my friends and relax from my crazy life. And hangovers? Not relaxing for me. Losing tons of money? Definitely not relaxing. So I took in the sights, laid by the pool, and had a fantastic time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

About Me, Extended Version

Hello there and welcome to my blog. Here are 30 things about me, which more or less describe my "living condition." Signs and symptoms, if you will.

1. I am 26. Help.
2. I went to school to learn about communications, journalism, and advertising.
3. I'm now going to school to learn about germs, medicine, and healing.
4. I'm from the Midwest, born and raised!
5. But I also lived for a year in northern California. It is an amazing place.
6. I love witty, intelligent humor.
7. I love thought-provoking, mind-bending, yet funny and quotable TV shows.
8. I often hate thought-provoking and deep, intellectual movies.
9. My favorite movies are light and often stupid romantic comedies and indie comedies, and anything by the Coen brothers.
10. My favorite thing in the world is to laugh.
11. My dream job, if I could stomach living L.A. (which I can't) would probably be to write for TV.
12. I grew up around a bunch of nature-loving freaks. Therefore, I generally hated outdoor activities while I was growing up (because I am a rebel, you see).
13. That changed when I moved to the most beautiful place in the world (California). Especially when I visited Yosemite National Park for the first time. It took my breath away.
14. Now I'm all 'one with nature' and shit.
15. I try to be healthy and eco-conscious as much as possible.
16. I support small, local businesses.
17. I love the notion of urban homesteading and my husband, "the Homeboy," and I, have implemented several practices such as gardening, preserving, and even simple things like hanging our clothes out on the line to dry instead of using the dryer.
18. I try to cook as much as I can from scratch, but when I'm terribly busy, I have been known to live off of frozen pizza for an entire week.
19. I love farmers' markets.
20. I love riding my bike! I ride a Bianchi Milano. I am interested but not terribly committed to the idea of purchasing a used road bike or a mountain bike.
21. The public library makes me happy.
22. While I love going to the library and looking at books, I'm sad to say I don't read for pleasure as often as I'd like.
23. I mostly read non-fiction books. In order to get me to read a novel, it has to come either highly recommended from a trusted source with compatible taste or from an author I've read before.
24. I used to write fiction obsessively when I was younger. I am a good writer. I might take it up again. But I have yet to fall in love with a story idea.
25. I struggle with my personal finances--whether it's avoiding the Satanic Siren of the credit card or just avoiding unnecessary purchases, it's no fun.
26. Zen Habits basically changed my life. I strive for minimalism. Even though when you walk into my house you'd have no idea, since clutter is something that seems to reproduce exponentially in my habitat.
27. I really, really, really want lots of tattoos. On my back, shoulder and on my forearm especially. This probably will never happen, because apparently tattoo artists like to be paid.
28. Music has always been a big part of my (and my family's) life ever since I was young. I play piano, although not as much as I'd like to. I love indie rock and "alterna-country" artists like Neko Case and the Drive-By Truckers.
29. I love to sew and knit things (when I have time).
30. My real name is not CW. I use those initials because I am on the lam from the Internets and I couldn't think of a better alias. Basically, for anonymity. Because the Internets can be a little scary sometimes.