Saturday, May 30, 2009

This One's for the Fellas.

Okay, I highly doubt there are any guys reading this, but if you are you might find this helpful. It's called "What to do/don't do on a first date."

1. If you're going out to eat and your date asks if this place is okay with you, DON'T say "I don't care." If she asks you if you'd rather sit inside or out, DON'T say "I don't care." We want you to have an opinion. Heck, we want to know that at some point in time you will be able to make a decision and we will not always have to do it for you. 

2. DO ask her questions about her life. Girls like to talk. A good date will also ask similar questions to you. DO NOT spend half of the date talking about your job, unless you have a cool job with lots of exciting stories. Lion tamers have a cool job with exciting stories. Computer technicians do not.

3. DO NOT, and mean do NOT, spend the other half of your lunch date talking about your ex. It's fine if you say you have one; we all do. But save the sob story for when you get a bit more serious about the relationship. And please please please DO NOT tell us how spoiled she is and that you let her move back in to your house and you're sleeping in the basement now. Do you hear how sad and pathetic that sounds? Would that impress you? Didn't think so.  

4. If you're recently out of a relationship, DO consider waiting until you are actually ready to date. Anyone who can talk about nothing but his/her ex is not ready to date. There is nothing a girl hates more than to find someone she truly likes, only to have him tell her "oh, I'm not ready for a relationship." Then why the hell am I wasting this push up bra on you?

5.  This will sound old-fashioned, but on the first date, DO at least offer to pay. Especially if it is a lunch date and the total is $15. If the girl insists on going dutch then no biggie. But to not even offer indicates that you are cheap. Especially when you whip out a $20 then take the girl's $10 for "her half." If you can't afford $15 for two people, then you should have spoken up when she asked you if this restaurant was okay. 

Okay, I know this sounds kinda bitchy and this obviously comes from a personal experience. That I had today. At lunch. But come ON. These are all fairly obvious things! Just follow these five simple guidelines, and provided you don't have hair coming out your ears and smell bad, you should at least get a second date. 

Obviously, this guy won't.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hello, my name is Kate.

I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi.

(hello, Kate).

I've discovered that I can't drink it again, ever. One can once turns into one can a day almost immediately.

Lately I've been drinking it out of stress. It was either a diet pepsi or every snickers bar in the machine. I know neither are appropriate methods of relieving stress, but there is only so much you can realistically do while you are in your office.

But it's 9:17am and I'm sitting here drinking water and I find myself thinking "I have a dollar. The machine's right there. Wouldn't those bubbles be divine right now?"

Not. Good.

Cold turkey, yet again. Starting now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My One Weight Watchers Gripe

I lost about 40 pounds on Weight Watchers several years ago. Not only did it help me lose it the first time around, it's helped me keep it off when 10 pounds crept back on a year or so ago. I had been eating my unhappiness and stress, and I skyrocketed past my "drop-dead" weight and on to the "if you go past this weight you're pretty much screwed."

I am not fat anymore. I know that (most days, anyway). But the weight has been once again been creeping back on, for essentially the same reasons as before. The difference is, this time I determined to not get so high this time.

So as usual, I turned to Weight Watchers. But the program that helped me so well the first time is making things worse this time, if that's possible. You see, the program I did so well on was an earlier version of the Points program. Each food is assigned a number of points, and you are assigned a point limit. Don't go beyond that and you'll lose weight. You "earn" points by exercising, which you can use for little splurges. It taught me portion control and limits. 

However, because I am now so close to my goal weight, my number of Points is very low. 19 points, which is the equivalent of probably around 1,000 calories. Even with the extra points I earn exercising and using all of my 35 "bonus" points, that's not enough! I can make it for maybe three days before I start becoming ravenous and consuming anything that isn't tied down. 

I realize Weight Watchers is really geared to the people who need to lose a lot of weight, and not so much the few of us who only need to lose five pounds or so. But we are there in the program, and restricting us to less than the daily recommended caloric intake is not only setting us up for failure, it isn't healthy either. You simply cannot eat a healthy, filling meal for that little. Believe me, I've tried!

So, in a last ditch attempt to not eat myself out of house, home, and a size 8, I'm trying Weight Watcher's "Filling Foods" program. It doesn't count points, but rather restricts processed foods and carbs like bread and pasta. You get a little less freedom, but you don't have to worry about minute portion sizes. You eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.

This is only day two, so I'll have to let you know how it goes. But I've got to say I'm already liking it better.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trying to Change.

I've been eating again.

Well, okay. I need to quantify that. I am not now nor have I ever been anorexic or bulemic. I like food too much to not eat it and I dislike barfing too much to get rid of it. Really, I just find myself eating a lot. More than is really necessary to maintain my current weight.

The upside is that I see myself doing it, so theoretically I can catch myself before I balloon back up to my original weight of eight years ago (meaning 40 pounds heavier).

The downside is that I'm making the choice to do it anyway. There are things going on in my life that are most likely the instigators - a large amount of stress and a bit of bitter disappointment. 

I'm hoping that I'm soon to be seeing an end to the stressful stuff. Unfortunately the only thing that is going to help the disappointment is time. All I can say is that I thought I had something special, but it turns out that I'm the only one who thought that. It hurts to be pushed aside. And nothing really fixes that but time.

I know, deep down, the best way to move on is to deal with the things that are bothering me. Accept that I'm feeling this way, own it, then release it and let it go. It is better for me in the long run not to ignore my feelings by stuffing them down with food. That's a hard thing to do for a girl raised in a stoic New England family. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Need to Think on This

So, ever since my massage this past Monday I have been seriously considering becoming a massage therapist. Or yoga instructor. But one can follow the other and I'm not yet advanced enough in my yoga to really teach anyone anything. That's a ways down the line yet.

However, massage doesn't really need anything but training and interest. There is a massage school within walking distance of my home. I've looked into it and tuition for a 650 hour course of work that prepares you for the certification test cost $7,800. That is not including various other expenses that will probably come to about $2,000 once all is said and done. That's a lot of money, but really still cheaper then getting my Masters, and I could apply for a VSAC grant.

The main problem would be I would have to quit my full-time job in order to take these classes. The next course only runs for one semester (September through June), but it is three full days a week (9:30 to 4:30). And this doesn't include externships etc etc that I would need to do.

If I don't get the grant, I would need the full-time job in order to pay the tuition installments. But I wouldn't be able to work full time because of the course schedule. Vicious catch-22.

However, I'm not quite ready to walk away from this just yet. I need to think on this some more and see what I can finagle and talk myself into. I'm not adverse to a part-time job; in fact they seem more readily available than full-time jobs these days.

I've been toying around with the idea of massage therapy for years, but never having had one it was just a random thought. After recieving one and realizing the benefits of, how could I not want to spread that kind of bliss and joy out into the world? I would be making a tangible difference in the lives of others who keep misplacing their sense of self with a sense of stressful urgency.

This is the first idea that has had any tangible feeling for me in a long time. I'm not finding it so easy to talk myself out of this one. Sure, a Master's degree is the next logical step for me in my educational and professional career. But you know what? I don't want one! But this... this is something I think I can get behind.

It would be a big, scary leap to do this, but it would be exciting at the same time. Yes, I definitely need to think on this a bit more and see how I can make this work.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Good Day.

Yesterday was my birthday. Happy Birthday to me! I'm 29. Again. ;-)  Seriously, I'm 35. When the heck did that happen?!? Yesterday, apparently. I'm in my mid-30's. Wow. Back when I was a kid I couldn't fathom the idea that when it hit 2000, I'd be 26. That blew my mind. 

Anyway, it was a lovely day. I took it off from work, and I'm glad I did as it turned out to be the first gorgeous day in a while. It was a little cool, but oh, the sun!!! I made some blueberry muffins for breakfast and then did some choreography on a dance I'm doing the first weekend in June. Okay, started choreography. I need to get moving on that.

Then I went out to look for costume pieces for my July show which may no longer be in July due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts. Hate when that happens. Picked up a quick lunch then headed over to Oasis Day Spa for a few wonderfully magic hours of pampering and relaxation. I had a paraffin wax hand treatment, a full-body swedish massage and a body scrub in lavender. My skin has never felt so soft! I can't believe I've never gotten a massage before this. I am officially addicted!

When I got home, I decided to go for a stroll through a local park (Red Rocks). It's a wooded area in the city limits with paths that go all around. It was really beautiful watching the play of sun and shadows on the trees and paths. All the leaves are pretty much out here in Vermont now, and it's perfect. The transition from brown to green happens so quickly that you can almost pull up a chair and watch it unfold.

I ended the evening going to belly dance class, and I admit that it was a treat not having to rush to get there. 

All in all, it was a glorious day and I sincerely wish I could make it last a few days (months? years?) more!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Om, Wow (and Ow!)

I spent yesterday at Burlington's inaugural Yoga Conference. I was volunteering at it, so I got there bright and early (ie, before 7am) to help out. I finally got home last night at around 10:30. 

What a day! It was truly amazing. There were four sessions, with three classes to choose from at each session. If you've ever wanted to try different forms of yoga but didn't want to drive all around town, this was the place to do it. I managed to attend all four sessions. Let me tell you, by the end I was whooped! I took one full class (1.5 hours) each in Embodyoga, Flow Yoga, Anusara and Chakra Tuning.

To be honest, I've taken Anusara before and liked it, but my other two choices were Partner Yoga (no partner!) and Yoga for Social Activism, which personally just didn't hold my interest. The Flow class wasn't my top choice; I would have rather taken Restorative. Unfortunately, that class was sold out and my only other choice was Eye of the Tiger. That's a "Level 3" course. That means WAY outta my league! I would have liked to have observed that though. It's not too often you get to watch people contort themselves like that. Anyway, it turned out to be one of my favorite classes of the day.

After dinner, there was the evening keynote, which was given by Prem Prakash, who runs a Yoga School in Middlebury. It was an excellent talk, and I'm really glad I stayed for it. After that there was a kirtan that was run by a local yoga teacher and the band American Raga. It was kinda of a nontraditional kirtan (from what he was saying; I've never done one before). It was really moving and I was surprised at how deeply I got into the chanting and music. It was beautiful. I found the chant honoring Saraswati particularly moving: 
Om Ayim Saraswatiyeh Swaha

It means "offering deep reverence to Saraswati, Goddess of music, language, education."

I also managed to squeeze in some henna:

Isn't it purty? It's going to be interesting to see what people say at work tomorrow about that. 

Anyway, here are a few things I took away from the day of yoga niceness:

1. There is something powerful about a bunch of people getting together to celebrate peace and positivity.

2. All those props that people rely on for yoga really aren't necessary. All you need is you and a willingness to practice.

3. In his evening keynote, Prem Prakesh said "... cast all of your responsibilities aside and denounce them. Then pick them back up and embrace them as blessings." That really spoke to where I am in my life now, and I'm going to try to integrate this into my life.

4. I finally figured out why I so greatly dislike inversions like Plow Pose: my damned boobs strangle me. D'oh!

5. Another thing Prem Prakesh spoke about was taking down the walls and barriers that "protect" your Real Self from the painful things in life. He said that the pain wasn't necessarily any less by doing that, but in feeling that pain, you grow and strengthen from it, which will in turn grow and strengthen other things in your life.

6. My practice is improving. I may not be anywhere near a level 3 class, but I managed to get through 4 classes yesterday. And yes, my muscles are sore today, but once upon a time my muscles felt this bad after just one class. I consider that an improvement in strength.

7. I was amazed at my ability to get lost in the chanting and music during the kirtan. Shutting my mind off during meditation has always been an issue for me; moving meditations such as yoga work for me. Apparently music does too.

8. I need to rethink things life-wise. Where am I going? Is it where I'd like to go, or where I think I should go? What am I running from? What is missing?

Lots of stuff to think of in the coming days and weeks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

You know people...

...when I'm schooling y'all on math you know it's a sad, sad day.

According to CNN, the World Health Organization has confirmed 141 cases of the Swine Flu in the United States. Worldwide, the number jumps to 331.

If you do a search on "population of the United States", you find that they are estimating this country's population to be 307,212,123.

If you do the math, you see that 0.0000045% of the population is currently infected. Do you see how small that number is? Compare the global numbers and it gets even smaller.

If you do a search on the estimated number of people suffering from regular ol' influenza, you see that worldwide, in any given year there are 3 to 5 million cases. Worldwide, about 250,000 to 500,00 people die of it. In industrialized countries such as ours, deaths are usually in individuals 65 or older.

So you see people, you have a better chance of dying from the regular flu than you do the swine flu.

There is no need to panic. Just take the same precautions you do every year during cold season and you should be fine.

This is Two.

Monday the 21st was our 2-year wedding anniversary. We build the Matrimonial Pizza, with my brother officiating and my Chick of Honor wat...