Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I want to PUMP YOU UP!

The cold weather they were predicting came on queue today and it was just as brutal as they were predicting. At 6 am this morning I turned on the news to hear that with the wind chill was – 45 degrees. Schools and businesses across Central Wisconsin were closed and I have to admit, on my way to work I thought it’s days like these that I’d love to be a teacher. I’d love to hear my employer say No, we will not allow you to come to work today; it is too cold, stay in bed. Alas, work did not call me and say to remain home. So I trudged out in the cold and boy did it suck.

Since the schools were closed our dance class was also cancelled tonight. So instead I planned on coming home and going for a run on the treadmill. Since the spare bedroom remodel project began our work out equipment is in total disarray and the cd player I used to use had been misplaced. I found it tonight and decided I’d plug it in while on the treadmill. Although I never use music while running outside, just because I like hearing the sounds around me, I do typically use it while running inside. Tonight however, I realized it wasn’t really helping me, and actually, it was pretty distracting. That might have had something to do with the fact that I was trying to sing along like I was auditioning for American Idol. But, it was also distracting because I like to think while I’m running, and it is easier for me to think if I can get into a rhythm with my feet and can pace my breath. As hard as I tried, that was just not happening with the music playing. So, I don’t think I’ll be using it again, at least not while running. When I lift however, I NEED music to PUMP ME UP! Where is that from?? Saturday Night Live?

So, I’m just wondering, do you use music when you exercise?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thoughts on Winter

I know some of you are going to wonder if I’m lost my mind when you hear what I’m about to say…. I like winter. Yes, I said it. I like winter. Sometimes, I have to admit, I even love winter. I like the pace of this season as life seems to move slower and be more relaxed. Because of the weather we are not able to make as many plans that require traveling and we can no longer work outside until sun down. Instead, we spend our nights and weekends watching movies while sitting in front of the fire or, when it is nice out, heading out to the ponds or trails to get some exercise.

My parents taught me to cross country ski at a very young age. I wasn’t very good at first, preferring to swing my poles around and sing Cee Cee my Play Mate, but my Dad was patient and soon enough I was tooling around. These days I love heading out to the trails. I love seeing the sun peeking through the trees and shining down on the fresh snow as we meander our way through the woods. I love coming up to the “big” hills and pausing so we can place bets on who will make it down the farthest. And I love making it back to the car and feeling my legs burn just a bit after a good workout.

In the past couple of years we’ve also started snow shoeing. I love this sport because it is simple, yet challenging. When Collin and I go together we walk quietly side by side. There is something so tranquil about being outside during the winter. Everything is still. You don’t see as many animals, although you know they are there; it is evident by the tracks in the snow. Maia usually runs along side us, kicking up snow, so happy to just be outside.

When I hear people talk about how they despise the snow it makes me a little sad. Although there are things about winter that I could do without, like the – 40 degree weather we are supposed to have tomorrow (yikes!), I don’t think I could give up the snow. Because without the snow there would be no winter sports, and I can’t imagine my life without these activities.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Irritable and Agitated

For the past two or three days I have been extremely irritable and easily agitated. I wish I could chalk it up to PMS, but Hello! that just got over!! I can’t exactly pin point what is stressing me out, but I think it might have something to do with the month of January coming to an end.

This sounds incredibly stupid even to me as I type it, but January has been a very relaxing month for us. We have been home for the past four weekends in a row with no major plans and I’m not kidding when I say this may be the first month in over four years that this has happened. In a typical month if we are home even one weekend without plans we’re doing pretty good. But this has been 4 blissful weekends in a row.

So I’m sure you’re thinking, what exactly is the problem then? The problem is I haven’t taken advantage of this time off at all. And now our free weekends are coming to an end and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything in the past month. Here is just a short list of things that have not been done:

1) Clean den – this room looks like some sort of natural disaster site, but instead of getting in there and picking things up I shut the door and try to forget the room exists. I plan on painting it the last weekend in Feb. but if it doesn’t get cleaned there is no way in hell I’ll be able to paint.

2) Make the remainder of our Christmas gifts and get them in the mail – Christmas was over a month ago now and I still haven’t gotten everyone their gifts. I’ve been using the excuse that they might not ship well, but that doesn’t quite work for the friends that are here in town and we’ve seen at least 4 times since Christmas!!

3) Make very important phone call to friend from high school – I have no idea what my problem is here. I haven’t talked to her in over two years and I’m ecstatic to finally be back in touch, yet I can’t seem to find the time to make the call.

I might be able to shake these things off and cut myself some slack if I could just tell you what exactly I HAVE been doing for the past month. But the thing is I have NO IDEA!

I have always been the queen of procrastination, this is nothing new, but wouldn’t you think I’d learn? After 28 years of this wouldn’t you think I’d realize that procrastinating always leads to me feeling very overwhelmed and stressed out? In all this time wouldn’t you think I’d realize that I don’t particularly like feeling overwhelmed and stressed out?

Obviously the answer is No. Because I can’t exactly tell you what I have been doing for the past two days, but I can tell you it wasn’t any of the items listed above.

The things I'll do for love

Last week Ma & Pa Kono were in Mexico for a wedding and extended vacation. There were 40 some people in their group all from town, including a number of our friends, and it sounds like they had a blast. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a tad bit jealous of their trip. While we were here with temperatures around 30 below, they were sitting on the beach, soaking up the sun drinking a Miami Vice.

While they were gone Collin decided to park his truck at their house and use his Dad’s for the week. Pa’s truck is bigger and has 4-wheel drive; Collin was in his glory. They got home last Thursday night and Collin said he’d bring the truck back this weekend. On Saturday afternoon he drove over to his parents, thinking he had left the key to his truck in their house. No such luck. We had plans to meet for lunch so his parents dropped him off with me and we said we’d come back on Sunday with the key since it must be at home.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. The key was not here either. The key has disappeared. This wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we had a spare, but no, we do not have a spare. Collin has ONE key to his truck and THAT KEY is MIA.

We’ve searched our house up and down. Collin has searched his parents’ house and unloaded his truck twice looking for this damn key. After thinking through all the scenarios we started wondering if maybe Maia had eaten the key. I don’t believe this is the case because although she likes to chew things, she normally leaves the mess on the living room floor, and we haven’t seen any sign of the key or the attached remote on the floor. None the less we were getting a little desperate so tonight Collin said he was going to head outside for a scavenger hunt. When I got home I asked if he had any luck finding the key and he looked at me with those puppy dog eyes and said “I tried, I went out there, but it’s going to make me sick. I thought maybe you could do it.”

And that is why I spent my evening digging through multiple piles of dog shit.

And still no sign of the effing key!! If you were a key, where would you hide?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January Prizes!

With only one week left in the first month of the Fitness Challenge I thought this might be a good time to announce the prizes for January. Drum roll please.......

  1. Choice of the BodyMinder Workout and Exercise Journal or The Ultimate Workout Log - I'm currently using the BodyMinder log but have used The Ultimate log in the past. I like having an exercise journal to record my times, distance, and programs used for my cardio workouts and love having the journal to record weights and reps when I lift. It is also a handy way to gage your progress and improvement. I switched to the BodyMinder log this year because the strength training section has a better format to include weight and reps from each set. So if lifting is your thing, this log would probably be a better choice for you. I also think the cover of this log is a little more conducive to bringing it along to the gym as it is more sleek and discreet. What I kind of miss about The Ultimate log is that it was set up in weeks and at the beginning of each week it had a section to set your goals for the week. My goals always tend to be very lofty and unrealistic, but I still liked this because it got me thinking about the week, about when I could fit exercise into my schedule and about what I wanted to accomplish. Also, because I'm corny, I liked the fitness tid bits that were on each page.


  2. Ab Wheel - I bought this my first year out of college when I couldn't afford a gym membership. Heck, I couldn't even afford a McDonald's cheeseburger....and aren't they on the DOLLAR menu??? I was scraping by, and that's putting it nicely. I still sometimes wonder how the hell I made it through that year. Anyway, this little gadget was cheap and Wow! is it a work out. It tones both your abs as well as your arms/shoulders. I should warn you though, I read a review on this yesterday and it said it is not a good tool for beginners due to the risk of injury and I agree whole heartedly with that. But if you've been working out for awhile and are looking for a new challenge, this might be a good investment.

  3. French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure - I know this isn't quite "workout" gear, but I wanted to provide another option in the event the winner doesn't want a log and what hell I'm I going to do with an ab wheel? I read this book a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I intend on taking it out again and rereading it soon. (Sorry Alanna, I still have your copy - would you like that back?) The thing I liked about this book is that it doesn't advocate dieting, in the sense that we know the word. There are also a few things I took from this book that I still incorporate into my daily life. For example, each morning I always have a glass of water, in order to rehydrate my body, before I drink a cup of coffee or tea. This is a good read if you are interested in being healthier on a long-term basis without any of that fad diet business.

And in the event these all SUCK! I'll also throw in a $10 gift certificate to either MC Sports or Dunham's .

Feel free to let me know what you think about the prizes - good, bad, really shitty, whatever! Also let me know if there is anything in particular you'd like to see in coming months.

Lastly, just wanted to let you know that week 5 for January will run from Monday the 28th through Thursday the 31st. With the winner announced (hopefully) on Thursday. The first week of February will run from Friday the 1st through Sunday the 10th. I'll announce February's challenge when the winner from this month is posted.

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Numbers

1 So it appears the progesterone has done its job as I am officially on CD1. For those not up on the ttc (trying to conceive) lingo, CD1 stands for Cycle Day 1 or the 1st day of my period. Aren’t you glad you stopped by here today?? In true Kate fashion, as soon as I discovered I was actually having my period I immediately got online to see what BabyZone had to say about the gender of our child if, you know, I actually ovulate and by chance get pregnant this next cycle. Can we say JUMPING THE GUN????? (it said girl, btw)

30 The amount of money Collin is likely to lose tonight playing poker. The other day he asked if we had any plans for Tuesday evening because Doug had asked him to come play poker with the guys. I said we didn’t have any plans, sat there for awhile, and then asked “You’re going to play poker with Doug?” Doug has been going to Vegas for the past few years playing in the World Series of Poker Texas Hold’em event. I’m thinking odds are not in our favor.


103 I took Maia to the vet yesterday and she finally broke the 100 pound mark! On the ride there she was the most well behaved dog ever. She sat in the front seat, her head almost touching the ceiling, just looking out the window at the passing cars. As soon as I turned into the driveway of the vet’s office though she went nuts. Mama, Mama, Mama, where are we???? Can I get out now? Let me out! Let me out! I finally got her into the office, but there was no one at the front desk, just a very old and gray Golden Retriever sitting nicely behind the counter. Maia was running around, pulling the leash, oh, oh, oh, I smell someone. Who is there? I want to see them. Mama, come this way, I want to see them. No? You won’t come this way, okay; I’ll jump up on the counter then. There, now I can see. Hi there Gramps, want to come play? Huh? Huh? Huh? I was never so happy to hand her off to the tech to get her nails trimmed. I sat down, settled into a People magazine and relaxed for about 4 minutes. Then I heard the tell tale thumping and panting behind the door. The door swings open and there is all 103 pounds of her running full speed ahead, the poor technician skidding helplessly behind her. My 4 minutes of Zen are up and The Monster is back.

480 The amount of calories I’ve consumed in bacon over the past 5 days. What the hell? We’re supposed to be eating healthy, but yet I can’t stop eating bacon. The stuff we have is maple flavored and the scent is taking over. Today I opened my drawer at work where I keep my purse during the day and I was overwhelmed by the smell of maple bacon. It smelled so good I shut the drawer and opened it again just to get another whiff. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about bacon and how I wanted to come home and eat more (which I did).

EDITED TO ADD:

200 The amount of money Collin WON playing poker last night!! Holy Shit!

Monday, January 21, 2008

On Becoming a Packers Fan

Football has always been a big thing in our family. I’ll never forget the year that my Grandma refrained from putting up a Christmas tree because it would have gotten in the way of the television and her view of the Sunday afternoon game. Every year for the Super Bowl my Dad and Grandma would put a bet on the game; the winner would get his/her choice of dinner. These days, my Dad places these bets with my brother and me. Which, shit, reminds me that I owe him a dinner from our last bet.

Growing up in Illinois, my parents and extended family are big Chicago Bears fans. So, it was much to my parent’s dismay that both of their children would take permanent residence in Wisconsin and become Packers fans.

When I first moved up here for college, almost 10 years ago now, I was determined to remain a Bears fan. I think it had something to do with maintaining my identity as an Illinois resident. This may seem crazy to some, why in the world would you want to be a FIB? Speaking of being a FIB, my professor for my Tax Accounting class in college used to call me The FIB. As in, could everyone be quiet please? The FIB is speaking.

I maintained my Bears fan status through college, up until November 2002. That November my boss offered the girls in our group 4 tickets to the Packers/Vikings game. Even though I wasn’t a Packers fan, I loved football so of course I wanted to go. The three of us girls went to lunch, tickets in hand, and debated over who we should ask to join us. We decided to take Bret, one of the girls’ boyfriends, in hopes that he would be our driver. Bret agreed and when Sunday afternoon came we all headed up to Green Bay. It was a night game, so we were decked out in blaze orange and ski clothes. But even with 4 layers, it was So. Fucking. Cold. We snuck in a bottle of Doctors and added it to our hot chocolate and freezing or not, we had a blast! I remember the guys next to asking what we had, because they wanted some of whatever it was.

The thing I will never forget from that game, or any of the games we’ve been to since, was the energy in stadium. Packer fans are insane. They are crazy and fun and loud and drunk, but God Damn do they know how to have a good time. I converted that evening, and I have never looked back since.

As you probably know, last night was a sad, sad, night for the State of Wisconsin, and our faithful fans spread throughout the country. There were only four of us watching the game together last night and the ratio of f-bombs to people had to be something close to 60:1. And I am pretty certain if you were anywhere within a three state radius you heard a resounding FFFFFFUCK!!! as Tynes kicked that last field goal squarely between the posts.

The thing I love most about Packer fans though is that we’ll shake it off. Yeah, we’re disappointed - it sucks that we were that close to making it to the Big Game. But it will be okay; we don’t love our team any less because of this loss. And I can guarantee you that when next season rolls around the parties will begin in earnest, the beer and brats will be purchased in bulk, and yes, there will still be big shirtless men running around Lambeau in December.

Packers/Vikings Game

November 11, 2007

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recipe: Southwest Pasta Bake

At the beginning of January, when we kicked off the Fitness Challenge, I said that once a week I'd post a healthy recipe. There's a good reason why we are at the end of week three and I have yet to post a recipe, but I'm not sure you care to hear about my botched crab cakes.

Last weekend we made this Southwest Pasta Bake and we've been eating it all week long. Luckily, if there is one good thing about pasta/spaghetti sauce recipes, it's that the longer they sit the better the flavor.

This recipe came from the Taste of Home's Light & Tasty 2004 Annual Recipes. If you've never been to the Taste of Home store in Glendale, WI, you should make a trip. You can get three books for something like $10. It's the reason Collin has banned me from buying any more cookbooks! Shhhhh, don't tell him I came home with another one this year. How could I pass up the Appetizer cookbook??


Southwest Pasta Bake
8 ounces uncooked penne or medium tube pasta
1 package (8 oz) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (16 oz) picante sauce
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup (4 oz) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions


Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add milk; beat until smooth. Stir in spinach and oregano; set aside. In a nonstick skillet, cook beef and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the picante sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain pasta; stir into meat mixture.

In a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, layer half of the meat mixture and all of the spinach mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives and onions. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 333 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 996 sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 26 g protein.



Now, I'm going to be the first to admit this might not be the healthiest recipe I could have given you, but after the crab cake ordeal I had to go with something I knew would actually turn out.

Also, you'll notice ours doesn't have any black olives. Collin isn't a fan. Additionally, I have to admit that I didn't use fat free cream cheese, but I used reduced fat and that worked out well.

Lastly, I realize I am not likely to receive any awards in presentation and Good God! there is alot of butter on the bread.

Now I'm off to finally clean the champagne off our dining room floors.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

dance, dance, dance

I remember those days vividly. Our moms would drop us off at the front of the school while they went to find a parking space. We’d run up the long steep steps of Ottawa High School, our arms loaded with bags carrying our outfits and shoes, our legs barely covered except for our leotards. We'd bustle in and then go in search of our meeting place. Sometimes it was in a classroom, other times it was in the cafeteria downstairs. We’d huddle there for the next hour or so with our group, changing into our costumes and looking again at our make-up. They asked us to wear blush and eye shadow because it looked better under the lights, we didn’t care what the reason was, we were 7, 8, 9-years old and we just thought it was cool to have blue eyes. Before we knew it they’d be coming to get us… “New York, New York” they’d announce and we knew it was our time to join the queue. They’d lead us to the backstage where we’d wait while other routines were finishing up. We’d be giggling, probably out of nervousness, and the directors would shush us… quiet girls, there’s a performance onstage. Soon we’d move from the backstage to the wings, which meant we were next. We could see the ballet number before us finishing up, the giggles turned into concentration as we went over the steps in our mind. We knew this, we’d be practicing for this moment for months, but counting out the steps calmed us anyway. Suddenly the music stopped, the lights went out and the group before us cleared the stage. It was our time. We hustled out and took our spots… 3, 2, 1 and the lights are on and Frank Sinatra is filling the auditorium. For the next 3 minutes we are the center of attention and at even 8 years old, I imagine this is what it must feel like to be on Broadway.

I started dancing at 3 years old. It was the one thing my mom wanted me to have, because it was the one thing growing up that she always wanted but didn’t get the chance to have. I don’t remember the days before dancing. To me, it was always a part of my childhood. It helped me in an innumerable amount of ways. Coordination being the obvious, but it also gave me confidence and it made me aware of both how far my body could be pushed as well as its limitations. And maybe most importantly, it enabled me to come out of my shell. I know many of you wouldn’t believe this now, but I was a very shy little girl growing up.

I continued dancing up until high school, when I decided to give it up in order to focus on other sports. I’m not going to spend time regretting that decision; I made it with the information I had at the time. However, if I could go back and tell the me of 1994 what the me of 2007 knows, I would press hard to find a way to keep this sport in my life.

Since high school I’ve dabbled in dance here and there, taking a class in college and then again after college through the community rec program in Waukesha. When Kira told me she was looking at joining an adult jazz class at a dance school in Wausau, I told her I wanted in.

Our first class was last night and within the first 10 minutes I remembered why I loved this so much as a kid. Dancing is my thing. It makes me feel alive and fills me with an unexplainable joy. It is challenging both physically and mentally. We learned a few sequences last night and after we practiced them a few times it was time to add them to music. There’s nothing like hearing that beat start, your heart racing, count it, 1, 2, 3, 4, turn on 5, pause 6….grapevine to the right….pirouette.... and chasse. When we get through the class explodes with delight. There are cheers of I did it! and you can feel the energy exuding from our bodies. As I asked Kira last night, I can’t help but wonder why I ever gave this up?

Do you have a thing? Something that makes you feel alive. If so, have you done it lately?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sorting it out

Shortly after I started working for AB the ladies on my floor threw a baby shower from one of my fellow associates. I had literally just started and didn’t even know the guest of honor, but the girls in my group invited me along saying, it’s free food and cake. So, as you can imagine, I was there. After lunch was eaten and the gifts were opened talked turned to guessing the gender of Mary’s baby, which subsequently led to the inevitable string test. I can’t find a good link to this anywhere and I’ve seen it done a few different ways, but this particular time we used a pencil, paperclip, and thread. Legend has it if you dangle the pencil (using the paperclip in the eraser and holding it by a string) over your wrist the pencil will move either in a circular or straight line motion, indicating the gender of your children. A circle is for a boy and back and forth in a line is for a girl. In Mary’s case the pencil started moving back and forth, indicating her first girl, stopped, and then started moving back and forth again, for girl number 2 (which, incidentally, was correct). The pencil got passed around the table and there were lots of laughs, especially when the pencil told a couple of girls they’d have 4 or more children, when they were only hoping for 2. The pencil finally made its way to me and Amy held it above my wrist very steady so not to influence the spirits or whatever it was that we were channeling. I was no where near ready to have children, but I knew someday I wanted to and I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to have. The room grew very still and I held my breath and waited….and waited….and waited. But the pencil didn’t move. It just hung there, perfectly still, like the mimes I remember seeing outside of the Louvre in Paris.

Everyone was baffled, don’t I want children, they all asked? I went home that night and called my mom. Whimpering I said “Mom, the string test said I’m not going to have any kids.”

As an aside, I’ll never forget my Mom’s response to this, which was not the normal motherly response of, honey, don’t worry this is just a wives' tale. No, instead my Mom said “What?? Try it again!”

I know in my heart this is a wives' tale. I know it is not sensible to put my faith or trust in our future in the hands of an urban legend. Yet, for some reason I have never been able to forget that test. I have never been able to shake the thought that maybe I won’t be able to have children.

Last year Collin and I decided that in July (2007) we would go off birth control. I talked to my doctor about this in May and she put me on pre-natal vitamins and said “We’ll see you in a couple of months.” She sucked me into her optimism and for a moment I really believed that we would get pregnant easily. I actually thought we’d be back in her office in August or September, squealing over the delight of a baby growing miraculously in my belly. I realize now that I was so, so na├»ve. After the first few months passed and it was evident that it was going to take a little more work, I turned my hopes to year-end. Surely, we’ll be pregnant by the end of the year that is 6 months worth of trying!

What I didn’t see coming is that in September my body would shut down completely. At first I thought it was just an extraordinary long cycle, something that would work itself out. But when September turned into October, which turned into November, which turned into December, and so on…. it was apparent that my body was simply not working.

I finally got into the doctor last week and they ran a slew of blood tests and performed a couple of ultrasounds. Per the nurse, the results of my ultrasounds were normal; I haven’t gotten the results of the blood work. So, the doctor prescribed progesterone in order to kick start my body. I started taking that last Friday and if all goes as planned within the next couple of weeks I should have my first cycle in almost 5 months. The hope is that my body will respond and start cycling normally. The reality is we have no idea what is going to happen and it could potentially be another long waiting game.

I’ve refrained from writing about this here up until now for a few different reasons. But the fact is I can’t find anything meaningful to talk about because the one thing that is on my mind, all the time, is that I want to start a family. I want to have children. I want to be a mother and I want to make Collin a father. And it hurts so much that my body isn’t even giving me a chance to be able to try to do that.

Over the last few months I’ve taken the pain and sadness of this out on other aspects of my life, in particular, my job. After deciding that what I needed was a change I started applying and interviewing with other companies (I think it is okay to post this here as AB is completely aware of it). However, since the beginning of the New Year, after I had some time off over the holidays to sit and reflect I realized it’s not my job at all that is making me unhappy. It’s this. It’s the fact that we aren’t pregnant. And so I’m writing about this now because I think I need to get this out, I need to be honest with myself, and I need to work through these internal struggles and heartache.

I don’t want you to think I’m one big ball of sadness though. In fact, I have a lot in my life to be happy about, and I am grateful for those things. I know we are very blessed, and I’m in no way discounting that. However, I’ve learned that sometimes your life can be filled with happiness, while simultaneously there are things that make you sad. All I really want is to be able to distinguish the two.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Random

I am having alot of trouble finding the balance between relaxation and getting work done on the weekends. It seems most weekends are swayed one way or the other. For the past two, the scales have been tipped towards relaxation. This is all fine and good except when I look around my house on Sunday evening and the kitchen counters are littered with mail and dishes and the dining room floor still hasn't been washed following the new years party and I have laundry covering the mud room floor, I can feel the anxiety swelling up from my belly making me one big ball of nerves. And this never makes for a good start to the work week.

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I can not express enough gratitude to those that have agreed to participate in the Fitness Challenge. I am 100% certain that I would have talked myself out of two out of three of my workouts last week had it not been for the fact that I knew I was going to have to report my points to you. You guys are keeping me accountable. Thank you.

And on that topic, it amazes me how quickly one can get out of shape. For my run yesterday I used an old cardio program that only 5 or 6 months ago I would have performed on an "easy" day. When Collin heard the treadmill stop he came down to the basement for his run and he found me sitting on side of the machine with my head in my hands, still gasping for breath. It kicked my ass that bad.

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Collin and I have been talking politics alot lately. Well maybe talking isn't the best word; maybe...hmm... politely arguing would be better. See although our current favorites are from the same party, we have very different views on which candidate would be the best choice. This evening we both took this quiz that Ember posted and we were both surprised to find that evidently
  1. We've both been advocating the wrong candidate
  2. We've both been advocating the wrong party
  3. We should actually be advocating the same candidate from the other party
I guess it is back to the drawing board for us.

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I caught the first two episodes (or at least what I think were the first two episodes) of Cashmere Mafia last week and so far I'm really digging this show. For those 60 minutes I feel like I'm connecting with that fast paced career oriented business women that I dreamt of being before moving away from the city and reconnecting with my small town, country roots.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Birthday Week

Last Sunday I turned 28. As my birthday approached I realized all I really wanted was a quiet weekend at home. This is much, much different from my birthday just one year ago. My 27th will always be known as "the best birthday ever". We had a group of 20 or so family and friends over to our house and as a surprise Collin had rented a bus to take us all bar hopping down town. I will never, ever, forget that birthday.

After you have the best birthday ever though, you realize you're set for awhile. So this year we celebrated by going to dinner on Saturday night at Christian's Bistro. Then, on Sunday, we met Kira & Justin for sushi and hibachi at Tokyo Steak House and later that afternoon I got to talk to a couple of good friends. It was a great weekend and I went to bed on Sunday night feeling very good about the day I turned 28.

But! But! You guys had very different plans for me. What I did not see coming was my birthday extending all week. Every single day this week I received either a gift, phone call, or card with birthday wishes. And in each case the sender sent condolences that it was coming late. The thing is, late is actually really great! I didn't have a birth-day this year, I had a birth-week. And I'm sorry, but it doesn't get much better than that!

So thank you to all of your for making my 28th so memorable.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Uncorked: Yellow Tail Shiraz

When I started My Merlot back in December, Kira, my sister-in-law, gave me a very good idea. She suggested starting a list of wines/wineries to review for others to try. I like to think of Kira as my co-pilot, because she is always coming up with great ideas like this.

I'm not at all claiming to be an expert in the field of winery, but I have to admit, I do like my wine. I've all but given up alcohol over the past few months and I can say honestly I don't miss any of it. Any of it, except for the wine.

Last night we went out to eat with Mike & Alanna and because we had a couple of things we were celebrating, we decided to order a bottle of wine. They let me pick and for some reason the Yellow Tail Shiraz was calling my name. Per the Company's website this wine is described as follows: Impressive spice, licorice and red berry aromas. This wine is perfectly balanced with silky tannins, accompanied by big, ripe fruit flavors.

I'm not sure if it is because I haven't been drinking as much lately or what, but the few glasses I've had in the past couple of weeks have not really impressed me. My first sip of this and I knew I was back on track. We all really enjoyed this bottle. It was fruity with a zing. And because it was not as dry as a merlot, I think it would be good for someone who is just beginning to venture into red wines.

We had a discussion over dinner about how much a bottle of Yellow Tail would cost. We decided it's probably around $7 or so. I looked online this evening and found a range of about $6 to $10, so this is very reasonably priced.
So go out and get your bottle and let me know what you think!

Pictures: Part....yeah, about that...

On Thursday night I sat down and started writing a post about our Christmas. My computer, however, had different plans for me. The pictures, they took SO LONG to load. I went to bed before I was able to upload them all.

On Friday night I sat down to finish the post and decided, who wants to hear about Christmas? That was like what? 8 years ago? I'll skip right to New Years. And so I started writing and uploading pictures and writing some more and uploading more pictures and.....God Damn, why does it take so long to upload these pictures??? So I went to bed.

This morning I woke up with a clear mind. And it told me no one wanted to hear about Christmas or New Years, just get the damn photos uploaded somewhere, anywhere and move on already!!!

So I'm in the process of uploading our pictures to Flickr and I've included a badge in the side bar for you to check them out if you'd like. I have Christmas in there right now and will hopefully have New Years in before the end of the weekend. Also, I'll put updated photos in there periodically.

Wow, it feels good to put this behind us. Now, on to better things!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pictures: Part 1

Last weekend we finally took a trip to Best Buy to get a card reader and, while we were at it, an external hard drive to store all of our pictures. Because after having the new camera for only 1 week, I had already taken over 500 pictures. Yeah, at New Years I was dubbed "The Paparazzi" - I think you can see why.

My plan was to give you a sampling of the pictures I've taken since Christmas, but this computer is being ridiculously slow tonight, so we're going to have to do this in installments.

The first pictures I took after getting the camera all set up on Christmas morning were of Maia. I wish I had some more time to crop these and make the last two larger for you to see, but it is time for me to go to bed, so hopefully these will be okay.






More to come!!




Thursday, January 3, 2008

Product Pimpin': Method Daily Shower Spray

One of the things I like about reading other people’s blogs is learning about the products they are currently using. I especially like reading about fashion, make-up and hair products since I feel so out of the loop living up here with limited access to quality shopping. But I also like reading about every day products, because, well, I’m cheap and therefore I don’t buy things unless I know I’m going to get my money’s worth.


I went out on a limb when I bought this Method Daily Shower Spray; Target has a way of doing that to me, making me buy things even when I might not need them. But, I was in the market for something to help me with the process of cleaning Collin’s shower. I don’t know about you, but cleaning showers is my least favorite job. For me, it is even worse than cleaning toilets; and because Collin often comes home covered in dirt, grime, cement, you name it, his shower is the worst. After I bought this I put it in his shower and told him to just spray the walls, floor, etc. after he is done. Simple as that, he didn’t even have to rinse it. He admitted that he has only used it about ½ the time, but when I pulled back the shower curtain last weekend and the legendary pink soap scum line surrounding the drain was nonexistent, I knew my life had just changed. This stuff made my job so much easier; I no longer have to bust into a sweat while scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing, to get the scum off the walls.

Now, if I could only find a spray that puts the socks into the hamper at the end of the day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Putting it in Writing

There is something refreshing about starting a new year. It feels like the slate has been wiped clean. Sure, there are still things on my to-do list from 2007, but now I feel like I have time on my side. Twelve whole months to complete this year’s list of things I want to accomplish. I’ve been thinking a lot about the resolutions I want to set for this year. In true Kate fashion, I have a list a half a mile long. I’ve decided I need to narrow those down to 3 or 4 things. I’m sharing these with you here because I’m hoping by writing them down and making them public, I’ll be more likely to follow through with them.

  1. Get back into a fitness routine and keep exercise a priority, even through stressful seasons like Christmas. During the stressful times I want to exercise at least twice a week, which is a vast improvement over my current average of zero times.
  2. Work with Maia on training and get her more exercise on a regular basis.
  3. Keep in better touch with my friends.
  4. And the one Collin likes the most; in fact, his response when I told him this was one of my resolutions was “that should be your only resolution”: Have more “you-know-what” (Hi Mom! Hi CaSondra!)

Have you set any resolutions for 2008? If so, what are they?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Let the Exercising Begin!!

I am so happy to announce that 12 people (including potentially 4 guys!!) have agreed to participate in the Fitness Challenge. I just want to say thank you so much to all of you because I am so excited about this and it wouldn’t be possible without all of you agreeing to participate. For anyone else that may still be interested, it’s not too late! In fact, it will never be too late; anyone is welcome to join at anytime. The only real benefit to starting in January is that I’m planning to reward anyone who makes it through the first three and six months, but that would mean you would have to participate all three of those months.

There are some other things I’ve been thinking I should fill you in on, just to make this all a little less scary. For the month of January we will base points solely on exercise performed. Just as a reminder, 1 point is given for each 10 minutes of exercise which includes: cardio, weight training, and/or mind/body exercises such as yoga or Pilates. I realize however that everyone is at a different fitness level and therefore giving points solely on the amount of time spent working out would be unfair. So, in future months there will be opportunities to earn bonus points.

Unless you are all really opposed, I’m going to have you report your points to be on a weekly basis (with Monday being the first day of the week and Sunday the last). I don’t want this to be too time consuming, so please do this in whatever way is the easiest for you, I’m thinking email is probably the best. Again, all I need is your points; you do not need to tell me what exercises were performed. I think it is important to report on a weekly basis instead of monthly because I feel like it will keep your fitness goals in the forefront of your mind. I have decided that I too need to be held accountable for my points, so I plan to add a box on the sidebar to the right to track my weekly and monthly points for all of you to see. This makes me cringe a little, I’m afraid I’m going to embarrass myself, but if I’m asking you to report to me, this is only fair.

I’ve had a suggestion to show everyone’s points (anonymously) for those that are motivated by competition. Let me know how you feel about this, what I don’t want to happen is have this discourage anyone. Also, another suggestion I received was to post a weekly “Healthy Recipe” – which I plan to do, because although this is a Fitness Challenge, I think we all desire to live healthier. If anyone has any favorite healthy recipe they’d like to share, please send it to me and I’ll share it here!

Please let me know if you have any questions and suggestions are always welcome! Please check back here for updates. I plan to post the prizes for the month sometime around week 3.

Lastly, please remember, this is about improving our health and every little bit helps. Also, for those of us who haven’t been exercising regularly (ME!) don’t over do it in the first week, take it easy and listen to your body.

Good luck to everyone and happy exercising! Hope you all had a very Happy New Year!!

EDITED TO ADD: Since we are beginning today, January 1st, week one will be a short week running from Tuesday - Sunday.