Saturday, June 30, 2007

The "30" Project #19

I'm a survivor.

This post could be long if I don't decide from the get-go to keep it brief. I, like most of us, have been hurt. I don't want to place my level of pain above anyone else's, but the betrayal that I've been through once rocked me to my core and forever changed the person that I am. I was in a relationship where I was misled, lied to and cheated on (likely many, many times) by someone who said he loved me. That totally sucks. In the aftermath of the breakup I was a mess... and although I am well beyond it and am happy once again, that experience changed me. I have abandonment and trust issues that will never go away, and I battle them whenever I try to put my faith and heart into a relationship. It is always an uphill fight.

The accomplishment here is that I have overcome this experience, and (hopefully) become a better person for it. Although I feel vulnerable whenever I allow myself to feel for someone, I make the decision to let go (almost) every time. I now know what qualities I do not want in a person, and I use that experience to find someone who appreciates me and what I have to give. Yes, I am still looking... but although these scars are existent, I have managed not to let them hurt me too much more than they already have. I use them as guides to steer me through life - away from negative influences and towards positive outcomes. No matter how difficult, I have proven myself to be resilient... and thankfully that lesson has served me well.

The "30" Project #18

I am now three days behind on this project. This week has been sooo exhausting. I felt so tired today at work that I was afraid someone would say something to mean or rude and that I might go off. I haven't been that exhausted in awhile. Scary.

So I came home from work, let the dog out, gave him a toy, took two Tylenol PM and slept until 9:30 PM. I feel so much better. Of course, I just got off of the phone (3 plus hours!) so I might be tired enough to go back to bed since it's now 1 AM.

So the project... I am a published photographer.

I took a spontaneous photo of my nephew a few years ago, and submitted it into a photo contest. The photo was selected and printed in a book of photography. Not that this book is by any means special, in fact some of the photos were just outright bad, but it was cool to see my photo printed in a hard bound book. I actually bought the book for my sister and brother-in-law later, just because I thought it would be nice for them and my nephew to own somewhere down the line. Now in addition to this photo, you will recall that one of my BIT photos was published (Thanks, Brian) in The Baltimore Sun a few months back. So although I have little expertise or skill, I am a publisher photographer. So it's minimal... so what? It's cool just the same.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Everybody Needs a Little Pampering...

Okay. So I got another facial after work today. I swear that girl is the only one who can chill me out. I walk into the spa with my mouth and heart running a mile a minute, and after an hour plus of some TLC, I am a new woman. Some coworkers and I were talking about how I hate to be told to "relax..." I just hate it. I guess it's because it insinuates that I'm worked up and out of control. If someone tells me to relax it just gets me all worked up more. I'm not good at relaxing if I'm stressed out, but I have come to the realization that facials are the single most powerful method to talk me down. Today at work was busy and hurried, but I am chill and relaxed tonight... drinking a red wine and tapping away on my laptop.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The "30" Project #17

I saw my niece born.

This is really my sister's accomplishment as far as giving birth, but I did give up 6 months of college abroad to stay home and see her come into the world (I was supposed to study in Ireland). Missy used this as an accomplishment, so I figured I could, too, since it's her game.:)

So my niece, Calista (Kah-lee-stah, not Kah-list-ah), was born eight years ago April. Birth, in general, is not pleasant to witness, and it was even more strange at the time because it was my sister, but being there to welcome her into the world was one of the most powerful moments of my life. They say that you fall in love all over again when you give birth to your own child. She's not mine - I didn't carry her for 9 months or go through those birth pains - but watching her enter the world, screaming and all, was the closest I have come. My niece and nephews are everything to me. There's nothing I wouldn't do for them. It was so special to see her born and to see her grow into the young lady she is today, and I couldn't love her (or them) any more. It's just not possible. I can only hope that I do good by them by being the best aunt I can be. I don't always succeed, I'm sure... but I do my best and they seem to keep loving me regardless...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The "30" Project #16

I won a look-alike contest.

Okay, so maybe this isn't an "accomplishment" because it's just about how I looked at the time, but oh well. When I was in college, I won an Elaine Benes (from Seinfeld) look-alike contest. I don't have a photo, but I used to wear my hair curly and in a similar (but not so big) barrette-puff thing that Elaine always wore. Wasn't that in style back then?

After the contest, the Jerry and George winners and I (they were about ten years my senior and local comedians) would meet up at a comedy club and chat every so often. I know that both of their names are Mike, but we never called each other by our names... I'd walk into a bar or restaurant and hear, "Elaaaiiinnnneeee...." It was always a nice surprise.

On occasion, I am still told that I look like her... most recently by a coworker who has to look at me all day. I think it's probably facial expressions at this point, but it's fun to hear every once in awhile anyway.

Why I Love Sam's Club

Two sweet reasons.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The "30" Project #15

I've modeled. Sort of.

I've wondered over the last year if I would ever share this publicly on the blog, but I'm turning 30 so why the hell not? Women, by our very hormonal nature, are self-conscious about our bodies... but a number of years ago I modeled for a class of folks learning how to airbrush for theatre. It was hours and hours of sitting while they airbrushed my hair, my arms and my face over and over again. The final project was a full body airbrush of me... as a leopard.

The photo above is of the instructor airbrushing the cat features on my face. The air was compressed and cold, and in addition, I'm a giggler, so it was tough to keep a straight face. This photo to the left is of me sitting while students took turns using a leopard print stencil all over my body.

So here's the finished product. I suppose I'd do it again (after I lose the weight that I want), but this was really tough on the self-confidence. It was a cool experience, and I got paid (not much), but mostly, it was one of those weird opportunities to do something you never thought you'd try. And that feels kinda cool.

The "30" Project #14

I've written two children's books.

But neither published. True. I consider these accomplishments because I think they actually might be worthy of being published. Really. I do. One is titled "The Midnight Jamboree," and it is about the party that a child's toys have after she/he has gone to sleep. The other, which is considerably better and hits a little closer to home, is called, "A Girl and Her Dog." I'll give you ten seconds to guess my inspiration - but you won't even need ten seconds.

I think I might dig this one out especially. It's sweet, charming and a pleasant read (OMG, I'm bragging!), and I'm quite proud of it. I had planned to follow it up with a book called, "A Boy and His Cat," but I'm not sure it has the same effect as a girl and her dog. Maybe the follow up can be "A Boy and His Frog," or something. They could be a series like the 'Shoe' books, except with kids and animals.

If and when I remember where I stored it, I'll post some of it here. I can't bring myself to look too much for it right now.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Good News

As of Friday I had lost at least three pounds in my quest to lose at least five before my birthday. Although I didn't go overboard yesterday at the party, a lot of chips, pretzels and dips were consumed. This morning I resumed my strict breakfast regime (V8, hard boiled eggs and toast), and I'm still weighing in at the same lower weight. I walked with my mom yesterday and jumped on the treadmill this morning and worked up a sweat. Too cool. :)

At this point I think I'll be able to lose ten or so, because although it took some time for the first few pounds, I think I'm on a roll now.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The "30" Project #12 & #13

I've kept in close contact with my family and friends - even given the distance between us all.

First, my parents. As I grow older, I have grow closer to them as every year goes by. When I've had surgeries, they've driven out to Baltimore to be with me, and when I had the seizure in Orlando, my dad flew down to be with me and get me home. They are wonderful, wonderful people. I suppose... okay, I know, that not all kids have this great of relationship with their parents. As 've grown older, I've really learned to appreciate and cherish the time I spent with them. When I drove here yesterday, they both waited up for me; and once I got out of the car, I received a few hugs from each of them in the matter of just a few minutes. We stayed up, chatted a bit, and as of right now, we've spent the whole day together. It's been terrific. I firmly believe that the work required to keep this kind of relationship healthy is one of my (and their) greater accomplishments, especially given that we've been 400 hundred miles away from each other for over four years. I talk to them multiple times a week, and a few months ago, when I'd had a particularly sad night, they were the first people I called. It's comforting to know that we can all trust in and rely on each other. It's been challenging at times, but we've put in the work and it will only get better from here.

On the same subject, I have some kick ass friends. Many of my friends live far away, from California and Arizona, to Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio, to Florida, and up the East Coast. There have been a few friends that have come and gone, and fewer still that I have let fade away by my own mistake (Lezlie - I am totally calling you tomorrow on my drive back to Maryland), but for the most part, I have kept good friends closest and reconnected with others somewhere down the line (Missy, Nicole - that's you guys). Being home and seeing my friends has been amazing. The last time I saw Jessie she was very preggo with twins, and today I met Owen and Rechel for the first time. I also met Gianna for the first time (Angela and JB's daughter) and Jordyn (Cassie and Patrick's second, after Conner). The living room was filled with babies today, and it was so great. (I've also learned than my arm muscles are pathetic - but that's a different discussion.) Many family friends popped in and out all afternoon, and the party was a fun "Hi Charissa" party combined with "Happy Birthday" and also "Hey, your mom invited us." I knew a month or so ago that I needed to come home and regroup, and this day has served me well. I was surrounded by people I love and who love me. I'm lucky, grateful and proud of these relationships... you are all amazing and thank you to everyone who stopped by.

Photo Time!
Owen sleeping. I love his feet.

Rechel and me.

Jessie, me and the boys. (See mom - no hands!!)

Gianna and the smile I finally got from her.

I love this one. That's my nephew, Jude on the right... he was enamoured with Gianna. (Arranged marriages are illegal, right?)

Patrick and Conner, Jordyn and Cassie. (Conner and Jordyn are the kids.)

JB, me, Gianna and Angela.

I'm Home

I pulled in last night at 11:40 PM or so. After a tour of all of the changes to the house and the ritual unloading of the car, we finally went to bed about 1 AM. Antonio, of course, wasn't used to the new surroundings, so he wanted to get up and go the the bathroom about three times between 1 and 9 AM. Ugh. Life with a dog, right?

Anyway, I'm off to help prep for the party. I am VERY excited. Photos and stories to come later!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The "30" Project #11

I've been a blogger for over a year. 587 posts and counting. :)

I have been criticized by a few for my blog and how it's "all about me." And it's true. Many folks who chose to become bloggers write under a pen name, many of whom I consider friends: Snay, AH, NPR, Broadsheet, etc. But when I started my blog, I was following in the footsteps of friends that used their full names, and who blogged about their children, their hobbies, and their outlook on life, so I did the same. Does the way I blog create a bit of a risk? Absolutely. I have to be careful of what I blog about because it is directly associated with my name. And for those who don't read regularly, my name isn't exactly common. I don't blog about work, I don't blog about my friends' secrets or things they'd prefer to keep private - well, that's a lie... I did that once by mistake and lost someone I cared about because of it.

I tend to blog about random thoughts I have, activities that I participate in, or insignificant topics, such as TV shows and movies, but it is all me, because every time I sit down to post, there's no hiding behind a name or a computer. Every opinion and comment on these pages is from a my very open life. I am not being critical of those that chose the more private method, some have jobs or families that need protected, yet still have something valuable (or not valuable) to say. This is the choice we make. Because my name is on my blog, I leave myself vulnerable to personal attacks and harassment. There is far less risk when you blog behind a name - there are far fewer consequences for what you write. I don't feel that my posts are any more or less important than other bloggers. This is my life, and I've never claimed to be particularly exciting or interesting... this is just me.

So to close, I appreciate all of you that stop in to read. I can't make any promises on the content, but feel free to stay and read if you are amused, inspired or just curious. If you are insulted, you are welcome to share. If, as a result of my posts, I am seen as egotistical or a braggart, so be it. I don't blog to please anyone. I put the craziness that is my brain in writing, and if you are so intrigued, you are more than welcome to join in.

The "30" Project #10

I'm a champion video gamer (admittedly by my own account).

But I know how to win, dangit! Okay, so to those of you who don't play video or PC games, this won't seem like a big deal... but I am a gamer, and I play games until there's nothing left to play. I've won all of the scenarios on Rollercoaster Tycoon (original) and Rollercoaster Tycoon 2, as well as most of the expansions. I've won the original WarCraft and WarCraft II, and am currently stuck (have been for a year) on one scenario in WarCraft III. I've completed most of the Myst games... winning Myst III: Exile in about 36 straight hours about four years ago. I've completed Kingdom Hearts (with a partner), Zoo Tycoon, SimCity (up until SimCity 4), SimTower, Siberia, Siberia II, PoliceQuest (remember that one?), Railroad Tycoon, etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on. I just love computer games, and even more so, I love to win. For this, video games are perfect because the expectations are clear and straightforward; it just takes a lot of time, logic, creativity, and patience. As good as I am, I must admit that my sister holds the record for who-can-stay-up-the-longest-on-Christmas-vacation-and-win-every-game-we-both-received-for-Christmas. Even so, I still consider myself a pretty fiece gaming opponent.

Current games in play: RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, expansion pack Soaked! (I haven't started the Wild! expansion yet); WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos (I haven't started The Frozen Throne expansion because I've been stuck on one scenario in Reign of Chaos for a year); Myst IV Revelation (I kinda got bored); and DreamFall. I also have a World of Warcraft play card that I haven't tried yet, as well as the Sim Collection to replay. Luckily, I have a dad and coworker who are also gamers so I don't have to feel like such a nerd.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The "30" Project #9

I'm gracious.

It's actually rather difficult seeing the accomplishments in your own life as accomplishments, since most of the things you do you expect from yourself normally. Did I expect to graduate college? Did I expect to do well? Did I expect to have the successful career that I have? Yes, yes, yes. But what I have found with a little introspection is that I have every right to be proud of even the smallest accomplishments in my life. Just last week I was saying to my mom, "How in the hell am I going to come up with 30 things?" And what did she do? She emailed me a list of things that make HER proud. Things about ME that SHE is proud of. I'm her kid. It made me feel good. But I suppose that's what moms do, right?

Anyway (back to today's accomplishment), I was raised well. Sure, I'm feisty, sometimes unnecessarily so, and yes, sometimes I'm a complete bitch (there's your curse word, Snay!). That's all just a part of who I am. But what I am most proud of today (especially today), is the power of good genes, good parents, and a good upbringing.

There are some people who have so little self respect that it makes them unable to be respectful to others. Whether comments are made to them directly or are sent into the 'great unknown' of the Internet, these people are often unpredictable and rude. But for self-assured people like me, or like us, our strength is in our upbringing and personal constitution. This forum is certainly a public one. My blog, my life, my thoughts and opinions (however trivial or insignificant) are mine, and mine to share with whoever wants to take a listen. That's one of the things I love about blogging - hearing from people who you might normally never interact with. I'll accept the comments, the banter, and any criticism with my head high and a slight smile on my face. Why? Because my parents did good by me. Yes they did. Like I said... I was raised well. I'm gracious.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The "30" Project #8

I've kept a dog, a cat, and a plant alive.

Yeah, so I don't have kids... I get that; but I have two healthy animals that are well-cared far, healthy and happy. I've always said that there's no point in owning pets if you don't spend time with them, and as I type this, Antonio is playing with a toy on the floor, and Elliott is stretched out on the blanket next to me sleeping. They're just happy animals. Now don't get me wrong, they have their shares of health issues, for instance Elliott was a malnourished kitten when my sister rescued him, so he's itchy-scratchy all of the time, and sometimes scratches himself until he bleeds. In addition to that, Elliott is allergic to chicken, and therefore gets sick if he eats too much food with high chicken content. Antonio, on the other hand, has invertebral disk disease, so he has been on steroids three different times. It has been just awful for him, but we get him the good drugs each and every time.

Anyway, my animals (and that plant) are testament to my unselfishness. I give them a lot of me and my time (sometimes not enough), and they are wonderful pets and housemates. We rarely meet people who don't think they are just wonderful... I'd like to think I can take some credit for that.:)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The "30" Project #7

I'm charitable.

I'm still paying off some old debt (and a new car, and new eyeballs), but I do my best to give back. I've supported the Christian's Children's Fund for over ten years, and I've had my current child, Paris, for about three years. He'll be nine soon. I wish I had a scanner because I'd scan a photo, but instead here's a picture of the next gift package that I am sending to him. The bags contain seashells that I collected in Marco Island in April... I'll explain to him what they are and where I got them in the letter. Although I write him often, I get a letter only once or twice a year - it takes a long time for letters to get to and from Zambia.

I also give blood - which I loathe. I am on the cusp of the weight limit you need to have to donate, and I tend to get sick when I do (dizziness, sweating, chills, nausea), but I think it's important to do it if you are able to. You just never know when you'll need blood. It's a selfless thing to do.

In addition to these things, I donate to the Red Cross and Goodwill as well. I'm usually inspired by an event (tsunami, hurricane, etc.) to do these, but even if you have just have a little to give, I encourage you to do so. Minimally, it's good karma. But beyond that, the payoff is endless...

Mid-June Sunday Cleaning

I'll be going home to Ohio next weekend, so I am slowly shifting from daily living 'to dos' to 'what I want my house to look like when I leave and when I get back' 'to dos.' So the list is quite big this weekend, but luckily, I've already started.

1. Laundry - done
2. Launder sheets/blankets - done
3. Launder futon cover - done
4. Vacuum - done
5. Dishes - done
6. Cook for lunches - started
7. Clean cat box
8. Scrub kitchen floor - started
9. Work: Launch summary - started
10. Work: SITE Analysis
11. Work: Ptype list - started
12. Clean balcony - done
13. Clip Antonio's nails - done
14. Go through Antonio's toys - done
15. Put laundry away - done
16. Iron clothes
17. Dust
18. Finish book - done
19. Clean bathroom - done
20. Pack stuff for family into car - done (by door)
21. Send eVite for BBQ in Ohio - done
22. Take out trash - done
23. Watch Netflix movie - done
24. Watch coworker movie
25. Transfer more CDs to iTunes (esp Chicago Greatest Hits) - started

That might be it for now... we'll see how I do.

Netflix, Laundry and Love

Antonio and I spent a number of hours at Patterson Park today. It was gorgeous and pleasant, and since it sounds like it will be brutally hot tomorrow, I'm glad we took the opportunity to spent time outside today.

So while I was working on a document for work, I watched Dear Frankie and worked through some laundry. First, I'll say it was a really sweet movie. The movie takes place in Scotland, so it was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to the actors' accents. Second, I think I fell in love with Gerard Butler (photo right). Sweet Jesus... he might be the perfect man. (Okay, I know I don't know anything about him, but I can pretend that he is, right?) I'll rate the movie four stars and the man five stars.

Now only if he had some meat...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The "30" Project #5 & 6

I can cook, and I'm relatively self-sufficient.

I thought I'd combine two of my accomplishments since I'm behind a day. That's what I get for having a work dinner and work event two nights in a row.

So I can cook. From casseroles and burgers to broiled chicken and homemade apple butter, I've pushed myself over the last five years or so to learn how to use different foods and spices to make meals interesting. I've made a few inedible meals in my day in my quest for becoming a decent cook, which only means that I dare to be creative. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I take a lot of pride in the food that I create, and although I still have a long way to go... I still have plenty of years to perfect my skills.

As far as self-sufficiency, I have done a number of projects in my 29+ years that qualify me as DIY single gal extraordinaire. I've built furniture, stripped paint, stained decks, planted flowers, mowed lawns, framed and hung photos, and fixed my dryer and toilet. I've also added a hard drive to my computer and replaced the keyboard on my laptop. I own a power drill, staple gun and tools, and have not only decorated, but also painted most of the places I've lived. The only thing that holds me back in projects is my short stature and a pair of short arms. Certainly it isn't my lack of initiative.... ;)

Friday, June 15, 2007

The "30" Project #4

I've been a host on the radio.

When I was in high school, my intention was to major in journalism, and although I wanted to be a TV journalist, I was able to get a (one day) gig at a local talk radio station. It was a station that my mom listened to regularly, so we were familiar with the hosts already on the morning show, and they let me come in, sit in the studio, and participate in the banter with callers.

I suppose this would be a lot more fun today, now that I'm a little more outspoken (and funny), but at the time I was just giddy with excitement. It was such a neat opportunity, and since one of the hosts was an attractive female, I could completely see myself in that role.

Years later I won tickets to see David Copperfield after calling in and winning a contest. And years after that, the station went pseudo conservative, so we stopped listening. Eventually, I decided to major in marketing anyway, but what a neat experience for a high school student with big dreams.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The "30" Project #3

I'm a performer. I love the theatre.

Way back when, I used to perform in school plays and community theatre. I was in three musicals in high school - Anything Goes! (Chorus), The Sound of Music (Brigitta), and Oliver! (Oliver). In addition to that, I did local theatre like Annie (chorus), Snow White (Dinky AKA Sleepy), and a murder mystery about a gizillion times over and over: The Great High School Whodunit (Becky). Alas, I never played the ingenue, and my biggest role was that of a 13 year old boy in Oliver!, as Oliver. Years later in my twenties, I assistant staged managed Oliver! at a community theatre under my sister who was the real stage manager. I must admit that even though I love performing, stage managing was insanely fun given how bossy I am. Throughout school I did a whole bunch of vocal performance, too. I was in Concert Choir, Madrigals, and the Notables Show Choir, and I went to vocal competitions at the solo and group levels (and won!).

There's just something about performing. No matter how many times I've done it, my stomach gets queasy and I get nervous every time I sing or act - I can't help it. But once I'm into the scene or I start singing, my heart soars. There's just nothing like being on stage.

I was able to find some photos from Annie. I was a senior in high school here and the play was at a local community theatre. In this first photo, I am the girl sitting in blue. I had a red wig, and I was one of the Boylan sisters.

This is from the song "NYC." I'm the girl on the far right with the suitcase. I had a pretty decent solo in this song... "NYC, Just got here this morning. Three bucks, two bags, one me...."

This is a cast photo. It's probably too small to tell, but I am smack in the center in a maid's dress and pointy maid's hat. I miss the theatre.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The "30" Project #2

I ran a marathon.

Well, I ran seventeen or so miles of a marathon. Well, actually... I jogged a marathon. It was the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Looking back, I don't believe I trained as well as I should have (although I did train a lot), and I hurt my ankle somewhere around mile 9 which slowed me down, but I am still pretty darn proud that I did what I did. I raised quite a bit of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, which was my primary goal for the event anyway.

Somewhere there are photos but I can't find any (mom?). My parents drove down and watched me run, and they carried signs saying "Go Rissa" and showed up cheering for me at various points along the marathon route. I remember I hurt something fierce for about a week afterward, and although I will never attempt another full marathon again, I've been toying with doing a half or a team marathon lately.

Just an idea. ;)

Photos courtesy of my momma. :)

This is me towards the beginning of the race. I'm in the American flag shorts. (Sexy, huh?)

This is me at mile marker 16. I was pooped by this point.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The "30" Project #1

I am a college graduate.

Even more so, I am an Honors College graduate from Kent State University (yes, that Kent State). My sister and I were the first generation in the family to go to a four year college. I guess that really isn't uncommon for someone my age, but what's interesting, though, is that I didn't realize we were the first generation until later in life. We didn't grow up with the weight of attending college on our shoulders. There was no pressure, perse; We were just expected to go. We were expected to go... and we were expected to do well.

Oh - and we did, of course. (Duh.)

For more about the "30" Project, click HERE.

Great Grapes Festival

On Sunday afternoon, Jodi and I met Jill, Rob and Jill's parents at the Great Grapes Festival at Oregon Ridge Park. It was essentially a big wine tasting, craft fair, concert. The Kelly Bell Band played, and they are always entertaining; and I bought some really nice jewelry from some regional jewelers.

Here's a snapshot of 'IDK my BFF, Jill' and Rob. How cute are they?
Here are Jill's mom and dad relaxing on the blanket and listening to the music.
(You might remember Jill's mom from her Internet debut on Thanksgiving.)

Here are Jodi and I in shades. She doesn't like this picture as much as another one we took, but this is my blog and I like this one. J, you can post the one you like on your blog, okay? :)

You know what's surprising? How bad some Maryland wines are. I suppose I shouldn't be so negative, because I tasted quite a few good wines, but there were quite a few horrible wines out there too. A few of my favorites were Basignani Winery's Marisa, Woodhall's Sangiovese and Fiore Winery's Chambourcin Reserve. Yum.

Another bonus was meeting Ilan from Top Chef Season One. Can you believe it? He was in Maryland! We had no idea that he was going to be there, but what a neat treat to meet him. He was so friendly and down to Earth, not to mention pretty funny.

After some more drinking and shopping, Jodi and I caught up with him later when he was doing a cooking demonstration. I had my very first taste of lamb on Sunday, and it was so, so good.

This is my favorite photo. I love a man with meat.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The "30" Project

In honor of my upcoming thirtieth birthday, I present: The "30" Project. This idea comes to us courtesy of Missy. In the month prior to my birthday I will try to post an accomplishment a day that has occurred in my first thirty years. In the month following I will post 30 goals for the next 30 years. Whether major or minor accomplishments, they have played an important role in me becoming the person that I am... so they are celebrated.

Due to this project, June is likely to be a post-heavy month, so beware. :)

I invite others to play along.

The Baltimore Honfest 2007

Dang, it was hot again this year. Last year was cool, but 2005 was a hot year - very "my back is sweating" kind of hot. (Is that gross?)

So Jodi and I were slow movers this morning after wine, beers and pineapple kixx (two points if you know what those are) Friday night. We grabbed food before we headed to Hampden, and only arrived at Honfest at 3:30 or so. We met Danielle, Angie, and Kelly there, and despite my strong desire to spend tons and tons of money, I bought nothing but a cold beer and a book. (Hmmmm....)

Everywhere we went we kept running into this pair of mature ladies dressed to the HILT in hon-wear. We saw them EVERYWHERE. Here's a snapshot of them, and I believe it far outdoes the hons that I saw last year.

Here's another candid shot courtesy of Jodeez skillz... it's almost 'journalistic' in nature, yes?

I also saw a lot of dogs this year, so much so that Jodi finally realized that I am a crazy dog lady, because I had to stop and pet most of them. (Or as Jodi recalls, "You not only stopped and petted them, BUT you asked them all to kiss you." I guess she has a point.) No photos here... which is rather unfortunate.

So here's a group photo of the girls after our first loop around the 'fest. We look so fresh and lively (Jodi says that sounds like a kind of cottage cheese). Notice how we are oh-so-randomly aligned? It was not on purpose... swear.

And here's my personal favorite group photo. After a few loops around in 80+ degree heat, we couldn't help but kick up our feet for a few on a shady porch.

This Is What the Big JC Thinks Is Funny When We Drink Wine...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Big JC

Not a reference to Jesus Christ, but to Jodi & Charissa. (I think I'm funny.) This is a short post because we're off to the honfest soon. but I wanted to post some photos.

Anyway, Jodi and I went to dinner last night after I picked her up. We ate at Mammas of the Half Shell in Canton, which I am embarrassed to say was my first time eating there. My salmon was so, so good and we had some WOOP WOOP Shiraz.

This is Jodi reacting to the gelatinous dressing on her side salad.

Was anyone outside last night? There were gorgeous electrical storms early in the evening, so we walked down to the Canton waterfront and watched them. The lightening was often horizontal - it was "brilliant" (a Jodi word). We also hit up Walts Inn for karaoke which was fun because I hadn't been in so long.

Jim and I (You are hilarious - just no more Jesus talk!!)

And Jodi and I. :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I Don't Believe In Diets

Wow. Dearest friends... I don't think I said diet, because I have never dieted, ever. In order to relieve some concern, maybe some background is necessary.

I am 4'11". I weigh well within "average" for my height and age. I'm not fat, and I'm not skinny. I'd classify myself as curvy, and overall, I like my curves. I am a relatively healthy individual (minus the whole seizure business) with a moderate metabolism. My issue is that I love to snack. Within an hour or so of eating a meal I am hungry again, so I snack constantly.

Now rarely do I snack on sweets, because I'm a salt-lover... so I like chips, popcorn, goldfish crackers, slim jims, etc, etc, etc. Of course, I also love natural food with sodium, like celery and green peppers. I like red meat, potatoes, cheese, and nachos. I just like food in general.

So my goal here is not to starve myself. It is not to drop to an unhealthy weight or lifestyle. I am retraining my body and my mind to follow a new set of rules. I am eating a breakfast/protein bar and drinking a V8 for breakfast, which, despite my hatred for it, is super nutritious. This is a smarter option than the slim jim, crackers, or chips that I was eating before with a hot tea.

I am drinking more water than I ever have (I think I lived life in a constant state of dehydration before), and have temporarily eliminated soda and tea.

I am snacking only on foods with few calories (protein bars, veggies, waffles, etc.), and I am upping my exercise. But I hate running and jogging, so I am balancing my inconsistent physical activity with getting a better handle on my caloric intake.

I am not counting calories, but avoiding foods with crazy fat and more calories than should be in a small serving. I had shrimp and veggie stir fry on white rice for lunch today, and a chicken sandwich for dinner.

So I hope everyone feels better about this. Experts say that by eating well Monday through Friday you can retrain your body with good habits. That's what I am doing. Some days may seem more drastic than others, but I can't do this halfway. I'm not dieting. I am taking advantage of my strong will and stubbornness and doing what I should have done long ago. If I subtract 5 or 10 pounds from my current weight, I still fall comfortably into what the charts and graphs and calculations call "average." I just want to be more average... more average with a bit less love handle. :)

Thanks for the concern.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

$97 and 33 Minutes

That pretty much sums it up for my first trip to Sam's Club in almost five years. What did I get for my money?

Granola Snacks
Healthy Breakfast Bars
Homestyle Waffles
Dried Fruit 'Trail' Mix
V8 Juice
Laundry Detergent


Edimame! Who knew you could get it frozen in little bowls for the microwave? We had some delicious edimame in Florida, and although this is frozen and not fresh, it's still a healthy (and super yummy) snack.

I've officially overeaten this evening... but at least it was all good for me!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek."
Mario Andretti

I will lose at least five pounds in 35 days, and I've found a few motivations for walking.
1. A decent audio book. I am now listening to The Four Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferris. Just to be clear, in case work is reading... I do not intend to quit my 9 to 5, er.. my 8:30 to 7:30. It's a book. It's interesting. Just to be clear. :)
2. Walking to and from Subway (just over a mile away) to pick up my 280 calorie 6" turkey sub.
3. Stopping in at Chesapeake Wine Co. to pick up my favorite wine as a nightcap (okay, so maybe this is the true motivation for two miles).

All I have to say is I've had less than 1,000 calories today, and I've speed walked two miles. I will lose at least five pounds. Motivation and determination go hand in hand. I've never called myself sporty, but strong-willed? THAT, I am...

Ten on Tuesday

1. I didn't open my laptop at all last night. Not once after I got home. I watched TV and just did nothing. Wonderful.
2. Food is scarce in this house. I'll need to go shopping before...
3. JODI VISITS THIS WEEKEND! I am sooooo excited. It is possible to fit karaoke, the honfest, a wine tasting and a Wes and Drew show into one weekend?? I don't know, but we may just try. :)
4. I actually watch the Ex-Wives Club TV show last night and was pretty impressed. It's reality TV, sure... but the two people on this week's show went to a two day Debbie Ford workshop, and it looked pretty powerful. It sounds cheesy, but I was moved. There were some good things said in that workshop, and I kind of wish I could experience them. (Note to self: Add Debbie Ford's books "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" and "The Best Year of Your Life" to the must-read book list.)
5. I have a follow up eye appointment after work today. I have noticed a significant improvement in the astigmatism in my right eye, but I can tell that my left eye is still stronger. We'll see what the doctor says, I guess.
6. I'm going to lose 5 pounds before I turn 30. I've just decided.
7. Due to #6, I guess I need to cut out the Slim Jims snacks at work (damn).
8. Due to #7, I'll need something else to munch on. I cannot go an entire day without snacking (oh no, V8).
9. Due to #5, #6 and #7, I'm going to have to buy a scale.
10. Due to #9, I may just have to lose 10 pounds to make it worth having that thing in my apartment.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pic of the Day on Monday

(I just made that one up.)

I just LOVE this pic of Jess and family. I'm looking forward to meeting the boys (and seeing Fenster, of course)!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Yesterday, Antonio and I spent a few hours at Patterson Park - me reading, and him - watching squirrels, dogs, people, etc. We did this quite a bit last summer, and I enjoy it because it allows me reading time while Antonio gets stimulated by the surroundings. I probably read about 100 pages in my current book - more than I've read since being on the plane to and from Reno last month.

Later on in the evening, we headed to Jess and Russ' for a pool party and bonfire. Being the mean momma that I am, I sorta put Antonio in the pool (gently) to remind him that he can swim. He swam over to Russ who put him on a floaty where he was a lot happier. Poor little weiner dog, his whole body except for his head totally sinks. He looks like a little submarine.

Keith didn't bring swim trunks, so here's a pic of him by the fire in a towel. It's an image that had us all laughing because it's so, so, so... redneck. I didn't end up getting into the pool, after all. I sat and drank with my feet in the water, but after the sun went down I had little desire to be wet and cold.

We also notice the significant difference between winter bonfires and summer bonfires. Summer bonfires are HOT. I suppose that's why swimming will have to be a part of the event going forward... just to keep it bearable.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Feelin' Down

Bad dream night last night. I dreamt the same, or very similar dreams, the whole night. I woke up over and over again only to fall back asleep and dream the same depressing dreams all over again. It all makes for a restless night of sleep and a sour and sad morning. I didn't get out of bed permanently until 11 AM.

It's pretty twisted that relationship scars from the past can play such a painful role almost 2 1/2 years later. It's strange how loving someone with strong feelings of being unwanted and abandonment can result in those same insecurities rubbing off on you. It's probably the very worst gift I've ever received. I don't really care about those people anymore, but the effects of the damage - emotional neglect, betrayal, abandonment - all sit in a dark corner of my soul and come out at the most inconvenient times. My life is great, my friends are great, my career is great, and there is nothing wrong in the least with my life... but this dark cloud of heartache and doubt comes and goes, and it's exhausting.

I just reread this post and it sounds awfully depressing. I'm not depressed, just weary today, I guess. My heart is aching today a little more than normal, and there's no easy way to get it to go away. Time, I guess. And maybe a little wine...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Monkey Tears

Now Jess won't be havin' any of those monkey tears.... no, she won't. But crocodile tears are just fine (I guess this could be considered a private joke... ah, well.)

Pictured below: Jess, Me, and Danielle at Lager's Pub in Canton to watch Wes and Drew.

And here's a group photo from two weeks ago on the Booze Cruise stolen from Angie's blog.