Ok this week's Stuff Portrait Friday assignment was a good one! Thanks Kristine :)
1. SomeTHING that inspires me to do what I do.
2. Something I don't like reading about on blogs.
3. Something that inspires me to write on my blog.
First, I was thinking of showing Norton the Nikon (my D50) because that marvelous camera alone is inspiration enough for me to take pictures every day. But Kristine used that one, sorta.
So the job I get paid for is being an environmental engineer in water pollution control. Yeah, designing shit plants. Glamorous, I know. But I am inspired by this:
Water. Clean water that we can fish in and swim in and drink. This is Scituate Harbor in Mass., one of my fave places to eat dinner. Just around the corner is Boston Harbor, which I have personally witness a transformation in the water quality there since the opening of a huge world class treatment plant a few years ago. That's inspirational.
2. Something I don't like to read about on blogs.
Cats. I'm so not a cat person.
3. Something that inspires me to write on my blog.
My skinny jeans. I recently started a new food diary blog in an effort to fit back into these jeans, and the response I have gotten has been awesome. Tons of encouragement from my fellow bloggers and lots of good advice too! So THEY are an inspiration as well.
This is my adorable husband, Mike.
I love him to death and think he is very sexy, but you can see from this picture that his hair is very thin on top. It looks fine first thing in the morning, but wind or water really show off his scalp. So this past weekend (after years of my protests) he buzzed all his hair off. Or I should say, I buzzed it off at his request. I'm not crazy about it, but he likes it so that's what matters. But he keeps coming home from work telling me about all the compliments he got on his haircut that day. My reaction is, people are so shocked when they see his new look that they must say something, and what ELSE are they gonna say, "WHOA! What happened to your hair?!" Yeah right. Well yesterday someone DID say that, but then they quickly backpedaled and said it looked good on him. Yeah right. (Sorry, honey, don't be mad.) I'm sure I'll get used to it.
Also, I want to know who turns down a promotion? My husband, that's who! He was meeting with the HR manager from his big company headquarters in Houston and she asked him about his career thusfar. When he told her his story, she was very impressed (as she should be) and said "I think I could get you a promotion!" He said "No, that's ok, I've only been in this position for a year and I need a bit more experience here before I move on. Check with me again in a year or two." ARGH! Mr. Safe and Secure. That sure as heck wouldn't be me. Well at least I don't have to move to Houston for awhile.
I had the craziest bad dreams last night, mostly involving Mike. First there was a threat of a nuclear bomb and we had to all go underground. Then I was on a plane and I watched as the plane started to dive and then flew headfirst into a skyscraper. Yeah, freaky. Then there was some kind of war about to start (not in the middle east...I dunno where) and Mike got all patriotic and enlisted without asking me first. I went off the deepend. He was really mean about it, and said it was his decision. I was like, no WAY. Anyhow, Mike would never do that, and I should really not eat salsa right before bed.
Since I've been a little hard on him this morning, let me say that he stayed home from the gym last night to mop my floors. That's AWESOME.
Did you SEE President Clinton's tirade on Fox News this weekend? Hehehe... Also I just learned that Pennsylvania Lt. Gubernatorial candidate Jim Matthews is actually the brother of news talkshow pundit Chris Matthews, who I very much dislike. If he weren't running against Ed Rendell I wouldn't vote for him due to this fact alone.
I read a very disturbing article this weekend about the last abortion clinic in South Dakota in Marie Clare magazine. People that make abortion sound like a good choice make my stomach turn. Not that I would ever judge someone for having made that choice, but still. It was a very interesting article though.
Also in case you hadn't picked up on all the advertising already, October is breast cancer awareness month. I know WAY too many women this has affected, including one kickass blogger who beat it at a very young age, so I will be participating in something called the Boobie-thon 2006.
It's a blog fundraiser for breast cancer run by the extraordinarily talented photographer, shutterblog. So go donate.
Enough content, now for something truly superficial...my new hair! I promised I would show ya.
Ok so you've been hearing me whine about my desire to lose some inches for awhile and it's probably pretty annoying. So I'm moving all that pent up frustration over to a new blog and treating it as a weight loss diary. I hate doing it because I don't like my food choices being scrutinized, but if it helps me eat better, so be it. I haven't started calculating calories, fat, or WW "points" yet, but I can always go back and do that later.
I haven't posted my actual weight yet either, but I may do that, just to keep track, if I get brave enough. Let's just say, I think the number on the scale is surprisingly high and does not really reflect how I look...but I could be fooling myself. My trainer always said the scale is not a good measure, especially when you are actively strength training and building muscle. She said to use the "jeans test", which is how you fit in your jeans. Jeans shrink in the wash, but as I mentioned yesterday, I can't fit a suit from a year ago, so that's a pretty good measure.
So if you are interested and want to help out, I encourage you to check it out and give me your advice. I'm not so into "whole foods", but I'm taking small steps to add fruits, veggies, and whole grains, while reducing refined sugar and flour and fat. If this kinda stuff is of no interest to you, don't bother reading it and I will soon be back to more amusing subjects.
I did get my hair highlighted and it looks pretty good. I'll show ya later. And I did considerable shopping and came home with many fabulous bargains. That's always terrific. But Penn State lost again...boohoo.
Now I must peel my butt of this here chair and get moving before I fall asleep. Even a tired, half-ass workout is better than none.
1. What is the first music you remember hearing?
Has to be Sunday school type songs. I remember my mom playing Bill Gaither Trio records while I played in the family room. The songs "I am a Promise" and "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes" stick in my head. I recently found a Veggietales version of "I am a Promise" and I love to sing it to Nathan.
2. Did you come from a musical family?
Sort of. My mom played the piano. My dad was tonedeaf, which is odd considering his parents are very musical and his brother was a DJ. But my mom introduced me to the piano VERY early...according to her I could play tunes by ear before kindergarten. I started lessons at 5 and continued into high school before we had a falling out with my teacher and never found a good replacement. I also LOVED to sing, and was always in the school choirs and musicals. After college I sang with my church's choir and contemporary worship band, leading the congregation. I loved it but my new church is HUGE and I haven't gotten involved in music there yet. For now I just sing in the car, the shower, and to Nathan. I wish I had a piano, and I also wish I could really play the guitar.
3. Do you remember a lullabye from your childhood? If so, what is it? Nope, not really. Besides the Sunday school songs I remember my mom teaching us Frere Jacques. My mom liked to use little French phrases with us too.
4. What song(s) changed your life?
Like Susie said, this one is really tough because songs are constantly changing my life, running through my head, all around me. One of major significance is the hymn "Great is thy faithfulness". We sang it at my high school graduation. We sang it at my wedding. (All four verses, without giving printed copies of the lyrics to the wedding party...BAD idea) We also sang it at my dad's funeral. Yep, it's important to remember God's faithfulness in good times and bad. More recently the pop song "Brave" by Nicole Nordman has been inspiring to me. She wrote it after the birth of her son, and how he, along with God's love, inspired her to be more than mediocre, to step out in courage and be extraordinary. That's how I want to be...so much more than average or comfortable.
5. If you could have dinner with three dead musicians, which three would it be and why?
I have to go with Susie on Handel, because the Messiah is SOOOO magnificent. Maybe Bob Dylan...oh wait...he's not DEAD yet?! J/k. Ok so maybe Joey Ramone, because I love the Ramones and he's a punk rocker who didn't die of drugs or alcohol or suicide. Kurt Cobain would probably be too fried to even understand, so he's out. So I guess for me that leaves either Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison. I'll go with Morrison because he was kinda HOT.
6. You are stranded on a deserted island. You are allowed the complete musical works of one band and its members. Which band or musician would you choose?
Oh geezzzz...this is actually tough for me. I was thinking the Foo Fighters, because then I could include Nirvana and a variety of other bands. But I guess I would definately choose the Beatles. I LOVE them. Seriously, they are genius. And I could do some yoga to the George Harrison stuff and then there's all the Paul McCartney stuff. At least it would be a LOT of music.
7. Does music play in your head? If so, what is playing right now?
Constantly. Right now it's "Light My Fire" by the Doors because of my answer to #5. Or maybe it's "Touch Me". Both great tunes. Oh wait, now I'm switching over to Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" for some reason. I have musical ADD.
8. Can music truly soothe the savage beast? If so, what music soothes your beast?
Usually classical, some Mozart or Beethoven or Vivaldi. Also Krishna Das, especially that song "Om Namah Shivaya". Love that one. Or some great modern worship music. Like the Kutless version of "We Fall Down". Oh and Christmas music at the holidays is completely calming for me during the hustle bustle. I really love Christmas music.
1. Something you've outgrown
2. Something you've overcome
3. I need help with...
1. Something I've Outgrown: Static Energy. You know, laziness. The predilection for sleeping till 10 on weekends, napping on the couch, and watching hours of TV. I was the laziest kid you'd ever meet. I hated exerting any physical effort whatsoever. All the way through college. Well into my twenties. After Nathan was born, something in my brain snapped. I have NO idea what happened, but now I can hardly sit still long enough to write a blog post or watch TV. I live to move, to workout, to see things, to be the master of my own body. This photo was taken awhile ago to celebrate having actual bicep definition.
2. Something I've Overcome: My fear of public speaking. I hated giving speeches in school. I would get SO nervous and jittery. I said "Um" all the time and giggled a lot out of nerves. It didn't matter if I knew the people I was speaking to, or even how much I knew what I was talking about. Then I took a job in sales. I knew nothing about sales, and I was pretty nervous at first. But little by little I became more comfortable. The more I practiced what I was going to say, the more I knew my product and my customer, the easier it was. Then I started giving big presentations at our annual sales meetings. That means me speaking for about an hour in front of a group of 50 middle-aged men. The feedback I got from them was awesome. So many of them kept telling me how impressed they were, and what a great job I was doing. So I kept doing it. And then I jumped out into even deeper water and started giving technical presentations at engineering conferences to bigshots and really smart guys. Commanding the attention of a huge room full of guys with big egos is empowering. So I have two more of those presentations to give next month. I haven't spoken in public in a couple years. Maybe I'll be a teensy bit nervous again. But it will be fun!
3. I need help with...Nathan. Not really, he's pretty easy, but I just need someone to watch him for an entire day next week so that I can fly down to Raleigh and back for a meeting. It's gonna mean missing a MOPS social and my yoga class, but I really want to go! Also I need more options for regular babysitters so Mike and I can go out on dates sometimes. My usual sitter's mother just got arrested on major embezzlement charges, so I think she's unavailable now. Yikes.
Additionally exciting about tonight is yoga class, which should rock. Tuesday's class is for advanced practitioners so we have been doing a lot of listening so that Jen's new pupils can play catch up. We've had much more dialogue and a lot of anatomy lessons. But Thursday's class is a combined first and second level class, so she just made us sweat a lot. I think she may have been doing her usual "weed-out" routine, wherein people discover that her style of yoga is hard work and not all relaxation. So tonight outta be a good workout. Mark missed last Thursday, and I have not had a chance to chat with him in quite some time, so I have no idea if he will be there tonight or not. On Tuesday we just made lots of funny faces at each other and goofed around while Jen did all the talking. Turns out spitfire girl's name is Kathy and she's a gymnast. This explains a lot. I think my hairstylist-with-two-names dropped out this session. I have an appointment with her Saturday so I will find out what the deal is there.
Speaking of hair appointments, I am spending some extra bucks this week to add some pizazz to my boring natural brown color. All this high maintenance is of course for my trip to Dallas next month where I will pack a year's worth of presenting, brainstorming, negotiating, and socializing with several HUNDRED of my good friends and colleagues into four short days. I burn about five thousand calories a day during this trip and don't actually sleep until I get home.
My point is, I would like suggestions. You've all seen my current mousy dark brown do. I used to have tons and tons of blonde highlights, but looking back at the photos I think it didn't look that good. So suggestions? I bounce around between Eva Longoria's dark gloss to Jessica Alba's honey highlights. But both of these girls are dark-skinned with deep tans to work their brunette heads. I, on the other hand, am fair and freckled. So what to do??
Mike and I are very upset by this whole bagged spinach ban. We both eat spinach salads for lunch several times a week. It is one food I enjoy and feel very good about eating, due to all the folate and other great nutrients in it. Banning spinach is VERY BAD for my diet. And I have been very good the past two weeks.
Speaking of diets, my sister says I must have a concrete goal and an action plan to get there. I told her my goal would be to drop a full dress size before my big conference in Dallas which is October 21. That's 4.5 weeks left. No problem! Last night I threw away a whole container of brownies. This morning I walked right past one of my biggest weaknesses...candy corn. I haven't had a breakfast sandwich in over two weeks...maybe even three. But I like the results, so I'll keep it up.
Last night I hopped on a treadmill next to a girl who I KNOW just had a baby. I ran for about 8 minutes before I started to lose my breath and the girl next to me just kept right on going, a full 2 mph faster than I. I don't know how some people do it. I slowed down to a fast walk but ramped up the incline for awhile and then switched to the bike for a good long ride. Felt great. Well wish me luck!
Blogger is being a pain in the ass and I'm having a lot of trouble uploading photos. So you'll just have to click on the link to see my Flickr slideshow. The slideshow shows first the ins and outs of tailgating at Penn State. Then some actual game footage of PSU verses Youngstown State, who we beat 37 to 3. And finally, Nathan's birthday celebration with many presents and his cousin Haley.
Penn State beat Youngstown State handily, as well they should have. Tomorrow we will have a little birthday party for the kiddo. Pictures of Happy Valley and the birthday party to follow.
Now onto Stuff Portrait Friday, TV Edition. I guess this was Shaun's idea. He's Kristine's other half, for those of you that don't know. Here's our assignment.
1. Your TV
2. Your Show (this should be called Your TV Pitch...but who am I to argue)
3. Your Replacement Character (in your life, that is)
1. I figured I could find a picture of my TV with Nathan in front of it easily. Here he is watching golf, and spazzing out every time a golfer hits a ball. He loves golf, Nascar, baseball, and football. He also does this with football, except he adds and "OH NO!" whenever a guy gets tackled.
2. I'm not that creative, but they tell writers to write what you know. So I would write a show about a girl that has a mysterious online friend, who she has known for over a decade but never met. She has only seen one very outdated photo of him, but he's seen lots of photos of her. They talk on the phone a lot about all sorts of things, but he refuses to ever meet her. All her friends speculate why such a good friend won't meet her. Some think he's married, some think he's gay, some thing he's ugly. She goes on with her life, gets married, has kids, etc, all the while wondering what's up with her elusive friend. As an added element of interest, he is a bigwig in the shoe biz, and sends her expensive shoes as gifts once in awhile. He's like the shoe fairy and she's a shoeaholic. I want to see how this one ends.
3. My replacement character. I like all the characters in my life. But if I had to replace any of them, I guess it would be my one business partner, and I would replace him with Chris Noth. He's seeeexay. I could look at this guy all day.
- Holy cow I have totally overbooked myself this month
- Mike's uncle, cousin, and cousin's boyfriend visited for the weekend
- Had dinner on Sunday night with TBG and we gabbed for hours
- Hitting the gym especially hard and seriously dieting right now
- Finally back to running and my knees are doing well
- First yoga class of the new session was awesome last night
- New "abs" class this morning was not too difficult
- Hosted a fun stamping party this evening (thanks for coming TBG!)
- Mike is away all this week
- Organizing meals for a mom in my MOPS group
- Work, rehab, and yoga class tomorrow
- Driving kid and dog 3 hours to meet Hubs at my inlaws Friday
- Nathan turns two on Friday!!
- Going to see Penn State play again this weekend
- Mike's new PSU football blog is going really well
- I hope October isn't this busy
But I think it is not disrespectful of those lost on 9/11 to remember who it is that attacked us, and resolve to fight back and protect ourselves. I really believe in this war against our ideological antagonists who would rather see us all dead than live in peace. I may not like the way it has been managed, but I believe the President is a good man with the best of intentions for this country and seeks only to protect our people. It's not ok or productive to trash all liberals or mock all Republicans. That's stereotyping, and it's wrong.
Today I met someone who made me stop and think about politics and this war. His name is Mike and we chatted about football at the rehab clinic I go to twice a week for my knees. He's a pretty good looking guy that doesn't say much while we work out. I had seen him before and knew he was injured in Iraq. The therapist told me about an interview Mike did on Fox News so I went home and checked it out.
I learned that he has a Purple Heart and is up for the Bronze Star award for valor. He was on a patrol when a mine blew up under his humvee, tearing it apart. Then some insurgents started shooting at them, and he was shot in the leg and the bone was shattered. He was eventually resecued and has had over a year of surgeries and rehab. He still has a big stabalizing cage on his leg with screws and stuff sticking all through it. When I saw him last he was on crutches, but today he told me he'd been out playing golf. From the interview and other news articles I read about him, it is clear he supports this war effort and would go back to Iraq in a minute if he could. Just like me, he has even volunteered to support Senator Rick Santorum, because of his fight against Islamic fascism. His injuries and enthusiasm made me feel like an idiot for complaining about my sore knees. Next time I see Mike at rehab, you'd better believe I will thank him for his service.
The mood was one of confusion more than shock or concern. We were all trying to log onto CNN.com and other internet news sites to find out more, but the bandwidth seemed to all be jammed and we couldn't load pages. So we decided he had better see if we could turn on the television. We dragged a TV into a back office so the rest of the building and the higher ups wouldn't notice. We huddled around a snowy TV were the only channel we could get was NBC. We listened to Katie Couric talk to someone in the Pentagon, and we all heard the explosion there live. We heard the panic in the man's voice, and the skeptic in me said "oh I'm sure it's not related...no big deal...couldn't be..." In case you didn't know this, I'm a pretty skeptical and cynical person.
Very shortly we realized that we were, in fact, under attack. People were talking about planes being grounded and planes going missing off the radar. My thoughts immediately turned to my very close friend and colleague who was flying to California that morning. Of course no one could reach him, because cell phones simply weren't working. My two least favorite colleagues (including the jerk that would later sue me and lose) were also on a plane to our office in Taiwan. We were all very worried. Fortunately all my colleagues were safe and eventually made their way home. One of my coworkers would never get on a plane again and had to quit his job because of it. We went to lunch at a local sports bar and watched with the rest of the resturant in horror as they showed clips of people jumping out of the buildings before they fell. I went home that evening and bawled my eyes out.
A week later I drove north for a sales trip to CT. I wasn't even thinking when my car sped down Rt. 78 through New Jersey, rounded the corner and gave me the most chilling view I'd ever seen...the New York skyline I had always loved seeing, minus the twin towers.
A month later I got on a plane to Atlanta for a big sales convention. I was proudly defiant, refusing to be afraid. I checked into the Westin Peachtree hotel, which is the huge glass cylinder that stands way out alone on the Atlanta skyline. The clerk asked me if I'd prefer a room on a low floor or a high floor. I chose the high floor. I checked into my room on the 60somethingth floor, which had one wall entirely of glass, and I walked over and peered out into the sky and thought to myself...this is almost the same view so many people had that day just before they died.
Maybe I'll have to throw a blogger bash of my own. After all, there are tons of cool blogging chicks in my area, like TBG, Lori, dcrmom, Charlotte and Sue, Maidink, Lolageek, teri, Meegs...who am I forgetting? Oh yeah the guys! Well there's the Lawnwhisperer. Hmm...not sure who else. Who's with me?
On another note, Penn State lost to Notre Dame. Not only did they lose, they looked bad. It will make sitting in Beaver Stadium next week not so much fun. Also Texas lost. To Ohio St, our rivals. It was not a good football weekend in my book.
1. Your Freedom
2. Your Hope
3. Your Wish
My freedom is getting time by myself to do what I like, which most often comes in the form of yoga. Twice a week for an hour it's all about me. This is my latest yoga challenge...inversions. I'm facing my fear of falling over (by using the wall first).
Dontcha just love the silly wireless remote in my hand, which is giving me some bad headstand form. I guess this isn't a very attractive pose. But look how much FUN I'm having!
My hope is absolutely in the big JC. Because of Him and His grace, I have absolute hope for the future, here and after life. Not just "I hope I'm going to heaven, because I'm a good person." Cuz I'm NOT a good person. More like "I know I'm cool with God because JC is my right-hand-man."
The underlined verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Ok now my wish. Seriously, my wish is that I was skinny. Well skinni-ER anyway. For now, I would settle for being able to fit nicely into this dress again.
I know it doesn't look like much, but it's a couple sizes smaller than I am right now. Back in 2000 after my dad died I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 lbs and I remember being SO excited when I bought this dress. Well haven't been there for a long time. I've got the exercise thing down, it's the starvation part I can't quite master. But I'm not ready to commit to something like WW again, so who knows when that dress will finally fit.
1. Do you still have tonsils? - yes
2. Would you bungee jump? - no way
3. If You Could Do Anything In The World For A Living What Would It Be? - photographer
4. How many tattoos do you have? None, but am seriously considering getting one
5. Your favorite fictional animal? - Babar the Elephant
6. One person that never fails to make you laugh? - William from Poop and Boogies
7. Do you consider yourself well organized? - yes
8. Any Addictions? - yoga, sugar, caffeine, and my computer
9. From what news source do you receive the bulk of your news? NBC10, WCAU 1210 radio
10. Would you rather go to a carnival or circus? carnival...yummy food!!
11. When you were twelve years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? astronaut!
12. Best Movie You've Seen This Year? - The Interpreter
13. Favourite alcoholic drink - Cosmopolitan
14. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? pee
15. Siblings? one sister
16. What is the best thing about your job? - working whenever I want
17. Have you ever gone to therapy? - physical therapy!
18. If you could have one super power what would it be? - teleportation
19. Do you own any furniture from Ikea? - nope, just Swedish food!
20. Have you ever gone camping? - yes, when I was a kid
21. Gas prices! First thought? - don't really matter at all
22. Your favorite cartoon character? - Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbs)
23. What was your first car? - Saturn
24. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? no
25. The Cosby Show or the Simpsons? The Cosbys!
26. Do you go to church? yep, every week
27. What famous person would you like to have dinner with? Laura Bush
28. What errand/chore do you despise? mopping the floor
29. First thought when the alarm went off this morning? - gotta get up
30. Last time you puked from drinking? 23rd birthday
31. What is your heritage? Swedish
32. Favorite flower? gerbera daisy
33. Disney or Warner Bros? Disney
34. What is your best childhood memory? any time with my dad
35. Your favorite potato chip? Utz, sour cream and cheddar
36. What is your favorite candy? reese's peanut butter cups
37. Do you burn or tan? freckle and burn
38. Astrological sign? - Sagitarius
39. Do you own a gun? No WAY!
40. What do you think of hot dogs? - sometimes good if I'm in the mood
This week's them for WBW is 90's fashion. I was in high school in the early nineties, and my sense of style ran the gamut. It was a prep school so I was pretty preppy at school. Dress code and all. But I was an alternative music lover so there was definately some punk influence to my off-hours wardrobe. Basically I was a fashion schizophrenic. Here is an example of a staple of my non-school wardrobe in the early 90's...the not-so-dirty grunge look. Vintage t-shirt and plaid flannel over top, with funky jewelry. I wish I could show you the shoes. The doc martin mary janes that I became known for in high school.
Sorry about the cock-eyed rotation...guess my friend taking the picture was being artsy or a comedian.
Oh I almost forgot!! Kami reminded me...I have an undercut in this picture. That's like a punk/skater thing where the bottom half of the backside of my head is shaved. You couldn't tell when I wore my hair down, like during school, but if I put it in a ponytail it looked AWESOME. (kidding...it looked retarded)
...wet. Hurricane Ernesto dumped on us all night and all day and all night again. Steady driving rain and wind.
...cold. Stood outside the stadium from 6:30am till 3pm, then sat inside the stadium till about 7pm. The Captain kept us company. My fingers got so cold I could hardly hold my drink.
We are Penn State.
Today we are driving up to Williamsport, PA to stay with my inlaws for the weekend. Mike and I will be leaving at 5am tomorrow morning to be at Beaver Stadium at 6:30am for tailgating before Penn State's first football game of the season. Only problem is Hurricane Ernesto has a path headed right for State College, due to hit hard exactly around gametime. So think of me, sitting in the stadium in the soaking rain. Don't laugh. I'm die-hard.
Go Nittany Lions!!! Beat the Zips!! (hehe...what a stupid team name for Akron)