Archive for January, 2011

Express Yourself

I sometimes have trouble expressing my thoughts and opinions…well, about my feelings at least.  Yes, I know where I stand on abortion, women’s rights, the environment, transportation, etc. and in this town, you must be ready to debate quickly when called upon.  I can sometimes put together logical arguments on these issues, however, I do not enjoy political debating.  I like to listen in when others debate and throw in a question or two as if I were some sort of judge trying to be swayed one way or another.

Although I fumble for words, I can typically get my act together for jargony talk, though I’m much better with the written word.  I struggle to find the right words in improv, too, and it seems I am having more and more trouble recalling basic day-to-day words.  As Erin Clark and I like to joke, I have trouble with “my set of words.”  When I get migraines, I really struggle.  I remember once when I had a pretty severe migraine I could not remember the word for toothbrush.  I was holding it and brushing my teeth with it, completely aware of what I was doing.  I kept thinking, “what is the name of this thing in my hand?”  It took me two minutes, the entire time I was brushing my teeth, to remember the word.  That is a scary feeling.

Unrelated to the whole word recall situation, I have trouble expressing my feelings.  Most often this is a result of not fully understanding my feelings.  I have to think through things to sort them out.  I am not sure why I struggle with this, but I have some theories that go back to being a people pleaser when I was a child.  Well, that’s a post or three for another day.  Point is, I struggle with it to this day.  Being aware of this problem is part of the solution so I am constantly working on identifying my feelings, sorting and organizing them, them effectively communicating them.  It is hard work, but I see progress.

This weekend I was tested three times:

  • I failed the first test.  I was angry and upset, I couldn’t figure out if I was upset at the situation or upset at something else, but I worked through it in my typical passive aggressive way.  I snipped.  Luckily, I have a chance to address it this evening like a big girl, so I will try to do that.  I just hate confrontation, even if I know it will be better in the end.  Update: a few minutes after I hit publish and before this person read the blog, we had our conversation, oddly initiated by the other person. I just took an opportunity of a cracked door and blew it wide open! I got out everything, everything I was thinking and feel much better.  Thanks to the Universe for hearing my needs and answering them.  Now I will give my self a passing grade for this test.
  • The second test I mostly failed, though that is still in the works as well.  The reaction I gave to some interesting news was not my true reaction, but I wasn’t sure what my true reaction was (work on the feeling first, then communicate the feeling).  My initial thought is to make the other person feel better and support them in their telling me what they needed to get off their chest.  I do that very, very well.  But once I got to thinking about the news, I had to start to feel it.  I took the opportunity to address it with someone else first (which was difficult, too) and not let it stew in my brain.  I am still working through the feelings, and we’ll see if I decide if it needs to be communicated or not.
  • The final test was hard, but I passed.  I had something on my mind that needed to be expressed.  I approached it and set a deadline.  The conversation happened and I feel soooo much better.  See, my stomach churns when I have things to say that people may or may not want to hear.  I get worried that they won’t like me or they think I’m being mean.  Again, I have no clue where this comes from, but it is.  And I have to put on my big girl pants and figure it out.  In this situation, I did that and it worked out.  Hopefully this will happen over and over again and become a new habit, especially with this particular person.
Apparently, this is called Emotional Literacy

Apparently, this is called Emotional Literacy

As annoying as it is, I tend to like to be around people who initiate the tough conversations.  Sometimes, the worst part is just knowing when to speak, so if someone opens with “how did you feel about ….?” then at least they have given me permission to speak freely rather than projecting my nice girl southern mask.  But is this just enabling me?  And even then, these questions get annoying if over used.  I can imagine my mom reading this blog and during our next conversation she starts in on these questions!

Maybe I should try being on the receiving end of this?  Do I start asking others how they feel about stuff and in return they’ll start to ask me?  To have a friend is to be a friend, right?

Now that I know this is called Emotional Literacy, I will try to research the topic and get back to you.  A fun project! and one that makes me a better person!  As always, let me know your thoughts…

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Weight Train

After two months of holiday eating and drinking and eating some more without a care, I decided to go back to a healthy way of eating.  Sort of a New Year’s resolution, but sort of just getting back to normalcy and finding my balanced weight again.  I need to shed those extra pounds so I can totally rock my summer clothes next month in Australia!

First, many people need to start at the beginning and get educated about what the right choices are.  And let me tell you, they are not about what a package advertises!  High fiber! Low calorie! Whole wheat!  It’s mostly non-sense.  I think about the people on the Biggest Loser who have never seen a vegetable in their lives.  They start at square one, and that’s okay.  We all have to start somewhere.  For some very good advice about making decisions in a grocery store, I depend on Fooducate for my information.  They explain the food labels clearly and have an app that you can use in the grocery store to help you make decisions.  I’m waiting for the Droid version before I can recommend it.

As you may not know, I have a fascination with nutrition and nutritious foods.  Do I always eat that way?  No siree!  But it’s probably worse that I know what I should be eating and yet I don’t.  All of us struggle with decisions with the food we put in our mouths.  We eat for reasons we are not aware of.  We eat our way through a bag of chips because we aren’t even paying attention.  Even when mindful and attempting to make the right choices, we sometimes don’t have the energy, time or money to make the right choice.  I get it.

But once you get the basic knowledge about eating right, what do you do with it?  To really lose weight, you need to figure out how to get over the excuses.   I find that with just mindful eating I can get back to where I’m supposed to be.  I don’t do diets or stick to hard and fast rules, and that makes me so much happier!  In general, this is what I try to stick to.  No better explanation is out there about my food beliefs.  Feel free to ask me any questions, but I’m not an expert, just an interested follower.

Much like religion, you are welcome to tell me your beliefs, but I probably won’t follow it.  I’ve found what works for me.  In fact, I find that I’m extremely annoyed when people try to tell me that I’m not eating the right foods or that my choices are not the right choices.  If I ask, please tell me.  If you ask, I’ll be happy to share, but I won’t until you ask.  And if you ask, be ready for an earful!

And how do I know it works?  Experience.  I gained about 20 pounds my freshman year of college.  I had quit doing sports everyday as I did in high school, coupled with late nights of pizza and waffles at RDH (the oh so brilliantly named Residence Dining Hall), and I was on a terrible track.  Then I read Oprah’s weightloss book and just followed it.  Pretty simple:  Eat fruits and vegetables.  Don’t drink alcohol.  Drink water.  Eat consciously. Get exercise.  I lost those 20 pounds and more, and I looked damn good by my sophomore year!  And I think the early experimentation and success has helped me the rest of my life.  My weight has stayed constant since then, and if I gain a few pounds I try to keep it in check much like I’m doing now.

Why did I launch into all this on Monday morning?  I fell off the wagon this weekend.  Hard.  I had a few drinks and shared a dessert at a restaurant.  I ate soooo many chips at the football watching party.  I feel awful, not because of guilt but because the excess salt makes me feel so gross.

I’ve recently read articles that say accountability is the best way to help lose weight.  So, I’m telling you so I can be accountable for my actions.  Confessing my sins in public will hopefully shame me into fixing it!  Just kidding, but it is to say I’m human.  I’ll be back on track today; it is Monday after all, a fresh day to start a new week.  And since it isn’t a “diet” I didn’t break any rules.  But I had a great weekend, and I don’t regret anything!  I’ll adjust and move forward.  Someone once said that throwing your diet to the wind because you had a bad day is like poking holes in all your tires if one is flat.  In other words, don’t sabotage or make it worse!

To make me even more open and accountable, I give you this….

My weight chart since January 1, 2011

My weight chart since January 1, 2011

This is my daily weight log for 2011.  It feels like I’m standing naked in front of you!  Ahhh!  Now you know what I weigh, and I’m okay with that.  I’m a big believer in weighing yourself every day to keep tabs on the situation, though I usually do not log it like this.  Each day I log my weight, the trend line makes an adjustment.  That’s kind of a fun game, just like my blog stats.  But the trend line is going down, and that’s what I’m using as motivation.  I don’t really have a desired weight goal by February 24 (the date I leave for Australia), but I know it’s going in the right direction.  I just want to remain healthier and in a reasonable weight range.  My reasonable range is between 152 and 157 pounds (BMI between 21.5 and 22.5).  This is what I weighed my junior year of high school when I was active with sports every day after school and in my adorable young prime.  It also happens to be in the Tyra Banks range.

And if in doubt, I can always pull out my “check dress”.  It’s the dress I wore my junior year of high school…the navy, well-fitted Liz Claiborne dress in which I made my speech running for Student Body President.  I keep it and try it on every now and then just to see if it zips.  It fit the last time I tried it, but that was two years ago.  Maybe I’ll try it on again?  Am I the only one who has something crazy like this in my closet?

Thanks for hearing me out, and thanks for reading!  I’ll try to get a photo of me in the check dress…if it fits!

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Best Gifts Ever

I have some amazing friends that do amazing things for me.  Many of them are great gift givers.  I’m a terrible gift giver, so I appreciate anytime someone puts time or creativity or effort into giving me a gift.  I just have such thoughtful* friends!  For my housewarming, I got a really cool wine candle from Lane, a set of playful candle holders from Alice and and original Jose photo of the metro framed from Claudia and Jose.  It just makes me feel so warm inside that my friends have such great taste and that these reminders around my house help me think of them when I see the object.  I’m pretty sure I have not bought them anything in return, and I must do something about that soon.

Recently, I have been given some awesome gifts that are worth sharing here to show my thanks and remind me that I need to do a better job of giving.

1. Knit hat from my mom.  Over the holidays on Bainbridge Island, my mom and I took an outing to the downtown Winslow knitting shop.  I got to pick out some exquisite wool to complement my coat.  I usually just make my knit items with the cheap stuff, so that alone was extra special.  She started the hat while we were on vacation.  She was unable to finish it before I returned to DC, so I got a nice surprise when I returned home!  The hat is a perfect off white cable knit with the extra poof that the kids are wearing these days because my youngest sister directed my mother with the design.  I feel so “in” when I wear it!  And of course, it reminds me of the holidays and the time we spent as a family.

2. My girl Cosette is the absolute greatest gift giver of all time.  I have some great things around my house from her…the red crab that sits in my kitchen window, Ciao America the book that I’m getting through as her housewarming gift to me, and her grandmother’s etched juice glasses and pitchers.  That’s probably the girliest thing I own, and I love them!  The thing about Cosette’s gifts are that they are always loved before she gives them to me, and I love that about them!  She gives me gifts that have been in her home and she thought I would enjoy it, too.  I know I was on her mind when she was deciding what to do with her treasures.  And they are usually surprises!!

The best gift she gave me recently was a Christmas DVD that she had never watched.  I immediately put it in my Christmas box for next year (which is why I can’t recall the name, but it will be such a surprise next year!).  She read on my blog that I love Christmas movies and thought I would enjoy that one.  Now, her son is turning one in April/May, and I have never bought him anything or sent him anything!  I’m so ashamed, but when I meet him in March (hopefully) I will shower him with gifts from Australia!  Just you wait, Devon!

3. The best housewarming gift…ever.  When I visited my sister in Seattle in November, she gave me the greatest housewarming gift I’ve ever received.  I finally got around to taking photos of it and now I can share with you!  She spent almost a year working on the greatest quilt I’ve ever seen.  The design is amazing.  The handiwork is tremendous.  The colors are perfect for my living room.  And it has the metro map and a bike!!  I’ve been showing it off to anyone who comes to visit, and now I’m showing it off to you, readers.

I know when I make things (like a knit hat), I think about the person I’m giving it to the whole time I’m making it.  Well, she must have done a lot of thinking about me because this took hours and hours and days and days of work!  She’s part of a weekly quilting club where she has been honing her skills.  I’m just so impressed!  Isn’t it the most beautiful quilt you’ve ever seen?

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So, a special thank you to my mom, Cosette and Melissa for being so generous and giving.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I love you all!  I only hope that I can return the love that you’ve given me…in my own way, of course!

Oh, some other great gifts I got last week…soup and gatorade from Corby, homemade soup from Salsa, Gossip Girl from Corey and the trash taken out by Steve and Nick.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that make such a big difference.  Thank you!!

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Am I boring?

Am I getting boring?  No seriously, you can tell me.  I started this blog to keep distant friends and family members aware of my daily life, especially when I do not have time to give everyone a call on a regular basis.  Hell, I hardly call my parents weekly anymore, and they’re always at the top of the list!

My problem with the blog is that I don’t have much interesting to say anymore.  Wha???  Yes, it’s true! Work has been great and busy, improv keeps me entertained a few nights a week, I date a bit but refuse to discuss it on the blog…other than that, what else is there to say?  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of thoughts that go through my head during the day.  For example, yesterday I saw enough patterned black panty hose to last me a long time, then I discovered that the hose I’m wearing to work today has a pattern in it! Such is the mundane fun of my life.

I’ve listened to Salsa Mike go on and on about the Winter Weather Warrior contest on Bikeshare.  I’ve watched Corey get back into a relationship after taking the smallest break I’ve ever seen for someone who has been in a relationship for 8.6666 years.  I’ve watched a TON of Gossip Girl, my new guilty pleasure, with Corby and hope that didn’t make her sick with what we’ve dubbed “The Gang Flu”.  I’ve danced some mornings to Just Dance 2 to try to burn calories and I’m keeping a journal of my attempts at weight loss.  And I’ve attempted the most generic and broad new years resolution with full thought and half a heart.

I’ve been taking the G2 to work some days and biking others.  I’m “building” a website for work and it’s coming along nicely.  I’m making travel arrangements to get me around Australia and practicing and trying to keep my anxiety down and remember that this is for fun.  I’ve been keeping up with the NFL playoffs since I really did not watch any college bowl games.  I write long emails to Subsidized Corn to try to keep us organized with shows in North Carolina and Australia and all the fun stuff that goes with that (and check out the new website).  I helped start a listserve for independent improv troupes in the DC area.  I’ve been reading my new kindle with a passion.

And yet I have an almost free weekend!  Time to get back to house stuff.  I need to de-germ the place top to bottom.  I still want to power wash the kitchen floor and paint the coffee table a nice blue color.  Hell, I just need to get the rest of the Christmas items put away!

So, to answer my own question, yes, I may be boring.  But I’m also a fantastic justifier!  I live a fortunate life that maybe just doesn’t translate on this blog.  Corey calls it my “Middle Class White Girl Problem.”  Should I tell you more about the fun we had at practice or about the funny thing my boss said the other day?  Maybe.  Actually, that would make for a great post in the future.  In the meantime, I’m off for a date to practice my not-being-boring me!

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Flu Daze

I’ve been down and out with the flu since Sunday evening.  Bleck.  This is disgusting, but I am feeling much better.  For awhile I felt like a giant fireball who could not extinguish my raging skin fire.  I’m back now mostly, but here are just a few of the week’s observations…

  • Cough syrup does not equal breakfast, even if that’s all you feel like eating.
  • Yes, Gatorade is terrible for you, but when I’m feeling sick, nothing can stop me from the power of lemon lime.
  • I live with a 28 year old man who does not know how to read a thermometer.  Yeah, this was news to me, but I think I got him straightened out now.  Except he’s the one needing the thermometer, so that’s a bad sign.
  • Whitney M was a saint for taking me to the urgent care and for driving my car in the snow.  Her first time ever driving in snow, and thankfully she didn’t tell me that until we got there.  Thank you, Snitzel!
  • Coughing is going to make my abs look ripped in a few days, especially since I lost a few pounds (part of a catalyst that just happened to conform with my new years resolutions).  Yay me!
  • Gossip Girl is freaking amazing, but only if you are delirious and drugged up.  Come to think of it, so are the characters, so that’s probably why I can relate.
  • The test for the flu is almost as painful as the flu itself.  I didn’t realize that a cotton swab could actually touch my brain if they push hard enough.  Whit and I both cried during our flu tests.
  • Smartrip cards do not make good ice scrapers.  An extra Virginia license plate wrapped in plastic found under your seat will work much better.  Just a tip to save you from a broken Smartrip.
  • I’m a pathetic baby when I’m sick.  But if you know me, you probably already know that.
NOT an ice scraper.

NOT an ice scraper.

I’ve cleared my social calendar for the next day or two so I can get more rest and definitely join the land of the living soon.  I still have more Gossip Girl to watch, and hopefully Corby is joining me now that I’ve caught up to her.  And my new Kindle just arrived in time for me to go to work.  Actually, it was delivered to work the day I got back, and that made it totally worth it!  Now I get to play all weekend with my new toy.  Any suggestions for reads?  I may or may not be trying out the Twilight Series.  I need to load up before the Australia trip.

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Aussie SubCo

As you could tell from my last generic post, it has been a busy week.  I guess that’s what happens when you get back from vacation at 10:00 on a Sunday night!  Not much time to get caught up.  Not only has it been busy (with improv, controversial guest blog post, Jersey Shore season 3 debut party), but I’ve been all over the place, which does not make for good blogging!

So much of my non-planning life these days seems to be centered on improv (does anyone else find the juxtaposition of planning and improvising as funny as I do?).  It’s tons of fun and has given me a great community of friends in DC.  And they are not those super wacky improv people I remember NOT liking in college because they were always “on”.  Here is the most exciting happening in my improv world lately…

Subsidized Corn is going to Australia!! Yes, it is true and the tickets have been booked.  Nick, Darnell, Goli and I are headed down under for the Adelaide Fringe Festival.  We have five shows scheduled over three days (March 4-6), and we’re hosting a workshop, too.  Yay!! We haven’t even performed outside the beltway before!

Performing in a different country certainly has its challenges. Yes, they speak English, but it isn’t our English!  I know very little about Australian slang since I have never been, and it seems to be tricky. In the one practice we’ve had so far I insulted Nick’s manhood and was told definitely that will not be warmly received and there may be some beasts waiting to beat me up after the show!  Whoops!  What else am I going to do that’s insulting?!?  I’m afraid to say the wrong thing or insult someone accidentally!  Which could be funny now that I’m thinking about it.

Second, what if they don’t get us?  I’m trying to be mindful in practice about topics that pertain to our country.  I’m pretty certain they will not be getting any Boehner references!  Typically we stay away from the political stuff (unlike what our troupe name might suggest…is the name Subsidized Corn even relevant or funny there?  Ahhhh!!)  I mean, they get the American stereotypes I’m sure, so time to practice my valley girl!

The good news is that I don’t know anyone there, so as long as I come back with all my teeth, I’ll be fine.  I’m balls to the wall on this adventure!  The only person who has anything to lose is Nick whose in laws will all be there to cheer us on.  No pressure, buddy.

Okay, so different slang and different references.  No problem.  However, there is the whole stress of traveling around the world to add to the performance anxiety…then subtract the fact that we’re on vacation and we’re about even.  I am so excited to see Adelaide as I’ve heard Deepti talk quite a bit about it.  And it will be summer time in February and March, so I’m really excited for warm temperatures and beaches.  And I get to see Sydney, Melbourne, Christchurch NZ and Wellington NZ, too.  Okay, not all scary.

The toughest part is that we are practically producing our own show from the other side of the world.  Poor Nick has his email inbox swamped with things like “entertainment visas” (to which Salsa says, “that’s debatable”) and healthcare purchases (to make sure we get the proper anti-venom after a poisonous bite) while trying to figure out how much to charge per ticket for the audience.  We are responsible for marketing ourselves and getting butts in the seats…in DC that’s a piece of cake.  Our plan is to hit the streets with postcards and just talk to people and invite them out.  The festival has a very artsy vibe and this is how it’s done!  But if you have other suggestions, we’d be very open to hearing them.

That said, if you know ANYONE that may be interested in going to the shows, or if you have friends who live there, please let us know!  Somehow my amazing network of friends just isn’t strong in that part of the world!

Did I tell you I get to meet up with Patrick while I’m there?  So excited to see his life in Wellington and very appreciative that he and Jason are letting me sleep on their couch, even while Patrick’s parents are there.  That’s some killer hospitality!  Thanks, guys!  And I get to see other USC buddies while traveling through Los Angeles both ways which is just an added bonus.

And speaking of hospitality, I’m staying with Goli in Sydney and Lylie’s (Nick’s wife) sister in Adelaide.  I love staying with people as I travel because you get to see neighborhoods and how people really live.  Maybe that’s the planner in me, but I’ll take that over some motorcoach tour any day.

If you have any tidbits or helpful hints from your travel to Australia, I would love to hear them!  Leave your stories in the comments!

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2010 Blog Stats

As if I needed them to tell me about my blog stats, WordPress so delightfully sent this to me this morning.  And thanks to all my readers who make this blog so fun for me.  I probably would not be doing this without you.  Probably.

*****

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 111 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 172 posts. There were 259 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 186mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 11th with 214 views. The most popular post that day was Fall Dinner.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, Google Reader, twitter.com, mail.yahoo.com, and blogger.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for http://www.plannermegan.wordpress.com, boiler diagram, citymarket at o street update, and plannermegan.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Fall Dinner November 2010
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2

Sharing the sad news December 2010
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3

Who is Megan Jane? June 2009

4

Makeover Reveal September 2010
4 comments

5

Living Room Makeover! September 2010

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