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Willa Wade

Here she is! Willa Wade B-K is 8lbs and 21 inches of adorable. Born Friday morning at 7:48 at their home on Bainbridge Island, WA. Mom and baby are perfectly healthy and Jake is proud of both his girls.

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Get Ready…

Well kids, get your blog reading shoes on because it’s going to be a blogging frenzy for the next week or two here at the Megan Jane Update!

The Good: Australia and New Zealand posts! It was a wonderful trip and I have lots of photos and things to say about it.  It may take me awhile to sort everything out, but I have time because…

The Bad: Yesterday I was laid off of my job for financial reasons (I was pretty expensive to keep around).  It sucks because I enjoyed the people and projects and really believe that they are making our world a better place. No hard feelings, and I’m pretty optimistic about finding something new and interesting.  I will certainly blog about the progress!

The Ugly: I’m starting a cleanse diet for the next four weeks. Yikes! It will force me to get in the kitchen and explore some veggies!  I am excited about some of the ideas I have and will hopefully blog about the “recipes” I create.  The Aussie food has me very inspired.

So that’s what’s new!  Now that I have a bit more time, I hope to post more often than twice a week. Check back often…

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Valentine’s Day, The Series

I have always been a bit anti-Valentine’s Day.  It was never a lonely, woe-is-me, I’m single and left out of the party kind of “holiday,” I just never saw a use for it beyond commercialism.  If I love someone or want to send love into the Universe, I will express it when it feels right.  I certainly do not need a day on my calendar to remind me to do this.  Do we only appreciate Mothers on Mother’s Day?  NO!  We tell her we love her when and how it feels right.  It’s sort of the same thing, really.

One of my favorite quotes about love is this:  “Love me when it’s the hardest, because that’s when I need it the most.” It’s pretty easy to love on Valentine’s Day…you’re supposed to!  Even the dorky guy in second grade got Valentine’s Day notes since we were taught to share with everyone (well, maybe he didn’t get my favorite card like my best friends got, but who paid attention to the actual cards when there was candy attached?).  Love me when I’m moody.  Love me when I’m down.  Love me when I’m upset with you.  That’s when I want a Valentine.  Or chocolate.

So many of my Valentine’s Day “celebrations” have been spent with friends.  Last year was a great time with Meghann and the girls for Girls Night In and Amanda became our main entertainment with all her dating stories.  One in particular has stuck in my head and I’ve been cautious ever since!  The year before that was spent at *gasp* an improv workshop with a friend who could not believe I had never celebrated a “traditional Valentine’s Day” as couples do.  He decided to show me how that works.  We certainly had fun, but I just couldn’t see the appeal of overpriced food that makes you feel totally stuffed and lethargic.  The only other Valentine’s Day I remember is getting a cute baby rose bush from my boyfriend at the time, and despite my best attempts to keep it alive, was dead within the month.

This year I will be surrounded by some of my favorite people in all the city watching some of my favorite improvisors in all the city at the WIT Valentine’s Day show.  There is no place I would rather be.

For this Valentine’s Day, as a tribute to my friends, I thought it would be fun to have some guests comment on their thoughts about this day.  I asked a range of ages, both sexes, straight and gay, singles, marrieds and maybe a divorcee or two.  I got some great responses that span the emotional spectrum.  I will release them throughout the day because it became quite long…I would make a terrible editor!  I just enjoyed everything they said so I left all of their original content.

It's easy to send love to the Universe when you're on a bike!

It's easy to send love to the Universe when you're on a bike!

If you have something you want to say about this day, feel free to email me and I will be happy to share with the others.  Even it if is tomorrow!  You know where to find me.

Check back in a bit…and in the meantime, I’ll be sending crazy amounts of love into the universe, as I typically do on a Monday morning when people need it most!

 

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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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Christmas Recipe

Merry Movie Christmas Eve to you!  As Rachel Barry on Glee said, “No one should be alone on Christmas Eve, Mr. Schue.” But you know what? It’s absolutely okay.  I spent an excellent day by myself full of doing stuff that I want to do.  That included volunteering for people who are less fortunate than I, a whirlwind shopping tour for myself and catching up on my DVR collection of Christmas movies that were three weeks in the making.

I feel pretty knowledgeable about these movies.  I’m not talking so much about the ones that come out in the theater with a Christmas theme.  No, I mean the awesomely awful made-for-tv movies on ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and Fa la la la Lifetime.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Elf, The Family Stone, Love Actually, Home Alone, the Last Holiday and The Holiday.  These certainly put me in the holiday spirit and help to get the cranberries and popcorn production underway.

You know the ones I’m talking about.  I kid you not, these are the movies in our DVR now: Deck the Halls, Comfort and Joy, A Walk in My Shoes, The Good Witch’s Gift, Most Wonderful Time of Year, Holiday in Handcuffs, Will You Merry Me, Merry Daughter of the Bride, A Christmas Wedding and A Christmas Proposal (no relation).  So, yes, I may get a little carried away.

The DVR list.

The DVR list.

Remember when I said that if I were to go back to LA and be forced in “the industry” it would be to scout locations for movie sets?  I take it back.  I want to write holiday movies.  I’m completely capable.  I’m almost an expert at this point as I’m on my fourth for the day.  Well, that’s three whole movies and two half movies that were so terrible.  Please, whatever you do, stay away from Christmas Cupid.  Seriously, that’s some bad stuff…even I couldn’t tolerate it.  Actually, I take that back, I watched the whole thing, but it was more out of pity.

So for you, dear readers, on this Merry Movie Christmas Eve, I would like to share a recipe with you.  A recipe for the perfect holiday movie.  A choose your own adventure of sorts.  Here’s how you make your perfect holiday movie…

Add one female lead.  She needs to be two of the following:

  1. Extremely uptight, including that hair in a bun which will eventually get loosened over time as a man changes her for the better*.  Chronic list maker.
  2. A workaholic who never has time for a man.  Just too busy running the world and barking orders.
  3. A do gooder next door neighbor type.  You want to hate her.  Usually a blond.

Now, put the female lead in a relationship circumstance:

  1. A very “content” single woman who just can’t seem to find the right guy.  All it takes is the right guy and all her Christmas dreams will come true!!  She’s currently “not looking” and is disgusted by any man who comes her way, including the hottie who is willing to do nice things for her like bring her coffee at work or put up her Christmas tree.  Yeah, we know what that means.  This tends to be the most popular option.
  2. An engaged woman who is frantically planning for her Christmas wedding.  Gag me.
  3. A married mom who wishes she had chosen a different life without all the hassles.  Normally, she’ll come around at the end of the movie and realize that her husband and children are the end all, be all for her.  Good for her.
  4. A single mom.  This one is a tear jerker regardless.

Insert one main male lead with a square jaw.  Choose from the following:

  1. A developer.  Smug, arrogant, knows better than anyone who crosses his path.  If he’s not talking about taking someone’s house with eminent domain or building a ski resort, he won’t fit into this category.  Never fear, he has a great heart in there somewhere.
  2. A lawyer. Works at a big firm but isn’t your typical big firm lawyer. Somehow only works like 15 hours per week.
  3. A free spirit hippie.  The most obvious (and yet most satisfying, apparently) typical foil to uptight woman. Will always have long hair and never makes plans.  Laughs at the female lead’s organization skills until he gets her drunk one night and she lets loose and suddenly!, he sees her in a new light.  Bam.

Oh, no!  Enter the contrasting male lead to stir things up!  Pick one that will mix it up with a bit of Christmas jealousy:

  1. An overbearing boss
  2. The ex boyfriend that got away years ago
  3. Mom’s new boyfriend or the town’s ex con or literally, the guy next door.

The setting is a character, too!  Pick one of the following for your movie:

  1. New York City, the center of the universe and all things Christmas and hip.  This is usually where movies begin, but within five minutes, they’re in options 2 or 3.
  2. The middle of nowhere.  Usually Alaska, but not the north pole (puh-lease, that’s too cliche!).  The purpose here is to maximize all the available rugged single men.  Do it.
  3. Local yocal small town.  Usually where the main character grew up.  Bonus points for cheezy names such as “Mistletoe” or “Claustown”.  About 85% of the movies take place here.

Don’t forget the scenarios for the “plot”:

  1. He’s a nasty developer or lawyer trying to take homes away from people at Christmas time.  What?!?  How dare he! Someone’s working overtime to stop him!
  2. Two cultures clash when she brings the new boyfriend home.  What?!?  He’s Jewish?  What ever will the family do to help him feel welcome and create new holiday traditions?
  3. The lead goes home.  Options:
    1. Mom and Dad strongly encourage the lead to spend some time with the ex who stayed in town to make good.  Aw, the parents are match makers.
    2. The rich lead reluctantly returns home to take care of the family during an emergency.  She realizes how important family really is.  Down comes the ponytail!
    3. The lead returns home with the fiance that nobody has met (how does that happen?).  He’s a nice guy, but just not quite right for her.  Second male character enters.
    4. The lead kidnaps a stranger in the diner where she works and passes him off as a boyfriend with the family in the woods over the holidays.  Actually, that one has been written (Holiday in Handcuffs) and they barely pulled it off with the help of Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez.  But now you can see a creative way to work the “coming home to family” angle.

Something HAS to change!  Is it…

  1. She learns to loosen up! Let go! Learns to love…again!  That hottie next door isn’t as terrible as she thought, and now they’re in love!
  2. Wait, no.  That’s the only option.  Cue the entire cast realizing that it’s snowing.  A Christmas miracle indeed.

What’s your favorite made for tv holiday movie?  How did your choose your own adventure movie turn out?  Let me know in the comments!!  Or describe the musical montage that would happen in your movie.  You know you gotta have one!

* Official hair transition: tight bun to tight pony tail to half way down to all the way down (straight) to all the way down, (wavy).

Also, a very special thank you to Corey for helping me write this.  He not only lets me fill up the DVR with this ridiculous stuff (erasing valuable posts in the meantime), but also watches with me.  We play guess the plot or guess this character and high five when we get it right (which we usually do).  Thank you, Corey!

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Gratitude Day 6: Lounge Days

Yesterday, I did nothing.  Seriously, nothing.  I would not have gotten out of my pjs had Corby not introduced the idea to take a walk (we didn’t end up going).  My schedule is usually slammed, so I don’t get days like that often.  I haven’t lounged like this for at least a few months.

Luckily, I had help on lounge day from Corby.  She came over and hung out all day.  We watched The Tudors, college football and some HIMYM.   Good stuff.

Today, I am thankful that I had an entire day that I could spend how I wanted to.  I didn’t have to feed anyone other than myself.  I didn’t have to make up lame excuses why I couldn’t do something with my significant other.  I didn’t have to make any excuses to anyone because it was lounge day and I only wanted to lounge.  It was so nice to just chill after the last few weeks.  And I’m thankful that I have the personality enough to slow down and take advantage of such a fun, do nothing day.  Of course, I had to do other stuff on Sunday and didn’t get to all the work I had intended to.  I’ll pay for that this week, but I don’t mind.  Lounge days are worth it.

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