Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let's keep this going

Hah, just to prove exactly how long I've been detached from Blogger, I just now got the "new" version of posting. Undo and redo buttons, WAY easier way to post photos(before I had to drag photos inch by inch from the top of the page ALL the way down to where I wanted them in my post)...I could get used to this ;).
 After I wrote this little opening I had my dad go outside to look at my car. The past couple of days it's been kind of struggling to start, like I put the key in the ignition, turn it, and it sputterssputterssputters until 3 seconds late it finally kicks on. So he comes outside, lifts up the hood, decides I could use an oil change. He takes it for a drive down the road and back, says it seems to be running fine, gets out, then asks if I smell gas. I smelled gas yesterday too, but I assumed it was just because I was in a parking lot, and then I guess I smelled it again later but didn't think too much of it, but I smelled it when he did too. So under the car he went, and sure enough I have a gas leak. A bad one. Apparently it's right next to the exhaust pipe too, and I don't know much about cars, but gas on or inside of a hot surface like that is never a good ending. So I am out of a vehicle for a few days, but I am glad to have not exploded while driving to work.. Very thankful for that. It makes me nervous to think if there's anything else wrong with my car.. Hopefully it's a quick and easy fix because I'm not really in the position to purchase a new car.

  Not entirely sure what's up with the gray on the sides of the photo, I guess because it's from my crappy camera phone, but I took that of Tom and his dog Shadow when we reached the summit of the mountain on our hike the other day :). It was totally a stalker shot that he didn't know was being taken, but I feel like it captured a nice moment. I regretted not bringing my real camera up there, the view was gorgeous and my phone quite honestly did not do it justice. It was a pretty easy hike though, only took us an hour or two to get up there, then we ate our pb&j sandwiches and sat around for a little while--I'm sure we'll go back up there again and I'll get some better shots of the scenery, but I was satisfied with this photo. With the uselessness of my car, I'm sure I will be posting again pretty soon with being stranded at my house.

 Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This always happens

But perhaps this time will be different.

When I fail to keep up with my blog, I miss it. I'll think about it regularly, and of things I could write about, but the thoughts all seem to vanish when I actually have a few hours to spare to sit down and do it. I always feel like if I've been gone for a long time that I need to come back with a "really good" post to somehow make up for my absence, but then I continue to postpone it because I can't come up with anything good enough. Today I'm just going to wing it.

I think my biggest obstacle when it comes to doing anything for myself, particularly taking the time to write in this blog (or even my journal), and doing things like reading a book or watching something by myself, is that I have a problem with being left out. Sometimes I think it stems from being raised as an only child and relying so heavily on friends coming over, or going with friends, that I really treat hanging out with other people as a priority. And I am SO thankful to have the friends that I do, I don't mean to boast, but my friends are pretty awesome ;). So when somebody wants to do something just about every night, plus I'm working most days, it leaves very little time to be alone. I have no intention of isolating myself from the amazing people in my life, but lately I feel like I am on track to learning how to better manage my time and to take time for myself when I need it. For instance my best friend asked me to go shopping with her this morning at a place an hour away from home, before I have to work at 3:00. We probably would have been able to get back before 3, but I felt like what is the point of rushing? I enjoy the time I spend with her, and I enjoy it more when there isn't an expiriation time hanging above our heads, and I felt like it would give her bonding time with her younger sister who is also going. And now, I'm here blogging :), but I will happily meet her after work to go see a local concert tonight.

Alright, so I left off there yesterday, and now I'm finishing this up today :P. The local concert was a bust because apparently you have to be 21 to get into this bar--I was always under the impression that it was 18 to enter, 21 to drink, but I guess bars have their own individual policies they choose to enforce when they please... I'm really starting to believe that being 18 or older grants you no special priviledges until you turn 21. We still had fun though walking around the village with our two guy friends, killing some time seeing as we put $2.50 in the parking meter for no reason.

Today is my day off, so I'm pretty happy for that. And Tom decided to take the day off from his roofing job too, so now we get to spend it going hiking together :).

I know sometimes I really ramble on about school on here and it's a little excessive--I'm not going to do that today-- but I think I have decided that if this next year I don't fall completely in love with the psychology major and the idea of making it my life's work, then I am transferring to another school. The school I'm at now is great for psychology, but they definitely don't have what I'm looking for in the journalism department. I'm specifically looking for magazine journalism, I know the news is important, but that's not what I want to make a living from. I'd rather just be a regular consumer of the news, and specialize in an area in magazines, particularly health and wellness. I'm a pretty big fan of SELF Magazine, so working for them would be ideal as of now. So basically it's between that and continuing psychology studies, and if I transfer, right now I'm pretty sure it would be a move out to Chicago for their Columbia College school that has a magazine journalism major.

Recently I've been growing more and more concerned with health. When I was younger I was in the chubby category, I was never quite obese, but I was certainly a hefty little girl courteosy of a diet of pepsi, frozen dinners, and oreos. Back then I was too young to understand the real connection between what you fed your body, and how your body looks and functions. I was a kid, I didn't care. When I talk about this, I want to make it clear that my parents are wonderful, kind, hardworking people and I wouldn't trade them for anyone else in the world, but nutrition was something I really had to learn on my own. Being farmers food has to be quick and easy to eat because cows are a full day's work and you can't spend hours preparing a meal, you just can't. Add in the fact that my mom absolutely loathes cooking/baking/anything of that nature and my dad never had to learn because my grandma always made his food. So we would heat up frozen Schwan's chicken wings for dinner every Sunday night, our freezer stockpiled with the frozen entrees that looked like good homecooked meals from the supermarket. We would have ready-made roast beef with those powdered instant mashed potatoes, and every Tuesday after school my mom would take me to grab a bite at McDonalds on my way to my piano lesson. Once elementary school was coming to an end I started to realize how unhealthy I was and hated the way I looked. I'm thankful to say that I never suffered an eating disorder, (unless you count overeating when I was younger) and I can't imagine the difficulty of overcoming something like that for those who do go through it. I started relying on magazines for help, particularly FITNESS and occasionally others while I was younger like Seventeen and CosmoGirl. I'd like to believe they had a good influence on me because they offered nutritional information and ideas to start being active that I began to follow. I never looked at those magazines with an "I want to be skinny and perfect" attitude, it was more of an educational resource for me. A combination of cutting down my excessive portion sizes, cutting back majorly on soda, going the YMCA, and going out and doing things with my friends helped me through junior high to reach an average size that I was always content with in highschool. I'm still about that size, maybe I've gained 10-15 lbs, but I've stuck within the same range, but although I'm not overweight, I don't feel as though I'm really in shape either. My diet has improved since my childhood but it still isn't always balanced and totally nutritous. For me it isn't about pushing the needle lower on the scale or an embarassment of my pant size, it's about being all around healthier. I want to feel leaner and more toned, and I want to feel stronger as a result. I definitely don't want to be "buff" hahah, I just want to feel fit. So I recently joined a Bally's Total Fitness down where I go to school. Yes, the school has gyms that are free, but from my experience last year it kept me from getting fat, but it never really got me in shape. I think this had a lot to do with the crowdedness that usually occured unless you somehow went at the perfect time, and the smallness of the facility that made it boring to stay in for long periods. At this gym, there's a lot of room and variety from the hufe selection of strength training machines to the cardio area upstairs, then the walk-in free exercise classes that come with my membership--it just seems more worthwhile to me, and there's also that little trick that if I pay out of pocket for something, I'm more likely to use it. It even came with a free orientation with a personal trainer(and you get this once a month!) who talked to me about my fitness goals, and determined my weight and body fat percentage. Turns out I'm average, right in the middle of average with 26% body fat. I've made it my goal to get myself out of the 20's. The trainer also gave me some important information like you're supposed to use the strength training machines first, otherwise if you just hop on a treadmill or an eliptical it takes like 30 minutes or something of exercise before your body actually starts taking energy from your fat cells! And I was always the person who went on the treadmill first under this assumption that it would get my heart rate up and make my workout better, but I was wrong---machines first, cardio after is the most effective. I'm also pretty excited to participate in an exercise class like spin, kickboxing, or pilates. Since I don't start school until the end of the month and it's a little over an hour's drive away, I won't really get into a regular workout routine until then. For now I can start focusing on my diet. Because my mom always hated cooking I never learned how to make a healthy, home-cooked meal. Embarassing as it sounds, I went out and bought a book called "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Cooking." It reminded me of one of those "...For Dummies" books, but I began leafing through it yesterday and it actually has a lot of useful information. Information that may be common knowledge to people who grew up in a kitchen, like measurement conversions, and what temperature different things bake at, and explanations of all of the various cheeses and herbs and spices. It even gives you lists of things that are useful to keep stored in your kitchen, and is full of thoroughly explained recipes. I'll try to keep you guys updated as I begin this whole cooking adventure. I'm not just doing this for myself and my own health but also for my family. I know my mom is hesitant to change her ways, she's never been concerned with diets and she's happy with eating the same thing every day( like she seriously has a microwaved hotdog and a glass of pepsi every day for lunch). She says it's weird, but she really doesn't mind it's not really my place to try to force her to do otherwise.. All I can do is start cooking and hope that maybe she'll be interested in trying something homemade and fresh. My dad on the otherhand hates all of the processed food we have, and is concerned for his diet because his doctor has been griping at him for years about his excessive sodium intake. But my dad doesn't cook either, so he just takes what's put on the table for him. Recently I've been trying to educate him about what's good and what's bad, and I've been buying substitutes for things like real deli meat instead of the pre-packaged over processed stuff we usually have. And urging him to use whipped cream cheese instead of slathering his bagels with butter, and trying to keep fresh fruit on hand. It's just difficult to be healthy in a household where oreos, pringles and pepsi are always on hand, and nobody goes out to buy fresh vegetables and healthy alternatives but me. But to me, it's worth spending the money out of my own pocket and making the trips to the grocery store to take care of my body and hopefully influence my family to do the same.

Things that have been missed since I last blogged.

* 19th birthday

My wonderful friends treated me to a Japanese hibachi lunch at a place called Sushi Yoshi ;). It's so cool the way they make a performance out of the whole thing, tossing knives, making the "onion volcano," it's definitely something worth checking out if you have never been. It takes the boredom out of waiting for your food, that's for sure. Afterwards we went to see Super 8 which apparently was to distract me while some of my other friends set up a barbeque/bonfire to surprise me when I came back :). My friends know how to make me feel pretty special. Last picture is Tom and me during the barbeque party.

* Working at Polo Ralph Lauren again. I ended up working through the summer and it hasn't been a bad decision. I've needed the money and the people there are pretty fun. Retail isn't always a joy to wake up for and spend your day doing, but being in good company and not having shifts every single day has made working pretty tolerable. Except sometimes you encounter miserable customers, but you learn to brush them off. Yesterday this one old man in particular set me off. We're doing this thing where we ask if you would like to donate a dollar to cancer research, and this man says no. That's fine, I don't care if people don't donate, it's not their obligation. But this guy continues to ask what the research focuses on, and I told him it was the Pink Pony fund for Breast Cancer--and he scoffs and says "You women get enough support as it is. Why don't you focus on one of the other ones, like lung cancer." MAYBE because lung cancer is fairly preventable if you don't smoke...?!!! UGH. I just wanted to make him see how bigoted and rude he was.. but instead I gave an awkward laugh at his ignorance and continued with the sale. Yes I agree all cancers deserve attention, but I really don't think women are like getting "TOO MUCH" support, and men can also get breast cancer FYI, old grouch. And lung cancer is a terrible thing, I worry about it for my uncle who is a lifetime smoker. But what is the point of criticizing the cancer one charity chooses to support? Anyways, my last day is August 11th, and then I'll need to find a job down near my college.

* My college friends came up for a visit.

Paige, my roommate, and Madiha, also our friend that happens to live in the same part of the city as Paige, both came up north to experience a little bit of the countryside :). We showed them the lake, as well as my farm and woods, and introduced them to the concept of a bonfire. Madiha had her first real s'more and our friend Shayla treated us to a free meal at the high class restaurent she hostesses at. 3 days was definitely not long enough but I feel like we gave them a good taste and I'm sure they'll come up with me once in awhile on weekends once school starts up. Hopefully I'll be going down to the city again to spend some time in their neighborhood as well ;P.


I realize this post was a lot of information, not entirely coherent, and maybe not all that interesting.. but bear with me as I get myself back into the blogging groove---I think we are pretty well caught up to speed now, and I'll be trying to check out everyone's blogs and start commenting again. Thanks for reading, I appreciate you guys and your comments more than I know how to express!

♥ Olive