Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekly Review: Teachable 1.0

Thankfully, I am going to cycle through this process every 6 weeks until I am feeling the need to move on to other qualities. Because I did not feel very teachable this week.

I would like to blame the busy-ness of passion week, since there was so much going on there with the Seder Dinner and Good Friday service and the skit in service today... but one thing I did learn about myself this week is that I tend to blame everything and everyone else but myself. So, hooray, I was teachable in some small way.

I've lost 2.5 pounds as of yesterday, but then we went to my mom and dad's and ate lots of food, and today after church we went to Mimi's, and then later we're going to Aaron's aunt's house. After today, it's right back on track. In fact, for the rest of today I'm going to try to be on less of a see-food diet. ;) I'm even going to try to resist my Easter basket, which is chock full of of my favorite kinds of candy.

Side note: My dog is cuter than your dog. And probably more annoying and hyper, but hey, you take the good with the bad.

Another success in being teachable this week was in my all-or-nothing mentality with the good habits I'm trying to start. So I goofed up my food a couple times, that doesn't mean I let the whole week go.

Finally, I think being teachable today really helped me to take everything in during our gathering at church today. I was able to really reflect on what Kevin was talking about and I feel recharged and ready to pick up fresh. Not only that, but to stick with the weight-loss plan, even though it's not going to be easy. In fact, it's going to be quite hard. I'm going to be hungry, I'm not going to want to work out all the time. I'm going to want to eat more candy than I should. I'm going to want to drink soda and eat cheeseburgers. But in the discipline of not doing those things, as well as doing the things that I should like walking the dog and exercising, I'm going to accomplish that goal. Maybe in that I will find myself becoming more teachable, more ready for what the next few  years have in store.

I'm going to go read, in order to learn.

Happy Easter. Happy Resurrection day. May you find yourself surrounded by growth and other offshoots of life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Of My Many Imperfections

I have almost continually struggled with my weight. I can never seem to stick to my guns with not overreating and underexercising. But I think I am finally ready to really truly make an effort to lose my extra weight and keep it off.

On Wednesday, Aaron took some "before" pictures for me. Yuck. I will save those for another day, preferably when I have a fantastic looking "after" picture to go up next to them. On Saturday, I took my measurements and officially started back up with counting calories.

One of the things I'm going to do differently is to not focus so much on my quest to lose weight. Instead, I have chosen six qualities I want to grow in. I chose six because I have my goals broken down into six-week mini goals. So, instead of thinking about the 3,500 calories I need to burn or cut to drop a pound, I'm going to focus on one of those qualities.

Here's how I want to grow:
  1. Teachable
    • I realize that at times, I can be extremely stubborn and difficult to teach. It's really not that I think I know everything, but I like control. I like having my own way of doing things and that applies to every aspect of my life. But, through working in ministry, I've come to realize that being teachable is an extremely attractive and valuable quality to possess.
  2. Peaceful
    • Sometimes I feel like I am thee most stressed out person I know. I'm wound up and uptight and I don't like myself when I'm like that. I like myself when I am able to relax and have fun. I like it when I find myself laughing so loud that I'm a little embarrassed, and I like it when I'm able to make a simple decision without herniating a disk. I want to be able to sit in silence without thinking about the million other things going on in my life and in the lives of those around me.
  3. Humble
    • Ah, yes, humility. I don't want a false humility that is more about self-degradation than acceptance of place. I want to break down pride in every form and discover that my efforts do not make the world go round.
  4. Patient
    • Don't we all need a little more of this? Strategically placed at the halfway point of my 6-week session, because I know I'll want to be frustrated and angry about any shortcomings in my progress. But not only do I want to be patient with my body and weight to change, I want to be patient with my husband and our hyperactive dog. I want to be patient with my friends and coworkers. I don't want to experience a mini-mental breakdown when someone is driving too slowly in front of me when I need to get somewhere.
  5. Gentle
    • Ouch. Sometimes I cause people to say it. With my sarcasm (which, don't get me wrong, can be quite funny), with my little-sister-tomboy punches, with my sighs of disapproval, or with my words when I'm angry. I want to be overall more kind, more feminine in some way, I suppose. I most certainly don't want to cut people down with my words and actions.
  6. Self-Controlled
    • Ice cream should be allowed in my apartment. I should be able to have enough discipline to put down the spoon when I've had enough, to only have it when there's occasion to and not because I just got home from work. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who can eat just about anything he wants, and I need to be able to just say no when it comes to those empty calories. I should also be able to get up and go to bed at a reasonable time. I should be able to stop what I'm doing on the computer and do some chores, or get off the couch and go to the grocery store. I will not allow anything to control my weight or my stress but me.
I think one of the most valuable things I have determined this weekend is that my weight has been affecting me so much more than it should. It's just a stupid number. So what if I'm "chubby" - it could be worse, right? Anyway, I shouldn't care so much about it and I shouldn't care so much about getting rid of it. So I'm taking a stand. I'm taking a walk. I'm working out (at 24 if anyone cares to join me). And I'm taking it one day at a time this week, and for the 5 weeks after that.

When I've lost 5lbs, the whole thing will start over again.

And by this time next year, if I've learned anything about patience and self-control, I should be at my goal weight.

Wish me luck perseverance!
My Weight Ticker

Friday, March 14, 2008


The word for today is slovenly. That describes me to a tee today. I feel especially overweight, particularly in light of my discovery from earlier this week that I had gained an additional 10 lbs compared to June of last year. I'm not happy with my weight. Which equates to not wanting to shop, which equates to not being happy with my worn out and faded clothes.

On top of that, I logged in to my Quicken this morning to discover that we are already way off track for spending for the month, and we're only halfway through. At least we still have money, but it's not going to be a neat budget month.

This wouldn't be so bad in and of itself if we had not had a recent tax appointment that informed us that we owed over $1300 to everyone's favorite uncle. So not only am I looking at shortfalls for this month, but trying to figure out how to get through April with a $1300 hit coming on April 14th.

And with all of that, there is still the other half of our pet deposit for Scout. When we signed our lease, the deposit was $400. Still exorbitant, but we decided that it was time to go ahead and get a dog and that it would be worth the sacrifice. Well, after we had chosen her at the shelter, we went to the leasing office and discovered that they had increased the pet deposit to $800. Yes, they doubled it. We argued and tried to get them to stick to what we had in our lease, but there is some loophole that enables them to get around that.

One thing they did allow was for us to pay half of the deposit when we signed our new pet affidavit, and then they said we could pay the rest in a month or two. Apparently that meant we had until February 28th, and last night at 12:30am we were awakened by Scout barking like crazy (in her crate, so we knew something was up) and it was the lovely envelope with the kind words stating "you still owe us $400." Thanks, Lewis Corporation. I know you must be losing sleep over not having my $400 to hold until whenever we decide to move out, so thank you for making me (literally) lose sleep over it as well.

So that's me in a nutshell. I'm not having the best day because of it. I am trying desperately not to worry about it, and I think as long as we're creative next month we'll be okay. But it's hard, I thought we were out of the budget crisis zone and now I feel like we've just slipped right back into it. And we've committed ourselves to going to NYC with some friends in July, now we need to make that money appear out of somewhere.

To try to focus on the positive, I think I may have lost a pound or two. I'm definitely cranking up the weight loss effort. I've played tennis this week, gone to Yoga, done some weight lifting on my balance ball, and I'm definitely eating better. So I'm going to do it this time. It's going to take a year to get down to my goal, which is 45 lbs away... but I really want to discipline myself and stick to it.

Anyway, TGIF. I'm not going to let all of this get me down, I just had to get it out of my head.

Monday, March 10, 2008

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Rancho Cucamonga gets better every single day. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The wheels are turning overtime

Man, I cannot stop thinking tonight. I have all of these ideas... I keep telling Aaron that I want to start something with writing, and I guess my brain is moving in that direction.

One of my thought-tangents lead me to tell you about my church. I go to a church called "The Flipside." Yes, the name of it is Flipside. There's a good reason though... I promise. It's based on the idea that when the first church was forming on the shoulders of the first apostles, everyone thought they were crazy and labeled them as turning the world "upside-down." Well, as a Christ-follower, I have to tell you that it seems like upside-down is the best way to live.

That being said, I have a confession to make.

The Flipside is not perfect.

In fact, I'm sure there are people who have beef against my church for one reason or another, I have friends who have left it both for good reasons and bad, I've seen divisions and splits and arguments.

It's a good thing there's really no such thing as a perfect church, or else everyone would leave the imperfect churches and go to a perfect church and then I guess they'd be dead because they'd be in heaven.

When people criticize my church, or any church, for that matter, I take a little bit more offense now that I work in one. I see how hard people in leadership are trying to make it better, trying to get people to serve and love and grow... trying to refine and prune and adjust to be more effective.

Then there are the feeble attempts that we make to help people. To help the homeless, to give away clothes, to help people in crisis. And the criticisms that come our way over how we need to do things better and differently (for the example that inspired this post, click here).

Maybe if more people rolled up their sleeves and contributed, we would get further. Maybe if people stopped sitting on the sidelines in judgment and started trying to help people work together, maybe if people researched before lashing out on a media soapbox... maybe then things would start to change for the better.

Flipside isn't a big church. I don't even know, as an admin, how to handle the calls we get now about Camp Hope (aka Tent City). I'm pretty sure it has grown much faster than anyone anticipated. For now, I think we're just going to keep trying, keep serving, and keep praying that the God we believe in, the God who has ultimate sovereignty, will make it all come out in the wash.

Because we certainly can't do it as imperfect people with limited resources, ability, and understanding.

It's a beautiful day in the interwebs...

FINALLY! Google releases a tool to sync Google Calendar with Outlook. Yes, I can now update Outlook and it will show up on my GooCal and vice versa. And there was much rejoicing.

When you read the subject, you have to read it to the tune of Mr. Rogers. Because it is just that fantastic of a day for my productivity.

Maybe I'll start using my PDA again.

Here's a little background for you as to why this is such great news: Google Calendar has been my method of choice for scheduling life. Now, I don't use Outlook or my palm much myself, but mostly this quest for 2-way synchronization began when I started working at The Flipside as Kevin's assistant. He has a bad habit of making and changing his appointments at random... creating a problem for me when I am chasing down appointments for him.

So, I wanted a way for him to be able to schedule himself, but for me to access from my computer, preferably from anywhere (internet calendar) without him having to do anything. The only option that has worked, until today, was Yahoo Calendar - which still required him running a small application to sync (which he sometimes forgets to do). AND, I have had to keep a separate Firefox profile for him so I could be logged into my Yahoo on one browser and his on another. Not the most pleasant or uncluttered way to GTD.

I spent several weeks (or was it months?) trying all of the different options for syncing Google Calendar - I like that I can access it from right there within my own Calendar screen, and I believed that eventually the automation process would have to work. In fact, yesterday I went back to that old mistress, Remote Calendars, who has done nothing but wrong by me. She even once DELETED everything on my Google Calendar... yuck. Yesterday I thankfully couldn't even get the buttons to do anything in Outlook 2007, but I was still giving it another shot.

Today, I open my Lifehacker feed to see the beautiful news. And it's official Google, non of this third-party dysfunctional non-supported crap. And now that I know I can reliably sync my GooCal to my old Palm, maybe I can dig it out of the electronics closet in my office and put it to good use. Or maybe if I'm really good, Santa will bring me a Pantech Duo or iPhone for Christmas and I can have less gadgetry to lug around (I know, keep dreaming, right?).

SQUEEEEE!!! (it's the best way I can express the jubilation I feel in text right now)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What I Have To Deal With


We went to Vegas this past weekend, and I have more to share about that, but first... today.

So... this is the 2nd time Scout has had to come home and get a bath after an adventure at t he dog park. But this time was much much worse. Picture-worthy, really. This picture is after the black is gone... and I wish you could smell it because that adds a whole new level to the dirtiness.

Yes, Scout once again found herself lying in the puddle and mud at the dog park. I was pretty far away from her, so she really got into it before I called her out. Pretty much everyone at the dog park was laughing and I couldn't be too mortified because it was pretty dang funny.

It took a good 45 minutes just to get her washed, plus the 20 to dry her. In fact, after one round of washing, she was still dirty so I had to fill up the tub until the water was up to her tummy so I could get all the gunk out. Now she's fluffy and clean and soft, which is nice, but I would rather not have to deal with keeping a wet, muddy, stinky dog in the backseat of my car for a 15 minute drive.

It might be one of those things that you just had to be there, but I'll share the pictures anyway.




On a happy note, she did play very well at the park today and was pretty much just running the whole time, so she got her exercise and I didn't have to walk her. I guess it was worth it, because I do have a tired dog now:


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Carnegie Deli

It tastes like a salty punch in the mouth, and then you have to eat the fist. -joe

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I see london, I see france...