Tuesday, January 30, 2007


The week of evil badness is upon us once again and this doesn’t bode well for getting things accomplished tomorrow and Thursday. I’d been hoping to get up to Bridal Staircase again tomorrow to look at headpieces and pay my dress a visit. Between me being wiped out and the continual dustings of snow I don’t know how likely that is to actually happen. It totally sucks.

Anyway, that’s not what I mean for this blog entry to be about. I’ve ranted about it before…

Things have been pretty low key lately. Just some random shopping and a lot of scraping off my car windows. It’s been a little chilly lately and I just noticed this morning that my gas tank is down to ¼. Whoops. I haven’t had any problems with the car not starting (good car…) but I should probably stop on my way home tonight anyway. The forecast this morning said the high on Sunday is supposed to be 0. Yes, the HIGH. 0, as in 32 degrees below freezing (and that’s without the wind chill.) *sigh* So far my hands and face are holding up pretty well. My hands tend to suffer during the winter and get dry and cracked. I use lotion at work daily because I’m always working with paper. It’s nothing like it could be.

I’ve yet to pull out my winter coat. I’ve just been wearing the surprisingly warm Cisco fleece along with my hat, gloves, and awesome purple boots. Sometimes I’ll put a sweatshirt underneath, but so far it’s been sufficient for the short treks I make outdoors. This I probably a good thing since my winter coat was getting to be past its prime and I didn’t want to go out and buy a new one yet. Next year maybe… Then again, if this global warming thing takes off…

Nothing much has been going on around here lately either. We replaced Howie’s wheel with a bigger one (he got too big for his first one and was getting out of shape) and now he seems to be back to his normal self. He had gotten sluggish and unenthusiastic about anything except for his food bowl. Now, while still enamored of food, he is back to his OCD circuit-running manic self. He goes for it on his wheel and then dives around his cage, tunneling into his house. It would be cute if it weren’t so crazy-like. He’s still the survivor out of the bunch. He was critter #3 or 4 (I lose track,) I should figure out their “birthdays” and keep track better. Gus and Barry are… well, Gus and Barry. Neither particularly likes to be picked up (at least by me) and I don’t really see them unless I’m putting food in their cage or I happen to catch them running in the evening. They seem content. Mo and Einstein seem to have recovered from their bout of mites. Hair has regrown and only Mo still has a tender spot on his back. Mo has become quite the biter. It started out as chewing on buttons on my shirt, progressed to chewing on the shirt itself, and lately has become chewing on my neck. It’s kind of annoying. It doesn’t really hurt, but it surprises me. Maybe he’s part vampire… Thankfully Einstein hasn’t picked up on this bad habit yet. He’s still content to lie on my stomach and hang out for awhile. Yay for cuddly animals.

Nothing exciting planned for the future right now. The calendar is kind of bare until June. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Just leaves me with not much to write about unless I want to talk about the wedding all the time. Which I don’t.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Engagement Announcement

(Cross posted on the wedding site)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oscars 2007

Since the nominations came out this week, it's time once again to attempt to view all the films nominated. Like last year I've excluded documentaries, shorts, and international films. Films I've already seen are italicized.

Apocolypto (I can tell you right now I won't be seeing this one)
Black Dahlia, The
Blood Diamond
Children of Men
Curse of the Golden Flower
Departed, The
Devil Wears Prada, The
Flags of Our Fathers
Good German, The
Good Shepard, The
Half Nelson
Happy Feet
Illusionist, The
Last King of Scotland, The
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Children
Little Miss Sunshine
Marie Antoinette
Monster House
Notes on a Scandal
Pan's Labyrinth
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Prestige, The
Pursuit of Happyness, The
Queen, The
Superman Returns
United 93

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Random Statements

After almost 2 years of ownership, my car’s average mpg is sitting pretty at 30.6. Much more importantly, the number of mechanical difficulties I’ve had remains at a big fat zero. Woo!

Completely random comment: the stack of scrap paper (rough drafts of papers, a ton of leftover French club surveys, etc.) I had from college has been used up. The end of an era…

Meeting with the priest

We had our meeting with Father Mike last night. We got a ceremony planning worksheet and book and can now decide all kinds of fun things like how to stand at the front of the church and if we’re going to have all kinds of optional stuff or not. I think we worked most of it out last night at dinner but I don’t know. There were a few things that we hadn’t talked about previously. Right now I think the only thing really up in the air is how the mothers will enter (whether they’ll be part of the processional or not.) He says no, I’m not sure.

We have a lot of choices to make: readings, prayers, responses. In general I told Adam that kind of thing would be up to him because I don’t really care too much. I looked over the suggested bible readings and prayers with him last night though and I suppose I gave some opinions. I think I’m ok with the ones he’s considering. I’m all for letting Father Mike have free rein with all the prayers and stuff but we’ll see how it ends up.

We meet with the musicians next week. Should be a good time.

Diet Update

I’m completely failing at my attempt to drink 5 bottles of water each day. I haven’t made it even close to that target. I’m getting about 1 ½ to 2. I suck. But at least I’m not drinking coffee or soda. Adam did point out that I got a sugary raspberry lemonade when he was craving Culver’s this past weekend. True, but I only drank about 3 sips so I don’t think it negated all the good things I’ve been trying to do.

In other dieting news, yesterday we went to the grocery store together for the first time in quite a while and I picked up some haddock and some pollock. Both are apparently non-fishy white fish. I’m going to find recipes that I can deal with - preferably something that has an interesting sauce that will mask the fish taste. I’m trying to like fish. It’s just not working too well.

I also took all the massive chicken breasts that come in a big bag at the store and weighed them all out on the scale to be appx 4oz each since that’s the recommended serving size. There was one breast in there that weighed over a pound. It was huge!

I’ve decided to continue making my own pasta sauce and stop buying the Prego stuff. Not only does it make the house smell yummy as it cooks all day, but it tastes good too. And hopefully contains less salt and preservative type stuff than the jarred sauce does. And it’s probably cheaper to make. I think I still have one jar up in the cupboard so I’ll either use that or give it to a food pantry. Speaking of which, I should really go through our cupboards to see what all is in there. I’m afraid to look at some of the expiration dates!

We’ve been going crazy with the Lean Cuisine sales lately. I keep getting coupons and different groups have been on sale since the year began. I take one for lunch everyday and generally Adam takes one for lunch and one for dinner (if he works both jobs.) He’s getting tired of it though so I’ve instructed him to find something he’d like to eat and I’ll make it for him. I like to be accommodating. He’s not completely on board with my diet plan so I figure I can make him what he likes and then do my own thing separately. That’s usually what happens anyway since we hardly ever have dinner together anymore (and he likes icky foods.)

I’ve been consciously trying to choose my food carefully, avoiding fried foods and other “red light” foods. In addition to trying to eat better I’m trying to be aware of portion sizes. Both Adam and I agree this is probably our biggest downfall. I read the Low GI diet book a few weeks ago and found it interesting. I think it’s something I could do since rice, pasta, and most potatoes are green light foods. I’d die on a low carb diet, so this might work for me. One oddity I found was the whole open-face sandwich thing. They have a list of fast food restaurants and what things are acceptable at each. They tell you to eat all sandwiches without the top piece of bread. That seems like it would be kind of difficult. Or maybe I’m just a messy eater and need the other piece of bread to keep all the insides, well, inside. I don’t know. I’m kind of doing a half-assed version of it right now, continuing to eat “bad” foods we already have at home.

I’ve gotten on a Special K kick lately too. In reality it’s not that great for you, but I figure it’s better than Cocoa Pebbles. They also came out with snack bars that I take with me to work. Snacking is really big with the GI diet so I try and stick with that.

Anyway, enough of that. I’m doing what I can. In any case, I think there’s no danger of not fitting into my dress. I lack the enormous amount of motivation it would take to accomplish that.

My Political Post of the Year

I don’t watch the State of the Union address. Why would I waste an hour (or more) of my time watching it when I can just go online the next day and read the transcript in about 10 minutes? Granted, I miss the mispronunciations and the awful Texan accent that undoubtedly plagues the presentation of the speech, but I consider that to be a benefit. I also get to miss all the unnecessary clapping and shouts of (dis)approval.

So anyway, that’s what I did this morning. I’m generally a non-political person. I don’t really care enough to make a big deal out of most things. I only vote in presidential elections (with an exception made for the recent one that had the “gay marriage” referendum.) That said, here are my impressions:

There were some things that made me roll my eyes. There were others that made me wonder if Dubya has taken up the weed again. Overall, it wasn’t as preposterous as some of his others have been, but I was generally unimpressed.

I was slightly surprised that there was no mention of Saddam at all. I would think he’d want to use that as an example of his success. Maybe I’m wrong.

I was miffed by how he said he wants to balance the budget and eliminate the deficit and then he launched into numerous things he wants to increase spending on. Where are the cuts going to be made in order for this screwball plan to work since heaven forbid he raise taxes? I can guarantee you it won’t be on defense.

I was intrigued by his proposal for a new tax deduction for people with health insurance. Although I thought he was for simplifying the tax code, apparently it’s ok to make it more convoluted if it makes you look good?

I was generally uninterested in most of the rest of the speech. Energy, terrorism, war, it’s always the same thing year after year. Although I did laugh when he mentioned that he wanted Congress to approve a massive increase in the number of people in the Army and Marines. Aren’t they already having problems meeting their enlistment goals? What difference will it make if Congress allows more if they can’t get people to agree to enlist? Will they resort to bringing back the draft? *shudder*

Anyway, thus ends my one political post for the year. Although with all the presidential hoopla going on I might have to make an exception about that later on.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Sense of Accomplishment

I think we accomplished a lot this weekend. It probably helped that we got dumped on on Sunday so Adam didn’t have to go to work. In any case, we can check a few things off the list:

We booked the hotel for the night in Seattle before the cruise. I think we went with a Holiday Inn since Adam has an incentive points card for that.

We also booked our shore excursions. The site finally recognized my confirmation number and allowed me to reserve our spots online. Now I wait for the confirmation e-mail. I think we did this far enough in advance that there should be no problem with the tours we chose being filled. In Juneau we chose the Mendenhall Glacier tour and Wildlife Quest. I had wanted to do whale watching, but time-wise it didn’t work out. The Wildlife Quest is on a boat so there’s always a possibility that we’ll catch a glimpse of one there. In Ketchikan we chose the Lighthouse, Eagles, and Totems tour. We’ll also watch the Great Lumberjack Show. In Skagway we’ll do the Ultimate Yukon Railroad tour. This will take us on a White Pass Railway, we’ll pan for gold, meeting sled dogs and a whole bunch of other things. In Victoria we’re doing the Pub and Ale Trail tour. It should be a good time. We planned an excursion for each port, but there should still be time to check things out individually as well.

Adam ordered his attendants’ gifts online yesterday as well. We had a coupon that we wanted to use. I’m still waiting on mine. I haven’t found quite what I want yet. Then we have to tackle the parents. We have a pretty good idea about his, but we’re still pondering mine.

I checked out a different wedding store in Appleton on Saturday and found a treasure trove of stuff. We should be able to get the rest of the accessories there: guestbook, pen, cake server set, and probably some other fun stuff. I’m not sure when we’ll get back there together, but I’m glad I have a source for those things now.

I’ll be making another trip up to Kaukauna in the near future to take care of the rest of my stuff.

I confirmed our newspaper announcement this morning and it will run this Sunday.

Other than that, we’re kind of in a holding pattern for favors and other gifts until we know how many people plan on showing up in August. I’ve started the program and plan to start on the invitations this week. We don’t have to send them out for quite a while (like, June), but with all the licking of envelopes I did for Christmas, I think I want to get a head start and space it out a little more this time. :)

First Book Review of 2007

I don’t think I’m going to attempt the 50 book challenge this year as I failed miserably at it last year and I had a lot more time then than I do now. Instead, I’ll copy my brother and just mention books I read on the blog. I recently finished To the Best of My Ability, edited by James McPherson. It’s a compilation of short essays by different people about each of the presidents from George Washington up through GWB’s first term. Each president gets his turn to shine with random facts, insights into his personality and backstory, and an analysis of how he did in the big picture. I learned about this book when I was channel surfing one day and stopped on The History Channel. They were running the video series that is based on this book.

As you may remember (or not) was rather obsessed with our noble leaders for a while in middle and high school. I had a whole wall of my bedroom plastered with “Presidential Paraphernalia.” I was less interested in their political leanings and bills they passed than in how many of them were from Virginia or how many of their wives were named Martha (two Marthas, by the way.) In my typical OCD categorizing way I had lists of all kinds of random rankings (youngest elected, youngest to die, etc.) Nevertheless I managed to learn a thing or two in the process. And when I saw part of the series on tv, I knew I should buy this book.

So I did. It’s a honking big book and weighs probably 9 pounds. Each president gets his pages with plenty of pictures and interesting information. At the rear of the book is a section detailing the results of each election. Also included are transcripts of all the inaugurational addresses. There are lots of things that I found interesting while reading this book. Firstly, I was amazed by how many presidents we’ve had that were only nominated because their party was deadlocked between two guys they actually wanted. These men were a “suitable compromise” for the nomination and were pretty much nominated just because the delegates at the meeting wanted to go home. Secondly, so many of these men seemed to marry the first woman they met, after a ridiculously short period of time. At least three of the wives said they thought their husband was nuts when he proposed on their first or second date. Thirdly, it was interesting to see how the present looks back at the past. I’ve only been around for a few presidents (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, GW Bush) and I can’t really say too much about any of them. Public opinion of some of the former presidents changed so much over time. Some of the guys who are fondly remembered today were despised in their own time (Coolidge and Hoover anyone?) And some of them who are revered don’t really deserve it (hello JFK!)

Even some scathing commentary couldn’t dissuade me from continuing my love affair with FDR. He’s been my favorite for years and looking at the upcoming election, I’d say he’s not in any danger of being displaced any time soon. And I’d also say the nation could use some fireside chats these days.

I’m debating with myself whether I want to go ahead and buy the videos as well. I know (from the two or three parts I saw) that there is a lot more information in the tv series than in the book. I might just have to spring for it (it’s not expensive) just to satisfy my curiosity. Or maybe the library has it… Didn’t even think about that.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dilbert and Taxes

The Dilbert on my page-a-day calendar made me laugh all day long.

Tasteless, but hilarious...

In completely unrelated news, I did my taxes tonight. Ok, so I already had them done on paper and all I did was freefile them. I love that I can file my taxes online for free and get my refund direct deposited in like a week. Totally awesome. Anyway, total refund from both entities is just over $800. Not bad, considering last year I got back $294. I guess I'm looking at that the wrong way... oh well. I'll be using the money for wedding stuff no doubt. Maybe I'll pay the photographer bill down a bit.

Adam and I are going to do a little experiment. He filed on Thursday so now we're going to fake file again like we were married and see how that affects the refund amounts. Should be interesting.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My head is swimming with wedding thoughts

We have set up a meeting with Father Mike for next week to work out the details of the ceremony. I don’t really have a lot of opinions about it. I saw Katie’s format and that general outline is fine for me. I’ve left the readings up to Adam and with the addition of a vocalist, I expect our service will be very similar. And that’s fine with me. This might sound all wrong, but the wedding ceremony itself is not that important to me. I know that’s where we take our vows, but everything else around that is just not interesting to me. I’m aiming for about a 15 minute ceremony. More than that and I think we’ll just be depending on filler. What else is there to do but 3 readings, vows, rings, unity candle, ta-da we’re married? I guess we’ll see what happens when we talk with Father Mike.

We also got a hold of Alice (the vocalist) and she’ll be coming to the meeting with have with Tom (the organist) on the 30th. It sounds as though she has a lot of songs in her repertoire and will be singing some she particularly likes. I’m kind of set in my choices for the important parts, but I’m more than willing to let them go nuts with the pre- and post-wedding music. I’m still debating if I want a stand-alone song during the ceremony. On the one hand I’m thinking it might be nice to just stand there for a few minutes and listen to her. Kind of a moment to breath between things. On the other hand, I might get antsy standing there feeling stupid in front of everyone. Katie had a poem read at her wedding so I suppose it’s kind of the same concept. I guess I’ll see if something she sings catches my attention and make my decision from there.

There are lots of other things to do too. As soon as I get my act together I’ll be submitting our engagement announcement to the local paper. When it runs I’ll be sure to scan it and post it on the wedding site. I also just made a list of the things we still need to get before the wedding. It’s not really too long. We’ve done a good job so far. Of course, my list is much longer than Adam’s. How unfair is that? I’ve still got to get my veil and headpiece and other accessories along with gifts for various people. Together we still need tapers for the church and some random things like a guestbook, favors for the reception. We also still need to book our hotel in Seattle for the night before our cruise. And shore excursions – I’ve had problems with NCL’s website so I might have to give in and call someone about it.

Adam got me an “obsessive-compulsive” action figure a few weeks ago. On the back of the box it has this little quiz you can take to see how OCD you are. One of the symptoms was “you make lists of your lists.” I’ve been so bad about this lately. I’m a total list nut. I always have a little notebook in my purse and I write down everything. At home I have various spreadsheets about different things. Right now I’m trying to decide where I want to get my hair done so I have a spreadsheet of all the local salons so I can compare pricing. He thinks it’s odd. I think it’s organized. Anyway, I’ve got lots of lists about wedding stuff. The overall list of things we need to get done isn’t too bad. I plan to look everything over in the next couple days though and see what we can do sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Marriage Prep: Act Three

Apologies for the lack of post-age lately. Between the cold that won’t quit and stress at work, I’ve been highly unmotivated to do much of anything when I get home at night.

We had the final part of the marriage prep at St. Mary’s this past weekend, the Engaged Couples Retreat. This was the retreat where we were supposed to pretend we don’t live together. I think I kind of blew our cover though because we overslept because the alarm didn’t go off and I mentioned that in a conversation to one of the couples. Oops.

We spent all day Saturday with 10 other engaged couples and 6 or 7 married couples learning all about what happens when “two become one.” (Anyone else have a Spice Girls song in their head now? Just me? Ok then.) The day was split into sections and each subject was covered by a different couple. The time went by quickly and with the exception of the final section, none of them were overly difficult to sit through. And I’m happy to say that none of them were overly “Catholic” even though one of the ladies came up to me afterwards to make sure it wasn’t too Catholic. LoL. I think she was joking… Most of the things discussed were universal and not specific to a certain faith. Most of the things weren’t even really faith-based. They were common sense based.

There were five sections: Friendship and Love, Communication, Finances, Intimacy, and Spirituality. Summary from all sections would go something like this: you need to be friends before you can be lovers, you need to talk to each other, you need to talk about money, intimacy is great, relationships are stronger if there are shared spiritual rituals and beliefs.

I was kind of surprised at how they skimmed over the intimacy section. Not a peep about NFP (although there was a pamphlet about it in the folder we got.) Perhaps this particular parish realizes they can talk about abstinence and birth control all they want but people are going to do what they want anyway? I don’t know. It just surprised me a bit. Other than that, everything was good advice and some things sparked some discussion later that evening.

We stayed for mass and were introduced and blessed by the congregation. We then made plans to meet with Tom, the organist, in a couple weeks to go over music selections. After going home and eating dinner we headed out to the martini bar where we sat and talked for a few hours. We got there early enough we could snag the comfy couches in the corner and talk undisturbed. We then came back home and apparently fell asleep pretty early. It was a good day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Water Struggle, Day 2

So today is going a little better in the bathroom arena. I’ve only gone once and I’m halfway into bottle #2. I’ve gone to the bathroom a lot more to blow my nose than to use the facilities. I finally gave in and took some DayQuil with my lunch. While it has cleared the pipes a little, it has also made my vision kind of psychedelic. Groovy. I’m on day 412 of my cold now with no hope of it going away any time soon. Stupid weather. At least there’s no snow yet. I’m crossing my fingers that it remains that way until, say, 2025. (Just watch, we’ll get dumped on tonight…)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Me & My teeny bladder

So I’m trying to make an effort to drink more water since it’s suppose to jumpstart your metabolism and generally do good things to your body. I’ve never been much of a drinker of anything. I’d say on an average day I have some milk with my cereal, a bottle (1/2 liter) of water throughout the day at work and then maybe another ½ bottle during the evening and at night. When I go out to eat I rarely finish my drink.

My goal now is to drink 5 (1/2 liter) bottles of water each day. This amounts to 84.5 ounces of water. This is still below that whole 8-10 glasses mark, but it’s a vast increase from my normal drinking habits. Yesterday I got to almost 4. Today I’ve just started #2 and it’s 3pm. Not looking good for today. I’ve got these little Crystal Light flavor packets that mix into the water to make it more interesting. It’s not the water itself that bothers me. It’s the incessant peeing that follows. I have gone to the bathroom at least 9 times already today. No joke. I may have to find an alternative route so the marketing department doesn’t start talking about me. I know I can’t really say I have a small bladder. Mine is just more sensitive than others. It’s just so annoying though. Hopefully if I keep upping the amount of water I ingest my body will adjust and I can stop hiking to the can every 15 minutes.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Struggle

I have a problem that I’m not sure how to handle.

I haven’t stepped on a scale in months so I don’t really know how much I weigh. All I know is it’s too much. My best guess puts me about 70 pounds over what I’d like to weigh. Perhaps I’ll go home tonight and get the real number for clarity. I should mention that even my goal weight is over what “They” recommend for my height, but I think there’s a limit as to how low I can go. I’m just aiming to get back to where I was about 5 years ago. I know that’s realistic since I’ve been there before. Granted, this was during my Ramen Noodles college days where I worked 16 hours a day so there have definitely been some lifestyle changes.

Here’s the problem. I want to lose the weight. But I don’t want to lose so much weight that I have to buy a new wedding dress. I don’t want to look like I do now in my wedding pictures. But I don’t want to have to spend hundreds more on a dress that will fit. What am I supposed to do? They say a dress can be taken in two sizes with no problems. My goal weight would drop me 5 sizes from what the dress I have is. Although in reality it is probably less than that since wedding dresses tend to run small.

I know I should have thought about this before I ordered the dress. I’ve had months to change my habits and get moving on the weight loss thing. Maybe it’s the whole New Year thing, maybe it’s some of the blogs I’ve been reading. Maybe it’s discussions that Adam and I have had recently. I don’t know. I just know I need to do something. Fortunately Adam seems to be on board with the idea. We’ve already resolved to quit eating out so much. This should hopefully save both money and calories. I do the grocery shopping so it will be up to me to buy better food.

Maybe I’ll start a separate blog for this, maybe not. I just hope I don’t lose motivation and I work the dress situation out.

The Blender Massacre of 2006

Small appliances that enter our apartment be warned: there’s a good chance you won’t make it out alive.

If you recall, Adam recently managed to break the vacuum cleaner, prompting a quick shopping trip to buy a new one. Then on New Year’s Eve, I got home from Sheboygan and started packing up the leftover food from our party to take up to Green Bay for the Packer Game. I also tried to pack the blender for margaritas. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful and managed to drop it and the pitcher shattered. So we had to stop and get a new one on the way up.

I guess we’re even now. But the toaster better watch its back. It could be next.