Monday, February 27, 2012

Things I Love and Things I Don't

Because My Sailor loves me, we pooled together some pennies and I got a Fitbit Ultra!
It's RARE that I want a "gadget", but this was one of them! The Fitbit is a wireless activity monitor that can sync w/ MyFitnessPal, that I'm already a member of. It tracks the quality of your sleep and your steps (running, stairs, walking) throughout the day. The online program also helps you reach your fitness goals by helping you track your calories in vs calories burned. Of course, if you eat 1000 calories a day, and make them all Snickers bars, you won't lose weight even if you walk a ton. So I am still control of putting good quality fuel in my body. But I've been maintaining my weight for a while now (about 2 months) so I'm due for a big loss soon! The sleep monitoring function is great too. Most people who are obese suffer form insomnia as well. For example, last night I was in bed for about 8 hours, but only got 3 hours of quality sleep! Yikes! I wonder if that will change when we're on the road... I hope so! A break might be just what I need to get some more rest! We're going on vacation soon, and I plan in wearing it and syncing it everyday. After all, there are no vacations from a healthy lifestyle, because a healthy lifestyle includes healthy vacations!

Which brings me to - I LOVE THAT WE'RE GOING ON VACATION in TWO DAYS! There is still so much to do between now and then. 24 hours of work, plus finding time to pack and write up instructions for our new dog sitter. I need to make a trip to the bank, and pack for two completely different climates. Our first stop is Michigan (brrr!) and then we get to Orlando (yeah! Disneyworld here we come!). While I am really looking forward to getting a tour of My Sailor's hometown, meeting his family and friends, I'm also loving that we're working in some ways to steal some moments for us. We'll also hopefully be able to meet up with Lou Mongello (editor of Celebrations Press, the Disneyworld fan magazine I write a column for, and creator of WDWRadio) for a bit in Disneyworld. When I grow up (er, down), I want to be Lou Mongello. Check out his podcast if you haven't already.

Now on to a few things I think I don't love.

24 hours of work before vacation, in 2 days. Now don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for my job and to be employed. I created this beast I'm riding on, so it is what it is. But I wish vacation started TODAY and lasted even longer! Then again, who doesn't?!

Easily offended folks -  I have a LONG fuse. It takes a good recurring behavior to really get my goat most of the time. I can put up with anything for a while. Over the past few weeks, I've seen lots of lists of "What never to say to a military wife" go around the internet.  In case you've never seen them (and I didn't see them until I got involved in the military community), they read something like this:
1.  "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
2.  "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
3.  "At least he's not in Iraq."
4.  "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc.?"
5.  "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he is gone?"
6.  "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
7.  "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
8.  "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
9.  "Wow you must miss him?"
10.  "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
11.  "Well he signed up for it, so it's his fault whatever happens over there."
12.  "Don't you miss sex? I couldn't do it!"
13.  "Well in my opinion...."
14.  "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"

Honestly, the only one that offends me is #12 because my sex life is no one's business. If a good friend asked me, I might be open about it but other than that, none of these 'offend' me. Sure, we ALL say silly things to try to connect with other people. When I was first married, it was "When are you having kids?" Sounds like a "normal" thing to ask, right? When you think about it, it's actually deeply personal. I was never 'offended' by it - just mildly annoyed. Now that I'm in my 30's I understand a bit more, and compassion doesn't come hard. I understand that they are trying to connect with me, get to know me, and don't mean to be inconsiderate. I'm always hopeful that these lists are ment in good humor more than anything else. Reading it over, I think they can all be answered by "Yes, I miss him. Yes, he's a my hero. Yes, he's worth waiting for. It's not a lifestyle for everyone. Yes, I'm grateful he's not in any obvious line of fire. If he has to do his job, there probably won't be anything to come home to."

So I'd like to end on 2 "love" notes.

I love that my blogger friends and fellow Team Voicers FINISHED THE PRINCESS 1/2 MARATHON this last weekend! Way to go Amanda and Jonathon! You inspire me!

I love that people actually appreciate My Sailor. I don't get a "thank you" for being a certified coder.  When I hear from a fan of my writing, it makes me glow for a day or two. (Celebrations Press readers - you're gonna LOVE the Big Thunder Mountain piece I picked up for an up coming issue! Keep your eyes peeled.) There aren't many jobs in life where strangers approach you, hug you, and thank you for doing your job. He doesn't get the sleep he deserves and sometimes, he doesn't even get the credit he deserves from me at home sometimes.  So it's always a great reality check when someone says 'Thank you for putting your life on the line so I can live free.'

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tax Return and The Rule of 3rds

I'm doing the happy/relieved dance today! The Tax Return came in! My Sailor and I decided to use the rule of Thirds to decided where the money goes this year. 1/3rd will go to bills. 1/3rd will go to savings. 1/3rd will go to us. Man, does it feel good to see that extra money sitting there!

This is the first year since 2001 that I've gotten money back on my taxes. As a single adult with a good job - the government LOVES to stick it to ya. Sure, we're paying for important things, but I'm happy if I break even. I'm THRILLED if I get something back! Now to decide which bill gets to disappear! I'll be checking out interest rates and making sure it goes to the highest one.

We're also going to be cutting back a bit when we move. We'll be canceling cable - which makes me VERY happy. Currently, we pay over $100/month for internet at TV. My Sailor wanted his sport channels when we moved and didn't really have an idea on how little he'd be home. Now that he does, it's time to cut that back. He's rarely home enough to catch a full game, and I prefer to head to the sports bar for a change of scenery and a beer. Most sports networks are available online, so we're going to let the cable TV go. We have a computer and a PS3 hooked up to that TV. We can watch things on or online for free or next to free. This has the potential to result in a savings for $750 PER YEAR! Pretty significant if you ask me!

I'm not used to being financially stable. I'm used to freaking out over money. It's kind of funny how it's working out. Sure, I'm still the chief breadwinner (what do you expect? I've been at my job since 2005), and I handle most of the money, but we make decisions together regarding how to save or spend it. I think it's proving to be a nice balance for me. I'm making headway in paying down my debt, my car is paid off, and we're looking at BUYING A HOUSE! Yeah, I know. I've mentioned it before. We're waiting on our pre-approval.

It looks like it's going to happen in this order:

So that brings up the last one on that list - Baby. We're talking about starting the adoption process at the same time we pull the goalie, since chases are more than likely that my body won't cooperate. Filing for adoption will take the stress off for "must have something that looks like us", so in some ways, it might actually INCREASE our odds of getting pregnant.

I wrestle a little bit with the kid thing because it means I seriously need to beef up my writing resume, so I can work part time at my day job, and bring some money freelance writing. My current gigs pay in bragging rights mostly. I'm VERY proud to be following my passion and be part of the Celebrations Press team. It's my FAVORITE gig and I'm hoping to expand it. If I had the funds, I'd LOVE to do a Disney Parks International column for them as well. So far, I haven't been able to afford to take research trips to Tokyo, Paris, or Hong Kong, but the desire is there!

But I know I'll have to get books rolling if I want to get out of the Medical Coding world. Medical coding just pays really well and is steady. Being a starving artist is overrated.

So we'll see how things pan out, but one thing is certain -
Little Sailor's first trip to Disney is going to ROCK!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Revelations at Jiffy Lube

Yesterday, we had to stop off at a local grocery store, and my car was in DIRE need of an oil change, so I decided to take advantage of the location and hop into my local Jiffy Lube while I left My Sailor to shop for produce (something I'm usually anal about).

While he was shopping, I sat there waiting. It took them almost 30 minutes to check me in. As I was waiting I thought "Oh, I should let My Sailor know that it's taking a while." (My initial plan was to meet him inside the store since it's only a few shops away.) Turns out I didn't have my cell phone on me.

That's right, I waited in Jiffy Lube's lobby w/ no cell phone to keep me entertained. I didn't reach for a magazine either.

In fact, I enjoyed NOT being entertained for a while and just sitting quietly with my thoughts.

It dawned on me how rare it is that I do this anymore. Usually I have some sort of screen blinking at me, filling almost every moment I'm not with someone with work or entertainment.

But sitting alone with my thoughts felt great.

Oddly enough, in those quiet moments, I found a sweet form of balance. I felt engaged in the world around me, even though there was nothing there for me to do. There was no plan to formulate, no work to be done, and nothing to call my attention away from the fact that I was just waiting.

It reminded me strongly of my youth in the 1980's - long before anyone even dreamed of the words "smart phone". There was no way to instantly connect with thousands of people via social media.

Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoy my digital friends immensely, and I know I haven't even met most of my readers (ye brave, ye few). In fact, my life would be VERY different if the internet hadn't sunk its claws into me. So I don't decry technology all the time.

But I was reminded of how important it is to unplug frequently.

I find that it's catching on too. When I have free time at home, I've been opting to read a book. Not on a Kindle or Nook, but an actual book with actual pages that doesn't need to be charged ever. I do see where these gadgets have their place. (It's great that My Sailor can take months worth of reading material on his submarine!) But I believe that simplicity has it's place too.

I'm reminded of that again as I read my friend's blogs about their marathons and running achievements. Running is a simple thing. It's one of the first things any toddler learns how to do (just ask any parents!). Running with my dog or to play a sport reminds me of the sheer joy in movement. It's a simple thing. Strap on shoes, head outside, and move.

So while the guys were working hard to get my car up to snuff, I got a "tune up" too. We don't have to constantly be "mult-tasking" to be productive. Sometimes the product is just being alive.

It make me miss meditation workshops w/ my awesome California Therapist.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Didn'ts and the Dids

Well, the approval didn't happen. They need to chat with the underwriters who are out of the office until Tuesday, and Real Estate agents don't want to waste their time on "lookie-loos", which we are considered until we get our pre-approval letter. Poop.

So house hunting didn't happen yesterday, but what did happen is we learned that 3 of the 4 houses we wanted to look at already had offers on them. Boo hiss! Oh well. The right house will come along at the right time. No need to rush these things (though we are both really antsy to get out of this apartment come May).

What did happen was a trip into Seattle!

We drove in yesterday afternoon and spent about 4 hours hiking around the streets of Seattle near Pike's Market. We stopped for lunch at a little Indian place called the Kastoori Grill. They were advertising a $10 lunch buffet. Everything we tried was good and really fresh! I got to stay within my healthy eating range, and taste a bunch of different things. Success!

In fact, we were so full from lunch, we opted to stay away from the otherwise-tempting chocolatiers and Irish pubs that line nearby Post Alley.

We picked up some new teas at a local tea shop, and some local sage honey. In the Market, we tried fresh goat cheese from a local maker - who actually RAISES the goats he makes the cheese from! So you know it's limited quantity, and all natural. His stand included a photo album of his farm as well. We were going to go back for fresh fish and fruit, but by the time we'd walked up and down the waterfront by the market, we were pooped and opted to just head home via the Fauntleroy ferry. (For those of you Disney buffs - yes, we took a ferry from a station bearing Donald Duck's middle name!)

All in all a good day. On our way home, we stopped at Hiro Sushi, a local sushi place. It's the 2nd time we've been there. The first time, we got take out in the summer of last year. It was just "okay", so we decided to dine in this time and give this place another shot. Well, to sum up my review (which you can find here in-depth on yelp) we both came home with stomach aches. Thankfully, we managed to keep everything down, but needless to say it was a LONG night after that.

So for all the "dids" and the "didn't's", it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Some New Goals

It's been an... eventful past couple you'll have to excuse my blogging silence as I process things.

Because I think I complain far too much - first, the good stuff!

Tomorrow, My Sailor and I are going to look at a few houses. Yeah! They are short sales or foreclosures. I'm more excited than scared. The scary part will come tomorrow morning when we find out how much we're approved for.

It's a new chapter - with some old vocabulary thrown in the mix -

Like the term "Finding Nemo". My Sailor will have lots of time to look for him this time, so that means, I'll have LOTS of time on my hands to accomplish things! First up, a weekend in So Cal with Sistah' Girl this summer.

I don't have anything else planned at the moment, but I am considering a solo trip somewhere - since I have plenty of vacation to use up this year.

Aside from that, the Run For Your Life Zombie 5k in Portland/Seattle in August! Hopefully My Sailor will be there with me! We've registered to run as prospect survivors, AND to chase people as Zombies! It also includes overnight camping! Should be fun!

I'm waiting on my new shoes before I start training for ANYTHING. Don't want to screw up my feet even more and REALLY set myself back!

(I also ordered a Fitbit! Can't wait to see how that helps me keep my health on track!)

But tonight I'm happy to report that I got 41 minutes of Just Dance 3 on "Sweat" mode. It was a blast! I signed up for a 7 day challenge to help keep me focused and in shape over the next couple months.

I've also been out of the house twice. I do notice that I'm stammering more when I talk to people, even on the phone lately. Oy! The side-effects of me not getting out enough means I get a tad anxious when talking to new people, and I stumble and trip over my words to say what I mean to say.  It's an embarrassing habit I hold to LOSE  before I meet My Sailor's family and friends on 2 weeks.

The bad news was sort of laced in there. My Sailor is VERY busy at the Sub and will be for at least the rest of this year. It makes me even more grateful to look back on my past and see how far I've come.

But it does take me a little while to process all this - between 12 hour work days (worked over 50 hrs this week) and the house stuff - and reminding myself to take care of me...which reminds me... Me needs a bubble bath and some book time before bed tonight. Off I go!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Breaking The Cardinal Rule...

This week, I've been breaking a few of my own personal rules.

1) Leave the house twice a day.
When you work from home, it's tough to feel like part of the human race sometimes! Especially when you're pulling 12 hour days on a regular basis. I can't say that I'm depressed or anything along those lines. But I know that I'm short-changing myself, and that never feels good. Relying on Facebook doesn't make up for face-to-face time with the human race. I know when I don't take the time to meet new people and open myself up to learning from them, I get stuck in my ways and tend to sound like a "know it all" (or at least I think so). I also tend to put myself in a "big sister" or "mom" type role, rather than the "equals" role that I prefer. So it's time to make a few minor adjustments as far as my socialization goes. Maybe it's time to join a class or start a show, now that the schedule has calmed down (yeah!).

On the upside, this does mean that I've saved a good chunk of change for our upcoming trip. After all, you save a lot of money when you're not paying for gas or coffee shop
runs! That DOES feel good.

2) Breaking the Health rules.
I've been doing this about as much as I've been getting out of the house this week. Sure, I've taken the dog for his daily mile, but I'm going to pass on that today. I can tell the weather is taking its toll on Clydas' joints, so I'm going to give him a pass on that today. We're still seeing how he reacts to his first winter, especially with his still-recent amputation. Last night, it was pretty clear that his rear knees were bothering him, so I'll let him rest up today. But that said, I also haven't been adhereing to my logging in MyFitnessPal - and I've been giving into desserts more often than not. I know when My Sailor is home, we both feel like celebrating, and lately ice cream has been the culprit.  So it's time to cut the sweets (not "out", just "down") and boost the work out. Just Dance 3 anyone?

Some people don't do well with "rules", but I actually find that I usually thrive when I set them for myself.

It's not always easy to do what's best for ourselves. There are lots of distractions - work, relationships, etc. But if there is anything I've been reminded of lately - when we better ourselves, we better everything around us as well. 

I'm sure I'll do just fine - and I'm generally happy with my life. It's just making a few minor adjustments that will help enrich things even more.

And that is a very good place to be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Walk A Mile in My (Broken Down Cheap old Running) Shoes

As most of you already know (if you read my blog regularly) - you know that I am on a quest when it comes to my athletics. I played LOTS of sports as a kid, but that didn't stop me from being overweight. But I want to continue 'getting better and better' (thanks Kyle for the tagline!). And today I put in an investment towards that.

One of the greatest lessons I learned in life (so far) is that any investment you make in bettering yourself, betters those around you as well. It can inspire people on their own journey, encourage those going the same direction you are, and build stronger relationships with other people who are interested in 'getting better and better' as well.

When I first bought my running shoes (Asics GT-2160), they ran me about $100. Yikes! That's more than I think I've ever spent on athletic shoes, but My Sailor helped to convince me that my lousy feet need a little TLC when it comes to running. I tend to beat them into a pulp since they'd been, well, lousy since I can remember.

Take a look and you'll see what I mean:

Let's take a look at the bottom of the shoes, shall we? If you look carefully, you'll see that only worn areas are the outside of shoe (from ball to heel) and just below the ball of the foot. That's where you can see the purple peeking out from the yellow-ish greenish sole. So obviously those areas take a lot of abuse. Now lets look at my feet on the left. Md's say I was probably born with high arches, but as I put on weight as a kid, and played sports (soccer), my arches fell. Now, we have technology that fixes this in children under 10. A tiny ball like thing is implanted into the weakening bones, which helps the body correct itself. Pretty cool, huh? Too bad it wasn't around in the 1980's (when I was 10 and under). Obviously, my heels take a lot of abuse - see all the callouses there? They don't hurt, and I never really worry about how my feet "look" so I rarely bother with them. On the lower right hand corner, you'll see my "good foot". This is one that has a tiny bit of arch left. Arches give your feet spring and helps them bounce back from daily stuff. Now, the 2nd photo from the right shows me standing. You'll notice my ankle of my "good foot" is pretty much lined up w/ my leg, despite the lack of arch in either foot. (Believe it or not, this is actually PROGRESS from where I was 10 years ago.) On the other side though, you'll notice that my ankle rolls in pretty severely. I am NOT leaning in this picture, but it looks like I am, huh? Crazy stuff! Anyway, over the course of my teen years, my ankles collapsed. (Which is why it's progress to have 1 nearly line up on it's own finally - but losing 50lbs will do that!) The left ankle joint, when not properly supported, actually pretty much touches the ground when I walk.

And you know when you're feet are off so are your knees, hips, back, etc. I'm so grateful not to struggle with any sort of chronic pain in those areas!

As for my feet - when I'm bare foot, my toes go numb on a regular basis. That's how I knew I couldn't keep these shoes one day longer. My lousy feet killed em.

In their defense, they were great shoes! Worth every penny! I wore them A LOT, and they lasted nearly a year. Since running shoes aren't known for their durability, and should be replaced every 6 months anyway, it's past time.

But that doesn't mean I am looking forward to the 2 hour commute to the mall and back to find a great Lady Footlocker and spend over $100 on new shoes, RIGHT before a vacation!

So here's where I get savy -

  Yesterday, I got a reward card in the mail for $20 my next purchase at Famous Footwear. While I never have good luck at their physical stores, I have great luck with their online specials. Today, the exact same brand/model of shoe (different color) is on sale! Instead of $99, it's $69.99! How's that for a deal? I add on my coupon and I got it down to $56.01 after taxes. "But what about shipping and handling?" Since I'm a rewards member (which was free to sign up for), shipping is free. So I saved on gas by not even having to go to a store. Oh, and I have one more savy shopping goodie - I went through to get them. So I also get 9% put back into my paypal account, which is a little over $5.

So I actually bought $99 shoes for $50.96.

And now, I just have to get a new swimsuit top and I have a feeling I'll be all ready for our vacation and well within budget.

Quote of the Blog - "It feels good to outsmart the feet." - Me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some Photos for Thought

Happy Valentine's Day folks!

Since My Sailor and I aren't really celebrating V day this year, I've been thinking of ways to do something special this year.

Inspired by an anniversary photos shoot featured on The Disney Wedding Blog I thought that maybe, just maybe we deserve a professional photo session! While I'm getting pretty darn good at tweaking photos, it would be nice if most of them weren't taken at arms length, or by a friend. A pro could have some really great ideas.

Now the question becomes - should I steal him away for a photos session in Seattle w/ an urban big city feel? Or wait until our trip to Disneyworld in a few weeks? Things that make ya go "hmmm...".

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When a Movie Moves You

Every once in a great while, I'm exposed to a film that reaches out and grabs at something deeper than just my heart strings. It pulls at the fiber of my being. It makes me wonder if some where, deep down -  beyond the Disney fan and the Medical Coder - at the heart of a dreamer is a devout gypsy.

I've never been able the type of person to thrive within stone walls. I lack the patience for conventional education, but I soak up the lessons of experiences of life (my life and others) like a sponge. I find peace in nature, and wordless meaning in the faith, friendship, and in the company of others. But those that know me best usually realize that I'm reserved (yes, even in this blog) when it all comes down to it. Only friends who have known me for decades really get "the whole story", though I do make every effort to be honest in this blog, as in all recordings of this journey that is my life.

The Way  isn't a hard movie to watch. It probably wasn't a hard movie to make either. Shot on location, it follows several backpackers on their journey along The Way of St. James. Focusing on Martin Sheen's character - a doctor from California who came to Europe when he learned his 20'something year old son (a field anthropologist in the making) tragically passes away - the movie follows his emotional and physical journey on The Way, where he meets up with several others from around the world, all traveling for different reasons. Living off the road, small towns they come across on the way, and the kindness of strangers, they make their own pilgrimage across the countries.

Now, I love a hot shower and a comfy bed as much as the next person - maybe even more, but the gypsy in me can't help but acknowledge the true power of being in nature, alone, soaking up all the world has to offer for a few months. It's a beautiful idea and I truly respect those who do that.

So when I pass away - that, dear readers (ye brave, ye few) is how I want to be remembered. Don't go to a grave stone. Don't put me in a box in the ground. Let my passing be a catalyst for growth. Pack up my ashes and spread them along some long ancient foot road...

Just make sure to take me to Disneyland first.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"All Things Considered, I'm taking this Rather well."

Good news and bad news. They always seem to balance each other out, right?

Well, first the good news!

My Sailor's crazy hours appear to be settling down starting next week! Yeah! We'll actually get more than 2 hours awake together per day! Possibly even a day off together that DOESN'T involve sleeping away 60% of the day in the near future! Yeah! I can't wait to get back to mini road trip adventures and all that jazz.

So what's the bad news? 

Though his hours are normalizing - he'll be adding Valentine's Day and another personal holiday to the list of days holidays he's had to work through. He'll be going in around 7am on those days and not returning until the next day.


All things considered though - considering I've just been told in the last 48 hours that our wedding, honeymoon, Valentine's Day, and our own private holiday has been wiped off the calendar, I'm taking it all pretty well. I'm fairly certain most women would have dissolved into tears of disappointment and flop into a bought of hopelessness.

Oh sure. I can't lie. I may be named after the Bionic Woman, but even she had feelings, and so do I. To some, the answer could be "Just don't throw a wedding" and "Just don't have any expectations". But I don't work that way. Weddings are important - it's important to us to show our family and friends how much their love and support means to us. I expect we'll get to it when we have the time and money. Whatever the season, it'll be fun and beautiful I'm sure. I'm ALWAYS going to dream big, make plans, and do everything I can to set those plans into motion. But I'm also not going to hold it against My Sailor if the Navy decides they need him and causes it to change those plans - or wipe them out completely.

Though the news is still pretty fresh, My Sailor shows no interest in celebrating these holidays sooner or later than the day. Honestly, that DOES kind of suck, but it's also really hard to be interested in ANYTHING at 5am when you're on little sleep, so that might change.

That's Why I Make All My Plans On Things like These -

Everything can be moved, erased, redesigned, and saved for later. (Do you love my Mickey post its? I do! Thanks Pam!)

Too bad he has Saturday off and I don't, but My Sailor just got a new video game, so I'm sure he'll keep himself busy with that and catching up on some much needed rest. In fact, I'm almost jealous. Almost...
I'd probably spend the day getting out and then coming home to some crafting or scrap booking or something a bit more tangible, but that's me.

So what am I doing for Valentine's Day? Most likely working - though I'm probably going to order myself some orchids.

After the week I've had, I deserve something pretty.

But what would really start next week off right would be being down just 1 more pound! I'm so close to being securely in Onderland that I can taste it!

Now, off to errands and the next "half" of my day (which, yes, is starting at 6pm).

My Namesake aka Things are a little scary!

I was named after the Bionic Woman and today is one of those days when I can almost feel her influence.

Today I:

  • Woke up at 9am to walk the dog. My Sailor was still sleeping after a 4am shift brought him home late.
  • Cooked breakfast. I didn't say made breakfast because, to me, that just involves pouring milk on cereal or water on instant oatmeal. (I attribute so much of my weight loss success to actually making the time to cook breakfast, rather than starting off the day feeling rushed.) Turkey bacon in scrambled egg whites with diced mini peppers, 1/2 a bagel w/ local honey, hot chocolate (swiss miss w/ my own twist- added unsweetened vanilla almond milk and sugar free cinnamon vanilla syrup), and fresh strawberries. Accompanied it all with a small glass of not-from-concentrate OJ. Sound good? That's pretty much an average daily breakfast around the house. (Occasionally I'll resort to making breakfast (instant plain steel cut oats with brown sugar and cinnamon added at the last moment, and a cup of Chobani greek Yogurt, and a peice of fruit), but that's not as common. It's MUCH higher in calorie and not as healthful - more sugar and less fiber.)
  • Worked a 12 hour day. (Which is a VERY long time to be staring at books and screens.)
  • Walked the dog 4 times.
  • Did the MOUNTAIN of laundry that was piling up.
  • Did the Dishes.
  • Took out the recycling
  • Stuck to healthy foods throughout the day.
  • Worked out on my lunch/dinner break.
  • Wrote this blog
  • Brainstormed Valentine's plans
Here it is, 1 am, and I'm considering going to the produce store (which is about an hour and 1/2 adventure) since we're out of fruit and running REALLY low on veggies. But on the off chance I'd pass out in the car, I should probably just stay home, and fold the laundry and put it away so it doesn't sit in the baskets forever.

I'm REALLY good at being busy!

Now on to other things -
  I'm actually really surprised how well I'm taking the 3rd (yes, 3rd) rescheduling of our wedding date. Most women would probably flip out - even one in my position. But I'm not. It'll give us some extra time to save up some more money, and I'll be able to take my time on some projects I was going to do for the wedding anyway. We'll also be able to focus on that new house thing WHICH, for the record, SCARES ME TO DEATH!

See, my experience with purchasing real estate isn't good. In the early 2000's my then-husband and I purchased a condo. I was SO excited to have "our own place", though I do remember being more afraid to buy the place than I was to get married! In hindsight, I should have listened to that fear, but live and learn. Anyway, we bought over-paid for the apartment/condo conversion. It ran us about $260k. My folks gave us money to help w/ closing costs and the real estate agents and the lenders convinced us that we could afford $2200/month. Gulp. Our plan at the time was to turn a profit within 5 years. Well, that would have been impossible. Even if the marriage had lasted another 5 years (it lasted 1 1/2 I think after that purchase), we would NEVER have turned a profit. Turned out they screwed up the electrical and, in the long run, the neighborhood never really turned around the way it had appeared to start. In the end, we agreed to try to short sell it. Didn't work out, so both my ex and I got slammed w/ a foreclosure on our credit records. Now that was some years ago (and the same condos now sell for $85k... yeah, ouch...), and it should be off my credit report any day now, but still...

I realize that I may really struggle with trust. I mean, I do trust that all things work together for good in the end. But there are still things that make me quiver in my boots and the thought of not being able to keep a roof over my head on my own is one of them. See, I've worked every since I was a teenager. I can't remember ever being out of a job. In fact, most of my adult life I've worked more than one job at a time. That doesn't mean I'm rolling in dough, but it does mean that I don't have to  financially lean on anyone 99.8% of the time (my folks have helped me out here and there over the years). Since I never really learned to trust anyone else (in my adult life) to provide for me, I am freaked out about knowing that someday, when My Sailor and I have a family, I'll be leaning on him in a financial sense more and more. I don't think I'll ever stop working. It's just not in me. My "work" may change from my current day job to writing (still working on that novel), but I'll never stop working for an actual paycheck.

I'm actually surprised by the stomach-turning fear I have of big purchases and especially of buying property. I'm aware that experience has taught me that I might not be able to keep it - but experience has also taught me that I'm going to be okay no matter what happens in my life. I know My Sailor and I aren't going to split up when we buy property. The two (buying property and divorce) aren't linked one bit in my mind - and that's reassuring.

But I find myself becoming more and more grateful for this oppurtunity to face down my fear - and, with some faith, trust, good planning, and pixie dust - prove them unnecessary. Even the Bionic Woman was afraid sometimes, but all of her parts got her through - so I'm sure her namesake will come out on top of this one too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And another Date Bites the Dust!

Hi there readers!
  Many of you may already know this through other media, but I'm trying to get the word out. Last night we learned that the October 18th, 2012 wedding date is going to have to be postponed. Yes, again. Just like last year, My Sailor will be off Finding Nemo during October of this year, making it impossible to hold the ceremony.
  "So, when's the new date?"
We don't know. And we won't until probably Jan of 2013.  We can't afford to move it up (and he can't get any more leave approved this year anyway), so it'll most likely be next spring.
  How do I feel about all this?
 To say I'm disappointed is as true as it can be. And frustrated, as this is the 3rd date change, each of them pushing it into another calendar year.
  I'm painting it with a good brush because now we can focus more on our next move. Literally. We're aiming to move into a 3 bedroom (or a 2 bedroom with a den) in June. Now, we'll be able to focus on house hunting, deciding if we should rent or buy (mortgages are cheaper than renting anything over 2 bedrooms) and such.
  So there's the latest and greatest. I'll be posting to the Wellness Blog tonight all about Financial Wellness! Stay tuned! You might find some tips and tricks (like ebates and swag bucks) that you didn't know about! :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Of Guest Lists, Plays, and Other Good Things....

The guest list. Sigh...

The invention of Facebook has certainly changed the way we address wedding invitations. Since EVERYONE knows about it, EVERYONE expects an invitation. Truth be told, we're keeping things fairly small (around 50 people). Which means he gets to invite 25 and I get to invite 25. In that 25 are immediate family, wedding party members (of course), and the officiant. So we plan on doing this in 2 waves. Family and wedding party gets the first wave of invitations, and friends will get the 2nd wave. And invitations will be going out this spring and summer to give people plenty of time to RSVP for the fall wedding. While I wish we could throw a HUGE party and invite EVERYONE we love, we are keeping our budget in mind first. I want to make sure we're not in debt for years for ONE DAY. A great day, mind you, but it is ONE DAY. I can't make peace with taking out a loan for 1 day, though that seems to be the norm to finance weddings these days. We're keeping it UNDER $5k. The average wedding costs $25k today. So while our story is anything BUT average, our wedding will be financially well below the "average". And I'm sure it'll turn out just right. The people who are ment to be there will be there. Those that are ment to support us from afar will be there in spirit as well.

On to less stressful topics!

Last night, I got the chance to see a local production of a hysterical British farce, "Black Comedy". No, the word "black" is NOT a reference to race. It's a reference to the dark. Most of the hour and 20 minute show takes place in the dark.  By now, you're probably asking how that works. Well, the first 5 minutes or so of the play take place on a black stage. You hear the characters talking and walking around. See, for our characters, when the stage is black, that is actually when it's "light" in the room. When the fuse (which only an electrician can change) blows, the entire stage lights up. However the characters are in the "dark". Literally. The actors play it as if the room is completely dark, adding to the hilarity. I highly recommend this wonderful show if it's ever playing near you. British farces have a special place in my heart, since that's how I started in theater. I've done several, but I'm sorry I missed out on the chance to audition for this one. However, at Bremerton Community Theater, the cast is right on, the direction is great, and everything (aside from a few slipping accents here and there) was professional grade. You'll bloody enjoy the break from your dreary day-to-day.  Click here to help them fill seats with your laughter!

As for the other things -
 I cleaned the house, worked over 1/2 a day shift, and am about to enjoy Dream House on Vudu. The sun was out today (yeah!), I got cars reserved for our trip in 3 1/2 weeks, AND My Sailor has tomorrow off.

All good things.

Good night!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Day Cometh!

Valentine's Day is almost here! For some, Super Bowl Sunday is next "big" holiday, but I'm just not that much of a football (or an "eat-yourself-into-oblivion") gal. Most likely, it won't be a big celebration here, but here's what I would LOVE to see on my nightstand!

Cute isn't she? It's "Angel" from the Lilo and Stitch series. Sadly she's unavailable (sold out through Disney) and I highly doubt My Sailor has time or the inclination due to the poor guy's constant exhaustion to go searching around in the internet for it at the moment. That's okay though. It's just a 'thing'. Things get lost, stolen, broken, stained, worn out, etc. We're saving our pennies anyway for the upcoming trip. Maybe we'll do a special dinner out just the two of us during our vacation. As for his Valentine's Day gift, it starts up tomorrow. I have a few Valentine's Day cards that I plan to hide around starting this week, so he can stumbled across them during his 3 days of duty in a row.
We're keeping low pretty low key and it's nice not to have to stress over a greeting card holiday that commemorates a massacre anyway. But any excuse/reminder to show ones we love that we care is, IMHO, a good thing.

I can't wait to get away on this little trip! I probably should be nervous about meeting his family, but I'm not really. They've all been wonderfully supportive, so I count myself pretty lucky. Besides, I'm craving a new adventure and a change of scenery.

Yesterday I got a great surprise from one of my favorite Disney Podcasts!
I popped into "The Box" for WDWRadio's show and decided to hang out after the show. The Box people are great, and it looks as though Lou (the host of WDWRadio and the owner of the magazine I write for, Celebrations Press and I might get to meet up in Florida for a lunch AND do a Disneyland Tour this summer together! I'm pretty psyched about it. As if I need another excuse to go back to Disneyland (which I don't - I have plenty, trust me!) but I really respect all Lou does and the attitude and ideas with which he's maintained his Disney fan community. The crowd he's attracted and drawn together remind me of the greatest reasons of why we (Disney fans) love what we love. The attitude of "Keep Moving Forward" and "You can reach for your dreams" has really influenced me heavily over the past half a decade. Lou's work ethic, positive attitude, and passion is contagious (though I do enjoy a good Pete rant from the Dis Unplugged every once in awhile as well). I couldn't feel prouder or more honored to contribute to such a great community, or to represent the magazine whenever I can.