Monday, May 26, 2008

It's time I had some time alone

Not really, but that song's on the player right now so I thought I'd go with it.

After several weeks of having to wear a wrist brace every evening or suffer the consequences the next day, I finally moved my computer back up to the den where it is supposed to live. I love having the convenience of using my laptop anywhere in the house (usually the couch, but that makes me sound like a slug) thanks to the wireless connection (which finally works regularly since I switched antivirus software), but using the touchpad mouse was really doing a number on my right thumb and wrist. Plus having a real keyboard to type on is simply bliss.

Not much new in CilleyLand, mostly same old same old. Rain rain go away so I can finish some yard work.

What I've Been Reading:

I've been into the cozies lately. For those of you who aren't mystery fans, a "cozy" mystery is one where it's more about the characters, the plot's kind of there but not incredibly essential, and nobody dies, at least not violently or if they did die violently (or were murdered) it wasn't recently. I started out reading the latest in Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series, Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter. When the one character finally got together with the other character, I went back trying to find where the girl had declared she loved/was going to marry the guy (the girl was like 14 at the time, the guy was in his 30s -- sort of the typical girlhood crush intention type of thing, except you gotta know this girl). I ended up starting the series over again. And weird thing, just like in the first book (where the main character, Lori, in re-reading actual stories from her childhood about Aunt Dimity realizes that her memories of them now have become colored by her less than stellar luck in life -- in other words, she asks herself "when did I become so bitter?"), I realized that I am not remembering the books themselves as they truly were. While I imagine I will still be annoyed by Lori's tendency for several books to develop a serious crush on whatever man comes along (you have to read them to understand the annoyance -- well, maybe not, she's happily marred with twin boys) I am having a great time rediscovering old friends. I met Nancy Atherton when she came to Portland years ago for a book signing. She swears I look just like a friend of hers in the midwest (Wisconsin? Michigan?). I wonder if she'll come to town again any time soon.

I'm also reading Suze Orman's Women & Money, which is fascinating. I'll have to blog more on that later.

I recently finished a book called Making a Change for Good: A Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline by Cheri Huber. I had seen a quote from the book in an article about.... hmm, must've been about dieting and lifestyle changes. Anyhow, impressed me enough that I wrote down the name and author and then ordered it from the library. It was very interesting, all about how we have these subpersonalities that were formed in early childhood as survival tools and that they are the source of the voices in our head that drive basic impulses or behaviors. Like when you tell yourself you deserve something -- ice cream, new shoes, a car -- for whatever reason -- you had a bad day, you had a good day, your parents never bought you anything. Some of those voices don't even like you very much, like when you decide to do something (say, lose weight). If you don't lose weight, you're no good and you should just quit. If you stick with it or do lose weight, self-sabotage starts in and then you will never succedd at anything or you're a quitter. What you want to do is learn how to be present in the moment, to acknowledge the subpersonalities or voices but not listen to them. (The book is much clearer.)

Part of the book talks about identifying the subpersonalities (sounds so much more sane than calling them the voices). So I've been working on that. So far, I've got:

  • the Big White Evil Bunny, who has made an appearance on this blog before. The Bunny thinks its fun to hurt people or to make them feel stupid (and both is a bonus!) 'cause they've done something to deserve it.

  • the Entitlement Kid, who can never say no to anything she wants because her parents never got her anything much beyond the basics of food, shelter, and clothing. Entitlement Kid has racked up a lot of debt, let me tell you. Also a lot of poundage.

  • Daddy's Girl, who ignored her own dreams and desired path in life to pursue one that would make daddy happy. Lot of debt wrapped up with her too.

  • the Perfect Child, who has to be perfect at everything she does or tries (or else why bother). If she's perfect, no one will leave her or laugh at her or yell at her or hurt her. The Perfect Child and Daddy's Girl often work together.

There's more but it's late and it's muggy. I'll close with a preview of the promised zoo blog part deux.

This is seriously the same otter, same pinkie, different day. I think he remembered me.

And he told friends about me, 'cause this meerkat got busy right after I showed up with my camera.

I'm telling you, it's a gift.

--the CilleyGirl

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Someone's got a sense of humor

As I've mentioned before, I'm on a lot of county websites as part of my job. Today's find is the website for Glacier County, Montana -- home of the Blackfeet Nation. And, apparently, someone with a sense of humor.

When I first pulled up the page, my browser told me I needed a plug-in, which I dutifully downloaded. I reloaded the page and found that what I was missing was background music. It's a really cheesy instrumental, nothing I needed. When I navigated away from the page the music stops (thankfully, I'm not real fond of pages with background music). However, as I was subjected to one or two second snippets as I hunted for what I needed, I kept thinking it sounded vaguely familiar. Right as I closed the page for good I realized what the song was.

It's "Afternoon Delight."


I'm tempted to email them and congratulate them on their choice of music, particularly now that I just discovered that the rest of their pages (the ones I wasn't looking at) have an old-timey countryish song as their background music. But then they'd probably take away "Afternoon Delight" and I need all the laughs I can get.

--the CilleyGirl

P.S. Yes, I'm way behind on posting lately. I'll do something soon, particularly about my recent return to the zoo. I've discovered I have a gift with animals. Yes, it involves otters.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who's a pretty bird?

As I pulled into my driveway tonight, I was fascinated by a bird I noticed in the trees. It was a little smaller than a robin, with a bright yellowish body and a bright redish head. I just spent about 15 minutes browsing a website of birds likely to be seen in Oregon, and finally found this:

My visitor was a Western Tanager. Looked just like the guy at the bottom, which makes him a breeding male. I see goldfinches all the time at my parents' place up in Eastern Washington, but this is the first time I can remember seeing a yellowish bird like this on the west side of the state.

Now I'm hoping more will show up and land in my yard so I can catch them on film.

--the CilleyBirdWatchingGirl

If I had a life

This is what I'd be doing this weekend.

(Although in all fairness, I should amend that title to "If I had a life, and/or friends who weren't prone to nightmares from things like zombie and vampire movies".)

--the CilleyZombieGirl

Friday, May 02, 2008

Help me, I think I'm falling....

...not in love with you, as the song says (who is that? Joni Mitchell? Carole King?), but off the wagon. I'm not feeling so great today (can't get warm and I'm stiff and achy and although I got at least ten hours of sleep last night I'm still exhausted AND my right eye was all swollen when I woke up) and I couldn't resist the croissant (but hey, a fourth of that croissant is only 75 calories), but now the chocolate cherry ganache cake and the chocolate pop-tarts are calling (in case of emergency, eat pop tart).

Help. I need help. Sending out emergency thought vibes for help to all those out there who are also trying to resist the siren call of snack foods.

This is when I need Richard Simmons to prance up to me in his stripey short shorts and bedazzled fuchsia tank top and bop me on the head with his glittery magic wand. Oh come on, you know he's got one.

Wish me luck. The truffles are chiming in now.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Taking a night off

I probably shouldn't, but I am. Going to go sush and then bed early. I have worked out three times this week already (starting from Sunday), and last night, well, all I can say is "Who writes these instructions?"

Let me explain. As I mentioned previously, I signed up for the Self Challenge. This is the first week of the first month of the challenge. For me, at least. Anyhow, in the first month the goal is to do two 25-minute cardio workouts a week and three 10-minute strength training workouts a week. (I'd be done with the cardio except they start from Monday so I still need one more for this week, but now I have until Sunday to do it. So neener.)

Last night I did the first strength training workout. There is a set of eight exercises that you are supposed to do. And the instructions are not written well. For example, is the goal to do all eight exercises in ten minutes? 'Cause that ain't happening (just not physically possible). Maybe it's to do some of the exercises (dealer's choice?) for ten minutes. Okay, except the instructions for each exercise say you're supposed to do so many sets or reps of that exercise. So that doesn't work. This kind of question at 8:30 at night isn't good for me.

I decide to do all of the exercises and see how long it takes me. I end up skipping two because for one I didn't want to move a chair over to do it (I have very little room to do these as it is) and then I just couldn't figure out the instructions. Am I exaggerating? Hmm, let me give you the best example.

One exercise, called "ABC", says to hold a dumbbell up with your arms as you stand on one leg while with the other you are to trace the alphabet with the other pointed toe about six inches above the ground. There's a picture, sounds easy enough, yes? No. I'm going great until about G when I start to get really tired. Plus it's hard to trace the letters. Should I do all capitals? Cursive? Really demarcate the lines? By Z, I'm dying. And now I have to switch legs. Which I do. Cursing the person who created this little gem, I go back to the instructions because I just can't believe you're supposed to do it this way, because at the end it says to repeat. Like six times. With each leg. I'm still thinking we're on the ten minute total plan, and just doing this once with one leg is taking about five minutes.

Long story short (too late, but I gotta get to the post office), my best guess is that you are only supposed to spell out "A B C" and then switch. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And man, my ass hurts today.