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Sep. 17th, 2012

magictime

The Lady Lunch Genius makes Southwestern Spaghetti Squash

So, Matthewgentleman and I are doing a six-week healthy whole-foods binge, using minimally processed ingredients and lots of fresh produce. Here's the recipe for today's lunch -- I made it the night before. Sides: ten raspberries, half a sliced red pepper.


Southwestern Spaghetti Squash

1 small to medium-small spaghetti squash
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 a large can of large diced/cubed tomatoes with garlic
1/2 a regular can of black beans
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked
3/4 cup shredded cheese
Pepper to taste
Valentina hot sauce (optional)

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and place in a deep baking pan. Fill the pan with 1/2 an inch to a full inch of water and put in a 400-degree oven for 50 minutes. Then scoop out the seeds and use a fork to rake the squash into its spaghetti form. Each half should be enough for one person, so put into the two separate tupperwares.

Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over each squash and add some black pepper, lemon pepper, and/or Valentina hot sauce. Then divide each of the other ingredients -- tomatoes, black beans, chicken, and cheese -- into the two containers and stir it up good. Fridgerate, and the next day it'll be ready to go with 3 to 4 minutes in the microwave.
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Aug. 22nd, 2012

magictime

from brotherMatt and Scalzi

I present to you my version of Pixar films from best to worst, omitting the ones I haven't seen.

1. Wall-E
2. Up
3. Finding Nemo
4. The Incredibles
5. Toy Story 3
6. Toy Story
7. Brave
8. Toy Story 2
9. Monsters, Inc.

1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and 8-9 are pretty close to being ties, though.

Aug. 20th, 2012

coming along

self-improvement

So -- I think I've mentioned, sometime in the last year or two, that I've been steadily gaining weight since I started the birth control and anxiety medication I've been taking. This is a totally fair trade-off for peace and sanity, but I'm at a point now where I've gained about 25 pounds and I'm really ready to start taking it off again. I've taken some steps towards that -- Matthew and I are about to start a really complex diet plan (complex to keep it realistic, not to impose insane restrictions), and I have passes for 30+ yoga and fitness classes across Oak Park and the city, and I've bought some exercise gear and clothing. But I can't seem to really jump-start my motivation.

This morning, when I was waiting for a train that was running late, I sat down on a bench and hammered out a goals-and-rewards system for myself. I'm really proud of it, and I'm going to share with you the explanation of the system that I sent excitedly to Matt when I got into work this morning:




I'm measuring on two scales -- Achievement and Commitment.

Achievement goals benchmark each 3 pounds of weight loss maintained for 5 days (e.g. I weighed in at 155.8 the other day -- when I have weighed in at 152 or less for five consecutive days, I will have unlocked the first Achievement reward.)
* Some of the later goals require 10 days of maintaining that weight.
* Achievement rewards are feel-good kinds of things, but not directly related to the weight loss. One of the rewards is "spend $20 on jewelry", one is "spend $40 on books", etc.
* Some of them will connect -- one of the later rewards is $100 on clothing, by which point I will have lost a couple pants sizes, so that will be a great feeling.
* This scale goes down to 135 pounds, and the rewards are obvs of greater value as I get lower.
* Could take 6 months to a year, so the rewards reflect that sort of progression.

Commitment goals measure how much time I'm putting in -- right now one unit would be either a fitness class or running 3K.
* I'm comfortable with the idea that the unit size might change as this goes on -- but also that it won't reflect all the work I do. Right now I will not be earning Commitment units by lifting weights, running 2.5K would get me nothing, etc. This should incentivize the types of workout I'm valuing highest.
* Commitments and workouts that don't count toward my unit goals here will still help me reach Achievement goals.
* The first goal is to complete two units of exercise in one week. The second is to complete five total units.
* The rewards for these goals are linked to furthering my commitment, by purchasing something that will help motivate me or help me eat healthier, etc. *The idea is that I have to prove to myself that I'm committed enough to earn these, and the more committed I am, the higher-ticket items I'll purchase -- the final reward on the system so far, which is for completing 50 units total, is getting myself a bicycle.)
* Again, this is something that will play out over several months, more than likely.
* I could earn multiple at once, too -- I have 2 units/week, 3 units/week, and 4 units/week as goals, so if I do 4 units the first week, I'll have unlocked three awards.

I like this system a lot because it rewards both input and output, work and results.

I could work really hard and be rewarding myself even if I'm not successfully losing weight, or I could be losing weight from diet changes etc and not making it to a lot of classes, but still be earning achievement awards. I'll be working toward both, but even if something goes wrong I can earn in one area and keep myself from despairing.

Aug. 2nd, 2012

empowerment (the DA)

Brainpans

Mine are delightfully fried.

Lots of thinking about body image and aging. Lots of travel and love. Lots of Sam and Dean and not enough Castiel. Lots of obsessively Web shopping for things I have no intention to buy.

Lots of good intentions. Some day I'll find time for all of it. I have a giant To-Read list, a ton to write, lots of fitness classes and life hobbies I know how to start taking up, a thousand recipes, dozens of friends with whom I would love to have weekly dates, and nowhere near the number of hours in a day I need.

Apr. 13th, 2012

coming along

(no subject)

I feel like the "So that's coming along" icon has been applicable to everything that's happened over the past, say, three years.

On Tuesday, The Gentleman and I moved into our apartment. On Wednesday, we spent $700 on my Target card and then argued about whether he is allowed to nickname our (very) future male-child JT (if his name is Kirk, which is my first name-choice) or Rage (if his name is Dragon, which is his top runner, possibly slightly sarcastically... not sure ;P). On Thursday, our lovely lovely friends Mike and Karen came over and we drank champagne and wine and got a little tipsy and listened to music and made dinner. I tried asparagus, and it was pretty darn good, and hooked Karen on quinoa, and we had seconds on tilapia and build the dining-room furniture.

Tonight we're going to see his high school's production of Godspell; tomorrow we're babysitting a former professor's baby; Sunday we're going to see Dawn Upshaw with a friend; Monday is our half-iversary.

The cat has stopped being scared of the apartment; one of our neighbors is a friendly dude who has lived there for four years and is named Phil; another neighbor is a medieval philosophy professor at UIC.

I'm looking for a yoga studio in the area, and I'm taking the Green Line to work, and I'm living the dreeeeeeam.

Mar. 28th, 2012

coming along

(no subject)

I don't have it in me right now to do a food post or a faith post, which are the remaining posts I've promised. Not in a bad way, just -- I've had a couple times when I could feel those entries bubbling pleasantly and with energy in my brain, and since they're both going to be, I hope, cool and interesting posts, I'd rather do it when I'm excited about it than force it...

In just under two weeks, Matthew and I will be moving into a new apartment together. My to-do lists are all populated with furniture pieces to buy, parking permits, rental trucks, budget snafus, and finding time to work in between. And sleep. Sleep is also nice.

My Facebook just switched to timeline view, so naturally I immediately went as far back as it goes and read everything I wrote when I was 16. It was... a little depressing. I was many of the things I had feared I was but could never confirm at the time. On the other hand, it's very uplifting -- because I am no longer those things. I'm not so fiercely overdramatic, I'm less impulsive, my personal vanity has taken a backseat, I've developed diverse interests and become more focused on my friends and social circles. I think I am interesting now. (All of this amuses me.) At least I didn't, as I've sometimes feared, wield my low-socioeconomic-status-less-privileged-than-thou status like a baseball bat. Or at least, I don't think so.

On the other hand, I found a couple blades that friends had edged my way that I don't think were fair even in retrospect, which relieves me because as I was looking, I remembered "oh god, I'm coming up on the point when so-and-so said that terrible thing to me, maybe I did deserve it after all." Nawwwwww that was just her being fiercely overdramatic, impulsive, and vain (just as I was). And since I can see the mirror of that in me, it's totally forgivable for her to have been, too. Okay. Phew.

It's an interesting challenge, because the same years in my Livejournal were more well-rounded because I thought very hard about what I was saying before I posted it. Ah, Facebook.

My birthday's Friday -- I'll be 23 -- I've barely given it a second thought, I'm so busy with moving stuff. The moving is what's important to me right now -- in the past couple years I've gotten so much into giving gifts that I've found myself almost surprised when people think about giving gifts to me. I don't need anything, sillies. I'm incandescently happy.

Feb. 8th, 2012

magictime

(no subject)

This year I'm doing New Year's resolutions on a two-month schedule. I spent the first two weeks setting my first set of goals, which is entirely health-related and therefore probably of little interest (it involves things like salad). That set of goals is running from January 15 - March 15, whereupon I will recalibrate.

I suspect the recalibration will involve a rededication to this journal, since it's important to me that I can look back and see what was going on at various points in my life. I've been going through a dry spell for journaling recently, which I can link with a preeeeetty positive correlation to my job (and my usual lack of functional home internet, but that's less important).

Update on the subject of the last couple posts: I had my second follow-up appointment from my surgery today, and we have a problem diagnosed and I'm starting treatment by medication tonight. So that's awesome -- we have an at-least-hypothetical explanation for all of the past year of hell and symptoms, and we have a plan as to how to make it *never happen again* (kind of).

Upcoming posts:

a) Food post with a recipe or two
b) Faith-related post
c) Post-Valentine's-Day post, discussing the as-yet secret Valentine's project I did for this year for Matthew, its implications, and the relationship in general (for those who don't know, Matthew and I are moving in together at the end of March! And then getting our own apartment a couple weeks later -- his lease just ends a month earlier than mine.)
d) Fill in the blank if you're reading this and want a follow-up on something I haven't shared that I promised, or something that requires an update, or someone you want to know in general :)

Dec. 20th, 2011

empowerment (the DA)

(no subject)

Every time I walk onto my area in my office I have the urge to say cheerfully, "Good morning, Team America!" I have no idea why.

Surgery on Friday went well. I had an amazing anesthesiologist -- I felt pretty mellow all weekend, and my IV site left a vicious bruise, but other than that I've had no side effects (after the first twelve hours or so, when there was some pain and some not being able to stay awake).

I was prepared for up to four procedures; they only needed to do two. This is good news and bad news: good news because, well, duh, and bad news because all they did was the diagnostic surgeries, and the diagnostics say, "Nope." So we still have no idea what's causing me to get sick, but we know it's actually not a kidney stone. Nor is it a tumor -- although we basically knew that already, it's been doubly confirmed by an extra-thorough diagnostic test. I'll have more testing in a few more weeks.

So I'm heading home to Minnesota this weekend for Xmas. I'll only be there a coupled days, but I get to see the brothers and Megan, I get to see the lit kids, I get to see Emily (and perhaps Ben and others such?). That will do.

Nov. 9th, 2011

crazy random happenstance

(no subject)

I think food is another way of measuring how my life is going. (The first, of course, is my writing.) I'm sure the cause is similar, too -- it's something I do when I'm relaxed, or something I do to relax myself. I spent the afternoon writing and the evening cooking, and I am well.

Uh, hi, LiveJournal. Sorry for the long hiatus.

I promised updates:

a) I finished my novel/trilogy!! There would be so many more exclamation points on that if it hadn't happened two months ago. I'm now in the thick of editing and rewriting the first book of the series, so it doesn't FEEL done, exactly... I think this is going to take longer than I'd anticipated, the editing process -- I never really let myself go back and realize just how much had changed, but I have a lot of things to write in or out.

Characters X and Y are no longer in a romantic relationship (and there were times when that was a pretty big part of their identity, which is part of the reason I'm doing it). I now know what the curse on Character Z is actually doing, so his symptoms/reactions to it can be consistent. I know the geography; I KNOW things.

When I was writing Prentice Boys (the first book), it was during National Novel Writing Month (2006, for the curious), and I had no idea what was going on. I made much of a red book that ended up not being anything at all. I threw in some highly overdramatic flourishes. I didn't know how the systems of magic worked. I didn't know the master magician's extensive and critical-to-the-overall-plot backstory. I hadn't made MAPS. How can I not have made MAPS??? I didn't know who the Big Boss was, just the Level Boss, pardon the dubious gaming parlance.

I haven't lost my excitement about this series, but it's so hard to find time now that I feel like what I'm doing actually MATTERS... Which is to say, I can't just tell myself, "It doesn't matter how shitty this is, you can always edit it later."

b) I celebrated my two-year anniversary with Matthew (The Gentleman, TM). This was now almost a month ago. We're moving in together this coming spring, and I'm damn excited for that. ...Honestly, I think that says it all. I don't need to wax poetical when the reality is stark enough to speak for itself.

That doesn't usually stop me from waxing poetical, actually. Here, have some poetical:

some poeticalCollapse )

Oct. 18th, 2011

empowerment (the DA)

(no subject)

... I kind of missed telling all y'all about finishing my novel and celebrating my two-year anniversary and some other important stuff.  This post is for the purposes of creating ACCOUNTABILITY.  Proper update soon :)

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