Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ruffling Feathers

I like to think of myself as an opinionated person. There have been occasions on this blog where I have let my fingers fly across the keyboard without a lot of fear of consequence. This is my space and if I feel bold enough to communicate my thoughts, I should do it. All backlash, if any, will be dealt with but I always hope that my thoughts and opinions are met with an open-mind and respect.

I don't want to dive too deeply into the topic of same-sex marriage because I honestly find it challenging to express my thoughts on the topic. To me, allowing a human being to marry another human being is not worth all the hoopla it has been receiving. It should just be. But I know that not everyone feels that way.

Years ago, I was just "eh" on the topic. Whatever. I didn't care. It didn't effect me so I paid no attention. I didn't see what the big deal was about fighting against it so vividly. I often thought, "Why is this a thing? Shouldn't we be better than this by now?"

I watched my cousin marry her girlfriend just a month after I got married in 2008, before Prop 8 passed and same sex marriage was shut down. They have been together for over a decade. They love each other. Their families love each other. Heather and Dusty are no different than any man and woman out there who fell in love and wanted to commit to spending their lives together, as one. Legally. 4 months later, on Election Day, I felt disappointed and disgusted as I saw people on social media celebrate the passing of 8.

And then I watched "The Loving Story" in September of last year. I wish everyone would watch this documentary. I felt a renewed sense of purpose in terms of what is right and wrong. I no longer felt "eh" about same sex marriage. I couldn't help but replace "interracial couples" with "same sex couples." The similarities were astounding.

I do not judge my friends (close, close friends) who feel that homosexuality is a sin and that same sex marriage is wrong. I can't change their minds. (And I hope they don't judge me for my beliefs.) I can't tell them that gay people are still people with feelings and love in their hearts and the desire to settle down and commit (legally) to another person. Why did I get married? Why does any straight person get married? Why should any PERSON who wants to get married be denied that? The reason isn't different just because they want to marry someone who is the same sex as they are.

Over the past 5 years, this topic has grown more and more intense and I have found that my feelings about it have grown more and more intense. As I scrolled through Facebook yesterday, I couldn't help but smile when I saw that red and pink equality sign popping up over and over and over.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to be told "No, you can't get married. You aren't allowed." Think about that! How would that impact your life? Would you accept that? Would that be okay? My marriage is precious to me. The commitment we have to each other and our future is precious and I take it very seriously. If someone came to my door today, holding my marriage license and said "this is void. You are no longer married and will never allowed to be married and that is just the way it is" you can bet I wouldn't just close the door and shrug my shoulders. My relationship with my husband wouldn't change. But not having that RIGHT, being DENIED that right would not sit well with me.

At this point I'm blathering on and on. Like I said above, this whole thing is so bizarre that I can't find eloquent words to piece together to explain it. And if I ruffled your feathers, good. Can I challenge you to watch The Loving Story. Read about Loving v. Virginia. Contemplate a world where people were denied the ability to get married based on the color of their skin. Ponder how crazy that sounds today. Think about how women were denied the right to vote because we were women. Think about slavery and segregation. Think about these outdated, horrifying discriminatory practices of the past. Think about the reasoning people gave to justify these practices.

Just think outside the box. Think hard. Don't change your mind overnight. Do what you need to do to open your mind to a world where all those things I listed above are still in practice. Would that be okay with you?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend


On Friday, I came home to this huge box sitting by the front door. I knew what was inside but I waited until my husband woke up to open it.


I saw this note which is perfectly sums up my husband's ability to be hilarious and current (It is a line from a Mumford & Sons song).

And in that big box, inside another big box, inside of plastic wrapping, I found this. The purse I was lusting after. My husband is the man.

The rest of the weekend was spent on the couch, watching basketball, avoiding the outside world due to horrible allergies. Kitty wasn't impressed.

And then she just fell asleep on the arm of the couch.

Somehow, my Final Four has survived leading up to the Sweet 16! Since games don't start until 4:00 on Thursday and Friday, I won't have to miss them! Sadly, my gym doesn't get CBS so I'll be scheduling my workout time around the games.

Speaking of the gym, I've gained 10 pounds in the last however long and I'm sick of it. My skin is gross, my pants are too tight and I'm just tired of eating whatever I want, whenever I want. Gross. Gross. Gross. So I am on a path of "NO". No to junk. No to food that I know I shouldn't eat. No to those voices in my head that say "eat it anyways." I crave junk because I eat junk but I am done. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Signs

Sign #1: This morning, I left my house a few minutes early and thought "I have some time, I think I'll make a trip to Starbucks and get my usual (tall, non-fat, decaf, peppermint mocha, no whip). As I headed out of my subdivision and into town, I saw flashing red lights which warned me of a train crossing the tracks. This wasn't the usual Amtrak crossing back and forth from the Bay to the Valley. This was a slow moving, long, freight train blocking all 3 ways to get to the freeway.

I approached the slow moving train and waited. And waited. And then the train slowed down. Then the train stopped. People behind me started turning around since one of the other exits was no longer blocked by the train but I waited it out as I saw the caboose and figured it would be on its way soon. And it started moving again. And then it stopped with the caboose halfway through the road. There was no way I could stop by Starbucks at this point as I was running late for work so I turned around and headed off to work.


Sign #2: At lunch, I grabbed my salad out of the fridge and went downstairs to our work lunch room. I also took a dollar bill with me so I could get something out of the vending machine. My choice was a small pack of Red Vines. I pushed the buttons and the metal spiral jail around the Red Vines twirled, the Red Vines leaned towards the bottom of the vending machine and......hung on for dear life! No Red Vines with my salad.


Sign #3: The shrink wrap around the salad container would not come off. I was wrestling with it for at least 2 minutes, even using my teeth while hoping that someone didn't walk into the lunch room and see me.


All signs point to not ingesting food or beverage today.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Proud Daughter

Ever since my dad had a stroke 17 weeks ago, I have been in charge of sending out email updates to family and friends. During those first weeks, I was sending nearly daily updates. It was not only good to get the news out to family members but it was quite therapeutic for me to express my thoughts and feelings the way I know best, through the written word. The updates slowed down when he got home. He was making strides everyday but there weren't huge things to report. Until now!

When he arrived home from rehab 4.5 weeks after the stroke, he had very limited mobility. The last 2 weeks in rehab he started to practice walking but needed a lot of verbal cues and 2 spotters. At home, he was getting in-home physical therapy and at the first visit, the PT walked with him in his kitchen, which is about 10 feet long. Soon, he was walking out the front door, down the driveway and to the driveway two houses down. Then to the end of the cul-de-sac. Then out of the cul-de-sac and to the street corner.

A week ago, he walked (with cane and the company of a friend) .6 miles to the park.

Earlier this week, he vacuumed and retrieved the newspaper from his driveway.

Today, he rolled the garbage cans back to his backyard.

As for his mind, well.....

At a family dinner on Saturday when I stated that I was going to eat 6 cupcakes he said "come here, I'll just stick them to your thighs. Whats the saying? Through the lips, to the hips?"

He is as funny as he ever was. Quick witted and full of jokes. And he is managing many everyday tasks on his own. He isn't quite ready to drive or go back to work but 17 weeks ago, he couldn't swallow anything, could barely stand on his own and we weren't sure what the future held for him.

As I told a friend, the pride I feel is probably similar to the pride a parent feels when their child accomplishes developmental milestones. My dad has the heart of a lion. The man who has completed The Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii 8 times (is it 10? I lost track) can't be stopped. We are all so proud of him and although we know that there will be ups and downs as his recovery continues, the progress he has made is nothing short of amazing.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sprint Interval Playlist: Britney Spears Edition

When I'm at the gym, I want time to go by as fast as possible. I have found that running sprint intervals on the treadmill really helps 30 minutes go by in a flash! I usually stick to the walk 2 minutes/run 1 minute routine but last night, after a 15 minute warm up on the eliptical machine, I changed things up.

I set the treadmill for 30 minutes and bumped up the speed to 5.0. For me, 5.0 is a jog. That was my home base speed during my sprinting intervals. I never went below 5.0. This is where the playlist comes in:

  
I created a playlist of Britney Spears songs that really pick up during the chorus and slow down a bit during the verses. As the chorus approaches, I increased the speed as fast as I felt comfortable running. At the beginning of the workout, that was to 5.7. As the workout continued, I got up to 6.5. I never went slower than 5.0 and eventually kept my verse pace to about 5.4, depending on the speed of the song.

In 32 minutes (2 minutes to cool down), I burned 400 calories. Those 32 minutes went by really fast. I keep a towel over the screen of the treadmill so I can't focus on the time. Instead, I just listen to the music and play with the speed throughout the workout. I think I will create a few different playlists with different artists just to keep things fresh. I was surprised that I actually ran 30 minutes straight! I haven't done that in months!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Products I love: Hair, skin and more!

Exciting news everyone! I finally learned how to curl my hair the proper way. Pathetic, I know. But now that I have accomplished this simple task, I want to curl my hair everyday! Sound the horns! I'm all grown up.

I had my hair colored and trimmed this weekend and I love it. Pardon the picture taken in the driveway pose. I like the color of my hair in natural light. In my upstairs bathroom, it looks 100% red and 10 steps away, it is just brown. But under the sun, it is exactly how I wanted it. Also, my face is the shape of a potato. I have a bit of a Rumer Willis thing going on.

After watching a few YouTube videos on how to curl hair (and how not to, thanks to the poor girl who burned her hair off-HILARIOUS), I picked up some products to help keep my hair safe from the heat.


I use just a small amount of the nourishing coconut milk on the ends of my hair when it is towel dried and then spray the Pro-Mend Heat Protection all over and brush it through. I have noticed that my hair feels healthier after drying and styling.


When I wear my hair straight, I spray this in after blow drying to add some shine and softness to my locks.  I've been trying to only wash my hair every other night, even after I work out. I know that sounds really gross to some people but when I get home from the gym, I spray dry shampoo on my hair while it is still in a ponytail and then I blow dry it out. The above products help make my hair smell good and I honestly don't notice any texture issues the next day.

Onto other products! I received an order from Sephora yesterday and I was so excited to test everything out last night and this morning.


I was low on blush and decided to order the infamous Orgasm blush by NARS. It is a really nice peachy color so I can see why it is so popular.


I've been swearing by Ole Henriksen facial products for over a year now. They do not irritate my skin which is rare for me. This is my first time using the aloe vera deep cleanser but the reviews online say it works well with combo and acne prone skin. 


 Another well recommended product online is Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion that I received as a sample with my order. Today is my first day using it so I hope I have a positive experience!

I also read really great things about Argan Oil for your face, nails and hair. I think I'm good with the hair products so I'll be using this to moisturize my face. Since I get worried about breakouts, I just applied a small amount to my forehead last night and will continue to do so for the rest of this week before using it on other problems areas on my face. This size was only $10 so if it doesn't work for me, I won't be out too much money.

Happy Tuesday!