Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good-Bye 2011

I know its been a long while since I wrote, but I have to say: I can't WAIT for this year to be over. Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, but next year HAS to be better than this year. This past year has been one of the hardest years I've had to go through. Yes, I know: no one died, no one got cancer, no major car accidents, but emotionally, its taken its toll on my and I'm done with it.

I've had injuries, accidents, a broken heart (a few times over). The fender bender equals: paying out $$$ I don't have that I had reserved for some health stuff I need to take care of. I guess that means no more mouth brace for me! Yay! (sarcasm). The only good thing that has come out of this year has been getting a new job that I don't hate which has lead to some new cool friends and a community of coworkers. I've learned new things and everyday, I at least know I've helped one person. That makes me feel pretty good. Sadly, the pay isn't very much and having lived by myself in NW Portland, taking care of myself, this feels pretty shitty. I constantly have to second guess my spending, have to ask the parents for help, or have to say no to a few things that a couple years ago would have been a no-brainer. Again, it could be worse. I'm trying not to complain...but I guess it does sound like it.

I do have my goals and it seems that every six months I'll need to re-assess what I'm doing, where I am, and where I want to go. The thing that I've realized this year (which I think is part of the emotional strain) is nothing is guaranteed, nothing stays the same....people change, feelings change, your mind changes, change of hearts. Change is a really hard thing for me to digest. I'm orderly, I check lists, I expect people to follow through on their word. I just want something I can hold on to...but perhaps that's the problem: there isn't really ANYTHING you can hold onto but yourself...and even that's not guaranteed. You know how many times we change hobbies? Yeah...

So I guess my big lessons for this year is don't get too attached to anything really. I don't mean that in a totally depressed way, I mean that in a way of survival. I have to learn to roll with it. I need to learn how to velco my emotions, rather than lock them on to something...or someone.

So for the next 20 days I am letting myself finish up being bitter, angry, resentful, pessimistic, suspicious, envious etc. Because once the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2012, I'm back to being the optimistic, positive, bubbly person I've always meant to be...with improvements of course...always improvements.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day: Extra Special Edition

This was the first year in over 40 years that my mom was NOT here for my dad's father's day. She was in Mexico tending to her sick mom and was flying in that night. Trying not to miss a beat, I decided to invite my dad out for dessert/breakfast. Not to make my brother feel left out, I told him he could join us ;)

After much thought I decided to take Pop to the Waffle Window off of SE Hawthorne. I'd been there once with a friend and I was so impressed, I knew I had to take my dad.

I was hoping to get there early and avoid whatever line there might have been. I figured it was Sunday so people were at church, or perhaps local transplants didn't have their parents here so they wouldn't be out? Wishful thinking I suppose :)

Well, there was a crowd but it wasn't that bad, thankfully. After a bit of a wait, we finally got our delicious waffles. I opted with the Nutella and Fresh Banana, Pop got the Spring Fling which included: sliced strawberries, rhubarb sauce, coconut panna cotta, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and shredded coconut while Renato opted for something savory, the The Spicy Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Waffle, pretty self explanatory.

Afterward, we decided to meander down Hawthorne a bit. Pop wanted "un taquito" to qwell his savory tooth and we happened upon a Mexican food cart inside a bus:

It was pretty typical, since it had a TV inside blaring soccer.

But this is an extra special Father's day. I'm a fan of The Portland Timbers MLS team here in Oregon. My brother has season tickets. Last week on Facebook, they announced a contest for the Best Timbers Dad. I emailed my brother and told him how I was going to submit, he asked if he could do it too. I said sure, it's for Pop anyway.

Today the announced the 5 finalists. My essay may not have been chosen, but my dad has! My brother's essay got my dad as one of the finalists. If you happen to be on FB, could you please like my dad's entry? All you have to do is "like" the Timbers, then "like" my dad's entry. It's that simple. Just go here.

I totally understand doing that stuff is weird with the whole internet thing so I won't be offended if you'd rather keep your privacy.

Anyway, whether my father wins or not...He was a finalist and people got to read his story.

Go Pop!

Cramming it all in

So, as far as I know, I am to start work this coming Monday, which means vacation is over tomorrow. I've had to change and move up a few appointments to this week. Plus, my mom had been gone for two weeks to I've been trying to cram in pre-birthday activities, early breakfast, Bar Method, working out, cleaning/organizing the house with DIY projects and finally a massage.

For a while now, I've been trying to plan out a day of Oaks Park rides and lunch with my oldest nephew, Dimitri and that day finally came yesterday.

I was planning on going to Oaks Park before lunch time, you know in case we got nauseated, but since Oaks Park didn't open till 12pm and I had done my bike ride and was starving, we decided to hit up lunch first, then Oaks Park. We knew what we were getting into.

My plan was to go to Lucy's Original food cart. Apparently they make burgers with...wait for it...cheese IN the meat. Wowsa! But luckily I'm a tia that looks ahead and before driving out there to find a closed cart...I looked it up. Yep, closed till July. I suppose I'll just have to find another excuse to go there next month ;)

Instead, I got some suggestions and decided on the Grill Cheese Grill. I've been to it before over on Alberta, but when I looked up their times, they had a brand new DOUBLE DECKER bus on SE Ankeny. At least it's a little closer to Sellwood and Oaks Park.

Off we headed to the Double Decker Bus. It was pretty cool.

We decided to climb up the stairs

Sadly, it was a little small for not only Dimitri, but me too!

After our delicious grilled cheeses (I got the one with havarti cheese, honey mustard, tomato and ham and Dimitri got the BLT with tillamook cheese) we drove back to my place, parked the car and headed to Oaks Park My plan had been to go to Oaks Park first to prevent feeling sick, but things didn't quite work out that way. After about the 4th ride, Dimitri and I were feeling pretty sick. I felt really bad because I've really been wanting to go to Oaks Park and ride the rides and I had an unlimited bracelet, but the rides that I did go on were SO.MUCH.FUN. I must say, it was a great day, other than the nausea. I definitely wouldn't mind going back...but perhaps this time on an empty stomach =D

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Times, they are a changin'

Ok, well not too much.

I'll keep this short and sweet. I got a job! Yay me! It's not my dream job, it's not even a job I thought in a million years I'd ever do. Call centers do NOT sound glamorous at all. But you know what does sound glamorous or well down right philanthropic? Helping indie artists get their music heard/online/bought. Now that sounds great to me!

Where am I working, you ask? I'm working for an online distribute of independent music based here in Portland, Oregon with International acclaim. As far as I can tell, my title will be Customer Service Support for Artists. I'll basically help Joe McShmo, guitar player extrodinaire or Juanita Wualita, vocalist to the angels, set up an account, post/sell their music and help with basically the technical aspects of the job and perhaps a little (or knowing me, a lot) of cheerleading on the side.

Since this *is* something new, if I think about it too long and hard, I'll find ways to pshyc myself out, so I won't. Instead, I'll focus on all the new things I'll learn, the new people I'll meet, the new artists I'll help and the hopes of moving up and staying with a company I truly believe in...which is based here in my home town.

Sure, the pay's not awesome but is not minimum wage. It's not within walking distance nor biking distance, the hours are early am to pm, and I'll be stuck behind a computer and phone for 8 hours a day. But none of that really matters to me. What I find appealing *is* the company, the people I'll meet, the artists I'll help, the early hours (I'm an early riser) and the fact that even though its far away, the hours I work will cut down on my driving time immensely. I get TONS of benefits (after 90 days of course) and I heard they treat their employees pretty darn well, so I'm exited. In all seriousness, I'm just ready to be a part of a company that has rules, regulations, guidelines, etc.

A little update on my 10 week challenge:

I'm on week three and it really is hard to keep the gusto going. I think I have lost just 1 pound in the last week (which is the goal, I need to remember. I'm an over-achiever). I was distracted by a few outings with friends and its hard to count calories at restaurants. I also found that having limited groceries is a challenge so this week I was able to bulk up yet again on some fruits and veggies as well as meat. One thing I noticed though is that I'm very tired. I don't eat meat enough, so I'm trying to introduce meat back in 2-4 times a week. I ate a lot of veggies, nuts and legumes the week before. SO I shall continue to listen to my body and try to hear what its telling me. I know with the new job, it will be an added challenge. I won't be able to take my time with breakfast or lunch...just dinner. So I gotta start pre-packing, pre-cutting, preparing everything either days in advance or the night before. But I am very grateful to have had the foresight to start this routine where I've made myself wake up between 8-9 am. I'll just have to shave a few more hours off of that once work starts.

This is all a start of something new!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

End of Week One: Reflections

It's Sunday and its the end of week one of my ten week challenge. And how do I feel? I feel pretty good!

Sure, I get hungry, but what's really odd is that I've not been craving sweets very much, nor is it very hard to say no to many things. I said no to beer AND cake today. I have smelled the familiar scent of coffee, but I know its not off limits...just this week, so I do look forward to some coffee this week. I can feel a difference in the stiffness of my muscles, they are getting more flexible.

I've worked out every day this week that I was supposed to but due to a bit of poor time management, I've not done all that I wanted to do. I also feel like I could easily push myself so that's how I'm going to start out the week. Today, I did a "long" run, 3.5 and it felt pretty well. I feel like I"m getting back to my old pace. However, I can feel that my body *is* fighting me a little bit and random things are hurting but I"m looking forward to going to the chiropractor to get myself all lined up.

So, I just look forward to working even harder this week. I'm going to introduce alcohol and actual real breakfast back in so I hope that doesn't affect me too much. I've enjoyed cooking dinner and I have a nice vegetarian recipe to start tomorrow.

I'm exited. I think I"m doing well but I could always do better!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My 10 week challenge

I've decided enough is enough, andrea. I'm tired of listening to myself talk and complain about how I look knowing that if I made a few changes here or there, I could probably be where I want to be.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to lose 40 pounds, nor do I need to. Most would argue I don't need to lose any weight, but it's not about the "you" out there, it's about me. I'm not happy with how I look, but I'm also no hating how I look. I know that I feel better if I were lighter. I've been there before. Remember that 10 day Master Cleanse? Yeah, I lost 10 pounds and I was amazed by how good I felt I looked. I even got from my family that I looked "too" skinny. But honestly, I felt good, I felt that I looked good and that's what mattered. For a precious month (before I started to gain the weight back) I didn't think about my weight. It was almost a non-issue and it was SO nice to have that weight off my chest...I suppose the pun is appropriate.

I've been trying to get back to that weight and I was getting there slowly but surely. Then I hurt my foot. Man, I can do A LOT of damage in six weeks of NOT working out. I mean, I've not gained 10 pounds, heck probably just about 6, but that's 6 pounds I had struggled to lose. Pounds don't come off as easily on me as it might on others.

I realized after training for my 10k that I like challenges...and training. I challenged myself with the Master Cleanse, and last summer, I challenged myself with going vegan for 2 weeks. This will be however, a 10 WEEK challenge. It's nothing crazy, it's just working out regularly, eating better, and cooking more. I'm wanting this routine to turn into a habit the way running had turned into a habit.

So these are the parameters: Starting Monday, memorial day I will:
* Work out daily, perhaps even twice a day (I don't have a job.)
* I will allow myself 1 savory and 1 sweet treat a week.
* I will allow myself 1-2 alcoholic beverages a week.
* I will try to cook at least twice a week for dinner, if not more.
* Cut out dairy and sugar. (Does agave count?)

My goals:
* I'd like to lose 10-15 pounds, but ideally one pound a week.
* Get stronger for dancing and running
* I'd like to eat between 1200-1400 calories, depending.
* Drink lots of water!

Overall Goals:
* Run another 10k this summer
* Run a half marathon next summer
* Run a marathon eventually (???)
* Cycle around the Gorge or something equally cool!

So that's my goal starting this Monday. I want it to be flexible enough and close enough to my reality to just work its way in. These are things I've wanted to do for a long time (cook more) so I just want to make sure I'm cooking the right things.

So any tips, advice, suggestions and RECIPES are totally welcome. You have a great bean salad recipe, let me know! You know how to make the most delicious oven baked chicken breast, please tell me!

This is me just kicking ME in the pants. No one can change my life but myself, so here I go!

Monday, May 23, 2011

For those who love Law and Order

I'm a huge crime show fan. My crime show of choice is Law and Order: SVU. I started watching it while homesick in Mexico the Fall after graduation. Howerver, about a year after back to back hours of rape, kidnapping and all crimes against woman and children, I grew a more than usually sensitive heart and stopped watching. A few years later, I'm back. I just love them, I'm not sure why. Perhaps its the mysery of solving a crime, of justice being served or just knowing that there are literally crazy people who think that kind of behavior is normal. I dunno.

So it all started at 3:00am Sunday night. We'll come back to that. (I'm going to be vague on the details just in case.) I wake up Sunday morning from a panic dream. It's not the first one this week, but this time I was late for a party and everyone was waiting for me and my cousin was in the shower so I couldn't get in. Yes, I know for some this is no big deal but for me...that's stressful! So fling off my blankets when I finally wake up and say to my self "Ugh, I'm done sleeping!" and get out of bed in a hurry. Suddenly, I realize I'm super dizzy and bounce around my room like a ping pong ball to the bathroom. "What is wrong with me?!" I ask myself!

After bathroom duties I hop back into bed where I decide to watch the season finale of Bones. OMG, don't get me STARTED on that!

Halfway through, my mom calls: "Nena, are you ok?" she says with concern. I'm slightly annoyed cuz um duh, of course I am. I only just saw you about 10 hours ago (I picked her up at the airport late the night before, then I went straight home to watch my boyfriend JT host SNL. What?) So she proceeds with the story:

I thought it was a dream, she says. In the middle of the night, my cell phone rang. When I listened to the voice mail, I heard someone say "Hi Ma...". I thought it was a dream. So, I was in the shower and I thought to myself, 'Wait a second, was that a dream?' So after the shower, I go to my room and look at my phone. It's not where I usually leave it at night (Mom and I are very systematic about our patterns.) and I saw there was a voice mail, so I check it and it sounds like a young girl...It sounded like you. So are you ok?!

I tell her yes. And finally when she's 100% I did NOT call her at 3:00am last night in the middle of the "freakin woods", she tells me more of the voice mail: "freakin woods", *"juan", "van with no windows" and she says it sounds like someone takes the phone away from her and that's the end of the voice mail.

I tell her we need to call the police and I know she won't do it. So I tell her I'm going to eat breakfast, take a shower and head over. I'm supposed to head over anyway for my nephew's award ceremony, so I don't want to go back and forth.

As I finish up bones and breakfast and am in the shower, panic sets in: what if this is time sensitive, what if she really was kidnapped and here I am, taking a shower. I freak out. I throw on my clothes, pack my make-up bag and rush out the door.

Upon entering my mom's house I listen to the voicemail. The gist of it is this girl is pregnant (!!!), she moved away with *Juan, who got her pregnant but now she's scared and she doesn't know what to do, she's in the middle of the "freakin woods" in *Mississippi, and she's scared and she doesn't know where *Juan is taking her and she's in a van with no windows not knowing where she's going. Then she says "just..." and the phone rustles and its over. I check the ID: unknown. I check the time: 3:00am exactly.

I call a friend who is a social worker and she advises me to call the non-emergency hotline. I do. The woman there is very sympathetic but says there isn't really much information to go on, but to call a state patrol agency in *Mississippi. I pick one that's open on weekends and talk to a woman there. She says the same thing, but tells me to call their Bureau of Investigation Monday.

Now, it's Monday and I call. The gentleman was very helpful. I gave him my mom's cell number, my cell number and he said that he'd look into some missing person's case. He said that if she is of age, there is nothing he can do, but if they find that she is underage, then they'd need to get the voice mail message. He said that if he didn't hear from me in a couple days, then to not worry. I said ok.

And that was that. Wow. I just hope, whatever it is, it turns out ok or to be nothing...Crazy crazy Sunday!

Note: * Means info has been changed.