Sunday, May 31, 2009

Losing it

Weight, that is.

The eternal struggle for most folks, it seems: losing those stubborn 10 or 20 pounds. Now that swimsuit and shorts weather is upon is (hello...did Spring ever bother showing up?) all of my magazines are splashed with photos of celebs who lost weight and look enviable in their little bikinis.

Of course, all their cellulite and wrinkles have been airbrushed, so they look all the more perfect.

If you read the articles on how they managed to drop the weight, the answer is the same: lots of exercise, hardly any carbs, lots of water, and small portions. It's no mystery, just takes will power and the ability to shun pasta--something which completely goes against my Italian DNA.

I know what I need to do, but I hate exercise and I love risotto. Stalemate.

I finally decided to give in, accept the new, squishier me, and buy some nice "fat" clothes. I have tons of beautiful stuff for summer, but none of it fits. I'd been trying to make due with sweatpants and such, but you can't wear things like that when it's 82 degrees outside.

So, I packed up all of my teeny summer things that used to fit me, and replaced them with a few well-chosen pieces in a slightly larger, far more comfortable size. It's so much easier to get dressed now, and looking into my closet does not send me into a shame spiral.

The interesting part? Now that I've given in and adjusted my outlook, I'm losing weight without even trying. It's amazing how much a positive attitude can help. Funny how that works.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

No Touch Monkey!

That's the title for the book I'm reading at the moment: "No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late" by Ayun Halliday. It's a funny, irreverent travel memoir that details the good, the bad, and the ugly (not to mention stinky) reality of the "travel the world on a shoestring" fantasy.

If you've ever glamorized the idea of traveling the globe with nothing more than a backpack of belongings and a phrasebook in your pocket, you ought to read this book first.

I've always wondered what it would have been like to take a year off after college and do some solo traveling--looking back with some measure of regret at the adventures I could have had if only I'd been more daring. Every time I read through a travel guide to some far off place I've never been, I can't help thinking, "Gee, you know, I could have gone there in my youth, if only I had planned things better."

Ayun Halliday's unflinching look at the reality of this kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travel has given me closure on that whole "what if" scenario. This is the first travel book I've ever read that had me thinking, "Yikes, better her than me" rather than "I wish that had been me." Her stories are told with humor, wit, and despite some harrowing moments--no regrets.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Giving in to Technology

In just a few days, I will be doing something I thought I would never do: I'm getting a Blackberry.

I've resisted the pressure to get one for a long time now. My husband has one for work, and while it certainly came in handy two years ago when we were overseas and my father fell seriously ill, I had always vowed that I never wanted to possess a device that made me quite that accessible.

As it is, I hardly ever use my cell phone. After years of car rides set to a Barney soundtrack or the tinny strains of Laurie Berkner singing about bumblebees, I relish the opportunity to have complete silence when I'm in the car. If my phone rings while I'm driving, I ignore it unless it's the school nurse calling about one of my kids. Anyone else can wait until I get to my destination for me to call them back. And yes, I do have bluetooth capability, but I don't care--I don't want to have a conversation while I'm negotiating the roads of NJ--driving is dangerous enough here without unnecessary distractions.

So, why the Blackberry now? Because work has gotten busy to the point where it never fails: the minute I step away from my desk, something urgent needs my immediate attention. I used to think the Blackberry would hinder my freedom, but in reality, it will allow me to unchain myself from my desk and respond to emails regardless of where I am. So, I can run out to the grocery store, and not worry about what crisis may be waiting for me back home.

And did I mention....I'm getting a pink one!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Carpe Diem

That means "Seize the Day", and it's what I've been doing for the past few weeks, which is why the blog posts have been few and far between.

I took on a freelance job with a new client, and it has been keeping me a lot busier than I'd anticipated. However, the work is also much more interesting and gratifying than I thought it would be. I've been writing every single day--thousands of words, typically--and I've wondered more than once why it is I can't seem to put forth this kind of effort on polishing up my own novel.

The thing is, I'm enjoying this work, and ultimately, that's what counts. Yes, I want to get the novel finished so that I can sub it, but I've decided to enjoy the present and not stress myself out over the future; to embrace the new path that my writing life has taken. I'm going to seize the day and let the rest unfold in the time frame that it's meant to.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Mathematics of War

The Mathematics of War

I found this video on, and it's definitely worth viewing when you have a moment. A physicist and his team compiled data on various wars, and have come up with an algorithm that can track the ebbs and flows of a conflict. Interesting stuff.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A new low

Actress Brooke Shields is understandably livid at the National Enquirer, which sent two reporters to the assisted living facility where her mother is staying. The reporters allegedly signed out Teri Shields, who is said to be suffering from dementia, and took her to a nearby restaurant to interview her.

This is a new low in tabloid journalism. How could those reporters have possibly thought it would be okay to do that? They crossed the line, and should be fired immediately. But no, somehow I suspect that they'll be praised for their ingenuity and told to be more careful not to get caught next time.

I'm not sure what recourse Brooke Shields has in this instance--perhaps she can charge them with attempted kidnapping?--but I hope she pursues this to the fullest extent of the law.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grey's Anatomy Season Finale: Disturbing and Sad

I was really looking forward to tonight's season finale of Grey's Anatomy. It is one of my "guilty pleasures" and I enjoy watching it after a long day's work. I had heard that this episode was going to be a "tear-jerker", but I didn't end up shedding a single, salty droplet.

I've already grown accustomed to the gory aspects of the show, so the spurting blood and mincemeat face on the "John Doe" patient wasn't as jarring as one might expect. I knew almost immediately that it was George, which I suppose took most of the suspense away from the episode. By the time the revealed the big "twist" I had already resigned myself to the fact that George was not long for the world. T.R. Knights much-publicized fight to be released from his contract this year didn't help matters, either.

The Lexi/Sloane storyline is getting trite and boring already. Part of Mark Sloane's appeal was his confidence and his swagger, and now he's reduced to a whiny, lovestruck puppy. Now that Meredith has finally started showing some relationship maturity, I suppose they're having her pass the "dark and twisty and not ready to commit" torch to her little sister. Ugh...been there, done that....the viewers deserve better. As for Derek and Meredith's "post it note" wedding, I thought it was cute but anti-climactic and a bit of a gyp after all these years. Can't anyone just be happy on this show?

Alex Karev did a great job in this episode: the character's range of emotions from sadness to fear to frustration to elation to despair were subtle and deftly executed. In contrast, Bailey's overwrought scene with the Chief was too over-the-top and self-indulgent. Didn't like it.

Overall, I found this episode to be disturbing. There were some brief moments with Christina and Owen that were fun to watch, but the rest of it was heart-wrenching and sad. The bad outweighed the good in this finale; when the credits rolled, instead of being excited for the start of next season, I was just glad the episode was over.

I don't think that was the reaction Shonda Rimes was looking for. I hope they get their act together over the summer and deliver a more emotionally-satisfying season opener.

Monday, May 4, 2009


My youngest daughter--"my baby"--turned 9 today.

These pictures are from a few years ago, but no matter how big she gets, THIS is how I'll always see her.

Happy Birthday, Cathy!