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These Winds and Tides



Further Incoherent Ramblings By a Thirtysomething



Updated: 2012-09-29T03:17:27Z

 



Whole30: A Retrospective

2012-09-29T03:17:27Z

Several years ago I was diagnosed with insulin resistance. Long story short, I was fat because my body produced too much insulin which prevented me from losing weight, but the only way to permanently lower my insulin levels was to lose weight. Lovely predicament, no? Since my diagnosis, I’ve tried several “diets” in an effort […]Several years ago I was diagnosed with insulin resistance. Long story short, I was fat because my body produced too much insulin which prevented me from losing weight, but the only way to permanently lower my insulin levels was to lose weight. Lovely predicament, no? Since my diagnosis, I’ve tried several “diets” in an effort to get my weight under control: South Beach, the Insulin Resistance Diet, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. My weight has yo-yoed up and down by about 40 pounds (not counting my whale-like months of pregnancy). At this point my metabolism was most likely completely hosed. I’d also been on and off of metformin several times, but usually stopped taking it because it made me feel even worse. In the end, I stepped on the scale a few months ago and realized I weighed roughly the same thing that I did when I was first told that I had insulin resistance. So, about seven years with no measurable progress. Lovely. Realizing that this behavior was not setting the best example for my girls, I set out to finally make a change. I’d been doing some poking around online for eating plans for people with insulin resistance, and saw a lot of rumblings about something called “Whole30,” and then found out a few friends of mine had been giving it a shot with good results. However, there was one BIG problem with Whole30 in my mind: it was paleo. You know, the caveman diet that fanatics would tell you will not only help you lose weight, but will also balance your checkbook and fold your laundry. I wanted NO PART of it. I refused to become one of those glassy-eyed devotees that does nothing but post on Facebook and Twitter about how awesome paleolithic eating is for your system. Besides, following a truly paleo eating plan means you don’t eat dairy. Oh, hell no I wasn’t going to give up cheese! Still, the anecdotal evidence was intriguing. I finally went to the Whole30 website and read up on it some more. Then I got to thinking… all they’re asking me to do is give some things up for a month. Ah, what the hell, I can do anything for a month. So, on September 2, 2012, I began my Whole30. No dairy. No grains. No sugar or artificial sweeteners. No legumes. Basically, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and some nuts and good oils only. Day one wasn’t so bad. I had some eggs and veggies for breakfast. Lunch was a grilled chicken breast over some greens with some slivered almonds. Dinner was fish and vegetables. By the end of the first week, though, I was struggling. I’d had to give up sodas (and anyone who knows me knows I was a certified Coke Zero addict), and although I was now drinking my coffee black, I wasn’t drinking as much of it, so I was going through some caffeine withdrawal. My head hurt. I wanted cheese so bad I could taste it. But in the end, I knew I was being a big ol’ crybaby about it. One of the things I kind of liked about Whole30 is that the founders have a no-nonsense attitude about it. They insist it is NOT hard. They say that battling cancer is hard. Learning to eat healthy is not. So, I trudged on. The second week was better. I went in to my doctor’s office for some routine bloodwork during that week. I received my results later that week, and I almost fell out of my chair when I read them. MY INSULIN LEVELS WERE NORMAL. Y’all, my insulin levels have not been normal since 2005. NORMAL. As in, my body was no longer drowning in excess insulin. I was flabbergasted. But in a good way. So, I was sold on Whole30 at that point. I’m not quite through the entire 30 days (I have two days left), but I think I’m at a point where I can safely say that I’[...]



Hello, again. Again.

2012-09-28T02:54:57Z

Hi. Remember me? I know it’s been a while. February 14, 2010, to be exact. Yikes. Several things have changed since then. I’ve learned that I suck at keeping up with my blog (obviously). I have raised two children to the age of five without scarring them (I think). I now have a “smart phone,” […]

Hi.

Remember me? I know it’s been a while. February 14, 2010, to be exact. Yikes.

Several things have changed since then. I’ve learned that I suck at keeping up with my blog (obviously). I have raised two children to the age of five without scarring them (I think). I now have a “smart phone,” which means I waste a lot of time now. I have changed jobs (back in the energy industry and MUCH SHORTER COMMUTE FTW!). Lizzie has gone to kitty heaven. We are sad, but we are getting by. Maybe with the assistance of a new kitty sometime soon. Or dog. If I can convince Jeff that they don’t poop on everything.

Not everything has changed, though. I have not run Jeff off yet (almost 12 years and he isn’t sick of me yet!). My hair is still brown. I’m pretty sure this is a record for me keeping it one color this long. We’re still kickin’ it in P-Springs (maybe if I say it that way it will sound cooler. Or not.). I’ve still got very strong opinions about music, Young Adult literature, and cheese.

So, hello again. Again. Maybe I’ll stick around for a while this time. We’ll see. (image)




Who’s got the best husband in the world?

2010-02-15T01:37:16Z

I’ve got the best husband in the world! Paramore Valentines (designed by JT Daly of Paper Route, in fact)! Jeff found them online a few weeks ago and thought they would be perfect. I can honestly say this is probably one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever gotten. Gents, take this as proof that, if […]

I’ve got the best husband in the world!

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Paramore Valentines (designed by JT Daly of Paper Route, in fact)! Jeff found them online a few weeks ago and thought they would be perfect. I can honestly say this is probably one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever gotten.

Gents, take this as proof that, if you know your lady well, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on Valentine’s Day to impress her.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!




2010 YALRC, Book 3 – Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

2010-01-21T01:46:51Z

For my third book of the 2010 YA Lit Reading Challenge, I chose Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I was pretty excited about reading it, because a lot of my friends (whose taste in books is usually right in line with mine) really enjoyed it. To sum up, this book is about 16 year old […] For my third book of the 2010 YA Lit Reading Challenge, I chose Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I was pretty excited about reading it, because a lot of my friends (whose taste in books is usually right in line with mine) really enjoyed it. To sum up, this book is about 16 year old Nora Grey, who is unexpectedly seated next to the mysterious Patch Cipriano during Biology one day. The more Nora gets to know Patch, the less sure she is that she even wants to know him. He’s cocky, he’s got a dark side, and he’s got a very strange way of showing up everywhere Nora happens to be (including the ladies’ room). Nora soon deduces the true nature of who (and what) Patch is, and finds herself thrown in the middle of a battle between good and evil that she is not sure she is capable of handling. This is a review that I’ve written and re-written over and over again in my head. It’s hard to write because I did not love this book. I am attempting to be diplomatic in my dislike of it because, again, several people whose opinion I trust, literary-wise, enjoyed it. However, I had multiple issues with it. First and foremost, although I know a lot of people would find Patch to be mysterious and sexy, I found him to be creepy and stalkerish. Finding out the truth of what he was didn’t do much to help his case in my eyes, either (SPOILER: he’s a fallen angel – he fell to earth because of the lust he felt for a human girl). He comes across as very predatory towards Nora, and it generally did not make me comfortable with the relationship that developed between the two. Secondly, Nora’s BFF, Vee, was infuriating to me. Sure, she’s a typical boy-crazy teenage girl. However, she’s also got an impulsive streak that seems to put boys and excitement far above her own (or Nora’s) safety. I spent a good portion of the book hoping Nora would sit her down and have a good heart-to-heart with her about some of her more self-destructive behaviors, but that never happened. I also got an uncomfortable feeling that the book placed a higher priority on lust and sex over more important things. Fitzpatrick is never what I would call explicit in her discussion of sex, but it is a pervasive theme throughout the book. It’s the subject the Biology class is studying when Nora and Patch first encounter each other, Patch makes it a point to make sexual innuendoes whenever Nora is around, and there is even one (highly laughable, to me) scene towards the end of the book where Nora manages to get trapped in a seedy hotel room with Patch wearing nothing but her camisole and panties. I’m not what I would call a prude, but I just think that, for a YA book, there was a bit too much emphasis on the carnal aspects of life. One thing I did enjoy about the book was that Nora seemed to have a real relationship with her mother. Her mom wasn’t really presented as being out-of-touch or “uncool,” as I’ve noticed seems to be a trend lately in YA lit. Her mom does leave Nora on her own quite a bit, but it’s presented as something that is a necessity (she works out of town so she can afford the payments on the house Nora grew up in after Nora’s father is mysteriously murdered), and they have very believable interactions when her mother *is* around. In the end, I cannot say I would recommend this book. Again (yes, I am repeating myself, I know), I know a lot of my friends enjoyed it, but I personally did not find it enjoyable. I know there is a sequel in the works, but I do not plan on reading it. [...]



2010 YALRC, Book 2 – Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

2010-01-10T01:39:56Z

I read the description of this book and immediately decided that it sounded like what would’ve happened in Twilight if Jacob had won. Boy, was I wrong. And that’s not a bad thing. Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam, a girl and her wolf. Sam spends every summer human, but, due to being […]

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I read the description of this book and immediately decided that it sounded like what would’ve happened in Twilight if Jacob had won. Boy, was I wrong. And that’s not a bad thing.

Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam, a girl and her wolf. Sam spends every summer human, but, due to being attacked by a werewolf as a child, changes forms into a wolf at the first hint of winter. He lives in a forest that backs up to Grace’s house, and has kept watch over her for several years while in his wolf form. Sam and Grace never really manage to connect during his human moments, but are finally introduced when he is injured during a wolf hunt following an attack on a local boy. They fall in love (of course) and spend the waning days he has left in his human form trying to solve his wolfy problem before he changes into a wolf for good.

First of all, this was a very beautifully written book. As I mentioned earlier, I originally thought I’d see a lot of parallels between it and Twilight (normal girl falls in love with a supernatural creature, etc.), but the book it more reminded me of was The Time Traveler’s Wife. Without all of the explicit sex and stuff. I’m not normally one to tear up during a book (JK Rowling is, to this day, the only person to make me bawl during a book), but I did sniff once or twice at the end, so it’s safe to say that Stiefvater is very good at evoking an emotional response. So, I enjoyed it for that reason.

The only real issue I had with the book was how adults are portrayed in it. Grace’s parents are emotionally absent, and often physically absent as well (hence Grace’s ease in hiding a boy in her room in an attempt to keep him warm so he doesn’t turn into a wolf and all). There’s really only one strong parent character in the book, and that’s Beck, Sam’s father figure in his pack. In general, adults are portrayed as flighty, weak-minded, superstitious, or just plain absent. But, in the end, that’s really the only glaring problem I had with the book.

I would recommend this book for the older YA reader (15 and up). There are some fairly intense moments between Grace and Sam that probably would not be appropriate for the younger reader. There is also some disturbing imagery regarding Sam’s parents and his past that would probably frighten younger readers. Otherwise, it is a beautiful story, and I am looking forward to its sequel, Linger, when it comes out later this year.




2010 YALRC, Book 1: Fire, by Kristin Cashore

2010-01-09T18:08:00Z

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve entered a YA Lit Reading Challenge for 2010. My goal is to read 25 YA Lit books over the course of the year. I’m hoping I surpass that goal, but we’ll see. In any case, my first selection this year was Fire, by Kristin Cashore. It’s a […]

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve entered a YA Lit Reading Challenge for 2010. My goal is to read 25 YA Lit books over the course of the year. I’m hoping I surpass that goal, but we’ll see.

In any case, my first selection this year was Fire, by Kristin Cashore. It’s a companion book to her earlier book, Graceling. Since I loved Graceling, I thought this would be a good choice.

The events in Fire take place (by my best guess) approximately 25-30 years prior to the events in Graceling. It is set in a place called the Dells, which is an area that is shrouded in mystery to the people living in the Seven Kingdoms (where Graceling took place). There is one common character in the two books (the nefarious Graceling Leck), but otherwise, we get a whole new slate of characters.

Fire, the main character, is considered a “monster” by the people of the Dells. Known by their ostentatious coloring (Fire’s name came from how her hair is colored – I kept imagining Hayley Williams’ hair when reading), monsters are variants of normal humans and animals that have a taste for human flesh and telepathic abilities that help them lure in their prey. Naturally, most of the people she encounters are terrified of her. However, Fire is somewhat repulsed by what she is and is determined not to give in to her more natural (and slightly evil) inclinations.

Eventually, Fire is summoned to the court of King Nash in order to use her abilities to help thwart a coming war between those loyal to him and those loyal to two opposing lords in the Dells. This leads to an internal struggle on her part, since she has vowed never to use her abilities, because the only other human monster she knew (her father) never used his abilities for good. I won’t give away what happens, but let’s just say lots of action, lots of intrigue, and lots of romance follow.

In the end, it was a very enjoyable read. I like Cashore’s writing style, because although these books are written for those from the 14-16 year old range, it never seems like she’s “writing down” to that reading level. I do think I liked Graceling more, but that’s because I think I liked the characters better in that book. Katsa was such a strong female lead character that I think she’s a hard act to follow. Fire is strong in her own right, but she just seemed to need rescuing a bit too often for my taste (I call it the Bella Swan Syndrome).

I would recommend Fire for those who are looking for a good modern fantasy novel in the 15-17 year old range.




Hello, 2010

2010-01-09T02:16:48Z

I don’t know why, but it seems like everyone had a fairly crappy 2009. Mine wasn’t what I would call an epic fail, but it wasn’t the easiest year I’ve ever had, either. Lots of stress, lots of worry, and lots of time spent obsessing over things that were beyond my control. I’m not really […]

I don’t know why, but it seems like everyone had a fairly crappy 2009. Mine wasn’t what I would call an epic fail, but it wasn’t the easiest year I’ve ever had, either. Lots of stress, lots of worry, and lots of time spent obsessing over things that were beyond my control.

I’m not really one for resolutions, but I do like the idea of the clean slate each new year gives us. It almost feels like a chance for a do-over. So, I’m excited to see what 2010 brings.

I’ve got a few things I’d like to do this year. The first is that I’ve joined a YA Lit Reading Challenge for 2010. There were three levels to choose from, so I chose to go for reading 25 YA lit books this year. I think it’s do-able. I’ve already got two under my belt so far, so I need to get cracking on posting my reviews in the next couple of days.

Secondly, I’d like to just take better care of myself. I’m not making any hard and fast weight loss, nutrition, or fitness resolutions, but the recent spate of sickness I’ve gone through has pretty much kicked my butt and let me know that my bad habits are catching up to me.

The final thing I’d like to do this year is to actually learn to let go and stop obsessing over inconsequential things. I blame my inner control freak for my inability to do this with any measured success in the past. However, it’s time I learned to focus on what is important, and let God handle the rest. And He will.

So, welcome, 2010. I hope I like you better than I liked your older brother, 2009.

Oh, and where’s my jet pack?




My Musical 2009

2010-01-08T03:51:14Z

(The first one of you nimrods who points out that it is now technically 2010 will be the proud recipient of… something. I don’t know what, but it’ll be unpleasant. So there.) I know everyone and their dog has done one of these lists where they blather on about how awesome 2009 was, music-wise, and […](The first one of you nimrods who points out that it is now technically 2010 will be the proud recipient of… something. I don’t know what, but it’ll be unpleasant. So there.) I know everyone and their dog has done one of these lists where they blather on about how awesome 2009 was, music-wise, and then they proceed to display their superior musical taste by picking 10 CDs that a grand total of four people have listened to (I’m looking at you, Paste Magazine. I love you and all, but seriously). So, since I am an unoriginal sheep (baa!), I’ve got yet another list to toss your way. The one caveat I would add is that, as usual with me (since I am pretty much always behind the times), this is just a list of the top 10 CDs I bought in 2009. A couple of them came out prior to that, but they still count in my world. Ready? Here goes! 10. The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack Okay, before you write this one off because of the fact that I am one of those “Twilight People,” bear in mind that my Twilight-skeptical husband also thinks this is a darn good CD. Thom Yorke, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, and Band of Skulls lend a decidedly more “indie” feel to this soundtrack than was present on the Twilight soundtrack, but it definitely fits the mood of New Moon better. Favorite tracks: “Hearing Damage” – Thom Yorke, “Monsters” – Hurricane Bells, and “Roslyn” – Bon Iver and St. Vincent. 9. U2 – No Line on the Horizon I’ve decided that my musical relationship with U2 is something akin to a marriage entering its eleventh year. You have the initial excitement and butterflies at the beginning, a few scary moments where you weren’t sure you were going to be able to stick it out, but are now in a comfortable place where, although you don’t get that swept-off-your-feet feeling very often, you are content and feel relatively stable. Such is the case with this CD. I’ll be honest, it didn’t knock my socks off when I first listened to it. There were a couple of songs I actually pretty much disliked. However, as I listened to it over and over again, I found that I wasn’t disappointed, really. Sure, not every song is a home run, but there are some great, solid songs on this CD. Still, I would buy a recording of Bono reading the phone book, so there’s that. Favorite Tracks: “Breathe,” “Moment of Surrender,” “No Line on the Horizon.” 8. Barcelona – Absolutes I found this band kind of by accident. Around the beginning of October, one of the folks I follow on Twitter tweeted about seeing them open for someone and how much she enjoyed their show. A couple of other friends mentioned them in passing as well, so I thought I’d give them a listen. You guys, this CD is SO GOOD. They sound kind of like what would happen if Keane, Copeland, and Coldplay had a baby together. An awesome, awesome baby. Favorite tracks: “First Floor People,” “Come Back When You Can,” and “Response.” 7. Muse – The Resistance Yes, it’s pretentious. Yes, it’s overblown. Yes, they have a three-part movement in the middle of the CD. And yes, I love it. It sounds like Muse doing what Muse does best – highly produced, electronica/prog-rock influenced ear candy (or, as Jeff says, “a less-complex Rush that is more pleasing to the ears”). And I’m going to get to see the whole spectacle live in February. Favorite [...]



Progress…

2009-11-19T02:58:06Z

New theme… whatcha think?

New theme… whatcha think?




Under major overhaul..

2009-11-15T02:51:01Z

Okay, so all two of you who read this here blog may have noticed that all my posts have disappeared. Never fear! I am just in the process of a rather major overhaul and will be working on debuting a new blog in the coming weeks. Til then, go outside and play or something.

Okay, so all two of you who read this here blog may have noticed that all my posts have disappeared. Never fear! I am just in the process of a rather major overhaul and will be working on debuting a new blog in the coming weeks. Til then, go outside and play or something.