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29 September 2010

Disappointed in me

I've had a pretty consistent struggle with my weight for most of my life. As a teenager, I had a rather svelte body and was content. As I've aged, I've slowly gained more weight than I would like to admit. The good (bad?) thing is that, because I am tall, I can carry more weight on my frame without looking heavy. We all have an ideal number on the scale, but I am driven more by the way my clothes feel on me. Lately, they have been feeling more snug that I would like. Tonight I tried on last season's jeans (because its that time of year again!) and I almost started crying. I am VERY unhappy with the way my body currently looks without clothes as well as with more fitted clothes.

There is no excuse for this other than sheer laziness. I'm lazy, and I love to eat. I know that I am capable of losing the weight and staying trimmer, but I've just been mailing it in these past few months. Back in March I won the Biggest Loser competition at school after losing like 15 pounds. Well, its all back and more. And there is no reason for it. Seriously. And there is no time like the present to make a change, right?

I find that if I make resolutions in a public forum (my blog) I am more likely to stick to it. I guess it is some kind of internet accountability. So here it goes. I'm going to lay out my "plan" for making a change.

Week 1 (9/30-10/7) - I'm going to do a pretty hard core, kick-it-into-high-gear week of all fruits and vegetables and limited dairy. I'll eat a bowl of cereal in the morning (I need the dairy for protein and the carbs for energy!) but only vegetables and legumes for the remainder of the day. I'll only consume water and hot tea with absolutely no pop of any kind and no booze. The no booze thing will be a bit challenging given that I'm going home to visit, so I might have to make a one-day allowance. I also want to get in at least 5 40-minute bouts on either the elliptical or my Nordic Trac. If I can't do those, it will be a walk for 40 minutes. Weather permitting, I'm also planning to take B on some lengthy walks.

Week 2 (10/8-10/14) - After a week of veggies and fruits with minimal dairy, I hope to feel a bit cleansed and rejuvenated (as well as a few pounds lighter!). The food for this second week will still be fruit and veggie heavy, but I'll incorporate a touch more carbs (pasta and rice) as well as more dairy (cheese, yogurt, and milk). Again, I plan to get at least 5 40-minute cardo workouts in as well as some addition B walks. A cocktail or two, especially at Amy's wedding, will be allowed.

Week 3 (10/15-10/21) - This week will basically be the same as Week 2 but with lengthier (50-60 minutes) cardio workouts. I wish I had access to a good gym with weights and machines, but, alas, I don't. I'll have to figure out a solution to that later, but the cardio is good for now. Again, a cocktail or two will be permitted.

I don't eat meat at all anymore (with the very occasional weakness for Mexican food), so it is important that I get my protein from other sources like beans and nuts and things of the like. I don't miss meat at all, but it makes getting my protein a but more challenging (and fattening!) sometimes. Either way, I need protein and I need to find a way to get the appropriate amount each day without countering it with a ton of fat (i.e cheese. I LOVE CHEESE!!).

Hopefully the next three weeks will kick start my motivation and metabolism to get me on the track to a healthier and fitter body. A bonus of a few less pounds would be ideal as well! The week immediately after Week 3 finds me in NOLA for a visit with The Boy, so I'm not making any strict plans for that week. that would just be setting myself up for failure. Of course, I don't plan of gorging myself, but I'm also not going to set any unrealistic goals that I cannot achieve while on "vacation."

As a part of my renewed fit and healthy journey, I'll be posting updates and progress reports on a fairly regular basis. I really need to make a change in myself to make myself look and feel better, and that change needs to happen now.

27 September 2010

Doggie Drama

Bailey tends to be pretty well behaved while I am gone during the day. She sometimes "investigates" things and pulls them off the counters and surfaces, but she very rarely ruins things. I don't blame her for getting bored while I'm away. I would get bored sitting home all day as well. (Seriously, people. I wouldn't. I would love to be homes all day!) I'm used to her antics because they are usually so benign.

Until today. For some reason, she decided to act out in a big way while I was gone today. I'm not sure what triggered her bad behavior, but she definitely acted out. The first damage I noticed was that she had dug and clawed at the office door. What is that about?! I had to vacuum up paint chips and wood chunks as soon as I got home. But that didn't bother me nearly as much as I what I discovered next...

She CHEWED MY SHOE!! If you now anything about me, you know how I have a "shoe problem." I adore shoes. I keep them all organized in special see-through boxes, and I can't remember the last time I wore a pair of shoes out and had to replace them. Seriously. I own ... more pairs than I should admit. And Bailey has NEVER touched a shoe except to curl up with it on the couch in my absence. Her lack of interest in shoes has served me well. To come home and see a pair of shoes chewed on ... ugh! I blew my stack. She knew that she was in trouble long before I found the shoe. She was hiding and cowering in the office as I was walking around the house. The pair that she chewed was one of my favorite pair of summer thongs. They were leopard print with a little gold buckle and a kitten heel. Truth be told, the shoes were in pretty rough shape to start with. I've worn them for three summers now, and the shoes probably needed to be laid to rest. But the fact that Bailey forced me to get rid of them by chewing on them frustrates me to no end! I was SO angry. I didn't lose my temper too badly, but I was definitely annoyed. To punish her, I clipped her nails (which she was in desperate need of but absolutely hates). Maybe I'll even give her a bath later.

Suffice it to say that the Beast and I are not exactly getting along this evening. All I can say is that this better not be a sign of things to come!

23 September 2010

The MB 500

I just realized that I am now three posts away from my 500th! I started this whole thing in February 2007 which means it has been going (strong at times!) for almost four years. I really thought it was longer because I remember starting it when I lived in Greensboro. I though that it was the first year I lived there but clearly it was halfway through my second year. Either way four years and 500 posts averages out to about a post every three days. Of course some days had multiple posts and there were also significant dry spells.

I'll have to plan something big and important for the 500th post. I'm not too sure what that will be because I'll most likely be home visiting the family for Grandma's 80th birthday. But, in all honesty, that's a subject worthy of a 500th post. Grandma, God willing, will have lived longer than ALL of her relatives ... living and dead. We don't come from long-living stock, so we're all pretty excited and happy to have Gram still around. Especially since she is still quite youthful!

Now I've got some planning to do ...

19 September 2010

Teaching CCD

Today was my second Sunday teaching CCD at Sacred Heart. I'm working with the 9th graders who are in the first year of the CCD program. At Sacred Heart the CCD program is a two-year cycle. Ninth graders attend classes that are more inquiry-based where we discuss the basics of the faith and have an open forum for any questions that they have. The 10th grade program is a Confirmation-prep program that ends in May when they are confirmed as full members of the Catholic Church. Last week was simply a "get-to-know-you" week where we played some name games and shared some details from our lives. This week we started the curriculum.

Each week has a focal topic for discussion, and this week's topic was "God." My essential questions for the kids were, "Is it reasonable to believe in God" and "What kind of relationship can we hope to have with God?" I did a little bit of lecturing and then we had some discussion. I shared my personal faith story with them, and they shared some of their doubts and beliefs with me and the rest of the class. It's interesting for me to teach about Faith. It really gives me an opportunity to explore what I think and feel about my own faith. I still question and wonder and grapple with my understanding, and exploring faith through the eyes of the young helps me to investigate all that with fresh eyes. I understand their doubt and their fears because I have been there myself. I spent ten years in the desert before finding God and realizing that I needed Him to truly make sense of the world.

Tonight some of the students asked very legitimate questions about prayer and God's promise to help us and guide us. Of course, the questions that asked were "big" questions with no real answers. They were questions that are unanswerable and we struggle with them every day. When we pray to God to take care of the infirm or the dying, is that selfish because we really want God to make them live and not die? If they do die, is God actually answer our prayers? If He is, how is that answering them when what we wanted was for the person we are praying for was to heal? We discussed how Heaven is Paradise, and we should all be so lucky as to earn our place there. We also talked about how God doesn't always answer our prayers in the most obvious way. (Here is where I talked about Kiki and her struggles with patience!) Instead of granting us what we ask for, God instead often provides us with an opportunity to practice and refine the trait that we seek (patience, humility, faith, strength ...).

We also brainstormed for a while what traits the ideal father would have. We then transferred those traits to God, Our Father and compared which aligned well and which needed to be deleted or added. During that part of our discussion, one of the kids posed a really great question. If God knows all and knows what we want and what we are going to ask for, why doesn't He just give it to us? I loved that question because it really helped to cement the "God as our Father" relationship for the kids. I responded to his question by giving the example of a father who repeatedly watches his child fail at a task, waiting for that child to simply ask for help. We've all been there and had that experience, and God is no different. He wants us to acknowledge our need for His help and intervention and humble ourselves to ask for His aid. The kids seemed to "get it" and really start to make connections to their own relationship with God. Hopefully we'll continue to have great conversations like this.

I'm enjoying my new "position" so far, and I'm happy to be able to offer my 'talent" to the church as well as my "treasure." It is a nice change of pace from my everyday teaching, but it definitely presents its own set of challenges. I'll keep posting as the weeks progress.

18 September 2010

Photos for sale!

I've decided to put some of my photography portfolio onto the blog to share with the world and also to sell. Head over to the Photography by MB page to see what is currently listed. If you are interested in any of the pics, contact me for pricing and printing options. I can do a variety of sizes as well as framing options. I'll also be adding new selections over time, so be sure to check back regularly!

Even if you don't want to buy, I hope you enjoy looking! I know I enjoy snapping the pics!

15 September 2010


Bailey is feeling much better tonight. She actually got up and played for a while and was doing some SERIOUS begging at her food bowl. It broke my heart to not let her eat, but doctor's orders!

In other Bailey-related news, I photograph that I took of her this summer has made it into the Top 50 of the Boston Globe's Pets at Play Photo Contest. I've entered their photography contests a few times and have made Top 50 twice. I'm pretty stoked that this pic was selected as one of the the Top 50 out of about 160 entries.

You can see her in all her glory here.

Bailey is lucky she's cute

This morning was a normal morning. I got up. Ate breakfast. Showered. Got dressed. It was the start to a good day. Then Bailey decided that she was sick. And then the good day ended.

If you aren't interested in the gross details, I suggest you skip the next few paragraphs.

She started having uncontrollable diarrhea and looked totally miserable. I felt bad for her so I let her lay on her blanket on my bed for a little while. When I went back in to check on her, her diarrhea had turned to blood. Bright red blood. And she had lost control on the bed. Thankfully her blanket protected my comforter ... for the most part. she barely made it outside before leaking all over the grass. At that point I knew that going to work wasn't a feasible option. I felt absolutely horrible calling in since today was supposed to be a pretty intensive technology day with my kids. But I certainly couldn't leave The Beast home all day and know how ill she was. The mess I would come home to would be unbelievable. Luckily, I managed to get squeezed into an 8am vet appointment.

We headed off to the vet, and thankfully there were no accidents in the car. The vet did an exam with all sorts of poking and prodding. Bailey was most definitely not okay with the poking and prodding. The vet loaded her up on Atropine to slow down her soft tissue issues (i.e. no more diarrhea) and injected 500cc of fluids under her skin. She looked like she had a humpback, but it definitely helps to improve her dehydration. We left with a handful of meds and a strict "no food" order. She isn't allowed to eat until tomorrow, and, when she does get to eat again, it will be boiled chicken and bland carbohydrates. In addition to her weird colon issue, she also has a heart murmur (not too much to worry about now, but it will most likely eventually get worse and lead to heart failure. Joy.) and conjunctivitis in her eyes.

When we got home, I washed all of the dirty blankets while she slept. She's still sleeping now, looking massively pathetic. The doc told me that if the blood continues tomorrow, B needs to be brought back in for some testing and further procedures.

Is it bad that I kind of love her when she is sad and mopey? She is so sweet and docile and fragile instead of her normal bog, bold, and crazy self. I just love to cuddle and love her when she is sad and sick. I by no means want her to be like this more often (my stress level and bank account couldn't handle that!), but she is rather adorable when she is like this.

Poor Bailey.

10 September 2010

Do you have my card?

I finally got business cards made, and they are beautiful! Why does a teacher need business cards, you ask? Well, I attend conferences and network on a fairly regular basis, and I never have my info handy to share. Now I do! I had them made here, and they feature some samples of my photography.

Now I can't wait to get to some PD events and pass out my beautiful new cards!

Aren't they pretty?!

09 September 2010

Tomato Hornworm Update

I decided at let the tomato hornworms that had invaded my tomato plants to have their way. I ignored the plants, harvested what tomatoes matured, and tried to pretend that all of my hard work and nurturing wasn't for naught. Today, since September has come and fall has officially started, I decided that the tomato plants could be "trashed." (They weren't actually trashed. I left them in the creek bed to biodegrade back into the soil.)

To my surprise, only one hornworm remained. And it didn't look normal. It had had some rather weird growths on it. There were little white pods all over it. They looked like little grains of rice. The hornworm didn't move, so I figured it was dead.

I pulled all of the plants out to the stream bed and noticed that the nasty little rice-covered worm started to move slowly. I was happy that it was now far away from the house! 

I rushed into the house, turned on the computer, and searched "what is on this hornworm?" Seriously. That was my search phrase. Turns out, these little grains of rice are actually wasp cocoons. It is a parasitic wasp - Cotesia congregatus - that will eat the hornworm from the inside out after it hatches! It's actually a recommended natural pest control when dealing with hornworms. And the wasps are completely benign to humans. In fact, they are only about 1/8" long when hatched. I can't wait for them to hatch and eat that nasty creature. I know that sounds mean, but I can't help it. He ruined my plants. 

Before I tossed the plants, I was able to harvest three last ripe tomatoes. Goodbye, Summer. Hello, Fall!

A New Feature

I always liked the idea of a Photo-Of-The-Day, but, truth be told, I'm a bit lazy when it comes to it. One of my tweeps turned my on to this website which keeps a visual calendar of your pics. I figured that I'd try it out for a little while. The cool thing is that you don't have to update every day. You can update retroactively (which is really handy for a procrastinator like me!).

There will be a nice mix of work and pleasure posted. The super cool feature is the "Print" option so you can print a calendar of pics to remember your month/year by. Pretty sweet.

Kiki - You might like this. I remember you mentioning something about a pic a day.

06 September 2010

NOLA Recap

I have returned home from a whirlwind girls' weekend in NOLA and barely have the time to catch my breath before heading back out to chaperone the class trip. Ugh! Don't get me wrong. The weekend was AWESOME. It's the coming back and turning right back around and leave again.

We arrived in NOLA around 10pm on Friday night after a fun and alcohol-inclusive flight. Despite being exhausted from a long day at work and two flights, we headed directly out to Bourbon St. to grab a bite to eat, have a few drinks, and listen to some good ol' Cajun music. Southern Decadence -- The Gay Mardi Gras -- was in town this weekend and there were a ton of happy gay men celebrating in the streets. Of course with such a large gathering of gay men came the descent of the "You're going to burn in hell forever!" Christians who came to protest and spoil the happy gathering. Some of the signs they had were absolutely ridiculous, but it didn't stop the good times. We ended up staying out until about 2am NOLA time which was 3am RDU time. We had a blast. We went back to the hotel tired and very ready for bed.

Our hotel has a sweet view of the city. 

Saturday was filled with food and shopping. What more could we want? We attended a cooking class in the quarter which gave us  very tasty lunch as well as filled us in on some great historical details about NOLA. After lunch, we shopped a bit while wandering over to the streetcar to head out to the Garden District. We hit up House of Lounge first, and we all bought some very pretty things. Ms. Bride-To-Be bought some very fun pieces that will make her Soon-To-Be-Hubby quite happy. At that point, I needed to return to the hotel to get ready for mass at the cathedral, so I went my separate way and the ladies continued shopping.

I met The Boy for mass and afterwards we did a little shopping before we met the ladies for dinner. I bought an awesome new Mad-Men-esque wig at Fifi's. It is so very Joanie, and I pretty much LOVE it! We had dinner with the ladies at The Bombay Club which was a total blast. It was really great to hang out with The Boy and my girls so they could all get to know each other a bit. It was a very good time, and we had very good food. And good drinks. After dinner, The Boy headed to his place for some one-on-one time while the ladies hit the casino.

The Boy and I met back up with the girls Sunday afternoon after the parade. He and I had a great lunch at a little Italian place that he really loves. After the parade, I headed off with the ladies to have some fun while The Boy left to do some of his own things. The ladies had some oysters at an oyster bar before we headed back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for dinner. It's kinda funny that we spent the whole weekend planning what we were going to eat next. That's kind of how I roll normally so spending the weekend doing it with the ladies was pretty fun.

Sunday night was an early night because we were all pretty exhausted. And today was our flight home which was bittersweet. Leaving was sad because we had such a great time, but we were all ready to get back to life. We were all safely home by 4pm.

Once again, I took hardly any pictures. I wanted to take a ton, but it is hard for me when I am with a group of people. I take so much time to take multiple shots and get really great pictures, and I don't like slowing people down. I'll be visiting NOLA again in the months to come, so I'll be able to get some great NOLA pics in the future.

So here I sit in a quiet house. No Bailey. I can't pick up The Beast until Wednesday because I leave for the school trip early tomorrow morning. I miss her! The house is so quiet without her, and I keep looking for here and expecting her to be around every corner.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend and incredibly relaxing. I feel rejuvenated. Ahhhhh ....


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