Friday, August 27, 2010

Progress Report (without all those icky grades and stuff)

I came up with a plan for the next three months for the weight loss. I started it on the 22nd, and so far have managed to follow it without deviation. It pretty much consists of going back to avoiding dairy, eggs, processed foods, and refined sugars. Let's face it: I do and feel better that way. So the two month binging from my birthday on has come to a definite close.

But amid all the ridiculous instant self-gratification and gorging, I found out something: I didn't gain a single pound. I got my cake and ate it too. Unreal! How the hell did my over-30 and counting body manage that? Is it somehow the rule that sometimes you CAN do whatever you want and it still works out? Wow, have I been living in some sort of self-loathing bubble for the last few years.

To be fair, I was being pretty good most of the time. I didn't have milk, instead opting for rice milk with my oatmeal. I very sparingly ate items with egg in it. I checked the ingredients labels for the things I shouldn't be eating anyway. Go figure! Not a single pound! Even after that giant caramel-oozing brownie that Krissy, my lovely baking co-worker made for my birthday. I lovingly savored that baby for three days. If you're gonna fall off the wagon, better to go all out. It's the only way to make it worth the future self-resentment.

Forget self-resentment though. Not this time. Miracle! Angels singing in the background. The clouds part and a beautiful shaft of light illuminates the numbers on the scale. Not a single freakin' pound! How utterly breath-taking is that? I thought for sure I was going to have to suck it in and raise my arms and all that nonsense. Nope.

Back on the wagon I go. I raise my skirts, exposing my petticoat to the world (that's just how I roll), climb back in one leg at a time, sit on that ever uncomfortable bench, right the bonnet on my head, and begin that ever-so-long journey for the future body that will fit into the clothes I have already bought in my mind. God, I will look awesome in them. I won't even have to suck it in to button the jeans.

Another phenomenon has occurred: the jeans that I have been meaning to fit back into have either gotten bigger, or I've gotten smaller. On a whim, I took them out yesterday, just to see what the scoreboard had to say. Those bad boys went on. A little snug. But they went on. They buttoned. They zipped. They didn't rip. And most shocking of all, I could walk in them not at all like a robot. Amazing! When did that happen? I've been sporting way-too-big pants for a while because I've been in between the size I was and the size I want to fit back into. So, it was a matter of time, of course. My lazy ass hasn't even been working out. If I hadn't been there, I might not have believed it.

Now, dear readers, if you think I'm stopping with those jeans, think again. Still following the three month plan. Phase one has begun. For once, I'm micromanaging my weight loss. This will be so much more manageable. The next meeting with the scale is Sunday. God-forbid that number has gone back up. I swear, I'll smash it. It better not tempt me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sam-in-Limbo part deux

I keep asking myself where the sequence of events that led me to this moment started. Was it the losing of my position several years ago? Was it the seven funerals I went to over a two-year span? Was it a horrible, horrible break-up? I just don't know when exactly the ground started to shake. But I do know that it's starting to stabilize, and my reminiscing is only for the benefit of not repeating the same humiliating process.

I had to attend a hearing of with the trustee (part of the bankruptcy process) on the 9th. No creditors showed (surprise, surprise). It was in the federal courthouse downtown, which I found to be incredibly beautiful on the inside. There's this atrium in the front-center that reminds me of something out of photos of world's fairs long past. I wish I'd had a camera with me. Going back to take some photos might be awkward to explain to the guys at the metal detector. My meeting was practically first thing in the morning. So walking through that atrium alone, inevitably, my head turned upward to the skylight and balcony-hallways above. What a nice way to start the day that would begin the real relief (and possibly healing) of the past several years. Now, I have to begin the work of repairing my credit and re-starting my adult life.

When I was young, this is not how imagined my life would turn out. I imagined myself traveling, and writing, and having fun. Doing good in the world. Instead, I've stagnated into a truly ridiculous rut. Fear does that, I guess. Here's the funny part. I'm not really feeling afraid much anymore. I think the whole bankruptcy process has taught me something important, something I wished I'd learned a long time ago: people aren't judging me, and if they are, it isn't harshly.

I've gone a long time since feeling like I wanted people to see me. It's coming back. Wow, to not be in perpetual hiding is refreshing. I don't even think I realized I was doing it until now. Weird.

So, my lawyer informed me that I have to finish my pre-discharge course (online, thank God), and expect everything to be finished within seventy-five days (sixty for the creditors to object, but a little extra for me to have my final result). So, seventy-five days from Aug. 9th, it'll be done with. And not a moment too soon. I'm trying to think of something to reward myself with. Hmmm...

Friday, July 30, 2010

She's rumored to be single...

I met my friend Danielle the other day to discuss shore excursions for the upcoming cruise (in February). We hadn't seen each other in a while, so a little catching up was in order. She's seeing a new guy. This is a good thing. She'd been with the same guy for over a decade, with it leading to nowhere. After her wise decision to move on, she didn't wallow in loneliness or bitterness [insert well-thought-out Sam joke here]. No, she joined a bowling league, spent more time on herself, and started seeing a nice guy. Good for her.

And when the conversation moved on to my niece, and I inevitably started to gush (just a little), she said, "Oh, your biological clock is ticking." God forbid. I was supposed to be the one chick in my age group whose every waking moment wasn't thinking of babies. Procreation has never been an obsession for me. That was a driving force for my sister, but not for me. Nor has it ever been a priority. But then, neither has dating and eventually settling down with a mate. Nope. Sam has been perfectly content with being single.

Now, in the midst of all of my re-evaluating, I have to see that it hasn't been contentment, but rather an overshadowing, pervasive fear of rejection. Everyone wants to be with someone. I'm not really an exception to this. But it's more comfortable to not even try than to live with butterflies in my stomach with first dates, or giving my heart to someone who may not give theirs in return, or having to reject someone myself simply because I don't feel a connection (or attraction for that matter).

Sadly, my mother brings up on practically a daily basis that I'm not getting younger and that if I'm going to provide her with some grandchildren, I better hop to it. My sister is the same way. I keep trying to see it as they just want me to be happy. But it feels more like nagging.

Since Lily was born, I have gradually warmed to the notion that I, too, want my own legacy, a piece of myself to live on through another being (in case the book-writing doesn't work out). The feel of holding a child, loving a child, being the most important thing in their world, and for them to be mine, has a certain appeal. I won't say that I'm driven towards it, but it is a thought that has entered my mind a time or two since my niece entered the world.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just skip steps and just get to the good parts, and miss all the uncomfortable ones?

On to a related note, I have previously mentioned someone I once liked very much (EC) who kind of burned me, for lack of a better phrase. On third shift, I saw him maybe once every couple months, if that. Now that I'm on first shift, I have to see him all the time. It's not awful. The discomfort of letting the past interfere with my thoughts of him instead of seeing him as a decent human being and not the spawn of Satan has officially passed, and I would hope to be friends with him. At the most. I promise. Still, why does he have to be so nice, and so cute? It's easier to overlook them when they're not that great. I went through a period where it was hard not to think of him. I think I'm finally getting over that. Crushes suck. This one in particular, because it won't lead anywhere.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Before I try to justify my long absence with a list of things that have been plaguing me to no end, I'll just say that I'm sorry. I've really needed an outlet too, but it seems that stress has this way of shutting me down to the point where I'm paralyzed, just existing as it were. So, no blogging, much less writing of any kind. That's horrible.

Well, some things have happened. After my life-changing decision to pursue veganism, I made a huge discovery about myself. It's really not easy to give up cheese. I love cheese. I love the different kinds of cheese - blue cheese, feta, cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, heck, even some swiss (okay, maybe not swiss). And while I was able to avoid it for a long time (months), I caved in about a month ago, and let's just say that it hasn't officially stopped. So, instead of calling myself vegan, I say I avoid dairy and eggs, not to mention processed foods and sweeteners. The result of that avoidance is 28 pounds gone (though I've got a ways to go). But I better get back on the ball. There's a cruise in my future, and this ass just won't cut it.

Apparently, my current financial state is as much in limbo as I am. A couple months ago, I was told that my position was being eliminated. Ugh. Really? They couldn't just leave well enough alone? They had to mess me up again, and leave me scrambling to find another position that probably would force a pay cut, not to mention the loss of my third-shift differential. Like the other madness that Walmart has been forcing on associates and customers alike (restructuring and stream-lining selection and store layout - even associates can't find what they're looking for),

I found myself in a bit of a predicament. If I'd been told a month and a half earlier, like I was supposed to be, I would've found something on third shift available. But they didn't, and I was stuck with some lame-ass bakery job. (No offence bakers everywhere.) I discovered two things when I did this. Firstly, the bakery at the store is just barely that. Here's what I mean: the product is purchased from other companies, shipped frozen, and then laid out to rise and baked in these really big ovens. I was seriously disappointed. I thought I'd be learning about different breads and donuts and cakes. I thought I'd be mixing stuff from scratch. Not a rotten chance. I learned how to pop a box open and throw some rolls on a baking sheet. Yay! Whatever.

Secondly, I learned to stick it out in this ridiculous waiting game. Apparently, the accounting office was left in this horrible situation with not enough people (two to be exact), and not enough hours to do what we do (an eight hour shift, as opposed to two and a half). So, Sam made her triumphant reappearance. Technically, I'm still officially a bakery associate until my over-worked assistant manager can fit in the official interview and make me an official accounting associate. Officially. I wonder if I'll get a raise. Hmmm...

What will happen next? I don't know what the future holds for this young plucky girl with a tentative hold on sanity, but I'm sure that the universe has a few tricks up its sleeve, and all will resolve itself in due course. But since I don't know what my employment future was going to bring, I knew I had to make some serious decisions about my horrid (and by horrid, I mean catastrophic) personal finances. Which leads me to the morning I found myself at the office of my bankruptcy attorney.

I remember going to Mapquest for the directions, but even just looking at them on the page, I found myself groaning. Drive through questionable neighborhood? Check.

Arriving a hair early, I found a taped note on the door to ring the bell. Strangely unprofessional setting? Check.

My attorney answered the door, and led me through the building to his office. The building itself was questionable in age, and had obviously been a house in a previous life, much like other buildings lining the street it sat on. The carpet (circa 1967) reeked of mold and cigarettes and the walls were paper-thin, worrying me that maybe everyone in the world was going to hear my business loud and clear. Potentially deadly or deadly embarrassing situation? Check and check?

Don't get me wrong. I knew I was doing the right thing, but in my head, I kept thinking, "Oh my God, what the hell am I doing here?"

Happily, my attorney was reassuring, and professional, and completely non-judgmental (at least not to my face, which is good enough). So the ball is rolling. I have my hearing with my creditors on the ninth, and after that, I have to wait sixty days for objections and then I'm done. That's not to say there won't be problems. But I need something of a clean slate. A do-over.

So, as the relief of it all hasn't exactly arrived yet, I'm feeling that the in-between stage of everything in my life at the moment has made some room for creativity, the kind I haven't experienced in a long time. And so, the idea that I will move on and become the person I really want to be is on the horizon, in view even. I'm just not there yet. But at least there is a promise of it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Horror Show

So, I have to admit that I hadn't been on a scale for a while. A long while. And there's a reason why. If I don't know what that unholiest of numbers is, then I don't have to deal with it. I didn't deal with it for a really long time.

And now I know.

It taunted me. I think I looked at my toes longer than I should have instead of grasping what it was the scale was telling me. Really? That much? That can't be right. But it is right. It is. And now I have to deal with it. Damn it!

I'm scrambling. The mother and I have decided on a weight loss challenge. She has more to lose, so giving her a few days head start didn't seem so bad. But now I'm scrambling. Good God! How did I let this happen? Ugh.

Well, that's done. Oh well. Guess all that planning will go to good use. Let's commence with the life-changing veganism. (Somewhere, a nutrition fairy just got her wings.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cinema Therapy, volume 13

So, some might think of this movie as a little cheesy or silly, but you have to admit that the sweet qualities of this modern fairy tale are wholly worthwhile and easily suck you in.

Penelope is the story of a young woman trapped by a family curse that gave her a pig nose. Her overbearing mother (Catherine O'Hara) is determined to find her daughter a mate despite the curse, to comical results. Edward Vanderman, a snobby self-absorbed nobleman and a contender for Penelope's heart makes an ass of himself by claiming that Penelope is a monster. He convinces a paparazzi-like Lemon (played by the always awesome Peter Dinklage) to find a spy to put in Penelope's midst. Unfortunately that can only be someone of noble birth (a blue-blood). Enter Max (played by James McAvoy). And that's where it gets complicated.

Perhaps not an Oscar-worthy film, but entertaining and heart-warming just the same. And you will come to love the characters with all their eccentricities and flaws.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cinema Therapy, volume 12

So, despite it being one of the biggest cash-ins on someone's personal history in recent box offices, this is probably one of the best films in theaters right now. After having seen it without the tissue that I should have brought along, I can safely say that I loved this movie.

The Blind Side is one of those feel-good flicks that you might honestly say that you could watch a few more times afterwards, and walk out of the theater with the quick step that Sandra Bullock uses to channel her real-life tough-girl muse, Leigh Anne Touhy.

The story of a young man who has managed to be left by the wayside through the neglect of a drug-addicted mother and a system that is often overworked, under-resourced, and possibly mis-managed is also the story of his triumph over the overwhelming odds against him to become educated and financially backed at a top college and becomes a top 2009 draft pick for the NFL. Sadly, Michael Oher's story could just as easily have been the same as countless others who come from the same backgrounds, if not the same geographical location. And while we celebrate his wonderful story and the family that made it possible, we also must acknowledge that there are millions of Michael Ohers out there, whose access to all the wonderful possibilities are hindered by the failings of others, as the film points out at the end.

Despite all of that, The Blind Side is as entertaining as it is inspiring. And I hope that if you haven't seen it yet, you will.

In case you haven't been exposed to it yet, check out the trailer:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Well slap my ass and... oh, you already did that?

Last night afforded me the opportunity to make an ass of myself with my co-worker and partner-in-crime, Shelly (not my uncle's wife/aunt - there's more than one, you know).

While walking out of the office, she managed to stop suddenly, and I (not looking mind you) kind of ran into her. Well, not exactly. Actually it was my hand. And it smacked her really good right in the ass. This lead to a series of renditions of "I can't believe I slapped your ass" all night, followed by laughing. To be fair, it was the side of my hand, so it was more of a smack than a slap, but I don't think the difference matters all that much. It happened. So at least it was an interesting start to the uneventful night.

I have to admit that I'm pretty lucky to work with her and Krissy (day accounting office associate extraordinaire). They made coming back to that miserable excuse for a job a lot more bearable. Or at least ended the dread. (Please excuse the comments here. My job is tedious and sometimes extremely boring, but by no means a completely horrible job. If anything, I'm lucky to have it all things considered. If only it weren't at Wal-mart...)

What is up with the people who flock to the break room during our mandatory fifteens? They are so loud. I wonder if they feel the need to stretch their vocal chords to keep from passing out. Entirely possible. However, this makes it damn near impossible to enjoy reading my book on break. What the hell?! It could be worse: I could be one of those poor schmucks who are chained to their smoking habits and have to congregate outside to get their deadly, yet calming cigarette fix. It's f-ing cold out there folks. I'd rather not.

By the way, bad news my friends. It seems I will not have access to my niece until March. So, I'm afraid I will be a little melancholy. In all honesty, the road trips to MN were taking their toll on my days off. But I miss her all the same.

I have some truly cute videos of her. On one of them, she's looking at a bug and says, "Ta-da! I peeking!" Too precious.

In other unrelated news, I am on the brink of veganism. Sadly, I will say "adios" to cheese, ice cream, omelettes, and other tasty pieces of heaven that animal products can create. The cancer and heart disease in my family was the ultimate kicker. It's a rampant problem - rampant! And weight issues aside (and they are profound by themselves), this is the overriding factor. Plus, after reading The Kind Life, I don't think I can justify what eating these things does to the Earth. If you don't think that you're casting a vote with every grocery purchase, think again. The processed foods and refined sugars will be making an exit as well. There may be occasional visits on this variety show, but they will be by no means regular cast members.

I have to dig out my treadmill too. It's become the de facto resting spot for all the Christmas wrapping paper of late. I need to knock that shit out. I never let it happen before. This last year has been really bad with the treadmill abuse. Oh well. It's in there somewhere.

Alright. So, that's the update for now. Sam out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Road to 50 Books.

I tried and tried not to come up with a New Year's Resolution. And well, I kind of blew it. I decided to do a challenge. Not a resolution per se. But still, it gives me a goal to reach for in a very real and calculable way. I like that it's a reading goal. I haven't done that since the third grade. Maybe the fourth. Not quite sure. I may have to confer with some childhood friends for a final verdict on that.

So, it's my hope that I can read 50 books in 2010. It's an ambitious goal, but originally, I thought of doing 100 books. That was too ambitious. I scaled it back and presto! we've got a decent goal.

Join the challenge and post it on your blogs or Facebook pages. It's a good way to kick off the new year - with knowledge.

So far, I'm on book #2.

I will give occasional updates of my list. Plus, I'll keep the sidebar updated. Keep checking back.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cinema Therapy, volume 11

So, I recently became acquainted with this volume's film of choice. With the overall sense that it might be a frivolous waste of time, I decided to view it, and then decided that I really liked (if not bordering on loved) it.

Stardust has the same running themes of love and the pursuit of power, beauty, and eternal youth as many other movies of the fantasy genre. But it also craftily weaves these themes in a way that is not only entertaining, but heart-warming.

Yes, it is a story of love conquering all, and a happy ending to boot, but it envisions a world where the whimsical still has equal footing with the blow-them-up flicks that tend to trample the cineplex to death.

I have to admit, the characterizations are what got me. The banter between the lead characters of Tristan and Yvaine (Charlie Cox and Claire Danes respectively) are as cute as any current rom-com in the making, and the silly, yet clever character of Captain Shakespeare (masterfully and comically played by Robert De Niro) makes me want to spend some more time in this fantasy world.

With the same qualities that hooked followers of The Princess Bride, Star Wars, and The Wizard of Oz, Stardust holds its on the screen. It may not have the critical acclaim or cult followings of the aforementioned films, but it's surely as feel-good a film as any.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I joined Facebook - I asked for it.

So, a personal friend has de-friended me on Facebook. By "personal friend", I mean someone who I work with I had considered my friend. Even after I quit the store, we did stuff together, and talked on the phone, and all the things that people do when they are actual friends.

For whatever reason, Sadie has given my ass the boot, and well, I'm not all that sad. This may have been a while coming. But there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Sadie and I have had bouts of contention in the past. This has always, always been work-related. We always got on better when we didn't work together. I know she has a work ethic, she's just not displaying it right now, and it's caused me to comment on it. To her. When I heard she'd gotten a D-Day (Decision Day, where management decides if they're going to keep you or not), I wasn't all that surprised. The reason I'd initially heard about was stupid, but that's besides the point. And it made me think that they were just coming up with a reason to get rid of her. I'm not the only one who's had issue with her before. If I'd commented on this to someone (at least someone who can't keep his/her mouth shut), I don't recall. So, whatever her deal, Sadie ended our Facebook friendship.

Here's the sad part: I wouldn't have even noticed if it weren't for the fact that I use her as an employee on Restaurant City. Lately, it's the only reason I bother to log on to FB. I know the draw of Facebook. I've even requested people to join it. But lately, I have no desire to do much on there, except gain levels on Restaurant City. Lame, I know. Maybe I've outgrown it.

If Sadie had a problem with me, she could've called. She could've talked to me at work. Nope, just easier to give the ol' FB boot.

Somehow, I'm okay with this. Whatever.

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