Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Goals Program: Three A Day, My Way!

I'm developing a new goals program. Since I can't remember a lot of things and rely heavily on my computer for keeping a task list, I sometimes get overzealous in my list and then end up doing nothing. To help simplify my desire to get things done, for a while I told myself I only had to accomplish three things in a day. It didn't matter what they were, but accomplishing three things that I had set out to do was enough. For a while, this program really worked for me and I felt like I was making progress on my to-do's.

I decided today to reinstate the three-a-day program with a twist. The twist is that I'm going to set the three daily goals a week at a time and they are going to be project oriented. For this week, for example, my projects are 1. thesis, 2. boards and 3. life. These are all areas in which I would like to see some progression. So I have set goals relating to these three areas for each day of the week. In the life area, my daily goal is just to accomplish 1 thing from my ongoing to-do list. If I accomplish more than 1 in a day, that's gravy, but it doesn't count towards the next day. In thesis and boards, I'm breaking down my writing and studying into small manageable chunks so that I'm not overwhelmed to start and so that I'm working a little everyday instead of cramming once a week on my day off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bloody Hellraiser

After all the computer crap last night, I had to be really nice to my boyfriend. I try to be nice to him always, but I wanted to be especially good after he saved my computer baby. [Computer baby sounds really hokey, but I have to say I have more affection for this one since I bought it than my previous computer which I was given for free, even though I appreciate the price of free so much. I feel similarly affectionate to my car which is the first I bough after two that were given to me.] So, my way of being good to my boyfriend - I watched a horror movie with him.

I NEVER watch horror movies and after watching Hellraiser with him last night, I remember why. Even hokey 80's horror flicks scare the daylights out of me. I'm already scared enough in this world from real attackers that I don't need to add fear of supernatural or unnatural things. Hellraiser was so fake and really a strange story - I imagine it's probably a great book, but horror books also scare me, so I stopped reading them, too - but I was still scared. Okay, this is going to get personal, brace yourself: I was so scared that I made my boyfriend walk into the livingroom with me and turn on all the lights so I knew no one was in the house and then I peed with the door open. Huge taboo for me. Bathroom time is private time, but I couldn't be in there alone.

It's a good thing I have to go see my landlord tonight and can't go to the scary movie night he's going to, otherwise I'd be in real trouble. I just hope I can get through the "haunted tour" we're doing tomorrow!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Computer Maintenance for the Un-Savvy

So I tried to maintain my computer tonight and almost blew it up. My boyfriend is a computer whiz, so he was able to fix what I broke, but we started off the evening thinking I might have to buy a new computer!

It started with me deleting the "guest" account he had created for himself on my computer - you know, when you start up your computer and you select the use icon from the front page and enter your password. That account had been painfully slow and really unusable anyways, so I got rid of it. Then I decided to defragment my C:// - after the analysis, the computer reported that it needed to defragment, but didn't have enough memory to do it properly.

So I decided to delete Norton Internet Security software which I'm no longer using. That un-installation was taking a long time, so I left it while I went to work, thinking I would start the defrag when I got home since I had company coming and wouldn't be on the computer anyways. When I got home, the computer was frozen in the middle of the un-install, same place it had gotten hung up before. Unfortunately, I forced an End Program through Task Manager and then couldn't restart the uninstall and started getting messages that my computer was dangerously low on memory. We later learned that lots of people have this problem and the Norton is a bitch to remove. Removing your Norton program using SymNRT helped though.

Before we did that or found that, we cleared up a ton of space (from 60 MB available to about 3GB) using CCleaner and deleting some duplicated or unnecessary programs from my hard drive. After all that, we ran Spybot and Ad-Aware which found NOTHING! Previously, while running on my Norton subscription with automatic live updates, both programs had found critical objects that required attention. So, in addition to being a pain in the ass to remove and almost shutting me down, Norton wasn't even providing the same level of security I now have with AVG, a free Internet security program. I can't recommend AVG more glowingly - it automatically updates and scans the computer EVERY DAY.

So, from now on, cross my heart, it's a weekly computer maintenance day with the following tasks in order of operations:
  • Backup all
  • CCleaner
  • Check for unwanted/unneeded programs and delete
  • Clean up unneeded documents and files
  • Spybot and AdAware
  • Defragment
  • Restart several times
  • Backup all

And, as part of the beauty of the Internet, you may start to see some things posted here as a place for safe-keeping. Oh, how I love and hate technology.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Free Is A Very Good Price

At work, I get free food. Not just a meal or catered event from time to time, but bags full of groceries. I can't even estimate how much money I save from getting free things at work. I prepared a delicious meal of fresh made spinach fettuccine with sun dried tomato pesto, fire roasted diced tomato, pumpkin, zucchini and carrots, for example, and the only things I bought were the canned pumpkin and fresh zucchini. I love this job.

I also love being a naturopath and the freebies and discounts I get there. As part of our graduation package, which I had never opened, one of the vitamin distributors we work with gave each graduate $100 credit towards our first order of $100 or more. So, I get $100 worth of products at wholesale cost - FREE. It's time to order as my stock is quite depleted, so I'm happily going to use them. Did it work to create favorable feeling towards their company? Yes. Do I care? No. What's interesting is they are a distributor and not a manufacturer, so I would probably have used them anyways, but I feel even better using them after they were generous - since I graduated in a group of 100 and there are 3 schools with similar class sizes, we're talking about a potential of $30,000 in gift certificates that they gave away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Two Weeks Notice

I've been on vacation for the past two weeks. I come back rejuvenated, sorta...but definitely inspired. Again. It seems around every corner there is something to inspire me to change something about myself, something about my life. No difference on vacation and if anything, even more motivation for change.

Upon my return, I wanted nothing more than to be alone with my dogs and my thoughts, but that was not to be until several hours later. Even though I feel a little like I already blew my post-vacation resolutions, I haven't really and I can still stick with my resolutions for the rest of the day. I'm just not sure I can catch my blog up by the end of the day like I had hoped! :)

I've wrote a lot during the first leg of my trip and learned a lot about what interests me and what's important for me during vacations, so that may be more expressive and more in-the-moment. During the second half, I luxuriated a little more and didn't write after the first days attempt failed so miserably (I got distracted... a lot), so I'll just be recalling a lot of what happened. Maybe lists - those are just easier. At any rate, this is notice that the previous two weeks entries were actually entered after this one, though the experiences were appropriate for dates.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day Three: Nanaimo

Ah, Nanaimo - the quaint little port city that could. I don't recommend it for anyone who wants big museums or the city life, but I do recommend it for those who want to feel real Canadian hospitality, get closer to nature and maybe enjoy a slow day in an Old Town. A and I tendered to shore in a little boat [not so little, they seat 150] and spent about an hour wandering around Nanaimo. Having heard that Nanaimo has a good population of Somoan's and that outrigger paddling is very popular there, I was pleased to see both dragon boats and a couple outriggers before I even set foot on land. The only souvenir that appealed to us, still in tourist mode, was a VHS copy of a cheesy 80's movie, the name of which I can't even recall, since we had a VCR in our room and were heading back to the ship for the rest of the day and wanted something to do. Were I to go back, I would take advantage of the beautiful hiking nearby. The shore excursions also included some farm visits which could have been really fun.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the AquaSpa, napping and, of course, eating.

Spinach and Gorgonzola Stuffed Pastry
Chilled Melon and Mint Soup
Filet Mignon
Baked Alaska

Everything was delicious, but if I never eat meat again, it will be too soon! At the end of dinner, the entire staff was presented to us and the waiters came out to some shipboard song bearing baked Alaska to every table. I didn't realize that Baked Alaska was simply an ice cream cake - it was delicious, but come on - it's ice cream cake! I have to say that it's a good thing for my rapidly increasing waist that this was only a three-day cruise!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day Two: Victoria and My BIRTHDAY!

By the time we woke up, we were already at our first Port of Call: Victoria, BC. Our plans in Victoria were kind of sketchy, but we met up with friends at breakfast and then headed to shore. Victoria was great! The downtown near the waterfront had many interesting businesses, including a delicious chocolatier, many souvenir shops and a bug museum! We browsed the bug museum gift shop but didn't enter - later, I learned that several of our friends were inside when we left and I was disappointed we didn't go in with them.

After browsing about for some time, we headed to a tea house for a real English style tea. It was amazing. The tea was warm and lovely - and we all said lovely a lot while we were drinking it - but it was the food that blew me away. Now I know why they made white bread! These little sandwich were so delicate and delicious. There were three-tiered trays of food and enough for us each to have one of everything, so there was no picking and choosing - I tried everything, much to my stomach's dismay, but how could I not?! It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. A, E and I walked back to the wharf after tea and got to enjoy some other sights.

I do regret that we didn't have more time in Victoria, because it was such an interesting place and I was particularly fascinated by the Royal BC Museum. A promised that we'll go back sometime in the summer and enjoy a mix of indoor and outdoor activities!

Back onboard, it was time for yet another dinner! This evening, I got my first taste of escargot, which was prepared in a butter and pesto sauce and was delicious! I thought I would never eat this, but Sasha had ordered several orders and was sharing it so I felt almost dared to try it. A tried it after I told him how good it was and he enjoyed it as well. Sasha said that as far as escargot goes, this was really good, but that when it's bad, it can be really bad. Based on that, I don't think A and I will be trying it willy-nilly, but neither do I think that will be our last experience with it. The rest of dinner was just so-so.

It seems that I either shared my birthday with many other cruisers or the wait staff does all the birthdays on Saturday night, because all around the room, waiters were doing birthday cakes and "happy birthday" songs to other cruisers from our dinner course onward. I think I may have been the last person to get cake and a song, which delayed our tables dessert and we were then somewhat unceremoniously rushed out of the dining room, but it was nice to get birthday cake and a song, even if we didn't get to eat it.

After that, I was feeling a little seasick, so I had a nap while everyone else went to that evenings entertainment: a ventriloquist. A said I didn't miss much, but another of our friends were singled out and brought onstage to act as the dummy! When A returned, he really wanted us to take a walk to the back of the ship - he said the view was amazing and that maybe some fresh air would help me feel better. We did walk, I didn't feel better and in fact, looking out at the water brought the nausea on a little more firmly. So we headed back to our room, but on the way, he took me through a door marked "private event" behind which was our entire group yelling "Surprise!"

It was my surprise birthday party, which I almost missed due to my seasickness! A and Kurt had arranged for our private use of the small bar just down the hall from my room for several hours. The group welcomed me in with hugs, offers to buy me drinks and many happy returns. I felt so loved. Another cake and song and then cards and gifts, including a Rubberneck CD and a QueenBee bag from A. Just what I wanted! How did he get it onboard without me noticing? He had Joanne smuggle it on for him, the little sneak! Speaking of sneaking, after about an hour, the party was getting pretty raucous, so I snuck out to go back to bed, still seasick, but happy about a birthday well-spent.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Day One: Seattle

Headed out today on a three day cruise leaving Seattle and heading to Victoria and Nanaimo in British Columbia. Already feeling a little tired after having just returned from my week back east, but this already looks like it's going to be fun!

FB and E met A and I (where were you?) at my place to drive up together. A lucky detour for coffee and toilets resulted in my first contact with the Oscar Meyer Weiner-mobile. That was fun. When we arrived in Seattle, I started to feel a little uneasy - my first cruise! But most everything went off without a hitch - most because unfortunately one of our group didn't have all of the identification documents needed for boarding. I haven't ever been privy to such happening, but he was literally turned away. Because he'd ridden with us, he didn't have a ride to get anywhere, so that was an unfortunate and unexpected drama for him. Luckily, he didn't use E's luggage tags as he had considered doing or he would have been unable to retrieve his luggage as well!

Once onboard, it was all the junk food you can eat, but it was pretty good junk food. E and I took the Aquaspa tour which we were both really interested in since we've considered doing cruise ship acupuncture. We were both suitably impressed and cruise acupuncture earned a few extra points. We signed up to use the Thassalotherapy Pool, which is a big hot tub with extra-strong jets that come from all directions - it's like getting a wet massage and soak all in one. The water has mineral salts, too, so it's detoxifying. We used that every day and it was probably the best money spent during the trip!

There was a lot of hustle bustle about the boat that afternoon seeing everything there was to offer, dancing at the bon voyage party, getting pictures of the rainbow over Seattle as we headed out and then it was on to dinner. It was an informal night, which means no tie or jacket required. Ugh. It's a small gesture and women love it - why don't men understand that? Dinner was pretty interesting though - you really can get whatever you want, in any quantity on the cruise - it's really an exercise in gluttony, but I enjoyed every minute of it! The highlights of dinner were the Duck Confit appetizer that my waiter tried to talk me out of, A's Chilled Tangerine Soup and my salad, which had julienned daikon radish in it for a little spice. It was fantastic! My prime rib and twice baked potato were only okay, but the Creme Brule was great.

After dinner, it was onto the entertainment for the evening: a comedian! How fun! Except that our group got front row seats and A and I ended up the butt of several jokes. It was fun to say on the mic that I'm a physician, though, and when I said naturopath, someone in the audience "woo-hoo'd" me. I never learned who that was, but they weren't a part of our group. I enjoyed A's discomfort when the comedian asked when we were getting married, but that's just a little bit evil, right? Karaoke after that and then to bed exhausted after an eventful day!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What I Don't Like About Myself

I fight with my boyfriend a lot. Okay, maybe not a lot, and maybe it's not really fighting when I just yell and screech at him, but I do it more often than I like. Sometimes it makes me wonder...well, it often makes me wonder...are we really compatible if I'm always yelling? Am I just too set in my ways to welcome another person into my life? Am I protecting myself from getting too close? Am I just a bitch? Is he just a ___ ? Why does my voice do that when I'm angry? Why do I always cry when I'm really angry? Am I really a mean person?

Last night, I got mad. A met me at my house after work and was ready to take me out for dinner, a movie and some early Halloween shopping. It does make sense to be Halloween shopping right now because we're leaving for the next two weeks. However, even though it makes sense, I don't feel any urgency about it whatsoever. Until he starts talking about it and then I feel like I'm going to have a crappy costume, I'm not going to fit in, but I'm not going to stand out, I'm probably not going to have any fun at all and so on. So there was already the start of some tension - mostly due to my own weird, unhealthy and unconsciously driven thoughts.

Then I started having this weird anxiety. I called E since we were in the neighborhood and she decided to come shopping with us. I don't know why this added to my tailspin, but then A said something to me along the lines of: I just didn't want to spend another night at your house watching movies, I wanted to get you out, see some people, have some fun. I was mortified. Did that guy at the next rack (who I don't know and don't even care about) hear that? Did the cute girl with the funky bracelets he admired hear? Does he think she's more fun? Does he want to date her now? I was so pissed at him, after he basically said he just wanted to show me a good time, that I couldn't speak, we had to leave the store and I fought back tears for the next 30 minutes.

What I don't like about myself is how my internal dialogue is this panic driven, full throttle anxiety bomb. That A and E both have a fair bit of emotion to them sometimes doesn't help and let's not even start on my mother. But really, it's my dialogue. Any influence they have is based only on my permitting them to do so. How do we change our internal dialogue? Fake it until we make it? I like that method for changing other things, but I'm not sure it would work with myself. Would it go a little something like this:

Self: Wow, A admired her bracelets.
Self: She's a bitch.
Self: No, she's probably not a bitch. They're cute bracelets.
Self: You're a bitch.

Guess I'll have to work on some healthy self talk. In the meantime, I'm keeping my mouth shut a little more in the moment and that helps. Instead of screeching, A and I end up talking about my feelings which is a lot more effective and also helps me realize which ones are real and which ones are just me spinning my own wheels.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Best Friday Night In a LONG Time

Great plans for Friday night:

1. Make unclear and incomplete plans last minute
2. Call only those people who you can really relax with
3. Ask someone else to host
4. Tell everyone you'll make all the food, then change your mind at the last minute and tell everyone to bring something
5. Shake until blended

What a fun night. No movie was watched. Half the food was a flop. We forgot to plan any drinks. And we didn't know who was coming and who wasn't. And it was the funnest Friday night I've had in a long time. I feel content in my heart and in my tummy.


1 : evenness of mind especially under stress
2 : right disposition

Yes, I need to cultivate that. Today my mind is off kilter and uneven. Everything is going to be okay, but today it doesn't seem so, and the slightest of events has me all a-jumble.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mind Your Business

On doing menial tasks when one is the boss:

When you have no business, you do what you have no business doing.

Time Out

I'm a bit anti-social and it feels good. After I worked yesterday (which was particularly exhausting since I started working at 7am!), I came home and didn't do anything. I didn't call anyone, I didn't answer the phone. I didn't send any text messages with E, despite her voicemail and later text asking "is everything ok?" I did very briefly chat with A just to set up plans not to see one another.

I got into my pajamas and watched a silly movie. Then I watched Coupling on Netflix. Then I blogged a bit, went back into the kitchen to make vegan Cashew Cheez and Aloha Pate, which require no cooking, but a fair bit of food processing and went back to bed, where I was asleep by 10. Needless to say, I was up before the alarm today and feel great this morning.

I don't want this to become set in stone, but I think I might take a Time Out at least once per week. I feel fantastic. Not lonely, but yet rejuvenated and a bit of longing to see friends. Does that make me an introvert, despite my social nature?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Playing Catch Up or Not Playing at All?

So I haven't been blogging but I've been thinking a lot about blogging. I've had a side job for the past couple months related to blogging, so I'm looking at a lot of blogs. I'm also working at the new job, living in the new house, getting news about my boards (passed!) and licensure (yes, I should, in fact, wait until January to get licensed), getting ready to meet A's sister and go on my birthday cruise (despite my best intentions to just spend the day pampering myself at a spa), so there's lots to blog about. I even have sort of a list in my head of topics to write about, but the days keep going and I just don't write. It's like there are too many back topics that I want to write about, but not bad enough to actually sit down and do it. As E and I had discussed, it's a whole lot different when you don't have class time to actually get things done.

I used to knit/crochet, blog and email in class. When I first moved into my new place, I also spent a lot of time at the computer, but I noticed last night when E was over how different the energy was when the computer was closed the whole time. I didn't even think of opening it to check email - wait, I did open it once, but technically, that was just before E arrived. I opened the computer to look up how to make corn tortillas just as she rang the bell. Since we were running out to the store, I wanted to see if I needed ingredients. Since the making of tortillas requires only corn flour and water, you'd think I was set, but alas, I have corn meal and not corn flour and these are two different things. In what way, I do not know, but the site I read specified that they are very different and that tortillas can NOT be made with meal. So, I decided to just buy tortillas and skip the whole "tortilla press" and corn flour fiasco. At any rate, that was what I needed to learn on the computer at the beginning of E's visit. Then I didn't think of the computer the rest of the night.

So, now I find myself wanting to describe the calm yet celebratory dinner we had last night and all the cooking and food prep I've been enjoying the last few days instead of getting to the point. And really, I'd like to get to the point, so I can get back in the kitchen. My point is simply this - I don't have to carry a list of blog topics around in my head or in my pocket - if the topic is salient enough, it will come round again. I can and will just write when the mood strikes. I am not a slave to this forum nor to any technique or method I employ. I can do deep breathing when it feels good or just roll over and go to sleep. I can bike to work or drive as the mood and weather strike me. I can have routines and I can stray from them. I made them to serve me, just like this blog. So, I'll let it serve me and if making a list is something that seems important, I'll make it here and come back to it later.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Eggplant - Yummy

I've been getting all kinds of free eggplant at work. When the skin doesn't look tight and perfect, they throw it in the back for us and the insides are still lovely and delicious. I think I'm getting the hang of finding good recipes online. Step 1: Look for one. Imagine that. I like this one, because it's simple and requires few ingredients. It was also delicious and the vegetables smelled wonderful roasting, so I had a fragrant afternoon preparing this. The long, slow cook time also imbues the soup with a deep warmth that's perfect for the rising cool of autumn.

3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 (1 1/2 lb) lb) eggplants, halved lengthwise
1 small onion, halved
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Scoop eggplant from skin into heavy large saucepan; discard skin. Add remaining roasted vegetables and thyme to same saucepan.
Add 4 cups chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes.
Cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
Stir in cream. Bring to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired.
Season soup with salt and pepper.
Serve with sprinkling of goat cheese.

Modifications: No cream - if a creamier soup is desired, use coconut milk. Vegan cheese or no cheese also works. Serve with fresh olive oil breadsticks!