January 16, 2011 0

BLOG: OFFICIALLY MOVED

By in Main

This WordPress blog is officially retired, and has been replaced by my Tumblr. To continue to subscribe to my updates via RSS, please head over to:

http://brandicesays.tumblr.com

Subscribe in whichever RSS reader you prefer, or follow me on Tumblr. Hope to see you there. :) I’m really loving it.

December 31, 2010 0

Moving Onward

By in Main

Okay folks. My time with WordPress is done for now. I’m moving to Tumblr, where I feel the service more easily meets my current blogging/tumbling needs, and you can find me here. This blog has always crossposted to LiveJournal, and the Tumblr log will largely do the same, but not always, so I’ll be turning the Twitter digest posts to LJ back on so you’ll still see links to all my comings and goings.

Consider this blog simply an archive until further notice. :)

*nervously clicks post and redirects the domain* Eek!

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December 31, 2010 0

2010 in Review: Resolution Report, Recap, Pics

By in Main

So, above you’ll find a slideshow of the key pictures from this year, at least from what I found in my Flickr calendar. :) If you can’t see the slideshow, click here for the album on Flickr.

 

Resolution results for 2010:

  • Get DPOA paperwork and a Living Will in place (created documents but didn’t get them notarized/signed: FAIL)
  • Continue to strive to be a healthy person (blew this one out of the water: SUCCESS)
  • Unpack (we’re pretty much moved in aside from some basement storage: SUCCESS)
  • Embrace whatever comes next (definitely have embraced everything that came at me this year: SUCCESS)

 

Highlights of the year:

  • First year in our house, all moved in, settled with the dogs (who are loved x 1,000,000), planted, decorated
  • Joined WeightWatchers: lost 65.6 pounds this year, went from size 16-18 pants to size 8
  • Did Couch-to-5k: Ran a few 5k races, ran a 10k leg of the Akron Marathon
  • Learned about gardening and did some this year (African violets still going strong!)
  • Gained a close friend through voice memo recordings : Laura
  • Made it through my second year of marriage and still enjoy learning how to make it work
  • Have grown to love my job in geriatric psych, including the amazing staff and docs who are great to work with
  • Joined a gym and have stuck with it all year, with the help of my two gym buddies
  • Found a comfortable spiritual place for myself that works for me and finally feels right
  • Trips to NYCC and Pennsylvania were both a ton of fun, as well as quality time spent with family this year
  • Some parties: housewarming, Jim’s birthday, Memorial Day, Halloween, Christmas movie afternoon
  • A bazillion other things I’m sure I’ve forgotten

 

OVERALL: FUCKING FANTASTIC YEAR. Stay tuned for 2011 plans and resolutions.

December 31, 2010 2

20 Questions to Review 2010

By in Main

1. Who do you know better than you did at the beginning of the year?

This one is SO easy. I developed a really special friendship with someone who had previously just been an online friend that I wished lived nearby. After her visit to my new house in January for the housewarming, Laura and I started recording voice memos on our phones to each other on a nearly daily basis (a lot of times twice a day), and I now find myself with a friend who is closer to me from two states away than most of the people I spend time with in my own town. She’s the first friend I want to tell anything, and she’s the friend I tell the most. :)

She is also the reason I joined WeightWatchers (and later started running also), after she spent the weekend of the housewarming telling me all about her successful journey. I signed up the day after she flew home, and she’s one of my biggest weight loss cheerleaders. 

2. Who have you listened to carefully?

Primarily… myself. I think I have trusted myself and my own intuition more this year than at any other point in my life. Aside from better listening to my own intuition, I’ve obviously been doing a lot of listening to Laura via audio files, and I think Jim and I do a better job of listening to each other every year. The person I’ve listened to the most would be Laura, which is now one of my favorite things. :)

3. Who have you cheered for?

I’ve cheered for a lot of people who have been doing the weight loss struggle with me these past several months. My two local WW supports, Kristen and Amanda, have cheered me on as I’ve cheered them on when each of them joined me on a healthier path. I’ve cheered on Laura as she’s been making her way to her goal weight and running marathons and such, too.

I also cheered on a lot of great local writers for Nanowrimo this year, as I do every year, and it was a really great year for Cantowrimo. We had a ton of people finish and we had some really quality meetings with really great people, many of them fairly new or brand new. 

4. What do you understand better than you did in January?

Myself. How to stay healthy, how to live in a home with two dogs and a still fairly new husband, unique ways to be a friend despite a lot of distance, how to be a good wife in my marriage (even when I don’t want to). I think I understand (probably through finding someone else out there in the world who is so like me – Laura) better that I am someone with a short attention span on projects, so I go into projects with a better understanding that I should enjoy them now, and move on when I enjoy them less, and that’s okay.

5. What are you explaining to other people that you weren’t able to explain then?

After a full year in geriatric psych, I feel really comfortable and competent in a job that requires my being able to explain the aging process to families and counsel those families through some hard transitions and some hard decisions.

I also feel better able to explain myself. That sounds weird, but as I’ve been losing weight, a lot of things have become more clear, like why I stopped video blogging, why I started wearing certain types of clothing and stopped wearing others, why I started doing or stopped doing a lot of things, and even why I drifted from certain relationships (where I felt like the ugly, fat friend who wasn’t worthy of certain prettier, skinnier people). I’m sort of amazed by how much my weight gain has held me back in the past few years, and how much the weight loss has freed me, and I’m better able to explain that as I look back on it with so much clarity.

6. Where have you been that you didn’t expect to be this year?

New York Comic Con, the middle of Pennsylvania (to meet Laura halfway for a fun weekend), and comfortably inside a pair of size 8 pants.

7. Where have you stopped going because you needed to stop going there?

McFreakingDonalds.

8. When were you most comforted during this last year?

I feel like I’ve had a pretty comfortable year, so I’m not sure there’s a good answer for this one. I’ve often felt comforted in my voice memo relationship with Laura simply by hearing that the things I ramble about and think are things that someone else in the universe thinks and feels too. That’s sometimes a comfort. I also panicked on Christmas morning when my alarm clock didn’t go off and I was late for Christmas morning with my family, and when I came in the door in silly tears at the thought of everyone being upset with me it was a HUGE relief that no one was. Silly that I was so worried, and hugely comforting to just get hugs and assurance that the world was not going to end just because I was an hour late for Christmas.

9. When did you say, “I’m not sure I can do this” and then discovered that you could?

When I started running in March. The first day of Couch-to-5K I literally keeled over into a dirty snow drift afterward, but then in September I ran a 10k leg of the Akron Marathon with my relay team. Turns out… I can run, even though I used to trip over my knock-knees as a child and hadn’t run since some torturous mandatory gym class in high school.

The other obvious answer is “lose weight.” About this time last year, I was doing a lot of internal rationalization, telling myself that maybe I was simply someone who was now fat and that would just be part of who I was from then on. I’m glad I’ve discovered a much healthier me.

10. What is your favorite sentence, blog post, paragraph, or tweet that you wrote since January?

Crikey, that’s an impossible question. My favorite blog posts are always the funny ones that involve my husband and our hilariously awesome marriage of teasing and debauchery. I don’t know if anyone else really gets how much fun Jim and I have together, but we really do. Our competitive, always-right natures bang up against each other in some pretty hilarious ways. For instance, last time one of us likely would have gone blind if we hadn’t somehow put an end to our “blink each other into submission” war. 

11. What was the most encouraging thing you did for someone this year, as measured by their smile?

I think the most encouraging I’ve done has been through voice memos, so I’m not sure, but I’ve also done a lot of encouraging of my local weight loss partners and we’ve done a lot of laughing and smiling along the way. My husband has been off work for the past two weeks because things in the construction/electrician world are all mucked up, and I’ve tried to keep him smiling and positive by reminding him that we’re fine financially and we’re lucky to be able to manage with my salary for this short period.

12. What question have you actually spent time trying to answer this year?

Who am I under all of the baggage that has fallen away (both literally in the way of weight and figuratively in the way of mental baggage)? I’m not sure there’s a concise way to share the answer, but I LIKE the answer. :)

13. Where, geographically, did you find the most delight this year?

In my own home. I absolutely love having this house, coming home to a family, and having a refuge of my own. I’ve had great trips and great adventures this year, but I treasure and covet my time at home.

14. What item did you cross of your list this year that had been on it the longest?

Cripes. Losing weight. That’s clearly the big theme of this year, but seriously, I had been dragging my feet for entirely too long… an embarrassingly long time.

15. What book did you intentionally quit reading because you knew, halfway through, that you didn’t need to finish to get the author’s content?

How to Win Friends and Influence People was a book, full of obvious things and sexist things, and I eventually just put it down and walked away. I put down several books in the first part of the year, but that’s the one that I remember just being completely done with long before I was finished. I skimmed to the end and read parts of each section, but ultimately just felt that it was a disappointment.

16. What book did you read that was written before 1846?

Poetry by Rumi, in the collection A Year in Rumi. Beautiful stuff.

17. What picture you took did you look at more than once because liked it?

The pictures from the relay team I organized for the Akron Marathon in September are some of my favorite pictures this year. I also keep my “before” picture handy from January of this year, so that I can continue to remind myself of how far I’ve come.

18. What was the best conversation you had this year?

I don’t think I could pick just one conversation, but the people I’ve had the BEST conversations with overall this year have included my friend Matt, my coworker Kevin (great for discussing both personal and professional quandries), my husband (our lazy morning conversations in bed are some of my favorites), and obviously Laura, who has been part of my favorite ongoing conversation. (Laura is the answer to a lot of these questions. Get over it. We are MFFs.)

19. What was the most satisfying $5 you spent this year? (and you get to define satisfying).

I’m guessing it’s somewhere around $5 per week to drive to and from WeightWatchers and the gym every week. That five bucks each week has really paid off. I also probably spend about $5 every couple weeks on a pack of Starbursts, which are my favorite candy treat that I’m willing to spend WW points on, and I savor each pink and orange piece (I’ll eat a couple red, NO yellows though).

20. What piece of mail that you received this year made you smile the most?

Pretty much any single piece of real mail makes me ecstatic, whether it’s a card or a package or really anything that isn’t a bill or spam. I get pretty excited about real snail mail, so keep it coming! :)

December 31, 2010 0

Vid: December 30th

By in Main
Today is my Friday! I wore lots of green.

December 30, 2010 0

Year Stats in Goodreads

By in Main
Really interesting: did you know that you can view your stats in Goodreads?

I’ve read a lot more this year than last year, and even more than the year before. Interesting. I think reading the Outlander series with Laura makes up a huge chunk of the page increase. Love that Goodreads provides stats like these!

December 29, 2010 2

Throwback: A MeToday!

By in Main
I’m feeling nostalgic for video blogging, so I’m going to start doing it again. :)

December 27, 2010 0

Using my iPad in traffic (in a good way!)

By in Main

Last night, my husband was driving us home from a delicious holiday dinner in the Akron area, when Jim happened to notice a car in the lane next to us with its front hood flapping up and down slightly. He mentioned to me that the person’s hood wasn’t closed, and I immediately remembered a horrible experience I had in high school, when the hood of the Celica I was driving wasn’t properly latched shut and had flown open while I was driving 55 MPH, slamming into the windshield and blocking my view completely.

I whipped out my iPad and drew the following sign, holding it up in the window while pointing at the hood of the girl’s car:

Sign I drew on my iPad for a girl driving on the freeway last night

Who knew the Adobe Ideas app would come in handy in such an unexpected way? It was so dark that I’m not sure the girl would have seen me in the car waving at her and she definitely wouldn’t have known why I was waving, so the iPad was definitely for that particular situation.

The girl nodded at me, grinning at the iPad sign, so I’m guessing she was aware of the hood issue and the hood was probably precariously tied down in some way that still allowed it to move a bit, but I felt infinitely better knowing that I had managed to find a way to communicate with her just in case. It was a cool random use of my already incredibly handy iPad. :)

December 27, 2010 0

Autumn Tree Root

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Tree Root

(Photo taken in back yard, September 2010)

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” – E.B. White

December 20, 2010 0

First holiday season in our home

By in Family, Main

Click on my cookie-decorating self to see our Christmas 2010 photo album:

My best cookies!

This has been SUCH a great holiday season so far, for a lot of reasons.

1. This is our first year truly celebrating the season in this house. Last year we didn’t decorate or put up a tree or exchange gifts. It’s been so great to decorate and put up a tree and hang stockings on an actual fireplace.

2. I’m already done with my shopping AND my wrapping. Pretty bad ass.

3. Christmas means the end of the year, and I’m really starting to look back on the past year with a lot of pride and excitement for what next year will bring.

4. It feels like a real family, the little household of the two of us, our two big dogs, and our tiny cat. Who would have ever thought I would have an actual grown up “household” before 30? It feels good. :)

5. I got Jim the COOLEST gift. I can’t tell you about it though, because he occasionally looks at the interweb and then it would be spoiled.

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December 19, 2010 11

Milestone: Size Downgrade!

By in Main, Wellness

Today I decided to do another side-by-side comparison of the person I am this month physically and the person I was in January, two weeks before starting my weight loss journey. Observe:

The person on the left was wearing plus size 16 Lane Bryant pants, of which she had three identical pairs, because they were the only pants she was willing to leave the house in due to being at an all-time high in weight.

The person on the right just walked in to an Old Navy because her size 12 pants that she picked up a couple months ago are all way too big and even a belt is no longer helping, and she walked out of Old Navy with three pair of SIZE 8 PANTS.

Yep. Size 8. I haven’t wore a single-digit pant size since I was a junior in high school. Even when my fairly slender self went off to college, I was sporting size 10′s, so today was a pretty huge milestone for me. (I’ll admit, I got a little choked up in the fitting room. Don’t tell anyone.)

2010 is definitely going to be a year that I will look back on and feel pretty damn proud. I’m less than 20 pounds from my goal weight, and I’ve never felt better.

Hell, I even bought a DRESS today… and LEGGINGS. I’m pretty sure the apocalypse must be next!

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November 28, 2010 2

Public Restroom PSA

By in Main

Dear users of public restrooms who hover and/or squat above the toilet seat to do their business:

YOU ARE THE REASON THERE IS ALWAYS URINE ON THE TOILET SEAT.

Imagine that you are, as Nelly Furtado would say, like a bird. Make a nest, sit upon it carefully, and then deposit your magical eggs without making the kind of mess that would seem to imply that you believe that you are a toilet gardener and that you have a urine sprinkler in your buttocks that helps baby toilet seedlings grow big and strong.

Listen to Nelly. Be the bird. You do not have a green thumb when it comes to growing toilets, so your sprinkles are not, in fact, helping the environment.

Sincerely,

A recently grossed-out albatross

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November 17, 2010 0

Random things…

By in Main

1. Jim is feeling much better since his motorcycle mishap.

2. My novel is going REALLY well so far.

3. WHERE is the dang 4.2 update for the iPad? Gyarr, matey.

November 14, 2010 0

Review: Trust Me On This by Jennifer Crusie

By in Main, Reading

Trust Me on This (Loveswept)Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a re-release of an old Crusie novel and it’s okay, but not amazing. Not enough smut, but likable characters and enough humor that it wasn’t a wasted one-night read. Not my favorite Crusie work though.



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November 14, 2010 0

Review: Play of Passion by Nalini Singh

By in Main, Reading

Play of Passion (Psy-Changeling, #9)Play of Passion by Nalini Singh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the better books in the series. I definitely like the changeling-changeling romances better out of all of the books in this series.



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November 14, 2010 0

Fall Dog Frolick

By in Family, Main, Pictures

A few weeks ago, I had the best time ever out in the back yard on a Saturday morning, playing in the leaves with the dogs while Jim was still asleep. These dogs LOVE the colder weather, and I can already see them getting geared up for the snow…

Fall Dog Frolick

Mae was just a total nut, rolling around in the leaves, and for a while just lying like this on her back in the leaves, like she would have been utterly content to lie there for the rest of the morning if Makai wasn’t constantly tackling her.

Fall Pics

What a great morning this was. Stumbling on the pictures recently let me live it all over again. I love my pups… :)

Fall Pics

FULL SET OF PICS HERE.

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November 13, 2010 3

A Difficult Week

By in Family, Main, NaNoWriMo, Pictures

In case you need a visual on why wearing a face shield is a good idea

Things to be grateful for this week:

1. My mother had surgery and is okay.
2. Jim wrecked his dad’s motorcycle and is okay.
3. This week at work was awful, and it’s over.
4. Writing meeting today with friends was a great outlet. :)
5. I was not on call this week.
6. My friends have been very supportive and awesome in general.
7. My little brothers are a constant source of amusement.
8. In a crisis, I am very calm. I consider this a strength.
9. I have not fallen unmanageably behind in Nanowrimo.
10. My brother Chris is home safe from his cruise and had fun.

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November 12, 2010 0

Sunnyboo

By in Main
November 7, 2010 0

Nano Write-In : Horse Speed

By in Main, NaNoWriMo, Videos

Yep. These are the things that we discuss at Nanowrimo write-ins.

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November 6, 2010 0

Things that are awesome on a Saturday morning

By in Main

New addition to my Google Reader feed: Damn you, auto-correct!

This is pretty funny. The remix is EQUALLY IF NOT FUNNIER:

This boombox-ish thingy for the iPod/iPhone is pretty bad ass.

I’m completely caught up on Google Reader now, partitioning my external hard drive to play nice with Time Machine AND my comic collection, and listening to Makai snore next to my chair.

Fabulously awesome Saturday morning (now noon). Hope YOU are making the best of the day as well.

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November 1, 2010 0

Thoughts for Monday

By in Main
1. Hair extensions are gross, Britney Spears. They always look dirty. Yuck yuck yuck.

2. I wrote over 5,000 words for Nanowrimo today. Rockstar! (http://www.nanowrimo.org)

3. The premiere of Walking Dead was phenomenal. PHENOMENAL. Go find it and watch it. (http://www.amctv.com/originals/The-Walking-Dead/)

4. Going to the gym after being awake for almost 34 hours straight (minus a short nap) is going to suck. Somehow I have roped myself into going anyway. 5. Halloween weekend was awesome.

October 31, 2010 2

Happy Halloween! Trick-or-Treat Recap

By in Main, Pictures

Trick or Treat time!

This year was my first year handing out candy for trick or treat and I’m thinking we were DEFinitely the cool house on our street, with glow sticks and all fun size (NOT mini) bars.

Things I’ve learned:

1. Take little kids in a wagon, because they’re going to tucker out. I saw a LOT of parents with the littlest trick or treaters having to carry their munchkins from door to door.

2. Kids say really surprising things. I had a small vampire girl very seriously ask me if I was going to give her “candy or blooooood.” When startled Brandice asked, “what??” she got quite a disdainful look until she answered “candy.” Another kid told me she liked glow sticks and her mom’s car is grey.

3. Whoever lived here before us used to give out packs of crayons. I think that is hiLARious, and it was the general consensus that we are vastly superior to the crayon people. Kids don’t want crayons for Halloween.

4. Glow sticks are immensely cool, even to those early teens with no costumes who are trick or treating just for the candy and they think they’re the first smart asses to have ever thought of it. (We’ve only had 2 or 3 packs of those though, thankfully.)

5. Candy is tempting. Having a bazillion pounds of it in a perfectly mixed bowl is about the worst thing to do while on Weight Watchers… EVER. Must avoid the fun size Snickers. They are only fun size when you eat ONE, not five. Bullocks.

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October 31, 2010 0

Novel Writing, Halloween, Prius, NYCC

By in Main, NaNoWriMo, Pictures

Stepford wife in effect!I’ve been a busy Brandice lately, so here on the highlights from recent weeks.

- Nanowrimo planning is well under way, and today’s kickoff party in the Canton region (of which, I am the Municipal Liaison for the 8th year in a row) is going to ROCK. I’m really excited about my 9th Nanowrimo, hopefully my 6th year winning! If you’re participating this year, or just want to keep updated on my progress from time to time, you can find my Nano profile here.

- I recently chopped my hair off at a new (to me) salon and then had the perfect new ‘do to top off my Stepford wife Halloween costume. Jim and I had a Halloween party Friday night and it was a really great time. :) Jim was a very convincing Al from Tool Time.

- Jim and I working on selling my Lincoln LS before it officially goes kaboom so that we can officially buy this cute little hybrid number from my mother. I’m already REALLY loving it.

2008 Prius 2008 Prius

- I went to NY Comic Con earlier this month and it was AWESOME SAUCE. Laura’s fiance Tim was my seasoned NYCC guide for the two days we spent totally geeking out. I came home with oodles of free comics, some really awesome autographs (including a zombie-fied iPad), and some quality time with my favorite, FAVORITE Laura and even some new friends!

Tired feet, surfing Artist Alley #nycc Nerdfest!

- I’ve also secretly been fighting crime in Gotham on Thursday nights. But don’t tell anyone.

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October 23, 2010 0

Review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

By in Main, Reading

Her Fearful SymmetryHer Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow… The end of this book took me a bit by surprise. I’m still giving it some thought.

Overall, Audrey Niffenegger has a beautiful voice as a writer. I found myself just wandering through this book, not really caring what the ultimate resolution was because I was so thoroughly enjoying each of the characters and their rich, descriptive stories. I fell in love with each character and with the story and with the relationships, and then the last 20% really threw me for a loop. It left me not really knowing how I felt about some of the characters, liking some of them less, feeling misled and bit disappointed with how things turned out, even though I’d spent so much of the book not invested in the end point.

I think it’s beautifully written, and it definitely stirred up a strong reaction in me, but I wish somehow that things had turned out differently for almost every single character. Strange feeling to have about a book I would still say I really liked.

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October 20, 2010 0

Post-Marathon Running Bug

By in Main, Pictures, Wellness

Feels so weird to have completed the 5-person relay for the Akron Marathon almost a full month ago… That was SUCH a great day, and it gave me a serious bug for longer running, probably an eventual half marathon next year. I keep forgetting to post a couple choice shots, so here you go. We finished in 5:05:59, my pace rate for my 10k portion was about 14:00 or a bit less.

Jessica finishes her leg!

Full team, finished in 5:05:59

What a great day. :)

I’m working on getting myself back into regularly running since then. First I took a week off to recup, and then life and lack of motivation slowed me down, and now I’ve been too sick for the past few days to run. I definitely still have it in me though… last week I was in the middle of something and suddenly got the bug and HAD to go run. I changed clothes and off I went and it was a GREAT run.

I still have it in me… just need to keep taking the Nyquil and I’ll be back on the streets in no time. :)

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