Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Update and a Little Happy Dance!

So, we started our weight loss program at the beginning of March. And now, at the end of March, I've lost about 6 pounds! That's worth a happy dance, right? I think so, because this morning I tried on a pair of pants that were too tight in December, and today they fit. Comfortably!

I am back in the habit of exercising regularly, and I am eating more healthfully. I'm noticing a difference in my energy levels, and I'm feeling happier and more comfortable.

And hey, that happy dance burns calories, right? : )

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Visiting a Post-Apocalyptic World

I have a thing for futuristic/dystopian fiction. Considering one of my favorite books of all time is Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, you can understand my love for this genre. This week I've found myself drawn to two novels, one a classic, and one brand new, that examine life in a post-apocalyptic world.

The first, Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank, was written in 1959, during the Cold War. This novel examines life after a nuclear attack on the United States, focusing primarily on one small town in Florida. It was absolutely riveting. The characters were very real, and it was written in such a way to make the reader feel as isolated as the characters in the story. Also, even though the novel is now 50 years old, it didn't feel dated at all. I guess, considering what could happen in such a situation, that the way we would adapt and survive now would be very similar to what would have happened 50 years ago!

The second novel, One Second After, by William Forstchen, is a new novel that deals with a very real threat that could destroy everything we have come to rely on so heavily. In this novel, an EMP - Electromagnetic Pulse - shorts out everything electrical and computerized. Considering the way we live today and how almost everything we use is powered by electricity and computers, what happens to the characters in this novel is very much the same as what happens to the characters in Alas, Babylon.

Alas, Babylon is our bookclub read this month, so I knew I was going to read it. But One Second After just came in to the library this week, and after reading the summary, I knew I had to read it. It's fascinating to read two very different accounts of the destruction of American society, yet the results of the destruction are vastly similar. While the threat of a nuclear war now is nothing like it was during the Cold War, the constant evolution of new and better weapons, as well as new and better, and highly sensitive technology, makes me wonder what would happen if something got into the wrong hands. It also makes me wonder what I would do if such a disaster would occur.

I hope I'll never have to find out. But in the meantime, stocking up a little on water and canned goods wouldn't hurt, would it?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to Reality

I headed back to work today, after a wonderful week of vacation......

Gillian and I had a terrific week. The weather was more than cooperative, which is amazing, considering this is Iowa, and we often have snow on the ground this time of year! We spent lots of time outside, and really enjoyed our screened-in porch. You know what's so nice about warm weather this time of year? No bugs!

So, we spent the first part of the week at home, being lazy, doing a little shopping and a lot of reading. Gillian read Twilight in just a few days. She was THAT hooked. I read a couple of books: a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury, and an interesting novel called The Cradle, by Patrick Somerville.

We headed to Illinois on Thursday. We spent Thursday and Friday morning with my folks. My sister came over for dinner on Thursday, and my nephew Tony and his wife, Aime also came to see us for a bit. That was wonderful. Aime, my newest niece, is great, and she is great for Tony. I love my family. We didn't do anything special, Gillian helped Mom make a pineapple upside down cake, we had dinner, and spent a great deal of time laughing. Gillian was very entertaining.....it was all very life affirming and happy.

We headed to Aurora/Naperville on Friday. First to my best friend Janice's. We hung out for the afternoon, and got ready for the party before taking Gillian to her friend's in Naperville. Gillian was so excited to spend time with her camp friend! They had so many plans and I think they hit everything they wanted to do.

Janice had a Lia Sophia party Friday evening. A friend of her is starting to sell Lia Sophia, so Janice had a party for her to start her new business. It was great to meet some of her friends, and we had wine and very good food and lots of fun.

On Saturday we went looking for a new dog for Janice. She lost her lovely Bailey a few weeks ago, and it was time to get a new dog. We ended up at the Kane County Animal Control, and Janice fell in love with a beautiful dog there. He is part German Shepherd and maybe part Australian sheep dog or collie? Anyway, he is beautiful, needs lots of love, and the two of them bonded almost immediately.

We spent the rest of Saturday in Geneva, had lunch at The Little Traveler (I thought of you, Johanna!), shopped at Trader Joe's, spent lots of time out on Janice's deck in the warm sunshine, and had dinner at Meson Sebika, a wonderful Spanish tapas restaurant in Naperville. It was a great day.

We were very lazy on Sunday, and Gillian and I drove home in the afternoon. Had a relaxing evening at home and get ready to re-enter the real world.

It was a good week of vacation. And the re-entry into the real world didn't hurt as much as I expected!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tomorrow - Head East!

Gillian and I have been having a WONDERFUL week. The weather has been beautiful, even today. Although cooler than Monday and Tuesday, it was still spring like. Plus, it didn't rain! I thought we might have a dreary day, but again, we lucked out. It's been a little overcast off and on, but right now the sun is shining, and it's 55 degrees, and that is truly lovely for mid-March in Iowa.

Tomorrow we head east to Illinois. We'll spend Thursday and Friday morning with my family. I'm really looking forward to seeing my mom, dad, and sister. I don't know if we'll see anyone else. Gillian is looking forward to eating whatever Mom makes, which will be spaghetti and meatballs and garlic bread, minus the meatballs for the vegetarian.

Friday we'll head into the 'burbs. The Chicago suburbs, to be exact. Gillian is going to visit a friend from camp, and I am going to visit my Sis by choice, Janice. She happens to be having a party Friday evening, so I'm also looking forward to meeting some of her Chicago friends. I don't know what else we'll do this weekend, but I KNOW we'll have a great time! Gillian is very excited to spend time with her friend, and they have the entire weekend planned.

But, first, gotta pack!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sometimes the Weather is Nice

I am on vacation this week. What a treat, really, to take vacation time without a big trip planned. Gillian has Spring Break this week, so we're just hanging out and going with the flow.......

Today we took our time doing anything, other than sipping coffee (me), watching a little daytime television, and contemplating the day. Oh, and enjoying a little homemade banana bread....Then we got ready and headed out: first to Goodwill to drop off some clothes. Then to Walgreens to drop off some disposable cameras that Gillian had. Some lunch, a trip to Barnes and Noble, and then back to Walgreens to pick up the photos. It was fun to run around a little bit in the fresh air and sunshine.

After that, I took a walk up and down our neighborhood hills -- yes, contrary to popular thought, parts of Iowa ARE very hilly -- and then we christened the screened in porch for the season. Gillian found this very fun "Girls' Kit" at Barnes and Noble, complete with a how-to manual for some different crafts like friendship bracelets and God's Eyes, a great jump rope, and a set of jacks. We did a little jump rope, played jacks, and I perused a few magazines I bought. It was a wonderful afternoon.

We'll have a few more lazy days this week, and then on Thursday we head to Illinois. Thursday and Friday morning at my parents', and then Friday we head into the 'burbs for some girlfriend time -- Gillian going to visit a friend, and I'll visit my dear friend Janice. What we've just discovered, which is so coincidental, is that Gillian's friend lives less than a 1 1/2 miles away from Janice! I like that. Gillian gets her friend time and a little freedom, but Mom won't be far away at all........very nice!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Yay Vacation!

Well, almost! Other than a program tomorrow morning, I AM on vacation! I was off at 2pm today, to make up for my hours tomorrow morning. I will need to get a move on earlier than is usual for a Saturday, but the program will be fun and I'll be home by 12:30pm-ish, and then my vacation will truly begin.

I am ready for some time off and a break. We'll spend the first part of the week here, and the weather is supposed to be lovely. We'll head to Illinois on Thursday for some family time and then to the 'burbs on Friday for friend time!

It should be a good week.

I had an adventure at the DMV this week. I had to get my driver's license renewed. In Iowa, you have 60 days after your birthday to get it renewed. The DMV in Iowa City is on the extreme opposite side of town from me, and with it being winter, it can be difficult to get there. So, finally, Wednesday was a good day to go. And getting close to the end of my 60 days. Off I went, with plenty of time. Only to be told, since my name changed back to my maiden name, that the lovely DMV needed proof of my name change before they could renew my license! Grrrrrrr.

I went back this afternoon, with proof in hand, and found an EXTREMELY crowded office. Lovely. I expected at least a 30 minute wait once I checked in and got my paperwork and my number. I was happily mistaken.

First of all, the people who work at the DMV in Iowa City are sooooo nice. They've always been nice when I go in there. Maybe it's just Illinois where I've encountered grumpy DMV employees. The folks who work at the Iowa City DMV are cheerful, they greet you with a smile, they laugh, and this was at 2:30pm! All told, I was in and out of the office, with renewed license in hand, in about 25 minutes. Not bad at all!

So.....wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Morning Chores

Saturday mornings are busy around here! There's always laundry to do........

....not to mention odds and ends of computer work.....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tomorrow is the First Day of the Rest of My Life

The library staff, minus one party-pooper, is beginning a group diet-athon. Tomorrow. We weigh in tomorrow. Gulp. It's lasting for 6 months. Ugh.

It all started when one of our very loyal and very favorite patrons said that he would donate money toward the library building expansion, one dollar for every pound the library staff lost, up to 250 pounds. So, we decided to start a diet challenge to raise money for the library expansion. The title of our diet fundraiser is -- "Lose to Expand." Kinda catchy, huh?

So, tomorrow, we weigh in, and start our weigh toward healthier weights and healthier lives. We'll weigh in every two weeks.

I am ready to do this. Last year was a very stressful year, and I know I handled that stress in an unhealthy way. Less working out, didn't pay attention to what I was eating or drinking. Now is my opportunity to redeem last year's sins.

I'd already decided that this year I was going to take better care of myself and treat myself better, and this new challenge just feeds right into that. I won't tell you what my weigh-in tomorrow tells me but I will report on how the challenge is going.

Here we go!