Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It was the best of times...

It was the worst of times.  2010 is on its way out, ya'll.  And I cannot be any more ecstatic about it.  How was your 2010?  Did anyone else have a bad year or was it just me?  2010 was beyond stressful.  Like many the world over, I lost my job earlier this year.  A job in which I'd been at for 10 years.  I don't know about anyone else, but not having a job is not only stressful, but it is freaking embarrassing.  Everyone knows how poor the economy is, but when you're unemployed, people still look at you like "what's her deal? Get a job already! Geez!"  And while your friends all recognize you are unemployed, their funds have not diminished, and so they continue to invite you to the places that you used to go to.  Places that you used to be able to afford but can no longer because you don't have a job.  And because they are gainfully employed, they feel a twinge of guilt over your economic hardships (while nonetheless thinking "better you than me!") and when you don't accept their well-meaning attempts at charity, the invites diminish and eventually stop.  I get it.  Some people like staring at train wrecks, while others merely choose to look the other way.  point taken.  So in 2010, not only did I lose my job, but I lost my joy, zeal, dignity, and self-respect.  Dang.  That's alot to lose in one year.

But on the flipside.....I also lost something else of equal, if not greater, importance.  I lost weight.  50 pds., to be exact.  And with that loss came many gains.  I gained back the self-respect that I'd lost along with the job.  I gained self-confidence.  I again started to like person I was seeing in the mirror.  I gained courage - much needed courage to be able to set goals for myself and courage to work towards reaching them.  Courage to put away self-hate, self-doubt, and work towards becoming a better person.  Ok, so I never really hated myself.  But I have always been plagued by self-doubt and indecision.  I'm a second-guesser from waaay back.  And I've always hated that about myself.  It takes courage to change things that are deeply ingrained.  But you have to do it or things will always stay the same (duh?).  For me that was not an option.  I want change.  I need change.  I want more for myself.  I need more for myself.  That being said, 2011 is going to be the bomb!  And so really,... I guess I have you to thank, 2010.  Without your crapping on me so badly, I never would've come to this epiphany.  So while it may be fitting for me to offer expressions of appreciation and gratitude, let me just say this:


Monday, December 27, 2010

Lazy Snow Day

I didn't do anything today.  Let me repeat that: I didn't do ANYTHING today.  And I don't  feel bad about it.  Not even a little bit.  Like the rest of the country, we have about a foot or more of snow in my area so everything is closed - businesses, schools, stores, etc.  The snowstorm shut the town down.  If you think I'm exaggerating, let me put it in perspective for you: WALMART is closed.  What the???  You know if a 24-hr.Walmart closes due to inclement weather, it must be pretty bad outside.  (However; conspicuously, the local Chinese joint was open, as I knew it would be.  Rain, sleet, snow, tsunami....no amount of bad weather will keep a Chinese restaurant from making that dollar.  But I ain't mad atcha and I shant knock your hustle!)  Anyhow, I stayed in my pj's all day today.  Literally.  I ate breakfast around noon, did some light (emphasis on the light) housecleaning, made a few calls, and pretty much watched television in bed for the remainder of the day.  How sad and embarrassingly LAZY!  This time last year when we were snowed in, cabin fever set in pretty quickly and I spent the day making anatomically correct Bollywood-style snowwomen.

2009 Bollywood SnowWoman
This year I had no such desires.  Sometimes you just need to chill.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Healthy Recipe #1 - Whole wheat penne w/ ground turkey

So the other day I made a super quick and easy low-fat pasta dish using ground turkey and whole wheat penne. It is also super CHEAP, as you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand.  I used onions and bell peppers, but tomatoes, mushrooms, or any other veggies would be good.

Brown 1 chopped onion & 1 bell pepper in 2 tbsp. olive oil
Cook 1 pd. ground turkey in same skillet/pot
I forgot - I also used 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) and added garlic powder , Italian seasoning and 3/4 jar of pasta sauce (I don't like a ton of sauce but you can use the whole jar)
Cook 1 box of whole wheat penne pasta according to pkg. directions and after draining, add to pot .
Season with aforementioned spices according to your tastes (I don't use measurements unless I'm following someone else's recipe) and add jar of pasta sauce.  (Note: You can also add some mozzarella or parmesan cheese to it and let it kind of melt in, but I wasn't looking for all the added calories so,...)
So healthy...so good. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

An old man. Turned 98....

"He won the lottery.  And died the next day......It's like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife.  It's meeting the man of my dreams - and then meeting his beautiful wife.  Isn't it ironic? Doncha think?" - Alanis Morrisette

You think that was ironic, Alanis?  Really?  Well, I can do you one better - how 'bout this:

FRIDAY: Grumble as you fork over $174 of money that you really don't have to pay your cell phone bill
SATURDAY: After browsing through protective phone cases/covers @ the cellular store, decide against purchasing one as you're too cheap to pay the $10-$30, because you.are.certain you can get a cheaper one elsewhere
SUNDAY: Accidentally drop unprotected coverless phone that you just paid $174 for 2 days prior and watch screen shatter into a million pieces.  Curse the fact that you were too cheap to pay the $10 for a protective cover while listening to a cock crow in the background......

A little too ironic. And yeah I really do think.  And how was your weekend?

Friday, December 17, 2010

To the left, to the left

Even the SNOW can't keep me from getting my workout on!
Are you an emotional eater?  Do we even know what the term means?  To me, the term conjures up images of the fat girl, stood up by a date, crying buckets of mascara-inked tears into a tub of Ben & Jerry's.  And chicken wings.  And a turkey leg.  Don't think that I'm mocking this woman cause I'm not.  I was that woman.  But without the tears.  And the chicken wings.  And the turkey leg.

By definition, emotional eating is a coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions.  I never would've considered myself to be such, but if we're going by definition here, I guess that I was.  In thick times as well as thin (cause yes you can be an emotional eater and be skinny), I have turned to food, more specifically CARBS, when experiencing an emotional upset.  I am not one to "cry buckets" over anything, or anyone...when something/one hurts me, I prefer to keep my emotions to myself.  I am a big fan of the phrase "never let 'em see you sweat".  I might be dying inside, but I'll never show it.  I might even cut that person out of my life depending on the hurt (yes, I am a cutter. Self-preservation.) - but I won't be shedding "mascara-inked tears" anytime soon.  But I have sought solace from the kitchen cabinets. CARB-COMFORT. Comfort found in the form of breads, pasta, etc.  I was that girl.  Check.  And the thing about emotional eating is you're basically eating to get past your pain or hurt, but you don't actually feel better - you end up feeling worse.  I know.  I was that girl.

I am that girl no longer.  I recently experienced a "situation" with a good friend that hurt me to my core.  True to form, no "buckets of mascara-inked tears" were shed, but I did feel hurt.  But what I  didn't feel was the desire to eat!  My immediate response was to,.....EXERCISE!  I didn't take it to the fridge - I took it to the pavement.  I went for a walk.  I went for a run.  I took it to the Wii.  I took it to the hula hoop.  I went hard and I am going harder than ever.  While I will never say "to the left to the left" to the person who caused the hurt, I did and will continue to say it to the food that I formerly sought solace in.  I'm not at all done with my journey, but I have worked too hard to let someone else's actions dictate mine. 

How do you deal with emotional upsets?  Do you turn to food (or some other vice) for comfort?  Don't do it.  Replace that food with something good for you like exercise.  Push past the pain to push through the pain.  And don't allow anyone to take you further away from the goals you have set for yourself.  When someone hurts you, don't get mad.  GET FIT.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jephthah's Daughter (SoapBox at it's best!!!)

I recently had a conversation w/ a good MALE friend of mine.  I was telling him about a female friend that I thought perhaps he may be interested in and after the usual "what does she look like?-how old is she?-is she pretty?" type questioning, he very casually asked "why is she still single?"  O.K.  I understand this question and I know well the reasoning behind it.  While he didn't actually say it, the thought process is this: "If your friend is so great, (let the reader use discernment)...then why hasn't anyone CHOSEN her?"

The thing is this - I'm not entirely offended by this line of thinking, nor am I absolutely certain of my friend's greatness.  While I can vouch for the person she was, we kinda lost touch in the past year or two.  Or FIVE, but that's not the point.  The point is this:  Why assume that if a person is 30-something and UNMARRIED (oh the shame!) that there must be something wrong with them?  "Why would I want someone that obviously no one else wants", right?  I don't get that reasoning.  Why assume that that person is still waiting to be chosen?  Why not assume that the person is waiting to CHOOSE?  Or better yet - waiting to make the right choice?

A man doesn't want the model that's just been sitting on the shelf.  I get it.  I have a father, brother, and a male best friend.  I get it.  But I don't get it entirely.  let's say a man is looking to buy a new television.  Not just any old tv, but a 50+" flat screen that he's been working extra hours on the job just to purchase.  He walks into Best Buy, he looks at all the sets, compares brands, maybe narrows it down to Sony, Samsung and LG.  He examines all 3 sets, touches the screen, examines the pictures and pixels, changes the channels, etc. etc.  When he makes his decision to go with the LG, does he then request to purchase the display model before handing over his credit card?  Does he say to the sales guy: "Yeah, make sure I get the floor model - that way I know it works!"  I don't think so.  He wants the model that's in the box, back in the stockroom and FACTORY-SEALED.  And don't let the box be even a little dented - he wants to make sure what he's getting is NEW and UNUSED.  So why would that same man, when making a decision to go with a "life -partner" (let the reader use discernment) request the FLOOR MODEL?  Why is the item that's been sealed and on the shelf seen as something less than desirable?

I can't call it.  Men are a strange breed, but we love them nonetheless. 

*note: If you're familiar w Scripture, you may've surmised that this post is not solely about singleness.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The 40/40 Club

A BUCKET LIST...of sorts.                   

  1. Have most all of my weight off                                              
  2. Become financially stable/independent
  3. Earn a stamp on my passport
  4. Walk/Run in a marathon
  5. Become conversational in a foreign language other than Spanish
  6. Have an article/story published
  7. Learn to drive a stick shift
  8. Wear a 2 piece bathing suit (not necessarily bikini) at the beach
  9. Attend a professional sporting event
  10. Start a business
  11. Learn & understand football
  12. Save someone's life (spiritually or otherwise)
  13. Move into my own space
  14. Send my parents on a vacation
  15. Have my artwork hung on somebody's wall
  16. Master time management (stop being late)
  17. Become a vegetarian for 30 days
  18. Pet sit someone's dog for a day
  19. Learn to play chess
  20. Learn to play the game "Portal" (Xbox)
  21. Solve a Rubik's Cube
  22. Drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
  23. Learn to roller skate
  24. Learn to Samba
  25. Go rock-climbing (on a rock-wall)
  26. Fly a kite. Seriously
  27. Teach a class in ??? something. anything
  28. Attend an Indian wedding
  29. Watch a sunrise
  30. Watch a sunset
  31. Be on television. Again
  32. Go to Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC           
  33. Write, direct and star in my own Bollywood movie
  34. Have a man proclaim his love for me and mean it
  35. Proclaim my love for a man and mean it
  36. Learn CPR
  37. Learn to trust people more
  38. Master navigational skills using a map and not GPS
  39. Learn to sing "Nessun Dorma" in Italian
  40. Start a blog
These are not things that I wish to do before I "kick the bucket" - these are goals I'm going to accomplish by this time next year.  Perhaps you have more exciting, life-altering items on your list, but this is my list.  And for someone who double-majored in procrastination, I'm relieved to have crossed at least one thing off thus far.  1 down, 39 to go!

Weight-loss Challenge Day 1...and when good knockoffs go bad! (review/rant)

Started off Day 1 of the weight-loss challenge with a delicious breakfast.  NOT!

I do not like this cereal.  Let me say that again. I.DO.NOT.LIKE.THIS.CEREAL.  For those of you not familiar with it, this is Walmart's version of the Special K w/ strawberries cereal.  And a cheap knockoff at that!  The thing about a knockoff is this: It needs to be almost identical to the original for it to be passable.  For example that purse you purchased on Canal St. in Chinatown.  Look at the stitching, hardware, shape, size, etc. before you fork over your money to that street vendor who will disappear into the night.  If you cannot tell the difference between real and fake, hold your head up and wear your knockoff with pride.  You're friends will be none the wiser - congratulations!  But if the purse you're carrying has little IV's on it rather than LV's, chances are you're not fooling anyone.  We know you're not rocking a Louie....

The problem with this cereal is the "strawberries".  I guess that's what they're calling them.  From the first spoonful, I realized that they tasted eerily familiar to me.  They very much reminded me of those laboratory-orchestrated "marshmallows" from the cereal LUCKY CHARMS.  My old childhood nemesis, I've always hated Lucky Charms.  And much like the "pink hearts-yellow moons-orange stars-green clovers-and-blue diamonds" -shaped puffs of air that is LUCKY CHARMS.....these so-called "strawberries" are not so much magically delicious either.   Resembling tiny tongues (ewww!) floating amongst "crunchy rice & wheat flakes", these oddly-shaped things refuse to be reconstituted with milk.

While the Great Value Strawberry Awake cereal IS considerably cheaper than its Special K counterpart, it IN NO WAY compares in TASTE.  (sorry Walmart)  Sometimes a value is just a value.  Doesn't mean it's great.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jay Z was Wrong....Apparently You CAN Knock the Hustle!!!

Jay Z was Wrong....Apparently You CAN Knock The Hustle!!!


I'm sorry....NO HATE, but what are they famous for again??

Real Men Of Genius.....(Random Post of the Day)

Ever been to a wedding where someone's INEBRIATED UNCLE takes the mic in a drunken stupor to toast the happy couple on their special day with a SONG?  Like a tennis match, you didn't know whether to focus your eyes on the horrified bride & groom wincing in embarrassment or the train-wreck holding the mic and assaulting your ears, right?  Yeah. We've all been to that weddding.

Well evidently, way back in the 1980's, some enterprising fellow attended said wedding and decided to capitalize on said train-wreck, set him to MUSIC, and viola......one of the most beautiful ballads in history, used in romance movies & chick flicks the world over.  And ironically, it has become one of the most popular WEDDING SONGS ever!

So dust off those Grammy Awards and kiss those bottles of booze that earned you your fortune and fame.  Van Morrison......we salute you!  (Mr."I Got Drunk At A Wedding And I Made It Big" guy.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Along Came Polly - Part 1

Are You a Risk ANALYST or a Risk TAKER???

So I'm watching Ben Stiller (I want to marry love Ben Stiller) in the movie "Along Came Polly".  For the 87th time.  Anyway, I've always resonated with the title character Polly.  Sadly.  Polly, with her "non-plan plan" (clear lack of direction in life), certain flakiness, and commitment issues.  And her love of all foods ethnic.  Then there's me, with my non-plan plan, certain flakiness, and commitment issues.  And my love of all foods ethnic.  We could almost be twins.  Anyway, on this 87th watching, I realized I felt a stronger connection with Ben Stiller's (I want to marry love Ben Stiller) character Reuben Feffer.  The Risk Analyst who's job it was to evaluate & reduce potential risks for businesses.  The Risk Analyst who rarely took risks in his own personal life.  Visions of the Ebola virus prevented him from eating mixed nuts in a public setting.  Laughing out loud.  But then, upon further inspection of his character, I found myself asking: "Is that my brother from another mother??? Holy crap!"

Epiphany: I.Am.NOT.Sasha.Fierce.But.I.AM.Rueben.Feffer.  Ohhh snap!  Like Reuben and his mixed nuts phobia, I do not/will not eat or drink behind someone else.  I mean, I cannot sip from someone else's drink (esp. if a straw is involved - backwash horrors!) Visions of ANY virus prevents me from doing so.  I will not take this time to elaborate on my laundry list of phobias - I have a ton-load of them.  But  if I'm being honest, I will acknowledge that with almost every opportunity in life that has been presented to me - I have evaluated more the RISKS involved than the potential BENEFITS.  And by doing so, I have CLOSED doors before they were even OPEN.  Unnecessarily.  Honestly, the whole risk-evaluating thing is quite exhausting.  "Should I do this?  Should I do that? What if this? What if that?"...It never stops. A few years of this Reuben-type behavior would turn anybody into a Polly.  Indecisive.  Uncommitted.  Flaky.

Sometimes in life, maybe you don't always need to evaluate the risks.  Sometimes it's more important to evaluate the benefits.  Count the costs - yes.  Contemplate the CONS as well as the PROS - yes.  But DO.CONTEMPLATE.THE.PROS.  And maybe just focus on those.  And if the risks involved are minimal and not harmful to you or others, why not take a page from Nike and JUST DO IT?  There are a ton of 'witty' risks quotes out there but my favorite is this:

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

Taking risks requires courage.  Perhaps "Risk Analyst" is just a fancy title for...PUNK.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Sometimes you cannot make something work that doesn't. You think that it fits because it seems like it fits. It feels like it fits. For a little while. Only to realize later that it does not. Coldplay sang it best in the song Clocks:

Confusion never stops
closing walls and ticking clocks....
Am I part of the cure?
Or am I part of the disease?
You are
You are

...."NOT EXTRAORDINARY". That's what HE said. And that was the moment you realized it would never fit. Were you truly never extraordinary? Or were you always "average"? That's what HE said.  

Home, home where I wanted to go
Home, home where I wanted to go

For now, I'll just shut my eyes tight and pretend that I am greater than what you think I am. For now. Welcome to Bizarro World.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I.Am.That.Chica. Who am I?

Before I go into anything related to Operation Upgrade, let me tell you a little about who I am so you can get to know me some. I love foreign movies and books. I love dissecting television commercials. I love learning about different cultures. I love a proper fall day when the weather is crisp & the leaves are blowing about. I love accents. I love the thickness of my hair in its natural state. I love all things aquatic. I love to laugh and people that can make me laugh. I love my family and the few friends that I have. I love that I have always known the difference between a real friend and an acquaintance. I hate reality tv. I hate eggs. I hate mean-spirited people. I hate that I'm a procrastinator. I hate that I am sensitive. I especially hate LIARS & BAD MEN (redundant right?). I hate people who are always claiming that someone is constantly "hating" on them - after all, "he who cries 'hate' the loudest is often the LOUDEST HATER." I hate people who are inappropriately competitive for no good reason. I hate that not all #1 Chinese restaurants are created equal.  Again, I.hate.eggs.

What do you love?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just a girl with a blog....

Hi! I'm Chica and I'm just a girl with a blog.  Or I should say yet another girl with a blog.  I decided to create this blog to document my journey. You see, I am on a mission.  I will call this mission OPERATION UPGRADE. (thanks Beyonce)  I am in the process of upgrading myself.  Because....I didn't like the way things were going in my life.  I wasn't living up to my full potential.  I felt like I was watching everyone else live their lives while waiting for mine to happen.  Stagnant like I don't know what.

Then one day I had an epiphany.  I won't go into the circumstances surrounding this AHA!!! moment right now, but let's just say that I came to understand that something had to give.  I could not continue on the way I was.  Something had to give.  Something had to change.  I want to be the BEST ME that I can be (cheesy much?) - So this blog is about the 3 MAIN AREAS in my life that I am attempting to upgrade in order to do so.  I will reveal them to you in stages.  I will divulge the first category in the next post so please please please come back.  Listen to my story.  You might find that you relate to it.  Come on this journey with me.  You might find yourself benefiting in the process.  Maybe you'll encourage me.  Maybe I'll encourage you.  Watch me upgrade.  HELP ME UPGRADE.  Maybe you'll laugh with me.  Maybe you'll laugh at me.  Whatever.  It's all good.  But just know this: I.Am.That.Chica......that WILL upgrade.  Deuces.