Friday, February 15, 2008

debt-free and 135 pounds or bust!

Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger Sarah's last post, I thought I would update on the progress in the world of being debt-free and skinny.

There was an important development in my financial situation this week, as I was promoted at work. The promotion scored me a new title, a good bit of a raise and a new office all to myself (but don't think I don't miss you, Evan!).

I'm especially pleased about the raise, obviously. I crunched the numbers, and assuming 30% to be taken out in taxes (that will go to fund a war that I think sucks and doesn't protect troops like my father who would gladly wear the 50 pound body armor despite the 125 degree heat if it were offered to them), I should see a little less than $200 more in each of my 24 paychecks per year. This should be a big help in my quest to be able to eat AND pay off my creditors. I likely will not see an increase until mid-next month, but I am already anticipating it by making a list of shoes that I wish to purchase from Sounds counterproductive, right? No, not really. As spring approaches I will need at least a new pair of kicks appropriate for casual days at the office (as if there were any other days at my office) since I destroyed the adorable brown Converse pair from last year. So, Zappos - here I come (soon)!

Besides the shoes (and maybe one fantastic splurge when that first new paycheck clears my account... I totally need a hot spring bag), the plan for the rest of the funds is to: a). increase my food budget by about $50 per month ... b). make one additional, albeit small, payment to my one remaining credit card mid-month so that I can pay down that balance faster ... and c). increase my entertainment budget by 100%, as it is currently at next to nothing. To the movie theatre, I go! Anything left over from the raise will probably take up space in my checking account, which will increase my much needed padding, because living paycheck to paycheck sucks like nobody's business.

As for the scale, I'm down 18 pounds as I am about to begin week 8! The number on the scale is nice, but the best part has been the two incidents this week where people in my office have said, and I quote, "damn, you look great!" One office pal even stopped a nearby conversation to announce my weight loss and had everyone comment on how smokin' hot I look. One of the girls who was brought into the conversation is new to the office, so I was pleased to say, "yeah, you didn't know me when I was a cow." Moo no mo'!

I still have a ways to go on both of these new test-of-my-usually-lacking-willpower adventures, but I am pleased to report that at least two of the things I aimed to change in the new year are going quite well. I'm hoping by the end of summer I will be able to combine my successes with a celebratory vacation on a beach somewhere. Donations (and company) are still welcome, though.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bob Thompson is always right

As a television major in college, I took many a television criticism class. And, since I went to the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (which, um, didn't wow employers in the real world like they said it would), I studied under the professors who, at the time, I referred to as "the committee on television as fine art." At the helm of my imaginary committee included Bob Thompson (you've seen him on CNN 10,000 times, even if you don't recall his name). I, like so many others, was a huge fan of Dr. Thompson. So, when I read the list below in one of the entertainment trades, I wanted to drive to Syracuse and hear him lecture on it. Maybe he has a blog...

Mensa's Top Ten Smartest Shows of all Time (in no particular order):

West Wing
Boston Legal
All in the Family
Mad About You

*courtesy of

I have to say that I feel especially vindicated that Mad About You made this list. It is one of my favorite television shows of all time, because the writing was always sharp, witty and real. The characters of Paul and Jamie were flawed, as was their relationship, but at their core they really loved one another as partners and friends and navigated coupledom in a very honest (and New York) way. If I could summarize my ideal mate, a little bit of Paul Buchman would be in the mix.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

it can't all be wedding cake

I've always liked the idea of a secret handshake. The sentiment is so warm and romantic. Something to share. It's just for you.

I've spent an exhausting amount of time in the last month analyzing my "romantic" relationship. Most recently, I've been thinking about the things that used to be just for me. I dream about them. I know that a relationship is hard work. It can't all be wedding cake. But sometimes its hard not miss the whirlwind romance of the beginning.The secret handshakes. The question for me - right now - is, how much of that is okay to lose after a few years of daily life? And how much do I need to feel beautiful and special and loved?

If I could pinpoint one thing I've wanted since I was a little girl, it wasn't a job (I wanted to be a fashion designer, a writer and a talk show host at any given time). It was a family of my own. A genuine opportunity to distance myself from my upbringing and do things my way. Is that selfish? I come from a strange and tangled background of divorced parents and bad stepparents, and the one thing that allowed me some comfort during the tumultuous times was the thought that someday I would build a family of my own with someone. I would have a spouse who understood where I came from and where I'm going, and maybe some children followed after I had an opportunity to travel with said spouse - literally face the world together. My partner.

My former roommate used to mock me for loving weddings and for fantasizing about my own. It all seemed very superficial to her. On the surface, it is. But what I wasn't able to articulate at the time was that this dream wedding was the beginning of my new family. This event would put it on paper that I was moving on to construct a new life - as far away as possible from the one that I had known.

We met boys we really liked at the exact same time. The short of it is that she got married first. There was no mistaking that I was jealous. I was still very much involved with the boy that I had met when she met hers (said "romantic" relationship of then and now), and he didn't get it either. You don't want her life, so why be jealous? But her marriage hit me on a very visceral level. She's started. I'm not. We don't speak anymore. She might think its because of this, and I'm almost ashamed that it sort of is. Not entirely, of course, about a thousand other things lead to the demise of our friendship, but I can't lie that her wedding announcement didn't help matters.

I didn't mean for this to be about her. She was a nice person and I hope she's very happy.

I want to be, too. Things like secret screenames and single phrases used to make me very happy. But that was in the beginning. When those things were just for me. Now those things are gone. Shared with others.

I'm not sure what I expected. Whatever it was, it was unrealistic. I left that relationship a while back. It was natural - that opened the door to share what I thought of as mine with others. He could. Turns out that I couldn't. And then I came back and wanted him to tell me that he couldn't either. But he didn't. And we didn't re-enter the honeymoon phase of our relationship. It went straight back into being hard. And I wasn't ready for that.

There's an object that I see occasionally that always shakes me up, even if I'm in the best of moods. Its a stupid little something that I wanted a long time ago that I didn't get - for whatever reason. But now it's there. I can only assume that it was purchased to impress someone else. That object, every time I see it, sends me down a ridiculous spiral of self-hatred. I tell myself I'm not pretty; I'm not witty enough; I'm not intelligent; I'm too fat. It's ridiculous because its a common object, yet it brings out all of these horrible things in me. But it was there before me (or so I once heard). Not during. Then it was after. New and shiny. I want it broken in a million pieces on the floor. So I can maybe have something that is just for me again.

Friday, February 1, 2008

... that's why you will not survive: a week in review

Sunday: Felt sick all day. Stayed on my couch. Became bored very quickly. Was unable to nap.

Monday: I spent a large portion of my day at the DMV. Should have been a good indication that this week would blooooooooow. Really, though, considering you only go to the DMV every few years, the waiting and waiting and waiting isn't that bad. I guess. And, well, I did move into the city well over a year ago and am only getting around to changing my driver's license now. But, I will make my obligatory complaint about the DMV: what's up with not showing me my photo before its printed? This is the digital age -- one would think it would be pretty darn easy. So in just a few days when I receive my official license in the mail I can find out that one eye is closed and my bra strap is hanging out like a hooker. Neat. Can't wait.

Tuesday: Figured out that I only had $85 until next Thursday. And then realized that I was about to go over the limit on my one and only credit card. So fifty of those dollars went to prevent that.

Wednesday: Colleague called out my picky eating habits in front of a client. And that whole Pop-Up Lost episode wasn't very helpful in solving any of the island's mysteries. Experienced Project Runway withdrawal.

Thursday: Spent my lunch time tracking down five copies of the new Backyardigans CD so that I wouldn't ruin a good relationship with a journalist. Then I blew 6 Weight Watchers points on half of a big cookie from Cosi. I had missed cookies, but I can eat nothing but salads for the rest of the week if I expect to lose any weight before Sunday.

Friday: I am tired and annoyed with most people I work with. Couldn't eat lunch until 4pm, and I had to spend my last $10 on delivery. Jeans I tried on didn't fit.

In retaliation of this week, I am blogging at work and listening to Spoon's "The Underdog" loud enough for most of the office to hear me.