Sunday, January 27, 2013

smart phone

Well, Kurt and I have given in and bought smart phones. The pay-by-the-month cost was $35 for unlimited texting and data, with 300 minutes. The plan with unlimited minutes and texting was $40 per month. The dumb phone was cheaper than the smart phone, but the plan was more expensive. That's what ultimately made me decide to get the smart phone. I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. It's kind of convenient, because I can check Facebook on it (I never check it on my work computer). I like using Pandora on my phone to connect to the auxiliary-out cord in my car. I like being able to use the Gmail chat on my phone. I like some of the other little, useful apps. I can't bring myself to download games yet. I don't want to be an obnoxious smart phone user.

This weekend has had a lot of sitting around and chatting. Friday night we had a few friends over (Tyne, Matt, and Pat). We sat from 7:30pm til 1:30am, just talking and having a few drinks. It was a good time. I did that all the time with my Michigan friends, and miss it. In Nebraska, we tend to do lots of "stuff", like games and other planned activities...which is a lot of fun! But I enjoyed kicking back and shooting the shit. We also did this Saturday night for about 2 hours at Matt's house. It was also enjoyable. However, Kurt and I were pretty tired and left around 10:30. Kurt had run 9 miles earlier in the day, and I had walked 5 miles. We came home, watched a movie on Netflix, and both of us dozed off during it. It's odd for me to fall asleep during a movie...

Today we went to church, then went to Kurt's parents' house to celebrate Jim's birthday (Jim is a disabled guy that Kurt's mom has guardianship over, because both of his parents passed away, and Kurt's mom was friends with his mom). We had pizza and cupcakes. We came home and did the crossword puzzle successfully, and now we're probably going to relax for the rest of the night. Yesterday's weather was sunny and in the 50s. Today it's cloudy, drizzling and in the upper 30s/lower 40s. Our energy level is quite low and it feels like the kind of day to stay indoors with a blanket.

I finished reading a book today called Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. It went into detail explaining specific campaigns that were used to promote products, or particular tactics used in the marketing industry to persuade us to spend our money. I found that I was already aware of most of these tactics, and that I am pretty good at insulating myself from ads, or making myself immune to some of their tactics. I hate advertising, and as a rule, try to avoid it as much as I can. Thus we cancelled cable, I listen to a lot of community and public radio, buy mostly store-brand items, turn off the radio during commercials, and have an ad-blocker in my browser. It helps. The guy in the book went out of his way to make companies sound like deceptive, manipulative, careless, greedy businesses. And many of them are, I have no doubt, but the whole tone of the book was over-the-top and alarmist. He even had an alarmist chapter on how powerful our friends are in influencing our brand choices. Oh no! Watch out for those scary, manipulative friends who are going to try to get you hooked on a brand! I'm not a fan of advertising, or over consumption or needless consumption, but people need stuff and companies provide that stuff. I appreciate ethical businesses and try to support local ones whenever I can. It was an interesting book, but not anything new or ground-breaking for me. It contained a chapter on data-mining that was a good reminder to value privacy and do what I can to keep as much of my personal information out of the wrong hands.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

outdoors is nice

Well, the cold didn't really go away as quickly as I thought it would. I almost went to the doctor the next day because I had a painful cough. But that went away in a day or so, too. I felt like I was fighting something for another few days, but finally bounced back to full health and energy level. I am glad that I have not gotten the flu. That bastard apparently is making its rounds.

The weather has been pretty nice recently. Nice means 40-50F. I've been glad to spend some time outside with various runs and walks on my lunch time. Yesterday I walked during my lunch and today Kurt and I ran 5 miles. The sun was out in full force, which was glorious! The wind, however, was cold and powerful and we ran through a few strong gusts that slowed us down. The snow is all melted and everything is brown and dormant, but there's a lot of beauty in it.

Yesterday Kurt and I went on a "date". We went to Applebee's and used up some gift cards we had received at our wedding and for Christmas. Applebee's isn't my favorite place, but it's okay. After we ate, I looked up all the calories I had eaten, and it was 3300! Yes, I ate 3300 calories at Applebee's in one sitting. I had 2 glasses of pepsi, we split the queso blanco, and I had the black and bleu burger with fries and a mousse dessert shooter. I don't really care that I ate that many calories, but I'm glad to be aware of my eating habits. My recent weight management strategy has been to indulge once or twice a week. If I can splurge once and a while, that helps me be healthier the rest of the time. Either way, Applebee's was delicious and it was a good time. Afterwards, I played volleyball with a few people at this bar/volleyball gym called Spikes, which is an interesting combination. I think it works for them, because it was very busy. We played terribly...truly, really horrendously, but I had so much fun! I forgot how much fun volleyball was. I told Lydia to let me know if they needed a body another time, and I'd be happy to fill in again.

Tonight Kurt and I are hosting "My 3 Songs", where everyone gets to pick 3 songs and we all listen to them. I did this with friends 3 years ago and it was a wonderful time. Right now I've got mulled wine cooking in the crock pot and I'm looking forward to an evening sharing music with friends. :0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

i kicked the cold

Yesterday I watched a video of this guy who does balance art. He balances rocks on top of each other. It's pretty amazing. The video was of him balancing rocks in the middle of a river. I had my earphones in at work and the only sound was the river flowing in the background. It was amazingly relaxing and made me want to go camp by a river.

I had a cold this past weekend. I went home at 3 on Friday afternoon from work with dizziness, extreme fatigue, and a little cough. When I got home I slept from 3:30-7. That night, I slept 11 hours. I didn't do a whole lot the entire weekend but sleep, sit on my butt and drink water. We did a few errands on Saturday, and my brain was definitely out of commission (as seen by forgetfulness, going the wrong direction while driving and not figuring it out for a few miles, and general confusion). This was before I got some medicine to treat the symptoms! We went for Chinese food and the crossword puzzle on Sunday, and I kicked butt with the puzzle. Kurt surmised that my inhibited brain was so dumb that it was able to correctly guess the dumb clues in the puzzle.

On Monday, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it to work. But I woke up and felt energized, which is odd for a Monday morning. I do believe I sufficiently kicked the cold's butt with rest! Most of my rare colds turn into bronchitis or something else terrible. I'm grateful that didn't happen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year

I was at work on New Years Eve and this guy was chatting with me and a few unmotivated co-workers. He said that he thought New Years was a sorry excuse for a holiday. To me, New Years is one of my favorite holidays. I think it's fun to celebrate the passing of a year, to welcome a new one, and to do it with as many friends or family as you can get together. Historically, I have been a part of some kick-ass New Years parties. There were the 3 years that we rented cottages by Lake Mac in Holland. Those were some amazing parties, one year with almost 50 people stopping by. This year we celebrated at Spanky's house, and it was a real good time. :0)

I like the opportunity to reflect on the past year. I've done this random survey thing that I got through an email or on a blog or something for more years that I can remember off the top of my head. As I get older, I enjoy reading my old answers and it helps me recall major life events or memories. It's like seeing the ebb and flow of my life. I plan to keep answering those same 30 questions for as along as I can. I'm working on them now, but haven't quite finished my answers for 2012.

Today I went to a new gym for a "boot camp". I have never been to such a thing, but I enjoy taking fitness classes and I thought it would be a fun new thing to try. It was certainly a challenge. I did my best to keep up and I think I did okay for my first time. The instructor would write a list of 6-10 exercises that we had to do, and how many reps we had to do. Then he gave us a certain amount of time for us to do those reps. Some people were quick and could get through multiple rotations of the lists. I, of course, was slow, and the instructor encouraged new people to do half the reps on the board anyway. Everyone could go at their own pace, which was nice. I believe once or twice I skipped an exercise, but it didn't really matter. My strategy was to do the particular exercise until I saw people around me move onto the next one. I'd give them a little time to get into the new move, then I'd start, so it wouldn't be totally obvious that I was following them. It was hard to keep the whole series of exercises in my head, and besides, I didn't know what most of them are. I mean, really..."50 HBHHLG" "20 pike" "25 ice skates" "20 starting blocks". What do these things mean? Though really, it's just a lingo that I can learn, if I need to. I won't be going to many of these boot camps, though, because my Groupon to the gym doesn't include them. Right when I got home, I felt very energized and bopped around the house cleaning, which is what I tend to do when I get home from the gym. I am crashing right now, however, and I will sleep well tonight.

Speaking of sleeping, I had a terrible, horrible dream last night. I dreamed that I was at a mall when a mass shooter was there. I wasn't injured in my dream, but I saw many scary things and was convinced I had PTSD. I'm glad it wasn't a vivid dream, and I didn't feel panicked or upset when I woke up. But that's still messed up. And on that depressing note...I'm going to finish laundry.