March 30, 2007
suggestions from me

Thought I would give suggestions on things (music, movies, podcasts) that I've been enjoying lately:

Movies:
Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Funny (stupid funny) movie. The scene at the dinner table was my favorite (By the magic of baby jesus!).

Little Miss Sunshine - Great movie! Totally lived up to the hype.

Stranger the Fiction Totally new appreciation for Wil Ferrell. Emma Thompson is great, as well. Great cast overall!

Music - Full albums that, are in my opinion, worth the money:

Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked Ladies Are Me My all-time favorite band, so you know I have to put them on my list. The long awaited album is finally here. Bank Job is probably my favorite.

Mika - Life in a Cartoon Motion - Great debut album from a talented artist. Mix a little Freddie Mercury and I don't know who else. Caught him on Logo's NewNextNow in the video for Grace Kelly and just fell in love! He's great!

Robbie Williams - Rudebox - In my opinion his best album to date. Title track is great, Good Doctor wonderful, and his remake of Kiss Me is fantastic.

Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere - Whole album, not just the songs on the radio, is great. Feng Shui is a great song, as is the remake of Gone, Daddy, Gone. I can listen to this album over and over again.

Podcasts - for those of you that don't know, you can actually listen to talk shows on your iPod. I don't have a video iPod, so all of my podcasts are just talkies. I've included a link to the podcast, but you can subscribe to any of the on iTunes.

TV Guide Podcast From previous entries you will note I'm a bit of a TV addict, so listening to these guys makes me feel like there are others like me out there.

Slate Explainer and Daily Podcast Two seperate podcasts which have very interesting stories and articles. One of my favs!

NPR Podcasts - Too many to list, as most of my podcasts are NPR or some affiliate....This I Believe, Martini Shot, Car Talk, Story of the Day, just to name a few....

Okay that's all I got.....for now!

Posted by Brie at 08:41 PM
weight and working out

So, as those of you who read my blog (not many, but still!) know I joined Weight Watchers on 3/5. This was after being on eDiets since the beginning of the year with not much luck, however I did lose about 6 pounds, but just was having issues staying on track. Since joining WW I've lost 10.3 pounds, which is pretty darn good! I've got a long way to go, but I know I can do it. I will have my little "slip ups" like I did last weekend (pizza, beer and hamburgers, oh my!), but it's all about getting set straight like I did this week.

The way the program works, for those are you that don't know, is that you are allowed so many point in one day, depending on your weight and activity level. Right now I get 29 points a day. The point values for food are calculated based on the number of calories, fat grams and fiber a food has. For example, a bowl of instant oatmeal is 2 points. A quarter cup of shredded cheese is 3 points. The points can add up really quickly, if you don't make sensible choices. The nice thing is there is a lot of food choices and, as long as I have the points, I am able to eat it. In addition to the daily 29 (which decreases the more I lose), I get a "bonus" 35 weekly allowance points I can use. I can bank those for a big event, or use a little every day. But they don't roll over each week. In addition, I get activity points for working out. Everytime I exercise, I get Activity points. For instance 35 minutes on the stationary bike, I get 3 activity points. Rock on!

I work out almost everyday, but average 6 days a week for the last 3 months. I usually do one day cardio and the next day "quick cardio" followed by weight training. It's become quite the habit. I find if I don't go, I feel like something is missing. I am even sleeping much better (of course getting up at 3:45 AM will do that for you, too).

I know that 16 pounds since the beginning of the year is nothing to be ashamed of, but I wish it were going away faster. I always see those people who say "I've lost XX number of dress sizes." I can't say that yet, and it's a little frustrating. But I know that I didn't gain it overnight and I'm not going to lose it overnight. They say you won't really start to notice until you've lost 10% of your starting weight, so I've got some more to go....

Okay enough of that....

Posted by Brie at 08:11 PM
March 28, 2007
my top 10.....errr 15.....

Since John posted his top 10 songs, I thought I'd post mine....here's my top 10 songs (for now and in not particular order)

1. Call And Answer - Barenaked Ladies
2. Grace Kelly - Mika
3. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
4. Glamorous - Fergie (no seriously....if you ain't got no money take yo broke ass home!)
5. Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs (thanks Cindi B. for turning me on to the Chiefs! CORRECTION: John actually found the Chiefs, but around the same time Cindi recommended Supreme Beings, also a great band, so I got confused... :))
6. Bank Job - Barenaked Ladies
7. Smile - Lily Allen
8. Rudebox - Robbie Williams
9. Cupid's Chokehold - Gym Class Hero
10. Long Way Home - Dixie Chicks

Top 10 TV Shows (no particular order, although Heroes is definitely #1 and seriously....could have put more....I have a TV problem.....)
1. Heroes
2. Lost
3. Brothers and Sisters
4. Grey's Anatomy
5. Gilmore Girls
6. Veronica Mars
7. Daily Show
8. Supernatural
9. Scrubs
10. House
11. Ugly Betty
12. What About Brian
13. How I Met Your Mother
14. Avatar the Last Airbender
15. Amazing Race

Posted by Brie at 08:39 PM
March 25, 2007
week in review

This week has been crazy, as usual, but in a much more expensive way. Our week started badly on Tuesday when the washing machine started smoking and making all sorts of funny noises. Now, this machine is a good machine, but it is ancient. It's a hand-me-down from my mom, who always buys top-of-the-line stuff, but it's old. It started leaking oil about 3 months ago, so we knew it would be any day that it would blow. Well it decided that now was the time. So, John and I made plans to go shopping on Saturday to pick up a new washer. That same day, on my way home from Hayward, I noticed a distinctive wobble in my car, going over the Altamount. Shoot....now the car must go in the shop. We also knew that the lawn mower needed to be replaced, so it looked like a very expensive weekend.

My car went into the shop on Wednesday and was finally done on Thursday afternoon. Now, my car is a 14 year old Honda Civic, that has oer 156,000 miles on it. Honestly, we're not really good about taking care of autos, so I'm really surprised that it has held up as well as it has. It commuted from Oceanside to Long Beach for about a year, and now commutes from Tracy to Hayward and Tracy to Sacramento. Still putts along, happy to do so. We spent $600 to replace the left CV boot and axle, as well as a resonator, alignment and oil changes. Most we've ever spent on that car in one shoot. Although I really want to get a new car, I guess it would be silly to do so before the end of the year. It's such a great car. John even put in a new, albeit cheap, car stereo to get me through until the end of the year. Good gas mileage, paid off, what more could I ask?

So, after dropping $600 on the car, I was not looking forward to going shopping for the washing machine. After a long stressful week, John suggested that I treat myself to a manicure and pedicure on Friday, which I thoroughly enjoyed. On Friday, John's dad phoned to say that he would be planting his vegetable garden for spring and wanted the kids to come and help. John mentioned the lawn mower situation and his dad suggested that we bring it down on Sunday to see if he could fix it. So we had plans for Sunday....now on to shopping on Saturday.

We started out at about 1:00 PM and didn't get home until almost 7:30 that night. We had gone to every store in Tracy that carried appliances to look for a new washer. Finally at 8:45 PM we found one we agreed on, was in our price range, etc. Yippee! New washer!

Sunday we spent at John's dad and both the kids and John helped him plant his vegetable garden. They planted jalepenos, corn, tomatoes, squash, artichokes and other stuff. They seemed to enjoy it. We later ate lunch and rode around on the "gator" (which I got to drive while John fixed the lawnmower). Both Madeline and Sebastian got to ride on the 4 wheeler ATV for the first time with Bonnie. They had a great day!

All, in all, a GREAT weekend to end an otherwise difficult week!

Posted by Brie at 08:36 PM
March 19, 2007
my week and other stuff

Okay, so it's Monday and I'm just doing my week in review. It was a busy week! I spent Monday in Tracy, Tuesday in Corte Madera and then to Hayward, Wednesday in Tracy, Thursday in Sacramento and Friday back in Tracy. Whew! Tired just thinking about it. In addition to the craziness at work, I had two physical therapy appointments, gym every day (except Tuesday, but did yoga at home) and loads of homework. That's pretty much a typical week for me, these days. It's all good, though. So let's see what else has been on my mind lately....here's a rundown

Teenager in the House So, Sebastian turned 13 on Sunday. How weird is it that I am now a mother of a teenager. Freaky. He's such a good kid. John has done a great job with him. He's helpful (although complains a little more now), responsible (for the most part) and just a great all around young man. I'm very proud of him. I enjoy talking with him and he's such a great big brother. Many of you have already read John's post and know what we did for his birthday. My mom and dad really went all out for him. He is one lucky kid! On Friday, John is taking him and 3 of his friends to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

School So in the midst of my classes this semester, I realize that I am getting really close to my AA degree. I've made the decision (with John's help) to focus on getting the "basic" requirements for my AA degree in Social Science (Psychology emphasis) and worry about what to do next after that. I was focusing on too many things...classes for AA, classes for transfer, classes for social science. Now if I just focus on getting the AA, I can go from there. I may not even go to a Cal State or UC campus, so why worry about the requirements? I've been researching/obsessing over the different online BA/BS degrees available at some reputable universities. Distance learning/education has come a LONG way since I started taking classes so long ago.

Weight Watchers So, even with all the birthday celebration, I'm doing really well on Weight Watchers. My first weigh in was last Tuesday and I was down 8.5 pounds my first week. I know that seems like a lot (and it is!) but I had lost most of that before and had gained some of it back. So, I just see this as setting myself right and getting back on track. I really have immersed myself into the whole point system, judging things as "point worthy" or not. If it's worth the points, and I have them, I'm so there! For example, a bottle of light beer.....well worth the 2 points! A piece of not-so-good chocolate....not worth the 2 points. It's all about choices! My next weigh in day is tomorrow, so hopefully the downward slope will continue. Going to the gym almost every day also helps!

Getting Old/Body Pains So, as John eluded I'm having health issues. I'm seeing a physical therapist twice a week for acute tendonytis of my achilles. Crazy. Haven't injured it, just overuse between gym and my manual transmission. I'm sure the weight doesn't help! It's been giving me grief for about 18 months and suddenly my lower back started hurting too. Apparently it's all interrelated. So for the last two weeks, I go, get massaged, stretched and treated for the ankle. I'm still able to go to the gym, but just have to stay off the treadmill (too much stress), so I do the bike instead, which I don't like as much, but it's better then nothing. Hopefully continuing the treatment and doing the stretches twice a day will help. I just think this is something I will just have to live with.

Some other things on my mind lately......

Pet Food Issue - Ugh....watching the news makes me so sad. Can't imagine losing my pets because I fed them a particular food. Scarey. Luckily we don't feed any of our pets any of those foods affected. My thoughts go out to those pet families who are going through this.

Ultrasounds required before abortion - Okay just heard this on the news today. In South Carolina they are now hearing a bill to mandate that women must have an ultrasound before they can have an abortion. The article is here. This just pisses me off. Seriously, stop interfering in a woman's right to choose. Don't intimidate women during this already difficult time, don't bully them! Support your local Planned Parenthood. Make education and contraception available so this won't even need to be discussed. Choice is the issue....Access is the key! ......stepping off my soapbox now.

Enough fun, kids! Later!

Posted by Brie at 07:12 PM
March 10, 2007
Another post!

Whoa....another post! This is getting to be a regular habit. 3 posts in one week...didn't think I had that much to say!

So it's Saturday, 3/10. Daylight Savings Time begins. Yuck. I think, first of all that the whole DST is stinky. I hate feeling like I'm losing an hour. I like that hour....I want that hour....I NEED that hour! But, the DST won't stop simply because of my whining. Secondly, I don't understand why all the fuss of the computer/system issues. They had 2 full years to prepare for this change....why the panic? It seems that someone could have planned better. Just another way for those IT folks to make some money with there last minute fixes....no offense to those IT folks.

Enough of my griping. This week has gone well. We were busy, but there aren't many weeks when we are not. I did really well on my first week of WW. Stuck within my points allowance and exercised everyday this week. Even got the whole family to get up today and go to the gym! I worked all week, had a test in Spanish, a test in Algebra and will need to do my test in Biology this weekend. Ugh! Today, as I said we went to the gym and afterwards, grabbed some donuts (none for me!), and got the kids haircuts. They all look very good! Madeline took the plunge and got her hair cut off. It's a cute chin length bob. We hesitated on getting her haircut, but she's been asking to get it cut off for some time now, so with summer right around the corner, decided to let her do it. After all the beauty....we went to a birthday party for one of Maddie's friends from school. Most of our social occasions revolve around Maddie's social life. Like us, most of the parents in Madeline's class make it a social event for birthdays. It's really the only time we parents get to socialize, even if there is a cowboy magician there!

One of the moms asked us why we never had anyone over to our house. So true....two years here and we've been to several friend's homes, and NEVER had anyone from Madeline's class over. Part of the reason is the dogs. We have a very dog-friendly home. Quite honestly between trying to housebreak Brody and Emma slowly losing her ability to "hold it" our house smells of dog. Plus a couple of years ago, the kids got a mammoth water slide, which we left on the lawn too long, killing the grass. That, in combo with the dogs, makes are backyard looked trashed. I think if we can clean that up, plus steam clean the carpeting, we may have Maddie and Keegan's birthday party at the house.

Think that's enough for now...later!

Posted by Brie at 10:01 PM
March 07, 2007
Quick Post!

Just a quick post tonight....I want to make sure that I keep up on this whole blog thing.....

So, what's been going on? Well, for starters I joined Weight Watchers (WW) online on Monday. I signed up for 3 months and am very hopeful that I can maintain this. It's only day 3, but I've been doing really well. Following the plan, staying within my "points" allowance. I've gone to the gym everyday. Monday did cardio (bike and treadmill), Tuesday did weights and today did treadmill. I have to work out in the morning, as I can come up with all sorts of excuses why NOT to work out after a long day at work. John has been super supportive, making dinners that are WW friendly. This will be good for everyone....we will all eat healthier and learn to make better food choices!

School is getting tougher. I have a test in each one of my classes this week. Ugh! Spanish on Thursday, Algebra on Friday and Biology on Saturday or Sunday. Sebastian school has been going great so far. He starts out bright and early online doing his school work. The programs they have for him are great, guiding him through the lesson plans and letting him know where he needs to work. John and he have worked out Monday and Wednesday of this week, so far. They are planning on doing this M-W-F. Maybe I can get them to with me on Saturday, too. ;)

We have the craziest dog....Brody is a chihuahua-jack russell-poodle mix. You can see a picture of him on our dogs section. He is the cutest dog I have ever seen (no offense, Jack, George and EmmaJean). He is bouncy, seems like he's smiling all the time and LOVES everyone! He's been such a great addition to our family.

We sent the e-mail out about the website update and it's been so nice to get back in touch with people. We really lost touch with a lot of important people over the last year or two. I've heard from friends that have had their first baby and I heard from a high school/college friend. It's really been a year of getting caught up. Even found a friend of mine from work years back. I am signed up with Linked In and, yes, I even have a MySpace page. I'm so hip! Honestly, the whole MySpace thing scares me....a little crazy for me, but I check in every so often (okay rarely) and see what's going on. Add me if you are on MySpace!

Alright....off to bed!

Posted by Brie at 09:52 PM
March 03, 2007
Long Time No Blog....

Wow....it has been over a year since I last made an entry. Crazy! It's as if 2006 never happened. It was a good year, too. Busy, but good. So rather then boring you with all of the stuff that has happened last year, why don't we just start with what's going on now.....

Work Work, as usual, is just crazy. I am trying to hire a replacement for my position at 2 of the facilities, so I can commute to the 3rd location full time. They have about 300 employees in a manufacturing environment and really need a full-time HR person. I was asked to do this and part of me is excited about the work that needs to be done and the other part of me is apprehensive because of the commute (about 75 miles one way). Having done that (actually longer commute) when we lived in San Diego, I'm concerned about how long I can do it. We shall see!

School School for me! I am currently taking 3 classes (12 units). I am taking Algebra (beginning), Biology (Human Sexuality) and Spanish. It's through a local community college and 2 of the classes are online (algebra and biology). The third is 2 nights a week. So you may ask, when does she possibly have time to take classes and work a (more then) full time job, not to mention the kids and husband? Crazy, I know. But, I'm getting that much closer to getting a degree. I took (and got an A) English last semester. I spend a lot of time on the weekends and nights doing homework and reading. I 've gotten really good, too, about reading on the treadmill in the morning.

Health/Exercise As those of you who know me, I am NOT a thin woman. I'm what you would call "voluptuous." As John likes to say, there is more of me to love. However, that being said, I have become very aware that we are not getting younger and being in the condition that I am in is unhealthy. At the start of the year I tried eDiets and lost about 10 pounds, but have had problems with the whole food thing. I like, no LOVE, food. Plus, with eDiets, it's all about counting calories and there is not a lot of structure to it. So, I think I will be signing up again to Weight Watchers and getting back on that band wagon. A co-worker of mine has lost a lot of weight, and she is my age, so it's been rather inspirational. I have been really good about the gym, however. I go, generally 3 - 6 days a week. I alternate cardio and strength training. Soon, Sebastian and John will also be going, so we will be quite the gym folks!

Kids This could be a whole blog unto itself....BUT, a brief snapshot of how the kids are doing:

Sebastian - We did finally make the decision to homeschool him through a local charter school. His teacher and the program at his last school was just failing him. They would actually let him choose what grade level work he wanted to do. If I was a 12 (almost 13) year old, I would totally choose the easy work. Seriously! Needless to say it was a tough decision, but John and I both think it's the right one for him. He will actually be starting his own blog soon, as well! Almost all of his "school" work is done online and they offer classes onsite. This program will take him all the way through high school, so I am really excited about it.

Keegan - He has been quite a handful, as he always has been. We are dealing with not telling the truth and general meltdowns with him right now. He has been grounded and ungrounded from video games more times then any kid I know. He's still quite the little artist and has taken a real interest in food (cooking and nutrition). He's a very unique kid!

Madeline - She loves school and is very popular. She goes to more parties and actually gets more phone calls then any other 6 year old I know. She has her "diva" moments and has really mastered the "whine." She loves spending time with her brothers, doing whatever they are doing, then crying when they don't want to play with her.

Husband As you know, from reading John's blog, we celebrated our 17th year wedding anniversary last month. Hardly believe that it's been 17 years. Our favorite cashier at the grocery store told me the other day that she loves to see John and I together. She said that we are one of the rare couples that actually enjoy being with each other. I think that sums it up. I can't think of anyone else I want to spend time with then John. He is my best friend and soulmate. Who could ask for more?

Okay....now that this is a NOVEL....hopefully will post more often, but shorter posts. Please, if you are reading, post comments! At least I know that people are reading.... :)

Posted by Brie at 07:33 PM