Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Songs

Others appear to be doing it, so I might as well -- links to some of my favorite Christmas songs. I have two that get me every time: Carol of Bells, for a fun, light-hearted feeling, and O Holy Night, for a serious, heart-warming feeling. I especially love Carol of the Bells when it is done by a hand-bell choir. Growing up watching the Claymation Christmas special, I have to link to one of the best versions out there: Claymation Carol of the Bells.

And yes, I know I just said that O Holy Night is my more serious favorite song, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a fun version song by Eric Cartman.

When viewing so many other people's favorites, I came across this one song by a British guy I've never heard of. The music isn't extraordinary, but I like the words and the sentiment.

Merry Christmas everyone

Friday, December 18, 2009

Usual holiday blahs

Every year by early November, I am psyching myself up for the holidays. Usually, I am finishing up my Christmas shopping (I try to be done before Thanksgiving) and trying to get into some kind of shape to be ready for all the food. Yet despite all my supposed planning and preparation, every year around late December I am scrambling for some last minute gifts and moaning about a few extra pounds I've put on. This year is no different even though I am trying my best to stay positive. I have kept up with the daily exercise routine and I'm making a little progress on the slow eating front, but yet I still find myself stressed, frazzled, and overwhelmed with too much food and things to get done.

Somehow, I plan to make next year different. My goal is to keep up with the 30 day challenges and slowly improve my life one aspect at a time. Somehow, I will make it through the holidays with my head held high and my spirits light.

Until that time, please send your best wishes to my husband, so that he can survive my tantrums and melt-downs in the meantime.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Setback

As well as I thought I was doing with my new challenge to eat slower, I learned another important lesson this weekend -- don't try to play hostess at the same time. We had some friends over on Saturday night for an evening of movies and spaghetti. I was so distracted with cooking and serving, that my own plate of food was gone before I even realized I had swallowed anything. This means that although I may plan on inviting people over again sometime soon, I am definitely not going to host any meals before another 30 days are up. I'm starting the slow eating challenge over again -- today is day 1.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Challenges continue

On the slow eating front, I have been improving, but not quite as well as I would have liked. I have often caught myself halfway through a meal before I realize that I've been wolfing and then take a step back. At least I have noticed at some point during every meal so far, so I am not giving up. This is only day 7, so I have time before getting this right.

The exercising also continues. I am up to 30 push-ups now. I have also found a new website where I am tracking my progress: Daytum. It's a very simple interface, and I like that kind of minimalism. It also gives several different graphical views of data, which I think will be helpful.

Friday, December 04, 2009

First Challenge Complete!

So, I have mentally been prepping myself to post my 'complete' announcement this Friday. Then this morning, as I am writing down my exercise numbers, I notice that today is actually day 31! Somewhere along the line, I miscounted and have successfully exercised for at least 5 minutes every morning for 31 days in a row. I'm actually very happy that that I lost count and was still able to stick with it.

Of course, the long term goal is to keep this up indefinitely to make it habit-forming. But with the first 30 day challenge met, it is time to move on to stage two -- I've decided my next challenge will be to eat slower. I still haven't quite determined exact measurements for this, but in general I am going to try to do the following:

  • chew every bite thoroughly
  • rest my hand/utensil more often
  • drink more inbetween bites
  • enjoy my food more deliberately

As before, I will be posting updates to keep my progress 'public'. Feel free to ask me about it, give suggestions, or slow me down when you see me eating. Today is day 1.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

30/5 Challenge: Day 22

Well, I am still continuing strong after the initial reset. It's been about three weeks and I haven't missed or stumbled yet this time. But now we are coming up to Thanksgiving, which will be a challenge. I want to make it through these thirty days, so I have to be extra vigilant for the holiday.

After this first challenge, I do plan to keep up with the daily exercise. The plan is that by then it should be habit and something I do automatically all the time. My next step as I've mentioned is something food related -- slowing down, or eating less -- but I still haven't figured out the details there. But I plan on doing another 30 day challenge and posting the info on this blog.

Friday, November 13, 2009

30/5 Challenge: Update

After the reset, I am back to day 10 and still going strong. I'm doing 16 push-ups and 40 sit-ups, which I think it quite an accomplishment considering my current physical state. As long as I don't injure myself or get sick again, I think the 30 days will be easy to finish.

Now I'm contemplating my next challenge. I want to do something food related, but am not sure what approach to take and how to measure progress. Any of you have some ideas or suggestions?

Monday, November 02, 2009

30/5 Challenge: Reset

Things were going so well and so easily, I think I go cocky. Well, and I also got sick. I barely moved through some stretches on Saturday, and didn't do anything at all on Sunday. I'm letting my body recuperate, and then I'll start the exercise challenge all over.

I don't think sickness counts as a real failure, but I will still start the count back at one when I'm feeling well enough to try again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

30/5 Challenge: First snag

I'm half-way through my first challenge and still doing pretty well. I encountered a small snag this week however. You see, as a wimpy female, when my exercise routine calls for push-ups, I do them from the knee instead of on your toes. (As an aside, I was hoping that after the first 30 days I might be able to switch to regular toe push-ups once I've built up a little arm strength.) Knee push-ups still involve balance and arm strength and in my opinion, are a good stepping stone for beginners like me.

Anyway, things have been going along fine until this week when I inadvertently injured myself. I won't go into the details now, but basically I wasn't paying close attention to where I was walking and ended up falling onto my knees on concrete. Just like many an adventerous child, I ended up with a scrape on my knee caps and some serious bruises. Most of the time, I don't even remember that there is anything wrong. At least not until I try to get on my knees and do push-ups. Needless to say, the push-ups have had to come out of the exercise routine for a few days now. I got a couple done this morning before I moaned and gave up. I even tried a toe push-up, but my arms aren't quite ready for that yet.

Despite this small hiccup in my planned routine, I am still doing exercises every morning. After fifteen days, I think I just might make it. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

30/5 Challenge: Day 10

Still going strong after ten days. The exercises are getting a bit easier, but I'm definitely not to the "habit" stage yet. I still have to talk myself into it each morning. Again, I am hoping that through pure determination and repetition, things will eventually become auto-pilot.

Monday, October 19, 2009

30/5 Challenge: Still going

I made it through my first weekend. It was harder than I thought it would be. I even planned ahead and put some "lighter" activities on the schedule for Saturday and Sunday. This did help me quite a bit Saturday morning, but after a fitful night Saturday night, I did not want to do ANYTHING Sunday, much less make my body move in 'healthful' ways. I forced myself through it and what should have taken only 5 minutes drug out for like 15... but I made it.

I hope it gets easier

Friday, October 16, 2009

30/5 Challenge: Day 3

Well, I'm good for the first 3 days.... only 27 more to go. This morning was tough because I'm already sore. It's surprising what a simple 5 minutes of exercise can do to a person like me (i.e. getting older). Okay, so I knew it would be hard at first. I just need to stick it out and see how I feel in the end.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Exercise Program

Today I started a new 30 day challenge to exercise for at least 5 minutes every day. My plan is to make at least a small portion of that exercise (i.e. like sit-ups and push-ups) habit-forming. This seems somewhat daunting, but I'm trying to just focus on a little bit at a time. Thus arises the 30 day challenge with only 5 minutes a day. If I am successful, then I may go another 30 days with 10 minutes or something. We'll see.

Part of my "motivation" is to keep track of my progress semi-publicly, which is why I'm making this post. I will be updating weekly (or more often) with how things are going. Feel free to ask me about it when you see me, or post a comment, or send an email, whatever. If I don't answer to anyone, it'll be too easy to quit.

So... first update: The five minutes this morning went by a lot more slowly than I anticipated. I did several sit-ups and push-ups and felt feeble. But I did get it done!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The good old days

We went to the local Renaissance Festival last weekend with some friends and I finally got to watch some jousting. I've been many times before, but never had a chance to watch any of the shows or entertainment. We had fun, but I need to complain to someone in charge about their misleading "Sparta 300 battle" -- not a single man in a leather bikini; booo.

Special thanks to Michelle for taking pictures and letting me have some.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The year I didn't go...

... and Burning Man was perfect. No dust storms, moderate temperatures, perfect playa... all the things that I hope for, and I missed out. At least Justin got to enjoy it. I am going to prepare even better for next year to make up for what I missed!

My friend who also attended with Justin this year finally put up some pictures, so if you're interested, check it out: Burning Man Pics 2009.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yes, I have been back from my GenCon trip for awhile now. I'm having trouble re-integrating into normal life. I don't want to lose the excitement and happiness from the trip....

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment in the meantime.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Okay, so I've been quiet on this site for awhile. I've decided to stop posting my thankful lists, not because I'm not grateful anymore, but because I think the novelty has worn out.

I realize people may be interested in what is going on at my company. For those who don't readily remember, I work at a financial institution -- a corporate credit union. The economic collapse of the past two years has hit my company hard. So hard in fact, that earlier this year the NCUA (kind of like the FDIC for credit unions) took us into conservatorship. The CEO and board of directors were replaced, and since then, the new leaders have been slowly trimming people until we have now vacated the first floor of our building to make room for a possible sub-lease tenant.

Many of you also may know that I have been through a few lay-offs before. Although I left Sprint voluntarily, I did get to witness some rounds of trimming at that company. Since then, my two other employers have both let me go for cut-back reasons. This feels like a pathetic cycle in my life. A cycle that I was given a nice opportunity to break out of today when my current company offered voluntary separation. If you're not familiar with that term, it basically means you can leave your employer but still receive severance benefits -- which from this place is a really nice package. Of course, it has to be approved by your manager and HR, but this is basically a way for the company to continue to trim personnel without looking like the bad guy.

Anyway, I sat and considered this offer for a few minutes today. The severance package is very tempting, because it gives me at least two months of paid time. However, the things I like about working here still outweigh the recent negatives. I still have the best manager I've ever worked with. I get along really well with all my teammates and most of the company at large. The location is close and convenient. The benefits are still pretty good despite the latest changes. Granted, I may not have worked at a ton of different companies, but I have had enough varied experience to know that most places will have all the same political problems. I have decided that I am comfortable with my loyalty trait and will try to weather out this storm a little longer.

Of course, it may become moot sometime in the future if the NCUA changes regulations so that the purpose of my company is no longer needed. That will be a problem for another day, hopefully at least a year from now.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Movies, movies, movies

Haven't done a movie marathon in awhile, so it was nice that Justin and I finally had a weekend to rent a stack and watch them all. We didn't think of any cool themes or anything; just pulled a bunch that we wanted to see.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 7. The special effects, as expected, were pretty spectacular. The acting was also very good. The story was even kind of interesting, but not as much as I had hoped for.

Quantam of Solace - 6. Although I had already seen this, Justin hadn't yet and of course we wanted to see it in all the glory of Bluray. Still, I don't like shaky-cam action shots, and the story was hard to follow.

Seven Pounds - 8. To me, not a realistic story, but still it was done very well. I liked the acting performances.

Taken - 7. A fairly decent single-man-revenge-action movie. I liked it better when it was Arnold blowing things up. But Liam tries so hard to look like he can kill with a punch, that I gave him the benefit of the doubt during this 2 hours. In the end, it made me not want to go to Paris.

Changling - 7. Not too bad of a movie overall; pretty much what I expected. The main reason I wanted to see it was to watch Jeffrey Donovan in something other than Burn Notice. I also think making a drinking game with that movie and the words 'my son' could be dangerous.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Another week flies by. At least it is warm and sunny outside, which always puts a smile on my face.

  • I still have a job I enjoy (3 more people in my department were let go this week)
  • One of my house plants keeps blooming pretty pink flowers
  • Warm, sunny days of summer

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day Trip

Over the weekend we went to Oklahoma and visited my brother. The rest of the family tagged along too. Below are a few pictures.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Zoom zoom

Another week has flown by. Where does all the time go?

  • Being able to spend quality time with my husband
  • People who think of fun, new ways to play with Jenga blocks
  • Online guildmates that do their best to help out
  • A husband that brings me yummy rice to work

Friday, June 05, 2009


It's kind of sad how sometimes when I sit down to write my thanks for the week that I can't even remember what I have done. This is one of those times where days seem like a blur and everything feels a little numb.

  • The fact that I take time once a week to wake myself and think of the details in life
  • Continued sunny days
  • A husband who reminds me that most of my free time is spent playing games
  • The opportunity to play lots of games

Friday, May 29, 2009

Remember the Alamo

So over the weekend we took a trip to San Antonio and decided that it's not a city we particularly enjoy. We came back early and spent a little time with my brother in Oklahoma City, which was much more fun.

  • Being able to drive longer than I thought I could
  • A brother who lets us stay with him at the last minute
  • Blowing up blocks
  • Friends that enjoy action/sci-fi movies with me

Friday, May 22, 2009

Keeping afloat

It's been another calm, fairly uninteresting, week. I am encouraged that it is starting to feel a little like summer.

  • More beautiful days of disc golf
  • Tasty spinaca with sweet salsa
  • A chance to get away for the weekend
  • The occasional puzzle at work that keeps me interested

Friday, May 15, 2009


This has been a pretty boring week, with not much to report on. I probably should put up a separate post about Star Trek, but in short, I loved it and can't wait to see more. I'm also rating it a 9. I need to wake up and pay more attention, because I don't have many things to list in my thanks today:

  • Getting to see an awesome movie a second time
  • Strawberry-Banana smoothies
  • New gadgets that make my husband happy

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thanks for Mom

Time with the family is always nice, especially when we get to celebrate someone special.

  • A gracious, giving, thoughtful, productive and supportive Mother
  • Time with the family to see a good movie
  • A picnic lunch by the lake
  • Recovering from lingering sickness

Friday, May 01, 2009

Stop and smell the flowers

This week is yet another fight between me and Mother Nature; the temperatures are good, but lots of rain is no fun.

  • A beautiful day of disc golf along with a well-played game
  • A gorgeous, blooming azalea bush
  • A tasty spinaca dip
  • An afternoon nap when you are feeling sick

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Friday, April 24, 2009


Now that things are finally warming up, I can spend some time outside. But when I do, my histamine system goes into overdrive. I just can't seem to win with nature.

  • Rubber mulch tree circles
  • A really cool elliptical machine that is still working after many years
  • Google sites allowing me to create something useful very quickly
  • Sushi

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jumping Jellies

I guess I really don't like Spring in Kansas. The weather can't make up it's mind at all, and the changing temperatures just leads to more migraines. I am truly a Summer person.

  • No accumulation
  • Supportive teammates that show up even for that late, late game
  • Planning for future fun trips
  • Grilled vegetables

Monday, April 06, 2009


So just as I'm starting to enjoy Spring, Mother Nature throws some snow at us. Usually, that will happen during the week, when I have to go to work or travel for other reasons. I count it lucky that this snow came over the weekend.

  • Not having to travel in the icky snow
  • Making a big batch of vegetable beef soup
  • An enjoyable dinner for just the girls
  • Winning a soccer game
  • Making that perfect disc throw

Friday, March 27, 2009

My heart keeps pumping

I scratched my cornea last Sunday, so this week's thanks have a new 'safety' theme.

  • A body that can repair itself
  • A doctor's office that fit me in on short notice
  • Other drivers who slow down some in the rain

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who Watches?

So I have delayed a little bit on my review of Watchmen. I saw it opening weekend on an IMAX screen and I really enjoyed it. Then, I borrowed the full graphic novel from a coworker and enjoyed the reading, but not as much. Finally, I went back to the theatre again last night to watch it again in the new AMC Cinema Suites.

I'm going to rate the movie a 9 overall. I really enjoyed the feel of the film, especially during my first viewing. I did not like the graphic novel as much, mostly because it is so dated, but also because I think some of the characters were just too weak to be believed as true "heroes". I like all the changes made in the movie and I think it builds a stronger story in the long run.

The new theatre I will give a rating of 5. There were some good things -- a very comfy recliner, being served at my seat, more space, and no kids. But there were also some bad things -- the leather seats squeaked pretty loudly, some of the servers didn't crouch and thus blocked my view, some of the patrons thought that a smaller theatre meant they could make more noise, and bad food. In the end, I think I would go back, but it would have to be the right kind of movie and the right kind of circumstances.

A warm breeze

I think Spring might be here! It's harder to be depressed when nature is waking up all around you.

  • A successful compile
  • Oven-roasted cauliflower
  • A night of sound sleep
  • Solving a difficult problem
  • Trees showing new buds

Friday, March 13, 2009

Head above the flotsam

It's been another rough week with lots of bad news. Sometimes it takes awhile to see any bright side. Yet when I stop for a moment to think about it, my life is not all that horrible. I am still thankful for:

  • Seeing a good movie with friends
  • Finding a new funny sitcom
  • Coming home from work to husband cooking a delicious, healthy dinner
  • A boss who takes her team out to lunch

Friday, March 06, 2009

Seasons Changing

Spring is not my favorite time of year, but since it means that Winter is over, I'd say it's my second favorite. Even if it's not officially Spring yet, it's starting to feel like it, and that makes me happy. Other things I'm thankful for this week:

  • A winning home team (Go KU!)
  • Five Guys fries
  • Not just a second wind, but a third, while playing a tough soccer game
  • A sunny day
  • Outdoor temperatures rising
  • A small chocolate frosty

Friday, February 27, 2009


Well, it's no wonder why I struggle with eating too much food -- most of the time I am very thankful for something delicious.

  • Dried cherries
  • Oatmeal
  • Back-rubs
  • The excitement of possibly a good movie (Watchmen)
  • A good story

Monday, February 23, 2009

Family, food and fun

Last week's thanks are late because I was on vacation all week. So I start this list appropriately:

  • Vacation
  • Cooking Day (1407 meatballs!)
  • A family that laughs
  • Pasta

Friday, February 13, 2009

To my love

In honor of Valentine's this weekend, here are several things about my husband I am very thank for:

  • His beautiful blue eyes
  • His kind heart
  • His strive to be the best
  • His desire to always do right
  • His thirst for knowledge
  • His quirky uniqueness
  • His attempts to make me laugh
  • His love of movies
  • And of course, I am most grateful for his love for me

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hanging in there

Another tough week with bad news all around. This week's few bright spots:

  • Spending a day with my husband watching movies and talking
  • Friends that try help and support me
  • Coworkers that send funny emails

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mini Movie Marathon

So on Saturday, I convinced my husband to go out for a change and see a movie. We started with this vague idea that we'd see one and maybe have lunch and then see if there was time for another. Sometimes it is nice to start a day with little planning in mind. He really wanted to see The Wrestler and I really wanted to see Slumdog Millionaire. I thought we'd start with his choice, but when we got to the theatre, I realized I had swapped the show times in my head so we ended up watching my movie first.

Slumdog Millionaire - Rating: 7. You might be as surprised by that number as I was while watching the movie. This is one of those few times where I let all the press and hype raise my expectations and went in hoping for something spectacular. While I did enjoy the film, it did not impress me the way I had hoped. The music was enjoyable and the acting performances were very good, and although things end on kind of an "up" note, I still left the theatre kind of sad.

So we went to Zios for lunch, where my day did not get any better. I used to love this particular chain restaurant, but things have been slowly going downhill over the past couple of years. Our lunch was edible, but just barely. The service was passable, but again, just barely. So we got in and out of the restaurant pretty quick and decided to try our luck at the theatre again and see Justin's choice.

The Wrestler - Rating: 6. There are certain aspects of this movie that I can respect, but in the end, I didn't feel that it brought anything new to the industry. This time I was not expecting as much, so I didn't come out disappointed. However, my growing depression for the day kind of exploded during that movie. My husband tried to explain it to me later -- tragedy is an accepted form of entertainment. In hindsight, I can see it and even understand -- heck, I've like many of the Hamlet films and other tragedies -- but I was not in the right frame of mind for it on Saturday.

Now that I was in a complete bummed-out mood, we decided to get some pizza for dinner and rent some "happy" movies to watch when we got home. So we got my favorite, Wheat State pizza along with 4 rentals.

Kung Fu Panda - Rating: 9. This is just what I needed. An enjoyable comedy that included the awesomeness of Kung Fu. Nothing like the mixture of laughter and action to make me feel better.

Death Race - Rating: 7. After a movie with more laughter and some action, we switched to one with more action and only some laughter. Again, when you start a movie with low expectations, usually you won't be disappointed. This one actually surprised me a little and I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. And I was literally laughing my head off at the disclaimer shown at the end of the film. For some reason, Hollywood executives think it is more likely that someone will try to duplicate the stunts of cars with Gatling guns, rather than say, the similarly crazy stunts in XXX. Their logic is .... well, laughable.

WALL-E - Rating: 8. Another enjoyable Pixar animation that made me laugh at their prediction of overweight humans on a star-cruise-line. Oh, and I can't wait for the pizza plants!

So that was enough for one day. We saved the fourth rented movie for later, and ended up watching it last night.

Max Payne - Rating: 4. Not much to say about this one.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sticking it out

It's been a rough week. I thought that always coming up with three simple things would be easy, but sometimes, it's more of a challenge.

  • A job where I get along with my coworkers and I really like my boss
  • A roof over my head
  • A car with a working heater

Friday, January 23, 2009

Still winter

And so my list this week continues on a certain theme

  • Things that make me laugh and learn at the same time
  • Oatmeal with brown sugar
  • Brownies
  • A bright, sunny and cloudless day

Friday, January 16, 2009

Surviving the White Death

As this icy, flaky, horrible stuff falls from the sky, I reflect on the things I am thankful for this week:

  • Space heaters
  • A good pair of boots
  • New tires
  • Fingerless gloves for typing
  • Hot tea

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yes, I did take my camera and have pictures -- I just finally sorted through and put a few up in a web album:
Consiglio Christmas 2008

Monday, January 12, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

I'm still wishing I was healthy again. In the meantime, I have recently been thankful for:

  • Cough syrup and cough drops
  • A place where I can play soccer with women like me who like to have fun and NOT kill each other
  • A family that enjoys playing games and laughing
  • Movies that make me laugh

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Post-Holiday Thanks

  • Health (It's so easy to forget until you get sick)
  • Sleep (Again, easily taken for granted)
I'll think of more things when I've gotten more of the two already listed.