challenge life | month two: work thy booty off daily

going back to my monthly challenge in life, let's recap how I've done so far.

the list:
  1. no fast food and cook meals at home
  2. exercise daily
  3. spend more time reconnecting with chris
  4. take more pictures
  5. explore more unique and local places to eat and be entertained
  6. write more poetry
  7. do volunteer work
  8. spend more time outside
  9. bake
  10. finish decorating tha crib
  11. no tv
  12. dress up

the results:
horrible. absolute disaster. unproductive. and completely unsuccessful. reconnecting with chris isn't a light switch I can turn on and off. not with his mind somewhere else. work is the ultimate culprit. he is to blame for chris's disengagement to life. and work is something I simply cannot control. the best I can do is keep myself busy to preoccupy my mind in order to avoid negative and depressing thoughts about my relationship.

which leads me to month two: exercise daily.

I was having trouble choosing which challenge I wanted to complete this month. I really wanted to become an at home cook, but then I realized there's a lot going on this month (birthdays, valentine's day, superbowl, my dad's first paycheck, puppysitting payment) that will make it hard for me to achieve that. then I thought why not spend the month dressing up - I just bought some cute outfits and would love to wear them. then I thought why not finish decorating our house so that we can feel like we live in a home.

what ultimately influenced me to make a decision is a comment I received from chris's dad over the weekend.

"so, Alicia, what do you like to do for exercise?" he asks me this EVERY time I see him.
"I don't."
"you know, being a sedentary is much worse than being overweight."

gee. thanks. ass.

it's not that I am a couch potato. it's that after working 8-10 hours a day, driving 2 hours a day, and sleeping maybe 5 hours a night, once I get home from work, I relax for maybe 2 hours (either watching tv or napping). eat dinner. watch a game. then go to bed.

I am not doing this challenge to admit that his dad is right. nor am I doing it to please his dad. I am doing this because I have been unhappy with my health and weight and I have been wanting to change it for some time. and exercising will be a wonderful way to distract me from my relationship.

the goals:
  • to flatten down my stomach
  • to tone the rest of my body 
  • to gain muscle
  • to be at a healthy weight*

the conditions:

  • must spend at least 30 minutes exercising for first 2 weeks of the month
  • must spend at least 60 minutes exercising for the second 2 weeks of the month
  • vary my exercise routines between yoga, Wii fit, pilates, dance workouts, & running or biking**
  • keep track daily of weight progress
  • keep frequent track of appearance
  • eat healthier by cutting out excessive snacking

I will start tomorrow by revealing my weight gasp! and showing pictures of my unflattering parts. hopefully you won't be too grossed out. I truly believe I have the ability to succeed this month. at least I'm totally motivated now.

*healthy weight is determined by  either (1) my Wii Fit profile - currently, I am classified as "underweight" and would like to be at "normal weight" and/or (2) being at the weight that will allow me to donate blood (110-125 lbs) but this may have to be combined with the eating at home challenge.
**running or biking will be me joining chris in his routine.


my addictions at the moment

can I say "nom nom nom?"
their tacos (yes, I do not get their burritos) easily satisfies any fast-food craving I may have throughout the week (and I usually have A LOT). if only there was a closer one, although we'll still make the drive for it a couple times a week. like *ahem* now.

teavana teas.
we had to make a special trip for this place too, but it was well worth it. they have so many wonderful flavors. (jasmine & youthberry are my favorites so far.) I love having a little cup of tea with breakfast to get me ready for the day and when I get home from a long day at work to relax.

aaron rodgers.
every week I am thankful that I get another week to see his beautiful smile and eyes.... 
no but seriously. this man is not only sexy and rugged but an amazing quarterback. I love watching him and green bay play. ♥


challenge life: getting back on track

after yet another falling out this weekend (probably one of our worsts as I stayed at my parents for the night) things are starting to look up. last night, I had one of the best nights with chris that I've had in a while. I don't want to get too excited though in fear of jinxing this anomaly (that hopefully becomes normal) but here's an overview of how our night went. it was simple, but I really enjoyed it.

we got home from work and he decided to go on a bike ride. I took advantage of him being gone for an hour to watch teen mom 2 (he HATES that show so much that I'm not allowed to watch it when he's home). by the way, I definitely cried a little bit.

after he got home and showered we went to chipotle!! not only did I get to enjoy scrumptious, to-die-for, food, but chris and I chatted the whole ride there, while eating, and the whole ride back. marvelous. simply marvelous.

afterwards we stopped by my parents to see how my dad's first day of work went. it's so amazing to see him so excited. there are no words to express how grateful I am that he's back to his old self.

we then went back home. he took the dogs on a walk while I put some music on my computer and got ready for bed. when he got back, we cuddled up with the puppy and watched pitbulls and parolees.

again, it was a simple, pretty laid back night, but we really talked and enjoyed each other's company. rather than just tolerating each other. and for the first time in a loooonnnng time, I got a slight glimmer of hope that maybe we'll make it through. after everything that we've been through, I'd hate to throw it all away. we worked so hard, together, to get where we're at. in our own house. with our degrees. with our careers. everything I have built and become he has been a huge part in. I thought I would be fine if things didn't work out now. but the other night (after not talking to him all weekend) it really hit me hard. I realized that it would be really extremely difficult to live without him.

so hopefully now we can get back on track with my challenge for the month. it's never too late to try to reconnect with your love.


how far [I've] come

earlier this week, January 11th, to be exact, a monumental moment in my life occurred. no chris didn't have some ephiphiny and started acting like a boyfriend to me again. a moment I didn't expect to arrive so soon in my journey. a moment that opens a new chapter.

I got my white hard hat.
why is this so significant you ask? well, let me explain.

when you become a new hire for the company I work at (freeport mcmoran) you get a red hard hat. the red hard hat sygnifies that you are a new employee. it's basically a red flag warning your coworkers to beware of your presence. because every one knows new employees are the dumbest and most careless. that's actually not true. I'm being sarcastic. but that is what it means. after a year of employment, you graduate to a white hard hard. yay!

this means a lot to me, not only because of the fact that I don't like red and I don't like wearing a big red hat to act as a caution sign, but because I have worked a full year. I have learned enough from college to start a career. no more minimum-wage-dealing-with-people jobs. no more internships that last for a few months. and no more part-time jobs where I don't have any opportunities. I have a career. I am an adult. I have accomplished something not too many people my age, where I come from, have been able to. I am very lucky. I am very blessed.

can I say "ew"? because ew.
I am no longer the "newbie." I am the youngest, salary paid employee at this site. and even though I have the plague of being an "engineer," I have gained my coworkers' trust. I may not be very helpful with information yet, but maybe in another year, I'll be the technical support they need. so this week, I retire my ugly, annoying, red hard hat. 


"because there is no effort without error and shortcoming"

oh how right you are, teddy roosevelt (can I call you teddy?). I want to call my month of January a complete failure. already. how sad is that? not only did I have french fries yesterday (don't worry, I feel pretty bummed about it), but chris and I haven not dedicated ourselves to talking for at least half an hour each day, nor do we do a fun activity each night. which is pretty much all the "conditions" I had to meet in order to achieve the goal of connecting with chris on a deeper level this month. sure it's only the 12th day of the month, but how successful can you be if you don't fulfill the challenge the whole month? you can't just half-ass a month-long challenge.

so to sum up. my first month of challenge life operation is definitely a FAIL. AND I already broke the number 1 new year's resolution I made this year.

now, I can sulk, cry in a corner, give up on life, and accept the fact that I'll always be unhappy, but I will not. with the recent events in Tucson, it forces you to realize that being depressed (or fearful) is not the answer to overcoming such tragedy. because then you will allow your inner demon (or the asshole shooter) to win.

at the suns vs. knicks game on friday♥♥
so after reassessing my situation, I have not failed. yes, I have failed in meeting my conditions of the month, but it's pretty ridiculous to set conditions for something like connecting with your significant other on a deeper level. it's not something you can write instructions on. it's something you have to go with the flow on, something you adjust to based on actions and circumstances. overall, chris and I have been doing rather well, depending on how you look at it. I haven't gotten as upset as I usually do. instead, if something he does makes me sad or angry, I just tell him, "blah blah made me sad/angry/hurt/upset." and we've had a few conversations. not hour long discussions, but that's ok. we've been talking more and that's really what I wanted to achieve.

only thing is, I feel I have been putting more effort than he. if only he knew what teddy knew: that "there is no effort without error and shortcoming." because frankly, I think he's afraid. I think he's afraid that his effort won't be good enough. that his effort will result in me getting upset/mad anyways. that his effort will be wrong. but regardless of the what happens with his effort, along with my effort, we will be closer and stronger with it. I truly believe that.

as for my french fry resolution, there's no excuse to justify why I broke my resolution. but again, I will not give up. I can't quit french fries cold turkey. so I need to ease out of it. chris, my supportive boyfriend (it's so wonderful to be able to say that!), suggest that I just modify my resolution. only fries once every other week. so I will do that for a couple of months. then fries only once a month for a couple of months. then I will attempt no fries for a couple of months. that's my new resolution. yes, I'm modifying my resolution. deal with it.


in the light of tragedy

most people had a pretty normal weekend. they either watched the seahawks, ravens, packers and/or jets win the wildcard round, did some weekly grocery shopping, got drunk with friends and regretted the hangover the next morning, slept as much as they could, or had to work. but for 18 people, they're normal weekend turned into national tragedy.

if you haven't seen the news lately, or read the headlines, one of our congresswomen, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot, point-blank, in the head in what seems to be an attempt to make a political statement. the suspect is barely old enough to drink. a year younger than I am. and this young man wasn't finished after thinking he killed Mrs. Giffords. he went on to shoot 18 innocent people, killing 6 of them.

I heard the news while I was at the store. I immediately texted chris who grew up in Tucson, who has met Gabrielle Giffords. he tells me she's a nice lady and very respectful. it's hard for me not to feel the pain and anger and disgust with a community that I was once a part of. I remember my sophomore or junior year of college in Tucson, The Format held a free concert on University right next to campus. it was to educate students to vote and what to vote for. different candidates at the time stood up and spoke about their beliefs and what they would do. I was 10 feet from her, listening to her voice and stance on different issues. she was warm and inviting.

and now she is fighting for her life. although doctors are "very optimistic" about her recovery, it isn't going to be easy. her whole life is turned upside down now. and for what? for meeting with the people to hear their opinions and concerns. something all politicians and congressmen/women should do. and now how can they without speaking in fear? we were once a country based on freedoms, that people took advantage of. now we're a shattered country based on fear. we are not free. how are we a free country when the people we vote for can't even speak openly with the people? kids cannot be themselves, whether it be straight, gay, bisexual, whatever, without being bullied to the point they want to take their own life. you can't wish strangers "merry christmas" without being overly criticized and disgraced. we are not free. our country is infected with hate. rather than using words, people use violence. people believe the only way to have their voices heard, is to cause a tragic event.

it's hard for me to even try to understand what happened without crying. it's hard to be ok with the fact that this young man lived amongst us and had the heart to do something like this. it's difficult to fathom how someone could possess so much hate that they would go to such extremes. but what's hardest is the fact that there are many other people out there like him and this won't be the last time our country is shaken with tragedy. simply and sadly because not much will change. people will be outraged and in fear for maybe a year, if that much. but once the media has some other "breaking news" to talk about, most of us will forget. if you don't live in arizona and especially tucson, you will probably go about your every day lives without thinking twice about the victims.

the paper had several articles about the victims. about the 76 year old man who threw his body on top of his wife's to protect her and instead lost his. about the 79 year old women who was never that interested in politics, but admired Giffords and wanted "to get to know her." the 76 year old women who kept her political opinions quiet and went with her husband who was the one who wanted to hash out politics with Giffords. about the 30 year old aid to Giffords who organized these public events for Giffords to interact with the voters and who had his wedding date set in 2012. the 63 year old district judge who stopped by just to say "hi" to his friend. and about the 9 year old girl who had dreams of being the first women in major league baseball and was an aspiring politician herself, just being elected to her student council (she was born during tragedy on september 11, 2001 and died during tragedy). all these people went to talk to a politician who was reaching out to them to listen, something I think is very rare these days. all these people just started off a normal saturday.

I've been down and depressed lately and struggling to stay positive. I complained about my relationship and how lonely I felt. these families lost someone this weekend. and when I compare my life to theirs, I realize it's not so bad. I am, again, reminded that life is short. people take that for granted. I take that for granted.

I've learned the best way to mourn someone's death is to live the way they can't anymore. since my tata died, I try to live my life by improving my skills and always learning - how he lived his. and now I will protect those I love like Stoddard did. I will stay active and volunteer when I get older like Schneck did. I will travel like Morris did. I will love and help others like Zimmerman did. I will stay loyal to my friends like Roll did. and I will follow my dreams like Green would have.


challenge life: saaaahhh-weeeeet potatoes.

yesterday was nice. chris and I went to a local restaurant for lunch. I know this restaurant has delicious french fries but I wanted to stick to my resolution: no french fries. but I didn't say anything about sweet potato fries. :) I compared the nutritional facts, reviewed them with chris, and thought about why I made the resolution in the first place: to get healthier. and french fries are my weakness. I eat them constantly. and they are waaay unhealthy. so instead of making a resolution to eat healthier, I thought I take baby steps by cutting out one thing in my diet that I love but will kill me. and since sweet potatoes are better than regular potatoes (they're super rich in beta-carotene and other immunity boosters and can help you gain healthy weight - both of which I am in desperate need of) I figured I wouldn't be violating my resolution. they were perfect. I wish I had a picture to show.

that afternoon when we got home from work, we invited my parents over for dinner. they came over, we watched some dexter, chris made tortellini, we ate, and played some euchre. it was enjoyable. the best part is that chris and I got along all night.
dad & mom getting ready to enjoy dinner
dad made his plate look like the fancy restaurants
mom can't believe she married this guy
however, even though we've been getting along lately, I'm not very satisfied. because I don't feel like we've had any real conversations. and I don't feel like chris is making the same effort I am into talking and spending time together. I'm started to get mildly freaked out. I don't think chris will change. or wants to become a better boyfriend. and I just don't think I can live the rest of my life with someone who I can't have a conversation with. I need that.

I won't jump to any conclusions just yet - I'll wait until I'm at least halfway through the month. but it's not looking good. I'm doing my best to be optimistic though.

in other news, work's been super crazy busy. it's weird, I went from having nothing to do at work, to not being able to get everything done. even though I really want to get my iron-transfer project started, I can't seem to find much time to. but I'm glad because I'm really starting to get involved and other people are starting to call me with questions. my work confidence has definitely climbed within the last week. now only if I could get my boss to go to south america, I'd be content. 

only thing is I think my body isn't too fond of my new workload. I can feel myself getting more sluggish and I've been having that feeling in the back of my throat that's like, "hey, I'm going to be sore soon, maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon. and when I am, I'm going to come with a vengeance." so we'll see - maybe more sweet potato french fries will keep my immune system on defense. I need to feel on top of my game because I'm going to have a great weekend. and I need to not want to curl up in bed all day.


challenge life: revamping my outlook

with my amazing website design skills (which mainly consists of me asking my sister [in law] and brother for help) and days of asking family for opinions and decisions, I reveal my new blog. 
I just didn't feel like my life was "simply complicated" anymore. it's waaay more complicated than anything and it makes it difficult to enjoy the simplicity.  I like the way it turned out. my sister [in law] came up with the new title. she got it from an e.e. cummings poem titled "i thank you God for most this amazing." it's a lovely poem and fits perfectly where I am in life right now.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural with is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

I think it's such a great poem and am thankful she shared it with me. because this year, I hope to awake and open my eyes to the beautiful world around me and the blessed like I have been given. I am excited and looking forward to this journey.

as for January's challenge, things are going slowly. I haven't been feeling too well the past couple of days, so we haven't done anything too major. but I have been putting a lot of effort in having conversations with chris and I can tell he's trying to adjust. it's just a slow process - getting someone to open up to you. and it can be very frustrating. but I think it's possible. it has to be possible.

yesterday we ate delicious spinach and cheese ravioli with a cheesy marinara sauce over it and hung up some pictures/wall decorations/our diplomas to make give our walls more personality. tonight we went to dinner (taco bell! my fave - a treat for me since I've been ill♥) and made small talk throughout the whole meal - which is an improvement for us. usually we just eat in silence. they definitely weren't long, deep conversations, and it was mostly about work, but we kept talking. it was nice. now chris is waiting for me to finish so we can snuggle up on the couch and maybe squeeze in a move before the suns vs. lakers game. life is good.

what do you think of the new look?


challenge life | month one: reconnect with chris

I explained to chris my desire to challenge not only myself, but the both of us this year and he seemed totally on board. (although it's hard to tell most of the time what he's thinking.) I started bouncing ideas off him on things I wanted to accomplish and of course he focused on the getting healthier tasks most. but I told him, first & foremost, I want to reconnect, or rather connect, with him on a deeper level. we've been rocky on a rollercoaster at a point in our relationship where I feel like the engine of the plane just blew up and we're now plummeting towards sharp rocks with lions and bears waiting to chow us up. so in order for me to make a final decision as to where I want to be, I need to give it a full out try. and I need him to participate with me. and that's where the challenge comes in.

cue in month one of my challenge life: reconnect with chris.

the goals:

  • to have daily conversations with each other
  • to understand what goes on in his mind from time to time
  • to feel important and special in his life
  • to see if we're truly compatible/meant for each other (like we used to be)
  • to spend more time together enjoying life

the conditions:

  • must spend at least 30 minutes having (or attempting) a conversation
  • do one activity together each night
  • be straight up and tell the other how we feel if upset/mad
  • be completely honest with each other

day 1 we spent the day playing uno and watching dexter (♥!!) at my parent's house. there wasn't much talking, but technically, we didn't make the agreement yet.

day 2 we spent the evening fighting and when that fizzled out we downloaded a "conversation starters" app and asked each other its questions. they weren't much of conversation starters, however, but I think that's mainly chris's problem, since he answers the question and thinks that's all he needs to do. is it possible to "train" someone on communicating? what are some ideas on how I can get him to open up to me more?

day 3 was my dad's birthday so after work we headed over there & went to dinner at the most amazing seafood restaurant in mesa. seriously. they had the most succulent and juicy and wonderful crab legs. and every things else. (on a side note, I managed to avoid the french fries and got steamed veggies and their seafood pasta salad on the side. too bad I didn't have room to eat them.)
so tonight - day 4 - is where we'll really get cracking on this challenge. I'm looking forward to it and doing my best to be optimistic.

and I wish the rest of you challenging yourself this year the best of luck! & don't let anyone make you think twice about your decisions!


this must be it, welcome to the new year

I think my main cause for disappointment for the year 2010 is my lack of accomplishment. I don't feel like I achieved any of my lifetime goals. I don't feel like I went anywhere in life. yes, I bought my first home and yes I started my first post-college job, but those were things that needed to be done - not dreams/goals I wanted to accomplish. and with the 7 months of living in our house, I haven't done too much to it to make it our home. I haven't hung pictures or even completely unpacked. and with my lack of motivation to much of anything, I was washed over by negative and depressing thoughts.

so when new year's day came along, I decided that this year I am going to get up and do something. not only will it keep my mind preoccupied and away from the dark side, but it will also challenge me to become a better person, which is my ultimate goal. for the past couple of days, I thought about how I wanted to do this - I have so many goals in life and honestly life is too short. then I thought, why don't I make a list of 12 things I want to get accomplished this year and challenge myself to do it each month.

then I saw the rest of the blogosphere came up with the same idea. (really? I thought I was a freakin' genius for this one!) oh well. that shouldn't stop me from pursuing what I want. one of my new year's resolutions was to do more stuff for myself, so I'm not gonna hold back.

here's my tentative monthly to-dos list (most of them stem from my 2011 resolutions):

  1. no fast food and cook meals at home
  2. exercise daily
  3. spend more time reconnecting with chris
  4. take more pictures
  5. explore more unique and local places to eat and be entertained
  6. write more poetry
  7. do volunteer work
  8. spend more time outside
  9. bake
  10. finish decorating tha crib
  11. no tv
  12. dress up
these aren't in the order that I'll be doing them and I may change them, but I think I have the ability to dedicate myself to each one for a period of time. I'm hoping that by making myself do something every day for a month (like exercising), will enable me to fit that activity in my daily life permanently. in other words, I don't want to do these things for a month then quit, I want to challenge myself to learn how to adapt my life around them. that's my ultimate goal at least.

I also want to dedicate myself more to blogging and not just about my boring, depressing life, but maybe ways on how to get yourself out of a hole and realize how great life is. basically, my blog is going to have a much-needed make over soon. ;)