Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: October 2008 Page 1 of 3

Happy Halloween!

I’m anticipating this to be a helluva day before I leave work, so I wanted to wish all 2 of you who read my blog a spooky holiday from me and Zliten, who for today will be refered to as wraith queen and Todd.

Serious props to you if you get it.  I work at a gaming company and I’ve had ONE person recognize the costume.  I do actually have a real post planned, but it might just have to wait until later…

Contemplating the Upcoming Cruise…

I am in love with cruises.  You see, to me, it is the PERFECT vacation.  You travel to the harbor, you get on the boat, and then you are automatically transported to vacationland where you have ZERO responsibility until the you leave the boat.  The most pressing decision is whether to hit the dining room or the buffet.  The pina colada or the margarita?  The pool bar or the piano bar?  No one has to drive, no directions to navigate, no worrying about what you’re going to do that day – it’s all there, on a little floating city for you.  All pictures are from our last cruise on Celebrity to the Pacific side of Mexico.

The only forseeable problem this time is last time I was on a cruise, I was about 100 lbs heavier, and wasn’t really concerned if I was getting off the boat at 105 lbs heavier.  I brought my elasticy pants for a reason thankyouverymuch.  However this time, I have a goal – to eat like a normal person in the real world, and I’d prefer if I came back without an extra 5 lb dumpling attached to my stomach.

For those of you who have never been on a cruise, you cannot understand the way these boats fatten you up.  You’ve already paid ahead of time for all food (minus some of the fancy schmancy extras they offer, but ignoring that), so there’s no cost factor.  It might sound insane, but you have so many opportunities to eat.  You can wake up with coffee, danishes, toast, and other continental type breakfast foods delivered to your door.  You can then hit the breakfast buffet for a midmorning feast of every type of breakfast food you want.  Lunch, you can hit the dining room and get a specially prepared meal, and later, hit the lunch buffet to see if there’s anything good you missed.  While you’re at the pool, you can order a drink and partake of the hamburgers, hotdogs, and french fries on deck.  Feeling a little tired from all that eating?  Just grab some afternoon ice cream to perk you up.  Hungry still?  Look it’s dinner time, and there’s a 4 course meal just waiting to be served to you, and the buffet is waiting just in case you have a hollow leg.  After that, go grab some drinks at the bar, and there will be late night appetizers passed around.  Now, it’s midnight, and time for the late night buffet, a different theme each night.  Three am and you feel a rumbling in your gut?  It must be your HUNGER (that’s right).  Go grab a plate and hit the all night pizza, pasta, and salad kitchen before waddling down the hall to your cabin.

See, eating like a normal person in the real world on a cruise is actually a very lofty goal.

I’m hoping that having been on this healthy lifestyle kick, I’ll be less likely to eat like I haven’t had food for days at every opportunity.  I’m envisioning this for our first “At Sea” day…

I wake up around 9 am (or whenever I wake up without an alarm clock), and change into my workout clothes.  After hitting the buffet for a piece of fruit and a slice of toast, I go for a nice, relaxing, long run on the sun deck of the ship.  Seriously, one of the things I am most looking forward to is running with a view of nothing but the ocean.  Is that sad?  Then, I head down to the pool to cool off and then to the hot tub to relax my muscles.  After a nice morning soaking up the sun (with sunblock, of course), we head to the lunch fare and grab a plate of good, healthy, yummy food and either find some fun activities to do, or back to the poolside.  Then, get all dolled up in my high school prom dress and heels (please let it fit, I was soooo close the last time I tried it on) and go to dinner and order what sounds good, but mindfully eat and not finish my plate unless it’s worth it or I’m genuinely still hungry.  Then, head down to the show, sip some wine at the bar and maybe dance a bit, and drift off to bed.

Last year, I dragged my ass outta bed probably closer 10:30, which at the time was way earlier than I’d normally wake up on a weekend.  If I could be bothered, I did a workout (walking at like 3.0 for 20-30 mins or maybe the eliptical) but I think most days I just went to the breakfast buffet and scarfed everything in sight.  Then, I got sunburnt by the pool because I was a dumbass and forgot my sunscreen, and just felt all around tubby in my fat girl bathing suit.  Then, since breakfast wasn’t filling enough, I shoved plates and plates of food down my throat.  Then either a nap in the cabin and games with the parents, which invariably had breaks for french fries and ice cream, or drinking at the pool bar.  Then dinner, then drinking, then munchies later, and some nights even room service because, well, we could and it was free.

I’m sure it will be something in between the two.  I doubt there will not be at least one day period we have a few drinks poolside or on shore instead of waiting until after dinner.  I’ll have to have one day where I grab something not-so-healthy for breakfast.  I might not be able to stay away from every midnight buffet.  But the biggest thing I want to do is eat mindfully, and if I’m full, stop eating (duh).  I think I’ve been able to train myself away from the “I see food so it must be time to eat” mentality, but this is definitely a test.

Even though I’m a little freaked out about the eating part, I am so excited to get a vacation.  People at work have actually gotten called back from theirs lately – and it’s not possible for me, since I will be incommunicado for the entire time (well, technically, they can dial the ship and have me paged for 9 bucks a minute, but whatever, I’m not telling them that).  I haven’t had a vacation that’s just me and the gnome for at least 5 years, it’s always been with people tagging along, or visiting friends or family or tradeshows or events… not this time.  It’s just quality us time doing whatever the hell we feel like.  I also haven’t had a vacation or left Austin since we moved here, and I’ve definitely been feeling the need lately.

All I know is it’s not getting here soon enough.  Ten more workdays until I’m free from the evil clutches of the gaming salt mines (yeah, yeah, I know, I just like to be overly dramatic) and heading away from shore.  I wish it was tomorrow, and not 2 weeks away.   Argh!

Healthy Eating in the Restaurant Captial of the World

So I mentioned I’ve been yelping, and I’ve been keeping up with it (in a way I haven’t been keeping up with this blog the last week, bad Quix).  I’ve been trying to review everywhere I go (mostly where we go to lunch, but I did the gym and the thrift store too).  I think it’s a great site, and realized I used it a lot without contributing, so if I go somewhere I haven’t reviewed before, I review it.  If you’ve all but run out of the internets, it’s a great place to look around and see if you can find somewhere new to try the next time you go out.  If you end up going there a lot, contribute and keep the happy fun circle of yelp awesomeness going.

It’s interesting also to use it as a snapshot of my eating habits lately.  In the last week or so I’ve reviewed Mann’s BBQ (lunch today), Sirloin Stockade (Sunday dinner), I owe Thundercloud Subs a review from Sunday lunch, Fresh Choice (Thursday lunch),  El Mercado (Wednesday lunch),  Jimmy John’s Sandwiches (Tuesday lunch), Saltgrass Steakhouse (Sunday lunch), and Austin Diner (Saturday brunch).  Only thing missing was Monday’s and Friday’s lunches, which I already reviewed (pho and I don’t remember Monday…).  On first glance, not exactly the picture of health, huh?

It should be said that generally everything we cook at home is healthy and portioned properly.  These lovely chicken wings?  Never at home, only out at Pluckers, and very very rarely.  Our staples are grilled chicken, Quix-mashed potatoes (pretty much potato, a dash of lite ranch, and a pinch of blue cheese, dried onions and garlic and spices), and heaps of veggies, or lemon pepper mahi mahi, brown rice, and veggies, shrimp stir fry, or the like.  I always stock veggie burgers and wheat buns, and keep stuff around to whip up a gigantic salad at a moments notice.  There is junk food around, but it usually ends up going bad or getting freezer burnt, honestly.  I am that bitch that has had a can of frosting and cupcake fixins for 10 months and they’re still in the pantry, and that still has Halloween candy from last year in the freezer.  I am also that bitch that lets everyone else order the junk food, and then eats a little bit off their plate (evidenced here).  I used to say because it doesn’t have calories on someone else’s plate, but now I realize – a taste is usually enough, and it’s hard to get more than a taste when I have Zliten slapping at my hands.  See his look of disapproval there?

Yet at most places, I know how to work the menu to get something filling, yummy, and totally within my calorie range for the day.  Mann’s today, we split a plate and both left full.  Sandwich places – I just leave off the mayo, leave off oil, pick off SOME of the cheese (I need my calcium, kthx), and stay with cold cuts or chicken, and away from meatballs or anything with the word “salad” in it unless it was proceeded by “side” (no tuna or chicken salads full of mayo and goop).  Salad bar – well, just pile your plate with anything veggie and go sparingly on the rest.  Austin Diner – I just went with a small portion and chose to indulge in fried potatoes, cheese, bacon, and tortilla yumminess.  Steak places are harder, but I usually just compensate by nibbling on mostly veggies and fruit the rest of the day.  Sirloin Stockade was sort of a fail, but I know what to get and what to skip next time.

So, what’s my point?  I guess it’s that you CAN actually lose weight eating out most of the time, or if you’re happy where you’re at, you can at least change your daily diet to be more healthful and less like a college student.  I would be miserable if I had to avoid eating out, so I had to learn how to deal quickly after a month of going home or bringing my lunch every day and finding excuses to stay away from the every weekend parties/bbqs/picnics/group dinners out.  The biggest thing to remember is that not every restaurant meal is a special occasion.  Eat like you would at home, don’t be afraid to throw away food (or take it home, if you’re into leftovers, but I’m really not), and you won’t be stuck at home making chicken, brown rice, and veggies again for the 5th time this week while your friends who invited you out for mexican are having a great time.  When your friends contribute to awesome spreads like this one all the time (homemade bread, salad, my awesome mashed potatoes, coleslaw, bbq’d brisket, sausage, and chicken), you just can’t do that shit without crying in your Lean Cuisine, and that’s no way to live.

If you’re staying home due to financial reasons, fine, that’s another story.  If you’re in the first month of transitioning from counting the pickles and onions on your bacon double cheese burger as veggies to healthier fare, you probably want to avoid the outside world as much as you can (and with your mood, it will probably avoid you back).  However, one of the most freeing things was when I realized I could eat at restaurants and attend parties and still lose weight.  It takes practice, but it’s totally worth it.

5 Random Things

1.  Today the cold front moved in and it was in the low 50’s this morning and only got up to the low 70’s today (yes I know that’s some people’s summer temperatures, but…bugger off, I like my hot weather).  I dunno about everyone else, but I just don’t like it.  Sure, I got to wear a sweater (which was too small last year and almost too big now) and my new spiffy loafers (now with pennies), but winter approaching makes me sad.  It’s dark when I get home from the gym now, hell, soon it will be dark when I get home from work.  The fun nights of sitting out on the patio are slowly fading into memory…*tear*.

2.  Speaking of cold…I used to sweat at the THOUGHT of getting up and walking around and wear skirts and sandals into almost the dead of San Diego winter.  Today, at about 70 degrees, I was chilly in shoes, jeans, a sweater, and an undershirt.  Either Austin summers have spoiled me, or I just don’t have enough “forever sweater” anymore (thanks Pang).

3.  I’ve been playing the game I’m working on a lot this week, and having a blast!  I’m now in the second of four worlds and things are getting tougher.  Two monsters on one player is so not fair!  My outfit is terribly mismatched though – as you can see.  It’s really good for me to take time to play during stressful weeks so I can remember what it is I’m stressing over, and it’s all worth it.  Or at least, I’m having a little fun in between the crazy.

4. I’ve been a little moody this week, and today I decided that I was going to make the executive decision on the one thing I could – my mood.  I told everyone this morning I was anti-grump and was going to be cheerful today, and amazingly enough, everyone around me has been in a better mood today.  It’s always good to remember the one thing you really CAN control, if not anything else, is your mood and your outlook on things.

5.  More about Project Tile when it’s done, but Zliten did an absolutely awesome job – except the step where he forgot to sponge the grout off the top of the tiles so there is now a chalky, hardened mess.  He is currently at Lowe’s for the 10th time this week trying to figure out a way besides vinegar and water and elbow grease and days of work.  Poor guy!

I have nothing of substance to say today…

So here is a funny video – I can’t get the damn song out of my head so I will pass it on to everyone else out there!

Until tomorrow, when I either spout off about eating habits, or showing off my Zliten’s home improvement handiwork.  Or I may just run off to Mexico instead, if I do, don’t wait up.

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