Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Ah, November.  You have arrived with your blustery winds, your falling leaves, your lovely crisp scent.  And, yes, I can experience all of these things even though I live in California, with its mild temperament and nearly non-existent seasons.  I love it.

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, and I will gladly stuff my face with turkey, stuffing, mac and cheese, and a various assortment of pies and other desserts.

But, do you know what else is upon us?  The dreaded 'Post One Thing You're Thankful For Every Single Day on Facebook Challenge.'  Or, as I like to call it, the 'Annoy the Ever-Living Hell Out of Your Facebook Friends Extravaganza.'

It's not that I begrudge people their thankfulness, not at all.  On the contrary, I am glad people are thankful for things...you might even say that I'm thankful that they are thankful.

But, we are ever-increasingly doing our best (or worst) to blend the public and the private, until the two are virtually indistinguishable. I love Facebook--it allows me to keep in touch (phone-phobe that I am) with so many people that I probably would never have spoken to again if it weren't for this little invention.  (That, by the way, is no reflection on said individuals, merely a reflection upon myself and the ways in which I do not particularly enjoy communicating). That being said, I don't think that I should have to read about what each and every one of them is thankful for without actively choosing to do so.

Basically, I think that instead of reading the 30 things Hannah is thankful for (I don't actually have any friends named Hannah, so don't bother looking), which clogs up my news feed along with everything Prue, Phoebe, and Piper are thankful for, I should have to actively choose to do so (more than likely, I sometimes would choose this, by the way).

In other words, I think Hannah should get a blog.  And every day, she should write what she is thankful for in that blog, and every week, she should post a link to that blog.  That way, I get to choose whether or not I want to read the latest 7 things Hannah is thankful for, or whether I'd rather skip that and scroll through my news feed to see what everyone is having for lunch, or what their super cute kids are up to for the day/week/month.

I've never taken part in this "challenge," largely because I find it arbitrary, but also because for some reason, I find it annoying (perhaps because I find it arbitrary?).  I even hid one person who did it last year (don't worry, I un-hid you as soon as December hit!).

Well, I take part of that back--one year, I posted on November 30th, that I was thankful that I wouldn't have to read about everyone else's thankfulness anymore.

I don't mean to be a scrooge or a grinch, I just mean to say: I like staying in touch with you!  Truly, I do.  I like seeing what you're up to, looking at your pets, your kids, and debating with you.  I just don't like 8 million posts every day about how you're thankful for your juicer. :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Survey

Hey, guys!  I found this over at my good friend Mindy's blog (www.mindytrue.wordpress.com), and thought I'd go ahead and do it too, book-lover that I am!
Author you’ve read the most books from: I think this would honestly probably be Anne M. Martin.  I was obsessed with the Baby Sitter's Club Little Sister books when I was 8 & 9.  That, or Lurlene McDaniel (Sixteen and Dying, etc.) as a pre-teen. 
Best Sequel Ever: You know, I'm not really one that's into series that much--I guess Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Currently Reading: Insurgent by Veronica Roth.
Drink of Choice While Reading: Same as my drink of choice whilst doing anything: Diet Coke.
E-reader or Physical Book? Physical book.  Though, I do love my Nook and its convenience.
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Gonna stick with Mindy on this one and say a male Nicholas Sparks character.
Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I haven't read all of the HP books, but I did like this one, and I'm sure I'll read them all someday.
Hidden Gem Book: Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman. 
Important Moment in your Reading Life: The House of Mirth.  I finished it in the bathtub my Freshman year of high school, and I just started sobbing.  I would go on to write a 60 page honors thesis about the novel.
Just Finished: Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Don't really care for non-fiction that much, unless it's something I'm already interested in.  Not really a fan of mysteries or science fiction, either.
Longest Book You’ve Read: Not including poetry: Seven Types of Ambiguity (640 pages).
Major book hangover because of: Seven Types of Ambiguity.  It took me so long to read this book (I mean, years) because it kept getting to me--it was too poignant and powerful.  So, when I finally finished, I was taken aback.
Number of Bookcases You Own: One giant one, and one little one.  We also need more.
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: The House of Mirth.
Preferred Place To Read: In the bathtub.
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feelings from a book you’ve read: "We either forgive one another who we really are / or not."
Reading Regret: Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski I hated, hated, haaaated this book.  I didn't actually finish it, but I hated the fact I even bought it and attempted to read it.
Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series): Matched series, I guess.  Though... I don't know if I need to finish.
Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: Seven Types of Ambiguity (I'm sure you saw that one coming) by Elliot Perlman, The House of Mirth (and that one) by Edith Wharton, and Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.
Unapologetic Fangirl For: Cinna in The Hunger Games.
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: The next Elliot Perlman release, I guess.
Worst Bookish Habit: I stockpile books. I currently have about 15 books waiting to be read. Might be a bit obsessive. Or prepared, depending on how you look at it. (Going to keep Mindy's answer here, as I also do this).
X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Why We Broke Up by Mark Handler.
Your latest book purchase: I Could Chew On This (and other poems by dogs).
ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Art of Moderation...

The Art of Moderation, or Why I Do Not Deprive Myself Too Much or Push Myself Too Hard

Hi, my name is Natalie, and I have high blood pressure.

Whew.  Felt good to get that off my chest.

I'm 27, so this whole high blood pressure thing is not good, to say the absolute least.  It runs in my family on both sides--my mom and dad both have high blood pressure.  I'm sure the fact that I've gained a little weight doesn't help, either, but even before that happened, I had high blood pressure every time I went to the doctor.

Part of it, I'm sure, is the cuff they put around my arm--how tightly it has to squeeze definitely stresses me out.  Plus, being in a doctor's office for any reason is definitely not fun--I can feel myself start to get so nervous that I begin to feel sick to my stomach, though I'm not even really sure why.  Nothing THAT bad has ever even happened to me at the doctor's office.  I'm just a weirdo, I guess.

When they take it manually, it's lower--but, still high.  Just not AS high.

Anyway, for months now, I've been saying I'm going to do this and that, but let's be real for a second: it's hard.  It's really, really hard to eat healthier, exercise more, and generally be healthier.  And it's ESPECIALLY hard when you work night shift, like I do.  Most people can go home after work and cook a nice meal (even though they're tired).  I can't do that.  I don't get home until 1am, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later, and the last thing I want to do is cook.  On top of that, you're not even really supposed to eat after 7, 8, or 9 or whatever the rule is anymore.

So, a few months ago, I found myself eating out a lot--it's convenient, and although it's not cheaper, it's definitely a time-saver.  I've definitely cut back on that in the last two months, though, and instead I've been turning more to frozen meals which are cheaper and also more convenient.

But, I've not deluded myself into thinking that these packaged meals are healthy.  Not by a long shot.  I'm well aware that they are terrible for you--the overly processed food from a box that sits in the freezer for months can't be good for your body, not to mention that most of these frozen meals pack in the sodium to make up for a lack of taste.

So, despite the fact that I've only been (usually) eating a frozen meal a day, and a few snacks or sandwiches for lunch (also packed with sodium in the form of lunch meat), I haven't really committed to a low-sodium lifestyle, which I think I really need to do if I want to get healthier and be able to have a child someday.

But, that is gradually changing.  Last week, when looking through Ye Olde Internet for some low-sodium snack options, I came across this blog (www.SodiumGirl.com) with which I was totally unfamiliar.  I spent a bit browsing the page, looking at some recipes, and then decided to order her cook book through Barnes and Noble.

Then, I decided to try and take this a little more seriously.  I went to the gym Friday - Sunday, and am planning on making that a regular thing that I do.  It's weird because by Sunday, my stamina running was already improving.  I was able to run a 12:43 mile, which isn't very impressive, but the previous two days, I was hovering around 14 minutes, closer to 15.

The cookbook arrived yesterday, and I went through and wrote down some ingredients I'll need, and am planning on getting them this Sunday, then making a meal plan.

Sodium Girl's story is actually pretty incredible (not to mention inspiring!)-- she went into complete renal failure, she was on a transplant list and everything, and then she decided to really make a change for the better, and she was taken off the transplant list, and her kidneys pretty much revived themselves.  She studied low-sodium diets, made a habit of reading labels in the store, and has really turned things around.

When I ordered her cookbook, I didn't know this story-- I didn't know that she completely changed her life like that.  I find this feat pretty amazing, actually, and I hope it continues to serve as an inspiration to me to do better, to be healthier.

My first step is to try to stop the excuses-- I've been giving myself them for months (Oh, I can't go to the gym because I'll be too tired, or Cash will be sad, or I'm too sore from going yesterday).  Or, the excuses for why I can't cook (I work night shift, I don't have time, heating stuff up in the microwave causes the nutrients to be destroyed) etc., etc., etc.  I'm gradually giving myself fewer excuses, and one day I hope to not have any.

I'm going to have cheat days-- at least right now.  I have to.  Hence the title of this blog-- the short explanation of the blog title is this: I know Me.  

The long answer is that pushing myself too hard at the gym, or depriving myself completely of things I love (In-N-Out, movie theater popcorn) won't work. It just won't.  Not for me right now.  So, I have to start small.  I have to make healthier choices when I feel I can-- I have to deprive myself when I feel I can, and not when I feel that I can't.  And, so, that's what I've been trying to do this week.  I'm snacking on almonds (raw, unsalted) and craisins (0mg of sodium) as I write this, and when my boyfriend and I went to the movies on Sunday, we shared a medium popcorn instead of a large.  

Doesn't sound like much, but it adds up-- and, I'm confident I'll get there someday, and hopefully soon.

Until then, I will continue to make healthier choices when I can, and to not deprive myself of too much, too soon.  I will continue going to the gym, and trying to be more active, but I won't kill myself when I go--I'll do what I can, and push myself to do a little more than that, but not tons more.  At least, not right now.  

Truthfully, my will to do this is still a little fragile--but, the good news is that I get that, understand it, and am not ashamed of it! Which means that I might really be able to do it this time.

If you're doing any diet restrictions/exercise plans, leave me a comment and let me know! I could use some moral support.