Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hours and Hours

Wow, I knew it had been a while since I wrote, but I had no idea it had been so long! What have I been up to? Many, many things, I'm sure. I guess the major things that have been absorbing my focus lately have been work, hibernating from the cold, and the new guy that I've been dating.

My fiscal year at work ends January 31st so there has been a big push to "make my hours," a push that will thankfully end this Thursday. Thank the Lord. By "making my hours" I mean racking up the hours I need to qualify for various year-end bench marks. It was rather funny because in the beginning of January I realized my hours were kind of low - something I had not experienced much of at my old firm - and kind of flipped out thinking I had basically done the equivalent of tossing my bonus out the window. But, then, out of the blue, suddenly I was deluged with work, and I've been working steadily since then. I think I'm going to end up making my benchmark and I'm kind of psyched about that.

In the midst of this hours crunch, I travelled to San Francisco over Martin Luther King Day weekend and had a spectacular time staying at The W and exploring the city with my friends. One of the days, my friends and I rented bikes from a store in Fisherman's Wharf and then drove along the coast, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and down in to Sausilito, where we had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the water and homemade ice cream. If you're in San Francisco any time soon, I highly recommend it. It was only $25 per person for the day and so much fun! Plus, good exercise.

On the dating far it's been wonderful. I'm not sure what's going to happen, but for the moment I'm enjoying the experience.

Thanks Wordnerd and Starshine for reminding me that I am loved in the blog world. :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hillary Or Obama For President?

Until recently, I was leaning, as a matter of course, in favor of Hillary for the next President of the United States. It's not because she's a woman, although the idea of a woman finally being elected to lead the country fills me with excitement and a delightful sense of feminist glee. I've been a supporter of hers because she's a smart, progressive feminist who has significant political experience and because I believe she could repair some of the damage that Bush has done to the country, both on the domestic and foreign policy fronts, during his past two terms in office. With Hillary, I feel like I know generally what to expect from her, and I'm confident it will be 1,000 times better than Bush - which, granted, is not saying much because anything short of a right-wing war-monger (wait, that sounds familiar) would be a vast improvement on the current political situation.

I say that I've been leaning towards her "as a matter of course," because, to be honest, until recently I had not been paying all that much attention to how the election process was progressing on a detailed level. I caught a few debates, noted with mild satisfaction that Hillary was leading in many of the polls, was aware that Obama was sparking more and more positive attention, and was comforted by the complete absence of any viable Republican candidate. I was mildly satisfied and a little curious about what the future would hold if we finally elected a woman. But, I was not excited. I was not focused. I had not looked closely at Obama.

Last night, I saw Hillary's speech after her win in New Hampshire and I was underwhelmed. Maybe she was exhausted, but for whatever reason, she failed to inspire me with either words or passion. Her eyes were so lacking in intensity, she almost looked drugged. She smiled and pumped her arms a few times, but overall, looking at her body language, she was singularly uninspiring. I don't remember anything about what she said other than that she was "grateful" and that in New Hampshire she had "found her voice."

That brought me to a screeching halt. I'm all about women finding their voices, but I expect someone in Hillary's position, with her significant political experience and campaigning for the presidency, to have long since found her voice. I want her strong, clear, and filled with purpose. I don't want her "finding her voice" in the 11th hour like some poor little babe that's been lost in the woods. What does this say about the voice she's had up until now in the White House and in the Senate? And, if this is part of her whole strategy to appear more human by allowing herself to tear up and become relatable as a woman, I think it's another example of how that strategy is misguided. Either she has passion, or she doesn't. Either she is honest and forthright with her beliefs and convictions or she's not. Either she's a fighter, or she's not. Personally, although I found her quite believable and likable during the "tearing up" moment, I don't need to see her cry. I need to see her fighting spirit.

This morning on NPR, I heard Barack Obama speaking about the results in New Hampshire. In addition to being inspiring in terms of his political vision, commitment to positive change, and his ideas for the future, Obama is a candidate who has shown his fighting spirit over and over again, and he has no trouble expressing his voice. Obama has less experience than Hillary, he also has less political baggage and undoubtedly less people he owes something to in Washington. Hillary is more of a known card, Obama is more of a wild card. He has the potential to be an incredible leader that could do truly amazing things for this country, both domestically and in the world arena. He's articulate, smart, passionate, and he appears to have integrity. He also appears to be mobilizing voters and recapturing the imagination of many people who started tuning out around the time everyone started talking about cigars and dress stains and then fled politics altogether in despair and started planning their retirement in Canada, when Bush was elected to a second term.

Obama has unquestionably captured my interest, and I don't think I'm leaning towards Hillary at the moment. I'm more in the middle between the two of them. For a change, quite curious and a little excited about how all of this is going to turn out.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Don't Be Scared

I'm deliciously happy today. Thanks to Global Warming, New York is a gorgeous 70 degrees and sunny today, and I'm reveling in it. It's so funny how little changes in the weather can have such a profound affect on one's mood.

I went out last night and saw "I Am Legend" with Will Smith. Overall, I really liked it. A lot of the movie focuses on how Smith's character manages to live on his own in Manhattan after all of the other humans have been annihilated by mutated, hyper-aggressive zombie-humans - the products of a genetically-engineered cure for cancer gone catastrophically wrong. Smith's character recreates human relationships with his dog, Samantha, and the mannequins positioned in an empty record store. He uses an almanac to chart meticulously the time the sun will set each day, listens to his Ipod, somehow has electrical power in his house though ConEdison has long since disappeared, watches Shrek and re-runs of the Today Show, and insists that Samantha eats her vegetables, all the while hunting the zombies in an effort to find a cure that will reverse the effects of the mutation and save humankind.

The parts with the zombies were tense and scary, causing me to bury my head into the shoulder of my obliging date, who whispered softly, "Don't be scared." As a general matter, I'm not good with scary movies; I have a very vivid imagination and find it difficult to suspend disbelief when faced with terrorizing monsters or serial killers lurking in the dark. And, unfortunately, my inability to suspend disbelief often stays with me long after the movie has ended, causing me to check under the bed, in the shower, and behind the clothes in the closet before gingerly crawling in to bed, listening in the darkness for the faintest hint of movement somewhere in the house - the tell-tale sign of something disastrous about to occur.

But, today, it's warm and sunny outside, life is good, and I'm so happy at the moment that the idea of zombies attacking is quite unthinkable.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Beauty Detoxification

Despite the chill that has descended upon New York with a vengeance, I had a terrific weekend that was the perfect balance of social and me-time activities. I started the weekend off with yoga in my favorite studio in the city, lead by the best yoga teacher ever. He makes everyone laugh while they're gritting through their downward dogs and is constantly talking about this or that pose feeling "yummy" and "delicious." He could easily be the poster child for positivity and I love him. From yoga, I went to Sounds of Brazil, where I met a bunch of my girl friends for salsa dancing. It was such a blast! Although my favorite music to dance to is probably hip-hop, it is so much fun to be twirled around and dipped all over the dance floor. I got spun around like crazy and was laughing the whole time.

Saturday, I went running and lifted weights, did some shopping, and then met a different group of friends at Employees Only, where I had a delicious peach Bellini. Yum. Sunday was probably the best day. I did pilates, went to church, met some new people, practiced my Swedish, did some more shopping, and then did restorative yoga in the evening. Maybe that's why the weekend was so great, because it started and ended with yoga? I was thinking while I was luxuriating in one of the restorative poses - drifting in and out of awareness - that when I do yoga, it makes me feel like I'm on vacation. It's funny, the more I do it, the more I love it. It's kind of like a drug (if drugs were healthy); you end up feeling so blissed out a the end of each session, that your body and mind start to crave it.

Speaking of mind-body awareness and health, I've been having a bit of an awakening around the whole issue of toxic chemicals, and their prevalence in our environment. I've been aware of the toxicity of household cleaners, but I had not thought about the potential toxicity of chemicals in things like cosmetics, shampoos, and other beauty products. If you're curious about what toxins you dabbed around your eyes today or slathered all over your shower-dampened skin, check out this web site: Skin Deep. Just type in one of your beauty products and then check out the detailed rating and the write-up. I was shocked because several of my products from Origins were ranked 7 (out of 10, with 0 being the lowest and least harmful level of chemicals). Personally, I'm trashing all of my normal shampoos and conditioners and going natural; from here on out, I'm only using products with a 0-1 ranking, like California Baby (good for babies and adults). Another of my favorites for natural, organic beauty products is Lush (they also have awesome bath bombs like Sex Bomb and Youki Hi, filled with all natural, organic aphrodisiacs, but that's a different story).

I think I'm also going to trash all of my moisturizers and make-up that doesn't pass the toxicity test, but I think I'm going to have to phase them out gradually. It has not escaped my attention that a lot of my cosmetics have parabens in them, which can mess with your hormones, and my hormones appear to be short-circuiting. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I think it's worth it to explore the topic further and eliminate even potential risks.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hot Chocolate Havens

One of the NYE parties that I went to was catered by the City Bakery, located in Chelsea. There was a delectable spread of pretzel croissants, caramelized french toast bites (with toothpicks - how cute!), empenadas, sugar cookies, homemade giant marshmallows, boxes of chocolate, and much more. Sage was in love with the french toast bites, and naturally I had to keep her company by sampling them as well. They were almost as good as the caramelized Belgian waffle I had in London.

The homemade marshmallows were so good, I vowed, on the spot, to sample the City Bakery's hot chocolate at the earliest opportunity. Apparently, the hot chocolate, topped off with their signature homemade marshmallows, is out of this world. Speaking of hot chocolate, I heard from a colleague today that Petit Abeille is supposed to have amazing hot chocolate. Also on my list is Max Brenner, recommended by the Italian Man.

Why this current hot chocolate craving? Possibly, because of the semi-perma-period I've been experiencing of late, but more probably because temperatures in New York dropped precipitously a few days ago. Walking to work the past two mornings, I was chilled to the bone, freezing winds piercing my down coat as if it was a thin layer of Kleenex. I think a warm cup of hot chocolate would be just the thing to drive away the Arctic chill. At least temporarily.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Period Weirdness

Usually I get my period every 22 or 23 days as part of a 28-day cycle that includes one week of bleeding and three weeks off. The week of bleeding is not normally 7 full days; it's more like 5.

This month, strange things are happening. I got my period in the first week of December, and then about a week later I got it again. Two full periods in the span of 3 weeks - very strange. Then, this past week, I didn't bleed, but woke up this morning to find more blood. If this morning's bleeding turns into a period, that's going to be three full-blown periods in the span of about 5 weeks.

It's really strange and I don't know what to make of it. This in conjunction with the spot and the weirdness on my head (which I will not go into now) is making me think something is amiss. What's going on body? Too much sexual attraction of late? Involuntary purging? The affect of beginning to take a multi-vitamin? I'm at a loss.