“I will tickle you all back to health”

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“Klonex: Oh my.. I will tickle you all back to health.
Corrderio: Thanks.”

Gamer culture is weird, but that’s probably why I like it. Yesterday, I put in a 14 hour day at work followed by an hour or two of gaming.  I was having back spasms yesterday and that really put a damper on my mood.  Our guild had an event night last night, though, so it was fun to just give in to the distraction.

gw286
Warning: neurotoxins can alter reality and produce harmful hallucinations

Yesterday wasn’t all bad, though.  I made it to and from work without incident, had a marginally healthy day, and got to talk to my friend Lyz for about an hour on the phone.  It was really actually pretty good.

Collage 2014-02-22 08_38_34

Today, I’m hitting the books, writing an essay, taking an exam, and hitting the gym.

Posted in Life + Living, Wedding Planning

Crunch Time: (not abs)

So, we’re really heading into “crunch time” for the wedding and things are heating up at work, too.  There are 7 weeks left until the wedding and a lot of loose ends are getting wrapped up.  Jeff’s parents came to visit over the weekend recently and we had a wedding shower (hosted by my lovely sister and my equally awesome Grandma) to celebrate.

Wedding Shower Gifts

There are lots of pics I WISH I could’ve taken, but I did not have my camera and the available photos are mostly focused on myself and Jeff.  We did get a few great shots, though, thanks for my friend and bridesmaid Gloria, and Jeff’s Mom Sarah:

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We got our invitations mailed out weeks ago and I think people have had a chance to appreciate their beauty before we posted them online… check ’em out:

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The damask pattern was really pretty and doing the printing in black ink really helped us save on costs.  It’s a delight to check the mail these days in the hopes of receiving another RSVP.

We’re using Google Drive to manage our guest list, vendors, gifts, and everything.  It’s been really handy to have everything in one spot online–I was able to make a new tab and move folks over to that tab and share it with my sister so that she could get the invites out for the shower.

I just took a look at the spreadsheet and realized that so far we’ve got

125 unknown
92 accepted
32 declined

google-drive-guest-list

If you’re planning a big event and coordinating with people that may not be local, I highly suggest using a data system such as Google Drive to keep it organized.  My sister liked the idea so much that she has her guest list imported now, too.  Since she moved out of state, this will be a great way for us to keep in touch and coordinate about all the goings-on.

I’ve also been wrapping up a lot of the other details for the wedding, like crafting these adorable bookmarks and getting the vendors all squared away as far as a payment plan goes:

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I had one of my last dress fittings before the wedding on Friday and it’s going to be pretty close.  I need to drop at LEAST five pounds before the wedding, more if at all humanly possible.  That means any and all stress eating needs to go out the window.

Maybe I’ll de-stress by gaming instead, now that I’ve got my rig back up and running… If you play GW2, look me up 🙂 I’m in JQ and my sn is Aminarra Westin.

gw003

Posted in Fitness, Gaming

It’s a bad-back day.

Checking in on my K.I.S.S. Goals, as you already know, I’ve kind of slacked off on the exercise front.  Packing meals has been going well, though.  Today–not so much because we never went grocery shopping.  I *did* plan out meals and snacks for the entire week, though.  I have every intention of joining the fitness center (didn’t do that, either), so I planned out breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, snack, dinner.   If you’re wondering why there are two snacks in the afternoon, it’s because I planned everything to be pretty light/even.  Lunch, for example, is going to be an open-faced sandwich with an apple.  That’s only about 200 calories and so two snacks spaced further apart will be required to get me the 8 hrs from lunch until dinner.  The third goal, to be better at my job, has been going well.  I took more training last week and I’m going strong in Toastmasters.  The speech I’m going to present next week is about keeping it simple and having a meal plan.

chocolate

My impromptu goal of eating no chocolate has been going alright.  Last week was *really* difficult and I found myself thinking about chocolate quite frequently.  I tallied it up and determined that I have 5 sources of free chocolate, 2 sources of obnoxiously cheap chocolate, and 3 sources of paid chocolate at work–without seeking it out.  Add that to the multitude of places I see it throughout the day and it’s just asking for trouble.  I did *really* well, though, in that I resisted temptation the whole week through.  Last night, I had a small (dark) chocolate bar because I was getting to the point where if I did not make a conscious decision to have just a little bit, then I was going to backfire and binge on a whole lot.  Today, I feel great and I’m ready to go another week without.

I met one of my goals that I set last week, and that’s to set pre-requisites for gaming.  I made a post in my guild’s forums and basically asked for support in meeting my goals, which are as follows:

I have to get back into the routine of exercising daily and taking bio breaks every hour to two hours (max). I could do this behind the scenes but I wanted to throw it out there so that you know ahead of time and can give me a bit of a break, or maybe set similar goals. If we’re running WvWvW or back to back dungeons, maybe we could all take a fiver and save ourselves some of the back aches.

Personal Pre-requisites for gaming:

– 30 minutes exercise
– 10 minutes stretching
– pets taken care of (clean water, full food, ’empty’ litter box, snuggles for them)

Precautions during gaming:

– bio breaks every hour to two hours (max)
– curfew (weeknights) 10:30pm CST

If anyone else has anything similar that they’re doing, I’d like to hear it. Thanks for ‘listening’ such that it is.

gw567

Posted in College, Fitness, Gaming, Life + Living, Strength Training, Wedding Planning

A picture is worth 1000 words. This must be a 6k word entry…

TL:DR – I’ve been busy. Scroll through pictures 🙂

[On the subject of expanding my gaming know-how]
I did some World Vs. World Vs. World last night with a few guys from the guild (Yezhik, Starry, Krew). I didn’t die nearly as often as I usually do. I die often enough, though, that I’ve proposed a story idea to Hellrazor entitled “Leveling as a lowbie: oops I died.” I pitched it as a humour piece using a format of either “dear diary” type entries or straight up story-telling. I’ve been mulling it over for a bit but I’m just not sure yet where I want to go/start with that. I think it’ll definitely include the time that I grouped up with Fibbi to “go exploring” and I got bit by a mosquito and it got me TKO with one hit. Better get some better repellent.

[On balancing gaming vs. studying vs. other stuff]

My schedule has been pretty saturated lately.  I get up around 6:30-7am, go work out, work work work, come home, cook dinner, study from about 6-9pm and from 9-11pm I’ve been playing GW2.  This is why I haven’t been blogging @_@;  Tonight, I got home at 7 from work, and I’ve been studying ever since.  No GW2 today… It’s 11:27 and I have to be at work early tomorrow for career-based training.  It’s a GOLD course on Facilitating Effective Meetings.  So far, I’ve picked up a few strategies for gathering information, synthesizing data, narrowing topics, and making decisions.  The end of the course today involved an hour and a half about how to build a meeting agenda that really defines what is going to be accomplished, lays out roles, and identifies the tools that will be used in each portion of the meeting.  The instructor is just great.  Her name is Candyce Penteado and she actually owns her own business in corporate training and leadership.  http://www.thepeopleside.net/candyce-penteado

So I have that to look forward to tomorrow…

[On college stuff]

I’ve been hitting the books pretty hard, too.  The Accounting class that I am taking has an excellent tool from McGraw Hill that lets me practice creating balance sheets, t-charts, adjustments etc. without it being scored.  The testing program on there, too, is pretty helpful.  Instead of just blinding going forth and filling in what you expect the answers to be based on your careful study of the curriculum, you can actually select a link that lets you check your answer.  I don’t know how other people use this tool, but, for me it means two things: 1) I can learn in the last stages of the coursework because I can fill in the blanks with how I *think* it works and be shown that it just does *not* work. That makes me revisit my strategies, make changes, and try again until I get it right.  2) I pass every test with 100% because I don’t quit until it’s right.

Tonight in my Business Management course, I started reading about Ethics/Decision Making and thought that with a good moral compass that I’d be able to face any decision that came up because obviously it would be clear cut.  Then they throw the hypothetical trolley incident at me:

“A runaway trolley is heading down the tracks towards five unsuspecting people. You’re standing near a switch that will divert the trolley onto a siding, but there is a single workman on the siding who cannot be warned in time to escape and will almost certainly be killed. Would you throw the switch?”

Do you think you have the answer?  Was it “yes” because the lives of many are greater than the life of one?  According to The New York Times, if you answered this way then you’re in the good company of 97% of respondents. Now consider the following:

“Now, what if the workman were standing on a bridge over the tracks and you would have to push him off the bridge to stop the trolley with his body in order to save the five unsuspecting people? (Assume his body is large enough to stop the trolley and yours is not.) Would you push the man, even though he would most likely be killed?”

Wut.  I think, personally, I would freeze and not know WHAT to do!  In that type of instance, you need to have your ethics and actions ingrained so deeply that your reaction is instinctual.  The more time I have to think about it, the more time I have to think about “what if the workman is Jeff?  What if the five on the tracks are thugs looking for things to spray paint?”

The good news is that my assignment is not to actually answer this question.  It is used as a tool to illustrate that not all ethical dilemmas are cut-and-dry.  Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to reading about strategies for decision making including the utilitarian approach (for the greater good), individualism approach, moral-rights approach, justice approach, and virtue ethics approach.  It should be intriguing for sure.

[On working out]

I don’t have a great transition from ethics to working out.  If you made it this far, we’re now going to look (briefly) into my fitness update.  I don’t think I’ve lost any weight.  I blame it on sweets (still, always).  I am, however, making strides in my strength training.  I’m actually getting calluses on my hands.  The above is my attempt at showing you my calluses, but I’m realizing they didn’t actually show up, lol.  Basically, I did/do the following 1-2x/week in addition to another routine:

[2x, 30 second break in between]

  1. Plank on a balance ball, 0:00:45

[4 rounds, 6x reps per]

  1. squats, 35lb dumb bell
  2. overhead press, 2x 20lb dumb bells
  3. cable cross-over pulldowns, 25.7 lb
  4. RDL, 55lb barbell
  5. static lunges, 2x 15lb dumb bells
  6. incline push-ups
  7. single-arm farmer’s carry

I’d say any calluses are well-earned at that point 🙂

[About Wedding Stuff]

Wedding planning stuff is coming along great 🙂 I think a lot of people might be critical of me for getting things done so far in advance (the wedding date isn’t until May), but the way that I see it–the more I can get done now, the less I have to do in the weeks leading up to the wedding.  I want to savor the process as much as possible and that means reducing stress prior to the event.  It’s supposed to be fun, so I’m trying to space stuff out.  Jeff is interested in invitations so I’ve been working on that when I find a few minutes, but the leaves on the trees are starting to change so photography got bumped up in front of invitations.  While we were in Colorado, we also picked out some awesome tuxes to rent from Men’s Warehouse.  All in all… he’s probably feeling overwhelmed, but I am feeling accomplished about the progress.

[Kittehs!]

Last but not least are the furbutts.  Toby had a round of illness recently that set us back another few hundred dollars but we’re hoping that his eye issues are finally cured.  We’ve got rounds of eye-drops to run for about a week or so and then we’re actually going to start both of the cats on an anti-histamine regimen.  We joke that Taz is allergic to cats because he’s sneezing all the time and Toby has been absolutely miserable since we moved and we’re thinking that he’s got allergies triggered by the woods that we now live so close to.  They’re both indoor cats, but with the number of windows that we have here, and the acres of woodland that we have now compared to the more urban environment that we were in before… I’m just thinking that they have allergies acting up.  Our vet made a good recommendation that should cost less than $10/month and make both of the cats more comfortable.

Now all I need is someone to photoshop a cheeseburger in front of Toby’s mouth, lol…

Posted in College, Gaming

The cure to indecision? Procrastination.

This post contains a couple of swear words.  Fair Warning 🙂

So, (there I go again), I am in dire need of studying because I found out today that there’s an assignment due on Thursday but I hadn’t actually received my “textbooks” until this afternoon.  I am torn between studying and gaming, though, and so I find myself here: procrastinating.

I was so fuming mad this afternoon dealing with the fiasco that is MCTC.  Jeff was going to pick up the books for me as he has more flexibility in his schedule, but when I called to verify stock, they were outrageous.  They refused to check to see if the books were there and said they were too busy and that there was a line inside the store and outside the store and we would just have to come down there.  They wouldn’t even say whether we could pay with AMEX or not.  I went on a tirade about getting what you pay for (because this is one of the cheapest schools in the area) and then ended up just going to the bookstore myself.

The “line” that they exaggerated and made out to be miles long was just about 10 people.  And the only reason that there was a line was to check book bags.  Waste. Of. Time.  So after I get through that line, I pull my “books” from the stacks, sure that I am missing something, because what is labeled as a book is actually a ream of paper wrapped in kitchen-grade saran wrap.  Looks like it’s got the POTENTIAL to be a book, but it’s just not quite there yet.  Kind of like this college and how it’s just on the cusp of being great but just falls short and ends up being mediocre.  I waited in line for the check-out while a huffy student in front of me threw fits about waiting in line (for 20 minutes) to buy a 70 cent bag of chips.

When I got to the check out, the woman was probably having a good day and I probably wrecked it. 😦 I wanted to know where the binding was.  She replied that most people were buying their own binders and kindly directed me to the back of the store to pick one out.  I replied that after paying over a thousand dollars in tuition and over one hundred and sixty dollars for the book the least of my expectations is that it be bound and said “Can’t you do anything about that?” She smirked (which toppled my negative attitude from veiled contempt for outright disgust) and said “nope.”  So, naturally I mocked her, she responded with a highly impressive level of sarcasm and we went our separate ways.  Truth be told, I think our skill levels were quite equal when it comes to being bitchy when the situation calls for it.  I’m being ripped off by a rigged institution (can’t buy the book used or resell it due to this lack of binding and because of an access code that’s required) so I was bitchy, and she was bitchy because it wasn’t her fault at all.  I was sincerely impressed with her level of sarcasm because if I weren’t so well versed in it, it would appear to be great customer service.  Plus 5 to her.

Plus 5 to me, too, though.  Refusing to spend one red cent more than necessary at the college library, I headed over to the nearest office supply store.  Staples was able to cleanly bind my book into two parts – separating the case studies from the actual text will come in handy over the course of the semester.  I got two books bound and bought two notebooks for eight bucks.

At this point, I find it prudent to begin my studies… if only so I can go back to playing Guild Wars 2.  Here’s a bonus screen shot of Harkin and Aminarra at a vista in Rata Sum:

Posted in College, Gaming, Life + Living

More GW2 Screenshots

I was so zonked this morning that I had to steer clear from warm-toned eye-shadow because it made my eyes just look that much redder.  That, and I was sharing stories and screenshots from GW2 to anyone who would listen.

This evening, I discovered a place where you can dive from great heights and plunge into the bay.  Haha.. other players were graceful in their dives, but mine ended up more like a belly flop.  I was seriously entertained for about 20 minutes just scaling the scaffolding and leaping off of the diving board:

You can see this and some of my other adventures in my photostream over at Flickr–

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85839954@N07/

Enjoy!

[note to self: buy text books.  School started today.]