Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Meal Plan, 2/24-3/1

Sunday - Chicken Alfredo pasta stuff from Costco
Monday - Turkey roast with potatoes, carrots and mushrooms
Tuesday - DIY, I have a double header starting at 4. Chances are good I'll be having Taco Bell
Wednesday - Pecan crusted chicken (Dream Dinners)
Thursday - Chili
Friday - No idea, but I feel like having something Indian
Saturday - Coconut shrimp and ???

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

I went and saw this play on Sunday, and I've put off writing a review because I'm not really sure what to say. So let's begin with a disclaimer - I don't like the play. Meaning, I don't like the script. It wouldn't matter who did it, in which time period it was set, what the costumes looked like, or who was in it, I just don't like the script. I've tried. I've seen it several times. I've performed pieces of it for competitions and auditions. But no matter how hard I try, I just can't like it. And I feel like a fraud, because what theatre major, theatre teacher!, doesn't like A Midsummer Night's Dream? But I can honestly say it's probably the least favorite of Shakespeare's plays for me. Even King Lear is better!

That said, the play was just ok for me, but I think it was the script. I really liked the production concept. They set the play in the Summer of Love, which made for a lot of fun character choices and little details. For instance, the Duke of Athens was a Hugh Hefner type character, and his love was reminiscent of a playboy bunny. The lovers were dressed in Catholic school clothing, which was fun, and the fairies were hippies in their tie dye and neon colors.

The players...well, the players were somewhat overplayed, I thought, but then again that seems to be what Shakespeare asks for in his script. They had some very fun moments, though, and instead of using a donkey's head for Bottom they used a Richard Nixon mask. Hilarious, and a major political statement as they continually talk about the "ass" affixed to Bottom's head!

The costumes were beautiful, the set was magnificent (as always - has David Bliss ever designed a poor set?), and in all the play was fun, well directed, and had a unique spin. But a lack of love for the script really stood in my way of loving the play.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Aesthetically Pleasing

Today I made a pilgrimage to the esthetician. It's the first time I've been, and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that my skin needed some serious help.

She took a look and said she could definitely help with the acne and breakouts I experience. She was very honest about the redness (what I am assuming is rosacea, since that's what it is in everyone else in my family) and said we may be able to fix it, or maybe not. She said we should know in a month or so.

A few things I learned
  • I need to drink a lot more water (ok, I already knew that)
  • My skin really isn't oily anymore. In fact, it is/was incredibly dry
  • The moisturizer and face wash I've been using is far too harsh
  • SPF in a moisturizer isn't as effective as SPF on it's own

She set me up with a 30 day supply of a new skin care line specifically for rosacea and red-prone skin. I'm also supposed to schedule an appointment for a hydrating facial with her in the next couple of weeks. That will help hydrate my skin, slough off the bad stuff, treat the acne, and calm the redness.

So, hopefully this works. I've tried all the medications there are to try and done everything else I know to do. I'm going to give this a shot, because I'd really like to have purty skin.

Meal Plan, 2/17-23

Sunday - Meatloaf (Dream Dinners), pears, green beans
Monday - Chimichongas (mom and dad's), salad
Tuesday - Grapefruit Shrimp (Dream Dinners), couscous
Wednesday - Arroz con Pollo (Dream Dinners), salad
Thursday - DIY, I have a game
Friday - Out with Catherine and Rick
Saturday - DIY, I have a tournament

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Learning to Love Yourself

The other day I was fighting a cold so I laid down on the couch and turned on Oprah. She had Carson of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame on promoting his new show, How to Look Good Naked. Since we don't have cable I've never seen the show, but I love Carson so I decided to have a (half-asleep) looksie.

It was really interesting. He was saying that most women focus on the negative of their bodies so they always feel bad about themselves, rather than seeing the good things that other people see. He made these women stand nearly-nekkid in front of a mirror and tell him what they see. They, of course, pointed out all of the bad things - rolls on the tummy, big butt, jiggly thighs, etc. Then he proceeded to tell them all of the good things he saw - well defined waist, nice shoulders, great calves, you get the idea.

The next part was even crazier. He projected an image of the women in their near-nekkid glory, sans head, onto a building in downtown Chicago and then asked random passers-by what they thought. All of the passers-by had positive things to say! I was as shocked as the women themselves. Is it possible that people don't see me the same way I see me?!

It was a firm wake up call that, while there is a lot of work to be done on my body, I can love myself the way I am. I did as Carson suggested and stood in front of the mirror, trying to find the good things. I realized that my waist is well defined, and I do have nice calves! My forearms and wrists are skinny, and and I have great eyes and a nice smile.

I highly recommend this excercise to everyone. If you can't find the good things yourself, invite a trusted friend, spouse, or other relative to help. It was so empowering to realize there was as many good things about the outside of me as there are bad...and that the bad things can be changed. Knowing that there are already some good things makes it that much easier for me to want to do the things I know I need to do to change the bad things - like forego my beloved Cadbury eggs in favor of carrot sticks this Easter season.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It must be Monday

because I went to the wrong school today.

On A days I start my day at the middle school and on B days I start at the high school. It's very easy to get confused, and today I went to the high school, thinking nothing of it, until a student walked in and said, "Laura, what are you doing here? It's an A day!"


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Meal Plan, 2/10-16

Sunday - Dinner at In Laws
Monday - Turkey Meatloaf with green beans and fruit cocktail
Tuesday - Grapefruit Shrimp with rice and ______________
Wednesday - Angel Hair Shrimp Bake with salad
Thursday - Chili with bread of some sort
Friday - Chicken Enchiladas with salad
Saturday - Turkey roast with potatoes, carrots and mushrooms

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why today sucks, By Laura Rae

You know that story, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Yeah, well, today you can just call me Alexander.

  • I could barely get out of bed this morning, I'm so tired.
  • I think I'm getting a sinus infection.
  • I got in trouble at school for something I didn't know was wrong.
  • I have an ingrown hair in my armpit (TMI, I know)
  • It's pouring down rain.
  • It's only 11:13 am, which means I still have 3 classes and 2 1/2 hours of school, plus practice, to go.

All I want to do is go back to bed, pull the covers up over my head, and pretend this day never began.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eat Less, Move More update

Last week was good. I managed to avoid Coke (my not-so-secret addiction) as well as added sugar in my coffee or other beverages. I also got in two walks, which was good.

This week I will continue the goals of getting in 2 days of at least 15 minutes of exercise, as well as avoiding adding sugar in my beverages, but I'm also adding new goals
  • Eat a "real" breakfast each morning - no more stopping at Safeway for a bagel or McD's for a sausage egg McMuffin, hold the sausage.
  • Begin to do the speed and agility training the girls are doing during practice. Do this at least 2x a week.

As far as the real breakfast - bagels in themselves aren't bad. What is bad is that I have no will power at 7 in the morning and end up getting far more than just a bagel for breakfast. I walk in for breakfast and walk out with Oreos, candy, and other junk that I just don't need. By planning ahead I help avoid all the temptations tht stopping at the grocery brings. And exercising with the girls just makes sense. Someone has to supervise the conditioning station, and none of us like doing it. I might as well volunteer and use the time to get some exercise in. It's good for me, makes me a good role model to the girls, and answers the question of "when will I ever find time to exercise?!"

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Thyroid

I've had thyroid issues for so long that I forget not everyone knows about it, or understands exactly what it means.

I believe I was a freshman or sophomore when I was diagnosed - somewhere around 15 or 16. I have hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid doesn't work as well as it should. Some people are hyperthyroid, which means it works too well. In my case, it means that my metabolism is extremely slow, I'm tired all the time, and I'm always cold.

The technical term for my "disease" is Hashimoto's. The other wonderful part of this disease is that it compromises the immune system and the body's ability to repair itself. Thus the never ending aches and pains I experience on a daily basis. And I just thought I'd abused my body with too much competitive softball!

Hashimoto's is the reason I have a difficult time losing weight, and it's the reason I like to sleep 10 hours a day. It's the reason I minored in naps in college, the reason I always have on 2 sweatshirts and a hat at games. It essentially explains away all of my quirks and idiosyncracies. Ok, most. Fine, some!

Anyway, a normal person's thyroid would test between a .5 and a 4ish. Different doctors have different ranges of acceptability, but generally anything higher than a 4 is considered to be out of whack. A year ago, I tested at 33. Six months ago I had dropped to the 20s. Two weeks ago I was all the way down to 14. So we're definitely getting there, but we're not close enough yet.

I was starting to worry about why my thyroid was so out of order, but my dr said it's really nothing to worry about. The simple explanation is that my body is clearing the synthetic thyroid from my system too fast, so it's not given enough chance to work. In essence, my kidneys and liver are too efficient. I guess they're trying to make up for my lacking thyroid.

So there you have it, the basic explanation of what is wrong with me. I get another round of blood tests in 3 months. We're hoping to be down to at least a 4 by then!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Meal Plan, 2/3-2/9

Sunday - Double stuffed chicken, salad, baked potato and rolls
Monday - Pizza
Tuesday - Seafood Diavolo (from Costco), salad, fruit cocktail
Wednesday - Korma chicken with saffron rice
Thursday - Some chicken thing I can't pronounce from Costco
Friday - Arroz Con Pollo, salad
Saturday - Turkey Meatloaf, green beans

Recipe: Double Stuffed Chicken

Ricky and I enjoy this recipe. It's usually a company dish as it can be a little bit time intensive and is rich and high in calories. However, it's very good and worth the time and calories for a treat now and again. We are having it for dinner tonight; originally Ricky's sister and her husband were going to join us, but Joe had a meeting that ran late so it will be just the two of us. Instead, they'll come over tomorrow night with pizza!

Double Stuffed Chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, cut into 8 1 oz pieces
8 1 oz pieces of cheddar cheese (8 oz total)
1 cup milk
1.5 cups italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 tbs garlic, minced
3/4 cup butter
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Lightly coat 9x13 pan with non stick spray or oil.

Butterfly each chicken breast so that it opens like a book. Place one slice each of cheddar and cream cheese between the "pages" of the chicken. Close.

Pour milk in shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Romano cheese. Dip each breast in the milk, then in the breadcrumb mixture, patting lightly to be sure it sticks. Be sure each breast is firmly coated. Place chicken breasts side by side in baking dish in a single layer, being sure cut edge is sealed.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add lemon juice and garlic; stir to blend. Drizzle evenly over chicken. Season breasts with garlic salt and paprika, if using (I never do).

Bake for 30 minutes, or until no longer pink in center and juices run clear.

Play Review: Off Book

Off Book was written by my friend, David Gallic. David and I met when he was playing Audrey Two, the man-eating plant, in the production of Little Shop of Horrors that I stage managed. He is a great big teddy bear, someone with whom I always enjoy spending time. A wonderful conversationalist, David is very witty and always has us in stitches, so I knew any play that he wrote would do the same.

I was not disappointed. Ricky and I went to see David's show tonight (after a dinner at the pub - yum!). Several others from New Century Players were supposed to be there as well, but a couple were sick and others cancelled for various reasons, so it ended up just being Ricky and me. I am sad for those who missed out; tonight was closing night, and this was not a play to be missed.

Off Book is a story about a man, Corgan Bryan, who realizes he is the character in a play and wants out of the script so that he can be free to live his own life. He meets the writer, who fulfills his wishes...only to find that maybe freedom isn't so great after all. When he realizes he has no idea of what to do, having no prior experience to draw on, he decides he wants back into the script. Act One is all about his journey to get out of the script, while Act Two, then, is about his quest to be let back in. In the end, he finds out that everything he did all along as scripted, with the moral being that we are all characters in someone's play.

It's quite existentialist and deep, but extremely funny as well. Ricky and I were dying at times we were laughing so hard. At one point I looked around and saw that everyone's faces looked the same: We all had that "help me, I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe" look. That is not something that is easy to elicit from me, and David did an incredible job in writing a very funny, yet very meaningful, play.

The direction was good, though there were a few too many backs for my liking. The theatre was a thrust, with seating on three sides, which can be difficult to direct. However, I did think it could have been addressed a bit better. But once I got past that there were some marvelous character things that were done that only added to the depth of the play.

The acting was stellar from some, good from others. There are always actors who are stronger and those who are weaker. I thought Narrator could have had more differential between his Narrator self and his "real" self, but the character was funny and charming and quirky, so I forgave him quickly. The actress playing Lexi did an amazing job of differentiating between Sexy Lexi the character and Alexis, the writer who changes her script to give Corgan freedom. John Duncan's portrayel of The Director was superb.

Overall, it was a show not to be missed. There weren't a lot of special effects, no fancy lighting. Simply a very funny play, written by a very funny man and played out by very funny and charming people. Ricky and I both thoroughly enjoyed our night out, and hope that someone else will produce David's show in the future so we can see it again.