Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weigh-in Postponed

No weigh-in today. It's TOM, and I've gained the usual five pounds of water weight. My clothes fit the same, so I'm sure I haven't gained any actual fat weight. I've been nursing a knee injury plus bronchitis for the past week and eating somewhere between goal and maintenance, so I doubt I've lost anything anyway.

As much as I'm coughing, I'm still itching to get outside for a walk. I'll take it easy, walk at a slow pace, and not worry about speed or heart rate. The fresh air might help. I put pans of water on the radiators and a humidifier in my room last night, but it still feels dry. The humidifier is a super cheap Walgreen's humidifier, though, and doesn't actually put out any mist. I need to get one that's misty and will turn my bedroom into a rain forest. I go through this every winter. :(

I have the Chicago trip report halfway finished. I cannot believe it's taken me so long to work on that.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Just a quick one today.

Brent and I went to the movies last weekend, but I couldn't take a picture of me sitting with the armrests down since the previews were already on.

We went again tonight, and I was able to snap a picture before the lights went down.

It's a little off-center because I was holding my phone straight above my lap, but you get the idea. That's his black boot to the left of the frame. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Weigh-In + Mini-Goal Achieved!

Appropriate that the picture for this weigh-in would be New Mexico's Highway 314, since I just hit the next mini-goal.

I'm down to 314.8, a 2.4-pound loss from last Wednesday.

My mini-goal was to get down to 314, my weight when I flew to Albuquerque for the first time to meet Brent and get a tour of the area. I'd never been to New Mexico before, so I was pretty excited. I thought it was all desert with those big cacti with the arms, and he laughed (nicely) because it was 43 degrees when we had that conversation.

I flew there on February 19, 2010. I was really worried because I knew I was probably too heavy for the airplane seats. The last time I'd flown somewhere was May 2007, when I was closer to 275, and the seats were tight but not bad. Plus, it was a Canadian airline, and they don't make you pay for two seats if you're too big (under their discrimination laws, they have to find two seats together and can't charge you for the second one).

Anyway, it was a direct flight to/from Chicago, so I only had to worry about one seat partner each way. On the way there, this guy gave me such a glare when I showed up to claim my window seat. As I was struggling with the belt, he looked at his ticket and said, "Oh, I'm in the wrong seat," and moved up a row to sit next to a guy with horrible body odor. I was freshly showered, and the armrest went down (but only because I corseted my thighs with the seatbelt), but apparently he was happier sitting next to a skinny guy with body odor. Okay...

Rude dude aside, I was happy because now I had two seats to myself. :) I spent the flight sipping orange juice and reading a book. It was very relaxing. The pilot announced when we were flying over Santa Fe, and I turned and smiled at a lady sitting near me who'd been telling me about visiting her daughter there. She was wearing a bright red sweatshirt with a small "Santa Fe" logo embroidered underneath four little embroidered pieces of pottery and cowboy boots. The man next to her had a white cowboy hat with turquoise beading around the brim and a leather vest. It was stereotypical and charming.

Shortly after Santa Fe, we were flying over the Sandias and into Albuquerque.

That, my friends, is the infamous Rio Grande in the background.

It felt like it took forever to land, but we finally did, and I raced through the airport to find him.

Sort of. I did stop to take a couple pictures of this cool statue:

and the beautiful architecture:

It was really crowded, since it was 1:00 on a Friday afternoon, but I finally heard someone say, "Sarah!" I turned, and there he was. My first thought was, "He's shorter than I pictured," which still makes us laugh. Then I noticed he was wearing a long-sleeved black shirt with "Chicago" written on the front, his leather coat, his Cubs hat, and his black boots.

Before I could process everything, though, he was hugging me. It felt like I'd known him forever. It was like hugging a family member.

We went to his place to drop off my stuff, and then we walked to Frontier to get some brunch. This place is legendary. Movie stars stop here while in town because the food is just that good. They roast their own chilies**, they make gargantuan cinnamon rolls drenched in butter, and they have homemade lemonade.

**New Mexico is known for putting green or red chile on everything. They even have it at pizza places and Subway.

I ordered breakfast, and Brent got a burrito (the chile is inside the burrito). He ordered one of the infamous cinnamon rolls for us as well. It was as good as it looks.

We spent the weekend driving around and hanging out with friends. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures with anyone because I was really shy. I did get some pictures of the scenery and Brent, though.

Okay, so there are some cacti in Albuquerque, but again, not like the big ones you see on "Looney Toons".

Snow clouds. It was 40 degrees that day.

Albuquerque has "expansive blue skies", according to the tourist literature. I had no idea what that meant until my visit. The sky is so clear; you can see for miles and miles. Brent says the altitude prevents haze, like we get in Michigan, and the thinner, cleaner air allows you see much farther and makes the sky appear more blue. Additionally, it's clear 80% of the time. They get approximately 300 days of sun every year.

It still feels like yesterday, even though it was nearly three years ago. I think about all of the online conversations, trips to see each other, the waiting, the crying (me) when our time together was over, starting a new countdown on the calendar until the next trip (the longest wait was five months; the shortest was two months), the anticipation when he decided to move here, him actually moving in, the adjustment, and everything we've been through since then - the new job, making dinner at night, talking while watching TV in his office, emailing each other all day every day and texting while running errands, trips to visit family together, holidays, and vacations.

It's kind of crazy how far we've come, knowing how much I still have to learn about him and how many experiences and years we have ahead of us. That first visit to Albuquerque feels like a blip on the radar now, even though it was so huge at the time.

The first visit was pretty short. I scheduled it for Friday, February 19 through Monday, February 22. I didn't want it to be just a weekend, in case we got along really well, but I didn't want to make it a week in case we didn't get along at all. On Sunday night, I was really upset and wished I'd asked for an entire week off. Monday morning, as I was starting to pack, I got a text message from American Airlines letting me know my flight had been canceled and rebooked for Tuesday morning. Apparently, there had been a storm in Chicago. Instead of leaving Monday afternoon, I'd be leaving at 8:00 Tuesday morning.


I called my boss right away and told him I wouldn't be in Tuesday morning, but I could be there by 5:00 to cover the late shift. He said it was a good compromise and that he was happy I would get to spend another 16 hours with Brent.

Brent and I were sitting on his loveseat at this point, and he was kissing me and saying, "I want to be with you forever." Then he got up and got something out of a box. He said, "I can't afford anything better right now, but you can have this." It was his class ring. I wore it until he moved here last summer.

(I just tried to take a picture of it on my finger, and it slides off now. Even though I'm the same weight, I guess I've lost some bloat from my fingers!)

We went to the Route 66 Diner for dinner, and I made a joke about wearing his class ring but not getting his letterman's sweater.

We had to get up at 0-dark-wtf to get me to the airport on time. Albuquerque is home to Kirtland Air Force base, so airport security takes a while. It was much colder that day, so Brent wore a black knit hat instead of his baseball hat. He had it low over his eyes, like Mushmouth. I thought he was trying to hide his emotions, but now I know he always does that when he's super tired. ;)

He gave me a kiss goodbye and stood there until I disappeared into the security line. I was really sad, but I was too sleepy and too worried about the flight (seats) to concentrate on that. Security did take a while, and by the time I got through, I only had to wait a half-hour for my flight to depart.

I ended up sitting next to a really thin, chatty guy. I apologized for being big, and he waved me off and said, "Honey, nobody is comfortable in these seats. They suck. Pro-tip. Fly Continental. They have a single row of seats along the left side. That's where I was booked before Chicago got snow-swamped." Heh. :)

We spent the entire flight with him talking about all of the different planes he's been on, including a Concorde, and me twirling Brent's ring and wishing I could just be home, in bed, relaxing with my kitties and waiting to see him again.

Instead, when we landed, I had to take the L to Jefferson Park, a bus to Stacy's neighborhood (where my car was parked), and then drive from Chicago to State Farm, where I worked from 5:00 to 7:00 as promised. That was the most surreal thing I've experienced in a long time. That morning, I was in New Mexico, hugging Brent, and now I was back at my desk like nothing had ever happened. It was such a blur, the plane ride, the L, the bus, and then traffic on I-94. It was like I'd dreamed it during my lunch break. I'll never forget that weird feeling.

Now I'm sitting in my recliner, with my kitties, waiting for Brent to come home from work instead of waiting for his train to arrive. I'm making chicken and pasta for dinner, one of his favorites, and the scale is going to keep moving down instead of moving up like it did when we started dating. Instead of gaining 43 pounds, I'll lose another 43 pounds, and then another, and then another, and so on.

I'm so glad he's been by my side through all of this.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Brent and I went to see Sinister tonight. I was very excited, not only because it looked good, but also because I hadn't been to a movie since April, when I was still close to 350 pounds. I always had to raise the armrests in the theatre, and my thighs would get sore from the seat frame cutting into the middle of them.

Before we went, I decided to try on one of my favorite tops, one I haven't worn in two years because the arms were too tight and it didn't cover my belly anymore.

It fit.

Closer view of the detail. This picture was taken three years ago. It's a black sweater with a black satin insert and satin-covered buttons.

Then, I put on my dressy black boots, which I couldn't even get on my feet earlier this year.

They fit.

It felt great to walk around in those boots again. I tried wearing them a couple years ago, when they started to get tight, and my calves were screaming by the end of the day. Tonight, they were just fine, and they looked great with my new (faux) leather jacket.

When we got to our seats, I got so nervous. It was hilarious. They were just theatre seats! But I'd built this up for so long, and it was really important to me.

I fit!

I didn't take a picture because the previews were on and the lights were down, but I was just fine. It was a little tight, but the armrests were down, and they weren't resting on my legs. I put my soda in the left armrest and then lifted the right one so I could snuggle up to Brent. (Hey, the movie was scary.)

I was kind of high on awesome when I got home, so I updated the Photos page and the Measurements page.


Special Bonus Photo:

Sherlock photobomb! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Friday!

Razzlefrazzlesnarkle. I've been hovering around 317 - 318 for a few weeks now. I got down to 316.4 today, which is the lowest I've seen in a few weeks. 315 was my all-time low a couple weeks ago, and I'm starting to think that was due to a HUGE water weight loss when I was on steroids for my URI. They gave me crazy hot flashes, and I'm pretty sure I sweat a couple pounds off that weekend. I was too hot in a tank top; meanwhile, Brent was practically hugging the radiator. We looked like a couple of senior citizens. ;)

Anyway, maintaining is fine, so whatever, but I want to hit my next mini-goal! It's so close! Since I've been here for a few weeks or so, I'm officially calling it a plateau. (Technically, a plateau is six weeks, but I don't want to wait that long to go, "Oh hey. Maybe I should switch things up a bit.")

So, since my body has become comfortable, it's time to shock it again. I'm still eating 1800 calories/day, but since I've lost 40 pounds, I really should lower that to 1650 - 1700. I also need to change up my exercise routine. I think my muscles have become complacent with walking, so I need to toss some weights into the mix and/or walk during lunch and do some weight routines when I get home.

I have a new upper body workout from The Firm I've been dying to try. I know you can't spot reduce, but I'd love to firm up my arms and chest so that when the weight does come off, I don't have bingo wings anymore. Plus, I love the look of a well-defined shoulder cap, especially on pear-shaped girls like me. It makes us look more hourglass-y and less bowling-pin-y.

I re-organized my bedroom the other night, and now I have plenty of room to work out. I just need to move our spare TV from the back storage area to the top of my dresser and then put the DVD player in there. :)

I did take measurements last night, and I've lost a little bit off my arms and an inch off my waist and thigh, so I'm not freaking out about the scale not moving. My weight will catch up with my measurements soon enough. My jeans are definitely getting more comfortable. They aren't so loose that I need to go down a size yet, but they aren't tight anymore either.


I promise I'll upload pictures and write about our Chicago trip soon. I keep meaning to do that after work, but then I get home and it's nice and dark and rainy and I just want to put on pajamas and be lazy. Since I've been taking progesterone supplements, I noticed my mood has improved considerably (yay), but I have cravings for foods I normally don't eat (like sugar - boo), and I've been sleepy-tired by 11:00 (yay, but I don't get to bed until 2:00 because I'm dumb, so boo-ish). I've been sleeping 1000000% better once I do fall asleep, so that's a huge "yay".

Anyway, I need to do that soon because we leave for Albuquerque in just a few weeks, and I should probably get one trip journal done so I have the energy to write the next one. The Albuquerque trip journal is going to be LONG. ;) We're going to be there for close to a week, we're doing "Christmas" while there, and we're taking the train. Last year, I took over 200 pictures, so brace yourselves. ;)


On that note, we've been in serious discussion about moving there. Brent is homesick; we have lots of friends (and Brent's family) there; the job market is good; it's a thriving metropolis with a population of close to one million people; there are always lots of shows, dancing at night clubs, and concerts; it has wonderful culture and history; and the restaurants are fabulous.

I'm not jazzed about leaving the Great Lakes since I grew up here and LOVE water, but Albuquerque has mountains, hiking trails, and hot springs. Plus, I could sled and ski during the winter. (Okay, I can learn to ski.) They DO have the Rio Grande, so at least it's something, but it doesn't have waves or storms like the Great Lakes. At least Albuquerque has four seasons, though. A lot of people think it's in the desert and hot year-round, but it's actually in the "high desert" area of northern New Mexico. They have a longer spring and fall, summer is hot but DRY (definitely more tolerable - I barely notice the heat), and the winters are cold with occasional snow in the city and lots of snow in the mountains. It's a bit too sunny for my tastes, and they don't get enough thunderstorms, but they do have changing weather patterns and I can always work second shift if I want to hide from the sun. ;)

The pros definitely outweigh the cons, and I'm Very Excited about this idea, so we're going to see where everything sits next spring and go from there. If Brent gets a considerable raise, we'll probably stay for the time being, but if not, he's thinking about asking them if he can work remotely. That would prevent him from having to find a new job and would give us sooooo much flexibility. Even if they say no, though, there are lots of computer jobs in Albuquerque.

Our lease isn't up until the end of June, but we have to give our landlords 90 days notice since they need to prepare for their summer renting season (we live in a college town). So, we really have until the end of March to figure this all out. Brent keeps saying it's a "long way off", but then I point to how quickly the calendar moves and stress that we need to re-visit this conversation shortly after New Year's Day since a cross-country move isn't exactly an easy feat.

So we'll see. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


A 0.8-pound loss since last week, which is pretty good considering how we ate last weekend. Oink. I've been drinking lots of water to flush out the alcohol, cupcakes, soda, mac & cheese, pizza, and fried food.

I'll post a longer entry about our trip later. It was full of NSVs! So, even though the scale didn't change much, I'm happy about that. I'm also happy I didn't gain. Usually, I come back from a trip a few pounds heavier.

Sooooooooo not going to make my goal of being under 300 by our Thanksgiving trip to Albuquerque (4.5 weeks from today), but I'm a lot thinner than I was when we saw everyone last Christmas, and that makes me happy. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012


I'm so excited! We're leaving for Chicago when I get out of work today. I took a 7:00 shift so I could get out at 3:30. It was so hard to get up at 6:00, since I'm used to getting up at 9:30, but getting out at 3:30 instead of 7:00 is going to be pretty awesome. ;) I've had two cups of coffee already, and I loved that it was nice and quiet in here until 8:30, when most of my co-workers showed up. Plus, it's kind of funny that I'll be going to lunch shortly after the 10:30 shift workers (my normal shift) come in for the day. Nyah nyah. ;)

Anyway, as soon as I get out, I'm going to pick up Brent at his office, and then we'll leave from there. It's much easier than going all the way home, since that's northerly and backwards. I work just off of I-94, and his office is west of mine, so it's perfect. I'm super bummed about leaving the kitties for the weekend, though. I pet them and kissed them this morning, and I made sure they had plenty of food and water for the weekend. I feel bad because this is the first time they'll be alone all day, let alone all weekend. Brent is always home by 7:00, and I come home around 7:30, so I know they're going to be wondering where we are once the sun goes down. Poor kitties. :( Brent says I'm going to miss them more than they'll miss me (probably true), but I still worry.

I am going to try really hard to make it to the South Shore train station before the train leaves, but it's going to be tight. I have to hope for light traffic and no cops. Even if we maintain a decent speed (78-80), it's going to be tight. I told Brent if we miss the train, we can always just drive to Chicago and park on a street; or, we can head to Gary and catch the next train, but I'd almost rather drive to Chicago at that point since it's so close and we'd have to wait in Gary for an hour and a half. I'm trying to weigh dealing with rush hour traffic and parking versus waiting for an hour and a half with a book and taking the easy way into the city. Given how tired I am, my brain is voting for "easy" right now.

Wow. My day is almost halfway over. I need to work this shift more often. This is kind of cool. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back to 40!

Well, thank goodness. Today's weigh-in puts me back at 40 pounds lost. Phew! I still need to lose two more pounds to get back to my current low of 315, but another couple days of strict monitoring, lots of water, and exercise should do it. I've been dropping about one pound of water bloat every day. Once again, lesson learned. I got lazy about tracking sodium and water and paid for it dearly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Yup. Just as I suspected. Up three from last Wednesday, but down four from the TOM gain (seven pounds!) last weekend.

So, I'm hoping it all balances out over the next week and that I can get back to 315 by next Wednesday. I've been very careful with water, sodium, and exercise; I think that's helping a lot. Plus, we're going to Chicago this weekend, and that means very little eating** and tons and tons of walking.

I might try lemon water the next time I bloat up like this. A few of my friends suggested it and swear it keeps their monthly bloating to a minimum.

**Unlike most people, I tend to eat less while on vacation. When I'm busy, I don't feel hungry.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lesson Learned

Thanks to PCOS and its tendency to skip cycles, this past week was my first cycle since seriously tracking my weight loss. So, of course I freaked out a bit when I gained six pounds of water weight. I wondered if it would stick around. I wondered how hard it would be to take off. I wondered if it was my cycle or some other freak occurrence. I was back in the 320s after being smack-dab in the middle of the teens, and that made me Very Mad. I'd just passed the 40-pound mark, and now I had to not only get back under 320 but also get back under 40 pounds lost.


I read countless articles and forum posts from doctors and MFP members stating that this is completely normal and happens to lots of women, which I knew but had never experienced... I think.

I never noticed the water gain before because I never weighed myself like I do now. I didn't even own a scale until this past spring. So, in the past, I may have been bloated, but I honestly don't remember because feeling bloated and fat was a daily thing. Since I didn't own a scale and didn't weigh myself every day, I never noticed the change in weight. At least now I know for next time and can try to prepare myself as much as possible.

The other day, I was close to 322. Now I'm back down to 318-ish, thank goodness. I've been pumping gallons of water and green tea with lemon into my body, and I exercised longer than usual yesterday. My jeans already feel comfortable again, so I think I've won this battle. I could hardly button them the other day. Tomorrow's weigh-in will probably show a gain, since I was 315 last Wednesday, but at least I know why now. Grumble.

Anyway, I have six weeks left until Thanksgiving. To meet my "under 300" goal, I'd have to lose just over three pounds per week. Yeaaaahhhhh... not going to happen. ;) I may have to move that goal to Christmas, which would give me eleven weeks.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think I may drop the timeline goals, i.e. "under 300 by X". I already have mini-goals to hit certain milestones. I don't know if I need the added pressure of time for each one. I keep telling people it isn't a race and that any weight lost is a Good Thing. Maybe it's time to take my own advice?

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I went to Lane Bryant last night because I really need a fall jacket, and I haven't had a leather jacket in years. They had a cute, black, faux leather motorcycle jacket (with leopard print lining!) on sale for $70, so I called and had them put one on hold for me.

Unfortunately, they didn't have a 26/28 - I have to buy things larger to fit over my hips - so they put a 22/24 on hold. I thought it might fit my upper body okay but wasn't sure about the lower body.

I went over there after work, tried it on, and it fits perfectly. Since it only comes to the top of my hips, I didn't have any issues zipping it up. I did try another, similar jacket in a 26/28, but it was baggy. Even the salesgirl said it made me look bigger and grabbed the back to bunch it up and show me how much better I look when things fit. I explained that if something comes over my hips, I have to go a bit bigger, even though it's baggy on my upper body. Damn pear shape. ;)

I'm still trying to get over second-guessing myself when choosing a size, though. Buying things bigger than I need them is a habit I really need to drop. I told the salesgirl that I've been losing weight, and she said, "Oh, then you should definitely buy something that fits; otherwise, the baggy thing will be super baggy in a month, whereas the thing that fits will just be "comfortable" and you won't have to buy new clothes every few weeks." Good point. ;)

Anyway, as she was ringing me up, she gave me the usual spiel about saving 15% if I open a Lane Bryant card. I said, "No," like I always do, and she kept asking. I said, "There's no way they'll approve me." She started to open her mouth again, and I said, "Seriously. I had a card when I was 20, along with a billion others, jacked up my credit, and I'm only just starting to get it together. Catherine's denied me a card last fall." But then I thought, "Oh, what the hell. At least it'll shut her up."

So she ran all my stuff, and I waited for the denial.

A few seconds passed, and she said, "Oh, this is a good sign. It only delays if you're approved."


Sure enough, I was approved for a $300 credit limit. Perfect number! Not too high, and not too low. :) It's just enough for those, "Oh, holy crap I need an outfit for a wedding," or, "Whoa, they have sweaters for 75% off this weekend only," moments. I can easily pay off a $300 charge (assuming I max it) in one month, so there's no danger of carrying a balance or being late with a payment. Yay! Double-plus bonus: she said I can use it at LB, Catherine's, and the LB/Catherine's outlet since they're all under the same company.

She also told me she could put the jacket on the card right away and that anything else I bought would also qualify for the 15% discount. So I ran around the store, resisted temptation about a million times, and decided to get some workout clothes.

I've been wearing old, ratty, cotton workout gear that I've had for a billion years, and I've always wondered how much better that wicking fabric would be. Everyone says you don't need expensive workout clothes from UA or Lululemon, but I've always wanted to give the special material a try. I hate when I get sweaty and my clothes feel like they're suffocating me. Plus, cotton is just so thick and heavy. So, I grabbed some Reebok pants and a shirt, both with "Stay-Dry" labels. The pants are suuuuuuuuuper long, so I'm going to have to hem them before I try them out tonight. When I held them up so that the bottom of the legs hit the top of my feet, the waistband was hitting my chest. :-P

I figure these will be really good for working out at home, especially for Turbo Jam. When I go for walks, I'll still wear sweats and a t-shirt/hoodie since it's getting cold (and I refuse to wear clingy workout clothes in public).

I'm still surprised I got approved. I'm glad I can use this to get my credit score up even higher and show the creditors I'm now a responsible 35-year old adult with a good income instead of a 20-year old college student who delivers pizzas. Eventually, I'll qualify for a regular charge card again. I can't wait. I've always hated that I don't have one for emergencies. Plus, it would be nice to earn some bonuses for flights or Amtrak.

Sooooo, on a whim, I applied for the Amtrak Guest Rewards Master Card last night, but they denied me. ;) I know department stores' guidelines aren't as strict as the major banks, so that didn't surprise me. Someday, though, I'd love to get that since I pay all of our bills online, and you get 1-3 points for every dollar spent. We'd be able to get a free room on a long-distance train once or twice per year. :)


In completely unrelated news, I'm not looking forward to weighing in next week. I'm bloated like a baby beluga right now, so I'm taking Pamprin and drinking gallons of water. I don't think it's helping, though. I've gained five pounds of water weight in past two days. Damn doctor fixing my hormones. ;) I was perfectly fine skipping my cycle for six months at a time. /shakes fist

Anyway, I'll be happy if I simply break even next week, but even if I don't, I won't get (too) upset. It isn't a race, and the water weight will go away soon enough. I think my Thanksgiving goal of 299 is going to become my Christmas goal due to this speed bump, but hey... under 300 pounds by the time a new year rolls around? I'm perfectly fine with that. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hotel Booked!

We finally have a place to stay. :)

I'd been nervous about booking through Hotwire, but my friend, Stacy, urged me to give it a shot since many of her friends have had good luck with it. Plus, you can specify the neighborhood and star rating, so it's not like you'll get tossed into a flea bag motel 40 miles out of the city.

So, this morning, I gave it a whirl. I found a really good price in the River North area, clicked the "purchase" button, crossed my fingers, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when the hotel's name came up.

We're staying at the Hotel Sax!

I'm pretty excited because this is one of the hotels I'd been ga-ga over for a while, but I could NOT justify paying $370/night for it. We got it for $149/night. Incredible.

I totally fell in love with the decor. I'd decorate our house like this if we were homeowners.

Reception desk

Crimson Lounge

King bedroom

It's right next to the Marina Towers, my favorite residential complex in the city. It's actually referred to as "Marina City" since you can live there and never leave the building, thanks to hair salons, grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, movies, an ice rink, bowling alley, and so on right within the complex. The apartments/condos are pie-shaped, due to the shape of the buildings, and the balconies are curved. It's wicked cool. I've always wanted to live there. Always.

Anyway, Harry Caray's is next to the hotel as well, along with the House of Blues. It's on the river, only a couple blocks from the one of the main L hubs (State/Lake).

Unfortunately, when I traded my shift last week, I forgot to submit the request for a half-day on Friday. That was my entire reason for trading my shift! When I realized I'd forgotten, I submitted my request, but they've already reached capacity for time-off that day. Rats! I did manage to switch my 8:30 for a 7:00 shift, so I'll be out at 3:30 (and dead tired), but at least I can get out a little earlier.

I'm still sad because we'd planned to be in Chicago around 4:30, enough time for dinner and sight-seeing, and now it'll be more like 6:30 or so. I suppose that isn't terrible, but I'm still ticked because we'll probably have to drive instead of taking the train.

So, the current plan is to get home as quickly as possible after work, pick up Brent, drive as fast as I can without endangering anyone or getting pulled over, and try to make the 4:45 (Central Time) South Shore train out of Michigan City.

If we're close to Michigan City and don't think we'll be able to make the train, we'll keep driving all the way to Chicago and park on a street somewhere. I used to date a guy who lived on the south side (the non-sketchy part), and I know for a fact there is a ton of street parking near his old apartment. It's right by the Orange Line, so that's a huge bonus. We can park the car and take the Orange Line to State/Lake and then walk the two blocks to the hotel. If we do manage to catch the South Shore, then we'll get off at Millennium Station (Randolph), and it's only a half-mile walk to the hotel from there.

Either way, it'll work out. I'm still annoyed with myself, though. ;) I really wanted to relax on the train and get there early, not drive like a bat out of hell and risk the chance of having to drive into Chicago during rush hour on Friday. Oh well. We'll still have an awesome weekend in the city, and two hours won't make that much of a difference in the end. I really did want to take a river boat tour Friday night, and now we'll be too late, but Brent pointed out it'll probably be way too cold anyway. It's been getting down to 40-50 shortly after sundown lately. So now I'm thinking maybe we can have dinner somewhere, walk around downtown for a while, maybe get some cupcakes at Sprinkles, and then crash with a movie since I'll be pretty sleepy at that point (especially since Chicago is an hour behind Michigan).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Image courtesy of Ampersand Seven

One pound down from last week. I'll take it. I'm only three pounds away from my next mini-goal!

I can definitely (finally) see the similarities between what I see in the mirror, my brain, and pictures Brent took when we first started dating. My size is starting to feel comfortable again too. Last week, I was still in that grey area of feeling heavier than I actually am, but now I catch myself sitting in chairs and such like it ain't no thang instead of worrying if I'll fit. It's the same thing with clothes; instead of worrying about a particular size being too tight, I know it won't. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that.

I'm working on my day off because overtime pay is too sweet to pass up. Between the kitties' upcoming booster shots, Winter's surgery (spay), our trip to Chicago next weekend, Thanksgiving in Albuquerque, and Christmas in Gaylord, my checking account is going to need the padding. I'm working next Wednesday too.

To be honest, I don't mind working overtime because it means I don't have to talk to (as many) people. ;) Instead of getting bombarded with a billion incoming calls and having to think on my feet, I get to work tasks like paying estimates and rental bills, reading police reports to confirm/update information, calling policyholders for follow-up, and new claims. It's pretty chill, and I get to listen to music (through headphones) since I don't have to worry about my phone ringing. I wish every day could be like this.

I'm still working on finding a hotel for our trip. I thought I was all set with Club Quarters, and then I saw a couple other options near the same price range, and now I'm confused. I'm determined to find the absolute best deal while staying in the Loop. This can be tricky, but I know it can be done. I can't wait too much longer, though, or the rooms will get snatched up. I'm hoping to find that perfect balance where rooms are still available but the hotel is dropping prices to make sure they don't have empty rooms that weekend. I have a feeling that will happen tomorrow, which happens to be payday - perfect. ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Detroit Dives

As I mentioned in Friday's post, Brent went to Harpo's in Detroit for the Anthrax/Testament concert on Friday night. Since I had the evening to myself, I decided to watch a "Law & Order: SVU" DVR marathon with the kitties. I had to work Saturday, so I was in bed before Brent got home.

His truck was broken into while he was at Harpo's! Since he didn't want to wake me up when he got home, he emailed me at work the next morning to tell me his side window had been broken. A few other people parked near him had their windows broken too. I was shocked but kind of wanted to laugh too. I mean, that's so typical of that area of Detroit. In a way, I wasn't shocked, and that's what amused me. We'd been talking about what a sketchy area that is, and he was actually kind of excited (we both love urban areas). The KFC had a security window in their drive-thru, and as he was walking toward the building before the concert, he texted me to tell me two ladies were trying to sell him Xanax.

So yeah, it was pretty typical for that area, but it definitely put a damper on his night. I felt so bad for him because he had to drive all the way home on I-94 with no passenger-side window, and even with the heat cranked it was super cold. It got down to 51 Friday night.

Luckily, the only thing they took was his work bag. Unfortunately, that had a bunch of USB drives, his project book with all of his notes, his calendar, his checkbook, and a few other random things. The bag had been made for him by a good friend about 15 years ago, so he was really bummed about that. They didn't take anything from his glove box, his flannel, his favorite hat (he found that on the ground), his cigarettes, his CDs, the shells and rocks on his dashboard (he's been collecting them on trips to various bodies of water since 1995), or his phone (which he had with him, thank goodness).

The USB drives didn't have any personal or work info on them, but his notebook had some work passwords in it. Additionally, he had to call the bank and cancel the checks within that number range. He's going to keep monitoring for suspicious activity. I told him to change his account number since you can use a routing and account number for things like PayPal and other subscriptions, but he's just going to keep an eye on it.

I had him check his glove box to make sure they didn't take his registration and insurance cards, since people use those to make fakes, but they were still in there.

Since I work in auto claims, I gave him a few glass shop recommendations, and he had it fixed this afternoon. The window cost $165 to replace, and he had to buy a new work bag, notebooks, and USB drives. Blargh. Poor guy.
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