Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fearing the Bikini

With the knowledge that spring is just around the corner, I decided it was time to put my two month exercise slump behind me and move my butt. This determination was sparked while riding in the car today, poking at the part of my stomach hanging over my jeans, and recalling a line from the novel Bridget Jone's Diary when an almost-lover told her, "you're all squashy!"

I do not want to be squashy.

It is a lot harder to exercise regularly since I have moved away from the neighborhood of my college-town into a city where there are too many cars to go for a neighborhood jog, and I have to drive almost twenty minutes to get to the nearest trail. I have had a gym membership since May, but at $50 a month and with little to no use in the past two months, I've decided to bid it adieu.

In it's place, I'm purchasing a Tony Little Gazelle on Saturday - used, and found on Craig's List. My dad and step-mother have an older model and I enjoy using it when I visit because the motion is fun, but it seems difficult to break a sweat while on it. But at the price of one month of gym membership and the prospect of saving gas, it's worth a shot. I'll report back on how it goes.

Perhaps with any luck, the cool weather will last long enough for me to work off my squash before heading out to the lake. It's amazing how frightening three small triangles of stretchy fabric can be.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Priceless: Saving Money

Today I had two realizations: both revelatory, one negative, one positive.

First, I learned that I actually did myself a disservice by cancelling the credit card I have had for four years, but who's reward service pales in comparison to the new card I received this year. I thought by cancelling the unused card I would be eliminating the potential for identity theft of the account, and reduce my potential debt on my credit score. Apparently, I did a bad thing.

Last night I read that by cancelling this card account I thus eliminated my credit history on that card. Not good. Now I only have a years worth of credit to my name as opposed to five. Is there really no way this card will stay on my record? Frustrating, as I literally just cancelled this card last week.

The second, and good, revelation is that I lowered my monthly car payment $200 by refinancing my loan from Toyota's 8% interest rate to a new, 5.4% interest rate with a different company. FABULOUS. I didn't realize you could refinance a car loan, and I also realized too late I was paying far too much per month on my auto loan. $200 banked is an excellent feeling. It will feel even better when I actually authorize a lower payment for the first time.

The third issue of the night is not revelatory at all but has gone on too long unchecked. My boyfriend and I practically live like we're married but he refuses to talk about marriage until next year. This is frustrating as I put all the effort in to coming to his place everyday, I moved to this city for him, and we talk about living together when his lease is up but members of my family would not think well of me if I did this, and living together was something I'd always looked forward to post-marriage. Can I even afford to live on my own without him splitting the bills with me?

I don't want to pressure him into marrying me, (that wouldn't work, anyway), but it upsets me that he won't talk about it sooner than "next year," and just assumes I'll keep coming over and helping keep house at his convenience.

Is this a common problem in relationships? Sometimes I tell myself to stop coming over, but that rarely works out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Enjoying the Academy Awards in Sweat Socks

I would like to thank...

Green initiatives by the higher ups, and the Hollywood set for keeping in mind that they maintain the power to both influence and sway the American public’s mindset and actions - and every now and then do something positive in that respect. The president of Global Green USA, Matt Petersen is quoted saying "The Oscars is one of the most highly watched events around the world, and we want to use that lens to shine the light on environmental challenges and their solutions."

I’ve read a lot of articles that all seemed slightly disappointed at this year’s green initiatives in comparison with last year’s An Inconvenient Truth’s inspired fervor, but I’m still impressed that the extra effort of going green hasn’t been dropped for being inconvenient in itself. In the present state of affairs, it does take a little extra work to change the status quo of large carbon footprints , and I’m glad to see people making that effort.

It is also exciting to hear the news that at least one celebrity – Nancy O’Dell – was dressed by Linda Loudermilk, famously known for her mergance of couture design with an ethical mindset. I’m yet to find a picture of the dress, but I hear it is made of sea weed and vintage pieces. If I could afford to support ethical couture, I’d be all over that. Let’s vote for teacher’s raises and maybe it will happen.

At this point in the Oscars we have not made it to best picture, but Jon Stewart did just make a joke about hybrid air planes – which I hope is more prophesy than gest.

After watching all of the red carpet entrances, I want to put on all of my costume jewelry and my 4.5 inch pre-anti-leather Cole Haan pumps to go to work tomorrow. It seems glamorous in theory. In my opinion, pajamas and hospital scrub pants are the ultimate in high fashion – I wear them whenever given the opportunity. For now, I’ll continue watching glamour from my arm chair and hope that if and when I become a Hollywood screen writer – Jon Stewart’s opening joke concerning writers being invited to fancy swag parties as a sign of respect will again be a fulfilled prophecy.

Seriously – who’s idea was it to give all the best stuff to the richest people for free!? As an advocate for change, I would happily attend a gifting suite on behalf of people who don’t make a million dollars a month. That’s something I’d be thankful for!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guilt-free laziness

My boyfriend and I have an arrangement where I "live" at his apartment over the weekend. This works for me, because he is borrowing my couches (bookshelves, pots and pans, etc.) while I save up money for my first house. Furniture aside, this arrangement is beneficial for him because I, being OCD over clutter, pick up his dirty clothes, deliver Tuesday night's macaronni dish from the desk to the dishwasher, and let our new dog - Diego - in and out while he is at work on Saturday.

Back in August, when I first began teaching 10th grade, I would always bring lesson plans and homework to grade home with me on the weekend. This idea was quickly nixed - I don't get paid enough to work overtime on weekends, and there is nothing I can do at home that can't be put off until the kids are watching a movie or taking a test. This philosophy, that work and personal projects will always wait for you, is the justification I use to spend Saturday's laying on my couch and watching home decorating shows.

In former years I suffered from a case of "inactivity guilt." Sometimes it still sneaks up on me. Essentially, this is the guilt that makes a person believe they should always be accomplishing something, and lounging moments should be few and far between.

So today, in celebration of a lazy, cloudy Saturday, I want to compile a list of reasons why doing nothing can be a beautiful thing:

*Most people do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. While you can't "make up" lost sleep, you can re-charge yourself by treating your weekends like a mini-vacation - a time for much needed R&R!

*Stress can change people's attitudes and make them bitter and/or mean, especially towards people they are close to. Giving yourself a rest can make you a nicer and more enjoyable person.

*Laying on the couch is economical - it doesn't cost any money! If you were out at the mall or cruising Home Depot looking for projects, that would probably cost a lot of your hard earned dollars.

*Resting decreases anxiety. Walking into work on Monday with less anxiety will make you a better, more productive employee.

*When you lift weights, you tear your muscles and you need to rest in order for them to grow back stronger. Perhaps it is the same for your brain - you work it hard over the week, and then by letting it rest on Saturday, it functions faster and more efficiently on Sunday.

*When are the yogi's wrong? Shavasana, or corpse pose, is often used to both begin and end a good yoga workout. Shavasana involves letting all the muscles in the body untense and relax, and is utilized to quiet and calm the mind. Is it a coincidence that "shavasana" and "Saturday" are linguistically similar and both signal a start and an end? I think not. Untense away.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

First day on sight.

Today, while sitting at my desk and evilly making my students do individual seat work, I created a long list of topics I would like to write articles about. This extensive lists includes everything from how to pay taxes, (why the hell isn’t this a class offered to everyone in high school?), to how to organize a closet, to vegetarian cooking, to how to live life fabulous, underpaid, and well invested. The result of these musings? Green Bella.

I am a first year teacher, a co-founder of a home renovation and restoration company, a dog lover, possessed by a rampant curiosity, and an obscure knowledge connoisseur.

Bella Green: portfolio? Magazine? Self-indulgent reverie? Time should tell.
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