January 1, 2010

Things that didn’t suck about 2009

Posted in dieting, health, lovey, nostalgia, self-improvement, travel, veganism, vegetarianism at 12:58 pm by Marise Phillips

Although it has been a trying year, 2009 was also full of some truly memorable events in my life:

  • New Years Eve/Day in Amsterdam, followed by an outstanding week introducing my lovey to Paris
  • Successfully tapering off the evil antidepressant
  • Selling my money pit of a car and “making it work” with public transportation
  • Going back to the gym and attending regularly, then finding joy in bicycling and yoga
  • Giving up (for the most part):Β meat, sugar, alcohol, dairy, caffeine
  • Losing 30 pounds, and holding steady for 3 months (though it is high time to re-commit now that the holidaze are over!)
  • Getting my finances in much stronger shape during very difficult economic times

Thank you 2009 for all the tough love πŸ™‚ I am more than happy to carry on!

September 7, 2008

turned that frown upside down

Posted in self-improvement, travel at 10:35 pm by Marise Phillips

apologies for whininess of that last one.

i’m happy to report that i was able to create a pretty great last-minute vacation for myself last week. itΒ  combined a lot of the elements i missed out on when i cancelled all my 40th birthday plans: solitude, beauty and health-centricity.

the plan was able to come together thanks to two important events:

  1. selling the condo in Telluride (and freeing up some much-needed discretionary income)
  2. giving notice at my job (and gaining a nice two-week break before the new one begins)

wanting to make use of all the camping gear I’d recently gathered together for macrobiotic camp, i reserved two nights at oceanfront campsites: the first at Manresa near Santa Cruz, and the second at Refugio near Santa Barbara.

on my way down to Santa Cruz, I stopped at the world-famous Mystery Spot and took the guided tour. nestled in the redwoods, the crazy gravity-defying wooden shack was fun to walk through and marvel at. after proudly plastering the bright yellow bumper sticker on the back of my car, i drove out to the campsite, set up my stuff, and walked down to the beach for some sunset photos.

the new camp stove worked great for a quick vegie stir-fry, which i enjoyed with a glass of white wine at my picnic table. i also appreciated the cute little kerosene lamp someone had left behind — a pearly white porcelain thing in the shape of a sea-urchin.

[…more soon…]

August 3, 2008

on the verge of the most uneventful vacation ever

Posted in self-improvement, vacation at 5:44 pm by Marise Phillips

i’m kind of bitter these days.

my recent 40th birthday was so-so overall: quite nice while i was at work (especially pleased to have gotten a big bouquet of flowers, and to have shared a nice bottle of wine at our small group lunch) but the rest of the day was rather pallid. chalk it up to the financial straits J & I are in while waiting for our investment property to sell.

which leads me to why my vacation this next week also lacks luster. i don’t have a single discretionary dime to my name to spend on travel or pampering; instead, I’m simply facing a few days to myself. so it makes me wonder whether i’ll waste time stewing in my own juices, sneak peeks at work email (the horror!), possibly tackle that DIY to-do list, or — wonder of wonders — come up with something fun/free at the last minute.

sadly, i’m not at all looking forward to either wedding i’ve got stacked up at the end of the week. weddings fucking suck when your relationship (and life in general) is in the doldrums.


finally went to the local flea market, and proud of myself for riding my bike there and back (9 miles round trip). i wanted to get some exercise, clearly, but was also hoping that it would deter me from buying anything big. actually, i must admit i’ve been doing quite well on the “not buying anything” front. and while i’m totally whining about having no money for a proper vacation, i have actually been able to experience some of the benefits of self-imposed asceticism. materialism = bad πŸ˜‰

i rode over in a strong headwind under overcast skies. by the time i left, the sun had come out and my tire kept losing air pressure. so i ended up walking most of the way, getting a bit of a farmer’s burn in the process. so attractive for the upcoming wedding i’ll be wearing a sleeveless bridesmaid dress for. yeah!

but lately, these little scrapes i’ve gotten into (having to walk longer distances than usual, being stuck without a car here & there, etc) have been good exercises in putting up with shit, and realizing in the end that inconvenience is actually not so bad.

November 1, 2006

o happy day!

Posted in home, self-improvement at 8:51 pm by Marise Phillips

pretty paver, originally uploaded by RiseyP.

we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house we got the house!!

we take possession on nov 30 ( i think ) but wait – that means i’m already behind on my packing – eeeep!

i’m so exhausted from the stress and exhilaration, i may need to take a 72-hour nap or something. thank the flying spaghetti monster, the wait is over.

October 27, 2006

crossing fingers!!

Posted in family, lovey, self-improvement at 11:07 pm by Marise Phillips

still life with stick balls, originally uploaded by RiseyP.

my parents’ place officially went under contract today, and by monday, we may make an offer on a beautiful craftsman bungalow and cottage in alameda.

jason still hasn’t seen it yet; but the parents are all for the idea.

the gardens are heavenly.

check out the pix i took!

January 19, 2006

in other news…

Posted in knitting, lovey, self-improvement, tales from the gym, weekend at 9:02 pm by Marise Phillips

I'm making a supercute, little, soon-to-be-felted purse for my niece Maya, who turns 5 on Monday. it's got a frosty green yarn for the main purse part, a pastel multi-colored yarn for the flap and strap, and i'm gonna make a big pink flower applique for the front.

Unfortunately, it's not going to be complete in time for her actual birthday, but I'm hoping it'll be no more than a week or two late. Pix to come later.

I know, I suck.


J is eating yummy chocolate peanutbutter banana cake and breathing rather heavily right now. hehe. that's cause it's goooooooooood. i'm sure i breathed like a sonuvagun when i was shoving a huge piece down my cakehole earlier this evening πŸ˜‰

so, believe it or not, the "eating better" non-resolution i made is actually kind of working out overall, despite large infusions of chocolate peanutbutter banana cake and two black-bottom cupcakes yesterday. i haven't given up dessert, true. however, my main meals are far healthier than they've been in quite some time. lots more vegies, lots less meat.

lots less? meh. you know what i mean.

also, i have been doing fairly well on the gym thing this week. already been twice, and planning on going again tomorrow.

however, on the spending less front? BADBADBAD. bought a bunch of clothes over the weekend (but there was a party to go to! and a wedding coming up next month! and and and and…) i guess i'm sort of lucky a lot of the clothes didn't fit so well, necessitating returns and refunds.


strangely, i'm feeling more love for my parents recently. just this evening, i was thinking that it might be nice to hang out with them pretty soon. where in hell did *that* idea come from?? i haven't thought such things since I lived in Marin, about 10 miles south from them. weird. (now that i live in the city again, it's about 30 miles away, and across a bridge and everything. hard! far! excuse!)

i've got some dinner parties coming up, and I'm looking forward to them. first one is this weekend, for some of J's fellow expat friends who live in san rafael. we usually go up there (yes! we cross the bridge!) because they have a pool and two cute portuguese water dogs, and trish is a budding pastry chef specializing in chocolatey goodness. but it is long overdue for us to play host, and so i still need to figure out what i'm cooking. eek!! i do have the appetizer fairly decided: salmon and shrimp ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon and orange juice and tossed with roasted chipotles, avocado and red onion. yum.)

the second dinner is for a fairly sizeable group of friends. i'm thinking of just ordering a big sushi platter for that one, rather than trying to cook. we're finally going to "show off" (aka bore everyone silly with) our photos from Japan.

finally, K's dad and his fiancee are coming to visit in mid-Feb, and I'll be making a dinner for six of us. can't wait!!

January 12, 2006

Taking a moment

Posted in self-improvement, tales from the gym at 10:33 pm by Marise Phillips

…to acknowledge some achievements (one of my remedies against negativity and self-doubt):

  • Haven't killed the new fish – they still seem to be healthy and happy. They like to look at us as much as we like to look at them.
  • Got in touch with craigslist scooter-seller and will be getting a set of spare keys. This is much needed as original keys are missing and — call me crazy — I'd like to avoid getting more $100 tickets.
  • Been journaling every day. S'fun.
  • Ate yummy salad for lunch and had leftover Korean noodles for dinner, along with oh-so-healthy filtered water with grated ginger.
  • Registered a domain name in my full name and uploaded my *updated* resume and portfolio.
  • Been taking a more active approach to shaping my career.
  • Going to the gym again tomorrow, so better get to sleep!

January 2, 2006

ok, so maybe i lied.

Posted in family, self-improvement at 7:11 pm by Marise Phillips

maybe i *do* believe in something slightly resembling New Year’s Resolutions. it could just be having a few days in a row off work — makes me get all To Do List-y.

But last night as I lay sleepless in the guest room, thrashing and kicking the duvet into a large cone shape (per J), I couldn’t get my mind off the things I feel I *must* do, not sure how, not sure when.

I just know Not Doing Them is going to drive me to an early grave, literally and otherwise.

RiseyP’s Must Do List

  1. Taper off the evil anti-depressant
  2. Lower my cholesterol, hopefully enough to no longer require pharmaceutical assistance
  3. Get back in shape so that I can once again enjoy the following activities:
    • Skiing
    • Swimming
    • Hiking
    • Tennis
    • Rollerblading
    • Basically, being seen in public πŸ˜‰
  4. Get back on top of my finances by:
    • making a budget and sticking to it
    • bringing lunch to work 3-4 times a week
    • taking in a bit of freelance work
  5. Practice yoga and meditation
  6. See a dermatologist (or homeopath?) to address various minor, recurring skin issues
  7. Take really good care of my teeth (which used to be my pride and joy!) by:
    • wearing my retainer every night
    • brushing with the SoniCare every day
    • using the various whitening products J regularly brings home
  8. Take better care of my hands and nails

i wrote to my brother, and that made me feel better about the whole aftermath-of-him-not-visiting-us-for-the-holidays:

Sorry I didn’t get to talk to you before you left for Korea. I was still upset about the Christmas thing, and I am no good at talking when I’m upset 😦

But I wanted to thank you for replying via email and for your voicemail. I was impressed by your thoughtful, reflective reaction to the situation, and I really appreciated your sincere apology.

I think I got so upset about you not visiting for a couple of reasons: obviously, we all wanted to see you and were very disappointed at the late notice; moreover, I have felt really stressed out about having to help mom and dad out financially, what with my tendency to live above my means, not to mention the condo in Colorado which J and I bought as an investment property, just a month before dad let me know they were in danger of losing their house.

So, considering all that, the thought of having you in town for a while made me feel less like an overwhelmed “only child.” As you can probably relate, it’s very comforting to hang out with you, knowing what we went through as kids together, and how all the crap w/mom & dad continues to this day. And it’s been especially rough for me, ever since they moved up here and so much closer to me geographically than they used to be (and I know you had to deal with this when you were all living in SoCal. sigh.)

Anyway, I finally was able to get up to Marin to see them today for the holidays. The delay was due to a bunch of obstacles that kept cropping up: their oven being broken, mom’s knee being really out of whack, and my car getting broken into the other day (no biggie, just a small rear window smashed in but, luckily, nothing stolen).

For simplicity’s sake, we just took them out to lunch at a restaurant near their house. It was good food but the visit was fairly rushed and non-relaxing — mostly cause I just have a really hard time hanging out with them without wanting to strangle someone. i wish that wasn’t the case, and I do try to work on it.

At any rate, I want to find out if you still want/need that digital camera I was going to give you for Xmas. If so, I’ll gladly send it to you – just let me know your new address.

December 31, 2005

New Year’s “Opportunities”

Posted in pets, self-improvement at 12:40 pm by Marise Phillips

For many reasons, I’m not big on making New Year’s Resolutions. One, it’s not a time of year that *feels* particularly new and fresh, or that naturally gives rise to making changes… for *me*, I mean. I tend to feel far more energized in spring and autumn, personally.

However, because of what happened to me last night, I found it very hard to get to sleep, and so spent a few hours in deep self-reflection, determined to extract the hard lessons the Universe has been trying to teach me for some time now:

  1. SLOW. DOWN.
  2. Breathe deeply.
  3. Think before I speak and act.
  4. Generally reduce the space I take up in the world by:
    • eating less
    • wanting less
    • buying less
    • yearning less
    • complaining less
    • gossiping less
    • criticizing less
    • wasting less
    • risking less

The last one, risking less, is a very interesting concept for me to meditate on. Many people I know could benefit a great deal from risking more. As for me, I really don’t think I need to worry. I risk plenty. I risk way too much, as a matter of fact.

Case in point: I went out this morning to find my car’s rear vent window had been smashed in at some point last night. I had parked right in front of my house; however, I pay $75 a month for a garage space around the block. The garage’s location requires me to walk a bit farther, but has the distinct advantage of protecting my car from theft or damage.

I need to use that garage consistently, and stop whining about how it’s narrow and hard to park in, how it’s tandem with two other cars and sometimes I have to move them before I can get out, how there’s standing water on the ground in there right now and it smells bad. My landlord’s a good guy. I just have to give him a call and he’ll deal with the puddle, probably within 24 hours.

So these are what I consider my greatest opportunities for 2006, actions that will hopefully help “quiet down” the increasingly loud and insistent wake-up calls I’ve been getting from the Universe.

December 29, 2005

i got yer resolution right *here*

Posted in self-improvement at 1:27 pm by Marise Phillips

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Slap stupid people in the head.

Get your resolution here

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