March 1st, 2006



Well, Mardigras is over and Lent has begun. I enjoyed my paczki yesterday, and I also enjoyed a giant diet coke with lunch. I enjoyed a kit-kat in the afternoon, and some chocolate ice cream with diet pepsi in evening.

For Lent this year, I am giving up paczkis. That one's pretty easy, since I only eat them on Mardigras anyway. However, I am challenging myself this year. I am also giving up chocolate and artificial sweetener.

Yes, that's right. You read this properly. I'm giving up chocolate. AND... I'm giving up diet coke. Chocolate! Diet Coke! This is going to be a challenging couple of months, because I really love both of those things.

Why? Why would I do this to myself? Well, mostly to prove to myself that I can. I don't need any of that stuff, it's not good for me... and I like to occasionally remind myself that I am stronger than my cravings.

I'm not good at permanently making healthy life-changes. But I can last a couple of months; I know I can. It will be challenging, but it will be good for me.

I've successfully given up chocolate for Lent in the past. (Last year I gave up candy, which is similar (though not exact).) It's a good thing to give up, because it's bad for me and sometimes I have a tendency to over-indulge in it. Giving ourselves some time apart helps me remember that chocolate is a treat, not a necessity.

Avoiding artificial sweetener though, this is a new thing for me. I'm mainly doing it as an experiment. As somebody who easily gains weight, I've always chosen diet coke, equal, and things like that as a means to enjoy something sweet without consuming extra calories. But there are several articles out indicating that artificial sweeteners may actually lead to weight gain.

I don't know if this is true or not, or if so how much, but it's worth a Lenten Experiment. Especially since all those chemicals probably aren't that good for me anyway... no matter how much I may love my diet cola beverages.

So here we go, day one of giving up artificial sweeteners. It's going well so far. I haven't slipped up even once!

Except... I could kill for a nice icy cold diet coke. Well, maybe not kill, but maim. No, even that's not true. But I would happily elbow somebody firmly out of my way, if only it weren't Lent.

This is going well. Yes. I can do this. It'll get easier....I hope!

Travel and Such

I have a whirlwind week ahead of me. It feels like I've been traveling a LOT in the past three months, so I looked it up in my calendar. I guess I haven't been traveling all that much, approximately two weekends per month, but it still feels like I have been constantly packing, unpacking, and repacking my suitcase.

We're (finally) putting our big release into production this weekend. They requested a developer in San Antonio where our call center is -- basically just to make the users "feel good" next week while they're getting used to the new stuff. I volunteered, since I've never been to San Antonio, and it will hopefully be warm there.

So I'm leaving for Texas sunday afternoon, and flying back tuesday afternoon. Quite a quick little visit! But at least I'll be able to spend sunday afternoon/evening looking around a little. And hopefully I'll get to see the sun.

Tuesday evening I arrive back in Detroit, hopefully have a quick dinner with my Boy, then I'm driving to Sandusky that night. We're having an off-site team gathering, to talk about the last release and begin talking about the next one.

Wednesday and thursday will be all-day planning sessions, then I'll drive back thursday night or friday morning. I'm hoping to get a skating lesson on friday around lunchtime; I should be back in plenty of time for that.

I want a skating lesson because that sunday I'm testing my Novice Moves! Yikes. Hopefully I won't have forgotten how to skate, during all this travel. I'm really nervous and excited about testing. It'll be the first time taking a skating test since I was 18 years old!

Hard to believe. I've been competing all these years, but haven't had a need/desire to take any lessons or do any testing. Now that I'm not competing, I figured testing would be a good way to stay challenged. But now that it's coming up so fast, it's a little nerve-wracking. ...especially with all the travel ahead of time.

I'm glad I'm testing, despite the stress. Even if I don't pass, at least the First Time Back will be out of the way. The experience will be good, and I will hopefully get some useful feedback from the judges. And if I pass....well that will be even cooler!

Other trips I'd like to make soon, in March/April:
more skiing (because it's fun, and winter will end soon)
Chicago (because it's been too long since I've seen my niece and nephew)
New York (because I skipped my normal visit with my extended family at Christmas)