Every year I set New Year’s resolutions, despite sneering at the concept. I suppose I dislike the idea of waiting until January 1 to stop bad behaviors and make changes in your life. But, in a way, I get it. It’s a chance to start fresh. It also gives you a great way to calculate your success. For example, we started our austerity commitment on December 30th. However, I’m not going to tell folks that I’m not spending for 33 days. That’s silly. I’m not spending in January. Round numbers that are easy to check off a list. No more judging folks for “resolutions”. (Then again, I should just stop judging folks…)
This year, I wanted to focus on things I could check off. No vague ideas like “I want to become a better driver.” Instead, I’m making lists that can have a notable completion date like “I want to master parallel parking.”
This year, I will:
1. Read 33 books
I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid, but over the past couple years, I’ve fallen in love with the library. Education and entertainment for free! Last year I read 32 books. This year I want to read one more. I track my progress on Good Reads.
2. Wash one load of laundry every weekday.
I get behind in laundry. It’s easy to toss a load in the washer in the morning.
3. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
4. Leg press 250lbs.
5. Reduce my body fat percentage below 20%
Currently, my body fat is around 22%. That’s considered the “Fitness” level by Ace. The Jackson & Pollock chart consider it “Ideal”. Don’t get me wrong - I do not have a problem with my body. It’s a fitness goal like improving my running pace. I’ve buckled down and started focusing on my weight lifting. It’s a way to monitor my success. Also, it’s noteworthy that I don’t necessarily want to keep it below 20%. I just want to get there.
6. Change the bed sheets once a month.
Um…I don’t do this consistently. Sometimes it’s couple times a month. Sometimes it’s every other month. I’m gross; I’m sorry.
7. Attend one yoga class per month.
Attend a class, not teach. Since I started teaching a month ago, my yoga attendance went down. And if I’m being really honest, it wasn’t too hot before that because I was working full time. Time to get my butt back to class.
To keep myself on track, I’m going to schedule a monthly resolution check-in, which will take place mid-month. That will allow me a few days to completely my monthly tasks if I get behind. I’m also allowing myself some grace. If I don’t get my water in one day, I’m not going to say, “Forget it.” That’s what I dislike about resolutions - when folks fail and give up.
So those are my goals. What are yours?
After an expensive December that included some anticipated and unanticipated expenses, Chris & I decided to commit to a month of zero spending. Well, actually it’s 33 days of zero spending, but who’s counting? I was inspired by the 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge on Living Well Spending Less.
On Sunday, I took inventory of our pantry, sat down with the local grocery store flyers, and planned out our meals for the month of January. I’m a self-admitted food hoarder and usually keep a pretty well-stocked pantry and deep freezer (and fridge freezer and fridge). Unfortunately, it had been a while since I hit the meat sale jackpot (hello, “manager’s specials” that keep perfectly fine in my sub-zero deep freezer) so the majority of my grocery list was meat, and meat can be expensive. Between stocking up on household supplies and buying meat & produce, I spent $250 on Sunday. Keep in mind, that is an entire month’s worth of food and supplies. (And if I’m being truthful, it’s probably closer to a month and a half’s worth. However, this will be the first month, probably in this history of mine & Chris’s relationship, that we haven’t eaten out. I needed to be prepared.)
Alright, it’s day two. I know. Only day two. No eating out. No buying stuff. Resisting my child’s pleas to visit the snack machine at the gym. I decided to look around the house and finish some unfinished projects as a way to avoid spending money. Why spend money when you’ve already spent it on stuff you haven’t gotten around to doing?
As I was looking around our office/craft room, I saw my old Kit Cat clock on the wall. The poor guy just hangs there, still and purposeless. In the past, excess dust has stopped him from twitching his tail. I figured I’d give it a go. Fix Mr. Kit Cat. Thankfully, the manufacture has some fantastic tutorials on repairing their clocks. Within five minutes, I had him going! Yay! But he was missing a part, which turned him into drunk Kit Cat (very apropos for New Year’s Eve).
I discovered he was missing a part - a J clip that costs $1.50, which includes shipping. I couldn’t fix him because I couldn’t spend ONE DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS. Damn you, austerity. But then I remembered - I had a very old gift card in my car that was worth $2.29. Eh? Would it work? Some sites want to put a $5 hold to charge anything. It was worth a try, and HARK! It worked! I repaired Mr Kit Cat, ordered a new part, and didn’t spend any money! Huzzah!
I realize it’s only day two, but I consider that a win. Drunk Kit Cat agrees.
I’m a yogi, almost stereotypically so. I buy organic. I recycle. I drive a hybrid. I lean blue. I rescue dogs & cats. I buy the homeless paper. I do it because it’s what my heart wants me to do and not based on any preconceived notions or expectations from others. Sometimes my predictability disgusts me as much as it does my friends. It’s okay. I promise not to wear my aromatherapy oils around you.
And of course, as a parent, I want to pass my passions onto my child. Cecilia’s love for peace signs is not by accident or part of the trend (though the availability is nice). She was taught very early that peace signs mean “Love Everybody” long before she had a concept of peace. I think, for the most part, she does love everybody. She’s rather remarkably even-keeled. She doesn’t judge other. She rarely gets upset. For the most part, Cecilia has always had a very pleasant disposition.
For many years, we’ve participated in various types of charitable giving. It’s not a large amount, a few bucks here or there or $50-100 to the homeless shelter for holiday dinners, etc. Last year, as a family, we adopted an angel from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. We let Cecilia pick out the child - a girl around her age - and shopped for her as a family. I have to admit - I was afraid. I wasn’t sure that she, at age four, would understand that she was picking out toys for a child in need. After all, taking a child to the toy aisle at Target is like walking into the lion’s den and waving a steak directly in front of the lion’s eyes. There’s a chance you’ll walk out with an arm mauled off. But like the even-keeled kid that she is, she wasn’t phased.
Due to our chaotic schedule, this year I did most of the Angel Tree shopping by myself online. Cecilia did accompany me to several stores to find the right toy, including Toys’R'Us. Admittedly, I did buy her a small toy on that excursion. Any kid that can hang with her mom shopping in multiple stores in one deserves a $5 toy. However, given the toy allowance and little involvement in the other purchases, I was worried that maybe she didn’t quite get it this year.
Fast forward a few days. We were running into the grocery to pick up some bacon before the big “snowstorm” hit. (Or maybe it’s just because we needed bacon.) The Salvation Army bell ringer was outside. Cecilia asked we give him money before we went in the store. She insisted. Then, at checkout, she noticed the Angel Tree that they have set up inside the grocery - the one that provides Christmas dinner for a family for only $25. We did participated in this type of Angel last year too, and Cecilia LOVED hanging the paper ornament (also your tax receipt) on the tree. She asked if she could pick one of these out too. And I hesitated.
Here’s the thing. The first paycheck of the month pays two mortgages - one for the house and one for the farm. We also haven’t paid off one of credit cards from vacation. And I knew that we had a big medical bill coming. But then I looked on my cart. Organic produce. Freshly sliced deli meat and cheese. A couple packages of sushi for dinner. If I can justify those purchases, I am not in need. Twenty-five dollars will not break me. Hell, I probably won’t notice it. So I let my sweet hearted baby girl pick out a family from the tree.
And then when she asked for money for the children’s hospital bank at the register, I gave her the coins in my wallet. There are a few things that you just don’t say no to. Kids will forget about the toys you wouldn’t buy them at the store, but if you can help them keep an open heart, you’ve provided them with feelings and memories that will carry them through their lifetimes.
since I left my job at our company before I got bored. I debate finding a job but realized that wouldn’t work (more on that later). I’ve kept myself busy at the gym, and I really don’t want to give that up. However, I need a purpose. I need something to work towards and think about during my down time. As I pondered this, I realized that I have LOTS of incomplete projects laying around the house. The tiny, tiny house that cannot handle supplies for abandoned projects.
So here we go…I’m going to try to use an abandoned project (this blog) to document some of my attempts to finish my other forgotten ideas. We’ll see.
In a recent conversation with a friend, I mentioned that I take medication for anxiety and depression. My friend was floored. She always thought I was zen and never bothered by anything. This new revelation changed her mental picture of me and who I was, and, in a way, I think it helped her feel a bit better about herself. Like most folks, she compares herself to others, and due to some self esteem issues, she feels that she falls a bit short.
But that got me to thinking. People often have misconceptions of other people. They hold them in high regard or complete disregard without knowing the true pictures. It’s easy to forget that all the thoughts and emotions that swirl in your own head also swirl around in the head of every person you encounter throughout your day. Yes, even the lady working the DMV or the barista at the coffee shop has thoughts and feelings while they renew your tags or make your coffee. Unless they are very good at meditating on their jobs, but I doubt that’s the case considering how difficult it is to meditation while alone in a quiet room.
I decided I wanted to start a project. One that allows me to get raw, share my feelings, let people know who I am. Hopefully, I will inspire someone else to do the same. It may not be in a blog, but it might be in an every day life situation. So I’m setting my timer for ten minutes. I’m allowing myself to make grammatical mistakes, and I’m going to write about me.
I figure my anxiety is the best place to start. I think my anxiety stems from my struggle with perfectionism. As a child, I really had a hard time with making mistakes. For me, making a mistake shows a weakness - something someone can tease you about - and I REALLY hate feeling vulnerable to teasing. Thankfully, I’ve overcome a lot of that need for perfection. Some has come with time. Some with experience. Some with spending time with my mother-in-law (who has no fear of making a mistake). But the anxiety I haven’t kicked. A lot of it involves being late. I loathe being late. I like to be early, freakishly early, because it allows me to avoid that panicky rushed feeling.
Another thing that sets of my anxiety is excess noises. Ticking sounds. Tapping of Fingers. Dogs barking excessively. Kids making obnoxious persistent sounds. That pretty much sums out the sounds of my house, right? I’m probably a noise pollution tyrant. I try really hard, but Chris’s constant drumming along with the song stuck in his head can drive me bananas.
Once I get annoyed with those types of things, it gets really internalized. I don’t know how other people feel when they’re anxious, but I can feel it from my brain to my chest. I get worked up in the cyclone, and it’s hard to stop it. It’s not a thought, it’s a feeling. It’s not just a distraction. It takes over my body, and it sucks.
Thankfully, with the help of medication, I only get that way around my period. There are other times, but it’s not bad. I’ve wondered if I would be okay without medication, but I’m not sure I’m afraid that will turn my family into cannon fodder. Let’s just not go there.
I get raped every day, or at least it feels like it. At least once a day, I see a man staring at me with a lecherous look on his face. Before you think I’m conceited, let me explain.
I know I’m an attractive. I don’t think I’m gorgeous or God’s gift to men. But I do workout to maintain a trim figure and make an effort to wear clothes that flatter me. The thing is that I do this for me. Looking nice (not slutty) is a confidence booster. Please don’t misunderstand me. I know all guys look at women. My husband, my dad, my friends. Whether they’ll admit it or not, they do. And honestly, I don’t care as long as it’s done discreetly. If I catch you, divert your eyes and pretend you were just looking around. That’s cool. Women do it to other women and pretend that we don’t.
My problem is the perverted assholes. The one that stared at me HARD in his side mirror and licked his lips today while stopped at a red light. (And I had a male passenger in the front seat.) Or the guy that hung out of his Jeep as he drove past me while I was running with my 50lb dog. And the guy who tried to film me walking by when I was on my first date with Chris. (Chris noticed too, yelled at them, and flicked his cigarette towards them.) Those guys are assholes. They make me feel uncomfortable and violated. How exactly do they expect me to respond? What confident woman would want that attention or the person giving it?
I recently decided I was going to start fighting back. Chris asked me what the point was, and I told him that I wanted my power back because those men make me feel powerless. Then it hit me – just like rape, this is about power. Please don’t be offended – I know rape is a million times worse and a horrific, traumatizing experience. When these perverts look at me, I feel sick to my stomach. I feel angry, powerless, and violated. But be warned, I will acknowledge what you are doing, yell at you, flip you off, make revolted faces at you in response. Maybe you’ll get a rise out of that, but I don’t care. It’s not about you anymore; it’s about me. If I feel like I’m in charge of myself, that’s all that matters.
Today I didn’t clean anything. I also didn’t do a craft or learning activity with the kid.
Here’s what I did do: 1. Taught 9am yoga class. Managed to get me and Cecilia out the door and to the gym with 5 minutes to spare. Some speeding involved. 2. Shopped for flowers at Home Depot with the kid. Let her pick out her own flowers. Couldn’t resist a couple tomato and pepper plants. Remembered that I had a $5 off coupon in my email. Still spent just over $50. 3. Unloaded plants. 4. Picked up Chris and had lunch at Jason’s Deli. Again, kid in tow. 5. Walked around downtown with Cecilia. Window shopped most of the time. Splurged on a $10 for her Calico Critter collection. 6. Arrived home. Cleaned up puppy poop and pee deposited by our three foster puppies. 7. Opened new toy and helped girl set it up. 8. Transplanted some seedlings that were started indoor two months ago. Also planted new tomato and pepper. 9. Planted flowers with Cecilia, which included a conversation on how boys are not stronger than girls. (Sometimes we don’t need anatomically correct definition.) 9. Changed girl into dance clothing. 10. Chiropractor appointment. 11. Dance class. 12. Made dinner. 13. Consumed dinner. (If you have a child, you know this deserves it’s own number.) 14. Watered garden with Cecilia’s assistance. 15. Walked chubby dachshund.
So after all that, I feel bad because I didn’t clean or teach my child. This is the definition of mom guilt.
It’s that time of year again when I get to play a nightly game of “Is that a mole, or is that a tick?” I would like to apologize to all the beauty marks that have been harmed.
Why, hello there, long abandoned blog.
I could write the standard little bit about why I haven’t blogged and how I resolved to blog more. But, you know, it’s just a bunch of bullshit and hot air. Let’s get down the real reason I’ve gotten around to writing again.
I try really hard to keep my weight in the normal or healthy range, based on my BMI. Since I spend several hours at the gym, a lot of folks assume that I stay fit through exercise. While that is a contributing factor, maintaining a healthy weight is more about the food you put in your mouth than what you do with your body. (Unless you’re one of those freaks with a high metabolism, but we won’t talk about those assholes.) Another question I get, especially after explaining the food/exercise effect, is about what I eat, especially since my family and I indulge in dining out a little too much. (Okay, a lot too much.)
That’s where the blog is going to fit in. I’m going to try to post pictures of what I eat while eating out. It might get boring after a while since we tend to frequent the same restaurants pretty regularly. We like to stick to places where there are healthier options for things that we like.
Without further explaination, I give you just what the heck I eat.
Today, obviously, was New Years. Chris had a lunch meeting (life of a CEO), and Cecilia and I were on our own for lunch. There was no food in the house. Lucy had RUNNOFT and by the time she came back, it was too late to go to the grocery to remedy the bare cupboard situation. Off we went to find a restaurant that was open. Much to my surprise, it was difficult!
Cecilia requested chicken noodle soup, which is a current favorite, and thankfully Panera was open. Panera is one of my favorite places because the calorie information is printed next to the menu on the wall. Talk about being forced to face your choice!
I ordered the “Pick 2″ with a half Greek salad (dressing on the side) and half tuna salad sandwich with an apple and an unsweet tea (with a splash of sweet to cut down on the bitter). Cecilia had her chicken noodle soup with a baguette and a low fat milk.
I actually didn’t use the dressing. I like to add a bit of salt to my salad, and between the salt and the feta, it didn’t need any dressing. By the time I was done inhaling my salad, I wasn’t very hungry so I just at the guts of my sandwich. I wanted the protein, but I didn’t want the overfull feeling from the bread. The apple went in my purse for an afternoon snack.
I’m not sure I’ll include a caloric breakdown of every meal, especially since the information won’t be available at some restaurants, but today I will.
Half Greek Salad (no dressing), approximately 75 calories, 5 g fat, 6.5g carb, 3.5g protein
Tuna Salad Sandwich (no bread), approximately 105 calories, 5g fat, 5g carb, 10.5g protein.
I left feeling very full and very happy
In addition to watching my restaurant eating, you can watch my food/exercise log on Daily Burn. I haven’t been using it consistently over the holidays since the entire family was sick with a nasty cold, but prior to that, I was very dedicated to logging! I’ve returned to logging today, and hopefully, tomorrow will return to the gym.
Though I don’t regularly post to the blog, I haven’t given up on completing my to-do list, which includes:
#63. Become a runner
It’s a goal that I keep coming back to time and time again.
Earlier this year, my bff asked me to join her for a run after school. She had an extra jogging stroller, and it would be a great way to get in some socializing, exercising, and kiddo time all at the same time. I was coming off a nagging sciatic injury, and she was suffering through knee problems. We both couldn’t run far, couldn’t run up or down hills, and loved to talk (which doesn’t suit well with panting). Match made in heaven.
Then her knee issues got worse, which eventually lead to double knee surgery. My sciatic issues, which was caused piriformis syndrome (aka my big butt made my leg hurt), actually got better. Basically, she was out for months, and I had no excuse to stop exercising. I returned to the gym, but it just wasn’t the same. The place I once found comfort in 4-5 days a week felt so closed and lonely. I missed the outside. I missed the company. I missed the challenge. Suddenly the machines that kept me energized and fit for five years felt like prison.
So one day, I got up the courage to run outside by myself.
Okay, I know that might seem weird. I mean, I’m so brazen. Why would something as innate as running scare me? Our prehistoric ancestors ran. Toddlers run (sort of). Dogs run. Everyone knows how to run, right? I was intimidated by the other runners. I was afraid that would know that I wasn’t one of them.
What to know the truth? They probably do know.
I’m pretty slow. When running, I run about a 9 minute mile. Wait, that seems fast. Well, it is fast until you realize that I can’t really run a full mile without stopping to walk for a bit. Combined walking/running, I have a pace of 12 minute mile. If you ask any non-runner, that’s fast. They’re usually impressed that I try to run 5k three times a week.
Real runners run a 7 minute mile, without stopping, for miles and miles. I have one friend that runs about 80 miles a week. WTF, right? Yeah. She’s not even my fastest friend. (Full disclosure - my fastest friend use to run professionally and completed in the Olympic trials after having her third child. Again, WTF.)
Here’s the thing I’ve figured out. To non-runners, I’m a runner. They’re impressed. To runners? Well, they know I’m not the fastest gal and I probably won’t (and shouldn’t) join their running club. But this is the thing - “real” runners don’t care or judge me. In fact, they are incredibly encouraging and always really helpful.
So despite the fact I’ll never be a competitive runner, I’m going to keep going. In fact, I’ve signed up for my first race - a 5k in August that supports Down’s Syndrome. After that race, I’m going to cross number 63 off my to-do list.