It’s a new year already?

New Years Eve 2011 London

New Years Eve 2011 London (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I guess it just kind of slipped my mind until I noticed all of the posts welcoming in the new year.  As you might be able to guess, I didn’t have any party plans last night.  Had to be at work at 5 am this morning (I’m not kidding.  When I saw my doctor yesterday, she was shocked that I had to work on New Year’s Day.  Like, lady, what planet do you live on?  I work in retail.  People love to shop when they don’t have to work.).  Anyhow, the whole being at work at 5 am kind of put the party plans on hold.  Oh, who am I kidding?  There were no party plans.  I’ve got an ear infection, bronchitis, and another darn upper respiratory infection going on.  I’m personally keeping CVS in business.  The good news is, I just might hit my deductible this year when I file for 2013!! So I never made plans to go out and do anything.  I was in bed by eight o’clock.  Woo hoo!!  I am some kind of party animal!

I didn’t bother with the whole resolution thing this year.  I do want to eat a healthier diet just because I think doing so will improve my health.  I’m more than a little tired of  being sick all of the time.  And I did buy myself a Tai Chi DVD for Christmas.  I had done a tiny bit of tai chi a few years ago and think it might help with my RA and OA…if nothing else, it’ll keep me moving a bit and that won’t be a bad thing.

I’m taking part in a decluttering challenge, so I’m obviously looking to live in a cleaner, more organized home.  I think living with clutter is an indication that something in your life isn’t going the way you want it to.  Perhaps my internal challenge will be to try to determine what that is and then take steps to correct it.  Ah yes, I can be introspective at times.  Unfortunately I’ve spent most of my life avoiding introspection because it’s easier to keep doing what I’ve been doing than it is to make real changes.  Is 2014 the year I make those changes?  I’m thinking it will be.

How about you?  Resolutions?  Goals?  Plans?  Share with us.  We all want to know what you’ve got planned for the upcoming year.

Are landlines obsolete?

old phone

old phone (Photo credit: Albert!)

I’ve had a smart phone for a while now.  It’s handy, it’s convenient, it’s fun to be able to check in on what my friends are up to on facebook and twitter.  I’ve even used it to publish posts on my blog.  But I just couldn’t convince myself to cut the cord…the cord to my landline, that is.  I’ve been mulling it over for quite some time.  I’m paying a little over $40 a month for something that I’m using probably less than once a week.  Is it worth it?  As I’m attempting to simplify my life, I’ve found myself questioning how I’m spending my money.  Could I put that $40+ to better use?

I finally made the decision.  I called AT&T today and cancelled my home service.  Very few questions asked.  The representative I spoke with offered a discount of $6 a month, but that didn’t do a lot for me.  We continued the process and my landline will no longer be functional after midnight.  End of story, right?

Well…not quite.  After I hung up, I kept trying to push my feelings aside, trying not to think about what was bothering me.  Then I told myself to just feel whatever emotions are there swirling around and figure out why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.  I’ve never been all that good at experiencing emotions (heck, that’s what I used food for… I didn’t want to have to feel anything.), so I had to force myself to come back to it a few times.  But I did it.  I sat with it and was surprised at what I was feeling.

I was feeling fear.  Fear that I wouldn’t have a way to get help for myself if something happened to me and my cell phone wasn’t working.  Fear that I would be isolated in an emergency.  Considering I live in town in an apartment complex with over 200 apartments and townhouses, I’m not ever going to really be isolated.  And my little friend Clara has forced me to get to know more of my neighbors.  So the fear is a tad irrational.  But…fear often is, isn’t it?

After working through all of that, I realized there was more to it than plain fear.  Have you ever noticed that nothing’s ever as simple as we think it should be?  I’ve had a landline since before we called them landlines.  Letting go of it brought up feelings of failure.  Weird, huh?  In my mind, I guess I still don’t fully think of cell phones as being “real” phones, and if I don’t have a “real” phone, well then, for some reason I see that as a failure on my part.  Wow!  There’s a lot there for me to work on.  Once I worked that out, the feelings faded.  After all, we all know that cell phones are so much more than the phones we grew up with (unless you’re a college kid as we speak).  They’re these little bitty computers you can put in your pocket.  Try doing that with Grandma’s old rotary wall phone!

Jeopardy online test update

List of Jeopardy! tournaments and events

List of Jeopardy! tournaments and events (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are not going to believe this…I can hardly believe it myself.  I totally forgot about my scheduled test.  Yes, you heard me right.  I just now realized that I’d spaced it.  How disappointing.  What in the world was I doing at that time last night that caused me to forget something that I was so looking forward to?  I don’t really remember.  I guess I was online with a basketball game on in the background.  Stupid basketball…haha!

Anyhow, that’s my update…no show for the test…sheesh!

My January many mini challenges

Naruto Doing Sit-Ups

Naruto Doing Sit-Ups (Photo credit: lyk3_0n3_tym3)

How’s that for a title? Okay, okay, I know it’s a bit lame, but I really just wanted to say many mini…

Anyhow, I’ve eased into the resolution thing this year…thought I’d take a different path.  Instead of jumping in head first, I’m just sticking my big toe in for the month of January…working to re-establish healthy habits.

I’m working on eating a healthier diet…at least 3 fruits and veggies a day…no more than 1 fast food meal a week (haven’t had any yet)…at least a couple of vegetarian meals a week.

Then there’s the exercise thing…this little challenge involves doing sit-ups and push-ups every day, whatever day of the month, that’s how many of each you do on that day.  For example, today is the 8th, so I do 8 of each today…not much, I know.  But again, I’m working to make exercise a habit.  I’ll also be doing 3 days of cardio a week, although I haven’t done a lot since I’ve been so sick all month.  But tomorrow is another day.

I have my mini financial challenge…saving a certain amount of money each week for the entire year.  The first week was just $1, the second week will be $2, all the way up to the last week when I’ll save $52.  Kind of a fun little challenge.

I’ve also challenged myself to write publish a blog post every day this month.  I had to alter this challenge a bit as there are some days I end up writing two or three posts and others where I don’t write one at all.

So far, I’m making a little progress on my many mini challenges. Here’s to a successful January and beyond!

The long and winding road to fitness, day 54

shopping list

Image by BruceTurner via Flickr

It was so nice to be able to sleep with the windows open last night.  I was actually cold, in August, in Indiana!  I wore long sleeves when I went out for my walk this morning, probably could have done without that, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  It just looks like fall out there…the air is cleaner and crisper, the sky is bluer, and the leaves are turning (probably has more to do with lack of rain).  Have I mentioned how much I love fall?  Well, I do…it’s my favorite time of the year.

The only exercise I got today was walking this morning for about half an hour…boo for me.  I did eat fairly well, but still didn’t eat as many fruits and veggies as I should have.  I had a veggie pasta dish for lunch…not bad.  Not my favorite meal of all time, but I like it every once in a while.  And no, I still didn’t do anything with that zucchini…maybe tomorrow…tomorrow’s another day, just call me Scarlett.

I did manage to get a little more house work done today.  I cleaned the carpet in another room (my carpet cleaner worked fine today…maybe I really did fix it…yeah, right…if I did, it was totally accidental), washed the kitchen windows, and worked on cleaning out my spare bedroom.  I’ve got so many things to donate.  I think that’s going to the top of tomorrow’s to-do list.  I’m being brutal, getting rid of things that I haven’t used in a while (well, not the yarn, fabric, cross stitch supplies, or gardening supplies).  So far I’ve got a couple of boxes to donate to the bingo ladies here at the complex where I live.  I’ll probably end up with several boxes to take to Goodwill.  You know, I’m really being careful with my purchases…not buying things on impulse or just because they’re on sale, but I still have so much stuff.  I go through my stuff about once a year and get rid of a lot, so how do I end up with even more stuff?  It’s crazy.  Not to mention, a waste of money and time.  I’m just going to be even more cautious when it comes to buying things…do I need it or do I just want it?  Is it something that I will actually use or will it just sit around gathering dust until I give it away?  Am I buying it because I went in with the intent to buy it or am I wanting to buy it just because I saw it at a good price (and really, how good a price is it if you’re not really going to use it?)  Less stuff=more money saved, is that true or what?

Are you guilty of making impulse purchases?  What do you do with them when you realize you’re not really going to use them?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 53

This was another very pleasant day.  I was able to get outside early and take a long walk, stopping to take a few pictures of the early morning sky as I walked along.

There’s just something about being out early enough to see a beautiful sunrise that makes the rest of your day better.

In addition to walking for about an hour, I also danced for 15 minutes this afternoon.  I haven’t done any strength training yet today, but I’m going to do a few lower body exercises before I go to bed.

My eating was pretty good today.  I did forget to eat lunch though…that doesn’t happen often.  I got involved in cleaning and then sat down to read for a few minutes.  When I realized my stomach was growling, I looked at the clock and saw that it was almost 4 o’clock… 

I got some house work done today, vacuumed the entire house, cleaned the living room carpet.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to replace my old steam carpet cleaner…it’s just not working like it should any more.  It’s just a small Bissell one, about the size of an upright vacuum cleaner and I’ve had it for over five years…I tried to kind of take it apart and see if there was anything I could see that might be causing problems…like I would know if something was out-of-place inside it, even if I did see it.  I have to admit, that is one thing I miss about not having a guy around the house, a mechanically inclined guy…one who can fix things for me.  Being an independent woman, I should be able to fix things myself, but I have no idea how to go about it…never had a dad around to teach me these things so…I usually end up just buying new…not very frugal of me, is it?

I know I said I was going to do something with my abundance of zucchini, but I didn’t..maybe tomorrow.  And I missed a call from a dear friend today.  I have a bad habit of not checking my messages…sorry, Margaret.  It would have been fun to get together with you and Hannah today.

I want to know what you do when something around the house needs fixing…are you one of those women who can roll up her sleeves and tackle repair jobs? 

I was trying to be offended


Image by Around the way girl Coco via Flickr

Really, I was.  That may sound strange, so let me explain.  I had finished my appointment with the eye doctor and was walking back through the local mall.  When I walked by one of the kiosks, the young lady there walked over to me and handed me a free sample of the product she was trying to sell.  Then she said, ” Oh, are those your nails?”  I told her they were (I’ve always had very strong, quick-growing nails), then she kind of pulled me over to the kiosk and said she wanted to show me something. (Like she doesn’t say that to everyone, right?)   She used this buffer to buff out the ridges in my nails (seriously, where did those things come from? I didn’t have ridges in my nails a couple of years ago.)  Then she used the same little doo dad to put some kind of shine on my nails.  They really did look nice.  Of course, she was wanting to sell me the entire set of products..and at $50 for the set, I wasn’t willing to do it.    She continued her sales pitch even after I told her I wasn’t going to buy the product.

She was so sweet and funny, that I couldn’t really get mad at her.  I tried…I really did.  I wanted to be offended that she wouldn’t take no for an answer.  But I just couldn’t take offense.  I told her that her sales persona was very effective, but that I just didn’t want to spend the money even though I liked the product.  She gave me a quick hug and thanked me for stopping by.  I’m not one who enjoys hugs from strangers, but even that didn’t offend me.  I think this girl has a very strong future in sales.

Okay, I know my hands aren’t anywhere near as pretty as the hands in the other picture, but my nails aren’t bad.  Hmm…think I’m going to have to use my hand lotion a little more faithfully.

The long and winding road to fitness, day 3

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Image via Wikipedia

Whew…am I ever glad to be back home.  I had to be at work at 5 am today and ended up with only about two and a half hours of sleep…wide awake at 2 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I hate it when that happens.  One of the things I’ve figured out about myself is that lack of sleep really messes with my weight loss efforts.  I’m  making a serious effort to get to bed early enough that I get seven hours of sleep a night (somehow I can’t hit that mark when I have to be at work so early).  I’ve read numerous articles discussing the correlation between not getting enough sleep and weight gain…and I believe it to be true.  When I don’t get enough sleep, I find myself eating more than I normally would…my body’s way of trying to be energized?  I also have more  pain in my legs when I’m lacking adequate sleep, and increased pain levels somehow lead me to eat more.  And I had a LOT of pain today.  Luckily, I’m home now, took  a nap for about an hour this afternoon and don’t have to work tomorrow.  And I just realized, I’ll be on vacation in exactly three weeks…how’s that for an energizing thought?!

Even with having to be at work so early, getting practically no sleep and having a lot of pain, I still managed to eat fairly healthy today.  I ended up with 1738 calories for the day (thank you, for doing the calculations for me), rode the exercise bike for  20 minutes, walked 10 minutes, did core work (5 sets) and some stretching.  Not too shabby for someone who was feeling tired all day!

One thing I did notice, when I was reviewing my nutrition info on SparkPeople, was that I do need to add a few more veggies to my diet.  I had plenty of protein (even without eating any meat), calcium, carbs….all right in range…not too much fat or sodium…the only thing it told me I needed more of was fiber…so something to work on there.  It’s pretty cool that you can see exactly how much you’ve consumed of whatever nutrients you choose to track..

I did receive the health assessment form from my health insurance (through work)…I’ve got to take it to my doctor and have them do some basic lab work, then go online and complete a health assessment once I have the results…sheesh..not looking forward to seeing those numbers.  But I guess it gives me a place to start, right?  In case you were wondering, they didn’t single me out.  Everyone who has insurance through our employer gets one of these.  You don’t have to complete the assessment, but if you don’t, you pay an additional $20 a month for your insurance.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I can think of better things to do with my money…

So…how did everyone else do today?  Exercise?  Healthy food choices?  Did anyone cook up anything that’s tasty and good for you today?  Been grocery shopping since we’ve begun our journey? (I’m doing that in the morning.)


The long and winding road to fitness, day 2

Dried fruit and nuts on a platter, traditional...

Image via Wikipedia

It was a hectic day at work today, but I managed to resist the temptation of the vending machine!!  The thought of a bag of chips did cross my mind, but then I reminded myself of what I was working toward…health and fitness.  And the thought flitted right out of my mind!!

I got up at 4:30 this morning so I could get in some exercise before work…rode the exercise bike for 10 minutes, walked for 10 minutes, did lower body strength training (4 sets) and then walked 10 minutes at lunch.  I also did about 5 minutes of stretching…I should do another 5 minutes or so tonight closer to bed time…we’ll see how that goes.

I had the same breakfast as yesterday.  Lunch was quinoa and black bean salad and a bowl of cooked apples.  I had a snack in the morning of 1 cup of grapes and 1 serving of string cheese.  I had my own “trail mix” for an afternoon snack (Wheat Chex and dried fruit, sometimes I throw nuts in it too, but didn’t do that today).  Dinner was a bowl of soup and 1 slice of rye bread.  I also have to admit that I did eat a Ghiradelli dark chocolate square.  I find that I can eat dark chocolate and not feel like bingeing..probably because I don’t like it as well as I like the milk chocolate…Finished the day with 1743 calories, so right within range for the second day in a row…woohoo!!

So how did everyone else do today?  Did you stick with your plan?  Get in a little extra exercise?  Cook something healthy?

Volunteer plants in the garden

I always enjoy seeing what plants just manage to come up on their own.  Every year I have a few that somehow manage to self sow and most of them turn out to be stronger and more prolific than the plants I spend my hard-earned money on.  The other day I noticed several had popped up.

It never surprises me to see the sunflowers come up on their own.  Those crazy little birds scatter more seed than they eat, I do believe.

The cilantro has already flowered and gone to seed.  I always make sure to save the seeds for future plantings (anyone need some cilantro seeds?).

Ahh….but this is what I’m most excited about.  I noticed a couple of decent sized tomato plants coming up…I just hope one of them is a grape tomato plant.  I had one come up on its own last year and it ended up growing to over six feet in height and was simply loaded with tons of sweet little tomatoes…yum!!

One of the fun things about the volunteer tomato plants is that you don’t really know what you have until closer to harvest time, but I like surprises…most of the time…don’t you?