Decluttering challenge, day 5

What a day.  I had to work and had so much to do.  Then, to top it all off, everyone who was working with me had problems I needed to help them solve.  Yes, that’s part of my job.  But it sure makes it rough to get the other parts of my job done.  I managed to get my tasks finished right before it was time for me to go home.  So at least I’ve got that going for me, right?

Add to the stressful day at work the fact that we’re expecting a major winter storm (like, really?  who isn’t?).  I tend to keep my pantry full and always have plenty of cat food on hand so at least I didn’t have to do battle at the grocery store.  I’m hearing that the shelves are pretty bare…especially the pizza and beer.  Hey, us Hoosiers have our priorities straight.  If you’re snowed in, pizza and beer make it a little easier to deal with the cabin fever.  I did stop at CVS to pick up a prescription and then swung by the gas station to fill the tank.  Now I feel like I’m about as prepared as I can be.  Let it snow!

I thought I’d have an easy time finding five things to get rid of today, but it didn’t happen like that.  I decided I’d go to the kitchen cabinet where I keep my cups and glasses.  I have to admit, I do have a lot more cups than I need.  I really only drink out of two cups.  I like the handles on them, what can I say?  But I didn’t force myself to get rid of all of the others.  I did find a travel mug minus a lid (I know, doesn’t really do me a lot of good like that, does it?) and a stainless steel bottle.  Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the taste stainless steel adds to my water?  Well, I do…I really do.  So out with both of them.  Then I started looking through one of the drawers in the kitchen and came across this little blue candle kind of thing shaped like rocking horses.  I’ve had that thing for years.  Used to hang from a peg on a shelf, but it’s not really all that appealing to me any more.  Why in the world have I hung onto it all these years?  Pitch it!

This is when the struggle started.  I looked in this cabinet, thinking I’d get rid of all of those old plastic tubs and lids that something else came in…you know, like Cool Whip or Country Crock.  Oh yeah.  I forgot, I got rid of those the last time I cleaned out my cabinets.  Then I looked in another cabinet and couldn’t find anything that I don’t use.  Same thing in another one.  Okay, about time to give up on the kitchen.  I walked upstairs and a pile of small boxes caught my eye.  I’d been saving them to wrap gifts in for Christmas, but ended up using gift bags because…well…who has time to wrap gifts?  And guess what?  Christmas is over.  The boxes go.

Then for good measure, I quickly gathered up a few more magazines to take to work.  A couple of the ladies I work with were telling me how much they appreciated having something to read in the break room…if only they weren’t so out of date.  I’m thinking that was a wee hint for me to be a little more timely in my magazine redistribution.

assortment of goodies (?) going to work

assortment of goodies (?) going to work

I didn’t realize, until I looked at the picture, that I gathered more than the five things I needed for today.  Oh well…nothing wrong with that.  The little bottle in the middle is a free sample bottle of self-tanning moisturizing lotion.  I really thought I’d use it, but never did…and it was free…so off to work it’ll go too.  Surely someone wants to add that healthy glow to their skin in the dead of winter.

So there you have it.  Day 5 in the books.  Not very exciting.  But a few more items out of my home and my life and that’s really what I’m trying to do here.  This brings the total, in five days, to 33 items released.  Not too bad for a few minutes of scrounging. And the thing I haven’t been showing you is that I’m finding things to put in the trash as I go…today I found a stack of coupon flyers from the newspaper…unfortunately all expired.  I need to do a better job with the coupons.  But I’ve also managed to get rid of a couple of small bags of trash, nothing monumental, but it still makes me feel better.  I wanted to say “lighter” and that might just be a topic for another day.

And they’re off!

How to enjoy a successful NaNoWriMo

How to enjoy a successful NaNoWriMo (Photo credit: nuanc)

That crazy, wild, frenetic dash to finish 50,000 words in one month has begun.  I didn’t get up early like I’d planned to this morning.  Heck, I did well to roll out of bed when the alarm went off at 5:30.  I had to be at work at 7 and had so much to do.  I managed to accomplish most of what was on my list today and I didn’t feel like I was going to have to drag myself up the stairs when I got home, so that’s a good thing, right?

I stopped at Pet Smart and had a nice conversation with a complete stranger in the cat food aisle, caught myself pulling some of their merchandise forward on the shelves (hey, those retail habits are hard to break), then decided to stop at Kroger to pick up a frozen pizza.  Well, I tell you, when I pulled into that completely full parking lot, I decided I didn’t really want pizza enough to fight my way through the hordes of shoppers.  So pulled back onto the road and headed toward home.

Clara had to come over before she went out to trick or treat (it was postponed here because of the severe storms that were moving through the area last night…never heard of that before, but hey….).  I’m not sure what she was supposed to be…a Disney princess wearing Mickey Mouse ears maybe?  Of course, she was cute as a button.  And I was the first person to give her some treats.

Then I decided to sit down and get in my first writing stint.  Wrote just over 1000 words and decided to take a break.  Did dishes and checked out what all was happening with my friends.  Then sat down and wrote about 1700 more words to finish the day with 2713 words.  Now those of you who are familiar with NaNoWriMo might think that’s a pretty good start, but I decided to go all nuts this year and up my goal to 70,000 words instead of 50,000.  So, instead of 1667 words/day, I need 2333.  But I made it!

I have tomorrow off work and I’m aiming for at least 4000 words…whew!  I wish I could say the words just flowed from my fingertips, but it didn’t happen that way today.  Had to force myself to keep going up until just about where I quit.  I was going pretty good about then.  But I’ve figured out something that works for me, not sure if it would work for anyone else or not, but I stop writing in a good place, a place where I’ll be able to pick up the story and keep it moving at a good pace.  At least that’s the theory…I’ll let you know how it works tomorrow.

So how was your writing today?

Labor Day shenanigans

English: A pile of plain M&M's candies.

English: A pile of plain M&M’s candies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, first let me say, I had to work today and it was crazy busy from the get go.  Between dealing with the lady I hired for the office job (I’m starting to wonder if I may have made a mistake) and trying to deal with the event calendar, my morning somehow disappeared.  Then I pretty much spent the rest of the day running register.  Now you know we’re busy when I’m on register for an extended period of time.

We tried to have a managers’ meeting, probably not the best day for that.  I tried to get the cake decorating info in the book…again, not an ideal time to tackle that.  I finally just cleaned my mess up and ran register.  I was so glad when it was time for my hot and sweaty self to head on home.

I did swing by Kroger on the way home…being the bad girl I am, I bought a frozen pizza (that’s the tired me controlling the trying-to-eat-healthier me).  To give myself a little credit, I did only eat a fourth of it…along with about four glasses of water.  I also bought some fun-size M & M’s for Claire.  I’ve been keeping a little bowl on my coffee table with kid candy in it for her.  You should have seen her eyes light up when she saw those M & M’s (or, as she says, “nm n nms”).  She also chowed down on some string cheese.  Have you ever watched a little kid eat string cheese?  Not a pretty sight.

Claire and I visited for quite a while.  She wanted to help me feed the kitties…not that it requires much help…open a can and divide it up on two saucers.  Then she wanted to go through my purse.  Just had a thought, I hope she’s not really a midget spy for a major crime ring…memorizing all of my credit card info….

Now  I’m worn out and just about ready for bed.  How’s that for a fun-filled Labor Day?  At least I have tomorrow off and no pressing engagements to take care of.

Wood burning brick pizza oven

English: A wood-burning pizza oven baking pizz...

English: A wood-burning pizza oven baking pizzas at Maurizio’s Pasta-Pasta at Brunckstraße 8 in Speyer, Germany. Deutsch: Traditioneller Pizza-Ofen mit Holzbefeuerung, aufgenommen in Maurizios Pasta Pasta, Speyer Español: Horno de leña tradicional para pizzas Italiano: Un forno a legna Svenska: Vedeldad pizzaugn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who know me, you know I owned a little pizza shop for several years. While the oven we used was a gas oven, it did have a brick (stone) floor. You really need that to make a great pizza. Right now, when I make my own pizza at home, I have to settle for using a pizza stone. A lot better than using a pan, but still not even close to what a brick oven can do for your pizza.

Imagine my delight when I was browsing Amazon’s Kindle books the other day and came across a free e-book, How To Build A Kick-Ass Wood-Fired Pizza Oven by Dylan De Luca. The book gives you some basic instructions to build, you guessed it, a wood-fired oven. The author explained that they ended up doing a lot of research and then combining various bits of DIY info to come up with an oven that worked in the space they had and for the purposes they needed. There are lots of pictures detailing the different stages of construction and even hints about making a great pizza crust (because, really, a great pizza depends on a great crust).

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page here, this is an oven that you build outside. So it will be exposed to the elements unless you build some kind of cover for it. But I can just picture this sitting on the far side of a brick patio-type area in back of my future tiny abode. When I get it done, everyone’s invited over for a pizza party!

Old friends…

Gus Grissom Boyhood Home

Gus Grissom Boyhood Home (Photo credit: cindy47452)

While working today, a guy came up to me and started talking.  I kept thinking he looked awfully familiar, but I couldn’t place him.  Of course, once he told me his name, I knew exactly who he was.  Then we stood there talking for several minutes and caught up on what had been happening in our respective lives over the past few years.

Years ago, when I owned my little pizza place, he would come in and sit and talk.  I tell you, I sure did meet a lot of people back then.  And it’s such a pleasure when I run into someone from the good old days.  I have so many good memories of the time spent in that little restaurant watching Indiana basketball games with good friends.

Of course, everyone kind of moves to various points across the country and very rarely do they manage to make it back home…until they retire, that is.  I’m giving retirement some serious thought these days.  And I do believe I hear the sweet voice of home and friendship calling my name.

Livewell challenge

Well, we started our health and fitness challenge at work yesterday…I ended up with over 20,000 steps for the day…well, the equivalent of 20,000 steps anyhow.  They have a calculator on the site where you can key in various activities and have those activities converted to steps…So my morning exercise bike workout ended up being the equivalent of 5,000 steps. 

Plus I did several hours of house work…I put some music on and just cleaned, cleaned, cleaned…not that it needed it or anything.  Don’t you just love walking into a room that’s been cleaned from top to bottom?

A couple of my co-workers are having cupcake wars…wow…they bring in cupcakes that they’ve made and leave them in the break room.  Today’s cupcake was red velvet with cream cheese icing…yikes!  I’m pleased to say I resisted.  I did think about eating one, but decided I was already too tired to have to do that much more exercise to burn off those calories.

I baked a home-made pizza yesterday…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…lots of spinach and mushrooms, some onion, a few turkey pepperoni and some mozzarella cheese.  That’s going to be lunch for the next several days.  I also mixed up a salad of halved cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, diced onions, cucumber chunks and, of course, my favorite Hendrickson’s olive oil and vinegar dressing.  So I got in a few servings of veggies in a very tasty lunch!  I’m doing it…and feel pretty good about it!

What tasty treats did you eat today?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 111

Another day without a lot of good fitness news to report…darn it!  I didn’t get anywhere close to enough sleep last night.  Holy moly, these crazy kids (sounded drunk, or something, to me) pulled up in front of the building next to mine.  Loud, obnoxious arguments going on, shoving and screaming by the girls (what’s with that?  is it like, supposed to be attractive to the drunk guys?), a lot of cussing by all of them (my mom would have beat me half to death if I ever talked that way, she wouldn’t have cared if I was an adult or not).  This went on for probably 20 minutes, then they went inside for a while, then came out and picked up where they left off.  I couldn’t believe the cops didn’t show up.  Like everyone else, I expected someone else to call, and apparently no one bothered.  They finally cleared out around 5 am after an hour of this nonsense.

I got up and went in to work to do payroll.  I was shocked.  This week’s was one of the easiest I’ve done in quite some time, not a lot of missed punches.  And it didn’t hurt that I’d kept up on it all week.  So I made it out of there before we opened!  I stopped at Kroger and bought the Sunday newspaper…and a Digiorno pizza…what?  How did that thing get in my cart?  I think it must have jumped in while I was looking at the oj.  Anyhow, what I’m getting at is that I had pizza for lunch…bad Patti, very bad Patti…but pretty good pizza for a frozen pizza.

I did make the minestrone soup (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=246310).  I am going to steal a line I read on another blog today (from Cassie at BackToHerRoots)…”I bastardized the hell” out of that recipe.  She had me laughing while I was reading her blog about making peanut butter Nutella cookies.  Then, while I was trying to find all of the ingredients for the minestrone and not having much luck, I realized I was getting ready to do the same thing to that minestrone recipe.  I was shocked to discover that I didn’t have any canned red or white beans (used black beans instead), thought I had an onion only to find out it wasn’t good any longer so I used canned tomatoes with onion in them, had no vegetable broth so subbed beef broth (kind of changes the entire taste of the recipe, but still…), had no celery so used celery salt and then didn’t add the salt that the recipe called for, then I quadrupled the amount of a lot of the veggies (zucchini, green beans, carrots), used kale instead of spinach and used a lot of it.  Used whole wheat penne pasta (I really like the taste and texture of whole wheat pasta).  I used one can of black beans and one can of corn instead of the two cans of beans that the recipe called for.  So…not sure if Olive Garden would recognize this minestrone, but it still tastes terrific~

Not very good lighting for the picture…but you can see what I’ve done…now that’s my dinner for the week.  Ought to be good for at least a couple of servings of veggies.

I still didn’t feel like getting outside and doing anything and that’s a shame because it was another gorgeous day.  So…still no pictures of the lovely fall leaves, no pictures of the geese on the pond, but I do have a cute picture that is kind of fitting for the Halloween season…

Poor little Spook with her Halloween costume on…she was so funny…she didn’t much like it but she had me laughing as she fought it.  Just so you don’t think I was abusing her, I didn’t leave it on her long and she attacked it as soon as I got it off of her.

Have you ever dressed your pets up for Halloween?  Did they like it?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 108

A bowl of Cheerios

Image via Wikipedia

Whew!!  This was a day that could drive anyone to drink…fortunately for me, I only drank diet Pepsi and water…I say fortunately because I was at work and they tend to frown on you drinking anything, oh let’s say, alcoholic, while on the clock.  So at least I got that right.

We had an early morning truck, early as in 5 am…lovely~  I must admit, the weather was great for working outside.  We didn’t even need jackets at that hour of the morning (night).  This was a huge truck, took a long time to get it unloaded and staged.  I had to work upstairs for a while organizing some of the seasonal merchandise that came in….lots of lifting and running around all day today. 

I’ll be honest here, other than some stretching and range of motion stuff for my poor sore shoulder, working the truck was all the exercise I did today.  And I don’t even feel guilty about it.  I’m so tired and sore right not that I don’t even want to think about much of anything to do with exercise (at least until tomorrow).  I know this kind of work isn’t really aerobic, but it is a form of strength training, I do believe…don’t agree with me?  Well, come on down this coming Monday and help us work another big truck at 5:30 in the morning.  We’ll be waiting for you, just ring the bell and someone will let you in.  Then we’ll see what you have to say about it once we’re done.

My eating was a little odd today.  I did eat a bowl of Cheerios with a banana and skim milk before I left for work.  Once we finished unloading and staging the truck, I ate  some little lite frozen pizza bites (they weren’t really that good, not likely I’ll be buying those again any time soon).  Lunch was a chicken breast, cole slaw and a biscuit.  I had a small glass of oj this afternoon and that’s it.  I told you it was odd.  As far as calories are concerned, it was okay, but not really the best day nutritionally.  Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

My step sister stopped in at the store today to give me some pictures of my mom and her dad from when they went to Hawaii…1985…unbelievable how young they looked.  It was so nice to spend a little time catching up with Kathy.  One of these days I won’t be working all the time and we’ll get together and do something fun and exciting!

So did you have a more exciting day than I had?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 52

The Horton Family in 1973: Back Row: Edward Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

My first day of vacation was pleasant.  I had to run across town to go pick up my contacts and decided to head into Target while I was in the neighborhood.  I picked up a few things that were on sale, then came back home.  I didn’t do a lot at home today.  I figured I’d give myself one day of doing whatever, then tackle some chores tomorrow.  I don’t really like doing house work, but I sure do like having a clean house.  Since I can’t afford a maid and the little house cleaning fairies have left town, I guess I’ll just have to do my own cleaning.  It’ll be worth it once I’m finished.  Don’t you find that you are able to relax more when your house is clean and organized?

I did do two cardio workouts today…walked for 35 minutes this morning and danced for 20 minutes this afternoon.  I did a little core work…only four different exercises today…I kind of forgot about it while I was watching Days of Our Lives (what?  has Maggie died?  say it ain’t so), so hurried and did a little just a few minutes ago.  Tomorrow is supposed to be much cooler so I’m thinking I’ll go out for a nice long walk complete with pictures…you can never have too many pictures, although I do need to organize mine somehow…what do you all do with your digital photos to organize them so you don’t have to search for that one particular picture? I’m at a loss on this one.

I baked a homemade pizza today…lots of mushrooms, onion and turkey bacon…I know I just posted a blog about bacon not that long ago and how I’m not a huge fan of it…but I had to use this up because it was getting close to the use by date…guess I could have stuck it in the freezer so that I could find it next year…anyhow, the pizza was decent…not my best by any stretch of the imagination, but still pretty good. 

I also made up a batch of frozen banana pops…yum…I don’t know how I ever lived without these things…I can do without ice cream if I have these available.  I had some of the chocolate/peanut butter mixture left over and didn’t want to throw it out…what to do? what to do?  Oh wait, I have dried cherries in the pantry…no, no, took those to work…what do I have?  Hmm…dried apples?  No…dried pineapple…I don’t think so…dried plums (or prunes before the marketing whiz kids decided to come up with something more appealing to the masses)?  Hmm…how would that taste?  Tried it…not bad…the prunes are small ones so I ended up with about a dozen of them…Figure that could be a good candy substitute when I get a craving.  What do you think?

I’ve got to do something with zucchini tomorrow…I’ve got several I need to pick and, who knows, by tomorrow morning they may be the size of a baseball bat…so, do I make zucchini lasagna?  I already have enough pizza to last me for the next three days, so don’t really need another Italian style entree…zucchini bread or muffins?  That’s definitely an option…if I make muffins, I can put most of them in the freezer and take them to work for a snack when I go back next week.  Maybe grill some zucchini and other veggies?  I’d have to run to the grocery store tomorrow to buy more mushrooms since I used all of them on today’s pizza.  I could always shred the zucchini and put it in the freezer…decisions, decisions…what would you do?

So, all in all, a good first day of vacation…what did you do today?

Quick and healthy pizza

Spinach pizza

Image via Wikipedia

I owned a pizza shop for 13 years.  You’d think I’d have had more than enough pizza to last me the rest of my life.  Unfortunately, I still love pizza.  But most pizzas don’t fit into the whole healthy eating thing that I’ve been trying to incorporate into my life. Sometimes I take the time to make a whole wheat thin pizza crust from scratch…now that is an awesome pizza. 

But sometimes I don’t have the time (or the inclination) to do the whole from scratch thing.  I’ve used pita bread as a base, but have never been totally satisfied with the results.  When I was at Kroger today, I saw a flatbread in their deli and I immediately thought about it being a good base for a little pizza.  I already had spinach, onions, and mozzarella cheese at home, mushrooms in my shopping cart, so I decided to give those babies a try. 

Tonight I got my little electric grill out, opened up a jar of spaghetti sauce (see, I told you this was quick and easy), put the flatbread on the grill, spread a couple of tablespoons of sauce over the bread, threw on a little diced onion, a lot of sliced mushrooms, some torn spinach, a little cheese and a sprinkling of Italian seasonings.  Then grilled it all until the cheese was melted.  Not bad, not bad at all.

I liked it so much that I made another one to take to work for tomorrow’s lunch.  Another plus about this, instant portion control…and that’s always a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight.  Next week, when I’m off work, I’m going to make a trip to Sahara Mart, one of the local health food stores.  They have a huge selection of flatbread and naan.  I think these would be freezable and easily pulled out of the freezer for a quick meal…quick and healthy…that’s what I’m looking for.