Monthly Archives: January 2008

Shopping and Eating

You know what I have realized these last few weeks? It’s really easy to not buy stuff if you don’t go to any stores!  No, really! I don’t think of myself as a “shopper”, per se. Apparently I need to readjust my definition of the word, because I used to take the opportunity to spend money every time I stepped in one (especially Target, Wal-Mart and CVS). But I have spent virtually nothing on “stuff” these last two weeks or so, because I haven’t stepped inside a store! When I picked up a prescription at CVS a few days ago, instead of wandering the aisles for various toiletries, snacks, chocolate, etc to pick up, “as long as I was there”, I went through the drive through. After all, I only needed that prescription and not any of that other stuff (especially not the snacks and chocolate!).

And given my newfound commitment to my own health (via my eating habits), the same philosophy holds true. If you don’t spend it (eat it), you don’t have to worry about paying for it (working it off).  I guess some real introspection on how badly I need or want an item would go a long way to making smart choices in both arenas. C’mon, I do need to buy some things, and I do need to eat some things. Just need to be conscious of the choices for both.

One thing about eating healthier though – it’s more expensive than eating junk, and you  have to shop more often!

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Topics Running Through my Head

I have several things on my mind right now – can’t decide which to write about first.

  • I started wearing a Holter monitor today, which I’ll wear for 24 hours
  • I was weighed at the doctor last week. Using my own scale for the first time in nearly a year, I weighed in at home this morning in preparation for tracking points using Weight Watchers, starting today. The number was not as bad as I thought, which is the good news. The bad news is that I seem to have gotten very comfortable at this weight, so it may fight coming off.
  • I am mulling a work related relocation
  • My team is playing in the Super Bowl this weekend

I’ll see if I can put my mind around one or more of these in the next few days to expand upon. Or maybe by then something completely new will be the most important thing!

Elementary School Memories

Inspired first by Are We There Yet? who got it from Mac and Cheese, who got it from the Wii inspired Mama Tulip, here are some of my elementary school memories:

  • The bathroom was right in our first grade classroom, and the signal that you had to “go” versus knowing the answer to a question, was to raise one finger. One day I dutifully raised my index finger, and kept it raised, and raised….until finally I peed on the floor. It was winter and I kept hoping everyone would mistake it for melting snow from my boots…Of course my adult self wonders why the heck I didn’t just get up and go to the bathroom.
  • Thinking I had to have a boyfriend since I was now in first grade, I chose the cutest kid in the class, unbeknownst to him, of course. Ken and I graduated from the town high school 11 years later and he was never the wiser. Actually, I had pretty good taste as first grader as he turned into a fine young man. I presume a fine middle aged man by now!
  • Our recess area was a small patch with swings, and the teachers’ parking lot. In second grade I had moved on from Ken, and was chasing Timmy around that parking lot threatening to kiss him when I caught him. Thank goodness that never happened because I’m honestly not sure what the heck I would have actually done had I caught him.
  • During the winter we were expressly forbidden from playing on the snow mounds created by the plows at the edge of that parking lot. One day my rogue friend convinced me to climb on them with her and I was mortified to be caught and sent in from recess early!!
  • Balling up the wrapper from my straw and stuffing it up my nose was a daily event. Until the day I couldn’t get it out again. The next morning I got a surprise when I blew my nose. That never happened again.
  • Miss Michaelman was my second grade teacher who I adored. I remember more about the actual lessons in her class than in any other since. She was also the first Jewish person I ever knew, and she taught us all about Hanukkah in December, which at the time was incredibly progressive (and probably brave).
  • Climbing the rope in the gym, and pausing for just a tad too long on the way up…..it felt so good and I didn’t know why.
  • The smell of the first book I ever took out of the school library. It was about water. I loved that smell.
  • Being given an assignment to define various terms such as “sister”, “friend”, “mother” “love”, etc. I raised my hand to define friend (the example for the class before we wrote our answers privately) and said “someone you like who likes you back” and being both disappointed and indignant when the teacher (the afore mentioned adored Miss Michaelman) said coolly, “That’s one definition,” because I was absolutely convinced that was the one and only right answer.  (my definition for sister was “someone who sometimes you love and sometimes you hate”)
  • Mrs. Leland, a scary teacher who wore all black every single day. She may or may not have been a widow.  Fortunately my only interactions with her were when she had lunchroom or hallway duty.
  • In fourth grade my teacher was telling a story about how when she was our age she had to wear braces on her legs, and how ugly the shoes were she had to wear. In order to illustrate this more clearly for the class, she pointed to my shoes as the example of how they looked. To her credit, she suddenly realized what a faux pas that was and tried to cover it up. But, damage done.
  • Sneaking sugar cubes from the igloo display at the third grade library. We’d have to line up along the bookcase in the middle to head back to class, which was where the winter scene was displayed. I would pry off a sugar cube and pop into my mouth. The glue didn’t bother me a bit.
  • Playing the role of Linus in our class play, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”….ever after our family used to sing the line from the song “Happiness Is” every time we came home from vacation – “And happiness is coming home again.”  I still get tears when I hear (or think) that.
  • Being big enough to ride my bike to school, with my bike lock key on a yarn necklace around my neck.
  • Finally learning to like pizza.
  • Chinese jump rope. Making those foldy paper things with the questions and answers in them (anyone know what I’m talking about?). Cooties and Cootie Spray. Partridge Family lunch boxes.

ETA: I found a link with directions on making those foldy paper things, which this site calls Origami Fortune Tellers, aka Cootie Catchers.  Ah, nostalgia!

Cutting Back

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, I’ve started cutting back. This Monday was banner day number one wherein a huge amount of stuff left the house either via the trash bag or to the Childrens Home (I called them and dropped off clothing, toys, and kids movies the next day). The job is by no means done, but it felt good to make such a big start.

I’ve also added a few folks to my blogroll who are doing the same thing, and were my inspiration – if you’re so inclined, check out Chris, Nita and Rachel when you get a moment. They are all at various stages of this journey, and we all have different approaches. I learn something from each one of them.

It was Rachel who blogged about “eating what you have“. This hit me when I read it. Too often I will go to the store and end up buying more food that gets stuffed into already full freezers and cabinets. And when do we ever eat this stuff? So I’ve resolved to make more of an effort to make our meals out of food already in the house, as much as possible. So what if we eat frozen veggies with waffles? What’s wrong with that? Tonight it was bologna sandwiches for the girls (leftover salad for me) and they thought it was great fun to spread their own condiments on. We have oodles of packaged foods, both frozen and non-perishable. If I wanted to get militant about this, we could probably keep grocery purchases to milk and the occasional fresh vegetable and fruit for quite some time. But I don’t want to get militant – I want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. The ironic thing is, I bought a chest freezer last September so I could stock up on things when they go on sale. And now I see there is probably little need for this – eat down what’s in the ole freezer and there should be plenty of room to stock what we actually will eat.

One thing cutting back does not mean to me, at least not explicitly, at least not yet, is saving money. While I do expect this to be a natural side effect of not doing so much shopping and bringing in more stuff, that is not my primary goal. For instance, I will confess to being a bit of a gadget head, and we do own a 42 inch flat screen TV with accompanying HD cable and DVR service. I also just recently signed up for Netflix (because of the TV writers strike!). And I tell myself I deserve these “luxuries” because as a single mom with no support system, I don’t do anything. Those are my treats to myself. For now. I may decide, especially as the girls get older (and are therefore staying up later!) that TV needs to take more of a backseat in our lives. And the cable bill will go down substantially. Which will be nice. But right now, not my goal.

Something cutting back definitely does mean to me is, less stuff. I don’t need it, my kids don’t need it. K just had a birthday where she got a lot of stuff from friends at her party. B’s birthday is coming up and we’ll live through this again. I wish I had a way to combat this. Part of the fun of birthdays for kids is being the center of attention and opening gifts from their friends. I have read stories of some kids choosing to forgo gifts and raising money with their friends to contribute to a charity, or other variations. I admire these kids. I don’t know how to get my kids to do the same, and I would never force it on them. When K turned 4 she attended a school where a lot of the families were receiving public assistance and I didn’t want anyone to feel a gift was necessary to attend. So when I sent out invitations I specified that the only presents we wanted were their presence….and still everyone brought a gift. In fact, much to my surprise, two children who were unable to attend the party gave her a gift anyway! But all that is beside the point. My point, and I do have one, is that I want to start spending our money on experiences, rather than things. I just need to figure out a way to explain this to my children.

It’s Friday night and I’m now going to take my glass of wine and watch a TV show that has been previously recorded by my DVR. Because I’m worth it! 🙂

What Color are You?

Courtesy of Are We There Yet? and Adventures in the 32-Aker Wood:

you are paleturquoise
#AFEEEE

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You’re smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people’s conflicts well.

Your saturation level is low – You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

the spacefem.com html color quiz
I actually agree with a lot of this, surprisingly enough. Definitely not scientific, but fun all the same!

Slippery Slope

I alluded to my “issues” with food in a post awhile back. Apparently, my progress has slipped. I have been making very poor food choices over the last few months, and today I realized that I am feeling it in my clothes. Of course, the fact that I polished off a half gallon of ice cream today, which was only opened yesterday, certainly helped contribute to this feeling. And it’s not quite a half gallon anymore either, is it? OK, 56 ounces – it’s still a sign of a problem.

The last time I tackled my food issues in a big way I read a lot of books by Geneen Roth, who I admire greatly. She is an incredibly wise person, and she has walked the walk. Intellectually, I get most of what she espouses. Some of it I still wrestle with, and I suspect I always will, but that’s OK. I don’t expect to be perfect.

One of Geneen’s books is called “When Food Is Love” – this book spoke to me in brand new ways. Finally, something that made sense, that I could relate to. And so I know that’s a huge way I use food. It is my drug of choice, and it is a stand-in for other things that are missing in my life. When I was married there was a span of time that I bought, and ate, a pint of ice cream everyday, and hid the container in the trash. As you might imagine, I put on a lot of weight. I didn’t really know why I was doing it. I felt a little crazy when I was buying it, when I was eating it, when I was hiding the evidence. It was almost an out of body thing.  I didn’t know how to figure out why I was doing it, and frankly, I only wanted to feel the cool, smooth, sweet love that was filling me up. When we split up, I lost that weight. Don’t get me wrong, I joined Weight Watchers and worked at it. But I also had the emotional freedom to be able to do that for myself. In fact, when a co-worker saw me after I’d lost about 15 pounds and commented on my weight loss I joked that I’d lost about 175 pounds (meaning my ex-husband, of course).

So I feel myself slipping down that slope again. I ate 56 ounces of ice cream in the last two days. I’m eating when I’m not hungry, when I’m full even, because…..I don’t know why. Consciously, there is nothing I’m seeking to fill. Subconsciously there is obviously something.

Stuff be Gone – Day 1

A day off work. Kids in school. Means a day off for Mom!!

And what did I do with my day off today?

  • Five bags of outgrown clothes
  • Two boxes of VHS tapes (the “keepers” having long since been replaced by DVD’s; the rest are expendable)
  • One box of young children’s toys
  • Five trash bags of junk toys

Result?

I still have a long way to go, but this made a gigantic dent in the stuff cluttering my house and therefore my life. The playroom now has room to walk. My gut feeling is my children may actually want to play down there now that they can see what’s what. I also may have figured out why they are both so good about putting things away at school, but treat their home like a trash can: it was one! It will be interesting to see if less is more in that regard. Also, I now have a free corner in my bedroom where all those clothes were accumulating. I cannot tell you why it took me so long to do something about it. While there are some “nicer” things there, the effort required to do something about that (eBay, Craigslist, etc) would not be worth any reward.

So my car is loaded up with stuff to take to…..Goodwill, Salvation Army, Children’s Home. I’m really not sure where those places are in my community. Actually, I do know where the Children’s Home is, so I need to call them and see if they want any of this.

A very successful day indeed.