Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Journey to health PART DEUX

Re-reading my previous blog post somewhat inspired me to re-evaluate some of my recent food choices.  A friend of mine recently blogged about how the 6 weeks of *holidays* seem to leave most Americans with a little extra *baggage*; probably via cookies, cakes, and other rich foods.  She pointed out that Halloween is only *One day*, as is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, but in my opinion, it seems like we use this time of year as an excellent excuse to wage war on our best intentions of eating clean and being healthy.

Her blog made me realize, that in light of my recent *meh-ness* on making good food choices, that I really need to sit down and think through how I want my holidays to go.  I love to bake, and I'm good at it, so how much of these baked goods am I going to partake in?  I also love to cook, and I'm good at that too, so am I going to wolf it all down with reckless abandon, and undo all the great things I've worked so hard for over the past year and a half?

Hell to the NO!  So, in my always-anal typical fashion, I plan on sitting down this weekend, amidst the quadruple layer chocolate cake, and the caramel, chocolate and coconut torte baking, and come up with a  plan for tackling the holidays, and the great food and treats, with restraint and compromise.

The good news is that I have begun ramping up my workouts, incorporating more variety, instead of just repetitive cardio every day with a few days of weights sprinkled in there for good measure.  The problem is that sometimes I cannot burn enough calories to combat the face-stuffage that goes on daily.  So, I realize that I need to do some strategic planning to avoid a gain throughout the holiday season. 

Thanks Jo's for the inspiration and reminder!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My journey to health

So, most of you that know me may not know the transformation I started in the Spring of 2009.  It's probably more like an evolution, because I am still changing.  It started with a spark...I got sick and I quit smoking.  Yes, I used medicine as a crutch, but I am proud to say it's been a year and a half since I smoked a cigarette, and it's different this time.  I am a non-smoker for the rest of my life. 

Because of all my stomach issues/heart condition, the quitting smoking was a kind of catalyst for other healthy changes in my life.  I decided to re-join Weight Watchers to lose that weight that snuck up on me after quitting the cigs, and I made a commitment to myself, after losing 15 pounds, to change my dietary outlook and to make exercise a daily priority in my life.  After losing the weight and maintaining for a while, I decided that WeWa was a crutch for me as well, and I started journaling my food and focusing on the overall healthy picture, not just the amount of *points* something was.  With journaling, I am able to track my caloric intake, my calories burned, cholesterol, fat, carbs and sodium.  This forces me to look at the overall picture of my daily diet. 

Besides the fact that I am stalled out with the weight loss (I'd like to lose another 5 pounds), I am feeling so much healthier and I have not had a single flair up with my stomach issues in over a year.  I attribute this to all of the changes I made over the past year and a half.  I can't tell you how good I feel. So proud of myself, and of course fitting into size 2-4 clothes isn't a bad ego-boost either.  Larry, of course, is my biggest supporter and champion to the cause of getting healthy.  He kicks me in the ass when I want to dodge the gym-but he always does it so positively, encouraging me and telling me how wonderful I look and how good I'll feel to just get it over with. 

So here I sit, with 50 minutes left of work and all I can think about is the pizza and beer waiting for me at Rookies Bar.  I guess it's a good thing I really busted ass yesterday at the gym, because I had to earn that tasty treat!

The Money Pit....ME!

Sadly, it's that time of year where Larry and I haul our boat out of the water, take it home, and clean all the swampy good-time memories off of it, and store it for the winter.  I truly wish my parents had mentioned all of the *hidden* costs of a boat, but then I kind of inherited the boat with my husband. 

So let's evaluate those sneaky little extras that no one ever thinks about as they are slathering on the sunscreen and popping the top of their favorite brew while the wind blows through their hair as they are perched on the bow of the boat.  Okay, maybe it's not quite so movie-of-the-week-esque, but you get the general idea right?  And I realized recently it's not just the boat that's a money pit- LIFE is!

So recently I have learned to budget for this endless money spending because it's well worth the 4 months of enjoyment on the boat.  Not only has that stuck, it started seeping into the rest of our financial life and I found this great tool on Spark People to budget our money, and track our spending as well.  This way I have PROOF that my husband is overspending on his fishing trips!  Heh, just kidding; kind of... 

All joking aside, this Spark tracking is really awesome, and has allowed me to see where we might be overspending (groceries) and where I may need to budget for things that I didn't really ever think about (winterization for the boat).  So far, this diligent (read: anal) tracking has helped me cut down on food-hoarding and other needless expenses.  If nothing else, it makes us think twice before forking over the dough.  It's nice knowing we have X amount of money left for the week.

Every once in a while, our diligence just needs to be tossed out the window with reckless abandon and we have to enjoy ourselves.  That's why for Sweetest Day, we are going out for a Sushi lunch and then Larry is taking me shopping at the mall for some fall clothes.  Hey, I said I was *working* on it, not that I had mastered it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let them eat Cake!

German chocolate pumpkin spiced cake to be exact.  Anyone who knows me well won't be surprised that my boss elected me to be *Baker Smurf* for Halloween.  Why not Smurfette, I want to ask, but I guess those days have passed me by, and I digress.  Since I've graduated from just making cakes that taste good, to cakes that taste good and look good (okay, still working on this one a bit), I needed to find a new challenge to keep my bakers fingers from getting lazy.

I decided to play around with different flavors and came across a season-appropriate recipe for German chocolate pumpkin spice cake.  The frosting was cream cheese with a kick of cinnamon and cocoa powder.  When my mom declared there was nothing to be changed, I knew I had hit pay dirt.

So what do I do next, to challenge my developing baking skills?  Does frying potatoes in my newly acquired fry daddy count as baking?  Well, I guess not, but somebody's gotta do it

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fishing Trip= PRICELESS!

So my husband is going fishing soon.  Inevitably, he will tell me about this months in advance, when he needs money for the deposit, and then of course he needs spending money too.  Since I pay the bills and manage the money, I usually budget for these expenditures ahead of time, based on what he tells me he will need. 

He is going with a group of 7 guys, some family, mostly friends from work.  I don't care who you are, there is nothing attractive about spending 4 days in the wilderness with a half dozen stinky guys.  Yet, he looks forward to this every year, twice a year.  This year he tells me he needs $100 deposit for the cabin, which has 3 beds.  I do a double-take when he tells me this and I mentally do the math, but hey, I'm not going so I just snicker under my breath and give him the check; scratch that I write out the check, address the envelope and mail it to the place, lest it sit on the kitchen counter top for-EVAH!

As I am doing our budgeting for the month, I ask him how much he'll need for the trip and he tells me $300 should be plenty.  So, I set aside the money in our savings account and I am feeling all prepared and stuff.  Last week, he tells me he will need a new reel.  Being that I don't have a clue what that is, I think it's the spindle-y thing on the rod, I inquire how much he will need so that I make sure to have that amount in our account for him.  He tells me $30 should cover it and then spends $70.  Needless to say, I had to walk to work that week because that was my gas money.

After having the most toned legs from all that walking, I finally stopped being mad for him overspending because he reasonably explained he forgot that he needed more line too- apparently this is sold separately from the reel.  This week he tells me he will need to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things for the trip.  I want to ask him what the $300 is for that I have stashed in our savings account, but instead I ask, again, how much he will need.  He says $30 should cover a small bottle of vodka, a 12 pack of beer and some club soda. 

So in conclusion, let's review the *actual* cost of this bi-annual fishing trip. 
$100 for deposit of facility
$300 for spending money
$70 for various necessary tackle
$30 for booze
Total cost:$500

I'm think about correcting Larry and his boasting when he says his trip is so cheap and only costs a few hundred dollars, but then I think of the 4 straight days of sleeping peacefully without getting elbowed and no snoring and I think, maybe $500 is worth it after all.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

You say Tom-A-to, I say Toe-mat-O

So, my good friend and neighbor, Laurie brought me a 10 pound box of bruised tomatoes this weekend.  Initially I was really excited, except then I realized they didn't come all peeled, cored and seeded like hers did-ahem... after she peeled, cored and seeded them.

Immediately my mind started racing with the possibilities, but I reigned in all the randomness and decided on 4 recipes.  Tomato soup, tomato sauce, garden vegetable soup, and Tinga-a Hispanic shredded chicken made with chipotle peppers.  I was able to accomplish the first 3 items this weekend.  Tinga is on the docket for this week.  On top of the load of tomatoes I processed, I also made 2 peanut butter cheesecakes, with brownie crusts.  phew, that's a lot of kitchen time.  Thankfully the weather went all Antarctica on us and cooled down.

All this baking and cooking got me excited for Fall; the change in weather, more indoor cooking, warm sweaters, drinking by the fire pit, and of course; more cooking and baking!  I have started a list, based on my husband's requests, of things I want to make as the weather forces me indoors.  It seemed that as college football got started this weekend, so did my cooking extravaganza-to my husband's dismay, the first thing I made was not an apple pie with a flaky crust.  I mean I just perfected the *French* version of the apple pie, now I need to make a flaky crust?  hmmmm, I think I will need more kitchen hardware a la

Did I tell you about the Fry Daddy and Truffle Oil I just purchased?  no?  I guess that's a story for another time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

If my little sister is old, what does that make me?

So here I am, feeling all good and stuff because I eat right, exercise, have a healthy, ahem, relationship with my husband, have a great kid/house/boat/job and along comes my younger sister complaining about being old, or some such bullshit.  Really?  If she's old, what the hell am I?

So, that started me thinking.  What the hell AM I?  The anal tendencies got the best of me and I began making a list, scratch that, two lists.  Things I like about myself, and things I'd like to change.  Now, since I was making these lists and not any of my friends, family or people who drive on the road with me, I am proud to say the *likes* list was longer.  Maybe my dopey little sister will step back off her ledge when she just comes clean with herself and admits that 35 is the new 20's.  Hell, I hear 40's is the new 20's so even I have something to look forward to.  Sorry Steph and Sheila, apparently your lives are over; nice knowin' ya though.

So, here are the top 10 things I like about myself:

10) articulate
9) organized
8) funny as hell
7) honest
6) hardworking
5) self-reflective
4) non-smoker
3) healthy
2) good mom
1) good wife

Lest any of you have any specific arguments regarding the validity of these 10 things, feel free to fling yourself from the Tapan Zee bridge.  See?  honest.

So, here are the 5 things I dislike the most about myself:

5) grudge holder
4) neurotic
3) easily aggravated
2) anxious
1) impulsive

So, there ya have it folks.  It took me 37 years, but I finally like myself enough to know that the good outweighs the bad in me.  So, Vik, now you know, getting older isn't so bad.  Plus, pretty soon, you'll forget to care about your age so it won't even bother you.  I told you getting older has its perks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No Pain, No Gain

Or, so the theory goes right?  So, the other day, I finally fished out my netting to hang up in the basement, Ala Margaritaville decor.  I had my cohorts from the Buffett concert drunkenly collect me some memorabilia so I could throw it into my fish net after I hang it in the corner by the big flat screen t.v.  My spoils included some beads, leis, and various blow up characters like a parrot and a beach ball.

I stopped to think a bit and figure out exactly how I was going to tackle this hanging ordeal.  Unfortunately Larry was otherwise occupied (sleeping in the Adirondack chair out on the patio, watching said flat screen t.v.), so his sensibilities were of no help to me this time.  After much thought, which didn't include any real thought at all,  I excitedly stood atop the t.v. stand wrapping the netting into our drop ceiling tiles, being sure not to rain down white dust all over myself in the process.  I was precariously balancing one foot on my exercise ball when my luck ran out.  My foot slipped and I fell, crotching the t.v.stand.  I sat there stunned, with a Margaritaville plate betwixt my legs.  Thankfully the plate did not break, as my mother smuggled that thing out of JB's restaurant in Cancun;  I believe the bartering included some sort of illegal transaction, but I can't be sure.

When I dared stand up and assess the personal damage, I looked down to see my right leg flipping me the angriest, purplest bird I have ever seen.  Although friends and family have been harassing me to post a picture on facebook, I am patiently waiting on this bruise to really take hold.  Knowing my bruising history, it will end up getting really dark and nasty looking.  The bruise basically starts at my ankle and goes midway up my thigh.  There are some distracting scratches mixed up in there, but when I finally post a picture please be sure to stay focused people, the bruise is the star of this show!  It's been 5 days, and already some yellow is starting to come out, and  I am seriously considering writing to the President of Bruises to complain; doesn't he know that yellow comes after all the dark purples and blues?

oh, yeah, Larry...well, he awoke with a start after hearing all the commotion and crotching of t.v. stands.  Ever the valiant husband, he helpfully suggested I don't slip and fall like that again. Makes me giggle in a pay-back's-a-bitch, kinda way when I think of him losing his precious White Sox hat yesterday while on the boat- but that's a story for another time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waitress, I need two more boatdrinks

So, for those of you that don't know me well, I am a huge Parrot Head.  I know, I know, really?  I confess, it's mostly Larry, my husband's, fault- he started it, plus I am getting older and listening to Eminem must be relegated to the secrecy of my basement, and only if my sister Steph is within earshot.  I will post one of the many fabulous pictures later this week, but I digress, let me share the experience with all of you...

Larry and I began our adventure on Saturday with the weather in full cooperation-mode, even if the traffic was not.  Sadly, we could not fit all of our accessories or tailgating paraphernalia into the convertible, so instead we were forced to take the hearse; plenty of room in the back of that! After a brief check in at the hotel, we embarked on the 2 block drive to Margaritaville.

We were joined, once again, by our friends from Larry's work, and their 3 kids and their assorted dates/hook ups/screw ups/whateveryacallits.  The day began with the traditional donning of leis for the ladies, coozies for the beers, and smiles for everyone.  We took the tour of the parking lot, partaking in the slip and slide, spinning the wheel, doing shots off of surf boards, and picking up stray, random cute guys.  Did I mention there were 5 hot 20-something blond young chicks with us?

Being a well-versed tailgater, aka drinker, I made sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after the festivities and I made sure to devour as much taco dip and chips I could manage before the growing 20-somethings tackled me and wrestled it away from me. 

Alas, Mother Nature was not having it.  It was hotter than balls outside all day, and not a breeze to be had.  Half way through the concert I started feeling tired, so I sat down.  Larry kept asking if everything was alright, and I was crabby and told him I was just tired.  I felt *off*.  I drank 4 beers, in 5 hours of tailgating, and then when I entered the stadium, I only drank water. 

Needless to say, when I stood up to dance to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" I was shocked that I felt faint.  There are few feelings in the world I hate more than this.  I grabbed my husbands' arm on the way down and he broke my fall; thankfully.  After getting the shakes, hot and cold chills, and such, my EMT trained husband notified me I was suffering from heat exhaustion. I had a tough time making it up the stairs, but once I did, I laid down on the cool concrete while security got me water and a cold pack for the back of my neck.  As soon as I got in the breeze, drank a bottle of water and had the cold pack, I sprang back to life.  Sadly, Larry and I missed a portion of the concert, but I did not have to be taken away, via stretcher, like some other poor fools that night.

Is it wrong that as I was walking up the stairs, head down, hand on the railing to keep from falling, I spotted a rolled up dollar bill and took a moment to think about bending over to pick it up?  The fact that I didn't should tell you how dire my situation was, however I continue to chastise myself about it even now.  Who knows, maybe there was a $100 bill rolled up in there!

So, I am off to spend the rest of the day on the water, with my husband, son and nephew.  Thankfully I can stay cool atop my floaty; no fear of heat exhaustion today.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Impulsivity is a pain in the arse

So, the Blackhawks tickets went on sale yesterday, and as my fingers flinched, poised over the keyboard, the time changed to 10 am CST and I took my place in *your wait time is approximately 6 minutes*-land.

Since I am not a professional scalper, obviously the only thing Ticketmaster offered me was Standing Room Only seats, and in my haste, I purchased them.  For 7 different games.  Needless to say, the husband was none too pleased, and upon further thought, neither was I.  Why exactly did I just invest over $600 on seats, that weren't even seats?  My impulsivity had gotten the best of me, again, but luckily Ticketmaster gave me no grief when I came to my senses today and called them to cancel the orders. 

I think I need to take some time to think things through a little bit more, especially when it comes to spending money.  The husband and I have worked so hard to stay on track with our *get out of debt* plan, and here I went and spent $600+ on crappy tickets?  Since it didn't cost me anything, I am chalking this up to a lesson learned, and I will keep it in mind next time that "I have to have it" feeling comes over me.

Blackhawks crappy no seats= $106.96
Impulsivity in check= Priceless

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And the cheese stands alone...

Welcome to my space; head space that is.  I feel like I should put out a disclaimer of some sort before we get too far into this.  I like to ramble.  What I say makes perfect sense to me, but may leave you lost and confused, and maybe even frightened at times.  I refuse to be held responsible for any brain strain, so read on at your own risk.  I haven't yet decided how I will organize this blog, or my entries, but if you know me, then you know I cannot just wing it, as this will give me an ulcer.  I plan on focusing my blog entries on a few key priorities in my life; namely, my quest for financial success, my journey toward a healthy and active lifestyle, and my ever-developing love of all things food-sweet and savory.

So, now that you're here, you may as well read on.  I put it all out there, so judge away, if it was me, I surely would.  That's it for today.