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More thoughts on this journey as lifestyle change

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Apologies in advance - I know this one has gotten REALLY long. I want to get it posted and not make it more incoherent that it is by chopping stuff out, so it may ramble a bit.


A lot of little coincidences have been cropping up that I find quite interesting.

One of those is the mention of Flylady.Net which first came up in a blog by FITKIZ. Something in the blog had reminded me of a book I originally checked out from the library and later got and reread enough times the pages were falling out: Sidetracked Home Executives. (S.H.E. for short) It was a book by two sisters on how they overcame a tendency to get sidetracked and overwhelmed and learned how to get things done. Turns out one of the contributors on FlyLady.Net is one of the sisters - Pam.

Then just today another, completely unrelated Sparker mentioned in her blog "shining the sink" and something else, and a comment asked if she was a FlyLady. Those had me thinking on one of the earliest starts on a lifestyle change that I made in my life.


I never actually succeeded at implementing the exact methods described in Sidetracked Home Executives. In fact, I think right now boxed up in storage I have my 3x5 card system with blank cards just waiting for me to someday eventually get to it. However, I did learn quite a few valuable things, such as the "don't walk past it" rule. I also learned to not expect overnight results from projects I'd start.

Those little changes over the last 10-15 years have been slow, but I definitely don't live the way I did then.


Then the last 5-6 years I've gone through some severely trying financial times. Those include having one stretch in which my employer was also having bad times and was behind 6-8 paychecks. I was constantly having to beg and plead for a check just so I could avoid eviction or pay utilities or buy food.

Even after that worst patch was survived, the residual effects continued - which included federal tax garnishments, state tax garnishments, and a student loan garnishment, not to mention overdraft and account fees. My "wages" were too high to get any sort of hardship forbearance or even simple food stamps, but my basic expenses were a step above that. (I seriously went to a free credit counseling center, only to be told they couldn't help me as I had no disposable income to apply to the debts. Duh, I knew that.)

** ASIDE: Really, having gone through all that - it's a proven fact that stress and emotions are not an eating motivator for me. I did have major issues sleeping and learned to force myself to lie still even if my brain wouldn't shut off the ranting and worrying. I got headaches and bad neck tension issues. I would take every break I could from work and walk around the neighborhood fuming and ranting under my breath, mentally going through the rages I'd otherwise spew at people, just to blow off the steam and keep it under control. Food was not something I turned to. In fact, at the most stressful points, I lost weight - which I can see in the charts where I recorded it. **

Anyway, a couple years ago, things started to improve a little. Paychecks may still have been 3-4 weeks late, but most weeks I could rely on getting that check - so I was finally living somewhat paycheck to paycheck. Then I discovered that my employer had around 6-8 months worth of garnished funds they hadn't paid and realized my problem, why it was stressing me out of my skull, was that I felt completely out of control. I couldn't do anything to force my employer to be financially responsible.

So I took control of my finances. I've been using a website since then to budget with - Mint - and always use my check card so all transactions are recorded. It was painful early on because I literally was taking one step forward and two steps back with each month.

I did start to see patterns to my spending. One of those, that I later find has been critical to my nutrition tracking, was seeing how I'd "lie" to myself. If I got cash back at the grocery store, I didn't record that cash. It was just part of groceries. I was buying milk at the local drugstore 2-3 times a week and taking $20-30 every single time.

What blew the cover off that, as it were? My kids knew I always had cash, and so that meant they always had need of some amount for something at school, for lunch, for bus fare, etc. And I couldn't even explain to myself where I was spending all the cash I took out - how could I get $20-30 out so often and not have $5 for lunch?

I stopped getting cash back completely. I still don't - unless I'm specifically doing something with that cash and tracking it. I also made changes such as going to my bank and talking to an account manager. I ultimately closed my savings account which was costing me monthly fees (since I couldn't maintain a minimum balance to save my life) and have my checking account converted to ebanking which was free of monthly fees as well.

I took control of a lot of little things over time. I learned to watch for sales on things like Mac&Cheese - buying a "lot" at $1 per box rather than a few and paying sometimes $1.60 per box. I brown-bagged (or skipped eating lunch) at work.


And finally I gave my kids ultimatums. As adults, I told them that they were now expected to start providing some sort of exchange for being fed and housed. There were a couple of false starts to that. DS's first deadline was around Fall 2010 - to either get a job and start paying rent/expenses, get a job and be actively saving to move out, or to move out. He almost had a job but it turned out to be one of those "sucker a college student into believing they'll easily be making a lot in commission" things and he bailed without committing anything to it.

So it got put off to May 2011, which also was given to DDa - with the expectation she would take and pass the H.S. Equivalency before then so she could get a job too. She passed, but neither of them were finding jobs. By this point, I was getting VERY resentful. I was working 40 hours, struggling to stay afloat financially, and all I could see was them still sleeping when I left and on their computers (recreational) or with friends when I got home. I think the only chore either helped with was DDa got to enjoy making fried rice, so she would cook maybe once a week. Otherwise, I did it all - or didn't because I resented cleaning up after them so much.

May 2011 came and the EX asked for an extension for them (literally "until I have a place" - as he was living out of his broken down car). I refused to let it be that open-ended and gave them three months - with a specific date of 21 August. I turned in notice on the apartment at the end of July so there would be no option of another extension. I got sick of nagging and simply left it at there wouldn't be a place to keep living, so it was their job to find out who they'd stay with and how to get their stuff moved.

End of August and they moved in with their uncle (EX's youngest brother and most stable male in the family) and his wife. I moved into a room in a house. My expenses in August and September nearly clobbered me, but money was actually very much under control - moving just has a lot of unavoidable expenses.


With money under control and keeping my living space clean under control (so much easier with just a room and shared bathroom and cleaning kitchen behind myself), I was finally ready to move onto the next area of my life that needed attention.

See, when I talk about this journey being a lifestyle change, I'm not only talking about changing my eating habits or my workout habits. I'm talking about my ongoing journey to figure out and create the style of life I want, to decide who I want to be, what I want to do, and work for that.


Cleanliness and hygeine were the first life project that got me started, teaching me that results take time and that little habits can make a big difference.

Money was the second life project, working at my financial stability finally. I still don't think I'll ever be able to "retire", but I do hope to be debt-free before I'm 50 and never again get into a situation where I'm unable to live within my means. It taught me that putting things off too long hurts a lot.

Health and fitness is the third life project, working at my eating habits and improving my level of fitness and health. This has taught me a lot about setting the right goals in the right way and correctly defining what I want.

Education / career is what I believe will be the next life project. What I was educated for and the jobs I did 20 years ago are not available any more in that form. (Computers being on everyone's desk pretty much has eliminated the need for the secretary who can type forms, handle mail, etc.) Where I am now has had me feeling stuck because it's all experience and no education - in a field in which a B.S. is usually mandatory.

Wardrobe is another life project that will have to start somewhere between now and the career side. I need to build a way to have a style I feel good wearing, learn more colors and shapes I look good in, and build a clothing collection that is more than one pair of slacks, two pairs of sweats, and about a dozen shirts. Seriously ... that's about where I've been at for 10 years now, with some of those shirts so ratty I only wear them to sleep in the winter.

Somewhere in there comes relationships. I don't particularly care if I don't ever have another romance. I'm not the sort to feel lonely for the lack of a partner most of the time. However, I don't want to miss a possible relationship because I'm still buried in baggage and unwilling to trust anyone but my best friend and kids to be close to.

I'm sure there's more life projects to get to, but those are the ones I already have either in progress or mentally mapped as needing attention.


Every single one of those things I'm calling a life project require this thing called a lifestyle change. All the lessons I learn along the way seem to apply to every area.

Procrastination? Experience has taught me, painfully at times, that it's only okay to procrastinate up to a certain point. Beyond that, the cost and discomfort exceeds any possible savings and comfort from avoiding it.

Laziness? Experience has taught me that sometimes the laziest way to get something done is to do it a few minutes every day, because waiting months or years to do it means it takes serious elbow grease and still might not be easy to get back to where it would have been if cared for daily.

I am still who I was 40 years ago, but I've gone through many lifestyle changes. Some were by my own choice, some were influenced by others or events. I can even pick out some of the change points looking back.

This journey is just one small step for me in the bigger journey called life. Every change I make is part of building a lifestyle that creates my future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNBEE 2/17/2012 6:46PM

    Wow what an inspiring post. So proud of the progress you have made.

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SAMI199 2/17/2012 5:14PM

    You are an amazing lady...

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SABLENESS 2/16/2012 8:50PM

    Good one. You've taken your experiences in the school of life and learned from them. Consignment shops and thriftshops keep me in better clothes than I could afford if buying new.

Thanks for cheers on my new jeans blog!

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ICANDOTHIS1968 2/16/2012 11:42AM

  You have your goals set out and a plan to reach them! You are going to get there!

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ALWAYSOWNIT 2/16/2012 11:42AM

    I totally agree with you .. the times I have been most productive in my life were also the times I have been super organized and knew exactly what I wanted.I don't know what changed.That ambitious ,organized,go-getter is in all of us.We just need to give that alter-ego a hand to dust themselves up after a fall.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/16/2012 10:48AM

    Love how you broke down each thing you are changing or want to change. emoticon

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EJRANVILLE 2/16/2012 10:42AM

    I give you a lot of credit for taking charge of things and making changes that needed to be made. Not everyone can do that.

I used to be a FLY baby too--sometimes I go back to just 'shining my sink' to make me feel better and more in control. It really helps.

Good luck with the next steps in your journey!

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SHERIO5 2/16/2012 9:51AM

    Thanks for sharing. I see a woman who is taking responsibility for her own actions, and encouraging others to do the same. This is so healthy!!!

What I like most about your blogs is that you stay positive, and that my friend, is why you are successful!!!


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ELUNAMAKATA 2/16/2012 9:27AM

    I really love seeing how you have laid out your changes over time. I've tried fly lady and it didn't work, because I was too lazy to follow the steps! Even now I'm sitting here barefoot and in a night gown ;-)

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TMCLEOD4 2/16/2012 8:49AM

    Changing just one part of a lifestyle is difficult. I can't imagine the challenges you're facing. Being an emotional eater, I would have to get all other areas of my life in control before starting the weight loss/ healthy journey. I'm working on that since I know that my life will not always be "in control" and I can't keep gaining and losing.
I know you can do this. You're a strong person and determined!

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LGAR519 2/16/2012 8:24AM

    I am an emotional and stress related eater. My financial problems contributed to the problem. I'm working to get my finances in order. But junk food eating is still a big problem. I haven't decided how to get the stress under control. Caring for my Mom and having no personal life is quite stressful! I really enjoyed reading your blog!

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SCMAMAJONES 2/16/2012 8:11AM

    Wow. It's amazing how everything in our lives is related isn't it? I can tie a lot of our debt and our weight to eating out. I am working really hard on the "do it now" mentality, but my husband doesn't exactly share that, and sometimes frustration builds. But I keep at it, and I'm hoping soon things will fall into place.

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SASSY5468 2/16/2012 8:01AM

    Fantastic blog! You are such an inspiration! I'm still at the finance phase, but it's almost there! That's why I have the second job :) You were smart to do 1 at a time!

Also, CONSIGNMENT SHOPS! That's where I get my clothes! I don't know if you have TurnStyle Consignment where you are, but that's a good place. If you get on their mailing list they have quarterly sales where all of the red tag items are like $5 or something crazy like that. It's end of the season stuff, but who cares?!

Keep up your fantastic lifestyle journey! :)

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CJMCCRAY 2/16/2012 7:10AM

    Great blog! I'm still working on setting goals for my life journey.

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-SONIA- 2/16/2012 4:47AM

    It's good to be organized, with the right priorities and MOTIVATION to improve your life. You can do it! It seems like you're well on your way to meeting your goals.

Thanks again for the comment on my (deleted) blog/Spark Page the other day! emoticon emoticon

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WHQPHQ 2/16/2012 4:28AM

Thanks for sharing, I'm trying to work out what I want to do with my life. I've taken the first steps towards applying to go back to University next academic year. It's terrifying and I'd rather bury my head in the sand.

I'm trying to life my life with the overarching thought: will I regret this when I'm older? The theory is that you won't regret things you've done only things you haven't done. If I don't apply to do this course, I'll stay in the job I don't love.

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The most memorable part of this day to me

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I really don't "do" holidays at all. I ate a normal dinner on Thanksgiving - the Turkey Trot in the morning and, with no work, spending an afternoon with my kids being the only variations from a typical Thursday. This is true of all holidays, even the one my birthday falls on.

It started with growing up as a Jehovah's Witness. Holidays were not celebrated. Religious ones were pretty much considered corrupted with pagan rituals, commercial focus, and not directed by God to be observed. Secular holidays were putting too much focus on man rather than God. Birthdays were ... well, the only Bible ones involved very bad things happening (such as having John the Baptist beheaded) and promoted selfishness. The only celebration was the annual Memorial - following Jesus' command to "keep doing this in remembrance of me" applied to the passing of the wine and bread. It is done annually rather than at every Mass and only those considered amongst a special group of followers partake.

Even in school I was supposed to pass on the holiday activities and ask for non-holiday alternatives. Supposed to. Is it sad that I can remember making a pilgrim outfit in 2nd grade after assuring the teacher it was my decision, and knowing I couldn't take it home or wear it where my parents could see me?

There's plenty of other similar memories around holidays, such as getting yelled at for peeking out a window at Trick or Treaters because that made them come to our door, and sneaking out when we were supposed to be asleep to join the neighbors out setting off fireworks.

So, what do I remember of Valentine's Day? Very little. The class version I couldn't go get cards to pass out, so I had to have my name scratched from their lists because it wouldn't be fair. That meant I sat and wrote or colored while the other students decorated their bags, I suppose.

What I ~DO~ remember is my mother marrying her 4th husband (one of many in line at the City office for a civil ceremony), the reception to be held in a local park two days after. On the morning of the reception, running errands with the EX, I started having contractions, and we stopped by my mother's house. She timed them ... and off to the hospital we went.

So instead of being in the park, I was across the street at the hospital giving birth to DS - with various family taking turns coming across to visit the newcomer. (None of my labors, at least the hospital portion, lasted more than an hour and change.)

Later years saw me buying little stuffed animals for the kids, mostly, but without any super focus that we HAD to do something for the day.

In fact the most recent memory I have is from around 6 or 7 years ago. I'd gotten into the habit of buying flowers weekly from the local CostCo. Good price and I liked having a vase sitting out because it brightened the room. Then a couple weeks before Valentine's Day it felt like the prices tripled and the quality dropped.

I was disgusted and quit buying flowers completely.

So ... the most memorable part of this day to me? My mother marrying #4 and hating the floral industry's greed on this day.


What I tend to do instead is pick completely random days to "celebrate" things that are important. I have a friend greeting card I picked out to mail to my best friend - and wrote "Happy Bestest Friend Day" in it. Every day is Happy Bestest Friend Day. Every day is Love My Children day. Ditto for gift-giving. I do it spontaneously whenever I have the means and know something they'd like.

So don't feel obliged to celebrate this day or to follow some imaginary rules for how it should be celebrated. Sure, let those you love know you love them - but do that every day you think to do so.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGELWENDYMAMA 2/18/2012 12:04AM

    Just curious, are you still follow the Jehovah's Witness faith? I am not judging you in any case, I'm just wondering. It sounds like it may have been hard as a kid to feel like an outsider. Did you feel that way or if so, did it bother you or not?

I love your idea to celebrate other times.. and if everyone would do that, we would not need holidays! LOL! DH and I had our first date on Feb. 9th so we try to celebrate then and on our actual wedding anniversary in May. I WISH my bestest friend would make some time for me.. but then she isn't making any for herself either.. I get it, but I do not like it.

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TXGRANDMA 2/17/2012 2:54PM

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WHQPHQ 2/15/2012 4:41AM

    I prefer it when my boyfriend surprises me with flowers - I'd rather have them as an occasional treat than him buying me ridiculously overpriced roses on V-day.

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SASSY5468 2/14/2012 10:53PM

    Thank you for explaining how it was for you growing up. Too few people understand how it is for Jehovah's Witnesses. I've known a couple and totally respect their beliefs.

I love how you approach the holidays! My boyfriend and I don't really follow them either. We got friends and relatives to stop giving us Christmas gifts by asking them not to and telling that, in lieu of gifts, we were donating to charity instead. And that's exactly what we've been doing for 3 years now :) It's so nice not having all of that JUNK lying around to dust in case that person comes over and doesn't see it sitting out! I don't like feeling obligated to buy gifts, and I don't want anyone feeling obligated to give me one either :)

You rock!

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SHERIO5 2/14/2012 6:37PM


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ALPHASENIOR 2/14/2012 5:28PM

    I love every holiday and celebrate them, even when I'm all alone, like this afternoon. I'm wearing pink slacks and s shirt with light and dark pink flowers. I have flowers on the dining room table (cheap, from the supermarket) and a small bowl of candy hearts on the kitchen table. And I said Happy Valentine's Day to everyone I saw this morning.
But my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. My children are all adults and live in other states, but they also celebrate. That doesn't take a thing away from our every-day love and patriotism. Its just a fun thing to do. Lighten up, guys.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/14/2012 5:16PM


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_RAMONA 2/14/2012 4:16PM

    I think you celebrate the better portion and focus. :)

I grew up in a home where a big deal was made over every possible holiday, yet I never felt loved, or taken care of. It took me a long time to make peace with holidays in general. I still don't like the prosribed commercial aspects of any of the holidays, and go to great lengths to avoid the contrived.

I've, however, gotten to a place where while I've always viewed every day as an opportunity to celebrate the people and blessings in my life, I appreciate the holidays for the rhythm they give life, the opportunity to create a family identity and extra special traditions, and as a reminder to create the extraordinary out of the ordinary.

...Good thing, too, because our daughter is fiend for pomp and SPLENDOR... she likes life BIG and loud, and DECORATED, LOL!

I hope your day hits the spot just as it is! :)

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KSJD711 2/14/2012 4:14PM

    Thanks for shedding light on the jehovah witness traditions. I had no idea. On the other hand, I think I need to celebrate some bestest friend days. Good idea. Me, I love holidays and am feeling guilty that I haven't done much.

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GETMETO50 2/14/2012 4:10PM

    I don't really do holiday's either and I was brought up just the family got all big around the holidays and I was always the bah humbug...I would rather have spontaneous thoughtful deeds done to me for no good reason and vice versa.

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LGAR519 2/14/2012 4:04PM

    I can't imagine growing up like that. But as long as you aren't bitter-------

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AHTRAP 2/14/2012 3:29PM

    Good attitude...certainly beats being grumpy for a day, because you don't measure up to what the cartel of greeting card companies, flower shops and candy vendors insist you should be feeling (aka the urge to spend money on their products). :)

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Feb 2012 Week 2 - Long-Term Health and Fitness Goals

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maintain the longest possible streak of days without illness.

One measure I have of my health is how often (or rarely) I fall ill and how rapidly I recover. I honestly cannot remember the last time I suffered flu symptoms. (Yeah, yeah, I should probably be knocking on wood right now were I the slightest bit superstitious.) I do get the occasional cold, but my typical cold is noting my throat feels tight/sore one day, runny / stuffy nose the next, and some coughing for the next couple days to clear my system.

I also do, sadly, get cold sores. True to form, they show up around times I'm ill or starting my cycle, particularly if I haven't been eating as well or haven't been taking a multi-vitamin. (And probably if I'm stressed in combination - basically when my body is burning vitamin/mineral resources.)

In my opinion, a HUGE part of that is my water consumption. When our bodies are properly hydrated, they fight viruses and germs more effectively. Even when I was otherwise eating excessively or poorly, I was drinking lots of water, plenty of milk, and some juice.

So, I do feel I'm already rather healthy.

But there's always room for improvement.

Now, this goal is actually kind of odd in one sense. There isn't really a way to guarantee I won't get sick. I can take plenty of normal precautions - not handling things like phones that have been used by someone sick, washing my hands regularly. But I can't completely avoid the spread of the variety of possible infections much more than I already do.

However, I do believe that as I become more healthy through proper eating habits, eventually improving my sleeping habits (problem area there, but not ready to change certain things yet), and being more aware of others sick around me, that I can minimize my exposure and increase my chances of my body fighting and killing the bad guys without me ever feeling symptoms.


Be able to do normal squats and lunges without complaints from my knees. Ditto for other problem areas that act up when I'm doing strength training.

I'm already seeing some improvement in my knees from working the quadriceps and hamstrings (front and back of thighs). The only time my knees speak up on the bike is when the resistance increases past a certain point and in the first moments of pushing to meet that. So I know I'm on the right track.

To me, being able to do the squats and lunges - and in proper form, a normal set of reps - will be a big sign of how much improvement there is to my fitness.


** If you didn't see what this is about, at the beginning of February I decided that I wanted to figure out 1 long-term goal in Health and 1 in Fitness each week of February, so 4 total long-term goals.

While I know I need to lose weight and I am doing that, my goal has never been "get down to ### pounds". I have no must-reach pants size or waist measurement or expected physical appearance.

My goal at the beginning of this was, quite honestly, to get more fit and healthy and to eat better. Which is okay up to a point, but I decided to ask myself by what I define as being fit enough and healthy enough. I could say I'm already more fit and more healthy and quit now. But obviously I meant more than I've gotten to so far. And these goals are my attempt to better define where I want to be. **

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AHEALTHIERME444 2/15/2012 8:54PM

    Love this..especially since I feel it is a mirror image of my thoughts and life these days!! I just got my first cold sore in a really long time this weekend...they suck!!
I also gauge my fitness by my knees also.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and plan with the rest of us.
Very motivating and inspiring!

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RABBITL 2/15/2012 3:09PM

  This note has made me rethink my I did set high expectations for myself. I'm new here and learning more and more each day. It does not matter the # on the scale, just as long as we are happy and healthy!!

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TIFFY0906 2/14/2012 3:54PM

    When I first started SP I had a goal weight and size in mind (I still do). But now I know it is soooo much more than that. I want to be an athlete and I love hearing my doc say good job everything is GOOD.

Great Goals....keep up the good work

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CJMCCRAY 2/14/2012 2:55PM

    I'm glad to see you are working on goals for life. I too am striving to get healthy and stay healthy. Great blog! emoticon

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JUSTAGIRL45 2/14/2012 11:17AM

    I love that you set goals like this!
The are measureable and achievable. You set yourself up for success when you lay it out like that!

It inspires me to set a few non-scale goals too! emoticon
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WOMANOBRONZE 2/14/2012 10:30AM

    What a remarkably sane approach!

(I am totally inner 14-year old whining that if I only weighed
155 pounds, the world would instantly love me, men would stop on the street and give me money just for being, and I'd wake up each day happy and clean-smelling...???)

Good job defining your goals!

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SASSY5468 2/14/2012 10:14AM

    Very reasonable goals! I also am not really about hitting a certain weight or pants size. I just really want my knees to not hurt, and my lungs to not strain when I walk up the stairs or a hill. It's those things that keep me from doing what I want to do.

Great work there, lady! :)

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SHERIO5 2/14/2012 9:25AM

    Your goals make sense. I think ultimately, these will serve you much better than weighing a certain weight, or fitting into a certain size.

Good work! emoticon

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WHQPHQ 2/14/2012 9:17AM

    When I started SP I wanted to get down to 140lb, now my weight loss has slowed down (I am about 12lb away) I am trying to focus on the way I look/feel. I want to be fit!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/14/2012 9:03AM

    emoticon emoticon I think it is great you have more goals than just losing weight. We are a whole package not just weight.

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ALWAYSOWNIT 2/14/2012 2:03AM

    May be I should do that too ..Instead of trying to reach a goal weight ,I should target a behavioral goal like better eating habits. I am sure you will reach your goals no matter what.All the best to you. emoticon

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Shopping and more shopping yesterday

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Biggest plan yesterday was going with DDa to replace her phone. (Of all disappointing things, she'd set it on the pew at church while singing in choir, forgotten it, and it was taken.) She's been on EX's plan, and instead of replacing her phone, he used the credit for a phone for her to replace his that he broke.

So for a couple months now there's been this or that reason for no phone. Then he damaged the new phone and used DS's credit for another, still not getting one for her. Meanwhile, her uncle and aunt would occasionally talk about putting her on their plan, but weren't following through.

Her lack of a phone was a part of us missing each other a couple weeks back for the broadway show. So, long story short, I told her I'd buy the phone and sim card and be done with the trouble.

Which didn't go as planned. Turns out EX is actually on an account in his most recent ex-gf's name, and DS and DDa aren't listed. So without EX there, there's no way to get a phone and have it set up.

No problem. We leave there, go to a kiosk for my cell phone plan, pick out a nice smart phone, get one for her and one for me, and add her to my plan. (This is my usual level of "screw the BS and get it done" decisiveness.)

So I am now the happy owner of a nice smartphone and learning the ropes. It has a Books app and I downloaded a Kindle one. I have to check out what the SparkPeople app does - whether it would save me any time.

DDa is over the moon -- she hadn't realized just how much she was missing the ability to just talk to her friends regularly.

Aside from phones, we did a little clothes shopping. She tried on pants at two places, but ultimately bought a shirt from one and shoes from another. Big reason she wasn't having much luck with pants was because she way prefers the "skinny jeans" style (very slim calf/ankle), but does not like when they add something to the denim to make them leggings or stretchy to be more form-fitting. So she passed on the pants.

I decided since my pants were a little loose to maybe try on and get a next smaller pair. Even though I've been putting up with Lane Bryant for years now, I really despise one common fact about all the pants there. The narrowest pant leg is on the "boot cut" jeans ... and still makes me look almost as wide at the ankles as the hips, when I'm nowhere near shaped like that. I don't want the bottom cuff to be so big I could bunch the pants at my thighs.

I determined that I am a pants size smaller, but following in my daughter's footsteps, for once I didn't feel like I had to buy them even though I hate the style. I could walk away and choose something elsewhere or another day. I'm going to have to check out Torrid and see if there's any other "plus size" stores around - or possibly shop a little online (which I confess to finding difficult in the extreme). Worst case, I'll go buy a belt or consider a tailor/seamstress to take in the current pants.

At this point I'm thinking I'll just put off actually buying clothes until I have my Fed tax refund, but spend some shopping time (YUCK!) finding out where I want to shop.

Last bit of shopping yesterday was checking out one health food type store at the mall and asking about protein powders. Why is "unsweetened" so quickly misunderstood to mean I don't want sugar, but sucralose or stevia is acceptable? I'm not interested in cutting sugar (and I'll stop with that because that's a rant a blog long).

Anyway, no luck there. Oh, and I made the "mistake" while grocery shopping of reading the ingredients on one of the smoothie things that had interested me. (Yes, I do realize that my antipathy toward soy and fake sugars is really only a mirror image of those who consider all animal products bad or call sugar poison. I'm even amused at myself for it. But long-term goal is to move toward most cooking from scratch so other's food opinions aren't forced on me.)

So I've put off the blender plan for now. I'm going to keep looking at protein powders. (One thought is that places like Jamba Juice have a powder they add, and with fruit it wouldn't need / want extra sweetening and flavor. But if it's soy, that explains why no luck for me.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCKYNLOVENEB 2/13/2012 8:13PM

    Sounds like you had a busy day! My long term plan is to shop at thrift stores until I feel like I will be staying in a size. We live in a small town so we only have three choices. Alco, JC Penny's and Walmart.
As for the Soy products, I try not to consume much of those even though my father in law and our best friends farm soy beans, as for artificial sweeteners including plant based, I'm not a fan either.
I am all about cooking from scratch, but it's hard to count calories and nutritional values that way, but it must be done fo my kids health.
Have a good night! Korey

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KAELANI83 2/13/2012 1:17PM

    I usually buy jeans from Lane Bryant; I find pants from there fit me the best. I do my other shopping online from Old Navy's Plus. I know their clothes fit me so I don't have to try them on. I've started to buy clothes a size smaller to motivate me to lose weight. I refuse to buy clothes any bigger. I am putting my foot down on that. :-p

Glad you got the phone business taken care of. It sounded like it could have been a nightmare situation.

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LGAR519 2/13/2012 9:36AM

    I don't have a Smart phone yet. Just a little tracfone. So far that's all I need. Although a Smart phone looks fun! My sizes are weird. My top is a size smaller than my bottom. Makes it tough. I haven't found any Protein powder that I would pay a fortune for yet. We should keep looking!

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SHERIO5 2/13/2012 9:35AM

    Glad you were able to make your daughter's day so nice!

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VICKIEBETH 2/13/2012 9:16AM

    Thank you for your continued encouragement.
I like CJ Banks, they are the Plus size store for Christopher Banks. I have a store locally but they are also online and they have a variety of pants.
When I moved out of the house a little more than a year ago I determined to stop wardrobing at walmart and found CJ Banks. I was a 3x at that time and now I am a 1x and I don't like the fit of every thing but I find many things that work for me. Nice ladies in the store too and at least at my store a honest if something looks good or not.

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SCMAMAJONES 2/13/2012 8:41AM

    Way to go! I also don't like to shop online for clothing. I'm too difficult to fit even trying it on in the store. Why add on-line shopping into the mix? I'm glad you have the phones now. I'm also wary of processed soy. It mimics estrogen too much for me. Good luck continuing to find your balance.

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SANDYB223 2/13/2012 7:47AM

    Congrats on your new phone and your DD's too!!


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-SONIA- 2/13/2012 6:54AM

    Target's Mossimo jeans come in different "Fits" -- I like Fit 1 -- which is for women with a BUTT, lol :) emoticon

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SASSY5468 2/12/2012 9:14PM

    Wow! What a nightmare with the phone! I'm glad you set aside the BS and just took care of it :) Now you don't have to deal with the ex anymore either so BONUS! I'm glad you're daughter's happy and you have an awesome new phone! I use the SparkPeople app, but don't like it that much.

I really like the jeans at Kohl's, particularly Gloria Vanderbilt.

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Is it really that funny?

Friday, February 10, 2012

I know. I've mocked my sense of humour (what? I have one?!) before. But some things just really do tickle my funny bone.

Today I read about SparkPeople adding a "funny page" and was paging through quite a few, having a chuckle here and there. Then this one came up:

Now, it's not really that funny. Some people genuinely love brussels sprouts. (They can have mine. No, SERIOUSLY!)

My brussels sprouts nightmares begin with a stepmother from the south (Arkansas) who seemed to have learned from Okra that the only good vegetable was a vegetable boiled to nearly mush.

Some vegetables are still halfway palatable. She couldn't really ruin spinach too badly, and for some reason broccoli made it through unscathed (though its cousin cauliflower did not). Corn and carrots were meh, but I knew they could be better from corn on the cob and eating carrots raw on salad.

Somehow, though, aside from the okra (please forgive me poor families who got cans of okra in their food drive bags), brussels sprouts were the absolute worst food to grace our plates at the dinner table.

Said dinner table was 8 people, father and step-mother at one end and 3 kids on each side facing each other (and kicking each other). Rules for that dinner table changed sporadically. TV was off for dinner when we had a TV (sometimes it was the devil's eyeball and sold). Plates had to be completely emptied before we could ask permission to leave the table. We had to finish eating within 30 minutes (one sister was a very slow chewer and would otherwise take longer). After a couple of us learned to bolt a plate full of food in 5-10 minutes, we couldn't ask to be excused until 15 minutes had passed. Rules were often added if something we did wasn't considered acceptable.

( Sounds loopy to describe, I know.)

On the nights we'd get brussels sprouts, I don't think a single one of us kids enjoyed them. (I have no clue if my father did - we weren't watching his plate.) We each invented creative ways to remove them from our plate without eating them. No house dog, so no luck there ... if a dog would have touched them. Napkins in laps, of course, got full as we wiped our mouth often. Glasses of milk didn't empty very quick as the volume was replaced. The near-mush got disintigrated further being cut into miniscule bites, swallowed with a chug of milk as though they were the dozen or so vitamin pills considered a necessary part of our day. Taking a second helping of spaghetti, burying the sprouts under while eating most of it, then proclaiming ourselves full.

What a horrific day it was when milk was "outlawed" as one of the step-mothers quack health decisions. Soy milk, suffice to say, was nasty and thin. Definitely cut back on our "milk" consumption (at home). But it also made the milk-based methods of managing those terrible sprouts no longer of use.

Fast forward in time. I've always liked most veggies (even through those 6 years of horror). I love a salad even with no dressing at all.

I've tried quite a few of the veggies that haunt my nightmares. Asparagus is not bad at all as long as one gets younger stalks (and doesn't boil them to death). Artichokes are quite tasty. Cauliflower I will continue to pass on. Even raw it has a bite I greatly dislike. Zucchini and yellow squash are okay, but nothing to rush and eat (or grow ... never ever plant more than ONE zucchini plant. For your sanity's sake.)

And brussels sprouts ... nope, still definitely don't like them. Roasted, raw, steamed, they're on the short list of vegetables I avoid.

So the above cartoon tickles me because, heck yeah I'd auction brussels sprouts before I'd eat them. Or arrange overnight shipping of them to the starving childen in whatever country it happens to be (early 80s we were told Ethiopia). Anything to get them off my plate uneaten.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOMANOBRONZE 2/11/2012 12:49PM

    For me, it's the brussel sprout that's the devil's eyeball! Anything that smells that nasty even before it makes it to your mouth belongs ONLY in a limburger cheese and escargot casserole that you serve as a dare on Halloween.

I love your description of your family table - it reminded me so much of my own memories of ad hoc household rules, it brought tears to my eyes. Some of ours were - no more than three slurps with a straw when you got to the bottom of the glass, formally asking, "May I be excused" before you could leave the table (and often times, being told "No"), and any elbows caught on the table, or fingers gently nudging peas onto a fork were swiftly struck with the wooden spoon from the salad bowl (my Pop had such fast reflexes, he literally could catch flies with his hands).

And to this day, I still don't know what would have happened if we'd made a noise while Grace was being said. I think that merited being sent to the orphanage for unwanted children (aka "the box factory").

Those gray, mushy vegetables of our youth were a far cry from what they are today. Steamed baby okra (tender, bright green, no spines) is a delight, and medium-thick asparagus spears grilled "just right" on the propane grill (along with a portabello mushroom) is stunning. But brussels sprouts...nope.

Thanks for sharing your stories!!!

Comment edited on: 2/11/2012 12:51:10 PM

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AHEALTHIERME444 2/11/2012 11:50AM

    I have tried to like brussel sprouts..but I'm with you...just can't do it anymore!! emoticon

Have a great weekend!! emoticon

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SANDYB223 2/11/2012 10:45AM

    Chuckle chuckle. You are too funny. You are a very humorous writer!! Fun Blog!! PS: I like brussel sprouts, just had them this past week.

emoticon emoticon

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POETLKNG2LOSE 2/10/2012 8:30PM

    I guess i am one of the odd ones cause i like brussel sprouts. We fry them in a pan with olive and garlic. Yum! Very good that way or shredded with bacon and onion.

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50ISNEW30 2/10/2012 8:29PM

    Love brussels sprouts! Really all veggies! Growing up spinach always came from a can in our house (like Popeye). It wasn't until I was 24 that I realized you could buy it fresh and have it as a salad. Back then wilted spinach salad was very popular! Yum! Now all I can ever find is baby spinach - just not the same. I like the grown up spinach so much better.

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SHERIO5 2/10/2012 7:11PM

    Brussels sprouts...*shudder* I really enjoy most vegetables, really...but not these!!! Since joining SP I have even tried them again...husband and I both gagged some down...obiviously not a great one for us!! Perhaps I'd eat them smothered in a cheese sause or a buter AND cheese sause!!! Probably not worth it!!

My mother fixed a large variety of foods, including vegetables, I guess it was the frutrated Home Ec major, drop-out in her! We also had a clean-plate rule at our house..painful memories!!!

emoticon for the memories...I think!

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ZANNBEE 2/10/2012 6:13PM

    Ha ha. Believe it or not, my kids LOVE brussel sprouts. I certainly don`t.

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LGAR519 2/10/2012 5:47PM

    My husband is on a brussel sprouts kick. He eats them every day. I don't eat veggies. Just the starchy ones that I shouldn't have. I can't get them past my nose. To be subjected to eating brussel sprouts as a child is just wrong!

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CALAMITYJANE44 2/10/2012 5:41PM

    Lol...I hated them when I was a kid - now I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE 'EM....send some to me...I'll take care of 'em, no problem! .lol!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/10/2012 5:35PM

    emoticon I love all those veggies.

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TMCLEOD4 2/10/2012 5:15PM

    That's awesome!! My mom is the worst cook and my siblings and I often ask ourselves how we survived growing up with the food she served us. So, I can totally relate! Along with vegetables cooked to mush was the meat cooked to charcoal - chicken, beef, pork, it didn't matter all of it was served crunchy!

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WAYSOFGRACE 2/10/2012 4:56PM

    That would so have been me as a kid! Of course, it would have been more than just brussel sprouts then. If it was a vegetable, it was a guarantee I wasn't going to touch it, or allow it to touch any other food on my plate.

As an adult, I now can handle a salad, so long as no cucumbers or tomatoes are in it (acid reflux with those), spinach, corn, butternut squash. I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two.

It's not how they are cooked. It's the consistency is some cases, and the bitter after taste in most cases.

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POLK33 2/10/2012 4:37PM

  Lol...thanks for the laugh. I guess I had a good brussel sproutsfor me!

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YULLABELLE 2/10/2012 4:22PM

    I feel the same way. I lived through the same scene except there were only 4 of us and my mother forced us to eat them. After my brussel sprout made a re-appearance at 2 am in her bedroom carpet and bathroom floor. I have never had to eat another brussel sprout. Just thinking of them make me say YUCK

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SASSY5468 2/10/2012 4:21PM

    I am SO with you on the Brussels Sprouts! My mom would make my brother sit at the dining room table CRYING because we both hated them so much! But we had to eat every bite! GROSS! Once I got engaged to a guy and he invited me to meet his parents. They made Brussels Sprouts and I HAD to eat them so as not to be rude! *GAG*

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PARASELENIC 2/10/2012 4:17PM

    hm. I had no idea about this funnies page. thank you for the link!

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KAYECAN 2/10/2012 4:11PM

    I second that!!!! Cute blog. thanks for the laugh.
I was going to add an emoticon of a brussel sprout but they are so disgusting, they don't even have one!!!

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