Friday, April 15, 2011
Our April 15th challenge on the 30 somethings with 25-49 pounds to lose team is to blog about our weekend plans:
I got out of bed this morning with no snooze button. After work today I will put down some more mulch in the front beds and then go to the gym. Today is treadmill / strength training day. I am down to 20:40 for my 2 mile and I want to at least maintain that speed without needing to hold on to the treadmill this time. My goal for the month is to be at 20:30. I’ll probably have leftovers for dinner tonight, beef stir fry from yesterday.
Busy day! Karate in the morning then go to the 1st credit union to withdraw the next progress payment for my son’s trip to London with the band in December and a trip to the 2nd credit union to deposit the money. I have to keep checking & savings separate with NO easy card or electronic access to the savings or I tend to have no savings.
Off to Lowe’s / Home Depot / local nursery to get more mulch, garden soil & compost – and maybe some onion sets and/or other plants that can withstand April in Michigan. I will have to make a number of trips. Build the rest of my version of “raised beds” and, if it is dry enough, get them placed and start putting down the newspaper / weed barrier in and around the beds so I can start filling them in, and mulching the non-garden bed areas. I’ve decided to be done with mowing the back third of the yard where the garden is and am just going to mulch everything, which will have the added advantages (I hope) of raising the ground level, improving drainage and reducing the amount of swampland I get every time it rains. My yard is all clay and retains water. If I have the chance I’ll measure for the amount of PVC pipe & hose I need; I want to bury my garden hose from the house out to the garden area and hook it up to a faucet/hose reel thing so I won’t have to keep moving the hose all over the yard when I mow. The garden fence (to keep out Stupid Dog) won’t go up until the mulching is done. I need to turn the compost bins as well, and make sure the rain barrel survived the winter with no leaking.
At some point I’ll go to the gym, it is another cardio day but with cross-training, no running or strength training (I will have done pushups / sit-ups / various other tortures in karate this morning). Saturdays are 35 minutes each on the bike & elliptical. I’ll have to cook today too, I’m thinking my version of Chicken Jerusalem (chicken in white wine with artichokes). I bought some oyster mushrooms I want to add to it this time. I also have a very large eggplant & a lot of tomatoes I need to use up soon. I saw a recipe for eggplant stew here on SP that I’m thinking about; I have some tilapia in the freezer I could substitute for the fish in the recipe. Between those 2 and whatever I make for Sunday’s dinner I’ll have a few lunches ready to go for next week.
I’m going to treat myself tonight with some home made HOT salsa and tortilla chips (those are purchased). I haven’t had any in a few months. There is a lady at a weekend flea market in Tennessee that makes THE MOST AWESOME hot salsa I’ve ever had. I have not been able to duplicate it. And unfortunately I am in Michigan and don’t drive through on 640 very often; the next time I do I am going to BEG for her recipe.
Keep working on the garden & mulching if it is dry. If it is raining or still wet start work on spring cleaning and do some more mending/sewing. Plan Easter dinner & make the shopping list. Put together something for dinner in the crock-pot, it depends on what I have in my freezer. I know I have a bag of chicken legs, and some marinara in the cupboard...tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, lots of garlic…sounds like I have a dinner! I think I will make some home made noodles to go along with it.
Sunday exercise is officially supposed to be low intensity / low impact. I don’t know what I will decide to do yet. If Jacq wants to go to the gym I might walk on the treadmill, or if I stay home I’ve got the Wii and several games and also 2 Zumba DVDs still checked out from the library, or maybe a combination of these. The gym has a sauna though, which I have not yet used, so maybe today is the day!
If I’m feeling incredibly ambitious I will start work on organizing all of my recipes I’ve copied or torn from magazines. Eventually I want to get to where I plan menus for the week but I decided not to start doing that until the recipes are all organized. Being somewhat Type A and obsessive I’m planning to create an Access database for them instead of a binder.
I may have a Boy Scout Committee Meeting Sunday night. It is on the calendar but there is also a weekend campout so it may be cancelled. I hope so. These are good people…but they can’t stay on topic to save their lives and I can only redirect so much. A 60-90 minute meeting turns into 2-3 hours.
Then get my clothes ready for the week (i.e. iron them), do some reading & bed.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I have a little over a week to decide what to make. I am not going all out with a big family gathering; there will be just me & possibly (probably) my 2 kids, both teenagers (or close enough).
I try to make holiday meals different, outside the box, non-traditional. For Christmas we had goat stew. For Thanksgiving we had Turduckhen. One year we went cajun and had alligator and crawfish.
This time I'm not sure what I want to do. With just the 3 of us I don't want a big fancy spread that takes days to prepare...but I don't want meatloaf either, as my daughter suggested last night.
We don't have any specific food restrictions (except hot dogs, I will not touch those! although hot dogs don't really count as food) and are pretty willing to try new foods.
So fellow Sparkers...any suggestions?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Over a week ago my daughter Jacqueline, 12, heard on the radio that Disney would be in town on the 9th auditioning kids for a commercial. According to the announcement they only had audition slots for the first 200 kids.
I promised myself a long time ago that I would support my kids in just this way so they could develop their interests…my own parents were “remotely” supportive, meaning they were OK with whatever I wanted to do but didn’t put a lot of effort into physically helping out so it was all on me to muddle my way through. This was exactly the kind of thing my promise covered so despite not really wanting to give up an evening and drive 45 minutes each way for a cattle call I signed her up for an audition slot.
She was extremely excited, having snagged on of the “only 200” audition slots. Jacq is extremely outgoing and was very optimistic about the whole thing. Despite some vastly differing ideas of what should be done (i.e. clothes & picture) we went shopping and she picked out an outfit to wear (“dress to impress” they said, both “parent(s) & child(ren!)”). We printed out 2 pictures per the instructions. Off we went Saturday night for our 8 pm appointment, but “be there by 7:30 for the paperwork”.
We got there at 7 and spent the next hour in line waiting to get into the ballroom where the audition was being held. Then spent another 90 minutes waiting for the 8 o’clock group to start. While waiting we were informed there were really 2 auditions…one for the commercial and the second for a talent company. All the material we were given was for this talent company and after all the exciting stuff about how many careers they’ve launched for kids, yada yada yada…and then there’s a page in the very back of the brochure saying the audition is to pre-screen kids for an invitation to a “fee based” event in front of the country’s top casting directors and agents and a chance to win several thousand in prize money (for the top 3). The cheapest package of auditions starts at $3000 (for 2) and quickly increases from there up to nearly $10,000. By this time my alarm bells have cracked from going off for so long. Then we watch the video which implies that all the kids that go to this event get all these call backs and go on to get rich and lead exciting happy careers with Mom & Dad proudly beaming in the background…and the event is also held at Disney. Can you get any more obvious!?
After the video the Lead Recruiter for this talent company gives a speech to the kids to get them excited about their possibilities…and setting them up for disappointment. He (meaning him & his team) will have interviewed over 2000 kids that day (remember the “only 200 audition slots available, so call now!” claim? They didn’t lie since each appointment contained about 200 kids…but they were deliberately misleading) and out of our particular group of 200+ kids he’ll only call back “a handful”, he’s “very selective” & will only work with “the best.”
Jacq is still pretty excited. Finally she gets to the table with her interviewer…and freezes on her question. After several seconds of silence to his question (“So why should we work with you?”) she recovers and answers. Then he asks me, “So Mom, do you think Jacki can do this?” WTF? Like a parent is going to answer “No”? Whatever. He interviewed Jacq for maybe 90 seconds at most.
Then she gets in line to have her “screen test” for the commercial, which consists of standing in front of a video camera and reading a commercial. The lady running this part of the audition circled something on each kid’s paperwork within the first 1 second of each kid getting in front of her before the kid even opened his/her mouth.
Jacq auditioning (walking away from the camera)
Jacq was bummed afterwards, certain she blew it in the interview & in front of the camera. Jacq tends to take after her Dad and gets wildly optimistic & ambitious and then at the first hint of any possible lack of perfection gets angry & depressed & I want to head that off. I brought out all the Mom truths…you did great, nobody expects perfection the 1st time, you were able to recover in the interview & the commercial, the important thing is you tried & got the experience - lots of kids never even try, you only fail if you don’t try, if you keep trying you’ll have other opportunities, etc. She remained pretty upbeat Sunday & kept reminding me to send the e-mail on Monday.
Monday morning, promptly at 10 am as instructed, I sent off the e-mail to get her audition results, providing 2 phone numbers (“and if you don’t answer either one we won’t leave a message and you child will have lost his/her chance! Don’t be that parent!”). I get the call at 11:30, they want her to come back Monday afternoon for a second interview & then they will make their decision, it has to be Monday since they are leaving town Monday evening, if she is accepted we have to register right then (i.e. full payment due immediately, no payment plans) and many parents will spread the costs out over several credit cards, get loans from family members, don’t you want your child to succeed?
Remember, this event she’s “auditioning” for is fee based and STARTS at $3000 – NOT including transportation from Michigan to Florida. There’s no way I can just waltz in and plunk down that much money in one shot. So I had to decide whether or not to lie to Jacq about whether she got the call back or not.
I know – as would any adult thinking properly – that this was close to a scam. Oh, I’m certain it is a legitimate event and that at least 3 kids in each division win prize money and some additional others get call-backs in front of casting agents, and some of these probably get commercials, print ads, and work of some sort.
But this was in no way as represented…only 200 spots available! Only a handful will be called back! We’re very selective & only work with the best! I will bet my future grandkids that at least 50% of the kids got that call back for a 2nd interview…and the “best” they were interested in was Mom’s wallet.
I want my kids to be self-confident and willing to try new things in order to discover what their true passions are and become everything they can be. So I did tell Jacq they wanted her to come back for a second interview…but that there was no way I could afford the cost at this time and they were not willing to negotiate a payment plan (I did ask about alternatives to plunking down the $ in one shot). I also tried to explain a little bit about how this type of company works and the importance of not taking advertisements at face value, without making her think that they weren’t interested in her personally and only in my (non-existent) bank account. I hope I succeeded; she seems to be OK with it today.
It just aggravates me to no end that these companies play on kids’ emotions like that though!
Monday, April 11, 2011
My SparkDiet action items for this week are to write a blog about the goal that I'm having the most trouble with, to figure out why and how to turn it around, and to revisit Fast Break goals and do a mini-streak on one of them.
When I first started SP I had a lot of trouble falling asleep/staying asleep - basic chronic insomnia for almost 30 years. I did the Sleep Challenge and by about the 3rd week I was sleeping better without medication. My Fast Break goal was to get to bed on time, which I did most nights; I stuck to getting up at the same time every morning even on the weekends; decluttered my bedroom; placed some lavender sachets around my bed. And it was working.
But over the last month I've found myself staying up later - to finish getting my Spark Points, to do laundry or dishes or whatever, because sleep is the most expendable of everything that needs to be done. And therefore I'm having a harder time falling asleep, and staying asleep, and getting up in the morning; all this creates a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. This may also be part of the reason I'm seeing yo-yo results on the scale. Sleep is my trouble goal and I need to make it just as important as the rest.
So my new Fast Break goals are to go to bed on time and to get up in the mornings without hitting the snooze button. I need to reset myself and focus more on sleep and taking care of myself and not just on exercise and calories.
Today is a good example of why. I really, really, really did not want to go running tonight. I spent all day telling myself that I could just do some walking instead of running since I ran the virtual 5k yesterday, or I could do some time on the bike, or I didn't need to go at all. I was tired, I had stayed up too late last night, got up too early this morning, didn't sleep well, had to disappoint my daughter thanks to some shoddy marketing techniques...and Old Me tried pretty hard to surface.
I went anyway and right up until I got on the treadmill Old Me was trying. New Me went all Chuck Norris on Old Me and I ran my best 2 miles yet...but was holding on to the treadmill for at least 2/3 of the time. And my 5k time has been slowing the past few runs. I ended up walking after completing the 5k and had to tell myself to shut up and keep going every single minute until my time was up. Then I tried to talk myself out of strength training at all, or using lower weights or repetitions.
So as soon as I post I'm off to bed, 20 minutes late but better than last night.
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