Thursday, January 12, 2012
Some statistics to make you think. Just because we're plus sized, doesn't always mean we're unhealthy.
I love the tips at the bottom, especially by supporting the companies that better cater to your size and supporting indie designers.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
I posted a blog on January 1, 2011, with a list of 11 goals I wanted to accomplish this past year. I printed them out on a piece of fun stationary and taped it up by my bathroom mirror. Let's see how it went, shall we?
1. Actively engage in a healthier lifestyle! Exercise more, eat less, eat healthier, get more sleep, and keep learning (to exercise my brain). I won't always succeed on a day to day basis, but as long as I keep working at it, I know I'll reach my goals.
Hmmm... I'd say I did this pretty well. I worked as hard as I could and think I made great strides in my journey. I eat better, I eat more mindfully, and I'm still in school exercising that brain. I did a lot more exercise then I have in years passed. CHECK!
2. Get another/better job. I know this one isn't necessarily in my control, but I believe with persistence, dedication, and hard work, that I can reasonably accomplish this sometime in the next 365 daysÖ right?
Well, persistence, dedication, and hard work are all fine and good, but alas... this goal did not get accomplished. :-( Every single week day and most weekends for a solid 6 months did not yield me a job. I got 4 interviews all year for jobs I applied to and never got. Sad, sad day. Let's hope 2012 brings me into some work. Preferably that I'll enjoy.
3. When I finally have that job, start paying off my credit card. I'm able to make just above the minimum payments most of the time. I'd love it if I could start paying off bigger chunks and bringing my balance way, way down. It'll take a few years to get it down to nothing, but paying off at least $300 this year would be great!
Despite not having a job, I did manage to work some things out and almost make this goal. For all I know, I did make my goal. I just haven't checked. And I'm not going to. Paying anything down at all was way more than I thought I'd be able to without a job. CHECK!
4. Save some money. I'm not talking anything huge, but putting away $10 or $20 a month is better than putting away nothing.
This I didn't do. :-( In fact, I did the opposite and closed out my savings account. I just don't have anything to keep in there. My savings dwindled to nothing and it would cost more in "maintenance fees" than I even had available! Boo!
5. Secure health insurance. Well, that's just self-explanatory. And also something that isnít necessarily in my control.
Thanks to my parents, who worked some magic with their own strained finances, I have a state health insurance. Its for people with existing conditions, which is me to the max! So, whenever I want, I can get this gallbladder out! And not have to pay a ridiculous amount of money out of pocket. CHECK!
6. Do some volunteer work. Iíve been wanting to do something for quite a while. I need to find a way to be able to do so.
I almost did this. I even went to an orientation for a volunteer gig, but the location was not conducive to my transportation abilities. Someday, I'd still like to volunteer doing something.
7. Move to a townhouse, house, or condo with a little bit of a yard that also allows pets. I can't live in my apartment in University City anymore. The neighbors above me cause me untold amounts of stress. Also, this area is pretty pricey. Aiming for a move this summer. The money I save can be spent on a cat, which I desperately want. I also want a little bit more yard space to grow some herbs, fruit, and/or veggies.
At the last minute, I pulled this one off! I'm sitting in my room, in a house, surrounded by massive amounts of boxes and bags and STUFF that needs to get tossed, donated, put away, etc. I pay more than $200 less in rent per month here. I'm very pleased! CHECK!
8. Learn to knit/crochet. I know I've set this goal for myself before and didn't get it done, but I've been inspired recently, so I'm planning on getting back to this. Maybe I can find a class or a club to join.
I had a friend offer to teach me, but we just never connected. She lives pretty far from me, so its hard to schedule in some knit time. I have all the supplies necessary. I just need someone to teach me (this is something I've discovered I can't teach myself). I couldn't find a club or class to join, either. Stop being so underground, hobby!
9. Sew more. I got a new sewing machine a few months ago and I would love to work on more projects! I'd like to go to Comic-Con this year, hopefully, so a costume project would be awesome!
Well, I did sew more, although nothing was for myself. I hemmed countless pants (okay, 3 pair for some friends) and a big project for my friend's MIL. I sewed two GIANT table cloths (that barely fit in my apartment!) and about 22 cloth napkins. That was a difficult project due to space limitations and my lame pre-arthritic thumbs. I slathered more Ben Gay on my hands then I care to admit. But, my machine got lots of use! CHECK!
10. Read for pleasure more. I got a few books coming in April. I have a book to read now. I can start on Sherlock Holmes. I have magazine subscriptions, but I need to make sure Iím reading good books, too.
The sad event of Borders closing down led to me getting an insane amount of books for insane prices! I think I got 40-45 books for about $50. I was able to read a few books and just enjoy them. Stephen King has a new book relating to his Dark Tower series coming out next year, so I have that to look forward to, too! More reading!!! Bottom line, I read for pleasure more than I usually get the opportunity to, so this goal gets a: CHECK!
11. Scrapbook! I have many supplies and things to put in a scrapbook. I just need to sit down and actually do it! I have friends that scrapbook, too, so I could invite them over for a scrapbooking party and just be creative for a day.
Once again, I have not scrapbooked. I have added more to my "must put in scrapbook" pile, too. I don't have as many supplies as I thought for a good, nice scrapbook. I need to gather some things before I can actually do this. No check for this one...
Well, 55% success rate this year. Not bad, but not the greatest. If that were a grade, that would be an F. I'll be sitting down tomorrow and thinking of some new goals for 2012. :-) Look out for that blog!
To everyone, thank you for the goodies and comments and 'likes'. I'll get back to my regularly scheduled Sparking when I'm settled into the house. I hope your goals were reached and that you all have an amazing New Year!
Sunday, December 04, 2011
I mentioned this in my previous blog, so I thought I'd go further into in hopes someone will have heard of this before. I've tried to research this before, but I can't find anything about it.
I have had sleeping problems for a long, long time now. It started as insomnia when I was a teen and in my early 20's. Over the last few years, its sort of become part of a cycle of sleep: normal sleep, insomnia for a few days at a time, and this awful dreaming sleep.
I'll sleep normal hours at night, between 7-9, and wake up feeling just as tired as though I never slept at all. All night I'll dream vivid, detailed dreams. Not realistic situations, like any dream, but so realistic in just how complex they are. It almost seems as though I don't completely cycle through the stages of sleep. It's like I get stuck on the one part of the cycle and stay there. Either all night, or something... I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what it feels like. I'm just musing.
My friend told me she used to have the same problem and she was the only other person I've known to have had the same issue. The only thing is, hers was due to an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant she was taking. She switched medications and the problem went away. I'm not taking any medications that alter my body's physiology too much, other than hormones, asthma meds, and allergy meds. But, I'm still taking these meds when I sleep normally, too.
My mom says she's sure its stress related, and I can see where that is so. I am stressed out. I'm going to be moving somewhere by the end of the month or beginning of next month. My lease at my current apartment ends on Dec. 31st. Moving is always stressful. I hate it (I don't know anyone who loves moving!) and moving during the holiday season is just that much more sucktastic. This latest bought of dream-sleep began in the few days before we were due to turn in our 30 day notice to leave here. And now that its "official" or "final" that we are moving, it hasn't gone away. I look around my apartment and the thought of having to pack it all up is overwhelming. Unfortunately, I'll be doing most of it myself, as my future roommate (which was my previous roommate, but not my current roommate) is not going to be back in California until Dec. 28th. So, the job will be left up to me. Also, I need to schedule my surgery, but I'm not sure when I should be doing that. Ideally, the beginning of January would great, but the next school semester starts January 23rd. That's not a lot of time to recover. Added stress. Then, of course, next week is my final for my nutrition class and this week my project is due. I'm waiting on my friend to get back to me with some info (I'm analyzing his diet for the project) before I can really begin.
I was exercising very regularly, which in and of itself should help with stress, but I guess the "mental" part is overriding the rest. I'm so tired these days, I can't even muster up the energy to go for a quick walk. I had a Christmas party here last night and I was struggling to stay awake during the White Elephant gift exchange. I went to the Farmer's Market with a friend, then to lunch, and by the time we got back (at about 2pm) I was napping on the couch. And I pretty much napped all afternoon. I got up from it and still feel like I could just go to bed altogether. What little I slept I dreamed... of course.
I'm sort of at my whit's end. I don't want to be this tired. 5 days is enough. 5 days is too long. Stress related, chemical imbalance? I just want to know what I can do to get a good night of quality sleep.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My holiday weekend actually started the day of Thanksgiving. I got up early so I could hit the treadmill before finishing packing and heading home. I was intending to do 60 minutes if I thought I could, but SOMEone forgot to unlock the gates leading to the gym, so I had to go all the way back and around the property to get to there... which at that point I was half convinced was going to be locked, too! Anyway, it took up more of my time than I cared for it to, so I only did 40 minutes on the treadmill and hopped in the shower. Luckily, I had packed the night before, so I threw together my last minute stuff and headed out the door to wait for my ride.
It was a chilly 47 degrees in the mountains between San Diego and home crap home.
I got home, unloaded my junk and hopped in the next car to go visit my grandmother (meal #1). Some background: I can't remember the last time I saw her. I've been in San Diego 4 years and it was well before then that I cut off contact with her. The same goes for the rest of my family. She was a mean, bitter person that didn't treat my brothers very well, badmouthed my mom, and was just generally an unpleasant person to be around. Its like her mindset was stuck in the 1960s when she was raising her kids, not realizing that the 2000's is a whole lot different. Anyway, after that, the only person who would still visit and talk to her was my dad (her son). Over the last few years her health has deteriorated. She's showing every bit of her 88 years. And I was told as much by several other members of my family who'd run into her and my dad at the grocery store. But, its one thing to hear it and an entirely different thing to actually see it. This holiday season we all decided to let bygones be bygones and forgive. As a Christian, I would be negligent in my love of Christ to be NOT forgiving. So, we decided to spend the lunch meal with her.
We got there late (they were waiting on me and I arrived late) so my dad and grandmother had already eaten. Grandma had laid down for a nap. We ate at the table with my dad. Then my grandma woke up and came out. It took my breath away... She was in an electric wheelchair that looked so huge compared to how small she was. She's about half the size I remember her. I hope my face didn't show any shock. I got up to hug her and noticed how shaky and weak she was when she raised her arms to put around me. Her speech is slurred and her voice very low. It took every ounce of self-control I had to not excuse myself to go outside and sob. It was scary and shocking and ... I enjoyed my visit with her very much. Later, my dad called and said our visit pretty much made her day and her life! I hope to get to see her again for Christmas.
Then, it came time to leave for meal #2 at my aunt's house. The only members of my family that went were my youngest brother and his girlfriend. Oh, and me. I knew my dad wouldn't be attending because he's been staying at my grandma's to take care of her. My mom and her brother are not on speaking terms, which is understandable. I wouldn't want anything to do with anyone that told me they wouldn't care whether I dropped off the face of the earth or not. Among other cruel things. My middle brother didn't go out of laziness. Luckily, and miraculously, no one asked where anyone else was. Either they didn't care or someone had gotten some intel about it in advance. Either way, I'm glad I didn't have to explain why my family members decided not to come to a family dinner that we have every year. It was a nice dinner, too. I got to see my cousins and chat with them. I saw my other grandma (aka Grin) and the rest of the family that cared to talk to me. I've always been quite a story teller (which is probably why my blogs are never short), so I had fun regaling them with the story of the wedding from the weekend before (or as I've been calling it, the Shindig, or the Circus). Fun times. Normally my bff and I go to the mall at midnight and watch the Black Friday carnage, but we were exhausted and instead called it a night.
Post Thanksgiving brunch... Yum!
The next day was pretty uneventful. We spent the day cooking meal #3, for just my immediate, or "nuclear", family. That was DECADENT. We had turkey with giblet gravy and stuffing from scratch. We had duck with orange glazey saucey something and stuffing from scratch with mandarin oranges and pecans in it. We had braised fennel and leeks in cream. Mashed potatoes. Roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and fennel (I brought a lot of fennel) with herbs. Whole wheat dinner rolls. Homemade cranberry fig sauce. Fig chutney. Green bean casserole with fresh green beans. Sweet potato puree casserole with pecans. Oh. Em. Gee. We outdid ourselves with that one. Everything was so ridiculously delicious.
Unfortunately, I knew it was too much for me. After the fact, of course. I ate moderately and never once did I feel stuffed all weekend. It was just way too much protein for me. I normally eat lean protein a few times a week, tops. My diet is pretty rich in vegetables and whole grains and fruit. I'm glad to be back in SD to eat my normal foods.
Lou made sure I was drinking all my water!
The next day, on Saturday, I got up, strapped on my shoes, and went for a walk. I did 3 miles in 55 minutes. Too bad it was almost 80 degrees and windy. I got soooo hot and I ran out of my allergy medicine and one of my inhalers. I've been pretty stuffed up since then. I don't feel sick. Its just allergies. But, I've got a million kleenexes scattered on my bed from just this morning. Relax, I'm going to get up and throw them out when I'm done here! The rest of the day I spent with my Grin. We had lunch and walked around a mall for a while. I got some earring hooks to replace some on cheapie earrings I have (I have sensitive ears). I got a new pair of running shoes! I haven't taken them outta the box yet. I haven't done anything lately to break 'em in gently. I don't think 60 minutes of all-out intensity on the treadmill is the way to do it. Not with my wussy feet. Anyway, I'm really excited because I've needed a new pair for some time.
Sunday and Monday were uneventful. I pretty much hung around the house, visited briefly with my dog. He was having a good day, luckily, but he's always been really excitable. So, he got overly excited when he saw me and began his doggy coughing. I had to leave the room just so he'd calm back down and go rest. I'm glad I got to see him, though. I was afraid to. I didn't know if I could handle two shocks in one weekend. Monday I headed back to SD and began my usual routine again. Too bad my sleeping is bad again. Its not that I'm not sleeping. Its that I'm not getting quality sleep. I keep dreaming these vivid, epic, detailed dreams and when I wake up it feels like I didn't sleep at all. I know its stress related. And I don't know what to do about it. I'm already exercising. Oh well...
Oh, hi! Thanks for laying out this brand new, clean, black vest for me to sleep on. Totally comfy.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
So, I'm back to my ol' self these days, finally. Cutting back a little on my asthma meds, but still feeling fine. I've decided to do no less than 60 minutes of cardio each session if I can manage the time.
I've created a mantra for this week and I find it motivating enough to stick with:
GYM IT TO WIN IT! (Awwwww yeeaahh!)
And my motivational song this week has been:
"Under Pressure" by David Bowie & Queen (Good beat, good reminder about love... Win/win.)
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to sit through a "lecture" so to speak given by two amazing people: Gerhard Maschkowski and Hanna Marx. Both are survivors of the Holocaust. It was incredibly moving to hear their stories of heartbreak and survival. You can find more information on holocaust survivors at the UCSD Living History Workshop project at:
That being said, if you find out there is a survivor speaking near you, I encourage you to go see them. These two wonderful, warm people were well into their 80's, and were only kids/young tweens when things started to go down, so there aren't many survivors left. Go listen to their stories. You won't regret it.
The warm-hearted Hanna Marx.
The friendly Gerhard Maschkowski.
This last Sunday I went to a wedding. It was a difficult day to get through. Mostly because I don't think these two people should have gotten married, but it did not feel like my place to say something (not that it would have mattered- it would have happened anyway). I also got suckered into being in the wedding party (the only member of the wedding party, I might add) about 5 minutes before the wedding ceremony started. Yup. If/when I get photos of the event, I'll post a few. I liked the dress I was wearing and I liked my makeup.
I went to the Santa Fe Depot train station in downtown San Diego to pick up some precious cargo (my bff's mom) and I thought the architecture of the place was really gorgeous. It feels like you're stepping back in time when you walk in. It has been restored gloriously, with its Spanish-revival architecture reminding all of California's roots. It was a really neat train station.
Well, I'll be heading back to my hometown for the Thanksgiving holiday, for better or worse (in regards to my family drama). I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family, as it's been quite some time since I've visited (or anyone came here to visit me). It looks like I'll have 3 feasts to attend on that day- lunch at my grandmother's house (I have NO IDEA how that will go- it's been almost 8 years since I've spoken to her; she is not the nicest person...), dinner at my parents, and dinner at my aunt's. Traditionally, my celebration is at my aunt's only... but, thanks to some petty, immature, ridiculous squabbling among the older members of the family, my parents (and maybe even my brothers/sis-in-law) won't be attending that particular dinner. So, my parents decided to do our own dinner at their house. Which I find hilarious since they don't have a dining area, table, or chairs for us to eat at. No couch in the living room, either. So, my guess is we'll all take our plates of food, retire to our individual rooms, and eat solo. Real special.
I plan to moderate my food very carefully, since I'll be having three meals. Lots of veggies, white meat turkey, and 1/4-1/2 cup scoops of sides (like mashed potatoes and stuffing) and no going back for seconds. No dessert until the end of the day- that'll be the last thing I eat. I don't tend to overeat during the holidays, anyway, so I'm not that worried about it. I'm worried about being questioned about why I'm the sole representative of my family attending the function at my aunt's. I haven't come up with what I'm going to say about that yet.
I'm also planning to pack my walking shoes and workout gear so I can keep up my fitness (GYM IT TO WIN IT!) while I'm there. I won't have gym access, so I'll have to hit the local park trails to get my cardio in, unless I can break into the high school field's track. Once again, I'm not worried about it. I'll do what I have to do to get it done. Hmmm... I kinda feel like I should have another picture to end this with.
There. Something I cooked a week or two ago- baked tilapia with lemon pepper seasoning, roasted asparagus, and roasted tiny potatoes, carrots, and fennel. Talk about delicious.
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