Sunday, October 14, 2012
I had 3lbs of figs from my granny's tree. I couldn't think of anything to do with them except stuff them with blue cheese, wrap them with prosciutto, bake them, and then drizzle them with a bit of honey. Unfortunately, I only had figs and honey. So, I made jam.
Just FYI: 3lbs of figs makes A LOT of jam. Mine yielded just a bit more than a quart. Yikes!
So I made homemade fig newtons. WIN!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I've always noticed among my Spark Friends (and others, for that matter) that their blog posts or status updates regarding their journey setbacks always sound something like this:
"I blew it yesterday!"
"I'm starting over!"
"I'm trying this again!"
When I first started on Spark in 2008 and for those first few years of being on here, I would feel the same way. "I'm starting this journey over." It hasn't been until this year or so that I've completely changed my mindset on this. And *truly* believe in the way I think.
I no longer feel that any setback is a major event that prevents me from just picking back up where I left off. I feel like even when I'm not doing anything like exercising or eating healthy, I'm still moving forward on this journey- it's never stopped. Its hard to describe in words. And I feel like its a victory!
Its so discouraging to feel like you've failed and have to start over. So, don't start over. Just keep going. I had a super "I totally blew it" lunch yesterday. I went to a restaurant in Fashion Valley Mall called Stacked. Its a burger, pizza, salad, and mac 'n' cheese joint. You can customize each completely and you order off an iPad (and pay on the iPad, too! Woo! No more waiting for a slow waiter/ress to bring you a check!) I ordered the mac 'n' cheese and created it with bacon, ground beef, green onion, and parmesan breadcrumbs on top. I had a small side of french fries (I actually wanted salad, but they don't let you customize the small side salad and there were a few things I didn't want on it) and I ordered a 'toasted marshmallow milkshake'. I ate half my mac 'n' cheese (took the rest home and ate it for dinner) and ate all my milkshake and most of my fries.
Did I "blow it" as far as diet goes? Yeah, I guess so. Do I feel like I blew it? No, I don't. I had a fun food day of indulgence. Just like it fit right in to the rest. I don't get to eat out very often, so it was just a nice little thing to do to break the monotony. 95% of the time, I eat homecooked, healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I eat salad or veggies with every dinner I cook. I eat fruit with my lunch. I only eat whole grains and my breakfasts always end up being lacto-ovo-vegetarian. So, is one day of unhealthy eating a reason to "start over" or feel defeated on this journey? Hell no! I ate it and moved on pretty much immediately.
I haven't gotten any continuous "real" exercise since my surgery at the very end of May. I am still active, doing fun Spark Rallies (like standup paddleboarding or hiking) and I'm always walking everywhere to run errands, get to school, get to practicum, etc. I'm on my feet for 6 hours at a time at practicum. Do I feel like when I get back to an exercise routine that I'll be "starting over" with that? Nope. I'm just picking up where I left off, like I never skipped anything. Like the last few months have never happened. I'm just continuing on the journey that I've already been on.
I wish my Spark friends that struggle with "blowing it" or "starting over" would re-set their thinking. Its so defeating and discouraging to think that way. But, we're all human beings. Perfection is not expected nor should it be desired. We're all flawed, we all have other needs, and sometimes life throws you a bit of a curveball. Learn from your journey to make better decisions when it happens, but never feel like you failed at it. You didn't fail at all. You were breathing normally, you got the hiccups, held your breath so they'd go away, and then went about breathing normally when they disappeared. No big whoop.
That's not to say you shouldn't let it be an excuse to constantly "blow it". I had 1 milkshake this week, and it was just a hiccup, so I can have another one later this week 'cuz that'll be another hiccup, too! No... no, no, no. You still have to remember all the things that will lead you to successfully get to your goal. Calories in vs. calories out (that milkshake WILL mean more time on the treadmill!), healthy eating involving mostly plant-based foods (after all, animal products like meat, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, milk, etc. have saturated fats and cholesterol- not so heart-healthy), and exercise will burn that fat off your body faster than anything else you could do! Don't forget the non-weight related health benefits of eating right and exercising either. They should be just as important to you as a number on the scale. And you might not be at "that point" yet on your journey, but I think you'll figure that out along the way.
I had the pleasure of going to a SparkChart SparkRally with 8 or so San Diego Spark Team Members on Sunday. I'm so grateful I got to go. I got hear many stories of successes, tips for overcoming trials, meet people for the first time in person and meet brand-new people, as well as see old friends, and I got to actually be aware in a more personal way that there are other people working towards goals and better health. It was wonderful! If your town has a team, encourage them to rally and do events, even if it's meeting at a coffee shop for a talk. It's worth it.
Photo Courtesy of Jocelyn (aka WolfKitty)
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Saturday, September 29, 2012
Before I get to explaining the title of this blog, I thought I'd share the whole ace wrap and stupid wrist thing really quick (my status on Wednesday or whatever day that was). I've always had bad wrists, but 99% of the time, it's righty that gives me all the grief, probably because I'm right dominant. So, I have a wrist splint for when I get a flare up of pain. Tuesday night it was ol' lefty exercising it's 1% turn at being a jerk. Honestly, I can't remember doing anything to it. I didn't lift anything heavy, twist it funky, or apply any sort of pressure to it that I'm aware of. It was like, at the end of the day after I got home and was relaxing, it just decided to start hurting. I searched my house looking for an ace bandage, since my splint only fits my right hand, and couldn't find one. LAME! Either way, lefty hurt for a few days, is still a little sore now, but I don't even have it wrapped since it's so insignificant. Thanks for the concern everyone. :-)
Anyway, I've had a jumble of thoughts whirring through my head for the past week or two (longer if you *really* wanna get technical) and I'm not much of a journal person anymore, so I thought I'd blog here and see if I can sort them out and get some clarity. At the very least it'll feel more organized having them written down, even if they're still in a jumble when I'm done typing.
I believe I mentioned sometime in June or July having some minor-ish grievances with one of my roommates here. Well, I'm sad to report I/we never got around to dealing with that situation and it's only sort of accumulated more things to be irritated by. I don't want to say it elevated or exploded because it really hasn't... things have just been scooped on top of the already existing problem(s). Well, the past month has been rather stressful with the one roommate I do get along with all the time as she was coming up on being done with school, but got sick, and therefore didn't start looking for a job. No job equals no money equals no way to pay rent. So, she left it to the last possible minute to decide what to do. She's still here and ready to pay rent for October, so at least that's been resolved for the time being. Things could always change. Regardless of what happens with that, though, is the fact that neither one of us wants to live with the third roommate any longer than we have to. He finishes school in December, and presumably my other roommate will be able to afford being here for at least that long, so it's been decided that come the beginning of the new year, we'll be all going our separate ways.
Many things over the past 9 months have led to this decision. I was hashing out some of this with my mom when I visited her last on her birthday, and she helped me see a few things. For starters, He-'mate, She-'mate, and myself all seem to be headed along different paths. He-'mate is headed down a path that I could never see myself going down. His goal in life is to be filthy stinking rich. Material possessions are highly important to him. He's always got these money making scheme-like plans he's talking about: buying up a bunch of cheap houses in another state and renting them out- that's the latest scheme. She-'mate and I are not like that at all. I don't want to be rich. If I happen to be one day, fine. But, my goal is to be comfortable. I've grown up and am still living hand-to-mouth. I just want to make enough money to be comfortable, have a little bit of savings for an emergency cushion, and that's it. I don't want to worry about where my next meal is going to come from or if I'll have enough money for the bus or anything like that. That's my life's financial goal. Material possessions don't matter to me. I can't take 'em with me when I die, so who cares? I just want to be surrounded by my family and friends. People I love are more important to me. She-'mate thinks the same way I do.
He-'mate comes from a different background. He claims his parents aren't rich (but the rest of his family totally is). They may not be rich, but they are upper middle class for sure. He's never wanted for anything. His cultural background is different as well. He's from a culture that values their sons and he's the oldest at that. My guess is he's had most things in his life done for him. I'm sure he'd deny it. She-'mate and I think that has something to do with the way he treats us and behaves here. He doesn't ever take the initiative to just do something that needs to be done around the house. We have to ask him. If it's been a while since he's taken out the trash, done the dishes, vacuumed the living room, etc, we have to ask him to do it. He won't just see that it needs to be done and just do it. Whereas, She-'mate and I do that stuff ALL THE TIME without being asked because we know it just needs to be done.
My mom shares a slightly different perspective. She agrees with us to some degree, but she thinks he does a lot of it on purpose. She thinks he's ready to be done with us just as much as we're ready to be done with him. That could be true. She thinks he also has a bit of a superiority thing when it comes to She-'mate and I. Despite evidence to the contrary, he says he's always broke, but is always spending his money on lots of things (he's taken two trips by plane this year and just bought himself a brand-new MacBook Pro). She-'mate and I have stopped eating out and going out to do fun things. And we're still struggling to stay afloat. That's superiority #1.
The superiority #2 is the fact that he's able to find work because of the field he is in, which is computer programming. Yes, he probably will have no problem finding work and being filthy stinking rich in that field of work. I don't have the brain for that type of stuff. If I did, I wouldn't have studied theatre or be studying nutrition (which is hard enough for me, word!). So, work isn't coming to me as easily. The same story goes with She-'mate. So, because his work is so demanding, he's rarely home... so he says. We have a hard time believing that. We think he stays away on purpose so he can use the excuse of not being home so he shouldn't have to do anything around the house. Because the other two of us are home more often, the responsibilities of the house should fall mainly on us. In other words, and he's implied it before, his time is more valuable than ours and therefore we should be the ones doing all the work. No. No sir. You live here and pay rent, it's your choice to be here or not, but it's NOT your choice whether or not you help out around here! It isn't fair for the two us to be the caretakers for an entire house when he does contribute to some of the issues that need maintaining, ya know?
We had a "house meeting" not too long ago to get some of this out in the open. It was very surface, though. We ended up having to schedule chores for everyone to do. I feel like a child with a chore chart and I get a gold star when I complete a task. Seriously. But, it was the solution we thought would be easiest and most effective for all parties. We didn't discuss the underlying issues at all. And now I just have to tell myself to deal with it for the next 3 months because after that, we're all going our separate ways. She-'mate is moving back home. He-'mate talked about moving out of the city or into the downtown area, depending on where work takes him.
As for me, I have no plan. And I only have 3 months to figure one out. I hope once my DSS certification is done that I can find a job. I still have some schooling to do before entering a Master's Program, so I need to do that, too. Ideally, I'd like to have a job and find a little granny flat or studio house behind someone else's house to rent by myself. I don't ever want to live in another apartment, yuck! Plus, I need to be able to garden. It's a major stress reliever for me. However, there's a possibility that I may need to move back home, too. Which would be weird because I consider San Diego my home now. At least I wouldn't have rent to pay and I'd still be able to go back to school. I doubt I'd find a job since it ranks the highest for unemployment in the state of California. I don't know. The most I can do for the time being is pray. Then, I'll talk to my granny and my mom and see what they have to say about the whole situation.
In the meantime, I'm still very much enjoying practicum. I hate waking up at 5am and traveling 2 hours to get to La Mesa, but I gotta do what I gotta do. At least I'm learning a lot. Hopefully it'll be worthwhile and pay off in the end. That's pretty much all I have going on in my life at the mo'. My nutrition is improved, but not the greatest. At least it's home cooked meals that are relatively healthy instead of fast food and restaurant eating all the time. Now, I eat at home/homecooking 6-7 days a week. Feels better physically, too. I'm glad I am. I would like to get into an exercise regimen, but I'm not pushing myself too hard. the days surrounding my practicum are exhausting enough for me, so I have a hard time motivating myself. I'm just so tired from Tues-Fri. I keep hoping to get used to it so that I can add to it, but who knows. I might have to suck it up and just be exhausted a lot of the time.
So, here are a few pics to end on a fun note.
Had an assignment for another class to go to an ethnic market. Found a fun Mexican market back home, with pig's feet, beef tongue, tripe, hand-made-ish fresh tortillas, and a wall of pan dulce.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Yeah, insert it there. I thought about "light at the end of the tunnel", "beacon of hope", or even "for the better". I didn't think any of them were really fitting, though.
I meant to write this update several days ago, but as always, I was busy. I've had truckloads of homework to catch up on. Hell, I'm not actually done catching up, but I have the rest of today to finish it... since my cooking class has been "rescheduled" (more on that later).
On Sunday the 9th, I was able to go visit my mom for the first time since she entered detox. I'm the only person in my family that was able to come (although my aunt and grandma had made a fun trip to SD the day before... odd) and it was a pretty short window of visit (only 2.5 hours). Sadly, that meant I had to miss the ice skating Spark Rally that was planned for that day. I've never been ice skating and I was sorta the one pushing for it, so it really was a bummer that I couldn't make it after all. But, family is important and visiting my mom was very important. No one should have to be alone on visiting day. So, I packed up a healthy picnic and we ate on the grass within viewing distance of the facility. My mom requested some healthy food, which I would have done anyway, and I happily got some yummies together. We had chicken cobb/chef salad stuffed pitas. Whole wheat pita pockets, romaine and spinach mix, grape tomatoes, hardboiled eggs, black olives, cheddar cheese, cucumber, beets, and of course, chicken. I made homemade blue cheese salad dressing with peppers from my garden and olive oil mayo. It was so delicious! We stuffed our pitas so thick with veggies, we could barely eat them! I also made a coleslaw with vinegar-based dressing (no mayo!) and took some Panera lobster bisque. WARNING: the soup is ah-mazing! Highly addictive if I may say so. Very indulgent and probably terrible for you, but worth it for the decadence as a splurge. I also packed some fresh strawberries, crudite, and a Costco blueberry muffin. I brewed some iced tea for my mom and I packed a flavored mineral water for myself. It was a nice visit.
It looked like this, only in pita and picnic form
My mom already seemed in better spirits. She knew then that the possibility of her going to a residential treatment program was nil, so she came up with an "alternate" plan. In our hometown through the county is a substance abuse treatment program that's out-patient. So, she said she'd do that. And, of course, start attending AA meetings. She decided to see an additional counselor that she's seen before and really liked (her current shrink/s are idiots, but she says she's still okay seeing them as long as she sees this other person, too). Unfortch, we're from a small town, so the selection for medical stuff is pretty limited. But, I was proud and delighted to hear she has a plan.
The rest of my week went okay. Practicum was notable on Tuesday because I finally had my preceptor there! WOO! Felt like we were finally able to get down to BIDNISS! I really like her. She doesn't hold anything back. If something sucks about her job, she'll tell us. If something is awesome about her job, she'll tell us that, too. Its nice to not have any sugar coating. I don't like surprises, so if I went into this similar job and discovered something totally blew, I don't wanna be like "I didn't know I'd hate this." I just wanna know what I'm in for as much as possible. Wednesday, I went through the 5 hour process of being a new donor for blood plasma. Good thing I took homework with me. But, the process of donating from here on out should be less than 2 hours (it takes about an hour for me to donate my full bottle of plasma). Thursday's practicum was notable in that the kitchen crew yelled at my fellow student and I, which was really uncalled for. I'll explain...
At the meal times, it is someone's job to check to ensure that the meal tray for each resident has *exactly* what it says on the meal ticket. I'm not sure if its the company's policy or if that's legally what they are required to do. Either way, the rule is unbreakable. So, we were assigned to the lunchtime "tray check". We checked each tray to ensure that the dietary needs were reflected in the entree (texture modified vs. regular), no listed allergens were present, foods were fortified if needed, and that each element on the tray was there (desserts, nutritional drinks, entree, side, veggie, etc). Basically what it boils down to is, if the guys working the tray line did their job correctly in the first place, there wouldn't be the need for tray check. So, we were finding all sorts of mistakes- this was missing, this was incorrect, this was supposed to be this flavor. Its not our job to go retrieve these items ourselves- we'd just get in the way of the line and cause a huge traffic jam. And then the person loading the trays into the tray carts loaded them backward, so we had to turn all the trays around so we could read the ticket. In short, all this took time, and for 99 trays, it took A LOT of extra time. We didn't realize *we* were slowing down the line to the point where there were trays lined up to be carted, but couldn't be until we finished checking the cart we were working on. So, a few of the guys were yelling at us rather rudely about holding them up. By a happy coincidence, it was time for us to go on lunch break anyway, so we just walked out. And of course told our preceptor about the behavior. She was pretty pissed. Bottom line: it wasn't our fault. If they hadn't made so many mistakes... well, you know. I wasn't hurt, I was pissed. So, we'll see how Tuesday goes. Gotta make sure to not mouth off back at them, which is my usual behavior.
Some random Meow Meow. I'm really just adding pictures to break up the monotony of the text. Ha!
Anywho, that same day my mom was released from detox. No one from my family could come pick her up, so she stayed with me. It was a nice little weekend for the two of us. I took her to Mission Bay to beat the heat and she loved just soaking in the water. We watched people walking their dogs (always a favorite pastime of mine!) and then went to dinner. My aunt came and picked her up yesterday. She was very happy to see my mom looking so good and in such better spirits. I was pretty happy, too. Unfortunately, that's partly why I'm so behind on homework! Yikes!
Chillin' at the bay
I'm still stressing about money, but who isn't these days? Donating plasma is helping with a little dab every week. My cooking class has been canceled three weekends in a row, which as you can imagine, is making my money situation pretty dire for now. I hope next weekend comes to fruition. I could really use the money, and for me teaching the class is a huge stress release. It's so fun and relaxing. I really need it. I wish I had time for a little part-time job, but I just got an email from the practicum program coordinator with a bunch of attachments- assignments, projects, etc, and I can see why they suggest you don't work and do this internship at the same time. It is very work intensive. Only 12 hours a week at the facility, but easily that amount or more doing assignments and readings and projects and whatever else each week. Plus, I'm taking two more classes on top of that. Plasma and my little cooking class are all I can fit in to my schedule, sadly. Also, some notary work and some seamstress work, but those come along so rarely for me. I am not good at marketing- at all- so I don't know how to advertise or sell my services. I don't have much money to do either, so word of mouth is all I can do at this point. I'll have to think on that one. Any suggestions ya'll have would be great. Several folks have mentioned teaching community adult cooking classes, and I think I'd love to do that... I just don't know where to look to do that to get started. If that made any sense!
Well, all in all, I'd say things are going lots better for me. They aren't perfect by any means, but I'll take it! Once things have sort of leveled out, I want to start back into a workout routine (I'm at my halfway point and maintaining, when I should be continuing in a downward fashion) and back into nutritious delicious foods. Work in progress, but definitely forward progress already.
Meow Meow does not like the backlog of homework
Laughing and smiling again- fun with a Hulk beanie
Saturday, September 01, 2012
... So far I'm doing okay with that. I'm still praying for things to get better. They certainly haven't gotten much worse, which I guess is acceptable.
My dad called me today to let me know he took my mom to the ER. She had been experiencing some pretty bad physical symptoms over the last few days, most likely from her liver being to taxed by the constant intake of alcohol. I haven't spoken to anyone "in the know" like a doctor, so that's really only speculation on my part. I can't imagine what else it would be, though. I suppose a trip to the ER is a step in the right direction, though. My dad has been constantly fighting with the insurance company and has figured at this point he isn't going to win this one. We (me, my dad, and my aunt) all feel pretty helpless at this point. It's a sad state of affairs when an insurance company made up of money-grubbing asshats, NOT doctors or mental health professionals, decides what's best for you. People say universal healthcare is socialist and would never work here... I know many an ex-pat Canadian and UK citizen that would beg to differ. They hate our healthcare system. If my mom were in one of those other countries, we wouldn't have to worry about $14,000-$17,000 out of pocket (who the HELL has that kind of money anyway?!?!) to get her the help she desperately needs. I'm off my soapbox now.We'll see what happens in the next few days/weeks. Hopefully some sort of favorable solution or outcome presents itself.
I technically started my practicum last week, although, sadly, I have nothing good to report on it. Wednesday was the first day. I was scheduled for 6 hours. I stayed 1 1/2. That same day, the head cook had to leave for a family emergency, which meant my preceptor had to take over kitchen duties. Therefore, no time to "train" my partner and I. We had decided if we didn't hear from our preceptor that we would show up for the next day (in case she was able to get someone to cover the head cook's position). Well, I didn't hear from her, so I got up at 5:15am, got on a bus at 6:10am, got on a trolley at 6:30ish, and was just about to board my last bus at 7am for the final 20 minute journey when I got a missed call saying I didn't need to come in because my preceptor was going to have to be in the kitchen again. My guess is she called when I didn't get reception- possibly in a tunnel or something- so, I couldn't get off the trolley and head back. So, I took the hour long journey back home. Seriously disappointed. Doubly so because I had a written assignment that involved interviewing my preceptor and turning it in. Not gonna happen now. Not off to a very good start! I go back on Tuesday at 8am. We'll see if this week fares better.
My grandmother is coming back from her 6 week vacation tonight. Unfortunately, she didn't leave me a check or anything for my rent, so it'll be late. Luckily, I spoke to my landlord-y person and she won't charge us the late fee for turning it in a day late. I hope. Unless I misunderstood, which has happened before with other things. Its stressing me out 'cuz not only do I not have rent money, I don't have bill money, bus fare, or money for a textbook for my class, or money for a set of scrubs so I can show up at practicum properly dressed! Hopefully starting the 6th of Sept. I can donate plasma. At least I'll have a tiny extra dab of money from that. Also, my cooking classes, which may not be weekly, but a few times a month, so I'll have a tiny dab of money from that, too. I wish money wasn't so necessary, ya know? It sucks to have to be so dependent on it for survival.
Well, I guess that's the long and short of things going on in my life.
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