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No more earplugs

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Last night I got to bed at 10:40, my optimal time, so I happily set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. to give me plenty of exercise time.

This morning I woke up in alarm to insistent knocking on my door. I had been in the midst of a vivid dream & was quite disoriented. "Yes?" I called out.

"Do you want to get up now?" my housemate asked.

I looked at the clock: 7:00 a.m.! The alarm had been going off a full half-hour, but I had been oblivious. I got up, turned it off sheepishly, pulled out my earplugs, took off my sleep mask, & toddled off to the bathroom.

Earplugs became a necessity early in my marriage, as my husband was a BIG snorer & I'm prone to insomnia. But he's long gone now, & I guess I no longer need them. This was not the first time I had slept through the alarm in recent weeks.

I'll keep my habit of sleeping in exercise clothes, though. Having them on this morning allowed me to throw on my walking shoes, coat, & gloves & get out the door within 10 minutes of waking up. I got in 20 minutes of good fast walking--better than no exercise!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 1/18/2012 1:24PM

    I use earplugs sometimes too but lately too afraid to use them on "School" nights :) I love the sleeping in your exercise clothes thing!

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BEATLETOT 1/18/2012 11:26AM

    Probably as you catch up on your sleep, it will be easier and easier to get up!

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RAINBOWCHOC 1/18/2012 11:09AM

    you made me smile, thank you

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MONAKIN314 1/18/2012 10:34AM

    Lately I have been sleeping through my alarm and I don't even wear earplugs.

Great Job getting in a walk even after sleeping in.

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SHANSHE 1/18/2012 10:15AM

    Oh wow! I would feel bad about that! Good to know you no longer need your earplugs, eh? Also... good job on working out even though you slept 1/2 hour later!

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DEBJAE 1/18/2012 8:39AM

    Good for you for insisting on your exercise time...way to go! But what a shock to wake up to that, lol.

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CTEMPLE 1/18/2012 1:08AM

    Sleeping is such a personal thing, I don't know how we got to this situation of sharing a bed and a bedroom with our man. Most men snore and most women suffer for it. I'm a light sleeper and I ve tried a couple of times to break the shared bedroom thing but DH gets sad and its also a money constrain of not being able to reproduce the "luxuries" of what we have, into the spare room, but any day now.
I also wore ear plugs until they started giving me an itch. I hope you get used to sleeping without them, they're great.
Well done on that morning walk, I wish I could say the same.

Still keeping and eye for camelbacks in Oz, still none!

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RUNNERRACHEL 1/17/2012 11:42PM

    Good job getting in that morning exercise! I also went for a walk today. Couldn't get myself up in the morning, though so I did it in the afternoon.

Great job on all you are doing!


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TEXASTITCHER 1/17/2012 11:27PM

    Great for getting in early morning exercise

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LINDABENEDICT 1/17/2012 10:27PM

    You must be getting some great sleep !!!!

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KAYTIE22 1/17/2012 9:53PM

    First, congratulations on the great job you are doing with the Winter 5% Challenge! Continued success during the next couple weeks too.

You're also doing a good job blogging this week and staying with your plan to develop good habits. Good luck during the rest of the week too.

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MOMFAN 1/17/2012 9:50PM

    emoticonAt least you didn't use it for an excuse for not going at all!

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My challenge today

Monday, January 16, 2012

The hard thing today is not exercise or eating properly--it's bookkeeping! In 2011 it was my turn to serve as treasurer of my condo association--paying bills, receiving assessment checks, keeping on top of our checking & savings balances so we could make good decisions about repairs & maintenance.

The previous year's treasurer had been dismayed by our antiquated bookkeeping by hand in a physical ledger. He upgraded us to a spreadsheet, which was a very good thing--but he made it EXTREMELY complicated. The 2010 spreadsheet has 7-8 pages! Trust me, our accounts aren't that complex. There are only 6 units in the building, & just a few providers with whom we have ongoing accounts.

But I have something to confess. Throughout the year, because that spreadsheet was SO difficult to figure out (though he gave me an orientation to it), I just avoided it. I made lists by hand of the assessment payments that I deposited each month, & of course I saved all the bills that I paid & recorded the payments on checkbook stubs. And I just tossed all these papers into a pile on top of the treasury file box.

I am NOT a systematic person, I'm afraid.

And now it's 2012, & fortunately I have MLK Day off & no freelance project on hand--so I told the 2012 treasurer that I'd have the checkbook & records ready to hand over to her by tonight. All day I've been sipping tea & sorting papers & filling in a spreadsheet--just two pages thus far, one for expenditures & one for receipts. I've been taking periodic breaks to play word games, read Facebook posts, have lunch, etc.

I'm a little nervous because I haven't yet found all the paperwork for all 12 months for all the units. But I'm reasonably hopeful that I'll get it figured out & finished by the end of the day. My next break will be to do some strength training & stretching; that should energize me for the final push.

One good thing: I've spent almost the whole day STANDING rather than sitting! I really like working at my stand-up desk.

But numbers, not so much. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATLETOT 1/17/2012 10:32PM

    Oh, my! I hope you got it all figured out!

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MTULLY 1/17/2012 2:54PM

    Sounds like you have your work cut out for you, but I know you will get it all straightened out. I love that you are working on this project STANDING up. I have heard that sitting is the new smoking, so I have been trying to make a point of standing and moving more as well.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 1/17/2012 12:37PM

    Wow - sounds so complicated! Hope you got it all done!

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LILBITWANNABE 1/17/2012 11:46AM

    That doesn't sound fun at all! Hope it all works out for you. I like the idea of standing at my desk instead of sitting all of the time. I know that sounds so simple, but I never really thought of it. No reason I can't be doing squats or something while studying:)

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TEXASTITCHER 1/16/2012 10:49PM

    I'm glad I'm not treasurer of anything at this time.

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REBECCATKD 1/16/2012 10:45PM

    Good luck to you -- I'm commiserating with you!

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SHANSHE 1/16/2012 9:31PM

    I am not a numbers person either. However, I am glad you are making progress and I hope it all comes together for you by the end of your day!

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CERIUSLY 1/16/2012 7:29PM

    I'm not great with numbers. Thank God I'velearned to work with excel. Nothing too hard, but I can enter the data and click the correct symbol. emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 1/16/2012 6:55PM

    emoticon Hang in there! I imagine it's tough, especially with inaccurate and disorganized records.

You can do it. Don't stress.

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HELLODANAE 1/16/2012 6:51PM

    oh no!!! I dislike all that bookkeeping emoticon
glad you can take breaks!!!

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CTEMPLE 1/16/2012 6:36PM

    My Sympathy, I've just finished with my bookkeeping till DEc11!

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Occupying the Dream

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This afternoon I walked 3 miles--great exercise, though I couldn't keep up my normal very fast pace all the way because of periodic ice & slush. I had a destination: an event called Occupy the Dream, to call for specific policies promoting economic justice (job creation, holding banks accountable, etc.) on the occasion of Martin Luther King's birthday.

I hadn't realized that it was actually going to be a very large church service, with a FABULOUS gospel choir (mostly activist college students), a keynote address that was much like a sermon, & an audience/congregation composed mostly of African American folks from my northside neighborhood, the south side of Chicago, & Gary, Indiana. It was a great blessing to me to be with these people. When I was a young adult I was a member of an African American church for a while, & the spiritual resources of that tradition are very nurturing to me. I love gospel music & I am so inspired by the civil rights struggle. So it was a privilege to sing some gospel & shout some slogans & "do church" with these brothers & sisters.

They did something I hadn't witnessed before. Several elected officials were present--the County Board president, several state reps/senators, & two US congresspersons. They had them come up in those groupings & posed them questions: "Will you support this policy & this policy?" Then each official moved to the microphone & said "YES!" or "I will!" & we all cheered. It was very much like the way we receive new members at my church: they are asked a series of questions to which they answer yes publicly. Or like a wedding ceremony! A solemn promise to do something that will benefit the residents of their districts, rather than the big corporations & financial institutions that pressure government SO fiercely.

I'm going to do a follow-up action this week, contacting the Illinois attorney general to request that she not sign on to a settlement with the Wall Street banks that would amount to only a tiny slap on the wrist for them. And I signed up to be contacted by the organizers in my neighborhood--I'd like to support what they're doing, as much as I can.

This has been a wonderful weekend, renewing my spirits & even my faith itself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATLETOT 1/17/2012 8:52PM

    I'm glad you had a nice weekend. It sounds like a great way to keep politicians accountable! Maybe we should make them all stand up and shout!

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DONNARAEJ 1/16/2012 10:25PM

    The world needs lots more people like you. emoticon

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SHANSHE 1/16/2012 9:29PM

    That sounds totally awesome! I went to an African American funeral one time and it was like a church service. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

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RASLALIQUE 1/16/2012 5:19PM

    I am so happy to see that your eekend was so great. emoticon

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MTULLY 1/16/2012 5:13PM

    Walking three miles through icy streets to get to that event, that is what I call commitment! You have your heart and mind in the right place, and I applaud your efforts!

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KIM--POSSIBLE 1/16/2012 10:46AM

    Sounds interesting, and a great way to get in your walk as well!

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MOMFAN 1/16/2012 1:05AM

    Sounds like a great time fellow shipping.

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CTEMPLE 1/15/2012 11:51PM

    Great community event!
All the OCCUPY phenomenon is very encouraging to see.

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BABY_GIRL69 1/15/2012 11:25PM

    This is tremendous! I believe we should also do as much as we can to help one another in life. Policies & politicians change so much that we don't even know it some times. We don't know how much we can do alone but when we stand as one unit & move, we make others move.

God bless Ruth & thank you!


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JMCADE 1/15/2012 10:25PM

    Great way to get involved with the people of your area. Keep yourself aware of what the politicians are voting on.

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LINDABENEDICT 1/15/2012 9:16PM

    this sounds very interesting !

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RUNNERRACHEL 1/15/2012 8:09PM

    Wonderful! Sounds so inspiring. What a great experience. How fortunate to be part of it! Glad to hear you were blessed by it!


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Tea cozy

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Huzzah! Almost all the holiday weight has now come off! Just 0.4 lb to go. Obviously I won't make the 5% goal this round (we have just two weeks left in the early winter challenge), but it's clear that even without the Isoniazid I was taking January-October 2011, I can lose weight--that's very reassuring. In what's left of this challenge I'll aim for a net loss of a couple of pounds from my starting weight, & then I'll be in a good place to reach my long-term goal in the following challenge.

I haven't actually been feeling very huzzah-ish this week, but the scale's news this morning perked me up a bit. As did making Colombian hot chocolate afterward at my housemate's request--it's a perfect morning for it, what with several inches of snow on the ground, some lazy snowflakes still falling, & temps not rising above 22 F (-6 C) today.

Also, I have already put together a crockpot curry to simmer throughout the day: "tangy tamarind chickpeas" from my Indian Slow Cooker book. Last Saturday I made my first Devon Ave. (Indo-Pak area) grocery foray, & got Indian chili powder, serrano peppers, tamarind paste, & one or two other specialty ingredients. So I had everything on hand to make this recipe. I'm hoping it doesn't turn out too spicy-hot for my housemate, whose digestive system is more delicate than mine. Very excited to taste it come evening!

This is a day for house organization. I'm going to attack piles of papers & get my new office into some semblance of order. This includes moving the last piles out of the living room too. And two people have expressed interest in the desk I want to give away (my old sit-down desk), but neither of them has actually come by to pick it up yet. So if by afternoon they still haven't gotten in touch, housemate & I are going to move it out to the alley! Then I'll contact the two people & let them know it's there for the taking, but they'll have to hurry to get it before a scavenger truck comes by.

Having the desk & boxes out of the living room will mean it can be FINALLY set in order & made inviting. Housemate has already washed & rehung the curtains, dusted, & vacuumed (she pays most of her rent with work for me). I can't wait to see how it will look!

I have boiled water & poured it into the blue teapot over a floral tea combo: lavender & rose petals. It's now steeping under a tea cozy & will be nice to sip on throughout the day.

Emotionally/spiritually I'm still struggling, but cooking from scratch & housecleaning are great therapy. This will be a day of peace.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 1/16/2012 9:26PM

    This blog sounded peaceful even though you are struggling emotionally/spiritually.

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MTULLY 1/15/2012 6:39PM

    Your holiday weight is almost gone and your living space is getting all organized and inviting. I hope that lifts your spirits. Both are great accomplishments that you should be extremely proud of. Your tea sounds fabulous and just perfect for the weather you are having.

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BEATLETOT 1/15/2012 9:50AM

    It sounds like a really lovely day! Huzzah for weight-loss, hot chocolate, housemates, good food and tea!

You have a wonderful life, Ruth. You are so blessed.

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RASLALIQUE 1/15/2012 12:29AM

    Good to see you making progress! I hope you will have some peace soon.

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CTEMPLE 1/14/2012 4:56PM

    Oh home sweet home with no bad vibes, the best for the soul dear Ruhie.

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COLLINSCJ2012 1/14/2012 3:19PM

    That is great that you got the holiday weight off. Keep on losing.

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MOMFAN 1/14/2012 2:19PM

    Wow that is a lot of work. My dd's favorite recipes, come out of Not Your Mothers Crockpot recipes, or maybe it is Slow Cooker. Any way she loves it.

Comment edited on: 1/14/2012 2:21:06 PM

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm staying up quite late tonight because I work from home tomorrow, thus don't have to be up early, & because I learned today that my court process (divorce) has been further delayed, this time by the judge. I'm having a hard time with this but can't do anything to make it move faster. I did dig up some documents for my lawyer to bring along to the next hearing, which will be in late March before a trial judge. That's about the only thing I can do.

It didn't cheer me up to find/send the documents, as they reminded me of a very, very miserable time when my husband was getting ready to move out, putting all his energy into crafting a separation agreement under which I would support him financially for 6 months regardless of whether he found a job (after mostly refusing to do any job hunting during all the years of our marriage), & periodically getting enraged with me & yelling when I didn't agree with him.

It was a very, very exploitive relationship, & the judge's refusal to make a recommendation makes me nervous: couldn't she see that he has ripped me off long term & needs to be stopped? The trial judge will be a different person--I so hope he or she puts a swift end to this extended nightmare. (Ex wants to minimize his share of the debt but to be awarded 50% of any equity in the condo, which he didn't lift a finger to help pay for. Fortunately a recent appraisal showed that the mortgage is well underwater, but the current judge has ordered that ex get his own appraisal to make sure we get an accurate figure.)

I would really appreciate prayers about this. It's hard.


On the fitness front, I'm toying with the idea of joining Curves because there's one near my home & I can get membership for $25/month through my health insurance. Is that a good deal? The Curves website doesn't show any actual prices, which is annoying. (Of course I'm easily annoyed at the moment.) I don't want to enter all my contact info & then be subjected to endless promotional calls & e-mails. So if you have been a member, I'd appreciate hearing the scoop!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABY_GIRL69 1/11/2012 3:07PM

    Honey my heart goes out to you. I know this has been an ongoing struggle for you. God has not forgotten you & He sees your pain & will resolve it in due time. Just be patient & don't let the world make you act outside your character. We are all here for you, so you vent whenever you feel like it & we will come out & support you fully. I can't even imagine all you're going through but some parts I can. Especially when my marriage was in disarray but we got counseling & still loved one another. We both made concession & it still pricks from time to time but both are giving 100%.

I think $25 a month isn't bad my only thing would be that there be a contract. I think they should let it be like the old bally's pay month to month? That would be excellent. I was watching WGN Anna around town, she went to a place downtown that did hot yoga in 103degree temperatures. You could do it all month as often as wanted for $35! My mouth was open & atlas, I did not write the info down. So there are many deals about Chicago/Lincoln Park area to keep us both health.

God bless & keep you my sister!


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SHANSHE 1/11/2012 12:38PM

I hate to hear this divorce process has been delayed. I will definitely be praying for you and all involved.

I really do not know much about Curves, but looks like several others have given you some advice on it.

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BEATLETOT 1/11/2012 9:04AM

    Ruth, I'm sorry you're going through this. My mom really likes Curves. If I had one nearby and could go for $25 a month, I'd totally do it.

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CTEMPLE 1/11/2012 8:13AM

    Dear Ruthie as you say you can't do anything about it, what a pain. I don't believe thaT judges act depending on how they feel, I just hope it's not a politically correct decision, if he's Anglo, he might feel he has to protect a Latino. If Latino, he might want to protect a bro. If any he might want to protect another guy. So the best would be a conservative Anglo male or female as a judge preferably divorced and remarried.

I think $25.00 it's a good deal and proximity is of paramount importance. You can revoke the membership if you hate it and you can also give them an email address you don't use and if they're sensible change it for one you use later on. Just create a gmail address with min info or made up. I have one like that for irritating registration processes.

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COLLINSCJ2012 1/11/2012 2:27AM

    In my experience I have found that judges make their ruling based on how they feel from one court appearance to the next regardless if your case is just. Just hang in there and don't give your ex anymore of your energy, he has taken enough. Sorry this just brings back memories.

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RUNNERRACHEL 1/11/2012 2:01AM

    Sorry to hear what you're going through with the divorce, the judge, trial...I'll definitely lift you up in prayer!

I hope you are getting enough relaxation time and are taking time to care for yourself and de-stress.

About your other question...

I was a member of Curves and even worked there when I was in college. I really like it. Got good results, lost weight going there. It depends on the location, but the personality of the owner/employees and members makes a difference since it's small. If you have a great staff with friendly members it can be great. The Curves near me changed ownership a few times and I saw how the owner and staff affected the mood. I used to pay $44/month so $25 is a good deal. A lot of Curves have Zumba now but that may be an extra fee. Also, they have something called Curves Smart. It tracks your reps, intensity and calories burned and some machines track your heart rate. Some Curves charge extra $5 per month or some have it included in membership. You can always go in and try it out for a week before you commit. Do you feel like you would like a circuit training workout? I also like it because it is all women. emoticon

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