The De-cluttering Continues: On Emotional Detachment and Making Some Money, too!

One of the funny things about life is that items which are completely practical at one point can become completely impractical over time.  Take, for example, my everyday dishes.  When Joey and I got engaged, we were both still in college, but we knew we’d be heading off to go to grad school/seminary, so there wasn’t much point in registering for lots of fancy things as we knew we weren’t going to be putting down roots for awhile.  I also knew that my grandma had promised me her fine china, so there was no need for me to register for two separate sets of dishes.  I settled on Pfaltzgraff’s Ocean Breeze pattern for our everyday dishes.  They were simple, neutral and inexpensive….so inexpensive that we actually ended up with eighteen place settings once all was said and done (we returned 8 and kept service for 10).

Ocean Breeze

Source

They’ve served us well over the last twelve years…they moved with us from our tiny studio apartment in Monroe, NC to Waco, TX, and back to NC.  They’ve entertained quite a few people and held countless tasty wins and dismal fails.  But here’s the thing….they just don’t “fit” us anymore.  They’re heavy and clunky and, quite honestly, I’m tired of anything that can/will shatter when dropped.  A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law gifted me (after I may have HEAVILY hinted that I wanted them) with her old everyday dishes (Corelle’s original Crazy Daisy pattern from the 60’s), and the durable, break-resistant vintage dishes fit my tastes and life now.

Corelle Crazy Daisy Dishes

Source

We’ve been talking for years about getting rid of those Pfaltzgraff dishes…I was going to list them on Craigslist or put them out for sale on Facebook, but we just never got around to it.  No more. Joey emailed Replacements, Ltd this past week and they are buying our pattern (it’s discontinued), so today, he packed up all of our dishes and we’re going to drive up to Greensboro, NC on Monday to see how much they’ll give us for them.

boxed dishesI thought I’d be sadder about parting with them, but I’m not.  Just like so many other aspects of life, things that used to be a “perfect fit” don’t always remain that way, and things that were reasonable and practical sometimes become irrelevant or cumbersome.  The real challenge lies in being able to emotionally detach oneself enough to recognize the things that don’t “fit” anymore and to let them go.  And it’s a challenge I fail more often that not…I’m far more sentimental than I’d like to be, which sometimes leaves me hoarding stuff out of some irrational emotional attachment.  But I also understand that de-cluttering doesn’t happen without a few goodbyes, and the dishes had to go.

Here’s the real kicker, though; even after a full set of dishes to serve ten, the cabinets are still full of crap:

still full cabinetsObviously, we’ve still got some work left to do.  But hey, at least it’s something, right?  Change is just a series of small steps that we take for the better.

Go through one of your cabinets/drawers/whatever this week.  Chuck what’s trash, and sell or donate what you don’t need. Maybe we can all cut back on the things that don’t “fit” in our lives.

Why I Should Never Be Left Home Alone

It’s because I do this thing where I get depressed because I’m by myself and don’t leave the recliner for the entire day except to go to the bathroom and make (gluten free) boxed mac & cheese (thank you, Aldi!).  And cry a few times.

10714_10152784645018143_5793002656857410775_nI know, it’s pathetic, but I’m not the type that gets tired of my husband and wants him to go away for awhile.  As a result, Saturday was a little lonely (although I did binge-watch The Golden Girls and the National Figure Skating Championship).  Friday night was excellent; I had dinner and watched a movie with a couple of my very best friends.  And by Sunday afternoon, I was reunited with my other half.

There hasn’t been much de-cluttering in the last few days; I didn’t do much while Joey was gone and the last couple of days have been pretty stressful, so we’re going to have to pick up on it a little later in the week.  I’m afraid we’ve lost momentum.  Our plan is to go through the bags of “keep” clothes and see if there are any in there that we’re ready to part with upon second review.  I also want to go through my bags of yarn, frog projects that I don’t plan to finish and toss ones where the yarn can’t be salvaged.  I think that’ll probably be a Thursday project.

I’m thinking of doing a couple of weekly features on the blog: Monday Meal Plans and Wordless Wednesdays.  Two of my goals for the year were to be more diligent in meal planning and to work on my photography skills (especially after seeing Tammy Strobel’s blog and photography work done solely with her iPhone).  I’ve been doing various photo-a-day challenges on my Instagram since October (and I’m creating my own for February), but I want to take more effort on those pictures in the future and make the most of the Galaxy S5’s excellent camera.  We’ll see how it goes.

I also found this website the other day; it’s got links to THOUSANDS of free online classes (from reputable universities!!) that you can take at your own pace (some for credit, but most not).  How awesome is this?  I’ve been thinking about learning some about web design, and this affords a great opportunity.

Peace out, folks.  Hope you have an excellent Hump Day tomorrow.

ARGH (Long Title: The Wedding Singer)

Here’s a little secret for you:  although I’ve been singing for nearly twenty years, I still get pretty nervous when I have to sing.  And I get waaaaaay more nervous when I sing at weddings than when I sing at church or elsewhere.  See, at church, if you mess up, God doesn’t really care as long as you’re singing for the right reasons.  But if you screw up at a wedding, you’ve messed up someone’s special day.  And it’ll probably be immortalized on video for them, too.

Unfortunately, this pic is about thirty pounds ago:(.  But I’m working on it…ten down so far.  So anyway, I’ve got three hours to freak out until I have to be there, so..eh, yay for me?

So, we had breakfast out at Blessing’s Cafe, which was fantastic, and then we did a little shopping; we’re looking at a fairly sizeable purchase by the end of the summer, so we’re doing our homework and making sure that we set appropriate expectations and get the very best for our money’s worth. 

Last year was the year of the frivilous purchase for us…that’s when we got the Vita-Mix and replaced our television, but it was also the last year of tuition for me, so we’ve freed up a sizeable chunk for that.  This year’s purchase, although I’m not ready to talk about it on the blog, is only partly frivilous, but will also be purposeful and a good investment.

One of the things I regret over the course of the last few years that I’ve been blogging is the grip I’ve lost on frugality.  I always thought that I’d be immune to the trend of most people to increase their lifestyle to match their increase in salary.  And that was the case up until last year.  It’s time to bring back $25 grocery weeks and “no-heat November,” I think.

How the Heck Did I Not Know About Pocky???

For real…how did I not know about this stuff?  Holy crap, it’s good.  Joey felt the need to satisfy his nerd-jones and looked it up on Wikipedia (because the Pocky website has no English…), and apparently “Men’s Pocky” just means that it’s made with bittersweet chocolate.  This box had two little packages in it with a serving each of these tiny, chocolate dipped pretzelly sticks of magical happiness.  One serving is pretty low fat/calorie/carb.  As such, Pocky will be making a repeat appearance in Chez Weaver.

image

My other piece of food inspiration comes from Deb of Smoothie Girl Eats, Too.  I’d never read her blog before, but I’d heard about her Protein Muffin recipe on a couple of my favorite blogs.  Any time someone promises me a muffin the size of my hand that is low calorie/carb and full of healthy fats, I’m game.  Add the convenience factor of microwave cooking, which requires precious little effort on my behalf, and you can bet on my making it.

image

RUN, don’t walk, to your fridge right now.  Make this.  I’m not going to duplicate her recipe here, because I want you to go to her site and read about this.  However, I’ll tell you the substitutions I made:

  • subbed 1 tbsp brown rice protein powder for the cocoa powder
  • subbed peanut flour for the coconut flour
  • subbed applesauce for the pumpkin
  • used 1 egg instead of 2 whites
  • used Stevia as my sweetener of choice
  • added 1 tbsp chocolate chips

image

I microwaved it in an egg drop soup container, so the resulting muffin looked like a pint-sized (literally, because egg drop soup containers are 16 oz) personal cake!!  Last night, I topped mine and Joey’s muffins with some Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (1/2 a pack each).  Guys, the possibilities with this recipe are endless…I’m seeing red velvet muffins, carrot cake muffins, pumpkin pie muffins….

Oh, and to put your mind at ease, we don’t have any Kleenex at the house, so the roll of TP is for runny noses only.

Tonight, we’re going over to Joey’s parents’ house to cook dinner for Mother’s Day.  On the menu?  teriyaki steak, chicken, and shrimp kabobs with pineapple fried rice.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Eating Primally, Facebook Hiatus, Return of the Dumb Phone

I got no pictures for you today.  I was going to take pictures of my day yesterday, but it was such a frustrating day, I didn’t even think of it, to be honest.  Disclaimer:  the following comments are in no way directed negatively toward my company, which I enjoy and treats me well.  Part of the stress of working as support staff in the sales industry is that you stand directly between a salesperson and his/her commission.  More often than not, that’s not a comfortable place to be.

I’ve been eating primally for a couple of weeks now.  Well, mostly primally.  I need to get darker chocolate than what I have…too much sugar.  I’ve lost 8 pounds so far and I’ve been feeling better.  It’s nice to see progress.

The Facebook hiatus continues…and I’m thisclose to doing away with it completely.  Were it not for some friends that I probably wouldn’t be able to talk to otherwise, I’d be out of there.  I got back on for a bit today just to catch up, and it did nothing other than prove to me why I left in the first place.  Too much drama.  I have a real problem with getting too into my online life…it was that way back in college when I was one of the charter members of the newsgroup alt.underground (we broke off from the Stephen King newsgroup).  I completely immersed myself in it, and when “flame wars” broke out about various topics, I’d let it affect me in real life.  I felt that again this morning and subsequently resumed my Facebook hiatus.

And….we’re back to the dumbphones this week, which I’m actually enjoying!  It’s easier to text with, and I no longer feel compelled to check Facebook/Twitter every five minutes.

OK…off I go to a birthday party!!

2011: A New Year!

Today is going to be a good day!  It’s MLK day, so I’ve got the day off, and the morning is being spent like this:

image

I can never pass up a Shellikins on the lap; it’s a rarity for me, since she usually wants to be on Joey all the time.  So, it dawned on me that, because things were so crappy, I’d neglected to post the resolutions I finally came up with for the year.  Here we go!

  1. Further My Education; (1) Graduate, (2) complete PhD applications
  2. Improve my health, fitness, and weight.  (1) reduce takeout to once a week, and make it last two meals if possible.  (2) Plan meals one week in advance. (3) eat mostly paleo and reduce refined carbs, (4) incorporate exercise every day!
  3. Lead a more peaceful life/reduce stress:  (1) Yoga at least once a week, (2) read Bible and pray every day, (3) have one fun outing with Joey every week, (4) establish morning and evening routines, both for myself and with Shelli, (5) incorporate 15 minutes of cleaning the house per day.
  4. Be a better friend/more thoughtful person
  5. Tighten back up financially, (1) the aforementioned reduction in takeout, (2), meal planning (getting our grocery/toiletries budget back down to $50 per week)

In an effort to improve both #2 and #5, we bought a Wii with the Wii Fit Plus package!  It was a bit of a steep up-front cost, yes, but when we did the math, we’ll save about $300 over the year over our memberships to our gym, which just isn’t convenient to us and doesn’t really fit our schedules.  I prefer to workout in the morning, but to do that, I have to get there at 5 am, right when the gym opens.  As much as I’d like to, I just can’t get myself up at 4:40 to be ready to leave at 4:45.  However, I can get up at 4:55 to do thirty minutes in the morning before I get in the shower!  Or even get up at 5 to do 30 minutes since it won’t really hurt to be five minutes later.

Here’s our home-screen:

image

Initial thoughts:

  1. I do not appreciate that the little voice goes “Oooh!” when I step on the balance board/scale.
  2. It hurt to see my BMI and have the little voice tell me I’m obese and to imitiately change my Mii (avatar) into the chubby girl you see above.
  3. It’s TOTALLY awesome that you can enter your pet!  Shelli is just under 8 pounds, by the way, which is very healthy for her, so we’re not trying to change her weight with it.  However, she did NOT appreciate being held so that we could get her weight.  She got pretty pissed.
  4. It’s FUN!  It’s really nice to have something to work toward, and the games are great for a workout.  When I played it at my friend Katie’s house over the weekend, I was really sore the next day from the workout that I got…but it doesn’t usually feel like exercise because it’s a game.  Good stuff!

In other news, my prospectus draft has been submitted and I’ve gotten feedback, so the next step is revision and resubmittal, and then hopefully it’ll be good enough for submission to my committee for the meeting.  I’m feeling positive about it now rather than overwhelmed and my advisor is very involved in my progress, so I don’t feel nearly as lost.  Middle Eastern Lit has been interesting so far; I’ve read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, which was thought provoking and made me uncomfortable with my own thoughts/beliefs and assumptions.  That’s the sign of a good book, my friends; confronting uncomfortable realities isn’t a bad thing.  Too many people shy away from it.

That’s all; Maury is about to come on!

Recipe, Cat-Quirks, Smelly Office Fish, Insanity, and Panini

First, check out my Crockpot Taco Soup Recipe!

I’m all about easy recipes.  I tossed the stuff in the crock pot on Tuesday, let it go all day, and we had a super-easy dinner when we got home.  Can’t beat that.

Check out Her Highness getting the spa treatment from Daddy:

image

Shelli-quirk factoid:  she doesn’t really like to be combed, but she LOVES to be brushed (which does nothing to remove hair).  What you can’t see in the pic is the brush in the floor that she’s rubbing her head on; it’s a bribe tool…she lets us comb her as long as she can roll around on the brush, and then when she gets irritated with the comb, she gets brushed as a reward.  Cats are weird.  But wonderful:).

So, someone brought fish into the office today for lunch.  Talk about breaking one of the foundational rules for maintaining harmony among coworkers.  If you’re going to funk up the office, expect to be talked about.  And Office Karma will get you.  I’m certain of that.

I was forced to take desperate measures to maintain my productivity…

image

After an amazingly deadly Insanity workout, we noshed on chicken-and-feta paninis on na’an.  I used a skillet as the weight.  I did wipe off the bottom first so we didn’t ingest skeevy incinerated-burner-dirt.  The sandwich was awesome.

image

I ate it with some cucumbers.  I turned in my paper.  And so commences the night of MST3K and The Smoking Gun Presents:  World’s Dumbest.  Peace out.

Mel’s Minute-and-a-Half Microwave Cake Mess

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • sweetener of choice (I used the blue packet because it’s what we had…probably would use one or two stevias next time)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • peanut butter

Put 1 tbsp coconut oil in coffee mug and microwave until totally melted.  Add all other ingredients except PB.  Beat furiously (but carefully, lest you powder your counter) until thoroughly mixed.  Put a big dollop of PB on top.  Microwave for about ninety seconds.  EAT UP!!

This is great for when you’re really craving a sweet and don’t have anything in the house. I’ve used wheat flour in place of white flour, almond/soy milk in place of the milk (or even water in a pinch), a myriad of sweeteners, and other nut butters.  This is a highly adaptable recipe that I based from the wealth of “microwave cake” recipes available online.  It’s pretty tasty:)

I would have taken a picture, but both Joey and I inhaled ours too quickly.

It has been a rough day, but nothing bloggable right now.  I’m also missing Puss…she’s been gone for almost 2 1/2 years.  Between that and the day in general, I’m in need of a break from the world.

But at least there was good cake!!  🙂

The Post on Food Issues

Okay, this is probably going to be a long one, so if you’re not interested in reading my lunatic musings regarding food/emotions/weight loss, then you may be better off waiting until the weekend when I catalogue our quick trip to Ohio.  But, I will go ahead and give you a Kins-pic just for showing up:

That was taken with the droid…for some reason, the flash reacts poorly with Shelli’s eyes, but it makes for some freaking awesome scary-kitty photos:).

Ok….it’s a pretty good morning; the last two days, I’ve had a dentist appointment and an eye appointment, but I’ve also got to hang out with my mom and her best friend and I got to spend one last time at Eastland Mall before bidding my final adieu since it’ll be foreclosed on and shut down at the end of next month.  Today is just for laying around, drinking coffee, and packing for our Ohio trip.

So, as many of you know, I’ve gained fifty pounds in the last five years, twenty of which were just in the last year or two.  And I am totally miserable.  Try as I might, I just cannot accept that the way I am now is the way that I have to be, and my heart breaks when I see pictures of myself from years ago.  I look back and wonder how I could be so uncomfortable in my body at 130 pounds, because now that I’ve reached 180 (175 now), I long for the days when I was 130.  I feel like I squandered a healthy weight by feeling like it “wasn’t enough.”

So, over the past few years, I’ve done all kinds of ridiculous things (which is pretty sad considering that I worked for Weight Watchers for seven years, so I know what I need to do).  I’ve done the raw, vegan thing.  I’ve been vegetarian.  I’ve tried the Master Cleanse (WHOA..never again.  I pooped more than I have in my entire life…I thought that I would eventually die from pooping), I’ve tried various “detoxes,” including some weird one where all you ate was potatoes (seriously??).  Most recently, I’ve tried the “primal” diet.

Parts of it make a lot of sense; we were not designed to be able to digest complex foods and highly processed things.  Refined grains are a no-no.  Grok would have eaten only meat and some vegetables, though?  I don’t know.  Yep, Grok probably would have gorged on meat when he got the chance, but I have a feeling that those times were not that frequent.  Grok also didn’t know how to preserve meat at the time, so he couldn’t exactly save his food for later.  The primalist’s answer to this?  Use “Intermittent Fasting,” a concept where you don’t eat for 24 hours at a time (at least) once or twice a week.  Skip breakfast every day.

The pros?  You can eat bacon.  And copious amounts of red meat.  You can have real cream, real butter.

The cons?  You have to eat SO.  MUCH.  FREAKING.  MEAT.  Every meal.  You’re so busy trying to eat enough meat that you forget entirely about vegetables.  Legumes are off-limits.  Fruit is not that desireable.  ABSOLUTELY no sugar. 

They say that, once the cravings pass, you’ll quit caring about sweet things.  I haven’t found that to be true.  Maybe I haven’t given it a fair shake, but I’ve found that a sugar craving strikes out of the blue, and it doesn’t just make you want some fruit to take the edge off.  NOOOO…..it makes you want to completely obliterate an entire package of “break-n-bake” cookies.

Furthermore, my blood pressure has risen considerably, which is already concerning since I’m prehypertensive as it is.  And I really don’t want to go on meds for it…I’m already taking two drugs for my anxiety/depression plus my BC (which primalists pretty staunchly oppose), so I don’t want any more pills.  The eye doctor took my BP yesterday and it was 139/101.  The dentist took it Tuesday and it was 140/95.  And I wasn’t nervous either time.  I usually measure 132/85ish, so the former two readings are of particular concern.

However, I have lost 7.5 pounds since eating primally (including a couple of weeks of “cheating” while James was on leave).  So, I’m eating in a way which is shooting my blood pressure through the roof, causing me to break out (Acne?  Seriously?  I’m almost 30.  And I never had a big problem with it even when I was a teen), and removing almost every green food out of my life, but I’ve had quicker weight loss success than I have in over a year.

So, I’ve spent the past couple of days drowning my sorrow in carb-rich pizza, lamenting my inability to let go of carbohydrates and feeling like a failure because I can’t eliminate entire categories of the human eating spectrum, something which I know to be unhealthy, and being angry at myself because I have forsaken the number one method of weight loss success:  eating less (but maintaining variety) and moving more.  And then came Jessica’s post, which hit me in the gut.  It seems like I’m not the only one dealing with food issues right now, and it helps to see that someone else is dealing with it.  But she’s coming out on the other side (and is about to be a beautiful bride).  It seems to be so overwhelming to think about trying to face another 45 pounds of weight loss, feeling like crap about myself and not wanting to buy any clothes because purchasing a Size 14 is actually admitting to myself that I have let myself get this far.

We got a lot of takeout last month.  That’s the other part of the Primal Problem.  I haven’t dealt with meat in a year, people…now I’m trying to figure out different ways to cook this pile of dead animal carcass in my freezer so that it amounts to more than the same four meals weekly…which makes me overwhelmed…which makes me want to give up and get Veggie Tempura from the local Japanese place.  And that makes me pissed at myself because it’s not frugal.  And we are the frugal ones…we’re the ones that the people look at and say, “I don’t know how you do it!”  Until they see that we ordered pizza twice this week.

And this is where I find myself right now; I know what I need to do and I know how to do it.  I have all of the tools already.  But I’m having trouble mustering up the will to do it (isn’t “muster” a funny word?).  But if Jessica can work through it, then I can too.  And if she still deals with the occasional mental setback, then I probably shouldn’t be beating myself up nearly as much as I am. 

So, after a healthy breakfast (which included whole wheat bread), I’m going to sit back with a cup of coffee and start going through The Artist’s Way again in an attempt to reconnect with my right brain (the part of me that the corporate world repeatedly beats into defeat and seeks to erode and destroy).  Then, I’ll empty the dishwasher, fold a little laundry, and start packing.  And I won’t obsess about food this weekend; I’ll just try to make better choices.

Why Chinese Takeout Will Be the Death of Me

I had a mini-food-tantrum when I got home from choir.  It used to be a lot worse…food is the bane of my existence, seriously.  Before I was medicated, I would get really upset when I didn’t feel like there was anything good in the house and have a meltdown.  Crazy, eh?  I still have them every now and then, but they’re much milder.

Anyway, after a GREAT choir rehearsal, I got home and….nothing looked good.  Joey offered to get me something, so I sent him out for Chinese takeout.  I realized about five minutes ago that there’s leftover baked ziti in the freezer which would have been perfect:(.  I could have saved money.  Bleh.  At least our grocery bill for the week was only $36, so I’m not really kicking us out of our budget.

This is turning out to be the longest week. 

🙂