Healthy Eating and Exercise

It started with a scale. Just a normal bathroom model. Nothing to freak out about.

But then I stepped on it. And was totally appalled by the number that appeared. I knew that I had gained a bit of weight since my wedding last year. There totally is something triggering about finally netting a man and settling down that makes you not care quite so much about being a little plumper than normal…but that number was startling.

I enjoy eating healthy. I also enjoy indulging in good food. I also enjoy an almost completely sedentary lifestyle of reading and blogging. Which is not conductive to weight loss.

I broke down a few months ago and downloaded the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. I just haven’t completely gotten into the habit of using it. I use it during the week, diligently. I usually don’t have the opportunity at work to indulge anyway. But then the weekend comes and Hubby and I will go out to eat once (or twice). Or one of us will go shopping and bring home something from the day old table at the supermarket. Or I’ll be miserable about something and hubby will bring me home chocolate. Or cook me something that usually tastes fantastic but had about a thousand calories.

And then I’ll tell myself that I will exercise but its cold and I just don’t like the exercise bike as it’s uncomfortable and I haven’t figured out how to use it and read at the same time (not very coordinated).

But I am trying. I would preferably not sign up for something like weight watchers, but will if it becomes necessary.

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Outsider

On Friday night, I joined my husband and friend to a small get together of people that my hubby and friend grew up with. It’s always weird going to these get togethers. Not necessarily a bad weird, but still weird.

The community here is small. The school (singular) has about 300 kids from pre K to 12th grade, so everyone knew everyone more or less…especially if you had siblings in other grades. Therefore, almost everyone in town and the surrounding towns in a certain age group knows each other. Maybe not superwell, but they know each other.

And then there’s me. An outsider. I get frustrated because everyone knows who I am, but damned if I can remember any of them. 

At this particular party, I’ve met everyone at least once but I still felt as though everyone was a stranger. Aside from one other guy there, I hadn'[t spend much time with any of them. One has been in China nearly the entire time I’ve lived up here, his brother was in China, then California. The other people aren’t very close to my husband so I’ve only met them once or twice before. Still, nice people.

It’s weird though. I never really stayed close with anyone back home. I am still facebook friends with the few friends I’ve known since Elementary school but we barely even chat on Facebook and neither of them live in the town we grew in. The high school I went to was huge. While my husband went to the same school from K-12, and there’s about 300 pupils in the entire school (and this includes people who bus in from surrouding towns without a school of their own). I graduated in a class of 700. By the time I graduated, I had attending six schools. Sure, I might know what’s up with a few classmates by Facebook and well, the Police Blotter…it’s a lot harder to keep track of anyone.

Maybe eventually I’ll shed my outsider skin and become a native. Doubt it’ll happen for a long time, but still.

Potato and Leek Soup

(photo borrowed from All Recipes)

I had a really great day yesterday. Very busy though, I’m thinking that I only was home about four hours out of the entire day. It wasn’t long at all. The early part of the day was shopping. Hubby and I are invited to a First Birthday party tomorrow, so I was in charge of finding a gift for the little one and as I was out I figured I might as well pick up some healthy groceries as we have a freezer full of meat, and our cabinets are pretty well stocked up on things like rice and pasta…the fridge however, was in a very sorry state. So before I checked out at Walmart I hit up the produce section and picked up some clementines and stuff to make a nice healthy salad. I noticed that they had leeks and they caught my attention as I’ve been really wanted to try some new stuff in the New Year.

Then my phone dinged with a weather advisory for snow coming our way. Before I put my phone away, I pulled up my All Recipe app on my phone and searched for a recipe for potato and leek soup to see if it was feasible for someone with a limited kitchen knowledge to make. I clicked on the first recipe that came up and after reading the ingredients and steps decided that it was totally doable. 

So I picked up the few items that I needed and headed home.

I started cooking right away so that it would be just about ready for when Hubby came home from work. As I was adding the last ingredient though, Hubby called to ask if I wanted to join him and his buddy for a meal out to celebrate his friend’s job promotion. Um, that part was not planned, but somehow I convinced them to come here for dinner. I threw together the salad and let the soup simmer. I hardly ever cook anymore, and have never really cooked for anyone other then my Hubby and at work but it came out perfectly. Hubby ate two bowls in fact.

I just wish I had thought to take a picture.

Finally, the Weekend

I like my job. To work there, and the 48 hour shift…you can’t survive while not liking loving what you do.

But this week, this week, was one of those weeks where I truly was counting down the hours, minutes…before I could get away. All I wanted to do was take a nice hot bath and a nap.

Of course though, once I actually got out of work and home I just could not sleep. I slept at work-better than normal-but I really do need that nap after getting home.

Then tonight we had a Lion’s Club morning where one of the members decided to take the opportunity to show us a never ending slide show of his recent trip to Australia and New Zealand…a topic I’d typically be all over as I love love love everything Australia, but it was pure agony. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by so many of your beautiful photography…but the pictures were dull and the gentleman seemed as though he absorbed nothing about the trip. I’d sell a kidney for the same opportunity and while I have no doubt he enjoyed the trip…I’m not exactly sure he fully grasped how truly fortunate he was to have the money and time to take such an amazing trip.

I admit. I felt jealous and bitter and grouchy.

Plus, I’m pretty sure I left my left over fried chicken at the diner.

Battling the Coffee Addiction

I do not have many vices, except for maybe perpetual messiness…but I do have a pretty strong addiction to coffee.

It started fairly innocently. I had a friend in college who was an avid coffee drinker and when I hang out with him we’d usually end up grabbing a cup from one of the coffee carts on campus and hang out and chat. I’d stick to a single cup and while I wasn’t crazy about it, I found the whole process kind of soothing. Kind of like drinking tea with my Mom and Mommom.

But then one semester I signed up for a late class…and when I was in college, I was not a night owl (seriously, have you heard anything stranger?). I knew that in order to survive the late class I was going to have to figure out a system to not only keep me engaged during the class (as a huge part of our grade came from class participation) but also keep me awake enough to drive the 45 minutes home.

And so I began down the dark road towards my coffee addiction only made worse by stints working the graveyard shift at various jobs…a shift I have thankfully shed. However, I just cannot shed the coffee addiction. Every morning, without fail, the first thing I do is head over to the coffee percolator and will proceed to drink nearly an entire pot of coffee as the morning progresses.

I have also become distressingly immune to the effects. Sure, I don’t make a habit of drinking coffee at night but if I did…I probably would not have much trouble sleeping. In fact, some days I think the coffee has an adverse effect on me. I feel like curling up to take a nap….not all the time, but enough times to wonder.

I think the only reason I continue drinking the stuff is fear (oh and the fact I have grown to enjoy the taste). I’m scared to skip coffee as I know that if I do, I’ll get a horrible headache. It’s happened before and I never want to repeat the experience. It was that horrible.

Every morning I tell myself that I’ll stop at one mug. Just enough to get a tiny jolt and to avoid the migraine like pain that doing without can cause. Or, I’ll forgo the coffee all together and drink tea (and I have a lovely authentic Chinese green tea that is quite enjoyable…but every morning I just can’t help myself. I must have coffee.

Have you ever battled coffee addiction? Or another, similar addiction? How did you manage it? 

My Little Hunter

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After the intense cold snap we had this past week, our cats have more or less been housebound. Even Gatsby, who usually prefers the outdoors to indoors no matter the weather seemed content to hang around the house.

But by Friday he had enough. Sure we had a few inches of snow on the ground…but it was considerably warmer and a little snow never stopped the Great Gatsby. So as soon as we deemed it appropriate to open the door for him, he was out like a flash.

He’d been gone for a few hours when I heard him meowing from the door. Figuring that he’d had enough of the cold, or at the very least…was hungry opened the door for him expecting him to make a beeline for his food bowl. Instead he sat there, looking up to me expectantly. I looked down at him, curious as to what was up and discovered that he had brought us home a lovely little gift.

A field mouse.

A field mouse.

A field mouse in the middle of January when we just had nearly record breaking low temperatures.

That must have been a hell of a strong mouse to survive those temps.

Kind of shame that after all that, he succumbed to the jaws of a seven pound cat.

RIP little field mouse. You were a hell of a fighter.

 

Decluttering

Hubby and I moved into our current apartment back in May. We moved in very quickly, in fact, we were not even planning on moving at the time. We were unhappy at our old apartment though, so when we heard about this apartment being available for rent…we immediately grabbed the opportunity without a game plan. And as we did not have a lease at our old apartment, we were able to move into the new apartment within the month.

It was a great move for us. We did not move far, in fact, the new place is well within walking distance of the old place but as we are no longer directly in town it is much quieter so the cats are free to go outside. It’s bigger overall so we’re able to spread out much more. And our neighbor is a very quiet woman…who is also conveniently deaf. Our last neighbor was kind of a psycho who frankly, scared me a little….amongst a laundry list of other quirks that made me hate our old apartment.

So we moved into this new place very quickly. At the time, Hubby was picking up a ton of hours at the wine shop and I was in the process of switching jobs…going from working graveyard shifts to a more normal schedule. So neither one of us had much time to dedicate to putting the apartment in order. We had virtually thrown our crap into whatever storage containers and boxes we could get our hands on and packed without much organization, and unpacked in much the same style.

That was eight months ago, and while our apartment is in some semblance of organization…we could do a whole better. I didn’t make any formal resolutions this year, but I definitely think that this is going to be my next project to keep me occupied during the winter. I have the time, thanks to my unconventional work schedule so hopefully I’ll be able to implement this. It’ll be a slow process, which is okay. Thankfully there’s only five rooms in the apartment…one being Hubby’s man cave which I don’t care about too much (there’s a door that I can close and ignore!). First week up will be the kitchen as it’s the room the drives me the most crazy. I’m still trying to figure out how two people accumulate so many dishes!

Looking Towards the Horizon

Yesterday I awoke to snow. Today I awoke to rain (thankfully, normal, non freezing rain). When the sun was shining, it was nearly too impossible to actually go outside to enjoy the Vitamin D without freezing to death. Simply put, it is turning into a pretty depressing, desperate, and claustophopic winter. And it’s still the beginning of January. 

Now, I know that there are some sadistic people out there that bask in the winter. And while I don’t hate you (much)…this is the season that I most struggle, especially as it can be so isolating here in the mountains. I’m kind of at the point where my usual solace, books, just aren’t cutting it for me and I’ve furtively been making plans to escape to Florida, or California…or hell, even Hawaii. Even though I know all these places are all but a pipe dream this year, it helps to have fantasies. Hey, some people have fantasies about George Clooney, me, I have fantasies about walking outside without a coat. We all have our quirks.

When times are desperate, it’s nice to have something on the horizon. For years, I’ve used this method whenever I’ve started feeling really down in the dumps. Last year I lived for my three days off a week (I was in a really miserable job, and my expectations were pretty low). Other times, I usually had something going on that would keep my mind engage so I just didn’t have the time to dwell too much. One year I enlisted in a few classes at the community college. 

Right now I don’t have anything going on. I actually enjoy my job (most of the time) so while the weekends are nice, they are necessary enough to really lift my mood. The last few weekends the weather has been bad, so I ended up staying inside, reading and doing housework. And while I do enjoy reading…its not something I look forward to doing specifically.

Money is tight, so planning a trip isn’t exactly feasible. I’d love to take a personal day and make an extra long weekend so I can go visit my best friend, but that would require an expensive plane ticket. A day trip is feasible. Even an overnight trip, if we budget…but with the weather…that might not be for a few months out when the need for something to look forward to is much lighter.

I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school. Most likely online. I’ve found a few well rated colleges with online programs but I just don’t know. One is the money issue. Again. And two. I’ve already done the school thing. I have a B.A. in Psychology that I’ve yet to use in the eight years since I graduated (holy shit, has it really been 8 years!). I have ideas of what I want to do…mainly writing, but in what sort of capacity? Would it make more sense to try to get some freelance writing gigs on my own to do on the weekends? How would I even go about figuring that out? Look for ads online? Craigslist? *shudders*

What are some other activities that might help combat the pesky winter blues?

Any advice is appreciated.

Contrary to Popular Belief, I Did Not Freeze to Death

Compared to some places, we made out fairly unscathed from the polar vortex. Yes it was cold. Yes it was icey. But we also had almost no snow (just a dusting) and while I believe most schools were closed on Tuesday…life was fairly uninterrupted.

So that was a relief.

Monday was actually worse. It started out semi warm (for winter) and the rain from the weekend continued into early Monday. Then just about the time I had to leave for work, the temps began to plummet and all that water was starting to freeze in places. Mostly at the highest peaks. So thankfully Hubby had the foresight to drive me to work as he’s has quite a bit more experience in driving in the bad weather conditions.

Come 7pm or so…the temps plummeted again and we had a a very quick and intense snow shower. I was out at the time, taking a few of our residents grocery shopping. It was not snowing when we walked out of the store and loaded up the van, but as soon as I returned the cart to the cart return…It started snowing like crazy. By the time I walked the 100 feet or so to the van, the ground was already getting quite covered and by the time I pulled out of the parking lot the entire area was already completely white.

Not long after I got back to work, I texted my husband that he should leave soon so he’d be able to make it to pick me up. Over the next few hours though, my husband and I had several phone and text conversations about the road conditions and whether he would be able to pick me up at all (fortunately I had packed clothes to last me to Thursday).  Even though the snow had only just started, the most direct route was undrivable as the county generally only plows it during the day. Considering that Hubby has gone over that road with bad conditions before, it says a lot that he did not attempt it. He then decided to try the most roundabout way, that again, is over a mountain, but one that is usually better maintained (although I’m not sure about safer, as that’s where that guy flipped his SUV).  In fact, Hubby spun out in a driveway of a garage when he attempted to pull over to fix the windshield wiper…and very nearly gave up. In fact, he called me at this point to apologize for not being able to make it.

Just before I started the logistics of figuring out where I was going to sleep without being disturbed too much hubby called me yet again to tell me the plow had finally appeared and did I want him to follow the plow to get me. I wanted to scream YES but told him that he was the one driving, and he would have to make the decision.

About an hour later, Hubby arrived and we made it home safely. I was able to enjoy one more night sleeping in my own bed before having to be back to work at 9am the next morning to start my 48 hour shift.

Did I mention that I love my husband?