long time no write

Not dead yet! Life has been hectic and there have been bits where I’m doing good to keep my head above water. But even though life has been more about the treading than making progress lately, I haven’t drowned yet. I call that good.

While I haven’t done super great with the goals lately, I haven’t done super awful either. I haven’t lost weight but I also haven’t gained. And I spent money on stuff I didn’t truly need, but I haven’t gone beyond the funds I had set aside. And of the the things I did buy, none of it was craft supplies. Mostly it was digital music and a new small set of markers, both of which I use at work.

Work is good these days, and it’s part of what’s keeping me going. There is no shortage of stuff to do. And I love these crazy people. Over lunch today I had one of my faculty friends stop by needing a favor and he was all “I totally owe you coffee for this!” No sir, this is called doing my job. I told him that I’ll take care of him and he can take care of the students.

Honestly, that’s how I measure my success – retention and graduation rates. If we aren’t keeping students long enough for them to graduate then we aren’t doing something right and I feel like that comes back, at least in part, on me.

Anyway, still working on the other goals. I’m trying to get back on the whole healthy eating wagon. I spent time last night getting some lunches and fruit salad made. I’m also making good progress on my latest knitting adventure, a beaded shawl.

the beads are really subtle, they’re along the left edge in this pic

The pattern is simple and I’m loving it. Not sure how long it’s going to take to finish but I have been working on it regularly. And I finished some smaller projects in February so I feel pretty ok about that.

derp!

all the things, all the time

By way of a quick “goals” update, it was not a great week. I ate more junk food than I should have and was not quite as stringent with the budget as I should have been. On the plus side, the Visa has been paid off and I sent a hefty chunk to another card. But this super cold winter weather is just dragging me down.

At any rate, I have still been doing my best to keep moving forward, even if more slowly these days. I’m approaching my 42nd birthday and my 12th year in active treatment for Bipolar Disorder. I feel totally justified in slowing down.

There was a time in my life when I really did think I could do all the things all at the same time, which is utter crap. But I felt bullet proof and I was out to prove that I was. Oh how wrong I was…

Getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and taking the right medications have made a huge difference in my world, as has having the world’s most amazing mom.

I live with my mom and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We take care of each other, we do stuff together, and she helps to keep me on the straight and narrow. I can’t even imagine how lonely I would be if I lived alone.

Here’s hoping y’all have a good week.

month one – official wrap up

Sorry y’all, this is likely going to be a shorter than usual post. I’m not feeling so fabulous today and so sitting in this desk chair is not a good thing. But, accountability is a good thing, so here goes.

  1. Weight – I have lost exactly 5lbs since I started tracking this on January 1st. Yay!
  2. Money – I stuck to my budget last month. I ate out exactly 3x, I kept every receipt, and I didn’t even suffer for it.
  3. Eating better – I paid much more attention to what I was eating. Part of that is because of the food prepping I do. (hopefully more on that in a future post)

All in all, I’m counting January as a very good month and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.

week four

Coming at you a day early this week, but hey, I’ve got good stuff to share.

Easy one first, the weight. In spite of making the decision to have dinner out last night, and eat a large order of french fries, I managed to lose another 3/4 of a pound. My guess is that it could have been even more if we’d had something healthier for dinner but I honestly don’t feel bad. This was only the THIRD time this month that I’ve eaten out and a girl needs some fries now and then. I’m still considering it a win. I’m down 4lbs for the month. My goal was 5 and I still consider next week part of January. I’m seeing a victory in my future.

On the financial front, I’m doing awesome. I still have cash left in my wallet and in the bank. I recreated my budget spreadsheet (it got lost when the laptop tanked) and then started adding up my receipts and I’m actually in really good shape. Assuming the government does eventually let me file my taxes, my returns are good enough that I’ll be able to pay off one credit card entirely and then start working on the others. My plan is to pay off the highest balance, because it would require the highest monthly payment to eliminate this year, and then put that payment amount with the next highest balance. This should result in all of the cards being paid off well before the end of the year.

I’ve decided that the next step is going to be increasing what I pay on my vehicle loan. I moved that to my credit union, where I do all of my banking, late last year so it’s ridiculously easy to pay extra on it via their website. Once that’s paid off I’ll start putting money aside for the down payment on the next vehicle.

I totally sound like a grown up.

there’s a really funny story with this pic but all you really need to know is that no, it was not my birthday, but it’s stuff like this that makes it hard for me to think of myself as a grown up

I am starting to use my Google Assistant more often. I even figured out how to have it set reminders for me, and then promptly felt foolish because it’s stupid easy. I am quite enjoying it though.

And last but not least, the “bigger than a washcloth” craft project to be completed. I am probably 95% done crocheting the pieces and parts for the kitty cocoon/bunting thing for K’s bambino. Next comes assembly. Lots of little parts that will make for an adorable baby kitty. My plan is to get that finished this evening.

So YAY! I feel like I’m making really good progress with everything and because I’m not focusing all of my attention on just one thing it seems to be easier. It’s lots of baby steps that are all taking me in the direction I want to go.

gratuitous cute kitty picture

week three

That was quite the week. On Tuesday I spent the entire day out of commission due to dental work. I do not do well with the dentist. If Novocain is to be involved I require drugs to be sedated. My guy is amazing. And now I have better dental hygiene practices, so WIN.

Then my work bestie left to go have her bambino. This is good, but I already miss her. I have been working furiously to get a kitty baby bunting set done for him. I’m getting closer.

Then my laptop tanked. I’ve spent the better part of the last several days trying to resurrect it. I think (knock on wood) that it’s done. I feel very fortunate that I learned long, long ago never to keep files on my hard drive. Everything is backed up in the cloud so all I’ve really lost was time.

So that’s my bitching, now onto the positive stuff.

Somehow in spite of not resisting the siren song of cookies, and still not getting my chubby little self on the treadmill, I managed to lose 3/4lb. I’ll take it. Mom thinks this is mostly due to not eating out, including not stopping at the coffee shop at all. I’ve really enjoyed eating at home and taking my lunches to work. Honestly.

I’ve also been doing good with the finances. I still have some cash to get through the next 10 days until I get paid again, there’s a little money in the bank, and I haven’t had to use the credit card at all. I’m actually quite proud of myself. I’ve started looking at anything I’m contemplating buying and asking myself whether I need it right now, can it wait, do I need it at all. If you’ll believe this, I made it out of Costco for less than $9. My best score was at the supermarket. I tend to check out the clearance area, just for giggles, but yesterday I found a two-pack of segmented plastic tupperware type dishes for FORTY-NINE CENTS. I could justify spending that little bit, so I did.

Tomorrow is my final appointment with the gynecological oncologist. I’m pretty positive this is just a formality but it will be nice to officially put that chapter of my life behind me. Here’s hoping that this next week is a little less intense than last week was!

week two

I am delighted, and entirely amazed, to be able to report that I lost another pound this week. That puts me down 2.5 for the month so far. WOOT! The amazed part comes from the brutal attack I made on some leftover Christmas cookies last night, but I digress. Life is all about balance.

I’m still trying to work on my eating habits. I haven’t yet started on the extra activity component, which is funny because as I’m writing this my mom is on the treadmill on the other side of the room. I don’t lack in opportunity, I lack in motivation. It happens.

Finances were also one of the things I identified as a goal and I’m pushing that hard. I’ll be calling Netflix this morning and cancelling because after a long hard look at our entertainment habits we realized that we almost never use it. Yes, only $15/month but still. I’ve been taking a long, hard look at everything and deciding if I really need it or not.

So I’m keeping all of my receipts, writing unusual things down in my planner, and making myself stop and think twice about each and every purchase. Yesterday when we ran errands it was a game to see if I could get out of each store for $10 or less. The only time I tipped the scale was Target and that was because my total was $11.57.

I feel like I’m off to a good start, and that feels really GOOD.

week one

This was my first week back to work after having been out on medical leave for a month. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time. But this wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew pretty well what to expect. And I planned accordingly.

I decided that my eating habits would be the best place to start with my goals, in part because I know that you get out of your body what you put into it.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a heavy drinker, but I seldom drink alcohol. I take Lithium Carbonate to control some of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and, since it’s an elemental salt, it makes me perpetually dehydrated. It’s pretty rare to find me without a beverage by my side. To make things even more interesting, I pretty well detest plain water. Time to get creative.

I often use Crystal Lite Peach Tea mix, or a Cherry Pomegranate flavor, or packets of True Orange crystallized orange powder. I’m also fond of fruit flavored seltzer waters. Lately I’ve been wanting drinks that are a little more sweet but still not totally unhealthy.

I’m not typically one to drink hot beverages but the high temps here have been negative numbers lately. Desperate times and all that. So my latest obsession is this…

Plus a nice fat teaspoon of this…

with a splash of cream.

Yes, honey is added sugar, but it’s not a refined sugar and honey has good stuff in it. The fact that this is both local and chocolate flavored makes it even better.

The other beverage tip I want to share with you has to do with coffee. Lots of us have a coffee addiction, be honest with yourself about it, there’s no judgement here. My biggest issue is the expense. If you stop at a coffee shop every day, even if just to get a regular cup of hot coffee, that’s likely going to set you back at least $2. No bueno.

Again, I’m not a fan of hot beverages but I love iced coffee. And I’m cheap. So here’s what I do.

Instead of shelling out sheckels every day I buy a quality bag of flavored coffee grounds. My current fav is Pear’s Chocolate Raspberry. I brew a nice strong 12C pot of that, add about 3/4C Splenda, and then let it cool. I typically brew two pots like that because that’s what my designated Coffee Jug will hold. I stash that in the fridge and it lasts at least a week.

I’m not one to drink black coffee so I have to dress that shit up. I have a 24oz insulated cup that I fill half with the cold coffee. I add a splash of cream and then top it with milk. Voila! Delicious iced coffee with far fewer calories and significantly less expensive.

What are your favorite money saving tips and tricks?

2018 Goals

I’m a very goal oriented human being, just ask my mother. Or my co-workers. Or any of my ex-husbands. I like to have a plan and I like to have things to work towards. For awhile I was really good at blogging my goals and in hindsight, I think that helped. This year I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to blog about my goals and I got myself an organizer thingy at Michael’s that has both a calendar and incorporates goal tracking.

I think I’m going to love it. Plus, it has flowers on the front and in gold lettering says “Today is Going to be Great.” What’s not to love?

So, my magnificent goals for 2018 will be…

  • Pay off ALL of my credit card debt by the end of the year.
  • Lose 5lbs per month through a combination of healthier eating and increased activity.
  • Learn to use the Google Assistant on my phone.
  • Complete one project (bigger than a wash cloth) every month using yarn I already have.
  • Take the “strip” stained glass class.
  • Get the Christmas 2018 decorations Mom and I have planned completed by April.
  • Not purchase any new craft supplies.

In the spirit of transparency I feel compelled to tell you that I have cheated like a fiend with that last one. I went out on Friday and got some sheets of clear glass, but only so that I can use up the colored glass I already have and hopefully make some fabulous fused glass art. Also, on the day of my surgery I signed up for a “yarn of the month club” that I’m going to stay in because it’s less than $20/month and will help me get that “I need a new shiny thing” fix.

One of the goals that isn’t here, but is sort of implied, deals with finances. I spend way more than I should on crap that I shouldn’t. This morning I sat down and took a long hard look at what comes in compared to what goes out, in terms of money, and made a plan for paying off those credit cards with just 12 payments each.

I have an ample wardrobe, plenty of craft supplies, and enough yarn to quite likely circle the globe so I should be fine.

My intention when it comes to blogging about my goals is to provide some sort of update at least once a week. Generally I try to focus on one thing at a time because quite frankly I have a raging case of SOS (shiny object syndrome) and it’s just easier that way.

Here’s hoping that all of us have a fabulous 2018!

time for something new

Where did we leave off in our saga? Oh yes, I looked like a lobster because of yet another allergic reaction and I was waiting to see if I needed another surgery. Good times.

The allergy subsided and I quite literally shed my skin. Everywhere. Thoroughly gross.

The breast cancer doc was not a woman but rather a lovely older gent with a lovely Hispanic accent who told me that he saw no reason to operate. Instead I’ll be having another mammogram in June on just the left side and we’ll keep an eye on that area for the next few years.

Crisis averted.

Christmas was good and things in general have been good. I’ve been productive finally. And I’ve been cleared by the oncologist to go back to work next week.

WOOT!!!

But all of this “sky is falling” stuff has got me thinking. I really do want to take charge of my own destiny and become the person I know I can be. So expect changes, some big and some small. Mostly you should expect to hear all about my goals. I have lots of things to do and I know I won’t get anywhere without a plan, and that’s how I think about goals.

Let’s do this, shall we?

weekly goals

I’m a firm believer in goals and that setting goals helps me achieve things. Unfortunately I’ve let my practice slip recently. (earlier this year is still “recently” right?) So I’m going to push myself to get back into that practice. In previous iterations I set myself weekly goals that followed several themes. I’m not sure that really serves me now like it once did, so I’m going to change this up a little. (my house, my rules)

One of the primary reasons I’ve always shared my goals is the whole accountability thing. They say that if you tell someone you intend to do something, you’re more likely to actually do it. I have no idea who “they” are but they seem to be right quite a lot. So here goes…

By the end of September, I will:

  • Finish the triangle shawl I’m knitting
  • Finish the peacock feather shawl I’m knitting
  • Spend at least one hour per week writing
  • Formulate a plan to implement the dietary changes my psych doc suggested

Interestingly enough, the diet thing has little to nothing to do with my mental health. I have a skin condition that I’ve had surgery for but it’s moved. Where it’s now located isn’t really fit for a successful surgical intervention but there’s some indications that a lower carb diet is helpful. The diet should at the very least help me lose weight and there’s some indications that skinny people don’t deal with this nonsense near as much as us chubby chickies.

On the plus side, I can eat my body weight in real whipped cream on this diet, so I’ve got that going for me.