Monday, February 3, 2014

2-3-14

I have been a  busy little bee this weekend.  And, yes, I am counting today as part of the weekend since I had the day off. 

Saturday we got our taxes done.  We're getting a sweet refund, thank goodness!  Then we went out and about and did some window shopping.  After we made it home I worked on clipping coupons and organized those.  Well, Michael organized them.  I worked on planning meals.  Sunday morning, bright and early, we went grocery shopping.  With sales and coupons I saved over $100.  That always makes for a happy Monica.  I got a ton of groceries too!  Why, you ask.  Because I had a plan. 

After a long day at work, I want nothing more than to come home, ring a bell and wait on my servants to bring me my dinner.  Oh wait, I don't have servants.  So, I like to make my own fast food.  You see, to paraphrase a popular line from a Barbara Mandrell song, I was into freezer cooking before freezer cooking was cool.  Yesterday I made chicken and spinach lasagna rollups, chicken pot pie soup, irish beef stew, and navy bean soup.  Today I made chicken and bean burritos, jambalaya, and three batches of turkey spaghetti.  I now have enough put in the freezer for at least 14 meals with leftovers to take for lunch the next day. 

Lasagna Roll ups
  Irish Beef Stew
Navy Bean Soup

Chicken and Bean Burritos
Spaghetti Sauce with Turkey

Sorry, I have no pictures of the jambalaya or the chicken pot pie soup. 

Not only do I have these meals in the freezer, I also have the ingredients to make a creamy garlic pasta and several different varieties of chicken and a pork chop night.  So now, no matter what I am only a few minutes away from an awesome meal, leaving me time for other stuff...like knitting.  It also helps me with portion control and not spending money on awful food choices like Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Captain D's  Zaxby's, etc.  I have had a chance this weekend to get about a third of the way through one baby blanket and got the yarn for 2 more. 
Michael wants everyone to know that he rolled each of these skeins into balls for me.  My man:  always willing to help.  He swears I work him like a house-elf, but we all know better. 
Tomorrow I have to go back to work so I can make money.  Oh to be a lady of leisure!  Until I make that happen though, I will try to content myself with being a self proclaimed Queen of the Kitchen.   

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2-1-14

Friday was one of those perfect days off. Knitting, shopping, meeting with our insurance agent to talk about The Future. Well maybe not so much the last one, but definitely the first two. The meeting. With our insurance agent was pretty interesting though.  We talked about adding liability umbrella coverage, investments, disability and things we could do to make our retirement easier.  I felt like such a grown up!  And that's something that, even at almost 39 years old, I rarely feel. It was a very interesting meeting. It was also something that our previous insurance company would never have done in a million years.

Once upon a time our car and home were covered by a different insurance company.  For shits and giggles lets call them...Nationwide. We were longtime customers of that company. Specifically we were longtime customers of a particular agent.  That agent was fantastic.  Then he retired and the agent who took over the agency turned into a douchebag. I am a huge fan of customer service. If I'm paying for a service, I kind of expect to get my money's worth and part of getting my money's worth is being treated like a valued customer.  We were not treated like valued customers by this agent. In fact, we were called liars by him after we were charged a late fee several months in a row even though our payment was sent and received well before the due date because the company didn't cash the check in a timely manner. Not acceptable. There were some other things that happened as well, but that was the nail in the proverbial Nationwide coffin.  (So if you live in the Columbia area, stay far away from the Gary Hodge agency if you value customer service).

We went to State Farm. I know a lot of people have had issues with that company, but so far we've had nothing other than a good experience. Like yesterday.  They didn't have to ask us to come in so we could talk about The Future, but they did. At no time did we feel they were pressuring us to buy a product from them. We got some good information and now we have to figure out what to do with it.

Today is going to be another perfect day. We're going to get a little something for breakfast then go get our taxes done.  Then we might go window shopping and just see where else the day takes us.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1-30-14

This has been a kind odd week. This past weekend they started forecasting snow for Tuesday and Wednesday. Thankfully, the person in charge of the agency I work with decided to cancel work for Tuesday and by the middle of Tuesday, had cancelled work for today also. Even though the sleet and snow didn't start until Tuesday afternoon I was very thankful for the cancellation because it kept Michael and I from worrying all day wondering when it was going to start and when or if we would be able to make it home. Mainly, though I'm just glad we weren't going to have to be out in it. We're southern, we know nothing about functioning in snow and ice. We're just not prepared. For example, this afternoon, Michael went out to clean off the car armed with one glove and a rubber spatula.

This is the last week of my no spending challenge. Parts of it got easier, but parts of it didn't.  I feel like I bought too many grocery items that while they are necessary, weren't immediately necessary. I also paid to have supper out a few times when it wasn't necessary. I did, however, manage not to buy clothes, yarn, accessories, books (instead, I traded some books in for store credit and got some stuff that way) or lunches out. I also did not have my Friday Starbucks latte in January. I'm really looking forward to a latte now. Because of the. No spending challenge, I do want to continue to limit the amount we eat out and to sit down at the beginning of the month and decide how much I'm willing to pay for fun stuff like yarn and clothes. If nothing else I think that will help me stay more mindful of wants, needs and absolute necessities.

During my 2 lovely snow days I've finally had the opportunity to finish knitting a hat and scarf for a friend. All that's left is blocking them and making the tassels. I've really enjoyed the project. They are the first items where I came up with the pattern on my own.  My next project(s) will be baby blankets. There's been a baby boom among the people I know.  One is even having twins!  Lots of knitting is in my future.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

1-26-14

I love Fat Amy. She unapologetically owns who and what she is in a way that gives her an armor against assholes.  It's one thing to own a label before anyone else has an opportunity to label you, but it's something else entirely for anyone else to label you with out your consent.

My grandmother was very overweight for many many years. My grandfather was very skinny. As a couple they were the very picture of the nursery rhyme about Jack Spratt.  I often heard people refer to the two of them as Fat Toye and Poor Sammie. People had the audacity to say this to their faces with no shame and often with a laugh. While I never heard my grandmother make any complaint over her nickname (she wasn't the type who would make waves complaining about something like that) I can only imagine how I would have felt in her shoes. Anytime my brother and I were being normal siblings and picking on each other and I ran in and would complain about him calling me names she would always tell me to remember "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". Out of all the things my grandmother taught me and advice she gave me I call bullshit on this one. Words hold extreme power. The power to make you feel love, happiness, fear, worthlessness, self-hatred. Eleanor Roosevelt said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but what if you don't have the confidence or self worth to know that you don't have to consent to someone being hurtful?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1-22-14

This has been a rough week so far. We've been short handed at work combined with just plain being busy, plus having a holiday added in. I feel like my brain is either not running fast enough to keep up with the world around me or the world is in slow motion compared to how my brain is functioning or some combination of the two. I just don't feel like I've got everything running in the same direction at the same time.  Because of this I just need to make sure that I keep my head above water this week in order to consider the week a success.  I might not be perfect with my eating, but I need to stay in control and remain mindful. even though I totally didn't plan on feeling this way this week or plan to have an easy week, I'm not going to beat myself up because I have a need to have an easy week.  The ability to do this and not fall off track is part of what being successful at weightloss looks like to me.

Week 3 no spending challenge in review:
Yesterday marked the end of week 3. I did spend a bit more money than I had planned, but nothing extraordinary. Saturday night I spent $19 on supper for me and my husband and on Monday I spent more than I planned on groceries, but it was all on things that, while I didn't need it right away, will be needed and used soon. Usually at this point in the month I'd be lucky if I had $30 to last until the end of the month.  Thanks to the no spending challenge and the 52 week savings challenge I have almost $200 in my savings account and I almost have enough in my checking account to make my car payment for February. Visible progress!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1-15-14

Yesterday was the end of the second week of my no spending challenge. This week was a little easier to get through than the one before. It seemed a little easier to not think about spending so much. One thing that stands out to me more and more is the sheer number of emails I get about things on sale!  Do you realize how many places have sales during January?  A ton!  And they all seem to be for yarn and shoes and clothes and books and kitchen gadgets. All the things I like to buy. All these deals say that they're exclusive and just for me. One day I need to sit down and unsubscribe to all these emails so I won't be tempted by them. As an added benefit I wouldn't have to spend all that time going through the emails and deleting them.

Last week the challenge included going through and inventorying my supply of food in the freezer and cabinets. This week the challenge included cleaning and organizing.   I have done some cleaning and organizing, but let's face it.  Neither of these are my strong suit. It's going to take longer than the challenge gave for me to accomplish it, but it will happen.

Tomorrow is payday!  Tomorrow is also the first installment of my 52 week savings challenge. I'll be depositing $103 into my savings which will represent weeks one and two of the challenge.  So far I feel good about my progress. I've only had 2 small slip ups. I went a little overboard with my fruit and veggie purchases for the week and I also had to buy a set of double pointed knitting needles for a project I'm working on.  I definitely see areas where I can improve.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

1-12-14

I've been thinking a lot in the past week about what inspires and motivates me. The reason it's been on mind is that I've heard from a lot of people in the past week, and honestly longer, that my weightloss and attitude about my weightloss inspires them and has helped motivate them. People look up to me and respect the efforts I've made in the past 2+ years of my weightloss.  While I am uncomfortable being anyone's inspiration (unless it's as a caveat of what not to do), I am also deeply moved and gratified by your thoughts.

What inspires me and motivates me

I am inspired by people who make exercise and healthful living a normal part of their life. The person who sticks out in my mind is a person I know from various web communities I've belonged to over the years. She gets up early and goes to the gym every morning before work.  She eats the right fuel for her body.  She makes herself and her health a priority.  She does this quietly and doesn't expect parades or parties in her honor.  It's just what she does to stay and be healthy. And you know what?  It totally pays off!  She's gorgeous!  (that bitch).  That's the kind of life I want and am trying to craft for myself (except, who am I kidding?  I totally want parades and parties).

I am motivated by a lot.

First of all I'm motivated by myself. I know that sounds conceited, but really I don't feel that it is. I don't want to be the Monica from 2 years ago. That Monica was killing herself without even really knowing. She was miserable. I do not want to be that Monica!  When I feel my motivation slipping or when I feel super extra hungry or when I catch myself slipping into old habits, I think of that Monica and remember the bad stuff from 100 lbs ago.

I am motivated by tv shows about weightloss. Think shows like Biggest Loser or My 600lb Life or Extreme Weightloss. While I don't think shows like these always represent a true picture of healthy, sustainable weightloss I love seeing people turn their lives around.

I am motivated by every person who has ever said that a morbidly obese person can't lose weight without surgery.  Every time I hear a comment like this whether it is in the media or real life, I think to myself, 'oh yeah?  Watch me!'.   *please note that I do not say this as a commentary against weightloss surgery, only that I knew it wasn't the choice for me. Weightloss surgery is a powerful tool that should not ever be discounted.

I am motivated by my husband and being a model of health for him. I'm not getting into my reasons for that, because I don't want to get into anything that he might feel is too private. Let's just leave it at he's my husband.  I love him and want him around for a long time.

And finally, I am motivated by all of you. Every comment and like on Facebook, everytime someone's face lights up when I tell them how much I've lost, every time anyone compliments me. I don't want that to stop, so I'm going to keep going.

Sometimes I feel that I can't be anyone's inspiration until I've gotten to a healthy weight and have successfully maintained it for a while, but I don't think that's really fair. I think it's important for people to see the struggle of weightloss and not only the end result. It humanizes weight issues.

So thank you to anyone who might look to me for inspiration and motivation. I will try to do right by you by doing right by me.