New At This

Like I mentioned, I am new to this blogging thing. Mostly because I have the attention of a fruit fly in the produce aisle. I cannot jump in mid blog to follow someone. I need to find the beginning and read forward and that can be time consuming. And despite my love of writing, I have a love/hate relationship with computers and social media. I like my journal that I can bring everywhere and write or doodle or copy down interesting quotes. So I lose momentum and then I forget my passwords and Boom! It’s over. Let’s just say I was the kid who could not finish a paint by numbers piece because I got bored, already knowing what the outcome would be.

Anyway, I’ll take any insight into having a successful blog. And if you read my post about public speaking, you know I HATE being the center of attention, so I have only told two people in my life about this thing. So, I am relying on the kindness of strangers to help me find my way. I did come across The Daily Post which gives advice on how to stay on topic. I think I am doing that, with the exception of my public speaking/accidental political activist blog, I looking at challenging myself in 2015 to live a healthier, more productive life.

So, to those who stumble upon this process and check in or follow along. THANK YOU. Hopefully one of us knows what their doing.

Schedule Variations

For the past three school years I would drive an hour each morning to my school, and three days an hour home, but those other two days I’d get out at 3:30, drive an hour and a half to my after school tutoring job, tutor anywhere from 45 – 60 minutes and drive anywhere from a half hour to forty minutes home. Those days were exhausting and except for the paycheck and the kid, I do not miss them. Last week, this week and next week I have to go to an after school program with my student which means I leave work an hour later, and have to drive home in the dark. Across three states.

Not whining. It’s actually not as horrible as I had feared. But it does do something to me mentally. Add our Northeast weather fluctuating back and for from bitter cold to snow and ice and my hibernation instincts kick in. It makes it harder to get up in the morning. It makes me want a nap when I get home from work, which can be good or bad – sometimes refreshing, sometimes altering my sleep pattern even worse. It makes me lose all desire to cook dinner when I get home, no matter how hungry I am. Luckily I do not drive past any fast food chains on my trek or I’d be hitting them up every night. Also, I am grateful I am out of cash so I am not ordering take out when I do get home, but don’t think the idea doesn’t cross my mind.

I tell myself that when next week is over, I’ll be on track again. Until the next schedule disruption. It’s funny because in my career I’ve always been incredibly flexible. I’ve always had to be whether I’ve liked it or not. I roll with the punches (unless someone steals my spoon… but that’s a rant for another day) but whenever I have a disruption in my daily routine, I look at it as carte blanche to get completely off track.

I am looking at January as my month of planning and motivation. It’s half over. I’ve been researching and contemplating and planning. I am looking at February as my beginning. The month to challenge myself. I am no fool. It is also the shortest month of the year (with a week off for February break in the middle). But if I can can be successful for February, then maybe March won’t be so bad.

I am looking to create a motivation board. I am thinking of hanging it in my front hall, so I will see it when I go down the stairs to work every morning and coming up them when I come home. So, I will see it BEFORE I see my couch. I am very aware that I have to play many mind games with myself. I am also very aware that I never win any of them. For example, because I LOVE sleeping and the snooze button, I would set my alarm clock ahead, but ahead an odd number of minutes, never five or ten because that math was too easy. I usually went with six or nine, but still did the math in my head anyway.

So, to sum it up… I want to create a motivation board this weekend. I’ve seen some floating around Pinterest that I need to further investigate. I’ll post any cool findings. And I’ll take a photo of whatever I come up with. I printed off two recipes for dinner next week – a spaghetti and meatballs one and a frittata to make on my breakfast for dinner. I went through my local grocery store’s online flyer (I like it better than the circular that comes in Sunday’s paper. It’s less visually confusing. So, I’ve begun a list based on the ad and the recipes, now I just need to coordinate it with my coupons and my pantry inventory. I’ve ordered a new piece of equipment to help the working out process and I’ve written a blog today.

And who says I’m not productive? Ha!

Road to Healthy

Today I made two steps to a healthier lifestyle. I tried a Green Berry Shakeology shake. Made it with 2% milk b/c it’s what I had in the fridge & added some frozen fresh fruit since I don’t have ice. It’s better than I expected. Have three other favors to try if I can successfully add it to my struggling morning routine.

Also my mother called that she say some exercise thing on QVC and wondered if it would be good for my shoulder. I have a frozen shoulder. Been dealing with it for just over a year. It has been frustrating. It started with a burning sensation that would wake me up if I laid wrong. After three weeks of that, I went to my GP and he took a neck X-ray that showed a muscle spasm in my neck. Prescribed muscle relaxers & a heating pad. A month later it was worse. If I tried to lift my left arm above my head for things like washing my hair, or closing my trunk were excruciating. If I moved too quickly without thing, I’d see starts and spontaneously burst into tears. It would take my breath away. Went back to the doctor. He suggested physical therapy. They were undecided as to if it was the muscle spasm or frozen shoulder or both. The day after my birthday I received a cortisone shot. That was April 3rd, 2014.

I began noticing similar symptoms in my right shoulder. Not to the extent of my left, but I was terrified of having two shoulders that were useless and quite painful. So the week of Christmas I went back to the shoulder specialist & got a shot in the right shoulder to prevent the progression. I am not a surgical candidate and while I still get pins and needles through my fingers, my range of motion and excruciating pain have improved. I go to a neck specialist at the end of the month.

So, I digress but my mom saw this exercise tension bar thing that is supposed to be easy and user friendly. The resistance is similar to the bands that I have from PT that are inconvenient b/c I have to use a door for resistance. This gadget I could use while watching TV or whatever.

Why is it being healthy costs a hell of a lot more money than the alternative? Found another Blog on how to be happy with ourselves.

Discovered Another Blog

Searching and searching through Pinterest is like crack for someone with self diagnosed ADD. But it’s where I find links to some of the most interesting Blogs out there. Like This One I was never a Blog follower. I hate jumping in the middle of them. I like to start at the beginning and see the progression. I have the same tendencies with television shows. And book series.

I also can’t deal with all the ads and links. I know that’s how they make money to support their Blogs but it’s visually distracting to me. Give me a few well placed links and lots of white space and I am a happy girl.

I am new to this whole Blogging thing. I do not know how to make it snazzy. I just like to write. I have written in a journal almost everyday since 10th grade. Just a book and fancy colored pens and my thoughts. I have wanted to be a writer since the 3rd grade. I have hundreds of stories started and stopped. So this is me. Writing. Challenging myself to be better, live better, do better.

Righteous Anger

This goes along with my post about my town’s city council. It took a lot to get me to the point where I felt the need to speak but unlike the Reverend who ranted immediately following me, I didn’t let my anger overpower my message.

Which immediately brought me to a Star Wars moment where they explain the dark side of the Force. Yes, I am a Star Wars geek.

But this is important to think about. You know what they say about the Squeaky Wheel….

At My Worst

Here are images from this past summer when things got completely out of control in my living room. For someone who lives alone, I have an awful lot of sh*t. Since then I have rearranged the furniture. I brought my desk into a corner of the living room in hopes that I would utilize it more if it wasn’t secluded in a spare bedroom. I love my desk, I love sitting at it and working or painting my nails. I also tried to find more floor space to allow me to play Wii Just Dance or my Zumba DVDs in hopes of working out more.

I own a vacuum and currently it just takes up space in my living room like a subliminal message to use it but alas, that never happens.

I don’t think I am a hoarder… Yet. More often than not my family buys me things. It’s what happens when you’re the baby of the family. I took these pictures to show my coworkers that my home is the exact opposite of my work space. Everything at work is neat and labeled and organized. I wish I could carry it over at home.

Mostly, I don’t know where to begin, hence I read all these challenges to give me insight on how to start. I get so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task that I lose momentum before I even begin.

photo 1

photo 3

Continuing Saga of Meal Planning

So, it’s Tuesday. Last night, I got home from work and took a two hour nap. I was exhausted. Partially due to a book hangover. I stayed up late reading If I Stay. Finished it! But after a harrowing morning commute and my daily routine disrupted by the absence of my student, I was spent. Dinner consisted of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Triscuits,

What good does meal planning do when I lose all desire to eat? Well, not to eat exactly, more like cook & clean up. I know it would be different if I had a family where there would be demands for dinner and help with cleaning up, but alas, that is not the case here.

My friend Megan is one of those uber organized, inspiring, Stay-At-Home Moms. She has recently begun meal planning again. I looked over her menu for January. She is a Beach Body coach and is really trying to keep her family eating healthy. So I have a good model to follow.

The worst part is I LOVE cooking. I like experimenting or just throwing a bunch of ingredients together.

Saturday I followed through on my plan. I inventoried my pantry, weeded out expired soup, pudding and cookie mixes, rearranged things so I can notice them easily and began composing a list of things I need to replace. Sunday, I clipped coupons, trying to stick to things I NEED. But that’s as far as it got. Have an inventory and half composed list and coupons….

One thing I am trying to abide by is sticking with NEED vs. WANT. I’ve always been of the opinion that coupons are incentives to try new items. Things I wouldn’t buy otherwise. They are also an excuse to stock up on ten bottles of shampoo or Swiffer refills. So while I have more toilet paper, shampoo and Swiffer sweepers than I will utilize this year, I have no cans of tomato soup or jelly.

Reading this simple plan, I am again reminded that this is geared for a family.

What about us single gals who want to eat healthy on a budget? What about us people eating alone who may lose the ambition to prepare something healthy, in lieu of something quick and cheap?

My normal day of meals looks somewhat like this:

Breakfast – coffee with flavored creamer… Maybe two
10:15 am Snack – cereal with splash of milk or yogurt if I’m lucky
12:00 Lunch – maybe school lunch, maybe a sandwich from home, maybe nothing
5:30 Dinner – on an almost good day: buffalo chicken quesadillas or scrambled eggs, on a good day: a piece of fish and couscous, on a typical day: PB&J or ice cream

That is not helpful for someone with a Type 2 Diabetes and gas probably contributed to it. Over a decade of not eating well has taken its toll. My goal for 2015 is to remedy that.

I am going to make a meal plan for next week. I will give myself the rest of this week to slide by.

Sunday – dinner with my parents
Monday – day off, so I will cook something…. I will research recipes
Tuesday – extra long day, so something quick and easy: breakfast for dinner
Wednesday – another extra long day : buffalo chicken quesadillas with peach mango salsa
Thursday – last extra long day! Soup & panini
Friday – fish

I CAN DO THIS

Baby steps. Starting simple. This will help me focus my grocery list, but mostly I am utilizing what I already have on hand.

If this works, I’ll do it again the following week. And so on. Baby steps. I also need to plan lunches. This will dictate my grocery list as well. Our school is going peanut free which is going to be difficult for me as peanut butter is my go to. I buy lunch occasionally.

Did I mention I am a picky eater? I generally do not eat beef, unless it is hamburger or the rare veal cutlet. I will rarely eat pork. So it’s mostly chicken and seafood. I have only just recently discovered that I like vegetables. This complicates the whole eating healthy process.

Posting here is cathartic because it holds me accountable for my actions. If anyone has suggestions for planning meals for the single gal, I’d love to hear them.