Random Saturdays – Winter Cleaning

Part of my workout routine has been to clean the house.  I live in a house that is way to big for me.  It’s way to big for my cat and me.  It’s even way to big for my husband, my cat, and me.  We have the kids 8 – 12 days out of the month, and that is the only time that the house seems like the right size.  When we have people over for birthday parties or holiday meals, the house feels like a good size.  Most of the time, though, it’s too big.

Most of the time, it’s just Ben and me cleaning, too.

We don’t make the cat clean because she’s spoiled.  The last time we had the kids, we made them clean upstairs (their area) on Saturday so that we could spend the rest of the weekend having fun.  We also told them that if they cleaned, we could try to go to the farm the next weekend that we had them.  So, they worked hard, we worked hard, they argued, they whined, they cried, and they finally got the upstairs clean.

Other than times like that, Ben and I don’t really spend large chunks of time cleaning because we don’t have large chunks of time to spend on cleaning.  Mostly, I keep the dishes and clothes washed, clean the kitchen counters, and try to keep things fairly organized so that anyone in the house can find anything he or she may need at any given time.  Before company comes over, we try to clean the toilets, swiffer the first floor, and clear space on the tables and counters.  Then, I greet everyone at the door with excuses and apologies for how dirty the house is.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I am trying to develop healthy habits, including not being sedentary for too long.  So, I try to get up every hour or so and run in place.  Then, it occurred to me that I could also do spot cleaning in order to be active while also being productive.  The first spot cleaning is heavy duty, but spot cleaning afterwards is much easier.  As it turns out, cleaning burns alot of calories and works alot of muscles that I don’t use when I’m sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen.  Weird, huh?

I don’t think this house will ever be clean from top to bottom until the day we sell it and move.  The spot cleaning makes such a difference, at least as far as my emotional well-being.  I think it also helps my allergies.  It definitely adds to steps on my Fitbit.  I might buy some stock in Swiffer soon.  Those little cloths come in handy in so many ways.


Sunday Reading List

I wanted to write something for Random Saturdays, but was drawing a blank.  All I could think about was office gossip and my To Do list.  I blame this on a combination of coming back to work after a wonderful Christmas vacation and my brain not quite recovering from back-to-back colds.  Other people have written some very entertaining articles this past week, though.  So, allow me to share a few of them with you so that I’ll feel like I’m only 99% lazy bum.

  1. My Year Was Tragic. Facebook Ambushed Me With a Painful Reminder. (Slate) – Yet another reason to dislike Facebook.  I mean, you know, it has it’s uses, but I did wonder if Facebook had considered the fact that not everyone would want to relive the past year via photos.  I’ve heard that Facebook has addressed the issue since this was published, but I also think that in the world of social media and “My Life is Picture Perfect” posts, it’s good to have a reminder that real life is not always represented accurately in social media.
  2. The Sad Truth Behind Those ‘Perfect’ Facebook & Instagram Photos Summed Up In One Comic (Huffington Post) – I can’t bash Facebook without bashing Instagram too, right?  This one’s funny (and short).
  3. christmas is the pits (bitches gotta eat) – Sam’s at it again, describing how anyone not celebrating the holidays Hallmark-style can still avoid jumping off a bridge.
  4. Most Hilarious Food Network Recipes of All Time (Rantings of an Amateur Chef) – This is a blog post inspired by a BuzzFeed article, but it ends with a serious recipe that is simple and healthy.
  5. If You’re Toasting To Health, Reach For Beer, Not (Sparkling) Wine (NPR) – Lucky for me, I prefer beer over wine because it fills me up faster and doesn’t give me headaches.  Maybe you could pair a good beer with the healthy recipe from the previous post.

I hope you all had a good New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Here’s hoping I have something better to write about in 2015!

Random Saturdays – Big Expenses

Sometimes, my friends try to be nice and use words like, “sensible” or “frugal” to describe me, but really, I’m just cheap.  I don’t like spending money, especially on myself.  I like to save it, not because I want to be buried with it someday, but because I have no money and no kids and my parents never saved money.  I just want to be able to take care of myself and my parents as needed.  That’s all.  Since I don’t make much money, that means spending even less money.

I bought an iPhone 4 just before the iPhone 4S came out because I needed a new phone and had been screwed over by my pre-paid phone plan providers.  Since I had to spend $200 on the phone. I vowed to keep it until it would run no more.  That ended up being this year.  I think that if I reverted it back to the original software and used it only for texts and calls, it would work fine.  Since that is not why I have a smartphone, I decided to get a new phone.

Because my phone was dying anyway and Ben and I do not like to use our work phones for phone calls, texts, or emails (partly for privacy, more for lack of reliability), we decided that we’d get new iPhones when they came out and put it all on a shared plan.  I had a pre-paid plan for my iPhone and he had a Jetpack, so we’re really only spending a little more now to have an extra phone line, but neither of us will have to deal with the frustration of using our Android work phones or my old iPhone.  We did have to deal with the frustration of waking up at 2 am to pre-order the phones and waiting almost three weeks to have our phones delivered, but hey.  Such is life.

Shortly afterwards, Ben and I discovered that we’d both had alot of the same back, arm, and neck issues.  Since he’s very healthy and I’m on the verge of death, we realized that it had to be from the one thing we had in common – sleeping on the same mattress.  We had discussed buying a Sleep Number bed before, as in, let’s start saving now so that we can buy a Sleep Number bed in a few years.  When we realized we needed a new bed right away, we decided to go ahead and go with a Sleep Number.

It was very expensive and gave me heart palpitations, but we got a good deal on it.  For the normal price of a p5 bed, we got the bed, the SleepIQ, a mattress protector (which is also like an extra layer of cushion), and two memory foam lumbar pillows.  My last bed was $800 for the frame, bed, and box spring.  Granted, it was a full instead of a king, but I thought that was splurging at the time.  I’m having to adjust my whole point of reference.

That’s the thing, I’m having to adjust my perspective on life because my life is very different now from the way it has been the past seven years, and that’s a good thing.  I’m not alone anymore.  I’m not purchasing things alone or suffering from a bed bed alone.  It’s also nice to have someone who reminds me that I’m not a bad person for doing something for myself.  Lord knows my perspective on that definitely needs some adjusting.  I wish they had special support pillows for the soul.  Copyright and patent that!  My first million!  I’m gonna have this bed paid off in no time!

Random Saturdays – Health Stuff

Growing up, I was the picture of health.  I was a little chubby, but in a cute way that had no adverse affects on my health.  I was even tall for my age.  Once I hit adolescence, all that changed.  Every year, I went for a physical and to get renewals on my prescription meds.  Every year, a new chronic condition popped up and my list of meds grew longer and longer.  For the most part, I refused to take anything but asthma medicine and Excedrin migraine because they were the only things that I absolutely had to have in order to function on a daily basis.  Sure, the other meds might have made life a little more pleasant, but the costs and side effects weren’t worth it to me.

Over the past twenty years or so, I have gone through different phases of health, have taken more and less meds, and have had healthier and less healthy habits.  As a teenager, I would starve myself for an entire day and reward myself with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for dinner.  As an adult, I decided to try to get a grip on my health and realized that ice cream and depression were not the best ways to do that.

So, I spent two years slowly building up a workout routine of alternating interval training with yoga/pilates.  I ate very healthily.  I watched my calories.  I started meditating.  I did my best to make sure that I got as close to eight hours of sleep a night as possible.  By all accounts, I should have been the picture of health.  I was actually only slightly healthier than I had been as a teenager and I still weighed alot more.

I was only working out 20 – 30 minutes a day because that was all my joints and muscles could take in the past before my arthritis would start bothering me.  Thinking that I had to be healthier than I was previously, I tried working out even more.  About the time I started working out for 40 minutes a day, my knee started to give out on me.  I finally had to stop working out all together to let my knee heal, and I had a hard time getting back into a workout routine afterwards due to a combination of life circumstances, repeated injuries, and laziness.  Here and there, I have been able to get back into good habits for a few months, but then I get sick, I injure myself, or something in life happens that throws me off my routine.

With Ben having three kids, the added issues of school-aged kids bringing home snot-filled noses keeps me sick, too.  I know it’s just part of life and that I will probably stay sick until the kids get to high school.  Erica is in the same boat because she has a toddler in daycare.  Two of our managers have older kids and look at Erica and me with pity/gratitude/laughter because they understand exactly what we’re going through right now.  Even though Erica and I constantly have runny snouts and itchy throats, we’re not getting sick in the same way.  Recently, though, she came to work with the same type of cold (or whatever it is) that I always have.  She happened to be going through this while I was going through one of my Wellness Weeks.  Seeing her feel like that made me sad, but we also laughed about it because we kept saying exactly the same thing at exactly the same time all day.  We were basically speaking in stereo.  So, her Sick Brain was the equivalent of my Well Brain.  Go figure!

All in all, being sick because some great kids had runny noses isn’t so bad.  I try to look at it as immunity-building exercises.  Lord knows playing iPhone games by myself never did anything to prevent a snotty snout anyway.

$8 Rambo

I kind of thought I’d get paid more for standing up to Rambo.

Diet Soda Mixed With Alcohol Could Lead To Higher BAC, Study Finds

Diet Soda Mixed With Alcohol Could Lead To Higher BAC, Study Finds

What I’m getting from this is that regular soda + alcohol is healthy.  Admittedly, I might have just skimmed the article, but I’m still adding this to my list of reasons for not drinking diet sodas.

Random Saturdays – Men and Their Crappy Health

My dad started complaining about this thing poking out of his belly button over seven years ago.  “It hurts and it pops out, so I have to push it back in,” is how he described it.  You’d see his face in pain and he’d rub his beer belly like a pregnant woman rubs her tummy.  I don’t remember exactly how, but he found out it was a hernia, and then did nothing about it.  At one point, the neighbor across the alley told my dad that he had the same problem and it’s a simple outpatient surgery.  I volunteered to take time off to drive my dad to and from appointments, take care of him while he recuperated, whatever he needed.  He just had to make the phone calls.  He claimed to have made them, but always had excuses for why the doctors were jerks who didn’t have time for him.

Cut to last summer when my step-mom finally made an appointment for my dad to see a doctor because the hernia caused my dad so much pain.  Before my dad made it to the appointment, I got a call from the ER.  My step-mom called an ambulance because my dad was in excruciating pain.  The doctor there gave my dad some pain pills and sent him home since my dad was due for surgery a few days later.  It was supposed to be outpatient surgery, but the surgeon saw, in medical terms, “a hot mess”.  The hernia had morphed into diverticulitis and perforations in the colon, which required a colostomy.

Even after all this, my friend, Cathy’s, boyfriend has a hernia and put off seeing a doctor for months.  Seriously???  Men – why do you hate being healthy?!  Why do you people do this?  Why do you wait and wait and wait to see the doctor?  Is it because you enjoy hearing the doctor say things like, “From a medical standpoint, you’re officially dead.”  Does it have something to do with zombie fantasies?

A slightly more whimsical metaphor for a man's festering gut

A slightly more whimsical metaphor for a man’s festering gut

I like my doctor, but I don’t like seeing her.  I see her because I have to for my health.  Taking care of your health is like doing yard work.  The longer you wait to take care of it, the worse it’s going to be.  If you wait too long, you’ll be forced to let others take care of it, at which point, they might have to chop down the big shade tree in your front yard because it’s diseased because you didn’t keep the pests away from it, so now you’ll be without shade and you have a gaping hole in your hard.  Good going men!  Hope you enjoy your crappy health and your ugly yard!

Thursday Progress Report – 2013 Big Momma To Do List

I love To Do lists.  I write Post-Its for things that haven’t made it to a list, but I don’t want to forget to do in the short-term.  That’s not to say that everything I put on a list gets done, but hey, congratulations for making it to the list you sweet little To Do, you!

I like lists.  I got most of this stuff done today too.  Bow before my productivity!

I like lists. I even got all of this stuff done yesterday. Bow before my productivity/HULU!

So here’s a list of things I want to focus on/accomplish this year:

  1. Read 4 books – Not sure why finishing a book became so difficult after I went back to school a few years ago, but it did.
  2. Keep up the Debediah project – We really need to start the videos, but in the meantime, I should try to work on the comic once a week or so.
  3. Learn to play an instrument – I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano, but they’re expensive, take up too much space, and are too loud for an apartment.  I considered the ukulele instead.  Then, I remembered that I still have a keyboard at my dad’s.  When I told my dad about my plans, he ranted about how much he hates ukuleles.  Who knew?  The keyboard isn’t the piano, but it’s close enough for me for now.
  4. Lose 12 lbs – In all honesty, this is partly in vain because society seems to hate fat people.  I will never be a size 0 (and really don’t want to be) or even a size 6.  However, I have asthma, joint and muscle problems, migraines, and so much more.  Some of that is hereditary, but some of it is because the strain of all this extra weight on my small frame is just too much.  Losing a pound a month is a manageable goal that should improve my health.
  5. Workout 1 hour per week – (See above.)  Exercise has benefits besides losing weight, but I can’t do 2 hours of cardio and Pilates everyday.  I have learned the hard (read:  painful) way that I cannot workout more than 20 minutes a day and cannot push myself too hard when I do workout.  If I don’t workout at all, I feel like crap.  Moderation.  Blah.
  6. Knit 4 projects – Knitting is kinda like reading for me.
  7. Work on The Comic – My friend, Evelyn, and I developed a story for a comic last year and she drew some prelim sketches.  Since our schedules conflict, I’m going to write the story and dialogue in detail, and then she’ll do the art.  This is strictly for fun, so we don’t have deadlines, but I’d like to get it done by the end of the year.  We’ll see.
  8. Keep up this blog – Three times a week.
  9. Practice drawing/Gimp/Inkscape – Practice Gimp/Inkscape for this blog and Gimp/drawing for the Debediah comic.  I found some free online tutorials, so I’m gong to make the most of them.
  10. Learn to code – Why not?

Best of luck to me with meeting my goals!  Aww, thanks, me!