Monthly Archives: January 2012

Curse You, Budge!

So, Janet and I started the year out with about 50 resolutions.  Don’t worry: this is perfectly normal.  I like to have a lot so when I fail a few it’s not a big deal.  I like to aim for 50% completion.  Hey!  Just like high school!

I have an issue with accountability: if I’m not paying attention to something, I have no clue what’s going on.  This is very true with money and calories.  I usually walk around with a vague idea of what’s going on around me but sometimes I wonder about myself.  I don’t know what I did to survive without Janet leading me around by the hand.

Having a budget (budge), and sticking to the budge, was a top priority for us this year.  I don’t like budge.  It holds me accountable for my spending and that sucks. Ignorant bliss is behind me now.  Ah, good times.

Janet and I spent the past week in San Francisco (Janet had to work, I had to tag along), and then to Austin to visit friends.  We walked a lot in San Fran and ate a lot in Austin.  I’m drooling right now thinking about bbq and Chuy’s.  After scrutinizing budge yesterday, it seems Janet and I falter in two areas: travel and more travel.  I really didn’t see that coming.

It’s shocking to realize how much we spend and where we spend the money.  I kinda knew about the travel part, but I never realized how much we (Janet) spend on gifts.  Wow, do we really know that many people?  If yes, do we really like them that much?  Just kidding, Mom.

Aside from budge (curse you, budge!), I like most of our other resolutions.  Some are typical: go see our doctors, get our teeth checked, eat better, lose weight, etc.  Some are writing related: self publish two books, publish an article, etc.  And a few seem to go against other resolutions: buy new glasses (budge), spend the summer in Oregon (budge again), attend a couple of fall weddings in Austin (curse you, budge!).

A friend of Janet’s from work is helping us with our healthier resolutions.  We’ll call her Karen.  Karen is a sweet lady (she apparently snuck out and hid from me last time I was in California) who is coordinating a competition between several women.  She wanted to do something a little different than the usual lose weight competition so she created six different challenges and let us pick three we wanted to tackle for six weeks.

The Six Challenges are as follows:

#1: Food Journal/Tracking.  The first week starts with keeping track for 4 days per week and adding up to 7 days per week by the end.

#2: Cardio.  Karen started us slow – probably was concerned some of us might keel over from the strain (me) – with 10 minutes a day per week at the start and climbing up to 30 minutes a day per week at the end.

#3: Fruits and Veggies.  3 F & V’s per day the first week growing to 5 per day the last week.  Now, you vegetarians, don’t look down your noses at us, don’t scoff at 5 per day, some of us were born with a bag of cheetos in our hands.

#4: Water.  The first week – 32 ounces of water per day, bubbling up to 64 ounces every day by the last week.  And no, Janet, Diet Snapple doesn’t count as water.

#5: Steps.  Here’s the popular pedometer challenge!  8k steps per day the first week powering up to 12k steps at the end.  That’s a lot of steps to do every day.

#6: Strength training.  This last challenge starts with 30 minutes per week to start and pumps up to 60 minutes per week by week six.

Janet and I chose numbers 1 – 3.  We both drink a lot of water – Janet because she is thirsty all the time and me because I sweat a lot.  I know, sexy image right?  No, no – I’m already taken.  We can’t do number 5 because we both lost our pedometers – Janet’s got flushed and mine is floating around the car somewhere.  It’s not like we can buy new ones (budge!).

Number 6 we can’t do because we felt we would be cheating.  Our trainer – we’ll call him Krieg – comes by once or twice a week to beat us up for at least 60 minutes.  I think he enjoys beating us up, by the way.  Oh, I forgot, I’m supposed to be nice to Krieg for a couple more weeks.  He’s a Packers fan.  Take it from a Seahawks fan:  there’s always next year!

The catch, with the challenges you pick, is: if you miss your daily/weekly goal you have to put a dollar into the pot.  The lucky dog who puts in the least amount of money after six weeks wins the whole pot.  You know Janet and I are serious about winning: we need that money for travel expenses.

Janet and I started our food journaling on  What a fun game of accountability.  This is the best invention ever! Okay, maybe not – ever! – but I think it’s pretty handy.  You figure out what your resting metabolism is – mine is 1585 – and that’s the maximum number of calories you can eat in a day to maintain your weight without the burden of having to move around.  My kind of day.

So, you add the food you’ve eaten into your log and it adds up your calorie intake and also your fat, carbs, and protein grams.  The log is helping to open my eyes about what I’m eating and how I’m eating. I almost feel enlightened.  And the best part?  The part that’s like a game to me?  When you exercise, your handy exercise log will add the calories you burn over to your daily food intake.  I know!

The more you exercise the more you can eat and still maintain your girly figure.  If you have one of those; I seem to have lost mine a couple of decades ago.  I love it!  It’s a lot of fun, watching what I eat and exercising now.  I never thought I’d say that in writing.

Cardio was a challenge I really needed to do.  With Krieg, I’ve built up a lot of the muscle I lost over the last few months.  Unfortunately, you can’t see the muscle under all this weight (no, seriously, stop. I’m taken).  I need to burn off a ton of calories so you can see, what I can only assume are, my nicely defined arms.

The Fruits and Veggies challenge has got to be the hardest on the list, at least in my opinion.  Starting out with three was no big deal: you eat an apple here, a banana there and you’re good to go.  Well, now we’re into five a day and it’s hard (quiet you vegetarians and healthy people!).

With five a day I pretty much have to change the way I eat, especially in the winter.  Summertime?  No problem.  I’d just sit on the back porch with a slab of watermelon and a little shovel and be done!  All the fun fruits are, inconveniently, only grown in the summer.   I’m trying to branch out on my varieties. Yesterday, I bought cauliflower and Persian cucumbers.  Okay, that’s not much of a stretch, but I am trying.

I’m enjoying the food journaling a lot, budge not so much (curse you, budge!).  What I’ve really learned is I need to hold myself accountable for the things I do in my life or I will walk around in a smoky haze not knowing what the hell’s going on.  Hey!  Just like high school!



Filed under Musings

I’m Not Complaining, Just A Few Suggestions

I hope everyone had a great holiday season.  Janet, Jessie and I had 3 Christmas celebrations apiece, so we had a very happy holiday season!  If the past few days are any indication, 2012 will be another good year for us.  Here’s hoping that good cheer extends to the rest of the country. I’m pretty sure it won’t, not for everyone, but I can hope.

Book Update: My editor (Thanks, Cheryl!) gave my rough draft back yesterday and I started working on the third draft this morning.  It’s starting to look like an actual book now.  A book people might actually read.  We’ll see.  I love the suggestions she gently made for the story line.  The new ideas make the book bigger and better.  I could be biased, though.

I don’t like to complain…okay, that’s a lie…but something has been bugging me for a while and I just have to write a word or two on the subject.  Why are we such bad drivers?  Why do you insist on being in front of just one more person (me) when there isn’t anyone behind me?  Why did you buy a car that doesn’t come with turn signals?  Did you have to pull out in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes, and then turn left 100 yards down the road?  That’s rude.

I learned to drive in Seattle, a gentle town to learn to drive…during the 80s.  I moved, in the early 90s to Tulsa, then to Texas, on to North Carolina and back to Texas, etc.  The southerners residing in those states scared me, just a little, on the road.  They were nothing like the gentle Seattleites of my youth.  The very people who would slow down and let you get in front of them.  All you had to do was use your turn signal.  Good times.

After living in Austin the past decade, I was looking forward to those same gentle drivers, the kind souls who had all the time in the world to get to their destinations.  People who knew the rules of the road, waved at you with all their fingers, and always had a smile on their face.  I’m thinking those people have all moved, died, or are in jail.  Either that or California drivers have taken over the whole west coast.

Depending on which survey you read, and I’ve read a few the last couple of days, the vast majority of drivers (let’s say 70%) think they are above average in their driving skills.  Those same people, who think they are great drivers, believe the vast majority of other drivers (again, let’s say 70%) are terrible.  It appears some of us are kidding ourselves about our great driving skills.  I’m not a mathmagician, but those percentages look kinda funny.

Since I’m trying to complain less this year (one of 50 resolutions and one of the few Janet actually supports 100%), I decided to make some helpful suggestions instead.  If I made the rules, you should be happy I don’t, I would make everyone take the written and driving test every 10 years until you are 60.  Then every 5 years.  I can’t seem to make anyone at the DMV believe I am the Queen, so I’m going to try and explain the rules of the road here, just in case you forgot along your journey.

The Yield sign.  This is a hard one for us Americans.  Yield is not Latin for ‘hey, you got here first, go for it!’  Yield means STOP, unless there’s no one coming.  It gives you the legal right to make a California stop, which is where you roll through the stop sign without coming to a complete stop.  Yes, that’s illegal, Californians.  You are yielding the right of way to someone else, the person who will run into you if you don’t stop.  This is tied closely with:

The Traffic Circle.  Or, as a friend in high school called them, The Flaming Circles of Death.  These scare me.  A lot.  When approaching a circle, slow down and look to your left, left I say.  If no one is coming you can proceed.  But if there are cars in the circle, please wait ‘til they pass, slamming on ones brakes is never a fun thing to do.  I might spill my coffee.

Stop Signs.  I’m not sure when it became okay for people who have a stop sign to pull out in front of cars who don’t have a stop sign but it is highly annoying.  Stop doing that.  But, if you insist on pulling out in front of me, drive like you have a purpose.  When did it become okay to inconvenience another person so you yourself don’t have to be inconvenienced?  Oh, and if you are turning right on a red light?  That’s a stop sign, not a yield (see “The Yield Sign” above).

Turn Signals.  While living in Texas, I learned turn signals on new cars are optional.  At least that is what I assume.  YOUR turn signals are for ME.  MY turn signals are for YOU.  I know where I am going, and you know where you are going, but I have no earthly idea why you are stopped in the middle of the road.  Did you break down?  Did you pass out?  Oh, you’re turning left?  Now if only they would come up with a system where you could let me know you are turning left (or changing lanes) with only a flick of the wrist.

Lights.  My lights are on all the time.  Wasteful?  Maybe.  But I want to be seen when it’s overcast, or gray, or rainy.  When is that?  All the time!  I live in the Pacific Northwest.  Turn your lights on if it’s not sunny out…which is all the time out here.  In North Carolina, they had to pass a law which said, ‘if you are using your windshield wipers you must have your lights on,’ because people didn’t use their headlights and were run off the road because no one knew they were there.  Which leads me to:

Blind Spots.  They are named ‘blind spots’ because you can’t see those spots from your rearview mirrors.  Please turn your head and check before you come on over.  I might be camped in your blind spot just waiting for you to put a fresh dent in my little car.  Which brings me to a very important part of the driving experience:

Freeways.  Where do I start?  Keep in mind: the whole point of a freeway is to go with the flow.  Let’s talk about on-ramps and off-ramps.  On-ramps are for accelerating and off-ramps are for decelerating.  You are not supposed to accelerate or decelerate on the actual freeway, that’s what the ramps are for.  If you are trying to merge onto a freeway, which has a speed limit of 60, going 35 miles an hour it will be very difficult. You’ve encountered this problem, yes? If you are near your exit and you slow down to 40 to hit the off-ramp, you are disrupting the flow of the freeway.  The left lane of a freeway, which has 3 lanes, is for passing ONLY.  I’m not sure who told you it was okay to get on the freeway, merge all the way to your left (without using your turn signals, of course), and drive in the far left lane; they were wrong.  The far left lane is for passing only.  If you are not passing someone, move over.  I don’t care what the speed limit is: move over for the law breakers.  It’s all about the flow.

I feel better, thanks.  I’m pretty sure I’m one of the good drivers, the rest of you people are pretty bad.  I didn’t even touch on texting and phone use, which is bad unless I’m doing it.  I think our biggest problem is the sense of urgency most people drive with now.  And the feeling that my personal life is more important than yours, which is the reason I’m going around all you people and cutting in just before the on-ramp I need.  Because I have important matters to attend to…like the episode of Bones I desperately need to stream right now.




Filed under Articles