About Me

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My goals for the future is to obtain a teaching/librarian job, lose weight, own a house, and to travel the world.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 78: Before the Panic Rises

I have put myself in a difficult spot...agian.  The usual pattern that I have maintained since middle school which is to shove off my homework until the last possible moment.  Only now I am grad school...why haven't I learned?  Will I ever learn?  This is the last week of the term and everything is due this Sunday.  While I am slowly crawling my way out from under a pile of homework, I am not seeing sunshine yet.  Therefore, my immediate reaction is to run and hide which equates to distracting myself with everything else but my homework.  Yet I know within my soul that I absolutely cannot fail...I must finish by Sunday evening.  So am trying to calm myself down before the panic rises to the surface.  What if I can't finish?  Last summer the same thing happened and I took some incompletes, so that is not an option for this time. 

I have to finish and I have to calm down before the panic rises.

Before the panic rises....

I am trying to imagine the immense sense of relief when I do finish.  If I survived basic training, I can survive this...before the panic rises.

Send me some encouragment please...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 76: New Design

So if you have read my blog you noticed the new look.  Hope you like it.  Also, on the side bar, I have my "wish list" and "projects currently working on".  As I complete a goal from either list I will check it off with the date completed.  The idea for creating a wish list/ current project is adapted from this blog on Tyler Tervooren's Advanced Riskology:

Let me know your thoughts about your own wish list of things you want to accomplish.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 75: A Tale of Two Coats

In an attempt to sort through my pile o' stuff, I have come to the conclusion that I do not need two coats.  However, tying to decide which one to keep has been a dilemma.  Why?  As I pair down deeper into my closet, old habits of trying to talk myself into keeping items or finding excuses to keep something based on the "some day" scenario creep up.  So I have come up with a list of pros and cons:

Coat #1: dark forest green w/ fur lined collar from consignment shop

Pros: 100 % wool                                                                                                               
         fur-lined collar
         vintage circa early 1970s?
         My mother has offered to
         repair it for me!
 Cons: Seams and lining ripped
           creative repairing required

Front view

Just one of many holes in the seams

Ripped up lining

Another ripped up seam
Coat #2: light blue w/hood from Old Navy

Pros: has a hood                                                                     
 love the sky blue color    
Cons: weighs a "thousand lbs" when wet
made out of acrylic/polyester material
ugly little "pearly" balls everywhere
looks very worn
view from the back side

ugly little "pearly" balls as a result of the polyester material

view from the front--I dig the hood

So what is the dilemma besides one is ripped up and the other is worn looking?  In my attempt to declutter my pile o' stuff, I have come to the conclusion that I only need one coat.  Eventually, I will need a new coat but the fundage is not readily available and I want to spend my money elsewhere at the moment.  So which one to keep?  It is a hard decision to make.

Tell me your thoughts on which one I should keep?  Or what are your struggles in sorting out your pile o' stuff?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 73: Black Friday

The highways around backed up with busy travelers attempting to leave the city (or go to the city) and the airports are working around the clock to ensure wayward travelers arrive on time.  Thanksgiving is a fun get together with family but it is the day after Thanksgiving when an even busy mad rush begins.  The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday which holds a reputation of long lines, grumpy people, and the occasional snarl fest over toys or electronics.  For the past 3 years, I have participated in this ritual of waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning to go stand in the cold for two hours.  This year I have decided to not go out on Black Friday.  First of all, I don't have the money but this is actually a good thing.  I don't have to think to decide to participate or not, the decision is already made.  Second, in an attempt to declutter my pile o'stuff and finish my projects, I don't need to bring more stuff into my house.  Finally, the purpose of my blog is the work on spending less money.  My goal is save enough money to visit my sister in Saudi Arabia, hopefully by the end of August.

However, I realize that some of you may decide to participate in this ritual of Black Friday, so here is my gift to you to take shopping, whether it is Friday or any other day.

Before you buy something, take out this card
and ask yourself these questions:
  • Will this purchase help me reach my financial goals?
  • Do I really need this item or just want it?
  • Would I come back tomorrow to buy this?
  • Can I really afford it?
  • Would I buy if if I had to pay cash for it?
  • If I buy it on my credit card, can I pay it off this month?
Adapted from "Making Money Work for You" by the University
of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
Financial Fitness

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 70: Mad Rush toward Thanksgiving

For my demonstration today, I sampled "Dry Soda" a low-sugar option for wine.  It was actually pretty good, more like a flavored water than sugary soda.  While my demo was interesting, what really caught my attention was the mad rush of customers frantically running all over the store to buy specialized ingredients in order to spend hours of cooking for a giangatic feast.  Usually, cooking falls on the shoulder of one individual, perhaps the mother while everyone else enjoys stuffing themselves endlessly.  Why is Thanksgiving set up to be a gorge fest?  Is it supposed to be about family and being thankful for our health and happiness?  Weight Watchers teaches that holidays are just another meal, maybe a little nicer meal, but a meal nevertheless.  That means that it is not a gorge fest but just a great meal.  For consumeristic Americans, this is a difficult concept to wrap our brains around.  Would we not enjoy Thanksgiving if we just had some turkey (or not), a starch, and a nice salad followed by desert a little later.  Four or five carefully selected dishes, so much simplier yet still enjoyable.  Better yet, what if our new tradition of a non-glutounous Thanksgiving dinner was followed by an activity, such as board games, card games, or a nice walk. 

What are your thoughts about Thanksgiving dinner?  Please share them with me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 69: Old Friends

Today while working a demostration I ran into an old friend, Jeremy.  Actually, he was once my neighbor and I had a huge crush on him (from afar since I am very married).  I met Jeremy when we were still in college and my son was just learn to walk and talk.  Jeremy even babysat my son, so my husband and I could go on a date (a rare occasion when a small child is involved). I recognized my friend instantly. The last time I saw him, he was not in a good sense of space. Today he looked fanastic, working as a contractor for an environmental friendly construction company in Portland.  So if you live in the NW, check out the website, From These Hands (http://www.sukita.com/).

Have you ever run into an old friend and a rush of memories come flooding to the surface?  Share your thoughts with me.

Checkin:  Worked a demonstration and my knee was throbbing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 68: Kinetic Midnight Energy

Kinetic Midnight Energy is the name of the girl's group that I volunteer with on Friday afternoon.  The girl's decided on the name by voting but I don't think some of them realize how accurate this name is for them.  Kinetic energy is the swirling energy molecules that bumb into each other at complete randomness; just like the girls.  I like this group because they are the children of Somalian refugees and arrive each week wearing their brightly colored scarves; like working with a rainbow of chaos.  The girls bring a brightness and sweetness to end the week on a good note.

Today's accomplishments:  Worked full day subbing. 
                                          Volunteered with the International Girls Group of Portland
                                          (aka Kinetic Midnight Energy)

The Cheetah symbolizes the energy of the girls X 16 personalities

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 67: Rain

The rain is pouring down, which is not unusual for Portland weather.  Today, I got a sub call and on my way to work I narrowly escaped being swallowed by the instant lake forming at the bottom of the hill.  I promptly turned my little Kia around and choose a different route. 

A Portland winter day
I like the rain.  Watching it fall from the sky just to jump back up in excitement.  Or read a good book with a hot cup of coffee (or tea).  Rain also makes me sleepy and  I just want to curl up into a ball under my warm quilt.  Or better yet to settle back into a hot bath with a candle lit filling the hair with lavender or mint.

Yesterday, in the rain, I met another Portland blogger for tea (http://www.minimalistadventures.com/.  It was strange to contrast the image in my mind with the person in front of me.  It was also strange to realize we knew each other from our blogs yet exciting to find out new things.  It was like meeting my pen pal, spending months reaching out through the electoral current known as the Internet.

One particular memory I have of the rain was a wild wind storm screaming its presence.  We lost the electricity, so my mother and I had to got outside to find the telephone number on the electric box.  A flash of lightening burst forth, struck a tree branch, and my friend's father ducked quickly behind his truck in order to miss the tree. 

Today's check in:
worked a full day and finished one of my reading assignments.

to drink some chai tea and take a hot bath

What are your thoughts or memories about the rain?  I discovered something about my blog.  When I looked at my stats, I have viewers from as far away as South Africa and Hong Kong.  While I am thrilled to realize that I have an audience for my thoughts, please don't be shy about leaving your thoughts.  I want to hear from you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 66: Progress Report

I have been this blog for roughly two months (give or take a day or two) and I think it is time to review my progress:

1)  I have not lost any weight.  Uggh...However, in my defense I hurt my shoulder making it so I could lift my arm above head without tears and I recently crashed and burned on bike, slamming my knee into the concrete (see Day 59: Chain of Support  http://spendlessweighless.blogspot.com/2010/11/day-59-my-chain-of-support.html). 

2)  I am behind in my homework...again.  This is constant battle for me.

3)  I sometimes succumb and but lunch or tea vs packing my lunch or tea in a thermos.

4)  I have started the slow process of weeding out my excess "possessions" such as clothes, shoes, and junk occupying my kitchen.

5)  While I am behind I have started the process of unburying myself.

6)  I have reduced my spending even though I have slipped up.

7)  My way of eating has changed centering around Weight Watchers which means more veggies and less meat and eating according to proper proportions.

Immediate goals:
1)  Continue working on my homework...I have three weeks to get it all done!

2)  Started working on my mountain of sewing projects and Christmas gifts.

3)  Figure out a modified work program while my knee heals.

4)  Start tracking my walking steps...again.

5)  Accomplish at least one thing a day or make significant progress.

Long-term goals:
1) Work on my husband and son to set a modified/reduced budget for Christmas.  We don't need more "things".

2)  Weed out more junk and simplify our junk load.

3) Save money to visit my sister in Saudi Arabia.  While I am bummed about her moving, it is good for me to stand on my own two feet for awhile.  Besides, I have always wanted to visit the Middle East...such a fascinating and ancient place in humanities history (the number zero, medical knowledge, and preservers of the Greek mythology).

3)  Continue toward my weight loss goal.

4) Start riding my bike more (without crashing :)

So far a mixed progress report.  I certainly have room for improvement, but that is the purpose my blog--to keep me on track.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 63: Still Hobbling Around

As the title suggests, I am still hobbling around due to my little "accident" (see Day 59: Chain of Support http://spendlessweighless.blogspot.com/2010/11/day-59-my-chain-of-support.html).  The good news is that my chain of support has continued with phone calls, the sweetness of my husband cooking and cleaning, and even my moody 12-year-old-son helping out with minimal arguing.  I have also been doing a lot of studying in an attempt to unbury myself from a mountain of homework.

Let me know your thoughts or injuries!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 60: Veteran's Day

So today is Veteran's Day, a federal holiday that several enjoy as a day off.  I certainly enjoy my time off, but it is humbling to me to think of those veteran's that have fought and survived WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan... As for me, I am blessed to have served my country nice and safe from Ft. Hood, Texas.  Applebee's even provided a free meal to all veteran's which we enjoyed.

As for my knee (See Day 59) I am hobbling around, trying to catch up on my homework.  Hope you enjoyed your holiday.

Day 59: My Chain of Support

Today I was so proud of myself because I rode my bike to the Portland State University campus!  6.5 miles is an accomplishment for me.  In another post, I stated that I was going to ride my bike 3 times a week, but I have to admit that I have whimped out because of the cold and rain.

Unfortunately, when I was getting ready to leave, it was late in the afternoon and I was trying to talk myself out of simply throwing my bike up on the bus or train; I can be tough girl.  Now, I am convinced that it was God, the Universe, my own personal instincts warning me.  As I was beginning my journey, I was stuck behind a bus and I had the "brillant" idea to pass the bus.  Except that my tire got caught on trolley railing and my knee slammed into the concrete; not a pretty event to behold.

So here is the upside: a bike rider rode by and helped me out of the street--definately a good thing.  Then a very kind gentleman walked over and stayed with me until I was able to secure a ride.  I called everyone that I knew until finally my brother-in-law was able to rescue me.  Angels was watching over me, both metaphysically and in the shape of the kind stranger and fantastic in-laws! 

Finally, it felt nice that although I had difficulty getting ahold of people at first, every single person called me back not knowing what had happened.  After sitting in my chair with my leg propped up, my husband got me worried about my bike being locked up downtown, alone, in the dark, all night.  So I called one more person in my phone list: my brother, who unfortunately I don't call to often.  There is something about having a genetic connection because when the call came, my brother drove me back downtown at 10 o'clock at night to rescue my bike.  It was nice to know that even if we are not close, he is still my brother and there to help when needed.  I think I need to reach out to him more, not just when I need rescueing. 

So, you ask, am I hurt.  Well, yes my knee is banged fairly bad but nothing broken.  The swelling needs to calm down.  I just got over from hurting my shoulder and back into yoga again and now this.  Maybe my brother-in-law is right, I am a walking accident!

The lesson I learned from this experience is that I reach out to the same person over and over again, mainly my sister.  However, this is not healthy.  Now I now that I have other people to support me, such as my brother.  It is good to widen my circle of support.

Please share your thoughts or feelings.  Who is your chain of support?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 55: Infinite Hope

So this weekend I attended a women's conference with my friends and their church ( I posted a little teaser about this on Day 54) and I took away so many empowering thoughts I want to with you.  Regardless of your spiritual path lessons of infinite hope applies to everyone.  Hope is like oxygen, a necessity for life...

1)  We are angels in disguise.
Instead of dwelling on the things that we have failed to accomplish, it is important to recognize all the good that we have done for ourselves and for others.  Remind yourself that you are a beautiful angel.

2) There is great power in being touched by someone who loves you.
Whether from family members, God, Allah, or whoever, remember that we are touched with love.  Furthermore, remember to touch those you love.

3) There is power in choosing to be cheerful and the choices we make.
While a bad attitude followed by anger & negativity might seem the easier choice in the long run it is difficult to maintain and effects the quality of life.  Instead, choose to have a good attitude about life complimented by strength & positivity.

4) Choose to be grateful.
Acknowledge the good things and good people in your life; this changes your attitude and the way you approach things.

5) There is power in surrendering control.
While it is human nature to want to control what comes into our lives, sometimes things happen and it is better to let go and just laugh & have fun in life.

By remembering we angels in disguise, power in choices and attitude, and surrendering control, we actual create a space for new opportunities and adventures.  When we have hope, then we can focus on our dreams and what is truly important instead of letting all the negativity clutter up our lives. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 54: Hope

This weekend I am attending a women's conference through my friend's church entitled "Time Out for Women" (great title).  Tonight was amazing! Lots of jokes, great music, and beautiful stories.  The main message:  we need to seek Hope and hold on to Hope in order for our lives to open  It is only when we have Hope can new opportunities to seek us out.  Plus it is fun to hang out with a bunch of girlfriends!

Let me know your thoughts about Hope!

Day 50: Reflection in the Mirror

After an epic battle of looking at my son's planner and figuring out that he does indeed have homework, I have come to the conclusion that he is indeed my son.  Even though it is difficult to admit, when my son is defensive like this, it is own reflection in the mirror.  When I was in middle school, I was secretive about my homework, especially if I was in the wrong.  Unfortunately, I still am secretive even though I get caught.  My husband calls it "falling asleep".  Part of the many reasons for this blog is to address these issues of "falling asleep".  When I look at my reflection in the mirror, i.e. my son, I want to be proud of my image.  I want to set good examples for him so that he will grow up to my a good man.

So here is my confession: I have gotten behind in my homework yet again just like in the summer.  I have one month left of the term and so I need to bust it out to complete everything in time.  I need your words of encouragement!

Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 48: Listening Ear

As part of my goal to "kick it up a notch" (http://spendlessweighless.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-38-kick-it-up-notch.html, I bought a pass to the local community center and attended the deep water aerobics class.  It was an amazing work.  Afterward, I slipped into the hot tub for a little rest and relaxation.  A woman started talking about being sick, abused by doctors and the police, and harassed in every way possible; she was a "slave" to the system.  While I am not quite sure how much of her story I but into, I felt that what she wanted the most in that moment was someone to listen to her.  So I choose to become a listening ear, regardless of whether her story was true or not.  It was her truth and she needed a companion...