Thursday Thoughts

Random stuff this week...

-- I've always been a scale girl. I weigh myself a few times a week- even when I'm gaining and in complete denial about my poor eating and lifestyle choices. Well Synergy may have once and for all ended that habit. After three weeks of eating better and working out consistently, my button up shirts aren't as tight, my back looks trimmer (read those tiny rolls are almost gone), and my face looks less swollen-- but the scale hasn't really moved. My trainer says the 96 ounces of water I drink every day and muscle gain are the culprits. Scientifically cool, but still annoying. However, I'm confident the scale will reflect all my hard work eventually- but for now I'm not going weigh myself so much and just keep at it. 

---On another note: my work out schedule seriously puts a damper on my social life. In the last two weeks, I've had to say no or show up late to every birthday dinner or happy hour I've been invited to. And then say no to drinks and pretty much every item on the menu. Then again, lots of high calorie drinks and food are how I got fat (no reason to sugar coat it) in the first place. Luckily my friends are supportive. And I always have shredded chicken and a hard boiled egg waiting for me at home-- no, seriously I do.

-- Confession time: I'm only putting a half ass effort into my finance/accounting refresher course. It is an short class (only 6 weeks) that I started last week, and also a per-requisite for the infomatics class that I'm dreading taking this summer. A "C" will be just fine, as I am not planning on working in finance and I am confident no one in the grand scheme of things will care how I did in this class. Including me.

Pro tip: if you think you may ever get the inclination towards grad school, and may or may not have chosen communications as your major to avoid having to take a second accounting course and a statistics course- take the second accounting course or statistics. That way you don't get stuck having to take a refresher in grad school. Ah, who am I kidding, I still wouldn't have taken them in undergrad. #slacker

--- And a quick rant on Ebola. I've had to sit in several meetings on this of late and have gotten the facts, because I work in health care. The result: my distaste for news pundits is at an all time high. The only thing they have accomplished is putting irrational fear into people. I personally stopped watching tv news years ago and this fear mongering irritates me to no end. It's going to be ok y'all. 

--- Speaking of moronic news pundits, I am very grateful that most of my friends on Facebook have kept this election cycle off my feed this year. I suspect it's because both sides have run of the mill candidates who aren't going to do jack you know what if elected (or reelected). Ten points for consistency? I need to go vote this week, because there are some local issues on the ballot that will effect funding for my organization and also a proposed (and much needed) metro rail expansion. 

As far as the state elections, well quite frankly, I try not to think too hard about the knuckle heads representing my state, or the future knuckleheads about to be elected. The fact our current and future governor will continue to reject expanded Medicaid, which would give hundreds of thousands fellow Texans access to health care, is beyond frustrating and simply wrong. But I try not to dwell on it and instead focus on the positive, aka the vulnerable population my job is privileged to serve here in Travis County.

If you are a new reader- I'm a single issue voter and that issue is health care access for everyone. I don't talk politics often, but this country's health care system makes me angry and sad at the same time.

--- While on the topic above, I do have some positive news. My mom recently went in for tests and we were very worried that the C word may come back (cancer). Yesterday her results came back and it's not cancer!!! Her diagnosis is curable and she should be on the mend.  It's a huge relief for my family and the best news of the week!

--- And last but not least, I watched the first part of Death Comes to Pemberly earlier this week. Masterpiece and PBS never disappoint me. I can't wait for part two this Sunday.

Ok so I talked diet, school, politics, a cancer scare, and Jane Austen-- I think we are good! Have a good one.

November Goals

The last couple of months have flown by and it is hard to believe November is almost here. The warm weather is still here in Austin, but to be honest, I don't mind it.

September and October were filled with lots of football watching, weekend trips, and home projects. I am looking forward to things settling down next month.

Here are some goals I have for November.

1. Continue to be diligent with boot camp and eating right. This means working out 4-5 days a week and being very good about counting calories during the week. The scale progress has been slow, but I am seeing a difference in the way my clothes fit, so I am not complaining.

2. A much needed spending freeze. Between school expenses, home decor projects, booking travel for Christmas, and paying for two weekend trips (one already taken and one coming up in November) -- September and October were expensive! I have some year end financial goals I want to achieve, which means the money belt has to be tightened. Any non-essential purchases are being put on hold for the month of November.

3. Getting a jump start on Thanksgiving. My friend and I are hosting Thanksgiving next month for our friends who are not traveling for Thanksgiving. We need to sit down and get the meal planned. There are the obvious staples, but desert and some home dishes unique to our own family traditions will be incorporated as well. I am so excited to host my first Thanksgiving in my new place and even more excited it is with my girlfriend who loves cooking as much as I do. Bellies will be stuffed y'all!

4. Work on my school schedule. I actually only have a month left for school this semester and boy has it flown by. Grad school was pretty overwhelming at first, but I have managed to get the hang of it. The only area I really have not been good about is sticking to a schedule for studying. Waiting until Sunday night to turn in assignments has been less than fun. My goal for November is to make a schedule each week and stick to it.

5. Work on my family photo albums. Last Christmas my Dad let me take back to Texas a big box full of family photos, which my Mom may or may not know I have. My mom is amazing, but a pack rat. Which means there were several hundred photos in a random cabinet aging without love in random cardboard boxes. If she knew I packed them up and shipped them to Texas, well she may have had a heart attack. We will just keep that on the down low.

Anyways, my plan was to scan them all and order glossy photo books- and then give them as gifts for Christmas this year. There are some really special photos, some dating back to 1901 on my Dad's side. However, I haven't even made time to sort them. And I realized pretty quickly it would take me way too long to scan them all. So I found a website which for a $100 will let you ship them a box full of photos (they have to be sorted and all facing correctly), scan them, and send digital files (and the originals) back to you. At first I was hesitant about doing this, since the photos are not replaceable, but the site is very reputable and has great reviews. My goal for November is to sit down and sort all the photos and ship them out. The company has a two week turn around, so I'm cutting it close for Christmas gifts. Once I get back the files, I will then sit down and create the photo books and order. Fingers crossed I get this accomplished in time for Christmas.

Do you have any goals for November?

Christmas in October

So I have mixed feelings on Christmas being in the stores already and the trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving night. 

Last month it bothered me Christmas decor was making its way onto the shelves, because I was looking for fall decor- which was way harder than it should have been to find. But I have to admit all the sparkle and glitter of Christmas decorations in Marshalls and TJ Maxx last week put me in a good mood. I'm not ready to decorate for Christmas yet, but I'm definitely getting ideas. I'm not a big Halloween person and I love the Christmas holiday season, so I am ready for it to be "time" to put of my tree and decorate. I will probably not be able to hold out until the day after Thanksgiving. I just love way my house feels decorated around the holidays.

That being said, I know the holidays stress people out because the focus seems to be on gift giving and the credit card debt that many go into while buying. I am very fortunate that I don't have any stress when it comes to gift giving. This is because I only buy for my immediate family of 5 (well actually 6 and one cute toddler this year, now that my brother is married and has a step-daughter). I have a very large extended family and we decided a decade ago there were simply too many kids to buy for (23 grandchildren then) and that Christmas should be about holiday cheer, not opening presents. So I think that is a big reason I am stress free around Christmas. The focus in our family is just spending time with one another and enjoying the ho ho ho.

I will say it kind of stinks that more stores are opening on Thanksgiving. I remember a couple years ago my sister having to go to work at midnight because she worked in retail, and that was the first year they started Black Friday at midnight. She never really enjoyed dinner or family time, because she knew work was coming next and would be up all night with crazy outlet shoppers. Both Steph and April wrote a blog posts on this topic last week.

But I have a confession: I did go shopping on Thanksgiving night last year. Usually I wouldn't even consider going shopping that night, but last year most of my friends were out of town, an expensive plane ticket to Maryland wasn't in the budget, and while I did do early dinner with a friend and her family, it ended early and I really didn't want to go home and sit alone on a holiday.

My experience.... Well Walmart was a mad house. I got there after the store had opened. The parking lot was completely full, so I ended up parking in front of a fast food place in the back of the lot and walked over to the store. I was not prepared for the insane environment I walked into. No carts were left and crazy people walking around with carts stuffed with crock pots, electronics, and some other random shit that made me go "what the f*ck"- for instance a home pedicure tub. It took me a while to find the TV I wanted and I'm pretty sure I was not supposed to just grab one out of the large crate without a ticket, but we will just keep that on the down low. I have to admit, I felt victorious about my 32 inch flat screen I was carrying around, and then just walked around seeing what other "good deals" there were to be found. I ended up getting a couple of dvds for $3 each, and then went to find the lines. And this is when it went downhill. The lines were so long, police monitoring them, and everyone agitated and pissy. Any feeling of fun I had while grabbing the TV went out the window as I stood in line for 30 minutes surrounded by "the people of Walmart". I don't think I'd go back there again during prime holiday shopping.

However, I went to Target next and while standing in line waiting for the store to open (which is no big deal since the weather in Texas is mild in November), met the nicest couple with their teen age daughter. They basically said they didn't have family here, had enjoyed a nice dinner earlier, and decided to venture out for some shopping that night for the girl's boyfriend, who wanted a TV that was going on sale. The people waiting in line were a lot of tweens, parents with older children, couples, and then a few stragglers like myself. The mood was much more laid back than at Walmart. The staff at Target were also friendlier and nicer.  Once in the store, the people shopping there were definitely less rude and nutso than a Walmart, but still I witnessed weird things in the 10 minutes I was in the store-- like a women and her mother filling up their cart with a gazillion board games, which I guess were on sale. People were also running around looking for their items. FYI: stores hide the sale items in weird departments on Thanksgiving night. Like TVs in the meat department or blue ray players in women's clothing. Because I only wanted a blue ray player, I was able to get in, pay, and get out of the store before the lines started.

I then went home, hooked up my new TV and Blue Ray, and enjoyed the rest of my evening. By then my family was driving home from their holiday dinner at my Uncles and I shared my adventures in the stores. My Mom actually told me she was glad I had something to do that night instead of sitting at home alone. However, this year I'm having friends over at my place and will not be shopping.

Oh and as far as getting up early and going shopping on Black Friday. Hell to the no. I have never done it and have zero desire to do so. There is nothing in this world that would make me get up before dawn to be in a frenzy of shopping with lots of women searching for toys for their kids and people shopping for themselves in a determined manner. Although funny story, last year I forgot it was Black Friday and went to Michaels in the afternoon. Y'all it was picked clean. Lesson learned. Wait until the stores have been restocked after the first official shopping weekend of the holiday season.

Are you planning on shopping on Thanksgiving? Are you a Black Friday Shopper? Or are you just looking forward to decorating?