Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Have you heard of the Whole30?

             We all know the cold hard truth: dieting may cause you to lose weight over time, but as soon as you stop dieting and return to normal patterns, that lost weight somehow finds its way back to your thighs, butt, belly, wherever!  Well, here’s something that some of you may or may not have heard of: the Whole30 plan (not diet). 
             A few months ago, I was visiting my mom and she had borrowed a book called It Starts With Food.  I read a little bit about the plan and why it works, but didn't think twice about doing it. Now back then, I had already been eating relatively healthy (we cut out wheat/grains and dairy mostly).  I do however, work at a donut shop and the temptation is always there; and believe me, I ALWAYS give in.  So I said enough is enough and decided to borrow the book from the library (trying to save money remember) and am about halfway through.  A friend and I decided to just do it.  We all need to stop making excuses about “Oh, I’ll start in a month, because Valentine’s is around the corner and I love my Dove chocolate from my hubby.” Yeah, I know that’s what everyone is thinking, because I am/was!
             So here it is: I am starting the Whole30 healthy eating plan on February 1st (mainly for ease of keeping track of days).  If you are interested, visit the website at and join us! There are no additional costs besides purchasing healthy food (veggies, fruits, meat) and no required supplements. So far it’s my mom (yes I put your name here so you can’t change your mind), my donut shop co-worker/buddy, and my hubby. I debated making this post, because I was afraid of failure and not making it to the end, but now I have to make it, because it’s in writing!
            Basically, this plan is to help your body get back to the way it should be before all the processed foods messed with our hormones and regular bodily functions (metabolism, etc.).  I can’t give you the research behind it, but you can definitely check their book out and it explains everything you would ever want/need to know. 
We are all doing this to change our lives, because we have the power!  My mom has a bad ankle from a car wreck, constant migraines, and back/hip pain.  I have PCOS and high levels of testosterone. My friend has issues with the bacteria in her gut (I think it’s called candida) getting out of control.  And my hubby has no choice in the matter, as always (to be fair he was a really poor eater and we have mainly cut all the bad stuff out already, so he is already on a better tract than heart disease and diabetes).
Why am I telling you all this? Because we all suffer from different ailments that this plan claims can all be fixed or minimized by simply changing what we eat.  And the best part is that if you commit whole-heartedly this plan will eliminate cravings for processed sugar, salt, and fat.  Please note that if your and maybe even my diet/body is really poor, then it can take up to 60 days for this reset to work, but again, that’s 60 days of your entire life.  If it’s that easy, then why wouldn't we try it? Okay, who are we kidding? It's going to be tough, and they warn you about that, but if we do it together, it will be easier with a support team behind us. Join us and what could you lose: maybe some weight (although not the main reason to do it), your type 2 Diabetes could decrease, your muscle pain could go away, your sleeping patterns could become normal again… The possibilities are endless and you have the power to change your future health!

Now what will you decide?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weir going to a hot spring...

                Yesterday afternoon, a couple of friends and I took a trip to Weir Hot Springs near the Idaho-Montana border in Lolo Pass.  We set out a little bit late (for a winter trip), but made it there while there was still natural light.  This is extremely important, because finding Weir is like finding a needle in a haystack! We now have the location down to an art.  The turnout is past Jerry Johnson Hot Springs by about 9.5 miles and it’s at the end of a guard rail.  But the most helpful clue is that it’s around mile marker 142 going towards Lewistown, Idaho on the right side of the road.  Finding this place at night was near impossible before we discovered these helpful locators (and even with them, if you blink you miss it). 
                Anyways, the second reason for going earlier during winter is that you don’t want to hike the trail in the dark (at least we didn't like that idea after hearing about other friend's horror stories).  Now, I had only been to this particular hot spring once before yesterday, but that was this past summer.  Normally the hike takes a short 15 minutes, but that time definitely doubles during winter! You basically end up ice skating most of the way, especially since this year has not seen much snow at all and what has fallen was packed down.  Now when I say ice skating, I mean crawling on hands and knees to avoid the inevitable (falling on your face)!  At one point, I sat on my bottom and slid down an ice slide. Luckily, I was holding on to a rope between two trees and a friend caught me before I went down the snowy hill and into the river (it wasn't as bad as it sounds). Let’s just say this adventure was not for the faint of heart!
There's the "trail," but should more accurately be called a luge course.

Here's proof (that my friend was kind enough to capture) to show that I wasn't lying about the hands and knees part! Helpful hint: purchase yak-traks or cat-tracks or whatever the things are called that go around your boots for traction.

                We could tell we were near when we saw a cloud of steam rising off the pool.  Finally, we saw the rather large man-made hot spring (the wall to keep water in is man-made) and it was completely packed!  At least 16 people were crowded in it, but in my experience hot spring goers are considerate and pleasant, so the big group that had been there a while decided to leave shortly after we reached the top.   In the end, my bruised and skinned knees (through two layers) were completely worth the trouble! We ended up staying for a couple of hours, which is probably really bad for you, but the water temperature was delightful and well deserved after our treacherous hike. 
                Any virgin hot spring goers should note that alcohol is always present and welcome.  Our idea to bring wine was risky since the bottle could have broken, but in the end we enjoyed our wine by candlelight (yes, we also brought little tea lights because we are classy like that).  The wine did make for an interesting trip back to the car.  Let’s just say I wasn't the only one on my bottom and knees this time around!
                Altogether, if you live in Missoula or are visiting, you should definitely make the trip out to Weir (or Jerry Johnson, which is more commonly attended and about ten miles prior to Weir).  They are both beautiful, day and night, and they both have rivers next to them creating a serene scene. 

                What other hot springs have you visited? And where?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bottle Your Heart Out

            For the past few weekends, the husband and I have been attending the Montgomery Distillery Bottling Parties.  What got us hooked you may ask? It was definitely the free bottle of quality vodka or gin and the free pizza for lunch.  No, we are not in college anymore, but when we hear free, it’s on!
So these parties are more like a factory process of putting together hundreds of bottles of gin or vodka.  The process starts with blowing out debris (no, not with your mouth) and then filling the bottles with the selected alcohol for the day.  The filler has an automatic stop so that every bottle has roughly the same amount of alcohol.  The next station includes checking the liquid levels and putting a cork in (see below).  

After that, three different stickers are applied to front, back, and top.  Finally, all the bottles are boxed for orders or to go upstairs to the tasting room.

There's the hubby...corkin'

And that's me on the left and one of my classic faces!

Now we originally started attending these soirees to get a free bottle of alcohol (each), but it has become something that both my husband and I enjoy doing together.  Since neither of us grew up in Missoula, it’s also a great way to meet other community members and especially people our age.  Basically, it’s our way of being social at least once a week.  Yes, we both have friends, but it can be quite difficult to make new friends when the old ones move away; even more so if you aren’t attending college or are a part of another group (taekwondo, yoga, etc.).
                At the end of the day, we are proud of our participation in a usually private affair. We have now bottled batch number 26,27 and 29 of Montgomery’s “Quicksilver” Vodka along with batches 21 and 24 of the “Whyte Laydie” Gin.  So there it is: something new and exciting that most people haven’t experienced. 

What have you done that few others have tried?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bargain Hunting

Recently I read over 120 of Miss Mustard Seed’s blog posts.  She mainly writes about decorating on a budget and how to get a certain look (shabby chic) when painting furniture.  Now this may not be up your alley, but it’s definitely up mine!
                So today was my day off from slinging donuts and I wanted to get things done! I may have made too many grand plans after reading about what this stay-at-home-mother (with a thriving business) gets done while I still have to work outside my home to pay the bills.  Anyways, I made a list for the day (which I’m sure by now you all know I LOVE) and started checking things off. 
                I FINALLY made a contribution to my retirement account, which I have been meaning to do since before the wedding in August!  I picked up a library book called It Starts With Food (saving money by not buying it), and will hopefully start reading it soon.  I seem to have accumulated an abundance of healthy food choice books such as Real Food and The Diet Cure. But I can’t start reading those until I finish the fifth book in the Game of Thrones series (it’s just so big!).  Yes, I’m weird and can’t read more than one book at a time while my husband can read six all at once.  Short attention span…speaking of which, I’m totally off topic.
                Where was I…Oh yes, reading is slowly happening and will soon be checked off the list.  The main portion of my day was spent at our local household building materials recycling center called Home Resource.  I could spend my entire day there and be content (hmm future job?). Anyways, they have everything you could ever imagine from paint to sinks to doors to lumber and so on.  And I always start at the “firewood” pile.  From this pile I have collected many things including pallets to make a picture display for my wedding and scrap wood to sturdy a piece of furniture.  Oh, and everything in this pile is free! Today there were two square boxes that had a side missing.  They could be used as storage bins or stacked to make a shelf, etc. So I definitely snatched those up lickety-split.  Next to those was a chest/bin that was simply wood, but could make a cool tool box or storage for something.  I don’t know yet, but I know that it was free and that’s a word I absolutely love! 
                Once I was done with the freebies, I moved on to the door section.  I have been wanting to make/find a headboard for our bed and I loved the idea of an old door.  Well, I found the winners today…yes I said winners.  They are two matching doors that were very lightweight (easy to hang).  Both were labeled 20 dollars, but when I got them to the checkout, I feigned ignorance and asked “does this mean they are 20 for the set since they are matching?” Now let me say that I am the worst person to barter, because when I get it in my head that I want something, everyone else can see it too and there goes your most valuable part of bargaining.  You can’t let them think you are too interested or you’ll lose your edge.  Just remember that the worst they could say is “no” to your offer and then you decide if you really want whatever it is for that price or not. 
Well, I got both doors for 20 total and found some knobs, a large frame (from a window probably), and a wood headboard for a twin bed (another fun project I’ll share eventually).  Everything together cost 35 dollars!!  Let me just point out that a new headboard alone would definitely have exceeded that price.  So there’s another tip for budgeting.  Most likely if you do it yourself or get it second-hand, it’s going to be cheaper!

Here are my finds for the day!

So that’s the moral of today’s post: learning to bargain and working on projects that are long overdue.  I’m slowly getting things done, but at least this train is back on her tracks…I know I can, I know I can (okay, I know it's cheesy, but I'm choosing to leave that one)!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More on Budgeting...

                As a few of the readers have requested (okay one of my friends…), I’d love to share my budgeting tips with you.  Unfortunately, I am by no means an expert, but maybe something I type will be an inspiring tidbit.

                Here’s what seems to be the best trick (so far).  The first step in having a budget is to write everything down and keep track of it in some sort of spreadsheet (online or a hardcopy).  You can't create a realistic budget without knowing where your money usually goes and where you can cut back. Now, I am not technologically savvy and I have taken a brief computer modeling class in Excel, but that was a while back.  Anyways, point being is that I simply use the “sum” function and otherwise just plug the information in. 

                When using the sum function, you simply choose a box you would like a total (of whatever you want to add) to appear, then type “=sum.” A box should appear with a bunch of other functions that are totally scary looking.  Just disregard all the others and double click “=sum.”  (see below)

From here you have a couple of options.  Hint: you have to have the parentheses or the function won’t work.  So far, your function should look like this “=sum(“ (please note that the quotations are not a part of the function.  So the first option will be to add a range of numbers.  If you have a set of numbers in a column or row (depending on how your spreadsheet is organized) that are all next to each other, you can use this function: =sum(B6:B12) OR =sum(B6:F6).  This function will total everything in between those boxes (B6, B7, B8, B9…OR B6, C6, D6, E6…) and include the “sandwiching” numbers (B6 and B12). (see below)

The other option is to select particular boxes that are found all over the spreadsheet. This function will look similar to this: =sum(B6,A2,F17). (see below)

Again, all of the selected boxes will be totaled and appear in the new box you have highlighted.  For both of these options, you do not necessarily have to type in the box numbers, but can click on the desired boxes to be added (if that’s not super confusing). So you can type =sum( and then highlight a box and either drag down a column/row or put a comma after the first box is selected and keep adding boxes from there with more commas.  Yes, this sounds confusing, but practice first with the function and the best part is if it doesn’t turn out or there is an error message you simply delete everything you typed and start again. When you do have that "A-HA" moment, it’s a magical experience! You don’t have to do any math (although I’m weird and like math, could you tell?)!

Okay, so now that I have totally confused you… I have been keeping track of EVERYTHING!  This includes lunches, coffees and the six nuts I bought at Ace for a grand total of 72 cents (okay, I didn’t actually include that one, but I considered it!). Then I enter them into categories that include income, rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, essentials (toiletries, gas, etc.) and non-essentials.   It definitely makes the work load easier if you update the spreadsheet every couple of days.  I keep a little folder where all our receipts go and I also have a notecard in it for online and cash purchases. At the bottom of the spreadsheet I have also included a section of savings for things such as discounted ski passes bought at Costco and how much we saved instead of buying them at the mountain or “used a forty percent off coupon at Michael’s and saved this much _____.”

So far, I have just started our January tab of the budget.  When we have entered everything for January, I will total our expenses and compare to our total income.  I can already tell you we are over as we have gone on a couple of ski trips and had a hefty car repair charge along with auto insurance.  These, however, are not monthly charges and only a portion will be included in expenses.  The point is that I wouldn’t have had any clue of how much we were already over if it wasn’t all typed in one convenient location.

If any other helpful tips come up, I will gladly share them.  The best part about having everything in front of you is that you can see where all your money is going.  For example, I can see that we spend way too much money eating out.  We also were spending quite a bit on gas until both the hubby and I started walking to work almost every day.  Obviously this may not be feasible for all, but living in a smaller city and close to both work places allows us to save on gas if we get off our lazy butts and actually get some exercise!  And doing exactly this has decreased our gas consumption substantially.  We have filled up gas once this month and only for one car. As opposed to the once a week filling that was occurring just last month. 

Other ways to use less gas can be to bike if walking is too far or even to consider public transportation.  I recently was offered a free 2 year bus pass for simply working in downtown Missoula.  Of course I jumped on that deal, but walking is just so much easier than figuring out bus schedules. And besides, I’m getting exercise along the way!

Well, I hope this super vague intro to budgeting was helpful to someone.  Let me know if you need clarification on my absolutely perfect descriptions of Excel and if you have anything to add that could be helpful as well.  When in doubt, google/youtube how to do something and it’s usually there!

Happy budgeting!

P.S. I did figure out how to take screenshots on our computer (which is a miracle for me), but now internet explorer won't let me upload pictures.  So usually I do it on Chrome, but that's not working even though the icons show up.  I give up! (but not really...I'll figure it out and add them eventually)

Yay, the hubby figured out the problem! So here is a screen shot of part of our budget.  It displays a trip to Costco and the highlighted box is where my function is.  That particular box is the sum of all the items purchased during that trip.  When the month is done, I will add all the red numbers (which are all totals of money spent or received) and have an amount for how much we have spent or gained.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby Steps

                Work hasn’t left much time to try new things, so instead the hubby and I have had time to think (A LOT and maybe a little too much as you’ll see below) about adventures we want to have and accomplish and things (for lack of a better word) we want to see and do.  Well, here are a few:


  1. Travel to the East Coast
  2. Go skydiving or at least try a simulation (we are both afraid of heights fyi!)
  3. Adopt a dog (yes, we love our little pup, but my man wants a real “man dog”…aka a big dog)
  4. Buy/Build a house (not that we are looking now, but someday)
  5. Take a car camping trip (we’re thinking up through Glacier National Park and up into Banff Park in Canada)
  6. Try lobster in Maine (because I won’t try it anywhere else!!)
  7. Hold a koala (who wouldn’t want to do this?!)
  8. Visit the penguins (no, not in the zoo, but Antarctica silly)
  9. See the fjords
  10. Go mushing (I’m not sure if that’s the actual term, but that’s what we are going to call it!)
  11. Learn to SCUBA dive
  12. Learn how to make cheese
  13. Go on a Scotch tour of Scotland (ok, so the hubby wants to do this one, but what sane woman wouldn’t want to do this just for the accents…and the scenery, but mainly the accents?!)
  14. Make a home brew (yeah, my man is on a learn everything about every alcohol and bartending kick. And believe me, I’m not complaining!)
  15. Learn to sail
  16. Hunt something and be successful at least once
  17. Successfully ski a black diamond
  18. Go ice fishing
  19. Hold a baby sloth
  20. Make it into the Guinness Book of World Records
  21. Go to New Zealand and take a LOTR (Lord of the Rings—for those who don’t speak geek) tour
  22. Build a fort/treehouse
  23. Catch a fish that weighs more than 10lbs
  24. Go on a bike trip (at least town to town)
  25. Learn a dance and become proficient at it
  26. Go cross-country skiing
  27. Go sledding
  28. Go skiing on the Big Island of Hawai’i
  29. Visit all the 50 states and their capitols
  30. Learn to fish (particularly fly fish)
  31. Throw a 20’s themed party (this will happen no matter what—and I just watched Gatsby and LOVED it!)
  32. Throw/attend a James Bond themed party
  33. Make our own wine
  34. Learn to drive a stick well and then drive/purchase/win a Camaro (any of those would be fine by me)


And we add something every day! Obviously some of these are a reach, but many can be accomplished with a fair amount of willpower and budgeting.  

Speaking of which, I have found creating a budget extremely satisfying.  We have been saving every receipt to enter into Excel and keeping track of both incomes.  At this point in our lives, we aren’t in a pinch for funds, but it is helpful to know where every penny goes and where we will need to cut back in the future.  For instance, I caught a mischarge of fifteen dollars on a receipt after analyzing it to be entered into our spreadsheet.   It would have gone unnoticed otherwise. 

                 On another budgeting note… Now, I don’t know if I’m the only person who does this (oh wait, I know I’m not…), but I buy groceries and don’t think twice about how much they cost or which supermarkets might have a better deal.  I even made myself believe that our health food store was the only place that sells healthy and organic food and the only place to buy such items.  Well, I’ve been learning that many other places are now hopping on the organic band wagon (which I am all for).  Costco was the biggest shocker though! They have produce, fish, eggs, peanut butter and so much more at (usually) cheaper prices! 

                Okay, back to my point… I decided that I need to be more like my coupon cutting grandmother who still uses coupons at the store even though she has enough money to buy groceries without them. No, I’m not going to scour the Sunday newspaper for the grocery ads (especially because I don’t receive a Sunday newspaper).  Instead, I have become more aware of prices and have begun to realize where I can save money (like a newspaper specifically).

                A couple of days ago, I went on a shopping trip for craft supplies and a few household items and every place I went, I took my handy-dandy cell phone (which I have not used to go on Facebook by the way) and compared prices on websites such as Amazon.  Although I did waste a few minutes of time, I found some good deals online and some better ones in the stores.  And apparently coupons aren’t as uncool as they have been portrayed.  I saved 40% at Michael’s on a glue gun!  I guess you could say I’m learning something new; how to be a savvy shopper.  And I’m enjoying doing so!


Now that I have an official beginning of a list, I have incentive to keeping trying new things and to not disappoint myself or the readers! I'd love to hear what's on your list and what I should definitely add to mine.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Screws, bolts, and nuts...Oh my!

I'm super excited to share this one, because it's as if a weight has been lifted from my chest. I’ve had this dresser that I obtained at a garage sale about four years ago.  It was only twenty dollars and although it isn’t the highest quality of wood, I still love it. But about two years ago, I decided to paint it.  I have been extremely influenced by my mother’s love of all things shabby chic and the absolutely inspiring Miss Mustard Seed (check out her blog, NOW).  So with both of these role models helping me along the way, I took the dresser outside and painted it.  It only took a couple of hours and has sat painted without knobs in all the places we have moved in the past couple of years (okay, now that I think about it, it has only been two places).

Here is the partially finished piece (note that I am not a photographer, although that should be next on my to do list, because it's shameful to share these pictures).

                Now the original dresser had some round wooden knobs on it that could have easily been painted as well.  I decided against that when I was on a visit to the Home Resources store in Missoula.  It’s where all odds and ends and extra materials from construction projects and more end up.  I found (in their “knobs drawer”) some metal pulls of varying styles and decided I would love to mismatch them and use them on the dresser.  Okay, great! Except the wood was too thin and the bolts were either too long or too short.  And then I put the pulls in a container and stuck them where I couldn't see them for the past two years (you know you've done it too!).

There's the original wooden knob.

And here's one of the recycled metal knobs (LOVE THEM)!

                That all changed when I decided to get things done.  I got out the knobs and had a wonderful epiphany to get washers/nuts to fill the extra space at the head of the bolt.  Brilliant! If only I had the correct terminology…  I went to the local Ace Hardware excited to get a few nuts to finish my project.  The only problem was that I was very confused! I was calling nuts “bolts” and bolts “screws.” And when I tried to explain to the very helpful elderly Ace Hardware employee what I needed, he pointed at the bolts (aka screws in my head) and said there’s the size you need.  But I need “bolts”... And so ensued a back and forth conversation that eventually ended in the elderly gentleman saying “oh, you mean nuts.” Dang it, I thought I was so tool savvy just to be proven completely wrong.  Oh, well!
                So I picked out my four nuts (not bolts) and headed to the check-out line where my husband proceeded to ask me if I had gotten as many as I needed.  Well, I obviously know how to count! And I think you know how this ends… We get home only to have me gasp in horror as I forgot I had put two knobs on to measure how much extra room there was and how big the nuts had to be. AHHHHH!!!!! Well, just another thing to learn.  Always double check the supplies you will need and the quantity.  Oh, and I should always listen to my husband, because he’s usually right (hopefully he won’t see this post though, because then there’s no fun to be had)!
                And here is the big reveal…

See my shadow? Eeek!

So there you have it. I finally finished the chest of drawers and it only took two whole years!  And I not only tried, but succeeded! Okay I have definitely exhausted my use of exclamation points for this post. Until the next big adventure...

Friday, January 17, 2014

My (hopefully not) Brief Affair With Running

Okay, so running may not be a new thing for me, but running with a purpose is! Like half the American population, I have claimed getting healthy as my New Year’s goal to resolve a medical condition.

To be frank, I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).  What I have come to learn about this affliction is that it primarily messes with the female (go figure since it has “ovarian” in the title) hormones.  Hundreds of thousands of women are affected by this problem and have higher levels of androgens (male hormones).  I specifically produce too much testosterone which has led to VERY unwanted dark hair growth and skin with acne pretty much 24/7.  Yes, I do have a darker than average mustache for a woman and yes, sometimes I look at my limbs and see wolverine.  I’m sharing this with you so you can understand that I do not choose to have this problem and would gladly take clear skin and hairless arms, face, belly, etc.   Always remember that passing judgment based on appearance is generally a poor thing to do, but it’s especially so for people who have uncontrollable medical conditions and cannot change the way they appear (yes, I’m guilty, but I have a new perspective being one of those people).

Unfortunately, there is no instruction manual to fix PCOS.  There are, however, a few things I can do to minimize and potentially (if I get really serious) eliminate the problem.  Well, why am I complaining and not fixing you may ask? The solutions are exercise, a healthy diet, and weight loss.  Ah ha! That’s why it’s not as easy as it seems. 

Please note that I work at a donut shop four to five days a week and have access to the products all the time. This translates into me eating donuts every time I work.  No, I do not have self-control as you might have guessed and this is exactly what I am working on.  I’ve been trying to cut out sweets from my diet, including fruit.  I want to train myself to eat more vegetables and lose my craving for treats that occurs all the time.  This does not mean I want to cut sweets out of my life completely (I love pie way too much!), but simply that I need to control myself and learn moderation. And working at a donut shop really challenges me!

So far, I have been doing well, but I still can’t resist a little sweet in a day.  At least I have been keeping my eating under control and usually make good decisions, but a girl has got to have her sea salt caramel chocolate every now and again! Am I right?

Well the entire point of this post is that cutting out sweets is hard, period! And also that I ran for the first time in years.  I was inspired by a co-worker who runs five miles every other day or so and is training for a half marathon in February.  Anyways, I took my dog, Sophie (a four pound Pomeranian-Papillion-yes, this detail is important), and went for a jog around our neighborhood.  I definitely did a run, then walk type of deal and by the end of it I was almost dragging poor Sophie along.  At least I had a good excuse for not continuing on my run or going very fast.  My dog was tired… Who has used that excuse before? Oh wait…no one because most people have real dogs instead of a rat/fox/squirrel like creature.

So here’s the moral: I can’t make excuses any more since I’m no longer in school and have plenty of time to focus on me.  Running and planning healthy meals are other activities I can focus on instead of Facebook or texting. Remember, we only get one body in our lifetime and I plan on taking care of mine. And I am truly trying!  How about you?

P.S. I had a really hard time titling this post.  Here are a few that didn't quite make the cut (and thanks to my buddy Izzy for her help on the winner):
1. Running: A Foreign Act
2. Runnin' runnin' and runnin' runnin' (You know that Black Eyed Pea's song...)
3. T-rex Arms (an inside joke about a friend who has t-rex arms when she runs.  She laughs about it, so I'm not an awful person)
4. Running for non runners (lame)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Different Kind of Laundry

                I realize for many people that laundry isn’t where they would start after recently quitting Facebook. Some may think that hanging out at a Laundromat is not fun and exciting compared to the internet or texting friends. Well people, baby steps is my answer for you!
                Before today, I had been to a Laundromat once in my life and the first time was for a friend’s photo shoot for a fashion modeling class (yes, I will include photos). Anyways, the point is that my hubby and I needed to wash our clothes, and badly. Our current washer is out of commission and a new one has been ordered by our landlord to replace the old one. The installation won’t take place until sometime later this week.
                Now it’s winter people! That means more clothes to wash with the extra layers worn, not to mention my husband wears scrubs for work in addition to everyday clothes for well, everyday things.  Basically, we accumulated at least four loads worth of laundry after one week!
                Okay, so let me set the scene: tons of clothes piled high in our baskets at home, so we decide to take everything to a Laundromat (mainly because the hubster is out of scrubs and works tomorrow). We drive across town (even though there are at least two in close proximity to our current house), then as we are walking in, the husband asks “were we supposed to bring our own soap?” *smacks head* (I smack my own head, not my husband’s, because that would be mean). Anyways, I jump back in the car and run across town to get our detergent and dryer sheets. And so begins an episode of Laundromats for dummies.

South Campus Laundry
                I’m back at the Laundromat now and my man has figured out that you have to get a card and load it up with your money.  Okay, easy enough, but oh wait…the machine only accepts bills, no coins or card! Luckily we both have a little bit of cash, but now we have to figure out how many loads to do and the mental math for the ones we choose.  I thought this would be the easiest part, but I was incorrect.  There are four different size washers: double, triple, four (no not quadruple, but “four” says the sign), and mega. That last load size is for all those single guys (yes I’m stereotyping) who throw their new red towels in with everything else (including white undies). True story! Their face upon removal is classic. Anything that was white is pink and everything is covered in red lint.  Okay, so that was a story from the dorms, but you get my drift. That washer is gigantic and could fit both the hubby and I in it.  No I didn’t try! Do you think I want to look like even more of a newb (yes I said “newb”) than necessary?
                Okay, okay so we end up deciding on two double loads and a triple.  But then I turn to look at the dryers and there is only one size! After reading yet another explanation of how to use them, they end up being way simpler than the washers.  At least you have already made your loads and can just pay for however many seven minute cycles of the dryer needed.  It’s a darn good thing they have dummy proofed their facility with lots of signage, because two college degree holders had a hard enough time figuring it out.
                In the end, my spouse and I may not have had a super exciting or adventurous afternoon, but we did spend a couple of hours together not on technology, but working through a new experience.  And do you all remember those movie scenes where the couples meet at a Laundromat? Well, that didn’t quite happen, but the scene was perfect and the music was too! They even played I’m Your’s by Jason Mraz, which made my day.

                Here’s to doing something as simple as laundry and having fun too!

Copyright: Speak Up Photography

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Work in Progress

            I’m going off the grid, off the wall, off my rocker, or whatever else you might consider it.  I’m quitting Facebook and social text messaging!
Why you might ask?! I’m tired of typing “lol” instead of actually laughing out loud.  I’m tired of being in a room with living, breathing human beings and still feel like I’m sitting alone as the Sherwood Forest theme sounds aloud and another text is received by one of my friends. I’m tired of having to instate a “no cell phone rule” when out to dinner with anyone or having a party. And although I’m sick of so many things about technology, what makes me the most passionate about quitting is the stress that accompanies phones in general. Something doesn’t work like the 4G network or my autocorrect changes every word ending in –ing to Nguyen (supposedly one of the most common Vietnamese last names, and apparently one my phone thinks I want to type all the time). That, however, is a rant that I would rather not inflict on the readers.  Basically, in a complex society I want a little simplicity.
 I miss the spontaneity of setting a meeting time and trusting that that person will be there at the specified time. I miss in-depth conversations, not just about life, but our opinions and views of the world. I miss having a conversation with the person in front of me. Lately, I end up having a conversation with myself, while they converse with five other people and respond with “yeah” to everything I say. And yes, I am guilty too!
After everything above, I’m choosing to change my current path and a potentially disturbing future by eliminating social texting (conversations about life) and Facebook. If I want to be social, I’ll have to call someone the old-fashioned way or email them or even send them a piece of snail mail. I want to be excited to talk to my friends and I want them to be excited to talk to me. As opposed to the occasional text of “how are you?” and the response “good, how are you?” and the same response “good.”
The point is, what else could I be doing, learning, or enjoying in place of texting, checking my Facebook account at least four times a day, and even checking my phone’s screen for any sort of notification?
No, I’m not going to judge you if you keep a Facebook account or text for the entirety of the day.  I plainly want to learn about myself, my friends, my family, and the world.  I’ve spent way too much time reading posts about how this person is going on a trip to Africa or how this person is having a baby with this person, and forget that I have a life I want to live too.  I don’t want to look back one day and say what the heck did I do with my life? Did I really spend a quarter of it on Facebook? I should have hiked this mountain when I was young or traveled to the east coast before I had a brood of children to look after. There have been numerous stories lately about people getting diagnosed with some incurable illness, or a car wreck at a young age.  If I were in their shoes, I would have wanted to do everything I possibly could to live a full life before it was gone with the snap of my fingers. This could even mean the little things left unfinished while I check my Facebook for a fifth time.
Here’s the idea behind my madness: stop making excuses! Mine included “I have to have my Facebook to keep in touch with everyone.” Well guess what? I don’t keep in touch with people via Facebook and it’s as simple as typing in their name and sending a message. Friend’s pictures and posts may speak to us, but by simply hitting a “thumbs-up like button” we’re communicating poorly.
This is my plan:
1.       Get shit done! (all those projects left unfinished)
2.       Research stuff (I don’t even know the capitol of every US state, and that’s just the beginning. Sad right?)
3.       Spend more time with my family and friends (in person or over the phone in conversation)
4.       Learn new activities (such as snowshoeing) and have fun doing so
5.       LIVE!
If you would like to follow along on my most-likely-not epic journey, then feel free. I have yet to quit Facebook, but I have not checked it in a couple days (hardest thing ever since there is a reflex built in to my body).  Now that I have started my own way to “keep in touch” with people, I will be closing my Facebook and ignoring social texts but answering them with a phone conversation. I hope to inspire a generation who seems to be lost in technology, but more importantly, I want to live!
Here’s to doing just that…or at least trying!

Disclaimer: If potentially bad grammar, poor sentence structure, and average thought processes bother you, then this is not the blog for you. Yes, there will be the occasional run-on, because this is how I think. If you don’t like it, then don’t read it.  If I misquote, misspeak, or even say something completely incorrect, feel free to criticize.  Don’t however bash me because you don’t like my opinions. No one is forcing you to read this blog.