Apr 29, 2013
I had to work Saturday, which isn’t that bad. But it means that I got caught in the deluge Saturday late afternoon. I had to abandon the freeway into a neighborhood I didn’t know, and kept having to take detours due to high water. On more than one occasion I pulled over into a parking lot and thought seriously about waiting out the storm, even if it meant spending the night in my car. After careful consideration I decided to take a risk and drive the last half of the way home… and I made it. Hours of travel in water-hazard roads, but I made it in one piece.
Sunday, when we were having an impromptu family meeting about buying a block of tickets to the Blue Man Group performances in June, I found out that my business account was overdrawn. I was checking my bank accounts to make sure I had enough in my “spending account” to cover the cost of the tickets when I saw that the business account was literally in the red. Some research showed that a recent “sponsored” conference trip ended up with the hotel charged to my account. I’d given them my card for incidentals (of which there weren’t any). This was a few weeks ago. Apparently the sponsor didn’t include my room in the block they paid for when settling up. So, weeks later, I got charged for a week’s stay. Yikes! It’s been resolved and the hotel is supposed to be refunding me my money within 3-5 business days, but the overdrafts have happened.
Late Sunday I found out that the cooling system at the house needs repairs. Looks like my half of the bill is going to come to $350.
Things could have been worse. I could have been stuck somewhere overnight, or flooded out my truck. The sponsor or hotel could have refused to resolve the issue. The cooling system repairs could have been more…
But the cumulative effect was that I started the week feeling wrung out and exhausted. How was your weekend?
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Photo by Zach Klein at http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachklein/54389823/.
Apr 28, 2013
My brother and his fiancee are on the paleo-diet. From what I know of it, it sounds like a modified version of Atkins. I will probably look into it more, so I have info on what it’s actually about.
Because they’ve moved back into his house, where I’ve been living/housesitting for them, their diet is only one of the things I’m going to have to learn to deal with until I decide on my next step. The first thing they did was clean out the pantry and the refrigerator for items that they can’t eat. In their (weak) defense, they did check with me first. I told them to go ahead.
I’m hoping that everyone in the house being on a diet will make it easier for me. We shall see. I know that he’s already started to make noises about getting me to work out. Again, we shall see.
Monday, April 22
I drove by McDonald’s for my morning coffee, as I do most mornings, and I added a sausage burrito. That’s my typical breakfast. I’ve figured out that that’s 10 Weight Watchers points for me, it’s fast and filling.
Lunch was a roasted chicken salad with blue cheese dressing. Yes, I know that the choice of dressing adds to my daily intake by quite a bit, but I wanted the taste. For some reason, the salad just wasn’t as appetizing to me as it usually is. I think I just wasn’t in the mood for a salad today.
The rest of the Week
I forgot to update this blog post the rest of the week.
Apr 24, 2013
Mint has a good post with some guidelines on things to do and to avoid when buying a house. “The Ten Commandments of Home Buying” covers a few things that are important to note. The things that resonated with me:
- Don’t bite off more mortgage than you can chew.
- Carry few or no other debts.
- Keep a big buffer.
- Have an emergency fund.
- Have good life, disability, and health insurance.
- Bring a 20% down payment.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that buying a house is in my long-term plans. Articles like this make my radar. And they make me sad, because I know, really know, that my house isn’t going to become reality this year… or any time soon.
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Apr 22, 2013
I went to an event over the weekend and was feeling good about myself — I wore a nice dress, heels (without incurring injury), and had a nice time. All in all, it was great.
Until I saw the photos.
Why is it always such a shock to see myself, the real “outside” self, in photos? I’m always taken by surprise by my size, the shape of my face, the fact that I’m bigger than almost everyone else in the photos.
Who is the fat girl in the photo?
The ironic thing is that almost as soon as I step away from the photo, the dismay disappears. It only reappears at odd moments like when I have to weigh in at the doctor’s office, sit in an airline seat, try on new clothes and look at the size of what actually fits (instead of what I think is going to fit).
I know that I could not live with that level of self… disapproval, with the constant feeling of disappointment in myself. But I do wonder: if I did feel like that all the time, would I be more motivated to lose weight?
Even if I did lose the weight, the photos are forever.
***** Written on my ipad. I promise to proof and edit it later (maybe). ******
Apr 18, 2013
I knew I was in Miami the moment I got off the plane. Yes, there was an announcement welcoming me to the city. Yes, I knew where I was going,so actually getting there wasn’t a surprise. But that’s not what I mean. I knew I was in Miami because the women (even in the airport) were dressed different than in Houston. Very different.
I was expecting the holiday-wear, the shorts and the flip-flops and the casual gear. I was expecting the hats and the sunglasses and the other very obvious signs of people on vacation. What I wasn’t expecting was the others, the normal people. Specifically, the women going about their normal days.
They were dressed in bold colors, dynamic shapes, clothes with movement and flair. The clothes were more fitted, the heels were higher, and the necklines were lower (though not tacky). Their gaits had attitude.
I looked and thought, “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.”
Surely, I told myself, as I went around admiring the “native” outfits, surely I must just be misremembering. It can’t be that women in Miami dress with more style than in Houston. I was probably under some sort of vacation-induced amnesia that was causing me to forget the very stylish women in Houston. I must have seen these outfits, these clothes, out in the wild in my own environment.
Yes, I told myself, that had to be it.
And then I came home.
Where are the clothes I saw just hours before? Where were the bold colors and the flowing skirts? And the heels? What happened to the clothes? Surely they don’t just sell these styles in Miami. Surely women in Houston have access to them too.
And I paused.
It’s not that women in Miami dress with more style, I’ve realized. It’s that they dress with a sense of fun. I look around Houston and see women who are dressed with function in mind. Conservative. Pretty but practical. Stylish, but in a different way.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
NOTE: there aren’t any photos of the women because I thought it was rude to photograph strangers.
Apr 7, 2013
I didn’t track my food.
I didn’t keep a food log.
I didn’t bother weighing myself.
I went off the rails in a big way.
If I belonged to an overeaters group this is when I’d be looking for a meeting.
That is all.
Apr 6, 2013
Every year I wait until the last minute for both my Federal Tax and the State Sales Tax returns. Last year I literally filed minutes before the deadline on both. This year at least I’m filing a whole week in advance for my Federal Taxes. I did the same for my Sales Taxes too.
The procrastination doesn’t make any sense. I always get a refund, so you’d think I would do this as early as possible. But I don’t. And, honestly, I only got to this today because I am going to be out all next week.
I honestly contemplated doing them next Sunday.
So, I was just a little bit ahead of my normal schedule.
And now I am mentally spending my return.
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Apr 5, 2013
Ever want to find oud out “What Extreme Couponers Know about Coupons that You May Not“? This post on the Houston Chronicle’s Frugal Confessions blog covers things like what to do with expired coupons (did you know that military families overseas can still use them at their base stores for months after expiration?). Also, did you know there’s a certain order in which you’re supposed to hand over the coupons? Apparently, it does matter.
This and more is covered in the blog post. It’s a good one to bookmark and re-read later.
I’ve been experimenting with curry recipes in the last year or so. I’m getting good at yellow curry with coconut milk. So this recipe for Coconut Red Curry Lentils is one I’m sure I’m going to try.
The thing that’s surprised me the most about curry recipes is the addition of cinnamon. It would never have occurred to me to add cinnamon as an ingredient to a stovetop dish. But it makes all the difference in the taste, and the warmth, of the food.
I came across this great article in the Houston Chronicle: “How to make a Texas diet more Mediterranean.” In particular I like that the article focuses on small changes and decisions that can improve a traditional “Texas” diet.
I love Indian Food, but it took going with someone who knew the dishes to get me try try it. Then I attended a cooking presentation by Shubra Ramineni and just fell in love. Actually having the recipes to work from helped me see the similarities with Mexican food.
Need a primer on Indian food before you start your own love affair with the dishes? The Houston Press’ Eating… Our Words blog has a great beginner’s guide for the novice. Check out “Here, Eat This: A Beginner’s Guide to Indian Cuisine” and work your way from potato samosas with chutney to mango lassis. (Although, I am told from an expert, that the writer got a few things wrong. Yikes!)
Indian Spiced Chicken Wings
I absolutely am going to make this recipe for Indian spiced chicken wings. And I mean that, even though the recipe calls for far more than the four or five ingredients I prefer.
Other than Korean tacos (from a food truck) I’ve never had Korean Food. Houston Press has a primer on Korean Food that I’m bookmarking for future use.
Restaurants to try
I’m adding La Fisheria and Latin Bites to my list of restaurants to try, thanks to this article on Culturemap: “Houston restaurants reimagine brunch: 5 must-try spots that are changing breakfast.” I’m always on the lookout for new brunch places and both these restaurants have good reviews on magazines, etc. (BTW, anybody know what the website is for La Fisheria? Google keeps sending me to a site that has a “suspended” message on it.)
I’m going to admit that I, on occasion, buy, use and eat Velveeta. I’m not proud of it, but I am honest about it. So when I came across this neat post on BlogHer titled “Making Your Own Velveeta Is Easier Than You Think” I knew I had to bookmark it, and share it. As with many of my other shares, I probably will never actually make it myself. Still, it’s nice to have it handy just in case.
News Taco has a great post about Latino food bloggers, “YouTube’s Latino Foodies are creating a Broadcast Niche.” I discovered a few really good Youtube channels to start following.
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Apr 2, 2013
“Mommy, I know God didn’t make everything,” my nephew David states (seemingly out of the blue) to my sister as they ride home from Tae-Kwon-Do class.
My sister Arianna is seated in front of the car and trying to drive without crashing into the other hundred or so parents also leaving the neighborhood center where the class is offered. She can’t turn around and look at his face to figure out where he’s going with this. All she can do is glance at him through the rearview mirror.
“What do you mean, baby?” she asks him, hoping to get some clarification on what he’s thinking. With David, figuring out his thought process is the challenge and the fun of talking with him.
My sister is determined to raise him Catholic. My brother-in-law Tomas is non-religious in the most basic way: while he believes in God (theoretically) his family never attended church services or became “attached” to any religion in particular. He has no strong affiliations. Arianna, however, was raised Catholic from back when we still attended Mass every Sunday, so she wants her son to have the same experience. That’s one of the reasons why she put him in a Catholic school for Pre-Kindergarten. When it came time to choose private schools (we absolutely don’t qualify for any of the free options) she ended up at a “Saint” something or other.
David did not enjoy Mass… but that’s a conversation for another post.
“God didn’t make everything,” he repeats, as if this should be evident to her. His six-year-old mind frequently cannot grasp why the things that are “obvious” to him require explanations for the rest of us. He’s got that eye-roll and frustrated huff down to a science.
“Of course he did,” my sister counters. And she proceeds to tell him that God made the earth and the people, etc., etc.
He doesn’t let her finish. “All my toys say ‘Made in China.’ So I know he didn’t make my toys.” Saying this he waves one of the toys in question, reading the label on it.
And my sister had one of those flabbergasted moments of silence that’s become commonplace when interacting with her son.
She regrouped and explained, or tried to explain, what “everything” means when talking about “God made everything,” but she never changed his mind that that statement excluded his toys. “Maybe he made everything but toys,” he decided.
Cathecism class is going to be interesting.
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