Look Around List

“Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

“America the Beautiful

Listening to these amazing ladies sing, while getting to see it beautifully signed? Where are the tissues?

Cooking. I got back to my apartment tonight and did dishes. It’s hard to cook if you don’t have clean dishes. I cooked up a very tasty dinner, and that always feels good.

Groceries on sale. I’m on a bit of a budget right now. So when I got to the store to discover that I could get over 3 lbs of boneless chicken thighs for about $1.50 a pound, as well as peppers and mushrooms for $1 each? I was so happy! I was able to get everything I needed as well as a few wants and got change!

Media apps. I do not have cable. It seems so silly for me to have it since I bought a Roku last year and have had Netflix and Hulu the whole time. But, networks are pulling their stuff from Hulu, which is frustrating. So today I made a couple of changes. First, I finally got CBS All Access. It’s the only place they are going to be showing Star Trek: Discovery, and hubby and I have been discussing getting it for that reason. Luckily, most of the TV I watch is on CBS. So it’s a double bonus for me. Second, I figured if I’m going to get CBS without commercials, I should upgrade my Hulu so I don’t have to deal with commercials, too. That will actually be useful when teaching because I only have 50 minutes to show something. Take out the commercials? It fits!

Technology. All of my love for the fact that I don’t need cable is such a privileged thing. The fact that I can afford to have a Roku stick with all these apps on them and a television and to be able to pay the monthly fees to keep using some of them is privilege. But I’m still grateful for that privilege.

Teaching. As I’ve mentioned many times lately, I am grateful for the opportunity teaching gives me to make a difference in the world. I know that might sound cliche, but it’s true.

Pure Leaf Raspberry Iced Tea. Sometimes it’s the little things. Being able to go to the store down the road to get this instead of giving in to pop…something I am very grateful for.

My hubby. I am always aware of how lucky I am to have him in my life. But this weekend he went above and beyond. He not only set up our haircut appointments, but he sprung for me to get my hair back to red. My hair is now not only shorter, but a lovely shade of red. I love it! Of course, that’s not the only reason, but right now it’s a big one.

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Stop. Listen.

Dinner tonight!

A post shared by Pirogoeth (@pirogoeth05) on

I’m one of those people who likes to use their Instagram to post food. I try to only post when it’s something I’m really proud of, either what I’ve made or how I’ve plated it. Tonight is kind of both.

My diet has not been the greatest lately. Friday I put in an order to the local, amazing, pizza place for a pizza and some breadsticks. I just finished off the breadsticks yesterday. It’s been a stressful weekend, one complicated by not listening to my body about my diet. It culminated yesterday with a complete “blerg” feeling.

I got home from campus and decided to have the last two breadsticks. They’re nice and chewy and big. But I continued another bad habit I’d been encouraging over the week, I had a can of root beer with the breadsticks. The combination of bread and sugar was something my stomach did not appreciate.

I hit a point in the night where my brain was going “It’s late. You should eat.” while my stomach was going “Don’t. You. Dare.” I munched on some cottage cheese. It didn’t help. I went to the store and bought some cantaloupe. It didn’t help. Finally I decided to make myself a glass of green tea. Just green tea, no honey, no sweeteners. Just green tea.

It helped.

It helped so much that I made another mug. I started to feel a whole lot better. That’s when I realized how bad my diet had been lately. I decided to have no bread and as little sugar as possible today.

I had some baked catfish and a salad for lunch. I got a slice of banana bread and Earl Grey from Starbucks during the break in class. I had the plate of mozzarella, salami, and red pear, shown above, with a bottle of kombucha for dinner. I feel so much better.

Just because you have it in the house, doesn’t mean that you have to eat it. Listen to what your body is telling you. It knows what it needs.

Blocked

I am blocked. I’ve been trying to do more work with the books I have, but I just…blocked. There’s no other word for it. I think part of it is that I have seven books waiting for me at the library, but I couldn’t get them today. Two or three are about The X-Men, which I have been looking for more information on.

That is the biggest challenge with this thesis. I am looking at a comic book that has been around for over 50 years. There are a lot of comics that I could look at. I know I need to look at more, but I don’t know which ones to look at. I’m hoping some of these books will give me some guidance.

At least I have peanut butter and apple slices!

Pleasant discovery

I made a wonderfully, deliciously pleasant discovery this morning. I bought a box of Cream of Wheat a month or so ago. It’s fun and different. Today is the first time I tried making it with something other than whole milk. Since I’m not home a lot, I don’t keep almond milk around. I discovered back in the fall that chocolate almond milk and spiced chai concentrate make an awesome combination. Seeing as I am going to be home for a few weeks, I bought both.

Today, I was going to just wash up the raspberries I bought yesterday and have them for breakfast/lunch/food. Then, I had the idea to make some Cream of Wheat with my chocolate almond milk. OMG. Brilliant! It adds the right amount of sweet and chocolate. Every spoonful got two fresh raspberries. It was like having dessert for breakfast. Delicious.

Just be careful when you’re making the Cream of Wheat. Follow the directions and you won’t get the dreaded lumps! *grin* But seriously, this is an amazing combination. I imagine any almond milk would work for this. Probably any alt milk, but my preference is almond milk, so I don’t know. Go out and try!!

It’s complicated

Graduate school is both harder than and just as hard as I thought it would be. The work for class is about as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, I’m enjoying being in class more than I thought I would.

It’s the time outside of class work that is harder than I thought it would be. Granted, I have made some amazing friends that are making it easier, but they can only do so much. I can’t think of another way to put this, so I’ll put it bluntly: I am an introvert who has lived with the same person for the past 10 years. That is not an easy thing to live with.

As an introvert, I need a place where I can recharge. A place where I can get away from everything and recharge. I don’t really have that right now. During the week I spend most of my days on campus, either at class or in my office. I’ve got all of my tea in the office, along with all the supplies I own to make said tea. Once I either get exhausted or hungry or notice the time, or any combination of the above, I head back to the apartment and go to bed. There’s not much else I do there. It’s a place for me to store stuff that doesn’t fit in the office.

The weekends are usually spent going somewhere. Usually back home to the hubby. That’s when I get a chance to recharge. But I can’t completely relax and kick back because there are things that need to be done on the weekends. I need to get my stuff put away so it’s not taking over the living room while I’m not there. We have to get groceries to at least get through the weekend so we’re not living on fast food. I’ve spent the whole week away, we want to spend time together. And then there’s any work I need to get done before Monday.

And none of this is anyone’s fault. I had to scramble to find somewhere to live, and I got lucky with the roommates I ended up with. I am very grateful for them. But, at the same time, I am really looking forward to having a place of my own next year. A place where it’s all my space. A place where I can close the door to the apartment, change into pyjamas and TARDIS robe and K-9 slippers, brew up a pot of tea, and relax on the couch if I need to. Somewhere that has enough space for me to have a desk with a chair that will allow me to get work done without having to worry about my legs going to sleep. Somewhere where I have a kitchen all to myself!

I think that’s probably another thing that’s really messing with me. Again, after 10 years of having a kitchen of my own, having to share is really weird. Also, since I have a kitchen already, I can’t go out and buy a whole bunch of new supplies. But, with a kitchen of my own, I’ll feel better about bringing stuff from home to use in it so I can cook instead of relying on fast food. I know this fast food dominated diet is not helping things. But, again, it’s not anyone’s fault.

I guess I’m just looking forward to the next school year. I’m going to have an apartment all to myself. I’m going to have a different desk with plenty of shelf space for my numerous books (anyone surprised I have more books than space for them?). Then again, it’s going to be stressful since I’ll be working on my thesis in earnest and teaching and taking classes. But, who knows, maybe having the apartment will help. Maybe having somewhere that can be a sanctuary away from the chaos of the world will help me to deal with everything better.

I guess we’ll find out.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I know that was a long post, but I just needed to get that out. And, to those who are a part of my day-to-day life, thanks for putting up with this stressed, introverted, graduate student.

Prep work

This weekend I was trying to figure out how to stock up on food for the week. I’m mostly going to be writing papers, until my students take their final and then I’ll be grading that. Basically I’ll be spending most of my time in my office. I wanted to stock up on foods that I can either just reheat or be eaten cold.

When I went to the grocery store today, that’s pretty much what I kept myself focused on. I managed to really hit it this time! I decided that instead of focusing on foods that I just need to eat, I went with stuff that needed just a little prep work and it’s ready to go. It also helped that I already have stuff at home that fits that. Between getting mostly non-processed, non-prepared foods, and using what I already had bought, my grocery bill was so nice and low.

Lesson: unprepared foods cost less than prepared foods!

Anyway, tonight I’ve been prepping things. I’ve just got a few more things to prep and I’ll be ready for a week of writing and grading armed with healthy options! I’ve got:

  • Chicken tenders
  • Pico de Gallo (pre-prepped by Lucky’s. It is so good!)
  • Avocados
  • Tortilla chips
  • Farmer’s cheese cut into strips
  • Black and Kalamata olives
  • Everything flatbread crackers
  • Mangoes
  • Chicken Sausage
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cesar dressing
  • Croutons
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Calimari

It may seem like a lot, but it’s for at least 6 days. And I figure I’ll be going for more of a lot of small meals rather than three large ones. I just hope it works.

I almost forgot one important thing: tea. Lots and lots of tea.

Made at home: Fruit in Gel

For a while now, the hubby and I have been buying cups of fruit in gel. But the options are kind of limited. I love the mandarin oranges in orange gel. Sometimes I’ll get the pineapple in lime gel. But other than that, there’s really no fruit/gel combination that I like.

Then a few weeks ago I got new storage for my tea, which left me with a bunch of small Mason jars. A few days later I realized that the jars are about the same size as the cups. Which meant I could get whatever Jell-O and whatever fruit and make my own cups.

I finally did that tonight!

What you need (what I used in parenthesis):
Mason Jars (6 4oz and 3 8oz) with lids and bands
Jell-O flavor of your choice (pineapple, 2 small packs)
Can of fruit (20 oz pineapple tidbits)

Evenly divide your fruit among the jars. I aimed for about 2/3 of the way full on the small jars and just divided the rest among the larger ones.

Make your Jell-O according to the directions on the package. Since I was making 2 packages, I used the juice and then added enough cold water to equal 2 cups to add after the hot water.

Pour your Jell-O over your fruit. Add as little as you like, but remember you have to be able to put the lid on. I had an additional 8oz of Jell-O left and poured it into another jar.

Put on the lids. Screw on the bands. Put them in the fridge. That’s it! As they cool off, the lids will seal themselves.

It’s a great way to have a sweet treat without the excess packaging! That was really one of my biggest problems with buying them, aside from the lack of options. I was tired of having to throw out the plastic sealing it in and washing the cups out to recycle. Now I just have to throw the jars into the dishwasher and they’re clean! And I can make whatever combination works for me! Yay!

Accountability

Lately my eating habits have not been the greatest. I have been trying to make changes, but nothing is sticking. Then I had a thought. Whenever I’d eat something, like Twinkies, that’s not the greatest for me, I thought about how I wouldn’t want to post it in a What I Ate Wednesday. So I’m going to start posting, either here or on Instagram, with what I’m making for meals. Knowing that it’s out there for people to see might get me to stay on track.

We’re going grocery shopping tonight, which will kick things off. I know my hubby isn’t going to be too happy with the long list I’ve created. But some of that is going to make large batches of things that will last well past one meal. I think I’m on the right track to getting my diet on a healthier path. Hopefully I can come up with something that I can stick with.

In case you haven’t noticed, this isn’t even close to the first time that I’ve done this. I just keep sliding back into old habits. But I guess the most important thing is that I keep trying to change the unhealthy ones for healthy ones. One of these days it’s going to stick and I’m going to feel so much better!

Improvement!

I feel so much better already. I do think part of it was getting down on ‘paper’ and getting it out there. So often my best processing is done externally. That’s part of why I talk to myself, in ASL and English (which depends on my mood).

Anyway. I’ve been slowly trying to get things turned around again. I think I made a lot of progress today. First, I had some breakfast. I’ve been getting up, getting dressed, and going to class. Sometime after class is when I finally eat. I’m starting to think that’s part of why my eating has been messed up. Today I had some Greek yogurt before going to class and it really helped! On my way home from class I decided that I really wanted a salad for lunch, so I swung by Wendy’s. Another great decision! It was the start of a pattern.

I took my usual bottle of water with me to work, but I took a pouch of applesauce with veggies to as a snack. I picked up a pack of applesauce pouches and a pack of applesauce with veggie pouches when we went grocery shopping. It has proved to be a great little snack. I think it’s going to be added to my DragonCon food list. But that snack kept me from wanting to get any candy after work.

But I did stop by Whole Foods. I needed non-chlorinated bleach and picked up some veggies and other items to help me stay on track this week. I also snagged a spinach and feta croissant. A-maz-ing! Between that and the cherry chia kombucha when I got home, I was good until dinner. And for dinner I decided to dial back the portions a little bit and it was nice to simply be full again.

I think today has helped me to remember what it feels like to eat in a healthy manner for me again. It’s just what I needed. Now I just have to keep it going. That’s the hard part.

Lost and Found

I have been lost on so many levels this year. But I think I have found my way again.

For a while I would go to work, go to class, and that’s it. When I was home, I would do nothing else. My eating habits got sloppy, relying a lot on fast food. I didn’t go to church. I didn’t do much. I sat on the couch and watched TV.

I don’t know why. I wish I knew why. I can only theorize that a mild depression is what was going on. I wasn’t working much and my bills were starting to take their toll.

But recently things have been improving. I’ve been getting more hours at work. I went to church last week. We got the taxes done.

Then, yesterday, I got home from work, grabbed the one piece of mail and went inside. The whole way inside I was convincing myself it was not what I thought it was, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. After leaving my old job, I received information saying that I had some money in the 401K that I could either roll over into a new one or have them send me a check. Since I was working for Lyft at the time, I went for the check option. That was in October. I had given up on getting the check. Which is why opening the envelope to find the check was so exciting. I left to go deposit it before remembering I needed to sign it!

That check has lifted a huge weight from my shoulders. I don’t have to worry about the bills as much, which means the stress is slowly going away. Just writing this post is helping, too.

Today I realized that I need to overhaul my eating habits to get back on track. I’ve been mindlessly eating. Something strikes my fancy, so I go grab it and munch away. The biggest hurdle to that is work. Sometimes I have to go directly from class to work, which means I need to eat on the way. I am having a hard time finding something that I can easily eat that is also a healthy choice. That’s where the fast food has mostly been coming in. I guess I’ll just have to do some experimenting. Hopefully at least some of those experiments will be posted here.