Monday, January 31, 2011

Coping

Tradition: Comfort Food

Story:

Don’t we all go through times when we wish life would just stop throwing crap our way? I have no secrets to getting through it because in the end I can give suggestions for dealing with it, but you will still have to go through it.

When a day is especially hard I know that sitting and knitting is not going to occupy my body and mind enough to prevent me from dwelling/fuming/spiraling to the dark, so I try to do something that requires my attention. This week it’s food. I planned menus for the entire week, but unlike normal comfort food, my menus this week aren't all full of extra fat and cheese. The portions will be small and delicious without adding a stick of butter, but they won't be overtly low fat/sodium/etc

Monday – Stuffed shells basic filling of ricotta and veges, with a side dish of whatever vegetable is in the freezer

Tuesday – I go to trivia so dinner will consist of whatever I decide on at the bar

Wednesday – Fish. Jim doesn’t like fish, but I love it. I think it will be salmon, baked in a packet with light seasonings. My standard is a touch of mayo, pepper and a slice of tomato and lemon. Side dish for this will be tough. A basic salad or maybe some lentils

Thursday – Flattened almond chicken (Almond chicken paillard) Flatten a chicken breast then dredge it in flour, egg wash and then an almond/breadcrumb mix then cook. I can’t decide if I want to serve this with tomato salad or something else, but it will be basic and delicious.

I have started a new, long-term project. I'll tell you the story later this week, but one of my Moments of Happy might give you a hint.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ToT - Health and Beauty

I am high maintenance in many ways, but needing time to “get pretty” is not one of them. There are few health and beauty products that I adore though. In no particular order

1) Bonne Belle Dr. Pepper chapstick. I have a giant tube, but it is almost gone
2) Last Blast Fusion Mascara. I got this for free, but it after using it I like it much better than my backup Maybelline
3) Suave Oatmeal lotion. I can only get this at wal-mart, so on the rare occasions I am going there I am sure to pick up 2 or 3 bottles
4) Cheap Conditioner. I buy the cheapest conditioner I can find on sale/with coupon and I use it for conditioner, but also as shaving cream
5) Eucerin for the days when eczema gets out of control
6) Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme wear it’s the only nail polish that (for me) will last a full 24 hours without getting chipped
7) Eye mask for bedtime it makes a big difference especially in the summer when the sun is up before me
8) Water drink often, drink lots
9) Off-brand scrubby face wash the best for getting rid of milia (harmless, but annoying tiny white dot/bump on eyelid)
10) Off-brand soap (equivalent to cetaphil) my standard for getting clean has pretty much no scent

As usual you can find more ToT lists linked at Carole's Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A break

As part of my Moment of Happy tradition I have been trying to take a picture ever day. Often, the picture is part of my daily commute.



 Since I don't carry a good camera with me my iphone camera is the best I can do, but there are some fun apps that I can use to futz with pictures.



The photos don't always make me smile, and I'm not going to join any 365 projects, but I'm enjoying the documentation of where I am every day.


Another great way to find something to smile or laugh at is to look at other people's lists. Today there was a tweet from NPR that I plan on working through this year. Knowing that the youtube videos and such will be worthwhile, makes it that much more fun.

50 Wonderful Things from 2010

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ToT - Games

The prompt this week is for games from your childhood, well I still love many of the same games I enjoyed as a kid. In fact, my family is a gaming family. My mom recently cleaned out and organized the game closet (an under the stairs coat+games area) and this is everything they had in there. I can't figure out how it all fit in the first place!


1) Mall madness - we bought this at DI and it was missing the credit cards so my sister made some out of cardboard and paint. My sisters and I still quote the game. "Ewwwww a long line, try again later!" "There's a sale at the chitchen store"
2) Kings in the Corner - card game for a small group of people
3) Life - Somehow I always ended up with 2 cars worth of babies, clearly real life does not imitate fiction (or vice-a-versa) in this case
4) Muggins - a card game similar (if not identical) to Flinch, using Flinch cards
5) Trivial Pursuit - I play this more now than I did as a kid, but I love it
6) Clue - colonel mustard, in the conservatory with the rope
7) Bop-It - there are new configurations, still just as fun
8) Mad Gab - hilarious game especially for teams
9) Cooties - great game for kids
10) Risk - I consider this an awesome game though I haven't played it in years

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Caterpillar List

The last books I read in 2010 were less than memorable, but fun.

24) Still Alice, Lisa Genova - Book about a middle-aged woman who is diagnosed and suffers through early onset Alzheimer's' disease. Good, not excellent, we'll see how book club reacts in January

25) Voyager - Third in the Outlander series. Good, the second is still my favorite thus far.

25) The Last Lecture - youtube sensation turned into a book. Well done, a few extra touches and background that was not in the video

26) Five quarters of the Orange - good book that moved along, nothing earth shattering, but a good read

Friday, January 7, 2011

Get To It #4

Fourth and Final installment of the 2011 Traditions!


Continued Tradition: Caterpillar – Keep reading. Being part of a book club means I will be reading at least 6 books this year, but I really think I can read more than that. I’m hoping to double my caterpillar this year. This means another 20-30 books. Hopefully sprinkling a classic in there along with the more modern works, I also want to read at least one book of poetry.


New Tradition: Time Out! – This might be the hardest tradition for me to really invest in not because it is expensive time or money-wise, but because it is not part of my current being on a regular basis. The basic idea is to add some interactive entertainment to my life. TV and movies are not very interactive, but games and such are.  I started going to trivia regularly and that has been a blast! So my goal and it might have to start small and grow through cultivation is to turn off the regular tv watching and play a game, read a book or have an in depth discussion one night a week. I don’t mind the game being a video game as long as it isn’t a video game every week. We have board games, card games and a never-ending supply of other fun to be had in and around our house. This year I want to take advantage of it. I am also going to focus on not stuffing my weekends full of necessities. I often leave all the chores for the weekend, but then try to enjoy the weekend and get chores done and I am rarely successful in that endeavor. So I’m going to take more time out from my rather stuffed schedule and use it to do something other than watch tv. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Get To It #3

Third installment for 2011 tradition exploration

Continued and Renewed tradition: Religion Expanded - I should note that I have thus far avoided making my religion a regular topic on this blog. I love my religion and believe in the teachings, but that’s not really what this tradition is about, but rather the media through which it is expressed.

I believe the Spirit Is not a static thing, but rather something that responds by growing or shrinking away based on the energy and time invested in it. I often claim in a somewhat sarcastic way that certain rules/phrases are part of my personal religion, but for every time I joke about it, I have a similar moment where I truly believe that my personal spirit responds to such a belief. For instance, in the gospel according to Britt knitting is as important as running and seat belts are as important as music in a car. While my beliefs fit within an existing religious institution I also know it is easy to get lost in a religion by forgetting the basics. The past year I took the opportunity to attend meetings regularly because I was asked to teach for an hour each week. I taught an amazing group of individuals who helped me focus back on some basics. The idea that if something is worthwhile and good it does not have to be labeled for a specific religion. My class had better discussions than I have had in ages and I realized (and hope my class learned) how important love is. My religion should be lived through love, not judgment and negativity and if we can love more people for who they are we can make a bigger difference in their life because we can understand their needs better. When I say difference I don’t mean convert them to my religion, but rather get to know people for who they are. Laugh with them, cry, smile, goof off, and become friends. We can just love them as friends, neighbors and cohabitants of planet earth. That is enough, be friends who talk about everything even religion when appropriate, but we don’t have to always bring up our beliefs because that is weird (no really, weird if you have nothing but religion to talk about).

So this year, I’m feeding my soul, in hopes that I can recognize more good in the people around me and good in more people. More that I love about people and less that drives me crazy. My methods for feeding my spirit are clearly connected to my religion and my upbringing, and I can’t wait. More reading of scriptures, more reading of modern teachings, more sincere prayer and less complaining about the institution that I have chosen (because it is a conscious, and difficult choice to remain part of the religion I grew up in).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Get To It #2

Second installment of the traditions for 2011

Continued Tradition: Garden – this year I want to continue with the vegetables and maybe even combine our crop with participation in a CSA so that we can put more away for the fall/winter. I would also like to add a few more flowers to the beds around the patio. I would really like to get a clematis to grow, I killed the one we bought last year when I planted it (not sure how I managed that).



New Tradition: Spend Time based on the Return on Investment - 24 hours is all you and I get every day. I learned long ago that I do need as close to 8 hours of sleep as possible to function at my highest level at work so that leaves me the (24-8=) 16 hours every day. I work for 9 (8+1 hr lunch) and commute for 2.5-3 hours per day. To make the math easy we’ll say that’s 12 hours per day that are work/work related so (16-12=) 4 hours per day to do what needs to be done. If I only have 4 hours per day I still have 20 hours per work week that is mine, all mine. The weekends are like bonuses. I don’t have to work or commute so I have the full (16+16=) 32 hours that is mine to invest. So that’s 36 hours of time to do chores or watch tv or run or do grocery shopping or just hang out with people I like.

I know what you are thinking… DITCH THE TV! Fortunately, I have no problem with TV, but I believe that TV, like so many other things should be used in moderation (more on that later this week). When I think about the zillion channels of 24 hour television I really enjoy a very miniscule percent of it. If I add knitting to my tv time I not only knit more (which is an investment of time with a return of a knitted item) but I have doubled up my investment in that same 30 minutes/ 1 hour time slot.

This is not an exercise to see how much I can multi-task, but rather to recognize where my time goes and what I get for it. The 12 hours I spend on work related stuff returns $$ to my bank account, which is necessary to pay bills, but is not the most uplifting time. Maybe 2011 should include some effort to change that either by cutting down from 12 hours or to find something that is less depressing for 12 hours per day. I spend an hour running and if it’s a good run I feel better physically, mentally and I am investing the time needed to obtain smaller pants. That’s like a multi-layered return on a single layer of investment.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Get To It #1

First installment of the traditions for this year


Continued Tradition: Running – I still hate running. I like trail running, but I can’t go trail running every day, or even every week, but that’s ok. I’m still running and I might even try to reach a modest distance this year. 311 miles looks good. That is less than a mile per day and since I don’t run every day it is less than 2 miles every other day. At this point that is obtainable because even on bad days I do at least a mile.

New Tradition: Moment of Happy - I am not someone who is exceptionally gorgeous, but my smile is the exception to the rule. I love my smile because when my lips smile my whole me smiles. I got this from my mom. When we smile our mouth takes up more real estate on our face pushing our cheeks up and forward. Our forehead relaxes erasing the stress wrinkles that normally reside between our eyebrows and our hairline. This results in what I call Sunrise Eyes! My wordy explanation isn’t flattering, but the smile most assuredly flatters.
So this year I’m implementing a new tradition of smiling at, about or for something every day and I might even try and record my moment of happy in a journal or somesuch

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Traditions

I have plenty of holiday excitement to catch up on and I still owe pictures of my scarf/mittens, but since it is a new year I decided it was time to address 2011.

I hate resolutions mostly because I think it is just one more way of saying goals, and I hate goals. I like traditions, I like creating, growing and developing new factors of my life. So instead of resolutions I am going to make a theme for 2011 and include some old traditions and new ideas for traditions, but first let’s review the bigs and traditions of 2010

2010 was rough for many people I know both in real life and virtually. While I was extremely blessed in 2010 I did not escape the year unscathed. My husband spent the entire year looking for a job and is still looking. His family had a soap opera worth of drama with a less than satisfactory finale. Work has been trying, with opportunities offered, rescinded, doing work without the appropriate compensation (monetary and otherwise) and general annoying work stuff. I lost my first grandparent which led to an unearthing of emotions I was not ready for. My car was crushed by a distracted driver (not a cell phone). I stressed over the lack of job and therefore lack of income that we lived with and I suffered through some periods of extreme doubt. Doubt about past choices and future consequences doubts about how to define myself and my life.

2010 also brought my parents’ first grandchild and he is a cutie. In 2010 I got to go back to Oregon two times! My dad hit a major milestone birthday and my mom continues to amaze me with her cooking, working, running marathons and triathlons, but most impressive is her ability to raise amazing women who make the world a better place. She still has two daughters who live at home year-round and they go 12 different directions, but my mom keeps the family from tearing itself apart. In 2010 I ran, I even ran a couple races. I ran enough that I could find exceptions to my “I hate running” rule (though not as many as you would think after a year) I found more things to enjoy this year on tv, but also in my surroundings. The garden expanded and the bounty helped food in our house taste better and provide nutrients that my body needed. I read more books, I attended my religious meetings more regularly and I enjoyed friends

2011 Theme: Get To It
   - Get to the list of things I keep saying I'll try. Apply those skills I already have and continue to add
      traditions to my life that are uplifting and worthwhile.

Current Traditions to be Included – running, gardening, caterpillar, religion

New ideas – Moment of Happy, Time based on RoI, Religion expanded, Time Out

I’ll be writing about each of the ideas (new and old) throughout the week so check back!