online shopping post

I’ve spent more money shopping online than I have in real stores. It’s a wonderful set -up for introverts; you don’t have to deal with other people, can look at whatever you want and do so without putting on shoes or makeup.  It gives you access to things not available in your tired sad local stores and most of it is on sale. No Christmas music. All you need is a valid credit card.

It’s great and dangerous at the same time.

So far I’ve bought small stuff–dishes; t-shirt; a phone charger; some earbuds; bath gel; lotion and towels. This is only because I’m not rich enough to actually buy all the stuff I looked at, put into my cart and then removed. Some things I won’t buy online, even if I had the money. Like luggage, I realized this when I looked at the real life version versus the online image and saw why some of it was so darned cheap. The same goes for most jewelry, but that’s about it. I realized I could furnish a whole house, even landscaping and some groceries, all online. If I wanted to, that is.

I don’t have a lot of people to buy for and that should make me feel sad. It really doesn’t, as I am broke and can’t afford it, not really. I’m going to make Scooby Snacks, my version of Chex Mix, for Christmas presents and that’s going to be it. My trip to Vietnam is costing me, being unemployed is really costing me and people are just going to have to accept my piddly gift or go lump it. I don’t care,  I won’t be here anyway.

Being broke any time of year sucks; the holidays just make it harder. For families with kids it’s much worse, I know we had some lean Christmases but there are people who have it worse than we did. Which is why this Giving Tuesday thing bothers me. It’s not that I don’t want to give, that I’m a greedy, selfish person. I’m a broke person. But I am selective about who I give to, I am a sourpuss who says no to big charities like the Red Cross and PETA. I rather give my money to local charities like Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, the Central Humane Society, Sister BJ’s Pantry and our local Catholic Charities, PBS and ACLU. KGOU and KNHC in Seattle, I’d like to know I would continue to have access to good radio as well.  Oh heck with it, even my cheap butt can pony up five bucks for each of these. That’s forty bucks, what I could have spent on something I didn’t really need; it’s two months of pedicures. I guess I can have ugly feet a little longer. If I am better off financially next year (I’d better be) I want to give more.


New Year’s day

I stayed home last night, listened to the Wings beat the Devils and made the last batch of Scooby Snacks. Bear stayed home too, he’s still getting over his cold but said he got happy new year’s greetings from Germany and China.

We stayed up til midnight. When we woke up the streets had iced over and travel was discouraged. I learned about the black ice firsthand when I took Olive out and I fell, ripping my jeans. We had our black-eyed peas and decided not to go to the movies.I planned to go to yoga too but now there’s no way.

It’s a low-key beginning. It’s probably what we would have done if Jerry were here, eat, watch Netflix and stay in. It’s
different from last year when it was him and me, both wondering about Bear and what
the year would be like. I don’t know how this year will be, what will happen but in all honesty we never know. It’s a good thing in most cases.The only thing I can imagine is I’ll enter the next year in a
different place, possibly a different city. A different job, climate and even different life. Wherever I am I plan to be with Olive and that gives me reassurance.

Now I’m going to read, finish the laundry and hope to see the last period of the Winter Classic. Happy New Year’s day to all.


Last Saturday I went walking for the first time in nearly a month. It was foggy, windy and I was on a different track than my usual one. It was great, a little hard to feel motivated at first but once I warmed up it just happened. I went slowly, even for me, and did a bit over 3 miles. It was over almost before I realized.

Some ducks I saw along the way IMG_20141206_183417


I walked at the lake tonight, the wind was blowing hard, it was hot and I was lazy so running was not an option. I decided that I was going to do something radical, I was going to buy a pair of shorts. It was hot and black pants are not a good choice when the temps are in the 90s.

So before I could talk myself out of it I went to Goodwill and bought 2 pairs of shorts. I figured if they looked like crap or I felt really dumb at least I didn’t spend much on them.  Also I didn’t have to wear them in public,  I could sleep in them or send them back to Goodwill, so no pressure. 

Why is this a big deal? Because the last time I wore shorts was in 4th grade. True. I had chubby Hobbit legs and all these years later I still do. But I was not body conscious then; I knew I was a fat kid and had fat little legs but shorts were comfortable and I didn’t think about it, until 4th grade. One of my friends commented on my chubby legs and I felt embarrassed and that familiar feeling of shame. I told my mom I wasn’t wearing shorts anymore, just jeans like my friend did. I kept my word and didn’t wear shorts for more than thirty years.

So here are a couple of bad selfies of my Hobbit legs in my new Goodwill shorts. Ignore the clutter, I’m still not completely moved in and will be clearing out of Bear’s room at the end of the month and sharing Jerry’s space. I’m not going to impress anybody or stop traffic in these. Yet I’ve seen people who are bigger than me, people with pale legs and they don’t care what you think about how they look and I’m trying to capture a little of that attitude. Ironically I don’t care about how they look either but the little flicker of shame that I felt when I was 9 years old still burns in the back of my mind and the embers seemed to grow stronger when I looked at myself in the mirror. Which is why I took these, though my lack of previous selfie taking experience shows. I’m not sure when I’ll actually wear either of these in public, but I will, eventually.





protein bar taste test

Although there are lots of protein bars out there, with varying nutritional values and tastes, I’ve been loyal to one, Life Choice. They have 21 gm of protein and 190 calories per bar, are cheap (Wal-Mart has them) and most importantly, they taste good. Most high protein bars, with more than 10 gm of protein, tend to be higher in calories and some of the lower protein bars do too. Even the healthy bars life Clif and Luna do, which I was surprised to learn when I started to read their labels. Because of my special nutritional needs I want a bar that’s less than 200 calories per serving and has 20 gms of protein. I don’t eat meat except for fish, partly for ethical reasons but mostly because I’ve lost my taste for mammal flesh. I also don’t want to gain back the weight I lost after my gastric bypass so I try to watch my calories, I try but a few get by me. 

So when I was in Target today I saw a new protein bar, with 21 gms of protein and promising 180 calories.My eyes lit up when I saw they were on sale and though they cost considerably more than Life Choice I bought them. Pure Protein, a Target exclusive. I tried one about an hour ago and though I love Target and appreciate their foray into the high protein bar market I’m sorry to say they were disappointing. Not nasty but the taste was, well, meh.  A lot of meh, they reminded me of those diet meal bars I used to eat in high school, some brand that no longer exists (and for good reason). Like the cookie that stirred Proust’s memories these artificial flavors reminded me of a time when I was perpetually hungry and cranky.

I am picky but the truth is I have very little space in my stomach so what goes in has to be worthwhile and taste really, really good. I’m also trying to undo a lifetime of training to clean my plate, no matter what. I was told if I didn’t finish it would be considered an insult and a waste of food. Even when I’m at home and there’s no need to protect anyone else’s feelings I still struggle with this. I deliberately stopped eating the bar because I realized I didn’t like it and it was all right to leave it. I plan to take them to my sister’s house; she or our dad will eat the darned things but I’m figuring dad will, probably while he watches Gunsmoke.   

So Life Choice 1, Protein Power 0. 

Disclaimer: I’ve not received any money or goods from either Wal-Mart or Target, this was my own experiment using my own money and not influenced in any way from either Wal-Mart or Target. For the purposes of the taste test I compared the Life Choice double chocolate bar with the Pure Protein chocolate deluxe. 

three in one

I did 3 workouts today. I lifted my 8 lb weights and did some sit-ups this morning, which was more intense than it sounds, at least for me. Then I went to yoga class at 10am, with 29 other people, the biggest class I’ve been in so far. This was the main event of my workout day and I sweated like a pig while trying not to poke or kick the people around me. I walked at the lake for an hour and half, not sure how far I went but it was good to be outside since the day wasn’t hot and the lake nearly deserted for the holiday. I did this not for bragging rights or to prove anything, not really, but it’s good to know I can. I did it because my dad is going into the hospital tomorrow to be fitted with a pacemaker. I will go to work but leave early and make it to the hospital so I can be there when he comes out of recovery. My sisters, my nephew and Jerry are going to be there too. He will have plenty of company and a small entourage Wednesday when he leaves the hospital.  

a victory of sorts

In the grand scheme this is a minor event not worth mention. In my boring little life it’s something significant. 

I went to yoga class tonight and by the time I got inside, found a cubby and took off my shoes the room was already full. The back row, where I normally toss my mat, had no room and I ended up in the middle row. There is an unspoken hierarchy, those in the back rows are usually beginners and people who are self-conscious, sometimes unable to do all the poses. I dwell in this place, mostly out of habit and because it’s secure. The middle row, when there is a middle row, is more advanced,confident and sometimes more fit. The front row is the group who needs the least amount of help and are usually the most advanced students. 

I ended up in the middle by default; there was no room left in the back. So I threw my mat between two women who were probably in their 20’s and dressed in little yoga pants and tight tanks. I wore my wind pants and an old Eskimo Joe’s t-shirt. But this is the important part: I held my own. In the middle group. with people roughly half my age (well, maybe not that young) but people much younger than me, much cuter and confident I was able to move from pose to pose with the same relative ease. I kept my eyes on my own practice and the teacher’s voice but casually looking around me saw the girls on either side of me exerting the same effort, maybe more because I did hear grunting and this time it wasn’t mine.

I had some trouble with hero pose but that’s because my knees hurt when I sit back on my shins, a reminder of how I overtrained for my first 5K and did some damage to my right knee. I did camel and noticed a couple of the young ones did it as well. But overall I did everything the teacher did and didn’t embarrass myself like I feared. I am not planning to sit in the middle row next time but if I do I won’t be as anxious.


I did the Earlywine 5K for the 3rd time today. I went in feeling uncertain since I hadn’t run this week. I’ve trained off and on, mostly on the treadmill and spent very little time outdoors. I’ve gone to yoga class more and while it makes me feel good and it can be a cardio workout it isn’t the same. So I went into this with some trepidation and figured if I finished I’d call it good.

I did come prepared. I wore two pairs of socks and brought my little cooler with some Crystal Light and protein bars. And since my bladder is old and does not like being jostled around I also wore a sanitary pad. Gross but necessary, getting old is icky. I brought my phone, earbuds and sunglasses. I also looked around for my sister Layah, who said she might, maybe come do the race with me. She and her boyfriend did it with me 2 years ago and all three of us were wheezing at the end.

I started out slow, walking when everybody else took off jogging and passed me by. I fought the temptation to run, remembering my last race and how it did me in. So I warmed up, let everybody pass me by and just grooved to my race playlist. After the first song I started jogging, my jog is more like a trot. Think of a pig and how they move. A funny thing happened, some of those early runners had already run out of steam and were walking now. We were about a quarter of a mile in at this point. I kept my attention on the street ahead and listened to the playlist, it was the same one I had at the last raec because I was too lazy to make a new one. I began to pass people but told myself not to feel smug. The first time I did this race I had to walk it and I struggled, I’ve been the slowest and know what it’s like to be the end of the line, to get passed by babies in strollers. But not this year.

I jogged awhile with no problem then the wind changed everything. We had been running at an angle, not into the wind but next to it then when I turned the curve the wind was blowing in my face. The wind had helped me propel myself downhill and I had to stop myself from going faster than I am used to, so I wouldn’t crash. But the wind wasn’t going to let me or any of us off easy, it changed direction again and most of the race I had wind blowing into my face. Since I was a weenie and spent most of my time inside on a treadmill in a climate controlled gym I wasn’t used to this. I know better.

Oklahoma wind has been mentioned in song and story. Simply put Oklahoma wind is a mother. It’s not easy to describe, you have to experience it. Sometimes it feels good, light and gentle but don’t be deceived, it can change on you in a second, in direction and intensity. It can be any season, any time of day and at its worse it can destroy buildings, move semi trucks and even kill. About 2 weeks ago I went to the lake to walk and since the sun was shining, the temp was warm and I had the time I went. And I ended up walking into the equivalent of a wind tunnel, walking into and against the wind when it was about 20 mph. The next day my thighs and butt were sore. Ironically I should have done this more often.

The wind slowed me down and took some of my time off. I wasn’t able to jog the whole race, I had to settle for walking for some of it, when the wind was stronger than my breath. I was a little bummed but knew I wasn’t really prepared so it was also partly my fault as well. The wind seemed to slow down most people, there were a lot more walking than running.

I did finish the race and my time was good, for me. I was not the fastest (not by a long shot) but like I told myself earlier, long as I finish it’s good. I was 58 out of a field of 91 women, I was 7th in my age division and my guntime was 40:37. I felt good about this.

A few minutes ago I looked at the photos a company took, they take pics of every person along the way and you can buy a copy if you choose. i looked at mine and cringed. I looked like an enormous pink and black sausage. Since the bypass I’ve lost about 70 pounds. I gained about 10 over the holidays but managed to lose it and I’m back to my fighting weight. I’ve been exercising, mostly going to yoga but jogging/walking at the lake and I’ve spent time at the gym. I watch my calories carefully and try to make good food choices in terms of nutrition. My blood sugar is in the normal range and I am healthy, according to my last check-up. So why did seeing myself make me feel so awful? I know I am not petite, I’ll never be tiny, little or skinny. I’m not built that way. I inherited the bone structure of my dad’s side, they are stocky, sturdy people and some of them are obese. My mother was small, she was fine-boned and delicate looking. So was her mother and her mother, they were small boned and naturally thin, similar to Asian women or the indian women in Louise Erdrich’s books. I got my dad’s side instead. I looked and felt like a sumo wrestler next to my petite mother. So I have issues with that, even now. I’m less likely to have osteoporosis like they did, so I got that going for me. I’m not curvy, I have a flat indian butt on bottom and not much on top. My build is athletic, more muscular and i will never be like my mother, my body won’t allow it. Yet knowing all this I was surprised I still looked fat, at least to my critical eyes. I deleted the email and decided I did not want a copy of any of the pictures. It took a little charge off my buzz. But I know I did a good race, despite the wind and my poor training. I finished and I felt good after. Just try to forget those lousy pictures.





I’m having my 2nd sugar-free ice pop in a row. The weather was beautiful, early spring warm and sunny, hard to believe it’s still January. So I walked at the lake today, me and about half the town were out there. I did an hour and ten minutes, no idea how far I went because I didn’t wear the pedometer. It was half on purpose and half forgetfulness. In a way I don’t want to know how slow I am, I don’t want to feel discouraged. Yet I am a little curious so next time I’ll put it on and remind myself I am built for endurance and not speed. Slow and steady finishes the race, it may not win it but it will finish that #$%^. Hm, maybe I should have that put on a t-shirt at cafepress.

I’m trying to stay on target, to move more and to get into condition. Not “shape” since technically I do have a shape (tetrahedron) but the goal is not to be cute and fit into a bathing suit but to get stronger. And for my butt to not feel loose when I walk. I saw one of my former co-workers yesterday, she’s an older woman and was telling me about her bad back, how she hurts when she gets out of a chair the wrong way and how much pain it causes her. And I’ve seen older women and some not older than me at work who walk with canes. I am determined to not be like this and I plan to take yoga classes, walk (and hopefully run again) as long as possible, to avoid being an unhealthy old broad. The old part, I have no choice but I dread being decrepit and want to live a long happy healthy life. I’d like to wear a smaller size in jeans and clothes in general too, so that’s another goal but it’s really slow going.

I also went to confession today, the first time in months. And it took awhile, I had a lot to confess.When I finished the priest was quiet for awhile then he said to pray for patience, with myself, with God and with others. I expected him to give me a heavy penance, a dozen rosaries at least. He didn’t, I even asked and he said no, that’s all, just pray. Then he absolved me and I left, with tears running down my face. I thought about this while I was walking. Patience is not my thing, like Ed Gruberman I say “Patience yeah, how long’s that gonna take?” But I know he’s right. I want to achieve my goals and see results right away. I don’t mind putting in the effort but when I don’t see any evidence that I’ve made a difference I feel discouraged and want to give up. I am going to ask for patience, with others, myself and with God. Sometimes it’s easier to be patient with other people than it is with an omnipotent God but I need to cut Him some slack as well. Myself too, I am going to try to see the journey and not just what ‘s in front of me, to be unhappy with circumstances and stuff I can’t change.

I learned my gym membership didn’t expire like I had thought; I saw they took out the auto-pay this month and had to wait to pay my phone bill. I tried to cancel online but had to go in person and was a little bummed when I learned I wouldn’t be getting a refund. The upside is I have access to the gym until the middle of next month. So til then I intend to use it, especially when the weather is cold and it’s dark outside. Hopefully it will be getting warmer by then and I can walk at the lake more often and increase my distance. Maybe even increase my speed but again, patience.

What I learned today–one year later

I did the Earlywine 5K for the 2nd time and what a difference a year makes, Mostly good differences but I am not all that either, as I had previously believed. I walked only once the week before and then I didn’t push myself. I figured since I can already walk more than 3.1 miles and lost 43 pounds I should be able to jog this whole thing. *snicker* Not quite.

This year was cold, the wind was blowing cold, the air was cold and though the sun was shining and it’s supposed to be Spring it was cold. I had my insulated jacket on, my earmuffs on and gloves. I forgot my sunglasses so I didn’t get to do my Yoko impression. I also got there early, carrying protein bars and 2 bottles of Crystal Light in my bag. I wore 2 pairs of socks.  I got my race packet and went to the car so I could pin myself. I forgot to peel the D strip, the little chip that records your time, from the back of my number. I saw it but for some reason thought it was separate and spent awhile looking for it before giving up. I found it after the race, when I unpinned my number from my coat. D’oh.

I wore the tech shirt I got from doing the New Year’s race  and when it came time to line up I hung near the back. They didn’t organize people according to runners and walkers or times, it was just a mass of humanity. I preferred it this way, it made the slower among us feel not so marginalized compared to the really fast and fast.

I started off jogging, a slow cross between a shuffle and trot and realized I probably should have stuck to walking til I warmed up. I felt winded early on, I had peeled off the gloves and made myself keep going even though the cold wind made breathing awkward. I was sucking in cold air and felt snot running out of my nose. I wiped with a Kleenex and the back of my hand, trying not to think about it and to keep going. I trotted until the 1K mark then walked awhile. I walked about 2./3 of the way and jogged 1/3 overall. I could have jogged more if I had started off walking but I thought I was in better shape and not walking the week before was a good thing. But I am not too down, I checked my phone after I crossed the finish line and saw I did it in 42 minutes, 12 minutes less than last year. And I didn’t get passed by any strollers.

Also the tech shirt I got is cool looking but I learned that tech shirts pull the sweat away from your body, store it and magnify it. When I got in my car after peeling off my coat I thought I smelled farm animals then realized that was me. Last year’s Earlywine entry and what I learned then, which I used (more or less) for this year’s race.