31 March 2009

A Shopping Date

Today I created an L Family Rule: Always go to Ross first. Whatever clothing or household item you are getting you can probably find at Ross for a better price. We mostly only bought stuff that we actually needed, even though we entered the store intending to buy pants. I did buy one pair of pants, and we got a fair amount of other stuff too.

And it was fun. I don't normally like to shop, but I rather enjoyed myself today. Plus! As we were leaving Ross, I saw the light on at Krispy Kreme! So, we went and bought one doughnut for Eric, and I got a free one for myself. Never mind the fact that I had already had ice cream before Eric came home from work.

Let's hope I can still fit in the pants I bought.

(This post just goes to show you that I really do have a problem with consuming too much sugar).

28 March 2009

Join Me in Support of Brian Regan

Brian Regan is currently my favorite comedian. He's absolutely hilarious, and BONUS! He's really clean. His humor is never raunchy, and his language is okay to play on network television (if that means anything these days).

Part of his humor is in his facial expressions, which is why I recommend watching him. BUT! I did discover today that some people with too much time on their hands have animated some of his bits and put them on YouTube. Here's one worth watching:

27 March 2009

One More Thing

I know you are probably sick of my diatribe about healthy eating after yesterday's ridiculously long post. But, I thought you ought to know about the Healthy Eating Pyramid. This is not the same thing as the Food Guide Pyramid. They are different, although only slightly. The Food Guide Pyramid is influenced by lobbyists. The Healthy Eating Pyramid was created by students and professors at Harvard, and it is based on a lot of different studies.

Go check out the link. If you are not eating according to the Healthy Eating Pyramid, set a few goals and work toward them. I know it's not easy to change your eating habits, but it can be done, and it's so worth it to eat well and feel good.

26 March 2009

You Are What You Eat

A long time ago (in January) I read a really great book that Eric's dad recommended to me. It's got the longest title known to man: The Culprit and the Cure; Why Lifestyle is the Culprit Behind America's Poor Health and how Transforming that Lifestyle Can be the Cure by Steven G. Aldana.

It was not necessarily an entertaining read, but it was definitely quite interesting and enlightening. The book is not just about how important it is to eat healthfully and have a healthy lifestyle; it was about WHY fruits and vegetables, whole grains, certain types of fat, and exercise are good for you. And it was about WHY refined grains, excessive sugar, simple starches, and a sedentary lifestyle are bad for you. Yet, despite the technical nature of nutrition, the book was easy to read and understand. Aldana explains the whys of healthy eating without getting too technical (read: boring).

That's my book review. Here's how it's changed my lifestyle:

Whole grains.
We only buy whole wheat bread. Yes, it can be more expensive, but it is so much better for you. Do you know what the glycemic index is? You can read about it here, but a quick definition is simply that some carbs travel through your body faster than others. The faster it goes, the higher the index number. The goal is to eat carbs with LOW glycemic index values because they stick with you longer and provide you better energy. Now, the point- a piece of white bread has a HIGHER glycemic index than a spoonful of sugar. That means a spoonful of sugar will give you longer lasting energy than a piece of white bread. Grains come in three parts: bran, endosperm and germ. Refined grains (white rice and white flour) take out the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. This is bad because the healthiest part of the grain is in the bran and germ. In other words, white bread isn't necessarily BAD for you, it's just not as good for you as it could be if it were brown.

With all that said, we do not eat brown rice. Eric just hates it. So, we eat white rice. But, we do spend the extra money to have whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. If we catch the wheat pasta on sale, then we stock up. It is worth it to us to spend the extra money to have longer, healthier lives.

Trans fats. There is absolutely no room in a healthy diet for trans fats. I am doing everything I can to eliminate them.

Meat. You don't need to eat meat every day. It's better for your health (and the environment, and the starving people of the world) if you cut back your meat. It's recommended that you only have red meat a few times a week. Other than that, focus on chicken and fish. Also, a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards, not a plate.

Yes, we still eat meat. We are not gung-ho animal-rights vegetarians. But we do try to have a few vegetarian meals each week.

Legumes are great! We each try to have at least one serving of legumes every day. We especially focus on legumes when we are having a vegetarian meal. They are an excellent source of protein and fiber, and they are very cheap in most forms. Usually we eat a lot of beans, but lentils are also an option, as are nuts (usually in the form of peanut butter).

Low-fat dairy products. Skim milk makes me want to have convulsions on the floor. But! I find 1% milk highly tolerable. Also, I buy low-fat yogurts and non-fat sour cream. Dairy products have a lot of calcium (in case you weren't aware) and proteins, but I get enough fat elsewhere in my diet, so I can skip the fat my lovely dairy products provide.

Fish. Hello, like we can actually afford fish. Our fish is called tuna. It's not fancy, but it provides us with the nutrients we need, and it is affordable. Plus, we keep our eyes peeled for good fish deals.

Fruits and vegetables. I work really hard to get five of these a day. It is difficult for me. My favorite snack is a piece of bread, not a piece of fruit. But, I'm working on it.

With all that said, I still have areas that definitely need improvement. Like physical activity. I was doing the Couch to 5k program, but then Eric and I moved, and now I have no treadmill. So, clearly that means I cannot run. Like, ever. At all. I do walk to work sometimes. Or home from work. But that's going to end pretty soon. So, yes. I need to exercise more.

I eat too many sweets. There's really not another way to put it. I will not decline a bowl of ice cream or the offering of candy or pie or cake or brownies. I'm working on this, though, and I really try to limit my desserts to no more than one per day. Usually I don't even have that much. The real problem lies with the SIZE of the dessert.

And, one more thing. Despite how this sounds, we are not super meticulous about what we eat. We are more meticulous about what we BUY. If you do not buy junk, then you have no junk to eat. And of course, if we are over at your house and you cook us up steaks or give us white hamburger buns, we will not refuse to eat; that would be rude. We want to be healthy people, but we don't want to be food elitists.

24 March 2009

And Then My Head Exploded (And Donkeys Came Out)

One thing I asked my friend, Alli, about my new job: Do people talk politics much there?

Fortunately, the answer was no.

Don't get me wrong. I quite enjoy politics. I especially enjoy talking politics. That is, I enjoy talking politics in a civilized way. You know, where two or more people can express their opinions in ways that the others in the conversation can begin to understand why the participants believe the way they do. I don't even mind if the participants get a little flushed or maybe even frustrated. It's important that we, as members of the political process, understand why we believe what we do, and that we can back up our statements with facts.

I do not like conversations held in Maher versus Hannity style. Is anything gained from those sorts of discussions? Lines are drawn more clearly. Liberals jump eagerly on the liberal side; conservatives willingly rush to the conservative side. Neither side better understands the motives and beliefs of the other.

I work in a particularly conservative place. I, by Utah standards am rather liberal, by nation-wide standards rather moderate (although slightly liberal), and by Kiwi standards rather conservative. It took all of my will-power to just keep my mouth closed, and only raise my eye-brows when I was looking down and nobody could see my facial expression.

Here are a couple of things that I heard that caused much deep breathing and counting on my part:

"I was listening to him the other day, and I just realized what an idiot he is." This sentence was said referring to President Obama. And maybe it wasn't meant literally, but I thought, "The guy went to Harvard Law, I'm pretty sure he's not an idiot." Perhaps that was a poor choice of words, but then somebody else said:

"I just hope he fails so America will realize what a terrible choice they've made." So, let me get this straight? You WANT our country to do poorly just so your political opinions can be validated? Sounds like a great plan.

I think I was bothered, not just by the things they said, but the general assumption that everyone around agreed with them. I guess, what I'm really trying to say Nem said best back in November.

20 March 2009

New Job

In a few weeks, I will be embarking on a great American tradition:


I have just accepted a job offer for a genealogy company in Salt Lake City, and I'm pretty excited. Of course, I do live in Provo, so I'll have a really lovely commute- about 45 minutes each way. On the up-side, there may be carpooling involved. We'll see how it works out.

Meanwhile, I'm really excited about this job. It is a great career opportunity for me (hello, actually working in the field of my training). I'm excited about working with some of my old classmates (this one in particular), and I'm excited about the hands-on genealogy training I'm going to get.

As I have mentioned a couple of times, if you are a psychologist who specializes in working with schizophrenics, it's not something you really want to use in your personal life. But a genealogist trained in Irish research? Yes, please, I WOULD like to use that in my personal life. Bring on the training.

17 March 2009

Blanketing, part 2

This is the second baby blanket I have made. I'm already working on my third. Oy! Babies galore!

I think I prefer the second. What do you think?

14 March 2009

Pi Day

Today is Pi Day (March 14 = 3/14 = 3.14, you get the idea). For the past few years I've read blogs about celebrating Pi Day by eating pie, and each year I've been envious because I totally forgot the "holiday." This year, I remembered, and we celebrated in style, a la banana cream pie. Did you remember Pi Day? How did you celebrate?

Do my Kiwi friends recognize Pi Day? The British standard for writing dates puts the day first, which actually makes more sense because then you are listing the date from smallest segment to largest. Because of that, there is no Pi Day in the British standard because it would have to be April 31 (31-4), and there is no such date. Either that or the third day of the fourteenth month (3-14), and there is no such month. So, do you completely miss out on the "holiday" or do you switch to American standards for a day?

13 March 2009

Yo Hablo Espanol. Ish.

I studied Spanish for four years in high school and one semester at university. Plus I had a lot of practical use with it during my teenage years. At one point, I was pretty decent at Spanish. Even if my vocabulary wasn't stellar, I was capable of describing things so my listener knew what word I meant, and could inform me of the word.

Now, my Spanish can be wrapped up in one word: Rusty.

Yesterday a girl came into the office with her father and said she would be studying English at the BYU language center for the summer. I was the only person in the office that could speak Spanish, and it was rough. Fortunately, a resident came into the office to ask a question about his deposit, and this particular resident was kind enough to stick around the office for a good twenty minutes translating for us. I vowed that I would go home and practice my Spanish with the Spanish language software Eric bought us last week.

Instead I watched mindless television while I finished a crochet project. (Pictures to come!)

Today they came back, and I was a little more prepared: I had brought my Spanish/English dictionary with me. Just as I was feeling a little nervous about explaining the contracts, in came Mal at just the right moment to do the major translating for us. And she was awesome. I totally understood pretty much everything she said, and she was impressive.

Then, I got to show the girl her new apartment where two of her roommates were home. They didn't speak Spanish. And neither do the ones who weren't home. At this point, I really got to break out the Spanish as I explained that the apartment was normally cleaner, and not so messy; the girls have jobs and the new girl would be in charge of dishes on Friday; the parking lot was over there; the laundry was over that way; the girls in the apartment liked to share; and one of them had a car and could offer rides. I hope, in my broken Spanish the girl had a pretty good idea of what I meant. She seemed to, but perhaps she was just being polite.

That is why, when I got home from work today and saw Bart's Weekend Would You Rather, I unhesitatingly voted the way I did. (Yeah, you'll have to go there to know what I'm talking about. Head on over now. Bye!)

04 March 2009

Seasonal Allergies

Dear Winter,

I feel like I've seen a lot of you lately- December 2007 to February 2008, then again in the southern hemisphere from June to September, and back again in the northern hemisphere from December until just last week. Folks say you are coming back for a brief stint. Please don't. I'm sick of you. I mean, I like that you provide the majority of precipitation Utah sees all year, but seriously. Go away.

Necessary regards,

Cold and Pale Sherry
Dear Spring,

Thanks for visiting this week. Please come back mucho pronto. You are the best! Can't wait for the tulips, the green everything, the flowering trees and the warmth. Don't stay away too long.

Hoping to see you again soon,

Needing Flowers Sherry

Dear Summer,

I have not seen you since September 2007. Words cannot express how much I've missed you.

Come quickly,

Needing Jandals Sherry

Dear Fall,

I enjoy you. Really, I do. Only, I think that you're a lot like Spring, and it's pretty much here. So, I'll just see you when you get here.


Crunching-leaves-is-fun-but-not-the-top-of-the-list Sherry

03 March 2009

Bearer of Good News

So, I work at a properties management office. I do a lot of office-type work mostly. I also give a fair amount of apartment tours. And this week, I process rent payments. A lot of rent payments.

Today a chap came in, and I asked him if he was there to pay rent. He said he was sort of there to pay rent- just not his. He then explained that his roommate had been very sick and had to have some pretty serious surgery recently. Because of the illness the kid was not doing great financially, and this kind chap wanted to anonymously pay his rent. That wasn't a problem at all, so I processed the rent payment for him.

Then the kind chap asked me if I could call the roommate of the failing health and let him know that he didn't need to come in to pay rent.

Calling him was the highlight of my day. I had to tell him about four times that somebody had come in and paid his rent for him, and he kept thanking me. Let me tell you, it was fun to be that messenger.

02 March 2009

Dead Bread

Eric's dad opened my eyes to the wonders of the dead bread store. I hope to never again buy bread from a regular grocery store, and here's why:

I don't really care for white bread. I love and adore wheat bread. It tastes better than white bread. It is good for you. Or is it? In fact, most wheat bread is not really wheat bread. It's fake wheat bread. Real wheat bread lists "whole wheat" as the first ingredient, not "enriched wheat flour." And that is where the dilemma begins. Because at the grocery store you can usually get a loaf of wheat bread for about a dollar, but if you want the real wheat bread, you have to fork over the big bucks- like $3 per loaf. And that's just silly.

But at the dead bread store, you can get real wheat bread for about a dollar. That's a steal, folks. Only, it's not like you're stealing because in actuality those bread people are stealing from you when they try to make you pay $3 for a stinkin' loaf of bread. Just go to the dead bread store and stock up, and never spend outrageous sums of money on real wheat bread ever again. And despite the nickname "dead bread," the bread is actually just as fresh as the stuff at the regular grocery store.

(To find a dead bread store near you, just Google your city's name and the term "bread thrift store." You're sure to have one somewhere nearby).

01 March 2009

Goods and Bads

Yesterday was a good day because we made huge progress in moving into our new apartment.
Yesterday was not a good day because we had to spend all day moving.

Yesterday was a good day because Eric got to go shooting with his friends.
Yesterday was not a good day because Eric ran very late and I had to keep moving by myself.

Yesterday was a good day because while Eric ran late, I took a reading break.
Yesterday was not a good day because there are still boxes to empty because I took a break.

Yesterday was a good day because I got to put away all the stuff in my kitchen, and I know exactly where everything is, and it is put away in exactly the way I think it should be put away.
Yesterday was not a good day because where are my plates and bowls?

Yesterday was a good day because I rediscovered all my kitchen lovelies: blender, waffle maker, griddle, sandwich maker, crepe maker, chopper thingy, fancy grater, chopping boards, fantastic knives, Texas pot holders, alphabet magnets, lazy Susan, and fondue pot.
Yesterday was not a good day because where is my crock pot?

Yesterday was a good day because we went to K-Mart for some necessities and got some facial care stuff on clearance for uber-cheap.
Yesterday was not a good day because the trash cans were not cheap.

Yesterday was a good day because we went grocery shopping and stocked up.
Yesterday was not a good day because we had to spend money to stock up.

Yesterday was a good day because spending money didn't count on our March budget, and we decided not to start budgeting until today.
Yesterday was not a good day because even though we weren't budgeting, we still did actually spend that money.

Yesterday was a good day because salmon was on sale for mega-cheap.
Yesterday was not a good day because now I have three frozen fish in my freezer. With skin on. Fortunately, there are no eyeballs or bones.

Yesterday was a good day because I finally got to use the beautiful red, suede shower curtain we received as a wedding present nearly four years ago.
Yesterday was not a good day because I did not splurge on the nice shower hooks. Plain, white plastic ones instead.