Friday, March 22, 2013

Every Day

This is me every morning:

Get up,check my email and read any errant text messages from the night before I may have missed. Then, I shuffle off to the bathroom to pee, shuffle off to make coffee.  Shuffle off to the shower to get clean and while in the shower, I'll think of something that really gets my head going.  Get out, dry off and think "I should write about that." Make coffee (still down to one cup a day), take a drink, think more of the brilliant thought and how I can tie it in with another brilliant thought, check Facebook, iron clothes, all the while cursing the iron for leaking water, but still expounding on my brilliant thought in my head.  Imagine becoming a famous blogger like Dooce (except without all the haughty "Look at what I bought" bullshit, of course)  because this one is IT baby.  This one will get me passed all over the internet like $2 whore working at the docks!  Do hair, brush teeth, get dressed, think about that thing with a little less intensity, but think I should probably try before I lose it, look at my laptop, look at the time and say "THIS TIME I will not forget"

Then, I forget.

I get home and I try to remember what I wanted to write and I can never remember. Or, I'll remember the subject, but I can't get the words out I want to say, they all sound stupid and dumb and I realize I'm a big ole dummy and I hate myself and now I have to start dinner.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Caffeine Queen Hands In Her Resignation

I loved coffee.  I loved everything about coffee.  The way it tasted, the way it smelled, the way it sounded brewing in a pot.  There is nothing better than that first sip of coffee in the morning.  Coffee and I were team, never to be broken a part.   A nice strong cup of coffee with half and half and sweetener was truly heaven at times.  My identity was so wrapped up in coffee.  Everyone knew I loved it.  Never far from my hand.  My walls and even my Christmas tree is an ode to the love I had with coffee.  BFFs forever.  Everyone knew if I forgot my coffee, I'd be a mess at work.  Coffee and I were simpatico.  Coffee and I, we had an understanding.  I'd often rather drink coffee than booze at a party.  So, where did it all start going wrong?  Why did I decide to stop drinking so much?  I say "so much" because I haven't given it up completely.  I still have one cup a day, compared to the three or four I had before.

I've been toying with the idea for a few years for a myriad of reasons that I willl share with you now:

1.  I wanted to see if I could do it.  Sometimes, I get a wild hair up my ass and when I hear myself say "Oh I could never blah blah blah" I try to see if I can.  Not to prove that I'm better.  It's just something I have to see for myself.  Movie popcorn is something else I've given up only because people often say they can't go to the movies without popcorn.  It's not something I brag about or lord over anyone.  It's not even something I really care about.  Just one day I said "I'm going to NOT get movie popcorn" and I didn't and the movie was just as enjoyable, and now I rarely buy it.  Coffee was going to be harder to give up.  Movie popcorn is easy.  I don't go to the movies that often.  Coffee is an everyday thing, that can make me sick if I don't consume it. Which brings me to number two.

2. My body went through crazy withdrawals when I didn't have coffee.  If I was a few hours late with the caffeine my head would start to hurt and then go into full blown migraine status.  I'd feel foggy headed and lethargic.  I hated that my body needed something so bad, it made me sick to get it.  It was an addiction and that's never a good thing.  What makes caffeine an acceptable addiction?  If I said "Man, I could never give up crack"  or "If I don't drink my vodka, my body sends me into withdrawals"  I'd have serious issues.  I admit, crack and vodka shouldn't be compared to coffee, but what if I said "If I don't have sugar, my body goes through withdrawals"?   Addiction is addiction and I had one and I had to let it go.

3.  It had kind of become a chore.  I had stopped enjoying coffee as much.  I'd want it, I'd crave it but sometimes, it was a pain in the ass to drink it.  Especially in the evenings.  It never tasted as good as that morning cup, yet I felt compelled to drink it.  I'd been drinking it so long and with such fervor that I just continued to do it.  Every morning I would make a to go cup of joe for work.  I found myself drinking it even though I'd rather have water.  I'd drink my water and leave half of it sitting there.  I'd feel bad about wasting it, so I'd chug it down to "get it over with".  

4.  It was a LOT of added carbs.  I drink my coffee with Slenda and half and half.  A few months ago, I started using MyFitnessPal to track my carbs.  Half my daily carb intake was freaking coffee.  One packet of Splenda is one carb.  I was consuming at least 6 packets a day.  One TBL spoon of H&H is 1 carb.  I like a LOT of half and half.  So, I was drinking about 12 carbs in creamer with a grand totals of 18 carbs and sometimes on the weekends, I would have more coffee than that.   During induction, you should stay under 20.  It kind of freaked me out that I was drinking my carbs away. 

5. And this is the biggie.  I have high blood pressure and for awhile, it was getting out of hand and I knew I had to stop.  Even though the verdict is out on whether caffeine helps or hinders BP, I didn't want to let my stubborness over a drink keep me from being healthier.  How could I go to my Dr. and say "I can't give up coffee?  Did I want to take more medicine just to continue to drink it?  Also, I read it can cause anxiety and I'm hoping it will help with that, too.  If stopping will keep my heart from skip jumping with an accompanied feeling of impending doom, that so be it.  People who don't have anxiety can never understand how it feels. 

Anway, that's the scoop.  I'm sure I'll miss it and it's not like I'm giving it up completely.  What's funny is I feel so much better.  I feel more energetic and alert which is something I never thought I would feel without caffeine.  I'm sleeping better and I do feel more calm.  Today, I made my one cup of coffee and set it down as it was too hot to drink.  I got dressed, walked out the door, went grocery shopping and realized I only took one sip of the coffee before leaving.  This is coming from someone who couldn't get her day started without a cup.  I came home, warmed it up,and I drank 3/4ths of it before dumping it.

It's not coffee I've given up, it's caffeine, soda included.  Not that I'll never drink soda, I may have a diet caffeine free soda on occasion, but I haven't bought soda at all and haven't had any in a week either.

Since the change came so easily, I have a feeling I can stick with it for a long time.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Good! But, thank GOD it's over!"

I work at a financial institution and we are encouraged to make small talk while waiting on people.  Since I've been on vacation, I've been asking a lot of my regular members if they had a good Christmas.  Do you want to know what the number one answer is?

"It was good, but I'm so happy it's OVER."

It's kind of depressing to me that this is how people view the holidays.  One more burden to get through.  It's almost a forced frivolity.  No one wants to participate at the level they do, but guilt  makes them feel like they're going to ruin Christmas if they don't do it just right.  If they don't decorate every square inch and make cookies and hand wrap gifts and spend thousands of dollars on gifts for everyone they ever talked to in the previous year, they'll be judged for being lazy or a Grinch.

It's that kind of attitude that makes Christmas stressful for people.  Yet, this year I had  ZERO stress about Christmas. Some minor grumblings about putting up the tree (and soon, taking down the tree) but I grumble every year about the tree, so that's not anything new. It takes me a week to get it up and get it just right and then I fall completely and utterly in LOVE with my tree.  I spend hours looking at it and wanting to take pictures of it and post them to Facebook.  I used to be a big ball of stress around Chritmas.  I was not pleasant to be around.  I bemoaned Christmas every year.  Last year though, I had a really humbling Christmas that forever changed my view on Christmas and how I was my own worst enemy when it came to Christmas.

Last year, I had quite a few financial difficulties that happend around Christmas, causing me to not have a lot of money to spend on gifts for anyone.  Although I had always been low key about Christmas in the past, the Christmas wasn't going to be low key, it was looking like it might turn into a "no key" Christmas!  Friends stepped in and helped me get gifts and winter clothes for the kids. I spent a lot of my Christmas crying.  First from despair and then from joy when I realized how truly blessed I am to have all these amazing people in my life.  I was able to get the kids some presents, even though they were kind of lame to my eyes.  Yet, when they got their gifts, they were so happy and thankful.  The $3 dollar package of army men entertained Jonathan for hours.  None of my family threw my gifts back at me and declared them unacceptable. It was what it was and it was over. 

So, here are the lessons I learned from my "bad" Christmas, for lack of a better adjective.  It actually ended up being good, but you get what I'm saying.

1. People will never tell you they hate your gift, even if they do.  Why?  Because they love you!  Even if they can't or won't or don't want to use it, they can re-gift it and that's less money they have to spend, since they have what you gave them.  You'll never know  because do you honestly remember what you got your sister 2 years ago?  I don't.  On the flip side, don't just get stuff because it's cheap.  I know I could go to Target and get a $10 lotion set for my sister, but she hates smelly lotion.  That brings me to lesson 2...

2.  Having less money to spend means you may have to work harder, either by finding a great gift within your budget or becuase you have to hand make 20 jars of snowman cookie mix you found on Pinterest.  Either way, it's totally worth the time and energy. 

3.  Christmas is the same time every year, so be prepared!  I see more stress in my customers around this time.  It comes off them in waves as they try to rob Peter to pay Paul and hope that guy Bill doesn't show up at the door looking for his share.  A standard payroll calender usually has 26 bi-weekly paychecks.  If you get paid twice a month, like the 1st and the 15th, then it's 24.  If you tuck away $25 a pay period, by Christmas you have $600-$650 saved, depending on your payroll schedule.  Trust me, coming from a single mom on a tight budget, you won't miss it!  Find a system that works for you.  A Christmas club account,  envelope system, buy $25 dollars in coin and put it in a piggy bank. It helps your Christmas spirit to know you have Christmas covered financially and that January won't bring a Visa bill that you're afraid to open.

4.  Don't let your neighbor, your Facebook friends and Pinterest make you feel bad.  This is so tough in our "share all" society.  Between Pinterest posts showing you how to make handmade gifts and Youtube videos of houses decorated and synced with music, it can make a lot of people feel inadequate.  If you feel that one tree is all that is needed, by all means, put up one tree and one tree only and don't let your Instagram dictate otherwise! Some people are really into Christmas and it's ok if your level of enthusiasm doesn't match theirs.  If you don't have the time, patience or talent to wrap gifts, put them in a gift bag.  No one who cares about YOU cares about your Charlie Brown tree and bare undecked walls!

5. Create traditions to do every year.  This is something I think makes every Christmas cozy.  Traditions don't cost money and are usually looked forward to the most by kids.  Either an early present on Christmas Eve, new pjs, reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" or finding the pickle in the tree.  These will creat memories more than any gift will.  Two new traditions here were the pickle, with the winner getting a crisp $2 bill and the kids have to make gifts for each other.  Those were really fun!

So, there it is!  Christmas is what you make it.  One person's way isn't better or worse.  I love Christmas on a much smaller scale then say, my mom and sister.  There are people I know who love it on smaller scale than I do.  That doesn't mean they love it less, just different.

Next year, vow to make Christmas YOUR Christmas and enjoy it so when asked how  your Christmas was you don't resond "Good, but thank GOD it's over!"