Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Party Gluttony Detox

First, an update on my dairy free week...I made it 6 days. Bad planning tripped me up. I didn't really notice any major changes in how I felt. I definitely think I need to try it for more than 6 days to really notice a difference. It went pretty well overall. Thoughts of cheese did cross through my brain but it was yogurt that tripped me up.

Next, the work holiday party. I haven't been that out of control with food in a very long time. It's kind of unnerving. I don't like that I basically just went hog wild. Events at work always have the potential to trip me up but I've previously shown more self control. I have some theories about what is going on. My four faithful readers can probably fill in the blanks (guilt). Whatever the reason, I need to get this under control. I have a plan, at least for tomorrow. I'm jokingly calling it my detox menu but really, it's just planning ahead to make good food choices. There's nothing kooky, just food. I've allowed certain aspects of my life to get out of control, this is an area that I can get back on track.

Saturday's menu

Quinoa with blueberries
Eggs with salsa and maybe a whole wheat tortilla

Some kind of mid morning snack, maybe apples with almonds or yogurt

Turkey soup
Spinach salad

Some kind of mid afternoon snack

Butternut squash soup
(This seems like a weird combination, maybe it's too much orange. Anyway I just made the soup and have the salmon thawed so it's more a matter of not wasting really yummy food.)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Dairy Free Day 1

My first day without dairy was uneventful. I didn't add milk to my oatmeal, I had iced tea instead of a mocha or hot chocolate when I met the man for coffee this morning and I avoided the string cheese in the fridge. There's really nothing else to tell. It wasn't hard. I don't typically eat tons of dairy to begin with so it really wasn't an issue.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey, Ho, The Dairy, O

I've been congested for the past week or so. I'm not coughing or sneezing, I don't have a runny nose, I'm not running a fever or feel run down, I'm just congested.

I've read and continue to read a lot about food and the more I read, the more I realize how fucked up the American diet is. We've taken basic ingredients and fiddled with them, turning them into additives, preservatives, fillers, the list goes on. The result, a diet that our bodies cannot handle. Food allergies and food intolerance seem to be increasing. Is it because they simply went undiagnosed until recently or is it because the more we invent, mutate, create, construct "food" the more problems we encounter?

Back to my congestion, I've been wondering if my congestion is due to a reaction to the foods I'm eating. I've been researching (Googling) which foods can cause sinus congestion. It's been interesting. First thing to note, the search results typically lead me to "alternative healing" or the like, websites. For instance, I wasn't directed to WebMD. That could simply be the search criteria I used but it's worth noting. The consensus among the sites I visited was the main culprits in food allergies are typically dairy, gluten, sugar, meat. The fact that none of this was surprising to me makes me think that although this isn't mainstream news, it's not just kooky fringe elements saying this. I've also consistently read that the best way to determine if you have an allergy (or at least an intolerance) to a certain food group is to avoid it for a length of time and see how you feel.

With that in mind, I've decided to give it a try. I'm going to attempt to give up dairy for a week. I really don't think a week is enough to determine if dairy is a factor in my congestion. I decided on a week because I want to see if I can go a week without certain food group. I think the hardest part will be to remember I'm doing this in the first place...and cheese, it will be hard to give up cheese. After a week I'll decide if I want to continue with dairy or move onto something else such as gluten. At very least, I will be refocusing my attention on what I'm putting in my body and how it might affect me. I need that. There's been way too much mindless eating on my part lately and maybe, just maybe, I'll learn more about what foods work with, rather than against my body.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Calculate That

So I put two calculators on ebay last week. Both are HP scientific calculators, one also graphs. It's crazy, the calculator I had in the mid to late 80's sold for $157! The graphing calculator from the 90's only sold for $24. Who knew a calculator could be so valuable?

I've also sold a wetsuit on ebay and a few books on Craigslist. I'm not getting rich, but it is bringing in a little extra cash.

Here's my ebay/craiglist picture taking setup. Pictured is the calculator that sold for $157. As you can tell it's very high tech setup.

With my extra cash and with closing my "Scuba Fund" savings account, I was able to send in $1300 to Citibank. Yay! That brings my remaining balance to $2200! This is so exciting. Hopefully Christmas won't get out of hand and I can still make a decent payment in December. I definitely want to get my balance below $2000.

Side note - the "Scuba Fund" saving account will be reopened but with a different bank. It was only $230 so it's not like I completely ruined my vacation fund, and honestly, the yearly Blackbeard's trip is up in the air for now so the fund isn't a priority right now.

100th Post

Oops, my last post was my 100th. I should have celebrated or commented on something more profound than my piggy bank.

I'd like to thank my loyal 3 readers. It's nice to know someone out there is paying attention. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I hate money.

Last night I balanced my checking account and came up with -$2.79. This was after I had just purchased an iced mocha for $4.27. It's frustrating that the majority of my money issues are self inflicted. I know what I need to do, but I don't do it.

Today I emptied my piggy bank and took it to the bank so I would have some cash until I get paid on Monday. I got back $46.71. Not bad. I deposited $25 and kept the remaining $21.71 for the weekend.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Debt Is Slavery

I didn't come up with it, it's the title of a book, but when I read the title it resonated with me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010


My house is painted.
Pictures soon.
That is all.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Little Things

I didn't do much today but I still feel good about what I did get done. Sometimes taking care of the little things can feel like a huge accomplishment.

Today I finished up the hallway with a second coat of paint, took a box of glass containers and a bunch of plastic bags to be recycled. I then purchased a big box of baking soda, sprinkled it all over the carpet, let it sit and then vacuumed. I also changed the bag in the vacuum cleaner. (It's amazing how much better the vacuum works when the bag's not full.)

Just six little things done and I feel like I moved mountains. What can I say? I'm easy. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Little More

I finished priming the kitchen, it looks fabulous.

Last night I painted the hallway. It needs a second coat but it also looks fabulous.

Today I weeded and mulched another flower bed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

1943 Guide to Hiring Women

I found an article from Savvy & Sage magazine (September/October 2007) in a file folder during a post "Hoaders" viewing cleanup. Savvy & Sage reprinted an earlier article from another magazine about tips for hiring women. It's hilarious. I thought I'd post it here so I can throw away the article. :)

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees: There's no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage.

Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:

1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they're less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn't be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It's always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. General experience indicates that "husky" girls - those who are just a little on the heavy side - are more even tempered and efficient then their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination - one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.

5. Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman - it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator's uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed to much in keeping women happy.

I agree with number eleven.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's a start

I finished weeding the flower bed that I started on Saturday. With the help of my roomie, it's also completely mulched!

I also started priming my kitchen. I pulled down the wallpaper in 2007. It's looked dingy and icky for over 3 years. It feels good to see bright white.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Outside In

I believe that the condition of a person's home, inside or out, is a reflection of what is going on in their mind and heart. If this is true, than it must be clear to my neighbors that this year has been a turbulent for me. All of my flower gardens are overgrown with weeds and my house in general looks neglected.

Actually, the exterior of my house has been in a state of half paintedness (yes, it's a word) for 3 years now so I really can't use recent events as an excuse for that. Perhaps the paint is symbolic of a journey that's not complete. I've made many changes in my life the past few years, but maybe there's more to come. Maybe I'm just trying to come up with excuses and I'm really just lazy. Whatever the reason, I've decided I need to spruce up my house, and by doing so, hopefully I will find some direction for my mind and heart. And whatever the reason, my neighbors will be thrilled that I'm finally taking care of my property so that it's not such an eyesore.

So begins operation "No More White Trash". :) It's a light hearted way to describe my serious attempt to heal myself from the outside in and find some direction. Just typing that sentence brings me to tears, so obviously I'm on to something here. I'm hoping that showing some pride in my house will help me make some better decisions in my life or at least be at peace with the ones I've already made. So in order to do this, I need some kind of a plan. I don't have hard facts and figures yet, but I do have a basic idea of what needs to happen.

First of all, I've already contacted a painter to finish painting the exterior of my house. I'm going to pull money from savings to pay for it. I know that once it's completed, a huge load will be lifted. I hate that my house has looked like this for 3 years.

Next, I need to tackle my yard. Today I weeded a flower garden that was completely overgrown with weeds. It was so embarrassing. I had weeds taller than my 5' fence. I had enough weeds to fill the back of my roommates truck. Tomorrow I think I will go to the free mulch sight and mulch the area I just weeded.

Since I've proven that I get over zealous and end up injuring myself, my goal is to work on one flower bed at a time, without overdoing it. Hopefully that will also prevent me from getting burned out.

I also would like to finish up some interior painting projects. My kitchen has been in a half finished state for even longer than the exterior of my house. I need to use crappy weather days to work on patching the termite damage and then finishing priming the walls so I can then finally paint the kitchen. I've been talking with my friend who helped me paint my living room; I told her I would trust whatever color scheme she comes up with. I LOVE my living room so I see no reason why I shouldn't trust her with my kitchen. I have a feeling she's going to suggest something completely different, which is good. I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone.

So for now, that's my "plan". Get the exterior painting done, get as much cleaned up in the yard as I can while it's still nice out and then finish the kitchen. It doesn't sound like much, but they're all big projects that will feel amazing to complete.

Here are a couple of before and after pictures of the flower bed I tackled today.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Motorcycle Chick

Yep, that's me. :) I'm learning to ride at age 41. I must be insane.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An actual FINANCIAL update!

Oh yeah, the original intent of this blog was to write about my debt elimination, at least that was suppose to be a major part of it. Lately it's been like a bad Lifetime movie. So here is an actual financial update!

Current credit card debt: $3800!

Hee hee! I'm getting so close.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Frugal or sad?

Actually, neither...or maybe both?

I'm not so frugal (some would say cheap) that I cut off the end of every tube of toothpaste just to get the last few blobs of toothpaste out. No, I simply forgot to buy more toothpaste and had to resort to desperate measures. Perhaps "lazy or unorganized" would be a better description for this. Really, it's probably "all of the above".

I hope you enjoyed another little glimpse into my brain. Think it's scary? Try living here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Note to self...

Don't watch movies that have weddings as the happy ending. They suck.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I've wanted a tattoo for several years but never knew what I wanted to get or where to put it. I decided a while back that I would finally get a tattoo after my 100th dive. For me, getting to my 100th dive was a major milestone. I'm not comfortable in the water but I've been able to overcome my fears to become a fairly decent scuba diver. My 100th dive was on June 15. I got my tattoo on July 12. I searched the internet to try and find ideas of what I wanted. I kind of knew I wanted something tribal looking. I also wanted something that only divers get to see. I finally decided that I wanted the outline of a ray with a shark inside. We saw a spotted ray in the Bahamas and it was beautiful. The average person can see a ray in an aquarium, but it's really amazing to see them in the wild. For me, the ray represents the beauty of the ocean that only a very few get to see. The shark represents how I was able to overcome my fears to do something I've wanted to do my whole life. Learning to dive was not easy for me. It took a long time before I felt good in the water. The trip to the Bahamas in June was amazing. I finally felt like a diver. My tattoo is simply an acknowledgement of all that I've accomplished the past few years both in the water and on dry land.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Recipe: Orange Herb Dressing

I just tried this recipe from Clean Eating magazine. It's really good. I had it with leaf lettuce, mandarin oranges and sliced almonds but I think it would be good with almost any fruit and nut combo.

Orange Herb Dressing

2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced, or 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tbsp fresh oregano, minced, or 1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp orange zest
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Wisk ingredients together. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Do you love where you live? I have a friend that commented about how much she loved her house. That statement caught my attention. I've always been rather indifferent about my house. It's simply been a place to live. I like it well enough, but I've never thought "wow, I love my house, what a great place to live." I asked my friend what was it about her house that made it so wonderful? She replied with a answer that basically boiled down to "there's just something about it that I like."

About five weeks ago, this same friend was at my house, sitting in my living room. She was looking around and said I really needed to paint the living room. I agreed but I'm so indecisive about color that I've never done anything about it. She instantly said recommended two colors that would look wonderful. I said "great, you pick the colors and I'll paint it." Two weeks ago, she came over, we went to Lowe's, I bought the paint and we spent the day painting my living room. By the end of the day, I had a beautiful new living room. The colors are perfect. The living room is now warm and inviting. I didn't realize how stark it was until it was painted. I can honestly say I love my living room. Because of the amazing transformation in the living room I've been inspired to finish up some half started projects such as painting the kitchen.

Of course, shortly after painting my living room, I found out that at least at one point, I've had termites. I might (probably) still have them, however I haven't been able to find any live termites, just the signs that they've been here before. It's so frustrating. It's great that I haven't found an active colony, but like the bug guy said "they don't just pack up and move." So, I'm in limbo. Treatment will probably cost around $1300. Although I'm certainly not thrilled about how expensive it is, I would get the treatment in a heartbeat if I found live termites. However, since everything we've found it old, I'm uncertain how to proceed. Part of me thinks I should just get the treatment and be done with it. The other part thinks I should hold off a bit and just really watch for any new signs of termites. I've learned a lot in the past two weeks. I know what to look for. Clearly I don't have a huge, active colony at work in my house so it's not like the house is going to fall down around me in the next month or two. I think I'm leaning towards waiting a bit, keeping a close eye on things this summer, continuing to pay off debt and working on my small home improvement projects. In all likelihood, I will end up getting the treatment, if only for peace of mind. But in the meantime, I can proceed with my short term goals of paying of my last credit card, painting the kitchen and loving my house...termites and all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to make applesauce

Peel, core and cut up apples into chunks.

Put chunks into a slow cooker.

Add cinammon if you want.

Set slow cooker to low.

Cook for several hours to desired doneness (chunky to mushy.)



Really...that's it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Too Sweet?

Is it possible for something to be too sweet? It's not often that I string these two words together. Tonight I tried Stevia for the first time in my iced tea. I used the tiny little scoop that came in the bottle and OMG it's SWEET, it's (gasp) too sweet. I had to keep adding more tea to dilute it. I've been trying to control my sweet tooth and get used to food and drinks without being so sweet. I tried Stevia simply to add a hint of sweetness not an overwhelming amount. Obviously I'm going to need to work on this.

On a side note, I just had a piece of toasted Ezekial bread with organic peanut butter, neither of which has sugar (in any form) in the ingredients and I loved it. There's hope for me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Here's a beautiful site, my first zero!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ta Da!

I passed my exam! I'm an ACE certified personal trainer AND I've been hired to work at the gym where it all happened. The place where I worked with my trainer and lost 100 lbs. I can't wait to get started.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Splenda free.....ooh look, shiny!

When I first came here today, I was going to comment on my first Splenda free day. It was probably going to be something short and sweet and then done. However, I got sidetracked, which of course is one of the hazards of being online. Before posting, I wandered over to MyFoodDiary's forum and read a recent post on the "Giving Up White Sugar" thread. In one of the posts was a link to the blog My Years Without Sugar. This blog follows the journey of one person who chose to give up white sugar as a New Year's resolution for 2008. The posts are very interesting and reinforced what I've been learning about white sugar - it's toxic. From there I followed a links to other blogs such as A Life Less Sweet, Farty Girl and Food Politics. These are all interesting blogs and I read several posts in each. The blog that really ate up my time was Small Footprint Family. I think I spent a couple of hours reading the various posts. It was fascinating and sobering. First, I must reassure you that I DO realize that most blogs are comprised of a whole lot of opinions and just a little bit facts. With that in mind, I was still intrigued by the message of this blog. First, it demonizes, or at least taints, my precious agave nectar. It's not necessarily the healthy natural sweetener it's made out to be. Although it's low on the glycemic index scale, it's high in fructose which, in concentrated forms such as agave nectar, comes with a host of health concerns.

Other "facts" I learned from wandering around the Small Footprint Family blog:
-Polyunsaturated fats are bad
-Soy is bad except when it's fermented, such as tofu
-Canola oil is bad (polyunsaturated fat)

From Small Footprint, I followed a link to Food Renegade where I learned that saturated fats are good for you?! Huh! Talk about renegade! Although this is a little more out there than I'm willing to go, (for now) the truth is, I've heard similar ideas before. The concept isn't as fringe as it used to be and frankly, it makes some sense. Humans evolved on a diet of mostly foraged vegetables, nuts, fruits and of course, hunted animals. Our bodies know what to do with saturated fats. Our bodies do not know what to do with trans fat or polyunsaturated fat since these are man made, processed fats. I'm not ready to run out and purchase lard or beef tallow but perhaps I'll allow myself some bacon tomorrow morning.

My journey today has given my a lot to think about and possibly more to look into. One the tree level, it reinforces my belief that food should be simple and the less processing, the better. On the forest level, it reminds me that the internet is a strange maze of opinions mixed with facts and ideas.

Oh and I went an entire day without Splenda in my iced tea.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

House Hunters

I've been watching "House Hunters" on HGTV lately. For those who don't watch it, the home buyers look at 3 homes, usually one is within their price range, one is usually well above their price range and the third is either slightly above or below the price range. First of all, "price range" is basically how much financing the buyer can get. It doesn't neccessarily mean what the buyer can afford. The viewer gets to watch the buyer look at each property and then in the end find out which home the buyer chooses.

What I've learned from watching this show is that people have an amazing ability to talk themselves into more than they need. I'm always silently telling the buyers to go for the lower priced property. In most cases, the cheaper property is fine but there might be a few areas that will need some attention such as new carpet or new cabinets. Inevitably the more expensive property is chosen. The buyers have committed themselves to a mortgage payment that they will barely be able to afford because they didn't like the carpet and wanted a place that was "move-in ready". I wonder how many of them really purchased a "bankruptcy ready" property?

I am a home owner and if I could magically go back in time and counsel my younger self, I would tell myself to not buy this house and instead focus on eliminating credit card debt. I bought too much house for just me but thankfully I have two roommates that help out with the mortgage. I CAN afford all of my bills without their help but my debt elimination would come to a slow crawl. I'm fortunate that I have two roommates that trust. They help me with my mortgage and they get to live pretty cheap. However, despite my current good fortune, I still think purchasing a home when I did was a poor decision. The thing is, purchasing this house is part of the process that got me to a point where I FINALLY realized that I needed to make a change in my spending habits. If I hadn't bought this house, I would be in a completely different place in my life. Perhaps I would still be renting, perhaps I would still be racking up credit card debt. Hindsight is 20/20 but only for the exact set of circumstances that occur. Hindsight should be about preparing for the future, not wallowing in regret. So although I feel that purchasing this house was a bad financial decision, I'm better off financially now, because of that decision.

For those people on "House Hunters"...I really do wish them the best. I hope they are happy in their new homes and are able to really enjoy their life without the constant worry of how they are going to afford their lifestyle.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So I was sitting at my desk at work (clearly not working very hard) when I decided to look at my Choice balance online since I knew my payment just went through. I've known since last month that this was the month that my balance would finally go below $1000 but somehow actually seeing it had a big impact. It was loveliest number I've ever seen, $828.86. I sat there and just stared at the screen. I actually got a little teary-eyed realizing how far I've come and how close I am to paying off my first credit card. It was a wonderful realization.

Here was my view. I'm hoping Citibank will forgive me for taking a screen shot of their website. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Typical Sunday Evening

Up until about 6pm this evening my major accomplishments for the day were: waking up...twice...I took a nap at 4:30pm, eating and working out. In my own defense, I kicked my own ass during my workout, hence the nap, but considering how much I still needed to get done, I wasn't off to a great start. Luckily I found some motivation and since 6pm I've showered, done 3 loads of laundry (folded and put away,) made a loaf of bread, made granola bars, washed dishes, taken out the trash and put the trash can on the curb. My glaring omission, for the whole weekend in fact, is, I haven't studied. It's stupid, I should be studying. My excuse, I'm too distracted to study at home. Of course that's BS, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to focus myself for 45 minutes at a time, several times during the day. That's all it would take but I'm not doing it. I'm really bad about putting things off until the last minute, today is a great example of that. The bad thing is, I can usually pull it off and be successful, today is a great example of that. One of these days, I won't be able to be successful with last minute activity and it's going to bite me in the ass. Hopefully that won't be the case with my upcoming personal training exam.

Goal: $0 by 28 Feb 2010

Hmmm, apparently I found a way to battle my frustration with inactivity (see previous post.) I've given myself the goal of paying off my first credit card ($1129) by February 28, which will be my 2 year anniversary with the Women In Red. I believe it's doable and it's given me a plan of action so I don't feel so...inactive.

BTW, it's also a SMART goal. According to the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, a goal should be:

Specific - Pay off Citi credit card
Measurable - This will require $1129 plus finance charges, probably around $40.
Attainable - Yes, with my regular payment plus money from roomies and a little extra from paycheck.
Relevant - Hell yes! This is an important step to eliminating credit card debt and it's very relevant to my piece of mind.
Timebound - Yep, February 28, 2010

(Sweet, I just did that off the top of head. Hopefully it will be on the exam.)

Wow, that feels great. I have a plan of action AND I was able to throw in some of my personal training knowledge. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I know I've commented on this before, but I'm finding the inactivity of debt reduction to be frustrating. Unlike weight loss, debt loss seems to be more about what you don't do than what you do. When I was losing weight, if I splurged, I could help negate the splurge by being active; go on a walk, run, lift weights, whatever. With debt loss, my success comes from not being active; not going out for breakfast Sunday morning, not splurging on a Starbuck's iced tea, not going out with friends. There's also so much waiting; waiting for my next paycheck, waiting for the next statement. I'm sick of the inactivity and I'm sick of waiting.

Part of my frustration comes from the fact that it's been a couple of months since I've been able to really focus on debt loss. I had car issues in November and then with Christmas, I held back on extra payments so I could purchase gifts. Now I'm saving money for my trip to Florida. Although I'm looking forward to going on vacation, I'm also looking forward to getting back to being more aggressive with my debt loss. I'm hoping that I've over-saved for Florida and once I get back I can put that extra money directly to paying off my first credit card. Hopefully I will also have a second job as a personal trainer! The extra income will go directly to debt. This is the year I will become free of my credit cards, I just want it to happen sooner than later.

Friday, January 08, 2010

99 Butternut Squash in Debt

99 Things to Do
I feel like blogging but I don't really have anything that interesting to share or comment on so I've decided to get things going by giving an update on my to-do list. Here are my completed items so far:

8. Go through files and shred old stuff - completed 1/2/10
48. Clean shower curtain - completed 1/1/10
49. Clean shower liner - completed 1/1/10
59. Update address book - completed 1/2/10
86. Get salt from shed - completed 1/3/10

I also got a good start on, 42. Use the 3 butternut squash that are living in pantry

I made some yummy butternut squash soup earlier this week that used up one of the squash. In fact, I think I'll share the recipe.

Baja Butternut Squash Soup (From the January/February 2009 issue of Eating Well magazine.)
1.5 lbs (1 small to medium) butternut or other winter squash
1 tsp canola oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, diced (I omitted this, onions are evil)
1 carrot, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground chipotle chile (I cut up a chipotle chili into small pieces and then put it in a coffee grinder.)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
6 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken broth.)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives or chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cut squash in half and seed. Place the halves on a baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Scoop out flesh when cool to handle.
3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onion and carrot and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the squash flesh, cumin, chipotle to taste and cloves. Add broth and simmer, covered until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches) until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of yogurt and sprinkle of chives or parsley.

Makes 10 servings, about 3/4 cup each.

Per serving: 60 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbs; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 532 mg sodium; 249 mg potassium.


Once again I'm back to obsessing about debt. I'm frustrated because I'm SO close to paying off my Choice card; it's just $1129. However, since I'm saving for my trip to Florida in February, all my spare cash is going to the scuba fund. Even after I'm done saving for Florida, I still owe my $200 deposit on my annual June scuba trip. My credit card debt would probably be gone by now if it weren't for my scuba trips. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to being able to throw everything I can at my credit cards again. I so want that first $0; it's been such a long time coming. It's like in the movies - I can see the door at the end of the hallway, but the hallway keeps stretching so the door keeps moving away, just out of reach.

Current Credit Card Debt - $8767

Saturday, January 02, 2010


I just signed up for the ACE Personal Trainer certification exam! I'll be sitting for the exam on Friday, January 29 at 9 a.m..

Friday, January 01, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward

I'm pretty please with 2009, it was a good year for me.

2009 Highlights
* I paid off $11,919 of credit card debt. That's 44.5% in one year.
* I started my second year of maintaining my weight loss.
* I started studying to get certified as a personal trainer.
* I earned second place and two honorable mentions in a photo contest.
* I've drastically reduced that amount of white sugar I ingest. I've avoided all candy and desserts since October.
* I had sex. That alone makes 2009 noteworthy.
* I've read a lot and learned more about the impact the food industry has on our economy and our health, both of which are toxic. I believe I'm making better choices for my health.

2010 Goals
*Pay off all credit card debt!!!!!! This is a huge one and it's gonna happen.
*Stay away from physical therapy. No more injuries!
*Run Dam to Dam.
*Celebrate debt payoff by purchasing a Kitchenaid Mixer complete with food grinder and pasta maker attachments. I want one in Surf Green but I'm not sure it will be available by the time I'm ready to buy it.
*Get certified and get a job as a personal trainer!!! This one is really important to me.
*Continue to maintain my weight loss.
*Continue to move towards a healthier diet.

I need to revist some of my goals to make them more specific but for now I just wanted to get them posted.

99 Things in 99 Days Part 2

Ta da! Here is my next list of 99 things to do in 99 days. It starts January 1 and goes through April 9. This list was tough to come up with since I really didn't want to commit to many outdoor, gardening items since the weather is so unpredictable. I categorized items this time hoping that will keep me organized.

1. Pay off Choice
2. Balance transfer to Choice from Chase
3. Close Chase
4. Get taxes done by end of February
5. Create will
6. Create a living trust
7. Create an advance directive and durable power of attorney for health care
8. Go through files and shred old stuff
9. Use more coupons, watch for sales

10. Start training for Dam to Dam
11. Lose 2" from waist while maintaining muscle tone
12. Contact Flex account regarding online access
13. Call insurance about new primary doc
14. Get mammogram
15. Talk to doc about getting Cortisone shot for elbow

16. Birthday card to grandpa ONTIME
17. Thank you card to Uncle Rich
18. Birthday card for Lisa
19. Birthday card for mom
20. Birthday gift for mom
21. Write grandparents
22. Christmas thank you cards

23. Pass ACE exam
24. Get job as a personal trainer

25. Finish trim on kitchen cabinet
26. Add hooks to kitchen cabinet
27. Paint kitchen cabinet
28. Price primer for kitchen
29. Price paint for kitchen
30. Clean ceiling fan in kitchen
31. Clean oven
32. Get new drip pans for stove burners
33. New rugs for kitchen
34. New dish towels for kitchen
35. New dish rags for kitchen
36. Fix wall in kitchen
37. Clean shelves in kitchen cupboards
38. Clean drawers in kitchen
39. Clean pantry
40. Try two recipes from Eating Clean magazine
41. Fix paint mistakes in kitchen
42. Use the 3 butternut squash that are living in pantry

43. Spackle bedroom closet
44. Dust bedroom blinds
45. Clean bedroom ceiling fan
46. Hang headboard
47. Clean wall behind headboard

48. Clean shower curtain
49. Clean shower liner
50. Get new shelves for shower
51. Re caulk tub

52. Dust shelves in office
53. Clean ceiling fan in office
54. Do something with iPAQ
55. Do something with 1880 census CD's
56. Do something with HP calculator
57. Backup files from portable HD to DVD
58. Dust office blinds
59. Update address book

Living Room
60. Sand video cabinet
61. Paint video cabinet
62. Dust and clean front window
63. Clean coat closet

64. Empty and dispose of small propane tanks
65. Purchase ladder
66. Wash car
67. Vacuum car
68. Get oil change
69. Use punching bag

70. Vacuum intake on dehumidifier

71. Get carpets cleaned
72. Furnace filter - January
73. Furnace filter - March
74. Plot house for feng shui
75. Move title to safety deposit box

76. HP calculator
77. 3 mil wetsuit
78. Bridesmaid dress

Indoor Garden
79. Re pot hibiscus
80. Re pot philodendron
81. Re pot croton
82. Grow basil
83. Plant rooted plant cutting
84. Start seeds

Outdoor Garden
85. Take garden pots to Kay for plant sale
86. Get salt from shed
87. Clean out shed (if weather allows)

88. Get rid of 14 magazines
89. Finish mom's photo album
90. Finish study abroad scrapbook
91. Get estimate for jewelry repair
92. Check on new cell phone
93. Use gift certificate from Lisa
94. Take clothes to consignment shop
95. Check to see if laptop is still covered
96. Finish "Duma Key"
97. Get a pedicure
98. Buy new bras
99. Hang photo from contest