Cutting back the Fat Tuesday

March 8th, 2011 4 comments

Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

– Taken from American Catholic Website

I gotta admit… Mardi Gras intrigues me. I’ve never been to New Orleans. I’ve never flashed anyone for beads. I’ve never stuffed myself silly. I have, though, had a King Cake before. So I’ve got that going for me (which is nice.)

However, I have regularly given something up for Lent. If I recall correctly, I gave up beer last year. A few years I gave up candy. I’ve tried to “list something I am thankful for” every day of lent, but usually ended up failing miserably. So some years I’ve just said, “I’m going to try to do better in general.”

This year, I am still being fairly broad in my Lenten sacrifice, but I’m doing so with some clear cut plans.

  • Cut back to 1 soda a day, or as close as possible. I can easily down multiple cans of soda a day, if I am not careful. I need to cut that back for many reasons, so probably my biggest challenge will be to cut it back to 1 a day. (I’m not totally cutting it out because sometimes a soda is the only thing that will settle an upset tummy for me.)
  • Drink more water. I’m already doing that with the purchase of my new water bottle! I refill it multiple times a day now, so I know I’m drinking a lot more water than before.
  • Stop eating when I am full. This was never a problem back in the day! But somewhere along the way, I’ve gotten to where I eat well past “full.” I want my old habit back!
  • Eat only when I am hungry. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating just because it seems like a good thing to do. To curb this, I want to start munching on something like sunflower seeds that gives me the feel of eating without the super-crazy calories! And, besides, if I am not hungry, just don’t eat! Its that simple!

I’d love to be several pounds lighter by Easter. Oh I’m doing fine weight-wise, really. Well within my normal BMI. This is a personal health goal to avoid falling into a pattern that won’t be as easy to stop in the future. (And, really, I want to lose the muffin top, ok?)

Healthier habits for a healthier me!

Categories: goals, weight Tags: , , , ,

Negotiating services

March 7th, 2011 No comments

The government and media can tell us all they want that the economy is getting better, but I know from where I stand… it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’m doing ok right now just because we’ve found ways to cut costs left and right.

But… at what point does cutting costs reach the point of insult?

Where I am working right now, at least once a week it seems someone comes in ready to negotiate their bill down to a lower price. Every time that happens, I’m left with a sick taste in my mouth. (It happened twice in one day recently, and it sent me in to a fit of pure anger… something that VERY rarely happens.) Why? Because I know what goes into doing the service being provided: aka Overhead.

When you receive a bill for a service, what you have to realize is that the bill exists to help cover hundreds of hidden costs.

Let’s take your local plumber. You call him to come unclog a drain, and when you receive the bill you might find yourself asking yourself, “Why so high when he was only here for 10 minutes.”

What you don’t see is:

  • fuel costs to drive over
  • the expense of having the proper tools to do the job
  • training and KNOWLEDGE of how to fix the problem quickly and efficient.
  • taxes paid by the business owner to even be in business.
  • insurance they have to carry.
  • etc.

In my own case, when doing any design work, I often try to figure myself by hours of work… plus a little extra to help me afford the computer I need to do the work. The programs. The hours I’ve spent learning how to do the work.

I’m not just putting food on the table. I’m trying to stay in business. And at the end of the day, the only number that can truly be negotiated down is what you think that individuals time and knowledge are worth. And it is in that moment that negotiating a bill down comes off as insulting. Just as you’re trying to save money, a business it trying to stay in business… and those words, “Why so high!?” can easily be the equivalent of, “You’re just not worth that!”

If everyone were to negotiate their bills down as hard as some people do, businesses would go out of business left and right. Now, I’m not saying you can’t ever negotiate to get a better deal. I’m just saying… sometimes take a step back and realize its not only about you.

Weekly Winners (Feb. 27 – Mar. 5)

March 6th, 2011 34 comments

Weekly Winners is a fun little thing bloggers do to showcase some of their favorite photos from the previous week. It is brought to you, me and everyone by the lovely Lotus, aka Sarcastic Mom. Visit her site and find all the participants. See some amazing photos brought to you by bloggers around the world. Leave a little love when you do — its like food for the soul!

Weekly Winners

Mostly these are my shots for my Project 365… but, hey, I like ‘em!

110: Southwest in the air

Flying above the storms

Snacks in the air

Snacking in the air

111: Oh my darlin'...

Star of the day: the orange

112: Evening cup of coffee

My personal version of a Starbucks coffee: Hot chocolate mix in coffee

White Lantana

White Lantana

113: Purple Lantana

Purple Lantana

114: Glass of green

Drop of green in my glass

115: Love charm

Love

116: Subtle school pride

Subtle school spirit

♥ ♥ ♥

Photos taken using a Nikon Coolpix L20 or my Droid Incredible or a Sony DSLR A230.
View all of my photos and detailed captions on my Flickr stream.

Time to get a little more high tech

March 5th, 2011 No comments

I did it.

I finally did it.

I bought a web cam today. Yesterday’s vlog was so well received that it finally pushed me over the edge I’ve been standing on for about three years.

Help us all, I have a web cam, and I plan to use it.

I decided to go middle of the road, with a slight leaning towards better quality. I’m sure I’ll be happy with it, no matter what. Heck, I’m down right excited!!

It’ll be nice to video chat with hubby when he’s on the road now. Not to mention family in Texas and Oregon! And vlogs! I just might start doing those periodically. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to go crazy with it. It’ll just be nice to be able to add it to my bag of tricks.

But first… time to figure out how to make it work.

Wish me luck.

First step… how do I get the box open…

Categories: blogging Tags: ,

Vlog: Accent meme

March 4th, 2011 8 comments

My first ever vlog. I’m scared. I actually videoed this using my cell phone clipped to my laptop screen with a hair clip. How ghetto fabulous is that!? (Or maybe its brilliant?)

Accent meme, as I found it on Thin Spiral Notebook.

I did this in only two takes, and I refused to do a third. Yes, I stumble on my words at times, but its as good as its going to get. :)

What I read:

Read this list of words as you normally would say them

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

Read and answer each question -

  1. What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  2. What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  3. What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  4. What do you call gym shoes?
  5. What do you say to address a group of people?
  6. What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
  7. What do you call your grandparents?
  8. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  9. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  10. What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Won’t you please play along??

Categories: about-me, vlog Tags: , ,

I’m a little slow sometimes

March 3rd, 2011 2 comments

I have a college degree. I have a piece of paper that basically says, “I’m smart.” (Signed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, thank you very much.) But lets face it. I can be pretty slow sometimes, too. I make up for it by being really good at faking that I know what’s going on… I like to say I have my BS in BS.

In the last few weeks, though, I’ve had TWO instances of having lived years clueless and FINALLY figuring something out. Moments when the light bulb clicked on and I went, “Ohhhh!” to no one but myself.

The first was listening to the song, “Song of the South” by Alabama. I’ve lived in Nashville for over four years now. I’ve heard the song countless times in life and since I moved there.

I only JUST last week figured out what the line, “Papa got a job with the TVA” means. I’ll be honest, as a kid, I thought maybe it was, “Papa got a job with the TV, hey!” because TVA meant nothing to me. Then it hit me. Out of the blue. Ironically while I was laying on my bed in Texas. TVATennessee Valley Authority. Where I get my electricity! DUH!

Then, when I was going through things to throw out in our move, I stumbled upon old journals from when I was a teenager. My journalism class in high school started, every day, with writing in a  journal. It was fun to go back and read what was important to me back then!

I stumbled upon the entry from when OJ Simpson trial finally ended. “The juice is loose.” I wrote. Because everyone else was saying it. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand that line. All I knew was that was what headlines and reporters were using to kick off reports of his acquittal.

Yeah, about two days ago, when I wasn’t even thinking about anything other than if I had time to flatiron my hair, suddenly I said to my reflection, “Oh duh. OJ. Juice. The juice is loose. I’m slow.”

Please someone reassure me that I am not the only person who puts things together years later for NO REASON. Its like my subconscious mind was chewing on it. Like a piece of old gum. And suddenly it went, “Oh hey, this gum is peppermint flavored! Time to spit out and get a new piece.”

Yeah, its a cheesy analogy but its all I’ve got right now. I’m still exhausted from all these moments of sudden understanding. I’m a little slow sometimes. I admit it. But, hey, at least I entertain myself with it.

Categories: about-me, humor Tags: , ,