Friday, November 21, 2008

Update: Latest Fad

I know, I know…it’s always something new with me. I hear something or read something and I jump on another new bandwagon. “So what is it this time” you ask…

I read in
People magazine that Eva Longoria (my old childhood friend…no, we don’t still talk and I don’t think she would remember me from 5th & 6th grade anyways) had recently lost a lot of weight. I don’t know if you follow celeb gossip, but folks were beginning to think that she was pregnant because she was getting a pooch. Well, she has gotten back to her hottie figure and looks absolutely fabulous. People magazine stated that she started exercising again and put more veggies into her diet after her friend gave her a copy of Skinny Bitch. So of course I run off to Barnes & Noble to get myself a copy of this little miracle book.

Knowing this was primarily a vegan book, I wanted to see what it had to say anyways. As most of you know, I am a flexitarian. “What’s the heck is a flexitarian?” Basically, it means I am a vegetarian who eats meat
occasionally. I never had any real moral issues with meat…I just don’t like chewing and chewing and chewing…it’s also a texture thing cuz I feel like I am gnawing at my food.

Anyhow, I didn’t think this book would change the
way I would feel about meet because my diet primarily meatless. The book is hilarious…it’s kinda vulgar and “to the point”…but then as I begin to read further they start talking about meat and dairy products and it begins to blow me away.

The funny thing, is that last week when I started reading this book, I happened to pick up a free magazine in a restaurant that confirmed what I was reading in the book. I think it was called Natural Awakenings ( ).

Back to the book… it didn’t start off with the morality standpoint (even though they went into it later). Instead they started talking about everything that is in meat and dairy products a
nd I was disgusted. Factory-farmed animals are given:
  • daily antibiotics (so they don’t get sick from their tight quarters...feces, sewage sludge, disease, etc). An important note also is that antibiotics are also given to boost the speed of food-to-muscle conversion.
  • growth hormones (more meat means more money for the farmers)
  • steroids (to stop the development and growth of sex organs) pesticides (in their grain, and given to them to ward off bugs)
  • arsenic-based drugs (yes! Arsenic)
  • animal byproducts in their feed (like pig and chicken) and are subject to living in sewage sludge and their own feces (let’s not even think about that!)
You know the old saying “You are what you eat!” Well, that kinda puts it into perspective for me when it comes to dairy now. They made this analogy: When you are pregnant they tell you not to do all this stuff because it affects the baby or your milk. Don’t take certain medicines, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t eat lots of tuna, etc. because it can be passed through your body and to the baby or breast milk. Well, this is also true for dairy. When a cow produces milk you are getting everything that cow has been getting…same with eggs. These dairy producing animals are given antibiotics, pesticides and hormones too. These are substances that cannot be removed by pasteurization.

So after reading that, it has been hard for me to eat/drink any dairy or eat any meat. I have still eaten some meat, but every time I bite into meat or drink dairy…I get this image in my head that I am eating a mouthful of medicine and then it just leaves a funny taste in my mouth. It’s funny how the brain can do that to you. So it’s been hard.

I had started to make the decision that I was only going to buy organic dairy and free-range natural meats. I will still do that for my family, but after reading the morality portion of the book I am completely sickened by what goes on in those slaughterhouses and processing plants. I am not going into details about that because it’s just not for everyone to know
…you have to have your own curiosity and can research it on your own. It’s going to take a while for me to be able to eat any meat or dairy.

The positive outcome from this book (I haven’t finished it yet) is that I am aware of what I am eating and need to fill my diet with
more fruits and veggies anyway. They go onto explain how to mix and match foods for the best nutritional value. Also, I am going to start exercising too! There is a gym across the street from my work and I am thinking of signing up. It’s kinda pricey, but lunch time seems like the only time I have to myself to actually do something. Plus it will be more like a schedule and I am better at schedules than just “working out when I have time”. Plus the cost of the gym membership will keep my going so that I can guarantee that I get my money’s worth!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Update: Anti-Consumerism

All of my failures so far have been a result of my new job. I love my new job, but it definitely jolted my lifestyle 180 degrees. I have faced so many new changes and I am trying to slowly adjust back to a normal lifestyle.

As a result, my quest to move away from being a consumer whore has failed miserably. I didn’t have time during my last two weeks of my “Anti-Consumer cause” to post what I had been spending…frankly, I wasn’t keeping track either. I am saving most of you a panic attack anyway because if you would have seen what I ended up spending, you probably would have dropped dead. It was quite a bit. Over the last month (this includes the undocumented 2 weeks), the majority of my purchases went to clothes and take-out.

I have moved from a company where we dressed very casually to a company that was full-on business dress. I felt like I needed to go back to wearing what I used to wear at Eaton. I know, you are thinking, “why didn’t you just pull out all your old Eaton clothes.” That is a great idea! I would have loved to have done that…However, those were the days before I had another child and no time to exercise. So sadly, those beautiful size 8 clothes no long fit on this fat butt of mine! So I ended up having to buy a whole new wardrobe. I know, I probably could have gotten by with a week’s worth of clothes and just worn the same thing every week…but I kinda went overboard and bought a month’s worth of outfits, accessories, and shoes. Blah…the consumer whore in me kinda took over my mind and wallet.

The other huge expense this past month was eating out a lot. I was trying to adjust to the new schedule which didn’t allow me anytime to cook. The first week on the job, I was getting home around 7pm and was exausted. So I bought dinner every night that week. Since then, I think I have actually cooked about 10 meals. That means the rest of the nights I bought fast food or we ate out at a restaurant. Also with any new job comes some socializing and getting to know people…so most of the time I eat lunch with people from my group. Today was actually one of 3 days I have eaten lunch at my desk. Finally, Eric started his new job too and he is going through the same thing…eating lunch with guys from his group. I can’t even begin to think what that is costing us. And I am not talking McDonalds here either…there are so many nice places to eat in the area where we work so lunch is costing anywhere between $12-$20 each.
On top of that…the shopping itch got to me after buying all those clothes for myself. Once I overload on shopping like that, it becomes an addiction for me. So I went out and basically bought LT an entire new wardrobe, and stocked up on some clothes for Kaeden. They both needed it way more than I did because they had grown out of almost everything they were wearing…and they needed winter clothes.

A friend from Chicago came to visit me a couple of weekends ago. Of course that meant spending more money too. We went out to 6th street, which means spending money on food and drinks AND getting a babysitter. We ate out every night she was here because I didn’t know what to make her (she’s a vegetarian…so I didn’t know what to make).

I am scared to look at the bank account to see how much it has depleted over the last month….With that said, I have recognized the error in my ways and am slowly trying to get back to my consumer-conscious goals that I once had. I realized this weekend that I completely overspent…and I need to bring it down drastically.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Update: 60-60 Experiment

When you start a new job the first thing that is given to you is a BIG BOX. In the box there are new responsibilities, huge learning curves with development and testing environments, quick tutorials on product knowledge, trying to demonstrate ability, and simply the role of trying to be a Rock Star (Guitar Hero not included).
Its funny how you pray and pray for something that you want badly….God grants it to you (because he wants to give you the desires of your heart)….and then, all of the sudden God becomes second place to the thing you desired most. Okay, so that’s not really funny…but it’s true.

I was gung-ho about my 60-60 experiment and my walk with God had been going perfect. Things were happening and I could feel His presence all around me. When I started my new job, all of the sudden I was overwhelmed with a new schedule. My new job was further south and that meant a longer drive in terrible traffic. To avoid the traffic, I needed to leave my house earlier…which meant I needed to wake up much earlier to be out of the house in time to beat traffic. Eric started his new job a week after I did and he has to travel even further and through more traffic. So in an effort to help him, I volunteered to take the kids ‘to and from’ school by myself (we used to carpool and so it was a joint effort). This meant I needed to wake up even earlier to get them ready and out the door. Normally, I will wake up between 5:30 AM – 6:00 AM. I used to wake up between 7:00 AM – 8:30AM. (You are probably wondering, “Is it worth it?” and I have to answer “absolutely!!” See the New Job blog...coming soon).

So these first 4 weeks of driving, I was so focused on finding the best route to and from work…and dealing with the traffic and these terrible Austin drivers. There aren’t very many alternate routes to my work and it seems like everyone else is going in the same direction. So needless to say, I wasn’t focused much on talking to God during this 45 minute drive.

My new work environment is very open and everyone can hear a pin drop on the carpet. Of course when there are seven different conversations going on, it can get loud and hectic…but most of the time people are at their desks working hard and completely focused. Therefore, I decided to spare them of my annoying timer that beeped every hour. First off, I didn’t want to look like a freak that had some problem and needed to take meds every hour. Secondly, I just felt uncomfortable having to explain my story about my timer with people I hardly knew. So I ditched the timer and decided to put sticky notes on my monitors that said “RE: 60-60.”

As the days went by and my workload increased, my eyes were focused on the monitors in front of me and often passed up the sticky notes stuck to the bottom of them. Meetings, lunches, and conversations among the group also distracted me from focusing on talking to God. The day would fly by and I wouldn’t even say one word to God. All he wanted was a “thanks” or “thanks for this great job.” Nope, I didn’t even think twice…I just kept working like a busy bee…trying to make a good impression right?

At the end of the day, it was the same old routine…drive through traffic and pick the kids up from daycare, make dinner, get the kids ready for bed, clean, possibly get their stuff ready for the next day, and then “PLOP!!!” fall down face first into the couch. Start to watch one of my weekly shows and fall asleep before the opening credits. Yes, it was that exhausting…MY FAVORITE SHOWS being passed up for a little shut-eye. Never thought it would happen, but I would pass out about 9am and start the day back up again. Every once in a while, I would stop and think “Wow. I haven’t said one word to God today!” That would be the time I would stop and just talk to him.

Same with church….I slacked on attendance over the last few weeks. My mom came to visit over Halloween weekend, the next weekend my friend Brooke from Chicago came out, and last weekend we were totally ready to get back in the groove…and then Eric threw his back out. He was throwing LT up in the air over and over and finally hurt himself. She had a blast…he is still out for the count.

So that is how it was the first few weeks…since then I have recognized my lack of awareness and have been feeling bad about the whole thing. I have worked out a decent schedule in the morning, find time to talk to him on my drive into/from work, and talk to him throughout the day. I wouldn’t say that I am doing it every hour on the hour, but I am definitely more aware. I should write a program that pops up a reminder screen! That would be perfect. I haven’t been keeping up with the book, but I want to try and start reading it again…maybe during lunch or a workout.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

She lives!!!!!!

Okay…I know it seems like I have fallen off the face of the earth. I kinda have, at least in the communication world. However, I have been the busiest little bee in Austin. Most of you have emailed or IM’ed me to find out how I have been doing and what I have been up to these days. I feel like I have let you all down because I am not diligent about my blog postings, but you all understand where I am at right now and so you are very forgiving. Thanks :)

Some of the questions I have been getting are:
  • How is your walk going…and how has the 60-60 experiment been coming?
  • What’s up with your anti-consumerism movement? You never listed the last two weeks of buying…Are you still doing it?

  • What is the latest kick you are on? Or… What have you recently watched on Oprah that has changed your life?

  • How come you never posted pictures of Halloween? We wanted to see the costumes you made!

  • How is the new job?

Well the following posts will answer all of these questions. I have so much to say…and I didn’t want to smoosh them all into one post because you would get tired of reading. So I have written the posts down and have scheduled them to be posted every couple of days….that way I keep you coming back for more!! It’s like a genius marketing ploy…hahaha. Alright, well come back in a couple of days to find out what has been going on in my life this past month…my highs, my lows, my passions, my trials, and my new exciting fads….