Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Plant Grows in Brooklyn

I didn't set a challenge for myself this past week.  Last Sunday, Jeff suggested that I try "not complaining" for a change.  I laughed and told him that that was the stupidest thing I've ever heard.  Actually, I tried it for a day and felt like I would fail the second I opened my mouth.  I had no sense of self and certainly no sense of humor.  I don't consider myself a huge complainer (although, Jeff might disagree), but it's an immediate bond between strangers, co-workers and friends.  Waiting on the platform you lock eyes with a fellow passenger, and say, "seriously, where is this train?".  And honestly, we'd like to know, "where the F is the F-train"?  But that's complaining.  At work on Wednesday, our building security announced on the intercom, "We are inspecting a suspicious package on the fourth floor. Please stay calm". "Ugh, this is so annoying, I'd prefer to panic and stay alive", I say to my colleague.  But, that's complaining.  And our monthly girls night dinner was this week.  And if you can't complain, you might as well cancel. So yeah, I was right about it being a stupid idea.

On a more positive note, being without a challenge, I had spare time to reflect on some of my recent accomplishments.  A few were of them were a long time in the making.....I'm talking months, even years.  For example, I finished a great book, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese which I started this fall, I dropped off a bag for Goodwill, which I also started this fall.  I threw out my old jewelry tangler/box, and rearranged all my jewels, which I have been wanting to do since fall '07.  I also registered for two semester-long professional development classes at NYU, took a snowboard lesson, visited the Brooklyn Museum, and escorted a blind women to the grocery store.  My proudest accomplishment is my healthy and vibrant plant. I've never had a plant live more than 6 months.  This plant isn't 6 months old yet, but I can tell this one is going to make it!  I still forget to water it and keep it in the sun, but I'm using this plant food my sister Shawna bought me for my birthday, and it's magic.  Next challenge: Open an arboretum.

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's 86ed

My goal this past week was to consume or trash the food in our fridge, freezer and cabinets that was still edible (or not, as I discovered in some cases) but had been occupying our precious kitchen real estate for way too long.  I threw out lots of frost-bitten red meat, made some very creative meals, saved money by not grocery shopping.  Most importantly, I had a huge sense of satisfaction this morning when I opened the freezer and didn't have one lone waffle staring me in the face. Seriously, aside from my brother-in-law Dave, who eats one waffle?  But, to be fair, I had a solo waffle, because I threw the portions out of whack when I ate three in one sitting.  That's equally weird, but more embarrassing. Anyway, this week I made lots of stir-fry, ate mostly frozen and canned vegetables (which I didn't like doing) and cleaned the inside of our fridge and freezer once I could see how much it needed it.  Jeff was a trooper and ate everything I made, minus the Mahi Mahi burgers.  Sadly, I mistook them for chicken patties when I cooked them, so the accompanying sides were all off.  I knew I should have kept them in their original packaging.  Yesterday, I went grocery shopping and stocked up on fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy.  I also bought chicken and fish, and as of right now it's clear which one is which and I really hope it stays that way. Tonight we're having green peppers stuffed with tomatoes, corn, brown rice and spicy chicken sausage.  Mmmmm.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Need a Rooster up in Here!

Last week's "Wake-Up Call" challenge went well, but not without a hitch.  Monday through Thursday, I got out of bed before 7AM without second thought.  But, Thursday night's work-related cocktail event went late and involved plenty of wine.  On Friday, I missed my 6:30AM Pilates class but was on time for work.  I worked from home.
I still believe that all moms like to get up early, even on Sundays. Even after a night in which our mother/daughter duo discovered that we've never really had, but now both love, bourbon.  She was already reading a magazine and drinking home-brewed coffee by the time I woke up and walked into the kitchen at 8AM.  I knew I should have told her to wake me up. Oops.

Even though I wasn't 7 for 7, I feel like the challenge worked.  It got me motivated after the long break and it prevented me from hitting "snooze", which is a dumb button anyway.  I'm going to try to keep it up, but not on the weekends.

Shopping Ban Enforced

My weekly e-mail alert from Mint informed my that clothes shopping budget for December was off the charts.  No seriously, I think the software program, on the verge of combustion, just stopped charting my spending since it clearly calculated that I have no control, nor interest, in acknowledging my spending in that department.  I was not surprised by their report since I needed wanted new duds for Christmas and New Year's Eve.  Really though, I feel like there is always an excuse to have a new outfit.  Take for example, the grand opening of the bodega around the corner from our apartment.  That calls for a cute new headband and leather gloves, right?  And in my opinion, the December 26th blizzard was more of shopping emergency than anything else, forcing me to trek through un-plowed sidewalks and climb over mounds of snow to buy new boots, in both black and brown of course.

But, I would like to curb my clothes, shoes and accessory spending, at least for the month of January.  Yes, it's the right thing to do, but more importantly it's because I'm dying to get my hands on this North Face jacket.  And that pretty little thang ain't cheap.

My sister once told me that, if you live in the city and don't have a car, then you better have the best jacket, shoes, and purse your money can buy. Save for and invest in those items, like you would a set of wheels.  Right now, my jacket is nice, but old. Actually, it's a hand-me-down from my sister.  If it were a car it would be a 1994 Volvo. It's warm, reliable, boxy and has warn well over thousands of miles. But it's time for an upgrade. That means no shopping for me until February 1st.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wake-Up Call

My challenge this week, starting tomorrow, is to wake up every day at 7AM or earlier. I consider myself a morning person, but lately, I've been having a really hard time getting out of bed on time.  I don't consider getting up 7AM extremely early, but doing it consistently after a long holiday will be tricky.

Monday thru Friday, I try to workout before work, which means I need to get up by 6:30AM. I'm successful with that about 3 or 4 times a week, but the days that I don't, I hit snooze for about 30 minutes and end up late for work.  I'm okay with missing the workout, but I hate being late.

This is my plan for success: I've signed up for a 6:30AM pilates class tomorrow, and Friday. I have plans to run with one of my running partners on Wednesday morning and the other on Thursday morning.  This weekend, Jeff is out of town and my Mom is visiting. And, since all moms like getting up at 7AM or earlier, all the time, I think we'll be just fine on Saturday and Sunday.  I also plan on keeping my alarm clock far away from my bed.

5. Eat Lunch

I am never without a list, nor a goal.  My lists, much like my goals, vary in length, seriousness, and purpose.

I write about 5 lists a day; a few at work and then a few more at home. I usually write my lists on index cards, but I'll use whatever I have within arms reach, like on my mouse/note pad. In the morning when I look at my list, it gives me a sense of purpose, and at the at end of the day a sense of accomplishment.

Like most peoples lists, mine remind me to pick up the bread when I get off the train and submit my expenses at work.  The funny thing is, sometimes, I'll come across an old list that I forgot to toss, or on the backside on a magazine and it lists things like "take shower" or "eat lunch". Really, Ashley? I have never forgotten to shower.  I've avoided it, plenty of times, mostly before the age of 10, and I have certainly never forgotten to eat. Ever!

I guess in those cases, I include mundane, expected tasks on the list, not to remember them, but to plan out my day(s) in a series of steps. Baby steps.

Without a list I feel a little lost.