Sunday, June 28, 2015

Spoon Full of Sugar?

I'm starting to dislike the grocery store. Over the last couple of years I've progressively avoided super packaged and prepared foods for various reasons - too much salt, everything is processed with soy (which makes me gassy), I just don't feel good when I eat it, etc. Overall we all know stuff like that isn't very healthy for us anyway. Not to say I haven't occasionally bought a package of pop tarts! Hey, no one is perfect.

It's come to a point where I now only walk down the same 5 aisles in the store before spending the remainder of my time getting fresh fruits and veggies. Today shopping was even more difficult. Because of my 32 goals I spent extra time looking for more vegetarian meal options, and looking at sugar content. Guys - sugar is in EVERYTHING. While my goal is to cut out the candy, desserts and processed crap I use to feed my habit, I decided it would be wise to check out the sugar content in other things I'll be eating as well to really clear my diet of as much sugar as possible (fruit is still okay!). I looked at some gourmet vegetable soups - the second ingredient listed was sugar. I looked at "plain" cereals like rice chex and all-bran flakes - there was just as much sugar as frosted flakes and honey nut cheerios (which contains more sugar than honey). Eventually I found ONE box of cereal that had no sugar, so I bought it. Some type of shredded wheat. It will be great with bananas or strawberries on top.

It seemed like everything I looked at had sugar in it; it's kind of shocking to realize just how much sugar is being snuck into foods. Anyway, my options at the store are looking incredibly limited. I know I can meet my goals, but it will be an interesting six months or so! Maybe I'll go check out Sprouts or Trader Joe's and see if their options are any better.

On the plus side, California strawberries are fantastic right now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

One Week!

One week guys! My birthday is just one week away! I kind of wish it were already here so I could start checking off the little boxes on all of the goals I set in my last post. I have already started cutting back on the candy and desserts in preparation and have been pretty good about it! Except for today when I came across Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 on TV and got all emotional and ate all of the cherry chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen. At least they're gone now, right? I've also been trying to get ready for my 1am bedtime and am getting better at it.

This week my roommates and I said goodbye to one of our group for the next three months; she's on her way to Panama for an awesome summer internship with grad school. In her place we are getting a male roommate. We haven't met him yet, but so far he sounds like a decent fellow who is coming to LA to work for the summer. I don't really know what he'll be doing; when I checked out his twitter page everything he posted was over-my-head technical jargon. So he's smart. Hopefully he can fix things around the house if needed. It will be different having a man amongst our midst (one roommate freaked out that she'll need to wear a bra when she's lounging around the house; hashtag FirstWorldProblems), but it is temporary. Hopefully some entertaining stories will come from this change.

Speaking of men, I have been doing the online dating thing again fairly recently. I'm always skeptical of the men who I "meet" online, but online dating has worked for several people I know, so I re-visit the option once in a while. Surprisingly, I've had several decent and funny conversations this time around with men who live in the greater LA area, and for the first time ever one of these online men has asked me out on a date. Poor guy has to wait almost two weeks for an opening in my schedule, but it's happening. I hope it turns into a chill night and not an awkward "this-is-clearly-an-awkward-first-date" situation. Which is possible, because he's quite young (enter cougar jokes here). We shall see.

Happy Sunday!

Monday, June 8, 2015


June is my birthday month! I'm turning 32. Recently a friend of mine celebrated her 33rd birthday and wrote out a list of 33 goals she wanted to accomplish in the next year. Taking a page from her book, I'd like to create 32 goals that I can work on when I turn 32. Some will take time or be ongoing, and some will be one-time things.

1. Cut out desserts/candy/processed sugary foods for 6 months.
I have done this before, but never for 6 months. Basically, my aerial training is semi non-existent right now, add my sugar consumption to the mix, and I've gained back all the weight I lost when I was training 3x a week. Maybe even a little more. Since my current budget for taking classes is zero dollars I need to do other things to halt this trend. I've been trying to decide if I'd allow myself to cheat once a month, but I think I need to say no to that. If I start this immediately I can begin to reintroduce small amounts back into my diet just before Christmas.

2. Go out to eat (on my own dollar) no more than once a month.
My budget is tight. I can do more to ease the strain. If someone wants to take me out on a date however, I'm happy to accompany them wherever they want to spend their money!!

3. Go for a walk once a week.
Fitness. Sunshine. Fresh air. Meditation. Enough reasons.

4. Put a minimum of $25 dollars in savings every month, and keep it there!
It's not much, but it's savings.

5. Donate old clothes to a charity.
My closet is full, yet I don't wear half of what I own. I've also had a box of clothes sitting in my room for the better part of a year that are meant to be donated, but I haven't done it yet. I have a hard time parting with clothes! I need to get rid of what I don't use to see what I really need.

6. Evaluate and update my emergency supplies.
I keep several things in the trunk of my car; an emergency camp stove, air mattress, sleeping bag, toiletries, bottles of water, old shoes, etc., but I want to go through my supplies every 3 months to make sure I'm ready for anything. I'll do these updates in July, October, January, and April.

7. Write in my journal/scrapbook at least once a month.
I do better when my journal's are a little more informal. I tape ticket stubs, programs, and other tidbits in with a quick written entry. I want to focus on adding more details - people's names, spiritual experiences, things that would matter to future generations.

8. Eat meat no more than 3x a week. 2x a week being ideal.
I find I have more energy when I'm eating lots of veggies and fruits. I know this sounds like common sense, but it's been recent that I have really noticed it make a difference in my body. I also feel better when my animal protein is mainly fish. I hardly ever buy beef anymore, chicken and pork only occasionally. I decided to give myself a little wiggle room with the number of times I eat meat per week simply because I am one person, and cook enough food that I usually end up with leftovers.

9. Write a hand-written letter to someone once a month.
Right now my grandfather is sick and not doing well, and it made me think about all the times he wrote to me while I was in Uruguay. Getting mail from a loved one was one of the best parts of the week! Now that we may be losing him I feel like I need to let people know more often how I care about them by taking the time to send them a letter.

10. Read at least 2 books a month.
I started doing this back in January and want to keep it up. I've also joined a book club, which I don't need in order to fulfill this goal, but it gives me opportunities to discover books I may not find by myself. (PS - I have already completed 14 books this year, and am halfway through my 15th. None of which I have read before. I'm ahead of my goal!)

11. Buy a paper shredder.
I've wanted/needed one for years. I have old bank documents and the like that I'd rather shred than just toss in the garbage. This will help with my clutter problem.

12. Donate old magazines to a retirement home or library.
Again, the clutter.

13. Go to the temple 1-2 times per month.
I got to speak with my grandfather on the phone last week. He said go as often as possible. I'd like to honor him by following his advice.

14. Fix my bike tire.
I ran over a nail sometime last summer on my way back from the beach and never got it taken care of.

15. Take my car in for regular oil changes.
I am so bad at this. I think I'll see if the place I go to can set up several appointments in advance so they're already in my calendar every three months.

16. Grow something.
I have a few little seed kits I've been hesitating to get started on; tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, etc. I don't think I have my mom's green thumb skills, and I'm afraid to prove myself right. Time to experiment!

17. Do my visiting teaching every month.
I haven't been too bad, but I can always improve.

18. Learn one new word in ASL every week.
I've wanted to learn for most of my life, and know a few words now. I have a great ASL dictionary thanks to my friend Sarah, and another friend who is learning (and knows so much more than I do!) so I have no excuse!

19. Find a cheaper cell phone plan.
I'm spending too much money and use nowhere near the amount of minutes and data I pay for.

20. Practice the piano once a month.
Doesn't sound like much, but I can't do a lot of practicing on my keyboard because it's not a full 88 keys, the keys aren't weighted, so I need to plan on taking music to the church building or similar to get the real experience

21. Practice the guitar once a month.
I'm just lazy and haven't learned anything new since....I don't know, high school?

22. Read the Book of Mormon in Spanish (out loud) in its entirety.
I'm forgetting things in Spanish. This is a good way to practice my understanding, and pronunciation, as well as study the scriptures. This is 53.5 pages per month, or 1.75 pages per day.

23. Practice handstands once a week.
Who doesn't want to spend more time upside-down?

24. Be in bed by 1am EVERY NIGHT.
Very few exceptions should/will be allowed. But they better be good. Sounds like it's a late bedtime, but my sleeping habits have been worse and are still all over the place. Time to regulate.

25. Organize my bathroom drawers.
Clutter. Again. I want little containers/dividers to keep things from sliding around.

26. Write 2-4 blog posts on this blog every month.
Because I know you're dying to read more about me. Obviously.

27. Write a post for my In Depth Gilmore blog every other month.
With all the books I'm supposed to be reading I can read one for this blog every other month.

28. Do one creative writing exercise every month.
I miss writing short fiction. I think I was once good at it. I mean, I did made my mom cry with a story that was less than 2 pages long...titled The Sock.

29. Throw out old socks.
Speaking of socks... I have way too many, and don't wear them all, and some have small holes. I think I can let the weakest links go.

30. No more than 1 hour of social media (facebook, twitter) per day.
I get sucked into articles people post and can waste hours. I don't need to leave completely, but I can waste less time.

31. No more than 1 hour of television or 1 movie per day.
I have to pick one or the other. It's easy to get sucked in when I'm home during the day. I have DVR. I can space things out.

32. Hug someone at least once a week.
Because trying to hug someone every day might be too awkward for my life situation right now!

Now that my goals are set I'm going to print off some sort of checklist to hang on my bedroom wall to keep track of my progress. I'm kind of amazed I came up with 32 goals! Keep me honest, people. Randomly ask me about one of them every once in a while. Care to join me on any?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cold Water

I am deeply grateful that I live in a day and age where hot showers are possible. Even taken for granted. Our water heater broke this weekend (hashtag firstworldproblems); the second time that has happened since moving into this place just over a year and a half ago. The first time we had to have the entire thing replaced, luckily that was not the case this time! However before the repair was completed I did end up having to take a cold hobo-style bath by crouching in 2 inches of freezing water in my tub. Sorry for the visual.

It was in this moment that I was reminded of a few other times where I had to decide whether to wash myself in ice water or go on smelling like a neanderthal. I thought I'd share these lovely experiences with you, starting with the most recent and working my way backwards: 

The most recent experience was when our water heater broke the first time. I'm pretty sure it was in the summer, because I don't remember my shower being completely unbearable. I sure didn't waste any time in there though.

On my mission in Uruguay I was in one apartment that had an electric shower head - it plugged in to a power outlet (safe, right?), and when water ran through the coils inside would heat up and warm the water as it came out. Deep in the middle of winter one day I turned on the water to activate the coils before jumping in the shower, and immediately the shower head sparked and caught on fire! I turned off the water and the switch on the wall that correlated to the outlet, unplugged the shower head, and the small fire put itself out. We contacted our landlady who said it would take a couple of days to replace. Did I mention this was our only form of heated running water in the apartment? Because it was. I tried toughing it out for a day or so, but eventually I felt so grimy that I decided I needed to shower no matter what! The water was SO cold I could barely breathe!! I would jump in just enough to get wet, and have to jump out again to lather up my hair and wash. By the end of my very short shower I was gasping, my whole body shaking, and my head aching from the temperature of the water. No bueno. After that we decided to use a bowl system with water heated on the stove or heated with another small plug-in device meant for use in a thermos for mate (the loose-leaf tea-like drink). This typically produced water that was way too hot, so we'd fill a second bowl with the cold water and try to use water from both without getting scalded.

The first experience I remember was when I went on a rock climbing camping trip with some friends in Colorado. We spent several days getting sweaty and dirty on the rocks, then sought out a way to get cleaned up. Since we were out in the middle of nowhere our only option was the river. Even though it was summertime the river was cold from the snow melt coming off the mountains. We definitely were a little short of breath while in the water, but looking back it definitely wasn't as bad as my South American experience.

I am so glad our water heater is working again. It's the little things.