Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let's Get Cooking

I am getting excited about my kitchen.  I used to enjoy cooking and baking -- making pretty things to eat.  That was all before I decided that fast food and other convenience foods were a fantastic option for someone who spends eight hours on her feet and just wants to come home and do anything but be on her feet.  That was a number of years and many pounds ago.

One of my goals is to start cooking and baking again.  One reason is because it will save my family money, another is because it will help me lose weight, another is because I enjoy it, and another is because I have a lot of sad and neglected recipe books on my kitchen shelf.  I keep telling them that I'll come back to them, but they're not even sure if they can believe me anymore.

Now that I am not working full-time anymore I certainly have the time for cooking.  What I don't have a lot of is stamina; that is something that I need to work on.  My lower back starts to hurt after standing for only a little while.  I blame this on two things: 1) my body no longer being used to standing and moving for long periods of time, and 2) my fat bottom.  But the more I move around the more my body will get used to it, and the more calories I'll burn, not to mention the food I'll be cooking will not be full of all the bad stuffs that are in all of that convenience food I've been eating.  So I can say a long goodbye to my fat bottom. 

This past Friday I had some bananas that were turning brown, so I decided to turn them into banana bread.  

My beeeautiful banana bread.

I have decided to take on a new project, which will be conductive to reaching my goal as well as bringing in some extra money.  I have signed up to be a Pampered Chef consultant.  Normally if someone were to ask me to consider being a consultant I would hightail it outta there faster than you can say "pyramid", but I feel really excited about The Pampered Chef.  No one asked me if I wanted to be a consultant; I love the products so much that I looked into being a consultant myself.  I was a little nervous about taking that step at first, because I am not a salesperson at all.  I hate getting sales pitches, and I'm certainly not going to give anyone else one.  But to be honest, I want that stuff.  I want almost all of that stuff.  And if I want it in my kitchen and I love it, then all I have to do is talk about what I love about it and it won't come off as sales pitchy at all.  

I'll be receiving my starter kit by the end of this week, and I can get right to using it.  That's another lovely thing about The Pampered Chef; they want their consultants to use the items in the kit for our own personal use.  That's how we get to know the products that we sell.  My plan is that until my body and I start cooperating and treating each other better, I'm just going to do book shows, which is just selling out of the catalogs.  Once I'm more used to standing for lengths of time and moving around without ouching and ahhing, and I've lost at least a little bit of weight, I will start doing cooking shows.  I'm totally excited about this.  I'll be like Julia Child, or Rachel Ray, or the Swedish Chef.  Bork bork bork!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Aiming for the Bullseye

I know that fat bottomed girls make the rockin' world go 'round (thank you, Brian May), but I have tired of being fat.  I say that as though one day I said to myself, "I think I'm going to try being fat for a while."  I didn't, but have on most occasions made the conscious decision to eat many foods which would only end up one way: with me being fat.  I say most occasions because there are those times when there's a bag of chips or buttery popcorn in the vicinity and I find myself mindlessly shoveling it into my mouth like my hand is a crane on auto-pilot or something.  Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; I've witnessed skinny people do this too. 

Let me get this out of the way right now: I don't care too much for politically correctness.  I don't think that people should be mean to one another, but that doesn't always go hand in hand with being pc.  I -- at this point in time -- do not use words such as "overweight" or "curvy" or "metabolically challenged" to describe myself.  I surpassed those descriptions long ago.  I'm a real big girl now.  Obese, plus-size, tubba tubba, rolie polie, bouncy, fat.  My husband is about seven inches taller than me, yet when we sit next to each other I appear taller than him.  Why?  Because of all of the padding I'm sitting on which is provided by my bottom. 

I don't think that people should take themselves or too many things in general too seriously, but at the same time, I don't want to, you know... die.  I mean, I know I have to die; I'm not trying to get out of that or anything.  But truth be told, if I could live to be old enough for my daughter to have to change my old granny nappies a few times, that would be great.  I know that a lot of bigger folk die young because their hearts get claustrophobic in there with all of that extra fat squishing them all up in their work space and they say, "Enough of this shyt,  I quit!"  I would really like to avoid that. 

There are things that I miss about being thinner; painting my toenails, sitting up on the first try without being bounced back to laying position (it takes me an average of three tries), having a chin that doesn't touch my neck, scratching my butt without straining myself. 

You might be looking at my profile photo up there in the top right-hand corner and saying to yourself, "But she doesn't look like she's that overweight."  Camera trickery, my friends, camera trickery.  It is all in the angle that the photo is taken at.  Now, let's take a look at the most recent photo of myself, which I didn't take myself.

My mother-in-law, myself, my daughter and all of the extended family doggies.

Ten years ago I was 113 pounds lighter than I am now.  That's like an entire skinny person that I'm carrying around with me wherever I go!  No wonder I get pooped so fast. 

2004:  Watch as I fearlessly stick my head into the mouth of a shark!

I would like to be that weight again, and heck, even two pounds lighter for good measure.  So my goal is to lose 115 pounds.  They say that the most healthy and realistic way to lose weight and keep it off is to lose 1 - 2 pounds per week, so that would put my goal date between December 1st, 2014 and January 8, 2016.  Okay, so I don't like the sounds of waiting until 2016 to reach my goal weight, but if I am steadily losing weight until then, it won't be so bad.  I'm not setting a definite goal date, I'm keeping it between these two dates.  I've found in the past that I've easily given up on my weight loss efforts if I don't meet my goal loss for a couple of weeks in a row and I feel I'm never going to catch up and reach my goal weight by my goal date.  So instead I am giving myself a range of dates as my goal.  Just think of it as a really big bullseye.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Operation: Focus on One Job at a Time



One of my biggest problems when it comes to getting the house clean is that I just don't focus on one thing at a time.  So I'll do a lot of work, but never get anything done.  When I do make the conscious decision to focus on one room at a time, I start with the living room and kitchen, then move onto the bathroom.  This has always made the most sense to me.  Clean the rooms that guests are most likely to see, then clean the rest.  Only recently have I realized that this logical way of thinking is backwards, and the reason that I have had "Sort through blue box from the basement" on my to-do list for the past two years.  The funny thing about the living room, kitchen and bathroom is no matter how often you clean them, you always have to clean them again.  The more people that live in your house (in our case, three), the quicker they need to be cleaned after having already been cleaned.  Always being most concerned with the rooms that people might see, the rest of the rooms -- the bedrooms, the computer room, the laundry room, the basement -- get neglected.

I don't mind doing all of the housework.  Adam does all of the work outside of the home, and Patience has her school work to focus on (and a few chores so that when she becomes and adult and moves out she doesn't expect me to come over and clean her house, 'cause that ain't happening).  And I really do like to get the house clean, keep the house clean, and most importantly, have the house clean.  Also, being a bit of a control freak, it's difficult for me to delegate tasks, even when I probably should (I've been trying to work on this, but I have a ways to go).  It's my unenergized ass that doesn't like doing all of the housework.  My unenergized ass doesn't like spending a day getting the living room clean and spending the next day getting the kitchen clean, just to have to spend the following day cleaning the living room again.  My unenergized ass gets overwhelmed and even more unenergized when I keep going around in circles and never really get anything done.

So...   This is the plan I've come up with.  I am going to leave the living room and kitchen alone for now, and start with the things I would normally leave until later.  This will be a strange break from my usual spiral of insanity; doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Those things that I normally leave for later are things that either only need to be done once, or once they are done they are easier to keep that way because they are lower traffic areas.

If I clean my house from the inside-out, instead of from the outside-in, focusing on only one room or project until it's done at a time maybe -- just maybe -- we will see this house clean again.  Once the house is clean, upkeep is easy.  At least, that's how I remember it from the days of yonder when it was just me and a small child.  Why is it that adults and teenagers make much larger messes than small children?  One of life's greatest mysteries, I suppose.

I'm looking forward to seeing what is in that blue box in the basement ...

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Be Careful Who You Pay To Poke Holes In Your Face

My teenage daughter, Patience, has been wanting "snakebites" (two piercings below the bottom lip) for some time.  It stands to reason; I had a lip ring when I was a teenager, so she has to out-rebel me by getting two.  Cool Mom that I am, I said she could get some but that she would have to a) wait until after my wedding, which she was a bridesmaid in, and b) pay for them on her own.  So when she came into some money for turning fifteen (best job ever: not hard work, and pays well), we went straight down to This Holes For You to get her snakebites.

We chose THFY, because she had gotten her nose pierced there a number of months ago and it was good.  The nose stud it was pierced with was nice, the price was fair, her nose didn't balloon up to the size of a plum and then fall off or anything, so we felt that this was a good and trustworthy place to go.

When we got to the shop Patience asked what they did lip piercings with, and the girl behind the counter said, "We use a longer barbell, just so that it has room for the initial swelling, and then after a week you can come back and buy whatever you want to switch it out with."

My initial thought was, "Money grab."  They charge you for the piercing with the original jewelry, and then a week later you have to buy new jewelry that doesn't look stupid.

I had a helluva time trying to find a photo to demonstrate the too-long barbells.
I think it's because frankly nobody wants to be photographed like this.

I know that it is not necessary to pierce the lip with a barbell if you want a ring, because when I had my lip pierced at Rising Sun with a captive ring back in 1994, there was plenty of room for my big fat lip and it healed just fine.  But Patience had been wanting her snakebites for long enough and she was willing to pay for them.  There would be no talking her into finding another place to do it where she would spend less money.  

So she got her snakebites, and at first she was happy.  It didn't take long for her to get impatient for the new jewelry.  She hated the way the temporary jewelry looked (Can ya blame her? She looked like she had kissed Pinhead and got some his shyt stuck in her face), and she was irritated that every time she tried to eat she was biting the back of the posts.  I never had such problems with my ring; just sayin'.  

At the end of her seven day wait we rushed back down to the shop and she picked out her new pair of jewelry.  She found a pair of rainbow spiral spikes that she liked the look of, so she bought them and had the piercer switch them out for her.  The girl behind the counter said, "Those are cool.  You'll play with them a lot."  We thanked them and left, Patience's little baggie of useless barbells in her hand and a smile on her face.  

She definitely out-rebelled me with these.

About twenty minutes later, we were pulling into our parking spot at home when Patience said, "Oh crap!  One of my spikes just came off!"  Okay, my daughter talks a mile a minute, but spikes that were put on by a professional piercer should be able to withstand some mouth flapping for more than twenty minutes.  Luckily the spike fell right onto her shirt and I was able to screw it back onto the spiral right away.  I tightened it and hoped for the best.  Over the course of the next 24 hours, one spike or another fell off three more times.  

Patience knew that if she lost one of the spikes it would only be a short matter of time before she lost the ring altogether.  She went onto THFY's Facebook page, where a lot of customers post questions about their piercings and jewelry, and she told them of her conundrum and she asked if there was a way to tighten the screws so that she wouldn't lose them.  They responded rather rudely, "If you had read the instructions you got with the jewelry, you'd see that you have to tighten them daily, even more often if you play with them.  You can come into any THFY location and they will tighten them for you."   Okay so first, rude to your customers much?  Second, what are these instructions that they speak of?  We were given no such thing.  Third, seriously?  Twenty minutes after we leave the shop and one of them is already falling off; how often do these little buggers have to be tightened?  Fourth, the girl behind the counter who said that Patience would always be playing with them said NOTHING about having to tighten them constantly.  Fifth (last one, I promise), if a piece of jewelry has to be tightened on a regular basis, should the customer not be informed of this before spending her hard-earned-by-turning-fifteen money on it, so that she can decide whether she wants that pain in the ass or not?  I was pretty peeved by their response and Mama Bear was ready to respond, but I didn't right away.  Luckily, within an hour someone at THFY realized how rude the comment was and edited it to simply say, "You can come into any THFY location and they will tighten them for you."  

Patience ended up losing one of the spikes before we could make it back down to the shop, and she decided that she didn't want the hassle with jewelry that she continually had to tighten, so she decided to spend a little bit more money and buy a pair of captive rings, like the one I had when I was a teenager.  I had mine for years and never had any problems with it -- even though I played with that bad mama jama constantly -- so we figured it would be a good choice for her.  We went back to the shop, and Patience picked out a pair of black captive rings with little purple gems in the beads.  Before we paid for them I told the girl behind the counter the problems Patience had with the previous jewelry, and how I'd never had any kind of problems with my captive ring.  She said, "Yeah, these ones won't come loose on you, because they are held together with pressure."  Good enough.  We bought them, and because she had already had her originals switched out for the current ones, we were told there would be a $5 charge for the piercer to switch it out.  I wasn't going to argue that they shouldn't charge us since we had so many problems with the previous jewelry, but whatevs; we just didn't want to deal with it anymore.  However, when the piercer switched it out, she didn't charge us because "one of the pieces of jewelry was the original" (which Patience had put in there so that her hole wouldn't close up on her before we could make it down to THFY).  I wasn't going to argue with that, either, because honestly I didn't want to give their asses any more money.  

These ones were kinda cute.

Within a couple of hours of being home, I heard from down the hall, click-click-clickity-clack, "Oh crap!"  It was the sound of a bead falling out of a captive ring, followed by a peeved teenage girl.  And I had had enough.  I am fairly patient, but there comes a time when it's just not cool anymore.  I'm one of those people who is just really nice, but when enough is enough my head might start spinning around.  So, while Adam (my husband) tried to get the bead back into the ring, I went to the THFY Facebook page and I posted the following:  


Okay, I understand inflation and whatnot, but c'mon, the whole using ugly jewelry to pierce it with is just a money grab.  

Now, I realize that I could have sent THFY a private message or called them or something other than complaining on their public Facebook page.  However, it was a calculated move.  I decided to post it publicly in hopes of them offering to make it right to save face in front of their customers.  I mean, $170 +tax later, we want something in return.  

Adam was able to get the bead in and then painted it with clear nail polish in hopes of it holding the bead in place.  But the following day, Patience came home from school at lunch and said, "I was not playing with it," as she showed me that the bead had fallen out of her lip ring again.  

Sigh.  Grrrr.  

I went back to Facebook and commented on my own post, which they had not yet responded to.  


Okay, was that rude?  I think all things considered, both of my messages were pretty damn freaking nice.  We put $170 +tax into their shyt; we want something to show for it.  Cool?  

So, they finally responded -- by calling us liars:  


No "sorry you are having problems with our product"?  No "we can understand your frustrations"?  Just blame the customers?  Oh, okay.  
"They are going to loosen eventually."
So "eventually" is 20 minutes after having them put in, another three times in the next 24 hours, and a bunch more times over the next couple of days?  Got'cha.
"Unless they are crossthreaded, the jewelry is cheap, or has been damaged by skin acidity, there is no reason it should need to be snipped off, it should just unscrew without much effort"
Ah, okay, I get it.  So the fact that my captive ring stayed in for a couple of years until I decided I wanted to take it out, and didn't unscrew without my wanting it to means that it was either cheap or damaged.  Your stuff that falls apart when you breathe on it the wrong way is the good quality stuff.  Seems ass backwards to me.  But, okay.

This is what my lip ring looked like in 1994.
My lip was pierced while you were tugging on your mom's shirt, asking,
"Mommy, why does that girl have that thing in her lip?"

Everyone in Regina knows that Rising Sun was the best quality body piercing and tattooing in the province.  That's why there was always a long waiting list to get in the door there.  So to even suggest that there was something wrong with my lip ring -- because it stayed in place, nonetheless -- what, are you silly or something?  The only reason that Rising Sun closed was because the owner lost the business to his greedy ex-wife in their divorce.  She had no interest in tattooing, so she closed it down.  It's just mean to take a great business from an entire city just because you're pissed at your husband.  Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand...
"It's unfortunate that neither of you noticed that part of her instruction sheet."  
Well, golly gee goshes, it sure is unfortunate, isn't it?  It's also unfortunate that you didn't notice the part in my message when I said that we didn't get an instruction sheet.  See?  I can be condescending, too!
"We sell thousands of dollars worth of" ... bla bla bla ... "misuse and abuse" ... yadda yadda yadda ... "arrived defective from the factory which we would have noticed" ... yammer yammer yammer ... "so unless it's being chewed on the it shouldn't be coming apart."
 So, it's 100% the customer's fault and couldn't possibly be defective?  Good to know.  Now, I know I told them that Patience was not playing with it when the bead fell out, so basically they called us liars, which we do not appreciate.  But honestly, even if she had been chewing on it (which she wasn't), it's on her lip for crying out loud!  Should a piercing on the lip not be able to withstand a little chewing here and there?  I chewed on my lip ring all the effing time!  That mother trucker was in there for the long haul.
"If you remember yesterday when she had her jewelry changed we did not charge you the $5 change charge even though she wasn't having original jewelry changed out since she was having issues with her jewelry."
Indeed, I remember.  And obviously I remember it much clearer than they do, because the $5 fee being waived had nothing to do with her issues with the jewelry.
"But be assured that there is no reason the balls would come out unless they are being misused because that's just not how the (CBR) hoop jewelry works, there are no threads to be loosened for the balls to fall out, they are held in with pressure, and the pressure remains consistent unless the jewelry is bent out of shape quite forcefully."
Is it just me, or is this statement in direct contrast to what she said earlier?  Let's rewind a moment here...
 "Unless they are crossthreaded, the jewelry is cheap, or has been damaged by skin acidity, there is no reason it should need to be snipped off, it should just unscrew without much effort"
So, earlier she says of the captive ring, "it should just unscrew without much effort," and now she says of the captive ring, "the pressure remains consistent unless the jewelry is bent out of shape quite forcefully."  Mmm-kay.

And I can assure you, Patience did not bend the rings out of shape.  It is ludicrous to even suggest that she would have even been able to bend them out of shape in a matter of hours.
"because of your aggravation if you would like to come into the store we will give you another set of hoops of your daughters choosing and put them in for her."
Oh, how bloody thoughtful of them to offer a free pair of rings after blaming us for all of the problems with the jewelry and calling us liars!  A simple, "We're sorry for your issues with our product and the aggravation this has caused you.  If you come in we'll give you... bla bla bla" would have sufficed.  But their horrible customer service just really sent me in the other direction.   Do we even want more jewelry from them if it's just going to come apart like that?  (I have since seen other bad reviews on the place.)  It is moot, anyway, because we didn't have time to get down there before Patience went to Calgary to visit her dad for the weekend.  She ended up losing the other ball and both rings.  It appears that the holes may have already closed up on her.  It would be nice to get some kind of cash refund, but I don't see that happening.  I've looked at different wholesale sellers on the internet and the same jewelry that THFY sells for $35 a pair costs them less than 50 cents each!

So .. oh no, here it comes ... is it just that nobody makes anything of quality anymore?  Holy crap, I just felt myself get old.