The Mini Junk Drawer

Posted by Kathy on May 22nd, 2016

You have a junk drawer, right? Of course you do!

But do you have a mini junk drawer? A drawer so small that for all intents and purposes is really just decorative. It can’t even fit cutlery. It’s a dumb drawer.

We have one in the kitchen. It’s where my husband Dave and I years ago decided “This is where we shall put all our important receipts and crap. It will protect only crap of the most critical kind. We will never lose anything important if we put it in this ridiculously tiny little drawer.”

And so we did.

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Today I cleaned it out because it could finally take no more when I tried putting in a receipt for my cat Lucky’s medication. It cannot handle the addition of a 0.05mm-thick piece of paper.

As I extricated the pile of stuff, the things I realized we were saving got more and more stupid.

  • Receipts for any meaningful work we had done on the two cars we don’t even own anymore
  • Receipt for a PC our family bought Dad in 2007
  • Receipts for carpet cleaning, purchase of a storm door and new mattress and work on our garage door and microwave
  • Blood work results for my husband
  • Meals on Wheels donation receipt
  • Two Sharper Image mini catalogs
  • Black and white 35mm film (do kids these days even know what that is?) 
  • Said 35mm camera
  • A bird feeder warranty (because, you know, they go bad)
  • Zinnia “Guaranteed to Grow” flower seeds (2 packs)
  • My college transcripts (so that’s where they were!)
  • A thank you letter from 2002 for work I did on a client’s PC that crashed (what?)
  • Instruction manual for a Motorola pager. A pager!
  • Approximately 80,000 screws, nails and cables for unknown things

If this is what I fit into mini junk drawer, you can just imagine what’s in my full-service junk drawer.

The only thing I plan to leave in Tiny Junk Drawer is the meat thermometer. It shall now be known as Meat Thermometer Drawer. At least until we want to save another critically important receipt. Or flower seeds.

So where do you keep all your super duper important things?

How to Be a Thoughtful Officemate

Posted by Kathy on March 16th, 2016

MorningStar-Farms-Spicy-Black-Bean-BurgersYou know how people get all ragey when someone in the office heats up fish for lunch in the communal microwave?

You know how you want to ask them if there is possibly some other less smelly kind of food they could eat instead? But you don’t dare because it’s considered rude?

Instead, you tolerate the smell that lingers for two hours afterward and pray they don’t want fish again tomorrow. But they do. And you want to murder them. But then they finally retire and you can go about the business of smelling other people’s less offensive food choices.

And you rejoice.

But then, if you’re like me, you worry that your own food might be offensive to someone else and they’re just not telling you because rude.

And then you get all paranoid because you really like your food choice, but you don’t want the smell to permeate the entire floor of your building when you heat it in the microwave inside your office.

So what’s a gal to do?

You do this.

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I’m so paranoid now about my breakfast and lunch smells that I’ve taken to blocking the wide crack under my door during cooking, and for half an hour after. Because I’m thorough. And paranoid. And weird. Yet thoughtful.

The only problem is I don’t know if it’s working because, you know, I’m inside with my food smell and don’t know if I’m truly blocking it from seeping out. I’ll have to call someone on the other side of my floor and ask “Hey, do I stink down here?”

I’m also guilt-ridden because a friend knitted the shawl that I’m using on the filthy floor as a smell blocker and she’ll only know about it if she reads this blog post. Heather, if you’re reading, I swear I’m going to bring in an old towel instead so that I can go back to wearing the shawl instead of using it to keep my food odors from the noses of others.

Gotta keep the peace, right?

Weight Loss Update

Posted by Kathy on February 12th, 2016

Do I or don’t I keep this blog breathing? Ugh.

Until I decide, I thought I’d toss up a progress picture of my weight loss effort these last 10 months. If I wasn’t blogging much in that time, at least I was working hard to get less fat.

before and after

On the left, I was about 185lbs. Although I was delighted to be visiting my friends in England at the time the picture was taken, I was disgusted with my weight. I gained another ten pounds after that trip.

Then I got my act together, started counting calories, killing it with exercise and dropped 65lbs, where I’m at in the right photo, taken this week.

How’d I do it?

Mainly through stuffing a lot less food in my pie hole. I always knew I’d have to find a sustainable way to eat differently. To me, that means not cutting out anything I love, just eating less of it.

If I hit my 1,200 daily calorie budget, I stopped eating. I almost never ate back my exercise calories (200-300/day). Early on, I was just walking 2.5 miles a day (flat sidewalks, few inclines). That went on for 3-4 months before my M-F walking buddies and I decided we needed to challenge ourselves more.

For the next 3 months or so, we began walking up the hill of the campus where we work, taking about 1,600 steps in the process. After that stint, we started doing more and more steps and less and less straight walking. I also joined my sister Ann for even more steps on the weekends, many times 4,000 in a session. Killer, but very effective.

I also always did a 30-50 min cardio video every morning before work. In the last four months or so, with 100 min. of exercise a day, I had to bump up my calories to about 1,600-1,800.

I didn’t lose much more weight recently, but I have totally reshaped my frame, my muscles and firmed up some pesky loose skin on my thighs, arms and stomach.

The exercise is so effective that I just moved down a size in my Lee jeans from 6 to 4. I haven’t been a size 4 since the fifth grade. It’s amazing what cardio and body weight exercise can do for you.

So that’s it, kids! The process is simple, though not always easy. Yes, there are days when I don’t want to put on my sneakers and sweat, or go out in the cold or rain to walk/step, but I do it because it works and it’s sustainable.

I’m exactly where I want to be.

Oh! And I had the bracelet custom-made for me with my total weight loss imprinted on it (a few pounds to go yet, but I’ll get there). Looking at the bracelet every day reminds me of my accomplishments and also keeps me on the straight and narrow for the future.

68 bracelet

If you’re like me, over 50 and want to lose weight, don’t let age deter you. I lost at the same rate at this age as I did when I dieted in my 20s. Count calories, it works. I use My Fitness Pal (both a website and an app) to enter everything I eat and all my exercise. If you dig charts, graphs and trends, it’s the tool for you!

You don’t even need to exercise. Remember, weight loss begins in the kitchen. Fitness begins at the gym.

If you’re feeling fat and want to change, know that it’s possible to transform yourself even if you’re older. And you can ask me anything. I’m happy to help you if I can!

Merry Christmas Cookie Face

Posted by Kathy on December 25th, 2015

Merry Christmas, peeps! Have you been good little boys and girls this year?

I know most of you probably have been, but some of you are trouble. So much trouble. We should hang out.

Today I’m making cookies to take to my family. I’m not very imaginative in the cookie department, so I went with your classic Toll House cookie. At least I made them from scratch, so I’m not a total loser.

It’s been a while since I found a food that looks like stuff, so I was happy to see this raw cookie dough face reveal itself.

toll house cookie face

He even has a hair-do! A little frowny, though. But that’s because he knows he’s about to be flattened down into delicious chocolaty goodness. His sacrifice will not go unappreciated.

Here’s wishing you and your families a blessed holiday and much happiness in the new year.

Over and out!

 

A Dollar Fifty. All For a Dollar Fifty.

Posted by Kathy on November 2nd, 2015

TOLLBOOTH-BASKETI just got back from a whirlwind weekend visit with my friends Julia, of the we-desperately-miss I Do Things blog, and Lin, of Duck and Wheel with String. So fun!!

I traveled with my sister Ann, of the We Can Travel Everywhere with GPS and a Rental Car philosophy.

It rained buckets all day Saturday, so we decided we’d at least get some walking in by going to an outlet mall with Julia and her hilarious and delightful boyfriend, Steve. We took separate cars due to a switcheroo we planned later in the evening.

Ann and I hopped out on the highway and all went well until we hit a toll booth along the way. A toll booth without an attendant and that required exact change. Change we did not have.

I just want to say here that we hate Illinois for all their toll booths. I thought Jersey was bad. It felt like we were paying tolls every other mile. Illinois, we find you very annoying and we’re never coming back.

OK, so we’re sitting at the coin basket, which is waiting for us to hurl six quarters into it. We had just four.

We’re digging in every possible nook and cranny of our purses for extra change, but none is materializing.

Meanwhile, I look over at a woman in a nearby lane who is also doing the holy shit, why isn’t there an attendant here I don’t have any money except bills is that a quarter on the floor oh my God this is stressful routine.

I decide I would open the car door and wave around a dollar bill in the hopes that nearby drivers would have enough quarters to make change for me so we can get on our way. Quarters? Quarters? Anyone got quarters?

I look behind us and there is a man in a pickup truck losing his mind that we are not moving. He is actively screaming at us and waving his arms all around. I’m relieved he’s not waving a gun.

I quickly get back to the scrounging for quarters, cursing Illinois procedure, while Road Rage guy is having his meltdown. I again wave a dollar bill out the window to indicate “I don’t have quarters, I only have this bill, can’t you see????”

I hear the guy scream “Pay it online! Pay it online!” and we finally decide it’s our only option. We are devastated. We are Catholic. We are rule followers. We are about to blow through a toll without paying the required dollar fifty. Dear God, please forgive us and have mercy on our souls.

We reluctantly gun it past the stop light, knowing we are going to hell for our scofflaw behavior and now instantly worry that cops will pull us over, we’ll get an extra fine from the car rental company and that Ann’s credit card will get charged not only for the $1.50 toll we skipped, but for every toll along the parkway because how else will they know where we got on and off? FYI, Catholics’ brains cannot function in any other way.

We eventually get to the outlet mall and meet up with our friends and the first thing we blurt out, because it’s the most important thing in our honest, rule-following lives right now, is “We didn’t pay a $1.50 toll!!!!” Julia and Steve care nothing in the least.

“Don’t pay it. People skip tolls all the time. They can’t track all of the people who do it. You’re crazy for worrying about it,” Steve says.

But worry we do. We are a hand-wringing, anxiety-ridden sort of people, convinced Ann’s going to jail because of our criminality.

So the next day, we set out to make right on the toll.

We use my iPad to get to the Illinois toll website because I can use VPN on it and we want to make sure the transaction is secure. We back track through the GPS directions to find the toll we missed and provide all the rental car information, along with the time that we committed our crime.

Because we are still deathly afraid that Hertz Car Rental is going to find out what we did, we document payment of the toll in no less than four different ways: sending ourselves an email link of payment, taking a picture of the iPad payment with Ann’s other iPad, taking a picture of the iPad payment with Ann’s iPhone, and ensuring she has an email alert of her credit card payment of the toll.

We have rock-solid proof of payment now and if Hertz gets notified by the State of Illinois that we failed to pay one dollar and fifty cents at a toll, we have ample proof that we did and we can sleep well knowing our parents raised us right and we are not actually going to hell now.

The guy behind us at the toll booth? He is going to hell. And his hell will consist of him having the correct change and perpetually being stuck behind out-of-towners who don’t. Serves him right.