Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stop and Listen/Look

I woke up this morning, way too early for a Sunday of course, and took the pup out. As I stepped out on the porch, in Kansas, I had a feeling of being at the beach. The wind is crazy out there today. The air has a touch of warmth to it, but a damp warmth. It must have rained sometime in the night so everything was soggy. The air smelled of moisture and earth. It was somewhat nostalgic to say the least. That's one thing I noticed when I lived at the beach. The completely different nature of the environment compared to what I knew growing up in the mountains. And being in Kansas, having that feeling was completely out of place.
As I walked the dog, I could hear the wind blow through the trees. The huge pine tree down past the house has a distinct sound when the wind blows through it. Almost mechanical. A whirr of tiny parts that toss in the wind as it passes through the branches.
This is my quiet time. I love going outside and noticing things that one doesn't normally stop to look at or listen to in the busy, daily grind of life.
It's like the worn out fuzzy slippers I wear (inside and out). They're so old and falling apart. But I can't bring myself to get rid of them. It's a comfort of something of I've had for so long. Even though they smell like a thousand feet of a high school locker room no matter how many times I wash them, they are still my comfort.
I'm grateful that I have the ability to stop and notice things, no matter how pleasant or smelly in some cases.
I feel more aware of my surroundings and more in tune with my life. Because that's what life's what you're surrounded by. Connecting to what is around you, the earth, the air, your home, your family, is what makes you who you are and brings an enlightened existence.
I'm not sure why I'm so philosophical or whatever you want to call it today. It could be switching my coffee to half caff. Or maybe it's because it's Sunday. I don't know. But it feels pretty good.
I'm going to sit here before the rest of the family wakes up, and drink my half caff coffee, listening to the deafening sound of my husband's computer about to blow up and the dog chewing on a bone she found, and think about where I am today. Maybe today is a good day to go out on a photography adventure since I seem to be in tune with the world around me. 

Have a good one ya'll! Stop and look at your world today. ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Commissary Coupon Musings

I feel hyper. I have an unnatural high all related to couponing and the commissary.
I went to the commissary (for you store) today by myself. It was a rather enjoyable experience even though I sat in the parking lot for a moment dreading the hassle.  I only had a partial list of what we needed which could be a disaster because a) I would buy more than I really needed to and blow the budget or b) I wouldn't get everything I needed. And of course when I got home, I already have 3 items on the list for the next trip before I even got the bags put away.
So, I have noticed before that if you don't shop on payday or near payday (by a few days) more things are on sale. Which is what happened today. Not to mention I had some awesome coupons this trip (Thanks MOM!). And of course this was the shopping period that we were out of all the non-food essentials, such as shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
We had a certain amount budgetted for groceries (as always) so this was my only stressor. But I took my time going through the aisles and picking sale items and items I had coupons for that were financially worth it. My buggy was heavy as I pushed up to the checkout line and I began to worry I'd blown the budget. My hubby can look at a buggy and get down to a few dollars the amount of how much it's going to come to. I dunno how he does it...but it freaks me out just a little bit.
Now, as you military spouses know, commissaries have large lines. No matter what time of the month it may be. And today, it was no different. I'm standing in line going through every single coupon I had to make sure I didn't miss anything. And as I'm doing that, I catch myself checking out buggies surrounding me and the contents that other people were buying. Gasp...I'm one of those people!! And I kept catching myself going through my coupons looking for a savings for other people's carts. REALLY!!! I spotted a couple single soldiers with a buggy half full of frozen items and convenience foods. I know they had to be single because a) two soldiers shopping together with one cart b) aforementioned frozen items and convenience foods and c) no rings on their fingers (yes I notice those things on occasion...not often though).  So, as I'm standing there I was a bit distraught because I had coupons for a good half of the things in their buggy that I wasn't using this trip. So the moral delimma began. Do I offer them the unused coupons from my trusty plastic coupon binder? Or do I just let the guys keep some dignity that they don't have to use coupons. I didn't give them the coupons. Although I gladly would have. I probably could have saved them at least $5. Just sayin'.
So, by the time all was said and done, I went over budget by $21...but by the time the coupons came off, I was only $6 over budget which I could justify from the amount of gas that I had budgeted for my vehicle this payday.
SWEET! I felt sooooo accomplished! I have a high from saving money!
The best deals I got was the Old Spice body wash I got hubby for $0.32. I got Pantene conditioner for free. Secret deodorant for just over $0.20. I hadn't even planned on getting some of those things until a trip to Walmart. But after seeing them on sale...AND having coupons...there's no better way to stock up...and stay under budget.

All in all, I feel good tonight. It's a fend-for-yourself supper night. So, I'm having Roasted Garlic & Black Bean Tostitos Artisan chips...just cause they're that amazing.
My one splurge on a non-diet item. ;)

Have a good one ya'll. Keep on couponing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One stack or two?

I haven't blogged in a long time. Lots been going on here. Some good stuff. Some not so great. I miss the days that I have some random story that I can write about and be creative through the words on the screen. But, alas, my muse has gone mute.
Although, today, I had a weird conversation at work. How I get sidetracked onto completely random topics is beyond me. But, I was talking about pancakes. Pancakes are my thing ya'll. And as you all know, I travel on occasion. Well....
When I was in my early 20's, we were travelling from Washington state to Virginia. Along this road trip, I had decided, and I have no idea WHY I decided this, to have pancakes in every state we stopped in. You know stopping at truck stops across the country is one amazing feat all in itself. The food in these places are usually awesome anyway. I mean think about it. They're feeding these truck drivers and travellers who have most likely travelled for hours on end and still have plenty more travelling to do. So, the food is always pretty darn good. Occasionally you gotta watch out for the greasy spoon dives. But for the most part, truck stop eating is good stuff. we drove along, I sampled pancakes in every state we stopped in. Asking for recipes when they were mouth watering fluffy goodness. (my fave was at a small place in Wyoming) And over the years, I've come to perfect it.
My children have grown up with pancake Sundays. And if they have a sleepover, it is a requirement that I make pancakes. Special occasions would spur even better over the top scrumptiousness with powdered sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, whipped cream, or anything else we could concoct in our minds would be delectible. 
I remember one sleepover my daughter had. She was pretty young at the time as were the sleepover friends. And as per customary requirements, the plan was pancake Sunday after the sleepover. Late that night, one of the girls was afraid and called her mom to come get her. Once her mom was there, she asked if she could come back for pancakes in the morning. HA It was a no-go with the mom. From what I can recall, I think she toughed out the rest of the night at our house just to have pancakes the next day.
I don't share my pancake secrets or recipe with people outside the family. Except that you NEVER EVER ever smash the pancake down with the spatula. EVER!
And as my kids are older now, I'll gladly pass on the family tradition to them.
But for now, I'm gonna keep my griddle hot and my spatula handy (yes I have special pancake utentils and cookware I use).
Because Sunday is just around the corner and it'll be pancake time again. 
Oh...and just out of many pancakes does it take to actually make a "stack"?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Know I'm Alive!!

Some days I wonder why do I feel so.....old. It's hard to start moving first thing in the morning. By the time I get out of the shower my legs already hurt. While drying my hair, I spend a good 5 minutes blow drying my legs just for the heat. It is comforting. By the end of the day, my legs have stabbing pains, spasms, tightness and constant ache. Not to mention the arthritis in my knees and the torn muscle in my lower back or the tension in my shoulders and neck.
Seriously...I'm not even 40 yet. But I have depression, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) with intermittent claudication, arthritis, and of course good ole allergies. All of which I take medication for.
I try to remember days when I didn't hurt. It seems so long ago now. Years actually. I can't remember when or what it felt like. I see kids/people jumping around or running. I remember that. I used to feel weightless and could do anything. Now I feel like gravity has a strong magnetic pull on me and my body weighs a ton. It's so hard to move some days.
The depression I've been diagnosed with is usually situational or seasonal. I do have anxiety occasionally and have some OCD tendencies. I am on medication for this which has helped alot. I am not emotionally hypersensitive like I usually am, although some times I do feel disconnected from any emotion at all.
The arthritis I suffer from is osteoarthritis. It's basically wear and tear on my joints due to usage/over-usage. In my case, I used to be fairly active. Especially as a Kempo Kickboxer. I have the grinding knees that barely bend on cold days and I do have some arthrtitis in other joints that ache as well. Stupid weather predictors.
The allergies I blame on Kansas. It's the grass here. I'm just not used to. I stay congested all the time. Hopefully when we leave here, it will clear up.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)....this is basically bad circulation. It sounds bad I know. It's when the veins (peripheral meaning outside the heart) constrict or have hardened and not enough blood can reach the muscles which results in a lack of oxygen. This causes Intermittent Claudication. That's the pain I experience. I have the claudication from the waist down. especially from my inner thighs just above the knees to my ankles. I am in constant pain. The more I move, the more pain I experience because the blood is trying to get through to the muscles, but it can't. Resting is the only time the pain eases up a little. Then my legs just feel tight and they twitch and I feel like I need to stretch them alot.

So tell does a 39 year old suffer from all these ailments?? I sound like I should be 69 years old instead.
I think the fact that I do feel so old is because I've lived my life like a wild person!! HAHA Actually I think maybe I just didn't take as good care of myself as I should have. That's what it basically boils down to. In hindsight, I don't know if I really would have changed my life. Maybe cut back on the fast food and the grease and possibly not smoked all those years I did. But there's no looking back now. I can only deal with what I've got now. And that's a worn out body that wants to be young again.
I've got these little tricks I do when I'm editting portraits I take where I can remove wrinkles. I've done it enough that when I look at myself in the mirror, in my mind I am visually running a mouse over the wrinkles on my face and erasing them. If only we really could do this!!! That would be awesome!
I also would use the "thinify" option as well with some creative cropping. Of coruse to do all this in real life requires work that causes me pain. sigh.
One day...I'm gonna feel better...physically and emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I promise myself that!!!  Not sure how I'm gonna accomplish this, but I'm gonna figure it out!! At least with all this pain, I know I'm alive!!!