Growing up in the 1970’s as Child #8 out of 9 meant I was always one of the “little kids”, always one of the youngest. When my whole family gathered, I always sat at the kids table, always got booted off of the couch for someone older, always wore the hand-me-down clothes. I spent my childhood wishing I was older – like a teenager! I wanted to go out at night with my siblings, I wanted to stay up late eating ice cream with Mother Fran, I wanted to babysit the neighbor kids to earn a little spending money. I seriously remember thinking “when I’m big, I am going to eat cake and ice cream for breakfast”! I knew how to dream BIG.
Those of us who call ourselves frugal have different ways of trying to reach our goal of not spending money foolishly. We have different ideas of what that means and different reasons for choosing to save vs spend money.
The definition of frugal according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is: “careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to : using money or supplies in a very careful way”. For me, being frugal means I don’t spend money foolishly. I plan my large expenditures carefully and save money in advance to pay for them in cash. If I do use credit, I always pay my bills in full each month. I hate to spend money on interest and late fees; it makes me feel squeamish to say the least.
Today I want to look back at 2017 to see how I did reaching my goals. I have talked about goals in the past and how reviewing them regularly helps me to stay on track. Half way thru 2017, I did a review of my progress and asked the smart ass question “Are Your Goals Useless?”
In that post, I state “on New Year’s Eve, many of us make a big deal about creating resolutions to make changes in our lives. Resolutions, goals, intentions are pretty much useless unless you take the time to review your progress, identify your barriers and develop action plans.”
This is the year-end review of my 2017 goals to see whether they were met, addressed, abandoned, or simply not prioritized. It is proof that I follow my own advice regarding not simply making meaningless goals.
The holidays are over and winter stretches ahead like a long, dark, daunting tunnel with only 1 exit. I can choose to keep my head low, plod along muttering about the arctic cold and wind or I can sit back and enjoy the warmth of the fireplace and the good company I keep. I remind myself frequently that my perspective on any given situation makes all of the difference. If my perspective does not keep me on the path I have chosen then it is time to change it!
Work has been slow for the last week which is no big deal, however I have to stop myself from getting anxious about an upcoming tiny paycheck. When I don’t work a typical 9-5 gig it is easy to lose focus, forget why I work per diem instead of harnessing the security of a full-time job.
Oh my goodness it is COLD outside. Not just a little cold. Not zip up your jacket and grab a hat cold. Nope, old man winter has taken up residence in Central New York. Going outdoors, unprepared can take your breath away.
I bundled up the other day to walk Fenway. I had long johns, jeans, a long sleeve shirt, my heaviest sweater, a winter vest and a heavy jacket. I had a neck warmer with a hat attached and another hat plus my hood. I had winter gloves on my hands and 2 pairs of socks under my winter boots. The weather app on my phone said it was 1 degree with a real feel of -13. I was so bundled, I could hardly move.
When I did my first Whole30 back in January 2016, I found breakfast a pretty easy meal to plan. Eggs were allowed and encouraged and you can eat as many as you want. So, I ate eggs pretty much every single day with a variety of vegetables and some healthy avocado.
I continue to eat plenty of eggs and am concerned that I will get tired of them as I gear up for my next Whole30 that begins January 1st! Mother Fran told me I was going to start clucking like a chicken if I don’t figure out other breakfast foods!
I have been on vacation for the last 1.5 weeks visiting Mother Fran and Child #7 in sunny Florida. I usually visit in February at which point in time, I am desperate to get away from Upstate NY and the frigid winter temperatures. We didn’t have any snow to speak of when I departed but it was cold and getting away was just what the doctor ordered.
Child #7 works really long hours this time of year so I didn’t get to spend much time with her. I did however get lots of quality time with Mother Fran. We shopped, went to a nature preserve, read in the sun and played lots of Canasta. We watched football, assembled her new patio furniture, weeded the garden and played more Canasta. Mother Fran may be 90 but she still has plenty of interests to keep her engaged. I want to be like Mother Fran as I age!
Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about having written a letter to a friend expressing my gratitude for her having such a positive influence on me when I was growing up? Well I got to see her twice this week and she mentioned that letter a few times. She said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her!
The fact that I not only felt grateful to her but shared my gratitude with her obviously made her day. Not only did expressing gratitude make me feel good, it made her feel good as well. That is a WIN-WIN in my book.
This is the holiday season, don’t quarantine your gratitude! Let someone know how important they are to you. When I get home from my December vacation, I plan on writing another letter to an old boss who was an incredible mentor to me in my early 20’s. She deserves to know that I am thankful for the positive influence she has had on my life! We don’t speak often but I know our friendship is important to both of us and the longer we go without talking, the harder it is to pick up the phone.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Mappy Chrisukah and Happy Holidays! I hope each and every one of you are spending the holiday season in a manner that maximizes health, wealth and happiness. I will be hanging out with Child #1 and her honey eating yummy food, playing games and enjoying family time. Life is Good in My Little Blue Kayak!
Paddle on my friends, paddle on!
Any change in eating habits can be easily derailed by a stressful day, bad news, hunger pangs or brownies that keep calling you from the cabinet. It is time to do some preparation in order to get ready for our Whole30 that begins on January 1st. Are you ready to get healthy? In my last post, I asked you to join me in choosing health! My first recommendation is to remove all food from your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets that you will be eliminating on the Whole30 eating plan.
You would think this would be easy but you will need to read the ingredient label on every box, can and bag of food in the house! Watch out for sugar in your spaghetti sauce, soy in your canned tuna fish and sulfites in your vinegar. In this post I wrote about unexpected places you might find sugar lurking in your kitchen.
Box up the brownie mix, flour, sugar, cereal, oatmeal along with the 10 boxes of pasta that were on sale 5 for $5 bucks. No sugar and grains for the month of January! Give away the mayonnaise made with canola oil, the crackers with soybean oil, half and half as well as the blocks of cheddar. We won’t be eating vegetable oils or dairy.
Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror and Christmas is just around the corner. We all know what that means! Lots of parties with crazy delicious food, fun drinks and yummy desserts. For many of us it also means Tums, Pepto Bismal and a hangover or 2. Shortly after the holiday last year, we decided to do a Whole30 Experiment and radically changed our eating habits. We expected it to last 30 days but we liked it so much we pretty much kept eating according to the program guidelines.
The Whole30 has you eliminate sugar, alcohol, dairy, legumes and grains and replace them with vegetables, high quality meat and healthy fat. We did a strict Whole30 for about 42 days and we ended it when we went on vacation last winter. On vacation we ate and drank anything we wanted and when we returned home we sort of resumed our new way of eating.
Many of the people I work with in the nursing home don’t seem to have much going on in their old age. They sit and stare into space or at the television screen until it is time for bed or their next meal. Whatever leisure activities they enjoyed in the past either cannot be completed in the nursing home setting or they have lost the interest or ability to participate.
I have worked with some elderly patients in their home as well and some of them are in the same position. They wait for the phone to ring, for their favorite game show or for a visitor to stop by. I want more in my old age! I want to be more like Mother Fran and other seniors who still know how to live life with a purpose.