Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Really Don't Like Facebook.

Like, really.

I have had my love-hate relationship with Facebook for a few years now but I have been swinging wayyyy over into the hate camp for the last several months.  I don't think I can really pinpoint what I find so aggravating about it though.

I have tried to hide and scroll past and ignore the people and posts I'd rather not see.  I've made lists for if I wanted to share something with, say, one group of people but didn't want another group of people to see it (similar to Google+ circles).  I made many lists actually and it just got to be too hard to maintain.

And then I started to ask myself, why would I share something with group X but not with group Y?  And I started to get to the root of the issue... that I felt that I was oversharing my life.  That I felt like it was more impersonal to share my life that way.

(Says the girl with a blog.)

Yeah but, I have to think long and hard and deliberately about what I want to share on my blog.  Facebook makes it so easy for you to put your every thought or feeling or emotion up there, even if it's really better left unposted.  And I think to some degree, this takes away from human interaction.

Hey, you know, I haven't talked to my friend Bubba in a while.  I wonder what he's been up to?  Let me go have a gander at his Facebook page.  Oh!  Look at that!  He got a new girlfriend!  She's pretty.  I hope he's happy.

Wouldn't it have been nicer if Bubba and I had an actual relationship where I didn't need to find out about his new girlfriend on Facebook?  Where maybe he and I had seen each other, or talked to each other, and we actually shared what was going on in our lives with each other?

I guess in my old age I am just starting to prefer more personal interactions.  Especially with my friends.  I decided that if I wanted to know how my friends were doing, I would contact them directly.  And likewise, if they want to know how I am doing, I am sure they will contact me directly as well.

Life is actually so nice and easy without Facebook.  I still have Instagram and Twitter but to me they are different.  For one thing, there is pretty much zero negativity in both places.  What a weight that is!  On Instagram - who doesn't love looking at pictures?  Plus I follow a lot of food accounts.  On Twitter - there's just not enough room to be negative!  140 characters is not enough for a Debbie Downer to really get everything off her chest!  I find that not being surrounded by so much negativity means that it doesn't weigh on me.  I dig my Facebook-free life.

In other news... good news left and right this week, keep it comin' Universe, I ate the proverbial toad at the beginning of this year and am ready to start seeing some good.  Signs, signs, everywhere signs...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Getting My Fight Back

You guys!

I'm so excited.

Aaron told me over the weekend that he is going to start working out again.  He does P90X.  He does it in our basement, which is really small.  But he goes through phases where he does it like every single day and then something happens (injury, life, what have you) and he stops and then he picks it back up again.  So the other day, my already-studly hubby said he is on a mission to have a beach body by the time our September vacation to Virginia Beach rolls around.  (But, if you've met my husband, you know he already has a beach body.  Guys get so self-conscious about the little stuff.  Like, if all the fat I had in my abdomen could be pinched between my thumb and forefinger and be about as thick as an Eggo waffle, then I'd be pretty darn happy with myself.  But guys are way different than girls.)  I have kind of been on the same mission, but I've been in a holding pattern.

My gym at work is out of commission.  A water heater broke or something and flooded the whole gym.  In fact, the irony of the situation is this - JUST as I was rebounding from starvation mode - I walked into work that day and thought, I think I am ready to go back to the gym next week (it was a Friday).  Then I open my email and BOOM - "The 1701 gym will be closed for repairs for at least 1 month, possibly more".  Wah. 

(Why doesn't Blogger have emojis?  This post is ripe for emojis.)

That was so long ago now that I don't even have the email in my deleted items anymore.  It was definitely over a month ago at this point.  They offered us a 30-day membership with the possibility of extension at Philadelphia Sports Clubs next door, for $30.  But I am cheap and didn't want to pay for it.  (Plus, PSCs are nice, and what if I fell in love with it?  Then I'd want to join, and then I'd start rationalizing the normally-$70/month membership in my head... no.  Best not to ever go.)  So I've been sticking it out, trying to eat well (*cough* when I'm not eating cheesesteaks or Mexican *cough*), just waiting for the gym to come back. 

I suggested to Aaron that he go Paleo with  me, so we can get back on a healthy track of eating, and he says I'M READY.  LET'S DO IT. 


So I did some menu planning for the next couple of weeks (we will have to start on June 1st as I have already done my shopping and menu planning for this week) and I will be making some new recipes that I'm excited about.  Mmm food. 

Speaking of food - I have three (yes three) Instagram accounts now.  @sasmstr is my personal account; @thesasmstrcooks is my food accounts; and @sasmstrphotography is my duh photography account.  I have gotten tons of love on my photography account.  It makes me really happy.

But anyway.  So yeah.  I will be incorporating some lessons I learned from the last time I went Paleo - I am going to allow myself 1-2 cheat meals per week.  If I restrict myself too much and then cheat, I go way overboard.  So allowing myself 1-2 meals per week where it doesn't matter what I eat will definitely help.  I will also be making things that I can eat for lunch as leftovers, and I will also be doing a fair amount of prepping on the weekends.

And hopefully at some point I can get back in the gym, but until then, I have some workouts I can do at home, and I will just have to keep an eye on my food.  It's exciting to go back to Paleo and have Aaron totally on board.  Nothing compares to the support of your spouse!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

For the longest time, I have been feeling as though I'm in limbo. Like I'm not "where I'm supposed to be". Like I'm not "doing what I'm supposed to be doing". 

It leaves me feeling restless and dissatisfied. 

I step back and look at my life and think, this is it? Is this all there is to life? A taxing, stressful job and a little row house in northeast Philadelphia? This is what I've worked so hard for up to this point? My college degree and his skilled trade and our six-figure income only get us this? This is the best we can do for us - for our daughter? This can't be all there is to life. 

Don't get me wrong. I know I'm blessed. I have a beautiful, spirited, amazing daughter, and I have a strong rock of a husband. I have a large, crazy, loud family and my friends are true anchors. I have a job, and my husband has a job, and we have a place to live. I am blessed, and this is not lost on me. 

But there are still areas of my life where frustration and dissatisfaction remain. I need to fix this. 

About a month ago we had a realtor out to give us some input on putting our house on the market. The feedback was discouraging. We would likely have to bring money to the settlement table and essentially pay someone to buy our house. So we made the decision to wait a year and see where we were. We talked about renting the house and moving in with my parents to save money. We talked about renting the house and getting a second mortgage for a new house. We even talked about letting our house go into foreclosure. 

But I really don't want to do any of that. All our plans, put on hold. We were being held hostage by this little row house in northeast Philly. There was no bright future for us. All the options were risky, undesirable, or time-consuming. 

We were hostages. Stuck. 

I drew up a meager budget and savings plan for the next year. If we stuck to it, we'd have over $10k saved to do something next year. Key words: "if we stuck to it". Anyone reading this knows that the middle class struggle is real. The reality would probably be that we'd save nothing at all. 

But yesterday, my rock of a husband called me at work to pitch a solution to me. As he spoke, I could feel the hope rise up into my chest. I saw that light at the end of the tunnel start to flicker into life. For the first time in a long time, my future did not seem so stressful and bleak. There was an end in sight. We hung up the phone and I broke down in tears. The solution he proposed would require him to make a sacrifice, and the fact that this man would make this sacrifice for me, and his daughter, just to get us out and get us started on the path we are supposed to be on... It brought me to my knees. 

So now, my dream is alive again. The light is on at the end of this long and winding tunnel and I am racing towards it. There are so many other things in my life that have become more bearable, knowing that the end is in sight. I really feel like I'm standing on the brink of something big, and my life - the life I am supposed to have - where I am supposed to be - what I am supposed to do - is about to finally come together. 

I can finally see it. And that light is so bright and so beautiful. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Random Ramblings

Hello!  It's been a while.

Like a month or so.

I haven't had a whole lot to share.  Things have been busy.  Who likes hearing about that?

I've been addicted to Candy Crush.  I have actually beaten all the levels of the regular "world" and the dream "world" with the owl.  I don't know if I'm proud or embarrassed to admit that.  When I say things have been busy, let's be honest.  I've mostly been busy conquering Candy Crush.

Squirt continues to be super snuggly.  She is purring next to me now.  And has even started to greet us at the door when we arrive home from somewhere, like a dog would.

I sold Moko's crate.  It was a little bittersweet.  On the one hand - a relief that it's gone and no loner a standing reminder of her absence.  On the other hand - the empty spot behind my couch is just a different kind of reminder of the doglessness of our house.  I find myself thinking about getting another dog almost daily.  But I know we should really wait till we move.  I want two dogs.  Big dogs.  It's so strange to me now to not have a dog in my house.  And I really do miss the layer of (albeit perceived) protection that she offered.

There have been several times I've been laying in bed at night and I think I hear someone on my stairs.  And I think about how if Moko were still with us, if there really was someone on my stairs, I would know for sure because she would be barking her head off.  Now I wouldn't know till it was too late.

I miss her.

So, I've been gaining back some of the weight I lost.  Actually, I gained back what I lost while my body was in starvation mode.

Oh yeah - starvation mode - that was fun.  I got to a point where I was eating so little, that my body started to hold on to weight and I started to gain.  I didn't even get there intentionally.  I think that the drastic reduction in carbs from my diet led me to be satisfied on less than I would be on a carb-rich diet.  My stomach probably shrank.  My diet wasn't changing much and I was pretty close to being on-plan with Paleo, yet I was gaining.  It also stumped me because almost every time I ate, I felt nauseous.  (Several people thought I was pregnant - but several pregnancy tests proved them wrong.)  I started tracking what I was eating to see if I could figure out what was making me nauseous.  And I plugged it all into My Fitness Pal one day and found that I was eating about 800-900 calories a day.  Totally unintentionally.  And I just wasn't hungry for more.  My Weight Watchers counselor figured out that I was gaining because I was in starvation mode.  So I talked to my trainer, and we figured out how to get me back to normal.  Around that time, I dropped 5 pounds in 2 weeks.  But as I worked to return my eating habits to normal, I also gained those 5 pounds back.  So I'm kind of back to where I started prior to going into starvation mode.  By the way, anyone who tells you starvation mode isn't real, or is a myth - is deluded.  That shit was real.

I've been pretty much Paleo during the week and on the weekends I am a little more free with my food choices.  I've had a lot of social stuff going on the past several weeks so I've been a little more off-plan than usual, but I am getting back on track now.

I started a new Instagram account just for the food I make.  It's called @thesasmstrcooks .  Check it out if you dare.  Maybe it will inspire me (as this blog does) to hold myself accountable and stay on track.  But I will not just post pics of diet food.  I will post pics of the totally slutty food I make too.

My allergies have been killing me.  Anybody else?  I don't know about any of the other cities, but Philadelphia has it pretty bad this year.  This is the worst allergy season I've ever experienced in my whole life, no joke.  When I wake up in the morning I feel like death.  And I can barely breathe at night and my eyes are red and sore from being rubbed all the time.  Ugh.  Go away pollen.

My BFFPIC Courtnee was just here for a weekend visit from Indiana.  I took her to NYC and all around Philly.  Yesterday we went to Eastern State Penitentiary, which I'd never been to before.  I took my film camera and can't wait to get the film developed.  I will be sure to post the pictures here when it's done!

I miss her already.  And so does Maraea.  She can't wait to go visit Courtnee on her farm.  Maybe next year.

I have two vacations this year.  Vegas in August to renew my vows, and Virginia Beach in September with my family.  Every time I start to zone out anywhere, that's what I'm thinking of.  I can't wait to go on vacation.  I must really need a break.

So I have pretty much quit Facebook for good.  I had deleted the app from my phone and wasn't missing it one bit.  Then I got an email from Facebook - one of those "Do you know X, Y, and Z?" emails - and X and Y were my therapist and my chiropractor.  How in the hell would Facebook know that I know those two people?  A friend of mine pointed out that it's practically a HIPAA violation - and I agree.  So that sealed it.  I am probably not going back to Facebook.  I will leave my account up because I can stay in touch with others that I have no other way of getting in touch with, but that's it.  I can't stand it anymore.  Later fb.

I think documenting a life in pictures is more attractive than documenting a life in status updates anyway.  Instagram > Facebook.