Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Exercise

I did about 15 minutes on the elliptical today, which is not much. I got a headache around minute 5 or 6, and it got so bad by 15 minutes that I had to quit. Before I exercised I ate greek yogurt, 1/2 cup shredded wheat, and a banana. Maybe I should have eaten more? Urgh. Would love to be able to work out without bad effects.

Other than the exercise, I feel a lot better. Four days, no coffee! :) Getting off of that seems to have really helped a lot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lentils Lentils Lentils

I am loving the eating-constantly plan for the fact that I get to eat carbs -- complex carbs, but still carbs.

For second-lunch (don't laugh, y'all) I made brown rice and a stew of lentils, onions, tomato, cubed sweet potato, tomato sauce, and curry powder + bay leaf.

It is so good! And it only takes about 30 minutes. It's really, really good. I was going to put a picture of it, but it's kind of ugly. It's really tasty, though. :9

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two days in

48 hours with no coffee, eating carefully, eating constantly. Still getting used to it. Not having coffee was easier this morning than it was yesterday. Had enough energy to hike the kids all over the Jr Museum today without napping or having caffeine when I got home. Of course, I feel like I am stopping to eat every 10 minutes (really it is more like every hour and a half or so) but so far it's working out pretty well. Just thought I'd do a quick report.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Longest Post... OF ALL TIME

If you are a frequent visitor to The Happy Nashes, you know that I have a tendency to... oh... shall we say ramble on about my various theories and ideas. Today is no exception. But in all fairness I have to warn you that the rambling today is a bit extreme. This is a really long post. Read on at your own personal risk...

For a long time you have had to put up with me complaining, at various times, about



-weight gain/difficulties with weight loss

-the stress of preemie birth and its lingering effects

-the stress of losing several friendships at once several years ago (and wondering why I can’t just forget about it)


Wah wah wah, you think to yourself. When will this woman stop her complaining about these six problems? In fact, if I look back at her blog entries, nearly all of them address at least one of these, if not two or three.

Dear readers, it’s all coming together! Come with me on a journey.

It’s August of 2007. I am completing the last phase of my Master’s thesis. Overall, it’s been a fun project. The job market, though, is looking awful. I can’t get a call back because when I drop off my applications, I am toting around a baby bump, which is about as attractive to a prospective employer as a face-and-neck tattoo.

I begin to think about student loans, and employment discrimination.

And it’s August, and the heat makes everything worse.

Arriving home, a note on my doorstep from an ex-friend of mine. Listing my failings and flaws as a person, as a friend, as a future mother, as a wife. My very best friend on the planet earth, listing out all the terrible things about me, some real and some made up. I am not sure which is which.

September. I take three jobs. One, a part time secretary position, filling in for the admin assistant who was out on maternity leave. Two, a babysitting position which I enjoyed but which drained my end-of-second-trimester energy. Three, an online tutoring position that was restrictive and not very well paid. I work as a secretary all morning, a babysitter all afternoon, and a tutor from 7-9 each night. We are not sure where we will live when the baby is born in December. One house deal did not go through; one house deal seems to be going through but my income keeps getting lower and lower. My belly gets bigger and bigger. I get phone calls from mutual friends of the note-writer and me, telling me I need to beg forgiveness for imagined wrongs I have allegedly committed. My husband is called names. Note-writer tells me I should be on mental health medication because I am not spending time with her, which she interprets to mean that I am withdrawing from the entire world, and that I am suffering from a “lack of internal resources,” a phrase I may remember forever. I think maybe she is suffering from a lack of my fist in her face, but it is unseemly for a six months pregnant woman to start a barroom fight.

I am getting the urge to nest and instead we are packing all of our things into boxes. It’s the opposite of nesting. I want to be padding softly through a nursery that smells like baby powder, humming to myself and folding little stacks of onesies. Instead I am taping books into boxes, pushing “ignore” on my phone when a soldier in the ex-friend army calls, and working 10 hours every day for less money than I used to make as a secretary before I went back to school.

There is mold growing on the bathroom ceiling again, and I am too big to climb the ladder to wipe it off with a bleach-soaked rag.

I am not even allowed to use bleach.

I do not want there to be mold on the ceiling of whatever place we are living in when the baby is born in December.

October. The baby is not born in December. I wake one morning to answer phones and schedule classes, and instead my water breaks and 11 hours later he is not in my arms but held up to me by my husband, held to me so that I can kiss his tiny cheek before he’s taken to the NICU. I am nowhere at all, maybe at the hospital, maybe on a grassy hill like the one Maria spins on in the opening scene of The Sound of Music.

A few people come to visit me in the hospital, and chat with strained cheeriness. A few people don’t come at all, because they can’t see the baby, so what would be the point? Five days later, we close on our house. I pack my things at the hospital into a plastic bag, feed Chris his morning bottle in the NICU and leave with Ben to the closing, my dirty maternity clothes still rolled up in that bag in the backseat. The trash in the car seems so strange and alien. A to do list from last week, completely irrelevant to my life now. A grocery receipt with prenatal vitamins on it. A fast food chicken sandwich box. A folder with photocopied journal articles from my thesis research. Who had these things? Who was this girl? The shoes on my feet don’t even feel like they’re mine.

I sign my name and we are homeowners now. We pack the kitchen at the old place and I go back to the hospital to feed Chris at 3, 6, 9, and 12, and then I drive home, to my new home, and in the dark and in my haste and with the new road construction I can’t find my neighborhood. I drive up and down the same stretch of road three times, laughing, not crying somehow, but laughing, and then finally I find my house. Inside: My husband, all the furniture set up. Fried chicken from my mother, who never fried chicken once in my memory before then. A strange smell to the carpet and walls. Someone else’s pictures on the walls. I do not know where my things are.

Chris comes home from the hospital a week later. An ex-friend calls to tell me how sad she is to pretend we aren’t friends, and how sorry she is that my son is in the hospital and not doing well. He is at home in my arms, I want to yell at her, and I delete the message. Four months later I unpack most of the boxes. Two months after that, Ben’s best friend dies in a violent accident. Grief, exhaustion, total loss of everything familiar, strain creeps in and takes root. At least I have stopped getting calls from the ex-friend army.

And there are smaller, less dramatic stresses as well. The back door floods every time it rains. The electric bill is $350 with no explanation. I can’t budge below 187 pounds, no matter what I do. I cry. I dread the night time.

Chris moves to his own crib at night and I begin to wake in a panic each night, sure that I have left him somewhere unattended, convinced beyond doubt that I forgot him in the living room floor; in the kitchen; on the changing table. I can’t go to sleep again until I get up and check for him, and find him, sleeping soundly in his crib. Most of the time I don’t wake him up but sometimes I do, by accident. I begin to live by whether or not I can hear his breathing in the monitor.

The world closes in. I begin to worry about strange things, bizarre things. I begin to obsess about the world ending in 2012, about an asteroid hitting the planet, about all the oil running out, about nuclear war. All of my worst fears come together into a conglomerate Horror Fantasy, in lurid color, in my dreams every night. I give in and buy jeans in size 15. I can’t seem to breastfeed properly.

And now, nearly four years later, so much has changed in my life. I have adapted to the circumstances much better than I ever thought I would have. We are finally unpacked. We have two beautiful children. Things are so much better. And yet I am still overweight, tired, worn out, too quickly thrown into a panic.

What gives?

I think a case can be made that my experience in 2007-08 could be described as “chronic stress.” In fact, on the list of Major Life Stressors, I experienced... well, let’s say, an overwhelming number of them within a 12-month period, for a total score of 753 on a scale that categorizes scores of 149 and below as normal and scores of 300 and above as indicating a high susceptibility to stress-related illness.

Chronic stress, as it turns out, leads to adrenal fatigue, which is basically when your adrenal glands pull a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” act, and when you experience stress, instead of giving you a boost of energy to fight-or-fly, they say “Yeah right, I’m not falling for that again. Get your own energy.” And they sit back, arms crossed.

Here are some “Examples of lifestyle factors that may contribute to adrenal fatigue,” copied and pasted from this website:

-Lack of sleep
-Poor food choices (white flour, low fiber, sugar, few vegetables or fruit, lack of raw food, etc.)
-Using sweet or salty food and sweetened or caffeinated drinks as stimulants when tired
-Staying up late even though tired
-Feeling/acting powerless
-Constantly driving yourself
-Trying to be perfect
-Staying in double binds (no win situations)
-Too few of enjoyable and rejuvenating activities

I was doing all of these.

Here are some examples of life situations which can lead to adrenal fatigue, from the same website:

-Unrelieved pressure or frequent crises at work and/or home
-Severe emotional trauma (death of someone close, divorce, etc.)
-Major surgery with slow recovery
-Loss of stable job
-Sudden change in financial status
-Stressful life changes without the support of friends or family

Check. Check. Check checkcheckcheck.

Adrenal fatigue leads to, and then exacerbates, reactive hypoglycemia (which by my own observation, I seem to have, at least to some degree. Not trying to be a hypochondriac, but I have the symptoms and have suspected it for a long time. At-home tests like drinking orange juice on an empty stomach and then charting the results over a period of time seem to back this up.).

In reactive hypoglycemia, when glucose enters the bloodstream after a meal, the body overproduces insulin to try to get some glucose to the cells, especially if it is especially stressed or hungry. In a stress situation, energy would normally be delivered to the cells in the short term by adrenaline, which in some process I am sure I don’t fully understand would unlock glycogen in the liver for an emergency energy boost, but adrenaline is on strike because of the adrenal fatigue, so no glycogen energy is available.

So insulin production is pumped up to compensate. Blood sugar dips too low as too much insulin takes up all the glucose in the blood and then creates a deficit. I crave sugar. I eat sugar, which causes the body to overproduce insulin. (Or, I don’t eat sugar, which causes me to fall asleep from total lack of body functioning. So usually I eat sugar.) Insulin also triggers fat storage, so when there is a ton of insulin around, and an excess of sugar in the blood which I am eating trying to get some energy, that sugar is stored directly as fat, because it can’t all be used (because I cannot run marathons when I am so sleepy). So at the end of the day I am anxious, strung-out, exhausted, famished, and still overweight.

Attempts to do cardio to fix the overweight part just make me feel even worse, because exercise stimulates insulin production. The fact that I don’t eat extra before I exercise because I am trying to lose weight makes the hypoglycemic effect even worse. I develop a mild fear of hard exercise because of a few times at the gym where I almost couldn’t get to the car to drive myself home and ended up eating a whole Subway sandwich downstairs just to stop shaking before getting on the road. Fear of hitting an energy dip while out with kids keeps me from leaving home very often, and especially keeps me from attempting exercise with the kids (walks, playground, etc.).

The pieces begin to come together. I had thought for a long time I had a hypoglycemia-type problem, but I didn’t understand why I would have the problems now, as opposed to, say, five years ago. And the stress + adrenal fatigue explanation seems to make a lot of sense -- I never experienced weight or energy problems until late in my second trimester of pregnancy with Chris – right at the time that I began to experience prolonged, constant stress. And the effects of that stress have stayed with me in one way or another ever since.

And then -- oh, the irony -- in the perfect piece of terrible coincidence, the one chemical I turn to, to get me through the day – caffeine – inhibits the body from reuptake of adrenaline, which means that when I drink coffee and then experience stress of any kind, my body releases a bit of adrenaline and I am stuck in panic mode for hours until the coffee wears off and the adrenaline is finally allowed to leave my bloodstream, and then with a lack of blood sugar and my adrenals refusing to produce anything else (because they get worn out after a rush like that and refuse to work while they recover), and my insulin overproducing to get me some energy, I get really tired and have sugar cravings, so I have a cup of coffee and some chocolate, and then I panic and then pass out and wake up tired and hungry and still overweight...


It kind of all makes sense. And I can see that the key to untangling all of it is something like this:

1. Stop drinking caffeine, more or less immediately.
2. Reduce stress in every way possible. Learn to manage the rest.
3. Stop eating refined sugar, refined grains, and lovely starches like white potatoes. (Dear Potatoes, I will miss you so...)
4. Eat small, protein-filled, balanced meals pretty much constantly.

And now comes your part. If you have read this far, it means that you care enough about me to wade through thousands of words about topics that I have already written on pretty much ad nauseum. So now I am asking you some questions which I would love to know your answers to:

1. Does this theory sound crazy and/or too contrived?
2. Do I reeeeeally have to give up coffee (imagining tomorrow morning... not pretty...)?

If you have any additional thoughts about my failings and flaws as a person, as a friend, as a mother, or as a wife, I would respectfully request that you fashion them into overemotional handwritten notes and leave them on my doorstep for me to find.

Also, bring me snacks. Apparently I am going to need them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inner Light

One of the concepts in Quakerism that has caught my imagination is the idea of Inner Light, and the idea that there is something of God in every single person, no matter who they are. It's not that I specifically didn't believe this before, but the way they describe it and think about it is particularly interesting.

Something that goes hand in hand with this belief is the idea that God is revealing himself to us all the time in the people around us, often right in front of our noses.

Example. Today I was tired in that early afternoon slump. The plumbing had just backed up and I was really tired and feeling like I needed to do a million things at once, but all I really wanted to do was take a nap. Or, to be more specific, to curl up in fetal position under a blanket and disappear for an hour or so. I had also found an old memento from a friend of mine who had stopped talking to me, and never told me why, and I was feeling unnaturally sad about that old loss from a long time ago. I wanted a hug and an ice cream cone, and a long long nap.

Norah fell asleep for her nap, and Chris went to his room for quiet time. I cocooned myself in my room and tried to wipe the mental slate clean and reenergize with a quick nap. I heard the bedroom door open.

"The toilet's not workin," said C. He meant that it wouldn't flush, because I had turned off the water to avoid it flowing over.

"I know," I said, not sure what else to say. Something else on my to do list that makes my life harder. I knew I was in a funk and I wanted to get out of it to be ready for the afternoon.

"I need some shorts."

I found him some shorts in the laundry pile (drawers and closets? Pshaw.) and helped him put them on. I laid back down.

"But Mama," he said, standing at the side of the bed. "I can take a nap with you, and then Daddy will come home and he will fix the toilet."

"He will, you're right," I said, and then I felt that little nudge in my spirit that said, He is trying to spend time with you. Don't send him away. "I can come in your room with you for nap," I said.

He instantly brightened. "Okay!" he said. "You can use my blanket!"

I took my pillow and followed C down the hall, and all I can say is that it was like I had entered some kind of enchanted space. Maybe it was holy. C went to his mattress and pulled up the patchwork quilt. "There it is," he said, proudly. "It has lots of shapes on it."

"It does!" I said, leaning over on my pillow on the far edge of the bed. I expected him to crowd in next to me, but instead he took his own pillow and blanket onto the floor and laid down next to the bed. His head popped up to see me. "It's a nice blanket, isn't it?"

I was crying by then at his simple sweetness. How many three year-olds sleep on the floor so you can have the bed?? But crying quietly and hoping he wouldn't notice. I don't want him to have memories of me as a weird emotional wreck. But it was really touching.

"I'll be right back," he said. About five minutes later, he came back in with a bowl of dry cornflakes and a cup of water with a straw. "I brought cornflakes for us to share and water for us to share," he said, and placed them on the bed next to me. I was still feeling sleepy and I said, "Oh, thanks," and was about to drift off. "Maybe later, sweetie. Thank you."

He held a cornflake out to me. "Want a cornflake, mama?" he asked, handing me one. I couldn't help smiling. "Sure."

For the next few minutes he and I shared cornflakes, and took turns taking sips of the cold water he had pulled from the fridge filter himself. "It's fridge water," he said proudly. "Want a sip?" He turned the bendy straw toward me.

What a healing balm to my hurting heart, wondering again at that old rejection from a friend. The sweet attention of a three year-old feeding his mama cornflakes, one by one, each one restoring me.

It showed me that God is everywhere, in every person, even and especially the little messy ones.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some Updates

Just thought I'd pop in and post an update.

I have been doing better with arranging my work, and sleeping longer at night, and it is really helping me feel more steady and even. Yay! :)

I also have a new resolution to stay off of Internet comment threads. Can I do it? I just got into this hideous debate with a knuckle-dragger on a Catholic blog. I made a comment that women do a lot of unseen, unsung work, and he told me that everything valuable I had ever used or benefited from was made by a man, and that men are the only reason why the human race is not in total chaos, and basically only stopped short of claiming that he had personally made every piece of technology in my entire house, and that I was selfish and whiny and shortsighted because I never personally thanked the people who laid the cable under the sidewalks in my neighborhood. I should not have even entered the discussion at all, but once I was in I had to retort a couple of times and of course it didn't help, of course he didn't see my side, and my arguments did not really make any difference. In fact they only made me more angry. This is a concept I am trying to learn, to overrule my emotions and just leave things unsaid.

It's actually pretty relevant because I have discovered that I am still dealing with little bits of anger from a lot of things that have happened just in the normal course of living life, things that are not out of the ordinary, and that anger tends to show itself in my show-offy "intellectual" arguments that for some reason always seem to come out on political/religious comment threads ;) They bring out the brattiest side of me, I think.

Basically, I have always had a hard time connecting with my real anger, and this has the strange effect of me actually holding on tight to my anger in the event that I actually do experience it, because it helps me feel safe. If I stay angry, there's no chance of getting hurt again, right? When it starts to slip away, I find myself trying to reignite it, just to keep it close so I don't forget. It happens unconsciously, but I am starting to notice it when it does happen.

So the point of all this is to say that I really need to learn how to not fan the flames of my own anger. It doesn't help anyone and it gets me all upset and there's really, truly no point to it.

I think a lot of my anger, sadly, is about the circumstances surrounding my sudden motherhood when C was born. The motherhood itself was fine, but all the peripheral stuff -- the doctors, the comments, the breastfeeding, the total lack of help, blah blah blah -- have really set me up with an angry, defensive, axe-to-grind kind of mindset that is keeping me from moving forward. It's really hard to be a normal 21st century gal and then wake up in the 1800s just because there's a baby on my knee. I don't think that modern women are really prepared for the way their lives change when they have children. And maybe not everyone has this experience. I don't mean to say that my experience is universal. But I could almost hear the shift when I had a child. It was really humbling -- humiliating even -- when several people chose not to visit me in the hospital, because what would be the point, when the baby wouldn't be in the room? When it's right after the baby comes home from the hospital, and people just ask me for a Coke and put their feet up and tell me I have a lot of weight left to lose?

So step one is stop fanning the flames. When someone calls SAHMs lazy, or tells me that women are just selfish whiners who don't understand that men do all the important stuff, it is my job to keep a nice Quaker Silence rather than to try to school the person or convince them of their wrongness. After all, when I write a clever little refutation on a message board, I am not really expecting to change the heart of the person I'm responding to. I am hoping that someone else will chime in and tell me I'm right. And the fact is that if I am right, the truth will show itself. I don't need to hammer it into anyone's head. And if I am wrong, then it's best to keep quiet anyway.

As my dear and imaginary-friend Mark Twain said, "Its better to stay silent and look a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt."

So no more engaging with misogynists on message boards. I'm going cold turkey. ;D

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Time for Everything

A few weeks ago I was trying out a new method of cleaning the kitchen, and I took pictures every 5 minutes to mark my progress. It was interesting and instructive, but the most important thing I found had very little to do with dirty dishes.

I set the timer to take a picture every five minutes, and I realized that C interrupted me literally (for real for real) once every two and a half minutes during the whole half hour process. He would interrupt me as I was taking the picture, then about two minutes later, then when I took the next picture, etc. He was not doing anything wrong, just asking for help with a straw wrapper or needing help with a car tire or asking for a snack, but it was literally every two and a half minutes, which made the actual time of cleaning the kitchen take much longer. Yet if I had not recorded this, I would have thought he interrupted me just a couple of times, rather than 12 times. I guess all the interruptions sort of ran together in my memory.

This led me to think of a few things. First, no wonder it was so hard for me to get anything done. If you doubt me, try to do a simple task, like folding and putting away one load of laundry, but every 2.5 minutes, spend 30 seconds doing something completely unrelated, then go right back to what you were doing, then repeat, etc. So I felt a little better about the state of my house. But then I thought, how am I to have a life that is not filled with chaos, when this is the way I have to proceed whenever I do anything?

I don't think that it is coincidental that this was going on at the same time that I have been giving serious thought to making my life more sane, really cutting out the unnecessary stuff/activities/expectations, and allowing myself enough time to really complete my tasks. It's as if my life is calling out for me to make some executive decisions to get it all in line.

The first thing I really feel like I need to do is take an honest look at the kind of time it takes me to do my paid work, and to really schedule that much time (or more) into my weekly schedule, so that I am not running around crazy right before deadlines. I hate pushing things to deadlines, but in spite of my previous efforts, I still find myself racing the clock about once a week, if not more. So that really needs to come to an end, at least to the extent that I can make that change happen.

This is harder than it might sound. When I first started working from home, it was out of necessity because I couldn't use day care for C, and I had not been able to get a job before he was born, I am thinking because of my belly. As an example, I applied for a job along with two other applicants, neither of which had my education or my experience. I didn't even get a call back, and the other candidate who didn't even have her degree got the job. Pregnancy discrimination is real, y'all.

But in the end it worked out for the best. I started taking in editing, and then I got on with online teaching, and now I'm starting tutoring as well. It's nice to have the flexibility of not working in an office (no commute! woot woot!) and having a bigger presence in my kids' daily life is important to me.

But on the other hand, how much of my presence is really necessary? I have struggled for a long time with hiring sitters because I feel like watching my kids is something that I can do for free, so why pay for it? As I am working through this and really making myself consider childcare as a necessary expense (because if I don't use childcare, I don't sleep, and that's ridiculous), I am discovering that I am really, really frugal. As in, tightwad, moneygrubber, etc. I am so, so cheap, my friends. It's kind of ridiculous.

So I am easing into the idea that if I am working for half of each day, and then mothering for half of that day and then the evening, that is okay. My kids are not going to suffer by playing at someone else's house for a couple of hours. It's so ridiculous to worry about, but it's really hard to let go of. And I feel like it's time to really step out in faith and really treat myself like a "working mother," (as much as I hate that inadequate term) because that's what I am.

So to show my willingness to follow the urging of my spirit in this, I am actually going to schedule more time than I absolutely need. So that I might actually just go to the store alone, or (eek) just take a nap once a week, or something like that. And I know I will feel guilty for the first few months of writing checks, as the little voices argue that only lazy mothers need help, but I am banking on the fact that a couple months of full nights of sleep might change my thoughts and banish the perfectionistic voices altogether.

For those of you who have a better handle on work-life balance, this whole struggle might seem ridiculous, and I am hoping that it will seem ridiculous to me in only a few weeks. Until then I am gritting my teeth, writing checks, and sleeping at least eight hours every night. Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I got my office set up! I got our little computer desk cleared off and facing out the back window. I have a nice view of the sloping backyard and if I raise the blinds to just the right height it even blocks out the neighbors and all I see is the fence and our nice little yard, and they can't see in much either. Less distraction, more nature. Staring out the window while I work makes a big difference in my mood.

Eating like a hypoglycemic now for about a week, and so far, so good! Some challenges are that I feel like I am eating CONSTANTLY -- every two hours is a lot of food prep/eating/washing up. Make-ahead stuff will help, so the next time I go shopping I am going to make a big pot of lentil soup. Boiling about 8 eggs at a time also make a quick protein snack pretty easy. I haven't had any coffee since Thursday, and that is helping my energy and mood as well. Although it is HARD to resist first thing in the morning!!! I am drinking a lot of tea, so I am not off of caffeine, but somehow the caffeine in tea seems gentler.

I have been studying the Quakers and their spirituality lately, and it is very interesting. I am enjoying what I am learning. It kind of makes me want to run away to the country and start wearing bonnets ;D But of course that does not even slightly sum up what the Quakers are about.

Continuing to work on simplifying things around the house so that it isn't so much work to run it. I am thinking about putting away most of our dishes, glasses, etc. so that there is only about 4 of everything. That way we still have it if we have company, but I am doing fewer dishes. Also gathering things to give to the thrift store. I have a bunch of books and some clothes, and I may add some things from the kitchen as well. The motivation for all of this is that I realized that I spend quite a bit of time looking for things that have been put away in strange places (by me -- not casting blame here) and trying to find places to put things that I have. It never fails to amaze me just how much stuff comes into our house. It's really a constant fight. Stuff stuff stuff. It's insane.

I am also trying something new with grocery shopping -- going to the store once every four days and NOT in between. This might sound like a lot, but I end up at the store at least twice a week anyway, so it really wouldn't be any worse than that. Right now I make one really well-planned trip, and then one crazy odds-and-ends-and-junk-food trip that ends up pushing the budget over. So if I stick with once every 4 days, and stick with my budget as well, I think we will have less food going bad (which is such a ridiculous problem!) and maybe a better flow in terms of stuff and money. Four days seems like a good amount of time because if you run out of cereal or something with 2 days to go, it isn't as if you will starve if you have to improvise breakfast for two days. I can put off almost anything for 4 days. If this system works, I'll definitely be blogging about it. Household economy is a really interesting subject to me.

That about all the news around here. C had a short illness that seems mostly over, after only about 36 hours, which is a blessing. Now, I have to go teach, since blogging is my last procrastination attempt before actually getting down to business.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Today I wanted to catch up a little here with some odds and ends, and to explain my absence and just chat about what's going on with the Happy Nashes these days.

First, I have been working to find a good work schedule, because I have happily added another part time job to my schedule, at the same time as school lets out so I have both kids full time during the day. I do have an advantage in that Norah and Christopher are on the same afternoon nap schedule, so for the time being at least, I generally get some time in the afternoon to focus on my own projects. Sometimes I don't, but it works pretty well.

I am discovering that it is hard to schedule myself enough time to work! I think that I developed bad habits when C was really young, because at the time our family economy was turned suddenly upside down so I had to fit the work into the margins of the day, and I got used to assuming that I would just somehow get everything done without planning for it specifically. But that system just doesn't work now, and it's time to man up and deal with it. So, I am looking at ways to fit more child care and dedicated work time into the week.

I have been enjoying the sun lately. It is really hot outside, but I like having the window shades open, and going outside sometimes to soak in some of it. I feel happier overall when there's a lot of sunlight. It messes up my sleep schedule, but more on that in a minute...

I am glad to be training for an online tutoring position which I will be starting soon. It looks like a great group of people, and my supervisor is maybe the cheeriest-sounding person I have ever talked to. So that's a nice little addition to the work schedule.

The random things floating around in my head lately are as follows:

Office Space. Not the movie, but the actual space in which I work. Trying to make it work a bit better for my purposes, improve the flow and lighting, get some posters on the walls, etc. Trying to figure out if I can rearrange my furniture so that the desk looks out the window, because I love seeing the outdoors. Right now I'm sitting on the couch by the window, which I love, but this setup only works for computer-only work and isn't functional for computer + notebook + calendar + textbook stuff where I have piles of slippy slidy books everywhere. I realized that I partly avoid work because I don't have a good place to do it in, so I'm working on that. I think I might end up buying a table before it's all over. If you have a table you want to sell me, let me know... ;D

Energy. I have, kind of suddenly, had a drop in energy lately, and I think it is due to overconsumption of coffee and sugar. So I'm mentally preparing for cutting back my coffee intake every day, which I am not looking forward to. I have been getting headaches every day lately, and I know that this is due to the caffeine, but getting off of the caffeine will also result in headaches, which is hard to face down. I hate headaches. They make it so hard to get things done. Have you ever tried to do laundry or clean a floor with a really bad headache? All the bending and lifting and whatnot is like torture, and yet the only thing wrong is an aching head. But I have to deal with the problem. So I might start that on Friday, after my next push of work is done with. We'll see. I'll post an update on the coffee-reduction plan :p

Also I am possibly (?) hypoglycemic. I am very sensitive about seeming like a hypochondriac, but I think there is some kind of issue with me and sugar, because when I eat white rice or white pasta or any kind of dessert, I get really mean and then fall asleep about 20 minutes later, and feel foggy for the rest of the day. When I don't eat sugar, I don't have these symptoms at all. I have been tested for various metabolic things, and the tests always come back "normal," but as long as eating like a hypoglycemic person helps me, I might as well do it. It can't hurt. I have been following a diabetic/hypoglycemic type of diet for the past week or so, and it's going well for the most part.

My biggest reason for wanting to figure out my weird metabolism is so that I can start exercising again. These days when I exercise, I get completely exhausted and shaky and I get a headache, which makes me useless for the rest of the day (or at the very least, really grouchy). Since I can't afford to feel this way, I just don't exercise, aside from some toning exercises which don't generally give me headaches. But any sort of cardio, especially something that requires me to bounce around, ends in me with a migraine and really tired. It's a bit rough because I am at the point in my weight loss where I really do need to incorporate regular exercise (I am plateaued about 15 pounds from my goal), but the headache pain really is a big deterrent, and even when I don't have a headache I am totally wiped out after I work out. Any suggestions that anyone has would be very welcome. (Except for Yoga. Please don't tell me to try Yoga.) I want to do regular exercise, but I have to be functional in the rest of my day as well. Sugary snacks right before exercise help me to get further in my workout, but then I crash. Protein snacks help with the energy dip somewhat, but then afterwards I am really shaky and feel like I need sugar, which if I eat, then makes me fall asleep anyway. Protein snacks also don't help with the headaches at all. I have done some Google research (suspect, I know, but it's the best I can do on short notice) and the best suggestion I have found is to eat a complex carb + protein mini meal before a workout. I'm kind of stumped. And without a real hypoglycemia diagnosis, I can't really enlist a doctor's help because I look like a crazy hypochondriac: "You know, that disorder that I don't have, but I think I do have? Well, if my... friend... had that, what would she need to do so she could exercise?" Analgesics and NSAIDs help some, but not enough that they are a real, workable solution.

And yet, in spite of these challenges, one beautiful fact makes it all worthwhile: Peaches are in season!!! :9 Might be U-Picking some pretty soon.

And that's about it for the Happy Nashes lately. Headache, exercise, and nutrition tips very much appreciated.