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Dragon doing more of the same


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While she was making up her mind as to what she wanted to do now that she was free of the cave, the dragon decided that frolicking under the sun was in order. She unfurled her wings and took short hopping flights across the meadow. She bounced on her toes. She swam in the lake. She stretched herself every morning, every part of her, from her pointed nose all the way down to her pointed tail-tip. She bundled grass into the shape of knights and set them around the meadow, charging at each of them with a ferocious roar and a mighty puff of smoke. (Not her flame, mind you - grass knights are very flammable. No point escaping the mountain just to set the meadow on fire.)

Sometimes she sat in the sunlight or the moonlight and thought very deeply about things, about magic windows and the world beyond the meadow, and what she wanted to do or think about all of it, and about herself.

Sometimes she looked at her reflection in the lake, not really recognizing the dragon she saw. There wasn't much to do about the roly-polyness; eventually, the daily annihiliation of the enemy grass knights would take care of that. There were other things she could take care of immediately. She burnished her scales on the sand and the grass, dug into her hoard for long-forgotten jewelry, combed out her wild mane, sharpened her claws, and cleaned her teeth. A roly-poly dragon, perhaps, but a well-groomed and shining one.

Sometimes it rained, and she took shelter inside a shallow cave and thought dark, growling thoughts about the falling water until it was done and the sun came out. Sometimes the sun was too bright for cave-adapted dragon eyes, and she'd lay in the shade of her wings until evening. Sometimes an orc or troll would come upon her, and she'd have to chomp them down and then brood over the stupidity of trolls and orcs while she picked pieces of them out of her teeth. A meadow-dragon's life wasn't all flowers and butterflies, you know.

Eventually, she told herself, it would be easier. Things are only ever difficult at first. So long as she didn't go back into her cave, things were going to be all right.






I need to work on:


Food - Thursday is payday and, by happy coincidence, I'm out of food. I have until Friday to finally create for myself a meal plan. I will have and will abide by that meal plan! I will post that meal plan for all to see!

If I can finally accomplish this, I will reward myself with a Funko Pop Smaug. Which, omg, is so freakin' cute!


Exercise - I will identify a safe walking path at work for 15-minute walks twice a day. I will use this month to get into a routine that lets me go to the gym 3x a week.


Mindset - I will continue meditating, except this month, I'm going to do so using methods and and concepts particular to my own religion. I'm probably not going to delve too deeply into this part. To my mind, religion is an intensely personal thing, and I don't feel the need to proselytize.


Tiny Smaug 2.jpg

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I didn't know what "Funko Pop Smaug" was and oh my gosh, it IS so cute. That little face! 


And I'm all about finding ways to meditate that work for you. Even if you don't share much, know that we are on your team and will root for you through it all. :)


Best of luck with this challenge! 

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Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better. (Maya Angelou)

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OK, we're doing this!  YAY! 


Friday (today):  Lunch: lentil soup, Dinner: porkless bites with salad

Saturday:  Lunch: Lettuce wrap restaurant lunch, Dinner: Stir fry or just a salad  raw cauliflower bites

Sunday:  Lunch: Black bean chili, Dinner: Kim bap Salad

Monday:  Lunch: Chili leftovers, Dinner: whatever leftovers look good before the veggies go bad, in a soup or a stir fry celery with almond butter and plain rice cakes

Tuesday: Lunch: Salad and just chick'n nuggets, Dinner: Orange tofu

Wednesday:  Lunch:  Chili leftovers; Dinner: Porkless bites with brussell sprouts

Thursday: Lunch: Orange tofu leftovers, Dinner: Salad

Friday: Lunch:  Some kind of leftovers, Dinner: Veggie Lo Mein


And I've already bought everything except the veggies that I'll have to restock midweek I didn't have to restock at all.  My workday snacks are mostly peanuts with some fruit occasionally, and my at-home snacking is raw cauliflower, celery with peanut butter, and/or popcorn, but I don't do a lot of at-home snacking if I've actually eaten a meal.  At some point this weekend, I might even make myself a protein shake or smoothie.


Come to me, POP Smaug, my precious!



I haven't gone on a solo walk, yet.  Yesterday blew in a storm, and today it was a coin toss as to which was hotter, the temperature or my temper. 


I bought a rug for meditation.  It's the perfect size, it's fluffy shag and a rich solid brown with no distracting pattern, and I've created a mini-altar I can use for meditation purposes.  I have a collection of very tiny candles that burn for about an hour.  I should go to the shop this weekend, get some more, and restock on my favorite incense, too. 

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I had to seriously rearrange my meal plan.  I'm thinking that there's no point in assigning a day to any given meal plan.  My bestie just decides on seven recipes, buys the ingredients, and cooks what she feels like on that day.  I should probably follow her example. 

Instead of eating an entire bowl of chili for lunch, I split it with a coworker and supplemented it with mixed nuts and cranberries.  The chili is too heavy. 

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12 hours ago, tienlong said:

I had to seriously rearrange my meal plan.  I'm thinking that there's no point in assigning a day to any given meal plan.  My bestie just decides on seven recipes, buys the ingredients, and cooks what she feels like on that day.  I should probably follow her example. 

Instead of eating an entire bowl of chili for lunch, I split it with a coworker and supplemented it with mixed nuts and cranberries.  The chili is too heavy. 

I totally do that. You can be both flexible and on target.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.

Dalai Lama

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Nice looking meal plan! I like the idea of picking the meals but not matching them to the day ahead of time. Sometimes I have a craving for a particular type of thing (something carby, or something with lots of veggies, etc.) and it's nice to be able to respond to that.

The Smaug is pretty adorable :D


And I still love your dragon stories.

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The orange tofu is really good, with onion and bean sprouts and celery and water chestnuts, over a bed of rice noodles.  It's kind of crazy, though, how I dish myself up a plate and can't finish it.  My taste buds are saying, "Om nom nom," and my belly is saying, "Cut it out!"  It's fine, though, it's ok.  So long as I'm filled up with the protein and veg, I don't have to finish the noodles.  My body is not a garbage can.


I used to not be able to cook.  Seriously, it was the family joke, and one of two things that I couldn't manage to do for the life of me.  (The other being to drive a car.  I have since learned to drive, although I'm still not good at it and don't like doing it.)

I had to learn to cook when I became vegetarian.  It's not all about the protein, you know.  I had to learn about spices, what they tasted like and how they went together for different food.  Cooking oils didn't stop with EVOO, now I know about sesame oil for dressing and flavor, avocado and peanut oils for the wok, coconut oil for biscuits, corn oil for frybread.  Before, I only knew how to boil, then I learned how to bake, broil, roast, simmer, stew, grill, and sear.  Learning to cook really opened up some frontiers for me.  Now, so long as I'm not being lazy about it, I'm a fantastic cook. 

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*screams in excitement*


WE'RE GETTING A HOME ELLIPTICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm giving up my gym membership!  I'm putting the money for the membership toward paying for the elliptical and my savings for next year's Camp Nerd Fitness.  The elliptical machine is literally the only one in my gym that I care to use at all, mostly because it's easy on my knees while still being a workout.  I hate going to the gym, it's boring as hell and I don't like not being able to wear whatever I want and I don't like being around other people, and I don't like being self-conscious about whether I've cleaned the machine well enough.  I never use the tanning bed or massage chair or the showers, anyway.  I don't like the gym, I hate going there, now I don't have to!  Maybe eventually I'll invest in more gym equipment, but for right now, the elliptical and my yoga mat are the only things I really need.





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That's amazing!!! We have an elliptical in our basement and I absolutely love love love it. In the winter when it's impossible to run outside, I crank the music or put something on Netflix and it's perfect. You're going to love it!

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Someone told me today that it looked like I was losing weight.  I mentioned this to someone else and she stopped, gave me a look, and said, yeah, it's obvious I'm losing weight.




Check this out, though:  awhile ago, I couldn't wear a shoe on my right foot because the dog hip-checked me on the way inside, and the screen door sliced off part of my Achilles heel.  So that healed.  (No pun intended.)  There's a thick scar on my ankle, but I can wear a shoe again.

So, yesterday?  She hip-checked me again, and the screen door took a slice off my other heel.  Sumbitch!


Screw it, I don't need no stinkin' shoes if I have an at-home elliptical.



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*screams in more excitement*  We just paid for the elliptical and it's being delivered and assembled next Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm bummed that I couldn't have it tonight, but I'm hyper with excitement that I actually bit the bullet and bought it.  It's not a cheap one - it's got all kinds of resistance and incline and different pre-programmed workouts and a heart rate monitor and a FAN!  It's like the one at the gym, but better, because it has a FAN!


You know what else I'm bummed/excited about?  The fact that my food budget for the next two months is slashed to almost nothing.  Bummed because I'm used to fresh food for almost every meal.  Everything I eat can be stored in the fridge until I've grazed it to the ground, and then, the day after the next, I'm buying more.  Anything that needs cooked can be done in the microwave or the toaster oven.  Not as good for me as you might think, because it's 1) yummy, 2) easily accessible and 3) plentiful.

Along with my food budget being sliced to almost nothing, the rest of my budgets are absolutely $0.  No more clothes that, if I keep working out, won't even fit me next summer.  No more health & beauty items that I use once, realize I hate it, and never use it again.  No more novelty items and toys.  In other words, no retail therapy.


Excited, though, because this is an opportunity to create new, better habits. 


It's not like I'm going to be eating PB&J sandwiches and ramen noodles for the next two months.  I'm estimating that I have at least a month's supply of perfectly good food that was sitting around the kitchen, ignored just because it required a bit of alchemy to become edible.  My store of spices, sauces, salts, oils, canned foods, frozen foods, and dry foods is pretty varied and interesting, and all I have to do is cook it.  I can even freeze it for microwavable dinners that only have a handful of ingredients, all of which I can pronounce.  So I'll be eating stuff that I haven't bothered to cook for myself for a long time.  All of it can be supplemented with bits and pieces of fresh food as needed.

This means no more treats like the vegan jerky or the honeydew ice bars or the avocado smoothies.  I won't have the money to spend on treats, or eating at a restaurant for lunch because I was too lazy to cook the evening before.  I'll still be able to continue my better eating habits as well as limiting my portions instead of eating ALL THE THINGS.

I think that limiting my food will be easier than it sounds.  I noticed on this last week's meal plan, I didn't eat as much as I'd planned for.  I still have a lot of that food left.  I'm going to pull out my recipes that require what I already have instead of buying more, and see about cutting the recipes in half so that I'm not making food that goes to waste just because I can't eat it all. 


The new, better habits are:

1) Cook more to eat less

2) Solve my boredom problem with physical activity, not bank activity

3) Re-train myself to be less materialistic, more satisfied with what I have


I'm going to have that elliptical paid off in a couple of months WITHOUT sacrificing a dime of my Camp NF 2017 fund. 


You know what I hear a lot of?  People talking about the elliptical or treadmill that they own.  You know, the one in storage.  I'm a bit worried by this, because it's a huge purchase (I've bought cars cheaper than this machine), and I truly believe that it will level up my physical fitness.  I'm not really interested in losing my thick-girl sexy, it's just that I want to be able to jump around and be strong and flexible and healthy. 

But everyone around me is letting their elliptical sit in storage instead of using it.  WTF?  They have it but don't use it!  I'm fully aware of the habit most people have of paying for a gym membership that they never use, and I, too, never use my membership.  Because I hate it and I don't want to go.  I don't want to be like that with the elliptical.  I want that sucker to break down from wear and tear before it gathers any dust.  I don't want to have paid nearly $1k for a machine that doesn't get any action.

I think this elliptical will be featuring very heavily in my challenges for the next few months.

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Just for curiosity, this morning I stepped on the scale and it said 231.1...  OMFG!  SO CLOSE to breaking 230!  It's just 1.2 pounds, I can do this by the end of the week!!!


Saturday:  Lunch: Grilled cheese and small fries; Dinner: Korean BBQ tofu

Lunch:   Stir fry  < Friday while I'm waiting on delivery

Dinner:  Kim bap  Nothing

Lunch:   PB&J 

Dinner:  Whatever I can scrounge

Lunch:  Korean BBQ tofu 

Dinner:  Lo mein

Lunch:  Chick'n nuggets and pasta salad  

Dinner:  Scroungin'

Lunch:  PB&J  

Dinner:  More scroungin'

Lunch:  PB&J  

Dinner:  Chow mein  Two grilled cheese and medium fries  :(  I was so hungry.

Lunch:  Chik'n nuggets and pasta salad 

Dinner:  Scroungin'


There, that should take me to next Saturday.  Most of this I can cook today and stick the microwavable bowls in the fridge to grab for meals.  Best yet, I don't have to worry about which day I'll eat which food.  I'll just mark it off as I eat it.  This meal plan should finish off most of my leftover fresh food for the lo mein and kim bap.  Seriously, cucumber and avocado kim bap, yum!  Now it remains to be seen if I'll actually make it.  I have the roller, but it's still a pain trying to roll those suckers tight. 


I refuse to feel any guilt about the grilled cheese and small fry.  I could have gotten a large fry, and I didn't.  Victory achieved.



Edit, 7/27/16:  I have totally lost control over this meal plan. 

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On 7/18/2016 at 8:31 PM, tienlong said:

I had to seriously rearrange my meal plan.  I'm thinking that there's no point in assigning a day to any given meal plan.  My bestie just decides on seven recipes, buys the ingredients, and cooks what she feels like on that day.  I should probably follow her example. 

Instead of eating an entire bowl of chili for lunch, I split it with a coworker and supplemented it with mixed nuts and cranberries.  The chili is too heavy. 

I like the flexibility you're allowing yourself! 


Congrats on getting the elliptical!!! That's awesome. If you hate the gym, I think that is a great move for you. The best kind of movement is the movement you do! 


something I've just started doing to help me plan meals is to attach one of those magnetic paper lists to my fridge and write the "main dish" items I have in my freezer. Like "pizza crusts" "italian meatballs" etc... and I cross them out as I use them. Because I love lists. 

Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better. (Maya Angelou)

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4 hours ago, durfette said:

Because I love lists. 


Yeah?  So does my bestie.  I don't really like lists.  I tend to rely on memory for almost everything, and the list always feels like extra work that wasn't needed.  You know how Steve's make-your-bed email says "How you do anything is how you do everything?"  I didn't study in school, I don't do an itinerary for vacations, I don't take notes during meetings.  Making a list is like doing homework when you and the teacher both know you're going to ace the pop quiz AND the final.  I occasionally need to be nagged, but I never need a list. 


It's also limiting.  In the case of the meal plan, though, I'm doing it because it's limiting.  Like, limiting what I'm allowed to eat.


That backfired on me today.  I had two PB&J sandwiches, a single cup of oatmeal, and a mug of miso soup.  That's it, for the entire twelve hours between waking up and getting home from work (and the seven hours I spent asleep, and the couple of hours since last night's dinner, crap, that's a long time).  No healthy snacks, no bad snacks, no snacks at all.  I had run out of snacks!?!  OMG WHAT DO?


I had to wait for after work, and now I've crammed dinner down my throat and still have four hours left in the evening.  *sigh*  I'm kind of embarrassed how quickly I made that much food disappear.  You'd think I'd unhinged my jaw, or something.


Oh, and that whole idea of guzzling water to help you feel full?  No.

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I'm mostly ready for the delivery and set up of my elliptical.  It's going in the garage.  I realize this is probably not where other people would put it, but there's no room on the first floor and if I put it on the second floor or in the attic, I'll shake the whole house.  And the basement? Um...


OK, look, I can be a total weenie, and there's this hole in the wall of the basement that leads under the kitchen of this century-old farmhouse, which is an addition to the original house, where there's no light, it's dirty and dark and I've seen too many horror movies and let's-not-meet videos and creepypasta/reddit story readings on Youtube.  You know those pics of attic and basement staircases that disappear into total blackness?  And it's creepy because you don't know what's at the other end of the staircase, maybe nothing, maybe... something?  OMG, that's this hole!  This is horror-movie crap, I could probably write a best-selling thriller based on this hole in the basement wall.  I'm not spending thirty minutes in the pre-dawn hours with music in my ears and my attention on the controls of the machine, just puffing and panting and sweating away, while this hole is... there, just there, existing, possibly as aware of me as I am aware of it.


... Nope.


The elliptical is going into the garage.  I'll put an air conditioner in there until the temps drop, and then a space heater.  I'll live with it.  It'll be fun.




I had to make a major change to my menu for this week.  I was getting ready to make some kim bap, and I pulled out the jar of rice... and it's loaded with tiny black bugs. 

Bugs are a fact of life when you live in, as mentioned above, a farmhouse that's 100 years old and is surrounded in fruit and nut trees, flowers, and various wildlife.  They used to bother me, but I'm blasé about it now.  However.  NOT IN MY RICE!  So I'm pretty ticked off about the fact that I had to throw away an entire jar of rice.  The beans-n-rice I was going to make is actually a vegetarian take on red beans and rice, the kind you get in Louisiana, yummy as hell but not so much if you don't have the rice to go into it.  So far I haven't found bugs anywhere else, leading me to suspect that they were in the bag when I bought it, ew, but I've been eyeing my store of lentils and beans, now, too.  This is how people get trust issues.

So I made some pasta salad to get me through the rest of the week, to go with the chick'n nuggets and PB&J. 

(Cover your eyes, this next part is going to make me sound like an asshole.)

This has led me to realize that it's possible I'm too good of a cook.  I nailed this pasta salad.  Every bite is delicious, the pasta is at that state of al dente perfection only found in the five seconds between still-gummy raw and mushy overcooked, and the veg are crisp and cool and refreshing as a glass of iced water.  I can't stop eating it.  My taste buds are going, "Oh, yeah, one more bite, get that flavor, get it in our MOUTH," and my stomach is saying, "I hate you, you bitch,"  you know, the usual argument between what you want and what you need.  I'm sitting at my desk at work, mournfully thinking, "My body is not a trashcan!" while my fork is chasing down that last bit of tomato, that last slice of olive.

I eat because I'm hungry.  I keep eating because I'm a hedonist.  I have GOT to learn that it's ok to put the leftovers in the fridge for later!  It's ok to stop eating, I can go back for more later, when I'm hungry again.


On the plus side (no pun intended), my leggings are no longer tight.  Technically, I suppose, they're now pants.  I went on my daily walk during my break at work, and I had to keep hitching my leggings up.  The pair I'm wearing today are capri jeggings from Walmart, not expensive but they're soft and pretty with an abstract sort-of-Monet-ish flower print, and they're pretty, dammit!  They're my favorite.  And they're falling off.  So I must be doing something right.


I Googled "five pounds of fat" and realized, holy crap, I lost three of those!  So far, I've lost 17 pounds, mostly from my new food habits, No wonder my pants are loose.  If the weight is coming off that easily right now, just from not shoveling the crap down my throat, who knows what will happen when I'm on the elliptical every morning.  I don't have the money to waste on new leggings or pants until I've at least plateaued a bit.  What am I bitching about, right?  I have suspenders.  It'll be ok. 


I am totally failing at building meditation into my daily or even weekly routine.  :( 


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The window of time for the delivery guys to bring and set up my elliptical begins in half an hour. 


Story-time:  Yesterday I was standing in the pest aisle of the local department store, staring at bug spray.  Lots and lots and lots of sprays, no bombs.  WTF?  And 90% of it for roaches.  OK, I get it, roaches are hard to kill, but they're the one bug we don't have.  I finally had to get spider spray instead of a bomb.  I guess I'll be spraying the hell out of the garage.


Yesterday, I walked twice!   I haven't been, because of the heat.  I suppose I could have done it after work, but doing it during break time is more convenient.  Except I don't want to come back to my cubicle all sweaty and smelly.  So yesterday was the first time I walked twice.  Whew. 


I need to create my third meal plan for the week.  Yuck.  I hate doing this, even though I can see the results I'm looking for.  Last week's meal plan template is NOT going to work for me, though.  I got derailed, it was too hard to track, and it overall kind of sucked.  The first week's template worked better.  I'll try that again.


Oooh!  Yesterday, after finding the bug spray, I went into the veggie aisle and found cauliflower crumbles.  I'm going to try these to replace all the rice I usually eat (since I had to throw my rice away).  Cross your fingers for me!

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