Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting More Creative

Day 31: Because I'm short, I frequently need to hem-up new t-shirts several inches. Usually it takes me forever because I use a ruler to measure and mark it. This time I got the bright idea to hang an old t-shirt over it, and then I eye-balled it and cut it without measuring.

Day 32: Rob is always trying to get me outside to look at little light specks in the sky that he claims are satellites of some sort, and I always pass. Today, at 6:59am, I went out with him to see communications satellite Iridium 97 pass by for several seconds. I did it the next day, too.

Day 33: I haven't had my own checking account since I got married 25 years ago. Now that I'm rolling in dough (hah!) with my new part-time job, I opened one up at a local bank.

Day 34: My towel shelf is always a mess, and I thought I'd try out rolling them up the way we do at the Y. Will it stay neater this way? So far, so good.

Day 35: I watched an interesting video about a guy who hunts fish on the sea bed without any equipment; he holds his breath for over five minutes! I wanted to see how long I could hold my breath. My first try was a pitiful 36 seconds. I did it a couple times a day for a week, and was able to improve my time to 80 seconds. I don't think I'll be diving down to the sea bed anytime soon.

Day 36: I walked to work backwards, about 1/4 mile. Didn't look backwards, either. I couldn't have done this one without Rob as an escort or I would have killed myself. I got some weird looks from people driving by!

Day 37: I don't usually eat at work, but I'm working extra hours this week, so I made myself lunch.

Curried tuna, cashews and raisins to put on a bed of mixed greens, along with a few of Averie's almond meal/flaxseed balls.

Day 38: A work haiku:
Working the front desk
Quick bursts of frenzied madness
followed by dead calm.

Day 39: I usually scribble out quick, messy notes to my son, but today I wrote out a very flowery message in cursive, with lots of swirls and little hearts to dot the "i"s.

Day 40: There are some jobs that always fall to Rob. Changing batteries and fixing things is one of them. Today, I actually opened up a kitchen timer and changed the batteries by myself. (Rob says this one is pretty lame, but, hey, it's definitely a routine-breaker for me!)

Day 41: OK, I'm really proud of this one. The front door of the Y is a pain in the butt to open because the automatic door-lock above the door needs to be deactivated by pushing two buttons that are in these big recessed holes way up high. The tool they use is a long allen wrench, and you need to fish around with it to find and hit the buttons. I figured out that this would be much easier with a thicker tool, so I brought a chop-stick to work, and it worked like a charm. One woman I work with has struggled with this for years, and she is very happy.

This incident led me to realize that I now have a fourth type of routine-breaker: Breaking OTHER people's routines!

Day 42:  Last week Rob and I took a bike ride to a cafe, and I had a delicious pastrami-melt on rye. I got the idea to recreate all the crucial flavors without the bread, so here's what I did.

In a shallow baking dish, I layered pastrami, swiss cheese, thin-sliced red onion, yellow mustard, mayonaisse and a sprinkle of caraway seeds. (Rye flour really has no special flavor; it's the caraway seeds that give it the distinctive taste.) I repeated this in three layers. While this was all melting together in the microwave, I shredded up a bunch of spinach. Then I slid the pastrami layers out of the dish on top of the spinach. (No photo; couldn't find the camera!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Ways to Break a Routine

I've completed the first 30 days of my 365 Day Routine-breaker Challenge, and I've discovered that there are three ways to break a routine:

1. Do something you always do, but in a different way.

2. Do something new.

3. Deprive yourself of something you usually do or have.

I've had 13 days of switching things around; where I sit or sleep, what hands I use to perform various tasks, etc.

I added or did something new on 10 days. These were the most rewarding days, because they usually involved some creative endeavor. Some of these additions will be on-going, such as my new job and adding olive oil to my diet. I'm also on a redecorating and painting binge since getting my dining-room chair repainted.

I had seven days of deprivation, and these are definitely my least favorite days. Two items are tied for the worst routine-breakers so far: giving up my computer chair for a day, and not listening to music for a day.

Rob tells me I seem to have more energy and creativity since I started this project. Cool!

(The photo up above has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this post, but it looked naked without a photo. That's me on the Golden Gate Bridge next to a very important sign.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hello Sweet-hearts

Days 24-30 of routine-breakers

24: Rob and I called each other honey, dear, darling, sweet-heart, etc. for the entire day. It felt like we were in an Ozzie and Harriet episode.

25: No jaywalking. It took all my will-power to use the crosswalks.

26: I decided to take an entire week's break from the gym. I usually work-out 6 days a week, but my body's been needing a rest. I'm enjoying the extra time at home.

27: Brushing my teeth with the opposite hand.

28: I've been wanting an adult tricycle to carry groceries for a long time, but never even saw one at the bike stores. A friend of my son got one for Christmas and she let me try it out.

Talk about lack of maneuverability! I never realized how much movement comes from leaning to the side, which you can't do with a trike. Plus, you keep whacking your heels on the back wheels if you try to walk it. I no longer want an adult tricycle.

29: I've had three wishbones (2 turkey, 1 chicken) sitting on the counter for a few months, because I keep forgetting to get Rob to make a wish with me. I figured what the heck, who says I can't make a wish and pull both halves by myself? I can't possibly lose! That's what you call a Win-Win situation. So I made three wishes and broke all three by myself.

30: Usually when Rob is home from work, I cut loose and eat whatever I want. (Cookies, candy, popcorn, etc.) But I've been feeling a bit too well-fed lately, so I stuck to real food today.

Because of my workout break, I've had extra time and energy to spend around the house. I got another dining room chair painted

and I've been doing a little bit of embroidery on the dull dining room curtains to make them match my colorful tablecloth.

Yesterday I fixed stuffed bell-peppers.

I still have two more days left of my break; I'll probably spend most of it in the kitchen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day of the Clown

I do not like clowns. At all. I'm not scared of them, I just think they're stupid, ugly and obnoxious. If you've ever been a clown, don't tell me.

For day 23, this is what Rob found on the dining room table when he got home:

He immediately knew it was my routine-breaker for the day. Whattaya think? Did I manage to totally swallow my hostility while creating this monstrosity? I really, truly tried to think nothing but happy thoughts while drawing it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Made you look!

It's really tricky coming up with attention-grabbing titles for my posts, especially when the contents aren't really that exciting.

Without further fan-fare, here are days 19 through 22 of my routine-breakers:

19: Because I work past my regular dinner hour, I now need to prepare dinner right after breakfast two days a week. On this day, I fixed pumpkin enchiladas:

Rob can pop one in the microwave when he gets home from work, and then I can do the same when I get home. And we've got left-overs for the next day! I love left-overs.

20: About two years ago I got a bum bottle of olive oil that was all dark and cloudy, and I felt queasy after using it. I've avoided olive oil ever since. I figured it was about time to give it another try, and made a simple vinaigrette dressing. Not my favorite, but it didn't make me sick, either. I will no longer consciously avoid using olive oil.

21: At the beginning of October, I planned to paint a dining-room chair. I sanded it and prepped it with masking tape, then the holidays happened, and I sort of never got around to doing it. This day I stopped procrastinating and did it:

22: No gum chewing. I avoid chewing gum in public, but I'm usually chomping on it while I'm home. I missed it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Post of 2011

Day 13: I do some warm-up exercises as soon as I wake up, which is when routines come in handy, because you don't want to think when you're half-asleep. But my brain was whirling and I woke up at 2am, so I decided to experiment. Came up with a new hip exercise which will be permanently added to my routine.

Day 14: I've been a tea-totaler for years, but when I did used to drink, I loved booze in hot coffee. With all the emphasis on drinking on New Year's Eve, I caved in and bought a bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme. There was plenty left over, so I had a cup for breakfast today, and then I had some more later on in a cup of hot cocoa! Happy New Year!

Day 15: My first full shift on my new job. Talk about a crazy time of year to start working at the YMCA! You have no idea how many people are signing up for new memberships and classes right now.

Day 16: I switched all the clothing around in my wardrobe. It used to be: Jackets, shoe-rack, pant, shirts. Now it's: Shoe-rack, shirts, pants, and jackets. No particular reason, just did it as a routine-breaker. 

Day 17: I usually weigh myself every day, but I've been avoiding the scale the past few days to deny how many cookies I've eaten this past couple of weeks. I decided I won't weigh myself for the rest of the month.

Day 18: My morning routine is to take a shower when I get back from the gym, and then I slop around in my sweats until I have to leave the house. As soon as I dried myself today, I got fully dressed. Now I don't have to be embarrassed if somebody comes to the door.