Tuesday, February 2, 2016


No, not the red stuff you dip fries in. I’m talking about my weekly resolutions.

I started off fine, adding a new resolution every week throughout January. Then the massive snowfall hit, and everything went off the rails. Granted, I was having a struggle with the 1000 words a day thing before the first flake fell. I followed that one up by establishing a schedule, to reserve time for the 1000 words as well as time for the paid freelance stuff and maybe even typing. Then all the snow came down and I had to take hours off to move it off my car, and that was it for the schedule. I’m working my way back up to the 1000 words a day. If I didn’t have to stop to eat and take showers and things like that, everything would work out.

To my own astonishment, I did keep my very first resolution, the one about ten minutes of exercise per day. I think I put in a month’s worth shoveling the snow. I’m back to walking up and down the aisles of stores and letting solar power deal with the snow.

Has the exercise done me any good? I still can’t tell. I’ve certainly been sleeping better. At some point I’ll grit my teeth and up the time to fifteen minutes a day. As long as I don’t hike in a grocery store, I should be okay.

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Along with the exercise and the writing, I’m trying to improve my eating habits by choosing healthier foods, cutting back on portions, and cutting out the junk and processed foods. Like the 1000 words a day, it’s easier said than done. I’m as addicted to sugar as the next obese American. I’m trying to counter this with food substitutions—say, a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar, or water or juice instead of soda. Fruit comes with its own sugars, but you also get vitamins and fiber and good stuff you won’t find in a candy bar. I’ve also got a box of Cocoa Krispies for when the munchies hit. Not that a lot of cereals aren’t much better than candy, but I’m working my way up.

An interesting side effect of this resolution is the experimentation. If you’re looking for nutrition in your food, start with fresh. Frozen comes in second. Canned is loaded with salt and preservatives and should be used only in emergencies. I try to go with fresh whenever possible. Living in farm country helps, especially with the veggies.

I also like grain. However, not all of them like me back. Ever since my stomach surgery some grains, like wheat, have been giving me trouble, but I can eat all the rice I want without suffering for it. I also discovered I like pearled barley, for some odd reason. Trouble is, barley in its natural state is pretty tasteless. There are boxed versions with spice packets for flavor enhancement, but they’re pricey. For the same money I can get a bag of pearled barley in the bulk foods aisle and a jar of spices and fiddle around until I get the taste the way I want it. Throw some veggies into the pot and you’ve got yourself a meal. Or two or three, because I’m going for smaller portions now.

Yes, you heard me right. I’m—dare I even say the word—cooking. I’m rather astonished myself.

One of these days I’m going to go all out and try some of those spices on chicken breasts, instead of paying extra for the prepackaged or breaded stuff. Eventually I’ll try my hand at my favorite Chinese dish, beef and broccoli. So that’s what the oven is for. You learn something new every day.

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This week’s resolution is to start cleaning the clutter out of my house. I don’t think I’m ready to tackle the Book Room just yet. Better to start slow, like with the kitchen table or something. Build my way up to the closets. It’ll be strange, being able to see the tabletop and the floors again. As long as it doesn’t snow for the rest of the winter, I should be okay.

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