Friday, November 4, 2011

The Frugalista Gets (Less) Crafty

There I was in the craft supply superstore with half an hour to spare, mind exploding with project and decorating ideas, not-quite-maxed-out credit card at the ready....

But wait. Hold yer horses! Another problem area for me, the craft supplies.  And all the decoupaged and and glitter-glued baggage that goes along with them. The mess, the pressure, the guilt, the clutter...  I mean, what happens to 90% of the stuff we buy at the craft supply place?  Probably some combination of unused, half used, and tossed in the garbage due to some horrible glue gun or sequin incident. And, whether made into something or still in the package, it's likely collecting dust and taking up precious storage or display space in my own home or someone else's.

Perhaps the biggest burden, though, is the sense of OBLIGATION that these items bring into a person's life.  ("What am I doing lying on the couch watching ripped-to-shreds Alex O'Loughlin catching bad guys while wearing nothing but a pair of cargo pants, when I could be spilling my creative juices all over the house? What a sloth I am.")

I probably have enough supplies on hand already (oh yes, I've had ambitions!) to make a thoughtful, handmade gift for everyone I've ever met.

So, last night I grabbed the two dozen candlewicks I needed (well not actually "needed", per se, but I figured if I purchased wicks then I could use the wax I have on hand to make the candles I plan to foist on some unsuspecting acquaintances or strangers this holiday season), plunked them down (along with my COUPON!) and escaped with only six dollars in damages.

But I can't go back; I'm helpless against the siren song of shiny beads, fluffy yarn, fabric glue, pom poms and wicker baskets.

Farewell and happy holidays to you, Michael's the Arts & Crafts Superstore - I won't be back until next spring at the earliest.  Not until my craft supply stash is cut at least in half and this season of "Hawaii 5-0" is over.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why I'm not dressing up for Halloween this year

I used to always dress up for Halloween at work, but things weren't great around the office last fall, and I really hesitated about showing up in costume. In the end I threw caution to the wind and wore my Lt. Uhura outfit (it's pretty awesome and the skirt is scandalously short). A whole bunch of people joked about how the people in the red tunics were always the ones who didn't make it back from missions. 

Less than two weeks later I got laid off. 

The thought of having worn that costume, and the things that people had said still sting. Of course they were all just kidding around, and I'm sure most of them were oblivious to the brewing storm, but the memory of those comments just added to the humiliation of losing my job and left me feeling incredibly exposed. And I will never forget that the VP who canned me won the staff costume contest that day, for an admittedly brilliant pumpkin-head get-up, just confirming what a classless ass he was when he happily accepted the prize instead of declining it in favour of someone from the rank-and-file.

This year I have a new job that I really like. And I'm really happy here. Really, really happy. But I don't want to leave myself vulnerable in that way again, at least not in the workplace. 

So no work costume for me.  However, in the spirit of the season, I will accept any and all candy my coworkers offer, and politely eat it.  All vulnerability aside, it would simply be rude not to.  Noblesse oblige, right?

The old marketing dept. back in the day

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Frugalista's Free-Stuff Frenzy

I spent an inordinate amount of time in a store today; just wandering around fondling and sniffing the merchandise, fraternizing with the clerks, coveting everything in sight.  It's much easier to be a frugalista when you just stay the hell out of stores.  On the plus side, all I needed was a greeting card and I had an ancient gift card in my wallet with a mystery balance (which turned out to be FIVE BUCKS- woot!), so I managed to pay only about three dollars for a seven dollar card (okay seven bucks for a greeting card?  Whaaat?)  So I'm calling the outing a success.

But I've found a new, dangerous outlet for my consumptive urges: free things.  Friends have been moving (another post for another day when I can write about it without dissolving into puddles of self-pitying tears) and they've been giving me things.  Big things and small things.  Like, furniture.  And hair conditioner.  And oatmeal. And olives in a great big jar shaped like a curvaceous woman's torso...

In addition to what I'm estimating at well over a hundred dollars worth of partially-used pantry and household items, over the last month we've acquired a queen-sized bed, a double bed, two corner shelves, two dining chairs, two dressers, a book-case, a tv stand and, if you go back another two months, a couch and chair set....  All free from friends.  It's stuff I like and I am so grateful for it; and it will always remind me of my three awesome girlfriends.  But...well...we didn't really get rid of anything; we just got more possessions.  And our house is pretty small. While there are some vague plans being made to discard a lumpy, stinky old bed or two, we really are just one more friend-move away from ending up on "Hoarders".

Damn!  Gotta find that balance.  The idea of not shopping had as much to do with learning to live with less as it did with not wasting money.  And here I am with no new pants (huzzah!) and ten "new" pieces of furniture I probably could have lived without (oops!).  But did I mention that we have Ovaltine now? And special Italian cheese that comes with its own built-in grater? And volumizing spray? And it was all FREE?

So blessed.  So unclear on the concept.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Frugalista Checks In

So it's been a little over a month since I vowed to forego any clothing purchases for six months.  Of course I was helped a little (okay, a lot) by a broken ankle, and a bulky walking cast that made it hard to get down the hall to the photocopier, never mind cruising the mall.

But the cast's been off for a while now, and I'm quite mobile again.  And I'm pleased to report that I continue to keep my promise to myself.  Yes, I hate all my pants, and no, I don't seem have quite the right top to wear half the time, and my pajamas are literally turning transparent in spots.

But whatever. I'm clean and comfortable (most of the time), and I haven't offended anyone with my wardrobe choices.  There have been times over the last five or so weeks that I've felt less than pulled-together, but I'm learning to live with that.  I always took so much care to not look like I was trying, so it's doubtful anyone's even noticed that I'm not wearing exactly perfect shoes, or that my purse doesn't match anything else I'm wearing... only me.  And I'm learning to live with the imperfection.

But meanwhile....I've had to start fighting (hard!) the urge to buy toiletries and housewares, or stock up on what's on sale at the grocery store.  Because clearly the object of this exercise wasn't to replace one vice with another - and oh how easy THAT is to do (says the woman who "accidentally" bought five tubes of toothpaste two weekends ago...)  So now my new thing is to really and truly use things up before buying more.  And that includes all the tiny hotel bottles and sample packets and 1/4 full jugs of whatever it was I lost interest in last year. And encouraging the menfolk to do the same.

And can we just stop for a moment and discuss shower gel?  From time to time I get a hankering to buy a bottle.  And my mother-in-law (Avon and Yves Rocher addict) always brings a bunch in her suitcase when she visits. (By "a bunch", I mean usually three or more bottles - and, no, the teenage boys aren't interested in lathering up with "Mandarin Mango Medley" or "Pomegranate and Peach Passion."  And then JTM and the lads brought me back the equivalent of a gallon from a recent trip to Portland (I sent a Bath & Bodyworks wish list with them, but forgot to write "or" between the various items - so I scored bottle after bottle of the good stuff...).

Now, I am a large woman, but I'm generally quite clean and I don't like to spend a lot of time hosing off, so I don't use a lot of product when I'm in the shower.  I probably go through one bottle of shower gel for every four that everyone else in the household uses.  I expect I will be completely through menopause before I need to replenish the lady-wash supply.

But, sidebar over. Back to the "not replacing things till you run out" thing. If you are trying this at home, please note that toilet paper should be an exception: it was more than a little awkward explaining to last Friday's ten dinner guests that, if they needed to wipe anything, they should use the "purse pack" of Kleenex on the bathroom window sill....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Tomorrow it will be three weeks since I broke my ankle, and on Thursday I will finally see my doctor (we ended up doing the whole "you broke your foot" thing via voicemail instead of in person) and find out just what got broken, and where, and how much longer will I have to wear the damn cast for.

Three weeks since I've been for a walk just for its own sake.  Three weeks since I've shaved my right leg (okay the cast is removable so that is TOTALLY a choice, but still). Three weeks since I last got behind the wheel of the car.   Three weeks since I've been a properly functioning member of my household.

Driving kids around has always been a major way in which I've contributed to running our family, especially evenings and weekends.  I'm pretty easygoing about it; I've given up consuming large quantities of wine on the weekend without giving it much thought - and I don't really mind planning a Saturday or Sunday afternoon around drop-offs or pick-ups.  But JTM likes to have a little more control over his schedule and, once he's home for the evening he likes to stay home.  And that's why I do more of the extracurricular driving.

Or I did, till I ended up in a cast.  So now the poor guy has to drive kids to band practice for 7:15 and then come back for the rest of us (at the other end of town) three mornings a week, and pick up as many people as are available for pick-up at the end of the school/work day.  Then take people to organized activities, pick people up from unorganized ones, and so on.  And that's just the weekdays.

It's all getting to be a bit much for us all as a family, to have to depend on just one person for all that, and it's compounded by the fact that I can't even travel independently; I need someone to take me to all my stuff too!

Apart from the way the cast decides to torture me throughout the night each night with its sweaty, clunky awkwardness, this being grounded business is the absolute worst part of having a broken ankle.  And it's affecting everyone.  I just want this to be over!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How I Broke my Ankle

Because I know people like a good accident/injury story (oh maybe that's just me) I'll share the details of my broken ankle and the recovery process with anyone Googling the keywords "broken ankle", "ankle fracture",  "how to avoid passing out or puking on a busy street at lunchtime" or "how to accessorize a hideous grey air cast".

I was out over the lunch hour a week ago last Wednesday, shopping hard for a few articles of clothing (see my las post for more scintillating shopping details).  I work downtown, right in the middle of everything, and just a few blocks away from the big downtown shopping mall.  I was on my way back to the office, totally proccupied with the purchase I'd made and was wandering mindlessly across the narrow roadway beside the mall and back up onto the sidewalk.

And I just put one foot down on a piece of uneven concrete, rolled my ankle hard, hearing/sensing a sort of popping-snapping sound as I went down - somehow face first- onto the sidewalk.  The pain was very nearly unbearable, but as a good Canadian, I would rather suffer total agony than make a big fuss and spectacle of myself in the downtown shopping and tourist district of my nice Canadian city.  So I accepted a hand up from a kind stranger, joked that clearly I should be headed back to work and not loitering on the street, and began the excruciating  process of attempting to walk.

I took about a dozen steps when I was nearly felled again by a wave of nausea and lightheadedneess, but by that time I was right in the middle of a busy intersection and had no choice but to keep moving forward - just kept telling myself that if I were an injured cavewoman I would have no choice but to get back to the village if I didn't want a cheetah to chase me down and lay me open.

So I did manage to get back to work, where my incredibly kind coworkers brought me ice packs and drinks of water and helped me get ready to go home.

I managed to get the shoe back onto my rapidly swelling foot, and hobbled down to the waiting car (Thanks JTM!).  When I got home, I just fell into bed with a couple of pillows under my foot, and a nice big ice pack, and pretty much passed out for the rest of the day and evening.

The next morning, surprisingly, I found that I was able to walk a bit without too much difficulty, although my foot was very swollen and bruised on the outside.  I decided to go into work for the day - but there was something about the way it looked and felt that made me wonder if it wasn't something more than just a sprain.

My family doctor couldn't see me that afternoon, so I left work early (thanks again for the ride, JTM!) and hit the neighborhood walk-in clinic.  The doc on duty poked and prodded it  little and, when I told him I felt pain under and behind my ankle bone, he sent me for an x-ray.  He said me that docs follow something called the "Ottawa Ankle Rules" to decide who needs an xray to check for a fracture.  Pain behind the ankle bone means "send for x-ray".

So we headed to the radiology place and I got my films done.  The radiologist had already left for the day so I needed to wait till morning for the results.

I went to work again the next morning and JTM called me at about 11 to tell me that both the walk-in and my family doc had called.  My regular doctor actually left a very detailed message explaining that there was a stable fracture, and that I should go to an orthotics place and get an aircast.  I should "weight-bear as tolerated" and use crutches for the first while if I felt I needed them.  Cast on for 3-4 weeks.  And that was it - okay it wasn't really all that detailed.  And his office was closed for the weekend by the time I'd absorbed all the info.

So I found the orthotics place and called them to see if they could get me in (Yes! Phew!), and JTM picked up up and drove me over mid-afternoon.  (You will notice a pattern here, of JTM driving me everywhere.  I don't want to give the plot away, but I'm sure you can see a pattern beginning to emerge...)

It's important to note here, that this is Canada, land of socialized medicine - where we generally get what we need, sometimes even when we need it - so it felt pretty damn weird to get the diagnosis via voicemail and then have to hand over $200 to get a cast for my broken ankle.  I'm sure if I'd gone to the emergency room, they'd have hooked me up no charge, no questions asked.  But live and learn- my extended benefits through work will cover most of it (although the insurance company did recommend that I submit an estimate first, by mail, that they could review and hopefully approve, again by mail - yeah, for a broken bone.  I'll take my chances and file the claim, thanks.)

I didn't do much over the weekend - the labour day long weekend, as it turned out, and the most beautiful weekend of the summer, sigh.  I tried, and then abandoned, crutches, preferring instead to shuffle along; not all that painful actually.  But the cast is beyond ugly and awkward as hell; it's so thick and reinforced on the bottom that it makes my cast leg over an inch longer than my good leg, so I look and feel pretty clumsy hobbling along - and my glutes are KILLING me.  And I can't drive - I have to be chauffeured EVERYWHERE because I can't manage the walk to the bus either (sorry JTM).  And everyone started school last Tuesday, so GAH!  It's been a very frustrating time for the whole family.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Frugalista (Quite Literally!) Catches a Break

I got this crazy idea in my head that I could go a whole year, or at least six months without purchasing a single article of clothing for myself.  Someone had posed the hypothetical question on a community message board I frequent, and a little more on-line digging found an entire legion of women prepared to engage in a similar experiment over at

Here's the thing: for years now I've been buying crappy clothes because we've been on a budget and I've been on a never-ending weight loss adventure.  So, apart from a few beautiful, classic items my mom insisted on buying for me, my wardrobe is composed mainly of sleazy junk sewn by children (I love kids, really I do, but  they're not exactly whizzes with the old Singer - thanks to Kelly Oxford for that observation).  And right now, about half of what I own is about two sizes too small.  And I didn't even wear most of it last year because I was too busy lying around in the same pilled fleece pants day after day, eating chips on the couch and crying over reruns of "A Baby Story".

Yes, I'm back to work now (yo - holla!) but the 30 pounds I managed to put on over the last 12 or so months has landed most of my clothes in a Rubbermaid tote in my closet.

I love clothes - I truly LOVE them. I come from a family where our memories of events are not so much focused on what we ate or who we saw, but what we were wearing.  Before I started considering this clothes shopping moratorium thing, I'd actually got a new blog set up where I was going to record, every day, what I wore and how I felt about it. Right down to the gonch.

But then I had a change of heart.  I thought about people who didn't give a shit about their clothes as long as they were clean, comfortable and relatively appropriate to the setting.  People who would rather stick pins in their eyes than shop for a new pair of anything.  Was I happier, or more well respected, more popular with the other kids because I spent so much more psychic energy on my appearance? Should I really spend money on new things when so many of my clothes had barely been worn?  Were there better things to focus my attention on (like losing the weight, just as one example)?  And did I have the self-discipline to just quit clothes shopping cold-turkey?

I decided to do it.  Starting September 1, I would not buy a single article of clothing for myself for six months.  Not even a pair of socks.

So about a week ago, I hauled out all my clothes, purged a few items (not many, honestly - I actually do this regularly already.  I don't really have a tonne of clothes compared to a lot of women; they're just not great quality and kinda tight...)  I determined that the only thing I really, really needed was a long-sleeved white top in a decent fabric with some interesting detail, that could go under anything.  That and this super-cute blouse that had little butterflies all over it that was working its way through the clearance process at my favourite not-so-cheap clothing store.

I headed out from the office at lunchtime last Wednesday to pick up the blouse (now marked down from $50 to $12.99!) and to begin my quest for the holy grail of white t-shirts.

Well I managed to get the blouse but had no luck on the t-shirt.  As it was already the last day of August I was thinking I might have to give myself a day or two extension.

And that was what I was contemplating (along with OMG! How cute were the little butterfly-imprints on the buttons of my new blouse?!) when I tripped on the sidewalk outside the mall, rolled over on my ankle, and hit the pavement.

The ankle is broken. The details of that event can be another story for another day, but right now I'm still deciding if the universe thought it was helping me by making it pretty near impossible to shop for at least a month, or taunting me by forcing me to make one more purchase: a hideous goes-with-absolutely-nothing $200 grey boot cast that that my insurance may or may not cover.

Thank you universe; I really like

Friday, July 1, 2011


First, a shout-out to my homeboy, Chia Scooby, the inspiration for the whole crazy thang:

I figured that if we could sprout a thousand chia seeds off a terra cotta dog's head, we could probably sprout some actual food for eating, and stop paying the guy at the market big bucks for a few pennies worth of seeds and water. We're really into eating sprouted grains and vegetables because when they're sprouted, the nutritional value increases astronomically (plus they won't break your teeth). You could trust me on this or you could go to the Google and learn more, like find out what actual nutrients and phytonutrients are miraculously generated when you expose seeds to a little water and sunlight.

So we headed down to the local health food store and got a few packages of premixed seeds (expensive), a few hundred grams of various seeds from the bulk bins (cheap), and dug through the pantry at home for some other beans and seeds (free). 

And here is the part where it gets very tricky and complicated.  Pay close attention to the following instructions and follow them to the letter.

  • Toss the seeds into a couple of Mason jars with cheesecloth or some other fine mesh under the lids.
  • Soak them overnight
  • Rinse and drain twice daily, keeping them damp
  • When they look the way you think they should (after 3-5 days), eat them. 

Here they are after a day

and here they are after five days

After a final rinse and drain, they are all ready for John's salad
 The image above shows the contents of the two jars combined: organic chickpeas and regular brown lentils, with A. Vogel prepackaged "Fitness Mix".  Next we'll be sprouting chia seeds as an homage to Scooby, broccoli, black mustard (spicy!) and red clover.

Total cost, about $10, and we now have enough seeds to keep us in sprouts well into the fall (John was spending about $5 for two small bags at the market).  We would have paid about half that if we'd passed on the prepackaged seeds and just put together our own mix as we did with the lentils and chickpeas.  I think by Googling up the sprouting times and nutritional benefits of the various seeds you could easily figure out some good combinations.

Thanks Chia Scooby!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ms. Moneybags

Turns out one of our local grocery stores has self-serve checkouts where you just toss the coin part of your payment into a little bin, rather than having to feed the coins in.  So I've been having fun gathering up all the loose change from here and there around the house, and using it to buy stuff.

Just a little fun thing to do  - a little amusing distraction- absolutely nothing to do with my being unemployed for the last five months and our current financial situation.  Really!

Today I (well actually "we" but JTM was too mortified to actually participate) thought it would be a bit of a lark to take the contents of the giant penny jar, dump it into a freezer bag and take it to the store to and use buy a turkey for Easter (only .99/pound - one per customer!).  So there I was, as discreetly as possible, reaching into my very heavy purse for handful after handful of pennies (and other copper-coloured currency from many lands) to slip surreptitiously into the bin. For what seemed like hours.

After a while the cashier lady who tends to the self-serve lanes decided to get in there with me, saying encouraging things and helping shovel the rejects back into the hopper.  Which of course, didn't draw any extra attention to what I was doing at all....

Then about halfway into the $70 transaction, in which I had deposited about $15 in paper money and the rest mostly in pennies, the machine gave a little squeal and started flashing some rather obscene error codes.

A manager was called, the various parts of the machine were opened, and inspected - very similar to the process of clearing a paper jam from the photocopier. A big fuss was made. (Oh God, nothing to see here, people.  Really.  Just move along now. You too, sir. I mean it!)

Once the machine was all cleared up and ready to go again, I'd lost my enthusiasm for the whole venture and just paid the rest with my debit card.

 This battle may be over, but the war is not won.  I may have set my sights a little high today trying to score a large piece of meat with my ghetto moneybag, but I am determined to keep spending those pennies, one bottle of pop or can of corn at a time, until they're gone.  And until they are, just call me Ms. Moneybags.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A little update on a bunch of random things

I drafted this update on various things a couple of weeks ago but didn't get around to posting it.  Most of this info is a a little on the stale side, but I expect it to provide really important context for some scintillating posts to come in the very near future.

Pants: Still too tight. Way too tight.
Job: Still none (swear it's like tossing resumes into the abyss - a faint  optimistic whistly, rustly sound as they descend,  and then just an eerie silence.  That pretty much sums up the job search to date.)
Feet: (this is a new topic for the blog but far from new to me) Flat.  Totally flat, as in "Oh God your feet are totally flat," says the foot doctor.  Born that way.  Nothing to be done but throw out all the cute shoes and invest in $500 orthotics that aren't covered by JTM's insurance.  Uh....not this week, thanks.  Managed to convince to do a quick and dirty temporary solution for much less cash.  Hoping against hope that the new insoles will give me some relief cause man, the dogs have been barking louder and louder with each passing day!
Teen Boys: Still totally unqualified to parent teenagers (see Holding Hands), but somehow managing to keep everyone in school and out of rehab.

But the real news is that we are moving next month. MOVEZILLA! YEAH! Bring it on.

Frickin' Housework!

So I've been trying to figure out why it is that I am so obsessed with housework, and why I think that needs to be the focus of my attention while I am not working.  It's kind of making me crazy, because there are clearly so many more entertaining and meaningful things to do right now!

A couple of weeks ago it occurred to me (as I was on my hands and knees unsuccessfully chasing tufts of dog hair and spilled coffee up and down the hallway in filthy pajamas, just like I was the day before vacuuming the basement stairs in pilled fleece pants and a two-day-old t-shirt) that I could probably stand to lighten up just a little on myself. I have such a critical eye; I'm always scanning the background for the thing that's out of place, surreptitiously glancing into the corner for the dust-bunnies, noting whether or not the drapes or the pants are an inch too short or long, checking to see if the shoes, belt and bag match or at least coordinate... It's incredibly distracting. And I am always mortified when someone stops by the house and sees the inevitable dirt and clutter (because it seems no matter how hard I work it still all looks like shite).

I've always thought that the reason my home was less than Martha Stewart perfect was because of my own inefficiency and lack of skill and training in housekeeping. If I could just master the special counter-wiping technique, or train myself and everyone else to follow a routine, develop rituals, find the money to buy the all new everything... 

And so, off and on over the last half-dozen years, I've been following the FlyLady - she's all about routines. Unfortunately she is also all about selling her proprietary FlyLady stuff, and filtering through all her puffy-haired, pantyhose-under-the-jeans, Jesus-lovin' BS, etc... so I tend to fall off the wagon - frequently and hard.  But even if the Flylady is a little too Right for me - she is absolutely right in that clearing out clutter, and developing systems and routines one at a time, will eventually get the desired result. (visit her at if you're interested - just prepare for some cringing and wincing)

But why do I care so much about this housecleaning business? Why am I always feeling ashamed about the state of my domestic affairs (and it's particularly mortifying when I'm not working outside the home)? I don't really understand what this obsession/compulsion is all about (except the accessories thing - that comes from having Margot Clayton as your mom; even at 82 she still puts herself together perfectly 100% of the time, but she is the most devil-may-care housekeeper, and I've never heard her utter much more than a peep about the quality of someone else's housekeeping efforts); all I know is that not only am I just generally distracted and irritated by the dirt and clutter around me, and I must assume that other people are too, and will judge me. Or worse, they'll feel uncomfortable in my home.

Clearly I can't hold Margot accountable for this one (except that maybe she could have trained me just a little bit better in the womanly art of homemaking), so I'm totally blaming Martha Stewart. Clearly she made just a bit too strong of an impression on me during my early household management career.

And this is the part where I'm supposed to commit to finding other priorities.  Or to being a better housekeeper. But I'm not going to.  I'm still determined to do both.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This is the Last I'm Going to Say About it!

Okay, I ate better, got some exercise and I feel better.  Well duh!

And that's about all I'm going to say about it. Like Gwendolyn in "The Importance of Being Earnest" who  never travels without her diary ("one should always have something sensational to read on the train,") I passed a somewhat entertaining half-hour or so the other day reading back on my posts from the last year - and the only even remotely interesting or insightful content had absolutely nothing to do with the everlasting sisyphean effort that is my weight loss journey.

So no more waah waah posts about diet and exercise, posting of statistics and droning on and on about what I am and am not going to eat and sharing my girth with the world.  Seriously boring and self indulgent and the - the ether is already clogged and choking with boring, self-indulgent crap already.

So unless I have something brilliant or hilarious to say, I'm done with all that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

All out of condensed milk. And excuses.

READER WARNING: The following blog post  deals with self-indulgent subject matter and may contain references to both new years resolutions and to dieting.  Some readers may be offended by its whiny, self-pitying and humorless tone.

So here we are at the end of January. Oh man, so much for the New Year's resolution to write more.  Or any resolutions at all.  Okay well I promised myself that I would take more baths and I've been pretty good with that.

Anyway back to the same old, same old boring January thing.  Or late January thing - cause this year I've just been too freaking busy to get on the old healthy eating and exercise kick, or even drone on and on about it in the blog. Oh wait, I'm still not working so I've actually got all kinds of time on my hands - so what gives?

Okay I'm not going to talk about the ratsa fratsa inertia or my fun and exciting Winnipeg in January adventure just now, even though distraction pretty much is my best thing right now.

No, I need to talk about the eating and exercise.  I can honestly say that, now that Christmas and a January visit to friends and family back in Manitoba has come and gone, there has been NO craving left unsatisfied.  No holiday baking left unsampled, no second helpings refused, no late night snacks of herbed liverwurst on pumpernickel denied, no naps not taken, and no workout avoidance techniques not employed....

But today I am all out of condensed milk, and butter, and chocolate, and excuses.

And I feel like crap.  A lot of my clothes (especially PANTS) have gotten a little snug and camel toe-y, my energy level is at an all time low, and my motivation to do much else besides watch tv, take naps and sneak chips and chocolate bars is just gone.

This place I'm in right now is not a good place, but it's a place I know. I remember feeling like this when the kids were really small and I spent my days chasing them around, consumed by a fantasy that I could get them to nap at the same time so I, too, could lie down; and medicating myself with bags and bags of M & Ms and other sugary junk.

Candy! I was (and am again), medicating with SUGAR! Who the hell DOES that?  Lots of people, probably.  I didn't realize what I was doing at the time; using sugar to deal with the stress and fatigue associated with parenting toddlers.  But anyone who knows anything at all about nutrition knows how this story goes: you are tired, stressed, whatever.  You eat candy.  You get happy and you get energy because your blood sugar rises quickly.  But CRASH!  It doesn't last: blood sugar plummets. You are tired and stressed again, so you reach for more candy...and so it goes for hours and days and weeks and months till you are 235 pounds and miserable as hell...

So I guess this unemployment thing has been tougher on me that I've let on - I don't seem do so well on my own and of course financially it's brutal.  And Christmas wasn't a lovely soul-restoring sojourn. At all. And January (apart from a really lovely trip back to Winnipeg last week, which actually WAS good for the soul) has been so very, very quiet and grey and painfully unproductive. And I've fallen, hard, into those old habits, even though there is nothing to chase around right now except my own tail!

But fortunately I know how to dig myself out of this rut (God knows I've done it before) and I've got the tools to get right on it.

So starting tomorrow I assess the damage, get my ass out for a walk, and  get the rest of me into sugar rehab.  It will be January 29 - not a moment too soon!