Variety News: Toast

Long time no blog! This is what happens when I decide I need to step up my game, and then don’t have time to step up my game. So, we’re back to the old “personal journal” style of blogging until such time as I…have more time/motivation to change it. I do what I can.

I was making a sandwich for lunch recently and as I stood there with two slices of toaster-thawed bread, I was frozen contemplating my options and the ensuing consequences. I want to lose weight, you see, and I know from past trial & error that my body does not process “processed carbs” well. Also, like a lot (most?) people, I eat way more calories than I burn. Which is why I was standing there contemplating toast for far, far longer than anyone really should.

If I made a whole sandwich with two pieces of bread, that would be far more calories than I needed, but also the wrong type of calories for my body to process. It would taste good and feel good while I was eating it, but I’d be dealing with the consequences for a lot longer.

On the other hand, throwing out a piece of toast is just wasteful, toast never really stores well, and cubing it and putting it in the freezer just means I’ll have the same choice to make another day as I contemplate whether to stuff my body with…uh…stuffing, or not.

My toaster does not do nice things when you only put one piece of toast in. It feels the need for parity, apparently, so defrosting one piece of toast isn’t really an option either. And we don’t eat enough to leave the bread out – it goes moldy and I end up throwing half-loaves in the garbage if I don’t keep it in the freezer.

The simple answer, of course, is to not buy bread, but given that I live with my husband, and he doesn’t have the same hang-ups about bread that I do, and also likes sandwiches, it doesn’t seem fair to make him abstain when it’s my body that has the issues.

And yes, normally I’d have cauliflower rounds on hand to substitute with, but I couldn’t find any at the store when I made my last grocery run. Being asked to wear a mask at the local store that sells them (cauliflower rounds, that is) tends to make me anxious to get back out as quickly as possible, so I don’t look around much if what I need isn’t where it previously was and easily visible.

So there I stood in the kitchen, contemplating toast, waste, waistlines, and sandwiches, pressed for time as always on my lunch hour. No matter what decision I made, there was guilt involved – guilt for wasting food, or guilt for derailing my own goals. Nothing a little planning ahead or creative thinking wouldn’t have solved before I even thawed the bread out…looking back, I could have just spread the guacamole on the ham, wrapped the whole thing in provolone and been perfectly happy. Pressure tends to kill creativity though.

I finally tossed the second piece of toast in the garbage, made myself half a sandwich, enjoyed every bite, and then emailed the new company I just signed up with to come get all my food scraps once a week to compost (since the hubby and I can’t agree on composting methods – I want worms under the sink, and he will only agree to worms if they stay outside). They use a fermentation method of composting, and can take meat and dairy, so if they can take bread as well…then my problems are solved and my guilt is assuaged. *Whew!*

*Note: Yes, the composting company – Swift Buckets can/will take bread. The perfect solution.

Needless to say, I’m trying to let go of the guilt I feel when making decisions to “do, or do not”. I often end up feeling guilty no matter what I decide, and I need to just knock that off.

On that note, no guilt about going back to the personal blog format with all text and rare pictures. This just…is what it is. That’s all it needs to be.

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Monday Musings: On Fate, Destiny, & To-Do Lists…

If you’ve been reading here long, it won’t surprise you in the least that I spent a good couple of hours this weekend transferring all my precious daily/weekly/project/shopping lists into a shiny, new-to-me to-do app. It’s called TickTick (so named for ticking things off lists, I presume), and it’s a nice step up from Wunderlist (which never quite synced all that well between the desktop, web and mobile apps – frustrating).

What does this have to do with fate? Nothing, really…and everything, if you look a little deeper. Grab a cuppa and read on…I’ll get back to it.

In general, I’ve long subscribed to the philosophy that if something is supposed to happen – if it’s “meant to be”, so to speak, then it will. Somehow, some way, that thing that’s supposed to happen *will*, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. But it has to happen on its own time, in it’s own way…you can’t force it to happen, or not happen. It just…will.

And when it finally does, and you look back at all the little things that had to happen in between the time you wanted it to happen (or felt it might happen) and the time it actually happened, you realize why everything worked out the way it did. It’s kind of amazing, really…but also incredibly frustrating if you’re not the most patient sort, and you get an inkling early on that something may be destined to happen…later.

For example (since the whole vague thing is a bit confusing): When I was 15 yrs old, I stood in the guard room at the pool where I worked as a lifeguard watching my sister’s swim team coach on deck, and I actually said aloud that I wanted to marry a man just like him someday. It never occurred to me that I’d marry him specifically (though obviously I had a major crush on him) – he was rather inappropriately older than I at 26 yrs old, and I barely knew him at all. And even if he hadn’t been too old for me at that time, I was a religious zealot back then, and he was…decidedly not (something I learned much later). I still felt very strongly that our paths were supposed to merge at some point, I just didn’t dare even hope for it, because it seemed so very far out of reach. Impossible.

When I turned 18 and got my first tattoo, he struck up a conversation with me about it while I was on the 5:30am guard shift (he’s not a fan of tats) – our first “personal” conversation. Over the next few years, we chatted from time to time, forged a tentative friendship, and finally when I was 22 (and nearly done with college), we started dating (after a not-so-gentle nudge from a co-worker).

Yes, dear readers, it was a good 7 years between the time I had an inkling that I would date my now-husband and the time we actually started dating. And had it happened any sooner, it wouldn’t have worked at all – I needed to go through the experiences that I had during that time before I was even remotely able to connect with someone like him (on a philosophical level), and I’d imagine there were some things he had to experience in that time period for “us” to work as well. We dated for another 7 years before getting married, and in that time there was only one other person I felt drawn to in that “cosmically fated” sort of way…but there were a lot of reasons it wasn’t even really an option. With my husband, call it destiny or fate or whatever, but everything eventually clicked, and this September, we’ll have been married for 10 years (man, that went fast!).

I misread situations often enough to be skeptical of how I see or feel things might eventually end up. But I used to be much more “zen” about the whole thing, and lately I’m having to remind myself more often that things will end up as they end up, and I really have no control over any of it, so there’s no point in worrying about what the future holds. The only smart thing to do is focus on today, and not worry so much about what might or might not be.

So how does all this relate to my apparent obsession with to-do/task lists? Simply put, controlling the areas of my life that I can makes me worry less about those that I can’t. It’s a coping mechanism, I guess you could say…but a healthy one, in that it also allows me to ultimately be more productive and flexible at the same time. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

I’ll leave you with the earworm my good buddy Carol dug up for me off YouTube, which sums the whole thing up nicely. And if you’re like me, you’ll have Bobby McFarrin stuck in your head pretty much straight after this song…because what goes better with “Que Sera Sera” than “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, right?

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On Admin Stuff, Construction Workers, & Eyesight…

First thing’s first – if you’re reading this in an email, it means my subscription export/import worked. So if you enjoy getting these blog posts in your email, woohoo! If you were hoping your subscription to my site would drop when I moved, you’re probably a little frustrated right now. Never fear! There should be an unsubscribe button at both the top and bottom of your email (if there isn’t, let me know), so you should be able to remove yourself with no hassle and no hard feelings from me.

The good news for everyone is, with the new subscription method I’m using (through Mailchimp), now you can choose whether you want all posts from The Variety Pages, just the serial stories (skipping any non-fiction posts like this one), or just non-fiction (like this one and the Talking Books posts) with no serial stories. If you’re a current subscriber, I’m not sure how you’d change that, but you can either let me know what your preference is (just reply to this email), or unsubscribe and then come back to the blog and re-subscribe, choosing your preference then. Whichever works for you. The default setting is “all posts”, so if you do nothing, you’ll get them all.

Also, comments on all blogs should be easier now. The ones that do have captcha now just have a simple math problem to solve (yes, you can use a calculator, or your fingers, or jelly beans to help if you want), rather than the long, complicated captcha I had at that other place. You’re first post will be moderated, but after that they should go up automatically.

All that said, I’m going to make a couple of minor changes to the blog format again, now that everything’s moved and reorganized. Incidentally, feel free to check out the new, improved – I’ll be adding a few things in the coming weeks, but it’s more or less done (I need more graphics…it’s on my list!).

First up, the MacKenzie serial is moving to Fridays, as of this week. I’ve been posting it on Tuesdays, but I’d rather keep all the serial posts together, and Friday is my day for fiction. So as of this coming Friday, MacKenzie Saves the World will be posted a little after midnight, and Under His Wing will be posted around 10am (MDT) as usual.

Second (and more minor), the Monday posts will no longer do the weekly recap thing, or the to-do list thing. I’m over it as far as blogging goes (though obviously I’m not over making or using lists). From now on (until I decide to change it again), the Monday posts will be “Monday Musings”, and can encompass anything from hobby news to writing laments to odd/weird/funny things I’ve seen or done. So…kind of like they are now, without all the planning and recap stuff. More interesting, I hope.

If you’re already a regular reader, you know I don’t blog about my writing much here (boring for anyone but other writers, really), but I do have The Drafting Desk where I (um, until this past month) post my daily word counts and writing notes, not just for my own stuff, but for my alter-ego projects as well. Now that the whole site moving debacle is over, I’ll be keeping that up to date again starting Wednesday (well, Tuesday if I write today, but it’s a holiday, so we’ll see). Feel free to stop in over there anytime if you want more writing-related updates from me.

Whew! I think that’s all the admin stuff I have. Boring, I know, but important, and now we can get back to more fun subjects, like the construction workers I pass twice a day on my way to work. I have to say, as much as I dislike construction, I do not mind one bit when those poor men get hot and have to ditch the shirts. Eye candy is integral to my being patient with otherwise frustrating traffic… 😉 I’d take a pic for you, but there’s really no good place to stop and hide while I do it.

I’ve already spent most of this long weekend working on the web site stuff, with short stints of weeding interspersed (and I’m gonna have to do some laundry today, dang it). I have Tuesday off work to, so I can go see the eye doctor. It’s been a long, long time, and I’m quite sure I need new glasses. I’m both looking forward to being able to see better again and not looking forward to the adjustment period for new lenses. I’m also not looking forward to picking out new frames. On account of…I can’t see without my glasses. *sigh* Hubby’s going to help, so if they look silly, I’m blaming it on him. As one does.

Now it’s nearly 1:15am, and while I don’t have to get up in the morning (woohoo!), I do still have to do my nails because I didn’t do them last night. Better get crackin’!