Archive for January, 2010

Planning, organizing, and streamlining to avoid a nervous breakdown!

Posted in 1 on January 25, 2010 by xxxicana

Although it is nearly the end of January, it’s not too late to discuss New Year’s resolutions.  I didn’t really make much of a list, but I did decide to streamline my life as much as possible in prep for the tenure process.  I also want to pay off as much of my lingering debt as possible.  So, I decided to try menu planning.  Typically, I just make dinner on the whim.  If the ingredients aren’t in the house, I head over to the market.  Of course this results in lost time, greater expenditures, and often frustration which leads me to order take-out!

So, I prepared two months of menus (Jan and Feb) with shopping lists.  We’ll see how things go.  So far, it has cut a lot of stress for me.  I checked my menu and see that today is “gruel” day.  Gruel is what Mister Man calls Khichdi — a single pot meal of rice, lentils, spices, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, and whatever other veggies are hanging around.  It’s a super tasty vegetarian meal that warms the tummy on cold evenings.  It also has a ton of fiber — and at our age, fiber is really important!  We love Gruel!

I’m really trying to avoid the nearly daily stop off at the market — and it seems like each visit is an easy $40.00!  But, a lot of my purchases are poorly planned which only adds more time to my day.  I’m going to try a single market day for the bulk of our month’s supplies with only the occasional stop off for perishables.

I’ve also planned out my debt repayment plan following a snowball method.  My goal is to start 2012 with no debt at all!  (I want to be debt free for the end of the world, heehee).  Again, the biggest problem is not a lack of $$, but rather unplanned and unnecessary spending.  Oops, I bought a pair of shoes this month that are definitely not necessary! But check them out . . . can you blame me?

It’s too wet and cold still to wear these stylin’ shoes . . . but I can’t WAIT to debut them.  Frivolous, I know, but I’ll be good from now on, promise!  I’ve been budgeting now for about a year and it has made huge difference in how I spend my money.  No more spending more than I earn and I’ve even been able to shunt money away in a savings account.  My goal is to save up money for a down payment on an acreage so that I can have a big garden and lots of chickens!

Next, and I’ll work on this asap, is to budget my time.  I found a posting today on Inside Higher Ed that helps tenure track peeps to prioritize their time.  I’m going to dedicate some time to creating a time plan. Like a lot of people I have a lot to do with limited amounts of time.  But, I enjoy relaxing with Mister Man and getting plenty of sleep.  This requires a strict time budget that will allow me to work at top efficiency so that I can max out my relax time.  I’m also hoping that time management will lower my stress level which will lower the amount of cortisol in my system which will hopefully help me lose some poundage.  See!  it’s all part of a plan to reduce the belly fat!!  Ulterior motive revealed.

My parental units will be celebrating 50 years of marriage this summer and we are all going on a family cruise.  I’d really like to fit into some chic cabana wear and even a bathing suit.

Ah, I can hardly wait to be out on the ocean, sipping a fruity umbrella adorned drink and enjoying the wacky extended Sanchez clan.  Good budgeting now will allow me the funds, time, and mental state to fully embrace the festivities!

Celebrating the New Year with a look back

Posted in Musings on January 3, 2010 by xxxicana

Probably most people would agree that 2009 was a tough one . . . we’ve lost loved ones, experienced economic hard times, illness, stress, and worry.  In my little world, I lost Spot, Amby, and Henny and Penny — dearly loved pets that gave us much happiness.

But, 2009 did provide opportunities.  I reconnected with family and friends that I had been out of touch with for decades! I enjoyed many moments laughing with Onion Tears over silly silly things, my parents visited Lincoln, and Mister Man and I spent many pleasant times with our Soup Group friends.

Friendship is something I didn’t worry about much when I was younger.  I was too busy being married, raising my daughter, going to school.  We moved a lot and I didn’t invest too much in creating a social network of friends that I could count on (there’s more to this, but I’ll leave that part out for now).

Friendship in one’s middle-age (eek, don’t even like to say that) is great.  We’ve worked out who we are, we don’t have to “keep up with the Jones” (or the Khardasians), we generally like ourselves and are comfortable in our skins (ok, except for those extra pounds).  Maybe, also, since our children are all “growed up” [sic] we can take a little extra time to linger over dinner, drink a little more wine, and bask in the glow of good cheer.  I feel fortunate to have really great wonderful people in my life as friends — every one from Miss Misam, Keith our 75 year old neighbor, to Soup Club, work colleagues, and my BFFs Mary and Cynthia.  These are the people I see on a regular basis that make life more fun.

And I never thought that Facebook would make a difference.  I’ve been able to reconnect with lots of people and keep in touch — even the minutiae of life that is SO much more interesting than anything on the news!  I’ve laughed at photos from 25+ years ago, loved photos from weddings, recitals, birthday parties, and other celebrations I couldn’t attend.  Thank you face book friends and family!

But, mostly I’m grateful that 2009 was kindly on my family.  It’s hard to be away from my daughter and her partner, parents, my sister Shelly and her family.  We weren’t able to make it back to Califas for Christmas . . . but did enjoy lots of fun in New Mexico over the summer with Mom, Dad, Larisa, and Nathan.  I would live in a multi-generational household anytime (I used to say compound, but Larisa thought it sounded like a cult).  I feel fortunate that we all enjoy relative good health and good prospects. We are looking forward to many more good times together in the near future.

So, before this gets too sappy, I’ll sign off with a Happy New Year . . . may 2010 be even better!

Me and Mister Man

Lovely Ladies of Soup Club

Patti Hoage, Kim Joy, Joan Johnson, Carleen Sanchez, Betty Bloomquist

Soup Club -- not for weenies

Dave Elog, Joan Johnson, Ray & Betty Bloomquist, Tom Martin, Carleen Sanchez, Kim & Matt Joy, Patti & Ken Hoag, and Mogli

My Parental Units in Lincoln

Thanksgiving 2009

Duncan Martin, Tom Martin, Dr. Dawne Curry, Carleen, Darlene Sancehz, Willa and Dom Garay

BFF Mary

BFF Cynthia with "Amy"

Larisa & Nathan

Shopping at Day of the Dead Fest in Bernalillo, NM

Tom Performing at the Pinon Cafe in Placitas, NM



Henny & Penny

My baby Cleo

Balam & Cleo snuggled up