Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I must confess, I’ve spent the earlier part of this last week crying over David Bowie songs and daydreaming about my life after winning the Powerball Jackpot. Luckily I’ve managed to drag myself back to Earth.

So, I spent a couple days last weekend feverishly writing an introduction to my new blog, and then a few days fretting over the fact that I’m actually going to write a blog. What is my scope? What’s my hook? I need a format! Just exactly how honest am I willing to get? The following is a bit nebulous, but I think I’ll hit a good rhythm the more I ease into a routine.

I think I’ve had a really successful week!

I’ll start with a bit of background. I have a rigid system for grocery shopping. I spend a bunch of time researching recipes for the week, adding their ingredients to my web-based list and then link the recipes in a table. Just look!:

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I go through and match my coupons to the things I need – without adding items I don’t need just because I have a coupon for it. I don’t particularly think couponing is a good way to shop – you just end up with a bunch of processed crap if you base your shopping off of what coupons you have. Also, sometimes other brands are still cheaper than the brand you have a coupon for, so stay alert! Because of this I don’t use that many coupons when I shop – maybe four or five.

I’ve started pulling up my market’s weekly deals online, to find what is on sale this week. I find this tactic is best for finding things like meat on the cheap. We don’t eat a ton of meat around here (I was a vegetarian for twenty years before I started eating a bit of meat again, so I’m most comfortable eating and cooking vegetarian), so this also helps to keep costs down.

So, since I’ve last updated, I’ve made two grocery shopping trips: one last Sunday, and one today. And guess what?!?!

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$90.72!

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$68.13!

I did it! And with room to spare, even. And both these trips included some pricier items: cat food, coffee, a ridiculously expensive bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. I’ve been trying to keep in mind things I already have lying around – that leftover bit of feta cheese, frozen turkey from Thanksgiving – and writing a menu around that. Less wasted food, less wasted money!

I made some new dishwasher detergent this week. I copied off this recipe for Awesomesauce. I added lemon essential oil so it smells nice like lemon-peppermint and it seems to be doing a good job of cleaning the dishes, although I think adding the lemon caused some difference in the texture – it’s kind of chunky. It was fairly easy to  make (though not as simple as the laundry detergent). I made a quart of it for, I figure, $1.50 or so. The savings and craftiness is such a high! I MUST DO MORE!

In fact, I’ve really become a little crazy about making stuff and saving money in just this short amount of time. I keep thinking of prices for stuff, and wondering where I can get things cheaper. I’ve been thinking about where I can get dried staples for the biggest bargain. Surely, I must be able to get them cheaper than the bulk bins at my local grocery store. And sure enough, I found that at Cash & Carry (a local restaurant supply store) I can get such deals as Twenty-five Pounds of Dried Black Beans for $16! and Twenty-five Pounds of Long Grain Brown Rice for $12! Now, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I realize that I don’t have any reasonable need for twenty-five pounds of any sort of dried beans. But – a coworker wanted to go in on a haul with me. I got sixty pounds of dried rice and beans for $40, split with a coworker I only spent $20 to get thirty pounds of food. It’s like I’ve started my own illicit co-op out of the back of my Subaru. Beans and rice – so cheap!

I’ve also drifted such less reasonable ideas as, Oh look – I’m nearly out of tampons. I bet I could find a tutorial online to make my own!

Making my own tampons is quite possibly the worst idea I’ve entertained in this process, but I did begin researching reusable menstrual cups and ended up purchasing a SckoonCup. Sadly, I’ll have to wait a month to get to use it 😦 But I won’t have to buy tampons any more, or contribute to all the waste they create.

I’ve only been to the gym once this week. However! I did go on one great hike with the husband yesterday in Forest Park, and today I walked with some friends, so that counts as three exercise sessions for the week and is technically still on goal.

I’ve been reading pretty steadily. I finished Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson. He’s currently one of my favorite authors: I haven’t read anything of his I didn’t find thoroughly fascinating. He’s an investigative journalist and digs up the most interesting, weird, obscure stories. I then finished You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memior by Felicia Day. It inspired me to finally watch her web series The Guild which has been fun. I’ll be starting Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl in the next day or two. Can you tell I like memoirs? I’ve also created a Reading List page for you guys, if you want to keep up-to-date on what I’m reading.

I’ve gone out a couple times with girlfriends this week, which is much more often than I typically go out. But! Hanging out one-on-one and in small groups is one of my goals, even though the going out process gives me mom and wife guilt. I’ve found it immensely rewarding to be able to talk things through with other people and find out I’m not alone in this or that, or that someone’s already lived through whatever experience is currently crippling me emotionally. Because it seems like there’s always something.

Last night the husband and I went out with another couple. (Couples dates: on goal!) We went to dinner and for a relax in a soaking pool. I got to wear the bikini I bought almost a year ago and haven’t worn yet (well, I did wear the bottoms during the World Naked Bike Ride). This was fun and I felt totally sexy and awesome because I am. Then I got sleepy and went home at like 10:00pm because I’m also a senior citizen now.

So, how did I fail this week?

Over the course of the last year or two, as I’ve grown into what’s become this full-on identity crisis, I’ve allowed all sorts of obsessive and pervasive thoughts to really tear me down. This is something I really, really want to minimize in my life. But even the smallest thing can go wrong, or I think I’ve said the wrong thing, and BAM! I’ll spend the next… minutes, hours, days, months*?… obsessing about how much I’ve just fucked up my life. That’s got to be the last straw – this person is really going to hate me now. Now everyone will know what an imposter I am! Why am I such a god awful mess? Wow I’ve really fucked this up and it’s the end of the goddamn world now.

Cool and Fine

Wil Wheaton posted this on Facebook earlier this week. I found it apropos of my whole general struggle. I guess Wil Wheaton and I are identity crisis besties!

I’ve been able to mitigate this thought cycle a lot recently, mostly by trying to remind myself that I’m cool and fine, but there were a couple times this week that it really got to me. It’s a work in progress.

And that brings us to right now – feeling pretty great about how the week went. I aim to update once per week (I know, I know… this week was late), so stay tuned!

*Seriously, I’ve spent months obsessing over things I’ve done, sure that I’ve ruined everything, figuratively killing myself over every detail of how I fucked up. My last therapist helped me figure out that I’m an obsessive personality-type (well, duh) and that in general my obsessive/compulsive behaviors are super helpful to me. However, the pervasive thought cycle that accompanies it is when obsessive/compulsive behavior starts being not-so-great.

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4 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. Oh man, thank you for validating my opinions about couponing! I mean, my mom is the most impressive couponer I’ve ever known, no contest, and I respect her tenacity and dedication to getting absurd amounts of product for practically nothing. BUT, she used to send me coupons and I’d almost never use them, because A) it’d still end up more expensive than the store brand even after the discount, or B) it’d be for some awful mix/powder/fake-food thing that I would never want to eat even for $0.

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  2. Oh, and pro tip if you shop at Fred Meyer: if you use your Fred Meyer Rewards card, they mail you targeted coupons for actual stuff you already buy. These are super helpful to me and the majority of the coupons I actually use. You also get gas points, so I go to the Fred Meyer gas stations and get discounts on gas too!

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  3. Pingback: It’s German for happiness at the misfortune of others | The Joy of Missing Out

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