(essentially Jan 2 – Jan 15)

I stayed on my money budget and on my calories budget for 2 weeks straight. I am so proud of myself…and so happy. I have never stuck to our expense budget for longer than 3 days until now. I would curb my spending for 3 days and then out came the credit cards for a sushi lunch here, an ebook there and before I knew it, I would have spent more than $100 on unnecessary purchases in a single week.

And did any of it make me feel good? Not really. Not even the lunches. I ate out almost out of a destructive compulsion of habit. And then, when the bill came, would think that the meal was hardly worth the $18 I just paid for it. And when Friday came around and K sat there with his notebook and laptop going through our week’s spending I’d feel both guilty and defensive.

So, you see, I have reason to be proud. Here is my report card for the month so far.

The Good:

  • I have lost 1 lb of weight. (2 lbs actually but one of them was losing the weight I had put on in the last week of December)
  • I have eaten more plant matter than animal matter (and my twin pimples are now gone). I was eating too much meat and not enough vegetables. I wanted to fix that in 2015 and I am happy so far.
  • I packed lunch from home every day. It not only allowed me to control the calories that I consumed but it was also the only way I could stay on budget.
  • I cooked dinner at home almost every day. This saves us a lot of money and helps me keep true to my diet.
  • I got rid of all my magazine subscriptions that weren’t already pre-paid because I really don’t have time to read them anyway. The only subscriptions I have now are to Bon Apétit and Cooks Illustrated.
  • I have cooked a nice assortment of Ottolenghi dishes from his three cookbooks that I own: Plenty, Plenty More and Jerusalem.
  • I stayed on budget. I think I’ve talked about this enough already. 🙂
  • I baked 3 new types of bread and my breads. 

The Bad:

  • I am not meditating nearly enough times.
  • I cannot stop thinking about the new DSLR we will be buying at the end of the month. The end of the month is not coming fast enough, if you ask me. We are not going to buy the expensive Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.6-5.6G lens yet anyway, just the camera body and the 35mm lens. But that should be enough to get me started.
  • I still spend far too much time obsessing over that person I dislike intensely. It’s a waste of time and completely unproductive, but there it is.

So what do you think? How did I do?


Gone with the Wind…My Story

It was wicked windy and cold in Boston last night. 30 kph (19mph) winds and -19C (-2F). I As I pottered along to the T (subway) station after my workout I was aware only of the wind and of the intensifying growls of hunger coming from the depths of my stomach. Unconsciously I rubbed the last $20 bill from my Christmas present money in my pocket between my fingers. I could buy myself a snack — a dinner even — and break my budget without it showing up in my weekly budgeting: a technical loophole. It defeated my goal of applying self-discipline and curbing my spending habits, however. I knew I was cheating.

I was still thirty feel away when I heard the train before I saw it. I had to make it to make the 7:10 PM bus home from Riverside so I started to run…or waddle really because I looked like a massive, unweildy purple marshmallow in my heavy winter hiking jacket and my backpack stuffed with my now dirty gym clothes and running shoes and laptop. I was still ten feet away when the train arrived and doors opened. People were packed into it like sardines in a tin, and somehow, more people piled in. I would make it but I had not a second extra to spare. I waddled faster and started pulling out my train pass from my jacket pocket at the same time.

The $20 bill had been swaddling my T-pass. As I yanked it out, the money came out with it. It happened in an instant but I felt I watched it in slow motion: the howling wind swept the $20 bill in a rising spiral over my head. The seventh US president, Andrew Jackson, the face on $20 dollar bills, and I locked eyes for a second. Even as I flung my hand forward — fingers outstretched — to grab it, it flew away from me along the station. There was a momentary break in the wind and I I watched it fall and come to rest next to a red minivan parked outside the station twenty feet away. I dashed towards it as fast as I could. It was pointless, however. In another split second, a new gush of wind lifted the bill back up and off it was gone…hurled into the darkness of the night.

I remained transfixed by my bad luck. I was cheating my budget but fate cheated me instead. I don’t know how long I stood there. It could have been a minute, five minutes or even ten. I was brought back by a loud angry rumble from deep inside me. The train was gone and I was quite alone on the platform as I waited for the next one, disconsolate and unhappy.

Now there is no buffer of secret money left. Now it’s just me vs temptation and/or hunger.

Gone with the Wind…My Story