A "G-Rated Journal" That Even My Mother Can Read (because she does!)

Effervescence is a state of mind. It's about choosing to bring sunshine to the day.
Every person I meet matters.

If it's written down, I know it (If it's not written down, I don't know it)
If it's color-coded, I understand it (If it's not color-coded, I don't understand it)

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Daddy-do and me, 2010

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Assembling Food

Fri Mar 24 - I have two kind of stories for you today, about "Assembling Food." There's a shopping story and the process of how I "cook," or rather, how I "assemble."

My favorite grocery stores are what I joke are my "hug-a-tree" stores: Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Henry's, Mother's Market… although I primarily shop at the Wild Oats near my home, or Whole Foods on my commutes. I'm not really a big Trader Joe's shopper, because I'm usually looking for fresh produce and only small quantities, not large bags of produce. The nice thing about Wild Oats is that I can buy just one onion or just one tangerine—whatever I'm in the mood for. Trader Joe's produce is only packaged in "bags of many" so I only shop there for specialized dry goods.

I left the office so late last night that only a 24-hour grocery store would be open. So as I was browsing the largest Ralph's near my home, I started to revise my shopping list from "food I plan to cook with for this week" to include an emergency kit for my car.

Everyone acknowledges that they should have an Emergency stash of food and water, right? How many people actually assemble such a kit? One of the guiding principles in my life (since my divorce, and my whole life rebuilding process) has been "If I think 'I should...' or 'I've always wanted to..." then I should make it happen. In this case, the thought was "I should have an emergency kit of food and water." So now I have one.

I picked up two plastic boxes with snap lids to fit in the hatchback in my car. I now have on hand: 2 gallon jugs of water, a 6-pack of sports bottles of water, 2 bottles of Propel (water/gatorade type drink), 1 bottle cranberry juice drink, a pack of 4 little mocha starbucks drinks, several vacuum-packed foils of tuna, a vacuum-packed foil of chicken, a bag of turkey jerky, a box of granola bars, several of my favorite power bars, a pack of four little fruit cups, a pack of some chocolate pudding cups, 4 cans of pop-top soups (different veggie soups), and a box of crackers. So: starches, proteins, veggies, fruit, juice, coffee, and water. And this morning I found $10 cash in my coin purse, so I started an envelope with cash-on-hand for the kits. I also added a small bottle of Purel (non-water, non-soap, hand sanitizer) to my first aid kit, and a bottle of chewable multi-vitamins to the food kit.

My plan is to regularly cycle through the food and drinks in my car—regularly consuming what's in the kit and replacing it afresh when I'm out shopping. Now I'll no longer be stranded somewhere with nothing to eat or drink. I've got supplies if there's an emergency, if I'm trapped in a huge freeway standoff (the most likely event that I might find myself in), or if I'm out traveling to/from events and have to wait for something for hours or days.

There's already a blanket and a pillow in my car at all times. I always have my laundry soap. I always have my overnight bag of toiletries. There's an emergency contacts cleaning kit so I can take out my contacts if I need to go to sleep. And my fabulous first aid kit is always on hand. Now I have my food and water, too. The only thing I'm missing is a change (or two) of clothing, and another set of shoes. I used to have shoes and clothes in my car, but I put them back in the house for a while. So it's time to repack a clothing set for the car again.

I hope this is an encouragement to some of you that you might want to start assembling your emergency kits. It certainly was fun chatting with the grocery checkers about my purchases—one guy used to keep an earthquake kit at home after living through several earthquakes, but he never used it so he got rid of it.

Hmm. If you've never used your emergency kit, that just means you've never had an emergency. "I used to be prepared, but I never needed to be, so I'm not prepared anymore."

*shakes her head*
* * * * *

After coming home from grocery shopping (and assembling my finished food/water emergency kit in my car), I started to unpack my groceries and realized I really needed to just buckle down and assemble "food in boxes and in ziploc bags" so that in the morning I can grab-and-go for the day. It's not so much that I have to "cook" but I have to "assemble" when I'm preparing food in advance.

So I made a crockpot of soup, a pot of rice, some veggie stir-fry, boxes of salad greens, and ziploc bags of salad toppings. I divided up some crackers into bags, so that they're ready to just grab and go; put some cheese into portioned bags; chopped up baked tofu; and even bagged some Girl Scout cookies for later. Then in the mornings it takes less than 10-15 minutes to pack an entire days' worth of meals and snacks into a little cooler and run out the door. Typically in the coolor for a whole day I'll have a box of soup, a salad, something that's a hot entree (like stir fry), a small side box of rice or other grains, a few bags of salad toppies, maybe a baked good for breakfast, sliced fruits, whatever strikes my fancy. I forgot to get more coffee at the store, but I found a pound of coffee beans in the freezer that I'd forgotten about. (Thank you Dayle!)

A friend at work commented on how I must be saving my money for new clothes, as I continue to work on losing weight but I do it on my own rather than through paid programs (like Weight Watchers). And in fact, I don't do pay-for-support programs, specialty foods, books, tapes, classes, gyms—nothing!

I believe that I should exhaust all my free options first, before considering paid options. I can walk for free. I can eat less quantities (for free). I can use the work gym for free. (And I should. I really really should.) I can journal online and get support from friends in person and on email, for free. I can buy fresh produce cheaper than prepared foods, again saving money.

All I have to spend is effort in preparation, so that I set up the convenience for later. I probably only spend extra money on boxes of ziploc bags, to get all the prepared-in-advance convenience and portion control set up. *grin*
* * * * *

On other notes, I just sat in an hour and a half of traffic, to go thirty miles. *massive sigh* I've stopped at home to pick up a few things, then I'm off to the Dudley's for a lovely game of "all things Joss Whedon." Then tomorrow is a large SCA demo with my home Barony, and spending the night at Dayle's house. Finally, I'll be topping off my Sunday celebrating Shosh's 18th birthday at a big ol' party. Yippee!

So, Shabbat Shalom, everyone. Catch ya more later.
* * * * *

Today's Blessing That I'm Thankful For: Ceri and David. It thrills me that I still have correspondence with you, and hope I can come visit you sometime this year. Shabbat Shalom, dearhearts. *hugs*

* * * * *
Weight Loss This Week:
Fri 3/24 - 15.4 (up + 1.4 from yesterday) Again with the weird math. Up a pound, down a pound, up two pounds, down two pounds. I'm thinking about working on a graph of my long-term weight loss trends, to get a better sense of whether I'm on track or not. But then again, it's only "Week 11" and I've lost nearly 16 pounds and kept them off. So I'm still on "between 1-2 lbs per week" which is a healthy trend.

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