Assignment No. 24 (last of the year): Skip the EVENING TV.

DEC 15-JAN 14…Skip the EVENING TV. [And do something worthwhile instead.]

To be honest (and how else should I be?) I’m not too worried about missing the latest reality TV show or mindless programing. Once the evening news is done, I think I’ll be able to get by with reading, talking, and spending quality time with family. December is busy enough as it is! Between my Facebook Fast and no evening TV which are scheduled simultaneously, I think I’ll regain several days worth of living! Does anyone have ideas of what hobbies I might take up?

Assignment No. 23: Take a FACEBOOK FAST.

DEC 1-31…Take a FACEBOOK FAST. Even Mark Zuckerberg must take a vacation now and then.

At the beginning of the year there were over 800 million Facebook users in the world. The current numbers are even more staggering! You know, with that many people out there posting, sharing and liking each other I think the world can get by without my latest status update. Other than automatic postings on my page about this blog or from my twitter account, I’m going into a Facebook blackout for the month. I’ll break the fast in January. What do you think I should do with all of my spare time? If you find yourself consumed by social media, maybe you’ll want to consider a Facebook fast as well.

PROGRESS: keeping it simple

One egg topped with salsa, toast on the side. Just right!

My current assignments are “essentials only purchasing” and “one cup meals.”  I think I’ve pretty well decided that my normal m.o. must be essential only purchasing.  A common luxury is the occasional cup of coffee – I’ve skipped several and I decided to buy one last Saturday when I had to make an early morning drive to Springfield, IL for a trustee meeting.    I’m out of K-cups for my coffee maker at home but have a good stash of whole bean coffee that I’ve been grinding each morning.  I ran out of contact lens solution but haven’t minded sporting my glasses for a few days.  And I was certainly tempted for a bit (but resisted) to take advantage of a super Lands End sale (it’s the only place to buy tall shirts that aren’t BIG and tall).  But, for the most part I’ve lived a pretty satisfied “essential only” existence.

The one cup meal plan has been aided by my family to the point that when I sat down to dinner tonight and thought my bowl of pasta looked a little big, I was assured by everyone else in the house that it was exactly one cup.  Sure enough – the used measuring cup was on the counter.  Good sports, my loving family.

Breakfasts are easiest since I’m preparing them at home.  I’m taking my brother’s advice and have gone for a cup of oatmeal several mornings garnished with some raisins.  Other days’ breakfasts are comprised of an egg, or egg and toast, or a cup of cereal. Note to self: Rice Krispies didn’t do much to help me get through the morning. For tomorrow’s breakfast I’m going with Chobani Yogurt and Bear Naked granola — something new to keep things interesting.  I’ve been wanting to try Greek yogurt anyway.

Warning: One cup of Rice Krispies will not get you to lunch!

Lunch during the week usually looks like a cup of leftovers or a half sandwich and a piece of fruit.  Someone in the office asked me if I was having a snack the other day as I was enjoying my right-sized lunch. I’ve also taken a small stash of peanuts or a small orange or apple for an afternoon tie-me-over snack and that seems to get me from noon to 6 pm.

When we go out to eat things are little bit more challenging.  To avoid looking like a complete nut case, you just have to estimate and hunt for a reasonable size portion!  Fortunately, some of the restaurants we’ve recently patronized are offering low price, smaller serving specials.  Perfect!  Pei Wei had a special for $6.25 that landed me a cup of soup and a smallish portion of rice and shrimp.  I decided I’d give myself a freebie on the soup – mostly broth anyway – and enjoyed half of the remaining dish.  The other half was enjoyed the next day.  If the owners of PF Chang are listening, we once again decided that someone should open a Pei Wei on our side of the river!

Sunday after church we enjoyed lunch at Bandana’s.  While my goal wasn’t to spend only $4.59 for lunch, it was a great way to get a right sized portion.  Two sides dishes and 3 oz of pulled pork was actually quite satisfying.  The only thing I knew wasn’t possibly part of the one cup plan was a massive slab of bread that came on the plate.  It went home all wrapped up in a napkin (a skilled learned from Mom who has perfected the art of carryout).  The only downside was when the server brought our order to the table and announced the “BUDGET BUSTER PULLED PORK PLATE.”  At least it seemed like she was screaming it.  On the upside, I guess I would have really been in trouble had I ordered a kid’s meal… 😉

Overall, I feel pretty good about the assignment. I’ve managed to eat pretty well even in small quantities.  I’ve even dropped 3 or 4 pounds which is a nice side benefit.

Assignments of the past have recently revisited me as well:

Assignment No. 1:  While at Starbucks at the Hyatt the other morning for a coffee business meeting a man approached me and the two others with me, apologized for approaching us in Starbuck’s but needed money for food.  I guess he figured that someone at a Starbucks would probably have some money and someone at a Starbucks in a Hyatt hotel would certainly have something to spare.  He was right.  But, being suprised in the middle of a discussion, I realized later that I had forgotten to ask his name.

Assignment No. 6:  I’ve pretty much kept to the skip the sweets assignment without too much effort or thought.  I’ve had a little something here and there but for the most part have just avoided most sweets just by second nature.  Interesting how that works…

Assignment No. 4:  Unfortunately, I’ve been way too busy lately and haven’t taken the time for leisure reading.  I had free time tonight, but decided to blog instead while watching the Cards-Cubs game. Still a good choice.

Thanks for reading!

Assignment No. 5: PRESS on

MAR 1-31…PRESS on. What do you mean clothes don’t iron themselves? They sure seem to at my house.

Honey, are you out there? While I’m away at the office treadmill, I realize that you are on the home treadmill. Wash, dry, iron, wear and the cycle continues. How often had I said “thank you”? As many as 1 out of 100 times, or would that be too generous? Even though I can’t seem to iron my clothes without them looking worse at the end, the month of March will be a lesson in gratitude if not fashion. Does anyone have tips on how to make the perfect crease? And is it ok if I don’t iron my t-shirts?