Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Year Gone By

An entire year has gone by and I look back and think what did I do, what did I accomplish, where was I and where am I today? It's that check-and-balance list we do. I know I'm not close to where I want to be in life but I am far better off than I was.

I am no longer married, no longer living in the same town, barely hanging onto school and back to working full-time with as much over-time as I can get to help pay my bills. I'm happy and sad at the same time as strange as that may sound for several reasons. I am happy that I am single once again and plan on staying this way for the remainder of my life. I honestly do not like being married. It just doesn't suit me. I am happy my children and I are on our own again, together and a family. I am sad we live in a small apartment and many of our things are in storage because the apartment we live does not have adequate storage and just isn't big enough to accommodate everything we own. However, we do have a roof over our heads and food on the table. I am doing this all on my own and we're getting by. A few years ago I would have thought what a strange statement to make but given the recession we are in so many people are not getting by and either have help from the state or family. I am grateful to have a job and the over-time is a blessing. If I was not able to work over-time I would have a second job somewhere else. I cannot make ends meet on one job. That would be another sad part of my current situation.

I'd like to think there are more good aspects to focus on right now than the opposite. I do receive alimony and will for the next 11 months. I'm using the money to help us live and pay off the credit card debt I was left with. My teen-agers both like their schools and my son who has always had a hard time is getting A's and B's for the first time. This is a blessing and I am so proud of him. My oldest daughter does not live with me and I worry so much about her. She needs to be in school; instead she works to pay her car payment and rent. She heading down the same path I did work and no school. I am struggling to stay motivated when I have to work two jobs to pay the bills. I don't have the time needed to study. It's frustrating and again I put it off and think in a few years. Other people seem to be able to do it but let's say I do finish all my pre-reqs and get approved to start the nursing program. It's a full-time commitment. How do I go to school full-time and work full-time? I can't work part-time, I have rent, so I'm not sure how we would get by. My kids have put up with so much and they keep telling me it's okay. It makes me want to cry. I feel like such a failure. Why can't I do school and even better why can't I finish anything. I have so many ideas, so many get-rich-quick ideas but they never seem to pan out or I lose interest. Again, with not finishing anything?? UGH!

It's obvious my self-esteem isn't the highest right now and I'm determined to improve it so I'm doing things different this year. When winter hit I stopped riding my bike and set-up my trainer inside so I could keep in shape. I try to ride at least 30 minutes a day (okay so that's the goal anyway). When I was working at the hospital as a CNA I lost over ten pounds, well it's back again and I feel and look like a slob. I was so thin when I was young, I could eat anything. What happened? I think I woke up one day, looked in the mirror and it dawned on me I wasn't 20 any longer. God I hate getting old. Well one day I'll be able to afford Botox and then I won't look so damn old. Until then I can at least ride my bike and keep my body in shape and shed the 15 pounds extra I'm caring around.

Years ago when my oldest was a toddler I took a writing course and truly enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much; after the course ended I wrote a few children's short stories and sold one to the LDS Church Friend magazine. It was a big deal I was a published author! Well things happen and I quit writing because I just didn't have the time. Sound familiar?? That should be my name - Quitter! I have always loved to write. I use to write stories when I was little, as I got older my best friend and I would act them out on a tape recorder. In high school English was my favorite subject and I was asked to represent my school in the English category for the Sterling Scholar program. I won first-runner up. Writing has always been in my blood and I have so many ideas for stories but again that word "time" keeps popping up. That is another thing I plan on changing this year. I will write my book! I have the most awesome idea and have researched and planned it all out. I even interviewed a man who lives in England via phone. It was so cool! So why haven't I written the book? I'll let you answer this time. Oops ha ha that's funny.

Finally, there is one last thing I plan on doing this year. Bake. I love to bake and I'm pretty good at it. While I plan on baking several things I'm going to focus on a few areas. In my first marriage we never had a lot of money unless I was working. After my first-born arrived I stayed at home and because we didn't have much we did have some food storage. There was a 25-pound bag of flour which I took and learned how to bake bread. To this day I enjoy making bread but never really liked it because it was white. I prefer wheat bread but haven't mastered a recipe that included only wheat flour. I was in the library recently (a place I frequent far too often) and found myself drifting towards the cookbook section. I have a thing for cookbooks what can I say. I found a few cookbooks that interested me but one in particular caught my eye. This cookbook was dedicated to those truly wanting to learn how to master baking bread. I had to have this book so I checked it out on eBay and Amazon it's expensive so the goal is to purchase the book (used of course) and learn how to bake bread. While conducting my search for this bread book I came across another book this one not a cookbook but a book about bread. The author works for Great Harvest and he openly explains that the reason their wheat bread tastes so good is because they mill/grind their wheat every morning. Like Starbucks grinds their coffee beans fresh every day. Same concept. So I'm thinking I need to buy a wheat grinder and try this out for myself. This and other ideas will be part of my process as I begin my quest for the best bread recipe.

I also plan on doing this same concept with pizza crust. My kids love pizza and would be happy if they had pizza every night. It can be costly and sorry Little Caesar’s just isn't my cup of tea. I took my oldest daughter to New York City for her high school graduation present and while there we ate NY pizza. Hands down folks there is no better pizza out there than New York pizza. I must find a recipe like the pizza we ate in New York. The same goes for blueberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies. There are tons of recipes and my quest is to find the best one. Consideration must be made for my oven, baking equipment (I may need to purchase better, different who knows) altitude etc. Most important though, I am doing this because I love to bake and it makes me happy. There is something about baking bread that gives you a sense of satisfaction knowing you created it and everyone wants to have a piece.

In no way am I doing a Julie/Julia project. There are no set number of recipes and if I find the best recipe in a month great, if it takes me over a year that's okay too. I'm in it for therapeutic reasons, oh and the sheer fun it brings me. So let's recap

1. Lose 15 pounds
2. Write my book
3. Bake

We start January 1st and I'll be documenting my progress here to keep myself on track (a better way of saying make myself feel guilty if I don't do follow through) I am going to finish this right Audrey???