Why I like Yoga

I’ve started learning about/doing yoga with the help of some DVDs and programs geared towards beginners. Yesterday I worked through the majority of a program currently free if you have Amazon Prime and access to the videos section. I liked this program because it actually named the poses you would be doing and had a specific focus on breathing. I find that I really enjoy yoga for a variety of reasons, but at the same time, it’s very hard to find a program geared toward a true beginner that knows little about yoga. You cannot learn yoga from a book – you need to be able to see the poses in person.

The biggest reason I like yoga is that you use your body and only do what your body is capable of doing. That’s also why I started learning yoga at home with a DVD in my living room instead of finding a class. No pressure! This also makes it easy to set goals. If the first time you can barely hold the pose, then each time after that you try to hold the pose a little longer – or hold the pose at all!

The thing that amazes me about yoga is how it’s different from the general culture of “no pain no gain” of exercise. Pain is bad. ALWAYS. If there is pain, your body will be recovering from something for some amount of time. This obviously varies by person. I do yoga on a mat, in my living room. I don’t run. I don’t lift weights. I don’t do anything that actually feels strenuous. Holding poses is hard, but doesn’t feel strenuous. Yet, as a beginner anyways, I’m definitely using energy, sweating, and burning calories, easily.

Finally, the reason I’m going to continue yoga is because it actually focuses on breathing and so there’s an aspect of relaxation and de-stressing included in my exercise without having to exercise hard and end up out of breath – which I don’t need with my asthma. Even learning about yoga through doing yoga has been enjoyable. I know at some point I will likely seek out a class – but I’m not ready yet.

Muffins equal happiness

So I saw a psychiatrist recently. I’m familiar with the process, I’ve done it before. And though I was feeling better, I knew it wasn’t necessarily a permanent thing and I kept my appointment. The doc said a few things that made it seem so easy, or sound so easy, which may have helped me realize a few things. I don’t know. I do know just seeing a doctor about my depression seemed to help make it not so bad. Maybe because it was my choice to see the doc? Not sure I have the answer to that question either.

Side note, the increased meds might be helping my pain too.

Anyways, after a month of a low dose of meds, I asked the doc about increasing my meds. He thought that was a good idea and thought it would help. Indeed, I think it has.

A strange thing happened today. I was talking to my husband and actually used the word happy to describe myself. Specifically I was happy muffins I had baked turned out delicious. It really is the small things, like muffins.

So yea, depression is a cold bitch. She invites herself, stays as long as she wants, does anything she wants, and primarily focuses on making you feel like shift, or maybe numb, or maybe guilty, or maybe just plain sad. That’s another reason why she’s so horrible, just when you think you know what she’s going to do, she changes it up on you…pulls something else out of the magic hat.

You have to take life hour by hour on the bad days and day by day on the good days. Until one day, you catch yourself daydreaming and realize you were just thinking about the future.

Baking! Cookies!

My feet hurt… But I don’t mind because it’s from standing in the kitchen making cookies. Not only did I feel well enough –  no migraines – no sick – no allergic reactions – to bake but I managed to be smart about it too. It’s amazing how much easier it is to bake cookies if you have a stand mixer AND measure out most ingredients before you start mixing.

Furthermore, everything I made is guaranteed free of anything I’m allergic to. Thank you Enjoy Life foods and Sunbutter.

It’s surprisingly hard to find a chocolate chip cookie recipe that doesn’t have something extra in it – like espresso powder – or nuts. Martha Stewart has a very good recipe though. I’ll use it again.

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Why health insurance in the US needs fixed, reason 24664335789

Or, Cigna sucks.

In no particular order:

Points to share in an email to the CEO of the wonderful corporation I’m a fucking team member of….

– Health insurance illustrates a company’s social policy, look to employee policies to see how a corporation really truly feels about the employees
– Employee health – need insurance that doesn’t leave employee’s afraid to go to the doctor
– Since bottom line is so important… Missed work
– Communication with understanding of the employee’s position – not just information providing
– Discrimination against people who have health problems they have no control over – and don’t even mention morale.
– Other human resources policies reflect company’s interest and understanding of employee and family and health – like not being able to carry over much PTO – which is a great way to prepare for maternity leave
– Did you really actually think this insurance change was beneficial to employees? Was research done? Objectively?
– How much was saved in cost for the company by switching insurance?
– Human resources can’t respond to an email in less than a month
– Cigna communication is stressful and patronizing – statement about saving money received same day I get a bill for more than what I saved.

Taxes & this WSJ graphic with the made up people

I find this horrible graphic so horrible I’ve decided to list the problems I have with it.

1. All the people are sad. If I was making six figures a year I would not be sad. Technically the clip art people don’t even need to be here. With out the illustrations there could be more data, which leads me to #2 on the list.

2. It’s misleading. Based on the mention of deductions they are actually referring to Adjusted Gross Income but just say Income.

3. Why is there race here? It’s not necessary. The single person appears to be vaguely Asian and the retired couple is Black. Was the Wall Street Journal afraid to make the single parent Black? Is that why she’s blonde?

4. The Wall Street Journal must sit in some kind of interesting niche as far as its readers go. On what did they base these examples? I seriously doubt the average family with two parents is going to have FOUR kids. In 2005, before the economy got even worse, $167,000 and up was the top 5% of household income distribution.

5. How did these pretend people make so much in investment income when the market is still so volatile? I have a very small amount of investments in stock as well as rather small IRA, I’ve seen both lose lots of money in the past 5 years, like a roller coaster.

6. The household median income in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011 was $52,762. This is not even in the same tax bracket as the lowest income pictured here ($180,000). Furthermore, from 2010 to 2011, income inequality increased. (page 10)

7. What percent of retired couples actually have income over $100,000, let alone at $180,000?

8. What about people in poverty? Doesn’t the Wall Street Journal think its readers should be informed? In 2011, that meant, officially, 46.2 million people were living in poverty. (page 13)

9. The Wall Street Journal caters to the top ten percent of our country, obviously a very specific class of people. In 2011, 9.1% of households in the country had income of $150,000 or higher. (page 31)

10. I have no interest in reading the Wall Street Journal even though I’m rather well educated with my bachelor of arts and masters of science. My education makes me one of the 28.2% with a bachelor’s degree or higher in this country – as of 2007-2011. I did graduate with my masters in 2011 and received my bachelors in 2009. Also, I researched these statistics in less than a hour while writing this post so it would definitely not be hard for an employee of the Wall Street Journal to find the same information. This is one of the powers of the Internet. Just one.

11. Finally, this entire graphic looks like it’s relying on scare tactics. “If these people are sad, what is it going to do to me?”

Saving money: forgotten circumstances

I’ve got too many blogs on my RSS reader….some of those include saving money/self help financial type blogs. One thing these types of blogs always seem to miss is saving money when you have chronic medical issues. I have allergies and asthma, those include food allergies and intolerances. Luckily, my food allergies are not *that* bad…I can eat wheat, corn, gluten and have no known issues with any vegetable. And I’m not even mentioning hay fever type allergies here! Further, such recommendations usually don’t consider places of extreme temperature. Few other things too… like access.*

Small annoyances.

Allergies/medical

For example, a person who is lactose intolerant (or allergic to fish) probably can’t eat cheap meals like tuna noodle casserole without substitution of some kind – or being sick later. Chemicals like MSG is another issue too… Season packets need to be MSG free, which automatically makes them more expensive.

Then of course there’s pollen. You can’t open your windows in the middle of allergy season if you’re deathly allergic to what’s out there… which is just a few periods of 2-4 weeks for me….but that sure is long enough.

Gluten free foods are usually more expensive. Foods specifically manufactured to be a certain allergen free are usually more expensive too.

Specific to your region

You aren’t going to open the windows in June, July, August, or even September and go without the air conditioner in Texas or other southern states just as you aren’t going to go without heat in December, January, or February (or March or April?) in Minnesota and other northern states. Some areas of the country see more extreme temperatures than others.

Cost of living. Some things are more expensive depending on where you live…. gas…food…transportation…housing…the list goes on. (And this isn’t even counting states like Alaska and Hawaii.) Transportation varies depending on where you are as well. If I lived in a northeast city I might be able to use public transportation to get from my house to point B…but I don’t. I couldn’t use the bus when I lived less than 15 minutes (by car) from campus to get to school.

Utilities and broadband, cable providers vary by city too. A cheaper option might be available, but you might not have access to. This can be as simple as what side of town you live on.

Cultural/Religion

I can’t specifically think of anything but I would bet money there are cultural or religious requirements that would not allow people to do something that might actually save them money.

Health Insurance

Just another thing that varies wildly and really effects your budget. The cost of the insurance as well as the costs after insurance both vary and should be considered. Dropping health insurance to save money isn’t a viable way to save money.

Family

Maybe you have family you can rely on to help out – like you have dinner at your parents every weekend and they pay for it. Maybe your family relies on you and you could save money if they didn’t. Well, you can’t really cut out your family now can you? You could throw daycare in here too. If you have a family member to babysit for little to nothing then you save money on daycare. A large amount of money – which also varies depending on where you live.

Access

So I guess I’m saying one of the problems with giving advice on the Internet is you don’t know what kind of access a person has to resources – necessary resources or just things that are nice to have.  Like, I live under an hour from an ikea, and they have cheap furniture – but not everyone lives that close to an ikea.

 

*This post was actually sitting in draft form on my hard drive since sometime last summer. I finally finished it because I was looking for something to write today.

Owning books, having a house

Conversation with husband after seeing a picture of a great home library on twitter:

Me: …..so the next house we have should have a room for a library, then the living room would have space for living room stuff.

Him: *makes face looking at the 6ftish tall book shelves flanking the flat screen*

Him: what I’m hearing is twice the space for the books. Have all the books!

Me: *laughs* no, wait. I was thinking…. Then I’d have to go in the room to see the books, otherwise I wouldn’t see the books everyday!

Him: we married well didn’t we.

Me: *laughing* yes!

Adult (College) Student

I have plans to write up a series of blog posts regarding being an adult college student. The posts would include things like good note taking tools or how to write under a deadline @ Starbucks.

One of the most important things for note-taking? Good quality pens, pencils, paper…

My brain on life

Today I went to a class I didn’t need to go to… as in there was no class today. Instead of getting annoyed and going home I decided to see my advisor about adding a minor degree to my education/degree plan/etc. Then, for shits and giggles, I decided to see what it would take to get a double major instead. It turns out, potentially, in theory, unofficially, it won’t really take any extra work. Like the worst part would be 1 extra semester and taking 2 advanced writing classes. Of course this is unofficial. I have to decide and then go talk to advisors again.

But, the other part. Rounding up, I need less than 40 hours to graduate from my bachelors. If I double major then that would be less than 40 hours for 2 bachelors. Yes, two. Of those 40 hours, 15 can go towards the masters I want to take. (They call it fast-tracking.) I have started this semester saying I’m a junior and don’t know how long I’ll be a junior to I’ll be graduating in two years, and that is WITH the masters.

Add this onto the rest of my plans for life (our plans) and I (we) can be married in 2010-2011. In theory that’s two years of paying on credit cards. We could be looking at houses or in a house in 2012. I can now have answers to questions like: When are you getting married? When are you graduating? When..? When…? When…?

My brains is threatening to implode. I’ve gone from not being sure how long I’ll be in school (read as: I’ll be in school forever!) to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel AND knowing it’s not the oncoming train.

To do: Besides not let my brain implode, or explode, of course. Go over the degree plans, and actually think about this on my own time. Then talk to both advisors for both degrees. Confirm that all the information I have is correct.

Appliances

Finally! Finally!

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for a new dryer. (The old one was basically one setting of everything and took loooooooooooong time to dry anything.) The new dryer has a stainless steel drum, the lint trap in the front (instead of from the top which I hate) and tons more controls and such. I have options besides high heat. I have options besides air drying all our shirts in a very small space or shrinking all our clothes on high heat!

And, luckily, I found the dryer we wanted on sale (online only) from Home Depot (though I wouldn’t suggest getting delivery from Home Depot cause they don’t do what they say) that was still cheaper AFTER the delivery charge. I think OP was a little amazed at how painless it was to have the dryer delivered. (They put a new cord, a new exhaust hose and checked to make sure it ran/heated up.) They also took away the old one.

So now I’m doing the laundry that’s been waiting for the new dryer. Specifically…the slipcover off the couch and the rugs in the kitchen. The new dryer even looks to be slightly smaller (like inch or two) than the old one.

Both washer and dryer are GE with stainless steel drums in ’em.