Category Archives: Diet, Health and Exercise

I’m fucked. I’m fine. The unemployment mood tracker

Today I thought it would be fun to chart my moods swings over the past several months of unemployment.  As you can see from the below, it’s been very up and down, but upon closer analysis I’ve actually uncovered some interesting tidbits. 

The "I'm Fine. I'm Fucked" Unemployment Mood Tracker

  1. My insomnia started when I was in my “fuck-you pink-slip” high phase, which as it turns out was likely fueled by high levels of cortisol running through my body. How did I know my cortisol was crazy? Well, there was the obvious physical evidence (a flourishing muffin top), but to rule out ice cream consumption as the main cause of the muffin top growth spurt, my chiropractor suggested I take a saliva stress test to measure biochemical imbalances. As it turns out, my cortisol levels were three times higher than normal at bedtime, which explains my inability to sleep. No sleep exacerbates anxiety. Anxiety means cortisol. Cortisol and ice cream feeds the muffin top that in turn gets me all hopped up on shitty foods (and caffeine) that prevent sleep. Wee…what a fun cycle!! My naturopath, who interpreted the results of the stress test, used words like “adrenal fatigue” and “pre-diabetic conditions” so now I’m in the process of making a complete lifestyle change (diet, exercise, meditation, etc.) because the alternative doesn’t sound pleasant.
  2. The chart also indicates that despite efforts to reduce cortisol levels the past two months by using the natural remedies above (which are slow), maybe the best medicine came in the form of actually make a decision about my future.  Could all this soul-searching over the summer have been more stressful than getting a pink-slip or having a job that I didn’t enjoy? All signs point to yes.
  3. And finally, did switching to decaf actually improve my ability to make a decision about the direction of my future? I don’t have any scientific evidence that this is the case, but I can’t help but think it did. Caffeine is known to feed anxiety and when you’re sleep deprived and anxious, making an informed and rational decision is close to impossible. Instead, you seek solace in ice cream. 

Well, there’s the recap of  the “summer of Keri.” Wasn’t that a fun ride?

7 Comments

Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Mental Health, Sleep trouble

An insomniac’s guide to communication

As many of you know, I’ve been sleeping like shit for several months now and I think I’ve finally reached full blown insomnia which is what I consider a late-stage side-effect of unemployment. I keep having the biggest brain farts and it seems my first language (uh…English, duh!) has actually become my second language. I’ve started calling my new first language the “language of insomniacs” and today I thought I’d post some tricks of the insomniac trade; a survival guide of sorts to help fellow insomniacs communicate in the waking world. And, for those of you who aren’t insomniacs (lucky bastards!), this guide might serve as a translation tool should you encounter an unemployed insomniac person who’s trying to speak, but you don’t know what the hell they are saying. 

Overview. Insomnia makes it difficult to verbally articulate anything. Stringing sentences together so that it’s coherent is close to impossible and sometimes you completely use the wrong word in a sentence. For example, this weekend I said to my boyfriend “is the grill ready for refrigerator?” What the f*ck does that mean? So yeah, I do this kind of thing all the time now and I’ve decided that rather than beating myself up about feeling like a stupid dip-shit, now I’m just turning every brain fart into a game.  

  1. The sentence above  “is the grill ready for the refrigerator?” makes no sense UNLESS you’re playing a “word game” and then it makes perfect sense! I’m trying to tell my boyfriend that there’s something in the fridge that needs to go on the grill without telling him what that item is and now he needs to guess.
  2. Trouble stringing sentences together? No worries! If you speak a second language like Spanish or French, why don’t you try speaking your second language first!  Maybe insomnia only impairs your ability to recall your first language. Now, if you are like me and don’t remember any of your high school Spanish unless you’re sauced in Mexico, then you’ll have to try something else. I have resorted to using sound effects and animations to try to get my point across! This has really become my new insomniac primary language and I call it “charades with a twist.” 
  3. Misplaced items? If the coffee carafe ends up in the cupboard or the cereal box keeps ending up in the fridge, then you’ve got the makings of this fun insomniac game! I call it the “sleep deprivation scavenger hunt.” Just tell the human you live with that you’ve designed a scavenger hunt inside the house with various household items and when they find all the misplaced items, you will bake them cookies or something.

Well, I hope this was helpful.  Doubt these tricks will work in a job interview, so it’s probably best to only play these games with friends and family. Oh…and if you find any typos in this post, they aren’t typos jerkface-person-who-sleeps-well! Remember, we’re playing a “word game!”

7 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Sleep trouble, Slightly amusing

Swearing is f*ing good for you!

A-ha! I knew there was a positive reason to swear – read all about it! So, next time I’m in pain, I’m gonna use “expletive therapy” where you get to yell out a very long string of expletives to alleviate pain. 

Hmm…maybe I should start an unemployment swearing circle for those of us suffering from mental pain…who’s in?

13 Comments

Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Mental Health

Side-effects of unemployment

Early-stage side-effects: 

  1. The first human encounter of the day turns human deprived unemployed people into dogs reacting to their owner’s return home.  You’ll be greeted with rapid fire verbal diarrhea (human barking) describing in detail every single minute of our day, including showering. Our fast and furious tail wagging is displayed as jumping, clapping and possibly moon-walking. And, there’s a chance of us peeing on the floor and jumping up to lick your face because “oh my god, the humans are home! Humans, humans, humans, weeeee!”
  2. Going unshowered and wearing the same pair of house pants (or house shorts) for days on end.
  3. You become the “go to” person for your entire family and your “honey-do” list grows in size.
  4. Crying spells, laughing spells, crying spells,  laughing spells.
  5. Sleeping like shit.

Late-stage side-effects: 

  1. Still sleeping like shit.
  2. CRS (can’t remember shit) disease slowly develops making you forget things like what day of the week it is (and sometimes what month).
  3. You find yourself shirtless at a bar by noon on a Tuesday.
  4. Sipping wine at noon while doing laundry.
  5. You become progressively tardy. 
  6. You develop A.D.D. (unless you already had it). For example, you start working on your resume, then stop and get up to do something (but you can’t remember what it was because you have #1) so you walk over to the fridge and open it, as if the answer is inside. After staring at the contents of your fridge, you remember that you have to go grocery shopping, turn around leaving the fridge door open to go find a piece of paper and pen on your desk. Then, you sit down at your desk and start to read and respond to emails. Twenty minutes later your cell phone rings, so you walk back to the kitchen to answer the phone and see your fridge door open, then think to yourself “I wonder who left that open?” You shut the door and go grocery shopping.
  7. Paranoia and procrastination.
  8. Eating ice cream with a fork because as much as you like to think of yourself as innovative and resourceful, it’s really that you’ve become too lazy to wash a spoon.
  9. You employed friends start calling in sick just so they can experience a day in the life of an LOL and you decide to start charging admission.
  10. You get excited about jobs that don’t pay much on Craigs List, like the one below for a Bacontern (Marketing Intern for J&D foods). “What’s that? I get to wear a bacon costume? Rad! That’s much cooler than the gorilla costume I wanted to purchase…oh the fun I’d have this summer…”

Bacontern (marketing internship for Bacon Salt/Baconnaise)

Want a boring internship? Go work for a bank or an accounting firm. Want a fun internship that will set you on the path to a righteous marketing career? You’ve just found that and more.

We’re Justin and Dave, the two guys behind Bacon Salt® and Baconnaise®. And we’re on a mission to make everything taste like bacon. It’s an exciting time here at J&D’s Foods as our products are now in over 12,000 grocery stores around the country

We’re currently looking for a summer intern to be be the living embodiment of Bacon (often in a 7 foot tall strip of bacon costume) for a summer. We know, we know – getting dressed up as a mascot sounds like the most humiliating thing a human being can be subjected to. The reality is that it’s like being a deity, a celebrity and a superhero in one. Just imagine if Brad Pitt, Snoop Dogg and Superman walked into a room.Women swoon. Men admire you. Children adore you. People line up for pictures. The press takes your picture. Believe us when we say that this is not an oversell.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be awesome
  • Love bacon
  • Know how to have fun
  • Know when to stop (as the great David St. Hubbins once said, “It really is a fine line between clever and stupid.” We prefer clever.)
  • Be outgoing and fun
  • Be smart as hell
  • Be sane and mentally stable (despite what it may sound like, we’re actually serious about this)
  • Have a great sense of humor

8 Comments

Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Life, Slightly amusing

Pink-slip workout tips

On a tight budget and can’t afford a your gym membership anymore? Below are some ideas, many of which I’m considering as my pre-paid gym membership expires in June. I know, funny this advice should come from me, the one who couldn’t get the Muffin Top Reduction Program off the ground in April, but I am back at it and brining in reinforcements this time around (in the form of other pink-slippers)!!   

Comcast On-Demand Workouts. Up until just recently, I’ve always thought the On-Demand feature through Comcast was a stupid waste of money until I discovered the vault of FREE Exercise TV workouts, offering programs that range from super easy (1 mile in-house walking) to super cheesy (SexyChair Routine?) to super kick-your-ass pleasy (Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred)! Seriously, there’s something for everyone with yoga, pilates, cardio, dance, kick-boxing, and ab workouts (reviewed at Litegeist) and you do it all from the comfort of your own home, which means that:

  1. you don’t need to brush your teeth
  2. you can leave that drool crustacean on the corner of your mouth and
  3. you can let your muffin top hang out/shake about because nobody’s watching. Just your cat or dog, but they’ve seen it all before.

Press On-Demand, go to Sports and Fitness, the choose Exercise TV.

A jump rope. Does anyone remember Jump Rope for Heart? My Catholic grade school was all about this Jump Rope for Heart program and I remember having to hit up my neighbors for money in exchange for me jumping rope until I wanted to die – it was torture! And now that I am decades older and I’ve lost agility, coordination and lung capacity, jumping rope has become even more challenging! But, once mastered it’s a great workout. Now, I’m not going to lie to you – the rope will leave red welts on your arms and shoulders almost every time you miss a step,  but just think of this as punishment for all the time you’ve spent on the couch feeding your muffin top and take it like a man (or woman!). Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize it’s a pretty intense cardio workout. Add in some push-ups and sit-ups and you’ll be rolling muffin-top free in no time!

Punching Bags/Boxing. I actually own a heavy bag, focus mitts and other kickboxing equipment, but I have yet to figure out how to hang my heavy bag as I don’t seem to have a spare corner in my tiny house. And, none of my friends want to hold my focus mitts for me because I’m pretty aggressive and they freak out that they’ll get socked in the eye! Regardless, I do still believe that this is one of the best workouts on the planet, so if you have a heavy bag or can find a cheap one on Craig’s List, do it.  Come on – how kick ass was Rocky Balboa? (cue up Rocky theme song now). Ok, yeah his sweatsuit was super cheesy, but look at his abs and arms for god-sake? Helloooo, Rocky ;).

Stairs and Hills. If the weather ever freaking improves (remind me again – when can I break up with my puffy coat?) and you live in West Seattle, look around you people! Hills are everywhere and most have a secret set of stairs nearby! Hill climbs and stairs burn so many more calories than running or walking on flat surfaces. Add some lunges into the equation and you’ll likely end up with booty-lock (when your ass and thighs hurt so bad you can’t walk), but you’ll soon find these activities to be quite rewarding, especially in your derriere! 

Alki Strip. The strip is approximately 7 miles in length from the Harbor Avenue exit to just past the mini-Statue of Liberty and it’s a nicely paved path great for cycling, rollerblading, running and walking. However, when the sun comes out, especially on weekends, Alki turns into a melee of pimps and hoes (mostly teenagers wearing high heels & toting chihuahuas), strollers and toddlers wandering in a zig-zag pattern on the bike path. It gets pretty hairy so exercise early, or exercise extreme caution, especially when you’re on wheels.

2 Comments

Filed under Budget tips, Diet, Health and Exercise, Resources

How much for a piggy toe?

One reader wrote to tell me that the day after he lost his job a member of his family got a toe infection that required a hospital visit. After taking the piggies to the market, they returned home with one piggy down, losing the baby toe to the tune of one hundred twenty thousand dollars (yeah, $120K). Luckily, this guy still had insurance despite not having a job.

For many of us who are now unemployed thanks to the pink-slip, we are faced with some pretty tough questions when it comes to health care.

  • How much can I afford to pay per month?
  • Is it worth the risk to go without insurance? Maybe I should just cover the cost of my four kids at $2K month?
  • What deductible (soon to be debt) seems reasonable in the unfortunate even that I should have to lose my big piggy toe, an arm, a leg, or my spleen?
  • What’s the cost going to be to fix a bleeding ulcer brought about by stress thanks to the pink-slip?
  • And how much would it cost for a spleen? The surface area is much larger than a piggy toe and it seems like a much more invasive surgery with more risk. Hmm..I wonder how they’d price that out and how much plan A or B would cover if this were to happen? 

For me, there’s no question. I know that I can’t go without health insurance – it’s not worth going into financial ruin over the cost of losing a piggy toe. So after I lost my job, I did some initial research on health care options on-line at esurance.com and also reviewed some other alternatives to COBRA (see resources page of my site).  After weighing all the options, I ended up choosing COBRA because it’s finally affordable (at least for the next 9 months) thanks to the continuation coverage assistance package recently passed. While it’s not the cheapest option out there, it’s certainly the option that has the best coverage because I get to keep all my Microsoft health care benefits for about $184 (including dental), paying only 35% of my insurance premium with Uncle Sam picking up the remaining 65% (reimbursing the COBRA plan administrator). Tremendous piece of mind for me and my piggy toes.

Overall, the sign up process was pretty straightforward, but my COBRA plan administrator might be different than yours so if you still haven’t received your package, contact your HR department so they can put you in touch with your COBRA plan administrator.  I got my COBRA packet in the mail about three weeks after my termination which contained all the info I needed to sign up on-line using the unique user ID provided. Some important tidbits about this process:

  • You have to ELECT to enroll in the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) that will give you the 65% discount on your insurance premium. If you don’t enroll, no discount. 
  • You also need to do something with your former health insurance within 60 days of receiving your COBRA packet (don’t quote me on that!). The reader with the piggy toe situations strongly suggests that you don’t let your health insurance lapse otherwise it might be difficult to get insurance after the fact, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. 
  • Not everyone qualifies for the 65% COBRA reimbursement either, so do your research.
  • Payment handling is an outstanding question for me. It’s a little confusing, so I need to call the plan administrator and make sure I understand this process. All I know is they need my first payment within 45 days of signing up with COBRA, otherwise I will lose my COBRA rights under this plan.

Hope this was helpful.

1 Comment

Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Health Insurance, Resources

Muffin Top Reduction Program (MTRP)

Dear Mr. Muffin Top,

This communication confirms that, as a result of the changing seasons at Keri Corporation, your position above my waistband is being eliminated. The decision is temporary and your are welcome to return to Keri Corporation next Winter, but effective immediately you will be forced to partake in the Muffin Top Reduction Program (MTRP). If you fail to do so, your position as Mr. Muffin Top will be eliminated forever.

We’ve shared some quality time on the couch this season, wearing house pants and dining on various comfort foods while watching re-runs of  “House” and “Seinfeld.” You, with quality zerbert-making skin spilling out over the top of my waistband. And me, nurturing your growth and laughing at your cheery little jiggle for the past several months. Ah, the memories we’ve shared…like that time, after dining out on wild boar sloppy joes, you suggested we run to the grocery store to buy the makings for that lasagna we’d been eyeballing for about two months…remember? Then, when we got home and started putting the groceries away, we discovered that we didn’t actually have stuff for making lasagna. Instead we had the fixin’s for another great evening on the couch chasing Cadbury Mini-Eggs with red wine! Wow, good times.

You’ve performed well in your role at Keri Corporation, but the sun is beginning to shine now and you are not employable during the warm Summer months. Yes, I hear what you’re saying and I agree that you do tend to brown up nicely in the sun, but I will not be fooled again this year. The dark tan doesn’t create an illusion of slenderness, it simply means the white fat has been browned, like bacon in a frying pan. 

You’ve also been a great Winter companion and your penchant for dance atop the waistline of my pants, will be missed. But because I am confident that you will return to Keri Corporation next Winter, I trust that you will cooperate and take part in the Muffin Top Reduction Program (MTRP). Here are the rules:

  1. When you have a craving, you will be fed a carrot or apple rather than comfort foods like chocolate or grease.
  2. You will no longer get to wear house pants around your neck all day and sit with me on my ass. Instead, we will put you into a pair of workout pants at least four times a week. And in these new pants, we will go for long walks in the park or we might head into the gym where you can visit with the other muffin tops going through their own transformation programs on eliptical machines.
  3. We will also start cycling. Yes, I know you hate being forced into a pair of cycling shorts because they tend to cut off your circulation, but it’s for the best.
  4. You will not be fed past 8pm.
  5. And finally, you will not be encouraged to grow and jiggle. That means no more zerberts and no more dancing. Sorry.

14 Comments

Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Life, Self-deprecation, Slightly amusing