Archive for January, 2009

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confessions of a shopaholic-in-rehab

27 January 2009

I can pinpoint the exact moment that I bought into (or became a victim of!) the culture of consumerism. It didn’t happen to me up until I was a freshman in college. It was when I opened my first J. Crew catalog in college, circa November 1995. Prior to that, I was a happy, clueless, I-don’t-like-shopping type of a girl.

When I was in high school, I held a part-time job and saved up for things that I wanted. I was very financially responsible. My parents were living in NYC, but I stayed behind in Los Angeles to finish high school. I got a part-time job so that they wouldn’t have to shell out spending money for me. I used this money for my own stuff and it went a long way. This is because I wasn’t into going to the mall; I wasn’t into shopping; nor did I go out to restaurants or bars.

I bought my clothes from thrift shops like Goodwill, and from a lot cool consignment shops lined up on Melrose Ave or La Brea. My shoes of choice were my trusty Doc Martens and I owned probably 2 other black pairs of shoes. That was it. The only times I went out to spend money was to go see bands or movies. We didn’t go out to eat, we stayed in or went to free parties. It was a very, very simple life. I bought what I could afford and that was that. Thus, I always had money whenever I needed it.

That shit flew out the window once I got to college. When I stepped foot at my college gates, I was greeted by workers from Citibank who enticed me to sign up for a credit card along with gifts of a free phone, hamper, binders, and other knickknacks. It was almost like you couldn’t pass through without going through the gauntlet of creditors lined up in front of you! I had no clue about APRs, principals, etc! I just signed up!

And as I made friends and acquaintances in college, that’s when the shit really hit the fan. I was introduced to the world of catalogs! (Remember, this was circa 1995 so the internet still wasn’t big). J. Crew! Delia’s! Nice brown packages would be waiting for me to pick up! I don’t know how I just succumbed. I saw other girls do it, and so I did it myself! Gone were my Docs. Now I suddenly had 7 pairs of shoes to pick and choose from! No more simple, thrift store clothes or clothes from cheap-o stores. I replaced them with duds from J. Crew, Banana, and the like. It was like I just ordered for the sake of ordering, not realizing that I was racking up debt galore! But it didn’t matter. I had to keep up with the Joneses. I had to buy the new “it” bag –I remember my friend Julie showing me her new Kate Spade bag and I had to have one. I remember another friend who had Ralph Lauren stuff so I went out and got me some duds as well. Kate Spade soon gave way to Fendi, Gucci, and Prada. You can say Kate Spade was my gateway drug.

It was sad. I held a part-time job to tide me over, but it was soon apparent that my parents had to step over. So I started sending them the bill. They had a fit but helped me pay. After all, I was just a student at the time.

Law school was when I tried to shut it all down and started to try to live simply again. Try was the operative word. It was a slow process. I studied my credit, read books on finances, became a fan of Suze Orman. It worked so that by the time I graduated, I got my credit card bill down to $500 (from an amount I won’t even tell you) with the help of the cash we got from our wedding and some admonishing by the hubs. And since rockstar baby’s birth, I haven’t really bought anything “designer” on a whim. My favorite store is Target. My favorite purse is a $3.50 tote I bought at Old Navy. I’m really, really trying to curb it. And in 2006, I got my balance back down to a respectable amount before I went out for maternity leave. Unfortunately, it ballooned back up during my maternity leave because I had no money! What can I say, it’s a process.

The balance still goes up and down, but at least now I scrutinize my bill and haggle my APR down to the last percentage point.

Now I know how to use credit cards wisely. And only when I really, really need it.

Like to buy a new Rock Band 2 bundle for my Wii. Hee-hee.

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a wrinkle in time

14 January 2009

Right now, I’m having a hard time managing…well, my time.  As a full-time working mom of two very young kids, my hours are all accounted for (almost down to the last minute).  Here’s a glimpse of an average 24-hour day for me and you tell me where I can be more productive.  Yes, it looks long and boring, but bear with me.

6.40 am – Lil C starts stirring about to let us know she’s awake.

6.45 – alarm goes off

6.50 – I get out off bed and hit the showers

7.05 – I start dressing up and amuse Lil C (who is of course, fully awake but behaving in her crib which happens to be in our room because she still wakes up at least once a night)

7.10 – Rockstar kid’s door opens and he starts his day by yelling “mommy! i want to go to your room!”  We let him in. Then it’s the hubs’ turn to hit the showers.

7.15 – I dress up and dress up Lil C at the same time

7.30 – If the hubs hasn’t started, then I dress up the rockstar kid.  We all hurry downstairs.

7.30 to 7.45 – I get the kids’ school stuff ready, and my own shit ready (which is always partially ready from the night before); the hubs puts on the kids’ winter gear and puts Lil C in her car seat.

7.50 to 8 am – We shuffle to the car; strap in kids, and I head off to drop the kids off to school (aka daycare); the hubs goes to work.  If we’re good, we sometimes make it to the car by 7:45 am! It takes me about 5 minutes to get to school.

8 – 8.15 – Morning drop-off; settle the kids to school.  Then I head to work.

8.45 – park car; stop by McDonald’s to get coffee and breakfast burrito (the $1 kind), walk a blocks to work.

8.50 – at desk, dump stuff, put on make-up, go up to court.  If I get to work early, I eat at my desk.

9 am – sip coffee, sneak bites of burrito in jury room, shoot the shit. Work.

9.15 to 12.30 pm – work (Mondays, Wed-Fri are my really busy days)

12.30 to 1.30 – lunch (recently, I’ve been going to physical therapy during this time which takes about 15 minutes).  On non-busy days and I don’t have to go back to court, I go to Target and/or run errands, or go out to eat with co-workers.  I bring my lunch at least 3x a week.

1.30 to 3.30 – back in court (usually, I’m done by 3.30.  Sometimes, I’m there until 4, 4.30)

3.30 to 4.45  – work on files, socialize, snack, surf.

4.45 to 5 pm – I bounce!

5.30 to 5.45  – I pick up the kids. The hubs and I take turns although I usually do Mon, Wed, and Fri pick-ups.  On the nights I don’t have to pick them up, I go home and start on dinner.

5.45 to 6 pm – we are home! Mad scramble begins because I usually try have rockstar kid’s dinner ready by 6-6.15 pm.  If I’m lucky, Lil C is asleep from the ride home; we wash up, then we start eating.  Eating takes place in the living room.  In front of the TV.  *sigh*

6 to 7 pm – dinner time for everyone; sometimes I let Lil C sleep until 7 pm, then I feed her afterwards.  But I usually wake her up at 6:30 if she’s still snoozing.

7 to 7.30 pm – playtime.  Lately I’ve been using this time to wash dishes if I can.

7.30 – bathtime for Lil C, then bedtime by 8 pm (on a good night).  Lil C’s bath/bed routine is done by moi.

8 pm – bathtime for Rockstar kid. Then begins the long, laborious process of getting him to actually sleep (ritual includes the reading of 5 books!) -this is done by the hubs, although on occasion, I will have to get involved.

9 to 9.30  – the kids are down for the night!!  I wash dishes and clean up. Prepare tomorrow’s lunches.  Try to tidy up.  Sometimes this runs late.  Sometimes, I skip washing the dishes although I am trying not to.

9.30 to 10.45/11 pm – I watch TV, go on the comp, read or whatnot.  This time is actually meant for me to do exercise (so far, I’ve only done HipHop Abs once at 10 pm)

11 pm – lights out for me and the hubs

sometime around 3, or 4 or 5 am, Lil C will wake up and thus, so will I.  I give her a bottle, then go back to sleep.  Cycle begins all over again.

***

Okay, you still with me?  I know, I know.  So boring, but that is basically my average 24-hour day.  Your job is to help me identify a good time to squeeze in exercise!  My goal this year is to get fit, remember?  So I was thinking that I can start jogging/walking in the morning IF I wake up at 6 am (once Spring hits, of course.  Not when it’s like 10 degrees outside like today).   Or squeeze in a DVD around 8:30 pm and just cut-out any ‘me’ time.  What do you think?   I had also hoped to actually start going to the gym after I put Lil C down, but I don’t think that’s realistic.  I will reserve actual gym time for the weekends.

I also am getting the Nintendo Wii (scheduled to ship on January 23! Yay!) in the hopes that I can use it for exercise!  I heard it actually works and will get you moving.  

My goal is to also do more chores during the week so that I don’t have to do them on the weekends.  So on occasion, I’ll do a load of laundry and fold it after the kids are asleep.

And incidentally, if you’re wondering what the hubs does at night (aside from bathing the boy), he’s in charge of feeding the boy, taking the trash/recyling out, shovelling, picking up dinner if need be, and will occasionally wash the dishes.

It gets better on the weekends.  We actually get to play more with the kids, and we actually go out too!  The hubs usually goes out Friday nights, and I usually do brunch/lunch/dinner with my friends on either Saturday or Sunday.  We also do family playdates with other families or kid-friendly friends. 

But hot damn, being a full-time working parent is totally demanding.

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on boobies

5 January 2009

So when I first found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I thought was “Yes! I get to have bigger boobs!” (of course, this is in addition to being happy I was having a baby and all that fun stuff). But my eyes were on the prize = B or C cups baby!

What a crock. My boobs hardly inflated. I mean they looked fuller and all; some of my friends commented I looked chestier than usual, but I never had to buy a bigger bra cup or anything like that. I certainly wasn’t like my fellow A-cup friend who got C’s post-baby. Or my co-worker who went from B-cups to F’s!! Yes, F’s!! (Uhm, I don’t want F’s for the record).

There was a point were they did look like a balloons to me (although in comparison, they would still be less than C’s). When my milk came in about 2 days post-delivery, they looked like I stuffed water balloons in them. Like I had bad implants done. And they freaking hurt like crazy. And leaked like crazy. But as I breastfed, they went back to their normal size.

The second time I got preggo, same thing happened. Still no big boobs. And now, at about 4.5 months after the last time I breastfed (I stopped fully at the beginning of October 2008), they look absolutely deflated. They look smaller than when I started. To me, they look like sad, saggy half-filled water balloons. I mean, WTF?!

My co-worker said the same thing about hers. Funny enough, we both had our kids at approximately the same time frame (both for our 1st kid, and our 2nd kid). Hers didn’t get huge either, and now she claims she’s smaller than she started as well. She wants implants. She wants to buy boobies as a treat to herself.

As for me, I would never buy boobies. I don’t think anything’s wrong with it at all. It’s just that if I would ever have any cosmetic procedure done, it would be for lipo (thighs, arms, and belly) and not boobs.

I guess having big boobies isn’t in the stars for me.

* * * * *

While I’m here, I just want to give myself a pat on the back for having 2 posts already! LOL. I had a few more resolutions in mind for 2009, and writing more posts is definitely on the list. Along with:

19. Gain more muscle, lose fat, get toned! (I know I am not fat; I mean with the shit I eat, I’m surprised I don’t weigh more than 112 pounds on an average basis, but I would like to get my toned self back).
20. Eat healthier. See above. I have the shittiest diet on the planet. I have McDonald’s for breakfast about 3x a week, eat massive amounts of pork and red meat, do not consume veggies or fruits, and live on coffee, ice cream, and chocolate. I got to change all that if I want to live to see my baby boy and girl get married!

Help me.

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happy 2009!

2 January 2009

Happy New Year peeps! It’s been a while (yes, even though I said I’d start posting regularly again)! I know you readers miss me (yes, all 3 of you) and I totally miss writing on a regular basis.

Why the sporadic posting? Well first of all, taking care of 2 kids is much more different than taking care of just 1 kid –lots of my time and energy goes to them and by the time they’re down for the night, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of the computer and think of something witty to say. Secondly, I just lost the passion to write on a regular basis. I do write for myself, but I also like feedback. So no feedback = no encouragement. But I’m over it. My new motto is: if you type it, they will come, right?! LOL.

The third reason I haven’t written is that I was trying to make changes in my life that just didn’t happen. Again, a lot of my time and energy was sapped trying to make the change happen and it took a while. The change hasn’t happened yet, but now I think it’s a good thing. Or rather, now I’m embracing what I do have and learning to live with it. Cryptic, huh? I think most of you can try to figure out what “change” I was trying to make (and if not, I’d be happy to tell you via email).

But that’s that for my absence.

2008 was a great year for me. We were blessed with Lil C (born 2.15.08) and I have totally forgotten what life was like without her. She’s almost a year old; it’s hard to recall the first tough months trying to care for both kids at the same time (maybe because I blocked it out of my mind). Now, we have our schedule down pat and Kuya Rockstar is equally enthralled and enraged by her (he’s still jealous, but you can tell he loves her to pieces). It’s so much fun watching them play together and I can’t wait until she’s older and starts talking back to him.

Rockstar baby is not a baby anymore. So I’m thinking I should retire that term. He’ll be 3 in February but he’s already acting like a precocious pre-teen. I mean, he tells me to leave him alone and everything! He’s such a smart kid, but we’re so behind on the toilet-training! Each day is different. Some days, he’s ok with it, and most days, he’s not!

Me: Okay, it’s time to do pee-pee on the potty today. So you tell me when you’re ready and we can go to the bathroom because you’re a big kid now.
Him: I’m not ready yet.
Me: Okay you can go later.
Him: No, I want you to change me on the table. I’m still a baby.

Crazy antics.

Everyone in the family is in good health, we have good jobs and a cozy home to call our own, and despite the economic downturn, we’re all good. We have good friends who support us, care about us and the kids, and the hubs and I still have that spark going.

I can’t really complain, although the hubs will tell you that I do! But he knows my only real complaint is that we can’t afford to renovate our home yet. So we’re back to the year 2010 as the year to do our big home renovation. I guess I can wait.

This year, I’m trying to be more positive and be the best version of myself that I can be. My new year’s resolutions are:

1. Save money. Write down everything I spend money on. Spend wisely.
2. Eliminate debt slowly but surely.
3. Be more organized.
4. Go through the mail each night and don’t let the junk mail pile up.
5. Clean the house as much as possible each night.
6. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
7. Let go of friends/people who have become acquaintances. It’s not my responsibility to always initiate contact.
8. Go to sleep earlier.
9. Wake up earlier so that I’ll have time for myself in the morning to actually make coffee and eat breakfast.
10. Make my own coffee in the morning.
11. Go to the gym at some point. Even if it’s just once a week.
12. Do my stupid HipHop Abs DVD at least once a week!
13. Toilet train rockstar boy.
14. Be nicer to my parents.
15. Stop yelling at the kids.
16. Stop comparing myself to others.
17. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
18. Be happy.