It's that season again ... the dreaded cold and flu season. I am no doctor, I'm just a mom of three kids, but I am so sick and tired of hearing the same warnings year after year; "You better button up, you're gonna catch the flu," or "Throw away your toothbrush, if you keep it you'll get sick again," or my all-time favorite, "Here, here, use this." *Squirts a ton of Germ-X or Purell or whatever name brand hand sanitizer there is within arms reach*
When I go to work and have to take one of my fifteen minute breaks, I take the opportunity to hop online and check out the latest news on Yahoo!. Of late, the site seems more gossipy than it has ever felt in the past, and I've been an avid Yahoo! user since I was 13-years-old. I choose to ignore the majority of the "gossip" stories and try to stick with the news, to see what's going on in the world.
On Monday, one headline read, "200 Pound 3rd Grader Put Into Foster Care." Being a foster child myself until the age of 13 (technically 10, as I was adopted by the family that I moved in with at age 10), I was intrigued (if not, morbidly curious) at what this child's parents had done to make the state intervene in such a manner. Did this child's mother force feed him, like that mother that killed her baby by force feeding it? Or, did the child want to win some sort of Guinness Book of World Records contest by being the largest 8-year-old, and did the mother allow that? Instead of coming up with other wild and weird scenarios, I decided to read the story.
This is a blog post that has absolutely nothing to do with my writing, except for the fact that I feel like writing about it.
I just got a phone call from my kid's doctor telling me my youngest has a reported 22 on his lead blood test. A normal 3 year old should be below 10 and his is 22. Even an adult should be below 20. Last year we had this scare, his levels were really high and when re-tested, they were reported much lower. At that time we were renovating our upstairs apartments and had a possible explanation for the increase in levels; our babysitter had fallen asleep and wasn't watching him while he went upstairs - where the renovations were being done. We don't know for sure if there is lead paint, we've tested some areas and the majority was wallpaper, with the exception of the upstairs. He never goes up there. Renovations are done in one apartment, and the other apartment just needs to be painted and have a kitchen put in. No lead paint there either. Where are these high levels coming from?
So the doctor would like my older children tested as well. I'm freaking out! What if they're higher too? How? Where is this lead?
The nurse, lovely lady there, suggested it could be the water pipes. She told me to let the water run a while before serving it, but I don't even recall giving my children tap water often. Even when making juice (kool-aid), I let the water run, or use bottled water.
I'm really hoping when they all get tested, it turns out to be nothing. I'm really worried that the lead is somewhere, lurking, like a silent monster ready to strike. My house is old, but still ...
My youngest isn't even home the majority of the time. He's over his great-grandmother's house. Even on the weekends, he's never upstairs or in the basement. Does this mean it really is my pipes? I'm always using water in my cooking, but wouldn't the boiling get rid of the lead - if there was any to begin with?
I don't have the money to remove every single pipe from my house, but this is my children's health and safety we're talking about. They're more important, and I must do anything and everything possible to protect them. Sigh ... Fingers crossed the hospital's blood work/tests come back normal.
I know this topic has absolutely nothing to do with writing, but I did make a promise to myself this year that I would write something every day, even if it's a blog entry. So here it is.
I'm fat. There I said it. I will freely admit it. I do not feel comfortable in my own skin. I have a hard time breathing when I walk a certain length. I have a hard time going shopping for clothes so much that I actually hate it. Seeing my size increase as much as it has, bothers me. Some may say, well then do something about it. I have, sort of. I've cut down on soda - which has been a HUGE staple for me these past ten years. I rarely eat junk food, sweets bother me and make me feel all icky inside. But I do imbibe at times. I look at my pantry and in my fridge and see what's in there and it makes me cringe.
Chicken Helper, Tuna Helper, Hamburger Helper, canned tuna fish (Light), spaghetti (cheap-o brand, not even whole wheat), Hunts spaghetti sauce, box-o-rice (white, not even brown or multigrain), and other obvious no-no's if one wants to lose weight.
Why is my pantry filled with so many bad things? Well, as I realized last night while grocery shopping, I can't afford the 'good things'. My budget right now is so tight, I'm lucky I can afford the things I bought. No wonder the US is having such a crisis. Those on welfare and receiving food stamps (I'm assuming), can only afford the junk - unhealthy foods - because they get more for their buck. If they bought health foods, it'd eat up all of their money and they wouldn't be able to feed their family. When you have a family of five and you're grocery budget is less than $150 a week, you can get more to feed the family when the food is cheap and completely processed. It's so awful. Why can't healthier foods be cheaper? Why does a salad for dinner have to cost more than a few boxes of spaghetti and sauce?
A Salad in cost ...
1 cucumber - $.89
1 red pepper - $.69
1 green pepper - $.69
A head of lettuce - $2.39 or a bag of lettuce - $2.50
Total: $4.66 or $4.77
I hate to say this but, that salad won't even fill my family up. They'd be looking for more. I didn't even include tomatoes or other salad 'staples'.
So let's switch it up and compare what I normally would spend my $4.77.
1 and 1/2 box of regular spaghetti - $1.50 or whole wheat pasta $2.39
1 can Hunts spaghetti sauce - $.98
1 tsp of Parmesan cheese x 5 - $.76
Total: #3.24 or $4.13
For a meal that will fill my family (meaning, they won't be looking for something else after dinner), I'm even saving money. But it's not healthy, not at all. Even with switching to the whole wheat pasta, I'm still spending a little less, but the meal is still essentially the same. Pasta is really only good for people who can burn off the calories.
I don't burn off calories sitting on my butt all day working in front of a computer, answering phone calls. Nor, by the time I get home after my hour drive, do I have time to do anything but get dinner made, children's homework complete, showers/baths, and children to bed. I'm sitting down again at the end of the night, exhausted. I'm lucky I burned off a total of 100 calories in my day.
But that's just me. I have to make a lot of changes, I'm sure, to make it work out the way it's supposed to. Until I make those changes, I'm just going to remain fat and unhealthy.
Changes I have to make - cut down the drive time, sitting time, computer time. Add more exercise. Unfortunately I'm not able to do that ... the times ya know? Need the job, so have to keep the ride, sitting time and computer time. Exercise will just have to be factored in there somewhere, just have to figure out where.
But anyways ... I'm done with this topic. I kind of got myself into a tangent and need to step away before I say something that will get me in deep doo-doo. LOL
Obviously I am the reason for my problem and the only way it'll get fixed is if I fix it. So send me your recipes for healthy living and cooking. Send me your encouragement and advice. I can certainly use it ... especially if you're in the same boat and have figured out a way to make it work.
But yeah ... send me some recipes!
J. A. Titus
Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend and Wife. Full-time worker, part-time worker, and writer. Lover of anything Eeyore, reality cooking, and horror. Eclectic music taste, reading taste, and movie taste. No need to further question my mentality, it's been wrapped up in this little summary. :)