Friday, April 11, 2014

Junk Food Throwback

What is it about family that drags you back to your childhood eating habits?

Before I begin I want to say adamantly that my parents made sure that my brothers and I had a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day of my childhood.

However, I was blessed with growing up in the late seventies and eighties. The time when junk food became...well junk food. Fast food consumption increased exponentially as more and more women returned to the workforce. Packaged and processed foods were easier to direct your attention to for snacking. Opening a bag of Doritos was much easier than washing and cutting an apple. Not to mention that grocery stores were offering specials on Little Debbie's and potato chips rather than salad greens and bananas.

Needless to say my childhood holds memories of Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms for breakfast; Kool-Aid and Fudge Stripes for a snack; Ballreich's chips for lunch; Jell-O pudding pops for dessert and Pepsi with our buttered popcorn at night.

I am by no means complaining that I had access to these delectable and highly addictive treats. I realize that many did not have the money to purchase such luxuries and I consider myself lucky that we were in a position to do so.

Let us get back to the addictive part. It is no secret that processed foods are the bane of our existence and a main reason for the decline in human health and the rise in obesity. Yet they still are readily available and if you have tried couponing you realize that the marketers of the world are still pushing you to purchase these convenience foods.

As I aged I grew into a more whole-food based diet which was by no means perfect. I still only use Jiff Peanut Butter (although in my defense I switched to natural) and always have Pepsi (never diet) in my fridge.

Both my brother's diets also grew to appreciate more non-processed foods, which took a huge hit when they started having children. Mac & Cheese and chicken nuggets are universally loved by all children and sometimes dinner is a fight not worth fighting. But overall the three of us made it out of our childhood into a better-for-you world of food.

Except when we are together.

My brother and his family visited this past week and both of us are "dieting" (him more than me). When shopping for food I spent little time on the outside of the store and more time in the cookies and chip aisle. It is a habit. I revert to what I know. So sure we had some healthy-ish meals but we also partook in PB & J sandwiches, chips, fruit snacks and of course Chips Ahoy cookies.
I would love to say that this is an isolated incident but this sort of thing occurs every time I am with my family. When I go home to my parent's house and we all get together it is like snack world exploded onto our table. At home on a regular basis I rarely snack and drink pop (soda, Coke, whatever you want to call it) maybe 2 or 3 times a month.

At Mom & Dad's? I snack constantly and drink at least 2 pops a day.

Is it for comfort? Is it complete regression? I really don't know.

What I do know is that nothing will change unless ALL of us decide it is the right thing to do. We all have health issues that need to be addressed and cutting out processed foods would absolutely be a step in the right direction.

Might be time to hold a family meeting and get down to business.

Either that or grab a bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream and chase it with a Nesquik chocolate milk.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I love clutter. There I admitted it for all the world to see.

When I have a job, with a desk it is a complete disaster. Piles of papers, snacks, scattered pens, etc. but I know where everything is and that makes me comfortable.

At home my spaces (and I will admit some of the shared spaces) are full of my clutter. Bills, magazines, sweatshirts, books, etc. and I am completely at peace with that.
My better half however loves things neat and tidy all the time. ALL THE TIME! Well unfortunately for him I am not made that way and lucky for me he loves me anyways.

Then there is the 5% of me that craves order and a streamlined process of all the "stuff" in our lives. I secretly love when the counters are clean, when I can shut all my drawers because clothes are folded and not just stuffed into them and when you can actually see the floor in the closet. These things do make me happy and calm. Could it be that all those Feng Shui artists are correct?

Sometimes, like fall and spring, I will go crazy and get everything in order. Then two weeks later it looks like a tornado ran through my living room. Was I just born to be a clutter bug?

While other kid's houses had the "do not touch" living room our house was always lived in. Which is a way of saying the memories made in the house were always more important than the way it looked. To this day it is why I am always immediately comfortable wherever my parents are living because they bring that mentality with them.

Can the two parts of me co-exist? Or do I have to pick a winner and stick with it?

You know it is spring so my two weeks of clutter-free existence is coming. Maybe I can hold off on making this decision until summer.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blog Focus

As I jump start my blog life I am wondering if I should lean towards a particular focus. Do I want my blog to fit into a special niche like food, travel, funny, weight loss, serious, etc.? Or I am using my blog for therapeutic reasons so my rambling can overlap many different areas?

This question has been on my mind for a while and to be honest was one of the excuses I used while not writing on it. If I could not even decide on a  theme then how could I write effectively? I am awesome at excuse making and even more awesome at excuse accepting! Not the best combination in the world.

Well truth be told I have not told anyone that I am back on the blog. When I over analyze that decision (as I do most things) I realize that this blog is my therapy especially when my actual therapist does not take my current medical insurance carrier.

I use it to explore my fears, my wants, my responsibilities, food and travel experiences, questions I feel have to be asked to the world and all the other things roadblocking my mind.

I am currently working on a book review (one of my freelance writing gigs) and part of the review is a description of how I, as a woman, process information. My description included picturing a maze (the hedge kind not corn because corn mazes give me nightmares). As I go along the hedges I am absorbing and using all the present information available to me about a certain situation. Yet when I hit a dead end I am picking up facts and signs from the past and the future. So every decision I make is based on all three (past, present and future). Most woman I know process information in a similar fashion. So as to say while most men think linearly and in the present, woman never just take the the current experience into consideration.

I think this blog is part of my process. It gives me a place to express my views on any given subject and work through any questions or issues I am having due to a past experience or future concern or dream.

Bottom line: No blog focus.

It may not make me one of the most searched and followed blogs or help me snag a writing job, but hopefully it will fulfill a recently missing piece of my thought process.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Over and Under Qualified

As previously mentioned, I currently find myself in pajamas on a daily basis staring at the computer willing the job postings to change and for my magic dream job to appear.
However, I am stuck in this awkward space between being over-qualified for jobs such as cashier or administrative assistant and being under-qualified for jobs in the technology and medical arenas.

When you are under-qualified you can talk yourself up and manipulate your skills and talents to fit the desired position, but you cannot make up certifications and degrees. This leaves you at the bottom of the stack of resumes on the human resource desk. Although I accept this outcome and understand why I am not able to take a job being a medical assistant or an IT manager.

Being over-qualified is painful. I am not afraid to work. My parents made sure my brothers and I knew and appreciated a substantial work ethic. Even though I prefer to find a job at my knowledge/skill level, I would never snub my nose at taking a job where I am over-qualified. The problem is they do not want the likes of me. Crazy talk right? They see my resume and the last 10 years of my professional life and immediately I move to the bottom of the pile of resumes again. In their eyes an applicant with my work history is not a good bet. They see me as a flight-risk because it appears that I will leave as soon as a job in my area opens up. So spending money on training me and working me into their schedule is not a cost benefit for them. Don't get me wrong, I get it, but it frustrates me to no end.

So here I sit in the middle. I cannot make up qualifications (well I could but there is something very ethically and legally wrong with that) and it would be hard to delete 10 years of my work history so I look more like a viable candidate for a position as a cashier at the local grocery store.

I had to (gulp) file for unemployment. Just writing that sentence made my stomach clench and bile enter my throat. Where I come from unemployment is a dirty word and one which you avoid at all costs. Even though it is your money, you should be working hard to not need it. It was hard but I did it because I have responsibilities to pay. It is an unfavorable sensation I feel each time I file my weekly certification and track my work searches.

So how does this all reconcile? Where do I go from here? I honestly do not know. I am trying out some freelance writing, which has proved to be an amusing distraction. But it is a hard world to break into and the pay is not always consistent.

And still you'll find me even on Saturday mornings in my pajamas scouring the internet for anything new that might meet me in the middle.

Clean Slate

Deep breathes I am starting over. 

I feel like I need to introduce myself as "Hello my name is Jackie and I am a derelict blogger."

 In reality life just happened and when push came to shove the blog slipped the cracks.

I have now been given the opportunity (read unemployed) to re-launch my writing passion and the best place for me to do that is right here in front of billions of would-be readers. I could certainly go on and on about where I have been and what has been happening but I need this cold glass of water in the face in order to commit to living a different life. 

I hope you enjoy what you read and if you have any comments or questions please let me know. Thank you for your support.