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Recently I discovered something about myself. While I would consider myself an organized person, and I've been described as efficient by people who know me well, and even a few who don't, I'm not very good at planning things. So now that I know this about myself, I can start learning how to become a better planner. Today at work I wrote out a schedule for the kids in After School Care. Last week I wrote out a snack and craft list, and that came in handy today because I lost my voice over the weekend so I'm getting a sub to cover for me tomorrow. This year has been going smoothly as far as my students go. Most of them are returning from last year, and two of the new girls that I routinely watch are very sweet. We redid the playground, it has a fence now which extends our play area, and some new equipment that we're still excited about.

I picked up another job recently. One night I was waiting to meet a friend when I stopped in for curry at my favorite Asian restaurant in town. I saw a sign that said 'Now Hiring' so I asked the owner about it. He mentioned that he needed someone for the 10:30 - 2:00 shift, and since I don't have to start my other job until 2:45, I thought that this might work. So now I work almost every day at After School Care, and once or twice a week at the restaurant. It's a physically demanding job which I don't mind much, it's a bit stressful since I'm new, and the owners are particular about the way that they want things done, but I really enjoy talking with the people who come in because I never know who is going to come in next. We pool tips and divide them once a month so I don't get to keep what I earn, on the other hand, I get a cut when I'm not working so that's nice. My boss gave me an extra dollar an hour, and hopefully he thinks I'm earning that.

The restaurant is about five miles away from my current home, school is 2.2 miles away, so I'm making less money than I have in the past, but I think I've found jobs where I respect the people I work with, they treat me well, and I'm not coming home exhausted and drained even though it's a lot of time on my feet, and some really bizarre things happen when you work with food and children. A friend of mine works upstairs in the study hall at room so it's nice to be able to talk to her. I love learning about new foods, how to prepare them, and I'm proud of the meals our kitchen turns out. My family enjoys eating there, and it's lovely to dine at a very clean restaurant where I can get a side of broccoli to go with my children's burgers. I normally work the lunch shift, yesterday I had to work at night, and it made me really appreciate my current hours.

In other news, I'm moving into a condo which is not far from the restaurant I work at. It started out as my husband searching for places for my dad to live. He's not doing well, and we thought moving him closer to me would be better because I have the time to check in on him more often. My condo isn't very big, but I'm happy to have a place to call mine. I was going to get a one bedroom place, but then my husband said I would want to have the girls over, so now I'll be moving into a two bedroom townhouse. I've always wanted white wicker furniture, and I've never really thought of myself as extremely feminine, but I'm finding that hidden streak in myself as I go about getting ready to move. I hate carpeting so we're putting in bamboo flooring. It arrived today, and the boards were so silky smooth I wanted to kiss them.

We only have money to do the downstairs so the bedrooms are going to have to wait. Fortunately I haven't had to spend much on furniture. I bought the wicker pieces off of Craigslist, my neighbor had borrowed some mixing bowls from me when she was still alive, and when I went over to ask her husband about them, he said I could have some of her dishes. I gave him some money for them since I know he could use it, he was very appreciative of that, and we ended up going through a back bedroom where his wife had left quite a few bins and boxes for us to go through. She was a stock piler, things were neat, but it made me sad to see some of the nice linens that she never wanted to use sitting there yellowing in boxes because it was too good for everyday use. They have well made furniture that he could sell, the style is not very contemporary, and I'd love to help, but I have to be realistic about how much I can take on right now.

Money is going to be tight so I'm considering my career options. I make enough to cover my basic living expenses, but I know that cars break down, things come up, and that's why I really need help putting together a budget. I have four debts left, and I'm at the tail end of two of them. I think I can wipe those out by Christmas, I'd like to be one of those people who has short term, mid term, and long range financial goals. My car is paid off, and I'm so grateful for that. I know how to be frugal in the kitchen, and I think that the girls are going to find some changes have been made when they come over. My husband and I are both going to strive for more minimalism at our respective homes. At first we're thinking we'll each take one of the girls. They've been fighting as siblings do, this will give each of them some one on one time with mom/dad, and then we'll flip so the other child gets their turn.

We've not been the parents we wanted to be, but I'm happy that we recognize that changes need to be made. We've been getting along much better since we made the decision to buy the condo. I was hesitant to spend that much, this is how our buying the home we currently have started as well, fortunately I have learned a few things along the way so even though I'd love to rush out and buy paint and other things I think I need, I'm trying very hard to control myself, and mostly succeeding. The wicker furniture was originally $450, but the woman agreed to $350 since I didn't need the bed. I got a dresser, an armoire, a desk, a mirror, a chair, and two nightstands for that. I have a patio area off the first floor, and I'd like to use the chair, nightstands, and some larger plants to create an area to read or talk or think.

My husband bought me a table that needs to be refinished. My sisters have a small breakfast bar type table that I can probably get. My inlaws are giving me a hideous, but very well made couch, and I could have the chairs that go with it except I don't think I'll have room for them. My aunt gave me a hamper, I'm going to put a chair in front of my balcony in my room. I'm getting a bed from my husband's uncle, and my husband said I could have the bunk beds at home. We have single beds that the girls used before we bought the bunk bed set, and we have extra bedding although I don't want to spend a lot on heat so I'd like flannel sheets for us all. There are other things I'd like to have, cool art, a bistro table, a giraffe statue that I found, a really cool yoga studio, but for now I'm content to be living on my own although I know there will be times when I question why I wanted to move out so badly.

The plan is to have my husband over for breakfast once a week, and to have at least one family day where the four of us can hang out together. It's funny how I'm starting to appreciate the things he does, and the knowledge he has. We're not getting divorced, we're going to see how this new arrangement works before heading to court again. He doesn't want to date other people, I wouldn't mind having someone to go to baseball games with, or a partner who appreciated my cooking, but those are not great reasons to get a divorce so for now I'm going to keep things status quo. It's a very turbulent time, my oldest is excited about the condo, my youngest is more ambivalent. I'm sure they'll both miss daddy at times, and it's wonderful that our homes are only a ten minute drive away from the other person.

I started this school year with a bad chest infection that led to two separate three day fasts. I wasn't hungry so I didn't eat. I've put on weight recently, and I didn't really plan on fasting either of those times just like I didn't plan on the fast I'm doing now, I have no regrets though. I found a fabulous resource that covers how to fast, how long to fast, how to break a fast, and why self control and self discipline are at the root of why many struggle with their weight. Until this fast, I didn't realize that I needed to rethink how I thought about food. I'm going to order the Fit For Life book which the author recommends mainly because it includes a month long recipe chart and food guide at the end. I need a plan. Once I know what the plan is, I can follow, or choose not to, the plan, but without a plan, I find it much more difficult to be consistent.

The other night I watched a YouTube on protein that was riveting. I know a lot more about what it is, the types, and why my so called healthy diet may not have been as great as I thought it was since I was consuming an excessive amount. For how simple food can be, there is an endless wealth of information out there, and it's hard to know who to trust, or determine what is going to work best for you. Another book I'd like to get is Grain Brain. The author is the only neurologist with a nutrition degree, he advocates a grain free diet, but includes plenty of protein which counters what Dr Tel Oren said in his lecture. Another YouTube discussed how proteins become denatured with cooking, and how the body cuts the bonds to access amino acids. I don't believe that eating meat is wrong, or unethical, I just want to feel better, and figure out what my body wants me to be feeding it.

Stress interferes with digestion so it will be interesting to see how moving out affects that if it does at all. I'll be in control of what I eat, when I eat, and I've more recently discovered that I've been subtly controlled for the majority of my life because that's the way I was raised, and I didn't recognize that as the danger it was. I don't think my husband intentionally controls me, I have a role in that too, but I'm gradually learning to stand up for myself because my opinions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are valid, and I don't need anyone to tell me that I shouldn't feel a certain way, or have to walk around on egg shells because I don't know when the hammer is going to fall next. To get back to the fast which is helping me obtain clarity, tomorrow will be the two week mark, and I'm really proud of myself for going past my previous five day record.

I've lost weight, that's not the point of this though. Just as the goal of yoga is not physical, fasting has a mental and for me, a significant spiritual component that transcends how my clothes fit. Saturday we went to a party at my aunt's. No one commented on my weight loss which means that I'm doing something right. It's gratifying to feel this way despite some of the physical discomfort I'm dealing with right now. Sometimes people ask when I'm going to get a real job. Both of my jobs are very part time, but I'm happy doing what I can to make the restaurant and school better places. I have an agenda at work and at school. Food and education are important to me, I feel as if the customers and my students appreciate my efforts, and that's ultimately a better reward than a paycheck that didn't go far enough when I sold shoes.

I feel worthwhile, I'm developing better habits, I'm learning new things, I enjoy what I do, and there's opportunity for advancement at both places. I can wear what I want, I have a great deal of freedom at school, I get to use my creative side to do crafts and snacks, and I like being able to walk around and get fresh air when I'm at school. I've come to the conclusion that desk jobs frustrate me to the point where what I get paid is never enough to compensate me for the restrictive cubical life, and maybe I don't make a ton of money, but I'm liked, respected, admired, fun, and I feel good about my contributions to both places. I'd like to get back to writing daily. It was a habit I used to have that I abandoned, but it's one that grounds me, and gives me a chance to go back and remember things I had forgotten about my past.

It's bedtime here, I wish you well.

Take care,

Jessica

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