Credit Card Interest Rates Go Through The Roof!

February 23rd, 2009

I just need to vent here. My husband and I very rarely use credit cards.
Honestly, I hate the things. We only use them for emergencies (i.e.
tires, surgery, etc.)

We have a $0 balance card that has a $13K limit on it. We haven’t used this card since 2007, but we keep it as our limit is high “just in case”. It has a 9.9% purchase fee & a 19.8% cash withdrawal fee.

In today’s mail, I got a notice saying that our card will go from 9.9%
to 17.9%!!! We have had this card for something like 8 years now. Oh my goodness!! The cash rate is going from 19.8% to 24.9%!

What on earth is going on? When I told my husband at lunch time, he
said: “That’s it. We are getting rid of that card!” What are these companies thinking? Penalize everyone with huge interest rates? Even those that have never been late on a payment? Wow…I guess we will need to look for another card company.

I went on the Clark Howard (my financial hero) to read about credit cards. Apparently, we aren’t the only ones. Capital One is doing a blanket 17.9% APR for all customers. American Express is right there with them. *sigh*

I keep saying it: The days of the customer being right are L-O-N-G gone. Say good-bye to customer service. As many people said on the Clark Howard site, don’t dare call your credit card company asking to lower your rates. At least half of those that did got a notice in the mail that their card was cancelled. So much for questioning the system.

A small victory against the scale

February 23rd, 2009

I am in this for the long haul. I had to remind myself of that as I stepped off of the scale this morning. After giving up running and concentrating on eating great, I lost -1.8 lbs. in a week. Of course, I wish that the pounds lost were greater. However, I am in this for the long haul. I am giving myself 5 months to take off 30lbs. I can do this. I can do this.

I did take my waist/hips/neck measurements too. I lost -.25″ on my waist and just shy of -.25″ on my hips. My neck stayed the same. I burned 1975 calories with walking. I have had at least 8 glasses of water a day. I am working towards 5-7 veggies/fruits a day (getting about 4-5 right now).

As I remind others, the weight didn’t come on overnight. It will take dedication and hard work to get it off. I can do this. I can do this.

Things to consider for 2009

February 20th, 2009

I don’t like chain letters. I am the girl that never forwards them on. They clog up servers and most of the time are REALLY ANNOYING. With that said, I received this little blurb in a chain mail, and thought it had some solid advice. Just some things to consider doing in 2009:

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4.  Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer.
6.  Play more games.
7.  Read more books than you did in 2008.
8.  Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9.  Sleep for 7 hours.
10.Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
11.  Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12.  Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.  Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14.  Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15.  Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16.  Dream more while you are awake.
17.  Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18.  Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19.  Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20.  Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21.  No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22.  Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23.  Smile and laugh more.
24.  You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
25.  Call your family often.
26.  Each day give something good to others.
27.  Forgive everyone for everything.
28.  Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29.  Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30.  What other people think of you is none of your business.
31.  Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
32.  Do the right thing!
33.  Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34.  GOD heals everything.
35.  However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36.  No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37.  The best is yet to come.
38.  When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.

Saved gasoline & exercised. Gotta love it!

February 17th, 2009

I dropped off my son this morning for his 1 Day Academy classes (taught by retired professors & homeschoolers with degrees – he is taking high school spanish, photography, and lab science). He enjoys the diversity, and I enjoy a few hours to get errands/housework/Ebay selling done.

As I had a 10:50 dentist appointment, I hurried home and brushed/flossed my teeth (doesn’t everyone do that before going to the dentist?). I put on my running shoes & Nike+ iPod and headed to the dentist just over a mile away. Once I got my teeth cleaned, I walked next door to the grocery store for some quick shopping (I remembered my recycling bags).

I walked the way back home with 21lbs. of groceries. Way to go, Me! Not only did I save gasoline, I got in just over 2 miles of walking with 21lbs. of weight working out my arms. Later in the afternoon, I grabbed a backpack and walked the mile to my son’s tutor. I divided up his books between his backpack and mine, and then we walked home. That was 4 miles walked to errands where I would usually drive. That was easy!

I am eating well with lots of veggies and fruits. I got in 3 vegetables and 3 fruits yesterday. I need to balance out my calories throughout the day better. I had to cram in over 800 calories for dinner because I hadn’t eaten much during the day. I am sticking to eating healthy foods and altering my calories (Cycling). Yesterday was a 1677 calorie day. Today is 1360.

I bought a new scale yesterday. I haven’t weighed myself since I started marathon training last July. Just like on Weight Watchers, I am only weighing myself once a week. That will be on Monday mornings.

It was funny going to the dentist this morning. The hygenist knows that I run. She asked how my AT&T marathon went. Once I told her, she was amazed that I could run so much and not be “reed thin” (which she is). I just smiled at her and said: “Not everyone is built the same. Some of us have to work really hard at slimming down and looking good. I plan on getting there eventually. I have the exercise down. Hopefully, over the next 4+ months I can slim down enough to make a difference in my running.”

Honestly, that is what it comes down to. I am very proud of my accomplishments thus far. I really like who I am on the inside. I know I am healthy and have a good outlook on life. I try not to stress about too much. I try very hard to smile even when I don’t feel like it. It is all about attitude, don’t you think? That scale is not going to beat me down. If I happen to have a bad eating/exercise day, it isn’t the end of the world. There is always tomorrow.

This weight didn’t suddenly appear overnight. It will take time and hard work to make it go away. I AM WORTH IT!

Ran AT&T Marathon today with a PR too!

February 15th, 2009

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Woohoo Baby! I have run 2 halves & 2 full marathons in 2 months so far in 2009. Yeah baby! Take that turning 40 years old.  🙂

Today, I ran the AT&T Marathon. This race is notorious for lots and lots of hills. I can vouch for that. Those hills contributed to my lower back hurting right now. At times, I felt like I was climbing a stair stepper! Ouch! Those hills were killers!

I was sooooo blessed to have my husband and our 12 yr. old son meet me six times. Seeing them throughout the race route made a HUGE difference in my energy and attitude. The weather was also nice from low-mid 60’s. The sun was shining. It was a perfect race day.

I carried my Camelbak Hydrobak full of Gatorade. Carrying 50oz. of fluid made it so I didn’t have to stop for water/Powerade until the last few miles. Along the route, I ate:

*1 small Larabar
*Package of PowerAde Gel Blasts

On Mile 19, my husband let me a have a huge swig of his Cherry Coke. Man!!! Did that hit the spot. I rarely drink soda, and when I do, it is always diet. However, my body needed that boost of sugar. Soda never tasted so good!

I am happy to say that I never stopped to walk during the marathon. There were two areas that I almost stopped to walk, but I told myself: “Go for a personal record, Shan. You own this race. KEEP RUNNING!”

The race officials were really sneaky to throw in a very steep hill in the last 1/2 mile of the race. Oh man! Another hill??? At the bottom of the hill was a left turn and the race finish. I somehow found reserve to kick it up a notch and sprinted full out to the end.

I finished the race in 4:48:08. That is a personal record for me. I ran the Walt Disney World 2009 Marathon in 5:00:19. I am really happy with my time. My husband and son were right there at the end to see my finish. It was a great race. When I got home, I took an icy bath, and then a hot shower. It was heavenly to wash off all that salt from the race.

We are having egg rolls and fried rice for dinner. It is a celebration/last hoorah. Tomorrow, I am on a 4 month break from running. My goal is to lose 25lbs. in that time. That will help put me in an ideal weight range for my life insurance AND it will help my knees/back for the next race season.

I am tempted to sign up for the San Antonio Marathon in November 2009. Three marathons in one year? SURE!!

Races to date:

Marathons: 3 (2 more to goal)
Half Marathons: 5 (15 to goal)

Getting ready for Spring

February 9th, 2009

My favorite seasons are probably Fall and Winter in Texas. Not due to the changing colors or snow. It is due to the weather being pleasant. Temperatures commonly reach into the low 100’s over the summer months. Fall and Winter are welcome seasons for their cooler days.

I love winter days that are icy. I love to don on my sweaters, make a crockpot full of hot chocolate, build a roaring fire, and snuggle on the couch with my family while watching a favorite movie. When winter days are not icy, they are a bit of a drag. This winter has been mild. Several days last week were in the high 60’s to low 70’s. It just doesn’t feel like winter when you are wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Weather like this makes you think of Spring.

I went to Lowe’s yesterday because I was feeling anxious. My brain is done with Winter. I want to start cutting fresh flowers and see butterflies in our garden. I noticed that our favorite couple of Starlings are starting to clean out the column on our porch. Twice a year (in Spring & Summer), the same couple come back and clean out the nook in our porch column. They “houseclean” and bring in new bedding for their babies yet to be born. They always make our family smile to see them chirping in our trees. When I see them return, I know that Spring is just around the corner.

After we finished school today, I decided to plant bulbs. I planted: Hyacinth, Freesia, and Red Tulips. I am hoping to grow them enough where I can put them on our kitchen table. Fresh flowers always make me happy. I also bought peet pots and seeds for our upcoming Summer garden. I will plant those in March. I picked up: Grape tomatoes, Poblano peppers, Sunflowers, Birdhouse gourds (something I have always wanted to grow), Onions, Pumpkin (can’t plant for a while), Sweet peas, and Blue Lake Green beans.

As soon as the chance of a hard freeze has passed, I plan on tilling the garden and getting ready for planting. That should be a few weeks away into March. Until then, I will watch our Starlings fly in twigs, string, and miscellaneous padding into their nest. I will watch my bulbs slowly grow into beautiful flowers. I will wish for butterflies and Ladybug pupa to fill our yard. It is time for Winter to be done. I am ready for Spring.

Less then a week to the AT&T marathon

February 9th, 2009

The AT&T Marathon is on 2/15/09. This will be my 3rd marathon to date. I guess that isn’t bad. Honestly, I would love to run 5 marathons before I am 45. I would also like to get in 15-20 half marathons before I am 50 (I have run 5 so far).

My goal after the AT&T is to take off 4-5 months and concentrate on getting below 140lbs. I have to say that I am happy with my body mostly. I fit into a size 8 pair of jeans yesterday and although I have a bit of a “muffin top”, it isn’t the whole bakery. I really need to concentrate on eating more fruits/veggies, less chocolate (my addiction), and work on toning my mid-section. I think I will break down and buy some weights. I already own a stability ball, bands, and a mat. Not to mention my 30+ exercise DVDs.

My 40th birthday is coming up in May. I would love to be 15 or more pounds slimmer. It is all about moderation. It is up to me to get up early and exercise. Juggling homeschooling, family, activities, and exercise can be tough. However, most moms face that. I believe that most of us put our health on the “back burner” until our kids are grown. We don’t realize that by taking care of ourselves, we are better moms. We have more energy to deal with life. Not to mention that we look and feel better.

Come on AT&T Marathon. I’m ready for ya!