Packing a Lunch

For the last few months I have made a conscious effort to pack my lunch everyday. The first reason for this is health. Eating out is just not healthy mainly because restaurants are not making food for it to be good for you, they are making food that tastes good so that people will keep coming back. The second reason is that most of the time I make much better tasting food, and the third reason is that it saves me a ton of money and time.

For a lot of people cooking is a total pain in the ass. Its just something that we don’t do in the USA. This is the land of the cheeseburger and the drive-through. Of course this is now evolving into the Subway sandwich, which after working in one for a few months in college isn’t much better. The trick is to find a few things that you like to eat and that are easy to prepare.

Here are a few ideas that I use:

  1. Chicken Breast with roasted veggies РOn Sunday take 5 chicken breasts and cook them however you like best. I prefer to grill but will saut̩ them on occasion. Then take a few potatoes, celery stalks, carrots, and onions and chop them into 1 inch parts. Coat them with Olive Oil, salt, and pepper and put into a casserole dish. Toss this into the oven at 400F for 40 minutes or until they start to brown. You can then package these up and microwave at the office. Add Cheese if you want.
  2. Crock-pot Chicken with veggies – This is something I have just started and am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Buy a cheap crock-pot from walmart or get one at goodwill. A 2 quart is good size if you are single or a couple, you may want larger if there are children. This recipe assumes a 2 quart crock-pot. Chop up your veggies like in the roasted recipe but a little smaller, think quarter inch thickness. My sister had the great recommendation of putting the potatoes on the bottom! Then cut one large chicken breast up into 1/2 chunks and put on top of everything. Add a half cup of rice, I go with brown rice cause its much better for you. Add some spices, I like sage and pepper a 1/2 teaspoon of each, but you can experiment here. Then add 5 cups of Chicken Broth, this is the critical ingredient but try to get the Organic stuff as it will have less sodium and other junk in it. Chicken Broth is the secret ingredient in cooking. Anytime a recipe asks for water use chicken broth and you will amaze your family and friends at how good a cook you are (don’t try this with oatmeal though, yuck). Set the crock-pot on Low and 7 hours later you have an awesome chicken soup/stew. I do this when I get home late from Toastmasters or Yoga and turn it on at 10pm and by the time I am done with this article its ready to go. I take 2 servings to work and have some at 11pm and then at 3pm.
  3. Sandwiches – By far the easiest food in the world to make. Start off easy and make a PBnJ, you remember how don’t you? For an advanced technique change the Peanut Butter with Almond Butter. It costs a bit more but you can bargain hunt and the health benefits are huge. Then move onto the more advanced sandwiches: turkey, ham, roast beef, etc. Throw some spinach, tomato, sprouts, avocado, onion, and mustard on there. Try out a different type of bread each week. Rye bread is supposed to have a ton of healthy stuff in it, go for the marbled. If you add a dash of salt and pepper to your sandwich you will spice things up very nicely, but be sparing, especially if preparing for someone else.

The other thing to consider is snacks. I have been working on eating smaller portions but this means I need to eat more often. The best thing to have is Fruits, Nuts, and Veggies which I stock up on throughout the week and take a bagful into work with me everyday. If you go with seasonal choices the prices will be lower and they will be much tastier as they are fully ripened. I will eat 1-2 bananas a day, 3-4 apricots, a handful of almonds, a carrot, and a celery stalk. Find what works for you. I also throw in a cup of Soy Yogurt for the protein and to change things up.

Here are some other good articles:
Zen Habits on the Brown Bag
Brown Bag Lunches
Rediscovering the Homemade Lunch

Taking Stock of 2007

Just read a great post over at Real Estate Investing Brain » Why Almost Everyone Struggles More Than They Should in REI. He goes over a number of ideas about why we struggle with our business and financial lives and how to take stock of things so that we can focus on the future in a positive and productive way.

There are 5 quesitons that he wants us to ask ourselves:

  1. What were your greatest accomplishments in 2007?
  2. What were your biggest disappointments in 2007?
  3. How did you limit yourself last year, and how can you stop?
  4. What did you learn from the last three questions?
  5. How can I (you) use this information to make 2008 the best year yet?

Here are my answers:

  1. What were your greatest accomplishments in 2007?
    Made number one salesman at my company. My third month in, and it was the best month the company had ever seen!
    Got to go to Vegas for a convention with my old company after being there for just three months.
    Remembered how much fun a relationship can be and that I need to stay focused on having fun in one.
    Made all of my mortgage payments!
  2. What were your biggest disappointments in 2007?
    Left my current company in Feb when I had 3 deals in the pipeline. Definitly a big mistake there leaving just as I was getting started and letting other peoples attitude about the job influence me enough to leave it.
    My old company was a dissapointment overall because I went there for the wrong reason: a salary. I didn’t leave soon enough, the place was just not a good fit for me, nothing against the people there I just cant work like that.
    Stayed in a relationship that shouldn’t have gone past a few weeks because it just wasn’t a good fit. I had to work too hard at it from the start and that is not what a relationship should be about.
  3. How did you limit yourself last year, and how can you stop?
    Listening too much to other peoples opinions and not listening to myself. I knew that my current company was a great opportunity but let other peoples experience influence me to thinking that it wasn’t a great opportunity. I need to listen to myself and trust myself. I have done pretty well doing that so far why stop now?
    Focusing on other peoples problems more than my own, or letting their problems become mine and influence my outlook. While it is important to help my friends and care for them I have to always put myself first and make sure that I am okay. As long as I do that I will be able to help even more people.
  4. What did you learn from the last three questions?
    I have learned that 2007 was a year where I let myself feel sorry for myself. In 2006 I was let go from a six figure income and really let that hang over my head for too long. That debacle is over and there is nothing I can do about it but get up and move on. Unfortunately I let it carry over into 2007 and keep me from making a firm decision on my career and relationships. These last three questions gave me the insight to see what was working for me and what wasn’t.
  5. How can I (you) use this information to make 2008 the best year yet?
    For 2008 I need to stay positive. I have a great house, the best family, and cool friends. I am good at sales and enjoy it very much. I forget this fact a lot and let myself drift into wanting to do other things. This year I am doing 2 things right now to fix this. The first one is that I am going to start coaching at a youth soccer league in my city. This is going to be great for a few reasons: The first one is that I am going to be able to enjoy giving kids my enthusiasm for soccer and this will help me with my leadership skills. The second activity I am going to start is finding a business group to work on my networking and speaking skills.

Over Supplied

Since just over a year ago when I was let go from my old company I have been in a serious funk about a lot of things, but nothing bites as badly my first home purchase being just a few weeks before they decided my services were no longer of use. My bitterness runs deep and hard and many days I find it quite suffocating. I was in total shock for Nov and Dec of 2006 as I tried to understand what had just happened. I had quite a bit of cash in the bank so it wasnt an immediate panic. I had joked with my mortgage friend the whole time we were going through the process that I could always just go work for him if I lost my gig and suddenly there I was.

My first mistake was not going straight to work. I waited till January to give it a ‘fresh start’. So for Nov I tried putting a company together with the other guys that were let go at the same time as me. This failed to launch and I spent Dec reflecting on turning 30 and wondering if I was going to be able to keep my house. This was very unhelpful.

My second mistake was not sticking with the Mortgage position in Jan and thinking that the grass is always greener went to work at another tech startup. The salespitch I got in the interview was phenomenal and I took the bait. Nine months later I walked back to the Mortgage position and am doing well. The problem now is that everything seems to be coming down around me.

Everyday we see more stories about the failing economy and I cant help but get caught up in the paranoia that suddenly someone is going to throw a switch and everything is going to go dark. Of course this is an overgeneralization but things do seem really bad. Now the government is gonna throw us all $500 to get things going again. I dont know about you but $500 is not a lot of money when you have a mortgage that is 3 times that. I keep brainstorming about what people are gonna buy with that to get everything going again. It seems that this is a very shortsided way of fixing something that was caused by the shortsided belief in home prices being able to maintain their meteoric climb in the last 7 years.

So what am I gonna do to prepare for the Recession that is already happening? The first thing I have started is cooking my meals almost daily. This is hard so a shortcut is to make up a lot of meals on Sunday and then just reheat them at work. This saves me at least $6 a day which adds up to over $240 a month just for lunches. Dinners are usually closer to $10 each so make it a good $500 in monthly savings right there. The next concession will have to be going to the bar as this is easily one of the biggest drains on my pocket book. Thats a good $400 a month there. Just two concessions and I am on my way to saving $1000 a month. This is money that I will need to start putting into my Emergency fund to be ready in case something happens because as my exit from Godaddy taught me: nothing is for certain.

Morning write

I read this post on about getting over boredom yesterday and remebered something I read a while back talking about getting up at 4am and writing for an hour. Trouble with that is that I will have to go to sleep at 9pm which is difficult if not impossible to do. So instead I am going to get up at 5am and write for an hour. This will let me get about 7 hours of sleep on a consistent basis, which from what I read is enough to stay healthy on. This process will start in the morning.

Level 1-2 at Innervision

Went to my first yoga class in years, and had a lot of fun. The studio is located a few miles from my home and I will eventually start walking/running there for classes. Its also right next to the Sprouts Grociery store so it is great for keeping lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in the house.

I was driven there by a few factors:

  1. Current relationship stress
  2. Soreness/Tiring of current weight lifting program
  3. Rememberance of how great yoga made me feel in the past

This class is called ‘Level 1-2’ and is intended for all levels. The teacher’s name is Jeff and he is a part owner. We started at 9am which is a funny time on a Saturday to get up and go workout but that was another reason why I wanted to go. The coincidence with New Years just a few days before had a lot to do with this as well.

I have been working out at the Gym for a few months on a new workout program and had seen great results. The problem is that I am not interested in being all muscle bound with no flexibility. The lifting includs a lot of squats so my back and legs had gotten very strong and I have also started running again, which has been a blast now that I can keep my knees from crushing each other. Now I needed something to get my flexibility back and also give me more than just knowing how much I can lift.

The class starts with my phone alarm going off, which happen to sound like church bells. Jeff found it somewhat appropriate while I was red in the face with embarassment trying to shut it off. We start with some call and response which is the funniest call and response I have ever had. Something about a Paddle and rhymes, quite a good mental exercise for getting into the moment and forgetting all the rules we construct around our lives.

The physical aspect of the class is done very well but what makes Jeff such a great teacher is the philosophy that he teaches during the class. For this class we focus on finding something in our lives that is beyond ripe and needs to be pulled from our tree and allow it to act a fertilizer for the next step of life. My thoughts went to the current relationship that wasnt really going anywhere at the moment, and I thought that was because the relationship was done or maybe my perception of it needed to be changed. Either way the mental exercise went very well with the yoga practice.

There is some chanting in the class and at this time I am not participating. I may in the future but its a comfort thing as well as a realization that this is borrowed culture without the actual culture. This is an ongoing challenge that I will be analyzing.

Create your own relationships

Really interesting post on relationships and how they are all in our heads. This is really useful for sales where you project the conversation. If you think that you are being annoying then you are being annoying. Stay positive and smile, even if you are on the phone:

Where do all your relationships exist?  They exist in your thoughts.  Your relationship with another person is whatever you imagine it to be.  Whether you love someone or hate someone, you’re right. : Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog

Understanding Human Relationships

Watch what you eat – cutting down on energy bars

The energy bar has become the band aid for our awful diets. More and more I find myself eating an energy bar instead of a piece of fruit. Well that has stopped as of last night. I read this great article at and it points out some good facts about the energy bars: – Food variety: The spice of life:

Snacks: Be creative and bypass yet-another rice cake, pretzel or energy bar. How about almonds and dried fruit, yogurt with granola, apple with low-fat cheese, vegetable soup with rye crackers, graham crackers with peanut butter? Target two foods per snack (and three+ foods per meal). Consider cutting back on energy bars for routine snacks. Many are little more than sugar coated vitamin pills with a little added protein. They commonly lack fiber and phytochemicals — the important components of the fruits they tend to displace from the athlete’s snack menu.

So last night I went and bought 4 cantaloupes, a bag of oranges, a bag of apples, 4 pears, strawberries, and almonds. Now I have to eat this stuff before it goes bad, so I am going to be eating a lot of fruit which should help a lot.

Now I just need to cut the beer!

Review: Nova – Family that Walks on All Fours

Up late working on working it out and I have the telly runnin in the background. Nova comes on and has a story about a family in Hungary with 6 some children who walk on all fours. Naturally I am intrigued as there are a number of theories and ideas about how and why this occurs.

At the start they mention that the family is shunned by the townsfolk as the children are seen as bad omens. Then we go into science and evolutionary concepts are entered and then genetics and lots of very interesting things that I really want to hear more about. Just as everything starts getting really good they cut out of the documentary format and mention how the townsfolk are upset about the scientists studying the people they consider bad omens. They are upset because their religion is not happy about the theory of evolution and the local police have to come on by to sort it out.

Continue reading “Review: Nova – Family that Walks on All Fours”

10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job

Excellent stuff and I agree with all of it. Now I just need to make it happen!
10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job:

It’s funny that when people reach a certain age, such as after graduating college, they assume it’s time to go out and get a job.  But like many things the masses do, just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  In fact, if you’re reasonably intelligent, getting a job is one of the worst things you can do to support yourself.  There are far better ways to make a living than selling yourself into indentured servitude. :