Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Eat Her Pudding Cups!

I am the first to admit I am a picky eater. I am not ashamed of this, it simply means I have a more refined tastes for some food, and prefer not to have my meats deep fried in batter and smothered with gravy.

Cafeteria food at College X is quite fabulous when compared to many other colleges, but it's still cafeteria food. My mother, the fabulous woman she is, provided me with a reasonable "food budget" per month, so I can stock up on my fancy cheeses and preferred High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup-Free fruit juices.

Just like I have my quirks about e-shopping and getting mail, I have a strange quirk about food. I hoard it. I can't explain why! For some reason when I buy food for my dorm room, I eat as little of it as possible, and stretch it for all that it's worth before I buy more.

This seems great- it seems like you would save money this way! No, you just end up more hungry this way. You could be eating something on the way to your chemistry class... but then again, you may want it later, so you should save it.

NO! This is not a good plan! Bagels and chips and cheese pasta are meant to be eaten!

I came to this realization earlier today, as I was about to head off to a particularly long work shift. I was weighing the odds of eating food my mother had sent my in a car package (lovely, lovely mother) versus "saving it for later", when "I might want it more." Suddenly, I felt ridiculous. My mother had sent me all of this wonderful food (Peeps, pudding cups, pringles, mango juice) partially because she knew I would never buy it myself, and partially because she knew I would love getting it, and love eating it.

Saving it for later was allowing the food to make me miserable!

Wrong. Totally, completely, wrong.

I had this sample strange complex growing up, and my mom always used to say "They"ll make more!!" I've been saying this to my friends here at school whenever they balk at my flippant habit of giving away sweets to people who look like they're about to collapse from low blood sugar. How silly of me, I know.

It was only when I realized I was weighing the pros and cons of eating a pudding cup that I understood how silly I've been all these years. My mom had been providing me with money so I could buy food to compensate for the meager cafeteria portions (and avoid battered-deep-fried-gravy-covered steak) and I had been making myself more hungry.

The grocery stores will not run out of juice tomorrow. The supply trucks will come, and I will be able to get my cream cheese and limeade.

My growling stomach would really appreciate it if I just ate the damn pudding cup.

Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Head For The Hills! The Budget Is Coming!

College life is very enriching, college life teaches you how to survive in the real world, these are the best years of your life...

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Stress teaches you how to go long periods of time without eating so you can get your homework done. It also teaches the people who live with you to throw offerings of food in the room before they come in, so you recognize them as friendly when you look up from your hunched position over the keyboard at page 5 of your paper.

Friend, frieeeeeeenddd...

And now to the "Yes, Mom..." part of our story...

As a second semester Freshman at College X, I am now fully discovering how deep a trench I have dug for myself in terms of workload.


-I am taking 17 credits, and work 15 hours for the school every week, thus keeping me out of my dorm almost every day until after dinner.
-I took a wildland firefighting course, and can be called to duty before an exam.
-I am involved in a play now, where rehearsals are nearly every evening, for at least three hours.
-I must be crazy.

That's deep. I reached six feet, and kept going.

When some people - myself included - find themselves so oft away from the "home" place (the dorm, the suite, whatever) we find ourselves making up for it. Some people study their brains out, some people party their brains out, and some people buy things.

I e-shop.

I love getting mail. I love it. Seeing the little orange slip for the package claim in my teensy mail box gets me all giddy inside. So when Mom stops sending care packages, I buy new socks, or a perfume that helps your skin, or a sweater to keep me warm when the windy gusts on the way to my 8a.m. class fall below zero degrees.

There's a small problem with this. I'm on a budget. X amount of dollars for food, X amount of dollars for sanity.

The key is balance, Mom says.

When one's mind is quite unbalanced, thinking about your lab report due next week, and your readings for two other classes, and chemistry problems due on Wednesday, and don't forget to memorize your lines, it's hard to remember to keep to the budget...

But really, thank you Mom.

The seniors say it gets easier.

Heh. Heh heh, hee hee hoo!

That's a good one.

Gotta go check my mail.