My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

icy sunday

With a little bit of anxiety, I set out this morning for church. There is ice all around... the temperature was well below freezing... we live in the mountains. There is no forgiveness when you slip off the side of the road. But. Well. I wanted to go. And I figured that there must be some special dispensation of grace for the trip to church.

Although there was this one time, many years ago, when Ryan was a tiny babe, when we ran off the road on our way to church on a snowy day. The car was stuck in a ditch near my mother-in-law's home so I bundled up my little baby and walked down the icy hill to her house. I slipped and fell while holding him but he never hit the ground. Three times I have had significant falls while holding my babies and never once did one hit the ground. Once I was carrying the two youngest at the same time and fell and they didn't hit the ground... but I sure did! Anyways... that one time we ran off the road - I believe it was my friend Mary's husband, Doug, who came to our rescue... so it would have been 1987 or 1988, I believe. But I digress...

I was glad I risked it. Even if church hadn't been a joy (and it was) the view of the mountains covered in ice was absolutely breathtaking! I took lots of pictures but with my laptop still limping along (as I have not yet had the time or money to deal with fixing it) I am not able to load those photos. Bummer. Once I do, you'll see what I mean... the sun glistening off the ice that coats everything... makes the mountains look - not just white - but almost silver! I thought to myself, surely this must be one of the things we'll see in heaven... such an amazing sight!

After church we had lunch at La Cabana - which lots of our friends do almost every week but we rarely do because of the expense and because I'm usually ready to get home. This week we went and had a lovely lunch with two lovely ladies and then got to enjoy the lovely drive home through our winter wonderland.

I'm glad we didn't get snow.

I'm now ready for spring.

Most likely it will be here in the next few weeks - that's how we roll in the south!

When I got to church this morning... Sarabeth was in the hallway with her friend Jessalyn (whose father grew up in the same church I went to - and whose mother was Austin's science teacher last year). Sarabeth and Jessalyn rushed to hug me... can't beat a warm welcome! I stopped by Jamie's class to get a squeeze and she squealed, "Aunt Heather!!!" and I squealed back, "Niece Jamie!" and got the squeeze I was looking for... and a young lady said, "are you Aunt Heather? I've heard alot about you...". I worry so much about changing my last name to remove all traces of the evil Darby reign in our lives when... maybe I should just forgo a last name and legally change my name to Aunt Heather...

Speaking of Aunts... it's my Aunt Ginger's birthday today... she was the best aunt ever until I became an aunt. I haven't quite mastered her talent for making paper dolls... but I always have gum.

Lazy rest of the day for me... the work week is back already and I'll have a busy weekend next weekend with my disaster recovery certification. I'm so excited, very excited about being a part of this ministry.

I think I'll make some egg salad... have a good day, y'all!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

nesting in the freezer...

Once again the weatherman lied to us. We had ZERO snow... lots of rain and freezing rain. The trees are coated with ice but the roads are fairly safe. Austin and I went out for just a bit today and it was slick in some spots but mostly ok. I WANTED SNOW! Ugh!

The good news is that the power has stayed on. There's a sort of freezing drizzle... you can't see the mountains... it's grey and sooo cold! The trees are bent with the weight of the ice and a few branches have fallen but hopefully, the worst is over.

Saturday, as I've mentioned before, is my indulgence day. I woke up wanting a biscuit with gravy SOOOO bad... but... I was too unsure of the roads to venture out alone this morning and Austin wasn't ready to get up. By the time he was ready to get out and about it was long past breakfast. He asked for Zaxby's... but I really wasn't interested in anything except a few fried pickles. They were good... I had about half an order... but that was enough. I also had some hot chocolate and jelly on my toast this morning. Those were my cheats...

Otherwise... for breakfast I had two boiled eggs, roasted cabbage (it was Uh-mazing!) and the aforementioned toast- whole wheat bread. I had celery with laughing cow cheese this afternoon. Not sure about dinner yet...

It's just been a lazy Saturday and we've enjoyed nesting. Hopefully the roads will be clear and we can get to church with no trouble tomorrow. And hopefully... the power will stay on!

Hope you're having a super Saturday!

Friday, January 29, 2010

wintry weather weekend countdown!

The sky is falling!
Ok. Not really.
Welcome to my Wintry Weather Weekend Countdown!
It’s been a hectic day – not so much because we’re busy but because we’ve been shorthanded by three (3 out of 5 is significant).
I’ve been wearing a lot of hats.
I just took out the trash. That should tell you something!
The hard part is being without a receptionist since I’m the most visable office… I end up playing receptionist, even if I have a client in my office and I just don’t switch back and forth that easily.
On top of all that – we got all new computer hardware installed today so there’s been a learning curve too.
But… that makes the day pass quickly… and the weekend will be here in less than four hours!
We got this weather bulletin:

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST SATURDAY...A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST SATURDAY.A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW WILL DEVELOP FROM THE WEST THIS AFTERNOON. PRECIPITATION WILL TRANSITION TO MAINLY SNOW THIS EVENING...WITH PERIODS OF HEAVY SNOW LIKELY CONTINUING WELL INTO SATURDAY. THE SNOW MAY MIX WITH SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN AT TIMES...ESPECIALLY IN LOCATIONS SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 40...AND THE LITTLE TENNESSEE VALLEY. THE PRECIPITATION SHOULD GRADUALLY TAPER OFF FROM THE WEST SATURDAY EVENING.TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 10 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED ACROSS MOST OF THE WARNED AREA. AMOUNTS WILL LIKELY BE A LITTLE LESS IN THE VALLEYS OF THE SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS WHERE THE SNOW WILL MIX WITH SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN AT TIMES. SNOWFALL TOTALS MAY REACH OR EXCEED 9 TO 12 INCHES IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS...ESPECIALLY AREAS NEAR THE BLUE RIDGE.PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW... SLEET...AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. HEAVY WET SNOW AND/OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS MAY RESULT IN TOPPLED TREES AND/OR POWER LINES. TRAVEL IS EXPECTED TO BECOME VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.
Soooo. Yikes! None of the other news sources are confirming this high of an amount of precipitation but they are saying accumulated ice and snow. I prayed about it. Seriously. Prayed about it… and asked that God would let me know what to do to prepare. We’re total electric… no fireplace… no grill… so I went out and bought stuff for cereal… bought some great high fiber wheat bread and tuna… almond butter and peanut butter for sandwiches… we have lots of fresh fruit… celery … stuff that doesn’t have to be cooked. Enough to last us several days. Have any other “no power” preparation tips?

Other than that… today is 4 weeks into my healthier lifestyle and I’m officially down four pounds and five inches. I wanted to see bigger numbers but I also want sustainable numbers. I feel awesome

Dinner last night was stir fried collards, corn, brown rice and blackened tilapia. UH-mazing!
It was so good that I made stir fried collards for breakfast this morning… seasoned with turmeric. Austin says it smells like dirt but it really gives it a nice curried flavor. I also did some browned plantains… just sliced them and sautéed with a little spray of PAM… sprinkled with cinnamon… really yum!
Lunch was salmon and a spinach salad with one boiled egg, green peas, red onion, cheese, sunflower seeds, oil and vinegar.
Snack was a pear. I have either yogurt, almonds or an orange for snack later… whichever I choose. I’ve had basically five servings of produce so far today so I can have a protein snack if I want – the yogurt or almonds. Depends on how hungry I am and if I have time to stop and eat. If I’m too busy to stop I just eat almonds.
Well…. Duty calls… tons of half done stuff lurking around me that is begging for my attention.

My brother was scheduled for surgery this morning… no update on that yet. I sent him a text that says, “merde”… typically theatre people say, “break a leg” before a performance but since dancers don’t want to break a leg, they say, “merde”. I figured since he was having knee surgery “break a leg” was less than appropriate.

Mom is having her macular hole repair on Monday. This is a big deal because she has to stay face down for two weeks afterwards… so keep my family in your prayers! Speedy recoveries all around!
I’m feeling awesome!
Stay warm, stay dry, stay safe… love and hugs!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

my eclectic thursday observations

Having lunch with Sarabeth today… the first thing she said to me at church last night was, “we’re having chicken nuggets tomorrow for lunch. Can you come have lunch with me?” And so I figured that if it meant enough to a seven year old to actually CHECK the school lunch menu and remember it all the way until she got to church… that it must mean a lot to her for me to come have lunch. And so I will. But I will not be eating chicken nuggets.

I really need to clean the windshield of my car. I remember this every morning driving into work facing the sun.

I love my Garmin. I use it to give me directions of how to get to work every day so that it will reflect the estimated time of arrival. I find myself racing the Garmin and consider it a major victory when a minute is taken off my ETA. My life is average.

Austin changed the voice to Dr. Evil last night after church. (I know, right?) It scared me to death this morning! I quickly changed it while at a stoplight and ended up with Spanish. I thought it would be amusing. It was, instead, annoying, but as there are no real stops during my commute (only 3 stoplights in the whole 20 minute drive and not many more stop signs) I had to just put up with Diego. “El gato es in la pecina”… That’s not what it really said. The cat wasn’t in the pool.

Last night for dinner at church we had meatloaf, pinto beans cooked with ham and cornbread. Really, really good cornbread. With butter. I ate it. I also had a tiny little sliver of the chocolate dessert and a super small salad with only vinegar. I’m trying to avoid prepared salad dressings because of the high sugar content. My niece Jamie… who is REALLY mini-me… was eating butter without the cornbread. With a spoon. Yep. She’s my girl. I also drank unsweetened tea. The tea they serve at church is decaffeinated so it didn’t keep me up…

But it was still after 1am before I fell asleep. I didn’t panic. I just did things I enjoy doing… watched The Nanny and Toddlers and Tiaras… harvested my super pumpkins on Farmville… and then petted the cat. I woke up with no problem around 6am. I’m just sleeping as much as I need and not worrying when I don’t. I haven’t been tired… although I did yawn a little bit during bible study last night.

I didn’t watch the State of the Union show. If I wanted to be insulted and lied to, listen to history be rewritten and hear someone blame everyone else for their mistakes – I’d still be married to Michael. Bah-duh-bump! Thank you… I’ll be here all week. Don’t forgot to tip your bartender.

Instead I watched the movie, Message in a Bottle. I’d never seen it. Great chick flick. Terrible ending. Made me crush on Kevin Costner a little.

Speaking of lying, cheating men… John Edwards disgusts me…. Cheating on his terminally ill wife and then coercing a friend to claim his illegitimate child. She will one day know. The child, I mean. Yet another incident of narcissism making a powerful man thinking the rules that apply to the rest of society don’t apply to him. Bill Clinton. Tiger Woods. Michael Darby.

Mixed info about the pending winter storm. Some maps show my little corner of Georgia in the bright pink icy mix area. Some ignore us. Some weather stations are saying 1-3 inches ice and snow in the lower elevations and 3-6 inches in the mountains. Some are saying cold rain. So… we don’t know what to expect. Thankfully, it looks like it’s all still expected to begin later in the evening Friday night and into Saturday morning. As long as we don’t lose power, we can stay put and stay warm and safe. If we lose power… all bets are off.

STASHA! I forgot to get my camera from you! We have to meet up some time between now and Friday night! Yikes! Or can you drop it off at my house?

I’m sneezing this morning. Good times. I’m convinced it’s an allergy thing as I feel fine and it’s staying behind my eyes and not in my chest at all. (she says as she has a coughing fit).

I’m majorly unable to focus this morning, however. I don’t know if it’s burn out or excitement over the potential wintry weather or what.

I’m wearing a skirt today that I couldn’t squeeze into a month ago. The scale still hates me but I don’t care. As long as my clothes love me and I feel good.

Here’s what I have with me that I can eat today and what I’ve eaten already – we’ll see if it pans out –
Breakfast was the hot oatmeal with rye, barley and wheat with flax seed, honey and butter
On the way to work I ate a sliced tomato.
In my feed bag I have greek yogurt, blueberries, an orange, a pear, celery with laughing cow cheese and almonds.
Dinner is PLANNED to be tilapia and collards and brown rice.

Gotta post… not as busy today but it’s almost time for my lunch appointment with the smartest, sweetest, most loving seven year old on the planet!

UPDATE: You really can’t beat lunch with a first grader. First of all… I’ve been often enough that I not only get hugs from SB… I get hugs from all of her little classmates. Secondly… her class had silent lunch so instead of eating with her class we went and ate alone on the stage… at the “princess table”. I had celery with laughing cow cheese and oranges… which we made into produce people. Good times. She had chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, bread and some kind of gelato looking frozen treat. It's little wonder that kids don't behave in schools... all that carb stuff and not one healthy serving of anything. Why do they do that to kids? I think nutrition in our country was better before the school lunch program, even though kids didn't always have enough to eat, at least they weren't learning to fill up on junk. We decided that the next time I come for lunch I'm going to stop by Zaxby's first and get her a kid's meal. Fast food is more nutritious than school lunch. And that's a shame. I gave her my leftover orange slices for her snack. She was very excited.

When I got back to the office I had some almonds for a little protein boost. I'm a little sleepy but I'm not tired, if that makes sense.

ok... back to work!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

lots of random stuff from Wednesday

Menu change from yesterday… I ended up having lunch at the Japanese Restaurant that doesn’t serve miso soup… I had hibachi chicken and rice. Fairly healthy. No major derail. I went lightly on the yum-yum sauce (while Stasha had a little shrimp and rice with her bowl of yum yum sauce!) – which I *think* is mayonnaise based and used more of the ginger sauce which seems to be healthier. Not sure but it seems to be. I had my snack as planned BUT… when I got home… I decided to reward my son who has been so cooperative with our new eating plan. A big bag of chips that I bought the day before Christmas has gone unopened and he has chosen instead to enjoy oranges and kiwi and star fruit and tuna wraps and grilled chicken and salmon. He’s doing a great job and he looks thinner. So we… um… well… you see… we ….

Ordered pizza for dinner. And garlic bread. And as a “thank you” from our small town pizza place… they sent a free order of breadsticks. SOOOooo. I had two pieces of cheese pizza, a piece of garlic bread and a breadstick. An unscheduled deviation from plan but… would you believe that I got up this morning and was down a pound from yesterday? Crazy.

I did, however, notice that I had a harder time going to sleep last night. Without a doubt it was all those carbs… got me sugared up… I didn’t sleep as well… woke up at 3:30 and again at 5:30. So… yeah. I’m not beating myself up over it… we’re eating 90-95% healthy… an occasional pizza is ok. Once a month instead of once a week. I’ll have to look at some healthy way to make pizza. He’s been really receptive of the other small changes – such as brown rice instead of white rice.

Austin was complaining about his jeans being too tight and I sorta just ignored him. His autism makes him super sensitive to how things fit and – although you might not be able to tell by looking at him, the little ragamuffin – he’s really picky about his clothes. Obsessive might be a better word. My dad found some golf shirts for him that he LOVES because they’re a softer knit than usual. He wears those all the time… sleeps in them even because they’re so soft. He wears only soft sided shoes – can’t stand leather – so they wear out quickly. He’s very particular about his shoes. He has certain jeans that in his head are designated “nice jeans” that he will only wear on special occasions. He can be completely out of clean laundry and he’ll wear dirty laundry instead of wearing the nice jeans in a situation that he doesn’t deem worthy. Crazy kid. Anyways… yesterday when he complained about his jeans being too small I caved and said, “fine. I’ll go buy you a new pair today”. Totally not in the budget but… what can you do? I had him turn around so I could see the tag to see what size was too small so I knew what size to go up to and… he had Cody’s jeans. Which are smaller. Duh.

Been another busy morning. My head is spinning. I love my job and I love when the days go by fast.

I got an email about our disaster relief certification next weekend. I am SO excited about this! We have a meeting about it after church on Sunday to discuss travel arrangements and lodging. I guess I better figure out what to do with Austin overnight. Maybe he can stay with Devin. (just called and left message for Devin’s mom) (she just called back and said he could stay with them! Yay! That’s a relief! Austin will be soooo excited!) There are several people going for the certification that I really enjoy so I’m looking forward to spending time with them.

So far today I’ve had ½ a pomegranate, 1 cup of fat free greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of milled flax seed. YUM! I skipped snack – was too busy – but was still really full from breakfast. Have I mentioned how much I love pomegranates?

I’m not going to talk about what I’m eating the rest of the day. Apparently my plans change often. But… unless something changes in the next twenty minutes I’m having pinto beans and brown rice with celery, peppers and onions for lunch… with a fresh tomato.

And now it’s a done deal. The pintos, rice and tomato were awesome. A perfect and filling lunch! Yay!

I’ve been reading a lot about Tim Tebow’s controversial “pro-family” Super Bowl commercial…. And how it has no place at a sporting event. I’ll wager that the bulk of the commercials aired that night will have sexual undertones. What does sex have to do with football? Or beer? Or for that matter, the majority of the things that will be advertised – what was the big one? Godaddy.com? – what do websites have to do with football? Why do I, as a Christian, have to accept everything the world wants to expose me to… yet non-Christians have to be insulated from anything remotely biblical? It’s ridiculous.

There’s this huge “no hate” campaign to promote acceptance of homosexuality – and you know I love me some special gay people in my life. I don’t hate. But my rainbow love doesn’t change God’s word. I don’t hate people who have had abortions – but it’s still a sin. I’m sick of having to accept what the world has to offer and having MY faith and my beliefs and my God and my bible be mocked and discarded and shunned or referred to as hate.

You ain’t never felt loved until you’ve been loved by a group of God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians. Not the self-righteous people who play church… but people who truly follow the Lord. My very survival has come only by the grace of God and through the love of my Christian brothers and sisters. There are people in my life who might have been in a better financial position to help me… but instead it was the hard working, blue collar, living paycheck to paycheck saints who made sure we kept our heads above water... who sent me walmart gift cards and anonymous donations... who paid bills I couldn't pay and bought things I couldn't afford to buy. It was the people at the church who cried with me... picked me back up... dusted me off... made sure I had what I needed... didn't judge me for being poor... didn't judge me for being divorced... didn't judge me for being sad or weak or sick or lonely... they just loved me. Talk about no hate... there's no hate in TRUE Christians.

AS YOU KNOW… I adore Timmy and think he’s going to do amazing things for the cause of Christ. I have watched his career with great interest – not just because I love to see the Gators win – but because I love to see the example he sets of a compassionate Christian young man who lives his life according to the will of God. Anyone who attacks Tim Tebow and what he believes, attacks me.

Well… lunch is about over. Gotta regain my focus and try to sell some stuff this afternoon. I have a great prospect from this morning but no big ticket policies. Gotta put my telemarketing hat on and start ringing some phones. Good times.

Hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

weather report, weight report

There’s an old wives tale in the south that says that if snow stays on the ground for three days or more it will be back. Our last wintry blast hung around in bits and patches for ten days… so I am not the LEAST bit surprised that we have snow predicted for this weekend. I’m not in snow meltdown (pun intended) because this one is set to arrive overnight on Friday night – no danger of being caught at work – no need to brave the roads or miss work. The weather has been warmer so it won’t cause near the mess the last storm did. It will likely just be pretty and give me an excuse to nest and/or clean my house on Saturday.

Until then… it’s just typical January in Georgia weather… 40’s or 50’s during the day… dipping into the 30’s at night. I’m acclimated… I didn’t even wear a coat this morning and the temp at the bank in town showed 30 degrees. Hopefully it won’t be as windy today.

So that’s the weather report. What else is new?

Still no progress on the scale. Still eating healthy. Still seeing inches lost and still feeling tons better. Ready to get moving in order to get the scale moving. I feel good enough now to add some more activity to my life.

Here’s what I ate yesterday (I know you’re just dying to know!)
Breakfast: two pieces of extra high fiber whole wheat toast with a tiny bit of butter and a drizzle of honey, half a cup of blueberries
Lunch: spinach salad with mushroom, one boiled egg, carrots, chickpeas, a tiny bit of shredded cheddar, green peas, broccoli, raisins
Snack: almonds and a grapefruit
Dinner: broccoli slaw with soynuts, cabbage, sunflower seeds, milled flax seed, pomegranate, dried cranberries – drizzled with olive oil and a tiny bit of sesame oil
Snack: one cup of brown rice with pinto beans

Tiny bit means less than the size of a quarter in my world. With the toast… I use real butter, not margarine and it doesn’t spread well so I toast the bread and put the butter on it and then microwave it for fifteen seconds. This melts the butter, it spreads easily and you don’t need much to get the butter flavor.

I had a LOT of colorful food yesterday!

Today’s planned menu is:
Breakfast: hot cereal of oatmeal, rye, barley & wheat – sprinkled with milled flax – with a tiny bit of butter and honey – then on my way to work I ate a cup of roasted baby carrots
Snack: almonds
Lunch: One cup of brown rice with pintos and a small tomato
Snack: an asian pear (also known as an apple pear)
Haven’t decided on dinner tonight. PROBABLY will be salmon and collard greens as I won’t have had a green veggie by then.

I could eat my weight in pomegranate seeds but they’re almost out of season and impossible to find. I bought two yesterday. Austin could eat his weight in kiwi, which is fortunately really cheap right now. I’m going to try to switch things up a bit and not eat almonds past noon… cut back on the fruit and increase veggies… eat more celery which is a natural diuretic… but mainly… I just have to get moving. There’s a Wii game that I REALLY want… it’s the dance game where you learn the choreography to some of the famous dances (like “Hammertime”) from my generation. I thought that would be fun.

Ok… lots to do here… just wanted to post this quickly… couldn’t finish up at home this morning as my puter was being a pain. I’m going to take it to church with me Wednesday night to see if I can find someone who can fix it for me. I’m sure there will be SOMEONE!

Hope you all have an awesome day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

my Auggie


This is the little picture we had done for $2 at the mall in Gainesville. Austin and I agreed that it's one of the best pictures we have of him.

windy Monday

I’m still a little stuffy but I don’t feel bad at all. I was coughing up a little junk this morning and I’ll keep a close eye on it… but I’m feeling pretty confident that I can stay ahead of this stuff. I took an allegra this morning just in case it’s allergy. Who knows… with the wacky weather… and Austin and I were outside quite a bit on Saturday. Might be allergies.

It’s bright and sunny this morning and really windy. I never noticed the wind before I moved here… maybe it’s being at a higher elevation. Wish it was warmer. I’m bored with cold weather. It either needs to snow or it needs to be spring. No more in between. That 36 hours of 40 degree pouring rain was a real bummer. But it did make for a good nesting Sunday.

Today is errand running day on lunch hour. I need gas… we’re out of milk, toilet paper and trash bags – three things you can’t do without… and our fresh fruits and veggie supply is dwindling. Austin has been eating a BUNCH but… he’s eating all good stuff so I don’t complain.

It’s been crazy busy in the office this morning. Lots of quoting which is great… lots of potential for commission. If I don’t sell new products, I don’t get more money. It’s that simple. I’m thankful not to be total commission… but really want to take advantage of additional funds that are available. It’s been so busy that I haven’t been able to put notes in after I talk to clients and that drives me crazy – good notes help me do good follow up and also help if someone else ends up helping the client later on.

The office I worked in while I lived in Jacksonville was redecorated over the weekend. From the description Whitney gave… it almost sounds like the decorator was going for a sort of Spanish mission feel, which would fit well in their architecture and the style of that area. The trouble is… they put huge wrought iron crosses on each desk. So Whitney… bless her heart… my sweet Jewish friend… goes into work to find a big old cross on her desk. Just picturing her face CRACKED me up. They decided that the crosses were too strong of a religious statement considering the multi-cultural area that they’re in… and so they all took them down. It’s sorta like walking into a nail shop and coming across the big Buddha shrine. It makes me not want to use those businesses.

Anyways… hope you all have a great Monday and a great week!
BTW… have you seen the More than a Mouthful Monday Hooters commercial? It’s these folks sitting around eating big meals… the lady says, “TGIM, buddy!”… the bald headed guy eating a burger is my friend Jamie. He’s done several commercials and has a small role in House of Payne. We always crack up when we see him.

Ok… time for lunch… pintos and brown rice!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

brown rice

For years I have bought the ready made microwavable rice packs because I never had time - in my nuke and go world - to take the time to cook rice - especially brown rice. I have finally figured out the trick and I'm going to pass it along to you...

microwave.

Yep. It has been said about me that I could live in a hotel room because all I need is a bathroom, a bed, a tv, wireless internet and a microwave. It's nice to be so low maintenance. It's not really true, I need a lot more... but for rice... I just need a microwave.

And a casserole dish with a lid. But that's all.

Here's the cooking method that works wonderfully...
1 cup of dry brown rice (you know, the really cheap clear bags that you avoid because they're too much trouble)
2 cups of water or broth

Combine in casserole dish. Add a little salt. Cook covered on full power in the microwave for five minutes or until the water is boiling. Stir. Cook - still covered - on 50% power for twenty minutes. Let sit in the microwave for five minutes. Done!

This makes three cups of rice.

I'm making a few batches and storing in the fridge for the week so that it's heat and eat. Reheating rice works best if you sprinkle a little water on it before you heat it.

I'm a genius!

Rattling around in the kitchen, taking inventory of the absolute MUST haves for the week out of our dwindling grocery budget (which is also doing double duty as our gas budget, bill budget, clothing budget and everything else budget)... and I realized that Austin had not eaten most of the wraps I bought for him two grocery trips ago... meaning that those wraps would be going bad/turning green before the next major trip. So I...

sliced up the tortillas and put them on a cookie sheet coated with PAM spray... sprinkled them with cumin, garlic powder and lime salt on one batch... sprinkled the other batch with cinnamon, nutmeg and a tiny bit of sugar... and baked them. Voila! Homemade tortilla chips without any of those pesky transfatty things!

And then... I realized that I had two ripe avocados that needed to be put into use... so I mushed them up with 1/4 cup of light sour cream, half a tiny can of green chilis, cumin, garlic powder and more of the awesome lime salt... and BAM! I have guacamole to go with my tortilla chips.

Yep. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself right now. We have healthy snacky foods out of what could have been the unused discards of the week!

my weekend report....

Remember how I was bragging about not being sick in 2010? A cold/sinus/upper respiratory thing settled in on me last night. My eyes are burning... my nose is running... and my lungs are junky. Good times. However... I have confidence that this will not be as bad as what I dealt with last year because I now know that I have power over these symptoms by making good food choices.

It's pouring rain outside. I'm keeping my sick self home to rest today and concentrating on putting together healthy meals for the week. It's a slight challenge as we're at that point in the paycheck that I refer to as "living off the bounty of the pantry". However... since I've been actually buying groceries instead of fast food and planning meals instead of doing the dash and dine duty (as opposed to dine and dash - that's something completely different)... I'm confident that we can not only survive off the bounty of the pantry, I know that we can eat well.

Today I've got a crockpot going with dried pintos, onion, green pepper and celery- it's a half bean/half veggie ratio. Better than just plan old beans... better from a nutritional standpoint and also a taste standpoint! We'll eat them with brown rice. The pintos were $1.19 for a bag. The rice was $1.39 for a huge bag - enough to make rice three or four times this week. Onion, pepper and celery is super cheap. Out of these we'll have 3 or 4 meals. At least. I could even add canned tomatoes later in the week to perk it up.

I know it's a challenge to eat healthy on a budget... but it's definitely possible. I bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts for $6.50. Enough for 3 or 4 meals. One meal at Subway is that much by the time you add a drink. (I know this because I had a Subway meal recently - salad and bottle of water and it was over $7!) I bought two bags of frozen salmon (wild - not farm raised) for $3.50 each. Each bag will give us two meals. I have milled flax that can add protein and fiber to a smoothie in the morning - and frozen blueberries and strawberries to make smoothies! Again... a couple of dollars for each bag of frozen fruit but cheaper than driving through McDonalds.

The real cost of nutrition has to factor in not having missed work due to illness. If I can stay healthy, I can stay at work. The days that I go to work sick, I'm making my hourly salary but I'm not doing much to earn commission... and for us to stay ahead on bills, I have to sell stuff. I have to feel good. Some healthy foods aren't cheap... but they're cheaper than missing work!

Last night Austin and I split a pomegranate. We love pomegranates but they're expensive - about $3 each. However... as we spent time together preparing it... seeds and juice everywhere... and then enjoyed it... I realized that we spent less on that piece of fruit than we would on a trip to Dairy Queen. DQ is usually around $3 EACH with absolutely no nutritional benefit.

We love to have baked butternut squash for breakfast. I sprinkle it with nutmeg and cinnamon and bake it in the oven. One butternut squash costs around $2-3 - but it will feed two people for two breakfasts.

Collards are packed with nutrients and incredibly yummy. A package of ready to cook (i.e. cut and washed) collard greens is around $3. I cook them in the crockpot with a little olive oil and salt. One pack will give us around 8 servings each of collards. I think that's a great deal!

My yummy turkey veggie meatloaf that Austin would LIVE on if I would let him... is equal parts turkey and veggies... usually ground chickpeas and whatever else I have on hand. I usually buy canned chickpeas but I could buy dried and make it even more affordable. Using the milled flax seed as a binder stretches it even further, gives it more bulk, protein, fiber and flavor. I typically just save bits and scraps of veggies to toss into the meatloaf.

And then there's oatmeal... a tin of steel cut oats is around $4 - more expensive than traditional oatmeal but it goes a long... long... way.

So even though it's winter and produce isn't in abundance or cheap... it's still FAR cheaper to eat healthy than to eat junk.

Yesterday was "Sugar-Day" ... meaning that it's my treat day. No one can sustain any type of diet that is completely exclusive of things that you love. By designating Saturday as my "ok to indulge" day, it's easier to stay on track during the rest of the week.

Austin and I decided to play tourists and go to Helen. It was a perfect day to go since the busy tourist season has ended and Helen is a ghost town! We walked the length of town (not far - it's about a half mile loop) and had breakfast at Hofbrau - a place that is usually so thick with tourists that you can't even get in the front doors. Austin had corned beef hash (which he loves) and i had french toast (and wished I had gotten the corned beef hash!).

We also decided to indulge at the candy shop. Helen has a couple of those really amazing touristy shops that has the homemade fudge, peanut brittle, caramel apples and just about any other chocolate treat you can think of. Typically we pick something we like and get one or two... like... one or two chocolate covered cherries... just a bite. It's cheaper and it's plenty. He had a caramel apple and I had a chocolate covered pretzel stick.

And that was it. That was the limit of my indulgence for the day... an order of french toast and a chocolate covered pretzel. And it was plenty.... and came in the middle of an hour of walking (strolling).

He's in there coughing and sneezing so I guess I'm not alone.

For lunch yesterday I had the turkey meatloaf and some collards. Dinner was raisin bran and a half of a pomegranate. Snack was some wasabi almonds. I haven't tried to calculate calories or points but I know that what I'm eating is WAAAAY better than what I had been eating... and once again I'm glad that the bakery and North Georgia BBQ are closed for the winter.

We also went to the library. It made our residence here seem so much more permanent but... wow... if I ever come into money I'm going to make a huge donation to the library. It is so small that the entire fiction section is on one of those spiral racks... and half of it is science fiction. The entire building could fit down into the children's section of the library I went to in Jacksonville. There are about twenty parking spots outside the library. It's amazing. Sometimes I forget how small and sparsely populated this area is - especially since we have a good bit of tourist traffic. But the number of people who make this area their full time residence - far, far less than any other place I've lived. To be fair... the Helen library is the newer library in the county. I'll check out the Cleveland library next weekend and hopefully it's a bit bigger with a larger selection. In Georgia your library card is good for almost every library in the state. There's a library near my office, although it's in a different county, I can check books out there as well.

Today I'm going to stay in and rest. Stasha will be mad that I'm not at church this morning (Sorry, Stasha!) but I just want to do everything I can to nip any sickness in the bud. There have been a lot of sick people at church... and I don't want to add to that or pick anything else up. I watched a lot of ice skating yesterday and will watch more today. I'm so excited about the upcoming Olympics! Wow! I just realized that I was in New York during the last Olympics! It's hard to believe it's been that long ago... and hard to believe that my sister-out-law Candice has been a part of our lives for that long!

Hope you all have a great Sunday. Stay warm, safe and dry! *hugs*

Friday, January 22, 2010

results and countdown

I was just making “cold calls” to people that we’ve been sending marketing material to – people who are not our clients – and I realized – I’ve become a telemarketer. I’m the person that people avoid. Ugh.

Yesterday I made another batch of the turkey/veggie loaf. This time it was chickpeas, turkey, shredded collard greens, butternut squash, onion soup mix, oatmeal and milled flax seed. I was out of the teriyaki sauce that Austin loves so I left it plain. He loved it! Designated it the best version yet! And it’s packed with veggies AND protein!

For dinner, though, I had a turkey burger without a bun and a whole mess of collard greens. It was awesome!

My breakfast today was yogurt mixed with flax seed and blueberries… and a banana.
Lunch is scheduled to be turkey/veggie loaf and collards.
Snacks are orange and almonds.
My planned dinner is tilapia – not sure what I’ll serve with it yet.

Now… about the scale. Not moving. Well.. it has moved… it has moved UP. My eating has been appropriate for weight loss. I’ve eaten things that stimulate your metabolism. I eat every 3 hours. I’m drinking water. I’m eating mostly fruit and veggies with just enough lean meat and fat-free dairy for protein. I’m up and about and moving more than I have in over a year. I’m aggravated with the lack of loss. I’ve cut out all my meds except my anti-depressant and I’m wondering if that’s preventing weight loss? I’m cutting the dose in half and will watch carefully to see if there are any changes in my moods. I’m also starting to be aware of the difference between depression and appropriate sadness or frustration. There was a time that my circumstances were overwhelming to the extent that I couldn’t escape them, even in the happiest of times. Now I feel like I’m a happy person who occasionally has to deal with normal frustrations – and who deals with them appropriately. Now that I’ve eliminated the bulk of the circumstances that overwhelmed me… I think I might be able to deal with those normal frustrations without feeling overwhelmed. I am fully aware, however, that many people feel better on medication and stop taking it only to find out they only felt better because of the medication… so you guys can let me know if I start sounding excessively doomy and gloomy!

Weekend countdown – it’s almost lunch time. The morning has flown by!
-blink-
Lunch is over! Yummy collards and TVL – a little time reading Deuteronomy, a little work on my Wednesday night bible study preparation, a little Walmart and a little Rush Limbaugh. Good combination. It’s after 2 and I am still feeling groovy. Before I would be dragging and begging the hours to pass. It’s really not so bad.
Now I blink and time has flown by.
I just blinked away another hour and now it’s just over 2 hours to go in our day!
Gonna post and have my afternoon snack… hope you all have a great weekend!

drawing a line in the sand...

It’s Friday! What a blessing it is to have made it through (almost) a whole week without sickness! I’ve made it through the whole month of January (almost) without sickness – other than a little bit of a stuffy nose and a headache here and there and a little bit of (not uncommon) discomfort due to my interstitial cystitis that I’ve had for twenty years. Minor stuff. Yes. I’m doing well.

And I feel sort of like the person who wrote the song, “It Is Well”… which was written as he passed over a spot where his wife and children had all perished. It’s sort of like the folks in Haiti who are praising God in the midst of ruin. There are things that are not perfect in my life. There are worries and concerns. There are things that must be paid and no money to pay them. Yet. I’m doing well.

I woke up in a “get R done” kind of mood and I’m hoping that serves me well. I was praying – and voicing some frustrations to God about my status quo – the hole that I can’t seem to climb out of financially… despite the blessings and generosity of many people in my life. And yet I still struggle. And yet I am still in need. And I still have to juggle and worry if I pay one thing that something else is going to be taken away or turned off. And God… because He is God and knows my situation better than I do myself… reminded me of a little $750 child support payment that I’ve been cheated out of for the past ten years. It’s been paid in part – some of the time. It’s never been paid in full. Yet here I am… asking those who owe me NOTHING to help when the one person who owes me a lot is doing NOTHING. In the past I’ve looked into the child support recovery program and decided against it. it’s a lot of red tape. But you know what… we’re over $35,000 now in unpaid child support. That money would have changed our lives. And if it takes another twenty years to get it… if I’m going to be a good steward of the money I earn… and pay back the people that I owe… I have to get what’s owed to me. It goes beyond grace and mercy. It’s morally and legally obligated to us.

And so that is what I’m going to do… not because I’m greedy, but because I’m needy. Not in vengeance but because it’s right. Righteous indignation. Christianity doesn’t demand that we walk away from what people owe us and pray that someone else will pay what they don’t owe.

I’m also going to start forwarding Michael’s bills to his work address because this, too, is right. Why should I bear his burdens? Why should I be party any longer to the game of deception that he’s played his whole life with women and creditors and family. I’m going to do as I have threatened before and give his work phone number to anyone who calls to collect his (and Stephen’s) debts. I’m tired of living behind closed blinds trying to avoid the creditors that lurk out there. I want to do what’s right. I want to pay my debts. I want to have victory over this feeling of being a thief and a pauper because I can’t pay what I owe. Why should I have to get up every morning and run to the carport to make sure my car hasn’t been repo’ed when I could make two car payments a month off the child support that’s owed to me?

It was financial insecurity that put me in a position to fall prey to someone like Michael in the first place. Someone who seemed to be financially stable and generous. Someone who seemed ambitious and hardworking and responsible. I believed he could make our life better. Appearances are deceiving – especially if you WANT to believe that things are more positive than they really are. Yes, we should have hope and faith. We should believe God’s promises but we can’t ignore reality. Reality is that Michael was already deeply in debt when he met me and that’s why he freaked out about the debt on my trailer. Reality is that he never could afford the place in Woodstock. Reality is that he exaggerated the situation with Cody to make it seem worse than it was and deceived me rather than admit he couldn’t afford the lifestyle he had brought us into. He resented me – not because I wasn’t a good person or a good wife or a good mother – but because the longer he was with me, the more I found out about his dishonesty. He resented me because he couldn’t really give me the lifestyle he had promised. And as time went by he resented me because he could see the damage he had done to my spirit by what he had stolen from me. He did what he always did when the truth got too close – he ran. And in my case – he ran into the arms of a woman who didn’t know the truth yet.

The cracks in his character made him attack my character – to shift the attention from him. And his constant attacks on my character left me feeling abandoned and hopeless. The flaws in my childrens’ father’s character have overflowed onto our lives for 25 years now… and despite how hard I work, I can’t make up for who he should have been and what he should have done.

Sooooo… that’s what’s on my mind today. I’ve realized that healing myself means really understanding what character flaws are truly mine and what parts of my character are a reaction to the abuse and misuse of others. I’m not fixing anyone else. I’m only fixing me. And fixing me means not allowing them – my two husbands – to get away with the damage they cause me every single day of my life – by their acts of irresponsibility. And the only way to stop them from doing that is to draw a line and stand firm and say, “no more” by whatever legal. If you let people continue to bring you down, you can’t ever pull yourself up. I think I’ve always thought that it was better to suffer in silence – maybe I thought that since I am unable to handle my debts that I was in no place to judge. But now… I understand the connection between their issues and mine. And I’m cutting off their pipeline into my life.

Stay tuned for a weight loss and weekend countdown post!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

recipe from hungry girl DOT com

(posting this to keep a record of the recipe - sorry it's not fixed up nice and purty!)

The Whole Enchilada Chicken Soup
PER SERVING (1 cup): 105 calories, 1.75g fat, 641mg sodium, 12.5g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 11g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

Ingredients:3 cups fat-free chicken broth1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery 1/2 cup diced sweet yellow onion3 cups green enchilada sauceOne 15-oz. can pure pumpkin10 oz. cooked boneless skinless lean chicken breast, chopped or shredded1 cup frozen white (or yellow) cornOptional: dash hot sauce, or more to tasteOptional toppings: shredded fat-free cheddar cheese, crushed baked tortilla chipsDirections:In a large pot, bring broth to a low boil on the stove. Add celery and onion, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly tender. Stir in enchilada sauce and pumpkin. Once soup returns to a low boil, add chicken and corn, and mix well. Cook for an additional 3 - 5 minutes, until soup is heated throughout. Add a dash or more hot sauce. (Or not. It's your soup.) Serve and, if you like, top with shredded cheese and/or crushed chips.

thankful thursday - underwater edition

It’s raining here. Raining in buckets. My hair is a mess.
Austin fell yesterday during P.E. which is now called Personal Fitness – or in his case – Intro to Team Sports – whatever. It’s still P.E. He landed hard on his tailbone and he’s really sore.
He was excited about going to church last night – gave it a celebratory fist pump. That was cool. Before I went to bed last night he asked if we are going to church on Sunday. I love that he loves it. And honestly, what’s not to love? Our church is such a loving, supportive group of people.
My friend Angie is working on fundraising for the local humane society. They’re doing a Masquerade Ball. She asked if I could help… the budget is zero… so it will all be covered by donations…. She didn’t know how to go about handling that sort of thing. I worked in theatre long enough (and was a single mom long enough) to learn how to barter and trade for goods and services. I know how to do something for nothing. I just need to enlist a few gay men… any takers? Angie is a single mom with FOUR kids under the age of 10. I met her through my Wednesday night bible study.
I turned in my registration last night for the Disaster Recovery certification with the Southern Baptist Convention. I’m gonna do it. I’ll get certified and then they put me on a list and when there’s a natural disaster… if my team comes up in the rotation, I’ll be offered the chance to go and serve. I’m really excited about it. I don’t have to accept an assignment if I can’t go for financial or logistical reasons. If I don’t go, I can still be on the rotation and it won’t change my ability to go in the future. So… I figure… I’ll get certified and let God work out the details.
Are you seeing a theme here? Heather out and about and engaged in her community! Go team!
I was talking with one of our pastors yesterday and he mentioned how our little women’s bible study had become a support group of sorts. I think I was the one who ushered in that change with my neediness and drama over the past year but… it’s awesome how God is using our group to give a home base of sorts to women who are not from the traditional church going demographic.
In other news… our agency was voted the best insurance agency in Habersham County by the readers of The Northeast Georgian Newspaper. All 3 of them agreed. Just kidding!
It’s great to be the big fish in a small pond.
Latest update on the laptop: it’s not operating as normal but I figured out a way to get online. The fact that I can get online tells me that whatever the problem is, it is minor and should be easy for someone who knows what they’re doing to fix.
I had bizarre dreams last night… dreamed that MJD asked me to come back to him. Ugh. NOT! I also dreamed that my niece Jamie had purple poop… probably because she was wearing a purple dress last night. I don’t know. This is what I get for sleeping with CNN on.
Latest nutrition obsession: milled flax seed. Google it – it’s got major health benefits and it can be mixed into yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal – it can be used for baking. It makes your yogurt have sort of a graham cracker crumb flavor. Really yum!
Dinner last night at church was bbq sandwiches on a bun with baked beans and chips. I ate it. I had unsweetened tea and no dessert, though, and ate a salad to make sure I got my colorful foods in for the day.
Breakfast this morning was steel cut oatmeal with flax seed… drizzled with honey and with a tiny pat of real butter. Followed up with a banana.
No ambien… I think I’m up to either six or seven days without… sleeping great (other than freaky dreams).
My snack is fat free vanilla yogurt with flax seed and fresh blueberries which were – get this candice! - $1.49 for a pint! Last year they were $8 at this time of year. Love my fresh blueberries!
It’s raining harder.
Here’s how I know that I’m feeling better – time flies. It used to be absolute misery for me to sit at a desk all day. I just didn’t feel well enough to be up and about. Lately… I’ll look at the clock and be shocked! I’m not dragging and half dead by the time I leave… or having to leave early from illness and exhaustion. I feel like I’m much more engaged in my work. I’m definitely more clear headed.
This is all great – and it’s all EXACTLY why I made the decision to clean up my diet. Now if that durn scale would just catch up with the effort…
Gonna post this before I lose it. With all the rain we’re having it wouldn’t surprise me if we lost power. Have a great Thursday and find something – or someone – to be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

this too shall pass

Well… the computer has completely bit the dust. It still turns on but it won’t operate windows… so I’ve got to get windows reloaded and the virus removed. I’m not savvy enough to do it… so I’ll have to find someone who can or pay someone who can. It’s frustrating and aggravating and all that. I love my laptop… but more importantly… I love the social aspect of it. It’s upsetting to be back where I was a year ago. It’s upsetting to have to designate funds towards that when there are so many other bills that desperately need my attention.

I guess life is sort of a two steps forward, one step back proposition. The only constant in life is change. We know that nothing – except God – is eternal. Mountains will crumble and fall. The earth shakes and buildings give way. Our bodies are mortal and temporary. People die. Friends disappoint us. We disappoint people. There is nothing that is certain. Cars break down. Prices go up. Our babies grow up. We can’t change that change will come… we can only control our response to these little difficulties and disappointments and frustrations. So… that’s what I’m doing… calmly accepting that this too, shall pass and that the loss of my great pleasure – temporarily – will not kill me.

One thing that concerns me – I had an old childhood friend who messaged me last night feeling very down and discouraged. I responded with what little wisdom I have gained through my own struggles – and offered to have her come to the mountains and spend some time with me. If she responds – I won’t know. And I don’t want her to think that I have turned my back on her. Again, the Lord has brought someone to me who is feeling hopeless… and here I am with this ring on the finger where my wedding rings once were… with one word always staring back at me – “HOPE” – and truly, I feel that my mission in life, my purpose, my ministry is to restore hope where hope has been lost…. Just as so many people in my life have given me hope when I thought it was forever lost.

My good friend Scott has a son, Brock, that is my oldest son’s age. Brock grew up with my kids… and there were many times when Scott was struggling through hard times that he and Brock became part of our household. He was one of my babies – just like Joshy and Joey and Dax and Kristin and the other young people who passed through our lives on their way to immortality. Brock got into some trouble – speeding tickets, minor fender benders – that sort of thing – and lost his drivers license. He – being a stubborn teenager – drove anyways – and was involved in an accident where he lost control of his car and it flipped several times. The young lady in the car with him was killed. He was convicted of vehicular homicide, in part because of his prior driving violations and because he was driving on a suspended license. Brock was sentenced to 8 years but is about to be released on parole in a few weeks – after serving a little over 4 years. Scott was talking to him over the past weekend and Brock talked about the time they spent with us… hopefully during that time we gave him some stability in what was an otherwise fairly unstable childhood. I know that Scott and I have provided encouragement for each other during many times of struggle and disappointment… we’ve seen each other through two failed marriages a piece. I’m excited for him that this heartbreaking time is over.

There – you had four whole paragraphs that weren’t about food. I realized yesterday that I’m posting my expected meals and then eating something completely different – not unhealthy, just different. For instance… lunch yesterday was the mixed veggies but I also really wanted some protein so I bought a grilled chicken sandwich from Burger King and got it completely plain – no sauce, nothing- and threw away the bun. I cut the chicken up in my veggies and it was really good. For dinner I didn’t have oatmeal – I had a microwave meal. Not *quite* as healthy but not unhealthy. I had the munchies, though, and had a bowl of raisin bran and some wasabi almonds later. This morning I had the oatmeal and I put in ground flax seed with it. Flax seed is high in the omega 3 fatty acids – like what’s in salmon – and is important for metabolism – and high in fiber.

I went grocery shopping after work yesterday with an eye on spending… I bought mostly produce and lean meats. My total was $123 – but this included salmon, tilapia, ground turkey, a big bag of frozen chicken breasts – lots of produce. I bought some light frozen meals as Austin will eat those for snack. I had some coupons and saved about $5. Not a huge amount but it can add up. This grocery trip needs to last us until February 1st – we have to portion carefully!

This morning I got up and my computer was completely down – bummer. I got on the scale and it was up – bummer. I know that it’s temporary – this too shall pass. I know that there is no way for me to eat the way I’m eating, to make the drastic changes in nutrition and NOT lose weight. In the past I would lose a few … float back up for a bit… then have a significant loss. I’m focusing on feeling better… and I AM feeling better.

Tonight is dinner at church – so whatever they serve is what I’ll have. For lunch I have a progresso soup and celery sticks with Laughing Cow cheese. Orange for snack.
Ok… time for work. Love and hugs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

more about food

Are you sick of hearing me talk about food? I started journaling to be able to keep up with what I ate... so I'm getting closer to my roots here, less whining and more celebration. Get used to it.

Last night’s dinner ended up being stir fry chicken with red and green peppers, onion and celery. I had mine over a brown rice/bulgur combination and Austin had his in a fat free tortilla. Good stuff.

My colorful food for yesterday – banana, butternut squash, pear, red peppers, green peppers, onion, celery, honeydew melon and cantaloupe.
My proteins for yesterday – almonds, almond butter, yogurt and chicken
My grains for yesterday – whole grain bread, brown rice, bulgur
I had sugar in my coffee in the morning… other than that… no junk!

Today my menu looks like this:
Colors- collard greens (breakfast), orange (snack), carrots, zucchini and green beans (frozen mix for lunch), mixed frozen fruit – red grapes, honeydew, strawberries (for snack)… I’m thinking for dinner I’ll finish off the butternut squash.
Proteins – almonds for snack this morning, yogurt for snack this afternoon. I meant to bring the leftover rice/bulgur mixture to go with my veggies and forgot so I’ll have to pick up a grilled chicken sandwich somewhere.

I’m thinking for dinner tonight I’ll have some oatmeal with the butternut squash.
My strategy today is to eat every 2-3 hours and increase my water.
As the weather warms up, I’ll be able to add more activity. My goal is to be healthy enough by the time changes to be able to take advantage of that extra daylight hour by walking in the evening. There are some really scenic areas around here – even if I just went to Jim and Angie’s and walked down the “bumpity bump road” with the girls… Or stopped in Helen to walk with Stasha after work… I want to be on track to walk ½ hour to an hour a day by spring. Walking works.
I haven’t been hungry yet. Not once. In fact – I’ve been enjoying food more. I had a huge bowl of collard greens for breakfast where I might normally have a biscuit or a piece of toast… so I’m fuller and I’m full of good stuff, not junk. The good stuff stays with you longer.
I slept 6 really awesome hours last night – really deep sleep. I woke up, went to the potty and went right back to sleep for another hour. Seven hours of unassisted sleep… it’s quite an accomplishment!

My computer is working but still has a virus. I need to get it to Geek Squad or someone who can remove it before it does any damage. I put a new virus protection thingy on it but it’s still not right. It’s so aggravating. I should never have let Austin use it.

The big news for today is that I measured… and out of the three basic measurements (which is all that I can do consistently) I have lost a total of four inches! Four pounds and four inches! I think that’s awesome. I wish there was a way to calculate money saved as well… I know that the ambien alone was costing over $200 a month…. Lunch out at work every day was $5-7 – so that’s more than a hundred a month! Increasing my health insurance deductible is saving $200 a month… so the savings in being healthy is huge. We haven’t even factored in not missing time from work… and just being more productive at work since my salary is partially based on commission. There are some benefits that will come further down the road but every victory deserves celebration. Lost inches and gained money is the payoff today! That plus just feeling better… that’s worth so much too… quality of life. There’s a spring in my step… I like having that energy back.

Monday, January 18, 2010

taking off!

I’m feeling rather A.D.D. today.
Breakfast was cooked butternut squash mixed with vanilla yogurt. Don’t judge. It’s good. I couldn’t finish it all so I brought the extras for snack later.
For lunch I have an almond butter and banana sandwich on multigrain bread.
Almonds and a pear for snack.
Dinner is collards and carrots and probably a little grilled chicken. I have some gorgeous peppers that I might stir fry.
Although it’s a national holiday, we’re working. It’s no different from Columbus Day or President’s Day or any of those other “bank holidays” that we don’t get. We only get paid for the biggies – New Year, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually about 7-8 days a year.
I slept great last night. Less than 6 hours… maybe I need less sleep than I thought. Again, as I mentioned yesterday, I think the key is not panicking when it gets to be 11:30 and I’m still awake. The other thing… I had been waiting until I was about to fall over to go to bed. Now I allow myself a little wind down time.
Inspiration for healthy eating this morning – an extremely obese man in our lobby who is out of breath from walking from the parking lot into our office. It’s about twenty feet. You literally park right beside the front door. Nothing tastes good enough to compromise your quality of life that drastically. Really, at that point, it’s more about addiction than it is excess. You have to consume a huge quantity of food to maintain at that level – well over 400 pounds, probably 500.
I took a sneak peek at the tape measure this morning. I know that I have at least 4 inches lost… probably more…
The scale isn’t being my friend right now but that’s ok. I have been eating so much better, better than ever before in my LIFE… I know it will come off.
My friend Kenny (from high school) was in the same Weight Watchers group that me and my daddy used to go to. Our friend Tracy is going to WW with her dad. She’s looking for a good WW group that isn’t all women so her dad doesn’t feel weird. Kenny mentioned that my dad and I used to go together and how cool he thought that was. The family that weighs together, stays together.
I did really well in WW… but it’s an expense that I can’t justify right now. I have the knowledge. I have the tools. I have the group support. I have the accountability partners. I have the goals. I have a reward system in place. I know what I need to do, I know how to do it.
Austin moaned and groaned a bit this weekend about the lack of junk in our house. TDB. Too dang bad. Get used to it. He had about 7 servings of fruit and veggies yesterday including eggplant, kiwi, an apple pear, an orange…
I had a banana, broccoli, pinto beans, an asian pear, an orange, butternut squash…
Austin made one of those gross, highly processed, make and bake sort of meals last night- cheesy hashbrown potatoes with ham. I had about 4 bites and just couldn’t stand the taste or the texture.
This morning I caught myself studying the farms on the way to the office… getting ideas for my Farmville farm, to make it more authentic. My life is average.
I couldn’t find the shoes I prefer to wear to work this morning so I’m wearing the loud shoes. We have wood floors (well, laminate) and I sound like a horse coming down the hallway. A Clydesdale. And today, of all days, my body has decided to rid itself of the extra water that is making the scale not my friend. Good times.
Useless information: most of you know I’m left handed but did you know that I write completely sideways? It looks bizarre… but it works.
I’m still mesmerized by what’s going on in Haiti and convicted to realize how blessed I really am. Especially when they showed the church service… people sitting on cinder blocks in the open air PRAISING God in the midst of the rubble. That’s real faith… believing despite the devastation around you. Maybe… just maybe… that’s our problem. We have so much wealth and security around us that it’s hard to understand the need for a greater power. We are our own power. But everything. EV-REE-THANG can come crashing down around you in one fell swoop. One earthquake... hurricane... epidemic...
I struggle. I mean... there are bills I can't pay. I juggle. I make payment arrangements. I pay late fees. I do without some things that others see as necessity. But I ate lunch today. I have a job. I have a home. I have a car that runs. I have friends and family who love me. I have an awesome church that takes care of it's own and also takes care of folks all around the world. There is no major crisis in my life... no heartache... I am strong and independent and free.
And very soon I'm going to be healthy and fit too.
Watch me fly!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

a produce-tive week

Did you eat a rainbow this week? I did! Here's what I can remember of the fruits and veggies I ate this week:

cabbage
beets
lettuce
tomatoes
onions
green onions
green peppers
red peppers
orange
grapefruit
pear
apple pear (if you haven't had one - try them! they're awesome!)
black beans
broccoli
carrots
grapes
canteloupe
honeydew melon
banana
plantain
mango
chickpeas
cilantro
....
I'm sure there was more... at any rate... I've definitely been getting in my 5-9 servings a day!

the good, the bad and the ugly... after two weeks....

Last night I went to bed around midnight. Austin asked to use my laptop for a little while... which is fine... I don't mind sharing... but when I got up at 7:45 this morning he was still awake and still online with an empty two liter of coke beside him. Aggravating enough... but when he moved the laptop back to my room and I tried to sign on I got an iexplore.exe application error. It says, "the application failed to initialize properly" and gives the code 0xc0000142. I have no idea what that means - but it keeps shutting down the computer. I tried to restore... I tried in the reboot to go back to last good configuration... and that just gave me a windows incompatability error. I tried to see if there was anything installed or changed... doesn't look like it. Very frustrating. I was without a computer for months last year and it drove me nuts. By the grace of God and the generousity of the people who love me, I got a new one and I love it... love doing digital photos... love the social networking... and to be honest, I'm really VERY angry at Austin. No telling what kind of bogus inappropriate stuff he was trying to look at that caused a virus or who knows what. That's the bad.

Yesterday was my "sugar day" and I really didn't want any sugar. Funny how you lose the taste for it. I got a venti iced green tea from Starbucks with sugar instead of splenda and that felt wild and decadent. We even went out for lunch (which I couldn't afford but ... every now and then you just have to live)... Austin wanted Wild Wings Cafe - which was a place we really enjoyed in Jacksonville. There's one in Gainesville so we went... he had wings... I had grilled shrimp. You can have the grilled shrimp with the same sauce as the wings... I had a honey/lime sauce... with steamed broccoli and potato salad. The potato salad was too thick and salty so I only had a bite of it. We did get these buffalo chips - they're just basically potato chips with blue cheese crumbles. I ate those. That was my only real indulgence. That's the good... losing cravings for bad stuff.

We've been eating a lot of produce... I made black beans and brown rice earlier in the week last week... I took the leftovers and stuffed red bell peppers on Friday night. I roasted some baby carrots and YUM! I had leftover leftovers last night for dinner. I got the munchies late last night and had a half almond butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread. It was really good. That's another good for you.

The ugly... two pounds back on the scale this morning. I haven't eaten two pounds of food so I'm sure it's just *float* and *bloat* and will rectify itself in due time. I'm not going to get hung up on the scale although I am using it as one of my tools to make sure that what I'm doing is successful. But I dooooo feel better and I am sleeping better and learning to not freak out when it's a little later before I fall asleep. I think for many people it's that panic of not being able to sleep that keeps them awake. Does that make sense? I'll do measurements in a few more days. I want to try to measure every two weeks or so and I didn't measure on day one... So that's ugly but also good. I'm making progress.

George W. Bush is on Fox News right now - he is completely white headed now, just like Clinton. W has aged more out of office than he did in. That's odd.

It's pouring rain out. Miserable weather. That's ugly.

I went to church this morning... even though I had a huge distraction with the laptop not working... I decided that I was going to church no matter what and I worked at keeping my focus there. It was a great service... I'm glad I went... Always a good time. I miss those folks when I'm away from church. That was good.

I'm not doing the major preparation in cooking today because... well... our last payday was December 31st. We get paid tomorrow... which was already a long time between paychecks - 18 days - and the banks are closed tomorrow. So I'm hard core broke and hanging on to what I have left. Can't afford a grocery run until after payday. We're fine... I mean, there's lots of great fresh produce in the house and I have enough black beans, pinto beans, etc to handle our protein needs until Tuesday. We have some frozen chicken too. I just don't have all the ingredients to do my meals ahead like I have been doing. That's a bad... but I'm not going to let it turn into an ugly. I had a banana for breakfast... i never like to eat much before church because I don't want to be all gurgly and have to go to the bathroom halfway through the service. I had some stir fry broccoli and fresh mozzarella on reduced fat triscuits for lunch. I was baking some eggplant but forgot about it and it burned. I'm cooking some beautiful butternut squash for later - it's so thick and meaty that it's like eating a baked potato but it tastes better and doesn't need butter.

Speaking of butter... we're out. Austin made these lowfat orange and cranberry muffins yesterday and I decided that could go under my indulgence of the day and they were so moist that they didn't need butter. He wanted some, though... and it was then that I realized that we had been out of butter since I used the last little pat in our sauteed mushrooms on Thursday and I hadn't noticed. He said we'd been out of tub butter (margarine) for over a week. I think that's purty durn good!

We went produce shopping yesterday while we were in Gainesville. I let Austin help me pick some things that he really enjoys... and pick some things he wanted to try... he wanted to try kiwi because he thought they looked like .... never mind. I can't even go there. Whatever it takes to get him to eat healthy. And he loved the kiwi. I have a hard time eating kiwi. I'm allergic to pineapple and I have a similar but milder reaction to kiwi. But I will definitely be buying them for Austin. That was good.

There was a "sample lady" at the grocery store who was cooking asparagus and salmon. Austin asked for a sample and she sort of brushed him off saying, "it's asparagus!" and I said, "no... he loves asparagus... " so she gave him some and he loved it. That's right, lady, my kid eats asparagus!

Our church is doing disaster recovery certification training and ... I think I'm going to do it. I'm good in a crisis... I know a lot about insurance so I have that extra skill/training... and I've been in a place of hopelessness... of losing everything... and I know that there is always hope.... and I think that's a message that folks going through a disaster need to know. Financially, I don't see myself in a place of being able to just take off work and head off to parts unknown... but I know that God will work that out. I know that where He leads, He will feed. Sometimes it's not really about going so much as it is being willing to go wherever He leads. And I'm willing. I'm going to be an empty nester in a few short years... so who better than me to go? Besides... every motivation that I can find to get healthy and stay healthy can only help. If I'm trained in disaster recovery... then I have to be at a weight and in good enough health to be helpful.

I guess I better save and post while this one trick pony is still in the ring! Y'all have a great Sunday!

love and hugs!

Friday, January 15, 2010

fabulous friday!

I started my morning by driving into Helen to take photos for a new policy I’m writing. I love Helen… for those not familiar with north Georgia… it’s a small resort town that is made to look like a Bavarian village. Very touristy and cutesy. Lots of cheesy tourist shops and usually crawling with what my brother used to call “tour-ons”. Seeing it in the fresh cool morning without a soul around – beautiful and peaceful.

Unfortunately… the battery in my camera was dead so it was a wasted trip… but… not really. I hope I never take the beauty of my little corner of the world for granted.

The weather is warming up… we’ll be near 60 degrees today. It’s the first Friday I’ve worked since December 11th! It’s going to be so weird only having a two day weekend! Austin has a 3 day weekend because of the MLK holiday but we don’t… bummer…

Hello Wendy! Thanks for stopping by! How are things in Oz?
Stasha- it’s spelled s-e-v-e-r-e. I need you to take a picture for me in Helen. The one I tried to take this morning. It’s on Dye Street… call me when you’re awake.
Jess – I haven’t heard from you lately. How are things with YOUR Oz?
Michele – are you eating well?

The funeral for my friend will be on Monday. I’m conflicted about whether or not to attend. I haven’t seen her in a very long time but it seems appropriate to pay my respects. I would want my old friends there for me. However… it’s a Monday and it’s two hours away which would mean missing most of the day from work. I’m prayerfully considering what would be best. Unfortunately, she didn’t have life insurance. The family is having to try to come up with the funds to bury her… If anything, it makes me more determined in my work… people DO die unexpectedly at all ages… and not having insurance compounds an already tragic situation.

We’re having food for D’s birthday today. I brought fruit. Yay me! I did cave and eat a small brownie. Moderation. I didn’t pack a lunch this morning… I’m thinking I’ll have a salad at Subway. Cheap… just get a little thing of veggies and a little meat for protein and maybe a little oil and vinegar dressing. I bought some awesome salad dressing that I meant to put in my possibility bag – but forgot. We don’t eat out much. Hardly ever any more! It’s easier to stay on track when I’m cooking my own meals and not tempted with unhealthy choices.

The grand total so far is 4 pounds lost! Two weeks and four pounds! If I could maintain that rate of weight loss… I’d end the year 104 pounds lighter! For those of you who are thinking that would be too much weight. …That would be insane and is REALLY not my goal. Actually, to be honest, there isn’t a certain number in mind. I want to commit to eating healthy for the rest of my life. There isn’t a “diet until this weight and then resume old habits” number. Wherever healthy living takes me, that’s what I want to weigh. Certainly, it will be smaller than I am now. I have a few look good/feel good goals since Cody’s wedding is coming up and my 25th high school reunion next year (if I decide to go).

My skin is so dry! I keep forgetting to moisturize. The cold air really strips your skin. Hopefully we won’t have much more of it.

My Friday is half over, thank the Lord! This working five days a week is no fun! But it’s better than having NO work.

My subway salad was good. Very good. Totally satisfying. This puts me at around 5 veggie servings on the day today.

This entry looks more like a series of facebook status updates than a real blog entry.

No ambien last night. Current stats are three past days without… I’ve had 3 ambiens in the past two weeks… and sleeping great. My energy level is unbelievably different. I really feel like a new person. It has made all the difference in the world this week at work as we have been short handed (as usual) and more busy than usual. I feel much more clear headed and able to do the things I need to do. I’m not overwhelmed by things.

And you know what else really makes a huge difference for me? Not having to play hunter/gatherer at every meal. Actually buying groceries and preparing meals in advance has completely changed my life. It’s such a small thing, if you think about it. I can shop for food when I have time to actually think about what I’m buying and make better financial decisions. I am preparing food when I have time to put extra care and consideration (and TLC!) in what I cook – so my food TASTES better. I’m making better nutritionally balanced meals because I have time to carefully plan out what I’m going to eat. I’m learning to eat in a way that gives me the most bang for my buck – in time, money, energy, nutrition. It’s exciting!

Overheard at lunch: The chicken is involved in breakfast but the pig is committed.
Gotta go. Hope you have a great Friday

Thursday, January 14, 2010

all day rambling...

Nissan Cube has a style called “Ginormous”. Seriously?
I missed the part on American Idol last night where they did the “Pants on the Ground” song. Must you tube later. I hear it’s hilarious. I was watching CNN. Don’t throw rotten tomatoes… they’ve had better coverage on Haiti. And Anderson Cooper is so durn cute! I felt quite self-righteous for being so concerned about my fellow man instead of indulging myself with reality tv. But I wish I had seen that part.
I’m growing sugar cane on my farm in Farmville.
My little cyber pet now has the Louvre as a habitat.
Last night in my bible study it ended up just being me and the leader, Alisa. I love Alisa. She’s had two back surgeries over the past few months and I’ve had my issues so we have barely seen each other. It was good to have a private lesson and time to share with her. Accountability, honesty, vulnerability… it’s good to have Christian friends who understand the challenges this world presents.
My brother Bryan (in NYC) has a torn acl and has to have it replaced with a cadaver acl. I thought I was witty with my comment to Candice about “zombie knees” until I heard Jim’s response – “Dead man walking”. Good times. How did my brothers and I all end up to be so sarcastic? Knee surgery is only funny if it’s not your knee.
BTW Bryan, I think you should represent Conan. Looks like he’s getting a bum deal. I don’t watch him… but still.
From the “Man plans and God laughs” file… Had to spend my lunch hour driving the one hour round trip to pick Austin up from school and take him home. He has an OUTER ear infection… as in the lobe… almost as if he tried to pierce it with a dirty needle… (come to think of it… he was with his brothers over Christmas vacation… the three of them together are like sailors on leave. Not really. Mental note to check Austin for tattoos this evenings) Anyways… you can tell it’s painful, it’s all yucky and red and inflamed and swollen. Bless his little heart. It wasn’t how I would have chosen to spend my lunch hour but it didn’t kill me. Everything is easier when you don’t feel like a slug.
Speaking of slugs… I met with D today to discuss my goals for this year and we had a nice chat about the connection between being healthy and being successful. Two weeks into this new lifestyle and I’m experiencing lots of non-scale victories. Those are all so sweet. It’s one thing to be alive. It’s something quite different to really live.
Two sentences back I meant I am the slug… was. Past tense. Over it now.
People are getting on my nerves today. I’ve been way too busy all week and things are getting backed up and so every twenty minutes there’s something that comes up about something that’s not done. It’s snowballing on me. I’m just plugging away… doing what I can… trying to catch up. I’ve written a lot of policies this week. There’s a lot of documentation that has to be done. It’s a pain. I need about three hours of not seeing clients to get caught up. It ain’t gonna happen. Out of the 18 new auto apps this month I’ve done 13. Busy

Thankful Thursday - quickie

My friend died of an aneurysm. She was 42. She passed away at 4am yesterday morning but they kept her on life support long enough to harvest her organs as she was an organ donor. She was such a sweet soul... we had a lot of great spend the nights growing up... time at youth camp... crushes we shared...singing together. She loved to sing. Like me... her passion outpaced her talent but she still was brave enough to do solos at church... and loved it.

Food update... yesterday was a good eating day. I had dinner at church so that was a bit of a variable. We had chicken pot pie and cranberry sauce. Their portions are small, though, so I didn't do any real damage. I had a salad with it to make sure I got a good veggie serving in... skipped dessert... had unsweetened tea. Not a derailing by any stretch.

I had a snack when I got home... multi-grain bread with olive oil. Then a cup of hot chocolate.

I slept well... no ambien... I'm finding that my natural sleep pattern is about six and a half hours a night... starting at about 11:30. That's reasonable... and it feels good...

Breakfast was two pieces of super high fiber multigrain toast with almond butter. I have a pear and a grapefruit for my snacks today. I'm having lunch with Stasha so we'll go out somewhere and eat healthy... then dinner will be black beans and brown rice. Probably with collards because I have some left.

I'm having some discomfort... feels like another bladder infection... trying to push the water and stay on top of things just in case. I don't want to do another anti-biotic.

I'm still really focused on the folks in Haiti... this morning the Christian radio station dedicated the song "God of this City" by Chris Tomlin to the city of Port-Au-Prince. If you don't know the song, youtube it. It's perfect. I could actually see the news footage running in my head as the song played. So many missionaries and aid workers are there... and have been there... fighting for these impoverished people for so long... the new challenges are overwhelming. My heart is burdened for them... that they will keep hope through this and see God's hand. In times of great need there is the capacity for great blessings.

This ended up being a not so quickie as someone stopped by and shared with me a great need in their life. Praying for great blessings there, too.

Time to get into the groove... much to do... more later, love and hugs!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

unexpected... life is too short

Just got back to lunch and had an email from my brother... a childhood friend of mine died this morning. I don't know any of the details... and of course, the only contact info I have for her brother and sister is through facebook. Kim Miller was her name... if any of you have been on facebook and have any info, comment or email me so I know. there were three of us that hung out all the time... me, Kim and Barbie. Barbie is battling breast cancer but I don't know of any illness Kim was dealing with... so I imagine it had to be an accident of some sorts. Anyways... you Riverdale High school folks who are on facebook... let me know what's up.

More later...

feeling bloggy

I’m feeling bloggy today. I keep thinking in blog entries… monologues… epiphanies…
This earthquake in Haiti has me – pardon the pun – shaken up. Natural disasters are the great equalizers. They compromise rich and poor alike. I have survived my relatively minor hardships because of the strength of my community – both local and global. What happens when an entire community is suffering at the same time? Who is there to help? It just really puts things in perspective for me. It made me feel rich, to be honest with you. When everything is stripped away from everyone, what is left? Faith. Hope. You can look at this type of catastrophe and see how little of our own destiny we really control. All the money in the world couldn’t hold up a building in that type of earthquake. The palaces collapsed right along with the shacks.
I went to sleep just fine without ambien last night. I had a hard time waking up this morning, though. Stubby was mad. He hovered over me like Stewie… “mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mommy.” Meowing like he was losing another leg. He even got frustrated with me and stormed off, only to come back and start the whole nagging process again… nudging me with his head… licking my face… That cat KNOWS when it’s time for me to get up. I faked sleep and peeked out of one eye to see what he was doing… he was staring a hole through me, watching for any signs of life. He saw my eye open and pounced again. When I got out of bed and slipped into the recliner he gave up.
He was mad at us last night so he slept in the closet. It didn’t hurt my feelings any. Such a moody cat.
Have I mentioned that I’ve lost four pounds? I have to mention it because at my current size it takes a loss of about 25 pounds before anyone notices a difference.
I’m happy with my success so far. I’d be happy with a pound a week. The truth is that this is the most consistently I’ve been able to eat healthy ever. Ev-ER. I’m more happy about this whole discovery process and new relationship with food than I am with the scale right now. I mean… it needs to come off, without a doubt, but I don’t care what size I am if I don’t feel well. I want to feel good first… and I know that a healthy me will be able to achieve and sustain a healthy weight. So far, I’m feeling way better.
I’ve been keeping track of my weight loss by drawing stars on my bathroom mirror with silver sharpie. It wipes off easily. I am going to get the glass markers JUST IN CASE. But for now… this is working. It’s highly motivational to look up there and see that record. I need to set some sort of visual aid here at the office too. A chain of paper clips. Anything… just a visual reminder of progress.
Today is Barry’s birthday. He’s 46. Those of you who have been around for awhile know that he holds a special place in my heart… he was always good company for me, helped me with the kids, prayed for me, gave great advice… I miss having that every day contact with him. I miss curling up with him to watch football and CSI. But he’s too far away to come up here to watch tv with me in the evenings… I left him a facebook message which means he’ll see it in about a month. If there’s ever another Mr. Right… he’s going to have a lot of Bear’s qualities. Although, honestly, I’m thinking that I’m going to be Ms. I-Don’t-Need-A-Man for a very long time to come. Just soooo not my focus. Barry used to always talk to me about how you can’t heal from a broken relationship by starting a new relationship. The fact that I’ve been healing independently makes me feel soooo grown up!
Honestly, after being under such strict control for those few years, just doing anything of my own volition makes me happy. Although, I have to admit that it’s about time for “No-Shave-November” to end.
Well, time for me to focus. I’ve been answering phones all morning so this has been composed of little bursts of random thoughts. I’ve got a few new policies to quote so I’ve got to get my game face on. Love and hugs, happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 11, 2010

apple pie, ambien and Anthony Bourdain

I love apple pie.
I love Anthony Bourdain. His new season started tonight and I'm loving it.
I despise ambien.
But I took ambien tonight.
My divorce papers came in the mail today. It's officially over! I could literally feel the shackles coming off of me. Freedom never felt so good! And unlike my first divorce... I never ever have to see him, think of him, talk to him, or even acknowledge his existance for the rest of my life.
I'm getting my name changed... asap.
I'm done.
Time to move on.
His son (who lurks here often) unfriended me on Facebook - unhappy with the celebratory comments. I don't expect him to understand... and I know it can't be easy to realize how happy people are to have his father out of my life for good.
None of us wants to think of our parents as mere mortals. Or of our parents as persona non grata. I imagine it can't have been easy to have known what he knew (that his father was cheating on me) and known that I was on the edge of a breakdown... and then to know that everyone blamed his father... and still blame him...
But... it's my playground... and... if it had been up to me, I would still be working at finding a way to make my marriage work.
Or I would have died trying.
So... I'm at peace. I know I did what I could. And I know that God has so much in store for me. I know that He set me free... that He has a purpose for my life and testimony.
I did eat a piece of apple pie this evening, though. I felt like I needed a little celebration. I couldn't finish it. That made me feel very in control.
And then felt jazzed and wide awake so I took an ambien.
Well... I made it five days... the next time it will be six or ten or ... forever.
I'm making big ole giant steps towards where I want to be.
I'm getting there.
I'm not who I want to be yet...
But thank God...
I'm free from being who I was.

almond butter

Since y’all asked about the almond butter…
Almonds and almond butter are nutritional powerhouses that contain significant amounts of protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin E. Almond butter has extremely low saturated fat content and is rich in monounsaturated fats making it a heart-healthy choice. Of course, almonds have no trans fat. Studies consistently have shown that the addition of almonds into the diet effectively lowers cholesterol. Unlike low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets, adding almonds does not adversely alter insulin sensitivity in healthy adults or blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes.
Almonds are a good source of plant sterols, such as beta-sitosterol, which have been shown to alleviate symptoms of BPH (enlarged prostate), a condition afflicting the majority of men over age 50. Two tablespoons of almond butter contain roughly 35 milligrams of beta-sitosterol.
From www.bestnaturalfoods.com

I like that kind of good stuff. I actually ended up having the turkey/veggie meatloaf for lunch with a HUGE orange. That sucker was bigger than a grapefruit! And it was juicy! I guess we better enjoy oranges while we can since the freeze is going to make them non-existent or outrageous. I had a banana for snack… so I’m at 3 for my colorful foods count today. Tonight for dinner I think will be the black beans and brown rice with plantains… maybe some collards on the side…

It’s been a long, stressful, busy day and I’m brain dead. Love and hugs, y’all.

Monday drive-by post...

For the fifth night in a row I slept without ambien! Sleeping never felt so good!

It's Monday. The longest day of the week. I have a feeling we're going to be busy today. I imagine we've had a few accidents over the weekend...

I'm a tiny bit nervous about driving to work... we have staff meeting so I have to be early... and I don't know what the road conditions are. Fortunately... the majority of my trip is on heavily traveled state roads ("the number roads") which surely have been cleared. I think the lingering icing is on the side roads and neighborhood streets. Like mine. There are folks who still haven't been able to get out of their driveways since Thursday. Schools are still closed, probably for that reason.

I've had breakfast already... whole grain toast with almond butter and a drizzle of honey. Fruit for snack today. Lunch will be a tuna salad wrap with sprouts and cabbage. Dinner will probably be turkey veggie meatloaf and roasted carrots. It's nice having the whole day planned out.

I had a facebook message overnight from an old friend. We were bed rest buddies during my last pregnancy (16 years ago) and she kept the kids for me when they were really little. I hadn't heard from her in years and she said, "I didn't know your name had changed". That's when I sort of cringe because it's hard to bring people up to date... how do I describe the three most tumultuous years of my life in three or four facebook sentences?

God is good. I think sometimes it's best to just leave it there.

Gotta get my glam going... the Farm awaits! Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

surf's up!

Some things I've found on the web lately:

www.hungrygirl.com - great tips! she can take just about anything and find a way to make it yum!

www.nutritiondata.com - why should I eat goji berries? what's all the fuss about pomegranates? this site gives you nutritional data about everything!

www.myeatinghabits.com - someone who thinks just like me but is better at web-design. I love this site!

http://myhealthychallenge.wordpress.com/ someone just like me - 41 years old - and training for a marathon. Ok. Maybe not JUST like me. One day, maybe. I would have to be able to run at least a mile first, don't you think?

www.bestofweightloss.com - lots of skid-a-marink-a-linky-dinks to skid-a-marinky-do!


This looks like it will fit right into my grab and go diet!
Vegetable frittata - www.self.com
Eggs can help you drop pounds by revving your calorie burn and curbing cravings.
Serves 6
INGREDIENTS
vegetable oil cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 large leaves kale, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large leaves kale, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs
3 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices whole-wheat bread
PREPARATION
Heat oven to 350°. Coat an 8-inch ovensafe skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add jalapeño, shallot and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add kale and cook until it begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes more. Mix whole eggs, egg whites, yogurt, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Transfer kale mixture to a plate and coat skillet again with cooking spray. Return kale to skillet and pour in egg mixture. Bake, uncovered, until eggs are firm in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before slicing. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Serve each slice with a piece of toast.
The skinny
192 calories per serving, 5.6 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 26.8 g carbs, 3.2 g fiber, 10 g protein

getting ready for the week

I'll start with the turkey/veggie meatloaf again today... I've got two new ones baking in the oven. This time I went with turkey, beets, cabbage, chickpeas, carrots and onions. It is a lovely pink color. I also added steel cut oats to increase the fiber. Each meatloaf makes 2-3 meals for us and after starting my day with one for breakfast yesterday, I'm thinking this just might end up being my breakfast go-to meal. It's half meat, half veggie so it's a good ratio. I just need to add a fruit serving and we'll be good to go. Although, I really prefer to save a fruit serving for mid-morning with a little protein of some sort - a little cheese or a handful of nuts - to get me through.

I think when you stop thinking of food as reward and start thinking of it as fuel it revolutionizes your way of eating. I also think you need to enjoy what you're eating. And I don't think you need to permanently banish any beloved food from your life forever. I just think you have to change your relationship with food.

Austin was dying to get out of the house yesterday so we went to the Amish Bakery. Yesterday was their last day open until spring so we indulged in some treats (apple pie, for instance) and said goodbye to our good friends. Hopefully by the time they reopen, I'll be ten pounds lighter. The fact that they're closed for the next two months will definitely help me stay on track!

I've decided that Saturday will be my indulgence day. If I've had a healthy week of eating, I'll allow myself a few "no-no" foods on Saturdays. It's sort of worked out that way. The first Saturday of the year I had biscuits and gravy and birthday cake. Yesterday it was apple pie. I think KNOWING that there is a reward day... restricting rewards to that day... will help. This "time" is different for me in that I haven't needed a bedtime snack. Even when I lost a bunch of weight and was hardcore weight watchers... I still had a snack at bedtime. I think I'm past the age of being able to metabolize that. And... I think it interferes with sleep. I'm being very protective of my pre-bed hours to be sure that I don't do anything to keep me from sleeping. So... Saturday is officially Sugar-day.

Apart from Saturdays, I intend to stay as close to basic foods as possible. I've been working on my weekday meals today. Here's what's on the menu this week:

a black bean/brown rice bake with plantains, cumin and cinnamon (I'll serve with avocado and cilantro and maybe some salsa or light sour cream)

the turkey/veggie meatloaf

tuna salad with chopped cabbage, scallions, onion, capers, sweet pickles and fat free greek yogurt (instead of mayo)

I also have carrots that I plan to roast.... chopped cabbage for stir fry.... broccoli... oranges, pears, grapefruit, bananas, star fruit, onions to caramelize (Austin loves 'em)... alfalfa sprouts and avocado...

Lots of good stuff. We also bought some fresh whole grain bread at the bakery and some almond butter. I had toast with almond butter and a banana for breakfast and it was awesome. I would MUCH rather spend my money on good food than on doctors and drugs. It's a trade-off.

Since my eating style is grab and go... in the mornings because i'm in a hurry and on lunch because I don't really have much time and in the evenings because I'm tired.... I have to be super prepared for the week. I don't have time to scramble an egg in the morning so I really need to have boiled eggs ready for quick protein. I don't want to cook after work so I need to cook stuff on the weekends that can be quickly reheated.

My body is adjusting to the different foods. My tummy was a little icky this morning and I had that same experience during the past week... so I'm just really pushing fluids to help detox quicker. Get the junk out...

Next week is going to be the first five day work week I've had in a month. It's going to be interesting to see how my energy level holds up with proper nutrition instead of living off junk and pills and without ambien! Nothing makes me happier than knowing I can go to sleep without needing that $200 a month medication to do it! I'm going to spend today resting and getting ready for the week...

Hope you all have a great Sunday and a WARM week ahead!