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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

picture my co-worker took while he was in Florida last week...


Not sure if you can tell but right by the 666 is a sign that says, "Oh thank Heaven"

the lessons of Purple Michael


Is it just my imagination or does the internet move slower when it's raining?

It's raining, btw. Which presents a dilemma for me... my naturally curly hair grows in the damp air... I only wash my hair every other day (this is my beauty secret... keeps my hair from getting dried out) and it's usually good until the evening of the second day... and by that time... I'm home safe and sound. Well... tonight I have a function to attend after work... which means I probably should go ahead and wash this morning to avoid being a grease pit this evening, but ... with the rain... no matter what I do, it's gonna be a bad hair day. Dilemma.

I know you rush here every day to read about this sort of stuff. Riveting, I know.

I've been reflecting this morning on the wisdom of Purple Michael. BTW... for those who don't know... in my original blog, I used color coding to help differentiate between the sexes... women's names appeared in pink, guys names appeared in blue and same sex oriented people's names appeared in purple. Hence... Purple Michael.

Purple Michael has some very astute philosophies about life and I know that I am a stronger and wiser person for having spent time with him in my formative *thirties*.

One thing he would say is "don't let someone become the victim"... meaning... if someone has wronged you and your temptation is to retaliate... you shouldn't... because instead of the focus being on the wrong they did to you, the focus then shifts to whatever you did in retaliation. This has served me well... and a lot of times when it seems like I'm being forgiving and Christ-like - how I WISH! I'm really just keeping the other person from gaining victim status.

Another thing he taught me to do was look at people's motives. Why would someone come to you and repeat something negative that someone else said about you? What is there to be gained? Your feelings are hurt... your relationship with the other person is compromised... and the person doing the retelling doesn't look so good either... As a result... I try to never repeat an unkind word. However... the flip side of that... if someone says something nice about someone behind their back... I make sure that person knows about it. Everyone needs validation.

He's also taught me a lot about attitude. Dress like you're already where you want to be. Don't let people know your financial status... if you dress decent and act with class... people won't know you're dirt poor. We cooked pinto beans for our dinner while we were in production of the summer theatre shows NOT because we were too broke to go out to eat (which we were) but because we really love pinto beans. People had no idea how broke were were! Pintos were good. I had pintos for dinner last night, as a matter of fact. I don't know what we would have done during those lean summer months without pinto beans, my daddy's homemade pimento cheese and our invites to dinner by friends.

Purple Michael is such a joy to be around that he could live for a month without a dime to his name because people love having him and want to wine and dine him. I always try to be that kind of gracious guest. I want people to want me around.

That's not to say that he doesn't have times when he gets down and discouraged... but there are few people who see that side of him... he shares his joy and enthusiasm with many... his sad times with few. As a result, although he probably has just as many "down times" as the next guy... people see him as a pleasant person. I take that into consideration when I whine and complain. I want to be thought of as a pleasant person.

When we had lunch on Friday we got tickled at something Austin said and I laughed so hard that tears were pouring from my eyes. When was the last time you laughed that hard? The truth is... that over the past few years... the best laughs I have had have come when Purple Michael was around. Not everyone is naturally funny... but our best laughs haven't come from Michael's hilarious comedy sketches and one liners... they usually come from just being together and the things that happen to us and around us... a snort, a fart, a goofy thing that one of my kids does or says... is funnier when you're with someone who is ready to embrace laughter and let loose and enjoy life.

He also taught me that gifts don't have to cost a lot. One year he made a candle for me in a china cup that had belonged to his beloved Aunt who had passed away. I love teacups... I love candles... it wasn't a big ticket electronic item or flashy jewelry but it was precious to him and he shared it with me... and it has been precious to me ever since. When I moved in with Darby, he gave me a picnic basket... thinking, I guess, of the opportunity for romantic picnics in our new relationship. I never used it with Michael. But I have used it many times since and I think of Purple Michael every time I use it... and my picnics, by the way, would always do him proud. I work hard to prepare an adult picnic. No pb&j in that picnic basket! One year he made biscotti for Christmas... it was incredible! When we lived in the same time zone he used to make my very favoritest birthday cake every year - carrot cake with cream cheese icing - and he would make it from scratch... and save the extra icing so we could gorge ourselves into a sugar coma with it.

Michael demonstrated for me how to be completely passionate about the things that interest you... whether it's theatre... or family... decorating... cooking... karaoke... anything he does, he does with complete abandon. When you're with him, you feel like the most important person in the world to him.

If I was Oprah, Purple Michael would be first in line for all of my giveaways... I would give him the best theatre space, an unlimited budget to produce shows, a reliable vehicle, a beautiful home... I want the best for him and I know he does for me.

And maybe... that's the best lesson he has taught me... love well, love completely, love unconditionally, love consistently.


We met nine years ago... but it seems as if we've shared a lifetime. I'm so thankful that he came into my life...
Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reasons to love monday

My heart isn't completely in it but I'm gonna give it a shot anyways... no matter how long your weekend... no matter how much you dread facing the workload that has accumulated over a four day weekend... no matter how many weeks it will be before another freebie day off... everyone has SOME reason to love Monday. Here goes:

1. Still have some yummy veggie soup, hummus and taboule left over from previous cooking efforts... so I've got healthy, minimal effort stuff available.
2. My icebox is packed with lots of fresh produce, despite the late fall season. I love knowing that I can eat "guilt free" and "taste full" year round.
3. I ran out of the chock full of butts coffee and am now enjoying a cup of cafe bustelo coffee. I won't make that mistake again.
4. The new Weight Watchers points plus system starts today on my e-tools. of course... e-tools are down this morning but... it's there!
5. Today is my co-worker, Holly's birthday! woohoo!
6. I slept great last night... woke up feeling totally refreshed this morning...
7. The first wave of my Christmas cards are addressed and ready to be mailed! I even had the foresight to actually type up a list of these addresses and save it for next year. Yay me!
8. The weather is crisp and cool but above freezing which is an improvement from yesterday.
9. My sister-in-law Candice will be back at work today so we can catch up via email from the past week. I've missed her!
10. Austin was feeling better before bed last night... hoping he'll be copacetic this morning.

That's it for today... hope you all find Reasons to Love Monday! Love and hugs!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

the answers...read the previous blog entries + comments...

How much do I love Robert Drake? He always writes the best comments. If I could afford to, I'd pay him to comment on my blog every day. And Robert... I still need your address. I'm gonna find a Chanukah card somewhere. I may have to go to Gainesville to find one. And I believe you have a birthday coming in the next week? Nu?

Alas, there are no Cafe Intermezzos here in the hills but we do have a Huddle House that stays open all night. We have a Starbucks, though, and I like it a lot. It just feels a little awkward hanging out in the middle of Ingles. I get mine to go. Austin does really love Cafe Intermezzo and I definitely need to plan a trip into civilization to treat him there. His favorite thing is the sugar cubes... oddly enough. He would probably be just as happy with a box of sugar cubes (adding to the Christmas list).

It has been a great Sunday, btw. I have watched even more football... I'm one of the reasons there are 15 ESPNs on my satellite.

Next Guy has been really sweet about the fact that I needed to decompress yesterday and wasn't feeling sociable. That definitely raised his stock in my book. Any guy who gets that I'm extremely outgoing but occasionally unsociable has a chance with me.

I've got a bunch of Christmas cards addressed... it felt very holiday-ish and progressive to do so. Austin definitely wants the whole schmiel of Christmas decor... which would be great if I was more Martha Stewart-y/had a gay man nearby/had a buttload of cash to drop on such/didn't own two wildcats. Or... one cat that closely resembles a piece of furniture and one cat that has occasional happy streaks through the house. I'm collecting addresses... please... send me yours! *Unless you're one of the mean stalker people who only read my blog hoping to glean negative stuff about me to gloat about- but I guess, in that case, you need tidings of comfort and joy more than anyone.*

Mel... I kept losing the link for your running blog but I think you are absolutely amazing for your commitment to fitness and I think you're an incredible example for your three girls. It's even more amazing knowing that your life could have gone in a completely different way. I love people who overcome major obstacles and triumph! You did and you sooo rock! And i need your address.

Patty... I think I'm going to put together a cookbook. That will be my 2011 project.

Becky... the claw didn't break off but it definitely got deep in there... it bled for quite some time. Brat. If I ask Bitty, "who's the bad kitty who hurt mommy?" he hides his face.

I think sometimes because I never have been a "must check in with mom" kind of mom... that my kids don't always realize that it means a lot to me when they do. Of course... truth be told... I hate talking on the phone and they all know that. He's trying to round up the funds to come home for Christmas and I'll do what I can to help but there's not much extra in our house this year...

I want to be Oprah and give gifts to everyone in my periphery.

I bought a Sunday paper today and have been clipping coupons. That makes me feel like such a grown up.

I love how cold it's been today... mostly because i haven't had to go anywhere.

Austin is still pretty sick. I feel bad for him.

But it's been a good day... and I'm relaxed and rested and ready to go back to work tomorrow.
Happy day!

sunday morning questions...



How adorable is my Purple Michael as Scrooge? (photo snagged without permission from the owner)

What are war games and who would ever want to play them?

Why do we need a reality show for brides who want to have plastic surgery? I think plastic surgery is for people who have been horribly disfigured... not people who want to look like plastic.

How is it that a four day weekend can go by so quickly?

Does anyone send Christmas cards any more?

Why do I always forget to put the clothes in the dryer?

Why does the first cup of coffee always taste so much better than the second?

Should i bother putting up a Christmas tree when Bitty Kitty is sure to destroy it?

Why must he knock everything off of every surface? Is he "cleaning kitty?"

How did I manage to run out of trash bags? And coffee? Again?

Should I try walking in the park now or should I wait until the temp is at least above freezing?

Wonder if we'll get a good snow this year? Should I stock the pantry just in case?

Wonder how many points I'll get under Weight Watchers Points Plus program?

Why is it that this blog gets read over a hundred times a day and I only get one or two comments?

Why is common sense no longer common?

What should i make with the wheatberries I cooked yesterday?

Would some kind of combination of kale, sweet potatoes, chicken sausage and wheatberries be good?

How is it that Austin ate half of one pomegranate last night and half of it ended up on the kitchen floor?

What happened to my dustpan?

What happened to the toothbrush I stuck in my purse on Thanksgiving morning? Was it karma telling me it was time to buy a new one?

Do organic baby carrots really taste better or is it just my imagination?

How many of you still have leftover Halloween candy at your house?

What if - instead of putting up a tree - we strung lights everywhere, so Bitty can't reach them?

What is the best method of attaching lights to the ceiling? Duct tape? Do they make clear duct tape?

Was the guy who busted Obama's lip a Democrat or Republican?

Should I splurge on a pay per view movie today? Has anyone seen Eat, Pray, Love? Is it worth $5?

Why doesn't the travel channel list the age of it's programs? How do I know if this version of Fantastic Houseboats is the same one I've watched 20 times... or a new one?

Do people really watch Punkin Chunkin?

How did Discovery Health and TLC become the freak show channels?

Why is it that whenever my satellite is cut off, the only channels I have are infomercials and the Hallmark channel? What are they saying?

Did you know there was a Home Alone 4? Has anyone seen it?

Why do I have 15 ESPN channels?

What is the big money toy this Christmas?

Why is it that I feel like Flo in the Progressive ads most days?

How many of you made it to the end of this blog entry?

How many of these questions did you respond to - at least in your head?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

whiny saturday

I don't feel good.
My hand hurts where Bitty impaled me. I have neosporin on it but it's hot and red.
I got some nasty anonymous comments on that last post that I had to delete.
Personal attacks will not be tolerated on my blog. Life is hard enough without cyber bullies.
What I choose to do with my time is my choice... who I go out with, when I go out, is my choice as long as it's legal and moral.
And most things I do are.
I wasn't feeling up to meeting someone for the first time today.
I'm normally very energetic. Today I'm not. I'm dragging bad.
Maybe it is a shadow of the creeping crud that Austin has.
Maybe it's cat scratch fever. Argh.
I've had a raging case of icks today and if I want to avoid sharing that with people I will.
And if you don't like it... go read someone else's blog.
I was trying to do a favor for a friend and take some pictures of their kids for Christmas gifts... they got all snippy with me when I expressed my ideas of different locations and shots... guess my creativity was a little too much for them and I was summarily dismissed.
You're welcome.
I just know that I hate that I don't have many pictures of me with my kids. I was always the one behind the lens... I was trying to make sure they had a few good ones. Whatever.
Why are people so mean?
And Florida lost bad today. My son didn't call me on Thanksgiving but he called to brag that his team won.
This is it. This is exactly why I hate the holidays. No good deed goes unpunished.
I truly do just want to tuck myself into my nest and not re-emerge until January 2nd.
I've been up since 3:30 am and that may have something to do with my whiny Saturday. It's out of the ordinary for me, for sure.
I'm usually a Happy Saturday girl.
Maybe I'll be a Happy Sunday girl.
Love and hugs.

the consequences of a few good meals...

I stepped on the scale with a tad bit of anxiety this morning... facing the consequences for your indiscretions is never fun... but... the good news is that I only gained .4 pounds... not even a half of a pound...and I'm back on track having had a really great two day Thanksgiving indulgence. I don't feel bad about it... as a matter of fact... I'm totally stoked by the results. Here's what went right for me this week:

1. I ate conservatively up until the holiday.
2. I added extra activity into my week - although still not as much as I need.
3. I had a plan and I stuck to it without guilt and without second guessing myself.
4. I ate a bunch of healthy stuff before I started eating any less than healthy stuff.
5. It felt like a treat... now I can wait until Christmas Eve brunch for my next indulgence.
6. I was able to have a normal holiday without feeling like I was a slave to my point tracker.
7. I had the right mental attitude about the process... prepared myself for a gain and didn't let it bother me.
8. I faced the scale. If I had stuck my head in the sand it wouldn't have snapped me back to attention and I wouldn't have gotten back on track. I went to my meeting... regained my focus and I'm excited about staying on plan.

The new weight watchers Point Plus plan is actually being released effective tomorrow... which means that I won't learn about the new plan until my meeting on Saturday... but... the good news is that I have the e-tools which will go ahead and release all the details on Monday and start tracking my food using the new points system that day... and if I want, I can attend a different meeting on Monday to get the details. I'm so glad it's being released at this time of year when those of us who are focused on eating healthy have to work a little harder and use a little more self control.

Here's what I could have done better over the past week:
1. I've gotten away from drinking as much water as I should and I've found myself a bit parched. Because your body confuses thirst and hunger - when you're thirsty you have a tendency to overeat.
2. I ate beyond the point of satisfaction. I was so stuffed on Thursday that I was uncomfortable. I don't like that feeling.
3. I haven't got the exercise thing down yet. Still working on it.
4. I ate more sugar than usual and it led to a lot of cravings for me.
5. I didn't track on Thursday OR Friday. I meant to have just one no-tracking day but then ate out for breakfast and lunch on Friday and was sooooo exhausted when I got home that I didn't want to bother with figuring out my points. I just can't not track. That accountability - journaling every bite - is what makes a difference for me with Weight Watchers.
6. I had starbucks twice last week. I'm going to have to restrict it to no more than once a week... both for dietary and budgetary reasons.
7. I had pizza the day before weigh in. That is NEVER a good idea! I actually think that if not for the pizza bloat, I wouldn't have had a gain.

I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life. It's not a diet... I've already learned the hard way how very easy it is for me to put weight back on once I stop paying attention to what i'm eating. It's my way of life... and all of these things I learned over the past few days will help me over the next holiday... and the next... so it was a good thing.

I crashed and burned last night... i can't remember the last time I was that exhausted. I woke up ridiculously early this morning- 3:30am - and I'm already ready for a nap. I'm supposed to go out with Next Guy today but I haven't heard from him so I don't know what he's planning or when and honestly... today I'm not feeling terribly sociable. I kinda just want to stay curled up under my snuggie. Austin is sick with a nasty cough... he hasn't felt like moving today and he's grouchy.

To make matters worse... I tried to carry Bitty out to say hello to my mom when her and Pop stopped by this morning... and he got spooked and scratched me to ribbons. He impaled his claw in the side of my hand and it's already red, hot and swollen. AND... it's my left hand... and i'm left handed. I don't know why I thought he'd be nice... he's been really good about going outside lately but we usually have him on a leash. Even when I dropped him after he scratched me, he went right to our door to be let back in. Something spooked him.

SOOOO... that's the whole story of today... point four pounds gained... soon to be lost again and they're going to have to take some of their friends with them! Happy Saturday, y'all!

Friday, November 26, 2010

random observations and updates

I'm home!
We elected to forego the whole Stone Mountain Christmas experience today as it was cool and rainy and ... there is more fun to be had on a clear day.
Plus. I was tired.
Am tired.
And I want to go ahead and say this today while I still mean it: whatever I gain this week at weigh in, it was worth it.
I may not say that tomorrow morning... but right NOW... I will tell you that taking a short vacation from counting points was ok.
It was worth it to have a fabulous thanksgiving dinner.
Worth it to have breakfast with my hen party this morning... although I stayed around 500 calories by eating off the lite menu.
Worth it to go to the pizza buffet with Purple Michael... we laughed so hard we both had tears in our eyes.
Worth the hummus I just ate.
I'm back on track... ready to put my nose to the grindstone and my feet to the pavement.
But this little break was good for me and I'm willing to bet it was good for my metabolism too.
Shake things up a bit.
I'm exhausted. My ear hurts... I think it's just from clenching my jaw while I was on the road.
I'm so glad to be back in my nest with my bitties that I could just burst.
I love my family... but I love being home.

holiday planning...

I'm curled up on a comfy bed in my old room at my parents' house anxiously anticipating a reunion with my dear friend Mary at breakfast. Mary and I met in 3rd grade... we were in Mrs. Armour and Mrs. Rose's third grade class (back when "team teaching" was all the rage). Mary had curly blonde hair with those "Nellie Olsen" spirals... the kind that boinged back when you stretched them. We had just read Ramona the Pest where Ramona gets in trouble for pulling on a girl's boingy curls. I pulled on Mary's. We've been friends ever since. Mary and I were in brownies together, on yearbook staff together... we were in the gifted class together... she was a jock and I was a cheerleader and then, when I quit cheerleading, I was the manager for the basketball team so we could hang together. She introduced me to my first husband. We've seen each other through a lot. And now she lives in Alabama and I live 4 hours or so away in the mountains... but every year we come home for Thanksgiving and we've made it a new tradition (this is the 3rd year) of getting together for breakfast on the day after. It's a blessing and a perfect start to my holidays.

After that... I'm collecting my Auggie from his daddy's and we're heading to Stone Mountain, along with the newlyweds (Cody and Marquee) to visit with Purple Michael and enjoy a Stone Mountain Christmas. If you've never been to Atlanta... Stone Mountain is literally a huge rock mountain. It's pretty cool. They've built a theme park around it... lots to do... and Michael is working as an entertainer in their Christmas shows. Google Stone Mountain Christmas... check it out!

After that... I'm heading back to the hills. I miss my kitties and my nest. I'll have a good night's sleep... then tomorrow it will be back to Weight Watchers where they'll be revealing the new program to us. I'm so excited! From what I understand... you get more points in a day but they're going to assign higher point values to less nutritious food to steer people toward a more balanced diet and you know I am all for it! Red Flag Guy is considering clearing out some of his land and doing some organic farming... I volunteered to help, if I can reap some of the benefits. I know absolutely NOTHING about growing stuff in the dirt but I love the idea of having that kind of control over what I eat and I love the idea of learning how to do it. And... of course... as much as I love my farm folks... being able to supplement our meager food budget with a bountiful organic garden would be awesome.

There's a lot of good grudge football matchups tomorrow and I really want to be sure to catch them. I'll miss Alabama and Auburn today because i'll be at the mountain and traveling. Tomorrow there's the Florida State / Florida game (and i'm not expecting good things... it's been a tough season for my Gators)... and there's the Georgia / Georgia Tech game ... (I always cheer for the SEC) ... I've got plans to spend time with Next Guy and... I've got plans to meet up with my friend Amy for breakfast either Saturday or Sunday. THEN... Sunday... I'm taking photos for a friend that they can hopefully use for Christmas gifts... and...

See how fast this four day weekend is going to go?

I was not among the throngs of people who headed out for Doorbuster deals this morning for several reasons: 1. I hate crowds. 2. I am stretched really thin until payday. 3. I won't be buying much for Christmas... and I definitely won't be buying any of those big electronics that go on sale on Black Friday. If it was up to me... if money was no object... I would love to create some Christmas magic for my loved ones. But everyone in my life has everything they need. I can't rationalize having me and Austin go without groceries so that a relative or friend can have some new doodad that if they really wanted they would have already bought for themself. Every year this is a source of stress for me and I just can't let it be. I'm going to do the best I can... make sure the one who lives with me and has no one else to buy for him has the things he wants and needs and then move out from there. This is part of my strategy to avoid getting depressed over the holidays.

Another strategy is to stay connected. I have a horrible tendency to withdraw and isolate myself during Christmas. Not being able to afford the kind of holiday most people take for granted always makes me feel sort of inferior and... deficient. There's a boastful aspect to it all... people can't help themselves... they want to tell you what they got and they want to ask what you got. When you're a single mom... you don't get much... and as much as I try not to be jealous... it hurts to see people with their new bangles and baubles and bows and wish that there was some significant someone in my life to spoil me with bangles, baubles and bows... so I keep to myself and keep away from public gatherings and in doing so... rob myself of the OTHER joys of Christmas... the things that in the long run mean far more than this year's hottest ticket item. Stuff breaks, rusts, gets lost, loses it's value. People... relationships... memories... that's what really matters and I'm going to wrap those up in a bow and give myself as many of those as I can fit into my life this year.

I'm going to send more cards (which I CAN afford)... with more heartfelt words in them because I've learned that a kind word can go a lot further than anything I can afford to buy. Last night I got an email from a dear lady that I met doing summer theatre. She reminded me of a note I sent her family one Thanksgiving... I can't even tell you how many years ago but I know it had to be 7 or 8... and she told me that THAT note still meant a lot to her. Sometimes people just want to know that someone notices them... thinks about them... validates them... How many of you can remember what a random friend gave you for Christmas 8 years ago?

I'm going to walk more... breathe more deeply... appreciate the music, the sights, the sounds, the tastes... I'm going to stay healthy. Being sick last year made everything harder. I'm going to work at adapting some of my favorite holiday foods into healthier versions. I'm going to embrace the blessings I've been given and not take for granted the ways my life has improved over the past year. I'm going to honor God. Seek God. Worship God. It seems like when I put Him first... the other stuff seems to fall into line.

Last night Cody and Marquee and I were logisticizing for Christmas. Ryan and Cody will spend Christmas Eve with her family. Cody said that I'm welcome at their Christmas Day gathering but that the Christmas Eve thing is more "intimate" (in other words... "you're not invited"). As a mommy... I'm so glad that Ryan and Cody want to be together at the holidays and I'm so appreciative to Marquee's family for how well they love Cody and respect his bond with his big brother. I can't help feeling a bit left out... and feeling left out for Austin. But... it is what it is... and at least this year I know a month in advance instead of finding out - and being heartbroken - on Christmas Eve. I think that this year I may just appreciate the time we have together at our Christmas Eve Morning Brunch and ... do my own thing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... spare myself the drive to the southside... maybe go out for a special Christmas Day meal with Austin... make some new traditions. Marquee is an only child... if she's not there, her parents have no one. I have Austin... and I trust that when he's grown... if his plans take him away... then my plans will take me away somewhere too... maybe my future Christmas tradition will be to travel somewhere... leaving out on Christmas morning... who knows? The old saying is that "a son's a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life".

I didn't take a single picture yesterday... nothing to share. We had a nice meal. I ate exactly what I wanted and was so stuffed that I barely wanted any dinner. I managed to squeeze in a piece of pumpkin pie around 10pm to top off my "no counting day"... I was at a new low weight yesterday morning so maybe it will all even out. I'm allowing myself to gain as much as 2 pounds without freaking out on Saturday morning. I doubt I will. Jamie was still feeling a little less than herself yesterday but she and I did go on a nice long walk and we giggled and crunched in the leaves and walked in the tall grass to see if we could and challenged each other to races... it was precious. I also spent a little time in the attic room with Angie and Tobie (my cousin's wife) chatting and sort of decompressing. Someone said something discouraging to me and I had to pull myself away from the fray a bit and view things in the light of truth. I think if you can realize that not everything that everyone says to you about you is true... and being strong enough to discard the untruths and wrap yourself in truth... you can find a lot more peace in this life. Tobie has started going to trivia at a coffee house their church runs... and I would SOOOO love to do that. I said, "OH... I wanna go! I'm smart! I know all kind of things!" Hello... desperate... party of one... your table is now available. She's going to let me know the next time they have it.

Well... I guess I've rattled on long enough. I hope that you all had/have a wonderful holiday and that you'll find a peace in your celebrations this year.

love and hugs!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the biggest thankful thursday of the year

It's the biggest Thankful Thursday of them all and I'd be remiss if I didn't put together a mack-daddy Thankful Thursday post today before I head over the river and through the woods.

I spent a little time reflecting on the past year and the things that make it different from years past. The biggest change in my life is that I'm now a Mother-in-law. Cody and Marquee were married in May and I'm so thankful that my sweet, sensitive Cody has a beautiful, smart, strong lady to love him for the rest of his life. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders when they married... to know that he has someone to love... and who loves him... is a great gift. Isn't this what we want most for our children?

The most emotional moment of Cody's wedding for me was (and I'm tearing up even now thinking about it) when my beloved Purple Michael... who had told me he was not going to be able to come... came walking up the pathway to the wedding venue. I don't think I actually sank to my knees but that's how I felt... this precious man who had stood by my side through all the trials and tribulations of raising Cody... who had shared so much of our lives... to have him there with me... to share that day with him was an amazing gift.

In fact, that day was a beautiful reunion for me with several people I hold dear. I had Purple Michael on one hand and my Barry on the other. If it takes a village to raise a child, these men were my Village People... I can't tell you how many hours Barry and I spent on the phone late at night talking about Cody's grades or Cody's baseball skills or Cody's behavior... it was a blessing to have that strong male role model in Cody's life and through those turbulent Cody-rearing years, he was always a rock for me.

The day before the wedding I made the round-trip down to the southside of town to be present and provide whatever help I could in preparation. Cody is blessed to have a wonderful, talented and creative mother-in-law and she put together a wedding that was far beyond anything my time or talents or finances would have allowed. I spent the day in a whirlwind of shopping, running errands, setting up... feeling the weight of emotions that come with having a child get married. I drove back up to the mountains... went to my brother's house and there waiting for me was a hot meal and the open arms of my two sisters. While my parents didn't give me any sisters by birth... God gave me sisters of the heart... and my Angie and my Candice were both there to greet me, to let me decompress, to laugh with me and cry with me. I'm so grateful to God for these two women!

The truth is that throughout my life, God has always filled in the blanks. For a woman without sisters or daughters... I have a life that is chock full of incredible women of all ages. There's my hen party - Alisa, Cyndi, Angie, Sharon, Darline... with whom I learn, love, laugh and cry every Wednesday night. There are the nieces... natural and adopted... Sarabeth, Jamie, Jorjanne, Stasha... who always hug me, love me, write me great little notes that I can post on my refrigerator and my desk. There are my Blogger Babes... (and I don't dare list because I'll leave someone out) the ladies who have faithfully read my blog for years... and who are constantly wishing me well, supporting me, cheering me on, loving me from afar. There's Organic Rose at the farm who shares her wisdom and knowledge... and the fruits of her labor with me. There are the precious saints at my church who never judge me, always love me, always encourage me, faithfully pray for me. There are my Facebook Friends - most of whom have crossed paths with me in real life at some time of my life - and although we may rarely see each other now, our shared legacy cements us together. God has given me a whole army of women to love and support me.

This year has been a truly transformational year for me. Sometimes my stubborn nature causes me to become stagnant but... when I decide to do something, that stubborn nature serves me well. When I commit to doing something, I have the conviction and competitive nature that will not allow me to fail. I thank God for the changes in my health this year, that I haven't been sick (hardly at all!) that I haven't had pneumonia or bronchitis or kidney stones or kidney infections or earaches or depression or insomnia or female troubles or any of the multitude of health problems that have burdened me in past years. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I've gained this year, the new foods I've learned to love, for the ability to go to Weight Watchers and the determination to stick with it. I'm thankful for the many, many people who give me "atta girls" with every .2 pounds lost... who constantly cheer me on... who share their recipes and tips... for Purple Michael's beloved Hoot who helps me keep the nutritional aspect in line. I have learned that there is no limit to what I can do for myself and my health if I set my mind to it.

When you're a parent you suffer and sacrifice and wonder if in the end it even matters. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of having dinner with my boys' best friend, my fourth son, Joshy and his lovely wife Megan. The whole evening was nice and I so very much enjoyed spending time with these two intelligent, ambitious young people. On our way back to my car Josh said some very kind words that I can't entirely quote verbatim but essentially he validated who I was and how much he now - as an adult - realizes that I struggled while raising my boys on my own. It was hard. I did struggle. There were a lot of really tough times for me and so often I felt like my kids just didn't get it. To know that my sons' closest friend understands and validates what I did... it was another tissue moment for me... although I didn't let Joshy know at that moment just how precious his words were to me. Ultimately, every parent just wants to know that they're loved and appreciated. I was and I am and I'm grateful.

Even now, at the ripe old age of 42, I need my parents just as much now as I ever did. My boys wouldn't be who they are today without the constant assistance that my mom gave... in watching them, driving them where they needed to go, being their safety net and a soft place for them to land when they couldn't hack it with mom. Even now... she watches over Cody and Marquee (and they watch over her) and makes sure that they have everything they need. My dad is a true patriarch. He is the one person in the world that I know I can always go to. He is the one person who will always love me no matter how much I mess up. He helps bridge the gaps in life for me financially. Last Thanksgiving my brakes on my car were going bad and Pop insisted on getting them fixed for me. I didn't want him to spend the money but he said, "You're our only daughter... " he wouldn't risk anything happening to me. It made me cry then and it makes me cry now. I don't acknowledge it often but I don't take for granted that my parents have been an anchor for me and my kids throughout our lives.

There's so much more and i don't want to leave anyone out but I have to finish up my hummus and taboule that I'm taking along with my deviled eggs for Thanksgiving... I'm thankful for:
my faith which sustains me and gives me hope, my job and the people who work with me- that I spend the majority of my waking moments with, new friends and old friends, the guys I've met recently, the old flames and new, Farmville, Frontierville, facebook and all the things that fill my time so I'm not bored out of my mind. I'm thankful for the arts, for tv, for Christian music, for showtunes. I'm thankful for my kitty cats, for the rooster that lives in the backyard, for the beauty of these mountains, for the peace and tranquility of this place where I live, for a patient landlord, for the car in my driveway. I'm thankful for the library, the farm, our new Starbucks' (two of them!) for pajama Sundays and hen party Wednesdays. I'm thankful to feel better at 42 than I did at 39 and I hope it keeps getting better! I'm thankful for every lesson I've learned along the way, regardless of how painful because they made me who I am today. I'm thankful for the girl who does my hair and Nadine's chicken salad. I'm thankful that my 87 year old grandmother is still with us and still so lovely (good genes!). I'm thankful for all the blessings that God has given me and I pray that I never take anyone - or anything for granted.

And I pray that wherever you are, whomever you're with, whatever you're doing that you'll find reasons today - and every day - to be thankful. Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Whiny Wednesday - planning for Thanksgiving

UPDATE: My Jamie doll is feeling better and has been fever free since yesterday afternoon! She felt good enough to fight with her sister today! Praise God! Can't wait to give her smooches!

My niece Jamie has the flu. Poor baby is soooo sick... she keeps running fevers... doesn't feel like eating... She went back to the doctor yesterday and there's really no change. It's been almost a week and she's still sick. Angie worried that she had developed some kind of secondary infection - because she is, after all, my girl and that's exactly what usually happens to Aunt Heather. She hadn't... still just the flu. That means that unless she has a swift and total recovery Jim and Angie won't be with us for Thanksgiving which breaks my heart... and Angie's heart too. She was tearful about it yesterday. Our family doesn't do a good job of getting together but we've managed to hold on to a fairly consistent Thanksgiving tradition.

This year we're going to Aunt Linda's. My mom is #6 of 7 kids. There were 4 boys, then 3 girls. The girls were born in January 1947, September 1948 and February 1950... so 3 girls in the space of three years. My mom is the middle girl (which tells my mom's age but ... I mean... I'm 42 so it wasn't a huge secret) and we usually do Thanksgiving at either the older sister's (Aunt Ginger) or younger sister (Aunt Linda). The "boys" and their families rarely join us but even so... we usually have a good crowd for Thanksgiving. Ginger has two girls - Christie and Amanda. They both are married... Christie has one baby, Cole and Amanda has two boys- Austin and Rowan. Linda has 3 boys... Andy (who we rarely see) Kevin - who is the father of the infamous Cousin Devyn - Austin's "best cousin"- and a spunky little girl, Sydney. Linda's 3rd son Russell is married and has a little boy. Although I have 4 brothers... Jim and I are the only consistent attendees of the annual Thanksgiving dinner. My younger brother Michael is Jehovah's Witness and they don't celebrate holidays. My brother Bryan (partner of the fabulous Candice) alternate holidays with us and her family in Ohio. My brother David has pulled away from the family and I haven't seen him since 2006.

Thanksgiving will be at Linda's house in McDonough... which is roughly two hours south of me. It's not exactly over the river and through the woods but it will involve a little time behind the wheel. I don't mind driving and unlike most folks who live here in the mountains, I don't mind driving in Atlanta. I'm accustomed to it. It just requires a little forethought and a little patience. I can usually do the trip without a bathroom break but Austin and I usually stop once along the way for a bite to eat or to top off the gas tank or something. We never hurry, we never worry. We set the garmin to get our ETA and just enjoy the ride. Austin uses my laptop and our ac/dc converter for the car to watch movies. Or he sleeps.

My contribution to the meal is deviled eggs. Every year I leave a little extra deviled egg filling and make one egg salad sandwich for my Aunt Ginger. She looks forward to her special appetizer every year. She's already facebooked me to remind me. I always do something else besides deviled eggs... this year I'm thinking about doing that awesome rosemary hummus that I made earlier in the week. I don't know... it depends on how energetic I am after work and after I made a couple dozen deviled eggs and one egg salad sandwich. I have to make a grocery store stop and I really didn't want to... i hate crowds... but I'll hit it on lunch and maybe treat myself to a Starbucks for my trouble.

It's whiny wednesday so I suppose I should come up with a few things to complain about.
1. what is it with my weight being up on wednesday every week? Up today... and there's no reason because i've been eating strictly under my points all week. Cyclical.
2. Austin's off school today so I'll come home to a messy kitchen.
3. It's thick fog outside... tough for driving and makes for frizzy hair.
4. Have to make a grocery run today... and it will be crowded. Ugh.
5. My kitchen floor desperately needs mopping.
6. Bitty is peeing on clothes. Brat. I put everything away but I had a stack of clothes HIGH UP on a shelf that needed to be hung up... he knocked down a few of them and peed on them.
7. damp weather = bursitis bothering me... my elbow and wrist are achey
8. we may be minus two little red haired girls at our thanksgiving dinner which makes me soooo sad!
9. short staffed at work means we're working harder and getting less done... hard to do any marketing when we're busy every second of the day with clients.

It's almost time for me to grab a shower and get the day under way. I hope that wherever you're going, whoever you're going to be with, whatever you're eating and whatever traditions you do or don't keep, that you'll find things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

tuesday newsday...

Online dating is funny.
Exhausting but funny.
People are so unaware of the way they present themselves...
Confident and cocky are two different things.
If you list on your profile that you're seeking God's will for yourself... and then go on to indicate that you are only interested in thin/athletic women because your first two wives were babes and that's what you're used to... *eyeroll*... really? Let me know how that babe thing works out for you. Hopefully better than it did the first two times.
I wrote him and told him I was praying for him.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a work in progress. Not a babe. Not even trying.
Men who require a babe should keep looking.
I want to be healthy for me but I'll never again sit across the table from a man who takes food off of my plate because he thinks I'm too heavy.
I'll never live with that kind of pressure again. Love me for my heart... if you appreciate the exterior, that's ok... but don't love me conditionally based on how I present myself. Looks fade.
I don't even bother telling people i've lost weight. I let them look at my pictures on facebook if they ask... where i'm everywhere from a size ten to a size 20... none of it really magazine cover quality... I just figure if the figure is the only thing that matters, that they're not the kind of people that matter to me.
And with online dating... you're dealing with a lot of really lonely, disappointed people.
People whose lives ended up different from what they expected.
I guess the trick is figuring out which of those people were victims of their circumstances and which ones have character flaws that leave them destined to end up lonely and disappointed again.
And making sure I know which one of those I am.
Crunch & Munch reminded me that I've been giving my potential suitors nicknames for a long time. I suppose that's a little habit of mine. Helps me help you keep them straight. Should I have these poor fellas sign a release? I mean... the names in my blog are changed to protect the guilty... I mean, innocent.
The truth is that I have so many people in my life who have the same names that if I didn't assign nicknames you'd get confused.
We on holiday staff at work (read: shorthanded) and it was manageable but steady yesterday. If nothing else, it made the day go by faster. And now it's Tuesday!
In other Heather News...
Austin is spending some time with his dad on Thanksgiving... 3rd time he's seen him all year.
I finally had to break down and get the unlimited texting package... I still refuse to talk on the cellphone... seems like a horrible waste of money... but I'll text.
The truth is... I hate to talk. Y'all that know me, know this. I talk on the phone all day and don't want to do it after work. I hate being tied down to just one activity... I can text and do three other things at the same time. Except drive. NEVER DRIVE AND TEXT!!!
Running out of goofing off time this morning... I slept until the alarm went off at 6am! That hardly ever happens! I was up later than I wanted to be last night... was just not able to wind down... and I was watching Monday night football to see if Timmy Tebow got in the game. He only did for a second.
the Royal Wedding is going to be on my birthday! I am soooo taking that day off!
Must glam and get myself into the office for another day of snake charming... felt like that's all I did yesterday...
Love and hugs!

Monday, November 22, 2010

reasons to love Monday

Nothing like a restful weekend to prepare you for the upcoming week! I've done a lot of soul searching and reflecting this weekend and I'm definitely feeling ready to face the upcoming week and the dreaded holiday season. Let's see if I can come up with more reasons than usual to love Monday...

1. Three day work week
2. A "girls only" staff this week.
3. Got a real sweet email from Next Guy who doesn't want to be the Last Guy. He appreciated my honesty and... well... we'll go out as planned and we'll do it in the light of full disclosure.
4. Been having some thought provoking conversation with Too Far Away Guy. What is it that leaves really decent people (like me, I think) relationship-less?
5. Coffee today is only ok.... I bought chock full of nuts because I had a coupon but it should be called "chock full of butts" because it's a bitter brew. Even my usual trick of adding salt to mellow it out didn't work. Because I don't use sugar in my coffee... it needs to not be bitter. But that's not a reason to love Monday... the reason to love Monday is that any coffee is better than NO coffee.
6. Got a child support money transfer this morning. Makes the next week much less stressful. Trying to stretch a dollar out of fifty cents hurts my brain and my feelings.
7. I don't mention this often but I have a great landlord. I pay late and I pay short and they're just really patient with me. Most people would have tossed me by now. And I'm almost caught up.
8. Since the guys aren't in the office this week we're not having staff meeting. No early Monday for me today!
9. I get to see some people I really love this week... Mary... Purple Michael... Aunt Ginger... Cousin Christie... mama and daddy... Cody and Marquee...
10. Dancing with the Stars finale. I'll be happy with any outcome... I enjoy all three of the people who are left and they've all had to work hard to be there in the finals.
11. my snuggie. I didn't use it much last winter because I was so fat that I was never that cold. I've lost 30 pounds of insulation and my snuggie has become my constant companion.
12. Christmas cards... I hope I get a lot of them! If you need my address, email me at julydarby@aol.com - I won't post my address on the internet because... well, that's scary.
(btw, I haven't changed the email address because it's too much trouble... same reason I haven't changed my name. I might soon. I always just introduce myself as Heather Gant. Around here, I don't have a last name... I'm just "Aunt Heather")
13. Mild temps ahead for the 3 day work week. I want to try to walk on lunch so that will help.
14. today is library day! I love the library!
15. My kitchen is almost clean - thank you, Austin!
16. Austin's dad wants to spend time with him this week... he's seen him twice this year so far so that would be a rare thing. I told him to call Austin and see what he wants to do. It will delay my trip home and shorten my visit with Purple Michael but... I'll work with him. As always.
17. I decided early on in my weight loss journey that I would allow myself a few "no-count" days per year. I know that deprivation is what makes people drop out of a "diet"... and allowing myself to incorporate my weight loss program into my life and vice versa is what will allow me lifetime success. In the south Thanksgiving dishes are mostly casseroles and conglomerations of things that would be IMPOSSIBLE to count. I plan to eat whatever I want on Thursday and not count a single point. I will do the same on whatever day we celebrate Christmas this year. But only one day for each... and I might do the same on my birthday, we'll see. I will probably gain this week and I'm prepared for it.

It's a great day... it's going to be a great week... I'm happy... I'm looking forward to the next few weeks and I'm looking forward to doing it differently, more healthy and better than ever.

Love and hugs and happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

some general observations from the nest

I ate too many points today when I made mayo rolls. They were worth it, don't get me wrong... but I'm eating broccoli for dinner.
Just broccoli.
Men are stupid. I don't mean all men, of course. And every man that reads this will think I surely can't be talking about him.
But seriously... spend 5 minutes on an online dating site and you'll see how stupid men are.
"Looking for a sexy babe"... oh yeah, sign me up for that guy.
"Need a first mate" with a picture of him on his boat. Priorities?
"Looking for friends with benefits" *shakes head* because every woman wants to be used.
How are these treasures still single?
I love watching the Falcons this season since they're doing well. I'm a fair weather fan and am not ashamed to admit it.
Life is too stressful to be emotionally invested in a losing professional sports team.
They are paid to be good at what they do.
I'm so excited about a 3 day work week and a 4 day weekend.
The annual reunion between me and my childhood friend Mary is scheduled for Black Friday Breakfast. IHOP... in Fayetteville, I guess. Last year my sister in law and her sister and mama ate with us and it was a lot of fun.
Is there still an IHOP in Fayetteville? Since I live up here in the hills, I never know what you southside folks have.
Sam Bradford is a great quarterback. He should have won a Heisman.
Roasted broccoli with lemon pepper is uh-mazing.
I'm tempted to get back into that awesome hummus I made last night.
I have done exactly what I set out to do this weekend... rest, relax, reflect, recharge.
Austin spent the night with his married friend at the friend's mother's house. I don't know how that works.
I was promised child support today but so far - nothing. At least I know it's coming. It was going to be tough to stretch to December 1st.
Oops. Sam Bradford just threw his first interception... I think his first as a pro player.
I jinxed him.
Austin just came home... got a crew cut. Dramatic difference. He has two hairstyles: too shaggy or too short.
God love him.
Is there really a Facebook app - Pot Country?
Sad.
There's just gonna be us three girls at the office this week... I think we'll have a good time.
PJ Monday?
Just kidding!
Did I mention that I made a great big pot of vegetable soup today? It was really, really good and I look forward to reheating it all week.
Plus some awesome pinto beans.
I whine about money being tight but I'm so grateful for the cooking skills I've picked up over the past year because we truly can eat good, flavorful stuff for cheap.
And the fact that my appetite is nowhere near as big as it used to be saves a bunch of money.
Feeling a little chest congestion tonight. Ever since I had the flu stuff two weeks ago, I keep having a little cough here and there but nothing major.
When I walked today I felt really strong. No trouble breathing. I like that.
I'm in training... if/when I get to go to NYC again, I've got a date to run in Central Park with my sister-out-law. So I've got to work up to being able to run.
That... plus... I have always wanted to run the Peachtree Road Race.
My black hole purse has struck again... I've got to change purses. I keep losing things.
Austin was real excited because I bought his favorite flavor of hot chocolate yesterday. When you do the modified grocery trip... and can't afford the high dollar items... and can't afford a starbucks run... if you pick up a few cheap treats... like the hot chocolate that is $1.18 a box, you're a hero.
It's gonna be an early bedtime here...
I've been ready for bed since 4pm.
Elf is on! That always makes me giggle!
Texting with RFG. Should I ask about his date?
Havent heard from Next Guy. He may still be working.
Anyways... I'm just rambling...
Happy end of the weekend, y'all.
Love and hugs.

this week's episode of The Dating Game

I'm not sure what possessed me to start playing the dating game again right at the holidays when I'm already an emotional wreck. ARGH!

Red Flag Guy and I had really come to a pleasant agreement about the fact that we're better suited to be friends. And I was at peace with that... honestly, it was such a milestone for me to be able to say, "this ain't right" and end it there instead of pushing. Of course, I credit God for that. I just kept telling God to put the brakes on for me so that I couldn't keep trudging ahead if it wasn't meant to be.

But last night he told me that he's got a date today and it really bummed me out. He's a real prince of a guy so we chatted for awhile about my disappointment. I mean... he has an agenda and I have an agenda and never the twain shall meet. And he said some nice things about me... the kind of things that are meant to be encouraging but make you say, "IF I'M SUCH AN AMAZING WOMAN... WHY AM I STINKING SINGLE???" And I did say that, in a round about way.

And I'm talking to someone else, someone who seems to be a really nice, hard working guy... and there are a few other fish who have nibbled at the bait, so to speak... so RFG says, "see... there are a lot of men out there who want to be with you"... and I said, "I've never had a problem finding men who want to be with me... I have trouble finding men I want to be with". Or... more accurately... should be with.

At any rate... our conversation ended and about that time, Next Guy was getting off of work so we were able to chat for a bit. He's nice. A single dad with custody of his kids (to which Candice says, "can't you find a guy withOUT kids?") who has lived here his whole life (read: country) and seems to just be a simple, honest man. (who reads my blog, btw, so y'all say nice things about me in comments). We decided we'd go out next weekend and he stated his interest in me. That's always nice. But there are a few things that are sort of haunting me about him... a few standards that he has set for the women he dates that I don't meet. I didn't have the heart last night to tell him I don't meet those standards but I did email him this morning to tell him. No sense starting out with a deception.

This made me laugh... he said I seem normal. Dear friends and blog readers... if there is any adjective that would never be appropriate for me... it would be the word "normal". I am nowhere near. I'm not psycho. I don't do drugs. I get up most days and go to work and do the things I'm supposed to do (other than put away laundry, maybe). I am an ok mommy and a really good aunt and I suppose I get a few things right along the course of my day but normal... Not even close.

Anyways... I think once Next Guy sees behind the curtain... he'll be another Last Guy.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

And there was this other guy that popped up last week... well, he only popped up LAST week because he had popped up a few months ago when I was nowhere near ready for this opposite sex socialization program that I seem to have entered into here of late. So... I sent him a little, "hey... I'm wading into the waters and I think we have a few things in common" note. Boy howdy did we ever! So much in common that he's friends with my brother and even took their Christmas card photos a few years ago, which is ironic because I took their Christmas card photo two years ago. But... Stuff in Common Guy has met a Lovely Lady since he had attempted to reach me and they believe they will live... you guessed it... happily ever after.

Moral of the story: Heather's timing stinks but God's timing never does. Apparently SICG and LL were meant to be together and God made a way for them and prevented me from tripping up their path.

Other moral of the story: This ain't an easy process. I guess I'm fortunate in that I've developed a discerning spirit... I have a huge capacity for honesty, even when it bites me in the butt... as it often does. I'm fairly easy on the eyes... or so I'm told. I know I'm decent looking. I try to not be vain about it and honestly, it hasn't gotten me anything but heartache so far in this world so I don't place a lot of stock in my looks but they do get me in the door, at least. Although... I don't know if those are doors I want to go through.

I went for a walk in the park this morning. I just needed to clear the fog from my brain... and I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. I did a lot of my usual whining before the Lord but I also listened a lot too. He reminded me to not get ahead of myself... to see these disappointments as His hand of protection reaching out to steer me away from any future heartache. That's my deal with God... if I let Him have my heart and let Him give it away, He'll keep me from giving it to someone who won't treasure it. Mild disappointment now vs. major heartache later is preferred. The process ain't fun... but it's still better.

Of course... now I'm wondering if I'll be able to spend time with Barry while I'm down for Thanksgiving. Not bloody likely. Those logistics never seem to work out.

I walked a mile and a quarter. It's no marathon, but it was a start. My goal for this week is to have some extra activity every day because I plan to EAT on Thanksgiving without counting points. I know that I will have a gain on the scale next week and I'm preparing for not only the gain... but getting that gain off. I'd like to be in the 170's by January 1st.

Money is tight... but I'm told i'll get a little child support today. I had a super thrifty grocery store run yesterday - $44 total - including buying the stuff to make deviled eggs for Thanksgiving. I bought cereal and bananas for our breakfast... pinto beans - having rice and beans for my lunches. Stuff to make vegetable soup - and I had a lot of stuff in the pantry that I could toss in. A few fresh veggies to dip in my homemade hummus that I made last night (which was awesome, more about that in a minute). And Austin's usual hot dogs and hamburgers. That was really empowering to be able to put together food for (almost) a week that cheaply.

The hummus... it was amazing! I used northern beans instead of chickpeas... mushed them in the food processor with a tablespoon of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary, garlic and red pepper flakes. That stuff was so good... I had hummus and crackers for dinner last night. I meant to have soup or something else in addition but I was so busy with the Dating Game that I forgot to eat.

Plans for today... finish my weekend retreat. There are a lot of good movies on TCM today. I just heard a little commercial on TCM - they show these old documentary type things - and they said "dieting is a matter of mind over platter". That cracked me up! I'm going to make that big pot of vegetable soup and ... rest, I guess.

Is it mean of me to hope that RFG and New Girl don't hit it off?

Happy Sunday, y'all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

patty's story


I told you I had something special to share. It's special to me because it highlights one of the big reasons I blog - because I know that out there in this great big world of cyberspace, there are a lot of women (and men) just like me who don't quite know where they fit. I have learned there are a lot of people who just need someone to identify with... someone to model hope... or, sometimes blind optimism... someone who is transparent and shameless enough to share their sometimes humbling truths... and (hopefully) wise enough to turn those little episodes into a stepping stones, not stumbling blocks.


Over the five years I've been blogging, I've "met" a lot of wonderful people... people who truly, truly care about me. People who have been my closest confidants, who have shared my greatest triumphs and most devastating failures. Sometimes I don't even realize how closely people are watching or how strongly impacted others are by the journey I'm taking... Patty is one of those people. We've emailed back and forth a dozen or so times over the past few years but ... we've never talked on the phone, never visited in person... and so the other night when she sent me a very sweet message... I was really humbled and honored. I asked for permission to share and she granted...


I had told her a little more about the Red Flag Guy... and the tragic situation that drew me to him. I don't have permission to share that part of the story... so I'll protect his privacy (see, I have learned a few things along the way!) but that's where the message from Patty begins...


Oh my gosh, Heather. I have goosebumps! Oh boy, now I have tears. You are SO ready ... don't worry about THAT. Can I just tell you that I am where I am now .... because of YOU! I'm in a healthy and happy relationship with a man who cherishes me and loves me (warts and ALL). The reason I've come so far is because I found strength to BELIEVE in ME by reading your other blog when you were becoming so strong, loving yourself and questioning whether Barry was as committed as you were. That is what gave me the courage to put my 7 year half-ass relationship to the test to find out how sincere MY guy was. Well ... he WASN'T!! Guess what ... I had the last laugh, because I decided to end the relationship and he later told me that he had to go through 6 months of counseling because he was "all jacked up" over it. Whatever! Anyway, your example of strength gave me the wind beneath my wings to face life with courage and self confidence. It wasn't long before I met my Kevin at (of all places) the hardware store!! I was there to pick up sprinkler heads and he was in the same aisle to buy plumbing parts (he's a contractor). He started a conversation with me, which I responded with polite pleasantries and promptly made a b-line to the back of the store to make my way up to the register and avoid this guy. I didn't think I was ready to entertain that sort of thing YET. Well ... he came right up behind me in the check out line and kept talking to me. We made our way out to the parking lot and after 20 minutes of conversation, he asked for my number and said that he wanted to invite me to dinner whenever I was available. Me ... single MOM with 3 kids (ages 13 to 19) ... they were my PRIORITY ... so this guy was going to have to wait a while!! But, I heard YOUR voice in my head that night in the parking lot ... and it said, "What can it hurt ... go to dinner with him ... get your feet wet ... it's not marriage ... it's dinner". Well, that was June of 2006 ... and he called me every stinkin' day until I finally went out with him the end of August ... 2 months!! Heather! We now have a 2 year old ... he's gorgeous ... and between the two of us, 5 children all together!I can tell ... you will be a blessing to this man no matter what. At the very least, he needs a friend like YOU! .... You and he can be wonderful friends for each other ... and if it ends up being more, I have the feeling it would be such a beautiful thing! He will totally understand that you want to take things slowly ... HE needs to take things slowly too!! DON'T STRESS! Trust yourself, Heather. You will never make the same mistake that you did with Michael ever again. One day you will see that as much as that whole experience was hurtful, difficult, painful and unfair ... it also was instrumental in you learning to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST. Damn, you gave that guy so much ... and you deserved so much better than him!! None of what happened was your fault ... and the very qualities IN YOU that he took advantage of, are the qualities that make you a perfect mate for the RIGHT man! You just needed to learn to take better care of Heather. And, you're doing that. You're in a peaceful place ... doing the right things each and every day to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit.I'm proud of you Heather. You have rebounded from what that monster did to you in a way that is unbelievable and speaks of your substance.Also, I think your Dad had great advice for you this morning in your blog. What a wonderful Dad you have!Okay, I'm going to attach a picture of Kevin, myself, our son and his daughter for you to see what a difference you made in MY life! Big Hugs~patty


p.s.... Landon was born when I was 46 years old, with no medical intervention. Now, tell me that wasn't God ordained! And, Kevin was adopted (then emancipated by his adoptive parents at the age of 16 yrs 1 month) and NEEDS family. God saw both of our needs ... and filled them!


and when I wrote to ask if I could share her story...


You most certainly can. You've been my friend for a very long time ... sometimes when none of my other friends could/would be. I've always had many, many friends throughout my life. But, the years that I spent in a relationship that pretty much ALL of my friends and family were against ... were the loneliest times ever! People judge you and turn on you when what you really need is for them to love you through an unfortunate circumstance that is obviously a chapter in your life that you need to go through to learn what ever you're meant to learn from it. I was doing everything right ... people always said I was a great mother (and my grown kids will tell you I was the best mother AND father to them) ... I was careful to be responsible with my finances and was able to provide a lovely, but modest home for my children ... and continuity despite their father stepping off the deep end into drug abuse (and the predictable unpredictability that brings to the children) after 15 years of a pretty solid marriage. BUT, when that 7 year dead end relationship began ... and then when I found myself "stuck" in it (for the same reasons you found yourself proceeding into marriage with Michael even though it didn't feel totally right) ... EVERYONE turned away from me. I know you experienced the same thing, and I just don't understand it. But, it was extremely lonely ... and actually, the man who was in my life at the time had an even easier time of taking advantage of my good heart and inner insecurities once no one was around (or looking) to care about me. But, YOU were there anytime I needed to connect with a friend. I would read your blog and I knew that if we lived closer, you WOULD understand ... and you would not judge or turn away. That helped me through a lot of the most painful times in my journey from "then" to "now".So, yes ... be sure and share. I know there must be others whom you've meant so much to, as well. You know why? Because we were all looking for you to return to blogging after Michael made you quit. We all saw that he was choking you off from anything that would keep you healthy or provide a mirror for you to see how terrible he was and what that was doing to you. So, we all waited ... and kept googling your name to hopefully find that you had returned to blogging ... and that you were okay. So many of us were so relieved when you came back. I know that YOUR "happily ever after" is coming, Heather. It will happen in God's perfect timing for YOU! When you are ready for it (maybe that's now!). And, I will be so happy for you! I can honestly say that I don't think I've known another woman as strong and wonderful as you.


Honestly... I don't see myself as strong... I see myself as someone who just plays the cards that are dealt. If I manage... ever... to find the grace or humor or lessons in those cards, I count that a blessing.


There was a time, honestly, when I felt like the world had turned it's back on me. Truly... there were always some people in my life who stood by me no matter what. I would not have survived if not for my brother Jim and his wife Angie. They never stopped praying for me... they were always willing - are still willing - to be a safety net for me. They always have my back. Any strength I have comes from the confidence in knowing there are people out there who love me unconditionally. They aren't the only ones. My friend Mary never quit on me... never stopped caring... never stopped speaking the truth to me. Because she's known me almost my entire life, she can speak with authority about who I really am... and although she's the least confrontational person I know... she is quick to speak up and correct any falsehood that is spread over me. My friend A.T. took time off of work... stood strong for me... she held on to me... provided a boundary for me. When Michael came to talk to me the night before I left Jacksonville she absolutely refused to let me out of her sight. She stood in the parking lot of that hotel at 1am keeping watch over me. She let me sing showtunes to her the whole way out of Florida when she has no interest at all in musicals. And there are so many others... people who supported me (and still support me) financially. People who remind me constantly of who I am and whose I am. People who genuinely give me a reason to get out of bed every day.


So... whoever I am and whatever wisdom I have to share is the sum of a bunch of great parts of my life... from my daddy's wisdom... to my sister-out-law Candice's frequent emails... from the people who have helped bring me here to the people who help KEEP me here... Patty... ultimately... who I am and what I have to share and whatever strength I model comes from all of those beautiful people and it's my joy to share them - and those stories - with cyberspace.
And I am living Happily Ever After...

Friday, November 19, 2010

a weekend retreat

me, Austin and Purple Michael... Christmas 2007... he was a bright spot in an otherwise really sad holiday...

When I get off work tonight... I have decided that other than the absolute minimal weekend requirements... weigh in and bringing in provisions... I am having a weekend retreat. I need some down time. I need some "away from the general public" time. I need to conserve money and energy and I am going to just have some hard core R&R. Until Sunday morning... when I fully intend to break the PJ Sunday Cycle that I seem locked into and drag my lazy butt off to church. Austin isn't having spend the night company this weekend so my house can be my own.


The purpose of the retreat? To reflect on my recent dip into the dating waters... and the valuable lessons I learned - or relearned, I guess. To meditate on who I am and who I want to share my life with. To come up with a workable budget for the upcoming year. I'm strapped again this pay period and I'm sick of it. Something has got to change... whether I take the sperm donor to court or take a second job or sell a kidney.. I'm sick of barely making it from payday to payday. I work too hard to have to worry about how to feed my kid and that's where I am again... taking inventory of the pantry and figuring out what we can do with what's left. People on welfare live better than we do. 2011 is going to be the year of freedom for me... no more bondage to this fear of financial failure.


I got permission to share a really cool story with you and haven't had time to put that together... that's on my agenda this weekend too... some real heart to heart blogging. You know that whenever I take a deep look inside my soul, I always share whatever I find there... because I think sometimes people just need someone to articulate what's in their own heart. And I think sometimes people need to know that they're not the only one who feels what they're feeling. We don't want to be the psycho freak with unreasonable expectations and overwhelming disappointment.


Yesterday I started my day with a huge amount of anxiety... there were a few extra tasks on my to do list and they were distracting me. I took an early lunch and got them knocked out of the way... and then went after work to get my oil changed... collecting on a bet from the Georgia / Florida game... free oil change (other than the cost of the oil and filter... still a bargain!)... and then I came home and ate a small meal and had a glass of wine and went to bed by 9. (There's a rhyme for you... glass of wine, bed by nine, feeling fine...)


Accomplishing those few tasks made me want to accomplish a few more... since the holidays are so stressful and depressing for me... I thought that *maybe* if I clean house emotionally and get my head and heart straight before it all gets started... then I'll be better equipped to handle things.


I've also realized that the past few discouraging holiday seasons have held a few of the same characteristics: illness, isolation, lack of purpose... There's a lot I can't change. I can't bring my brother David back into the family. I can't spend time with his babies and be the family we were before they walked out of my life. I can't make my children little again... I can't instantly manufacture the Norman Rockwell stockings by the fireplace Christmases that I tried to give my babies when they were babies... I can't magically have the kind of money I want to be able to buy the kind of gifts I want for the people in my life. I can't put more hours on the clock so that I can bake and decorate like Martha Stewart. But... I can... celebrate and focus on the people who have remained faithful friends to me throughout my life. I can send a few cards. I can make a few things. I can make time for people I want to spend more time with who are present in my life and want to spend time with me. For every tradition that I've lost... I can create a new tradition. For every person that I've lost... I can reflect on the way they've impacted my life and celebrate their legacy (or celebrate their loss, in some cases).


I guess what I'm saying is that preparing for the holidays is about more than decorating the surface of your home or making a list and checking it twice. It's about the attitude of your heart... and that's what I'm going to work on this weekend. I may also start working on that Christmas card list so if you want to get one from me... send me your address by facebook or by email at julydarby@aol.com


Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

must love cats


Even though I'm not a perfect ten... I've always managed to draw a fair amount of interest from the oppposite sex. That's not always a good thing... trust me on this. "Putting myself out there" means that I'm sorting thru my options of the male specimen and considering who might be a worthy partner.

Have you ever gone to a buffet when you were absolutely starving? You don't necessarily pick the most nutritious foods, do you?


So I do have to sometimes push the pause button, step back and take a deep breath and make sure I'm letting red flags be red flags for me and not just a gray waving cloth that I brush aside. I can seriously go back to every single red flag with Michael and tell you exactly when I knew he was not the best guy for me. I thought I was being a sweet, accomodating, tolerant person by accepting him as he was. The problem was... he didn't accept me.


I've found a few red flags on the guy I had hoped would be the next Mr. Right and I'm totally seeing red... as in... stop... don't go there. I won't go into details but I will just give you a few pointers for those who want to be my guy:


1. Must love cats. Not just tolerate. Not believe they should live outdoors (because here, that means certain death. feral cats don't survive in the mountains with the bears and coyotes). Must understand that my cats are my babies and my kitty cat talk is from a heart of love - not from a demented mind.


2. Must be open-minded. I'm conservative... I love Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh... I always vote for the folks with the R beside their name... but I also believe in God's amazing grace. I love a few gay men, unapologetically. Do I biblically believe their lifestyle is 100% in line with God's word? No. Do I believe my lifestyle is 100% in line with God's word? No. We are all sinners saved by grace. Jesus didn't stay in Heaven with the saints. He walked among us.


3. Must understand that I am a free spirit who occasionally makes decisions that defy logic. I have no intention of living a logical life. Occasionally I will spend $4 on a latte... I will go out in pajama pants and flip flops looking like Britney before the conservatorship. I do things that other people might not do. I'm not other people.


4. I think we have a lot to learn. I don't know that the King James Version is the only acceptible version of the bible. I know that God has richly blessed my study of the the New International Version. I believe the Message is a beautiful way to read the bible. Seeking God means allowing Him to speak to us... and he doesn't only speak King James English. I just see God as so much bigger than that...


I don't want you to get the idea that all of these objections came from the same person. But they are some things that have popped up here as I've begun to tread the waters of the dating world. I'm really excited about having the wisdom and discernment to actually see "red". That's huge for me.


Here's the great thing about being older and wiser... just because someone isn't relationship worthy doesn't mean they're not friend worthy. I'm having a great time making new friends... and a single girl can never have too many guys in her life who are willing to tote heavy things, change her oil, squash bugs, watch football... whether I meet someone who will sign up for the next tour of duty with me... or I just make a few new friends... it's a win/win for me, as long as I keep recognizing the color red.


And that, my friends... is my thankful Thursday entry for this week! Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

no weigh wednesday

Taking a break from Whiny Wednesday for a week... I just don't feel like complaining today. I feel like just relaxing and letting life happen. I feel like being easy like Sunday morning... of course... that song always makes me laugh because when my babies were babies and we'd try to go to church it was the absolutely most stressful day of the week. Even now... with Austin... it's stressful to get him dressed appropriately for Sunday morning and we go to a very accepting and casual church.

Anyways... I'm not weighing this morning. I know I had pizza last night... I know I'm retaining fluid... I'm going to drink a ton of water today (apologies to my co-workers for the 30-dozen bathroom breaks I'll end up taking) and flush this bloat away.

Today I'm Jamaican minus the marijuana. Not that all Jamaicans smoke pot. I'm just saying I'm going to have a pot-smoking Jamaican kind of attitude. Less stress. Less angst. Relax and enjoy the ride.

The rooster is crowing. Bitty is perched in his window seat to watch him. He's so enamoured of "woos-uh" (which is how I say it when I talk to Bitty) that all I have to do is say "cock a doodle dooooo" and he runs to the window. Pavlov's dogs, kitty style.

My coffee is awesome today.

Can't believe Bristol made the finals.

Haven't decided what to wear today. It's a bit tricky getting dressed as there are so many things that don't fit right... the big clothes are too big and some of the smaller sized things aren't quite right yet. I'm between sizes, I guess... but that's ok... better than fitting nicely in stuff that's made by Omar the Tent-maker.

Besides the pizza yesterday... I had that awesome pumpkin/carrot cake for breakfast... along with pomegranates... for lunch I had a pouch of yellow fin tuna on rye crisps along with some turnips I cooked in the morning. SO I ate super healthy until dinner. And what I had for dinner is fine... about once a month or once every two months. It was a rare indulgence.

I've got a fabulous story to share with you... waiting on an ok to share.... but i'm excited about how my blog - and this forum - reaches people whose paths I otherwise never would have crossed. I'm excited about the people in real life who read my blog and feel more connected than me because of it. I know that I often share too much... but sometimes in our transparency, we give people the affirmation that they are not alone in what they're dealing with.

Time for me to glam and head out the door. Love and hugs, y'all!

Nicole's blog...

A couple of you mentioned not being able to find Nicole's blog... she has a new one:

http://letstalkforaminute.blogspot.com/

I don't know if her blog from Morocco was archived where you can go back and read it... but it was fascinating.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

she's baaaaack! tuesday newsday!

After a brief interlude... my little laptop is back on track and I'm so happy to be curled up with her in my lap again!

Tuesday newsday! Lots of good stuff today... since the computer was down this morning i got a lot of stuff done around the house. It felt productive. I wish I was disciplined enough to do those things even when they're not the ONLY things left to do but I still struggle with a little bit of housework rebellion. There's something about having someone take you by the scruff of the neck and push you into the bathroom to show you a qtip on the floor that you overlooked... that makes you never want to pick up another durn thing as long as you live. I'm bouncing back from that some but I'm no June Cleaver yet. I do... however... really appreciate a clean house.

Such great feedback on my blog entry about fear... I am ready to move forward... I'm definitely pushing ahead and it feels amazing. In some ways... I feel vulnerable... but when people leave comments about missing "the old Heather"... I realize that the very foundation of who I am involves loving people without reservation. If they love me back, lucky for them. If they don't, it's their loss. I can't change who I am to protect my heart. I'm trusting God to protect my heart. And I imagine there's fear for anyone who loves me to see me putting myself in a place of vulnerability by daring to care.

As far as weight loss fear... I had 3 pieces of cheese pizza for dinner. That's 15 points. At least. And it was worth every bite. I've not used a single flex point all week so it was ok. It's about lifestyle... and tonight was just flat out a pizza night.

Nicole left some great comments on that last entry and I want to thank her... I first came to know of Nicole when she was a featured story on Q100 back at the time I first met Michael. Nicole had met a man from Morocco online and she was going over there to meet him... and once they met... they decided to get married... and she packed up her whole life an moved to Morocco. It was a fabulous story and I felt so connected with her - on a much smaller scale - as I was facing the huge decision of following Michael to Jacksonville. Nicole's story had a much happier ending... she's still with her guy and they have a beautiful little boy together. I read her blog while she was in Morocco and I've followed her story since she's been back and although we've never met... I know she gets that fear of following your heart better than most people.

And how blessed am I to have a daddy who is keeping tabs on things... giving advice... wanting to help me make good choices... even though I'm old and (sort of) gray.

And for the others of you who encouraged me, reminded me of who I am, reminded me of the strength you see in me... it's so empowering! I'm almost certain that I won't always make the right decisions and I'm almost certain that there will still be times ahead when I feel discouraged or disappointed but I'm so blessed to have a huge group of people in my life - and online - who catch me when I fall.

This morning I put the quilt my grandma made for me on my bed and thought about her strength and determination... the life she lived... the legacy she left. It's comforting... pun intended.

My toes are cold. I think I need to turn on the heat. Or grab a blanket.

I'm tickled pink about Prince William and Kate. I will never forget waking up early in the morning when I was 13 to watch Lady Di marry Prince Charles. It was the most amazing wedding I had ever seen... of course... great weddings don't guarantee great marriages... at any rate, you can bet your sweet buns that I will be glued to the tv to watch this wedding... I'll even set aside a vacation day so I can be off work to watch it. Does the Queen really have a facebook page?

Tomorrow we have the church Thanksgiving dinner... it's going to be another big point day and then I'll scale back for Thursday and Friday so my weigh in is happy.

Dancing with the Stars result show tonight... I'm thinking Bristol will certainly be going home this week... it's time. She's done a great job for someone who has no performing experience. I really would rather see people have to actually learn to dance instead of just showing people who are already performers. But she doesn't deserve to win. I'd rather see Kyle or Jennifer win.

Austin just sprayed vanilla air freshener in here. I hate that scent.

Ok... so that's all the news that's unfit to print around here... hope you had a great Tuesday. I'll come back tomorrow with a Whiny Wednesday for you!

off line...

Sad day... my computer isn't working... again. It will be tomorrow before I can take it by the repair guy. So if I'm not here... never fear! All is well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

fear

I'm writing a rare night time blog post because there's something so heavy on my heart that I can't let it weigh on me all night while I sleep. I've had this odd restlessness settle over me today... anxiety... and I finally realized that it's fear. Fear not of the future, so much as it is fear of the past repeating itself. It's fear of finding success, of finding the things that I dream of and once again, not being able to hold onto them.

I have never felt more empowered than when I lost weight before. And it came back. I mean, I know why and how it came back... depression, discouragement, abuse, medications... and I've gotten control of my weight and am working my way back down the scale but I'm afraid to lose it again and then feel the immense disappointment in myself of gaining it back. I hear the mocking voices in my head saying, "don't bother giving away the fat clothes... you'll need them again..."

And once again... having lost weight... I've started putting myself "out there" again and accepting the possibility of a romantic relationship. I've met someone. Not sure if he's THE one... but he's someone. And I am almost paralyzed with fear at the thought of allowing myself to care because it means that I could get hurt. I don't want to ever again feel the desperation I felt with Michael. I don't want to ever care enough about someone that they would be able to hurt me that way. Yet, I don't want Michael to have been able to steal from me the ability to love. To trust. I don't want to always leave myself cut off because of what he did to me. That would allow the ultimate control freak the ultimate eternal control over me and I refuse to give him that power.

A very wise person told me yesterday that life is about how you handle disappointment. I can't guarantee that disappointment will never come. I can only make sure that I'm strong enough to handle it when it comes.

This time of year is so hard for me. I'm determined to not let the holiday season wipe me out emotionally like it has in past years. I'm determined to be flexible... accept opportunities that come my way... to let go of any expectations so that I'm not disappointed. I'm determined to let everything be a blessing... a surprise... a celebration. I'm determined to not focus on the things that I would have wanted that are missing... but to focus on the things that I have that others might not.

I'm afraid... but I'm no longer paralyzed by that fear. Isn't that the true definition of courage? To do the things that you think you can't do? To move beyond what's comfortable and stretch beyond your boundaries?

No more comfy nest for me. I'm walking into the fear.

reasons to love Monday

How'd we end back up here again? It's another rainy Monday in the North Georgia mountains... beautiful, wet, colorful fall Monday. And although I'm packing up my tinkerbell lunch box and heading into the office today instead of getting to do the things I really want to do... I can still dig up some reasons to love Monday.

1. It was a great weekend! I got to spend time with my girls... I got to spend time with some special guys... I got some down time...and I got the laundry done. It was the kind of weekend I need to have more often.

2. The next installment of the Harry Potter series comes out this week. It doesn't matter much to me but it makes Austin really happy.

3. I had a good weigh in... a better unofficial weigh in yesterday... and after five months on plan I'm rocking along just fine!

4. I washed all our blankets this weekend so every time I curl up under a blanket, it smells so fresh and clean!

5. I packed up a hefty bag of all the stuff that's too big for me yesterday! Woohoo! So long fat girl clothes!

6. I was able to rotate back in some of my favorite smaller pieces. Since I have wardrobes for every size from 10 to 20... every new size will open up a new treasure chest of clothes that I already own and don't have to spend money on!

7. Yummy low point pumpkin bread/cake... I followed a recipe from www.hungrygirl.com - just used a carrot cake mix... added in a can of pumpkin... mixed it together and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes (can't remember the time exactly... ) and its awesome and yummy and low points and will make a great take along breakfast for me. I'm gonna expand on that recipe and work on some healthy muffin mixes. I think it would be super easy to add mix ins like shredded zucchini.

8. I found a healthy chili recipe that Austin would eat! Turkey sausage... lots of peppers, onions, garlic... canned tomatoes... kidney beans and northern beans... and he loves it. It's 3 points a cup for me. Win/win! Next batch I'll add a few more veggies in but we were at the end of the groceries and I was just using what was on hand.

9. It's just so easy to eat healthy and stay on track. Easy, I tell you. It's easier to do that than to eat unhealthy...

10. Austin's room is sorta halfway semi clean. His friends helped him and even applied a little "how can you live in such a pigpen" peer pressure. Good times.

Must get the glam routine underway... it's a long day ahead but I'm feeling ten feet tall and bullet proof. Hope you find reasons to love Monday too!