My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

it's all relative

Relatively speaking… the past week has been challenging. And by “relative” I mean, in the sense of people I’m related to. My mom’s been in the hospital… we had Cody’s birthday… Ryan was down for the weekend… there were some challenges related to being a divorced parent and interacting with kids alongside the ex. There were challenges on the in-law front – not that my in-laws aren’t lovely people – they truly are a blessing – but it’s all so new for me still.

Then I had a little “relative” challenge yesterday in that Austin broke one of the windows in our duplex. Reportedly… allegedly… he tripped and fell, striking his head on the window. Oddly… it was a hard enough collision to break a window but not hard enough to leave a mark, bump or cut on him.

Things that make you go… “hmmmm”….

He and Logan rough-house uh-LOT and I’m pretty sure someone was wrestling/jostling/throwing or somehow behaving in a way that was not healthy indoor behavior. I sent Logan home right away… not because I was mad at him but because I didn’t want any witnesses. *evil laugh*

Ok. Not really. I’m glad for Austin to have friends and to be the Kool-Aid house and all of that. But I can’t really afford these sort of things. I think this is going to be terribly expensive. And it’s not covered under our renters insurance because it wasn’t a “named peril” (such as fire, theft, vandalism, etc).

Things at work have been a little higher stress for me due to some personnel limitations. Fewer people = more work. Plain and simple. And there are times when there are folks lined up in the lobby and the phone is ringing and I just want Calgon to take me away.

So last night… broken window… stress… fixed myself a little tiny glass of wine to relax and… durn if Temperance Kitty doesn’t knock it off and waste the LAST of my wine and STAIN the carpet. I was on my hands and knees blotting… dinner getting cold… cat trying to eat my dinner… I swear Bitty Kitty must be a Baptist.

Relatively speaking… this time, in the sense of “related to how bad it could be”… things aren’t that bad. Broken windows are easier to mend than broken hearts. Two years ago I was trying to mend a broken heart. And a broken forehead… when I had “that thing” removed from my forehead… remember the Bride of Frankenstein look? Not pretty. And I was dealing with a broken mind… a broken sense of identity… a broken self-image… homeless, jobless, hopeless… Into every life a little stress and strife will come. Ultimately… relatively… things are not that bad.

If there’s no crying over spilt milk… is it ok to whine over spilt wine? Just wondering. Not that I plan to make a habit of drinking OR spilling wine.

Anyways. You just have to keep getting up in the morning and keep living your life and eventually you reach a point where things aren’t as bad as they once were or you’ve adjusted to your new reality or… I don’t know. I’m not sure that I can say that broken hearts mend but I do know that I don’t feel the sting as bad as I once did. I will always bear the scars of the injustice that happened… my life is forever changed. My perspective of people, my sense of trust, my ability to commit… all forever changed. But as Austin and I drove thru our old trailer park on Saturday I said, “you know… as bad as it all was… unless that had happened, we would still be living here… in a bad part of town with the kids in bad schools… “. So I have to be grateful for the challenges that gave me the life I have today. Even more glad that the worst of those challenges are behind me, know what I mean?

Broken windows and all.

I like thinking about where I was and what I was doing at this point in time… 20 years ago I had a brand new baby. Ten years ago I was moving into my brand new trailer. Eight years ago I was unemployed and about to start work with State Farm. Five years ago I joined Weight Watchers for the first time. Four years ago I was setting up housekeeping with “it”. Three years ago I was moving to Jacksonville. Two years ago I was moving to the mountains. And time keeps on passing by.

Relatively speaking… I’m stressed but I’m not as stressed as some people and not as stressed as I’ve been at other times in my life. I need more hours in the day, more money in the bank, more energy, more patience… but I’m thankful for what I’ve got in all those categories because it’s better than it’s been at other times in my life. Lunch time is over. Happy Tuesday, y’all.

Monday, August 30, 2010

random monday grumbling and observations

Coffee makes me happy.

My tummy hurts.

Today is Cody's 20th birthday. He said all he wants for his birthday is for Mawmaw to be well.

My mom is still in the hospital... more tests today. It's possible that they will have to do surgery.

My co-worker's dad is scheduled for surgery today which means she will probably be out for a few days.

Would make it hard on the remaining two staff members if I was out to be with my mom.

She wasn't much for visitors this weekend but I hate that my dad is dealing with this on his own.

Although Marquee and Cody are around...

I would vote for Glenn Beck for President but he isn't electable.

I didn't do a lot of the things this weekend I should have and I don't care.

My head hurt most of the day yesterday... still hurts a little today.

I ironed my clothes last night so I wouldn't have to today. Made me feel like a grown up.

I bought coke for Austin yesterday. I rarely do. I'd rather have him drink a 12 pack of beer than a 12 pack of coke. It's that bad for you. It was on sale. I stocked up for him. He drank an entire 12 pack in one day and got nasty when I told him that was excessive and a sign that he still doesn't have any self-control. I will not be buying any more coke.

I enjoyed watching Tim Tebow play for Denver yesterday. He threw an interception but before that, he was doing ok.

He's such a polarizing figure... I think he's an amazing young man and a fabulous athlete.

My boys stole my Gators tshirt that I stole from MJD when I moved out. Their plan is to burn it.

If they could, my kids would wipe every single possible reminder of him off the face of the earth.

I very much enjoyed the opening to the Emmys last night. Love Bruce Springsteen, love all the relevant people that were featured. Jimmy Fallon is hilarious. I loved him in the movie Fever Pitch. If you haven't seen it, check it out some time. It's about six years old.

Still haven't seen Eat, Pray, Love. Maybe over Labor Day.

The cats are jockeying for my attention. Spoiled rotten babies.

I hate commercials for prescription drugs. The thought of people deciding that they need pharmaceutical intervention because of what they see on tv... like choosing their brand of fabric softener. It's ridiculous.

Time to tend my farm and then glam and head to the office.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

salad of the week...

Photo to follow... wasn't in the mood to get the camera out because my head is KILLING ME!
But... I was so pleased with the two salads I made this week that I wanted to post them (more for myself so I remember how to make them again).

First... let me preach about the bulk bins at the grocery store. If my po-dunk grocery has them, I'll bet you can find them too. These have various grains, dried beans, nuts and other assorted goodies for purchase by weight. What I love is that you can get a huge variety of stuff for a small amount of money. You're saving yourself the packaging cost, for one thing. In the past week I've purchased bulgur wheat, wheatberries, millet, lentils, pumpkin seeds... all kind of treasures... all from the bulk bin. These two salads are partially courtesy of the bulk bins.

I made a beautiful bean salad... very simple... just two cups of thawed edamame, 1 can of black beans (rinsed to reduce sodium), 1 cup of red lentils (which actually turn out to be orange after they're cooked), 1 cup of diced red onion, 1 cup of cilantro, 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil. The colors are so deep... it's truly a work of art.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of caprese salad... I made that fantastic chickpea caprese salad that I ate a thousand times this summer using chickpeas in place of the mozzarella (cheaper, fewer calories, heartier, holds up to the Georgia heat). WELL... this week I made a salad using 4 cups of cooked wheatberries*, 4 cups of diced tomatoes, 1 can of (rinsed) chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil and a whole mess of fresh basil. It's so yummy!

*wheatberries are a grain... obviously wheat... that you can buy in the bulk bin. They take a long time to cook but ... leave it to the lazy girl to come up with an easy way to cook wheatberries. I just put 1 cup of wheatberries in my crockpot with 3 cups of water and cooked them on high for 4 hours. Perfect! They have a great texture... chewy... and you feel like you're really eating something!

As the weather turns and the fresh veggies are harder to come by, I've got to adapt my cooking to what's available (and affordable). The bulk bins, canned beans, frozen edamame... will get us thru the winter. I'm sure when the weather turns cool I'll be making more stews and soups and fewer salads. Either way, it's preparing stuff in advance that seems to work for me.

So my cooking is done for the week and the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher... now I just need to figure out a way to lose this headache...

this week's menu... and other random things


The super thick strawberry cake with cream cheese icing... mmmm!

My loves... Austin, Cody, Joshy, Ryan and Marquee...
Cody's swag... his inlaws spoil him rotten!

Just made a mega-trip to the grocery store to stock up... any time Austin is in the mood to go with me, I try to take advantage of the extra pair of hands and the company. Here are some of the fun/healthy/interesting/weird things we bought:

salmon burgers


purple potatoes (making purple potato salad!)


red lentils

millet (not sure what to do with it... knowing me, it will be a salad of some kind)

roasted garlic

swiss cheese (for his burgers)

diced butternut squash (to be roasted)

hummus (it was on sale!) love having hummus and baby carrots for lunch!

snyders pretzel bits (3 pts for 1/3 cup but it's a special treat for me on days I have points leftover)

whole grain crackers

whole grain bread

fresh mozzarella


black bean burgers

a new taboule mix to try

tomatoes (i need some farm stand tomatoes in a bad way)

(I also need some fresh corn on the cob... we may have to go to a farm market some time today but i really just want to nest)

baby eggplant (thought it would be nice to roast with some parmesan)

I've got some fresh basil that I picked at mom and dad's yesterday... and some peppers that Pop grew. I'm going to make purple potato salad to go with burgers and a caprese salad - maybe with the wheatberries I've got cooking in the crockpot - and an edamame salad with purple onion, cilantro, black beans... mmmm! It's funny but eating out this weekend wasn't fun at all for me... and I used to love to eat out more than anything. I'd much rather have a rainbow of healthy stuff in my fridge. Sooo grateful that we got child support yesterday and were able to make a big grocery run and stock up with healthy stuff.

Here's what I ate this weekend:

Friday: 10 grain hot cereal with a sliced banana and 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter. 1 spicy chickfila sandwich with a fruit cup, tilapia and steamed veggies, 12 tortilla chips and salsa

Saturday: oatmeal with 1/4 cup blueberries, two figs, Pop's chicken salad with grapes and apples (it was sooo good!) with more figs (Pop had figs that were about to go bad) one big old piece of Cody's awesome strawberry birthday cake with cream cheese frosting, a chargrilled chicken cool wrap from Chickfila, diet lemonade, starbucks iced green tea with splenda

Seriously... not bad for being away from home... considering we ate out for three meals.

This morning I had a chickfila side salad (one point) with the rest of the figs (some had gone bad... so sad! i love figs!) and fat free sesame ginger salad dressing.

I made one of my quarterly trips to the thrift store yesterday. I bought "down" on a few items - things that were really good deals - I bought a size smaller than what I wear right now. That's true optimism for you! My last trip to the thrift store I bought "up" and (fortunately) never grew into those clothes. I've got a whole bin of clothes sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY CLOSET that are one size smaller than what I currently wear. I think it's great motivation to have to walk past those every time I get dressed. I bought 13 new articles of clothing: three skirts and 10 tops. All 3 skirts I will have to lose weight to be able to wear and their all three really cute so I'm motivated. Half the tops fit now and half will fit when I lose another 10-20 pounds. Thirteen new (to me) pieces of clothing and I spent - $21.11 - including tax.

Thrift store shopping isn't for everyone but I love it. It's great meditation time for me.

I never got to see Barry this weekend. I'm only mildly bummed about it. He went from work to football practice to work again... slept a few hours, got up, went to work and then back to a football game and ... that was his schedule while I was on the southside of town. Hard to be mad at someone who works so much. I just wish he didn't work so much.

Cody's birthday party was nice. He has the best in-laws... they really love him and treat him like one of them... and they are just as welcoming to Cody's brothers and parents. I hope that all of my boys find those kind of families to marry into.

Plans for today: cook, chill, clean....

Friday, August 27, 2010

random late night stream of consciousness

My laptop + wireless internet = feeling right at home.
I never sleep well away from home. I know some people love going home to the house they grew up in, for those who are lucky enough for that place to still exist. But for me... my comfy nest with my cuddly kittens is the only place I can truly rest.
Glad to be able to spend time with my family... but I'll be one wiped out woman by end of day tomorrow.
My mama is really sick. Her diverticulitis flared up and caused her intestines to swell up to the point of creating a blockage. The idea is to keep her in the hospital with nothing to eat or drink until the swelling goes down or if the swelling doesn't go down, to do surgery. She's miserable.
I hate hospitals. I'm not entirely sure but I think this may have been the first time I was at a hospital since when I was in the hospital 23 months ago. I think... other than diagnostic testing. But I mean, in a hospital room. And it made me a little (lot) squeamish. Post-traumatic stress squeamish.
In kitty speak, "I no yikes it"
But... I did get to see my brother Michael who I haven't seen since my parents' 40th anniversary party and his kids, Cory and Matthew, who I haven't seen in 4 years. How sad is it that my poor nephews are deprived of *the best aunt ever* - because I am, you know!
And i did get to spend some quality time with my boys today... although... initially I was majorly bummed because their original plan was to go out to dinner with their dad ....and disclaimer - it's not that I would ever in a million years discourage them spending time with their dad. I love my boys... I love who they are to each other, I love how loyal they are to their extended family. they are the best cousins, brothers, grandsons in the world. Their dad was mostly an absentee father while they were growing up and they have each found their way back to him and I'm so proud of that, that they are the kind of people who value family that much. but today was supposed to be my day because tomorrow they're going to the Braves game with their dad so I took a day off of work to be able to spend time with them and so... when I found out that they intended to have dinner with their dad I was... well... hurt.
And so I made plans to have dinner with MY dad... who definitely needed a little time away from the hospital.
And then... after having a long, honest talk with my oldest child and letting him know that I feel, to some degree, like an orphaned mom... that their dad has his girlfriend and my daughter in law's parents have each other... I'm just this old single lady kinda dangling there on my own. Partially by choice, because it's what's right for me for now, but partially because of some pretty bad luck with men, including their dad. Who they were abandoning me for. Who gets to spend every single day working with Cody. Who I haven't seen in 3 months because he's been so busy working and being a new husband.
It's hard.
I never wanted to be the kind of parent of grown kids who demanded their attention. I don't ever want to demand anyone's attention. I think I'm a pretty cool person and I know there are people who love to spend time with me and if the ones I gave birth to and raised by myself aren't interested in hanging out with me... well... then I won't waste my time chasing them down. I'll focus on the ones who want me around. Know what I mean?
But... in the end... we did all go out to dinner... me, my boys, my daughter in law and my dad... and it was a good time and I ate healthy (tilapia and steamed veggies and chips and salsa but I counted all the points, no worries).
And then we all went back to the hospital for a bit and I tried to keep the heebie jeebies at bay.
And then hung out at Cody and Marquees house for a little while and even had an ice cream cone (because I still had plenty of points for the week).
And now I'm back in my old bedroom, totally not sleeping. But I did have a nice talk with Bear and I felt 16 again talking quietly on the phone late at night with a "boy". and *although I'm bummed that I didn't get to see him today* he is working three jobs and coaching a little league football team and has a far too busy life. But tomorrow... we're trying again tomorrow. And it was good to just hear his voice. He's one of those "Pick back up right where we left off" people in my life and you can never have too many of those.
I'm sorta halfway penciled into his agenda for tomorrow and maybe, just maybe, for a Labor Day picnic in the mountains... we'll see. I don't ever really get my hopes up because... well, he's about as predictable as the late August weather in Georgia... and because I really am just so durn pleased and happy to be me alone with myself in the world that I created for me. Anything else is just icing on the cake...
Other points of interest: My brother Michael has a creepy 1970's porn mustache. My nephew Cory is so tall but really shy (much like Sarabeth). My nephew Matthew is more outgoing and observant (much like Jamie). My brother Bryan was still working at 10:30 when I sent him a text to tell him to tell my sister-out-law to check her email since she doesn't text and I wanted to share some of the events of my day with her.
Still reading?
G'night, y'all.

the best of times is now

New weight recorded above since I won't be going for an official weigh in tomorrow... yay for me, I'm making progress!
Still a very long way to go but I'm settled in, pacing myself, enjoying the process and feeling really, really good about the future.
It just keeps getting better.
One of my favorite showtunes ever comes from the show La Cage Aux Folles... "the best of times is now"... always makes me happy.
Having a very relaxed morning... doing some laundry... playing online... just enjoying myself.
Will glam around 11am or so... then get Doodle Bug from school and head south.
Logan, Austin's neighbor/schoolmate/church friend is keeping an eye on the kitties for us... although he would not agree to cuddle Bitty Boy and give him "yubs" like I do. I tried, Bitty.
Have no idea what the agenda for the next two days is... I know the boys are going to a Braves game with their dad but other than that, who knows?
We'll just roll with the punches.
I always hate being away from the mountains, though. Here, everywhere I go I run into friendly faces and peaceful places.
The pace is just too hectic and the people aren't as friendly in the city.
I'm growing to be such a country girl.
My dream home is a cabin in a the woods with a sunny spot to grow tomatoes.
I don't really mind not being able to go on vacations right now because I live in a place where people like to vacation.
I think I have it pretty good.
Nothing like a day off to give your spirits a lift, right?
Hoping to get some good staples while I'm in civilization... some interesting grains and dried beans and stuff.
I bought wheatberries the other day and haven't prepared them yet. I've done some investigation into how to prepare them... I think my lunch salad for next week will include wheatberries.
That whole grain/bean/produce combo for lunch seems to work really well for me... both in allow me to get filled up cheaply AND in allowing for weight loss.
Time to get back to Frontierville... hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

thankful thursday/weekend countdown edition, subtitled "whiny wednesday a day late"

I’m taking a day off tomorrow. It’s a 12 day pay period and so I decided to bite the bullet and sacrifice a day’s pay in order to have two 3 day weekends in a row. I need it in a bad way. It’s a major suckfest to have worked in the same industry, for the same company for 8 years and have the benefits afforded to a short term employee. Thank you, “he who won’t be named” for interrupting my career in that way.

Gonna head down into civilization to visit with Ryan (who will be visiting for Cody's birthday) and Cody and Marquee and my parents. It's sort of a stay-cation.

I’m slightly grouchy today but I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s just further evidence that I need a break. I’m majorly burned out. Tired. Weary. Leery.

Sooooo… remember my trailer that “he who won’t be named” insisted that I must get rid of before he would marry me? (I should have kept the trailer and ditched the guy… live and learn) (Because my little trailer debt was a drop in the bucket compared to his unsecured, high interest credit card debt and unpaid taxes, but I digress)… well, anyways… the trailer was moved to a consignment lot and I pretty much didn’t think about it again, what with my whole fight to maintain my sanity and struggle to recover from the 2 ½ years of mental and physical torment I suffered at the hands of “it”… and so part of my “back to reality” effort has included figuring out what the heck happened to my old home (that my dad has continued paying the mortgage on in the interim)… and I found out that it’s been involved in a bit of a trailer ponzi scheme of sorts. See… this lady… was taking trailers to sell on consignment… selling them, pocketing the money, never telling the real owner and trying to bide her time until the buyers realized they couldn’t get a clear title (because someone else owned it) and therefore couldn’t get it hooked up, couldn’t get loans secured and that sort of thing and until the seller said, “hey… what’s up with my house? Sold it yet?” . Ultimately, her scam came crashing down, Bernie Madoff style, and her business foreclosed. She’s had several judgments against her for these crooked deals.
I contacted her to find out what happened to our home when the lot foreclosed and she’s doing a little “so glad to hear from you… we’ll make everything right” dance with us, playing that she had no idea how to get in touch with my parents (who have lived at the same address for 34 years) or the mortgage company with whom she demanded extensive paperwork before moving the trailer to her lot. It’s either been sold or demolished. We don’t know which yet. We also don’t know what compensation, if any, she’s going to offer, nor do we know all the legal ramifications involved. It’s a tangled mess, for sure.

Church last night was awesome. Back with my hen party…. Love my girls… and we’re going into a study on Ruth, who I also love. There is just something about being with my girls – the big ones, my peers, I mean – that grounds me and makes me feel like I’m a participant in life instead of just a voyeur.

Dinner was. Eh. Tacos. I made a taco salad using the taco meat, black beans and the salad bar with salsa instead of dressing so I did fine point wise but that taco meat was talking to me all night. Wednesday night dinners will be an adventure. Having the salad bar, albeit limited, will help.

Tonight I’m taking my red-headed little girls to their PTA Open House. Their mom and dad have a reception of sorts at their house and can’t do the PTA thing. I, of course, love to do anything and everything with the girls so I was more than happy to sign up for Open House duty. Especially since today is my Friday. I also like being involved in the local community for business reasons. Yes, it’s Aunt duty… but in a small town like this… it’s also “networking”. A lot of our clients have kids at their school.

My cuticles are a mess and I keep picking at them.

I’ve lost enough weight that last night in bed the ring I wear on my thumb flew off. It’s sort of a “lucky”/symbolic ring for me. I bought it at the Marietta Greek Festival with my friend Amy (who I adore) – the same Greek Festival where Cody won tickets to Greece that he exchanged for $2000. It’s also a sort of thumb ring sorority that I share with Purple Michael and my friend Jen. So this one ring ties me emotionally to 3 or 4 special people in my life. Especially since I’m not much of a jewelry girl. Just a few sentimental pieces… but I am planning on attending a jewelry show next week. A very sweet young lady in our church sells Premier Jewelry and she’s trying to adopt a baby from Russia. This sale is part of her fundraising effort… and most items will be $5, $10 or $20. I can’t spend much but I do want to support her. They have a lot of sterling silver, which is all that I wear.

I’m going to miss my official weigh in this week while I'm down in Atlanta visiting with my parents and kids. I thought about going to a different Weight Watchers location but I always retain fluid when I travel so it would be falsely inflated. Plus... my other systems are a bit sluggish when I'm not at home base and I don't want to have extra weight. It's too discouraging, even though I know that it's not the real deal.

My mom is in the hospital... intestinal blockage... don't have a lot of info on it. Pop called and started to fill me in and then got another call. Hopefully they're keeping her comfortable. I'll be down tomorrow... if it seemed critical, I'd head on down today but it's fortunate that I had already planned to have tomorrow off.

Lunch is over... the day is half over and I'm on the downhill slide into the weekend! Happy Thursday, y'all!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

wishing for a wonderful wednesday

Woohoo! It's Wednesday! And finally... after 3 long months... Wednesday night suppers at church start back tonight. I'm excited and a little anxious... I'm all about point control... and it's so hard to eat food that anyone else prepares and not know exactly what's in it. I'm going to try to focus on the salad bar and use the entree to top a salad... some weeks that will work (baked chicken) other weeks it won't (spaghetti). It's going to be tricky... but the gain in fellowship far outweighs the point expenditure.

I don't think my hen party is starting back yet as my leader is in Alaska this week... but soon. At least I can hang with my girls and catch up. We've touched base some during the summer... but it's never the same.

This weekend I'm heading down to my parents house to visit with my boys and my daughter in law. It will mean a lot of eating out which makes things difficult. I think I just need to pack some of my awesome salads and some fresh produce. Hoping to spend some time with Barry too... he's got a busy weekend planned with his two jobs and the little league team he's coaching but maybe. We'll see. Just seeing my kids is happy time enough for me.

I was in bed early again last night. I got hit with a round of extreme nausea... never threw up, just felt really ill. I doubt it was food related as it came in between meals. I laid down to let it pass and woke up at midnight. Oh well. At least I got plenty of sleep, right? Considering how carefully I'm eating, I'm surprised at how low my energy levels have been over the past few weeks. I'm going to watch my vitamin b12 intake - that has a lot to do with energy - and make sure it's where it should be. I'm eating a lot of good things but restricting some things like meat and bread and those both carry b12s. I am taking a multi-vitamin, though (flintstones chewables with extra vitamin c, if anyone is curious) and that should help with any deficiencies. I don't know... can't explain it... just running out of steam at the end of the day.

Time is passing too quickly this morning... have to glam and dash... hope you all have a Wonderful, not Whiny Wednesday!
love and hugs!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

heavy heart tuesday

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood... I hope.
I went to bed early last night. I had eaten a pluot (cross between a plum and apricot) and had an allergic reaction... tongue swelling, sores breaking out in my mouth and down my throat IMMEDIATELY... it was no kind of fun. I took benadryl and it knocked me out. I have the same reaction with pineapple... this morning I'm fine, just dealing with the sores in my mouth and throat.
Why do I have to be such a freak of nature with things like this?
This will, of course, modify my usual diet of tomatoes and vinegar based salads. Ouch.

Couple of people heavy on my heart this morning... my friend Dean - whose wife cheated with my husband, forever bonding Dean and I - is having major custody issues with his kids. His ex-wife has been relentless in her demands for money and compliance with their custody agreement and as a result he has not been able to see his kids in the past five months. Her evil plot... no doubt coming from the source of all the evil that befell me, he who won't be named... no doubt is to be able to finance her new lifestyle with her beloved tax evader, deadbeat debtor (aka my ex-husband) while pushing her childrens' father out of the way. Once again, I thank God that I have no ties to this man that require me to have any interaction with him but my heart breaks for the destruction that he continues to inflict on Dean's life. I try to encourage Dean as much as I can, although it truly pains me to have to give any thought to anything my ex-tormentor is involved in.

I have another friend who I've mentioned before who has really suffered at the hands of the man she married. He has gone so far as to punch himself in the face and then call the police on her to try to have her arrested for domestic violence. Fortunately, the police noticed that HIS knuckles were red and hers werent. Fortunately she has gotten some distance from this guy... but she's in that painful time of adjustment where she's relieved to be away from him but really suffering from the financial interruption. Transitions are hard, my heart breaks for her. Her husband, like my ex, plays the exasperating mental game of spoiling you rotten with gifts and trips and a fabulous lifestyle and then jerks it all away when you don't completely conform to his demands. Also, like my ex, hers justifies his own infidelities by trying to paint her as unworthy of his affection. It's heartbreaking to watch, both because I care about her and don't want her to suffer and also because it makes me remember what I went through.

There's a lot of evil in this world... but there's a lot of good too... and those who see the worst in humanity, have a much greater appreciation for the good things, even things as simple as a beautiful sunrise. I would never choose to go back in time but I'm so grateful for the wisdom and peace I gained. I pray this for my friends who are suffering now... that it builds in them a greater strength of character than they would have ever known without going thru these times.

Also in my prayers today is my co-worker T and her family. Her dad is facing major heart surgery this week - possibly tomorrow. There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of concern not only about his prognosis but also his quality of life. The family is gathering from out of town and preparing for a vigil. These are tough... and put a lot of strain on everyone involved. Her health isn't great, she has some chronic conditions that can take her out of commission without warning and stress aggravates those circumstances. I know you guys are faithful prayer warriors so I ask that you keep T and her family in prayer.

Is it only Tuesday, really?

I'm reading an interesting book, Fat Land, about how America came into such a huge problem with obesity. It goes into the politics of our food supply. I hate conspiracy theories about anything because they seem so... well, paranoid. I refuse to believe that anyone is that diabolical as to intentionally condemn an entire nation to poor health... however... I do believe that we've failed as a nation to really think about what's in our food and where our food comes from. Look at this whole egg crisis... have you ever thought about where your food is before it is in you? To some degree.... there are things that are truly unappetizing about farm life that are completely unavoidable (things like manure, for instance... necessary to make things grow but really unpleasant to witness). But there are some other things that happen to our food that God never intended for us to ingest.

My goal is to eat a clean diet as much as possible. The fewer ingredients in the things I eat, the better. The more I know about where my food comes from and how it's prepared and what it's exposed to, the better able I am to avoid illness/obesity. Sometimes that means a little extra work in food preparation and sometimes it means a higher food cost - although to be perfectly honest, clean eating has been cheaper for me than eating out and eating processed foods. But if clean eating saves money in lost work, health care costs, etc... then it's totally worth it.

Bitty Kitty is crying because Austin left for school. He's at the window watching for him. So sweet/sad.

Time for me to glam and head to the office. Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the miracle worker

Raising a kid with aspergers means forever finding new carrots to dangle... today I found a new carrot and I'm delighted with the results! Austin cleaned his room. I mean... really cleaned it. Like never before in his whole life. And all it cost me was a pack of Yu-gi-oh cards. Entirely worth it.

That was the first miracle. The second was that I had a kid not only EATING whole grains but liking them today. Here are my two miracle meals:

"Freezer" Burritos
(read this online and it sounded like a great idea)
I cooked one bag of dry pinto beans in the crockpot with an onion, a bell pepper, a few cloves of garlic and some cumin and salt until they were mushy.
I mushed them up further with about an ounce of fat free cream cheese (to make them creamy).
I shredded about 1/2 a cup of sharp cheddar (Austin's favorite) and mixed that in the bean mixture.
I put one half cup of this mixture into a whole wheat tortilla... wrapped it in a damp paper towel and microwaved for thirty seconds.
Austin says they're awesome. I rather liked them myself.
I wrapped them individually and froze them.
The recipe says you can wrap them in a damp paper towel and reheat in one minute from frozen. We haven't tested that yet so I'll let you know how it works out.
They're about 3 weight watchers points per burrito.... really filling too.
Austin asked if that could be on his menu every week along with his standard frozen burgers and his requested turkey veggie loaf.
Makes it really easy for me to eat healthy when he's got his own easily accessible food. I'll experiment a little with some additional proteins but the bean version ends up costing less than fifty cents per burrito.

The other thing I cooked was "Green Pasta"...
I cooked whole wheat penne pasta with broccoli and shredded carrots (tossed the veggies in the pasta water as the pasta cooked)... mixed that with two cups of sauteed broccoli rabe, pesto, goat cheese, fat free cream cheese (because I ran out of goat cheese - it's a nice sub), parmesan cheese...
Despite using whole wheat pasta, Austin thought it was great.

He was not interested in the Bulgur Salad I made, however, because i used a ton of cilantro (which I love and he hates). I used 3 cups of "cooked" bulgur. (the cool thing about cooking bulgur and one of the reasons it's my favorite salad grain is because all you have to do to prepare it is cover it with boiling water for about 20 minutes) Once the bulgur was ready, I added 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (although, unfortunately, not the beautiful colored heirloom tomatoes i've been enjoying this summer because it was raining too heavily yesterday for me to go out to the farm) plus one cup of red onion and one cup of diced jicama. I mixed all of that with 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil. Oh... and about a cup of cilantro. It's fabulous! It's not the traditional taboule that I usually make because that calls for mint and lemon juice... and I had neither... but it's really good and will make for a yummy lunch in my brand new....

Tinkerbell lunch bag! I had wanted an insulated lunch bag and with back to school in full swing, I found an adorable little lunch bag for me! I'm so excited!

So the laundry is done, the meals for the week are done, the dishes are done and all I have left to do is cut my canary melon...

And I even worked out. Productive weekend! Yay!

more random photos

the Sonic after the sinkhole...

Austin thinks I should write a cookbook... not sure about that but I did make a really awesome pesto pasta with broccoli rabe that even HE liked... and a beautiful wheat salad... am cooking pinto beans in the crockpot to make bean burritos and he's really excited about that (despite the use of whole wheat tortillas).
I managed to get the laundry put away today. Mostly.
Now I'm going to get my workout in and then be lazy for the rest of the day!

adventures in tooth decay

I'm cracking up at that title. Here's the upside of eating clean... mostly meat free... it's easier on the teeth.
I was reminded of this while enjoying a dish of thai curry beef (remember, I had a craving...) The same thai curry beef that I was enjoying back early in June (before Weight Watchers) when major tooth pain set in that sent me running to the store for advil, floss and orajel.
I feared a major dental expense then and... my goal for this year is NO MONEY ON MEDICAL/DENTAL BILLS... plus no painkillers or other pharmaceuticals and dental work means, inevitably, painkillers and antibiotics.
The inflammation abated and I have enjoyed a painfree summer - other than a few unpleasant carrot incidents.
Yesterday, however, the pain returned. I made it thru my necessary shopping trips with Austin to prepare for school... one pair of decent slip on tennies, two pair of size 33x30 blue jeans, one pack of plain white tees, one Old Navy tee, one pair of cropped yoga pants (for me), one new bra to replace the one with the underwire blow-out from Friday (also for me, in case that wasn't already clear), two new toys for Bitty and Stubby, one ridiculously overpriced trip to the "city" grocery store to get some ingredients not available in our town... and I withstood the discomfort with only a few applications of orajel and one ibuprofen.
By the time we headed home... yuck.
Thank goodness I bought wine. Thank goodness my alcohol tolerance is so low that one very small glass made me comfortably numb so that I was able - with the assistance of some ice - to make the pain bearable again.
Unfortunately... this morning... it's back again. Baaaaad timing.
Not completely broke but I did spend a lot of money yesterday trying to take care of Austin's school necessities and we still need to nab a pair of boots.
I'm trying so hard to stay on top of bills. It's always something.
Bad timing financially and also because it's going to be a rough week for my co-worker whose dad is having open heart surgery. Her place is with her dad. No doubt, no argument. If it was MY daddy... you can forget me getting anything else done except sitting and waiting to know that he was going to be ok.
But that leaves us shorthanded at work so I have to cowboy up and be there.
Therefore, this weeks menu will be structured to avoid unpleasant dental experiences.
I hope.
No corn on the cob this week, for sure.
We bought some new foods to try this week... dragonfruit was our experiment yesterday. It's odd shaped, native to Asia, a burgundy/pink exterior but white and black polka dot interior. Sort of a mild kiwi taste. Would be excellent in fruit salad.
We also found some nice rappini - aka broccoli rabe. I intend to incorporate that into my warm pasta dish with pesto and goat cheese, parm and tomatoes. I'll make up a batch and reheat during the week.
I bought a bright yellow canary melon. I understand it's flavor is like a casaba melon - which I've never had. I'll cut that up today and have it for breakfast during the week.
I try to do at least one produce serving at breakfast plus one protein. The higher the morning fiber, the better I seem to do at avoiding cravings during the day. Melon is a good high fiber, filling food.
I aim for two produce servings at lunch plus protein and grain - sometimes my protein comes from the grain or the produce.
I aim for two produce servings at dinner as well... and my afternoon snack almost always is a protein to carry me through the end of the day. Dinner is usually the meal where I eat an animal protein, usually some kind of fish.
I am not sure if this is exciting info or not... it's just what I do.
We bought bacon wrapped scallops. At $6 for six, it was pricey but yet still cheaper than ONE McDonald's meal. Austin LOVED them. Soooo easy to fix... I just broiled them for about five minutes. He ate four, I ate two (due to my dental pain and the high calorie content of the bacon, plus it was pork and contained nitrites which I try to avoid).
Today we're having crab stuffed mushrooms... again, $6 for six, again, more expensive than our usual proteins but a nice chance to try new things. The point values are surprisingly low on these.
I've got to make a quick run to Walmart for ibuprofen and boots.
Hope you have a super Sunday! Love and hugs!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

a gain that i'm not freaked out about

It was bound to happen sooner or later. This week I gained weight. Only a tiny, little bit - .2 pounds. The equivalent of a deep breath. If I had spit before I weighed I would have avoided it. I mean, it's soooo small of a gain.... and I knew it was going to happen at some point. I am not freaked out at all. Really, really not. I know that I was on track food wise all week... I know that I could have exercised more. I know that I've had 3 great losses in a row which were bound to balance out at some point and it's all very o.k.

I will not freak out.
I will not pig out.
I will not get frustrated.
I will not mope.
I will not be derailed or discouraged.

We had a great meeting this morning. I would like to point out that with the possible exception of two ladies, I was the youngest person in my meeting today. That's both weird and fun. Because I'm so obsessed with nutrition I've become sort of the Bean Queen in my meeting. Because I'm such a non-traditional cook (especially compared to women who are 2 decades ahead of me) I always have easier ways to cook things. I enlightened the group today on cooking brown rice in the microwave. You would have thought I introduced sliced bread!

I've solicited lots of poo shoe advice and I think we're going to go with the muck boots, provided we can find them. Austin hates shoe shopping the way that fat people hate celery so it will be a terribly unfun experience for me. It's also POURING rain outside... which will add to our joy. Yet... it must be done.

I'm also menu planning for the week which means deciding on what kinds of salads I want to prepare. I'm also thinking of doing dried beans in the crockpot (it's that kind of weather here). I read a freezer friendly bean burrito recipe and I think that would be the bees knees for Austin - easily reheated burritos. And super cheap. So that's on my to-do list. I loved my pesto-goat cheese pasta so I'd like to make up a batch of heat and eat pasta. And then I'm thinking of trying some kind of grain/bean salad... maybe bulgur wheat with black beans, purple onion, bell peppers, tomatoes... colorful and hearty.

Don't tell the Baptists but I'm also in the mood for a nice glass of wine today. I think a gentle buzz will do me a world of good. Plus... I'd like to try cooking some fish en papillote or however the heck you spell it (my french fluent Sister-Out-Law can enlighten)... with a little wine.

I think the key for this lifestyle is to keep it fresh, interesting, exciting, fun... keep trying new activity strategies, vary my diet, keep learning and working on ways to make healthy eating budget and teen friendly. It's really all surprisingly easy.

Still haven't seen Eat, Pray, Love.
Still haven't cleaned out the laundry room or my closet.
Still haven't put away the clean laundry.
Still very happy.

I love my life... even more on a cozy, rainy, Saturday, .2 pounds heavier or not!

Friday, August 20, 2010

fully caffeinated photo finish friday

Remember when I first moved here and would have to make a trip into civilization to get my special k-cup coffee? After months of the k-machine not working properly, I finally caved and bought an "old fashioned" coffee maker. While I was in the LOCAL store picking out a new coffee pot, guess what I found...

More coffee than I have ever seen in one spot. Here. Argh!

Bitty has been making friends with all of my stuffed animals. He's a true hunter... loves finding "prey" and bringing it to his lair (my bed)

remember when I said I got caught in the rain after work? This is me... soaked to the skin.

Best meal all week... oven fries made out of butternut squash. i need a better knife to be able to prepare these... but they were awesome! I wanted to take pictures at Austin's open house yesterday but Austin wasn't having any part of that.
Audience participation time: Austin needs shoes to wear to the "Ag Center" (Agricultural Center) for one of his classes (Animal Science or something like that). They will be left at school to use specifically for that class. I asked the farm hick of a teacher exactly what I should buy and he said, "Well, ma'am... something that you don't mind him getting manure on". Poo Shoes? My kid needs POOOOOO SHOES! I'm thinking he needs something sturdy in case an animal steps on him... but I can't picture what he needs... rain boots? Anyone out there with agricultural experience that has a suggestion for us?
Our weekend plans are poo-shoe shopping, school supply shopping, weigh in (of course!) and food shopping. Exciting, right?
I'm only working 4 days next week... I've taken Friday off so that I can spend time with my Boo when he comes to town on Friday. That will give me two 3 day weekends in a row! I haven't been able to take a vacation in two years so those long weekends are treasures for me!
Got a call yesterday that one of my old co-workers from my uncle's office lost a baby - at 35 weeks pregnant. Really sad.
One of my current co-workers found out her dad is in congestive heart failure... in the hospital awaiting valve replacement surgery. While not necessarily a death sentence, it's terribly scary for her family.
We're in a deliciously drama-free period right now. Not broke, not exactly rolling in cash. Not completely unsuccessful at work... not quite where I want to be with sales. Austin's been semi-cooperative. The cats are mostly cute and only mildly annoying/expensive. I'm not in love... not lonely. I'm in a wonderfully average stage of life right now and I'm very ok with it.
Hope you have a beautiful Friday! Love and hugs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

thankful thursday with a recipe thrown in

*sigh* Another Thursday... another entry on gratitude. Who reads this blog? Am I boring you to death?
Austin has Open House this afternoon... I'm thankful that the end of his public school education is in sight. It's been quite a journey with him. He wants to go to college... and I'll do everything I can to make that happen for him. Usually once he gets something in his head, he'll see it through.
He received an invitation to go with a student group to Europe next summer. I can't imagine how we would pay for it but I agreed to go to the informational seminar in September. I can just see him stumbling into an international *incident*.
Like it or not... and I mostly like it... my last baby is growing up. Eleventh grade starts on Monday.
I'm thankful for my fur babies. I resisted becoming *that cat lady* but they're good company.
Bitty has discovered my stuffed animals and every day he plays with a different one. He's such a funny cat.
Stubby the 3legged wondercat is basically a piece of furniture... completely unanimated but... he's ours. We can't all be entertaining, now can we?
I'm thankful that my Boo-boo is coming home for a few days this month. I'll get to spend some time with him... Codester and my only daughter... haven't seen any of them since the day of the wedding.
I'm thankful for Weight Watchers. I love that I'm finally back in control of my weight. I've got a long way to go... but time is going to pass either way and I might as well pass the time getting better.
I'm thankful for my new coffee pot. The Keurig machine had become such a pain... it was so undependable... and too frustrating. Austin and I have enjoyed our early morning coffee bonding experience.
I'm also thankful for flavored coffee creamer.
Here's my recipe:
I had the BEST pasta pig out yesterday... I had been craving thai curry beef but didn't have the energy to drive to civilization to procure and/or figure out how to make it... so instead... I made pasta.
here's what I did... I cooked one and a half cups of whole wheat penne - when it was about halfway cooked I added in 1/2 cup of shredded carrots. I mixed the cooked carrot/pasta with 2 tablespoons of goat cheese plus 2 tablespoons of pesto and topped it with one cup of chopped fresh tomato. I put another 2 tablespooons of parmesan cheese on that. It was a HUGE bowl and I ate every stinking bite. It was uh-mazing and all of that came in at 9.5 points. That will definitely become a "go-to" dinner for me. It would be great to make up a mess of it and heat it up during the week.
Time is passing quickly.... must grab my lunch and head out the door. Love and hugs!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a whiny wednesday rant...

I'm happy that it's Wednesday...
Haven't weighed yet this morning - not an official weight, anyways. I weigh first thing every day but it's not what I consider a "true" weight because I do it in my sleeping clothes.
Not pajamas. I don't wear pajamas... or nightgowns. I guess that's weird.
Audience participation time: what do you sleep in?
Usually for me it's tshirts and shorts or tshirts and sweat pants or sleep pants.
I don't even own a real nightgown.
And this is not what I intended to blog about today.
It's whiny Wednesday... which means it's time for me to complain...
Here's what's on my nerves today: people who lose weight eating completely unhealthy diets. It's not that I'm jealous... quite the opposite. I feel bad for them. I know what it's like to work SOOOO hard to lose weight and then end up gaining every ounce back.
There's this blog that I follow where a lady has lost a considerable amount of weight. She lists her food every day and every day she eats 1-2 servings of ice cream, she eats candy, chocolate... and crazy amounts of carbs.
The older, wiser me wants to post comments that say, "enjoy being thin because it won't last". I won't. I'm not confrontational like that.
It's the southern way, you know... "I'd never say anything bad TO HER FACE!" *groan*
But just between me and all hundred of you... she hasn't changed the bad health habits that made her fat in the first place. There's no way she can maintain her current success.
Can I just say it again? SUGAR IS BAD. It's reasonable to have a treat once a week. It's ridiculous to depend on 2-3 sweet treats a day. That's not a treat - that's an addiction.
Cutting sugar out of your diet makes everything taste better. Fruit is sweeter. I can drink coffee and tea without needing added sugar and it doesn't taste bitter. I'm free.
If God had intended for us to need sugar in everything we eat, he would make it rain sugar instead of water.
Ok, I know that's ridiculous but it seriously gets on my nerves how addicted we are - as a society - to sugar. And it gets in my nerves how much sugar is in everything we eat from salad dressings (see yesterday's post) to bread to cereal. It's like manufacturer's don't trust their products enough on their own and have to pump them full of sugar to make us want to buy them.
It aggravates the stew out of me that I let myself gain back all my weight but I can tell you this... lesson learned. I'm not going to put myself in the position of having to do this again.
Yesterday was a series of frustrations at work... two of the life applications I submitted this month were withdrawn - people changed their minds. It seems like I just can't get a life sale completed.
When I left work it was POURING rain and I had to run the office errands - bank and post office - both involve me getting out of my car - so by the time I was on my way home I was drenched. It was like i took a shower with my clothes on. SOOOOo frustrating!
By the time I got home I had a massive headache and I was in bed before 8pm.
SOOOOOooo... although this is officially Whiny Wednesday, I believe that today has to be a better day than yesterday.
Gonna grab some breakfast, log my WW points for the day and get ready for work.
Happy day, y'all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

newsday tuesday

It's raining.
I weigh 199 this morning. Still in One-derland! Still considerably more than I SHOULD weigh.
Austin was up early so he made coffee for me... nice waking up to coffee.
My favorite seasoning right now is perfect pinch roasted garlic and bell pepper. It's awesome on fish.
I had shrimp cocktail for breakfast.
I went to the store last night hoping to find orange roughy... they were out.
So I had shrimp for dinner last night and breakfast this morning.
Also for breakfast - fresh cherries, multi grain bread and olive oil.
I know it's weird but I eat what I like.
Lunch will be smartones veggie mini-pizzas and carrots with hummus.
Easy fork free food as we have a strange work day ahead.
Out of our 4 team members, 2 are in class this morning. They aren't due back to the office until 1pm.
I'm scheduled to take the same class, starting at 1pm but the logistics are tough. If they get out early enough, I'll have time to make it to the class. If they don't, I won't. It's a 30-45 minute drive to the class.
I'm ambivalent. It's an ethics class... required for my licensing... but the most boring class ever.
I think anyone who attends church fairly regularly should get a pass on ethics recertification.
I'm just saying.
I will probably end up taking my class online. It's faster that way anyways.
But... in case I have a hard time getting away for lunch - or in case I spend my lunch hour driving to the class... I wanted fork free food.
I'm wondering if I should bother straightening my hair since it's raining.
I love fresh bread dipped in olive oil but EVOO is one of those things that you have to watch the points on. It's important to HAVE healthy oils every day, your body needs them.
But to keep from having too much, I measure my oil and pour it over the bread and use that roasted garlic and bell pepper seasoning that I love so much. It's yummy!
Did you know that there are some vitamins that are not water soluable (spelling?) so that in order to get the most benefit from them, you need some sort of oil.
This is what makes salad dressing important. Only... not prepared salad dressings because they're not good for you.
Olive oil and lemon juice. Or olive oil and vinegar. Or olive oil and mustard.
Processed foods = hidden, unnecessary ingredients and chemicals.
Is it any wonder that cancer is so rampant in our modern society? We consume things we can't pronounce.
I heard someone say once that you shouldn't eat foods that your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize.
I also heard that your main diet should be plant based.... anything else should be used in moderation.
That's pretty much what I do.
Must finish the glam routine.
Have a great day, y'all!

Monday, August 16, 2010

random monday

picture taken by Sarabeth in the car on Saturday....

Just a few things on my mind as we get ready to start a new week...

This is Austin's last week of summer vacation. We've talked about the fact that next summer he really needs to have a part time job - as he will be 17 - so this is effectively the last summer of his childhood. Bittersweet.

I'm ready for him to go back to school. He's on such a vampire schedule that when he's home (which hasn't been often) he keeps me up all night... constantly in and out of the kitchen... in and out of his bathroom at the other side of the house (which isn't that far away, it's a small house). And once i'm up, instead of my quiet, gentle morning, it's peppered with "mom, you know what?" off and on.

I'm glad he's still here with me. The two older boys have been living apart from me for almost 3 years now and it's still weird to just be mom to one kid.

This whole "ground zero mosque" controversy has me baffled. How did we evolve to be the kind of country that allows our enemies to build monuments on the place where they had their greatest defeat of our country?

All weekend the mainstream media has been focused on the remarks Obama made at this event commemorating Ramadan - the muslim holy day. How about we focus on the fact that our President - who refused to attend the National Day of Prayer event - attends a muslim event? Is there any further doubt that he's anti-Christian?

I'm just saying.

Austin is cooking bacon. He's lost so much weight over the summer... he's around 145 pounds now... and I think he plans to regain all the weight he lost in this one week. I went to the grocery store on Saturday morning and he's been eating nonstop ever since.

He has a new bike. My boss bought a new bike and gave Austin his old one... it's a really nice mountain bike. It's a bit big for Austin but his friend Logan helped him adjust the seat and he's been able to make it work. He had given his bike to a man in the neighborhood who was having to walk to work.

Friday was crazy busy at work... we're minus one employee already and then we had someone who had to leave due to a sick child. Fridays are typically our busiest day... so it was busier than usual being shorthanded. Yet... ultimately... the day went by quickly so it's all good. I just always worry that there's something I overlooked in my busy-ness that will come back to bite me. Hopefully not. And since I called in sick on Thursday I can't really complain, you know?

The sore throat/fatigue that haunted me last week seems to have abated. I'm a little bit congested but... that may be due to ragweed. It's the late summer allergy season. I don't think I have anything infectious.

Yesterday I ran for 20 minutes... it felt awesome. I'm unofficially down 17 pounds... officially almost 16. It's not a huge amount of weight but that, combined with eating properly makes me feel soooo much better. This feeling is addictive.

Having lost a huge amount of weight before and then regained it... I think a lot about the process of losing weight and try to analyze the similarities and differences *this time*. Here are some major differences:

* Last time I adjusted my portions to fit my point allowance but I didn't really change the kind of foods I ate

* I never broke my carb addiction before. I still loved bread - I just forced myself to consume it in moderation

* I didn't exercise until I was much smaller

*I never consumed my 5-9 servings of produce a day

* I felt deprived often

* I still snacked at night - every night, as a matter of fact, I would have a sweet snack before bed. My sweet snacks are rare and never after dinner

This time it feels more like a permanent lifestyle change, not a "diet". I feel like i finally figured out the solution to a lifelong struggle with weight.

Time for me to plan my food for the day, glam and get myself to work for staff meeting. Hope you all have a Marvelous Monday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

surprising non-scale victory...

For someone who is obsessed with the number on the scale... I pay surprisingly little attention to my measurements. I think the *tape shock* of seeing that I was nearly as big around at the hips as I am tall was too much to handle for me. So... it's been a full month since I recorded measurements and I have to tell you that I had a new kind of tape shock finding out that I have

lost six inches off my waist in the past two months!

One of the trendy measurements of health is waist size. I think it's supposed to be no more than half of your height. That means that at a mere 5'2 my waist should be no more than 31 inches. And that also means that when I first start back on this weight watchers odyssey that I had 14 inches to lose off my waist. How exciting to know that only two months into the journey that I'm almost halfway to that good health marker!

I think I've decided to post the real truth number about my weight. It's ugly, even still... but I believe in transparency and anyone who would think differently because of seeing it isn't anyone whose opinion I'd value in the first place. Know what i mean?

Austin spent the night next door with his friend Logan and came home with a bit of a stomach bug. I've been so lax about going to church and I really fully one hundred percent intended to go today... but... I think I'm going to stay and keep an eye on him. And keep the house bleached down well. I missed a day of work last week... I'd prefer to go the rest of the calendar year without another sick day.

I made another batch of my black and white bean salad yesterday - it's become a staple of my diet. This time I replaced the cucumber with jicama and shredded carrots. I bought the carrots for the girls to use on their "food dolls" (copyright Jamie Gant) as red hair... but then when they realized that they would have to eat anything they put on their dolls... they decided to have bald headed dolls. *Laugh*

We talked about food aversions... they are so reluctant to try anything new. Remember my exchange with Jamie last Thanksgiving about sweet potatoes? I told them that once they try something, if they don't like it, that's fine. But if they have never tried it and they say they don't like it... that's just CRAZY! I told them that God made all this beautiful food in beautiful colors for us to enjoy so that it can help us be strong and healthy... and if we don't eat what God gives us, that the devil is in control, making us weak. I also talked about taste buds and how some things taste good to some people yet bad to others... but they don't know what they like until they try it.... trying to encourage them to try new things. Sarabeth was more adventurous than Jamie... but in the end... they did try a few new things.

They would NOT, however, try figs, avocado or kiwi...

What was really cool... Jim and Angie have a compost pile and the girls have learned to save biological waste for the compost heap. We talked about the life cycle of plants that come from the soil and return to soil and how those things are the best things for us to eat. I'm really convinced that a plant based diet is the most beneficial. I grew up with people telling me that women in our family struggle with depression and that women in our family struggle with their weight but no one really gave me the tools to battle those things. We had a garden in our backyard and we ate vegetables... but a lot of that was battered and fried (the southern way)... and we ate a lot of stuff that I now know wasn't good for us. We were raised on white bread and peanut butter... mac and cheese... kool aid. I'm not being critical... I'm just saying that *now that I know what I know* about the important connection between how we eat and quality of life, I want to give that legacy to my girls.

Besides... I was the one who taught Sarabeth how to read the top of the box of chocolates... it's the least that I can do to teach her how to eat healthy.

I should point out that Jim and Angie do live a very healthy lifestyle... she reached goal with Weight Watchers a year ago and has kept the weight off. They're both into fitness and even with their busy schedules, they both exercise daily and encourage the girls to be active. I just love sharing what I know with the people I love.

While we were at the farm yesterday... I was talking to the herb lady about the benefits of parsley (which I don't particularly care for) and Jamie interrupted with "Aunt Heather... Aunt Heather... Aunt Heather..." and I said, "what honey?" she said, "I love you!".... Everyone there went "awwwww". Too sweet.

Gonna run pick up some pepto for the kid. Hope you have a great day! Love and hugs!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

*yawn* yes, I lost again!

Ok... I'm at the crossroads of a big blogging decision. No, not the old standard, "public or private" debate that other blogs seem to cycle through periodically. I'm public. I'll always be public. Sometimes it causes my kids, my parents and my boss a grimace or two... but Heather's out there in the blogosphere and that won't change.

My debate is whether to switch my weight loss counter from "weight to lose" to "actual weight". I mean... I used to say, "I'd rather stand naked in a room full of people than have one other person see my number on the scale"... but... the truth is, as bad as it is, I love the way it's changing and I think sometimes understanding the severity of a problem helps us appreciate the magnitude of the blessing.

I mean... why else would I share the other humiliating things I share? That aspect of full disclosure is what sets my blog apart. So... all you silent lurkers out there... tell me what you think. Vote with your comments. And tell me... would you share your weight in cyberspace?

Today went by TOO FAST! These photos are just a sneak peek...I have more photos to share and I may do that tomorrow or I may save it for Photo Finish Friday or ... you can always go to my facebook page to check them out. I had a great day with the girls... we went to the farm market and grocery store and then went to their house and made "food dolls" (copyright Jamie Gant). I was calling them "veggie people" but Food Dolls seemed like a much better name. The girls tried some new foods... some healthier variations of foods they already enjoyed... and got to play with their food. We took our journey all the way from farm to market to kitchen to table to compost pile... and had a great conversation about sustainable, clean food products. More details later... I'm sniffly tonight and I took some nyquil which has me a little loopy.

We'll talk more later... just wanted to announce my .8 pound loss this week... I was sure I wouldn't lose this week after two really good weeks in a row, thought I'd have a plateau week... so I was really thrilled to see almost a whole pound gone. This is almost TOO easy! I love my life... and I love my diet...

Ok... before I fall asleep on the keyboard... gnite y'all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

photo finish friday

Feeling a bit better today.... still have a sore throat but feeling a bit more energetic... here are some photos from the past week!

blackened salmon with quinoa "slaw"...

baked tilapia, purple oven fried okra, black and white (and red) bean salad

roasted broccoflower and carrots

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

it's that time of week again... thankful thursday!

I left work with a fever yesterday and came home and crashed and burned (ok, not really... I had a normal evening minus workout) but I woke up this morning feeling better... refreshed almost. I'll take it. Hopefully the draggy butt ickies have burned their way out of my system.

Thankful for that.

Got some good books at the library this week... love the library... they let you have stuff for free. You just have to give it back, which is fine because I don't have room in my house for more books anyways.

Thankful for the library.

This season of Big brother has not been my favorite... which is to be expected because I soooo adored Jeff and Jordan last season. The red-haired shrew is scheduled to be voted off tonight and last night Jeff and Jordan made a cameo appearance which made me very happy.

Thankful for my non-caloric guilty pleasures.

Truett McConnell college where my brother and sister-in-law teach is having "move in day" on Saturday and they need someone to watch the red-headed angels... Aunt Heather is looking forward to a fun day with her girls on Saturday! Maybe a picnic, if it doesn't rain. The weather is slated to be slightly cooler.

Thankful for my girls and for the prospect of cooler weather ahead. Even if it's only slightly cooler.

It's time to restock the produce here... I'm down to a zucchini and some baby carrots in the produce bin. I've eaten well and stretched my grocery dollars a long way this pay period.

Thankful for good food and the money to buy it.

Time for me to run a brush through my hair, throw on some appropriate clothes and paint on a little glam...

I'm thankful that it's Thursday....

Love and hugs!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

whiny wednesday

I feel absolutely blah today. I just have a bad case of mediocrity. I don't feel bad enough to curl up in the bed and take a sick day. I don't feel like doing anything at all. Soooo... all week I've just been going to work and toughing it out. Yesterday we dealt with so much McNugget Madness* that I actually checked to see if it was a full moon. It isn't.

My weight is up two pounds today. Ugh. I had soup for dinner. Soup. My throat was so raw yesterday by the time I left work that I just wanted soup and crackers. I guess the salt got me. Don't know.

I got a facebook message this morning asking if Robert was behind on child support. He's been consistently paying half of what he owes for the past two months. Overall... it's tens of thousands in arrears. Apparently he's gotten himself entangled in some type of dispute - I don't know the details and don't want to know - and the lawyer for the other person wanted to know if it would be possible to paint him as a deadbeat dad. He's seen Austin twice in the past year and paid about 1/3 of what he owes in child support in that time. Is that a deadbeat dad? I don't know. I confirmed that he has never paid what he owes. Ever.

He's a great dad once his kids are old enough to be his buddies. He just really sucks at the whole "responsible parenting" role. Leaves that 100 percent up to me. I'm not bitter. It's just the way it is. I guess, ultimately, the kids are blessed to have one parent who doesn't quit on them... although there are times I would have liked to.

I'm having back spasms too, which makes me wonder if I have a kidney infection and that's why I feel so icky. I guess I better get that checked out. NOT in the budget. Argh. I'm just sort of hitting my stride at work with sales and I don't want to derail that with an unscheduled absence.

Jamie girl reportedly did not have a great first day of school. You know you live in a small town when you stop by the IGA to pick up something for dinner (soup) and the cashier asks how your nieces' first day of school was. That sorta tickled me.

Ok... time for the glam routine. Love and hugs, y'all.

*McNugget Madness refers to the lady who freaked out in the McDonald's drive thru because they were serving breakfast and she couldn't get mcnuggets. That story, plus the story of the flight attendant who flipped out, totally made my day yesterday. I love crazy, so long as it doesn't fall on me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

snoozeday newsday tuesday

No entry for the past two days because there just isn't much to say... lather, rinse, repeat.

Still very on track with my weight watchers plan.

Two great salads this week - a black and white bean salad like last week and a really awesome quinoa salad with broccoli slaw. Loving them both and loving that meals are so easy and cheap to put together.

Been really dragging the past few days... mild sore throat, low grade fever, general feeling of malaise (that's your vocabulary word for the day, Stasha!), recurring headache. None of these symptoms are particularly remarkable... none major... just not feeling 100 percent.

Haven't crossed my big weight loss milestone that I was on the verge of this week. This may be one of those "rebound" weeks where i don't see any real loss. It's ok... I've done great lately and I'm so totally on track that I can relax and know it will happen in time.

My Jamie-doll starts kindergarten today. Her mama was on the local radio station yesterday talking about making a cake for the start of school... they asked if she was going to cry on Jamie's first day and I KNEW it was Angie when I heard the hesitation in the way she answered.

We will both cry.

Jamie is nervous that she won't make friends... but she's a mini-me so I know she'll go in there and be outgoing and social and she'll be just fine. In fact, I predict that she gets in trouble for socialization within the first week of school.

Sarabeth has 17 boys and 5 girls in her class! How insane!

Not much really to blog on... gonna go put together some breakfast and finish the glam routine.

Happy Tuesday to y'all.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

slow-mo saturday

Wanna know why people in the south speak with a slow drawl? It's adapted during the long steamy summer months... when the heat makes you move at a snail's pace. That's how I feel today... like I'm moving in slow motion. Sleepy, lazy, draggy... and I'm glad I have a Saturday where I can spend a day this way without guilt.

Weigh in today, as you can tell from the counter above and the post below... was another great success for me! My weekly average on Weight Watchers is 1.9 pounds! I had hoped for one pound a week... so having this kind of start makes me really happy. To be honest, I feel like I've earned it. I work soooo hard at it... I have counted every bite that's gone into my mouth for the past 8 weeks. No cheats. No breaks. I've been 100% on plan. It's like... I've approached this like an adult instead of like a rebellious teenager. I finally get that if I cheat, I'm only cheating myself.

I had one lovely piece of kahlua pound cake prepared by Christian women (which negated the calories, right?) a few weeks ago. Today I had the most amazing piece of peach pie EVER that I bought at the farm store. My friend/client/farm worker Philip encouraged Austin to have me buy him a pie... and since *for once* I wasn't having to shop alone, I splurged on a pie. It was a splurge both from an economic standpoint AND a caloric standpoint. Actually... six points for a piece... and worth every single one! But those two treats have been my only indulgences in all of this time... which I think is a huge accomplishment for a sugar-holic like myself!

Honestly... on WW you can eat anything you want but I've just worked diligently to eat with purpose. I try to not eat anything that is void of nutritional value. I just love food so much... and I want to be healthy so badly... and I have to watch my budget so carefully... that I just try to make sure everything I eat gives me the best possible value - both in feeling good, being satisfying and being affordable.

When I got to WW this morning I was surprised to see our leader, Renee, at the meeting. She was supposed to be on vacation this week and we were going to have a fill in leader. Then I noticed Renee was tearful. It turns out... that our receptionist, the lady who weighs us, Miss Gladys, passed away last week. She was there last week... and I teased her about always forgetting my weekly booklets... and she died on Monday. We just never know what life holds in store. Renee didn't want our group to find out this news from a substitute leader so she came in... and instead of having a regular meeting, we had sort of a memorial for Gladys. It was really sweet. Gladys had been Renee's leader when she came back to WW after losing and then gaining her weight back... and it was Gladys who encouraged Renee to become a leader. It was also Gladys who encouraged Vicki, a lady in our group who just recently met her goal of losing 170 pounds. Vicki will take Gladys' place.

I said all of that to say that at first glance, I felt like this WW meeting was a bit geriatric for me... most of the ladies are at least twenty years older than me... and I really didn't see how I could gain much from the support of a group so different from my own demographic... but it was a huge encouragement for me today to see how precious they are to each other and how dedicated they all are to this process. My 15 pound achievement was announced today and there were a few ladies who went out of their way to congratulate me after the meeting. I need that kind of support.

Later, Austin and I ran into Renee at Ingles and I introduced them and told her the story of the flowers coming anonymously and how Austin so sweetly said, "they're from Weight Watchers... they're proud of how good you're doing"... and Renee teared up again... she told Austin that I needed that kind of support. It was sweet. All part and parcel of living in a small town.... having those relationships and having the people you know from work and community organizations run into you and your kid in the grocery store. I love that whole Mayberry aspect of living here.

Sidenote... our agency won a contest in July for the most new auto customers... the prize? A pizza party. Great.

I picked up some goodies at the farm besides just the peach pie... I bought purple okra (because I can't ever just enjoy produce in the most common color available, now, can I?)... and the most amazing figs (which Austin had never had before and loved)... and four different colors and types of tomatoes... and the ever present basil... and a freshly picked garlic bulb that I can't wait to use... and one of those crazy long asian cucumbers. I'll make some more of that black and white bean salad this week... some broccoli slaw... and I'm seeing broiled figs with goat cheese in my future... doesn't that sound yummy?

My goals for the next week are to amp up the activity. I say that every week... but it's huge... and although I'm still heavier than I ever was when I was exercising regularly before... I can do it and it feels incredibly empowering to have some control over my body instead of my fat, lazy, exhausted body dictating what I can and can't do. I have a few milestones lurking ahead of me... and the largest looming is that 10% goal. i'm only six pounds away... I hope to get there in the next month. I'm still very ok with a one pound a week rate of weight loss and that's really what I expect. Every week that I do better than that, I'm just one very happy girl.

Time to think about dinner... oven fried okra and tilapia! Hope you're having a great day. Love and *thinner* hugs!

weigh in results

I lost 2.2 pounds this week for an 8 week total of 15 pounds!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Purple Michael is blogging!

Sharing his link without permission... go check him out and say hello!

click on "director's notes"...

photo finish friday

Here's the salad of the week... isn't it BEAUTIFUL???

This creature plastered itself against the front window of the office. Think it was a sign? After selling only ONE life insurance policy all year (to myself for Austin) I've sold 3 policies this week...

My weekend project: Make my bedroom look more like an adult's bedroom and less like an episode of Hoarders.

Flowers from BooBoo...
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

five minutes of thankful thursday

Got five minutes to type this up...
The laptop is fixed. Computer Guy thinks the battery is going bad. Or the motherboard. But when we take the battery off and run it without it, it's fine. And then, when we put the battery back on, it's fine still for awhile. Sooooo... as long as she's still breathing, I'm thankful.
My son, Ryan, sent me flowers yesterday... a sweet bouquet of little yellow roses and ... a flower whose name escapes me at the moment. Gotta love that!
I've felt like sort of an orphaned mom lately... haven't seen Cody since his wedding... haven't heard from him either. Austin is so busy hanging out with his friends... getting him to do ANYTHING with me takes an act of congress. Ryan is so far away and works constantly. Both Ryan and Cody are working lots of overtime on their jobs... I'm thankful for that! But I miss my kids...
Weird stage of life.... I just have to adjust. Empty nest and all that.
It's mega-hot here in the south... just like you would expect in August... but our little corner of the state has avoided the heat advisories... and honestly, it's been hot but not unbearable. I'm thankful.
Love, love, love my newest salad... here's a quick summary (not quite a recipe) 1 can each of red beans, black beans, white northern beans, 3 1/2 cups of orange tomatoes diced, 1 1/2 cups cucumbers diced, 1/2 cup red onions diced, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil... SOOOOO GOOD! I had it for lunch AND dinner yesterday. It's 3 weight watchers points per one cup serving.
Weight is good... I'm about to pass a new milestone... more about that later... I may be ready to move from posting "pounds lost" and instead post actual weight.
We'll see.
Gotta dash... happy Thursday! What a speedy week!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

whiny wednesday at work

Posting quickly from work because... my laptop has crapped out on me again. It's just like what happened about a month ago... fan runs but won't turn on. Last time it was a battery freeze up sort of the thing and the nice computer guy fixed it for free. Hopefully it's the same thing... I'll go ahead and have him do a little tune up while he's at it... to sort of earn our keep. Nice young guy with a baby... he has to earn a living too. So I'm probably computerless for at least the next day or two.

What will my Farm, Island and Frontier do without me?

Even worse... how will I track my Weight Watchers stuff?

Making me crazy.

It was actually nice to be unplugged this morning. I ate breakfast at the kitchen table while reading a magazine. I did yoga. I made a new salad... more about that later.

Yesterday morning I crossed the 15 pound loss threshhold but this morning I was up a pound. Go figure.

At any rate... I sold a life policy yesterday ... so that's good news for the budget and for my career. Working hard.

time to start work. Love and hugs, y'all.