My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, September 30, 2010

finding reasons to be thankful

I woke up to the sound of falling rain outside of my open window. The a/c has been off all week and I'm loving this weather - rain and all.

I accomplished everything I needed to yesterday... got the replacement drivers license, got the tag for Cody's car. I was tempted to get a Gators tag for it... since he's such a huge Florida State fan... but it would have cost an additional $90. No deal.

I prayed yesterday morning that yesterday would NOT be one of those "character building days"... you know... the ones that are fraught with peril and challenges that help us become better people. Maybe it seems sacriligious ... to actually pray that... but it comes as no surprise to God that I hate dealing with the DMV and I had little time, money or patience for hiccups yesterday.

Then I had to laugh while I was driving... windows down on a beautiful fall day... to the picturesque little town of Toccoa... to the tiny drivers license office. The people there were so nice and the process - although it took two hours total with drive time - was fairly easy. Yes, it really stunk that I had to go get a replacement license but it WAS character building... in that I realized how desperately I needed a change of scenery, an afternoon away from the office, a little time alone to think and pray.

The lesson... even those really unpleasant chores that we have to take care of can hold a blessing if we look for it.

I waited too long to eat lunch yesterday and ended up with a miserable headache... but i popped some ibuprofen and got a little rest before church. As much as possible with Austin, Logan and Logan's girlfriend hanging out... but... I can't complain at the beginning of the week about being lonely and then complain about having a house full of giggly teenagers during the week.

Jamie Gant, bless her sweet little heart... came running into the fellowship hall last night with open arms... couldn't wait to hug me... claimed a spot beside me at dinner instead of sitting with her buddies... and then had to go BACK to see Austin again to get another squeeze from him.

I'm running out of time... must eat, pack lunch, glam and dash. Austin asked for a ride to school since it's raining and i would have been glad to do it IF I was already ready and there weren't going to be two people missing first thing this morning at the office... I can't be late. He's angry but he'll get over it. Austin has a lot of trouble with frustration when he doesn't get his way. It's my job to prepare him for adult life... and in adult life... things don't always go your way.

Hope you all have an amazing day... find something to be grateful for in everything you do. Remember my mom in prayer, she's sick again. She went back to the hospital last night.
Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

whiny and wonderful wednesday

Good Morning, y'all! Join me in celebrating Whiny Wednesday! Lots of anxiety producing stuff on my plate today and I barely slept last night so I'm sure I'm gonna make the most of it.

Here are my weekly whines:

  • The tub is still stopped up. I forgot to buy drano yesterday. Whether I take a sink bath or brave the two day old water... I'm not going to be my cleanest today. Sorry to all of those who come in contact with me.
  • I have to bite the bullet and get the new drivers license today. I'm a nervous wreck. Dealing with the DMV is always miserable. I'm taking half a day off to do this and I pray that's enough time.
  • Austin has a very important test today that will determine whether or not he gets a "real diploma"... it's a writing assessment. I don't beleager the point much here but Austin has Aspergers Syndrome... high functioning autism. His communication skills are fairly well evolved due to his high intelligence but his written communication is poor. His handwriting is at first grade level and probably will never improve. His ability to empathize with the listener when telling a story is lacking. If he doesn't pass the test, he has several more opportunities but they get increasingly difficult. He has some accomodations due to his disorder but they are minor... smaller group for testing, more controlled test environment, longer time period... but ultimately, if he wants a real diploma, he has to be able to pass this writing test. I'm a nervous wreck and he's a real grouch.
  • I had a horrible night's sleep last night. I barely slept. I was still awake past 1:30 and I was awake before 5:30. I need far more sleep than that.
  • We had a huge creepy spider in the office yesterday. I mean, that was yesterday so it doesn't necessarily qualify for Whiny Wednesday but it still creeped me out.
  • My throat doesn't hurt as much as it did last week but my ear is still bothering me. The last time I had chronic ear pain I started a six month odyssey of visits to all kinds of specialists. I'm just not going to put my wallet through that again. But it's aggravating. I have a physical on Friday, I'll mention it then but if my regular doctor can't diagnose the problem... I'll just suffer with it until I get my ObamaCare. Ha.
  • Bitty Kitty is a baby kangaroo. He is glued to me. I can barely type for him laying on me. My view of the laptop is over his furry hide. But he YUBS me!
  • I want to plan a day trip with Austin... I need a change of scenery... we need some bonding time... I start looking at some places that would be a reasonable day trip... Asheville, NC is only 2 1/2 hours... I've always wanted to go to Biltmore. I love Cades Cove and it's 3 1/2 hours. He wants to go to Ruby Falls... which is a huge cave. I'm claustrophobic. But... I want to do something that he'll be excited about... so I may just suck it up. Anyone want to go with us on a day trip?
  • My stomach is a mess.
  • I'm congested... it's mild yet... but it's in my chest... I can feel the wheeze.
  • My favoritest Blue Diamond Almond Nutcrisp crackers had apparently been run over by a semi before they were placed on the store shelf... they were a big box of crumbs.

Ok... now lets do some Wonderful things about today:

Hen Party tonight at church! woohoo!
Only working half a day... and even though I have to go to the DMV... I'm only working half a day!
My coffee is awesome!
I'm planning to get a pumpkin spice latte while I'm in civilization today.
Hump day! (which is a term I don't care for but I appreciate the sentiment)
I've stayed on a healthy eating program for 16+ weeks now. I think that's really awesome.
I changed the litter box yesterday so I don't have to do it again for a few days.
I've got an awesome breakfast planned... wheatberries, apples and the last of Nadine's chicken salad which I hid under the collard greens to make sure i had some left for breakfast this morning.
Low humidity which equals good hair day for my drivers license picture. If I have to take another one.
My car runs, my bed is comfy, my computer works, my farmville farm is awesome and I added some new things, I have a decent place to live and a very forgiving landlord, my kids are healthy, my parents are relatively healthy... my sweet nieces are about to go to the Happiest Place On Earth...

I'm whiny but life is really pretty ok.
Have a great day!

COMMENT CHALLENGE: post one whiny and one wonderful thing about today!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

aspiring to greater mediocrity

I think the funk of yesterday has been washed away and a new peace has settled in... life is funny like that. I was so isolated over the weekend... self-imposed, truthfully, because I wanted to make sure that I was over the strep thing, that I got enough rest and didn't expose anyone else... but it was lonely.

In constrast... last night I had a living room full of young men playing Wii... throwing animal crackers at each other... and Austin's girly giggles kept wafting into my room. He has a ridiculous giggle... and he was giggling constantly last night. All mothers know that you are happiest when your kids are happy... and I knew for sure last night that at least one of my babies was happy.

In a way... it makes it all worthwhile. Not to sound like a Jewish mother or anything... but this is what has driven me for the past (almost) 24 years... I've worked towards raising happy kids. And... it really seems that all of my kids are happy. I didn't work as hard, unfortunately, at making sure mommy was happy. I'll spend the next 24 years working on that, I guess.

I mean... I've got a lot of life left, Lord willing. I started the whole mommy thing really young and I had to learn to adapt to that life... while my friends were going to college... I was visiting the obstetrician. I was the youngest mommy at the preschool. I was the youngest mommy at the ballfield... and then, slowly, I grew into that life. I learned how to do the PTA thing... how to negotiate the ballpark politics... this is just another adjustment period.

The nest is emptier than I thought it would be.... but as long as I'm in it, I'll feather it nicely. I always tease my overachieving sister in law that she should "aspire to greater mediocrity"... and the truth is... I excel at being average. I'm not the best mom ever (although Cody used to tell me I was... usually whenever he wanted something)... but I'm also not the worst. I've done a decent job. I'll be awesomely average at this stage of life as well.

The bathtub drain is stopped up. I need to catch up on laundry. My living room needs vacuuming. I'm behind on my homework for my Wednesday night bible study. I haven't met my sales goals for the year. I am constantly behind on my bills. I complain too much. I don't exercise enough. But... I wake up every morning hopeful, optimistic, enthusiastic (usually).

One of Austin's buddies that was hanging out with us last night was musing that his mom was mad at him because he didn't want to go to Walmart with her. Mom, like me, is single. I told him that sometimes... we just don't want to have to be alone. I'm not sure it's fair that we ask our kids to keep us company... but there's a lot about being a single parent household that isn't fair. I've made a commitment to Austin that we will stay put and that I won't date until he graduates. We're a year and a half away from graduation, Lord willing. I think... ultimately... the least he can do is keep me company every now and then. It gets lonely.

I think this post is a lot of dog chasing it's tail. I don't know if it even makes sense. I guess the point is that there's a lot of excessive mediocrity going on in my life right now. No dramatic valleys... no dramatic mountaintop experiences. I'm getting by. I'm putting one foot in front of the other every day and I think that's very acceptible.

And I still haven't found my drivers license.

Monday, September 27, 2010

reasons to love Monday

The earlier in the week version of Thankful Thursday...

1. the Library. My library books are always due back on Monday and even if I haven't finished them all, I just go back and renew them and turn in the ones I've finished and pick up a few new ones. I love the library.
2. Junie B. Jones. Sarabeth is having a themed birthday party- Junie B. Jones - and I will be playing the character of Mrs. (the school teacher) I had to pick up a book at the library to do costume research. Austin will be Mr. Scary. He will need a mustache and a tie.
3. Sixty six degrees during lunch. Even though it's damp and rainy, that's durn near perfect.
4. Thanks to the cooler weather... tights were necessary today. I love wearing tights! I love them more now that I'm thinner.
5. I packed a great lunch today - panzanella and 3 bean salad. YUM!
6. Dinner is already pre-cooked... just needs reheating. Not sure what it will be yet - probably the okra and tomatoes with a little cooked chicken thrown in for protein.
7. I got to chat with Whitney today about her upcoming nuptuals. No date has been set. No plans have been made but she did get a manicure so she could show off her UH-mazing ring!
8. Still riding the happy wave from the car loan I closed on Friday.
9. Yesterday marked two years since I moved here. I'm still considered a newcomer, however.
10. The leaves outside of my office window are a little more colorful than they were last week. I love fall!

I hope that whatever is happening in your world... that you're finding your own reasons to love Monday. Hugs!

i can't find my drivers license and I don't know who I am!

I've lost my drivers license. Not "lost" as in - the law took it from me. "Lost" as in... I've put it somewhere and can't remember where. Which is bad timing because I've got to get a tag for one of my parents' cars and you have to have a license to transfer a title. Good times. You can order a replacement online but you have to know your license number. I don't. It's lost. I thought that maybe it would be on my records at the office but I still have my Florida license listed. Argh! So I will have to take time off work to go get a new drivers license and pray that I have sufficient documentation to prove who I am.

Although... I have to think that this happened at a rather poignant time in my life because I really don't know who I am. Yesterday I went for a drive because I needed to get out of the house... I felt really run down and exhausted all weekend but I thought the fresh air would do me good. I serenaded myself with the song, "Corner of the Sky" from the musical Pippin.

Everything has its season
Everything has its time
Show me a reason and I'll soon show you a rhyme
Cats fit on the windowsill
Children fit in the snow
Why do I feel I don't fit in anywhere I go?
Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I've got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky

I hate reading lyrics but some of you don't mind them and you don't know showtunes so I thought it might help give you a frame of reference. We sang this in Jr. High chorus. I didn't realize then that we were learning a lot of showtunes. We were Gleeks before Gleeks were cool.

My favorite chorus memory: in 9th grade we had a Christmas assembly... sort of a variety show where several groups from the school performed. My cheerleading squad did a skit and then I had to go change into my formal, floor length chorus gown to sing with the chorus. My gown was hanging in the robe room in the chorus room... it was a quick change... out of the cutesy little skirt and bloomers, into the long dress... only... when I got to the robe room, someone had taken my size 5 dress and all that was left was this HUGE dress that belonged to someone else. Ever the performer... I put on that Ali-baba tent and went on stage with it puddling at my feet. It was truly for a much bigger person and I was, at the time, about 5'1 and 110 pounds. Ridiculous.

This was a restful weekend for me but such a lonely weekend. Austin spent all weekend with his newlywed friend.... and then when he came home last night, his friend came over to play Wii with him. I didn't even ask about his wife. I mean... it's beyond words... they were noisy and kept me awake late and left my kitchen a mess. Neither one of those kids is anywhere near ready to be married. Austin asked how much our rent is... he was trying to encourage his friend to rent one of the nearby duplexes... when I told him, Austin flipped out. "THAT MUCH?" Yes. And it's not really that much, to be honest. I could find something cheaper, for sure, but maybe not with central heat and air and all appliances.

I've decided that when the time is right... meaning... when Austin graduates and I've had a chance to hopefully start earning more money and owe less money, etc, I want to seriously buy a little cabin around here somewhere. I could get a small cabin for under $75,000 and if, someway, somehow my circumstances changed, it would be a nice vacation destination for friends and family or perhaps provide some rental income. My credit is shot right now so there's no way for me to do it... i have no savings... but it gives me something to work toward... a little motivation... a long term goal.

Because lately I feel like i'm just sort of drifting. I feel like I'm working just to get by, just to barely keep my head above water. I feel like I'm going thru the motions. I don't know who I am. I have always been a mother and now... I'm not. I mean... I don't mean to write Austin off but truthfully... he's gone the bulk of the time. He doesn't want to spend time with me. He will if it benefits him but he's never been the kind to really perform selfless acts of entertaining mom. I never minded being single because I was always a mom but now I'm just me and I'm not sure how that works. It hasn't helped that I felt so bad this weekend because every time I'd think about doing something, I'd have a reality check of not really feeling up to it. I need a signficant other but I don't want to make the same mistake I've always made of trying to make a wrong person fit just because I'm lonely.

I really need to find that drivers license.

I put rum flavoring and coconut milk in my coffee this morning to make it feel tropical. It's only alright.

It's raining outside. No point in doing the mega-glam routine. I'll frizz anyways.

I love the natural air conditioning of having the windows open. I wish I had a ceiling fan to circulate the air... but it's still nice.

I can't believe it's almost October.

I can't believe it's already Monday again.

I hope Austin cooperates this morning. He's been extra crabby in the mornings lately and it really hurts my feelings to have my sweet, pleasant, "Doodle bug...." met with a "I HEARD YOU!!" Good morning to you, too.

The cats apparently ran out of food overnight and Bitty was not able to get me to wake up so Stubby climbed on top of me. That cat is HEAVY! I got up.

Time to post, shower, pack a lunch, get presentable and get this Monday underway. Love and hugs!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

happy sunday!

It's a rainy, cool morning in Georgia and I am loving it! The windows are open... the breeze is blowing through... Bitty Kitty is perched on his window seat keeping watch over it all. I'm so glad for a change in the weather. I love fall!

The next time I have a chance to take a flu shot I will PASS! I don't know if it's the antibiotic shot, the recovery from strep or the flu shot but I feel like I have been hit by a truck. I have no appetite - which is crazy odd for me - my neck is stiff - I'm so sleepy that I could go down for a nap NOW. But I won't. I will be nesting today, however.

Last night while I was watching the Gator game, they showed the part of the Swamp where my friend Whitney - that I worked with in Jacksonville - has season tickets. I thought to myself, "If Rich was ever to propose to Whitney... this would be the perfect place". I felt it so strongly that I almost texted her to share that thought but... I know that they get lots of "when are you getting married" comments and I didn't want to pile on. They've been together four years... living together two... and they're just the most precious, perfect couple. Whitney was the person that I would consider *my only friend* in Jacksonville. She was the one who helped out if I needed someone. She was the only person outside of family who came to my 40th birthday dinner. She came to visit me in the psych ward... we're talking a really good friend. She is one of the few things I miss about Jacksonville.

WELLLLLL... low and behold... my intuition was correct... Whitney's mom just posted on facebook that Whitney and Rich got engaged at the game last night! I seriously cried tears of joy for them. I can't imagine two people more ready for marriage and more likely to be able to make a marriage work. I'm so happy for them! (Incidentally, his name is Rich Ricci... like Richie Rich, only backwards... how cute is that?)

Today is my mom's birthday so be sure and stop by her facebook page and wish her a happy day!

It's also my cousin's daughter's birthday (or... my 1st cousin once removed, if you understand that stuff)... happy birthday, Dixie!

Lots of happy to go around today...

Austin's still honeymooning with his friend Zach. Mercy. Wonder if they will live happily ever after?

I was so exhausted after doing all my cooking yesterday but I STILL went ahead and cleaned the kitchen. When I got up this morning... it felt so nice walking into a clean kitchen. It almost made me want to deep clean the rest of the house but then I realized that I need to conserve energy and make sure I rest and recover. Full steam ahead next week...

So that's my happy Sunday... wishing one for you too!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

what's cooking, photo finish friday (a day late) and the best comment EVER

If you look carefully... this is a HUGE spider web in our side yard...

My busybody Bitty Kitty plants himself beside the spices proudly...

Dinner last night... lots of spicy peppers stir fried with brown rice...
The new window being installed at the office... taking Kevin's man-cave into a real office with natural light...
I'm obviously one of those people who loves cilantro... this is my 3 bean salad with red, white and black beans (rinsed to remove as much salt as possible) with 1 cups of sliced radishes, 1 cup of red onions, 1 cup of cilantro... red wine vinegar and olive oil.
I'm just not a red tomato kind of girl... as long as Loganberry Heritage Farm is selling these beautiful heirloom tomatoes... I'll save the reds for winter when I can't get anything else but canned.
How beautiful and HUGE are these radishes? You may not be able to tell by the picture but they were as big as my fist...
I didn't have the flash on for this picture but this is taboule... bulgur wheat with tomatoes, cilantro and avocado.
Another one I forgot the flash on... roasted beets and wheatberries with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. YUM!
Today I have cooked like a madwoman... I bought some really nice okra today... big thick pods... so OF COURSE... I had to have some stewed tomatoes and okra. I used 4 cups of sliced okra, 4 cups of stewed tomatoes, 4 cups of collard greens, 1 cup each of onion and celery, 2 cups of fat free chicken broth and.... secret ingredient.... 1 cup of LITE organic coconut milk. That stuff is DELISH!
I made a breakfast salad of sorts... wheatberries, apples, a little celery, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
I made that gorgeous 3 bean salad above. Not the traditional kind ... so much better!
I made panzanella again. The bakery had some day old - half price bread - and I had a mess of wheatberries cooked up so I doubled the recipe from last week. I also had some really nice fresh basil to use this time - last week I only had freeze dried basil. Those incredible colors of tomatoes... and it's so good!
I bought turkey burgers for Austin... organic antibiotic free chicken for me... flounder and salmon... some steaks for Austin (growing boy needs red meat)... I baked two different kinds of squash and potatoes so that they can just be heated up when I'm ready to eat them. I roasted garlic. My farm friend suggested that I use the spicy garlic - German and Russian varieties instead of the standard Italian - for roasting as it holds it's flavor better... I've got carrots and celery sticks ready for hummus... just a really good week of eating ahead of me, already paid for, cooked and ready to eat! I'm feeling quite accomplished!
I'll close with the BEST COMMENT EVER....

Electric Blue said...
This has nothing to do with your post, but I just have to say, there's no way you're 42! I think you're much younger than that... I demand to see your driver's license!
September 25, 2010 11:25 AM
It's true! I'm 42 and proud of every year of it. To be fair... not all of the pictures on my sidebar were taken this year... they range in time over the past 4 years. It's weird... now that we have contact via facebook with so many of the people that we went to school with... I realize that I have been blessed - for whatever reason - and that I have aged a little more gracefully than others. And... let's not forget that fat plumps out wrinkles...

weigh in results... things that make you go ... hmmmm?

"You just keep melting away..."

"Are you eating enough? Your face looks so thin...."

I lost a whole pound this week bringing my total weight loss to 23 pounds since June 12th! I'm super excited to have lost a full pound, thinking that surely this would be an off week. I received those two comments while I was out and about in town which was a bigger victory for me than the actual results on the scale.
I don't feel well at all, though, so I'm heading out to the bakery and to make an essential grocery run and then I'm tucking myself into my nest for the duration.
Love and hugs!

.2, .4, .6, .8... I plan to appreciate...

I've got my normal pre-weigh in jitters. It's exciting... I look forward to this every week... it's the payoff for my diligence... and I AM diligent... I work hard at weight loss, although, honestly, it has become a way of life... a habit... a lifestyle... and I so very much enjoy seeing that success every week. This won't be a huge week for me on the scale but it will be a consistent week so I'm ok with it. It won't be a milestone... the next big milestone for me will be the 25th pound, probably in another week or two. It takes time... and every Saturday I get one week closer to goal. Just knowing that time is passing constructively - whether it's a huge loss of not - is happy for me.

I haven't eaten all my points this week. It's hard to swallow... I haven't had much of an appetite... I haven't felt like puttering in the kitchen. I'm glad I prepare meals in advance, that really helps. But I really... honestly... didn't even feel like plating stuff up. I'm still feeling sort of out of sorts. A little run down. But I do feel better.

Yesterday I closed a car loan - this brings a nice commission check - enough to make up for my lost day of work and then some. God is good like that. I also got child support... first time in a month... half of what I should have gotten but... I'll take it. Now I can pay for Austin's health insurance and will have money for groceries. I can relax a little this weekend knowing that financial ruin isn't staring me in the face. I'm joking. Sort of. I long for a time when I don't have to live paycheck to paycheck and can actually save money. One day.

Austin's gamer friend Zach ... the one that Austin wanted to stay with all summer... who is... I don't know, 19 or 20... a high school dropout... unemployed, unless you count community service hours... who lives with his mother and stepfather, who, neither one appears to be gainfully employed... the ones that Austin is glad to hang out with around the first of the month when their food stamp money comes in... not that I'm judging... I mean, I understand poor. I just don't understand lack of motivation and ambition. Sooo... last night... Austin was spending the night with Zach so they can play this new Halo game that is out for playstation. Austin had neglected to do his chores before he went over there so he had to come back and do his chores. Zach came with him... and Austin announced that Zach had been at the courthouse yesterday... TO GET MARRIED. Um. Ok. Weird enough. I asked Zach... "why would you want Austin hanging out with you on your wedding night?" and he said, "We didn't have a wedding, we just went to the courthouse". Does the kid miss the significance of "wedding night"? Besides... he said... he had dropped his girlfriend out at her house so she could tell her parents and "all hell will be breaking out there". Good times.

Did I refuse to let Austin go back with him? Nah. I figure... let Austin bear witness to the consequences of stupid decisions. Like getting married when you're unemployed and live with your parents and would rather play Halo than have a romantic wedding night. I just pray that they don't reproduce... but they probably already have.

Ladies, just in case you're wondering.... the wedding night is a great predictor of how successful your marriage will be. Michael got drunk and passed out on ours. Good times.

Plans for today: Weight Watchers then the big Agri-fest in "downtown" Cleveland, providing it's not too crowded and I can find a place to park. It starts at ten so my plan is to wander over right after Weight Watchers. Hopefully I'll be able to load up on all my produce for the week... I'm taking my grocery tote, just in case.

By the way... State Farm has some cute grocery totes for $1. I ordered a few this week. If you're local, I'll be glad to order one for you... so you can advertise for us... and if you're not local, ask your State Farm agent to order you one.

After Agri-fest... I'll make a grocery run for my staples... then it's football and farmville for the rest of the day. I plan to soak up as much R&R as possible this weekend to regain my strength from the strep and the evil flu shot.

I'll probably be back later with weigh in results and photos. Love and hugs and happy Saturday! Go Gators!

Friday, September 24, 2010

eddie fisher is dead and I don't feel so good myself

The Brad Pitt of the fifties and sixties has died.... Eddie Fisher. He left one beautiful woman to marry another... just like Brad did. Debbie Fisher... who I loved in the Tammy movie... for Liz Taylor... who I think of as a husband hoarder.

I still maintain that if Jennifer Aniston can't find a man, what hope is there for me?

I also maintain that men don't cheat based on how their wife looks. I believe it's all part of the ego feeding game that some men are addicted to.

I'm glad I did one shot instead of taking antibiotic pills... the pills always make me sick... but the one megadose has my stomach a mess. Ugh.

However... I'm the world's worst at remembering to take pills so this is the best way.

I'm going to work today. I honestly don't feel bad. My throat is a little sore... I'm a little tired. But all things considered... much better than I could be.

Austin made a huge mistake yesterday... he took out the litter box (I use the disposable boxes) and forgot to open a new one. Nice. It was about 12 hours between the time he took it out and the time I discovered it... lots of nice little cat piles around my laundry room. I'm sure he will deny it or claim that I told him I would put out the new one (this is not our normal protocol... open new litter box, take out the old). And I'm sure that I'll end up being the one to clean it up... I started on it this morning but because of the antibiotics... my stomach is too weak. I ended up heaving.

Oh... maybe I shouldn't blog about cat poop and vomit. Well... that's what's happening around here this morning. Never a dull moment... even at the tail end of quarantine.

Do you think when Eddie Fisher met the Lord at the time of his death, God said to him, "you shoulda stuck with Debbie?"

I got a postcard from a friend who was visiting San Francisco... he went to a place that I visited with Jen when I was in San Fran almost four years ago... it was such a sweet thing. I love snail mail. We should send more of it.

It's time for me to grab a shower and wash the haze off so I can get to work. Friday. Blessed, amazing, wonderful Friday! How I love thee!

---------------------- Part 2

Ok... showered... dressed... semi-glammed... decided I don't really care how I look today. Sad times. Feeling weak and nauseous but mentally calculating potential paycheck if I don't work today and i know... I have to go and hang out as long as I can.

Happy Birthday to my Uncle Carl who is... I forget... how old today.

My brother Bryan is in Atlanta this weekend for a deposition for a case that he's working on... I'm sure it has enormous potential impact - world peace or something - but I think he's going to be entertaining the parents for their birthdays (daddy's was Tuesday, mama's is Sunday). Not likely that I'll see him. Wonder if he'd stow me away in his bags on his way back to New York? I'm very bendy.

Today will be warm... tomorrow will be warm... and after that we're going to have several mild days with temps getting no higher than the 70s. That makes me happy. I love mild weather. I'm looking forward to healing from this unexpected illness... and getting started walking in the evenings.... just absorbing the pleasant weather.

Must fix my meals... I'm not the least bit hungry but I need to eat. My weight is still up slightly, even though I've been eating less this week. Not worried... it will come off.

Happy Friday again....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

random quarantine observations

It's sad but true... I do have strep throat. I'm quarantined for the next 24 hours. I got a shot of some thick milky stuff. It feels like I've been poisoned. I also got my flu shot... figured I might as well.
Oy vey. My rear hurts.
I refuse to watch Channel 11 news in Atlanta any more until they get rid of their "Wizometer" weather meter. It's just stupid.
How many pair of jeans do you own? How many of them fit you? I'm watching Hoda and Kathie Lee.
Is it just me or does it seem like Kathie Lee is just a little too interested in wine?
I bought two pounds of wheatberries yesterday. I am cooking them now. They're awesome in salads but take a long time to cook... 4 hours in the crockpot. Still... great value, versatile, good source of fiber and protein, very filling... and are $1.94 a pound. I'm thinking they will be good in soup too.
I'm really relieved that I went to the doctor. I was putting it off... hoping to avoid it. Hoping it was just an allergy thing... but the doctor could tell just by my lymph nodes that things weren't right.
Here's the thing about me and strep... I've never done it normal. I've never run a fever with it. Fever... the big clue for normal folks... evades me.
Great news, though, my blood pressure was awesome. No meds! It feels so empowering to be able to control health issues with diet instead of drugs. I know that isn't the case for every disease or disorder but I'm grateful that mine were controllable by diet.
Cept for the need of antibiotics. And trust me, I debated with the doctor. I explained my feelings about pharmaceuticals and the over use of antibiotics and the unnecessary use of antibiotics. However... ultimately... strep is nothing to fool with... and he couldn't clear me to return to work until I either tested negative for strep or had been on antibiotics for 24 hours.
I knew I was sick "for reals" when I lost my appetite. I have learned to control my appetite and make wiser choices about what I eat but trust me, girlfriend still loves to eat.
I am so glad, though, that I prepare my food ahead of time. Makes it much easier for grab and go when you don't feel like eating and might otherwise gravitate toward drive thru.
In case you're wondering... breakfast (which I'm just now having) is the wheatberry and roasted beet salad topped with cinnamon/cranberry flavored goat cheese... and red grapes.
I have planned soup for lunch and then for dinner I'm planning a brown rice/pepper stir fry juiced up with lots of fresh garlic since garlic has antibiotic properties. The peppers and onions for the stir fry are already cut and ready to go. Will do the garlic just before I cook it. Wish I had a little fresh ginger to grate in it... but I'm following doctors orders and not exposing people.
My top ten pet peeves:

  1. Haircolor that could not occur naturally (like 85 year old women with flaming red hair, blonde african american women, etc)
  2. Poor spelling- especially misuse of their, they're and there
  3. monochromatic meals (like chicken tenders and french fries... it's all brown!)
  4. Joy Behar
  5. Children with roller skates on their shoes in public places.
  6. Lawyer commericals
  7. Pharmaceutical commercials.
  8. The "I didn't know I was pregnant" tv series. Give me a break.
  9. Religious leaders who get involved in sexual impropriety. Don't give Christianity a bad name.
  10. (forgive me, I know some of you have this in your family but it bothers me) People with last names for first names (Cooper, Smith, Jackson, etc).
I'm so excited about fall tv... I was getting tired of watching Fox News nonstop. I simply cannot wait until the new episode of The Office.
At least my sore throat is forcing me to get my water in... I've finish a full chickfila cup already.
Losing weight has meant that my very favorite pj pants fit again... and fit the way pj pants are supposed to - slightly baggy.
I put on makeup before i went to the doctor - because I was sooooo sure that I was going to get an all clear and be sent on my way - so I am looking really cute in my quarantine clothes. Isn't there a hot single UPS guy who needs to deliver something to my door? No?

I'm sure I'll be back... boredom is setting in and I'm rarely ever bored.

thankful thursday

Well... I'm gonna go to the doctor this morning and let her test me for strep. Yesterday I had that really raw strep like feeling... and I decided that although it pains me to spend money on doctor visits, it's irresponsible of me to deal with the general public when I may be contagious. So I'm going to bite the bullet and go. Hopefully I'll get an all clear and be on my way into to the office bright and early. It's hard to judge illness since I'm stronger than I used to be.

On the way home to change and head to church yesterday afternoon I realized that I might have strep... based on symptoms and such... and I realized that I probably shouldn't go love and hug on my babies there. SOoooo... not having dinner planned... since our usual Wednesday night supper is at church... and really wanting something warm and soothing... I decided to make soup. I really didn't feel up to a major cooking event so... I went by the salad bar and picked up some already prepared veggies... spinach, carrots, mushrooms... with a little diced chicken... and picked up two cans of low point chicken noodle soup... and tossed all of that in a pan together for dinner. It was thicker and healthier than regular canned soup... and it was ready in fifteen minutes. It's not my ideal... I would much rather cook from scratch and have greater control of the sodium content... but I was proud of myself to making canned soup healthier and heartier. PLUS... I have at least two more servings saved in the fridge.

The axis of evil has struck Poor Dean again. He's lost more of his visitation with the kids. I don't have all the details and I've really not sought them out. I love him and my heart breaks for him but the less I know of the destruction those two cause, the happier I am. I just need to keep as much distance from them as possible. I kinda see things this way... when you make your bed with snakes, eventually you'll get bit. With whatever hatred your partner goes after her last partner... she will eventually turn that toward you. And vice versa... if your new partner is encouraging you to do evil against someone else, think about what must be in their character to seek the destruction of another human. Certainly, there is a lack of compassion, a lack of respect for the parent/child relationship, a lack of remorse for their own evil actions. I'm so blessed to be outside the reach of that evil. I pray daily for those who are unable to get away...

It's a small world... I got a facebook message yesterday from a Junior High school friend who thought she might have been in an elevator with Purple Michael (who lives in Chicago) in a Fayetteville, Georgia hospital last week. It turns out... it really was Michael! What totally cracked me up was that she recognized him and referred to him as Purple Michael... he's famous in my blog! Or infamous... hmmm.... I made mention of his sexual orientation last week to someone and they were disappointed that he wasn't a potential mate for me... "you make such a cute couple..."... we always have and we always will... in some ways he's much better than a potential mate because we love each other unconditionally. We know each other's failures and shortcomings and choose to love each other anyways.

I had a talk with a friend this week about unconditional love... I think it's the most amazing gift you could possibly give. I can promise you only one thing about myself: at some point I will disappoint you. It will almost certainly be unintentional but it will most certainly happen. I'm human that way. I'm lazy, selfish, stubborn, obnoxious... but those traits also make me relaxed, understanding, loyal... and I think it's a rare, precious soul who can understand that your flaws are also your strengths.

They're canning tomatoes at the farm this week. I asked if they would sell them and got an invitation to come can with them and share in the bounty! How exciting! Of course... I have this pesky full time job that keeps me from enjoying such domestic pursuits but it's exciting to have the prospect of learning these things. I think I want to be that old southern lady with a little cabin in the woods, a few tomato plants and a few cats... who can grow and preserve the bulk of my own sustainance. I'm so grateful for our little duplex but eventually, I want my own little home.

My weight is up slightly today. My points have been lower this week but I did have the soup yesterday - huge amount of sodium. My last three weigh ins have been losses of 2.8 pounds, 1.8 pounds and 1.8 pounds... i'm prepared for a fluctuation... a mini-plateau... even perhaps a small gain this week. I'm staying the course, of course, but I know that I won't have these big losses week after week all the way thru to goal. Being mentally prepared for a less than stellar scale victory helps me.

Sooooo... this thursday I'm thankful for... the ability to get affordable healthcare, good food, unconditional love, Purple Michael, the farm, healthy weight loss perspective and being in a happy, healthy state of mind. AND THE WINDOW IS IN! No more construction at the office! It looks fabulous and I'm glad we did it- although Kev no longer has a man cave - it's a real office now. Happy day, y'all!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a peek into my heart on whiny Wednesday

I was whining before the Lord yesterday morning -some may call it praying but let's be honest about what I was doing- I was systematically letting God know the things that were getting to me and presenting them before the Great Judge so that He might intervene in a cosmic way. I told God how frustrated/hurt/disappointed I am at how empty my nest is... I was such an involved and devoted mother... I worked so hard to give my kids every opportunity to do the things they wanted to do... I stretched beyond my resources of time, energy and money... I fought for them, cried for them, sacrificed for them (ever doubt that Christians are the chosen people as much as the Jews, just listen to a mother of grown children whine before the Lord... we Christians know a thing or two about guilt)... I gave my life to my kids and they left the nest and never looked back. They don't write, email, call, visit... and most of the time it feels like they don't care. I'm often reminded of the little rhyme, "a son's a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life". I had sons. Where does that leave me? Isn't it odd that the Chinese abort/abandon girls because in their culture daughters leave the nest and sons stay. Maybe I should have been Chinese. A Chinese Jew.

Anyways... so I'm telling God my troubles... and I said to the Creator of the Universe, "You just don't know how heartbreaking it is to give your life for your kids and have them totally ignore you." As soon as the thought was formed ... it was followed by His resounding, clear response... not verbal... not audible... just visions in my head of the times that I entertained myself in dozens of other ways rather than go to church, pray, read my bible... all the times that I've ignored my Heavenly Father... it was followed by a vision of Him on the cross... and all the times that He has carried me, blessed me, loved me unconditionally, brought people into my life who would love me unconditionally. You know, basically gave His life for me.

"Oh me. You do get it." God knows what it feels like to be the parent who deserves respect and gratitude... only to watch to go to a less deserving person. Cody and Marquee frequently have Cody's dad over for dinner. I've never been invited to eat at their house. I'm "allowed" to pay to take them out to dinner - something I can rarely afford to do. Cody's dad wasn't there for Cody. He didn't take him to ball practice. Rarely went to his games. He never once attended a teacher conference, PTA meeting, dance recital, doctor visit. Yet... he's the parent who is reaping the benefit of the work I did in raising Cody. It hurts. I'm talking about it here because it hurts. It is as deep a cut - even deeper - than what Michael did to me. And it is such a raw wound with me that just the thought of Cody brings tears to my eyes. Any wonder I'm not excited about Christmas? I spent my entire adult life working to create the best possible Christmases for my kids and... they no longer are a part of my life... and I don't know how to adjust. If there was something I had done... we could work thru it... but I just stopped being someone that mattered to him. The more space I give him, the less I hear from him.

Wow. This is a dark post. The point is this... it grieves my heart that my child has turned away from me. And I know that it grieves God when my attention is turned toward everything but Him. I spend far more time focused on Farmville, Weight Watchers, tv... you name it... I keep finding things that interest me far more than He does. And the sad thing is that when I draw close to God, I always enjoy our time together. I get so much more out of it than I get from the other shallow pursuits in my life. But more than that... it's what's right... I owe a debt that I can never repay to a Heavenly father who has given me more than I deserve.

Switching gears, less you think that I'm totally ready to jump off a bridge... I'm really not. When I talk about things, that means I'm dealing with them. When I don't talk about things... that's when you need to worry. So... I'm talking. Maybe it sounds like a Jewish mother, but I'll take that risk.

We are putting in a window in Kevin's office... next to mine... and of course, with all the noise of the drilling and hammering involved in removing bricks... Kevin couldn't work there. But me... lucky me... six feet away from the work... got to stay in my office. There are a few things guaranteed to give me a headache: heat, bright light, strong smells and... noise. It took about twenty minutes for me to develop a searing pain in the back of my skull yesterday. I powered thru it for most of the day but when it started creeping thru to my eyes and my vision started getting blurry... I called it a day. I hated it... I'm glad we're putting a window in Kevin's Cave. It was too claustrophobic for me. I just wish we had done it on... oh, I don't know... a Saturday maybe? I went home and slept for three hours... got back up for an hour or two and then went back to sleep.

Must wrap this up... have to make my meals, go fight with my one remaining child who is in my care who insists that he wear pajama pants to school today. Proper attire for working in the ag center? I think not. Still have to get a shower. Lord, help me. I'm so tired. We have church tonight and I need it... my throat still hurts but it's not horrible and raw, it's just a minor irritation without fever. Hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

newsday tuesday!

I can't decide if I'm sick or not. Since my co-worker has been really sick with a sore throat - probably strep - for the past week, I'm paranoi-ing that I've got it too. I have a sore throat but not that sore. I am not sure if it's a allergy sort of thing or just excessive thirst or a true sore throat. I don't want to waste the money going to the doctor if it's just allergy. I don't want to waste money missing work if it's just allergy but we really try to be careful not to expose each other at work and ... honestly, it's stressing me out.

The only other symptom I have... wait... there are two... one is the crazy ear pain at night only and only until I get upright and have something to drink.... which could mean sinus pressure and could be a sore throat symptom. The other symptom is extreme exhaustion. It hit me Saturday evening like a ton of bricks ... but I had been cooking and running around all day. And it hit me around 4:30 yesterday like a ton of bricks... but work had been crazy busy. So... I'm just praying it's nothing contagious.

Today is my daddy's birthday! Be sure and go by his blog and leave him a happy birthday comment... He's still super young... they had me and Jim while they were really young and so we have the pleasure of knowing that our parents have grown grandchildren who can take care of them in their old age.

At the office today we're putting in a new window in Kevin's office. I have such a beautiful office with a big window that takes up one whole wall with a beautiful view... Kevin's essentially in a cave... so Big D decided to knock out the brick wall and put in a window. During the day. While we're working. I'll be about three feet from where they're working. Merciful heavens. I've worked with major construction before at my uncle's office... jackhammer right outside my window while I tried to answer calls. I'm packing some advil just in case.

I had two treats yesterday... really unusual for me. I had a drop of divinity (if you're not southern... divinity is a white confection that is made from corn syrup and sugar and I don't know what else... it's one of those candies that you traditionally give at Christmas). I had a piece that was about 1 inch in diameter. It was waaaaay too sweet. And then last night I had animal crackers, which Austin eats by the tub. Neither one was a huge piece of chocolate cake with fresh cream (like my brother had last week) indulgence... but it was out of the ordinary for me. It doesn't mean that i'm off track. Actually... being able to have a little treat in a reasonable portion within my daily points reinforces my belief that this is a plan that I can live with for the rest of my life...

My next big weight watchers goal is the 25 pound mark. We did this little thing at weight watchers on Saturday... ".2, .4, .6, .8... why don't we appreciate?" where she had measured out weights of flour that held those weights... because it's so frustrating when you have a loss that's less than a pound... yet, those losses do *have weight* both literally and figureatively. They all add up. Then she passed around a five pound bag of flour to help us appreciate what a 5 pound loss means... to realize that I've lost 4 1/2 of those 5 pound bags of flour is amazing... I still have so far to go, it helps to keep that perspective of how far I've already come. I'm really making great progress. *pats back*

Time to pack my food, glam and dash in to the office. Let me know by comments here or comments on the facebook link if there is some way that I can pray specifically for you today and don't forget to stop by and wish Pop a Happy Birthday! I love you, Pop!

Monday, September 20, 2010

recognizing some things...

  • You know that you've had a long day when the idea of the drive home seems so daunting that you consider curling up on the carpet in the conference room floor.
  • You know that you're talking about Weight Watchers a lot when you say to your teenage son, "do you have any idea how many points are in a bbq pork rib?" and he does.
  • You know that your weight loss plan is successful when people start asking what you're eating. And listen.
  • You know that you're grumpy when your normally edgy sister in law tells you that you're grumpy.
  • You know you're exhausted when you decide that you'll let your current Farmville crop wither rather than get online when you get home.
  • You know you're exhausted when the idea of eating dinner seems like it will take too much energy.
  • You know that you're worn out when your kid who stayed up too late last night asks to go hang out with a friend and you agree... knowing that it means the house will be quiet for a few hours.


reasons to love Monday

I'm working on reasons to love Monday. Sort of a variation of Thankful Thursday... sort of like my "Feel sorry for anyone who isn't me" posts.... all on the same Pollyanna Positive theme. I'm a complainer by nature so being positive takes work... but it has rewards.

1. Mondays only happen once a week and once they're finished, you don't have to go thru it for a whole week.
2. Dancing With the Stars tonight... can't wait to see Bristol Palin, certain to be this season's Kate Gosselin.
3. LUNCH TIME! I can't wait until lunch break... today I'm having panzanella (bread salad), massaged kale with sweet potatoes and maybe an apple and I'm working on my Ruth bible study because I've only done two days of my homework, which means I have three more days to get through by Wednesday night.
4. COFFEE... starting my day with mega doses of Folgers black silk coffee with fat free creamer and no sugar. I don't even miss sugar any more.
5. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to close the car loan I started on Friday. Car loans are big bucks for us and I could really use this...
6. A blank slate, fresh perspective, do over, chance to get it right.
7. Mondays are great because they're only two days away from Wednesdays when I get to hang with my hen party... and four days away from Fridays, which are pure joy and five days from Saturdays which are my favoritest days of the week - when I can go to the farm, Weight watchers, etc.
8. I love Monday today because I was sooooo afraid I was going to be really sick today after the way I felt yesterday and I feel pretty good. Still woke up with major ear pain and will be consulting Dr. Google about that... but I feel good enough to go to work and that is a blessing.
9. More than a mouthful Mondays... the commercial that comes on every Monday during Fox and Friends... starring my friend Jamie Moore as Ronald McDonald. It cracks me up every time I see it.
10. It's not raining. It's not freezing cold. It's not burning hot. It's going to be sunny and warm today but not unbearable.

Every day is a blessing. Every day brings opportunities and possibilities and lessons to be learned. Even Mondays.

I'm excited that fall is coming... I'm ready to start enjoying fall foods such as apples and acorn squash and I'm ready to shift from my summer salads to my fall stews and soups. I'm hoping to keep the weight loss mojo while going thru the fall and holiday season. I've decided to allow myself two "no counting" days... Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve (when our family has been getting together lately). (and yes, Mary, I'm considering your offer to spend Christmas in Alabama, although, honestly, the one time in my life I didn't wake up in my own bed on Christmas morning, I found it really sad... and I'm not sure I want to wake up anywhere except my own home... even if that means having a quiet day alone)... but in preparation for those no counting days, I want to make sure I stay on track between now and the end of the year... I'm losing an average of 1.6 pounds per week ... there are 13 more weigh ins this year (Christmas falls on a Saturday) which means that I could easily be 20 pounds lighter by 2011... so I need to adjust for those holiday indulgences.

Time for me to glam, pack my lunch, eat my breakfast, wake the kid (who was up way too late last night) and get this week underway. Hope you have a Marvelous Monday and a Wonderful Week. Love and hugs!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

i feel sorry for anyone who isn't me...

I woke up at 5am with searing pain in both ears... sinus pressure... you've gotta love it. I took an allegra and within a half hour i remembered why I hate pharmaceuticals.... nausea, dizziness, heart racing, that out of body experience. Ugh. There's a heaviness in my chest, I know this junk is draining. Last night at around 8pm I hit a wall.... you know that feeling when all of a sudden you can't keep going and you're absolutely going to drop? I gave in to it and went to bed... I didn't go to sleep immediately... watched football... but I couldn't have done anything more strenuous than change the channel. I fell asleep and was awoken at 11pm with the baby next door screaming its head off. The joys of duplex living. After some time...I fell back asleep.

But seriously, I still feel sorry for anyone who isn't me.

I'm a little bit sick... a little uncomfortable... mildly dysfunctional but... a year ago I was battling pneumonia. I was struggling to work at all. Two years ago I was battling other, much bigger demons. I'm so excited to be who I am and where I am and I'm even more excited about who I will be in another year... two years... four years. I just know that life keeps getting better. I know what I'm capable of surviving. I know that I can face near death, devastation, homelessness, having my car repossesssed, chronic illness, loneliness... and I can SURVIVE it. I'm one tough cookie!

I feel sorry for anyone who is still learning who they are and has to live with the uncertainty and fear of how much they can take. I already know.

No doubt... there are rough waters ahead. On paper, unless child support suddenly materializes... and I hold out little hope... he's playing sketch-bot again... refusing to return my calls, answer emails... on paper, this month will leave me upside down and out of cash long before payday. I'm gonna run out of money before I run out of month. I'm anxious. But it's an anxiety that is coupled with peace... knowing that I've survived longer on less. It's an anxiety that is coupled with appreciation for the fact that I've learned how to perform loaves and fishes miracles from my pantry. It always comes from somewhere. God always. Always. ALWAYS provides.

I feel sorry for anyone who is unhappy with their body and their health and still hasn't figured out how to conquer those demons. I'm not where I want to be but I've found a plan that works for me and I'm working it to my benefit.

Someone asked me yesterday if this was my first time on Weight Watchers... I answered that it was my third... and they skeptically responded that they had heard that anyone who went off the plan gained their weight back. Um. Well. Let's call that a no-brainer. If you revert back to an unhealthy way of eating which had caused you to gain weight in the first place... doesn't it stand to reason that you would gain weight? I mean... even people who have surgical intervention at weight loss WILL STAY FAT if they don't alter their eating habits. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always have what you've already got. It's not that I sold my soul to Weight Watchers... I pay my $40 a month until I reach goal and then I become a lifetime member... and as long as I stay at or below goal, I never pay again. So you can enjoy the benefits of what you learn, keep learning, maintain that accountability for life, just by keeping up the healthy habits that you learn in the program.

Honestly... it kinda pissed me off. The idea that ... if there's not a weight loss plan that will guarantee success with no personal responsibility, no correction of bad habits... that they just will stay fat. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't made the connection yet that you hold within yourself the power to be healthy and that every day, every meal, you have an opportunity not just to feed yourself but to heal yourself with every single bite. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't yet realized that food=fuel, that consuming empty calories is robbing them of being who they could be.

I held Bitty in my arms like a baby this morning and he gazed up at me with complete surrender and adoration. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have some creature in their life that loves them unconditionally. During the Darby reign of terror, I was not allowed to use the term "unconditional love" because, in his opinion, all love is conditional. I feel sorry for anyone who has never been loved unconditionally. For all the people in my life who don't love me like they should... there are an equal number of people who love me far more than I deserve. Maybe even a greater number.

I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't get to feel the crisp coolness of late summer/early fall in the mountains. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't know the joy of giving three little girls three silly bands each and knowing that for 33 cents each, you reminded them that they are loved. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have the ability to say what's in their heart... or find joy in frustration... or find encouragement from old friends, new friends and strangers by means of the internet. I feel sorry for anyone whose glass is half empty.... who doesn't have something greater than themselves to believe in... who has lost faith in mankind... who has never been rescued... who can't appreciate the miracle that life is.

Ok... so maybe you wouldn't want to trade lives with me... but I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't been blessed the way I have. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the week in pictures, menu for the week, etc

This is me... at my current weight. I've been avoiding the full body shots because... well... I'm not at my goal weight yet. But... I thought this might be nice to compare to in a month or six months or whatever...

I still think I'm pretty durn cute for an old chubby girl...

my main meals last week....
huge spider web outside my office
on my way to the farm today... I came across Bessie in the middle of the road. If you ever doubted that I live in the country.... here's your proof!

I sat in the car CRACKING up! At the farm today I bought lots of maters, peppers, beets and these big old green onions.
I've finished my cooking for the week. I did some new things...
Massaged Kale (like last week) but this time I used sea salt and it worked much better... I added a cup of cubed cooked sweet potato to the kale... with nutmeg. It's an entirely different flavor and I think it's going to be a nice treat.
Panzanella (bread salad) I used some stale bread cut into cubes (4 slices) with 4 cups of beautiful colors of tomatoes, 2 cups of wheatberries, basil, olive oil and red wine vinegar. I can't wait to eat it!
I made taboule from scratch instead of using a box mix... replacing the parsley with cilantro and using fresh mint. I also roasted some peppers and put them in it for a different texture. I have avocado to go with that (for some healthy fats).
I made a wheatberry and roasted beet salad that will be topped with goat cheese. 2 cups of wheatberries, 2 cups beets, those big ole onions, vinegar, a little olive oil... also looks really good.
I have millet and brown rice ready to be reheated - veggies chopped for a quick stirfry - baked sweet potatoes ready to be reheated - and some of Nadine's yummy chicken salad.
My main animal protein this week will be tilapia and salmon. I took Austin out for ribs today and it just really amazes me that I don't crave that stuff any more. A year ago I couldn't have imagined going to North Georgia BBQ without getting ribs and banana pudding. I took two bites of Austin's ribs and... I was fine. I bought some chopped pork for my dinner but that means that I've eaten pork twice this week which makes me feel sluggish...
At any rate... it was a beautiful day. I was delighted to hit that big goal at Weight Watchers. Cyndi and Ben met me at the farm and another church member, Vanessa, was there with her husband so it was like old home week. Organic Rose showed me how to make my own salad dressing and cautioned us to use gloves when chopping hot peppers. I (of course) ignored her and my fingers burned like they had been stuck with a hot poker. Cyndi showed me how to get to her house... she is waaaaay back in the middle of nowhere... and I felt a little better about the cat poop that her son found in my carpet when I had to step over chicken poop to get to her house.
Austin was not bothered about not going to the meeting about his trip. He agreed that there are better opportunities for him to travel... such as the Kenya mission trip that our church goes on every year. I would much rather his international travel experience come with people I know and trust and who know Austin. Soooo... we'll start looking into that.
And I. Am. Worn. Out. Happy weekend, y'all.

slam dunk!

I lost 1.8 pounds this week for a total of 22 pounds! I made my ten percent weight loss goal!

it could happen...and here's why

I just might do it today...
I might, quite possibly hit my ten percent weight loss goal.
I'm right there at that one pound that I need to hit the ten percent and I haven't finished all my morning... rituals, shall we say? I think it will be slightly lower before I leave in 2 and a half hours. That's why.

I need this in such a bad way this weekend. I would so love to be able to remember this time of year as the anniversary of the time I hit my first ten percent weight loss goal... instead of the other dark things.
Because, as we discussed yesterday, looking back is not a good thing. That's why.

Ten percent is just this first goal... after that I'll set another ten percent goal... which will take me to 175 pounds. Still obese, friends. That's why... I have a long way to go to be at a healthy weight that I can maintain for the rest of my life.

After that I'll set another ten percent... to 158... which, just for frame of reference... is what I weighed when I made my fabulous journey to NYC in 2006. Can you believe it's been almost five years since then? Can I just tell you how much I'm itching to get back? Can I just tell you how truly blessed I am to have found a sister-friend there in New York. I never imagined that my little brother... ten years younger... would bring a lady into our lives who would become such a strong force in my life. I rarely go more than two days without hearing from Candice. She encourages me, shares tips with me, prods me along. Of my four brothers' significant others... there are two that I haven't heard from in years... there's one that I see at least once a week and who checks in with me as often as she can but she leads a crazy busy life... and there's Candice who is really involved in this process with me. Two sisters who serve as my support group. That's one reason why it could happen.

I had a dream last night about Purple Michael. I dreamed that we were on a train together - like a subway or a commuter train - and I was comforted by knowing he was there in case anything happened to me but he didn't see me there. I kept trying to get his attention and he couldn't see me. Like... so close but yet so far. Maybe symbolic of the fact that he's been in Georgia this week but soooo, sooo busy that he couldn't possibly make the trip up here to the mountains and I was soooo soooo busy that I couldn't possibly take a day off to drive to where he is. I had been thinking about him yesterday, I know that's why I dreamed about him. I'm so excited that he's going to be here the whole month of December... and even though he's gonna be working, I can hang out there while he works and just soak up as much of him as possible. That's why... I need to be healthy and energetic enough to cram a few trips to Stone Mountain into my life in December.

And I want to have lost enough weight before he leaves to go back to Chicago that I can take another set of those super hot pictures that he took for me (almost) 5 years ago. I was about 160-165 pounds then... and they're gorgeous. I'm so glad I took those pictures then... they're slightly naughty... nothing pornographic and you can't SEE anything, there's just that sort of hint of... sexy... and I never in my whole life felt that confident about myself. That's why...

One of my guy friends asked if I was going to have another set of those pictures made... said he's ready for a new set. *snicker* I'm a pinup girl! That's why it could happen...

When I was at my lowest point, I had to really focus on the things that mattered to me, my reasons for living. Two of those reasons were my nieces, Jamie and Sarabeth. And those same reasons for living are my reasons for living well. They emulate me... they do the things I do.... little Jamie is a mini-me. If I stick my arm out the car window to feel the cool wind rush by as I'm driving... she does the same thing (this really happened). I want them to be strong, beautiful, healthy women... and one way that can happen is by having them grow up with strong, beautiful, healthy women as role models... their mommy, their Aunt Mimi and their Aunt Heather. It's a responsibility I have toward them.

After those next two ten percents... which will take me to 158... then I'll focus on that last 21 pounds to goal. At my current rate of weight loss... just a little over a pound a week average... I should be at goal in October 2011. It's a long journey ahead... but I'm focused... I'm determined... I'm loving this, loving the success, loving the food that I'm eating, I'm loving saving money by not eating out and I really believe it could happen. Not just ten percent... but the whole deal... at goal I will have lost 36% of my body weight! Can you imagine what a difference that will make on my joints... heart... lungs?

Today Austin and I are supposed to go to an informational meeting about a student travel program he's been invited to participate in. He's going to have a major meltdown because after much consideration and investigation... I've decided we're not going. I found several complaints about this company online... problems with kids being overseas and having medical issues or behavioral issues and there being no assistance from the company. If any kid WOULD have a problem, it would be Austin... and I would be less prepared than anyone to get to him or get him home in an emergency. The risk is too huge, the price is too high. If he really wants to travel overseas, our church offers several missions opportunities and I'm sure they would help raise funds for him to go. Austin won't like it... but I just have to exercise parental caution and keep him safe.

As a consolation... I'm taking him to North Georgia BBQ. Think that will work?

Time for me to glam and get ready for my weigh in... wish me luck!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lot's wife looked back

I've been immersing myself in the book of Ruth and the history surrounding it... because not only is it a great spiritual lesson, it's also a fascinating story. And I've been, as you know, sort of moping/dwelling/focusing on what happened two years ago.

(for those who weren't around during that time of my life... you can look at my myspace blog to fill in the blanks ... I will warn you... it's obvious that things weren't right... just based on my poor spelling and typos!)

But as I've been digging into the background of Miss Ruth... and the origins of her people - the Moabites... descendents of Lot... I came across the story of Lot's family's exodus from Sodom and Gomorrah. You may remember that the angel of the Lord led Lot's family out of this sinful land just as it was being destroyed and told them not to look back. Lot's wife looked back and... according to biblical legend... was turned into a pillar of salt.

They had lived in a sinful land... a place where Godly people couldn't prosper. They were delivered by the very hand of God... on their way to the place where He designed for them and something in that old life had such a strong pull on Mrs. Lot that she directly disobeyed God and looked back.

I just don't think it's a coincidence that God laid that lesson on me as I'm approaching that anniversary... or seasons of anniversaries... the day I was reborn (Copyright Mary Brown)... the day I moved here... the day I started working with Duane... the day that Misty died. So many benchmarks from the past... days on the calendar... that - if I let them- can drag me down or give me strength.

And God reminds me of a time someone was told not to look back... and did... and was turned to a pillar of salt.

Now... Wednesday night we were asked to make a poster listing our birth name and the name that described who we are right now, in the same way that Naomi (Ruth's mother in law) changed her name to "Marah" which means bitter. I put one word: waiting. I feel like I'm in limbo. I feel like I'm in the middle of some crossroads of life. I feel... stuck. Like I'm frozen in time. Like... I don't know... a pillar of salt, maybe. And maybe... I'm stuck because I keep looking back.

Just a thought.

I found out what the Hebrew word for waiting is... it's Qavah. But the Hebrew is stronger than just our boring waiting... like my sister-out-law Candice when she got stuck waiting an hour and a half past her appointment time at a doctor this week. You know that feeling of being stuck, bored to death, aggravated, impatient...

Qavah is waiting with expectant hope. It's waiting with faith that God will deliver. So next week when I work on my name poster again... I'm adding that new name, Qavah. That's who I am, who I will be. Not a pillar of salt... frozen in time... qavah... flourishing with expectation for the amazing things that God has planned for my life.

Here's what my dear friend Robert had to say about Lot's wife...

Subject: Lot's wife..So, it's the day before Yom Kippur. For those not in the know, that means it is erev Yom Kippur. In the Jewish faith, this is the day when Jews atone to the People, not only for the mistakes of the past, but for the o...nes going forward. In Judaism, one cannot repent to the divine if there are still those to whom one has not repented on earth. The key however, is that the redemption here is moving forward. One can have sorrow for the past, but rarely can one fix it. Fate seals the past for us and it cannot be altered. We can fix the future. We know we will make mistakes and knowing that, by virtue of our humanity, we're going to make them going forward. If you already know that, you can already feel repentant and sorry, for the sorrow is not for the mistake itself, but for the hurt it causes. So too with our glories, and middles, and all the rest. It is important to know the past, but live in it. To heal the world takes forward thinking zealousness to run toward the problems of the world and to fix them.Once someone is obsessed with the past, they have salted the earth and nothing new can grow... might as well move forward.

That gave me chills. Can you imagine... being a pillar of salt that is preventing any new growth in your life?

I am unofficially this morning at the weight I need to be to earn my 10% loss at Weight Watchers. I just have to make sure I don't do anything in the next 24 hours to cause bloat or float or additional weight. I want that keychain! I want to keep moving forward... I have a new life to live and I need to live it as healthy as possible.

My friend Cyndi and two of her babies came over last night to hang out. My house was a mess - as usual - and I didn't have time for a "company cleaning" before they came over. Austin's friend Logan was hanging out here after school and he helped take out the trash and change the litter box (btw, you know he's a good kid when he'll change your litter box for you) but he dropped some of the kitty poop on the floor and Cyndi's 5 year old son wanted to know why we dropped chocolate on the floor. LOVE IT! SO I guess I'll work on getting my house back in order. I think I want to decorate for fall... or decorate at all. I really need my mom to come up here and (finally) help me hang curtains and settle in. It's time, right?

Hope you have a great weekend... I'm so glad for Friday, so glad for this life I've been given and I'm not looking back.

Love and hugs!
(photo finish Friday will come later... probably on Saturday!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

thoughtful thursday

It's thankful Thursday and I have this wonderful post swirling around in my head and because the old laptop was giving me trouble this morning... I'm down to 8 minutes to put it together.

And yes, Aunt Ginger, I do type that fast. Ridiculously fast. Annoyingly fast for those who have to hear it. You'd think I could get a job doing something that involved fast typing... and make big money for it... but... notsomuch.

I'm really wearing my emotions close to the surface this week. The anniversary of the day I almost died is Sunday and it's weighing heavy on my heart. I'm grateful for the life I have... a life I never thought I could possibly have, being relatively self-sufficient and able to live life without requiring a significant other to "complete me". I've come a long way, baby.

But... this anniversary reminds me of things that I don't want to remember. Dean has wanted to talk to me this week and I just haven't had the emotional energy to talk to him. (Dean, btw, for new readers, is the ex-husband of the woman my ex-husband was involved with). He's still so deep in the battle and I want to forget the battle. Dean is so precious to me... and he has carried this raw, deep, open wound for so long. I can't imagine how painful that must be. And some times I'm able to tend those wounds for him and share the wisdom that God has given me... but not this week. This week my wound needs tending and it's taking all my energy.

Because... ultimately... my job is to go thru life as sanely as possible, appearing joyful and strong and grateful and humble. Right? I'm supposed to be humbly grateful instead of grumbly hateful... that's my calling, my mission, my destiny. As I told my sweet niece Jamie last week, "God has called me to be the best aunt I can be"... that's what I focus on for now because ... well, that's what I have.

I texted Cody yesterday, as I mentioned, and asked him to have his dad call me. He didn't call. I don't know if this is the beginning of another season of no child support.... this is his usual M.O.... stops paying without warning and makes himself scarce so that I can't even find out when he intends to pay again. It's frustrating. And his timing is really bad.

Ok... over my time limit now... must start the glam routine and put together my breakfast and lunch.

Pray for me. I'm weary right now. Grateful, yes. I know that these are the bonus years for me, the years that I wouldn't have lived. I know that every friend I make now is a person who never would have known my name if I had my way back then. I know that, but for the grace of God, I would have never been able to enjoy the cool late summer mornings. I know that He has a plan for me and that in time, I'll understand it.

Must glam and dash. Please comment... y'all have been awful quiet this week and I really need to know you're there. Love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

whiny wednesday...

I can see the finish line for my first big weight watchers goal and I'm soooo eager to get there! As of this morning... I'm no closer to it than I was last Saturday... but my weight loss is cyclical. I have a great week, two ok weeks and then a week of miniscule loss - like .2 pounds. This week is the miniscule loss week. But I still believe... it could happen. And if not this week, next for sure. The point is that I'm moving forward and that makes me super happy.

My co-workers dad - the one who had heart surgery almost two weeks ago - is back in the hospital with infection. Please continue to pray for Hank. He's a great guy, a really loving father and he is so uncomfortable.

I'm having a baked potato for breakfast. Why not? I try to vary what I eat... I rarely eat a traditional breakfast. Yesterday it was a spicy black bean burger (without bun), carrots and hummus. I loved all those flavors, it had protein, veggies... good stuff.

I sent Cody a text this morning and he replied with, "who is this?" I try to give my kids as much space as they want... don't place obligations on them about how often I expect them to contact me... I don't bother them. I want them to want to talk to me but if they don't... I respect that. The last thing I want to be is a drag. But... I mean, come on... wouldn't you recognize your mom's phone number? Oy vey. Totally broke my heart. Just a big old exclamation point on my emotions about the upcoming holiday season.

Anyways... that's the extent of my whine for the day... otherwise... glad it's Wednesday, glad to be back with my girls at church tonight... looking forward to meeting our new employee today... looking forward to building new team dynamics in our office.

Must glam and dash... love and hugs and hope for a whineless Wednesday for all of us!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a pig parable

Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far… far away from here.
I’m just saying.
Some days I’m ten feet tall and bullet proof and some days a whole tractor trailer full of calgon wouldn’t be enough to take me away.
Life, I guess.
At my office they mentioned that it’s been interesting getting to know who I am apart from the meds… you know, mood stabilizers and anti-depressants and all. Detoxed from sugar and fat.
And I guess this, then, is the real deal.
Anyone want to come play on my mood swings?
I’m just aggravated and frustrated and over it all… grateful – so very grateful – for the things that have saved my hide this year. My dad’s help… lots of it. More than I deserve or is fair for him to give. My patient and understanding landlord. People in my life who truly, one hundred percent, love me for who I am – unmedicated – unplugged – off the chart.
And on the flip side I’m aggravated by the ones who haven’t done what they should have and how their decisions – indecision – indifference – has impacted me unfairly.
Sometimes life really is unfair.
And I look out the window at the trees that are just beginning to turn and I feel the slightest tinge of coolness in the air and I know that in spite of myself and my shortcomings and failures and missteps and all that I am not… that God loved me enough to set me down in a really lovely place… and that His world is mine to embrace. I’m not glancing across a landfill… living in a ghetto… buried six feet under… I’m on a mountaintop. Geographically, if not spiritually.
I’m like a duck on the water…. Gracefully gliding across looking ever so peaceful and beautiful (ok… maybe not beautiful but it’s my metaphor) but underneath the water, my feet are paddling like crazy.
I’m really in a great mood today. I know that seems weird. Like… Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Was it Nero? I don’t remember. I’m not college educated… I’m Wikipeducated. It’s cheaper. No student loans.
Not that there’s any great crisis lurking – that I know of – just been behind the 8 ball for so long and dreading trying to do the obligatory Christmas stuff for people who don’t need it, deserve it or appreciate it. Baby Jesus didn’t come to earth so we could all go in debt buying fruitcake and reindeer sweatshirts.
The uncertainty of it all is getting to me. Will I be able to hold down the fort until Austin graduates? After that… I can live in a motel. I don’t care. Or a basement apartment. Or… I could live on a cruise ship or … be a gypsy… or a campground manager. I don’t care. Really, I don’t. I’m up for any adventure. I just want to get him grown and educated without having to put him through any more changes.
It’s almost payday and payday won’t bring enough to pay what I owe until the next payday and that makes me angry/frustrated/depressed. I can almost make it when child support is regular, even when it’s not what he owes, as long as it’s something consistent. But we’re off that train again. Again.
Two names guaranteed to make me laugh: Jim Nasium and Oliver Klozeoff.
Sorry. It was time to lighten the mood.
Austin said that his agriculture teacher made breakfast for them the other day – eggs and sausage. The sausage came from a hog they had raised the year before. Hogs that “show well” become breeders. Hogs that don’t “show well” become breakfast. I have a hard time imagining my kids’ science project being consumed in class. Such is life in the country, I suppose. Everything has a purpose… everything is useful in some way. Even the failures can make someone happy.
And that's sort of my life here... making a difference in whatever way I can, even if it feels like I'm just barely getting by sometimes... I'm sure I'm useful to somebody.

tuesday newsday... what's new in my life

Thinking about going to the farm again tonight... at the risk of appearing like i have no life... because I'd like to take photos around the farm.

It will depend on how my day goes. Yesterday was a suck-fest. It started right out of the chute with some baby mama insurance drama... you know, ex husband insures car for ex-wife to have that to hold over her head... and then doesn't give her insurance card or keep payments up, etc. And... if the car is in an accident, the check goes to the ex-husband and ex-wife may or may not actually be able to fix her car. It's... in a word... illegal. You can't insure something you don't own. So I started my day arguing with this control freak who wanted to tell me - a licensed insurance agent - what he knew about insurance law and how I must not know my job - since I disagreed with him. Punk.

We were shorthanded but won't be for long... we have a new girl starting tomorrow. Office politics being what they are... it's a delicate process, bringing someone new into the mix and she's younger than the rest of us. But we're all nice people and she's experienced so it should be a smooth transition.

Gosh... my five minutes to blog evaporated WAY too quickly!

We had a pizza party for lunch yesterday - a sales reward - and I partook. I had two pieces of thin crust veggie pizza for a total point expense of 10.5. Honestly... I just don't like pizza. I'd rather eat a whole lot of not fat flavorful stuff than eat grease and carbs. It was a good reminder to me that my way of eating is the best way for me.

I did oven fried cod last night and austin liked it, loved it, ate it and was pleased. Yep, it won't kill you to eat healthy. Even if you're a teenager.

Bitty Kitty is loving walking on a leash with Austin. He can wiggle out of his collar, though, so we really need a harness... but... once again... the deadbeat dad has dropped off the face of the earth without paying child support and won't respond to my emails. Every time I think I just might be able to get caught up to the extent that I'm not having to pay stinking late fees and bounced check charges all the durn time and when I think I might be able to get health insurance for Austin and actually be able to BREATHE in this ridiculously lopsided budget I have to live with... deadbeat dad sketches out on me again. Makes me want to quit work, go on welfare, move to government housing, collect food stamps and just stinking give up. I hate it. I'm so sick of living broke all the time... working full time and living like I don't work at all. It's not fair. I'm just saying.

Sorry to take a bitter turn on you... just frustrated.

Need to hurry up and glam.

The pizza doesn't seem to have affected my weight... I made sure to drink lots of water to combat the salt bloat, I made sure to work out a little while yesterday, although not at top performance because I was feeling icky from eating pizza. I'm still hoping, praying and WORKING toward that ten percent reward on Saturday.

Time is fleeting... must dash... love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

zumba and millet

Two new tools in my arsenal today: zumba and millet.

Zumba as in - the latin dance workout which is H-uh-ARD and had me sweating from every single pore in less than 5 minutes - even my shins - but it's fun and the time ticks by without even noticing. I've been totally uninspired to exercise but this inspires me. I don't have a real zumba tape (disc, I guess, since no one has VCR's any more. Why do we still call them tapes?) but I found some bootleg ones on Youtube. So I guess I can call my workout - Bootleg Zumba.

There is actually a zumba class near my office that I could maybe attend one day a week. It's four days a week but two days it starts at 5:30 which is when I get off - so I would miss the first half of the class by the time I changed and drove there. And on Wednesday it starts at 6:30, which is when I'm in bible study. But Mondays... it's at 6:30 and I just might be able to go.

Although Mondays are my days of least motivation... but I'm working on it.

I think I mentioned the mystery grain from the bulk bin. I thought it was either bulgur wheat or barley - Austin thought for sure it was barley. But this morning I ran out for some things I forgot yesterday (cat litter, primarily) and I realized that it was MILLET. Sooooo... I went to the Google Cooking Academy and found out that I could MICROWAVE millet! Happy day! I did... and it's delicious... and matched beautifully with my massaged kale and blackeye pea salads for lunch today.

So that's my happy Sunday. I'm about to curl into my cozy bed and take a much needed nap.
Love and hugs!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

here's what's cooking this week:

I had this big bag of dried blackeyed peas. I stuck them in the crockpot to cook this morning... and then four hours later... I've got about 12 cups of cooked blackeyed peas.

What does a single girl do with 12 cups of blackeyed peas? WHATEver she wants!

In typical Heather fashion... since I am the Salad Whisperer... I made a blackeyed pea salad!
I took those beautiful (they really are!) heirloom cherry tomatoes pictured in the earlier entry... in those fabulous colors of white, red, purple... four cups worth... and mixed them with 4 cups of blackeyed peas... one cup of diced red onion... a little olive oil and some red wine vinegar. It is soooo good... and it's only 1 weight watchers point per 1/2 cup!

I also made a Massaged Kale Salad. I'm not crazy. Google it. Apparently... kale is such a sturdy green that it's hard to eat raw BUT the best way to capture the nutrients of the kale is by serving it raw. SOOOOooo... you take a little salt and a little olive oil and you literally massage the kale. I put mine in a collander (strainer) so that the juices could drain away. It really does create a lot of juices... I also mixed in a bunch of chard because there was some for sale today at the farm and I like the idea of blending my sturdy greens. I read something that said that the massage released water from the cell walls in the plant and that's what made it tender. I don't know but it really did change the texture of it.

I mixed my limp kale with freshly picked garlic, red onion (because that's what I had) and some really beautiful hot peppers of various hues - purple, red and yellow - that I bought today. I doused it in a little red wine vinegar (again, because that's what I had) and it's excellent.

BUT... I realized that it's really good to take the kale salad and top it with the blackeyed pea salad! They're a perfect pair! And when I mix all of them together I've got lots of good healthy FILLING stuff all in one dish. I just love it when I invent/discover/create new foods!

As for the other ten million cups of blackeyed peas on hand... I cooked up a batch of brown rice (in the microwave... it's quicker) and I've got that on hand to have blackeyed peas and rice for a quick, filling, healthy meal. My fridge was empty this morning and it's full this evening and I only spent about $40 on food (including the crab cakes that Austin and I are indulging in tomorrow!)... partly because I have been working at keeping my pantry stocked with grains/rice/beans and just supplementing with fresh stuff. I invested about an hours worth of time in preparation and this food will last me most of the week.

I made a trip to the Amish Bakery today too... the lady who owns it wanted to know where my son was so we had a nice conversation about what Austin is doing in school, etc. I just love LOVE LOVE living in a place where people know us, remember us, care about us and appreciate us. I just can't imagine any other place on earth that could be such a kind and sweet community.... although I will also say that I believe the true story is that this community, probably like any other, mirrors what you give them. I show my appreciation to the people who run these small businesses, I give them my business and my loyalty and I blog about it and in return, they do good stuff back at us. And truly, although my company is a major corporation, our agency is a small business and we try to show our appreciation to the people who trust us with their business. It's reciprocal.

I got a call from my beloved Purple Michael this evening. He is on his way to Atlanta for the week but he will be staying at his parents... about 3 hours from me. So although he's closer to me than he is in Chi-town... he's still too far of a distance for us to spend any time together BUT... the good news is that he's accepted a role in the upcoming Christmas program at Stone Mountain Park and will be IN ATLANTA from November thru January! I'll be gathering a group to go to Stone Mountain to see his show and will move Heaven and earth to spend some quality time while he's nearby. That definitely gives me a bit more holiday cheer... just knowing I get to see my best gay husband.

And now it's 8pm and I'm watching football and completely chilled and so grateful for a productive yet relaxing day...

that's what's cooking! Hugs, y'all!