Friday, September 30, 2011

My Week In Pictures

There have been a few likes and dislikes in my week.  I've got nothing better to do so I figured I would show you.  I'll begin with the things I've disliked all week.

1. Drought

2. Overpriced sleepwear.  Are you kidding me?!?

3. Hours with NO water while at home….bored…restless…and jobless.

4. Expensive Vets (Sofie just hates vets period...notice the tongue!).

5. ‘May Cause Drowsiness, Dizziness and Blurred Vision’ medications

Lucky for me I have just as many Likes to make up for the dissed ones!

1.  My husband’s ‘Feel Better Soon (a.k.a. Get over your hormones)’ breakfast.

2.  Brainstorming Buddy (Keeps me company all day long).

3.  Grocers with good teabag selections.

4.  Workouts with my favorite person.

5.  *Sigh* favorite person!

6.  Facebook changes. (Ha! I just thought I would be the exception to all the current complaints)

 I hope you all had a great day and hope you have an awesome weekend!

Quote of the Day: "If you look for the good in life, you will find it". ~Anonymous

and because I can and want to, I will add another:

"Have a sense of humor about life - you will need it. And be courteous." ~Peter Jennings

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sentimental Baking Journey

I've set aside today to do some baking.  I intended to start with the Pumpkin Pecan bread but nixed it for a Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake instead.  Anyone that knows of me and my love of baking know I have a fond attachment to the Pound Cake.  Though they might not know why.  I first started sampling recipes when I stretched the apron strings by leaving home permanently.  It was just after college as a matter of fact.  Anyway, at the time I said I like the sturdiness of the cake and it's short list of ingredients.  In actuality, it had more to do with the fact that it made me smile and think of spending time in the kitchen with my Mama.  Of the five girls, I was the one that picked up the kitchen skill.  My little sister got all the sewing.  The other can do both but grudgingly so.  The other two are pretty useless with both but I'm sure they must have picked up a trait somewhere in there. 

So baking today has taken me on a journey that I did not expect.  I felt good because I was doing something I loved.  At the same time it made me think of my Mom and made me a little sad that I couldn't call and share it with her. It didn't help that I was listening to Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson  and Etta James....also my Mom's favorites.   But as with most things, I work hard to turn that into a positive.  I have nothing but fond memories of baking with her.  We always had fun in the kitchen.  Even those pressing moments and short tempers when we were working on a particularly large dessert menu for the holidays.  Those late nights made for sharp-tongued words for anyone that came in to steal a taste or offer up their opinion.  Nope...that was never acceptable! 

Then there was the time I was helping her mix several sweet potato pies for church and we were chatting.  I wasn't paying attention and got my finger caught up in the beaters. Well, that resulted in a trip to the ER to remove the screw from my finger and get stitches.  Upon returning home, my Dad thought it would funny to pretend I lost my finger.  He instructed me to look sad and bend my finger before showing my sisters and brothers.  They were horrified and my little sister cried.  My Mom just shook her head and told them we were just joking.  I didn't realize it at the time but my Mom made sure this wouldn't discourage me.  We cleaned up and got right back in the kitchen to start new pies.  She was just cool like that.

Through baking I have also been blessed to come across some good people who also share this love.  My friend T is always open to trying a new recipe.  Luckily she also has a willing preteen daughter that lets her sample without always having to do the work. Beverly, my friend from my days at the doughnut shop, is a wonder in the kitchen.  I can't even begin to think I have even half her skills but it gives me something to strive for.  She is and always will be one of the greatest bakers I know.  Definitely up there with my Mama.  Big props to you Bev!  It is with good memories that I use my Mama's recipe today.  Like her I'm not a big fan of making lowfat cakes (unless of course it's and Angel Food).  So if you try it, you might want to plan some extra time in the gym.
Well, looks like the cake is done! Not the prettiest but it is moist and not too sweet.   My Mama would be proud.

Quote of the Day: I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation. ~Madam Benoit

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 C. Unsalted Butter (room temp)
8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
2 1/2 C. Sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
6 Eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon extract
3 C. Sifted Flour
1 tsp. Salt

Mix the zest and sugar in a small bowl.  (I used a pestle to crush some of the zest into the sugar just so the oils would be released) and set aside.  Place the butter and cheese in large mixing bowl and mix until smooth.  Add the lemon sugar and mix on high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each.  Add the vanilla and lemon extracts.  Finally add the flour and salt, mixing until combined.

Pour into two prepared 5x9-in loaf pans.  Bake 1hr 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on rack 20 minutes and then remove from pans to completely cool.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blue Skies

'Blue skies smiling at me.  Nothing but blue skies do I see...'

While I appreciate this song, I'm inclined to believe that too much of a good thing can get old very quickly. I believe these here blue Texas skies got old about 100+ days ago. I guess I should correct that and say the heat brought on by those blue skies.  I'm watching the live Doppler (brought on by gray skies outside) with hope in my heart that the claim of rain might be stopping in for a visit.   The trusty little meteorologist said there is hail, gusty winds, lightening and rain somewhere near.  The dogs and I are sitting here wishing and hoping and wishing some more.

Oh well.  Even though the 1st day of Fall has come and gone and yet we are still feeling the burn of high temps, I am obligated to find a positive.  One positive is the shopping.  While the big box stores corporate powers that be have put out the word that summer wear must make room for fall, me and my thrifty self benefit.  You see, where their location may be experiencing cooler weather and Fall wear is needed, we are not. So all the 80% off summer wear can be worn right now! I purchased 2 short sleeve tops and some athletic shorts for less than $20 today.   Oh and a $2 pair of sturdy flip flops.  See, a positive!

I'm sure there are several more positives but they aren't coming to me right now.  I think the current gray skies and hope of Fall is blocking them.  I want yellow, orange, red, and brown leaves littering lawns.  I want to go to bed knowing I need to use the warm quilt my Mom gave me.  I want to attend a cold football game that requires blankets and a thermos full of spiked hot chocolate. I want my outdoor workout gear to include long sleeve T's and pants and maybe even earmuffs. Gasp!  I just said 'I want' and 'workout' in the same sentence.  You hear that Fall?  Find us because it's clear I'm losing my mind!

Well, I guess I will need to just be patient. In the meantime, there's nothing that says I can't at least make the house smell Fall-ish.  I'm testing another recipe for my fundraiser.  It's a Pumpkin Bread with Pecan Streusel I found on Ezra Poundcake today.  I saw the picture and it immediately made me wish for Fall.  That and it has pumpkin in it.  You just don't get more Fall than pumpkin! 

Hope you all are having a good day!

Quote of the Day: As a rule man is a fool, When it's hot he wants it cool, When it's cool he wants it hot, Always wanting what is not. ~Anonymous

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beyond Relaxed

I'm such a baby.  Last night I was reading the bottles on the meds and each said take one three times a day.  I asked the husband, 'Do you think that means take both at the same time?'  He said yes.  I don't think he was really listening to me though.  I hemmed and hawed 30 minutes before opting to take just the relaxer.  I sat there a while thinking on it and finally decided to call my little sis. She's got tons of experience with pain meds due to her arthritis issues.

My Thrifty Gift Process
 I asked her the same question.  She told me to take them both.  As we are discussing other things, I get up and take the pain pill also.  Then said says, 'Wait. Do you get drowsy when you take the 800 milligram ibuprofen?'  Eight-hundred!  I get drowsy on the 200 milligrams if I take two of 'em.  After telling her this she says  I should just take the relaxer and see how I feel later before taking the pain med.  I freaked out a little telling her I had already taken it while we were talking. Then she tried telling me it would be OK and I'll just sleep until noon. 
There was no sleeping in for me.  I slept soundly but got up at 7am to take Baxter out. I forgot to give him a leash and I'm almost sure I fell asleep standing there watching him. Luckily he just stood there waiting for me to notice he was done.  Needless to say I went back to bed and slept until 11.  It's been years since I've slept in.  I tell you I was beyond relaxed. Still am actually.  Oh well. 

The sleep in caused me to forget I had accepted an invitation for a 5 mile walk this morning.  Luckily I got a phone call from them but they had read last night's post and realized I might not be up for it.  On top of that, I forgot  we were suppose to get the twins birthday gifts today.  Since I was still feeling woozy and we are on a budget, I decided to make something instead of going out to shop.  By regifting and a little big of crafting, we have a decent gift for the girls.  Now, I think I'm going to catch a few winks before the squealing fest called a birthday party.  Joy....

Quote of the Day:  If I can see it, if I can visualize it, I know quite simply, that I can do it….and it will be…

Friday, September 23, 2011


So went to the Dr. today and it seems I have bursitis in the shoulder.  I've been going 3 weeks with an annoying ache and telling myself it was ok.  The husband convinced me that even though I thought I knew what the problem was, sitting here popping ibuprofen without getting a proper diagnosis was probably not a good idea.  Sadly every time the pain got stronger, I would consult WebMd.  I knew better but I did it anyway.  It's addictive.  Unfortunately I can be a worrier and after checking symptoms you can darned near diagnose yourself to death! 

I finally gave in and called and they got me an appointment the same day.  I just want to say I have one of the best general practitioners out there. She listens, she asks questions, she even remembers what we talked about at my last Well Women's check up.  And I don't necessarily mean medical questions.  She asked me how my husband's classes were going and asked if my Sofie finally passed her obedience classes.  She rocks. 

Anyway I was sitting there in the waiting room watching the television that only shows health related shows. These little clips I can tolerate. They are pretty informative and always hold my attention.  Today there was a 10 minute story on outdoor gyms.  I had no idea putting these things in parks cost so much money.  I'm convinced the ones the husband and I frequent at the park near our home didn't cost half as much as the ones shown.  After all, they are all made of treated lumber and steal bars. Nothing special but very effective. 

Back to my diagnosis.  Shoulder Bursitis happens when there is inflammation of a particular area within the shoulder joint that is causing my painful symptoms.  I'm told I have at least 4 weeks before it gets better.  That sort of sucks but at least there's nothing something terribly wrong with me.  I'll refrain from walking Sofie with that arm and stop lifting heavy objects.  Not sure about the pain meds (Vicoprofen) and the muscles relaxers. I will be trying one tonight.  If they don't make me too loopy the following day, I will at least use them to finally get a good night's sleep.

Good Samaritans

I was reading a book last night and found this part the story of the Good Samaritan.  It states:
"Psychologists tested the story of the Good Samaritan. What they learned gives us reason to pause. The greatest determinant of who stopped to help the stranger in need was not compassion, morality, or religious creed. It was those who had the time. Makes me wonder if I have time to do good. "

Funny how I just read that last night and was perusing my regular Good Morning America stories and this Story caught my attention.  It is definitely a good read and makes me feel there is hope to be had for our youth. 

Today I will see what I can do to make time to do something for someone. Hope everyone is having a good morning!

Quote of the Day:  The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lunch in Saigon

OK.  So I feel a little weird about all the eating out I've done this week. I haven't gone out this much in years.  Today I stepped out with my friend Ya-Ya in search of bathing nets.  My husband and I use them and I was game to get more. She said she new of a Korean Store that had them so we made a date to go in search of them today.

Well, when we got to the location we learned the Korean Store has since become Hispanic Grocery.  There were no nets to be found.  So much for that.  Since we were there, we decided to venture across the street to the Veterinary Clinic to see if they still had her 'resting-in-peace' dog's ashes.  That was a bust too because it was now a brokerage office.  At least that's what the guy said.  It looked a little shady and he said they had been there two years now. Well, if you have been there two years, how about removing the giant sign announcing you are a veterinary clinic? 

Steamed Rice w/Charbroiled Chicken
We gave up and decided to make the trip back north to the large Asian Market Place.  Deciding we were going to buy tofu and sprouts, we headed for the grocery only to be stopped by the noodle house sign.  We scrapped the cooking idea and decided to spend a nice leisurely lunch at Pho Saigon Noodle House.   We had good conversation to accompany the Steamed Rice and Charbroiled Chicken.  Of course I made the mistake of tasting the chili sauce only to have it travel down the wrong side of my throat.  I didn't do the gag-cough but the fit was there all the same.  It was all good though because someone else apparently made the same mistake as they had a coughing fit too.

Incognito Ya-Ya
 In any case I had a great time and will chalk this up to another great day. I snapped a couple of pics with my phone and she told me she'd better not find her picture on Facebook.  I told her I wouldn't.  I'll put it here instead. Lol.   Later I will be marking some miles on the treadmill thanks to the fact that my clean plate did not require a doggy bag.  Oh well.  If spending a good time with a friend means sweating it out later, I'm down for it.

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Quote of the day:  “One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”  ~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trying New Things

Cha Sui So (and one Gin Doil)
So a friend was talking to me the other day and she made the comment that it must be hard for me sitting at home, looking for work and being bored.  Yes, I might have thought the same thing but surprisingly enough, it has been the opposite.  There are times when I do feel restless but it's mainly because there are so many possibilities that I can't narrow it down. No, I am finding ways to maximize the benefits of unemployment.  I have found that this opportunity has made way for me to be more social, try new things and consider options I would never have thought while working. 

T's Ma Pow Tofu
We had a mix of old and new friends over a couple of nights ago and we discussed everything from religion to politics to food.  It was exhausting and fun.  That was the third day in a row that I had actually sat around chatting with friends.  Even though some of my days began with uncertainty, they ended up being quite fun. I'm finding that I'm more open to spontaneous guests and the occasional phone call.  Yes, I'm definitely more social. 

As stated in an earlier post, I'm looking to volunteer.  This was something I thought I never had time for in the past.  That was really just an excuse given there are several weekend opportunities for volunteering.  Now I'm realizing that there really is more quality to living when you do things for other people. Earning a paycheck use to be what I thought was important.  But it's not really living right?  Sure, you are supporting those you love and those who need you but moving beyond that comforting thought can be hard.  Once I let my mind consider moving further, it was on.  I'm liking the possibilities of finally doing something from the heart that doesn't necessarily include me getting something back anything but satisfaction.

The Best Pot Sticker Ever!
And finally I'm trying new things.  I've just started keeping track though.  Yesterday I tried a tea lounge at a friends suggestion.  It was OK.  I liked the look of the place but it's probably not somewhere I would go hang out.  Maybe if I were a teenager.  I didn't do so well ordering and ended up with a Lemon Dried Plum Green tea concoction that tasted like potpourri.  No worries.  I will probably try it again and order something different before deciding if I really don't like the place.  Today I tried Dim Sum for the first time. I didn't get to bring my Asian cuisine extraordinaire but I did go with a good friend.  T is always down for trying something new and she did surprisingly well.  She tried the Gin Doil which was a sweet lotus seed paste in a crispy fried sesame seed ball.  It was slightly sweet and had a complex texture.  It was dessert-like.  I had the Cha Sui So.  It was a flaky french pastry turnover filled with Chinese B.B.Q. pork. I loved the crust. The pork was ok but not the greatest.  We had a lot of food in front of us as we also ordered lunch specials.  We had no idea how the dim sum would come out or even how big it was so a backup was needed.  Everything was pretty good.  Given the $2.99 price of the Dim Sum, I will definitely go back and try it again though I will try a different tea. I've had better Chrysanthemum tea. 

My safe and easy Lemon Chicken
So again I am counting this time as a blessing and getting as much out of it as possible.  Who knows what adventures tomorrow will bring but I'm ready for it.

Now I guess I can finally sit down and relax.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just a Spit

OK.  I get it.  We didn't know drought.  Now we do.  We might have taken cooler temps, rainy days and even ice for granted.  We were wrong to do that.  It's possible we've now learned how to conserve water. There are some who've even come out of prayer retirement and have been pleading (and even dancing) for some moisture. 

I like to believe we get only what we need but this is the view I get to see each morning on my walk.  I feel bad or the ducks and geese.  Yes, there is a certain fascination with the cracked ground for looks pretty cool but that doesn't mean I want to see it all the time.  God, can you please, please just chalk this up to our experience and water your lawn ball again?  Please?  Just a spit?

Thank you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Indecisive

**This was meant to be yesterday's post. I either forgot to publish or gave up on sitting at the monitor.  Either way, it's being put up today.

Today my mind is a bit scattered. Well…I guess more so than usual. I can’t seem to focus on one particular thing. I did however fight it for an hour and search for a job. I fear I’m losing battles that I thought I would surely win. The first is this job thing. It’s not that I had firmly believed that a job would come at me quickly, it’s that I thought I would be able to remain determined in my search. I’m getting to the point where the job search itself has become a full time job. And not a pleasant one! There is no joy in it. There is no determination. I’m trying my best to not opt for ‘just something’ for fear that I will end up in yet another mediocre, ‘same job different place’ type situation. It’s very tempting but I’ve not yet gone there.

Lately, I seem to be leaning my optimism and energy towards volunteer work. After all, for years I’ve been saying I wanted to do something I feel is important before I leave this life. Somehow while working I felt like it was impossible and I didn’t have the time. I don’t know why I felt that way but I did. Now I have the time and have spent countless hours trying to arrive at a cause that feels right to me. A friend tried to get me to volunteer with her at the Rabbit Rescue and the animal shelter. I like animals and do feel they need help but I feel I would do better working to help another person. I’ve been trying to narrow down what feels important and it is harder than I expected.

I think the hard part is my feelings on each project. Will I go into it with a ‘hero’ complex only to be knocked down by a reality that I know nothing about? Or is this feeling cowardly? I don’t know. What I do know is through inaction, I will never know. That is from my husband. He is a big fan of volunteerism and tells me that because I don’t exactly know where I fit, I should try a weekend here or there for different organizations. That sounds like a good plan but am I truly willing to give up time for something that I may or may not want to continue? I do some things out of guilt. So I figure if I do it one time, they may expect me to come again and I might do just that out of guilt even if I don’t feel I fit. It’s a tough decision.

I have two quotes on indecision today but couldn’t decide on which to use so I will post both. Sad….I can’t even decide on a quote about indecision.

Quotes of the Day:
"Don't stand shivering upon the bank; plunge in at once, and have it over." ~Sam Slick
"He who hesitates is sometimes saved." ~James Thurber

World Vision Experience: AIDS

The husband and I attended Step Into Africa, an interactive, walk-through exhibit yesterday put on by World Vision.  It was truly an eye-opening experience and I would encourage anyone to attend should the exhibit happen to be at a city near you.  I can't explain exactly how I felt as we went from room to room but I can tell you it did make an impression on me and makes me count the blessing that is my life. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One of Them Days

Have you ever had a day where you have an  free day yet can't find a thing to do?  That's me today. I'm feeling a little lost actually.  Normally, I would be tootin' my positive horn saying things like 'The skies the limit', 'All things are possible', or 'I have endless possibilities to make this day great!'  But am I doing that?  No!  Why?  I don't know. I'm not feeling down really.  Just blah.  The husband is gone to do his time at the library. He tried to make me feel better by telling me we can go to the World Vision Experience exhibit later today.  This did nothing to lift my spirits because we've had tickets for 2 weeks and tomorrow is the last day. I've been asking him about it for a week now.  I'm not thrilled when he decides to do something because he can't figure out a way to make me feel better.  Not that I should be upset about that. At least he's trying. See! I can't even be thrilled about that.

I need a pick me up. Maybe I'll just sit down and catch a good movie or read one of my books.  I think I'm going to blame this 'condition' on my Baxter. He had the blahs yesterday (didn't even want to chase his toy) and I think he gave it to me today.  I'm almost sure it's contagious.  Lazy pup! Oh well. I'll come out of it eventually. Gonna get me some tea and relax for a bit. Hope you all are having a better start to this marvelous weekend.

Quote for the Day:  If you are cold, tea will warm you; If you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm Chillin'

Last night at about 10pm I was organizing my 'To Do' list in my head while lying in bed. I was feeling so motivated to get things done. I planned to clean, cook, apply to a couple of jobs I've been holding, doing my hair, mopping, scrubbing the toilet....the list goes on and on. 

I learned something new about myself this morning.  I don't know why I didn't realize it before now.  What I learned is that I have serious confidence and motivation just before my body lets me in on it's secret that the Red River Parade is about to happen.  I'm serious.  I have so much energy and can rock  the best workout of the month in the gym.  I finally get the motivation to do something about the clutter around me. I'm eating everything I can think of but am crazy proud because it is usually the best recipe I've created.  The confidence factor can be as little as me taking the time to back into a tight parking space regardless of the 15 cars that are waiting on me. Yeah...I did that!  Or it can be me busting out a sprint interval on the treadmill next to that slender, muscular, probably 18 year-old guy next to me.  Yeah...I did that too and didn't give a damn what he thought.

I discovered this today because I was without it all this morning when the Parade was upon me.  I tossed and turned in bed because I was no longer sleepy.  I finally got up and looked at my scribbled list on the bedside table.  I got up and grabbed a handful of dirty laundry and started it before I even thought of taking the dogs out.  That's about as far as I got.  Somewhere between the laundry room and the dog park, I lost the motivation, energy and just didn't care.  I told my husband about this.  He looked at me and hugged me and said, 'Why don't you just relax today.'  I thought about that for a split second and agreed.

So here I sit with my feet up, half-watching some movie and fighting the thought that I'm just being lazy.  It's Monday.  I've actually accomplished some things and that just might be enough for a Monday.  I will do my best to enjoy it.  Hope yall are having a good one!

Quote of the Day:  Never lose sight of this important truth, that no one can be truly great until he has gained a knowledge of himself, a knowledge which can only be acquired by occasional retirement. ~ Johann Georg von Zimmermann

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cleaning It Up and Giving Thanks

Today is full.  We were up early to complete a 3.5 mile walk/run outside.  It was so very good. Nice and cool breeze and good shade along the way.  It was followed up with a 1.5 mile job on the treadmill.  That was my husband's solution to my running issue I've been having.  I can increase my run interval on the treadmill but the minute I get outside it's like I'm starting from the beginning. It's crazy.  It was much better on the treadmill this morning.

After getting home, we got ready for church.  Today was the husband's place of worship. We take turns worshipping at different locations because he's Catholic and I'm Baptist.  Luckily we are both more about faith than religion so it's a good thing.  That and it being the anniversary of 9/11, it was much easier to find a parking space and seat at that church. I even got one at the door AND was able to back into it.  In any case, the service was good.  No matter how we remember this day, I think we all have to remember in the end forgiveness has to be included in the memory.

So, we came home and were both crazy hungry.  I guess our usual breakfast was no match for the 5 mile calorie burner.  Because I said this week I was going to be eating as clean as possible, I planned on a salad.  The husband made his okra sauce last night so he busted out some serious carb-o-licious masa and then rice to accompany it.  A good reason we don't share our lunches.  I can't eat like that at lunch. I would be sleepy the remainder of the day!  My salad was super delicious and fiber fabulous.

Dinner will be baked chicken and sweet potatoes, broccoli for me and corn for the husband.  Other than that, we are planning on relaxing the rest of the day and watching some football.  It should be a good day.

Have a good day and remember those who have left an impression on our lives and thank your God for them.  Peace people!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sweet Life and Sour Moments

The last 48 hours have been quite a roller coaster of emotions.

I was happily sitting here counting my blessings, playing with the dogs, lunching with a friend, and later laughing with my husband when we got a letter in the mail that brought everything to a standstill.  I freaked out. My husband remained calm (which annoyed me).  The evening ended with me yelling at him, in tears and retreating to the bedroom to think.  He left me alone to calm down.  Was that the best move?  Probably but it doesn't really matter.  I knew he was worrying just as much as I was but my reaction was a bit more dramatic.

Neither of us slept well due to tossing and turning.  At about 3:30am I realized he wasn't asleep either so we discussed the problem and tossed solutions back and forth.  We didn't come up with any and eventually we stopped fighting sleep and gave in.  I woke more calm than I could have ever imagined.  Somewhere between loosing it and the rising sun, I decided on a solution (or at least part of a solution) to the problem.  It only required me to wake and find energy to do some research and make some phone calls.  And lo and behold, the problem was not so big.

The situation is still not favorable but there is no way around it.  In fact, it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  Of course it becomes reality just as we are in a budget crunch.  But I'm a firm believer that God is always taking care of me so I guess that explains the odd calm I'm experiencing.  

I'm almost back to myself but know I will be facing some difficult times in the next month or two so I had better figure out a better way to deal.  There's only so much I can put in a blog and my listening ears are far and in between lately.  Everyone's got their own problems and I'm thinking this is a larger test to see how well I deal on my own.  I had finally learned to depend on the husband to lean on in times of stress but this time I won't be able to do that.  So i'm pulling up my old independent britches.  The ones I somehow allowed to sag over the last couple of years.  I'm gonna get through this.

Quote of the Day:  Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We're Eggs and Peas

Eggs and Peas.  Yes, that's my husband and I.  No pods and no chicken.  Just the eggs and peas.

Sometimes there are moments in my life when I know without a doubt that we had to be made for each other.  For instance, this peas and eggs business.  I've loved this particular  breakfast combination for a while.  When people find out, they readily tell me how disgusting it is.  Never mind the fact that they never actually tried it.  I tell them, yes it sounds like an odd combination but it is surprisingly good.  I was never successful in getting them to try it. 

Well, along comes my husband.  He comes along and I have the fortunate opportunity to share several meals with him.  It's no secret that I love him more than I thought I could ever love a non-blood related person.  But this morning reminded me of just one of the reasons I know we are a good pair. 

I was making omelets and he comes in and tosses a handful of frozen peas in.  We look at each and just smile. No words needed. We are both remembering the first time this pea incident happened.  It was while we were dating and he happened to be there for breakfast.  I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure what he would want to eat and it hadn't occurred to me to buy anything outside of what I normally get. I knew he was no oatmeal, cream of wheat, or raisin bran fan.  I found that out the first time I went to New Jersey to visit him and he had purchased all of these but never touched it.  I was rummaging around the fridge and he said he would take an omelet.  I was down with that and asked him what he wanted in it.  He said 'Vegetables'.  Of course this threw me. What kind of vegetable I asked.  He said anything.

I pulled out the onions, tomatoes and peppers.  I told him I usually add spinach or peas to mine.  This is when my 'he's a keeper' alarm went off.  He smiled and said 'I like peas a lot.  Add peas.'  Talk about a moment.  I was so happy with this.  I was happy with him.  After all, I had prayed and prayed and prayed some more asking God to show me a sign that this was the guy for me.  The peas was my sign!

OK. That might be stretching it but it turns out the pea incident was just the beginning of many other 'signs' that led us to wedded bliss.  I think I'm more in love now that I was the day we got married.  I can't even begin to put in words why this is or how it even happened given my previous aversion to commitment but it is.  He helps me find peace at my craziest moments. He gives me a shoulder for the occasional tear.  He refers to my siblings and parents as his own.  And ladies and gentlemen....he likes my dogs.  What more could a girl ask for?

It's a good day to bask in my blessings and give God a great big thanks!  Hope you all have found a moment of peace in your day.  Peace Out!

Quote of the Day:  Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles. ~Maltbie D. Babcock

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Cupcake Situation

As I'm sitting digesting my Labor Day meal, I'm reminded of an email I found a few days ago. I think it totally applies to my current situation. 

"I like food. I love food. I need food. I eat food. I appreciate it and try not to abuse it so that it doesn't abuse me. Have a cupcake...or don't. Do what will make you happy 8 hours from now. If eating it will make you feel guilty(at any level), it's probably not worth it. If you already have a plan in place (like eating much lighter to make up for it) have it! You know is too short to have regrets. "

This was my advice to a friend not too long ago after a 'Cupcake Situation' in the middle of her run in with the Atkins Diet.  I like to joke with her and tell her she is the worst support ever when it comes to discouraging me from making a bad food decision.  And she really is!  But after reading the above statement, I don't think I was the best influence either.  Granted, she's known me long enough to know that there is no way in hell I can honestly hold told her no.  There are some moments in life that are just worth that so called 'bad' food decision. 

In the past, I had been known to beat myself up over an overindulgent treat or two.  I saw it, I wanted it so I had it.  Later (we're talking hours and hours later) I would come to my 'healthy-minded' senses and decide that this was unforgivable.  That's what I use to do.  Now, I feel a little guilt but it has less to do with what I ate and more to do with how I figure I'm going to make up for it.  I guess it's not really guilt.  It's more frustration and viewing it as a step back.  The difference in my approach now is that I try to plan ahead. If there is a weekend breakfast with friends, lunch with my sister or nice dinner with the husband, I make sure I leave room for that particular treat. I'll have a salad for lunch to make up for a heavy dinner or vice versa.  It works for me.

When I think about what I've eaten, I don't really have regrets.  If it was good, I sure as hell remember it and know at some point I will do it again.  I learned a while ago that there is no sense in regretting what I've eaten because it is gone and there is not a lot I can do about it.  If I were one who felt  immediate regret after a bite, I guess I could just stop myself from taking another bite. But obviously I'm not one of those.  If it is good, great, or pure blissful insanity, I count it as a fortunate experience.  One that I can only hope to experience again.

I think I mentioned before that this healthier lifestyle includes working towards a peaceful mind.  If I sat and fretted about everything I ate, I would be going in the opposite direction of peace.  And I don't care what anyone says, sometimes food lifts the mood. More so if you are able to mix it with a good group of friends and/or family.  No, I don't live for food but it is a large part of my life.  After all, it is a necessity.  So, if I'm eating veggies, fruit, grains and everything I can think to be good to my body, I think I can allow myself the occasional treat. 

Cupcakes?  Why don't mind if I do!  I'll leave you now as I enjoy my Labor Day dessert.... chocolate strawberry cupcakes.  Bon Appetit!

Quote for the day: If any man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure; if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent asleep; if his fine spirits have become temporarily dulled; if he finds the air too damp, the minutes too slow, and the atmosphere too heavy to withstand; if he is obsessed by a fixed idea which bars him from any freedom of thought: if he is any of these poor creatures, we say, let him be given a good pint of amber-flavored chocolate... and marvels will be performed.  ~Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin Quotes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Year Rope

I've been looking for ways to add some spice to my home workouts.  I've been almost forcing myself to get up and do something...anything.  I'm fine once I'm in the gym but there is no enthusiasm to actually make me want to go there. I know, I know....what else is new.

Today I didn't even make it.  Taking the dogs on a walk this morning was more appealing than actually going to the gym so that's what I did. I can't say it was a real workout either because I can only go so fast with Baxter in tow.  He's older and a little less patient about the walks so we have to keep it at a good pace for him. I kept telling Sofie (who's more than willing to run) that we are only as fast as our slowest partner.  She looked at me like she understood and then rolled her eyes.  Yeah, my dog has attitude! Lol.

Arriving back home, I found my husband just getting up. He asked if I was going to the gym. I said no. He eyed me up and down and then pointed out that I had on workout clothes.  I told him I was planning on doing a DVD.  I didn't but it sounded good. Well, once he left I found myself feeling like I needed to do something so that I was not a liar.  I decided on Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds Super Challenge 4 Miler.  I barely made it 2 miles before the DVD player decided to die.  I'm still not sure what's wrong with it.  In any case, I was going to call it good and quit but decided I had nothing better to do so I may as well do something else.  I spotted my workout basket of goodies and the jump rope was hanging out.  I decided to try my hand at it.  When I purchased that rope about 5 years ago, I was just starting out. I couldn't even jump 30 seconds without gasping for air.  Consequently, I put it down and have hardly touched it since.  Well, my status is only a little better now but my attitude is better about quitting something new. I tried it and found I can just hit 2 minutes non-stop but man o' man it was tough.

How we did this as kids is beyond my adult mind.  I did some research on jumping rope and learned it is an excellent form of exercise.   I learned it works several muscles and gives the core a good working out.   If done properly, it seems to be a great workout for most anyone.  So i've decided to challenge myself by working up to a full 15 minute rope workout.  I found a workout that I'm hoping to follow.

■Warmup – 3 minutes (easy pace)

■Rest – 30 seconds

■Jump rope – 30 seconds (fast pace)

■Rest – 30 seconds

■Jump rope – 45 seconds (fast pace)

■Rest – 30 seconds

■Jump rope – 1 minute (fast pace)

■Repeat intervals – rest for 30 seconds / jump at a fast pace for 1 minute

■Repeat – 15-20 minutes

I fully expect this to take me a while to be able to jump a full 30 second fast pace without getting tangle, but I'm determined.  Wish me luck! 

Quote of the Day:  "Try something new today that is a challenge for you, and then plan on doing it again tomorrow. "

Thursday, September 1, 2011

All Purpose Yogurt

I was reading Carli's Running Into Shape post about her go with Greek yogurt.  I have to say I had the same results she did. I did not care for the flavor.  What I did like was the consistency.  It was much thicker than the regular but I still couldn't get past the flavor so I gave up on it.  Add to that I'm fairly thrifty and could not see shelling out $2 or more for a small single serving carton!  I'm use to spending a couple of bucks for a 32oz container.

I had forgotten about it until one day I was watching a cooking show (can't remember which) and the cook was showing how to use yogurt in place of other higher fat dairy items.  Because of it's often runny consistency, it needed to be drained.  A strainer was lined with a coffee filter and the yogurt left for a while to drain.  I tried it and really liked it.  I get the flavor I love but a more tolerable consistency. It's pretty awesome.

I no longer use the strainer technique. Since I only use a little at a time for recipes, dips or the occasional parfait, I just use the coffee filter in a small canning jar.  It really works out well.  If I want it really firm, I change out the filter a couple of times until I get it where I want it.  I've had some draining in the fridge for the past couple of days and decided to take pictures of the process.   

Yogurt, Filters, and a jar w/lid.

See that whey? I really don't like it!

Spoon into filter holding in place.

The lid will hold the filter in place. Leave it to sit in the refrigerator to drain for a few hours.  I let mine sit for a couple of days because I needed a very firm texture.

This is the end result.

That's about it.   Simple and easy way to get thicker yogurt.  It is awesome to use for fruit yogurt too but I generally like to add my own flavors/fruits to plain yogurt. That way I control the sugar.  I also use this same technique when I want an extra firm cottage cheese.

Well, off to bed to read a bit.  Have a good night!


I love grapes. The purples ones.  I really, really do!  But you know what? When I buy a large bag, I almost always forget they are in the crisper.  I'm down there a lot for other things that are hardly as tasty or easy. I was in there yesterday for lettuce and tomatoes that needed to be chopped for a salad, carrots that needed grating, and green onions that needed to be sliced.  Seriously, I went in there three separate times and not once looked at the grapes. 

I get home today feeling good about myself because although the heat was whispering McD's Caramel Sundae to me, I guided the car home convinced I had something just as good. I made a quick pasta salad, added some chopped grilled chicken and finished it off with a low-fat, super crunchy (a.k.a. hard) cookie.  I threw in the cookie because I really wanted something sweet.  It was not the most satisfying treat.  Later I took a much needed nap.

Well, I just got up and took out the puppies and came back really craving sweet.  I had more cookies but just couldn't bring myself to eat another.  I decided to distract myself and begin deciding on what we would have for dinner.  Well, lo and behold, I go to the crisper and the grapes almost leaped in my hands. Grapes, glorious grapes!  They were just what I needed for another hot day.  They were so crispy, juicy and sweet and so much tastier than the cookie rocks. 

So, yep. I like grapes.  Well, off to find a spot of shade and learn the game of petanque (the husband is teaching me).  Hope you all are having a good day and are staying cool!

Quote of the day:
"I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is fourteen days."