Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mom's Mess

Mom and I didn't like each other. We tolerated each other because, well, I think we had to for some unwritten reason.

Mom didn't like that I was so close to Dad, who had divorced her when I was in Junior High School. I was always very close to my father. She went so far as to one time state that "That relationship is unnatural!"

In the summer of 2007, my youngest sister Grace, by far, my mother's favorite child (Parents everywhere please admit you have a favorite child, at least to yourselves!) went to see my mom on her way back home from a vacation trip. Grace called me when she got home and said, "We have to go and help her. That house is a wreck and it's too much for her to handle any more." So ok, we planned Labor Day weekend we would light out for the 400 mile round trip visit to go help Mom clean house. We had 4 days and it was a 4 room cabin. How bad could it be?!

Sweet Baby Jesus!! What a mess!

It was beyond clutter. It was truly filth. I have never had to deal with such a state of disarray in my entire life. To make matters worse, she didn't, couldn't, wouldn't see it until her precious special "baby" pretty much rubbed her nose in it. We finally got through to her and started in, but it was a daunting task and we actually only got two of the four rooms cleaned in four days. FOUR DAYS.

Mom wasn't well physically at that point either, although just how seriously ill she really was wouldn't become evident for another couple of months. Her back was giving her no end of grief and we tried like hell to do all the heavy lifting and real grunt work. We told her over and over, "Just sit down there and be the Director".

We both worked our asses off and then slept on the ground in a tent at night. Yeah, there was no room in the cabin for guests at all. We also bought all the groceries while we were there and cooked and cleaned up on a day to day basis.

The last day we were there, Grace had taken off to dump yet another load of garbage (load 15 or something, remember two rooms?) and I was in the kitchen washing more dishes. Mom came into the kitchen and was idly fussing with something.

I sure wish Grace didn't have to leave today.", she said. "She's such a hard worker."

Somehow I didn't scream.

What Have I Been Doing?

Well, I have been off of work since the 18th of December and really been soooo lazy!  And loving every minute of it.  I have kept up with the housework, gone to my WW meetings, researched loads of recipes, found a couple new blogs to entertain myself.  Oh, if you haven't already, you have to check out The Pioneer Woman!  Talk about a great blog.  Enjoying that immensely.  And of course, Ree, the author of said blog, has friends who become your friends, etc, etc. 

I made a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.  Hot Damn, that is really good. 

I bought 2 bottles of inexpensive Balsamic Vinegar ($10.00 a bottle, but it was BOGO).  There were 2 cups in each bottle and I put them, individually, in a sauce pot and slowly reduced them to about 1 and 1/3 cups total, so its really sweet and syrupy, but its still vinegar and NO POINTS!  Hot Damn!  Great on everything, fish, seafood, pork, beef, STRAWBERRIES!  Try it, you'll like it.

Fatty McFatPants Reporting In

Well, Weigh In yesterday found me up 3.4 lbs.  Ouch.  Of course, I didn't give that much thought when I was drinking my Eggnog and Amaretto!!  Damn that stuff is good!! or eating Roast Beef with Garlic Mashed Potatoes (but no gravy.  I DO have my limits!).  So back on the Program today.  I still have some eggnog in the fridge, I am going to try and ignore.  Its good until March sometime, I think.  Wonder what people would say if I had an Eggnog and Amaretto to celebrate St. Paddy's Day?  Oh, I know, green food coloring!! 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all! Well, it has been a quiet day as we planned.  We did not exchange gifts...well, hubby got me a gizmo for my IPod.  Other than that, nope.  But I am going to make us a good dinner with Roast Beast, Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes and heavy on the veggies.  It sounds really good to me.  Tomorrow is weigh in and I know I am probably blowing that, but what the hell...It's Christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thinking of Dad

When I was growing up, my father was a business agent for the Operating Engineers Union.  He was the voice of the man in the copper mines in Arizona and his job took him all over the southern part of the state. 

One year, there was a massive strike going on and it was getting close to Christmas. Dad had to drive to Ajo, about 150 miles away, to distribute Strike Checks to all of the mine workers and, because I was out of school for the either the weekend or holiday break, I got to go with him. 

When we got there, everyone met us at the Union Hall.  I remember it was a sad place, but no one was complaining and the sense of unity was palpalable.  These men knew what they were doing wasn't supposed to be easy in the short term, but was necessary for their long term livelyhoods. Every one shook Dad's hand as he handed them a check for $15.00.  I will never forget the amount of that check. 

One man came in, grabbed his check and lit out like his tail was on fire.  Dad asked a few questions and finished handing out the remaining checks, then looked at me and said "Let's go Sis, we have something to do before we head home!" 

So we left and Dad started driving around this little neighborhood, looking at all the houses, searching for an address until he located the place he was looking for.  "Let's go and see some people", he said.  We went to the door and knocked and the man who had come to the meeting and left in such a hurry answered the door. 

"Hola Jose", that was about the extent of my father's Spanish, and Jose's English wasn't much better.  I spoke some Spanish and Jose's kids spoke English fairly well, so they both pushed us in front of them to translate. "I hear your wife is pretty sick", my Dad commented to Jose.  "Si, Mr. Bill, she lost a baby and has been having a hard time.  The other kids help, but its hard.  I couldn't stay for the meeting, she needs me to be home and help with all of this."  He waved his hand around and as I followed it, I saw more kids.  There were at least eight.  The house was small, was probably company housing, if not then it was at one time.  Jose's wife was bedridden and you could see the kids looked lonely and scared. 

My dad reached in his pocket and pulled out another check.  "Jose, they told me you were having a hard time of it down at the Union Hall.  I want you to have this".  Jose took the check but he didn't look at it, he thanked Daddy and we left.  

When we got home that night, Dad and Mom went back to their bedroom for a discussion.  Its where they always went to talk when they didn't want us kids to know what was going on and, around Christmas time, there was alot of meeting in the bedroom!!

They were only in there for a few minutes and Dad called us all into the living room.  He proceeded to tell my brothers and sisters what we had seen in Ajo and how bad off Jose and his family were.  Then he said, "I got paid before we left for Ajo today, but I didn't have a chance to go to the bank.  After seeing what Jose and his family were dealing with, I signed my paycheck over to him.  Now we are not going to go hungry and our bills are paid and the roof is in good shape.  It may not be the biggest Christmas that we ever had, but it will be the best."

It was.

Day at the Movies and Follow UP on the Follow Up

Hubby stayed home today so we could go to the movies together.  How cute?! Kinda threw me a little, he's not normally one to even suggest such a couple thing, much less take time of to carry it out. 

So I got him up around 8 am, then we went to breakfast and afterward the movie.  Early Bird movie special $15.00.  Not bad.  We saw 3D Avatar.  It was wonderful.  The story line was predictable, but the effects were mesmerizing and I found myself reacting emotionally to some of it.  Wow, thats all I can say.   After the movie, we went and got passport photos taken, then went to the Post Office to drop off our passport applications. 

Now, the downside of all of this.  First off, movie popcorn.  I stuck with a medium, which is huge, but I got it Buttered.  I know, I know.  I will regret that.  But being as this is like the second movie I have been to in 15 years, I am not going to get to wrapped around that particular axle.   And I did stick with a Diet soft drink. 

And the other negative is the Hubs is a pain in the neck!!  He has absolutely no patience, hates lines, bitches about everything... As we were STANDING IN LINE to submit our passport applications, all I could think of is "Where are you going with this grouchy butt head that you need a passport for?  Are you going to pack him in a suitcase and send him in the cargo bay?" "Go by yourself and he can follow later". 

I mean really!!

Now that soup... Like most soups and stews, it was better tonite than last nite. I mean really better, like I ate 2 bowls.  I am going to hate myself in the morning!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Follow up on Soup

Ok, so I made the soup and, frankly, I was unimpressed.  It was hardy, tasted ok, just didn't wow me.  Son in Law liked it, granddaughter not so much.  Hubby said needed more heat, but he says that about everything!! 

Next up, stuffed collard greens.  Hey, I will try anything once.

Oh, and about the snake pic.  That was a little (about 1 ft) snake we found in the yard.  I actually like snakes (I pretty much like all animals).  When you live in the "Wild West" you learn to appreciate all the critters.  If we didn't have snakes we would have bigger rodent problem than we do and thats already bad.

I have had a number of "pet" snakes over the years including a Reticulated Python that reached 17 ft before we donated her to a zoo!!  However, I don't want to freak anyone out or keep them from reading so if even pics of the beasties frighten you, let me know.

Hurray for Today!!

I am happy to be here today.  Not necessarily blogging, but just breathing in general. 

I love early mornings.  I have been up since 4:30 am.  OK, ok, even for me that's a little early, but I have gotten so much done.  I put my last load of laundry in the washer before 6:30 am!!  How productive is that?!

In the mornings in Arizona, the birds are singing.  We don't have the really cold weather alot of the nation does so the birds don't leave for warmer climates, most of them anyway. So the doves still coo and the wrens and sparrows sing their songs for anyone up early enough to catch the morning serenade.  I don't feed them, it attracts unwanted visitors here, like coyotes and bobcats.  If you bring in the prey, the hunters will follow!!  Not a particularly good idea.  And then there is the javelina, that while herbivorous, are tremendously destructive. I love our wildlife, but I don't want them in my yard.  I am not afraid of snakes.

I don't know what I am going to do with myself today!  I have all day to do it in!!  Just have to figure out what it is. 

Maybe I will just take a long walk.  I have mapped out a path around the neighborhood that I think I can handle without killing myself.  Its quite a distance, but its only partially uphill as opposed to the other direction that is uphill all the way and I am not quite ready for that yet.  Kills my poor old knees.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weigh In and What's on the Menu

Weigh In went okey dokey.  I was down .4 which is tolerable.  I was talking to hubby earlier and realized I haven't gained, or even stayed the same since I started with Weight Watchers.  It's been a steady gradual decline in my weight and I am grateful for that, especially because I am not always the best at eating what is good for me.  My next goal is my 10% and that is looming.  I would like to speed it up, but with the holidays, I kinda doubt thats gonna happen. 

So what's on the menu...?  Tonite, I am going to do Jumbo Prawns with Lobster Stuffed Portobellos and Wild Rice.  Asparagus on the side.

Tomorrow, I am making Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens.  This sounds so stinking good.


For 10 servings

1 pound Italian-style turkey sausage
1 tbls Olive Oil
1 medium Onion - chopped
1 clove Garlic - minced
1 large Carrot - finely chopped
1 cup Lentils - Brown lentils
15 ounces chicken broth - one can
4 cups Water
15 ounces stewed tomatoes;
1/2 teaspoon Thyme - crushed, dried
2 teaspoons Rosemary - finely minced fresh
2 cups Red potato - one large, 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups Kale or collards - rough chopped
1 pinch kosher salt - to taste
1 pinch Red pepper - to taste


1. Put the sausages in a soup pan with the olive oil; brown on all sides over medium heat. Cover the pan and cook, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Pierce the sausages and let them drain a bit in the pan, then remove and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into thin slices. 2. Put the onion, garlic and carrot into the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the lentils, broth, water, tomatoes, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. 3. Add the potatoes and continue cooking the soup, covered, at least 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. 4. Stir in the sausage. Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add 3 cups of greens and cook and additional 5 minutes. 5. Adjust seasoning with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Serve garnished with a garnish of greens on top. I made sourdough garlic bread with this and it was delicious.

Adapted from recipe by CeCe Sullivan of The Seattle Times. Each (1 1/2 cup) serving contains an estimated: Cals: 213, FatCals: 54, TotFat: 5g SatFat: 2g, PolyFat: 1g, MonoFat: 2g Chol: 24mg, Na: 627mg, K: 690mg TotCarbs: 26g, Fiber: 9g, Sugars: 4g NetCarbs: 17g, Protein: 15g Analysis does not include the garlic bread

Not my recipe (obviously) nor my picture.  I found both on   I am going to do a little tweaking, like I can probably do without the olive oil,  but I don't think much will be necessary.  This is a good diabetic recipe and that usually means its a good food. 

Later this week, I am going to do Dirty Rice Stuffed Collard Greens.  I will take pics of those.  Got that recipe from Food Network (the Neeleys). 

And Christmas dinner is going to be a rotisseried roast with garlic mashed potatoes and a yet to be determined vegetable. 

Doesn't sound half bad!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pre Holiday Happenings

Well, you know its been too long since you posted when Blogger make you sign in again!!  Jeez!

This is such a crazy time of year.  We are so busy at work.  We close down for the week beginning Christmas eve and don't come back until Jan 04 this year.  And of course, everyone wants everything done before close down and they all waited til the last minute! I leave the job just exhausted. I need to make sure I am taking my vitamin.  I am so forgetful about pills.

Then there is FOOD.  Guy brought in homemade Baclava today.  Cripes!!  Then we all went to lunch and had Mexican food.  I didn't do too badly, had a shredded beef burrito (about 3/4 of a huge one), but it was just the burrito, not a combo plate, so no rice and beans.  Lots of chips and smoking hot salsa.  I wish the heat from that sauce would crank off a calorie or two! That shit was so hot, it would have been a negative calorie intake.  Good stuff.

I did lose last weigh in and am down a total of 16.2 lbs.  I don't know how I am doing it, except not eating dinner.  Damn, by the time I get home I am usually still full from whatever we are noshing at work or too tired to think about eating.  I can't keep this up, but tomorrow is my last day of work until the 4th of Jan (yeah, I take some vacation days in conjunction with the shut down.  It's a nice break) so the temptation will be gone after tomorrow.  I will survive!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I just took a pic of myself in the mirror and DAMN I look like hell!!  How did I get in this bad of shape?  I have been so hard on my body, its not even funny.  People have been commenting that I am losing weight and everyone says I am doing so well.  Well, if I am looking good now, what the hell did I look like before?  Just wow!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thinking too much

I have heard a number of people say "I don't want to think about this so much.  I have food on my mind all the time! I want to live normally!".  The only thing I can think to say is 220 lbs is not normal!!  Or at least its not the normal I want.

When I quit smoking, quitting smoking was the only thing on my mind.  Every minute of every day for the first 3 months I had to recommit to not smoking. I have to make the same commitment to the weight loss.  And frankly, I don't spend all that much time thinking about it.  I plan for my week and then I stick to my plan, good little robot that I am.  If you are planning meal to meal, or daily, it might be harder.  If I plan weekly, I really only think about it when I am planning.  I can actually log my points a week in advance and know what I am in for for the week.  I just have to COMMIT.

Yesterday was the first "real" Weigh In for me since Mom died.  I was down .2, better than I was expecting. Between Thanksgiving and catered wakes, I figured I had gained some.

Then I got soooo sick.  I went out to breakfast and had an omelet and it did not sit well at all.  When I finally did toss it, it was a welcome relief.  I hate to retch like that, it makes my entire body ache, but I was glad to be rid of whatever was causing my stomach that much misery.  So points yesterday were 0!  Nothing stayed down long enough to count.

This morning I feel much better.  I just ate an egg and a couple slice of bacon with an Orowheat Sandwich Round.  Good Stuff.  Happy tummy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reading and Cooking

I am so loving everyone's posts. TJ's Test Kitchen and Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit keep me coming back for different reasons. I love TJ's simple joy at accomplishment and Jack's humor. And that's just 2 of the multiple blogs I read regularly. I will follow the cookie crumbs in their blogs to others on occasion, just because I can. It's fun!!

I have gained a few pounds over the last few days, no doubt. This is a bad time of year for me because I love to cook and I get all caught up in the potlucks and cookie clatches. And it's hard to cook and not taste!! And a taste is rarely enough. Case in point: Stuffing Frittata. Just the name is fattening! But, man, was it good!

There is a good recipe site that has numerous Weight Watchers™ recipes. It's not just WW™ recipes, but all kinds. Find it at If you love to cook, I think you will love it. I am not being paid to endorse this, I just really like it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where do the days go to?

Today I celebrate 31 years of marriage.  I can't believe it.  A minute ago, I was walking down the aisle and then I blinked.  Wow! 31 years were gone!  I love you, Honey!! Well, most of the time, at least.

How's Chili Cheese Dogs with onions sound for an anniversary dinner?  That's what we had tonite! 

Sara Lee Whole Wheat White Hot Dog Bun - 2 pts.
Hebrew National 98% Fat Free Hot Dog   - 1 pt.
Boca Chili 2 tablespoons                             - .5 pts
1/4 cup 2 % Mexican Cheese Mix                - 2 pts
Onion (big Zero pts) 

For 5.5 pts for one dog, it was really good!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving come and gone.  Didn't do too bad.  I haven't gone for an official Weigh In since my stepmother passed away, but I am watching it on my scale at home and am doing ok.  I guess maintenance is ok under the circumstances.  I will get back into the routine next Saturday, go to a meeting, take my licks (if I have any coming) and get back in the business of getting rid of some more of this lard. 

I stuffed another turkey yesterday (two on thanksgiving, one yesterday).  I could go into business.  It came out pretty good.  We will have leftovers which is what its all about.  I will have to be very careful here because I can eat me some turkey sandwich!!  One of my favorites with cranberry sauce and "real" mayo.  and lots of salt.  I am gaining weight just thinking about it!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Well, Thanksgiving has arrived.  Folks might think we don't have much to be thankful for this year, but we are immensely grateful for many, many things.  We lost people that we loved dearly, wonderful parents whose love was unconditional and always supportive.  But I am grateful that we had them to begin with.  While I am hurting over their loss, I can't imagine what life would have been like without them and, I know that the pain is the cost of loving like that.  Its ok.  

We had our traditional turkey stuffing party last night at my parents house.  It was kind of odd without them, but also comforting to do things we have always done as a family.  So two big turkeys went  into the ovens (double oven) around 6 am.  I am making mashed potatoes at my house and will take them over right before its time to eat.  I am also making some asparagus as we never seem to have enough greens on the table.  

I hope that all of you have a wonderful day.  Don't eat too much, but enjoy everything that you eat.  Take a moment to reflect on the things you are grateful for.  You can always find something!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holding my own

Good Morning!  Its Monday and I am off for the week.  I always take Mon thru Weds off on Thanksgiving week.  It is traditionally a family time and this year is no different.  We (my brother and sisters along with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc) will celebrate one last Thanksgiving at my parents home. Then I will also make a turkey with all the fixings here at home so we have leftovers, cause lets face it, thats the only reason we have Thanksgiving anyway is cause we love the leftovers!!

I am doing ok with the weight, all things considered.  Saturday we had a memorial gathering at the parents house in honor of my Stepmom.  My sisters employer catered it for us and, of course, it had to be Mexican food.  And good Mexican food to boot!! Even eating a mazillion mini chimis (fried burritos) I haven't gained anything.  I just don't want to let it get out of hand.  I know that I am in control (or not!) and thats the one thing that is going to keep me on the straight and narrow.  If I do screw it up, I am only hurting me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Well, What to Say?

Still here, still plugging along.  Weigh In today as up .6 in one week.  Not bad considering the crap I managed to consume this week.  Nachos?  Are you kidding me?  Not one serving, but two?  Puleeze!
And then work group Thanksgiving pot luck with turkey, dressing, potatoes, 3 different kinds of bread, etc, etc, etc.  I did not over eat, I did not get uncomfortable full, but I managed to try a little of everything.  And it was all quite good (I made the scalloped potatoes).   If I can maintain thru Thanksgiving, I will be ok.  We don't make a big Christmas dinner or anything, so not alot to worry about there.  I just have to pace myself.

One big problem is feeding my grief.  Food has always been a "friend", one that brings great solace in times of discomfort, emotional turmoil and stress.  At least I am aware of this and that gives me a little bit of an edge and allows me to, at the very least, question myself when I go to put something in my face.   If I really want something (nachos anyone?) I want to make sure I know why I am eating it.  Unconciously feeding my grief is not good.  Indulging myself because thats what I want at that moment is marginally more acceptable. The first I can get lost in, the second, I have some control over.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Losses and Gains

Well, we lost my wonderful stepmother Thursday morning.  Advanced lung cancer.  It took her quickly and now we must find a way to keep moving forward without our beacon.  We will do it, but it really sucks. 

Oddly, I am now the "matriarch" of the family.  I feel like an old elephant!  I thank God we are all old enough and well established enough in our own lives that we don't really need more than a symbolic leader. 

I also lost another lb. this week, at least on the house scale.  Only one weigh in today and its at 7:30 am.  Not gonna make it.  

Also on Thursday, I was notified I passed the U.S. Customs Brokers Examination and am now eligible to become a Licensed Customs Broker.  This was a grueling test, 80 questions and 4 hours to complete it.  Then wait 7 months to find out if I passed.  Kinda bitter sweet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another week has come and gone.  Weigh in was great!  -2 even.  I like it, I like it.  I did good all week, 2 little pieces of Halloween candy, no biggie!  And didn't really miss it.  I don't eat candy unless it's sitting right in front of me, so I just avoid that and its all good.

Still on the Mom care band wagon.  Rotating between her home and mine and lets not forget about the job.  My poor husband is always the one neglected. I know, he's a big boy, but it bothers me. I love him (despite the fact that he's generally a pain in the tukkus).  Went grocery shopping after WI.  I need to work on this plan.  I don't normally eat breakfast on Saturday because of WI, but man, if I am going to the grocery store, I am going to have to make a pit stop.  I buy everything in sight when I am that hungry.  I am still shopping OP, but too much of everything and not thinking about stuff spoiling, etc.  And when I get home, I am ravenous!!  Hubby grilled me a hamburger today (God, I love Arizona!) and it was a great filling lunch and not unreasonable in the points department with that 96% lean beef I have found.  Good Stuff Maynard.

Try this, mix a little sriracha sauce with your mayo (light or otherwise) for sandwiches and burgers.  Nice little kick.  

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Losing Loved Ones

Today I post from my stepmoms computer.  Its 10:30 in the morning and she is sleeping.  I have spent the last two nights here as she can no longer be left alone. We are all just kind of waiting for the inevitable. 

My stepmom, Nancy (Mom), and my dad were childhood friends/sweethearts. Mom contracted polio when she was 15 years old and never walked again, paralyzed essentially from the waist down.  She and my father maintained a friendship throughout the years.  I remember going to her family's house when I was a small child and her coming to see my dad and my bio mom when she was in law school.  Yep, she was an attorney.  She has been in my life a very long time. 

After my parents divorced, through a series of twists and turns, we all wound up living with my dad.  My sister, just younger than I, got pregnant shortly after.  Nancy Mom had just purchased a house that was much too big for just her and had signed up with the county to take in unwed mothers.  My dad, of course, knew about this, and being a single male parent who's job kept him on the road alot, he asked Nancy to take her in.  In the course of my sisters pregnancy, my father would go to see her and take Nancy money and over the months, Dad and Nancy rekindled their relationship. 

My sister's child was born in December and was placed for adoption.  Within a few months, my father asked Nancy to marry him and she said yes.  In October of 1973, this wonderful, exceptionally intelligent woman, married this really messed up man with 5 wild kids.  We have all been madly in love ever since. 

My father passed away in April, 2 days before my birthday, and we have been losing Mom by the inch since.  Her strength and desire to go on fade daily.  It takes alot of effort to lift oneself bodily out of a wheelchair and into a bed using only your arms.  When you have lost what little strength you have and every breath is a chore, it becomes harder and harder to wake and face another day.  Another day without the one you loved all your life and your own health fading by the minute.

I have been here since Friday afternoon.  One of my sisters will be here shortly to let me get away for awhile.  I can't stop crying.  This year has been so God-awful!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weighty Issues

Entered Onederland today!! Woohoo. Just dipped a toe in, but I like the temperature of the water, so I think I will take the plunge. Loss of 1.8? (I don't have my book with me)to 198.8, but seriously, I am thrilled. I was looking at a graph of my progress and my goal, and it seems so doable. I am impressed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

12 hour day today

Too tired to blog!! On plan. That is all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Working on the blog

Ok, so I decided to see if I can do a little housekeeping here.  Stay tuned.  Oh, btw, on plan today. Did good.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eating At Work

God, I hate Monday!! I know, don't we all, but I seem to hate it with this visceral hate that I can't seem to figure out how to compare to anyone else's Monday. Like it does any good, they just keep coming and as someone so astutely pointed out, when Monday's stop, generally so does the rest of the week. Guess I should count my blessings.

Man, I really ate alot today. I didn't do bad on points, but I didn't eat really good food. I had too much in the morning. I am finding that I eat like there's no tomorrow at work. What's with that? I don't do that at home. Its not like I don't have shit to do!! Its like I watch the clock to see when its time to eat my next "whatever" even if I am not hungry. I am going to have to get a handle on this. The good thing is, I don't eat dinner, so I can get away with this for the most part, but not sure it's good mind set, and the goal here is health, mental as well as physical.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What I Cook When Dinner is Ruined

Next to Mexican Food, I love Chinese the best. I could eat Pork Egg Foo Yung until I popped.

Yesterday, around noon, I put on a pot of pinto beans that I planned to have for dinner. We love beans and corn bread (no cornbread for me, of course). The house smelled so good all afternoon while I slowly cooked them, adding a couple of pork ribs a couple of hours before they were to be done. When the approached the "almost there" stage, I took a little out of the bowl for final samples and BLECH!! They were horrible! Tough, with skins like leather. I don't know what the hell happened, but we were not eating those for dinner.

So I called for Chinese. Don't you know the closest place delivers? Pork Egg Foo Yung, Kung Pao Beef and House Fried Rice. Yum and Yum. I thought I was going to explode when I was through. It was like I hadn't eaten Chinese food (or any food for that matter) in a month. I ate like a horse.

Even when I wasn't eating to lose weight, I always hated to gorge. That uncomfortable fullness when one has eaten too much just doesn't do anything for me at all. I understood from a fairly early point in my life that I should eat for my stomach and not for my mouth. And last night's Chinese food orgy was strictly for the benefit of my mouth because my stomach was miserable.

On a brighter note, I had saved up quite a few points for dinner anyway because pinto beans are not exactly easy on the old points either. So I had 14 points going into dinner. And when I got up this morning and weighed myself (I don't normally weigh daily, but I needed to know what I had done to myself) I was down about 1 lb. Go figure.

So my lessons are: Chinese food is probably not a healthy choice for me because all concept of portion goes out the window. One should never try to eat 14 points in one sitting. None of this matters the next day!! Woo Hoo!!

I really want this week to be a good one. I have a doctors appt. on Friday for a follow up to a physical I had done in July. Our medical care is provided by Uncle Sam (hubby is retired Air Force) and they are really pains in the ass about weight. I want to impress the doctor with at least a 15 lb weight loss since I saw him last. I think he was skeptical that I would take if off. One way to get me to do anything is tell me I can't!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weigh in today, down .8 for a total of 11.2. Still haven't broken that magic 200 yet, but next week, I am sure!! And as long as the scale is still showing downward movement, I am ok with that.

I was just doing some recipe searching and blog reading and it dawned on me, "Wow, girl, you are really serious about this"! And I am.

When I was taking care of my mom, I put every available minute into learning about caring for her, what to feed her, how to make her more comfortable, etc. I have never dedicated that much time to myself. It's time I give me some proper time and attention.

I started with the quitting smoking. Now that I have that out of the way, I can take care of the weight. And it's fun learning all of these new things and new foods and different ways of handling the issue. Research and discovery. I feel like a scientist! Now, that's a scary thought!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fiber is good for my digestive tract, not so good for the air quality around me!

Well, I had good intentions to post daily and yes, I know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe they should use that on some of the roads around here, bet wouldn't have so many potholes!

Actually, its all good. I have stayed on track without problem. I am weird in that I don't like dinner during the week. I don't want to cook it and I have no interest in eating. After a long day in the office, I want a beer and an hour or two to just relax. To add to this blissful picture, hubby feels the same way!

So I eat almost all of my points at breakfast and lunch. If I have a really good lunch, today was rotisserie pork loin, spaghetti squash and a bit of couscous, then I am usually still way full come dinner time. I do not eat at all after 5 pm.

So, I may or may not post until WI. I think I am going to use this more as a, God I hate the word crutch, but that's what it's purpose will be, to support me when I am flagging. Right now, I am doing pretty good.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yum, Steak tonite!

How's this sound?

1 1/4 lbs very lean Skirt Steak

1/4 c Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbls Olive Oil
1 tbls Chopped Fresh Basil
1 1/2 tsps Dijon-Style Mustard (Do you have any Grey Poupon?)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar

Combine all the marinade ingrediants and add to a Ziploc bag. Add your steak and let it marinade overnite. Grill to medium rare perfection. 4 oz = 4 pts. With a baked potato and asparagus. I can die happy now.

Life Goes On

You know, I started of writing about my year of caring for my mom and this morning I was going to write about my relationship with my dad, but I don't think that's where I want this to go. In Life gets Teejus I start out by saying life has really sucked for the last 2 years, I was very serious. But in order to not dwell on it, I will just recap.

Mom died 01 Jan 2009
Dad died 06 April 2009
MIL died 06 Sep 2009

And, unfortunately, I don't think we are done burying the elders yet this year. My adored step mom is not doing so well and I have an 80 year old step dad.

My older brother committed suicide in November 2006.

My family has sort of an odd perspective on death. We don't do elaborate funerals, we'd be much more prone to throw a party. As my step mom says "If you don't love and respect me when I am alive, what good can come from standing at the edge of a grave weeping?"

So we let them go and we move on. My doctor is sure I am depressed. I guess I have every right to be, but I am not so sure. I weep easy, but I always have. I think that's just me. I laugh every day (I have some wonderful co-workers) and I have no wish to withdraw from the world nor do I see doom and gloom everywhere. I do wish everything would slow down a bit and let me catch my breath, but that's about it.

I am cognizant that Manic Depression affects my family and I believe that it contributed to my brothers death. I know what to watch for, as does my husband, and while I am sure he thinks I am crazy as a jaybird, it's not a true mental health issue for me.

The picture is an old cabin near the graveyard where my husbands parents are buried (yeah, they are not quite of the same persuasion as my family is. The wailing and gnashing of teeth is somewhat of a cultural tradition). The house is obviously hand hewn and very old. It just spoke to me on so many levels. Every time we drive by it, I feel an urge to stop and acknowledge it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ok, I have to stop. I am hurting so bad from laughing at Mr. Sh*t's blog. And I am not even current yet!

Anyway... WI today, woohoo!! Down 1.6 for a total of 10.4. I will take it. I didn't make a mini goal to break 200 lbs, but within 1 lb and I will enter onederland. I can't wait.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I just want to sleep!

For unknown reasons, I am sleep deprived. I wake up at the screwiest hours and once awake there is no going back to sleep. The doctor prescribed an anti depressant that acts like a sleeping pill to be taken "as needed". Well, how in the hell am I supposed to know if I am going to need it in 6 hours?

I work what is called a 9/80 work schedule. What that means is in a 2 week pay period, I work 44 hours the first week and 36 hours the second, which give me every other Friday off. Its very cool!!

Unfortunately, my husband does not work the same schedule and has to work every Friday.

Which leads us to the reason for todays vituperations. Damned man cannot get up in the morning without waking me up. So get this - he literally grunts and moans on his way to the crapper first thing, then he make all kinds of bathroom noises!! Shortly after that overture, the shower goes on.

Now, you are probably thinking, get over it and you are mostly likely right, but it doesn't end there. He has to come back into the bedroom and turn on a light to get dressed by! HE WEARS A STUPID UNIFORM. ITS THE SAME COLOR EVERY DAY. CAN'T REALLY MESS IT UP. WHY DO YOU NEED TO TURN ON A LIGHT?!

We have had this arguement so many times its stupid and he just doesn't seem to care which makes me even angrier. And then HE gets mad! Ok, now hear this, if someone is righteously pissed at you because you fucked up, you have no right to get mad because they are mad. That is inappropriate. Be contrite, be sad, be apologetic (or not), but damn it, don't be mad.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pondering on childhood obesity

I was just thinking about being a fat kid and how did that happen? We grew up in semi rural Arizona. We played hard, I mean really hard, outside all day unless we were sick. I could climb the highest cottonwood tree in the neighborhood, I wrestled with my brothers, rode bikes through obstacle courses that we made up (and they were tough). We were always banged up, scraped up, cut, stitched, bruised and very, very happy kids. And we were always hungry!!

We always ate breakfast and that was a good thing. Mom made us breakfast, hot in the winter, cold cereal in the summer and it wasn't generally sugary crap. Sometimes it was pancakes or bacon and eggs.

Lunch was usually a sandwich, 3 cookies and a piece of fruit. We didn't eat school lunch very often because of the cost. And they weren't terribly nutritious either!!

We usually had some kind of snack when we got home from school to tide us over til dinner.

Dinner, wow, what can I say? It was generally fried in Crisco. What part of it? All of it!! It wasn't that my mom didn't want to make different things, it was that my dad was King of his castle and dinner would be to his liking, SO THERE!! And his liking was chicken fried steak, french fries with gravy and some horrid vegetable that came out of a can. I hate canned veggies to this day!! Let's not forget bread and butter was served with every dinner. Dinner was served promptly at 5 pm and you had better be there and you had better clean your plate. Hungry or not, like it or not, eat everything on your plate.

My dad never hesitated to tell any of us that we were fat. Maybe not bluntly like that, but the result was the same. At the same time, the King of His Castle insisted that we subsist on the most God awful diet in the world.

We were active enough that none of us should have ever had a weight problem. We not were not picky eaters for the most part, we were just not given good food choices when we sat down to the table. So all of those calories that I burned playing so hard every day were insufficient to counter the french fries with gravy that I was being served for dinner.

Parents, you are responsible for your childrens diets. Feed them all day long, just feed them good things, veggies, fruits, lean proteins. Encourage them to eat when they are hungry and do something other than eat if they are not hungry. Fat kids grow up to be fat adults.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weigh In this morning. Back later

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Life gets Teejus!! (tedious) Part 2

The first order of business in taking care of Mom was to try and get her kidney function under control. She was placed on a "renal diet with potassium restriction". No bananas, no potatos, no tomatoes, WTF? Worst for Mom was no Chocolate!! I am a good cook, but really!!

But I did it with the help of a great web site dedicated to all those poor souls out there that suffer from kidney disease. Of course we all at the same foods until I started getting horrible cramps in my feet and an RN at the hospital told me it could be a potassium deficiency and she had no idea that we were even eating potassium restricted at the time.

Not long after, Mom's kidneys decided to behave themselves and we got to start eating like real folk again.

We both lost alot of weight throughout this process. Mom lost over a hundred pounds in about 3 months. I lost about 30 in the same time frame. I was so stressed taking care of her that eating was usually an after thought and I was too tired to make much of an issue about it. I couldn't leave her to run up to Taco Bell or McDonalds and I don't like pizza enough to order it obsessively, so I just did without.

Once her kidney function was restored, we started to treat the cancer but the treatment was really hard on her and while the survival prognosis was "good", as broken as her body was the quality of that survival was questionable. We talked about it and decided to stop the treatment and make the best of the time she had left. And boy, did we!!

I baked, I cooked seafood, we grilled steaks. Mom ate like a queen. She never gained an ounce back but it wasn't for lack of trying. I, on the other hand, DID! We also got our hair done, got manicure/pedicures, went for lobster dinners (in the middle of the AZ desert!) and LIVED. That was the best. The picture here is a galette (fancy for pear tart) that I made. We had a great six months together.

Then in November, things started going downhill. Mom started exhibiting signs that the cancer was taking over. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, she ate a turkey dinner with her brother, kissed him good night and went to bed. She basically never got up again and passed away on the 1st of Jan 2009.

All of this is pretty unremarkable, except Mom and I got along like fire and gasoline. I was the only one of my siblings in any position to deal with her so I got the responsibility. The only thing I regret is that we really never learned to get along. I am sure she loved me in her own weird way and I loved her enough to make sure the last days of her life were the best they could be.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Life gets Teejus!! (tedious) Part 1

For the last two years, my life has been pretty damned crazy. I would say it sucked but not all of it and not all of the time, of course.

2008 got off to a bang starting actually the day before Thanksgiving 2007. That was the day my mother came to live with my husband and I. She was extremely ill, with kidney failure, Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs or mini-Strokes), anemia, numerous compression fractures in her spine and we would find out the first week in December that all this was caused by a form of cancer called Multiple Myeloma. She was married but my stepfather didn't (doesn't) have two brain cells to rub together and there was no way I was leaving her with someone that kept telling her she needed to "get better and come home and fix me dinner!" Just wow!!

She was released from the hospital I took her home from on the day before Thanksgiving at around noon. Imagine if you will, driving 260 miles with a sick woman in your vehicle. She is in pain, wearing diapers and on oxygen. You smoke like a chimney and every time you light up, you are waiting for the car to go "whoosh"! The trip will take you thru Phoenix, AZ that has a traffic problem on the best days and you will hit there just about rush hour on one of the worse driving days of the year. You had the hospital call all prescriptions in to the local Pharmacy (I am so smart) so all you have to do is pick them up. We made it through this hell to arrive at my home about 6:30 pm. The pharmacy closed at 7 and would not open until the Friday after Thanksgiving. I threw the scrips at the hubby and sent him to Walgreens to pick everything up. There was at least 10, I think maybe even 15, different meds she was supposed to take. I got her in the house, got her cleaned up and into bed while waiting for him to return. Ahh, but on his return..."What the hell! Do you know she didn't have any insurance? Why didn't you pick up the phone when I called?" OH, yeah, he was not a happy man!! I forgot to tell him that yes, I knew that she had no insurance (I didn't hear the phone). $500 dollars in meds later...

She spent the next couple weeks in and out of the hospital. I absolutely hate hospitals but I went with her every time she went. I learned how to give shots, assisted with enemas, cleaned up vomit, fought doctors and nurses who think they are demi gods, and basically got one hell of an education in a very short period of time.

Before I go any farther, if in this post or any future posts, I say anything bad, which I am sure I will, about my husband or my job, that I think they are both a godsend.

I want you to know that my husband is the greatest man ever!! He never got along with my mother, from the first time they met, but he was my rock through the 13 months we cared for her. He works in a job with rotating shifts and voluntarily stayed on swing shift the entire time. He would get up each morning and fix Mom her breakfast and bring her the paper which let me go to my job from 6 am to 11 am and then come home and work the rest of the day from home (Laptops are the greatest!!). Then, when he got home, he would check on her at night before he came to bed or give her meds if she needed them to allow me undisturbed sleep whenever that was possible. Because of this arrangement, we were able to make sure Mom was never left alone for more than a few minutes at a time.

Which leads me to the job. My employer was great through all of this. I was allowed to work half days at home for 13 months. I was out of pocket ALOT, nothing was ever said and I never missed so much as a dime on my paycheck. I work for a very family oriented company despite its size (very, very large company) and I will be eternally grateful to them for their policies toward their employees during times like this.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Best Tacos on this or any other planet

OK, I am so stinking proud of this. Folks, meet the TACOS!! Luscious Mexican Food treats fit for royalty and 3 points per taco or 8 points for a 3 taco serving.
Here's the way we roll around here:
2 lb. 93% Lean Ground Beef (raw) If you can find leaner, use it.
1 cup finely diced potato
Salt, Pepper, chili powder, fajita seasoning, garlic powder (to taste)
24 small (4") corn tortillas
4 tbsp canola oil
3 cups iceberg lettuce (shredded)
2 cups chopped tomato
1 cup diced onion
1 pound low-fat colby cheese or 4 cheese mexican style cheese
1 cup salsa
Add finely diced potato to ground beef along with spices and cook over medium heat until meat is browned but not dry and potatoes are softened. Set aside.
I use Arizona Brand White Corn Tortillas for Tacos and Tostadas. These are 4" tortillas and are 2 for 1 point. If you can find something similar (really thin 4" tortillas) they will probably work.
In a deep sauce pot heat 2 CUPS of canola oil to very hot. Oil should be rippling, but not smoking. Fold tortillas into taco shape gently so as not to break the bottom (the thin tortillas make this easier) and holding from the top with tongs dip rapidly into the hot oil, making sure all of the "taco" gets a bath and remove immediately.
Lay on a cookie sheet, overlapping the next shell on the last one, until all 24 have had their "bath". If this is done right, and the oil is hot enough, if you measured out the oil, pour it back into whatever you used to measure it with (let it cool first) and you should see that the tortillas didn't absorb more than about 4 tablespoons of oil. You need the entire 2 cups for depth in the pot only. Leftover oil can be reused, might have a slight corny taste.
Fill shells using a normal serving spoon. Each shell should take about one ounce of meat. With my spoons, that's about 1 and 1/2 spoon of filling per taco. Do not over fill tacos.
You may have meat left over or you might be short just a little depending on how much you filled the tacos. Play til it works for you.
Put the tacos in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and crispy. Bottoms will stay soft and pliable so you can open them without breaking.
Fill with Lettuce, etc.
This recipe is for 2 dozen tacos because that is what 2 lb of ground beef will make. Freeze any left over meat or use it in a taco salad the next day. Making half the recipe should not affect the Points.

First Ever Post!!

Hey, wow, this is a new world to me! I am not unfamiliar with blogs, just never imagined I would be posting in one of my own. I never even so much as kept a journal, much less BLOGGED.

I am 53 years old, a woman, wife, mother, grandmother and full time employee with a job I mostly hate. I have two ugly stinky pugs (its the nature of the beast) that keep me on the fringe of lunacy most of the time. I will write about them more as time goes on. They are entertaining. I will also post of husbands, kids, siblings, work, and life in general.

The primary goal of this is to keep give me an outlet that will help me accomplish my weight loss goals which, at the moment, are pretty nebulous. I want to lose, I am losing with the help of Weight Watchers, but I haven't set a numberical marker out there that is going to tell me that I made it. I think this is going to have to be more about the trip than arrival at the station. I have been reading and enjoying other blogs (Leading the Weigh, You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat, De-Puffing Pixie, TJ's Test Kitchen among others who will be named as I get around to them again) regarding weight loss and other life journeys, so thought this was a brilliant way to talk things through with myself and maybe make some sense of all of this.

Like TJ, I like to cook and will try to post the occasional recipe. I will even try to do it with pictures!! (I am sooo brave, I can't stand it!) I am working on one at the moment for Tacos. I love Mexican food (seem to be a theme amongst the more zaftig of the weight challenged) but mostly my own. I grew up on the Arizona/Mexico Border and was weaned on the best Mexican food in the world. Nothing quite compares and I am hypercritical about crappy Mexican food.

My next favorite food is Chinese. So if I only ate out, you could see I would be doomed. There is something to be said for poverty.

My favorite beverage is Miller Lite. Sorry Carlos, that Bud can is lying to you!! I always manage to have a few points left at the end of the day. I would often rather skip a meal, than miss a beer. Not sure what that says about me.

I think this might be a good start for my first post. Stay tuned for Tacos.