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!!