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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year's Eve Day!

And Bah Humbug - spending a weeks budget of grocery money on one night of splurging really doesn't make sense when the next day one intends to begin eating in a more healthy manner and lose weight! But I did it anyway, and my lunch driving home was hard salami and a bakery baguette. Yum.

I will probably be spending the evening alone, but just in case there are snacks; wavy potato chips and caramelized onion dip, spinach dip, artichoke jalapeno spread and multi grain baguette. There are Aussie Bites and an apple pie from Sprouts. I've been wanting this last since the past summer so I am squeezing it into the end of 2014. Not rational thinking, but that is not my forte so I beg no forgiveness.

The light traffic to and from work has been splendid, the wind has been biting and at times ferocious, and I am glad to be home and ready to settle in for a long evening. I may even assemble firewood for later to add a little ambiance to celebrate the transition from old to new year.

Dr. Fuhrman, I am yours for the next six weeks! I have the books, but this link is to a favorite blog (fatfreevegan by Susan) who lists the basic elements of his program.

So sugar and processed foods are mostly out the window tomorrow. I will use oil to roast veggies and if there are any leftover new years spreads I can use them to top potatoes.And I am trying flax milk as an alternative to flax meal since I haven't been making smoothies and my attitude misses the omega 3's. I will also continue to use honey sparingly in my evening tea - I just love it too much and will not deprive myself of that pleasure. (I will buy local organic honey as the price for this indulgence.) But the rest of processed foods and unhealthy fats are out - for me this means no bread, butter, cheese or mayonnaise in the house. Those are my comfort foods that are killing me. Literally. How comforting is that!?

One pound each of cooked and raw veggies each day, 3oz of healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado) and at lease a cup of a bean or legume or wild rice.

There are several others in my office who will be losing weight beginning in January so there will be support in all quarters which is good.

Time to have A "do" my nails - Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Drifting on the lasting effects of two tylenol pm I woke late and sleepy. Crawling back into bed after feeding the dogs and bemoaning the fact that I couldn't even move my right thumb or middle finger I watched the rest of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Bad move. In the movie Kirk hits Scotty and knocks him out and I couldn't help but wonder why the blow didn't kill him, as a similar blow had killed Joey. Not a good thought on a Sunday morning. Or any morning really but Sundays are the sacred day of rest for many of us for one reason or another and IMHO shouldn't be marred by dark thoughts. These spiraled down to even worse depths as the thought occurred to me that maybe it wasn't a clean head shot that happened first, that maybe to spare a mother's feelings they had tweaked the sequence of events leading up to his death so that I wouldn't have to live knowing he was beaten to death. Maybe I had suspected this all along because I intentionally missed the court date when they were going over the medical examiners results. Some part of me, the stronger part at that point, did not want to know the torrid details.

This dark  mood propelled me out of bed and into the arms of two fried eggs over toast. No butter. One slice of toast. I'll juice later. The hot chocolate and croissants (also filled with chocolate &  cinnamon) that were in the kitchen did not appeal to me. The sound of the girls racing on Mario Kart does, I love the sound of them playing together and hopefully I can use this to rebound out of the dark corner I'm apparently trying to paint myself into.

Thoughts are Things. Change your Thoughts and Change your Reality. "I'm right on top of that Rose."

Time for the mundane to erase the horrific. Laundry, shoes, room - lets get busy!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Into the Woods - a perspective

We had intended to go see the new version of 'Into The Woods' on Christmas, but as that plan didn't work out we are thinking about going this weekend. R has read some negative reviews, and I have friends who have commented on the singing ability (or lack thereof) of the actors and how the casting should perhaps have been done with that in mind.

I was doing the dishes (a common vehicle for insights and a drifting mind) when it occurred to me that I wanted to go to be entertained, not to examine it. I know, in some eyes an unexamined life is not worth living, but in the words of Liz Gilbert 'can't I have an unexamined lunch?" I just want to disappear into a good story, to see some favorite actors, to be entertained for a couple of hours and not think about the 2.6 pounds I have gained towards the holiday ten. Not think about refinancing the house to pay for a new roof. Not think about cleaning out my room and repainting. Not think about coworkers and what needs to happen in my (I don't think of it as ours anymore) department. Not think about my mental and physical injuries and just have an unexamined audio\visual experience that will transport me away. Sort of like what Calgon promised but never really delivered.

So in my humble opinion, it's not if we will go see the movie, but when, and I am looking forward to it. What food addict doesn't love a dark theatre and a bag (or bucket) of popcorn. I am grateful for the idea of a diversion, for the car that will get us there, and the family to share it with.

A has just informed me that her Mom is making the trifle we planned for but didn't make on Christmas once the Chocolate silk pie entered the picture. Gingerbread, vanilla pudding, freshly whipped cream, crumbled triple ginger cookies. Maybe there will be another point four pounds added to the damage before I hit the veggies. Maybe. I have cucumbers to juice for dinner.

Feels like another good day!

     The movie was enchanting. I loved it. Even the lesser of the voices were then supported by beautiful harmonies, and all had character. I heartily endorse this one, and I can tell it will eventually join our holiday classics. It is a story we should all take to heart and embrace.
     The trifle was also enchanting. This is what Gingerbread heaven strives to be like.
     Dinner was not juice, but veggie stew. I did use some beef fat to caramelize the onions and threw in a couple of ribs from the roast for flavour so not vegetarian. I have eaten more meat than usual this past couple of months and I must say I am about over it. A meatball here, a sausage muffin there, a slice of turkey and now one of prime rib. It does nothing for me. I will say the roast was tender and delicious, but I keep thinking of the cow and feeling slightly sick. Time to once again stay strictly vegetarian.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Me and Little Miss

Yesterday was full of fun, a little work, and some snuggling. A and I had the day together while her parents worked, and the day after Christmas looked something like this.

Snuggles in the morning
Streaked her hair with new pink, blue, and purple hair kit
Put away a load of her laundry from the dryer (mostly me, but she helped)
Made her eggs and toast for breakfast, I had a left over potato - YUM
Snuggled on the couch for a bit then I left her to watch Monsters U while I rotated dishes
Bribed her with gingerbread so she would drink some Shaklee Immunity (she was sniffling)
Sandwiches and cuties for lunch
Played Dress up with her new Elsa magnetic doll
More laundry (sigh, clean flannel sheets) and a freshly made bed for me
TJ's Mac n Cheese for her dinner and another (yes they were that good) potato for me

-break when her dad arrived home - watched most of Star Trek: Insurrection and snoozed

Dropped the dad off
Sang 12 days of Christmas (again) on the way home
Straightened up our mess of pillows and blankets
I ate and she tried to eat the last two tamales but even smothered in sr. cream they were too spicy for her. They were delicious. I ate them both.
Played Rummy Tile which with just the two of us took about an hour (there was lots of laughter)
Jammies, teeth and ready for bed

- the house was all of a sudden quiet - tea, the end of my movie, and a See's chocolate.

It was a really good Day :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

It's a mixed bag of feelings today. But first last night - everything was perfect from the crisp air outside alive with electricity to the cozy warmth of our home decorated for Christmas. I went to bed content, and even though I didn't sleep well or dream as I had hoped. I was ready to get up this morning once I heard A in the living room going through her stocking; she has enough energy and excitement to suck all of us into the vortex.

A beautiful breakfast, I think everyone was mostly  happy with their presents, and we are now all clean and playing and cooking. The roast beast is in the oven, the potatoes have been through their first baking and are stuffed and ready for their second, and the carrots and salad have yet to be considered. I accidentally brought home a huge roast (a story for another day) and we have hours to prepare the sides.

The freshly baked gingerbread is cooling to use later in the trifle, a chocolate silk pie is hiding somewhere, and the pudding is still an idea whose time has not come.

A is busy on the Wii, R is puttering in the kitchen, and I have just come in from a day that is both blustery and crisp but luckily not wet. I have to say I have seen enough rain for a bit.

There have been a few hard moments wishing for things I shouldn't; not making a call that I wanted to with all my heart but knew I shouldn't; missing what might have, could have, should have been and maybe is in a parallel universe.

There is a saying that everything that happens to you, happens for you. While the concept is a nice one, I can't seem to embrace it yet. Maybe it just needs more time to ferment. But I will say that I am enjoying my blessings today; the love in the house, the bit of security and bounty we enjoy. And as long as there are people filled with love and hope there will be dreams, and mine are not over yet. Maybe this will be the year I invite the world back in, or at least begin looking for my place in it again. I love being A's Grama, and having family close to hand, and working with beautiful and interesting people. but there is a part of me peeking out looking for more.

What did I say, a day of mixed feelings indeed!Oh, and it has not been a day without green juice! R picked up a couple of different blends to try and we have each had a glass. Go us! We are both on track to be healthier albeit in our different ways, and with sugar as a common enemy we should do fine. And more than fine - fun and nutritious!

There must be something I should be doing - time to go see.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

No Heels for me, please

Several years ago my sister introduced me to Katy Bowman and her Restorative Exercise Institute. She had been taking classes for a year and was out of pain. Everywhere.While I wasn't able to jump into the program as I wanted to, I have adopted many ideas from her blog and website. Losing the footwear with heels  I did latch onto right away, and I now have two grocery bags of shoes I couldn't throw away and yet also cannot\will not wear. And haven't for at least two years or longer.

A year ago this past April I injured my left achilles while helping H move and it has never healed. Largely, I am sure, due to the weight I am carrying around. When at a consult in Kaiser's physical therapy department they wanted me to put a wedge under my heel to relieve the pain and to start wearing shoes with heels. She suggested Dansko shoes as a healthy choice. Not wanting to wear heels I did buy some inserts to help relieve the pain, but can't talk myself into wearing a shoe that has a positive heel. Looking around my room for something earlier this week I found my bags of shoes and there on top were my expensive and neglected Danskos. Why not, I decided, and tried to slip them on. I felt like an ugly stepsister trying on a glass slipper. The shoe was unyielding in it's frame (can you say cast) and I couldn't stand up straight and I immediately kicked it off. No way, never again. I'll stick with my moccasins and crocs. I know the crocs aren't the best choice either, and eventually my heel will be better and I can wear the negative heeled boots I splurged on. But it was an eye opening moment realizing how much I had changed in the past couple of years just by making a couple of small changes.

The other message was  not using my trapezoid muscles for everything and I often ask myself, "Do I need traps for this?" The answer is usually no. As with most of her blog the entry is a fun and informative read and I encourage you to check out the link.

So chin pulled in, shoulders down and back without thrusting my ribs, and using the whole of my foot to walk are now more natural movements for me. I will add another good habit or two this year, or maybe take an online course. But something good is going to happen in the coming year, I can feel it.

So sidetracked! Back to the shoes, I came into my room for a little 'me' time before spending the afternoon with A and there all over my floor are the aforementioned shoes I had dumped out and have been ignoring for the past couple of days. With the exception of  my flat Vans they are all going to the garage for a brief respite before heading to the thrift store. Hopefully whomever buys them will be wearing them sparingly for special occasions only. I know, a future reality, but one worth dreaming about.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Busy as a Bee

The past couple of days have been good movement wise, but here it is 8 o'clock and I am dying to hit the sheets. In an effort to remain upright for a few minutes longer here I am blathering to the universe.

We made the last batch of treats yesterday after work. Earlier in the day I had an ocular migraine and knew from the start it might be worse than usual. Typically I get a crescent of fractured glass in the middle of one eye that expands until it outreaches my peripheral vision which takes about 15 minutes. Then I'm okay for a couple of hours and then the fatigue hits hard. But yesterday the fatigue hit before the crescent disappeared and afterwards I had congestion on one side of my head and painful pressure. Not of the intensity I associate with previous migraine experience, but bad for this type. So home to bed and rest and hydrate.

Then up to make the peanut brittle and cook the veggies for today's pot luck casserole. I need to write up the recipe because it came out nicely and I need to share it, but not tonight. Later. Today began early putting the casserole components together, then stopping on the way home to pick up the roast beast from Sprouts for our Christmas dinner, and finally home. The kids were going out to dinner and I intended to crash on the couch and finish watching a Chris Pine movie - Shadow Recruit? - but going into the kitchen to grab a ginger beer I couldn't leave without cleaning up. An hour later (peanut brittle and enchilada casserole; argh!) I did crash on the couch and when they returned finished up A's mac and cheese left over from the Rock House for my dinner.

All I want to do now is curl up in my PJ's and sleep. And why not? It's really only a half an hour or so earlier than usual. Well I've talked myself into it. Sweet Dreams.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Game, Juice & Cookies

First came the sleeping in and then came the traveling. When I woke for the second time this morning after the obligatory Sunday sleep in the girls were playing Monopoly Jr. Turns out this is a wonderful first board game for Miss A. After paying rent on her Burger joint, Museum, Zoo(?) and a couple of other properties I was flat broke and she had won the game. Very fun.

This morning I juiced, putting through the kale leaves first so we had some natural green colour for the Royal Icing that is going on the sugar cookies we are baking today. I hope it works, and if it does I will come back and post a picture later. It was fun listening to R & A prepare the cookie dough and it is now resting in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Juice Breakfast: kale stems, cucumber, bok choy, lemon, ginger, green apple, red beet and a cut of coconut water to wash the beet juice through - don't want to miss a drop! I also made a carafe of ginger water, and after pouring a cup added some freshly squeezed lemon. No, I did not add sugar or honey, I was good and really want the anti-inflammatory affects; my left hand was complaining all day yesterday and I need to FIX THIS now.

Yesterday was productive, getting all the presents wrapped that I had stashed away, but not a very good day food wise. After our home made breakfast sandwiches I had a large chopped salad for lunch followed by a graham cracker topped with a thin slice of cheddar and preceded by a deviled egg. A large potato was for dinner and I admit there was butter and sour cream involved. But not too much! In between there was some Zebra Popcorn (a measured cup) and afterwards about half a large pomegranate which I opened like this. I couldn't find the link to the young man sitting by the side of the road whose video went crazy on facebook but the method is the same. I love how easy it is without losing juice, and I can sit cross legged with a bowl and a knife while watching tv.

Today there will be more cleaning up - I absotively have to wake up Christmas morning to a clean house - and more baking and decorating and feeling Christmassy.

Between the beginning and end of this post I googled the time of the Winter Solstice today (3pm), when the coldest days of the year are historically for our region (12/21 - 12/31) and put in a DVD for the munchkin to watch. I also looked up Absotively (Urban Dictionary, not Websters) and posted it to a friends time line as we use the word at work.

Back to Work!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Morning snuggles and screams

Being Saturday I climbed back into bed after visiting the Loo. It was cold and wet outside and I decided to snuggle in and watch Interview with the Vampire; even if the casting was all wrong Anne Rice did the screenplay and I hadn't seen it in years. BUT as plans often go this one was foiled by teh six year old climbing in to snuggle. "Grama, I love snuggling with you" she whispers as her arms go around me and my arm snakes out to change the channel. After some snuggly good mornings had passed between us we settled on watching the finale of Master Chef Junior that we had taped earlier in the week as it runs past her bedtime. She was very excited about the winner, but not so enthralled that she didn't jump up in the middle of it to show off Elfie who was zip lining it from the antlers to the Christmas tree in the living room by hanging on to a candy cane hooked over some red ribbon. That Elf gets into more mischief!

R went grocery shopping last night and picked up the ingredients to make breakfast sandwiches this morning. What a difference from what one can buy driving through for fast food. Freshly prepared sausage patties, muffins toasted in the oven with cheese, baked eggs - this is what a breakfast sandwich should be, not some bit of fluff that can be wolfed down in a minute but a sturdy meal that you have to actually chew and therefore savour and that actually fills you up and leaves you satisfied. I could go one step further and do the food costing, but we can't compete price-wise with the largest purchaser of sausage in the world. Besides, you can't put a price on a lovingly prepared breakfast at home.

While R was cooking A and I went through her flash cards; the goal is for her to be able to read and write the numbers one through twenty before she goes back to school next year. Winter break is upon us, and I have two days to be available for her daycare.

Yikes! Screams of blood from the hallway had me rushing out to investigate. "Daddy broke me!" is the summary she declares in the aftermath of losing her second front tooth. Mom is patiently scooping cold water into her mouth to rinse the blood away, and Dad gets a thumbs up for a job well done. Apparently she had been biting him on his arm when the tooth broke free. Almost. Mom finished up the job by pulling  out the precariously hanging tooth the rest of the way. I have visions of tooth fairies in the near future; I wonder if I can set a trap in her room tonight, or if  Elfie will somehow help with the exchange of tooth for silver. Ah, the exciting details of life!

My original thought when signing on to write was that I really needed to be alone after having spent the whole of my morning with A. In between everything we did she was either hanging or pulling or elsewise attaching herself to me like glue and I was in need of a break. At the last I grabbed her in a bear hug and swung her around singing, "I'm an old old woman, and I need to rest!" She was laughing as I put her down and guided her out my bedroom door, only showing me a brief frown as she turned to aim her abundance of energy elsewhere. But now I find myself simply grateful for the reminder that I love being with her, being part of her growing up, and should enjoy every bit of attention she is willing to give me. Because it goes by so fast, and there is no way to guess how much longer I have with her and the 'Rents. I love them all and don't begrudge a single crazy moment of us all living together.

See, a very short step from exhaustion to gratitude, it's all about the mindset. I will remember that as we go through the day together.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A good Day

As is my wont lately, I awoke late and rushed through getting ready for work. This meant that A and I were both in the bathroom brushing our teeth together and it was fun in a comradely sort of way. Just being girls getting ready together.

The first stop was her school where we sat in the front row to enjoy the Kindergarten Christmas recital. Four different religions were represented, and the children were fun and bright. A was center stage, standing by herself with a microphone, and led the first song acapella with the confidence tempered by shyness that made for a wonderful performance. She rocks. It's looking good that she might have a voice; lord knows she has genes from many lines, maternal and paternal going back generations, that may stand her in good stead when it comes to singing on key. Unlike me whose generation was skipped in this particular department. But still lots of creative energy and it was a fun way to begin the day.

On to work with a quick stop for Decaf and a biscuit, and a short day punctuated by a quick shopping trip to order the Roast Beast for Christmas dinner. While at Sprouts I picked up an avocado, a kale salad mix, and some coconut water. I was determined to eat a healthy lunch and I did.

My one piece of chocolate at work was dark, covering an orange marzipan center. Rich enough to last the day, I thought at the time.

Dinner was a potato covered in left over roasted veggies; who knew white beets and potatoes would be so good together! And as always the roasted carrots were sweet and carmelly. I did sit a bit while watching an old movie, The voyage of the Unicorn or something, but was up as often as I was down and accomplished enough to feel good about it. I am sure I am only one of billions who are tired of doing laundry - I mean really, enough is enough already.

Off to check how the daughter's caramel is coming along that she is making to take to her co-workers\friends at work. She is like her maternal grandfather in that way, and has passed the gift of making friends on to her daughter which makes me very glad since that talent also skipped right over me

One small bite of the homemade peanut butter cup still hanging out in the kitchen and I am done for the day with the exception of my night time tea. Tomorrow is my christmas party at work, lunch and bowling, then finally home to rest before the craziness of the weekend. Wrapping, cleaning, baking - it all needs to be done this Sat and Sun - good times when you have the help and company of a six year old. One, I might add, who is about to lose the second of her two front teeth; it is barely hanging in there and we expect it to fall out tomorrow.  Such exciting times!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mush for lunch

Ugh. While the flavour is still wonderful, the left over rice and asparagus dish has congealed into an unappealing mass of green and white mush. That's what I get for using a packet of commercially prepared rice from the freezer instead of home made wild rice.  At the time it was the healthiest option for the time I was willing to spend in preparing dinner. This weekend I will be sure to make a batch of wild rice and freeze it in packets for similar situations in the future.

BTW - did you know wild rice is a seed, not a grain?

It's interesting that I don't feel very creative when blogging at lunch from my desk at work. It just feels like more work somehow, so while convenient to spend this time writing, instead I will get up off my ohwahzoo during lunch and save the writing for mornings or evenings at home. After all, the point of writing is to spend some quiet time with myself and reflect on the day and encourage myself to be accountable and present; I can't do that here.

Not to mention that the point of lunch is not just to eat but to add some movement, and get out of the 90 degree position of the workplace.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rain and more Rain

Arriving home only faintly damp I have the kettle on for tea and I am enjoying the sudden quiet of three dogs who have ended their caterwauling by  plunging their snouts into their dishes of kibble.

Here is the weather forecast, which I felt compelled to share because it is the new state of affairs around here. Wet. I love the cool nights - they make for better sleeping conditions - but against all common sense I wish the rain would hold off for a day while I find and install the rubber rails that are missing from my car. Driving with a pool of water at my feet is neither fun nor conducive to a good mood! And apparently the packing tape with which I effected temporary repairs is not as waterproof as I had hoped.
The sad part is that we did have a day this weekend past that was dry, but one look into the garage and a quick hunt for the bag in which I know the rails to be left me discouraged and I simply added another layer of tape to the offending gaps along the roofline of my car. I was hoping it would hold me until the storms had blown through and I was in a better frame of mind to tackle the garage, but no.

Instead I will claim credit for the massive amounts of water falling from the sky since obviously the constant rain is intended as a personal inconvenience to me. Because yes, I am that much the center of the universe and all things of importance pertain specifically to me. Now I just have to figure out the lesson behind rain in my car.  Harrumph!

The locking of the keys in the car

I feel like I am having an affair with the little old man who comes to break into my car each time I lock my keys inside. He has been to my office, a friends home and now twice to my home. But he doesn't remember so it doesn't count. Finally on my way to work this morning I stopped in at Lowes and had three keys made; one to hang up at home, one for the bottom of my lunch purse, and one for the hide-a-key box that sticks to the bottom of my car but was mysteriously empty this morning when I needed an extra key. Let's see how long it takes me to contrive a situation where none of my preemptive precautions are useful.

Eating delicious left over Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes in vegan gravy for lunch; warm, filling, nutritious. Win, win, win. And I guess the deliciousness part makes for a  fourth win! The lack of colour in my bowl makes me think I should roast some reds and oranges for dinner tonight; maybe onion, red peppers and carrots and have it over a potato (R brought home a 10# bag since it was the same price as a 5# bag). But as always it will depend on how busy the house is, how long it takes me to arrive home (another long hour last night with the rain and a big rig on fire) and how much attention A needs. After all, Christmas is coming you know!

This is where I stop and remind myself it's okay to spend time on myself, and throwing some veggies in to roast is only a matter of minutes. I hate to think of myself as lazy but all evidence seems to be to the contrary. I will make dinner tonight. Last night dinner was an orange, most of a bag of popcorn, a large jalapeno stuffed green olive and a piece of homemade peanut butter cup. Then  in bed and hungry at ten I finished off the last of the strawberry ice cream no one was eating. What was it I wanted to do? Eat for nutrition? Ha!!

Lost for a minute staring out my office window (a blessing that window) at the bright bits of blue sky between the white and greys of the clouds and not really thinking of anything at all. Was that meditating? God knows where I just was.  But now I am back and thinking that  we have had more rain in a week than we have had for probably the last two years combined. Or at least it seems that way. And let me say it is hard to become used to the change. Not enough sidewalk drawing and too much tv for sure. I would make an excellent bear when it comes to eating and hibernating.

Lunch is over, back to work. Set in place are my good intentions for another four-win meal at dinner.

I am worthy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Baby it's cold outside

No, we cannot throw a glass of hot water up into the air and have it come down snow; this is not Minnesota thank heavens. It's only in the 50's but there is a freezing breeze that cuts like a knife and we are inside today. Mostly. There was a brief excursion out to watch the roof getting a patch of tar to hold us over until I can have the roof repaired, but it was very short.

We made macaroni and cheese yesterday using the organic quinoa and corn noodles, some freshly grated sharp white cheddar & parmesan off the block, and the last of the pre-shredded Mexican blend that was in the fridge drawer.  The last of the half & half plus a little organic milk  provided the moisture and a couple of handfuls of crispy onions from TJ's topped the casserole dish.  Different but delicious and I finished the left overs for breakfast and lunch today.

Dinner is sizzling away on the stove; a large saute' pan of Brussels Sprouts that I first toasted in a little left over bacon grease and are now braising in the last of the chicken stock and some magic mushroom salt.

A and I got about half of the christmas tree forest up before my back started screaming last night, and my hope is to finish it this evening. There are some presents wrapped and under the tree, and the mantles are done except for the hooks we need to hand the stockings. I miss my traditional hats, but I gladly give way to my daughter's traditions - they are the ones with the six year old that is so excited about christmas coming she is constantly making presents and can't sit still for more than a minute at a time.

The box of Sees Chocolates we brought home from the party on Friday is about half gone, and the box of goodies from our neighbors is almost finished. It's sort of a mixed blessing having a couple of sugar junkies in the house to keep me from hogging everything!

One holiday of the three down and so far no weight gain. I can and will get through this season without adding the holiday ten to my girth.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I believe in Christmas

Last night R and I went shopping and then to a Christmas party thrown by one of the clients I have at work. It was nice pairing up faces to phone and email contacts and spending some down time with co-workers and even the boss. The catered dinner was nice and it felt good to have a glass of wine and chat and laugh. There were a couple of discussions I ignored because that is the polite thing to do when you are at a festive occasion and someone is spouting their particular opinion assuming everyone else must feel the same when in fact that is rarely true.

So let me just say now that I am not a Christian, I do not believe that there is only one path to God, and my definition of God is probably not very close to what other's believe. That being said,I do believe in Christmas and the power we have given to the day December 25th. For me there will always be love and presents and a christmas tree and family and candy and eggnog. There will always be a christmas eve where I can stand outside with my eyes closed and tap into the energy of billions of people feeding the global connection we share with peace and love and sadness and frustration. It is a night of potent feelings and the electrical storm is fierce. I love this night, it has always been more than special, it is a wondrous yearly bookmark that shows the potential we all have to be our best while hoping for the unattainable. Other times of the year I have my doubts that the human race can ever overcome the violence we continue to display, but this one night I am able to believe that every single one of us has a spark of goodness no matter how deeply buried  it may be. On this night hope is paramount and any traces of lingering despair are swept away by grace from the heavens.

I am so grateful for this world; for the beauty, for the love. And while I could do without the pain, it is a separate entity living inside of me just now, alongside but not diminishing my gratitude.

Time to putter; the dogs need food, A needs to go shopping, and R needs to take me to where I left my car last night - too tired and tipsy to drive myself home from the party.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Almost two hours to get home from work today; bad accident and the freeway was a parking lot all the way home. Luckily I had thrown my audio book in the car so that when my shuffle ran out of tracks I had the next disc with me. 'M' showed me a picture of the accident once I was home; a tossed and crumpled car upside down in the middle of the FWY; so much for getting home safe for that poor soul.

We all forget to count our blessings as often as we maybe should, and instead of being mad because I was stiff and tired on arriving at home from being stuck in a tin box in one position for so long, I made a cup of calming tea and lay down to stretch and watch an episode of Forever. Once my appetite returned I opened a can of Amy's organic lentil soup for dinner; a must have mainstay in the cupboard even for someone who doesn't want to eat processed foods on a regular  basis, and now I am full and ready for bed. My mission - to stay up until at least 9pm so I am not up at o'dark thirty again tomorrow.

Busy day at work; lots of old year end & new year beginning prep to do for those of us who crunch numbers for a living. Better busy than unemployed and broke. Better to sit for hours in traffic than to sit for hours wishing I had a job. It's all about perspective, and for small mundane things like traffic I don't do badly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Forging Ahead

Well I avoided mirrors most of the day, and kept busy at work in my office trying not to make too many treks down the hallways and keeping out of sight. They're a good bunch, it was more for me than fear of anything someone might say about my hair or lack thereof.

Once home A and I headed out for a quick trip to the Library, then home to dinner and more decorating. We pulled more boxes from the garage and by bedtime Santa and his reindeer were on the mantle with pine cones, various porcelain and fir trees, and a couple of white birch. I love the mantle at Christmas. Tomorrow we will finally get the Christmas Tree forest up, tonight there was too much dusting and unpacking and it took it's toll. A is so anxious to have it all done, and it's a little infectious, but I know better than to do too much and deal with the back pinching consequences.

R brought home Greek food, a salad for me with Feta and olives - yum. I love to cook but lately I just can't \ won't be bothered. I mean, if you cook you have to clean, and I'm just not into that right now.

Tired and ready for my tea and bed. A good movement day for me, but I did eat a brownie. Shame. Or not.

Monday, December 8, 2014


I would scream except that I am so mad I can hardly breathe. When I say a trim I mean a trim. If I show you with my hands exactly where I would like my hair cut then that is where it should be cut. Not, 'Oh, let me blend it in a little here, you have so much hair' and then proceed to butcher me. ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  (Too mad to find the exclamation mark on the keyboard I had to come back and add those.) I am so pissed off; I am not a boy, I am not a boy, I am not a boy. Just an ugly old woman with a man's haircut. OMG, I didn't know if I wanted to cry or punch her - maybe I do have too much testosterone. And when I said, 'Oh no, you cut it all off, I only asked for a trim' she tried to say she had cut it exactly like what I asked for. If by blend you mean several inches than I suppose it is partly my fault. Bitch.

Deep Breath. That was uncalled for - she did the best she could with a difficult customer. If at almost 60 I cannot explain what I want and get what I ask for then I deserve a bad haircut. The problem is that I have had a life time of bad haircuts. I feel exactly like I did at 12 when the neighbor cut my hair in almost exactly the same way and I did cry; she felt so bad which of course made it worse. Her and her sister added mascara to my lashes and told me how pretty and fashionable I was. While I loved the attention which was pretty much lacking elsewhere in my life it did nothing for my self esteem or boyish good looks.

God help me I am a mess. After a shower and putting away a counter full of clean dishes and trying to blow my hair into a semblance of femininity I am sinking quickly into despair and need a lifeboat. I should never have gone for a haircut today. I was too emotional this morning, had a hard day, and there is a holiday party coming up this Friday. Where I will look like a boy. Because I do not have a pretty face that can get away with a short short haircut, I am overweight and puffy around the cheeks and my eyes disappear when I smile.

It is time to dive under the covers with a movie, one that is an old friend that I can love and laugh and disappear into for a bit.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oatmeal in my Blueberries

It was a foggy sunday morning and the oatmeal was calling. I know from experience exactly what to do when this happens. So I made one serving,  and \while it was cooking I heated up about 1.5 cups of frozen blueberries, chopped a handful of pecans, and got down the brown sugar. Once the oatmeal was done I stirred in the nuts, berries & sugar then added a scoop of ground flax meal. This combination will hold up better and I won't have the old energy crash straight oatmeal instigates. In my defense I added less sugar than I normally might have and no maple syrup.

My friend Cindy has a sugar free challenge going on out there, and I keep trying but it's hard when I forget more often than I try. On a positive note I naturally used less sugar so at some subconscious level I was aware of the sugar = poison equation that is floating around in my head.

After reading Sean's post this morning I am more determined than ever to quit the poison. I want to feel the difference, I want to expunge the cravings. He also mentioned in a response to my comment on his post yesterday that we each need to find the things that keep us accountable and stick to them. One of the things he does is post every day; like me he is a writer and this is a strong tool. But I need to be more consistent; no goals or demands, just doing what I love every single day in order to stay motivated. Sean and I are very different in our methods, but we share words, and I know I do better when blogging every day - which is why there were so many November posts - so for December I'll keep up with the trend. More writing and movement incorporated with less sugar and salt sounds like the ingredients for a successful recipe!

Today I am pulling all the lights out of the garage, and the kids will be bringing home the Christmas Tree. Maybe this evening we will put up our wall of trees too. Here is a sampling of the 2007 Christmas Tree forest.

And the tree that started it all is below in the middle behind a reindeer.

Yikes, time to get to work before the sad sets in!

Wrap up:
Lunch was the last of my homemade veggie stew and dinner a large chopped salad of romaine, kale, cauliflower, chick peas, raw sprouted pumpkin seeds, kalamata olives, parmesan and oil & vinegar dressing.  3/4 of a large honey crisp apple was an afternoon snack.

The Christmas Tree is up and bejeweled, there are outside lights burning bright and merry and adding to the neighborhood's cheer, and a filthy but good natured six year old soaking in a warm bath.  And Kaylee even got a bath this morning and the house got a good vacuuming. A good day.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sage, Rosemary & Thyme - the trifecta of aroma therapy

For the Thanksgiving bird R made an herbal butter to season and baste him as he was roasting. She didn't use it all, and this morning as I began cleaning up the kitchen my eye spotted the small blue ramekin of left over butter we hadn't been able to toss out and I was inspired. Into the pot it went with cubed new potatoes, carrots, onion & bok choy (always a good go to if you're out of celery!) The veggies should sweat enough to keep it moist, or maybe I will add stock and turn it into a stoup or soup, but in any case I know it will be delicious.

Update: Added peas and a slurry of veggie stock and cornstarch to make gravy. YUM! Lunch it is.

The house now smells of holidays and comfort and security all going up my nose in cathartic aroma of peace. Someone should bottle this and put it in one of those small automatic air freshener canisters to use as a pick me up during the cold winter months.

I'm not sure if it will be lunch or dinner, not that it matters, and a wonderful treat on this day that I would like to accomplish much. Which was my reason for going to get a large decaf coffee earlier this morning. I never get a large, it's very intimidating. But I have much to do and can take a tylenol pm with my sleepy time tea this evening to be sure I sleep. I am once again feeling smothered by all that I have allowed to pile up in my room and it has to go. Today. After I clean the kitchen, which is just a matter of rotating the dishes and wiping down the counters; nothing major but I always feel better afterwards.  Then back to food, my other meal will be juice. I've noticed that my arthritic thumbs hurt less, and I'm moving a little bit better. My guess is that it's all the ginger I've been ingesting between the juicing and the ginger/lemon water I drink.

I am a hoot this morning with my leopard leggings and floppy white tea shirt, wool socks and crocks. I have turned into the older woman my younger self would have been embarrassed for; "hey, if you ever see me dressing like that just shoot me would you?" But comfort and size limitations combined this morning to create this caricature of myself, and i'm finding it rather funny and somehow liberating. Of course it helps that the Fam is out to breakfast and no one else is here to judge except the dogs.

I'm done cracking myself up --> back to work!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Worst. Nightmare. Ever.

My daughter had just given birth a few weeks earlier and I wanted to take the baby with me down to friends where I was going to spend the day and go to a soccer match or something with them. The friend's house was beautiful and a real friend from waking life. The details are already fading, but in the end I had to take the baby on an emergency trip to a Dr's office. After the exam the Dr. suggested 5mg of Methotrexate because the baby wasn't responding well. I said no, isn't that a chemotherapy drug?  Then I reached into the left ear of the baby (still don't remember if it's a he or a she) and pulled out an extra ear lobe with I gently pulled free. Blood streamed across the baby's face and head and the Dr. said that must have been what happened on the other side and why he was so concerned. He took the baby to 'take care of it' and after a bit I saw him in the Doctor's lounge cooking up lunch. When I went to ask about the baby he handed me a platter of cooked chicken. I spent the rest of the dream trying to demand answers because I was going to have to explain to my daughter what and why this had happened to her baby. Not that I felt it was unusual about being handed the platter, but that it had happened so soon and that my daughter had planned on nursing for six months. She was never going to trust me with the baby again! O.M.G.

What a fucking nightmare!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Extra Credit

A and I have been doing some extra credit in her weekly homework packet.  And I try to keep up on what flashcards she needs and making them available to her, though lord knows we aren't using them here at home as we should.  But her daycare giver, lets call her P, had suggested she have them available so there they are and hopefully they come in handy. I'll have to make a point of going through them with her on weekends when we are not all so burnt out.

So those things and reading and our library trips are my contribution towards her education, her imagination, and most importantly her self esteem. Because the best thing you can do for a child is to give them your undivided attention. Really look them in the eye and connect; a flashing of your first two fingers between your eyes and theirs is also very cool these days - a combination of Avatar's "I see you" and a way to make sure they know you are theirs and visa versa. Was it the critters in Ice Age that started that? Anyway, she loves it right now so we overuse it a bit. But it's still cute and funny and more to the point a way to seal the deal when making a connection.

Backing up a bit, my dream this morning was crazy and to the point of yesterday's rant. I had gained access to a set of dog tags that were absolutely vital to 'solving a case' and I had to keep them safe. I was running from my ex-hubby's old girlfriend, at the time a known manipulator as most addicts are, and I couldn't keep away from her. She was California Ninja Girl and I was scrambling fat old nobody. In the end I tried flushing them and she just laughed knowing she had won, and I woke up. There are feelings of frustration and inadequacy and a nod to how incapable I am of fantastic feats right now peppered all through the dream. There were of course lots more details but that is the jist of it. The universe is just screaming at me right now. Get your act together, you can be worthy, you can be so much more. Just screaming.

After a week of abstaining I drove through for decaf and a biscuit this morning. I did finish up yesterday's juice for lunch and plan on drinking lots of water and tea this evening. I know I'm writing a lot of nonsense etcetera lately, but I need to stay on top of myself, keep my head out of the water, and bolster up my good intentions so that they lead somewhere other than hell.

So how does this all tie together? Well, I do more than I give myself credit for, even in dreams, and I need to hang my star on those good deeds and not dwell on past failures. As do we all, I know I know, nothing special or unique here, but some of us need reminding more often. Crazy to see what I think of as normal just heading around the corner in front of me and not being able to quite grasp the trailing edge of it's sleeve and hang on. One day I will, this is my journey towards that end.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

More early morning thoughts on how to live a life

Shane McConkey - I watched this movie yesterday afternoon and was just glued to the tv. That's me, living vicariously through another's adventure. This is one human who really had a bead on living. Elizabeth Gilbert once wrote something like, our human experience is how god lives through our hands ... okay had to google and find it - here it is, Anyway,  my point is that the universe should be filled with more like Shane who really connect with the environment on a personal level, who really live their mortal life with such joy. It seems that he got it, got that we are here to live and not just exist. He is my balance in life, I have become a sitter. I would rather be a doer.

I was pulled out of bed this morning needing to see his memorial eagle up in Squaw Valley. Needing to stay with the energy and idea of who he was and what his daughter is doing and how his wife is faring. I love her bravery and how she loves and supports him even though he has moved on to 'the next beautiful place'. And I can't help but compare him to Joey, and wish that same drive and sense of adventure could have steered him away from his untimely end. But Shane had it in his blood from his parents. And here I am back at square one blaming myself for something that was not mine to control. But I could have been a better influence, I could have lived as a better example. Damn I hate the truth. Damn damn damn and damn.

And not a better example for him, but a better example of me. I was always so sure growing up that I was a 'good' person. There is still a kernel of that in me - I think that is what I refer to when I mention getting my 'muchness' back - like Alice did in Wonderland. But I have never had a dream to follow; well, my writing, but you can hardly call this writing. Maybe that is still to come and this is the work. I could deal with that.

Yes, I have a rich fantasy life.

So riding the edge of guilt this morning, and yearning for that perfect wave to take me forward to find myself. To make choices that will lead me to that inner kernel of perfection that I know I am, that I know each of us can be in our own way. I had an interesting conversation with J last week about loving things. That when you love something you don't have to work at it, you just do it because you love it and it doesn't matter if it happens to be hard work. It would just pull you along begging for your time and attention and then you would become great at it and the universe would find a way to reward you for it.

Sherry McConkey (his wife) said in an interview that Shane would prepare for hours before each jump, that the camera never caught how much he put into research but only filmed the actual event. I think she wanted us to know how hard he worked at gaining his joy. But I still envy him, that he knew what he wanted and went after it. Because when you love something that much it isn't work, it's living, and we should all do more of that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Raining cats & dogs

This morning I woke to rain pounding down outside, it was early enough and cold enough to snuggle in and finish watching the movie I had fallen asleep to the night before. Then up and dressed and juicing; cucumber, lemon ginger, bok choy, carrot & green apple. And a small handful of blackberries rinsed out of the juicer with some coconut water. I do like bok choy much better than celery in my juices, I must say.

At well yesterday, even if dinner was left over sweet potato casserole after a handful of chips dipped in half an avocado that I had smashed with garlic and salt. No pie, no gravy, no dressing - all of the leftovers are now gone.

So out in the rain with my lunch bag full of juice, a towel in case the car was wet inside (a rain story for another day) and a mug of pear ginger white tea. Driving to work was nerve wracking, we have been in drought conditions so long we have forgotten what it is to drive in a downpour. An hour to get to work, which is much better than wrecked, then dark and chilly arriving at work first. 8:30 and it's foggy and grey and wet outside. Oh for a fire and a book - but thoughts are real too, no? So really working is the dream and I'm really basking in the warmth of a fire readying of some new far away adventure.  Really :)

Back to work for the wicked! So grateful for my work, my car, my warm clothes and dry boots I cannot regret this one bit.