Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The one where I am supposed to say "I'm Gonna..."

Starting tomorrow, I'm gonna.... 
Wait. 
I am not going to start changing tomorrow. What's wrong with today, or with a few days ago which is actually when I started making the changes that I want to carry over into the new year. 

EVERYONE in my family made ham for holiday dinner, we had ham on Christmas Eve here at home, on Christmas day my aunt made ham and (oddly enough) fried catfish...not sure when she started that tradition, lol! We also went to my older sister's on Saturday and SHE made a ham as well! 
If I don't see another ham for 6 months I will be perfectly fine with that! 

I am still craving salads at home, especially after nibbles here and there of all the holiday food that has been around, I just want something lighter and my tummy is having all sorts of troubles. I think the tummy troubles are from the increased amount of sugars that I have been eating. I usually only have sugar in my coffee in the mornings, but like I said before, a cookie here and there and a sweet there and here....you get the idea. 

The problem with craving salads in the winter is that nothing is tasting right to me, even though they grow all of the out of season items either in greenhouses or import them from somewhere, they just aren't as good when they are out of season. Maybe its just an idea that got into my head, or maybe they REALLY aren't as yummy, but either way...they don't seem to be as tasty. 
My salad solution is to go to the fresh market up the road, they have a great salad bar there. Maybe its because its organic, or maybe its because grocery stores have better vegetable storage methods, I don't know, but I have been stopping by there every couple of days and making a salad. Prices aren't too bad either, it ends up about 5.00 for a salad that will last me for 2 meals if I pair it with soup or a slice of bread. (They also have a great soup bar!) 
The salad bar is also nice because I can add grapes on the side and since it is super fresh, I don't need any dressing at all with it....none, high fat, low fat, or otherwise...none! 

Yesterday was my beau's 45th birthday. He has been having a hard time since his mom passed, all the 'firsts' are getting to him so I have been trying hard to make things extra nice. We went out for lunch on Sunday, just the two of us, and then went to see The Hobbit. We stopped and got a salad and soup on the way home. My sister also insists that we all get to go out to eat for birthdays but we elected to just stay in and we ordered pizza to be delivered and she also got him a cake for after dinner. 
I had to go with to pick out a cake for him because he is allergic to coconut products, chocolate cake is his favorite, and most chocolate items contain coconut oil. We picked out a fudge layer cake and everyone ate a small slice ...it was tooth numbingly sweet! 


I got my new baby fix on Saturday as I got to meet my new nephew. He is such a good baby and put up with myself and my brother's fiancee fussing with him, it was the first time she got to see him too, there is nothing like that new baby smell. Funny thing is that my niece cannot figure out what all of us old ladies are talking about when we talk about the new baby smell...she said she just smells a clean person, we tried explaining that its not a clean smell, its a NEW smell! Just like guys dig the new car smell I guess! 
He doesn't have much hair, but what he does have is red, more of a strawberry blond, not surprising since there are quite a few gingers in my family. It might change though, my youngest daughter was the same when she was born but is very blond now. 


Call a cab tonight if you have the need, there are many companies offering free rides to those who may have celebrated a bit too hard. 
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. 
Take care and love yourself! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Food=Love=Food?

There was a commercial I saw on t.v. a couple of months ago, and it bugged the heck out of me every time it was on and every time I think about it...it was Nestle Tollhouse. 
The commercial opens with a teenage girl mooning over a picture of a boy and asks 'Can you heal a broken heart with a bundt cake? Of course you can!' As it shows the loving mother bringing in a slice of cake topped with chocolate chips. 

Please don't misunderstand me, I know they are just advertising their product in the quest for the almighty dollar, but I find that the older I get, the more I hate the mainstream media. Actually, I hate a lot of things, the MSM, GMO, big business, and the DMV....but I digress....back on topic! 

I had just about suppressed that t.v. commercial from my memory and something happened today that brought it back to the front of my mind. 
My nephew is off school for the holiday break, and in order to keep the peace in the house, I have just been staying out of his way. A quick note, he doesn't call me 'Aunt' either because he is a pain in the butt teenager, or because he is 17 and thinks that is not how adults address each other, this point comes into my story soon.... 

He was watching something on t.v. in the living room when I got up and on my sister's laptop...which is usually my morning routine, lol. I just made breakfast and came back downstairs and watched my morning news and Rachel Ray show on the tv that HE usually uses in the den since my beau was still asleep in our room. When he decided to come downstairs and gave me a 'look' for 'being in his spot' I just went upstairs. A bit later he came up and made himself breakfast, a few eggs and a few slices of toast. 
As soon as he was done, I cleaned up the kitchen and made a quick stirfry for my lunch. It was nothing fancy, but I have been experimenting with stirfry for awhile now and it did smell good. Needless to say, he is a 17 year old boy and has the bottomless pit stomach to go with it, he came upstairs and asks what I'm making and starts stirring things around in my pan...which irks me to no end, but I am playing nice! Even though he just ate, he is ready to eat again and asked if he could have some, when I told him 'Sure.' He was all like 'Oh Aunt Tracy, this is so good!' And he proceeded to be quite polite to me the rest of the day. He doesn't get like that when I make dinner, maybe its because when I make dinner, its a regular evening (I am usually the one who makes supper because my sister and bro in law work so many hours). I think that because he had already eaten, he didn't think I would share it. 
All of a sudden, that stupid commercial was back in my head! 

I always thought that it was something in my upbringing...dad didn't have a lot of money, so snacks and treats were always reserved for super special occasions. Even my favorite Christmas memory has to do with a treat....Grandpa sitting with me in front of the fireplace helping me roast a perfect marshmallow. Even to this day, I cannot eat a burnt marshmallow, I would rather skip the treat all together than eat a marshmallow that was on fire. 

I think that eating / being fed has been equal to being cared for since the dawn of man. I just bet that the cavemen that got the cavewoman was the one who was able to secure the food. 
Like any other animal on earth, at a primal level, the number one priority is to pass on your genes. If your mate UggaBugga doesn't bring home a dinosaur steak every so often...or if UggaBugga turns into the eat-EE instead of the eat-ER, his genes go nowhere. Even now, its like a mating ritual, every species has one. In this day and age, at least in my part of the world, if someone asks a person out on a date, isn't it going out to dinner? Maybe I am making a generalization, but you get my drift.... 
Eons later the survival of the fittest has evolved into the survival of the fattest, and by surviving I mean trying to get thin again! 

Why is it that the first thing I do if I am planning to have someone visiting my home is to plan what I will make for them. And its not like I plan simple things, I really feel like I am showing that I care by making a nice meal. 
I don't know if everyone's life seems centered around food (by everyone, I mean people that are and always have been thin), is this even something that I can overcome? Will I ever 'be better'? 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Changes

So, I have had a few surprises over the last couple of days.... 

One thing is that something in me has relaxed a bit over the last few weeks. I have spent a long time floundering in my faith since my dad passed away in 2006. I have felt so lost and angry, but something in me seems to be healing and I have been feeling markedly better in that area. 

My weight loss is still stalled, but I am making those beginner changes to my diet again and as soon as I start working, I will be getting all sorts of walking to and from the bus stop...in the snow even! 

On the 12th, I finally got a job. It is part time, but better than nothing. Being part time, I won't be any different financially, but it is a permanent position, not just for the holiday, and considering that my unemployment runs out on the 30th....it helps my stress level immensely! 
My new position is at Legoland Discovery Center. I will be starting out in the store and will be able to move into other positions in the company later on. 
I went to get my drug test and background check today....and when I woke up it was snowing...a LOT. Today was also the first time in 13 years that I have driven in the snow! Its really not so much me that I worry about, its other people on the road really. We made it home in one piece so that's a good thing, haha. 

Also on the 12th...my new great-nephew was born! 
My niece posted on Facebook that her back hurt and I KNEW this was it! She was in labor for 12.5 hours. She was adamant NOT to have an epidural....all the way up until the contractions started, lol, my sister said poor thing was climbing the walls in pain. So she got her epidural and is fine. 
Baby J is fine too, he was 8 lbs 1.5 ounces and 20 inches long. He had a bit of trouble and they didn't get discharged from the hospital until today...he wouldn't pee. They finally put in a catheter and got some urine but he didn't go after that either. They did an ultrasound to check everything but couldn't find anything. They were going to discharge my niece and came to take the baby to the nursery (at which point my niece flipped out because he 'was going to be alone') and the baby peed all over my niece! 

They are now home and her hubby has to go to work tomorrow so she is kinda nervous but I know everything will be ok. 
I won't be able to get out there to see them until maybe next weekend (depending on the weather) and just can't wait! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Eating sharks does NOT prevent cancer! Go figure!!!!

I came across THIS news article today and was astounded by some of the comments.  (I am helpless against reading the comment section!)
As per usual, there were people who agreed with the article, there were those who picked at the grammar and spelling, the religious people voiced their opinions, and then the conspiracy theorists showed up!

I rarely leave comments on articles and it is even more rare that I reply directly to someone's comments, and then this gem showed up....
"who can say that these so called researchers are not giving these animals this cancer 
to scare people and keep them from eating shark fin soup. and direct them to get the super expensive cancer drugs that only rich people can afford some people eats shark cause they like it and others because they think they'll get a health benefit ."
I couldn't NOT reply!

I had a couple of angelfish in my aquarium...one had a tumor on its lip and the other did not, I had both of these fish from the time they were tiny and I can assure you that I did not give my fish cancer.

Some people may like the taste of shark soup, but its not the people who utilize the entire animal that are decimating the species.
I am not sure which species of shark is primarily used in soup, all I can find is 'various types'  So I used the blacktip shark for reference....
Average weight is around 40 pounds for a mature animal.  This is including the jaw and organs, which are also able to be utilized.
If I went to the store and bought a 40 pound fish, lets assume that 25 pounds of that is meat, that comes to 400 ounces.  
My fiancee and I eat maybe 5 ounces of protein per meal.  
This would put us at 80-ish meal per shark.

80 or more meals per entire animal used versus a pot of shark fin soup....You do the math and see which would decimate a species.

Not everyone is out to get you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Off on a binge

I can't really pinpoint any one thing that triggered my reaction over the last few weeks. I have never been a binge type person. I was always more of a boredom grazer. Over the last 3 months my weight bounced up and down, I just kept re-losing the same weight. 

Over the last 3 weeks, something changed. I have been on a non-stop eating binge...in the neighborhood of 2500-3000 calories a day. 
I'm not really sure of the calorie amount because I haven't tracked anything. I got the estimate a few days ago by putting in everything I ate the day before into a calorie tracker. It came to just under 2800 calories. 
Thanksgiving day was actually a good calorie day for me...oddly enough, the 'big eating' days have never really been a problem for me, its just the rest of the year that is the problem. 

I still weigh myself every few days.  I put on 17 pounds in 3 months...most of it, 11 pounds, was within the last month or so. I un-did a year and a half's worth of work by half in such a short time. 

I could name off a thousand reasons why I am out of control, I've been unemployed for 5 months now, I have no transportation of my own, my beau has been in a lot of pain lately and we have been doing nothing but snapping at each other...I am really doubting that I can handle taking care of him much longer because of my depression. My depression has been FIERCE lately. 

To top everything off, my beau forgot my birthday a few days ago. I know he is in a lot of pain every single day, but it still hurt. I'm just trying not to think about it too much, I'm not 5 years old anymore. I just had this stupid idea that since I was going to be 42 (well, I am 42 now), that I was going to be the answer to the universe...silly movie reference, but for some reason I thought that something special was going to happen.  The only thing that happened was another uncomfortable phone call with my mother.

I had issues with self injury years ago and I am wondering if this isn't a new way to hurt myself without actually 'hurting' myself. I desperately need to be back on medication, I am just tired of fighting my mind all of the time.   I have been fighting with my depression since grade school.

I don't have insurance until January 1...then I will have insurance and get myself back on medication.  

Less than a month to go.

Friday, November 29, 2013

What it is really like.

What is it really like to be someone who lives with depression, well it sucks.
I have spent a great deal of my life fighting it and fighting the fact that I need to be medicated.

Add to that the stress of being unemployed, living without a car, not having a place to call my own (I live with my sister), and on top of all of that...
My fiancee is disabled and is in debilitating, chronic pain...with me as his sole caregiver.

Some days I feel like Job....the one in the bible stories.

Some days I convince myself that the universe is testing me.

Some days I am even invincible!

But, most days it is just too much and I feel as if I am inside of a poorly written novel.

I cry at the drop of a hat.

I force myself to pick my ass up by my bootstraps and move along.

PUT ON A BRAVE FACE.

Stop acting like a spoiled brat.

Show everyone that you can do this, that you can manage your life and just SMILE DAMN-IT!

Endlessly explaining to people that "No, its not you, it really is me!"

Sometimes there is a disconnect in what I feel and what I am able to express.  I am happy with the people in my life. I love my children and family.  I even love myself most of the time.

Then, there are days like today.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On grieving.

The common stages of grief are;

1.     Denial.
2.     Anger.
3.     Bargaining.
4.     Depression.
5.     Acceptance.

Just thought I would recap those.  I've been through them all over the last 7 years. 
I guess I shouldn't say that I have been through them, I've been through, around, over, under, and back and forth and through them over and over until I was tied in knots.

1. Denial
I was so confused, I didn't understand the words.  
My step-dad is the one who told me about my dad.  I didn't have a phone at the time and my sister called my mom who sent my step-dad out to my house.  I heard 'Chuck', I heard 'Heart Attack'...and totally expected to hear 'He is in NIMC Hospital'  
But that is not what he said.  All I could ask was 'What?'  I truly didn't understand what came out of his mouth.
He repeated it and everything went fuzzy and crystal clear at the same time, all I remember saying was 'No.'  
And then it hit and I felt lost; I couldn't breathe, I couldn't hear, and my knees let go.  I wanted nothing more than to just sit down and wait for...well, for what, I don't really know.  
I never did find the ground, my step-dad didn't let me fall and our roommate, Paula, came out of the house just then and between the two of them, I was back in the house and Paula was calling my husband at work.

2. Anger
I've always had a hard time expressing anger.  I can be cranky, whiny, frustrated, and even downright bitchy at times.  But real, honest, anger...is hard for me.  
I was mad about so many things.  
I was mad at my dad for leaving me.  
I was mad at God for taking him away. 
I was mad that I was still here.  
I was mad at the nightmares and the good dreams alike. 
I was mad because my heart hurt and I didn't know what to do to help it.  
I was mad at being helpless!

Out of all the stages...Anger is the one I revisit second most often.  Some days I just want to  get a bat and find an old brick wall and just scream and beat the wall until my arms fall off and my voice goes.  Why I don't do just that and get it all out is beyond me.  Maybe not so far beyond me...I don't do it because it scares me.  I'm afraid that if I let go, I won't be able to come back, I'm afraid my mind will break.  
So I don't.

3. Bargaining.
I didn't bargain too much.  I felt like I had nothing to bargain with.  I had months and months of just pleading for it all to stop.  For everything to go back how it was.  For someone, anyone, to fix this mistake that had been made.  I know that my mind changed. I lived through great amounts of stress before, but this changed me and I didn't like it.  I would have given a nameless 'anything' for it to be alright again.

4. Depression.
This is where I have spent a good deal of my life.  I can remember as far back as 4th or 5th grade, a friend of mine, Kathy, trying to help me.  We would be outside at recess and she would get me to walk around with her and keep my chin up...to actually look at the other kids.  It is an everyday struggle to try and keep afloat.

Its hard to say whether losing dad worsened my depression or just changed the focus of it.  
My family was hundreds of miles away.  Everyone was arguing about...well, everything.  I felt a lot of pressure on me to try and keep in touch and support everyone.  It didn't last too long, I just couldn't keep up and I felt somewhat left out of the support loop.  
When I brought this to someones attention in my family who should have offered support, I was told in no uncertain terms that I should find my own help and locate a support group in my area.
I actually did try just that.  I was unsuccessful.  Whether it be my location or the change in my mind, I don't know.  It got to the point that I was having panic attacks and thinking of self harm again.  It scared me enough to get me back to the doctor and as for antidepressants again...At this point, I had been off of them for a few years.  
There were so many things to deal with in my life that everything seemed to snowball and everything that happened changed something else.  
I felt as though I were drowning and had nothing to cling to.

As of now, I am again antidepressant-free.  I try to deal with things as they come.  I tend to talk about what is bothering me sooner rather than later.  And I try to keep a watch on what I know are my signs of backsliding.  

5. Acceptance.
This came very slowly.  I was also slow to realize it as well.  I think I finally realized it when, one day while grocery shopping, I was at the seafood counter and the girl behind the counter was polite as per her usual demeanor and after she finished with my order, I wished her a good weekend.  
Something crossed her face and she said that she would try, but was having a rough time over the last 2 months.  She lost her dad two months before and said she didn't know how to get her life back together.  I found myself telling her that it wouldn't be the same and that she wouldn't get over it...not really over it, but it would be easier to bear.  I promised her.

And it does.
I promise.


A day in the life of...

I'm so tired lately, although I feel better after being on the Lexapro, I'm still T-I-R-E-D, every time I look forward to just a little time to sit and contemplate the meaning of life, I get busier than usual.  I took today off of work because of some scheduling issues with our one vehicle....I knew today was gonna be a handful, get up early, dropped the cat at the vets to get ...er...clipped, came back home, dropped Jeremy at work, went grocery shopping, came back home brought everything in, took Amie to work and was looking forward to a little Tracy-time.

Well, the baby decided to fall asleep in the car and usually I can get her out and into bed without her waking up.  The wind is blowing a thousand miles an hour so I bundled her up in a blanket and told her to lay her head back down on my shoulder, which she does and I get into the house as fast as possible, and take her into the room and gently lay her down on my bed, take off her jacket, turn the fan on low and ever so sneaky crawl into my side of the bed....

I'm laying there for like 3 seconds, anticipating the sweet bliss of the nothingness-to-come and in the darkness I hear 'mama-mam-amama' and then 'da-dadooo-dadoooo' followed directly to an elbow driven into my throat and a head bash that would make a professional wrestler jealous.

*sigh*

I drag myself back up...well I need to do dishes and all that crap anyways.  as soon as I open the bedroom door, Raelynn bolts out and plunks herself down to watch the wiggles.
I figured since she is busy I will put up some of the trim in the bathroom that I'm redoing...'Whats that?  Mom is doing something that she doesn't need help with? I better get in there to supervise!!!'  
So she follows me, and grabs the toilet paper end and runs as I am holding a piece of trim in place until the glue sets up a bit...tears it into teeny tiny bits...and comes over to check out the glue bottle.   I spend the next 5 minutes hearing eeeeiiiiwwwww, over and over, as she watches the glue drip off the side.
I get a brainy idea and just nail up the next few pieces of trim, brilliant idea on my part I must say, by the time I'm done with it, she has moved on to the baby shampoo....(I will say she has the cleanest hands of any 2 year old I've ever seen.)

I managed to get one load of dishes into the dishwasher, thankfully I had the baby to help take them out while I was trying to put them in, finally shoving a bunch in I poured soap in and turned it on...got supper started so I have more dishes to get done later tonight, it is a good thing I wont be bored!
Picked up a bunch of toys that stayed put away for 3 seconds, she pulled em all back out and is at this very moment ignoring them and playing with a piece of paper and watching wiggles.

SO!!! 

Since tomorrow is my regular day off, I only have to worry about:
pick up the cat from the vet,
wait on the satellite installer guy (sometime between 8 and noon),
get Amie to work,
pick up my paycheck,
go to the bank,
talk to the lawyer, 
do the never ending dishes,
at least one load of laundry,
get the car insurance and tags,
and...
and...
and...

I just can't figure out why I feel so worn out, any ideas?    

50 years together

My Grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1990.  The celebration went great, I was immensely pregnant with my second child and the only dance I danced was with my dad.
I'm sure everyone knows by now that my dad has been gone for a couple years now and I'm still getting some of his stuff in dribs and drabs…I guess my stepmother doesn't get the concept of ripping a band-aid off all at once and must drag it out over years…but more on that later.
Anyways, getting to the point…she found the speech that was written for the anniversary party…so long ago and when everyone was still around and still speaking to each other.
This is as written by my aunts, my uncle, and dad too...a bit long but I really enjoyed being taken back again.
~~~~
The place is Chicago, the year was 1940 and Charles Earl Hueckstaedt decides its time to take a bride, and after knowing her only 3 months, Alma LaNora Beach became Mrs. Hueckstaedt.
Within a year they start a family, its ok…we've all counted…they didn't HAVE to.  By the late 40's they decide its time to raise the family in a better place.  After moving to McHenry they had 3 homes. They must have liked the neighborhood, because they were all within 2 blocks of each other.
By the mid 50's, their lives were complete with 4 kids, one who sang 'Goodnight Irene' on the toilet in the middle of the night (Dutch), 3 dogs with the same names, (it was less confusing that way), and that's why we all got our own names….right Dutch…a cat that would scratch your eyes out if you pulled its tail, and a floor furnace you had to dance over in the winter.
Our parents exposed us to such food delicacies as fried noodles for breakfast, spaghetti that Cherie was always blamed for flipping to get that strange orange spot pattern on the ceiling, and Rusty's favorite red and green oatmeal cookies for Christmas.
Always safety around the house too, from Dutch getting his arm caught in the ringer washing machine, to Michael, the eldest grandchild, sailing across the living room into the unlit fireplace, or Dad showing Rusty how to make a nest of hornets mad while standing on a ladder.  Dutch also got his nose caught in the refrigerator door while trying to watch the light go out, and Laurie's famous haircutting technique with a rubber band—yeah that will make it straight.  Always safety first, when Dad was showing someone how the safety on a gun worked and a bullet went through the kitchen floor almost hitting the deepfreeze in the basement.
Our home for more than 30 years on Southside Avenue took on some drastic changes too, such as the removal of the foxtrot furnace grate (cha-cha-cha).  The crawlspace changed into a family room that you could stand in comfortably.  From a single car garage that was so rickety that it might fall from a slight breeze to the mid 60's addition of a 2 car garage and a driveway of dust changed to one of concrete.  
The living room doubled in size, the kitchen tripled and the addition of another bedroom.  The yard that was over populated with trees was turned into somewhat of a showplace with a sculptured lawn and many flowerbeds.
Mother/Daughter relationships are made of special moments.  Like finally deciding you're old enough to tell your mother an off color joke while eating pistachio nut ice cream at 3am at a tollway oasis.
Yes!  We were a modern family; we went from one phone in the hallway to having one in almost every room.  Because you can never make everyone happy, we had two and sometimes 3 tv's , one of which came with a box of Kleenex because Rusty would cry every time The Lassie Show was over.
Our father also taught us the trick of sleeping on the floor while pretending to watch tv…or just 'resting my eyes.'
Dad had quite the body of fitness.  He was able to jump a 6 foot fence to protect Laurie from being chewed on by a dog and swim underwater to fight off killer seaweed.  And because he always refused to wear a belt, many times his pants would fall down showing off his firm buttocks.
Mom also had unbelievable powers, only 4'11, she was able to get in the middle of Dutch and Rusty while fighting to push them apart. Another time while Dutch and Rusty were fighting, they were able to manage blowing up the tv.  She also had the ability to stay awake until we all came home, no matter what the hour.
The 60's and 70's brought grandchildren…10 of them to be exact.  I don't remember if dad actually had the 'birds and bees' talk with us, but I do remember how both of them avoided the subject.  I do remember one time while in the store with mom, I asked her what those boxes were that were labeled K-O-T-E-X, she said 'ask your father', so I assumed it was none of my business.  Dad, on the other hand, told the story to me by taking me to watch our German shepherd 'rook' to get mated and the miracle of birth came a few months later, March 19, 1968 to be exact, when the puppies were born.  It didn't seem too bad; no screaming in pain or calling the father obscene names, the mother eating the placenta…boy, isn't that realistic.
The 80's brought great grandchildren and the search for that perfect retirement spot.  Well, in 1984, The Hueckstaedt's decide to relocate to a warmer, drier climate.  After all those years of battling snow storms and lawn care, they move to Chino Valley, Arizona where there is no lawn to care for and the winters are shorter and less severe.
The new home took on some drastic changes, adding more rooms and another attached garage; they have 2 bathrooms, making us all feel cheated, all those years on Southside having to share just one. But they don't have a concrete driveway—YET!
Cactus beds instead of flower beds decorate the yard and a cow skull welcomes you to the residence.  The have 2 tv's because they still can't agree on what show to watch.  There is still a phone in every room, including one of the bathrooms.
I guess they will watch Chino Valley grow the way they watched McHenry grow for those many years on Southside Avenue, where most of their memories still remain.


Grocery Store Wars!

Quick!  Everyone don the colors of YOUR favorite store and cheer your heart out! 

My mission:  to get a
LOT of one certain product from a single grocery store...108 to be exact.
Went to the new fancy schmancy super Walmart and they had exactly 1/2 of the amount I needed, so I went to the nearest person with a smiley on her badge and politely explained what I was looking for...she just sat there shaking her head at me...no..no..no...I asked if they by chance had any more in the back....she is still shaking her head. 
Finally, I asked in my best customer voice...
'Please, kind lady, might you be able to check for me?  For I am a desperate customer who happens to enjoy shopping in your place of business and would like to continue to do so.'
Finally she checked and no, they were completely out...so I asked if it could be ordered, she said "yes" and nothing more...so I inquired as to when this shipment might arrive and save my day, to which she replied 'I dunno'. 

At this point I'm getting a bit irked...I've been standing here watching her shake her head at me for about 10 minutes so I said in my sweetest voice....
'FINE, I WILL JUST GO TO FOOD WORLD (or whatever its called now)!'  Yes, that is its full name since it was bought by another chain that I can never remember the name of.  

I christen thee 'Food-world-or-whatever-its-called-now'!
Poof! I’m out the door and down the road!

I walk in and low and behold they have exactly the number of said item that I need plus one extra!
GGGOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!
HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!!!!!
or whatever you do to celebrate, celebrate away....

I hugged the manager on duty and begged her forgiveness for me going to Walmart first on that accursed day.  She waved her magic wand and I was held in awe as she proclaimed 'Yes, I will watch over you and yours and order this product for you each and every time you need it'

Hallelujah!!!!  I heard birds singing and little children playing outside, the sun broke through the clouds!

Seriously folks, I'm not slamming on ALL Walmart employees, just one bad apple...but if you wanna be the new big fish in the little pond...and you wanna start a Grocery Store War....if you can't accommodate your consumer, at least be nice about it.

Get off my lawn!

Is it me?  Am I just getting older and less patient?  I do feel crankier that I used to.

I understand...you MUST have your car stereo turned up as loud as possible and have the bass turned up (or down?) as far as possible....lower bass sound travels longer distances and the people on the other side of the state may like your choice of music....I however, do not.

I do not like it here nor there (especially in my house at 6 a.m.), I do not like it anywhere, I do not like it Sam I am.

I'm not sure how much plainer than that I can get.

Oh and while we're at it....
I also have no interest in seeing the color of your boxers...providing you actually HAVE any on!
PULL UP YOUR PANTS!

In Closing,

Get Off My Lawn!




Evicted!

I took a nap with the baby today, actually I think I was asleep before she was.  Slept well and got up with a wee bit of energy. 

I decided I would get a few things done around here, changing her messy diaper for starters...eiw...and what thanks do I get for this chore?

I look up and it's snowing outside so I figured I would enjoy it for two minutes and went outside to smoke and make sure the dog and cat have food and water and that the dog hasn't dragged his blanket out again.  I told RaeLynn to look out the window while I did this and as I came back up the steps and turned the doorknob, nothing happens.
That little stinker locked me out!

Um, what to do now?  I rattled the knob just to make sure I wasn't mistaken somehow....nope, still locked.  Then I hear RaeLynn on the other side rattling the doorknob and whining and then starts calling the cat a bad cat.  
I told her politely that Jiji wasn't the bad one...then proceeded to try to get her to turn the button.  Alas!  I hear the button being turned...the wrong way evidently because I was still on the outside.

I checked next door and the landlord is home so I headed down there in the snow/rain and let them know I've been evicted by my 2 year old.  Luckily they had an extra key and when I unlocked the door and opened it, RaeLynn was standing there with her bear, blanket, and her set of plastic keys.

Kids.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cursive writing is a dying art.

I clearly remember seeing something my mom had written down on a notepad, it was so curly and swirly and  I couldn't read it.  When I asked her about it, she said it was cursive...a grown-up way to write.  I asked her why I couldn't write like that and she said I would learn when I was a little older.
It gave me yet another thing to be excited about in school.


I loved the lined paper we used to get in class to practice on.  I really felt that I accomplished something when I could make the letters turn out just like they were supposed to.  It wasn't too long after I learned to connect all those pretty letters that I also learned that while you can connect the letters, you aren't supposed to connect the words!
Learning to put pencil to paper and make all those letters connect together gave me something else, it made me feel artistic...which is a good thing, because although, I love seeing art and always craved the ability to draw something that would go down in history as something great...I lack that particular talent!  

I was in a store a few months ago quickly filling out paperwork and was told that I had REALLY nice handwriting.  The compliment put me off for a  second because I was in a hurry and thought that I was writing rather sloppy.  And them I saw her writing.  It was printing and it was almost illegible.  
The girl was about half of my age and it makes me a little sad that she wouldn't or couldn't express herself in writing.

Writing in cursive takes concentration and fine motor skills.  Writing in cursive engages multiple parts of the brain, and I think that we can all agree that the more our brains are engaged, the better!  Another benefit is that everyone's cursive writing is just a little different, which means that your signature is your own.  Think of how easy it is to copy plain old printing, even easier to copy someone's 'mark'.  
You might think that being unable to read or write is something that is long passed, but there are still people out there who cannot read or write. But I digress, that is a blog for another time.

According to ABC news 41 states do not require cursive writing in their curriculum.  They say it is because it is not an 'assessed subject'.  I hear of more and more schools that are only teaching children what they will be tested on for school funding.  
You might ask yourself if the school is really interested in teaching our future generations, or if they are just in it for the money.

I realize that pretty much everything on the planet is available online in printed form, but what if something happened to that resource?  There are many, many people who do not have access to the internet whether it be due to lack of a computer, money, maybe you live in a third world country, or your government forbids it's citizens access to information either now or in the future.

Many of our historical documents are written in cursive, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are penned in some of the most beautiful writing I have ever seen.  

Now, imagine that you cannot read it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lost

I have only told one other person in my life about this (my fiancee).  I am lost.  Spiritually.
I grew up in the Methodist church, was baptized Catholic, and saved Southern Baptist.  One would think that I have a pretty good handle on my faith....and I used to think that I did.
I try to make it a point to give thanks, to say 'bless you' when someone sneezes, and to offer a prayer when someone is in trouble.
The truth is that for the last several years, I don't know if these actions go past the top of my head.

When my dad died, I was so angry.  I felt that God had made a mistake and begged for him to correct it, for him to tell me why my dad was taken away.  I prayed that the dreams of my dad would stop and prayed at the same time that they never stop.
Needless to say, I didn't get an answer.  What I got was advice from my step mother to stop calling and to find a support group in my area.  I also got my husband (at the time) telling me that he couldn't be with me because I was depressed and that I needed to leave because he didn't want to be with me anymore.

It's all so confusing.  I used to know who I was, what I wanted, and I had my faith.  Even after all of that, even with all the questioning and raging to God, I still had hope that I would find my faith again.

Seven years later, I am losing hope.  Sometimes, I think that I can feel that faith in my heart, but mostly, I just feel lost.
I know my faith will find a home eventually.  Whether it is in God, Science, energy, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or some other idea of where I came from and more importantly WHY I am here...that part I don't know, it might be one of those, all of them, or maybe none of them.

In the meantime, I will be waiting patiently.

I Forgot How To Life!



I have always been stubborn.  I have ranged from pigheadedness to self preservation to ignorance of a situation.

Looking back, I can see periods of my life that I wasn't really living my life.  I was being dragged along by it. I gave up control because it seemed easier, because I didn't know what to do, because I was paralyzed by fear, because of a hundred different reasons.

I find myself in a difficult part of my life once again but instead of being dragged along by life, I am finding that it is a little easier to trudge along.
Keep going and things will get better, there are plenty of ups in life to go along with the downs!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I love the snow!

Yes, you heard me right!  I always have.
I grew up in northern Illinois and I love waking up and seeing snow on the ground, especially if it is sunny out!  I love it in the middle of winter when everything is cold and quiet, blanketed by snow and just waiting for spring.
It is so calm and peaceful.

Soooo....you might be able to tell, we got our first little snowfall today!

One might think that I am over reacting, but this is my first winter being back at home.  I have been down south since 2001 and the snow is one of the major things that I was missing.  This is the first time I am looking forward to the wintertime holidays as well.

I love it and can't wait!


Sweet Potato Tomatillo Soup

I am often inspired by prepackaged foods.  I try them, like them, and am usually horrified by the amount of salt and/or fat.  Sometimes, it takes me awhile to get up the courage to try and remake a recipe if it includes an ingredient that I am not familiar with, in this case it is the tomatillos.

As I was preparing all my veggies for roasting, I was surprised when I cut into the tomatillos...I knew they weren't the same as a tomato, but I was still surprised, haha!

Here is my version of Sweet Potato Tomatillo Soup.

4 tomatillos
2 medium size sweet potatoes
2 medium zucchini (peeled or not, it is your preference)
1 white onion
2 roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
4 cups low fat/low sodium chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth if preferred)
olive oil
salt
white pepper
parsley
~preheat oven to 450


Chop onion and put in a medium sized saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat, just as teh onions are getting translucent and starting to caramelize, add the chopped garlic, cook for another minute, remove from heat and set aside.

Remove husks from tomatillos, wash all veggies and peel sweet potatoes

Cut Tomatillos and tomatoes into chunks, I just cut them into 6 wedges each 

Cut zucchini into chunks about 1-2 inches

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into two inch chunks

Coat vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil and spread into a single layer on a foil lined sheet pan, bake on the center rack in a preheated 450 degree oven for 45 minutes

When the vegetables are done roasting, remove from baking sheet into a large mixing bowl, add the onion and garlic mixture.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Using a hand mixer, blend all veggies until broken down.  The mixture will not be smooth...there is a lot of fiber in there!  You could use a blender for this and get it a lot smoother, but I prefer quite a bit of texture.

Move mixture from the bowl back into the saucepot, add chicken broth, salt, pepper, and parsley to taste. Heat over low until warmed back through, about 5 minutes.

This makes about 6 servings and it is great to have nice fresh soup on cold days!  It will freeze well also.
You can also spice this up by adding chili pepper or red pepper to taste.

I tried it out today with a little dollop of sour cream and it was super rich!




Saturday, November 9, 2013

K.I.S.S.!

Hi, I'm Tracy and I am overweight.
By a lot.

I have tried various things over the years, my first really big try at losing weight was when I tried Yoga....mind you, I was trying yoga during the same period of my life that my daily diet consisted of a triple whopper and large fries, and that was my entire caloric intake per day.

Guess what, it didn't work.  Sure, I gained a bit of flexibility from the stretching, but did it do anything for my weight? Nope.

Next was a diet that came express from an infomercial.  Believe me, the funds came express from the bank account as well!  Did that one work? You bet it did.  I dropped 52 pounds within a few months.  It was a super restrictive diet, with an immediate and insane slash to my calories.
They even had a website set up for support, except on the website, you weren't allowed to say 'burger' or 'soda' or anything that was not expressly recommended by the plan lest you send the others into a total feeding frenzy....you had to replace whatever the offending food with the word 'ick'.

A rather silly thing to do in my personal opinion.  As soon as I thought I could handle the occasional cheat day and brought back my regular 'ick' foods as advised by the website support, I gained back all 52 pounds and then a few extras.

Food isn't the only enemy in the battle of our bulge. My biggest enemy in this particular battle is myself.  I was brought up eating a certain way and I will say that changing this is one of the most difficult things that I have to do.  And I have to work on it EVERY DAY.  My progress is slow, but I am proud that I am making progress.

I have tried to win this from every angle.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted it and tried to exercise it off. Guess what again, you can NOT outrun a bad diet, even if you manage to exercise off your excess calories, you really don't do much for your insides...packing your veins with fat, driving your cholesterol up, wearing down your gallbladder, and let's not forget the diabetes.
It IS possible to be thin and in bad health!

I saw a post on Facebook earlier today and it was an old acquaintance asking for a recommendation for gastric bypass.  A few replies later, this person was talking about needing to drop over a hundred pounds and going out for dinner (tonight) at a fast food place.
Ahem, it doesn't work like that!

My mantra of late is K.I.S.S.! (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
Stop it with the shortcuts, they don't work!  Gradually replace the garbage in your diet with REAL food.  Introduce these things to your tastebuds a little at a time.  Get your tail up off the sofa and get it moving.  Give your body what it needs to heal itself and it will!

Just doing this has helped me drop 40 pounds and keep it off for a year now.
Is it hard? You bet it is!  Do I still have a long way to go? Yup!
But more importantly....is it worth it?   Oh hell yes!


Yoga and a Big Girl....Fail!

Ok, I’ve admitted to myself that I’m no longer comfortable in my own skin.  When I was younger I was always small…to the point of looking like a little boy, flat chest, no hips, nothing girlish at all about me.
SO!  Thinking that it might be better to start off slow, and also being afraid of a broken bone trying to jog or *shudder* do aerobics, I figured the best plan of action was simple stretches, right? 

My first goal is to get a little flexibility back.  To be able to get down on the floor and play with the baby or pick up toys without having to get up ass-first.  You know how I mean get up on all fours and butt-up, then squat, then stand (with luck).  Hmmm, like a 2-year-old with no sense of balance does!
Ok, enough rambling and getting to the point.  I figured…stretch…meditation…breathing exercises = yoga! 


Being pleased with my decision, I promptly googled ‘yoga for beginners’ there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,086,589,763,209,875,437,625,474 yoga stretches and poses?!?!
I spent the better part of a day on Google yesterday feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Not to mention that if you try to Google images of said yoga poses to see what they are supposed to look like…it cross referenced a LOT of porn, hehe!

Feeling confident in myself, well, not so much as "myself" as in my decision to DO SOMETHING, I printed out all the little directions for about 25 warm up stretches and postures. 

Needless to say I looked nothing like the happy little trim cartoon figure that illustrated these ‘very simple’ postures for broken-down-old-beginners.  And I think I have a rug burn on my forehead now.

Adamant in moving on with my life and my new chosen direction, I managed to do all the exercises, although I look nothing like a tree and only managed to give the sun a half-hearted salutation.
About halfway through my ‘relaxing, weight losing, stress free postures’, I became aware that my breath was starting to come in ragged gasps and I was afraid that I would fall over while imitating said tree and knock myself unconscious.  No such luck! 

30 minutes later I finished and stretchy and am looking forward to being able to breathe again sometime soon!

Go Me!!!!

It's time for a little higher thinking.

I was going through some of my old writings and found this.  It was at the beginning of my journey to a healthier life. Since then, I have dropped about 40 pounds and STILL have to remind myself daily of where I am and where I want to be.  I would like to point out that I no longer cry when shopping for clothes (usually)!

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” 

I heard this while watching a yoga documentary and it really hit home. Something keeps reminding me of this every so often. 
I used to enjoy the small things in life, camping, walking or riding my bike on the miles of trails in the state park near where I grew up, hell, just sitting outside under a tree on a nice day or watching a thunderstorm moving in. 

Little by little, I lost all those little enjoyments, there just never seemed to be time because I always think that if I am not out making money, if I am not working my ass off, not being productive or helping someone, then I must not be worth anything. 
The worst part is that even though I AM doing all those things, I let my weight, health, and enjoyment sit by the wayside until I am to the place I am in now. 


It's time for change.