Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Ate What?!

There are many a folks out there who are struggling with their weight. I only know what this is like by watching my husband struggle and my mothers side of the family, who were for the most part, morbidly and super morbidly obese. I was lucky enough as were my siblings to receive my father genes and not have to deal with weight issues.

That is not to say I such down a half gallon of Ben and Jerry's, a bag of chips, three helpings of potato salad and three slices of cheesecake. To me, everything should come in moderation. Do I eat those things I just mentioned above? Yes and no. I no longer buy chips for my home, for I do not trust myself. I could very easily scarf down a bag of BBQ chips, never share a chip and lick the bag clean. So you see why I no longer purchase chips. Ice cream is something I can do without, I can take it or leave it, but usually I leave it. Cheesecake I now make from scratch, so for the most part I know what is going into mine and even though it is tempting to devour half a cheesecake, there are other family members who enjoy the fruits of my cooking labors.

I recently had to keep a food diary and will need to do it again. I have developed an allergy of some kind. I thought I had narrowed it down, but alas the moment I stopped jotting my food down, thee allergy returned, how ironic is that? So I am back to keep a food journal to see if I can pin this allergy down. But in doing so, I have realized what I do and, and truth be told, I do not do that bad.

When my husband was in Weight Watchers classes, his instructor at the time, told his class to write down everything they put in their mouth. So if you were home making spaghetti sauce and you took a taste, then put that same amount aside and add it up. You take one Ritz cracker, then mark it down. By thee end some students days, they were appalled to see just how much they really were eating. So that old adage of, "I don't know how I got this overweight, I don't eat that much.", is a huge farce.

Somehow I came across a link for food journals. Free Calenders from Mommy Links is where I found thee simplest food journal. It is straight forward and no frills. I also went a step further, since I was trying to find out what the heck I am allergic to and would write down all the ingredients in any given recipe. Thus far I am still uncertain as to what is giving me my lovely alligator skin.

I think, and I am by no means an expert, that there are a few things that overweight people battle with. One is denial. I have seen it first hand. I had one woman tell me straight to my face that she did not go back for seconds, whether it be in a home or in a restaurant. I have been with this woman on more than a few occasions and she does indeed go back for seconds. But in her mind, she really does not believe she goes back for seconds. People see what they want to see. If these people were filmed, they may have a different outlook on how they answer questions and may see what everyone else's sees.

I am not saying I am a saint in the food world. I just put down three slices of cheese cake over a three day period, but I am also walking around two blocks a day. I may not be losing weight by walking, but I am able to keep in check the not-so-good items I am eating. It all comes down to balance. Eat the ice cream, but do a few laps around the pool. Have a slice of chocolate cake, but get on that bike and hit the streets. Indulge in an extra helping of meatloaf, but put on the headphones and get to walking.

If you are not up to doing a 10K walk, have no fear. there is a thing none as baby steps. Some folks have difficulty walking to the mailbox. Hard to believe, but then do that 3-4 times a week, then make a trip to the end of your block (which ever end is closer), then when that becomes easy do the entire block. You can do it, you will get there. Have faith in yourself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peaks and Valleys

I have nothing against thin people, if that is their natural body type. But for many a girl/women, I am guessing they are surviving on air. There are times I want to go up and tell them to go eat a Big Mac (I would never, being a die hard advocate against junk food and a new-found vegetarian, but you get where I am coming from).

What ever happened to a real woman, or our perception of what a real woman's body should come close to resembling. I luckily never grew up with body issues, (even though the majority of my mothers family was morbidly obese). I grew up seeing that and knew I never wanted to grow up and go through what they went through and I never have.

But on the flip side, I have seen (never known) girls who are dying to be thin. Seeing them makes me shudder. Do they think it looks good? And thee answer is yes. And why do they think this. Well, just open any fashion magazine and there you will find your answer. Thank you Twiggy, and yet she is no longer thin. HAH! Payback can sometimes be a good thing.

Who told our girls that a size 1 was a good thing and something to strive for? Oh yeah, look at any TV show geared for the teen category. Not! There are a few things going on out there that are hopefully showing our girls that it is very much OK to have curves. Marilyn Monroe thought so and so did every man who drooled after her and every woman who wanted to look like her.

Here is a great show, but I will say it is gearded more for a teen population and I also suggest moms sitting with your daughters to guide them through any questions they may have. Read through Real Women Have Curves and see if it is right for you and your daughter. My daughter has curves and it made her feel so much better to see someone who was real to be OK with their body image. And yes, we do it the flan!

Another company who is doing strides to show the world that not all beauty comes in a size 1 or 3 is Dove. I may not endorse their products, but I do endorse their message 100%. Girls need to know that it is fine and dandy to be a size 8...10...12...and even 14, depending on your height.

I would also like to point out an authoress that has a grip on the fact that larger curvaceous women are not fat, even thought we have been led to believe that this farce is the real deal. I think no. May I introduce Meg Cabot of Size 12 is Not Fat & Size 14 is Not Fat Either. I personally have not read either of these books, so I cannot vouch for their content, but I would so love to get my hands on one if not both of these books.

There are also a few women who are standing up to thee establishment and telling them, "No, I will not drop 30 pounds just to please a few pencil pushers." Some of those women are, Jenifer Hudson, America Ferrera, Jordin Sparks, Sara Ramirez, Raven Symone, Fergie. I just want to say thank you from a mom who is trying to show her daughter that it is AOK to be a voluptuous, curvaceous, filled out figure of a girl/woman. I say Pah to the wannabe Twiggy's of the world and a big round of applause to those who are confident with the skin they are in.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are We Worthy?

"You seem to find no tranquility in anything. You struggle against the inevitable. You thrive on conflict. You're selfish, yet you value loyalty. You're rash, quick to judge...slow to change. It's amazing you have survived. Be that as it may, as species we have no common ground. You're too aggressive, too militant."

I heard this recently and wondered if we humans would be ready for outside contact. If someone was doing a fly-by and saw us, here on Mother Earth, what would they think of us. How would we be viewed. With the amount of people we have on this planet and we take a size-able chunk of the population to represent us as humans, and not picking Mr. & Mrs. Perfect to be our representatives, then what are we as humans?

I hear folks all the time say we have come such a long way...from what? People have been at war for over what... a millennium, and they have been called Holy Wars. What? Is that an oxy-moron, a conflict of interest? Who in their right mind calls it a Holy War. Someone is way off base in my book.

We drink too much, eat too much, take mood altering drugs, have rampant sex with whoever, whenever we f eel like it. Do we have any morals as a society? But I think they said the same thing about the Roman Empire as it began to fall.

If there is some other species out there flying around our galaxy, or any other galaxy for that matter, I surely hope they pass us by. For I do not feel we are ready to spread our galactic wings and show the rest of the universe who we truly are. We have got to get ourselves fixed before leaving this hallowed ground.

Do not get me wrong, I do not think our lives need to duplicate a Hallmark Card commercial, I am a realist. But I look around me and I see what is going on around me. I shake my head and show my daughter and say, "See what happens when you make the wrong choices!" I can't wrong people for making the wrong choices when they do not have enough or the incorrect information, but come on. How many of us new it was wrong to purchase that plasma TV that encompasses thee entire wall in the family room, all the while maxing out the credit card. You knew that eating that entire bag of chips would bump you up a dress size. You knew that having four Rum and Cokes would make you ask every man at the bar to go to bed with them. You knew that shooting things into your arm should best be left to certified Doctors, not some guy that also flashes you watches that just fell off the back of a truck...then again, maybe you didn't know.

All I know is that I am not overly proud to call myself a human. I like me and I know I am an decently upstanding citizen, but what about everyone else out there. I am still a glass half full kind of girl and I hold out hope for our species, but my crystal ball says if we keep going on the track that we are we may not make to a time where another species even finds us.

It's Not humans I have trouble's people.

Those words could possibly describe how 'others' view us. Stand back and observe our history as a species, whether you believe in creation or evolution, either way we have not been playing nice in the sand box. We have killed each other for centuries and have gotten quite apt killing more with less. And now we are treating our own home (Mother Earth) like she was some disposable diaper (pun 100% intended).

I hold out hope that we will see the err of our ways, but I am not certain we will. I still hear so many people say, "Why bother, my little bit will not make a difference."

Yes it will and until you see that, change will never take place.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bringing Order to Chaos

For those of you who may not know me, I am a Trekkie. I came across Star Trek while visiting my Grandmothers on the weekends. We would all load up on Friday after school and drive an hour and a half and arrive there just in time for dinner. We played until dark while the adults prepared the evening meal. Then as my mother talked with family and or friends late into the night, I would struggle to keep my eyes open while the original Star Trek played at 10:00PM at night. I was hooked. Even as a little girl of 7, I knew this was a show to be reckoned with and boy was it ever.

Fast forward 1996 and Trek added another dimension to their already well woven fabric of story telling. We had been introduced to the Borg, a species that functioned under the hive mind theory, The Collective. They believed that our singularity would be our undoing, and that many voices brought order to chaos.

I am not an extremely, super-organized person. that is not to say I am a pig or a pack rat. My home does not look like a show room, people live here and looks just that way...lived in. I do not wish to be one of those OCD people that sits down, and is always thinking of ways to better organize or that cobweb that might be looming in the guest bedroom that no one ever even sees. But I do like my home to be presentable if guests do pop by unannounced. My kitchen is my weak spot, and here is why. First and foremost, we do not...I repeat, we do not eat out. So all of our three meals are cooked eaten here or taken to work by the two men who live with us (husband and son), so there are always dishes to be washed, rinsed or put away. I try to stay ahead of them, but there are times they get away from me. I have run my dishwasher as often as three times in a 24 hour period. Last Thanksgiving, I ran it 4 time on 'the' day of Thanksgiving.

I am getting my home life back together since recovering from major back surgery this summer. I still cannot get down and clean the way I would like, but this too shall pass. I am looking to loose some of the excess stuff I have accumulated over the years. I do not want to be one of those people who says, "What? Get rid of it, what if we should need it?" Then ten years later, that said item finally made it to a garage sale or thrift shop. It never got used!.

I am always looking for tips, ideas or ways to better organize my life. I keep my purse in the same place, because when I ask my children for something out of my purse, they know exactly where it is. I used to make fun of my grandmothers for doing repetitious acts, but now I understand, it is a form of organization.

So go out there, find a website, book, or an clipped newspaper article about organizing and utilize it. Don't let it stay magnetized to your frig and collect what? Oh yeah, dust.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Safety First

I was wearing my seatbelt long before it became a law in my state. I am comfortable in knowing that it saves more lives every year than not wearing one. But where do we draw the line. Yes, we buckle in our little bundles of joy, and so much so that moms usually ride in the backseats(raises hand showing she did it when her babies were little) to tend to their young.

I have seen good ole boys strap in Buddy for a ride to who knows where, but thee other day I saw something that made me shake my head. As I was leaving our local produce stand, someone had their side door open on their van and pray tell what do I see. This...this is what I saw:

Yes, you do not need to clean your glasses, or adjust your computer monitor, you are seeing what you think you are seeing...a pumpkin that is strapped in for safety. I respect this person immensely. Being a vegetarian I got a bit further than just making sure my tomatoes are not at the bottom of the bag. I take great pride in my veggies. For we use them for so much more than just food. they get juiced, and it does not stop there. I use the bits and pieces(that many use to compost, but we have not started composting as of yet) and save them until I have enough to make a huge pot of vegetable broth.

So you see how I might feel about this person who took the time to ensure this pumpkins safety. And that person is my daughter Savanah. I had stayed a bit longer at the register when purchasing our produce and was giving the lady the web address to my Cooking Blog so she could find some new recipes. Then I finally make it back to my van and my daughter has her back to the open side door...knowing good ad well she was trying to hide something. Then she broke out in a sheepish grin and I knew it was nothing bad. She stepped aside and there was our little pumpkin, lopsidedness and all.

He...or she will be put to good use. We will cook the pumpkin meat for a pumpkin pie and also toast the seeds. If I could do something with his outershell, believe you me I would. I am so wanting to get my composting started. But recovery from surgery is more important. The Composting will be there when I am healed!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shaken...not Stirred

This is not a Bond fan talking to you. That is not to say I have not watched a Bond film or two...or three. And right behind Sean Connery is Pierce Brosnon. What is with this new blonde Bond mess. Give me Connery or give me death. Ooops, wrong speech.

Anyhow, for those of you have not been reading my blog all the long, I had major spinal surgery this past summer. I am recovering very well if I might add. I went into the surgery a very healthy person, save for the reason I was going into surgery for. But I don't smoke...anything and I don't take recreational drugs (plus who could afford them these days), and I drink rarely, if ever. Does booze have an expiration date?

Well suffice it to say I have listened to what the doctors have told me. I am walking a minimum of 5 days a week at least 2 blocks and 3 if my husband is home and then it is hubby, me and the pooch(I still cannot take the chance on pooch bolting, so until back is back to 100%, then pooch only goes out when dad is home). But there is one thing I am missing. And that is my Martini.

I am talking a classic Martini, none of this James Bond crap. How dare he mess with a classic. Vodka Martini, who was he trying to impress? Oh yeah, just about every female this side of Orion's Belt. Forgive me, but there some things best left alone. And a classic Martini is one of them. There is something about thee entire process. Preparing your glass, getting your bar shaker ready, getting the right amount of olives set side for the final touch (and juice of olives if you are into Dirty Martinis).

There is something to be said for the Martini. The glass alone that houses this classic beverage stands alone. Unless you have lived under some rock in the hills of Kentucky, most people know a Martini glass spot on. No other glass in the alcohol community can say that. Oh yes, there are others who are recognizable, such as a beer mug(need I say more), maybe a brandy snifter, but your 'Average Joe' may not know about the brandy thingy glass, flutes(mostly used for champagne), goblets, margarita, shot and the list goes on. But nothing is like a Martini glass.

Since I am restricted from drinking any alcohol, what-so-ever until I am off my medication (And no, I have not cheated), I have not had the pleasure of a Martini (or anything else for that matter) for approximately 4 months. I have survived, but barely I say. So I have adapted...improvised, if you will.

Thee other day I was in the kitchen and took out a jar of olives and popped a few in my mouth and shook my head, chewed on the olives and swallowed. And I proudly announced to my husband and daughter. "I am a Martini." Even though I was shaken, not stirred.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thank You Oprah

I am not an Oprah watcher. That is not to say that I will not watch her, that is unless she has a show that interests me, or a guest I am interested in. Well, Tuesday October 14ths show was just such a show. I was getting ready to take a little afternoon siesta when my phone rang. It was a good friend and she said in a hurried breath, "Turn on Oprah, you will want to see this." Now, you have to know that my friend does not watch much frivolous TV, so if she said watch it, then it must be of some interest to me. And right she was.

The episode was about Factory Farming. If you do not know what factory farming is, then may I make a suggestion and do some research and see for yourself. Now, there are those in the industry that will say there is nothing wrong with how we raise our animals for slaughter. I have a tendency to disagree. Isn't that like someone form Phillip Morris(a cigarette company) telling us that it is OK to smoke, or someone from Budweiser(a beer brewery) telling us that consuming alcohol is fine and dandy?

I am a vegetarian and I will not stand on a soapbox and try to convert anyone over. You all know that consuming less meat is a plus, but do you really make that extra effort? How many of you can say that you could plan a dinner with no meat involved and have plenty of dishes. I did not for quite a long time. When I was a vegetarian the first time around I think I lived on macaroni and cheese and that was the boxed version. So it took many quite a long time to fill my recipe book with meatless meals. I got so good at it that I put on a vegan Christmas and trust me when I tell you there was no lack of food on that table.

What Oprah's show was trying to tell you...and she did it in an extremely diplomatic way(probably due to her incident with the beef industry with the Mad Cow thing) was that we as educated Americans, was to make ethical and moral choices about where your meat comes from. Most children have no idea that there is such a thing as a 'Farm'. they think their food comes from the grocery store. And it does, but many children cannot trace their food back to its origin.

I think people need to be in formed about what choices are out there and see what battles you want to choose. I myself am in such a financial way that free range, cage free, and organic are out of my reach...for now. I would give my eye teeth to be able to put better quality food on my family's table. Do not misunderstand me, I am an extremely good and healthy cook. there is no boxed food on our table or in our pantry. I do keep an occasional can of canned beans in the pantry for emergencies. Luckily those are few and far between.

I am not asking people to give up meat. But just know where your dollars are going. Can you afford to go all organic, or all cage free? If you are like most Americans right now...probably not, but how about a dozen eggs that are hormone free this week. And maybe next week your milk is organic(and do you really need to drink all that milk) and the week after that it is a free range chicken. The more we let the factory farmers know we will not put up with the conditions these animals are kept in, our animals will still live in horrid conditions(and Oprah's show did not show the more graphic version of how many, if not most of our animals are treated.

Do the research and make your own call. Is meat, pumped up on hormones, steroids and heaven knows what else, something you want going into your body? Would you put that stuff into your body without the middle man of the meat itself? I think not. But you have to make that call all on your own. And if these animals are willing to have their lives taken for us, then I think they deserve the best treatment possible while they are here.

You are what you eat. All I am asking is to keep that in ,mind when making choices for your dinner table tonight.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

I have had no blinking clue what to post about. But here lately rain keeps creeping into my life. That is not a complaint in the literal sense. I try to get a walk in every single morning. I am up to 2 city blocks and hope to soon add 3, but there are times Mother Nature has other plans.

Thee other day, hubby was home and he always walks with my along with our pooch. We geared up, walking shoes on, keys and cell phone in pocket and umbrella in hand, just in case. Well, low and behold we open the door and there is somewhat of a downpour going on. Now, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I had major back surgery in mid-July of this past year. So to say I a, confident to walk on a soaking wet ground would be a big fat lie. I still hold on to counter tops every now and again. It is what it is.

But there is nothing like walking up to a gentle, constant downpour, with some soft thunder in the background, but none to threatening. That is when it happens. the urge to make homemade hot cocoa and break out the coloring book and crayons. And none of those cheap dollar store crayons. NO, you have to got for the gusto and use the creme de la creme of coloring sticks in the crayon world. you have to use Crayola.

Now here is where we all break off into our special boxes of crayon groups. So many of you ladies go for the "64" box, with its built in sharpener. Ooo-da-la-lee. Big whoop-dee-doo. I myself prefer the "48". Why all the choices? I mean how many different colors do you truly need. You want color, got stand in front of paint swatches in Home Depot. And ahhhh, the smell of a freshly opened box of crayons. It still transports me back to days gone by.

I homeschool 2 teenagers and I still get a giddy knot in my stomach when we have to purchase school supplies, and it is so tempting not to throw a coloring book and crayons into our shopping cart. But I know soon enough that urge will overtake me and gawkers be damned. I will race home to find the perfect page to unleash my Van Gogh abilities and keep it to show my grandchildren that grandma was coloring even as an adult.

I saw Pah to oil paintings and things of that nature. Give me a good coloring book and leave me be. I am now off to see if rain is in our forecast.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Update on Vinegar in the Laundry

Edit In: Someone had asked if my laundry smelled like vinegar. No it does no, and here is why. the vinegar is there to neutralize the odors form your dirty laundry, so all is well. What I do is add a drop or more. Of an essential oil. Someone said that they use lavender. I have used peppermint, cinnamon, whatever I have goes in. And still my laundry does not smell like a candy cane Hope this helps!

I just did all my laundry for the day. And I measured the vinegar that I put in my opening that is made for fabric softener. I use about 3/4 a cup of white vinegar. Do not use anything but white vinegar.

I do use my own homemade laundry detergent and been using it for about 2 years now. Do I get the dingies a bit sooner? Yes, but to help out our Mother Earth, for me it is worth it. Did I mention that I gave up bleach as well? Yep, I most certainly did and don't miss that either.

Any questions you folks have, do not hesitate to ask away.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Be Careful, the Children Will See

When your child looks up, what do they see? I am not referring to the 6'1' , 210 pound, blonde haired, blue eyed father, or a 5'5, 150 pound, red haired, green eyed mother. What I am talking about is the person that makes up mom or dad. The real you is who I am asking about. What makes you you? Not the face you put on for the PTA, or work, or your knitting club. I mean the one that is left when everyone else is gone for the day.

What do you represent to your child? If your child had to describe you in let's say 3 words, and they were being brutally honest, and would get no ramifications for being that brutally honest, how would they honestly describe you? I know how my daughter would describe me and she nailed me pretty much dead on. Her first descriptive word about my personality was loud. She was not referring to my volume so much as she was charging me with being a bit of a chatter box. And I confess, I have been known to hog a conversation or two. I have, in my own defense, tried, over the years to try and keep my lips sealed tight when I need to. But alas, there are times when I falter and become that tried and true babbler that I would not like to be around if the tables were turned.

That for the most part is a superficial trait. What is it you are showing your children about life and how it should be handled. Are you a good example, or do you need some modifying, or do you need a major overhaul. Are your children glad to be around you or do they cringe when they have friends over, hoping you do not embarrass them.

Yes we were all embarrassed of our parents, it's part of growing up, it's a prerequisite of the teenage years. But nagging in the back of their heads, do they truly feel that all hope is lost for you, or that if you sat through enough episodes of Dr. Phil, that you might eventually get a clue as to how other parents are doing it. Not to say that you are doing it wrong, you just may need a refresher course. And come on, we could all you a little spritzing up, even if it is in the parental realm.

I for one have learned tons from my younger sister. Yep, you heard right. The sister who is working on some issues, but at least she had the you-know-what's to save she needs a new paint job in her personal life.(I love that analogy) So who is it you listen to, or do you turn a deaf ear when someone brings something to our attention. Are you so blinded that you are unwilling to see what others are seeing, but you are not...or will not? Take off the blinders and try to see what your children see and maybe ask them, and then listen to them. You would be surprised what they tell you.