Friday, September 30, 2011
...Then we learned that in another unexpected turn of events, the Orioles had beaten the Red Sox, which guaranteed the Rays to make it to postseason playoffs if they won, too! The crowd at Tropicana was cheering loudly when they learned the Orioles won. I think that gave the Rays even more incentive to push harder...I could not believe how those guys played their hearts out!! When Longoria got the final home run to win the game, we cheered, we could not believe what had happened!! What a miraculous comeback!
I was not always into baseball. In fact, I really didn't watch it much at all or know too much about it before I married. My family was more into football. But my husband loves baseball, and he explained different things to me over time, and his enthusiasm for the game piqued my interest, too. And soon I learned that I really liked baseball! Then when the Rays (then the "Devil Rays") started playing at the Trop in St. Pete and I went to my first baseball game, I was hooked.
I love this most famous American pasttime. I love the history (which I'm still learning), I love the pace of the games, especially when you see them in person. I love all the funny things they throw in, like the big sausage mascots that race, or a dog that catches a frisbee, the 7th inning stretch. I love all the many TRADITIONS, like hotdogs, peanuts & the song we all know...."Take me out to the ball game!..." I especially appreciate it even more after going to a couple pro-football games. The crowds there tended to be obnoxious, often drunken from tailgating for hours before the gates even opened, spilling their beer on everyone. Sometimes fights even broke out. Not to say that I dislike football, it still has a place in my heart...but it is often, in my opinion, better viewed at home with some homemade chicken wings.
But baseball is something different entirely....I love its family spirit and casual good-time. We have been to several games, and I enjoy it every time. Tonight is the first post-season game for the Rays. We're so excited! We might go out to Hooter's and get a platter of hot wings and watch the game (if I can get off work at a decent time)...or, we are just as happy to watch the game at home and grill up some great Sabrett's hot dogs...YUM!! Either way, here's to baseball!! I know the season is rapidly coming to an end, but right now we are eager to root the Rays on to the World Series....and no matter what, I look forward to next Spring, opening day, when the "Boys of Summer" return. And we'll throw some hot dogs on the grill and start another season.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Okay—so yesterday—I picked out what I thought would be a great topic for The Writers’ Post Thursday blog hop. I could think of all sorts of ways to play about the topic of “Road Blocks”. I thought it would be a cool topic—that could be interpreted many different ways and I had some of my own ideas flowing.
That was until I hit a preverbal road block of my own. No—not writers block—although with this topic I was almost there—I’m talking about stress.
If you haven’t been following along—which most of you have—I spent the better part of my normal sleep time and night in the Emergency Room with my husband yesterday. He went to the doctor for a routine check up, he’d been having some pain in his back under his ribs—an on going thing—and the doctor did not like the sound of it. He was x-rayed in the docs office—and nothing came of it. However, his doctor said he needed a CT scan to be sure.
The doctor told my husband to go to a specific hospital as he had called them ahead of time and he could get right in and out. Apparently, that call was never made or it got into the wrong hands because they had no clue why we bounced in there. As far as hospitals go, they see you in the order of urgency—and we were not considered urgent.
Now—the only part of this whole experience that scared me was when they said they were doing an aortic CT. That scared me. One of my best friends son-in-law had an aortic tear at like 39 years of age and died. I was pretty worried—although they later explained that it was just the type of CT they would do to cover the area where his pain is.
Luckily, they ruled out everything major—gave him the straight and skinny. Told him while they can assure him it is not anything major with heart, aorta, or lungs, they really don’t know what is causing him so much pain. Then they sent us on our merry little way…like 10 hours later.
I was exhausted. I missed work—but in these instances of family emergencies—work will just have to deal. I only got 3.5 hours of sleep before starting my day today.
So—finally I posted my topic, Road Blocks, to The Writers’ Post group wall. So happy that I could type up a post about it. Then my mind drew a complete blank. It appears all the stress from yesterday—erased any recollection of the thoughts and ideas I had to for this post. I honestly can’t remember a single thing!
Talk about a MAJOR ROAD BLOCK!!!!!
Well—lucky for you—I was able to take you on a *ahem* slight DETOUR!!
LOL!! Ya gotta love me!!
So—does stress ever become a major road block for you?
What other road blocks seem to get the better of you?
This was written for The Writers’ Post weekly Blog Hop #16 with the theme of “Road Blocks”
If you want to join in on the weekly fun, consider joining us at The Writers’ Post on Facebook where you can connect with other writers!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The reason I'm not enthusiastic about all this, besides the fact that it is an annoyance, is that I have been under no delusions about the fact that I am not in an optimal state of health. I shudder to think what my "real age" really is....I think I started to take that test one time, only to finally give up because (1) I don't really measure what I eat, so how could I, with any accuracy, enter the correct number of servings in the "diet" portion of the test?, and (2) I wasn't so sure I really wanted to know what my real age is. At least not until I actually start that exercise program, eat less and lose the weight.
One of my top concerns was my blood pressure. So imagine going in there to have this "PHA" done and trying not to stress about the results of your BP that you highly suspect will betray the status of your true health? Well, I was pleasantly suprised to learn that despite a weight gain of probably 10 pounds, my blood pressure went down. This truly was a pleasant suprise, even more so because I hadn't really reduced my wine consumption, either. I was psyched.
And tonight I learned that my cholesterol (once again) is excellent! I'm thinking I am practically the picture of health, if it weren't for my weight, almost complete lack of activity and less-than-stellar eating habits. I think I will credit my wine with keeping my cholesterol at fabulous levels, and let us not forget it's touted stress relief benefits. LOL.
Despite all this, ultimately, it appears that my weight and inactivity have sabotaged me, for in the end I received the dreaded "referral" to see a physician to "discuss" my PHA results. (Like I didn't see this coming, anyway...I could have saved them a step and just went straight to the doctor). Like my doc is really going to want to read their 17 page report. Give me a break. I just saw the doc a couple months ago for bronchitis and I've seen some of the other patients he has and believe me, I don't think I set off any red flags. I am just the typical, fat, inactive American.
All that said to say that I really do intend to make changes, for real! In fact, I was going to start my nightly Pilates routine tonight, but I was held up with doing the PHA. (I should put that down as a risk factor, having to fill out lengthy health questionaires during premium exercise time). But I have some real motivation to get healthy (lose weight), increase my longevity (lose weight) and develop a new life plan (lose weight)....after all, I was really hoping to fit into one of the beautiful dresses in my closet for New Year's. At which time, with back-up safety pins tucked in my wallet, I will gorge myself on cheese & crackers, fried cheese sticks, cold-cut "finger" sandwiches the size of my fist and copious amounts of champagne. And I'll offer a toast to my PHA for shedding light on the fact that I was a little less unhealthy than I thought I was, so bottoms up!
Halloween is almost here! I know my kids are totally excited!! My kids love to dress up each year and go trick-or-treating! However aside from my youngest, my other children have yet to decide what they want to be and secure their Halloween costumes from the stores before they sell out.
Last year, we kind of waited too long, and when we went to buy them they were pretty much out of the costumes in the sizes we needed in the stores. I don’t sew—so making a costume was completely out of the question. That left us to find costumes online. Thankfully, you can find just about any sized costume, in any character imaginable online. There are literally millions to choose from!
They even had adult costumes online. I had thought very seriously about dressing up as Elvira or Lady Gaga last year. I didn’t quite go that far…but I’m thinking this year I just might do it! Okay, I promise, I won’t dress up as Lady Gaga. Honestly, Elvira is probably more my speed. I think it would totally cool to be dressed up this year while I pass out candy on Halloween.
This year my oldest daughter wants to be a ghost, but she has specified she wants white hair, so the old white sheet is not going to do. What I’ll have to do to complete her costume, ought to be interesting. My younger daughter really wants to be a pop star—and I’m planning to go all out. My boys are all over the map. The oldest wants to be Jeff Dunham—toting around one of his puppets and my middle son wants to be a character from Star Wars.
Of course, they aren’t exactly sure this is what they want to be—but they are almost certain. I am hoping they make up their minds by Friday, so that we can order this weekend. I’ll be sure to share with you all what they have decided to be and I will take lots of pictures!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I never made it. That trip—that I really wanted and part of me really needed to make. I sat here kicking myself. I never made it to your room to say goodbye. I couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like knowing that you were leaving, knowing that your life had been forever altered, but I guess knowing where you were going, you had no worries.
I think the thing that amazed me my whole life was your faith, it was such an inspiration. I remember a conversation we had when I was about 14 years old, heading back to your house in the car. You said to me, “It used to bother me that people would put me down for my beliefs. I used to cry all the time and I felt like I was always being attacked. But then I realized, He had already paid the price—for my suffering, for their suffering, for your suffering. The Lord is my refuge and I’ve given it to Him.”
You were so wise. You were the strong one. You were the healthy one. You were the prayerful one. So a part of me had to question why. Why you? Why did this happen to you…the one person who took care of herself, completely? Why the one who was so strong in her faith and such an inspiration to the rest of us. Why of all people, did He have to choose you?
Shaking my faith is what it did. For two years I prayed for a miracle. For two years I believed that you would be healed. And when the miracle didn’t happen, when the doctors said there was not going to be a sudden healing. I continued to ask Him why? I know He has a plan for each of our lives—but of all people—I just couldn’t understand why He chose you at that time. It is definitely a plan I didn’t expect, but that I learned I needed to respect.
When the news came—it was heart wrenching. A part of me was still wanting more time. More time to pack a bag, grab some cash, catch the next flight out. But time was something you didn’t have. I got to say goodbye, a couple of times, through the phone—but you didn’t get to say goodbye. You weren’t able to respond. And I had to go on faith that you had heard my sobbing words before you left: “I thank G-d for YOU! I will never ever forget you. I will miss you and always, always love you.”
I was not sure in the days that followed that when I said my final words to you, if you heard them, if you understood them, if you knew how much it hurt to see you go. I prayed every night that G-d would share with you those words I said—so you would know. I wanted you to know.
I should have been there. I needed to be there.
Faith is a funny thing. You see—I had to dig somewhere deep down, really deep down. To renew my faith that you had to leave because G-d had a plan. It took months for me to completely embrace that idea…that you leaving when you did was part of a greater plan. A plan that I did not understand—yet believed on faith existed. It wasn’t until I completely wrapped my mind around it and believed it whole-heartedly that He allowed us to have a few precious moments together.
I was over-joyed when you visited me that morning. You were beautiful. All I could babble was “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there” over and over again through my sobs. You said I didn’t need to cry any longer. And then your belly laugh. Oh how I needed to hear you laugh like that once again!! I had to laugh with you. Then your reassuring words that you were well and whole and complete and the evidence as you sat beside me. And then you said the very promising words that you had made it home. “There’s no place like it!” you exclaimed.
Tears were flooding down my face and I grabbed you and hugged you as if to never let you go. You told me you heard me that final day, and then reassured me you were now perfectly fine and my heart rejoiced. The familiar scent of your perfume solidified it was you. I was so happy that He gave me the gift of you for a few unexpected moments. I was so thankful that you were able to come and let me know you had made it home and that you had heard my words. My faith had been renewed.
Your perfume lingered in my room for days—everyone noticed. Unmistakably you!!
I thank Him everyday.
Meeting that morning was such a joyous occasion. It turned out that I would have rather had those few moments with you completely well, happy, and whole, then to have you dying before my eyes. My heart is at peace. My faith restored. My mind is at ease. I will see you again one day soon. I know that you heard me. I know that you know. And you know that I know beyond a doubt, “there really no place like home”.
Connie M. Duffy
My Aunt & God-Mother
November 15, 1948 – January 12, 2010
I know that you know and it does my heart good.
Monday, September 26, 2011
It was just about dark out already, just a smidgen of pink clouds to the east where the sun was setting. Clouds hung over top with a slight drizzle. It was a nice evening to grill, I was impressed that I wasn't bitten by even one mosquito, especially since we'd just gotten a tremedous downpour earlier. But it was very humid, feeling much like a standard summer evening. October is one week away and my hubby informs me that we might be getting cooler weather next weekend. I hope so!
I wrangle the steaks off the grill just in time so they are perfectly medium-rare! It can be tough to judge steaks, especially on the charcoal grill, but I am always trying to refine my technique...the worst is when I accidentally overcook a steak to the point of just barely medium, or (gasp)...just about well-done. I actually did that with 2 beautiful porterhouse steaks last year, and I was mortified. What a terrible treatment of the best cut of steak ever!! So I am continuing my education and I always prefer to err on the side of slightly underdone...the trick is judging the heat of the fire, how the steaks feel, and realizing you have to pull them off just before they're where you want them, cause they'll continue to 'cook' while resting on the platter.
I officially named this my "steak out" because there was some concern in the household that was voiced over "what if we have steak tomorrow night when we go out?" 'cause we're going out to dinner with a relative who is in town visiting. She has been out to dinner with several family members the past few weeks, who understandably want to spend time with her. And she'd remarked last week that she was "steaked-out". I am of the opinion that since we so seldom have steak, it will take quite a while for me to become "steaked-out", so I don't see this as an issue at all. I won't balk if I eat steak twice in one week, no-sireeeee.
So at the risk of making a special food redundant (well, to some), I grilled 2 fabulous steaks tonight. And I served them with red wine marrow sauce, creamed spinach, grilled garlic-butter toasts, and 2 baked potatoes (I had a regular baked potato and I made a sweet potato for my husband).....and we washed it down with Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon....I bought the big bottle since the red wine marrow sauce itself takes most of a regular bottle of wine to begin with. YUM!!! I'd say it was a successful steak-out.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
We’ve all heard the cliché, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Simply put—the outside may not be a good indicator of what is on the inside. And when it comes to friendships—this could not be more true.
My older daughter has PDD-NOS. It is an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is hard for her to make friends. She looks normal, much like most other girls her age—but her directness and sometimes her inability to get understand abstract things such as sarcasm and inferences—make her stand out a bit. Sometimes the kids pick up on this right away, and they’ll stay away from her. They won’t befriend her. Sometimes they are down right mean to her. I guess if she wasn’t aware of how they treated her—that would be one thing—but almost every time this happens, she sinks into a depression. She’s acutely aware of how she gets treated. She doesn’t understand why no one wants to be her friend. Yes, she acts a bit different—and many adults don’t seem to notice these differences like kids do. She doesn’t give up easy, trying to start conversations—but the standoffish way that kids usually react to her, always tells her they don’t want to be her friend.
I often pray, earnestly pray, if they would just get to know her—see past these small differences—they’d find a loyal and true friend that just wants to share the love and happiness in her heart. She’s not really into fashion—but she loves the latest cool music all the other teens like. She’s funny. She doesn’t know how to judge people on their differences—she just wants to have friends. Lord—it is so hard!! It literally breaks my heart at times. I just don’t understand how others can be so cruel? It is a lonely world when you don’t have friends. She has about 3 friends and 2 recently moved away. Thankfully they got to know her—and they love her—but it is hard now—only one left.
I’m her Mom. I want to fix this—I want to make it all better. And yet, I can’t do it for her. Though I want to…but you can’t make kids like each other—and so I have to leave her to find her own way. It will happen, I keep telling myself.
I keep praying too. But it is hard. Kids do judge on the exterior a lot and without really trying to get to know someone. And then again, don’t we adults do it too?
I’ll admit—I’ve been guilty of it a time or two. But you know what? My daughters situation has opened my eyes. Judgment is not something I pass quickly anymore. If I haven’t walked a mile in someone’s shoes I try not to judge. This doesn’t mean I don’t use a bit of discernment when necessary. It just means—if I don’t know the whole story—I try hard not to draw conclusions.
If I don’t really know someone, and so-and-so tells me how I shouldn’t get to know them, I don’t necessarily take so-n-so’s word for it. I try to judge each person as fairly as I can, for myself. It is only fair. I try to see past differences, get to know them and draw my own conclusions. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Only when I get treated unfairly and poorly do I make a decision to walk away.
On a couple of occasions I’ve had to walk away because someone has treated my friends poorly. Recently—this happened. I tried giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Tried to get to know them. And while they seemed to give me a fair shake—they were pretty darn rude to some of my friends—without any real merit or reason for doing so. Yes—you can bet—I made a judgment call there!! I’m loyal to my friends—and I will quickly turn my back on those who seek to hurt or defile my friends. Thankfully, those occurrences are few and far between—and not a problem I normally run into.
At some point—we all have to make judgment calls. It is part of life and part of the social world that we live in. For me—I try not to rush those judgments—taking my time—learning what I can, getting to know others. Sometimes it works out—sometimes it doesn’t. I can only hope at the end of the day, others decide to do the same in return, especially where my daughter is concerned.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
The challenge for BFF group this week is What do you love?
Well—I could go on and on and on about my family and friends—but I think most of my readers know already that my love and affection for them goes without saying.
So besides the obvious, what do I love?
Puzzles. I love all sorts of puzzles. I love puzzles that you physically put together, but I also love a variety of other puzzles. One of my favorite Facebook games, that admittedly I haven’t played in forever, is Bejeweled Blitz. I was quite good at it some weeks too. However when I started my new job back in March, that went by the wayside. Why? Because my job is literally an ongoing puzzle. How to fit certain skids that have a certain dimensional weight into a certain sized box-truck and not go over the weight requirements. Then on top of that the drivers of the truck have to make certain timing—and you have to figure if they have enough log hours to fill the customers’ requirements. YES!! An ongoing puzzle each and every night and I love it.
Also—I love genealogy. And yes, this could certainly fall into the puzzle category, because finding clues to your ancestors, verifying it all, then trying to go back a generation can literally be a puzzle all in itself.
Gadgets!! I really love, love love NEW gadgets! I’m talking new cell phones, cameras, laptops, ipods, kindles, –you name it—I probably would love to play with it. Well, we all know the price tags on these things can be a budget cruncher—so I don’t get to get new gadgets all the time. However, the Droid2 was selling for 199.99 on Verizon this weekend and I was thinking about it and thought, “no way can I get that”. It was a nice thought that maybe “one day” I would be able to get a smart phone. As luck would have it when I walked into Radio Shack this weekend to get my Mom a USB adapter for her old desktop, Radio Shack was selling that HTC Droid 2 Incredible for 49.99 on an in-store deal! Holy cow—that was a savings of 150.00. You betcha, I snatched it up in a heart beat!!
Nature. I absolutely love to be outside. I prefer sunny to rainy days—but I love walking in the woods, listening to the sound of the wind through the trees, the birds singing, the squirrels hopping about…the sound of a stream moving through the woods. There are days I could spend hours on the trails and just get lost.
There can be no greater injustice, at least in my mind, walking through the woods and having one of those gadgets I love so much connected to my ears!! Blasphemy!! You may see me walking through my neighborhood with my music on, but never in the woods, or on a path somewhere. I’m in a suburb of a major city—you hear kids and cars more around this neighborhood. But if I am on a trail—I turn it all off—and enjoy the beauty all around me.
My favorite thing? My most favorite thing in the whole world? (Of course I saved the best for last!). Holding a new born baby. I can’t tell you what a wonderful feeling that is. I especially loved to hold my own when they were little. But now that they are getting older—any new born baby will do. I can’t tell you the love and tenderness and awe I feel at holding such a precious little life in my hands. Nothing feels better or more right in the world.
So what about you? What are some of your favorite things??
Friday, September 23, 2011
But I have been toying with the idea of trying to cook more Asian, Indian, middle-eastern or polynesian type foods. I just can't see any reason why I shouldn't be able to do it! And for the first time, I think I had a success! Tonight we enjoyed regular pan-fried chicken, green beans and some collard greens....but as a side we had Orange-Saffron Rice. I got the recipe out of a vegetarian book, believe it or not. I have a few of those, even though I am always confused about what is a main dish and what is a side. I don't intend to become a vegetarian, but I know it wouldn't hurt to have a meatless meal once or twice a week. Anyhow, this book had been collecting dust on the shelf for the longest time. For some reason I spotted it and thought I'd leaf through it for fun...and stumbled across this recipe. I was skeptical, but it didn't sound too far out there...I thought it was worth a shot.
The rice turned out simply wonderful! With just the right taste of orange and the exotic hint of saffron....wow! And even better....I made it with brown rice!! I am not a fan of brown rice, but I know it is good for us. So any recipe that makes brown rice appetizing is one for me to flag! Finally....I pulled off a little bit of that exotic taste I was hoping to recreate at home. And I even made a big batch of Goat cheese n' chive drop biscuits....yum! To that I toast with a lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc....and I encourage you, if you have really been wanting to try something, even if you have failed at it before, don't give up! And that goes for more than just cooking.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
A brief drive through the countryside to pick my husband up from work the other day—made me aware that the leaves here in Ohio are already beginning to change color. We are just starting to see the changes in the colors. Pretty crisp red leaves up against beautiful greens. Not too many oranges, yellows or browns yet, just enough of a subtle hint that fall is definitely on its way. We’re starting to turn a bit early this year—so not only are we transitioning from summer to fall—the patterns of that transition have changed and are happening a bit earlier this year.
I couldn’t help but reflect on the one part of life that is a constant, which is changes are inevitable. Relationships change, jobs change, our cars change, and sometimes homes change from one to another too. I moved a lot in my early years—more than I would have liked, but I at least learned quickly that when things do change—my adaptability toward those changes is strongly affected by my attitude.
Early on—I really didn’t like moving. To say the least, I pretty much hated it. I hated starting over again. I hated having to make new friends. I hated not knowing anyone. I hated that alienated lonely feeling I got each time I moved. It gets lonely. I moved numerous times, to numerous schools, in numerous states…exhausting just to think about it. By the time I reached my third high school—I did not make real strong attachments with my friends there.
I only have a few friends left from the first high school I attended. I loved that high school and the people there—I wanted to graduate from there. It was not meant to be. I can’t remember a single person’s name in the second high school, of course I was only there for a partial year. I was at the third high school a bit longer and I did make some friends, but not very many that I kept in contact with after high school. In fact, if it weren’t for Facebook, none of them would have probably heard from me again. No, it’s not that they didn’t like me or that I didn’t like them, it is just I moved over a thousand miles away and I rarely go back to that town.
During my high school years, it was hard to make attachments that I knew would end soon. There were a few tight connections—but you can bet I kept my inner circle small. I did so because I knew high school was a transient phase in life—and I would soon be moving on—once again to college.
When I went off to college—over a 1000 miles away—my attitude changed. I wanted to move—I wanted to experience life, I wanted to make new friends, I embraced the changes at that point in my life. Perhaps because I was older and had gained my independence…I’m sure that played some part in it. But you know what?? Adapting to a new life, in a place far away—was a LOT easier! My attitude and enthusiasm for coming to this state 21 years ago was an attitude of acceptance and I embraced these changes. It made moving to this place a whole lot easier than any move I had previously had. I realized then that my attitude was the driving factor on how I well I adjusted to those changes.
And just as this is one of many changes in my life. I have learned over the years—that the better the attitude I have toward any change in my life—the more easily I can adapt to it. Not all changes are easy though. Not all changes are welcomed. However, at some point—when the good and the bad changes occur—as they always do—the attitude I have toward handling those changes is key in dealing with those changes.
So as I drove through the countryside the other day—admiring the contrasting reds here and there against the beautiful greens—I can’t help but be reminded that life is all about changes. So many will see the turning colors and think only of the cold winter ahead—and others will embrace the season and admire its beauty until every last leaf has withered from the branches. Attitude goes a long way when dealing with life’s changes—so learn to embrace the seasons of change.
This was written for The Writers’ Post Thursday Blog Hop #15—topic ‘Changes’. If you’d like to join in on the fun consider joining us on Facebook or on OSBW. All are welcome!!
**The photos used above were used within the guidelines of Creative Commons Licensing. Each picture can be clicked and it will direct you back to the original picture and author.**
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Before I declare that now I can afford to pay for prepared food every day! (LOL), I must assure you that I don't intend to do that. For one, I wouldn't want to unnecessarily waste the earnings from my hard work, and two, cooking is usually a creative outlet for me, often times my only source of recreation. (Though my husband did just buy a Wii gamestation at a yard sale...perhaps I'll take up some livingroom bowling? LOL). So this week, despite the extra hours, I was determined to at least do a little fancy cooking.
Last night I made Broiled Salmon with Shrimp Thermidour sauce, white cheddar mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. It really didn't take long at all to put together, and my husband peeled the potatoes and got them going. While the potatoes boiled & the stock simmered (I got a small saucepan going with water, lobster & clam bases, a handful of shrimp and lobster shells, a splash of white wine & some peppercorns), I showered. When I got out of the shower, the stock smelled heavenly! I strained the stock and used it to make the creamy sauce with bits of sauteed shrimp in it....yum! Dinner turned out quite good, and it just proved to me that with a little advanced planning (and hopefully enough energy!), it is possible to turn out nice, homemade dinners, even on a long workday.
*Enjoy this with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
This week, the topic is Loyalty.
I looked up Loyalty on the internet. Actually, I looked up the root word ‘Loyal’. Here is what I found according to dictionary.com:
1. Steadfast in allegiance to one's homeland, government, or sovereign.
2. Faithful to a person, ideal, custom, cause, or duty.
3. Of, relating to, or marked by loyalty.
I’d like to explore a bit on that second definition, thus I’ve highlighted it in bold and italicized it.
My truest friends—the ones that are closest to my heart—will tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I am fiercely loyal. These are the friends that are my family by choice. They love me and I love them no matter what. Period. It is a friendship through thick and thin—they are a blessing and I try my hardest to be a loyal, faithful, and supportive friend right back to them. If I am lucky, they usually get half of what they give me. They are invaluable—there is no such thing as judgment or time where we are concerned. Our friendship has already tested the boundaries of a normal friendship..and have surpassed and succeeded. It has gone beyond a mere friendship and into the realms of kinship, in the familial sense of the word.
Let me tell you a lesson I keep having to learn over and over again: true friends are very hard to come by.
I have many friends—that are good friends. I love them all dearly. If you are my friend—you may have noticed that I am quite the faithful and loyal friend. I am supportive as much as humanly possible. I don’t sugar coat much—and if my opinion is asked—it is given. If you haven’t noticed my sense of loyalty and commitment to the friendship—you just haven’t had enough time to get to know me. Get to know me—you will see what I am talking about.
So—here is where I struggle. At what point, do I throw caution into the mix?
See—I am an all or nothing kind of person. I can’t sort of be someone’s friend. I either am—or I am not. I don’t know how to be half loyal or half faithful or half supportive. I don’t know how to be on the fence, when it comes to friends. My heart is either IN IT or it is simply NOT.
And this is sometimes when I get hurt. I give too much. I trust too much. I sometimes can’t see through the blurriness, to understand that I’m being used by someone – someone who I’ve been a very loyal and committed friend toward—only to be rebuked at some point, or to have my loyalty and trust betrayed. Or to walk away at some point when there is no more going forward—only to discover that this person, who was once my friend, has become nothing but nasty, spiteful, and hurtful.
Maybe they can ride that fence?
Maybe they expected me to?
But I can’t.
My heart either pledges its allegiance of loyalty or it does not.
No in between.
No riding fences.
Have you gotten to know me yet?
What have you noticed?
Monday, September 19, 2011
If I have any real dedicated readers out there. This is my quick apology. I did not post on Wine-n-Chat on Saturday or Sunday. I apologize.
I have lots of stuff I intended to write over the weekend—but with having a birthday celebration on Saturday, guests over, and trying to recover from a whole day (24 hours) of ZERO sleep (Saturday) on Sunday—I failed to post any material!!
It was a great weekend. We did our “September Birthday” celebration dinner on Saturday. Saturday was my daughter’s birthday and I have two other children with birthdays in September and my mom’s birthday. So we decided that would be the best day to go out and celebrate all the birthday! Since my mom was turning 60, I invited my brother and his family down to join us and to surprise my mom. Surprise her, we did!!
As you know I work nights. I had to work 12am until 06:30am Saturday morning, tidy up the house and grocery shop by 12:00noon…and he was here by 13:00. We all walked down to the park and let our kids play, then we came back and let the kids play with play-dough and bubbles out back. The older kids watched football. Then we got ready and headed to the Gahanna Bar and Grill for dinner.
That place was the perfect restaurant. Not overly crowded—friendly—and priced just right. My mom showed up and of course she wasn’t expecting to see my brother—so it made for a nice “surprise!” Then we took a walk down by Creekside and took some pictures.
Finally, we came back to my house and put a fire in the firepit so the kids could make s’mores. We also had birthday cake and watched OSU get beat by Miami (boooo!) 24 to 6. OUCH…our Buckeyes are not doing too well this year.
When we finally got done with all that it was almost 10:30pm. Yes..I had been up 22.5 hours!! I can’t tell you anything that happened after that. I was three sheets to the wind and down for the count.
BUT!! I woke up at 5:30am!! I was wide awake too!! Unfortunately, I had to make a quick trip to the urgent care because my daughters small rash on her chin turned into a larger rash on her whole face. Thankfully—it was some allergy and she’s got medicine for it now. Then, I was off to do my weekly errands of grocery shopping and then the kids wanted to go do the mall. So off we went to the mall.
An hour and a half into our mall excursion—my body revolted. “Get me home and put me to bed!!” it seemed to scream at me while my head was spinning and my whole body ached. I rounded up the kids and took them home—and came in and collapsed. Sunday was gone and I was up at 2AM Monday—getting back on track with my normal routine.
So here I am—bright eyed and bushy tailed on a Monday morning. I don’t feel terrible at all—I feel pretty good!! Rested—refreshed—ready to face the week. I know so many people dread Mondays…but I’ve learned—not to dread any day—because you just never know how good it could actually be until you’ve given it a chance!!
On that note—have a wonderful, wonderful Monday!!
Friday, September 16, 2011
Officially I’m throwing a whine fest. Really, I am going to whine—but not about what you think.
For awhile—I won’t be drinking wine—that should give me enough reason to whine right there—but that is not what I am whining about. The fact of the matter is I need to take care of somethings—my health especially. I’ve tried unsuccessfully for a long while to lose weight. I seem to do the yo-yo thing. The latest embarking had me losing nearly 34lbs. Our whole family has changed their eating habits. We now eat better, fresher, and healthier. I feel a lot better too. We started exercising as a family. And I have to say that the quality time it produces has been awesome.
So what has me totally perplexed is that we haven’t changed much. We are still eating healthy and we are still exercising (going further distances now, and playing sports longer), so what I can not understand for the life of me, is while I did drop 34lbs, why I suddenly started putting it back on? In the meanwhile, my husband has lost an astonishing 80 lbs doing these same things, and continues to lose. I guess our bodies are not created equal in that sense.
I had to look at what I was doing wrong, or differently. Why am I not yielding similar results? What do I need to be doing that I am not doing to take the weight off and keep it off? I feel better, sure…but I get depressed thinking about it. I don’t like to be unsuccessful in my endeavors. Frankly, I am tired of Yo-Yo-ing on the scale.
A visit to the doctor—blood work is all good. I had no issues of concern when it came back. We talked about things such as water intake, sleeping patterns, eating habits, everything. A great comprehensive over all look at things.
The first thing I learned was about water. I need to take in 1 quart of water for ever 50lbs of body mass when deciding to lose weight. I can assure you I don’t drink that many bottles of water a day. And there’s the tea thing. Yes, natural green tea is healthy for you…but essentially for every 8oz of tea you take in, it pulls 8oz of water back out of you, (thus it is considered a diuretic) so that they effectively cancel each other. In other words, if I drink 32oz of tea a day---I need to drink 32oz of water and then drink 1 quart of water for every 50lbs of body mass. Yes—at some point I will be floating out to sea!
The other thing I learned was more nutritional. Essentially, I work nights—this is the time of day when the body repairs itself. Man may have invented working a 24/7 work day but our bodies are not MEANT to work nights. I tried to PLEAD that this was the time of day I feel the best—and I was reassured that my body wants to sleep at night. I’m not sure we are on the same page there—so long story short—I am taking some good vitamins, multi-minerals, vitamin B and Probiotics to help me along. I need to make sure that I am not only eating healthy but that my body has the resources it needs to work at maximum efficiency, especially since I seem to have some stress in my life. I will say I started the vitamin regimen and water take increases a week a go and I do feel a lot better!! I am thinking if it takes a good month to really feel the full effect—I should be bouncing off walls and sidewalks soon!
I have an official plan—a comprehensive one—to lose weight. I won’t go into more detail because I’m worried I’ll jinx it…and if it doesn’t end up working…I don’t want others to feel the devastation I know I will feel if I fail …so I’ll get back to you on that part when and if I see some weight come off and stay off. I am on day one of my new regimen. I am doing great…I have a great attitude…but I will need loads of encouragement along the way—because I need to succeed and the fact that wine is off limits for 8 weeks!
Failure is NOT an option here.
And that’s my little whine.
Thanks for reading!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
All I can say is, what a difference a year makes!! I am so thankful that a year has passed. I am grateful these last 365 days have brought about change in a positive direction in my life. I can’t say that every year..but this year I can.
One year ago I was working for a small dispatch company, but I had grown tired of the position. I am the type of person that needs to be challenged. When I took the position, it was exactly what I needed at the time: a low key, night shift dispatch job, mostly tracking and tracing and some actual bidding and dispatching. However, I am one of those types, and I needed to be challenged to keep me interested.
Prior to this I had worked in the expedited industry. I got my start almost 19 years ago dispatching for a small company. Then I started working for a logistics firm, moving automotive parts for Ford Motor Company. If you’ve never been exposed to the world of just-in-time freight, then I can tell you that in some ways you are really missing out and in some ways you are sparing yourself a huge headache. I am the type that LOVES this industry. I thrive on trying to come up with solutions when capacity is tight and I love to make things happen. I love the thrill of the fast-paced environment and I love the satisfaction of making money at the end of the day.
Eventually, I moved on from that logistics firm and started my own agency in the business. That lasted a good 5 years—but the economic downturn in 2007-2008 forced me to make some decisions. I ended up laying off my employees and closing my doors. From there, I decided to try something new and went into the health care field as a care taker. Unfortunately, I am not cut out for care taking, so I found my way back to what I loved to do—moving freight. This is when I landed that night dispatching job. It was perfect at the time I took the job in 2009. I had been there a little over a year when I started growing weary.
One year ago, I was bit nervous about my position. I was a contract employee. I worked for a small mom and pop company. I was one of the first ones they brought on board to dispatch. But they kept hiring—and they were hiring family. It doesn’t matter how good you are at your position, what your title is, or how much you out-perform. When things start slowing down, and the money isn’t coming through the door, you can absolutely bet that they will take care of their family first.
At one point last year, things had slowed down for about two weeks. I was warned I might be laid off, if things did not pick back up. Well the term “laid off” is misleading, as I was contract employment. This means zero unemployment. I had been there longer than any of the hired family (outside of the two owners) had been working for them. So I knew then, my position was volatile.
I started searching and networking. I knew I needed a position that offered employment, a bit of a challenge, and was in the one industry I knew I could thrive in successfully. I had some scheduling constraints with my daughter’s homeschooling—but the one good thing about the expedited industry, it never sleeps.
Finally, things started happening. I was offered employment, working from home, booking freight for a global solutions company. My prayers were finally answered. I got to move on to something bigger and better. And here is the best part. I’m constantly challenged now!! Some nights are a bit more challenging than others—but I’m not bored. I’m absolutely loving it!
There is something someone once said about work not feeling like work when you love what you do. That is where I am. I hope this position lasts a good long while. I’m in it for the long haul. And so when I think about one year ago—and where I was at the time—worried if my night dispatch job would be there from week to week to where I am today. I can only say I’ve been blessed. I am so thankful. It has been a year of change…change for the better. I can only hope in one years time, I can look back and say the same thing about today.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
My husband came in to the kitchen and said, "That smells so good!" Seeing the pleasure on his face, I was glad I'd decided to make it. With 2 scallopini-style chicken breast halves, tossed in italian-style breadcrumbs then pan-fried and served with the yummy marsala sauce, it was a nice change of pace. Add some garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables and some homemade rosemary-sourdough bread... my husband said to me "Finally! A home-cooked meal". He was referring to our recent tendency to eat a lot of pizza, tacos & the few repetitive nights of lasagna leftovers. I think he was quite ready for a home-style meal with veggies! It was then I realized that while I've been busy in the kitchen on different things, I'd been a little negligent with the nightly meal-planning. Time to get back on-track!
So I certainly plan to fit marsala back in to the cooking rotation and try to get back into planning more exciting meals. Here's to suprising your loved ones with a nice, weeknight meal that isn't like a 'meal on replay for the hundredth time'....LOL.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Imagine this! I’m sitting on the deck, lying in a chaise lounger, pool side. The sun has my skin all warm and glowing, and my shades keep my eyes protected from those gorgeous rays. The water is glistening in the beautiful sunshine and as much as I want to jump in that sparkling water…I must wait. My wine glass just ran empty and I’m waiting on another one to be delivered. I’m relaxed—having the time of my life with the man of my life. Cruising at 26 knots, I’m loving life, living it up, and all to celebrate my big 4-0!
Sounds far fetched? I thought so too. My younger daughter asked me the other day how much it would cost to take our whole family on a cruise. There are seven of us—so I told her it would cost a lot of money. “How much is a lot?” she asks innocently. I tell her some astronomical number. But then it got me thinking. I had no idea how much it cost to take a cruise.
I lived in Florida nearly all my life, and I have never been on a cruise, not a even a day cruise. I was seriously unaware of how much it cost, so I looked up Carnival Cruises the other day. WOW—I could not be more shocked at how affordable the cruises were. The prices are quite reasonable—and compared to other vacations I’ve taken, they seriously would average out about the same.
Well—for our large family—we don’t get to vacation as often as I would like us to…but on occasion my husband and I get to sneak away. I’m thinking the next time we sneak away should be for my 40th and we should make it a cruise! I have no fear of the big 4-0 and I can already see myself living it up, drinking some fine wine, and sailing toward the Caribbean.
Have you ever been on a cruise?
I’d love to hear back!!
Monday, September 12, 2011
It can be all too easy to take our loved ones for granted, especially when we live with them in the same house and see them day in and day out. I know sometimes I am too easily aggravated by small things that, in the big picture of life, aren't significant enough to warrant my negative comments. Do you ever notice how easy it is to point out to your spouse that he left his clothes strewn in the living room again....but sometimes, even if we feel it or think it, we don't take the time to say, "you really look nice today", or "I appreciate how helpful you are to me". Why do we sometimes hold back on letting the nice things slip out of our mouths, when the bad things often slip out before we even think?
So today I am praying to God to continue to bless me with many, many more years with this wonderful man He has brought into my life. We have been married 20 years, and I cherish him so much. When it all comes down to it, I absolutely know I found all I'd waited for and I could not ask for more. Hug your loved one(s) today!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
And just as I was watching this station and talking to my husband, the second plane flew into the other tower. I had to do a double take—was that live or a replay? Moments later—I realized it definitely was not a replay. I exclaimed to my husband, “Oh my Gosh, that was intentional!” He told me to calm down, but you know what good that does me once I get started. Then the news of the plane into the Pentagon broke—I think my husband just didn’t want to believe me. Not having a television at work—he couldn’t possibly see nor understand it –from a small radio that was just beginning to break in the story.
It took a few seconds—but I remembered my son’s face that morning. Aircraft as weapons was not something I expected—I was scared. Then, to think my son’s school was right next to our airport! I put the two babies in the car and raced up to the school to take him out. All I could think about was how scared he had been that morning and how I had convinced him to go to school despite this. It was almost time for morning Kindergarten to release and the secretary wanted me to wait those extra 20 minutes.
“WAIT?!” I screamed at her, “Do you not have any idea what is going on out there?” She was oblivious—as I broke the news to her. She and the Principal were in total disbelief. “Just give me my child!” I raved like a lunatic mom and she sent for him. For the first time that day, I was starting to feel as if maybe that one act--of pulling him out of school and getting our family together--was the best thing I'd accomplished all day.
I remember certain things ran through my head, “Were we safe?” “Were we under Attack?” “How many more planes?” “How many would die?” All I wanted at that moment—was for all of us to be together—my family—and even if we weren’t safe—we’d be together.
They say that there are certain events in your life that you will always remember where you were when it happened. The Day JFK was Shot. The Day Elvis Died. The Day The Challenger Blew Up. The Attacks on 9-11-2011. I wasn’t born when JFK died—but I know many of my readers were. I do remember all of those other events. I will say that the attacks on 9-11 probably changed me the most.
I didn’t know anyone in the Towers, the Pentagon, or that field in Pennsylvania. Yet—somehow I was still affected personally by the events of that day. I must have cried for days after—my heart going out to those who had lost someone. Grieving for their loss--grieving for our nation that had been attacked--my heart cried as I heard the stories of those searching for their loved ones. Those were some very scary times.
It is now 10 years later. When I recall that day—it doesn’t seem like it happened years ago—it seems to have happened only yesterday. Time is funny that way. It passes slowly then sometimes when we look back—it feels like moments and not years.
Today being the anniversary of the day that the “World Stopped Turning”, I encourage you to take a few moments. Remember to appreciate who you have in your life today…give them a hug, tell them you love them, thank them for being in your life. Say a kind word or give them a friendly smile. The thing is—we never know the hour or the day when it will be too late for these things—so make the most of your time with someone while you have them. Start today, because it is too late for yesterday and tomorrow is not guaranteed.
This was written for The Writers' Post theme of Thoughts on Time
and for BFF #122 Time Traveler.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I really want to invite some friends over for a wine tasting party. The thing is—I’m a bit embarrassed to have anyone over. And it is not because my house is not nice—it is just a bit too small. I have no real “hosting” area that has any substantial room to lay out a nice spread, set out several bottles and glasses of wine, and invite any number of people over. Simply put, there is just not enough room.
For starters, my kitchen is only 12 x 15---throw in some appliances, cabinets, a kitchen table and perhaps some chairs and you can quickly see that space is becoming tight!! The kitchen has a nice window looking out onto the deck and a door that has a nice window in it that also leads out onto the deck. In order to make my kitchen look bigger I put up large white wood frame mirrors on the adjacent walls, to capture that southern light and bounce it back into the kitchen. This really opens up the kitchen and makes it seem larger than it really is.
I also have Pergo flooring in the kitchen. I know how much everyone raves about the Pergo flooring—but I have not been totally thrilled with it in my kitchen. I am not sure if it was the specific batch we bought, but it didn’t seem to hold up as well as the Pergo we put through the rest of the house. I know that seems like a silly reason NOT to throw a wine party—but I am very self conscious about it. We’ve had this flooring almost 8 years and I would really like to update it. Perhaps going with a canyon tile throughout would make the kitchen look much better and it would wear a lot longer than 8 years. I know if I could change that tomorrow, I would and be so much happier for doing so.
Once again, if I am to host a wine party, I still have a problem of space. I have a wonderful deck area right off of my kitchen, and it has crossed my mind to perhaps have a wine party out on that deck. If I could count on the weather cooperating—it is quite a peaceful setting out there—and would be very enjoyable for such an occasion. Maybe if I bought a new patio table and some chairs I’d be able to host it out there. We already have one of those large screened rooms to keep away the critters and a nice hanging lamp. It could be the perfect place for wine tasting, good conversation, and enjoyable evening.
In fact, I’ve been scoping out the tile mentioned above and the patio table on Become.com, a site a where you can experience “Shopping Your Way”. You can not only search for the products you want to buy and find the best prices, but you can also research them as well, so you know exactly what you are getting while shopping for the items you want. Who knows? I just might find the deal I’m looking for and decide to throw that wine party on the deck here in the near future!
This extravagant car (a car after my own heart!) is The Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel. It's not available for purchase just yet.......but get a look at this video: youtube.com/watch?v=gwqufMLJ3HU.
Friday, September 9, 2011
About five years ago, I made a small mistake. I had visited a friend’s house and she showed me a new color she put up on her bedroom wall. It was a wine color—very bold for bedroom décor—but it worked. So I came home, wanting to make a change as well. I went to the local home improvement store, picked up a handful of paint swatches, and then I dared to be as bold as my friend when I chose a dark blue color to paint on my bedroom wall.
The thing was I wasn’t thinking. None of my Bedspreads and Comforters went with the color scheme in my room. The blue was dark—and I needed some complementary colors in a bedspread that were considerably lighter in color to offset the deep blue. I had an idea in mind, so I went searching through every store imaginable.
The problem was everywhere I looked, nothing I found worked with my wall color. And perhaps if I did find something, you can bet they were sold out of that particular bed set in queen size. I did end up settling for something I didn’t like. Perhaps it would have been easier to change the color of the wall to something more neutral, but I did not have the energy for it.
Now, we have the convenience of shopping online. Thank goodness, I no longer have to go gallivanting from store to store, to find something that I can easily use a few clicks of a button and locate just the right bed set. And one of the best places to check out is Brylane Home.
They carry a great selection of comforters and sets, bedspreads and coverlets and all the accessories that go with almost any bedroom décor. It makes it very convenient to be able to shop right from the computer as opposed to bouncing from store to store only to be disappointed. They offer a lot of products for beyond the bedroom too. If you are going to be updating your bathroom, kitchen, storage or living areas anytime soon, then you’ll want to check out Brylane Home.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I have to say, I can not be more proud of my husband. Since having to go on a doctor recommended diet when he was diagnosed with diabetes in January, my husband has lost a whopping 80 pounds!
It used to be that when I would shop for his clothing, I would have to go online to find the larger and taller sizes for him, because most stores did not carry his size. And to be honest, I really loved the convenience of shopping from my computer and having the items delivered right to my door step. One of his favorite places to get clothing was King Size, an online store for Big and Tall sizes.
After losing 80 pounds though, my husband is swimming in his old clothing! More than anyone he needs to replace everything in his closet. The good news is, I only need to shop for Tall Men’s Clothing, as my husband is no longer in the “big” category. I found that I can still shop at King Size to find the tall sizes he needs and he can still enjoy the styles and quality he loves.
My husband will need to replace his entire wardrobe and King Size is the place to get what he needs. They carry everything: active wear, t-shirts, shorts, casual shirts and pants, dress shirts and slacks, denim and sportswear, and the list goes on. He’s sure to look great with clothing that actually fits him and he’ll be happy to know that I got it from King Size, as he likes the quality of what they have to offer.
If the man in your life is in need of big and tall sizes, you need to check out King Size and see their large selection of great clothing.