Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bleak Times...

Today's Message From God:

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

you need to have faith.

No matter how deep the abyss or how powerful the storms you face, everything can change for the better in a day, a moment or an instant. Hold on and know that your current circumstances will pass.

I am trying to have faith, but things that have happened this week are causing me some concern.

A cousin from my mom's side of the family made a friend request.  I don't think my cousin wants anything more than just to be friends and not interested in causing the drama that other members like to stir.  He keeps to himself and when his mother passed away, my mom would call and check up on him.  I accepted his friend request, but worry what my mother must be thinking.

Work has my system so stressed out.  I am on-call this week and there is a lot of work to do this weekend.  Furthermore, I received some information about how others think I have a bad attitude and not a team player.  I thought about it a bit and I probably do have a bad attitude.  I am caught in the middle of process conflicts, so others see that as my not wanting to do the work or what have you.  It bothers me a lot because I feel I go above and beyond for all of the things I am asked to do.  I suppose it never matters how often they call me to debug their issues.  I do it when I am not on-call or on vacation.  It is very aggravating.

So, I am trying to have faith, but these are some pretty trying times.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Working on Healthier Meals...

When my mom was little, she was expected to cook and clean for her family.  So, when she married my father, cooking and cleaning was nothing new to her.  However, her family did not have a lot of money and when she married my father, she started experimenting cooking with a variety of vegetables.  Money was tight in those days, but every now and then, she would splurge and make something special.

During the summer, grilling foods only made sense.  With seafood, that was always either covered with a cornmeal or flour mixture, then fried.  Many vegetables came out of the can.  As I grew older, I realized that the reason for that was because it was easier to use and cheaper than fresh vegetables. 

There was always the classic southern types of comfort foods, fried hot dogs, fried baloney, boiled cabbage.  My mom's uncle Howard showed her how to make what they called "Goulash".  The recipe is much like chili mac.  Mom had her version of tuna noodle casserole and my personal fave was meatloaf.  I always enjoyed that.

It was until I was older that my mom started testing out different recipes.  At that point, she would make chicken or turkey piccata.  There was another dish she would make - I figure it was truly a heart attack on a plate, but it was oh, so good.  I cannot remember the name for it, but it was chicken and ham slices cooked with a cheezy mixture.

This week, I started thinking about how to make some of those meals healthier for me to eat.  I love pasta.  Most pastas make my blood sugar spike really high.  I made spaghetti this week with Dreamfield's spaghetti.  The results were great.  After I ate, my blood sugar only spiked a little bit.

I have been using this pasta for quite awhile.  I started researching diabetic friendly recipes for some variety meals.  I found a diabetic friendly recipe for baked ziti. had several recipes that I am considering making.  One of which is a recipe for Lemon Herb Penne.  There is also a great lasagna recipe.  I love lasagna and the fact that one pan creates many left over meals for me.  That is important because that helps save on both getting something out to eat or constantly cooking. 

Part of getting my health in order is making healthier meals for me to eat.  Also, to get meals that do not weigh me down.  I had fried fish and shrimp the other day for lunch.  The meal just "sat there" in my system and I ended up with some indigestion.  I think I will forgo the fried foods and go back to grilled, steamed, boiled, or baked.  Definitely less heavy on my stomach.

Here is the link for Dreamfields Pastas, in case someone is interested:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Painful Laughs...

Sometimes, incidents happen to all of us that hurt us physically, but later on, we always end up laughing about them.  On Sunday, I had such an incident.

I had just finished working on something for work.  Bo and Chloe were quite insistent to be walked - basically, both dogs were doing the "pee-pee dance."

I grabbed my jacket and made sure I had my house keys and roll of plastic baggies to pick up any possible "deposits" on this walk.  I keep a pair of old shoes down the stairs by the garage door.  There were too many incidents where I stepped in some "deposit" left by another beastie.  I would never know about it until I had tracked it up the stairs, then I would have to clean the stairs.  I wanted to contain those incidents to the stone tile at the bottom of the stairs.  It would be easier clean up.

On my way down the stairs, I must have lost my balance or traction on the stairs.  The next thing I knew my butt hit the corner of the first step, second step, and third step.  It was moving so fast that when I finally stopped all I could do is go "OOOOOWWWWWWW!"  I wanted cry from the pain, but I couldn't - it hurt too much.

I got on my feet and my right ankle started to give me some trouble.  Walking was very painful.  I looked at Bo and Chloe and try to explain "No pulling or running - I am in some serious pain!"

When I got home, I had to sit back down to do some more work.  I screamed in pain - my butt hurt so bad just to sit down and even worse if I had to get up.

I am not sure if I broke anything back there.  Even if I did, there is nothing that can be done about that tail bone.  Today, it still hurts when I sit or move around in the chair.  When I stand, walk, or lie down, that area is not painful.  However, the minute I go to sit down or get up, I get a wake up call with a jolt of pain.

At the time, it was not very funny.  Now, that it has been a few days, my right ankle no longer hurts, but my bum pain is still there.  However, I can laugh about it.  Still, I have figure out how to keep that from happening again.  Ow!  :-)  Did I forget to say it hurts to laugh?  LOL  Ow! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This may turn into a rant post.  You have been warned.  :-)

Most of the weekend was spent dealing with work.  There was a major database upgrade and a lot of work centered around that.  I get frustrated when other people make last minute decision changes and they do not work.  Furthermore, decide to blame others for major failures.  I won't go into details, but it really made me angry.  I wonder why we go through the exercise of planning everything to the minute and no one wants to follow the plan.  Annoying.

As many know, I have type 2 diabetes and my blood sugar has not always been stable.  Heck, I can blow my blood sugar out of normal waters by eating some bread.  It really does not take much.

Eating out or getting catered food is a real chore.  I know I do well with grilled meats and fish.  Generally, the restaurant will offer steamed vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, and/or spinach.  Salads generally work well, too.  However, when people cater food from places like Jason's Deli, you can always bet it will be sandwiches.  Sometimes, catered food includes wraps, but even those have a bit of danger to them for me.

This week, my boss keeps telling my co-workers and me to go eat the catered lunch.  I just can't do it.  I know me all too well.  I will eat the sandwiches and chips, then my blood sugar would take a huge spike.  I would rather save my carbs for something special.  Today, even though this place is carb heaven, I went to La Madeleine.  I got a cup of tomato basil soup and the chicken caesar salad.  No bread - honest!  (Although, I was tempted.)  In the end, my blood sugar dropped from 287 this morning to 139 before dinner.  I am elated because I know I made the right choice.  So I know, I have to keep up the good work to keep my numbers normal.

Since working on eating a low-carb diet, I make it a point to be mindful of other people's dietary needs.  Not to mock them or single them out, but think about where to go to eat where it benefits everyone.  In many cases, I have eaten at new restaurants and tried new foods that I really enjoyed.

I get how it is just common place to think:

Hey - I will cater in food for everyone working hard because they deserve it.  I will get a bunch of sandwiches, chips, and cookies.

While that works for the majority of people, there are some of us where that is just not possible.  I would rather go without than take the risks.  In today's case, I had the option to get something healthy and I had choices:  La Madeleine, Paradise Bakery (soup and salad), Boston Market.  Sometimes, I wish a little more thought went into what is catered.  I mean, those who are vegetarian/vegan should not always have salad as their only option.  It would be nice if delis and such had better alternative fare.

This weekend, I will have to look into getting Bo and Chloe muzzles.  I really hate to do that to them, but after tonight's incident, I have no other choice.

Chloe is more the instigator on this because she lived with my parents and no other dog.  She ran the cats off when they were staying around the house.  When I got Bo, she was not at all pleased with that.  Eventually, she figured out she could tolerate him.  (Bo lets Chloe have her way - if she is eating his food, he stays away.)  To the point, Chloe is not very well socialized.

Bo, on the other hand, I tried to get him more socialized, but he is a bit like me.  He allows others to walk all over him.  I hope he did not pick that up from me, but I do know he can stand his ground.

When walking the two of them, they go out of control when someone opens their door, see another dog, kids running up to them, and other such incidents.  When I was walking them tonight, this woman let her dog out without a leash.  The dog barked at Bo and Chloe, and of course, they went nuts.  I tried to get Bo and Chloe out of the situation, but the lady kept allowing her dog to get closer - she refused to pick the dog up.  Well, Bo and Chloe started snapping and I think one of them bit the dog.  I felt really bad about it, but I had tried to keep the dogs as close to me as I could - I was backed into someone's apartment doorway.

She finally picked up her dog and walked away - I did ask if the dog was okay.  Still, it really made me angry that both dogs act like that.  I was angry that the lady refused to pick up her dog.  I was more angry with the fact that she was allowing her dog to run around without a leash.  It kills me how people act.  I know Bo and Chloe have issues.  I try to work on them, but in this case, Chloe is an older dog and she is just too stubborn to change.

I tell my father about the incident and he just laughs, saying, "I guess Chloe is getting pretty cranky in her old age."  That does not help.

Now, that I have that out of my system, maybe things will start looking up. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pedometer and Manicure Updates...

I wore my FitBit and New Balance pedometers today.  I would say I get a more accurate step reading on the FitBit.  It is not "exact" as I have identified some discrepancies, such as right now, FitBit says I have made 5986 steps so far and the New Balance says 11069.  Quite a difference.

On the manicure side, my manicure is not showing much on the wear and tear side.  So far, no polish chipping or peeling.  I think that I might bring my own base and top coats polishes with me.  I have noticed that when other manicurists do my nails, the polish lasts longer.  I don't want to be rude, but if the base and top coats are old, that could be the contributing factor for my nail polish not to last as long as it could.

I have definitely gotten a lot of compliments on my nail color.  It is a cool shade of purple and I like it as well.  I will have to look through my collection to determine which polish to wear next. 

This weekend is release weekend and I am trying to relax as much as I can.  It has been a really crazy day and some stuff that happened today has me pretty upset.  I am tired of others overriding my decisions with their bright ideas that end up failing.  I end up being the one with egg on my face and not them.  Trying to suck it up and move past it, but I am really annoyed.

Going to keep working on new ideas and reading the books for direction.

Pedometer Update...

I have been trying to make it a habit to wear my FitBit pedometer as much as I can.  I hook it onto my bra in such a way that no one can tell I am wearing it.  That helps me make sure I have it on a majority of the time.

This week has been so crazy with the week ending release that I have not been able to go walk much.  I do walk the dogs, but that is not enough.  Most of my time has been spent sitting at my desk or in front of a computer working out issues that have "popped" up all of a sudden.

This morning, I have to be in the office early for the beginning activities for the release.  I am praying that it will go well and I can relax for the rest of the weekend until Sunday night.  That will be when I have to pull an all-nighter, which I am not looking forward to doing.

I was talking to someone the other day.  He stated that he only has to worry about pulling all nighters for release weekends.  Basically, he only has to do it 3 times a year.  I am getting to the point where pulling all nighters is having a really bad effect on me.

In college, that was to be expected to pull all nighters because you either procrastinated or wanted to do really well.  Now that I am in my mid-forties, it is getting more and more difficult to recover.  It used to be that I could recover within a day.  Now, it takes a week - sometimes longer.  I noticed this recently.  The other part of the recovery problem is that one cannot get the necessary rest needed, so it does take longer.

I still need to look for ways to get more movement into my routine.  However, the pedometer is actually helping me see where my downfalls are.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekends Go By Way Too Fast...

Feels like just as soon as Friday arrives, Monday comes around a bit too quickly for me these days.  That is probably because all that I need to get accomplished is not getting done on a personal level.  It is very frustrating.

I worked a good part of the weekend.  I handled a code deployment on Friday night, then stayed up most of last night for a disaster recovery exercise requested by another team.  I spent a good bit of that time catching up on sleep.

I did manage to make it out and get groceries.  My mind is having a difficult time trying to determine if I should only go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients as I need them for cooking.  In particular, fruit, vegetables, and meats.  That might make better sense and help empty out the refrigerator.

Tonight, I made one of my mom's homemade dishes - hamburger soup.  Mainly, it is a vegetable soup with browned hamburger in it.  I remember my mom making it a lot and it was pretty comforting for me today.  I was way too cranky after having worked most of the weekend.

When I was peeling the potatoes for the soup, I realized that my finger nails have grown a bit too long.  My manicure did not last most of the week, so I had thought of taking off the polish.  When I almost took off part of my finger nail with the peeler, I thought it was time to file down the nails and put some new color on them. 

I used to spend time doing my own manicures.  I was pretty good at it, but once I started working a lot, that all went by the wayside.  My mom started going to get pedicures and got me into doing it as well.  Once that started, I figured why not get a manicure.  Since that time, I have had someone else do it.  Tonight, I did it for myself.  It was a nice change of pace.

I colored my finger nails a nice, funky purple color by Zoya called Mimi.  I think it will fit right in with the MAC collection pieces I got yesterday.  Time to be fun and funky!

Doing the Make-Up Thing...

Make-up for me is like painting a picture.  Your clean face is your canvas.  I use colors depending on what I plan on wearing or mainly, how I feel.  Over the years, I have played around with many different colors.  I figured out certain colors look great on me and others, well, not so much.  Yesterday, I went to the MAC counter for a test drive with the latest collection, Archie's Girls.  This collection is MAC's tribute to The Archies.  (Yes, I am that old to remember the cartoon series on TV and even had the records!)

When I do the make-over thing, I try to let them "play".  First, it is what they are paid to do.  Second, I want to see what they can do with my face.  Many years ago, I had some really great experiences at two such make-overs.  One was Laura Mercier at Neiman Marcus in Fort Worth.  The second one was Trish McEvoy at Nordstrom in the Galleria.  The way I know how well it went - my mom would go on and on about how well the person that did my make up and how pretty I looked.  She was always fond of telling me that when I wore make up, I did a great job playing up my eyes and lips.

I had a interesting experience last night.  I was told I needed false eye lashes.  Okay - I have never done that - EVER.  Unfortunately, I really did not see much difference with the lashes, other than my eyes started watering like crazy.  I think my eyes were affected by the adhesive.  Those ended up coming off of my eyes by the end of the night because I could not, and still cannot, keep my eyes from watering.  So, I might be wary of doing false eyelashes.

Next, the artist worked on my eyes.  She used the purple "Veronica" palette.  I love the colors.  I just think she went too thick on the eyeliner.  I prefer thinner lines because I think that helps bring out the eyes.

One part of working on one's eyes is dealing with the eyebrows.  When I was 14, I started plucking my eyebrows.  One thing that my mom told me that was true - once you start, you cannot stop.  To a certain degree, my eyebrows have become a bit more sparse over the years.  I just do not have to pluck quite so much - just some minor cleaning up.  It was nice to know that my brows were shaped well, so she just filled in what was sparse.  I have a difficult time with that.  I always get a brow color that ends up making me look like a clown.  I hate that.  

The artist did hook me up with a really nice foundation.  I loved the coverage.  As for the blush, part of the "Archie's Girls" collection, I will have to remind myself to use it sparingly.  It would be too easy to get too much color on the cheeks.

The lips were done beautifully.  Even after wearing for awhile, the lip color stayed on and looked good.  As of late, I have noticed that my teeth are yellowing a bit.  I am trying to whiten my teeth as much as I can.  I do not smoke, but I am sure drinking colas, teas, and coffees are not helping my cause. 

My only huge negative I had was that my eyes started watering.  For me, when my eyes start watering, anything that has been done with my eyes goes straight into the toilet.

My next make over is Bobbi Brown next month.  After that, I am done for the year.  I like to see what is possible and get new ideas.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Current Readings...

The last 4 years, my life has been pretty chaotic.  A year and half spent with my mom suffering from lung cancer.  Two and half years spent dealing with the grief and nonsense at work.  I used to go to one or two concerts a year and read a lot of books.  That had pretty much ended until recently.

I have been reading various types of books on organizing my life and trying to "de-clutter" my home.  This past weekend, I picked up a couple of books on walking using a pedometer and dealing with toxic situations/people at work.  All have been pretty insightful.

Walk Off Weight With Your Pedometer by Jan Small goes through a workout plan where you start walking, but use a pedometer to count your steps.  The idea is to get 10,000 steps in one day.  I have one of those cheap pedometers that is not very accurate, but for a start, it will work.  Right now, I am in the phase of adjusting myself to wearing the pedometer and measuring its accuracy.  Finding the right place to wear it is a little difficult.  I try to clip it to my hip pocket, but I get measured on all sorts of movements, like coughing, sneezing.  I clipped it inside my bra, but when I wear my jacket to keep me warm, it has a tendency to not "click" on my movements.  So, I am working out the logistics for getting adjusted.  I just need to get more walking in place.

Am I the Only Sane One Working Here?:  101 Solutions for Surviving Office Insanity by Albert J. Bernstein goes through tons of scenarios regarding office life.  It has been very insightful for me to identify not only others with similar behaviors, but see where I am going wrong with handling situations.  This was definitely a good book for me to use as I have had a lot of challenges as of late at work.  I always hate having to ask someone for advice on what to do because I just like to do my work and do it to the best of my ability.

Surviving the Toxic Workplace:  Protect Yourself Against Coworkers, Bosses, and Work Environments That Can Ruin Your Day by Linnda Dure.  I am just getting into this book.  I have had it on my wishlist for a long time, so I figured now was the time to get it and perhaps obtain some good advice to make work better.

I  had been reading May Cause Miracles:  A 40 Day Guide for Subtle Changes for Radical Chance and Unlimited Happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein.  I started that journey with a friend, but managed to get through Day 20.  I saw the fear that the author described as well as having to look deep within myself.  I stopped there to do in-depth analysis about what I saw regarding me.  I learned to forgive myself of many things, but there are some things which I cannot get past.  I just felt that those things needed more time to be dealt with and according to her, that is groovy.  LOL

I guess the point in my reading the last book was to help me find some happiness where none has been in quite some time.  There is a lot of talk of gratitude and forgiveness and love.  I would love to be one of those people who you call and always sound so bright and cheery.  I have such a co-worker in Bothell, WA.  Every time I call her about something, you get this very cheery "Greetings!  How are you?"  Outside of Random Cathy, this co-worker has got to be the most cheery person I have ever come across who is truly happy all of the time.  I don't think there has ever been a time when she has come across angry or sullen.  Even when she is frustrated, she just oozes positive vibes.  It is really cool.  I think it has to do with the atmosphere in Washington state.  :-)

Today's Message From God:

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

there are only two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.

Don't wait for miracles, your whole life is a miracle.

Well, the majority of people consider life a miracle and it truly is.  Before my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, she found this magnet with the following saying:

I work hard....I don't work miracles.

She wanted the people to know that I was a hard worker and to quit expecting miracles from me.  That was not what should be expected.  She was funny.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Possibly Good News?

Last night, a friend from work contacted me about a possible job opening.  While I am not always confident about my abilities, I mulled over the idea.  Today, same friend contacted me that the manager wanted to speak to me.  Now, I was really nervous.

When I chatted with the manager, I made it clear what I had been doing the past several years and spoke of the knowledge I had.  Later, I sent him my resume.  The position would not entail the type of work I do now or even in the manner I am expected to do the work.  I would learn many new things and be sent to class to learn various new tools to help me.

While I am being cautious, I am still happy to hear that someone is interested in thinking about interviewing me for a new position.  I probably would not get a pay increase or anything like that.  However, the possibility of lessening the load and being able to actually have a life is a bonus.  I just have to leave the rest in God's hands and pray he will show the way.

There have been some incidents that have occurred the past couple of weeks that have made me very unhappy.  Many have suggested I raise a red flag, but I do not wish to cause more drama.  I just want to get out and do something else.  I am tired of it and just want some peace.

Today's message from God:

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

it's important to listen to your gut.

Reason has its place in this world, certainly. But your gut is that subconscious part of yourself that knows exactly what is right for you. And oftentimes God speaks to you through that subtle but true gut feeling.

I seriously believe in this.  Several years ago, I found myself going through some pretty dark times.  My current job was going to end in December and I needed to get another one lined up as soon as possible.  A friend suggested I apply for a job in Temple, TX.  

When I went down there, my mother had been admitted to the hospital due to breathing issues.  I worried about her and getting through the interview.  I spent the entire day taking a psychological exam, then being interviewed by everyone, including the VP.  By the time they were done with me, I raced home as quickly as I could to see my mom at the hospital.  At this point, it was determined she had pneumonia.  

The part where my gut feelings came in:  As much as I needed a new job, there was something about this situation that just did not feel right to me.  It bothered me.  The manager called and started asking me to make a decision.  In the end, I turned down the job offer and my friendship with my friend turned south.  My friend was furious with me for turning down such an offer.  She had spent a lot of time building me up with the executives and it was probably more than I could handle at the time.  I felt really bad, but something was just wrong.

I did manage to get another job within my employer at the time, then move onto a contracting job.  After two years, my friend called me and told me that she was sorry for blowing up at me.  She had moved from Temple back to Irving.  Apparently, the situation was not that great after all with that company.  I apologized to her for not taking the job, but she understood.  I was really surprised that she even offered to help me get on with my current employer.  However, when I got that job offer, I knew deep down in my gut, it was the right choice.

My friend passed away in May 2009.  That March, she was no longer working due to issues with MS, but she was determined to get me out of my current job and get me somewhere else.  We spent hours talking and talking that night after dinner.  I miss her very much, but that just goes to show you - your gut feeling has your best interest at heart.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weight out of control...

This morning, I got on the scale and had a huge slap in the face.  I weighed 307.4 lbs. 

I got dressed and took the dogs out for their morning walk.  As I was walking, I tried desperately to get a handle on "the" number.  Definitely not a place I want to be.  I thought I was losing weight - apparently NOT. 

As I continued my walk, my thoughts ran through my mind -"What am I doing wrong?  I don't feel I have been 'overeating'." Bottom line, even though I do not like what I weight, right now, it is what it is.  I cannot magically wave a wand and the weight disappear.  Fast weight loss like that would be very unhealthy.

So, as I write this, I am trying to forgive myself for the number.  I made it happen and I can be the one to undo it.  Next, I have got to get up and walk.  I don't mean walking the dogs, either.  Their walk is basically a 20 to 30 minute stroll so that they can do their business - pee, poo, and smell for other dogs' messages.  I am not getting anything out of that.

January is over, so I would imagine the exercise room at the apartment complex has filtered out the resolution keepers from the ones that finally gave up.  Now, I need to start making it a point to go in and walk for 30 minutes a day.  Perhaps, to change up the routine, walk in the Russell Creek park nearby to get fresh air and be alone.  Maybe after I get my bonus, I can spring for a stroller for the dogs.  Stick them in that and just go.  However, let's make sure I am committed to this "good" habit before going down that path.

Another thing I need to make sure I make a good habit of doing - measuring out my food.  It is pretty apparent that I have not been properly watching what I eat.  Now, actually measure out the foods I get.  I don't eyeball food very well.  I know the tricks, but I am probably better off carrying around some measuring cups. 

I think I overeat a lot at lunch time.  Even if I take my own stuff for lunch, I have been preparing way too much.  Again, this goes back to measuring.  Perhaps those Ziplock segregated plastic containers can help me as well.  The containers have 3 areas:  Large area for say chicken, a smaller area for veggies, and an even smaller area for a dessert or starch.  I saw in Prevention magazine where a company had created plates with flowers that should be about the size for protein, vegetables, and carbs.  Interesting concept to help people control their portions.  Unfortunately, I really do not want to spend money on new dishes. 

This month's Prevention magazine centers around "walking".  The main article - Walk Off 10, 20, 30+ Pounds!  Go from sedentary to slim in 12 weeks with this beginner-friendly, breakthrough walking plan - and no dieting!  

Okay - I am not buying the I am going to go from 300+ lbs to some model-like body.  That is unrealistic.  The realistic part for me - MOVE!  I have got to MOVE!  I think using this article for the next 12 weeks should be a good first step for me (pun intended).  Also, I need to work on my portion control.

So, bear with me as I go through this.  My goal right now - drop 10 lbs.  That is all - just drop 10 lbs.  I lose the first 10 lbs, then I will set my next goal for the next 10 lbs.  Small goals will help me reach a larger goal - lower blood sugar, better fitting clothes, more self confidence, and over all well-being. 

Side note - seems like this article is based on the Prevention Book - Walk Your Butt Off!  Want to check it out, here is the link: