Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cooking and Science Projects...

During my IBM days, I had a fellow co-worker tell me that if you were good in chemistry, you can be an excellent chef.  The co-worker's belief is that both chemistry and cooking required a recipe.  If you could follow the recipe for making something in chemistry, then you can do the same with cooking.

To a certain degree, I have to agree with that.  Many a kitchen is used for experimenting with different ingredients and various dishes.  For me, and others, the kitchen is the laboratory.

I have a fondness for the cinnamon roasted nuts at the hockey games.  A friend got me the recipe for cinnamon glazed nuts, aka Rodeo Nuts.  While I really like the outcome of this recipe, it is not quite the same as the nuts I get from the AAC.  

As I gathered items for munching for New Year's Eve/Day, I came upon a recipe that incorporated not only cinnamon, but nutmeg and clove for the "spiced" nuts.  I thought about it and decided to try adding a bit of the nutmeg and clove to the cinnamon glazed nut recipe.

As always, when making these nuts, the apartment has this wonderful cinnamon aroma.  No need for candles when I prepare this recipe.   The scent of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove fills the apartment.

The finished product tastes a lot like what I get at the hockey game, but I probably need to try a few more times.  Still, it is fun to change up a recipe to achieve something that tastes good.

Next "project" will be to create a different kind of spice nut.  It will have a bit more "spicy" than sweet.  The ingredients include black pepper, cayenne, and cumin.  I figure I should give it a shot and try it out.  

I was never very good at chemistry when I was in high school.  Maybe it was because I was at that awkward sophomore age and everything just was not clicking as it should.  Who knows.  

What I do know, as I got older, I began to gain an interest in cooking.  To be honest, I figured the only things I could cook decently were cakes, rolls, and some main dishes.  When I moved out of my parents home, I realized it was advantageous for me to cook.  It was cost effective as well as keeping me aware of what was in the food I was eating.

I watched a ton of cooking programs and tried various things.  I do remember suggesting doing various dishes when I was at home and my mom did not want me messing up the kitchen.  She did not want me burning things in her pots and pans.  Hey - it happens.

After awhile, I began to realize we all make mistakes.  Sometimes, you have to throw out your mistakes and try again.  With food, I would eat the mistakes to remind myself of what I did not want to do again.

Cooking is a lot like science.  In fact, there is a lot of science to it, if you pay a lot of attention.  As I told Random Cathy one day around Thanksgiving, I loved cooking with cranberries in order to watch/hear them pop.  I felt like the mad scientist.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Remake/Remodel - A Year Review...

How time flies when you are having fun...

This year certainly has been a quick one - it is already December 27th and it is almost done.  It has been an interesting ride.  I feel I have been able to make some changes and keep them permanent.  There are other aspects where the thoughts and theories fell apart.

I did manage to lose approximately 35 lbs from January to mid-March.  I would say when I hit that mark, I got both discouraged and lazy.  I began to start picking up weight.  The discouragement became worse in June when I had the lower back issues and could barely walk.  I had a very deep fear of exercising after that point.  I cannot deny that.

At this time, I am sort of gliding into 2015 and just trying to maintain what I have.  I will start over with being a bit more conscientious about exercising and eating better.  It is very easy to slide back into horrible habits.  I need to focus more on avoiding that sort of slippage.

Am I happier with myself?  I would like to say that I am a stronger person.  I am not going to hide from those things I have done wrong, but I am not going to beat myself up for it, either.  Life is about learning from your mistakes.  Knowing when you have done wrong, then how to correct that from happening again.

However, am I happier?  I would say I am happier.  I moved work positions into one with a hell of a lot less stress, for the moment.  I think that makes me much happier.  I do have my frustrations with the new position, but I remind myself from where I had been.  I am grateful to be away from that.

Things I would change?  Well, I did my adventure in being a hockey season ticket holder.  While I realize that the Dallas Stars are not doing so well this season, I began to realize that the schedule can be a bit of a strain.  I would do well with going to a game once or twice a week, but definitely not three times a week.  Also, with the various bills, monetarily, it makes no sense to invest in season tickets again next year.  I may do some special event games next year, but I won't be doing the season tickets until I am really ready.

I have loved having a personal trainer to help me with my goals.  I have learned about a lot of various weight lifting exercises.  Unfortunately, I either need to kick myself in the ass or drop the trainer if I am not achieving the weight loss goals I want.  I love the trainer to death, so I know it is more me kicking myself in the ass to get what I want done.  I definitely need to go to the gym more often and quit being so subconscious about it.  I am there to help me - not be seen as a circus act.  That is the piece I need to get into my head.

I find myself wanting to move away from materialistic things to enjoying experiences.  Granted, I thought of making a list in OneNote detailing the materialistic things I would like to have some day.  Not really a bucket list, but a list of those things I would like to have.  At the same time, make a list of the experiences I would love to try.  Right now, I will say - don't anyone suggest Ziplining - that simply is not going to happen.  I have no interest.  

Cash jar - what happened with that?  Of all of the things I did, I successfully followed through with doing this and it turned out great.  By the time Christmas was around, I had $1200 in cash.  The part I need to work on regarding the cash jar is how and who I spent it.  This year was actually my "Thank You" presents for those people who gave me presents when I did not have one to give to them.  Basically, people I seriously do not know that well and are only in my life for a brief period.  It was my last present to give to them as I do not wish anymore presents from them.  I do not need any presents that are vanilla scented colognes or lotions as well as candy.  Items that simply sit and gather dust are not of my use.  I would prefer to get a simple gift card to a restaurant or movie theatre.  For these people, I would prefer nothing at all because they do not owe me anything.  We are not close family and I take that for what it is worth.  I do not care what others think.  Also, I think a lot like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, if I get a present, then you have that obligation to get the other person a gift.  So imagine my uncomfortableness when I got presents of things I do not need and had nothing to give in return?

I think avoiding going to my parents' home for Christmas holidays would be a better fix for this issue.  As I said, this year was my last year for presents to those I really do not know well.  My close friends deserve better and I felt badly about that.  That will be what changes next year.  I will still do the cash jar because it does make sense.  Also, it made me feel good about saving money.

Money problems?  Well, not very happy with my debt at the moment, so some drastic changes have to be made.  Between paying for medications for me and Chloe and both of us having to see doctors and have expensive bills, it has been an expensive year.  So, to help me for the future, I am looking to do a spending fast.  

Overall, it has been a very interesting year.  I hope that next year I can bring about more positive changes.  I will detail all of that in my January 1, 2015 post!

"The Imitation Game"

Yesterday afternoon, I went over to the AMC 24 at Stonebriar mall.  I had bought a ticket to see The Imitation Game this Sunday before seeing The Hobbit:  Battle of the Five Armies on Monday.  At the time, it stated that the theater room was 18, but when I got there, not only had the time changed, but even the room.  I was glad I had arrived early, so that I could look around the whole theater for where the movie was actually going to be showing.

Why such interest in this movie?  I was channel surfing and landed on KERA (PBS).  The channel had been showing The Bletchley Circle, a show about a group of women who worked at the code breaking center in the UK.  Seems that the popularity of the show stirred up an interest in documentaries about cryptology and spying.  This particular evening, the documentary was about Alan Turing and how he and his team broke the Enigma machine during WWII from his design of the Turing machine, a very early computer.  Computers today are considered modern day Turning machines.

I watched the movie with a lot of interest.  I do not feel I can say enough about how much I loved this movie.  The movie is based about how Alan Turing came to be hired at Bletchley to work on breaking the Enigma machine.  Also, the movie describes Alan's past and how such a gifted man was a bit quirky and not very social.  It reminded me a bit of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.  I felt the pain he had for being someone with a bit of OCD and due to not being very social, it caused him to always be alone and co-workers hated working for him.  

The movie begins in 1951, when Alan is being interviewed for having paid a man for a sexual encounter.  The investigator, as you learn, is interested in what Alan did during the war as he finds that there is no information on Alan.  As Alan tells his tale of what he did during the war, the movie goes from 1939, when he goes to the interview for the position, and further back to Alan's school years to provide a bit more background.

When Joan Clarke enters the scene, you see how Alan and Joan help each other.  He helps Joan to leave her parents home to work at Bletchley Circle and help him with deciphering the code.  Joan, in turn, helps him with his social skills - allowing the team to come together and support Alan when Alan is about to be fired as the Turing machine had not made much progress.

I won't go into much more detail as I do not wish to ruin the movie.  I cannot recommend seeing this movie enough.  It is a very touching tale about Alan Turing.  There are funny moments as well as sad.  This will definitely be a movie I will be purchasing on-line to watch over and over.  It is just that damn good.

And see, no mention of Benedict Cumberbatch...until now.  Benedict and Kiera Knightley gave outstanding performances.  I would like to see them win an Oscar for their roles.

In other movie news, I see that a sequel will be out in March for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Seems like a second hotel is started up and the same cast of characters are back with a few extras.  I loved the first one so much.  

Another movie I would love to see is The Woman in Gold.  It has Helen Mirren and it is about a woman who had to leave Austria during WWII and the painting done of her aunt was captured by the Nazis.  The Austria goverment recovers it and wishes to keep it, but she wants to fight for what is rightfully hers.  Looks to be a really good movie as well.

Paddington Bear seems to be a really cute movie from the trailer. 

Perhaps, 2015 will be the year I attend more movies than I have done in the past.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Reflecting Upon Christmas...

As I do every holiday, I called various family friends and family.  Most were surprised to hear that I was spending the holiday alone.  I got a lot of how sorry they were, but there was no reason for that.  To be very honest, this was probably the very best Christmas in quite a long while.

Everyone was so surprised over that.  Sure, I could say it sucked when I figured out I had a stomach virus and felt so drained.  Things I wanted to do, I was unable to get done.  There was a lot of good for the day, which is what I focused.

I was a bit late getting dinner started.  Due to the stomach bug I had, I was either in the bathroom or resting on the bed, trying to regain some energy.  I had wanted to get my prime rib roast out to get to room temperature at 10 AM.  I was behind by 2.5 hours.  The process to allow the meat to reach room temperature took 3 hours - even then it was not at "room temperature" according to the digital probe I use for cooking meats.

Unlike the first time I ever cooked a prime rib roast, it only took about 3 hours to cook.  My first time, it took 10 hours!  I think by changing the process as well, that made a huge difference.  The first time, I went the slow cooking route and was promised a 4 hour cook time.  That process was to cook the meat for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  Next, crank up the heat to 500 degrees and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.  You allow the meat to cook while the oven is cooling off.

This time, I followed the traditional cooking process.  Crank the oven to 450 degrees and cook for 20 minutes.  Next, drop the cooking temp to 325 degrees and allow to cook until the thermometer reached 120 degrees.  Take the roast out, cover, and the meat continues to cook to reach 130 degrees for medium rare.  I allowed it to go to 140 degrees, so it would be 150 degrees - i would have a little pink.  

The roast was cooked perfectly and came out wonderfully as well.  Also, it was not 10 PM before I ate, either!  More like 8 PM, which is fine for me.

I baked a ring of coconut cake for dessert, steamed fresh green beans, made rolls from scratch, and baked a potato.  I was quite happy with my meal!  

I enjoyed giving the dogs their presents.  Happy faces and excitement over new toys!  What I miss with not having children, I can see in my dogs' faces.  That part of Christmas I really treasure.

The very selfish part of me enjoyed the ability to do what I wanted to do.  It was not a decision that was made by someone else.  I was able to listen to The Ticket's Christmas Spectacular - Dallas Morning News Electronic Editor, Robert Wilonsky, takes over the airways to play Christmas songs or versions of traditional Christmas songs that you would not normally hear over the regular radio stations.  I heard some funky Christmas songs that made me tap my foot.  Jammed to those Christmas songs with a rock beat.  Was enormously touched by Sarah Jaffe's version of "O Holy Night" at the end of the show.  Definitely something I want to remember to do next year.

After that, Robert Wilonsky did a really cool obscure rock show where he played some deep cut bootlegs and such from the past.  I was particularly rocked when he played Dallas popular 80's band, The Judys, song "High Society."  I had to contact my previous boss, John, and let him know.  He had been a huge fan back during that time.  It was fun!

I took in the peace and quiet to reflect on the past year, make some decisions regarding what to do next year to improve my life, and simply enjoy no drama or guilt.  Granted, I still had that other mess from Monday night hanging over my head.  While I wish I had better answers, the bottom line is that it was all similar to those things we read about in the Bible and history - Mob Mentality.  It has no sense and the purpose is only for hurt.  As for the one that dropped me as a friend, well, I also realized that person had no true loyalty as long as there was something to benefit.  That time had passed and it is time to let go.  Maybe, here is where I learn about forgiveness - I have no ill will towards this person, I do have the knowledge of the true self.  There was a purpose in the friendship and now, it is time to move on.  Just a shame it has to end on an ugly note.

So, now, my plans for the next several days is to clean, clean, and clean.  Clear clutter and gather items to take to GoodWill and donate old clothes.  Take papers to a public shredder to get rid of that clutter.  Make a huge dent and devote January for really "cleaning out and starting fresh."  Not having to deal with work will help make all of that easier to do.  

Today, I will be seeing "The Imitation Game."  This is another movie that I am very excited to see.  In fact, I will work on writing up a review.  I promise, it will not be a review about how dreamy Benedict Cumberbatch is.  I am almost 50 years old - he is adorable, but my interest is in the story of Alan Turing.  Any geek/nerd should want to see this, but I think a little bit of a history buff needs to be in that mix.  Sounds like me.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 This year, I am staying at my home and reflecting upon the past year.  I hope to look at what I have done/accomplished, evaluate areas of improvement, and set new goals for the upcoming year.  Also, I want to sit down and take stock in what is important in life.

Last night, I took a friend I have known for almost 20 years to dinner.  She is experiencing some difficult times and happier that she was my dinner guest than someone else.  That person has some pretty toxic stuff going on and nothing seems to change with her.  As I did last year, I examined her situation and there is not anything I can really do for her.  Yes, I go to dinner with her once a week to hear about her son and work.  I cannot change how things are going for her.  As I did for myself, she needs to search out opportunities for positive change.  Allowing yourself to tumble into a downward spiral is something you do to yourself - others really cannot help you.  I learned this.

Still, I feel sad for her and hope that the upcoming new year is much better for her.  Perhaps, that would lighten her mood as well as encourage her to make some effort to not be so dowdy.

This friend had me in stitches as she discussed the cruise she took with a friend of hers.  (My friend's ride on the cruise was paid for by this friend.)  I felt awful that she had some difficulty with her friend, but it sounded like it was written for a comedy show.

She enjoyed the meal as well as I did.  (Unfortunately, my digestive system has taken issue with that this morning.)  I also made her a pan of fudge.  She loves it and always asks for it during the holidays.  Since it is fairly easy to make, I really cannot deny doing it for her.

As I began thinking about Christmas and presents, I realized that while there are some objects I would love to have, I probably would enjoy experiences more than anything else.  For example, back in the 1980's, Fort Worth had a restaurant called Harrigan's.  The food was always very good and the place was well known for its cheese rolls.  It became tradition in our house to get dressed up for Christmas Eve dinner and head to Harrigan's.  We would order fried zucchini slices with honey mustard dressing, prime rib, baked potato, and a salad.  Never ordered dessert because mom had already had some sort of cake baked at home - either ring of coconut, coca-cola cake, or chocolate candy cake.  

It was a fun tradition.  It was nice to get dressed up and feel like you were truly celebrating.  Harrigans's shutdown sometime in late 1990's or early 2000's.  At that point, my mom had started not feeling well enough to go out for holiday dinner.  I still missed it and had always tried to go back to doing it.

I have tried in some form or fashion since my mother passed away.  In some small way, recapture that feeling of tradition.  My father never seems interested - it costs too much or whatever.  But, this year, I was determined to do something that would really make me feel good.  Otherwise, the holiday is simply lost on me.

The original plan was that I would do this alone.  I was fine with eating alone; I have done that in the past just for some peace and quiet to relax.  However, my sullen friend wanted to join me.  I think when she asked if I was going to dress up and I said I would, it deterred her.  I really felt from her response that she wanted nothing to do with getting dressed up, but requested a 5 PM reservation.  Yesterday morning, she texted me that she was feeling ill and would not make it.

I thought about it and decided to ask my other friend if she wanted to go.  She had wanted to meet up for coffee for something, so why not this and I was up for paying for her meal.  I am so glad it worked out like that.  She dressed up and met me at the restaurant.  Since the place was one of those Brazilian steakhouses, she insisted on having filet mignon.  Every time one of the guys in gauchos showed up with some meat, her response was always "Filet Mignon, please?"  It really got to be hilarious, but she was always very sweet and nice about it.

While talking and really enjoying our meal, we decided that we should make that a tradition between the two of us.  Get dressed up and meet for a nice meal and have a good time.  I could not agree more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Friendships Come and Go...

You would think at this age, I would get the idea that friendships come and go.  Some people live for the drama that others produce.  Maybe that is how soap operas got their popularity?

I do not like being treated as a pawn in some weird game.  When people post their ugly laundry regarding divorces and the like in hopes of gaining some sort of "team" to fight against another person, it is simply sad.  For this particular piece of drama, I refuse to take sides.  It is all very ugly and I simply do not see any thing getting better of the situation.

When I take offense to the girlfriend posting all of this commentary, I become the villain because everyone wants to make the other person look like some sort of evil incarnate.  Really?  Of all of the world's problems, you choose *this* to make a stand?

The difficult part is making sure I truly am not siding for one or the other.  I can see the difficulty one would have judging people, so I choose not to side.  For those who have chosen their side, I am more shocked at how cruel they were.  One unfriended me, but I look at it like this - I see your loyalty for what it truly is - fair weathered - never thinking once about how I stood by and supported you through various trials and tribulations.

Divorce is ugly.  That is all I can say for it.  Sometimes, I feel that many people do not take marriage seriously enough.  Perhaps, rather than having the words:

to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Change it to:

Until I get sick of you and your petty garbage.

Does not sound so nice, but these days, it comes down to that.  No one wants to work at a marriage.  The truth be known, people need to quit telling those happy ending stories about the prince and the princess - you never hear about what happened after they got married.  What a horrible cheater the prince was, how the princess stole things from the prince, or how the prince beat the princess on a daily basis.

However, to lose friendships over this?  Well, I am probably better off without all of that.  I appreciate the people in my life who have gone through divorce and kept that garbage off of FB.  They did not feel the need to create "teams". 

What in the hell is that, anyway?  Freaking high school?!  This is real life, people!!!  It is not a cartoon and people hurt.   

Time to move on and up...

Friday, December 19, 2014


Looking at one's self in the mirror can be quite a sobering experience.  As I was applying make-up the other day, I realized how many wrinkles I have.  The worst ones are the wrinkles around my lips.  It is pretty annoying to have a great lip color on and it bleeds into the lines.

This past Sunday, before attending the Fleetwood Mac concert, I got a hair cut.  Once I was finished there, I went to Sephora to look around at the various Christmas special packages.  Nothing really hit me for something I just had to have.  I did see some advanced lip repair by Fresh Sugar.  It is supposed to diminish the lines around your lips.  I bought it along with Philosophy's Overnight Miracle Worker.

The research I did on the Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Care indicated it was the top choice by Good Housekeeping.  I did not find anything on the Overnight Miracle Worker, but I put some thought into it.  

Starting in January, I am going to start regularly using these two products for about a month.  I want to see if there is any difference.  I also have some Laura Mercier Anti-Aging skin care products.  I may try that package to see if it makes a difference.

I am not interested in getting botox or anything like that.  If over the counter products can reduce some of the wrinkles, then I am okay with that.

I am also plan to get back on my water kick.  I think when I did that earlier in the year, it actually worked wonders.  My joints were not hurting and my skin did look better.

Here is to another adventure...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

FitBit Challenges...

When it comes to physical activity, I have never been a "winner."  I was always taunted, due to my weight, in school for being slow.  That is probably why I hated physical activity - it was never fun for me.  I always had to deal with other kids making fun of me for being overweight, thus slow.  The only time I was truly wanted was for "tug-o-war" games.

When I got to high school, band allowed me to forgo the regular PE courses that everyone else I had to take.  By the time I quit band as a Senior, I no longer was required to have PE.  

In college, I was back to square one - having to run for my physical education credits.  During the course, the class was introduced to circuit and weight training.  There, I had some interest.  I had even lost some weight during that first semester, rather than gaining the "Freshman 15."

The second semester, I signed up for racquetball.  Very odd for me, I know, but I liked watching people play, so I wanted to try.  I was not great at it, but I loved it.  I could not wait to get to class and play, even though I lost a lot of games.  For me, it was a lot of fun and I did sweat a lot by running about that little room.  That summer, my parents allowed me to take racquetball again because I enjoyed it so much.

The Spring semester, I signed up to learn to play tennis.  Again, I have fond memories of playing tennis.  I was not the greatest, but I really enjoyed it.  Winning just was not important to me.  I just enjoyed hitting the ball and learning the game.

Recently, a friend I have known for awhile invited me to a FitBit Weekend Warrior challenge.  My first reaction was to back away, but I got to thinking about it.  The honest truth was that I needed motivation to make my daily step goal and recently, I just was not doing it.  I was not being active enough.

So, I have joined my "virtual" friends in doing various FitBit challenges.  My main goal is to motivate myself into making sure I, at the very least, get my 10,000 steps done each day.  Some days, I actually get into the lead position.  Not often, but when I do, I feel good about that day's progress.  I tried and got somewhere.  However, the big goal for me is to make sure I keep up a streak of doing 10,000 steps per day.

Maybe all of this activity has a positive effect on my attitude?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner a Week Later...

Maybe I am just picky, but I do not think I have ever had a Thanksgiving dinner like my mom would make.  Actually, when my mother was alive, we tried several times to get prepared Thanksgiving dinners and nothing ever really met the expectations we had.  

One year, I was working day and night around the holidays due to a project that had been installed.  Unfortunately, that project required quite a bit of baby sitting in the beginning.  That Thanksgiving, my parents had ordered the Thanksgiving dinner from Albertsons.  I got to their home rather late and everything was still in the oven keeping warm.  My mother started apologizing for how bad the meal was.  And she was right, it was pretty awful.  So, we marked Albertsons off the list for possible Thanksgiving dinners.

Another year, I cannot remember why, but I think we ran out of leftovers for Thanksgiving fairly quickly.  Oddly enough, we still wanted more turkey, dressing, and etc.  So, we tried Thanksgiving dinner from Boston Market, Black Eyed Pea, and Cracker Barrel.   Cracker Barrel offered both turkey and ham with their meal, but the ham was really salty.  Black Eyed Pea was okay, but not quite like mom's.  Boston Market, while the turkey was delicious, the dressing with carrots in it was not appetizing.  My mom and I were highly critical.  LOL

For the last few years of my mom's life, my mom would come into the kitchen when she could to see how everything was coming together.  I would make the rolls from scratch, prepare everything for the dressing, work on the candied yams, and help my father season the turkey.  The last two Thanksgivings that my mother was alive, my father and I would put together the entire dinner.  The last one with her, she told me what a wonderful job I had done.

After my mother's passing, my father and I went to visit long time friends for Thanksgiving.  It was nice to share the time with them, but it just was not the same.  For Christmas that year, I ordered a brined turkey from Central Market and prepared turkey and dressing for dinner.  In that case, it was pretty much like mom's Thanksgiving dinner.

The following year, I ordered Thanksgiving dinner from Bread Winner's.  To be honest, there was a good deal of food, but it was only enough for one meal.  No left overs.  My father and I ate early, so that evening I was hungry.  My father met with his friend that evening and had another Thanksgiving dinner at Golden Corral.  

I was terribly frustrated with having been left at home by myself and there was nothing to eat.  Then, it hit me - try the Thanksgiving dinner given by Buca di Beppo.  I know - the Italian restaurant making Thanksgiving dinner?  It was actually very awesome!  It cost me a little less than the one I got from Bread Winners and I actually had left overs for a few days!  It was really a wonderful dinner and if, in a pinch, I had to get Thanksgiving dinner elsewhere, I would definitely go there.

This year, Thanksgiving just was not the same without my mom.  I had no leftovers to eat and I missed that.  So, I bought a turkey breast and will be working on making my own Thanksgiving dinner today.  Albeit, it is a week or so late, this is my own tribute to my mother.  As I reflect upon the years, it was really my mom that made the holidays so very special.  I wish she was still here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Weighting Game...

You know the old saying:

You did not put it on overnight, so it won't come off overnight.

Working on weight loss takes a great deal of patience.  Sometimes, I just do not have it.  I get frustrated with others as well as myself.  I see the articles where a 400 lb person lost 200 lbs.  Then, again, I see it took years, so I have to step back and reflect on where I am.

Right now, it is up and down.  That part is frustrating.  I get more frustrated when I work hard and nothing seems to be working in the right direction.

I must remind myself each day that I am getting stronger, learning how to eat better, and have patience with what is going on in my life.  Short cuts do not help - I have to do it the hard way.

I must keep at it each day.  That is all there is.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hmmm...Is the Rest of the Country Not Considered Cultured Enough?

For months, I have been waiting to see the movie, The Imitation Game.  Yes, I think Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor and cute, but this was more because I was interested in the story about how the British created a machine to break the German code.

A few months ago, I was sitting at home watching PBS.  There was a whole series dedicated to "spies".  This particular episode was about how the British broke the German code using the enigma machine.  I learned of Alan Turing and the group that worked on that.  It was really interesting.

So, I saw the trailers for this movie about the same time.  I thought - this is awesome!  I loved movies like this.  I waited for the release date and it was slated for release in the US on November 28th.  Cool - the day after Thanksgiving - that works for me!

After Thanksgiving, I went in search of where and what time I would be able to see the movie.  I checked Fandango and Moviefone - Unbelievable!  The only theaters showing the movie near me:  Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY.  WTF?!

I thought about it for awhile.  Cumberbatch will probably be up for an Oscar and the reviews I have seen are excellent for the movie.  I thought about and figured out that this is going to be like The King's Speech and Gosford Park - wait until after the holidays to open it up to everyone.

My question - WHY?  Why do this?  Why is it that everything is tested on the East and West coast and everything in between is treated as if showing there is beneath them. 

It is just like with musical acts.  Some just do not want to come to Dallas for whatever reason.  It is not like there are no fans here - there are.  Just be smart and select venues where it is reasonable to perform.

However, a movie like this one, I would have gotten dressed up to go to the Anglicka at Legacy to see the movie.  I find it pretty frustrating.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Friendship Breakdowns...

I came across this article today and talk about hitting home - more than once:

When Friendship is Lost... 

Several times in my life, various people have dropped out of my life for one reason or another.  One friend was at least honest with me - she ended our friendship because I was never on time.  I would see her occasionally in the mall and just want to catch up, but she was always very cold.  The last time I saw her, I decided it was time to just drop it.

Another college/work friend dropped out of my life, even when I reached out several times.  I got to the point where I stopped.  She still accepted my LinkedIn contact, but generally speaking, her ex-husband stated that if I had nothing to offer her career-wise, she was letting go of such contacts.  It was not that I was a bad person or did anything wrong, according to him.  This friend was just looking to connect with those who could help her move up in her career.

I felt the author's same feelings of confusion.  You try to reach out and apologize for being an idiot, but the other side never responds.  It is more frustrating because you really do not know what sort of boneheaded thing you did and how you can rectify that issue.

There are others who I wish I were still in touch, but have just had to learn that the friendship is over and that is it.  I will always cherish the fun times and keep fond memories, but to pursue is not a good choice.

As the author states, it is easier to handle when it was a romantic partner.  When it is a friend, one you confide in, it is really hard to handle.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

When Your Planning Goes Awry...

As I look around my apartment and reflect upon my week, nothing I had originally planned to do got done.  Another instance of "Oooo...I cannot wait for my week of vacation!  I will be able to do blah, blah, and blah".  Yeah - pretty annoying when that just does not break down as you hoped.

To varying degrees, some stuff can wait.  I mean, is it really going to walk off?  I am fairly certain that is "no."  However, I have tons of laundry to do, clean the kitchen - it really needs it, clear out the clutter, and get rid of the paper clutter that has accumulated.

I am more disturbed by the other plans that actually meant something to me to get done.  For instance, I was going to cook my own Thanksgiving dinner.  I went to another person's house for Thanksgiving this year.  It just was not a Thanksgiving dinner that I am used to having. 

Last year, Thanksgiving was spent with just the dogs.  I was in the kitchen cooking my own little heart out and when it was all said and done, I was truly fat and happy.  I was thankful to have the time alone as well as feeling that the dinner was a tribute to my mother.  Had she been here, I think she would have been shocked not to have been in the kitchen doing any of that cooking.  (Actually, a few years before she passed away, I did cook for her and I know she appreciated it.)

Anyway, since I went off course there, I had planned on preparing a turkey breast with all of the trimmings today.  Unfortunately, there were no fresh turkey breasts to be had - only frozen.  In order to defrost, I would have to let the turkey breast sit in the refrigerator for 2 days.  Yeah - I do not see that happening.  

It really bummed me out!  I had all of these plans and *poof*, all up in smoke.

Maybe that is something I can do for next Sunday.  The bonus there is that I can eat leftovers all the next week which is a money saver and a blessing for me.

After my experience with Thanksgiving this year, I think I will make it a point to just stay home and enjoy the holiday with the dogs.  No matter how exhausting both of them can make me, I am terribly thankful to have them in my life.  They are a reality check when I feel down - sure I had a bad day, but you know what, they don't know and they are damned happy to see me.

As for Christmas, I am still pondering what to do there.  I have a real urge to stay home.  The only thing I truly want for Christmas is just peace and quiet.  I do not need drama or what have you from someone else's home.  Also, I would love the time to reflect and think about what I want to achieve for the upcoming new year. 

The downside is that I need to get gifts over to those who gave me presents the past couple of years.  I feel badly because I do not know what to get for them and honestly, I am not part of their lives.  However, I feel an obligation to get them something in a way of saying "Thank You."  I do not expect anything from them and they should not feel that they need to get me anything.  I simply want to give this one last gift, then be done with it.  After that, spend that $15-$30 on someone else.

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

encouragement is important.

Everybody needs to be encouraged, including you. Keep doing the best you can, you've got what it takes and you are going to make it. Remember to encourage others to pursue their own dreams. Build each other up, encouragement is important.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks...

Yesterday, I never really got a chance to make an entry.  For most holidays, when spent away from home, everything is so hectic and planned.  I think it might be easier to stay home for the holidays.

I know most people will think I am crazy, but I would prefer to spend that time at home with the dogs.  After all I have been through with Chloe and her medical bills, I need to be thankful to have this borrowed time with her.  

Same is true for Bo.  He is truly a sweetheart.

Last year, I stayed home, cooked my dinner, and laid on the sofa with the dogs.  It was our way of celebrating - taking it easy and just relaxing.  For that, I was thankful.

I do wish my mother was still here.  I miss having her around and wished I had handle things differently when I was younger.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thoughts and Feelings Regarding the Current Events...

I have had different opinions regarding the events that occurred in Ferguson, MO.  I believe in peaceful protests and open dialogue to sort out the issues we have regarding racism.  When people loot and riot, or even like here in Dallas, shutdown a freeway with your protesting, the mass majority of the public will not take you seriously.  

Why not?

Look at it from a person on the outside looking in:

You think nothing of destroying someone's business, their livelihood because you are angry.  You feel entitled to steal merchandise because people are considered racist and those business owners might actually side with your beliefs.  Who pays for all of that destruction?  Not you.  The insurance companies might be able to cover the destruction, but at what cost to the owners?  How about thinking of the employees who work in those businesses?  They have no job, now.

The whole incident, I believe could have been prevented altogether.  Had the young man not made the poor choices he made that night, he would be alive today.  Some of you may feel that is not being fair.  I think it is.  Had this young man been what his parents and others portrayed him to be, he would not have been out late at night robbing a store.  I truly believe that had the young man stayed home or done something other than rob a store, he would be alive today based upon choices made.

We all take a chance based upon the decisions we make.  Every action we take has some sort of reaction.  We have to decide which one is the right one.  The one thing I have learned, there are some decisions that put you in bad situations, such as this one, and those are the ones that I avoid.

That sentiment should be true to anyone no matter what your skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.  

One last word on the subject of racism.  While this country still has issues with racism, the people are open for change and that has allowed this country to come a LONG way to get to where we are today.  We still have a long way to go, but keep this in mind, in many places in the world, racism still exists and is an accepted way of behavior.  This is not just our country's problem, but a world-wide issue.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Health Update...

This Saturday's weekly weigh-in showed a 2.8 lb loss.  Finally - to see some progress, it was certainly refreshing.  On the downside, I am still feeling a lot of aches and pains.  To a certain degree, I understand the "No Pain, no gain" where my muscles are concerned.  What bothers me is that neither advil or aleeve are helping to relieve the muscle pain I am feeling after a workout.

Do not get me wrong.  Since switching over to using weight machines, I have been able to get through my workouts with my trainer.  My arms and/or legs will feel like limp noodles after lifting.  The next day, I can feel the soreness in those areas.  This past week, the trainer was able to sneak in some squats and that made it more difficult to get up and down without feeling a lot of pain.  I even did a lot of walking in hopes to reduce that pain last week.  

Now, it is not so bad, but when I stand after a period of sitting down, I stiffen up and there is a lot of pain.  I am looking for ways to stretch those muscles in order to get that part to stop.

I am thankful that I have this week off from work.  I just want to enjoy the time off and hope to get some cleaning done around the apartment.  I have my work cut out for me on this part, but I will work to get some dent done.  

Here is hoping that Thanksgiving does not dent my health changing efforts.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why We Need to Look Back at the Past...

So often, we hear people talk about letting go of the past, moving forward, and so forth.  However, this advice needs to be in regards to not beating one's self up over mistakes made or situations out of one's control.  We do need to remember the past and learn from the mistakes and situations presented.  It is this point where we, as a global society, fail.

Now, you are probably wondering why I say that.  For the past few days, I have had several discussions regarding the education of people and those that are in control.  IS and other religious factions take hold of a community by storm and enforce laws and values that are not deemed reasonable by no stretch of the imagination.

Recent discussion was spurned by a conversation I had with a co-worker, where we share similar musical tastes.  Earlier in the week, I had said that "Friday cannot get here fast enough."  This Friday, she sends me a YouTube link - The Cure performing Friday, I'm In Love.  I loved it and mentioned the first and last time I had ever seen The Cure perform in concert was June 2008.  The section of the show that stirred me not only from a musical aspect, but from an emotional aspect was when the band performed Hundred Years.  

The song has a very eerie feel to it.  Similar to what Shirley Manson had said regarding Siouxsie and the Banshees, for bands that could produce this sinister sound, that sound would draw me into it in a curious fashion.  However, the image backdrop displayed for the song was unimaginable.  Various old photos taken from various, I would presume, European areas where you saw what genocide was really about.  It was not simply holocaust photos as many were not from that area, but other places.  The whole performance would click on that weird fascination I had regarding Nazi Germany and how, as a young girl, could not understand how so many people were unaware and even allowed that to happen.

My friend had mentioned that she visited a holocaust museum and there was a section that display the various medical tests performed on people.  The room had a warning on it regarding the photos on display.  My friend said she only lasted a few minutes looking before she just had to leave - the photos were that disturbing.

Today, the one thing I realized is that many political/religious factions have some sort of hidden agenda that many followers are unaware.  I considered ISIS in this case and another friend simply said that they were uneducated.  I had to disagree as many of the followers and leaders were well educated.  Those people were sent to the best schools.  Yet, those people ignore the past/history.  Granted, they prefer to feel that they have a stronger case for performing some form of genocide based upon ideals.  The world is seeing this and people refuse to stomach that sort of behavior.  Then, again, other places in the world ignore it.

So, I am again at that crossroads, wondering how a world having experienced these types of behaviors over and over simply cannot get past that sort of stupidity/savagery.  I realize that one cannot fix stupid, but obviously, it multiples in high numbers.  I also realize that religious factions such as ISIS thrive on the uneducated - it is a higher form of bullying, if you will.  

It causes me to stop and wonder:

Is God really a mad scientist and he creates various schemes and life forms, goes off to do something else, and when he returns, he sees what destruction lies before him and takes care of it?

None of us really know, do we?  So, as a global society, we should bear the responsibility of looking back at the past.  Quit thinking that history is boring.  It really is not boring when you realize that this world continues to do the same thing over and over.  Would it not be incredibly amazing if it stopped simply because we know the outcome is not what we desire?  Then, again, for those groups, I suppose it is the desired outcome.  I do not think I will ever truly understand it.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Change Up...

While having my bi-weekly meeting with my trainer, she made a suggestion to change up my diet a bit.  Rather than having a shake for breakfast and lunch, have the shake for lunch and dinner.  Make sure to eat a decent breakfast.

After looking at my food journal on MyFitnessPal, her suggestion came when it seemed that the bulk of my calories were taking place at the end of the day.  She figured I had to be starving by the time dinner came.  Unfortunately, that part was true.  I was starving, but trying to stay within limits.  

So, today, I prepared scrambled eggs, canteloupe, and watermelon to eat for breakfast.  I will have a shake for lunch and dinner.  I will see how I handle that.

Actually, I cannot wait for next week - I can go back to eating food for all three meals.  I feel I am just not getting up and moving around enough.  My FitBit shows it.  However, for some reason, I got knocked down with a lot of fatigue yesterday.  That is rather unusual, but it could be that I am not getting enough sleep with the dogs.  Since the time change, Chloe is just killing me with when she needs to go.

I suppose when I really think about it, it is probably due to depression.  The holidays always get me down and even more so since my mother passed away.  I really did not realize how much she was such a huge presence for the holidays.  It was always just our small family, mom, dad, the dogs, and myself.  I do not feel close to any of the other family, but that is just how it was with our family.  Everyone else lived in another state and if someone on my father's side lived in Texas, we rarely saw them.  Not really sure if there is any blame.  I have tried in the past and put the proverbial ball in their court, but it simply sits there.  

Now, I will be thrown into a family that is not mine.  It is my father's new family, but I am just the outsider.  I have never felt more uncomfortable in my life and it is not that they are mean.  It is just not my family.  

Last year, my father and his companion decided to go out of town for Thanksgiving.  I was bitter about that for awhile.  However, when I thought about it, what was to happen when he leaves?  I decided to make the most of it.  I bought a fresh turkey breast and everything that needed to be prepared for Thanksgiving dinner had my mother been alive.  It was almost like she was with me and guiding me along.  It was the best Thanksgiving I had in the years that she had been gone.  

I need to try this "family" thing one last time.  If I feel just as uncomfortable as last time, it will be my last.  I will have to struggle to have that talk with my father about how the "family" is not inviting me, but his companion.  The "family" may not want me there and that is okay.  It is their traditions and not mine.  Holidays should be about having fun and enjoying yourself.  Not feeling like you are walking on eggshells.  Furthermore, by any grace of God, no one should feel that they need to invite me because I will be alone for the holidays.  Quite honestly, it is okay.  Having that peace of being alone and not having to answer to anyone is pretty much welcome all of the time.

Well, the good thing - next week, I am off for Thanksgiving!  I am actually going to be happy about that!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Last night, I saw the following posted on Twitter by my friend who also happens to be a chef:

RT @HealthyPost:  Forget about getting skinny.  Eat well & exercise, the weight will take care of itself.

Nutshell, I need to keep this in mind all of the time.  My biggest problem is the exercise piece.  I just need to be more consistent with being more active.  Making sure I get at least 30 minutes of some sort of exercise in each day, even it if is walking vigorously in front of the TV.

My friend reminded me that we are both on the "long haul" and we can do it!  We are going to lose this weight, but do it the healthy way.  I really need to remember that the fat did not get on my body overnight, so there is no way it is going to disappear overnight, either.

My problem, I think, is that I lose my motivation for one reason or another.  I still see my trainer twice a week and quite honestly, I welcome the strength training exercises.  After being there, I get so motivated to do more - to get more steps done and so forth.  

All negative thoughts and views need to be left behind because in the end, all they do is prolong reaching the ultimate goal:  Be healthy and feel better.

Now, as my horoscope mentioned for me today, I need to figure out where I am overwhelming myself and restructure my schedule.  I need to be able to do certain things that I have wanted to do, but I need to make sure that I do not overwhelm myself.  When I do, I get depressed or feel fatigued.  I need to realize, I cannot do everything.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding Comfort in the LIttle Things...

After sitting through another Dallas Stars loss on Saturday afternoon, then dealing with some ugly DART rail aftermath (wet bottom caused by a previous rider who spilled their drink - I hope), I had decided to make mom's hamburger soup.  There is no real recipe for the soup - it was something she threw together and quite honestly was very delicious on cold days.

For whatever reason, I lost all energy I had in the morning and was tremendously sluggish in getting anything else done.  However, I did manage to get the potatoes peeled and the soup on the stove.  The outside was very cold and in some areas, there were some snow flurries.  

The last time I ran the dogs outside for their final potty before heading to bed, the outside air was tremendously chilly and biting.  During our walk, I began to feel something hitting my face.  While the dogs were sniffing for what other messages had been left behind, I began to realize that it was snowing.  I stood there for a few moments just watching the simple beauty of the flakes swirling down from the sky.  

There was a certain beauty of seeing the flakes slowly float to the ground.  Heavy snow flurries are beautiful when viewed from inside a warm home.  However, this held somewhat of a magical spell, similar to what you might see in the movies.  

I walked the dogs home quickly since Chloe was visibly cold.  Still, I really enjoyed getting to savor that moment of watching the flakes just float in the air.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Story Leftout...

Everyone has their ideal image of themselves.  What we wish we could look like to others and so forth.  Ever seen those weight-loss commercials on TV - how they show you the "before" and "after"?  How your life will be so exciting and such after your weight loss.  The problem is - those commericals are missing one thing - the reality of having dropped a massive amount of weight.

No one tells you the real story.  Sure, you are healthier and your quality of life will increase.  However, no one tells you about the excess skin.  Basically, when one is very overweight, such as myself, and loses a large amount of weight, the skin is probably stretched too far to contract.  Therefore, that person is left with a large amount of excess skin.

At the beginning of the year, I was working hard to drop weight and this whole excess skin business hit.  I remembered my mother telling me that it would probably happen.  As I look at my body in the mirror, I know it to be true.

The thing the weight loss centers always tell you is that insurance will pay for your surgery to lose weight.  What they do not tell you is that once you lose the weight and you have excess skin, insurance companies will not pay for the surgery to remove the excess skin.

I saw this video today and it made me cry.  I sympathized with this kid, but I was so proud of what he had accomplished.  It made me sad because if he can do it, why can't I?  Why can't I get past all of these images in my head and just be happy with myself?  That is where the real issue is.  I wish that people would continue to talk about this because in the end, it will help more than hurt.  It will encourage more people to learn to be happy with themselves and not find themselves more damaged when weight loss does not turn out as promised.

Better yet, if you choose weight loss surgery, remember - you need to be happy with you and in your own skin.  Even if you lose weight the old fashion way, by eating healthy and exercise, that business of the excess skin will still be there.  

I am never kidding with myself - I will never look like some model or actress.  I am me.  I have got to fight every day to feel comfortable with myself.  This will be a daily battle - whether or not I have excess weight.


Thirty Years Later - A New Cause...

It was November 1984 and starting my trend of enjoying British music bands.  I was going to TCJC at the time and was looking like I was actually getting into some sort of shape.  The physical education course was at the point of doing strength and circuit training.  I was never happier because I was tired of running all of the time.

At this time, the biggest bands/singers of the British music scene were gathering together to record a song.  There was a cause behind it - helping to feed those in Africa who were not getting any assistance from their own governments.  The song was called Do They Know It's Christmas? and the band compiled called themselves "Band Aid."

Bob Geldof wanted to do something after seeing a documentary on TV regarding the crisis in Africa.  He contacted Midge Ure and the two artists developed the song.  After that, there was the organization of those artists willing to contribute their time and talents to helping develop the record.  All of that work took place in a 24 hour time frame, then the record was released.

I was truly in awe of what Bob had done and the song actually had an effect on me.  I bought the 45 RPM as well as the 33-1/2 RPM.  I did what I could do on a student budget.  The same was true for when Bob gathered the same artists and more to do Live Aid in July 1985.

Here it is - thirty years later - Bob and Midge sit before a group of journalists to say there will be another Band Aid - Band Aid 30.  Bob appears weary in this setting, but his words make a lot of sense.  One can tell that this business of doing the socially good is becoming a huge burden on him as people are always expecting it from him.  I completely understood his comment about how embarrassing it was to call people you do not even know to ask them to help.

However, this time - the cause is very different.  Sure, it is for the people in Africa, but this time, the people in West Africa who are dealing with the ebola virus.  While I should not have lived in any fear of this disease when the Dallas area was managing it, you cannot help but feel what sort of fear those people have there.  When I read of people here talking about wanting to flee, that is what makes that situation worse - it is what spreads it because of "fear".  

So, for anyone reading this, in the next few days, an updated version of this record will be released to the world.  Even if you do not like the song, buy it.  Give of yourself this small amount as it will be a tremendous amount to help those health workers and such in West Africa.  The situation there is dire.  We here in America are very lucky.  Maybe get past the commercialism of Christmas and make yourself feel good - give to something that can make a difference.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Ever Had One of Those Days?

Seems like I have been having one of those "days" for about two weeks.  As I sit here, I am reminded of those things I needed to do and totally forgot.  Ugh!  My brain has been in a fog for quite awhile.

I think part of my problem has been that I have been experiencing a great deal of exhaustion.  Next, stress and frustration.  Nothing is more deflating than to have a schedule to do something, but you just cannot seem to get it together for whatever reason.  It is pretty much a bummer.

I am trying hard to get several things done, but just seem to have this drain on my energy.  For example, I took a 3 hour nap one day after I got home from work.  The dogs ran me down when I took them for a walk and I felt like I needed another nap!  

To make things worse, I feel like I am constantly rushing around and there is no sense in that.  

Something tells me that I could be experiencing pre-menopause.  I am cranky and easily irritated.  Once I get past that monthly deal, life calms down and stuff can get done.  That is annoying.

Maybe, I will get a lot of rest this week, that way I can concentrate on getting some chores done that I have put off over and over.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Special Little Girl...

Today, Chloe turns 14 years old.  Pretty difficult for me to imagine that she is that old, let alone hanging in there with me all this time.  I should say, she had a good start in her life with Dr. Welch, then with the best momma a little dog could have, my mom.

In September 2009, my mother asked me to take Chloe and take care of her.  My mom was completely bed ridden and there was no way she could properly give the care that Chloe needed to her.  My mom cried when I left that night with Chloe and her things, but Chloe was never very far away from my mom.  

The day my mom passed away, I made sure Chloe got to be with my mom for a little bit.  I know Chloe knew mom had passed away, but she huddled up close to my mom in that protective way she has.  I had to bring both Bo and Chloe into the bedroom as the funeral home staff took my mom out of the house.  I think it broke the both of us because now, it was a reality.  Momma was gone.

I only had Bo for 2 years and I worried how I was going to do with taking care of two dogs.  Chloe had knee surgery a year or two later and together we got past that.  Currently, she has been dealing with a badly diseased gall bladder and Cushing's disease.  I make sure Chloe gets her food, exercise, and treats.  I cherish all of the times where she cuddles up to me in bed while I sleep.  

It is difficult to believe my mom has been gone for almost 5 years and Chloe is hanging in there with me all of this time.  I love Chloe dearly - as much as I love Bo.  There are times I worry I tend to love one more than the other, but I try to make sure I share attention between the two.

I will never forget that little puff ball that greeted me at the front door when my parents got her.  She was all play and licks.  Everything was on her terms, though.  You learned pretty quickly that she was the bossy, vocal one and you needed to obey.  LOL 

Happy Birthday, sweet Chloe!  I am blessed with every day I get to spend with you!  And, yes, I will get some vanilla cupcakes to celebrate your special day!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Numbers Game...

I have designated Saturdays as my "weigh-in" day.  First, the endo suggested either Friday or Saturday because Mondays have such a bad rap.  Second, even health articles suggest any day, but Monday.  Granted, I usually start my shake weeks on a Monday, it is just easier for me to ease into the week drinking two shakes on that day. My whole week could be crazy, so I do not have to worry about preparing breakfast or lunch - just grab a shake and drink it.

Today, I weighed and saw I gained two pounds.  Yes, I felt defeated.  Then, again, should I really feel that way?  For the past three evenings, I have gotten lunch and dinner out and did not pick out anything healthy to eat.  I should not expect anything other than some weight gain.

However, I did notice I was losing on my BMI (Body Mass Index).  For the past month, I have been about 52%.  Today, I was 49.5%.  So, maybe my body is beginning to start adjusting and I just won't see much loss on the weight side.

I have made it to see my personal trainer both times this week.  We met in the afternoon while I swung out of conference calls at work.  It actually felt good to go into the gym in the afternoon.  No one is there.  Hardly anyone at all.  Maybe, on the weekends, that is the time I should go.  I may try that out.

Anyway, by doing what the endo suggested, working out with the machines and some free weights, my back is not hindering me from exercising.  This part is actually fabulous.  Also, I am lifting some pretty heavy weights, according to the trainer.  I am more excited about not being in pain while I work out.  Nothing was more deflating than to go see my trainer, who is a very positive and supportive person, then have to cut short the work out because my lower back was just killing me.  I suppose that indicates I need to locate some sort of back support to help with further free weight exercises.  I do admit, I love working with the machines.  My form is good and you know what, I can generate a good sweat while working out with those just as much as when I was doing the free weights.

I need to be sensible about this whole deal.  I am only a month into making changes.  I need to improve on my eating habits.  That will help a lot.  Also, it will help my pocketbook.  I do feel a great accomplishment when I have prepared a meal and it tastes great, but I know that it is good for me as well.

Having been a bit down in the dumps the past few days, due to stressful situations, I think the best thing for me is to make some comfort food.  Tomorrow, I am going to cook a roast with potatoes, onions, celery, and mushrooms.  

Tomorrow is also Chloe's birthday, so I need to pick up some mini-cupcakes to share with the dogs.  We won't eat the whole thing, but I feel good about doing something special for the dogs on her birthday.  It is a shame I do not know Bo's birthday - I may just pick a day and let it be his day.  


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Accepting Change...

I have been working on slowly subsiding from all of the social media.  Facebook is more difficult, but I have noticed that my latest updates are primarily because I am ticked at smoke alarm situation within my apartment.  However, I work more on my g+, FitBit, and MyFitnessPal applications.

This past month, I got a bit of a slap in the face regarding social media.  The company wants employees to embrace their new "Workplace 2020".  Employees have to set up their profile and such on a Facebook like interface.  There are places to share documents on the web site.  You should blog and so forth.

And here I am trying to reduce the amount of social media...

It gets even better.  In an effort to make sure you are getting yourself acquainted, whoever is in charge has developed monthly challenges.  If you are not making an effort, there is someone sending out updates showing everyone else where you are in making your effort to complete the challenge.

Earlier this year, I started some work in that area.  I set up a profile, but I did not put a photo out there.  I did not fill out completely everything in the profile because people at work does not necessarily need to know every personal aspect of my life.  I put work-related information out there.  I also made requests to follow various people in their networks.  I tried using the document sharing area and it failed miserably for what I needed for it to do.

When I got this challenge and my first notification that I had not gotten my piece satisfactorily done, I was a bit taken back.  Their challenge had not taken into account anything that I had already done.  Furthermore, it indicated I had no network contacts when I did!  

I am not beyond accepting change.  Generally speaking, I try to embrace it unless I have my doubts.  I have tried this methodology and found faults.  I will continue to work on this effort, but the one area where I will probably take a stand is installing their products onto my own personal devices.  I have been provided a company phone and laptop.  I am afraid that by putting those products on my personal items, that gives the company more access into my personal life, which I am trying desperately to keep separate.

I  have my concerns, but with anything, I will give it a shot.  I just need to set my own boundaries.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Using Dieting As An Excuse...

Today, I went into the office to work.  Not because I can get more done, but because I need to spend a certain amount of time in the office.  I usually work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  

I packed my lunch and made my way to work.  Before I got to work, I had already had my fill of people scheduling conference calls and either delaying them or not even canceling them as they were out for the day.  I had just dialed into a call as I was discovering that the requestor had scheduled time off and no one to cover.  I got an instant message from a co-worker.  She was asking if I wanted to go out for lunch - something homemade since it was a cold, dreary day.  I decided to forgo my packed lunch to spend time with this co-worker.

Once all conference calls were settled, we headed out for lunch.  There was a place that served homemade comfort food down the street from where we work.  As we were seated, I laughed and said I knew what my co-worker was going to order - chicken fried steak.  I know her all too well.  That was exactly what was on her mind to eat.  We both laughed.

After we placed our orders, she asked me why people won't go out to eat because they are on a diet.  She stated she knew I was trying to watch what I ate and understood, but I would go out to eat.  I sort of laughed about it by saying that the honest truth is I need to cut back on eating out so much and not just due to dieting.

My response to her question was basically this:

Most people, when they start changing their lifestyle, start being very strict on themselves.  I explained that by preparing my own meals, I have a greater control over what I eat.  I have measured it, observed what ingredients were used in the preparation, and know there are no surprises.  Also, I have noticed the savings I get in the end.  I am not spending $10-$15+ for eating a single meal.  

However, most people start off by being too strict and they set themselves up for failure.  The struggle is very real.  Some people have trouble with portion control.  Others tend to order a lot of fried food.  There is also the penchant for wanting something sweet after eating.  It all adds up

Other times, people will say that they are on a diet to avoid going out to eat at a particular restaurant or avoid certain people.  I admit, I avoid Indian food.  I have tried it about 4 times and 3 out of the 4 times, I sustained some nasty after effects.  Let's just say, I am not so keen to spend the rest of my afternoon in a bathroom stall.  So, a lot of time time, I would say I was on a diet or brought my lunch - my saving grace.

She actually thought that part was funny, but understood completely.  I mean, if you have tried it and 75% of the time you ended up not feeling well, it is best to leave well enough alone.  Besides, do I really need to be rude and say "No thanks - I rather not spend the rest of my afternoon locked up in a bathroom stall?"  Yeah, that does not go over very well.

For myself, I really try not to be too rigid regarding diet.  I do not mind going out to eat with my friends.  I just like to know in advance so that I do not pack a lunch and waste food.  The key to going out to eat is knowing the place you are going to eat and checking out the menu before you go.  I love doing this because it enables me to make proper choices.  Also, it speeds up the ordering process.  I know exactly what I want.

In the end, I told my friend not to get upset over it.  There are many reasons why people do not want to go out to eat.  You just have to accept it and understand that they do not want to hurt your feelings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Religious Freedoms and Oppression...

I have never been a very religious person.  I do believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and he is our savior.  In a very generic sense, I am Christian.  Honestly, I am not one particular denomination - I am just me.  I believe in everyone's right to worship whatever religion desired.  I do not believe in having my rights infringed by another party's belief.

When I saw a video from a British reporter regarding her home town and how the Muslims there were attempting to over take the town with their beliefs, I was rather surprised.  Great Britain does allow for religious freedoms for their people and to have this one group deciding to enforce their beliefs on others because they feel infringed.

So, this Sunday, while I started cooking dinner, I watched part of 60 Minutes.  Again, a reporter was talking to a British Muslim citizen accused of recruiting others to fight with ISIS in Syria.  It seemed to me, yet again, another example of a group of people imposing their beliefs upon others, rather than allowing the freedom of choice.

I pondered awhile if such a thing could happen in the US.  For all of the different radical factions, there is one thing that does stand out to me:  Freedom.  That was the reason why the Pilgrims came to America - to flee religious persecution.  Throughout the centuries, this country has remain held fast to the belief of freedom - the right to choose.  While someone may try to bribe their way into making changes, no one wants their freedom/right to choose to be taken away from them.

The 60 Minute report can be found here:


The first report I saw: