Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On This World I Live In

I was cleaning out my JUNK mail box in my email, and the following subject line caught my eye:

Life is short. Have an affair. thanks!? 

The thought occurred to me, who would actually be intrigued by such a subject line? 

Immediately upon thinking that, about four or five folks that I have had the distinct pleasure ... err, displeasure to have known popped into my head. 

Is it sad that throughout my lifetime, I've managed to run into not one, not two, not even three, but MORE philandering fools than I care to count that would indeed take up the call LIFE IS SHORT. HAVE AN AFFAIR?

I will answer that question for you, because, honestly, it's a rhetorical one.  But YES, a thousand times, yes!  That is a sad, sad commentary on life. 

I sound like my parents or even my grandparents, but seriously, what sort of world are we handing over to the children with messages like, "Hey!  You don't live forever, so go ahead!  Hop in the sack with someone who is married.  It's no big deal.  You're not affecting any other lives in the process!  No biggie!"

Is it too much to ask that we not approach a commitment to another person, in some cases to children, in a REUSE, REDUCE, RECYCLE sort of mindset?

The first part of that statement is true.  Life is short.  Sometimes way too short.  Sometimes not short enough.  Nevertheless, that doesn't gives us a "Get out of Jail Free Card" for doing things that are just plain horrible.  And, despite what you may think, an affair?  That is just about as horrible as you can imagine.

Besides the most obvious affront, that of  the breakdown of an intimacy that only two people who've promised a solid commitment share, you are stripping yourself of the need to feel accountable to anybody or anything other than yourself.  It's selfishness at its very base level.

You chip away at the trust of everyone in your circle ... your spouse, your children, your family members, and even your friends.

You become a living example of what dishonesty and, quite honestly, "skanky liar" looks like in flesh form.

I don't know; to me it takes more courage to make a promise and stick with it.  It's a pretty wimpy choice to turn away from all of that for something that is self-serving.  Period.  No one else benefits from that decision.

I am going to suggest a modified version of that subject line:

Life is short. Be the kind of person others will look up to and want to be!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Intimate Details

I can count on one hand the people who I trust enough to know all my crap. Okay, I can count on about three fingers.  Maybe four.  But that's a pretty shaky number.  Those three people?  They pretty much know it all.  The down side is that they can call me on it.  All of it.  But that's how this sort of intimate friendship works, right?

Trust isn't an easy thing for me.  I've been burned enough times that you really need to earn my trust before I just give you the golden invitation to get all up in my business.  And even then, I don't give you the whole kit and caboodle.

Hey, do you remember Caboodles!?  Gosh, those things were handy. 

I digress.

I've been blessed (or cursed ... it's all in the way you look at it) to have been part of others' lives ... I've been immersed in their mess, and I am thrilled, for the most part, that I've been there for those messy times ... friends for a season, you know.

However, I wouldn't say that I trust my baggage to those folks.  It's harsh, I know, but it's not easy putting it all there only to find that someone has decided to share your stuff with their spouse or sibling or parent or friends or neighbor or the dude standing behind them in the grocery line.

It was about this time last year that I was sitting around a table of folks, shooting the crap, and the subject of weddings came up.  The comment was made that weddings seem sort of ridiculous in the whole grand scheme of things.  They've become just another event wherein you must outdo the person before you.

I started thinking ...

I get the reason behind having people witness the commitment you make to your one and only love and God.  I really do get it.  However, I couldn't help thinking about those folks that I truly love ... people that know the intimate details of my life.  Those are the ones I want there on my special day (which is less and less a life goal and more and more a very fuzzy day dream).

The older I get, the more I realize it isn't about attempting to be the most popular or the most liked. It's about surrounding yourself with those few that will be there for ALL the intimate details.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Dish #2 -- Swiss Steak

Half of the little steak fell apart when I pulled it out of the crock pot. :)

So, Swiss Steak isn't any thing new for me.  My mom used to make it when I was a kid, and it is STILL my most favorite meal that she makes.  By far.

While my parents were down here visiting, she suggested that I could make Swiss Steak in the crock pot.  I had always felt like it was a bit fussy, and since I don't do fussy, never bothered to attempt it.  However, when my mom started to explain what she did, I was all, "OH. EM. GEE!  I could totally do this!"

The good news is that it is as easy as my mother suggested.  This biggest issue was the tenderizing of the meat -- I sent flour EVERY WHERE!  The bad news is that while it tasted fine, it didn't taste like mom always made. 

Personally, I sort of feel like she left a key ingredient out of the instructions. But perhaps it really does just taste better when mom makes it.

At any rate, 2 down, 98 new dishes to go!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

New Dish #1 -- Chicken Pie with Sweet Potato Crust

This is the book from which I got the recipe.  It WON'T flip for me, so you get a side-ways shot. Sorry!

This is the chicken, carrots, and onions arranged in the bottom of the casserole dish.

This is a mixture of chicken broth, evaporated milk, and flour, simmered to a degree of thickness and then poured over the chicken and veggies.

This is the "crust" -- mashed sweet potatoes (fresh!!  I boiled them first and let them cool), flour, egg, and butter. 
The finished product -- all golden brown and bubbly!
All of it put together and ready to bake ... 350 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes.

 I declare this New Dish #1 GOOD!  Very good, in fact.  It is savory and hearty and, honestly, pretty doggone easy to put together.  I would definitely recommend this dish.

It had been my intention to serve it with a tossed salad and some corn.  However, I got the corn and pie on the plate, sat down, dug in, and realized only AFTER I was done that I'd completely forgotten to make the tossed salad.  OOPS!

365 er 300 er 200 ... Maybe 100 ... Okay, Some New Dishes Challenge!

As any "working gal" will tell you, we all get into a cooking rut.  I am no exception. 

There are four or five things in my cooking repertoire that I make over and over and over and over and over and over ....

You get the idea.  Basically, these four or five things are easy.  They are quick.  They are relatively low mess and low fuss.  And after a day of dealing with HIGH maintenance mess and fuss, browning up a chicken breast and eating it with reheated green beans (or sadly, and more frequently my case, make a sandwich) is much preferred over dealing with cooking craziness. 

But I do enjoy food (as is evidenced by my body's current state of affairs), and I do love to sit down to a good, well-balanced meal and just enjoy it. 

One can not do that when one is making themselves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches 5 out of 7 days a week.

I was reminded of how much I love a good home-cooked meal when my parents were down here visiting.  I came home from school one afternoon and was met at the door by the heavenly aromas of roasted chicken in the oven.  Pure heaven, ladies and gentlemen.  Pure, unadulterated heaven.  I ate my weight in roasted chicken that evening (and paid the price later on that evening)! 

Last night, I had dinner at a friend's house, and she made the most wonderful pork loin ever!  I'd been toying with the idea prior to last night's dinner, but last night sealed the deal.


Okay, so I know me.  I know I will get side-tracked ... or have to deal with some sort of craziness at work ... or I will get sick ... or something.  So, I am pretty sure that 365 days a year might be a bit more than I can literally and figuratively chew in terms of new dishes.  However, I *might* be able to attempt 100 new dishes.  That seems feasible ...

Maybe ...

Sorta ...

Perhaps ...

The deal is, I have a CRAP TON of cookbooks and recipes that I've clipped over the years (I am some relation to my Grandmother, Phyllis Murray), and I was raised by a master cook!  My sister and I can both cook the pants off people ...

Okay, maybe not that impressive ... but we can cook.

So, it's not that I don't have the abilities ... or the accouterments, for that matter.  Rather, I've just gotten lazy in my advanced age.

Time for a change, people! 

At lunch today, a lunch of homemade JAZZY TUNA SALAD (my own concoction), I pored over a cookbook I received from a friend when I moved down here ... The Bible of Southern Cooking.   It seemed fitting to start there.

I have some garden fresh sweet potatoes that need to be used up, and there was born my first NEW DISHES in my SOME NEW DISHES CHALLENGE!


More to come on this one later on tonight ...

I know, y'all are sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear how this all turns out, aren't you?  All I know is that somewhere in Michigan my mother is saying to herself, "FINALLY!"

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Reinventing My Closet

Have you ever looked in your closet and thought, "I HATE everything in here?"  But then, you looked at your bank account and thought, "I have to wear everything in here....crap!"

That's where I am right now.  I've perused Pinterest to the point of depression.  And the thought occurred to me sometime late last night, "what if I try to replicate that in my closet?  I probably could ... maybe ... sorta ... well, minus the skinny model that looks good in absolutely everything."

So, today's attempt .... THE PINK OUTFIT.  I love pink, and it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month so why not, right?

Pardon the very poor quality photos ... selfies are always so gross, no?

The scarf is the same exact color as a the sweater, which I don't usually do.  However, it seemed to work this time.  Or so I am hoping ...  Earrings are by my sister ... or she found them for me.
Skinny jeans rolled up, because I am obsessed with that particular look.  Not sure if it works for me.  the Scarf and the sweater might be a bit too matchy, matchy, but I liked the look anyway.

Monday, October 07, 2013

New Accountability

Beginning weight (January 30, 2012): 229.2
Goal weight: 175
Goal body fat percentage: 22%
Current weight: 219.4
Current bady fat: Ummmm.... dunno
Loss to date: after yo-yoing all over the place, 9.8 lbs
Pounds to reach goal: 54.2

Well, I have neglected this part of my life for a while, because, honestly, I was tired of thinking about it and talking about it and planning for it.  When you are over-weight, and your desire is to do something about it, it can pretty well consume your moment by moment thoughts.  I am not all together sure that is a healthy thing.  The constant consumption of weight-loss thoughts.  I could be wrong.  I've been known to be so before.

As a direct result of my constant, over-whelming, ever-consuming weight loss mind suck, my solution was to just stop.  Stop thinking.  Stop doing.  Just stop.

That isn't necessarily a good thing either.  I could be wrong.  I've been known to be so before.  Still, I'm of the opinion it was the wrong thing to do. 

This stopping business was well-timed (read a certain amount of sarcasm into that little statement) in part because it became very clear to me that I needed to shave some expenses down, and Weight Watchers, sadly, was one of the expenses to be shaved, so to speak. 

The other day, I discovered some pictures that, while I'd known had been taken at the time, I didn't realize existed (if that makes any sense whatsoever), and were "out there" for public consumption.  Well, they were, and I consumed, and BOY HOWDY! was I ever disappointed. 

Yes, I've lost some weight.  Then I gained some back.  Then I lost it again, and I thought I was doing great.  Yet, when I looked at the photos, I realized just how little it mattered and how much I have to go. 

Truth be told, I need to get serious about this or nothing is going to change ... except my health.  That is my biggest concern. 

Plus, I am tired of my clothes.  I am tired of only being able to wear the same pairs of jeans or pants.  I want to be able to walk into Goodwill (the only place I can afford to shop these days ... that's sad, right?) and pick anything cool or funky off that shelf and wear it.  Period. 

So, I need to make some changes.  And dag-gone it, I wish I could just snap my fingers and make those changes now.  Wake up tomorrow and see them all made. 

That's not how this works. 

So, it's back to the drawing board with a free calorie counter and a renewed sense that I CAN DO THIS ... I hope.