Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It Sucks to be Sick

After an extended stay, the germ villagers finally overtook the dragon and I was once again free to breathe without coughing and wheezing. But the celebration is short lived. Apparently the germ villagers decided to sub-let their comfy home to a new gang of germ villagers. And these new tenants are having a rip-roaring time redecorating my throat. That pesky pink color is soooooo yesterday. Red is in people. And in order to achieve this lovely shade of rouge, they must pour acid thoroughly over the surface. Don't worry about the fumes, they turn to liquid and drip out of the skylight known as my nose.

What is it about a cold that makes me thoroughly goofy?

Unfortunately the whole family is battling this cold. Did you know that there is a 33% chance of infecting the kids if one parent has a cold but 100% chance of infecting the parents if the kid has a cold? I don't pretend to understand how that math works but it does. Despite rigorous germ precautions, Ian managed to pick up this bug last week from somewhere. There is nothing more pathetically sad than hearing your baby cough in the middle of the night. Poor little guy. And now that I am on day 2 of this bug, I feel even worse about what Ian has been going through. This sore throat is enough to keep me up at night and make me shun food. FOOD PEOPLE...FOOD! All things considered, I'm amazed at what a trooper Ian has been.

I never get sick so two colds in a month is crazy. Heck, two colds in a year is unheard of for me! Let's hope this anomaly ends soon because it sucks to be sick.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fountain of Remembrance

The day after Lillian died, Jeff and I set out to find the cemetery where we would lay our sweet girl to rest. A heavy task with simple requirements. We wanted her to be buried with family. We wanted her grave site to be an easy drive from our home. And we wanted an indoor facility that could hold around 100 people for her memorial service.

First we drove to the cemetery where Jeff's mom is buried. It is the closest to our home and we loved the idea of these important ladies in our lives being together. Unfortunately there was no facility for the service so we kept driving.

Our next stop was the cemetery where Jeff's nana is buried. We both loved his nana dearly and chose Lillian's initials to honor her. As we parked in front of the facility, I raised my head and saw the beautiful fountain. Though the fountain had long been a part of the grounds, they had recently converted the surrounding area to accommodate crypts beneath large boulders. When I saw this "Fountain of Remembrance", I grabbed Jeff's arm and whispered "this is it."

Lillian loved to throw rocks in the water and watch them splash. Such a simple pleasure. What better place to remember her than a rock edged fountain?

We entered the large facility and as we waited to be helped, I saw a container of leaflets for Children's Cancer Association.

The gentleman who assisted us with the planning told us that he too lost a son to cancer at age 4.

He showed us the chapel which could easily seat 100.

He gave us a map and let us choose the perfect boulder for our family.

God was not whispering. He was clearly guiding us when we needed it the most.


I don't visit her boulder by the fountain that often. I prefer to visit her in my memories. But today I was drawn to her. I arranged flowers in her vase, tossed a rock in the water and blew her a kiss. And then I turned to leave. There, a few yards away, two fawns walked to a grassy area and nibbled at the trees. I caught my breath and whispered a prayer of thanks.

As a deer-sighting may not seem all that unusual, I should explain further. Another reason I love this Memorial Park is it's proximity to the highway. You can see the traffic and hear the rush of the cars from the cemetery. While this would be a turn off for some, I love being able to see her fountain and to blow her a kiss as I pass by. But the adjacency to this busy highway is also what makes the presence of these young deer even more remarkable.

Every single time I visit Lillian's fountain, God gives me something. Sometimes it is hearing a special song on the radio. Sometimes it is seeing a gift someone else left for my angel. This time it was seeing two little deer in an unlikely place. It's in these desperate times that God chooses to shout instead of whisper. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Thank you Father. Thank you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stupid pound

Have you glanced at my weight loss progress thingy over there in the right hand column and wondered if I forgot to update it? (And yes, thingy is the technical term.) Like for the last month? Well, I haven't forgotten. It seems those last 5 pounds are gonna take as long as the first 42. When they say the last 5 lbs are the hardest, they're not lying!

A few weeks ago, I got within a pound of my goal. One fricken little pound. I have a name for that pound but I try to keep this blog g-rated...and the name clearly is not. Then the feared dragon settled in for an extended two week stay. Working out was difficult with the dragon. I went for a couple of stroller walks with Ian but couldn't even breathe well during that mild exertion. The dragon finally flew the coup and I vowed to return to my work out schedule. In some cosmic joke, the dragon was exchanged for cramps. (Sorry men. Read on, that's the worst it gets.)

On top of not working out, I've begun to revert back to some bad habits. Healthier...but still bad. BWL (Before Weight Loss), I would come home and attend to a million things other than eating dinner. After Ian was in bed, I would scarf down whatever was handy. That meant eating crap after 8:30pm. DWL (During Weight Loss), I never ate past 8pm. And I negotiated with Jeff to have a half hour to make & eat dinner as soon as I got home from work. Recently however, I've started postponing dinner in favor of playing with Ian or making a batch of food for Ian or...[fill in blank with a million different things]. And even if I manage to make and eat dinner, I am back to snacking after 8pm. Sure, I'm snacking on baked chips or soy pudding but it's still snacking. And I'm not even monitoring the portion size. I just grab a bag of something salty and dig in. Holy badness! That's like the stupidest thing I could do, I know! But I still do it.

Despite these horrible habits, I'm not gaining (much) but I'm definitely not losing either. It's time to get back on the wagon. And since repeating that to myself every morning out of late-night-binging-guilt doesn't seem to be doing the trick, I will instead reveal it all to you dear internet friendz. Hopefully that will help. I shall start with three small steps for the next 24 hours...

I will make and eat a satisfying and sensible dinner tonight.
I will not snack after 8pm tonight.
I will work out tomorrow morning.

But we are having my most favorite raspberry chocolate fudge cake from the Dessert Tray in like 8 minutes. And I will have a piece. A small piece.

Moderation not starvation, that's what I say. Even though moderation is a slippery slope for me. Ugh. I'll get back on the wagon after the cake. Promise.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's That Time...

No, not That one. What kind of blogger do you think I am?

I'm talking about oil change time. The time that strikes fear into the hearts of women everywhere. When we stumble into the testosterone jungle and pray that we'll make it out alive. And by alive I mean, the car still works and our life savings is still intact.

My jungle of choice this time? Jiffy Lube. Sure, they're all "ma'am" and opening doors and such. On the surface. But listen closely and you'll hear the real Jiffy Lube.

One mechanic complained about "hurtin real bad, man" because his girlfriend unexpectedly dumped him that morning. Went back to her ex. One minute she loved him, the next she didn't. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. Until his tale took an abrupt turn to needing some rebound "fun." You know, to heal his poor wounded heart. Uh huh.

A mechanic snaps about needing some paperwork. Another mechanic doesn't appreciate his attitude. Yelling ensues. Yet another mechanic tries to tell them to postpone their little tantrum. They don't listen.

A customer limps into the waiting room leaning on her boyfriend. "F#$%! I'm fine but my f#$%ing shoe isn't." After ripping paper towels from the wall dispenser and dabbing at her $2.99 flip flops, I gather that she slipped and fell in the oil soaked garage en route to the waiting room. Her boyfriend ignores her.

Another customer breezes in and demands to know how much coolant they added to his Cadillac. The mechanic explains that it was dry so they just filled it. In a very don't-you-con-me-you-whipper-snapper tone, the customer argues that it couldn't be dry or the a/c wouldn't work. The mechanic looks up the coolant capacity for his car and tells him they added 10 quarts. That seems to soothe the customer.

Finally, a mechanic enters the waiting room holding what appears to be some sort of filter.

"Ma'am," he starts.
I know I'm in trouble.
He asks if I've rotated my tires.

"Uh, no."
"Well, you should rotate them every 5000 miles. Your car's an all wheel drive. If you don't rotate them every 5000 miles, the front tires will go bald."

Call me crazy, but shouldn't ALL wheel drive indicate that all the tires get worn evenly? I know, I know. Stop trying to insert logic into this process Lori.

"Do you want us to rotate them today?"
I pause. Big mistake. This shows weakness. He goes in for the kill.
"Should only take 15 or 20 minutes."
I swear he has given the same time estimate to every single procedure he's sold to the myriad of customers that have come and gone during my wait. Need the coolant topped off? 15 or 20 minutes. Tranny replaced? 15 or 20 minutes. Rotate the tires? 15 or 20 minutes.


Then he holds up the dirty filter. I get a sick feeling in my stomach.
"We don't stock this air filter. Just swing by the dealership or Auto Zone and pick one up. You need a clean filter to get good gas mileage."
As though I don't know what gas mileage is, he explains...
"Good gas mileage is what hybrids are for."
Thanks for that brilliant summary.

"You want the same oil today?"
Um, yeah. Same oil. Yep, let's go ahead and stick with the WD40. HOW SHOULD I KNOW WHAT OIL IT TAKES? How about looking it up in the handy dandy computer there? Or, I don't know, checking the owner's manual?

That's what I my head. What came out of my mouth was something more like "sure." I find "sure" to be the optimal response in the jungle. Keep it light. Keep it simple. Keep it fast. Talk to much and they will know you're lost and confused. That's how they separate out the weak ones.

He disappeared into the jungle to finish working on my car. I retreated into my Happy Place. La, la, la.

I hear someone shout from the jungle "It's in electric mode."
The little confidence I once had is slipping quickly.
La, la, la.

True to his word, 15 minutes later the mechanic emerges from the jungle.
"Well, I thought we could rotate the tires but we don't have the tools for that."
"You can just call the dealership and tell them you want the tires rotated. It's free."
"No use paying us for something the dealership'll do for free."

So let's recap. I waited 15 extra minutes for nothing. And now I need to swing by Auto Zone to pick up an air filter. (And who pray tell is gonna install that?) Then I need to swing by the dealership to get the tires rotated.

Well, why don't I just take night classes and learn to fix my own flippin car while I'm at it?
La, la, la.

I pay and head for the door just as Cadillac man comes storming in with the reminder sticker.

"This is wrong," he says tossing it at the mechanic.

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Helpful Hints

Remember when I wrote this? My bullet point tutorial on what to say/not to say to a grieving parent. Well gwendomama has written the extended version with such wisdom and grace that I had to share.

On the flip side, I need a tutorial on how to respond to the oft uttered "I'm sorry." Thank you doesn't seem to cut it as evidenced by the awkward silence that typically follows. Someday I'll figure that one out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More recipes

I'm sure you have all been waiting for my latest recipe finds. Well, here it is so you can stop drooling on the keyboard already.

I've been prowling the vegan web world looking for some tasty recipes that don't involve tofu. Not that I have anything against tofu but a girl needs variety, right? Let me first say that vegans are a rare breed with some FASCINATING websites. And by fascinating, I mean scary. If you can get past the "fascinating" content, the recipes are quite good. Now I don't know about you but I find about a 50% success rate with new recipes. So imagine my surprise when I found winner after winner. Woohoo!

Without further ado, here are some fav new resources for recipes:

If you can get past the lectures and language, I highly recommend the book "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch." Their macaroni & 4 cheeses is to die for. (Which is quite a bit more pc than their description.) And it's made with pureed winter squash so I can justify eating the entire casserole dish in one sitting. (With some soy hot dogs of course cause what is mac & cheese without hot dogs?)

I like the variety of recipes on Since the volume was overwhelming, a lot of my favorite recipes are from their two week sample Vegan menu. Mama's Mock Meatloaf is so dense and satisfying, you'd swear it was made with the old ground cow.

One brilliant mom made a New Year's Resolution to cook dinner in her CrockPot every day for a year. And like the good Samaritan that she is, she is sharing the recipes and results with us. Although nearly any recipe can be converted to vegetarian, she does me the favor of labelling them for easy sorting. Her CrockPot Tamale Pie recipe is hearty comfort food. (I see a trend...meatloaf, mac & cheese, tamale pie...all comfort foods. Hmmm.) I substituted soy cheese for the cheddar, rice milk for the milk and Ener-G for the egg to make it Vegan. See? Almost all recipes are convertible. Yipee!

And I'm not done yet. These next few websites are new finds that I'm excited to browse. I have hand picked them because they solve particular needs that I find intriguing...

One challenge that I've found with vegetarian or vegan recipes is their fat content. I guess the theory is that if you're eating nothing but vegetables and soy, you don't need to worry about calories? Well I for one managed to pack on plenty of lbs as a vegetarian. Enter my hero, fat free vegan.

But sometimes, a girl wants to indulge. I'm my father's daughter and thus have an ice cream addiction. So what's a lactose intolerant girl to do? 1) Suffer and force family to endure ice cream withdrawl symptoms. Not pretty. 2) Buy the highly acclaimed "Vice Cream" book. Christmas is coming. (hint, hint) 3) Experiment with recipes from the ultimate Vegan Ice Cream blog. Free and tasty. Sweet!

Though I'm too lazy to pack my own lunch, I am drawn to the creativity and recipes on Vegan Lunch Box. I mean, just look at how cute CORN can be! And anyone who posts a recipe for Vegan Twinkies is a-ok in my book.

So what have we learned from this awesome post? Blogs are good. They're not all filled with dribble about reality tv. Some of them actually give you stuff that you want. Like tasty, tasty recipes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reality Dish

I like my reality shows like I like my friends, uplifting and talented. (As opposed to smutty and conniving. badum bum) I can't even bring myself to watch Idol because it's not uplifting. At least with So You Think You Can Dance, the judges seem apologetic when they give criticism. And they deliver it constructively. From what I hear, Simon is just a jerk and Paula is so loaded she can't form coherent sentences. So I'll stick with Project Runway, Last Comic Standing, So You Think You Can Dance and the like.

Judging from the responses to my Cat Deeley comment, I'm not the only reality tv watcher out there. Frankly, they haven't left us much else, have they? So let's dish my peeps.

So You Think You Can Dance - I loves me some Twitch. Oh, and Katee. The two of them together in the door routine? MAGIC! How can I choose just one? Oh, oH, OH, and I could get lost in a Mia Michaels routine. She is beyond brilliant. But back to "America's Favorite Dancer." I have to give it to Katee on this one. I think they've been making her the underdog from the get-go when they almost kicked her out for not wanting to suffer the agony of defeat year after year. Hi ego maniacal producers of SYTYCD, you're not the only game in town. She COULD have a career in dance without your approval. I'm just sayin.

Project Runway - Is it just me or are there like a gazillion contestants? Every week I notice someone new! For crying out loud, how am I supposed to keep track of all these people? And it doesn't help that our local girl (Leann) has a less talented clone (Jennifer) on the show. All that separates them are a heavy pair of frames and an equally heavy set of bangs. But of course, the stand outs are I'm-gonna-eat-you-tan-man/boy (Blayne), I-just-wanna-use-leathuh-girl (Stella) and If-I-talk-in-the-third-person-I'll-get-more-camera-time (Suede). Once the novelty wears off, they don't seem to have the design chops to go the distance. Either way, I have to stick with the home team, don't I? Plus I thought Leann's dress was totally cute this week!

Last Comic Standing - I'm lost. This has got to be the most confusing competition known to man. One week talent scouts are selecting finalists. Then the audience votes. The next week they're living in a house and nominating each other for elimination. Then the audience votes (?). The next week they are performing head-to-head and I'm pretty sure somebody must have voted. Whatever. I just watch for the jokes anyway. The bald bass playing Brit simply must go. MUST GO. I guess I have to root for the Seattle comic, Jeff Dye. Plus he's cuuuuuute. Or something about him being funny and stuff. He really doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell at winning this thing but you gotta stay with the home team.

Well, that's my humble opinion. What's yours?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A new weight loss method

Just when I thought those last two stinking little pounds would NOT come off, I got a cold. Since workouts require more lung capacity than the dragon is currently allowing, those have been eliminated. But no scratchy throat is gonna come between me and mah fewd. No way, no how. Somehow I manage to shovel it in between breaths. Delicious, delicious fooooooood. Where was I? Right, not working out but still eating. That's a recipe for disaster. Until...the cough.

You wanna lose a pound? Catch yourself this loverly little cold and cough, cough, cough your way to your goal weight! How does it work? Well I'll tell ya. You cough and cough and COUGH until eventually the ole gag reflex kicks in and blam, out comes dinner.

Then you panic because said dinner was not bright red when you ate it. And then you remember that the cherry cough drop you had for dessert was in fact bright red. Phew.

I do not recommend this weight loss method. The other side effects are not worth it. In fact, just between you and me, I would rather work out than deal with this fricken cold for one more minute. (Steps aside as lightening strikes, barely missing her.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Slaying the Dragon

Thousands of tiny germ villagers march down my throat carrying torches and pitchforks hell bent on evicting the dragon from my chest. As I currently have the lung capacity of a 90 year old asthmatic smoker thanks to the dragon, I urge the germ villagers forward on their quest. Never mind that they are not being very cautious with their implements of eviction and have scalded and pierced my throat with a vengeance. A small price to pay for the ability to breathe.

Alas the germ villagers are as slow as they are clumsy. After days of marching, they still have not reached the dragon. And now for whatever reason, be it ADHD or the need for fashionable, eco-friendly clothing, they seem to have paused from their journey to grow voluminous cotton plants in my throat. So that every breath is now simultaneously labored and ticklish. But I take solace in their organic gardening practices.

The dragon grows fatter as he feasts on mucus and wayward germ villagers. I feel the brunt of his weight on my chest. I must get those germ villagers moving. On to your quest you lazy vagabonds! On to glory!

I have a cold.

I think it's affecting my brain.

And I'm not even medicated. Yet.

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