January 27, 2009
Comfort Food, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 4
Comfort Food Season – anytime the temperature gets below 60 degrees, I believe comfort foods are in order. It’s been as low as 13 below this month, so I’m seeking comfort. Pizza is one of my favorites, but it’s not so nutritionally sound. I recently came up with another way to enjoy the taste of sausage and peppers that is a whole lot healthier. Derived from the wonderful Selin Cabbage Casserole I was served last weekend, I altered the recipe a bit to get my comfort cravings in there. The fresh vegetables let the missing winter nutrients sunshine in, too.
"Sausage" Cabbage Casserole
1 large head of cabbage, chopped into bite size pieces
1 large green pepper, seeded, diced
1/2 small bag of mini carrots, sliced
1/2 package Morningstar Farms Meal Starters “Sausage” Crumblers
2 ten ounce cans Campbell's Tomato Soup, straight from the can as is – do not add water
Crock Pot low, 3.5 - 4.0 hours, or oven 350 degrees, covered, one hour.
Estimated nutritional content per 1 cup serving: remember I’m not a scientist, just want to be one…
100 Calories, 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, plus a decent amount of fiber, vitamins c, k, and a.
PS: Feel free to add an onion or two, and some diced tomatoes, if the mood hits you.
PSS: Just for the record, I also believe comfort foods are in order any time the temperature gets above 60 degrees.
January 21, 2009
extremely thin line
For the moment
it's an extremly thin line
I am balancing on
is getting closer to
"I'm giving up"
I'm not as strong as I thought I was
I'm not as strong as you think I am
I'm no longer remotely as I was
I'm not who I ever wanted to be, either
I can't get comfortable
I can't afford to sway
I can't afford to stay
on this tightrope walk
it's a long way back
to either end
when you're stuck in the middle
sooner or later
an accidental angel feather
will knock me over
and knock me off
extremely thin line.
January 19, 2009
just want, once
January 19, 2009
I just want to hear it once
In a way I’ve never heard before
I just want to see it once
In your eyes
Something I can recognize
I just want to feel it once
A reverent touch
That conveys it all
I just want it once
All of you.
January 16, 2009
Thawing, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 3
I call it “thawing,” and it has nothing to do with winter.
It's the best term I could think of for my situation after reading an interesting, but not totally applicable, article titled, “Young, Fabulous, and Widowed.” Although it dealt mainly with young widows with young children, there were some interesting points made. The most important of which was this:
“Grief is like being frozen. You’re numb. The longer you’re numb, the more painful it will be when you start to defrost. [You] can’t stay frozen forever.”
So, in case you’re wondering what the changes are you’re seeing in me, I’m thawing.
I managed to stay frozen 2.3 years. I turned into what was referred to in the article as “a super widow.” I volunteered a lot, kept busy with classes, exercise, studies, symphonies, making cards and making garbage.
I think the thaw started, or the deep freeze ended, last October. I slowed down enough to look around, and I’m not too happy about where I’m at. Yeah, some things are different, and a little bit better. Minus 115 pounds, A1C of 6.1, no longer anemic, my hair is growing back. Losing another 40 pounds will complete that part of my lengthy list of physical goals.
I believe I’m making progress regarding what I have heard referred to as “widow’s mouth.” Apparently, it’s not that uncommon among long term caregivers of the seriously ill. Something has to give, and for most it seems to be taking care of ourselves. In my case, there was also anticipatory grief. I obviously succumbed to both, because by the time Jeff died, I had gained 150 pounds, become a septic diabetic, developed severe anemia, and was suffering from malnutrition. After a day of commuting 3 hours, working at my full time real job, trying to keep our retail store alive, and taking care of my husband, I would exhaustedly fall into bed without so much as brushing, never mind not flossing.
Working to restore my oral health is kind of like the final frontier of physical things that can be repaired.
Maybe, once that I’m over that hurdle, I can make some progress on feeling better emotionally.
I don’t know how long it will take me to completely thaw.
I'm just letting you know that the process has begun.
And it is painful.
reference: Health4Women, December 2008/ January February 2009
January 14, 2009
Buckshot Boots, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 2
It could only happen to me. I bought a pair of Sporto winter boots – the practical side of me finally admitting that I live in Michigan. Waterproof and lined, but also really sporty – printed in a delightful and very me pink, yellow and pea green paisley. I’ve been wearing them with thick socks - because I live in Michigan. Duh.
Well, we ventured out of our non-daylight work habitat today and actually went to a real sit down restaurant for soup and salad. Because it was above 30 degrees, I decided to be brave (aka lazy) and forgo the socks and just insert my stocking feet into my groovy boots. So, I’m walking along and I feel a weird lumpy sensation under my right foot. I'm thinking it must be the DSW red-sticker label that I never took out of the boot. Ok, that’s what laziness will get you. Whatever.
Back at the office, it’s off with the boots, on with the dress shoes. I decided to take out the offending sticker, and ended up with something I’ve never seen before. As I pealed the purposefully very sticky sticker off in tiny pieces, I piled them up on my desk. It took me until about the 3rd piece to understand what I was really looking at. I very much doubt this is the newest technology in theft reduction.
Here’s the thing. Someone had stuffed lead shot under the red-sticker label. Seriously, I recovered about 15 of the little bb’s, in all. Wow. I suspect that someone who thought they very clever wanted these boots, bad. I’m theorizing they either couldn’t afford them or they just wanted to wait for the 60% off reduction. I paid for them at 40% off, plus I had a ten dollar coupon. They were mine for $12.50.Yes, I’m proud of that. Not so proud of the 10 wearings before I noticed the inventive discouragement attempt, though. I think someone normal might have noticed that a little earlier. I guess it really doesn’t matter if you’re a shoe coveting genius, there’s always some dingbat out there who can mess with your good plan. So, the next time you try on a lumpy shoe at DSW, check for buckshot. You just might end up getting a dreamy pair of shoes, and thwarting a weird buckshot sticker stuffer.
The evidence is on my desk in a forensic envelope.
Feel free to come by and observe.
For those of you not lucky enough to be a local and enjoying the 20 inches of boot worthy accumulated snow this week, the photos will be posted on myspace shortly.
January 09, 2009
Revelation, specifically music
Music soothes the savage beast, or is it breast?
* William Congreve wrote in 1697: "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast / To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.". The line alludes to Orpheus, whose songs mythically affected animals, rocks, and trees.
* Some believe the quote should read, "Music soothes the savage beast" from the Latin, "Musica delenit bestiam feram."
So, which is it? I can apply both to myself - sometimes simultaneously.
I’ve been angry lately, and depressed.
There’s the ugly inner beast screaming it’s not fair, and the heart in my breast holding my breath until I am forced to gasp and painfully remember what it feels like to have to inhale.
I’ve been turning back to music more and more. Studying, I suppose, popular trends, markets, air play, companies. What amazes me is the specificity of what I’m hearing. Revelation by Third Day reminded me what a good song really is. It reached me, and brought back the power behind the faith of prayer. It doesn’t answer my questions, but it names them. Specifically.
Revelation, Third Day
My life, has led me down the road that's so uncertain
And now I am left alone and I am broken,
Trying to find my way,
Trying to find the faith that's gone
This time, I know that you are holding all the answers
I'm tired of losing hope and taking chances,
On roads that never seem,to be the ones that bring me home
Give me revelation, show me what to do
Cause I've been trying to find my way,
I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me revelation
I've got nothing without You
My life, has led me down this path that's ever winding
Through every twist and turn I'm always finding,
That I am lost again (I am lost again)
Tell me when this road will ever end
I don't know where I can turn
Tell me when will I learn
Won't You show me where I need to go
Let me follow Your lead,
I know that it's the only way that I can get back home
January 07, 2009
Healthy Economics, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 1
Well, I did it. I jumped on the health-wagon full speed ahead. It's not easy, and not always enjoyable.
Take January 29th for example. That's the day I am scheduled for both a mammogram and a dentist appointment. Why both on that same day? Economics. Keeping appointments usually requires me to drive myself from Adrian to Ann Arbor, instead of taking the MichiVan. That means having to buy gasoline. It also means time away from work, which translates into having to use vacation time. And then, there's the fun-factor. Might as well cram as much "pleasure" into one day as possible, right?
In the meantime, while I'm waiting for my super-fun-day, I re-created and revised my 2008 life-style tracking spreadsheet. (Also attached.) I recommitted to working out 35 minutes a day, 6 times a week. I redesigned my www.sparkpeople.com
I also signed up for my MHealthy Assessment on February 25th. University of Michigan will add $100.00 to my paycheck for having a healthy check-up. Economics, again. I could drive myself into work, drive to the MD, wait forever which means taking vacation time, and pay a $15.00 co-pay fee, OR I could take the van into work, run across the street to the Briarwood Mall complex during lunch, and get paid $100.00. If you're a UM employee, you should sign up, too. www.MHealthy.umich.edu
January 06, 2009
I have a friend who swears that her particular pitch of voice is inaudible to her husband. Unless she speaks to the dog, then he always hears her.
I think I have the same problem with some of the people I work with. Either that or they’re just tired of me. Or, tired of their jobs. I get frustrated weekly having to remind folks of the same rules. I send memo after memo about missing paperwork, not following pay rules, not adhering to equitable company policies. I spell it out in black and white; I repeat myself patiently, most times.
Although, lately, knowing that I have a deadline to get this information through to these employees is causing me to reevaluate how I communicate. I’m trying teaching tools; work sheets, rules summaries, examples of correct items. Not working. I’m trying to get them to work backwards from the problem, so they can follow the trail in a new way. Not working. I’m trying not to get annoyed when I am interrupted with the incorrect answer before I can finish my explanation. Not working.
So, do I speak too slowly, too softly, too deliberately? My dad would get a laugh out of that. I used to naturally speed talk. Seriously, many times he would hold up his hand, and command me to, “Slow down!” “Your mouth is moving a mile a minute. You’re gonna get a speeding ticket,” he’d say. It’s just that my thoughts ran so fast, I was afraid I’d forget them if I didn’t spit them out on the spot.
I believe I have conquered that adolescent affliction, but perhaps to my detriment. I tend to make mental notes or jot written notes more than I speak, now. I tend to think a little too long on an answer sometimes. I’ve been told that sometimes this makes me seem aloof or uninterested, or not that smart. I think I prefer all of those things to my previous pattern of saying whatever comes to mind. I have spoken a lot of words I wish I could take back, and some that others won’t forgive me for.
I’ve spent a lot of time training myself to react slower. Ok, so now what? It’s time to speed back up a bit? I don’t think so. If you don’t have the patience to wait for what I’m not saying, you’ll never stand still for what I do have to say.
Catnip Scratch Fever
I like to buy fresh catnip for Miss Fred. It’s the least I can do after sticking her with a name like Fred. She was initially misread. In any case, I do this little finger and thumb pinching/rolling thing to release the oils and scents so she gets as much nip out of it as possible.
So, there I was, half asleep at 4:45 am, roughing up the catnip leaves, when I got bit. Roughed up, you might say. At first, I thought it was just a scratch. It wasn't until I was in the shower that I realized there was a thin and wily catnip stick embedded in my thumb.
Picture this: a right-handed person trying removing a nippy stick from a rapidly swelling right thumb using a soapy tweezer-filled left hand. Didn’t work so well. Luckily for me, I work with a fine bunch of nurses. A few hours and 36 miles later, I found a willing mercenary at work. A couple of mildly painful tweezer pulls later, I am now nip-free, and appropriately bandaged (antibiotic, and all).
The most often asked question by coworkers witnessing my catnip removal procedure: Didja get a buzz?
The bottom line is that I have yet again managed to come up with some unique, previously unheard of way to hurt myself.