Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday's End

Today my oldest cooked dinner. i was surprised she had the energy as she went grocery shopping with me (saved $20 with coupons!), to Starbucks and Walgreens. But of course i had much more energy when i was her age than i do now.

So no asking, begging or prodding. Just in the mood i guess to cook and i wasn't going to turn down the offer. She whipped up a simple pasta dish with turkey, mascarpone, corn and parmesan. While she cooked my other two kids came into the kitchen and they all talked, teased and were actually jovial and enjoying each other's company. Usually they are arguing or stressed (understandably) and in no mood to do much talking.

The times we have had to be together for a meal have been so rare lately with all of us so busy - working, going to school and other activities. My kids (3) are 18, 23 and 26. They all live at home and will most likely remain at home until they marry (this is latino tradition). As they bantered i just listened and enjoyed this moment of family harmony.

It was just nice for everyone to be together for this hour or so. Then one by one, they all went off their separate ways for the evening. The oldest to see her boyfriend, my son to see his girlfriend and the youngest went to work. My husband was at his soccer game (i'm a soccer widow every sunday) and all was quiet for the evening.

It was a nice ending to a nice weekend. Hopefully the coming week can be just as good, I'll be enjoying the leftovers from her dish for tomorrow's lunch!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thankful Tuesday

As part of my overall wellness "makeover" i'm going to work harder to focus on looking at the positive side of things, nurture those relationships that bring me up and work on doing the same with others. I was raised with some pretty negative family members and it's been hard to change around my way of thinking. I have to work hard at it and i frequently catch myself thinking of the negative first instead of the positive, especially when i'm around them.
In an interview on "the Science of Changing Your Mind," Dr. Joe Dispenza says that our bodies respond to negative thoughts of our minds in ways such as poor digestive health, etc. It's how our body responds to these thoughts. When we think of good things, our bodies respond accordingly. So to foster those thoughts and begin the day on a positive note i'm going to jot down what i'm thankful for daily.

Thought today is cold, cloudy and snow is predicted, there is still plenty to be thankful for:
  • i have a job (i know so many people who now don't)
  • my mortgage payments are current
  • i'm just a few payments away from paying off a large credit card bill (then on to #2)
  • my car still works
  • my family is healthy
  • i'm healthy (for the most part)
  • we have a garage at work so i don't have to worry about snow/ice on my windshield at 5 p.m.
  • since my husband doesn't have a job, he'll start dinner
  • since its texas, spring will come any day now
  • i've managed to stay under the 3000 calorie mark since Thursday
  • i'm part of a great community of supportive women bloggers! (SITS)
  • my friends (old friends and new friends)
On to a great day!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Battle of the Bulge

So Thursday i began a quest to better track this business of wellness and weight. I think more than just losing weight or the physical aspect (having to try on 20 pairs of pants/jeans to find one that fits well) - wellness also involves the spirit, the soul and emotional well-being. It's not just cutting back on the Cheetos (my fave!) but also dealing with "why" we pig out or eat what we do. Watching Biggest Loser just reinforces that i need to get my "why" figured out.
My weight is a constant battle. Working 40 hours a week, trying to fit in school and taking care of a family does not leave the energy or time to take care of myself. And i FEEL it! From occasional high blood pressure, cholesterol to fatigue, the effects of my lifestyle are taking their toll. I know some of what i eat is from stress (chocolate brings me a little bit of peace during a stressful work day). Salty snacks AND chocolate hit the spot on those PMS days. And watching a  movie (even at home) always triggers the urge for popcorn (PopSecrets Movie Theater Butter - yum).
So as of last Thursday i'm committing to work my way toward a 75 lb. weight loss on 1200 calories a day.

I can tell you right now it's going to be a matter of being ok with starting over every day. As you can i haven't been able to stay at or near the mark yet.

Feb. 18 - 1868
Feb. 19 - 1386 (missed lunch, had an early dinner)
Feb. 20 - 2565 (weekend, no excuse i know - just harder)
Feb. 21 - 1875

Just getting into the habit of keeping track will also be a challenge but i think it will help me in not going to at least the 2000 mark and once i can get that exercise thing going that should help quite a bit. Working off what i eat.
I did get in a 20 minute walk on Saturday, although that was slow going as i was trying to train the dog as well on walking behavior.
I found a site that lets you track your food and calories for free. It will suggest the amount of calories you should consume daily based on activity and weight and give you a target date - mine is May 25, 2011.

Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finding my passion

How does one find their passion when one is interested in so many things?! Focusing on just one thing to be “good” at is difficult when there are now so many more options open to women. The options are also now more available as I’ve moved out of my parents home – away from parent rules and restrictions - yet straight into the husband’s rules and restrictions. Once able to find my voice and the courage to express it in that relationship - there were still the restrictions of money and motherhood. When the children were born they were my passion. Through the years as they’ve grown and developed into adults I’ve slowly been able to explore more of what I like to do.
• Read – Books were my best friends during school years. It may sound corny but through books I could explore anything and everything. From the original “Super Nanny” Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, a series of books about a girl named Ginny from a town up north, learning about my Mexican heritage (Aztec Indians, Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Cesar Chavez, etc.) to the discovery of Rosemary Rogers and her passionate love stories. I LOVE to read! My dream job would be to get paid for reading books. Until about 3 years ago I got to read for a living at my current place of employment. It wasn’t books but it was close enough. I loved my job and then they had to go and do this reorg thing. Now my job is nothing at all of what I did then.
Sewing – This is another fave hobby that I have done off and on every since learning to sew as a child. From early attempts at making Barbie clothes and pillows, a passable tank dress made in home –ec class during high school to most recently a finished quilt (with more in progress)!
• Scrapbooking – I’ve completed several for my children with still several more to go. Where to find the time (and the space) for this. This one also ties in with my interest in photography, genealogy and recording family history.
• Dancing – I’ve loved dancing since discovering the Mexican cumbias (a long time ago in my youth). My parents would take me to dancing clubs (no respectable girl – back then anyway – would go to a club without her parents – so I was told). Anyway I didn’t care as long as I got to dance – and dance I did. We would get there at 8 p.m. (way to early by today’s standards I know) so we could get a table and then would stay till we shut the place down at 2 a.m.! On my list is to do ballroom dancing.
Traveling – After traveling every year since birth to my parents birth place in Mexico you would think that I would hate traveling. I guess traveling this much you are going to either learn to love it or hate. I LOVE it! I miss traveling with my dad as he always loved to explore new places (my husband does not) and we visited a different city in Mexico each time we went. Once driving all the way to Mexico City to visit an aunt. I try to squeeze in at least a short road trip every year to some place new. Also finding postcrossing helps me travel to exotic places one postcard at a time!
• Cooking – although many people might not thinks this since I do not get to cook a meal every day, I do love cooking. I once even had my own cake business. When it became too stressful (too many cake orders + 40 hour week job + family duties) I had to choose between cakes and job. Cakes were not yet profitable enough to support and the job was more secure so the cakes had to go.
How to pick the most favorite of them all. It’s a work in progress and i'm a work in progress.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Times...they are a changing

Well today it happened. As it does every year where I work, the talking heads upstairs feel they must rearrange people to see if things will work better. This year because of the recession it has been an even greater blow and change to us all. This once was a family run company, but the founder has passed. Her children do not have anything to do with day to day run of things letting those they’ve appointed run it all. I guess as long as the money still goes into their bank accounts they’re good.
Many people here have worked for 15 years or more and turnover is rare. This last year many have left due to a company offer to take early retirement or a “leave now with benefits” offer. The benefits being several weeks paid based on tenure. Some jumped at that chance, others were “encouraged”. Now those who did not take that “encouragement” seriously are being told to find other positions within the company (there is nothing) or flat out told to gather their things and leave.
Yes, yes I am grateful for my job as it pays well and I’m able to support my family since my husband lost his job. But it is no longer exciting and I no longer love it or this company as I once did. I know it could be worse but right now I really envy those who are doing what they love and getting paid for it.
My colleagues will be sorely missed (didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to some) and I know they will eventually find peace and embrace this opportunity to start a new chapter in their lives. The rest of us will continue to nervously trudge along until new changes are deemed necessary and hope for the best.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What a difference a day makes

Well after our record snow fall here, my kids and i drove around the neighborhood once roads were decent to look at the many snowmen built. Had to share these two - a Valentine snowman and a chicken! The snow is gone now, schedules are back to normal with school and work, planes are back in flight. I imagine people flying off to warm exotic place. These "sculptures" are reduced to tiny mounds of snow, but they will live on here to come back another day -- and i will eventually get back to a warm exotic place too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 2 of Snow!

Well today was an official snow day, all schools closed and my job location was closed. it had snowed even more last night. Totals acording to the news are about 10 to 13 inches depending on where you live. Although we still have power a large area does not (about 180,000 homes). Our satellite signal did go out last night but now its back. This morning i did a short walk in the snow and took some pictures at a small block near my home -

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day!!!

I'm sure most people up north are sick to death of all the snow and cold they've had. But here in Texas we hardly ever get snow, much less like the snow fall we had today. It was a TRUE SNOW DAY. Unfortunately nothing closed so we had to just watch the snow fall from our windows (those of us lucky enough to have windows in our work areas). All day i just wanted to go out and play, make snowmen, have a snowball fight and make snow angels. The snow is just pouring down like nobody's business and not much work is getting done as everyone keeps going to the window to watch this rare treat.
i managed to take a few photos with my cell phone on the way in to work this morning. not very good ones - but you get the idea here. From the weather forcast this promises to stick around till tomorrow so should have some much better pics then.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saints WIN!

It’s been a dismally dreary weekend again here, with cold, rain and clouds (I so wish to be back in sunny, warm Cozumel again!). Well since my Cowboys weren’t playing in the Super Bowl (once again) this year, I decided to go for the Saints. This being their first time I felt they deserved a chance. At first it looked like they might have gotten there on pure luck as they started out with quite a bit of errors – interceptions, dropped balls, etc., but in the second half they proved their worth and won it!

As I got ready to watch the big game I made my own game plan for food! I had come across this web site (Homesick Texan) with a fantastic photo and recipe of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. It looked so good I had to try and make this for myself. So I printed out the recipe and went shopping for my ingredients. Surprisingly enough I did find andouille sausage in my regular grocery store. It’s probably always been available there but never having cooked with it before I of course never noticed it. I also bought some other things to make some appetizers to munch on while we waited for the gumbo to cook. Ok I like to cook and I have tried some recipes outside the norm of my usual type of food that I like. I always learn something new in the way of cooking – with this one (and I should have known better cause I’d heard this before) always read the recipe through! If I had done that though I probably wouldn’t have even attempted this, it was so time consuming and detailed in all that it instructed you to do. I’ll let you read for yourself but suffice to say I did not follow all those steps. I bought chicken breast that had no bone or skin so there was no fat to skim off or separate. I also used minced garlic and got out of mincing five garlic cloves. Everything else I pretty much did as instructed. I’d never made rouĂ© before in this manner and it only looked slightly different going into the oven as it did coming out.

While all that was cooking I made a couple of appetizers (recipes from Pampered Chef) to tide us over. The Moroccan Chicken Crostini Melts  (second photo below) and Asian Crab Salad Crisps (first photo below). They came out quite tasty, however the crab appetizers were a little too spicy – note: next time little less of the spice mix.

The kids are not too keen on trying new things but they were good sports and gave it a shot – they gave them both thumbs up.

As they munched I finished up the gumbo and made some white rice to go with. I served myself a nice steaming bowl and ……it did not taste as I expected. I’m not even sure what I expected it to taste like – but I did not care for – I think it might have been the taste of the andouille sausage that threw me. You could see the chunks of fat in it and I just could not eat it. My two older kids however LIKED it and ate a whole bowl full. So the day wasn’t a total waste.

I ended up eating more of the appetizers which were quite filling and watched the Half-time show and the rest of the Super Bowl game. They sure can party in New Orleans! Happy Mardi Gras.