Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time to take the plunge.

computer Pictures, Images and Photos
I'm not going to lie to you.
I'll just have out with it.

I have dial up.
Yes, I dared say it.
{And if I could whisper-type, I would.}
Dial up.
I'll say it once more for emphasis.
Dial. Up.

I hate it, but I'm such a miser that I honestly don't want to pay for something better even though I so so SO desperately need it.

I need it to make blogging easier.
I need it to "Get With It."
I need it to keep my sanity in tact.

I'm thinking Comcast high speed, and not just because I adore Bill Slowsky commercials. I just already pay Verizon a pirate's ransom and thought I'd spread my debt around.

What are your thoughts on Comcast??

{Speaking of, whatever happened to Mr. Slowsky? Anyone? Anyone?}
bill Pictures, Images and Photos

Four days in November.

Here is sit with my big 4-day weekend winding down.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgorging, I know I did - sans the gorge as planned, which felt good!
{I will have you know I even walked 2.5 miles the morning after at the country haus!}

For the first time in eons, a long weekend was just that - long. Last Wednesday seems like it was a year ago.

I packed a lot into these past four days, and enjoyed well-well-well-deserved time away from the office - and my e-mail which I've often checked over the course of a weekend since having access to it on phone.

I got to spend some time with the parents.
I got to play with my BFF.
I got to bring Christmas to the apartment which, in turn, made me swollen with the Christmas spirit.
{It's such a terrible and fabulous way to describe one's spirit, yes?}
I got to discover Laughing Cow cheese.
{How the hell did I ever live without it?!}
And most importantly:
I got to recharge myself.

Let's go holiday season!
{If only I could make my swollen-with-holiday-spirit self start Christmas shopping!}

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanks-gorging!

After taking a brisk 3.5 mile walk today, I vow to not gorge myself at the table today - as I do every year.

I'm not a huge turkey fan, so I usually take seconds - and sometimes thirds - of green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole and Mom's super-delicious homemade mashed potatoes.

I might have two scoops of the cranberry-citrus relish and I sure as hell have a bigger slice of my bourbon chocolate pecan pie topped with my homemade bourbon whipped cream than I should have, but that's all part of the holiday right?

Not this year.
This year, I'm thankful that I'm putting a limit on myself, for my own damn good.

But that's not all I'm thankful for, in fact, that's the least of it.

I'm thankful that my Mom is well - knock wood.

I'm thankful for her more than I could ever express - for being there, for talking me down from the proverbial ledge, for just being her fabulous self and for making the Manhattans we will drink together today and be thankful for each other together.

I'm thankful for the rest of my family - my father, brother and "sister." For always being there, or just a phone call away when I need them most.

I'm thankful for being strong enough to handle what life throws at me, even if I do let it get me down sometimes.

I'm thankful for having legs strong enough to allow me to take the walk I did today, lungs that were able to breathe in the crisp morning and eyes that could see my surroundings.

And most of all I'm thankful I have people and things to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Words to live by.

The following quotes are taking from the current issue of Glamour magazine. The issue celebrates the magazine's Women of Year. One section had some advice from women - some who've been past Women of the Year, some who were well-known, and all of them strong and inspiring.

These two quotes stuck out at me so much that I couldn't stop reading them, going so far as to cut them out and paste them in my - nerd alert! - Quote Notebook.

They're inspiring words that I think I'll continue to revisit when I need a little picking up and a little Power From Within.

"Cherish your solitude.
Take trains by yourself to places you have never been.
Sleep out alone under the stars.
Learn how to drive a stick shift.
Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back.
Say no when you don't want to do something.
Say yes if your instincts strong, even if everyone around you disagrees.
Decide whether you want to be liked or admired.
Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you're doing here. Believe in kissing."
~~ from Eve Ensler's upcoming book "I Am an Emotional Creature"

"In life, sometimes everything falls into place, and sometimes everything just falls to pieces. The key is to begin creating with these fallen pieces. By improvising, you'll create something magical that might be the best thing you've ever accomplished."
~~ Tori Amos

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgivings, early.

About two weeks ago, I was thinking about how different my life was compared to this time last year.

It was a sad little reflection for me as I recalled how happy I'd been, then, and how hopeful I'd felt about my future.

For the first time in my life, I could almost see that White Picket Fence, even if it was a little imperfect. For the first time in my life, I wanted that imperfect White Picket Fence.
I was so full of love for the first time in a very, very long time.
And it felt good.

As you've probably guess, those feelings and visions are gone - long gone. It was for the best, it really was, but I'm not going to lie and say that when I imagined this time this year last year {got that?}, I thought it would be different.

I'd been carrying around those thoughts, some Woe Is Me stress and burning the candle at both ends when I got some news that made all these things seem as minuscule as broken crayons.
Not that I wanted it, but it was a reality check I so desperately needed.

I needed it to remind me what's really important.
I needed it to make me thankful for what I do have in my life:
- an amazing, strong and beautiful mother who is always there.
- a kind and loving father who would do anything for us.
- a great big brother who is such a sage for me.
- friends who are supportive and caring.

Today, we got the news we were hoping and praying for.
Today, I give thanks for where I am in my life.
I wouldn't trade it for the world, or a thousand white picket fences, perfect, imperfect or otherwise.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Setbacks and stress.

"Is there life before death?"
~~ Graffito, in Belfast

Now that I'm working two jobs, I've been thinking there's not.

I'm lucky enough to work at two places I very much enjoy - even when the one gets highly stressful and hectic - and I'm really enjoying the extra income.
I've become so miserly, which is something I should have done years ago, but better late than never.

As much as I like that cash and having something that fills my time up, it is pretty exhausting some days, so needless to say, I've been a little on edge lately and feeling pretty stressed.

This week, I had some external stress come at me too.

Mommalah told me some disturbing news last week that's really sent us reeling. I've found myself praying a lot more than usual - and feeling angry, and about thisclose to a panic attack or something. It's scary, and I'm scared to death.

In much, much less important stress, a simple flat tire earlier this week resulted in the needing of a new rim - a new $180 rim ... and then I discovered a bubble on another tire so there's that. Bye, bye last few second job checks.

If things happen in threes as the old adage says, I hope the tire situations count.

The whole week has had me mindlessly emotionally eating. Like, for example, an entire pounder bag of tortilla chips that I ate as nachos in two day's time. I knew I shouldn't have when I bought the damn chips, but short of screaming from the rooftop, I chose to go this route.
{Never mind the container of gorgonzola cheese that somehow disappeared almost as swiftly. I must have a mouse in the house or something.}

I don't know why I do it, why I don't take my deep breaths, or why I don't, oh, EXERCISE to do away with the stress and the worry and the scared feelings like I know I should do.

It just seems easier to eat my worry away, which we know doesn't ever work.
Maybe it's because eating has always been such a big part of my Italian family and I take comfort in it, even though it makes me feel awful.

I consider myself a strong person - my mother's daughter - but the emotional eating and setbacks and getting derailed at even the most minuscule sign of trouble is not the sign of a strong person.

I need to get my strength back. In more ways than one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A borrowed survey.

Oh, I haven't done a survey in eons so I thought, "Why not?"

I borrowed this from a favorite blogger The English Muse (see her fabulous blog in the list to the right).

1. Where is your cell phone: Right where it always is: within three inches of my person.
2. Your hair: Freshly blown out just this morning. Never mind that it's in desperate need of a color touch up.
3. Your favorite food: Cake - with buttercream icing.
4. Your dream from last night: I was smoking in the rain with Johnny at his house. His parents and a Times Leader editor and his wife were there and we were trying to be inconspicuous. {I quit smoking New Year's Eve 2007 and had my first cig since then two weeks ago at Tiffany's wedding. With Johnny. He's such a naughty influence, even in dreams it seems!}
5. Your favorite drink: Manhattan.
6. Your dream/goal: To continue writing until my last breath ... and publish my novel(s).
7. What room are you in: My home office. The tree right outside the window has the most gorgeous yellow leaves that look so pretty in the sunlight.
8. What are your hobbies: Reading. Writing. Blogging. Twittering. Journaling. Laughing. Thinking.
9. What is your fear: That something will happen to my family, God forbid.
10. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Still writing. Financially secure. Happy.
11. Where were you last night: Working at my part time job then eating the dinner I made in the Crockpot with Mommalah.
12. Something you are not: Fake. Good or bad, what you see is what you get
13. Muffins: I do love one on occasion.
14. Wish list items: Stability. Health for my family and myself. Happiness. Love.
15. Where did you grow up: near a pond on a gorgeous dirt road in Dallas, Pa.
16. Last thing you did: replied to a text message.
17. What are you wearing: black pinstripe pants, black turtleneck, gray cardigan and black stilettos.
18. Your TV: Is only usually on for "Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Family Guy" and an occasional vampire movie or food show like "No Reservations" or something having to do with cake.
19. Your pets: I am godmother to the most delicious puppy Kasey, a scrumtrulescent Weimaraner.
20. Your friends: Are few, but fabulous.
21. Your favorite store: Barnes & Noble.
22. Your favorite color: Black. Naturally.

The New Regime: Day 29.

I am very disappointed.

I got on the scale this morning, after a vigorous 20 minutes on the Air Climber and a grueling mini-circuit I got from WeightWatchers magazine - and after yesterday's huge 2.5 mile walk and the day before that's vigorous Air Climbing, etc.

I lost absolutely nothing.
Even after this morning being the eighth day in a row that I've worked out hardcore.

I know I've not stuck 100 percent to eating healthy, but I ate my bad stuff* in moderation and no scale budge.
Just continued pudge.

I am disappointed - but not discouraged.
This is not going to derail me as it has in the past.

I will get on the scale next week and it will be down.
And if it's not - God forbid - I will look in the mirror and at my exercise log book** and know I'm making changes in myself - and my health.
Even if I can't see it just yet.

*chips, brie, dessert, cake, Halloween candy.
**a Hallmark calendar booklet where I write all my exercises in. I love looking back and seeing something written on nearly all the days, even if it was a brief 10 minutes. Movement is movement. It all counts.

Crockpot update!

Well the Crockpot chicken recipe turned out

As I blogged yesterday, I was a nervous wreck that I was going to come home to a congealed mess of dinner and chicken that was tough and gross.

Not so!
The only problem was I had added a little bit of water per the Crockpot's booklet for frozen chicken, which created a bit too much juice. But it made for tasty gravy, albeit a little runny gravy, but tasty nonetheless.

I am going to tackle a roast next methinks!

And most importantly, Mommalah was very impressed and I was happy to finally treat her to a good dinner that she didn't have to make, or clean up after.
{Plus I was able to shoo her help away as she always does me. It felt good. And you know what, so did those typical Mommalah-isms that I found coming out of my mouth without a second thought. Guess the old adage
"Mirror, mirror on the wall
I am my mother after all"

is true!}

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let's be friends, Crockpot.

A few Christmases ago, Mommalah bought me a Crockpot.
It was a tiny, adorable little thing that I felt very grown up having.
I took it excitedly out of the box and set it in a place of prominence on the bottom shelf of my microwave cart and would often gaze at it, imagining the Things I Would Make in it.

I could come home to cooked meals like Mommalah used to make - and not have to wait until our ritual weekly dinners to eat.
I could eat healthy roasts and have healthy leftovers ... oh, how healthy I would be.

That little Crockpot sat on that shelf and gathered dust for the next few years until last year when Mommalah declared the Crockpot too small for me to do anything with - as if that's the sole reason I never used it. {How angelic of her not to call attention to the fact that it's because her daughter is Inept in the Kitchen as the true reason it was never used.} She declared that the Crockpot's white insert would make the perfect tureen for our Thanksgiving gravy.

Last Christmas, Mommalah went on to buy me another Crockpot, a larger one with a pretty fall motif on the outside. Instead of taking this one out of the box and putting it on the microwave cart, however, this one I let it sit on the spare bed in my office, unopened until today.
Today, I have to work until 7 p.m., so I'll miss out on Sunday dinner at Mommalah's.
Today, I've decided to host Sunday dinner for Mommalah here.
Today, I've decided to make that Crockpot my bitch.

And now I'm a nervous wreck.

Long ago, my dear friend Tiffany gave me a recipe for chicken stroganoff with low WeightWatchers points.
It sounded so easy enough that I, the Inept in the Kitchen, could do it.
And so I am trying.

It's actually slow cooking as we speak.

I want so badly for it to be good.
I want so badly for the Crockpot and I to be friends.
Good friends, great even.

I will be on pins and needles all day until I come home and lift up that lid to taste the concoction.

If all else fails, we have chilled wine and Great Wall Chinese on speed dial.