My Life’s Work

March 28, 2012

I’m done being depressed. I’m disappointed in the world and society in general; but maybe they are disappointed with me too. I just need to focus on myself and my place in the world: my job, my hobbies, my friends. Sounds selfish, but these are what I have been given. Maybe my world-saving work is really just to make sure that my company can serve the government and all it’s customer’s in the best manner possible. After all, many of those companies are doing important work, our engineers are too and I get to help make sure they are happy and also complying with all the applicable laws.

It occurred to me the other day that there’s not a single thing I do that doesn’t have some sort of government regulation tied to it. That’s pretty difficult to explain to an engineer, a “thinker.” Government regulations aren’t something you can think your way through. As a matter of fact, some government controls are best understood when one stops thinking – even by me!

Gluten-Free Stuffing

November 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Stuffing

1/2 onion, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 T olive

1/2 t garlic powder
Marjoram (I didn’t actually have this, but it seemed like it needed it.)

1 cup chicken stock (I used homemade from my freezer – check the ingredient list! You could use vegetable stock too.)
1/2 – 3/4 c. textured vegetable protein (this is a soy protein-replacement product)

2 cups oats (gluten-free)
1 cup rice flour
1 cup corn meal
2 T flax seed

(all of the above were from Bob’s Red Mill, including the TVP)

Saute the onions and celery in olive oil. Add spices and saute a little more. Then add chicken stock and TVP — cook for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the liquid from the pan along with another 1 1/2 cups water. Mix well. Place in baking dish, cover and bake for 40 minutes.

I stuffed the giblets down into the stuffing too, for extra chickeny flavor.

What I would do differently next time:
First, add marjoram. This is the most distinctive flavor of poultry seasoning mix, but I noticed my poultry seasoning also has black pepper (?!) in it which I’m not supposed to eat.
Second, I only had one cup of chicken stock in the fridge, and made up the rest of the needed moisture with water. Next time, I would put two cups of chicken stock, or even add chicken broth or vegetable stock before water.
Maybe stir it once halfway through cooking. Though there weren’t many dry bits on top, those that were dry were a little too crusty.
Maybe a little more corn next time. The mix of oatmeal and rice flour gave it a perfect stickiness; but I do love cornmeal stuffing and next time I’ll play that up more.

Anyway, I added whole grain corn meal and flax seed because I wanted as much texture as possible. But you could ditch the corn if you’re allergic and add something else. Mix it up. My point here is that the oatmeal and rice flour provide a perfect sticky, moist stuffing. The other ingredients are goodies that you can substitute as you see fit.

The real test? My husband said he loved it. He liked it better than “real” stuffing, which he said was all greasy and two bites was too much. He said it’s like “cereal, but chicken-flavored!”

What is it all about?

October 14, 2010

…This blog I mean. I won’t pretend to have the mysteries of the universe figured out – such as why are we here. Too many more profound others have pondered that thought with probably better results than I could muster.

I have been avoiding it because I have had no progress in my get healthy/fit/skinny journey. I thought writing all my muck on the internets would somehow make me more accountable. Well, it hasn’t. It just makes me avoid writing in my blog. So I don’t. I haven’t written in the blog, I haven’t even journaled. I want to.  I want to write. Add this to my list of life’s aspirations that only take ten minutes a day but that I don’t do.

So, I guess the blog’s still about My Life’s Dross, that is, all the impurities that have to be burned out of my personality. But I’ll face it: It’s a long process. And the refiner’s fire is burning slowly and not too hot… Thank God! I don’t think I could handle too much truth and change and purity burned into me at once. Yes, most people are like that, right?

My New Life

December 31, 2009

Well, some people think that New Year’s Day can be the magical start of a new life. But I don’t really believe that, nor do I celebrate New Year’s Day as a Holy-day. I appreciate the paid day off! But it’s a good time to just decompress after the big Christmas-craziness.

No, my new life is because I am done with school. Yay! I graduated with my BS after about 10 years of part-time schoolwork (full-time work-work). I’m not sure what to do with myself. I used to spend all weekend studying and all week thinking about the studying I would do on the weekend.

I made a list. It’s a list of things I can do on a weekend after school is done. I should probably review it; because I’m sure it has more items on it than just “finish knitting projects.” (I’m stilling working on X-mas gifts!)

But this “new life” is more than what I want to do; it’s about who I want to be. I want to be that person who is on time to work at least 3 or 4 times a week. I want to be that person who stifles 75-80% of the sarcastic jokes that pop into my head all day. I want to be the person who just strives a little to exercise and eat less candy and slowly loses weight and then gets healthy because of it. (‘Cause the catch 22 of of asthma is that if you can push through an exercise routine – less fat means less asthma symptoms. Son-of-a-bitch that pisses me off as I’m typing it!) I want to be the person who’s positive and upbeat without being overly excited — manic. I want to be the person who actually types in her blog!

So, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.” (Bono) But I have made a list of a few things I can change about myself if I’m less anxious from not anticipating a pile of school-work.

Movement and non-movement

May 22, 2009

Well, I have started a routine where I exercise about 3 or 4 times a week, in the morning before breakfast, for about 20 minutes. You see, in Ultimate Fit or Fat, it says that people who are fat should start out only exercising for about 20 minutes at a time, more often; instead of for instance, 1 hour 2 or 3 times a week. Actually, the book said to exercise for 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a day. Well, I have not worked up to that. As a matter of fact, I’m so out of shape that I hurt myself with 20 minutes of Tae Bo cardio.

Or so it would seem. I mentioned this to a gal at work, who just happens to be training to be an aerobics instructor. (How convenient is that?) Anyway, S says I should be eating breakfast -even just a tiny bit, like half a banana – 30 to 60 minutes before working out. Actually, I’m pretty sure she said an hour, but hey, I rarely get up that early.

So here’s my problem, I have not bought any damn bananas and when I do choke down cereal or a granola bar that early I hardly feel like working out. Ok, that’s not the real problem…

Here is the real problem. I was trying to avoid typing it because it’s so horrible! And I was truly horrified. Well, other than the breakfast thing, I have been mostly ignoring any diet changes. Let’s face it, I hardly eat that much junk and the occasional candy, well, if I’m working out how will a handful of M&M’s hurt?

Well, since I am LAZY I have not gone to the grocery store to get food to cook and I don’t really cook because I’m either too tired or have tons of homework. (Well, D has not been grocery shopping or cooking either; but that’s a different discussion.) My point is – those dang quesadillas are quick, easy and tasty. And well, that much cheese is bound to plug-up something. Which it did… It was me and consequently the toilet, but Thank God(!) D took care of that for me.

So I was traumatized by my painful BM and was moved to eat more fiber in my diet. Well, then I remember I do have salad fixin’s and I better fix a salad for lunch (in the name of fiber) rather than be too lazy to do something good for my body. Then I realized I was late for work and decided to prepare salad faster and sliced a good chunk of my finger off. Ow.

This morning, the first thing I did was poke my self in said finger, right in the cut area. Ow.

This is turning into a rant, I know. My point, though, is that I realized that it’s just not worth it to be lazy or so unorganized to not have 20 minutes to exercise or eat properly. The eating is maybe half an hour out of my day tops – 10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at dinner.

And I’m tired of feeling like a bum and maybe if I was healthier I would have the brain power to study for twenty or thirty minutes after work instead of cramming on the weekends after watching TV every evening. I’m just speculating…

Red Letter

April 30, 2009

This is a red letter day in history. This is the day I start a new story. You see, I heard about this guy, Donald Miller (?) he talks about, “What is your story?” He says that if you have a life, there’s a story going on. And when you get bored with your story, you go looking for one. My story, while it has been going well, I realize is not complete. I still wanted more.

I had a crap-tastic job (that paid well with great benefits!) and when that ended I searched for the right job. I started that in January. Then, I even got the backlog to balance without additional help — woohoo! I told my boss that day was a red-letter day.

Now,  a red letter day is red not only so it can be remembered on a regular basis; but it has to be celebrated. I intend to celebrate and remember this day by repeating my action. I’ve even set a goal, that is, an objective for my story. My objective is to lose weight. I have seen Mikey doing his thing and losing weight. He made up his mind to just go to the gym and work out. He does cardio almost every day and even lifts weights. He’s worked up these great muscles that his girlfriend, my best friend, just loves. And she also helps with eating right. You see, he’s really into sweets and she is not. She’s been helping him dial the sugar thing down a notch and sharing the virtue, as well as flavor, of vegetables!

I want my story to be like that. I want to just get up every day, do some exercise, eat some decent food and chip away at the goal – I mean – objective. Well, so I’ve built my castles in the air; I just have to put my foundations under them. I have made a very doable goal of losing 60 pounds in one year. I totally reserve the right to make changes to that goal as becomes necessary. Not because I’m giving myself permission to fail, but because I’m giving myself permission to succeed. If it proves that goal won’t work, I will set a new one.

So, you see, 60 pounds in a year is only 15 pounds per quarter. My short-term goal aimed at the objective then, is to lose 15 pounds by the end of July. Dude, that’s only five pounds per month! Maybe I can step that goal up to 20 pounds by The Fourth, but we’ll see how it goes. Because frankly, this first goal is really to just pick a story and work on it without fail. And certainly if I do that, I can lose 15 pounds by July 31.

Anyway, it’s out there for the whole world to see. Whether anyone will read it… Well I don’t know; but at least I have a record of it, let I forget. Ok, tomorrow I will write about the baby chicks dream. For now, I have to go change out of my newest fat jeans  – they are feeling tight – and put on something more lose-fitting.

An open letter to Jesse Loesberg

April 14, 2009


I read your story about learning to love your stutter and I felt sad; mostly because on a tiny scale I can relate. By all means, I am not considered a stutterer or a person who stutters. Frankly, I’m yakking all the time – it’s a rare moment when I shut my mouth. However, I do prefer the time and freedom of writing – choosing my words carefully. I can really think when I write and articulate myself well. When I talk out loud, I don’t get to think about how my words sound or my story should be structured – I just spew. But occasionally, while talking and spewing, I try to pause and think about my words they way I do in writing. And frankly, pausing works way better with the fingers doing the work on the keyboard. Pausing to think while talking can cause me to stutter. And that is where I relate to your sad story. You see, the look of shock and horror upon someone I know well when they see me stop rambling and get stuck on a word… Well, I can only imagine how hurtful that must be when it is a constant way of life. I’ll be droning along, realize the wrong word is about to come out of my mouth and try to stop it! Then, well, my mind races – but not fast enough – I try to think of the right sound and the old word is stuck in my throat while I’m imagining the listener thinking as her eyes get bigger: “Oh my God! Is she going to huck a fur ball?”


Somewhere between paranoia and lackadaisical…

April 2, 2009 vigilance. Note to self: don’t f-up! Maybe I can blame mistakes on the fact that I had not enough sleep and then I forgot to take my medicine. But of course, not taking my medicine is where I began to err. No, wait. Staying up till 11 o’clock reading a knitting mag was the first mistake.

Anyway, vigilance: I not only need to my basic take care of myself stuff like take asthma medicine and eat a decent breakfast (GS cookies do not equal decent breakfast). But I also need to do at least one thing to strive for something better. Like walk a little more – gotta train for that Cancer walk coming up! And certainly I need to build up to the April Hike — I bet it’s more than the three-mile-hike around St Helens when I forgot my inhaler and didn’t have enough water. Or that six mile trek around the city that almost killed me last time.

So to keep my focus on being middle-of-the-road, then I need to get out there and really push myself to walk more; but still leave myself an out before my body is entirely exhausted and then I keep walking and hit the “miracle mile.” Hah! You’ve heard tell of it and maybe thought it was just a pretty little saying about hope and endurance? No, it really physically happens.

See, when a body is so exhausted that it can no longer keep moving, it sends pain instructions to the muscles as and indicator to STOP! STOP the madness! Well, the miracle mile is about an hour after that when, for some stupid reason, the body keeps going anyway and the body gives up: the endorphins kick in and the body feels no pain at all, even when it should. That’s when a person feels like she can go all day and finish this crazy walk and maybe my legs weren’t crumbling from exhaustion but just from lack of determination.

Nope, determination is not the cure. STOPPING is the cure because in this state is where the most damage is done because the body figures it’s going to die anyway and might as well quit fighting the brain’s overwhelming will and cooperates. And the body decides, well to make this better let’s throw in some yummy chemicals to ease the pain and suffering in the end…

Waiting for my tide to come in…

March 26, 2009

I had a powerful dream last night. It started out with all the weirdness of strange people and events that don’t tie together. But in the end – and this scene was pretty movie-like – a pivotal scene – I found a ship wedged in the sand on the beach. There were people getting on it and I got on board too. Most of the people just hung out there; I was the newcomer. I was going to get on the main deck, but someone suggested I needed to be up higher… I first mate. I told the leader of these people (was this the captain?) that the ship was going to sail. I pointed out the tide coming in and lapping the edge of the ship. The guy said, “That water was just as high yesterday.”

“Yes, but the tides not all the way in today; the water will get higher and higher every day.”

Then there was some weird “scene” where an elephant was trapped in the sand on the beach. This bit was very disney-like: some simplistic character (maybe another animal) was going to help his elephant-friend out of the sand before he drowned. But a wave a came in, the elephant held his breath (not really, he just closed his mouth and lifted his trunk above the water line) and the incoming wave loosened the sand beneath him and he was able to break free! It was one of those foreshadowing scenes explaining how the boat was going to make it off the beach.

“The most Amazing thing happened to me in the shower this morning…”

March 24, 2009

I came to a startling realization this morning. The reason I’ve struggled so much with my weight is because I don’t give a shit what people think of me. There, I said it. Everybody has known this and I’m finally confessing. And not because I want to feel okay about not caring, it’s because I realize it’s not ok. I mean, I think there is too much body consciousness in this world. But with an epidemic of little girls growing up feeling like they can’t be pretty or sexy unless they are a size six; well, I’m not sick enough. I mean, I need to realize how I look. Not so I can feel bad about myself – but so I can realize that I am going to have a heart attack and diabetes if I don’t shed the extra poundage.
I’ve always been full figured and at some point I went from a short Marilyn Monroe to the fat soccer-mom look. I’m nobody’s mother and I have no excuse to look like one. I have not earned these hips with childbearing – time to look seriously at what I need to do to be healthy.
Oh and don’t get me wrong – I think about how I look. And seriously, I would love to have some perky little B’s like Gillian Anderson in season six – oh yah, I’ve thought about it! But I know that is never going to happen. But somewhere between feeling like my exterior is all I am and knowing that my outside reflects my inside; well, that’s health. And I’m unreasonably too far from either end.