Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Chocolate Mint Fudge Recipe

Chocolate Mint Fudge

 

INGREDIENTS

1  bag (12 oz) dark chocolate chips (2 cups)

1  container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy milk chocolate frosting

1  bag (10 oz) vanilla baking chips (1 2/3 cups)

1  container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting

1/3 cup Andes Crème de Menthe pieces

1 tsp peppermint extract

green food coloring

1

Spray 9x13 -inch pan with baking spray with flour. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave dark chocolate chips uncovered on High in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Stir in chocolate frosting. Spread in pan.

2

In another microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla chips uncovered on High in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla frosting, food coloring, and peppermint extract.  Spread over chocolate layer. Sprinkle with Andes pieces.

3

Cover; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into pieces as desired.

That Better Taste Minty

I decided to make some fudge tonight, for the faculty dinner tomorrow. I know, it's not a dinner kind of dessert, but somebody might like it.  :)

Chocolate mint.  Mmmm.  Of course, there was a roadblock.  As usual, the local store didn't have mint chips, so I had to improvise when I got back to my kitchen, by adding about a teaspoon of mint extract. Well, mint extract tasted a bit like spearmint to me, so half of that teaspoon was peppermint extract, which was my intent, anyway.  

There's a layer of dark chocolate on the bottom, greenish mint in the middle, and a sprinkling of Andes Creme de menthe pieces on top.

It better taste like chocolate mint.  That's over two pounds of fudge wasted if it doesn't come out right.  :). And I'll be ticked off, too. I mean, they had freakin' cherry flavored chips, and I don't believe I've seen them since I was a child making potato chip cookies with my mom and my kiddie Tupperware baking set in the 70s.  They also had red and green chocolate chips for Christmas.  Really.  Six months out of date.

Please keep in mind I'm not much of a food stylist and my tiny little kitchen doesn't work well for photography anyway. But that's how it looks...

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Skin Remembers

It's one of those nights when I had to ride with the car window down.  The breeze was just right, and it made me want to go for a run in my dark neighborhood with the many registered sex offenders and crumbling sidewalks.  

Of course I didn't.  I'd be scared to go alone at night.  I'm not so sure about doing it in the daytime either. 

My car A/C works just fine, but the air temperature brings back a memory of a hot summer night when I was about five.  Planet of the Apes was coming on TV and Dad took us to the nearby Sonic to get milkshakes before it began.  It must have been a Sunday night, because big movies only came on network TV on Sundays.  The wind through the car windows was exactly the same as tonight -- a soft warm caress like the breath of a beloved someone lulling you to sleep.  

Sometimes there's just no substitute for rolling down the windows and letting the wind stream through your hair, tangling it into impossible snarled knots. It's a feeling best experienced at night, when the world is quiet and a whisper of summertime freedom tickles your skin. 

It amazes me how the skin retains its own memories of past experiences.  A bath or shower bordering on being too hot, but biting and stinging just a bit takes me to a chilly October night when I was four.  It may have even been Halloween and we had just returned from trick-or-treating.  I was in the tub with my sister, in water that was almost too scalding hot but was all right after a few minutes in.  It was one of those times I got out afterward with chubby red feet, but I wasn't cold anymore.  

We were staying with my grandmother in her tiny little house at the time.  I remember that it was night because of the way the fluorescent vanity mirror lights illuminated the bathroom with that harsh artificial glow, rather than daylight filtering in from the high window over the tub.

Hot showers and baths take me right back to that chilly autumn evening and my skin tells me to grit my teeth and accept the almost stinging heat of the water.  It bites with sharp little teeth, but I can take it.

Or at least turn up the cold water.  :)

I suppose my friend was right when he pointed out that pain causes the most intense memories.  I don't think I'll ever forget having my lower back punctured by a broken bicycle spoke, nor the way it rendered me speechless and breathless.  I don't remember how bad it was, because I seem to have blocked it out.   However, I have a deep scar there by my tailbone.  Maybe I've had it since birth. Anyway, I suppose I'm just lucky that I didn't stab my spine that day.  Still, my body remembers how badly that hurt.

Not Healed Yet

Mowing the yards today (I'm not all bad; I mowed hers too) made me limp.  My hurt leg complained horrendously about having to operate the clutch on the lawnmower. When I got off each time, I was having a bit of trouble walking normally.  :(  Apparently, three weeks isn't enough time to heal my leg.

I suppose that hitting the clutch put my poor leg in exactly the right position for a lot of pain.  I don't know what I'm going to do about this.  

As much as I hate limping, I hate pain worse.  Even sitting down hurts.  Lying in bed right now hurts.  I have a strange desire to stab a knife in there and cut out whatever is ruined inside my hip socket.  

Why am i still awake? A combination of frisky dog happily barking all over the darn house and the homemade veggie juice I drank for dinner three hours ago.  I guess it's all the B vitamins -- I feel rather alert.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Running Through My Mind

Okay, lots on my mind, including some things I'm a little leery of saying out loud.

Soft and tender reader, there are exercise discussions ahead.  Consider this your warning to blow me off now.  Lol. Hey, watch it.  I meant nothing like THAT.

The first thing is my sister's perception that we were about to get in a huge fight over my lawn mower key.  She forgot to give it back after she used it and thought it was the wrong key on her table.  She really thought I was gonna go psycho crazy (Moi??  Really?!?) on her at the prospect of a lost key, when they are easy to get here in town for $3.  (Makes me realize that my lawnmower isn't really secure out there.  Yikes.)

Actually, I had found my original set of keys a few days ago on the carport...  Long after Dad had to cut off the locks on my shed and storage room.  The keys were right there in front of the door, in the bucket (of trash) where they had fallen.  My fault, completely.  

She didn't know that I had another set, of course, but it concerns me to think she believes I'd utterly lose it over something so easily remedied.  I've got better control over my temper than that, really.  It scares my dog too badly when I yell after hurting myself, and I hate the out of control feeling I get when I lose my temper, so I try to keep a firm grip on any outward expression of anger.  And there's my blood pressure to consider.  I don't have any blood pressure problems, but I hate that lingering strangled, dizzy feeling after it goes up.  So I stay calm as much as possible.  

I guess I don't present well. :(. Not like I've ever attacked anyone physically when I'm angry, even if they deserved it.  Physically striking out is not me.  Far as I go is fantasizing about giving them a well-deserved smack.  

I want to start running again, though I'm well aware of the fact that my glute / piriformis injury is still hurting. It makes my leg seem longer than the other, and I know it isn't. Maybe the connective tissue is strained and giving that effect.  How to fix that? I don't know.  I'll run, my leg will drag, I will fall again. That's how the recent injury happened.  

I was trying to step up on a sidewalk and my right leg didn't cooperate.  My toes caught and tripped me, throwing me into a high speed face plant on the sidewalk, which I finally prevented by flailing my arms and stomping rather hard with the out of control leg, sending all of the impact up into my hip socket.  Yeah, ouch.

Question is, what do I do about it? 

Chiropractor? (Do they work on soft tissue?) 

For the record, my foam roller can't get inside where it hurts.  I think only thumbs can get that far into my hip socket. And I sure as heck can't reach it myself, not even with the old standby - a tennis ball.  Lacrosse ball didn't get in there either.  

Sports Medicine specialist? Bone and joint doctor? Physical therapist? Where do I go? And can they see if there is something going on causing my constant shin splints?  

Back to the neurosurgeon, who said that my nerve problem is unfixable?

Do I need to take an ice bath every night?  I really hate that..... But sometimes, numb is the only answer.  :)

And so.... To pick up with my running again (because I don't want to be a quitter and lapse into middle aged poor fitness) what do I do?  

Las problemas:
It's already freaking boiling hot out there.  75 degrees late last night and stifling to breathe.  I can't run in that without getting dizzy.  I tried it last year.  Running after dark, alone, anywhere is a scary prospect.  (Though I would really enjoy running at night.) Running just before dawn is just as scary, but probably the coolest time of day.  I hate the idea of getting up that early.  I cut it close getting to work on time because nothing can lure me out of bed early.  And I'd have to eat an hour before I ran.  Or drink my juice.... 

Frankly, I'm uncomfortable running past the house of the stalker down the street.  I've seen him out running.  I'm completely afraid he can catch me. I don't even want him watching me. 

I'm horrified that I can't run fast anymore.  Shouldn't have taken that 20 year break from running while I waited for the world to invent the high-impact sports bra for sizes over "flat chested."  

Yeah, that's how I really feel.  I even tried wide athletic tape. It didn't hold.

I could run on the treadmill at the gym any hour of the day or night, but I've got to get conditioned to run on pavement or I'll never be able to ... run on pavement.  *sigh*. Now, I already do shin stretches on the leg press machine, with 125 pounds to press with my toes.  You would think that would mean my shins are killer strong by now.  Sure, the muscles are strong, but apparently they want to rip loose from the bones.  

Please, local politicians, while you are sniping about adding painted bike lanes on the town's main roads, could you please add a soft running path somewhere here? Or just fix the one at the college? I'm dying, here! You spend so much time crowing about how that grant is helping you revitalize downtown (pointless - who goes there to shop?) that you don't provide any reason for people to WANT to hang around on the riverfront.  FIX THE TRAIL. It's the only thing there! Add some things - park, bandstand, picnic pavilions, that will make locals have a reason to look at that swampy old river.  But nooooo..... All you want to do is pretty the sidewalks so all the lawyers will have a nice view from their office windows.  

Maybe I need to hire a trainer and hope he can help me with my running.  Maybe I need allergy shots to prevent the bronchial infections I've been hit with twice this spring.  (Gym peeps get angry when you come in coughing and sneezing, not knowing that allergies are the problem.) Decreased lung capacity doesn't help either.  

I'll try to figure out a decent gym time & routine this summer while I have so much free time, and I'll hope that the juice fast I will be starting soon will give me enough energy to exercise, though it won't be high intensity again for a while.

Appearance isn't the issue.  Being tired and in pain all the time is the issue.  Improved appearance would just be a welcome side effect.  :). However, my body is more resistant to positive change than a granite mountain.





Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Familiar Coldness

In the Titanic Museum, there are some interesting sensory experiences offered.  One is a wall of ice on the fake deck of the ship, presumably kept frozen by a refrigerating device behind the "iceberg". The room is refrigerated to the air temperature on the night the ship sank.  

Tanks of cold water are just beyond the railing of the ship that visitors can dunk their hands in, to know what the seawater felt like on that night.  28 degrees Fahrenheit. 

I put my hand in the water and it seemed quite bearable to me.  It even seemed strangely familiar.  It took me a few hours to realize why.  Brace yourself... The truth is brutal, though self-inflicted.

Ice baths.  That was the same temperature as the ice baths I've subjected myself to after running, to slow the inevitable swelling of my shins after I run.  

I fill the bathtub with cold water, and then dump in all of the ice in my freezer.  And then I submerge myself in the iced water to my waist and try to merely yelp from the shock, rather than scream.  Okay, honestly? I can't draw in enough air to scream at this point.  My lungs don't wanna inflate, and they are mostly above the waterline.  So it's teeth chattering, and gulping after the initial shocked yelp.

I know some people wear neoprene socks for this treatment, but my legs, feet, etc. are completely bare, so I get to watch my toes turn blue.  Fifteen to twenty minutes of that, and I am too frozen to feel any pain for a while, as I shake off the near-hypothermia over the next couple of hours.

It's a painful kind of physical therapy, but it helps a little bit.  :)


Friday, May 17, 2013

Gatlinburg Field Trip

It's Friday night and I'm incredibly bored.  So I'm watching Chariots of Fire.  Hey, it's about running.... Maybe it will inspire me.  :)

Last weekend I went on a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, intended as a reward for students who attended out after school program all year.  We stayed in a nice hotel (and I had my own room, yay!).  Great bus driver, kids were well-behaved, and I was very glad I had brought along an iPod for each of them to use. I'm very thankful too the colleague who loaded up those iPods with educational entertainment for them to keep occupied.  I brought my own earbuds and wore them just to block out the sound of excited children on a metal school bus.  :)

The first night we went to the Titanic Museum.  I felt like I had to rush to catch up with the kids, who didn't understand the significance of much of what they saw there.  I don't think many of them ever even saw the recent movie.  Still, I knew what I was looking at and had cruise experiences of my own to compare to the reconstructed ship interiors in the museum.  It was incredibly lush.  :). I'm definitely a steerage kinda girl myself.  Lol. I was overwhelmed by all the finery.    

Something I've only ever seen mentioned in a short story was the name of the frieze at the top of the Grand Staircase.  It's called "Honor and Glory Crowning Time" and I remember it because in the story, a vampire was on board the Titanic and when the ship began sinking, he snarled at the irony of the sculpture's theme because he could only take refuge in a metal casket that would keep him trapped in the sunken ship until technology allowed someone decades in the future to dredge up the casket and open it.  Wouldn't that be a crummy way to end a sea voyage?  I felt like I knew something not many know as I stood there - the name of the artwork.  :). Why? Because I'm a trivia buff.  :)

The next morning after breakfast we went to Dollywood.  I didn't manage to ride a single ride at the park, because I was hanging out with the other teachers acting like a grown up.  :D. I'm the one who will ride just about any ride bolted permanently into the ground.  Especially the roller coasters. Yeah, I love them. :). We saw a couple of shows that were pretty entertaining, and looked at Craftsman's Valley for a while.  And then I was on my own.  

I walked through the rest of the park all by myself, believe it or not.  I'm not good at wandering alone but this wasn't too distressing for me after a few minutes, and I had expected to feel very nervous about it.  I don't do "alone in large crowds" very well.  I didn't have but an hour to look around and I didn't have trouble finding my way back to our meeting place after a short round of shopping I forced myself to do because I wanted to buy some gifts.  

We took the kids to swim (read: shriek and splash) in the hotel pool after that and then herded them upstairs to get dressed for the Dixie Stampede show where we had dinner.  THAT was impressive.  They had buffalo running around, Ostrich races, and generally a crazy rodeo going on while we ate a huge amount of food without silverware.  And I bought myself a hat in the gift ship because it was the second time that day that I found a hat which actually looked good on me.  I think the trick there was being in a hat shop that actually differentiated in hat sizes.  I don't have a small head.  Or a medium head.  Ether that, or I just look better in a bigger hat.  Lol

So now I have a nice wool hat that I can wear the next time I ride a horse.  .... As if I'm ever going to do THAT again.  The last time I got tossed off and landed on my jaw, and ended up with a concussion.  Not to mention very angry about being laughed at and too nauseated and dizzy to admit I was actually hurt.  I guess anger won out. 

The following morning we went to the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg.  What impressed me the most was the shark tunnel.  There was a moving walkway that took visitors under a glass tunnel so that there are sharks and other sea creatures swimming above and beside everyone.  

The bus ride back was Uneventful and I attempted to sleep with my hoodie pulled over my head to hide the fact that I was keeping my mouth open for air.  My nose stayed clogged up the entire weekend.  :(. Still, it was a pleasant trip.  :)

Calm Day Off to Rest, Yeah, Sure... LOL

Today I took a personal day off from work.  Originally, my plan was to take my nephews to the Renaissance Festival, but the eldest couldn't be sure of a day off work, and I realized that it might not be a good idea to make the younger boys miss school the day before exams started.  

I didn't get much sleep this week, so I decided to sleep late today. Now I'm regretting it, because I have a raging headache. So here I am drinking a latte in my bed, Hoping for some caffeine relief. It's just me and my puppy.

It's going to be a day of rest, relaxation, and taming a mountain of laundry.  Not so much fun as necessary. I think every pair of socks I own is dirty. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea for me to pull the holey socks out of the clean ones, darn the holes, and stash them with my travel stuff to wear and then throw away when I go to Europe next year.  I have too many raggedy socks as it is.

It may sound crazy, but last year I threw away old clothes when I traveled and it was a wonderful thing. It meant that I didn't have to feel guilty about throwing away a couple of shirts with unremovable stains as well as not having to drag dirty underwear around with me. My other clothes I washed along the way, but I took a pair of underwear for every single day and just discarded them as I went along. Let's be honest, they had seen better days. LOL. I wouldn't want anyone else to see that underwear anyway.  I think that this time, as I accumulate discardable clothing, I'll go ahead and put it in a travel bag in the closet.  

That's what I do with all of my travel size items anyway. I keep them all together in a big Ziploc bag with my suitcase, so that I can pack for a trip pretty quickly.  (And lightly.  I've figured out some useful packing tips, but I put those on a different blog.  Lol). http://itravellight.blogspot.com/ 

I'm not really a world traveler (YET! It's part of my future plans, though - only six countries visited so far) but I am an obsessive packer who has managed to change from the "everything but the kitchen sink and major luggage to tote it in" philosophy to one of carrying only what's absolutely necessary, and condensing it into the smallest possible amount of baggage.  It was a combination of losing my luggage and the realization that I'd wagged around too much heavy stuff and brought home unused clothes and other items which altered my mindset.  

Until you've spent five days in Italy without most of your things, I think it's hard to understand why someone like me insists on carrying on all of my luggage when allowed.  (One carryon and 1 personal item, that is.) I think I summed it up nicely by telling the other travelers in my group that I was just too neurotic to trust airlines with my stuff.  I'm okay with them thinking I'm odd when it means I can still enjoy my usual shower-and-get-ready routine without too much upheaval... and have enough stuff to share with my roommate, whose luggage was missing for several days.  ;)

Sudden change messes with my patience and I wanted everyone to see only the most pleasant side of me possible.  :). I think I managed that, even when I was in a lot of pain on that trip.  (Meralgia Paresthetica in my right leg. In layman's terms, most of the time my right thigh is numb; often it feels like electric shock going on, sometimes itching under the skin, but the worst is when it feels like my leg is erupting in electrical fire.  That's when I cry, because it makes me terrified that it'll never stop. No useful remedy for the problem.) I just have to live with it.  I could always have much worse problems, right?

Second load of laundry is a'going. :) Yay.  Oh, and I got some news that makes me happy, last night.  :) Hoping for the best. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Benadryl Time, Baby

For the second time in three months, I'm having to deal with seasonal allergies.  This time, the male cottonwood trees are tormenting me.  It started with a three day migraine, then a couple of sore throat days, then my sinuses closed up.  Now my sinuses are draining into my lungs and I've got bronchitis again.  

I actually slept in a very nice bed twice over the weekend and I should have been well rested, but I kept waking up every couple of hours choking on my clogged nose.  Yuck.  I should have been well rested, but I was still very tired afterward.  Figures, huh? Nice cushy bed with 8 pillows at my disposal (I had my own suite!) and I had to refrigerate the room just to knock myself out.  

Next time, I'll take daytime meds AND Benadryl when I travel.  Benadryl has let me sleep like a rock the last two nights, though waking up has been a groggy adventure. No dreams that I'm aware of.  Just the velvet abyss of night.  

I'm getting fed up with my allergies growing rapidly worse and I'm about to ask the clinic that has been treating my bronchial infections lately to allergy test me and give me weekly shots.  Yep, I'm that miserable, as well as angry that I'm losing six months to illness and recovery time each year.

ENOUGH. I don't have time for being sick this often.  I spend my time waiting now.  At the moment, I'm waiting for Benadryl to make me so sleepy that I drop into deep sleep almost as soon as I close my eyes.  It's a good feeling, like sleep under surgical anesthesia. Just like turning off a switch, it's a solid unconsciousness.  

I suppose I was restrained during and immediately after surgery because there was a four inch incision dangerously close to my jugular vein.  You never know what a sleepwalker's hands will get into as they are waking up.  Kudos to my surgeon, though.  The scar healed clean and thin.  :). It's not too noticeable.

Well, except for the last time when I apparently reawakened far too early and kinda freaked out when I sensed I was strapped down.  Involuntary restraint is something I have an issue with.  I'm a bit claustrophobic.  I remember the nurse telling me I wasn't supposed to be awake yet, and that I should stop trying to fight the restraints and go back to sleep.  I was afraid because I'd forgotten where I was.

Waiting...
 ...for people to make up their minds about me.  (And deciding no anyway, go figure.) 
...To recover from bronchial infections that make it hard to avoid a hacking cough when I breathe.
...For summer to set me free.
...for my shin splints to heal so I can pick back up with running.
... For my gluteus to heal from the tear I probably gave it when I almost fell. (Having trouble lifting my leg.)
...for there to be some light in my life... Or at least for there to be a point to it.



Monday, May 13, 2013

If You Loved Me, You Would...

Stop.
From Hannibal, by Thomas Harris

Hannibal asked Clarice if she would ever say that to him.  He approves of her refusal to give in to such a weak mode of persuasion.  Is it always an indication of a weak person's begging?

If you loved me, you'd stop...
...ignoring me.
...treating me as if my love were some insignificant thing.
...trying to delineate things we don't have in common, because it seems so contrived and false.
...lying to me when it isn't even necessary.
...smoking and take care of your health.  (That one I tried with my mother when I was a little girl.  She wouldn't do it for me.  Actually, nobody has.... Either done that for me or admitted to loving me and being willing to quit.)

Now that my allergies are accelerating, I can't spend much time in the company of smokers.  I'm pretty sure that nobody has cared as much for me and my health as they have for their cigarettes.  My value is somewhere under ten dollars.  Maybe less.  

No, I don't think anyone will ever value me enough to make a slight change in their life.  If my mother had caved in to my pleading, she would be here today, but she's gone.  She got her way.  A person should be free, after all, to make the choices that take them away from you forever, even though they only gave you four short years and then left you, the burden, behind.  

So many ways to finish the "if you loved me," comment.  The truth is, I've grown to believe that most people are too selfish to do the smallest thing out of love for another person.  In a broader sense, I'm not absolutely sure that love is a real thing anymore.  Maybe once upon a time, in a land of fairy tales and make believe, it existed.  Maybe it just exists for other people.  Maybe it's that tiny ray of light that never reaches to the bottom of the deepest well once you've fallen too far. Maybe you've just lost your faith that anything good will ever happen.

To change the subject, I'm really enjoying Hannibal, though the last episode did make me rather nauseated with all the organs being prepped for cooking.  When Hannibal opened his office door expecting to see Will for his appointment, he looked absolutely crestfallen and lost that Will wasn't there.  Aww, so sad.  Then he went to find him.  And he discovered Will in a state of absent wakefulness.  

Why was Hannibal sad about Will's absence?  Is he fond of Will, as a friend? Is there something homoerotic to their relationship? Is the cat simply toying with the little mouse from his sense of being a superior hunter, and he was disappointed that he might not get to play with his mind after all?

Hmm...

Speaking of strange romantic overtones, his "seduction" of Alana Bloom is amusing when he presents her with the beer he made specially for her ... Two years ago! The man is certainly patient.  I did enjoy the way he asks her why they didn't have an affair.  And then OH, she brings up Will Graham, just like a girl with a crush would do. Haha! Was Hannibal feeling jilted, or was it all part of a plot to get Will deeper into his clutches?  There's some kind of manipulation going on.... I'm just not smart enough to figure it out.  

However, I was seriously crushing on him that whole conversation, thinking, I'd DEFINITELY have had an affair with him, given the chance, IF I somehow magically became elegant, classy, and intelligent enough.  

Yeah, right.  I'm not even classy enough for any of the rednecks around here.  I must have too many teeth.  

There was a scene a couple of episodes ago, when Hannibal strangled a woman.  What was unnerving about the scene was how gently he appeared to be doing it.  She's thrashing around and trying to kick her way loose, and he chokes her unconscious without really seeming to hurt her.  He probably didn't even leave bruises.  It was weirdly erotic to watch.  I swear he kissed the top of her head right before he put her down.  Obviously, he didn't intend to kill her by strangulation, given that she makes a phone call after that at some point.  

Of course, he did kill her after all.  Bad, Hannibal.  BAD.  Lol. Yeah, I'm quickly becoming a fan of Mads Mikkelsen and all of his expressions.  ;). I think I like his Hannibal better than Hopkins'.  They made him far too campy with the movie Hannibal.  He was just silly, saying things like "okey dokey" and "goody goody." He sounded like a pedophile saying those lines.  


Friday, May 10, 2013

Canine Little Man Syndrome

A new Shi-Tzu puppy has moved in next door. I'm not at home, but on a field trip, moving along on an uncomfortable school bus bench with a numb behind and thinking about my dog.

He's at my Dad's house for the weekend, because my little boy is just crazy about his Granddaddy, and he occasionally enjoys the company.

I'm told that my boy has made friends with the new puppy, which is unusual for him. When he met my brother's German Shepherd puppy, he became angry. I suppose he could tell that the new pup was destined to be a rather large and intimidating dog. He wanted nothing to do with him. Indeed, when I took Quincy over for a play date, the giant puppy generously shared his best toys while my baby snarled and snapped at him.

No playing. One infuriated Yorkie plus one exuberant German Shepherd equals one major case of Little Man Syndrome.

Quincy will stand up as tall as possible to run larger dogs off. He's got a viciously threatening snarl, but Christmas Eve showed that he'd rather be all bark and no bite, if you please. Poor fella almost died at the jaws of a bigger dog that was running loose.

My sister tells me that he seems to like the puppy. He even humped him, which means, "I like you, kid, but remember, I'm the alpha male. ". Lol.

I'm just glad he's accepting the new
puppy. I suspect that he's been lonely with just me. Maybe even depressed. He's needed a playmate for a long
time.

Don't we all, though? Need a playmate, that is.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Curse You, Mother Nature

I got on my Dad's scale. It told me I've only gained four pounds. Heaven knows I've been known to gain as much as ten pounds of water at this point.

Common sense and something arriving WAY early tell me that four pounds is probably pure water, judging by the puffiness of my shins, my migraine, general ickiness, and need for a new bottle of Midol and other sundries.

One of them being more melatonin so I can sleep. I feel awful. :(.

But tomorrow is another day and hope springs eternal that I can put together two, count em TWO cliches in one sentence while I hope that tomorrow i won't feel so wretched. Know what I had for dinner? Sweet potato, carrot, orange, celery, parsley, apple juice. It was actually good. But you do NOT want that stuff to sit around. It gets clumpy. Ewwww. Fresh is the best taste, and yes, it was vaguely Creamscle-ish.

Goal: See if a chiropractor can realign me into a state of not being in pain 24/7. It could happen. :). I think the problem began with a misaligned pelvis. This is what being a good girl gets you. Lol. I should have been doing more, uh, dancing, eh?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Seven Pound Millstone

I've been taking a weight loss supplement. Added a second companion one last week that s supposed to boost weight loss. Know what? I stepped on the scale in the clinic at work to discover that I have gained SEVEN pounds in one week.

I'm hoping that this is a disparity between the triple-beam-balance type scale that the nurse uses as a coat rack, and the electronic scale at the gym. Maybe it needs to be recalibrated after being abused every day all winter for the length of her tenure in that office. Maybe I really did gain seven pounds. I don't think it's muscle, since I've been skipping the gym due to a high-leg / hip socket injury. Then I hurt my foot on the other side running outside on Wednesday. Walking alone has been a challenge.

Now, if I've gained seven pounds I'm not going to scream that it's all the fault of the supplements. I've seen the other people using them with impressive success. And they tell me they aren't living in the gym like I apparently aspire to.

Did you hear that whoosh, as several of my friends left the page at the mention of gym and exercise? LOL

I know, it's not a juicy enough topic to keep a reader around if they aren't interested in fitness. I write about it in order to have a concrete record of what I've tried and the resulting injuries / failures. Some days I need to be reminded that I'm REALLY TRYING HARD, and people who snidely suggest that I'm not doing enough, or doing it wrong, or generally feel the need to be negative toward me in order to lift themselves, are full of crap.

I'm not going to ask anyone's forgiveness for trying to improve my health. If I did that, I'd eventually have to forgive them for deliberately sabotaging their own health. And their health is not my personal business, though I'm going to continue to suggest that they stop smoking. Why? That IS my personal health at stake when they are blowing an aerosolized concentration of over 600 carcinogenic chemicals into my breathing airspace. They don't care if they give themselves cancer, but I DO CARE that they are making that choice for me.

I don't have to live forever, but I do want my years to be mine unfettered by an oxygen tank. I watched my mother's final moments as she died painfully from emphysema and COPD. I saw something horrible that no one else saw about her death. I watched her drown. Things changed suddenly in those last ten minutes. It wasn't peaceful.

Anyway, I'm going to try something different in order to get all my nutrients in. These last few weeks, I have mismanaged my one so horribly that food prep time is nonexistent. I've been tired all of the time (so much for the supplement's energy boost), and I haven't wanted to eat most days. I forget to go buy fresh fruit to snack on, but I don't want it anyway.

It seems as if it is the same story every year at this time. End of year teacher stress & anxiety. Plus another little personal problem I've got to make my peace with. Put those together and all of my routines for daily life fall apart in a sort of "I don't wanna!" attitude about everything from eating to laundry to mowing the yard. All I really want to do is sleep, but then I wake up with no clean clothes and my dad shows up to shame me by mowing my knee high yard, and I begrudgingly go about the minimum number of chores to keep things running. (Dad is trying to be a good dad and help his pathetic daughter, but I feel an extreme amount of guilt that he is doing sweaty work on my behalf. The shamed feeling is all my own doing.)

It's all my own fault, likely, if I look closely enough. But like I said, I don't wanna.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Got Some Herb?

I just mistook my new (online) issue of Clean Eating Magazine for the new issue of Food Network Magazine. Yes, I have subscriptions to both, but they are not print issues, so they don't take up any physical space in my admittedly physically cluttered life.

Okay, it's a tad emotionally cluttered as well, but whose isn't, unless they are that mythical happily married person? *I* don't like my life as it is for many reasons, but since I can't change my life to suit me, I have to change my desires. Give up many dreams. Stop hoping for what I won't ever have.

Change my perspective. Deal with my many failures. Put on my big girl panties and move on. Buy a bigger iPad that won't aggravate me with memory limitations, since I use it more than a laptop.

Back to the magazines. I was misled by a very tasty looking cover on burgers. Oh please, don't make them require an actual charcoal or gas grill. Nothing more scary than a George Foreman grill, pretty please. Gas grills absolutely frighten me after the explosion, death, and injuries we've had here lately. And I don't wanna deal with charcoal, but I may have to learn.

Those two magazines have some striking similarities. They both have delicious looking food, though one is of the healthy variety, and the other is a heart attack waiting to happen. They both have awe-inspiring articles. And they both require at least one exotic ingredient that is easy to source in, say, LA or NYC, but does not exist in small town America.

Leeks? I've only seen them at Lowes here, so I bought them to plant and grow my own. Just taking a chance ill find a yummy use for them. After I get my herb garden rehabbed to dig out all the Bermuda rhizomes and the landscape fabric which did nothing to slow the grass invasion, ever. (Bermuda IS our lawn grass here in the hot south.) The shreds of landscape fabric, that is. I spent years amending and mulching that bed, to no avail. There's nothing left but weeds, mulch, and black plastic shreds. No soil that I can see. I'm going with cardboard after I buy a bunch of dirt to coddle a new round of herbs in. IF they get more herbs in stores locally.

Well I say it's hot because we went from winter directly into summer after only a week of spring. And last night temps were down in the 40s or 30s. I am currently very thankful for the three sets of warm & fuzzy pjs I got from my sister for Christmas and my birthday. :).

Random thought - I miss being able to buy herb plants in Memphis on the way home from my post-op check ups. I don't miss living in Brownsville. There was only that one bright spot to my life there and the rest of it was just... nothing. I dated and was dumped by such a collection of unworthy men. (They're unworthy of you if they treat you like trash. That's my qualification for being unworthy.) My job was... a job. My patio herb garden flourished, however, and it was a lovely project. Still, there were weeds *sigh* and tomato hornworms. Ick. Pliers and a bucket. They are why I don't want to grow tomatoes.

At least in Memphis there were nurseries that had wide varieties of lesser-stocked herbs. Tarragon, pineapple sage, rosemary. LOL

Someone asked me once if I'm a foodie. Well, when I do cook, I like for everything to be wonderful and look pretty, rather than just throwing some slop together. If I was motivated, would probably throw a mean dinner party. But I'm not interested in cooking or eating more exotic fare, such as human lungs, a la Hannibal Lecter. Organs... Yuck. The idea grosses me out.

Wait a minute... I DID throw a dinner party not too long ago. Got lots of compliments on the food. Too bad some of the guests wouldn't cooperate with what they were supposed to be doing there. They thought it was just free meal time.

My brother just dropped by to ask if I wanted a basil plant or two that had been left at the dump, probably by Lowes. Well, sure. :) What a coincidence, right? I also invited him to use my as-yet-unborn future herb garden if he desires.

I've got to get mine ready fast, however. My parsley and leeks are screaming for more room to stretch their legs. They might have to live in the Earth Box, because I put petunias in the other planters. My mints and oregano are happily contained in hanging baskets. Actually.... I'm tempted to put the planted Earth Box right in the back of the herb garden as is to avoid the grass problem.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Running Off a Cliff

I ran this afternoon. It seems that here in the south, we skipped springtime and went straight to summer. It was 80 this evening when I tried to run, and it made running miserable with no shade anywhere.

My hips hurt. My back hurts. My neck hurts. My shins hurt. And more importantly, my feet hurt. All of this the entire time I attempted to run. My app had me set to warm up for five minutes and then run two miles without walking.

Then I started having problems breathing, anxiety set in, then I REALLY had trouble breathing and my stamina drained away. (Before I realized there was a two mile nonstop segment in there.). It was actual shortness of breath that made my breathing freeze up.

Why is it that I can do the fat burner program for 33 minutes nonstop, drippy-sweating and breathing hard, on the elliptical trainer, but running for a half mile outside nearly kills me? I don't even have such a hard time doing the same thing on the treadmill. But outside, real running, one obstacle crops up and I'm hurting so much I want to quit before I've finished the first mile.

I couldn't finish running it, but I damn well forced myself to WALK the rest of the 3.2 miles. I physically hurt the whole time, and it crushed my spirit so badly that I cried through the other two miles. Well, I'm sure the anxiety attack was responsible for part of it. I'm not sure I ever want to run again. And I don't want anyone to see me looking like this and unable to change my body no matter how hard I work and how perfectly cleanly I eat and count calories.

I'm now taking two weight loss supplements and they aren't really working for me, though they work great for other people. There's nothing / no program / no guarantee that worked for you! that works for everyone, and I'm beginning to believe that for some people, nothing will ever work.

I got out of my car at home after my failed attempt to run slowly, and my left foot feels as though it is broken. Putting my weight on it just to hobble inside was excruciating and it brought tears to my eyes.

Want to know what my heart rate was doing? More than triple my resting heart rate. I saw 182, and it wouldn't surprise me to see 190+. Maybe I'll just keel over and die someday and people will of course understand that I'm just trying to make myself acceptable in their eyes.

It's nothing new for me to be overly stressed, anxiety-ridden, and crippled by a serious depression this time of year, but I have absolutely no avenue to counteract it. I don't have any medications to calm me, I can't sleep, I'm exhausted, I have no life outside of work (well, except for imaginary me who is having a whirlwind affair with a married man I haven't seen in over five years.), and students have the mistaken notion that for the next three weeks, anarchy will reign at school. I'm drawing a line and daring them to cross it, while still trying to be sweet to the good ones. And when I go home, I spend hours in my bed, crying uncontrollably. Sometimes it happens at work too, but I can hide it except for my red eyes that makes my irises look a shocking bright green by contrast.

I have nothing to look forward to. I can't even see the new kittens I'm financing because their darn mother won't bring them out of hiding. :( and I love kittens. They're so sweet and bouncy.