Thursday, July 23, 2015

Burrito Making Time

It just hit me: I really need to take some time today and tomorrow to make some freezer meals for the school year.  I don't have much time left.  Eek!  

Last year I made beef and bean burritos and breakfast burritos, and they were really handy to keep in the freezer. I think I might branch out into making some breakfast muffins as well.  Even though I intend to continue juicing as long as I can stand to, there have been mornings on which I realized I did not prepare for the following day's juices. Sometimes you just run out of time to do everything.

Now, while I really love our school cafeteria's food on most days, I realize that it is not the most healthy choice for someone with my age and health considerations to indulge in.  Preparation and planning are  allies in eating healthfully on busy days.  And let's face it -- for the first month of the school year, every day is a busy day.

Here's my recipe for Breakfast Burritos. Servings: 22
14 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 lb. pork sausage
1 pkg hash browns
1/2 onion (optional)
1 pint salsa (I used salsa I canned, so I used the whole pint.)
8 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend
24 pack medium flour tortillas 
Salt and pepper

Cook the sausage in a skillet until browned. Drain. Pour into large mixing bowl
Cook the onions in the skillet used for the sausage. Pour into bowl with cooked sausage.
Cook the hash browns until they begin browning.  Pour into large bowl.  Mix up sausage, onions, and hash browns in the large bowl and season to taste.

Scramble the eggs with the milk and pour into a large skillet.  Pour in the contents of large mixing bowl and cook until eggs have set, stirring often.  Turn off heat.

Pour in salsa and cheese and mix thoroughly.

Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap about a foot long.  Lay it on your work surface.  Place one tortilla on top.  Near the end closest to you, place about 5 tablespoons of filling (I use a Pampered Chef large scoop, so a couple of level scoops is plenty) across the middle of the tortilla.  Begin rolling the burrito up, remembering to tuck in the ends as you go.  Roll the burrito up in the plastic wrap (I like Press N Seal) after.  Place finished and wrapped breakfast burritos in a freezer zip bag and put them in the freezer.  

When you're ready to eat one, you can put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes of still frozen, and a minute or less if you let it thaw overnight in the fridge first.

And that's breakfast for a good month of school.  :)


Oh my.... I just thought of something.  You know how sometimes you need to send a student on a walk, just to give them a moment?  I know that sometimes teachers send them to another teacher on a bogus errand just to give them a breather.  I don't like to think of bothering another teacher for such a task.

I could keep a single plastic cafeteria glass at my desk and send a student on the errand to return it to the cafeteria when they need to take a walk.  Hmm.  That just might work.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Requiem for Summer Break

It's the last week of my summer vacation.  I have two week days left, and I'm trying to live in each moment as if they were days long.  

I'm convinced I can figure this out, and savor what little time I have left.

Am I ready to go back to work?  Well, more or less. There's not a lot of prepping I can do, and I don't intend to spend what hours I have left actually working.  There will be time enough for that when I'm back on the clock.  If you don't keep your home life separate from your professional life, your job will consume everything.  

This year with a change in my curriculum, I'll be flying by the seat of my pants for at least the first quarter, trying new things, tweaking lesson plan, searching for better things to do.  Some things will be eliminated, and a little of the old will stay, but I'm trying to instill fresh ideas this year without a lot of resources.  

And yes, I'm trying to make it fun.  That's always the goal of teachers, but if I brought in cupcakes and we had a class party in the name of fun, there'd be about a quarter of the class complaining that they don't want cupcakes.  Because that's just how kids are. Lol. Fun is relative to a lot of things.

We shall see how they respond to the Brownie Points Reward System.  I'll be trying out new brownie recipes on them when they earn the reward.  I have discovered that Betty Crocker mixes aren't great, but Pillsbury mixes are yummy.  However, using purchased mixes would be costly, so I'll just make them from scratch.

Am I excited about going back to work?  Really?  Even though these six weeks off were unpaid, I much more enjoy my days off than my stressed-out days.  Which is nearly every work day.  It's just the nature of the beast.  I'm working to become type B instead of type A, just for the sake of my health.  If I could have flipped a switch and been instantly mellowed out, I would have done it years ago and probably been happier for it.

Honestly, I was too afraid to be unworried.  Work politics, money, family, natural disasters, terrorism, relationships... (Especially that one who was so awful to me) I have never felt safe enough to mentally relax.

I haven't had a migraine since the week before I disastrously injured my foot and ankle.  I am absolutely thrilled.  I don't know for sure what the cause of them might be, but I've noticed a few things.  This summer, while my stress was low, I was able to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  While I have had headaches every few days, they didn't turn into migraines and ibuprofen stopped them within three doses.  (Often just one dose, though.)  Another thing I've done is that I've had green juice just about every day.  

I've been juicing to lose weight, but for sooooome reason I can't get through most days without ending up at a restaurant. :(.  So I've lost six pounds and now I'm stuck.  

The point is that sometimes migraines are caused by a sodium deficiency, which does not get resolved with table salt.  Celery, on the other hand, has plenty of the right kind of sodium, and what do you know?  My green juice is always heavy on the celery.  My fridge tends to freeze and rubberize celery in about one day, so I usually put in the whole bundle of celery for my Mean Green.  

A couple of times, I felt a headache coming on, drank Mean Green, and my headache vanished. Yep, it did.  I would honestly rather drink green veggie juice (and veggies are not my love) than take Imitrex and Toradol.  I firmly believe that God provided us with plants that heal and when we shy away from them in favor of fast food, then we start having issues.   I might start keeping celery sticks in my fridge at work, to munch on in case of a headache.  

I made myself a cute yardstick box for file folders on my typically sloppy desk.  (Nobody has yet complained about that but me, but it bugs me.) I love my new workbench.  That box only took me about an hour to make, and the clamps made it so much simpler.  Add in my jigsaw and drill, plus a little hammering, and I was set.  I really want to build some more things for my room, but I just don't know what yet.  Maybe a rolling shelving unit for the microwave and mini fridge. It wouldn't be that difficult to design and build.  I'd learn how to attach casters.  

I learn several new skills with each new project, so they're all useful in several ways.  On the tomato cages I built, I learned that Thompson's Water Seal becomes sticky if you overlap coats, but it really does work.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to seal them all completely before I needed them.  

I still need to build a couple more underbed drawers for my bedroom.  I'd like a couple of crate-style shelves too.  Some gallery ledges for the living room. Pegboard in the storage room on the carport.  More pegboard in my studio.  A kitchen tray. A therapy ramp for stretching my plantar fascia, which is in a state of over tightening itself and making every step tearful for me.  

And I lose most of my creative time when I go back to work, so I'll be a bit depressed, I'm sure.  

However, I would like to know why I develop a headache after I've been in my classroom for a couple hours.  Is it environmental?  Am I straining my neck?  Is it stress causing a hormone imbalance?  Hm. 

On the brighter side, I've found a wonderful recipe for instant Chai Tea Latte Mix that I'll be enjoying at work and home.  It's delicious, and I can just about placebo-effect myself into calming down whenever I drink it.  So, cheers!  (I have to thank my eldest nephew, the barista, for turning me on to them.  He's a genius and usually knows what I will like.)  They have lots fewer calories, than say, a Dirty Snowman Frappe.  Lol 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lion Brand Pelt Cowl

I'm (in my own estimation) an advanced beginner in knitting.  I've finally gotten to the point where I can remember how to cast on and knit without consulting instructions, and my speed has increased because I changed from English to Continental knitting style.  

Well, heck, I crochet, so why shouldn't I apply my manual dexterity in making knitting easier for myself?

My former objection to knitting was that I was painfully slow and my stitches were uneven, but with a little practice I improved from what my mother taught me when I was 12 and threw down the needles in frustration.  I'd been working on a headband, and somehow increased from 12 stitches to 21 stitches.  She was amused.  I was extremely angry at myself.  

And then the Internet came along, and became robust enough I could learn much more than the resources of my little podunk town could provide.  I practiced.  I quit.  I saw something I wanted and tried again.  I quit.  I made some fabulous sweaters on a knitting machine.  I quit.  I saw how fat my crocheted stuff made me look, longed for drapier handmades, and tried again.  This time, it stuck, so I try new techniques when I create something. I'm not to the point of being able to look at a photo of something and know what size needles, what size yarn, and come up with a pattern off the top of my head, not yet.  So, advanced beginner.  

I saw a gorgeous knitted faux-fur cowl on the Lion Brand website.  Here it is:

(Photo property of

Isn't that lovely?  So I went over to our local Joann's, found the Pelt yarn for the pattern, and used all the coupons I had (and my boyfriend helped), to buy all the skeins of Pelt they had. Six. They only keep six.  Fortunately, that's all I needed.  

I knitted in the car across the state and back on Saturday.  I worked on it on Sunday.  On Monday.  Late Monday night, I finished.  

It's beautiful, lemme tell ya!  It's soft and realistic feeling.  My dog loves the stuff.  It's 98% real fur looking, but all synthetic and machine washable.  

Oddly enough, it was pretty easy to work with, unless I made a mistake.  Dropped stitches are impossible to see and fix, but the good news is that with all that fur, all fixes and wrong stitches will never show.  

I'll admit that I kept stopping to rub the fabric I'd made against my face. Mmm!  

This is a project worth learning to knit for.

Make you one? Sure.  Do you have $250?  Materials aren't cheap, and I don't work for free anymore. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Success While Whining ... And No MIGRAINES

I was whining the other day about doing lots of weight lifting and still seeing a fat woman in the mirror.  Might have been PMS talking, but I felt down and at a time like that, all I want / need is reassurance that I will eventually see results, and encouragement that I'm already doing the right thing.  (Spare the trite phrases like "Results don't come overnight." Believe me, I've heard all the clich├ęs already. And when they get tossed around, they reek of smart-assedness. Is that the impression you want to give, when everyone else is being kind?)

I didn't come back at the person who pushed a diet at me because when people are sure they know the answers, they really get offended if you tell them you're already doing all that they suggest, it isn't working, and you still feel and look bad. So I let it go.  My cousin (I guess one of the few who actually still claims me as family, despite the divorce that negated the link legally) posted an especially helpful remark about the toned woman who is slowly emerging from beneath the surface of an unsatisfying exterior.  I'm likely decently buff underneath my layer of fat.  But fat takes a long time to consume.  

Hint: I need encouragement that what I am already doing is going to work.  I do better with a heartfelt hug that being thrown a textbook. :) 

It takes a long time to make changes visible.  I know that if I lose weight rapidly, I'll have a tendency to put it back on rapidly, and possibly have some saggy skin to boot when I do keep it off.  I COULD lose a pound a day juicing, which would make my ego happy, but the realistic part of me says that it's better to lose a pound or two a week, and give my skin a chance to recover.  

I'm juicing again.  Yes, raw veggies and some fruits, and trying to put in a lot of water.  Plus some protein supplements and a meal a day.  I've done it before and it works.  I get a lot of nutrients I usually don't from my homemade juice.  

I understand the science behind it, and I also understand something that the diet suggesting person unwittingly doesn't have any information on.  I'm dealing with a game-changer that throws all the perfect solutions for a fit male out the window: perimenopause.  Yeah, so thanks, but my body simply won't obey because of a "healthy diet" that allows me 1000 calories a day less simply because of my gender.  I'm glad the male-centric diet works for all those males who still consume mass quantities while I'm still starving, but women's bodies are different from men's bodies, and the hormone hurricane at this age really does throw in some unquantifiable and uncontrollable variables.  

There's no one-size-fits-all diet for women.  I wish it were that simple.  You have to find the tweaks that work for you, and I've found the only one that works for me.  (Diet pills don't even work on me.  OMG I wish they did!)

When I posted my complaint, I had already lost six pounds.  But I had a couple of days over which I lost nothing, despite staying constantly hungry.  I've lost a couple more pounds now, and my boyfriend (who actually IS a personal trainer, so I've got that advantage at the gym) was right: seeing that "1" reappear on the scale reading made me very happy.  I felt like celebrating.  And I did.  I was happy for the rest of the day.  I drank more water.  I did 35 minutes on the elliptical despite not having been on it for a while.  (Badly sprained ankle and torn plantar fascia, I'm pretty sure.) 

Why no definitive diagnosis? I've simply gotten tired of doctors telling me they can't find the cause of the pain that is making me have difficulty in walking.  They won't help me, so why should I keep giving them a co-pay every time they play stupid???  Honestly, I'd have gotten appropriate treatment if I'd broken a bone badly enough for the blood to pour out and bruise me visibly, but a soft-tissue injury apparently makes them want to cry for their mommies because they can't easily come up with a surgical bill to incur.  

Broken toes? "All we can do is splint them."  -  so I splinted my own.

Broken tailbone? "We can't do anything for that but tell you it's going to hurt for the rest of your life and pinch your subcutaneous femoral nerve mercilessly" - so I stood the whole summer while it healed and had two months of excruciating sleep on my back.

Sprained ankle and cracked plantar fascia? "Well, I don't see any blood pooling, so it CAN'T be broken. It's just going to hurt for a long time." I think she meant "it's going to hurt forever and always affect your mobility because you'll never get a doctor to treat it for you."

Strained / Torn hip flexors?  "It doesn't make sense that you hurt like you say you do, so let's treat it like its bursitis about a foot away from your location.  Nothing in that area could ever possibly cause pain."

Strained glute? "Well, let's ignore that injury (likely caused by the dragging leg from the hip flexor problem) until one of your hip flexors is better..." meanwhile, three years have passed with no improvement and no treatment EVER for the injured glute, which is still painful. 

So... The elliptical didn't hurt too badly that night, unlike my last stint on the treadmill which resulted in foot fatigue so suddenly that I stumbled.  I suppose I'll have to rehabilitate myself back into running, considering that my hip flexors are having a hard time lifting my legs.  Looks like my future is forevermore fraught with constant paint from this point, and no thank you, I will not be giving in to taking pain pills for the foreseeable future.  

What I want is healing, not a morphine-based coating of whitewash over the symptoms.  Walking hurts.  Sitting hurts.  Lying down hurts.  Until I master levitation (and pool floating is irrelevant since the city greedily refused my gym the permits for building an indoor pool - the corruption is becoming OBVIOUS) I will just be in constant pain.  

I've got a vague hope that a little weight loss will lessen some of my pain. It might.  Not that I'm so heavy, but every pound counts in this situation.

So today I'm drinking a beet juice combination, and wondering how it made me suddenly need to go to the bathroom.  Lol. I did some research and found this article.

Headaches? Fatigue? Circles under the eyes?  Holy cow.  For decades now... Could it be I'm not taking good care of my liver in general, without being one of those people who drink alcohol daily?  Oh my.  Wouldn't it be funny if juicing helped me with the migraines I have multiple times a week? 

Want to know when my last migraine was??? A few days before I started juicing again.  It's been about   SIX WEEKS since my last migraine!  

My only objection is to the beets.  I don't like the taste of them. I really don't.  Lol and NOTHING really drowns out the taste of beets for me.  Necessary evil, I suppose.  Fortunately they don't provoke retching, like white beans and greens do.  Just the smell does me in.  It's a long story.  I can make myself drink the beet juice, especially if I'm distracted while I do it, like writing a blog entry.  

Point regarding manners: if you see me drinking a juice that doesn't appeal to you visually, it's not really appropriate for you to try your best to put me off my only food by saying things like "that looks like dog vomit."  Unless, of course, you think it would be kind of me to come in while you're eating your food and show you pictures of vomit? Talk about some horrible manners!  I'm putting myself through consumption of it (mostly, it tastes so much better than it looks), so why do you feel it is your right to try to ruin my meal for me? Shall I vomit for you while you're eating?

Mind your own business, please.  Yes, I'd love for all my juices to turn out gorgeously colored and looking like cotton candy.  I'd also love for all the chemically laden garbage you're eating to actually provide me some health benefits so that I could eat it too!  If you don't like the look of my breakfast, lunch, or supper, how about you not staring at me while I provide myself nutrition?  

I. Am. Not. Doing. This. For. You. 

I'm beginning to think that these people would only be happy if they knew that I was refusing to eat anything just so they wouldn't be bothered.  But I'm not going to do that. (It doesn't work on my super-efficient fat-storing metabolism.  I start gaining when I starve myself completely.  Trippy, eh?)

When someone says "Gross! What's in that?  It looks like bloody vomit!" I sometimes tell them that my beet juice combo has ground up raw HEARTS in it.  And KIDNEYS!   If they're going to try to ruin my meal, I'm going to try REALLY hard to nauseate them.  

So be polite, because you might be still thinking of my werewolf heart and kidney juice when your lunchtime comes.  What do I see when I look at it? A gloriously purplish-red drink that I'm not going to hide because you're excessively rude, with your nose in my business.