Tuesday, April 27, 2010


still by Jamie Oliver.

Up to Episode 3. He's working in the high school and also having his team of HS student cook for a dinner 80 people Eek! I would be afraid of that. I don't know what the highest number is that I have served. Maybe 75?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food Revolution

I have been reading this blog: for several weeks. She or commenters often mention the television show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution." I just watched the first episode on Hulu. I HIGHLY recommend that anybody who has ANY connection with children in the public school system watch this show and read this blog.

My own struggles with obesity, Type II diabetes and chronic pain issues in addition to Michael's dietary choices have made me very aware of food choices and diet. I love fast food. I love processed food. I was raised on a strange mixture of restaurant, homemade and processed/packaged food. I love it all. Fortunately I came out of it with the skills to cook homemade foods and a talent for adapting recipes to include whole food and whole grains. I don't always choose to do so or I wouldn't have so much trouble overcoming my health challenges. The reasons for my bad choices, however, are more self-esteem and emotional issues than knowledge or skill issues. It is AMAZING however, how so many people do NOT have the knowledge, the skills, or the education to really even have the choice to make. They settle for the status quo, not because of a self-esteem or other psychological issue, but because they really don't know any better. They really don't know how easy it can be to make whole foods, they really don't know that real food is better for you, and they really don't see anything wrong with what they are doing and with what they are feeding their children.

I am so happy that I am literate and could read and learn so many things that I have taken for granted my entire life. I really feel that as I enter this next stage in my life I need to become an activist in some way. I have been thinking and thinking about what it might be. The time that I have used and dedicated to fund raising and supporting the orchestras and Science Olympiad and such I thought would probably become dedicated to saving our elementary strings program, which has been cut from the budget. As I learn more and more about the foods in the schools, however, I think my time will be better spent literally saving the very LIVES of our children. What good is it learn to play the violin or cello if you're going to die of a stroke or diabetes at age 40, anyway?

I remember when they first started serving grapes and apples in our school cafeterias and I wrote the food service director a letter thanking and commending her for that change. Now, more is needed. Even when Michael gets a vegetarian sub at school it is on white bread with processed cheese and iceberg lettuce. There is so much more to be done. He eats more healthily when he packs his lunch and it is a sandwich on a whole-grain tortilla filled with veggies and real cheese and brown mustard instead of mayo (even though he actually needs MORE calories, most kids don't).

As I struggle to get my own health in control, reduce my need for medication due to obesity and learn to make choices based on my knowledge instead of my MOOD I want to make it a mission to share my knowledge. It is the most at-risk populations in our community who need advocates to speak out for them. I know I have the intelligence and the skills to become a voice. Perhaps as I work to develop more recipes using whole grains and local foods I can learn what are the proper fora and platforms to spread the word about healthy eating to the at-risk populations and also what are the proper channels to follow to make sure that resources are used more fittingly within our schools and other public facilities and programs.

Rant over - for now, anyway, just wait for more!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh, and the good news.

Michael sent me the most pitiful email yesterday, afraid to ask a girl to the prom because how would we afford a tux, etc. I said, ask her, if she says yes - we'll figure it out. He asked today. She said yes. My coworkers are already working on helping me get him outfitted with borrowed clothes etc... I went to Goodwill tonight and found some black dress shoes in his size for $3 that don't have little holes in them like the ones he wears for concerts. We have a start! I think we have a tux to borrow and Pam gave me a $10 gift card to Kohls she said she has had since Christmas and will probably never use that we can put toward a really nice shirt or tie. It takes a newspaper to send a kid to prom! He's willing to do a nice dinner at home or at a friend's house and we'll work it all out. We have lots of candles and beautiful servingware, etc we can use.

Grossest. Thing. Ever.

My allergies have been pretty bad lately. We are having a strange spring and it seems everything is pollinating at once. I have been taking Claritin every day and I still feel like I itch inside and out. Michael has been taking Zyrtec AND Claritin every day and Sudafed on top of that sometimes and he is still miserable too. You should have seen us in Atlanta - it was worse.

Garet mowed the lawn last week because I was stressed for time and because my allergies have been so bad - and Suzanne's mower doesn't have a bag so it is about 38 and a half times worse to mow than it is with a bag - as far as making the allergies worse. He said he would come over and mow the lawn tonight if my allergies were still bad. I kind of hate for him to mow the lawn because you know I actually enjoy lawn mowing and count it toward my minutes of intentional movement. He called this afternoon and said it turns out he can't come until tomorrow. I said,"I'll probably mow tonight then, I'm still itchy, but I feel better..." then TWICE, TWICE, when I blew my nose (yes TWICE, I say) white goop squirted out of the tear duct out of my right eye! How disgusting is that?!?!?! I have NEVER had that happen before. The first time I was standing near Pam and I said, "I think crap just squirted out of my eye when I blew my nose!" The second time Judy was standing in front of my desk talking to me and I said, "Judy, did gunk just shoot out of my eye when I blew my nose?" and she awesomely said, "Oh my God, it did!" I got a fresh tissue and wiped the issue off my cheek in awe!

I figure either every mucous membrane is so swollen from histimic reaction that it is just closed or it is starting to get infected. I guess if I wake up in the morning and my eye is stuck shut like a kid with pink eye I will know! I am going to put some allergy eye drops in tonight and maybe take some extra Benedryl on top of my Claritin so if it is swollen from allergies it should go down overnight. Crazy and disgusting, huh? I secretly want a sick day off work, but you can only get antibiotic eye drops with a prescription so I really can't afford it. PLUS I am in the middle of a big special project with a straight 10% commission and I have one more $500 sale to finalize tomorrow so I need to be there. But eeeewwww, gross!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shiny Happy People...

I DID just come from Atlanta, close to Athens, home of REM (and the Stump family!) and I have been thinking tonight of shiny happy people because my copper bottomed pots are not shiny and happy right now. I am trying to give up the OCD thing and be sure to go to bed by midnight and I am doing much better at it. One of the things that has gradually passed away, however, has been shining my copper-bottomed pots. I have three of them that I took from my mother because they had too many pots and pans. When I took them I promised to use them, to display them, and to keep them pretty to honor them. I went from shining them every time I used them to about every other time, to less frequently.... to NOW.

I am really frustrated tonight because the combination of trying to get more sleep, more intentional movement, start reading more often again has left me with less time for the maintenance of physical surroundings. It sounds silly, but having those things in order really helps me feel emotionally calmer and more at peace. I know a person is not supposed to have emotional connections to housekeeping, but I DO. It may be sick, but there it is. I need to find balance. balance. balance. It's pumpkin time and I am going to go to bed, but I had to express this.

This reminds me that I found part two of a gift for Amber I have been seeking for around TWO YEARS or something. I never remailed their holiday letter (WITH accompanying picture!) after it was returned from me mailing it to the wrong address, so if I can get my act together soon, I can't wait to get this to her. She's going to LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT.

Pumpkin time and I think I need to call call Garet and whisper sweet nothings in his ear before I go to sleep. He's probably still at the office editing pictures. Seriously.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Generally happy

Isn't that a switch from just a few weeks ago? I still have problems of course. I still need some solutions. My outlook has gone back to what I consider more "normal" for myself - generally happy. A lot of it has to do with weather and more sunlight. A lot of it has to do with "letting go" of some of the bad "P Word" stuff lately. A lot of it has to do with rewarding companionship. :) A lot of it has to do with a sense of accomplishment, even though I can't name any major project I have actually completed! Whatever. I'll take it!

I just finished reading the book "The Year of Living Biblically." One of the things the author (A.J. Jacobs) took away from his year experiment of researching and trying to literally live the commandments and laws of the Bible was to have a Sabbath each week. I have decided to try that - not a Sabbath, must go to church, not allowed to watch TV, not allowed to wear play clothes kind of Sabbath - but my kind of Sabbath. NO LISTS ALLOWED. I will attend church if I WANT TO. I will walk IF I WANT TO. I will clean IF I WANT TO. I will nap IF I WANT TO. A Sabbath from my own brand of OCD and all the "musts" associated therewith.

Today I went to church and it was lovely. Afterward I came home and had a lovely high protein low carb meal of salmon and an entire bunch af asparagus with Bearnaise sauce. Then I walked down the street to church nearby and attended a benefit concert that was a fundraiser for our elementary strings program. Then I walked back home! Michael was home so we were able to discuss his trip to Chicago - he was all geeked out over Fermilab and the fantastic trilobites at the Field Museum. We had some dinner and then he had homework to do so I went to the evil empire to get food for us to take to Atlanta. I went through the itinerary and figured out how many meals we will have to buy and how many we can get away with taking convenience/ prepackaged food in our little cooler and backpacks and eating on the bus. It's always important for us to have food with us anyway so Michael can have veggie food if none is available and I can have carbs and protein available should an immediate need arise. We are going to do so much walking that I am going to have to tote lots of testers and snacks and such everywhere we go! I don't want to cause any drama....

So anyway, I just have this general feeling of bliss right now, despite the allergies and financial stress, despite STILL having no sink (I'm up to half a floor though) in my bathroom, despite the piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen and despite the unmade bed that awaits in my bedroom. Life is good.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Intermittent Internet

has turned into NO internet at home. There is a technician scheduled tomorrow morning to come and fix it.

One good thing that has come of it is that I discovered that the new computer has a version of Scrabble on it I can play by myself so I can practice and maybe Amber and Lisa won't beat me every time we play! I also love playing with the computer because I love playing quickly and a game can be completed in about fifteen minutes. The computer moves instantly.

Michael is gone to Chicago and is touring Fermilab today with the Geek Squad. How much trouble can they find surround by all that atomic energy, right? Tomorrow they are doing some museums and then returning Sunday. It would be nice to spend every night with Garet, but of course I am working 8 - 5 yesterday and today and he has to shoot pictures last night and tonight and probably tomorrow and Sunday too! He was able to come over last night after he finished, however. Lovely. That reminds me I want to go to the website and look at his pics. He took pictures at the Bedford High School's Arts Night last night and it sounds like they had some interesting exhibits.

Sunday I want to go to church again. Last week was great. I am so glad I kicked myself and went back. It was pure joy. Last week was Gospel music and this week is a Bach mass. Sunday afternoon there is a benefit concert for our strings program and I will go to that also, so I should have a very musical weekend. Garet has to shoot a late starting baseball game tonight so I want to go see "Alice in Wonderland" It is on the Five Buck Club. I hope Debbie wants to go with me. If she doesn't, I will probably just go by myself!

I have all the center tiles in the bathroom floor laid. I need to start doing the tough ones that need cut and I have one part that needs underlay, sigh.... I wish I could find a scrap somewhere. I don't want to buy an 8ft sheet when I need a small piece, but I can't complete the floor without it. I need to go do what I am supposed to be doing. My afternoon "break" is over.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Henry Rollins

Garet and I went to see Henry Rollins tonight. It was an entertaining, overwhelming mass of information about politics, travel, equality, justice, relationships, anger.... three hours of no-stop talk. Heather will be jealous to know Henry is great friends with Ben Folds and William Shatner. It's amazing to think 30 years has passed since Punk music first came to America. Kids were outside dressed "punk" wearing Pink Floyd clothes from Hot Topic and they were so young! Younger than my children... At least they know who some of the greats are and don't care that Roger Waters and David Gilmour are in their freakin' sixties now... it's still all great.

It's after pumpkin time, however, and I am REALLY exhausted. Allergy season is upon us and it hurts my brain, face, and lungs. Boo hoo!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just watched a movie

"Dakota Skye" Two thumbs up!

On my own tonight. Michael B is backpacking and Garet is taking race track pictures again (probably editing and stuff by now). He had to work all day today. :( He will come over tomorrow for a while. Michael is going to get home about 11:30. If I get up in time I plan to go to church at 11:15. I told Michael if he calls and I don't answer he can just backpack his ass home! It's only 3 miles.

Oops. Just found my Census. No wonder I couldn't remember if I mailed it in. Did I commit a felony? will I have to change my answer on job applications now? I'll mail it Monday and see if they come after me.

Seventeen minutes until pumpkin time. I'd better go take my medicine and get one last drink of water.

P.S. I got a free massage today. Yay! Thanks, Kathy!

P.P. S. Both of Garet's photos he entered passed the jury and will be exhibited in the School of Fine Arts Gallery.

P.P.P. S. I finally got all the dishes caught up. I rock. I roll. I sing the blues like I got nothin' left to lose.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So long

I feel like it is so long in between posts now that I don't write every day. It still feels funny.

Michael and I went to a meeting for Science Olympiad National prep tonight. I think I get to be a chaperon again this year which means my gas and hotel will be paid for. I am glad because even though I have been granted the days off work I am really worried about affording ANYTHING right now. This child support cut in half thing is already making us make huge changes. I sat and blissfully paid utility bills yesterday without subtracting as I went. I subtracted today and ZING! Michael is in having a cello lesson with Ben and I realize I don't have enough money to pay Ben and have gas for the car for the week AND we will not be getting any fresh groceries. Ben was mellow about waiting, but yeah , will I really have enough for double next time? Sigh... Also Garet has a couple of shows he wants to see in the next few days and I had to call and say,"I want to go with you. I want to be with you, but if you want to attend these activities with this particular beautiful, intelligent and wonderful woman you are going to have to pay for everything this week." He always has anyway, but I felt like I had to come right out and say it. I do believe in sharing and not always expecting him to pay, but this week it ain't happening! It turns out I can help him by delivering a couple of his photos to an exhibit/competition while he is shooting an assignment so that kind of makes me feel better. I am not comfortable with always being the "taker" in a relationship... I am trying to learn that I don't always have to be the "giver" either, there needs to be a balance and for once, I would like it to be... um, healthy? is that what you call it?

I emailed the past not-boyfriend and told him about Garet and he sent me back the NICEST email about how happy he is for me and how we were great together in so many ways, but he is glad that I have someone that I deserve, blah, blah, blah... It was really nice and flattering. We did have some good times, but it does feel good to be with someone with a different kind of tone to it.

Jen - I sent your form back. Let me know when you're approved! Is there a racetrack up there? Garet LOVES to take pictures of race cars! Maybe I can hitch a ride, but you and I can run away from the race track and do quiet girl stuff!

Well, it's 12:01 and I am a pumpkin.

Editing to add - but don't start sending grocery money. Yes, we are broke, but we have plenty of food in the freezer and in cans in the garage and I can bake bread and have plenty of healthy things. It will just be a week without the stuff you have to buy every week - broccoli, bananas, tomatoes, and all THAT stuff, see?