Monday, January 30, 2012

Where to Find Annie

My good friend Annie Kelleher will be hosting a book signing on February 11 for her amazing book How David Met Sarah at The Artists' Path Gallery.  She's also sharing some love with it being so close to Valentine's Day and is giving away a basket with my products and some cool stuff made my friend Rose.  Check it all out.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


My son has started spending his Saturday mornings with the marine recruiter and other young men doing PT (physical training).  Yesterday he worked them so hard son came home soar and barely able to walk.  He started to grab the phone to call out of work sick for the next day.

Wait right there.   You're doing what?   I might not be able to move tomorrow. 

So, I calmly explained that if he called out of work then that was the last PT session he would be going to.  You play, you pay. 

He huffed off to complain to his his father.  Hubby asked him what he would do during basic if he felt like that.  I'd have to work through it.  And that is exactly what you need to do now. 

Ahhh!  Son's slowly learning - responsibility sure can suck. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Feeling Better

Back in the day - a long time ago - the doctor recommended the South Beach diet to me.  I checked books out of the library and liked the concept.  You eliminate all the "bad" carbs and many of the "good" from your diet for a period of time (usually 2 weeks) and then you slowly add good carbs back into your diet.

And then I put the books down and went back to my life.

I've been on a kick to feel my best - mind, body and soul.  The chiropractor and massage therapist along with the exercises recommended worked out all the locked up joints.  The exercises became part of my daily routine and then I finally got my fat arse walking again.  I love to walk and am not sure why I stopped.

But, I still felt bloated - yukky.  Not bad but not good.  So, I looked at my diet.  I eat pretty healthy food but in abundance.  And I eat mostly whole grains and very little white stuff but.....  I tried the south beach diet minus the artificial sweetener (don't get me on that soap box).  Within days I felt so much better.  My energy started to creep back. I didn't tell the family I just changed every one's nightly meal.  Hubby picked up on it after a week.  The kids still haven't said anything. 

Instead of meat, vegetable and potato or grain we have meat (lean protein) and two vegetables (or more)  with no starchy vegetables in the mix.  When it was time to start adding food back the one piece of whole wheat bread seemed to bother my system.  So, I'm still gluten free.  I am eating small amounts of brown rice and quinoa but think I'll take a little longer before trying bread again.

They claim by this time I should be past craving the carbs.  And for the most part I am.  I didn't even miss the potato but bread...... 

And then I think about how good I feel.

Missed an ingredient


I took a piece of kombu (kelp) soaked it in a coffee cup of hot water until it softened.  I added the water to the pot.  I chopped the kombu up and added that as well. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My soup experiment

Chicken, Wild Mushroom and Lentil Soup

Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
Handful celery stalks with leaves, chopped
Red pepper, chopped
8 oz. Oyster mushrooms, chopped
8 oz. Shitake mushrooms, chopped
Fresh thyme
Cracked pepper
6 chicken thighs, cubed
12 Cups Water
Chicken base, big spoonful
2 cups lentils
1 bay leaf
1 astragalus root

Swirl olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, pepper, mushrooms, thyme and pepper. Cook until vegetables start to soften. Add chicken. When chicken starts to brown add water, chicken base lentils, bay leaf, and astragalus. Bring to a boil and then to turn down to a simmer. Simmer until lentils are cooked through and flavors marry 1 to 2 hours.

Must say it came out great.  My girlfriend loved it and I liked it enough to capture it on paper.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


My family potluck was changed to next week end due to snow.

Snow - nature's ice bath.  I made twp batches of soap.  It goes so much faster when you can plunk the lye mixture in the snow to cool.  Almost all the bars I dropped off at Holistic Garden is sold along with my lip balm.  I have some ready to bring along with the rest of my products but, I need to keep the soap making up since it takes four weeks before it is ready for use.  Today's scents lemongrass and tangerine. 

I also made a batch of face & body cream.  It's been selling like hot cakes lately.  Plus I'm using a lot more now that dry winter air is upon us.  I've discovered that organic avocado oil works even better than sweet almond oil.  It gives it a pretty yellow green color too.

And while I was concocting my potions I made a list of all the supplies I need.  Order is made and sent.

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Year

Yesterday was oldest's 19th birthday.  Her first birthday celebration in AZ with bio.  She asked us for t-shirts ( a follow up on pants and socks for Christmas).  She did e-mail me back to say she received our package and that she was waiting until her birthday to open it.  I may never know if the clothes fit or she likes them.  I'm pretty sure they will fit. 

One year ago on her 18th birthday she ran away.  Well, she planned on running away.  We found out months before and tried to prepare.  We tried to help her pack and we gave her a going away party.  Little did I know then what a black cloud she was on the house.

I wish I could say I miss her.  I miss the girl she was before bio convinced her to move.  From that moment on she made every one's life miserable.  I know it was her way of separating so she could leave with a clean conscience.  That doesn't make living with her any easier.  She turned into bio - sneaky, lying and manipulative. And she was rude.

But, the worst was that she took all the toxic verbiage from bio and tried to force her siblings to comply.  She forced them into a code of silence.  She yelled at them for bio for not behaving the way bio wanted.  Within a week of her leaving the other two kids fell into a peace I have never seen before.  Youngest turned to me one day and said, "I'm glad oldest is gone.  I don't have to lie or keep secrets anymore."

And she stays away because I am evil.  I'm not just a wicked step mom but the worst woman on the face of the planet.  A child never fell from my womb so I have no idea how to raise a child.  And I can live with that.  I would much rather be the scapegoat in the whole situation than hubby.  And it appears she is still very much daddy's little girl.  Yeah!!!!

What I find funny about families is their different perceptions.  My brother and I are 20 months apart.  We were very close growing up and did many things together.  Yet, when I hear his stories I have no idea where they came from.  Oldest, like bio see son and youngest as this image of who they want them to be and not for who they really are. 

Youngest is a tomboy.  She loves the color black and any dark colors.  She wants to be an auto mechanic or car designer.  She hates anything "girlie."  She has no desire to spend any time on her hair.  She loves the short cut that she only has to wash.  And even though oldest lived with her she doesn't see that.  Even though bio has received pictures and youngest has told her time and time again what her interests are both bio and oldest see her as a long haired 6 y/o in a pink dress. 

So, I love them the best that I can while they are here.  I listen as best as I can.  I support them in their growth and interests.  I give them the tools to be independent adults.  What they do with that I have no control over.  I can sleep at night knowing that I have done the best I know how to do.  And if they resent me for being a parent and not a friend that really is not my problem but theirs.

So, Oldest, I hope you had a very happy birthday.  I hope you enjoyed the many presents your sister and I picked out. I hope bio made you your favorite meal and the dessert of your choice.  And I hope you become yourself.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Healthy

I finally woke up and decided that I'm tired of feeling blah!  So over the past few months I've been making small changes to get back on track to being the healthiest I can.  So, what have I learned so far.

Baby steps are still forward steps.  It's not how fast you propel yourself forward just that you do.

Feeling good - feels good.  Seems kind of obvious but I get in to a rut and stop doing things that make me feel good.  Suddenly I'm in that downward spiral - I feel to bad to do something that feels good and.....

Too much good food is still too much.  Portions, portions, portions

That I really have more time in my schedule than I claim to have.  I just need to add things to my to do list and the next thing I know they fit in my schedule.  I'm one of those crazy list makers that needs to check things off as I go.  It makes me feel better.  So do colorful charts and cute stickers.  My inner six year old is showing.

I need to surround myself with like minded individuals.  I need active, health conscious people in my life.  We motivate each other.  Switching balance groups because of HIM was a gift.  The other group is active - walking the walk and talking the talk.  It makes me want to do better.  There are a few runners in the group.  I've never run before.  But, some of the races have a walking component.  It's a start.  And my goal - to have my family start the New Year at the Chilly Chili Race.  A 5K.  Four men in their nineties ran it this year.  What's my excuse?

I read an article Friday about a women who ran the Hawaii marathon at age 92.  The oldest woman to run a marathon.  At age 84 she was watching the race and said, "I want to do that."  She went on to do that four times.  She walks 50 miles a week.

I read an article in Newsweek over vacation.  A man learned to read and write when he was in his early nineties.  Now he has his first published book.

Healthy does not mean losing weight.  Weight loss may come with getting healthy but that is not the goal. 

So what have I done so far...

reading more and playing on the computer less
signed up for "school"
changed tampons
started walking again
went to the chiropractor and followed his advice
started my food journal - again
started penciling in dates with friends more frequently
keep a dream journal
less coffee and more tea
added stretches to my daily routine
let go of.........
pray for bio

and a whole host of other little things

Slowly, my energy is coming back.  Ah, what a lively journey this is.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Trouble in Paradise & tales from AZ (3 notes)

Bio signed up for a second facebook account.  She's using my hubby's last name for this one.  {I find that really irritating.}  She claims it's because her class reunion is coming up (in 2014) and she wants to make sure her classmates can find her.  But, truth be told - and she does sorta mention it when pushed - she doesn't have enough friends playing games on FB to advance her castles and what have you enough. 

I'll confess I did play A game on FB for a while.  I needed a stress reliever and my daughter asked if I would play with her.  She soon lost interest and I kept playing for a while.  I have since blown up my game and have not joined in any others,

Bio plays lots and lots of games.  Enough that son said it was a bazillion.  Youngest was playing with her for a while.  It was a connection to bio.  But, as no conversation occurs between the two of them that novelty soon fizzled and her games go abandoned.  It took youngest about two weeks to get bored. 

This game playing makes Leroyhesnotblack (LHNB) very unhappy.  He has lost his wife to FB games. And to show his dissatisfaction he unfriended bio. Ah, poor dumb sap.  Hubby complained years ago that she was on the computer too much.  Source of many arguments.  Son at age 6 tried to cut the phone lines so bio would stop playing on the computer and pay attention to him.  And the complaints go on.

Bio is convinced that LHNB is a big meannie.  She has oldest believing the same.  Because bio has been unlucky in love - she has bad mouthed the entire male species and convinced oldest that all men are awful.

Oldest's boyfriend went from being complicated to broken up.  Hmm!  Go figure. 

I write this tale because at one time I would have found it funny;  in a sick sense of the word.  But, now I just feel bad that my daughter is wrapped up in this middle school drama with a couple close to 50 y/o and really is the adult in the whole situation.  Oldest has a big heart especially where bio is concerned and she feels the need to care for bio.  So prayers for the whole bunch of them.

On another note:  Oldest turns 19 next week.  She had asked for jeans and socks for Christmas.  And now she's asking for t-shirts.  So, the other night I headed to the store with youngest - coupons in hand.  We find six cool t-shirts.  A range of colors and sleeve lengths.  They were on sale or clearance.  The clerk gave me the Tuesday discount for bringing my own bag.  It brought my total a few cents below my cash rewards card.  I handed over my coupon - she handed me the shirts.  She also asked for a CD.  It was one hubby bought me on vacation.  I made a quick copy of that and printed out a label.  I wrapped it up with a card and for the price of shipping she has a lot of presents.

Next note:  When our oldest son (OS)  graduated from high school I made him a cookbook of favorite family recipes.  I also included family addresses and a letter from me.  The other night he called hubby just to talk.  He didn't want anything.  Awesome!  In the midst of the conversation he told hubby he was making my cheesy beef pie and changing the ingredients up a bit. Wohoo!!!!!!   My cooking lessons have been rewarded.  It felt soooooo good to hear that.  You go OS!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How David Met Sarah

My friend Annie Kelleher wrote How David Met Sarah for her brother.  It's an amazing book.  You could earn a free copy.  Check out her blog and find out how.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Last night son had his driver's test.  He was able to test on November first (after waiting the 120 days from passing his written permit test) but hubby dragged his feet on calling for an appointment.  I stepped out of this obligation.  He did great!  The guy giving the test even made a note of how great he did.  Wohoo!!!  I'm not sure who is more excited me or son.  He has a car thanks to oldest and after a call to the insurance agent this morning we will not have to drive him to work any more.  Yipee!

I know people who are reluctant to let their children drive.  And when they do get their license they only let them drive short distances - like the end of the driveway.  I am following in my parents footsteps on this one.  He will not be driving my car or hubby's truck.  He needed his own.  Oldest needed her own.  And they pay for the insurance.  But, they will never learn how to drive or find places if you don't let them go it alone.

So, I will never be sitting in a car reading my kindle in my pj's in front of the Log House Resturant again - unless youngest gets a job there.  But, that is a few years away. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Changing it Up

We learned early on in our marriage that if the kids told bio where we were going she would bad mouth it so much the kids didn't want to go.  So, vacations have been a big secret. They are given a packing list and the dates.  This drives son absolutely crazy.  He really NEEDS to know what to expect.  He needs a routine, a plan - something. 

Last year after our trip to the mountains in Virginia son expressed an interest in doing something similar North - maybe Vermont he said.  I took that to mean he liked the mountains and hiking.  And wherever we go he wants their to be an Army Navy store. 

So this year as I sat down with the calender to plan vacation around my advanced herbal training I discovered two spots available through our time share in Northern Maine.  And, I pulled out the map and showed son and youngest and asked what they thought.  Jackman or Island Falls.  Son thought Jackman sounded like it would have an Army Navy store. Youngest thought Island Falls sounded like it would have beautiful waterfalls.  As this will probably be son's last vacation with us I started with his choice.

He will be a senior next year.  He turns 18 next December and if his plans go the way he has mapped them out he will be leaving for Marine boot camp as soon as he graduates.

His choice had one bedroom and a pullout couch in the living room.  Island Falls had three bedrooms.  Island Falls it is.  It is 8 hours from here - a good 4 hours North of Portland.  It's in between Baxter State Park and New Brunswick, Canada.  Now the planning begins. And the calm son imparted in knowing made my decision to include them right.

Youngest was really hoping for North Carolina though when you ask her what is there she just shrugs.  When I explained it was son's last vacation with us and that we could look into her choices in the years to follow she was satisfied.  She will have at least three vacations with us after this year.  Though I suspect she may have many more than that.  We shall see.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

Linear time has flipped a page from 2011 to 2012.  I feel so out of sinc with linear time.  Many see this day as a time to wipe the slate clean and make resolutions to improve themselves in some way.  I have long since stopped making New Year's resolutions.  And I feel we can never wipe the slate clean, but I have learned /am learning to make peace with my past.

I am on a continuous journey to improve.  But, as I see improvement it is for each of us to lead our authentic life.  To be in touch with who we really are and live in that truth.  So often we don hats that do not fit us.  I know I tried on the ones that would please my parents, my friends, my boyfriends.  They would be to tight or big or just plain uncomfortable.  It is when I had the courage to step out in the hat I chose for myself that life just felt right.  And as I grow and learn my hat changes with me.  It has a new stitch there and slight embellishment here.  I see something new emerging in the weeks and months ahead.  Ah, what will it look like.

I have chosen many roles in life - wife, mother, student, employee.  And sometimes my hat doesn't always fit those roles perfectly.  I need to integrate my choices with my authentic self.  Sometimes my authentic self needs to temper her tongue with kindness. And I have been making an effort to surround myself with people who support my authentic self, encourage and challenge it.  I have made an effort to let go of those things and people that do not nourish me in some way.

In 2011 a black cloud left.  Stress seeped from every pore.  I became calmer.  I was able to concentrate on my health (physically, mentally and spiritually).  I made changes.  Some were subtle shifts.  Some spanned great chasms.  I'm in a better place than I was a year ago.  I have many miles to go before I sleep.  And I look forward to the journey.

Win a Whimsy

Check out my friend Rose's blog - What I made today and enter to win one of her beautiful creations.