In Anticipation…

SnowI wasn’t happy to wake this morning to find everything covered with snow AGAIN…and it was still coming down.  Looking on the bright side, at least it wasn’t more than 6 inches – manageable but still took over an hour to shovel… by myself.  What’s with the groundhog though, who said “oh yeah, Spring is right around the corner?” 

 Thankfully I was able to enjoy my morning coffee in peace before heading off through the snow to the hairdresser.  New stylists always frighten me.  I’m never certain how my hair will turn out.  But I had a coupon; the salon was rated well so I thought, “what the heck?”  The cut and color were perfect; the styling, not so much.  Another experience to keep in mind.  At least with a good cut, I can style it as I like.

Detox Diet FoodsThe best part of the day was heading off to the grocery store to gather all my ingredients for the 3-Day Detox Cleanse I’m beginning tomorrow…with DH as my partner.  This is the first time he’s actually agreeing to any type of diet or exercise regimen.  I’m impressed (on the surface.)  The bill was around $90, I had some ingredients at home already and it was for two people; total cost about $15 per person per day.  Pretty good I’d say.Receipt 

Tonight however, we slid to the dark side, knowing full well we’d be deprived of our wildest desires (solid foods, especially breads and chocolate) for 3 full days!  We ate with complete abandon…fried flounder, brown rice, spinach and mushrooms.  The dessert, chocolate fudge ice cream (albeit low sugar) , was the highlight!

 We’re going to enjoy the remainder of the evening, relaxing on the couch, switching between World Cup Baseball and movies on the big screen, accompanied by snuggly, warm furry creatures, as the fire crackles in the background.

 Tomorrow begins an experiment of will, determination and perseverance.  Let’s see who folds first!

Diamond and Silver Anniversaries Remembered

“Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.” ~ James C. Dobson

 Stella_Ray AnnivYesterday would have been my parents 75th Wedding Anniversary.  Years pass in the blink of an eye.  From what I understand, the ceremony was small and modest but charming just the same.  I decided to get married the day after their wedding date, 25 years ago.  The date had special meaning to me and each year I become more aware of the similarities between the two marriages.  Sadly, my mom had passed some years prior to my wedding; however I was grateful to have had my father escort me down the aisle.

 

Ray_Stella 1940sIt’s unfortunate I have no photos of their wedding day although I remember spotting what was rumored to be my mom’s wedding dress in an old cedar Hope Chest.  The dress appeared to be about a size 0 or 2 by today’s standards and was a stunning yet casual, pastel periwinkle blue, my mother’s favorite color.  Truth be known (and it will be now), I tried it on when I was in my late teens or early twenties and tore some of the seam stitching; I was obviously a little larger than a size 2!  I still wonder what ever became of that dress…  (Notice the difference in my dad’s hair in 25 yrs?  From a “bush” to “barely there!”  LOL)

With 5 brothers and sisters, it’s also baffling that no one can recall where the boxes of photo albums and black and white snapshots stored with the cedar chest disappeared to.  As a child, I used to flip through the photos, giggling at how funny the styles looked “back then.”  I’ll keep my fingers crossed and say a prayer that someday they’ll materialize before I’m too old to see them clearly!

M_C Wedding fullM_C Wedding ringM_C Wedding Dad 

My 25th Anniversary began with a mammogram and bone density screening.  That was so much fun!  Not.  Actually, I planned to have the tests done on this date so it would be easier for me to recall when I had them for future reference.  So far, the remainder of the day is up in the air.  Maybe the man I considered my “Prince Charming” a quarter century ago will have a surprise in store.  We’ll have to wait and see.

Some Food Fun on Valentine’s Day

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to all! 

 Many couples celebrate this day by going out to eat at a fancy restaurant, however this year we decided to spend some quiet time at home, just the two of us.  Our daughter is away at college.  I sent her a nice “care package” last week filled with lots of goodies for the holiday to let her know we miss her. 010

 

Since we were staying home, I thought I’d have a little fun with food today.  Instead of making the same old thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I thought I’d play around in the kitchen.  Okay, so the food wasn’t really gourmet fare, but it was fun to make, healthy to eat and totally satisfying (especially the dessert!)

 Happy banana strawberry smoothie

A strawberry-banana smoothie was perfect for breakfast.  Even the food was smiling (before I wielded my paring knife!)  Made with non-fat yogurt and a drizzle of Agave, this frothy breakfast was delicious, filling and less than 300 calories (based on an average serving.)

 

By the time lunch came along, we weren’t that hungry.  I had some cantaloupe chunks and walnut halves while I made my husband a nice little turkey sandwich on toasted whole wheat bread with a mug of hot skim chocolate milk.    

 

???????????????????????????????For dinner, I decided to make a Shrimp and Broccoli dish which was delicious, easy to prepare and wholesome.  I served the shrimp over a bed of brown rice and a small green salad with lemon squeeze on the side to round out the meal.  Before marinating the shrimp for about 15 minutes in a mixture of soy, garlic and ginger, I put together another heart-shaped happy face for the holiday!

 

???????????????????????????????Being Valentine’s Day, I decided to splurge on dessert and make some of my husband’s favorite cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip, as I spelled out a loving message.  A couple of these delightful chocolate sensations with a nice warm cup of tea really hit the spot.  We plan to spend the remainder of the evening relaxing by the fire. 

 I hope everyone gave and received lots of love today.  And if you have pets, I hope you gave them lots of extra love today too!  Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers, you know…

From CameraPhone 008

“We love the things we love for what they are.” ~ Robert Frost

Memories – So Far Away; So Very Clear

“Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.” ~ Jean de Boufflers

While contemplating writing a memoir, I recently began rummaging through boxes full of old memorabilia I almost forgot I had.  Ask anyone who really knows me; I despise paper and if it isn’t needed for tax purposes, personal documentation or other legal matter, more often than not it gets tossed.  So when I happened across clippings, letters and other such papers meticulously stored in several small cardboard boxes, I knew they must be something I deemed worthwhile keeping.

 Steve 19650002Sure enough, opening one of the boxes, I discovered a small collection of faded colored photographs that appear to have been taken in the mid 1960’s.  Instantly, I was transported back in time to my childhood living room.  There was that big old television – with its folding doors which protected me from Mighty Mouse as he burst onto the screen at the opening of each episode.  And there was my brother, mid-afternoon, still in his bathrobe, clowning with my uncle and neighborhood friends.  It’s amazing how many wonderful memories can emanate from one old photograph.

 SJD Ltr1 11_65It’s a shame some of the photos and letters I found in the box were so faded.  Luckily several letters were fairly legible and the photos still had some color to them.  I especially enjoyed reading the letters my middle brother Stephen wrote me while he was away at college.  Twelve years my senior, his writing conveyed levity, tenderness and love.SJD Ltr2 11_65

 

I must admit, reading the part where he asked me if I wanted to “play house” was a little creepy.  SJD Ltr3 11_65Back in those days however, little girls loved to “play house.”  There was nothing wrong with my brother wanting me to visit and help him straighten up his apartment; I was good at cooking, cleaning and ironing even at the tender age of 8.  Other notations regarding schoolwork, music, friends, pets, and especially about my father were heartwarming.  (Curious why he mentioned “witch” in both letters…I was always an “angel!”)

 The last few years have been challenging for my brother.  He faced a series of unexpected and unpleasant situations.  I pray my brother continues to heal and hope revisiting these letters brings a smile to his face.  We may live many miles apart, but he, along with my other brothers and sisters, are always close to my heart. 

 SJD Ltr1 10_66

Discovering these priceless memories help me realize how truly blessed I am.  These are feelings I didn’t recognize as a child.  Today, everything is quick – a text here, a tweet or status update there.  How many people actually take the time to sit down and write a letter?  Not many.  Life is so fast-paced that we often don’t realize how much we are missing.  A simple note or letter is able to bring so much joy to another person, joy that brief electronic communication fails to convey.

 I never did finish the letter to my brother; I wonder what I would have said next…but it would have ended with “Love, your sister Marybeth”  (that’s now my alias!)

SJD Ltr2 10_66Call me old-fashioned or traditional, I don’t mind.  Sometimes I feel I can’t live without all the new technology and make certain I’m current with it, as best I can be.  At other times, I’d rather do things the way I used to, MED 10_66 replylike making bread from scratch rather than using a bread machine (if I had one).  Several minutes of vigorous kneading works wonders for a person’s sanity.  The treasured little box I found brought me back to basics.  I can’t wait to see what other wonderful memories are yet to be revived.

Steve_Mom weddingSteve Hawaii2 2006

A Happy New Year to All!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Kathy_Mary New YearHappy New Year everyone!  Ringing in the New Year with family and friends was so much fun.Now that the festivities of 2012 are over and another year begins, it’s time for some serious work.  I need to make a decision – either quit blogging or write about something I’m passionate about so people will want to read what I have to say.  Does that sound self-centered?  Maybe so, but as far as I can tell, I’m missing something…and I’m determined to find out what that is. AND, I’m NOT a quitter!

 I’ll be starting a new blog soon, keeping this one related strictly to health, diet, exercise, nutrition, etc.  My new one will be more personal/family related.  Separating them will help me focus on what this original blog was intended to be about.skinnymom

 I wrote two “New Yeary” type blogs yesterday, hoping they’d be uploaded before I left for our celebration last night.  Unfortunately, I was unable to finish them before I departed so I thought I’d post both today.  When I searched for them in my computer, they were missing.  I don’t know what happened but I was extremely disappointed; that’s an understatement.  Bloggers knows how long it takes to write, edit, upload pictures and so forth.

 ???????????????????????????????The problem is I wasted precious hours looking for the files rather than just starting from scratch.  Getting frustrated, I scrapped the whole idea and decided to make a nice turkey dinner for tonight.  This would be the last night for me to enjoy any soon-to-be off limit foods, so I had some fun getting Tom ready for the oven, complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and gravy.  My daughter invited a guest over and we had a delicious meal to celebrate the first day of the new year!  All was well again.

Tomorrow I’ll begin the Beachbody® TurboFire® Workout with Chalene Johnson’s program.  It will be intense but I’m hoping to get more out of it than I did with the prior Biggest Loser program.  The workout looks grueling but I’m determined to do it for 90 days and will be posting my progress daily, along with any other health-related tips, recipes, etc. I come across in the meantime. TurboFire

 My plan is to lose some weight, inches and improve my overall physical health by March 31, 2013 – just in time for Spring.  I’m saving some Christmas cash to buy new spring clothes by then – hopefully in a smaller size!  I’m outing myself – making my goals known to more than just my family and friends so I’m responsible for the outcome.  I’m raising my glass tonight to MOTIVATION!  With a little bit of luck and a lot of resolve, I can succeed.

 Best wishes to all for a Healthy and Happy New Year!

A New Year is Dawning

“Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution.” ~ Sophocles

  resolutions 2013

Ahh, 2013 is quickly approaching. What does that mean to you? I recently heard someone ask a TV host “what resolutions are you NOT going to keep this year?” That was a rather pointless question. Why make any resolutions at all? I suppose we all would like to do or be something better in the coming year, but why wait until New Year’s Day to begin; why not start on your birthday, or on July 4th (Independence Day), or even March 15th (Ides of March) for example?

cartoon resolutionI thought it would be fun to research the history of “New Year’s Resolutions” to discover where and why this tradition began. One site I found interesting was http://billpetro.com/history-of-new-years-resolutions. My question is, why not make plans and have goals for the future, rather than setting yourself up for failure by making resolutions? I ask this because the future is so unpredictable. Many people do their best to stay healthy yet develop a sudden illness. We try and keep our children safe, yet some get injured through no fault of our own. A job offer that was “set in stone” falls through or a loved one passes unexpectedly.goals

How many of you are making resolutions or specific plans for the coming year? Some common ones I hear about are getting healthier and making more money. A few of mine include beginning a new blog and attracting a multitude of followers, getting my driver’s license (long story), starting a non-profit organization, traveling to Europe and having a manuscript published or at least have one ready to go.

Family 2012 

Before beginning a new year, it’s nice to reflect on the last 365 days. My husband and his partner opened a second restaurant, my daughter began her first year of college and I finally received my Bachelor’s Degree. In winding down, we celebrated a beautiful Christmas holiday with many family members at my sister’s house. If everyone were present, three generations, there would have been about 50 of us. We’re truly blessed.

I’d love to read about some of the resolutions, goals or plans you are making for 2013. They may give me ideas on how to become a better person, how to live life more fully or how I can be of more service to others.

Taking some time to relax by the fire on this cold winter evening, I’ll reminisce about the beautiful gifts God has provided for me this past year and look forward to an exciting and challenging future.

“Everyone has a choice to see life as a to-do list or a journey. The first leads to ‘work’ and the second leads to ‘adventure’. Which do you choose?” ~ Whitney Ferre

Happiest of Holidays to You!

Tree2Wow, it’s Christmas Eve already. My daughter has been home from college since the 15th and I’m enjoying every minute with her (when she’s not out with her friends!) I didn’t realize how much I’d miss her…she’s matured so much since August. Home for the holidays – what could be better than that!

Last minute shopping, LOTS of baking and cookie decorating and a little more cleaning and I’ll be finished – all ready for Santa to come. Visiting family tomorrow will be wonderful. Brothers and sisters and their families I haven’t seen in a long time will be there too! How blessed I am to have such a large and loving family!

Since the tragedy in Connecticut on December 14th, I haven’t felt much like writing. Too many thoughts were going through my mind and I couldn’t decide whether to write about the holiday season or just wait and treasure the quiet moments shared with my loved ones. Although school is finally over, I have much planning to do for the future. Sometimes, the thoughts of it can be overwhelming.

I did receive a surprise package in the mail this afternoon from my niece andGhost Hunters Book (2) goddaughter who lives in California. She, like me, enjoys reading about the paranormal; however she is also a paranormal investigator. It’s ironic that I never realized this until a few years ago. This afternoon, I received an autographed book in the mail by the author of “Ghosthunting Southern California.” Sally Richards is a friend and member of their “ghost group,” Roadside Paranormal.

Okay, so this gift may not be what you would consider bedside reading during the Christmas holidays, but it’s great if you enjoy reading about ghosts and everything paranormal by the fire on a cold, dark night. I’m looking forward to reading it as soon as I find some quiet time when I’m not too exhausted from the holiday bustle.

To energize myself after the holidays, I have Chalene Johnson’s TurboFire workout to begin. That was a gift from my oldest brother who had great results from following the Beachbody workouts with Tony Horton. He’s 16 years my senior and in better physical condition than I am. That doesn’t say a lot for me and my exercise regime to date! However, what’s better than the New Year to begin a new routine?

My low-cholesterol eating plan has been working out pretty well. I’ve maintained a 4-lb. weight loss…not really too concerned about losing more until after the holidays. I just can’t resist the treats that are abundant this time of year. Moderation is the key and I’m permitting limited amounts of sweets while I continue eating lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in place of sugary foods.

White chocolate Cranberry cookiesI have to say I’ve made Teresa (Can’t Keep Out of the Kitehcn)’s White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies…and they’re delicious. Bringing them tomorrow along with a couple of others. My camera is so bad; can’t post too many pictures…but rest assured, dessert will be delicious!White chocolate Cranberry cookies1

 

 

My daughter, as tradition, opened one of her gifts tonight and loved the Vera Bradley travel case we bought her. It’s perfect for her little lotions and make up things and matches her purse. She was thrilled! Santa was good and we can’t wait till tomorrow.vera bradley

As long as we’re healthy and happy, what more could we ask? I hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful and peaceful holiday. My best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year! Thanks for reading!

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’ve been reminiscing the past year recently and when I came across this post, it precisely mirrored my thoughts. Thanks to Philosiblog for the post. Sometimes, others’ words fill the bare spots of your own conscience.

philosiblog

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu

What does that mean?
Once again, we have another Twitter-friendly shortened quote. The more complete version is “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

What is it that you are lacking in your life? Conversely, what do you have in your life which you take for granted? About what could, or even should, you be rejoicing? Your health, your relative wealth, your friends, your family? Even if you have none of those, you could rejoice in the quiet and tranquility.

So many of us focus on what we do not have, and overlook or even ignore what we do have. At least until it’s too late, right? I’m sure it never happened to you…

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Pray for the LIttle Children

st gabrielIn light of the horrific, senseless tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I’d rather not post what I had planned. Rather, I’d like to offer my prayers and condolences to all those affected by this implausible catastrophe.

Once again, it begs the question “What is our world coming to?” When so many people defend the right to make violent movies and video games, how can the constant “in your face” brutality not desensitize people who are mentally unstable to begin with?

I will never understand what possesses someone to kill innocent children, yet alone others. My heart breaks for the parents and loved ones of those who lost their lives. It’s a very sad day.

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Our Cat – Buried Alive?

It happened AGAIN!Reboarded floor with axe     Our XL sized cat, Mike (a female) decided to poke her nose where it didn’t belong. 

We’re still remodeling our dining room and I guess, while the rafters were exposed and the carpenter was busy elsewhere, Mike decided to go under the floor and through the rafters…somewhere.

The carpenter left three hours earlier, after first screwing down plywood over all the open spaces on the floor.   My husband thought he heard a tiny “meow.”  My cat may be large but she’s not a “meower.”  “Where the heck is Mike?”   “I think she’s in the floor!” he said.

Before pulling boardsGreat, our cat is buried alive in the floor.  This is the second time in two years this happened.  The only problem this time is that we couldn’t pull the plywood boards up.  They were screwed down with special screws which we had no tool for!

My husband rushed into the shed and brought back a …pick axe.  Really?  Guess he didn’t have a crowbar.  In any event, it took about fifteen minutes to pull the boards up but Mike was nowhere to be found.  We called her name, we searched with flashlights, and we even shook her treat bag…no Mike.Boards yanked up

I stuck my head in between the rafters in the floor with the flashlight but couldn’t see her.  There was one small hole in the corner – no, Mike was too big to fall down through that hole…wasn’t she?  OMG what if she DID fall through – that would mean we would have to tear out the wall downstairs to get her out.  There was no way to get her out from upstairs.  OMG…OMG….OMG.

 After more than an hour of calling her name, we decided to go into the kitchen to plan our next move.  Sure enough, who comes squeezing out from in between the rafters – yup!  That little brat!  She scared the heck out of us – especially me.  She was probably looking through the rafters watching me as I stuck my head down into there looking for her.  Of course I couldn’t see her – she’s black as night!  Damn cat.

Mike after being buried aliveI really wanted to yell at her but I couldn’t.  After taking a towel and cleaning her up a bit, she meandered over to her food bowl, plopped down and pawed the food into her mouth as usual – like nothing happened.  That’s a cat for you.  At least she’s safe.  I’m sure she’s saying – “Oh those humans – they make a big deal out of everything!”

I tell you, some days I’d like to exchange these cats for a bunch of kids…what am I saying?  Never mind, you get the picture.  Thankfully, all’s well that ends well.Mike on sneakers

 “Cats know how to obtain food without labor, shelter without confinement, and love without penalties.” ~ W. L. George