Saturday, March 31, 2012

Super-Long Post For My Own Fun

Now that the first quarter of the year is over, let's recap.
 - January was awesome.  I found a healthy eating and exercise regime I could live with.  I lost weight and I was in great spirits.
 - February wasn't so good.  Somewhere along the way I lost the will to give-a-shite and it all went downhill.
 - March was god awful.  I was sick every other day.  If it wasn't one of those bloody headaches, it was something else.  Spirits were at an all-time low again.  At the beginning of the last week in March I had a stomach bug that was so bad I spent the evening in the living room, curled up next to Drew, watching him play Diablo II.  For one of the first times in my life, I didn't eat dinner.  (Yes, it was that bad.)

But then something odd happened.  On Thursday, March 29th, I woke up feeling good.  Not just good, but fantastic!  I don't know why.  I hadn't done anything different.  I didn't eat anything different.  I didn't take anything before bed.  I have no idea.  I still had a bit of a headache, but I was energized and happy.  WTH????

I felt so good that entire day that I set my alarm early at night.  On Friday I got up and got on the treadmill for the first time in a while.  And you know what?  I stayed happy and peppy that whole day too!  After work I cleaned the kitchen and made dinner.  I hadn't cooked in a long time.  It was super yummy low-fat chicken chili!  In fact, now that I think about it, I ate healthy all day long!  Awesome!

This morning...woke up with a hideous headache.  Not sure why.  I think I was dehydrated.  Got up and took some pain meds with a huge glass of water.  Got my yogurt, protein bar and coffee for breakfast.  Balanced my budget and decided I needed to go grocery shopping.  No better time than 9 am on Saturday to hit Aldi's.  I tossed the bags into the back of the car and head out for the store.

I love Aldi's, but I hate to grocery shop.  Happy-me decided that the best way to get thru today was to just be calm and shop at my own leisure.  We're not rushing thru this; that will only stress me out.  Besides, I don't have anything else pressing to do today.  It's Saturday.  Drew's over at Ginny & Larry's putting in a new kitchen floor.  So it's just me.  La-dee da-da phlebt.

Holy canoli!  It worked.  I LOVED SHOPPING TODAY!!!!  LOVED IT!!!  I think that's one of the biggest signs that I'm happier and healthier and psyched about life.  When I love to grocery shop!  I love looking for the hidden bargains and finding healthy options.

Here's some things I found that made today great:

I dispise paying out the nose for Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix, but I have a lot of recipes that call for it.  I usually just substitute Fit & Active Light Ranch instead.  It's not the same thing, but it works - kind of.  Well, Aldi's finally came out with their own version.  $0.69 a packet.  Half the price!  YAY!!!!  I'm not even concerned that it might not taste as good because I've used a lot of Stonemill products and have loved them all.  I have faith this won't let me down!

Drew & I love Crockpot Chicken.  That's when you take a whole chicken and throw it in the crockpot on low for a whole day.  (Thank you Sister Becky for that tip!)  It comes out falling off the bone!  Normally we eat the leg and thighs, then save the breasts for chicken salad the next day.  It's only $0.85 a pound!  Most of the chickens are 5-6 lbs, which is about $4.25-$5.00.  A bargain!  Today I found a small one, which is perfect for the two of us.

When I'm excited and happy, my voice rises.  Not in volume, but in octaves.  Usually about three octaves.  When I'm making cards, dogs in my neighborhood go, "Huh?"  Today, the dogs lost bladder control.

IT'S BACK!!!!!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is without a doubt one of our favorite meals.  Jambalaya from Cajun Cook'n.  Easy and quick to make, and super-duper delicious.  If I had a separate freezer (which Drew insists we need & which I insist we have no room for), I'd fill it with these.  We love these.  And they're not bad on the diet.  In fact, they're healthy compared to most frozen-meal-in-the-bag products.  I've tried to make my own Jambalaya and it doesn't even come close to this.  I'm am so psyched this is back.

By the time I was done shopping, my headache was gone.  Somewhere between the cream of chicken soup and fresh asparagus it had gone away.  I didn't even notice until I got home.

Oh.  And just for fun...the world's greatest pork chops...

Have A Happy Second-Quarter 2012 Everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zombie: The Other Fright Meat

NorGus Press has put out another anthology.

You can pick up a copy at CREATESPACE or AMAZON.

Featured in this collection of zombie stories are authors Jeff Angus and Jason Countryman, who also happen to be my buddies.

Meanwhile, I just found out that an anthology I was due to have my story published in has been cancelled.  Poopie.  :(

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hungover Games

This gives me motivation. This gives me faith. This gives me hope.
Hope that someone in Hollywood knows how to makes real movies.
Movies for people like me.


Sunday Quickie!

Now that I have Jason's attention...I MADE CARDS!  Yeah, sorry.  It's about cards again.  I cannot stop making cards!  This morning I made some super-fast Easter cards.

This is based on a design from Frenchie's website.  It's actually a very shiny card.  The ribbon and words are copper colored, and the background behind the cross is a shiny copper/silver wallpaper.  And I learned a new technique using the lattice border and corner punches!  So simple!

Oh, and here's some cards I made last night.  Did I mention I like to make cards???

Unfortunately I seem to run out of Sympathy cards more than any other.  Sad.

And here's a bonus...I made these cards with my mother when she visited and I'd forgotten to photo them.  They're very pretty, so I figured I'd post them.

There!  I think that's all for now.  Drew and I are going to the SPCA benefit at Dilaj's today.  It's from Noon to something (forgot, sorry!)  Stop down and get a ton of food, support some animals who need homes, stare at the Elvis impersonator (yes, I've been told one is showing up), and watch Diana do something insane.  You know she will.  Hopefully it's not sing.  (Love you Di!)

Happy Sunday Quickies to Everyone!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More and More Cards!!!

I hope my mother's keeping up with this.  I made yet more cards.  Today I made some "get well wishes" daisy cards.  My girlfriend Ginny is going to contact the hospital gift shop to see if they'd be interested in selling my cards.  She heard that they might be interested in local sellers.

Then I decided to make the below.  It's largely based on a design from Connie Collins' website.  Stacey has inspired me to use more black in my cardmaking lately.  These are much more impressive in person.  The smooth shimmer glitter doesn't show.  The crown sparkles a bit.

Yes, You Can Accidentally OD

Woke up this morning with an awful headache and sore throat.  That usually means I was snoring last night and the sleep apnea has destroyed me for the day.

I took the usual meds.

I fixed some coffee --- which I've decided will only be a recreational beverage at home on the weekends.  I drink too much of it at work.

I fixed breakfast --- an english muffin with peanut butter.  Super yummy.

I sat down to check out my email and promptly fell asleep on my desk.


I went back and checked the meds I'd taken.  Sure enough, I took Tylenol PM instead of Excedrin.  Great.  Now I have a headache AND my face feels like it's had a stroke.  Poopy!  I have a date at 11:45 with Bonny at the Chicken Barbeque!  WAKE UP STUPID!!!

Yeah, that's not happening.  But now I can understand why people can accidentally OD.  If you have a headache and you're not a morning person, there's actually a good chance you will screw up your meds.  Honestly, I'm starting to wonder how I haven't done this a lot sooner.  Luckily it's just Tylenol PM and I only took enough to make me drool on the keyboard.

It looks nice out, so I'm going to walk down to the chicken barbeque at St. Luke's.

Enjoy the weekend.
~ Steph

P.S.  Yes, I spell barbeque with a Q and not a C.  Q's are a fun letter.  C's are not.  I also firmly believe phenominal should be fanominal.  And betterest was a fantastic word, until the invasion of pinterest, which ruined all words that end with -est for me.

P.S.S.  It took me a half hour to type this.  Good lord.  My To-Do List for the day was just considerably shortened to:
    1.  Cut toenails.
    2.  Nap.
And not necessarily in that order.

UPDATE: I slept walk to the church and back, enjoyed a nice meal with the Angus' in between that.  When I got home I heard voices in my house when there should be none.  Sweetpea had tried to sit on the laptop I'd left open on my cardmaking table and in the process hit the play button which turned on Sherlock (Series One, Episode One).  I watched it last night while making cards and left it queued up in the playlist.  My cat has excellent taste in television shows.  I quite like coming home to Mrs. Hudson saying, "I'm not your housekeeper dear," then proceeding to make me a cuppa tea and biscuits anyway.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Cards

It's a crazy Friday night here at the homestead.  I made cards.  Yeehaw!!!

Actually, I love to make cards.  It just doesn't make for the most exciting night.  But it is productive.  Too bad you don't burn more calories doing it.  I'd try to make cards while on the treadmill, but I'd probably end up cooter-dodging pairs of flying scissors.

I really like these cards.  I didn't copy anyone's design in particular.  I just wanted to make some pink flowers.

Meanwhile, the cascading cards I posted this past week were a huge hit at work.  I sold seven.  Everyone loved them!  I made six more blue cascading cards with the red bird and I only have two left.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of them, but they were pretty much the same as the first one I made.  We made them at Stacey's this past Wednesday.  I think she was really surprised at how easy they are to make.  The base goes together quickly once you have it figured out, but the embellishing takes forever.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Cards

I spent the lovely day indoors watching Rugby and making cards.  I love the nice weather; I just love it from inside the house.  Honestly, me and the Sun don't get along that well in person.

I got to see a fantastic match between Wales and France today --- actually it was played yesterday, but I don't get it on any of my stations.  BBCAmerica played England vs. Ireland instead...because they're boring.  England walked all over Ireland.  30-6, I think was the final score.  Wales vs. France was a much better game. Wales eventually won but it was a little nerve-wracking at the end there.  Wales won all the 6 Nations games, making this their third Grand Slam victory in seven years.  I should congratulate the French team for having great hair though.  Honestly, they look very good and styled.

Cards!  Last night while watching the Rifftrax version of the original Night of the Living Dead (LMAO!!!!!!!!!!) I made these ship cards.

Today, while watching Rugby and several Big Fat Quiz Shows (it's a British thing), I made cascading cards.  Frenchie had posted instructions for it and I was curious.  I decided, "I can make those!" so I did.  Took me a while.  The card base itself was easy and took only 30 minutes to put together five of them.  Decorating them took hours!!!  Mainly because I'm terrible with color.  I futzed a lot!  But I love them!!!

They do lay flat and will fit in a standard sized card envelope.  They all say Happiness because I was growing impatient.  Except for the bridal one, I really didn't want to decide what the others are for.  Also, there's really no place for you to sign the card also.  I could put white stickers on the back of it, but that seemed tacky.  Plus it would still be difficult to sign it with all the stuff on the front.  I've decided people can just write their message on the envelope.  So there!  Phlebt!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cards with Mom

On my parents' last night here, Mother and I sat down and made some cards.  Since I was clean out of ideas, I let her pick out a couple designs from my collection and we made similar cards in her color choices.

I adore these cards.  My mother has a good eye for color.  I really don't, but I'm getting better.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Update on a Few Things

My mother seems to be doing much better.  She gets around a lot easier than when she first got here.  Or so it seems to me.

My parents came to our TOPS meeting tonight.  They're members of a club in Tennessee.  I feared a big gain, but much to my surprise it was a three pound loss!  That's 17 so far.  It's not anything dramatic, but it is gone so that's something.

For the past month I've slacked quite a bit from my diet and exercise regime.  This past week I've been on the treadmill more lately.  Mostly because I don't want to have to tell Jason again that I haven't.  Ha!  It helps immensely that the weather has been gorgeous out!!!  I have a goal to walk outside this weekend and enjoy the warm weather and sun.

Drew is moving to a new department in our company on Monday morning.  He's very excited about it.  I'm happy for him.  I will be at my same desk, doing what I do, wondering how I ended up being in no department whatsoever.  My own personal R&D batcave.  (Enough said there.)

And lastly...for Joanie...the Bruschetta Chicken recipe!!!  My mother made this and we loved it!!!  It's super easy to make and tastes wonderful.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package stuffing mix
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw, cut into bit-size pieces
1 tsp basil
1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix tomatoes, stuffing, water and garlic until the stuffing mix is moistened.  Layer the chicken, basil and cheese in a baking dish.  Top with the stuffing mixture.  Bake 30 min.

The recipe is from Kraft Foods.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mom's Birthday

Mom and Dad arrived Friday night.  Mom's doing much better, but she's still a little dizzy when she walks.  Turns out there are crystals in your ears for balance and making coffee???... something, but hers have become unattached.  It's like Menears Disease, but not exactly.  There's actually no name for her issue.  We're calling it Ginger's Broken Brain Disease.  Because that's fun.

Saturday we went to the Christmas Tree Shop, then to Aldi's.  They have neither stores in Tennessee.  Mom found a $10 cane in Aldi's that she has found to be rather handy since she's still wobbly on her feet.  I'm not sure they think Aldi's is as great as I do, but it was certainly different.  And going to Wegman's at two on a Saturday afternoon was not happening!

Today was Mom's birthday.  Mom & I went to a Lia Sophia party at Kelly's house this morning and we had a great time.  Mom got some great jewelry from it, compliments of me and Dad.  Happy Birthday!!!

For dinner I made the ranch pork chop in the crock pot (awesome!) along with mashed potatoes and Drew made his infamous asparagus.  A total success!

Plus, Drew made a cake from scratch!!!  We didn't have candles, so we stuck a votive in it.  Classy.

Can you believe she's 66???  As expected, Dad went right for the ice cream.  

And here's the card I made.

Dad and I watched the Wales vs Italy rugby match while I made cards this afternoon.  It went mostly like this...

Dad : Why was that a penalty?
Me : I don't know.
Dad : What are they doing?
Me : A line-out.
Dad : Oh.  Well, why aren't they doing that pile thing?
Me : You mean scrum?
Dad : Yeah.
Me : I don't know.

Admittedly, there are a lot of elements to rugby that I don't understand.  

Wales won, as expected.  Yay!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mama Update

It wasn't food poisoning.  Turns out it's an inner ear problem that's making her incredibly dizzy and nauseous.  She's got some meds for it and is doing so-so.  Despite the doctor's protests, she's on her way to NY with my Dad.  They make the trip in two days.  They've stopped for the night now and will be here tomorrow.  My mother is unbelievably stubborn and she wasn't missing this trip for nothing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

For my mama

My mother, father and sister all live in Tennessee.  I live in New York.  After I tell people that I immediately point out that THEY moved away from NY.  I am NOT from TN.  Very important.

Tonight I wish I lived in Tennessee because my mommy is sick.  Looks like food poisoning.  A bad sandwich at a Birthday lunch at work.  No one else is sick, but apparently it was take out???  I'm not sure of the details, but it resembles food poisoning.

I had food poisoning once when I was in my early twenties.  Bad KFC.  One of the reasons you won't find me at KFC anymore.  Another reason is that even if it isn't poisoned, it's guaranteed you'll be spending some quality time in the bathroom after you've eaten it.  Don't get me wrong!  I love the food.  Just not the aftermath.

(Great, now I want some KFC.  Dang nabbit.)

Anyway, I was unbelievably sick.  Almost 24 hours straight in the bathroom.  Then in and out - A LOT - for three more days.  And when I was sick it was my mother that took care of me.  I wish I could be there to return the favor right now.

Of course, my mother would say, "Don't come see me when I'm sick!  Come see me when I'm well!  Then we can shop and visit and talk and go to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinsburg, etc...etc..."  And she's right.  We're not the type of family that relies on each other in illness or times of trouble.  We're the type of family that says, "Hey!  I got some extra cash to blow!  Let's go to Europe!" or "Hey!  I got Friday off!  Let's go to the wineries and laugh really loud!"  We like to play with each other during the good times.  During the bad we just mope in a corner.  And we prefer it that way.

Anyhoo....where was I?  Oh yeah.  My mama.  Here's some cards to cheer her up...

The above cards were made this past weekend.  It's the start of my Gift Shop collection.  There are a number of tea shops and little gift shops in the area.  I'm thinking about building up enough cards to go around and see if anyone wants to sell them in their shops.  Mainly because I'm going to make cards, 95% of which I will never use myself.  But I love to make them!!!  So, I might sell them instead.

The below card was requested by my girlfriend Julie.  Her sister-in-law is preggers and wanted to send her a card.  I found nothing in my stamp collection for "congrats on getting knocked up" or "thanks for contributing to the overpopulation of the world".  Everything is for a baby that's already been born and is currently polluting our nation's landfills.  I googled some ideas and found very little.  I liked the picture and I used to color it.  It kinda looks like the baby-momma!  The heart is on a pop-up, so it stands out better.  I actually think this card is cute, regardless of the fact that it's baby related.  Yuck!  ; )

Get better Mom!!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

TOPS 0625 Auburn

TOPS Club Organization rules dictate that officer elections are held at the first meeting in March. Seems goofy for a weight loss club but every position is voluntary, so we have to hold elections. Tonight nominations were made and votes were cast. Guess what? I'm Leader again.

There have been times when being Leader is not an enviable position. It can be stressful. Especially when you have a member in the club that's disruptive or isn't working out. We don't have members like that right now, but we have in the past.

Our club is fortunate that our members are there for friendship, motivation, support, and sometimes just to have a laugh. We do like to laugh. That's not to say that we don't take our weight loss seriously. We do. But we also know that laughter is the most powerful drug you can introduce to your diet.

So while part of me would just like to be a regular member sometimes, a much bigger part of me is happy to be Leader again. I feel like our club is getting some positive momentum in it. The members back me and they seem to be happy I'm up there taking care of the club business. I just hope I can also lead them towards the ultimate goal --- to be healthy and happy. The best way I know how to do that is to be a good example and a source of motivation.

The fact that I lost another two pounds this week is a great start. :)