Thursday, January 27, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Sometimes, "Walk It Off" Is Not the Best Advice

Once upon a time, I used to write a weekly series called Throwback Thursday. It was fun for me and I'm not sure why I got away from doing it. Anyhoodle, I'm bringing it back. Probably. Maybe. Or, perhaps today will be a fly-by, one and done type of deal. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

And, I digress.

So, yesterday, one of my team members was complaining of severe menstrual pain. Being female, albeit a female recently on the other side of the menstrual equation, I could relate to her pain. When I asked her if she had been expecting to entertain Aunt Flo this week, she said the most adorable thing; she said "No. I didn't even have the guest room ready". 


I almost wish I could go back in time to when my uterus wept bloody tears just to be able to use that phrase.

But, I still digress.

To the point: her discomfort reminded me of the time that we were in Mayberry for Thanksgiving (as well as celebrating my parent's fiftieth wedding anniversary) and Queen B was in serious pain. Since her uterus was, in fact, weeping bloody tears at the time, I assumed that she was having cramps, so, I suggested a hot bath.

When said hot bath failed to alleviate her discomfort, I cajoled her into joining me for a brisk walk around the block to work out the cramps. Brisk walk quickly devolved into her basically crawling along the asphalt, which, really should have served as a clue to her harried and inobservant mother.

After the walk, we joined the family at the dinner table to indulge in a turkey feast, and, somewhere between carving the turkey and passing the mashed potatoes, Queen B passed the fuck out right in her plate.

A hurried trip to the emergency room in Mount Pilot followed, with an almost immediate diagnosis of appendicitis  Now, you would think that I would have known my daughter had all the symptoms of appendicitis, given that we her brother had gone through that just a few years earlier, but, you would be wrong.

In my defense, when I was the same age that Queen B was at the time; I had terrible cramping when Aunt Flo was staying in the guest room (damn you, missed opportunity!!), so I just naturally assumed that Queen B was having a really gnarly period.

Huh. No wonder a Mother of the Year trophy is nowhere to be seen on my mantel.

Thus endeth this edition of Throwback Thursday. Tune in next week for the next exciting installment!



Wednesday, January 26, 2022

What's Up Wednesday: January 2022 Edition


It's the official first What's Up Wednesday of this brand new year, and, as always, I am linking up with Sheaffer and Shay.

What I'm Eating

I am very proud to say that I have been eating a very healthy diet, lately. I've managed to add more vegetables into my day, and to cut down on fat, and calories. It's actually not been hard; I'm not sure why I didn't start doing it again ages ago.

I have also started baking again on occasion, which means that I have control over the sugar content of my favorite breads; currently, cinnamon raisin is my go-to recipe.

What I'm Reminiscing About

I honestly haven't been reminiscing about anything, lately. January has never been one of my favorite months, so I don't really associate a lot of fun or interesting things with it. Am I alone in that?

What I'm Loving

I have my winter decor up and I love it! It's so relaxing to come home at night and be able to chill out in front of the fireplace with all the twinkling lights and sparkling mercury glass. I'll be sad when it's time to replace it with spring colors and Easter bunnies (no I won't).

What I've Been Up To

I've done lots and lots of self-care, recently, including: massages, leg waxing, long stretching sessions, home facials, and time spent in the leg compression gizmo that Hugh got me for Christmas.

What I've Been Working On

I am writing the biggest grant of my career; it's taking up a lot of my time and brain space.

What I'm Dreading

I'm dreading not getting the grant that I just mentioned; my operating budget basically depends on it.

What I'm Excited About

I have finally convinced Hugh that we need new furniture in our living room. The couch that we currently have is 16 years old; to say that it has outlived its' usefulness is a vast understatement. Shopping to commence soon.

What I'm Watching

Hugh, the Man-Cub and I went to an actual movie theater and watched Spiderman: No Way Home. It was an awesome movie. As an aside, the last time I was in a movie theater was before the pandemic and the movie was The Avengers: Endgame. I feel like I've come full circle.

I also watched the second season of Cheer and...I have mixed feelings. I have a great deal of respect for Coach Monica Aldama, but, man, I feel like she sold out there for a while. I know fame can be a seductive thing, but I really expected better from her.

What I'm Reading

I have not cracked open a book (Kindle) since we went to Hawaii in December; I simply haven't had time. This continues to make me sad.

What I've Been Listening To

I've been listening to my exercise playlist on repeat, and, I've been using this headband to do so; it works better for me than traditional earbuds, which are constantly falling out of my ears, no matter what size or shape I try.

What I've Been Wearing

Mostly, I have been wearing workout clothes. Do they fit well? Hell, no. Do I resemble  sausage meat stuffed into a spandex casing? Affirmative, Ghost Rider. Do I care? Well, yes...but not enough to keep from squeezing into them before I go to the gym.

I don't know if it counts as "wearing", but, this faux bun that I bought on Amazon has been attached to my own hair, so, I'm counting it.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

For the first weekend this month; Hugh will actually be home. So, we will be putting away the outdoor Christmas decorations, finally. Our neighbors will be so pleased.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

I am looking forward to being one month closer to summer. I think I say that every year at this time. Oh well, I am nothing if not predictable.

What Else Is New

The Man-Cub got a job! He starts today and I'm sure he's going to rock it!

Monday, January 24, 2022

A Day In the Life, Saturday Edition

My weekend went by far too quickly, as they are known to do. Saturday was especially busy, but, in a good way.

Hugh was at a tournament back East, so I did have the house to myself, unfortunately, his absence also means that I am on solo pet duty so sleeping in is pretty much out of the question. Guinness was on my chest at the crack of dawn, licking my face and attempting to "gently" rouse me from my slumber. I'm relatively certain that Finnigan puts him up to it since Finn knows that I would throw his fat ass off the bed if he attempted something similar.

Anyhoodle, I got up, fed the beasts (Boomer always waits so patiently downstairs), made a pot of coffee and settled in to watch an episode of The Pioneer Woman.

I had an appointment for a leg waxing at 11:00, so I showered and headed to Hooterville to grab a few supplies at The Hellmouth before checking in at the day spa for my treatment. I love the day spa; the robes are super cushy, the relaxation room is completely zen, and the tea they serve is fruity yet herbal at the same time.

And, who doesn't want to be completely relaxed before having hot wax spread across their lower appendages? Not to mention the millions of bee stings that follow?

I left the spa an hour later, with a bottle of mineral water and legs that no longer resembled a yeti, and headed home, where I changed into my workout clothes and made my way to the gym. I did a solid hour on the treadmill with nary another soul in sight.

By the time I got home, I had time to tidy up a bit before returning to Hooterville, where I joined The Newlyweds to celebrate Erin's birthday. We met at a restaurant that serves a good prime rib, which is what the birthday girl was craving. I had a Tuscan stuffed chicken breast that was amazing.

After dinner, we went back to the girls' house for cake and some aggressive pinata smacking. I hadn't been to a party with a pinata since the kids were in elementary school; leave it to Kristi to choose the party games.

I got home early enough to drink a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, and then it was off to dreamland. So, not a completely typical Saturday, but fairly close to one.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Recipes From the Porch: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

It's been a while since I shared a recipe. It's also been a while since I baked this bread. Coincidence? Discuss.

Anyhoodle, this bread is made in a bread machine, which, makes it super simple. If you have a bread machine, I mean, obviously. If you don't have a bread machine, you'll have to knead the dough. With your hands.

That's much harder, friends.


1 1/4 Cups water at room temperature

2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk

2 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 cups bread flour

2 1/2 tsp.cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp. yeast (I use yeast made for bread machines)

1 cup raisins

Every bread machine has it's own set of instructions for how to add the ingredients; mine calls for the wet ingredients to be added first, followed by the dry. It also instructs me to use a spatula to smooth the dry ingredients completely over the wet, making sure to have dry ingredients touching each side of the pan.

So, pour water and vegetable oil into pan. Add flour, salt, dry milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Top with yeast. 

Different bread machines also have different programs for different types of bread. On my machine, I chose the Basic Bread program for this recipe. I can also select the darkness of my crust; for this particular loaf, I chose Light.

My bread machine alerts me when it's time to add additional ingredients, such as nuts, raisins, etc., so, when I hear the beep, I add the raisins.

This recipe produces a dense, fruity loaf; it's delicious.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Just Another Friday Favorites Post

But, not just any Friday Favorites; it's the first Friday Favorites of 2022! 

In no particular order:

I've written about this amazing pasta sauce several times; recently, my local chain market stopped carrying it. I was heartbroken. When I mentioned it to my sister Barbie at Christmas, she immediately contacted her friend who does the buying for the chain market, specifically, the buying for the pasta/pasta sauce department. Her friend ordered several jars for me and my sister shipped them earlier this week. I am now a happy, happy girl who will be making butternut squash lasagna, butternut rigatoni, and various other butternut pasta concoctions.

While organizing my makeup drawer in my bathroom last weekend, I rediscovered this Too Faced eye shadow pallet. I had forgotten how much I love it and I've been using it on repeat every day this week.

I am on a 21 day step streak! And, while the gym is starting to get a little more crowded; I still usually have plenty of room between myself and the next treadmill occupant.

I got several compliments on my hair today... which I replied "Thanks! I bought it on Amazon!" I really did; it's a faux bun that goes on over my own bun,  scrunchie-style. I'm wearing it on days that I can't be bothered to wash my hair, which, let's be honest, constitute a lot of days. As an aside...

Favorite dry shampoo, currently.

And that's about it for this week's month's particular Friday Favorites post (making no promises for regularity here).

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Weekend Update...On Wednesday...Because My Week is Whack

I meant to post this yesterday, but my week got even whackier and....that didn't happen. This is often the case when I have a "short" week due to a federal holiday. For whatever reason, when we take Monday off, the rest of the week doubles down on us to make up for our hubris.

Anyhoodle, here is what I meant to post yesterday: a recap of the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

I started off by baking bread. It had been a hot minute since I did so, and, I had a suspicion that my yeast may no longer be viable, so I did a quick test and...DOA. So, off to the store I went to buy a fresh jar.

While the bread kneaded away in my bread machine, I went outside to take down some of the Christmas decorations (yep, we are those people. In my defense, Hugh has been gone more often than he is home and I can hardly be trusted on solid ground, let alone a ladder). While I was pulling the garlands from the windows, I got buzzed by this guy...

...he has been hanging around the bird feeders in the back yard. He's obviously not interested in the fruit and nut seed blend that I am currently serving up but is, instead, stalking the chip monks and mice that gather at the ground below the feeders, picking at what the birds knock down.

Sunday evening, the Man-Cub came over for dinner. He had specifically requested tuna and noodles, so, he got tuna and noodles.

As an aside, Hugh can't stand hot tuna so he got chili. It's like I'm running a diner over here.

After dinner, the Cub, Hugh and I went to Hooterville to see the new Spiderman movie (highly recommended!). It was the first time I have been in a theater since before the pandemic. Unfortunately, it would appear that people have forgotten their movie manners; a group of middle school-aged kids had to be kicked out mid-film because they had forgotten how to use their inside voices. I was quite annoying and the entire theater cheered when the theater's equivalent of a bouncer booted them from the building.

I spent the rest of my weekend time at the gym, in the kitchen, or on the couch, binging the latest season of Cheer on Netflix (so many thoughts). I was in good company...

It was a nice weekend, so, I won't complain again about how my week is going now. I mean, I won't complain again about how it is going.

But I did mention that it's been whack, right?


Monday, January 17, 2022

Don't I Know You?

I had an interesting conversation with a victims advocate from one of our partnering agencies recently. She was venting about the toll that perimenopause is taking on her life. She spoke about the physical challenges; the weight gain, irregular periods, thinning hair, and hot flashes. She shared the mental and emotional side-effects; the brain fog, depression, inexplicable periods of pure anger and rage. We bonded over the damage that endless nights of interrupted sleep will do to a person's psyche.

It was both sad to hear and good to hear (in a "we're all in this together" sort of way).

After our conversation, I thought a lot about where I am now on this journey and it occurred to me, that, for the first time in a really long time; I recognize myself. 

Recently, I have had moments when I can clearly see the me who used to feel good about herself. The me who was optimistic and who could find the bright side in difficult situations. The me who knew peace.

There are also ways in which I still don't recognize who I have become. Physically, I am a wreck of my previous self. I look in the mirror and I see an overweight, frumpy, middle-aged woman. The things that my body used to be able to do have become a challenge for me; things like balancing on one leg to pull my pants up on the other leg without falling over have become frustratingly difficult. 

The old me is making a run at the current me. I have been dutifully exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting a decent amount of sleep (I'm actually sleeping deeply enough to dream again), maintaining my hormone balance, and taking vitamins and supplements like my life depends on it (maybe it does). 

I understand that two years of neglect will not be quickly undone, so; I'm not expecting fast results. I am focusing on how moving more and eating better are improving my mental and emotional well-being, both of which are rebounding far more quickly than my muscles.

I am hopeful that I will eventually return to some semblance of my previous physical form, but, for now; I am thrilled as shit to finally be able to look in my head and say, "hey, don't I know you?". 

Maybe not in the mirror, but, I'm working on that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Gettin' Hygge With It

I have never been a huge fan of winter; I don't care for the short days, cold weather, or dreary landscape. Snow is pretty and all, but I hate driving in it, shoveling it, and, watching it turn to dirty ice as it melts, refreezes, and melts, again.

As you may imagine, this makes January and February my least favorite months of the year (December gets a pass, for obvious, more joyful reasons).

The only redeeming factor of winter is that it encourages me to practice the Danish custom of Hygge, which is basically just hibernating in the coziest way possible within your own home. Now, do you have to hibernate alone? Heavens, no. But Hygge requires that company in your home also feel as cozy as possible.

Cozy? Cosy? I'm unclear...and I digress.

Anyhoodle, in my home, I require the following in order to achieve maximum coziness/cosiness:

  • Candlelight
  • Roaring fire
  • Comfy blankets
  •  Fuzzy socks
  • Good book
  • Wine
  • Good music 
  • Decor inspired by nature

This totally excuses the fact that I technically still have up a Christmas tree. I mean, it went up at Christmas and it is a tree, buuuuut, it is bare of ornaments, save for a few pinecones nestled in its' branches. Therefore, it is a Hygge Tree.

Que the normalization of Hygge Trees in three, two, one....

Anyhoodle, if anyone wants to come over and relax at my place; I've got wine and Adele. The dress code is comfy PJs and fuzzy socks and the secret code word for entry is cozy/cosy.

I don't care how you spell it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Why Does This Always Surprise Me?

I started back at the gym this week (New Year, shocker!). I go in the evening after work and I walk on the treadmill. I have found that I am more out of shape than I have ever been when starting this weight-loss journey and I am both disappointed in myself and frustrated. I am, nevertheless, determined to pull myself together.

New year and all.

Since I feel this way, I naturally assumed that others would as well, so, I prepared myself to fight for a treadmill the first night I went to the gym. And yet...


I am reminded that this has happened in previous years and that it is always followed by crowds at the gym as spring looms, so I am enjoying the peace and quiet while I can.

The sudden switch to physical activity has left my body shocked. Luckily, Hugh gifted me with this contraption for Christmas... seems to be helping with the soreness.

So, in the immortal words of Whitesnake, Here I go again on my own...



Sunday, January 02, 2022

Putting In a Good Word For 2022

For the past couple of years, I've chosen a word to represent my goals and aspirations for each new year. Last year, I used a hyphenated word: Self-care. It seemed like a good word, given my state of being following a full year of suck (I'm looking at you, 2020).

I did a relatively good job of living up to the word(s). I scheduled more massages, facials, and reflexology appointments than I had in the previous few years, combined. I was mostly kind to myself. I cut myself some slack and I showed myself some grace.

All good things.

I ruminated over my word for 2022, but, in the end, it came to me as the answer to most of life's most pressing questions come to me; in my earliest waking moment, following a vivid dream.


Strength to face the things that I need to face.

Strength of body.

Strength of mind.

Strength to share with people who need it from me.

Acceptance of strength offered to me by others.

Strength in my faith.

I pray for the ability to find strength in all aspects of my life and for the grace to ask for strength when I find it lacking.

Let's do this 2022.

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”
-Victor Hugo