For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is enamel a filling food?

Today I chipped a tooth; my left front tooth to be exact. One might think it reasonable that I chipped a tooth whilst braving the current icy sidewalks and streets. Or that I ran into, fell from or headbutted something. But no, I chipped my tooth biting into a veggie wrap. It's not noticeable at this point to anyone but the tip of my tongue flicking over and over this new, miniscule groove.

But oh the suckage if this chip expands! And what rot that it took place while eating something relatively benign...althought there were raw carrots in the wrap and I was eating in a famished fervor. The sound and grating when it happened made me (momentarily) forget that I was so hungry. I ran to the mirror to see if I still HAD a tooth; which I did. Later, after coming to terms with the fact that my tooth was still 98% in tact, I wondered if the voracious way in which I was attacking my food had something to do with the split? What if I'd been more careful biting into my sprouts, onions, carrots, lettuce, peppers and wheat?

Maybe I WOULD be more careful if I wasn't so freaking hungry!! So here's the moral to my story: I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks back. I've not really dropped much weight b/c I've been drinking too much alcohol at times and then eating the requisite greasy, high fat, high point foods afterwards. But I am done about 1.5 pounds (in a month and a half...not great in my opinion) It's my own fault. What I will positively credit WW with is my enhanced awareness at what goes into my system.
Their new Momentum plan (released right when I started so I'm unfamiliar w/ any other plans) focuses on FILLING FOODS. I've been hearing this for several weeks now , but today's eating episodes proves their point. I had an appointment this morning, and did not eat before going. So I was stomach growly around 10:30 and wanting some joe and breakfast. There was a Brugger's Bagel nearby (free wifi!), and I was prepared with my WW Dining Out Guide in my purse.
I ordered the lowest point breakfast I could find: a honey wheat bagel toasted (6 pts) and plain light cream cheese (2). 8 points is 3 more than I usually have for breakfast when I make it myself at home. As an aside, I've been having 3 egg whites with a dab of hot habenero jelly on either a whole wheat english muffin or low cal bread. The food portion of my at home breakfasts are either 3 or 4 points. I always allow myself a point's worth of flavored creamer in my coffee. It's my daily survival technique. So for a max of 5 points, I've made a tasty breakfast and I can usually go ok until lunchtime. Eggs are a filling food (alas, bread of all kinds is not).

Today's bread only breakfast had me hungry only 2 hours later. I staved it off with so zero point veggie broth, which was nice on this snowy, icy day. But another hour later I was dying for some real food. So I made this HUMONGOUS veggie wrap for only 2 points (veggies are freebies and the wrap itself was the 2 points) with zero point condiments of mustard and horseradish. I was so hungry and fully convinced to inhaled this major meal which I tried to do. I attacked my wrap, and paid a penance with my tooth.

To fully round out the day, I was much more full (veggies are freebies AND filling foods) after my wrap. I later made a hot potatoe salad out of 3 small new potatoes, a box of frozen spinach, a blend of fat free sour cream and fat free mayo, dill and pepper (3 points for the potatoes, 1 point for the condiments). Again, very full afterwards. So, the moral of my story is: this filling food thing is for real! I have the chipped tooth to proof it.
ps - apparently chipped ham is also NOT a filling food. Lean ham slices however, are.

Friday, January 23, 2009

James Spaderville

Ooooh! Aaaah! OH! I am an intrigued kitten. I recently ran across a new (to me) cable channel ION. Through the miracles of Tivo, I found this station b/c I was taping Boston Legal episodes. My great joy occurred a few weeks ago, when I discovered that 3 old episodes are aired every Tuesday & Wedneday. 6 shows a week for me to catch up on! WHOO HOO!

Now comes the best part: James Spader. This man entered my life in 1986 with his glorious feathered hair and anti-Andy approach to high school. Between the hair and the character name Steff, he was fairly effeminate...and wonderfully manly at the same time like so much of the 80's. And then, post Pretty In Pink I lost him completely. He fell out of my planet's orbit. I know he's had other roles, but nothing that made any lasting impressions on me.

Then came Boston Legal. The feathered hair is shorter and thinner. The waistline on his suit is wider and darker. But he's the same, no he's BETTER than he ever was. I love his hand gestures when he's in trial. Those odd eyes whose iris' seem so small. He's just intriguing. And I love to laugh with him. Word Salad. Humperdinck.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Day!

There was no way I was going to venture out in the 11 degree weather at 4 a.m. to get a standing-only position on the mall for today's big swearing in. So, the husband and I arrived early at a favorite of ours, Busboys & Poets. This social justice focused bookstore and restaurant was hosting a one megatron viewing of the event. Plus, we could eat and sit in warmth knowing the roaring crowds were a mere 2 miles away. We got great seats and talked with fellow community members squooshed in nearby. The 3 hours until things got under way sped by, and soon the inside din applied the only censorship I hope to see under this administration.

Everyone silenced themselves as the music played, speeches were made and history unveiled itself before our eyes. I was so pleased to be a part of today's we all are! The buzz of the morning stayed with me all day; until this evening when the reality of our econmic crisis hit me upside the head.

We are trying to refinance our home. And news came in that the process we'd been told would be so fluid and care-free now WASN'T. Twice during this refi process, I've come to sobering terms with the fact that if we are having this much trouble, and we find ourselves in a position to be able to research current climate, try to find the best possible deal for ourselves, speak with some knowledge to bankers, etc...if we are having this much much MORE difficult, frustrating and frankly impossible must the home ownership process be for those less fortunate? ppplllbbbbtth.

Seriously, I'm so thrilled to see the hope instilled in our country after the November election and with the official transfer of administration. But somethings have been the way they are for decades, centuries even. How does a system, a nation, a planet expand itself to assist all with similar means of care? I'm crestfallen at our personal struggles, but I'm even more deflated at the fact that comparatively, we are in the blessed upswinging arch of this country's bellcurve.

I was praying to turn to situation over to God; to let Him take control (which He has anyway) and step back from the driver's seat. I'm also much more aware in this moment than I was earlier today, when caught up in the ardor of the inaugural events, that if change is going to come this term and beyond it is up to each of us to reach out to each other and give support. While I do hope this refi situation works out, I hope to hold on to this lesson as the opportunity gained.

God Bless America!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beginning of Year: Fire Quest 2009

For one of my first posts, I'm 'leveraging' a list of End of Year reflection questions from Light, Sweet, Crude's blog. Thank you for the idea! This look back helps the thought for a forward look into 2009, and my '09 resolutions are included.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
A.) At the end of the year, I joined Weight Watchers. I've had 15-20 lbs of excess almost since the day I got married (note to self: cruises do not foster an environment of portion control) I finally broke down and admitted that I needed some help in getting these pounds OFF. I know how to do it. I just wasn't. So I signed up and have been going to meetings and 'sporadically' tracking food intake for 6 weeks now. It's helping. I've been exercising more regularly and I'm much more aware of how MUCH food I'm consuming. I've even lost 3 lbs. I think if I cut way back on wine intake, the lbs will fall off that much more quickly.

B.) Gave myself a demotion back into a job I actually enjoy.

C.) Cooked a completely VEGAN Thanksgiving meal.
Spent Thanksgiving just the two of us.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?
Alas, I was not at all regular in sticking to my resolutions for 2008. I did MORE of those things, but they were far from daily. I will, however, make and have made, resolutions for 2009. I will even post them here on the off chance that anyone reads them, they will be that much more transparent and me likewise accountable.

1. Memorize 1 scripture/week
2. Plant a veggie garden
3. Show off my tattoo w/out shame by bathing suit season (aka, get in better shape)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my friend Jewels had beautiful twin boys. This is the first close friend of my generation to have kid(s).

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thank you, Lord!

5. What countries did you visit?
In 2008, I stayed 100% on U.S. soil; though I came close to Canada whilst in Seattle.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Peace - of mind, of globe.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 8. We had a lovely day attending the Green Festival in DC. I remember sitting in traffic on the way home thinking streams of consciousness like "What a nice day. I'm tired. This weather is lovely. I wonder if something bad will happen to offset all these nice things?"

Why do I think things like that? Always waiting for the other shoe to drop when things are going well? 2 hours later I receive a call from my Dad that he, my mom and my granny were in a car accident. He and my Granny were doing fine. My mom, however took the brunt of the hit, was ambulanced to the hospital and was critical.

She'd broken an arm clean through and hit her head. They had to put her in a halo and we almost lost her completely. I saw her a week later, still in the hospital. My energetic, vibrant mother of 58, laying in bed helpless, unable to move without assistance, 4 steel pins drilled into her hed and a 35 lb. steel device permenantly attached to her to prevent her neck from moving.

I stayed a week with her, trying to help. 4 weeks after the accident, she was released from the hospital. Now, 2 months later, she is still in the halo, but is on the road to complete recovery!! THANK YOU, LORD!! She will probably get the halo off in another month, and I'm going back to visit for a weekend of mother/daughter beauty treatments and celebration.

This date is etched in my memory b/c it is the day priorities were reordered, true meaning in life became apparent. Our time here on earth is finite. We should be cherishing our loved ones, spending time with them, spending time enjoying everything this world and those in it have to offer. Even now, 2 months later, I am more of a hermit than I'd like to be. But I am VERY cognizant of the gift of life and family. I'm so thankful for my mother being spared.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I let go of my old career notions that I had to always be moving up the corporate ladder. I gave up a management role I despised for a 'lower pedestal' job that I enjoy and gives me a quality of life I crave. It was a big lesson for me, but having learned it at 33, I consider myself lucky!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I allowed my management job malaise to effect my daily attitude and outlook. I was depressed, overate, sluggish, bitter. I wish I had had the strength to confront that challenge and life consuming role with a 'what can I learn while in this?' approach. But, on the bright side (see #8) I DID learn something FROM the situation, and have extricated myself from that position.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I messed up my right knee carrying laundry up our basement stairs. Note to self: multiple trips are much better than physical injury.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our home! We moved from Florida back to the DC metro area and I LOVE LOVE LOVE our house.

12. Where did most of your money go?
See #11...and we were paying 2 mortgages for half the year b/c it took a while to sell our Florida home. Again, God is GOOD b/c 'a while' was only 7 months and in the current housing climate, it could have been so much worse.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving back to DC! I had a mantra in 2007: 33 and in DC and I did it. I turned 33 and we're living back in DC. Also, adding onto my tattoo. The husband and I got tattoos together to celebrate his 40th birthday. I love them both. Painful as a MUG. But I've already got a small itch to add on even more. :)

14. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Rattlin' Bones by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, but a bit more muscle.
c) richer or poorer? About the same financially, but I feel richer in spirit.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Written. Played music. Laughed. Prayed. Listened. Exercised. Thanked.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Complained. Taken for granted. Binged.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
In Florida, with loved ones.

19. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I was already in love with my husband, but 2008 brought challenges that we perservered through together. I believe this brought us closer to each other. I fell in love with the notion of having a child ourselves someday (which wavers only when in the presence of screaming children. Note I stated my love was of a NOTION. Not sure I've reached the full throttle love of the state of kids itself.)

20. What was your favorite TV program?
Oh the shame of this: I really enjoyed Gossip Girl. At the same time, I thought during each episode "I would NEVER let my kids watch this. This show deals with extreme adult content, yet they couch it as a show about highschoolers. Which means middle schoolers are watching it too, and there is NO WAY my middle schooler would be allowed to watch this." So, with that disclaimer, I enjoyed Gossip Girl.

I also tivo'd Top Chef, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, The Office, and Boston Legal. Perhaps I should not be watching so much tv...

21. What was the best book you read?
I am polygamist, serial book reader. I regularly read several books at once; often non-fiction, reading only the parts that interest me most and rarely cover-to-cover. That being my disclaimer and having enjoyed parts of Andrew Weil, Dean Ornish, Gardening, Raw Foods and other's book I DID read in it's entirety was "I'm Not the New Me" by Wendy McClure. It was amusing, and I related to her story of trying to lose weight and not herself in the process.

22. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't get out to many movies at the theatre. I did see Sex and the City, Kung Fu Panda, Burn After Reading. We had netflix, but I don't really recall anything stellar from that either. Come to think of it, I've been considering cancelling for a while now. I think I will. Less tv/movie media is needed in my life all the way around!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33 in September 2008. I took the day off work, got a massage and wrote in my journal. Sounds like a lovely, relaxing day. Unfortunately, the massage went awry and I could hardly walk out of the place. I had a general sense of malaise the whole day. I decided to shake it off and not make it omen-like for my 33rd year. And thus far, the shaking bad things off approach has worked! Note to self: I am in control of my emotions. I only allow myself to be affected by negative influences or self-talk. I can change how I view circumstances to be positive and opportunistic.

24. What kept you sane?
My mother and my husband.

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I get a kick out of the wording of this question. Jessica and Ashlee Simpson are not celebrities I fancy (get it? Fancy is Jessica Simpson's perfume. I truly think the name is terrible. Not thrilled about the scent either.) But I did reguarly look them up online to see about their latest, ridiculous quote, event or wardrobe choice. Sometimes, just seeing how people with fame and fortune lead lives I'd never want, made me feel better about any minor issue I was facing.

26. Who did you miss?
My Papa. Every day for 5 1/2 years.

27. Who was the best new person you met?
A now colleague that I hired early on the year. She's smart, curious, lovely, a Christian and I think she is going to go far in whatever path she chooses.