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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Grilling Season.

 The newest change I've made to my diet is I'm back to grilling again on the BBQ. The gazebo we bought is fantastic, I slid our patio set over a bit and  pushed the grill under it a couple of weeks ago so we can now use it year around. David was a little so-so but has gotten on the bandwagon and was out there flipping burgers last night. Of course since the weather decided to go back to spring for the first day of winter that's not too much of a hardship these days. The temperatures have gotten so warm a long sleeved shirt will suffice.  This morning I took Molly to the park to meet up with Charlene my friend and Libby who is Molly's friend. Molly has no issues with her at this point, she seems to recognize her and has relaxed to the point they walk together side by side. She will still not allow Charlene to pet her, but you can see she's starting to want her to. The rain was sputtering when we got there but we brought umbrellas and for most of the time it was just windy and damp, we ended up putting our umbrellas down as the wind was wanting to turn them inside out. So the weather was not the greatest but we both know these warm days will be far and few between for awhile so it doesn't have to be perfect for us to walk. When I got back I took both dogs outside and into the woods for about an hour, then they went in the house while I took the grill apart as it had reached a critical point in the Ickiness Factor.  I scrubbed the bananas out of it , that got done and I have chicken marinating  for tonight. Hmm, are you surprised after all I've been writing about factory farming that I would be marinating chicken from Sam's Club? I am still forging forward with that - I admit I've eaten a little cheese and had milk in my coffee, but it's greatly reduced and as I replace the dairy with soy based substitutes it will decrease further. David and I have started talking about the meat part of it and possibly looking into buying a side of beef from a local farmer - I'm not opposed to burgers and so forth, just the methods that are being employed to obtain them. Did you know that 40 years ago there were hundreds of slaughter houses privately owned and now there are 13? For the entire nation?  And that will be eventually reduced to one or two. That they can "process" up to 32,000 pigs a day? That a great deal of the workers have constant infections from the meat they work with and their hands can become so infected they lose their nails?  That all the beef and chicken you're eating has been rinsed with bleach or ammonia to keep the levels of E. Coli down - did you know that? Well, neither did I - and all of this is simply due to me trying to find a diet I can stay on. Now I have to find a diet I can live with.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like, Well, Rain Quite Frankly.

There is nothing nice about rain in December - oh I know I know! But if I hear one more time "At least it's not snow" I'll shriek! We HAD snow last week so now the ground has defrosted and it's raining on top of that gooey mess. I've been goofing off in the woods with the hooligans continuing in path clearing ,but it's slow going and wet to boot. Molly hurt her front leg this morning, she and Boo were running full tilt, she wasn't watching where she was going and slammed into the Rose Of Sharon. I have to admit she's come a long way though - instead of freaking out and not letting us near her, she stood on 3 legs and bawled loud enough to wake the dead.  Typical injury for this breed of dog, their long, skinny legs are prone to sprains - David escorted Boobins back in the house while I calmed Molly down and got her walking. She's fine, a little sore but nothing a couple of biscuits didn't fix. I'll keep her quiet for the rest of the day and she'll be fine.  I went to party for my knitting group last week, that was fun and we did more eating than knitting. Trying to behave food wise is near to impossible this time of year, but if I can just hold back the tide and then go full tilt in January I'll be more than happy. My group will not be meeting again until January 7th as both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve fall on Tuesdays. I'm on call for both of them plus the actual holiday so it's easier that way anyhow. I went out today to do some grocery shopping and a little holiday shopping - I did a little and came back home. I stopped at Old Navy and their computers were misbehaving so the line quickly backed up and it was not a very Christmassy atmosphere I might add. I got Jackson and Brandi's gift in the mail stopping at Star City and then back home to the sogginess we call home. I bought a very wee little turkey and a tofurkey for me while I was out, we will do the actual holiday when Jackson and Brandi get here. As we get older Christmas gets quieter and quieter, the decorations fewer, not much not much. I miss the Christmas of the past of course, when the kids were little and excitement level was high, the big breakfast you couldn't eat because of the candy you couldn't wait for, everyone busy exploring their new stuff.  Now it's just a quiet day for some reason.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

When The Wind Blows.

 The weather has been back and forth lately - this morning it was crappy, cold rain but really not too bad temperature wise. I had to drive over to Ruby to get some pediatric test tubes this morning - I could have done it tomorrow but that would have taken  more time out of my day so I did it this morning. I had to pick up a few things so I left early, David filled the van with junk from the foreclosure so he'd planned on taking my car. I got back in good time but he got out there and discovered he'd forgotten the key so he shopped for decoration and came home. In the meantime the temps dropped again and the roads are a bit of a mess.  As long as it's done by tomorrow morning whatever. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer yesterday - everyone aside from myself just loves to stick things in there willy nilly. It looked like a yard sale and I had  no idea what we had for food. So yesterday I took everything out, sorted, threw out the Meats Of Mystery - some so discolored by freezer burn they were orangish - and put it all back in order. The Hooligans stayed underfoot hoping I would drop it on the floor so they could snaffle it up ASAP which didn't happen. Today I made home made seiten which I do once in awhile and then started a new list as I'm almost out of vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, etc... I am NEVER buying any more grain products from that place in Kingwood - honestly. The flax meal was so infested it stuck together, I just pitched it and used the old stuff. Eww. I'm onto the next round of charts for the shawl I'm knitting but am dithering around about it. It's a bit more complicated than I had anticipated so I keep reading the directions and will start again once I'm sure of what I'm doing. I think to have to frog it would be difficult at best, impossible at worst. So I'm being very careful. I continue to work on the woods, I have my clippers and grab them every time I head out there with Frick and Frack. I clear paths while they sniff and bounce, snacking on deer poo and racing off when I yell at them to STOP IT NOW. We've had to worm them once already and they don't seem to care a bit. Molly actually loves the medications, I think she would have happily taken off with the syringe I dose her with to chew on at her leisure. The vet was not overly upset, he gave enough to dose them both once a month for the next 3 months. I'm going to move my garden this year too, it will be way closer to the house so I'll be starting on that soon. I take a shovel and turn the earth while I'm outside with the dogs, it gives me something to do besides sit on the couch and eat.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Food Is My Religion

I took a test on religious knowledge once on Face book that Donna had posted and was very surprised to see how well I did. When I asked her about she said that atheists tended to score much higher because they tend to question and research everything. In retrospect that's true - I've researched Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, Egyptian, etc. I went back in, read more, talked to people and have come away with the belief that makes the most sense to me after sifting through the chafe.As I've been reading and watching documentary after documentary (Vegacated, Chow Down, Farmmaggedon, Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, etc)  researching on food and diet it occurred to me I"m once again approaching it from my fact gathering, sorting and figuring it out. It's a lot more complex the more I delve. I do not want to go back to Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins, etc - do they work? Of course they do! I've lost 30 pounds on each of them. Losing is not the issue, not having to diet is. The problem with dieting is you feel like you're under house arrest all the time - when you eat out did you make a good choice? If I don't eat all day can I hog down donuts tonight? And then you add in my blood work that is okay but not great, my horror at watching how farm animals are treated including how they get dairy products, my lack of time - as far as I've been able to conclude my diet will now have to consist of lint, air and whatever dust bunnies I can scrounge up under the sofa. The vegan thing is complicated by the fact you really have to read the labels closely- some products are literally wolves in Sheep's clothing. - "Go Veggie" soy cheese you would think was vegan -NOT. It's actually made of out of casein, which is milk protein. And then there is the cost, 11 slices of Dayia soy cheese,a true vegan product is about $6 - it's expensive to behave.When you add in the rest soy, tempeh, fresh vegetables, etc it adds up very fast. The preparation time also factors in as you can keep the calories and cost down if you make it yourself, but that comes back to time and effort. And no, I'm not complaining, I'm turning this problem over and over, like a Rubik's Cube, hoping if I hit the right combination it will stick. I am not going on yet another diet, for crying out loud I"m 52 years old, I should be able to control myself. And that is what makes me a little angry and distressed - because I HAVE been controlling it and I feel better in a week than I have in awhile. I've lost about 5 pounds without even trying and if that's the result, why oh why do I feel cheated eventually? Why, when I finally lose the weight I should do  I then act like I've crossed the finish line, won the race and no longer have to do this? The reality is I can afford to eat a good, healthy diet, I have exercise equipment in the basement, I have an app on my Ipad that tracks my carbs,protein, etc to make sure things stay in balance, I may not have the time but I can certainly make the time to eat right and exercise. I guess that's the part that really I need to get my head around ,that it's not a punishment, or unfair or even some commie plot - it's me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Some Days Are Better Than Others.

I'm never completely happy, I suppose very few people are - but the past few days have been very nice. That's not to say things are going entirely smoothly, they are not. But for the most part we've managed to muddle through in an acceptable way. David has been squirrelling around with the insurance on the foreclosures, he sent in the last of the information required and checked online his insurance account with Liberty Mutual. Imagine his surprise to find the insurance had been cancelled in November despite his getting emails requesting more information. When he called he was told they did not cover vacant houses even if they're in the process of being renovated, that he's there every day and he was very clear on why he owns them in the first place. They do cover second - and third homes if they're vacation homes - even if they're only occupied a couple weeks a year. When he asked why they'd insured the Bruceton Mills house and not these, they had no answer. Ditto on why no one had bothered to call to let him know there was a problem.  He had a couple sleepless nights - two houses completely uninsured with no letter letting you know will do that - but he's gotten it straightened out. My diet is going pretty good, but it's a little rough going. I still have not been able to do any dairy, after seeing Vegedcated, every time I think about it all I can see is that man shocking that poor pig that he called over to him, and while the pig is still twitching and immobilized dragging it over to the vat of scalding water and pushing it in - alive. Bacon, any one? I know not every farm animal is killed like that but the association is still killing me. Hopefully it will pass enough to allow  a little bit of cheese but in the meantime I've restocked on my vegan go to's and there is no suffering the house of Julia tonight. I had my 30,000 mile tune up today - the oil light came on in my car a couple of days ago inspiring me to call Dave the Supervisor at Subaru. He had me check the oil and told me if there was none on the dipstick to add some. I inquired as to where I should do that and he said maybe I should just leave it alone if there was oil on the stick. Good call Dave, good call. The weather has been very cold, the other morning on the way to work I was sitting in traffic wondering why we were going so slow. From the other direction a small black SUV came careening,sliding across right in front of my car, plowed down the bank just missing the telephone pole, ping ponged back on the road taking out the front of the car behind me and careening BACK to the other lane right before slamming into the embankment - all I can say is lucky girl! She deployed every bag in the car but lived to tell about it. I made her sit, called 911 and waited until a family friend showed up but everyone was alright thank goodness. Today we got our Christmas shopping started, thought about putting up the decorations and took a nap instead, played with Mollyann and Boo - their names morph on occasion - and that was about it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Things Of Which We Do Not Speak.

 I am struggling to get my weight - and more importantly my diet under control and yes, there is a difference between the two. My weight shows some of the results, but my blood work this year was far more telling. Most people would be happy with my results - but my cholesterol is up, my glucose sucks, Vitamin D is in the toilet and that is the first time it's ever been that way. I've found my fifties to be a midlife crisis of sorts, where I'm questioning how I'm going to live the rest of my life and that definitely plays into the diet and exercise. So I've been watching documentaries on diet and more specifically vegetarian as that is what I've been for a very long time now. The only thing I've never been able to give up is dairy and when I examine that, most of my dairy with the exception of cheese is substitutes (soy milk, nondairy creamers, etc) and that is going to be reduced further. I was watching "Vegecated" this morning while I worked out and at one point I stopped so I could cry. How do we justify what we do to farm animals? I've supported hunting for years and will continue to do so, I'm not against eating meat. Just because I don't eat it doesn't give me the right to tell others not to - and I don't even think it's wrong personally. I have friends that have small herds and those cows and bulls are treated very humanely - most of the cattle farms here are family owned and you see them out grazing the fields until their days are done.  But the inhumanities we practice with factory farming are beyond the scope of thought. Most people do not realize that cattle are skinned alive as it's more cost effective, pigs are dropped live into vats of scalding water, some even trying to swim to safety while they scream from the pain. Chickens are hung upside down and their heads are run through electrified water baths - it makes you wonder who we are calling animals, That was a very small part of this documentary, the focus was more on taking 3 people and seeing the effect of a full vegan diet had on them. But the impact of those short clips of film were enormous and supports my position on hunting even more. For years I've had to listen to people talk about how they're against hunting while they are happily downing yet another burger - I'm glad I don't eat meat and even though I doubt I'll ever be able to completely go vegan, it will certainly make me more consciousness in the future of what I put into my mouth. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Post.

We've done Thanksgiving with Ray for about four years now - every year he thinks it's too much trouble and every year we do not. And it's not - it's a tradition. This year Adam joined us which worked well. We made arrangements to stay at the Hampton Inn down the road and Adam slept over Ray's. This year I also reserved the room with Orbitz over the Internet - the con is the room is non refundable at that rate, the pro is the rate was $160 less than we usually pay - with a discount like that, I'll take my chances. Molly and Reuben went to Dog Jail, it's Molly's first time being incarcerated and we can't pick them up til 5 pm today, I'm curious to see how she did. She actually went with the guy better than Reuben did, she has improved vastly over the past 4 months. I know that our intense socializing her has help a great deal and even though I hate to put them in the kennel I think this might actually benefit her further. Anyhoo, we arrived in Kearney about 3 pm, checked in  and ran off to Ray's. We had our dinner at The Stack as we do every year - well, except for when they got hit by hurricane Sandy and were down for the count. After we went back to Ray's and yakked. And yakked. The next morning we were back at The Stack for breakfast, then off shopping . We avoided the Stampede that was on the news, we were really just interested in the book store and a few other small venues. After back to Ray's - David was tired so I drove to Olive Garden where we met up with Jackie for dinner. Jackie and I are always laughing as we both have older relatives that spend a great deal of time sneaking off with silverware, sugar bowls and milk pitchers so we lament our small handbags that don't fit coffee carafes and we'll bring them next time. I don't think restaurants are as forgiving now - when I was a kid it was almost part of the meal to  sneak off with the ice tea spoons - I thought everyone had a set of spoons that had Howard Johnson printed down the front. On the way home Ray said there was a comet and we looked for it until David the Passenger loudly announced he was not comfortable with the driver scanning the heavens for a comet and would prefer I keep my eyes on the road which had us laughing all the way home,We left early Saturday, we usually eat breakfast out but everyone was still full from the previous day - and I seriously need to start cutting back on eating. You never fully realize how much weight you've gained til you post the pictures, do you? I had blood work done with my physical and even though technically it's normal I'm not happy with it so it's back to the drawing board for me. The funny thing about food is the more I concentrate on cutting back it seems to more I become obsessed with eating it. Maybe I need to think about something else - like yarn. We stopped at TWO yarn shops on the way home. The first one - The Knitters Edge is expected, the second one which is right off the stinking highway I might add was a bit much for the Yarn Hater. However, he was also a crabby pants from all the food and driving so I said when we stopped he needed to be a passenger as he was getting bit out of control cranky pants. We made it home in good time, Vincent did well and demanded Make Up Snacks but was fine. We pick up the hooligans at 5 pm and then it's back to work Monday, but we had a great time.