Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Don't Hurt Yourself!"

Sometimes I can't believe how much of my "bidness" I put on this blog... At least this time, I'm embarrassing myself in the hopes I will save someone else from getting hurt.

As you know, I am on a mission to be looking fine this summer. I have changed the way I eat, I walk outside as much as possible, and I have collected a small cache of exercise equipment. I have even gone to the gym to work out - even though I hate being around all those beautiful chicks in their matching workout gear. It's like being the sweaty female with no wings in a roomful of Victoria's Secret angels. Agony, inside and out.

The last couple of weeks, the weather has been too  horrible for walking outside. We've had skating rinks for residential streets.  Fine. So I've been working out extra hard at home. Instead of my 30-40 minute walk around the neighborhood, I do an hour indoors. Boring. Unless I have really good music.

I've been careful when listening to my music while walking in the outdoors. I was grooving to some Beth Hart the other week and almost got mowed down by a woman who got her licence when the Model-T came out. I didn't hear anything until I felt the wind of her side mirror fanning my side. Crazy. I should be hell-bound for the names I thought of calling that poor woman.

You'd think I'd be safe enough cranking up the music when I'm doing my walking indoors, right? Well, that depends.

This is what I was listening to yesterday:


Now, is that not the perfect jam to walk to? The beat is just right for a good step, right? And it goes on forever and an hour so you can really get your heart pumping. It's the best music to walk to.

Unless it gets good to you.

It got good to me and I almost walked my behind right off the treadmill.

The thing about that song is, you are marching along just fine until you decide to dance. Treadmills are not made for dancing. I'm lucky I didn't break my neck.

No more Frankie B and Maze for me. At least not while on a treadmill. Think I'm going to learn to walk to some opera or Big Band music. I don't want to break my thang  of mine before I get to swang it this summer...

Peace
--Free

Friday, March 29, 2013

Waiting for Sunshine

I am craving the sun right now. Winter has stretched on for too long.  Already our Alaska daylight is coming earlier and leaving later, but... A little warmth to go with the extra daylight would be heavenly.

But before we get the sun and warmth as a couple, we have to let all this snow melt. There are going to  be weeks of nasty, mud-stained streets and gutters; dirty, left-over clumps of snow. This is the part of the year I hate. At least at the end of fall and the start of winter, the new snow kind of eases in on you. I'm never really mad about that first snowfall. I always stare out at it, thinking how beautiful and clean it makes everything look. I think about fireplaces and quiet nights, reading or watching old movies. That second snowfall, though - now that's a bitch. That's when I remember how long our winters seem to go on and on and freaking eternally on...

For now, I have my mind on hours and hours of daylight.

The summer of 2011, when I first got sick, I was mostly kept sane by all the time I spent on the back deck, feeling warm and held together by the bright sunshine. That winter almost broke me. I felt so sad and scared and alone with all that darkness and cold. Sometimes, I couldn't even pray with words, so I just cried because I know that God understands prayers even when they are in the form of tears.

Tell you what: I am going to be a happy woman when I can sit outside again, and when I can walk and walk and walk; when I can feel the sun and fresh air on my skin.

Goodbye winter. Summer is coming.

Peace
--Free

No more of this, please

No more need for street lights at 4:30 in the afternoon

My summer 2011 view for hours & hours each day

Can't wait for the flower to look like this again!



Want to walk down the street when it looks like this...











 








                                     
...not this


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Resting My Crown

I have finally given in to the horrible and life-saving medicine I am on. I cut my hair - or what was left of it. I just went into the bathroom and scissored everything more than a quarter-inch from the scalp.

While the Bible speaks of a woman's "long" (or un-cut) hair as being her glory, I still have the "crown" of gray. And, boy oh boy, is it gray!

My hair doesn't have just a tint of gray. It's not "streaked"or finely lined with gray. My hair is Crayola-grey gray. Steel-gray. It's way more "salt" than pepper at this point. Who the heck knew? I've been dyeing it for so long that I thought L'Oreal's Mahogany 5.5 was my natural color.

I'm not one to obsessed with long hair. Or bone-straight hair. Or any hair that's not natural-looking to my race and skin color. I would Taylor-Swiftly never-ever-ever-ever dye my hair blonde or blue or  - well, you get it. (Not that there aren't some women that can pull that blondie look off no matter what their skin tone, bless them.)

While I would love to say that I am not that vain, I'm not going to lie right now and say that I haven't been thinking of going out and grabbing some dye. Matter of fact, that's the first item on my weekend "Do List." Right up there above "Pick up that fucking Methotrexate re-fill." (Yes, I cussed. Sorry, but that's exactly what's on my list.)

It's at times like this that I know I am blessed with amazing family and friends. They are either amazingly wonderful or amazingly good liars.

"Oh, shi-damn!" is what my roommate just about screamed when I showed her my newly shorn head. She was blinking really fast. "That is a gorgeous look for you."

Riiiight.... There was just a little too much scream in the first part of her reaction. (She admitted that she was shocked I'd cut it all off.)

My oldest brother is the one of my siblings I want to hide away when I introduce men to the family. He's blunt and kind of cruel in his honesty. His response: "At least you're not fat now. A couple of months ago, that cut would of made you look like a balloon."

Well, damn.

My nephew was super-sweet. "Not many women can rock it like that, Auntie." (He did give me the name of his barber so I can get it evened out and "edged up.")

Bless him and the birthday gift I'll be giving him this year...

I guess it only really matters what I think. I like it. It feels very free-ing. This is probably the first time I have done something without worrying so much (beforehand) what anyone else thinks. Once I get it touched up by the barber and get it dyed, I will put up a picture. It's time to change that one on the sidebar anyway.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Be Loved or to Be Rescued

I had an interesting email conversation the other day with someone who was sweet enough to give me advice. He gave me great advice, and the best part of it will probably stay with me all the rest of my life. More on that in a sec.

My running for advice was like a hormonal scream of frustration. I will be 50 + 2 this June.

50-anything is a milestone but not devastating, really. I feel smarter, more beautiful (in the fullness of the word) and sexier than ever. But there are regrets that keep me wake some nights.

There is the almost-perfect relationship that I think I must have just imagined into being. There is the devastation of losing someone I really did love. And then there are the kids I didn't have and never will.

Age is a little bit harder on women. We get past the age of child-bearing. Men don't. We get past 40 and society starts telling us how great we look "for our age." If men get a little depressed at growing older, they should understand why we women feel damn near suicidal.

So.

I was feeling really low a few weeks back. I was feeling like all my hopes and desires suddenly had expiration dates. Falling for someone I can grow old(er) with, having my life validated by the blessings I've secured... I told myself that if all this didn't happen pretty quick, it was going to be too late.

For about a month, I walked around trying to avoid being a witness to anyone else's joy. I don't like to covet or curse what someone else is blessed with, but it's so hard not to feel weary when you see anyone else with what you don't yet have. That's another symptom of aging: when you are young, you feel you have time to get yours; when you get older, every thing you don't yet have feels elusive.

The person I went to for advice is Christian. They are wise and direct and too full of love to lie to a brother or sister. The advice they gave me was perfect, but the part of what stuck with me was this: You aren't looking for love, you are looking to be rescued.

I should be looking for happiness as I am, then I might or might not find someone to share love with. The point is to understand my blessings as things stand.

So I am standing - right here where I am, with my life as it is - and praying and being thankful. If there is someone in this world meant for me, I ask God to bless them. If there is no one, that has to be okay with me too.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Take a Nap. Please?

So... since I haven't spent any real time with my little great-nephew in the past couple of weeks, I went over there the other day. I told his folks I'd watch him while they went to a bar to watch the fight on TV.

He is so dang cute. Got his second "big boy" haircut and he is so handsome that I wanted to cry. The barber "edged it up" for him! Yeah, he is a darling little  boy.

Pretty brown eyes... breaking my heart...
Before I went over to babysit him for a few hours, I packed up some treats: animal crackers and apple sauce. He has his favorites, you know. He already has a ton of toys, so we were set in the entertainment department.

My sister warned me that Baby Boy has gotten a lot more active since I last saw him. I saw him two weeks ago, I told her. Yeah, she said - but he was harnessed in a car seat. Tonight he's loose.

Hmmph. She was talking about my little Stinka like he was Hannibal Lecter or someone...

While Baby's parents were still around the house, I used their elliptical machine. Might as well get my exercise the indoor way, is what I was thinking. Well, I could've saved myself the trouble.

Baby's parents were so happy to leave the house, you would've thought it was on fire. I figured they were just glad to be getting a night out. Bless their hearts.

Yeah.

About ten minutes into my "quality time" with Baby, I was getting a better idea of why his parents left so fast.

This kid just learned to walk without falling and, all of a sudden, he's sprinting around the house like Jesse Owens. I'd catch up with him in the back room and he'd giggle and take off like a shot. I'd catch up with him in the dining room - same thing. That maniacal giggle that I used to think was so cute was starting to grate on me...

I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't just chill and play with one of his nine thousand toys...  The next time I chased behind him, I skidded around a corner and dang near slid through the glass patio door. When my sister finished laughing and caught her breath, she explained, "He's playing his version of hide and seek."

"But he isn't hiding, he's just running like a madman."

"That's his version of it. If you leave him alone, he'll sit and play by himself," she said. "For about five minutes."

"Then what?"

"Then you better go see if he's cooking food or performing surgery on his puppy."

Oh man.

Sure enough, I sat where I could keep an eye on him without him seeing me. It was nice to catch my breath and wipe the sweat off my forehead. He played really nicely with some little plastic golf clubs. I think I went into a restorative coma for a couple of minutes. I came to when I heard that crazy giggle of his...

I got to the dining room just in time to see Baby feeding his puppy (Shadow aka "Saddow") some Puppy Chow. Okay. Not too bad, I thought.

"He's being so sweet, feeding his dog," I reported.

My sister almost popped a wheelie in her wheelchair. "You better get hi-"

I heard the puppy growl.

When I got to the scene of the near crime, Shadow was dang near scaling the cabinets to get away from Baby. That little terror was waving his golf club like Tiger's wife.

"Shit, Saddow, shit!" (This translates to him telling his puppy to sit.)

Shadow had latched onto a cabinet like he was corkscrewed in.

I got the golf club away from Baby just before he almost cold-cocked me. For some reason, I had a quick vision of Jesus sending demons into a herd of pigs. I found myself praying over Baby the way the old sisters back in church used to do for the drunks they fed on Saturdays.

"Loose here, Satan!"

My sister was having so much fun watching Baby run me all over the place that I wanted to hate her. I looked her way once and she was munching popcorn and sipping on a soda. I guess I was the night's entertainment.

It's been years since I've had to deal with toddlers, but I remember that the best thing to do is tire them out so that they will take a long nap.

I played more Hide and Seek with Baby (his version), we played with his police cars, dump trucks and fire trucks; we rolled his bouncy balls down the hall; we had a tea-party with fake tea and real cookies. I fixed green beans and tuna for Baby's dinner. I changed three diapers - one just wet and the other two needed hazmat clearance. I decided that Baby would only be getting graham crackers for the rest of the night...

After two hours, twelve minutes and eighteen seconds, Baby's eyes began to droop. Thirteen seconds later, his eyes were closed and he was breathing deeply. My sister had warned me not to use the word "sleep" to describe this blissful circumstance. Apparently even thinking the word "sleep" will awaken Baby.

Let me tell you what. I have never been so very glad to see a child with their eyes closed and their body not in motion. My own body was buzzing with fatigue.

When Baby's parents got home that night, I was so happy to see them, if I hadn't been so whooped, I'd have thrown them a party.

I was packing up my stuff to go home while Baby's mother started dressing him for bed. He half-woke when she pulled his shirt over his head.

"Say goodnight to Ya Ya Auntie," his mother prodded.

When I looked over at him, the little imp had turned back into the angel I love.

"Yayabye," he mumbled.

Awwww.... My heart is still tender.

Peace
--Free

Required Watching? Should Be.

What do you think, people? Should this be required watching for anyone having irresponsible sex. This is, after all, the possible outcome...



"Dude!"


That was both a little amusing and a little pathetic. I have hope for these two, though. They are young yet.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

**MUSIC** Beth Hart

Where the heck has this singer been all my life? This lady can blow. She's a little bit of Etta, a little  bit of Joplin. Got the soul of Aretha and the stage presence of Michael Hutchence - appropriate since her band has the stealth of INXS.

If you haven't been, you need to be checking her out...


I strictly hetero, but if she was a guy, she'd be my new Marvin Gaye, Michael Hutchence or Otis Redding.

Peace
--Free

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beautiful Discoveries

One thing I absolutely LOVE about the Google Plus community is the sharing. And now I am going to share with you some new music and art I was introduced to this morning. Hope you like it.

+Susan Lewis brightened up my entire morning when she posted this:

Sayaka Ganz @ sayakaganz.com
You know I just had to go over and check out the artist's site. Wow. Fell in love with almost every single thing there... Since I can't afford the pieces, I can show support by sending you over there.

Then my G+ Sophie B. Hawkins friend (listen to her biggest hit and the light-bulb will go off) +David Renaud shared music by a group that I have now also fallen in love with. I like the song that David shared (Fisherman's Blues), but I adore this one. Had YouTube worn out with it while I did my step-board workout.



Last, but never least, is not new to me, but I was reminded by +Spencer Bryant's profile. If you watch a lot of retro TV - or are older than, say, 40, you probably know the show "Good Times." You might not know the artist behind the work ("Sugar Shack") shown during the credits.

Ernie Barnes 1938 - 2009 R.I.P.
We need to show support for artists and musicians who bless us with their talents. These guys all highlight what is beautiful about life.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Simple Lace Cookies

I have about 3 pints of Talenti gelato in the freezer, but I am leaving that for extremely special occasions  Just a few mouthfuls of that sweet sticky goodness means about 2 hours of walking to get it off my ass. (That's just a tiny cuss word!)

So what to do when I have a craving for something other than my beloved Starburst? How about a thin, crunchy lace cookie? Perfect for enjoying in bed with my nighttime cocoa. Well, I found the perfect (and an easy) recipe on food.com.

Wanna see it? Here we go:


Ingredients

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey or 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons flour

Directions

 Put 2 Tbsp of brown sugar, 2 Tbsp of butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp of honey (OR corn syrup) into a sauce
pan and melt it.
Once melted, whisk in 2 Tbsp of flour until smooth.
Then drop 1 tsp of the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet ( about 3 inches apart) and bake
for 6 min at 375F or until they are noticably golden brown all over.
The batter spreads and bubbles into beautiful cookies.
Once they have set enough to transfer, you can pick them up with your fingers and move them to a
cooling rack to cool until crisp and make sandwiches out of them with buttercream.
Or you can shape them into mini ice cream bowls or cones.

Nutritritonal Information

Amount Per Serving % Daily Value

Calories ..................................................38.4
Calories from Fat....................................17 45%

Serving Size:...........................................1 (104 g)
Servings Per Recipe: ..............................1

Total Fat..................................................1.9g 2%
Saturated Fat............................................1.2g 6%
Cholesterol..............................................5.0mg 1%
Sugars......................................................4.3 g
Sodium....................................................17.6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate..................................5.4g 1%
Dietary Fiber...........................................0.0g

I am about to hurt myself getting into the kitchen to make these cookies. If they turn out not looking horrible, I will post a picture of them later on.

Peace
--Free

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Twins

Today is the birthday of two special people - my nephew and niece. Everybody in my family is special to me in their own way. My sister is very important to me, partly because she birthed these guys into the family.

J.P & Gabs, this is the best that I can wish for you:

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26)



Happy Birthday, twins!
I love you.
This is 20+ years ago & you guys are still cuties!


Peace
--Free

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Strange Motivations

Can a negative create a positive?

Yes.

I know now for a fact that you can create positive results out of something negative.

This makes me a little sad. I've been making a lot of positive changes in my life for the past few months. Tough changes, changes I didn't think I could make.

This is big for me. Huge. I've always been stubborn and hardheaded.

When I was young, my mother used to say about me that I didn't believe fat meat was greasy. I'd get mad and do the dumbest things. One time when I was a teenager, I got upset about something and didn't eat for a couple of days. My mother was not concerned. She joked and called it my Mad Fast... I gave in at the end of the third day.  When friends commented on how Mama had let me go on with it so long, she just said, I knew those missed meal cramps would bring her around. Mama could be stubborn too. I miss that old woman.

Anyway, here in my older years, I've quit smoking and started exercising and eating better. The smoking was the hardest. The eating changes are going to be a life-long workout.

You would think that having an auto-immune disease that could affect my lungs is the big reason I was able to kick nicotine. I mean, since not being able to run 8 inches without passing out didn't do it. I quit even doing a cute little catch-the-elevator sprint about ten years ago. The sprint was still cute, but the coughing fit that followed.... Well,  looking like you're about to puke up a lung does not bring out the sexy.

So, quitting smoking was the first big change. If I hadn't quit cigarettes, I probably would not have started the other healthy habits.

All good, right? Of course.

Except that I do feel a little guilty. My health was the reason for these changes, but my motivation is my roommate.

I don't mean that this woman is my cheerleader or anything positive like that. No. My friend, I am sad to say, is my negative-positive. Let me try to explain this.

My friend is ten years younger than I am. She has some back problems and lot of esteem problems. You've heard me talk about her before - she's the one holding the Olympic title for sleeping. This woman did everything she could to sabotage my breakup with tobacco. If tobacco was a man I was quitting, she was that chick giving him my new phone number.

When I first said that I was going to really quit smoking this time,  seriously-I-mean-it-no-kidding, she was all in my corner.

I started the Chantix and every day my friend wanted to know how the medicine made me feel.

A few weeks in with the medicine and I was cutting way, way down on my smoking. I went from just under a pack a day to around 6 or 7 cigarettes a day. Anytime my friend stopped at the store for her smokes (which was about every two or three days), she'd text or call to see if I wanted her to pick up me a pack. You have to understand (if you can) that this woman smokes 3 different kind of cigarettes. She keeps one pack of each with her at all times.

When my quit day came, I was ready. I had cleaned my room of all signs of smoking. The smell was gone, the ashtrays and lighters... all gone. This was important because I was going to be holed up there for a minute. I lit my vanilla scented candles and did a lot of deep-breathing. I journalled like someone who knew about paper but had just discovered pens. I became addicted to Starburst and Jolly Rancher candies. I watched every episode of Monk that HuluPlus has.

But, eventually, I had to leave the safety of my room and use the restroom.

I opened the door and the smell of smoke just about slapped me in the face. I held my breath and dived for the bathroom and shut the door. Now, you know that after all those years of smoking and only a few days straight, I could only hold my breath in gasps.

On my way back to the bedroom, I could see wisps of smoke trailing through the air. I snuck a peek around the corner and saw my friend in the living room, looking like that hookah-smoking creature from Alice in Wonderland. Maybe I was having detox hallucinations, but it seemed to me that the smoke was emanating from her skin and not just her mouth.

That right there was motivational. The smell and the image of her sucking on that cigarette...

It was more than a week before I stopped being tempted by the smell of my friend's smoking. I'd do everything in dashes: a dash to the bathroom, a dash to the kitchen, a dash out the front door.

Was she still my little cheerleader? Oh, yes, she was. Her favorite cheers were in between puffs on her smokes:

"Girl, I am so proud of you.."

"Look at you, sucking on those Life Savers."

"Wow, three weeks and no smoking. You rock!"

Really, b***ch?

One day, I was strong enough to start back riding in the car with her. She would have a cigarette and her lighter ready as we left the front door. I'm not kidding. Then, as she lit up before buckling up, she'd go, "You sure this isn't going to bother you?"

I was thinking really horrible thoughts about her, but, remember how stubborn I am? I'd just shrug and say, "If it doesn't bother you, doesn't bother me."

I know that that bothered her. Yeah, so I learned to say it and a lot of other things to work her nerves:

"Go ahead and smoke. Just because I quit doesn't mean everyone else will."

"Light on up - just open your window so that I don't stink."

Sadly, it's as if the stronger I got, the more she smoked. I did get annoyed though, so I once again stopped riding anywhere with her.

Then, I started exercising. I took up walking because my doctor suggested it and because it was a way to get out and get some fresh air. Lord knows, I need fresh air while living with the power-puffing champion of the world.

Again, the passive-aggressive cheers:

"Look at you, getting out there and walking every day. Isn't it cold?"

"Wow, you actually walked a whole mile? Don't your feet hurt in those boots?"

"Two miles? Do your thang, girl! Just be careful you don't overdo it..."

And on and on.

When I started eating healthier, she would come home with something from McDonald's or Taco Bell and ask if I didn't want just a little bit of a treat.

Well, I can be passive-aggressive with the best of them. I started putting broccoli into everything I cooked. She hates broccoli  I quit fixing anything that resembled something sinful. Since she is too lazy to cook (because cooking involves cleaning), she had to go back to her Lean Cuisines. She actually eats those - the pizzas and strawberry shortcakes. Personally, I'd rather eat less of the good stuff than a ton of anything that comes cardboard-packaged.

Anyway.

Last month, my friend's doctor offered her a shot at a surgery that could make a big difference in her general quality of life. The only catch is that she has to be nicotine free for a month before the surgery. She is still smoking.

Now, don't any of you think that I haven't tried to motivate her. I have, but she is hardheaded. My mother had another saying: "She will have to bump her own head to know that a brick wall is hard." (It's always somehow made sense to me...)

The thing is, I want to lift up my friend, but I can't let her drag me down. That's tough. I feel that not being able to motivate her puts a little tarnish on my successes. I feel like I have used her as my mirror to show me everything I don't want for myself. I really hope that doesn't make me a bad person.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

**RECIPE** Water Veggie Soup

Sharing a recipe for something I kind of threw together one night & love eating now that I am off the prednisone and not so hungry all the time. This is so easy and so adjustable that I am not going to list ingredient amounts. There is a little suggestion on the bouillon to water ratio since this is a light & watery soup. Also, add a little water over the amount you want for the soup. This will allow for boil-off while you are doing your prep.

INGREDIENTS
**main**

  • Water (For every 2 cups water, I use bouillon cube)
  • Chicken bouillon cubes
  • Onions, diced or thin sliced
  • Fresh spinach, lightly chopped 
  • Fresh broccoli, rough chopped
  • Celery, diced
  • Garlic cloves, chopped/diced
  • Pepper

**optional**
Mushrooms, chopped/chunked
Water chestnuts, chopped
Egg

TOOLS
Pan with lid
Chopping/dicing knives
Spoon for stirring hot ingredients
Small bowl or cup
(Helps to have paper bag or something to chop over & save a messy counter)

PREP

  • Drop bouillon cubes into pan and add water to start heating while you chop/dice
  • Start water heating on Medium (lower when it's heated through)
  • Chop & dice your other ingredients
  • In small bowl or cup, beat the egg (whites, yolk or both, your preference) until well mixed 
  • When "dry" ingredients are all chopped/diced, put water back to Medium heat
  • Add all ingredients EXCEPT the spinach and the egg.
  • Let this mixture cook until ingredients are almost done to your preference
  • While stirring the mixture in the pan, slowly dribble in the egg.
  • Take pan off the heat
  • Add the Spinach and cover the pan
  • When the spinach is cooked to your liking, soup is done.

Some notes:

I use a paper or plastic bag to chop so that I don't get broccoli "fuzz" all over my counters.
I like my onions a little raw and "crunchy" so I add them in later in the process.
You might not use all the egg.
You might prefer to use only the egg white
Of course, almost all the ingredients are optional & you can add seasonings as you like
This is a really light soup (depending on how much broccoli is added)  & I usually eat at least 2 1/2 cups without being over-full.
One of my friends loves this soup with a little cauliflower and canned baby corn added.

This is good for a late meal because it's so quick and light.

Enjoy.

Peace
--Free

New Addictions

Looks like I have traded my smoking addiction for new ones.

My Cessation Nation app tells me that I have been smoke-free for 71 days, 23 hours and 31 minutes. In that time, I have bought and used up about 22 candles. I can count the jars that I save to put my Starburst candy in.

Yep. Not only am I buying candles (they keep the air smelling so vanilla and fresh!), but Starburst "Favoreds" and the hard and chewy Jolly Ranchers have become my crack. Sweet, sweet moments of heaven...

I'm not crazy. Everybody knows Starbursts rock. Heck, they have a wiki page.
In case you are thinking that I only gave up one one bad habit for another, I can tell you not to worry. I have a third new addiction that works in my favor, despite all that sweet, sugary goodness going into my mouth.

Yes. Yes, I do have the best friends & family.
I've told you people before that I have friends and family that Verizon never heard of. Those 3 items up there are the latest gift from the roomie.

Since the 20th of last month, I have been walking every weekday. Not miles and miles, not over the willow and through the woods or however the heck that saying goes, but...



My neck of the woods ain't shabby
... I can get 2 miles if I make a few circuits through the neighborhood. With a view just as pretty as any willow or wood I've ever seen.

And apparently my family and friends are a lot more supportive of my fitness efforts than I imagined.

Yesterday, the roomie gave me a b.s. story about needing to make a run of errands and wanting my company. We hit Burlington's and split up while she looked for "some clothes" and I checked out purses. I lost track of her for about an hour. Then we hit Sears and split again. She was still looking for clothes and I was still checking out purses. I'm kinda into purses...

I should have been suspicious about it all since usually we chicks scrutinize clothing together. We are like a panel off of "Next Top Model" when we hit those fitting rooms. For some reason, she kept ditching me. Then,  when she did want my input, it was about tennis shoes. Wha-?

(I was busy looking at cowboy boots. Always wanted a pair because they make your butt look so tooted up there and cute.)

The cowboy boots were cheaply made & hurt. I got these cute booties for my niece's b-day tho!


Anyway, you probably guessed that this is how she sneaked and got me those workout gifts up there at the top of the page.

So, yeah, I have to leave this posting and get over there, light me an energy candle and learn how to use that Step-"thingie." I even have wrist weights to wear when I workout. How cool is that?

Peace
--Free

Monday, March 04, 2013

Accidentally Brilliant, Unintentionally Sexy

As if I don't have enough blogs, I finally started my A.B.U.S. one.

That is: Accidentally Brilliant, Unintentionally Sexy. Um hm. Don't be mad, just go ahead and book mark it. (You are bookmarking it, aren't you?)

Before you go running over to see the new blog (you are running over there, right?), understand that it has a religious theme. I needed a blog where I could post about my Christianity and other religious topics that interest me.

Get crazy about the name of the blog if you want, but I explain that in the first post. I was not giving up that title that I came up with back in April of last year. I am still working on a story by the same name, but you will see how it suits that particular blog.

Just wanted to introduce you to what I have been working on. I've been busy with that and with my exercises and trying to plan the rest of my life. G-Plus has been on the backburner for a few days and I really miss those folks. Got to go over and give a shout out to some of them, RIGHT NOW!

Peace
--Free

Friday, March 01, 2013

Lipsticks For Women of a Deeper Hue...

I've said it many times before and I'm saying it once again: It's hard out here for a dark chick! What I'm talking about is makeup in general and lipstick in particular.

If you are a darker skinned woman, like me, you know that it can be a little tricky finding makeup that doesn't clown you up or wash you out. I'm not hating because I rarely wear makeup. But I do always wear lipstick. Always. Made my teeth look whiter when I was a smoker; not it's just a habit: brush teeth, apply lipstick.

This is a really helpful link for figuring out your own undertone.  This talks about skin colors in too much detail. Gave me a little bit of a headache. This right here gets too deep into the subject for me. I just want to find a good palette of cosmetics, but in case you are interested...

Being a black woman with cool undertones (I look better in red and silver, and, yes, I can see that my veins are blue), I have trouble finding lipstick that suits me. I'm not like my sister or niece, who will look great in pastel lipsticks and clothing. I like my deep reds for my lips and white for my clothing. I have to say (and hope that it's not vain or ignorant-sounding) that I LOVE my dark skin. I love the way it looks and feels and... Okay, that's getting to a be both vain and ignorant so I'll stop.

Problem: Finding a red lipstick that doesn't look "orange-y" or too plum-like. Red, people, just gimme the red!

Solution 1: Buying a black lipstick (yes, I've done this) and blending it into one of the above "reds" to get a passable shade. That is such a freaking hassle - costly, messy to apply and really a pain to re-apply...

Solution 2: Find that one good shade once in a PINK moon and buy a bunch or hang the heck on to it for life.

(You've seen my pic over there to the right. That's me, no makeup -good lighting and a forgiving webcam- and in my fairly true skin color. I'm dark, yes ma'am. As James Brown said, "I'm black and I'm proud," but I can be pissed when shopping for lipsticks.)

In the past year and a half, the moon has shown shockingly pink twice and reluctantly rosey once. I found this one in (I believe) Walgreens...

Cute & simple case

By Prestige Cosmetics
Shade: Pinot Noir
...and this one (for sure) in Walgreens

RevLON!!!

Shade: Black Cherry
I adore the Pinot Noir shade. It's something I can put on with lip gloss for a subtle look or (and, face it, I'm not a subtle woman) just slick it on for that deep, deep, deep red that I love. Makes me feel all glamorous, amorous, hot-to-trot and just bad-to-the-bone. I also like that the texture is nice and smooth - not sticky at all. For a matte look, I just blot the first application and let it set, then apply and blot a second glide. I usually like the moist look. Actually, I really like to add this gloss to all my shades


L'Oreal's Color Riche Shade: 281/Queen's Shine
 That brings me to my tip for getting a shade right: if your liptick is almost-but-not-quite what you need in shade, trump it with a gloss. The L'Oreal gloss by itself is a nice day-look, but added to my other least-favorite shades, it kinda sorta balances things out for me.

This is a shade I do like a lot, when I want to look like I'm not wearing lisptick (and still want a polished appearance)

Shade: #37 Gourmet Coffee (by Milani)
It's great for church, interviews... that kind of thing. When I want to switch gears after church or the interview, I add some of that gloss. It's cool.

Shade: Blackberry.
Cost: $0.99 from Sally's Beauty Supply
This is something I keep in my purse all the time. Easy to put on and it's a lot more defining if you tend to (like me) be sloppy applying lipstick without a mirror. I always make sure to apply it over a balm. It can be a little bit drying.

Anyway, that's my little rant on lipsticks. I did a post some time back that had links for cosmetics for various skin tones  On a less serious, but more personal note, I did a look back at my Mama's days with cosmetics.

Let me know if you hear or know of any reasonably-priced cosmetics for those of a darker hue.

Peace
--Free

**QUICK POST** Food Fitness Tip #1

If you are trying to get into shape, shape up the way you shop. (Cute saying, ain't it?)

We usually shop by product: just buying items we like. That's fine, unless you are trying to change your eating habits. When I was writing out my grocery list the other day, I realized that I am preparing my meals differently, so I should be shopping differently. Usually, I list out things I like to eat. This time, I put together items they way I need to be eating them. For example, I've been eating a lot of Tilapia (sauteed with olive oil & garlic). I checked and saw that I am low on the oil & garlic, not to mention I need different sides to go with the fish.

Because I eat so dang much fish now, I checked out various simple recipes while I made out my list. I ended up with things that I am actually going to be using up. That sounds so common sense, but I can't tell you how often I leave the store with a mish-mash of ingredients for recipes I haven't thought out.

Benefits:

  • This is going to save me some money
  • Keeps me on track with my better eating habits
  • Helps me resist "snack shopping."
  • Forces me to plan out meals in advance, and...
  • ... even if I don't, I'm not going too far out of my fitness plan
The downside to this is that it works mostly for singles or couples without kids - unless the whole family is on the same fitness plan. It's also inconvenient if you lack basic willpower and end up making return trips to the store because you get weak for something out of your "plan."

This is the first time I am structuring my shopping this way. I will be back to let you know how it works out for me in my "real" life!

Peace
--Free