Looking Glutted

The holidays were stuffed with food. I was stuffed with food. I have eaten at parties, gatherings, and with friends and family. I am still full to the gills. But I’m not complaining – I enjoyed every mouthful! In honor of the bullet list I give you the Food Report.

  • Pre-weekend feast: I had Friday 12-22 off so I took advantage of that moment to score my last Chick-fil-a calendar reward. It was a Chick-fil-a sandwich which was delightfully good especially with a hand spun milkshake.
  • Morning of Christmas Eve Eve: Saturday 12-23 was the traditional breakfast with our longtime friends (my childrens’ Godparents). We used to go to Calamity Jane’s but it closed. Then we went to Honker’s but they closed. Last year we tried the Bravo Cafe. It was meh. This year we switched to the American Pancake House. The food was good but the service sucked. I had a Dutch Apple Baked Pancake. It was huge. I managed to consume half of it but didn’t eat lunch as I was still stuffed.
  • Christmas Eve: Sunday 12-24 saw us being “churched” to the max. It was the 4th Sunday of Advent so I went to the 10:00 AM Mass (alone since Sparky worked). That was followed by trying to finish off all the leftovers. I polished off a container of tricolor rotini with vodka sauce and crab, a quarter slice of meatloaf, and the rest of the Dutch Apple Baked Pancake. I made fudge. I tasted the fudge. I baked a pie. I didn’t have dinner as I was very full. I was back at church for the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass at 9:00 PM. Sparky got home and off we went so that he could sing in the choir. We left church at 11:45 PM.
  • Christmas Day: Monday 12-25 the boys arrived at our house for breakfast of waffles covered in saintvi’s superior Cherry jam. By unanimous acclimation saintvi is the Jam Queen and her Cherry jam is her ticket to heaven.We followed that with saintvi’s Almond Braid. Again her baking prowess is unmatched. YUM! We followed that with a magnificent feast with Sparky’s  whole family. This involved ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes, calico beans, jello salad (strawberries, cherries, cranberries, and raspberries in strawberry jello), potato rolls, Christmas gummi trees and snowmen, my eggnog pie, butterscotch apple pie, Fireball whiskey fudge, Dad’s Christmas Bars, chocolate mint chip cookies and pumpkin cinnamon chip cookies. Oy! So much food.
                                                                                 Dad’s Christmas Bars
  • Boxing Day: Tuesday 12-26 we celebrated with Sparky’s Christmas meal. He is not a big fan of the ham so I had promised to make a turkey. We had a tender turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole (saintvi’s contribution), cranberry sauce, black olives, more fudge and Dad’s Christmas Bars, an apple rhubarb pie and saintvi’s cherry pie. The best thing was that we were joined by saintvi and her daughter joyouswind and Jackson the dog. So Sparky got his dog fix, his turkey dinner, and we got to play the game my sister gave us for Christmas – Codenames!  We were so stuffed that there was no need for dinner!


  • The second day of Christmas: Wednesday 12-27 was supposed to be a fun day. It was not. After 2 trips to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and 2 very long waits, I am now in possession of a valid driver’s license (and it is a “Real ID“). We managed a couple of errands while I was in line at the BMV and we treated ourselves to lunch at an all-you-can-eat sushi place, Sushi Gardens. It was very tasty and for lunch it was reasonable. However, it was not as fabulous as East of Tokyo. Still we ate our money’s worth. My favorite was the TNT roll. Spicy salmon with imitation crab (I requested they leave out the avocado) tempura roll. It was finished with a drizzle of supper spicy peanut sauce stuff. I was able to scrape off the majority of the sauce so it still had kick but wasn’t going to explode your head.

  • The third day of Christmas: Thursday 12-28 was the extended family gathering at Sparky’s sister’s farm. She had 5/6 children there with their families (numbering 20). With the rest of the crew it brought the total to 36 bodies in a small space! The food consisted of an assortment of pizzas and pies. I was going to bake another eggnog pie but I had so much leftover pie and fudge and cookies and gummi candy and Dad’s Christmas bars that I took that instead of baking more!!
  • The fourth day of Christmas: Friday 12-29 was leftovers and more leftovers! The refrigerator was bursting at the seams with food. I froze a good portion of it since there was no way to consume it before it would go bad…
  • The fifth day of Christmas aka New Years’ Eve Eve: Saturday 12-30 Sparky had to work so I spent the day being productive. I did the grocery shopping and it was half price day at Goodwill. I stopped for gas and went to Dollar General to buy cheap peanuts to feed Sparky’s peanut addiction. It would have been more fun if it hadn’t been -14 degrees F outside. I managed to finish off the green bean casserole and made a dent in the mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • New Year’s Eve: Saturday 12-31 was an early morning to church followed by lunch of more leftovers. Sparky had to work from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM so I was on my own. He got home in time to get cleaned up for our big night out. We went to the East Bank Emporium with friends for a fancy dinner. We had reservations for 8:00 PM and were prompt. We were seated and then we waited. No water, no rolls, no waitress. I had to go to the ladies room at 8:19 PM. I exited and spoke to the hostess at 8:25 PM letting her know we hadn’t had any service. A busboy brought us water. We waited a little longer and finally after 45 min. the waitress appeared to apologize and take our orders. She gave us free appetizers. I had the Benny’s Chop which was a monster pork chop (no kidding it was about 3″ thick) smothered in a creamy apple sauce gravy with minced sweet potatoes, apples, onion, celery and bacon – lots of bacon. There were green beans on the side. Generally I hate restaurant green beans because they don’t cook them enough and they are squeaky on my teeth. These were done to perfection – no squeak but still firm and green! However we didn’t finish our meal until 10:37 PM because the service was soooo sloooow. They told us it was because they were so busy but there were 3 empty tables next to us. It was much slower than we’ve seen it on New Year’s Eve (we’ve been going there for the last 10 years or so).
  • New Year’s Day: Because the Irish were playing in the Citrus Bowl, Sparky wanted to have a little party and watch the game. We invited the usual suspects (the boys, his parents, and Charley & Julie). I made grown-up grilled cheese and soups. I’ve now turned people on to the Campbell “Say Yes!” soups – specifically Tomato Carrot Bisque and Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. We had a variety of sweets including some Mochi, Christmas Gummi trees, fudge, and a few leftover chocolates. I had green ice cream for when the Irish scored. It was a thrilling game that made us wait for our ice cream treat – Pistachio Almond or Mint Chocolate Chip.
  • Epiphany Eve: Saturday 1-6 was the Epiphany Party hosted by church friends. It was a food extravaganza. The hostess cooked her Indian dishes (chicken biriyani, tadka dhal, curried lamb, and a soup she called rasam) and everyone else brought appetizers.  The spread ranged from salsa and chips to cheese balls and finger sandwiches. Then there were the desserts! It was amazing! My pancreas was nearly in shock just looking at all the food. I’m very glad I was able to control my desire for sweets thanks in part to the curried lamb which was so very good but it had a lot of spice/heat. Since my stomach felt like it was harboring a live coal I filled up on water and some of the lemon yogurt drink (lassi I think) instead of the desserts!

Which brings us to today and the 5 pounds that will have to be eliminated from my midsection before we go on vacation at the end of May!!

Looking Chased

Glance back
View scattered
Wastepaper plans
Yesterday’s debris
Encroaching on today
Sweeping into tomorrow
I wonder should I grab a broom
And fight the rising tide of litter
Or sound the alarm and run like the wind?

This is a little Etheree (syllabic poem of 10 lines with the 1st line having 1 syllable and each line increasing by one syllable). It kind of describes life. No matter how we try, the past is always with us. We can’t shake the experiences and events that shaped our past. Some of us have neat and tidy histories and others of us have a past strewn with bad decisions, trauma, drama, hurt and loss. And no matter how we try, we can’t change one thing about the past. And therein lay the problem. Too many people expend all their time and energy trying to undo their personal histories. There is no point. It happened. It can’t be undone. It refuses to be ignored. We can stand stiff and defiant but the past trails after us – a shadow, a puppy that refuses to “go home”, a long piece of toilet paper caught on our shoe. Sometimes we are ashamed of what we’ve done or what we didn’t do. Still it is past and you can’t change history.

The big question is, what do you do about that mess past that is dogging your every step forward? The neat and short answer is – nothing. You can’t do anything about it. However you can accept it and turn it into a tool. For instance: The bad break-up. Examine what went wrong (and I’m not talking about blame). What was your role? What did YOU do? OK. So now you should have learned a thing or two about who you are and what you need in a relationship. So keeping that in mind don’t make the same mistake!

What about the HUGE life altering faux pas that landed you in legal trouble, jail, or as a pariah cast out from your family/community/decent society? Assuming you have paid your debt to society. It should have been a time of reflection and retrospection on what mistakes you made and how to avoid them in the future. Sometimes it takes a few falls before you figure out what you need to do to stay out of BIG trouble. Once you figure it out, embrace the hard won knowledge. Work to incorporate that information about who you are and what you need to do (to stay out of trouble) and do it. If it means avoiding certain people, situations, or substances then avoid them! Ask for help. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I know – it sounds trite and simplistic. But the truth is you either learn and grow or you don’t. If you don’t change then the same things will keep happening and it is all on you.

This year has had some “spill-over” from last year. It can be messy. But I have learned a few things and am open to learning some more. We all have to be life long learners. That doesn’t just mean reading up on topics related to our jobs. It means self examination and trying to correct faults (and I’m not talking about losing weight or getting a nose job). We all need to look inward and try to become the best versions of ourselves. We can’t erase the past, we can’t change who we were. But we can effect who we will become and how we move through today. I’m going to march forward with a determined step. No shuffling and shambling, no dodging and weaving, I will hold my head high and armed with some hard won self awareness stare down today. And tomorrow be warned – I’ve got my eyes on you!

Looking Forward to the Holidays

On schedule and here is episode 10 in the story without a name. Now that we are 10 vignettes into the story how do you like the title “Looking Back” suggested by Stephen’s Mustang (aka Elizabeth Ann but not Merit’s sister)?

The holidays are a tough time for me. Society has conspired to point out that I’m alone. The last time I joined my brother for Christmas we ended up staring at our plates as his then wife puttered around and tried to make conversation. It was awkward. There is this unspoken expectation that we should be laughing while reminiscing about growing up. The things I remember as funny are certainly not events he would laugh about. I suspect he has never forgiven me for the elevator prank. I still laugh about it. He had just turned 14 and I was still 10 and totally unaware of the whole boy–girl attraction. We had gone on vacation and were staying in a hotel with a pool. I wanted to go swimming. DJ was completely against taking me to but my mother told him he couldn’t go unless I went too. There were several cute girls his age or maybe a little older that he had been making eyes at during breakfast. It just so happened that they were at the pool too. Long story short, he had been completely obnoxious toward me and had threatened to drown me if I so much as looked at him. After they left, DJ decided I was done swimming and ordered me out of the water. I was fuming mad. As the elevator doors opened, I yanked his swim trunks down and fled. It wasn’t intentional but the girls were waiting for the elevator to go down. Well, needless to say DJ wanted to kill me. I stayed out of his way for several months. I don’t recall being punished so I’m guessing he never told anyone. My first therapist wanted me to explore my conscience and find events where I wronged someone and to feel remorse. I still haven’t been able to dig up something that I’ve done and felt guilt-stricken or in need of seeking forgiveness. I’ve wondered if that made me a budding sociopath.

Reviewing Resolutions

Ha! Nope – no resolutions here. I am looking at goals. It is easy to make a resolution and just as easy to toss it to the curb and burn rubber away from where it was dumped like an unwanted puppy. Goals should be “S.M.A.R.T” that translates to specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. With that in mind I have the following goals for 2018:

1. Complete the main bathroom remodel by May. Sparky and I have the contractor and an estimate. We are picking out tile and fixtures. Our hope is to have the supplies purchased by the end of January. The demolition completed in February. And the rest of it completed in March. That will leave the painting for us to finish in April.

2. Have a new driveway poured in May. Our current cement is cracking and crumbling. It is nearly impossible to shovel without catching a crack and sending a reverberation shock wave through your arms and back. This is the year of the new driveway.

3. Redo the master bathroom in time for Christmas 2018. It shouldn’t be as big a deal as the main bath. But you never know what you’ll find once you start ripping things out. I just want a bathroom that is easy to clean and looks nice. The plan (unless we run out of money) is to rip out all the existing fixtures by the end of August. Have the new stuff installed by the end of September and finish painting and decorating by Halloween!

4. I am going to reorganize the basement storage areas. This will require the relocation of some “toys” to the attic. Seems that Sparky just can’t let go of the bins filled with Duplo® blocks (the precursor to Lego® blocks). Nor can he relinquish the buckets upon buckets of Legos (we are talking 5 gallon buckets). I think they will store nicely in the attic until such time as the idea of grandchildren has passed or they become antiques of great value. I am going to move the food items to the game closet and then clear out the storage shelves to make room for the stuff currently cluttering the floor. Summer would be a good time to get that situated…

5. I am going to watch two movies with Sparky every month. Now that we have the giant 55″ HDTV and sound bar, it is nearly a movie theater experience. He likes his movies. He likes to watch his movies with me by his side. I can’t handle some of his movies. No Country for Old Men was so disturbing that after a few minutes I bailed. I figure if I consent to 2 movies a month he can select movies that won’t make me have nightmares.

6. I’m continuing to wear the FitBit and will set fitness goals that push me to greater activity and a healthier lifestyle. Currently I’m at 7000 steps on week days and 8000 on weekends. I need to consistently achieve my two 30 minute workouts a week. Once these goals are easily achieved I’ll increase them…

So there you have it, my S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2018. What are you planning to achieve in 2018??