Friday, October 26, 2012

Turning 60: October, The Melting Pot

When I decided to write about “turning 60,” the idea was to do something special for ME each month during the year preceding my 60th birthday. Now, I was brought up well, and taught to share, so sometimes I will be celebrating with someone! In fact, as relational as I am, I would imagine that the majority of the time I will be sharing with someone.

October is the month of birthdays in the Derge family. Our family of origin has three birthdays in nine days. It goes without saying that the eldest person of these three birthdays “lost” his birthday about twenty nine years ago. Oh well….

This year I wanted to do something special and different for Hubby’s birthday. He goes out and buys whatever he wants; and to be honest, I am getting tired of Bob Evans all the time. Being the frugal guru that I am, I purchased a Living Social “deal” for the Melting Pot, a restaurant that my son has taken his fiancĂ©e to on several occasions. I have heard others talk about this place, and it seemed like something that was totally different, and something I wanted to try.

I made reservations, and we headed to Centerville in pouring rain; clueless as to where we were going. The Melting Pot does not have big arches announcing its presence, and we almost passed it.  All things considered, we were only five minutes late and I thought we were doing quite well. We were ushered just about as far back in the restaurant as we could get—you know what they say about putting prospective trouble-makers in a place where they are not noticed as much! Hey, I was grateful to be close to the restroom!

We enjoyed being the guinea pigs to help train a new server. She was very nice, and we all learned together. We had to choose our cheese fondue for the appetizer and we agreed on the spicy version. The food was brought to us and the fondue was prepared in front of us. While I mentally made notes of the ingredients, I knew I would never try this at home. Nice idea, not happening. The sauce was delicious, and we put lots of healthy things into the cheese sauce, as I listened quietly to my arteries clogging. Fruit, veggies, and breads were all delicious in the cheese fondue.

Next we were brought salads. Hubby got his “normal” Caesar salad and I tried something new: a spinach and mushroom salad. We ate this as the fondue to cook our entrees was heating up. As we finished our salads, our entrees were brought to us. Yes, we had to cook the meat ourselves, and there were many sauces to sample. I usually order seafood when I am out, and I let it cook plenty long—taking no chances! Hubby usually orders a “sampler” and he did that tonight—beef, shrimp and chicken.

It takes time to cook the food, and figure out which sauces we liked with what. The beauty of this type of dinner is that creativity and exploration is part of the process—and it’s fun!

I actually felt like I had eaten relatively healthy for the most part of the evening—discounting the cheese sauce, of course. I had worked out all week and prepared for this to be the special meal of the week. I felt like I was doing OK.

Then, there was the chocolate desert fondue.

Jerry said he was full. I was full. But desert called our name, as we perused the menu. There was one called “Turtle” something, and for those who know me best, know how MUCH I love turtles! (We used to sell them for the music department in high school—mine never made it home!)

The turtle fondue was fabulous as we dipped strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, rice krispie treats (my personal favorite), cheesecake, pound cake and brownies into the chocolate/caramel concoction. I don’t know when I have tasted anything so wonderful.

I was so full, that I knew it would take some serious work to work these calories off. But special is special, and my husband’s birthday is a special day. He didn’t have to share this with any kids—it was a special treat just for US!

We enjoyed it!

P.S. The Melting Pot has something called “Ladies Night” on the last Thursday of the month. Certainly not for several months; but hey, I’m game!  Who's with me?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Fitness Journey: Eating Out and Loving It!

We all do it. It’s part of our lives. It is unreasonable to have a fitness/diet plan without figuring this into it.

I work at a senior citizen center. What do you think these women like to do? BAKE! We have potlucks, we have monthly birthday parties, and we have staff functions. What is a person to do?

I make sure I have had breakfast before arriving for work, so it’s not as difficult to walk by the zucchini bread that day’s volunteer brought it. Everything has to be “in moderation.” If I know that Jerry has had a big meal at the hospital, then I know neither of us will expect to eat much in the evening. I can indulge more.

If I know I have something planned for the evening, I pass on the social events at work.

My classmates like to meet at Giovanni’s. This is at most four times a year. I can handle this, but again, I plan that particular day accordingly.

My husband likes to eat out. I have familiarized myself with the major chain restaurants we haunt, and I have a choice meal at each one. I have this all figured out and I know I am not going overboard. Do I always make the perfect choice? No, but I know better from best and I choose as well as I can, depending on the rest of the day OR the rest of the week.

I avoid: fried at all costs. I have friends who say, “But Denise, you love that Sweet and Sour Chicken!” and there is that day, once in a blue moon. Hubby doesn’t like Chinese food, so you know it’s seldom.

There is always that chance meeting with an old friend or someone coming through town. I live my life with a “Seize the Day” mentality. Within the guidelines that I know are right and wrong, there is the larger issue of interaction with people, and breaking bread together is one way we do that. I consider it a great blessing to have many friends.

Those days will come! But if I live the rest of my life with “watching it,” keeping track with, and EXERCISING, then we enjoy life together.

I refuse to live life so sparingly that there is nothing left to enjoy. So perhaps I am not making the progress some would think I should. I will get there, and I will stay there.

I will live and love life; and I will love those who are dear to me. Time is going by too fast! On the other hand, I want to live as long as possible!

P.S. We begin the “birthday/shower/holiday/wedding” season, and I am not where I wanted to be. I planned to maintain during this time; but I am still working at losing a little. After the New Year, “After the Ball,” I will seriously get back on track. I pray for good health during all of this.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Fitness Journey: I Don't Like to Cook!

I have often been teased about my cooking ability, or lack thereof.

I want to make one thing clear to my reader. I CAN COOK! I know how to, I was taught well by my mother, my grandmother and my aunts. (My other grandmother, not so much, but I think maybe she was on to something! Read on!)

I have the ability to cook. I read all about cooking. But here’s the thing: I have so much time in the day, and frankly, I would rather be doing something else!

Many of the daily chores cannot be “not done” for long. Laundry piles up, and unless you have more clothing than I do, you must wash it. Cleanliness is defined differently for all of us, and indeed, differently for each of us at different seasons of life, but eventually, for health concerns, you must clean to some extent.

This looks yummy!
And certainly, those who know me well know that I don’t look like I am missing meals! This is one reason the weight is coming off s.l.o.w.l.y, which is fine with me.

So what do I do?

One issue for us at this season of our life is working different schedules. Substitute teachers have different schedules every day. When Jerry volunteers at the hospital, he gets a free meal after the shift, and he takes advantage of it. My schedule varies from day to day, and although we do spend most evenings together, we don’t eat at the same time. So, we solve the problem independently.

Jerry picks up the BOGO deal at the fast food chain, and while I don’t pretend I NEVER eat one of those, they are NOT my staples. I fix easy things. Eggs are good. We have been taught that eggs are terrible for our cholesterol, and then they reversed that finding, but either way, I don’t eat that many eggs in a given week. I eat fruit, I cut up an apple. I like PBJ sandwiches, in moderation, and I don’t slather on the ingredients. I like salads, but that depends on what we have right on hand. I don’t like salads four nights a week. I just don’t!

Soups are good, again in moderation. Unless I make them (there’s that word again!), they have a lot of sodium in them. Honestly, I am good with chips and salsa; I just make sure they are measured.

If some doctor told me I could never eat red meat again, I would not consider it a loss. I am not a vegetarian, but I do like seafood. I can get tired of chicken easily.

I am allergic to any dish that has more than three ingredients, and I attribute that to the fact that I just don’t like to cook! Chopping, prepping, ugh!

So what would I rather do?

If I work six hours a day, then go exercise, come home and clean up, that is an eight hour day. I don’t feel like adding meal prep at the end of the day. I want to sit down, talk with my husband and/or son, watch some TV, read, and do other small chores. I have mentioned hospitality in another blog.  Maybe I want to meet a friend for dinner, and eating out is another installment of this blog. Eating out can also be an extension of hospitality.

Cooking involves meal preparation, the actual eating, and the cleaning up. This really is not how I want to spend my evenings.

When I have company, I do not want to spend my time in the kitchen. I want to be enjoying the visit. For that reason, we do have Dominos on speed-dial, and we welcome drop in company. I have used Bob Evans for holiday meals, when it made sense. We did this last Easter, when the kids were baptized at church, Mom was here visiting, and I don’t know when I would have had time to fix the meal, that would not have taken time away from my mother’s visit! I think got this tendency from my maternal grandmother; who before the advent of fast food would give my Dad some money and he would run down to KFC and feed 6-8 of us!

Every once in awhile I (1) have a craving for something; (2) need to fix something for an event or (3) just feel like I need to prepare a good meal for us. As with all seasons of life, this is changing too. When one of these occasions happens, I rise to meet the need.

But I don’t love it. I love those three little words.

“Let’s eat out.”

More on that next time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Letting Go - A Reprise

This is a second entry in a topic and you can find the first entry here.

If I just didn’t have to blow out that d*** candle!

You know the drill. I, as mother-of-the-groom, am seated in the front row with my husband, and I get to stay seated about 30 seconds as the mother-of-the-bride is escorted down the aisle. Then together, we walk up on the platform and in our case, take a candle and light it from the candelabra and come back to the Unity Candle and light the smaller candles beside it. These are to represent our families, and later our son and their daughter will take those candles and light the one candle and blow out their own.

This is just a representation.
I do not know these people.
I don’t have a problem with the Unity Candle, although my husband and I opted not to use one. The kids are becoming a new family unit and are “leaving and cleaving,” as both sets of parents have raised them to do. This is success.

But before that, I have to blow out my candle that lights my son’s candle. Notice the fathers do not normally do this, it’s the mothers! I don’t think this is fair. For the mother, this is THE END. It is hard for mommies to give up their little boys!

I am the one who carried him nine months, when my husband thinks I just have 30 pounds of flab in my stomach (you should have heard me scream at him when he wanted me to clean the pool skimmer at 8 ½ months, “Jerry! There’s HUMAN BEING between me and that skimmer!”). I am the one that got kicked to smithereens when he broke my water. I am the one who had to have the C-section when the boy just preferred being in there and comfy and cozy rather than the hard work of childbirth. They call it “failure to progress.”

My husband was a true partner in care giving of the babies. He is fabulous with babies. Give him a crying infant and it’s comforted in five minutes! But Mom was the one who watched him grow, watched him think and understood how he was learning. When he was three, and could barely see above the kitchen table, I was making some drawings—rough as they were—of house plan ideas as we thought we might want to build. He looked at them, and I told them they were pictures of a house. He asked what room “this” was, and “that” was. Remember, these are one dimensional drawings; they “look” nothing like a house picture. I was amazed, pondered these things in my heart, and wondered if indeed, my son would be the architect I never could be.

I was the chief-in-spiritual-training. Both of my kids accepted Jesus as their Savior before the age of six. Jessica was the month before, and Joel was four months before the age of six. There are those of you who don’t think children of that age understand this. I NEVER DOUBTED with either of them. Of course, their faith was on a child’s level, and that’s where they were. That’s all Jesus asks of any of us; to come to Him as a child. Both children grew at age-appropriate levels in their faith and knowledge.

Also at the age of six, I was present at a t-ball practice, when Joel completed an unassisted triple play. Now, mind you, this was not a physical feat as the other children were picking dandelions. He mentally knew that when you caught a line drive and ran to this base and that base, you doubled up the runners. I remember us parents looking at each other and saying, “Did we just see what we thought we saw?” We did. Joel just did what he knew to do.

As the years passed, I worked part-time, I worked full-time; and I kept up with what was really going on! I had help, my life partner, my neighbor, teachers and “other moms.” I had facebook before we had Facebook! When we had some hard times, we dealt with it quickly; I never talked about “phases.” I dealt with what needed to be done. I made no excuses for poor behavior, or character. As most of us do, I asked myself if this issue would matter 50 years from now and if the answer was no, I didn’t care much. But character was another thing—we didn’t negotiate those issues.

While he was always independent, he was still MY boy! With other people’s influence, we raised him to be a fine man.

And when I stand up there in church and blow out that candle, I will know that it was a job well done.

Monday, October 8, 2012

My Fitness Journey: You've Missed Me!!!

I have had people write me and ask me where I am on My Fitness Journey. Well, there’s a simple answer for this. Stalled.

When I returned from my trip to Alaska on Friday, August 25th, I was carrying an upper respiratory infection. Being one to always work through these things, I went to the gym sometime Saturday—not early—and did some light cardio work, nothing overwhelming.

But things went from bad to worse on Saturday evening and Sunday, and by Monday, although I went to work, I was at the doctor's at 10:30 AM. We started the first round of antibiotics of Z-pack and I already had my trusty codeine cough syrup. I didn’t go to the gym all week; I worked at the Senior Center and came home. Period. I rested. The good thing about illness is, maybe you are not doing anything, but you don’t want to eat anything either. I maintained my pre-trip weight with no issues.

Things seemed to be coming along by the end of the week, so the following week, I began going back to the gym again. I wasn’t killing myself, light day, harder day, alternating. I would like to go to class, but I am not stupid! It wasn’t time for that. I continued to maintain.

By the weekend, it hit me again and again on Monday I was at the doctor's. This time we tried Augmentin© and refilled that cough medicine! But I continued to exercise as I was able, confident that Augmentin© would do the trick. I don’t take lots of antibiotics; I am not one of these people that gets immune to them. I have to admit that before my sinus reconstruction surgery in 1996, I WAS there—I got sinus infections about once a month and I had half a life! I have resolved never to go there again, and without belaboring the point, that surgery was life-altering!

The simple beauty of holding
your grandchild and not being
afraid of giving her your illness.
I continued to exercise that week, the third week of illness and into the next week, but didn’t really add. I was still just trying to get through the things I had to do.  I didn’t get well.

I gave up exercising the 5th week also and by Friday of that week I was back at the doctor requesting Bactrim©. I am not a doctor nor do I play on TV but I know Bactrim© is the CANNON! I am DONE with this!

So I began that course of treatment about 9 days ago and I finally feel that I am on the mend and I can return to the gym this week. The last two weeks I just.stayed.home. This past weekend Jerry and I ran errands together on Saturday and after church, went to see the kids on Sunday. It was exhilarating to feel well enough to do normal weekend things and not lay around all weekend!

During the whole time, I just could not move, but I did get on the scales daily. I know you aren’t supposed to; but it was one way I could keep up with where I was. I may have been getting flabbier, but I weighed the same and I could still get on my clothes the way I had previously.

I actually missed the working out, the camaraderie with my friends, and the knowing I was making progress, but I wanted to get well more!

I will start back to the gym tomorrow. Today, I have a mani/pedi!!! Remember, I wrote about taking care of the total person? Well, I am! J

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Next Generation: My Friends' Kids--Holly

Some time ago, I started a label about “My Kids’ Friends” and I know of two things that are going to fit within that topic, so I started the label. In the future, I never know where that might go, so I just did it.

There’s another topic I believe I should start; that of “My Friends’ Kids,” and that is what I am going to talk about today. Because one of my friend's kids is a fellow blogger, I am going to unashamedly sent you over to her page to have a look at what she does.

Her mother Jean has been my friend since 7th grade. Although we have and had other close friends, there was no jealousy about that. We were like sisters. She was in my wedding. Sadly, I could not be at hers.

As I recall, her first born was due around my birthday, the middle of July. We were planning a visit mid-August and thought that would be fine. Holly did not make her entrance until the end of July, so here I was visiting a new mother of two weeks. We thought nothing of it. Sisters don’t care about things like that. My husband and I slept on the floor in the living room of a fairly small apartment, and were fine with it!

This is stunning!
I guess maybe since Holly was first, we had more time with her and became closer to her, and as the other kids came along, hers and mine, we loved them all. Jean was a stricter mom than I was, but I suppose if I had been managing a small army of rapidly born children, I would have been like that too. Our methods were different, but they all turned out OK.

I have had a relationship with Holly through adulthood, and her having her own children. She was the artistic one. She has a degree in Fine Arts and teaches art in a private school, where I have no doubt she is an excellent teacher. Her home is full of her beautiful works.

What I want to share with my readers is her fabulous use of fabric. I “follow” her blog, and head on over to “Laci Jean” to see what she is doing over there. She makes bags of all types for her friends and when I asked her to make one for me, I was thrilled that she agreed. She makes a lot of diaper bags. She’s 34. Since I am done with diaper bags, I wanted an all-purpose bag that would hold and protect my iPad. I did buy the material at Jo Ann’s and shipped it to her but beyond that I gave her complete creative freedom. I am not disappointed.

I was thinking about her this morning, and this afternoon the purse arrived. I am SOOOOO excited to use it! LOVE.LOVE.LOVE!!!!!