Monday, November 26, 2012

Being A Mother

Being a parent wasn't just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.” ― Jodi Picoult, Handle With Care
Although I have many hidden grey hairs and my life expectancy has probably been reduced by 20 years from all the stress it has caused me, I love being a mother. As I watch my almost 21 year old son evolve into manhood I find myself in awe of how big of an accomplishment, as a mother, that really is. I guess as you are going through the motions of everyday life you don't realize how big all the milestones really are. They learn to talk, they learn to walk, they learn to run, they develop talents, they experience emotions, they learn to read, they learn to write, they develop preferences, they are subjected to pain, they get sick, they recover, they have accomplishments, they have disappointments. It all happens and then all of the sudden, there is this adult ... this person, this part of you that has morphed from a tiny baby who needed you to meet their every need and now they stand taller than you, so smart, so prepared, so ready for what lies ahead of them and all along, the one constant in their life was you. Absolutely amazing. Almost unfathomable. I did that. I helped shape this person. He's part of me. I also have two step children and this weekend my daughter was preparing to go her boyfriend's house. She was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and she couldn't have been more excited. Amidst our errands on Friday I took her to get her hair cut and splurged on a wash, blow dry and style. She was so excited to get her hair washed as she said she had never had her hair washed in a salon before. I found myself reflecting on that simple, silly little thought. Really? She's 15. This is the first time she is getting her hair washed in a salon? Wow. Another first I am witnessing. As a mother we take these things so for granted. She brings me so much joy, a joy that is different and familiar yet new in a very strange way. This afternoon, my 12 year old took it upon himself to make the executive decision to walk home after staying late at school. It was dark and I spent 40 minutes having what felt like a massive heart attack when he didn't answer his cell phone or our home phone and neglected to call me to let me know he had stayed after school. Once I heard his voice on the other end of the line I couldn't decide if I wanted to kill him or if I was just so damn happy and relieved he was okay. I realized that I didn't have to give birth to my children to really love them .... motherhood is about bearing witness to their life, being there, experiencing the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Melissa abandoned me on the Atkins trail today. I'll admit I was kind of bummed, it was this silent motivation that was really keeping me on track; however, I guess I knew it wouldn't last forever. After all, she doesn't really need it and it's a big sacrafice for someone who doesn't need it. I'm trying to keep on keeping on, I've come this far, I need to keep going. I feel better than I have in a long time. Speaking of Melissa, she had a tragedy in her life this weekend ... her friend from high school was killed in a car accident that they think was a result of his diabetes. Very sad story and it got me to thinking about Jacqui. Next month will be the five year anniversary of her death. I still can't believe she's gone. Every so often I go to just so I can see her face, her smile. Sometimes I miss her so much and now, even five years later, sometimes I can't believe she's gone. I feel for Melissa, I know how rattling this is and I'm sad for her loss, for his family and mostly for him .... passing so young. It's that time of year that we should remember how short life is and how much we should cherish those around us. Don't go to bed mad. Call someone you love, even when it's an inconvenience to your day. Tell your kids you love them everyday. Don't take today for granted. Smile as much as you can. Love as much as your capable of. Don't let a moment go by without remembering how lucky you are to be here.

Day 16-19

Goodness, I've gotten behind on Project Thankful. So I owe you a few "What I'm Thankful for..." for days 16-19. Here it goes....
I am so thankful for the friends I have in my life ... some are pure acquaintances, some are friends I've known a lifetime that I don't see that often and some are my continual support through life. I love them all and they all serve a very important purpose in my life. I am blessed to have so many wonderful people who care about me.
I am thankful to all the men and women who serve our country and for all those who have perished in the line of duty. I am forever grateful for the freedom that I am afforded because of their sacrafices.
I am thankful for the love and commitment that both my husband and I put into our marriage. It is not often you find someone in life who respects the institution of marriage and all that it stands for. I feel lucky to have a partner who is as committed to making it work as I am.
I'm so very thankful for my in-laws, they have done such wonderful things for our family. I am most thankful for my father in law. He brings a silent strength to the family, he pulls the family together and brings a peace and love that I can't quite explain. He understands the struggles in a silent way, he's full of crazy wisdom and he brings a smile to my children's eyes. I am so grateful he's my father in law and cherish every day he's here in our lives.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Button Bracelet

What do you think of this bracelet? I made it! Let me know what you think!!

Public Speaking

I spent the last day and a half in a training on presentation skills or basically, public speaking.  I will admit, it was terrifying.  Even as an outgoing and social person, I have always avoided public speaking opportunities. Truth be known, I've taken lesser grades and inevitably left college because of the required public speaking.  Earlier in my life, it was just something I couldn't do.  When I worked for the YMCA very early in my career, I was charged with running new employee orientation.  I actually had an asthma attack before the presentation, and I don't have asthma!!!!

The company that Solo has been acquired by has a full-time training Director and she came out and presented a class on presentation skills for 5 of us.  It was such an exhilarating experience and I'm thankful to have had the development opportunity.  It helped me realize I am not the only one with this fear and that I'm not the only one who has things to work on.  Overall, my feedback from the instructor was very positive and flattering.

I can't say I am completely over the fear of public speaking but I certainly know what I should and should not do.  I also learned that I am not terrible at it either.  I love conquering a fear and most of all, I love someone who pushes me outside of my comfort zone to achieve what I previously thought impossible.

Day 15

Might seem crazy but if they ever stop making this stuff, I don't know what would happen to me.  I am THANKFUL for Afrin.  When I have a cold, I cannot stand not being able to breath through my nose.  Afrin has gotten me through plenty of colds and helps me to sleep.  I am very thankful for Afrin!!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14

My dad has such an amazing work ethic.  He's been working since he was 15 years old (FOR THE SAME COMPANY!!!!!!) and raised me to know the value of a day's work and to work as hard as I could.  Every single day I am thankful for the fact that he passed on this wisdom to me as I credit him for the person I am professionally today.  He's one of the hardest working people I know and I have such respect for all he's endured to raise his family.  I love you, Dad.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13

My heated leather seats in my car.  My goodness I love them.  It's like a pair of hands waiting to cradle my booty and warm it up at the same time .... it's hidden booty love right there in the seat.  I love it.  It makes me not want to get out of my car when I get to my destination.  I'm spoiled, I know but I am oh so thankful for them!


I LOVE sleeping ... not in a weird recluse way, I just really enjoy my bed and my sleep.  About a year ago in my struggles to lose weight, my doctor sent me for a sleep study. Who knew that someone with a sleep disorder could actually have difficulty losing weight!  Well, unfortunately, that wasn't my problem ... ha!  What they discovered is that I have a very mild case of sleep apnea.  Turns out when I was waking up to pee every night, I wasn't really waking up to pee .... the sleep apnea was disturbing my sleep and when you wake, your brain normally sends a signal to your bladder and everything gets working.  Then I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks ....... was I going to have to wear a C-Pap? not sexy (lol), like my poor husband needs another wrench thrown into our sex life!  Well, as it turns out, my sleep apnea was very mild so I had a choice between a dental device and these little stickers that I'd have to put on my nose every night.  Well, I opted for the dental device and went off to see my dentist.  He immediately dismissed the idea ..... it would force my jaw forward in an unnatural way and would cause problems with my bite down the line.  Yeah, that's not something I want!  So I resigned myself to the stickers and to my surprise, they aren't so bad.  The only problem is that I have to remember to put them on ...... it's sorta like remembering to use a condom.  :)

So this last week, I have been diligent about remembering and I haven't woke up once during the night (unless it was my husband coming in at an ungodly hour or my dogs deciding that they needed to run barking out the front window at a passerby in the middle of the night). This simple fact you'd think, would be enough to help me remember.  I feel more rested in the morning and the doctor actually said I should notice it easier to lose weight.  I'll take it!!!

Everyone should have a sleep study, who knew sleep could be connected to so many things and I didn't even really know my sleep was interrupted.  It's scary.  So hear I am, shouting out for Team Sleep!

Whirlwind Weekend

Holy Busy!  What a weekend, but a great one at that.  Weather was a mind-blowing 65-70 degrees!  Heaven.  We did all of our domestic duties on Saturday shopping and the like and then woke up at the butt-crack of morning on Sunday (3:45 AM) so that we could be on the road by 4:30 en route to the western suburbs where we took part in Tow Trucks for Tots, an annual event to gather toys for needy children in and around Chicago.  Despite the fact that I was tired, I was also excited.  Towing companies throughout the Midwest converge to Rockdale, IL  and lineup for the world’s largest tow truck parade.  The parade route is 42 miles long.  It travels from Rockdale, IL to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.  My husband has been in heavy duty towing for the last 20 years.  It's in his blood, he loves it.  We all met up at the shop and we convoyed 11 of the trucks down the expressway in the wee hours of the morning with lights flashing on top.  I had never been part of something like that.  It was such an awesome experience.  Once we arrived at the parade staging area in Rockdale it got even cooler.  I never saw so many tow-trucks in my life ... big and small.  The cammaraderie among the drivers was really awesome.  At 9 AM the parade started and we departed the parking lot where we were staged in a police escorted procession.  The parade went on for 11 miles......11 miles of friggin tow trucks!  Unbelieveable.  As we traveled down 55, people were on the overpasses cheering us on and people were parked in their cars on the ramps of the highway and along the frontage roads cheering and waving.  It was so fun!  Can't wait to do it next year ... a great way to kick off the season of giving. But whew man, am I tired!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Days 11 and 12

I am so thankful that MAC has not discontinued my signature color lipstick.  I think I'd die.  Every perfume that I've ever fallen in love with that has become my signature color is discontinued but MAC stays true and doesn't get rid of this beautiful color that looks good on me no matter summer, fall, winter or spring.  I love it and with the right lipliner I can change the color ..... morning to night it never fails me.  Thank you MAC.  <3

I am thankful for Simply Lite's low-carb chocolate.  Although I can't eat more than a piece or two (or I will be sent straight to the bathroom with explosions that could be mistaken for a volcano), it is heaven on earth without any guilt whatsoever.  It doesn't taste weird and it satisfies.  Thank you, Simply Lite!  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10

I'm so thankful for Dr. Shannon Burke, my Chiropractor.  She brings comfort when I am desperately in need of relief and my internist just wants to give me muscle relaxers.  Shannon is a doctor of magic, in my opinion, and I highly regard her knowledge and professionalism and I am very thankful for her in my life.  You can learn more about Shannon at

Friday, November 9, 2012

Great Day!

Thank God all the Obama bitching is dying down .... Good Lord, I feel like saying "If you don't like it, pack up and move."  As Americans, we all have the duty of supporting our President.  There's nothing we can do about it now, we had our vote, now live with it.  He's the people's choice whether he was yours or not.  People want to blame everything on him .... the problems started with Clinton and continued on from there .... Obama didn't create the mess we are in today.  Cmon people.  Anyway, I just got done saying I was glad it was all dying down so I will stop my rant now.  There done.  Let's give him a chance.

Today was a great day!  The scale this morning revealed I really lost 8 lbs, not 5 lbs (best to weigh yourself in the morning .... yeah, I'm going with that!)  I fit into a size smaller pants this morning and put on a shirt I haven't worn in 3 years.  I got so many compliments this week on how good I look and it's very motivating.  I feel like maybe I can really do it this time.

God bless Melissa, she celebrated with me even though she downed a bottle of cough medicine last week (not realizing it had sugar in it) and ate a whole bunch of beef jerky this week (not realizing there are 4 carbs in a serving) and so her weight loss is a little slower.  She cracks me up.  I love her support.

We went out to lunch to TGI Fridays where I would never usually go and we both ordered a blue cheese crusted steak with tomato mozarella salad and broccoli.  YUM.  Our waiter was so sweet, for dessert, he brought us a big dish of Redi Whip (very low carb dessert).  We loved it!

Got a great email from a friend from my childhood filled with compliments and encouragement.  It was such a beautiful email.  It's amazing when you blog and share your struggles how it helps to empower other people and they open up and share too.  This blog may be one of the best things I've done in a long time.

Hoping to enjoy the weekend although there are a lot of domestic duties that need to be accomplished.  On a positive note, my oldest will be home from college this weekend and I always love his visits. Sunday my husband and I are doing the Tow Trucks for Tots event.  It should be fun!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Day 9

I'm really very thankful for my Venti Decaf Iced Americano with a little heavy whipping cream and one sweet and low.  It wakes me in the morning, makes feel better when I'm down, makes me look at skinny bitches drinking skinny lattes and laugh because I am drinking something way better that isn't the least bit bad for me and at other times it's an indulgence that I feel guilty partaking in but the truth is, it's 100% legal.

Who loves ya Starbucks?  I do! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Five Pounds

So I got back from vacation at the end of October and I was thrilled to find that I didn't gain any weight on vacation.  After all, I did share a piece of cheesecake that was (no lie) bigger than the slab of ribs they drop on the Flintstone car.  I decided that I was getting too fixated on the scale as it wasn't moving as quickly as I was hoping it would.  I am, after all, older this time around.  So I decided I was thrilled with the fact that my clothes are getting bigger and bigger and I am going to enjoy that as opposed to focusing on the number.  So it's been about 2 weeks and I just jumped on the scale tonight out of just sheer curiosity and.....


Earlier this year I was planning to have gastric bypass in the Spring.  As the "date" approached I was still 20 pounds away from where the surgeon wanted me to be before he would perform the surgery.  I was so frustrated so I gave up on that too.  Today, I am below that weight that he wanted me to be.  I am so psyched!!!!  I'm going to keep going and see if I can't do this on my own.

I owe much of this success to my co-worker, Melissa.  Melissa today weighs 113 lbs.  She's beautiful.  She doesn't need to be doing Atkins.  Wait, just incase you don't believe me, let me show you a picture of Melissa from her recent vacation that she just returned from:

Yep, see ... she doesn't need to be doing this AT ALL.  But for whatever reason she has been doing it with me and sticking to it for weeks now.  I keep asking her if she's doing this because she feels better and while she assures me she is, I don't know if I believe her.  I think she just felt bad for me but I can't tell you how much I value the kind of friend she has been to me the last several months.  I'm doing it and nothing was working before.  It's coming off, people are noticing, my clothes are bigger, I feel better.  Thank you Melissa, I love you.

Day 8

I'm thankful for my closest friends, (left to right) Jen, Lily and my sister, Donna.  I've known Jen over 10 years, I've known Lily for over 30 and I've known Donna, well, her whole life.  :)  They support me through EVERYTHING and without them (and wine), I don't know how I would have made it this far.  They have been with me through the laughter, the (very) hard times, broken hearts, total happiness, births, deaths, new jobs, jobs lost, marriage, divorce and then marriage again.  They are my three corners of the world that I must always have access too.  I love all of you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Days 1-7

Good Lord, I'm a total idiot. The whole inspiration for starting this blog before November 1 was to countdown everyday something that I am thankful for ...... as usual, I start rambling and now it's the 7th of November and I forgot to start.  Story of my life!  It's kind of like starting your kid's baby book when they are 18!

So, starting today I am going to countdown the things I am most thankful for up until Thanksgiving.  These will fall in no particular order of importance, they are just random thoughts.  Since I'm supposed to be on Day 7, let's catch up!

I am thankful for my son, Zach.  Zach is 20 and a big pain in my butt, but he's the best thing I ever did.  He's the reason I have waken up for the past 20 years, he's my reason to laugh, my reason to grow, my reason to cry, my reason to smile, my reason to breath ..... I could go on.  I am so thankful for everything he has brought to my life.  Okay well, I could have done without some of the bad stuff, but mostly it has been good.  He's my purpose and I love him more than I could ever put into words.

I am thankful for my daughter.  Actually, she's my step daughter but I really and truly consider her my own.  I swore off girls very early in my child bearing years.  I'm one of them, who would want one?  Bitching. Complaining.  Moaning.  Drama. Periods. PMS ..... ugh, no thank you!  Lily entered my life 6 years ago and I was actually afraid of the future but today, she is one of the most amazing parts of my existence.  She's growing into a beautiful young woman.  She is still finding herself and discovering the world.  She'll turn 16 in June and just about every single day (minus the PMS days), I love her more than I ever imagined possible.

I am thankful for my husband, Casey.  I met Casey in January of 2007 and my life changed forever.  He's a stubborn ass a lot of the time and says a lot of things I hope he doesn't mean, but ultimately, I know I've found my partner in life.  He's really strong (like a bull), he makes me laugh, he takes a stress from my life that I never thought I would get rid of and when he wants to be, he is incredibly supportive.  He and I are at our best in crisis ... together, we can do anything.  I love him!

I'm thankful for my job with Solo Cup.  Although we were acquired this year and my job won't be my job anymore in the next year, it has been a great 8 years.  I love the people that I work with, I love what I do, I love what we've built and I am going to be incredibly sad to leave it.  The iconic red Solo Cup as we know it today is no more and although it will continue to be made and go on, it will never be the same.  Here's to you, Red Solo Cup!

I'm very thankful for Gabriel, my nephew and Godson.  I feel blessed that someone thought of me as a spiritual leader for their child and just seeing his little smiling face brings me so much joy.

I'm sooooo thankful for my dogs.  Huey came first and then Ellabella.  They bring so much happiness and love into my life.  I thought I loved my kids ....... and then my dogs came along.  :)  I am so grateful for their unconditional love, their slobbery doggy kisses and their warm snuggles.

I am grateful for my parents because I know they did their best.  Now as a mother, I imagine it couldn't have been easy to raise a child like myself.  If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be the person I am today and without their help through the years, I might not even be where I am today. <3

Ok, we're caught up!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

It's Tuesday ... besides being voting day (blech) it is also the greatest TV day of the week!  I hit the DVR this morning to rearrange the priority levels (because we record too many damn things at once so you have to juggle things around a bit to make sure everything is recorded) only to find that half the shows aren't even on.  I'm sure it has something to do with voting .... likely they will further torment us until the moment when we REALLY find out which candidate we are doomed with.  Well, at 9 PM when the rest of the world is agonizing over our fate, I will be nestled in bed watching Sons of Anarchy!  You betcha!  I will wait until morning to find out what doom has been bestowed upon America.

Despite my doom and gloom outlook on voting, I am a voter and will faithfully fulfill my American obligation on my way home tonight.  I'm not convinced my vote, or anyone's for that matter, really means anything.  My son says that I shouldn't vote if I am not fully educated on the candidates because I'm doing more harm than good, after all, that's how Bush got elected into office.  <sigh>  Well, I know what's important to me and I at least did the research to ensure I am voting for the candidate that (mostly) matches those things.

On a follow up note, I made the ceviche last night and to my surprise this morning it was done.  The damn citrus juice REALLY did cook the seafood.  Crazy!  I mixed it all up and it was pretty delicious.  I invited the bestie over tonight for some ceviche and wine but she's not good at those impromptu things so I'm guessing that won't happen.  I made a lot of Ceviche for just me .... the husband works tonight so I will be on my own.  I promise to take a picture before I eat it all.  It was delicious and once I slice an Avocado to go with it .... yum, HEAVEN!

That reminds me.....need to go to Trader Joe's on the way home and grab some Vhino Verde!  Delish!

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Track!

Well, I'm down about 26 lbs and I slipped off the wagon this weekend.  I was run down, tired and in a complete carb coma.  I'm back on track today.  I didn't get to make Ceviche last night so I came home today and went out to the store to get some groceries (that I didn't do yesterday) and came home to chop everything up.  Now I know why Ceviche is so expensive in restaurants!  It's a lot of work.
Here's what I made:

1# Fresh Red Snapper Filet
1# Fresh Shrimp
A Cup of Bay Scallops
The juice from 10 Limes
The juice from 5 Lemons
1 Serrano Pepper Obliterated on the Food Processor
1 Bunch of Cilantro Obliterated in the Food Processor
1 Red Onion Chopped Into Small Pieces
3 Vine Tomatoes, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1 Orange Pepper (or Red or Yellow if you Prefer)
A Pinch of Kosher Salt
A Pinch of Iodized Salt
A Pinch of Ground Mexican Oregano

Cut all the fish into bite size pieces.  Mix with 1/3 of the onion and the serrano pepper in a ceramic or glass bowl and the kosher salt.  Cover the fish with the juice of the lemons/limes (you likely won't use all of it).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, until the fish is "cooked."

Mix together the chopped pepper, cilantro, tomato and onion with the ground mexican oregano and iodized salt.  Cover that bowl with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

Once everything is done, discard juice from fish and mix everything together.  Serve with sliced lime, fresh avocado and tortilla chips.

I'll post a picture when mine is done!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Low Carbing

I have been low carbing for the past few months.  Years ago I lost a significant amount of weight and felt great doing the Atkins diet.  In preparation for my recent vacation to the Carribean, I decided to do it again and I've been happy with the results so far.  It hasn't been as easy as it was 10 years ago ... I'm married now, I like food even more now and I have the money to buy what I want to eat.   Anyway, on Thursday I had dinner with my best friend and while I didn't intend on over indulging, we drank a whole bottle of red wine, had a few tortilla chips and shared some decadent dessert.  That was the beginning to a very terrible weekend of feeling absolutely horrible.  Friday we went to dinner with two friends and I had a few bites of some deep fried Okra and pickles, had two beers but otherwise ate pretty on program.  Saturday we went to a Halloween party and there were not very many options there for me........I ate an Italian beef sandwhich and then stupidly put a cookie in my mouth as well as a small slice of cheesecake and a few glasses of wine.  I won't recount how horrible I felt every single day but needless to say, it's back on program today.  I am going to try my hand at making Ceviche tonight.  I love fish and it's healthy.  I spent the morning in bed recovering from this weekend binge, if you want to call it that and I don't want to feel this way ever again.

Watch my blog later for an account of the Ceviche making experience!