I went to Kroger yesterday and they had Peeps!  Wherever Peeps go, spring will follow.  Pink bunnies and yellow chicks.  Not that I eat them.  I’ve never liked Peeps but it gave me such a start to see them.  There I was, tramping through the snow to my car, sweeping off the entire car and carefully maneuvering the neighborhood’s icy roads to Kroger.  I grabbed a frozen grocery cart from the parking lot and pushed it through the door to be greeted by Peeps.  Nice.  I should have bought some just so I could line them up on the window sill.  Not as good as seeing crocus or daffodils but still something to remind me that there will be an end to the winter.

My goal for today is to update my sub folder.  If they think I’m going to go until spring break before I can get a day off, they’re crazy.  I can feel a mental health day coming on before then.  There are times when I get up and feel like crap and I start thinking about my options.  There’s always Steven…I have to get him to school.  I usually have some kind of meeting after school for one thing or another.  And then, the process for getting a sub is annoying and time consuming and we always have to call the school to let them know we won’t be in. But the real kicker is that daggone sub folder.  I’m always thinking, “What’s in my sub folder?  Is my class roster current?  Do I have appropriate lessons  for all my classes?”  That usually gives me the incentive to get myself in gear and go to work.

I haven’t taken a single sick day this year but I don’t think I’m going to fight it the next time I feel a desperate need for a mental health day.  I’m going to be ready.

the spa, that is…

I woke up at 5:00, poured a cup of coffee, fed the damn cat and logged on to my computer.  First thing I see on the JCPS homepage is “All JCPS schools are closed Wednesday, January 26, 2011.”  I did a double take.  Is that today?  Is that still left on the website from last week?  What day is this?  I walked in the living room and turned on the TV and they’re scrolling all the school closings on the bottom of the page with JCPS right on top.  I opened up the living room blinds on the picture window and saw a little accumulation, maybe an inch, but the snow was coming down hard and heavy.  So much for last night’s forecast of a “slight chance of snow but no measurable precipitation”.

Sigh…I was pretty put out yesterday when they announced that they’re taking our parent conference day on Feb. 14th and our next professional development day on March 5 to make up some of the snow days.  I’ve already completed my professional development days for the year so I was supposed to be off on March 5. DH already submitted for a vacation day and we were going to take a long weekend.  Guess not.  Still, I wonder what they’re going to do about those of us who have already completed our professional development hours for the year.  In reality, we’ve already worked that day.  Guess they’ll either pay us for it or add an additional day on the end of the year.

I’m really bummed out about missing all these days.  Each one represents a beautiful, warm day in June that we’re sacrificing for these cold, dreary, gray days when we’re stuck inside the house.  On top of that, I brought home a ton of work to do so I’m actually kind of working anyway.  I decided that I might as well make the best of it and try to enjoy it at least a teeny bit.  I set up the espresso machine and brewed a cup of cappuccino, steamed and whipped the milk, added some Splenda and a sprinkle of cinnamon and headed out to the spa.

It was nice.  Everyone was still asleep and I sat out there in the dark with the snow falling all around me. The espresso machine is a pain in the butt to drag out of the cabinet, set up and clean, but I felt special, having gone to all the trouble just to make myself a treat.  After just a few minutes, my hair was covered with snow and it felt like there was no one else awake in the entire neighborhood.  Just me, relaxing with a cup of cappuccino, soaking in the spa, enjoying the snowfall.

After a half hour or so, I decided it was time to go in.  I grabbed my big beach towel from on top of the spa cover and it was covered with snow.  I shook it out but it still felt like I encased my naked body in ice when I wrapped it around me.  I shuffled through the snow on the spa deck with my bare feet, feeling for my flip flops which were unusually difficult to locate in the dark.  I finally felt them but they were also full of snow. Daggone it!  That warm cozy feeling was fading fast.  I grabbed what was left of my cold cappuccino and attempted to flip the spa cover back in place but I spilled the remainder of the cold coffee and it splashed down my bare leg.

Yeah… leaving is the hardest part.


Enough already!

I’m so sick of winter.  How can it only be the middle of January?  It seems like years since we had warm weather.  Usually, we have pretty decent weather through December.  This year, it seems like it’s been cold and dreary since October.

We were dismissed from school early on Thursday.  At least, the kids got to leave early.  Teachers had to stay until 2:30.  Pissed me off because I had to drive home with Jake and Steven and I had to drive all the way to Fairdale to pick up Scout because his after-school daycare was closed and David was working.  So…I had to wait until the roads got really nasty before I could even begin the journey.  I didn’t get all the kids home until 4:00 because of traffic and road conditions.  I put in an extra 1 1/2 hours on Tuesday and then stayed an extra 2 hours on Wednesday.  It just gripes the Hell out of me when we get an early dismissal and teachers have to stay in the building because we’re paid until 2:30.  I mean, either we’re hourly (in which case you should pay me for all the extra time I put in) or we’re salary and have some options about being at school when the kids aren’t.  On top of that, the media had been telling everyone that schools would probably be dismissed early and the kids were climbing the walls.

We also missed school on Friday which was okay with me.  I don’t want to make it up but, at least, they let us know at 10:00 Thursday night so we could plan and it made for a long weekend.  I brought a ton of work home with me so I guess I’ll spend the day grading papers and planning lessons.

Uggghhh…how many days till spring?

Joy, I tried to figure out how to set my comments to just allow 3FC but I couldn’t find the setting.  I found where you could do it for individual posts.  Is there a setting for the entire site?


Are you kidding me?

Looks like more snow heading our way.  They’re calling for 3 to 6 inches tomorrow afternoon.  Hope we don’t miss any school.  JCPS has no qualms about closing and making it up in the summer.  It makes it difficult, however, to keep the kids on track.  They don’t respond well to snow days.  Off task and unfocused when they’re predicting snow and then it takes a full day after a snow day to get them back on track.  Today, they’ll all be cutting up and kidding around and excited about the possibility of a long weekend.

Don’t have much time today.  Got in late and slept a little bit later than usual.  Gotta run.  Anyone else getting tons of spam lately?

“I totally agree with the premise of the third paragraph”

“I didn’t quite understand the last part.”

“Interesting article.  Did I see a grammatical error in the last paragraph?”


Girls Night Out!

One of my coworkers has been asking me to take her to Horseshoe to teach her to play the slots.  Like it’s something you need to be taught.  You just put the money in and hit the button.  Anyway, she’s kind of quiet and introverted and wants to go but not by herself.  So…I told her we’d go after work today.  She told another friend and she asked to go.  Then another…then another.  Somewhere along the line, it was decided that we’re going to try out the new Paula Deen buffet while we’re there.  At this point, we have six women heading up to gamble and eat after work today.

Don’t think I’ll weigh myself for a few days.  Paula Deen deep fries butter.

I found out what happened to the spa yesterday.  DH and DS hooked up a small water heater to get it to warm up faster.  It had a hose attached to it and the water ran through the heater and back into the spa.  I pulled the hose out when I went out there the night before.  I saw it and thought they’d just left the garden hose in the spa so I pulled it out and tossed it on the ground and it pumped all the water out overnight.  I’ve taken a LOT of kidding over that one. Don’t think I’m ever going to hear the end of it.  DH spent a lot of time on his phone (that he never carries) talking to just about everyone he knows.

“Picture this…haw, haw, Patty out there in a bathing suit in the sleet trying to figure out where all the water went.  Snort, snort!”

At least I’m good for entertainment value.

The last few days have been crazy.  I let it get away from me.  Lots of stuff going on at work, bringing home papers to grade, taking care of the grandkids, never enough time!

DH and DS put the new heating element in the spa Saturday.  They filled it and I had to wait until last night for the water to get hot.  It felt great, sitting out there in the cold, submerged up to my neck in steamy hot water.  Felt so good, I decided to do it again this morning.

I put my bathing suit on (gotta do that in the daylight) and headed out there a few minutes ago to relax. There’s a light, misty snow shower going on and I ran out there, took off my flip flops and threw back the cover.  All the water was gone!  Except for about 8 inches washing around the bottom.  The jets were spewing water like hoses and it was almost all gone!  You absolutely can not run the spa without water because it will burn up the motor.

I ran over to the side of the house to the GFI box to turn it off. The box had a handle that said On/Off but it wouldn’t move.  I stood out there, barefoot, in a bathing suit for three or four minutes trying to figure it out but I couldn’t get it to budge either to the right or left.  It said “On/Off” but it didn’t even really look like a switch.  I ran back inside and called DH’s cell phone and heard it ringing in the bedroom.  Damn it!  He always forgets to take his phone.

I called DS and he said to go back out to the box and pull the handle.  I ran back out there, stopping by the spa deck to grab my flip flops and tried the handle again.  It just wouldn’t budge and the motor was sounding funny.  Crap!  DS said to pull it out.  I pulled on the handle and the whole damn thing came out in my hand!  I grabbed the phone and told DS, “Sh*t!  I broke it!  The whole damn switch came out!”  He said, “It’s supposed to, Mom.  That’s how you turn it off. You’re just holding the plug.”

Hell of a plug.  Looks like an entire circuit box to me, but what do I know?  That’s when I realized I was standing in a snow shower in my bathing suit.  Not exactly my idea of a relaxing interlude in the spa.

Kind of like my whole week has been.  Think I’ll head to the tub for a nice long soak.



Great…JCPS (Jefferson County Public Schools) is notorious for making last minute decisions about snow days. They wait until the absolute last minute and then we all have to scramble or we’re already up and waiting for their decision and can’t go back to sleep when they finally decide.

Jake and Scout spent the night because everyone was convinced that we wouldn’t have school today.  All the secondary roads are a mess.  DS picked them up yesterday after DIL went to work and left them sleeping at her apartment.  We decided to have them spend the night in order to avoid a repeat of that scenario.  So…here they are.  No school uniforms, twenty miles from Scout’s elementary school, no backpacks…and JCPS decided (at 5:00 a.m.) to go ahead and have school.  Every single county around us is cancelled but we have school.  sigh….this place is a madhouse with five of us needing showers and trying to get out of here.  The plan is for me to take Jake to school with Steven and I, DS is driving to Fairdale to pick up backpacks and uniforms and then taking Scout to school, driving 13 miles to bring a uniform and backpack to Jake and drop it off at school so he can change and have his books.  The fun never ends.

Me…205.5 and holding…

Not!  The snow is coming down but I can’t have that bottle of rum.  If the spa were working, I might plan on sitting out there and letting the snow fall on my head but the heating element is broken (again…).  DH took my advice this time and ordered one with a five year guarantee.  Costs more than the one he’s been getting with the one year guarantee but we’ve replaced it three times in the last five years and he’s finally getting tired of doing it.  Hopefully, it’ll come in the next week and I can refill the spa.  If the water in the hose isn’t frozen.

No school today.  If this keeps up, I won’t even have time to get a tan this summer before we have to go back.  Psycho DIL called DS and told him she has to go to work and the kids are off school so he needs to go get them because she doesn’t have anything to do with them all day.  The idiot has already left for work and left them home alone.  DS is royally pissed because the boys, even though they’re ten and twelve should not be left alone.  He’s out there on the highway somewhere driving 20 miles each way to go get them.  I suppose CPS might be interested but I doubt it.  Just another example of why she shouldn’t have custody.  They’ve been calling for this snow for a week and she didn’t even get up early or try to make any arrangements in case school was cancelled.  It’s always about her and never about the kids.  I wouldn’t dream of just taking off and leaving them home alone.  I can only hope DS gets them picked up and doesn’t slide off into a ditch or something.

I stuck to my goals yesterday.  Stayed on track with my diet, walked on the treadmill, blogged and weighed myself.  Oh, although I’m not convinced of the validity, I’m also determined to drink more water and I’m working on that.  Managed to slurp down 6 cups yesterday.  Weighed myself this morning and it’s the same as yesterday but I think it’ll drop tomorrow.  I didn’t weigh this morning until I’d already been up 4 hours, dressed and eaten breakfast.  You’d think that would make me weigh a little heavier.

Got on the treadmill yesterday but it was more of a “can I do it?” than an actual workout. I promised myself I would get on it and walk for 15 minutes.  I did 20 but I had a mindset that I was only going to do 15.  I could have done more.  Today, I’m going for 30 minutes.

Keeping track of things on Spark People, I’m much more aware of my nutritional needs.  I went to my GYN for my yearly checkup a couple of weeks ago and she told me I’m 5′ 1 1/2″.  I’ve always been 5’2″.  She did a blood test and called to tell me she was giving me a prescription strength Vitamin D supplement because the normal range is 50 to 100 and my level was 19.  Since then, I’ve made it a point to watch my levels on Spark People.  I’m eating healthy and making a point of including foods that contribute to calcium and I’m still nowhere near meeting my daily requirement.  I don’t know how you’re supposed to get enough without a supplement.  Something to keep in mind, Chickies!  Here’s a picture of my Mom from when we went on the cruise over Thanksgiving. She’s about 4′ tall now and has severe osteoporosis.  Not something I want to go through.

Mom is the itty-bitty lady next to Little Sister and DH and I are across the table.  Notice how good I’ve gotten at hiding behind him?

Enough…I’m hitting the treadmill.

11:15 Update – Did 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Twenty of them at a 3% incline.  I felt it.  Didn’t kill me but I definitely felt some heat and my back was aching.  Can’t believe I let things get to this point.  Only way to go is up.

1;45 Update – Changed my mind on dinner tonight.  This is not the kind of evening to enjoy Cambodian Pork rolled up in lettuce leaves with cilantro.  No…this is the kind of night for a big pot of homemade soup. Put some round steak in the kettle to simmer until it falls apart .  Going to the store to pick up some Hoppin John mix, extra jalapenos, and black-eyed peas.  Since Hoppin John (in my favorite recipes, if you’re interested) is so low in calories, we can splurge a little bit and have some more of those beautiful popovers with it!


Snow-ward Bound!

They say we should expect snow tomorrow.  Really, I don’t want anymore snow days!  sigh…

I’m really pleased this morning.  After such a large weight loss last week, I was fully prepared to get on the scales this morning and be a pound or two up from yesterday but it’s holding steady at 205.5  Planning to be back in Onederland by the end of the month and still planning to get back in some decent clothes by the time we go to Vegas in April.

Dag!  I just broke a long fingernail.  Now I have long nails except for the one that broke all the way down.  Looks weird.  Guess I’ll have to cut them all off this evening.  That’s what I get for letting them get so long without taking care of them properly.  Brittle.

Gotta go…work calls…

3:15 Update – DGS, Jake, has Quick Recall after school today so I have to wait for him.  There’s always something to do around here but I think I’m going to recognize the fact that the school day ended at 2:20 and I’ve already put in an extra hour and a half today.  That’s enough.

I’m ready to walk on my treadmill when I get home.  Got it ready to go yesterday, got my MP3, charged the batteries.  Everything is all set so I don’t have any excuses.  I’m just sitting here killing a couple of minutes and slurping a big old bottle of water.


Short and SWEET!

Another half pound gone this morning!  Makes me very happy and motivated!  Also makes me want to do some more work on my menu and shopping and getting my exercise room going again so I don’t really have time to post.

Later, chickies!

This is an absolutely delicious dish that my family loves.  I know it’s healthy and low-fat but I’ve had a terrible time finding calorie counts on some of it so I’m going to do my best.


1 Tbsp. Peanut Oil

2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1 tsp. sugar

8 oz. pork tenderloin (all visible fat removed, cut into thin bitesize strips

8 Green leaf lettuce leaves

3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Nuoc Cham Sauce for dipping (recipe below)

In  a wok or heavy pan, heat the oil, tuk trey, and soy sauce with the sugar.  Add the pork strips and stir fry over medium heat until all the liquid evaporates.  Cook the pork until it turns brown (almost caramelized, but not burnt).

Drop spoonfuls of the cooked pork into lettuce leaves, add cilantro, roll up the lettuce leaves like an egg roll and serve with dipping sauce.  (I like to add sliced tomatoes and cucumbers to the plate and drizzle the dipping sauce over all of it.

Note:  This recipe supposedly serves two to four but we don’t eat just a couple of these for a snack.  Since we’re making a meal of it, I would say it serves two at most.

Calories (120 per serving: if serving two)

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

4 crushed garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. chili paste

1 Tbsp. sugar or Splenda

juice of 1 lime

4 Tbsp. Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)

Calories (10 or so per serving)


Go, Baby! Go!

Whoo Hooo!  Sistah Pat is back in the game!  Stepped on the scales this morning and weighed in at 206.  That’s a five pound loss in the first week of getting back in the game.  Of course, I know it probably won’t stay off and it’s going to slow down but it was just the kind of boost I needed to see this morning.  Renews my committment and determination.

Yesterday was not a good day and it would have been easy to slip back into bad habits.  I didn’t have time for breakfast, didn’t have time for lunch.  Not good.  Dinner was a little bit off track.  I planned bean soup with ham and whole wheat cheddar popovers.  Because I hadn’t eaten anything but a grapefruit all day, I ate two large bowls of bean soup instead of one.  On top of that, I was exhausted and didn’t exercise.  Then, to top it all off, I succumbed to the family’s request that I make good old-fashioned popovers instead of whole wheat.  They turned out huge and crusty on the outside and, although the guys really like whole wheat popovers, they think the big puffy ones are a little bit of heaven.  Ummmm…me, too…so I ate two of them!

 Okay, that’s the bad stuff.  On the good side, our youth service coordinator called me and said they had tons of food left from an event they’d had the night before and wanted to know, if he sent it upstairs to the library, would I set it out and send an email to staff to invite them to partake.  They sent up meatballs, mini quiches, and veggie trays.  I set it up and walked away.  At the end of the day, there were still lots of meatballs and mini quiches leftover and I brought them home for the guys.  None of the goodies passed my lips.  I also discovered a box of chocolate mint truffles a friend gave me for Christmas in my desk drawer.  They’re still sitting there.  Unopened.  Finally, even though I caved on the popovers and made the big puffy ones, I used Brummel and Brown Yogurt spread instead of butter to top them off.

I know I owe a lot of the week’s success to preparing a full menu and making sure I stocked every single ingredient for the week, it was a lot of work and took a long time to get it done.  The advantage was that it was complete and I didn’t have to give it another thought all week.  The disadvantage was the amount of work that went into getting it set up and trying to find room in the fridge and pantry.  I’m thinking I might just go for the first three or four days this time and update it later in the week.  That will give me a pretty good handle on it without consuming an entire day of my weekend.  I love to cook and I’ve got DH looking through my Cooking Light cookbooks to find a new recipe for the week.  I tried two new ones from Sparks People last week.  The Crock Pot Salsa Chicken was okay and I may use it again but the Hearty Ham, Cheese, Rice and Broccoli Casserole was a total bust.  Dry and flavorless.  Three fourths of it hit the garbage disposal.

If I spend less time on preparing my menus, preparing the grocery list and shopping, I can have more time this weekend for other things.  I still haven’t been able to get upstairs and uncover my treadmill and I’m avoiding walking on the street because it’s killing my ankles.  I’ve lived in this house for thirty years and the irony of my exercise this week has really made an impact.  I used to jog two miles to the neighborhood school and then cool down by walking the block around my house.  This week, my exercise consisted of walking around the block.  My old “cool down” has become my new “workout”.  Still, I can’t help it.  My ankles are really giving me trouble and I know I’ll do a lot better if I can walk on the cushioned treadmill to soften the impact on my ankles.

1 carton Lite Yogurt

Cereal Bars

Dill pickles

lite bread

deli sliced turkey

low fat mayo


3 lb. pork tenderloin

yellow rice

fresh tomatoes from Produce market

1 1/2 cups orange juice

4 limes

olive oil




2 yellow peppers

2 onions

4 zucchini

2 mangos

Virgo Yellow Rice


tomato Juice

3 lb. pork tenderloin

green leaf lettuce

1 cucumber

Fish Sauce



sesame oil


chili paste


Week 2 Menu

Monday (total calories 1,370)

Breakfast – Lite Yogurt (80), Cereal Bar (90)

Lunch – Turkey Sandwich with low fat mayo, lite bread,  lettuce (300), dill pickle (10) 15 Pringle’s low-fat sour cream and onion chips (70)

Dinner – Caribbean Pork (220), 1/2 cups yellow rice (300), Florida tomato slices (50)

Snacks: 1 Edy’s frozen fruit (90), Nature Valley Almond Bar (160)

Tuesday (900)

Breakfast – 2 hard-boiled eggs (180), tomato juice (50)

Lunch – Turkey sandwich with lite bread, lettuce and mayo (300), pickle (10)

Dinner – Vietnamese dry-cooked pork (300) with lettuce and Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce (10), tomatoes and cucumbers (50)



Quaker Sugar Free Oatmeal (100) with 3/4 cup Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk (60)

Lunch – Marie Callendar’s Turkey and Stuffing dinner (350)

Dinner – Grilled Ginger Pork Loin, baked apples,



Another week down.  Work is so difficult this year that Friday is always a blessing.

I woke up at 4:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I snuggled back down under the covers but kept thinking about all the stuff waiting for me at school and just stared at the clock until it was time to get up.

Last night’s dinner was a bust.  Tried a new recipe from Sparkpeople and it truly sucked in spite of the 4.5 stars they gave it.  Even so, I stuck to the plan. 

I was strong yesterday afternoon.  We missed our final Secret Santa party before the break because school was out for the last two snow days so they had it yesterday afternoon.  Cake, cookies, brownies, punch, etc.  I ate two carrot sticks and a couple of pineapple chunks.  Yay, me!  Guess I should tell that to Mr. Scale because he’s showing me at 209 today in spite of the fact that I feel thinner and was up half the night running to the bathroom.  Figured I would have lost a lot of water weight but he’s not going to give it to me.


Seeing is Believing

Aha!  I can actually see a difference this morning and that’s encouraging.  I sleep in a cami and PJ pants and, when I went to the bathroom to strip down and shower, I noticed that the cami was actually draping over my torso instead of clinging to it.  Surprising.  I’ve only lost a couple of pounds.  Whoo Hooo!  The scales showed another pound falling off at 208 this morning.

It’s really nice to have all the shopping done and all the meals planned.  Makes everything so much easier.  It was really grueling to make the menu and the entire list of ingredients though.  Took up a lot of my weekend.  I think I’m going to go ahead and start doing next week’s menu so I won’t have to do the entire thing this weekend.

Off to work!

I kind of miss those long mornings of a couple cups of coffee and three or four cigarettes to get me going.  Part of the quitting smoking routine has been a change in that routine.  I sleep a lot later and then don’t have much time to post.

At any rate, I’m still doing what I need to do.  Sticking to the diet and exercising.  Yesterday was hard but not as hard as Monday.  Now I’ve got all my food ready to go and I’m planning on another good day.

Weight is at 209.5 this morning.  Daggone it! 

9:30 – Update…I’m so hungry right now!  Don’t know why.  I’ve got some cereal bars so I guess I’m going to have to eat one and then leave off a snack tonight.


Just like Elmer!

Sticking like glue to my plan.  Ate what was on my menu last night and I’ve got it all planned for today.  I went for a walk yesterday evening and my ankles felt like they were full of broken glass but I hung in there and did a walk around the long block.  By the time I finished, I was breathless, my ankles felt broken and my back was killing me.  It’s gonna get better.  I know it is.

Weight is at 209 today.  My body still doesn’t believe I’m in it for the long haul but it will come around soon enough.

Work was rough yesterday.  It’s all rough this year.  I absolutely can not get my work caught up even if I stay late and bring work home with me every single day.  sigh… Still, I spent the evening preparing dinner and working on house stuff and avoided sitting down and playing Yoville so that’s good.

Now, it’s off to the mines.

12:30 update – Taking a real lunchbreak (if you can call 20 minutes a break) to dine with Marie Callendar.  So far, so good.


Wagons Ho!

Onward and upward!  Keep them doggies rollin! 

I’ve got my lunch packed and my breakfast packed and I’m ready to get the ball rolling.  All I have to do is stick to the plan.  Eat what’s on the menu and exercise when I get home.  Dinner is in the crock pot!

Weight is at 209 this morning.


Continuing on….

That menu and grocery list is taking forever but I’m determined to get it up here so I won’t lose it again.

Seems like just thinking about getting back on track is helpful.  I’m down two pounds from yesterday and the day before.  Whoo Hooo!

And now…although I don’t really want to, I’ve got to finish my menu and shopping list.