Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Skinny Bitch

I have been reading this book, Skinny Bitch and it is a wonderful, easy to read, kick you in the ass for being stupid kind of book. They have also created Skinny Bitch in the Kitch and Skinny Bitch, Bun in the Oven (which is not quite available). I got both the original book and the cookbook for about $4.00 on Amazon Marketplace.

This is a book about the honest truth about the food that we put into our bodies. None of this information is new to me, I have known most of these things my whole life, but I have chosen to ignore them.

Did you know that the USDA is made up of people from the various meat and dairy industries? The people in charge of making sure that the meat and dairy we consume is safe, are also the same people making their living selling us that meat and dairy - hello? Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture??

Did you know that those same USDA people are also responsible for setting the nutritional guidelines for us and more importantly for our children? So the same people saying that we should be getting 3 glasses of milk every day are the same people selling milk - again, conflict of interest much?

Did you know that cow's milk, by design, grows a 90 pound calf into a 2,000 pound cow over the course of two years? Just think what milk is doing to us. In the "olden" days, cows produced milk to feed their young and it was used sparingly by humans. It did not have antibiotics, hormones and all the other crap that milk producers put into both milk and into the cows to keep them producing milk unnaturally. Why do you think we have nine-year old girls starting their periods and growing breasts?

Everyone knows about the horrors of factory farming, like egg producers have to add yellow die to eggs, because in natural conditions, the sun will color an eggs yolk. But, since factory farmed chickens never see the light of day, they yolks have no color! The massively in-humane conditions for all the animals developed for slaughter and brought about the need for huge amounts of antibiotics and other chemicals to be added to the meat, and you are going to put all this crap into your body and use it to fuel the only body you will ever have!

If your body is designed to be perfect, which it is, then if the fuel that you use to power your body is crap, you are going to have problems - weight issues, headaches, depression, you name it! You were born with a body that is capable (with a few exceptions, like birth defects and the like) of carrying your through life in perfect condition.

If you don't change the oil in your car or don't put gas in it, it will cease to run. The body is the same way, if you don't give it the fuel it needs, it will stop working properly. The only problem, you can get a new car, you can't get a new body.

All this is easier said followed through on. There is all this yummy food out there and to cut it out of your life completely is really hard. But, I have found myself looking twice at my food now, I see something from a restaurant and wonder about what's in it. So, I plan to start small - only good foods the whole week and then from Friday night-Sunday night have whatever you like. Start going to the farmer's market and getting local foods whenever possible. Organic will become the regular and stop eating dairy! I have had an allergy to dairy my whole life, but I love cheese so much, that I have gotten used to the stomach pains that go along with eating it - no more!

Friday, July 25, 2008


I think that I may be regressing into childhood. I have two examples to tell you about and then you tell me!

Harry Potter:
I have been reading Harry Potter since the first book came out, own all the books, own most of the books on CD and own all the movies. Well, I am finally getting around to listening to the last book (book 7) on CD. I am actually hanging out in my car in the garage to listen to it! I am driving along, listening to the book, and totally forget where I was going and end up driving in completely the wrong direction for miles and miles! I even had Harry Potter dreams last night!

Harry is growing up, and while he can still be immature and irritating at times, he is an authentic teenager with insecurities and girl issues. The book is very intense and most certainly not for little children! I would say that I am about 3/4 finished and I can't wait to see how it is all wrapped up. I was supposed to stay home all day to have this big deep resting day, but I went out driving twice, just to listen to the book more!

Hannah Montana:
During my self imposed day of relaxation today, I have found myself watching several episodes of Hannah Montana on the Disney channel! I am actually a bit nervous to admit this to you people, but I am committed now!

It is a kid's show, full of the usual morals and kid hijinks's, but Miley Cyrus is actually quite talented, with good comedic timing. I have found myself laughing out loud at times. Her singing voice is incredible and I realized that I really like a few of the songs! (insert cringe here). Billy Ray Cyrus is also pretty good, not as good as his daughter, but good! The other supporting cast members are all also very funny and I laugh my ass off!

So, what do you think? Am I so ready to have children of my own that I am already getting used to having kids shows on the TV all the time and kids programing on car radio? Or, am I soooo not ready to have kids as demonstrated by my obvious regression into my own second childhood?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sleep Deprivation and Other Sources of My Current State of Being

I have been feeling the pressure of life quite a bit over the last year and really even more like the last 8 years. I have been going non-stop since I decided to go back to school and get my bachelors degree, I started out by taking 3 or 4 classes a semester and working both a full time and a part time job. I did this for a few years, eventually giving up the second job and just working one full time job with lots of overtime. Then about 4 years ago, I decided that I had gotten all the general education credits I could get at the community college and transferred to Averett University's program for working adults.

This program was going to take about 22 months and then I would have my bachelors degree! This program was only going to be 2 nights a week, one night for class and one night for a study group meeting - I could totally handle this! I had been working 2 jobs and taking classes 3 or 4 nights a week for a few years, cutting back to 1-2 nights a week would be so much better! And it was - for a while!

About the time I started the program I got a promotion at work and started working a lot more, plus I was on call 24/7 so the 2am phone calls were a common occurrence. I started dating my husband about this time too. I was very happy, and feeling a lot less stressed than I had been, but I was still burning the candle at both ends.

We decided to get married in September of last year, and we decided that it would be best for me to continue with school and get my masters degree while I was still in the habit of attending classes and studying. I could feel that I was reaching my limits, but the end result was going to justify all the hard work! I had almost 3 months between completing the BBA and starting the MBA program, and I got married in that small window of free time. The point I am trying to make is that I really have not had a break from all the work/school/life stuff since I started it.

When I met and started living with my husband, his snoring was always an issue, and everything we tried (nose strips, sprays, mouth trays, etc.) failed to help stop the snoring issue. I have been begging him to go to the doctor about it, but I think that he was afraid that they would want him to do surgery which is said to be incredibly painful.

This snoring has gotten much, much worse over the last year. He (and I too) have gained a lot of weight since the wedding, and both of our stress levels have increased with the increase of pressure and responsibility at work. Add this to an increase in his allergies and neither of us have been getting any rest at night. He finally went to the doctor and they did a sleep study. He has severe apnea (he stopped breathing 657 times for up to 48 seconds each time). We should be getting the CPAP machine to help push a constant stream of air into him, which should stop the snoring, keep him breathing and allow both of us some rest, next week. Thank god!

I have been feeling the effects of all this for a while now, but every day and week it gets worse. Over the last two weeks, I have had a huge project at work that required a lot of hours and that has seemed to push me over the edge. I am feeling disoriented, I can't remember things, like I will get up from my desk to go to the bathroom get halfway down the hall and can't remember why I got up. I feel achy all over like I am coming down with a cold or the flu, but without the sore throat or anything. I can't seem to concentrate at work or accomplish anything. I have a massive amount of schoolwork to do and I can't manage to get it done or even care about getting it done.

I went to the doctor Tuesday about 3 things. First was this pain that I have in my right hand - he thinks that this is a repetitive use nerve strain from using the computer and being hunched over a desk (either at work or school or homework) all the time. I am to take some anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers and get some padding for my wrist and elbow and change my chair position if possible.

I also asked him about the persistent bruise on my foot where my husband accidentally stepped on it - it was broken! He said that there was a hairline fracture that has healed and the painful bump (bruise) is calcium buildup where it had healed - no biggie there, nothing to be done!

Then I told him about feeling such exhaustion - he feels that this is massive sleep deprivation caused by the build up of stress with work and school along with the increased snoring issues with my husband. He took blood to check for a thyroid issue or mono, but thinks that I just need to get some good sleep.

I decided to go right home and go to sleep - then I could not sleep! It was like 10pm before I was able to sleep - but with my husband out of town this week, I was able to sleep through the night. I woke up Wednesday feeling slightly better and got to thinking that this problem was now behind me.

I had not been at work long when the sleepy hit, and I realized that it was going to take more than one night of decent sleep to reverse all the symptoms. I went to bed early again last night, but did not sleep as well. I kept having to get up to use the bathroom (too much water late in the day). I woke up today feeling badly again.

I spoke to my bosses about taking some time off this week, and they agreed to let me have Friday off. I will be able to spend the whole day in bed if needed. I have not really told my family or anyone about it, because I am concerned that they will suggest several fun things to do and I will want to do them. I know that I need to take tomorrow completely off - no laundry, no housework, no homework, no fun activities. I may even stop and get some sleeping pills today to allow me to take several long naps all day. I need some deep rest!

Sassy has arranged for me to have a massage on Saturday and I am going to spend that day doing some fun and low stress things, but again, nothing major and I will cancel all but the massage if I am not feeling up to being out. I have got to listen to my body and give it the rest it is craving.

I know that I have this habit of being accommodating to others at my own expense, and I don't want to change that part of me, it makes me happy to help others in their time of need. But I have got to learn to listen to my body and learn to say no, when I just can't handle something. My husband has been telling me this for years, but I have kept pushing myself to the limits and not really taking care of myself - everyone else? Yes! Myself? No!

I hear by declare that I am going start taking care of myself in EVERY way! Not just trying to eat healthy or get to the gym a few times a month (which I have not been doing all month because I am so exhausted). But fully and in every way! I am going to start looking out for number 1 and that number 1 is going to be, for the first time ever, me!

Friday, July 11, 2008

At a Loss for Words


How is this for something lovely to come home from vacation to?

Back-story: My dad became a police officer when my mother discovered that she was pregnant with me, when he had been there 25 years he took early retirement and took a job as the head of the 911 dispatch center he has been there about 8 years. In a nutshell, he knows almost everyone in Roanoke and does know everyone in local law enforcement and is pretty well respected.

My dad called me to try to get a hold of my mom. He said that he needed to talk to her about my brother, Tattoo. I pressed him for details as my interest was peaked and the whole story came out…

Dad was approached by a cop he is friends with who told him that he (the cop) had arrested my brother. This was a few weeks ago, and Tattoo was pulled over, his car searched and the police found quite a bit of pot, enough that he is facing a charge of possession with intent to distribute - a charge that could send him to jail for 1-5 years! Now, Tattoo is claiming that they pulled him over for a bogus reason and they searched his car illegally and he has a lawyer, but he is not denying the charge of distribution, at least not to dad. The police want him to turns states, but he says that he won't do that.

They have not formally charged him yet. Dad thinks that the police are working to build the case and will do one of those big "drug busts" where the media gets involved. They will say that the police seized so many pounds of drugs and indicted like 47 people or something. Dad also believes that someone turned him in, and that the police have probably been watching him for a while now, waiting to bust him.

I have not called Tattoo about this, because… I don't really know why. He has had opportunities to tell us, dad had to find out from a cop, can you imagine the embarrassment and guilt that dad is feeling? He says that Tattoo was still so young when he and my mom split and that dad was not a very good father to Tattoo and he feels like this is his fault.

Mom feels like this is her fault because she was busy getting divorced and trying to make a living to be a very good mom to Tattoo, then she got sick and relied on him too much.

Whenever I have a real talk with my brother (which is very rare), I am happy to see that he seems to have his head on straight, pays his bills on time, has a great work ethic, has smart opinions on world events and social issues. I guess he had me completely fooled! He is a drug dealer? I can't even deal with that concept in my head. I want to call him, but what do I say? Listen to him tell me all the reasons that he should not have gotten caught, or how pot should be legal anyway? I thought dealers were supposed to be rich - why did I need to pay all those doctor bills from the motorcycle accident?

I worry about things like what might happen to him if he gets into trouble with the wrong people, or what could happen to him in jail - I guess I watch too many movies, but that is all I keep thinking about. He is my baby brother and no matter what he has done, or will do to hurt me or disappoint me, I love him and I don't want to see him hurting.

I need another vacation...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Home from Vacation

I think that I have a major crush on all the members of my new family! I love having these brothers that think I rock. They can walk past me without giving me a hug or teasing me or rubbing my arm or shoulder. We talked about how we fill a void for each other, since they never had a sister and I don't have a good relationship with my brother. It would never occur to my brother to move so that I could sit, or that I might be cold and give me his coat - it does occur to these boys. I react and relate to each of them differently, like Cheese and I joke and tease each other constantly and talk about his girl issues. Laugh and I discuss politics, food and children. Tech and I discuss technology, books, school and more politics.

My mother-in-law has shown me how to make all these wonderful foods that my husband grew up with as well as some new things that she perfected just for me. I have found a way to get green chile online, so I will be able to work on replicating these foods at home now too!

We spent the first day flying in, eating a late breakfast, napping and visiting with everyone. We ate dinner at El Pinto who actually sells their salsa in grocery stores near our home, so that was cool. There are nachos on the menu that were voted the best in the US by Bon Appetit' magazine. When Cheese and Laugh asked the waiter how big it was, he replied "I've seen 4 people almost finish it, 3 people make a pretty good attempt, 2 people make a fair dent and 1 person eat a few chips off the top." Cheese and Laugh decided to share it and they literally inhaled it, causing the waiter to gasp upon seeing the very clean plate!

The second day we did some shopping, eating and more visiting with family. Then on the 4Th of July we drove the whole day! We started out by stopping at this little gas station on the Indian reservation and all these native Americans had tables set up and were selling food, pottery, and LOTS of jewelry! I found a wonderful freshwater pearl necklace for myself and some items for Smug-Sister, mom and step-mother. I really should have stocked up for Christmas gifts, but whatever!

Then we stopped by one of my husband's accounts, Cow Creek, and while the drive was a bit treacherous the lodge was really beautiful!

We finally ended up at the family ranch about 8pm that evening. More eating, more visiting ensured followed by sparklers and fireworks!

The following day, my husband and took the 4-wheel drive and went on a drive for the day. If I thought that the road to Cow Creek was bad, that was like a 4-lane super highway compared to this road that was not even a road, more like a path with clifs on either side. I was in tears by the time we reached the top. The top was the top of the mountains, well above 10,000 feet elivation and there was snow! We stopped at this little ski lodge for lunch and then headed back to the ranch for more food, fireworks and family!

On Sunday, I got up really early to watch the sun come up over the mountains! I was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever witnessed. Later in the day, my mother-in-law and I drove back home, stopping in Santa Fe for some shopping. I wanted to find some tourist-y items for a few people and something for my nephew. Upon getting back to ABQ, we met up with all the brothers and went to this little family owned mexican place that I am actually drooling about just typing this! It was SO good!

Everyone had been staying up late and getting up early during the whole visit, so everyone pretty much fell into a heap in front the TV and we were all asleep by 10pm! We had to get up about 6am to get ready to fly home, so it was a good thing. As it was, I slept on and off during each flight and each layover. I just could not seem to become fully awake (as fall fully asleep either). It was not a whole lot of fun!
I am still fighting a bit of jet lag this week. It is only a two hour time difference, but it is enough to throw me off.

BTW: I started my period while on vacation. I was happy to start, because I had been feeling really bloated and concerned that this was the start of some fertility issues or something. But it did kind of suck to have to deal with that during vacation!

OK! A few more pictures!

The scenic drive to Chacon, New Mexico

Laugh losing at Chess

Rain in ABQ

Husband and I at El Pinto

A Road Runner - The state bird of New Mexcio

I am glad to be home, but sorry that the only vacation that I have planned for this year is already over :(

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Vacation - Excited!

So, I could hardly sleep last night because I was so excited about today being the last day of both work and school for the rest of the week, the weekend, and Monday of next week! OK, so it is not really that long of a time, but I am going to enjoy every second of it. I am already enjoying it! I have been whistling through my work all day today, wrapping things up and completing anything that I can manage to get done before I leave. The day has been flying by and I will be leaving here in less than 2 hours! I have a cake evening of class, as it is the final night. We have already taken the exam, tonight will be going over the exam (to earn 1/2 credit on anything missed), a few short presentations and then the whole group is going to dinner. I would really rather skip the dinner and get home and finish packing, but the dinner is part of the participation grade, so whatever... *

Tonight, I need to finish packing, color my hair and shave my legs (I have been putting this off, hoping that one shaving will be enough for the whole trip). We need to take the trash cans down to the road, empty a few things out of the fridge, make sure that the house is straighted up, turn off the air conditioning, and make sure that the kitchen will not attract a family of ants or anything else while we are gone!

I have set the alarm in the morning for 3:30am, this will allow us an hour and 15 minutes to get showered, complete any last minute packing, eat a quick bite and then my dad is taking us to the airport.**

The plan is not to eat much tonight, or in the morning so that we are good and starving by the time we land. We plan to have breakfast/lunch at this place called the Frontier! I am drooling and slobbering all over my desk just thinking about the breakfast burrito and the amazing sticky bun!! The last time we were there we ran into the New Mexico Governor (Bill Richardson, who had his name in the hat for democratic presidential candidate at one point this year). My husband went over and introduced himself and told Mr. Richardson that we worked for Orvis. Mr. Richardson got really excited and told my husband that he loved Orvis pants. He proceeded to turn the waist of his pants inside out to show Smug-Hub that they were is Orvis pants. It was funny!

We will spend a few days in Albuquerque and then head up to the family ranch. I have not been to the ranch, but the family tells me that I will totally love it! My brother's in-law have been teasing me with antiquing, but since I am a normally early riser I am not too worried!

It has been a lot of years since I have been on vacation. I think that it was 2001 when the boyfriend of the time and I went to Florida for a long weekend, but since then the only time I have had off work (besides the occasional Friday) was for the wedding almost a year ago and that was not exactly stress free! I hope that the next time I post, you will see a totally relaxed, totally mellow Smug!!

* I finally called the student advisor and discussed this whole class/whole program idea with her. She had some really good ideas that will maybe improve this next class, which is with another rotten instructor. She also filled me in on the way that the end of course surveys work, and the instructor does not really see my comments, so retaliation should not be an issue. I made several suggestions as to how this current instructor as well as the whole MBA program could serve the students better. She was receptive and I left the phone call feeling positive about it.

** My husband and I had breakfast this weekend with my dad and his wife. When she asked how we were getting to the airport and I told her that we were taking a cab, she volunteered my dad to take us. There was a lot of "no, that's OK, it's really early, a cab will be fine" talk on my part and a lot of "it's no problem, he's often up that early, he can just go into work a bit early" stuff from her. It was not until about the third time I declined, that dad got into the conversation and said that he wanted to take us - like he had a choice at that point! I feel really badly about making him get up so early and I am going to call him in a few minutes and try to give him an out!