Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ugly Truth

Here's the  ugly truth:  I'm seriously overweight. I'm not going to say how much I weighed a couple of weeks ago at my heaviest, but it's pretty bad. And I've been this way for quite a few years. It's been creeping up on me for some time. I've been thinking for several years that I need to stop the increasing poundage creep. Thinking not doing. Quite honestly I'm surprised I haven't had a major issue yet. As in a heart attack, a stroke, or diabetes. I've made a few half-hearted attempts to lose the weight, but never managed to lose much more than a couple of pounds if that before going back to my oversized portions.

For quite a while now, I've been tired of looking in the mirror and not seeing me or rather the me I carry around in my head. I'm tired of denying that I have a serious problem. I'm tired of the problem with the arch of my right foot that has developed and makes me limp like an old woman sometimes. I'm also tired of not having any energy. I'm really tired of seeing clothing that I like and not even bothering to try it on because I know the item in question will look like crap or not fit right. So last week, all of this fear and loathing came to a head. And by some miracle, I got started on a diet and have been losing weight. I think it's for real this time around. I'm down five pounds and even though I thought it would take forever to notice a difference with all the weight I have to lose, I can tell a difference. It's a tiny one, but it's a difference. A tiny victory.

Hopefully, it will continue. I think it will. I'm in what I call the zone. The zone for me is where it's more important to me to lose weight than it is to eat one of the doughnuts down in the coffee bar or to grab a handful of M&Ms as a palliative for the stress I'm under any given day. It's when it's more important for me to enjoy a longer life than enjoy a piece of cheesecake or a large serving of french fries. And at this point in time, this is probably the most important renovation project I've tackled in a long time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quick Book Recommendation

Just jumping in with a quick book recommendation. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenbegger (love that name). Audrey is the author of the much acclaimed The Time Traveler's Wife, which I haven't read (probably because I have a horror of people telling me I "MUST" read a certain book. Silly, I know, but hey, reading is very personal to me.) Anyway this is a lovely haunting ghost story with an interesting twist. I started it yesterday evening and I finished it this afternoon. It's the reason why I didn't get a whole bunch of stuff I intended to do today done.

I found this particular book at the annual used book sale one of the nuns at our school holds to raise money for various causes. In retrospect, I would have happily paid full price for it. As it is, I feel slightly guilty that I got such a steal.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Hit "Send"

I've been a member of my church choir for years now. It's been one of my favorite things to do. But this past year, I've just had problems getting myself to practice for a variety of reasons. I seem to not have the energy I used to have. Which means that when I get home from work, especially if I've had to work late, I find that I really don't want to go back out again. Even for choir. I think another reason is that without children at home who have scheduled activities, I'm not in the mood to commit to anything that involves a regular time. I've been doing scheduled activities for years. Now, I don't have to. And finally, I joined choir in order to have something that I did for me. To have time for me. With no children at home, I don't have the need to get out and do something every week that doesn't involve my children. So tonight, instead of going to choir practice, I sent my choir director an email telling her that I was going on hiatus for a while. Through the end of the "singing" season (aka sometime in June after the end of the Easter season). I'll continue to be a cantor and sing with the small a cappella ensemble I'm a member of, but I'm not going to do the main choir for a while.

I stared at the email for a while debating whether I should or would hit "send." I did hit send and moved into another phase of my life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's a Family Thing

Last week, my mom and I taught my daughter Emily how to make an old family recipe. My mom's salmon patties is one of Emily's favorite meals. It's what she wants for her birthday dinners or anytime she has a choice. Since we were with Mom in Rockport for spring break, she asked Mom to make them for her. Instead we taught her how to cook them herself so that when she has her first apartment next year, she'll be able to make them for herself.

I call them my mom's salmon patties, but this recipe has been passed down from my grandmother or maybe even my great-grandmother. It's fairly simple. A basic white sauce of milk, butter and flour, canned salmon, an egg, saltine cracker crumbs, corn meal and oil for frying. I don't know why we love these so, but we do. It's just one of those things we make that say "home." And now, a new generation knows how to make them.

Mom's Salmon Patties

1 cup milk
1 TBSP. butter
2 TBSP flour
1 can pink salmon (large can, not the tuna sized can)
1 egg
crushed saltine cracker crumbs
canola oil

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and flour over medium heat. Whisk together and stir continuously until the sauce thickens. Add in one can salmon (I typically drain a little of the liquid from the can before adding to the white sauce), and mix in. Remove saucepan from heat and quickly beat in one egg. (This needs to be done quickly so that the egg doesn't scramble.) Add in cracker crumbs until the mixture is just firm enough to form into patties. Form the mixture into oval flattened patties. Coat each pattie with the cornmeal. Heat about 3/16's of an inch of canola oil in a large skillet. Fry the patties on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve with ketchup and worcestershire sauce. Makes about 8 patties and serves 4 to 5 depending on appetites.

A couple of things: These really don't taste near as good the second time around. But then that wasn't a problem for my family when we were growing up. And many times we will add in a smaller can of salmon to make more for a larger crowd. Thankfully this recipe is fairly flexible.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm Still Here

When I was a child, I would occasionally 'disappear.' I would go into our living room and curl up pn the floor behind one of the armchairs where no one could see me. Most of the time I wouldn't turn on the light in the room so as to throw off anyone who was looking for me to do some task around the house. I would select a much-loved book from the bookcase and lose myself in reading about different places and different lives. It was bliss to a shy child with an inferiority complex.

I still tend to 'disappear' from time to time. I'll burrow into my home and my family, ignoring the pull of friends and acquaintances. "Where have you been?" and "I haven't seen you in ages," become common responses from my neighbors and friends on catching sight of me out somewhere or pulling into the driveway. For some reason, I have a need to become a hermit every so often and shut myself up and off from my fellow men or anyone who is not immediate family. Lately that's been the case. But don't worry. I'm still here. I'm just wrapped in a cocoon waiting to emerge. (Not as a butterfly, I'm really more of moth.)