Dear Me

Dear Me,

I wanted to start by saying thank you.  Thank you for trying to protect me all these years.  Thank you for building those walls when I wasn’t strong enough to face the world.  Thank you for studying people and watching them so closely, and alerting me every time they did something suspicious that was similar to other times I’d been hurt.  Thank you for tucking me deep down, away from all the pain and the hurt that the world can bring.  Thank you for everything.

But it’s time for me to come out now.  It’s time for me to face the world and feel the sun on my face.  I can’t stay locked inside anymore.  It’s time for me to stop hiding and start healing.  I can’t stay protected forever.  The walls we built have turned into a prison.  I need to be free, to get a few bumps and bruises, because that’s the only way I will grow.  I’m not saying I don’t need you anymore, because I do.  This is all very new to me, and I’ll need a safe place I can come to when I start getting overwhelmed.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the things you’ve done for me, but the things that once helped me are now hurting me.  It’s time for us to come up with a new way of dealing with the outside.  I’m willing to work with you on this, because you have been faithful and strong for me, but you must find it within you to start breaking down some of these walls.

You have been the truest friend I’ve ever had, but it’s time for us to let go of all of the old hurts and realize that hiding away isn’t going to stop the hurt from happening.  Life is going to hurt, but the walls mean there’s no one else around to make it better again.  We are no longer children, and we know that hiding our head beneath the covers only protects us from the monsters that live in the closet, not from the monsters that live in broad daylight.

We can be strong without being distant.  We can love without fear.  Living life waiting for the other shoe to drop hasn’t made us happy, so it’s time for a change.

I know it’s scary, but we can do it.

We have to do it.

It hurts too much not to.

Love,

Me

Time/Mess Saving Tip for Portioning/Pattying Ground Meat For Burgers

*Note:  I copied this directly from my SparkPeople blog, so just ignore the ‘since you’re on SparkPeople’ statement later on in the post.

 

If you’re anything like me, you might run across a few pounds of ground beef on sale, pick it up, come home and stick it in the fridge with every intention of portioning it out before it goes into the freezer, then realizing almost too late that it’s been sitting in the fridge for days, and you don’t have time to portion it right now, so you just toss the whole thing in the freezer to be sorted later.  When later finally rolls around, and you decide you want to make hamburgers out of that thriftily priced protein, you have to haul out this large, frozen lump of ground meat and wait forever and a day for it to thaw, wash your hands, portion it, wash your hands, patty it, wash your hands, then cook it.

While my time saving idea won’t do you much good if you toss the burger in the freezer, it WILL help you save lots of time & mess if you’ll take the initiative to go ahead and portion it straight away.

First, while portioning, rip off a small piece of plastic wrap and cover the weighing portion of your scale with it.  If you have a scale with buttons, pull off another small piece and cover the ON/TARE button.  Now you don’t have to worry about any nasty bacteria because you can simply remove and toss the plastic wrap when you’re finished.

There’s nothing fancy to this part.  I simply weigh out 4 oz amounts of ground beef until the container is gone, putting each one in it’s own zipper lock sandwich baggie.  The last portion very rarely has an even 4 oz, so I like to have a permanent marker on hand to write down the precise weight (I measure almost everything in grams, for more precise calorie counting, but I’m occasionally neurotic, so…).

After everything is weighed and bagged, simply toss into the freezer for when you’re ready to make burgers.

Again, if you’re like me, you grew up eating ‘Momma Burgers’.  You know the kind I mean; they take 15 minutes (if you’re lucky!) to cook, and by the time they’re done, they’ll give you lockjaw just trying to get a bite that includes both sides of the bun, the burger and all the fixins.  This is the precise reason I rarely ever ate burgers-by-mom once I reached a certain age.  While they were delicious, they were just too much of a pain to try to eat.  Hot dogs were just easier.

I’m going on the assumption that if you’re on SparkPeople, you’re not making ‘Momma Burgers’ (a 4 oz serving would more closely resemble ‘Momma Meatballs’!)  so you’re intending a nice, thin, uniform patty.

Pull out your previously portioned burger and thaw.  Open the zippered baggie (but don’t take out the burger yet!), add your desired spices (I prefer garlic powder and onion powder on mine), reseal the baggie, and smoosh the meat around so your seasonings get worked into the meat to your satisfaction (you may find you need to let some of the air out or allow some in, it’s what is easiest for you).  Once you’ve gotten the seasoning worked through the meat, let most of the air out of the baggie and reseal it.

Now make your patty as usual INSIDE THE BAGGIE.

With this method it is quite possible to never touch the meat after you’ve weighed it out after purchase.  I do, because I don’t feel like taking the time to cut the baggie open as I’m putting the patties on the grill or in the pan, but technically, you don’t have to touch it if you don’t want to.

This saves countless minutes of time, especially if you’re trying to make several dishes while you’re making your patties or your phone rings, or you have little ones who need your attention or help, because they’ll always need it once you’ve put your hands in the burger!

Hope you found this tip useful!

~A

As Promised…

Burger & salad.  662 cal.

Burger & salad. 662 cal.

Here’s the pictures of our respective dinners last night.  First, mine.  I had a salad and a burger that was so good I moaned the whole time I was eating it!

What You’re Seeing:

Salad: Green Leaf Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Red Onion, Cucumber, Tomato, Scallions, Feta Cheese & 3 tbsp Lite Zesty Italian dressing.

Burger: 4 oz. 80/20 ground chuck (270 cal.) filled with 25g. Feta cheese (66 cal.) topped with Sargento’s Ultra Thin Provolone (40 cal./slice), Tomato, Lettuce, 2 tbsp. Lite Mayo (50 cal.) on Arnold’s 100% Whole Wheat Flax & Fiber Sandwich Thins (only 100 cal., but with 5 g. each of fiber & protien!).

When I tell you this burger was delicious, I ain’t kiddin’!  I don’t know if it was because for the two previous days, I’d had omelets for breakfast, salads for lunch and stir fry for dinner, or if it was Just. That. Good.

Tonight, I’ll be eating another burger, but this time, I won’t be filling it with Feta, I’ll be topping it with sauteed onions & mushrooms and a slice of Ultra Thin Provolone… and only 1 tbsp of mayo this time, lol.  And a big side of broccoli.  Yum!

His dinner:

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry w/ 1 c. White Rice - 659 cal.

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry w/ 1 c. White Rice – 659 cal.

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry with 1c. white rice, the whole plate of which ran about 659 cal.  He ended up only able to eat about half of it, and took the other half for lunch today.

I’m still terrible about spreading the calories out through the day, unless I plan our meals the night before, as evidenced by our calorie-heavy dinners, but I’m trying.  Hopefully, once I’ve retrained my brain and eyes as to what proper portions are, I will be able to do this by sight, not having to weigh out every single little thing, but until then, this is such a pain, lol.

As a side note, I used to drink about 540 calories A DAY in sweet tea alone, so cutting out the extra sugar/calories and only consuming water (plain water!  No artificial sweeteners in my drinks, thank you.  Blech!  They taste disgusting.) instantly had me drastically reducing my calorie intake.

According to my scale, I’ve lost 9 lbs since Thursday.  I presume most of that is water weight, and my 1-week weigh-in will show a more realistic number.  I can’t find my fabric tape to measure my waist/hips/arms/etc, so I haven’t a clue as to whether I’ve shown any improvement in those areas that aren’t reliant on the scale to show progress.

Jamaica Me Crazy!

Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry w/White Rice - 618 cal.

Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry w/White Rice – 618 cal.

So, my Love and I have decided to go to Jamaica for our first trip.  Passports are on the way!

We have approximately two months before we leave, and my Love has decided that he wants us to try to shed a few pounds between now and then.  Urg.

After much debate, I decided that I didn’t want to go on some diet where I couldn’t have something I wanted, so I decided that we’d just do the eat healthier thing and count calories in addition to working out.  We joined a gym yesterday, which we will go to on the days he doesn’t work.  On the days like today which he works, he walks a bajillion miles (okay, I may be exaggerating, slightly) and I will walk around the neighborhood.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble spreading my calories out through the day like I’m supposed to.  There’s this little voice in my head that keeps whispering ‘Don’t eat that now… it’s early, what if you’re hungry later and have already eaten up all your calories for the day?‘  It’s not that I have a problem with being hungry, I usually feel hungry several times a day when I’m counting calories, it’s just that I want the option to be there to be able to eat more if I am still hungry.  If I haven’t left enough of a ‘calorie-cushion’, I can’t do that.

Continue reading

Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya…

**Alert** This post is nothing more than a frustrated rant.  I left out a lot, omitted much of the cursing I felt like doing, and didn’t mention the fact that I blame no one but ourselves for this situation.  Never EVER rely on friendship to keep housemate situations peaceful.  Always draw up a contract and get some sort of deposit when letting someone move in with you.  You will always end up regretting it if you don’t.

 

My Love and I have been together since October of 2011.  When we became a ‘couple’, his previous girlfriend still lived in his house, as she had nowhere else to go at the time.  There she remained until the 1st of October 2012.

We so enjoyed it when she moved out.  We finally had the place to ourselves.  No one to worry about coming in at ‘inconvenient’ times, or disturbing anyone else with our chaotic sleep schedule.  The place was finally OURS.

Except by Halloween 2012, it wasn’t.

Within weeks of ex-girlfriend moving out, old-high-school-buddy had contacted him and said he needed someplace to stay for a while.  He was having trouble in his marriage, and he needed to get out and get his head straight, try to fix the problems, etc. etc. I’ll call him ‘Andy’.  So, because Andy (technically his mother, since Andy was still just a kid) had let my Love live with him for about 6 months when they were in school together and my Love had left home, my Love felt that he owed it to him to help him out.

I met ‘Andy’ the day he began moving his stuff into our house. Continue reading

Calling All Travelers/Vacationistas!

I’m writing this blog post, because I am hoping that the blogging world (and beyond) can help my Love and I decide where to go on vacation this year.  I’m asking for two different categories, the first is where we should go this year, 2014.  This vacation spot needs to be in the United States.

The second category is more versatile.  I’d like suggestions from everyone on the best places to go, and the most awesome things to see, in the entire world.  Mind you, we’re not world travelers, so safety should be a concern, but if you’ve been somewhere and seen something amazing, I want to know about it.

In short, I’m looking for places that are both exciting (stuff to do) as well as beautiful and/or historic.

Please help, and share, and comment with your experiences.  And don’t assume that because it’s world-renown, that I’ve already thought of it!  Short of Vegas, NYC, and London, I have no clue where might be great places to visit.

Current US destinations under consideration are:

Vegas

New York City

San Diego OR San Francisco (or both?)

Current International Destinations are:

?

Ode to Spring (and Art)

Example of my Springtime artwork. (Prints for sale! *wink*)

Example of my Springtime artwork. (Prints for sale! *wink*)

SPRING

I feel you near

the air fairly vibrates

with anticipation.

Mother’s raiments

wait impatiently to unfurl

in celebration.

White blankets fade

deferring to your preference

for emerald and pastels.

Old man weakens,

a kinder sovereign takes charge,

giving birth to change. Continue reading