Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year

Dear friends –

As we close out this year, I wanted to send you wishes for a 2012 that brings you peace, wonder, excitement, growth, and maybe some Chubby’s tacos.

On second thought, the Chubby’s tacos might make you grow in ways you don’t want to.

Let’s make that a salad.  

I will not be posting a New Year’s resolution because after a brief search of the archives, I realized I hadn’t kept any of last year’s resolutions (or the year before, or the year before).


Though in my defense, my foot injury derailed my half-marathon goal.

And while I would love to blame an injury for not finishing my quilt, I think we can all agree that was due to a general lack of skills.


Maybe instead of a resolution, I’ll focus on being more disciplined and you can all stop laughing. in the little things.  I started learning that lesson when I tackled some diet changes earlier in the year and I think I can apply some of the same lessons to other areas in my life though if someone has won the discipline in exercise battle, LET ME KNOW HOW for I am sorely lacking in that department.

On the bright side, I’m highly disciplined at holding down the couch.

Everyone needs to excel at something.

Have a nice day.

Deuteronomy 2:3

“You’ve circled this mountain long enough.  Now go north.”  Deuteronomy 2:3

In July of this year, my mother called to tell me that we’d be taking family pictures when I was out to see them later in the month.  I moaned and groaned over the phone hoping to talk her out of it but this is my mother we’re talking about and so I hung up the phone and casually wandered into the bathroom to step on the scales wondering what weight this year’s family picture would commemorate.

And then I burst into tears.

I weighed 200 pounds.

The first part of this year was so incredibly stressful for me.  In between selling our house (and keeping it “show-ready” at all times), hunting for new houses, thinking we’d found our perfect house and losing it (twice), then finding our current home, packing, unpacking, and doing all of this while Craig was gone every week on the busiest travel schedule of our entire married life,  let me tell you, my ability to manage stress had fled to some tropical island leaving me with no coping skills whatsoever.

So I did what any non-self-respecting girl would do.

I ate.

I ate jelly beans.  I ate sushi.  I ate entire family-sized bags of Pirate’s Booty.  I got to be such a loyal customer at Jersey Mike’s that they gave me a reward card that I punched enough times to get the free foot-long sub.

The kid behind the counter said he’d never seen a woman claim the prize.

I was absolutely mortified when he said that.

So I ate the whole thing.

And week by week, and month by month, my clothes got tighter, and tighter, and the sizes went up and up, and by the end of August, I was bigger than I’d ever been in my entire life and the new clothes I’d just bought were already tight and I sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out and scared my poor husband who had just walked in the door from yet another business trip.

It was ugly.

Something had to be done.

So August 19, I grabbed a journal and wrote the following reasons why I was about to make some drastic changes.

1.  I feel like my husband is embarrassed by me.

2.  I’m embarrassed by me.

3.  I weigh more than I should.

4.  I ache.

5.  I don’t want diabetes at 41.

6.  I don’t want to fight this battle at 42.

7.  I want to stop using food as a crutch.

8.  I want to set a good example for my kids.

9.  I don’t want to avoid mirrors for the rest of my life.

10.  I feel old.

And then I went hard-core on a special program and cut out sugar, bread, potatoes and any and all fast and fried food and got seriously cranky for about two weeks while I adjusted to losing my primary fuel source.

Day 1.

Every day while I ate my VERY LITTLE bar of food or drank my shake I would read over the list of reasons why I was doing this, and every time I’d repeat an affirmation or two to keep myself motivated, chief among them “I am made for more than this” and “French fries are not my friends” and day by day and week by week, I inched toward my goal.

Ten pounds down

Twenty pounds down

Thirty pounds down

Forty pounds down

And today, four months later, I wrote down ten new things in my journal.

1.  My husband is so proud of me.

2.  I’m proud of me.

3. I’ve lost all my baby weight twelve years later.

4.  I don’t ache anymore and don’t dread walking upstairs.

5.  I’ve lowered my risk of diabetes tremendously.  Cancer, too.

6.  I’m at  a perfectly normal weight.

7.  I don’t eat emotionally anymore.  I eat because it’s mealtime.

8.  My kids are eating more fruit and vegetables than they ever have before.

9.  I don’t dread the dressing room mirror any more.

10.  I feel young and energetic.

This morning:

Good-bye, 43 pounds, four dress sizes, and thirty inches.

Hello, 42.

Happy Birthday to me.

Have a nice day.

Chile today, hot tamale

I have sixteen pounds of corn masa and two 9×13 pans of shredded beef in my fridge right now. I’m waiting for Kellie to show up and we are going to make tamales.

I tried to type that last sentence with lots of confidence and without cracking up.

My last attempt was a complete and utter fiasco.

Wish me luck.

Have a nice day.

In which I clear pictures off my phone & attempt to make a blog post out of them

Oh, hello, Interwebs.  It has been a while.  I would love to say that many exciting things have happened since the last time I showed up in this space but the truth of the matter is that I’ve not been living la vida loca unless you count sewing Christmas napkins that will never see the light of day and eating pounds of peanut butter fudge.

Someone needs to save me from the peanut butter fudge.

Jesus, take the wheel.

My last week has included getting decorations on the tree.

Wandering the convenience store with my husband….

Eating lunch with this little cutie pie and his mom...

Making peach pie pops without the stick since I didn’t have them and Christmas pretzels…

Bugging my husband at work….

Playing with his new iPhone and bugging him for an upgrade….

He got the white one.  I told him white was a girl color and that I was going to buy him a Hello Kitty phone cover for it. 

That’s when he stuck his tongue out at me.

Because he’s mature that way.

Oh, and I stood out on my front porch and watched a boatload of police cars show up at my neighbor’s house.

Good times.

By the way, Blog Lurker And Now Neighbor Rachel would want me to tell you that she is not the neighbor in question.  We did, however, enjoy a lovely twenty-minute conversation on the phone developing hare-brained theories as to what might be going on as we were describing to each other what we could see from our respective vantage points.

And, no, no one got hauled away in handcuffs and we are left twisting in the wind with no idea what happened.

And yes, I felt exactly like a certain Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder movie.

picture from somewhere on the internet

So, you know, eating, running errands,  baking, and a little brush with law enforcement – just a little of the usual around here.  This week I MUST go to work for a few hours before they give my desk to someone else and finish up the last of the Christmas shopping.  I’m almost done except for a few stocking stuffers and then I need to start wrapping.

Gotta’ keep those hands busy so they stay out of the fudge.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday Tidbits

1. If I don’t get presents wrapped and to the UPS store, it will be the year without a Santa Claus for my family in Oklahoma.  The silly thing is, I’ve had the presents purchased for WEEKS, and yet?

Have done nothing about it.

The last minute.  Accomplishing great and mighty things for Susan since the beginning of time.

2.  I’ve been treating my spleen qi deficiency with boatloads of warm food such as cookies fresh out of the oven, warm pound cake, toasted pannetone, and spicy sausage balls.

I don’t know about my spleen, but my thighs are certainly thanking me.

3.  I’ve been all sorts of worrying about our Christmas light display.  This is our first year in the neighborhood and I’m not sure what the rules or societal norms are regarding bright and shiny things.  It is our general practice to leave our lights on all night because I don’t like to go out in the cold to turn them off to share the joy and wonder of Christmas to all who would behold them and many of our neighbors in our old ‘hood did the same but I don’t see a ton of outdoor lights in our new place which tells me either we’re surrounded by boatloads of people who play on another faith team or we’ve become THOSE people that others can now talk about at the next block party.

Just in case, I turned the outside lights off early this morning but I want everyone on the street to know that WE ARE ABLAZE ON THE INSIDE.

4.  I have been married for fifteen years and yet still can’t remember what foods Craig likes and doesn’t like. Last week I fixed a ham knowing full well he didn’t care for ham and this week I made a pot of beans and cornbread for dinner with that nagging little feeling that he might not be too skippy about it.  Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

How does that happen?  And why did I fix them in the first place even though I thought he didn’t like them? 

These are questions that keep me up at night.

5.  Speaking of things that keep us awake, I frightened my husband out of a good night’s sleep.  I’ve been wearing a lot of gray lately and needed a good bright lipstick to brighten things up a bit.  Late in the afternoon I applied one of those Outlast lipsticks in a flame red shade and it was still in full shellacked force by the time we were turning in for the night.  I tried to remove it with my regular face cleanser but it wasn’t budging so when I crawled into bed, I had a pale, pale makeup-less face and ridiculously bright red lips.  Craig was reading and didn’t notice until he turned to kiss me goodnight and literally YELPED when he saw me.  He made me sleep facing the wall because, as he put it, it was like being in bed with the bride of Chucky.

Love, honor, and cherish.

‘Til death or lipstick do us part.

Have a nice day.


In which I go out of the frying pan and into the fire

So I’ve been looking for a new doctor to go to for the last three years. It has helped that I haven’t been “on my deathbed” sick for quite a while though come to think of it I might have said I was going to die a few weeks ago when I had the Black Plague but as you all know, I *might* be prone to a little hyperbole every once in a while especially if it can be used for dramatic effect or a good blog post.

I do not particularly enjoy going to the doctor and so I have to be good and dead sick before I will darken the doors of a medical establishment. My last practice which I chose 11 years ago when we moved to NC based on the fact it was a) on a street I could find, and b) they could see me that day, turned out to be a crunchy, holistic sort of place run by a guy who’d been a Peace Corp volunteer which I think is code for “didn’t find employment after medical school” but he was fine and convenient up until the point I had double bronchitis and walking pneumonia and he suggested a Neti pot and some Epsom salts instead of something a little stronger and it took me a month of hacking before he begrudgingly prescribed me evil antibiotics which set me on the road to recovery.

After that little episode, I decided it might be time to find someone new so I’ve spent the last few years doing nothing researching some other providers and after getting a brochure in the mail careful deliberation I found another provider that is a) on a street I can find, and b) was available this week.

I am nothing if not consistent.
It’s part of my charm.

So I went to see my new doctor yesterday for a routine physical and while we were chatting, turns out?

Not only is she holistic?

She’s Ancient Chinese Secret holistic.

Yep, looks like Susie Q just chose a doctor who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture and turns out that I have all sorts of new things to obsess over because apparently I’ve got some bad juju energy going on. (She figured that out because I have a ruffled tongue and when I told her it was just trying to be fashionable and keep up with the times, she rolled her eyes. We need to work on her sense of humor.)

And if you want to have fun, go google Spleen Qi Deficiency and learn about all my sagging organs and why I shouldn’t eat raw vegetables.

Oh, it’s delightful.

Eye of newt and ginseng bark notwithstanding, it was a good checkup and she pronounced me fit and healthy except for my bad qi and I’m just so intrigued and will always be able to get good blog fodder from my visits that I think I’m going to stay with her.

Unless I get bronchitis and she suggests acupuncture.

Have a nice day.

A little of this, a little of that. You know, the usual.

I would have blogged yesterday but I was distracted by all the Christmas crafty things everyone keeps putting on their Pinterest boards.

I don’t know where you people find these cute projects. Clearly, I’m not spending enough time prowling the outer recesses of the Internet.

But I’m perfectly willing to take advantage of all y’all’s research.

And somewhere a grammar teacher is cringing at the “all y’all’s”.

Let’s see – I need to fill you in on the weekend. It involved spending hours cleaning the house so that we’d have some clear areas in which to pile all the Christmas stuff we hauled down from the attic. And then I realized the error of my ways because we pulled everything out of the bins and scattered boatloads of dust, glitter, and fake greenery all over those freshly mopped floors and vacuumed carpets.

Proving once again that housework is wasted effort.

I decorated the mantle (no pictures yet because it’s missing a critical piece or two that I’m sure I could find at Michael’s or HomeGoods) and set out some Christmas pillows in the den but haven’t touched the dining room table centerpiece or the sideboard yet. Mainly because I need to clear them of all the stuff that Craig piled on top of them when he cleaned out his office and didn’t know what to do with random and sundry items so he stacked them on the table in hopes that the Household Fairy would magically make them go away.

Little does he know that the Fairy is French and therefore on strike until after the holidays.

Speaking of the French, that reminded me of pastries which reminded me of these little gems that I have sitting in my cupboard just waiting for a steaming cup of coffee for accompaniment.

My friend Shannon went to Texas over Thanksgiving and brought back an assortment of bread products from Mrs. Baird’s. For those of you not from the Promised Land, Mrs. Baird’s is a local bakery that supplies grocery stores in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and it is the bread that was served at my grandparents’ house. I have many happy memories of going to the day-old bread store with my grandfather to buy cinnamon rolls, fruit pies and loaves of split-top honey wheat. Just a single toasted slice slathered with Welch’s Concord Grape jelly transports me to my grandmother’s kitchen where I can see her standing at the slide out electric cooktop in her house coat stirring skillets of scrambled eggs and bacon and fussin’ about something.

Which distracted her long enough so that I could grab another slice.


Also in the blissful category, I had a hair appointment yesterday. (Please do not get whiplash from the abrupt segues today. I warned you in the title that this post was going to be all over the map.) Craig’s office party is this Thursday and the roots, they were a-showin’, so I popped in to see Lacie my Goth hairdresser who changes her hair color like most people change underwear and she freshened me up with the magic touch-up brush and a few pieces of foil.

Isn’t that lovely picture of my ceiling? The other picture I took showed the disaster that most others would call a kitchen so we had to make slight adjustments to the camera angle. You’re welcome.

And with that, I’ve run out of things to say other than I’m not going to take my freshly highlighted hair to Michael’s to buy crafty stuff so I can come back to my messy dining room table and eat cinnamon rolls and think of my grandmother while I make all the things y’all put on Pinterest.

That’s a wrap.

Have a nice day.

In which I am a little sentimental

I must confess that when Tommy first came home announcing that he’d signed up for band, I thought there was no way on God’s green earth this was going to last, but he has been faithfully practicing every day for weeks and weeks and the boy who first warbled tentative notes that sounded like a wounded, asthmatic farm animal has now morphed into a confident player who plays beautiful taps from the balcony every night before going to bed.

For the last week he’s been reminding me of the special attire he needed for the concert and by Wednesday we’d reached the next-to-the-last minute so he and I went shopping for his outfit – black pants, white spread-collared shirt (his daddy specified that it not be button-down because “it’s not the 80s anymore”) and a tie of his choosing – and it was all I could do not to have a misty moment outside the dressing room door when I saw my BABY in his first grown up set of clothes.

He dressed a full hour before we needed to leave and he kept walking around the house with his trumpet case because it made him feel like Dad.

And then Dad came home and saw what a mess Mom had made of trying to tie his tie and spent a little time rearranging it.

And to my mother, yes, I should have ironed the shirt.

Though trust me when I say that I wasn’t the only mom who didn’t. 

We arrived to a gym FULL of students and parents. There are over 1,200 kids spread out over four tracks in the boys’ middle school and the Winter Concert is the first time that all four tracks are together playing the music for the first time.

Tommy was excited to see and show off all of his friends –

And Craig and I were amused that the band director chose to seat Tommy next to the shortest kid in the class.

The concert started with just a small hitch.  As the band was playing the opening number, there arose a hue and cry from the bleachers.  Apparently it was a little warm in the upper sections and someone took a dirt dive right in the middle of what I think was Jingle Bells.  We had an unscheduled intermission for about fifteen minutes while folks fanned him back to life and we waited for EMS to show.

Though let me tell you, that was a great place to faint because there were about fifteen medical-type moms and dads, some still in scrubs, who left their seats to run over and help him.  It was awesome to see.

Each band (6th, 7th, and 8th) did a superb job and I was feeling all sorts of proud of the kids for working so hard.  I didn’t think the night could end any better when the band director stood and said that for the final number they were going to play a piece composed by Francis McBeth.  I about fell out of my chair because I had the great privilege of knowing Dr. McBeth during my college days at Ouachita.  And you know I got all sorts of weepy that my twelve-year-old son  was learning and playing the music of one of my college professors and it all turned into a very surreal circle of life moment for me.

I tell ya’, folks, there are days when the dailyness of the things that must be done get a little tedious.  The pressing in, the pressing on, the minutia of tasks that seem insignificant, the little details that get lost in the noise.  And then there are moments, special ones, like seeing your son in his first tie, the glimpses of the man he wants to be, the fire in his heart for the things he’s passionate about – these are the redeeming experiences that make it all so very worth it.

Have a nice day.