Monday, April 29, 2013

Odds and Ends

Late post. At least there IS one this Monday...

Anyway, I seem to have hit a patch of writer's block, so here are some random reflections from my weekend:

1. Had lunch with my parents at Carabba's on Saturday. My father ordered a weird seafood canneloni dish that he didn't like instead of the shrimp fettucine we all knew he would, just to prove a point. No idea what that point was, but there you go. Mom had chicken fettucine and I had the steak marsala with garlic mashed potatoes and it was awesome. However, the best thing we ate was the caramelized onion and bacon flatbread! That's going on the list of favorites.

2. Went to Trader Joe's and, as usual, the parking lot and store were both a zoo. I grabbed the few things I needed for the mexican meal Mom & I planned for Sunday and tried to get out of dodge before I lost my mind. Got to the registers and they all had long lines. Several family groups were there, including one idiot woman who clearly believes in the free-range children version of parenting. Her children were doing some whirling dervish spinning/dancing, throwing things at each other, and being genrall obnoxious while she smiled beatifically at them. The cashier said something to her in a low tone and she said "They're free spirits!" Fine, ask them to be free spirits over there (pointed at the door) becasue they're in everyone's way over here. She huffily called them back to her side. About the time I made it through my line and tried to get to the door, the older child had once again left mom's side and was spinning in the middle of the exit aisle. I stopped and the brat crashed into me. Before I could do/say anything, Mom snarls at me. "You need to watch out for my child!" I favored her with my best evil, someone's-about-to-die smile and the cashier hissed, "No, your child needs to watch out for her!" The child was yanked back to her side in a hurry.

3. I attempted to leave the Trader Joe's lot and get to Whole Foods. 35 minutes later, I'd made it 20 feet. So what do I do next? I didn't stop at WF, I did something even more idiotic- went to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon. The geniuses at the Walmart by my house had filled that main aisles with displays that barely left room for one person with a cart to get by in either direction. they also decided that 5 p.m. Saturday was a perfect time to drag pallets out of the storerooms and leave them in random aisles so people couldn't duck down them instead of trailing along behind groups blocking the main aisles. Naturally, I got stuck behind Shamu's sister who was waddling along in 5 inch heels (yeah, those help with the mobility problems that go with obesity), leaning on her cart while munching on a bucket of (unpaid for) fried chicken from the deli and hollering for "Junior" to go get her some Doritos and Cheez Whiz (not making this up) while yacking on her cell phone. There were 10 people backed up behind me when I finally snapped and started screaming. One man whispered "Follow that lady!" to his wife. "We might actually get out of here sometime today."

4. Sunday stupidity was self-inflicted. I decided it was time to color my hair again. Have actually been meaning to do it for weeks, but decided yesterday was the day. Warm Reddish Brown is the color I was supposed to get. Warm Reddish Brown, my big fat ass. My hair is the color of burnt plum sauce. Or, as my mother said, "'s kind of purpley in the right light."

5. Dinner was excellent! We made Sausage & Potato and Spicy Fish Tacos. Topped with Creamy Cabbage & Corn Slaw or Citrusy Radish Slaw. I got to zing my mother with one of her classic lines regarding the fish tacos. "How Do You KNOW You Don't Like Them If You've Never Tried Them?!?" She tried one and allowed as they weren't bad, but she preferred the sausage.

So that was my weekend.

Oh, and today's moment of stupidity? Came from the officer who looked at me and said "Is your hair supposed to be that color?" I asked him about his limp. "What limp?" This one...and I kicked the crap out of his shin. (Relax, it was a friend and I was reasonably sure I wan't going to be charged with assault)

Friday, April 26, 2013

It's Hug An Australian Day!

Yes, it's real... and I'm very lucky in that one of our resident department hunks just happens to be the man formerly known as Outback Jack on an early Bachelor-style show. (I also have him on speed dial) So here's a look at my sweet friend Vadim, aka the Aussie I got to hug today:

 from the TV show  his official department photo

And, just because I couldn't resist, here's a look at another Aussie I have been lucky enough to hug on several occasions:

 80's Rick  more recent Rick

And last, but by no means least, one I would love to get my hands on:

 mmmm, Hugh

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cirque du Soleil- Worlds Away

I love Cirque du Soleil. I've seen several of the live shows and own several more DVD performances. I picked this one up at the library and was a bit disheartened to see that James "Egomaniac" Cameron was involved in it. Luckily, the performances made up for a lot. It seemed kind of disjointed at first, and then I caught on to what I was seeing. They filmed sections of the various shows that are currently running in Vegas and turned it into a movie. I enjoyed the bits from "O", which I have seen. There were some scenes from Ka & Mystere, which I want to see. Then they went into Viva Elvis & The Beatles tribute show and I almost turned the damned thing off because I loathe the Beatles. (this came about after being forced to listen to them ad nauseam at the bookstore  for 5 years) But I stuck it out and was rewarded with an aerial ballet at the end that made the whole thing worth it. For the record, the aerial ballets are my favorite part of any Cirque show.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Adventures in Daddy Sitting

OMG. Took the old man out to lunch yesterday. Told my father I’d be there at 1230 to pick him up for lunch. I walked in the door at 1230 on the dot and he looks at me. “Family Feud just started.” I don’t care- I told you what time I was picking you up. let’s go. “But I like Steve Harvey.” So do I, but I’ve got to go to work today, so let’s move it.

Finally got him in the car. Get to Golden Corral and it’s Old Fart Jubilee. It was almost 1 by the time we got there and that’s when the senior discount starts, so every old person in town was standing in the doorway, waiting. We almost got run down in the parking lot by 3 different old ladies with oxygen tanks. I finally pushed my way through the crowd, dragging Dad behind me, and then the cashier wanted to argue with us. “I’m trying to save you money- the discount starts in 5 minutes.” Yeah, well I appreciate that, but I have to go to work sometime today and the $2 off isn’t worth waiting behind a bunch of crusties.

The food was decent for a change, at least. Dad got a giggle out of the fact that Sister Bertha-better-than-you and Sister Mary-minds-everyone’s-business-but-her-own were at the table next to us and starting talking loudly about old fools with young tramps. I finally turned around and said to them “You know, I agree. It’s funny though that people think I’m one of those types every time I take my dad here out to lunch. I mean, I always thought I looked enough like him that it was pretty clear he’s my actual daddy, not a sugar daddy.” They shut up in a hurry, the old man at the next table over started howling with laughter. “You tell them, honey!”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's National Haiku Day!

Nightshade and Malkin
Furry, purry little pests
I love them so much.

The books that I own
Are all over my small house...
Reader's paradise!

I'm VERY hungry.
Mongolian Bacon? YUM!
Will you bring me some?

Crap! Time to go work.
Officers and Criminals...
Where are my happy pills?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Once More With Feeling

Here we go again. We have a new crop of rookie officers that have just been turned loose on the street. They actually aren't the problem- it's some of the officers who have been on long enough to know better that inspired this round of the Dear Officer files.

Dear Officer:

1. What part of DO NOT SHOVE LOOSE NEEDLES UNDER THE WINDOW do you not understand?!? THERE IS A FREAKING SIGN IN THE WINDOW IN BOLD CAPS THAT SAYS TO ASK FOR A SAFETY TUBE IF YOU DON'T HAVE ONE. And if I get stuck by a needle that you were too stupid to contain, BOTH of us will be going to the hospital.

2. Our office develops a wind tunnel effect when the temperature shifts drastically. This has not changed in the last 7 years. If you notice that the wind blows every time someone opens the damned door, or we tell you to hold onto your papers/evidence, HOLD ONTO YOUR SHIT. Especially if it's an unwrapped needle as mentioned above.

3. We know it's hot in our office. It's not necessary or clever to point it out to us. 

4. We know the office reeks of marijuana thanks to our lame ventilation system. It's not necessary or clever to point THAT out to us either.

5. We know that everyone has different tastes, different work habits, and we relate to different people in different ways. Some officers prefer one clerk to another. THIS is fine. Telling the clerk who is waiting on your dumb ass that you think her coworker is the best clerk and you wish she was there instead is NOT fine and WILL get your shit handed back to you with a request that you come back when THAT clerk is working. 

6. Yes, you need to fill out a currency seizure form AND a forfeiture form if the money you are turning in is drug related. NO, WE WILL NOT FILL IT OUT FOR YOU.

7. Do not get an attitude with us if we tell you to stop flapping your yap and pay attention. We need information to do our job. If you don't bring in a citation, or don't bring in a legible citation, we need you to be able to answer some questions. This can't happen if you're talking on your cell phone or shooting the shit with whoever is waiting in line after you. 

8. Don't get an attitude with us if you don't follow rule 7 and something isn't entered the way you wanted it. If you'd paid attention, it might have been.

9. While most of the people we come into contact with are less than upstanding citizens, we still have to try to deal with them nicely. If we get the guy YOU pissed off and gave the runaround and he tells us that you claim WE screwed up, we are more than happy to look up the identity of your commanding officer and suggest he call them to correct the issue. If something that should have been personal property got put in as evidence because you were too busy fucking around to follow rule 7, that is YOUR problem, not ours. And we will happily tell the citizen that. You had the chance to tell us that at the beginning of our transaction with you, and in the case of the gun I had to deal with last week, you also should have noticed that when you were handed the envelope to seal and sign. Sometimes we make mistakes and most of us will admit.apologize, but if you try to throw us under the bus, we will drag you along with us.

10. If there is only one clerk working and you come in while they're entering a search warrant for another officer, be prepared to wait. Do not keep asking how much longer this is going to take. You can always leave and come back. If you choose to wait, do not sit out there and complain to other people that we're slow.

There's a great deal more, but that's enough bile for one post.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Random thoughts

1. Listening to a commercial for some ambulance chaser and heard this gem: "Have you or a loved one experienced heart failure or died during kidney dialysis? You may be entitled to compensation." Um, if I'm dead, how do I claim the compensation?

2. Volunteered at the animal shelter Sunday. I had a really good time and have signed up for the orientation to make it a regular gig. The hardest part will be trying not to take all the animals home with me. Like the adorable black kitten, Tipsy, I met today. Luckily, she's already found a potential forever home- just waiting for the background check to come back. (the shelter requires proof of vaccination if you have other pets before they let you adopt a new one) My other favorite critter was the bunny- Hoptimus Prime. 

3. Weighed in and am back down to 326 lbs. I can't take much credit for the weight loss- my sinuses have been draining for a week and I've been too nauseous to eat much.

4. Finally got to turn my heater off for a few days! Even better- I got to open the windows and air the house out. Nightshade was thrilled to claim her spot in the front window.

5. My new smart phone may have been a mistake. There are so many free games to download that it isn't funny. Just what I needed- another way to waste time.

That's about it for today. I've been too sick with sinus issues to do anything entertaining or think of anything clever to post. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weight Loss Chronicles- part 2

A few years ago, I was sent to the ER after an accident at work. The doctors were very concerned about my blood pressure while I was there and told me it was near stroke level. This came as a shock to me- despite a family history (both sides- yay!) of HBP, mine had always been low to normal. They couldn't/wouldn't treat me for it since it didn't seem to be part of my injury and was therefore not covered by worker's comp, but strongly advised me to see my regular doctor about it ASAP.

The problem was, I didn't have a regular doctor. Years of not having insurance or the money to pay high bills prevented that. I had gone to a couple of walk-in clinics over the years, so I was at a loss as to where to start my search. (I had insurance by that point, but hadn't used it)  My parents had just moved up here and Mom suggested that I go to see the internist that they were seeing. He wasn't taking new patients as a rule, but agreed to take me on when Mom pointed out that it might be interesting to see the role genetics played in my health. So that's how I met Dr B.

He nearly had a stroke himself when he took my blood pressure at the first visit. According to him, I should have been dead from a stroke before I walked into the office. (I may be exaggerating slightly here, but it's pretty close to what he said) I told him that I felt fine, but he correctly pointed out that it didn't mean I WAS. We had gotten my medical records from NC and I managed to get him the records from several of my clinic visits, but it was hard to narrow down exactly when my blood pressure started to go bad. To complicate things, I was in the early stages of diabetes.

Well, in addition the the raft of medications I was now suddenly taking, I had to make changes to my diet. (bet you were wondering when that was going to come up, right?) As I've mentioned, I used to be the fried food queen. Mom had to have gall bladder surgery a few years before they moved here, and told me that I might want to cut back on fried foods some to hopefully avoid that in my future. I did for a while, but my current job had me lapse back into eating fast food a lot.

Fast food was one of the first things to get cut. Not completely, but a lot less of it. Frozen dinners were also cut down on. I've never been too crazy about them, but they were an easy out if I didn't feel like cooking and didn't want to go out for a burger. And actually, the Marie Callender dinners/potpies are pretty dang tasty. They're also fat/sodium bombs.

We talked about sugar consumption. When I was younger, I'd go through a 12 pack of soda a day. By the time I started seeing Dr B, it was down to a 12 pk a week. Now I might get through the equivalent of a 12 pack a month.  I rarely drank alcohol, so the sugars in that weren't an issue. We discussed tea/coffee and the look on Dr B's face when I told him that I drank around a quart a day was priceless. He relaxed a bit when I told him that I drink my coffee/tea unsweetened, but said that the caffeine was not helping my blood pressure. That subject is one we agreed to disagree on- I told him that I wasn't giving up caffeine for anybody. Mom tried to decaffeinate me once in high school and my teachers were calling her within 3 days and begging her to fix whatever was wrong with me. It wasn't pretty. I have still managed to cut back on it- I drink a large glass of iced coffee at home and then drink iced green tea & water at work. Unless I've forgotten to brew my coffee or tea at home, and then I get a large coffee from Starbucks on my way in to work.

The harder part on the sugar consumption was cutting carbs. I was baking cookies for the officers on a fairly regular basis (and eating them) and I have a genetic pre-disposition to loving bread & cakes. (Dr B says there's no such thing, but I know better, having seen 4 generations of my mom's family descend on a bakery like a swarm of locusts) Noodles- thick chewy, doughy noodles are one of my favorite comfort foods, especially in winter weather. Not to mention that I love white rice, which is apparently the worst kind. This is an ongoing work-in-progress. I stopped baking cookies. (not just for this, but because it was getting expensive and people were demanding them instead of being grateful that I made whatever I made and brought in) I try to avoid bakeries, but Whole Foods makes some VERY good pecan rolls, brownies, breads, etc. Trader Joe's makes a chocolate kissed shortbread cookie that I can eat a whole tub of in one sitting. (And I'm guiltily admitting that there's half a tub of them on the desk beside me as I type this.) I eat less rice now than I used to, but it's still white rice. I just don't like brown rice.

And we're back to fruits/vegetables. I don't eat as much of either as I should. The fruits I like best tend to be high in sugar. Or I add sugar to them- apples are meant to be in a pie, dammit! LOL. My diabetes medication creates an interesting reaction with leafy vegetables, and we'll leave it at that. I eat salads, but not often because of that. I like spinach & kale, but they create the same issue.

So, I'm still struggling. Not going to give up though. I CAN do this. The weight didn't all appear in a day, and it's not going to go away in one either.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Here I Go Again- Jen Lancaster

This is Jen's second novel and quite a hoot to read. The main character is Melissa "Lissy" Ryder. Lissy was a high school homecoming queen/cheerleader/leader of the mean girls posse/snotty witch. You know the type- think Mean Girls meets Heathers. She spent her high school years running roughshod over everyone and the following years coasting on what she believed to be her past glory.

Then the proverbial rug gets yanked out from under her feet.

Suddenly Lissy finds herself broke, unemployed, single, and fat. And living with her parents. Things can't get worse, right? Wrong. She gets an invitation to her class reunion.

Thinking she can relive her glory days, and praying that her former classmates all have wretched lives, she goes. Things don't go the way she'd hoped. Most of her former victims are amazingly successful. Her ex-husband is there with a Sofia Vergara lookalike. People are lining up to take metaphorical jabs at her and her BFF has given up and walked away in disgust.

Only one person takes pity on Lissy- Deva, formerly Debbie, who has become a New Age practitioner. Deva took all the negativity heaped on her from Lissy and channeled it into something positive. She feels truly sorry for the girl who made her life hell and offers to help her by giving Liss a potion. "Only take one drop a day!"

Liss makes her way home and thinks Deva is a nut. Why be nice to someone who was so rotten to her? But it's not like she has anything to lose at this point, so she tries the potion. It doesn't taste too awful, so she has some more. And some more....and then she falls asleep...

...only to wake up in her old room. Nothing shocking there- she's had to move back in with her parents. Then she realizes that she's not just in her old room- she's in her old body! That's right...Lissy Ryder is 17 again. Now maybe she can right the wrongs of her past and have a brighter future!

Well, almost. She changes the past, and winds up with the kind of future she dreamed of. The problem is, she kind of screwed everyone else up in doing it, but is enlightened enough to care. So now she has to find Deva, get more of the potion, and try again. Does she succeed? Does she get a Happily-Ever-After without ruining it for everyone?

You'll have to read it for yourself. And if you're like me, you'll wind up digging out your old Whitesnake recordings.

"I don't know where I'm going...but I sure know where I've been..."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Weight Loss Chronicles- part 1

So, back to the subject of weight loss and how/why it eludes me.

I mentioned my issues with portion control, but only scratched the surface. Part of the problem is that I got used to cooking for crowds. Since I often was one of the few people in my various groups of friends who could/would cook, I got used to cooking for crowds. And then I got used to piling large amounts on my plate, mainly because there was no guarantee that there would be any left if I tried waiting and going back for seconds. (especially where a pack of hungry wrestlers was concerned!) Now it's mostly just cooking for myself, and occasionally my parents. But I still cook large amounts- sometimes so that I'll have leftovers and won't have to cook again for a few days, sometimes because I think I'm THAT hungry and will eat it all.

I also used to be a member of the clean plate club. We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, and both of my parents came from poor backgrounds, so wasting food was not an option. That was fine at home (where Mom controlled portions more than I ever have), but going out to eat? I'd all but lick the plate clean. And we all know that American restaurants serve meals that are often the equivalent of 2 or more servings. I would order the largest thing I could afford/or was told I could have and eat it all, even if it meant I was full to the point of almost being sick. We won't even discuss buffets.

Actually, I will mention buffets. Never met one I didn't like. Laura's husband, Kenny, came up with the best definition of buffet that I've ever heard- Big Ugly Fat Fuckers Eating Together. There were several Chinese buffets in my hometown, and one in particular that my friends and I nearly put out of business after my first year at college. The Guong Dong would open for lunch at 11 and close at 2. We'd be there waiting when they opened and they'd have to shoo us out at closing. At that time, I rarely ate vegetables, so I would spend 3 hours eating egg rolls, fried won tons, rice, and whatever meat I picked out of the other dishes.

Seriously y'all, I ate so much fried stuff  and other cholesterol laden foods that I'm surprised I didn't sweat gravy. Then again, I didn't do much exercise, so I rarely broke a sweat. Amazingly enough, my cholesterol isn't as bad as it could be. It's slightly elevated, according to Dr B, so I'm on a medication to help it but only because he thought it would also help with my blood pressure.

Now when I go to buffets (they're getting harder to find, unless you frequent casinos), I limit the amount of fried food I eat from them. I will admit that all bets are off on the rare occasion I find one with fried pork chops, but allow myself that indulgence since it happens so rarely. I eat more vegetables now than I did in my youth. (better late than never) In steakhouses, I no longer order the largest steak on the menu, and one of my sides is ALWAYS a salad or some other green vegetable. I don't like most salad dressings, so I ask for the dressing on the side and use smaller amounts than they usually give me.

Next week- other things I have done to try to cut calories.