Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.

Author Unknown

Good morning. It's going to be a cool, but not cold, day. They say some flurries are on the way this afternoon. That doesn't worry me a bit. It was pretty clear when I went out yesterday, and it felt so good. In fact, the buses ran so well that I got to the meeting early, and the leader asked if I wanted to sit inside until they had set up. I told her I'd not been out in almost a week, and the sun felt so good that I wanted to stay out and enjoy it.
I'm disappointed but not devastated. Biggest gain so far...1.6 pounds. But I was dealing with a triple whammy...on medication which causes water weight, gum infection which made it pretty hard to chew so fruit was out, and a storm that kept me housebound. Fortunately the weather is good noe, my mouth is lots better, and today is my last day of medication. And with the new plan I also learned that some of the soft foods that I love are actually high in the new Smart Points. 4 Oz regular applesauce is 6 points but natural is almost free. Bought some natural today. And some of my favorite Yoplait yogurts are 6-7 points whereas the Dannon Light and Fit are 2-3.  So I made the switch.  Let's see what next week brings.

I've lots to do today. First of all, it is banking time again. Bill time already. I can't believe how quickly this month has passed. Feels like January wasn't even here. Afterwards I have to stop and get some new undies. I think it's time. I've lost so much weight they are falling off me and it's just as uncomfortable as undies that are too tight. Then a quick stop at Walgreens and the food store. I'm feeling good today.
Have a good one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sorry. It's Been Awhile

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.
Sara Coleridge, "The Months"

Good morning everyone.  Haven't been here for a few days.  Had plans to blog everyday and just never got a chance.  I see I lost 8 more followers.  Not happy at all with Blogger.  My followers mean the world to me, and since this new stuff started I lost over 30 followers.  Will have to go check out my own reading list and see if they booted me from any of  your blogs.

We're still digging out from Jonas here in Brooklyn.  Yesterday was my first day out since the storm, and all I did was walk down the block and back.  Just had to get some air and sun.  The crosswalks are pretty treacherous with slush and melting snow, and I am so fearful of falling, especially with class starting on Monday, that I'm just not ready to take a chance.  Besides, it helps me to save money.  For some reason I can't go out without spending, and I sure overdid this Christmas despite my plans not to.  But, it is totally forgivable. It's the first Christmas in a good many years that I had my family.

I was debating if I should get out and take care of my banking today or on Friday. So far Friday is winning. It's going to warm up to the 40's today so lots of this snow will be melted. Besides, one never knows when another check will come in. Ralph can't get the car out anyway. Well, he can get out, but once out, where does he put it when he gets to his destination.

Speaking of banking, it reminds me that the month of January has almost passed, and for the life of me, I don't know where it went. Usually after the holidays time crawls, but this year it flew by. Guess maybe because I am keeping myself very busy despite being housebound. I've been practicing with my paints.  Trying to learn acrylics.  Doing lots of reading.  Have several online courses to keep me occupied--one on terrorism and another on dinosaurs.  Always been fascinated with them.

I love veggies but some I just don't like to eat plain.  Before Weight Watchers I used to use butter or cheese.  Now I mix them with the peppers and onions I make as a topping for my meat. Funny thing is that I never liked peppers until I started with Weight Watchers. 

Red, yellow, and orange mini peppers
One onion, slice
Lots of garlic
One tomato. Sliced
Two tbs tomato sauce
Spanish oregano
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil
About a half cup of water

Saute peppers, onions, and garlic until tender. Add rest of ingredients and bring to boil. Simmer until well blended and liquids boil down.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday Notes

Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud, and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast your bright eyes, my sweetheart fair.

Minna Thomas Antrim

Good morning everyone. Another cold one here in Brooklyn. Yesterday wasn't so bad. If you're dressed for it it actually can feel quite invigorating. Nothing on my agenda today. I don't run about so much in the winter...especially just after the holidays when I have already spent far too much money.
Absolutely loved my first class yesterday, "The Parting of the Ways" and am looking forward to it when it comes around. Yesterday's class was a trial run to see how many would be interested in it, and all of us raised our hands so it is going to be fit into the spring schedule. Just hope it doesn't interfere with any of my other classes.

As far as the second class on the Civil War, I would have been better off coming home. It was so so boring. Fell asleep twice during class, and the bad thing was I seated in the front row. Well, at least I didn't snore.

Didn't feel much like cooking last night so I threw together a one pot meal. A few spices can make anything taste yummy.

Ground beef
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Spanish oregano
Red pepper flakes
Goya Con Azafran
Black pepper
Two tbs tomato sauce
Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup water
Beef bullion cube
Mixed veggies

Brown meat. Add spices and stir through meat. Add liquids and bring to boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer. When liquid is almost gone and everything well mixed thicken with a little corn starch and water. I served Ralph ' s with leftover yellow rice. I ate mine  carrots and brocolli. 

Have a good one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My New Semester

The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.

T.H. White
The Once and Future King

Good morning, all.  Well, I am off to class today.  Have two lectures in history--'The Parting of the Ways' about the struggles of the Middle Eas and 'The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis'     It's cold, very cold, and I hope it's not too icy in spots.  Also hoping the buses aren't a mob scene.  They closed all the train stations yesterday.

 My new school schedule, starting February 1:

Monday: 4 week mini class--'Healthy Aging'--starts February 1 and ends 2/23
Monday in March--'Art History' 10:30 to 11:30 followed by
'Retirement and Aging'--12:05-1:05 Every week from March 7 t0 May 2. Subjects include 'Does gender play a role in how we feel?', ''How society looks at aging.'

Tuesday I plan on continuing with the 'Miles of Smiles' class of last year. Includes self-help strategies to energize your brain and body and ways to manage fear, stress, sadness and anger.

Wednesday is my 'Spanish' class. Wouldn't dare miss this one. I love it. Great course starting in March 'Psychology of Political Activism: Women Changing the World'

Thursday late afternoon 'Mindfulness'. Loved this one last semester.

Not taking as many classes this semester. No short story or book classes. I tended to get bored with those. Besides, this is enough with my online classes in 'Dinosaurs' which I am loving, 'Terrorism', and 'Wellness Coaching'. With that and my painting I should breeze through this winter. No SADD this year.
Have a good one.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Morning This and That

In a way Winter is the real Spring--the time when
the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.
Edna O'Brien

Good morning everyone. It's snowing. Not much. Only a light coating on the ground, but I guess you can say that winter has finally arrived here in Brooklyn. Glad I've nothing pressing to do and get sit in and admire it, hoping that by tomorrow morning the sidewalks are clear and free of ice.

I heard they are going to close down quite a few subway stations in the area for at least two years or longer. This has me kind of concerned. The bus runs along the subway line for a good ways which means it's going to be disrupted as well when they put shuttle buses on the route. Not only that, but buses tend to be extra busy when the train is running. Just in time for me to start school. Concerned the buses will be too packed for me to go. Grrrr!!! Will just have to wait and see. So thankful I don't have to travel to work in the city anymore. What a mess that would be!

Head a touch of spring fever this weekend.  Lighted a rose scented candle and painted the above this weekend.  I know what my problem is.  I work too fast.  I want it done and don't take my time.  Have to learn how to slow down.

Speaking of school, received my catalog and plan on going to go through my school catalog today, choose courses, and set my schedule. Meanwhile, I enrolled in an online course with the University of Maryland 'Understanding Terrorism and the Terrorist Threat'. The sociology and psychology of it. I've been interested in the subject ever since we touched on terrorism in my Forensics course. 

Have a good one.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Roundup

Every one should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it — torn up to irrecoverable tatters.

Samuel Butler

Morning everyone. It's warmed up a wee bit here in Brooklyn, but I'm still planning on a quiet indoor day. Can't seem to go out without spending money, and I don't have it to spend. Have to settle down some and start saving for the dentist. I have to wait for a package anyway. I'd purchased a fantastic gel for my gums from Amazon and ended up leaving it at Weight Watchers yesterday. Of course by the time I called it was gone. So I ordered another tube. Have to be more careful next time.

As for the weekend, rain on the way tomorrow so another day indoors.  I've online classes to keep me busy--Dinosaurs, Terrorism, and Protecting Yourself on Social Media.  

As you know, Ralph has been driving a cab, but the money is not worth getting up at 3:30 in the morning and working 10 hours. So he decided to pay the insurance and register his own car. That way he only has to give the base 25 percent instead of half the money. Well, when he went he was told his insurance would be sky high because he had two accidents. But he only had one. He was waiting for the light when some woman plowed into the car in back of him which then plowed into him. The police officer somehow filled out the accident reports with two different years. So now he had to go to motor vehicle for a print out and send a certified letter up to Albany to get it changed. Could take months.

It amazes my how the system makes a mistake, and the party involved has to jump through hoops to get it fixed. Took Ralph two years to get approved for SSD so he had a nice sum for his pack payment. Well, some idiot checked off that he had mental illness, not a physical illness and they refused to release the funds to him directly. Wanted him to identify someone to handle his money for him. I originally agreed, but then I asked myself if I REALLY wanted to run to the bank every time he needed something. And we certainly didn't want them to appoint a stranger, so we fought it. Took about two months of doctor's visits and letters but finally a change was made. Such a shame.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tuesday Ramble

The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts.
Interesting thoughts can only live in cultivated minds. Those who decide
to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music,
good books, good pictures, good plays at the theater, good company,
good conversation—what are they? They are the happiest people
in the world; and they are not only happy in themselves,
they are the cause of happiness in others.

William Lyon Phelps 
Good morning everyone. It's a cold one here in Brooklyn. I've nothing pressing to do today so I am just going to hibernate for the day. I have a few things to do to keep me busy. Going to make a nice meatloaf for dinner and have the new spring schedule for school. Going to choose my classes.
Winter has touched the trees on campus but the grass remains just as green.

Yesterday I had two awesome 1 day classes. The first was about the chemistry of sugar. Basically we learned how sugar reacts under different temps, the different stages and how to use each stage in our if I ever will. Weight Watchers would be proud of me. The trainer had baked chocolate chip cookies--one will the full amount of sugar, one with 2/3 the amount, and one with 1/3 the amount so that we could see and taste the difference. I politely declined to participate.

The second class was about the Morality of Murder, and we were provided with several scenarios. The first was "You are on a fast moving trolley car when you discover the breaks have failed and you have no horn. 5 men are working on the track in front of you. They will be killed. Then you see that there is another track that veers off to the left. There is only one man working there. Do you veer to the left and kill that man but saving 5 or do you continue as you are going and kill all 5. If you veer off do you consider that murder?" What do you think?

This semester I won't be as busy as the last one as there are few courses I really want to take.I definitely won't be going back to Nutritional Enlightenment. The teacher was awful, and I knew more than she did. But I will re-take Mindfulness and Miles of Smiles. The doctor who gives my favorite health course only does so in the fall semester. And I definitely plan on continuing the Spanish course. I'm just hoping that these teeth hold out,

Have a good one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Monday Morning This and That

Who are the happiest people on earth? A craftsman or artist whistling
over a job well done. A little child building sand castles. A mother,
after a busy day, bathing her baby. A doctor who has finished a difficult
and dangerous operation, and saved a human life. Happiness lies in
a constructive job well done. Get your happiness out of your work
or you will never know what happiness is.

Elbert Hubbard
Good morning everyone. It's a cold one here in Brooklyn, and I just heard the first snow of the season may be on the way later this evening. Not much thank goodness. Only a coating to an inch. I love a beautiful snowy day, but snow gets very ugly here in Brooklyn. People don't shovel and as people tramp over it, it turns to a grey slippery sheet of ice. And that's when I become homebound.

First day of classes this season. I am so looking forward to it. Can't wait for the full schedule to begin next month. Dinner is already cooked and ready to go on the plates--chili and yellow rice. All I have to do is cook some type of veggie to go along with it.

Headed out to the mall yesterday to exchange a couple of shirts I bought Jerry for Christmas. 
I  wanted to wait until the mad rush was over.  I was blessed to have the store pretty much to myself.

Made some Tomato Chicken over the weekend.  It was so yummy I can't wait to have it again.

 Skinless chicken breasts
Can of diced tomatoes with chili
Cannellini beans
Garlic powder
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Crock pot low for five hours. I love the green hot sauce. (Serve over rice but I don't eat starches with every meal)

Have a good one.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Another Litte Angel Tale

Angels are all around us, all the time, in the very air we breathe.

From 'The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman

Morning all.  It's warmed up a wee bit.  Didn't feel so bad yesterday.  In fact, if one is properly dressed the cold air can be quite invigorating. This morning I am off to Weight Watchers.  Got a lot of exercise in this week putting the Christmas decor away, but one never knows if the scale will be friend or foe. 

Speaking of taking the Christmas stuff down, on Tuesday when I took the tree down, it was obvious that this little guy didn't want to be put away. When I reached to take him off the tree he slid off the branch and rolled clear across the floor and stopped under a dining room chair. I reached for him and just got my hands on him when he rolled away. Finally caught the little rebel and put him in the bag on the sofa with the other ornaments. Sat down in my rocker to take a break and guess who rolled out of the bag?

What was I to do with it?  By now, I didn't have the heart to put it away.  Then my daughter says, "Look what's on it an Angel.  You know what that means."  Yes, indeed, it was mom giving me the sign I so desperately wanted.  

 So I found an extra special place for my wandering ornament. Now she can remind me to keep the Christmas spirit all year long.

Have a good one.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

An Angel Amongst Us

Angels are never too distant to hear you.

Author Unknown
Morning all. It's another cold one here. Today I have to get out for a walk. Stayed in for two days now, and there is no excuses. All the Christmas stuff is down and put away until next Christmas. I'm low on mandarins anyways, so I guess I'll head on over to the Fruit Stand.

So last night hubby gets off work and can't remember where he parked his car. For almost three hours he wandered up and down blocks looking for it.  I checked online and saw that it hadn't been towed. My advice to him at this point was to go to the police station and report it missing. But no, he says it's not the kind of neighborhood where it could be stolen. Besides, he said, he hasn't even found the building he parked in front of. 

I felt so bad.  I could tell he was near tears, freezing, and struggling with his breath.  He has Stage 3 emphysema.  Then, he called and told me he had called a cab, and they were driving up and down blocks looking for the car.  He just refused to go to the police station and report it missing so following the cabbie's advice he came home for a good night's rest and would then look in the morning.  I really felt that it had been stolen and that the longer he waited to report it, the less chance he had of getting the car back.

An angel was looking our for us last night, and  he came in the form of a cab driver. No more than 25 minutes after hubby got home his phone rang. It was the cab driver who had been driving him around. He found the car on 95th street and came to pick hubby up to bring him to get it. It seems that hubby had looked on 91st, 92nd, 93rd, and 94th, but not 95th.  So thankful and filled with gratitude.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

On a Cold Tuesday Morning.

In a way Winter is the real Spring--the time when
the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.

Edna O'Brien
Morning all. It's pretty frigid out there this morning, only 11 degrees, and I'm sure am glad I have nowhere I have to go. Going to stay in my warm apartment and take the tree down. That's always a day's work in itself. Getting the lights in order and folding the tree to get it put away are the hardest part of it.

So now the holidays are over, and there is school to look forward to. Next Tuesday I have two classes. So looking forward to getting back into it. I tend to spend too much money when I don't have anything to do. Guess it's a good thing that the cold arctic air is keeping me in.

Nothing goes to waste in my house. For the above soup, I used my leftover pernil (pork shoulder) which had been frozen since Christmas dinner. Chopped up some onions and peppers. Sauteed in olive oil a few minutes until onions translucent. Then added the pork and allowed it to fry a few minutes for added browning.

Then, I added half a can of diced tomatoes, two tablespoons tomato sauce, 3 1/2 cups water, 2 cubes of chicken bullion, garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice by McCormick, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, red pepper flakes (how much depends on how spicy you like it), black peppercorn in McCormick grinder, celery, about 1 1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies, 3 potatoes, and salt to taste.

Have a good one.  Stay warm.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Morning This and That

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Morning all.  Holidays are over, and it's time to get back to a normal schedule.  I've got a ways to wait yet.  Besides a course next Tuesday and the Tuesday after, school doesn't start in earnest until February.  I've plenty to keep me busy until then.  I've my paints to practice with, lots of great reading material, so many recipes to try, and my adult coloring book....which sure is fun.  Started working on this one on Christmas Day and finished it on New Year's.
New Year's Eve and Day were a quiet time for me and hubby.  I didn't even cook.  We had our chicken with rice and beans this year and had enough for dinner the next day, too.  I needed a break from cooking. 

Well, winter has finally arrived here in Brooklyn...despite the brilliance of the sun yesterday.  They say it is going to be brutally cold by tomorrow.  I'm most likely in now until Wednesday, not because of the cold, but because I have to stay away from the stores.  I've spent far too much over the holidays.  Not complaining though.  I am so grateful to have all my family back in my life.
They had an extra special mass on Sunday for the Feast of the Epiphany.  The Bishop attended and the mass and songs were sung in three languages....English, Spanish, and Chinese.  My goddaughter attended with me.  I'm so glad she is becoming more a part of my life.

Started taking the Christmas decorations down yesterday.  The tree will stay up until Tuesday, the Twelfth Night.  So much work before and after.  And it is all over with so quickly.  But, it is oh so worth it.  I always try to do something new to avoid that letdown and emptiness of the house once the tree and decorations are gone, and usually all it takes is a tablecloth.  This year I got birds, butterflies, and flowers.

Well, that's about it for my weekend.  How was your New Year's weekend?  

Have a good one.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

It depends on us. . . Another year lies before us like an unwritten page,
an unspent coin, an unwalked road. How the pages will read,
what treasures will be gained in exchange for time,
or what we find along the way, will largely depend on us.


Esther Baldwin York