Thursday, January 28, 2010


I hadn't realized that it has been so long since I've posted.  Thought I should catch up.

The blog was weird today.  I receive comments to my post via email and I've been receiving some that though are not offensive in anyway; they come across as comments to just try to pull traffic to their site.  A lot of the comments are in regards to posts that are very old and not the current stuff.  During a down time at work due to a computer "upgrade" glitch...I thought I'd log in and delete the comments out and block the site they were coming from.  I logged in, chose to manage comments and realized there were TONS of them.  As I began to weed through them, I then realized that the Post Titles the comments were associated with were not mine.  At some point I caught a glance of a dotcom and it didn't say "Stratsgarden" - it was something else entirely.  I realized I was in someone else's blog!!!  I logged out and started again.  First page - it's me!!  But as I go to manage comments...I'm in someone else's.  Just as I started to copy/paste the pages to send to support, everything went to my blog.  The comments were all mine and the comments I wanted to get rid of were all gone!!!  Very, very strange.  It has not happened since.  Hijack or Go Daddy Glitch????

I had to come home today and drink....yep, work was that bad!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Chocolate Craving

I had one of those days where I was, well...hungry.  I had a chocolate craving, which is rather rare for me.  I did well during the day, but when I got home I knew I needed something to ease that craving or I'd end up in a binge.  I remembered reading somewhere about a single serve microwave chocolate cake that you make in a large coffee mug.  Upon finding the recipe I realized it came in at over 700 calories - Ouch!!  I then found a lighter version in which the person had replaced the oil with unsweetened applesauce.  I took it a little further and replaced the sugar with sweet n' low, the egg with egg substitute and the regular milk with skim, therefore coming out with a 204 calorie version (and I was so lucky to have all those items in my cupboard):

4 TB flour
2 packs sweet n' low
3 TB unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup egg substitute
3 TB skim milk
3 TB unsweetened applesauce

Mix the dry ingredients together in mug, add the egg and stir; add the milk and applesauce and stir until mixed well.  Cook in microwave for 3 minutes.  Due to the variety of wattages microwaves you may have to adjust the time with trial and error.  If the cake is too hard, you've cooked to long; it should be spongy.

The cake was very moist and slid right out of the mug onto a plate!  I dusted the top with some 10x sugar and it was very good and eased the chocolate craving!!  And the serving is quite large!  I saw other people top this off with Cool Whip, canned icing and some even eat it with ice cream/frozen yogurt.  Remember that your topping and/or side will add calories.  I used very very little 10x, so I didn't count it at all.

And in the event you're wondering how I figured out the calorie content:  Sparkpeople has a recipe calculator on their recipe page.  You just input the ingredients and it figures it out for you!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some This and Some That

I did rather well during the work week with my diet, but somewhat failed over the weekend.  I seem to do better when I’m on a schedule.  Despite the set back though, I did manage to lose 3 lbs. and am back on track again.  I’ve pretty much got into the breakfast habit, so this week I’m working on exercise.  Since the weather has been a little nicer, I’ve opted for longer dog walks and am taking the routes going UP the hills rather than down.  So baby steps…..

When did the show “The Bachelor” become “Rock of Love”?  This bunch of “ladies” (and I use that term rather loosely), are in very much need of therapy.  There’s so much nitpicking, backstabbing, badmouthing and craziness going on that I can’t believe the Bachelor himself hasn’t already called it quits and decided to find his love the way all the rest of us do!!  I never expect true love from this show, just entertainment; and it certainly is providing that this time around!

Have you seen the movie “Moon” yet?  Really worth the viewing….I cannot believe Sam Rockwell did not get a nomination for this!   It’s out on DVD so rent or buy a copy – well worth it.  Oh and if you haven’t seen “District 9” – another well worth it movie, my favorite from last year.

Went to see “The Lovely Bones” with CC and Josh this weekend.  Since it just came out and many of you may not have seen it…..well it is a good movie, not about what I thought it was about, and well the ending hits and I was like “What? How? Wait A Minute!”  So the ending kind of ruined it for me.  Will make a good rental though.

If you’re into vampire movies than “Daybreakers” is worth seeing.  A very different take on the vampire legend but keeping close to legend – so don’t expect the nicey fluff of the “Twilight” vampires.  Maybe I’m a little bias as I’m a “True Blood”fan!

Monday, January 18, 2010

When did THIS happen?

On Thursday, Cooper and I headed to Petco for a vaccine clinic.  We ended up being second in line.  We got there at
6:00 p.m., clinic was to start at 6:30 - but started 10 minutes early and we were out of there at 6:40.  This was the most organized one I'd ever been at.  During this horrible economy I see lots of ads from people having to give up their pets because they just can't afford them anymore and the animals are normally due for shots.  Please do not overlook clinics - check out to see if there will be one near you (but remember your pet should have a check up by a Vet as soon as you are able to afford it).

But this post isn't to advocate vaccines for your does however tie in to my subject. In front of me in the line was a lady, her husband and their two daughters (I'm guessing 4 and 6 years of age).  The line was going around the small pet area, so the little girls (being kids and rather bored with line waiting) were looking at the animals.  The one loved the ferrets and I told her about when my sister had one; I told them about my guinea pigs; actually we discussed a lot!  At some point the 4 year old got one of the store carts designed for little kids and her older sister followed.  They both came walking back in with the carts and the mother stopped them and said:

"Both of you look at me.  We do not bump anything, anyone or each other.  We do not run through the store.  Do you understand?"  Both girls answered "Yes".  Then the mother proceeded, "What did I just say?"  And they each repeated the rules.

It was then that the oldest decided she no longer wanted her cart and returned it.  I said to the mother "That's because you just took all the fun out of it".  She laughed and then said, "Well they're both autistic and you have to tell them exactly what you expect or else they'll claim they didn't know".  Which I replied, "That's ALL kids".

Autistic?  These two girls?  NO WAY!!

Remember if a child asked a teacher a question without raising their hands they were considered disruptive, labeled ADHD, put on ritalin and put back in class?  There definitely was a day where there were more kids on ritalin then there were off.

Then everyone's kids were bi-polar.....but aren't we all really a little bi-polar?

And now, autism seems to be the new label.

Now don't get me wrong, I realize there are people who truly live with these conditions; I also realize that there are different levels; what I don't believe in is if a child is just, for lack of a better word, "bad", that means he's suffering from a condition.  Just because a child "acts up" doesn't mean he has a "condition".

I don't know allot about autism, but I know one thing - those two little girls aren't autistic.  Oh, I'm sure some teacher, counselor or doctor may have told their mother that; but I'm pretty sure at all levels of autism the child lacks social skills, which is something these little girls did not lack.  I've since realized that I know a whole lot of people whose children have been named "autistic".

What has happened in our society that we have so many children that are ADHD, Bi-polar and Autistic? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This, That and Then Some

Today I dropped out of my online classes.  I wasn't finding the time for them and I really found them boring....  What I really want to do is Computers.  They wouldn't let me switch my major; so I cancelled out of my currrent study and will sign up for the computers ones at a later time.  I want to pay off the bill first.  I actually thought they would make me pay for the whole semester, but they didn't - they prorated it out.  So Polt, you won't be proctoring for a while (but I will need you at some point).

Diet is still going well.  Yesterday I felt like I was starving the whole day, and though I ate more than planned; I was still within my daily intake.  Today I had to force myself to eat.  Can't figure it out!!

CC - we really need to see "Avatar".  Everyone keeps telling me it's a "must" for the special effects alone and they all highly recommend to pay extra and see it in 3D.  So a trip to the mall must be forthcoming..... and yes, you ARE going.

Thinking of movies...the theatre CC and I always loved going too and that closed down last fall (for the umpteenth time); is being renovated and reopening in the Spring.  Because the building is being leased by a Church (they hold their services there), the company that is going to run the theatres (a company owned by a church member) has opted not to show "R" rated movies.  I have some mixed feelings about that.  Probably alot of the movies we see aren't "R" rated, but there are those that are and though I somewhat understand their reasoning; I also see it as a version of censorship (book burning).  Why can't *I* make that decision?  They seem to have a lot of things planned but insist that it will be "affordable"; but I can't see that happening.  I don't know if the renovations will be enough to compete with the mall.

Tomorrow I'm leaving work early and Cooper and I are heading to a vaccine clinic at Petco.  It'll be a long wait in line and I want to be near the front.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The First Day of the "Lifestyle Change"

I opted for chicken, small baked potato and peas for dinner leaving me with an option of 299 calories left over (I'm to use between 1200 to 1550 a day).  I may or may not use them, depending on if I need an extra "something" later.

I can eat chicken everyday and am always looking for new ways to bake or gril it.  Today I found a recipe at Green Lite Bites which is a division of Roni's Weigh. If you've never visited her site, you should.  She develops her own lite recipes, or lightens up some regular ones.  The recipe I found was Chicken With Veggie Couscous .  I'm just doing the Chicken part though; I have no idea what cousous is - call me stupid, but I don't know; it looks like rice from the picture.  Anyway, it's in the oven and smells very good!!

I found a Skillet Lasagna recipe at Spark Recipes that sounds really good and comes in at 336.5 calories per serving.  And reading down through the comments, people stated how they substituted this and that making it even lighter!!  So if you visit there, read the comments along with the recipes.  I'm going to attempt it with ground turkey rather than ground beef...but I think the recipe would be good with chicken as well!  So if it's seems good the first time around, it will be a chicken dish the next time!!

As for exercise....didn't ACTUALLY exercise.  But when I came home, I cleaned the turtle aquarium which involves going up and down stairs many many times; I've walked the dogs twice, I've cleaned a guinea pig cage, cooked dinner and well, this is the first I've sat - it has to count for something    !!

Oh and yes Kim, the Special K crackers are very good!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Who Said You Have To Starve To Lose Weight???

I've decided to keep my breakfasts and lunches as simple as possible by eating the same every day this week (I can switch around next week if I get tired of it).  I was inputting the information into Sparkpeople and though I haven't decided on the dinner portion of it yet, there is quite a lot of food there with plenty of calorie room for dinner:

Breakfast:                                                                Calories
Cheerios Yogurt Burst Cereal    3/4 cup                         120               
Skim Milk                                1/2 cup                          43
1 medium banana                                                        109

Mid-morning snack:
Dannon light n' fit yogurt-lemon                                       60

Whole Wheat Pepperidge Farm Deli Flat                        100
2 oz. Hillshire Farm Deli Select Honey Ham                     70
Mustard                                                                          3
1 cup Romaine Lettuce w/ 1TB Italian Dressing                78
1 Fat Free Jello Chocolate Pudding                                 60
100 Calorie Pack Cheez-its                                           100

Afternoon snack:
Special K Crackers (Italian Tomato & Herb)                     90
1 Wedge Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese                   35

Total Calories:  868

That's quite alot of food!!    Special K has really branched out from cereal.  I had no idea they were doing crackers and just happened to find them at Target.  Though I know crackers, Cheez-its and Chocolate Pudding aren't great diet foods; I know I have to have some type of snacks or I'll never stick to it!  And they all sure beat potato chips which are a huge weakness of mine!

In case you're wondering I still can use anywhere from 332-682 calories for dinner, which is quite a lot actually.

Animals Here & There

Nanci asks:

I've always wondered - why don't you just keep Mickey IN the house so he can't run away back to the old house?

Which is actually a very good question and has a very simple answer - we've tried it.  Oh it works for a while but then it just becomes work.  Oh we've done the shut him in a room, someone hold him while the other goes out...but at some point we're frustrated, he's frustrated and we're all miserable.  Mickey has always been an outside cat - we always let him in when he wants in, but his "ins" were always pit stops.  He normally spent more time indoors during the winter but even now, the owners of the old house say he doesn't bang on the doors anymore to get in.  It could be quite possible that someone else is letting him in their house but we don't know.  He is due for the 4-in-1 shot so we want to get him to a clinic if possible.  We're going to take our crate there and hopefully they can catch him again (as before).

On the subject of animals, hubby and I did have our lunch with the bigwigs from the Washington County, MD Humane Society (I mentioned this at FaceBook, but not here).  It actually went very well and I learned alot of how they work and got very educated on "no-kill".  Any shelter can advertise as "no-kill" as there are no guidelines for it.  It basically means they don't kill "adoptable" pets, and again there is no guidelines set to decide what is "adoptable".  So though a shelter may claim "no-kill" in truth they probably do put down agressive and sick animals.  There are, however, a few in the U.S. that are totally "no-kill" but they normally aren't nice places - they are dirty, the animals never get out of their cages and basically it's a place to keep animals but not provide them proper care and attention.  Oh, I know...some do gooder will claim this is wrong but my stating this is not meant as a bad reflection on these shelters, I'm sure good intentions are there.

I did address some of the issues at their particular shelter.  They agreed that their adoption process was out of control at one point, but they make it much easier now; and of course they did mention if an adoption is taking too's because they've come across something they have to question.  So that makes sense.  I also asked how long they keep animals and was informed there are no set limits unless of course they are desperate for room; which fortunately doesn't happen to often.

Our next stop is to go take a tour of the facility and see what we can do for them.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Comments and Mickey

If you don't read the comments at my blog, then you missed Kim's comment regarding my last post:

So here's the know the right stuff to eat; we all know this by now, so I would say don't stress about following a diet. And don't rule out all your favorite foods just because they aren't healthy; just have them in moderation or as an occasional treat. If you crave something and it won't go away, partake of a bit of it, enough to satisfy the craving. Exercise, I have come to discover, is key. There is no way around it. Find something you enjoy though as if you hate it, you won't stick with it. If you don't usually eat breakfast, start. So essential and it kick starts your metabolism. You probably know all of this though!
I'm not sure whether to say "Thanks!" or "ummm..thanks? I think." to what you said about me! LOL! Motivational but making you sick? Hmmmm

Let's break it down:

So here's the know the right stuff to eat; we all know this by now, so I would say don't stress about following a diet.

So very true.  I have no plans on following one particular diet, but will be using some of the tools/ideas provided by several.  One will be my little electronic point counter from Weight Watchers - not because I plan on counting points (I'm not), but because it helps make some easy judgements on items when shopping.  You can find these on Ebay, if you'd like to give it a try. 

And don't rule out all your favorite foods just because they aren't healthy; just have them in moderation or as an occasional treat. If you crave something and it won't go away, partake of a bit of it, enough to satisfy the craving.

Unless you're doing a diet that forbids certain foods (and there are many that do), then this is good advice to follow.  While on the "Curves" diet a few years back, the instructor always said that if you screw up...start over at the next MEAL, not the next day or else you won't be dieting for much longer.

Exercise, I have come to discover, is key. There is no way around it. Find something you enjoy though as if you hate it, you won't stick with it.

This is the one *I* hate to hear, but know it's true.  I don't plan on running off to a gym, but I can walk the dogs longer and I have "The Firm" steps for in-house.

If you don't usually eat breakfast, start. So essential and it kick starts your metabolism. You probably know all of this though!

If you're like me, you're just not hungry in the morning and what if you work shifts?  I had a doctor that advised that your FIRST meal of the day is important.  So instead of eating at 6:00 a.m. prior to work, I'll pack something and take it with me.

I'm not sure whether to say "Thanks!" or "ummm..thanks? I think." to what you said about me! LOL! Motivational but making you sick? Hmmmm

LOL!  Technically, I don't have to explain this to Kim as she knows what I meant.  But for those that don't - Kim doesn't make me sick but her motivation when I have so little does!!

The weather has been extremely cold here that I've been worried about Mickey.  For new readers, Mickey is one of my cats that insists on living at our old house.  Though I know the new owners do leave food out for him, I believe his shelter is under a neighbors shed or around a very weedy house that no one has lived in, in a very long time.  When I got off work the other day, I drove by the house; there sat Mickey.  I pulled in the driveway, and well....Mickey took off!  He JUST won't stay at the new house, he wants nothing to do with it. 

We're looking for a Plan B that'll get us through the winter months.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Time To Re-Think My Weight

Oh yeah – it’s time…it’s time to really consider my weight issue again.  I get so jealous over Kim's weight loss and her determination and drive…it makes me sick.  But she is motivational and well, that’s what I need - motivation!!


Diets are very frustrating.  Let’s face it, there’s weighing, measuring, calorie/fat/carbs/points counting.  There’s no easy fix.  Choosing the diet to follow is also hard.  Oh and I am being told to refer to it as a "lifestyle change" and not a "diet" - like that makes it easier!


There’s lots of diets being offered online these days:  Weight Watchers, Curves, Change One, South Beach, Jillian Michael's, E-Diets…but it seems such a waste to PAY for that service in this economy.  You may be thinking, that's just an excuse but hey, don’t judge me - $15-$20 a month does add up!! 


Anyway, if you're re-thinking your weight as well, may I recommend Spark People .  It's FREE.  Just input your information and your weight goals and it will create menus for you.  You don't have to use their menus though, you may also create your own.  Kim mentioned on her site another FREE site My Fitness Pal.  A simpler site than Sparkpeople but it doesn't create menus for you; you input your daily food intake and it calculates things out for you.  If you're really set on using one of the above diets, the cheapest way around is to buy the book and then use Sparkpeople or MyFitnessPal with it.  Really, if you want to spend a monthly fee - do it at a gym!

 But for me to stick to a diet…it’s got to be easy and I find the best tools make things easier.  That's why I was rather excited when I came across this at Sparkpeople:




A cutting board with a scale and measuring cups attached!  Plus some take along containers with removable ice packs.  All one kit and reasonably priced.  I couldn't resist – I bought it!!


Next step???  Deciding what I’m going to eat and doing the grocery shopping!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Computers are great to have, but when they don't work correctly...well they are a pain.

CC's computer has crashed.  Oh we had it working a little while, but everything was corrupt and it kept gettting worse; eventually it just stopped.

I'm thinking it is the hard drive, but I don't know.  I've tried every bit of advice online, but nothing works.  It is very odd.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year and Back To Work

I'm dreading going back to work tomorrow.  The year has changed.  That means I have to catch up all the filing, move the 2009 files and start over with 2010.  Filing is at least 2 weeks backed up, this is due to people being off over the holidays.  See there are at least 2 people I cover for when they are off - who am I kidding, I'm the only one that covers for anyone when they are off.  Since all their work ends up in the file room, it is a disadvantage to me to not do their work...but covering another job means my own backs up.  No one else helps out; oh I get offers - but for some reason those offers are never carried through with.

That is one of the reason I take no advice when it comes to the files.  No one else wanted the job, everyone thinks it's too beneath them to file and well why would I want to take their advice on filing?  Please do the job before offering advice.

The other dread at returning to work is that we only had to work 3 days last week; they gave us Thursday & Friday off and let us go early on Wednesday.  The one lady I cover for was off the whole week.  She'll come back to piled up work just from the holidays - but she'll view it as *I* not doing anything for her (it won't matter that I wasn't there).  She'll not speak to me for at least 2 days, and whine behind my back.  Actually spending this week in the file room really doesn't seem so bad anymore.

Hubby and I have spent the past 2 days watching the first season of True Blood.  I've seen it, but he hasn't (he's only caught bits and pieces of season 2 when I was watching it).  I really love this show and am looking forward to season 3 (not sure when that'll start).  Hubby seemed to enjoy it as well.  Yeah, it was a lazy weekend, but every once in a while you just need one.

No "official" resolutions this year - they seem so useless.