Friday, May 28, 2010

Back garden wonders: the hummingbird nest!

Last year in July, Dean finally got the camera he'd been lusting after forever, a Canon EOS Rebel T1i. The first pictures we took were of the hummingbird nest in our backyard poplar tree. At Christmas i actually managed to surprise him with a very cool telephoto lens. The first pictures i've taken with the telephoto lens have been of the mommy hummingbird in this year's nest! i was so happy to find her back again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On eating large.

 the majestic lion, sleeping off his dinner of fresh gazelle.

Did you know that calorie counters abound on the good ol' www? Do you also know you should not use one when eating at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant?

I, of course, during my current obsession with calories, have the calorie counter from installed on my iPhone. A good portion of the restaurant's menu pops up in their database. And it scares this current counter. "WHAT??! ONE ROLL HAS HOW MANY CALORIES??" (And this after i had just eaten the second tasty fluff of carbohydrate.)

My husband suggested that perhaps I should not look at the database or my meal would be spoiled. But no, for me it was much more like driving by an accident and you don't want to look but you do anyway--what I believe is called "morbid fascination."

As the food arrived I couldn't help but notice that at home I use platters smaller than their plates. I looked around me at couples and families in the neighboring booths. . .they must eat there a lot. I am no dainty princess of a woman, and yet I felt, well, small.

Surrounded by folks who were leaning protectively over their plates to eat like one of those nature shows where the beautiful gazelle is being torn into bloody bits by a lion, i thought, "Are we being secretly filmed for one of those documentaries called 'Obesity in America'?? Have I been placed in the fat room?"

Heck no, I have no issues around my size or food ...

Oh, side note: I have a friend with celiac disease. She is unable to eat at Texas Roadhouse, because everything has some form of wheat in it! Even the steaks have seasonings containing wheat. Bad news.

Skimmer's Recap: Texas Roadhouse--bad for people with grain allergies, bad for dieters. But tasty. Very, very tasty.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fret Free Friday

My brain has gone blank frequently these days, therefore I am declaring today a Fret Free Friday and putting something up I wrote a couple of years ago. Besides, I like this post!

Apricot Thoughts.

The bible verse that kept me going during my recent Fentanyl withdrawal experiment was the one about the vine and the branch, where Jesus says, "I am the vine and you are the branch. If anyone remains in me and I in them, he will bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing." (That's a loose-ish paraphrase of John 15:5.) While i was feeling so detached from life i needed to feel attached still to my Creator, so i would repeat it but from my end of it: "You are my vine, i am your branch." It's yet another version of something i've said to God in the past while going through what seemed an impossible situation: "i may not be able to see You right now, but i will not turn my back on You."

You see, i remain aware of His thoughts toward me, and his persistence in loving me even when i don't seem to be able to carry off my end of the deal. Sometimes simply voicing that desire for connection with God has helped me hold on.

Anyway, later in reading a random bible verse i read something written by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colosse, "Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught." (Colossians 2:7.) These thoughts meshed for me. i choose to remain attached to the vine that is Jesus, and that is because i will then stay rooted to the source of nourishment, and will stay strong.

Recently i picked apricots from my daughter's tree with the help of her two girls, Haley and Cassidy. A few branches here and there had been broken away at their place of connection to the bigger tree. The only apricots they held were stunted and dried up, inedible. Other branches were heavy with apricots, growing vigorously from their solid connection to the tree, and were ripe and plump and beautifully colored.

Even i get the visual there--remaining strongly rooted to the source of nutrients grows plentiful, enjoyable fruit. The interruptions of life that we may let break us away from the tree causes dryness and immaturity of fruit.

Good stuff.

Skimmer's recap (and no, hubby of mine, i cannot set this blog up to send you only the skimmer section, sorry--): Attached to the tree= healthy growth. Not attached=little growth if any growth at all.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fibromyalgia and the "D" word: Diet.

Lately I've read some articles that serve to give me firm excuses for my lack of a model body (well, that does depend on model of what.) Such as, hormonal imbalances are common in fibromyalgia, and those generally cause weight gain. (Yup, I've got those.) Many of the medications used to treat fibromyalgia cause weight gain. (Yup, I take those.) Plus there's that whole "seriously I'm this exhausted 24/7 and you want me to do aerobic exercise??" (And yes, I LIVE there.) Excuses? I collect those with the same diligence I use to explore all the chocolates of the world.

Actually, the fibromyalgia comes way after the issues of poundage. I've struggled pretty much since birth with the F word and the D word--you know, Fat and Diet. What'd you think I meant?

My sister and I had a long conversation recently where I laughed about the many many diets I've tried over these 56 years of life: in elementary years I ate a million carrots. As I grew older I simply became more sophisticated about it, instead trying the "don't eat in front of people" diet because I felt like skinny people would be judging me, before I moved on to the ever-popular grapefruit diet of the 70s. (Still can't look one o' them buggers in the eye.) I soon went through the Atkins and McDougall's of the diet world, and let me tell you, pork rinds are not the same as barbecue potato chips, and there is no all-vegetable substitute for cheese! I've eaten tiny portions with tiny utensils, I convinced myself for years that I didn't like chips. I've read Dr. Phil's solutions and those of 25 hundred other people, all guaranteed to be "The One." I've eaten enough lettuce to choke a rabbit and enough seeds to sprout like a Chia Pet.  To which my sister responded, "I've never been on a diet."

I hate her. I mean, I love her but--

Okay, she too is overweight. But she hasn't spent what seems like an eternity wasting her energy and money on all this dieting silliness of mine. Is it just my way of saying, "hey, I'm trying!"? I'm sure that if I was thin, I would obsess about something else--maybe that people teased me about being skinny (sorry, not feelin' you skinny folks out there--it's been my lifelong dream to have someone be able to call me "skinny.")

I can at least feel good about my efforts to support the economy--all those books and magazines and cookbooks about diets, and that gym membership I have somewhere--?? If I ever decide to return, I'm going to need to call somebody to remind me where it's located.

Skimmer's Recap: Feeling whiny, and you're here to complain at. What about it?!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A day late and a dollar short: Mother memories.

I admit it. I am not the best cook in the world--and it's not even that I think I couldn't be a good cook, I would just need to *care* about cooking. Not my favorite.

We used to tease my mother about her cooking, that she would get frostbite from purchasing most of our dinners in the frozen food section of the store. Heck, until I was an adult I didn't know you could make spaghetti without cans or boxes.

But she pulled off some good meals. Her Sunday pot roast with potatoes and carrots? Oh so good. Rich in taste and comfort-food satisfaction. Her pork chops on the other hand? They could have been used as food for the space program, they were so devoid of moisture. Throw one in a baggy and you had a "just add water" meal.

She was creative, and I've followed in those footsteps. Again, and maybe I was just a particularly stupid kid, it didn't occur to me that people bought new couches. I was always fascinated to see the new slipcovers my mother would make for our furniture when she created a new look for the living room.

She loved to write, so do I.

There are similarities between us, something I do think about around Mother's Day. As the years pass, I'm more easily able to see those and not just the emotional unavailability, or the hot temper, or the crazy-making responses to life. I'm becoming more able to put all the hurtful letters she'd sent into their own place in my brain, and the memories of her laughing into another. I'm learning to hold the pleasant days my family spent with her as precious hand-me-downs, while boxing up her anger and accusations into their own separate closet. It's a process.

One I'm working on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thoughts on a book: "Thin Places" by Mary DeMuth

Yesterday I woke early, reaching for the next book waiting on my bedside table, "Thin Places" by Mary E. DeMuth. Nearly 4 hours later I put it down--finished. What kept me reading?

The idea of Thin Places is the times in your life where the membrane between earth and God are stretched so thin you can see God more easily. These places in Mary's life were during the more soul-wrenching parts: being abused as a 5 year old, seeing father after father removed from her life, dealing with the sense of loneliness that came from being "in the way."  She explains how these things carry on into adult life, as we all are made up of our old experiences and beliefs.

My own childhood home was a place of chaos, so I'm always curious how others dealt with that. In Mary's story she is quick to show where God made something good out of the darkness of her life, so I was left with a sense of hope, not depression. I am another person who travels the road of actions based on old pain, so I related to much she had to say.

I was immediately caught up in the flow of her words, as her prose has a comfortably poetic phrasing. She is honest, she shares the rawness of life--but there is no self-pity in her recounting of pain, and much can be learned simply from that.

Personally, i loved the book. It was like a 4 hour sit-down over coffee with a good friend.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fun with calories.

Obsessing over weight again.  i think this cartoon says it all.

Friday, May 07, 2010

When nature disturbs, AKA "Brought to you by the letter 'B'"

Does this look like the face of a killer?

One week ago Barnaby, all 12 pounds of him, joined  us for lunch. We were having pizza and he brought something into the bed next to hubby's chair to eat. Hubby looked down, looked at son, asked "Is that what I think it is?" and stood up.  Son looks down and says, "Yes, I think so."

While being interviewed later by his mother, son said, "I looked down and all I could see was skinny little bird legs." Barnaby had caught a bird for lunch. Apparently if not offered pizza, he will simply BYOB--Bring Your (his) Own Bird. Good to know.

I was disturbed by this event. Our little blue-eyed boy catching a bird? I am not used to him chasing anything larger than a spider or fly, and baby birds are too cute to kill. (I do not share the same opinion of any age of spider, fly, or ant.) Later i realized there was a nest in a bottle-brush bush that overhangs our fence. How did I notice this? When the next baby bird was being chased by our dog Blue.

And again I ask, is this the face of a killer?------->
I think not, he appears innocent enough, but apparently the call of nature is stronger than me screaming "DROP THE BIRD!! DROP THE BIRD!" loud enough for neighbors in a six block radius to hear.

At least he didn't bring his to the lunch table. Or get a chance to snack on its feathery delights.

That was the point where I realized the mama and papa birds were hanging out on the fence top cheeping their baby on--"Come on! You can do it! Fly Freddie, fly! Uh oh."