Sunday, December 21, 2008

Simple Christmas


Just simple decorations for our tree, for a simple Christmas.

Reflections of an unquiet time

It's been really hard to blog lately, so I haven't. It's not that there isn't anything going on to blog about. It's because there is too much to blog about. By this time next week, Christmas will be over. The stress of "Did I buy enough? Did I forget someone? Are we now bankrupt?" will be put away for another year.
This year, there were two children that dominated the media, because their plight dominated our hearts. They touched us. This first was Kaylee Anthony, a little two year old girl we were made aware of in July because she had been missing for a month before her grandmother made a 911 call for help. The second child was Brenden Foster, an eleven year old boy we learned about in November, who was dying from leukemia, but was selfless in his pursuit for food for the homeless.
Neither child will be celebrating Christmas with their families this year. It appears that Kaylee was killed sometime during the summer. Brenden died just before Thanksgiving.
When you reflect on the smiling pictures of Kaylee, lying unknown and unburied for six months, a senseless, useless murder and the heartrending sadness of the passing of a gentle soul like Brenden to an economy that is seeing record amounts of American's losing their homes and their jobs, who really feels the joy of Christmas? Who can really afford it? Who wants to?
If I didn't celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, ie the birth of Jesus the Christ, I probably would skip Christmas this year.
Instead, despite the advice of the economists to spend, spend, spend! and save the economy, our Christmas celebration is returning to it's 1930's roots - it's revolving around family, shared meals, and a minimum of presents.
It will probably be the best Christmas celebration we've had in a long time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rest In Peace

SEATTLE - Eleven-year-old Brenden Foster was laid to rest Saturday afternoon, but not before his dying wish to feed the homeless was fulfilled by many residents of Western Washington and around the nation.
Brenden's family and friends gathered at a private ceremony and said good-bye to the young boy who touched so many hearts with his bravery and compassion.
Brenden's casket is surrounded by flowers during the service.The impact he had during the last few weeks of his life was tremendous.
"If I displayed bravery that this little boy did and the courage, I'll be glad, because this is one brave little man right here," said Jim McMurrow, Brenden's grandfather.
Most people came to know about Brenden's courage and compassion after he told KOMO News reporter Elisa Jaffe about his dying wish to feed the homeless.
That wish sparked volunteers from Seattle and Los Angeles to Ohio and Florida to feed the homeless in Brenden's name. He was too sick to do it himself.
"Brenden was always more interested in helping others and bettering the world than anything he might be going through," his mother, Wendy Foster, wrote in a message to family and friends.
Despite his illness, Brenden wrung every last drop from his life.
"I had a great time," he said not long before his death. "Until my time comes, I'm gonna keep having a great time."
Brenden's time came two weeks ago, when leukemia took the 11-year-old's life after a 3 1/2-year battle with the disease.
Elisa Jaffe said, in memory of the courageous young boy, "I know what it's like to be blessed, and I think Brenden actually blessed so many people around the country and around the world."
At his memorial service, friends and family heard cheerful stories of a little boy, bold in his convictions, wise beyond his age.
Pat McMurrow, Brenden's grandmother, remembers, "He would listen to music not just for the music by the message that was in the music."
"God says, whatever you do for the least of my children you do for me, and he was a child doing that for others," said Wayne Mangan, a friend and leukemia survivor.
Brenden Foster was buried right after Saturday's service. But before his passing, he challenged us to make all of our days meaningful.
He said, "Follow your dreams. Don't let anything stop you."

Some advice for President elect Obama

Well, you've won the election, and the chickens have come home to roost. That's right. Ah, ha. You promised your daughters that you'd get them a puppy. But so far, Pops, you haven't delivered.
Perhaps you thought it was more important to get your cabinet in order. For a grown up, that is understandable. After all, the country is going to hell in a hand basket; what with the economy tanking, banks failing and every one standing with their hand out for some bail out bucks.
Or, perhaps you've thought it through a little more carefully and are kind of rethinking this getting a puppy promise.
After all, it's not really getting a pooch that is the problem. It's the being the President and getting a pooch that is the problem. By now, you've realized like never before that every move, decision and sneeze you make will be analyzed, re-analyzed and then scrutinized.

Get a pooch, and no doubt there will be a national debate on what kind of pooch you should get, and what the psychological implications it reveals about your personality.

Pick a poodle, and the country will get worried about our national security.

Pick a rottweiler or a pit bull and the world will be worried about their national security.

Pick a German Shepherd, and the rest of the world will wonder what kind of a message you are sending? Secret friendship? Secret deals? Hmmmm.........

My advice, skip the pooch.

No, I'm not recommending that you renege or that you go back on a promise, especially not one that you made to your daughters. But I'm pretty sure if you make them get out of bed every morning at 5:30, to hurriedly stuff their feet into socks and shoes, pull on a jacket and go out to face the weather - cold, breeze, rain and even snow- their eagerness for a puppy will fade away.

If not, remind them that they then will have to scoop up and dispose of what the puppy left. For at least 10 years. Ick!

Instead, get them a Maine Coon Cat. First of all, a Maine Coon is a good, old made in America breed of cat. No one can read a mixed message in that.

Second, the Maine Coon is a gentle giant. Your daughters can carry, pet and really enjoy these cats without the danger of being scratched. Little girls love to brush their pets, and the Maine Coon will enjoy it.

Third, you don't have to take a Maine Coon outdoors in rain, snow and sleet for potty duties.

Fourth, when your family needs to travel, the girls can take their pet with them quite easily in a pet carrier without the annoying bark! bark! that you usually get with a dog. In unfamiliar surroundings, a pet is a comforting familiar.

As for naming your new pet, that could lead to even more public input. My advice? Not really sure right now. I'll have to get back to you on that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And the election is only days away


My vote goes for Ozzy!! Since neither McCain or Obama are my candidates of choice, I'm writing in a better choice, Ozzy Osbourne!
Think about it, if you know nothing more about the Oz Man, you know that he's bit the head off of a bat. You know it, I know it, the heads of state know it, everyone knows it. Additionally, he's had years of practice of dealing with ornery personalities like managers, promoters and marketers.
No one is going to give him any guff, because any guy who will bite the head off of a bat, won't think twice about biting the head off of you!
We will have world peace, economic stability, and smooth running government, all because of the strength of Ozzy's jaws and the sharpness of his teeth!
Yep, my vote goes to the Blizzard of Oz!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine

My son has been bothering me to stop renting eduational dvd's and get some good movies instead. With only the minimum of prompting, (I think I said, Why? I like educational things.) he put on a whole catalogue of entries on my NetFlix que.
One that just came in was "Little Miss Sunshine," may-be one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. If you are planning to rent it, stop reading now. I am giving you a spoiler warning.
The first thing that comes to mind is, if you think a subject is taboo for a family movie, this movie will have it. Put the DVD in, only after you are sure any family member under 18 is out of the room and suitably occupied.
The cast of characters includes, a gay uncle who attempts suicide after his love dumps him, a grandfather that is hooked on heroin and curses worse than any sailor I have ever met, and a child beauty contest entrant who's talent is a stripping routine her grandpa taught her (no nudity, just to a short set) and the transportation of a dead body in the back of the family VW bus for a part of the movie.
The movie doesn't end happily, or even satisfactorily, but it does end with the family pulling together as a cohesive unit. You wont understand this unless you see "Little Miss Sunshine," so strange as it sounds, you'll have to trust me.
Even now, three weeks after watching the movie, I can't tell you if I liked the movie. I can't even tell you if I would recommend the movie.
Talk about strange!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Like a Train Wreck

I try to take the high road, and not look at the destruction; ravaged bodies, still spinning wheels, massive iron body on it's side spilling it's passengers.
So many thought it was a safe vehicle, like the Titanic, unsinkable. And may-be, with the right engineer, with or without icebergs, it would have been. Unsinkable.
But it wasn't the right engineer. Was he talking on his cell phone instead of steering? Were there too many passengers for the sharp turns? Were sharp turns even needed?
As the great train began it's plunge, some passengers tried to jump off before disaster. Some were able to, other's held on for too long.
I try not to look, it just upsets me, and after all, there is nothing I can do. Except watch, worry and fret.
Useless.
Watching the stock market.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Go to my site SagHarborGifts.Org to order!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Todays Lunch

I know my blog has been concentrating mainly on a low carb, high protein diet that is good for people that have a problem retaining a steady blood glucose level. But our whole family doesn't need to be as vigilant.
So here is a fun menu for kids. I personally can not stand this wrap, but all the youngers I have ever met, LOVE it.

Ingredients list:

Multi grain wrap (or white tortilla)
low fat cream cheese
dill pickle spear
sliced roasted turkey cold cut

Instructions:

1. spread the wrap with cream cheese (don't use a heavy hand, and don't skimp either.

2. lay the turkey on top of the cream cheese.

3. put the pickle spear at the edge of the wrap. Fold the top and bottom edges over the ends of the pickle, then roll. Secure with a BRIGHTLY colored toothpick , and instruct the child to remove the toothpick before eating the wrap.

Obviously, don't use a toothpick on this if you have any doubts that the child will remember to remove the toothpick before eating the wrap.

Snack today is 12 Frito Scoops, and a few thickly sliced cheese (use a firmish cheese like cheddar, mozzarella etc) rectangles to dip into a small Tupperware container of mild salsa. As a bonus, the sandwich wrap can be dipped into any leftover salsa from snack time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We did my son a favor

and am deeply regretting it!
As a surprise to him, we bought new wall to wall carpeting for his room. The surprise ended up being to us.
After profound and grateful thanks, we all turned in for the night. The next day, I didn't see my son until late in the day. He was suffering from a horrible headache. Thinking that the headache was caused by low blood sugar, I cooked him an egg and sausage for a big boost of protein. Instead of making him feel better, he felt sick to his stomach. Finally, after lounging on my couch, he felt a little better, and went for a walk around the neighborhood. After the walk, he decided to lay down on his bed to rest.
The next day, he woke up even later. He'd been trying to do some school work the night before, but found that he had a slight headache and couldn't concentrate. He came upstairs, made a pot of coffee, watched some late night TV and feeling better, went back to his room to do schoolwork. After a few hours, the headache returned, so he called it a night and went to bed. This second day since installing the carpet, was his second day of waking up with a headache. I offered to make him breakfast but refused because his stomach felt nauseous.
He hung around upstairs for a few hours and then felt well enough to eat some leftovers and bike to the library. When he returned home he ate a good dinner, and goaded by me, went to his room to do his by now, long neglected homework.
The next day, my son had the flu. He sneezed a lot. His nose was runny and then stuffy. His throat ached. I sent him back to bed with the promise of chicken broth and my vigilant "My kid's sick" mommy care. It was when I went into his room, that I realized what was happening.
His room had an awful, chemically smell. We opened the windows and set two fans to blow air over the carpet and out the window. That night, we closed the windows. When he was ready to retire for the night, his room once again had an overpowering chemically smell. That night, and every night since, my son has slept on the couch.
We began a morning routine of opening the windows in his room and turning on both fans - one to blow the room air out of the house, and another to blow fresh air into the room.
I began to investigate on the Internet and came up with this information:

1. If a carpet is made from artificial fibers, air the carpet for a few days before installing.

2. Have all windows open and fans blowing after the installation. Do this until the chemical smell is gone. Apparently anywhere from 2 days to a few weeks.

3. To make the chemical off - gas more quickly, close all the ventilation and turn the room's temperature up to about 80 degrees for two days. Then turn off the heat and ventilate with open windows and fans. Nobody and no living thing should be in that room for any of that time.

4. Get an ion air purifier.

5. Get a HEPA filter.

6. Get at least 18 green plants.

It has been almost a week now since the carpet was installed, and my son is still sleeping in my livingroom. The fumes in his room are very noticeable. It looks like our house guests next week will not be bunking with my son, which puts a knot in my plans.
So what have I learned? Next time we buy carpet, let the carpet air out at least a week before installing. Or better yet, just buy a natural fiber rug.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Best laid plans

So we enjoyed a nice long weekend, and woke up late today! Yikes!! Talk about getting the adrenal going!!
Luckily the night before I had taken a Tyson Breaded Chicken Breast Patty (12 grams) and pan fried it to make the breading crispy and packed that away in a tupperware. I also put in three pieces of cooked crispy Turkey bacon. Phew!!
We had time to put in a boiled egg ( I pre boil a few of those at a time so they are always some available) and a SouthBeach bar.
I didn't have time to count out any nuts, crackers, chips or pretzels. I really felt awful about that and worried if dh would have enough things to keep his blood sugar level even through out the day.
He did fine, but it just goes to show that no matter how many years you have been doing a routine, you can still blow it. The lesson here is to not only buy enough Tupperware midgets and snack cups, but to also pack them at the beginning of the week. Which, I didn't do. I was to preoccupied with the Labor Day weekend!
Tomorrow, dh will go to work with a cooked hamburger patty that has a teaspoon of catsup on it. Putting the catsup on the hamburger instead of the roll will keep the roll from getting soggy. From experience we've learned that packing catsup isn't worthwhile because it's near impossible to pour it out. If you bring a plastic knife , you can scrape it out. He will bring a low carb roll with him.
We used to buy the all in one salads, but they are expensive and go brown pretty quickly. What we do know is buy a head of lettuce, and I wash and spin that in my Tupperware salad spinner, which works really well I might add. We peel and slice cucumbers and put that into one of the small Tupperware containers. Then each day, dh can add a few pieces of cucumber to his salad container, We do this with peppers, carrots and celery also. I would not peel an onion and put it into one of the snack cups. I find it better to put onions into one of the Tupperware refrigerator Keepers. I use it just for onions.

Dh isn't into the veggie chips at present, so his snack will be pepperoni slices and a boiled egg. I'm also planning on making him some sugar free jello. The extra servings will be stored in snack cups, and Ill probably have one tomorrow myself. They taste very good! This is a good snack, but doesn't give protein (1 gram actually), so keep that in mind.

In his water bottle , we usually put 4C diet ice tea. When he finishes drinking that, he fills it with water at work.

So, that is the plan for tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back to work

So what is my husband packing for lunch tomorrow?





He'll start the day with his usual, one sausage and one full egg. He eats this very early in the morning, which is why he will pack an extra snack from what you might pack.





When we pick snacks, we try to keep the carb count as close to or under 12 carbs. So if the package says 1 serving is 20 carbs, you can cut the serving in half for 10 carbs.





This is where the Tupperware snack cups come in handy. They pack a volume of one cup, and are wide instead of high, so they don't take as much room in a lunch bag.








The lunch bag Nate uses is insulated and has two zippered sections. We use one of those re freezable ice packs to keep things cold.





Into the lunch bag goes





1. a boiled egg - just in case he feels the need for quick protein. I know this goes against everything that we're told by doctors etc, but dh's cholesterol level is fine.





2. a South Beach Oatmeal and Raisin bar - they have a lower carb count than the more delicious Peanut butter ones.





3. Twelve (count them, don't estimate) roasted almonds. They can not be honey roasted. Try to get them unsalted.





4. Lettuce salad with Tyson pre-cooked chicken strips. Not breaded. A separate midge Tupperware to hold 2 tbs of low carb salad dressing. (Nate esp likes Wishbone House Italian , 3 carbs for 2 tbs.)








5. 16 slices of Corando pepperoni










This blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Always seek the advice of your physician.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Book that started it all



This is the book that started me eading Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series. If you don't like the typical romance book, you will still like this book. By the time you finish reading this book, you'll be glad that there are so many more of the Cedar Cove series already written.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sigh

The last Friday before school starts was overcast and cool. Today, a constant rain is falling and my gas tank is almost on empty. I hope these aren't harbingers!
My son did come home with a treat for me though, the Twenty Wishes book by Debbie Macomber that I've been dying to read. I'm really enjoying reading the book and I'm wondering if I need to write my own list of twenty wishes?
How about you? Have you ever wished for something, but the wish cost too much money, or was outrageous, or you were too old for it? I think we all have at one time of another when we've allowed the voice of reason to intrude.
Do you remember what it was? Does some small, secret part of you still want it?
Hmmmm ...............may-be it's time to write a list!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today is the day!





I'm excited about it, I admit it. Today is the day that I became a Tupperware consultant!


Woo, woo!


I'm so excited because Tupperware has been so imprtant with helping my husband to fight diabetes, help us save money , and reduce the amount of waste that we generate.
My website is sagharborgifts.org
I think the lunch kit that I have pictured above would make a good fit for anyone who wants to start taking a smart and healthy lunch or supper to work or school. It's 50% off, but only for a limited time, so ifyou are the least bit interested, order it now.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Death of Ebay

I think I started to sell my hand made rosaries and necklaces on Ebay about 1998. That was the year my mom asked me what I would like as a birthday gift, and I chose to take an adult ed class at the Sag Harbor High school in jewelry making. At that time, Y necklaces were all the rage, and what is a Y necklace but a rosary with a clasp. I made so many necklaces, one adult woman couldn't wear them all. An Internet friend, Mary P I think it was, told me about Ebay and I became a seller.
Back then, Ebay was a lot more fun. Listing fees were ten cents, or may-be even less. The final value fee was a smaller percentage too.
If your item sold, you could make a windfall and Ebay shared the profit with you, which was only fair. After all, in what other way could you have such a vast exposure to your auction? You couldn't.
If your item didn't sell, it didn't matter. All it cost you was a dime.
As they say, nothing lasts forever, and Ebay began to change. The listing fees became higher and the final value fees for things that did sell got higher also. Ebay sellers grumbled, but chalked it up to the cost of doing business, and business was being done.
But the world was changing now too. First the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in NYC. The result of that was businesses and industries that never recovered. Jobs were being sent over seas or south of the border and Ebay was affected with more sellers and less buyers. I know that there will be those who argue with this assessment of mine, but I'm reporting it the way it affected me.
Now selling wasn't as much fun. There were more people selling what you were, or a close enough to it, and less people buying. Auctions usually ended lower than they had in the past. Because the listing fees were so much higher than when Ebay started, a failed listing cost on average at least 50 cents and often more.
I took a rest from Ebay this summer. I haven't decided if I'll return for the Christmas season or not yet. I don't mind Ebay profiting when I do, but when I don't sell anything, I do mind Ebay still making money off of me.
Today I got a letter from Ebay. In the near future, checks and money orders will not be an accepted way of paying for items paid for on Ebay, no matter what the wishes of the actual seller are.
Ebay will also dictate how much can be charged for shipping on many categories. The alternative is to use the Ebay shipping module where the buyer can see what the actual cost of shipping will be. That would be good in theory, if the Ebay shipping module actually worked reliably and consistently. My experience has been the opposite. Outrageous shipping that was calculated has led to irate e-mails from would-be buyers that never returned, probably thinking that I was a shyster. I belonged to many Ebay sellers groups that had members that experienced the exact opposite, shipping quotes that were much too low. They made the sale all right, but lost any profit they had made because they had to make up the difference between the charged shipping and the actual shipping.
It's really a shame that Ebay's success has led to so many bad judgements which has caused so many long time buyers to stop selling on Ebay.
I remember when Ebay was fun.

A new endeavor

I'm planning on starting to sell Tupperware within the next few weeks. Why you ask? Well, this decision has been while coming.
In the past, I've sold Avon (which enjoyed) and Watkins (which I left when they started selling their product in WalMart, and I refuse to buy now.)
What has bought me to the decision to start selling Tupperware, is the Green movement. Huh?
In our town in Connecticut, we have mandatory recycling. Although that might sound bossy at first reading, I welcome it.
No longer is it nagging old Mary that insists on recycling, it is our local government that must be obeyed!
Truthfully, our garbage is pretty minimal these days. We buy precious little prepared food and we do a lot of cooking from scratch.
But here is when I started to think about Tupperware - my husband was diagnosed as diabetic. When you are diabetic, you need to eat every three hours to keep your blood sugar even. Grabbing a donut, or a cup of coffee won't suffice. The snack needs to be a protein or low carbohydrate one.
Think about it, everyone should have such a snack every three hours instead of the usual cup of coffee, donut or candy bar that Americans have started to depend on.
Implementing this course of action is nearly impossible though. Go through your usual food store and try to find a snack that is 200 calories or less, 15 carbs or less, tastes good and won't send you to the poor house buying it?
The choices are few , all of them are expensive over the long term, and none of them could be considered a natural or fresh food.
My friend Lynne has been my Tupperware consultant for years and she sends me the Tupperware flyer every now and then. So now, with my husband and portion control in mind, I peruse the Tupperware flyer for their sturdy containers , in the size that I need, usually a cup or less.
Now my husband brings to work everyday what I call his "food kit." It was very easy to put together, is flexible, and best of all, is reusable. We bought the insulated box and containers once, and have been reusing them for over a year now. All that is thrown away per day, on average is a plastic sandwich bag, sometimes not even that much.
The best news is that my husband's diabetes is under control, with very little effort from us.
I hope you will check back often as I blog more.

Sociable

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