Friday, July 26, 2013

What's in my Fridge? - Link up hosted by Running with Ollie

Lea over at Running with Ollie came up with a fabulous idea of blogging about what's in our refrigerators! 
 One of my favorite things about Rachel Ray's magazine is the last section where someone famous shares his/her refrigerator and Rachel asks him/her questions about it :) 
I told Lea I would love to participate.  


To say that my fridge was a mess is an understatement.  
Let me show you what I'm talking about:

I started to clean things up a bit before I showed you these photos, but then I decided a before and after might be a good idea for my first confession blog post about What's in my fridge :)

My middle daughter is with us this summer on break from her normal living arrangements at the dorm, so there are some things in my fridge that truthfully I didn't even know were there...the take-out boxes, for example.  So, I opened every single container in there (yep, scary) and threw out whatever looked questionable.  

Here's what's left:

1.  McAlister's and Chinese had to stay - no mold, looked edible, and middle daughter would freak out if she came home from work planning to eat either of these and they were gone.

2.  Bread - 100% Whole Wheat from Nature's Own or Pepperidge Farm is what I usually buy.  The bagels are honey wheat...a compromise with the middle daughter in order to get her to eat something else besides bread made with white flour. And, my little Quaker Oats fella in the background...I've loved him for as long as I can remember :)  I also have the little orange box of Arm & Hammer baking soda back in the back as well.  Did your grandmother tell you to do that?

*Why, you may ask, do I keep bread and oats in the fridge?  It's a sickness.  I'm convinced that little bugs will get inside those packages once open.  I can't help it.  It just makes me feel better to keep the bread locked away.  My husband grumbles about it every time he makes a sandwich or toast :P 

3.  On the bottom shelf, 2 cartons of eggs...the pink carton has only 2 left over from last week's farmer's market and the carton underneath is from a new to me label called Great Day Farms.  Ever heard of them? 

4.  The Chobani is mine, and the Bunny yogurt and Gogurts are my youngest daughter's.  Yes, I know.  Give me a break here.  
Speaking of Chobani, these are you eat the fruit kind?  I used to and then read so much about the added sugar?  

6.  And, of course, the Philadelphia whipped cream cheese peeking out from the back.

**One of my lights is out so it's kindof hard to see :(

 1.  Broccoli on top of spinach next to cut up watermelon on the top shelf.
Middle daughter requested the broccoli...I have no idea what for and I didn't ask any questions.

2.  I love a spinach salad anytime anywhere, but I also put a handful into every smoothie I make...whether it's mine or someone else's.  They haven't caught me yet :P

3.  We've had an overabundance of watermelons this summer and after the coyotes my family digs into one side, the other side needs attention so it doesn't go to waste.  As long as I chop it up, they'll keep eating it.  

1.  First drawer has more cream cheese...not the whipped only guess is that these are left over from some dinner, lunch, party or something I had to cook for?

2.  I do have to keep lunch meet and I normally choose Hormel bc it is the most preservative free of what's available...there's also some Hillshire Farms and then Oscar Mayer turkey hot dogs.  The hot dogs were a request as well.

Not a clue why this is upside down.

1.  Sargento cheeses and some naturally made cheddar from a local creamery.

2.  EAS Myoplex drink which I've been drinking after I run.

3.  And, yes, (my face is pink with embarrassment) white flour...a small container though and of course, it's in the fridge.  I have no idea how old that container is.  I probably should have thrown it out.

 Thick fresh cut pork chops and bacon from a local pig farmer.  He raises, processes, smokes and packages his own meat.  I had to get used to the bacon bc it's nowhere near as salty as the processed kind...bc it hasn't been cured.  


1.  Butter from the local creamery right next to Land O Lakes sticks.

2.  Blue Plate mayonnaise hiding behind French's yellow mustard - listen, I can't give up mayo.  I just can't.  I've tried.  And, Blue Plate is my mayo.  Nothing else tastes the same.  

3.  Look at that Bama Grape Jelly just bold enough to peek around the homemade (by me) peach freezer jam.  That ain't my grape jelly...probably my husband bought that.  

4.  The other 3 jars are home-made (not by me) pickles.
Downtown Birmingham, AL hosts the most awesome Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings called Pepper Place.  There is a lady there that sells pickles, but you have to get there early before she sells out.  She can barely keep up with the demand.  DELICIOUS!

1.  Annie's ranch dressing standing in front of Stubb's barbeque sauce.

2.  Jars of Polaner all Fruit - peach and blackberry, I think.

3.  What's left of a carton of Horizon 1% milk.

4.  Carrots - If I put these in the crisper, I will forget they are there.  Promise.  I put them in the door so they can wave at me when I open it :)

5.  On the bottom shelf, 2 lime juices and one lemon juice and another jar of Polaner All Fruit spread - strawberry is fantastic!

6.  A1, Heinz 57, Country Bob's and some other mystery steak sauce...the only one of these I eat is Country Bob's.  My husband eats the others once in a blue moon, but if he starts looking for one and it's not there, he'll say, "How can we be out of A1??" 

7.  Olives, home-made pepper jelly, an upside down bottle of Heinz ketchup, and Newman's Own Italian Dressing.

1.  V8 - my mother doesn't like for me to drink V8 bc of the sodium content (which is probably why the container refuses to look at the camera), but I've tried the kind with no salt, and it tastes terrible :(  I'm learning to make my own juices so hopefully I won't be buying this much longer.

2.  More Horizon milk - I drink skim, but I can only find skim at Wal-Mart.  I hate Wal-Mart.  I really do.
My community grocery only carries the 1% and 2% along with the whole milk.  Sometimes they have chocolate milk and sometimes they don't.  The chocolate is 1% and I'm ok with that.  I only drink it as a recovery drink anyway.  The rest of my family drinks it like it's the last carton of chocolate milk on the face of the earth...which is why I keep EAS or something else similar for after I run.

This was a lot of fun and I hope Lea's gonna do this more often!  Go on over to Running with Ollie and see what everybody else has in their fridge! :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Mirrored World by Debra Dean - TLC Book Review

The Mirrored World by Debra Dean
HarperCollins, 2012

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours

**FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Mirrored World in exchange for a review.  However, the review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias. 

Format? Hardback

Title? a little confusing...and I'm sure my feeble brain is missing something very important
Cover? gray, blue and cold, women with their heads covered...a cold that you feel to your bones.  Yep, that's this story.

Why? Catherine the Great, Imperial Russia, and a woman named St. Xenia...I'm in.

What Now?  LOTS of Googling to do...and I really, really need to read Catherine the Great.

Golden Lines

Because she was cruelly widowed and then prevented by the burdens of state from marrying the man she loved, it became a favorite sport of the Empress's to arrange the marriages of those beneath her.  And thus it was that she contrived to celebrate hr birthday and the end of the war with the Turks by marrying her jester to one of her maids. (16)

Tsar Peter had made it law that a girl could not be married without her consent, but it was a law observed mostly in the breach.  No good father would allow such an important decision as marriage to rest on the affectionate inclinations or disinclinations of a girl. (23)

Empress Elizabeth Petrovna's was the reign of song. (50)

Here the priest found his answer: this barrenness was God's punishment for her lust.  The act of fornication was evil, even between husband and wife.  The only justification for this act was the children that came from it; without them, the soul remained stained. (81)

I have heard it remarked by foreigners, in particular the English, that our mourning is a cacophony compared with their own more muted grief. (119)

"We have eaten today, and we shall eat again tomorrow." She said this just a child might, her face empty of any anxiety. (145)

Such radiance was not intended for mortals, and to achieve it, hundreds of boys were mutilated, made into monsters so that a few among the wounded might sing. (148)

Short and Sweet Summary

Dasha tells the story of how Xenia and her sister, Nadya came to live with her family while their fathers fighting the Turks.  Dasha's father returns, but the sisters' father does not.  Brought up together, their focus is on making a good match and beginning their own families.  Xenia falls in love and is married to the man of her dreams until tragedy strikes and she is unable to bring herself out of her grief.  Known her entire life for being able to "see" things, she gives herself over to the world, much to the chagrin of the rest of her family. 

What I Liked

The Google factor:

St. Xenia
fire of 1736
Her Imperial Majesty Anna Ioannovna
Sadovaya Street, the Neva, Neva Prospect
Dashenka, Dasha, Kunstkamera, Xenichka, matushka
War with the Turks and the storming of Ochakiv
Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna
Grigoriy Ivanovich (Xenia and Nadya's father)
Semeonovsky regiment
Admiralty Meadow
Nikolai Feodosievich, Prince Golitsyn
Empress Elizabeth
the marriage of German born Catherine to Grand Duke Peter
Sergei Naryshkin, Leonid Vladimirovich Berevsky
Colonel Andrei Feodorovich Petrov
Count Alexi Razumovsky
Kuzma Zakharovich, Grand Master of the Hunt
Cathedral of Kazan
Tsarskoye Selo, the summer palace, The Winter Palace
Shuvalov brothers
Lake Svetloyar
kvas, polonaise, fur pelisse, klikushi, kopeks and silver rubles
La mia moglie, cuoricino mio
Francesco Gaspari
musicos, eunuch
Virgin of Vladimir
Smolenskoye cemetery, the Domostroi
Monsieur Diderot and l'esprit de l'escalier, staircase wit,
sumasbrodnye, cognoscenti, messa di voce, droshky, opustoshyonnaya
The war against Prussia (1756)
The end of Peter the Third and the beginning of Catherine the Great
fools in Petersburg
Ivan Antonovich's imprisonment by the Empress Elizabeth
French insurrection and emigrants from Paris to Petersburg
Saint Basil and Tsar Ivan Grozny

Musical vocabulary, history, daily life and the importance of music in religion

Spirituality, culture, language and tradition - from marriages to funerals, the beginning of Lent to Easter, the birth of children, marriage contracts, the afterlife, you name it, there's symbolism and and 

What I Didn't Like

Names, names, and more names...I finally just started circling them all so I could go back and figure out who was who.  Who was in charge of what and who took what from whom?  I fully chalk this up to a lack of my background on Russian history and geography.

Xenia was a little over the top for me and I look forward to learning more about her legend.  She was incredibly emotional and was unable to pull herself out of her grief.  She also didn't seem to worry about those around her very much...of course, it all worked out fine and she very well may have "known" that it would, but it drove me crazy.  Much like Dasha, I wanted to throw the given away chamber pot on the floor and smash it into a billion pieces.  

Overall Recommendation

If you're the least bit interested in Russian history and culture, you won't regret picking up The Mirrored World.  If, like me, you don't have much of a background for the content, you'll still enjoy it, albeit a little slower possibly, and then The Mirrored World becomes a book you'll re-visit after you fill in some of the blanks for yourself.  

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, July 16th: Dreaming in Books
Wednesday, July 17th: Bibliophilia, Please!
Thursday, July 18th: A Bookish Affair
Saturday, July 20th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, July 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, July 24th: Peppermint PhD
Monday, July 29th: A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, July 30th: A Patchwork of Books
Wednesday, July 31st: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, August 1st: guiltless reading
Thursday, August 8th: Worsdmithonia
Friday, August 9th: Drey’s Library

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay - TLC Book Tours Review

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
HarperCollins 2012

Format? hardback
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Virgin Cure from the publisher.  However, the review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Cover? I actually like the cover of the paperback better than the hardback

Title? perfect unbelievable stupidity that fueled the sale of virgins

Why? Old New York...I'm in...every single time.

Reminded Me of? The Gods of Gotham and The Crimson Petal and the White
Murder as a Fine Art

What Now?  I missed The Birth House but already have it downloaded.  

Golden Lines

"Where's my papa?" I would ask.  "Why isn't he here?"
"Wouldn't I like to know.  Maybe you should go and talk to the tree."
"What if I get lost?"
"Well, if you do, be sure not to cry about it.  There's wild hogs that run through the city at night, and they'd like nothing better than to eat a scared little girl like you." (4)

Mama sold me the summer I turned twelve. (9)

"Nestor! Nestor, come quick! I need you!"
Yes, Nestor, come quick. (64)

There was a rat inside Mrs. Riordan's mattress, moving underneath me.  I felt it come up through a hole at the end of the bed, slither past my ankle, and tug at the hem of my dress.  Not wanting to startle my host, I grabbed hold of my skirt and shook it, desperate to scare the rodent away.
"Shh, child, don't be afraid," Mrs. Riordan cooed in the dark.  "They'll settle down soon enough.  You'll see.  They're sweet, like children.  The more you don't want them around, the more they wish to be near you." (88)

In 1871, under common law, the age of consent was ten years of age.  (In Delaware it was seven). (124)

Dr. B. says the infirmary cannot afford to get involved.  Funding is difficult to come by, and the words whore, disease, and prostitution send benefactors running, their purse strings pulled tight.  (176)

Just like any other lie, once you'd passed it around, you couldn't take it back.  It didn't care if you were a baby or a whore.  There was no cure. (202)

In 1854 Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, founder of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, went out to Randalls Island and adopted a young girl named Katherine "Kitty" Barry. (285)

When the women ask what they can do, I tell them, "Teach your children to be honest; teach your daughters to be strong." (312)

Short and Sweet Summary

Abandoned by her father and sold by her mother, 12 year old Moth is on her own.  If she is to survive the wold of old New York, she must accept the life she's been given, take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, and keep moving forward.  From the home of a mentally ill wealthy woman closeted away by her husband to a brothel where virgins are prepared for those who can pay the highest bid, Moth learns how to live by her own her own hand and wit.  With a little help from Dr. Sadie, she might just outlive her peers.

What I Liked

Google Factor
Godfrey's Cordial
"the Slaughterhouses"
boot black boys
Eliza Adler
Five Points to Rag Pickers Row
Chrystie Street
Francine Gorossman
fainting couches
Miss Jane Clattermore's Home for Wandering Girls
effects of the corset
the Fagin school
Birnbaum's Fancy Goods and Haberdashery
Bowery Concert Hall, Tammany Hall, Mr. William Tweed
The Legend of Peter Stuyvesant's Pear Tree
Children's Aid Society and the orphan trains
birth control - French imported "safes," preventative powders and womb guards
New York Committee for Women's Concerns
1865 fire at the New York Medical College on Fourteenth St.
Dr. Valentine Mott, professor, College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY
syphilis epidemic
Helen Jewett, murdered Spring, 1836
female physicians
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and Katherine "Kitty" Barry
Circassian Beauty
ether used as as photographer's tool

Mrs. Riordan - I'm not sure if I'm just going through Downton Abbey withdrawals or what, but here's another character that reminds me of Mrs. Patmore.

Dr. Sadie - LOVED that the character was actually based on McKay's great-great-grandmother!  She's not the hero here...but she's definitely hero material.

the format - including Dr. Sadie's comments in the margins every few pages and the tidbits from songs, literature or poems, newspaper articles, other publications and advertisements and street posters from this particular time period and personal correspondence from Moth as well as Dr. Sadie's journals...further illustrates the chasm between the people who lived off the streets and the wealthy who lived big houses behind iron gates.

Moth - she lived by her words, be strong and honest.  What a kid.  Even though this story focuses on a pre-teen child, don't go thinking this is YA material.  When the age of consent is 10 years old, 12-13 years old is almost old age.

What I Didn't Like

Mrs. Wentworth - what an evil, horrible woman...obviously the mentally ill were left shut up in their homes wreaking havoc on the house servants left behind rather than risk embarrassment of the entire family.

The Virgin Cure - and the fact that intelligent people actually thought there was truth to this rumor...stupidity...and the more horrific idea that the more money a man had, the more likely he would be able to "buy" a virgin.

Mae - what a little bitch.  sorry, not sorry. Mean girls of 1871.

Overall Recommendation

If you like novels about old New York...the real old New York, not a romaticized version of it, with a focus on 30,000 people, many children wandering the streets, you'll love this book.  Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour
Tuesday, July 2nd: Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, July 3rd: BoundByWords
Saturday, July 6th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, July 9th: Becca’s Byline
Wednesday, July 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, July 11th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, July 15th: A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, July 16th: BookNAround
Wednesday, July 17th: Melissa Firman
Thursday, July 18th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, July 22nd: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, July 25th: From L.A. to LA

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Girl Talk - Falling off the (Clean Eating) Wagon and Perimenopause

I started this girl talk thing by accident bc of my hoo-hah surgery...
I honestly never intended to keep talking about this stuff, but I've been noticing some things...some girlie things..

Yesterday, for example, was the 2nd day in a row I woke up feeling like crap...irritable, biting people's heads off crap.  My hoo-hah is still achy...and I blamed it yesterday...damned hoo-hah.

By the time I went to bed Friday night I was exhausted, didn't really care about much going on around me, and couldn't stand for anything or anybody to touch me.  
I'm cold...and then I'm hot.
My face is breaking out as if I'm 13 again.
I've taken more baths this summer than I have taken in the last 5 years of my life all put together probably. 
(I'm a shower person mostly, just in case you were freaking out about my lack of cleanliness.)

Take yesterday, for example, 3 baths...not the usual 2...but 3.
3 baths.
I'm. tired. of. sitting. in. the. tub.
I've spent my entire freaking summer sitting in the freaking tub.
That's my hoo-hah's fault too.

Today I also fell off the wagon...the clean eating wagon, mind you.

I started my day with toast and 2 fried eggs
I made a peach, banana, spinach, Greek yogurt, Chia seed smoothie around lunchtime.

The real trouble began when we had kids over to swim in the afternoon, so I ate kid food, Doritos, sub sandwich with roast beef, turkey, ham, mayo, tomato, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese and Trop 50 lemonade.

Then I ate Cheetos.

Then, I started eating pineapple, grapes, strawberries and cantaloupe from the fruit bowl I chopped.  
By this time, I knew I was in trouble.

After the kids left, I looked for more Doritos.
Couldn't find any, so I went and sat in the bathtub.

I made myself a latte with 1% milk and took my computer to my room to recline and rest the achy hoo-hah.
I ate a bite of chocolate cake leftover from last night's dinner.
And a couple of grapes.
Grapes cancel out chocolate cake, right?

I let the little dogs out since they are afraid of little kids and had been hiding in their crates.
Then, I ate a hush puppy and some fried pickles leftover from last night's supper.

Yes, I said fried pickles. 
I don't even really like fried pickles, people.  

I unloaded and reloaded the washer and dryer.  
And went back to the kitchen to "start the dishwasher"

After the dishwasher success, I ate some plain Lays potato chips and poured myself a Coke.
Do you have any earthly idea how long it has been since I've had a Coke?????

My middle daughter caught me eating chips and Coke, so I asked her if she had any chocolate hidden away in her room.
She had Reeses Pieces (yuck - I ate 3) and then she pulls out this "Critter" thingie that she got from the Cookie Place in the mall.   

I ate that thing, which is essentially 2 cookies with white frosting between them holding them together like a sandwich and decorated around the edges with milk chocolate.

Yes, I ate all that.

Since starting this fitness/health conscious journey, I have abstained from alcohol completely.  
I almost fell off that wagon too.
But, I didn't.

I didn't because I realized finally, as I have for the last few months in a row, that these last couple of days are the days before, on top of my achy hoo-hah, I'll have to worry about normal womanly functions that only happen at certain times of the month.  
Imagine 2 weeks after surgery not knowing whether or not you are bleeding to death or you've started your period.  
Yeah, that was me last month.  I even had to call the doctor's office.  
Pretty embarrassing.
The nurse actually said to me:
"Are you having your period?"
Me: "I'm not sure."
Nurse: "Where is the blood coming from?"
Me: "I'm not sure."
Nurse: "Is it coming from your vagina?" 


Because I'm 44, nothing is normal anymore, nothing is scheduled really...some months I have a period every 2 weeks, and sometimes every 4; sometimes it lasts for 2 days and sometimes 7.  Not to mention all the extra anatomical irregularities caused by the 10 cm cyst removed from my hoo-hah.
I won't go into any more detail with you about all the other inconsistencies.
You're welcome.

And, little sister nursie wants to know where the blood is coming from!!!
How the hell am I supposed to know that????
Why you think I'm calling you?????
Here's where I might have dropped the F bomb if I was an F bomb dropper.

The only female bodily functions that seem to be keeping a pretty regular pattern are my hormones, appearing out of control these 2 days before when I feel like shit.
Sorry, not sorry.
Top that off with an anxiety problem I barely keep under control on a good day.

Because of my ovaries' irregular schedule, I unfortunately never know when these days are going to hit.  
And, I feel pretty sucky before I put two and two together...or I eat all of the foods listed above.
The best news of all is that perimenopause can last for 10 years.

Then, like right this minute as I'm typing this post, I feel stupid.  
Damn ovaries, uterus and hoo-hah one upped me again.

I'll have to run 162 miles to burn off all this crap I ate.
Maybe more.
Well played, female anatomy, well played.

Ok, ladies, do you have similar experiences each month?
Ladies my age...what helps deal with perimenopause symptoms?