Home for the Holidays

As we do every time we come through town, I had the Girl take a picture of the Dallas skyline as we passed it.

Hi Dallas

“Hi Dallas” was posted to my FB wall. It’s a way to let the folks living in the city know that I am in town. Also a way to let the folks back home know that I have arrived (more or less safely).

*waves at both Dallas and Back Home peeps*

And now? Now we settle in for holiday/family fun. Which, in my family, means food, games, food, movies, coffee, food, prezzies, cocoa, cards, food, and all the (mostly) gentle snark we can dish. Additionally, there is my Mom’s disco shower. I freaking love that thing.

Did I mention food? I hope so, because I am dying to tell you guys the menu that my Mom shared with me over my sister’s and my birthday dinner last night.

Tonight we are having turkey tetrazzini, probably with a salad and crusty bread on the side.
Tomorrow is tamales, queso, chili, chips, dips, and crudités.
Christmas Day is a pork loin, roasted asparagus, corn bread dressing, and scalloped rosemary potatoes.

All of this is not including the breakfast (think Southern Living meets East Texas with a double side of corn bread and gravy) and lunch (almost certainly leftovers and/or sandwiches made of leftovers).
I am so very blessed to have such amazing food in my life.

There was a time in the Way Ago that I did not. Through a series of rash and (in perfect hindsight) really stupid actions on my part, I wound up living in the streets for a time. We usually had food, albeit not the greatest and certainly not the healthiest. But we knew people who did not. People who struggled on the daily to get a meal for their kids, for themselves, for their parents. You don’t want to know what watching someone rationing out a single dollar hamburger amongst three people does to your heart.

Hunger is a world wide problem, y’all. And with our population expanding ever upward, it is going to continue to be one. So, I am asking you this: do you have a little extra?
A little extra food?
A little extra cash?
A little extra time?

Because if you do, and you’re willing, you can help make a difference. You can take food to a local food bank. You can send a check to an organization that feeds the hungry. You can drive a van full of meals to shut-ins. You can help. You can.

abolish hungre

May your entire holiday -however and with whomever you celebrate it – be full of all the things, people, and critters you love.


Bikinis, Sour Cream and the Tao of Eating Right

Tao = The Way or the Path. Usually associated with more metaphysical paths.  It somehow seemed appropriate here. 😀
Title is, in part, from this scene from “Chinese Ghost Story.”
Which, if you haven’t seen it, go forth and do so.

A friend of mine was recently chosen to be a participant in a weight loss contest called the “Slim Down Showdown.”  She is blogging about her journey towards a more healthy and active self. I encourage you to go and give her a hug, a kudos, and cheer her on. She is an amazing person with reservoirs of strength that will astonish you. I cannot wait to see what magic she works with this next step in her life.


It occurred to me yesterday, as I was congratulating and jumping up and down and squeeing for her, that my own healthy eating practices have been somewhat lax just recently.
Very lax. To the tune of an added 10 pounds.  In the grand scheme of things, I know that a ten-pound gain over a semester isn’t that big a deal to most people.

But, you see, it is to me. I was starting to get all fretted up – being generally anxious and down on myself. That is, until my pseudo-husband pointed out, “Hey, you’ve been working out pretty regularly. Could it be added muscle and body rearrangement causing the gain?”1



Well, maybe.
But, still. The feeling of not having a good handle on my family’s nutrition bothered me. We have had Domino’s a bit too often recently. Pizza every now and again is not a bad thing. Pizza as a staple2 is.

I have some set ideas about nutrition. My mantra is “real food; whole food.” I want to set down a meal for us where I know exactly what went into it.
I cannot afford the pricier, “organic” versions of some things. For example, almost $4 for a dozen eggs seems extreme on my budget. Especially when a dozen and a half of the ‘regular’ eggs costs $2.50.  Or corn on the cob for $1 for six ears at my local grocer; and 4 for a $1 at the big box Organic Store.
I am not going to get into a debate on the pros/cons of organic purchasing. For now3, most of that sort of food is simply beyond my price range.

Another battle that I am having on the nutrition front is with Mister Man. He is a trauma nurse. He loves and believes in the AMA. He especially believes in their low/no-fat program of eating. For him this means using the sin grasa versions of products, especially the dairy products. And while I grok what he is saying: he worries about heart health and cholesterol and fats, I worry about eating things that more rightly belong in a chemistry set.

Let me give you an example:

My feeling is – eat the real stuff. Just eat a smaller portion of it. In the example above – sour cream – most folks are just adding enough for flavor and creamy texture, right? So, 2 tablespoons ought to easily do it. Not a couple of huge dollops that take out the top third of the container.4

I always do better when I have a plan. A set track of what I should be doing. Because while I love and can easily do spontaneous fun eating – I am not so good at the everyday healthy spontaneity. Some people are, and that’s awesome. Me, not so much.

And it occurs to me, that perhaps I am not alone in this? That other people are looking at their eating/fitness habits and saying “Well…now what?”

I know that when I very first started hammering out an exercise and nutrition plan, it helped me to see what other people did. And NOT Fitness Guru Flava O’the Day. Regular people. People who had to get up with their kids in the morning. People who had to be at work or school, every day. People who don’t necessarily have the bazillions of dollars to join a gym or hire a trainer or buy fancy-schmancy fitness equipment.

It also helps me to have a set goal. Something concrete I can work towards. I have two at staggered intervals. GOOOALLLL!

Goal The First: I am going on a cruise in September. (I KNOW, right?) I’d like to be able to wear, sans embarrassment, a bathing suit of my choice.

Preferably something with skulls.





Goal the Second: There is a 5k Obstacle course that I want to participate in this coming December. I have never in my life run in any sort of event. I’ve always said that running is what you do if someone is chasing you.
Well….Now I can do both. A 5k WITH people things chasing me. How fantastically awesome is that?

My plan is pretty simple. It has to be. I haven’t got the extraneous brainpower to do anything that requires me to calculate this, that, and what in the heck is THAT?

Plan: Real food, balanced meals, smaller portions, daily exercise, track everything. Wooo!

I know. So intricate! So maddeningly complicated! So difficult.  /sarcasm5

But really, a good plan is that simple when it is boiled down. I have my schedule and menu set. I feel calm and confident in my success. The next step, in the words of some advertising agency, is to Just DO EET.

So, that’s what I am doing.



These are some of the people and sites that I find helpful and inspiring. Check them out! There’s fabulous information to be had. These are from a variety of backgrounds and ideologies, a little something from everyone.   Also included is the website I use to track my in/out of food and physical activity.

Fit Mama Training  :::  Every day, simple changes that have a lifetime effect.
Go Kaleo  :::  Hard training vegan with a fabulous outlook on life.
Austin Hula Hooping  ::: A great place to start looking for hoopin’ info.
Robert Gardner Wellness  ::: Thai Massage, Yoga in Everyday life, eating simple.
Livestrong  :::  Most of everything I eat already exists in the database. Easy-peasy!





1 – Paraphrased.
2 – For me, that is more than twice in a month.
3 – Only one real income, me in school full time, The Girl being a teen who eats *everything* that isn’t nailed down.
4 – Something that I used to do, back in the bad old days.
5 – Heheheh. I amuse me.

Bordeaux’s in Kyle, TX : A Review


The short version: OM NOM NOM NOM!

The long version: Mister Man and I went to Bordeaux’s last night. We had made plans the day before to “give it a try” as it is one of the restaurants in Kyle we hadn’t yet been.

Now, the outside of the place is utterly unpreposessing. In fact, it looks a little grimy. But, I figured at the very least, they didn’t have paper napkins. I wanted to dress up beyond the “jeans and T-shirt” fare that I normally wear. I put on a nice shirt and skirt. People, I even wore makeup for this outing*. Mister Man contented himself with a linen shirt and nice jeans. We were ready to go!

As I said, the outside of the place will fool you. It looks a bit smallish and somewhat grubby. You expect to walk into a place full of moth-eaten red velvet drapes and formica tables topped with purple plastic grapes. Not so. First off, the place is much larger than appearances suggest. There may well be some Tardis technology involved, I’m not sure. The back of the restaurant is given over to an alcove martini bar. The decor is suprisingly elegant with local cedar beams “supporting” a wall and a couple of flambeaux in between. The waitstaff & hostess were dressed in understated pin-striped black shirts and black slacks**.

It was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday night. There were probably a good 8-10 people in the martini bar & the dining area had another 18 or so. We had requested a booth, which meant we had to wait about 5 minutes while the staff cleared one for us.

After we got seated, our waitress approached & asked if we would like to order drinks. We would and did. Now, in my defense, I will say that I have been watching old movies all week long. So, what I asked for was a Manhattan, when what I was really wanting was a Cosmopolitan***. After the nice lady had left, I started to idly browse through their martini & drink menu. Of COURSE the Manhattan recipe was in there! Oh, my god it has WHISKEY in it! That is not what I wanted at all! We flagged down our waitress again. I explained, very earnestly, that what I wanted was a vodka Manhattan. She, a perfect professional, didn’t even raise an eyebrow or bat an eyelash. “Of course. I will instruct the bartender”. And, off she went. Mister Man and I laughed for a second and offered our thanks that the bar area was so busy; that way the bartender hadn’t poured the wrong drink! I went back to chatting with Mister Man and now it was his turn to idly turn the pages of the drink menu. I was explaining what I was wanting: you know, a Manhattan: vodka, triple sec, a splash of cranberry…. He gets a funny look on his face and asks if what I meant was a Cosmopolitan? Reality crashed back in. Oh, dear. Yes. That was what I had meant. However, this time we were too late. No sooner had we had made our discovery, the waitress returns with a vodka Manhattan. We explained what had happened. Again, she simply smiled and promised to go and make it right. I was so very embarrased. Heck, I’m blushing NOW, hours and hours later. A few minutes later, it sorted itself out. I got the drink I actually wanted (as opposed to the one I had ordered…twice, *sighs*.)


Mister man ordered the Ribeye and I ordered the Filet Mignon, medium-rare. The description of it reads: “A center cut melt-in-your-mouth filet served with our signature jalapeño béarnaise sauce.” Truth in adverstising, m’friends. That steak was tender, tasteful, juicy and came apart like warm butter in my mouth. It was *delicious*. The sautéed green beans that we got as our side were astonishingly good; crunchy and just a hint of maple.

I tell you this much, I would be willing to take my ever-so-snooty chef of a brother to this place. And I am DEFNITELY taking Michael when he visits & the almost-in-laws when they are here.

Four Thumbs up (mine and MM’s)

* – but not hose. Hose are strictly for weddings and funerals.
** – yes, this is all important; keep in mind that we are talking about KYLE, TX here, mmkay?
*** – http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink5828.html & http://www.drinksmixer.com/drinkb1c8881.html, respectively

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