Monday, November 28, 2011

Update WLJ

I've updated the Weight Loss Journal with the latest photo. November has been an interesting month. I've been ranging between 153 and 154 all month. This morning, the scale read 154.5lbs. The one bright spot is I went to Target to buy some sweat pants and you'll never guess what size I bought. That's right a size Small. Yeah, I know, they're only sweat pants but still. Considering the fact that at the beginning of this year, I wore an XL in sweats, I'd say that by the grace of God, I've come a long way. Now that's something to be thankful for. Onward and downward.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I know, I know: Thanksgiving was yesterday. A day late and a dollar short. Still, hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you all are blessed in the coming year with more to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fairly Fair-Weather Fan

It's safe to say that I'm an apathetic sports fan. I'm not even sure that I can call myself a fair-weather fan because that implies that I'm a fan only when my favorite team is winning - which in turn implies that I actually have a favorite team and that I pay attention to it. Despite this, every so often something reminds me that I do have a team preference. Like last year when the SF Giants were in the World Series. Or when November rolls around and I'm reminded of the Big Game: that century-old football rivalry between Cal and Stanford.

Now, make no mistake, I actually don't give a rip about football. However, since I'm a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (aka "Cal", "Berkeley", or "UC Berkeley"), I almost feel compelled to shout, "GO BEARS!" at this time of year. It's not like I go crazy and paint my face or decorate our house and front yard with Cal's school colors. Sure, I have the obligatory Cal T-shirt (as do my children), but good grief, I'm not a freakin' cheerleader. It's enough for me to know that tomorrow is the Big Game and to remind myself to check the score every so often...if I remember. Or at least, to check the news on Sunday morning to get the final score. In spite of this apathy, I will say:

GOOOOOOOOOO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BFD - November '11

This month is nearly over and I realized that I hadn't done BFD yet. So, just because I love pumpkin and I've been dying to use my bundt pan, I decided to make a pumpkin coffee cake.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel and Caramel Glaze
Apples Au Gratin

So why three links for one coffee cake? Well, I liked the pumpkin coffee cake recipe, but I wanted more streusel than the recipe called for. This coffee cake was moist and not too sweet, which is just how I like my coffee cake. Next, I wanted a glaze, so when I did a search for caramel glaze and found the one that I linked to, I knew it was perfect. Yum! If you don't have a bundt pan, you might try using two round cake pans. I'm just guessing, so don't quote me on that.
Streusel Center

The apples au gratin? You mean like apples and cheese? Well, if you've ever had apple pie with cheddar cheese then you know how good it can be. Seriously. If you've never had this, then you'll have to try it; or just trust me. My only problem was I didn't have Granny Smith apples; however I did have some Cortland apples which are also good for baking. If you don't know already, it's worth your time to learn which apples are good for baking and which apples are good for eating. Here is a good place to start. Because I only had three apples, which yielded a little over a pound, I cut the recipe in half. I still had enough apple slices to fill a pie pan.
Apples Au Gratin

All in all, a good BFD. I will definitely look for other coffee cake recipes using a bundt pan. And finally, here is a picture of my nosey little cat wanting attention after being ignored for all of 3 minutes. I was trying to take a second picture of the coffee cake when she jumped up on the table to investigate. Dude, this little diva has a mind of her own; I couldn't have staged this even if I'd wanted to.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Standing Still

It was 9 years and 3 months ago that my husband and I were at Seattle Children's Hospital sitting in a room with various doctors, nurses, a social worker, and a chaplain. I soon discovered that if a chaplain is there, the news is seldom good. We were told that nothing more could be done for our youngest son. Based on their prior experience, the doctors told us that most infants who experienced a severe Grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage like our son usually died. In the gentlest way possible, we were advised to take our son home and enjoy what family time was left. Palliative care services would be provided to ensure that he was comfortable and in no pain.

After the meeting, my husband and I both numb and in shock decided that we needed to go somewhere, anywhere but home. We went to a little mall near the University of Washington. We had a mission: we needed to find a teddy bear for our son to be buried with. It was so surreal. College students were there doing last minute shopping. Other people were meeting for lunch. No one had any idea that the 30-something couple with the glazed look on their faces had just been told that their newborn son was dying. I remember thinking, "Our world is falling apart and everyone else is pressing on with their day." That one experience taught me how wrong it is to judge other people because we have no idea of all of the things going on in their lives. It also taught me the sometimes painful truth that life really does go on.

This past weekend reminded me of this. A friend who I don't get to see very often has had her world come to a standstill. She is grieving at the recent passing of her 20 year-old son whom she had to bury this weekend. I can only imagine that time is standing still for her. And I'm painfully aware that life moves along for everyone else around her. Yet I also know that when we take time out of our busy lives, when we stop and stand still with our grieving friends even for a few moments to give them help and comfort, that's what gives them the strength to eventually go on. We can't take away their pain, but we can provide help, a comforting presence, and hope.

I can't exactly say that my situation turned out all right, but our lives did move on. My son did beat the odds and he survived albeit with moderate disabilities. I'm grateful that he did not die and that I did not have to bury my child; but I have to say that we do grieve the loss of what could have been. Each year that grief becomes a little less but it never completely goes away. I also have to say that I am grateful for the people who took the time out of their busy lives in those early days to stand still with us - to bring us meals or to offer hugs, prayers and comforting words. And that is my prayer for everyone whose world has come to a standstill:

May the God of all strength and hope give you peace and comfort as you treasure your memories and continue on your journey. May God provide you with family and friends who lift you up and carry you for part of the way. Amen.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thumbs Up - Tales of a Clueless VW Club Member

Maybe it's because I actually drive one now, but I'm noticing more of the older VWs on the road. I find myself checking out their paint job and trying to see what the interior looks like, you know, just to see what if any cool accessories they have that I don't. By no means am I a car geek. I really don't give a rat's rump about cars. As long as the car that I drive gets me from point A to point B with relatively few problems, I'm good. Just don't ask me to park on a hill.

I've also noticed that these older VWs get alot of attention, which is funny to me because they are such basic cars. They don't have the latest and greatest anything. They have no AC, no power anything, a death-wish rear engine - they're basically one step up from a golf cart. Basic. Simple. I think part of the attraction to these cars is their simplicity - they are easy to work on and they are easy to modify, not by me of course.

They're also different. There's no denying that their cartoonish shape stands out from the crowd. Kids yell, "Slug Bug!" when I drive by. Other drivers give me the thumbs up and smile. (I'm sure some drivers are giving me The Bird, too, since I pretty much drive the speed limit now.) They're also a conversation starter. People routinely ask, "What year is your Bug?" It's a 1969. "What kind of engine is in it?" F--- if I know. I'm not sure; it's got the original engine. It's fascinating. I'm almost expected to know these things. I'm feeling a little bit of pressure to pick up the VW lingo just so I can be conversant. Here's what I've picked up so far:

I have a 1969 VW Beetle with the original stock 1500cc engine. It's got the rear pop-out windows, which were an optional upgrade. And yes, that's the original color - Savannah Beige. 

How did I do?


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