Monday, August 6, 2018

60 is the new 40

On July 20th I reached a milestone in my life...the big 60! Seriously? 60? Where did 60 years go? They went by like a dream and sometimes like a nightmare!

Does this look like the face of a 60 year old?  Well...maybe  a little bit around the eyes, but those aren't wrinkles they're laugh lines.

Everyone keeps telling me that 60 is the new 40 but I don't know....my 40's were pretty great and my body felt pretty great and now I'm a bundle of aches and pains. 

Nothing an Aleve can't take care of, but still you kinda have to think about it before you jump out of bed in the morning, and of course you no longer jump, you gingerly step out to make sure that your legs and/or feet aren't asleep!

The one thing for sure you can't stop is getting older. Well, I guess you can stop it, death would end aging really quickly so it's not an alternative worth contemplating!

But I'm not complaining about getting older because I had the best birthday ever!

I took my actual birthday off from work. Our employer gives us that day as our gift from them, plus they sent me a lovely gift VISA gift card. 

My coworkers went off their diets so we could all have cake...delicious cake!


My co-worker/friend Angelica also knows me so well and gifted me this awesome Art Set that I can take with me anywhere so I always have art supplies at hand! Thank you Angelica!


On my actual birthday, my sister and our friend Lupe both took the day off, as did I, and we headed off to Pismo Beach. We stopped along the way for some shopping which is always fun. We also stopped at a new place we've never been to named Chulo's Cafe & Cantina where we had the most fabulous Carnitas Nachos ever! Their Margarita left a lot to be desired but they made up for it with the nachos. I can't wait to go back.

Carnitas Nachos at Chulo's Cafe & Cantina

Then we just sat on the beach enjoying being somewhere where it was not 104 as it was back home. It was overcast and I was actually a bit chilly but I kept remembering how hot it was back home and enjoyed being cold!

For dinner we headed to Cayucos where we walked on the pier to build up an appetite. Here's my sister and I on the pier. You can see how foggy it was but when we left Shafter it was already 85 degrees and we were dressed for the heat!


We found a lovely little place to have dinner in Cayucos called Duckies Chowder House. I had the BEST fish and chips ever with an ice cold Tecate beer. It was fabulous and a great way to end my birthday and face the long drive home.

Thank you Lisa and Lupe for celebrating my 60th birthday with me and for treating me like a Queen for a Day!


When my friends found out on Facebook that it was my 60th birthday and that I tried to stay under the radar with that info, they were not having it and this past Friday, August 3rd they all got together to celebrate me yet again!

Here's a few photos from that celebration where I had a great time with a Giant Margarita, A Cake made of Money and a real cake, plus spending time with the greatest group of people it has ever been my pleasure to know. Thank you Pat, Linda, Connie, Diana, Carmen, Angelica, Lupe, Lisa, Pauline, Joe and Guero!

Me, Carmen, Diana, Connie and Pat 

Me, Angelica, Lupe, Lisa and Carmen and my giant Margarita!


The Gang

Me and my sister Lisa and my Cake of Money. A beautiful creation by my friend Pat. Thank you Pat!


 "Youth is a Gift of Nature, but Age is a Work of Art" - Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

You my friends and family are part of the rich tapestry of my life. 

Happy Birthday Alicia and remember, "Do not regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many".


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Just Not Enough Time to do all the Nothing I Want!


Can’t believe it’s already the middle of June! Time just seems to go by so fast.

I think someone should invent something different than the 8-hour workday. That just seems like too many hours of precious lifetime to waste. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, I love what I do; I just would like to do it less and still get the same pay…am I right?

It’s also tough being a morning person. I can conquer the world up until around 2 pm and then I’m done! I’m usually up at 5 am full of energy and creativity and on weekdays I spend that time getting ready for work and commuting to the office, not doing things I love to do, like reading and art. By the time I put in that 8-hour workday and the commute home I’m too pooped to be creative or energetic!




I can remember thinking that someday when I retire I’ll garden or hike or take cooking classes or a wine tasting course. I’m a few months short of my 60th birthday and already my knees hurt too much to do much gardening or hiking. I can still take that cooking class, I just can’t eat any of the food I cook because you get to a certain age and you have to watch sodium intake and cholesterol!

The wine tasting course is still a great option as I read all the time that wine helps to boost the immune system, contains antioxidants, increases bone density, reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease, helps to lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Plus, it really helps with creativity. Win-Win!

So…until I can retire I will just have to steal little moments out of my life to do what I love…drink Wine and make Art!

What’s your passion, what do you wish you had more time for?



Friday, March 30, 2018

Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread Recipe

Yet another delicious recipe that I want to save, so I'm blogging about it. 



But before I do post the recipe I just wanted to say that I am so grateful for all those wonderful cooks out there that are willing to share recipes and cooking knowledge. 

I am not a cook, I am a recipe follower, plain and simple. I envy those creative people that can just pull items out of the fridge and pantry and whip up a masterpiece, but I know that's not me!

I do think I'm a pretty good photographer though...isn't this picture gorgeous?


Ok, to the recipe. I made this exactly as the recipe explained, the only difference is I used a different cheese spread than what they called for. I used this one and it was very good, just the perfect amount of garlic.



Recipe:
Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough (mine was actually 13.9 ounces and I used Pillsbury Pizza Crust brand)
  • 3/4 cup garlic and herb cheese spread (I used the whole little container pictured above 6.5 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 7 to 8-inch long zucchini (green) cut crosswise into 1/8 inch thick rounds, divided
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with nonstick spray. 
  • Unroll dough onto parchment. 
  • Spread half of the herb cheese over one long half of dough, leaving 1/2 inch plain border.
  • Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons Parsley.
  • Using parchment as aid, fold plain half of dough over filled half (do not seal edges.)
  • Spread remaining herb cheese over top
  • Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
  • Removed enough outer layers of onion to yield 2-inch diameter core; cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds.
  • Arrange 1 row of zucchini down 1 long side of dough.
  • Arrange onion rounds in row alongside zucchini.
  • Arrange 1 more row of zucchini alongside onion.
  • Brush vegetables with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  • Bake until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley
And that it is. Simple and delicious.
Recipe from the website: www.epicurious.com and you can find the recipe HERE if you want to compare it to mine above.

Oh and by the way...this one is definitely NOT low carb!














Sunday, March 18, 2018

Broccoli, Ham, Mozzarella Baked with Eggs

I like to share low-carb recipes on my blog so that I have them handy when I need to make them again.

I am lucky enough to work with a great co-worker that encourages me and helps me with eating low carb...and even better, she shares her food!

The other day she shared this delicious concoction of eggs, broccoli, ham and cheese. I had to ask her for the recipe and today I made it for my mom. She liked it, but thinks I was a little heavy handed with the broccoli, which I probably was, but broccoli is so good for you!

The recipe was developed by Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen and you can go HERE to see her original post of this recipe. 

Here's what my version looked like. I thought it was very pretty and hated to cut into it. I hurried to take the picture thinking it would deflate, but it actually stays nice and puffy like this.


But there was no way we could eat it without slicing into it, so I did and wow, wow, wow....just look at all this deliciousness!


So fluffy and cheesy and yummy and little bits of ham...mmmmm, perfect Sunday breakfast food! The great thing is it also keeps well covered in the fridge and re-heats up beautifully in the microwave so it's perfect for eating during that morning break at work.

Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups very small broccoli florets, blanched about 2 minutes, then drained well. (Next time I will probably cut this down to 2 cups and maybe dice it much more finely.)
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella
  • 10 eggs well beaten (I added salt & pepper to the eggs to taste)
Preheated my oven to 375F, sprayed my 9 inch round pie pan with non-stick spray.

In a small pot I brought water to boil then I blanched the broccoli florets for 3 minutes and poured them into a colander and let them sit in the sink to drain well. 

While my broccoli was cooking I diced up a small ham steak and grated the mozzarella cheese. That was probably the most labor intensive part. 

You then layer the broccoli in the bottom of your dish then sprinkle around the ham and cheese add some salt and pepper if you haven't already added it to your eggs, then pour the beaten egg over and using a fork stir everything around gently just to make sure all the ingredients are coated with egg. 

I baked mine for 35 minutes and it was perfect, as you can tell from the picture. Kalyn serves hers with sour cream, I just added a side dish of a few slices of avocado.

That's it! Easy Peasy!
















Friday, March 16, 2018

Fitbit - Some Motivation Required

On January 12th, the company I work for held their annual "State of the Company" meeting in our corporate office in Fresno.

I really love this meeting, it's informative, fun and always makes me feel like a valued member of the team.

The motto for the coming year was unveiled...

Teamwork makes the Dream Work

They're big on teamwork and the best way to make the team "work" is to keep them nice and healthy. So during a certain part of the meeting they presented each and every employee a Fitbit!


We all were pretty happy, they're not cheap. So now we had the Fitbit, but with the Fitbit, you need motivation. Well they gave us that as well with a monthly contest beginning February 1st. Each person that logged in 125,000 steps for the month would be entered into a pot to win a gift card, 4 names would be drawn.

Now...I'm just a tad bit competitive, I can't help it, I was born that way! Right then and there I made up my mind that I was going to be one of the people that did 125,000 steps!



And I was! Actually I logged in 165,000 steps! Whoo hooo! I have to say that I work with a pretty competitive group of people because there were 22 others that met the challenge! And of those 22 I was one of the four that won a gift card! Michaels...here I come!

They've stepped up the challenge for March to 150,000 steps, so lets see how it goes with that. 

I don't understand the power that this little computer on my wrist has over me but I'm becoming addicted to feeding it steps! It even has these adorable little notifications, one of which says "Feed me"! I know some of my fellow co-workers don't like the notifications, but I really do. I feel like he's my little friend that is concerned with my health and is just reminding me to MOVE!

Speaking of, he just asked me "wanna step out with me?" He's such a flirt! I guess I better not keep him waiting!








Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Long Ordeal - Final Ending...I Hope

If you've been following along then you know that my 2017 did not end very well and 2018 picked up the suckiness that was my life at that point and ran with it!

Here's PART ONE and PART TWO in case you want to catch up or refresh your memory.

Before I get started, I want to thank all of you that made a point of telling me it was not my fault mom fell. Thank you! I know in the back of my head it wasn't, but sometimes my head doesn't communicate well with my heart! Someday I will tell you of the ordeal that was my marriage and you will totally understand!

I'm in insurance, but I've never had a claim and I'm not an adjuster, so that doesn't make me an expert in claims. I figured the pipe had burst and damage was caused and I could understand that perhaps the insurance company would not cover the pipe but surely they would cover the resulting damage.

When I called the insurance company in the beginning to report the damage, they immediately told me to call a plumber, have him make sure there was no mold or asbestos and then let them know and they would send out an adjuster. 

I did that and called them again to report no mold, no asbestos. The lady I spoke to at the time understood it was the holiday's and that my mom was ill and just out of the hospital and she told me that the pipe would more than likely not be covered because it's the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure that maintenance is done on a regular basis, but that she was pretty sure the resulting damage would be covered. (I had no idea how important it would be to me that she said this.) So I gave the go ahead to the plumber to fix everything.

Remember I said in part one that they would have to tear down walls? Well they did. They completely gutted the bathroom and since the pipe was bad they knew they had to break walls in the kitchen and the laundry room and the second bathroom and replace all the pipe throughout the house. To make a long story short, it took forever and in the end they handed me a bill for $10,400!!!

Total shock!!! But, I was counting on the insurance company covering most of that minus my deductible of $1000 so I figured I would probably be out of pocket a couple of thousand dollars. I sent them the bill and photos and waited to hear.

The adjuster told me that because the leak was caused because of non-maintenance by the homeowner that in normal circumstances, they would have paid a big fat ZERO! But...because they had in the notes that the insurance representative I had spoken to had told me the pipe would not be covered, they were standing by that, it would not be covered. However, because she also told me the resulting damage would be covered they were obligated to pay that...whew!

You know how much they paid? $5,000 minus my deductible, so that means they sent me a whopping $4,000! I was crushed. Again...to make a long, long story (three blog posts long) short, I came up with the balance of the money and now have to eat beans for the rest of my life. 

So we've moved back in. Did 2018 get any easier? Any more disasters? Well yes and no, but I've always been a "look on the bright side of things" kinda person. I have a gorgeous brand new bathroom and brand new plumbing throughout the house. I eventually would have had to replace all that pipe anyway, I just hadn't planned on it being so soon. Mom is back in her home and no long term repercussions from her fall. 

Sure, there are still things going on in my life that aren't perfect, that will require time to fix, but at least it's not raining hell on my head all at once. You know the old saying...

Thanks for reading and commenting and we'll just have to see how the rest of 2018 goes.





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Long Ordeal Continued...

It's been a while so you may have forgotten about my first post detailing the ordeal of the ending year 2017 and the bad beginning to my 2018 year. If you need a refresher you can click HERE.

When last we met I was telling you about having a plumber come out the check the leak and check for mold and asbestos. Luckily there was none...whew!!! Finally caught a break there, but unluckily we would have to move out while they made the repairs.

So...here I have a mother that is ill and trying to recover from pneumonia. She's coughing morning, noon and night and she needs her oxygen machine 24/7 and a warm dry place to sleep and somewhere to spend the day. Of course my sister Lisa and her husband would not hear of us staying in a hotel, we had to stay with them and they gave up their bedroom and moved into the spare bedroom. They were troopers and I can never repay them their generosity and patience with us.


You would think that this would be the end of my story, but unfortunately not. That first night it was difficult to get to sleep, my mom was coughing constantly and we were sharing a bed. Finally in exhaustion I fell asleep only to be awakened in the wee hours of the morning by my mom taking a fall!

She had gotten up to go to the bathroom and I believe she was disoriented and weak (she refuses to use her walker) and as she was walking towards the bathroom she felt dizzy and tried to come back to bed and fell, hitting her head and face on the nightstand. My sister came running and we got her back up and safely into the bathroom but there was no more sleep to be had that night, we were all to wound up and scared!

By the end of that day mom had a black eye and scrapes on her face and I felt so awful that I had not heard her get up, it still haunts me. I was right there, a foot away from her and I let her fall. Luckily the fall was not too bad but she could have been seriously hurt! Mom took it hard too, it scared her (she started using her walker by the way!) and I could see that she was realizing that she may not get better and that she may end up needing more help from us than she was comfortable with.

For two weeks it was a whirlwind of working eight hours, texting back and forth with the contractor, rushing home to feed the dog and mom and helping Lisa with whatever she needed around the house. Finally most of the work was done and I submitted all the photos and the contractors invoice to the insurance company.

and again...To Be Continued

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Long Ordeal. A Bad Ending to 2017 - A Bad Beginning to 2018

The long ordeal is almost over and I’m so glad it is because I don’t think I could have taken one more day!

Photo Credit - Tucson Daily Photo
Let me backtrack and provide some history. On Nov 11th my sister Lisa and I drove our mother to Arizona to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her Arizona family. She had a wonderful time but somewhere along the way she picked up what we think was a “flu bug”.

When Lisa and I went to go pick her up in Arizona on Nov 25th, poor mom was coughing and miserable and she continued to be miserable the whole way home. She went to the doctor and got some medication and inhalers and a Nebulizer, we thought this would be the end of it. Unfortunately by her birthday on Dec 19th she was still miserable but she put on a brave face for her children and grandchildren as we celebrated her 81st birthday.

On Dec 21 at about 11 pm she asked me to take her to the ER room. She was in pain and having a hard time breathing. I called Lisa and we took off with her and stayed there throughout the night until around 5 am when we both went home to get a few hours of sleep and a change of clothes. I was back at the hospital about 9 am and mom was still in the ER room as there were no rooms available.

Unfortunately there was a horrible Flu Bug going around and because of our bad air there were lots of elderly folks and kids with respiratory issues. It was a tough couple of days for mom, she hates hospitals and especially hospital food but on Dec 23rd at about 8 pm they finally released her and I was able to bring her home. 
We had planned a Christmas Eve family get together, but we had already discussed it and decided to postpone it until the following weekend. So it was a sad Christmas Eve; where we had expected everyone to come over now it was just a quiet day. Mom did cheer up because she got to open the present I gave her and it was a Google Home system and we had fun setting it up and teaching her how to use it.

Life decided to throw another monkey wrench into our lives as on Dec 23rd when I got back home from the hospital with mom, my daughter took me into one of the bathrooms and showed me the walls that appeared to be bubbling…I knew right away there was a leak. 

So here I have a sick mom, it’s Christmas holiday time and I have a leak somewhere! I tried to call my insurance and left a voice mail and called a plumber who said he would send someone on Dec 26th.The assistant plumber came in on the 26th as promised and went into the attic and said there appeared to be a small leak, the insulation was barely wet to the touch and said he could come back on Dec 30th to make the repairs.

Dec 30th the actual plumber came in, went in through the attic, said it appeared to be much more serious than his assistant had stated and because of the extent of the damage and the condition of the existing pipe he would have to make major repairs and there was no way they could make the repairs in the small crawlspace attic so they would have to tear down walls!!! 

He told me he believed it would be covered by my homeowners policy but to call them and get approval to start.I still had not heard back from my agent, so I went to her office and of course it was closed so I called the 800# and just asked to speak to anyone, I set up the claim, this was on Dec 30th

To make a long story a bit shorter I had to keep calling my insurance company and could never get in touch with the adjuster but kept speaking to whoever answered the phone so who told me to have the plumber start immediately by making sure there was no mold or asbestos issues.

To Be Continued... 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Being An Example to One's Peers

I was reading a post on a blog that I follow called Eco Cat Lady Speaks, and she did a yearly wrap up on how many miles she put on her bike vs. how many miles she put on her car.  By bike I mean a real bike, not a motorcycle, but one you have to pedal.

I was shocked at how few miles she put on her car in one year, 668 miles! I probably put that many miles on my car in a month! Yep, I figured it out and I put 800 miles per month on my car!

As to the number of miles I put I my bike, well…that would be a bit fat zero since I don’t even own a bike!

I find it admirable that she is doing something to reduce her carbon footprint, but as she says in her post, it’s not the tiny amount of carbon emissions that she saves, but it’s to serve as an example to one’s peers. Bravo Eco Cat Lady!

I make myself feel better by telling myself that I do bring my own lunch to work almost every day, thereby reducing the amount of miles I would be driving if I went out into the world every day to hunt and gather my burger and fries right?

I’m hoping one day to not have to commute as much, commuting is rough! Not just because of the traffic and wear and tear on my car, but I figure with traffic it takes me a half hour to get to work and a half hour to get home, meaning I lose an hour of each day just sitting and driving.

The worst part is that on the drive home I unwind and relax by listening to the radio and by the time I get home I’ve lost any motivation I might have had to get home and clean or cook or paint. I bet that if I lived a mile away from my job and I walked to work, I would have tons of energy, after all…a body in motion stays in motion.

But I also bet that if I lived a mile away from my job I would probably drive and not walk, it’s not easy to be an example to one’s peers.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Finally....some Rain!!!

Here's a view from my office window. You would think "So? What's the big deal, looks like a normal view for an office."


What you don't know is that I have not seen a blue sky for several weeks now. What I'm used to seeing is this!

Photo Credit - 23ABC News

Bad Air quality! I swear that is not an exaggeration, that is what our air has looked like for probably longer than 3 weeks! There were several days when I was driving home at 4:30 pm and it looked like 9 pm! This air quality causes all kinds of respiratory illnesses in people with sensitive lungs and even those without!

My sister Lisa and my coworker Angie all suffer horribly from allergies, sneezing and coughing and sinus headaches and just a general feeling of exhaustion.

My mom is currently back on oxygen after suffering pneumonia, there is just no way that she can even go outside with pollution like this! 

But this morning we woke up to pouring rain. It caused chaos on the city streets and highways but now I can see blue skies. I am thrilled!