Monday, June 30, 2008

No Carbs Start Now

I started my "no carbs" diet. This is the 2nd time that I've been on it. I had great results the first time losing about 30 pounds and I stuck to it for about a year. So far I've done good on my first day.

Two eggs, fried with salt & pepper 0 carbs
1 cup Ocean Spray diet CranGrape Juice 2 carbs

Tuna Salad with Lettuce, 1 T Mayo
1 tsp pickle relish, salt and pepper 5 carbs
8 flaming-hot Cheetos 3 carbs
(The Cheetos are not on the diet, but I had a whole bag in my desk drawer and I was craving something crunchy with my tuna)

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese 6 carbs

1 medium size hamburger patty
1 cup green beans fried with 2 carbs
1/2 small Roma tomato 3 carbs
1/2 large jalapeno 4 carbs

Total Carbs: 25 carbs

I should only have eaten 20 carbs during the induction phase of the plan, but in my defense, I did play tennis at 6:30 when it was about 95 degrees outside and I got a good sweat going. Granted I only played for about 1/2 an hour but hey, it's a start. So we'll see what tomorrow brings.

I know that tonight when I cooked my hamburger patty I cooked an extra one for tomorrow and I'm going to have that along with the other half of the green bean, tomato and jalapeno side dish.

I think the hardest part is giving up chips and popcorn, like right now I'm really craving some Cheetos! But I can't mess up the very first day so I won't.

I found a really good website I'm going to check out further, so this is all for now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I love makeup!!

I love makeup! I remember when I was going to school in Harquahala, Arizona, I must have been in 3rd or 4th grade and one girl had a black eyebrow pencil and we all used to get together in the bathroom and apply eyeliner. Fortunately the easiest, smoothest way to apply pencil eyeliner was to light a match, stick the tip of the pencil in it so it would melt the point and make it easier to apply. The fact that we disinfected it first with the fire was probably why we didn't have 10 girls in class with pink eye.

But regardless, I've always loved makeup. I've always had drawers full of the stuff. But as I got older my face betrayed me! Now I'm super sensitive and I can't wear many of the different makeups that are out there. Some brands make my poor little eyelids get all scaly and dry and gross. But my sis gave me some makeup made by Wet and Wild, really inexpensive stuff and guess what? It doesn't hurt my eyes.

Today after work I went to our local Rite Aid because believe it or not, neither Walmart nor Longs Drugstore carries Wet n Wild.
I bought the two palettes shown below. The bigger one is Wet n Wild Fantasy Island and cost a mere $4.99 and the smaller one is Wet n Wild Venetian Violets and cost only $2.00. I love the names.

Here you can see the colors a little better since I removed the wrapping. And let me tell you, getting that wrapping off was like getting into Fort Knox! I had to use scissors and almost stabbed myself.

I can't wait to put on make up tomorrow morning!

Here is the big one separately, you can see the colors better.

The top left color is a really pretty green, below it a salmon/peach color. The middle row at the top is a purple, then below that is a dark green, then brown, then a pearl color.
The top right color is a really pretty royal blue and then a teal color.
The great thing about this brand of makeup is that they are a creamy powder so they really stay put all day.
I bought this little one below because this is the exact same one Lisa gave me and I've used up the white shadow up at the top. When you brush it on it it's kind of like a cream cover stick and then all your other colors stick really well to it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tee Shirts I Like

I saw a tee shirt the other day while watching an episode of House and I haven't been able to find the one he had which was just a picture of the country of Africa with a peace sign on the top of the country. While looking for it though, I found these that I thought were pretty funny, click on them to see them larger.

This one reminds me of my youth, remember the Coke song? I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a coke and keep it company.

Ahhhh, the good ol days. But this one made me laugh because it would be nice to teach the world to think. I know many a time while driving I get cut off by some idiot and I say to myself, "What were you thinking?"

This one I would wear, because I'm such a rebel! Yeah right! It's just cute because it's so true.

I like this one because all the grand kids call my mom Nana, and she's just as good for all of us as Milk is.

As long as we "got Nana" all is good in our World.

And this one doesn't need any explanation, I grew two people. Ironman and Spiderman, I'd like to see you try that one!

This is a good one considering the current state of affairs with gas prices. I can't believe here in Kern County in 2008 we're paying $4.45 for a gallon of GAS...who would of thought that?

When I started driving back in 1975 gas was 96 cents a gallon! I swear!

And this one is just a little bit cruder, but same message about highway robbery!

This is so me! I'm the Queen of Sarcasm. I don't
mean to be, but I'm so good at it!

I love this one, because I love shoes. I used to have a gazillion shoes and I was always buying more, but now that I live in poverty as a home owner...alas, I don't buy new shoes anymore.

But don't shoes make us feel great? I mean you can try on blouses, jeans and pants and feel like a big stuffed pig depending on the style, but shoes always make you feel skinny!

Hahaha, haven't we all experienced this one? I know I have at my last job. It felt, no, was HELL!

And I just don't get tee shirts like these. I think they're very derogatory towards women, just like that show Bridezilla was. It's the world trying to have us believe that women don't really care who they marry, the point of the game is to get someone to marry you. I don't know if I like this one, but it is cute and that was the point of this post, not to be politically correct, just cute.

One of Lisa's favorite sayings.

Do you remember these guys? Yep, the Archies! That's Veronica, Archie and Betty. I loved these comic books. They were the greatest. They were he closest thing we had back then to Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears and some of these other celebrities.

I always wanted to be Veronica, she always dressed so well and had such shiny, straight hair.

This was too funny, it reminds me of a tee shirt Isaac wears that says something about the voices in his head, I can't remember the exact saying, something like I do what the voices in my head tell me.

I've always said this saying because I love books. In one episode of my favorite show, Two and a Half Men, Alan has this breakdown in a bookstore and he freaks out. He starts to just grab books and talk about the authors and how he's going to read this one and that one, and on and on.

When I retire, all I want to do is spend my days reading.

Ok, these next few tee shirts, I'm not going to do a play by play on. All I'll say is that this year I'm turning 50. Mentally I didn't age gracefully. I'm just not where I thought I would be at age 50, but as the tee shirt above is what it cry and you cry alone, laugh and the world laughs with you, especially if they're all laughing at you :-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Pink Room

September of 2007 I bought a new house, well an older house, but new to me. The house was built in 1952, so it's just slightly older than me.

I'm posting pictures from one particular room in this house. When we first saw the house, Lisa and I instantly started calling it the "Pink Room" for obvious reasons once you see the pictures.

I'm doing this post under the label "Labor of Love" because the woman who lived and raised her family in this house before I bought it was an amazing woman.

I didn't know her personally as she has passed on and I bought the home from her children, but everyday I notice something new and special that makes me realize just how much she loved her home and her family, this room especially shows that.

The first picture has the most amazing story. It's the floor in the pink room. The carpeting is like Joseph's Coat of Many Colors. Her daughters tell me that their mother took the original carpet that was in the room, I'm not sure what color that was, but she turned it upside down in the room so that the rough brown side was showing, then she collected various pieces of carpets and rugs and cut them into smaller pieces and then took all these pieces and glued them to the turned over original carpet, making this a "Carpet of Many Colors" (click on picture to enlarge).

My sister and I were amazed when we heard this story. That someone would go to so much obvious trouble. Cutting and arranging and gluing all these pieces of carpet to create this masterpiece! My own mother is a very crafty person and there's not one member of our family that doesn't own a quilt that she has made for them so we understand how much love is involved in such an undertaking.

Before I moved into the house, I decided that I would replace the carpet in the living room, my bedroom and in the pink room. Showing their own labor of love my dad and brother offered to pay for the carpeting. But when I showed my brother the pink room he voiced what my sister and my nieces and my mom had already said, "You can't replace this, this is an original, this is a work of art". So as you can see by the picture I kept the carpeting. It's shabby and many of the pieces of carpet are worn, but everytime I see it it reminds me of my own mom and the strength and love women have.

The following pictures are just pictures showing why we called it the pink room. It's the perfect little girl's room I would have loved to have as a little girl. I've decorated it with some of the many bear's I've collected through the years and some dolls that April has given me. I still have boxes and boxes of bears stored in the garage and as soon as the weather is better and I have some energy I plan to have a yard sale.

Isn't the pink room pretty? No one lives in it, it's kind of my guest room.

Usually there is a quilt my mom made with bears all over it, but I took it off to wash it and didn't put it back on, but talking about the quilts has given me an idea of taking pictures of everyone's quilts and doing a separate post on them.

Salsa Roll-Ups

I tried making these today, they don't look hard, here's the recipe from

Total Time:15 min
Makes:10 servings, two roll-ups each
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Four Cheese Mexican Style Cheese
chili powder
MIX Neufchatel Cheese and salsa. Spread evenly onto tortillas; top with shredded cheese. Sprinkle lightly with chili powder.
ROLL up each tortilla tightly. Cut each crosswise into five slices.
ARRANGE, cut-sides down, on serving platter.
Make Ahead
Prepare roll-ups as directed, but do not cut into slices. Tightly wrap each roll-up in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 4 hours. Cut into slices as directed just before serving.

I didn't really think they were that great, but now that I posted the recipe I can see that I made one change and one total mistake. The change I made was to use Cream Cheese, not Neufchatel, but I've tasted Neufchatel and I don't like it, thats why I made the change. The total mistake I made is when I read the recipe, the last ingredient I thought said sprinkle with Shredded Cheese, so I used up the rest of the Medium Cheddar Cheese I had and I sprinkled with Cayenne Pepper for a little extra kick.

If I ever try this again I'll probably also spread in some diced up black to green olives and use the hot salsa.

Here's a picture of the ones I made. I think they may have cooked their tortilla's first also, although they don't say that in the recipe. Oh well, live and learn.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reflections from a Mother's Heart

I decided Thursdays would be my day to take a question out of the journal "Reflections from a Mother's Heart. This week has been so hot that I haven't felt much like doing anything. Lisa and I did try to go play tennis last night, but people were using the tennis courts, so we had ice cream cones and played ping pong instead.

The question this week is:

Were you baptized or dedicated as an infant? If so, where and by whom.

I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant. Of course I don't remember anything about it and I've never seen a picture, so I can only assume that 50 years ago, there were no cameras in our immediate family.

I do know that my mom and dad's first choice for godparents "padrinos" were Arturo and Casimera Soliz. I don't know the story about why they were not able to actually make it to the baptism itself. I know something happened and Arturo's parents, Adolfo and Carmen Soliz were at the ceremony by proxy. So I had 2 sets of padrinos.

I don't know who the priest was, but I know it was at St. Helens Catholic Church in Eloy, Arizona and I also made my first Holy Communion there.

When I got married, I chose Arturo and Casimera as my main padrinos, since they had already been my padrino's for baptism, which is usually the custom.

Today, only Casimera and Carmen are still living, the men having passed on. I see my Tia Casi a few times a year, but it's been years since I've seen my madrino Carmen and she's only a few miles away in a nursing home. Maybe this Saturday I'll ask my mom to go with me to visit her.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day 2008 - Random Pictures

Lisa enjoying some shade under dad's famous fig tree...

Pretty little Clarissa with that beautiful smile!
She bought her daddy a new TV today!

The Frogman, or is it the Road Warrior? This is Fred Jr with a mohawk he got for the summer.

The two men in my life, dad and my son Jim

The "men folk". The grilling dad's of 2008. The main chef supervising the boys grilling like he taught them.

Sweet little Melissa, look at that face!

Sweet little Melissa look at that face! Mmmmmm, where's the beef?

Bikini beauty!

And another Video

I'm going to post just one more because this one shows the other two dads in our family, my brothers Fred and Jaime. Only one dad was missing, Lisa's husband Sean aka Guero, but alas, he was working this day. Hopefully Lisa will show him this video. Hope you enjoy it, I love seeing my brothers together. Even though they don't seek each other out on a daily, hourly, minutely basis as Lisa and I do, when they get together you can see the love they have for each other. Enjoy!

The Daddy of Them All Video

This is my first time posting a video, so I hope it works. This is my dad at the BBQ in honor of all the dad's in our family.

Ok, I think it worked as I see my dad above. He wasn't aware that I was filming and he was opening a card that my brother Jaime's family had given him. Watch how cool he trys to be about the money that comes out of the card.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Know your Lovers & Friends by their Sun Sign
VIRGO - The Perfectionist Dominant in relationships. Conservative. Always wants the last word. Argumentative. Worries. Very smart. Dislikes noise and chaos. Eager. Hardworking. Loyal. Beautiful. Easy to talk to. Hard to please. Harsh. Practical and very fussy. Often shy. Pessimistic.

SCORPIO - The Intense One Very energetic. Intelligent. Can be jealous and/or possessive. Hardworking. Great kisser. Can become obsessive or secretive. Holds grudges. Attractive. Determined. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Romantic. Can be self-centered at times. Passionate and Emotional.

LIBRA - The Harmonizer Nice to everyone they meet. Can't make up their mind. Have own unique appeal. Creative, energetic, and very social. Hates to be alone. Peaceful, generous. Very loving and beautiful. Flirtatious. Give in too easily. Procrastinators. Very gullible.

ARIES - The Daredevil Energetic. Adventurous and spontaneous. Confident and enthusiastic. Fun. Loves a challenge. EXTREMELY impatient. Sometimes selfish. Short fuse. (Easily angered.) Lively, passionate, and sharp wit. Outgoing. Lose interest quickly - easily bored. Egotistical. Courageous and assertive. Tends to be physical and athletic.

AQUARIUS - The Sweetheart Optimistic and honest. Sweet personality. Very independent. Inventive and intelligent. Friendly and loyal. Can seem unemotional. Can be a bit rebellious. Very stubborn, but original and unique Attractive on the inside and out. Eccentric personality.

GEMINI - The Chatterbox Smart and witty. Outgoing, very chatty. Lively, energetic. Adaptable but needs to express themselves. Argumentative and outspoken. Likes change. Versatile. Busy, sometimes nervous and tense. Gossips. May seem superficial or inconsistent, but is only changeable. Beautiful physically and mentally.

LEO - The Boss Very organized. Need order in their lives - like being in control. Like boundaries. Tend to take over everything. Bossy. Like to help others. Social and outgoing. Extroverted. Generous, warm-hearted. Sensitive. Creative energy. Full of themselves. Loving. Doing the right thing is important to Leos. Attractive.

CANCER - The Protector Moody, emotional. May be shy.. Very loving and caring. Pretty/handsome. Excellent partners for life. Protective. Inventive and imaginative. Cautious. Touchy-feely kind of person. Needs love from others. Easily hurt, but sympathetic

PISCES - The Dreamer Generous, kind, and thoughtful. Very creative and imaginative. May become secretive and vague. Sensitive. Don't like details Dreamy and unrealistic. Sympathetic and loving. Kind. Unselfish. Good kisser. Beautiful.

CAPRICORN - The Go-Getter Patient and wise. Practical and rigid. Ambitious. Tends to be good-looking. Humorous and funny. Can be a bit shy and reserved. Often pessimists. Capricorns tend to act before they think and can be unfriendly y at times. Hold grudges. Like competition. Get what they want.

TAURUS - The Enduring One Charming but aggressive. Can come off as boring, but they are not. Hard workers. Warm-hearted. Strong, has endurance. Solid beings who are stable and secure in their ways. Not looking for shortcuts. Take pride in their beauty. Patient and reliable. Make great friends and give good advice. Loving and kind. Loves hard - passionate. Express themselves emotionally. Prone to ferocious temper-tantrums. Determined. Indulge themselves often. Very generous.

SAGITTARIUS - The Happy-Go-Lucky One Good-natured optimist. Doesn't want to grow up (Peter Pan Syndrome). Indulges self. Boastful. Likes luxuries and gambling. Social and outgoing. Doesn't like responsibilities. Often fantasizes. Impatient. Fun to be around. Having lots of friends. Flirtatious. Doesn't like rules. Sometimes hypocritical. Dislikes being confined - tight spaces or even tight clothes. Doesn't like being doubted. Beautiful inside and out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reflections from a Mother's Heart

Describe your childhood bedroom. What was the view from your window?

This is the next question in the journal I mentioned in my post of June 5, 2008 and it's a hard question to answer because I had so many childhood bedrooms. We were a family of nomads basically as my dad worked as a farm hand and we always lived in homes provided by the farm up until I was 18 years old.

We first lived in Eloy, Arizona. I remember living in about 3 or 4 houses there and I don't remember much about my bedroom, the clearest thing I remember is a huge weeping willow in the yard and ever since I've always loved weeping willows.

After we left Eloy, we traveled to Harquahala, Arizona. There we lived in a really cute house. I remember that one pretty clearly but oddly enough I don't remember my bedroom. I remember the living room and staying up late watching scary movies with my mom. I remember the kitchen and eating with my dad and I remember my mom being pregnant with my baby brother Jaime and sitting on her bed and she let us each pick a name we wanted for the baby and we put the names in my dad's hat and my sister had chosen Jaime because she had a crush on a little boy in school named Jaime aka Jimmy Lopez. And that's how Jaime got his name.

After Harquahala, we moved to Yuma, Arizona and I don't really remember my bedroom there too well, but I do remember my mom let my sister and I set up everything the way we wanted. I remember my cousin Albert lived with us because he was going to college in Yuma and I can remember both my mom and I crying because I didn't know how to do math and my mom telling me to wait for Albert to come home since he was a college student and he didn't know how to do my math either!

After Yuma, we moved to Poston, Arizona. I remember this room just a tiny bit, it was blue with twin beds and I remember each night I would do a hundred sit ups in bed because even way back then I was obsessed with my weight. I remember sitting up and that slamming myself back so hard into the mattress that it would pop me back up, which made sit ups a breeze! I never even got sore.

After Poston, we moved to Calipatria, California. Once we moved there we stayed there from my 8th grade year to graduation from high school. We lived in two houses and I remember my bedroom in the first house because I had a room all to myself and I used to stay up really late talking on the phone with Hector Gutierrez. The second house I don't remember the bedroom too much, but I remember the view, it was a field, usually of cotton but sometimes it was tomatoes or something else.

Once we left Calipatria, we moved to Shafter. I clearly remember my bedroom in Shafter because I was 18 by then. I remember sharing the room with my sister and while I don't remember the decor, I remember my sister popping every bone in her body before she went to sleep and also she made this sound like a dog scratching itself.

I guess the important thing looking back is not how big the room was, what was in it, what color paint was on the wall, whether or not I had a TV, video games, stereo, etc, etc. The important thing was the memories made in that room and in the whole house. The memory of loving parents, brothers and sister, adventures, fights, games and all the other things that went along with growing up in the wonderful family I call mine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Home Cooking

I was starving today when I came home and I was in the kitchen thinking I was just going to eat a couple of flour tortilla's with sliced avocado in them when I realized that I had all the makings of a real "Alarcon" down home meal.

My dad (pictured at left) can make a meal of almost anything as long as he has tomatoes and jalapeno's. He mixes them with potatoes or shredded beef or eggs or spam and even ground beef. MMMMmm good. So I had just a little bit of ground beef left over from the chili beans that I had made yesterday and so I thought I would try dad's recipe.

So I browned the ground beef in a pan with salt and onion powder. While it was browning I sliced and diced the tomatoes and jalapeno's. Once the meat was browned I added first the tomatoes, see below:

These were Roma tomatoes, not the regular big red tomatoes, so they didn't release as much liquid as they should have, but then again they don't have as many seeds and that's why I prefer them. Ok, so after the tomatoes cook with the meat a bit, add the jalapenos, like so...

There you go, and of course this meal wouldn't be complete without refried beans...

Now here I had barely spooned the beans into the pan, so they're not smashed and refried yet. I don't have a "done" picture of them because I let them overcook, just a little bit, without meaning to and they weren't picture perfect. They tasted great but they didn't look appetizing.

And here's the cook, happy and ready to heat up a couple of tortillas and sit down to a meal that brings back her childhood...

My son, Jim got into the mood of cooking after seeing me and decided he'd bake brownies. You can see my tortilla's sitting there on the counter ready to be heated up.

And here's a slice of finished brownies, I decided to slice them with the pizza slicer to make them more camera worthy...
Mmmmmmm Good!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mom's Perm

About 8 years ago I learned how to give perms. I gave one to my daughter when she was just a little girl and then started giving them to my mom. I always thought it was so great because of everyone, I was the only one that got to play with my mom's nappy little head! It was something that I knew I would cherish after she passed.

About 5 years or so ago, her dear friend Concha started giving mom her perms. I was busy and going to school, new job, etc, etc, etc. You know those things that get in our way...every day living. At first I was bothered because that was my thing, you know? But then I realized that my mom loved Concha, Concha loved my mom and my mom was the closest thing to a mother that Concha had, so I figured, moment in the sun is over and I let Concha continue without any ill will.

So Saturday my mom told me she would like me to give her a perm. I asked what happened to Concha and she said that Concha is still willing to do it, but my mom feels bad asking her because Concha now lives about 25 miles away and gas is $4.59 or more a gallon. So I told her sure, I would come over on Monday after work and do that for her.

So that's what I did tonight, I reopened Alicia's Beauty Salon and got to play with my mommas nappy little head again. I really enjoyed the time we spent together and nothing is ever a chore or a sense of responsibility with my moms, it's a joy.

Here's some pics from the evening, my memories captured labor of love.

Here's the before picture. This is my mom's scary face, she's made this face to every grandchild and I remember once coming home from school and she was in her bedroom in front of her mirror and I said hi mom and she turned around and this is the face I saw!!! She scared the height right out of me which is why I'm only 5'2".

Step One: The setting of the curlers. This is the hardest part because you have to take tiny little strips of hair and wind it around the curlers you see by using a tiny little sheet of curling paper.

So here I have the top and back.

Here's a back and side view. I couldn't get the little bottom hairs rolled, but mom's going to go get her hair cut and they usually cut that part and it will blend...I hope, I hope, I hope.
*crossing fingers*

Here's mom, all rolled up now and I guess I didn't pull her hair too bad because she's still smiling.

I know that there are some blue and pinks rollers in there. The blue are because those areas had hair that was either too short or there wasn't room for a pink one.

Another view and we're ready for the finished product!

And there you have it, you notice it's dark outside the window by now? If you scroll up you will see it was still daylight outside when I started, this ain't easy folks, but I'M BACK, I loved doing this for my mom.

Below, just a couple more views only because I did a heck of a job!