Do what you love…

…And you’ll never work a day in your life.

Find out what you love, and the whole process becomes a little easier.  Suffice it to say, I’m still searching, but I have had positive steps forward in my current job(I’ve been with this company for nearly 10 years now, can I call this my career?).

Training grown folks is alright — developing the training program for those grown folks is my jam, and it turns out I’m good at it. I guess my worry(if I have one) is that a large part of my enjoyment in what I do is that I know this position very well — so training is pretty simple.  Hey, wasn’t my last post something about scaring myself/challenging myself?

Yeah, still working on that.

Oh oh oh-oh, blogging with myself.

I’m not one for resolutions — and don’t go thinking that this is me going around, I don’t know, making one — but I do enjoy setting goals for myself.  Sometimes I set those goals in January — IT’S STILL NOT A RESOLUTION. At any rate, in casually chatting with a friend, I remembered, “Oh hey.. I used to do this thing, where I would, you know, write down things I felt…and if you go back far enough, take a lot of shitty quizzes.”

I love to write. It’s cathartic, it’s somewhat therapeutic. It’s a window into my brain, where I can almost take my emotional temperature and compare it to how much more mature I am now, and how much I really still don’t like waiting (way to go, 2002 me).

So…yeah. I’m going to do something that’s probably horribly egotistical and waaaaaay more self-examining than usual for me, and write with myself from the past 14 years.  I don’t have any early intentions of allowing this to get too precious with the dates, but one never knows how it will end.

At any rate, today’s flashback is from this date in 2003, where I detailed my adventures in trying to get a job with the State Department.  I have very vague memories of that whole experience, so I’m glad that I captured that piece of it.  I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, trying for that, but I’m kind of proud of myself that I did.  It was a really huge leap, and I don’t often do that sort of thing anymore.  My current job, though certainly a leap from working at JTV, was more of a “Well, I have a job, and this would be nice… but I don’t need it.” sort of thing.  Of course the training was a bear, and I was fairly sure that I would never be smart enough to handle the work, but here I am 6 years later.  Take that, low-self esteem me of 2010!

So, I suppose if I were to give myself a resolution –AND I’M NOT– it would be to take more chances. Put myself out there more…scare myself.

Thanks, 2003 me.

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Keto Groceries

I don’t know that I’ll be able to sustain the activity, but I’m going to toss up my grocery list for the next 2 weeks — I wish I’d started this sooner — to keep track of what I’m buying and different recipes I’ll be trying. So here goes!

2 flank steaks (at least 2 lbs each)
2 8 oz bags of fresh spinach
2 16 oz mozzarella cheese
4 12 oz bags frozen cauliflower
2 16 oz bricks cheddar cheese
28(at least) chicken thighs (prefer skin on/boneless, but that’s a hard combo to get)
2 lg containers sour cream
2 lg bags frozen broccoli

The flank steak is for Caveman Keto’s Flank Steak Pinwheels, and I’m super excited for the change in dinners. The chicken is for my usual lunch of 2 chicken thighs and broccoli with cheese. Whee!

Ping Pong? Pinball? Yeah.. pinball.

I remember when I was filling out all of the forms for the Foreign Service, back in the early 2000s, I had to prepare all sorts of information for my background check. They wanted me to list people who I believed knew me well enough to be able to answer questions about my character, and they also wanted to know about the placed I’d lived in for the past 10 years.

Back then, those 10 years would have included at least 4 residences in Milwaukee, WI (I’m including Brown Deer, even though it’s technically a town of it’s own. For the sake of science, I’m calling it Milwaukee. So there.), Albuquerque, Dayton, Pisgah Forest, Atlanta, Knoxville(also 3 separate times, but a whopping 8 residences(but at the time, I’d only had 4)), Las Vegas, Quartzite, Warwick, Providence, and Silver Spring(2 different residences).

18 homes in 10 years. If that’s not rootless, I don’t know what is. Which is why I marvel sometimes at how I’ve managed to live in the same house for nearly 5 years now. I see it in the growing collection of ‘stuff’ that I am amassing. I have lugged boxes of books around for a long time. Now, I have bookshelves that I keep adding more books to, and sometimes I think to myself, “Oh man, how will I pack all of this?” It’s like I’m always nearly ready to need to move again, but…having not done so in years, I’m more relaxed about it than I’ve ever been before.

And then I see my kids, and shit. I know how shit happens. I’ve walked that walk, right? Sometimes, shit happens, and you have to react, instead of enjoying the luxury of being proactive. But dammit. I don’t want the pinball life for them.

Ideally, they will find a place that is home to them, and they will be happy. That’s what I’m hoping for, ever hoping.

I almost cried at work today.

There are a lot of things that are difficult about following this new nutrition plan (I refuse to call it a “diet”). The list of things I can’t have seems to grow everyday. Bread was hard to give up. Giving up chocolate had me close to an actual anxiety situation. I couldn’t stop thinking about chocolate.. it was as though the smell, the taste, the varieties.. everything about chocolate that I knew was on constant repeat in my head.

Then along came magnesium supplements, and I was saved. Thank you, magnesium. For many things — but for that especially.

Working where I do, this di–er, nutrition plan is rather difficult as well. We love food at Whirlpool. We love to cook it, we love to talk about it, and (of course) we LOVE to eat it. There’s food days, holidays, new people coming onto the team, old people leaving the team. We worked especially hard? Here’s some food in appreciation. Before I started this plan, I was down with this 100%. Who doesn’t love to be appreciated? Not me.

Ok, so.. here I am, KCKO (keeping calm, keto-ing on) and I’m beset on all sides by the inequities of “normal” food containing so many carbs, and the tyranny of sugar. Today has been particularly rough because I haven’t lost a pound since I last weighed myself (I’m on more than a week stall now), and all I want to do is comfort myself with food. I’m an emotional eater, and by fucking damn, I was emotional as fuck this morning.

When I came into work this morning, I was greeted by a table full of donuts, donut holes, fruit, and fruit juices. It almost broke me, and I was pretty sure that I was going to be a surly fucking bitch for the rest of the day. I’d even penciled it into my calendar. “Fuck everyone today, I’m going to hate on EVERYTHING. The end.”

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… the big boss in the building comes around with a trolley of ice cream to disperse. I was all prepared to just say, “No, thank you,” but.. he said the magic words as he was telling my coworker what was available. He said… “sugar free.” My eyes welled up.. and I fanned my face… the universal hand signal in my acquaintance for “I’m about to bawl my fucking eyes out, yo.”

I didn’t, thankfully. But I did get a delicious, cherry-flavored popsicle. And it was everything I needed it to be today.

Adventures in Rice Cooker Quiche

So, Reddit is enjoying itself with rice cooker pancakes all of a sudden, and not being able to actually have pancakes right now, it got me to thinking: What about rice cooker quiche? I finally have all of the ingredients assembled, so… here’s what happened!

First stop was to cook the bacon and the italian sausage (they’re going into separate quiches), and I decided to bake the bacon this time, instead of pan-frying. Turned out rather well, I think!

Next, the sausage, which I broke up very nicely, thanks to that slightly odd-looking pink contraption.  Thanks, mom (it was a gift, and a very good one, from Pampered Chef)!

Now, I moved on to the fun stuff — the egg mixture!  I tried with 4 eggs and heavy whipping cream, but it seemed like I’d put in more cream than I intended, so…in went another egg.

I didn’t add a lot of salt because I knew I’d be adding some parm cheese in, but did crack quite a bit of pepper in(yum).

I had a jar of salsa that I’d almost finished — it had maybe 1/4 cup left in it, so I tossed a tablespoon of butter in there and tossed it in the microwave to melt the butter, then into the bowl.

Lastly, I tore up 4 pieces of bacon, and then stirred everything together before transferring it to the rice cooker pan.

Ok, so.. my rice cooker is not the best (it’s a 6-cupper, too.. so rather on the small side), and not the worst.  Sadly, it doesn’t have a handy-dandy timer on it, like some fancier ones I’ve seen, but it does the job.  I knew I’d have to babysit this first pot, and I’m glad I did.

That bar pops up when the cooker thinks it’s job is done.  And it won’t push back down for anything, unless you let it sit in warm for about 2 minutes.  All-told, I think I pushed that bar down 4 times .. for a total cook time of about 30 minutes.

This is the beauty that greeted me after about 30 minutes.  It’s fluffy-looking, and smells amazing. I knew that I needed to let it cool down and set though.

I was so excited to test it out, though.. I didn’t let it set as much as I should have. Next time, I will behave! Promise!

The pan was still pretty warm (ok, ok.. it was hot!) when I flipped the whole thing onto a plate.  I think if I had let it cool, this part would have been a bit easier on me.. but I was impatient, so I tilted the bowl, and with a knife ‘helped’ the quiche down onto the plate.

And this is why we put on our patient panties and leave shit alone to do it’s thing. SHEESH.  So, one side of it broke up a bit, but it wasn’t terrible at all. Especially because the other side looks SO PRETTY ZOMG.

I think I’m going to take 5 minutes off of the cook time, and add 20 minutes of Rachel leaving it alone time.. the top was this lovely brown, but it could have been lighter, and less-cooked and it would have still been pretty.

Finally, I cut into my cute little quiche, and served myself up a slice.

Absolutely AMAZING. The parm gave it a nice saltiness, the bacon was heaven, and the butter and cheese made it so satisfying.

I’m going to make as many of these as I can stand to, and the next batch is going to be with the spicy Italian sausage!

19 years ago, today…

…a lot of stuff happened. I did a quick and dirty Google search, and…there were movies released that were not that great, some books were released that were ok, the songs on the radio..don’t get me started.

More importantly, what happened 19 years ago, just after 1 pm in the afternoon, I became a mother to Joseph Ford Ely, and one minute later, to Anna Cathryn Ely. What I remember most about the birth was that I was terrified, had a chest cold, and was certain within my soul that I was annoying the living shit out of everyone during my many anxiety and panic attacks. These were brought on because I had a chest cold and a wet cough, coupled with an epidural that would not allow me to cough the phlegm out of my lungs = panic attacks. I remember crying a lot, saying “I’m sorry,” a lot, and then a lot of pressure where they were taking the babies out of my tummy for me (they were very kind to do that for me, since the babies were being very stubbornly transverse), and Ace watching over the curtain as this was all going on, while steadily holding my hand and telling me in no uncertain terms that I was not being annoying or whiny. I remember cries as each child was ‘birthed’, and then not much else after that. They were so small, and so wrinkly.. their in-hospital pictures showed the jaundice a little.. just a tinge of yellow in their skin that was gone in days, if memory serves (and it usually doesn’t).

So, 19 years ago, I became a mommy. And today marks the beginning of the very last year I can say that I am the mommy of teenagers. Anna and Joseph have, in their own ways, transitioned into the adult phase of their life; Joseph has a very adult-sounding job of selling cars to people and his own apartment, and Anna is a certified massage therapist and soon to be a mommy herself — making me a grandmother in 6 months!

Many things will change for them in the years to come, dreams, careers, lovers, and friends. They will always have a mother that loves and supports their decisions (even when it’s difficult to agree with them), and a place to land should those decisions not manifest the outcomes of their choosing. Just like I had, with my mom–soon to be great-grandmother herself!

Happy Birthday, Anna and Joseph, my Joseph Pie and Anna Cakes.

Anna and Joseph, that first Christmas
Anna and Joseph, that first Christmas

So much going on, where to begin?

So, a week and a half ago, I got a call from my son, J.  It was later in the evening, and I had a couple of friends over to help me celebrate having made it to another weekend.

He wanted me to come and get him — he wanted to move out of his father’s house.

I won’t go into the whys, that’s not for me to share.  What I will say is that I’ve been waiting for this call for some time now, and I’m happy that I was able to answer it.

Since his arrival coincided with a bit of financial Peter/Pauling on my part(this is a good thing, I’ll add), it’s been a relatively easy transition, I think.  There’s still a few things we need to get — we both need dressers (I’m tired of living off of hangers, and having no home for socks and delicate things), the house is looking amazing thanks to his help and a couple of other friends as well, and he’s already fixed a few things in the house that I just never got around to calling/hiring someone to do.  Projects still abound, though. The upstairs needs to be finished and turned into his loft-like bedroom, and the 2nd bedroom downstairs can then be made into a guest room/office for us both.

In the mean time, we’re scheduling things like GED tests, drivers tests, looking at colleges and considering certain branches of the military.  It’s going to be a whirlwind of activity between now and January 1 — and I’m thrilled with all of it.

This is a new chapter for me, the continuation of a story that got cut rather short for me 14 years ago, so there’s a lot of ground for me to make up.