Monday, January 24, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook: 24JAN11

Simple Woman's Daybook: 17Jan11
Outside my window...rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.
I am thinking...that I am not in very much of a Pollyanna mood right now.
I am thankful for...a home where I am safe and warm.
From the learning rooms...learned a song tonight on my guitar, plus happy birthday earlier in the week.
From the kitchen...pork rubbed with Greek oregano and cilantro.
I am wearing...a camp shirt and cut-off sweat pants.
I am creating...nothing, really.
I am going...--possibly--to go crazy.
I am reading...English Fairy Tales.
I am hoping...to have a better attitude.
I am hearing...Pop rummaging around in the kitchen.
Around the house...it is silent except for the above-mentioned rummaging.
One of my favorite things...meeting new people, like Jay, whom I met last Friday at the Subway here in town.
A few plans for the rest of the week: clean my room maybe

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


These two are some of the wonderful people at the Books-a-million. I saw my favorite B-A-M person that day--Michael--but I didn't think about getting his picture. The employees at this bookstore just plain ol' rock. They always help me get what I need. They listen to my concerns when I have them. It is a comfortable place to be. Y'all should go. Just sayin'.

This is Kacie. She was named after a girl in a song AND she is really cool and super smart and she knows a ton about music and movies! : )

This is Roy. He is funny and very helpful. In fact, he made me go back twice and find a third book cos they were on sale--buy two get one free. :)

Mellow Yellow Monday 17JAN11

Monday, January 17, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook: 17JAN11

Simple Woman's Daybook: 17Jan11
Outside my window...darkness--guess I must always do this blog at night-time cos it is always dark outside.
I am thinking...that I am very, very tired.
I am thankful for...that I had a weekend off in Galveston!
From the learning rooms...Time Magazine is really cool.
From the kitchen...nothing special, really.
I am wearing...penguin pajamas
I am creating...a plan.
I am going...hiking tomorrow.
I am reading...several books at once.
I am hoping...that I can change my life.
I am hearing...a movie through my earphones.
Around the house...not one single thing is happening.
One of my favorite things...seeing people who make me feel special.
A few plans for the rest of the week: other than work? sleeping and hiking.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kute and Kurious Kayleigh

I was running late this past Sunday morning, so I didn't get to Bible Class/Worship until a few minutes after it began. Usually, I sit up on the front left, but since I was late, I didn't want to disturb people, so I sat in the back with Kayleigh and her grandma.
Kayleigh wanted to sit by me which was gratifying. She is just so cute. When she saw that I took my shoes off (I hate shoes), she immediately reached down to take her shoes off.
Tell ya what--that girl is one Curious George. Every single thing I had was interesting to her. My pink pepper spray key-chain entrances her every single time she sees me. In fact, sometimes when I am putting on my coat after worship, I see her marching over to me, with a smile on her face. The first thing she says to me is "Can I see your weapon?" She calls it a weapon cos the first time she asked me what it was, I told her the truth. I also told her that she CANNOT press the button. When she asked why, I told her that it would REALLY REALLY hurt someone. What made me laugh is that that evening at worship, her grandma came up to me and asked me what I told her about the pink pepper spray case. After I told her, she laughed out loud. I was puzzled until she told me that our favorite blonde girl told her that if you press the button, you would MURDER someone. Ha! How hilarious! A funny result on our three person "telephone" game.
Next, she asked me about the key-chain which holds my USB flash drive. Since there was no flash drive in the leather case, I figured the easiest way to explain it to her was to grab a piece of scrap paper and stuff it in there. She thought it was interesting, but immediately removed my scrunched up scrap of paper, climbed over me, and whispered something to her grandma. I was curious and delighted when I saw her take something out of her grandma's hand and insert it into the leather case. It was a slice of gum! How cute! She understood what the case was for and found a really cool way to use it.
She loves my Kindle--on which I house several books, one of which is the New American Standard Bible. She asked what it was and picked it up, wondering how it worked. She wanted to know how I turned the pages. I showed her and then she proceeded to turn the pages back and forth for about five to ten minutes. She loved my 'puter Bible!
When I took out my money to put into the plate during the Lord's Supper, she grabbed it from me and said, "I'll put this in the plate. I'm good at that job!" HAHA!! How hilarious! but I'm glad that she likes putting money in the plate. Maybe she'll be very generous as she grows older.
After worship was over, I asked her to pose for a photo. She has my key-chain as a necklace, with the pink pepper spray as a pendant. In her right hand is my ten dollar bill. In her left hand is my 'puter Bible and on her face are my reading glasses which she took earlier in the service. She wore and modeled them for me and her grandmother. Just cute as a button!!

After worship, I ate a personal pan pizza--with pepperoni, black olives, green peppers, and mushrooms--and then went to CVS to buy a few things. I saw a pink patchwork stuffed animal, a bear. I couldn't resist it or the $2.99 heart necklace with a pink rhinestone center. She really enjoyed the gifts and when worship began, she scooted right up next to me, snuggled in to my side and told me, with her eyes closed and a smile on her face, "I like you."

She made my day. Que adorable, yeah?

Our shoe-less feet!

My portable gum container.

Kayleigh posing for a photo.

Kayleigh's bear singing during evening worship. :)

The Phoenix Project, 13JAN11

On the day after Christmas--as I was driving back home to Buna--I saw myself in the mirror of a truck stop. Man, I looked OLD! 'Course that could have been cos of my lack of sleep the weeks leading up to Boxing Day. Whatever the reason, I felt and looked old. I was also completely aware of the fact that I have gained some weight since I moved to Buna. Very few of my clothes fit me anymore. Because of these new realizations, I decided that I must make some changes. I'm writing this blog a little late cos I've already begun the project. Two days before New Year's Day, I began exercising.

I bought some exercise DVDS. One is a Latin Dancing Cardio DVD taught by some of the professional dancers on that celebrity dance show (can't remember the name). One is a Kettlebell workout with Jillian from The Biggest Loser. One is a 4-DVD bellydancing set. Of course, there is also walking and hiking on my days off and dancing around my room with my IPOD in my ears. So, I haven't been able to work out every day, but I'm getting to the point where I'm enjoying it. So, I think it'll be easier than I thought it would be.

Some of you know that I went to the Cardiologist on Monday. There is nothing really wrong right now. My heart rate does go really high sometimes, that's true. However, it always goes back down to normal eventually. The doctors seem to think that this is a good sign. I'm going to trust them, of course. One thing that makes me happy about the result of this visit to my Cardiologist is that I don't have to any more medications for my heart! YAY! One thing she emphasized; however, is that I MUST get my diabetes under control and I MUST work on getting and maintaining a healthier body. What a task!!

I have a seriously challenging project to accomplish. My Cardiologist, PA Joshua, told me that I MUST commit to a complete lifestyle change. I have to exercise an average of 20 minutes a day. I have to change my eating style. I have to stay away from sugar as much as possible (sigh). I have to stay away from salt as often as possible. She suggested baking and grilling and chicken and fish more than any other options. She suggested more fruit (which Pop and I are pretty good about anyway) and veggies. Also, more water!!

One good piece of news is that I'm already losing weight. Granted it isn't much, but I've lost 2 pounds since my last visit to the doctor. On the way home from the doctor, I bought a Brita water filter. Ya know, those bottled waters can start building up to a hefty price. I bought the Brita for $20.00. Granted the replacement filters can be a bit expensive, but even if they're $ 15.00 each, they're supposed to last two months. Buying 6 to 8 servings of water a day can build up, too, yeah? I also bought some veggies (brussels sprouts, asparagus, and some lettuce) so hopefully, we can get started right away with this new commitment.

So, I'm calling this The Phoenix Project. I'll be updating at least once a month with new numbers--even if they're bad numbers. I won't be telling you which body parts I'm measuring (although perhaps you might guess) I'll just have them numbered and I'll report on how much I've gained or lost on the numbered area. Hopefully, the numbers will change in a more healthy way. Since I will be doing some weights (Jillians's Kettlebell) then the numbers may go up, but that'll be cos I'm gaining muscle instead of losing fat--although hopefully, I'll lose fat, too.

So, now you're informed. Let's get on with The Phoenix Project!
Here are the numbers, taken today 13JAN11:
1-17 6/8th inches
2-43 inches
3-39 inches
4-45 5/8 inches
5-15 inches

And here is a picture of me taken on 03JAN11, a few days after I started the exercising. I'll be taking this picture once a month so you can see if any changes are taking places. Okay, wish me success!! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook: 09JAN11

Simple Woman's Daybook: 09JAN11
Outside my window...cloudy skies and almost rainy.
I am thinking...that tomorrow might be a long one.
I am thankful for...the fact that I haven't taken down my pretty Christmas tree yet. It is so purty!
From the learning rooms...French Rosetta Stone! It came in the mail Friday.
From the kitchen...some ice cream in the freezer. And what is most annoying is that it is quietly crooning my name.
I am wearing...blue, green, white, and grey pajama bottoms and a green shirt.
I am creating...something for some friends of mine because I opted to participate in the "Home-made pay it forward 2011."
I am going...to sleep in my own room tonight!!!
I am reading...Pollyanna Grows Up.
I am hoping...that the Cardiologist can find a somewhat natural way to stop my elevated heart rate.
I am hearing...a commercial on TV-land.
Around the house...Pop and I are watching 'Everybody loves Raymond.'
One of my favorite things...seeing people who make me feel special.
A few plans for the rest of the week: a trip to Galveston on Friday!

A photo for your thoughts:

Winter Day in Silsbee :)

My apologies--I have to bring this up again--but...

...McAlister's Deli is really great! First I want to mention that I wrote about them last week. Well, today, I am writing about them again. I hope none of my regular readers are bored by a re-visitation to McAlister's Deli. And, Adam (co-owner of McAlister's) I don't want you thinking that I'm working it so that I can have more VIP passes. I promise I'm not. I just like to write about things which make me happy, yeah?

So, onto my second visit. I was in Beaumont again on Saturday so I decided to go again and try something other than what I ate last week. When I walked into the store, one of the managers, Christi Berger, greeted me in a very friendly manner. It made me feel special, as if she recognized me from last week. She might not have, but I'll just keep up my little fantasy that she did, yeah? I'm ego-centric that way. ;-P So, I had to look over the menu again for a year and seven days cos they have so much to offer. There are SO many interesting things on the menu. I wonder if I'll ever get around to eating everything? Maybe so--but maybe not cos I'm swiftly developing some favorites.

However, yesterday I chose a combo--of sorts. For just a little less than $ 7.00, I was able to "CHOOSE ANY TWO." The choices? 1) any half sandwich, wrap, or panini 2) any half spud 3) any cup of soup 4) any half salad. I chose a cup of their potato soup. Of course, I added chives, bacon, and cheese and it was DELICIOUS. I told the manager one of the numerous times she walked past me that she should never allow me to purchase a whole bowl. I would eat it all!!! That much potato soup would be bad for me! It was just to-die-for-delicious!

My other "choose any two" was a new salad which they offer. I can't remember the name of it; however, it had mixed greens, dried cranberries, honey almonds, sherry shallot dressing, and other things. I wish I could remember the name, but I suppose that if you mentioned the new salad with the sherry shallot dressing, they'd prolly guide ya in the right direction. There are so many combinations you could make just for the "CHOOSE ANY TWO" option, so--perhaps--we should all make it a habit to visit McAlister's often? Needless to say, the choice I made yesterday was fabulous.

They are also really famous for their tea. They even have a fan-site on Facebook. Their fans are so ubiquitous that they even make tee-shirts for their tea-lover-fans! You can check out their tea-lover fan-site here. They have a tea-lover program, also. When you buy your first tea, you oughta ask for the tea card. Every time you buy one, you can get your card punched. After 9 punches, you get a free tea! YAY! If you're interested in the Beaumont store, you can also check them out on Facebook.

I didn't notice when I came around the first time, but they also have some good-looking desserts. I chose the chocolate one, but they also feature a carrot cake and a cheesecake. I think carrot cake will be the next one I try. I'm not much of a cheesecake fan, unless there is something special on top of it, like say chocolate or nuts or something. I may try it someday anyway.

You know, the food is good here, but it really isn't what brought me back yesterday. And it won't be--completely--what brings me back again in the future. The smiles on their faces, their attention to detail (like my near-empty cup), the way they make me feel like I'm someone special, and their fun silliness. I have a great time when I am there. Really, y'all--if you haven't tried them yet, you really ought to do so. :)

My choices on "Choose Any Two": the yummy salad with cranberries, honey almonds, and sherry shallot dressing and potato soup. :) Delicious! There was a bunch more food. I just forgot to take a photo until after I'd eaten quite a bit of it. Sorry!

McAlister's Famous Tea and my punch card. If you look REEEAAAALLLLYYY closely, you'll see that I have ONE punch! Only 8 more to go for my free tea!

I chose the chocolate cake. It is sooooooo yummy. This photo doesn't EVEN do it justice. It is much bigger. Once again, I ate about 1/3 of it before I remembered that I needed to take a photo. Notice in the background the photo of all three desserts.

This young man was eating near me on Saturday. His momma let me take his picture. He was smiling so fabulously at me that I have a nickname for him: Flirty McFauxHawk!

The two managers who were on duty on Saturday: Lynn Ferguson and Christi Berger. See how fun they are!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shimmery Lights

I took this picture at the Wal-Mart last night. I was TRYING to capture the flag which was spotlighted. Though the skies around it were dark, this flag was visible and fluttering vehemently in the wind. I tried to get it right twice, but it was a serious case of 'Nuttin' doin'." So, instead of a flag, I got these fluttery lights. Though it wasn't what I intended, I think it was kinda cool anyway.

You can actually barely see the flag just above the center-left of those squiggly lights.

McAlister's Deli

One of the things on my to-do list for my Tuesday day off was to eat lunch in Beaumont. Marilyn told me that there was a McAlister's Deli down on Dowlen past the Kroger. I happen to LOVE McAlister's. (They have bread bowls!) I don't often get to eat there cos I'm rarely in a town that has one. I think it is kinda sad that I've been living very near to a town that has one for 8 months and I never knew it existed!
So, I walked into the restaurant with my two most recent issues of TIME (I'm a little behind cos of the holidays) and was greeted immediately by Nello. It took me Waayyy too long to decide, but it has been so long since I ate at McAlister's. I was really tempted by the bread bowls, but I also knew that I was planning on going to Rao's after the movie, so I decided to just get soup and a small serving of potato salad. I was hoping that potato salad was better for me than the big bread bowl. I'm really not sure about the answer to that query, but I will say that the potato salad was delicious! It was the mustard kind and not the German kind. I definitely prefer the mustard kind.

The funny part of all of this is that they kept messing up my drink order. I--of course--ordered un-sweet tea. The first drink which Nello gave me was sweet tea. I was sitting down reading my TIME, so I didn't get around to sipping it for about 5 minutes. However, when I did, the wrong-ness of my drink was clearly evident. I know many people think I'm weird about this thing, but I cannot stand the taste of sweet tea. It is so entirely GROSS to me. That fact is even funnier when you consider that I love everything sweet. Cake, candy, cookies--YUM! But un-sweet tea? No Thank You!

They fixed the issue immediately AND with a smile on their faces, so I wasn't upset at all. (And really, it isn't like I would really have been upset anyway, yeah?) The manager came up to me a little later and asked if I needed a re-fill. Of course, I did. When she (the manager) came back with my tea, I was surprised to find that it was sweet, but--again--someone fixed it poste haste and with a smile.

The soup I ordered was also delicious. I was offered crackers at least twice by passing employees. Man! Talk about customer service! I declined however cos I wanted to make sure I had plenty of room for a Rao's dessert with a ton of calories. By the way, I had that Chocolate Moose Cake at Rao's--my first time. It was FAN-TAS-TIC!! I've tried several other desserts there and they were all pretty good, but this one is the best so far.

Sorry for the digression. Back to the soup! I actually can't remember what it was called. It might be something called "Fire-Roasted Vegetable Soup." It was all vegetables and had something like 6 calories a bowl. I called later and asked about adding chicken to the soup for some protein. The young gal didn't know the exact price but she said it shouldn't be more than $ 1.50. So, a great and delicious soup (Something between $ 2.50 and $ 2.99), a drink (I think it is prolly about $ 2.00, I'm not sure). That particular visit I tried the potato salad which was about 90 cents. That is a pretty good price for a side dish nowadays, yeah? And it was delicious, so all in all, the potato salad was a good value.

So, basically--for future reference--you can have a GREAT meal. Veggie soup- $ 3.00
extra chicken for protein- $ 1.50
delicious UN-sweet tea- $ 2.00
a side (I recommend the potato salad- $ .90
plus tax $ 7.40

So, the food was great. The customer service was great. And--most importantly for me--people were willing to talk to me. Y'all know how I like to make friends of strangers. Nello--who is pictured--sat down and we talked about finances and careers and family. It was lovely. Even the manager stopped and talked with me about something I was reading in TIME magazine. I really enjoyed myself. Clearly, I'm going end recommending that every one of my readers find a McAlister's near them and become a regular customer. I was just really impressed with them.

Great food. Great Customer Service. Great people. Go y'all! :) Check 'em out! http://www.mcalistersdeli.com/

Self Portrait # 1

One of the gals who writes a blog I follow takes a self-portrait at the beginning of every month. I thought it was a great idea! Sadly--for y'all--that means you must see a photograph of me at the first of every month!
Another really cool idea she had (and one I'd like to try one day when I remember to do so) is to take a picture every hour for one whole day (well from awakening until bedtime). Dunno when I'll do it, but I'll do it sometime in the near future. :)

I'm not exactly sure why the picture has such a reddish hue, but there it is! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A walk with Pop

I don't know what the temperature was yesterday afternoon, but it was warm enough that Pop and I could take a walk with the dogs. I'll be honest--I had to cajole him a little bit. Eventually, however, he came out with me. He and I and walked up the road and enjoyed the sunshine. Tipper ran ahead of us and Snow tried to run ahead, but she kept pulling on the leash so vigorously that Pop had to pick her up and carry her. We passed by plenty of interesting sights which--of course--I captured in photos.
Pop had a lot of energy yesterday. Of course, that could have been cos he had several naps before we took a walk. He even was going along at a pretty swift pace. However, that was prolly cos snow was walking pretty swiftly herself and he was holding the leash.
He got tired pretty rapidly, but we were out there for about 20 minutes. I'm hoping I can count it for my exercise for yesterday!

I've always loved walking past this barn house. It just looks so old-fashioned. I can just imagine myself riding up to it in a buckboard wagon drawn by a horse. Did you notice the little river of water out front? It rained nearly half the night Tuesday night which left all the little culverts full of water.

Pop and his four-legged girls.

Pop and Snow in flare.

a pile of logs on Pop's property. Dunno how they got there. I don't remember them being there in the summer.

Those ducks look real, don't they? Not! The owner of this home has a ton of ducks all around the property. She must really like ducks!

This pillowcase...

...makes me happy for some reason. I like laying my head down on its green flowery fabulosity at the end of the day.

South East Texicana # 3, I think

I see these kind of trucks all up and down highway 96. I don't really recall seeing truckloads full of wood or trees or logs anywhere but here. At this point, I think of it as a S.E. Texas thing.

Focus on the Eyes: Snow White

Every day or two I get an email which discusses some aspect of photography. I figure that I won't get any better as a photographer if I don't LEARN, so I signed up for the email. One day last wee, I received one regarding focusing on the eyes of your subject. Strangely, the writer says that photographers often accidentally focus on the eyebrows. I actually have no clue where I am focusing on this photo of Snow White. I was TRYING to focus on her eyes, but maybe I focused on her nose instead. Anyway, liked how it turned out. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook: 03JAN11

Outside my window...Dunno, the shades are down; however, as it is 9:28p.m., I'd imagine there is darkness.
I am thinking...about the future again. What I have to do to accomplish my goals.
I am thankful for...having learned how to be a little better with money.
From the learning rooms...figuring out how to use my camera.
From the kitchen...chicken, veggie quesadillas and fudge. (not together, by the way)
I am wearing...red plaid pajama bottoms and a red "be mine" t-shirt.
I am creating...plans.
I am going...to spend some time with myself tomorrow: prolly a movie, some letters, and adding something into my budget tomorrow (saving for dental work).
I am reading...Pollyanna.
I am hoping...that I can sleep restfully when I am able to sleep tonight.
I am hearing...Ruby by Roger Miller
Around the house...I have dishes to do.
One of my favorite things...dessert which I wish I loved less.
A few plans for the rest of the week: exercise, work on a new blog series, study Italian, practice my guitar, and organize my room a bit.
A photo for your thoughts:

Have you ever wondered which is my favorite Disney Princess? You'll be able to know the answer to the above question when you set your eyes upon the following photo. These were little dolls I got from Marilyn. The smaller ones were on my birthday cake (one is Cinderella-she is cool, but not my fave.) and the larger ones (along with the extra 'outfit' were something I received for Christmas. I do work for a really great family.

Don't forget! I stole the idea from Irene whose blog you can reach if you click here.

The Deathly Hallows

One of my favorite part of the Harry Potter film--aside from the parts with Rupert Grint in them--was this part where they illustrated the story of when the three Peverell brothers met with Death and received the three deathly hallows. I couldn't help but take a few pictures of this part. The filmmakers did such a great job. If you want to see them in order, start from the bottom and come upward. Sorry! Here they are:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Photo shoot of Pop and Snow

Christmas Day at home

Max searching Sam's face for fleas.

Roxie in her winter coat.

Max and Roxie in their winter coats going for a walk.

Sam and Amelia opening presents.

Max, Roxie, and Sam.

Ryan with his Great Grandma, wearing the outfit I gave him for Christmas.

My great-grand-nephew, Ryan, and I.

Ryan wearing the hat I gave him for Christmas.

Ryan asleep, in sepia.

Ryan, asleep in greyscale.

The front door decorations! I want one!

Ryan with his Great-Grandpa.

Ryan and Great-Aunt Vicky and Great-Grandpa and Max playing. I love that look on Ryan's face. It's like he is saying "What is going on around here?" It reminds me of this old picture of me.

Ryan, Great-Aunt Vicky and Great-Grandma enjoying being together.

Ryan and Great-Grandma!

Great-Grandpa's Sleep Shirt--The Count! Mwa Ha Ha Ha!!!

Ryan and his beautiful Great-Aunt Victoria.

Ryan and his Great-Grandma.

Ryan and his Great-Grandma.

Ryan and his Great-Grandpa.

Ryan and his Great-Grandpa.

Great-Aunt-Vicky introducing Ryan to Pooh Bear!

Sam got a guitar strap for Christmas.

Vicky received three autographed Mark Twain books.