Thursday, January 31, 2013

Carnavore No More? Hmm?

Oh my! Am I becoming a bleeding heart for animals? Okay, well maybe I was already one considering I have always been one to catch an insect and set them outside. After watching them throw themselves mercilessly into windows that confuse them so much, I have always felt that they made a wrong left turn and accidentally got in the house only to find themselves chased down and smashed to death as they try desperately to figure out how to get out. But even then, I was not too much of a bleeding heart because I did discriminate. If I could, I would take a semi-automatic shotgun to a mosquito, cockroach, or stinkbug (if it didn't stink so bad to kill it). 

But recently I watched a scene from a vegan convert brainwash eat healthier movie where a sad and mooing mother cow was chasing down the baby calf that they had ripped moments earlier from her body. They were dragging it across the ground to another location to become veal whilst they prepared to inseminate her in order to keep her pumping the leche. Got milk? 

Well, it kind of made it hard to buy the meat for my newest recent lamb stew recipe. Obviously not too hard though, because it wore off a week later as I broke down and made a crock pot of beef stew.

But the seed has been planted and the images keep coming back. And lately, I must admit, I truly keep finding myself dining on more and more meatless plates these days. Why, I even made my famous black bean six can dump soup with – brace yourself – vegetable broth. And the McDonald chicken nuggets that I typically so bravely dine upon with my six year old son, now turns my stomach with the thought of how they are raised, treated, processed, and well,... put together.

I am not saying that I am out to save cows and chickens, become a vegan, and join PETA's painting parties. I own a fur, and I wear leather... (so far.) And yes, I will use the same imaginary semi-automatic on the PETA people that I would use on my mosquito if any one of them dared look at my coat. It was a special gift, and if anybody is going to throw paint, it will be me once I complete my conversion. For now, I am not making any declarations… or judgments for that matter.  I will simply keep reading journals, watching documentaries, and trying like “Susan,” to desperately find myself (or at least good health) and see where it will take me.

A Death Notice (Addendum to last Post)

My dearest friends and followers of my blog, TacomaBlues, (in particular the latest post: A fishy Situation aka Prozac for Nemo) I am saddened to say that just 12 short hours after his recent stardom, Goldie Smith suffered an untimely death and passed away due to some unknown ailments. The family refused an autopsy so it was unclear if it was toxic shock or shock due to another clean bowl. The family had a private memorial late this afternoon. He is survived by a doting grandmother, a loving boy and three siblings: Sasha Blue (the betta), Daisy (the dog), and Maisy (the hampster). The family is truly heart broken,,, and, well, just plain broke at the loss of the free 15 cent $50.00 goldfish named Goldie.

On a side note, my son is doing fine. He understood and wanted to be the one to make the eulogy and pour the body into the porcelain water casket. He then quickly took over Sasha Blue, my blue betta, relocating her to his room to help him get over the pain. Oddly, he decided to forgo the fancy filtered tank siting it as a death trap.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Fishy Situation aka Prozac for Nemo?

Did I ever tell you about the silly little $50.00 free fish named Goldie. You see, my son won him at a school carnival. So, yes, he was free ... after $2.00 in quarters. My next door neighbor's son was bragging about the three fish he had gotten making my son a tad bit jealous. But, I explained that she was a teacher there, so they gave him the leftovers. As the son of a teacher from a different school, he would get no perks, or special treatment....though in all honesty, the teenage girls running the game felt sorry for him and gave him the fish after the eighth try. Personally I was quite content teaching him he can't always win. So much for life's lessons. He is already learning all right -- to work the girls.

It was a full night of basketball, popcorn, and quasi-cute and ingenoius homemade games. I decided it was time to leave after lightly questioning a teacher who rubbed me the wrong way. I scooped up my son and his new pet in a bag that was smothered and wrapped with our winter coats. I didn't want another animal but knew this one would not be around too long.

However, heading home I began to sense I that I was in trouble; they had bonded. Well, more like my son fell in love. I got that impression when he began crying profusely after I said we would not go that night for a fishbowl. So, I did what any mother would to preserve her sanity, I made a u-turn and headed to the nearest pet store 20 minutes away for a bowl, some rocks, and some Goldfish food. Cha-ching: $20.00. So much for free.

Next, we did what any parent would do. We put it in the bowl and pushed the big red Staple's button that said, "That was easy!"

One week later, A horrible smell began seeping out of his room. It reeked of ammonia and the fish was barely visible behind a foggy haze of soot. I knew then and there that I could not put it off anymore. I moved the bowl to my office until I could change it later that day. And...finally... three days later, I braved the door to my office half expecting to see a floater. But much to my surprise, there swimming happily beneath a cloud thicker than Mount Saint Helen's ash and smelling like a sulphur pit, was Goldie (more like Ochre by then).

I poured him and some of his soot into a bowl, and dumped the rest. I then happily poured him into his temporary digs, a baptismal salad bowl font of fresh, clear, cool water. He looked oh so happy swimming around -- or so it seemed.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum... that frisky new member of the family...who should have loved being in his temperary situation while I waited another two or three days to clean his permanent one, lay suspiciously still at the bottom of his retention pond.

Uh-oh! I then kept the door closed on my office, not to hide the smell, but to keep my son from popping in and questioning me for the murder of his new pet. The funny thing is that my son did not even ask his about his $24.00 free fish the entire time. The smell had turned him off, too. And secondly, it was not quite dead. It was twitching ever so slightly at the bottom. As much as I did not want it to die and break my son's heart, I was a little perturbed at its resilience.

The next morning as I was sneaking a peak to check for movement, my son burst in behind me. I stiffened at the prospect of explaining this new phase of life and then announced, as ceremoniously as possible, "Baby, Goldie died. Now let's go flush him!"

"Huh, flush him?"

I realized the bluntness of my ways and softened it a bit by explaining, "We bury fish at sea...through the toilet. And then we say a prayer."

"Oh, okay!"

"Now let's hurry up and do it, so that we are not late for school!"

As I grabbed the bowl, my son screamed, "MOM, wait, he is moving!"


Sure enough, the little booger twitched. I had moved too slowly.

 I explained that he was truly almost dead, so we will have the burial after school... I was sure.

That evening I went in to do the dirty deed. He was lying there motionless at the bottom of the empty bowl when he twitched again. "Oh hell, let me throw him into his old bowl. His now clean, ammonia-free old bowl with the gold beehive and blue and red fake bush and see how long he lasts.

Well, much to my surprise, the damn thing started swimming and jumping like Shamu at Sea World. How do you go from deadlike and twitching to lively and  acrobatic in under 60 seconds flat? You don't! Not if you are sick, but you do if you are sad. I am now firmly convinced that the little bugger was not ill at all, but depressed and in need of prozac. Fish have feelings, Nemo was not a lie!

The nice young lady at the pet store tried to convince me that it had experianced s a toxic shock caused by going from nasty to clean (my own description). But I am convinced otherwise. He was after all, still in the same water he had been playing possum in for two days. (By the way, don't joke callously to pet store fish attendants about flushing fish after leaving them in pure ammonia piss for five days. They don't think it's funny.)

Later that night, as I dined on my Tilapia with lemon pepper and capers, I looked down at it and wondered what he was feeling as he was swept up into his net. And then my mind wondered further, like one house over, as I pondered how did my neighbor get all three of her son's goldfish to die? I can't get rid of one.

Lastly, on a a sidenote, I decided that if I must change a bowl that often, I had to breakdown and get a small filtered tank for his room. And I was in luck, they were on sell for $20.00, plus a net and a Betta fish for me (I have to use the old bowl for some right?) Last count, the free 15 cent goldfish was up to $48.00 plus tax. And the new filtered tank seems to look a little cloudy already... just two days later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


There was a time when plastic surgery was frowned upon, speculated on, and whispered about. For example, (I'm telling my age now) when I grew up, the big question in the seventies and early eighties was whether or not Dolly Parton's boobs were real. Now-a-days, women are openly discussing and wanting it, and men feel it is okay to voice their desire for wives to get it -- enhancements , that is. It usually happens a year or two after delivery of the children they mutually wanted, knowing full out right, (or maybe not) how much it would change the females' bodies.

First, she gets pregnant. Next, a once small breasted perky person morphs into a suddenly voluptuous vixen donning perfectly round melons. "God is in the heavens, and all is right with the world."

Then the baby is born. And soon thereafter, the boobs, when no longer in use, flop like balloons stuck with a hyperdomic needle. The husband stops drooling. Instead he looks at his once perky partner and exclaims (jokingly of course) that she "looks like one of the African women from the National Geographic Magazine."

And we all know what he is talking about. We all remember our first glimpse of porn. We are in elementary school, and we stumble across the magazine with the topless, tribal women. Instead of being turned on, the boys are turned off... maybe even turned gay at the sight of the long and flat exposed boob with a child dangling waisthigh at the end by its mouth. It gives me shivers to say. In fact it is an image that has probably affected many a female's decision not to breastfeed.

Next, because it is the millinium, and there are no holds bar, the husband feels safe saying that he will pay for a boob job if she really wants it. And she, who, herself, has bought into to the image/lie/expectation is thrilled because she can return her body to a more appeasing body type based on all of the images that tell us what what we are supposed to look like.

However, these day, the news is filled with enough "don't do it" images and stories that would scare anybody -- male or female. a beautiful socialite now looks like a freak-of-nature lion. A once handsome male movie star looks like a play dough come-to-life character best suited for Ironman's evil villain. There are images of lumpy, uneven breasts and stories of fungus infested silicone pouches seeping out and poisoning women's bodies. The wife is not so sure she is on board.

Oh, but he is. He misses all of her clues, hints, and omissions and keeps talking about "when she can get it done. And when finally that day comes, when he says he wants to get it for her birthday present, she finally admits she never really wanted it.

Suddenly, it is like a vacuum has sucked all the sound out of the room.

After the momentary uncomfortable silence, "I thought it is what you wanted?"

Deep breath. "No, it's what you wanted. I never said I wanted one."

Silence, followed by, "But you always close the door when you are dressing, and you always want the light out."

It is amazing to the female that he does not understand that she hides because she does not want to be ridiculed even in jest. He thinks it is because she is ashamed. Maybe she is to a certain extent, but only with him.

Some say "men are from Mars and women are from Venus." Perhaps that is truly what's going on.  Men can and do say anything that they are feeling. But a female would never joke about a man's body or laugh at it during the most vulnerable time when one is completely unclad, especially it it has its ups and downs. She would not suggest that he go out and get enhancement surgery... or even hint at the little blue prescription. The implication alone is enough to ruin a relationship. So, we just wait patiently and pray for them to figure it out on  their own.

Meanwhile, women are absolutely thrilled that men are open enough and caring enough to have the conversation about their female bodies because it shows they care? Or maybe it's because they know they won't mind that $8,000 expense (from the same person who tenses at the purchase of much needed shoes). Hmm.

It leaves me thinking back to the Natioal Geographic tribal ladies. Maybe we should actually be aspiring to be like them. They have no shame, and obviously their men don't have a problem with it either. Instead of "fixing" ouselves, maybe we should learn to accept nature's intentions all strive to be flat, droopy, and proud!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I have been vegucated! It started with a New Year's resolution, though, I did not set out to drastically change anything other than the number on my scale and the size of my waistline.

My husband, on the other hand, had decided to buy "us" an elliptical for Christmas, and I decided to use it. Not one to enjoy the monotonous ride to nowhere on any moving machine, I needed a distraction to fool myself into staying on longer than the prescribed absolute lowest effective 12 minutes workout. So while most people use music, I need to be so totally engrossed (audibly and visually) that I lose track of time. For me, I had to watch a movie.

Based on the past viewing on my iPad, Netflix suggested Scooby Doo, Mutant Ninja Turtles, Charlie Brown, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. I opted for the last one. (Obviously, the others were based on my son's selections because he truly uses my iPad more than I do.) Now, the last title, though not something I was drawn to, was based on my interest in a certain type of documentary, and I did not have time to surf their site for other selections. After all, it was 4:45am, and I was too sleepy to think for myself. Lucky me, because it forced me to watch the first movie in a trio that set me on my path to a better diet and a new me.

In the movie, a gentleman who was not my idea of "sick and dying" but rather overweight and irritated, went on a 60 day juice fast. It really was amazing how much he lost based on pure vegetable consumption.  It either meant he was starving himself to death, or the processed food he used to consume was so filled with "junk" and fillers that he was overweight because of it.

Half way into the film, we met another man who at 400+ really was a few pounds from his grave. By the end of the movie he was not only very much alive, but was a spokesman for vegetables, and was even running on a regular basis -- something I wasn't even doing. By the time I finished the movie, I wanted to buy a juicer and crates of veggies and fruit to shove through it. But after a day or two I knew I could do no more than a week's fast at the most... if, that is, I ever tried at all.

Next, NetFlix suggested Vegucation. The last one was a winner, so I took their advice again. By the time I was half way through that film, I seriously considered going vegan. However, reality set in, and I realized more important than switching from carnivore to herbivore was once again, how I needed to add more veggies to my diet. Also, it made me realize the importance of buying organic and  not just for the vegetables, but also when eating meat.

The last movie in this trilogy of my "vegucation" is Forks Over Knives. This one was important in giving me facts and clinical trials that show the effects of vegetables and meat on our health, in particular was the relationship of health diseases to the comsumption of meat. The facts were amazing. There were entire countries that had little to no cancer, heart, or liver disease that consumed little to no meat. Then there was meat heavy United States, need I say more.

I will say that I am not about to become a vegetarian, but I did some soul searching and felt that my plate was filled with typical American portions, the vegetable was a side dish... a really small side dish to a huge hunk of carcas. Thus for me, just as pizza was not a pizza without pepperoni, a meal was not complete without meat. And that is what I am changing.

Of course I am always one to overdo everything, I went from eating a few vegetables and very little fruit, to eating many more vegetables, and using fruit for an all day snack fest. Hey, it was fresh, and since I am trying to lose a little weight, it was something I could gorge myself on guiltlessly to fight off my hunger pains-- or so I thought.

Well, when they say everything is to be done in moderation, they mean everything. I ate so much fruit in the last week that I have turned on the histomine. As I sit here with an itchy black and bumpy lip, and puffy, itchy eyes, I wonder if it was the grapefruit and four oranges a day for a week that has set me off. And now I am terrified to consume any fruit at all, yet I am afraid to eat too much meat. Gluten bloats me up, and cuccmbers and peppers give me indigestion. I have no idea what to eat anymore. Can anyone suggest a good documentary to help me out?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wining My Way to the Finish Line

When I said I knew I could not write everyday, I had no idea just how hard it could be to commit. So here I am, 14 days later, writing my second post of the year. And on top of that, I guarantee it will be a short one because it is 5:00 am and I am supposed to be on my way to the basement to workout before work.

Yes, I said I am actually working out before I leave these days, and yes, I love it. So I guess my husband was right (that's something you will NEVER hear him say about me by the way). Yes, he was correct. Having that machine, that so called Christmas gift to each other that I was pissed off about, was the best thing he could have ever done. Not only am I working out consistently, but it has gotten me motivated, back in the gym, and as of two days ago, running outside. I figured it really is going to be my year.

In fact, call me a glutton for punishment, but I bit the bullet and signed up for my first 1/2 marathon yesterday. Now considering I have never so much as competed in a 5k (translation 3 miles), I do not know how I anticipate finishing 13 miles. When I signed up online, they asked me how long I would take to finish, and my immediate thought was "all day", but it would not let me type that. I then began asking my true runner friends what I could expect. The politically correct experienced one said a little over two hours. So I typed in 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the computer (I am still baffled as to how in the world it knew me so well), changed my anticipated time to 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Now, not only do I have something to prove to my husband, and even my own self doubt, but I now have to prove a computer wrong! I can truly say, though, that whatever the outcome, it will be a win-win. Since it begins and ends at a winery. I will either be celebrating a victory, or crying into a few bottles of sauvignon blanc (make that viognier since it will be a Virginia winery).  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I was reflecting on 2012 and trying to write about it when I decided who cares? It was a good year overall. We were blessed with a new home, and our big boys have made drastic changes in their maturity level. And we took a wonderful memorable one day trip to New York this Christmas. Of course, there were the crazy moments as well where I lost a student to diabetes and it was heartbreaking. I lost a friend to my husband's wishy-washy compulsive personality. I helped a sister, disagreed with another one, and had to help my mom keep her home all because of the sister I helped. I could go on. But why dwell in the past. Like I said, overall it was good.

I would like instead to think about the future and all the things that I have resolved to do in 2013. I need to lose weight (made the list again for 10 straight years), for some reason it keeps going up instead of coming off. I will continue with another repeat offender: exercising more. It may actually happen this year. My husband decided in December that "we" were going to give ourselves an elliptical machine for Christmas. (And he had the audacity to say that we would not exchange gifts because the machine... that he wanted...was it. But that is a whole 'nother story.) Anyway, maybe I really can be a little more consistent now that that contraption, I mean gift (that took us three days to put together) is in the basement.

Sorry, I digressed a bit. I would also like to attempt to eat whole foods. That is going to be hard... and expensive. Not to mention I am not a fan of having to prepare and cook all day every day, but I really think there is something to the claims that there are a lot of unnatural stuff in our foods. Besides, I tried Gluten Free last year and was able to pull it off. Let's see how else I can torture myself this time.

Let's see, every year now for ten years "learn how to play golf" has made the list. The closest that I got to it, was eight years ago when I bought my husband lessons thinking I would piggyback on it with him. However, as luck would have it, his back went out, and he had surgery that put him out of commission for the rest of the year. No golf for anyone.

Another resolution pains me to even have to say. I would like to travel more. As a retired flight attendant, it is unfathomable that I have to even say it because that means that I rarely travel at all anymore as much as I loved it.

Now, a big one that is going to be hard for me is making time for myself. I resolve to get more than one pedicure a year. I am going to visit my friends. I am going to buy myself some clothes. I am going to not only try to get my hair done, I am going to take my son to a barber and my dog to the groomer because I am tired of doing all four of our hair. (I don't think I can get out of doing the hubbies.) And most of all I resolve to not feel guilty when I do do something for me.

Lastly, I am going to try to write at least three days a week on my blog. I would like to do more, but that would lend itself to short, boring, snippets just to say I fulfilled my goal. I enjoy coming here to chat with you and share a funny moment or two. I enjoy having a place to vent where no one can tell me I am long winded. I love expressing myself and knowing that I may make someone smile, or maybe I may simply help you realize that you are not alone because we all experience similar situations. I missed writing so much when I stopped this fall. I refuse to let that happen again. Even if it means extra late nights just to accomplish it. I think its worth it.

For now, it's off to bed. See you in a couple of days.