Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.36

They were competing for the best spot on my chest. I told them there was room for both of them. 

Let the food diary begin. Been doing it since Tuesday, not even a week, but it does help me think and focus on my choices. 

My viber has been bombarded this week with free iPhones. I feel like such a winner. 

Playing with bling again. My guy sure can man a pretty ring. 

Midweek selfie in an underground train station. 

Care package from my mom!  The world needs more care packages!!

The stepson is sick, so we spent Sunday in our pj's watching cartoons and eating toast and peanut butter. 

Happy weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Favorites: Food Edition

I admit it.  When I participate in Friday Favorites, I'm usually posting about fun things like songs, products, links, humorous posts from pinterest, etc.  This week, it's a little more serious.  Because I gotta be serious about getting myself seriously healthy.  (That's a whole lotta serious in this post.)

Monday, I went to a dietitian.  I am a girl whose weight has been on a roller coaster ride for almost 20 years.  Too long.  That's an entire topic for another day.  Back to the dietitian.  We talked about portion control, which foods to eat and how much, which foods to eat in moderation, the Glycaemic Index, "discretionary foods", and so on.  She is a big proponent of not excluding any major food group, but balancing them appropriately for better health.


So...we looked at those food groups and discussed my favorite foods from each group.  We discussed the "favorites" and how much (or how little) of them I should be eating.  I liked this plan of action.  I don't have to erase potatoes or cheese from my diet.  I just need to know the portions of potatoes and cheese I should be eating, and what other foods I should be eating with them.  Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to have just potatoes and cheese everyday.  I have a food diary and a follow-up appointment in three weeks.  I gotta do something, and I gotta do something now.  So, I'm doing it.

Vegetables - 5 serves per day:

My faves (when I made this list, I realized that I like a lot more vegetables than I thought because I had more to list, and of course, I can eat the others that I like too):
  • potato (I can have potato...I just need to eat a small portion and eat more of the other options)
  • sweet potato (see above)
  • carrot  
  • onion
  • salad leaves
  • corn
  • green peas
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower 
  • green beans
  • artichoke
  • pumpkin
  • cucumber

Fruit - 2 serves per day:

My faves:
  • grapes
  • raspberries 
  • cherries
  • avocados
  • pears
  • green apples 
  • bananas
  • oranges
  • watermelon
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • nectarines
  • plums
  • cranberries
  • I like fruit.

High Fibre Grains - 6 serves per day:

My faves (this surprised me because of all the people who seem to cut this category out entirely, plus this is most definitely my most difficult category to determine five favorites; this will definitely be my most challenging category):
  • bread (multi-grain)
  • pasta
  • tortillas
  • crispbread
  • muesli

Protein (lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes/beans) - 2 1/2  serves per day:

My faves (serves are closer to the whole method of size of your palm or size of your hand depending on the item; and I'm to try to avoid "deli meats"):
  • chicken (no skin)
  • beef (lean, no fat)
  • turkey
  • various legumes and beans
  • various nuts, especially almonds
  • peanut butter

Dairy - 2 1/2 serves per day:

My faves:
  • cheese ((I can have cheese...I just need to eat a small portion)
  • milk
  • yogurt
  • creamy salad dressing
  • sour cream
So, yeah, those last two are on the discretionary list.  Oops.

Maybe, next Friday Favorites, I'll discuss those discretionary foods.  Shall I?

Linking up with Amanda for Friday Faves:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Playlist 1 : Happy Songs

I haven't written a music post in a while.  I love music.  And, I've needed some of these pick-me-up happy tunes in my life lately.  So, here you have it.  My Happy Playlist - a list of songs that no matter when they come on, I pretty much want to shake or shimmy or smile or sing-a-long (or all of the above).  Yes, you can tell my age with this list.

Bad Medicine by Bon Jovi - It's rock music that I can dance to, and it's Bon Jovi. - I need to give no further explanation.

Poison by Bell Biv Devoe - "Never trust a big butt and a smile."

Livin' La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin - No matter how many times this song was played over and over and over again, I've never tired of it.  It still brings out all kinds of dance moves.

Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard - "I'm hot sticky sweet from my head to my feet" - pretty much, if I was a stripper, this would be my go-to song.

Let It Whip by The Dazz Band - A little gem from the past that I almost forgot; that bridge that begins at 2:22 mark and ends with whoo-oo-oo is pure magic

If I Had You by Adam Lambert - No shame...I love me some Adam Lambert...and I will (without fail) sing-a-long "do do do do do do" to this song.

Freedom by Wham! - Not to be mistaken with George Michael's Freedom ' wonderful of a song as that is too, this is the bouncy, happy Freedom.

Private Eyes by Hall and Oates - It's the claps in this one that get me every time..."Private Eyes (clap) are watching you (clap clap)..."

Cool Rider by Michelle Pfeiffer - If you hang around these parts much, you probably know that I love Grease 2 more than most movies ever filmed.  I could list the entire soundtrack...but, no ordinary song is going to do...this IS the quintessential one.

Hey Baby by No Doubt - I love Gwen and the boys with all my heart, and this one is just fun fun fun to sing and dance to.

Pride & Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan - Genius guitarist from Texas that left us too soon singing and playing his version of a sweet love song.

Low by Flo Rida (and featuring someone else I'm sure) - Alright, I admit that I'm not necessarily down with the hip hop these days, but this one is da bomb diggity.

Ride The Wind by Poison - Look.  I limited myself to three bands that rose to fame during the hair band era.  That's pretty good for me.  This one is an anthem for me.

Like It Like That by Guy Sebastian - A lot of you probably don't know this song from this Australian talent.  If you like a good little pop song to shimmy to, then give this one a listen.  Tell me if you do.  I just love this song.

Hot Girls in Good Moods by Butch Walker - One of my all time faves singing a song with that title.  I can't not like it.

I could keep this going, but that's enough for now.  Maybe, I'll post a part two (and three).

What songs make you happy?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our distance may be far apart but you are always in my heart

Every now and then, one of those cheesy wooden signs in a home store says something that sticks.

I have a friend (Marcy) who I knew in junior high & high school, and we've reconnected on facebook.  She lives in NorCal but has lived in other parts of the US as well as the world.  She posted this link:
When Close Friends Live Far Away (A Request) by Sharon Holbrook

At first, I was scared to read it because I thought I'd cry.  Marcy confirmed this by warning me that I would "Ugly cry.  Like a Kardashian." 

I built up my strength and opened the link.  Yes, yes, yes!

Timing for this is even more poignant considering so many friends and family members from Texas are posting "back to school" pictures of their kids.  I enjoy these pics (as well as Halloween) pics of kids.  I feel like I've watched some grow.  For a person that lives on the other side of the world from many close friends, I appreciate the slice of life I get to view through these pictures.

"They say it's hard to make friends once you've grown up, but I've been lucky."  True.  I have some beautiful, loyal, intelligent friends here in Australia.

"But there are also the friends I left behind" ... "hours of talking-talking-talking (and giggling-giggling-giggling)" ... "These are the girls in all of my snapshots, with whom everything was an adventure" ...

"And, now, there are too few hours with these friends of mine."

My close girlfriends are scattered from California to Texas, Milano Italy to Shreveport Louisiana.  These friends that I've traveled with, lived with, cried with, danced with, stood beside them as they got married, talked & talked with them as they got divorced, sat curled up on their couches and drank wine.

I miss these friends.  I cherish these friends.  I love these friends.

As the link discusses, I'd be happy to sit in their kitchen, watch them make dinner for their kids, and have a day to spend with each of them in their everyday life. When I win the lotto, that's exactly what I'm going to do!

It takes effort to maintain friendships when there is so much physical distance between us.  I fail at the effort that needs to be made sometimes.  I am fortunate that these friends know I love them, know I support them, and know they are always in my heart.

*I'm not sure how HBO and I have been friends for almost 20 years, yet we have no picture together on facebook (that's where I grabbed all of these today).  But...she knows who she is, and she knows I love her.

What do you do to keep these special friends close, even if distance keeps you far?
They say it’s hard to make friends once you’re a grown-up, but I’ve been lucky. - See more at:
They say it’s hard to make friends once you’re a grown-up, but I’ve been lucky. - See more at:
They say it’s hard to make friends once you’re a grown-up, but I’ve been lucky. - See more at:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Books I Quit

We've established that I like books.  I like to read books.  I like to shop for books.  I like to talk about books.

You know what I don't like about books...quitting them.  There are perfectly good reasons to quit reading a book.  I know this.  But, I don't do it.  Very rarely does a book bore me, annoy me, anger me, or confuse me enough to quit it.  There have been a few rare occasions, and I thought I'd share about those times. 

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James:  The hype of this book interested me.  I don't read many books that have a phenomenal fan base surrounding them.  Never read Harry Potter.  Didn't read The Hunger Games.  I gave in and read the Twilight series.  I read Divergent but didn't read any others in the trilogy and don't plan to.  So...when I started seeing people talk about this book, and I mean people that rarely read, yet they actually read, the other readers from family members to friends, I thought I'd see what the fuss was all about.  I only had about 50 pages left to finish the book, I looked at my guy and said "I could care less how this ends", and he replied "Why are wasting your time?  You like to read.  Read something that you are interested in." So, I quit it.  I could care less about the characters.  Christian Grey did not excite me.  Anastasia Steele bored me.  I didn't care about them.  I didn't care what happened to the story.  I stopped.  I'm glad there are books that interest people enough to create hysterics around them, but usually, they ain't for me. 

Photo source

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown:  Another book with a lot of fans, and another one that I quit.  The reason I quit it sorta kinda seems ridiculous as I think about it.  I read thrillers with serial killings.  I've read books with abuse, rape, and addiction.  I've read books with so many sins I can't begin to list them all and enjoyed them too (such as The Dirt from Motley Crue).  But.  This one, I quit this one because the Christians seemed to be the corrupted, murdering bad guys.  I thought for sure that God would not be happy with me if I continued reading it.  Does it make sense?  No.  But, it happened.

Star Man: The Right Hand Man of Rock 'n' Roll by Michael Francis:  This is my kind of book...a memoir from a rough and tumble guy who ended up working in the music business for many acts in the world of music including Cher, KISS, Sheena Easton, Led Zeppelin, and my beloved, Bon Jovi.  He was head of security and tour manager and got to know some of those artists pretty well.  There's sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.  So.  Why did I quit this book?  I reached a chapter about a The Lost Week (I think it was called)...and it was going to entail explicit stories of sex and drugs with Bon Jovi.  Many of fans want to read these juicy details.  I don't.  Jon is on a pedestal with me.  I want him to stay there.  He is the only celebrity I feel this way about.  I respect his private life, he fights to be somewhat private, and he demands loyalty from those in his inner circle.  So.  I couldn't bring myself to read it.  Ridiculous?  Absolutely.  But, it's the truth.  It is still on my bookshelf at home.  Maybe, one day, I'll be brave enough to finish it.

The author of Star Man at JBJ's wedding - photo source

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens:  My friend, jenn, is a fan of this book.  It is one of her favorite books of all time.  You can read about her admiration here.  She sent this book to me in a care package.  I needed to read it, right?  Right.  I tried.  I did.  Damn, if Mr. Dickens isn't a sunovabitch to read.  I think I kept it at my bedside for almost two years, trying to convince myself to read it.  I couldn't do it.  I don't know how far I got.  Maybe 100ish pages out of 800ish, but I couldn't do it.  I have another friend who is an English teacher and a fan of early British literature.  So much so that she got this tattoo of Charles Dickens.  I picked up Our Mutual Friend again after seeing her in May.  I think I read five pages (maybe) before saying goodbye to Dickens.

Tattoo by Gabriel Massey at Scorpion Studios, Houston TX

If you are familiar with Kristen, you know she loves herself some P&P (you tells you about that love here).  Kristen, I love you.  You are funny, pretty, smart, and make me smile on a regular basis.  I really wanted to read this book for you, but I couldn't........

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen:  So many characters.  So much dialogue.  I was either confused or distracted or lost or bored.  There are 5 Bennet sisters, and some of them have nicknames.  There's a few more sisters mixed in the story...sisters of suitors.  Oh, the suitors.  Mr. Collins & Mr. Bingley & Mr. Darcy & Mr. Wickham and some soldiers too.  Honestly, I couldn't keep them straight.  Maybe I'm not smart enough for Pride & Prejudice.  I need a family tree, a flow chart, and a dictionary to attempt to read this.  I probably should watch the movie instead.  I like Keira Knightley.

What are your thoughts about quitting books?  Any specific ones you quit that come to mind?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.35

Monday, I took a trunkful of stuff to be donated. I probably have two more trunkfuls that need to go.

You know what's awesome? Getting gifts in the mail from friends. 

It looks like I staged them for a photo shoot. 

Friday night, I used Qantas points for us to stay at this quaint hotel in North Sydney. 

Catching up after work Friday. Drinks, food, friends, and a jukebox. It was a good night. 

I took this as I was explaining that cat toys are for the cats, and they have a jingle bell in them that doggies don't need to swallow. Nope. She didn't listen. Cat toy was put away. 

Ricky, the spider cat. 

Hope you & yours are having a grand weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Literary Ladies Book Challenge Update Number 2

When Kristen announced she was joining Kari & Krystal for the literary ladies book club AND there's a challenge, well, I couldn't pass it up.  Two months down.  Previously, I read six books in the first month.  How did I do this month?

Here's the categories and my list:

1. A YA book - The Paris Mysteries: Confessions #3 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro - The original book I selected (Wintergirls), my library has "on order".  I'd read the previous two in this series, so I grabbed this one for the substitute.

4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

5. A book with a kickass female character - Still Alice by Lisa Genova

7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoir if neither of those are your jam. - Dirty Rocker Boys by Bobbie Brown - Admittedly, she's about the lowest celebrity level there is, but a celebrity memoir nonetheless.

Woo hoo!  Go me!  I finished!  Did anyone elseLet's check out the link-up and see!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A post only a cat mother could love

Non-cat owners, this may bore you. I don't blame you. I used to be anti-cat until I was converted. 

If you've been around these parts, you probably know I have three cats. You can read more about them here.  Today, we're going to talk about Ricky..........

This is Ricky. My stepson once gave him an award..."The Cheekiest Cat Ever".  Jana has his American cat doppleganger.  Let's talk about the antics of Ricky and show you my very first cat video loaded to the internet!

Ricky...the cat who regularly looks like he is plotting something.

Ricky...the cat that is a cockroach killer (notice the leg hanging out of his mouth), but he likes to carry the half-eaten cockroach around the house and eventually, dump it somewhere to be noticed and admired.

Ricky...the cat that looks at you like this when you are talking to him about why he's on the ironing board, why he's on clean clothes, and how he needs to get down from there.

Ricky...the cat who thinks "Look woman, you didn't want me on the ironing board, and now you're telling me to get off the drying rack too?!"

 Ricky...the cat who bent many blinds in our previous rental property.

Ricky...the cat who thinks if there is food on the plate that he wants, then he should help himself to it.

Ricky...the cat who thinks if there's something in a cup that he wants to drink, he should help himself to that too.

Ricky...the cat who makes it impossible to have a nice looking Christmas tree because he climbs it, bends and breaks limbs, and throws the ornaments to the ground.

Ricky...the cat who will climb counters, cupboards & closets & drawers, on top of stair railings.............and on top of the shower.

Ricky...the cat who decides to join me when I take a bath, and he shows off his acrobatic skills by leaping and balancing on the top of the shower.

Ricky...he's at it again.

So.......earlier this week, a tradesman had to come to the house.  My guy put the cats up in the bathroom.  Apparently, Ricky tried to show off to his kitty sister and brother by going to the top of the shower, but........check out the video.

 Ricky...the cat who purrs louder than any of the others when he decides he wants to give me cuddles.

What does your fur baby do that is cheeky/naughty/adorable?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

When I was young

I feel like I've "borrowed" a lot of blog posts lately.  But, when I saw Steph's post of tales about young Steph, I started to comment.  The thoughts rolling in my mind for the comment were so much fun that I thought I'd share my own post.  Other bloggers are so clever and give such good ideas!

When I was young...

  • I refused to eat fast food hamburgers, but I loved Jack-in-the-Box tacos (quite possibly the greasiest item choice on the menu).
  • I had a pony named Bingo.
  • I gave my dolls mohawks and painted nail polish on their faces.  Pretty little girlie dolls became punk rock dolls.
  • I remember swinging on my swingset and singing "Sandy" from Grease at the top of my lungs.
  • I watched the premiere of MTV with "Video Killed the Radio Star" and was an MTV fanatic for years.
  • I wanted to be a radio DJ, then a MTV VJ, then a talk show host.
  •  I rode my bike, roller skated, played with neighborhood kids, and ran through the sprinkler. 
  • I had floral wallpaper on my bedroom walls.
  • I stayed up past my bedtime to read.
  • I walked in my sleep.  
  • I picked up aluminum cans from the side of East Texas backwoods roads, and my grandfather and I would take them to the recycling center for pocket change.
  • I went on family vacations that usually included a Texas river, a canoe, and a inner tube.
  • I thought a snake at a cemetery sitting on a tombstone was fake and signified that the person buried there died of a snake bite. (When I asked the grown-ups about it, a BB gun was retrieved from a pick-up truck, and the snake needed its own burial.)
  • I was the teacher's pet in 3rd grade.  I thought Mrs. Stewart was the best teacher ever.
  • I liked all kinds of music from Hall & Oates to Charley Pride, Barry Manilow to Michael Jackson, George Strait to KISS, Duran Duran and more.....
What were you like when you were young??

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.34

I'm a day late with post. Yep. Sure am. 

There's more than 7 snaps too. Whatever. 

I usually give a weekly recap with this post. Instead, I have a Sunday recap. 

Sunday was spent at Manly which is a 30 minute ferry ride from the Sydney CBD. 

The ferry ride alone is fantastic. 

If this young busker doesn't have a recording contract soon, it would be a damn shame. 

It was a great day to celebrate life. 

A ferry ride back to the city as the sun sets was a perfect ending. 

This magnificent lady greets all ferries as they pull into dock at Circular Quay.

No edits, no filters.