Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Back on Track: Week Six

Once I get my head in the game, I'm really good at losing weight.

The flip side of this, obviously, is that I'm even better at gaining it. Which is how I know I'm good at losing.


I lost another 1.2 pounds last week and was pretty satisfied with that. My total to date is 11.8 pounds in six weeks. I'm not expecting - nor am I needing - The Biggest Loser type numbers so approximately two pounds a week is perfect. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. Obviously I would totally be prouder if I hadn't packed on the pounds over the summer but it happened and now it's going, going, (almost) gooooone. 

I feel good. My jeans fit. What more can a girl ask for? (I mean, besides seeing two more pounds going bye-bye-bye?)

How about a little non-scale victory too?

If I can make it to tomorrow (and I can!) I won't have had fast food in ONE MONTH! This isn't a big deal to a lot of people but it is for me. I haven't even had so much as a burrito bowl from Chipotle in a month and I'm feeling pretty awesome about that. My wallet is as well ...

A couple meals to share. 

Friday is generally pizza night at my house. I'm kinda obsessed with these pizzas I've been making on Flat Out wraps (I just top mine with mozzarella, banana peppers, green and red peppers, and onion.) This past Friday I decided we needed some boneless wings to go with our pizza. I used the SkinnyTaste chicken nugget recipe then tossed them with buffalo sauce. Soooo good! The boys loved them too. 

I found this lasagna roll recipe on a blog several years ago and I LOVE it. It's a great way to eat lasagna without getting all carb-crazy. I make mine with wheat noodles and stuff them with ricotta, garlic, spinach, a little big of sauce, and Parmesan cheese. This entire meal is less than 300 calories! And so filling! The kids also had roasted baby reds and garlic bread with their dinner. But I, uh, carb loaded a little heave with my friends Sam Adams and Yuengling over the weekend and decided I didn't need all those extra (yummy, potato-y, bread-y) carbs. 

I'm not sure how this week will look in terms of weight loss. I could've done better with my eating over the weekend (as always!) so who knows. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Life After Death

I was not quite 13-years-old back in 1993 when three little boys were found murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas.  I lived in the central part of the state at that time a little less than three hours from West Memphis.  The crime was all over the Little Rock news.  It was everywhere.  And when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Miskelley were arrested and charged with the crime, they're pictures were all over the news as well.  The words "satanists" and "sacrifice" were thrown around and every time I looked at a picture of Damien Echols I, at 13-years-old, felt a chill.  He looked like pure evil.  In 1993 and for many - MANY - years beyond I would've told you there was no way anyone other than the West Memphis Three had committed that horrendous crime.

Time has a way of changing things, though.

I was living in Memphis - much closer to West Memphis - in 2011 when the three men entered an Alford Plea (a plea of guilty while maintaining innocence) and, once again, their three faces were splashed all over my local news.  I was 31 at the time, almost twenty years had passed, and I'm not going to lie -- my initial reaction was shock.  And maybe even a little bit of denial.

I've always been -- obsessed is too strong a word but I've definitely had a lot of interest in the case of the West Memphis Three.  I've watched the documentaries, read up on various web sites, and just a few weeks ago I finished Damian Echols' book, Life After Death.  There is now no doubt in my mind that those three boys were arrested, charged, and convicted because of fear-mongering (this was 1993 in Arkansas -- there was definitely a fear culture when it came to satanism and devil worship.)  Jessie Miskelly confessed because he had the mind of a child and he was so mentally beaten and broken by the police that he finally told him what he thought they wanted to hear.  I have no doubt that much is true.

There are a few things I really garnered from the book:

1) I feel a lot of sympathy for Damien Echols.  I really do.  What he went through was horrific and unfair and there's no reason a human should have to go through that.  He lost eighteen years of his life.  All of his young adulthood, he lost because he was falsely accused and convicted of a crime he didn't commit.  That's a heinous miscarriage of justice.  But.  I couldn't help but think that maybe - maybe - being part of the West Memphis Three saved Damien Echols.  He places a lot of blame on a lot of people other than himself in the book but one thing is for sure: this wasn't a kid who was a saint. In many ways, he was the product of his environment and upbringing and that's sad. And, as a kid, that's not really something that was his fault. Who knows if he could've turned things around and been an upstanding citizen. Maybe he could have. On the flip side, though, maybe he would have perpetuated the cycle of his upbringing.  Is it fair that he was falsely accused?  That he lost so many years of his life?  Hell no.  There's no way it's fair.  But maybe . . . maybe it saved Echols from himself?

2) The real victims here, hands down, are the three little boys who were murdered no disputing that.  And while I feel a certain amount of sympathy for both Echols and Jessie Miskelly, the person I really feel sorry for his Jason Baldwin.  Here's the thing: Echols was on death row.  And while his head was certainly on the chopping block, he was not in general population.  He seems to gloss over the time that Baldwin and Miskelly had in prison with a blase "it wasn't that bad" attitude.  Damien Echols was secluded.  Baldwin and Miskelly were not.  They were convicted of a crime against children and placed in general population.  I think we all know what sort of abuse they endured.  The thing is: once they were out of prison -- even when they were IN prison -- Echols was the star.  He has hobnobbed with starts from Johnny Depp to Eddy Vedder.  Meanwhile, Jason Baldwin received all of the abuse with none of the noteriety.  (Same with Jessie Miskelly and, even though I know it was coerced, my symapthy for him is clouded somewhat by that confession.)

3) One thing that really struck out to me is that these boys were targeted because they were different.  They had committed small petty crimes but it was nothing like murder.  Their heads were placed on the chopping block simply because they broke the mold.  And I think the reason this bothers me so much is because I went to school with boys like Echols and Baldwin: boys who were a little different, with long black hair, who wore trench coats and hard rock t-shirts.  None of these boys would have hurt a fly but . . . what if the crimes had been committed in Greenbrier rather than West Memphis?  Would they have been singled out and targeted?  Would they have been called satanists because they had an affinity for black clothing?

4) While I know how backwards it can still be in many ways, I am very protective of my home state.  Don't come talking bad about it!  Especially if you've never lived there!  So it was really hard for me to grasp just how horribly the local law enforcement in a town in my home state bungled this investigation.  They went after boys who were a little different.  They coerced a confession from a young man who had the mind of a child.  They used fear-mongering to try the boys in public before it ever came time for them to see a jury.  It's sad and it's sick and, frankly, I don't blame Echols one bit for hightailing it out of the state and never stepping foot on Arkansas soil again.  The state also dropped the ball with the Alford plea -- yes, it got those innocent men out of prison.  But there will never be justice for those three murdered boys and that's the most grievous miscarriage of justice in this entire story.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Things

1) It's felt like fall the past few mornings with temperatures in the 60's. It is SO nice but I can't help but wonder if it's the fall air that's making all Memphians drive like even bigger assholes than usual. Seriously, courteous driving seems to be a lost art in most of Memphis and it's been even worse the past few days. And if I see ONE MORE PERSON almost sideswipe someone or run off the road because they're busy with their damn phone ...

2) Saw this on Facebook the other day:

I hate that it says "Kroger's" instead of just Kroger (huge pet peeve -- like when people say Walmarts. It's Walmart. MART.) But it still made me laugh. 

3) Parenthood comes back tonight. Thank ya Jesus!

4) Speaking of tv: I'm kinda obsessed with the Duggars right now. More specifically with Ben Sewald, the joker who is engaged to Jessa Duggar. Is he that hard up that he's going to let creepy Jim Bob and his creepy male spawn treat him as an indentured servant and attempt to humiliate him on national TV? Or is TLC paying him that well? And that kid is only nineteen. NINETEEN. How he is going to support a family? Even though it totally bummed me out that Jill and Derick basically admitted that they were getting married when they were to have all the guilt-free s-e-x they wanted, at least those two seem to fit ... they seem to work. Ben and Jessa seem like two horny teenagers who just need to DO IT in the backseat of a car a few times, get each other out of their systems, and then go on (WHEN THEY ARE MUCH OLDER) to find "The One."

I'm ashamed at how much thought I've invested into this family. 

5) There is a guy who works out at my gym -- I like to call him "Oversharer Guy" because he overshares, and often loudly. He's also Favorite Person at Gym because his overshares generally make me feel better about my own life. I overheard him telling his friend the other day, "I never know if I should ask a girl from the gym out. I mean, you're seeing her face at its absolute worst so you know how ugly she can be. But also those black stretchy pants? Every girl looks good in them so how do you know what her ass really looks like? Face or ass, man? Which one?"
It was possibly the most profound thing I've heard from Oversharer Guy. 

Also. Don't ever ask a girl out at the gym. We're there to work out, not troll for getting laid. 

6) FOOTBALL. My Hogs won again last week. LSU lost. I thought Florida State was going down but Clemson had to eff it all up. It's the Arkansas/ A&M game this weekend and while most folks don't seem to think my Razorbacks have a shot in hell ... well ... who knows. We'll see and WOO PIG SOIEEEE. 

7) My boys got much needed haircuts the other day. Since then, Karis has not stopped talking about how she needs a haircut too. She really doesn't (let those curls grow, girlfriend!) but maybe we need to arrange for a little trim or something to make her happy. And dont most of us females feel amazing after getting some hair chopped off? I know I do. 

8) Speaking of "Sister," (I'm not Karis! I'm not Kare Bear! I'm Sister!) she's in the stage where she's naming all stuffed animals and baby dolls. We now have stuffed puppies named Ross, Amos, Stella, Buster, Bolt, Nicholas, and ... Peyton Manning. 

9) My boys are on Fall Break the week after next.  I didn't mind it so much when it meant we got a trip to the beach.  Now though?  Ugh.

10) This:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back on Track: Week Five

I was hoping to maintain last week since I kinda went off the rails with my eating the previous weekend.

Um. I lost 3.2 pounds! Holla!

I've now lost a grand total of 10.6 pounds and have just another 3.2 to go before I hit my goal and find myself right smack in the middle of my happy weight range. In fact, I'm now at the very top of what I consider to be my happy range. Just want to lose these next three to give myself a tiny bit of cushion -- especially since we're right at the cusp of the best food time of the year. 

These things right here are my current nemesis:

They are SO GOOD. 

Too good. 

And they may very well be the reason if the scale doesn't move this week. Well, I'll blame them and the weekend. The weekends always throw me off!

I'm really not expecting much of a loss this week given that I lost over three pounds last week. However, if I can just a lose a pound a week for the next three then I'll be at my goal by J's birthday and that's what I originally wanted. (Actually I originally wanted to lose ten pounds but, meh, might as well just keep going!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Things

1) It was 60 degrees last Saturday morning. When I walked outside, my neighbor was wearing a coat, hat, and gloves. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? It was SIXTY DEGREES. This is pretty much the only thing I hate about fall weather in the midsouth ... the way assholes react to it.

 About those reactions: it rained hard last Thursday and entire neighborhoods in Memphis flooded. Recent transplants (especially those from up north) always wonder why the city shuts down when it snows here. I'll tell you why ... because Memphis folks can't even drive in the rain. So many people tried to drive through flooded streets, there were accidents all over, and traffic was moving slowww all over.  There was no happy medium: it was either jackasses being too aggressive and driving into flood waters or people freaking out and driving 25 on the interstate.

2) And speaking of Memphis drivers ... I once took a flight and sat next to a preacher who told me he was pretty sure the Atlanta airport is what hell would be like. He's probably right. But, if not, I'm convinced it's the 40/240 split in Memphis. I wish there were words for how ragey the flyover makes me. No one gets in their correct lane until it's almost too late which constantly has traffic backed up. There's construction. And even though the speed limit is 45, you have to go at least 60 or you'll get run over. I always get behind the Geo Metro going 40 with a semi on my tail. Lovely. 

3) My girl's hair is getting long! She likes for me to blow dry it so I try to on mornings when we have enough time:

She's also gotten to where she loves bows (yay!) but she has to pick them out and they don't always match. 

4) I discovered this at walmart yesterday:

Poor Ana!

The Elsa dolls were (obviously) all gone ...

5) Both boys received progress reports last week and both did great. Tomorrow are teacher conferences but the way the school does them really sucks. They only allot three hours for conferences therefore teachers only meet with the parents of students who are struggling. That's understandable and all but, still, I'd like to meet with each teacher and really SEE how my kids are doing. 

6) J's 8th birthday is October 10th. That's also the day the Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (probably my favorite children's book ever!) movie comes out.  And Brantley Gilbert comes to Southaven that night. A certain little punk kid wants to do neither of these things and has already informed me that I cannot because I have to spend the entirety of his birthday with him. 

7) How great of a weekend was it (again!) in football? My Hogs won. Baylor won. USC lost. Seahawks lost (I actually have nothing against Seattle but Pete Carroll is their coach and ... yuck.)

8) I've pretty much decided I'm going to get the iPhone 6.  I've had my phone (a 4S) for nearly three years.  I'm completely out of storage on the phone and, you know, it's just time to upgrade.  I'm not going to lie: I will MISS my 4S when I finally do let it go.  It's been one awesome little phone.  I'm sure the bells and whistles (and extra storage since I'm DEFINITELY going for the bigger phone this time around!!) of the 6 will make up for it.  Oh, and totally not getting the phablet one because really?  Really?  No.  Hashtag TACKY.

9) Last night as I was making dinner, Jaidan ran into the kitchen.
Me: "Um, uh, whaaaa?"
J: "I accidentally threw the basketball up to that thing in your bathroom* and now it's stuck and Kyan won't hold the ladder so I can GET IT!"
*that thing in your bathroom = the ledge that's, you know, RIGHT UNDER THE CEILING in my bathroom
Seriously.  This little turd was trying to use the ladder from THEIR BUNK BEDS to climb up it and reach the basketball that had been thrown on that ledge.  REALLY?!?

10) For those who've been there ... and those who stay there:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back on Track: Week Four

I lost 2.4 pounds last week. The pound I gained over the holiday weekend as well as another 1.4. My total lost to this point is 7.4. I've been at this four weeks so that's right on track and a decent amount lost. However. For some insane reason, I was initially upset. Like "ONLY seven pounds???" Even though I know it's healthy weight loss. Even though I know I'm not that big and can't expect to drop as much as I would if I were larger. But, yeah, I was a little irritated.

Then this happened:

The pic is a little blurry because J took it and the pose is a little too college girl. But. Those are my jeans! AND THEY FIT! I tried to put them on a few weeks ago and it was laying down on the bed to zip them followed by holy muffin top, Batman. So, apparently, seven pounds is the difference in my jeans fitting or not. 

I made it to the gym four times last week, walked the days I didn't. Saturday evening, I picked the kids up from their sitter and totally missed her bottom porch step. (This was a clumsy moment -- not an alcohol induced thing.) I fell and I guess twisted (or maybe sprained?) my ankle. It hurt - really, REALLY hurt - on Sunday. I used that as my rest day and decided not to do the gym last night though I did walk (and walked nearly four miles!)  My ankle feels much better and I'll be fine to go back to the gym tonight.

A few things I've been eating:

These stuffed peppers are SO GOOD. Freaking amazing. 

I used two tablespoons of cooked quinoa, two tablespoons of black beans, a pinch of taco seasoning, little bit of salsa, and a tiny bit of cheese. I spread Laughing Cow pepperjack on my pepper then stuffed it and added a little more cheese. Baked at 400 for 25 minutes. The entire meal -- with sides of cukes and roasted squash and zukes -- was less than 275 calories! Whaaaa?

This Skinnytaste queso was SO GOOD! I halved the recipe since it was just the boys and I eating it (Karis doesn't care for queso.) J and I LOVED it. The only subs I made were almond milk rather than skim and I omitted the cilantro (just because I didn't have any!)

I also made the Skinnytaste chocolate chip cookies and just wasn't impressed. My first batch didn't have enough flour. I added more for the second and they just ... I don't know ... they tasted like diet food. 

I didn't do so great with my eating over the weekend.  I'll be surprised if I lose much come Friday and, honestly, I'll be happy with the scale if I just maintain.  (Happy with the scale . . . not so happy with myself though . . . damn weekends!)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thanks, Obama! And Kermit. And Michael Jackson.

I don't have insomnia. I have no problem falling asleep, sometimes at an embarrassingly early hour. I do have jacked up sleeping habits, though, which usually have me up sometime around 3 or 4 in the morning. Occasionally I'll fall back asleep but sometimes I can't and am just a dragon for the remainder of the day. Totally fun.

When I absolutely can't fall back to sleep and I'm bored out of my mind and I can't even think about pinning one more banana nut bread recipe or fall craft activity or tummy blaster exercise, my go-to "activity" is reading comments on the local news station's Facebook page. Since Facebook has allowed photo comments this has gone from "all white people in Memphis are racist! All black people in Memphis are thugs!" to some downright comedic gold. 

I'm talking about the memes that you see in comments. 

I'm basic bitch to the extreme so these pretty much make my entire life. I've been known to lay in bed, snort laughter, and try not to wake up a certain four-year-old who has moved into my room (AND my bed.)
And, yeah, I had another 4 am wake up and can't go back to sleep so I've put together a compilation of a few of my favorites.  These should suffice for any internet smackdown you happen to stumble upon. Enjoy!

(Can't credit as these all came from Facebook and were saved directly to my phone to pull out whenever needed. And, let's face it, they're gonna be needed!)


And, of course, you can't have a thread without some Obama/ Michael Jackson action:


For when you really love a post (#wps!):

And, finally, my personal can't-stop-laughing favorite. Use it, my friends, use it well:

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