Saturday, October 11, 2014


So very sleepy.......

It's 7:06 pm and it should not surprise anyone if I'm done writing this post by 7:10.  Yep, four minutes. That is all I think I have in me.  It's been a long slow day despite the fact that I got up at 11:30 am... I didn't get to bed until 2:30 am, and fell asleep well after 3:00.

All I've done today was wash a ton of dishes and get caught up on some recorded t.v. shows.  So sleeeeeppyy.


Friday, October 10, 2014


Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH!  Aaaah, my tooth! It was one of my molars... actually, two molars. Since moving back to the desert, this has happened more than once.  And, yes, twice is way too many times. Also, if you count the fact that this happened on two separate areas of the same tooth, well.  What is this this I'm going on about?  Hear me out, because I'd love to share my favorite crunchy foods, and maybe compare notes, but first this.

First of all, keep in mind that I've always feared going to the dentist.  I'm old... 50, so consider the fact that when I was having a mouthful of cavities filled as a little kid things were a bit... hmmm, creepy.  The dentist - a heavy smoker and coffee drinker, therefore gross smelling with horrendous breath; his waiting room - painted orange, green & really orange; the examination chair - designed for grown ups, not tiny third graders; the giant overhead lamps - that left me walking around with spots in front of my eyes on the bus rides home; the entire ball of wax, made for a miserable day.  To make matters worse, my 3rd grade teacher (she'll be mentioned again in the "crunchy" part of this post) even kept my appointments marked for every other Wednesday on the class calendar.  Wednesdays were spelling test days, and I'm pretty sure I was the best speller in class.  That calendar was directly over my desk. Fun, right?

So, there's that. Now, super-fast forward... "huuuuh".  That's supposed to be me quietly moaning. I'm in Colorado.  My family's dental needs are in the best of hands... until insurance benefits cease as a result of husband's job loss in 2007. Oh, and again when money was super tight in 2010 - long story.  It was during those rough periods that my body decided to have some sort of intolerably painful episode every now and then.  Twice it was my mouth causing the problem, but nothing a super expensive emergency extraction at the hands of a competent oral surgeon couldn't fix. Two separate occasions; two different doctors, and that was that.

Fast forward again. This time to 2012.  News junkie that I am, I have CNN on while I waste the evening away on Twitter.  Just like now, but not really; I used to follow a lot more news outlets. So this was me one night:  Hey, Jeremy Jojola from 9News Denver is tweeting story about some guy and his evil, despicable (my words) dental practices."  Hmmm, name sounds familiar. Oh, god!  What did he do?  When!  I've been to that guy's office.  He pulled my tooth!  He's done what?  A few days later: A letter.  Heart sinks. Something about if I'd been to this doctor during such and such time, I may have been exposed to HIV, HepB and/or HepC. Get tested. Call here for more info.  Me, furious; frightened.  Did I mention furious.  I was so glad I followed 9News and Jeremy, and vise versa.  I was able to have a reliable ear at a moment's notice. Everyone at the news station was great keeping me posted on what was happening with the investigation into allegations that this terrible person was putting patients at risk of infection due to the practice of reusing syringe needles... which cost only cents!  Eight hundred people received the same letter that I did. At that point we were reeling from nearly two-year long joblessness and a short few months away from losing our home, and all I could think was how was I supposed to pay for whatever cost might result from the whole thing.  Depression hit an all-time low. At least the County waived most of cost to get tested.  A week later; all clear. Whew! Fun, right?  NOT

Next jump in this timeline.  October: Can you spare a room, or two?  Our family, homeless. And for me, a hospital stay; thirteen days.  What did I do the entire stay? I munched on cup after styrofoam cup of crushed ice.

Another jump.  February: A house... The Place.  My family was together again after having been taken in by relatives.  All I wanted was to find some sort of normalcy now that my husband was working and we were okay.  One thing I wanted to do as soon as possible was to re-establish healthy eating habits.  What was I eating? Frozen fruit with yogurt every morning. Munch, munch, munch. Mmmm. CRUNCH! "huuuuh."  Whew! Only a piece of cracked molar that was more filling than tooth.  Still no dental benefits; I had to hope sensitivity in the area would be minimal. It was fine; I could tolerate it. Months later, tacos! Crunch, crunch, crunch, CRACK! Aaaaghhh... PAIN! I weeded through a mouthful of spit-out crispy chicken taco to discover a huge chunk of broken off filling and enamely bits.  Still no dental insurance, all I could do was be as careful as possible to keep from chewing food on the left side of my mouth.  That took some getting used to - both the pain, and chewing on the right side. Not too long after that incident,  mmmm... chewy steak. (Remind me to never again order steak at Applebee's, okay?). Chew, chew, chew, chew... crunch. Spit. Wow! A gaping hole with sharp edges at gum line. Yep, there went the other half of the molar on the left. *sigh*

I've since gotten used to all the gaping holes in my mouth, both from the extracted molars and the ones that have bits broken off.  And every now and then I will enjoy a yummy, crunchy snack, as well as make crispy crunchy tacos or nachos.  Here are some of my best memories of crunchy favorites.
  • Once in elementary school, my 3rd grade teacher took a bunch of us "smart" kids to the Griffith Park Observatory (otherwise known, in my book, as the best field trip ever), but before that she had us over for dinner.  I don't remember anything that was served that evening, except one thing - celery.  Fancy celery. It was cut in four-inch length sticks, and the curved well was filled with some sort of creamy stuff and that was topped with raisins.  All of us little inner-city Mexican children were at a loss.  I'm pretty sure we all tried the fancy celery; I'm pretty sure we all hated the fancy celery too.  Nonetheless, that was a very fun day.
  • I'm not a fan of apples. Don't hate me, please.  Truth: I wasn't a fan of apples... until I had a Honeycrisp apple.  I try to buy a few anytime I find them in a grocery store produce section; kinda expensive, but totally worth it.  So good out of the refrigerator... crispy & crunchy. Yum!
  • I can't resist a delicious corn tortilla taco shell that's been filled with shredded chicken or beef. I even made a terribly produced taco-making video that I posted on my YouTube channel.  Tacos were great; video, not so much.  I'll have to remember to brush my hair and wear tinted lip balm at the very least next time.  But I won't make any promises.

I now try to keep from eating, therefore enjoying, kettle-cooked potato chips, granola topping on my yogurt, Almond Roca candy, and  assorted crunchy foods. But the major bummer - mostly because I'm pretty sure it's the reason why the structural integrity of tooth enamel was compromised - is that I can no longer mindlessly munch on refreshingly crunchy ice for hours on end.

September 28, 2015:
... And the saga continues. Still no dental insurance means still dealing with crumbling teeth issues. Oh, and this time with pain and sensitivity while eating... anything. Well, actually, I just finished a cup of cream of wheat without much discomfort. I just hope there isn't another E.R. visit. End of Summer I had to wake up the husband at 2am to let him know I was leaving to go to emergency room due to unbearable pain. He decide it was best that he drive me because, after all, I was on the verge of passing out from pain with the slightest of movement. Apparently, according to my husband, some hunky t.v. doctor attended me. When you are in the pain I was in that morning, it could have been Thor and I would not have noticed. Go, IV antibiotics and demerol!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'll Pass

Black Licorice... no thank you, I'll pass.  I hate the stuff!  Only old-timey grandmas like black licorice, right?  As far as I'm concerned, they can have it.

Pass the chocolate, please.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Did Somebody Say Pie!

Well, who doesn't like pie? Everyone likes some sort of pie, right? I love pie, both savory and sweet. Fall season is pretty much the only time I'll make pie - okay, "cook pie." Confession: I've never made a pie, not from scratch. I have made cheesecakes, do those count as pies.. they're made in a pie pan after all.

Now, let's talk about pie. When apple pie is served it must be warm and come with vanilla ice cream... on the side. If I'm gonna be picky, Dutch apple pie would be my preference. When it comes to pumpkin pie, nothing overly spiced or sweetened, please. I'll happily accept a serving at room temperature or out of the fridge and topped with a mountain of RediWhip. "Having a little pie with your whipped cream?" is something that is often asked, as I'm diving into my Thanksgiving Day dessert.

I really couldn't say which of those two pies I like more. All I know is that I won't say, "No," when offered a plate. I would like to try pumpkin cheesecake, and every Fall I'm tempted to call and ask for the recipe from a small hotel restaurant where I once had the most delicious pecan pie - a perfectly flaky crust that was coated with CHOCOLATE and filled with the perfectly packed, not-at-all overly sweet pecan filling. It was served warm with vanilla ice cream... and, Oh. My. God. I have not had pecan pie since; I don't want to spoil that heaven-on-this-earth experience. It's been over 10 years since we lived in Hawaii; over 10 years since that pie came into my life. Maybe I'll Google a recipe for it to try to make this year.

Unrelated to pies, another sweet dish I'd like to attempt to make this year is Mexican bread pudding - the kind my Auntie Mary used to make. So good!  Trifle is another holiday favorite, but it's strictly my Christmas and New Year's Day dessert.

Want to know a secret... all this writing about pies has made me super hungry and there's a Marie Callender turkey pot pie in the freezer. I couldn't pass it up when I was shopping the freezer section the other day. It reminds me of elementary school lunch served the day before Thanksgiving break... and it wasn't even in pie form.Cubed turkey and gravy were served over mashed potatoes, with a dinner roll and apple or cherry cobbler. Yum. That was my favorite day of the school year.

What are some of your holiday pie memories?  Any good recipes for desserts mentioned here that you'd like to pass along?  Feel free to share in the comments section below.  Thanks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

And Speaking of Fall Favorites...

Food... seasonal foods. It is that time again; time to dig out all those favorite family recipes and newly discovered holiday dishes to try,

Even if it's only first week of October and it is 90 degrees outside - whew, it's cooling down... grrrr - my mind is already zooming toward last week in November; to the point of my clearing out a shelf in The Place's tiny refrigerator - there are parts missing and inadequate amount of space, so I need to sort it out before filling it with all things Thanksgiving related.  The freezer portion is even worse. Did I mention it's a rental

Anyway, October is off to a good start in the way of meal preparations.  I've made chili - note to self, never again follow a recipe.  Today I made a huge pot of meatball soup for us and for mom to split. Tonight were having chicken with pasta alfredo, salad and garlic bread. Yum.

So, for this month my food focus will be on making stews, soups, and baked dishes... oh, just remembered the delicious baked talapia topped with salsa and cheese that we used to make at home in Colorado. Served over rice pilaf with a side of steamed veggies... Let's Eat!

I'll probably make a few sweet treats like banana bread and caramel apples, I'll also give one of those Dump Cakes The Pioneer Woman made on her show.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying ice cream treats, right?  So must stock up on plenty of toppings.  Hmmm, now seems the perfect time to head out to pick up a few groceries.

What do you crave most this time of year?


Monday, October 6, 2014

Mmmm... So Good!

I like to eat. There I said it. But that's not the reason I'm a fatty. I'm fat because I'm sedentary, I also experience some degree of pain on a daily basis. It's also been said that the medications I'm on contributed in some way to the weight gain. Those are the reasons I call myself a fatty. I'm not so sure I'm okay with anyone else calling me that though... I do have human feelings after all. But as a realist, especially after stepping off the scale (named Sophia - sounds friendly) and updating my BMI, I know what has to be done. Can't even imagine what kinda of state you'd find me in if I took out a measuring tape and wrapped it around my waist... no, no, no. Just no.

I do have a goal, which I'm three-quarters of a year through and failing at miserably. I have a daughter in third year of College, and a teenager graduating next spring. Originally my goal was to lose 50lbs before turning age 50. Well, here I am, a few short months from reaching 51 and the only thing I have to show for in that quest to lose 50lbs was putting on an extra 9lbs.  I really want not only to look fit and healthy, but be able to shop for something really nice to wear to my girls' graduations.  Well, I got sick last week and lost a quick 5lbs. Yay, ME. I've already put three of those pounds back on. What can I say, I like the taste of my own cooking.

Life Reimagined Profile Photo
October 3, 2014
At my heaviest *sigh*
This Is Fifty with Lil means reassessing my goals... again, I've determined that my daily routine must change.  So in keeping with the spirit of my effort to develop my YouTube channel - baby steps - I've also signed up for AARP's Life Reimagined, and what do you know... a few online activities to assess where to begin, I'm already on target.  Remember, baby steps. Yesterday meant being on my feet shopping for, prepping & cooking a large pot of chili, as well as doing a thorough kitchen clean-up. I did it! I went to bed after midnight, in pain; woke up in pain, slept late because I didn't have work and school drop off.  So, I got plenty of rest.  Tomorrow will be much different - four hours driving, several errands, cooking dinner, and hopefully another empty sink before bedtime.  That's my commitment to my family.

Now, on the subject of the whole pumpkin spiced everything, there is no problem there. I reserve pumpkin spice flavors for Thanksgiving pies and breads.  I mentioned last week that cinnamon and chocolate are my go to flavors.  My seasonal icy beverage choice is a Mexican style cinnamon rice drink that I'm so happy is easily found in restaurants in this part of the country. Ginger Ale teas and fizzy drinks are a favorite option as well.  My cold weather drink is Mexican style cinnamony, hot milk chocolate. I just have to make sure I use low-fat milk and stevia sweetener to keep calories at bay. I will spoil myself once in a while stopping by Starbucks for a Cinnamon Dolce Latte or my favorite, Chai Tea Latte - fat-free of course.  And there you have it, my Favorite Fall Flavors.

Mmmm... So Good!

What are your favorites?