2017-08-16 Dinner Time – Always a Good Time…

Just go make your own meal already. OK, this post is pretty much going to be a rant about my daughter. So sorry in advance for the less than stellar parenting that is about to be revealed.

Today was the first day of school. She was so tired when she came home that she slept for three hours as soon as she hit the bed in her room. Poor girl. Something must have taken a lot today. However, this means she missed dinner. C and I had a lovely meal and I will admit that after really over working myself today with the exercise I did not have any reservations about the pizza and red wine that I made for dinner (C just had pizza BTW). We did have some slices left and that was the first choice offered to her when she “came to”. That was met by a resounding “NO”.

Then pepperoni. No
A ham sandwich. No
A taco. No
Cereal. No.
Spaghetti . No
Oranges. No
Blueberries. No
An apple. No
Corn. No
Broccoli. No
Eggs. No “You know I hate eggs”.
A hamburger patty. No
Chips and salsa. No
Taco meat with chips (aka nachos). No
Bacon. No

Me – “Seriously, no to bacon? There is something really wrong with you”. Really.

So I said I was done and I left the room. She can just starve. I don’t care.

Here are things that we have on hand that I did not offer because I know already she won’t eat them…

Granola bars.
Pistachios
Almonds
Sunflower seeds.
Oatmeal.
Rice.
Steakums (yes they still make those).
Shrimp
Brussel Sprouts
Kale
Tomatos
Zucchini

Here are the things we have on hand that I did not offer because I really do care…

Ice Cream
Doritos
Hershey’s kisses
Cheetos
Pancakes
Toast

Really, I’m amiable to almost anything. Most parents would probably just say “You didn’t eat what was for dinner so you can just be hungry”. I can’t force her to eat and at this point I am way past caring. Me and my two glasses of wine are way past caring and already super focussed on maybe catching up on GOT before it’s time to go to sleep. We get to do this again tomorrow so I’m just going to let go of today and that will be that.

I’m sure season six episode five will be awesome. I’m going to forget what just happened and turn my attention in that direction.

Bon Appétit,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-13 Today is Mine

When I woke this morning at 7:33 after about 7 hours of sleep I said to myself, “Today is going to be my day”. I said it in a nice way, like I was going to hug the day and enjoy every minute of it’s time. Not in a mean sort of ownership way.

I’m rolling into a phase here where I intend to take my time and enjoy it and really do things I want to do. If that means I eat some ice cream and take a nap, then that is what it means. If it means I go on a 40 mile bike ride, then hooray for that. I’m going to try to not worry about the small things and appreciate all the wonderful parts of my life and the world around me.

So here now, after most of the day has come and gone, is “My Sunday” Status Update…

Jazzercise at 8:30 with one of my favorite instructors was a success. It was a great start to the day. When it was over at 9:30 though, I was done and left to go back home.

I spent about a half an hour putzing on the internets and completed my Red Cross “Rapid Pass” for the third time in two weeks. I have not needed it due to the low iron, but as I got in my car to drive to today’s location I said to myself again “Today is going to be my day”. Low and behold, my hemoglobin was 13.6 and so I was allowed to donate. Yes!! Great success.

After that I did a few random chores around the house and changed to go meet my sister downtown for Sushi. We went to Hiro 88 which I have not been to for sometime and it was awesome. I did not feel bad for ordering and eating the crab rangoon or some of each of the five rolls we selected or drinking two most delicious purple kimono drinks.

When I arrived back home I was really full and feeling very much like a nap would be a great idea but when I laid down, Josh texted and wanted to go for a walk. So I opted to get the steps instead. We went to Walnut which is about an hour walk and toward the end of it we both remarked that the trail is getting kind of boring. It really is. He also was lamenting about being hungry so we drove to Qdoba where he had a quesadilla and I had chips and queso. I knew I had overdone it when my stomach started to hurt. Too much goodness in one day.

That brings us to right about now. 7PM and the sun is starting to get low in the sky. I’ve had good conversations, good food, 15K steps, and am really ready for my kids to return home tonight. Today was my day. Tomorrow will be ours together.

Hasta Manana,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-09 Isn’t it Ironic

Today I went to the Red Cross blood drive just down the street. I have a long history of attempting to donate blood which is really great for several different reasons.

First and most obviously, you are doing something good and helping people and that gives me a nice feeling. They say that every time you donate blood, you are potentially helping up to three people who need it. The Red Cross is always saying that supplies are low, but right now they are in dire need and my in-box is getting bombarded with requests. My selflessness ends there however.

It’s really also kind of a free health screening. They check your temp and blood pressure and hemoglobin. I think they test you blood for several icky things which would normally cost money at a clinic or lab.

The third reason would be a slight departure from my normal routine which is kind of nice. I used to schedule around lunchtime and it takes a little time so it was an extra few moments of something different to just sit back and relax. That sound strange, but that is how I feel about it. And nobody is ever going to question my long lunch if they know that is my intent. What kind of a person would harp on someone for doing something good like that? Not many.

So today I went to donate and was rejected, for the second time in one week. I was rejected due to my hemoglobin being low which is iron in the blood. You can’t donate if you are a female and your count is less than 12.5. Today mine was 12.1 so I was turned away. I think it was last Thursday or Friday when I tried at the library and it was 11.5. This is why I say I have a long history of “attempting” to donate. My iron is often low.

For several years I took a supplement every day. I first started doing that not because I was not able to donate, but because I had seen my PCP and my blood work showed like 9. something and he suggested it. That’s not low enough to be a serious concern but he stated it could be a contributing factor to why I was so fatigued all the time. So I started taking some every day. My levels came up but I don’t think the fatigue ever really went away. I think my body just naturally has low hemoglobin.

Durning those years, I was always right around the threshold. Sometimes I would make it and sometimes I would be turned away. My grandfather donated regularly and I wanted to follow in his footsteps in giving back in some way. I never did a ton of research into why my iron would be low or what I could do to boost it naturally, I just accepted that the pill was sort of working and that was good enough.

It did, however, yield another unpleasant side effect that I did not even realize until this year. I would have really heavy periods with lots of blood clots. I came to this conclusion because someone suggested I stop taking the iron and see what affect that had on my system. Magically, after about a month or so, my period returned to normal. So that was it, I was done with that supplement for sure. Except it meant that I also had to give up donating. Damn.

I began researching natural ways of increasing the iron in your diet in the hopes that eating foods rich in iron would have a positive impact on my numbers, yet keep those nasty once-a-month episodes from being too terrible. What I found is that some things I like to eat already are high on the list of foods rich in iron. Hamburger number one, spinach and leafy greens and broccoli, dark chocolate, molasses, whole wheat bread ,quinoa, apricots and strawberries and raisons are among the top. Beans too, but gross, I don’t eat beans.

So I made sure I have something every day. I love cheeseburgers so that’s like a top win. It might even be part of the reason I like red meat so much. My body is craving what it is lacking. People say it does that, and seeks out what it wants. Perhaps there is some truth to that. However, the science of increasing iron in your system does not stop there. One has to consider absorption. With my levels still being too low last week, I began looking into this as well.

I had done a quick search at one point and found out that calcium inhibits the uptake of iron into the system and that vitamin C actually increases it. So the easy take away from that is stay away from dairy when you are having an iron meal and also pair it with something like orange juice. When I was taking the supplements, I always took it with orange juice anyway, so now that I am making my own juice, that works out perfectly.

To make matters a little more complex, though, just eating spinach may not have been doing me any good. Apparently there is another thing in spinach, called an Oxilate which prohibits the intake of iron. So spinach becomes a net zero for trying to increase the iron. Same thing with the strawberries and whole wheat (though that is because of phytates and not oxalates – oh my).

I’ve been doing more and more digging into this and have several sites that confirm that absorption is just as important as what you are eating that contains iron. In fact, about a quarter of the things on the list of foods high in iron were also on the list of foods to avoid if you want to absorb more iron. How ironic (pun intended). Iron from animals such as beef and fish are more easily absorbed that that from plant sources.. but there is apparently no perfect pairing to maximize the benefit.

Anyway, after I was turned away today from donating, I was so angry. I don’t want to give up because I am not a quitter, nor am I willing to let go of the benefits I get from donating. I have a feeling that my body is the way it is naturally, and that my iron will always be slightly low and I intend to continue to try and sort this out. I just find it so ironic that this one tiny thing that I want to do is something I can’t do and it feels so outside of my control. Grrrr.

I’ve made another appointment to try again Sunday. So between now and then, I guess it’s all cheeseburgers and orange juice for me. I guess if there is a silver lining, that would be it. 😉

Isn’t it Ironic.. Don’t you think?
A little too Ironic..
Yeah I really do think.
~Miss SugarCookie

P.S. Thanks Alanis for the Complimentary Close

2017-07-29 It’s a Doozie.. 1.5

Yesterday I had plans to take the kids to go have lunch with my Dad and his wife and they live across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I let them pick the place and of course, they pick someplace in Council Bluffs because for some reason they rarely come across to this side of the river for anything. They picked a place that I guess is relatively new down in the Manawa lake area called Doozies. I had not heard of it before and had no idea what to expect.

When we arrived, which was about 1:20 in the afternoon well past a typical lunch rush we were surprised to walk in and find the three or four booths they had inside already occupied. Well, there was one “three quarter” bench right by the door with no one at it but the table was clearly dirty. The kids sat down there while I stood by the wall to look at the menu. It’s one of those places you order at the counter and they bring your food to you.

I was pleased to find that besides ice-cream being their main go-to, they also had cheeseburgers and sandwiches and fries and the like. There was one gal sort of rushing around in a very stressed out way cleaning off a high chair and I let her know about the dirty table and she said she was getting to that next.

Z elected to get the chicken strip basket, C had a grill-cheese basket, and I of course ordered a single cheeseburger, no basket). It was the same gal at the counter who took our order and she again seemed a little put off. The place started to fill up behind us and the kids went outside to a larger umbrella table that would accommodate all five of us.

My dad and his wife were a touch late but it was OK because it took a long time for our food to come out and by the time it did, all of the tables outside had filled up too. I was shocked to see such a crowd in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday, but perhaps that meant it was a place worth coming to. Sadly that was not the case.

The food was sub-par. The burger I ordered was not good and the kids did not seem to care for theirs either. The fries were greasy and limp. The burger was completely underwhelming. Nothing special about any of it. It was like they went to the grocery and got all the right ingredients, but somehow it just didn’t come together.

It was a 1/3 pound lifeless patty probably fried up on a flat-iron and devoid of any seasonings. It was done well through and piled with tomato, cheese, pickle, and onion, which also seemed to be void of flavor. I mean, pickles and onions have a distinct flavor but I couldn’t taste it. Z had a side of ranch for her chicken strips which the stressed-out lady at the counter made me choose and so I ended up dipping the burger in that which had at least some flavor.

In all fairness, I ordered it without the “Doozie” sauce which I guess is a catsup/mayo combo or something, so perhaps that would have been better but I don’t like catsup or mayo. I would say the next time I will try it, but I am never going back.

At one point my Dad’s wife made a comment about “this place affecting Cristy Creme’s business”. In my head I’m thinking, this place can’t touch Cristy Creme, but I kept that one to myself. Now that the idea is in my head, we might just have to do that one next time we are back in CB.

Anyway, Z refused to eat her chicken fingers after the first couple of bites and told me in the car on the way home she found several hairs in her food. C ate all of his grilled cheese, but as usual had nothing to say about it. Neither one of them even made a dent in their fries which makes a statement as well.

When we were on vacation we went to that really terrible burger place in a town just off the coast and I didn’t write a review of it because I felt it wasn’t worth it, but I’ve now decided that I should take the time to hash over the bad as well as the good in order to properly fill out the scale of possibilities. Considering the food, and the place, and the service, I would probably only go as high as 1.5 on this one.

My grand recommendation for Doozies is to stick with the ice cream. We did not have any, but it most certainly has to be better than their food (and it is tough to server bad ice cream).

One and Done,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-23 The Mantra Cheeseburger.. 3.5

There’s this restaurant on Maple street I’ve driven past dozens of times before. They have a tree out front that is artificial and lights up year round (not a Christmas tree). I’ve never looked up the name or thought to stop before to see what it was like, even though I have thought about it. Last night that is where my date suggested we go for dinner.

When he suggested it, I googled the place and looked at their menu and it reminded me of more of an upscale bar and grill. I mean anyplace that has crab cakes and escargot on their app menu isn’t just your average hole-in-the-wall bar. I was immediately challenged by the fact that they had both crab cakes and a cheeseburger on their menu and I have a rule about ordering both of those if they are offered. But of course I had to go with the Cheeseburger because that’s my thang.

My date asked me how adventurous I was about different food, and I said I wasn’t too adventurous but willing to try whatever so he ordered the escargot. I’ve had that one time before but this was smothered with butter and garlic and cheese and very tasty. It took the wait staff a long time to take our order because we were apparently enjoying ourselves so much with our drinks and conversation and the snails. Eventually I got around to ordering the “Mantra Burger” which is one “half pound” patty served on a pretzel bun with whatever extras you want on it plus a side of fries. I ordered it cooked medium with cheddar cheese.

First of all, there is no way the patty was 1/2 pound of beef, probably more like a quarter. Secondly, it was pretty flat and well done. Not a lot of juice. I had not had a pretzel bun before so that was different, but good and there could have been more cheese, but it was an acceptable amount. I put a few onions on as everything was on the side when it was served (I like tomato but always eat that separately). It came with some house made asian style bbq sauce which was also on the side and I actually liked that better then I thought I would.

The taste of the burger was OK. Not a lot of flavor to it without dipping in the sauce. It was good, but not great. My expectations were high and I was underwhelmed. I think I enjoyed the cocktail and the escargot much more than the burger, and that is making a statement. Still, it was not bad, so I would have to go middle of the road on this one and give it a 3.5.

I’d probably say the same thing about the date itself. I would see him again, but can’t see myself choosing that as my only meal for a long period of time. I would definitely go back to Mantra though but the next time I am going to try the crab cakes!

Cheers to Too Many Choices,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-20: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things…

On the plane ride home I asked my kids about our vacation with very specific questions. I think what you retain in your memories is solidified by recalling it several times, especially when it is fresh in your mind. I’m asking myself the same questions and will see how my answers stack up next to theirs.

What was the best thing you saw..
C: The Space Needle he also added, “We never saw the bean.”
Z: The Redwood Forest and her reply to C, “dude that’s in Chicago.”
Me: Also the Redwood Forest. “and now I guess I need to plan a trip to Chicago.”

Favorite Food or Food Place or meal…
C: Mod pizza in Seattle
Z: Also Mod pizza or Shari’s
Me: I also liked Shari’s but my favorite meal was the picnic we had at Oswald State Park at the beach. Looking at the map I think it was “Treasure Cove” but can’t be certain because I don’t recall seeing a sign”. Second might be the VooDoo donuts or Food truck lunch we had on the first day. I may have picked the Sand Dollar Cheeseburger, because it was so delicious, but I had to eat it so fast and I was pressed for time and also was alone.

Worst food (for comparison)…
Z: The fancy French toast place (which was Portage Bay Cafe).
C: I didn’t have one.
Me: I agree with Z, that Cafe was overpriced and not very good. I would also comment that every meal we ate that was fast food would be on this list. If I had to pick the worst though, it would be the burger place called Shake and Burger. I can’t even remember what city we were in but everything about it was terrible.

Best hotel or night’s stay…
Z: The Holiday Inn Express .. They had the best pool.
C: The Rennasamce Marriott was the nicest but the HIE did have the best pool.
Me: I agree with Cooper, but also really liked the hotel location/view/room we stayed at the Comfort Inn overnight in Eugene Oregon.

Worst hotel (for the sake of remembering)…
Z: The Comfort Inn Portland airport. Pool was not swimmable and we lost our pool toys and they were doing re-modeling and the drywall dust got all over my suitcase and ruined it. The elevator did not work in the morning and the breakfast was “meh”.
C: The Comfort Inn Portland airport.
Me: Yup, this is one thing we all agree on. The Hot Tub was also out of commission and it looked as though mold was growing on the surface under the water. Gross. They did take 45 bucks off our stay, but it did not make up for the experience and not allowing the kids to do one of their favorite things and swim.

Best Experience (not just what you saw but something you did)…
Z: Wings over Washington and Having a tv on our second flight.
C: Also Wings over Washington.
Me: Hands down hiking the Redwood Forest. Even driving through gave me chills. I just love that place. I will say the Wings over Washington was a good ride which was pretty cool the way they really made you feel like you were flying over the state with the sights and sounds and smells and feels. I wish the ride was a little bit longer though. I also enjoyed catching up with Princess KK even if it was just for a day. Driving down the coast was cool and laying on/rolling around the sand dunes of Oregon was newt. Also and also hiking up the path to the top of Multnomah falls. It really is hard to pick a favorite thing when there really were a lot of great moments.

Favorite Activity…
Z: Swimming at hotels
C: Lots of video game time in the car and at hotels.
Me: Again, it is difficult to choose among so many things that were fun to do. This is right up there with best experience, but I had to think of a secondary category because I know the kids enjoyed things that were not “road trip/tourist” experiences. I will admit it is a little disappointing that it would be the case, since we can do all those things in Omaha without spending a penny, but I am hoping their memory of our trip remains positive.

My least favorite activity became all the driving and navigating the terrible traffic and all the people in and around the larger cities. I think they are over-crowded and I would never want to live in either place. I also became increasingly irritated at my daughters picky eating and entitled attitude.

When we arrived home, Josh gave us a ride back to our house and he asked the kids what was the most memorable thing, which was phrased a little differently than the thing I had asked. They both said “getting lost in the Redwood Forest”, which I was shocked to hear come out of their mouths. I mean of all the things we had just talked about, neither of them mentioned that to me. In all fairness we were never “lost”. We crossed the “scenic” road multiple times and could have, at any time, taken that back to the visitor center where our car was parked.

At some point we did go left when we should have gone right (or north instead of south) and ended up on a different trail several miles from where we intended to be. While the kids both blame me for that incident, they admit the signs on the trail were not the best and not all “forks in the road” were labeled. When you are among such tall and majestic trees, it is difficult to see where the sun is and if it is around high noon, tough to know which way is north and which way is south. In any case, a lovely couple of girls gave us a ride back to the visitor center and it was a good thing because it really would have been several more miles of hiking and Cooper never would have made it. It’s definitely worth an honorable mention, as these things are what memories are made of.

Traveling Trio Out,
~Miss SugarCookie (And Z and C too)

2017-07-14 PNW Day 4: I’ve Come a Long Way Baby…

… Literally. Yesterday I drove from Rockaway to Crescent City, Ca and what should have been a 6.5 hour drive took us 12 hours. We checked out of one motel at 11AM and checked into the next at 11PM. We made so many stops along the way. Some were good and some were bad, some were necessary and some were not. In the end, It was dark and I was sleepy and all I wanted to do was get to that dingy motel so I could sleep.

At dinner-time I got a craving for a cheeseburger and typed that into the GPS and ended up at a place called “Shake and Burger”. The service was the VERY WORST I have had in a long, long time. The burger was sub-par and the place was really kind of a dump. I’m not even going to dedicate an individual post to it because it was not even worthy (probably a 2 for the record – 1.5 if you factor in the service). I would have thought a place with “burger” in the name would hit at least a 3. Yowza.

Anyway, I did all that driving so I could wake up today and just zip down to the Redwood National Park and hike amongst the giant redwood trees. Sure enough, I was not one mile into the park on scenic 101 that I got that very goosebumps feeling that I get when something amazing is happening. I do love the Redwood forest. It’s just so awe-inspiring

I barely thought at all about the last time I was there, which was in 2012 with Matt. This is proof that either the Forests powers are just that strong or that I’m really starting to just be over him. Either way I have come a long way.

The plan was supposed to be that we would arrive in Seattle on Friday, but when we were still in California at about 2PM today, it was very clear that was not going to happen. I was already sick of driving after yesterday and could only take about 4 or 5 hours in the car today so we stopped in Eugene Oregon for the night. We will make it the rest of the way tomorrow.

On that note, I need a good night sleep to get me in better shape for tomorrow and the weekend. It is my turn to be solo in the bed (we’ve been taking turns sharing a bed).

Nighty-Night,
~Miss SugarCookie