Pot Roast!!

We decided to have my Mom and mother-in-law over for dinner once a month.  Since  my Mom’s birthday was a few days ago, I asked her to choose the menu for our first dinner.  After giving it some thought, she said “Pot roast or swiss steak.”  To which my reaction was, “Ummmm . . . are you sure you don’t want a nice curry??”

O.k., I at least knew what a pot roast was.  Swiss steak I was a little more unclear on.  I had a vague recollection that it had something to do with pounding and breading and frying.  So, pot roast it was going to be!!

Off to the grocery store!  Just as I was about to pull out my phone to google “what cut of meat is a pot roast?”, I spied a big hunk of beef that was actually labeled “Pot Roast.”  Yay!!!

Once home, I pulled out my trusty, “Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook”.  download

For some inexplicable reason, my 12 year old self took this cookbook from my Grandmother’s house right after she passed away.  I’ve carried it around with me every since.  My adult self is super, super thankful!!  Of course, it had a recipe for Pot Roast. (Actually, it had several recipes although I decided to stick with the basic one and leave “Fruited Pot Roast” for another day . . . or never.)  It also has a recipe for Swiss Steak (of course it does!) and I was right about the pounding, breading and frying.

O.k., onto cooking.  I was slightly mystified by the ingredient “salad oil” but decided that canola oil would do.  I rubbed my dear pot roast with garlic, salt and pepper; coated in flour, and browned.  So far, so good.  Then it simmered happily in my Dutch oven along with potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms for four hours.

My Mom took over making gravy when she arrived.  She was slightly disappointed that I didn’t have something called, “Kitchen Bouquet” to add to my gravy.  “What’s that?” I asked.  “Its a liquid that makes your gravy taste like gravy.” she replied.  I’ll definitely have that on hand next time.

My pot roast was approved by both my Mom and mother-in-law!!!  Yay!!!!!  download 3

That’s not a picture of my pot roast but that’s pretty much what it looked like.  I was super proud of myself!  I felt so American housewife-y.

But next month, I think we’re going to have a nice curry.


Reset Day

The end of last week really fell apart.  All of my “living purposefully”, small goals, small steps, talk went right out the window.  I ended yesterday feeling miserable, depressed and like a total and complete failure.

Thankfully, for some reason, I woke up feeling much better this morning and am choosing to look at today as a reset day.  I’m choosing to focus on the fact that I did walk my dog three times last week, which included these lovely views:



I managed three days with much, much less sugar.  Three days is better than zero days!  And I managed a few posts here on my blog.

When I actually type it out, last week doesn’t sound all that bad!

This morning I read this great post titled, “Mindset Changes Everything” by Dr. Andrea Dinardo:    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/43836667/posts/1734422042.  Dr. Dinardo points out that obstacles can be learning opportunities.

Right.  Learning opportunities.  What obstacles did I face?  Why did my new mindset go awry?  What do I need to look out for to make more progress this week?  What went well that I can build on?

I don’t have all the answers yet.  I do know that this is hard!!  I also know that my mantra needs to be “I can” and “I will” instead of “I want to” or “I wish”.

I was going to end this post with the thought that I will make this week a “better” week than last.  I think that’s another mindset I need to switch . . . away from the concept of “better”.  Last week, I did the best I could.  Thinking that I need to make this week “better” somehow implies to me that last week wasn’t good.  But it was.  I did a lot of things well.  And, if I didn’t do everything perfectly, well, that’s o.k.

So how about this . . . I will continue to move forward this week.



Living Purposefully . . . Is Hard!!!

A few days ago I wrote about my intent to live more purposefully.  I had a bunch of vague notions about what exactly that meant.  I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to put those vague notions into practice.

Its hard!!!!!

As a mom, wife, attorney, and wearer of many other hats, its incredibly easy to get swept up in work, household chores and running the kids here and there.

So I’ve decided to focus on a few things I can control.  (Because as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I can’t control everything – at least, that’s what my therapist tells me.

1. Eat less sugar.  I’m a complete sugar addict.  While working on the Rose Parade float, I lived on these little gems:   20171230_195427.jpg  I literally ate 10 – 15 a day!  The frosting is my favorite part!!!  Now that I’m home, I’ve been plowing through candy and ice cream.  There’s a tub of gumdrops in my car.  But I can feel the ill effects of the sugar.  I’m tired, not focused, not sleeping well, and my face is breaking out.  Its time to once again seriously decrease my sugar intake!

2.  Eat better – this goes hand in hand with number 1.  Less sugar, more veggies, fruit and water.  I came back from Rose Parade float the heaviest I’ve been in quite awhile.  Ugh.

3.  Write more.  Writing is something I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time.  I’m not sure I have a book in me but I can give myself 10 or 15 minutes several times a week to post something here.

O.k., normally I would go on and on with a huge list of other things I’m going to do.  Stopping at three is another thing I’m trying to do differently in my “live purposefully” quest.  I’m trying to slow down.  Focus on a few things at a time.  Not become overwhelmed, feel like I’m failing and then beat myself up.

I keep reminding myself to take baby steps and be patient.  And not give up just because its hard.  More than “I want to do this”; “I can do this.”

What Makes a Place Feel Like Home?

What makes your city or town, or even your house, feel like home?  I’ve lived in my current location (same house) for 20 years and it still doesn’t feel like “home”.

The morning DJ on our local radio station asked, “If you had been away from here for 10 or 15 years, what are the things and places you would have to do or go?  What would you miss?”  I couldn’t come up with a single thing.

In contrast, I spent the holidays in the town I call “home”.  There are places I want to go when I’m there, restaurants I have to eat at, people I can’t wait to see.  My high school is there, my Post Office, my church.  I ran into my very first riding instructor on the street – she still remembered me from when I was 9.

When I’m gone from the place I live now, I don’t necessarily miss it.  Its nice to sleep in my own bed and I absolutely love the quiet but, other than that . . . eh, I could take it or leave it.  All the things I love are here – my kids, my pets, my books, my coffee cups, and all the other “stuff” I love.  But all of those things could just as easily be somewhere else.

Its pretty here; I’ll certainly acknowledge that.  And its been a pretty good place to raise my kids.  I appreciate the fact that their schools all have grass, unlike mine that was completely asphalt, save a patch of front lawn.  But there are other pretty places as well.

I’ve just never felt connected to my current spot.  And I don’t know how to fix that.  Or, if its even fixable.

What makes you feel at “home”?

Swept Along

I didn’t really make New Year’s resolutions.  (Is January 8 too late for a post about New Year’s resolutions?)  But, for 2018, I want to stop just being swept along by life.  I want to live purposefully.

I’m not even sure exactly what I mean by that.  I guess I want to live by making conscious choices rather than just bouncing from thing to thing.  I want to feel more focused.  And I’m hoping that leads to feeling more accomplished.

I’m not 100% sure how exactly to go about this.  I think its going to take some slowing down and being more thoughtful.  And allowing myself time and space.  I think its telling myself that its o.k. to be successful at something.  I think its about closing the door on anxiety and worry, which I’m guessing will allow more time for actually doing.

I think its about not making excuses.  And not procrastinating.  I think its about allowing for practice, rather than expecting perfection at every turn.  Its about plans and following through, trying again, and not giving up.  And allowing for mistakes!

Its about believing that a new way of living is possible.  Even if it sounds hard (which it does!)


Stormy – Back to Work

Stormy, my 28 year old Thoroughbred, has been retired for many years, since I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 12.  He gets turned out with Slewy, my 11 year old Thoroughbred.  Slewy keeps him moving.

But recently, Slewy came up lame.  When the vet started talking about possible tendon tears or maybe a fractured point of hip, we were looking at a long layup.  (Slewy is fine – no tendon injuries or fractured anything but that’s another story.)  Which left me with the dilemma of how to keep Stormy  moving around.

So I decided to lunge him.  I was a bit hesitant because Stormy literally has done zero “work” in like 12 years.  But, I put him in the cross-ties and got out his bridle.  (I always lunge my horses in a bridle; they just seem to pay attention better.)

Stormy looked genuinely excited at the sight of his bridle.  He actually took two steps froward towards it, stuck his nose out and opened his mouth right up.  He was always easy to bridle but I was a little surprised at his eagerness.  We went out to the arena and I asked him to move out on a circle.  It was like I lunged him yesterday!


Doesn’t he look handsome in his bridle?  So now I’ve added him into the rotation of working horses.  I’m lunging him maybe once a week and every time he steps forward and pokes his nose out when he sees his bridle come out of the tack room.

I’m largely letting Stormy dictate what we do.  If he wants to trot or canter a bit more, then I let him.  If he’s done and drops back to the walk, that’s o.k.  Its only been a couple of weeks but I’m already seeing differences.  For example, the first few times, canter was difficult.  And then, yesterday for the first time, he stopped cross-firing at the canter; i.e., he was able to hold the correct lead both in front and behind.

I just laugh with joy to see him step out with his ears pricked happily forward!

What’s Holding Us Back?

The other day, some of the ladies at work were, yet again, discussing their need to lose weight.  I laughed and said, “Yeah, you guys will lose weight when I speak Spanish.”  (Its o.k., we have that type of relationship so they weren’t offended.)

But it really got me thinking . . . this is a conversation I have with so many of my women friends.  The desire to do this or that . . . and the absolute lack of sustained progress.

It really got me thinking . . . What is holding us back??

In my last post, I asked “What would success look like?”  The question of “What’s holding us back?” is a little different.

I posed that question to my good friend and she answered, “Fear.”

O.k., but fear of what exactly??

I asked my Mom.  She answered that she doesn’t like to be noticed so she thinks that’s what’s holding her back from losing weight, dressing better, etc. . . . someone might then notice her if she were attractive.  To which I replied, “Well, maybe people are noticing now and thinking how frumpy you look.”  (O.k., so maybe that wasn’t very nice of me but I think it was a legitimate point.)

Back to fear.  I know that for me and Spanish (because that’s an easy example), I have the immediate fear that people are going to think I’m stupid or sound funny in my beginning attempts at speaking Spanish.  Logically, I know the people I can practice with will absolutely not make fun of me but the fear is still there.

But what’s beyond that?  What if I did accomplish some of my goals?  Would I be able to internalize that success?  Would I be more confident?  Would people then expect more of me?  And, to my Mom’s point, would people notice me more?  Am I comfortable with that?  What would my husband say if I stepped out of my comfort zone and did well?  What would my friends say?  (I know “true” friends support you no matter what, blah, blah, blah).

Aaaahhhh . . . so much unknown!!!!  So maybe my friend was right.  Maybe it is fear that’s holding us back, plain and simple.