Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And fries the nerves.

As of today my husband has been away 40 days.  Quite a few important things have happened since he was last home.  I turned 53.  Our middle daughter moved to Ottawa.  Our 35th wedding anniversary came and went.  Many, many tears have been shed.  There have been sleep filled days and sleepless nights.  And if all goes well I will pick him up at the airport 7 hours from now.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know this hasn’t been the roughest time of my life for sure. Not even close.  But it has been trying.  I think I shall never agree to move a child any distance alone again.  I haven’t talked about that week from hell but I think now that my husband is on his way home, I can talk about it without crying.

Hannah is our middle daughter, fourth child and has been in love with Canada since she was about 12.  Since her cousin introduced her to hockey and she was immediately in love with all things Canadian.  She is now 24 so this move has not been on a whim.


Doesn’t she look happy?  At this point in the trip we were smiling to keep from crying.  In public.  The trip, as I have said, has been in the planning stages for many years.  And Hannah has saved her money, kept a 4.0, applied and was accepted to Carleton University in Ottawa (GO RAVENS!) for the Fall and Winter semesters.  All her financial aid transferred without a hitch.  She got in the dorm she requested (miracle), all but one credit transferred (REAL miracle) and so tickets were bought, bags were packed and off we went August 28th.  The day before her 24th birthday.  We had flights to Burlington, VT because I wanted to rent a car in the US and Ottawa is just a 4 hour drive.  Our trip to Burlington was smooth and uneventful.  We arrived on time.  Our luggage however, did not.  Well, two pieces of the 4 we checked arrived.  It’s okay we said.  This happened to Dad once and they will deliver it tomorrow to our hotel in Ottawa.  So off we went to our first night spent in Burlington, with plans to drive on to Ottawa the next morning and surely our luggage would arrive that evening (Wednesday) if it didn’t beat us there.

We both knew in the back of our minds that things had just gone too smoothly.  We kept asking ourselves and each other what was going go wrong.  We didn’t want to jinx ourselves but come on, for real??? TOO smooth for comfort.  But we woke up on Wednesday morning, Hannah a year older and anxious to celebrate her birthday in her new country.  So off we went.  We get to customs and immigration at the border.  And again, smooth as silk.  All the papers were in order. Hannah had done her homework on this.  The border patrol was even duly impressed with her thoroughness. So student visa in hand, border patrol happy to give us passage, we were back on the road.  But before we get going, let us call home to check on Ben since Hurricane Issac was threatening.  Oh, did I not mention a hurricane headed for home?  Yeah.  Icing on the cake.  Huh?  Phones don’t seem to want to work.  Oh well.  We will check the setting when we get to our hotel.  Probably don’t have something set correctly for international calls.  No biggy. Oh and I can’t talk to my husband because they are moving his rig and he has no communications.  Yay.

Still, all in all, a very uneventful trip.  Could have been SO MUCH WORSE.  You have to tell yourself that.  Constantly.  And knowing that is true doesn’t really help in that moment.  But we arrived at our hotel, without getting too lost in the big city.


Lovely hotel.  Middle of Ottawa and not far from Carleton.  Perfect.  Almost.  Canadians don’t  really understand the amount of air conditioning that I require but that is just a small thing really.  Comparatively.  The front desk clerk, who we quickly were on first name basis with (Alex) assured us that he would ring us the minute our luggage arrived.  We got ourselves cleaned up and set out for a birthday supper for Hannah at The Black Tomato.  WONDERFUL food if you are ever in Ottawa.

Now I am going to be honest, the rest of that week is a bit of a blur in my memory.  When I say I was stressed, I am not kidding.  I will spare you all the details and bumps in the road but let’s just say we didn’t have any cell phone communication until I bought two disposable Canadian cell phones.  Verizon did everything they possibly could to rectify the situation to no avail…until after I was home.  We drove BACK to Burlington on Friday and picked up our two, beat to hell and back, pieces of luggage that had been to four different airports, in three days, none of them Ottawa.  Let’s see…Detroit, Montreal, Laguardia and finally to Burlington.  When we found out they were within driving distance we said “KEEP THEM THERE!” we will come and get them.  So, when Hannah got out of orientation on Friday afternoon.  We set out for Burlington.  Yes that was August 31st.  And what weekend is that??? RIIIIGGGHHHT…Labor Day weekend.  So we spent nearly 3 hours at the border waiting to cross.  Bright side: by 11 p.m. we had the missing luggage in our possession.  Oh, I didn’t say, all of Hannah’s prescription medication was in one of the lost bags.  Uh huh.  I didn’t know she checked it and she didn’t know not to.  That will never happen again.  While we are in the states, we try again to get the cell phones working.  Nope.  Okay, we can’t worry about that any more.  No more energy on something we can’t fix.


So back to Ottawa we go. We only have a couple of days to spend together so we were going to try and enjoy them.  All and all we had met a few challenges but so far we hadn’t actually come unglued.  It was touch and go there for a while, but we are strong women.  We weren’t going to be broken. By the way Ottawa is a beautiful, clean city and one of the most multicultural places I have ever been.



Honestly, picture taking was the last thing on our minds most of the time and I didn’t get nearly the pictures I had planned to.  But next trip I will :)

Saturday night we enjoyed another meal at The Black Tomato with one of Hannah’s long time friends and begin to unwind and relax a little.  We had several real, sobbing melt downs during the week but we made it.  We came out on the other side and Sunday I headed back to Burlington for my return home Monday morning.  It was a beautiful drive down through the Champlain Islands and on to Brandon for a very brief visit with my friends there.


Hurricane Issac spared our area and for that I am thankful though very devastating for so many along the Gulf coast :(

Two more weeks have passed.  Some crying on both sides.  Hannah experiencing some homesickness.  Me missing her terribly.  But this is a chance of a lifetime and I am happy she is getting the opportunity to experience something outside her comfort zone.

So here you have the condensed version of our adventures in Canada.  With Jerry coming home this afternoon, don’t be surprised if I am scarce for a few days.  We have a lot of catching up to do.  My goals for today are: Get myself presentable, get food in the crockpot (meat for the guys ~ veggies for me), pick up over the house, wipe down the bathroom and not burst into tears when I see him.  As much as I have cried over the past three + weeks, I expect to be a bit emotional at his homecoming.  We had all intentions of starting a remodeling project when he got home and had talked about it almost every phone conversation.  But by yesterday’s phone calls we were to the point of  “maybe we will just hang out and do some gardening”.  So I will have garden updates for you but I would imagine the remodel will be for another time. I have missed my husband and he has missed me.  And just hanging out is underrated :)

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,



Mail is here!

Really good mail.  REALLY good.  My lab results came yesterday.  And if I were to be completely honest, I see them as a gift.  And a call to do better about taking care of myself.  Every one of my numbers was within normal range and some of them, like my good cholesterol, was superb.  So basically, if I would lose this weight, exercise even a little more,  there is no reason I cannot forgo medications for many more years.  And live a long, healthy life.  Happy I have covered.  Healthy I worry a little more about.  I have a horrible family history for heart disease.  And to see numbers like I saw yesterday, well I am fool not to take advantage of them and bring them even closer to ideal.

I think beating cravings will be second in difficulty only to exercise in what ultimately is a change in my lifestyle. Following closely behind will be cooking differently for other people and denying myself what they eat.  But when I compare these things to real difficulties, they seem to fall in to their rightful places among challenges rather than difficulties.  I have done much more demanding things in my life.  Things that push me emotionally take a much bigger toll on me than denying myself a carbonated beverage.  I have to keep a list in my mind of my most difficult days in order to have perspective and prevent myself from wavering from my determination to make changes in my life.  I have faced much more arduous tasks head on, full throttle, completed them without giving up and come out on the other side with most of my faculties. Why should changing what boils down to what I use for fuel be harder?  It shouldn’t be.

My paternal grandmother had more influence on me than probably any other person, including my own parents.  Publicly she was very reserved, refined and just by looking at her you knew she had an handle on things.  She had tremendous resolve.  Nothing scared her.  Nothing.  Not life, not death.  I never heard her say “I can’t”.  She probably said “I won’t” but those times were scarce as well.  She was in fact, a very determined woman.  In private however, she was warm and loving and extraordinarily funny.  I rarely saw her show sadness like my mother’s family did.  She was quiet with her emotions and cried in private.  My mother’s side of the family is where I developed the full blown emotions.  Fully happy, fully sad, fully mad and at times fully berserk.  Never much for doing things quietly or half way, emotions were laid bare for all the world.  Public displays of whatever emotion was called for were commonplace.  Honest, raw emotion.  And painfully bold honesty.  Honest I can be.  And as much influence as my paternal grandmother had on me, I am afraid I am not as reserved and quiet as she was.  I have regretted  that many times.  But baring my soul, being boldly honest about my shortcomings and sometimes brutally hard on myself, comes easy for me.

A dear friend of mine commented to me after reading my previous post: You just put it all out there, don’t you?…I applaud your honesty and your determination. We might want to hold the applause.  This is going to be a struggle of gargantuan proportions.  This isn’t one of those things where I can get into Mommy Mode or Daughter Mode.  Nope this is about me.  And as a daughter, mommy, grandmother I can say it is so much easier to be selfish with myself.  Sometimes I have to be.  My feelings, needs, wants have to take a backseat to what is happening right before me.  We all face situations every day that demand our constant and undivided attention.  Many times we are just too physically exhausted or emotionally drained to even think about denying ourselves that cookie or candy or soda.  We deserve it, right?  Yes and no. Yes we deserve to treat ourselves but no, that isn’t really the best way to do it.

The cravings will come and sometimes I will be in a weak moment and give in.  That is not an excuse then to just fall off the wagon and wallow in the muck.  I must then forgive myself  for that cookie or soda, get back up, brush myself off and determine myself to do my  best to be stronger next time.

I went to a lovely housewarming for a dear friend yesterday and I did partake of a few things I won’t normally eat.  My goal for today is to make another 24 hours without a diet soda.  And without a sweet other than fruit.  To eat a nice lunch, taking time to prepare and sit and eat it, then a healthy supper and sit and eat it.  Giving myself time to enjoy my food, concentrate on the taste, the texture, the aromas and be satisfied with a reasonable portion. And get some housework done so I can plant fall garden in the next few days.

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,




This is the first day of the rest of my life…

I started a new blog a week or so ago and almost immediately regretted it.  I felt I was forsaking this one.  One that has been so good for me.  That is so ME.  Well, like every other person who puts their life online, the ME I let you know.  But what I am going to attempt from today forward is to be a little more real (hang on gals, it could get rough), a little less careful, painfully honest at times and if you can’t handle it  or don’t like it, that’s okay.  I am who I am, what I am and I have a lot of good qualities and a lot of vices.  What I don’t want to ever be is bored.  Or boring.  That would be the most horrible thing to hear about myself:  Susan, you’re boring.  YIKES. So what I have decided to do is move those posts over here over the next few days and share my renewed need to put myself out there for all the world.

Still not going to get “all political” on you or anything of that nature.  I might quip occasionally on the subject but in the spirit of honesty, I will go ahead and put forth my disclaimer, lest some of you think you know me “as your kinda folk” and be slapped in the face one morning and it ruin the rest of your day :)   Now don’t bother saying nasty things to me if you find me a heathen or not of your chosen political mindset because my comments are set to be approved and I won’t give you a voice.  Not on MY blog.  If you decide, even though you have been following my blog for years, that I am not who you thought I was, don’t worry about it.  Just take me out of your blog feed.  You’ll miss me, but you’ll get over it :) As will I.

Okay, hold on to your hats ladies (and gents if you are there)…

I am a Democrat with Libertarian leanings. Though I don’t vote only for Democrats because they say they are Democrats. I vote for who I want to.  Who I believe the most, or distrust the least. But I DO vote, which is very important to me.  I am a proud American who believes men and women have died for my right to step in and close the curtain and participate in the process and I honor them by taking a few minutes to do just that.  But even before I am an American, I am a human being and I try to see myself as a part of that family first.  Accept differences when possible, allow for different ideas, beliefs, philosophies.  Never accept hatred or oppression, genocide, injustice or abuse.  I don’t believe war is the answer we should look to first, second or even tenth, but I also know it is inevitable.  So I support our military personnel and wish them only safety, always.

I believe in equality for everyone. This means all colors, creeds, religions, genders, sexual orientations.  And any other way we humans can figure out to divide ourselves into selfish little groups. I don’t believe the government or anyone else has dominion over my body.  Period.

I am not a religious person, however I do consider myself spiritual. There are things and ways that separate humans from the other animals.  Sometimes the lines are fine and sometimes I wonder how we landed on top when it seems we have less of a grasp of the meaning of life than other species. But I do feel connected to the Universe in a special way…human love I suppose. That and I have opposable thumbs :) I find all religions to have a bit of the ridiculous in their beliefs and teachings.  I wasn’t raised in a religious home so this is just how my life has evolved. Oh, and I do believe in evolution, btw.  I could never ever join a group that thought me and other women anything but equal to men. I cannot tolerate intolerance (I hope that makes sense) and I am nauseated by hypocrisy.  So that weeds out the majority of mainstream religions available to me in my geographic area.  Not that I am looking.  I am most certainly not.  I have no answers to any of the big questions and don’t believe anyone else does.  I try to live my life in a good, useful, helpful  way.  I believe that if you hate anyone then you truly cannot love completely, like we should.  There is not room in the human heart for both.  So practice LOVE.  I think it is perfectly normal and fine to hate things that happen, actions but to pick out one particular person to hate, causes you to think about them far to much and waste too much time on something you cannot change.  So rather than hate them, I choose to just separate myself from them and forget about them.  To find it in me to be indifferent rather than continuously irritated and angry. If I had to pick a religion to know more about or that I find interesting and could abide by most of their teachings, it would be Buddhism.  But only in a very general way.

I hope to leave this world having done no lasting harm to my family, friends and as little as I can on the Earth. I am in awe of what all this world has to offer and I want to see as much of it as I can.  There is always something new to learn.

Am I all that I hope to be?  Nope.  Not even close.  But I am working on it.  That is really all any of us can do.  Perfection is not attainable and really shouldn’t be a goal for anyone.  Your best.  Just do your best.  If anyone asks more than that they are likely working through some things themselves and feeling inadequate to the tasks before them.  Cut them some slack and keep working away at your own life.

Well, there’s a start to the weekend, don’t you think?  If you find I am too much for you, I bid you a fond farewell and wish you all the happiness you can find.  If you stick around, I promise everyday won’t be like this. Much less philosophizing and much more food, sewing, crafting, gardening…you know the good stuff :)   It’s just sometimes, one has to regroup.  Recharge.  Confess.  Start fresh.  Turn the corner.  You get the gist.  So without further ado, welcome to the new NotQuiteJuneCleaver.  And have a wonderful weekend.

People make the statement “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” for various reasons.  Some have an epiphany, wake up and realized they are in fact on the wrong road of life.  Some have circumstances come to them and change is not their choice but change it is.  Mine is nothing so dramatic, I am happy to report.  It just that I am fat.  Chubby.  Plump.  Fluffy.  I have the middle age spread. If I live to be 106.  Which at the rate I am taking care of the only body I have, is bloody unlikely.

I have lots of excuses if you would care to hear them.  I have had six children.  I was a fat baby.  I have had 5 abdominal surgeries plus my gall bladder removed.  I eat my feelings.  I am a good cook, therefore good food is relatively easy for me to obtain. I have weak ankles therefore I cannot do real exercise. Blah, blah, blah.

The real facts are: I hate to exercise. I eat too many empty carbs and have for a really long time. I am addicted to sugar and soda, diet or not.  But the fact of the matter is really good food doesn’t have to be bad for you.  My ankles might not be weak if they weren’t trying to hold up 70 more pounds, or five stones in Brit-speak, which I love,  than they were made to.

So what am I going to do about it you might ask.  Well, my best.  That is all.  I am going to do my best.  That is not too much to ask of anyone on any matter.  I find later in my life, I have not been keen to do my best always.  But I have people in my life who do.  Always.  And I think I owe it to myself to do the same.

Eating healthy and concentrating on my health will take more time.  But really, time is all any of us have.  We spend it wisely or we don’t.  It will take more planning, but that is one of my strong suits.  I am a plotter and a planner from way back.  And I like a good project as well as the next person.  So, that won’t be a problem. And it won’t cost any more money because I won’t be buying junk to eat.  Or drink.  Not to compare poor choices too closely but I will have to treat my struggle with food like an alcoholic treats their addiction.  It will be an everyday struggle until one day I will not crave the junk any more.

I had an appointment with my doctor this week  to get all my numbers run.  I have every reason to do this and no reason not to.  I need to know just exactly where I am and what I am up against.  And frankly I am running out of time.  I turned 53 on 14 August 2012.  I don’t feel old.  I don’t think I look too old.  But I also don’t feel good.  I don’t feel good about how my body works.  Or how tired it gets.  And I feel weak in spirit that I let this happen.  I haven’t posted a full body picture in many, many years.  But here goes.  Not a great one, but one that is accurate in showing my girth.


Not a pretty sight.  So now that you have seen me, you might as well know the numbers.

  • 53 years old
  • 194 pounds or 13+ stones (as of today 189 -yay for me!)
  • my measurements are 45-39-49
  • my height is 60.5″
  • my arms are too big for sleeves and my legs are too big for boots at 14.5 and 17.5 respectively
  • and I have 1.5 too many chins

So what do I propose to do about this?  First and foremost, set reasonable goals.  Hold myself accountable.  I would join a group, but I am not much of a joiner.  Not cheat myself by eating the very thing that will make me want to cry later.  Put one foot in front of the other until my body is strong enough to bear me putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession.  Not compare myself with others by saying things like “oh I don’t know why I try, I will never be that thin” or “well, at least I am not that fat”.  I am going to pay attention to every morsel of food that goes into my mouth.  Every drop of liquid. I am going to enjoy my food.  I am going to take time to choose, prepare and eat meals.  Not fly by life, with a bag of crisps and a candy bar washing them down with a diet soda. I am adopting a mostly vegetarian diet with a serving of fish every now and then when I feel the urge to eat the flesh of a dead animal.  When you say it like that it makes it easier to fore go.  And rather than give myself a weight/size goal to achieve, I am going to give myself time, a year to be exact, because after all that is really all we have…time. And of course I am going to write about it honestly.  Follow along if you like. Later on I want to tell you about the wonderful shake I am drinking every morning.  But if you can’t wait  go to Rockin’Wellness and look for yourself.

What I am not going to do is judge others for what they eat, don’t eat, drink or don’t drink.  I am responsible for my own intake. I will also not hate judge others who are thinner than me or  take the weight off easier than I do.

I would have told you a year, even six months ago that everything tastes better with bacon drippings.  Or some other form of animal product.  But really it isn’t necessary.  It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong.  But not necessary and not good for you.  You know ignorance is bliss many, many times.  And I think my ignorance about healthy eating knows no bounds.  But I am learning.

Those of you that know me in real life know I am not a wagon jumper.  The band brand of wagon.  I believe almost nothing of what I hear and only about half of what I see. And the friend that introduced me to this new plant based way of life knew that about me when she approached me.  She knew not to tell me how amazing the information was. Or how scary.  She just ask that I watch a DVD with an open mind.  Our friendship spans nearly 40 years, so I trusted her.  The DVD she asked me to watch was Forks Over Knives.  I have to say, I am so glad she cared enough to ask me to watch it.  The information was eye-opening to say the least.  I won’t go on and on about it because, I am assuming, we are all adults here and you don’t need me jumping up and down shouting how incredible it is.  Follow the link, read the reviews and if you have time and are interested in that sort of information, you will find it very informative.  Possibly life changing.

Here is an example of how I am trying to cook for myself.  My love of food makes the prospects of new recipes, healthy eating very exciting to me.  So you might not get your standard recipe format but I will try to share things I find that are tasty, and are good for us. A few nights ago I sauteed a variety of vegetables for my supper.  I brushed my skillet with a little, very little, EVO.  I added green onions, garlic, 3 colors of bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts and celery.  I took out a little bowl for my supper and then to the skillet I added about 2 cups of vegetable broth, leftover corn, peas, limas and a can of diced tomatoes.  I added some chives, parsley, thyme and let it cook while I ate.  I couldn’t resist the aroma!  I had to have a little bowl of soup too.


So delicious.  I think I will add a little okra to it for supper tonight.  And whip up some gluten free corn muffins.  Even though there is a heat advisory for today, I am thinking towards Autumn…and this bowl just looks like Autumn.  And reminds me of my mom’s vegetable soup.  She would save vegetables thru the week from our meals and dump it all in a pot on Friday night for soup served with cornbread.  My mom was not a big meat eater.  In fact many of our meals were meat-less long before it was “a thing”.  We were on a very tight budget and beans were less expensive than meat.  So beans it was.

One more addition and then I will get off of here and get busy and let you do the same.   I am so glad to catch up with all of you and thanks for stopping by.  ENJOY!

This recipe is gluten free and Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian.  I left out the oil called for to cut some of the fat content and honestly, they were a little dry and slightly packy.  However, dipped in the vegetable soup  they were delicious!


2/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 TBSP aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 rice milk)
2 TBSP all vegetable oil (omitted)
Preheat oven to 425F and place pans in oven. Whisk together  flour baking powder, and salt into bowl. Stir in corn meal. Add egg, milk, and oil, if you use the oil. Mix until just smooth, about one minute, do not over mix. Brush pans with light coating of oil. Put about 1 TBSP of batter in each acorn mold. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) 9-12 minutes.
acorn pan
NOTE: You could make this recipe into another shape if you don’t have the acorn pan or similar pan.  A madeline pan is very good for these little cornbread yummies.  Or mini muffin tins and of course regular size muffins as well.

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,