Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (and lemon and roses too)

No, it's not just a song, it's not just words on a page or lyrics recorded. The mixture of these ingredients form the base of a strong and potent tea that when drunken by the one you love, all is well between you. If you drink it, and I do actually all the time, you become a more loving and caring person. It's probably the thyme that does that - - but who knows? WHO KNOWS? The herbalists know!! That's who knows! Remember Professor Sprout in the Harry Poter films? She's the crazy teacher in the back of the castle with the living plants. Well, before her there were many many herbalists who for centuries have been teaching us how to make recipes for teas and other uses - - us meaning the people of the woods you know...Celts. Yes, yes it is true, I am an ancient Celt. I'm living in this body you know temporarily, but I tell people I'm a Highlander - - mainly for fun, and to see their reaction. I'm smiling when I say it. (holding a cup of homemade tea brewed to make me live forever!)

OK, back to a minute of reality - - just a minute mind you, no sense in being too serious when we're writing and playing on the internet.

In the famous Simon & Garfunkel song "Scarborough Fair" the man singing is addressing the issues surrounding his true love. He basically gives this woman he loves several tasks to perform in order to show her true love for him - - like most men he realizes he's not worth the effort, so he gives her an out. He tells her that if that doesn't work she can always brew him a tea of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Which of course he repeats over and over again - -reminding us that he realizes she's not going to get around to making him that seamless shirt, or whatever else he comes up with for her to prove her love for him. He does however, realize she is fully capable of making the tea! Which I'm sure she does and they run off into the woods and live happily on mushrooms and finer things that grow such as fern, wild berries and other good growing things that can only be found in the Celtic world. (I did say we would only be in reality for moment, did you not believe me?) silly.

So, to prove my point I made a batch for my kids to drink. They needed a bit of love in their hearts and the parsley is actually not a poison as it was once believed, it is actually a cancer fighting herb that when steeped is powerful and quite handy to have around. It has more anti-oxidants than blueberries and causes free radicals to really, go look it up. You don't even have to go to Scarborough Fair or any other Fair, just Google the benefits of drinking or eating parsley. You can juice it too, and believe me, it's quite strong so you only need a bit.

As for the thyme, rosemary, and sage - - they have their spicy benefits too. I throw in lemon (real lemons, yes I literally simmer lemons) and I put in a rose petal or two until they are drained of their color - -whatever color they may have. The potion itself is a tea and you drink it like you would any other tea (please be wise and strain it first) and drink it often to give you both vitality and a healthy immune system...which by the way clears the path of the hormones necessary for...well, true love.

What are you waiting for? Grab the next Celt and have yourself a FAIR!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In The Pink Now

How talented, how coordinated does one have to be in order to be able to stay upright on a treadmill at 3.6 mph anyway? I'm not that off-balanced really - - well, not at the treadmill! I can walk and chew gum, but I do usually end up spitting it out after it loses its flavor. I'm bored easily I guess.

I work out every day now at the fitness center and because it's fast and easy to do, I walk about 3 miles a day on the treadmill. I do this before I do the strength exercises for a couple of reasons; one I'm putting off what I know will be humiliating and painful, and secondly, I like to get all the kinks out of my system before I have to stare at myself in the mirror while lifting weights and doing the machine work. WHO IN THE WORLD decided that fitness centers needed wall-to-wall ceiling-to-floor mirrors anyway? Please! If I'm not grossing out from what I am seeing right in front of me I'm grossing out at the woman behind me bending over to pick up her towel or something - - ewwww.

So, I do the gym every day and like everyone else in the world I seem to like to zone out and just walk along the rubber path while listening to whatever is on the iPod right? Only I had the big fat Classic and it was heavy and I couldn't wear it on my arm because it slipped off it's path from my weak and flabby bicep to the corner of my elbow, throwing me off balanced. When I tried to correct myself I fell OFF the treadmill and over my bag - - not joking, OFF the treadmill! That could be dangerously embarrassing and possibly harmful so I made a really fast decision - - I made this decision immediately following the words that can get you kicked out of the community fitness center!

I decided to buy a tiny little clip on iPod for a little over $40 and not only LOOK cool and like I fit in, but I can move my arms about now without pulling on the long dragging cords and without feeling the heavy five-pound iPod Classic (actual weight not five-pounds no matter how many songs you upload. I'm being dramatic) on my arm! The itty-bitty little clip may only hold 120 songs, but Dwight Yoakum doesn't have more than 20 that I want to listen to really anyway! I would have killed myself in the 90's if someone had told me I'd be a Dwight fan! Actually, he's good to work out to - great to dance to - - yep, he and John Mellencamp have that in common. Say it, I'm old. I'm OK with that -- I have New Found Glory on my little pink clipper too! HA!

Finding out that the bruises on the top of my hands actually did come from the day I smacked my hands one right after the other when the iPod attacked me was an amazing thing. I know I'm not the only victim to have suffered this fate and I know also that it didn't take me very long to change the world around me. NO SIR, you change the way you look at things, change the way you respond to the actions presented to you, and your whole world changes! RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES! Now when I get the urge to glimpse at the mirror in the fitness center I remember to stop, focus on the end goal and no matter what my eyes see or tell me they see, I see the size 8 body that will be there soon and I see the size 8 body that will be dancing on that pole at the Mule Lip bar in Mingus, TX someday! It will happen Amy Jo! I will be down to represent Oklahoma in the old-ladies-can-still-do-that category! You watch!
(You bring the aspirin too, but you watch!)

Gotta go, I have a little practice to put in.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Permanent Decisions

Caity Baby's new tattoo! (Yes, it's in Hebrew)

Caity is never one to shy away from the idea of a new and exciting, albeit permanent, tattoo for herself. This one which is plainly running the length of her back reads "Lord Give Me Strength". Now, if you happen to read and/or speak Hebrew and you feel that Caity really has something less profound advertised on her naked spine, please feel free to write to let us know. I somehow think it would be hilarious if what she is now claiming to be a desire of her heart to follow God more closely ended up being something less spiritual and more carnal like "God, Get Me Out of This Mess!" (translations are roughly the same)

Caity simply doesn't have the pain threshold that most normal humans have. It's just such a waste that she can't go into the Armed Forces, they could use her as a human guinea pig for so many things and she would smile right through it. Heck, the girl has a "Shhh" tattooed on the inside of her lower lip! OUCH! NO really Caity, OUCH!!

In order to assure that what she was having etched into her body was really the words she wanted to have carved into her forever, Caity asked our family Facebook friend Arbel Sapir, who happens to be Israeli and living in Israel currently, to write out the words and to send them to her by e-mail so she could print them out and take it to the tattoo guys - - who by the way, talked her out of having them written as a larger chest piece. THANK YOU to my two new favorite men in the world at Ink Spot Tattoos in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Look them up, they're awesome.

If I were to have something in another language (besides the one Kanji symbol on my wrist that reads "DREAM" that I had tattooed for my daughter Laura who was too scared to have it put on herself) placed permanently on my body, I can see where down the spine would be good. It would mean something - - like Caity's, about having back-bone, power, strength. I'd probably have it written in Hebrew as well, it seems to be God's chosen language afterall -- I'd have something simple and beautiful like "Mercy" or "Forgiveness". It would cost less and be that much less painful to me - - My 3-minute "DREAM" about killed me. My ex-student did it, and he laughed at me because I screamed out the f-word. He was saying "OMG! I made the teacher cuss! hahahaha" Yeah, OK...sure, there's that! Whatever!

Anyway, I'm just saying, the whole tattoo thing is so ... real, so permanent! I just think it's, I know, it's too addictive! You get one and then you get another one, and then you start thinking about the next one, and bam! You're asking Facebook friends to write out something in God's words! Well, I have to admit it, she looks great in ink. Not something I say often.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walking That Fat Away!

You and I both know that the only way to get the fat you can do something about off your body is to eat correctly, drink the water you're suppose to drink, and exercise. No, no, don't throw things at me - - just do it. You aren't by yourself you know. When you're out on that treadmill, or on the pavements, I'm right there with you. I've been walking for more than two years working on the same twenty-five pounds and of course it's frustrating - - but it is the very very last place I'll have to work on.

I'll be honest with you, I'm a curvy girl. At 5'7" I won't ever be a size 2 or even a 6. I like my hips, and when they're in shape again, I'll love my breasts, but for now I tend to hide both ends of my body in oversized work-out gear. I say it's to be more comfortable, but really - - it's me being a bit self conscious.

Fat doesn't come off in just one spot; you know that. It comes off slowly, and it comes off proportionately all over the body. The bigger areas such as our bellies, thighs, and butt just have more to lose because they store more in the first place. We didn't get fat overnight and it won't come off quickly either. I lived with being at least 50 pounds overweight for more than 10 years after I had a bad fall and couldn't properly exercise. Then it just became a good excuse! It won't come off fast, but it won't come off at all if we don't keep up the good work, so let's do this. You and Me!

I'm serious when I say I've been working on the same twenty-five pounds that I've been working on for over two years. I don't stop really, I don't quit, but something inside my particular body simply doesn't want to release the fat that's stored around my belly and lower extremities. My doctor says it's called "Abnormally Stored Fat" I call it ugly, but OK, I'll go with the medical lingo. The only way to rid oneself of it permanently is through surgery - - something I discourage, but will have to submit to someday. BUT FIRST - - before doing that, I really really really want to get rid of as much as I can, tighten and tone up what I can so my recovery time is faster, easier and hopefully with less pain. I'm a wuss when it comes to pain, believe me.

I live in an area where there are quaint little townships, shops, and really cool things to look at on the daily bike rides, walks, and strolls that I force my daughter Laura to go on. I must have passed the fitness center a dozen times and never realized it was an indoor fitness gym with A/C and real sweat towels. They have state-of-the-art equipment, weight machines, free-weights, a pool, sauna, everything - - this is good. Laura says she's relieved, she didn't know how she was going to break it to me that she didn't want to be forced to walk any longer. I wanted to get her a bike so she and I could both look like tourists, but she did find the courage to nix that one. My bike is so cool, it's an old-fashioned no-speed with that big fat soft seat and a real honky-horn. I just don't understand Laura's objection! LOL

So, back to the rubber pavement for me. Back to the gym, back to the A/C, back to the iPod cord swinging, possibly throwing of the two-pound weights that I tend to let go of when I'm into a song -- oops, my bad! I've actually hit someone! I need those hand-to-weight things with the straps huh? Good investment! Note to self, don't make enemies in the town you live in.....oh, and I can totally understand the need for a tiny little 1GB iPod clip on! I must have pulled my cords out of my Mp3 a dozen times today - - not tomorrow! Nope, I'm in the groove now people...45 minutes every day on the treadmill, and every other day on the mean, nasty, weight machines that force me to realize I have nothing on my kids when it comes to strength. Yes, it's true, I can lift my fork! What was I telling you about eating correctly?

My son, while he was here on rest/relaxation from Iraq, left me with stricter than strict Army regulated lists of do's and dont's for food intake - - believe it or not, I'm potato-free these days. I was going to go 100% gluten-free, but it turns out it's not good for you unless you're suppose to go 100% free. It's 12 grain whole grain, oat and bran when you can, and the ever-present package of almonds or peanuts over candy bars - - c'mon, I knew that! He must think I'm weak or something - - or something! OK, I have til Christmas to prove to this man that his mom has what it takes to be a size 8 again! That's right - - you heard me - - get over it Boy, your MOMMA is steppin' out! (Well, not that I'm actually going to step out, but I could if I wanted to! YES SIR, I could if I had a mind to!) LOL He knows me better than that, unless a man's name is Gar...Gar...well, I'll hold my tongue on that one.

The countdown has begun! Walk two, three, four, Walk, two, three, four, Walk...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Soldier's Achilles Heel

My son and I

My official photographer for the past year has been Anthony Tortoriello ( however, this beautiful photographer, has created a portfolio of images online that warrant being shared by everyone. I only choose this particular picture to emphasize her passion, believe me, there are some absolutely gorgeous photos at Thank you Alise.

Alise calls this photo "Farewell", but I must call it "The Soldier's Achilles Heel" as the boy not recognized, the soldier not named, represents the very reason our men and women are standing to protect us in lands very far away - - but so very close to each of us. If you are one of the lucky ones and your son or daughter, husband, wife, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend is not perpetually wearing a uniform, you still understand the passion of our nation's great military - - Today our Armed Forces have what my son refers to as an "over capacity". They are at 200% retention - - where our current government and leaders are publicly urging and even promising that our soldiers will come home - - the soldiers aren't leaving. More and more men and women who signed up for 3 or 4 years are resigning and re-upping in order to finish a personal goal, or a personal mission they don't feel is up to the government to mandate.

My son stands in Iraq tonight. He holds a rifle in his hands at all times. I'm told that if he doesn't have it he must be on leave and hold a written pass to excuse him from not being armed. I'm told also that he wears something else, something not military issue: his smile. Baby boy as I call him, Spc. Reuben Stringfellow, has this thing that can't be explained - - he seems to love his duty, he knows his time is almost up. He struggles with the decision whether to re-up or come home; and although I believe his mind is made up, and that come Christmas we will hold our soldier forever in our arms and home - - having lent him to the world at large, and more specifically to our country, he will return.

This decision is not an easy one to make. Military personnel pulling from one side, lovers, friends, children, parents, and others pulling on the other - - most of the ones resigning have less family back home it is true. Most of the men and women deciding to protect me - - don't have a mother like me. Those that choose to stay behind or "over there" and protect my daughters..don't have daughters; their families and the military are one in the same.

The next time you happen to be in an airport - - oh, and you see that little boy laughing and running between his father's uniformed legs, please pray for that man. If you see a woman, hair tucked up, tears held back, as her little one hugs her goodbye but can't get their little arms around her because Mommy is wearing 40-50 pounds of extra gear - - say a prayer for her; it's the hardest most heart-tearing decision she will ever have to make; but she made it for you.

To my son, to the men and women I see and don't see who choose to love me and choose to protect me - - Godspeed and much love. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Daughter Laura's Wild Ass - A repost

This is a real picture of the donkey-like Somali Wild Ass that my daughter Laura calls "hers". The ass actually lives at the Oklahoma City Zoo, and it may interest you to know that I've lied to my daughter for more than 10 years now regarding her ass!
I have been lying to my kids for years, and the funniest thing about this fact is that they lie right back to me, and we all know what the jig is. I will look Reuben squarely in the face at times and tell him that he was misdelivered in 1986 to my house - the address on the stork's package clearly said the street just to the north of us, but I wanted a baby! I wanted a baby boy, so I took him! I never had any intention of giving him back, and I moved immediately so that no one would find me - but, I go on to tell him, that I still have the address and the receipt for his delivery that fine March afternoon, and that if he doesn't clean his room RIGHT NOW, I have every notion to send him right back to where he came from!
Well, it's the same with Laura's ass. She was 8 years old and had learned a new word at school. The word, you guessed it - ASS. She had been called a stupid ass by a kid on the playground and she began crying about it. I told her "Laura, there are no stupid asses - asses are little donkey like horse things and they live all over the world - they travel well, they help people, they make very little fuss - to be honest, I don't think God ever made a smarter animal!" She believed me. BUT, she wanted to see for herself. So, I did what I always do in these situations - I called the Zoo for verification that they had a donkey-type animal there so that I could prove to my kid that she wasn't actually suppose to be upset when someone called her a donkey, horse, burro - ass.
We made it to the Zoo, and there you go. One solid, beautiful, fun to stare at ASS. I even lied to my daughter telling her that the Zoo was going to give it to her for her 9th birthday if she would only do all of her homework for the next 6 weeks. She knew full well that I was lying through my teeth - she looked at me and she rebutted "Mom, the Zoo called and said that I could take my ass home with me if I wanted to." I told her she could do whatever she wanted to with her ass, it was her ass, and if she thought it best to sleep with her ass she should do it, she should feed her ass, she should water her ass, she should even play with her ass - it was HER ass! She thanked me, begged me for ice cream, and we left the Zoo - happy.
Today, 10 years later - Laura is calling my bluff. She knows the Zoo has two Somali Wild Asses and she wants one for real. She's almost 18 and I told her today that I would love to buy her a new ass but that it was cost prohibitive to do so. She would need a permit to host her ass, and if her ass refused to stay with her she would have to board her ass. I asked her if she wanted to leave it at the Zoo and maybe just visit her ass from time to time, but she was insistant - saying she didn't like random, unknown people staring at her ass - and maybe it would be best to keep it closer to home. I love my kid. She sees things from the same colored glasses I do, and makes life THAT much easier to cope with.
What Laura doesn't know is that the Zoo has told me where I can actually pick up an ass for about $2000 and the only permit I would need would be an exotic animal permit, costing somewhere between $300 and $500. When you think about it that's not too much to pay for a new ass, not in Oklahoma...I've seen much more expensive asses in Beverly Hills, NYC, Chicago for instance - no land really. Can you imagine keeping your ass on concrete? No, you need lots of space to run your ass, and you really should have a durable fenceline too - Laura's ass is very very important to me, I don't want it to get out, or worse - get into the wrong hands!
We'll know more about the probability of getting her what she wants a little closer to May 7 - until then, her ass must stay exactly where it is! (If you want to take a look at my daughter's little ass - it will cost you about $6.00 for an adult, and the good news is, every kid in the world can look too! It's a beautiful thing! (She named it Mystique)

(Originally posted 2007)