Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goal Reached

I have reached a major milestone. Other than turning in my final exam, I'm done with my Associate's Degree. Like DONE done. Even if I crash and burn on my final exam, I'll still end up with a C in the class and graduate. I got 104% on the last exam so I'm not worried in the least.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast

I had lunch today with my friend Erron and her 12 year old daughter Keara. I have known Erron for a very, very long time and Keara and I have been close since she was a little baby. She has called us Aunt Stephie and Uncle Scott ever since she could talk.

Keara was the flower girl at my wedding. I will always remember walking into the bridal room in my big white wedding gown and Keara's eyes got as big as dinner plates as she exclaimed, "Aunt Stephie looks like a ghost."

When we got together today, we realized that Keara is taller than a lot! I started going back through some old pictures and thought it was fun to see us together through the years.

At Busch Gardens in Tampa

Erron and Keara at my wedding, November 23, 2002


Tomato Soup

It was an ordinary, average Tuesday morning. Scott and I had been living together for about two years. I took a shower, got dressed, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat down at my computer to read the news before work.

“I’m leaving, Steph,” Scott called out.

I walked to the front door and put my arms around my boyfriend. “Bye, Sweetie. I love you.”

“I love you too,” Scott replied. “Hey, what would you think about getting the tomato soup recipe?”

I felt dizzy and my head started to swim. Was he asking me what I thought he was asking?

I should probably back up.

My family has a tomato soup recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation. The soup was served on holidays and special occasions. I remember waking up on Thanksgiving mornings to the sweet and pungent aroma of tomatoes, meat, and brown sugar. It took all day to cook, and I would beg my mother for a taste long before it was ready. It always tasted too sour and sharp in the morning, yet almost magically, by dinner time it tasted perfect. It was sweet, mellow, and rich. The taste made me think of being with my family, and was always warm and comforting.

Throughout the years, whenever my sister or I asked for the recipe, we were told that only the married women in the family would get the recipe, and that it would be passed on to us by our mother when we got married. I always protested, grumbling that I didn’t want to get married, ever, and that it wasn’t fair. I thought I should be able to make my favorite soup any time I wanted it.

When Scott and I started dating, the first time he met my parents was at a holiday dinner. My mother had made the tomato soup. Scott declared it the best thing he’d ever eaten and went back for seconds. When he asked my mother if he could have the recipe, I groaned, embarrassed, when my mother told him that it was a family recipe and the only way he’d get it is by marrying into the family. I was mortified. We had only been dating for a couple of months at that point, and marriage was the furthest thing from our minds.

Several years passed. Scott and I moved in together. We ate many bowls of tomato soup together on many holidays. We said we wouldn’t get married. There was no reason to get married. We were perfectly happy. Scott had been married once before and it ended badly. We were content.

Then there was that normal, average Tuesday morning when Scott asked me if I wanted to get the tomato soup recipe. He smiled, kissed me goodbye, and left me confused, excited, and wondering what had just happened. I somehow made it through the day, feeling as if I were walking around in a dream.

When I got home from work that night, Scott and I went out to dinner. We went to a local steakhouse, and after we had ordered our meals, Scott reached across the table and took my hands. We started talking and he said that he’d been thinking a lot lately about what it would mean to get married to me. He said that if anything happened to him, he wanted it to be me who made the decisions for him if he was unable to do so for himself. He said he would understand if I didn’t want to get married and wouldn’t pressure me, but what he didn’t know was that I had been thinking a lot about marriage lately also, and I hadn’t wanted to pressure him!

By the time we left dinner that night, we were engaged. I went home and immediately called my little sister to tell her the news, but not until she swore not to tell my parents because I wanted to tell them myself. We giggled and wept together, and she exclaimed, “I’m going to have a brother-in-law! This is so exciting!”

That Saturday afternoon, Scott and I went to a jewelry store and bought my engagement ring. Scott said he wouldn’t officially give it to me until he had asked me to marry him in front of my parents.

The next day, Sunday, was Mother’s Day. Scott and I met my parents and my grandmother for brunch. I was so excited I felt like I was about to burst. After we ordered our food, I turned to my parents. “Mom,” I said. “Well, you’ve done it. You finally found a guy who likes your tomato soup enough that he’s willing to do anything to get it.”

At that moment, Scott pushed back his chair, got down on one knee, and said, “Stephanie, I love you. Will you marry me?”

“Of course I will!” I replied, and Scott slipped the glistening diamond onto the ring finger on my left hand.

My parents gasped in shock and then started laughing and crying at the same time. Everyone in the entire restaurant applauded. My father hugged me and welcomed Scott to the family. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

My parents got us the loveliest wedding present: a huge soup pot with the tomato soup recipe tucked inside.

Scott and I have been married for nine wonderful years today. Happy anniversary, my love. I hope we have many, many more bowls of tomato soup together.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Anniversary Weekend at Epcot

We are doing a big family Thanksgiving in Orlando this year, and my uncle Mark and his husband David flew in a week early to spend some time at Disney World. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary this week, and Scott and I are celebrating 9 years this week, so we went up to Disney to spend the weekend with them and go to Epcot.

Scott and me in line for Test Track

Mark and David being silly at Journey Into Imagination (a.k.a. the Figment ride - my favorite!)

My husband as a viking in Norway

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Real original title, huh?

The good: I was in the break room eating my lunch a few days ago when one of the sales ladies came in and said, "You look like you've lost more weight lately. Like a lot." "No," I answered, "Not an ounce in quite some time." She said, "Well, it sure looks like it. Maybe that outfit is just really flattering." I was wearing a shirt I got at the BOOBs clothing exchange - I don't know who donated the black, 3/4 sleeve Dana Buchman top with the tags still attached, but I want to wear it every day.

The bad: I had a yucky cold and haven't worked out in a week. And after I was so excited about it too. Ugh. I still have a cough but I am feeling much better now. I'm going to Disney this weekend but I plan to be out on that running trail on Monday!

The ugly: I had my first (tiny) PB this morning. I made it 20 months of being banded without, but that streak is broken. It's my own fault too - that's the really stupid thing. I had a customer installation first thing this morning and accidentally walked out the door without my breakfast. I was starving by the time I was done, and I pulled into Sonic and ordered a breakfast burrito, no meat. I thought that would be eggs, cheese, and jalapenos only. I peeled back the tortilla and realized that there were tater tots in there too. Now I KNOW I can't eat the tots. I know this. But I have been very loose lately and took a bite anyway, thinking it would be ok. And then another. And then kablammo...jalapeno flavored slime. It was gross. It hurt. I spit it out and then felt ok...mostly. I stuck with liquids for most of the day and then had the inside of a tuna sandwich for dinner. I'm fine now, but I need to write 100 times...

I will not attempt to eat a tater tot, ever.
I will not attempt to eat a tater tot, ever.
I will not attempt to eat a tater tot, ever....

Monday, November 14, 2011


You'd think I was pretty smart, right? (Don't answer that.) I'm a real idiot sometimes. I had a major "duh" moment today.

I'm really good about not drinking with my meals. I can eat some seriously spicy food without a drink and it doesn't bother me.

Today I had my usual Monday lunch - a Moe's burrito bowl - chicken or steak, black beans, a little guacamole, lettuce, onions, tomatillo salsa, and lots of chopped fresh jalapenos. I skip the tortilla and rice. Yum. As I often do after this lunch, I'll have a small Tasti-D-Lite, which is like a lowfat, low sugar ice cream like substance. 70 calories for a small and very, as the name implies, tasty.

I ordered my little cup of Tasti and got a phone call before I was able to finish it. Guess what it turned into as it sat?

Liquid. Basically a frozen beverage that gets unfrozen as soon as I put it in my mouth.


That stops now. I didn't even think of that until now.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Exercise Is the Secret

A very wise lady (Lap Band Gal) told me that exercise is the secret. Is it? We'll see, but I'm hoping she's right.

I'm very pleased with how I have ramped things up in the last couple of weeks. We moved into the new office building. It's lovely. Pretty kitchen that isn't someone's office, so we have a place to eat lunch in peace. A shower in the ladies' room (and the men's room too, from what I hear, but I haven't investigated). And the best part - a 4+ mile running and bicycling trail a block away.

Oh yeah. It rocks.

I've been out there only once so far (I didn't realize it was there before so I had been doing lunchtime workouts around and around and around the buildings). But Shady paths, right up alongside a stream, just enough wildlife to be interesting but haven't seen anything scary. Clean and well maintained. I'm planning on taking full advantage of that thing and spending my lunch breaks out there at least twice per week. Tuesday I went down one direction on the trail for a mile and a half and then back up for a mile and a half. I did the second half in much less time because I ran a good part of it.

I have some serious athlete co-workers - people who do Ironman triathlons, serious bicycle riders, and more. My friend Kelly is a marathon runner and she gave me some great tips for really getting in to it and building progress. Even though I will probably pass out, she is going to take me running. Even though I am WAY WAY slow compared to her, I think that her pushing me would help me get better. I think that when I get some extra cash I am also going to try to pick up a used Garmin Forerunner GPS sports watch (I want one BAD) to record my progress and she said that using hers gives her just enough data about her progress to improve, but doesn't have so many bells and whistles to be complicated or get bogged down in so many details.

I also signed up for a series of Boot Camp classes (got a Groupon) per Island Bandit's example.

I can't seem to lose another ounce, no matter how well I eat these days, so I'm going the other way...adding SERIOUS exercise. Not just futzin' around a couple of days a week.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Social Distortion Concert 2011

And yet another reason I love my band...

Because dancing through a Social Distortion concert is way more fun than sitting down through it because your feet and knees hurt.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Choices

I made good choices today...

  • I had homemade chicken apple salad on a 100 calorie flatbread for breakfast instead of the sausage breakfast burrito I craved.
  • I had a frozen meal for 350 calories for lunch today, instead of the creamed spinach pizza that was calling my name.
  • I went for a 35 minute walk at lunchtime (and got to use the shower in my new office!) instead of sitting on my butt and reading blogs.
  • I had a cup of chai tea instead of a handful of the "fun sized" candy bars in the break room.
  • I skipped the giant cookie that I wanted at Panera for dinner and came home to a 100 calorie, sugar free ice cream bar instead.
  • I had water when I wanted another cup of coffee.
By my estimation, I should weigh 140 pounds by morning.

No? Why doesn't it work that way?