Monday, March 30, 2009

happy mail


Today, I pulled into my driveway and saw a package in my mailbox. For some reason, I just knew it was from Gen. I get packages all the time, mainly because I'm too lazy to go to an actual store, so there was no reason to expect presents from Australia.

Me being surprised (re-enactment). And my eyes really aren't this green;
I think it's the reflection off the walls. I look a little possessed here.

But it really was from Gen! It's like I had postal ESP or something. So I carefully opened the package, and there was an awesome home magazine, a "mix" CD, and a card.

Sophie and Sadie check out the goods.


I had to go to a theater meeting, so I took the CD along to listen to in the car. It was great! I love new music, and not many people make me mix CDs anymore.


Then I came home, put my feet up, and got ready to page through the magazine. Lucy jumped up on the table as I was taking photos, knocking the card over and giving the magazine a good sniff of approval.

All in all, a great day! Thanks again, Gen!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

meatloaf saturday

meatloaf dinner

After a pleasantly sunny morning, the weather turned cloudy, windy, and colder. I was searching for a way to use the ground turkey in my fridge, and started craving my favorite meatloaf recipe. I tweaked it a little, substituting turkey for beef and eliminating one of the eggs, and BAM! A hearty dinner for a chilly spring evening. The oats make the meatloaf extra moist, and is a great source of fiber and whole grain goodness.

Lisa's Turkey Meatloaf
Servings: 4
WW points per serving: 6

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
2/3 c. oats
1/4 c. ketchup
1 T. A-1 steak sauce
another 1/4 c. ketchup (to spread over the top)
seasonings like garlic, onions, red pepper, etc. to taste

In a bowl, mix turkey, egg, oats, 1/4 c. ketchup, and steak sauce. Season with whatever you like, according to taste. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Plop the turkey mixture onto the foil and form into a meatloaf-like shape. Spread the other 1/4 c. ketchup across the top of the meatloaf.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.


Friday, March 27, 2009

photo friday

katie as a baby

How can this wee one . . .

katie's 1st birthday

. . . who seems to have just celebrated her first birthday . . .

small katie

. . . and loved Elmo, Barbie, her sandbox, and playing make-believe . . .

katie today

. . . be 13 already?

Happy birthday, my Sweet Girl, my Katie-Kate, my quirky, funny, happy, and brave niece!

Monday, March 23, 2009

buffalo chicken salad


I've been all healthy lately - counting my Weight Watcher's points, doing time on the treadmill, and generally becoming annoyingly wholesome. Chicken works for me, because I can eat a lot of it for relatively low points, and I can eat it in fun and exciting salad form.

I love Buffalo wings. I mean, who doesn't? The spicy sauce, the sharp bite of blue cheese, the crunch of celery to cool it all off. Of course, the chicken is best when it's breaded and deep fried, but that won't fit me into The Dress. So I made my own point-friendly version.

Lisa's Buffalo Chicken Salad
Serves: one
Points: 9 (but tweak to your liking)

6 oz. grilled/baked/broiled chicken (I used Butterball pre-cooked chicken because I'm lazy)
1/4 - 1/2 c. celery
2 T. Hellmann's Light mayonnaise
3 T. crumbled blue cheese
2 - 3 T. chicken wing sauce

Chop the chicken into small pieces, then put it in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.


Mix away. You can add more or less chicken wing sauce (my brand has 0 points), use fat free mayonnaise instead of light, and adjust the amount of blue cheese to your liking. Just keep stirring and tasting until you're happy.

And there you go! Quick and easy, ready to take to work. You can eat it straight from the bowl, or eat it in sandwich form on bread, or in a wrap, or in a pita. Go nuts.

chicken salad

Friday, March 20, 2009

photo friday

I love this photo so much that I enlarged it to 11 x 17 and am framing it to hang on my wall. This is my great-grandma (on my mom's side) and her three brothers and one sister hanging out on the family farm, less than a mile from where I grew up. I estimate it was taken around 1918 or so.

My great-grandma (who appeared in last week's photos) is the one in back with the bonnet on. Her sister is on the lower right - and you know what? She's still alive! Her 101st birthday is in May. Although she needs a scooter to get around, she's still sharp as a tack, funny, and blunt, and enjoys every day she has. I would love to make it to 100 if I could be just like her.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

a good week

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post.
He is my new celebrity crush: Mather Zickel from "Rachel Getting Married". Oh, yeah.

Sometimes I forget that it's o.k. to be good to myself. I was in the health food store the other day, and came across pink Himalayan sea salts for $8 a pound. When I saw the price, I kept going - I mean, $8 for about 1 cup of salt seemed so frivolous.

By the time I got my organic French roast coffee from the bulk food section, I had changed my mind. A few months ago I would go through the drive through and spend $6 on fried calories, topping it off with a $4 pint of Ben & Jerry's (Chubby Hubby, of course!) and think nothing of the cost. So $10 wasted on food that would make me feel sluggish and guilty? Or $8 for something that is so good for you - plus I get to have a bath on top of it all, which is heavenly. I plunked down my $8.37 for a carton and don't regret it.

I've been working hard the past few weeks, exercising more than I have since I got Lyme and then had foot surgery. My muscles are sore-in-a-good way and I'm remembering how invigorating it is to crank up my favorite music, get on the treadmill, and sweat any angst of the day out of me. I ate very healthy this week, cooking all my meals from scratch and taking lunch to work. I am proud of myself.

I love Thursday nights, because on Friday (my weigh-in day), all the Weight Watchers points reset and it's a brand new week of possibilities. To reward myself, I dumped the entire pound of pink sea salt into the jacuzzi tub tonight and soaked in all those wonderful minerals for 40 minutes. It was better than any Big Mac I've ever had.

(This is a note to Naomi, who left such a nice comment on my previous blog: I've been trying to leave a comment on your blog, and I can't get it to post. Do you have a Facebook or myspace page? Let me know!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

200th post!

Sometimes I like to photograph my beer in the driveway before drinking it.

This is my 200th post on Blogger! What better way to celebrate than a St. Patrick's Day glass of Guinness?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

a tragic afternoon

Today I made my way downtown to the Detroit Opera House, to see the ballet Romeo & Juliet. It was utterly fantastic, and is now my second-favorite ballet (nothing will ever top Giselle). I loved the costumes, the lighting, the dancing, and all the gut-wrenching angst.

These poor people. Just look at the carnage!

I mean, nothing good ever comes of these stories. People get stabbed, poisoned, heartbroken, banished, forced into arranged marriages, and screwed over by love. Sometimes they become angry ghosts and seek vengeance on any man who comes their way. Good grief. And here I thought I had it bad. At least I've never woken up on a stone slab in a crypt with the dead body of my beloved collapsed next to me. How would you explain that in therapy?

Things really could be so much worse.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

proudest day


My next photo entry for Susannah's class is me, on the day I received my Master of Fine Arts degree. The photo of me in my cap and gown is resting on my diploma, which is one of my most prized possessions.

People go to grad school for many reasons: some because their career path demands an advanced degree, others in the hopes that it will lead to a better job more quickly. I did it for entirely emotional reasons: I needed to feel strong and validated.

My life had been ripped apart a few years earlier at the hands of my uncle and aunt, and I needed to prove to THEM that I hadn't bought into their lies about my character. I wanted to say "Ha! You thought you could destroy me? You thought I would curl up and die? You thought your words could shrink me down? I am still here and LOOK! I made myself better IN SPITE of you. You have no power over me and you did not break me."

My motto was (and still is): "The Greatest Revenge is Success." Which means that when people screw you over, believe lies about you, and basically throw you under a bus to save themselves, you don't get revenge by setting their house on fire, keying their car, plotting ways to make their lives miserable, or doing any number of things that could land you in prison.

You know what people hate? When they've treated you like crap and expect you to fail, and you turn around and become a successful person who absolutely shines. That is revenge. You haven't hurt anyone, and in fact, have bettered yourself in the meantime. When I held that diploma, a lot of the grinding rage drained away; I was so filled with pride that there wasn't much room for any other emotion. And I still feel that way when I hold it today.

April 22, 1995. The proudest and happiest day of my life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

photo friday


Whew! After the heaviness of the last post, I decided to end the week with happier photos. Above is one of my favorites - from left to right: my great-great-grandpa, my great-great-grandma, my grandma (the toddler), my great-grandma, my great-grandpa. The rest of the people I don't know, but they are listed as Cordy, Harry, Ida, and Helen (the little girl).

great-grandparents, grandma

In the left photo are my great-grandparents with my grandma. I never knew my great-grandpa (he died in 1965), but I was extremely close to my great-grandma (she died in 1985) as well as my grandma (who died in 2005). I love the photo of my grandma on the right, looking like a little lady with her legs crossed and hands folded. This one says "June 21, 1929, age 3 years, 4 months."


Here's my grandma on a pile of snow in 1940. On the right photo, it says "July 18, 1936. Ring, age 12 (the dog), Arlene age 10."

grandma in prom dress
Going through the photos of my grandma in her late teens, I began to wonder if she always wore dainty frocks, had perfectly curled hair, and wore lipstick while she worked on the farm. Then I realized that she must have had her mom take these photos so she could send them to my grandpa, who was overseas in World War II - so of course she wanted to look her best! This was taken in June, 1943.
grandma again

See? Here she is again in 1943 with a curly updo and dark lips, hanging out in the yard. I just love these "glamour" shots of her, all gussied up for her man!

Thursday, March 12, 2009



This week in Susannah's class we're exploring memories in photos, both good and bad, and looking at ourselves the way we were. I began sorting through a box of old photos, searching for something that sparked an especially strong memory, when these fell out of an envelope.

There are two things in my past that cause me intense rage to talk about. One of them is my years at Lutheran school. Above, scattered across the lawn, are the faces of some of the worst people I've ever met in my life; my tormentors, my bullies, my attackers, and the teachers who watched it happen and did nothing.

I sometimes wonder why I keep them. I could easily use them for kindling and make a lovely fire to warm my hands. But I don't think I could do that to the girl whose photo is on every sheet. It was her battle and she survived it, and I owe it to her to remember. Me. The girl in the black pants and the chunky shoes with a leaf on the toe, standing in her yard on a windy day in March.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

that wraps it up for me


Ever have one of those days where you just want to collapse into bed and hide your head in a blanket? That was my today. Good night, all.

Friday, March 6, 2009

the magical flying dress


This is the dress I want to wear to my brother's wedding in August. I got a great deal on it, and it's been waiting in my closet. Unfortunately, I need to lose some poundage before I can fit into it. I decided to take a photo of it to stick on my refrigerator, thus motivating me to eat lots of veggies and hop on the treadmill more often.

So I gathered up my dress, set up the shot, and clicked away. I'm sure my neighbors were thinking, "oh, look, there's that wierd girl who photographs her clothes outside."

It's 60 degrees here today and windy.

falling dress

Oh no! And there it goes, crumpling to the ground. Which is what I will do if this dress doesn't fit in five months.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

favorite things, part one


This week in Susannah's class, we are taking photos of our favorite objects - things we keep for sentimental reasons or things we just love. Above are my grandma's wedding rings. They are so tiny - she was just 5'1" and 90 lbs. when she married my grandpa. I do not take after her! I hadn't realized how pretty these rings are. They need to be cleaned, and in person are much smaller than they appear in the photo. My grandparents didn't have much money starting out. My grandma moved off her family's farm, and my grandpa was barely back from World War II when they got married. They bought a little house, he got a job, and they had a baby girl who would eventually become my mom.

glass eagle
This is my grandpa's glass eagle. He kept it on his desk at Dow Corning where he was an accountant. After he died in 1993, my mom gave it to me since I was in college and was so inspired to have a successful career like him. When I got sick with Lyme disease-but-didn't-know-it-was-Lyme-disease in 2004, I held it while I laid on the couch, feverish, hallucinating, and crushingly exhausted. It felt so cool in my hands and I'd just clutch it and hope that some of his strength would help me through. I always had it with me when I went to sleep those first few months of being sick.


Meet Plumpy. She was my favorite doll as a toddler. She is hard, hollow, painted plastic, and now that I really look at her, has a rather unsettling smile on her face. I don't know if she was named Plumpy by the manufacturer or by me, but it sure fits. Especially the side view. It's kind of like how I look after a big taco dinner.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a book for secrets


I decorated these moleskine journals for my nieces, using acrylic paint, Sharpies, and typewriter letter stamps. They can scrapbook, draw, and write all their wishes inside. Since they love getting packages in the mail, I think I'll run these to the post office tomorrow!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Me, reflected in my compact mirror.

Not a lot of words tonight. Just more happiness than I've felt since December, for no special reason.

And that is enough for today.