Sunday, November 06, 2011

More Freaky Snow - the Cause of our Misery




The Freak Snow Storm of New England


The snow storm that cancelled Halloween was the worst thing I've yet to live through.

On 10/28 - was the Halloween party for my church that I organized. We had about 200 people which was actually really good! There were a lot of parties going on that night.  Who knew that our party would be the ONLY Halloween celebration our parish children would have.  The next day the snow started falling at 12:45 and never stopped.  Our trees were still fully loaded with fall colored leaves but instead of leaf peeping on that weekend, people struggled with no power and, if you were a person like me with a well -- no water. And, since we "bundled" our cable service

because it was SUCH a good deal, we lost phones too. We lost everything.

Add to that the fact that my cell phone chose that weekend to not hold a charge.  I'd made one phone call and it went from three bars of power to one.  Also, I could not even access 911. My husband went to see if he could reach the center of town, to get information on shelter, water and power.  It takes 10 minutes to reach the center under normal conditions.  Three HOURS later, he still wasn't home.  And, the sun was setting - how do you look for someone caught under a tree or off the road, in need of help, with no lights? No power? and NO way to call for help?? Because that is when I realized just how vulnerable I was - when I couldn't even get through to  911.   A neighbor was driving by as we attempted to walk down the street towards an acquaintance's home - despite the fact that there was a huge tree suspended above us on the electrical wires - I still wanted to reach someone with a working cell phone.   The neighbor rolled down his window and when I explained my worries, he gave me his charger that sticks into the outlet in cars.  It's used for items that plug into wall outlets- like laptops and phone re-chargers.  He was going to bring it to his father-in-law who was without power for his phone but let me have it first.  That was really awesome of him!!

Forty five minutes later, my husband drives up - wondering why our kids are crying, why I'm so upset. Hello! -- a ten minute drive and he's gone for Four HOURS?
oh. well - um... I drove around then decided to see how your parents were faring so I went to see them.
WHAT?
God love him for thinking of them but he in no way ever told me he "might" do that.   Going to the center of town to get information is NOT driving over a mountain passing through 5 towns, crossing a river and getting on a highway. Not to mention dodging all the downed trees and LIVE power lines.  No wonder he was gone four hours but HE SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME!  He knew my phone wasnt' working. He knew we had no means of communication. Did that stop him?  NoooOOooo - he can "handle" himself, there was no reason to worry.
Worry my ass- try frantic.  Try wanting, needing to call 911 because I didn't know what else to do because trees were still dropping and the scope of the damage was just being realized.  Add then finding out that I couldn't even reach  911!!
Oh, yeah, it'll be a long time before I forget this storm.

I mean,  we've had tornadoes, an earthquake, Hurricane Irene, hail storms and now this freak October snow storm. And 2011 isn't over yet!

Ok then - back to the fun.


I buried my freezer contents in containers in snow.  Faithfully I piled more snow on them every day. The temperature was rising and in the fifties so there was melting.  Today, seven days later, I unbury them, even had to chip them out, and  75% of my food defrosted. I had to throw them all out.  Oh, I kept the ground turkey...because there were still ice crystals in the packaging so that means I can cook them all up and refreeze as cooked meat. But the fish? gone. the cheeses? gone. the lamb? gone. the yogurts? gone. the clams? gone.

Opened up the refrigerator to see if anything survived.   My kids almost puked. My dh's eyes watered and they left ME to clean it all out.  Took me 2 1/2 hours to deodorize the whole thing. Something did more than get warm in there - it re-died. Thing is, I had tried to clean out and save what I could but left things I thought would be "safe".  There is no such thing when it comes to 7 days without electricity.


Our wood stove pipe leaked smoke.  I have asthma. We think the chimney cleaners either didn't put the pipe all the way back into the back of our wood stove OR, they never cleaned that part.  I ended up sleeping in what amounts to a cellar, on a futon that has no mattress in temperatures that started out in the 50's but steadily dropped into the upper 40's - in Fahrenheit.  Not fun. But, because the room was on a  lower floor, the smoke didn't reach it so I could breathe.  You kind of need to do that, you know?

Oh, and I got a second job. Yay! - I was supposed to start on Halloween but the trick of it was- no power- no phone, roads blocked, no way to shower - Ha - I wasn't going anywhere.  So, no work.  Gee, I hope they understood.

Yep, the town my new job is in had 100% loss of power.  Mine only had about 90%. They understood because they were in the same boat.  The most fascinating thing?  I now work for an insurance adjuster who specializes in weather related claims.  Gee - maybe that's why I was hired?   ::SNORT:: -- after the tornado, and then Irene and the hail storms - they have claims coming out the wazoo - add in this storm and every day is an adventure.   Most months they get between 30-40 claims... when I went in for my first day of work on Wednesday - bad hair and wrinkled clothes and all - they were getting 80 a DAY!!! ---If I can make it through this? You can be sure I can handle this job.  Talk about crash course learning.

And, I'm still loving my other job in the Conservation office.  I  like my boss, I think she's quite the character and I enjoy the very nature of what the office stands for.


And get this... these are the first jobs I've had in decades that I can dress casual! No high heels, no suits -  jeans, sneakers and comfort is the rule.  How'd I get so lucky?  I'm truly blessed.  Even after all we've been though and all the self doubt that started to creep in the longer it took to find a job - I still consider myself blessed.

All the people I care for, friends and family alike, made it though this latest natural disaster unharmed - certainly they were inconvenienced, some in a huge way - but we all made it through to sing , dance and give Thanks and group hugs the day the lights came back on.  

Oh! and my Conservation boss?  I was supposed to work on Tuesday, so I got dressed and got the kids ready. I figured, if the town hall was closed- we'd head to the town's shelter for a warm meal and to recharge their PSPs and my failing phone.  I was just trying to make my wet  hair look passable when there was a hard knocking on my back door.  It was my BOSS-  Hey! Guess what? There's no work today!    --- Wow - have you EVER had a boss do that?   I haven't.  Not until now.

My life is certainly changing. New experiences, new co-workers, new responsibilities and new challenges to meet and overcome.  I'm hoping my kids see by example what it takes to make it in life, and how to deal with adversity.  Of course they did spend 4 days and 3 nights at my parents who had power a half a week earlier than we did. LOL- so, they had 1/2 a lesson. **VBG**

So, today - we got all our electrical life back and spent a small fortune restocking my fridge and freezer with perishables.  Cooked the turkey that was in the freezer - it was big and needed 4 days to defrost anyway.  I think I was out of practice at cooking.  Poor turkey re-died.  I mutated it to sawdust and rubber. But hey! That's what gravy and ketchup are for, right?
lol
Hope you had a MUCH better Halloween than I did!!!

OH!  DID YOU NOTICE THE CAR IN THE TOP PICTURE? Yes, there was a car stuck there. They must have stopped for the fallen tree in front of them and ANOTHER tree fell right behind them- trapping them in the height of the storm! Talk about scary!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the Life Journey Continues

Yes indeed.  I've pretty much recovered from my surgery. Back to doing vacuuming and laundry but no Zumba.
DH is well - in fact, you'd never know he'd had a heart attack.
Ds #2 is still having epileptic seizures - going for another EEG this coming week - sleep deprived- to see if the increased med's and dual combo are doing what the neurologist suspects and that is - Controlling them! That'd be great!  -- not so great is the loss of sleep.  I've been having some issues with that lately.

It might have something to do with sinus pressure.  It might also have something to do with stress.

Let's see. One week before I was to start back to work, my boss called on a Monday and asked, When are you coming back?  I need you! - I said child care was all set and I was coming back that Monday.  Great!

Got a phone call on the Friday that same week.
"This is a hard phone call to make" -- it is?  Yep seems she went and talked to some financial folks who "officially" told her what me and my co-worker were trying to tell her for years.

The end result - she was downsizing , restructuring and she laid both me and my co-worker off.   Who, in fact had just left for vacation for a week and a half. 

Surprise!

So, I've been unemployed for almost two months.
I've sent out resumes.  I've gone to classes that talk about writing the perfect cover letter, doing the perfect resume, how to act in the perfect interview and am now looking to take classes at another career center to strengthen my Excel skills.

The only nibbles I've had are two scams, a note from the Red Cross apologizing that the job I applied for wasn't in the city listed but somewhere else...like an hour and a half away!  Was I still interested?  Ha!- um , no.  Three hours on the road for a part time job is stupid.

I've signed up at Monster.com, and LinkedIn, and Indeed, and I surf Craiglist and the state's job listings - all to no avail.

I've also noticed that more and more jobs require a Bachelors degree. Not too shabby if I was looking at executive or high end jobs. But no.  Data entry, folks.   They required a Bachelors degree just to do data entry and they usually don't specify a degree.  How insulting is that?   A person goes to school for four years just to do what anyone who can type and transcribe with accuracy, does?   Amazing.

So, what did I do?  A little over three weeks ago, there was this tiny advertisement in my town's local paper.  One of the offices in town hall had a little eight hour part time position open for a clerk.   I looked at it and thought, "Hmmmm, I can do all that."

So, the very next day, I drove into town, got the application, filled it out ...and waited.  After about nine days, I called to follow up.  Unfortunately, my allergies had turned into a cold and Minnie Mouse was back.  I called to check the status of the application in the morning when I had a voice.  No one called me back until way late in the afternoon, when Minnie Mouse was in full vocal splendor.  The man on the phone hung up laughing.

Well, that was that.   I thought.

Last week I got a call.  "Are you still interested in the position?"  oh, heck yeah! So it was arranged that I'd have my interview the following week - at night!  6PM. 

When I got there, I was interviewed by two ladies. Both high on the Commission hierarchy. 
Now, realize that I've been typing for years.  Here on the blog when it was really active, then reviewing.  I had to do a typing sample.  Should be easy, right?
Shot myself in the foot!

I never looked at hand placement on the keyboard and I blithely typed away - that is until I was almost done, looked up and gave out an audible horrified gasp.  It was all gobbldy gook!

They let me erase and have a do over.  I'm quick and it didn't take long, but by that point, nerves were jangling.  I never really proofed for typos. If they were there, oh well.

Then came the dreaded questions every interviewee quakes in fear of.  "Why do you want this job?"  And "How do you handle angry people?" 

I think I was unique in my answer to the first.  And I BS'd on the second.  Although I believe it was a good answer. My old co-worker certainly thought so when I later relayed it to her. 

In any event, they were meeting another applicant after me.   I didn't think I presented well at all.   I chalked it up to a learning experience.  I mean, I hadn't gone to an "official" interview in over a decade! 

You wouldn't believe how long I studied all those notes I got from the Career Center! I even went so far as to record myself answering questions to see how many "umms" and "Ahhs" and other stalling stutters that are common in vocal communication that are to be avoided in interviews.  I wrote notes, made a cue card - practically spent all day preparing for a twenty minute interview!  (( I didn't use any of it, lol))

Very nerve wracking.

The next morning I got a phone call. 

"Hello, I just got off the phone with your old boss. She gave you a glowing recommendation and if you want the job, it's yours."

WHAT? Well blow me down.  Not what I was expecting at all.  As a formality, she has to write a letter of recommendation to the town's selectmen and present it for voting.  She said I'm a shoe-in and to start next Thursday.  Cool!

And you might ask, why take such a small hour per week job?  First of all - the self-esteem.  I can't believe how much self-worth is attached to working and believing I'm doing something important and contributory to something greater than housework.

Second, experience.  I loved my last job, don't get me wrong.  I'd still be there if I could.  But this one will challenge me like no other, having me do things that are truly needed.  Updating their website , jumping into their backlog of filing, greeting people!  I missed that.  I was only a voice on a telephone for 99% of the people I interacted with every day at my old job.  I will strenthen the computer skills I have while learning how to use something new on the job.  The very skill that SO many jobs out there ask for, and for which I had no knowledge existed until I started looking for work, is the Access program.  I know it's database stuff and people have told me it's easy.  I can't wait to learn!

I still have to look for a "real job" but now I want to work around this current position. I'm expecting to enjoy it and there IS the possibility for an hours increase in the future.  That's what I was told.  In fact, that is what my going-to-be boss told my old boss.  Why would she even share that information if it weren't true? 

Most amazing for me is the commute.  I'll be going from a 45 minute drive one way, to ten minutes.   That will be a boon in the winter, let me tell you.  Yay!

So, financially, this isn't a huge help.  Mentally and emotionally, it's major.  I'm nervous but very excited too.

The thing is - all those dozens and dozens of resumes I've sent were for jobs, just jobs.  This new position is working for the preserving of our environment.  This is something that I believe in and really can get excited about. This is something that has meaning!  

This is a whole new journey I'm on and I'm not too sure where it's going to take me, but for now, it's not going to take me long to get there.
Ten minutes, imagine!

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

How Am I Going To Make Lemonade From This??

My day started with burning a bagel so bad the fire alarm went off.
Of course we opened all the doors and windows to get the smoke out to stop the smoke detector's noise.
Because the sound was so loud, we never remembered, or realized that the house alarm was going off.

When the fire alarm stopped, the house alarm was going.
Rushed over to shut it off.
The phone rang, it's the alarm company.

Because I didn't know the PASS CODE, they sent the police.  We never HAD a pass code! There I was in my Taz PJ's, hair all mussed because, it's early early  in the morning and I still hadn't had a complete cup of coffee and I'm telling the cops that it's a false alarm.  They charge for those these days.

Anyway, it turns out, the small company contracted with a professional monitoring company just a WEEK ago.  One week,  And they were not supposed to ask for a pass code.   Because we never had one.  Nor had our contact information ever been forwarded to them so they didn't know if I was lying or not.

One stressful situation averted/

The arsenic in the sauce?  Well, some of you know that I had surgery and am now 4 weeks post-op.  So, I've been out of work.  And I know they missed me and I was sort of looking forward to going back. In fact, this coming Monday.

At 11:13AM I got a call.  It was my boss. She said " This isn't going to be a good call. "  And I thought, oh no, what did I forget to do before I left for surgery?" I wish that was all it was.

She said, "I'm laying you off".  She's closing her law practice.  I am now out of work . Earlier in the week, I'd wished for one more week, because I didn't feel I was quite healed enough.  Be careful of what you wish for.  I don't have to go back to work next week after all.  Now, I don't even have a job to go back to.

Add to the misery.  I can't call my husband at work.  Why ruin his day?  I tried calling my mom.  No answer.
Called a good friend -no answer.   For a moment there, I just broke down.  How do you deal with this kind of bombshell all on your own?   Fortunately, my friend called me back within minutes and I was able to at least have an ear.  That meant a lot to me.  She was such a God-send because at that moment, I wasn't alone bearing the weight of the results of one of the worst phone calls I've ever had.

I have kids with special needs - medical needs.  Where am I going to find another employer who is as understanding and accommodating as my old boss?  It was a dream job.  But like all dreams, they end. You wake up too soon and you lose that good feeling and harsh, cold reality slaps you in the face.

 I have no idea what I'm going to do. How to proceed. Obviously, I have to update my resume. Oh my gosh, at my age, who is going to hire me?  The economy sucks and there are so many well qualified people out there who've been looking for months, YEARS, for a job. 

I'm a very scared person right now.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Things that Make me LAUGH until I hurt

Star Trek Parody

Kirk in the A-Team!!

Han Solo, P. I.

The Three Stooges! As the A-Team? Whao!

It's MR. BEAN!!!

Hopefully ONE of these made you smile, giggle, groan or ::facepalm:;

Sometimes, you gotta smile even through a day that sucks.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ah, The Good Old Days

I loved the old movies that explored how nature would turn on us for poisoning the earth with our bombs and nuclear experiements.

Remember THEM!  THEM!

This is my favorite Forrest Tucker movie   The CRAWLING EYE!
Recognize the female lead? She was in Darby O'Gill opposite Sean Connery, way back when.  Ah, those were the days.

The most blatent movie targeted towards our pollution is  GODZILLA VS THE SMOG MONSTER! lol  
I used to think this movie was awesome.  Boy, I was young.

Of course THIS movie scared the fur out of me!  Can you believe MGM did this ??
Bunny Mutants!    If this didn't give you a good glimpse, here's a close up **GG**
what Viscious Rabbits!  But THE most Dastardly Rabbit attack EVER is HERE!!!!  ::cue spooky music::

Yes, nature has a way of getting back at us. ...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sing HIGH - Sing LOW - Just Sing

Never heard of these guys ... I can't tell if they were trying to be the Four Seasons or the Beach Boys.
What's your take?

TONIGHT BY THE RUBETTES

I'm going with the Four Seasons...-

DAWN

or CANDY GIRL

DANCE by the Beach Boys- Dont' think it comes close to the Rubettes like Frankie Valli. :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Um - really?

Single Bed  Close your eyes.  Listen to her sing. Tell me... do you imagine the singer should be singing with
a Lollypop and and her thumb stuck in her mouth?   And this was 1980s rock?
Yikes

Now- Blast from the past.. a song that Does Match, Does Rock and Does make a person Dream

MAGIC

One inspires imagination - the other - makes me want to drink diet soda. ;-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Laughter - It's totally subjective

Gotta get past the last post.  Easy enough to do when I go to help out my blog buddy, Bailey, with an earworm and find the perfect song to replace it with.  In the process I had a gigglefest and thought I'd share it with you.

Which version do you think is more ... cool, rocking, hip, groovey?  LOL

The Newbie

The Oldie

You think that was painful?  ROTFL!

Jump in my Car?  How bout IN FRONT OF IT!  ::snicker:;

But it looks like 1975 was a GOOD year for the Car Song...what do you think???

Friday, July 01, 2011

Nightmare

Nightmares comprise of many things: phobias, worst case scenarios, the list is endless.
A mother's nightmare is just as terrible.
I woke up yelling NO!! this morning at 5:10AM..
Is it a result of recovering from surgery?
Is it a result of a phone call I received from a school counselor?
Combination thereof?
I don't know.
What I do know is that the image was so vivid - terrifyingly so.

That I woke up to find a note on the side of my bedside table saying "I don't believe in the afterlife, but, I'm sorry."
In my nightmare, I ran downstairs to see my son hanging, the tips of his toes just barely brushing the tips of the arm rest of the chair he must have used to help hang himself.
His face was sort of puffed and red, his eyes bugging out and breath wheezing but winding down when I found him.
Oh my God... it was so REAL!
In the nightmare, I was trying to lift his weight, get it off the plastic noose he used. Screaming, "Please! Please! Breathe!  Don't Go!"

The thing is, earlier that morning, I heard him get up about 4:30AM.  I knew he was up and he closed our bedroom door.  When that happens, sounds gets muffled pretty completely.
I didn't care that I pulled my stitches and was in ;pain.
I ran down those stairs.
To find him calmly watching King of the Hill.

I shared with him my nightmare - not the details, mind you. Just that he killed himself and how it scared the shit out of me.  And I asked him, " Have you ever thought of committing suicide?"
He looked at me.
Said, "Yes."
::Deep breath::
"When?"
"During the school year, but I'm fine now."

Yes, out of school. Away from pressure of peers, testing and performance expectations. It's the summer, he's home, safe and in a supportive environment.
How many kids must feel that way? How many kids find the pressures of school so bad, and, being unable to talk about it, internalize it enough to end up spiralling into a state of depression that suicide looks to be the ONLY way out?

You bet, I'll be calling the pediatrician. And having more talks with my son.
He has Aspergers - so the talking will be difficult and challenging. He's not in touch with his feeling to verbalize them. But he has them and they are just as strong and potent as a non-neurologically affected person.

Sometimes, dreams are the start of facing reality.
If we listen.
Wish us luck.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ow

Just came home from surgery.
It was major surgery to correct a bunch of things...and remove others.
I hurt.
Man, I hurt.
The morphine was horrid - I mean the afteraffects.  I thought of food, dry heaves.  I looked at a flippen menu, I dry heaved... I dipped my finger into soda to get some liquid, and I hurled.  NOW I understand the phrase, 'cotton mouth'.  It was so dry. No matter I was getting hydrated via I.V. - nothing was in my mouth and I hated it.  I would have been home the morning after the surgery if I could have kept food down, If I could have eaten a breakfast, but I could not do it. 
I fell asleep with food still in my mouth.
I was lucky I didn't choke.
I could not stay awake.
It was the most miserable experience of my life.
I hated it.
Then, they make you walk. And walk. and walk.  and do that breathing thing to prevent pneumonia.
I'm glad to be home. 
Even typing this hurts.
but, it's been awhile and I needed to share my pain.
And my lonliness.
In there, my DH not able to be there, alone, all that activity going on around me but no one really caring for ME,  it got to me.
I felt so lonely.
But. The best thing while in the hospital? Was turning on EWTN, when I felt so alone, and in pain
and there was Mother Angelica talking about the Divine Mercy.
And then the Rosary, - I didn't feel so alone then.
Then a priest was visiting the room next door to me, He said only HI! as he passed my room but that was enough.
God was there.

I wasn't alone.
 
Now I'm home... and I have to recover.  How does a mom recover when everyone else needs what I do?
I'm tired.
I'm going to bed.
but, it's MY bed,  I'm home.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I Made it My Way

Yep,  I was visiting a cooking website for what to do with leftover chicken.  I had to change it a lot, therefore that means I made it my own. What did I do? 

Let's call it a chicken/broccoli pasta cassserole.

First I preheated an oven to 350 degrees F 

1 whole package of uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
It asked for one can of cream of chicken soup - I can't use that due to the high salt content.
I used three cups of homemade chicken broth,  and with it I made a standard medium white sauce except I used 2 TBL of Brummel & Brown with yogurt as the butter substitute.
1 package of frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained.
1 cup of tiny cut chicken breast ( my DH likes chicken but it has to be small enough that he doesn't have to "fight"  with his food - more chicken is fine if you really like profuse poultry
1/2 skim milk or 1%
1/2  tsp garlic powder but I used 1 tsp - I like garlic
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of low fat cheese ( I used the Kraft mixture of colby/cheddar and a few others - don't remember now)



Directions
Fill a large pot with water ( I don't put salt in my water)  and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne pasta, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Why does it always take me more? LOL  Drain well.

In another large sauce pan I mixed up a white sauce with the chicken broth, I whipped in the garlic and pepper and when creamy and mixed,  then I added the chicken and the broccoli and that 1/2 milk because I made a LOT of pasta. 

Then, I dumped the whole thing into my Corningware casserole dish, sprinkled all the cheese all over and put it in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese melted.  I didn't bother with putting a cover on it but I guess you could.

My kids liked MORE cheese and they can eat regular cheese so they sprinkled shredded mild chedder over the serving in their plates.

All in all, it was a tastey new way to use leftover chicken. 
I hope you didn't mind my sharing.
:-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Yam What I Yam

Yams are Awesome!

Oh, DH is doing MUCH better and he's eating TOFU!  I won't touch it. LOL

But I discovered that my whole family LOVES Japanses Yams  They look purple on the outside, white on the inside and cook into a yellow color.  They are so sweet, you don't need buttor or salt or any flavoring to enjoy them.  I brought some to work for lunch and shared a bite with both my boss and my co-worker and the look of pleased surprise on both their faces was so cool. Look for the ones that are smooth and plump looking. They are MUCH easier to peel if you want to peel them and not bake.

Hannah Gold Yams are ok.   For some reason a little pat of butter or what what we've been using as butter which isnt, and I can't remember the name but it's made with yogurt,  just that little addition brings out the flavor.  I found it odd but the texture is nice and it too cooks yellow.

I like these new yams better than the ones I've grown up with where I have to add a LOT of butter. Heck, I used to even add brown sugar!  No more.

And sweet potato fries are Delicious!   Baked of course. :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shopping Adventures

In my previous post, I mentioned my having to shop harder to find the foods that are safe for my husband.

I found that most meats, chicken, turkey or pork, are injected with a salt broth solution to make it more tender. BUNK! Give me untainted food. They are taking the choice away from me by not offering meats that come without their helpful salt baths.

For that reason, I like Whole Foods Markets. I found some very unique sweet potatoes there. Hannah's are really cool and they come out yellow. The flavor is a little different than the regular orange yams I'm used to. They even have purple ones! That's for my next trip. The drawback as far as I can see is they didn't offer a lot of No-Fat or Low-Fat options. Or even No Salt options - they use a lot of Sea Salt but that has the same amount of sodium as table salt so it's still bad for a heart attack victim's diet.

Our local Stop & Shop chains have a much better offering of the Low or No Fat products. Even cheeses and sour creams are sold as a No Fat option. The price might be a bit higher than I'd like but we really don't have a choice. We no longer make these products ourselves or on local farms - and I don't know if dairy farmers even have the facilities to make anything low/no fat. Who does do that? I'm assuming a secondary factory somewhere. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

The final place that I'm happy about and grateful to have as a resource is Trader Joe's. I found SNACK FOOD! Their Bran muffins with blueberries was a hit with my husband, so were the dried Plantain. They look like bananas but they crunch like potato chips. Very cool. The roasted seaweed is an acquired taste I think. Husband hated it but my kids scarfed them up in one day. I love the 21 Spice Salute of theirs and prefer it over Mrs. Dash. Why? I think it is lighter and sweeter and I smell more citrus in the mix. Mrs. Dash is heavy handed in the pungent herbs like oregano and basil. I found some very low salt wheat tortillas at TJ's too. I didn't need them this trip but when I do, I'll know where to go.

Between the three stores, I think I'll be able to find what I need.

Here's the thing. Changing our eating lifestyle is HARD. Hard to break our typical and usual eating habits and harder on our finances.

I was talking to another friend at the library and she made this comment.

"These days, with everything going up in price, the only people who can eat healthy and buy the organic foods to sustain that better lifestyle are the rich."

She's right. In the winter. At least in the late spring, summer and early fall we have the benefit of farmer's markets to shop at. But right now? We have to pay the higher prices for imported organic foods. And organic food is higher anyway.

The diet that my husband is on says to eat at least three meals of fish a week, preferably salmon or mackerel. Excuse me? Have you checked out your seafood department lately? Salmon on average is $14.00 to $16.00 a pound. Try feeding a family of four with that kind of price tag, especially with two growing boys in the mix. (Hello, bottomless pits)

Did you know that Hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils are on the WORST list for ingredients in processed foods? Try that new one I found, Interesterified fats. I found it while trying to buy a low salt generic store brand box of saltines. I didn't buy it because I was perplexed as to what this new ingredient was. Boy, am I glad I checked before I bought. What the heck are they trying to do to the people in this country???

You realize of course that it all comes down to the bottom line, money. The big manufacturers don't care about our health and well being, just money. They don't give a flying fig that they are contributing to the high cost of future medical care from the diseases of the body they are germinating within us. Low income families have no choice but to buy what they can afford. And those are products of long shelf life that can be cheaply made with all these wonderful chemically altered mutated elements that may once have started off natural and now are so changed that they harm the consumers after long term exposure.

The nurse in the cardiac ICU said that they are seeing 25 year olds coming in with hardened arteries. YOU THINK? - look at the crap they are selling to kids! Did you know that hydrogenated fats are in Hot Cocoa mixes? And kids LOVE hot cocoa in the winter. It's a must for this time of year. Product after product and more than one gets ingested each day, every day. I am MAD! I am SCARED.

So, after working a whole day, I have to come home and make like Donna Reed and Martha Stuart and create a meal using no helpful pre-made mixes or assists and help with homework, clean the house and do everything else.

Is there a support group for swapping normal recipes out there that is user friendly? I'm interested.

What do I mean by normal? Recipes with ingredients that are easy to find, simple to assemble and can be created in 45 minutes and are geared to heart attack survivors and their families.

And don't say the American Heart Association. I do not find their website easy to navigate, nor do I find their recipes all that helpful. (weird ingredients) Just saying.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tragedy Averted

It's taken me awhile to be able to have the time and presence of mind to blog about this.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, that was 2 Tuesdays ago, my husband suffered a heart attack.

I'm lucky I still have him. The Saturday before we had a bit of a row which was the worst we'd had in our 25 yrs together. From his perspective, it was serious and he claimed I didn't love him.

Fast forward a couple of days and by my actions I proved that I did. I didn't listen to him. I ignored his words. He said, "I'll call the MD once I get to work" and proceeded to shave, fix his tie, brush his teeth and ignore the fact that his left arm was numb, he had shortness of breath and he had a pain in the middle of his chest.

I turned right around and called the MD. Of course they said get him to the E.R. He says, "I don't want to go by ambulance."

So, in a snow storm, I drove him. He says I drove like a bat out of hell and he's awfully proud of that. Me? I'm pissed I couldn't go faster because I ended up behind 3 cars and a truck who were going at a snail's pace down back country roads. No passing anywhere.

Guys? Some advice. Call a frigging ambulance. Don't be stubborn because I tell you, your life IS on the line. When an ambulance responds, they have the gear and the meds to assist immediately to stabilize you. Driving in a car, stuck behind cars whose drivers have NO idea about the medical emergency driving behind them, means that if he went into full out cardiac arrest there would have been nothing I could have done to help him. I'd be an early widow.

God was our co-pilot, our guide and our strength. We made it. The MD flat out said that because I got him there as fast as I did, (and it would have been MUCH faster if I didn't have those frigging cars in my path) is the only reason he survived the heart attack.


He ended up 95% blocked in the artery that caused it all. We later found out that he is 40% in two others. He had one stent put in.

What does that mean for his future? That means a diet low in salt, fats and high in Omega 3s, veggies and other healthy foods is a must. I'd often mention his breakfast regime of sausage, bacon, ham - all those processed Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's breakfast sandwiches - were bad and doing him harm. Him being a guy, ignored me. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

::face palm:: Unless a man can see inside his body, he shouldn't assume no symptoms means no worries.

Now? He can't have kielbasa, liverwurst and veal loaf; his favorite comfort foods. No pizza, no ice cream, no butter, no salt -- let's face it -- he can no longer have any of the trappings that society relies on for flavoring food.

And me? I am the one who bears the brunt of providing him a changed nutritional food venue day in and day out. I have to learn to shop differently, prepare the food differently, read labels and organize my time a lot more efficiently.

Why?

Because ALL of the pre-processed foods touted on TV and in magazines that say they will simplify your life by saving you time end up costing you time on this earth. They are NOT healthy. Hello, Trans fats anyone? They are NOT good for you. They are in crackers, cookies and in foods you'd never expect! Now I have to build time into pre-making my own broth because I have to let the fat harden and skim it off before I can even use it.

Do you realize that every flippin' turkey or chicken I tried to buy has been "flavor enhanced"? I simply could NOT find anything fresh or frozen that was untainted or non-manipulated. (if that's a word)

Do you know what that means? They are not doing it to make our food tasty. Oh no. They claim that but what it really does is preserve the food for longer shelf life. For centuries societies have used salt to preserve food. Here, they use so danged much it's ridiculous. We are basically becoming pickled humans.

The only turkey I could find not tampered with was at Whole Foods Market. Do you know what I PAID for the bird? FORTY DOLLARS!!! Just so I could give him lean meat, healthy meat not already loaded with the salt he needs to stay away from.

And the doctors wonder why we have so many cases of high blood pressure in this country. Just go food shopping and read the labels. You'll see.

So, that's my momentous update. I'm on a new food journey and I'm glad for Google because I'm relying on it a lot for guidance, recipes and choices.

Readers - pay attention to your diet choices - it will prolong your quality of life.