Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP Michael

One of my favorites, great 'moonwalking!':

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Say What?

Really? I mean did you see that? If this stupid thing had arrows on it, I’d point up there and show you what I mean. But look up there at the top under the name and it says what this whole blog thing is suppoooosed to be about… and right there it actually is written ‘And really cute photos of our dog, Bailey!’ Hello!!!

Sure! I mean really, when was the last time you even saw a picture of me on here? It was something like March or something. And that’s only because I’m supposed to be Irish and I got to write the St Paddy’s Day message. Otherwise you wouldn’t even have seen me then. I’m telling you guys (and ladies, I don’t mean to leave anyone out) you are NOT getting your money’s worth here. I mean I literally just had to take over this ding dang thing to get in here tonight and write this.

And what is up with my Bro’ Eliot? I mean he is gone all year in that big city, my parents make a big deal when he comes home and are all excited, and now he isn’t here again!! What is that about? (Well, don’t tell him but I was kinda excited when he was home too, but I don’t want him to know or he’ll act like the big cheese even more.) He’s at this camp, some sort of counselor or something, and comes home on weekends. Like just the time I get used to being ‘top dog’ he comes round and knocks me off the pedestal. It’s just too much! And he won’t let me sleep when he comes home. Talk about annoying. I’ll be taking one of my 10 beauty naps per day and in comes the Bro’ sneaking up on me, scooping me up like I’m some sort of-----don’t make me say it--- some sort of c-a-t, or something! How humiliating, how rude is that? How am I supposed to get my rest? I just don’t get it. And then I lick him for about an hour. It makes for very very busy days when he is here. You can see how the pace can just be unbearable.

And then my Mom is such a nut. When Eliot isn’t here, she plays his music! What? I thought he was home, I hear these tunes, they’re good, and it was just Mom, she said it makes her think of him. That is just so gross! Like when I’m not home, maybe they play Alpo commercials or something! Hey, I wonder if they do? I know, I’ll have to get Lucy (a.k.a.- Great White Death) from next door to come over and listen in next time I'm at the Groomies! Maybe Mom does listen to Alpo songs or something so she doesn’t miss me…. Yep, I bet she does. I know she loves me just as much……………hmmm.
All of a sudden I’m tired.

Now, when does that Eliot get home again? How many days? I think I’ll just wait right here and watch for him.

Well nice talking to ya. Who knows when you'll get to see me next?

Love to ya all,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my Dad!!

He taught me (us - my sisters, too) many lessons.

He was a 'take charge' guy. Never one to blame others for his circumstances or difficulties. If he had any of those, that is, it would be hard to know, as he was not a complainer. He was a 'whistle while you work' kind of guy. I really liked that he walked around the house, or the yard, boat, or wherever, whistling a song while he worked on whatever project he decided to pursue that day. We also learned all the old songs that way. I knew the names and composers of all the 'Big Band' and Swing hits when some of my friends had never even heard of Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey. He was an Engineer at heart and an Engineer, in fact! He put himself through night school after he came home from World War II. He was great with his hands and always had a project he was working on and he whistled his way through every one of them.

He taught us about camping, boating, and river navigation. When we bought a houseboat as a family he took a Coast Guard water safety course and made sure we knew all the navigational and safety factors in boating. And he made no secret it bugged him a lot that 'any fool with a few extra $$ could buy a boat and plunk it in the middle of the Ohio River without any thought to learning or observing the basic rules of water safety and etiquette.' (I didn't say he was a diplomat) He often told those same folks what was on his mind as they passed too closely in front of our boat or if we met up with them in a marina or gas dock. He was intimidated by nobody and nothing! Sometimes it was pretty interesting.

So if any of my friends noticed any 'outspokeness' in me, or in any of my sisters, we may have come by this trait naturally. 'Wallflower' was not his favorite word or something he was trying to teach. Actually, he could be quite diplomatic when it was called for in a situation. He just decided when it was called for and when it was not! Those boating situations, I guess he didn't feel required that diplomacy. Despite those moments of exteme honesty when he encountered 'fools' on the river, he made lots of friends everywhere he went and had lots of fun.

A terrific and steadfast Dad, who raised us well, and was always proud of his family!

Happy Father's Day!


P.S. - He was a great dancer! Apparently this ability skipped a generation.

I'm surprised by the lack of comment by my sisters! This photo was taken on the occasion of the 'undercooked turkey!' Such a memorable holiday!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Warning - potential boredom alert! If you've never needed to lose weight, particularly never more than 15 lbs, this topic may hold very little interest for you. Please visit another time. Thanks!
~~ Sustainability ~~

What do you think when you hear the word? Does it put you to sleep at the sound of it? Or do you, like me, know it can save your life? Up and down, Off and on, new and interesting, may be more exciting and might give one more to talk about at lunch... but it does not really, reallllly provide for a consistant way to reduce weight (note the lack of the 4 letter word) and keep that weight reduced. Really. So decide, do you want drama? Something to talk/complain about? Or do you want to just deal with the problem?

I knew when I choose what plan I would utilize for how to lose weight it had to be, HAD TO BE, something which could be sustained, even at the risk of being less glamorous. It needed to be a plan which would work when I traveled, ate in restaurants, changed my plans at the last minute, was too tired to cook, wanted to make a gourmet meal, was cooking for the family or dining alone. You get the idea, it had to work in all the variables of life and in all the times which previously could have foiled a girl (or guy) trying to follow a specific eating plan. (Again, we save use of the word 'diet' for times such as referencing what alligators consume in their natural habitat. As in, "...subsist on a di+t of tourists and gym shoes..." ) But I digress...

I am not a fan of any plan which systematically eliminates any food group or color of food. According to people who are smarter than me all the food groups provide a function in our bodies and are needed for nutrition - here is the important part - some are needed more than others, some in greater quantities and some in far lesser quantities than others. The secret might be in the previous sentence. Therefore no 'all protein' plans, or no 'all carb' plans, or all grapefruit one day and watermelon the next. Also, and here is a biggie but it fits in the first catagory, it must be real food, not purchased from any special entity other than a good old grocery store. (be able to travel, eat in restaurants, change my plans...)

So one day, my friend Marge says to me, (thanks Marge) someone named Dr. Oz is on Oprah and he is talking about the liver!! I turned on that show, Amen! He not only was talking about the liver, he was holding up a (cadaver) organ which most of you have probably never heard of called the omentum. But I knew of it right away and I knew this was destiny! The omentum is the organ which hangs loose from below your stomach and traps fat after food is digested and it is gross!!!! It also effects how much fat spills into your liver. Long story about why the omentum is important to me, but before I was a Mary Kay Sales Director, I was an xray technologist and if you want to get stomach xrays correctly, you better know about the anatomy of the omentum. I did know, and I felt like Dr. Oz was talking to me that day.

After he showed the omentum and how it spills fat into the liver. (I kinda do hope this grosses you out) he proceeded to talk about healthy eating and a book in which he layed it all out, "YOU on a Diet" Sorry, Dr. Oz doesn't have the same compunction about using that four letter word. The content is great, if not the title.

Basic idea is reduce your waist size and eat healthful real foods. And to start moving your body, as in exercise! More on that in a second. He uses the 4 letter word in his title but clearly agrees with me about the harm that '@ieting' does. It's an 'all or nothing' attitude. The carrots or the filet. Success or failure. Up or down. And the whole time thinking about food. Also, it makes food the enemy. (last sentence is not from Oz, but me)Food is not the enemy, our (mis)use of food is the problem. Food, like money, is an inanimate object. It's up to us if we let it get the best of us. But back to Dr. Oz.

His reccommendations, which I've embraced wholeheartedly because they make sense:
Do not eat anything fake. As in, eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup from your diet. HFCS is a manufactured product made from corn but far removed chemically from what real corn is. There is a link to an article concerning the harm of HFCS on the front page of my site (Mercola) and Dr Oz addresses this topic well in numerous columns and publications. Two mains points about HFCS are it doesn't turn off the receptor in your brain which tells you when you are full, so you keep eating. And, it has lead to an overall increase in Type II diabetes in this country since it's widespread use in products too numerous to name in this blog. Check your bread, catsup, salad dressing, and of course, those soft drinks.

Eat nothing which has sugar or salt or any of the 'banned items' in the first 5 ingredients on the label:
Banned items: Get rid of partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, HFCS, enriched or bleached flour, all added sugars, limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1 alcohol beverage per day. (Oh Bye, I just lost 3 dozen people)
Do eat 100% whole grains, lean meats and proteins, vegetables and fruits, dairy and low fat milk.

Of course when I read the 'do eat' column it seemed sort of boring and scary and limiting and I'd just built this new house, with this really pretty kitchen, designed so the whole family could cook together. Would we ever cook together again? Or would I be reduced to low sodium pablum, while the rest of the world spins by? No, actually by this time, I was over that feeling. Dr. Oz, made me feel like I could do it, and I already knew there were delicious foods out there which didn't have to be processed, high fat, high sodium... you get the idea. There are great things to cook with real food which tastes much better and is much better for your overall health and that of your family than anything that is already prepared and boxed in the grocery. (But which I had come to rely on on busy nights when the family was going in different directions)

Dr Oz's book also gives recipes and suggestions for emergency hungries. I keep a dish on my counter with raw almonds and cranberries in it. This really fills me up and helps me to not reach for other, much worse for me snacks, while I'm fixing dinner. Here's another tip if you think you are going to snack or graze while somewhere, put a Listerine breath strip in your mouth. You won't be able to eat a thing, it will clash with the minty breath strip. I use two for the overall too powerful minty approach, it works!

I eat very few things marked 'low fat' because the fat has usually been replaced with fillers, chemicals or even HFCS. So I'd rather eat less of the real thing than more of a 'mystery' item. One exception is I do purchase and love 'Fat free Feta cheese,' crumbled, I sprinkle this on my salads for a lot of extra flavor. I do not recommend trying to cook with it or trying to melt it on anything, it won't work.
Also, I purchase very few items which even have labels anymore. Most of my shopping occurs around the perimeter of the store with the exception of Tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Dr. Oz recommends 10 T. of tomato sauce per week for heart health. Read labels carefully, HFCS can hide in your tomato sauce too, sometimes different varieties within the same brand can have very different ingredients.

This is just a quick overview of the suggestions in the book. The thing which helped me the most overall is that when I didn't know what to do or where to start ~~ I started walking. It really helps I have a husband who is a dedicated partner, he walks with me and encouraged me, esp. in the beginning when I couldn't walk all that far. But whether you do, or whether you don't, have someone to walk with, walking is something almost everyone can do! And while I recommend wearing supportive walking shoes, walking is excellent because no special equipment is required!

So while your 'thinking about' getting started on Dr Oz's plan, or giving me a call for more information, take a walk - it can only help!

Betsy5aLive Why?

I thought this was a pretty photo which didn’t get included from a previous blog entry.

Edited: 6/26/09

Why ‘Betsy5aLive?’It's a funny name for a blog.
Thanks for asking. I’ve been meaning to answer that question and think it’s time to do so before it changes.
Changes? Why is it changing? Some of us here in the blogosphere are resistant to change….
Well not you, I’m sure, but the reasons for the change will have to be saved for a future ‘post.’ Suffice it to say the name and location of my blog will be new in the coming days or weeks. Hopefully, the transition will be seamless and you won’t even feel the change, but will only notice the increased beauty and style!!! (She said hopefully…)

So, what’s in a name? A lot. In fact, I believe words have power, obviously, and I try not to use words for, or put power to, something to which I do not wish to give power. I’ll explain that in a sec.

The first part of my blog name is easy. It is my name, Betsy. Although, unfortunately, not as easy as one would think. Apparently, there is a segment of the population who has difficulty sounding out names and therefore incorrectly spells Betsy. Really. We are not talking about a variation of Betsy, such as an ‘ie’ ending, as in Betsie. Or as one friend, until set straight spelled my name, Betzy. No, we are talking about putting the ‘s’ before the ‘t.’ As in Besty. Therefore they can’t find my website, hmmm. No further comment.

The ‘5’ represents the number equivalent of the first letter of my last name. My last name starts with ‘E’ the 5th letter of the alphabet. Previously, I had a personalized license plate ‘’Betsy5,” not because I was the 5th Betsy in Ohio to seek personalized plates but for the aforementioned reason.

But the more important topic: aLive! aLive as in not dead. (Sorry I don’t intend to be morbid). aLive as in living life ‘one day at a time’ but living, not *d*i*e*t*i*n*g* which you might notice has the word DIE buried in it. (The buried pun is intended) More on that in a sec. And aLive as in LIVE(r) liver, liver, liver, my liver isn’t getting me. I’m alive, I’m not just my liver and whatever diseases it may, and does, hold. I’m more than that and I’m bigger than that disease, metaphorically speaking.

So back to the “not *d*i*e*t*i*n*g*” and the power of words and what we tell ourselves. This is actually the blog post I intended this blog to be about originally: What happened when I learned about my liver disease and how I lived through it, with the thought that if it might help even one person get through anything similar, I’d be gratified for having shared and helped.

So I believe we act on what we tell ourselves. Good and bad. This is why children who grow up in non nurturing environments have deficits of personality. They’ve not been developed and have been given messages of lack, etc. (a different blog post.)

(Note to reader: if not in the position of needing to lose more than 15 pounds you may stop reading now. Have a nice day! Bye Bye)

But speaking of lack, that is the approach of a …. I’m going to say it the 4 letter word that I don’t want any of my posts to be about… diet. See the die. It’s about self imposed denial of something (perceived to be) good. And what we deny ourselves we end up...what? You got it, wanting it more! And here is an insight into me: please do not deny me anything. Okay? Don’t tell me I can’t have that, can’t go there, can’t eat that, am not invited. You can call that spoiled, vain, self-centered, youngest child syndrome, or analyze that anyway you want to. But the fact will remain, that if ‘I’m on a die& ,’ and told I can’t…..---I WILL, I just will, I've proven this. And I’m not alone.

I’ve proven this theory for more decades than I care to name. And if you care to look around you at all the people you know who are ‘*ieting” have “&ieted” are “professional 8ieters” and look at all the businesses which are associated with this industry, you will see it is an ongoing, but largely unsuccessful entity. (But profitable for purveyors of..) Oh, I’ve lost weight on *iets, I bet you may have too. That is not the measure of a *iet, the true measure is how much is gained back 30 days after it’s over, then 60, and 90 days, then the results can be meaningful. (By the way there really is a reason I’m not using the word, in addition to the fact I don’t like it. So bear with me.)

So, now let’s address all those of you who are saying, "what is wrong with you, have you no self control?" "What do you mean? You can’t be told ‘no.'" Well, right. It has to come from me. It has to be a plan of my making, my choice. These might be just semantics, but they are some very important ones, because as I said, words have meaning and power. If you tell me I can’t have it, I will feel deprived and WILL make up for it. If it's an eating plan I've chosen, to eat to LIVE, IF I DECIDE that for my health and well being, I chose differently, I’m okay with not having….. whatever it is. I also say (borrowed from AA...) 'Just for today' I'm not eating chocolate brownies. Maybe tomorrow I'll chose differently. (probably not, I still don't want to die of liver disease tomorrow. Oh, you can substitute heart disease, if you can't relate to the liver disease thing. But have your liver enzymes checked if your interested enough to still be reading this). But just for today, no chocolate brownies. If I said never ever in my life again will I eat a chocolate brownie, that might be a little extreme. Because truthfully, I've had a choc. brownie since all this started. But here is another secret. I wouldn't stoop to eat just any choc. brownie out of convenience, frustration, boredom,...... you name it. I won't stoop to that. IF I'm going to do it.... I've got the brownie picked out. And I've had it. It HAS TO BE one from Bonbonerie bakery in Cincinnati on Madison Rd. There really isn't any other brownie worthy of my time. Do you get it? If I'm going to veer from 'the plan,' it's a 'controlled situation' of my choosing, not by circumstances or outside factors. And certainly not by unworthy brownies!

How did I get here? Discussing semantics of weight loss? Almost three years ago, a Dr. who happened to be much more overweight than I was at the time, but a well regarded specialist in liver disease,told me I had (and still have) end-stage liver disease. The only way to reduce pressure on my liver is to lose weight. A lot of weight. Of course he had few, if any, suggestions as to technique. And he was telling me to do what I had so far not been successful at yet in my entire adult life. I’d been successful previously in other arenas. I knew how to make a goal and reach it. I’d become a Sales Director in Mary Kay cosmetics (top 2% of company) and earned two Pink Cadillacs (top 1% of company), I knew how to reach a goal. But not one so personal as weight loss and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not personal.

It’s not just numbers. The reason we eat, what we eat, when we eat, who we eat with. It’s all personal and the habits are all formed for personal reasons. The sooner we acknowledge the personal, and many times emotional, nature of our eating habits, then we can work to debunk those which have served us poorly in our past. You know the ones of which I speak.

This blog entry is about to become too long, I pledge to make a next step series to tell you what I did next to make my plan, which did not include *ietin&, but did include losing and keeping off 86#. Okay? I know the front of this website says 88#, I have to fix that, it’s really 86, sorry.

Oh, that last part of the web address. Blogspot. It’s the reason for the season. The season of change, that is, you can also call it 'leaving Blogspot." The new address, well I don’t want to tell you till it’s as pretty as it wants to be, but coming soon…

This photo is unrelated but speaks loudly, don’t you think?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tomatoes & Potatoes!

But not in the same recipe!

Tomatoes & Potatoes
Don't you love this photo? Will it gross you out if I tell you I think they look like little eyeballs? But they are so cute! Actually, I'm not even going to give you a recipe for this. I'm going to give you 'assembly' instructions. Ingredients are Cherry Tomatoes, shredded cheese mix - 4 cheese or Italian cheese mix variety, fresh herbs - fennel and/or basil, S&P, capers - important- do not omit capers.

Slice off top of cherry tomatoes. Using a sharp knife, or I use a serrated grapefruit spoon, scoop out the inside of the tomato, leaving shell intact. Add the fresh herbs and S&P to the cheese (to taste) and working over the cheese bowl, stuff the tomatoes with the mixture. It is important that you push as much of the mixture into the tomato as possible. If not, there will be little dents when they are baked. So make certain they are well packed. And then the Caper as the finishing touch is a ‘must!’

I’m learning many people have aversions or are apathetic to capers or thought they were, but are pleased when they bite into this combination of tomato, cheese, fresh herb, and just right saltiness from the caper. So having said that, let me remind you to go very light with the ‘S& P to taste’ instruction above so the other flavors come through. While I’m making my editorial comments, I’ll also say I’ve had more people who original thought they didn’t even care for tomatoes, really, really enjoy this nice light appetizer. (Except my nephew Brian who took a long time to get through one little tiny cherry tomato. But thanks for trying it anyway, Brian) Oh, to finish the recipe: after adding the caper, place in an oven proof baking dish and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees until cheese is thoroughly melted! Serve and enjoy.

Now on to Potatoes, because I promised my friend Terri I would post this recipe. I really don’t use exact measurements for this, but I’m going to try to put some numbers with this. Just know you can adjust these to your taste.

Gorgonzola Potatoes
Preheat oven to 375.
New, red potatoes. I buy them in the small netted bag. (about 2.5 lbs)
½ stick butter
2 T. Olive oil
2 T Dry Mustard (I particularly like Coleman’s brand dry mustard and use it for lots of recipes. It’s in a distinctive yellow tin can.)
½ C Parmesan cheese ( I use that grated stuff by Kraft in a plastic jar for this one, but the real thing would be great too.)
S&P to taste
6 oz. Gorgonzola Cheese – crumbled
Wash and halve the potatoes. (If making ahead of time, I keep in a water bath with some lemon juice to keep the potatoes from turning brown. Be sure to dry off well before resuming with recipe.) If any pieces are particularly larger than others, cut in half again, so even pieces result.
Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and stir until well coated. Season with S & P. Turn into a rectangular bake-ware dish large enough that the potatoes are mostly in a single layer. Mix half the parmesan and all the mustard into the melted butter and drizzle over potatoes, it won’t cover each and every potato, that’s okay. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on potatoes. Sprinkle crumbled gorgonzola over top.
Place in oven and bake 35 minutes, turning once about half way through. Sometimes I broil them at the end of the cooking time to get a crusty edge on the cheese….. yum.

Eliot is particularly fond of this dish, too. If you have a seasoning at home called 'Lemon Pepper Marinade'-it's a dry seasoning in the spice aisle, this is also good sprinkled on prior to baking.

That's all I've got today, it's the recipe edition of Betsy's blog. Enjoy.