Starting the morning on the right four feet

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I wake up the same way each morning.  In the lighter moments of my sleep, when dawn pours its light into my curtain-free windows to caress my eyelids, four paws stealthily creep up to the side of my bed.  A long furry nose rests itself on the bed and two large brown stare at me until I crack open one eye to acknowledge her presence.   The tail wags and the rest of the body jumps up onto the bed to assume her spot in the window.

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She is intelligent enough to know that seeing only one eyeball means there are still snooze buttons to be utilized and she will participate in the morning naps as well.  This morning she curled into a ball at the end of the bed and, like a good dog, quickly fell into slumber.

I awoke to the sound of her tail hitting the bed.  I opened that single eyelid again, for fear of beginning our morning too early, to find that she was still sound asleep and apparently having a very happy dream.  I am a morning person and usually begin my day in a good mood.  It’s nice to know my puppy does the same thing.

 

The me that is me

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sunrise-18a

The sun peeks into my room at dawn,

and I greet it with a smile.

The morning brings the songs of life

and I do nothing but listen for a while.

I smile knowing that all is right

as I prepare to greet the day.

I feel like I am where I should be,

sadness and happiness equally weigh.

Every part of my life right now

is exactly what it should be.

I wouldn’t change a single thing

for these moments have brought me to me.

I have loved and lost and cried my tears,

my heart has been broken before.

But mending those breaks only fueled my fire,

left me stronger and wanting more.

 I know what I want, I know what I deserve,

and that I will never second guess.

It may be elusive and difficult to get

but I will never settle for less.

 The sun peeks into my room at dawn,

never knowing what it will see.

But I greet it every day with strength

and the confidence to believe in the me that is me.

 (image credit)

Screw it, Ray Bradbury….something GOOD this way comes

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For the first time in my life, I feel like I am in the right place at the right time.  Something good is about to happen.  It may not be news-worthy to the world but it will affect me immensely.  I feel it.  I feel it like the Earth feels the tidal pull.  I feel it like the horizon feels the sun rise being birthed from its shores.  I feel it like the night sky feels the first star burning its light into the blackness.  It’s there…..and I can almost reach out and touch it.  I just don’t know what it is.

Many things have happened to me throughout my lifetime.  Some of those things have been wonderful and some have been stored in the vault of memories titled ‘lessons’.  The culmination of all of those events has brought me to where I am now.  Because of those situations, I have gained confidence where I used to wallow in self-doubt.  I have achieved a level of comfort in who I am as a person.  And I have grasped the definition of what I want in my life.  It took me 46 years to get here but the journey was worth it.  I have finally allowed myself to be the person who was hiding in my own shadow.

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Sure, there are moments I fall back into the secluded darkness of that shadow but those moments are fleeting.  Those junctures of time only serve to remind me of who I once was and who I have since become.  I feed on the strength I have gained.  I thrive on being the person I was meant to be and I hold fast to the lessons that each of those bumps has etched into the road that is my life.

There will always be moments that I shall forget the tenacity that has brought me to my now.   There will forever be junctures in my life that I may lose sight of the higher roads that I have taken.  But I can only take comfort in the fact that the skin I am cloaked in now fits me as it should.  I can take solace in the conviction that I have learned from each lesson I was taught.  And I can count on the feeling that I am where I need to be and that something good IS going to happen…..and it’s going to happen to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I could see the hand gestures, I would know the Italians are angry…..

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I love pizza.  Once upon a time, pizza used to love me as well.  But as the decades have marched on, my relationship with pizza has become a mere shadow of its former self.  There is a feeling more akin to a contractual obligation than the heartfelt love we once used to share.  And as much as I continue to love pizza, its feelings for me still leave my heart (and my abdomen) feeling enlarged, but in a bad way.

In my quest to become healthy, I have been scouring the internet for recipes that omit the culprits responsible for wreaking havoc in my over-forty year old body.  Contrary to my belief twenty years ago, bread is not my friend.  That knowledge, combined with my love for pizza, nearly brought me to my knees.

And then I heard something in the distance.  I put my hand to my ear.  It was quiet at first, almost non-existent, but then it became louder and more distinct.  It was the angels singing….and they were holding pizza!  It was like coming home…only to no home I had ever known.  I was just taking a slice out of my oven and I knew.  I was like….magic.  Okay, so the last couple of lines slightly resemble dialogue from Sleepless in Seattle, but you get the idea…..

This “pizza” recipe is brilliant.  It has no yeast, no flour and no way of making someone avoiding bread be anything less than ecstatic.  And the taste was delicious.  For those who have not experimented with cauliflower in any way, now is your chance.  Had I not made this pizza myself, I would never have guessed it was made with cauliflower.  Here is a photo of the result and below is the recipe I found on Pinterest, with a few modifications.

cauliflower pizza

 1 cup riced cauliflower, 3 cups mozzarella, divided, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, 1 egg, olive oil, mushrooms, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes.

Preparation:

Pulse one head of chopped cauliflower into chunks in a food processor until it looks like grain. Microwave the cauliflower for 8 minutes.  (I don’t own a microwave so I heated some olive oil in a pan, heated the cauliflower to medium heat, covered the pan and reduced the heat until cooked.)

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup riced cauliflower, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, oregano, garlic salt, garlic, and egg. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Pat mixture out into a 9-inch circle. Brush with olive oil. Bake the crust at 450° for 15 minutes.

Top the pizza with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. (I also added parmesan cheese) Broil 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts.  I’m sure there are a multitude of toppings….including bacon….that you can add to this pizza and be completely happy with the result.

Pizza and I have rekindled our romance, on my terms, and love each other once again.  Mangia…. and enjoy.

Sometimes you just want to be the biggest loser

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After many months of prolonging the inevitable torture, I am finally ready to admit it is time to be serious and get myself into summer-shape.  And by summer-shape, I don’t mean round.

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It’s time to hold myself accountable for those invisible pounds that crept into my room at night and methodically attached themselves to parts of my body whilst I slumbered.  My wardrobe has begun to mock me while threatening to abandon ship.  It’s time to get a buddy and make the goal a reality.  It’s time to put the spring back in my step instead of breaking the diving board.  It’s time to get back what I’ve lost.  No, wait.  It’s time to lose….what I….got back.  Now I’m confused.

A few years ago, I went on a very noble quest to get healthy.  And that I did.  I diligently tracked my food choices and the only processed food I ate was food I had processed myself.  There was no bread involved, nothing packaged and nothing I couldn’t pronounce.  I simply ate whole, natural food and at the end of my journey I had lost fifty pounds and felt amazing.

As reality is wont to do, it came stomping in and replaced my determination with dejection.   It exchanged my willpower with weakness and it magically turned me into a shape-shifter.  I went from healthy and happy to fleshy and faking it without even putting up a fight.

Well, the gloves are back on.  I remember what it felt like to be so proud of my accomplishment.  I recall how wonderful I felt being so healthy and I wish that for myself again.  Since I began my first journey on May 1st, I shall do the same again this year.  The lemons will be stocked, the spices abundant and the determination back and in high gear.

Cooking has always been a passion so now I shall choose a much more intelligent selection of ingredients before I lift the “mystery box” and delve into the long-lost world of cooking with the right food.  I may not win a million dollars at the end of my arduous journey but I will be The Biggest Loser….or the smallest loser…..why is this so confusing??