Sunday, July 24, 2016


First of all last week we went on vacation to Flagstaff, Arizona so I didn’t write at all. My daughter Jenan is in the Palm Springs Spirit of the Sands band and loves it.  She can’t play an instrument to save her life, just like her parents. She is a part of the Visual Corp or a “Tall Flag” girl.  Last week she and a fellow Visual Corp girl went to camp for four days.  They worked very hard and learned new techniques and spins.  At the end we saw a performance and the girls won an award for Most Improved. I am so proud of them. 
I was designated as their driver so I bought my husband Patrick and my son Shane with me.  We were able to explore Flagstaff and the surrounding areas.  We went to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Meteor Crater, and Winslow.  Winslow was sort of sad, because the recession hit it hard.  If you are an Eagles fan, you know why we were there. “Take It Easy” was singing in the background. 
We were pleasantly surprised about Arizona mainly the northern part of the state.  It was beautiful with the pine trees and cool weather. While we were there it was mainly in the low 80’s during the day, and in the 50’s at night.  We got lucky because it rained accompanied by thunder and lightning every day.  Living in Palm Springs we haven’t seen rain since January, plus cooler weather won’t come back until late October or early November.  We loved it!  The further south we drove it became a desert again just like home. Icky!

I will share my pictures and insights on our trip over the next couple of blog posts.  I was able to take some amazing pictures.  We are back at home in the 116̊ heat, and hating it.  I will resume writing and making cards and scrapbooking in the a/c with a fan blowing on me. Bliss!  Talk to you tomorrow.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Crave a Change

Craving a Change

This week I have been unsettled.  I want a change. I want summer to be over so I can resume subbing and earning extra money again. All of the subbing money I earn will go towards getting rid of the debt. I want to start seriously saving so we can travel and buy a house somewhere not in the desert. I know a lot of “I want”.   Patrick has to retire – minor detail.  We are going to look into early retirement once school starts again.  School starts in less than a month.  I am writing it here because my family would be horrified about my wanting them back at school.  Patrick just started his vacation this week. He thankfully taught summer school because we need the extra funds for the Back of School clothes and supplies.  I think this will be the final year of teaching summer school. He is getting a tad burn-out on teaching. He needs his summers back.  I am hoping that the mini vacation next week in Flagstaff will help with my being unsettled. God I hope so.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Double Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake

Last Sunday we went a party at our friend's house and I meant to bring this cake. Yes,  I meant to bring it. The only thing was it bombed bit time!  The cake fell in the middle and the frosting wouldn't spread.  Totally strange. I have made this a multiple of times and it turns out great.  Just not this time.

The recipe is a good one and I am sharing it with you.  Sunday was the only time it was an epic failure.

I can still remember my Mom pouring out a bottle of Coke to make this cake. It was our favorite. This cake is so moist and the icing is just irresistible. I hope you get a chance to make this one.
Double Chocolate Coca Cola Cake
1 cup Coca Cola (real thing, not diet)
1/2 cup oil
1 stick butter
3 Tablespoon cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter
3 Tablespoon cocoa
6 Tablespoon of cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
In a saucepan, mix Coca Cola, oil, butter and cocoa and bring to a boil. In another bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Pour the boiling Cola mixture over the flour mixture and beat well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, soda and vanilla and beat well. Pour mixture into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees or 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan. Cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.
Frosting: In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, and milk. Heat until the butter melts. Beat in the remaining ingredients and spread on the cake while it's still warm. Enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cuban Beef Sandwiches

Cuban Beef Sandwiches

This is the Crockpot dinner we are having tonight. It is a new recipe, so I will tell you how it turns out on Monday.  Last weekend we watched a DVD called "Chef" and it talked about Cuban sandwiches.  Theirs was made with pork, but I was wanting one. Thankfully I saw the recipe and pulled it out of the magazine. We had all of the ingredients so it is tonight's dinner.  If you print the recipe you will notice that it can made in the Crockpot but also in the Pressure Cooker. I have both but I feel more comfortable with my Crockpot.  Crockpot it is! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Weight Watchers Keeps Me Accountable

Weight Watchers Keeps Me Accountable

In this picture are my fabulous friends that I met through Weight Watchers.  Becky is in the middle and I met at our first meeting with the famous Jeff almost 10 years ago.  Becky, along with her husband Joe, are Lifetime Members alas I am not. Not even close.  Most of the time I go to WW at 9:30 on Wednesdays to see my friends and listen to Beverly our leader.  It is a highlight of my week except those days that I schedule a massage or take a Card Class.  During the summer I go to my Card Class so I can be creative with my friends. Normally I craft solo which can get boring.  My fellow WW friends at the meetings keep me motivated  and help keep me pumped up in the my weigh loss journey - the horrible slow journey. I didn't gain it fast and I am definitely losing it quickly - slowly just like the tortoise and hare fable. I will keep you posted on my weigh loss and gains, because I am not perfect.

Yesterday I went to WW and thankfully lost 1 pound - I will take it. To be honest I don't follow the WW plan any more. My new diet is called HEAL. Basically high protein and very little carbs. I am allowed 20 carbs per day.  It is a lot like the Atkins diet.   No sugar with a lot of protein and salads which I can do. When I followed WW I didn't lose the weight. I loved my sweets, fruits and great bread.   Plus now I am a diabetic, and really need to get my weight off.  All of my meds have the side effect of weigh gain.  That includes cholesterol, high blood pressure and keeping my mind sane.  I need those meds especially the sanity meds.  It took over 6 months to find the correct balance of them.  I call it my sanity cocktail.  This is the ONLY cocktail I have because those meds and alcohol really don't mix well.  Well you call throwing up in the middle of night after drinking one glass of wine fun. I don't.  I throw up off my migraines. That is enough.  Back to my diet . . .

Even I don't their diet I continue going to WW meetings because I need to see my progress. The weekly weigh in keeps me on the weigh loss plan. The best part is I see my friends there.  That is always a plus in my day.

Have a great day!  I am getting my hair and finding another bathing suit.  Mine doesn't fit, so I can't go to water aerobics.  During our horribly hot summers, I can walk in the air conditioned mall or do water aerobics. I am trying to do both,  Therefore I need a bathing suit. Today is not a bad temperature for Palm Springs - only 106 F.  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Tortellini, Broccoli and Bacon Salad

Happy Fourth of July!


Enjoy your 4th of July. We are lazing about this morning, and then seeing Independence Day Resurgence in the afternoon. Yesterday we saw Tarzan- a very good movie with gorgeous scenery of the Congo. Tarzan himself was a great eye-candy too.

Tonight we are grilling steaks with a big salad plus the Tortellini, Broccoli and Bacon Salad. I found it on the Betty Crocker site.  For us their recipes are a combo of hits and misses.  This one has a hit! I have included the recipe so you can make it too.  The only change we make to it is we use Creamy Caesar not the coleslaw dressing.  We are not fans of coleslaw dressing. We are learning to like coleslaw but I made the dressing, not buy it.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Flashback This Morning

I was enjoying my morning, drinking coffee, reading a smut novel and watching TV all alone and blissful.  It is only a Friends rerun, until I noticed it was the finale.  I try to avoid the finale, actually I never seen the finale since it first played in 2004. It is just the finale. Right?  Well, I watched it in the ICU at UCLA.  I can’t really remember my 10 days in ICU, my memories come in snippets. Weird not focused memories.  I can remember the pain and the nausea after the surgery.  Oh God the pain!  Sorry to say this: I have been so happy to get my morphine shot.  I could tell when it wore off, and I have 15 more minutes to wait.  I will write more about the ICU stay later. I know that other Moya Moya survivors can relate! 

Today I am focusing on my flashback and Friends. I love Friends and their reruns. I love Big Bang Theory a little more, but Friends is a very close second.  I saw the finale this morning and the waterworks started. Oh shoot!  They are starting again while I write this unplanned post.  I am sure that I am not the only person that gets flashbacks. People in psychiatry call it Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  I was never a soldier, but I am a Moya Moya survivor.  Per my therapist Evelyn says I have it due to my growing up in a  very dysfunctional family; the strokes; my crash and burn; and Moya Moya. I know that I am not alone.  Moya Moya survivors know when they had their surgeries and other milestones.  They post their anniversaries on Facebook.  I don’t post mine because I had a stroke after mine.  I will say Mother’s Day in 2004 was the best because I got to see my babies again after 10 days in ICU.

Back to Friends that finale is a clear 30 minute memory not a snippet.  I was placed in ICU near the two TV’s in the ward.  I was awake and so many people were not.  I might have cried because it was such a great ending.  Now I am cry because I am flooded not great recollections.  I remember being scared, actually terrified.  Sh*t!  I have another stroke! F&ck!  I knew what I would go through in rehabilitation – the third time.  I wanted to go home – out of the hospital. Anything to not be where I was!  Wondering how long this will take.  All of those memories flooded my peaceful Sunday morning. 

My daughter Jenan came out when I was sobbing.  By the way I hate sobbing in front of my family and friends. It is not pretty.  She asked some questions thinking it because the show.  I finally squeaked out “It is because of the memories and UCLA”.  She gave me a much needed hug - a hug filled with love and feeling sorry for me.  The best hug!  After getting myself together I knew that I had to write about it. 

Okay, I feel a little better after writing and crying some more. Hug your family a little tighter and enjoy your Sunday!  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fourth of July Plans

Sorry about not posting yesterday. I am super busy and then got stressed out. Being stressed out is no good for me!

What are your 4th of July plans?  We are staying inside out of the heat. It is only going to be 106. That is much better than 122 last week.  That is hot enough for me! We will go to the movie to see Tarzan or Independence Day. We can’t decide, anything to stay inside. 

On Monday we are cooking a lot. For appetizers we are baking Potato Skins and Stuffed Mushrooms.  We grilling rib-eye steaks; making a Tortellini, Broccoli and Bacon Salad; a green salad, and baking a Marbled Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake.    We were going to bake the cheesecake on Father’s Day but time got away for me.

To marinate the steaks we use different marinades. Sometimes I use Yoshinada marinade from the store. I buy mine at Costco because my family loves it. Yoshinada is very versatile; it can marinade almost all meats and poultry.  I also use this marinade that I found on Pinterest.  It is yummy too.

Classic Steak Marinade

  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 Teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper

Let it marinade for 2 hours or overnight.