Define Family -Part 1

Cedar and pine trees are everywhere, so much greenery. 103rd Street is crazy busy 24 hours a day. Cecil Field NAS is actually pretty cute, especially the area around the pond. This is the first time I’ve actually seen cinder block houses.

The Baptist preacher who came to our door and invited us to his church turned mean and said “That’s ok, we’ll have you anyway,” when we told him we’re Catholic.

Taco Bell is not Mexican food, and I refuse to buy corn tortillas that come in a can from the Winn-Dixie down the street.

These are my immediate thoughts as I remember my first month in Jacksonville, Florida. Culture shock was my malady, and I still remember how it felt. It wasn’t the scenery, landscape, or climate that was new to me. It was the people and how they acted toward us that surprised me. They didn’t know what to make of us, and I was surprised by that. Our upstairs neighbors assumed we were from India. That shocked me because I had only lived in San Antonio where I looked, acted, and felt like everybody else. In Jacksonville, it was obvious that we were not natives. Of course, most people in Florida are not natives, but we looked different from our neighbors.

Jacksonville is in Florida geographically, but it is North Florida and that makes all the difference. North Florida might as well be Southern Georgia because its politics and ideology are Bible-belt conservative, in religion it is largely evangelical Protestant, and culturally it is down-home country style with a tinge of sun-and-sea serendipity.

The cuisine is definitely deep South, and that is what I considered the best part. I loved the fried chicken in Jacksonville. I learned to absolutely love black-eyed peas, collard and mustard greens cooked with ham hocks, and fried shrimp and catfish with hush puppies. My favorite sandwich was the fish club at Captain D’s because they made it superbly with bacon and cheese. Best of all, I learned to make real Southern chicken and dumplings. The only culinary Jax staple I never learned to like was the bowls of green boiled peanuts that were commonly sold at fairs, festivals, flea markets, and some convenience stores. They looked awful and I never worked up the nerve to try them, and I am a culinary adventurer.

Michael and I grew up on Texas barbecue, but we assumed that barbecue is barbecue wherever you go (we were so young). In Jacksonville, the barbecue was different. We went to the Barn Door restaurant during our early days in Jax, and we ordered ribs, chicken, potato salad, beans, and cornbread. We have all that in Texas, but in Jacksonville the smoke smelled different and the barbecue sauce was mustard-based. We had to specify if we wanted tomato-bssed red sauce. The beans were pinto and cooked with salt pork but no garlic. They were fine. The tea was sweet and good. No problems there.

The problem for me was my lack of family ties. I grew up in a large extended family, and as I started out making friends in Jax, I naively assumed they could be my substitute family. We became friends with our upstairs neighbors (the ones who thought we were from India), or at least I thought we were friends. They were also a Navy couple and they had a little baby. I love babies and I had grown up with a little cousin or two being born every few years. The year before we moved to Jax, my family at home had welcomed baby Jonathan and baby Marcus into the fold. I had also been missing my sister and little brother. Missing little ones as I did, I loved holding and playing with our neighbors’ little baby and they noticed. It didn’t take them long to start asking me to babysit occasionally and I happily agreed. I really do love babies and had fun with this one, so I shrugged it off when they promised to pay me later and then forgot to do so. I let it slide. Later on when the we’re moving to California, they said they had a lot of food in the fridge and pantry and they’d give it to us in payment for my babysitting their son so often. I knew this wouldn’t happen when I saw one of their friends loading up their car with the groceries they had promised me as payment. That was when I learned that friends who love you like family are rare and to be treasured. It was a hard lesson.

To be continued.

Addendum – Fasting

So I finally know what Fasting euphoria feels like! I’ve got SO MUCH ENERGY!! I couldn’t sit and crochet because I just need to move around. I just finished baking a double batch of Keto bread for my hubby and Son to use for sandwiches and toast, also washed a lot of dishes, and am prepping two whole chickens to roast. I’m also going to make a triple batch of snake juice to take with me to work this week. I’m going to need more to do. ZeeZee and Teddy need a walk later, and will also get my work clothes ready. I’m humbled with gratitude!

Day 6 of 30-day fast – Happy Sunday!

Day 6, and I’m 8 pounds down. Feeling good today! Yesterday’s struggle is in the past and I’m feeling great! Face is clearing up nicely (I suffer from chronic rosacea). I’m not at all hungry. The sound bytes in my head are quiet right now (but I’m ready for them if they come back). Today I’m increasing my electrolytes (snake juice). I’ve got a lot of work to do to prep for my week. I’ve got to go to Mass.

Check out today’s screenshots from my Life fasting app. Good things are happening in my body and mind.

Cheers everyone! Have a beautiful, fantastic, blessed Sunday!!

The 5th day is not a charm

Fasting day #5. Today is a really tough day. Yesterday I made a pot of beef bone broth and strained it clear. I drank 2 cups today as well as my 2 liter daily intake of electrolytes. If memory serves (from my last fast of 5 days), it WILL get much easier after today. Fifth day almost done, 25 more to go. With God’s grace, I’ve got this.

“Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.” –St. Augustine

I’m Fasting for 30 Days

The goal is 30 DAYS. This time I’ve got a partner in crime, my dear friend Borgy. We’ve got this. Check out all of the screenshots of my amazing fasting app, LIFE. Note that it lets me know where my body is at in terms of healing, autophagy, insulin resistance, and Ketosis.

I’ve decided to make it even MORE worthwhile and take the focus off of just my own health and welfare. I’m fasting for a very important cause, DIABETES RESEARCH!

Diabetes is an insidious, deadly disease that affects far too many people. Please help my cause and help me give my fasting endeavor special meaning. Donate to help end diabetes!!!

Go to my Facebook page and click on the DONATE button to help end diabetes:

The healing has begun! Here’s to 30 days of fasting!! Cheers!!

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Pura Vida

I am a lifelong overeater and have battled obesity since I was 8 years old. I have a history of bulimia in my teens and a disordered relationship with food all my adult life. I tried 12-step recovery groups, some that required strict adherence to food plans and weighing/measuring every meal (even at restaurants). Nothing has helped until now. Since January 18 of this year, I’ve incorporated a Keto lifestyle with intermittent fasting, and occasional extended fasting into my daily routine. It’s working well for me. I feel like my relationship with food is healing along with the rest of me. I am very pleased with the physical effects of autophagy.

I’ve started a new 30-day fast, but with a partner this time. I indulged in pie and candy last week, which I had not done in quite a while, and am feeling the effects of the sugar overdose. Before I adopted a fasting /Keto way of life, I was so accustomed to carb overload that I was not aware of the inflammatory effects of carbohydrate overindulgence and sugar overdose.

Now things are different. I’m different. I’m healing. My gut instinct tells me that through fasting my brain has done a control-alt-delete, a cold reboot, and my disordered eating and diseased relationship with food appears to not be the eternal flame it once was. I’m not saying it’s perfect by any means, but fasting has taken away the constant ruminating and obsession with food and ‘what do I eat next?’ This was once the soundtrack of my life.

I’ll be consuming only water, coffee, tea, and electrolytes for the next few weeks. Here’s to Life!

My Jax Mayo Anecdote

Isn’t it always the way…the more you plan, the more the unplanned happens. I’ve gotten very little writing done because work (my day job) and life and other commitments have taken precedence. Still, I’m undaunted and will write more about my life in Jax, and will get more work done on my cozy mystery, maybe not a lot, but at least some.

For some odd reason, a lady I met just once in Jax keeps coming to mind. I don’t remember her name. I met her when Michael and I attended a barbecue at the home of friends during our second summer in Florida (1985). I remember that she had strikingly white hair done up in that teased ‘70s grandma style, and she talked to me about her love of Southern cooking. She shared a few recipes with me and the reason they stuck with me is because the main ingredient in them was mayonnaise. She used mayonnaise in her recipes for biscuits, chocolate cake, mashed potatoes, and for making an open-face pinto bean sandwich.

I went home and tried all her mayo-laced recipes and discovered that mayonnaise makes biscuits and chocolate cake incredibly moist and tender, and makes mashed potatoes beautifully white and creamy. All of this is a wonderful thing if you like your biscuits and chocolate cake moist and tender, your mashed potatoes super creamy, and all tasting heavily of mayonnaise. I do NOT like my food in this way and neither does my hubby.

One surprise, however, was the open-face pinto bean sandwich. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You get a slice of toasted sandwich bread, slather it with mayo, top it with saucy pinto beans and, voila, an open-face pinto bean sandwich. It looks awful, is so messy you need to eat it with a knife and fork, but is actually quite tasty – especially if you know how to make a killer pot of pinto beans, which I do because my mama taught me how to cook like a champ. However, as good as I think this sandwich is, I can’t help but feel that there’s something too weird about it and maybe I should not have mentioned that I like it. I might actually delete this sandwich anecdote from my post at a later date.

Just the memory of this one particular summer barbecue so long ago opens up a treasure trove of newlywed memories that I plan to write about. It’s nice to think back on this time in my life.

It’s my bedtime now, and I’ll be up extremely early tomorrow. I’ll write again soon!