How to Clean Up Broken Eggs

While placing 18 eggs one by one in a pot of boiling water, one egg quickly slipped out of my hand and landed on the kitchen floor. Splat!!!

As the yolk partly laid on the floor and partly resting inside the shell, I thought it looked disastrous but also colorful and pretty.

Instead of stressing over the silly egg, I took a few pictures and pondered over what could be said about the broken egg.  The splattered egg reminded me of an earlier experience in my life and inspired me to write this post.

Nearly 20 years ago, I was the Advertising/Communications Manager at a Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I was new to the position and new to advertising, but I loved the creative energy, the enthusiasm, and the department’s director was amazing! She was smart, witty, confident, and knew her stuff. I was like a sponge, eager to soak up all the knowledge my director was throwing my way. For once, I envisioned myself in a department for the long hall.

While working as a Trainer in Human Resources, the  job literally fell in my lap. It turns out, the powers that be were observing me and liked the way I conducted myself and worked with employees in the company.

Seven months into the Advertising position, out went the old president and in came the new one. As with any new leadership, the rumors began.  For or a little while, things remained the same, but eventually major changes occurred.

The new president (Dennis) may he RIP, passed a few years ago, was unlike any leader our company had before. He was high energy, unconventional, believed in giving people chances, and never seem to care about people laughing at his out of the ordinary ideas.

I remember attending a pep rally, where some employees won a lottery for a chance to step into a money machine! The machine swirled money into the air and the employee was given a certain amount of time to grab as much cash as possible. Lol!! How cool was that! You can imagine the excitement!!

Anyways, he had a new vision for the company and wanted to move in a different direction. As a result, my position along with 120 or so other jobs were eliminated. I was disappointed but not surprised. Damn though!! I was finally working for and with someone who really knew shit and was willing to share her knowledge.  Then my position gets eliminated.

I signed the proper  paperwork, packed my belongings, said my goodbyes and left. On my way out, I saw my colleagues’ devastation and tears. I remember thinking, it’s not the end the world. Of course my husband held a steady job, but still we were a two-family income and my salary mattered.

After a few days of taking the job loss in, I felt compelled to write a letter to the president. I was confused! During the pep rally, Dennis spoke. He said he wanted employees who were loyal, hard-working, committed, friendly, and more!

He described me in his speech! So, why was my job eliminated? I needed to know the answer, so immediately I sat down and wrote the president of the casino a letter. I did not hesitate on the letter because I felt as though I had nothing to lose.  My letter was not angry, dispirited or nasty.  It was a letter of genuine inquiry about why my position was eliminated. I also requested a meeting with him to discuss career opportunities with the company. I told him that I was everything he wanted in his employees and he could check my file. He seemed like a fair and reasonable man.

The next day, I hand delivered the letter to his Administrative Assistant, who graciously took it and promised that she would give it to him. I thanked her and left feeling content that I asked the question.

Shortly after, I don’t remember exactly how long but a day– a week– or several weeks later, I received a phone call from a company representative. Although while working full-time, I also attended college at night. I was offered a position as an intern in Affirmative Action.

I worked in Affirmative Action for a few months and was eventually offered a job in a new department, Quality Assurance. For a few months, I was the sole department. Lol!!

Over the next eight years, my career continued to flourish with the company.  In 2002, one month after I graduated college and earned my BA degree, I received a job offer from a local school district and gave my resignation.

Just because a situation does not go as planned, does not mean that all is gloom and doom and that a disaster has occurred.  There is always a reason things don’t work out but to sort through it, we have to be open-minded, patient, and malleable.

So what the egg breaks! It’s still raw, scoop it up, laugh at yourself, salvage what you can, and move on. Successful people arrive by way of a series of detours, road blocks, failed engines and more.

If you’ve ever played  Monopoly, at some point you will land in jail. Eventually you get out of jail and move on and sometimes, go on to win the game.

Learning not to stress over cracked eggs, broken china, the slow driver ahead, junior league football, and other trivial stuff, took me many years to understand.  However, one day I figured it out and and stopped sweating the small stuff.

I know that after bad comes good. After darkness comes light.  After pain comes pleasure.  After tears come smiles.

At 50 years old, I take it all in stride and make it a point to laugh at the silliness in each day.

Make your day a great one!  🙂

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Thanksgiving Food Prep

Three days from now and around this time (8:27 p.m.), most people will be rubbing their bellies trying to digest dinner. Maybe even contemplating second or third helpings, or another trip to the desert table.

I was not feelin the kitchen after work this evening, but I’ve been on a roll cooking my share of Thanksgiving dinner, so just like I push myself to go to the gym some days, I pushed myself to cook another dish.

This year’s Thanksgiving eve, I just want to chill and don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen. Everything, except the salmon will be cooked in advance.

Here is six pounds of a blend of collard greens and kale. I wanted to cook the greens vegan style, but my peeps wouldn’t have that. But I think for Christmas dinner, I am just going to cook them without the smoked meat.  That stuff is bad for you! :0(

greens

I cooked them using smoked turkey legs. However, I just couldn’t contribute too much to the clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and added fat. I’m serious! I parboiled the four (4) smoked turkey legs in a handful of fresh garlic cloves and crushed red pepper.

The legs boiled until the skin begin to fall off. I then remove them from the pot and take off the skin, fat, and bones. It’s still unhealthy, but slightly better than with the excess fat.

I layered the greens in the pot with a little of the broth from turkey legs, sweet onions, and this seasoning.

seasoning

The outcome is amazing! I compromise this way because I understand that 20+ folks coming for dinner have not interested in eating clean. A small section of the kitchen counter will be dedicated to clean eating.

I am just about done my cooking.

freezer

The garage freezer!

On Saturday, I cooked six pounds of mac and cheese and  B’Dazzle helped me with 15 pounds of yams by peeling them for me. I’m so lucky! He’s an awesome kid and did a super-duper job. :0)

tailor peeling

On my way home today, I was deeply saddened when I saw a long line at the local food bank. The parking lot was full, an attendant directed traffic, and a long line of cars sat along side a busy roadway waiting for their turn to pick up donated food. I haven’t seen it like this before. A recent and sudden surge of casino closings in Atlantic City has many families struggling… struggling to find work… struggling to provide food for the family… struggling to pay rent/mortgage… heat… electricity… etc…

Regardless of where you live, if you are blessed to enjoy the festivities of a holiday dinner or a daily meal, heat, or a warm and safe place to sleep, I urge you to help someone in need. Invite them to dinner or give food, clothing, or whatever it is you can offer. Every bit of help can make a difference to someone in need.

Don’t judge, be kind, and be generous.

giving

Sweet dreams!


Not Ashamed To Admit This

Happy Friday!

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. yesterday with firm plans to do legs in the morning. Hubby had different plans. He wanted to take me to breakfast.  Dilemma!

This is a perfect example of the silly balancing act that many moms deal with.  My heart spits the decision 50/50.  My brain says, “Girrrrl, take your butt to the gym and get your workout on!”

With 26 years of marriage under my belt, I know good and well the importance of spending quality time with my man. The idea sounds noble and simple, but it takes real effort to make it happen.

We are just busy behind folks!  Mom lives with us, our son plays several sports, we both work, I’m always racing off to the gym, or blogging…  add sleep and meals to the mix and, well… damn!  Lol!

I dressed for the gym, wore flip-flops but tossed my sneaks in the back seat and took hubby up on his offer to breakfast. We dropped B’Dazzle off to camp and drove to Kelsey and Kim’s on Melrose Avenue in AC.

My breakfast was the bomb!! I ordered a four egg (2 whites) vegetable omelet with jalapeño peppers. Salmon cakes were not available, so I surprised the waiter and chef with a request for six jumbo shrimp sautéed with fresh spinach and crushed red peppers. Lol! If you think it sounds mouth-watering, you should have tasted it.

shrimp

Outstanding!  By the way, this dish and time spent with hubby yesterday made me incredibly happy! #100HappyDays Day #3

The chef came out to ask me if the meal was hot enough. I think he wanted to see who the chick was eating all this food at 9 O’clock in the morning.

After breakfast, I suggested we walk on the boards. I did not realize though, that Hurricane Sandy destroyed the section of the boardwalk I intended to walk.

We ended up walking along the Caspian Avenue Beach, which was wonderful!  Shame on me for living in the area all of my life and not knowing the Caspian Avenue beach existed. Seriously, I’m embarrassed.

We have a backyard pool, so I usually spend my time there. And the other thing is, when I do a beach day, I want to chill without running into too many students (I work at the high school) or other folks I know in the city.

I might sound snobby, but we’ve lived in the area all of our life. Rarely can we go anywhere, and I mean, anywhere without running into somebody. Ugh!  Look, we’re very social people, but sometimes, I need to blend into the background and be unknown.

Only a week remains before the school year begins, but I hope to spend a least one day out there before the season ends.

Caspian1

That’s the City of Brigantine that you see across the water.

caspian2

To the right of the rocks are the remains of pilings leftover from Hurricane Sandy. Only this section of the boardwalk was destroyed.

caspian3I just had to take a picture of the broken and dangling wooden piling. Tho it’s broken, it still kind of cool looking. The setting is pretty (to me).

After strolling on this beach, we drove further into the city and walked the boardwalk. I didn’t calculate, but we had to walk a good two miles.

Did I make it to the gym?  No. But later in the day, I did do walking lunges to meet our son and his tutor on the campus of a local college.  That counts right?  Lol!

This morning, I’m headed to the gym.

Have a fabulous and happy day! 🙂


How To Stay Fit And Motivated

pose2

Posing in the backyard after the run.

A great way to stay fit, have fun, and to meet new people is to take part in local sporting events.  I find events by talking to other fitness fanatics and from one of my favorite sites, Active.

Yesterday, I participated in Atlantic City’s first ever, Insane Inflatable 5K.

Inflatable what?  I know!  Lol!!   I thought the same.  But once I visited the website, back in March, I knew I had to do this crazy looking event. You can see pics of yesterday’s run here.

start

I took this picture just before the start.  The folks at the top are event organizers getting us all pumped up.

Climbing, crawling, bouncing, running, sliding up, down, under and through ginormous inflatables is something I never imagined myself doing.  But it was worth every aching muscle that I feel this morning! :0)

Crazy-Air

Look at the size of this baby! Lol!!

I do not have my own pics because I ended up running solo because hubby and B’Dazzle were still sleeping when I left the house.  Next year, the entire family is participating!  And yes, I already put them on notice.  Our son will love it; I am not certain about hubby, but it is a perfect family “active” event.  Lol!   Oh… it’s definitely ON for next year.

Though I ran solo, I really did not feel alone.  Along the course, I met an awesome 10-year old asthmatic that kicked butt!  He didn’t allow his asthma to stop him as he led the pack of the 9 o’clock wave half way through the course.   I told him that he rocked.  His reply, “You too!”

One group of women I met drove nearly two-hours for the challenge.  The course was set up at an old airport.  Parts of the course were paved, other sections included two-foot high weeds; we laughed at the “battlefield” and dodged potholes through most of the run.

I have always lacked a sense of direction and was thankful to run through an insane maze following some girl.  We ran through only to find that we were at the start of the maze.  Sigh! Back in again. Of course, I ran right on her heels.  I really thought we were running in circles, but she got us through… I thanked her!  Lol!

I got lost in this for sure!

This is where we got lost!   Image courtesy of Inflatable.com

This morning, I feel like I weight trained yesterday.  My hamstrings, quads, and shoulders are sore.  No longer do I feel guilty about not hitting the gym yesterday.

With your doctor’s blessings, this is an ideal way to get started.  Just do it!  The run is not timed.  There are no losers.  Everyone wins by showing up and having fun.

I am asked all the time about how I stay on course to stay fit.  It’s pretty simple, I do everything on this list:

  1. My number one goal is to have fun. Be silly and laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself so serious.
  2. Be open-minded to try something new.  There are many ways to      exercise, dabble in something completely different. This inflatable run was different for me.
  3. Seek new challenges and set new goals.  Ex: A mud run is on my to-do list. Confidence grows steadily with accomplishments.
  4. Stay away from the scale; it is not an accurate measurement of your overall fitness level.
  5. Be aware of what you eat and drink. Read labels! Drink water!
  6. Set your mind to try new recipes. I eat foods today that I did not know existed a few years ago. I continue to add new healthier foods to my diet and subtract foods that I discover are unhealthy.
  7. Connect (In person or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc..) with other fitness fanatics. We will encourage and inspire you and help to keep you motivated.
  8. Educate yourself.  Read about nutrition and fitness every opportunity you get. The social networks are saturated with fitness guru’s who are eager to share what they know.  Of course, everything you read is not true or accurate, so do your research. Right now by favorites are bodybuilding.com and fitnessrx for women.  I follow a few good boards on Pinterest; you can follow me there at Lexa82.
  9. Don’t give up.  If something does not work for you, move on.
  10. Remember, there is no such thing as perfection.  Don’t compare your body to someone else’s. Just work to be YOUR best.
  11. Don’t be afraid to participate in an event by yourself. You will make new self discoveries and gain lots self-confidence.

After the run and later in the afternoon, we (hubby and B’Dazzle) met other family and friends at a free outdoor concert at Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City. The weather was beautiful! I sat in my beach chair, chilled, ate, drank two well-earned margaritas, danced to a DJ and to the sounds of S.O.S. Band. Remember them?

 post workout meanPost workout meal at 10:30 a.m. — Leftover broiled chicken breast and freshly sautéed broccoli.  Mmm… See all that minced garlic? I Love it!!

Personally for me, eating well and exercising makes me feel amazingly well. Increased energy, better productivity, and an overall happier mental and physical state of being are some of the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle.

49 feels way better than I ever thought possible!

I cannot stress the importance of making fun a part of your fitness regimen. This is how I do it!

Happy Sunday and enjoy the day!  :0)

 

 

 


What happens to the energy we put out into the universe?

I live at the Jersey Shore, outside of Atlantic City. Today we are experiencing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  On Monday Sandy started her taunt of the shore with high winds and heavy rain.  Last night was the peak of the storm and the sound effects were frightening and unnerving!  I should have gone in the basement to work out, shower, and meditate.  Instead I drank margaritas by the fireplace; they helped. Lol!

Atlantic City, surrounding communities, and neighboring states like New York, experienced historical levels of flooding and destruction. Sandy was damaging!

Many residents’ homes flooded. Even worse, residents still cannot return home until officials give the okay.  My home and my family are in tack.  For this I am thankful; however I am deeply saddened because of the loss that others are experiencing.

This morning, my daughter announces, “Mom, Sean is fixing our tree out front.”  Sean is my neighbor who lives next door. He is an educator, not a landscaper.

I don’t know what is up with this darn tree.  This is the same tree that fell over during two previous storms.  I think we need to move it.  No, I know we need to move it.

I realize that we are just so doggone blessed!!  This is the second time that a neighbor has helped with this tree.

Hubby and I raced to the front door.  We see our neighbor, accompanied by his adorable and active 14 month old son working diligently to erect the uprooted tree.  AMAZING! It’s cold! The wind is gusty!  Yet he left the comfort of his warm home to help us.

My husband works in fire suppression, so last night he weathered the storm in the city.  Sean thought hubby was still in Atlantic City working and didn’t want hubby to have to make the repairs after working all night.  I appreciate his kindness.

The energy that we put out into the universe, positive or negative, always return to us.

Divine intervention never fails! I can recall a few unpleasant occasions when the situation appeared bleak, when suddenly the situation changed for the better.  Divinity and karma, not luck, is our savior.

Case in point.  I think I was around 21 years old.  I’d financed this hot, cool, and sporty car. The problem?  I could not afford the payments, but was determined to keep it.  After a year or so of struggling, I fell behind in my car payments.  The bank repossessed the car, but I got it back it back the next day.  Finally I got smart and put the car up for sale. Early one morning I got a call from a potential buyer, who was a sales rep from a car dealership. Supposedly my make, model, and color was in demand. The dealership was located an hour a way.  I went anyway with hubby (my boyfriend at the time).  We were confident that the dealership’s intent was to persuade me to trade in the vehicle and buy another car, but we went anyway.  The short of the story?  I walked out of the dealership with a check in my hand.  My car was paid off and I had a few dollars to spare.  I didn’t have a ride home, but didn’t care… my problem was solved.  You cannot tell me that was not divine intervention.  Dealerships rarely buy cars outright from owners, but they did that day.

Anyway, back to today.  This incident with Sean today is also an excellent comeback to abhorrence.  In response to a comment my daughter recently made, a close family member says to her,

“…as long as they stay on their side of the street, I’m fine with them!”

“They,” are being non-blacks. Everything about this comment is wrong and irritates the heck out of me.

Hubby and I never preached hatred or racism in our home. We treat everyone the way we want to be treated and expect our children to do the same.

My neighbor’s random act of kindness today is a perfect example of why my family member’s conviction is wrong and why we should not prejudge.

My family’s black skin did not have any bearing on Sean’s (white skin) motivation to help us.

For those of us who are parents, we are obligated to teach our children to become decent adults.

We must teach our children (by example) to love, to have compassion, to have empathy, to show tolerance, and to be morally good citizens.  If we don’t, then we (intentionally or not) continue to sanction the ignorance that continues to permeate our world.

“Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
-Leonardo DaVinci