Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yummy Home-made Chicken Pot Pie

DH likes pot pies but they're just too expensive at the store anymore (for what you get), so we came up with our own recipe for home-made pot pie.

2 - 9" pie crusts
1 - 12 oz bag mixed veggies
2 - 12.5 oz cans chunk chicken
1 - 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup

I put one pie crust on the bottom of a 9" glass pie pan, put the mixed veggies in it, drained the juice off the canned chicken and put the chicken on top of the veggies, then put the cream of chicken soup on top of that and spread it all out so it was even and level with the top of the pie pan. Then I put the other pie crust on top and crimped it all around. Baked it for an hour at 400 degrees. YUMMY!!!!!
It makes 4 servings, so we have it for dinner one night and lunch the next day.

Our next experiment is going to be a beef pot pie, using left-over roast and cream of mushroom soup with the mixed veggies.
The nice thing is that it doesn't take long to make, and it's not expensive either. I got the pie crusts at Wal-Mart, 2 pkgs for $2 (that's 4 pie crusts), the mixed veggies are $1.25 a bag, the soup is $ .79, and the canned chicken was $2.12 a can. So for $7.28, I got 2 meals for the 2 of us (and if you use left-overs from other meals, the potpies are even cheaper to make).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Filing taxes this year sucks!!! Thank you, Mr President!

Thank you, Mr President, for your useless rebates last year. You gave us that money last year, and this year, you're taking it away it from us. We can really fucking afford that, you clueless politician.
We usually itemize our taxes, but this year, because of trying to get a loan modification on our mortgage, we didn't have enough mortgage interest to have enough deductions to itemize. So those two $250 rebates we got were deducted from the $800 making work pay credit. Every year we've gotten money back on our federal taxes, but not this year. This year, we have to pay in, and the main reason we have to pay in is because of that damned "making work pay" credit and those fucking $250 rebates from last year. Yeah, it really paid for DH to work last year, didn't it? It sure as fuck didn't pay us for him to work, but it paid the government for him to work. Instead of us getting a tax refund, not only do they get our rebates from last year back, but they also get more money from us.
That sure as shit isn't doing anything to help the middle class, I can tell you that right fucking now (can you tell I'm just a little bit pissed off about this?). I mean, FFS, we're not affluent, by any means. It took DH's job, his Navy retirement, AND my SSDI for us to make less than $60K last year (and DH pays taxes on his Navy retirement too).
We're better off than a lot of other people who make the same amount of money as we do, since we don't have any kids to support and we do have good health care through the VA and TriCare/Medicare (not to mention the fact that DH has a job and hasn't gotten laid off or let go, thank Maude). But if we have to pay in, I can imagine what's happening to other people this year when they go to have their taxes done, and the rude surprise they're going to get when they find out they have to deduct those rebates, and I really feel for them.
I'm beginning to be damned glad I didn't vote for Obama (I'll let you guess who was my write-in candidate, and I think she would be doing a hell of a lot better job than Obama right about now). I'm tired of being lied to, ignored, and thrown under the bus when it comes to campaign promises made and not kept. I thought Obama was going to be different, but I should have known better. First and foremost, he's a politician, and worst of all, he's a Chicago politician (and that's the worst thing you can call a politician, IMO). I used to live in Illinois, and I don't know many people there who have a good opinion of Chicago politicians (unless they're trying to curry favor with them, of course). I should have remembered that politicians will tell you whatever they think you want to hear, and make whatever promises they think it will take to get them elected, and once they're elected, it's "Hooray for me, and fuck you, I don't need you now, but I'll keep stringing you along, just in case." It's not even a choice between the lesser of two evils any more, both parties are out to fuck us all over (unless we have a lobbyist with beau-coup bucks to pay them to do things for us instead of to us). Cynical? Me? Whatever gave you that idea?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fattened by pills

This is not something you will see trumpeted from every newspaper in the land. In fact, I'm surprised it got printed at all. You wonder why I'm so amazed that this article got printed?
Here are a few excerpts:
As Americans struggle to keep New Year’s weight-loss resolutions, experts’ alarms about obesity ring in our heads. We obsess about portion control, flock to the gym, and can’t get enough of The Biggest Loser. As schools, congressional subcommittees, and even first lady Michelle Obama -- who’s made the issue a top priority -- take on the problem, the focus turns to the usual suspects: fast food, oversize servings, and sedentary lifestyle. For some battling weight problems, those factors are indeed critical. But overlooked in all this is one of the primary causes of America’s obesity epidemic: The elephant in the living room is the skyrocketing use of psychiatric drugs.

How many of us who have had to deal with some kind of mental illness know all about that "elephant in the living room"?
Many of these, which are used to treat emotional problems including depression and anxiety, cause weight gain -- often of the rapid and massive sort -- as one of their “side effects,” that brilliant marketing term for what are simply negative effects of a drug.

What do you want to bet that studies have never been done to determine how many fat people are taking those drugs? What do you want to bet that the reason those studies have never been done is because pharmaceutical companies don't want anyone to know how many people went from average-size to "overweight" or "overweight" to "obese" because of those psychiatric drugs? After all, if those numbers were known, pharma just might have to figure out how to come up with drugs without those nasty "side effects" of weight gain (not to mention that they then couldn't push their weight loss drugs, with all their nasty "side effects", on fat people).
It is striking that the weight of many Americans has ballooned just as the prescribing of psychiatric drugs has surged. The Obesity Society categorizes nearly two-thirds of adult Americans as overweight, the average weight of an adult having increased since 1960 by 25 pounds, and between 1996 and 2006 alone, prescriptions of psychiatric drugs for US adults increased 73 percent.

Coincindence? I think not.
The courageous Alaskan attorney James Gottstein in 2006 exposed drug company Eli Lilly’s concealment of its knowledge about the effects of its drug Zyprexa3 (approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but also prescribed for other conditions) on weight gain, and subsequent reports have revealed such effects of a whole range of psychiatric drugs. But nearly all researchers and journalists who focus on obesity fail to mention the drug link.

Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that if they mentioned the link, they wouldn't be able to blame fat people anymore for being fat? The fact that we're fat wouldn't be because we're lazy, stupid, couch potatoes, who stuff our faces all day long - it would be a nasty side effect of drugs prescribed by our doctors, and not our fault at all.
It’s hard not to wonder why this happens. Could drug companies be that much more powerful than fast-food chains, or does it take the former much longer to come up with drugs lacking unwanted effects than for McDonald’s to produce healthier foods in smaller portions? Is it perhaps clinicians’ fear of not knowing what to do other than prescribe these drugs? If so, then it’s time to broaden their training so they know more about the wide array of other courses of action that can help many who suffer from emotional problems, such as exercise, meditation, changes in vitamin/mineral intake, participating in the arts, volunteer work, and developing or maintaining close friendships. Whatever the reasons, the result is that not enough people know that many of these emotionally troubled patients now will have added burdens.

No shit, Sherlock. Not only do we have other people making fun of us because we're fat, but the media - with their scare-mongering and photos of headless fatties don't help. Neither do the doctors who have prescribed these medications, and should know the side effects, but still manage to blame us for being fat, and tell us it's just a matter of eat less/move more (fuck you very much, doc, I'm tired of hearing that bullshit).
What’s worse is that the connection between psychiatric drugs and obesity involves children, too. Over the past two decades the number of obese adolescents has tripled, while the 10 years after 1996 saw prescriptions of psychiatric drugs for US children rise 50 percent. And a new federal study shows that poor children are more likely than other kids to be put on drugs marketed as antipsychotics, one of the greatest culprits for causing major weight gain as well as lifelong metabolic problems. Add the humiliation to which kids subject overweight peers, and the potential psychological damage is frightening.

I don't even know what to say to this, other than it's fucked up.
Another disturbing link could be on the way. The fifth edition of the major psychiatric diagnostic manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), is expected to be released in 2013. One proposal under consideration: listing obesity as a mental illness. That would be a mistake, since obesity can be caused by metabolic and other physical problems that are often undiagnosed. And because obesity can also result from psychiatric drugs, calling it a mental illness would create a vicious cycle: Someone is troubled, put them on drugs, they become obese, therefore diagnose them as mentally ill, give them more drugs.

All I can say to this is that if they manage to list obesity as a mental illness, we are in for a world of hurt. That way lies madness - a Catch-22 with no solution.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bathroom remodel advice for the fat

We recently finished our bathroom remodel. Had the bathtub taken out and a 5' shower stall installed (if you're my size, make sure it's deeper than 30"). A 30" depth on the shower is not quite enough if you're using a shower curtain and not shower doors, as the curtain tends to move around a lot and ends up clinging to you. We solved the problem by using clips to hold the curtain to the wall at the shower head end of the shower and magnets attached to the bottom of the curtain and the raised outside edge of the shower to keep it from moving around. This allows enough room to shower without getting wrapped up in the shower curtain and pulling it down (and getting water all over the floor).
We also had new linoleum installed on the floor, and replaced the toilet with the higher, handicapped toilet (my knees are thanking me).
The walls were originally light blue with white trim, but the paint job left something to be desired (the ceiling was white, but the blue from the walls showed thru on the edges, looked crappy). We repainted the ceiling white, 2 coats to cover up the blue from the last paint job, repainted the walls almost the same light blue, and did the door and all the trim work in a blue 2 shades darker than the walls. Then I made new curtains for the window that have those 2 shades of blue and 2 or 3 other shades of blue in them. We got dark blue rugs, and put a clear glass heart dish with blue stones and seashells on the gold towel stand by the shower. Then we have a small wire basket with small red and pink roses and more seashells in it sitting on the toilet tank.
Every time we go in there, we both say how good it looks and how much we like it now. The shower is so much easier to use than the bathtub was - the bathtub was one of those deep ones, and the side was knee-high on it, so it was difficult to get in and out of. Since neither of us take baths, but always take showers, and we don't have kids to worry about, we decided a shower stall was the way to go. And I love it. It has a seat at the far end, and we got one of those removable shower heads with the 5' hose on it, so we can sit and shower if we want to.
It's funny too, because even though we didn't add any room to the bathroom, taking out the tub and putting in the shower makes the bathroom look bigger, for some reason (and our bathroom isn't really that small to begin with, it's 8' X 10').

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I want a BB gun on my minivan

Yeah, I'm an aggressive bitch. Ever since DH has been off work, recuperating from his knee surgery, I've been driving him around when he gets antsy and just can't handle being in the house anymore (and that happens a lot at night).
I've realized that I really hate cars/trucks/vans that have those damned fog lights that are the size of headlights and aren't yellow like fog lights are supposed to be. When they have them lit at night (and they always do, headlights and fog lights), it can be blinding, even if you look at the right side of the road to avoid the lights.
Do these asshats not realize that in foggy conditions those white fog lights aren't going to do them one fucking bit of good? Driving with those white fog lights lit will be the same as driving with your bright lights on, and that's not something that is recommended to be done when it's foggy out (been there, tried that, and almost gone in the ditch).
So a BB gun mounted on the front of my minivan, with a joystick controller inside, would be awesome. Then when those asshats drive at me, I can shoot out their fog lights. Face it, people, if you're that blind at night that you need your bright headlights and white fog lights to see where you're going, you have no business on the road.
Well, it's not gonna happen, but I can dream, and I've gotten it out of my system for now...................til the next time I have to drive at night and get blinded by some asshole who thinks his vehicle needs to light up the road like a klieg light.

Fashion Bug find

DH took me shopping at Fashion Bug the other day, and lo and behold, I finally found my pants that I've been looking for forever. They actually have my knit pants with the slash pockets, elastic waist, and straight legs, and best of all, they come in a long length. I'm going to have to let the hem down, because even the long length, which is supposed to have a 31 1/2" inseam, is just a bit too short (but they have a 3/4" hem, so if I take out the hem and put in a minimal hem, they should be long enough). The color selection is awesome too - navy, black, brown, 2 shades of gray, baby blue, lilac, dark purple, olive green, and khaki. And the best part is the cost - only $14.99 a pair. The knit is heavier than the knit on the pants I found at ShopKo, and ShopKo only carries black, navy, and gray (at a cost of $16.99 each).
Then we hit up Catherine's, and I checked out the clearance racks (honestly, who can afford $48 for a printed t-shirt with a few sequins scattered on it?). I found 3 tops I liked that will go with pants I already have (originally, the 3 would have cost me $144) and I only paid $57.97 for them (50% off the marked down price). That was still more than I really wanted to pay, but DH liked the tops, and said if I liked them, go ahead and get them, so I did.
Now I can go through my closet and throw out all the old pants that have holes in them that I've been wearing anyway, and get rid of the tops that have stains on them. And the nice thing about Fashion Bug? There's one in Alexandria, and that's only 25 miles from us (and there's another one in St Cloud, which is only 45 miles away, and Catherine's is there too).
Now, if I could just find a place that sells bras in my size nearby so I can go in and try them on before I buy them. I ordered one from Roaman's, but it didn't fit. I sent it back, using the return label they sent, and they deducted the cost of the return label from my refund. I don't think I'll be doing that again. Ever since Goddess quit making the bra I liked, I haven't been able to find one that fits and is comfortable. I haven't been successful at finding fabric and the notions I need to make bras to fit me either. The elastic for straps and the fittings for adjusting those straps, well, let's just say they aren't made to support a rack of doom. I have enough problems with straps digging into my shoulders when they're an inch wide, I don't need my shoulders sliced up by 1/2" wide or narrower straps. And yeah, I know the straps aren't supposed to support the rack of doom, but in order to get the bra itself to support them, it has to be so tight I either can't hook it, or if I can hook it, I can't breathe when it's hooked. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.