Monday, October 31, 2011

Twenty Five to Life

Twenty-five can mean so many things. 
  • The number of pounds you want to lose
  • The number of years you've lived
  • A sentence that would put you away until you are old
  • A typical temperature in the winter
  • Quarter of a century
  • The Twenty Five Pullup Program
I could go on but I wanted to share that for me today, the number 25 is a bit magical... It's the number of years that has passed since Mr. Helen and I had our first date. (Sharp readers will remember that our 'second' first date was 20 years ago, also on Halloween.)

October 31, 1986.  When I write it like that it seems longer than 25 years ago.  I think back on that and realize I was only 26 years years old when I met him and then I wonder where the years have gone.  In many ways, especially when it comes to our relationship I still feel 26.  On the other hand, there are ways in which I know we've been together a while - unspoken words across the room at a party, comfort in sometimes knowing exactly what will come next.

Saturday evening, I handed Mr. Helen his football pick sheet and Sunday morning when I looked at it, we had chosen all the same teams.   I think that was appropriate for this week.  A perfect match.

Tonight, while others are out trick or treating, we are going to go out for a non-football pick meal and 'treat' our relationship with kindness.  I'm sure we will spend some of that time reflecting on what twenty-five means to us today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Stir Fry

Today post brought to you just like a stir fry... a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Almost every single day I bring a salad to work.  It's just the easiest thing to bring plus it helps me get in a few good servings of vegetables.  Yesterday, I ended up making a chef's salad, all brought on by the fact that I had a little bit of tuna salad left - but not enough for a sandwich.  This is 1 oz. of lean ham, 1 slice of reduced fat cheddar, 1 boiled egg and about 1/3 cup of tuna over mixed greens.  It was every bit as good as a restaurant salad.


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I woke up this morning to news that we are going to be having a Nor'easter Saturday that is expected to bring snow to 75% of the state.  This time of year, the shoreline is generally warmer than inland so even though it's coming we probably will get heavy rain and perhaps some sleet here.  Come on though!  It's only the end of October.  There is a very good reason I don't live further north and snow is its name.  Blech.

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All this talk of ice. sleet and snow made me glad that I bought these to have on my desk.  Just looking at them makes me feel better.


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Restaurants in Mystic are having a restaurant week where all lunches will cost $10.11 and dinners $20.11.  While the menus will be limited to special items that each restaurant have chosen, what a great deal for a nice lunch or dinner out!  I am going to have my football winner meal as a lunch at one of the participating restaurants - very excited about that!

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One of the ladies in my office recently went through a divorce and relocated.  She is having a get-together Happy Hour at her new place after work tonight.  I am bringing this appetizer which was so easy that it may be my go-to appetizer for many parties to come.  It's Antipasto on a stick.  Shelley found it for me on Pinterest and even though I changed some of the ingredients from the original recipe, I think it came out looking beautiful and gourmet.  What do you think?


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I have been invited to be part of a Fitness and Weight Loss Challenge that is running for 6 weeks beginning November 7th.  I had to think about it for a bit when I was contacted because of all the issues I've had, not to mention the fact that because of those same issues I haven't been weighing myself for a while.  The scale has not been my friend.  However, the beginning of this challenge happens to coincide with the timeframe I will finally be meeting with the specialist. While I am very, very afraid that I am going to be put on a strict diet - and even though I know I will need to do what the doctor says - I thought maybe being part of this challenge would help me focus and not be so worried about what I may or may not be able to eat.  The challenge will provide me with contact with a personal trainer, which I thought might be nice as well.  Finally, they convinced me because of one of the tools I'll be using, pictured here.  Stay tuned for more details and updates.  Who knows maybe some of you might like to follow along!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dream Big

I have recently become fascinated with Pinterest.  If you haven't been there, it's a site that functions as an online bulletin board.  When you join you are given several blank bulletin boards with various categories - or you can make your own -  to fill.  All the recipes I posted on Monday?  I found them on Pinterest.

As I am not a very crafty or artistic person, this site has been a bonanza for me.  In addition to my food bulletin board, which I think has the most pins so far, it has been so much fun going through other things that people pin up and think that Yes!  I would like to have that in my dream house... I would like to go there.... How inspirational, truer words have never been spoken.  It's like a great big craft fair for someone like me.   Hey - the world needs people like me to buy their crafty stuff, right?

It's also an amazing social experiment in some ways.  My sister and I keep picking the same pins.  We are 15 years apart in age and don't consult but it was so ridiculous last week that she finally told me she should just hand over her food board to me and I should pin all the stuff I've chosen on to her board too.  I've also seen sides of some friends that I really never knew about - for example one of my friends has a darn crafty streak - keeps pinning crafty things to try around her house, etc.  That suprised me for some reason.  Maybe because I am so not crafty (see above).

While it could become quite addicting, I've found it pretty easy to stay off the site until I truly have a few free minutes.  As you know I'm rarely on my computer in the evenings due to being on one all. day. long. and that has remained the case even as much as I am enjoying the pinning.

A couple of things that I found and pinned have really stuck with me.  First was this one.  It's true you know, I really do look like the bottom girl and honestly, if I'm having a bad run, I feel like a chubby 5 year old too!  I like this so much I printed it out and put it on my refrigerator.  Even Mr. Helen thought it was funny and admitted I sort of do look like the little girl :-)


Another funny but oh so true one is one I can't stop thinking about.  Literally just thinking about this makes me crack up!
Man can I relate.  How many days have I started off thinking I was going to be perfection modeled with my eating and exercise only to have cake by the end of the day.  Sigh.  What made this one even funnier to me was when Mr. Helen said, "I don't get that but I bet lots of girls do."  In his world cake isn't an issue.

But one of the first things I pinned has gone from me thinking that it was beautiful, to me becoming a tad bit obsessed, and then dreaming of myself in it.

Everything about this is me.  The hot pink accessories, the style of the dress... even matching fingernails and champagne.  I can't stop thinking about it to the point where I contacted the website that it came from and asked them where to find that dress.  Turns out it's actually a short bridesmaids dress, which might make it even more appropriate for what I'm thinking.  And I have been thinking, a lot, about feeling better and getting this darn weight off - probably because my appointment with the specialist is only 2 weeks away. 

My 20th wedding anniversary is May 2, 2012.  I want to wear this dress in a size a bit smaller than where I am right now and accessorize it just like that for my anniversary. 

Wish me a good doctor, with a good plan.  Wish me well. Wish me good luck.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Friday night, as soon as I stepped through the front door, I changed into grubbies and started cleaning my house.  Usually I would like to just sit down and unwind from the work week but with a busy weekend ahead I knew I had to change things up. Generally it takes me about 2 1/2 hours to do a basic cleaning (vs. a major scrub down) but when I asked Mr. Helen to bring the vacuum upstairs, he ended up doing all the vacuuming and then going to the Family Room and vacuuming there too.  Score!   So, an hour and a half later I was 99% done and relaxing.... ahhhh.   At the end of the weekend, I decided I should try to do this more often as I really enjoyed having time free of chores on Saturday and Sunday.


I spent a great deal of Saturday Mr. Helen focused.  He had his last pre-test before testing for his third degree belt in November.  It's a two hour check on skills that one should know for receiving their belt.  They started off with a 2 mile run, which he managed to do in around 17 minutes. I was all way to go! and he informed me that he had decided not to push it because his knee has been bothering him all week.  Alrighty then.  He did a great job performing his weapon and kata.  He's always very picky about his performance so I videoed him so that he could see just how well he did.

After the pretest we went home, he cleaned up then we went out for his football picks meal.  We went to a favorite place On The Waterfront because he wanted a giant burger.  I ended up getting a burger as well, but they really are so big I could not finish mine.  We were glad we went as early as we did because by the time we left - around 6:30 - the entire dining room and bar were completely filled and walk-ins were being turned away.

The obligatory Loser Shot


The new obligatory Winner Shot!
(which will be mine next week because I won the picks!)


On Sunday, because I'd gotten my housework and grocery shopping all done, the day was mine!  It was exciting to wake up knowing that I didn't 'have to' do anything if I didn't want to but that I had free time to do things I love.  Of course, you know I love to cook so I ended up spending the morning making a few things.  To start, I made these Bacon and Cheddar Scones.   If you want the recipe, just click on that link because I made them exactly like that.  Next time I will cut the dough into 10 pieces because these are monster scones -- although Mr. Helen really enjoyed their size.  These will definitely be made again.


Then I made some Chicken Cordon Bleu to eat at some point during the week.  No photo as it's not cooked off yet.

I also made the Pumpkin, Cranberry and Apple Baked Oatmeal that has been going around blogland. The sweetness of this is a switch up for me because I have been eating my oatmeal savoury for a long time.   Even if you don't like oatmeal you might want to give this recipe a try.  I didn't eat any until after it had cooled completely and it actually came out more like a bar.  I did reheat it and splash a little milk on top. 

Lastly, I put together this jambalaya to cook while I went out shopping. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs and smoked chicken sausage as my choice for that meat.  We had that for dinner and it was so delicious!  Again, this one is a keeper. (This is their photo because I forgot to take one.)


I love being productive in the kitchen.  I would say next to the beach, the kitchen is also a happy place for me.

When I went out shopping, I saw something that made me wish I had special power to teleport things.  I would have sent this candle straight to Lori!

I did manage to finally find the autumn scented candle that I've been wanting and believe it or not, I did not buy any shoes.

Once I got back home, the day was winding down and it was almost time for Mr. Helen to get home from work.  Before he did,  I went next door to meet my new neighbor.  I'd like you to meet her too.

My doggy by proxy - Ruby!

Is there any better way to have a pet when you don't really want to have a pet?  I think not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Your Body Day

In yesterday's comments, Janell informed me that today is Love Your Body Day.  I didn't know that so her comment made me go off looking around the internets to see what she was talking about.  The Now Foundation has put together a whole website fighting back against the unrealistic standards against body and beauty that we are faced with on a day-to-day basis, in print advertisements and on television.

I know for a fact that the images that have been presented to me over the years have definitely affected the way I view my own body and its worth.  I've even been aware of it for enough years that I determined when Little Helen was born that I would do everything in my power to convince her that she was beautiful just the way she was and no matter how much she weighed.  It's something I think a lot about and wonder if I was successful.  She and I have never really talked about it, maybe becuase I'm afraid my own years of self-destructive thoughts and dieting have influenced her in ways that I really don't want to know about.

I did recently have a conversation with my sister talking about what years we considered to be the best years of our lives.  Ironically, the years of my life that I've always said I loved the best are the years that had me at the age she is now.  Yet if I'm honest, those were very difficult years in many ways and I now believe the only reason I've felt that way is because at that time I was truly satisfied with my weight and body.  I actually loved myself a teensy bit.  I came to that conclusion because of a statement I made to her -something I said without reflecting too much but that came straight from the heart. 

"All these weight issues I've had over the last years make me angry.  I've now aged to the point where I've lost my chance to be truly beautiful and sexy.  It really does make me sad that my husband will never have a gorgeous, sexy wife ever again."

I enjoyed those years, the years before age, hormones and bad thyroid destroyed the little bit of love I had for my body. 

So now I must look for body love in other ways, because not only are those days forever gone, but you really cannot cry over spilled milk.  No focusing on the past, nor on current regret.  I must clear my vision and look toward the future.

The one thing I do know, is that I will figure this out... and I won't allow the anorexic standards of print and Hollywood to determine where my future takes me.  There's nothing attractive or sexy or loving about that.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Ten

10. 

9.
8.

7.
6.


5.

4.

 
3.

2.

1.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin, Picks and Pizza

Even though it seems we won't be having much of a foliage season, due to too much rain and Irene taking the leaves away, it felt more like autumn this weekend than it has.  It was cooler and for both of the weekend days, there was a brisk wind stirring things around.

Saturday I didn't get too much done other than a 5 mile run and going to my flower girl's bridal shower.  The shower also had a fall theme which probably contributed to the overall feeling of the weekend.

Shower Table Setting

The bride to be received many, many lovely gifts - mostly household items that she had registered for.  She will be moving in to her future husband's apartment after the wedding and evidently he does not have even some basic things like a good set of knives.  What I found interesting is that she did not recieve one single piece of lingerie... perhaps because both her father and her grandfather are pastors at the church where the shower was held?

Here she is with one of her beautifully wrapped gifts, which happened to be from Mama Helen.  Her sister - the family comedienne (to her right) - saved the big bow and said she would make her wear it during the rehearsal.

After the shower I went home to spend the afternoon with Mr. Helen not doing too much of anything. There was a BBQ contest being held at our downtown waterfront park so we took a stroll down there.  The grand prize winner got an invite to the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational BBQ which is a pretty big deal.  We were especially pleased to see our local fire department placed in the brisket pork butts category, though they didn't win any money.  Not too bad for the local yokels.

Because I lazed around on Saturday, Sunday was a whirlwind of activity, non-stop from the minute I got up.  In fact, I had so much to do that I was going to skip my usual Sunday walk but the sun was out and the sky was clear blue so I decided I'd do only a 3 mile walk.  Ended up doing a walk/jog as my legs felt good and I just wanted to go a bit faster.

Pumpkin pancakes were eaten in the sunshine on the patio after my wog.  These were the first I've made this season and they were as good as I remembered.  Made me wonder why I waited so long.

The rest of the day went by in a blur of housework and meal prep for this upcoming week.  I literally did not sit down until 5:00 p.m.  and then only for about an hour before I had to finish dinner!  Definitely not a 'day off.' 

While I was cooking, I did manage to watch the Bills and Giants play.  I'll admit it was a good game but I got burned again. This week I had picked the Bills to win and.... they lost.  I ultimately ended up losing the overall football picks and I'm blaming the Giants.  Everytime I've picked them to win, they've lost and when I've picked them to lose, they've won.  They have messed with my picks for the last time.  I have now become their enemy, or as I yelled at the TV (with apologies to The Princess Bride), "My name is Helen.  You killed my football picks.  Prepare to die."

To add insult to injury, I had done my meal planning before realizing that I was going to lose the picks and I had planned homemade pizza for dinner - one of Mr. Helen's top 5 meals.  So now, I made him one of his favorite dinners AND I have to pay for his dinner one evening this week.  Sigh.   Needless to say, he was in heaven and as usual a gracious winner and did not rub salt in my wounds. While I know I can't win them all, I am not a good loser and it's time for me to win.  Dammit. 

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

Bacon and Mushroom Pizza

Friday, October 14, 2011

Skeletons in the Closet

Last Sunday, the second day of my very busy weekend, I tackled the dreaded straighten up the closet job.  I say dreaded because I just knew that many of the things that fit me last fall/winter were not going to fit.  Even when things fit it takes me at least an hour to make the swapover.  With the added task of trying things on I knew it would take longer.  Not to mention that my closet is not a traditional closet.  It is built under an eave of my house so it's larger than most.  I am actually able to store off season clothing on one side of the closet, in addition I also store our seasonal bedding and window treatments there.

As I got into the job I got a surge of energy and decided to really clean my closet out.  I went through all four of my totes, plus a steamer trunk.  I organized everything by what fits now and 2 sizes down that I decided to keep.  Everything larger or smaller went into bags for donation.  I also got rid of things that I haven't worn in a season or two, regardless of size.  In the end, I took 4 bags of clothing and 2 bags of shoes to a donation bin.

Three and a half hours later, it looked fabulous and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!  Amazing what happens when you get rid of the skeletons in the closet, which is basically what all those really small sizes were.  Everytime I opened the closet door, I felt like those clothes were taunting me.

Here's a photo for you.  Shoes and clothing on the left all the way to the end - and yes, besides the shoes on the floor rack, that entire top shelf is boxes of shoes.. Steamer trunk at end (it's holding all my goal size clothes!), along with a tote full of various handbags.  Other totes (hey - Mr. Helen has some totes too!) and storage on the right.  But doesn't it look so neat and organized?  Ahhhhhh....


The only issue was between getting rid of things that were too big, or small, or plain old worn out (I threw that stuff away),  I was left with only 2 dresses and 2 shirts and 1 pair of casual slacks that fit me.  This left me with the task of quickly finding some slacks, shirts, blazers, etc., as our weather is finally making the turn into full-on Autumn.  I made up my mind that I wasn't going to spend a lot of money because I'm hoping once I get going on whatever plan the specialist will have for me, I will quickly be able to transition to the next size down tote which is full of things.  I decided I would buy 2 pairs of black slacks, 1 grey, and 1 brown; 5-10 shirts/tops, and a couple of sweaters and blazers.  That is what I have been working on this week.  Sunday, I had to make a run to BJ's which is our warehouse store.  They have clothes there.  There is one particular brand of Diane Von Furstenberg slacks that I know fits and when I went there on Sunday, I found just one black pair in my size - yay!  Monday evening after work I went out and lucked into a sale at Macy's where I found grey and brown, then walked over to JC Penney and found another black.  Slacks done.

Wednesday after work I went out on the hunt for blouses and tops.  I decided to go to Burlington Coat Factory as I've had good luck finding blazers there.  This is a store that is definitely hit or miss but if you hit, you'll hit the jackpot.  I was lucky and did just that.  I didn't pay more than $15 for any one of the tops I found.  Hurray for bargains!   I also scored one black blazer which I did not photograph.  Since I wear so much dark base colors I try to find tops with zing.  And may I just say after taking photos of all these things, I have newfound respect for catalog clothing stylists!


I also found a couple of silky tops... the pink one is actually more of a dark rose color but all the color correction in the world couldn't seem to fix it - and look at the detail on the neckline of the purple one.


I also had to breeze through the shoe department - naturellement - and found 2 pairs of flats to replace some of those I had gotten rid of.  I actually wear flats quite a bit in the winter with jeans and with dress slacks, depending on how much I'll be on my feet.  I liked this one style so much I bought it in Pewter and in Black Suede.


All in all I think I had a very successful week and believe it or not, all of these new things cost me just under $200.  While it doesn't thrill me to spend money on things that are a size I don't want to be and I hope are temporary, I feel so much better mentally having things that fit well and also look professional for work.

To top it all off?  A great fall manicure.

The Grape Lakes, by OPI
(unfortunately a discontinued color but one of my favorites so I have 2 bottles set aside)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Obstacle Course

I feel so stuck and lost right now – a strong feeling of being unfocused and in limbo.  This month of waiting to go to the specialist is working my nerves for sure.  While I know it does me absolutely no good to sit and worry about it, sometimes my mind just goes there.  And, of course, I am impatient too.  I want to be there and find out what they are going to do with me so I can get on with things.  Get unstuck.

As I tend to be a very careful planner, goal setter and schedule oriented person, it is hard for me to just wait.  I know there’s going to be a plan and it’s driving me crazy that I can’t figure out what the plan could possibly be so I can get a jump start on it instead of waiting out another entire month.

Even Dr. Google (as my boss calls it) is not helping.  I do have some knowledge as to why I have to go to this specialist but all the Googling in the world is not getting me much more information than I already have in hand.  Plus the good doctor is making me quite worried that the end result of this is medication.  I do not want to take any more pills!  No more pills!

So, here I sit:  unable to set goals, start a program, or do anything more than exactly what I’m doing right now and having to learn to live with that.  Stuck in a rut, rut, rut.

As I watched Biggest Loser this week I kept thinking so much of what was being said must have resonated with many people.  Other things said felt like they were aimed directly at me.  I try not to take it personally per se but rather to take it as empowerment for the upcoming week.

The whole episode seemed to be themed around overcoming obstacles – no matter what they are.  We all have them and it seems that real and final success comes from getting around them.

Bob gave his team a  pep talk in regards to their nutrition – because he knows no matter how much you exercise, eventually you have to deal with the nutrition side.  I can vouch for that because there have definitely been times in my life where I out-ate my exercise.  What was so fascinating to me was when he told them that foods that they love wouldn’t be forbidden if they took the food’s power away.  In other words, if you know you can eat anything, there’s no reason to sneak food, be it in a vehicle that you’ve taken through a drive-through, or be it right from your pantry while you’ve waited for the household to be gone or go to sleep.  When you take the power away, there’s nothing left.  If you know you can occasionally have a burger or a pizza or whatever it is that you love, why would you care to hide the fact that you’re eating it? It simply doesn’t matter.

Then my new boyfriend, Dolvett worked with a contestant on overcoming her mental obstacles so that she would stop quitting.  (Side note: he might possibly be the only man on earth –  that can make capris on a man look good… okay maybe Bob too and did you see Bob’s chesticles region during the pool session?  Holy carp.) When I started doing distance running, overcoming mental negativity really was the first lesson I learned.  The fact is, at mile 22 of a marathon, your left brain will kick in and try to get you to quit.  It will point out all your aches and pains and give you a list of the reasons why you shouldn’t finish.  The ONLY thing that pulls one through at that time, is exercising the right side of your brain to shut that down.  I always did it by using my running mantra, “Just Keep Running” because I knew if I just kept running, the finish line would be in sight.   

I was really struck by this because I have not yet been able to kick in that same way when it comes to health and wellness.  I’m not talking about being on track for a while.  I’m talking about staying on course when the going gets tough – like it is for me right now.  I’m most certainly not doing as well as I could because the truth is, I’m tired.  I’ve been fighting my thyroid, and now evidently there are other factors, for 5 years.  I lost some weight but never quite made it to goal.  I’m really tired.  Instead of using my running training, I have stopped and started and stopped and started until I am now like a dog chasing its tail in a circle.  Never ending.

My lesson learned this week is that I have to find a way to see the forest for the trees, the light at the end of the tunnel and Just Keep Running around those mental blocks.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Photographic Memory(s)

I promised myself I wouldn't complain that the weekend went by too fast but it's so hard not to when it was absolutely fabulous!  We had a round of summer weather for both Saturday and Sunday that made me want to cry with joy.  I got a lot accomplished but if I share anything more than Saturday this post will be way too long.

The day started with a 5 mile run followed by the usual hurrying up to get a little housework done so we could enjoy at least a part of the day free of chores.  As I stood scrubbing my kitchen sink down I looked out the window and saw Mr. Helen putting his protective headgear on top of his Wavemaster - which is a practice bag.  I thought, "Is he going to try to kick that off there?  That's really high."  Then I stood there and Watched. Him. Do. It.   Unbelieveable.  And I'm not even going to say it's because he's 56 years old.  He would put some 20 & 30 year olds to shame. Plus, of course me.  He puts me to shame.  It's my own darn fault though becuase I do not practice the way he does.

Since I thought you'd like to see, I went outside and took some snapshots as he did it over and over again.

Here he is setting it up and then measuring to see how high he thinks it is.



The next two photos show his leg halfway up and right at the top
 just before contact with the headgear.


 Contact!  If you look closely, you'll see the headgear is flying straight at me and the camera!

I also made him asked him to do it again and took a video.  Forgive my exuberant commentary (and the fact that the sound is off by a smidge), but it really was amazing to see this!

video

Saturday afternoon we went out for Mr. Helen's chosen football pick winner meal.  He was as gracious in his winning as he was in his losing.  When he told me what he wanted my reaction was, "Are you kidding me?  Do you have to be so darn nice?"  Yep, cranky, that's me.

I gave him the loser sign that I promised.  Gave him two to make up for not doing it the first week.

Here was his choice:  a charity cookout by our local firefighters for burn victims.  It was held in the parking lot between two of the restaurants in our downtown area.


Mr. Helen waiting in the food line. It was cookout food:  hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages, chicken wings, rice, potato salad, beans, cookies, brownies and soft drinks.


Mr. Helen's friend's band played. You might recognize him (on the left) from our St. Martin trip.

They even had a special guest - this little guy was about 10 years old and really did a great job on the saxophone.


Lots of dancing took place, but I think this couple had the most fun of everyone!

Then the firefighters pipes & drums corps gave us a show.


This guy was amazing.  He was using what looked like felt covered balls on a string to hit the drum.  He would come down with his hit then twirl the balls up and hit again.
He never missed a beat!

It was a fun, fabulous afternoon.  Gorgeous weather, great company - of course we ended up running into many people we knew - and best of all?  Inexpensive!  Even in losing, I ended up being a winner.  There was a $10 suggested donation per person.  That included all the food and softdrinks you wanted.  They were having raffles so since I got off so inexpensive on the meal, I decided to buy two arm lengths of raffle tickets - another $10.  Around 4:30 Mr. Helen decided he wanted to have a glass of wine - $6.50. So all told for afternoon $36.50.  Not bad.  And then I won a raffle!  My prize was a $25 gift certificate to Tio Rodrigo's (one of the sponsoring restaurants).  When we left I left my extra raffle tickets with a dojo friend we had run into.  She Facebooked me on Sunday to let me know that I also won the last raffle of the evening - some t-shirts and hats - which she gave to some of her guy friends who were there.  That probably means the net cost to me for losing the football picks was ZERO!  I bet I won't get off that easily again.