hot plate kate

rants and ramblings freshly served

Keep Fighting — April 18, 2017

Keep Fighting

You have fresh scars from your battle

The scars don’t tell the story of the invader within

We’ll have to remain vigilant

Still waiting to hear if we have won the war

Against the enemy who started out so very small

Thoughts on Privacy, Growing Up and Marriage — April 14, 2017

Thoughts on Privacy, Growing Up and Marriage

Growing up I struggled to have some sense of privacy.  Those of us of a certain age will remember telephones as a device which had a cord that kept you tethered to a confined space.  We had two phones growing up.  If I used the one that was in a slightly more private area my mom would be sure to start buzzing around.

If I received a letter via snail mail, it would be a mistake to keep it around if it contained anything vaguely controversial.  Once I’d sent a friend a letter confessing I had mixed feelings about going through the Confirmation process in the Catholic Church.  She wrote me back, my parents found the letter and the parts where she referenced my feelings…well there was trouble.

I’d always had this notion that if you had a letter sent through the post office, it was for you alone, and it would be illegal to someone else to open it.  A few times my mom “accidentally” opened my mail, including my bank statement.  Because she accidentally opened it, she still then had grounds to yell at me about the information contained in the bank statement.

Experiences like that growing up taught me to guard my privacy more closely.

The digital age has changed things of course.  We do little personal communication via snail mail.  Many of us don’t have a landline, so there is cord to confine us to a limited space.

Some married people think that you should be open and let your partner have every possible password..for your phone, email, etc.  I don’t think that it is necessary, and honestly it isn’t a topic my husband and I have ever discussed.  Just because I am married doesn’t mean my husband needs to know the details of an email, etc, that a friend may have sent me…and vice versa.

What about you do you think you have the right to your spouse’s passwords?  Do you open his or her mail?

Family Motto, and other thoughts — March 31, 2017

Family Motto, and other thoughts

Surfing the internet the other day I came across a blog where the mother included the family motto.  I can’t remember the whole motto, but I do remember it included the line “Creating a Family of Significance”.   I wonder how one defines a family of significance? Would my family live up to her definition?   Her blog was full of those sorts of posts where one can measure their success as a parent.  Nine things you should never do for your kids, four things you must teach your kids, blah, blah.  Well I have already found out I am lacking as a parent because I don’t make my teen do all his own laundry.  I’m probably also lacking because my husband and I haven’t created a family motto yet.  I can’t really think of anything lofty, perhaps “In all things love, with plenty of fun and good food along the journey”.

While wasting more time, I came across an odd post about a Roomba and some dog poop.  You can use your imagination to figure out what happened next. Apparently the owners of the dog and the Roomba had autoprogrammed the Roomba to run in the middle of the night.  I have to say I was a little suspicious of the post.  I don’t have a Roomba, but if I did I’d almost surely trip on it going to the bathroom if it was running in the middle of the night.  My own dog would wake up and get aggravated with the Roomba, thus waking up the rest of the household.  A Roomba doesn’t look very big to handle dog hair.  They seem rather expensive just to free you up from the physical annoyance of doing vacuuming the old-fashioned way.  And if the Roomba doesn’t have the intelligence to avoid a pile of dog poop, it probably wouldn’t know to avoid whatever potential obstacles could be found on my son’s floor.  Writing that sentence, I know that could spark a blog post for those perfect moms with family mottos.  I still vacuum his room for him, and he still leaves the occasional set of earbuds on the floor.

False Promises to a Longer, Healthier Life — March 29, 2017

False Promises to a Longer, Healthier Life

Want to live the longest, healthiest life possible?  Common sense tells us to enjoy all things in moderation, eat your fruits and veggies, get plenty of exercise, sleep,  and have a good support system.

Broadly, of course these are good recommendations.  But then we take them a little too far, especially in the blog world.  It  is easy to find these promises, just research some of the more common diseases we hear about…diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, take your pick.  Of course how could I forget depression?

If you’d believe the internet, extreme diets and supplement usage can prevent most anything. Eat a kale-garlic-watermelon smoothie and you won’t get cancer.  Take a bizarre combination of supplements to ward off your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.  One can “cure” diabetes, if you just buy “my ebook” which reveals to you all the food secrets your doctor won’t tell you.

In some cases, recommendations to prevent disease come from a good place.  It was once thought that Vitamin E and selenium supplementation could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Of course the real winners ended up to be the supplement companies.

If you believe some of the hyped up claims, do you then blame someone you meet when they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, cancer or depression.  Do you think to yourself “If only they ate a better diet, and cut out all grains”  Do you stop to consider there may have been genetic or environmental factors that contributed to their disease?

I saw a rather careless post about some super smoothie preventing cancer.  I got really mad. Because in my family tree and the family tree of my husband, it just hasn’t been that simple.

Take The Wheel — March 28, 2017

Take The Wheel

There is a Carrie Underwood song called “Jesus, Take The Wheel”. I’ve always like the song, but never thought it applied to me. There is this belief that I hold that I must always be in control and self-reliant with the world, I must not let others know that I have weak spots. Of course a few people know that the cool calm exterior is just a facade.

I’d mentioned before in my blog my husband is facing some health challenges. We are still waiting to see what the potential magnitude of those challenges will be. As we make our way through the journey of marriage, it has recently really hit me how me how much my husband is both a source of strength for me but also my soft place to fall.

As he undergoes his own challenges, I know that I must be strong. I’ve had this thought though that I wish I had some one to hold my hand and guide me to do what is right through these challenges.

I go up and down on my spiritual journey. Having a source of strength, and a spiritual anchor draws me in. At times like this I often feel a pull to find a Catholic Church to pray in. Of course there is just that little minor fact that I am no longer a practicing Catholic. But it feels more like home than any other church I have attended. And my husband is not and never has been Catholic.

Jesus Take The Wheel



Teaching Your Children — March 27, 2017

Teaching Your Children

We teach our children many things. Some things we teach directly, like how to tie their shoes or how to ride a bike. Children learn by watching our behaviors, whether they be positive or not. We teach values to our children, perhaps hoping they will travel the same path we do in life.

I was reading a blog post from a dad who expressed the thought that traditional femininity was something his young daughter should be taught, and he would be active in the teaching process. By traditional femininity here I mean notions such as women should have long hair, women should strive to look conventionally attractive and they should cultivate sweet demure personalities. The girl growing up in this household would have little freedom.

I was brought up in a religious household where there was a certain brand of traditional femininity was taught. It was especially focused on females having little freedom, even as adults.

Growing up, I would often bristle at the things I was taught. For the most part I wouldn’t express it though. Having grown up in a household where a certain brand of femininity was taught, I realized certain things. These things wouldn’t have to apply to femininity alone, but anything you might think is important to teach your child. Your child will:
1)Buy into your value system
2)Maybe adopt some of your values but not others
3)Totally reject your value system

If your child doesn’t buy into your value system, eventually they will go their own way, no matter how hard you have tried to make them conform.

Some things my parents taught me I eventually tossed aside. Some other things they taught, though were definitely good life lessons.
Some of these include:
1)The value of reading and the library…My parents were both readers in their own way. My mom especially loved the library and we went there often as children. There was always a bit of excitement hoping you would find a hidden treasure.
2)My parents believed in making do. There was never a big rush to buy a new car, or other expensive purchases, even though they could afford it.
3)They were impeccable with their finances. They were both good investors. They would be horrified to pay a bill late. Of course due to hard work and some luck they tried to live their life together in a way that there wouldn’t be any worry. I realize that despite hard work, many people still have a hard time financially.

Now just because they had these values doesn’t mean their children necessarily grew up with the same values. I would say I am good with reading and making do. I don’t think my husband and I will end up with the same kind of nest egg when we reach retirement, but we do try to do our best. My sister, has probably destroyed her finances entirely in part due to her alcoholism.

Some things you might think are just common sense, things that everyone teaches their kids. Years ago, I went to visit my sister, long before I knew she struggled with alcoholism, and some things shocked me. She had many things stored at room temperature that you would normally keep in the refrigerator(at least at our house). I never asked her about it, but it was definitely a what the heck moment.

My husband and I have values we hold important. We hope we’ve taught our children well enough to be kind out in the world. Some of the smaller stuff though, it won’t be the end of the world if they change their mind.

insomnia — March 24, 2017


Here I sit. I cannot sleep I do not know the answer. I’m thinking about a million things and waiting for the laundry to be done in the dryer.

I should try to lay down soon, so I don’t feel like crap tomorrow.

I don’t feel tired. I know later when I do, the fatigue will sneak in and fan the flames of depression.

Then I will reach for some sort of caffeinated elixir, and be right back where I started.

If only there was the promise of some exciting dreams once I fell asleep. My last dream was about a snowy parking lot and a truck being stolen. I want my dreams to be more than that!

Goal setting…and reality — March 18, 2017

Goal setting…and reality

I often daydream about this and that.  How I could radically transform my life in just 30, 60 or 90 days.

I design the transformation plan in my head.  It usually includes some sort of strict exercise regimen, and giving up unhealthy foods and adding in healthier ones.

The transformation plan will always start on Monday.  It can’t start sooner because I plan to have at the very least a bacon cheeseburger and some ice cream over the weekend.

The plan to a new glorious me will often fail these days because by Monday I forget all the spartan details I’d etched into my mind on Friday night.

When I was younger and my mind was sharper, I used to fill spiral notebooks with the details of my plans.  I’d have homemade graphs with boxes to check.  Reminders to myself of what to do and what not to do.

It used to seem like the old spiral notebook was one tool to get me where I wanted to go. The act of physically writing things down seems to be an important part of the process. But I can be arrogant about the need to write things down, even though the arrogance doesn’t serve me well.

Maybe I should buy myself another spiral notebook.

I’d Like To Take a Mental Health Day off of Work.. — March 14, 2017

I’d Like To Take a Mental Health Day off of Work..

….but I won’t.  I need to remind myself though to sign up for more vacation time.

Work is getting stranger, and busier.  There is that old saying, “Stop the world, I want to get off”, that is how I feel.  Usually, I accept work as one of the realities of life.  Today is one of those days where I would love to quit.  Or perhaps find a job with more flexibility where I am not expected to work some holidays and weekends.

I’d like to have more time with family.  Wouldn’t we all?

Of course, work gives me a paycheck.  Most days I feel like I do something meaningful in my job.  Some days I feel like it drains everything out of me, so my drive to do meaningful things outside of work is not there.

If only I could get away somewhere warm and sunny for just a few days.  We’ve had a fairly mild winter in the Midwest, but it snowed today.  Bah humbug to the snow!

Am I burnt out?  Am I depressed…I don’t know.  I know my mood  will soon pass.  I don’t know what the long term solution is.  The short term solution….take a nap or watch TV?

Filet O’Fish — March 11, 2017

Filet O’Fish

The other day I stopped at McDonalds and ordered not one but two Filet O’Fish.  I’m not sure that I have ever ordered one of those.  I think the old Filet O’Fish might have been on my huge list of childhood foods that I would not eat.  Plus, that or something like it was probably a Lenten staple in my family growing up…my parents knowing I wouldn’t eat one made them twice as likely to serve it for supper.

My tastes have changed over the years, but I have never thought about eating or ordering one.  As I order it, I briefly think of some of the clean eating people I know in real life that tell me such a choice could shorten my life, cause cancer, blah, blah, blah.

I think to myself, there are no guarantees.  Then I proceed to enjoy the bland flavor of the two sandwiches.

Not so bad.

Clean eating can wait until tomorrow.  Right now I want some carbohydrate wrapped comfort.