Mission Accomplished

One of my goals for this week was to walk all the way to Indian Grinding Rocks State Park.  Its not anything I haven’t done before, but it is something I haven’t done for quite a while.  I think the last time I did that walk was in early spring, when Lori did her challenge.  Its a 5 mile loop.  Lots of hills.  So this morning, first I tried on my Tommy Kono Knee Bands.  Wowza, those things are tight.  My knees did feel nice and secure in them, but I didn’t think a five mile hike was the way to break them in.  Took them off.  Great, now my knees felt all loosy goosey.  But we set off anyway.  This time I took my little notebook of Bible verses I have memorized.  If you don’t review them, you tend to forget.  And in fact, there were a few passages in there that I had forgotten that I had even memorized!  I’ll tell you, that is one way to make the time and distance pass quickly!  I really loved reviewing those wonderful verses.  I thoroughly enjoyed the walk TO the park.  Now, the walk home was a bit more painful.  But we made it!

Here’s an interesting sight at the park.  The Indians still use this park for annual get togethers.  I think this must be a traditional way of providing shade–just some young cedar trees and/or limbs laid across a structural support:

My good walking bud:

Some nature findings from our walks:

I found this beautiful birds nest on the ground the other day and carried it all the way home.  The structure of a bird’s nest is absolutely amazing to me.  So sturdy and strong.  Add to that that it was created instinctively by a very small creature, it is truly a miracle of engineering.  I guess that’s why a lot of artists seem to be fascinated by bird’s nests.

And today we found these really pretty acorns.  They are larger than the acorns from the trees around my house.

Lunchtime at the spa:

"California Chef's Salad"--chicken, orange segments, blue cheese, carrots, and slivered almonds on baby greens.

Sophie kept an eagle eye on my lunch.







Mr. Monk sat patiently on his bed under the desk.

Going backwards in time, yesterday I actually did 30 minutes on the exercise bike at the gym!  It helps that the Dr. Oz show came on and Paula Deen was the guest.  She tried to make some of her recipes with half the fat and half the calories.  She seemed truly amazed when Dr. Oz told her that her original recipe had something like 1200 calories in it.  Interesting…  Anyway, it kept me cycling for 30 minutes.  And then I knocked out 40 minutes in the pool!

Me and the doggies were pretty tired last night.

Today’s menu:

  • Breakfast:  2 Lobars from Vicky
  • Mid-morning (pre-walk) snack:  Cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and walnuts
  • Lunch:  California Chef’s Salad, and sweet potato fries
  • Afternoon snack:  Blueberry scone
  • Dinner:  Taco soup and honeydew melon
  • Dessert:  Cookie dough hummus (check it out on Roni’s blog)






Okay, I’m off to the gym for a weights workout and a swim.  I can hardly wait to get it done so I can come home for my scone and afternoon coffee!

Its Official…I’m Pooped.


Me and Noah near the end of the long walk today.  (no makeup allowed at Spa Week)

We were both pretty pooped at this point.  But let me go back to where I last left you.  I believe I was on my way to the gym yesterday afternoon.  As usual, I completely forgot that the pool is closed between 1 and 3pm for physical therapy.  This turned out to be a good thing, because it forced me to go upstairs and FACE THE MACHINES.  Hadn’t been near them since before my hand surgery.  And guess what?  I had a great workout!  50 minutes.  Lighter weights than when I left off, but not bad.  I also went in the free weights room BEFORE ANY  MEN SHOWED UP and did 3 sets of 10 reps of bench chest presses with the bar–go me!  That was the true test of my left hand working.  The machines didn’t really use my palm that much.  The other thing I did that extended my workout time was to get on the stationary bike and bike for 3 minutes between each exercise.  I really like doing that, but seldom take the time to do it.  Then it was time to get in the pool.  I only lasted 20 minutes running in the pool and swimming IN THE RAIN.  Then I got in the spa–its like the carrot that gets me into the pool in the first place.  And can you believe it, the bubbles would not turn on?

Last night’s dinner (taco soup with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado added):

The obligatory candles were lit in the evening.  Haven’t quite coordinated the bath by candlelight thing yet.

Today was as bright and sunny as yesterday was cloudy and rainy!  I decided to change things up a bit, and start the walking with all three dogs.  Here’s the scene that greeted  us.

Sophie was not amused by the wet roads.

The queen prefers her paws to remain mud free.

Practicing her queenly domination.

Mr. Monk didn’t seem to mind the mud:

"Its all good."

This is about my only attempt at planting flowers this year.  These are on the back deck.

THIS is why I haven’t planted much in the front yard.  (can you see he is sitting in one of my planting barrels?)

THIS is why I can't garden in the front yard...

After taking a short walk with the little guys, we brought them home.  I took a short break and ate my mid-morning snack and headed out with Noah for the long walk.  It was LOOONNNNGGG.  But we made it.  Also, surprisingly, my legs are feeling better and better.   And that’s before I’ve even gotten those knee bands.

As soon as I hit publish, I will be off to the gym for a long swim session.  If I can make myself do it, I plan to get on a stationary cycle for about 20 minutes before hitting the pool.  And then, once again, I will be done for the day.

Here’s today’s menu:

  • Breakfast:  Gluten free blueberry scone.
  • Mid-morning snack:  Greek yogurt and granola
  • Lunch:  Spaghetti sauce over veggies, and honeydew melon
  • Afternoon snack:  Banana apricot oatmeal bar
  • Dinner:  Green smoothie, sweet potato fries, and tomatoes
  • Dessert:  Gluten free Coconut cashew cookies by Vicky






Spa photo (I’m wearing that shirt that I got that says “DO SOMETHING” for the first time!

What’s the Difference?

Just got back from the morning “Challenge Walk.”  The challenge being, how long can I walk without having to pee LOL?  Dang it.  Am I the only one for whom this is a problem, especially with the morning walks?  Anyway, the challenge was to go a bit farther today, which I did.  And the walk still only took 1 1/2 hours–go me.  The legs alternate between “oh something is loose in there,”  to “dull ache, just keep going” to “glimmer of hope, feeling as strong as I did a month or so ago!”

Started the walk a little earlier than scheduled, since it was gray outside and showers were predicted.  Around here, “showers predicted” can mean it stays gray all day, and then rains for about 10 minutes at 5pm.  I was hopeful that we would miss the rain.  No such luck.  It started raining before we turned around, so half the walk was in the rain.  It was fun.  for a while.

Noah thought he deserved a treat after walking that far in the rain.

So now I am speeding things up a bit again, and heading out the door to the gym at 12:30 instead of at 2pm.  Because today is a day you want to stay inside on the couch, with a nice fire in the woodstove.  If I wait too long, I might not make it to the gym.  But if I go early, there will be more couch time this afternoon.

I wanted to answer the question, “What’s the difference? between what I’m doing this week and my regular life.  Because I’ve asked that question myself.  Well, probably the biggest difference is time. I have an idea in my mind of how much time should be spent on exercise in  real life.  I am prepared to spend up to 1 hour a day, 6 days a week, because the NWCR says that most people that maintain their weight loss exercise an average of an hour a day.  Okay.  That’s more than I’d prefer to spend, but I’m willing to go for it.  So that means that if I go for the long walk with Noah, I skip the gym.  If I go to the gym, I limit the time there, because I still need to go for at least a short walk with Noah.  If you look at the schedule I set out, I designated 4 hours for exercise. That’s just not gonna happen in real life, retired or not.  I CHOOSE NOT to exercise that much.  And yet, I wanted to challenge myself to be disciplined about exercise.  To show myself that I indeed could take a long walk and go to the gym.  And on a day that I did that much exercise, I could still eat a very reasonable amount of food, as long as I chose carefully, and made sure it was fuel (delicious fuel, but fuel nonetheless.)  The other thing that’s a little different is “letting myself off the hook.”  By preparing all the food ahead of time, and making the decision that there would be no additional cooking or baking during Spa Week, and also doing the house cleaning on Saturday,  I freed up the time to concentrate on the exercise and the relaxing.  Its just fun to be intentional sometimes.

Menu for the day:

  • Breakfast:  Katie’s Pumpkin Bread in a Bowl  (sub’ing 1/4 cup of eggbeaters for 1/4 cup of almond milk.)
  • After-walk snack:  Cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and walnuts.
  • Lunch:  Red Lentil and rice salad by Vicky
  • Afternoon snack with coffee (maybe at Starbuck’s?):  apple with laughing cow cheese wedge and walnuts
  • Dinner:  Taco soup and honeydew melon
  • Dessert:  Gluten free Coconut cashew cookies by Vicky

Got the results of my mammogram.  Most exciting words on the test results?  “There is evidence of interval weight loss. “  Oh yeah, baby.  Those words were music to my ears.  And for those of you who are keeping track, yes, my last mammogram was November 2004.  Oops.  Oh, and the result of my mammogram was “normal.”

I’m off to the gym!  Wish me luck.  I might even get in the pool.  Because the draw of those “tiny bubbles” afterwards is almost irresistible.

Spa Week, Day 1

Today was the beginning of spa week.  With one exception, the day went EXACTLY as planned!  For the food, I wrote out the day’s menu the night before.  My idea was to only serve myself food that  you would find at a top spa.  No junk, nothing with preservatives, no sugar free candy or microwave popcorn.  VERY minimal sugar and wheat.   Extra attention  to vegetables.  I will be using the occasional splenda…  Here’s the day’s menu:

  • Breakfast:  my blueberry scone, made with gluten free flour.
  • Pre-walk snack:  Non-fat greek yogurt with homemade granola.
  • Lunch:  Vicky’s red lentil and rice salad (LOVE) and tomatoes.
  • Colorful AND tasty!

  • After-swim snack at Starbuck’s:  Vicky’s fig bars and (here’s the indiscretion) a small mocha frapuccino (I was supposed to have coffee.)
  • Dinner:  Spaghetti sauce over veggies.
  • Dessert:  Roni’s ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip.

Noah and I took an hour and a half hike today.  Pre-medicated with ibuprofen, the legs held up fine.  Did some stretches and floor exercises when we got home.  I dilly dally’d a bit too long after lunch, but headed out to the gym and got in half an hour of running in the pool and swimming.  Once again those “tiny bubbles” felt fantastic after the swim!  After relaxing at Starbuck’s, I headed home, where I took the three dogs for a pre-dinner stroll.

Today was just the first day, and I am happy with the amount of exercise I did, and the food that I ate.  This week I won’t be doing a lot of quilting that requires creative thought–that takes another type of energy!  But I have a few projects that are ‘mindless’ and they are perfect for times like this.

And now for the final spa “activity,”  I am going to work at becoming one with the couch.

Cooking and Preparing for Spa Week

Well, you all know I like cooking better than cleaning.  So I started with the cooking.  I got out all the vegetables I was planning to use:  carrots, onion, mushrooms, zucchini and summer squash, corn on the cob, and some chopped frozen tomatoes.

I have a regular way I cook these vegetables now.  I mean, I chop and cook them in a certain order, starting with the ones that require the longest cooking time, so I can get them in the pan first, and continue chopping and adding in order of needed cooking time.  First the onion went into the pan.  I used a big onion.  Then I decided I wanted to cook two different combos of veggies, so I split the partially cooked onions into two pans.  To one pan I added chopped summer and zucchini squash, and corn cut off the cob.  To the other pan I added mushrooms, and peeled zucchini and carrots.

After the veggies were all cooked, I cleaned one of the pans quickly, and then cooked the chopped sirloin.  I added half of it to the Spaghetti sauce withBacon that I had taken out of the freezer, and the other half I left in the pan to make into taco soup.  Added the taco seasoning and some chopped tomatoes that were in the freezer and about half of the already cooked chopped veggies.  The ‘peeled’ veggies are to use with the spaghetti sauce.

And then I realized I had enough food to feed an army.  And there is only me coming to this spa week.  Fortunately, my neighbor, who has given me most of my veggies all summer, is going through a bit of a tough time right now, and she had mentioned that she isn’t cooking much these days.  Bingo!  I called her and she was happy to take some of the extra food off my hands!

Anyway, probably some of you moms and other organized people are used to cooking in bulk like this.  But I don’t do it that often.  It was really fun, and I have plenty of food for at least a week, even after giving some of it away.  It took two hours from start to finish, and that included washing a lot of dishes.

Then it was on to housecleaning and clothes washing.

I felt pretty good all day today.  Planned what I was going to eat, and stuck to it.  In the afternoon I set out for a long walk with Noah, and we made the 3 mile loop.  We took the nightly ‘Monk speed’ stroll after dinner.  All this makes for a VERY RELAXED EVENING.

Noah has to rearrange the rug before he falls asleep.

Doesn’t Sophie have the cutest little pink belly?

And last, but not least, the FACE.

Spa week starts tomorrow!  I’m planning on long walks in the morning, and gym sessions in the afternoon.  I went ahead and ordered those knee bands and paid extra for one day delivery.  I forgot to get epsom salts for the bath, so will pick those up tomorrow–its so soothing to take a bath with that.  I have scented candles, Shelley!

Turning the Day Around

I had an extra busy week (for me.)  A few too many appointments.  And out after dark two nights in a row?  Unheard of.  So today was an “at home” day.  I felt like crap when I got up.  Everything just aches.  I don’t know if its the changing weather (which I am loving)  or just some weird clinging damage that I did to (apparently) both legs.  Anyway, I just took it easy this morning.  Ooh, I tried a new recipe–most worthy!  Katie calls it Pumpkin Bread in a Bowl.  I only changed one thing–I used 1/2 cup of almond milk and 1/4 cup of eggbeaters.  I liked it so much I tried to make an “improved version” for lunch.  I tried replacing the cereal with my oatbran/flaxmeal mix.  I didn’t like this as much, but it stuck with me a lot longer.  I might experiment a little bit more.

I pulled out a big quilt that I hadn’t finished quilting before I had to take a break for my hand surgery, and did quite a bit of work on it.  And then I headed down to the gym to take a swim.  I really had to talk myself into this.  But I wanted to get a few groceries for my cooking for spa week tomorrow (ever notice how food is always the deciding factor for me?)  On the way down I started to get sad, or down.  Just a vague feeling.  Maybe because the body aches make me wonder if this is going to be the way it is from now on, or maybe just missing my dad catching up with me.  Or maybe the stars just weren’t aligned quite right.  Whatever.  But I just continued on and got in the pool and did my thing.  Nothing hurts too much in the pool.  I kept swimming until the spa cleared out.  Oh my goodness.  That spa felt so magnificent.  All those lovely little bubbles.  It felt like I was getting a special treatment on every little ache and pain in my body!   And for a while after I got out, everything felt good again.

The doggies and I all went out for a little stroll after dinner (believe me, when Monk’s along, there is no cardio effort involved.  A stroll is all we get.)  And I just made a batch of Roni’s version of Katie’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip.  I love Katie’s recipes, but sometimes they are a little calorie dense for us umm, well, those of us who DON’T have a problem putting weight on LOL.  So Roni slimmed the recipe down just a bit.   I’m going to have a bit as soon as I get done writing this blog.

And  hey!  Does everybody know about the Shape Best Blogger Awards?  Several of our friends have been nominated, but at the top of my list is BBB (Best Blog Buddy) Jill!!  Go on over and vote for her now!  Jill is the one who got me into this blogging in the first place, and we’ve been buds through thick and thin (LOL) ever since.

I’m thinking about getting these knee bands to tide me over.  My brother swears they are the best thing out there.  Anybody have any experience with this brand?


This afternoon I was bent over, carefully turning the beets I was roasting for my dinner salad.  And the thought occurred to me, I eat really healthy.  I am not always thinking that.  A lot of times what I am thinking is why can’t I lose this weight?  What’s wrong with me?  Or on a really bad day What a failure.  You’re a big fake.

But a lot of days what I think about this extra weight (currently 176) is “humility.”  Maybe that’s what its all about.  There is a verse in the middle of Colossians 3 that I have memorized.

“Since you are the holy people that God has chosen to love, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

At the time when I was memorizing it and thinking about the meaning of the words, I figured that humility was the central word in that list, and it was central to all those other good qualities.  You couldn’t be kind or gentle or patient, or have tenderhearted mercy if you were not humble.  Humility is not something that comes naturally to me.  Heck, none of those character traits comes NATURALLY to me.

So maybe that’s what this extra weight is about.  Keeping me humble.  I sure can’t brag about being a super-loser.  Right now I can’t even seem to lose 8 measly pounds.  I never reached my goal weight at Weight Watchers.  I haven’t even mastered “maintenance” after working on it for five years.  Not everything looks good on me.  I have to look a little harder to find clothes that fit.

But when I have a thought like that “I eat healthy,”  that is something I can take courage in.  That is taking care of this “earthen vessel” (2 Cor. 4:7) as best I can.  Yesterday I took a walk.  Everything hurt.  But I just kept walking.  Today I had a break between appointments, and I went to the gym, got in the pool and ran back and forth for a half hour–first time I did that (no swimming) and it worked out pretty good–no wet hair to deal with!  I looked at Vicky’s offerings, and chose one of the lower calorie items for my lunch.

Then I went to the dentist where the dental hygienist WORKED OVER my teeth–ack.  Afterward I treated myself to a small frosty.  Most worthy and most deserved.  But not perfect. Humility.

Planning for Spa Week

Hi all!  I’m finally getting around to planning that Spa Week at home that I mentioned a while ago.  Thought I’d put my thoughts down here in case any of you want to try it for yourself.  Of course I know some of you work and some of you still have kids at home.  But use your imagination.  You might be able to come up with something that works for you.

So my idea is to have a week  that really concentrates on exercise, with healthy tasty food as a side benefit.  You might want to include some luxury treats like a manicure or a massage, but I don’t think I will do that.  My main treat will be allotting some time for quilting!

I am going to prepare most of the food ahead of time, like I did for my hand surgery, so I won’t have to spend time cooking or preparing food.  I am going to have all the housework done before the week starts.  I might even use the paper plates so I don’t have many dishes to wash!

Shopping:  Chicken breasts, chopped sirloin, zucchini, carrots, onion, mushrooms, corn, spinach, baby lettuce, blueberries, pears, Fage greek yogurt, cottage cheese.  Epsom salts for bath.

Food prep:  Cook some chicken/chicken breasts to freeze.  Make a pot of taco soup?  Saute a bunch of veggies–can serve w/spag bacon sauce or pesto sauce (already in freezer.)  Make a pizza? Make a batch of scones, blueberry and/or pumpkin.  Make salad dressing.   Make some of Georgie’s protein bars.  Could buy some food from Vicky?

Tentative Schedule:

  • 7-9am:  Morning quiet time/reading/praying/Breakfast
  • 9-11am:  Long walk/hike.  Floor exercises at home
  • 11am-2pm:  Quilting and lunch
  • 2-4pm:  Gym for swimming/weights/bike/treadmill
  • 5pm:  Dinner
  • 6pm:  Short walk, and evening relaxation


The ‘check-in’ for my week will be Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9.  The ‘retreat’ will be four whole days, Monday though Thursday, October 10-13.

So how ’bout you guys?  Anybody going to join me?  What would you include in your ideal “Spa Week” at home?