Everyday Life

Quilt crazy–that’s what I’ve been for the past few days!  I went looking for something or other in the storage shed, and found a couple of quilt tops that needed to be QUILTED NOW!  So in addition to all the other little projects I have been working on, I brought in two large tops that needed to be made into sandwiches (BTW, I am considering starting another blog to talk even more about my quilting.)  One of them is for hand quilting, and the other is one of my most beautiful complex tops that I am going to machine quilt.  Making a sandwich is a somewhat laborious, boring job.  But I have got both of them done, and am happily hand quilting the one, and have started the machine quilting on the other!  AND, I went to the gym today!  Yay me

Here is the quilt top I am going to hand quilt.  It is traditionally a ‘signature pattern (people put their signatures or sayings in the white spaces.)  I thought tonight that I might put my favorite verses in those blank spaces!  Or I can just fill it with decorative stitching.

And this is the quilt top I am going to machine quilt because of all the little pieces and spikes.  They aren’t that much fun to hand quilt around.  This is called a New York Beauty quilt.  I really loved making each block, choosing just the right fabrics for it.  And now, as I work on it under the machine, it is fun to re-visit those fabrics and remember where I was when I found each piece.

Here’s some of the good eats from the past week, and a new recipe.

This is funny looking, but was easy to assemble, and quite tasty.  Kind of like a shepherd’s pie in a bowl.  Turkey burger on top of mashed cauliflower on top of some corn.

Some of my fried rice.  This one has shrimp and kale in it!  I forgot to put the egg in it, even though it was sitting right on the counter…

Jill wrote a post about breakfast and put me in the mood for scrambled eggs!  That’s some  crispy baked kale leaves on the side.  Very tasty, but you gotta watch that stuff.  It cooks quickly.

And a new recipe.  Its my version of Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal.  Original recipe here, and I combined it with some of the stuff I liked in this baked oatmeal recipe.  Yummy, and quite filling.

And plain old food.  That’s the best way to eat sometimes.  Cod fillets, zucchini, and a pear.

More plain old food.  One of my current faves–Fage 2% yogurt with walnuts.

Noah LOVES his little bones.  I let him keep them for a while, but when they get too small, they ‘disappear.’

Oh, close up shots of a quilt that I had finished, but didn’t like the way it looked.  So I devised this little quilting pattern to fill in the gaps.  You can see a bit of the ‘bubble’ quilting that I did in the background.  That took quite a bit of time.

Finished quilt, with some help from the quilt model.

Ooh, I love this quilt with the concentric strips.  I decided to practice my feather quilting on this one.  I like the way its looking.

And now you know why I’m thinking about starting a blog just for my quilting.  Believe it or not, I have even more to say, but lucky for you, I’ll contain myself.

A couple of really good quotes on blogs.  I really really appreciated Sharon’s blog on falling, but not allowing a fall to keep you from living your life fully.  I stumbled badly the other day RIGHT INTO THE WOOD STOVE.  Very luckily, only two fingers hit the top grate, and the skin sizzled right off of them.  Don’t worry, I have a lot of Neosporin LOL.  But really, it was bothering me a lot.  The way I stumbled, I could have landed with my whole arm on the stove, or MY FACE.  That event, plus the fact that it seems like I CANNOT remember to turn the oven or the stove burners off lately has had me worried about “what is wrong with me?  Whatever are they going to do with me?”  Sharon pointed out that in this life we WILL fall.  But that should not stop us.  And today I remembered to turn the oven and the stove burners off EVERY TIME LOL.

The other quote was priceless.  It comes from Karen’s blog, and is in a list attributed to Darla Breckenridge.  Among other things that made a lot of sense, she said, “You only need enough guilt to keep you from torturing and killing other people.”  I don’t know why that tickles me so much.

Last quote is from the current issue of the Oprah Magazine.  Linda Ikeda, a nutritionist from UC Berkeley stated that “it was ludicrous to think that everyone had to have a BMI less than 25 in order to be healthy.”  I’ve been waiting to see this in print.   I hope it won’t be the last time I see it.

And now, are you all as bored as Mr. Monk and the Queen are?  I will bid you a fond adieu for now.

Different but the same

Sometime somewhere in the past week or so I made a comment on someone’s blog about weight loss maintenance.  And my comment went something like this:

… for weight loss and maintenance, I agree it does look different for everyone. But one thing is consistent–it is healthy whole foods for the most part. Different people eliminate or severely limit certain food groups, but it is always healthy. And that should always be our goal, don’t you think? (health)

Now I’m not so sure of that statement.  Are there people out there who maintain a weight loss eating the Standard American Diet  (lots of processed foods, fast foods, etc?)

Since making that statement, I’ve been on an odyssey of sorts.  I met with Wendy (my partner on The Bridge) on Tuesday, and we had an interesting discussion via email about food–genetically engineered foods vs. selective breeding/organic food, the evils(?) of wheat, etc.  And then I caught a cold (first time I’ve been sick in years) and so I watched a bunch of documentaries on the topic.  One of the really good ones was Fresh, the Movie.  You can watch it free until Feb. 1.  I also watched Killer at Large, Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat, and Deconstructing Supper, about genetically engineered crops.

Mostly I was happy that I have changed the way I eat.  I enjoy eating good fruits and vegetables, and plain old meat (not fried or coated in something.)  And of course you know I love my dairy–mostly cottage cheese and yogurt.

Don’t you think we need to get off of the “MUST LOSE WEIGHT” merry-go-round and get on the “MUST BE HEALTHY” roller coaster?  Oh, I know.  Being overweight is not healthy.  I KNOW.  Hypertension and diabetes are just a couple of the diseases that I side-stepped by losing weight.  What I’m talking about is when we are tempted to try crazy diets or even worse stuff to get to a certain weight, or a certain size, or to look a certain way to please ourselves or what we think other people’s perception of us is.  In that Killer at Large movie, there was a 12 year old girl who weighed over 200 pounds, and a doctor did liposuction on her to remove 35 pounds of fat WITH HER PARENTS APPROVAL.  Seven months later she had regained 40 pounds.  By the end of the movie her parents were taking her to Mexico for lap band surgery.  It was kind of sickening.  And its kind of frustrating to me to see bloggers and other people I know trying drastic measures THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EATING HEALTHY FOOD to lose weight that maybe is not necessary to lose for their health.

Anyway, by the end of all these documentaries I was ready to do a complete garden re-do, which would mean putting in raised beds so I could raise all my own healthy organic non-genetically engineered vegetables.  And then I thought Wait!  Let’s not get carried away.  I  bet I can just raise chickens for eggs again, and trade for fresh fruits and veggies from my more industrious friends and neighbors.  So changing the topic rapidly…

I went to a chicken show on Saturday!  I just love purebred animals of all kinds.  Honestly, though.  Is there anything more silly than getting your chicken all fluffed up for a chicken show?  Unless maybe its fluffing your rabbit for a rabbit show (something I did for a brief period of time.)  Anyway, I took some pictures to share with you all!

THAT is a real chicken!

His straight haired brother:

More silliness:

A gorgeous Barred Plymouth Rock rooster.  These are one of the most common chicken breeds in our area.

My favorite chicken in the show!  I’ve never seen these before–called a Coronation Sussex.

Ooh, if I’d had a place for them, these little Mandarin ducks would have come home with me!  You can see how small they are by the chickens in the background.

A “frizzle”:

And a “silkie”:

One of the breeds I am most likely to get–Salmon Faverolles.  I love the color variations on them.  They’re supposed to be easy going and good egg layers.  (Rooster on the right and hen on the left.)

If I get banties, I would like some of these–called “splash” cochins”

And this was just one of the cutest things I’ve seen in a while.  The little 4H kids all lined up so seriously, and then they were supposed to make their chicken walk up and down the table just by tapping it lightly with that little stick.  (I thought about whether or not I should post this picture, but the kids were SURROUNDED by adults with cameras, and I’m betting most of them end up on facebook.)

That’s all for now.  I’ve got a lot more ‘regular’ stuff to say, but I’ll save it for another day!  I need to post more often…

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Creativity

Thought I’d share a little creativity that’s been happening the past few days.  What happens is that I have lots of little ideas, but no concrete big idea, which is frustrating sometimes.  So then I just work on ‘components,’ little bits and pieces of ideas.  Like when I said I was sewing my little squares together crooked.  Pretty soon I amassed quite a pile of little crooked squares.  So then I sewed them together into bigger even more crooked squares.  And finally, I was ready to try to make them fit together into one little quilt.  Its like putting a puzzle together.  Pretty fun, once you get going.  I decided to not even up the edges, and just placed it on a background piece as is.  Then made a sandwich and started quilting.  I only have the borders left to quilt, and then this one will be done.

Close up of the quilting:

Here’s another little experimental top that I’ve had laying around for quite a while.  Finally made the quilt sandwich and started quilting.  Then I wasn’t sure where to go with it, so it went back up on the design wall to be stared at for a while.

Last night and today I had a lot of fun putting together these little squares of wool felt and buttons.  I had this idea way before Christmas, and had the wool already cut into little squares.  And of course, I had the buttons.  And I even knew WHERE the buttons were.

I already know how I’m going to lay these out on a background fabric and add more embellishments.

Have I ever showed you guys my spinning wheel?  It came back in the house shortly before Christmas, but to be honest it hasn’t seen a lot of action.  I need to get something more colorful to spin, and then maybe I’ll be motivated.

And finally, a little progress is being made on the sheep rug.  I’m working on filling in the grass.

So that’s it for now.  I re-subscribed to Netflix, just for the streaming videos.  They have vastly improved their streaming ability.  I am watching that series that everybody else seems to have discovered, Downton Abbey.  And yesterday I watched a pretty interesting documentary–”Fat, Sick, and Almost Dead.”  About two extremely overweight guys who both had an autoimmune disorder, and both went on a vegetable and fruit juice fast, and lost a ton of weight and seem to have put their autoimmune disorder into remission.  It was pretty impressive.  I don’t really want to go on a juice fast, but it did make me want to eat a lot more veggies LOL.  Plus, it was just really encouraging to see–to remember what my health was like before I started this, and to think about what bad shape I’d be in now if I hadn’t changed the way I eat and lost some weight.

Another really great thing I watched today was a John Ortberg interview with Louis  Zamperini. Louis is the subject of Laura Hildebrand’s (author of Sea Biscuit) newest book, Unbroken.  Its quite a tale, and he is still quite a character at 94 years old.  He was in the Berlin Olympics, survived 65 days on a life raft in the Pacific, and then became a POW during WWII.

And believe it or not, with all the creativity, and the increased movie watching, I am still keeping my activity level up.  I average making it to the gym 3 days a week, and then am walking the hills on the days in between.

Well, I’d better get off to bed.  All’s quiet on the western front, and I want to keep it that way!

 

 

 

Poor Me…

Wow, I got hit big time with a case of the ‘poor me’s’ this afternoon.  I wasn’t particularly hungry.  But I was wanting to have something more.  I was thinking about how carefully I track my food, how I don’t really eat that much (about 1400 cal,) and how, IF I lose weight, it CREEPS off of me, and then it stands in the shadows, just WAITING for a chance to POUNCE back onto me.  Okay, I wasn’t really thinking that stuff about the shadows, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?

Its been raining here all day, and at 4:30 it let up a bit, and I thought its now or never.  So the rainboots went on, and me and Noah headed out for a walk.  Its not that fun to walk in rain boots, but  I am ever so grateful to have them.  While we walked I was going over all this stuff, trying to think how I could change my thinking.  Cause like I said, I wasn’t really hungry, and I wasn’t really craving anything in particular.  Just feeling sorry for myself.  So I thought about what I had planned for dinner, and I decided I didn’t really want to eat that.  It would still be good for tomorrow.  And then I thought about what I did want.  And I remembered I still had some of that healthy chili in the freezer!  And that bag of new high fiber pasta from Trader Joe’s that I haven’t tried yet.  So I am allowing myself one extra grain for the day, and will have that for dinner.  In the meantime, I walked quite a bit longer than originally planned, and that also made me feel better about myself and my choices.

Okay, so now dinner is over, eating is done for the night.  I still came in around 1460 calories.  The ‘chili pasta’ was delicious, and was just what I needed(?)  I weighed out the pasta, and the chili was already frozen in single serve portions.  So no overboard on amounts.  Then I had a piece of dried pineapple (after I checked the calories online) and some walnuts for dessert.  And back to basics tomorrow.  This is just the way it is.  Maybe not fair.  Maybe tiring, boring, endless.  But that’s just the way it has to be for POW’s (previously over weight.)  I know from filling out the survey for the NWCR that this is common practice for weight loss maintainers (planning/calculating/tracking food/meals.)

Scenes from the past few days:

As you can see, I am not suffering!  This bowl actually looks better than it tasted.  Although it was pretty tasty.  It is my version of katie’s chocolate oatmeal.  I just increased the unsweetened vanilla almond breeze to 1 cup, and left out the banana.  I think I added in 1/4 cup of eggbeaters to make it custard oats.  Came in around 300 calories for this bowl.

This salad was yummy and easy to assemble.  White tuna on top of chopped romaine with some carrots, some crushed pineapple, and a few spiced cashews on top there.

I am right back in the swing of knitting.  I found this pattern in my stash, and decided to try it.  After sweating bullets over the first couple of rows (lots of counting with a pattern like this,) it all came back to me.

Of course to make a sweater, I have to keep going and make five big pieces.  And then sew them together.  And pray that it actually fits right.  Just reminding myself.

The Queen was in fine form this weekend.  Thought I would share what a day looks like for her.  (Its exhausting, if you ask me.)

Assuming her position of authority in front of Noah.  I truly do not know why she does this,  She doesn’t really seem to enjoy it.

She has to endure a little sniffing.

“Just pick me up and get it over with, will you?”

And then a little ear-flipping…

Until finally she’s had enough!  (actually, I think she was just starting to yawn here, but the expression on Noah’s face is priceless.)

Then I caught a sweet picture of Mr. Monk by the woodstove.

Oh, no.  That will not do at all.  “Here, I can improve that picture for you.”

“Yes, it is exhausting being queen.  But SOMEBODY’S got to keep order around here.”

The queen must always sleep with one eye open.  Especially if there’s a camera in the area…

 

 

Good Food

Thought I’d report in on some good eats from the past couple of days.  First of all, in spite of the cold weather, and my usual reluctance to eat salads when it turns cold, I have thoroughly been enjoying my salads this winter.  When I travel, I find myself actually looking for a reason to eat lettuce.  If you had told me this when I was a kid, I would NEVER have believed you.  Lettuce was just something to be picked off of the hamburger bun.

My version of the California Chef's salad: baby lettuce topped with chicken, oranges wedges, carrots, blue cheese, and pecans.

So I told you about the food I was going to fix for ‘sewing day,’ and I have to tell you it was a resounding success!  That triple berry granola crisp is a no-fail recipe.  People absolutely love it, and they seem to really enjoy hearing that it is a low-cal healthy recipe. If you have access to a Costco, their frozen triple berry blend works great, and is the most economical way to buy berries.  I served it for ‘brunch’ (we meet at 10am and always have some sort of treat and coffee to start the day) and I had a bowl of Fage mixed with cinnamon and splenda to top it with.  Yummy.

On to lunch.  Helen, the soup was the smash hit of the day (I made Helen’s coconut curry kale soup.)  Everybody loved it, and every last bit of the soup had disappeared when I went back to the kitchen.  I made the recipe just as printed, including the chickpeas.  I didn’t have a can of tomatoes, so I chopped up a couple of tomatoes and then I found a bag of frozen cherry tomatoes in the freezer and threw them in too.  I think that was about the same tomato content as a can.  I put in 36 mid-sized shrimp.  One of the ladies, who is an excellent cook, took the recipe home to make for her husband, and she mentioned to me that the flavor was very similar to the soup served at Lemon Grass, which is a very nice Asian Bistro restaurant around here.  Now.  I have to admit.  I still don’t like the flavor of curry very much.  And I picked out all my chickpeas!  But that’s just me.  I really wish I liked curry, because it just seems like the ‘in’ thing. That’s okay, there’s plenty of other food I like just fine LOL.  Case in point:  I LOVED the low fat corn bread that I made.  LOVED!!! I don’t know if its because I’ve been corn bread deprived for a couple of years, but I thought it was quite delicious.  And I tried to make a ‘healthy’ honey butter by combining Smart Balance Lite and some honey.  Its probably because the smart balance lite has a higher water content or something?  It kind of separated, or became weepy.  It looked weird, but it tasted DELISH on the bread.  I was never so happy to have one piece left over!  Guess who had a second piece of corn bread with dinner.

Which brings me to my next topic.  The whole idea of a ‘treat day’ or a ‘treat meal.’ I’m a little on the fence about this whole idea as it applies to me.  Of course, I LOVE the idea of a day to eat what I want.  But there’s so much I want LOL.  I have a tendency to go overboard.  And then there’s the inevitable ‘unplanned’ treat days that just naturally occur in real life.  So if I fully subscribed to the ‘treat day,’ and had it planned for the end of the week, but in that same week, 3 unplanned treats occurred that I partook of, I would still be wanting my ‘treat day.’  Which leads to a whole lotta overeating.  Now that is JUST ME.  Just what I know about me.  And the funny thing was, when I was discussing this with my BFF, she described the exact same thing (eating the unplanned extras and still wanting the planned treat day.)  So for the most part, I think its best if I don’t plan (and look forward to) a WEEKLY treat day or meal.  I think maybe once a month might do it for me.

That said, I did decide that Tuesday (sewing day) would be a treat day.  Quit laughing at me LOL.  I had my favorite cottage cheese/pear/walnuts combo for dinner, along with that second piece of corn bread, and some leftover broccoli, just to make it healthy.  And then I tried a new recipe.  That chocolate covered katie has it going on when it comes to single serving recipes.  You heard it here:  I will NEVER buy another bakery cupcake.  There is no way they can compete with the deliciousness of her single serving cupcakes.  I tried this little chocolate cake, and I had some pre-made vanilla icing that I had bought at that Harvest Festival.  Oh my goodness.  It was quite worthy.  I made myself look the calories up (300 for just the cake.)  That helps me to eliminate it from any kind of regular rotation.  But for a once in a while treat?  Quite worthy.  I had some kettle corn too.  See what I mean about going overboard?

But back on track today.  And no problem doing so.  And this is the low-cal day of the week–no fruit, and one grain.  No problem.  I tried one more thing this morning that I want to pass along.  That multi-grain oatmeal that I told you I loved?  I made it custard oats today–FANTASTIC.  The most fantastic part is that you fix it in the microwave, so there is only one dish to wash.  After I microwaved the oats for two minutes, I took them out and stirred in 1/4 cup of egg beaters.  And microwaved for maybe 30 seconds more.  Yumm yumm.

Today I had to go to the lawyer’s about my dad’s trust, and she talked lawyerese at me for over an hour.  QUITE anxiety producing.  But did I eat?  No I did not.  I went to the gym as planned! Like Lori says, you never regret a workout.  I felt quite victorious after that.  Had one of Vicky’s California Chef’s salads for lunch, and then went to Starbuck’s for a little session with my Kindle Fire.  I had a Quest protein bar for a treat with my coffee.  Those Quest bars are hands down the best protein bars I’ve ever had, but they have a pretty hefty price tag too.

I’ll end with a stealth photo of the Queen.  Her majesty has some new crown jewels.

Various and Sundry

Well, it seems like forever since I wrote here.  I still don’t have much to write about.  Plus its so cold and it seems like my hands are permanently frozen.  Not much motivation to type.

I’ve been staying on track with my healthy eating, mostly bobay plan (which is a carb cycling type of plan,) and I have most definitely kept up with my newly defined “I am an active person.”  I told my BFF about this proclamation, and she said, “Debby, you ARE an active person already.”  And I said I know, but now I want to be.  That seems different to me than just fitting in activities/exercise because that’s what’s necessary to keep the weight off.  I think that’s partly why I stuck that sentence in there about “If being a little heavier is part of this, so be it.”  I am going to be active because I want to be active, NOT because I want to look a certain way or fit a certain size. Does that make sense?  And does anybody else think its weird that it has taken me seven years to come to this point?

So between being active and having too many new games on my Kindle Fire, creativity is a bit stalled.  Must work on that trait next.

Today, in between the five loads of laundry that are all folded and put away, I started a new knitting project.  I started it because ever since I taught Shelley how to knit, well, before that even, I’ve been thinking about knitting again.  And I had a whole bagful of beautiful white yarn (that was previously an almost finished fisherman knit sweater in my former size 26-28!)  But while I sat there knitting (and Shelley, do you know how long it takes to get through a row of 195 stitches) I started thinking really negative thoughts about myself.  Why are you starting a new project that you’ll probably never finish?  Why are you sitting here, when you could be doing so many other things that need to be done?  You’re never going to get around to getting chickens (topic for another day.)  There were a lot more negative thoughts, and they are quite common, I realized.  They go on every day.  And if I hadn’t started knitting that sweater, negative thoughts about what a waste–all that good yarn and you just never get around to knitting it.  What’s wrong with you? would have been added to the mix.  So I did stop with those particular negative thoughts and realized that I was doing something positive that I had thought about for quite a while.  Its exhausting to be me.

I have consciously worked (mostly through this blog) on not indulging in negative thoughts about my weight.  I feel like I’ve made major progress in that area.  But these others…I’m gonna have to put a stop to them.  Probably has a lot to do with the major changes in my life in the past year.  I have a pretty good daily/weekly routine down, but it is very different than my life a year ago.

Well to end this post on a positive note, we (Wendy and I, and our project, “The Bridge,” for the kids of Carrefour Poy, Haiti,) had a stupendous day at church yesterday.  We did another presentation in front of the church.  Wendy had made a slide show of some of the kids and the scenes in the village (I was so nervous I forgot to look behind me to see it.)  There was such a positive response.  Since starting this in mid-December, we already have sponsors for 23 kids.  I was just elated when I realized how much money this would enable us to send to the pastor down there  to help with their school.  There is a lot of work involved, but I am more than happy to be able to do it.  This is what I was looking for when I retired.  Only then I didn’t even know what I was looking for.  Just being open to God’s leading. I started out telling Wendy that I didn’t think I could sponsor another kid, and for sure I was never going to Haiti.  Guess who has another little girl to pray for, and guess who is going to Haiti, probably sooner than later.  There are just a lot of details that we could take care of that are difficult to do long distance.  Plus, I want to see for myself, and look for what else we can do to help.  I am very excited about how this project is going.  Wendy came up with a verse that describes exactly how things have been happening since we started:

 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Tomorrow is sewing day, and guess who is bringing the food!  I made Helen’s recipe for the Coconut Curry Kale Soup with Shrimp, and I looked up a recipe for low fat cornbread that sounds simple and delicious, and quite reasonable calorie-wise.  It just seemed like a good pairing.  And for the morning I am going to make that delicious Triple Berry Granola Crisp.  I got it covered with healthy food for the day!

And now, as one of my favorite bloggers, Mr. Taylor, says, “Its back to the sofa” to knit one more row on that new project.

How Much Exercise is Enough?

Along the lines of my recent proclamation that I want to be an ‘active’ person, several internet articles/videos, etc. have caught my eye.  These are all pretty popular sites, so forgive me if you have already seen them.

This first video is LONG, but it is very cleverly done, and the information from a medical doctor was really interesting to me.  The basic assertion is that 1/2 hour of exercise a day can make a BIG difference in your life.

The next article is actually the blog entry from a writer for the NY Times.  I came across it by way of PJ’s blog.  I am surprised I haven’t heard more reference to it.  Maybe because I don’t read that many blogs any more?  Anyway, The Fat Trap is a pretty interesting article about the difficulties of losing weight and keeping it off.  There are over 800 comments on this blog, so it caught someone’s attention!  She references Lynn Heraldson, the first blogger I ever read, and a successful maintainer.  She also references the National Weight Control Registry.  So Debra SSY’s defunct blog (her name, not mine) got a bit of action from it.  Debra had her blog up for a year, and spent a lot of time researching the science behind weight loss maintenance, and challenging the powers that be to do more work in this area.  Her blog is a very good reference tool for anyone serious about maintaining their weight loss.  Okay, this doesn’t have that much to do with exercise, except that it mentions the NWCR.  And their data says that most people who maintain a large (more than 30 pound) weight loss for a long period of time exercise on an average of 1 hour a day.

So when Miz posted her excellent blog on ‘being soft of core,’ (exercising consistently for shorter periods of time,) I asked her what she thought about those stats.  And she had such a good answer, (which I almost missed because I forgot to go back and see if she answered,) that I thought the conversation was worth repeating here:

I commented:

 I do love your concept of being ‘soft of core.’ I have taken that to heart, and now feel okay when I am done with my weights session at the gym after 20 minutes. Just this week, I have shortened the doggie walks and added in some stretches and core exercises (haha, that’s what I thought your blog topic was this morning) which makes me very happy.

Keeping my exercise plan something that I can continue for life is so very important to me. One thing I do think about, though, is the stat that most previously overweight people who have successfully maintained that loss long term exercise one hour a day. Do you have any thoughts on that?

And Miz replied:

well I do and I don’t. I know it’s all backed up by science so I agree BUT I also have seen so many friends who have regained their weight because an hr a day felt overwhelming so they STOPPED WORKING OUT COMPLETELY.
I wonder what would have happened had they found something they’d actually do timewise (30? 40?)?
Would they have regained some?
Still all?

I’m not sure….

I guess I’m taking the middle ground on this one.  Most days I do exercise more than 20 or 30 minutes.  Probably not quite an hour.  And if a day comes along when I feel too tired to move, I’ll be satisfied with the 20 minute stroll with the doggies before it gets dark.

Last link.  And again, not much to do with exercise.  But worth mentioning again.  I just re-subscribed to the Nutrition Action Healthletter.   They do their best to present the latest scientific research on nutrition and health.  After all, the newsletter is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and their byline is “Transforming the American Diet.”  I can say that they were definitely a big part in transforming this American woman’s diet!

And with that, I am off to walk the doggies and head to the gym for a session with the exercise bike!

Christmas in January?

Oh my goodness, I had more than my fair share of fun today!  The day started out with a doctor’s appointment.  I had to go see a dermatologist just because I mentioned to my PMD that my sister had had melanoma (she’s fine now) and so the doctor referred me to a dermatologist to give me the once over.  YES.  The once over.  And I have to tell you the best thing about the appointment.  As the dermatologist is looking very closely at all the various parts of me, parts that I’d rather no one see, she says, “You have really beautiful skin.”  LOLOLOL. Oh, that one will last me a long time!  Of course, she meant from a professional point of view, in that I didn’t have one suspicious mole in sight, which she thought was remarkable considering my fair skin, and a fair amount of exposure as a kid, as well as the fact that I never wear sunscreen.  But I’ll take  a compliment any which way I can.  (And before you all start yelling at me, I don’t really go out in the sun.  I wear sunscreen when I am in the pool.)

So since I had to go through that traumatic event, I wanted to treat myself to a Pinkberry frozen yogurt.  I also had a very short list of things I wanted to look for.  I wanted some pink towels, I wanted to LOOK at some of those fabulous Newton running shoes that Shelley has, I needed a new bedside lamp, and I needed to get some extra fancy hypo-allergenic dog food for HRH.  Sophie has some mild food allergies, and for convenience sake, I had tried once again to convert all the dogs to the same brand of dog food.  And then eventually Sophie starts licking her feet and legs.  Slurp, slurp, slurp.  Every evening.  Followed by me yelling “STOP LICKING!”  Followed by me feeling bad.  How would you like it if your skin felt itchy/irritated/dry (I don’t actually know what it feels like to her) and someone yelled at you to stop.

Anyway, back to my shopping trip.  I never did find the pink towel.  Weird.  But everywhere I went, I found some fun bargain.  I’m just guessing things were marked down after Christmas.  I found some ‘gourmet food’ items at Home Goods.  I tried to control myself.  Got some cookies and cream coffee, dried apricots, giant cashews, and some chocolate, cherry, and almond granola!

Next stop, Marshalls.  Surely they have some pink towels.  Nope.  But look what I just happened to pass by on the way to the towels!

I swear, I have been looking for the right pair of clogs for three years.  And finally gave up and got those two pair of shoes right before I left for my Christmas trip.  And then I find these Born clogs on sale for $29.  I couldn’t resist.  I love clogs for airplane travel, so you can kind of slip them halfway off your feet.  Oh, plus when you go through the security place, very easy on and off.

I walked around in them for quite a while to make sure the heels were not too high for me.

At this point I was running out of steam, and I almost drove on by the sports store (where I was going to look for the Newtons.)  But there was a 15 minute parking place right in front, so I thought, I’ll just run in to see if they even have them.  Well, they did not.  But look what I found!  Saucony, my favorite brand, and these are a new ‘extra light’ version.  Not quite as colorful as the Newtons, but close enough for me.  Plus the fact that they felt fantastic the minute I put them on my feet.  You’d better look quick, cause they won’t stay this pretty for too long.  I’ll probably reserve them for gym shoes for a little while, and then they’ll get drafted for their real purpose, taking the long walks around here.  Oh yeah, these were on sale $20 off too!

On to Costco to get the Queen’s special formula doggie food–Turkey and Sweet Potato.  I guess we’re more alike than I thought–we even eat the same stuff.  And I scored again!!!  Right inside the door they had a big display of Magic Bullet Blenders with a special $10 off.  I have looked at the Magic Bullet displays for year.  I resisted getting one before Christmas, and I guess it paid off.  My old Oster blender has been trying to give up the ghost, and since I am using it more and more, the timing was just right.  I am now the proud owner of a Magic Bullet 25 piece set!  I have no idea where I’m going to put all those pieces…

And, the last thing I had on my list–a bedside lamp?  I got the very last Ottlight in Costco for only $19.  Yahoo.  No more jumping out of bed to turn the light off just as I’m about to drift off to sleep.  I also got some green beans, giant cherries, blueberries, and a whole box of the Pure Protein bars I’ve been eating lately.

And then it was off to Pinkberry for my froyo and the drive home.  I had brought my food for the day with me, so no need to stop and get lunch.  And I got home just in time to take the doggies for their evening stroll before it got dark.

It was a very good day.  I made myself a turkey taco salad for dinner, and it looked so pretty I had to take a picture of it to share with you.  Dessert was about 10 of the giant cherries and a Russell Stover sugar free mint.  I am quite fond of those right now.

I did a little more work on the spreadsheets for our Haiti project.  We are having a meeting with our pastor and the treasurers tomorrow, and are trying to look like we know what we are doing LOL. Which, BTW, I don’t think I mentioned yet how wonderful it was that two of my bloggy friends, Pubsgal and Cammy, offered to help when I complained about having a problem with Excel.  In emailing with Cammy, she mentioned Google Docs, and that has been a lifesaver.  Just what we needed!  Its really wonderful how people you haven’t even met are so willing to help you.

I am very happy with my activity level for this first week of 2012.  I have been able to get into the free weights room at the gym, and do bench presses with the bar each time I’ve gone.  I’m adding in some core exercises on the days that I walk at home.  Helen, I can do 3 whole 30-second planks.  And then I collapse on the floor huffing and puffing.  And all the dogs come over to see what the heck is wrong with me.

I’ve been hitting up the Redbox lately, and have seen some really good movies.  Midnight in Paris was delightful, Sarah’s Key was really good, and The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson and Jody Foster, was actually a fascinating movie.  One reviewer commented that the Mel Gibson ick factor was one of the reasons it didn’t succeed.  That made me laugh.  I guess since I don’t have tv, I never saw all the horrid stuff he was involved in.  Its interesting to me who we will forgive and who we won’t.  I LOVE Hugh Grant.  I can’t help it.  When he got caught cheating on  his fiance(?) with a prostitute, was there a time period where we didn’t forgive him?  Which reminds me, have you all seen “About a Boy?”  One of my favorite Hugh Grant performances.

Somehow I got into quite a Meryl Streep movie review with Shelley. Have you young’uns seen Sophie’s Choice, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and Out of Africa?  They  are must sees, if you like Meryl Streep, or good movies, or women with accents LOL (Meryl Streep really became known for her ability to do accents in these films.)

And then there is my affinity for movie musicals.  Remember when I said I wanted to start reading some classic books?  Well, I thought I’d start out with an easy one.  I downloaded Oliver Twist to my Kindle Fire.  Which led me to serenade the dogs with ALL the songs from the old (60′s?) musical Oliver.  Whe-eh-eh-eh-ere is love (sung in a high whispery voice)   O-li-veh, O-li-veh, never before has a boy wanted more, (sung in a generic chorus of voices,) and One boy, boy for sale, he’s going cheap... (sung in the deep baritone of Mr. Bumble)… oh, the dogs were sick of me by the end of the day LOL.

I guess maybe I should post a little more frequently.  You can divide this into several days readings if you want.