Full Circle Moment

The other day I was looking for something completely different, and I came across this blog entry from September 2011, and was surprised to see that at the end of it, I mentioned having just heard about Wendy’s idea to start a child sponsorship program in Haiti. I’m re-posting it here for your convenience. (Be sure to scroll to the bottom for the ‘full circle moment.)

Shoes

This is a photo essay from my trip to Africa last January that I never published.  As is obvious, I like shoes.  I was so touched by the shoes these little kids from the slums wore.  It was obvious to me, that even though this was a “soccer tournament,” most of these little kids were dressed in their best clothes for the American visitors.  Some of the little girls had a real sense of style and did the best with what they had.  You can see in the last photo that the pile of shoes that we brought with us was definitely the most popular with the soccer coaches, even though there was a whole roomful of sports equipment and clothing strewn about.

So last week I was at a meeting at church, and a young couple, who I admire very much, each had an idea for ministry that I got very excited about.  The husband happens to work at the same University hospital that I worked at, and he said that on a recent trip to the downtown area, he noticed the shoes of a homeless woman, and thought to himself that no one should have to wear shoes like that.  So he had the idea to collect good comfortable walking shoes and take them to homeless people on his lunch break!

Then his wife shared that she had been trying to figure out how we could set up a sponsorship program for the kids in a church in Haiti that our church has partnered with!

Both of these ideas are things that I feel passionately about.  Just that day I had been feeling so lost–what am I doing that is worthy? etc.  I know that there are some things volunteer-wise that I want to do that require the use of my hands, so that will have to wait until after I have my right hand surgery done.  But these two things are things I can do now!  I was so excited after that night.

 And here I am, a little over a year later, helping to distribute shoes to the kids in Haiti:
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Hunger and Delicious Food!

Well, I know you all are waiting with baited breath to hear how hungry I am!  The Hunger Game is actually going very well.  What I have found so far is that I don’t really need my afternoon snack with my coffee break.  And I don’t need a snack or dessert after dinner.  Waaaagh.  I already kinda knew this.  So I guess if I really want those things, I will have to eat even less for lunch or dinner.

I normally get up at 6am, and I immediately fix my coffee and breakfast.  So now I’m waiting just a bit to make sure I am hungry.  I made myself a little rule that if I wasn’t hungry in the morning, I wouldn’t wait longer than 2 hours, because I do believe its best to start the day with breakfast.  Anyway, that doesn’t’ seem to be a problem so far.  So if I eat between 6 and 7 am, I really am hungry for an early lunch.  It seems to be working out for me to have a small meal at about 11 and then again about 2.  I’m not getting set on times yet.  I still am waiting until I’m hungry to eat.

And then, so far, I’m really not hungry for a big dinner.  I’ve been having small dinners, like meat and veggies, or just veggies, or some veggies and cottage cheese and fruit.  Sometimes…  I have not even finished my dinner!

So yesterday I was thinking about the container of blueberries that was in the fridge.  I always buy blueberries when they are a good deal because they are supposed to be so healthy for you.  Trouble is, I only like them in baked goods.  So I googled ‘blueberry crumble’ or ‘blueberry cobbler.’  Goodness sake!  All those recipes have 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar in them.  I just can’t do that anymore!  So I went through my recipe archive to see if I could adjust one of my recipes.  And this is what I came up with!  SCRUMPTIOUS!

I think I’ll call it Blueberrylicious Pudding Cake.  Its a derivative of my old Apricot Oatmeal Bar recipe, but super-moist because of all the blueberries, and also because I held back some of the dry ingredients for a topping.  Pretty good stats, and enjoyable as a healthy snack, breakfast, or as a dessert.

And last, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite walking shoes this summer–my Montrail Molokini flip flops!  It started out because I was too lazy to put my shoes on for our after-dinner walk.  But then I really really liked walking in them.  I can walk just as fast in them, and even break out in a little run once in a while.  My version of barefoot running!  Because of the way the sole molds to your foot, they really feel supportive.

Its 6:51, and I am hungry!  But I’m going to walk and pray a bit, and then have my LITTLE dinner.  Because I’m still hopeful that I’ll be hungry again, and can have a little bowl of popcorn with The Dog Whisper.

A Good Week

It was a pretty good week.  I ate too much.  What else is new?  Hopefully making up for it this coming week.  I spent four days in the Bay Area this week.  First day I drove straight from my house all the way to Pacific Grove.  That is a long drive.  Between the drive and not drinking enough, I reaffirmed that those two factors work together to make me feel like crap.

I had a lot of fun shopping in Pacific Grove.  Of course, they have a quilt shop that I love going to, a good yarn shop, and lots of other interesting little shops.  I didn’t really buy much.  Headed back to my hotel headquarters in Milpitas (that was the most centrally located place for all the places I wanted to visit.)  I had brought food with me for lunch, so after checking into the hotel, I treated myself to dinner at Chili’s.  Because I wanted some chips…  To go along with the chips, I chose a salad from their ‘healthy’ menu, and it was so pretty when it came, I took a picture of it.  Quite tasty.  Even the salad dressing seemed light.

Next day was a “day with Mom.”  I try to find nice places to walk every day, and this is Niles Creek, right next to where my mom lives.  That heron and duck never stopped preening their feathers the whole time I was down there.

And all these Canadian geese seemed to really enjoy the shallow water and the rocks.

Day with Mom went well.  I think I ate too much that day too…  Oh, she took me to a grocery story called Sunflowers Farmers Market–reminded me of Sprouts–and that was a lot of fun.  They have stuff in the bins, which I like, because its a lot cheaper than packaged stuff, and I found some chia seeds at a decent price.

And then the next day–A VISIT WITH SHELLEY!!!  Its so fun that Shelley and I have been able to meet more than usual due to our California/Texas connection.  Last time we got together, I started Shelley out knitting, and she has taken off like wildfire, as most of you know.  So this day we visited a few yarn shops in Santa Cruz (where she is visiting her BF) and then we had lunch at an excellent Bakery, which was conveniently located right next to one of the yarn shops.  They served lunch on an outdoor patio area, and we just sat and talked and knit and talked and ate a little, and then knit some more.  It was so fun, and so relaxing.  It was one of those lovely days with the sun shining brightly and a cool breeze blowing.  The perfect day to get a sunburn… oh well, once every 10 years or so I do that.

And then it was time for dinner, so we found a frozen yogurt shop!  I swear, between the two of us it was like we had a froyo GPS!

Friday morning I headed home, with a side trip to check out my dad’s house to see how repairs are coming along there.  Its almost ready to put on the market.  Worrying about this is stressful to me.  I’m blaming my overeating on that, and hoping that once its sold and the estate is settled, I will be able to get a few pounds off…

Stopped in Stockton to eat lunch and to shop at Costco for Vicky.  I do some grocery shopping for her sometimes.  Its actually hard work shopping for someone else.  And then on to the gym, where I did not work out, but I worked for Vicky for a couple of hours.  THAT was a long day!

When I got home those Newton shoes that I had ordered were waiting for me.  Can I just say that I feel like a grade school crossing guard wearing them?  Those things are BRIGHT!  But, they fit just right.  The soles are definitely different than my Saucony’s, so I am still getting used to walking in them. But I think I like them.

Saturday was a slugfest.  Shelley had kindly brought along Season Five of Doc Martin (everybody knows about this show, right?) for me to borrow.  I sat and watched all 8 episodes in one day! Most of the day the doggies stayed in my lap,  but for a while I was organizing some thread, and this was the scene:

Bess keeping a close watch from her perch on the couch.

And Sophie, as always, as close as she can possibly get without breaking the rules… you can see Monk across the room in ‘his’ chair.

Sometimes I think about “how did I ever do this (get the weight off?)”  I think about all the stuff I used to eat that I no longer consider healthy.  One of those things is the sugar free chocolate COOK AND SERVE pudding.  I really used to like that stuff.  So I decided to make some when I got home.  And I noticed the microwave directions on the box.  YAY!  Cooking the pudding was a pain in the butt because the milk would always stick to the pan.  Microwaving it was slick, just like when I make my homemade yogurt in the microwave.  And it is still tasty, and at least it is like eating 1/2 cup of milk.

I’ve got to end this right now, because I HAVE to get out for at least a little walk with Noah tonight!

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.

Shoes

This is a photo essay from my trip to Africa last January that I never published.  As is obvious, I like shoes.  I was so touched by the shoes these little kids from the slums wore.  It was obvious to me, that even though this was a “soccer tournament,” most of these little kids were dressed in their best clothes for the American visitors.  Some of the little girls had a real sense of style and did the best with what they had.  You can see in the last photo that the pile of shoes that we brought with us was definitely the most popular with the soccer coaches, even though there was a whole roomful of sports equipment and clothing strewn about.

So last week I was at a meeting at church, and a young couple, who I admire very much, each had an idea for ministry that I got very excited about.  The husband happens to work at the same University hospital that I worked at, and he said that on a recent trip to the downtown area, he noticed the shoes of a homeless woman, and thought to himself that no one should have to wear shoes like that.  So he had the idea to collect good comfortable walking shoes and take them to homeless people on his lunch break!

Then his wife shared that she had been trying to figure out how we could set up a sponsorship program for the kids in a church in Haiti that our church has partnered with!

Both of these ideas are things that I feel passionately about.  Just that day I had been feeling so lost–what am I doing that is worthy? etc.  I know that there are some things volunteer-wise that I want to do that require the use of my hands, so that will have to wait until after I have my right hand surgery done.  But these two things are things I can do now!  I was so excited after that night.

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow!