Cambria Report

Well, I’m just a little behind–reporting on a trip that I returned from almost 2 weeks ago… but I had a few photos that I thought you might enjoy seeing.

I go to Cambria every year or so for my rug hooking “fix.” There is not enough time in the day for all the hobbies I would like to indulge. Rug hooking is something that has always fascinated me, and I’m so glad that I decided to learn how to do it. In addition, Cambria is a lovely place to visit, and it is actually priced very reasonably for 5 nights in luxury accommodations, all meals, and instruction with a nationally recognized rug hooker. I sound like an informercial, don’t I? Believe me, no one’s paying me to say this!

Here is a shot of the front of the lodge. This is where our classes are held, and where we eat all our meals.

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There are beautiful gardens surrounding the lodge, but I didn’t take any pictures of them this year. Here’s a link to a previous blog with pics of the gardens. Cambria is under a severe drought warning, and I didn’t think the gardens looked quite as lush as in previous years.

I did see this one little volunteer that I thought was just charming:

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Here is the rug I am working on. It is (obviously) a geometric rug. I wanted to do something that was less stressful this year, since I have a lot of quilting obligations (and home improvements) that I have been working on. This project was just right for that!

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On our way home, we stopped to see the elephant seals. All the young males were quite active! The sign said they were play-fighting to help strengthen their neck muscles for the real thing!

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Mostly, though, the elephant seals were doing what they do best.

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For what seemed miles and miles, they lolled on the beach.

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The food that they serve at Cambria Pines is quite good, and I noticed that they never serve fried food. Their vegetables are always fresh, and they usually have a salad bar available. But, you know. Still, free food. And plenty of it. My “strategy” this year was to go and enjoy. I didn’t bring anything with me except my Quest Bars. I enjoyed all the food, especially the desserts : )

So here’s the interesting thing (to me, anyway.) I came home convinced that I had gained 10 pounds. I always wait a week to weigh after any travel, to get an accurate weight, and I had gained 4 pounds. Eek. But today, I am back to the weight I was before I left on the trip. I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t eat less than I usually do. I didn’t exercise more than I usually do. I just stuck to my normal (approx. 1300 calorie) diet, planned my meals every night, and got to the gym about 3X/week, walking and doing PT exercises in between.

So the question is… did I actually gain any weight on that trip?

The Zoo!

After we returned from Haiti, my brother and I had a day and a half in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to relax and spend a little time together. Ever since we were kids, we have both really really loved animals. His loves were a little more exotic than mine–snakes and tropical fish. For a few years we even owned a pet shop together! We still love to visit pet shops and zoos when we have a chance. It just so happened, that on the day we were there, it was a perfect spring day with a light breeze blowing, so we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo! My brother says it is one of the best small zoos in America. I totally agree that it is one of the best. My legs and feet would disagree that it is one of the smallest.

They had two baby elephants born at the zoo! So fun to see them. They ran around and seemed to be enjoying the weather as much as everybody else.

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This little guy was copying his mom, and giving himself a dust bath.

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This was a huge enclosure full of cockatiels and parakeets, and you could buy ridiculously expensive sticks of bird seed to feed them. It was fun!

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Is this just the cutest? I don’t know why one baby swan gets to ride on the mother’s back, while the others follow in the water.

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This lion was beautiful, but he sure was vocalizing a lot. I wonder what he wanted?

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A komodo dragon!

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And one of the hugest silverback gorillas I’ve ever seen.

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I was really impressed with the enclosures for most of the animals, and the beautiful condition of the animals. It was a really great day.

The next morning, before I dropped my brother at the airport and headed to Shelley’s, we drove down the “historic main street” of Grapevine, TX. We lived there about 35 years ago, before the DFW airport was built! It really was just a dusty little town back then. We didn’t recognize much on the main street. Oh, and I had googled “pet shops” in Hurst, and three shops were listed: Petco, one other major corporate store, and The Grooming Boutique–MY OLD GROOMING SHOP!! We went by there too, but of course, it was a different owner than I had sold to 30-some years ago. What a kick.

We used “the lady” (google maps app for my iPhone) to direct us around the area. We only went off course a couple of times, and it seemed like the lady would then direct us to take backroads to wherever we needed to go. I felt a little like I was being profiled and had been deemed a hick that preferred backroads to major freeways (well, that’s true, but its none of her business!)

Next up (and the last of my travel adventures for awhile,) HAITI REVISITED!

The Escalator

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Readers of Shelley’s blog already know that I ended this trip with a VISIT TO SHELLEY! We had so much fun. We fit together like peas and carrots (Forrest Gump ref.) I don’t think we look alike, but one time Shelley posted a picture of herself at 12 years old, and I was shocked at how much she looked like the 12 year old me.

Anyway, we ended our trip driving together back to the DFW Airport. I was ever so grateful that she was able to drive back with me. Its just a 3 hour drive, but you know how it is when you are unfamiliar with the roads–it seems like twice that time.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, dropped off the rental car, and took the shuttle to the terminal. We had our choice of elevator or escalator, and Shelley asked “which one?” I said escalator–it was closer, and by now I’d been in one million airports and done this routine two million times. I had my giant 45 pound suitcase, my carry on suitcase, and my purse, all balanced precisely. As I got on the escalator, Shelley was saying something about “You know, I have kind of an Elf thing about escalators…” (insert: okay, I just googled Elf/escalator–that is hilarious!) and right then I lost my balance and dropped the big suitcase, which fell backwards onto the escalator steps! Which meant that it just kept clanging down one step at a time as the escalator continued to go up. With each clang, the distance between me and my big suitcase got further apart. I kept stepping down to try to get closer to it (while still balancing my carry on and my purse) and yelling at Shelley “don’t you dare photograph this,” but the escalator just KEPT ON GOING UP. Finally I knew my only hope was to abandon my carry on (which, the EVERY THREE MINUTE TSA ANNOUNCEMENTS warn you to NEVER do) and somehow hop over the HUGE suitcase to get below it and grab it. Shelley rescued my little carry on, and was laughing so hard she couldn’t have gotten a good picture if she had tried. I swear, it was like a Lucy and Ethel episode.

Come back soon for “Adventures with Shelley!”

Home Again!

This trip was a long one and was multi-layered! Its going to take several posts to tell you all about it. I thought I’d write about it like that Seinfeld episode–going backwards in time. Fun for me, anyway!

I arrived home to signs of spring! This has been a crazy weather year, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen blooms this early in my yard.

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So I got home at 10:30 at night, knowing that my living room would be finished, and knowing the details of what would be done, but envisioning it is not the same thing as seeing it in person. I can’t say enough good things about J. the contractor. He took a sow’s ear of a house and turned it into a silk purse. 

Before...

Before…

and after

and after

Noah has been at the trainer’s since Feb. 5! I went to visit him on those few days I was home after the Modesto trip, but the house was so torn up, I thought it would be easier for him (who am I kidding, it was easier for me….) to leave him there. He LOVES his time there. And they like him too. While he’s there he participates in the group classes on the weekends. When did I become the world’s laziest dog trainer???

Noah practicing his sit-stay in the "new" living room.

Noah practicing his sit-stay in the “new” living room.

The next morning I walked around the yard–good grief, things were blooming!!

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As always, on return home, I went to the store, and the things I naturally want to stock up on are vegetables and dairy. I guess those are the two things that are hardest to get in while I am traveling. And, I went to the gym for my regular Sunday morning pre-church workout–it felt so good to get back to my regular exercise! Plus, it was my last chance to participate in Lori’s Heart Healthy Weekend!

Next episode: “The Escalator.”

Out of Town

Yes, that’s right. I am going out of town again. I am leaving this week on a trip to Haiti, which I am combining with a pleasure trip to visit a friend.

But what I want to write about was “how I ate” on my most recent trip to a quilt event. Yes, again. I am writing about how I eat when I travel. This time I tried a few new things, and so thought my experiences were worth talking about.

The event was the Ricky Tims Super Quilt Seminar. This is a very good, very organized event. The hours run long, but they put plenty of breaks between sessions–time to move around and yes, eat. For those of you who aren’t quilters, this is a “no sew” event. It is all demonstration and information, and you don’t have to bring your machine or supplies with you. I really liked that, since I usually end up making something I don’t like in most of the workshops I attend! Plus, easy peasy!

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Ricky does a concert and inspirational talk on one of the evenings. He plays a grand piano, but I couldn’t get a good shot of that. This is one of his Indian flutes.

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Alex Anderson and Pam Holland also presented informative and inspirational talks.

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Back to our food discussion! That last trip I took out of town I ate a little too much sugar and wheat, and I didn’t like how I felt. So I left determined to not eat (much) sugar or wheat on this trip.

Here’s a few of the things I did. I took my own yogurt and granola with me. I took some of my low calorie baked goods with me for breakfasts. I took some of my favorite Quest protein bars. And I grabbed my bag of Skinny Pop popcorn for snacks in the evening.

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I knew there was a Costco just down the road from the hotel I was staying in. So after I made sure there was a little fridge in the room, I headed over to Costco for a bag of my favorite salad mix–the Kale Superfoods salad. This salad still seems like a treat to me. While I was there, I got a box of their cherries. I was set! I had food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and would only eat out for dinner.

My favorite department at Costco!

My favorite department at Costco!

In the morning, I checked out the breakfast buffet, and got a few eggs to try (yuck–discarded.) I ate my own muffin and had some coffee. But look! I had a container for my salad!

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Here’s how to pack your yogurt and granola for lunch, if you forgot your little container with the ice in the lid… (file under: where there’s a will, there’s a way.)

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Every afternoon they had a 45 minute break about 3pm. Ahhh, just the right time for my coffee break! (and mandatory Quest bar.)

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Now, in the interest of full disclosure on “how I eat when I travel,” let me fill in the blanks. The first night I had dinner with some old friends. I made a good choice for my dinner, and for whatever reason, they did not serve bread with dinner!! Weird. But good for me, because if it was there, I would have eaten it.

The second night the hotel had given me a free entree coupon for my favorite restaurant–Texas Roadhouse. And oh yes, I certainly did eat their bread. And the third night I went with some new friends to a local hamburger joint! That was really delicious. We split an order of garlic fries three ways, and the burger was really normal sized. I really enjoyed that meal.

Oh, and one day I had time to drive around the town a bit, and happened upon a See’s Candy store. Ruh roh. But I have a new plan. If I do go in, I only buy 2 pieces. So much better than going in and buying half a pound and then trying to NOT eat it all at once!

The event ended at 5:30 on Saturday night, and I thought that I would stop for dinner on the way home. But I decided that I really wanted to get home and could wait until then to eat. Only thing was, I needed to go to the bathroom. Okay, perhaps I could have found a bathroom somewhere besides in the Coldstone Creamery… That was probably my poorest decision all weekend. But I enjoyed my small serving, and even left a bit of it uneaten. And that was dinner.

So even though I did not stick completely with my plan of no sugar/no wheat, my food amounts and choices were quite reasonable, and I did not gain an ounce. I kept in mind some very good advice from my friend, Cammy:

Adaptability – It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes life interferes and the plan gets fuzzy. In the past I had an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset and generally caved into the chaos. I still do that sometimes, but more often than not, I’ve learned to adjust and adapt and do the best I can in a given situation.

Back home, the little dogs were happy to see me. Speaking of adapting to a given situation, they seem to adjust quite easily to all the changes around here.

The living room awaits new floors,windows, and wall paint.

The living room awaits new floors,windows, and wall paint.

The "dining room" aka furniture storage receptacle.

The “dining room” aka furniture storage receptacle.

As long as they have a soft bed and a heater, they are happy.

Monk and Bess share the bed next to the wood stove.

Monk and Bess share the bed next to the wood stove.

The queen on her dirty laundry throne.

The queen on her dirty laundry throne.

Monk and Sophie share a little bed in the studio (do you see the theme here?)

Monk and Sophie share a little bed in the studio (do you see the theme here?)

And now I must end and pack my bags (and do a million other last minute things! Eek!) I will have lots of adventures to tell you about when I return!

All’s Well That Ends Well

The scene last night:

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For hours! We were all very content to sit together like this all evening after I arrived home.

It was a great trip, full of rugs, rugs, and more rugs. And wool everywhere. My wool stash is starting to rival my quilting cotton stash!

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Here are my rugs as they were displayed:

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Long Beach is HUGE. Too big for this country girl! But the weather was gorgeous, and we did manage to get quite a bit of walking in. That’s the only exercise I did all week.

I ate too many desserts. Back to the straight and narrow today.

Stopped on the way home for my veggies and dairy. Its a tradition now! Costco has this salad mix that I am in love with. It has that broccoli slaw, kale, sliced brussel sprouts, and some other green stuff. Its like a very substantial salad. And I got some of the Fage yogurt so I don’t have to wait to make my own.

I picked Noah up today, and we got in a few short walks, and I did my PT exercises. Its good to be home.

100

100!  ONE HUNDRED!!! One-zero-zero!!!! Its such a nice number, don’t you think? My favorite detective, Mr. Monk thinks its the perfect number.

This morning I am back to 100 pounds lost! I started at the end of last November, so its taken 10 months to lose 25 pounds. Who would’ve thunk? But I’m glad I stuck with it. The hardest part was it being that slow and me second-guessing myself. I haven’t been terribly hungry, and I do enjoy my food (as you all well know.)

I just reviewed my “Me Diet” post to see how closely I was sticking to that plan. For the most part, my diet has remained the same as I described. I did add in another mini-meal that is mostly vegetable based between my morning protein shake and my afternoon protein bar. Sometimes I have cottage cheese and fruit, or yogurt instead of the shake. And during the summer, I definitely had more fruit than I originally started out eating. Surprisingly, I have not gotten tired of the shakes or the bars. In fact, I have quite a repertoire of protein shakes now, thanks mostly to Cammy and Lori for their suggestions.

Special thanks to friend Shelley, whose decision to chronicle her weight loss journey from day one was the impetus for this last try. Shelley also encouraged me to try just a little longer when I got weary of my limited choices about a month in. THANKS, Shelley!!

And just so you know, there have been plenty of “off plan” days in there. As you know, I’ve traveled quite a bit this year. Its hard to stay on plan 100% when you travel, even when you try hard. And sometimes I didn’t try very hard. Conversely, there have been days where I decided to just stay home, because I knew that going to town would lead to some poor choices and overeating.

And just so you know, I DO want to go out and celebrate with food. I want a cupcake, or pizza, or frozen yogurt. It never goes away. But I will content myself with a “splurge” of popcorn and half a pack of M&M’s (why yes, I do split a pack of M&M’s. Doesn’t everybody?) I leave for Long Beach and the rug convention tomorrow. There will be plenty of off-plan eating then, I am sure.

Oh, and last night I put the very last stitch in the rug! Its been a very good 24 hours.

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I’ll see you all in a week. Behave yourselves, eat healthy food that tastes good, and move just a little now and then.