A Blog From The Road!

Hey hey hey!! I just discovered that WordPress will now let me access them from my Kindle Fire. This trip has been a long time without “talking” to you all. And I have so much to share, so many thoughts, that I was thinking I’d have to write several posts when I finally get home. This will be fun to be able to blog from the road. Now, if I can only figure out how to get my pics from my camera to my kindle… Those of you on Facebook might have noticed that the only photos I posted were “shared” from my BF’s page.

Its been such a great trip, full of fun and friends and learning. And creating. And food, and even exercise. I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t even taken my camera out of the car. I have taken a few shots with my phone, and last night I went out on the bike to try to get some pics of the beautiful scenery around here.

“Regular” people always ask “What did you do/where did you go?” Its hard to explain how much fun my BF and I can have sitting in a house working on our separate creative endeavors, sometimes in companionable silence, and sometimes chatting nonstop, and always laughing. I’ve gotten a ton of interesting “compositions” (small art quilt pieces) started. I’ve decided its the nature of travel and/or not being in my home environment that makes it difficult to complete any of them. I have a lot of work to do when I get home!

Oh! And speaking of home, J. the contractor has been working extra hard to try to get a lot done while I was gone. I hear that I no longer have a kitchen or a bathroom. To quote myself, Eek! : ) Still, I will be very happy to be home in a few days to see the Queen, Miss Bess, the Big Guy, and to have a little more lap time with Mr. Monk.

 

The Summer of Ceviche

 

DSCN1650I think this will be my favorite dinner this summer!

  1. No stove cooking.
  2. Minimal prep time.
  3. Low cal light dish that tastes luxurious.
  4. Recipe makes 3 servings–three dinners ready to go!

Here’s all the ingredients you need to gather. Thaw the pre-cooked salad shrimp and microwave the corn ahead of time. Then just chop and combine.

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I don’t need to belabor the point. I think I’ve talked about this recipe enough on this blog. But its worth repeating–DELICIOUS!! I love it so much I just eat a bowl of it by itself. That does it for me. But if you wanted to, you could make yourself some tortilla chips to go with.

 

Recipe Review: Zucchini Marinara Bake

Its that time of year again–everybody who has a little space is growing a few zucchini and tomato plants, right? Or you might be like I usually am, and hope that your friends and neighbors will share the bounty with you. Anyway, if you like those two vegetables, this is a wonderful no-fail recipe (in my humble opinion : ) ) I was a little surprised at how the baking dish was filled to the brim, but decided to trust my own recipe, and sure enough, it did not boil over. I just love the flavor combo in this recipe, and I love that you can have a great big serving for 200 calories, and I love that you still get a little treat of cheese and pasta every few bites!

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(Zucchini Marinara Bake, pictured before baking)

A serving of this with a side of chicken or fish makes a fantastic dinner.

 

The Bedroom Report

Hi all! I came back from my trip to Cambria and rug hooking camp to a brand new bedroom! Well, almost brand new. J. the contractor called as I was driving home to let me know it wasn’t quite finished. Me and the little dogs had a good time camping on my mattress on the living room floor Friday night! By Saturday at 4pm J. and the carpet guy had cleared out, and I had a brand new shiny squeaky clean bedroom. I almost hate to move anything back in there.

I think this picture shows the colors most clearly. As usual, I agonized over the colors–having to choose both carpet and paint this time. After visiting 4 or 5 carpet stores, and getting millions of samples sent to me, J. suggested that I go to a store in Sacramento that had some really good deals on remnants, since my room wasn’t’ that large. So I didn’t get anything at the first store, but I found this remnant that seemed “just the right color” at the second store I stopped at. Its a pale aqua. In addition, the price was right–it was about one quarter of what I had been planning to spend on carpet!! Then it was on to the paint color. I wanted a light coral, maybe erring a bit on the side of pink. I must have had 25 pink and coral color cards. You would think one of them would be perfect. Finally, I had a discussion with the paint lady about the formula for one of the colors. We went back and forth, and she custom mixed a sample for me. It was too intense, so after some phone conversations, where she actually mixed the paint while I was on the phone(!) she came up with something she thought I’d like. At that point, I had run out of time before I had to leave on my trip, so I said, “Just mix me 2 gallons of that, and I’ll pick it up tomorrow.” She was worried about doing that, but I told her if it was wrong, I’d paint over it, and I’d never tell her. Fortunately it was “just right.” I love it. The paint lady labeled it “Debby’s Perfect Coral.”

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Here’s some before pictures that I snapped AFTER I had cleared out most of the stuff in the bedrooms. A big change, no?

That patch over the top of my bed is where J. had to frame in a window when he put the mudroom in.

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And in this picture you can see the closet wall. When I bought the house, they put up that wall to give me a bigger closet. It was sheet rocked, but never painted. The closet “door” is one of those bi-fold doors. I never liked it.

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The closet still needs to be finished. J. is going to install real closet innards, instead of the dressers and funky wire shelves that I had put up myself. The closet was also shortened, in anticipation of the next step–turning my little bathroom into a laundry room! J. borrowed almost 3 feet from the closet to make room for the washer and dryer. Now my closet is 7’X5′. Its still plenty big for my clothes. MIght be a little small for all the other stuff I store in there. But hopefully, with all the remodeling, all those things will find new homes.

So here’s the bedroom after I moved a few pieces of furniture back into the room. Now I need a new bed, or at least something to disguise the box springs. That little rug is the latest hooked rug I finished.

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And in this photo, the hooked rug is one that my rug hooking friend brought to me all the way from Illinois! She found it at a farm sale for only $2. That is a big part of its charm. Plus, could it go any better with the color scheme here? Notice the “real” closet door there. I am in love with doors these days!

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In Cambria, there was a high of 63-70 every day. I arrived home to a high of 103, and its been hot every day. Here’s the scene around here most of the time (and I’m sure you spied me in the mirror above wearing my “I don’t’ care what I look like, these are the coolest clothes I’ve got” ensemble.)

Sophie and Monk

Sophie and Monk

Noah

Noah

 

Bess and Sophie

Bess and Sophie

I had a great time on my trip. I’ll blog about that in a separate post. Otherwise this post would be impossibly long.

Pansy Parade and Pudding Report

After months (I am not exaggerating) of Noah mowing down every single pansy bloom, and me almost killing the pansies with my “treatments”–pepper, “Boundary” repellant for dogs, and Bitter Apple spray,– I decided to try feeding Noah some baby carrots every night in his supper. The little dogs get them every night. But Noah started urping them, and I had stopped giving them to him. I don’t know if its a coincidence, or its really a cure, but since I started feeding him the carrots again, he has stopped eating the pansies, and now all his “pruning” has rewarded me with the best crop of pansies I’ve ever had! Each little plant is like a bush full of flowers. Is there a better way to spend $3 than on a six-pack of pansies?

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And the pudding report. Remember I mentioned that chocolate sweet potato pudding? Well, first I tried it substituting pumpkin for sweet potatoes. Because it turned out I didn’t have any sweet potatoes. I could still taste the pumpkin, so I didn’t like that too much. I did like that it was nice and thick. So a couple days later I got sweet potatoes at the store and tried again. I added a little more cocoa powder. It was good, but for me it was not worthy. The calories come out to between 170 and 200 per serving the way I figured it. You could divide it into smaller servings if you wanted. The thing about it is, that whole recipe is very healthy, so if you liked it, it would really be a good one to keep in the rotation. For me, I’d rather eat two walnut-stuffed dates.

Been Busy!

Keeping busy around here. Lots of fun stuff. Lots of food to talk about, but I’ll have to save that for another time. here’s a photo-essay of all that’s been happening.

I’m always looking at dogs on Petfinder. Sometimes I check to see what’s at our little local shelter. I couldn’t believe it when I saw this cute little pug-chihuahua cross. I have met several of these types of dogs and they always had great personalities. I went down the next day to check her out, and she was just as cute in person. So I asked my mom how she would like to have a dog again. And she wanted to try! Its been the best thing in the world for her.

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Yep, its happening again! J the contractor called, and he is going to come back and re-do my bedroom and closet while I am away at rug hooking camp the first week of June! That means, that in addition to continuing to try to empty out my bedroom and closet, I need to spend some time choosing carpet and paint colors. Aaargh. I thought I had all my choices made, but then I made the mistake of stopping by the carpet display at Lowe’s, and saw a completely different color that I liked.

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I was going to go with a rich brown with reddish undertones for the rug, and pale pale pink for the walls. But the new carpet color I saw was a kind of coral (it was called “melon.”) So I would need a different wall color to go with that.

The blue paint chips are there just because I saw a kitchen in a magazine that had a deep bright blue accent which I really liked. That’s for when and if we do the whole kitchen thing…

 

I have been quilting and sewing like crazy. I made this large quilt top, which I really like. I’ve made several actually. Now to get them quilted…

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Today MLG came over to start the new garden project. I LOVE the way it looks. He is cutting those boards and fitting them together just so. He showed me how the skill saw(?) has a little dealie-bobber that lets you set the angle you want the cut made! Ooh, that made me want one of those. Its not finished yet, but you can get the general outline.

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While he was working on that, I kept busy weeding some of the beds, and moving a large stack of wood from the back  to the front. When I finished with all of that, I rewarded myself with a trip to the nursery. I got quite a few plants, but here are a couple of the most interesting ones.

I couldn’t figure out what this little plant was. It almost looked like a perfect little bonsai tree. Guess what it is? BASIL! With tiny little leaves. Cute, huh?

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And I love the color of this plant. It was called a chameleon plant. And it said it was an “aggressive” ground cover. Well, I don’t think anything can be very aggressive in our rocky soil, so I plan to put it in the ground (not in one of the beds.)

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And lastly, when MLG was exhausted from working in the heat all day, he remembered that I had asked if he could figure out a way to make a ramp for Mr. Monk. And so he fashioned one out of a piece of leftover wood I found laying around. I put a rug over it, and that provided just enough traction that he feels secure walking up it!

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Gratuitous Sophie shot: “Waiting for Popcorn.” I’m not sure why she was waiting for the popcorn on the chair where I couldn’t reach her. Who can know the mind of Sophie? (except Shelley : ) )

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I’ve made several trips to the Bay Area–one to deliver the little doggie, and another to take a load of stuff to my sister. I know I will be really busy for the next couple of weeks before rug camp, so blogging will probably be pretty sporadic.

AIM: Is Vanity Fair?

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Something I read somewhere made me wonder if vanity played a fair role in weight loss maintenance. Or was vanity just one factor that got people started in losing weight? Most conventional wisdom would say that vanity is NOT a good long-term weight loss motivator. So following through on that thought, one would presume that by the time you got to weight loss maintenance, vanity would have long since flown the coop.

But has it? The day after I proposed this topic to our AIM group, my BF and I had our usual daily conversation. She mentioned that at her quilt club meeting, someone said something about the wonderful goodies in the snack room. And my BF just said, “well, I wear a swimsuit year round (she is a scuba diver) and so that is a good motivator for me to stay away from the snack room.” I hadn’t even mentioned this topic!

The next day I had some friends over for lunch. One of the women only ate half of the [most worthy] cake that I served. She is my age and has the same sweet tooth that I have, but is fashion model beautiful. She periodically goes back to Weight Watchers to maintain the thin weight that she believes looks best on her. For her, vanity is a major motivator in maintaining her weight.

But what about the normal run-of-the-mill weight loss maintainer? What about a short dumpy arthritic wrinkled middle-aged woman who lost 100 pounds but is still overweight by all conventional wisdom? SURELY, vanity wouldn’t play a role in her weight loss maintenance?

Ha! As I thought about this topic for the past few weeks, and tried to objectively observe myself, I came up with a few observations.

  1. One of the reasons I go to the gym and work out hard is so that I will still “look good” in the clothes that I enjoy wearing.
  2. When the weather finally warms up in the spring, it takes me a long time to talk myself into putting on my swimsuit so I can exercise in the pool.

I kept thinking about this vanity thing. At first I thought, well its hard to be an American and not have vanity play a major role in your life. But then I thought about the women (and men) I had met in the slums of Nairobi and Port au Prince, and you could see that they enjoyed looking their best. A little bit of nail polish, a little hair product was gladly received. The young girls wearing little more than rags did their best to be “stylin’.”

Maybe its just human nature.

The problem with vanity being the MAJOR motivator for long term weight loss maintenance happens when it comes with a secondary presumption. When you believe that “looking good” will bring you joy, or contentment, or self-esteem, that is when vanity is no longer fair. That is when maintenance becomes a grand impossibility.

To see what other long term weight loss maintainers think about this topic, click on over to visit my AIM (Adventures in Maintenance) friends:

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet