Re-Entry

Got up bright and early for the final leg of the journey home. I was about 5 hours from home, and I was focused on GETTING HOME.

Of course, I had to make my normal stop for fresh fruits and veggies. I weighed all my options, and decided to stop at a huge farm stand on a busy highway about 40 miles from home.

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Apparently, I made the wrong decision.

The good news is that neither I nor the people in the other car were hurt at all. It could have been a devastating accident, as the speed limit along there is 60 MPH (hello county, perhaps people should have to slow down when they are going by this huge, major tourist attraction?) and there were tons of cars on the road and in the parking area.

We were able to pull that dangling bit of bumper off, and I went and tearfully asked for a piece of rope at the farm stand, tied the rest of the bumper securely, and drove on home.

Ahhh, home. Oh my oh my. I knew what I was coming home to, but still. Its the practical logistics of it. No running water inside the house (except that toilet there. Which, believe me, I am very grateful for.)

This is the view from my living room, looking into the dining room (most of my beautiful coral red walls are gone) and beyond that, what will be the bathroom and the laundry room.

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A closer view. See that triangle above the window? Yeah, that’s open to  the great outdoors. J. the contractor said he hadn’t seen any bats flying in yet. Very funny.

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Just a view of the wall that will mostly be taken down. The door there has never been used since I’ve lived here. There was always a refrigerator in front of it! The entrance to the kitchen will be approximately where the window with the air conditioner is.

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Just a view of the studio wall–I lost my back door there, as that will be a shared wall with the kitchen. That was actually my idea, as it will give me more working room in the studio. We will be able to use that same door for the back door of the kitchen!

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J. the contractor’s outdoor work area. Yes, that is my stove sitting out there.

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Where the kitchen will go. J. took the old siding off this wall, revealing this even older siding!. I think this was the original little cabin, and then they added the living room onto it.

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Another view of the foundation. This is where my nice deck was…also gone. J. the contractor did a TON of other stuff that doesn’t show, like shoring up a weak spot in the dining room foundation, plumbing, electrical, and stuff I don’t know or don’t understand.

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The permits finally came through this past Thursday, so the first inspection is scheduled for Tuesday. And then cement…

Its only been two days, but already I am learning how to best live this way. Like, don’t buy fruits and veggies that require a ton of chopping (hello apples and corn on the cob, my new best friends : ) ) Oh, and I picked up a 99 cent bottle of hand sanitizer at the store–Yeah! much better than the wipes I had on my list. Oh, and do I hear you asking, “but where are you going to shower, Debby?”

Hah! Here is my fine construction work to make a semi-private showering place. I’ve always had hot and cold water connections out there–very handy for washing the doggies. Actually, I think this was originally built as an outdoor shower before I moved in here. Those fiberglass pieces are originally from the covered deck, and then I re-purposed them as the rabbitry roof. MLG just recently took down that old rabbitry, and guess what? These pieces came in very handy for my outdoor shower. I was so tired after fixing this the day I came home, that I didn’t even clean the outside of them off. I was quite proud of how I rigged up my old shower curtain!

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I’ll be back later in the week to tell about some of the fun stuff that happened on vacation.

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 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!”

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!

Vacation Adventure!

This visit with my BF was so fun–it was like we were visiting all the different aspects of our life–past, present, and future!

Like I said, this time my BF and I had someplace fun to visit every day I was there. She lives in Oregon, and this time I found that it was actually cheaper to fly there than to drive. So when I arrived, we had time to visit my favorite thread shop and fabric shop (present life). Yumm. Colors are almost as luscious as any dessert!

The next day we set out for Sisters. Of course, the famous Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show is held here in July. But its almost more fun to visit this town when its not quite so busy. The quilt shop is fabulous, and we also went to Bend to visit another of our favorite quilt shops.

On the way to Sisters we spotted this gallery that seemed to specialize in large outdoor metal sculptures. Very fun to look at!

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We stopped at one of my favorite spots, Belknap Hot Springs, for a bathroom break (the bathroom was INSIDE a building!) It is right on the Mackenzie River. A glorious spot!

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Sisters is such a pretty little town. Even the bathrooms are decorated–look at that quilt mural on the walls of the bathroom! (hmmm, do you sense a theme here?…)

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And another view of the little water feature:

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Friday it was time for the Black Sheep Gathering. This was the reason my trip was planned for this weekend. In our past lives, my BF and I were both vendors at this event. I made and sold fiber blends, and my BF raised Jacob sheep, and had some of their lovely fleeces for sale. This is such a fun event. They have a sheep show, a fiber arts show, tons of vendors selling every kind of fiber (and yarn) imaginable, and lots of demos all day long. It was so fun to visit a part of our lives that we have mostly left behind (she no longer has her sheep, and I don’t sell fiber. I do still spin and knit a bit.)

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It is so fun for us to go through the sheep barns. BF connected with an old friend who had bought her flock years ago. And she got to see the great great granddaughter of one of her sheep win Grand Champion Ewe in the show!!

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I was fascinated by these sheep–look at the length of that fleece! They are called Teeswater sheep and are a fairly recent import into the United States.

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I love the little Shetland sheep. That is the breed I would have if I were ever to get sheep. Their dainty little legs are so cute, and they come in a million colors and coat types.

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We went back Saturday for one more look. They were giving a sheepherding dog demo that day. I think you can see the intensity of this dog as he worked with the sheep. They explained that the shepherd occasionally gives the dog a ‘down’ command just to give the sheep a break!

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And then it was off to the coast for future life! I can assure you that this will only be the future life of my BF and her husband–they are now scuba divers! I don’t even like getting my face wet. Going 30 feet down is not gonna happen! But it sure was fun to go over to the coast. Sunday morning we dropped her husband off at the designated scuba site, and then we visited a few more quilt shops (surprise, surprise).

This is the jetty where the scuba divers go into the water. Climbing over all those rocks is another reason I will never be a scuba diver!

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My BF. She said, “I guess scuba diving is not a spectator sport.” LOLOL.

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It was a fabulous peaceful day.

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And then it was time to come home to my little doggies. I love traveling, but I’m always happy to come home these days.

 

Hello Again

Hello again. Sorry ’bout that. I had a this ‘n’ that post almost written before I left for a little visit with my BF, but I ran out of time. We had a great time together–it was more of a VAcation than a STAYcation this time. We usually hole up in her studio and quilt all day-every day when I visit, but this time we were in the car every day going here and there. It was a lot of fun, and I have loads of pictures to share with you, but I’ll get to that in the next few days.

So here’s what happened BEFORE I left. I had a very fun blogger meet-up with old blog buddy Juice (well, SHE’s not old. She’s one of my oldest blog friends. Oh dear, that didn’t come out right either. I’m sure you all know what I mean…) Anyway, we got together for a crafting day! Me with my quilting, and her with her cross-stitch.

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Chloe is her wonderful little dog–quite the personality, and if I remember right, she was going to run for president, but “no thumbses.” Noah volunteered to be her running mate.

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Juice lives in an apartment complex, but its like a walk in the country–lots of duckies and squirrels there.

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Chloe is quite the squirrel hunter.

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(Can you see the stupid brave squirrel up there giving her the eye?)

And Juice knows me well. The day ended perfectly with a visit to Pinkberry!!

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(LOL, we ate our froyo before we remembered to take a pic.)

I don’t make this blueberry topping too often. But I sure enjoy it when I do! This time I followed Lori’s directions, and at the end added a little of my sugar free syrup. It made a perfect topping for my protein pancakes.

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While we’re on the topic (we were discussing “blue,” right?,) here’s a picture of my favorite blue flower. I think they’re morning glories, but the nurseries label them “blue dawn flower.” I think that is a sales gimmick. Whatever, I love them.

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I know I haven’t been posting as often lately. Besides this latest trip, it is mostly because I am working so much on my art quilts. I have had lots of inspiration and ideas lately. I think its important to work when the inspiration is there. Sooner or later it will wane. And then you will probably see more posts from me!

The end.

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AIM: Road Maintenance

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This month’s topic is incorporating travel into a weight maintainer’s life. How DO you do that? I suspect that for many folks its like it is for me–enjoying good food has been a HUGE part of traveling. I have actually written quite a bit about this on my blog–you can click on “vacation” or “travel” if you’d like to read more of my musings.

From the time I was a little kid and we took family vacations, having “treats” was always a big part of travel. And then, to be truthful, as you get heavier and heavier, some of the other pleasures of travel are too difficult to enjoy, so you are limited ever more to just enjoying the food.

So pleasure eating and travel are still very linked in my mind. I sometimes spend a great deal of time thinking about this (see the large number of posts written about vacation and travel!)

Luckily, actually PLANNING food for travel does not take that much time. I’ve come up with a number of strategies over the years, depending on the destination and the mode of travel.

If I am driving, and my destination is a motel, its pretty easy to pack an ice bag with a few favorite foods. I almost always try to get a motel with a refrigerator and a microwave in the room. If its too hot, or its too far to take an ice bag, I get directions via the internet to a grocery store in the town I’m heading to. Come to think of it, visiting new grocery stores has become a kind of replacement for ‘vacation treats.’ Of course, you can still get in trouble in a grocery store! I like to have breakfast food and dinner or lunch “snacks” available in my room.

If I am flying, I really try to plan foods that I can eat during the travel days. Airport food is generally pretty dismal, and also very expensive. Plus, depending on your layover time, and how far you have to run through the airport, there can sometimes be NO time to get anything. Non-melting protein bars, fruit, baby carrots, and my new love, jerky, work great for this. I have packed protein bars, nuts, and even those little containers of half and half for my coffee when I was traveling to Africa and Haiti!

Another thing I do is to research area restaurants. I have some favorites (Baja Fresh) and am always glad when one is nearby. Most restaurants have their menus and nutritional information online, so its pretty easy to do this too.

But here’s the thing. Food, when we travel, is not going to be exactly the same as when we’re at home. I don’t even want it to be. I want to enjoy a few special flavors that I don’t normally even keep in the house. As time has gone on, I have become more confident that I would return to my healthy eating habits when I return home. In fact, by the end of most trips, I can HARDLY WAIT to get home. Vegetables are always the thing I miss the most. No matter how many salads you eat, its still not the same.

So do I gain weight when I travel? Yep, I usually do. Is it that much weight? No.

I do not weigh myself the minute I get home. That is just useless information. Even with car travel, you tend to retain a little water, because your schedule is just not the same as it was. I weigh myself about a week after I return to see how much I actually gained, and continue to eat my healthy diet. Eventually the weight comes off. For example, on my recent trip to Ohio (12 days total) I gained four pounds. Two and a half pounds have come off in the last two weeks. I’m happy with that.

The one thing I didn’t address was being active on a vacation. Truthfully, that has not been my recent experience. I try to get in some exercise, but the trips I have taken recently have not been planned around activity. I think it would be fun to take trips that were activity oriented, like bike trips, or like my BF is starting to do–scuba diving! But right now I am taking the same relaxed attitude about exercise that I do about the food. I am confident that I am going to return to my very active lifestyle when I return home, so I am not going to agonize over not getting in my quotient of exercise when I travel.

To read more about “Road Maintenance,” be sure to check out my friends and maintaining experts:

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!