Quilts and Maintaining

Okay, its a stretch, but hear me out.

When I go to the quilt show, I go primarily to see all the beautiful quilts.  To be inspired by their beauty, creativity, and workmanship.  But after I’ve been there for just a little while, I can start to get overwhelmed by the intricacy of the work. It is pretty common for the quilts nowadays to be very heavily quilted–microquilted, I just heard it called.  Here is an example of one of the quilts I really liked.  Pretty typical quilting.  Believe it or  not, some have even more threadwork on them.

And the thing is, I am never going to do this.  I know me.  I know how I work.  Too many ideas, too many colors in the world, to work continuously on one quilt long enough to do that type of work.  I could start to feel bad about myself.  But I don’t.  I just remind myself that I do a different type of quilting.  Tiny stitches do not necessarily equal beauty and value.

That is why I was particularly interested to see this next quilt at the show, hung in a place of honor, having won an award for something like ‘most innovative quilting.’  Most innovative quilting!  at a show FILLED with quilts COVERED in the most beautiful painstaking tiny stitches.  Again, this is not exactly something that I would do myself (can anybody say “not enough color?”) but still it was nice to see that there was room for ‘different’ in this major quilt show.

So that’s a little how I feel about deciding to maintain at 168 pounds.  Rather unusual in this bloggy weight loss/fitness/maintenance world.  Its way over my BMI.  Way over my W.W. goal weight (duh, they use the BMI charts.)  Its pretty ‘heavy’ for a five foot tall woman.

But after writing the last time about this, I thought a little more, especially about some of the comments you all made.  And I decided to see what it would be like to change the way I was thinking.  To actually think “My goal is to maintain my weight at 168 pounds.”

I like it, for the most part.  I didn’t change the way I ate.  I still eat mostly clean, whole foods, foods that I have prepared myself.  I still plan my meals ahead of time.  I still eat minimal sugar and wheat.  I still try to wait until I am hungry to eat, and try not to eat to ‘overfull.’

I still exercise just as much.   When I have time, I exercise a lot.   Its weird that I don’t really say/think that I love exercise.  But I miss it when I don’t have time to do a lot.  I’ve gotten used to multiple walks a day, and when I don’t get to the gym for a while, I really miss it.

But here’s the part I guess I am working on the most.  Changing the way I identify myself.   I’m having a hard time trying to come up with the right words.  Something along the lines of ‘an older woman who is overweight but still reasonably attractive, who exercises not in the hopes that her body shape will change or become smaller, but to stay strong and healthy and flexible and mobile.’ Oh.  And who has a normal BP, cholesterol level, and blood sugar level.  Reminds me of the song “I Don’t Want Much, I Just Want More .”

Even without a TV, its hard not to compare yourself with the ‘American ideal.’  I still have thoughts sometimes about being thinner [and younger…]  But just like my quilting, my body can be different but just as good.

I spent a bit of time yesterday reviewing information in a couple of books, both written by doctors.  I don’t agree with everything they said, but by and large, they present a lot of good information about long-term  weight loss maintenance.  The first was ‘Refuse to Regain’ by Dr. Barbara Berkeley.  In her chapter on metabolism, she writes that your metabolism is mostly a function of three things:  your size, your age, and your sex.  Yes, your metabolism was faster when you were heavier, just by virtue of the fact that you were larger.  And yes, your metabolism slows down as you age (bahhh!)  And your sex just because men have generally a bigger muscle mass than women.  (A very good reason for us ‘older women’ to work out with heavy weights.)   Then she says this:

Most POWs (previously over weight) do not take their new, smaller body size into account after a diet.  They generally don’t realize that this new body is going to need lots fewer calories to run.  While most post-dieters try to eat healthier, they don’t significantly reduce calories when compared to what they ate before. This is one of the major reasons they regain weight.

That’s why I always say to people, make changes that you can do for the rest of your life.  Choose foods that you can continue to eat for the rest of your life.  Exercise in a way that you can continue for the rest of your life.

The second book was The End of Overeating, by Dr. David Kessler.  In his chapter on Food Rehab, he makes this statement:

[For some people] the greatest challenge comes after reaching   their sought-after weight, when they recognize that their struggle   will never be completely over and that the battle with conditioned hypereating is lifelong.  Accepting those realities helps to keep you vigilant.  Keeping relapse at bay is not about being strong enough to beat the temptation of eating stimulating food, but about being smart enough to deal with it.

I think I’ll end there.  I’ll be back tomorrow with some of the quilting that I am working on now.  I didn’t see anything like it at the show, which is actually kind of neat.


Quilt Show!

Finally, a little picture show from the Pacific International Quilt Show that I attended a few weeks ago.  Like I said, I took 200 pictures of the quilts.  Don’t worry, I won’t show them all.  I usually go through the show, and take a full shot of each quilt that I like, and then one or two close-ups to show the details of stitching or piecing or quilting.  Here are a few of the pictorial quilts that I really liked.  (p.s.  you know you can click on the photos a couple of times to see them larger, right?)

The theme of the quilt show was “Escape,” and this was her interpretation of that–how she escapes through working on her art–the background is all that she imagines while she is sketching.  I want to live in her dream!


This next one I love!  Oh heck, I love all of these quilts.  I am not a giant fan of the sea, but I do love the rocky structures along the shore.  This was not a ‘real’ place, but a place she pictured in her mind.


This next quilt was one I saw several years ago, by a well-known quilt artist from Australia, Gloria Loughman.  I love her work, her imagination, her use of color, and the detail she adds with stitching.

Ooh, I LOVE this next quilt!  I don’t think I even saw it until the last day I was there.  I love old barns anyway, but the way this artist captured details of broken windows and old barn siding is really special.


More quilt show tomorrow.  Now for the important stuff–more about me LOL.  Here’s a shot of one of my favorite breakfast or snack meals.  Plain old yogurt and plain old muesli.  Yummy, nutritious, and satisfying.  That’s Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, but you can make your own.  My mom likes mine better than Bob’s.  I like Bob’s better because it is chewier.   Just start with oatmeal (or you could use a mixed grain cereal, and add some of your favorite stuff–nuts of all sorts, sunflower seeds, raisins or craisins, dried fruit, etc.  I really like the date bits in it.  I have found these occasionally at grocery stores or specialty shops–bits of dates rolled in ground oats so they don’t stick to anything.

I got an urge to make broccoli beef (had some already cooked steak in the freezer) so I googled ‘broccoli beef, healthy recipe’ and came up with this one. I didn’t have hoisin sauce, so I googled ‘hoisin sauce substitute’ and found this.  Man, you can find  anything out there!   I pretty much followed the recipe as is, only I added carrots.  As much as I like carrots, I can see why broccoli beef is a classic, and broccoli-carrot beef is NOT.   Very tasty, not something I would have every day.

This morning Sophie was in her element.  On my lap, that is.

She is cute, isn't she?

Its nice to be adored by the Queen...

New Recipe

There’s a new healthy recipe over on debby loves to cook.  Its called Zucchini-Carrot Cake Custard Oatmeal.  Takes longer to say the name than to eat the bowl of cereal.  Well not really.  If you eat that fast, you might consider chewing your food longer.  And come to think of it, this is a pretty chewy bowl of oats, between the zucchini, carrots, steel cut oats, and quinoa.  Let me know if you try it and you like it.  If you don’t like it, well, just tell all your friends.

Not much to look at, but like I said in the recipe, very tasty, and I feel so virtuous when I include veggies in my ‘breakfast’ foods.

Not much else to report today.  I worked an extra 6 hour shift, but as promised, Noah got two good walks in today.  I want you to know that I woke up at 6:30 and was out the door by 6:45, and walked for an hour.  Not at top speed, but still.  And raced home after work to get in a nice probably mile and a half walk before it got dark.  I’m not looking forward to the change back to standard time.  That will be dark too early!

Juice asked in the last entry if Noah couldn’t hold his own nylabone.  Yes he can.

Juice has the most eloquent dogs on the internet.  Her Chloe is going to run for president. Noah has thrown his hat in as a vice presidential candidate.  But as I said in the comments on her blog, he is no Jack Kennedy.

Poor Noah’s Birthday Presents

First of all, thanks for all the fun comments on the last post.  I think some of you understand my dogs better than I do.  Shelley gets the award for understanding Sophie the best (she is a former dachshund owner/lover.)  “Sophie:  Mom.  Mom. Mom. mom. mom. mom” I’m still laughing over that one.

So I filmed that yesterday because I had to work today, on Noah’s actual birthday.  And of all days, my babysitter was not available today.  That is a long day to leave a young energetic dog alone.  So when I got home at 9pm tonight, I threw his favorite plastic milk jugs out in the dark yard for him to retrieve.  Then I walked him around and around the yard in the cold with a flashlight for a while (had to be on leash–a little late for enthusiastic barking.)  He found a 12 foot stick–I’m not exaggerating–and carried it around for quite a while, until I was too cold and made him come inside.  Then I made the ultimate sacrifice.  I held his ‘toothpick’ (tiny nylabone) so he could gnaw on it for quite a while.  I don’t know why he likes this.  And amazingly, he has never bitten me when he is chewing.  But most of the time I won’t hold it for him.  You can’t really do much when one hand is covered in slobber.

I guess Noah doesn’t really know its his birthday.  He’s probably puzzled about why his mom was so nice and patient after work.  And tomorrow he will get at least two nice long walks.  Probably a short one with the house monsters too.

Happy Birthday Noah!

Today my little boy is one year old!  We both made it through this year in one piece.  My dad always says he thinks God brought Noah into my life to teach me patience.  Okay…

Anyway, to celebrate his birthday, I thought I ‘d make a little video to share with you.  Before you watch the video, I want you to know that there was no rehearsal, and it was completely unscripted.  There was not a second take either.


Yep.  Today was the day.  Had to get my physical exam, or as I like to think of it, the day I got to  get a large pinkberry yogurt.  I won’t bore you with the details, and hey, I didn’t take my camera in there with me.  But once again, very proud of my blood pressure, 116/60, heart rate 65, and even my weight was down 1 1/2 pounds from last month’s visit.  They measured me this time, and I am exactly 5 feet tall.   I’ve lost a half an inch somewhere along the way.

Here’s my pinkberry.  I was kind of mad at myself for getting the granola, because they put way too much on, and it wasn’t that good.  I actually dumped most of it off, which almost resulted in me losing the yogurt too!  Pinkberry is the best frozen yogurt I’ve had.  And I think I can safely say I’ve tried most of the frozen yogurt shops in Northern California!

Before I left for the doctor, Noah and I got out for a nice long walk.  That storm yesterday dumped 5 1/4 inches of rain on us!  But this morning the sun was trying to peek through the clouds, and there was some mist in the trees, which we don’t have too often.

That was a good walk.  Everything smelled so good after the rain.  Here’s the little stream by the mailboxes.  It was completely dried up just the day before.

After the yogurt and a visit to Henry’s (a store that’s like a cross between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) I headed home.  Got in a walk with all three dogs, and then took Noah for a third walk because he was pretty wound up!

I ate light before going, because I knew I was going to have the yogurt, and I planned on having a pear salad for dinner.  This salad was absolutely delicious–every bit as good as something you’d get in an upscale restaurant.  Yes, I’d know that because I eat in so many upscale restaurants.  Not.  Anyway, it is very satisfying to use really good ingredients and have a really nice salad sometimes.  That is something I wouldn’t let myself do when I was first starting to lose weight on Weight Watchers–too many points, I thought.  This was a small salad, maybe 225-250 calories.

Baby greens, Comice pear, blue cheese, and walnuts.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a very special video post!


Them there are my two little ‘cooking pumpkins’  on the back porch.  Can you see the four and a half inches of rain we’ve gotten today??????  Good gravy, I hate to complain, but do we have to go from near drought conditions to a flood in one day?  Really fun with two little dogs who think getting their feet wet is akin to walking across hot coals, and a big fuzzy doggie who doesn’t care how wet he gets, and is very restless without his usual two walks.  Okay.  I’m over it now.

Back to the pumpkin stuff.  I forgot to tell you the other day that I made a really good pumpkin smoothie.  Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture because, well because most pumpkin things just don’t look that appetizing to me.  But it was really tasty.  Here’s the recipe:  1 cup of whey (from draining my yogurt, you could probably substitute 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup water,) 1 cup almond breeze, about 1/2 cup pumpkin (that happened to be frozen,) 1 banana cube (about 1/2 frozen banana,) 1 frozen apple juice cube, and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.  Yum yum.   Didn’t need any added sweetener with the banana and apple juice.

Today I was restless (cabin fever) and came up with the idea of a pumpkin latte.  I think it was better than any I’ve gotten at coffee shops.  Okay, so I’ve only ever gotten one at a coffee shop.  This was darn good.

Here’s the recipe:  1/2 pkg. Starbuck’s Via iced coffee dissolved in about 1/3 cup of water, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, 2-3 Tbsp pumpkin, and about 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.  Heated this all in the microwave for two minutes, and then   put it in the blender to whirl it up  cause I think that’s what you’re supposed to do with a latte.  Topped with a little lite reddi-whip.  Mmmm mmm–tasted like pumpkin pie in a cup!

Well, that’s all the pumpkin news I have for now.  I did make Lori’s Pumpkin Cranberry protein bars, and they have been quite enjoyable.  I think I overcooked them, but I remedied that by putting a couple Tbsps of vanilla ice cream on top…

Here’s one of my favorite veggies and its so simple to cook.  Cut up carrots (you don’t have to peel them) and put in a cup with some Mrs. Dash and a little lite butter.  Microwave for 2 minutes, check them and then microwave a minute at a time after that until desired doneness.  I had the carrots with some zucchini and a small top sirloin steak for lunch.

Red pear for a snack.  Isn’t that pretty?  Tasty too.

Dinner was not particularly attractive, but quite tasty.  The cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and walnut combo, alongside some roasted cauliflower.

Well I’m hoping my internet quilt show will come on in 20 minutes, so I’ll sign off for now.  That reminds me that I still owe you a quilt show report. Maybe tomorrow.





The Day in Pictures

Well, not the whole day.  It was a drizzly day today.  Started the day with a delicious protein pancake and some antics from Mr. Monk.

Mr. Monk in a cupboard.


Mr. Monk sits on a pillow.

Classic Monk.

Noah and I headed out for dog training, which ended up being cancelled, so we went to town and did some chores.  I got a nice piece of fish for dinner, and I picked up a little can of those brisling sardines, which were more expensive than the fresh fish.  Hmmm…

Several walks with Noah (around the parking lot, and on the road before we got home) got some of his excess energy out, and we were able to enjoy the first fire of the season!


Can you see his 'eyebrows?' One black, and one white--I love it!

You know I love it when Noah sleeps.

Picture included just so there won't be "problems" with Sophie later.

For dinner, I pan-fried the fish.  If you get the pan nice and hot first (spray with Pam) you can get a nice brown crust on the fish.  Spray the top side with a little more oil and flip.  Perfection!  I had some of the leftover brussel sprouts and some delicious sweet potato tidbits prepared by Vicky.  Dinner in six minutes!  Now that’s what I call cooking LOL!

All in all, it ended up being a really nice day.  Hope you all have just as nice a weekend!