Thought I would go through and answer a few questions from the comments of the last few posts.  Sometimes I have time to answer in the comments, but sometimes, especially if I am at work, I just don’t get it done.

Wendz commented that my life appears tranquil and calm.  Several of you have commented on this at various times.  It always surprises me.  Because that is always a goal of mine.  It just doesn’t seem like I have quite achieved that yet.  I think I want tranquil and calm with a magically clean house and yard.

Here’s one of my most favorite verses about that life:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.  I Thes. 4:11-12

Lynn and Shelley commented about the handweights under the woodstove…well, truth be told, that’s just where they live. There are actually 3 sets of weights around the wood stove–12 pound, 8 pound and 5 pound.  I’m kind of stubbornly refusing to put them away.  But I really don’t work out unless I go to the gym.

Liz asked for a recipe for the fiber doodles, and Jill just giggled at them.  I don’t have a recipe for any of Vicky’s creations.  Sometimes I can look around the internet and find something similar, but so far I haven’t found anything like this.  Most of Vicky’s recipes are pretty complex (meaning they have more than five ingredients) so I just prefer to buy them from her.

When I posted the picture of Sophie, I thought to myself ‘I bet Shelley notices the red spot on her nose.’ Shelley, I am going to take up a collection to get you a dachshund!  I guess Paco the Wonder Dog wouldn’t think too much of that idea, would he?  Anyway, I think Sophie got that little boo boo by trying to move a fence.  I keep her and Monk in the kitchen with an exercise pen.  I used to have it just stuck behind a cabinet to keep it in place.  And then they started getting out.  I finally put them in there one day when I was at home, and I watched her nosing the pen little by little out of the way.  So then I bolted it to the wall.  I think that’s when she scraped her nose.

Regarding my ‘I’m in a funk’ post, I ended it with “I’ll bet people in Africa never get in a funk.” And Shelley commented

“Nah, I bet even the people in Africa get funky. “Did the cheetah just eat the little deer with the spot on his head? Oh man, that was my favorite!” – things like that.”

I got a belly laugh out of that one.

Quite a few of you had some very funny captions for the lady lion in the last safari post.  I thought you’d get a kick out of this last photo–a lady lion’s version of a bubble bath!

So today was such a terrific day.  My BFF visiting from Oregon, and she snuck one day away from her family so we could spend the day together.  We both really needed it.  We had a day full of good conversation, good food, and of course, quilt shops!

Started the day out at a Starbuck’s where we both got skinny vanilla latte’s.  That was quite a treat.  Because literally 99 times out of a hundred I just get a cup of coffee.  That’s actually what I prefer.  And  yes, I whipped an apple out of my bag and ate it there!

We have so much fun shopping the quilt shops together.

Here’s a great food victory.  Originally I had said ‘I want to go to Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake.’  Because one time we went there together and had such a fabulous time.  But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to eat there.  It would have been thousands and thousands of calories, and except for the cheesecake, I don’t even like their food very much.  I thought and thought. And then I remembered another restaurant that was right in the same area we would be shopping.  They hand make salads for you while you wait!  So we went there and each had a fabulous salad!  At least 4 veggie servings, I ‘m guessing.  We hit one more quilt shop, and ended the day with more conversation and some froyo!  What a perfect day.  The only thing missing was ‘pajama time.’  We love to go home or back to our hotel room when we are traveling, and put our pajamas on and look over our treasures and sew together.

I stopped at Costco, and got a few supplies–cherries and blueberries and pears for me, and doggie food and biscuits for the dogs.  I also got a giant container of Fage Greek yogurt for about half the price of the regular stores.  And I picked up a box of ‘Healthy Choice Fudgecicles.’  Here’s my review:  DON’T BOTHER.  They tasted kind of grainy to me.

Home again, and I wasn’t hungry, and I was not in the mood to cook.  So I’ve eaten a little bowl of  baby carrots and another little bowl of cherries while I was writing this.  I’m gonna end this epistle and finish out the evening with a little Dog Whisperer and some of that Greek yogurt.  If I’m still hungry, I’ll have a pear, and that will bring my total to 3 fruits and 5 veggies for the day!


The Way It Went

So here’s how my day went.  It seems like you can’t predict 100% how a day is going to go, you know?  But I went to bed with a plan in mind–the whole ‘eat your fruits and veggies thing’ and also a plan to do housework of some kind until noon, and then I could do what I wanted the rest of the day.  I have been letting the housework thing defeat me lately.

So today was one of those days that just worked!  In spite of getting a late start, I got a LOT done around the house, and finished up by noon.  And I let myself sit on the couch and watch a few episodes of the Dog Whisperer while I worked on a couple of quilts.

Foodwise, it worked too!  I decided to do today a la Pubsgal, and photograph everything I ate.  Started out with a wonderful bowl of custard oats, topped with some ‘honey caramel’  and some walnuts.  I am really enjoying the old fashioned oats cooked in almond breeze.  Very creamy.  That honey caramel is decadent.  I thought when I bought it that it was just some honey that tasted like caramel.  But as soon as I actually tasted it I thought, ruh roh, there’s something more in there.  So I called the maker and she very nicely told me there was some cream and brown sugar in there.  I will be using this stuff very sparingly…

Mid-morning snack of some big cherries.  I look forward to these great cherries from Chile every January and February.

Pre-lunch snackie of some baby carrots, while I waited for my beets to roast.

Big bowl of baby greens with Wendz’s great salad dressing, topped with roasted baby beets, goat cheese w/cranberries, and walnuts.

And a couple of ‘fiber doodles,’ one of Vicky’s new creations.  They have no sugar in them, and are only very mildly sweet.  Full of good stuff–applesauce, bananas, prunes, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, psyllium fiber.  Quite yummy and satisfying.

Mid-afternoon snack of a small fuji apple with some of that Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter, and a cup of coffee.

Dinner was a big artichoke with a tablespoon of light butter, and

that balsamic tomato chicken stuff over 3 ounces of boiled red potatoes.  Have to admit I was really looking forward to this, but I preferred it over the vegetables last night.

Had to prepare dessert ahead of time so I could include it in this blog.  Half a d’anjou pear with 1/3 cup of yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon splenda.

I made it!  Five veggie servings and three fruit.  It was a VERY satisfying food day.  I just don’t know if I can keep it up (and for sure I will not keep up the photographic evidence) but it is a good exercise, and I plan to keep it up for a week.  There  will be a couple of tricky days in there, but I’ll just do the best I can.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much Noah has changed (and how much I have changed.) I want to go back when I have some extra time and read all the craziness blogs I wrote about growing up with him.  When I see him in the house, laying next to the wood stove, and NOT being too hot, it just surprises me.  There was a period of time when I thought he was too hot in the house.  Now I think he was just anxious.

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s still a lot of work to do.  You see there is still a leash attached in most of the pictures.  And there is a lot of collar putting on and taking off all day.  And my yard pretty much looks like…well, it kind of looks like a giant doggie playpen.  But most days are very peaceful around here.  And every evening we enjoy a nice quiet relaxing time, quilting and watching a movie, or reading blogs and such.

Mr. Monk is the king of relaxation.

The Queen?  Not so much.  But she did grace us with her presence this evening.  Probably because the bed is freshly made–too ‘stiff!’


Lynn wrote a blog about maintenance that is very good.  I have been thinking A LOT about how its still such a lot of work, and sometimes (like now) I feel like I’m just hanging on by a fingernail.

And Wendz and I seem to be on the same wavelength regarding fruits and veggies and whether or not a day is going  to go exactly as planned.

So that’s the way the day went.  Tomorrow is a work day, and then Sunday I get to see my BFF, who is down here visiting family!  Have a great weekend everybody!

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Well, lucky for me, my funks are usually very short-lived.  Enjoying a great evening of food and fellowship with my friends was good therapy. It helped that I had my pictures of Africa on a CD so I could share that with them.  We watched a great sermon by this guy (I know.  But that’s what we do for fun.)  Had a great discussion after it was done.

So today while I was in a boring class, I was listing what I had eaten for the day, and I noticed again that I am not getting anywhere near the amount of veggies that are recommended.  The whole Weight Watcher’s thing is only partly why this is on my mind.   There was that study from the Nutrition Action Healthletter that I quoted a while ago.  Anyway, I am going to try to eat at least 5 veggies and 3 fruits every single day for a week and see if it changes the way I eat overall.  I have a theory that fruits and veggies are self-limiting.  In otherwords, after a while, you don’t want to eat so many of them any more.  I think that’s why W.W. can make them 0 points.  Anyway, that has been my experience in the past.  After a while I want something harder or chewier than fruits and vegetables.  Thus the increase of grains in my daily diet.  But I also know that I have changed other food habits in my life and become happy and satisfied with those changes.  Its worth a try.

So the pictures today have very little to do with my fruit/vegetable theory.  They are just what I had on the camera for the last day or two.

I wanted some roasted veggies (because that is the easiest way to cook vegetables, it seems.)  I didn’t have anything but these carrots, but that sounded very tasty to me.  WRONG.  I only ate a couple.   The rest went in the garbage.  They had a weird plastic-y taste to them.  Has anyone else experimented with roasted carrots?

This is that Fabulous Quinoa Breakfast. You guys have to try this!  Its simply…well, its fabulous!  I had a really big Cameo apple that I used in it.  Not quite as sweet as a Fuji, but very tasty.

Ooh, this was dinner tonight.  Also quite fabulous.  I’m glad I made a big recipe–6 servings.  Its that Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes that Mizfit reviewed.  I’m not going to post the recipe on my site, because I followed the recipe almost exactly.  Except I didn’t serve it over pasta.  I had some sauteed onion/mushroom/zucchini that I served it over.  Very wonderful.  I also think it would be great over a baked or boiled potato.  Maybe even on top of a bed of lettuce. (Trying to be creative and get those veggies in.)  Anyway, it had a wonderful flavor to it.  I added a little oregano, basil, and garlic to the sauce, because I didn’t think the canned tomatoes had that much in them, and then I took the chicken out and cooked the sauce down a little bit longer to thicken it.

And here is my most favorite little boy, in the funniest position on the back of the sofa.


Hey thanks for the cheery comments, guys!  Had to share my success.  I decided to run to town (my little town,) to try to get a new CD to try.  First the grocery store.  No.  Then the pharmacy.  No CD’s.  So I went to the video store (thankfully I had two videos to return) and told him my tale of woe, and asked if he had one blank CD he would sell me.  He gave me one, and Eureka!  That was the problem.  Evidently three years in my closet is not a good thing for blank CD’s and DVD’s.  They should put an expiration date on them.

Gotta run now, to try and fit in a little walk with the doggies, and then to go see my friends WITH my pictures of Africa!


I know.  Its hard to believe that *I* could get in a funk.  By definition, I don’t think you can write in the middle of a funk.  Oh no, that’s not right.  There’s writers who have made a career out of writing while in a funk.  ANYWAY, for me,  that is the definition.  I am choosing to believe that the funk has ended, and things I will start looking up from now on.

It started yesterday at the dentist’s office.  Oh, you say, that is enough to put anybody in a funk.  I don’t think that’s what did it.  It was just a filling replacement, and except for about 2 minutes of anxiety and ‘almost’ pain, it was over quickly.  I think it was because it was in the middle of the day, which, for me, just throws the whole day out of wack.

I had actually walked Noah in the morning before I left, and I also hit the grocery store AND worked out really hard at the gym before I went to the dentist.  In fact, somewhere in the middle of yesterday afternoon I thought about writing a post about how enthused I was about working out hard with the weights and making progress and all.  But that all went out the window as the afternoon wore on.

So I came straight home from the dentist, and wanted to work on making a CD of my Africa pictures.  I am going to do a presentation at a women’s function in April, and I also wanted to share the pictures with some friends that I am going to visit today.  I chose 97 pictures, and figured out how to put them in a separate ‘album.’  Then I started trying to ‘burn’ a CD.  To be fair, I had trouble with this the last time I tried.  To make a long story short, and to prevent the rest of you from falling into a funk reading this, I was never able to burn the CD.  I tried so many different ways to do it.  I even made a ‘burn folder’ and tried to do it from there.  In the middle of all that, I thought, well, I’ll just have real pictures printed.  I tried multiple places/ways of doing that, and was unable to do that.  As a last resort at the computer, I thought, I’ll just check my bank account, and be done with it.  I know my bank account is good and that’ll cheer me up.  I typed my password in wrong THREE times, and ‘for security reasons’ they locked my account.

I gave up and watched a movie.  And ate.

Then, I tried again before I went to bed.  This time something else happened, and EVERYTHING on the computer was SO BIG that I couldn’t see the whole window of anythimg–internet, email, IPhoto–NUTHIN’.  Oh it was maddening.

So this morning I waited impatiently for 8am so I could call my BF and ask her how to fix things.  And she patiently told me to call Apple.  Again.  Why have I resisted calling them for so long?  They were so nice and personable.  Fixed the screen problem immediately, and gave me a few ideas about how to fix the CD burning problem.

In the meantime, the funk had already taken hold.  You know, where nothing you DO seems good enough, you don’t DO enough,  pretty soon YOU are not enough.  And soon enough, I just wanted to eat my way through it.  Everything I ate this morning was healthy.  That’s a comfort.  Its noon and I’ve only eaten 930 calories.  Oh well.

So I checked out a few blogs, and PJ had a great one titled If Not Food,  What? She had a whole list of things I could or should do.  I am going to choose to ignore the things I should do today.  Give myself a day off and do the things I could do.  Which is writing this blog to connect with you all and laying on the couch quilting and watching a movie.

I’ll bet people in Africa never get in a funk.

Safari, The End

[Previous Africa posts:  Here We Go,    Kawangware,  Safari Begins,   Safari Continues.]

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, I opened the patio doors to see this sight.  People were hot air ballooning on safari!  (We didn’t do that.  But it was cool to see.)

Had one more great meal, where I heard the young’un’s talk about seeing a hippopotamus about 30 feet from the pool at the resort!  More good coffee, and we were off.  All the guys were talking about, “if we could just see a male lion, that would be so perfect.”  I KNOW.  Can you believe that was one of the first things we saw???  Yeah, we actually saw two male lions and one female.  Ruh roh.  So right away after our three vans pulled up, the one male and the female moved away from us.  Never fear, our trusty van drivers just went over a hill and around a curve and found them again.  They didn’t seem particularly pleased to see us.

The female got up and moved again, and she moved by going right between two of the vans.  I am not kidding.  They were about two feet from either van when they walked through.

Our driver explained that it was mating season, and the other male lion that we had seen was ‘the loser.’  He stayed behind this hill and kept an eye on everything that was going on.  It was just like you see in the nature movies.

And yes, they ‘did it.’  (Picture edited for my G-rated blog)  It was the end of the mating  season, our guide explained, so there really wasn’t much to it.  But if you must know, our guide said that they mate for an entire week, up to 72 times a day, and they don’t eat for the entire week.  No comment.

Now that I review these pictures, it seems like we saw more ‘activities’ this day than the others.  Here’s a young warthog nursing (ouch.)

We went back by the river and got to see a group of hippos out of the water.

We saw a lot of elephants this day.

Then, just when I thought we were through, the drivers suddenly turned to the left and took off!  We rounded a curve and saw this guy.  Yeah, another cheetah, kind of far away again.  But this time he was watching a whole herd of impalas or gazelles.  We watched him watching them for what seemed like forever.  Eventually most of them moved away.   But one of them looked like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights.  It just stood there, stock still.  Obviously sensed the cheetah.  We watched this for another long time.

And then the strangest thing happened.  A big warthog came trotting across the plain, right between the deer and the cheetah, and climbed up this small hill, turned around and stationed himself right there, like he was doing something really important.  I tell you, it was like watching a great drama unfold.

And then, all of a sudden, the cheetah sprang!  Of course, immediately he was out of sight of our vans.  The drivers took off and found the cheetah right away.  And even though I hate watching ANYTHING be killed, I wouldn’t let myself look away.

When the poor little deer was all dead, he put it down and just watched it.  The driver said he had to recover from his exertion, and also had to watch out for hyenas.  Just like the nature shows!

He really is a magnificent animal, isn’t he?

Later on our driver was explaining that the warthog provided confusion and distracted the deer so that the cheetah was able to take advantage of the situation.  I asked him, “But what was the warthog doing?   And he said, “Oh, he was just being silly.  That is what warthogs do.”

The end.  And just like our host had said, we certainly did see how God blessed Africa with something that He did not give to Europe!


Just a little note on what I am doing.  After getting back from Africa, I decided to start tracking my food carefully and honestly, to try to get off the post-Christmas/travel weight.  Here’s what that looks like at my house:

That’s it.  Stop it!  Don’t try to decipher my shorthand system.   And don’t look too close.  You might see some stuff on there that I say I don’t eat too often…  Saturday was a work day and Wednesday was a work day.  You can see the problems on those days.  Sunday was fine, I just wrote what I ate somewhere else.  Yes, I wrote it on the church bulletin.  It keeps me from obsessing about what I am going to eat that day.

Anyway, didn’t mean to go on about it that way.  Just wanted to say its not that hard to keep track of what you’re eating.  That piece of scrap paper stays on the side of the fridge with a magnet, and I always have a pen in the kitchen.  I try to keep the calorie book there too.  Most of the time I don’t need the book.  Either the calories are on the container, or I know them by heart.  When I am being careful and honest like this, I will usually think twice before I take a few extra walnuts.  And it helps me to decide ahead of time what I will eat later in the day (depending on whether I eat heavy or light earlier in the day.)

So originally, I had a goal of 1300 calories  per day.  Remember I am only 5 feet tall, and I am old, so my metabolism isn’t as fast as you young’uns.  I also know I am satisfied (not that hungry) if I eat 1300 nutritious calories.  I also have another theory about calorie counting (or whatever kind of counting you are doing.)  So even if someone says, ‘1300 calories is not enough for you,’ but you are not hungry, there is the possibility that your counting is not exactly accurate, but it is a consistent method of counting.  And if you are losing a small amount of weight somewhat consistently, I don’t think you have to worry that you are eating too little.

Anyway, you can see on there that I usually went over my goal of 1300 calories.  I was a little glum about that this morning.  But I remembered something Vicky had done one time.  I added up the whole week’s worth of calories and divided by 7, and my average daily calorie intake was 1550.  I was pretty pleased with that.

I’ve had a little trouble getting to the gym this week (as in, just couldn’t make myself go) but I have had some killer walks with the dogs, pushing myself to make it more of a cardio workout.  With the hillwork, I was really feeling the effects the next day.

Today I went to a quilt shop and then out to lunch with a couple of friends.  Went to a new restaurant, and I was so happy with my choice–had a delicious salad, ordered the ‘small’ size (which, come on, is never all that small) and we split a small order of sweet potato fries between the three of us.  NO DESSERT.  NO COFFEE DRINK.  Not that there’s anything  wrong with that.  Just that when I’m trying to lose weight, it doesn’t work for me, because I still want to eat something or other for dinner when I get home.

Here’s a couple of links to blogs that I really appreciated this morning:  Helen talked about the difference between having a single moment that ‘clicks’ for you vs. reaching for a goal. That made a lot of sense to me.  And Vickie wrote about the difference between ‘being nice’ and ‘having grace.’ Also resonated with me.

Allright, sayonara mes amis!  Here’s a preview of the next blog.

Food and NWCR

Sorry to interrupt the safari.  I gotta talk about regular stuff for a while!  First of all, I finally joined the National Weight Control Registry!  I know, a little late to the game.  I just never got around to filling out the form online.  Thanks to Debra SY for her encouragement.  I got the preliminary forms in the mail (it is actually a research project, so you have to sign a lot of stuff, which was a little intimidating.)  But I finished up, and they had you fill out a stats page and before and after pictures.  This was actually really encouraging to me, so I thought I’d share it here on the blog.

Current weight: 168

Date I first reached and maintained this weight: July 2006

Highest weight I have ever been: 262 pounds (I have never ‘claimed this weight on the blog before–always use 255.5, because this is the weight I was when I started this last trip down the scale.  But I did indeed see 262 on the scale for a bit of time…)

Lowest weight you have been: 155 pounds

Date you first reached this lowest weight: November 2006

Some of you might not know my recent history.  Since reaching 155 pounds I have gone back and forth between that weight and 168.  I made a decision to maintain at 168 in October 2010 and wrote about it here and here.  Gotta admit, its not easy to maintain at any weight.  And I am still thinking about going back down to that lower weight of 155.  We’ll see what the new year brings.

Anyway, along with the survey and the consent form, the NWCR asked for photographic proof of weight loss, and I scrolled through my millions of photos to find these two to share with them:

Now that’s encouraging.  Especially since I’ve been saying from the start of the Africa trip that I feel old and fat.

If anybody is not familiar with the National Weight Control Registry, they are a group of doctors who mostly gather information from successful weight loss maintainers, and share that information so that others might be able to successfully lose weight and maintain that weight loss.  Yes, the information is pretty basic, but I have used that information myself as the basis on which I lost the weight, believing I would have to make those changes permanent in my life in order to have permanent weight loss.  Some of their basic research findings are reported here. These are the findings that I took to heart.  They encourage me every time I read them, because I have embraced these changes, and these changes have helped thousands of people to successfully maintain a weight loss.

  • 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
  • There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.
    • 78% eat breakfast every day.
    • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
    • 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
    • 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

Eating breakfast:  Changed from being proud that I didn’t eat until 1pm, to embracing breakfast as my most favorite meal of the day!  Most days I eat 500 calories before noon.

Weighing:  Well, I’ve flip flopped on this.  After my scale broke, I did not replace it, which I believe is a good decision.  I weigh myself at the gym at leasst once a week, which for me is a good checkpoint.  Because sometimes I ‘feel’ fat and start to obsess in a not so good way.  For me this works.

Less TV?  Ha, didn’t remember this one, but I have NO television!  Of course, I have replaced that somewhat with the internet and movies.  But my time is more flexible now–not tied down to watching a certain show at a certain time every day (waving goodbye to Oprah…)

Exercise:  Every time I read that stat about most maintaining their weight loss through walking as exercise it cheers me up!   But the 1 hour a day really got me down in the beginning.  That is a serious investment of time.  Now, it just seems like it is part of my life.  I might not get in one hour every single day, but the average is pretty darn close.

As the Mary Richards song goes, You’re gonna make it after all!

And now for the foodie news.  Here’s some of my latest eats.  Will post recipes over on the other blog later today.

A great salad:  I made those great oat bran muffins, and had some chopped apples and carrots left over  (this was the first time I used my mini food processor to grate the carrots–whee!  very fast!)  so I added these to baby greens, that goat cheese and cranberry stuff that is so good, and just an ounce or so of chicken.   Used my usual combo of mustard/olive oil/syrup/balsamic vinegar for the dressing.  YUMMM!!!

One of the fun parts of checking out new blogs is that they lead you to other new blogs.  I have been enjoying Wendz’s healthy cooking blog.  I checked out one of her links, Snack Girl, and she had an interesting substitution for kettle corn.  While this was not exactly like kettle corn, it sure was good!

Its always hard to share picture that look like, well, stuff other than food.  But I love this spackle so much, and it is so filling, I wanted to share my version of this recipe.  Originally I saw it on Pubsgal’s eating blog, and I think Mizfit also has a version.  It is a little like The Fitnessista’s breakfast cookie.  Anyway, I’ll share my version here.

And finally, a slow cooker healthy version of one of my oldest most favorite comfort foods, beef stew! This baby came in  at only 320 calories for a 2 cup serving!

My sweet boy, tired out from his vacation at the trainer’s!

I promise I’ll get those recipes up later in the day.*  Right now I have to get out and get that one hour of required exercise in–gotta maintain this weight loss.  The NWCR has my number now!  (*links already added!)

BTW, honest opinions–does the dark background of this blog drive you nuts?  Is it too hard to read?