Turning It Around

Yesterday I got into one of those moods.  I’d like to blame it on the dogs, who were a bit more rambunctious than normal.  (More than the normal amount of suspicious trucks going by.)  But now I’d say the ultimate culprit was myself.  Comparing myself to other people.  And of course, I can never measure up.  Because I am not them.  I am me.  It took a while to figure this out though.

My plans for the day included going to the gym, and doing a few other chores in town, including checking out the wardrobe I just bought!  (I couldn’t resist–a birds eye maple wardrobe for $50?!?)  But the wardrobe led to me looking around the house with a critical eye, and the clutter!  Oh, the clutter!

In the end, I did get quite a bit of the clutter taken care of–moved about, filed, stored away, put away, thrown away, given away.  And I always think wryly, after a session like this, that if any ‘normal’ person were to see my house after the de-cluttering, they would think OMGOSH, what was it like BEFORE?

In the meantime, my trip to the gym went by the wayside, and I was still in a pretty terrible mood.  Amongst the clutter I found an OLD copy of a paper that my dad had found worthwhile enough to type out and give to me many years ago.

Why this has escaped the trash during my de-cluttering episodes I don’t know.  Except that every time I find it, it is of such value to me that it goes back into one of the ‘stay’ piles.  So when I was done with the piles for the day, and had vacuumed (for the fourth day in a row.  I know that one of the problems is that every year at this time the dust REALLY gets to me,)   I sat down with a cup of coffee to read “A Means to Mental Health,”by Clyde S. Kilby.  It never ceases to put things in proper perspective for me, and so I have copied it and included it, for now, as a separate page as a reference for you all.  And then I called my brother to talk about myself LOL, and said I hadn’t gone to the gym, even though I knew it would make me feel better.  And he said, a couple of times, it really would make you feel better.

So I did something I NEVER do.  Cause, yeah, I’m retired now LOL.  I ate dinner, exactly what I wanted (cottage cheese with crushed pineapple and walnuts, and the ‘Strings’ salad–YUM YUM,) and then I went to the gym.  I did my circuit workout on the weights, and hit the pool for 30 minutes.  And treated myself to some spa time.  I’m not a chatter at the gym, but I struck up a conversation with a lady in the spa, and she had some great encouraging things to say about retirement.  Its so fun to hear positive comments about retirement from other people!

This morning I read a few more quotes that cheered me on:

From Loretta’s blog:

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.” –Edward Everett Hale

And from Gene Shepherd, a rug hooking artist (and my teacher at rug camp):

“My studio is not messy, its too small to contain my big ideas.”  Gene Shepherd.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

P.S.  I posted that berry-granola recipe





How to Lose Weight without Counting Calories or Using a Scale

I know some of you really chafe at the thought of counting and weighing.  I’m here to tell you there are a number of successful ways to lose weight without counting calories or points or even using a scale.  Really!  I did it and I’m ready to share my success secrets.  Between the years 1980 and 1982 I successfully lost 84 pounds using all of these methods.  My starting weight was 204 pounds, and I finished up at 124 pounds.  Which, BTW, for those of you who are not content with your current weight, or your lowest weight–I was not content at 124 pounds.  At 5′ 1/2″, my ‘goal weight’ was 110 pounds.  I doubt I would have been content at that weight either.  But I digress.  I wanted to share my secrets of success.  Here are the various methods I used to successfully lose weight without counting or weighing.

  • Liquid protein.  Quick and easy.  Forget what they say about not drinking your calories!
  • Eat only apples and walnuts until dinner.  Then you can have a normal dinner, and you can even have dessert.
  • The Atkins diet.  Mmmmm….cream.
  • Always skip breakfast.  And sometimes skip lunch.
  • Continue to decrease portions until you are having two pieces of okra, three string beans, and two bites of whatever meat is being served.  Okay, this sounds a little like counting,  but still.  Its a lot easier than checking out the calorie count in a little book (hey, we didn’t have computers back then.  Is that weird or what??)

You can use one of these methods or all of them (one at a time, of course,) and I GUARANTEE you will lose weight.

(Disclaimer:  I cannot guarantee how long you will keep the weight off using these methods, because by 1983  I had regained the 84 pounds plus an extra bonus 10 pounds.  I did not keep track of my methods for regaining the weight.  Somehow I didn’t think anyone would be interested in that ‘secret of success.’)


The Dogs Insist on Having a Say

And what all three of them are saying in these photos is:

“Was it really necessary to get that angry?”

In my defense, they were being really awful this morning.  They had already been fed.  I had spent some ‘quality time’ with them,   And finally, I had settled into my chair with a second cup of good coffee for my reading and prayer time.  I don’t know who started it, but between Sophie and Noah, an awful lot of noise and commotion ensued, and then Monk feels that he must mediate the fray, which only excites the other two even more…  lets just say some things were said that are not appropriate for prayer time…

An Ode to Salad

Salad, how do I love thee?

 Let me count the ways.

I’m finally in full salad mode–it takes me a while to move from the cooked veggies of winter to the ‘its too hot to cook’ salads of summer.  And I do love my salads!  Here  are just a few of the reasons why:

  • Instant gratification–Quick and easy to fix.
  • No cooking/less cleanup.
  • At least three servings of veggies!
  • Other food groups can be easily added –beans, meat, nuts, fruit, grains, even dairy!
  • Low cal to decadent–your choice!
  • Crunchability.
  • Take a long time to eat.
  • Inexpensive!

Some of my favorite salads are:

Barbecue chicken salad  (thanks, Lori!)–chopped chicken breast and chopped onions mixed with my favorite barbecue sauce, and served on top of chopped romaine lettuce, pepitos, carrots, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese cut into bite size pieces.  The bbq sauce replaces the salad dressing.

Salsa salad–chopped romaine and whatever veggies you want, along with some avocado, and usually chopped chicken.  The salsa is a very low calorie replacement for salad dressing.  I usually forego the cheese or chips.

Taco salad–see above, but add ground beef cooked in taco seasonings.  Mmmm.

The ‘everything salad’–I had this salad at Strings, and loved it.  Just chopped romaine (can you tell this is my current favorite) and whatever veggies you want, add in about 100 calories total of sunflower seeds and raisins.  Italian dressing or my favorite homemade combo of honey/mustard/balsamic vinaigrette/olive oil.

BEET SALAD!!  The poor beet.  You either love him or you hate him it seems.  I love beets so much I have a really hard time understanding anyone’s hatred of them, and feel an almost evangelistic fervor to try to convert some of you to the humble beet.  I like to roast my own beets (cut into large bite-size chunks, spray cooking sheet and beets with pam and sprinkle with sea salt, and roast for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, turning once halfway through.)  Serve over baby greens or spinach, along with goat cheese and walnuts.  Dressing of choice.  DIVINE!

Froyo news–

I continue to work on my home froyo creations.  This latest was my best batch ever, and was the result of “leaving town, must not waste yogurt.”  I took the last of my strained homemade yogurt, mixed with a bit of agave nectar, unsweetened shredded coconut, and some coconut extract, and just poured the mixture into an ice cube tray.  When I use my ice cream maker and then freeze the majority of what I have made, I noticed I had to “reprocess” it anyway to make it more like frozen yogurt.  So I thought, why not skip the middle step.

I put 5 cubes into my mini-processor, and honestly, it looked and tasted like real ice cream, only yogurty.  It had that mildly tart taste that I love about the commercial frozen yogurts.

Homemade coconut frozen yogurt!

The other thing I like about making my froyo at home is that I am much better able to control myself with the serving size and the amount of toppings.  Its like I pretend I don’t know how many calories those toppings have when I’m away from home.  Don’t quite know what’s up with that.

I tried a new recipe this morning.   Since I am in love with making my own granola now (thanks, Shelley,) I decided to make this recipe that I had on file.  I think its from Bob Green’s Best Life diet.  I made it exactly as directed, except for using my homemade granola.  Very delicious, and quite a reasonable calorie count of 127 calories per serving.  I’ll post this recipe later.

For breakfast I topped it with 1/3 cup of yogurt.  That was just right.

Project updates:

Here’s my doodle.  I think its starting to look like a painted crazy quilt block.

Not sure what else I am going to do with this.  I have some beads to try, but I’m a little scared to start with the beads.  Who knows where that might lead??

Close-up of this cross-hatching stitch.  I am quite enamored of this stitch and the possibilities for its use.

I just keep plodding along, filling in the sky background on the rug.  Its getting very pretty.  There is still a lot of sheep and foreground and borders to work on.

Lots more to say, but I’m going to break it up into several posts, so as not to get a reputation for the longest-winded blogger in the world!

Home Again, Home Again

Oh its good to be home again.  Except for the unpacking, the washing, the doggie smell to deal with, the dust.  Oh my, the dust.  Yes it is very dusty here in sunny California.  No misty mornings to keep everything looking nice and clean.

Well, you know I want to talk about the food.  I rented a little cottage for the five days I would be on Whidbey Island, so I could cook a bit and fix my own  breakfasts and lunches.  Plus, I love being able to spread out, even if it is only me.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but if you are interested, just google ‘vacation rentals.’   Many times the vacation rental is very closely priced to a hotel room.  I stayed at Cozy Harbor Cottage, and it was just as advertised. (Ha!  I googled cozy harbor cottage, and came up with a little place on the coast of Maine.  That just might be my next destination!)

Here’s the sign they had on the living room wall.  It proved to be an accurate prediction.

But let me backtrack just a wee bit.  I am pretty organized when I travel now, and there are two things I do consistently.  I try to take some of ‘my’ food with me.  And I google maps and directions for everywhere I am going to go.  Since I was flying this time, there was a limit to the food I could take.  But I decided I could take most of the fixin’s for my Spackle 2.0.  That stuff is a nice treat, and it definitely holds me from breakfast to lunch, which I figured might be important while I had my art quilting lessons each day.  So I packed a container of the oat bran/flaxseed meal combo, whipped up some walnut butter (figured it could be unrefrigerated for 24 hours,) and packed some walnuts and chocolate chips.  I also took a few ‘energy bars,’ which I don’t routinely use any more, but they are pretty good for traveling, and maybe a little better than a candy bar.  So using all my mapquests and directions, I found my way from the Seattle Airport to Whidbey Island, and I even took a side trip to a quilt shop (imagine that!)  The only wrong direction I took landed me right at the grocery store that Marianne had recommended, so I stocked up on food before I even got to the cottage!  Fruits and veggies, cottage cheese and yogurt, some honey and granola, and a couple of steaks as a treat for dinners.

I met Marianne for coffee shortly after arriving.  We had been corresponding by email for almost a year, and had only spoken on the phone once, but it was almost like meeting an old friend, similar to how it is when bloggers meet up.  [For those of you who have not been following along, Marianne is a quilt artist whose work I noticed in a magazine, and after corresponding for a while, I asked her if she would be willing to give me some private lessons.  So that is what this trip was all about.]

Okay, don’t worry, I am not going to give you a blow by blow of every second of my trip.  I did want to include the stuff about food to show that it is possible to travel and eat real food.  (BTW, finally saw that Oprah episode with Michael Pollan, where he ends with his famous statement “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”)

I LOVED Whidbey Island.  It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books, “Anne of Green Gables,”  which was about farm life on an island.

Here’s a scene along the shore early in the morning.  That dot of a bird was a very large heron, who was there every morning as I went by.

The town of Coupeville was very small, and quite charming.  Here’s a picture of some of the typical flowers in these Washington towns.  I thought Lori might like to see them.

Every day at lunch I took a walk.  Here’s just one of the scenes I saw.

Marianne had a beautiful perennial garden that was home to a LOT of beautiful birds, and also a mother deer with two fawns!  Isn’t this a lovely treatment–the way the tree is pruned makes a perfect frame of the bay beyond.

Another day I walked from Marianne’s house into a forest!

One day, after my lessons were over, I headed up to Deception Pass State Park, up at the top edge of Whidbey Island.  It was quite beautiful and wild.


I decided to take  a hike up to Gooseneck Point, which they SAID was only 1.2 miles.  Ha!  Of course, being a “Point” it was straight uphill the whole way to the top.  And when you don’t know where you’re going, did you ever notice it seems a lot farther?  halfway up they nicely provided this bench for us old folks.  Ha!  I didn’t need that.

Why, when you photograph a hill, does it never look as steep as it is in real life?

Here’s a little doodle I did at Marianne’s. The gold is a resist glue so you can paint on silk and the colors will remain separate.





And here are a few more views from my last lunchtime walk.


And with that, I left Whidbey Island for the next leg of my trip.  These ferries are quite common over there.  It sure is a different way of traveling–just drive your car onto the ferry.  I kept thinking I had to organize my stuff, but no, I could just leave it spread out in the car!

And a little teaser for those of you who might want to look at millions of garden/flower pictures–I went to Buchart Gardens, and I think I only took 300 pictures LOL.

Here is the little doodle after I painted it.  I have started stitching on it.  It will be a nice memento of my time with Marianne.  Marianne is a true artist, and was so generous in sharing her knowledge with me.  My brain is kind of overloaded with inspiration right now.  I’m sure it will all come out eventually.

Back home, I stopped last night for a few staples at Walmart.  I even made my first batch of homemade yogurt last night, and let it set all night–first time I have done that.  It came out great!  This morning, before picking up Noah, I went to the grocery store and got a BUNCH of great looking vegetables.  I’m back in business!