Who’s Hot?

Surely I’m not the only one TOO HOT this weekend. Adding to my hotness is the prediction of 6 days in a row from 103-110, and then it will cool all the way down to 98…

Yesterday two different people told me they were going out for froyo. Of course, that sounded divine to me. But not divine enough to get in the hot car and drive 20 minutes. Add that to my tendency to “overdo” when faced with frozen yogurt and all the toppings, and I decided I could make my own frozen yogurt treat.

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Yummy! I topped it with just a sprinkle of sugar free chocolate chips and a bit of muesli. I made myself add up the calories. About 265. Still a little less than the froyo place, and a whole lot more healthy, I think. Plus, I didn’t have to leave my little air conditioned haven.

Recipe: 2 banana cubes (about 1 small frozen banana,) 7 small frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup of plain low fat yogurt, a spoonful of splenda and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Whirled it all together in my mini-food processor. The only thing I would do differently is to put it in the freezer for a little while to make it a little firmer.

Stay cool, and come back tomorrow for more insights on the Adventures In Maintenance!

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Garden Report

Today MLG was here at 7am to do the last of the garden projects before it heated up. The weather report says it will be 106 by Sunday! We both worked on various projects for about 3 1/2 hours, and then declared ourselves well done.

I am still amazed at what MLG has been able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time.

Here are how the three beds looked this morning:

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(Do you see that little building there?) It used to be the ‘dog room,’ and has a chain link pen already attached to it. We talked about turning it into a chicken coop! I still need to consult Noah’s trainer about turning his ‘prey drive’ back into his ‘guardian dog drive.’

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(And see all that string and sticks outside the fence in the picture above?) That is our makeshift attempt to keep the deer from eating my tomato plants! My green beans that I grew from seeds are in the front there!

And here’s the new retaining wall/bed he built this morning–sorry, I had to take the picture through all the fences/tomato cages.

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He got this Campydown Elm planted in the ground. I can hardly wait for it to fill out. It is a really beautiful tree.

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And here are the doggies checking out everywhere MLG has been. Oh, he also went to the nursery and got those chips to fill in that pathway. It was a real dust bowl.

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And one last picture to share with you. A few weeks ago I saw a mother bird going back and forth to someplace over the front door. I figured she had a nest with babies up there somewhere. And then a few days ago, this little nest was on the ground outside the front door. I’m hoping all the babies had flown away and so it just fell down. Can you see what its made of?

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At least 50% of it is made from Noah’s hair!! I knew that stuff would come in handy someday LOL.

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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Change

Why is change so hard for so many of us? I’m talking specifically about the change needed for long-term sustained weight loss. I read a book recently (actually it was the kindle sample of the book!) that gave me an aha! moment in regards to this problem.

The book was Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard, and it was recommended by Cammy in her recent blog post. What she said intrigued me enough that I went to Amazon and ordered the sample to my kindle that day.

And here’s what it said, essentially. If your life is filled on a daily basis with many decisions requiring some kind of emotional input, it becomes virtually impossible to make any more decisions.

Could that be the answer to why and when some people are able to make “the switch” and others just can’t quite do it? I wonder, if we were to examine and analyze the lives of people who have “made the switch” and those who just keep “wanting to switch,” would we find that those who were successful just happened to be at a more peaceful, less stressful or activity-filled time of life?

When I think about my most recent time of ‘trying’ to switch back to weight loss mode, I know that it was during a very stressful three year period of my life. And the month I was successful in “making the switch?” Was it just coincident that that was the month that I finished up the work on the trust of my father’s estate?

Cammy did such a good job of reviewing this book a few years ago that I don’t feel the need to go over the main points. What was an “aha moment” for me in that little sample I read was that self control is an exhaustible resource. When you have too many decisions that require a little “will-power” it is draining. Ah. So that’s what happens to so many of us.

The kindle book sample stopped at that point, and so being the thrifty person that I (sometimes) am, I ordered the book from the library. They have lots of examples of making small specific changes that relate to our food/diet/exercise conundrum. Examples like: Instead of saying “eat healthier,” say “drink 1% milk.” A whole town lost a LOT of weight using just this one specific instruction.

But my biggest takeaway was their explanation of why it is so difficult for so many people to change. Here in America, of our own choosing, our lives are frenetic and filled with more activity, choices, and events than was ever meant to be the way to live. If we choose to slow the pace down, we often feel guilty (speaking personally here,) or even slovenly–that we are not accomplishing all that we could. Its no wonder we can’t make that next decision to eat romaine lettuce instead of wonder bread.

Garden Doings

I actually did a lot of planting in the garden this week, and MLG came and did one major job, but we had such a sudden hot spell that everything looks a little shell shocked right now, so I couldn’t get too many good pictures. But I’ll share a bit of what’s happened this weekend.

I bought quite a few plants. I worked for a couple of hours getting them all planted while MLG (master landscaping guy) worked on digging a huge hole through a major rock field. He got the sideways dogwood planted, and used all the rocks to make a nice surround for it. I think it is going to be just the perfect place for this tree, and I have high hopes that it will actually bloom next spring! (You can see it in the back, past the “sun bed.”)

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Some pretty columbine that are performing very well this year. They are still in pots because I read that columbine need to be replaced after a few years. Does anybody know if this is true?

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Noah checks out the front bed. So far so good with this one. Noah has not trampled one plant here, and the tomatoes are starting to take off. I felt like a kindergartener when my green beans actually started coming through the ground! So exciting!

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The thing I am currently most please about is ground cover! After my local nursery girl’s recommendation that I try elfin thyme, I am finally having success at getting ground cover to grow between my paver stones!

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And this is the most successful I’ve ever been with corsican mint. It is my favorite ground cover. I buy it every year, and every year I fail with it. I’ve tried it in all different types of locations, but ultimately it dies. So to see it actually covering ground–that’s exciting!

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And finally, the most exciting new addition to my garden is some TRANSCONTINENTAL plants! I was beyond excited when Lori offered to send me some lily of the valleys. They are the perfect addition to my shade bed. And how fun to know that they came from a friend on the other side of the country.

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Here’s a shot of Noah relaxing on his couch.

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Diet and exercise update:  It was so hot I actually didn’t want to go to the gym, even to swim. But yesterday evening I went for a swim after going to a party (an outside party, in 104 degrees–crazy Californians!) It was so enjoyable that I went again after church today. The pool was practically empty both times–crazy Californians! Oh, and also, I am trying to establish a new habit. I have never been able to make myself exercise consistently in the morning. But I thought, since I get up at 5 every morning, why not try to get a walk in before it heats up? I can still have a quiet time and enjoy my coffee before getting dressed to take a walk. So far, 6 days in a row. It takes 21 to establish a habit!

I am still doing very well with my dieting. Slow but sure. As of Saturday morning, all the vacation weight is back off. That makes a total of 20 pounds lost since the end of November. I’ll take it! I’ve been eating a LOT of salads since the weather heated up. And have had my new favorite veggie several times–rutabega fries! And I am still enjoying the protein smoothies. I made a new one that was most delicious yesterday: 1 cup of low fat plain yogurt, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup of egg beaters, a handful of spinach, and sweetener of choice. I might have added just a little water to get the blender started. Yummy and thick and satisfying.

 

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!