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.


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.


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


Chloe is quite the squirrel hunter.


(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!!


(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.


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.


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.



First Things First

Well, here I am home again. There is always a little longer-than-I-would-like re-entry period. A time when I am unsure of the next move. Where am I going with my art? What am I going to do with my house? What possessed me to think that it would be easy to live with four dogs?

Here’s one thing I was very certain of, even before I got home. I knew for sure that I wanted to continue to eat the way I’ve learned to eat. I knew that I wanted to make exercise a part of my daily life. It was a really good feeling to be confident of that, even as I enjoyed some of the definitely-not-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious local fare.

My new mug and plate for my afternoon coffee break.

My new mug and plate for my afternoon coffee break.

The quilt workshop was more than fabulous. I am still processing all that I learned, and will share more in the days to come on my quilt blog. But here’s the first thing I want to share. After all, this IS a blog. Lynn of Lynn’s Weigh and I really did get to meet! Lynn was the very first blog I ever read. I never even knew there was such a thing as blogs until I picked up the “Half Their Size” issue of People magazine, and then read the tiny writing in the little box that said to check out Lynn’s blog. That was just about the time that I had lost most of my weight and was really looking for a place of encouragement. I found it in the blogging world, and Lynn was just the right person to introduce me to it. If she hadn’t been such a good writer, I don’t know if I would have continued to explore blogging. So THANK YOU Lynn!

Since I was in Amish country, and EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday in Amish country (oops,) I drove over to Pittsburgh to meet Lynn. We decided on a restaurant called First Watch, and using my new-fangled equipment, I googled directions on my Kindle Fire, and then wrote them out longhand to follow as I drove.

Here’s where I ended up.


Thanks, Google Maps.

Luckily, Lynn had a garmin, so she was able to find me, and since we were nowhere near the original meeting place, we decided on “Mad Mex!” Yumm.

Its so fun to meet someone in person for the first time, and feel so comfortable. We talked like old friends. Which, in one way, I guess we are. Blogging is like that. We share very personal parts of our lives sometimes.

I can only blame my funky hair on travel conditions!

I can only blame my funky hair on travel conditions!

A Good Week

It was a pretty good week.  I ate too much.  What else is new?  Hopefully making up for it this coming week.  I spent four days in the Bay Area this week.  First day I drove straight from my house all the way to Pacific Grove.  That is a long drive.  Between the drive and not drinking enough, I reaffirmed that those two factors work together to make me feel like crap.

I had a lot of fun shopping in Pacific Grove.  Of course, they have a quilt shop that I love going to, a good yarn shop, and lots of other interesting little shops.  I didn’t really buy much.  Headed back to my hotel headquarters in Milpitas (that was the most centrally located place for all the places I wanted to visit.)  I had brought food with me for lunch, so after checking into the hotel, I treated myself to dinner at Chili’s.  Because I wanted some chips…  To go along with the chips, I chose a salad from their ‘healthy’ menu, and it was so pretty when it came, I took a picture of it.  Quite tasty.  Even the salad dressing seemed light.

Next day was a “day with Mom.”  I try to find nice places to walk every day, and this is Niles Creek, right next to where my mom lives.  That heron and duck never stopped preening their feathers the whole time I was down there.

And all these Canadian geese seemed to really enjoy the shallow water and the rocks.

Day with Mom went well.  I think I ate too much that day too…  Oh, she took me to a grocery story called Sunflowers Farmers Market–reminded me of Sprouts–and that was a lot of fun.  They have stuff in the bins, which I like, because its a lot cheaper than packaged stuff, and I found some chia seeds at a decent price.

And then the next day–A VISIT WITH SHELLEY!!!  Its so fun that Shelley and I have been able to meet more than usual due to our California/Texas connection.  Last time we got together, I started Shelley out knitting, and she has taken off like wildfire, as most of you know.  So this day we visited a few yarn shops in Santa Cruz (where she is visiting her BF) and then we had lunch at an excellent Bakery, which was conveniently located right next to one of the yarn shops.  They served lunch on an outdoor patio area, and we just sat and talked and knit and talked and ate a little, and then knit some more.  It was so fun, and so relaxing.  It was one of those lovely days with the sun shining brightly and a cool breeze blowing.  The perfect day to get a sunburn… oh well, once every 10 years or so I do that.

And then it was time for dinner, so we found a frozen yogurt shop!  I swear, between the two of us it was like we had a froyo GPS!

Friday morning I headed home, with a side trip to check out my dad’s house to see how repairs are coming along there.  Its almost ready to put on the market.  Worrying about this is stressful to me.  I’m blaming my overeating on that, and hoping that once its sold and the estate is settled, I will be able to get a few pounds off…

Stopped in Stockton to eat lunch and to shop at Costco for Vicky.  I do some grocery shopping for her sometimes.  Its actually hard work shopping for someone else.  And then on to the gym, where I did not work out, but I worked for Vicky for a couple of hours.  THAT was a long day!

When I got home those Newton shoes that I had ordered were waiting for me.  Can I just say that I feel like a grade school crossing guard wearing them?  Those things are BRIGHT!  But, they fit just right.  The soles are definitely different than my Saucony’s, so I am still getting used to walking in them. But I think I like them.

Saturday was a slugfest.  Shelley had kindly brought along Season Five of Doc Martin (everybody knows about this show, right?) for me to borrow.  I sat and watched all 8 episodes in one day! Most of the day the doggies stayed in my lap,  but for a while I was organizing some thread, and this was the scene:

Bess keeping a close watch from her perch on the couch.

And Sophie, as always, as close as she can possibly get without breaking the rules… you can see Monk across the room in ‘his’ chair.

Sometimes I think about “how did I ever do this (get the weight off?)”  I think about all the stuff I used to eat that I no longer consider healthy.  One of those things is the sugar free chocolate COOK AND SERVE pudding.  I really used to like that stuff.  So I decided to make some when I got home.  And I noticed the microwave directions on the box.  YAY!  Cooking the pudding was a pain in the butt because the milk would always stick to the pan.  Microwaving it was slick, just like when I make my homemade yogurt in the microwave.  And it is still tasty, and at least it is like eating 1/2 cup of milk.

I’ve got to end this right now, because I HAVE to get out for at least a little walk with Noah tonight!

Where Do I Start?

To borrow the language from some of my favorite cooking shows, this vacation had a lot of different components to it, which added to the complexity and the “flavor” of the experience!

Who flies across the country to spend three days with a person they’ve never met?  Only a blogger, I think!  Of course, I ‘knew’ Sharon from reading her blog for the past two years, and I felt that we would get along well, and I was right!  Sharon was such a gracious hostess.  She has written all about our time together, so I will not elaborate here, except to say THANK YOU once again to Sharon for her time and generosity.  Sharon and I developed a really fabulous muffin recipe that I will share in a separate blog.

Here’s a picturama of our hike in the Smokey Mountains!

Everything is so green in Tennessee–I love it!  Kind of a young green, if you know what I mean.

We saw this deer in the middle of the stream, which seemed so unusual.  Later, when she moved, we could see that she looked pregnant?  Hormones, maybe?

These little log bridges were a bit scary!

I have a bit of an obsession with stumps.  Isn’t this beautiful, though?

And we made it to the waterfall!!

I loved that you could get right up next to the waterfall!

And photographic proof that we were there!  You know, I think these national parks underestimate their mileage by quite a bit.  It sure seemed a lot longer than 5 miles round trip to me!  But worth every single step.

Next, Sharon and I drove to Nashville to spend the day with Cammy.  What fun!  (and why is everyone TALLER and THINNER in person than I thought they were?)  Hey, nobody says to me “You’re taller and thinner than I thought you were LOL.”  I guess nobody imagined that I was 4′ 8″ and 110 pounds?  Anyway, we had another great day, and Cammy wrote all about it here, so I won’t try to improve on her report.

We went to the Opryland Hotel, which was a mammoth place, and included INDOOR waterfalls!

And gorgeous flower plantings.

It would have been just plain weird if Cammy and I had met and frozen yogurt was NOT included.  This was CiCi’s, and it was really delicious.  And much more decorated than most of the froyo places I’ve been!

I had a day to recuperate from all the festivities, and then an old friend from my spinning and knitting days drove up to meet me in Nashville.  The last time we saw each other was in 2003, when we had the great experience of co-teaching (actually I was assisting her) at a national spinner’s conference.  It was like no time had passed at all, and we had so much fun talking dogs and knitting and life.  We went to a gorgeous yarn shop, and I spent too much money, and then we went to a big mall and sat in the courtyard and knitted and talked some more.  What a great day.

And then the quilt show tour began.

If you can stand it, come back for more tomorrow!  I know I included a ton of photos, but I came home with 400 pictures on my camera, so consider yourselves lucky LOL.

Good Afternoon!

Don’t feel like doing much else right at the moment, so thought I’d write a blog.  Wow.  If I was a good writer, I would delete that sentence.  Cause basically it says DON’T READ THIS BLOG.  Oh well.  Continuing on.

I have almost completely converted to a free weights girl in the gym.  Oh I am proud of myself.  Yes, pride does goeth before a fall.  The other day I dropped a 25 pound weight and it landed on my shin.  Fortunately I guess we don’t have many nerve endings there?  Because it doesn’t hurt much, except when I touch it.  Anyway, back to the free weights.  I am almost completely over my fear of “men in the weights room.”  Yesterday I walked into the gym, and my favorite receptionist whispered “we’ve been taken over by high school children…”  Oh brother.  Sure enough, they were EVERYWHERE when I went upstairs to the weights room.  I peered into the free weights room and there were 3 or 4 little boys strutting around doing their thing.  There were weights on the bench press bar.  So I left and did a couple other things.  I went back and the same weights were on the bar, and the boys were nowhere near it, so I just went in there and said, “any of you using this (pointing at the bar,) or did someone just leave the weights on there?”  They said no, and then one of the little boys volunteered to take the weights off. Which I gladly accepted his help.  Then I put my little weights on there and went to work.  After that I used the leg press machine that they had left their weights on, and the barbell for dead lifts that they had left their weights on.  I didn’t have to change those weights.  Yeah!  I liked that workout.  70 pounds on the bench press, 85 pounds on the dead lift, and 200 pounds on the leg press.

Hey, here’s another item of interest.  (Switching to my favorite topic, food.)  Vicky was doing a special ‘detox’ diet plan this week, and I told her about the veggie cereal idea, because 1)  I think it tastes good, in spite of you nay-sayers, and 2) I thought it fit in with the kinds of food she likes to challenge people with.  She is pretty picky though, about what she will serve.  Anyway, she liked the idea, and she included it in her plan this week.  And she thought it tasted good too!  Come on, you guys, be a little adventurous!  It lasted really well in the fridge too.  The apples turn a little brown, but still tasty after about 4 days.

Along the lines of adding veggies to food, I just took a “zucchini cake” version of the one-minute muffin out of the oven.  Smells heavenly.  followed Lori’s basic applesauce version recipe, added a sprinkle of nutmeg, the shredded zucchini, and then must admit to adding about 2/3 Tbsp of agave nectar cause I wanted it a little sweeter.  I will have that for my afternoon snack, after I come back from getting my haircut.

My haircut for my trip next week!  Eeeeekkkk!  Does anybody know how I can lose 10 pounds in a week? LOL.  You know how that goes.  The minute I think about cutting back, I rebel.  NO I AM NOT GOING TO GO WITHOUT GRAINS.  Etc.  Sigh.  It is what it is.  I’ve been this same weight since before I went to Africa.  Someday the mojo will come back.  In the meantime, that is a very nice word using the letter ‘j’ for Words with Friends.

Friends.  My next topic.  I emailed another friend from my past, and we are going to meet up at the quilt show.  That means friends from a 30 year span of my life, from three different interests in my life, are going to be a part of this trip.  First up, meeting my newest friends, from my bloggy life,  Sharon and Cammy!  Of course, this will be our first time meeting in person.  Blog friends, because of what we share, seem just as close as friends IRL.  Next, I am going to meet an old friend (I’m guessing we first met in ’91) from the spinning and knitting era of my life.  Lynn is an accomplished knitter and designer, and my knitting has even been included in her books.  I am really looking forward to seeing her again and discussing all things fiber and color!  And the last friend I am going to meet is now something of a rock star in the quilt world.  But I know him from my years in raising and showing Cocker Spaniels, where I was a rock star in the dog show world LOL.  (so I showed cocker spaniels before the internets were born.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.)   Back then, neither of us were quilters.  I always did handwork of some sort.  But he really took a detour from his career in music to go full time in the quilting world.  This is really going to be a great trip!  And that doesn’t even count the wonderful quilt show I will be visiting, and all that goes with that.

Okay, back from the hairdresser.  I asked her to put layers in it, because I read somewhere that that made you look younger (lost cause.)  Anyway, I am quite layered.  We’ll see how I like it after it dries.  Should be easy to take care of anyway.

Back to my favorite topic.  My friend Wendy (of The Bridge project) has a lot of food allergies.  Coconut is not one of them.  She made an unbelievable orange cake with chocolate frosting with only coconut flour.  Well, and a lot of other stuff.  Anyway, it was quite delicious.  Here is a link to the original recipe, and here is a link to Wendy’s version.  I was surprised when I did the breakdown that it was only 140 calories per piece if you divide it into 12 pieces.  Of course, that is before icing…

Well, this is a long enough blog for now.  I have other things to do which I didn’t want to do when I started this…

Three Weeks from Today

Three weeks from today, at this very moment, I will be in Knoxville, Tennessee!!!  I can hardly believe it.  It seems funny but I don’t really think about the trips I am taking on a daily basis.  Maybe its a defense mechanism I’ve developed to keep from obsessing about details.  So when I do think about them, it kind of comes as a surprise that it is approaching so quickly.

Sooooo…..what am I doing in Knoxville?  Well, this trip started as a “dream trip.”  I’ve dreamed about going to the  AQS quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky for a long time.  There are other big shows in the country, but this is one of the oldest and biggest and something about Paducah, Kentucky–I just wanted to go there.  Well, when you start investigating, you can’t rent a room closer than an hour away from Paducah even a year ahead of time!  So I checked out some of the tours that are offered.  The one I chose started in Nashville, Tennessee for some reason.

Hmmm, don’t I know some bloggers who live in Tennessee???  Yep, I’m gonna have another blogger meet-up!  Started emailing with Sharon.  I’ve also always wanted to see the Smoky Mountains.  And now I’m going to get to take a hike with an expert on those mountains!  So an extra day turned into several extra days!  Then started emailing the fabulous and funny Cammy–gotta get my laughs in on this trip!  All three of us will get together at some point for a day of great fun I am sure.  I also contacted an old friend from my spinning/knitting days, and we are also going to rendezvous!  And all this before the quilt show tour even starts!

In the middle of all that planning, I got a little mixed up in my dates, and it turns out there is an extra day in there.  I am going to use that day to rest up for the quilt show tour.

If any of you have been to Paducah, KY, and know about any place I need to see or experience, please leave me a comment!  I’m sure there will be more to do than I can possibly fit in, so to have personal recommendations would be a good thing.

So tonight I’m thinking, I really want to keep exercise at the forefront during this trip.  I really feel better when I am exercising very consistently.  Oh, I started my new job this week, and that is working out great–I get to the gym an hour before my job so I have enough time to do my weights exercises and spend at least 20 minutes on the bicycle.  So far this is really a no-stress job.  I am enjoying the structure, and as friend Shelley said, sometimes that helps you to be more productive.  It certainly has done that for me this week.  So back to the trip.  I am sure there is a good gym at the Marriott where I will be staying in Nashville and Paducah.  I know there’s one at the hotel Sharon recommended (how much do I love that she scoped out the hotels for me and found one that had a kitchenette in the room  and a Starbuck’s across the street.  What more could a girl ask for?)  And of course there will be at least one hike, and maybe two.

So, back to the homefront, here’s a couple of the meals I have enjoyed this week.

I made my fabulous quinoa breakfast (have I told you before this is fabulous LOL?)  It makes 3 servings, so one of those I mixed half and half with the Abundance oatmeal for a change.  I still like it best without the oatmeal.  But I have a feeling that some people would like the oatmeal mix better.

I finally tried Helen’s crockpot BBQ chicken–THANK YOU HELEN!!  Yummy stuff.  And enough to last me quite a few meals!  I put most of it in the freezer, and have had it a couple of times this week.  Here’s tonight’s salad.  I had to go looking for a BIG bowl for my salad.  Tired of the salad spilling over the side of the regular salad bowls.  When I have a salad, its usually the whole meal.  This had baby greens with apple, carrot, raisins, sunflower seeds, and BBQ chicken.  Good to the last bite!

Another thing I’ve been enjoying the past few weeks is microwave popcorn a la Cammy! I had heard about the paper bag method before but was skeptical.  But if Cammy says it works, well then, maybe i should try it.  It tastes really good to me.  I spray it with a little vegetable oil spray and sprinkle with popcorn salt.  yummy.  Thanks Cammy!

Also in production this week, but not pictured, I made another big batch of my homemade yogurt.  This method seems to be foolproof for me.  It is so much tastier (and less tangy) than any store-bought yogurt I’ve ever had.

And to wrap up this disjointed post, here is a silly picture of Sophie.  I couldn’t figure out what she was doing, and then I saw that she was just trying to catch a few rays LOL.