Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday ... already???


1. when I was little I was called ___
2. ___are my favorite candy
3. If I could have one magical power it would be______
4. If I could go back to school it would be to become a _________

1. Pootie 
(a nickname given to me by Dad when I was born shortly after the launch of Sputnik;
Pootie is a derivative)
2. Dark chocolates
90% !!!
3. Flying
4. Nope. 
Never want to go back to school. 
I am happy and content right where I am.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cardboard Box Diet

My week #4

I don't have a weigh-in amount yet, haven't made it over to the gym, but I plan to later. Only problem is that "later" is too late for me to come and post to my blog. I'll follow-up in a comment.

My exercise has been pretty good. I managed one gym session this week with both weight-training and stationery bike workout. I've been helping my friend with farm chores, so this morning I can actually count another weight-training: 15# of alpaca poop and debris carried and tossed into compost heap x 3. Plus three days of spending at least an hour digging in the garden which entails over-turning Texas blackland prairie clay soil, breaking up dirt clods (I've become a clod-buster!) using a pitchfork, pickax and rake. Horseback riding last week included at least 30 minutes at a trot and/or canter and 30 minutes of other general riding. Went to Costco yesterday and bought about 30# of stuff which I carried (!!) to my car in a cardboard box. Left the shopping cart at the entrance. Car was NOT parked too close for comfort.

My splurge was creme brulee. I seriously need to start making this myself and figure out a way to make it more "primal" ... in other words, cut back on the sugar grams!

Pictures ...

My grandsons ... are they the cutest??? We WALKED to the Plano Balloon Festival this past Saturday evening. I was so proud of them! Hubby thought he'd be carry the youngest home, but nope, my little troopers walked both ways for a grand total of two miles. I figured they do OK ... my son and DIL keep them active. I snapped this picture whilst we were all waiting in a very long line to get some very long corn dogs. I was good to myself and did NOT get a corn dog! I ate a good dinner and hydrated all day long so I was able to spend a couple of hours at the festival without eating or drinking. *pats myself on the back*

We went in the evening to see the "glow" display they put on for half an hour. Fireworks followed after the balloons cleared the field. I haven't sorted through all the firework photos to get a good shot to show ... maybe next Wordless Wednesday.

And just so y'all know this blog is not just about weight loss and lifestyle changes, even though that seems to be my focus lately, I've been working on some really cute fingerless gloves done up in a very pretty lace stitch. I promise a post on those very, very soon!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Follow Friday .... Four Fill-In Fun

This week’s statements:
1. The last time I was on vacation, I went to ___
2. For ___I like to eat___
3. My heart hurts when____________because_______________________.
4. Why must _____________ just to____________________.

And my answers are:

1. The last time I was on vacation, I went to Dunrovin Ranch and had the ride of my life!
2. For breakfast I like to eat poached eggs.
3. My heart hurts when I watch the news because there is so much human misery.
4. Why must women cheapen themselves just to attract a man?

Please, feel free to join in! Click on the picture, or on the "Feeling Beachie" on the blog list. Easy peasy to do!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cardboard Box Diet

No, we do not eat cardboard!

OK, this is my third check-in since joining this blog hop. I have no WEIGH-IN to report as I did not go to the gym to step on the scale. I don't think I lost much, as least not the 2 pounds per week I was reporting the first couple of times. Basically that is so for two reasons: 

(1) I did not go under calorie target except maybe ONCE this past week. I'm not beating myself up since I still went under what I believe my BMR calorie needs are, so I probably lost something ... a fraction ... and that is all good because in the long run fractions do add up.

(2) I did not get to the gym to "formally" EXERCISE this past week. And that's OK too since I still got up to move most days of the week. Mark's Daily Apple advocates that the majority of our "exercise" should be simply moving and I did a lot of that. I also lifted a few heavy things. I putzed around the house with my daughter's overly-heavy backpack on my back one day. I went hunting and gathering at the farmer's market on Saturday and lugged around a rather heavy bag to show for it. I bought a 30-pound bad of dog food and carried it to the car rather than push it in the shopping cart. And I LOPED (cantered, whatever) Review, my lesson quarter horse, for the first time and we loped for several minutes. Let me tell ya, I worked up a sweat, although not as much as her! I'm thinking the using core muscles to stay balanced in the saddle while using legs and arms to guide and steer a loping 1200-pound animal qualifies as a decent work-out. I am feeling it this morning.

As for RECIPES/PICTURES I have nothing special to share or show, although when fixing our weekly meal of spaghetti, the sauce I make from scratch and it's quite simple, I sauteed cabbage to use for myself in lieu of the pasta. And I seasoned the cabbage with fennel seeds. The mixture of the tomato-based pasta sauce on cabbage seasoned with fennel provides an awesome flavor! Seriously, try it sometime. Even if you are a pasta eater, try adding fennel to your tomato-based pasta sauce.

And finally for GUILT PLEASURE/SPLURGE, I'm afraid to report I can't do those anymore. I really cannot drink beer anymore. I tried one more time, and this time had just ONE Modelo Negra on tap, and it did not agree with me. Beer is totally out of my life now. I did give Angry Orchard's Hard Cider a try and liked it and will take an occasional pleasure drinking that from now on ... but I will sorely miss my beer.

The other thing I need to cut way down on is sugar. I'm not much of a sweet eater and my past GP's have been ice cream, but I noticed something else going on with me. The other day, I ate a double helping of ice-cream with a double helping of milk caramel sauce. I've had that much before with no trouble, but this time I got the worst case of leg cramps when I went to bed. I mean, the worst! It got so bad I started hitting my feet and legs ... both out of frustration and hoping the strike would release the cramps. Dear hubby came to my rescue with a heaping tablespoon of mustard which he insists will stop the cramps (and it does, don't ask me how).

Got up the next morning and googled night leg cramps. I know it's not Restless Leg Syndrome, and the Mayo Clinic says they happen more frequently with age (blagh!). They also say it could be a metabolic problem ... like diabetes. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't fret Mom, if you're reading this, I do plan on heading over to the doctor for a check up soon. But the "metabolic" aspect got me thinking.

Then, yesterday, I ran by Starbucks and got a mocha frappuccino, which I've enjoyed periodically for years. I breezed into the adjacent Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple of crochet magazines, and guess what happened .... feet cramps! I've had feet cramps before after downing a mocha frappuccino (which has a LOT of sugar in it) but now it's starting to make a connection in my mind.

I seriously need to cut back on sugar! Since I don't usually eat a lot of it, I'm trying to figure out what that all means. I suppose that when I do indulge in a guilty pleasure, I need to make sure the portion is small. It's going to be interesting to figure out what "small" will be.

For that matter, it may be that I will never be able to indulge in sugary excess just like I will never be able to indulge in beer. How did it happen that when I changed they way I eat for the good, all this crap happened?? I've detoxed before, but never reacted like this when reintroducing "banned" items back into my diet. Is this part of the aging process????

If so, then fine. I'll be good. I'll continue to eat my grass-fed, naturally raised meats and continue eating more locally grown fruits and vegetables. I'll continue to eat and drink my dairy coming exclusively from Jersey and Gurnsey cows. I won't drink beer and I'll avoid sugar. I will continue to feel much better than I have in years if this is what it takes to avoid bloat and painful leg and feet cramps.

Fine. Be that way!

*stomping off to drink a sugar free yogurt drink*

Monday, September 17, 2012

Contemplations ...

I listened to this talk yesterday on the radio, Dallas/Fort Worth's public radio station KERA (and yes, I am a subscriber) on my way to the airport to pick up my husband and brother-in-law who were returning from Augusta, GA ... coming back from attending the funeral services of their beloved Aunt Shigeko. While I did not know Aunt Shigeko all that well -- I met her three, maybe four times in my life -- but she was always so lovely and kind to me and I do mourn her loss.

National Public Radio broadcasts a TED Radio Hour which now I know I can listen to on Sundays, from 2 - 3 pm on KERA.

It struck me as odd because I had never heard of TED until the day before. Don't ask me what rock I've been under as there have been so many in my life I couldn't hazard a guess as which particular rock. But anyhow, I stumbled upon TED by first visiting this lovely blog, T's Daily Treasures, during a late-night blog hop session. She had embedded a video in her post that mesmerized me and introduced me to TED. After watching the entire video I googled TED and began to learn more about this organization. Hence, when I heard the radio broadcast the very next day, I was struck by the coincidence.

I never read the book, Eat, Pray, Love, nor have I've seen the movie. I do not take much time to read anything other than historical and current event non-fiction, and I take even less time to see movies. But I had nothing better to do while driving my husband's car to the airport so I listened to the author's 18-minute TED talk and was very much entertained and encouraged by it.

Personally, I do not subscribe to "entities" outside of us that may be acting as muses, geniuses or whatever else various cultures calls them, but I do subscribe to her thought that creativity is not entirely sourced from within a person. I am a serious student of the Bible and I do believe in an Almighty God who created all things. And when He created the human that human was created in His image. The Almighty is the First Artist, and since we are made in His image, we are artists too.  Every. Single. Last. One. Of. Us.

It is entirely up to us, however, to discover the artist in us. None of us are the same, so the expressions of our art will be a varied as the human population. What an awesome thought!

Some use paint; some use stone; some use paper; some use fiber; some use song and music; some use movement; some use thought. So yes, the philosopher and the mathematician and the scientist from any and all of the fields of study are also artists in my mind.

I find this expression of art to be completely and wholly satisfying ... even more so than eating (and I do enjoy eating ... a LOT!). I find life to much richer and happier when I "play" with my chosen media and I know I am not alone in that feeling.

Making art is much more important than collecting art ... although if one has the funds to collect, by all means, do so! Save a starving artist today!! Just be sure you make your own along the way, even if it's simply arranging your collection in an artist way.

For me, personally, being surrounded by my projects and having the ability to work at them, if only for a few minutes in a busy day, brings me joy and when one has joy, there is very little else in life one truly needs.

So my wish for my readers today is JOY! If you haven't already discovered the artist in you, go and find it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Catching up! (Two blog hops in one post)

Man ... this has been a strange week. o_O I'm not sure why, but my schedule simply went out the window along with the hot Texas air as the cool front approached.

Okay. That's just an excuse. I really don't have any justification other than I got lazy! I feel like a total slug.

Anyhow, I dearly want to catch up and show that I have NOT fallen off the blogoshpere. So here I go ... the easy first:

1. I like to crochet when I am feeling the cooler weather coming!
2. Spinach is my favorite vegetable (especially the "baby" spinach because it tastes more like sunflower sprouts!)
3. I get anxious when driving at night. (I think this is a middle age thing ... wasn't like this before.)
4. I am surprised by the political mudslinging on Facebook and that makes me cranky. People used to be civil to one another when having opposing views. Now it's all insults and hate speech. *not happy*
OK ... now for the harder one!
1. Weigh-In:  2 more pounds gone. *smiles*
2. Exercise completed: Still staying fairly consistent, even though this week has been a lazy one for me. I started reclaiming a garden at my friend's alpaca/sheep farm so three times this week I was swinging a pick axe and pulling weeds. Last Friday I swam for 70 minutes or so. And Tuesday at my riding lesson, I was "promoted" to training on Review because my first lesson horse, Putt Putt, taught me everything she had to teach me. Review is larger, faster and has more sensitive buttons. I kept her at a trot for about 20 minutes total and worked up quite a sweat! Here's a photo of Review (don't ya love her freckles??):

3. Splurge/Guilty Pleasure: last night's massage. *aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh*

4. Success Story: See #1 and #2 ... *cheats*

5. Recipes/Photos:

Isn't that cute? My daughter, who is a senior in high school this year and is interning at a veterinarian's office a couple hours each school day as part of her Vet Science curriculum (she will graduate with her Veterinarian Technician Certification), made a bunch of cupcakes for the staff. I did NOT eat a single one. She did different critters, all of them made with fondant. Do you know what's in fondant??? If you're here because you're taking part in Lauren's Cardboard Box Diet ... you don't want to know. Never, ever eat fondant!

I did eat this one, however:

A different take on last week's entry ... this time I really made a portabella mushroom pizza complete with sausage, onion and bell pepper along with the cheese and tomato. Seriously satisfying stuff!!  And incredibly weight-loss friendly.

I also learned a few things this week about eating, exercising and losing weight. I track my calories on My Fitness Pal and last Friday I came in under my calorie target by 837 calories. I did not go to bed hungry. The Pad Thai I ate from Lite Wok kept me fueled throughout my swim and well into the evening. So all I had for supper for one of the drinkable yogurts I get from my local dairy guy. I woke up Saturday feeling like I was hit by a truck. It was awful. I had to cancel my morning activities. It wasn't until about an hour or so after I ate a good breakfast did I start to feel like me again. But I was wiped out for most of the day.

Tuesday, I again went way under my caloric intake. Tuesday evening was horsemanship lesson for daughter and I and we took our coach out to a great burger joint before the lesson. Nice grass fed burgers, awesome sides ... and a wall of beer taps of just about every seriously good beer out there. I helped myself to a double serving of Moose Drool, one of my favorite brown ales.

I have been going "primal" for weeks. The burger I got with no bun ... no problem. I did not eat the fried pickle (it was breaded) and I limited myself to just a few sweet potato fries (which they lightly dust with sugar and cinnamon ... yum yum yummy!). An 856 calorie dinner. Even after getting home when the riding lesson was completed, there was no way I was going to eat anything even though I was way under my target. In the middle of the night, I wake up with a pukey feeling in my tummy. I managed to avoid what I hate more than just about anything else in the world and was able to get back to sleep, but Wednesday morning's activities were canceled. 

Now, I love beer ... the really good stuff. It's as much a pleasure for me to have as it is to have a really fine wine. Or really good, rich, dark chocolate. But beer is made from grain, and while I thought: "Maybe since the grain is malted and the whole concoction is fermented, I'll be OK!" ... WRONG! I hear there are gluten-free beers out there, but everyone who knows really good beers say they are just terrible.

So here I am stuck in a very strange place to be. Giving up eating breads and pastas and other heavy grain-based foods has turned me around for the better. I feel great. I have much more energy than I've had in a long, long time. But giving it up tipped me into "gluten sensitivity" (or I had it all along but did not realize all those nagging little bothers were caused by it) so I cannot easily go back without feeling bloated, gassy, tired and just plain awful. I can very easily sail through life without eating breads and pastas as I have found substitutes that I actually like MORE ... but nothing replaces beer. *sad face*

I am going to give it one more try ... next time I will limit myself to just one serving. And it will NOT be before I get in the saddle!

The one thing I will NOT try, or allow, again is going under my calorie target by anything more than 100. Under-eating is no way to lose weight!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Fun Follow Friday

Another cool blog hop ... this one has four fill-in-the-blank statements:

1. I wish I had ___ to ___
2. I stopped wearing ____
3. My favorite song right now is_________because________.
4. I always sing while________.

And my answers are:

1. I wish I had the money to buy a spinning wheel.
2. I stopped wearing high heels.
3. My favorite song right now is Primal Scream because I love the oldies that remind me of my youth. (see blog post below)
4. I always sing while ... um ... I rarely sing!! Don't even hum. I have very little pitch but I will sing along to Linda Ronstadt because I can sing her key.

The favorite song one was a hard one, so I made it easy on myself. There are lots and lots of songs I dearly love and do not have a favorite. There is one particular song I keep playing over and over again ... it's on a CD in my car and I'm too lazy at the moment to go get it to list the details. It's an opera song ... take a look at this rendition:

Even Simon genuinely smiled! There's a few, I counted two, slightly off-notes (everyone's gotta be a critic) but overall his voice is astounding for a "working-class guy." Bless the working class, we do have class after all! I first heard this song at the conclusion of the movie, Sum of All Fears, where the CIA agent ... not the Ryan character played by Affleck, the other one ... goes around assassinating all the nasty culprits who dared to nuke the Super Bowl in Baltimore. I loved the movie, and loved the book which I read before the movie and did NOT find the movie disappointing, probably because I think Tom Clancy has his hands in the movies made from his books. The ending is classic and the music chosen is classic and the two are now inextricably linked in my mind.

I have not heard another song on this planet that explores the depth and range on the male voice. Puccini did good!

When contemplating and ruminating for this post, it struck me that I never listen to music when I'm crafting. How odd is that? I'm trying to figure that out. I dearly LOVE music ... I love the transcendence music can give to the listener. But when I'm working on things, I'd rather have the TV turned on to some nature show, or popping in a favorite DVD. The entire series of Downton Abbey, both seasons, have been the backdrop of many of my sewing sessions. In fact, Season 2 was "viewed" entirely in my sewing room. The costuming of the series makes me drool, so perhaps by listening/viewing during sewing sessions, it makes me try harder? In hopes that I will be able to make those luscious garments for myself some day??

Who knows. Maybe it's because when I listen to music I dearly like, my feet have to move. Like, dance move. Hard to sew, crochet, spin or do any sort of handwork whilst the feet are moving. And for the music to which dance is not inspired ... my feet don't move when listening to Nessun Dorma ... perhaps it's what the music is doing to my mind (and heart). Perhaps there's just no more synapses available to handle the details of handwork?

Ooopsie!!  Edited to add (I learn new things every day hahahaaaa):

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Primal Screaming Thread

Yeah! It was a bit of a challenge tracking this down (had to wade through a ton of links to some rock band I did not know about, but I do now!) ... it's been on my mind for days now. Why? Because I'm feeling the SCREAM!!

Primal scream ... some serious therapy. Not that I need it. At least, not that I think I need it, but others near and dear to me may think otherwise.

You see, since deciding I needed to get off my butt and do something serious about regaining good, vibrant health and running away from those sneaky chronic woes of middle age and blogged about it here, I find myself feeling really primal. Caveman like ... or rather, Cavewoman like. I blame this on all this healthy food I'm eating. It's gone and mucked around with my brain!

Anyhow, it's #cbdiet check-in time and here's the cute button if y'all want to join in the fun:

  • Weigh-in:  down 2 pounds. RAWR!
  • Exercise completed:  Been consistent ... RAWR!
  • Splurge/Guilty Pleasure:  What else?  I SCREAM! (aka ice cream)
  • Success Story:  Some of my "fat" pants are beginning their sag. RAWR!
  • Recipes:  See photo below. Very simple, extremely simple ... portabella mushroom, tomato and cheddar cheese; pop in the oven under broiler for a few. PRIMAL RAWR!!
I guess I can call this Primal Pizza!

Portabella mushrooms are amazing things, if you like fungi ... which I do.

Since adopting what I came to understand is a "Primal Diet" I find myself not missing wheat at all. Absolutely NO CRAVINGS for breads and pasta. But I've been missing pizza. Now I can have my proverbial (cuz I won't have the "real") cake and eat it too. These taste so much better as a pizza base than wheat dough, and are just as filling and satisfying. I ate two and felt full for hours, in spite of being much lower in calories than traditional pizza. Next time I'm going to add some sliced beef polish sausage.

If anyone is interested in looking into what primal eating is all about, Mark's Daily Apple is a good place to start. I find just about everything he posts to be very interesting. Some of it can squick (I cannot claim credit for the origin of that word ... but it's a really cool word and needs to be added to the dictionary) a person out, such as extolling the value of eating offal, or today's (Sept 6, 2012) topic of candida. No matter, it's a seriously good read. Another seriously good read is The Real Diet of Man that has a series of serious essays written by a bona fide Texas rancher. While both gentleman have things to sell you, they freely (!!) give a ton of information backed by lots and lots of scientific research studies and abstracts, some with links. Those are serious reads to, if you can understand science-speak.

Getting back to the primal scream ... I used to listen to that record all the time. LOUD. I was young back then and loved to listen to fantastic music played at optimal level. I invested in a Marantz receiver which was top of the line back in the day, along with some really huge speakers. You know what? I remember now what it felt like to be that young. You know why? Because I changed the way I eat, and changed the way I move. My brain knew it would be simple, just a matter of starting. Starting was the single hardest thing to do, but once I started, the momentum took over and now when friends ask me "How are you?" I tell them, with meaning: "I'm doing really good."

Now, what does this have to do with threads and the generally topic of this blog? Well, plenty, actually. I spin my own yarn now, that is primal! I would be raising my own critters for their fiber if I did not live in a city that forbids farm animals in the back yard. But I have plenty of access to people who have the space and capacity to raise the critters.

I can't say my sewing is primal for I will never, ever give up my BERNINA sewing machine. Nope. You'll have to pry that out of my cold, dead hands. But that doesn't stop me from drooling over sites like Alabama Chanin. Natalie Chanin designs the clothing line which is then farmed out to local ladies to assemble ... by hand. Yes! All sewing is done by hand, including the seams. Perhaps not entirely primal (hard to do lots of cotton jersey knit fabric by hand), but definitely getting back to seriously basic skills. If I had a dollar for every person who told me that either they, or their significant other, couldn't even sew on a button ... I'd be feeding my family some grass-fed filet mignon for a whole week!

So, are you ready to SCREAM???? Go ahead, scream away. It feels awesome!

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