Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trolling Blogs

 First, I found this image of a chalkboard wall in a kitchen.  Too much black for my taste but I do love the look and being able to scribble and draw on the wall.  I had been thinking about a half wall in the dining room side of the great room.  And I like the shelving to the left where I could have all my jars of cereal, sugar, sugar subs, flour and oatmeal.
 The perfect bedroom for G as he wants only YELLOW everything.  I can see a nice (of my own design) artwork somewhere in the bedroom.  That does look like an appliquéd quilt, doesn't it?
And last but never least, a lovely table and chairs.  I am liking the paneled wall, the window trim, the funny lights above the chair rail.  Though I would paint the wall space with chalkboard paint and not that gold-ish yellow. The artwork could also be made of fiber. It looks like a cozy spot to read the newspaper and have a relaxed bowl of oatmeal and a few cups of coffee on mornings when I don't work.   Oatmeal mentioned in two separate sentences.  I must be ready to try and add that to my diet, huh?

The day is warming up.  Nearly August.  I have done the white wash, ironed and starched the white shirts, folded everything else.  Fed G reheated meatballs and pasta.  I even spread a blanket and pillows on the back lawn and he slept there for 90 minutes after he and Riley had a short walk in the woods. EOM tonight so G will be getting ready for work soon.  I had intended to go into the garden but it seems too hot.  I may go after the wind changes (if it does).  There could be squash and cucumbers ready to be picked.

I had sautéed zucchini and the few tiny tomatoes from my garden with.eggs this morning.  Now, I'm hungry again but it does seem to be way past lunchtime, so I should be hungry. I am reading book 4 of the Cadfael mysteries.  St Peter's Fair which takes place, I kid you not, beginning on July 30 (when I started the book).  The part I just finished reading this afternoon all took place on July 31st.  After my very late lunch, I will continue reading about what will happen on August 1st.  Or I can wait till tomorrow.

I still have need of my protractor and wonder how much time I should spend in looking for it (again) today. I can't seem to remember when I would have used it last but perhaps to make circles for the very quilt blocks I now want to embellish with oval, leaf shapes.  I could draw them, but would prefer a crisp line. If Terry were here she could make those points and draw the curves etc.  Maybe I have a jar lid that I could trace a part of to make the shape I desire?  We'll see.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy!

My favorite picture of my son, and, in my heart, he will always be this sweet boy with that untroubled look on his face even though he is FORTY today.  How on earth could he have gotten OLDER than I am????

I took the original picture with my 1960's era Nikon.  Manual everything.  What fantastic images.

I hope he is out with friends, having a wonderful dinner, birthday cake etc.  and I hope my package and card arrived today.  Love, Mom

Friday, July 29, 2011


My William Sonoma catalog had a bunch of evocative photos of tables.  Inviting me to pull up a chair and sip some wine, share a plate of food and perhaps a few laughs.  An excellent way to spend a summer evening.  Tables and chairs are some of my favorite objects.  I love this French chair with it's bent wood frame and X along the back.  And the table looks so sturdy.

I hadn't looked at the catalog previous to going to the grocery after work.  But I was thinking of a large casserole of homemade meatballs and sauce.
Not my meatballs, yet, but soon I will be mixing, rolling, frying and making red sauce.  These are WS meatballs pictured along side the recipe in the catalog.  Served with gnocchi.  I'll be serving mine with pasta for G and just meatballs for me.

I continue to smile at work (and weirdly enough, shed a few tears) as I am very emotional.  The Bubblegum Pink window box guy called yesterday because he just wanted to let me know the window boxes look better than they have EVER looked (and they have always looked good) and he wanted me to know how pleased he is with my work.  And a frequent caller (she asks for me by name now) with questions regarding her perennials let me know how much she values the time I spend with her on the phone.

Yesterday I had to make "identical twin" arrangements with perennials for two inseparable twin sisters, 61, found dead earlier this week in Portland.  No apparent cause of death.  Each had married and had a son and daughter.  They dressed the same, even at 61.  When the sister who called to order the funeral flowers said "they released the bodies" I knew things were not going to be normal.  I hadn't been reading the local papers and did finally see the article regarding the finding of the two bodies.  A real mystery.

G has purchased the new "lion" operating system for my iMac along with a MagicTrackpad.  I am still using the mouse for most things and the MagicTrackpad to swish my finger tips along to get the pages to move on the computer screen.  Yesterday, I gave up in frustration.  All I had wanted to do was read my blogs and it turned into a "challenge" instead of a fun thing to do at the end of a day.

That's why I titled this post Ricochet.  The meatball picture was just moved to a "new spot" while I tried to look at something I had previously written.  I give up trying to put it where I had it.  One nice, new, bit is that when I misspell something the correct spelling appears directly under the misspelled word.  Less time with the dictionary this way.  I am traveling, pretty quickly, between being content and being frustrated.

I am "crazy" happy with my bathroom now that the bathtub (used twice in 20 years, once for a bath and once to wash a puppy) is CLEAN and EMPTY.  It looks so wide, deep and white now.  I had to wash and empty it of piles of clothing etc in case the window guy comes this week to measure the windows.  Whenever I empty a room, I am really happy with the emptiness.  Odd, because I like collecting "stuff" which is how they get full.  And trashy.

It is supposed to rain today.  I have laundry, meatballs, shirts to iron and a book to read. I'm now traveling to 1160 Medieval England/Wales for mystery.  And after watching Zen on Masterpiece Mystery, I may read those Roman mysteries.  I think I prefer actually watching Rufus Sewell.  I think he played an evil guy in that Heath Ledger medieval "rock" movie, (a favorite of mine).  "We Shall Rock You" in the lists. G and I watched the first episode last night.  G worked in Rome for an entire year (when he was "an important person") and he enjoyed seeing "the sights" during the episode.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bounty From My Garden- Summer Squash

And this is a vegetable I can eat on my diet.  Even with added olive oil and butter.  I got 6 squash from the garden and another 8 from a local farmer.  They were all sliced thinly on my mandoline along with two onions.  I am now letting them steam and sweat down into a "lesser amount" then I will uncover the pot and let them cook slowly to a lovely, deeply, madly, deliciously brown mess.  And then G and I will each try to keep the larger portion for ourselves.  I am using my French cast iron cooking pot for the first time with the squash.  Things are moving along at a faster pace.  I must be attentive.

Thank you for all your good wishes regarding our "date" last night.  It went very well.  We sat and ate good food and chatted for 2 hours.  A long married couple.  Wowza!  My sleepless night caught up with me when we got back home.  My head was swimming (and I hadn't had a drop of anything but water to drink).  I woke with a sinus headache this morning.  Lord, I don't like summer.

One of the wait staff last night had on orange Crocs with slate blue pants and a Provencal blue shirt.  I instantly thought of the new blog "look" and now I want orange Crocs.  I already have the shirt.

G is trying to repair the ceiling fan in the living room.  He changed out the dimmer switch and now the fuse keeps blowing.  We don't know yet if the fan has a burnt motor.  IF it does, we are going out to get another.  But first, we need power to the outlet.  G assure me that any shock he gets won't kill him.  Nice "pop" out of the electric circuit breakers just now.  G is just standing there trying to think about what is hooked up wrong.  The fan is now working again.  Hurrah!! (but the hall closet has no power but G thinks it might be the 25 year old light which burned out)

It's not like the Florida house (our first house) where G set the wiring in the dryer on fire and then was trapped behind the washer.  Now, that was a memorable and scary moment.  For both of us. There were so many really exciting moments during the 8 months we owned that house.  It would make a great book.  Like Marley & Me.  Fire, roof leaks, flood, snakes (poisonous), gas leaks and a terrified guy trapped in the very tight, dark, hot attic with his belt snagged on a nail.  He never offered to help G out ever again. Not that we would ever DARE ask him a second time.

G is packing everything up.  The fan works again.  We will be cool while watching TV and reading our books.  Our next errand is the post office to mail two packages.  One to our son who turns FORTY on Saturday.  I had to use the calculator to figure out how old he was going to be this year.  I still think he's 18.  And the second to Deborah.  I had promised it would greet her when she returned from her trip.

We have to stop at Big Lots as they have more Crocs on sale this week.  Or they DID.  They could be out of them by now.  They did have orange last time I was there but I passed on such bright shoes.  I had no idea I would want orange in July.  It's the 12 by 12 color for the next challenge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Coreopsis Heaven's Gate & Japanese Beetle Puree

Can I just mention how very happy I have been all day.  My cheeks feel all exercised from all the smiling I did today and I even laughed out loud once or twice.  Rare.  So very rare.  It felt luxuriously sinful.

I had a very restless night, last night, and was sure I would be cranky from lack of a good sleep.  The opposite was true.  I "listened" to my co workers and made the appropriate pleasant comments and they responded with their own smiles and happiness.  In other words, I wasn't myself all day.  LOL.

The window guy left a message.  He's very busy.

P left a message to tell me she has "solved" her Japanese beetle problem.  She is collecting the beetles and BLENDING them with some water and some garlic, straining the "solids" out of the resulting liquid and then spraying it on her grape vines (which have been covered in beetles).  She reports only a few pair on the grapes this afternoon.  In fact, she was bemoaning the fact that she was having some difficulty collecting enough beetles for a fresh batch of spray.  P is as enchanting as you are imagining.

P had done this once before with slugs.  Her garden is very fertile and the slugs were very large. Eating everything.  I remember how large they were as we fed them to the chickens and they nearly choked on them. (G thought he might have to Heimlich the chicks) Anyway, she burned out her food processor making a slug "liquid" and had to go to Goodwill for the blender she is now using to puree the beetles. It is used solely for bug spray.  I asked.  But, still, I will refuse any blended drinks she may try and serve me.

There are no grapes on P's grape vines.  I will not be carrying home multiple box loads of Concord grapes to make into jelly this year.  I will not have boxes of grapes to give to my coworker who makes grape juice.  I can't say that I am sad to not be slaving over a hot stove and a big vat of boiling jelly jars in August.  We still have enough zucchini pickles so I won't be processing sticky sugar coated zucchini slices in that vat of boiling water, something that also happens in August.

Instead, I will be grating and squeezing zucchini and baking fudgy zucchini brownies and chocolate chip chocolate zucchini bread.  I am going to try for a low carb version that I can eat.  The flour is the only problem ingredient.  I need to test some of the "low carb" baking mixes.  Or just go ahead and eat the stuff.  One little square a day.

G is coming home in a few minutes and I want to take a shower so we can go out for dinner.  A nice dinner.  Like a "date".  So I can try this smiling thing out on him before it wears off.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blue Crocs Are Back In Maine

My blue crocs have been sitting in K's guest closet in Georgia for a few years (it seems). I thought I would leave a pair of my favorite shoe wear in Georgia instead of carrying them back and forth in my small carry on.  And then, I stopped going to visit K.  And then we stopped being friends after nearly 40 years.  And now my shoes have been returned to me.  Old, worn and faded.  Just like me.  I was happy to see them.  I like the Crocs with the closed toe cap.  Keeps the gravel out of my shoes.

The weather is cooler today.  Still hot and sunny but with a breeze or two and it was lovely sleeping last night.  I needed a blanket.   I am reading an Ellis Peters medieval crime mystery. The Sanctuary Sparrow. I somehow picked out numbers 3 and 7 on my visit to the library stacks.  Why.  Now I have to ferret out 1 and 2 and begin properly.  I also have to make a copy of the town map so I know where we are going in these stories, even though we never go far.

I never got around to ironing the shirts.  I have no idea what to make for G's dinner today.

Now that I don't actually eat a "real" meal, I have stopped cooking for G also (it seems).  I know I should still be eating a "dinner" of a protein and or salad and vegetable.  I do.  But it is usually tuna mixed with mayo and a salad.  Or chicken mixed with mayo and a salad.  Or Induction Chili with a salad.  The actual proportion is supposed to be more fat than protein.   I stopped eating the MIMS.  And eggs are actually starting to make me sick to my stomach.  But that doesn't matter much as I really have no appetite for food anyway.  In the 7 weeks I've been on Atkins, I have lost my interest in food.  I eat when I am hungry.  Which isn't all that often.  I do actually want to eat well done beef patties.

I just wish I could get past this weight plateau.  I have been the same weight for most of the past 7 weeks.  I am wearing smaller sized clothing and feeling much "smaller" but the scale reports that I weigh exactly the same thing, every morning.  It is seriously depressing.  Seriously.  Depressing.  Even the "test pants" fit well enough to be worn out in public.

I still have issues with the weight around my waist.  It's that stubborn Buddha Belly I have had since I turned TEN.  This flappy belly "thing" that I can hold in my hands, which contains no muscle, just fat cells.  And I wish some doctor could just REMOVE.  Even when I was at my lowest weight, the Buddha Belly still existed.  It never goes away. I can FEEL the AB muscles I am creating with Pilates, just UNDER that flappy, fat filled area.  This is also so very discouraging.  All my exercising; all my dieting; will NEVER have any effect on the Buddha Belly.  Only surgery will remove it.

Or one bottle of those "Fat Blocker" pills they sell on late night television.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Living With A Dog

I know that not all dogs are like my Riley.  Some dogs have no "toys" at all.  Riley has an overflowing basket of toys and he plays with all of them.  This is the group he had out this morning.  Hippy, RhinoDino, Pook and his Kong.   I haven't checked the living room.  That's where Riley and G "play" in the morning.  I think Spidey and Teddy are out there. All of these toys once squeaked.  But Riley has strong jaws and large teeth.  The squeakers don't stand a chance.  I have replaced some of the squeakers with squeaky tennis balls.  I open a seam and stuff the tennis ball  deep inside and then sew the seam closed.  Riley usually watches me do these repairs.  He is attentive to the care and welfare of his toys.  I run them through the washer every so often to keep everything clean (ish).

Riley picks out a toy and brings it over to show G.  G calls out the toy's name and Riley gives the toy a few good shakes, a toss or two, a few chews etc.  Then G pretends to try and take the toy.  Riley plays "keep away".  Eventually, Riley goes and gets a second and third toy and they go through the routine for as many times as Riley brings out a new toy.  Some mornings I find that Riley has emptied the toy basket and the house is littered with toys.  I make a BIG FUSS of collecting the toys and stuffing them back in the toy basket.  Riley is right by my side during the clean up.

We tried, in the early days, to get Riley to return things to the basket.  Not so interested.  G and I thought that would be a "good activity" for the dog.  He'd get treats for fetching a specific toy and putting it into the toy basket.   Riley DOES know the name of each of his toys.  He just doesn't like them to be in the toy basket.

The one thing that Riley DOES want to do with his toys, is take them outside with him.  We don't let him do that.  Some times we have a stalemate at the back door.  Riley with a toy firmly in his mouth, waiting by the door to go out.  And G or I waiting for Riley to put the toy down, first.  We explain the no toys outside rule and he looks up at us.  Then he stares at the door.  We wait.  Eventually, he drops the toy and goes outside.

Riley has outside toys that don't get muddy, wet, or covered in dirt.  He also has trees that he pulls out of the woods and chews into chips.  He has real beef bones, a large rubber chew toy and a regulation soccer ball.  What he REALLY likes is having a BIG BALL out there to chase and jump on.  The Big Balls we have purchased for him have never even lasted one full minute.  The fun begins as soon as Riley sees the ball.  He chases it, jumps on it and bites it.  If we don't take the now deflated ball away quickly he chews the ball and shreds it.  I also bring sturdy, heavy duty plastic, plant pots (from shrubs and trees) home from work.  It takes Riley an hour or two to completely tear the pot into small bits.  He loves a new pot.  The pots are great fun in the first five minutes.  They roll down the slope in the yard.  He chases them and they roll around together. He carries the pot, shakes it, plays keep away (same things he does with indoor toys) but then he starts ripping and tearing the pot down.  G says this uses up large amounts of energy.  We can actually see his muscles working.

Riley is outside right now.  It's not too hot yet.  I need to go outside to pick another batch of blueberries from my bushes in the veg garden.  I think I picked a pound of berries the first day they were ripe. and now more are ripe.  They are big, blue and juicy.  Riley used to eat most of them before I could pick them in years past.  But he doesn't seem to be interested in sampling garden produce this year.

I need to eat some breakfast before I go outside.  I have wash to do, shirts to iron, and grocery store shopping on my "To Do" list today.  Along with my exercises.  I feel tired already and I just got out of bed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Introspection & Inspection

I really don't photograph well.  But perhaps this is exactly what I look like?  The day before I got my haircut.  My hands are my most expressive feature.  It used to be my eyes but that was before I needed to wear eyeglasses.

I read something a few weeks or months ago which has stuck in the back of my mind.  Giving me time to digest and consider what it means in my life.  The "something" related to what happens to a person's life when they decide to make big changes (or when life makes the big changes for them).  Life changing changes.  What I have been struggling with since January, 2007.  I didn't want to be "that person" any longer.  I changed my diet, and that lead to a change in my employment and eventually to a new career.  I must, I have to admit this, have changed the way I dealt my friends along the way.  I think I wanted them to change along with me.

I was being brutally honest with myself.  I was obese and wanted to change my physical situation.  While the 365 Diet worked and I lost 80 pounds, it wasn't as healthy as I had imagined.  I was becoming thinner and meaner.  My bad temper and the comments that came out of my mouth, pushed life long friends away.  Or was I purposefully pushing them away?  Did I need to shed the weight and them at the same time???  Why did I feel the need to be brutally honest with them?

That is what I am now attempting to figure out.

A number of close friends died during that period.  As did my father.  I grieved their loss. And I was angry that they were gone.  I may have felt that the person I "was" had also died.  I know the lost of my job was a devastating blow.  At a time when I was just beginning to rejoice in the lost weight, the new clothes, the renewed energy, the new possibilities; I was struck down, beaten.  It took 6 months before I started to think of another job (self worth).   Another 6 months and my father died (grief).   Another 11 months to settle the estate, manage his Ohio house, sell it and drive my dad's car back to Maine (stress).  During this period I was not the best of company.  An understatement.

If you had asked me if the new pants you had just purchased, made you look fat.  I would have said "stop eating cookies, the pants can't change anything ".

So, did my friends decide they didn't need me in their lives anymore or did I decide I didn't need them in mine, anymore?  I can't honestly say I miss them.  We had grown apart.  Should we have tried harder to find common ground?

I am not the person I was prior to January, 2007.  The self control necessary to change my eating habits has changed me in many different ways.  This time, with Atkins, is different.  I am more in control of the POSITIVE side of things.  I see the golden side of the coin more often than the negative.  I am bravely trying to learn from what went wrong in 2007-10 and make it work in 2011.  I can only "fix" myself.

Once I am well and happy, then I can open myself to new friendships.  Ones that work.  Becoming well and happy won't be easy.  One step forward and two backwards it seems.  I just thought I would discuss this with you.  As an email from someone has disturbed the surface of my life today and I needed to talk about it a bit with all of you --  since you actually, know me best (and worst).

I finished the final Wallander.  Each of the nine previous books was referenced in this final chapter.  Like a reunion, of sorts.  And a farewell.  Which ties into this post.

Heat Wave

Yesterday, at work, was supposed to be terrible (heat).  In fact, the morning shift was allowed to go home as soon as the afternoon shift arrived.  I was afternoon.  Isn't the afternoon hotter?  Anyway, a nice breeze came in off the ocean around 2 and made our lives better.  I divided two clivia.  One was so root bound that I had to stand on the pot and roll it under my weight to release the roots from the pot sides.  Quite a work out cutting, pulling and breaking up the fiberous root ball.  Eventually, I got it into three chunks.  Two for the customer and one for me.  My customers are always generous with the divisions.  The second clivia, about a half hour later, was less root bound.  Three sections again, but the customer wanted all three.

Just let the dog back inside.  9am and it is VERY HOT AND HUMID.  Like a thick, hot blanket. So happy I am NOT working today.  G closed all the windows last night (a skunk) and turned on the one small AC unit before going to work.  The house is 76 degrees and dry.

I wasn't feeling the "love" for my diet on Wednesday.  So, I did what I know would, perhaps, cheer me up.  I tried on clothing I haven't fit into for a few years.  The blazer still won't button across my hips (getting closer).  BUT, the blue dress (fitted waist from the 80's) DID FIT.  September, 2007.  My 60th birthday.  The day I lost my job at the library.  I noticed I need to work on my tummy.  If it was tighter, I would look better from the side.

My breakfast this morning, after Pilates, (the new rule that starts today) is a lovely, fresh saute of zucchini from my garden, a small onion, a few basil leaves and a leftover tomato that was getting soft. I will add Egg Beaters to it for a tasty scramble.  Yesterday, I had eggs for breakfast and mixed up plain, non fat yogurt, vanilla protein powder and frozen raspberries for my lunch.  I didn't get to eat until 3 pm which is way too long between breakfast and lunch.  The yogurt was the perfect lunch.  Cool, light and filling.  Dinner was a container of ice cold homemade chicken salad. (shredded chicken, mayo and honey) It isn't Atkins.  The cereal I eat for breakfast most days (to stay regular), isn't Atkins, either.  As long as none of the food cravings are returning, as long as I continue to eat more fat and protein than carbs, as long as wanting to eat isn't an issue, as long as I feel good---- I will tinker with the diet until I find the "perfect" rest of my life way to eat. I think I am pretty close.

The Atkins books refer to this as the Atkins Edge the way the low carb diet suppresses the "need" to eat favorite foods, the lack of appetite between meals, the ability to say "no" when offered things I would never have been able to resist before (donuts, chips, ice cream, pasta, whole loaves of good bread).  The diet I followed in 2007 was all about NO.  I wanted things but had to always be saying NO and then cheating and eating it anyway as long as I only ate 1200 calories a day.  I wasn't building muscle.  Yes, I did look thinner than I do today.  But it wasn't a healthy looking thin.  I DID look like I was suffering from some illness than was causing me to lose weight. I was always exhausted. And I was always in a very bad mood.  Guess why I lost my job????

This feels good.  Anyway, now I am going upstairs to do some work on the Pilates machine (upper body strength exercises) and do some cardio work on my abdominals.  The yoga exercises are working my legs and hips.  Then I can eat my breakfast and make a fresh pot of coffee.  Stay Cool!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Clearing Away a Few More Piles

This "pile" will be very enjoyable to "clear up" as it means more pasting into my journal.  I sorted the pile of tearouts from my magazine recycling and discovered all of these still waiting to be added to the journal. I also sorted out all the Paper Doll pages.  This magazine gave me a complimentary paper doll with two seasonal outfits each issue.  My friend K collected and cut hers out for her granddaughter to play with. I guess I kept mine for me to play with?  Next pile is all my Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper. I have already decided not to renew my subscription to QA.  Nothing there of any interest.

I also found that I had torn out a page with a VERY nice big chair that I can use to make a pattern.  That is making me very happy right now.  Lot's of possibilities.

The weather last night was incredible, as it went down into the high 50's overnight and the sleeping was excellent.  Top that with a viewing of Pilates on QVC (I pick up all sorts of new exercise tips) which has gotten me all interested in the Cardio Rebounder again.  That might be what I need to get my weight moving.

This morning I got a "report" from my blog.  One hundred twelve page views a day this week.  I am closing in on 100K in page views and 70K in visits.  I think the uptick is due to being linked to the 12 by 12 blog with my Gray Chair this month.  Thank you Terry.  I wish I had been prepared with new art to take advantage of the new visitors.  Instead, I was just nannering about my diet and the weather.  Boring.

We picked up G's truck last night.  They managed to undo all the wrong stuff and do all the right stuff and the truck is working now.  G got a $570 credit.  The service tech is "deeply embarrassed" by the mistake he made.  The service manager is "deeply apologetic" that any mistake was made.  They should have just consulted me.  As soon as G mentioned a new "computer" being added to, what is a very simple truck with crank windows and no bells and whistles.  I said "why would THAT truck need a $800 computer?"  And it didn't.   G is back on the road with his truck today.  I only got to drive it to work for the first year we owned it.  I liked filling it up with garden stuff.

My final Wallander book is good but not riveting.  Too much sadness.  Swedish men, in fiction, must find turning 60 to be very depressing.  It's all about the "end of life", no more growth, no more excitement etc.  I had thought Swedish men lived active lives into their 80's and 90's.  Even to 100.  That old Viking spirit.  Not Wallander, I guess.  My guess is that the author has these problems and Wallander, himself, would have been just fine.  Always eager to work on a puzzling case.

G managed to stay awake and watch two new episodes of Rizzoli & Iles.  Tonight we will attempt another episode of the Closer and two of Chelsea Lately.  I am TiVo-ing Big Brother and forwarding through most of the stupid "chatter".  I can watch a whole hour in about 10 to 15 minutes.  So much better this way. It's very obvious this season, that the show is taped well in advance and heavily edited.  They even edit in scenes from "the future" which is ridiculous.  Pay attention and there is no "drama" as to which House Guest is staying.

The budget Stuff and Murdock are proving to be more interesting and suspenseful.  A "pie in the face".  Those Brits know how to have fun with government don't they?  A little info on the Chinese Mrs.  Murdock brought to memory an episode of Criminal Intent.  Down to the smallest detail.  Do you remember it?  And the JLo intrigue.  Summer Fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where Am I? Where Am I Going?

Today: Work.  Hot. Boss took the day off. The mice will play.  But not too much.  A coworker was ordering lunch from the spot down the street.  I ordered a 1/2 pound cheese burger with mayo and pickles.  I thought it would also have tomato and lettuce.  Needed to be more specific.  It did arrive sans bun.  Which always puzzles the restaurant.  The bun must be the best part??  It was good. Just what I needed.

The garden is being watered.  The deck pots have been watered.  G will be having (hot) roast turkey breast (from the deli) along side some Stove Top.  Yesterday's dinner was terrible.  I must make amends.

Riley is staying at day care until G is finished working.  They have A/C which is ever so cold.  And G has A/C in his Jeep which means the ride home will be ever so cool also.  My car had been sitting in the sun all day and I needed to stop to buy the groceries.  Fresh cream for my coffee.

I also bought a roaster chicken breast.  I LOVED it shredded with mayo (lots) and honey.  Yes, I know honey is a CARB but it made the chicken ever so nice last time and I wanted MORE.

Cereal (Muslix) this morning with Soy Milk.  I keep forgetting to have eggs in the morning so I can have yogurt and raspberries (with a scoop of protein powder) for lunch.  I had prepared a ham and cheese roll up for today's luncheon but the burger sounded more suitable to the level of my fat to carbs for the day.

Nothing much going on as you can tell from the daily menu.  One of the twenty something summer help seems to have gotten preggers.  I was the only one who didn't know.  Another was arrested for bothering someone who had a protection order.  Another is just back (but on house arrest) from jail.  A bit of B& E. The pregnant girl lost her driver's license due to not wearing her seatbelt the third time the same cop stopped her.  We are hoping she stops chain smoking and buckles up. (I am hoping--- the others say it's her decision).

Another employee with a badly swollen foot, went to the ER after work Sunday to see if THEY can decide what is wrong.  MRI, sonagrams, tests etc. have been ordered by her doctor.  None of her regular doctors knows what is wrong.  But no one has x rayed her foot to see if something is broken.  Sounds like an episode of House doesn't it?  Been nearly 2 (maybe three) months.  It isn't gout.  The Medical Profession. Nothing to be proud of, I'm thinking.  My own personal doctor, who does nothing for me but order tests and refer me to other doctors (I don't go: she doesn't check), has been sued for malpractice.  I wonder how, since she does nothing?

I'm going to take a shower now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Breakfast. On Atkins.

Now that I see it on the screen, not that appetizing to look at, is it?   Scrambled egg beaters, cold  leftover zucchini, red peppers and slivers of ham mixed in. Eaten cold (room temp) with my fingers. The "bread" is a new flax recipe I tried this morning (4 T flax meal, quarter cup water, one splenda packet, one egg - mix and let sit 10 minutes and then micro for 2 minutes. I had to micro for an additional 3o seconds. the recipe mentions tucking the cream cheese into the uncooked batter before microwaving.).  Stuffed with cream cheese after cooking it.  I am trying to include more "fat" into my diet.  And I have discovered that eating only two meals a day works better for me.  In the summer.  Always has.

My coffee tasted strange the past two mornings.  I thought it was the Splenda.  But then I smelled the cream in the container.  Eew!  I need to go get a fresh carton. Until then, coffee with powdered creamer. As a precaution, I will buy smaller cartons of creamer from now on, as I need to use it all in 7 days, once opened, no matter what date is stamped on the box.

I made sugar free strawberry jello yesterday.  Each cup has 20 calories which have to come from somewhere.  On the side of the box everything is "zero" because they can say that if the "real" number is less than 1.  Like .99 is less than 1.  So, 20 calories.  Which is 5 nc.  I can eat Eddy's Slow Churned Ice Cream if I wanted to use up 5 nc on a dessert.  Jackasses.  Five nc is alot when you can only have a total of 20 per day.

I know I get tiresome with all this rattling on about my net carbs, the fat, the lack of weight loss etc etc.  Usually, it doesn't even scan on my mental radar (which has been quite dysfunctional lately).  Except when I sit quietly and think.  And, sorry to say, that's what I do just before I start posting on this blog.  Sit quietly and think. Which is what I also do if I want to poop.

Hard to believe that I am actually having coherent thoughts!!!!  Just last night I dreamt I was having dinner at a strange restaurant and at the very next table was Bob Barker from the Price Is Right.  He was doing some table side grilling of meats and asked about my Dad.  Who just happened to be sitting next to me. Bob was wearing a lovely powder blue suit and his teeth were very white and perfect.  He smiled at me while he grilled and ate what looked like about 10 pounds of beef.  We never saw a waiter or waitress at our table and I think we were going to leave without eating.  But we didn't want to be rude to Bob Barker while he was talking to us.  My Dad and I are like that.

It's a bit overcast with clouds this morning.  Riley has gone "hunting" in the woods to find small trees (two) which he has dragged out onto the freshly cut lawn.  He will chew off any side branches and then chew the main branch into chips. This is his "work" for the day.  When he isn't working on the trees, he will rest under the shrubs.  In the shade.

I have G's work shirts to starch and iron.  The garden to check for ripening peas, radishes, zucchini and cucumbers.  I also need to clip more Calendula blossoms for the Calendula Salve I intend to make (as soon as I have enough dry petals).  I have everything I need to make a quart jar of Spoon Oil.  Beeswax and Mineral Oil.  I'm going all Little House On The Prairie this week.  I'm even tempted to make Tangerine Soap.  Martha Stewart had some on her website.  I love the smell of Tangerines.  I would love to smell like Tangerines after my showers. I bought some marked down Lemon Basil hand soap at work.  A pump bottle.  For the kitchen.  Smells good.  

In "other news", the dead looking Meyer Lemon Tree is sending up little leaf shoots off the main old stem.  G and I think everything else is dead.  I had asked the Universe to send me a Lemon Tree.  None are being shipped into Maine right now, so it didn't seem possible.  Yet, a coworker happened to have this dead tree she wanted to get rid of and there you go.  I had to repot it, fertilize and water and just "hope" it would still have enough gumption to throw out a leaf or two.  Never Give Up.  the Universe sent me the Lemon and a message.  Don't give up.  And then there's Bob Barker.  All kinds of good things streaming out of the Universe in July of 2011. I hope President Obama is asking for the "big package" when he speaks to the Universe.  I know I am.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Journal Pages

Not everything I choose to write is appropriate for public consumption.  I know! Some of what I write here, in public, isn't appropriate, either. So kind of you to notice!!! You can just imagine how: choose those that apply; boring, TMI (too much info, think Dr Oz poop) or too personal, the written stuff is, if I find it inappropriate to share.

The pages pictured have index pictures pasted to the outside edges.  After cleaning the dining room, I had a large pile of many years of a favorite magazine, now discontinued.  The content index had small pictures from feature stories.  Little vignette of charming rooms, gardens, artists.  I liked them and am very pleased to have them on my journal pages so I can enjoy looking at them for years to come.  The pictures frame my written additions and the narrowed width of the page, suits my writing style.

 I wonder sometimes who will read these many journals in the next 50 years?  Or will the journals simply be added to the recycling container after my death?  I DO see myself reading them in my old (older) age.  And perhaps I will be the one putting them in the recycling container after I read them.  The journals contain so many plans and ideas.  Little sketches.  Drawings of chairs.

I finished a "less than interesting" new book last night.  I have many, many of the romances written by this author and the ones from the past 10 years have been VERY disappointing.  Authors now think nothing of publishing what I consider to be an outline of the story.  Underdeveloped characters, dialogue and plot.  They are skipping the novel and going directly to the Cliff Notes version.  I tend to choose the first novel of new authors now.  They, at least, try to give the reader a good read.

G is out cutting the grass trying to get done before 10:30.  Today is going to be a scorcher.  We don't have central air.  So when it's hot outside, it's generally hot inside.  I use all the skills learned as a child. Open windows at night to cool the house.  Close all windows in the morning and close blinds and curtains to keep the house as dark as possible.  Open one window on the coolest side of the house to work as a drafting device.  Open and close doors as little as possible.  Use fans to circulate air.

We have one small window A/C unit and it is in the kitchen area or great room.  We eat, use the computer, read the paper here and this is where the dog spends the majority of his time.  We use the AC unit to remove humidity from the house which makes life much more comfortable around here. It also makes it possible for us to have home cooked meals in the summer.

 When I was a child we had a deep, cold basement.  That was where we played in the heat of the afternoon, watched television when it was invented and worked.  It's where I ironed all the family clothing every summer afternoon as a teenager.  It's also where the deep wash sinks and the extra stove was located in my grandmother's house.  The sinks and the stove were used when we canned food.  My grandmother would fill the deep zinc sinks with bushels of peaches and can so many jars of fruit for the winter months.  Cherries were picked off the neighbor's tree and canned. At the far back of the basement the cold cellar was located.  It was usually damp and musty.  Filled with glass canning jars and wooden crates of stored root vegetables and spiders.  The canned cherries looked like jars full of fish eyes to young, imaginative, children.  Lots of screaming.  Good times.

I purchased 3 small winterberry shrubs yesterday and a nice sized purple smokebush.  I have to go move them to a cooler location and water them until we have time to plant.  I don't think today is a good planting day.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wabi Sabi Placemats

I take scraps and make placemats.  It's mindless work and when completed I have something I can USE and not something to add to my pile of finished (stored) fabric works.  I can understand why my friend K only made bed sized quilts.  No wall art.  Usable ONLY.  The fact that, even she, has a closet full of bed quilts in pillowcases, doesn't escape me.

It does keep me from making too many things without a purpose, though.  I wish I was a better seamstress and could fashion "daring" wardrobe additions from my fabric stash.  Jackets, vests and even bags. I used to be fearless about set in sleeves.  I view homemade clothing with a profound sense of pity these days.  It all looks way "too" homemade.  Not even "primitive".  Careless workmanship.  And that includes most home knitting.

I tried knitting while on summer vacation after my Freshman year in college.  I knit a brown acrylic scarf.  It was wide and very, very long.  I would knit until I ran out of yarn.  Then unravel and roll all the yarn into a huge ball and begin again, having great difficulty with the beginning chain.  I liked knitting.  I did not like the brown scarf.  I had no hopes of getting my parents to buy me any other yarn, in fact, I was very lucky to have had that much brown yarn.  So, the brown was all I was ever going to have that summer.  I remember being very happy.  Clicking the needles.  Knitting.  Unpurposeful.

Later, in the early 70's I moved onto Crewel Embroidery and Bargello.  I still have the Bargello Pillow I made.  Endless stitching.  I don't know where the ripple crochet afghan is located.  I made that in the late 70's to match a sofa I no longer own.  Recently, I came across the elaborate (and very expensive) cross stitch sampler kit I purchased in my Early American Phase in the 80's. An authentic design in traditional American colors.  eBay?

I had a smaller and more portable linen piece that I traveled with in the 80's.  It was easy to work on in airports and on planes.  I bought everything on a Swiss ski trip and copied the design off an antique runner in the foyer of the ski chalet onto graph paper.  I traveled with graph paper, I guess.  I started work on the piece and one of the ladies serving coffee at the guest house asked to see the "back".  I turned it over and she expressed "disgust" at the sloppy backside.  Showed me how it was supposed to be worked.  I set to work picking all my finished work (to their amazement) out to begin again.  I was given free coffee for the remainder of my visit.  Excellence in everything in Switzerland.

I still have that piece, as yet unfinished, but always ready to travel.  Red cross stitches on a very nice creamy linen.  Very Swiss.  The best sort of souvenir.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slightly Out Of Focus

My table and my day.  Today was cooler, breezy and full of sunshine.  A perfect summer day in Maine.  I started the day feeling less than 100% so I didn't go to work.  I lost my eyeglasses for awhile during the morning--only to find them --on my face. Really. I even went in to the house to "look" for them.  I didn't think I had them on.

I weeded the perennial bed that is right next to the south facing side of the house, I took about 10 breaks. I went to sit in the shade with Riley. (we need chairs at work so I can sit and rest). I managed to dig up and then relocate a few of the perennials along with about 8 large buckets of weeds and clover. I ended up with a container of daffodil bulbs that need relocating.  Collateral damage.

Then I picked peas.  Picked radishes.  Tied up my cucumbers.  Planted beans.  Picked and ate the last of the strawberries.  G weeded the south west corner of the pathway in the garden.

G and I went out for lunch/dinner after we both took showers (dirty!!!) and G also needed a Blizzard from DQ.  Then we went to Staples to buy a printer for G's McD.  The old printer decided to commit suicide today in solidarity with the cash registers and computer.  It all seems very strange. Bewildering.

Almost as bewildering as the selection of cheap, crappy merchandise at TJMaxx.  While G was purchasing the printer I went over to TJ to have a look see.  Are they making tee shirts out of used kleenex?

I poured heavy cream in a lidded container  a few minutes ago and shook it till it stopped making any noise (this is something you can do to heavy cream but not to babies).  Now I am going to eat the cream with the remainder of my rhubarb sauce. Dessert.   I need a nap.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For Deborah

I reworked the stitches (after searching for the bag of threads) at the bottom and it still looked lopsided.  So I looked for something purple on my work table.  There always seems to be the perfect solution in the table mess.  I love what the polka dots do here ( always add dots!).  I added more yellow but lined it up with the new polka dot square.  The new right side yellow makes sense of the extra flower stem which was just hanging out there for no artistic reason.  I am going to call this one finished and forgettable.

The weather seems to be thinking of changing.  Some clouds.  A light breeze.  Still hot.  Riley is outside and under the forsythia hedge.

G is having a NIGHTMARE at work.  A nearby McD had a power  surge and lost all five of it's cash registers on Monday at 2 am.  Fried.  So, the other nearby McD's (owned by the same owner) all had one or two cash registers unplugged and moved to that location.  G lost his main register to the relocation.  And now he has lost his computer which runs the registers.  It died under the stress of losing it's main register terminal so abruptly.  This weekend is HUGE in Yarmouth.  The Clam Festival.  Today is Rides Day.  One ticket and you can ride all day.  And then eat at Mickey D's.  Last night, after G worked 12 hours, (cashing customers out with paper and a pencil) a vehicle was sent to New Hampshire to pick up more registers.  I think they arrived in the middle of the night because that is when the phone rang and G was giving out the access codes.  At 4:30 am the phone rang again and while looking for G, I realized he was gone.  He must have gone to work very early to reprogram the "new" cash registers.

I had my normal bacon and eggs breakfast and feel nauseous.  I don't want to eat anymore eggs. EVER.  I am making a cup of sweet, hot tea to drink to settle my stomach.  The three pounds I regained on Sunday is gone again.  It's just water.  My ring is looser so I know it's only water retention.  I feel crappy.  Dreamed of baking a cheesecake with a walnut crust.  I could actually eat some of that.  Too bad it's so hot.

If I ever feel better, I am going to the library to return books.  The water is on in the vegetable garden. The nearly dead Meyer Lemon is sprouting green leaf shoots off the big thick main stem.  I think everything else is dead.  Which proves the old saying "never give up".  I may go back to the sewing machine and top stitch another "wabi sabi" placemat.  That's a calming procedure and I always like to see these little art works under my dinner plate.   Stay Cool!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friend Of Twelve by Twelve- Gray

I had this four patch made some time ago, using a painted fabric I had made and used for another piece.  I added more gray fabric and, since I found my freezer paper chair pattern during the "clean up and removal" process in my work space, I used it again to make another chair.   SOLD

So many grays are mixed with either red or yellow.  It's difficult to find a pure gray (white and black) in fabric.  I like my chair and now that I have "three" I can consider this a "series" and make more.  How fun is that?

86 degrees here in Maine today and I think it was well over 100 at the greenhouse.  I feel exhausted.  Every piece of clothing is damp or just plain wet.  And I am covered in dirt.

I started the day at 5:30, getting up to put together the watering system and watered my vegetable garden until the moment it was time to leave for work.  First thing I did when I got home was turn the system back on and get those poor plants a good drink.  A cold front is supposed to come through and make things better.  Hurry.  I am melting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Passion Flower Sketches

We have Passion Flowers in blossom at work. When Deborah and I were sharing our 12 by 12's at lunch last week, my unfinished Passion quilt was discussed.  I keep working on it and it keeps being a disappointment.  Yesterday, I made a few quick sketches for the "less than successful" areas.  My years of Botanically Correct Watercolor Painting causes so many problems when trying for a more abstract rendition.  Vague knowledge of plant parts is sometimes better than a deep knowledge. We talked about just letting that particular block "go".

I have a freezer paper "chair" ready to work on.  I have a tracing paper flower ready to layer with tulle for another experiment.  Deborah, finding the pad of tracing paper was quite the event here!!!  It's frustrating to KNOW you have something and then not be able to remember where you stored it.

In other daily news, my day at work Sunday was just as boring and hot as I suspected it would be.  I watered the entire perennial yard before having my lunch (1 pm) and have sunburned (kissed) shoulders to prove it.  I have such a deep tan already that there is no pain, just a bit of redness.  I had also gotten sun on my shoulders Saturday while watering and weeding my own garden at home.  Different tops, so different lines.  I remember my grandmother with the same deep brown tan that I now have.  She spent the entire morning in her vegetable garden.

This morning, I did some internal gardening.  I transplanted my infant Gloxinias to larger pots.  I found the largest plastic saucers that I could fit inside my antique birdcage on the sunporch and then arranged, (repotted as necessary), the ivy, wandering jew and the chicken gizzard plant.  Carried the Amaryllis outside to the deck, fertilized and watered them.  Watered the orchids.  Checked on the status of the citrus (I have kumquat, Calamondin Oranges, dwarf orange and a new, very sad Meyer Lemon), watered the Patio tomato and Riley and I went out front to water the four Sun Gold tomatoes by the front walk.

G mentioned that I might have too many tomato plants AGAIN this year.  I said, "oh, I only have 3 Arkansas Travelers, 9 Early Girls, 2 Brandywine, 9 Mortgage Lifters, one San Marzano and the 4 Sun Gold."  I actually said this with the conviction that this was fewer tomatoes than I have ever had.  My summer squash plants already have tiny fruit growing.  So cute.  I picked more peas yesterday.  Ate the few remaining strawberries on my plants.  Noticed that the blueberries are getting bigger.  The raspberry bushes are covered in Japanese beetles.  G and I really need to dig the raspberries up and get them out of my garden.  Stupid place for me to have decided to plant them.  I spread more Little River compost (local company) on my lettuce seeds, gave the beets some compost, gave the newly encircled (with black plastic edging) squashes some additional compost.  I need to open my vegetable fertilizer and give everything a July "boost".  The containers will get a good drink of fish emulsion water.

I had to stop typing and get something to eat.  I wasn't hungry yesterday after work so only had 2 ounces of cheddar before bed, no dinner.  I woke up and was still not hungry.  Eventually had two HB eggs. Coffee.  Now, suddenly, I feel dizzy.  So I am having organic low carb yogurt, protein powder and stewed rhubarb sauce.  Perhaps 10 net carbs.  I am forging my own path.  Adjusting my water intake to the tightness or loose-ness of my wedding ring.  I have been following the low carb rules for 63 days now.  I counted the daily entries in my journal.  Could not believe it's been two full months. Other than being more comfortable in my clothing and having NO food or snack cravings, I see no observable difference in my appearance.  G and my daughter say they do.  No one else has mentioned seeing any changes.  Today is beef chili and a large green salad.  Later.

I still have my Pilates and the dog walk to look forward to --- but later.  Right now, I think I will just let myself adjust to the day.  It's summer.  I need to go into town and get my glasses adjusted (I banged them against the air conditioner while adjusting the hose) and I think that is the main reason for feeling dizzy, and buy G some more yogurt and cereal.  I may need more lettuce.

Saturday, July 09, 2011


 Tried another of the "new" low carb invented foods tonight.  I didn't think it had much of a chance of being successful.  Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

Cooked, finely chopped or grated cup of cauliflower, one egg and one cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Mixed into a "dough" and patted onto a sheet of parchment paper and slipped onto the pizza stone at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the toppings.  Next time I will saute all the toppings in a skillet so they are already cooked. I normally don't have pepperoni but on Atkins you need to eat a certain percentage of fat each day.  I hadn't had any at all today. The recipe suggests a few minutes under the broiler to brown and melt the cheese topping.

I took the crust out early, added pepperoni, onion, mushroom and peppers plus a small amount of cheese. then I baked the whole thing for ten more minutes.   I could have left it in a few minutes longer, I think.

I blotted off all the oil from the pepperoni (not the biggest fan of grease) and let the pizza sit to firm up.   I did have to eat it with a fork, but it was PIZZA!.   And the crust was very tasty and almost "bready".   Eight net carbs for the crust. Most of my toppings were salad vegetables.  My pizza sauce has 5 nc per 1/4 cup and I used one Tablespoon of sauce but you can buy or make a pizza sauce with 3 nc per 1/4 cup.

Next Saturday I am making the Cauliflower Breadsticks and eating them with low carb Marinara sauce alongside a Greek Salad.   One of my all time favorite take out meals.

Now that I am experimenting ---- the diet is getting to be more appetizing.

Work tomorrow from 8:30 to 5.  Eighty Five Degrees.  It'll be 110 degrees in the potting bench corner. So hot you just want to die.  But tonight, it's going down to 50 so we'll sleep really good.  Good Night!

New Developments

This is the third visit to the Deli (where I buy my thin sliced ham and cheese for my Roll Ups) and the third time I have noticed this product.  A large wrap.  A serving is half of one wrap.  6 inches by 9 inches.  And it's really "breadlike", contains Flax, wheat gluten, soy protein etc and has 4 net carbs.   Even a quarter at 3 inches by 9 would be delightful for only 2 net carbs.   There is some Dextrose in the ingredients list but way down near the bottom with the yeast.  Yeast needs some sugar in order to activate.  And according to the Atkins Forums, the yeast digests the sugar so it's a wash.  Much better with a burger than those eggy Oopsie Rolls.

I had a delightful lunch with Deborah yesterday.  We had a lovely table out on the Sea Dog deck with a view of the bridge and the river.  We looked at each other's 12 by 12's and seeing them in person is so much better than a digital image on the computer screen.  I am trying to find some time today between exercise, Riley's walk, and garden chores to get into the workroom to try a freezer paper stencil and the tulle flowers (Deborah gave me directions).   I think I have tracing paper somewhere.  There were so many little details in her work that have me itching to "make" something today.  To be creative.

I also have my Indigo Dye Kit.  All I need is a clean 5 gallon bucket and time to stitch and rubber band tee shirts and work shirts before I can dunk them in the bucket and then watch the green turn to blue in the sunlight.  I have to research Shibori methods.

G and I also went out to dinner last night.  He had had another very busy, stressful day at Micky D's.  It's summer and everyone wants to eat out at lunchtime.  The Clam Festival is next weekend and that will be extremely busy.  So, I called a local spot to see if they could fit us in at 6 pm on a summer Friday.  They could.  $110 later we drove home very full and happy.  G had lovely Porterhouse Lamb Chops in a Port wine reduction.  I had steak in a Shitake Cognac cream sauce (must learn to make that sauce).  We started with local mussels prepared the classic French way.  G finished with Creme Brulee.  We both had coffee.

Add that larger than normal dinner to the larger than normal lunch (all still Adkins Acceptable-- no bread, grains, potatoes or starchy veg and no wine, beer or mixed drink for me) and I had another one pound loss on the scale this morning.  I have been doing my Pilates and walking the dog for 30 minutes the past two days.  I think that has something to do with the numbers on the scale.  The morning cereal has made me "regular" so I am feeling much more positive.  For those Readers on the Atkins Journey with me --- eat more!

My Spider Bite has diminished.  The swelling and redness has gone down.  Still itchy.  And sore.  The weather outside looks to be perfect for Mosquito Bites, though.  I am finishing my coffee and need to decide on breakfast.  Then get going on my day.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Lenten Rose

One of the first things to bloom in the New Year.  We have large plants for sale right now but I don't have a nice spot to plant them.  This is a magazine photo.

It says something about my summer schedule of activities, that I have the time to post to this blog everyday. I did go to work yesterday.  After my Pilates exercises, I got dressed packed my all fat/protein lunch plus a container of radish slices and a quart jar with a half packet of Crystal Light lemonade.  I had 2 HB eggs with mayo, ham and cheese roll up.  I skipped dinner and had two slices of Deluxe Kraft with my bedtime Benadryl.  I was so exhausted and under the influence of Benadryl to even think straight.  I napped on the couch until G announced we were all going to bed at 9:30.  Even Riley.

The Benadryl is to control the itching of my Annual Spider Bite.  At work, as usual.  On my right elbow. It is still red, swollen and hot this morning.  Not as HUGE as the Spider Bite of 2010 (left arm) which was so red and hot that I nearly caved and visited the ER.  Nor as "leaky" as the Spider Bite of 2009 (right ankle).  Each year the spider bite is different.

Work was difficult.  I arrived to find the tractor with the scoop lowered into the greenhouse doors. Employees were tossing plants into the scoop (destination the dumpster).  A total of 10 tables (or more) were emptied.  I was in charge of setting out the newly arrived "6 inch green foliage".  After lunch I watered the new foliage. And then the truck arrived with the new "6 inch annual Proven Winners" which also needed to be tagged with price stickers.  I still wasn't finished as the clock struck 6 and we went home.  I never got around to watering the new stuff.

There is no adult working in the greenhouse today.  I hope "someone" remembers to water.

I felt lighter this morning, so I weighed myself.  Lost one pound yesterday.  I had cereal again today and will follow the Atkins Induction Rules (AIR) for the rest of the day.  My wedding ring is not as tight.  I am hoping to regain some "regularity" today.

Riley's annual visit to the vet was $245.  So many shots that we have to wait a month for the last one.  the Vet didn't want to overload Riley's systems. He is fine.  Heat Sensitive (HS).  Meaning he feels the heat more than usual.  Which would account for the lack of appetite and the desire to remain outdoors where it is, sort of, cooler.  The panting and endless walking in a circle is another indication of heat sensitivity.  We can schedule another appointment (?) for a Chinese Herbal consultation for the HS. Why not just give him the herbs? We can also think about another annual shot for dogs that drink pond water. Riley does, though he usually throws up right after drinking it or more likely snorting it.

Riley's food has also been tweaked.  We are skipping the holistic food and he will be eating just the Potato & Duck.  With a taste of the Sweet Potato & Fish to see what he thinks.  He likes the fishy one.  Both are excellent choices for a HS Lab.  Riley looked thinner, but is down just one pound.  He needs a slimmer hip indent.  Don't we all?

G weeded 4 out of five of the garden beds yesterday.  Which leaves the remainder for me.  I need to pick up some more HB eggs, sliced ham and something else at the grocery (which I cannot remember) after my lunch date with Deborah.  I also need to pick up books on hold at the library.  G and I enjoy ending the day with a few quiet hours of reading.  G managed to cut the grass, get his haircut and walk the dog. He also finished the bag of cherries.

I was offered a sugar free ice cream sandwich yesterday at work (28 carbs).  Those things with the vanilla ice cream between two soggy chocolate cookie/cake things.  My ABSOLUTE favorite store bought ice cream treat.  I said no.  Really didn't crave eating it.  I plan on trying another low carb recipe for "cauliflower dough".  I can use it to make pizza crust, breadsticks and "doritos" chips.  We'll see.  I can also steam and shred the cauliflower to make "rice".   I am sort of interested in the "doritos" chips because I do love nachos.  The Oopsie Rolls aren't something I plan on trying again.  Too eggy.

Now I am going upstairs to do my exercises.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pretty Peas

I wasn't on the "diet" when I planted my peas in the April.  But they are taller than ever and covered in pea pods.  This was my first little harvest and I ate them raw.  Delicious.  Later I checked the Acceptable List and there they were; fresh podded peas.  Legal.

I did my Pilates yesterday, walked the dog and watered my vegetable garden (where I got a nice sunburn on my neck and shoulders), weeded a few things, cut Calendula flowers so I can make "first aid" salve this year along with a jar of Spoon Oil.  Both need a mixture of oil and melted beeswax.

I barely ate anything yesterday.  Once upon a time, I fasted for about 6 weeks (maybe less) and lost 50 pounds.  I also lost my hair and my teeth wiggled in my mouth.  That is not something I want to relive.  But yesterday, I found myself barely eating.  I won't even write down the small amount of food I ate (forced myself) yesterday. My appetite is so suppressed by Atkins, that I barely register hunger.  I guess I have moved from a healthy diet to starvation.  Not good.  Which is why I am probably so tired.  When I fasted, I remember sleeping a great deal. My body must of thought I was dying.

I am admitting defeat.  If I were actually losing weight, I might continue.  But I am not.  I know people "plateau" for weeks and sometimes months, and the Atkins "people" say it's okay.  It isn't okay.  My body is shutting down.

I am reverting to my old 365 Day Healthy Eating Plan as of this morning -- 1200 calories a day.  I am adding in a great deal more protein than I ate in 2007.  Atkins with cereal and yogurt.  At least I will poop.  I hope.  (just EATING the cereal had an affect on my colon!!!)

I have a very exciting lunch date tomorrow with Deborah of the Frayed Edges.  She will be in Camden this weekend for the opening of their quilt show "Letters" at the Camden Library.  I will be bringing all my 12 by 12 quilts for her to see in person.  Even the one we reveal on July 12th- Gray.  I actually finished it yesterday while G was installing new digital boxes on two of our televisions.  The ones not controlled by TiVo.  It felt good to be "making" some fabric art.  Finding the fabric I wanted was more difficult as some is upstairs on shelves, some is packed in project boxes, some is still downstairs, some is in the wastebasket.

I keep running across projects that I worked on and then tucked away in a box or bag.  A lovely Japanese piece was uncovered yesterday afternoon.  I "finished" a project begun by my dearly departed friend Beverly.  She had cut a multitude of trapezoid shapes from Japanese fabrics.  It was not the most fun I have had, piecing them all together.  In the end, I had a very long piece but not very wide.  I think I stopped because I had no idea what I was making.  I knew I was "done" since I had run out of fabric shapes and actual Japanese fabric.  I guess I need to figure out where this project is going.  It might make a nice set of couch pillows for my son who loves Japan.  Or it will remain in that project box-- until I "next" open it and discover this project-waiting.  See that repeat on the right?  I noticed quite a bit of that when I was looking at the length.  I can see the "perfectionist" with a seam ripper in hand, making changes.  I think THIS is WHY it's unfinished.  It needs UNsewing.

No television again last night.  I read my book and G was fixing the new digital boxes.  Why do they always say it will be "easy"?  It rained pretty hard last night as the cold front blew through here to the ocean.  Today is supposed to be cooler, breezy with sunshine. A very nice day to weed the vegetable garden.  The soil will be soft and moist. G has the day off and I am considering calling out at work. Just looked at my schedule and there is no one working in the greenhouse but me today.  Crap.  My parents beat (literally) a work ethic into me.  It's so hard for me to NOT go to work.

Riley has a vet appointment.  They will be discussing the dog's change in personality.  He doesn't come when called, won't get in the car etc.  Has become stubborn.  Not as playful.  And then there's the whole refusing to eat thing, which isn't always but is often enough to be worrying.  He wouldn't come into the house yesterday (I don't like to leave him in the yard when I shower) so Riley got a few sharp words from me.  He apologized and was on his best behavior for the remainder of yesterday afternoon.  But he was outside where he wanted to be.  G has noticed things also.  So the vet appointment is important. A neighbor's dog, Pete, died of cancer at 4 years (Riley is 4).  Two months from first symptom to death. We have to be observant. Watchful.

I am going up to do Pilates.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Summer Fatique

Yes, there is a downside to summer.  The heat exhausts me.  I could actually spend the summer reading on the couch or napping on that same couch.  I am always sleepy in the summer.   Yesterday I finally "got into" my new book.  "The Wreckage" by a favorite author, Michael Robotham.  I started with "Lost" or the "Drowning Man" and was hooked.  I also have a new, the last, Wallander to read.  I had the time to read because G suggested letting the dog stay at day care and I would have a few hours alone at home to relax after work.  It WAS nice.

The dog is outside this morning and I have on my Pilates clothes and my intentions, good ones, are to go upstairs and do my 30 minute routine before I eat breakfast.  My weight has stalled at the new lower weight  (which isn't really low) and a return to the exercises may help.  Not quite where I had hoped to be at this point in the "diet" (7-8 weeks in).  I think I might be happier, psychologically, if the number was 5 pounds lower.  I could make myself either happier or sadder by trying on my "test pants" to see if I have lost inches.  I can tell, by the way everything is fitting this week, that the test pants would still be too tight. Water retention.

We are working  shorter days at the greenhouse.  Fewer customers.  More watering.  More boredom.  More heat and humidity.  Yesterday there was even a snake to make things more gruesome.  The only entertainment was in catching chipmunks in the live trap and then taking them for a ride.  I suggested tagging them somehow so we could see how soon they returned.  One chipmunk was trapped in the lunchroom over the 4th and was busy chewing the door trim off the door.  Another was swimming in the toilet.  The chipmunks have gotten very brazen now that Maxine the cat is dead.  We need a new cat.

I am fighting the urge to have a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Cereal and yogurt are the two things I want to have back in my daily diet right now.  I can live without the bread, pasta and rice.  I can live without potatoes, beans and corn products.

The Oopsie Roll. I found them to be useful as a "vehicle" to enable the Atkins dieter to pick up and eat food with their hands.  The rolls do not add anything to the taste of the food other than allowing food to be held in the hands.  Is that what a hamburger bun actually is?  Something to think about.  These Oopsie Rolls are made of cream cheese mixed with egg yolks folded very gently into egg whites beaten to stiff peaks with cream of tartar.  The recipe is one egg to one ounce of cheese.  This would make 2 "rolls" baked at 300 degrees for 30 minutes and then left to cool for a few hours.  Six eggs would create 12 rolls.  The Revolution Rolls were made with cottage cheese.  The Oopsie with cream cheese (which must remain cold).  A suggestion was made in the comments that ricotta cheese would be a better way to go.  I may try it once more and I may bake them a bit longer.   The cheese in the recipe must be subtracted from the 3 to 4 ounces of daily cheese allowed in Induction.

Strict Induction is required in order to switch the body chemistry.  After that, you can modify the diet to suit your needs.  I see many, many dieters restarting Induction, multiple times in a few weeks, on the forums. Dr Atkins didn't think that was a good thing.  I see so many recipes for Induction.  Really, it's 14 days.  Eat the same thing every day for 14 days and be done with it. I have four things I eat nearly all the time.  They fill me up, I have no cravings and they taste good (to me).  If I still feel hungry, I eat one of those things again.  Here's what I eat.

Tuna mixed with mayo and a large green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Thinly sliced imported Swiss (2 oz) and baked ham rolled up together eaten with radish slices dipped in salt.
Two eggs, bacon, one oz cheese and a MIM (only one per day).
Eggbeaters,  small amounts of ham, onion, peppers and spinach in an omelet.
All beef chili with cheese (1 oz), jalapenos and sour cream (2 T).
Two grilled burgers with bacon, onion, lettuce, cheese, pickles and mayo.
Salad with Ranch Dressing, Feta cheese and 5 Greek Olives

I have prepared and eaten some recipes off the Atkins site but they don't fill me up (very skimpy portions) and they seem to have too many carbs.  I have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer which I haven't decided what to do with, yet.

I just wish it was working for me.  Perhaps one of the Readers who is also doing Atkins can critique my menus and see where I may be going wrong?  I try and drink ice water with lemon with all my meals. I have two or three cups of coffee with Splenda and coffee cream each day ( this is where I use carbs).  Dessert is rhubarb sauce (less than 1/2 cup) with whipped, unsweetened heavy cream (2 T).  The rhubarb is an allowed "vegetable" (1/2 cup cooked is 1.7 nc) and the sauce is 8 cups rhubarb, granulated Splenda (1/2 cup)  and water cooked down until thick (about 6 cups total).  Or I have sugar free jello. but eating dessert isn't an everyday thing for me.  Four portions of jello has lasted almost three weeks in the fridge, I ate the last one last night.  The dessert item is just "available".  Sort of a safety net.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Yarrow, Tutti-Frutti Pomegranate

The yarrows are "in color" right now.  Their blooms aren't exactly what we think of as flowers, having that dry flat-top look to them.  Yarrow will grow even in the coldest zones (to -40).  This one will grow to 25 inches tall and width of 28 inches eventually.  Drought tolerant, full sun.  Vigorous, yet compact.  The magenta red flowers are the thing that made me bring this yarrow home last week.   They are nice planted with salvia, black eyed susan and cushion spurge.

I worked very hard to stay on track with Atkins yesterday.  Watching, very carefully, the carbs I was actually consuming.  The Splenda and cream in my coffee.  The Crystal Light lemonade and iced tea.  One gram of carb in every 8 ounces and I was drinking 8 cups a day or two quarts of the stuff.  EIGHT carbs right there.  And I missed counting any of them.  No wonder the scale is showing so little loss.

I believed what this guy on the video was saying but when I went to read the containers they have NO CARBS.  So I can drink this stuff and have CALORIES (which he says have to come from somewhere and be something and that is usually a carb) but NO CARBS.   Not all information is correct on the Internet.  I bought an additional flavor today at the grocery store--Pink Lemonade.   Now it may turn out that the 5 calories per cup are stabilizers added to the sweeteners (which seems like a lot).  And that they maybe carbs.  But today, tomorrow and the rest of the week, here in my house, Crystal Light will be zero carbs.  Any  diabetics out there with more information?

My reward for yesterday?  Half a pound less on the scale this morning.

G and I had an early dinner at Ruby Tuesday (we had a coupon).  I had steak, two sides of vegetables and the salad bar.  The only things I could put on my salad were cheese and diced HB egg.  Plus salad dressing.  Because I was having two vegetables with my steak.

After eating (and drinking water) we visited Goodwill.  I found a green, quarter zip fleece pullover to wear to work.  It's the same green as the company tee shirts so will be recognizable as a "company" uniform to customers.  Also in the men's department, I found an expensive "travel/fishing/hunting" type shirt with an air vented back and roll up, button, at various lengths, sleeves.  It's that nylon quick dry fabric.  The only drawback were the front, gusseted pockets.  On me, they looked like deflated African breasts.  All flat and hanging down to my waist.  Not the best look.  I still wanted the shirt.  So, after a good wash at home, I carefully removed the pockets.  Can't even see where they were stitched to the front.  Excellent.

My quick dry pants got stains on them at work and my attempts to remove the stains only made more stains.  Oh, well, win some and lose some.  I will still wear them as they are cooler than regular pants and better than wearing shorts.  My legs really aren't something people should have to look at.  The shorts I bought in the spring are also quick dry and I seem to have purchased the XL instead of the XXL.  So they are fitting pretty good.  I just wish the leg was longer and came closer to covering my fat, lumpy knees.  I thought about wearing knee length leggings under the shorts.  I'm not sure how that would look to people.  There is a very petite Asian woman who wears loose leggings under even looser shorts.  Perhaps the "looseness" is the key to a good look.

I found another recipe for an Atkins Bread on the internet last night.  Oopsie Rolls.  A mistake in the making of Revolution Rolls.  I plan to try them today to eat with my 4th of July burgers.  If made correctly they stand up well to any burger you want to eat.  You can take them with you to any fast food place and switch the burger to these Oopsie buns and eat away.  Red Robin burgers.  Wendy's Baconators.  Absolutely point six net carbs per roll.  Two equals 1.2 net carbs.  I am making four and eating all four of them for 2.4 net carbs.  I am saving my 4 ounces of cheese for dinner.  Two ounces of cream cheese for the rolls and 2 ounces of American for the burger toppings.

Which reminds me--time to cook some breakfast.  Bacon and eggs on a MIM.

There was something on the forums that cracked me up more than the "heaving (whip) cream".  The Oopsie rolls need cream of tartar to whip egg whites.  A reader said they didn't have cream of tartar but did have tartar sauce and wondered if that would work with the egg whites.  People who don't cook are so funny.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sea Holly, "Blue Glitter"

I had been watching this plant develop since we first set the pots out in the Spring.  Now, they are tall (18 inches or so and topped with all these spiky, thistle like ovals.  This particular plant is on the sunporch, waiting to be moved to the garden for G's enjoyment.  I bring home the strange and different for G to watch over.  Today looks to be humid, perhaps with rain.  Lots of mosquitos.  A good day to stay inside and read.

I am making rhubarb sauce.  It's allowed on Atkins.  Well, rhubarb is.  And I have mixed it with half a cup of Splenda for baking and water.  I threw in a couple handfuls of frozen strawberries.  Now it needs to reduce to a thickened sauce which I can have with whipped cream as a dessert.  I enjoy the rhubarb sauce more than the sugar free jello that other Atkins dieters have each day.  They mix their jello with cream cheese or sour cream.  That doesn't sound good to me.

Yesterday I was hungry at work.  I have to think about why I got hungry.  Either I am not eating enough fat with my proteins or I didn't have enough breakfast.  When you get all the proportions right--you are never really hungry until just before a meal.  Breakfast is such a difficult meal for me.  Today I actually had time to fry bacon, make two eggs and microwave a MIM.  It was a very good breakfast.  The MIM was actually very good.

A MIM is a mixture of 1/4 cup Flax meal, 1 egg, 1 t butter, Splenda packet, cinnamon and 1/2 t baking powder.  I made it in a flat 4 inch bowl.  One and a half minutes on my microwave. turn it out of the bowl immediately and let it rest for a few minutes to a few hours. I slice this flat cake in half to resemble two slices of bread.  It can be toasted or used to make a sandwich, French toast or a grilled cheese sandwich.  All are allowed. There is even a Flax pancake (PIM). Only one MIM a day as the Flax powder can cause intestinal distress but I sort of look forward to that.

Some Atkins MIM bakers let the wet mix sit for 10 to 30 minutes before microwaving which increases the size of the finished product.  I haven't tried that yet.  The MIM's I have made with cocoa powder have been bitter.  I purchased golden flax meal at the health food store because it is supposed to make a more "cake-like" MIM but I am still using the brown flax meal. Why have two packages open?  I watched a video where they made a huge bulky roll sized MIM for sandwiches but I didn't write the recipe down.  Kicking myself.

The water drinking is going well. I wear my wedding ring these days so I know when I am retaining water.  Today I can take the ring off with minimal tugging.  When the ring is stuck, I fill up the water jar.

G is going to install the window AC unit.  It seems like we just took it out of the window.  Time Flies.

I moved all the furniture in the dining room.  All my collage clutter.  Cleaned out the book cases on that side of the room, tossing books into the book donation pile.  G helped me move the table and the rug under it, closer to the wall which opens up a great deal of floor space.  The table was completely bare when I finished and now has assorted little items all over it.  Plants, lamp, G's stuff. UGH.

We need to buy four new (or used) chairs to fill up the table.  Not that they will ever be used, but it will "look" nice.  Furniture shopping used to be a favorite activity of mine.  Used to be.  Now, I try and get rid of furniture more often than I buy any.  I remember when this house was way too big and we didn't have nearly enough furniture.  Now, it seems too crowded.  Even claustrophobic at times.

I have laundry to fold and and shirts to iron and I want to finish the gray 12 by 12.  I also want to create some freezer paper templates for elongated leaves for the French "circle in a square" blocks. Need to find my compass.  Some hand work for summer evenings.   Still working only three days.  So, plenty of time for "projects" and it would be nice to get back to daily Pilates.  I have slipped out of that routine.  I don't know how it happened. I think it was caused by all this Atkins Breakfast stress.  Before, I would have a banana, do my Pilates and then have a bowl of cereal.  There's no "banana" these days.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Saturday: Exhausted

I thought I would have a picture for you but forgot I had the camera at work with me.  And what would I have taken a picture of?  The heat?  Watering the greenhouse?  Being hot?  Being bored to death?  Waiting for the hands on the clock to move so I could finally EAT my lunch?  When it was lunchtime, I had three repots in a row--like jumbo jets waiting for take off, after hours of nothing.  Lunch actually was eaten at 1 pm.

The baskets I planted up to "sell" on Thursday: sold.  Really, I was thrilled.  The ones that sold were the $49 ones and they had a very French feel to them.  So, I got to make more today.  Slim pickings in the plant materials so they weren't as gorgeous as usual.  Creative? Yes, there is nothing like limited supplies to make one see things in a new light.  I planted a larger basket @ $59 and can't wait until Tuesday to see if it is gone.  The smaller $39 ones just are too small.  But I pulled a few things out and added some new stuff to make them more enchanting.

One of the Jumbo Jets that kept me from my lunch was a phone order from Scotland.  A $100 pot of bright flowers for Mum's birthday.  And could there be daisies?  And could we deliver right now?  I did Highland White Dream Shasta Daisies, magenta geraniums and blue Veronica "Candles".  Sounds like a birthday to me.  A Scottish one at that.  The pot was the same wide, flat one I used on Thursday to make that other lovely birthday gift.  The daylilies, lupine and pansies.

G just rolled in.  He had two call outs on a holiday weekend at work and they got hammered.  He is more exhausted than I am, sort of.  He works in air conditioning.  But to even things; he had lots of customers and we did not.  Busy is better than bored.

Riley ate his lunch with his dinner tonight.  Then asked for "more".  Which I was happy to serve up (as he has not been eating his food).  I gave him the half cup he was "short" and he went right over to the bowl and finished it off.  How weird is that?   That I knew what he wanted and that he knew he was short a half cup.  It's stranger than fiction around here.  

G is having my donut.  A customer brought them into work as a treat for all of us.  I think he got them "fresh out of the fryer" from the Carnival that's in Town for the Fourth.  You know how I feel about donuts.  I had them wrap "my" donut in a paper bag and brought it home for G.  He's making a cup of coffee to go with the donut.  It was "excellent".

I am having a fourth of a bar of sugar free chocolate.  One digestible gram of carb.  11 grams of Malitol which is a sugar alcohol which can cause diarrhea but doesn't affect glucose levels.  Ever so delicious sounding isn't it?  But sweet.  And I haven't had anything this sweet in 3 going on 4 weeks.