Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Plastic Toy Wreath Project

It seemed easy enough.  Collect a bunch of small plastic toys, find a twig wreath, heat up the glue gun, and start applying glue to the toys and stick them to the wreath.  Well.  Some stick and some don't.  Some look nice together and some don't.  I find I need more action figures.  I have plenty of Barbies.  And now I think I will have to "pick and wire" the little toys to the wreath.  Bugger.   In this photo I have the "chosen" toys loaded up in the middle of the wreath.  Easier than digging in the toy box every time I need a toy.  I had intended to use the Legos as "filler" but they don't want to stick to anything.

I had the windows open this morning.  Maine has had the WARMEST November in HISTORY.  I took advantage of today's spring like weather to air out the house.  Freshen things up.  Then I walked in the woods with G and Riley.  Riley got to play with two dogs.  Willie and Dozer.  Riley is now "overtired" and is having trouble settling down.  We are playing "in & out".  As soon as G leaves for work, I will NOT be opening the door for Riley.  He can "adjust".

G and I drove into town to get a book at the library and pick up our Christmas tree at work (in the pick up truck).  Picking up the tree makes me very happy.  In no time at all it will be in the house and covered in tiny white lights.  I think it's about 10 feet tall, like last year.  And I will just cut the top off where it touches the ceiling.  The bottom is wide.  It's another wild tree.  So it's all goofy and natural.

Another thing making me happy today.  Size 14 jeans.  Wearing them (and finally understanding why people love wearing jeans).  Not tight, anywhere. Comfortable. And over the top a heavy flannel shirt.  Buttoned and still loose over the hips.  And my "test pants" are looser than these jeans and I had to move the waist button over this morning.  The scale shows no major loss of weight but my clothes DO.  I removed several items from my closet this morning.  I will never be the size that fits in those large clothes again.  Finally.  I am seeing that things can change.  This is a major step for me.  Not having back up clothes in larger sizes.

The obituary for the stylist/friend who did the hair and nails for my entire family was in the paper today. She died ten days ago.  K had just celebrated her 40th birthday.  She died way too young (suffering terrible back pain for years) and deserved better.  She was younger than my son.  I don't know how her parents can bear the loss.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Second Holiday Purchase

The light here in Maine isn't the best this morning.  Bright but dulled by clouds.  This bow is startling in it's green FLASH!  I saw it sparkling away in a box on the worktable and I shouted "can I have that?" and my co-worker laughed and said sure.  I will manage a photo of the full glory of chartreuse green with glitter one of these days.  Still no 8 foot tall wild trees.  So, no Christmas Tree for me as yet.  I am ready, right now, to strings lights and dangle baubles on my tree.  I am ready for a little Christmas.

G managed to get the new exhaust fan installed in the main bathroom (the one with a shower).  The master bath has no shower.  That should have been a signal to the two of us that this house was peculiar.  It has a tub, but is far from the source of hot water, so, by the time the tub fills, the water is all cold.  Miserable. I need Helen's tub with the "reheat the water" feature and the "bubbles".  It must be like soaking in champagne.

Work, yesterday, was exhausting but the "golden side of the coin" as my daughter is fond of mentioning, is that I was wearing pants that fit for the first time in 4 years.  And no wedgie ride up in the rise, pockets lying flat against my hips, and plenty of leg room.  No sausage casings.  I have no idea what size they are, but that doesn't matter.  They fit properly.  I wore a long pullover sweater over the top.  Also, something rarely if ever worn due to fit issues.  I looked thin.  I felt thin.  I felt fantastic.  Bother with the scale which says the wrong number every morning.  I now have a "power outfit" to wear when I need to feel powerful and thin.  Steel grey which suits the silver grey of my hair and my still suntanned face.  A bit of rosy blush and I look good.  Alive.

I did a load of darks this morning before breakfast (bacon, egg and cheese on a flax MIM), let the dog in and out several times, read a few blogs and monitored the repotted/divided African Violets I carried home from work.  I divided a huge Violet for a customer and the plant, while very large, had very few roots.  I think the next few days and weeks will be a struggle for the newly divided plants (6 large, 12 inch in diameter violet clumps).  The two I have are still good in the center but the outside leaves are wilting a bit. Of course, the two I have are not the best.  Those (three) are still at work waiting for the customer to pick up on Tuesday.  Which reminds me to pot up the Clivia orphan I also rescued at work.  Root rot.

I happened upon one of the shopping networks last night selling a Fujifilm camera.  It had a huge bundle of "software" and that is why I didn't call and buy the camera.  Only $199.  I just want to install the camera here on the desk and transfer pictures to iPhoto, use them and then move them to the trash.  I don't keep pictures.  I don't make Flicker albums or books.  I am not like everyone else, I guess.  With huge files of pictures on the hard drive or in the "cloud" storage.  I rarely even take the camera anywhere outside the house.  How strange is that? It's merely a "tool" like a good pencil or pen.

So, housekeeping (vacuuming up glitter from the Gingerbread House), laundry and shirt ironing.  I also need to visit the grocery to buy Atkins Diet Food for the week.  At work.  Today is G's 65th birthday. I think he may want to go out for dinner, but it's Monday and here in Maine, Sunday and Monday the local restaurants are all closed. Except for chains, which are always open.  We'll see.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gingerbread House Redux

I did a few things to "sparkle" up the Gingerbread House.  I added new trees out front (I bought them at Big Lots last year but they have them again if you are interested), shiny pink bows over the window peaks, new snow and I jazzed up the lollipops on the roof with beads and gumdrops.

This is a detail shot of the painting I did to make the house "cookie-like" originally.  I also "baked" Sculpty clay into cookies (hearts and the boys) going for a German spice cookie look with the hearts.  This year I added more gumdrops to the roof peak.

Here's the front view with the new trees, red bows, little red sparkly balls over the door and under the second floor windows.  I also purchase a candle ring to use as a wreath over the front, center window. I was trying to add more red to the whole design as it seemed rather pale and not Christmassy enough.

Tomorrow the house is traveling to work with G.  We'll see if the customers can keep their hands to themselves and not pick and pull the trim and fake gumdrops off the house.  It looks really nice.  I'm happy.

I don't know why the type is going this way.  I am too tired from work to even attempt to fix it.  G has been working in the bathroom to install the second exhaust vent.  So we will be more efficient when we try and remove the large amount of moisture in the bathroom after we take showers.  Which I am going to do right now.  I can't wait.  I am covered in dirt from repotting things, filling boxes with sap covered evergreens and sweeping the floor.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Holiday Purchase

I had been noticing this metal wreath, at work, for many weeks now.  Wondering why no one had snapped it up.  I thought it would look wonderful on my front door (and it does).  Yes, dear Readers, my front door is this exact color.  The color of rhododendron leaves in Spring.  I had it color matched.   The white snowflakes have a bit of white sparkle glitter and I adore the tiny bit of red in the berries.  Ten Dollars and it makes me smile.  And the sentiment is "spot on" as they say across the pond.

I had less sleep, last night, than usual.  To bed at 11:30 and awake before 4 am.  I also have regained the one pound I lost yesterday.  I think it's the pistachios.  My ring is not as tight this morning.  I intend to drink more liquids today.  Eat only protein and fat.  See what happens.  I think lack of sleep also causes water retention.  I feel anxious.

Work was good yesterday.  Seven carts full of Poinsettias.  They have no fragrance but they certainly add color to the greenhouse.  I apologized to my boss for not coming in on Wednesday and he said it didn't matter as things were slower than he had thought they would be.  Three people called out and they still had too many people working.  Yesterday was busier.  I was always busy.  Making Holiday Boxes.  Repotting things.  Arranging all the Points by type and variety.  G brought me a coffee near the end of my lunch break (2pm).  There was some concern that the employee parking area would freeze into a skating rink making getting up the hill and out a problem (as it had been on Wednesday evening), so we all moved our cars to ice free areas on the hill.  I think they may sand it today.  Or not.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was more delicious than usual.  The turkey was tender and moist and flavorful.  The green bean casserole made with 1/2 cup of mayo and 1/2 cup of sour cream instead of the can of mushroom soup, was delicious.  I will never make it with canned soup again.  I did top it with the canned onions.  They are low in carbs.  I missed the baked sweet potato.  A lot.  I hope by next year I can have a small sweet potato topped with butter.  The mashed cauliflower looks like mashed potatoes but it isn't.  BUT, I had a full Thanksgiving Plate, which looked like everyone else's plate, and when on a diet, on a holiday, that is a very important thing.

The sun is shining.  The dog is outside doing things.  I have had breakfast and two cups of coffee.  My lack of sleep is starting to be noticeable.  I have housekeeping to do and hot glue work on the Gingerbread House.  A good book (Swedish author recommended by a Reader) and I TiVo'ed Devil in Prada last night to watch today.  Best if you can skip all the commercials.  I really need to get Netflix.  But I have heard they have a poor selection of movies.  Or are "people" referring to NEW movies?  I think movies from 2005 are "new".  Love Actually is being recorded today.  I missed Pride and Prejudice.  I am hoping it comes on again in the next month or so.

That's all I have for you today.  I seem to be the only one blogging this weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Morning

Bright sunshine.  Riley is out in the snow, watching the squirrels travel in the tree tops, the falling snow giving away their location.  He is hoping one gets careless and travels on the ground.  Hopeful.  We were told the snow would melt by this morning.  Ha Ha. I am Thankful I spent the day shoveling, yesterday.

The Pumpkin Cheesecake has been made, baked and is safely waiting in the fridge, to be covered in whipped cream later this afternoon.  G and I have eaten breakfast and looked at the pile of catalogs we received in the past few days.  I still need to check on the turkey and then go out into my garden to pick sage for the stuffing.  I picked fresh parsley on the afternoon before it snowed.  I have bacon, so will be adding bacon to the roasted brussels sprouts.  I plan to mash cauliflower for my own "low carb mash".  We'll see.  I am Thankful to have food in the fridge and a good meal to look forward to today.

My 14 days of Strict Induction ends today.  No amazing results.  Three measly pounds to show for all the effort I put into staying "clean" as the Atkinteers call it.  I know it's water retention.  But I have no idea what is causing it.  If I did, I would stop doing whatever it is.  I've eaten plenty of food, lots of fat, big salads.  I added kale or spinach to my omelets this week. I had hoped and dreamed of losing 7 pounds (the normal amount most people lose) and thereby getting close enough to my goal weight to keep me enthusiastic about the new way of eating.  Yes, I know, that when you get this close, the body starts refusing to lose weight.  I am Thankful today that I haven't GAINED any weight in 6 months.

Wheat Belly sent me three recipes for the holiday meal.  Pumpkin Pie, Gravy and Stuffing.  Three holiday essentials that are difficult without wheat.  WB subs cauliflower for the bread cubes in the stuffing.  I was going to sub TVP. Terry sent me a link to her Cranberry Salad which can be made with sugar free jello and Splenda.  It includes an orange and an apple which I can't have.  But next time I cook up a batch of cranberries, I will add a box of jello to sweeten it.  Now that my 2 weeks of Induction is over, I can have cooked cranberries and whipped cream for dessert.  I am Thankful for my tiny desserts of sweet/tart stewed cranberries or rhubarb which help me stay on Atkins.

My plans for the day include cooking, working on the Gingerbread House (G will take it to work on Saturday morning), clearing off the dining room table and making it look "festive" for dinner with candles, the good dishes and real silver flatware.  I may starch and iron the linen napkins and fold them into a special shape.  I have a bottle of Italian Prosecco to serve with dinner.  Fizzy wine in Champagne flutes.

Today is one of the very best of Holidays.  Terry said it best on her blog.  It's all about Family.  Not about religion or gifts or anything else.  It's just family sitting down at the table together and eating one of the best meals ever created.  Roast Turkey and the Sides.  And finishing with Pumpkin and whipped cream.  Melody was correct in saying she was wearing her Expandomatic Pants to dinner.

I am Thankful today that my son's first employer out in California still includes C in his family Thanksgiving Dinner (as they have for 18 years now).

I am Thankful that my daughter is having dinner with her boyfriend's family this afternoon.  S was alone for over 12 years and very sad and now she is happy and L's family adore her.

I am Thankful for having G by my side in all the Turkey preparations for the 43rd Thanksgiving together.

I am Thankful we are all in good health, happy in the way we spend our days, have a good dog for company, and the sun is shining.  I am Thankful to have friends out in the blogosphere reading these words and sharing my life.  It's all good.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy "Hello Kitty" Holiday to Me

McD's is having a Hello Kitty Happy Meal this month.  And G brought a set home for me.  And here they are all lined up in front of my Birthday Kitty Dolls and My Hello Kitty Lunchbox.   I can look up, over the monitor screen, and see all their little black dot eyes and yellow button noses.  I don't know why Hello Kitty is suddenly so popular after lying fallow for so many years.  I just wish I knew where the lovely, big, Hello Kitty doll I had when we lived in Germany, is, right now.  No one has seen it.

I am tempted to buy the greeting cards with the Hello Kitty, Kitty on them--just to have in the greeting card box.  Not to send.  I am really, so easily, made happy with these tiny things.  It makes no sense.

Shoveling the driveway took four hours. (Do you think there will be any weight loss?) The snow was deep and heavy.  What they call "heart attack" snow because men usually have a heart attack while shoveling the heavy, wet stuff.  I call it "back ache" snow.  The end of the driveway was PACKED with snow chunks from the plows, that were 3 by 4 feet wide and deep.  I can't imagine what they weighed.  I scooped them onto my scoop shovel, then slid them across the street and into my neighbor's ditch.  Not her driveway.  Who cares if they have extra snow in their ditches?

For some unknown, weather related reason, there is always more snow piled on my side of the street and hardly any on my neighbor's side. There was no way the Honda Fit could have powered through that much snow.  I wasn't going to work or anywhere else until I shoveled.  G wouldn't have had an easy time with the snow blower.  The snow was too wet.

I am now medicated (big orange pill), G is home from work and on his way out into the woods with Riley for a walk.  And G has the next two days off for the holiday.  He didn't know.  So, he's pretty happy.

I should be starting in on making my pumpkin cheesecake.  I. Should. Be.

Same Place- Different Pajamas (Green Plaid)

It's snowing.  The street has been plowed and a huge pile of wet snow has been deposited at the bottom of the driveway (which I need to shovel before I can go anywhere).  The dog is snoring.  I have called work to say I will be late (don't really want to go), eaten breakfast, sorted recipe cards in my recipe box (found the pumpkin cheesecake recipe), had two cups of coffee (decaf), forgot to weigh myself this morning, noticed I only have two days to get the Gingerbread House ready to go to work with G.  A typical morning.  In the winter.  And it's not winter yet.

I should have photographed the list of "things done" that I made on Monday.  Twenty things.  I actually do more stuff than I thought I did, in a day.  I usually think I have done nothing.

Yesterday began, at work, with a customer ordering a "celebration of life" potted Peace lily for a young woman who had died much too soon, unexpectedly.  Someone I knew.  Someone who had cut my hair and painted my nails for years.  I was professional while I took the order over the phone and then I cried. I had known, but didn't believe it was true.  It was true.  And it was heartbreaking.  She had been in tremendous pain for one or two years now.  Her back.  G and I saw her only a few weeks ago.  We stopped to say hello. She reached out to me.  I squeezed her hand.  I would have hugged her, but was afraid that would be painful--she was in pain, sitting there having supper with her parents.  I hadn't seen her in a long time. But I am thankful for that last moment with her.

So, something very sad to start the day.  And then, as I was serving G his supper, the phone rang and a dear friend on the West Coast called, instead of sending an email, and we talked for a good long time.  It was like we had never stopped talking (but we had grown apart when I stopped traveling to see her).  So, the day ended with a good thing.  The Yin and Yang of life at 65.  Sometimes more Yin.  Less Yang.  That happens as we grown older.  More sad things happening.

I missed my friend in Georgia even more after that phone call.   I missed her this morning as I sorted  recipes and found so many from meals at her house.  Thirty nine years of intertwined lives.

Anyway.  I think I will shovel.  Bake the pumpkin cheesecake.  Work on the Gingerbread House.  I won't worry about work--no one will be driving around town in this mess.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Could You Live With Just One?

Of anything.  I am fine with one man, one dog, one daughter and one son.  I am fine owning one car (I have two in my name).  Would I be able to own one chair, one table, one cup, one plate, one spoon?  If I invited someone to dinner, will they bring their own plate and fork?  Their own chair?  It interests me today.  Owning something but not being "owned" by things.

Many things are already SINGLE items.  We have one, and don't really need another.  Other items lend themselves to multiples quite easily, then multiply like rabbits.  Socks. Underwear. Shoes.

I am making a list, today, of the things I have done.  Not a "to do" but a "have done".  I already have ten items and I haven't even been very productive.  I am also making a grocery list for the big holiday meal on Thursday.  Wondering what to make for supper Monday thru Wednesday.  Meals on the days preceding a holiday meal are so bothersome.

I gained 2 pounds overnight.  My rings are even tighter this morning.  Water weight.  I think I hold water when I am tired.  And, I am tired.  I would go back to bed right now, if I knew I would be able to fall asleep.  Or, if I knew the dog wouldn't bark and wake me up as soon as I did fall asleep.  Riley is snoring away on his dog bed.  The sun is warming him nicely by his favorite window.

I just wanted to let you know what I am thinking and perhaps hear what your thoughts are this morning. I don't want to dwell on sad things today.  If you want (need) a really good cry--read Posie Gets Cozy in the sidebar.  Heartbreaking.  I sobbed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Update

Yesterday was quite mild so we walked the dog together.  Riley got to play with a very young female black lab- Juno.  She was better behaved.  Riley is having "I want things to be my way" issues right now. Isn't going to happen.  Things were mostly brown in the woods.  I did manage to find some green moss.

Today I worked.  Holiday Open House.  Remember I mentioned that I wondered what sort of holiday it would be with the economy and unease among people regarding their employment etc.?  Well, today was very slow.  My schedule for next week is three weekdays and Sunday.  See, I had decided to be happy I was working less than 20 hours a week.  And the three days are each an hour longer.  30 hours.  I am also getting holiday pay for Thursday.  Whoo Ha!  Show me the money!!!

Somehow I need to find time to make a Pumpkin Cheesecake before Thursday.

I made chili yesterday evening.  It was originally a recipe purported to be a "Longhorn Chili" look alike. But it wasn't.  And I added and changed a few things.  The resulting chili has too many carbs (mostly from the tomatoes) but it is very, very good and contains no beans.  I added a package of French's Chili O mix (carbs here also) and reconstituted a cup of dry TVP granules (fewer carbs but some) and added that to a pound of 85% ground beef.  I'm going to be eating it for the next few days.   Unless I find something with fewer carbs to eat instead.  Then I will freeze the chili until after induction.

Since I am working Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week, I need to have something good to eat for lunch on those days.  And G will want supper.  I better think of something that I can make tomorrow and reheat after work.  I also have to walk the dog after work.  That takes an hour.  And I have shirts to iron.

I'm tired.  I worked hard today.  I made 18 holiday boxes (two custom), watered the entire greenhouse, set out the new plants that came in this morning.  On my feet for 9 hours.  On cement.  30 minutes for lunch.  I did not have a single cookie off the Open House table.  I did have a cup of decaf.  And a slim slice of aged Gouda (excellent) but when I went back, it was all gone.  Thank goodness.  We'll be having cookies everyday from now to Christmas.  My willpower will be tested.

I lost an additional half pound this morning but my rings are tight so I am holding water.  I am drinking 8 glasses of liquids everyday.  And not peeing all that much.  I'll give it another day and then adjust my diet to limit salty things.  The liquids include a major amount of O calorie drink mixes.  Green Tea and Lemonade. 4C brand which is new to me, but contains Splenda.  I like Splenda.

I may fall asleep before I even heat up something for dinner.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Self Portrait- November 2011

Heather gray sweater (Eddie Bauer), gray floral flannel pajamas (Cuddledown), white tee (Eddie Bauer). Riley woke me earlier than I had wanted to be up.  I am sleeping fewer hours.  I don't know why.  Six usually and I wake up and can't fall back to sleep.

Dwelling into past relationships in the period between waking and actually getting out of bed.  Not usually a good thing.  Dwelling involved "picking" at scabs I had hoped were healed over and starting to disappear. I can deal with the feelings of loss, but the endless replaying of "should have/could have" wears on me.

G wants to go on a trip to Florida in January.  This involves arrangements for the dog. A house sitter or boarding.  The house sitter doesn't seem interested in actually walking the dog. This bothers me. Boarding will be very boring for Riley and he will miss his toys. I am not all that excited by the "idea" of this trip.  We are going to visit people we haven't seen in a long, long time. Before that long period of not seeing each other, we saw each other frequently for over 40 years.  Like family, it will be awkward and then it will be fine.  G wants to do this. He worked with the husband for many years.

I like going places, when I am there.  The planning, getting there and the thinking about going are not things I enjoy.  I would prefer to stay home.

Night vision is pretty terrible.  My drive home from work (with drizzle) was white knuckle all the way. I am thinking that driving at night is not something I should be doing.  The oncoming headlights create large bright "stars" and blind me.  Astigmatism.  My eye doctor says it will only get worse.

Weight loss for the first week of Strict Induction/ Following All The Rules is four pounds.  Not close to the 10 pounds a week that really fat people have but finally the scale is moving downward.  The closer one is to their "real" weight, the less you lose on the diet.  Week number two begins today and ends on Thanksgiving.  I never actually followed all the rules before.  This is hard.  I have a goal weight in mind which I want to reach by the end of the year.  10 more pounds to lose.  At least I can try not to gain any weight.

I looked at my closet and realized I have nothing to wear.  I mean, nothing goes together to create an outfit. I can't layer a few things and go out.  I have sweaters which go with nothing but white tee shirts.  I have tons of green clothing to wear to work but something to wear to dinner--hell, no.  I have been going to dinner in corduroy pants and a sweatshirt pullover.  They might actually have kangaroo pockets.  No pictures or writing on the fronts.  Plain solid colors.  I looked, but couldn't even find a cute scarf to wear around my neck.  I have plenty of scarves.  It's just that none of them go with anything, or if they do, they are too small or too large or just make me look stupid.

I watched a young woman walk from the street into the bank parking lot.  Black tights, ankle boots with heels, black short skirt, dark patterned scarf wrapped around her neck, black leather fitted coat. she had her hands in the coat pockets.  She looked amazing.  I could wear that outfit (skipping the short skirt and ankle boots) subbing in a nice pair of black pants.  Another young woman had on black pants with a black sweater and a brown down vest with a fur trim collar.  Another dark patterned scarf around her neck.  With those two outfits I could actually make it through the winter in fashion.

I need to get rid of the majority of stuff in my closet.  I am no longer that fat woman.  Why am I keeping her clothes in my closet?????

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I was very happy when I found and bought this praying Buddhist monk.  I still am happy that I found something large enough, heavy enough and cheerful enough.  But he is so dark.  The place where he sits and prays is like a black hole when the days are sunless and in the evening, he is just a very dark, but large, shadow next to the lamp.  This morning I am deciding whether to take him back.  I know G wasn't thrilled to have him here.  And G refuses to allow the monk to sit upon my bedroom dresser.  Which is where I thought the monk should be sitting.

I just carried the monk down to the bedroom, removed the pile of Smartwool socks from the top of my dresser and slid the statue into place.  It helps that the sun broke through at that moment.  The monk is perfectly centered between the frames of two of my wastebasket art pieces.  Next to my fake orchid.  I think I will wait till next week to "keep or return" my Buddhist monk.  He is the perfect size and proportion for that space.  We'll see.

I'd take a picture BUT my camera is acting up again.  The lens won't open or close without a great deal of coaxing.  I really dislike buying new things.  And a camera purchase is filled with unresolved anxiety.  On my part.

I have just decided to empty one of the gorgeous baskets I have and fill it with my wool socks.  Then I can fill the sock drawer with white cotton tee shirts and have them more conveniently stored.  A drawer filled with socks is never a good thing.  All jumbled up.  I am feeling really pleased with this idea.

Yesterday, I made pizza for G.  He had to make a last minute run to the grocery as I had no pizza sauce.  His pizza smelled delicious.  I was roasting a spaghetti squash.  Taking advantage of the heated pizza oven. I had leftover meatballs and sauce for lunch and had a bowl of Alfredo and squash for supper.  My meal planning for Induction has not been well conceived.  Breakfast was ham and cheese, fried crispy, topped with two fried eggs with runny yolks.  This morning a sausage, egg, onion and cheese omelet topped with half an avocado.  I seem to be having a "regular" morning.  How strange, but welcome.

I am going into work as soon as I discover something to pack for my lunch.  I am interested to see what plants have arrived to herald in the Open House Sales this weekend.  G is working today.  He has the weekend off.  So we will be spending Saturday together.

I purchased fresh TVP (the stuff I have in a jar in the cupboard is from 10 years ago) and I want to try the TVP Oatmeal substitute.  The comments on the forum say it comes out "chewy" which is an adjective I like when it comes to oatmeal.  TVP is Textured Vegetable Protein.  Soy.  I used to add it to any meal where I was using ground beef.  To extend the meat by half again and to lower whatever was bad about meat at that time in my life.  Perhaps I was short of grocery money.  I know that TVP is an excellent protein source and good in chili, tacos and even meatballs.

I watched Work of Art last night.  Will they ever have actual artists on this show?  One young woman was praised last week for her drawing.  She projected the newspaper photo onto paper and traced it.  The words she wrote next to the images were misspelled.  Her claim to fame is that she and her mother lived with the actor from the Godfather and Scarface for 10 years.  So. What.  Al Pacino.

I think I am going to have a salad and tuna for lunch.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Resolution, Repair, Restoration

Today is a day, it feels, where I can accomplish a few things.  I can mend some ripped seams in my work pants and adjust the pant leg hems (the pants were petite and now, with the hems removed, are regular), I can remove this piece from the design wall and add some invisible zigzag stitching (see what happens). The piece is a collage of all the lovely self painted fabric scraps I had on my worktable months and months ago.  Destined for the scrap wastebasket.  I have to "look" at the work and "follow the lines".  Make connections.  Make sense of the abstract.

I mixed up Alton Brown's pizza dough last night and it has been sitting in the fridge all night.  Doing yeast things.  G is teaching today, so will be home late. I will be baking pizza at 7 pm.

I am wearing a pair of J Jill wide wale cords in a pastel green.  Size 14.  Side button, sailor pants style.  I have never worn them before and I don't know where they came from (I have had the pants on the closet shelf for quite awhile).  They fit perfectly.  Well, actually, they aren't tight, but are form fitting which is not something I could say about my clothing before.  Usually, my pants choices were "too tight" and I felt like an over stuffed sausage casing or they were too large and flappy.  I feel rather dizzy.  And last night, G and went out for dinner and I felt like I had eaten too much.  So, having the pants fit, seems a miracle.

I had thought this post would be more philosophical. To match the title. So.  I deleted three paragraphs of "not much of anything" and will give it a try.  There are days when you wake up and it all seems useless.  And there are mornings when it seems like you can actually "make a difference".  Today is the latter.  I feel like I can do something today that enhances ME.  Make something, fix something, do something, see something.  It only takes one glimpse of it to change your world.  I think it's close today.

So with that sense of expectation, I will select my breakfast, eat it and then venture out into the world.

I was just checking my blog stats and a ridiculous post has over 1295 reads.  Really?  Why that one? Post 809.   So many readers who never reveal themselves.  Hello.  Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Introspective Period

Another table and chairs.  I think I had already copied this once before (from Style-Files) but didn't remember using it.  But I guess I did.  iPhoto never gets confused.  iPhoto said I already had this picture in my files.  I have 221 items in the photo file. Time for me to delete most of them.  Yes, delete.  I keep no pictures in my camera memory and delete pictures after I have used them on the blog.

I will have to contemplate the meaning of the table and chairs, the implied meal being shared and the crisp white with very dark, darks.  I increased the depth of color in this copy.  I wanted the white to be center most.  The bowls.  I know this is an important image as I have chosen it twice now.

Those who have read and seen my drawings, know I am drawn (ha ha) to chairs, bowls and pears.  I also like the simplicity of black and white with some earthy color.  Here it's brown.  I want to sit down, with someone I like, and eat a warm bowl of something, drink red wine and laugh.  I want to be happy at this table.

My day at work went slowly and then zoomed to it's conclusion 30 minutes past my scheduled departure time.  Lunch does that.  I have often wondered if the day would go by quicker if I ate my lunch at 10:30?

The weather here in Maine is reminiscent of Spring.  Not November.  We were 4 degrees short of the record high for yesterday.  They said if there had been more sun, we would have hit 70.  Easily.  The greenhouse was warmish but because of Atkins, I am always cold.  Riley is wondering about his walk.  Yes, he did have a busy day at doggie daycare.  But I have started taking him for his walk at this time of day.  Now he expects it.  Tomorrow, we will dig a hole and plant the Rhodie that I purchased at the Spring Open House.  And I will finally plant my tulips.  Yes, I will.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cleaning Mode Fueled By Caffeine

I've gone to the Style Files and found another picture of an all white Danish room.  Why am I so drawn to these white rooms?  I can't imagine how cold this would seem during a Danish Winter.  But I love it. So very clean and minimal but luxurious at the same time.

 No white floors in my future but I think drop pendant lighting over G's hand built pine dining table would be nice.  I keep meaning to visit the resale furniture store in town for mix and match chairs.  These look French.  I do like the French doors between rooms, instead of the dog hair covered insulated duck curtains I have used for 20 years.  And which need to be washed.

I have the house windows open--getting fresh oxygen into the house.  It's 63 in the house (with the windows open) and I have the furnace shut down.  An hour or so more and things will change.  But the house will smell fresh.  In mid November.

The fridge is sparkly clean. ( I keep opening the door and looking inside and smiling) The kitchen garbage can is full.  The recycle bin is full of emptied and washed out jars and bottle.  It's amazing what we keep.  Never use.  I still haven't found the large Mason jar lids. A mystery.  Still in my pajamas at 2 pm.  Still need to visit the grocery or not.  Ate the second half of my breakfast omelet for lunch.  It all worked out.  I think I like the eggs better when they are cold/room temp.

Just clicked my new battery light on over the computer.  It turns itself off in 30 minutes.  S'eteint automatiquement apres 30 minutes.  The whole packaging container has little French things under the English.  See, I really do love all things French!!!

Straight Up Atkins - Day Four

Straight Up refers to Strict Induction.   If a food item isn't listed in the Acceptable Foods List, then you can't have it.  Day Four began with another weight gain.  My rings are tight.  So water retention.  I don't care as yesterday I felt so much "lighter" and I kept feeling the sides of my pants, as there was room there that hadn't been there before.  Part of today's dilemma was caused by eating the wrong amounts of foods.  Too little, too much.  Usually, too little.  Then the body swings over to starvation mode.  Genetically, we are well set up to survive starvation.

I made a MIM this morning (for regularity) and toasted it and ate it with half the egg sausage mixture I made for my breakfast.  I am full.  I'll eat the rest later, for lunch.  Only a two egg omelet.  But too much.  I am also feeling overly warm this morning.  I think it will be 60 degrees today.  Outside and perhaps even here in the house.  Rolling eyes.

Masterpiece on PBS last night was perplexing.  An hour long poem.  And Alan Rickman looking so awful and Emma Thompson looking so luscious.  The food she chose looked amazing.  In the end, I didn't like the poem much.  I don't enjoy watching people drink and self destruct.  Too much like my, early, real life.

I started my Romance too late.  After 11 pm.  And I finally forced myself to stop reading at 2:30 am.  I will finish the book this afternoon.  It is better than usual.  No one but the heroine thinks the FBI guy is handsome.  As it should be.  No comparison to the asshole FBI agent on Bones.  I can't watch the show because the character is such an embarrassment to the FBI.  Did he used to be a vampire?  On another show?

Work tomorrow.  G didn't vacuum yesterday on his day off.  He did cut the grass.  And install the new lights and walk the dog.  Which is more than I did yesterday.

I am "girding my loins" in anticipation of washing the fridge shelves.  What a horrid job.  Nice when it's finished, but my goodness what a mess in the process.

Twelve by Twelve announced the new challenge set up, dates and first theme.  Metamorphosis. February 12.  I am most concerned about working in a 12 by 20 vertical.  I don't like the shape. It doesn't have a pleasing proportion. If you use standard watercolor paper as a size guide, what is the nearest size to correspond to 12?  (16 by 24??)   Which doesn't fit into the "play" on numbers of 12, 20, 2012.  I'll cut a backing piece and see what it looks like.  Try and get used to it.

The three volunteers who answered my plea for company are interested in a 20 inch square, Four Seasons challenge.  Beginning with Winter on December 21.  You don't have to reveal yourself in order to play along.  Just make a Winter Block.  No trading, no rules, no nothing.  I will link to any who want to reveal on the day before Spring arrives, March 19th.    Work on Winter during the Winter.  Followed by Spring due June 19, Summer due September 21 and Autumn due December 21.  Four by Twenty.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Straight Up Atkins- Day Three

At work.  Yesterday it was pretty easy to keep busy and eat very little.  But, at work, being bored out of my mind; not so easy.   I managed to wait until 12:45 to eat lunch.  I managed to drink 32 ounces of green tea diet with a touch of lemonade mix.  But, after driving home in the dark, having a hot shower etc, I was more than ready to EAT.

Breakfast was egg beaters with jimmy dean sausage crumbles and 2 ounces of cheese.  Lunch was a large container of romaine and spring lettuce with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a cup of the pulled pork.  Dinner was the last cup of pulled pork and the remainder of the fried sauerkraut.  Then I had a cheese stick wrapped in ham slices.  I am still working on finishing my large cup of coffee.  I cut back on the Splenda; trying for the goal of only three packets a day.  So far, only one.  I may whip up some cream for dessert. Yes, this menu is "heavy" on fat.

People think Atkins is about eating meat.  Wrong.  It's about eating FAT.  Butter, cream, olive oil and cheese with a side of sour cream and avocado.

G walked the dog and changed out the kitchen, under the counter, light system.  LED now instead of halogen.  Not as bright.  And I now have a battery operated light above my computer.  Nice.  Softly illuminating my computer screen.  And it switches itself off.  The LED lights use lots less energy and won't heat the cabinets.  I always worried about that.

Day Three is nearly over.  I have a new book to read.  A Romance.  Hunky, rich FBI agent saves snappy beautiful girl.  No thinking involved.  Suspension of reality.

Tomorrow I am going to the grocery to buy more ham, more cheese, zucchini to make "pasta" or "pizza", celery and sugar free jello.  And more sausage crumbles?  I need green beans, broccoli and chicken.  Lettuce.  Diet green tea mix.  The fridge is empty and I think that's the way I like it.  If I manage to drink enough green tea (caffeine) tomorrow, I will pull out all the fridge shelving and wash everything in the sink with really hot water.  Make it sparkle.  Then go buy new food.

I'm tired.  Probably boring the socks off you.  Sorry.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Straight Up Atkins- Day Two

This is my second day doing Atkins Induction for the second time.  I was getting tired of not seeing any progress so I decided to "restart" and see if that helped.  After seven months, things had gotten kind of "loose" around here with the "rules".  Still not gaining.  But not losing.

177 yesterday morning and 174 this morning.  Fascinating.  I cut way back on the Splenda in my coffee. I'm eating when hungry, but just enough to where I feel satisfied.  It doesn't take much.  I think I have been having too much food.  And, true to Atkins Induction, I am jazzed up with energy.  I am waiting for the peeing to begin.  I remember peeing a great deal the first time I did this.  I mixed up a half gallon of carb free green tea and lemonade to drink during the day.  I can swallow a flavored liquid but NOT plain water. The only downside is the caffeine in green tea which I am not used to having.  I had to dig around in the garbage to find the can of tea mix which I threw away on Thursday, thinking I didn't need it.

I pulled on a pair of J Jill size 14 pants yesterday.  Not tight.  No wedgie when I sit.  I think they fit for about 10 minutes back in 2007.  J Jill runs small. I have them on now and they are comfortable. Wide wale corduroy, the good stuff they don't make anymore. My other pair of pants is also a 14.  So I am feeling pretty okay right now.  I did manage to wear size 12 by the end of 2007 and early in 2008.  I want to be moving in that direction again. I gave all the 10/12 stuff to Goodwill long ago (as my diet strategy was a complete failure).  So, I get to buy new things, if and when I reach my goals.

Does this read like I am talking a mile a minute?

G left me a note saying he was concerned with the plants I had on the sunporch.  The night temps have been 40 and below out there (at night, but very warm all day) and he was afraid things would freeze and die.  And I would be sad.  Bringing them in is not that easy.  I had to remodel the kitchen area that you see here.  I turned the rolling kitchen shelving sideways to make room for this table, in front of the bay window.  The table will be heated from below as the baseboard heaters radiate heat upwards.  The coral geranium is something a customer had in a pot.  She wanted a "new" geranium in the pot and said I should throw that one out.  No. I kept it.  I don't like the color but it's a very healthy plant and it's almost three years old.  Way to the left, closest to the front is one of my favorite new geraniums.  Dark, dark red.  It was probably too cold out on the sunporch.

I still have to move the citrus.  Five small shrubs.  Orange, Calamondin orange, kumquat, lime and lemon.  And a gardenia (not the easiest plant to keep healthy).   Those things will be going upstairs.  As soon as I make room up there for them. I went up to gather the plastic trays the plants downstairs are sitting in and discovered things needed watering.  The fabric closet is getting too much sun so I also need to cover the fabric with something.  To protect it from fading along the folds.  I also BEGAN but never FINISHED the movement of fabric and projects from downstairs to upstairs.  I have piles.  And empty boxes to fill.  And box labels to make.  And the Pilates machine is staring me in the face up there.  Need to get back to that.

I got a great deal done yesterday.  Not as Energizer Bunny as I am today, but all the laundry and ironing is done, fresh sheets on the bed and a good dinner.  I even read my book and walked the dog.

Today I will work on the plant situation, which, because I am clearing things out to make room for new things, there will be a great deal of collateral cleaning.  I've already moved furniture.  I am also agitated by the clutter I keep seeing in my "new" excited state.  I foresee a great many bags of trash by the end of the day.  And many trips up and down the stairs to the second floor bedroom (where the citrus and orchids will spend the winter).  I still need to purchase a humidifier.  And dose every plant with systemic insecticide.
Professional Plant Person Mode.  I already made a little bamboo trellis for the ivy to climb.

I think a Pier One batik bedspread and some clothes pins will solve the closet problem.  Riley wants to go outside.  I have coffee to finish.

Three readers want to "play" along with 12 by 12 with me.  Very happy about that.  Now we wait to see what the new 12 by 12  challenge is going to be and when they will announce it.  I also am considering doing 12 inch Four Seasons pieces or perhaps 20 inch squares since there will only be four.  And the work can extend to a 3 month period.  The Winter Equinox is approaching.  December 21st.  Then the days will start to get longer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Elusive Moments In Time

Autumn seems more "slippery" this year.  Never quite what it usually is and then, like quicksilver, gone and I miss what was, but isn't anymore.  The light here in Maine, this morning, is grey.  I have the lights on already.  No bright oranges or yellows.  So I made my own with a pressed leaf and that background I never seem to have time to stitch.

I read, on a blog, that the Twelves have a new challenge in the wings.  I can't even express the relief I felt when reading that sentence.  I have been adrift without their challenges to keep me motivated.  AND I, too late, discovered the Exquisite Corpse project and, wow, that would have been fabulous to participate in, but it is now over.  Not something one can do on one's own.  One must have "others" in order to create these five part corpses.  I am really feeling solitary.  And it isn't a good feeling. It isn't a good way to move into the winter months in Maine.  Unemployment is 6 weeks away.

My fantasy is that a creative group out there in the blogosphere needs one more member.  And they ask me. And I live happily ever after.

I read my Tudor mystery for almost two hours yesterday afternoon.  Then I got tired.  It's a book that requires the reader to pay attention to details.  Not like the Cadfael books that could be finished in a few hours of reading.  I need to work while reading these.

I have shirts to iron (a pleasant task with noticeable results)

And I should find a way, a project, that can provide the comfort I need right now.  Sewing binding on a quilt I finished years ago, adding patches to clothing, embellishing an unfinished crazy quilt block in red velvet and/or making more appliqué circles on squares for my French quilt.  I just need to find the right space in my head and hands for these things.  They already live in my heart.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Walking In the Woods with Riley

And G.  When we started out, it was warm and springlike.  But one quarter of the way into the woods we started feeling an "increase in humidity" and by the time we were returning, homeward, it was softly raining.  Riley doesn't care about rain when he is out walking.  He refuses to go out to do his business in the rain.  Dogs are complicated.

I bought two nice, sturdy, marrow bones on Monday and this morning I boiled them to get the icky marrow out. And after scrapping all the connective tissue off the bones, I gave one to Riley.  I can hear him chewing on the bone (he's in the living room and I'm in the kitchen).  The second bone is tucked into the freezer for a quick treat on Thanksgiving.  Gnawing on that bone with clean his teeth and wear him out.  He'll sleep like a rock tonight.

I went along with G and Riley on errands today instead of going to work.  Goodwill (returned two items I bought yesterday- one too small (just) and one too large), returned something to Target, G and Riley bought dog food @Petco, we ate lunch at Wendy's and read the USA Today, then Staples, then Big Lots, then the library and finally Wicked Joe's for coffee beans.  Fresh roasted locally.  I miss doing things with G.  So I decided to spend the day with him since that is the most important part of my life.  I am tired of always being scheduled to work on his days off.

One of the items I returned to Goodwill was an Eddie Bauer navy linen dress.  Large.  It fit.  But more like a large navy sack.  I tried to see if I could enhance it with scarves, rolled sleeves, etc.  Still a bag.  I looked very thin in this navy straight line bag, well, I looked like the dress I was wearing was too large for me.  So back it went.  I had tried telling myself it was a good "going to a funeral" dress.  Not.

At Target I returned something and then looked at the flannel pajamas.  They had these cute beige pjs with red piping and old fashioned Santas all over.  Yesterday they had one in Medium and one, I thought, in XL.  But it was XXL.  So, I left empty handed.  I was thinking I might be happy with some Holiday Pajamas.

I read in the USA Today that my favorite show on television this season, Prime Suspect, might be getting the early cancellation AXE.  It's gritty and you have to pay attention and listen to the story.  Same with Detroit 187 last year.  Televison caters to the lowest demographics.  Sad but true.  If I think it's fabulous it will disappear.  And if I miss the first season and start watching something in the second season?  And really like it?  They cancel it mid season.  So depressing.

So, I'll read my book instead.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Starting Over- At The Beginning

I had all sorts of plans for this 12 by 12 background.  None of it "worked" so now I am back to just the brown and blue with this added strip of orange and gold to hand stitch.  Someday.  Sometime.  Breakfast, so far, is a stick of cheddar wrapped in the very last slices of baked ham.  Coffee.  I made a MIM and topped it with cream cheese but I haven't eaten it yet.  Heating up the remaining coffee in yesterday's pot. I woke under the impression I had slept long into the morning.  Only 8am.  And I woke feeling very hungry.

Monday I managed to cut down the five Spirea, the lilac (which I am trying to kill) and the leggy perennials in the "back of the house" bed.  I also cut and bagged the dead peony stems and leaves.  Then I traveled to the grocery where I ran into a member of the mini quilt group we used to have (we met every two weeks and were very close, the six of us, for many years, not so much after I lost weight).  I had to introduce myself.  She had no idea who I was.  That has bothered me ever since.  Who am I now?

Yesterday I was at work.  Riley was at doggie day care where he had a bath etc.  A Fall Grooming Experience.  His first stop when I brought him home (after voting) was to roll in something at the edge of the woods.  I walked him later than usual and it was getting dark on our return to the house.  And Riley was anxious for his supper.

This morning I have started in on the huge pile of laundry.  First, the strawberry stains on G's shirt.  I also changed all the dog bed covers so Riley can stay "fresh" as long as possible. I have shirts to iron later and if the sun comes out, I will attack the front of the house perennials.  I got a bargain pork roast so will be making pulled pork again.  Even if I freeze most, I couldn't pass up $1.69 a pound.  I do want to visit Target today, check out the Goodwill and the new resale shop in town.  I want a skirt.  Brown. After I finish here, I have checks to write for the bills on the table,  a visit to the bank to deposit my paychecks.

I should be home by 1, in time to get the pork into the oven.  In time to iron shirts.  In time to walk the dog.

I would like time to read.  While I can still hold my eyes open.

This morning I pulled on my size 14 green corduroy pants.  I was wearing them the weekend we drove to Ohio when my dad died.  October, 2008.  Sort of a mile marker in my life.  So many reminders, this year, of that time in my life. So many dreams lately, disturbing my sleep.  A blogging friend is going through something even more recent and more devastating.  I know.  I feel it.  It's right there at the back of everything.  Sudden tears.  Depression.  Anger.  We think we have moved through the stages of grief, but it doesn't take much to bring it back.  A life has so much baggage.

I am wearing the pants and they fit.  No pulling at the waistband button.  No gapping at the pockets.  No riding up in the crotch.  I should feel exhilarated.  I wonder why I don't.

Yesterday I was realizing that, just as my father had to go one day at a time for the rest of his life as a recovering alcoholic, I have to go one day at a time for the rest of my life with my weight.  Perhaps his addiction is in some way related to mine?  Perhaps that is why he comes to mind, so often, these past few weeks.  No messages from beyond or anything.  I never got messages from him when he was alive.  My dad wasn't a communicator.  But he did stop drinking for over 30 years.  And, as I am now realizing, that was a huge effort.  Starting over every single day.  No wonder he complained of never having a "vacation".  It might have had nothing to do with not working, or going someplace.  It might have just been  about the daily struggle to not have that first drink.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Rollercoaster: Food Addiction Is A Bitch

It isn't easy being ME right now.  One moment, I am all "right with the world" and the next minute I am ready to tear my skin off.  Content.  Angry.  And my nose is running this morning and my head feels foggy and I feel dizzy.  Perhaps, I am sick?  I fixed myself some breakfast (a bit late) and hope that evens things out.  Trying to control my diet is difficult at times.  Sometimes impossible.

G did things to my computer screens again and nothing makes me more angry.  I like things plain and simple.  All these swirling colors and patterns make my head and my eyes hurt.  I have trouble reading the screen.  I get frustrated.  It's my computer.  I am okay with him using the computer but I really don't like him changing things.  Everything is now a dull gray.  Plain dull gray.  I changed it myself and left him an angry note to begin his day.  Will he EVER learn????

My Sunday at work was pleasant.  We had very few customers in the afternoon so I got to have one on one chats with my co workers.  Which is nice as I don't have any friends to talk to any more.  Pity Party.  My day at work yesterday started a whole hour early as I had no idea I was to "fall back".  Really, it quite took me by surprise.

My diet has now contracted even further.  My fridge seems to be turning the food inside into garbage which is limiting what I have left in there that is still edible.   Cheese sticks wrapped in thin ham slices is still okay.  The lettuce storage is iffy.  I have carrots which I shouldn't be eating.  And beets I can roast in the oven.  I do plan to visit the grocery today.  G needs breakfast items.  I gave ALL my cereal to my daughter.  She will take it to work.  She doesn't eat cereal.  I guess, I don't eat cereal anymore, either.

G got all the grass mowed yesterday.  The perennials are still not trimmed back.  I need to get out there and do some garden work. I don't want to.  Simple as that.

There isn't much I actually "want" to do.  I seem to be gaining weight or putting on water or something.  It makes me feel depressed.  Like a loser.  I don't like the sudden change in the weather to "winter" already.  None of us at work are happy to be making Christmas things.  No one is buying any of it.  We foresee a very UnMerry Christmas season.

Hey, is that gloomy enough for you?  I think I will just dig in and get started on a few things.  Go to the grocery.  Think about what to eat for supper.  Last night's broccoli cream soup went into the garbage.  Seemed like a good recipe but G wouldn't eat it (after I cooked it and was tired etc) so I just threw it away. What the hell.  Some recipes "read" as being delicious and then they aren't.  I ate it.  A bit too salty which is why I feel "heavy" this morning.  Water. Weight.  One Day At A Time.  That's all I can control.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Good News Day

I woke up this morning to the dog barking furiously, eager to get outside and attack whatever he had seen trespassing in HIS yard.  After "it" had been run off the property, Riley had to quarter the area with nose to the ground, neck ruff standing high, full alert.  Extremely busy.  A second flurry to make sure everything was safe.  Then continued surveillance from the comfort of his dog bed, located next to a low window sill.

My email account was full of the very best stuff today.  Wheat Belly, Paleo Recipes.  I spent the entire morning (forgot to even eat breakfast) reading everything about Wheat Belly.  I didn't know that old wheat had been genetically engineered to become dwarf wheat (perhaps 100 years ago).  Did you know that people lived on wheat bread, as, sometimes, the single food they ate each day?  And now, this wheat, could cause so many health problems.

I know, personally, that not eating wheat has allowed me to free myself from obsessive eating of flour and sugar based foods.  Uncontrolled NEED to eat more and more of these products.  My husband and I would, before, eat a full pound of prepared pasta between the two of us. Sometimes with only butter and cheese.  And then have a bag, each, of popcorn.  Washed down with diet Coke.  While we reclined on the couch and only got up to take another Aleve for our aches and pains. (G still eats half a pound of pasta)

I still need Aleve.  Especially after walking the dog on uneven surfaces.

Did you notice the red Crocs?  I finally admitted defeat and paid full price for them. Christmas Foot Wear.
My hairdresser suggested wearing one red Croc and one of my green Crocs for the holidays.  One is new and one is worn.  I think I would be more likely to trip on the concrete flooring.  Green socks and red shoes might be safer.

The meatballs came out fine.  Not great, but edible and no one got sick or died.  I followed the USDA suggested rules on meat that is no longer pink after a few days in a home fridge.  Follow Your Nose was the advice.  If it smells funny or feels tacky, don't eat it.  It smelled like meat.  So I used it.  The quality of the taste was downgraded by the lack of oxygen (making it pink) but the long baking in homemade marinara seemed to even things out.  I don't plan on buying ground meat "ahead" ever again.  If G wants meatballs, I will go out and buy meat and make the balls right away.  I served mine with more of the zucchini pasta and I am very happy with it.  Just julienne strips of unpeeled zucchini, salted and left to drain for at least one hour.  Then it can be stored in the fridge (I add paper towels to absorb water) and lightly reheated.  It twirls like pasta and is filling.  If you make this--do not cook it.  You can rinse off the salt with boiling water over a colander but no cooking.

Wheat Pasta is relatively tasteless.  It's the "mouth feel" and the conveyance of the pasta sauce to your mouth that we really want.  And the zucchini pasta does the trick.  Great in a stir fry or lo mein.  In fact, zucchini pasta would be fantastic in any Chinese dish, subbing for rice or noodles.  If you had one of those empty convenience food packages (add hot water, steam and drain) you could even bring your own zucchini noodles to the restaurant and ask for a cup of hot water to heat them.  Drain and add to your entree.  I just wish I had heard of this fantastic meal item when the garden was still producing zucchini as the grocery prices right now are very high.  Next year I need to plant twice as many zuke plants.

I wasted the entire day yesterday sitting here at the computer.  And so far, today, I have done the same.  I haven't even read my book.  This lack of wanting to "do" anything that resembles WORK is troubling.  I am a project oriented person, usually.  I'm hoping it's just a phase and will be replaced by ambitious work in a few days (or better still, in a few minutes).  The laundry is getting done, food is being cooked, shirts are being ironed, dog is being walked.  I even hand washed all the meatball prep dishes and the stove yesterday.  That looks like an impressive amount of work.  But the house is a mess and the yard is an even bigger mess.  I think I will make the bed, iron a few more shirts, get the dog towels folded and work on clearing off the dining room table (again!!!)  My daughter is coming over this afternoon. Then I will walk
the dog.

I watched Prime Suspect last night and Fringe.  I recovered all the current episodes of both from the TiVo deleted files (563) and now have them stored so I have something very, very good to watch if I get sick this winter, along with the three episodes of Zen and the new Masterpiece detective in Case Histories.  This is turning out to be a Very Good Season for television.  I still miss Detroit 187.

Moving to the bedroom to make the bed and fold dog towels.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Christmas Cactus @ Greenhouse

Yesterday, what customers have been asking for, arrived.  Christmas Cactus.  This photo is of a very small pot (3 inches wide) with the few little bits that broke off the large plants.  I can never throw away something with a "bud" even though I already have way too many Christmas Cactus.

I am still freezing cold, but finally managed to Google "Atkins/cold sensitivity" and discovered this is a very common side effect of the diet, especially long term.  And "long term" means anyone doing Atkins longer that a month.  Which isn't very many dieters.  I can't see a dieter interested in "fast results" sticking with this diet through all the weigh loss stalls.

With the 365 Day Diet in 2007, I don't remember being cold.  But, I don't remember much after losing my job in September.  And I wasn't eating low carb.  I was still eating bread products and pasta on that diet with a limit of 1200 calories a day.  So, enough carbs to keep me warm.  And I know now that I was losing  muscle on that diet.  My daughter says I looked terrible (thin but haggard) and was difficult to be around as I was always angry and mean.

She likes me on Atkins.  I am usually happy and I look very healthy.  I think it's all the fat.  Keeps your skin looking "plump" and all the cheese and heavy cream keeps you from feeling hungry.  The good feelings in my intestinal tract leads me to think I am allergic to wheat.  Have always been allergic to wheat. I have read that we crave the thing we shouldn't eat.  And I do crave wheat products if I start eating them. Can't make myself STOP eating bread, pasta or cake.

Anyway, I don't eat wheat now.  I just need to find a sub for bread crumbs.  I like bread crumbs and have been eating them on my fried eggplant and later today in the meatballs I will be making.  It's the ONE food item that I decided to cheat with.  The one forbidden item that I allow myself to have.  Atkins does sub crumbled pork rinds for breadcrumbs but I haven't actually tried that.  Sounds disgusting.

 I have a new low carb cookbook with something called "Magic Rolls" which can be dried and crumbed into bread crumbs.  I think I will take a closer look at the recipe.  I don't want to create something that is a temptation, i.e. looks too much like actual bread.  The recipe is in a diet program that allows higher amounts of carbs.  So, I think the recipe does include white flour.  But it may be lower in carbs than commercial bread crumbs.

I am pretty excited about Thanksgiving Dinner in a few weeks.  A website had an Atkins sub for cream of mushroom soup (mayo and sour cream) so I can make green bean casserole.  Happy Dance.  The can of onion rings is even okay, in limited quantities.  I will miss the baked sweet potatoes but I can have mashed turnips instead of potatoes.  I don't think I will have cranberry sauce.  It's a fruit.  And I usually eat half a can with my dinner.  I will have large amounts of  roasted Brussels Sprouts.  So more "can have" and less "cannot" which is always a good indication that I will be happy.

I apologize for so much diet conversation today.  It's one of those periods in the diet journey where I have to reevaluate, make changes,  etc.  My pants are loose at the hips and waist.  Really, what more can I want right now?

My little beet quilt didn't work out as I had envisioned.  But the background has possibilities. So I will work on the background until I figure out how to make beets.  Out of fabric.  I did notice on many image websites that beets are always shown in a pair.  Two beets in every photo.  I was trying to have three.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Patterned Light

I was intrigued by the pattern the blinds made on the orchid stems.  Stripes.  I have been visiting a web site called "habit" and each member posts an unposed photo and less than 30 words to describe what is happening in their day.  The pictures are simple "captures" of a moment in a lifetime.  This would be that sort of "moment" as the light will change and the pattern disappear.  I am happy I noticed.

When last we spoke, I was going out to walk the dog and it was 3pm.  I had to bundle up; scarf, winter anorak, hat, gloves.  A passing neighbor mentioned I was entirely overdressed for the weather. He was in a car. I laughed and said "I'm freezing".  And I was.  By the time I returned home I had the hat and gloves in my pocket  and I felt warmer but not by too much.  I have never been this cold sensitive (since moving here 20 years ago) and it bothers me as it isn't even cold yet.  The snow refuses to melt.

We had a bunch of leftover things for supper.  Some of the fried eggplant. some marinara, some ratatouille, and the remaining mozzarella cheese.  I baked all of that on a sheet pan and made fresh pasta for G.  He had apple pie for dessert and I had the last three clementines.  Survivor, Work of Art and Top Chef Texas. And I fell asleep on the couch. I have book three in the Henry VIII series.  But haven't been able to read.  My eyes are tired.

All day, yesterday, I thought about calling out sick today and having 4 days off in a row.  Wednesday thru Saturday.  This morning I realized the "work ethic" of my parents wouldn't allow me to do that.  So, here I am dressed for work, lunch packed, dog ready to go off to day care.  Not happy.  Pushing forward anyway.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Long, Slow Melt & Responsible Behaviour

Riley was out this morning checking the depth of the snow on the grass.  Every night the temps go into the below freezing (27) degrees and then the sun has to start all over again to warm and melt before the day cools at the other end.

I was awakened this morning by a phone call for G.  His work was looking for him.  I walked around the house, still half asleep, looking for any sign of him.  But G was not here.  He was somewhere else prepping for the class he is teaching later today.

We had a very delicious dinner out.  G had duck breast with mashed potatoes and parsnips  alongside roasted Brussels sprouts.  He had cream of tomato soup as a starter.   I had mussels and the Bistro steak with cognac cream sauce.  We had coffee and dessert at home because G is loving the apple crumb topped pie I baked for him.  There were six people in the restaurant.  We left at 7.  Then there were four.  An excellent indication that the economy is in trouble.  Another indicator is the stock price of McDonald's shares.  When times are rocky, people eat at fast food places to get value for their money.

Yesterday was Tuesday.  I stopped at the grocery on my way home from work.  Tuesday is the day all the handicapped/challenged/special issues people shop at the grocery.  Hooking up.  Waiting for taxis.  Smoking. Under the influence of "substances" or not (when they should be). All on some form of public assistance or Social Services.  On days like this, I wonder why their families aren't being responsible for them????  My daughter has already lectured me.  They are adults (using age as the only criteria) and as adults can direct their own lives.  That self direction being financed by my tax dollars is what bothers me. Does it bother you?   I think this social structure is more evident in my Town as the local grocery is right in town, very central to everything.  Not in a drive to the suburbs area.  Not out of sight/ out of mind.

G brought the Spooky House home yesterday.  He was sad to report all the damage done to the house.  Shingles pulled off, feathers pulled off the big crow on the roof, all the windows poked out, spiders ripped off the sides of the house.  He was also depressed by the anger of parents when he asked their small children to stop pulling things off the house and note the "Do Not Touch" sign.  The parents would say "they can't read" as some excuse for the child's behavior.  G would ask if they, the parent, could read.  And perhaps instruct their child? Which only made the parents more angry.

G does not want to take the Gingerbread House to work for the Christmas Holidays.  The GH is shorter and closer to children's hands and it looks more like "candy" than the Spooky House.  Even adults have gripped a hot glued fake gumdrop on the house and twisted and pulled until they are stopped.  Regular customers enjoy the houses and delight in seeing them.  Customers just "passing through" feel free to plunder and destroy, on their own, or standing by and watching their child do it.

Later today, I will heat up the glue gun and repair the Spooky House.  As best I can.  The window "glass" may be a lost cause.  G plugged the SH lights in and set the house where I could see it glowing from my seat on the couch.  He opened the door so I could see the little rubber rat.  I think he was trying to say "I'm so sorry" this had to happen to the project you worked so hard to create.

Life is difficult some days.  The majority of people in this world are kind and careful of others.  But the ones who make the biggest impression are the awful, self centered mean people.

I don't really want to go into Town today to straighten my glasses.  Just in case there are "mean people" out there waiting to ruin today, also.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Snow Hasn't Melted Yet

And I am wearing as many layers as I can to try and get warm.  Or stay warm.  I think I may actually HAVE lost FAT.  Isn't fat the thing that keeps us warm?  I don't seem to have anything keeping me warm.

G went to the library and returned one of my books and got me three new ones.  Another Henry VIII, a Bones Book (television series) and the first Asa Larsson mystery.   I am in the very early days of reading another Swedish thriller but it's all drugs and prison and I'm not sure I am all that interested in visiting that particular world, this month. Three Seconds.  One of you might be interested in prison and drugs.

The Kim Kardashian Marriage Fiasco.  Woo Hoo.  Who didn't SEE that coming.  There is even a rumor the whole thing was just "business" and a way for both of them to make millions for the pictures.  Kris, the mother and manager, is all about making money.  Too bad it isn't against the law.  I'd love to see them arrested.  So very greedy.

We are going out to eat this evening.  We are ready but it's still too early to go.  I am not all that interested in being an "early bird" but here in my town there is a fine line between getting seated right away and having to wait an hour for a table.  And, by 8 or 8:30, everything is finished.  The town is deserted.  A three hour window of opportunity for fine dining.  And the tourists are all gone.  They make it so much worse.  When they are here you need a reservation.  And then you still have to wait for a table since they like to "linger".  Anyway.  We are going out to eat.

G purchased new under the cabinet lights for above my computer and for over the kitchen counter where we make coffee and use the microwave.  The old lights heated up the wood cabinets and I mentioned I always worried they would catch on fire.  But they are very nice and always make the counter area "sparkly".  Which is a nice thing to be in cold, dark Maine in the winter.