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Showing posts from September, 2009

Friday Quote Day

The discipline of writing something down
is the first step toward making it happen.
~ Lee Iacocca

Studies have shown that keeping a food journal is one of the most powerful tools in the dieter's arsenal.

So why don't I keep a food journal?

I bought a nifty software program that I used for months (not that it helped me lose any weight or anything), but as I have shifted my diet toward eating more whole foods and fewer processed products, the program has become more cumbersome. In order to calculate the nutritional data in my Friday night pizza, I have to enter each ingredient incorporated in the crust and each topping, then divide by six or four, depending on how big I cut the pieces.

Much more time-consuming than just clicking on one of Pizza Hut's menu items or one of the frozen selections at the market.

I liked using it, 'cause I'm geeky and 'cause it did all the calculations for me. It even created a pie chart (mmm, pie!) displying the breakdown of protein, fat and…

Glad I'm not the only one

Actually I'm sorry any of us has to deal with fruitflies, but it does help to know I'm not alone.

I spoke with my self-sufficient friend (one of these days she's going to start a blog and then I'll link to her) about the subject yesterday. (I never had fruitflies until this year. And I haven't had a garden here until this year. Coincidence? You make the call.) She said Hot Shot Flying Insect Killer works very well.

Denise's sticky tape suggestion also is a good one. Our Amish neighbors have clear pieces of plastic, sticky on both sides, adhered to all their window panes, which do a great job of catching all kinds of flying insects. When I asked Mrs. Yoder where she bought them, she said – are you ready? – Wal-Mart!

I'll be near a Wal-Mart on Saturday and I plan to buy all the insect ammunition they'll let me carry out of the store. Heh.

When I started my walk yesterday, I knew I wouldn't be walking the whole way. Indeed, I started running halfway down t…

Frustrations abound

You know how in those first few morning minutes between asleep and awake, you sometimes get a sense of what the day will be like? Some days you're feeling calm and serene, while other times you want to rip someone's face off before you feet his the floor.

Today is a rip-someone's-face-off day. Actually it's a rip-the-computer-out-of-the-socket and throw-it-out-the-window kind of day.

I've been having trouble sending e-mails with attachments, so I had to set up a gmail account for that. Beginning last night, I couldn't send any kind of e-mails at all. I'm trying to use the webmail account to reply to an e-mail – that usually works – and the half-drawn screen just sits there. And sits there. And sits there!

The e-mail I'm trying to reply to is a forwarded message I've received previously from a different caring, Republican friend. If you happen to be one of my Facebook friends, you've already read this rant: If you decide to forward something, please…

Welcome, autumn

I love living in a state (West Virginia) where we have four seasons. Just about the time I'm tired of the heat, fall marches in with its low humidity, cool breezes and colorful vistas. There's nothing prettier than our mountains when they're wearing their red and gold fall colors. The leaves haven't turned yet, but our front-yard maple has been dropping leaves for a week now and I couldn't be happier about it.

My husband and I went to an end-of-summer picnic Sunday, which was a lovely way to transition from summer to fall. Their garden is producing fall stuff – squash and corn and pumpkins, things I've added to my "must plant" list for next year. We made new friends, visited with familiar ones and came away thinking, "What a nice way to spend an afternoon."

Better than football. Seriously!

I'm back on track with my five-mile walks, I have a couple of freelance design jobs to do and cooler weather makes me want to put a pot of soup on to sim…


I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this summer and that experience, along with meeting some self-sufficient friends and watching Food, Inc., changed the way my husband and I eat.

My garden isn't as big as the one in the book or the one my friends maintain, but I was able to go to my back yard and pick dinner for a good part of this summer. It will be twice as big next year. It started out as an economical thing to do, but turned out to be a most enjoyable hobby, and one I'm loathe to give up for the winter.

Alas, since the garden wasn't very big, we pretty much ate everything it produced. I was able to freeze a little bit and I made some zucchini relish, but man doesn't live by zucchini relish alone.

One of the customs I've adopted from the Kingsolver book is Friday night pizza. My dad used to make pizza when I was a little girl, so I guess I'm just carrying on a family tradition. We had the best pizza this past Friday I just had to share.


A picture is worth a thousand words

And since I don't have a thousand words – or even a hundred today – I'm just going to put up some of the pix I took Wednesday. No quote, no inspiration, no fitness (I walked again yesterday, and thanks, Denise, for your comment!) – just pix.

A woodpile (obviously).

Strange looking growths on the trunk of a tree.

I want to go back and take this one from another angle.

Ho-hum. Boring shot of a hay barn.

When I walked by this little Jersey yesterday, she had her head stuck in her grain bucket, and I rescued her. She is the friendliest little calf I've ever seen. Her mama feeds the Amish.

That is all … have a good weekend.

Slooooow as molasses

The internets are strolling this morning, they clearly don't care about a PR today. Grrr.

And that's what I did yesterday. I hadn't walked for a couple of days because it seemed prudent to stay near a bathroom. My wonderful fresh home cooking seems to have made my stomach a little sensitive to restaurant food. That's too bad, too, because tonight will be yet another restaurant meal.

Anyway, since it was a little overcast yesterday morning I grabbed the camera. I'm not sure how much my camera weighs (it's a Canon digital Rebel, about three years old), but between lugging it and stopping to take pictures, I certainly didn't care about a PR either! I'll post some of the pix tomorrow. At least I got out and walked – I don't give myself a medal every time I walk faster than the last time.

Or, as they say in the Land of Justification: Something's better than nothing.

I was getting ready to begin mowing in the afternoon when the phone rang. It was one of o…

Black bean soup. Or stew, maybe.

I made this for dinner last night, and although I'm sure it's nothing original, it certainly was delish!

Cover two cups dried black beans with eight cups water. Soak overnight. (Alternatively, you can bring this to a boil, let it boil for two minutes, then remove from heat and let it sit for an hour.) Drain the soak water, add six cups fresh water and begin cooking beans over low heat.

In the meantime, sauté two seeded, chopped jalapeño peppers and one chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add to the beans along with two (or more, if you like) teaspoons dried cumin, one teaspoon crushed red pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer until beans are tender – about three hours.

During the last hour of cooking add two tomatoes, chopped, and the kernels from two ears of fresh corn. You also can add a couple sausages, sliced, if you like a meaty stew/soup, but I wouldn't have missed them if I'd left them out.

This amount should easily serve four to six, unless you live with my…

What happened to manners?

And respect? And dignity?

I am, of course, referring to the trifecta of bad taste exhibited by Joe Wilson, Serena Williams and Kanye West this past week, topped off by the extremely bitter, angry, hate-filled [and white] crowds demonstrating in Washington Saturday.

I didn't watch much news over the weekend, so I'm just now catching up on all the gory details.

I know I sound like a broken record (what's the 21st-century equivalent of a broken record, by the way?), since I just wrote about bad manners on Friday, but seriously – what the HELL has happened to our sense of decorum?

I have no answers, only outrage. But I should probably keep it to myself.

Unmet goals

Well, I ended up walking (actually I ran a bit, too, which felt great!) only on Saturday morning. I find it difficult to sleep well when I'm not home, and ended up waking up too late Sunday to get it done on time. The Saturday walk/run was great, though – a beautiful park, lots of deer and wild turkeys and hawks and even though I'm sure I looked like I was having a heart attack, I didn't.

An interesting thing happened to me there, beginning Friday evening and lasting through Saturday evening. I've never considered myself a binge eater. I don't stock up on packages of food and eat them all at one sitting. But starting with Friday's dinner and ending sometime around halftime of the USC-OSU game, I was eating something almost all the time. I didn't eat while I was walking, of course, and I took a break Saturday afternoon. For most of the weekend I felt stuffed, overfull, uncomfortable and fat.

I wasn't at all interested in food yesterday. I guess it all even…

Friday Quote Day

There are no shortcuts
to any place worth going.
~ Unknown

Well, I live in West Virginia, and I can tell you truthfully there are no shortcuts anywhere, worth going to or not! I saw Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on television yesterday say that just four percent of West Virginia is flat land. When you add the curves that go around the mountains, you get long distances to nowhere.

Today is another one of those travel days. I've had far too many of them this summer. This weekend I'll be going from the Middle of Nowhere, WV, to the Middle of Nowhere, KY, for a retreat. This is the tenth year my husband and I have gone, and while I'm not particularly enthusiastic this year, I know I'll enjoy myself and return home renewed and relaxed.

Except for the driving.

The retreat is held at a beautiful state park with easy walking on the roads within the park and harder walking on the woodland trails. I plan to take advantage of both while I'm there. I feel good about getting back on…


I HATE DIAL-UP!Well, it rained last night – a lot – so I can't connect to the
internet for more than 5 seconds at a time, apparently. And I have so
much to say this morning!I did end up watching the President's speech, and was happy I did so.
I applauded several times, just like most of the people in the
audience. Some of those Republicans, though, had some motor
coordination problems. Not only could they not clap their hands, they
couldn't get out of their chairs, either. But that Rep. Wilson (R-SC)
represented his party well, doncha think? His shout of "You lie!"
shocked everyone in the chamber.His website is "down for maintenance" this morning. Heh.I'm still a single-payer supporter, and I always will be. It's the
right thing to do, morally and economically. I will continue to work
toward that end. But Rome wasn't built in a day. Nor was Medicare. Or
Social Security. Or civil rights.Baby steps.

Should I or shouldn't I?

I'm so tempted to watch some kind of trash TV or maybe a baseball game at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight. The hype surrounding President Obama's address to Congress, in case you've been under a rock this week, has been unbearable.

Which Obama will show up? He needs to do this. Or that. Or the other.

Sometimes I think Americans would fare better if our news cycle was two weeks old, instead of two seconds. The cable news programs have to fill up all those hours with something, and rumors and opinions are just as good as facts.

So. Two days in a row of healthful eating. Still doing my five-mile walk every day. And a miracle, of sorts, appeared last night.

I have had a doctor's appointment for this morning. Canceled it yesterday afternoon after talking with the PA, who suggested that my preference to "wait and see" wouldn't hurt.

I've had some kind of a growth – cyst, tumor, whatever – on my right ankle all summer. I showed it to my gynecologist last month, who sugges…


As I was walking from the house to our second-story garage/office, I thought about what I would write today.

Unless I'm away or exhausted – both of which have happened frequently in the recent past – I like to throw a post up every weekday. Sometimes I sit down and the words flow; most of the time I have to compose (in my head) ahead of time. I'm sure some bloggers work in a word-processing program first and then cut-and-paste; I'm too lazy to launch two programs to write a few paragraphs that two people are going to read (you and me).

Anyway, the topic I came up with today is "stuff," and it looks like Laurie has written my post for me. Thanks, Laurie!

I've not watched the television show she refers to, but I really don't think I qualify for an episode. I'm more like Laurie – sometimes overwhelmed and sometimes comforted by the things I own.

I'm very comforted by my yarn. I've sold some of it over the past year, and am down to the point where I w…

Happy Labor Day!

What we do is a measure of who we are.
If we imagine our work as labor, we become laborers.
If we imagine our work as art, we become artists.
~ Jeffrey Patnaude

A bonus quote this week, in honor of working. Especially apt, since both my husband and I are retired. Heh.

I did a lot of work yesterday, most of it in the kitchen. I've come to the realization that if I'm not going to lose weight on a "diet," then I might as well prepare and eat food that is somewhat entertaining. For instance, after years of eating an annual slice of pizza (if that), we're now making dough and preparing toppings for homemade pizza every Friday night, a la Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. We've had some wonderful concoctions and we really look forward to Friday dinners.

I made pork chops – in a skillet, with breading – Saturday, along with baked potatoes and mixed vegetables. Yesterday we had an old-fashioned Southern-fried feast: biscuits with sausage gravy, fried green …

Friday Quote Day

My hopes are not always realized,
but I always hope.
~ Ovid

Without hope, we'd never have elected Barack Obama as our President. I have to say though, right now I'm a little nervous about my hope for health insurance reform.

I guess if the public option doesn't make it to a final bill, I'll just move to scary old Great Britain, or evil old France, or – horrors! – Taiwan, fercryinoutloud, all of whom have excellent universal health coverage, as long as you're not listening to Faux News. (Next time you meet a Canadian, Brit, Aussie, Finn, Swede – you get my drift – ask them if they'd trade their health plan for what we have here in the U.S.)

But enough of that. I try to keep my political rants away from my blog. That's what Facebook is for! Heh. (Wanna friend me? djmcneer AT citynet DOT net)

Those of us working to improve our health, and particularly those of us who are doing so by trying to lose weight, have lots of hope. For a while. We're doing the right th…


Since we last got together, I have:
Spent three days in another state caring for a two-year-oldSpent two days at home, one of which included a visit by three 15-month-olds (and their parents)Spent one day recovering from a visit by three 15-month-oldsSpent two days driving to and from another state to attend a funeralAttended yet another health care reform town hall meetingAnd another town hall is on this afternoon's agenda.

I've had to cancel and/or reschedule three appointments during that time, as well. I haven't walked more than to and from a building to a car in the last week. And the garden has been – obviously – more neglected than ever. (But I picked three ripe, unblighted tomatoes when I got home last night! Anne, you were so right about the blight! Yuk!)

The funeral was for my first husband, my children's father. They gave the eulogy, which was wonderful and sad and funny and heartfelt. I couldn't be prouder of our children. He was, too.

That's all for to…