Monday, October 29, 2012
Are we nuts!
Oh wait - here comes the sales guy back, he's smiling but it doesn't mean what we hoped it would mean. We are just too far away in getting our numbers to match up so maybe next time.
Later in the day - We are bundled up inside now with the wind howling around the house. I filled up buckets in the bathtub and bowls of water in the sinks in case we have a power outage. I feel so bad for the people in the path of Sandy - it must be scary.
Here are some photos of what we were looking at. Nice isn't it :-) Look at all those giant windows! And that counter space :-)
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Since we were right near the T&T Asian food store we stocked up on pork necks for the dogs, sirracha sauce for us, and the excellent produce section netted us a giant bag of snow peas, some bean sprouts, and lemon grass. The makings for a tasty supper (or so I thought). We rang up Jo Ellen and Don to see if they were free. Time to race home and make the house presentable!
T&T is always a fun shop. The range of products is just incredible - we saw one guy with two packs of chicken feet and some pigs ears in his basket. Another one waited at the meat counter for a whole black chicken (yes, that was black!). The meat counter had some lovely regular meat, as well as odd bits that seem strange to us. The dogs always win when we shop there as the pork neck bones are $0.99lb and they also have packages of dried sardines that make great healthy treats.
Back to supper - I really mussed it up. WHEN will I learn to not experiment with company???? It turned out okay(ish), but not at all like I had in mind. I'm like a mad scientist in the kitchen at times. And Frankenfood is what sometimes emerges. I had all the ingredients to make a Thai style meal, but for some reason I decided to put all the garlic, hot sauce, a whole lime, etc. into my bullet and make some sort of sauce, rather than adding them to the pan like I would normally do. I wouldn't recommend adding whole lime... there were chunks of skin, and it made this weird frothy sauce. Just zest and juice the lime. Trust me on this!
We had a lovely visit with Jo Ellen and Don (as we always do). This was our first time entertaining with the box of wine though... I think next time I will decant it into a clean bottle as otherwise we had no idea how much wine we were guzzling down... (a lot). A jug would be much more elegant that a big box anyway! I think a trip to the flea market in Morrisburg has to be scheduled. Or I could just use my teapot...
Shoe saga finalie - the dressy shoes hurt a bit, but it is bearable, I'm going to keep them and hobble around looking good sometimes. I'm going to keep the Softmocs too. Everything was just so much easier once it was decided that they both could be kept ;-) It never ceases to amaze me that I can make things so darn complicated. I think some of this is the bipolar - I tend to ruminate over a decision and end up thinking about it so much that everything gets more complicated and muddled in my head. I can over think anything into a knot!
Today is grey, but with no real rain. It seems that we dodged the storm that was supposed to hit us yesterday. It is a big contrast from Friday with its 22C balmy temps. Winter is surely on its way... I'm glad I have my trip to New Zealand scheduled for this winter, but maybe next winter we have to think about hitching the trailer up and heading south.
Friday, October 26, 2012
After that Carm dropped me off downtown while he went on to his dentist to get a filling redone. I managed to catch Jo Ellen at her desk so we had a nice walk about in the sun, before I left her to slowly make my way back to where the car was parked. It was in a 2hr parking zone so I had to move it. I rarely drive and even more rarely drive downtown. But today it was up to me as Carm was still drooling in the dentist chair. It was easy enough to find a new parking spot but since it was along the street it meant parallel parking. I haven't parallel parked since my drivers test when I was sixteen, and since I'm fifty now that makes it 34 years ago (OMG). Well, I am pleased to say that I got into the spot first try (okay, it was a big spot but still!). I wanted to call out to passers by but realized that would be insane. But I guess I'm crowing about it now, which is also insane! I never said I wasn't crazy. (cue the theme music, Billy Joel - you might be crazy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cih0btgJw8s&feature=youtube_gdata_player )
All this activity was done during the nicest day this fall. Of course the camper was already winterized. Oh well, I was out and about downtown walking and enjoying the sun (and all the "characters" along the yucky part of Bank St.). And then when we got home we took a stroll around the estate. The heifers watched us over the fence until we got too close, at which point they ran off in their ungainly way.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
BTW - a girlfriend would NOT have helped me find what I was looking for, Carm was pretty good at that job, and the sales people have been pretty helpful as well. I do love the stores with racks and racks of shoes with the boxes underneath so I could help myself. I worried less about trying too many on.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention - CARM found a new pair of shoes - I was so happy for him...
I would love to be able to wear some dressy shoes with a bit of a heel. I have never been one to be fashionable but I'd love to once and a while!
I played around with the wardrobe planner software. It is a lot of bother to take pictures of all of your clothes. Especially when, realistically I only have t-shirts in a few colours (no patterns), jeans, jean capris, a pair of black pants and black capris. Not much to match with! It did make me realize how limited my wardrobe is - how did I ever get myself dressed for work? Luckily in the tech world being a fancy dresser is not really required (but likely would have been appreciated). And since I worked a lot with young 20 something boys, some with earrings, others with skateboards... I think wearing casual clothes that it was easier to convince them that I was on their side and that documentation was really something that would benefit them (that's my story and I'm sticking with it).
The thing is, in working times we already had to get up at 5am, and to add makeup, other clothes, etc. on top of everything else we would have had to set the alarm 15 minutes earlier - that's 4:45 folks! Not gonna happen. Not to mention that when I was struggling with mood things I usually didn't care enough about myself.
It is less than one week till the end of weight loss challenge phase one. I'm not going to make it but it looks like everyone else will. Be sure to send me your results next week so I can post them on Nov 1st (cause the 31st counts as a day right!).
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We used to entertain regularly and it wasn't unusual for me to make a meal with several courses, no written plan needed. Now when we entertain I need a detailed schedule/plan to get even a simple supper on the table at a reasonable time. I have to schedule things like when the oven gets turned on, when food goes in and goes out of the oven, what time to start chopping vegetables, what cleaning needs to be done. In other words I have to have EVERYTHING written down - in 5 minute increments. I thought it was just me, but I've been reading of others with bipolar who have similar problems.
This explains why the spare bed is covered in clothes arranged by type. It is still 2 months before I go, but I just can't keep a picture in my head of what I have and what I might need (not much). Shouldn't there be an app for that? Plus as I go through the clothes on the camper I just add them to the pile so I don't have to go out to the camper when it is -20C. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
[on edit: it seems there might be an app for that after all, I've downloaded one to try out - will report tomorrow!]
Speaking of the camper... it is all put to bed for its winter hibernation. We finally decided that we weren't going to make it out for one last hurrah. So there it is - winter time... It isn't a big process to get the water system winterized, but carrying in the tons of food is a little more time consuming. I swear, we could have lived for a week or two without hitting the grocery store... as long as we didn't mind canned food!
Carm made a fresh loaf of bread this afternoon, so since I'd had just a very light breakfast, spent 43 minutes on the treadmill, and hadn't had lunch yet I decided to splurge. After I was done I went onto Calorie Count to add it to my food log for today. Since I had weighed the slice I could be more precise (I entered the recipe some time ago) - WTF!!! 303 calories in ONE slice of bread!!! And that's BEFORE anything put on it. There must be some mistake with that, cause really! The crazy thing is I could have had 1 McDonald's hamburger and still had 53 calories to spare (of course that's hardly a healthy option, but still). It was disturbing!
In fact it was so disturbing that I just said to he$$ with that and ordered Chicken Shwarma for supper. Oh my, it was ever so garlicky! And 1/2 of it is in the fridge for tomorrow ;-) Tomorrow's will surely count for zero calories (won't it). We are just one week away from the end of the first challenge, and here I am stuffed with chicken and garlic sauce...
Monday, October 22, 2012
The dogs have been running down to the barn every chance they get - I hope that doesn't mean that Mr. Fox has taken up residence there.
Tonight for supper we had roasted sweet potato tossed with the zest and juice of 1 lime, garlic and chopped jalopeno, It was good. Add in some roasted brussels sprouts and lentils and we had another healthy meal. Dairy Queen for dessert would be good though ;-)
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Supper tonight was whole mushrooms marinated in lemon juice then grilled on the bbq, grilled zucchini, cherry tomatoes, 4 kalamata olives, and brown rice with garlic, sirracha, lemon zest and lemon juice. Easy and tasty. Vegan meals can be good and easy for anyone to make :-)
Friday, October 19, 2012
Speaking of girlfriends, I just heard from Dorothy, one of the weight challenge participants and she has ALREADY met the 5 pound goal for October. I'm so impressed :-) Way to go! And it sounds like she has made some good, healthy changes to your diet. I don't have much of an update except to say I am back down those three pounds (after having gained two of them back last week). There is still time!
Tonight we had roasted vegetables tossed with pesto pasta. When I roasted the zucchini and cauliflower I threw in 2 lemons thinly sliced. The skin didn't soften down enough, but the innerds were oh so good! It's a good thing cause we bought a huge bag of lemons from Costco. We also bought a bag of limes - does anyone have any good ideas on how to use them? Of course the obvious is margaritas, and I may just have to make the sacrifice ;-)
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
This morning was another one of those beautiful mornings full of sunshine. I love going out for my little walk on those mornings. The surroundings are uplifting and go a long way to starting my day in the right frame of mind.
Yesterday we went with friends to a do-it-yourself wine place where we picked up BOXes of wine! I never thought that we'd have wine in a box as Carm is such a connoisseur... Each box holds 5 liters (about 6 1/2 bottles), but supposedly since it is in a bag that keeps the air out, it will keep for a long time. I hope so as we don't drink more than one or maybe two bottles a week. This format will make it easy to grab a few ounces to put into a sauce.
After several days of being totally off track with our diet, today we kept to healthy food. Roasted vegetables graced our plates tonight - I love roasted vegetables.
I'm using the new software to write this post and it seems to be working fine. Last night though I had a little post written up and then hit the wrong key and it disappeared. DOOH! I immediately sent an email to the developers to suggest that the default when backing out of the program should be "save locally" and not discard the whole thing.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I love software! I am a computer junkie!
I'm using the new BlogPost software to write today's blog. I love it when software does all the things I want it to do - I want to hug the developers for thinking of everything :-) But I'm disapointed that I don't have any photos to insert! May have to take a picture of Carm snoring on the sofa next to me ;-) But he might get mad so I'll just take a picture of Kabira. The dogs haven't featured in many pictures lately.
This morning I had a dentist appointment in my old office building. It has been under renovation for 3 (or is it 4) years and it seems that they are almost finished. But not quite - the dentist office is all torn apart. It has always been weird re-entering the building where I worked for 29 years (yes, the same building - sick eh!), but with the renovations it didn't make my stomach sink. Or maybe it's the passage of time. Regardless, I didn't feel dragged down by the building itself. AND as a bonus and to make the visit really good :-) I met with Jo Ellen for 1/2 an hour. She's my old boss and one of the good things of all my years there. We worked together well, and now we are good friends. She and Chris are the only ones that I still socialize with from work. I'm ALWAYS happy to see her.
After MEC we went to a new LCBO and checked out their huge selection. We picked a bottle of bubbles that we hadn't tried before. Yum, maybe this weekend. Then... we wandered across the street to the Subaru dealer. There is a new model which is a gussied up Impreza - I really liked it and for just a bit of $ more it doesn't look like a little hatchback. Or there's the Outback $$... We'll hold off as long as we can, but just in case the car dies while I'm gone we want to have our decision all sorted out. It is 14 years old with over 414,000km.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
I don't really have much to say today, but since I am trying out new software I had to post something! Please bear with the slightly odd formatting here and there.
I'm using the free android software BlogPost. It is letting me insert photos, and once I figured out what I was doing wrong, upload them with the post. It has a local setting so that I can work off-line and when I'm ready I can either send it to online draft, or publish it. So far I'm pretty happy! It looks like it will do the trick for my trip, and even day-to-day. Yay!
As it turns out we ended up going out for supper with Trudie & Leo - I'm not going to say what I ate or where we went, but let's just say that at this rate I will be the biggest loser of the challenge! I'm weak!!!! It would be much easier if there were a restaurant in the area that had good food that wasn't so nasty- Thai or Vietnamese would be good. I just wanted to get out of the house for a bit!
Saturday, October 13, 2012
I have never been one for absolutes (pun intended). Which is why we had steak for supper tonight. I know that it isn't good for me, that animal protein consumption is linked to cancer, heart disease and a host of other ailments. But surely a little piece of steak every month or so won't hurt me (much). It's not like we are having bacon for breakfast, deli meats for lunch, and a big piece of animal flesh for supper. It's just a little 6oz chunk. Oh so good grilled on the bbq with some garlic, dark soy sauce and sesame oil. Our side dishes (I couldn't spell the word I wanted even close enough for spell checker to figure it out) were all healthy to offset the badness.
I guess I just can't see giving up meat 100%. How do people convince themselves that a little steak ever now and again is to be avoided at all costs?
Oh - I'm writing this using software I found called BlogPost (hence the photos stuck all over). It seems like it might do the trick. Hurrah (fingers firmly crossed). Although it looks like I may have to pre-load the photos into Picassa. Why doesn't anything work how you expect it to?
You'll notice that Carm has the remote in his hand - he's watching Bill Moyer with Anne Coulter. Two outspoken people (ha ha understatement).
On a better note, yesterday we were in our neighbouring village putzing around and came across a shop to check for new runners for Carm. Well, this shop turned out to be a good (if rather expensive) find. Sure, Carm got his shoes, but I scored the perfect outfit for travelling. It is a knit houndstooth tweed jacket and matching pants that look a little dressy. They are super comfortable and will be perfect for the plane. I'll be able to wear the jacket with jeans and a nice t-shirt, as well as with black dress pants. I just need to add a top (and I have a few in mind) and I'm all set. It will be perfect for non-travel when I need something just a bit dressier. I have lots of jeans and t-shirts, but not much else. And the good news - size 10!
This shop also had a good selection of woman's and men's shoes. I didn't buy anything but will keep a few pairs in mind.
Yesterday there were snowflakes flying around with an overnight forecast of -2. The camper isn't winterized so we turned the heat on overnight. We are hoping to hold off winterizing for a week or two in case the weather turns nice. There was a heavy frost this morning so it is a good thing we did. The cold weather prompted us to start putting the outside furniture away :-( bye bye swing till next spring. For a few years we kept it upstairs in the living room in front of the fireplace!
Btw - Dorothy! Don't give up. It doesn't take (too) much effort to make healthy meals. Last night I cooked a sweet potato in the microwave for 4 minutes, then cubed it. I cleaned and cut in half some Brussels sprouts. Cut a red onion into big chunks. Cut 6 medium mushrooms in half. Tossed all these in a big bowl with 1 tsp (that's teaspoon) of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional), and of course chopped garlic. Spread it all onto two baking sheets lined with parchment and stuck it into a 400F oven for 30 minutes (giving them a shake 1/2 way through). While that was cooking I cooked 1 cup quinoa with 1 cup chicken broth; 1 cup hot water, and the zest of one lemon (in the microwave 5 min high, 15 min med high).
Tomorrow night I'll sauté (in chicken broth) 1lb of zucchini and some mushrooms, probably some chopped onion, and as always, garlic. That will be served on lentils mixed with brown rice (3/4 lentils, 1/4 brown rice). I'll top it off with some chopped tomato.
When making lentils I always make enough for a few meals. 1 1/2 cups lentils picked over, 1/2 cup brown rice. Mix with 4 to 5 cups hot water (or a combination of water and stock). Add a bit of garlic, and whatever seasonings you like (I often add turmeric, cumin, mustard seed). In microwave, cook on high for 5 minutes, then med high for 35 minutes. Sometimes it will need a bit more time or some more water. Sometimes I heat them up in the sauté pan with onions, garlic and frozen chopped spinach.
I usually try to have a few "leftover" dinners a week - it takes away some of the burden of cooking every night.
To cut down on prep time we clean heads and heads of garlic, chop with the food processor and pack into a jar with some extra virgin olive oil. Kept in the fridge this will keep for ages (my current batch was done in August).
Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health and is as friendly to the mind as to the body.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I am perhaps the worlds best at lolling around doing nothing. The internet sucks up huge amounts of my time, and I can also burn hours organizing stuff on my computer and creating documents to organize my life with. Getting up and doing something is not my forte these days.
by Freddie Fender (downer lyrics aka country music, but the song is good): http://youtu.be/TUVgkXVDkBA
And while we are at it (I was on YouTube after all), a time warp song: http://youtu.be/spsVigJCvNU
- Last night we had roasted cauliflower tossed with Thai Green Curry sauce (no added fat), over lentils sautéed with onion and spinach. Cauliflower was roasted in 450F oven for 22 minutes.
- Tonight we are having roasted sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, with lemon quinoa.
A few weeks ago on the camper I had cold feet so decided to teach Spike to bring my socks. I started with my favourite socks (thanks Ruth). I kept them in the same spot and he learned with just a few attempts what I wanted. Once we were home I thought I would try the same thing, this time with a different pair of socks. I left them on the bathroom floor and from 10 or so feet away asked him to bring me socks. He looked around for a minute then picked them up and brought them. Success! Today I tried it from the living room (a long way away). Right away he went down the hall to the bathroom and brought me socks! Jackpot! These seems like the lazy way to get warm feet, but I actually get up and give him a treat every time. He is a mercenary for food!
But… it was a fluke. Later on I asked again and he ran around with his toy in his mouth looking for something to bring. I had to help him a few times by walking towards the bathroom. More practice is required.
- Bjorn – down two pounds!
- Merikay – also down two pounds! She is getting to be a real skinny minny as I believe she has lost over 40lbs to-date.
- Dorothy – time to fess up! Don’t give up!
- Me – well, technically it is 3lb but I think the first 2 were water retention, which makes it only 1.
To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Fall is upon us, the leaves are changing colour rapidly and the air is cooler. Camping season may well be done. Our regular park is closed till next spring, but there is one park that is open until the end of October so we may get a chance to get out again for a few more days. I like to keep it as a possibility as winter is held off for another few weeks.
I've mentioned in recent posts that I've been reading "The China Study". I'm pretty impressed with this book as it brings together findings from hundreds of research projects and studies from the last 30 years. The conclusion? Consumption of Animal products (meat, dairy) increases your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, bone loss, and countless other ailments. And it isn't just a slight risk, much research points to several fold increases in risk. It advocates eating a whole foods, plant-based diet with no animal products. That's pretty drastic!
As you might imagine the discussions of diet have been many and some heated. Some people say "I believe that moderation is best", but they cannot say what their belief is based on. Is it based on science? Or is it based on the hype from the various marketing boards? What really is true? Is the book I'm reading factual? Does the guy have an axe to grind about something which has caused him to go after animal products? Or is he someone who isn't in the pocket of some interest group and is instead wanting to get the truth out there?
I read an article today that claimed that saturated fats are not bad for you so go ahead and eat all the bacon and butter you want. There wasn't one citation referring to an actual scientific study. Yet from the comments written about this article I could see that many people believed it. Is it the truth? If it was why weren't there references? Are we to take the word of one person writing an article? Is the author even qualified to interpret the results of other studies? Who does the author work for?
I think part of the reason why people latch onto these articles about saturated fats (or sugar, or whatever the evil) are not bad is that they don't want to give up these foods. They want to hear that it is okay to keep doing what they are doing (even though the statistics show that heart disease in America and other western countries is rising at ever faster rates). It is hard to give up bacon. I used to be a big milk drinker and I like a big juicy steak. We've been trying to follow a plant based diet for the 1 1/2 years. We aren't 100% successful - not even close. But we won't give up trying - there's too much at risk.
But it is all rather confusing!
Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts. Soren Kierkegaard
Friday, October 5, 2012
The second paragraph of the first chapter of the third Kristen Lavransdatter book and there it was, another mention of the Skjenne farm. How cool is that!
"She had thought upon this ever since the winter. At Skjenne it was the use from of old for the wife herself to pass the summer at the out-farm, for once a daughter of that house had been carried off by the moutain folk, and afterwards naught would serve the mother but she must herself lie on the mountain every summer. But in so many things they had their own ways down at Skjenne - and folk in the parish were used to this and thought it was but as it should be."
Later in the day Mom came by so we could go to Upper Canada Village. It seems that at our last visit we had missed a video with an actress representing Catherine Fetterly Harkness, my great, great, something or other grandmother. As a girl she had watched the Battle of Chrysler Farm from the basement cellar. The video was perhaps 10 minutes, and featured her (not really her of course) recollecting the experience. It was really well done, and I'll have to say that it was pretty cool.
So that was my day in a nutshell. Relatively (pun intended) cool!
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Can you believe it? Last night we were at the Bavarian Bierstube AGAIN! This time for Vashek's birthday. We had a great time as usual with lots of laughter and interesting conversation. Five of us shared a platter that included schnitzel, chicken, sausage, onion rings, potatoes, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls. All with a side of German Potato Salad. And washed down with dark German beer. Can you say full? It was yummy, but hopefully the end of feasting for a while as you'll note that not one of those items is on our Eat to Live plan...
I'm reading a book called "The China Study" which is linking animal protein consumption with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other ailments. They are advocating that a plant based diet is the healthiest way. The interesting thing about this book is that they describe how the studies were done and what the results were at each step. There are page after page of scientific references. It isn't just some guy that did a study on 10 people, but is based on research done by dozens of researchers over twenty or more years. We are on our way to eliminating animal protein from our diet (and have been for a few years), but we have far too many cheats of meats to be healthy.
The weather has been every which way - Tuesday was freezing and we needed the heater on all night. Yesterday I was in a sleeveless T-shirt and shorts. Last night we slept with the fan on instead of the heater. Today is cooler but cleared in the afternoon - t-shirt & shorts again. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold. And intermittently it has been cloudy with the threat of showers, only short periods of sun. A real mixed bag for sure. We have taken advantage of the weather to get out walking. The park is so beautiful this time of year, and I love the smells. Fallen leaves and carpets of pine needles. Ah the aroma. If only it could be captured for the dead of winter.
With all the inside reading time I've finished the second Kristen Lavransdatter book! There is still a paragraph from that book that I want to share. Now onto the third one - "The Cross". From the title I imagine it will be more weighty religious prose, but I will persevere as I believe some time is spent at Skjenna farm.
I’m generally a pretty tidy person and stuff lying around bugs me… except books. There is something about a pile of books on the coffee table, and a basket full on the ledge that makes me feel… hummm… I can’t think of the word, but I’ll bet other bookie people will know what I mean :–)
Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. Hal Borland
Monday, October 1, 2012
This morning the rain finally stopped so we could go for our morning walk (it poured last night). The sky was cobbled with grey clouds, with the occasional pothole of blue showing through. Surprisingly, the trees have not changed colour much. I had hoped for a good display this week!
The sun made a stronger appearance around 4:30 pm, almost time for it to dip out of sight. We did get out for another nice walk though, which included a visit with other campers. They like to go to the Gaspe (in Quebec) and made it sound so appealing - maybe we have a destination for 2014!
October BY ROBERT FROST
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
Beguile is not a word in current use, but it is used in the Kristen Lavransdatter books. I have a really great paragraph to share with you from the second book, but maybe one long poem is enough so I will save it for tomorrow.
Sharon (The Odd Essay) commented the other day that they went full-timing without ever having RV'd before so it is possible! And they've been doing it for almost 12 years. Imagine being so footloose :-)
(We are watching Dr. Who "the Stone Angel" episode - it could be the scaryist one - I predict bad dreams tonight :-/ )
How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! John Muir