Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes, it's that time of year again...

JavaChick's wedding anniversary!

What? You were expecting something else?

Happy New Year to all of you and happy 7th anniversary to me! And Husband of course.


December Workouts

Dec 28: Treadmill walk[45 mins]
Dec 27: Self Bikini Ready + Pilates 10 Min Total Body Challenge [45 mins]
Dec 26: Treadmil walk/Jog + 20 min Yoga Power Beauty Sweat [65 mins]
Dec 25: Pilates-Yoga Blend + 20 Min Yoga Buns & Thighs[60 mins]
Dec 24: Burn & Firm Pilates[45 mins]
Dec 23: Treadmill Walk [45 mins]
Dec 22: Treadmill Walk/Jog[45 mins]
Dec 21: Self Bikini Ready [30 mins]
Dec 17: Kickbox: Core Cross Train, Drills[60 mins]
Dec 16: Self Bikini Ready[30 mins]
Dec 15: Circuit: Treadmill walk + 100 Reps WOTD[30 mins]
Dec 11: Kickbox: Core Cross Train, Drills[60 mins]
Dec 10: Cardio Overdrive + 100 Reps WOTD[55 mins]
Dec 09: Self Bikini Ready [35 mins]
Dec 04: Treadmill walk + 100 Reps WOTD [65 mins]
Dec 03: Burn & Firm Pilates + 5 min [50 mins]
Dec 02: Fat Burning Pilates + 100 Reps WOTD [50 mins]
Dec 01: Self Bikini Ready + 100 Reps WOTD [45 mins]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm done!

I am officially on vacation until January 5th! Life is good.

Now I'm going to hit the treadmill. Because I want to. Do I know how to party or what?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thinking Musical Thoughts, Part I

I grew up in a house with a piano, and a Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma had been a teacher for many years and she was great fun. She spent lots of time with us and we would cut and paste paper, paint and color and have all kinds of crafty fun. Every now and then I get the urge to sit down and cut out paper snowflakes and remember those time with my Grandma.

I don't know how old the piano was, but I don't remember a time when it was not there, when it did not look old, and come to think of it, I think it even had a bit of an aged smell to it. We lived in an old farm house, a two generation home that had been passed down through the family. I honestly don't know if the piano was already there in the house when my Grandma married my Grandpa, or whether she brought it with her, but I do know that she used to play.

I loved the piano. I am told that at a very young age, I started picking out tunes on it on my own. So my Grandma taught me a few more.

Then Auntie A, my very favorite aunt, decided she wanted to learn the piano. At first she would come up and use ours to practice, and she had a book of children's songs designed to teach piano playing. They started out simple and got more difficult and she let me use it to learn to read music and to practice playing. Then she got her own piano to practice on at home. Being the kind aunt that she is, she copied all of the songs into one of those music exercise notebooks for me, so that I could keep practicing.

I never did have lessons, but I loved to play and did the best I could, teaching myself. Over the years, Auntie A photocopied other music for me. It's all still at my parents house, where the piano is. Unfortunately, the piano is out of tune now - there is no one left at home who plays, and the old gentleman that my mother used to have in to tune it has passed on. The last time I had tried to play it, on a visit home, it was so badly out of tune that I gave up.

Something happened recently that has me thinking about buying a piano. And today, as my mind was wandering, in the strange and rambling way that it does, I thought of those painstakingly copied children's tunes that my aunt had given me. It's not that I didn't appreciate it at the time - I was very happy to receive that notebook and I used it for a long time. But it occurred to me today how much work that must have been; I'm sure I didn't realize it at the time, but it must have taken Auntie A a good amount of time to do all that copying, so neatly and so carefully done. I suddenly had the urge to sit down and write a thank-you letter to my aunt, 30 years after the fact.

Would that be strange? Auntie A has certainly done many kind things for me over the years, and I hope that I have always remembered to be appreciative. But that really meant a lot to me, and it still does. Heck, give how long it has been since I've touched a piano, I would probably need that little notebook to start over again!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You it is...

From a little searching on the internet, it looks like the recipe for Dreena Burton's Mellow Lentil "Sniffle" Soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan was posted on her site at one point, but it is no longer there. So I won't post the original recipe since it seems like she doesn't want it out there anymore. If you want the original, you can always check out the book. I've made three recipes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan so far, and I've been happy with all of them.

In any case, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, because I was aiming to use what I had on hand in my kitchen, so I hope Ms. Burton won't mind me posting my version. And if it helps, I'll say it again: Really like the cookbook so far and I happily recommend it!

Specifically, I was aiming to use up:
- two different types of lentils (I had red lentils and some others that were a brown color - they were in a jar, no package, so I'm not sure what kind they were. I also didn't measure, so I don't know how much I used; I knew I didn't have enough red lentils for the recipe, so I used both and I will have to guess amounts.)
- an expired curry packet (Asian Home Gourmet Indian Chicken Curry spice paste, according to the website this is a Madras Curry base. Best before date was April; I probably bought it thinking it might make an easy supper one night, but I have a recipe for Indian Chicken Curry from scratch that I really like, so if I'm going to make it, that's what I usually do. However, it was good in the soup, so it didn't go to waste, and I would buy it again for that purpose.)
- a zucchini (small-medium in size)

So here goes...

JavaChick's Sniffle Soup

1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (you can use olive oil)
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 large carrot, grated (was about 1 cup)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small-medium zucchini, diced (approx 2 cups?)
salt & pepper to taste
crushed red chilies, to taste
1 packet Madras Curry paste (You can probably buy jarred Madras curry paste, in which case I'd say use amount to taste)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1/3 cup mysterious brown lentils
1 900 ml tetra pack Vegetable Stock
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (actually, I'm not positive on this one, I may have used 1 1/2 tbsp? I can't remember.)

Before starting anything else, I rinsed the mysterious brown lentils and put them in a pot of water on the stove. Brought to a boil, then turned the heat down and let them simmer. (Sorry, I did not measure or time anything here. I knew the brown lentils would take longer to cook and wanted to give them a head start.)

I set a large pot on the stove to heat over med-low heat while I diced/grated onion, celery, carrots and garlic.

Add oil to pot, along with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, curry paste, thyme and rosemary, salt, pepper and crushed chilies. Allow this to cook while dicing zucchini, then add zucchini. Cook until vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

Rinse red lentils and add to pot, along with water, stock, bay leaf, and brown lentils that have been cooking all along. Increase heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are softened (20 mins?). Add apple cider vinegar and remove from heat. Fish out bay leaf.

I got 7 servings out of this, approx 1 1/2 cups each, which is enough to fill me up at lunch time.

It really is quite tasty, and I could probably get Husband to eat this, as long as he did not see me using the 'Eat, Drink and Be Vegan' cookbook while making it. As soon as he sees that word, he makes up his mind that it can't be good. Silly Husband.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The weather outside is frightful...

A fire would have been delightful.

But instead I was at work all day. Had we known how frightful it was going to get, we might have stayed home, all cozy with a fire going, surrounded by sleeping cats...

When I got up this morning and looked out my window, there was no snow. As I ate my oatmeal, I noticed a few flakes drifting down, but it was barely noticeable.

We have a 10 minute drive in to work, which is not all that far, but the closer we got to town, the heavier the snowfall became. As I was walking from parking garage to office, it was coming down pretty thick and I found myself wondering why it is that I don't own a winter coat with a hood. How does that make sense?

We left work around 4:00 to beat the traffic and get home before dark; driving in a snow storm is no fun, a snow storm in the dark even less so.

So everything is snow covered once again...



And if the forecast is accurate, it looks like the snow will hang around for a while. But you never know - forecasts can change.

The good news is: I'm feeling fine today. Must have been the Sniffle Soup!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the mend

Definitely feeling better, though kinda tired and it was really tough to make myself do any exercise tonight, so it was another short one. I can't believe it's only Tuesday...Feeling like an incredibly long week already.

Will try to post the soup recipe in the next day or so, but that's it for me tonight. Bedtime!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Nausea Diet...

Seems to be the plan of the day.

Got up this morning, had toast (whole wheat bread that I made yesterday) with almond butter, and a cup of coffee. Shortly after getting to work started feeling very nauseous. Wondered if I should call Husband to take me home (like he did to me last week...) but decided to try and stick it out.

Finally around 2:00 hunger won out over fear of nauseous tummy. Also, I was freezing cold and wanted something to warm me up. Convenient that soup is usually my lunch of choice at work.

Oddly enough, my soup today was Mellow Lentil "Sniffle" Soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, so named because the author made the soup when her daughter was sick. Seemed appropriate. Also very tasty. I made it on Saturday - with a few minor deviations from the recipe. Our kitchen has gotten out of control, so I've been looking for ways to use things up.

I ate cautiously, but the soup seemed to go down ok. But my snacks (apple and a cheese string) did not get eaten. Soup was all I could handle.

Soup is one of those things that gets better when it is reheated. I tasted the soup on Saturday when I made it and thought is was all right but a little bland. I portioned it out in containers and put it in the freezer. Today, it seemed to be bursting with flavor. Definitely will want to make this again. Perhaps I should make note of my alterations to the recipe?

The weather is still crazy. On Thursday it was aroun -4 all day. Friday we had a high of +16! Then Saturday it was down a little below zero again. Yesterday was chilly because I had to light the fire in the wood stove. Today, back up to 10 degrees. Crazy.

Not sure whether there will be exercise tonight, depends how I feel later on. At the moment I am just waiting for the day to be over so I can go home.

Evening Update...
So I did do a short workout. Still was not feeling 100%, but was feeling like I needed to move; anyone else get like that sometimes? So I did a little circuit using my treadmill and Sagan's Workout of the Day. I popped my Best Of Haywire CD (blast from my seems-like-only-yesterday past ~ Canadian rock band from the 80's, for anyone who might not know) into the CD player and started moving. The music would have kept me going, but I could tell I wasn't really up to it; I got in 30 minutes of moving, which felt like good enough.

Also, got a charge out of setting up my little circuit - treadmill, step and kettlebells for the step-ups, mat, stability ball and dumbbells for the shoulder presses. I don't know why that made me happy, I just know that it did. Maybe I am sicker than I thought...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Weather, etc.

Today it was 10 - 11 degrees above zero and rained all day. There were also 60 km/hr winds, with gusts up to 84 km/hr. My umbrella got destroyed on the way to work, within seconds of being opened. It is supposedly designed to withstand being blown inside-out, but I have had it for a long time (8+ years) and I guess it just couldn't take the punishment this morning. So I guess I will be umbrella shopping.

The snow that arrived over the past couple of days is now gone. Not that I'm complaining. The bad news is, the temperature is supposed to dip down below freezing tonight and we are in for snow, ice pellets and freezing rain.

We ended up leaving work early because Husband was sick. It seemed like I just arrived at work, and I was turning around and leaving again. I spent the rest of the day working on the couch with my laptop and one or both cats. Lately as soon as I sit down I have a cat on top of me. I guess it's a winter thing.

Husband is sleeping at the moment, and we have leftover soup in the fridge for supper. Soon I will finish up work for the day, get changed into my sweats, and head down to the basement for my workout. Feels like a treat to be able to get it out of the way so early, and know that supper is just a matter of heating up soup on the stove.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

8 am
-15 this morning, windchill is sorta warmer than yesterday. But supposed to go up to 4 degrees today, then 10 degrees and rain all day tomorrow.

12:30 pm
According to Environment Canada's weather page for Saint John, it is now -5 degrees with a windchill of -9; almost balmy! It is also snowing, big fluffy flakes. Yeah, it's pretty from inside, but I'm not looking forward to the mess on the roads & sidewalks.

3:00 pm
Up to -2 now. Snow is still coming down, but rather than coming straight down as it was earlier, it looks like it's blowing sideways. Must be quite a bit of wind (weather page still says wind chill of -9, but it also cites wind speeds of 33 km/h whereas around noon it said 'calm'); it looks pretty nasty. Guess I won't be getting out for my afternoon walk break.

10:00 pm
6 degrees and raining.

I get obsessedfascinated with the weather this time of year. You just never know what you are going to get.

Aside from the weather...
I did stay on the couch last night, I just couldn't make myself move. The weekend was so busy, and then Sunday night I went out to a Dinner Theatre which was fun, but by last night I needed some couch potato time. Which I had and now I am ready to get back to my exercise routine.

After four days off, I was starting to notice a difference in my left knee which had been stiff & sore for quite a while. It's still a bit stiff, but definitely better. I may have to give up on the idea of running, I don't know. I guess I should take some time off from it for a little while and see if that makes a difference.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Crazy weather continues

Yesterday the high temperature was +4 degrees Celcius.

Today was -12 with a windchill of -23.

Tomorrow is supposed to start out cold, but go back up to +4.

Crazy, crazy weather.

Weekend was busy. No time for exercise, but eating was ok.

Today I had planned to exercise, but I'm tired and all I want to do is sit on the couch and eat cookies. I haven't eaten any cookies. Yet. But I want to.

Welcome to Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


According to my Page-A-Day cat calendar for today:

Humans generally think of water as a tasteless liquid, but scientists have discovered that cats are able to detect different flavors in the water they drink. This may help to explain why some family pets prefer to drink from the faucet.

I knew I was part cat....

I have to say, I don't agree that water is tasteless. It's another one of those things I'm picky about. Unfortunately where I live now, that means drinking bottled water and not all water tastes the same - bottled or not.

I know lots of people love to recite that line from Reality Bites - Evian spelled backwards is naive. I've heard people say that it all tastes the same...But to me it definitely does not.

I grew up drinking well water from the tap - when I visit my parents, I still do. I lived in Charlottetown, PEI, for a couple of years and I drank the tap water there too because it tasted just fine. In Saint John, the tap water tastes like chlorine. So bottled water it is.

I'm not saying that all I drink is Evian, but I do insist on spring water. I don't like any of the filtered, ozonated, demineralized, remineralized water. It does not taste like water at all to me. I find it quite unpleasant.

What do you think? Is water a tasteless liquid?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Once a picky eater...

I am notorious for being the picky eater in my family. I grew up thinking I was a vegetable-hater, having spent many an evening stuck at the table long after everyone else was finished, staring at a plate of carrots. Once I was out on my own, doing my own cooking, I found ways to incorporate veggies into my diet. I am so used to it now that I tend to think to myself: "I'm not picky, those people are crazy"....until I am in a situation where I am not in control of the meal. I remember the first time we were going to my in-laws place for a turkey dinner, listening to Husband on the phone before hand saying "No, she doesn't like that...Not that either...No, she won't eat that..." It was kind of funny.

So I found it fascinating last week, reading the pre-American Thanksgiving posts, seeing people talking about what would and would not be on their plates.

We went to a turkey dinner on Saturday night, as we have an American friend in our little circle who wanted to have her Thanksgiving dinner. I found myself noticing what other people put on their plate - for most people, I must admit, it was a little bit of everything: mashed potatoes, squash, carrots, broccoli & cauliflower, dressing (that Husband & I made), macaroni and cheese casserole (first time I've ever seen that served as part of a turkey dinner), cranberry sauce, turkey and gravy. I think that's everything.

My plate? Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, broccoli & cauliflower, a wee bit of the mac & cheese, gravy on the turkey & dressing. Squash & carrots? Ugh! Mashed potatoes? I used to eat them because I felt like I was supposed to...but mashed potatoes are seriously boring food (yes, even if they are garlic mashed, which these were). I would rather have the dressing (which was made with apples, smoked apple sausage, yukon gold potatoes - skins left on, multigrain bread, onion and poultry seasoning), so now I just skip them in favor of dressing. To be quite honest, I'd be happy with a plate full of dressing and gravy. As a matter of fact, there was a little dressing left over which we took home and had for breakfast the next day, with scrambled eggs.

Okay, so maybe the others ate more different types of vegetables...But I had a nice large serving of the veggies I like. That's generally how I manage my veggies - stick to the ones I like. But I do eat lots of veggies! See how I have changed?

A couple of weeks ago, Husband came home from a solo foray into the grocery store with a bag of frozen mixed stir-fry veggies. I will state up front that I am not a fan of frozen veggies in stir-fry dishes. I have found some frozen cauliflower and broccoli that is quite good when steamed, but if I'm going to stir-fry, I prefer fresh. Husband prefers least amount of effort possible (but I still love him).

So last night I planned on using the frozen veggies because they are sitting there in the freezer - best to use them up, right? Husband pulled them out and commented that the mix contained carrots. I put on my sad face and said "what are you trying to do to me?"

But I threw on lots of my favorite Black Bean & Chili sauce and figured since the carrots would be mixed with everything else, I wouldn't really notice. I sat down with every intention of eating my dinner, carrots and all. I was watching TV, nice distraction, no? I won't see the carrots, I won't notice the carrots....Until I got a mouthful of carrots. I almost couldn't swallow them. From that point on, I picked out all of the carrots and set them aside. After dinner, they went down the garbage disposal. Sad part is, there is still half a bag of the mix left in the freezer. Seriously want to ask Husband to please not make me eat any more of it.

So I guess things haven't changed much after all. Except that, now, no one is stopping me from disposing of the nasty carrots, rather than eating them. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

November Review / December Plan

It's December 1st already, time to start a new month of tracking, but I don't want to lose my record of November, so I'm posting it here. Seems like a good time for a review/summary.

I didn't have a specific plan for November, I decided it would be fun to open up my exercise schedule to include anything and everything. Part way through, I decided to see if I could get through the month without repeating a DVD.

I have quite a DVD collection - I can never resist perusing exercise DVDs and often find new ones that I think look interesting. Lately I haven't been using them as much since I have been setting specific workout plans. When I do decide to pull out a DVD, I have a tendency to gravitate towards favorites. My little "no repeats" challenge forced me to pull out some DVDs that I haven't done as often, which also helped me to identify some areas that need work. So I think it was a good month.

I think for December I will continue on with my DVD-palooza, and try to concentrate on some of the DVDs that I haven't used as much in the past. I may also try to throw in some of Sagan's 100 rep challenges, time permitting; we'll have to wait and see how it goes.

~ November Workouts ~

Nov 29: Quick Fix Stability Ball workout [30 mins]
Nov 28: Treadmill walk [60 mins]
Nov 27: Bootcamp [60 mins]
Nov 25: Self Bkini-Ready workout + 10 mins weights [45 mins]
Nov 24: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 22: Kathy Smith Personal Trainer Sclupting [55 mins]
Nov 20: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 19: Pilates Yoga Blend [40 mins]
Nov 18: Ultimate Sculpt + Replenish [40 mins]
Nov 17: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 16: Slim Sculpt [45 mins]
Nov 13: Crunch Fat Burning Pilates
Nov 12: HiDef Sculpt + 20 mins treadmill [65 mins]
Nov 11: Yardwork [90 mins]
Nov 10: Treadmill walk [45 mins]
Nov 09: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 08: Burn & Firm Pilates + 20 mins weights [60 mins]
Nov 06: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 05: Crunch Cardio Sculpt [30 mins]
Nov 04: Treadmill walk [60 mins]
Nov 03: Yoga [40 mins]

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Week

The view from my window on Saturday, November 22nd...


And my view yesterday, November 29...


Last weekend...


This weekend...


Not that I'm complaining - I've been enjoying the mild weather! Of course, tonight the forecast is for snow mixed with ice pellets, turning to rain. Who knows what we'll wake up to tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things - Vol. 2

I know there are people out there who don't like guacamole, and I just don't get it. What's not to like!

I also know that among those who do like guacamole, there are many different ways of making it - we each have our favorite. This is mine:

~ avocado
~ lime juice
~ finely diced onion
~ minced garlic
~ diced tomato
~ fresh cilantro
~ finely chopped hot pepper (if I have any, this time I didn't)
~ a little salt, to taste


This was made on Monday to go along with leftover Chicken Fajitas that we'd made on Sunday night. Husband and I polished it off in no time flat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things - Vol. 1

I'm thinking maybe I need a little positivity in my lifeblog right now. Providentially, a couple of photos taken over the past couple of days gave me an idea...My Favorite Things! Is everyone singing along with me?

I took this photo on Sunday, for no particular reason other than the fact that I love pomegranates and pomegranate seeds are pretty.


I have loved pomegranates since childhood. I remember my mom cutting a pomegranate in half, and presenting a half each - in a bowl, with a spoon - to my sister and I. It was a treat because we didn't get them often - they would only show up in the stores around Christmas time, and if today's prices are anything to go by they were probably expensive.

It seems to me that they are easier to find these days, which is great. Winter is not a good time for fruit (not when you live in a cold climate anyway), so it's nice to have something that is in season this time of year (by late winter I will be fresh-fruit-deprived; I will be craving grapes and eating them non-stop; happens every year).

Reading other blogs, I see people adding pomegranate seeds to salads and to yogurt, and so on. I'm sure that's very tasty. But I still prefer to eat mine plain, out of a bowl, with a spoon - though I do peel the fruit by hand now so that I can just sit down and spoon pomegranate seeds directly into my mouth...And then I don't feeeeeel so bad!...I told you to start singing ;)

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's here...

I feel like winter sneaked up on me this year. Somehow I feel surprised by it which makes no sense. I have lived in the Maritime Provinces for all of my 38 years, and winter has happened every single year. Yet somehow this year, every time I step foot outdoors the cold takes me by surprise.

Maybe it's because it stayed warm for so long. Sure, we had some chilly days, then it warmed right up again. Then suddenly it just got cold. And when I woke up Saturday morning...




I'm not the only one who was taken by surprise...


It snowed off and on all day, and there was a substantial amount of this...


Sunday morning there was sunshine...and deer tracks!



Everything was still white today, but it is supposed to warm up over the next couple of days and possibly rain, so that should make a nice mess.

Thanks for all the replies to my last post - I have responded in the comments.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In which I allow my Hypochondriac-Self have the floor

Further to yesterday's post: I've been trying not to whine & complain about this but...

I am used to being stuck in a certain range. It was bad enough that in late summer/fall of '07 - after ignoring the scale for about 6 months - I suddenly found that my range had gone up by about 10 lbs. It was not a happy feeling. So back to the scale I went.

Usually, if I am doing things right, even if I don't see the results on the scale, I can at least see some other indicators - I feel better, my clothes fit better, etc. So even if I am bouncing around the same few pounds I figure that as long as I'm not gaining, as long as my clothes are fitting ok, as long as I'm feeling pretty good, then it's not all bad. Maybe not the results I really want, but at least I am maintaining the status quo.

Lately that doesn't seem to be the case. I don't think that I have let my eating habits slip all that much (though I don't claim to be perfect), and I think my workouts have stayed pretty consistent. Still, it seems like I'm gaining - and I'm not just going by the scale; I can see it and I can feel it. I don't know what's going on and it's kinda freaking me out.

If I still had the doctor I had when I first moved here, I might go see him and ask if maybe there could be something wrong. But the few times I have seen doctor #2 (took over doc #1's practice) I have felt like my concerns were not being taken seriously and I'm afraid he'll tell me that I'm fat and it's my own fault - now go home and eat a carrot. I just can't handle that right now.

And it may very well be that I am overreacting, and that I have been letting things slide and maybe I just need to work harder.

I don't know. Have any of you ever had the feeling that something wasn't quite right but you just couldn't put your finger on it? If so, did you figure it out? Did it go away?

I feel silly posting this and probably as soon as I hit "Publish", I will inexplicably feel just fine and wish that I had never said anything. Wah.

Okay. Done whining now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lost & Found

During my Food Network orgy last weekend, I kept seeing these Herbal Magic Weight Loss commercials (no, I am not considering Herbal Magic, calm down already).

The ads show a woman going to the Lost & Found department saying she had lost herself. Those ads spoke to me, I really identified with that sentiment. I miss my younger, skinnier self and it makes me sad. I guess those ads also tell me that it is a pretty common feeling.

I can't get the youth back, but it seems like I should be able to get at least a little bit of the "skinnier" back. I thought that I was doing pretty good this week, food-wise, but the scale just keeps going up. Which really kills the motivation. I think that I could keep a handle on my eating if I actually saw results in the form of a lower number on the scale. But when those results don't show up, I really have to fight the "I might as well just eat chocolate" mentality.

The battles are waged with varying levels of success - tonight a few cookies slipped in under the radar. But I live to fight another day, so I guess that's something.

How do you fight your battle?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In which I refuse to acknowledge snow

I have to say, we've had a pretty decent fall so far. There have been a few stretches of chilly weather, and each time I find myself thinking: This is it! The freeze is setting in! And after a few days of cold it would warm up again. I think we're done for now, though.

It's been getting colder and colder all week. Today, my afternoon stroll was not nearly as enjoyable as it normally is due to the fact that it was -1 degrees and the wind was blowing quite ferociously. Some people thought they were seeing white flake-y things floating through the air, but I definitely did not see any, not even when they landed in my hair.

I quite enjoy my delusions. Please leave me to them.

I did break down and light a fire in the wood stove tonight though. The basement was quite chilly while I was doing my Pilates-Yoga Blend DVD (which is so entertaining when you have cats trying to rub their faces on your toes) and Husband commented that he could feel the cold air coming up the stairs. So it seemed like time.

Now I am getting sleepy, so I think it's time to head off to bed and maybe read for a bit if I can stay awake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

President's Choice Shrimp & Penne

A couple weeks ago Husband picked up this frozen Shrimp & Penne meal at the Superstore. Probably not something I would have bought, but "shrimp" and "ready in 10 minutes" would be enough to convince Husband. And I figured, what the hey? Can't hurt to try, right?

So this was tonight's dinner.


This is what it looked like going in to the pan:


I decided to steam some extra broccoli while I was at it, since we had some in the freezer.


This is what it looked like when it was ready:


There were only eight shrimp in the entire thing, which is supposed to be two servings (yes I counted). I gave most of the shrimp to Husband and topped mine with cheese.


I admit, I was amused to see the "Chef's Tip" on the side of the package recommending what wine to serve with the meal. Not that I have anything against a nice Riesling, I happen to quite like it. To me, wine is something you have with a nicely cooked meal that you intend to savor; somehow frozen dinner out of a plastic bag does not quite fall into that category. Is that just me?


In any case, the verdict is: not bad. Not worthy of a nice glass of wine, but certainly edible. As frozen meals go, I'd say this one is a little above average (not that I've eaten a lot of frozen meals, mind you, so perhaps I have no clue what I'm talking about). I'm not saying that I will rush out to buy it again, but in a pinch, it would certainly do as a quick & easy meal.

I was comfortably full after my portion, but Husband was not - he was in the kitchen looking for cheese and crackers right after supper. So we would probably need something extra to go with it, were we to have it again.

A little while later though, I decided I wanted something else. We still have pineapple in the fridge, and I remembered buying a jar of President's Choice Dark Chocolate sauce that ended up not getting used...Fruit and chocolate - can't go wrong there!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Using up the leftovers

After Saturday's recipes, I still had pineapple and bean sprouts to use up. Whenever we buy bean sprouts for a recipe, I know I will have some left, so I planned on my favorite Ma Po stir-fry for supper, with Spicy Pineapple Salad again.


Our stir-fry had ground pork, tofu, bell peppers, celery, bean sprouts, green onions, garlic and ginger. It's made with the spicy black bean sauce that I love. I used to order this at our favorite little Chinese restaurant; sadly it closed a couple of years ago so I'm very happy we figured out how to make it ourselves!


It made a lovely big wok full which gave us leftovers for tonight. I do enjoy cooking, but on a week night I also enjoy being able to just reheat.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Couch Potato

Does anyone else get mesmerized by The Food Network? I should know better than to turn it on, because once I do it can suck up hours of my time. I seem unable to tear myself away.

Yesterday I caught an episode of Chef At Home. Michael Smith is one of my favourite Food Network chefs; I find him to be very down to earth and pleasant to listen to, and it's nice to actually watch a show that is filmed in the Maritimes (Prince Edward Island). While watching yesterday, I saw a couple of recipes that I wanted to try. They looked pretty simple, so I decided they would be tonight's supper.


We had Spicy Pineapple Salad and Orange Ginger Broth with Soba Noodles.

The Spicy Pineapple Salad was awesome - the perfect balance of hot/sour/salty/sweet that I love. The soup had a more delicate flavour, especially after the tang of the pineapple salad, but it was really good and was easy to do.

I did change up the soup a bit - added chicken, and used a red bell pepper (mainly because I had one that needed to be used) instead of bok choy. Also, I garnished with a bit of sesame oil and cilantro rather than sesame seeds.

I can definitely see making both of these recipes again.

Recipes here

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm sure that most people who are trying to lose weight or build healthy habits will agree that some days it just feels like the universe is conspiring against them. I know I've had those days. But some days things just fall into place, as if it's meant to be.

We are going out to dinner tonight - birthday dinner for a friend - so I knew I wouldn't have time after work for exercise. Not the end of the world really, I've done quite well so far this week. But, at the same time, a day when you are planning to go out and enjoy a restaurant meal seems like a day when it might be good to burn a few extra calories, no?

Then yesterday afternoon we noticed signs up in the lobby of our office building saying that the water would be shut off from 9-4 today. No water in the building would mean the restrooms would not be functioning, so I opted to work from home today.

At which point it occurred to me that if I was working from home, perhaps I could fit in a workout. After thinking about my options, I decided that first thing in the morning would be best. I would not have to travel in to the office, so if I were to get up as usual when the alarm went off, I'd have time for exercise.

However. I am not a morning person at all. I was a little worried that when morning rolled around, I wouldn't be able to make myself get up and do it.

Which is when the universe stepped in.

First off, the cats do their usual and start walking on me and poking at me around 5:30. Usually I get up, let them out into their enclosure (so they can have their morning run before being shut up in the house for the day) and then go back to bed and immediately fall back to sleep. This morning I couldn't get back to sleep. The cats kept coming back and walking on me. Husband must have been snoring extra loud because I could hear him through my ear plugs. Plus, Husband's on-call phone kept beeping; there must have been a page and he was sleeping through it (sometimes he gets a page that he can ignore, which is fine, but I'd appreciate it if he'd make the beeping go away). I was laying there, quite comfy, but unable to get back to sleep. This never happens to me.

In the end, I got up 10 minutes before my alarm would actually go off. I threw on my exercise clothes and went down to the basement where I threw on an exercise DVD. I was finished, showered & dressed, sitting on the couch with my coffee and laptop by the time we would normally be heading in to the office.

I love it when a plan comes together.

*Gratuitous Fabulous Feline Photos*
(Alternate title: My Day in Cat Pictures)





Sunday, November 9, 2008

November Plan

Sunday of a long weekend for me - I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow and Tuesday is a holiday. Whee! Gotta love a four day weekend.

Just a quick note tonight - I have not yet posted about my plans for November. The plan is anything and everything. I'm going for variety, trying to get in a good balance of activities and listening to my body. Sometimes I try to push it too hard - seems like that's been happening a lot lately - so for this month I'm paying attention to how I feel. If you are interested in seeing what I'm up to exercise-wise, it's listed in the side bar. I had it there below my weigh-ins, but I moved it up; it's probably more interesting anyway. :)

Food wise, well, I'm struggling, as usual. One of these days I sure hope I figure it out. This weekend, I confess, has not been good. I'm going to try and rein it tomorrow; being home all day makes it harder and I confess I've hardly left the house this weekend (not complaining, quite enjoying it), but I've got two more days at home and it can't continue.

So that's the plan. Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My new favorite breakfast

Remember this?

Now that the cooler weather is here, I prefer a warm breakfast. So I have coconut-creamed my oatmeal:

1 serving of oatmeal made with:
1/3 cup large flake rolled oats
1/3 cup milk + water to equal 3/4 cup liquid

Cook oatmeal. When oatmeal is cooked add:
1 tbsp coconut
1 tbsp maple syrup
splash of vanilla

Cover and let stand for a few minutes.

Sorry no photos of this one, and honestly it doesn't look like much...But if there was some way to share the smell with you I would because it's amazing.

I've actually been making it at night and putting it in the fridge so I can just heat it up in the morning. Almost makes me look forward to crawling out of bed in the morning. Almost.

I have also been eating a lot of apples. As with most fruit, I only like them when they are in season so I'm getting my fill now. I'm seeing pomegranates around too; I adore pomegranates and I imagine it won't be long until a pomegranate or two makes it's way into my grocery cart.

That's right. I'm going to keep eating fruit and ignoring the box of giant chocolate bars that was dropped off in our office for some sort of charitable fund raising. Not that I don't want to be charitable. I just prefer to do it without making myself fat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In which I complain about the upgrades to our cable service

Last week our Rogers Digital Cable TV service was "upgraded." The "upgrades" happened Tuesday night/Wednesday; I'm not entirely sure of the time frame, I just know that when I turned on the TV Wednesday after work we had the new software.

We knew it was coming. We had several notifications that "over the next few days" there would be upgrades to our service. It actually took them about 3 weeks to get around to it. To be honest, I didn't give it that much thought. Husband mentioned something about Rogers having to switch middleware providers for some reason or other. I wasn't too concerned about it, so I didn't pay much attention. Silly me.

I like TV. Probably more than I should. In particular, I love my PVR. The PVR took my TV watching to a whole new level. No longer am I slave to television schedules. No longer do I have to sit through commercials. I can record the shows I want to see and watch them at my leisure. It's a wonderful thing.

Other than that, I have never been all that picky about what service we had. Over the years we have switched from Rogers, to Bell ExpressVu, and back to Rogers at Husband's whim. The last switch (which was quite some time ago) was because we wanted the PVR and at the time, Bell would not give a PVR to us because we were existing customers. Bell would only give PVRs to new customers. So we switched to Rogers and I've been perfectly content. Until now.

So Rogers people - if you are out there, monitoring your social media, I am here to tell you that I am very dissatisfied with the "upgrades." I don't like the guide. I hate the menus; the navigation is terrible. I gave it a week to see if I would change my mind, but I still feel the same way. I would really like the old version back. Please and thank-you.

I could go into detail, but I'm sure I've already bored my regular blog friends to tears. I just felt the need to protest, and I didn't know where else to do it. So there is is. New Rogers menus suck.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Couch Thieves

I leave my comfy spot on the couch to walk on the treadmill, and when I get back upstairs this is what I find...


Good thing they're cute.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another month gone...

October just flew by! Here it is November and I have made zero progress toward my weight loss goal. Same old, same old.

I was thinking things over last week, and I had plans and good intentions for the weekend. I was going to be ready for the start of this week. Unfortunately I woke up feeling awful on Saturday morning and did nothing for the rest of the weekend. I did no cleaning, no grocery shopping, the only cooking I did was to make chicken soup.

Saturday I watched season one of The Tudors on DVD. The whole thing. I slept something like 10 hours (or maybe it was 11?) on Saturday night. Sat on my butt most of Sunday as well. I was afraid that when I went to bed last night at my usual time I wouldn't be able to fall asleep, but I don't even remember my head hitting the pillow.

I got up this morning and decided I was well enough to go to work. My head was/is still a bit stuffy, and my nose is sore from all the blowing, but I don't have the sinus pain any longer.

Off to work I went, my lunch packed but nothing for breakfast. So I got a muffin on my coffee stop. Then a co-worker comes in to the office and drops a huge bag of leftover Halloween treats on a table that is right across from my desk.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself this weekend. I had a few treats, but I did not feel that I had overindulged. But today...Today was not good. I don't know what got into me.


Technically way too many peanut butter cups got into me. But you know what I mean.

So, I guess I had my day of chocolate after all. I was good when I got home this evening though, and tomorrow will be clean slate day.

Just finished a yoga workout. Didn't quite realize how stiff & sore I was until I got into it, so I think it was the right choice for tonight - except that I kept wanting to sneeze which made the breathing a bit harder than usual.

Now it's off to bed, hopefully for another good night's sleep.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A belated "Happy Halloween"...

Have a cupcake! Or a mouse...




We had a good time at our party on Friday night. Everyone thought the mice were cute.

Unfortunately, I woke up Saturday morning with a Sinus cold and spent the weekend sitting on the couch watching TV. My cats were quite happy to take advantage of the warm lap all weekend, but I got nothing done around the house.

Anyway, off to bed now and hoping to feel better tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spent the evening in the kitchen again, finishing off my baking. Not entirely impressed with how things turned out. The cupcakes and the mice are done, and they are okay....Just not fantastic, and if I'm going to make something I want it to be fantastic. So I sorta feel like I wasted a lot of time, energy and ingredients that could have been better used on other things. And now I'm really tired.

Guess that'll teach me to be trying out new things when I don't have a lot of time for experimenting (you'd think I'd know that by now).

And now I'm going to bed even though I probably won't sleep because I'll be obsessing and thinking about everything I should have done instead. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From the Environment Canada weather forecast for Saint John today: Wind southwest 40 km/h gusting to 70. It was a blustery day.

Just finished baking a batch of chocolate cupcakes (which will get filled & frosted with vanilla cream tomorrow night) and mixing together the ingredients for Chocolate Mice (now in the fridge to chill, will be formed into little mice - hopefully - tomorrow). If everything turns out well, I'll be taking it to the Halloween party on Friday (I have this vision of platter of cupcakes with mice peeking out from between them - but we shall see). If it doesn't turn out well...I guess Husband and I will have a surplus of baked goods around the house.

Let's hope it all turns out well.

For the curious, I present my new head:


It was 3-4 inches off the length, and the layers were shortened. The goal being that I can actually wear my hair as it is in the photo, rather than having the front of it pulled back with barrettes all the time because otherwise it just falls in my face.

So far so good, but it's only been a few days. My hair grows really fast. The good news - I discovered I can still pull it all up in a ponytail on top of my head. Makes life easier.

Time to call it a night.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bracing myself

Busy week ahead...

Dinner out tomorrow night (2nd wedding anniversary dinner for friends) and a Halloween party on Friday. Need to finish sorting out costumes, find out if I need to bring anything to the party on Friday night, and figure out what to do with my hair.

When I got my hair cut on Saturday, I decided to go shorter, and have the layers cut shorter which may not have been a good idea. Not that the cut was bad - I'm happy with it - just not great timing. I am next to useless when it comes to styling my hair or putting hair up or anything like that. I was used to my longer hair and would have been able to deal with it. This is all new so I have no clue.

Planned ahead last night and made a meal that would give us leftovers for tonight. Wednesday & Thursday will likely be from the freezer. I am hoping to get 3 workouts in (tonight, Wednesday, Thursday).

Yep, gonna be an interesting week. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pretty Shoes

Saturday morning I got my hair cut and then did a little shopping. For my fellow shoe fanatics enthusiasts, I present my purchases:


I am so in love with those red shoes and could not wait to wear them; I wore them out Saturday night, even though we were just going to a friends house and I'd have to take them off as soon as I walked in the door.

What can I say? Shoes make me happy.

Now I am wiped out. Weekend was busy again and I feel like I barely stopped. Hopefully a good sleep tonight will fix me up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Let's talk about food....

It's weigh in day for me, and for the second week in a row I am up. I don't really have an explanation. I won't say it was a perfect week, but I thought I was doing fairly well. Yes, I know. These fluctuations can happen for many reasons. But seriously. A year. No progress. I don't want to talk about it any more.

Today...Well...Had an itchy, scratchy throat this morning so I gargled with Listerine; think I may have swallowed a bit by mistake and my tummy has been feeling funny ever since. Could be my imagination.

Have been virtuously eating my toast with almond butter for breakfast, ignoring coffee shop muffins for the past 3 weeks. This morning, I decided to heck with it. I'm having a muffin. I was hoping for chocolate chip, but they didn't have any. Had a carrot muffin instead, which has grated carrots and raisins...Almost good for me!

Yes, that's me being delusional. Blame it on the Listerine ingestion.

Then, at our morning meeting there were the usual chocolate chip cookies. Normally I have no trouble ignoring them because they aren't that good. But today they did look good so I ate one. It was ok, but not as good as the chocolate chip cookies I make. Just sayin'.

Decided to buy my lunch today, for a change. I had a falafel wrap and fatoush salad. It was yummy.

Then around 4:30 I had a beer. At work, sitting at my desk. But I did say no to the potato chips that were also offered.

Then we stopped for takeout on the way home and I had Green Thai Curry with rice.

Friday = Fun Food day!!!

Ok, so not a typical day.

I keep saying that food is my problem. It must be right? Because I do exercise. I'm not just making it up when I post about my workouts. So it has to be the food. During the week, my breakfast, lunch, snacks are pretty consistent. Evening meals and weekends tend to be where it all breaks down. Even then, I've always thought I wasn't doing too badly.

And yes, I have considered that perhaps this weight is just where my body wants to be. Problem is, this is not where my ego (vanity?) wants to be. Some days I can deal. Other days I look in the mirror and want to cry. I remember being slim. I'm having a hard time accepting the chubby.

Plus, technically speaking, I have that "overweight" label hanging over my head. I don't like it.

Coming back to the food again (I'm just a boomerang today aren't I?)...Every so often I will pull out a stack of cookbooks, look through them for healthy, [hopefully]tasty, low-cal meal ideas. I make lists. Meal plans. It lasts about a week and I get frustrated and lazy. Husband will have been less than excited about my efforts. I will be tired of cooking and washing dishes, coming up with new ideas. We go back to the tried and true. The easy meals. Which aren't necessarily unhealthy meals. Just not the optimum for weight loss.

But perhaps I need to make more of a commitment to it. Perhaps if I focus my blogging on healthy eating adventures, it will help me make that commitment. I did say that I need something new to occupy me now that gardening season is over.

I haven't come to any firm decision on this yet. Still mulling things over. I may still wimp out because I am at heart a lazy a busy person, with only so much energy to go around. But, I'm considering it.

And a non-food related P.S...

Some photos from today; can you spot the deer? There are two of them in there.




Here is Fred, eating some tasty grass.


And George peeking around the corner (sorry, this one is really blurry).


Suddenly Fred bolted across the lawn.


Looks like one of the deer startled him.


These were taken when we got home from work. I could see the deer when we pulled into the garage, so after I fed the cats I took my camera and went outside. I went to the corner of the fence and was able to take the photos, even though the nearest deer was not all that far away from me.

This was my second deer encounter of the day. The cats wake me up around quarter to five in the morning, wanting to be let out into their enclosure. So I stumble down, let them out, and then go back to sleep. On a good day, but the time we're up and ready for work, they are both back inside. Today was not a good day. I had to go out and get Fred, and let me tell you, he was not wanting to come out from under his bush. But the highlight - there was a deer standing right up against the opposite side of the fence (right behind my urns - all summer the bits of the plants that poked through the holes in the fence got chewed off, guess I caught one of the culprits in the act). I couldn't help but stand there and watch him for a few minutes before I dragged Fred out from under his bush. The deer stayed there the whole time. Guess he wasnt' finished with his snack.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Status Quo...

Just popping by to say that I'm still truckin' along. This week is going pretty well with workouts & eating. Not much else to say at the moment.

If you haven't already, check this out...

I entered the Gracie Gear Giveaway!

Check out Roni’s Weight Loss Blog for more information.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My beautiful summer, how I miss you!

It's definitely turning colder. We're finding it chilly in the house now when we have the window open for the cats, I need a warmer jacket on the way to work in the morning, and it was freezing in our office today - time to start piling on the layers.

It was a busy weekend, but I made a conscious effort to not overdo it. It was nice not to be completely exhausted last night.

Other than that, don't feel like I have much to say. Feeling better, but taking it easy getting back into the workouts - don't want to overdo it. Trying to watch the calories - though I did have a beer and some pistachios tonight that weren't exactly in the plan. But Husband handed me an open can of Smithwick's - what's a girl to do?

I've been enjoying Fabulous Feline snuggles this evening; one pleasant side-effect of the cooler weather.



And this just seemed photo-worthy for some reason...


That's all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Let playful cats lie...

Today, after admonishing Husband to be careful because Fred was in a mood, I foolishly poked at the playful feline with my foot. My carelessness resulted in a scratched foot. I bent down to examine my foot; no serious damage, just a couple of minor scratches - my own fault because I know better. Then I noticed something...

"Wait! Where's my toe ring?"

It did not take long to discover the toe ring on the floor, all but broken in two. It made me sad.


Eight years ago, I traveled across the country to visit one of my sisters who had moved to Vancouver. During that visit, in a touristy little shop in White Rock, we both bought toe rings; I bought a third to bring home to our youngest sister.

I've never grown tired of the moon and stars pattern on that ring, and for eight years, the little ring has reminded me of that trip.


I know I can buy a new one if I really want to. But it won't be the same; it won't have those memories attached to it.

Then again, perhaps the sight of a new and different ring on my toe would serve as a reminder not to go poking my feet at my 17 lb cat when he's in a wild & playful mood.