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.