Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Snow Day of the Winter

Wednesday I woke up to radio announcers talking about snow fall warnings and school cancellations. When I looked out the window there wasn’t much to see but I decided better to be safe than sorry; I can work from home when I need to so why take chances?

Around 8:30 am the view looked like this:



By noon, snow was piling up.



By 4 pm I was extremely happy that I was safe at home.



Our driveway didn’t get plowed until almost 7pm. I did drive in to work on Thursday and  a lot of the roads were still pretty messy.

By Friday the weather was starting to warm up again. Yesterday was a beautiful day, nice and warm.

So we’ve now gone from this…


To this…


Which makes me happy. I’m not ready for winter to set in quite yet.

Had a lazy morning at home yesterday, then went out and did some shopping. Today puttered around the house, finally packing away the rest of my summer stuff and digging out the rest of my sweaters.

I had Spicy African Peanut Stew from the Peas and Thank You cook book cooking away all afternoon in the slow cooker.


It was quite tasty and I look forward to the leftovers that will feed me for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


So, week before last, on Wednesday, I took our car in for it's scheduled maintenance, and got the winter tires put on. The next morning on the drive to work, I had to pull off and park because something felt very wrong. I got out and discovered a completely flat tire. Not a fun way to start the day.

As I sat and  waited for Roadside Assistance, I happened to notice a fitness studio has opened up in the little plaza where I was parked - which happens to be not far from my house - and they have Zumba classes. I've enjoyed my Zumba DVDs and have wanted to try a class, so when I finally got to work I looked  up the schedule. I've had it in the back of my mind since then, but things kept coming up. I decided that yesterday was going to be the day.

The weather has really been kind of awesome - it has stayed pretty warm - up until yesterday when the temperature dropped down to 0 degrees Celcius. Can't say I wanted to go back out after I got home from work yesterday, but I did and I ended up having a blast. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to follow the steps or keep up...because I'm a worrier and that's what I do. In reality I managed just fine. I won't be heading out to classes every day, but once or twice a week would be a nice change of scenery from working out in my basement.

Today I did the Ellen Barret Power Fusion DVD. My right shoulder has been bothering me a lot, so I think I will be taking a break from strength training for a bit (I think it's a computer-use issue, but don't want to strain it). Ellen Barret tends to have a lot of reaching & sweeping arm motions in her workouts which I hoped would be good for the sore shoulder. It  felt okay during, immediately after my shoulder was sore, but then felt better, so I think it was a good choice.

 Allowing a little bit of dairy & wheat back in the diet, but trying to keep the amounts small. I seem to be feeling mostly okay. It does seem like the eczema is getting a little worse again though. Keeping an eye on it.

Had brown rice pasta for supper. I actually don't mind it. Good old durum semolina will always be my first pasta love, but to keep the wheat consumption down I can live with the brown rice pasta. I hava a feeling Husband won't mind  it either, which is a plus. Never could get him to eat whole wheat pasta.

Lost internet at some point today. Got home from work, booted up the laptop and couldn't connect. Just as I was about ready to text Husband, he called and we managed to work out that it was a bad power supply on the network switch. Since I am married to an uber-geek, we were able to switch out the power supply with one from another switch (how many times can I say switch in one paragraph?) and get things working again.

And now I am tired. Time to start winding things downfor the night so the cats & I can go to bed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mission Accomplished



Has become this…


Two stacks of wood against the back wall of the garage, about as tall as I am (which is admittedly not very). The pile off to the side is the wood left over from last year. Husband oh-so-conveniently had to stay in Japan an extra two weeks, so I did it all myself, most of it this past Sunday.

Yesterday I got home from work and decided to take it easy, since I’d worked so hard on Sunday, and just did a little treadmill session. Today I felt half dead. Possibly I should have skipped the workout yesterday.

I mostly made it through my two weeks of dairy/wheat free eating. Yesterday technically should have been the last day and I gave in and had a muffin for breakfast. And then I had one again today. Plus real cream in my coffee.

I won’t say the dairy/wheat free eating experiment made me feel like a whole new person, but my eczema is a whole lot better. That was obvious about a week and a half in. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it is somewhat of a relief to know there is something I can do – my eczema does get really bad and makes me pretty miserable during the winter – but I’m not sure how I feel about giving up wheat & dairy for good.

I guess the next stage is to figure out whether it’s just one or if it’s both, and whether I  need  to cut them out completely in order to see a difference. I did actually wonder if the muffins yesterday & today could have been what were causing me to feel so zonked today. I was really feeling wiped out, and I just wanted to be able to curl up in bed.

On top of that, the past two days have been overcast and gloomy, which also tends to have a negative  effect on my energy. So many variables.

Also, I am ready for Husband to come home. I have enjoyed the sleeping without ear plugs, doing things on my own schedule, less dishes to wash,  listening to the 80’s station on the car radio. But I kinda miss him and I want him to come home. Sigh. Just under two weeks to go now.

Good thing I have Frank to keep me company. Smile



Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Day I Bought a Coconut

I remember a few times growing up when Dad & Mom bought a coconut. Dad would punch holes in it and drain out the coconut milk (or water) and divide it for my sister and I, then break open the coconut. I remember loving the whole thing – the coconut water straight from the coconut and eating the coconut meat itself.

I discovered Zico Coconut Water in the grocery store here recently and the taste is fairly close to what I remember, I suspected the difference had to do with it being bottled rather that straight from the coconut.

Last weekend while I was grocery shopping I picked up a coconut. It was an impulse buy, of course, and I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to crack the thing open. It sat in a  bowl on the kitchen table for a week. If nothing else, it looked all decorative sitting there with a lemon and  two limes.

Today I decided to give it a go. I whacked away at it a bit, then had the bright idea to use the point of a knife to poke a hole through the end (if you’ve never dealt with a whole coconut before, there are three depressions in one end). Poking the point of a knife in the – i don’t know what you call them so  I’ll stick with – depressions was actually easier, and then I was able to drain out the coconut water. I’d heard it sloshing around in there but there was more than I expected.


I tasted the coconut water, wondering if I should refrigerate it, but then I just ended up drinking it down.

Then, since  I’d been  making a mess in the kitchen with bits of coconut shell flying everywhere, I took the coconut, my knife and a tea towel out to the deck and proceeded to whack away at it until I had exposed an area that I could cut through.


At that point, the coconut shell was cracked and I was able to whack at it with the back of my knife and crack it in  two.


I really like coconut. Which is a good thing because I have a whole one to eat all by myself.

That was the fun part of my day. The rest of the day was spent doing some cleaning and stacking wood in the garage. First I had to move the leftovers of last year’s wood, which was actually the worst part because it stirred up all kinds of dust in the garage which left me sneezing and sniffling. That’s when I took a break and broke open my coconut.

After standing at the counter munching on coconut for a while, I went back out to start on the wood pile (Dear Bag  Lady, the ritual banging of the wood was observed and I thought of you).


The stack of wood along the back wall of the garage grew at a satisfying rate, yet it was hard to see any visible difference in the pile sitting in the drive. I feel like I am going to be stacking wood forever.

Yesterday I put away all my garden planters, ornaments, tomato cages, etc. It was a productive weekend. I also remember to cut some catnip to dry for the cats. Frank approves.


Actually, both cats approve, but Frank is the one who got all flirty with the bowl. They both helped themselves quite happily.

Still dairy and gluten free, 6 days now. Last night I made chocolate from coconut oil and cocoa. I still miss cheese. How long do I have to stick with this, I wonder, to know if it’s making a difference? I can’t say I feel any different so far.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dairy & Gluten Free–Day 3

I woke up on Tuesday morning and decided it was day number one of the dairy/gluten  free experiment. There was one serving of cheese-y pasta left, but I decided that would go in the freezer. And there are two unopened containers of yogurt – no idea how that happened really. Our last Costco trip was the Saturday before we found out Husband might be going to Japan. We bought our usual amount of yogurt, which usually only lasts a week…and somehow we only went through half of it. On my own, it would take me at least a week to polish that off, so I pretty much just threw in the towel on that one. If husband comes home at the end of next week, there should be time to at least use some of it before it expires.

So yeah. Tuesday was the day.

Breakfast – left the yogurt out of my smoothie and stuck with the protein powder, tolerated soy creamer in my coffee.

Lunch – I typically have a salad and often a Amy’s Kitchen Burrito. I’ve been buying the gluten free version since it showed up in the store last summer.

Dinner – There are lots of things I could eat that don’t involve dairy or wheat  (gluten free is a bit more complicated that wheat free, I realize, so wheat free is the minimum goal). I of course have to try something complicated (requiring substitution) right off the bat.

I blame it on the  Brown Rice Tortillas I saw at the grocery store. And I have been fascinated by this Daiya that Mama Pea is always talking about. So I had to turn all that into dinner.


I have this Veggie Burrito recipe that my sister wrote down while watching an episode of Urban Peasant years ago. I don’t actually follow the recipe mind you, but I use it for inspiration quite often.

First, I did taste the Daiya on it’s own first and the flavor vaguely resembles processed cheese. I’m sorry vegans, that is not  what cheese is supposed to taste like.

And the the Brown Rice Tortillas kind of fell apart when I tried to pick up my burritos and eat them, so it made a huge mess. But, all together, the components made a tasty mess.

So for the second (and third) dinners, I decided to go the quesadilla route. We have this griddle that makes me sigh in resignation every time Husband suggests using it because it is a pain to clean.


Husband has been gone for 5 days and I’ve used the griddle 4 times. Sorry honey!  (Actually, he doesn’t read my blog so he’ll never know. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!)

I panicked for a minute there wondering how I was going to flip the dang thing over. Was never so happy to have a pizza board and giant BBQ spatula.


This did work better. The tortillas got all nice and crispy and the daiya did indeed melt (and taste even more like processed cheese).

So three days down and it mostly hasn’t been too bad though I do miss cheese and chocolate. But it’s only for a couple of weeks ~ whether that is actually enough time to know if it makes a difference, I don’t know. For now, though, I’m just going to focus on two weeks.

Minor kitchen mishap – wondered where the measuring spoons had disappeared to, then  turned on the garbage disposal….


Mystery solved.

Last but not least; I was not fishing for compliments when I posted my profile photo on Monday. I was lamenting the harshness of my inner critic. Not only is the big meanie quick to detail all the things that are wrong with the way I look, when I do look good in a photo, the critic is ready and waiting to jump in and say it doesn’t count. That just seems crazy, yet I know it’s all coming from inside my own head. I just have not figured out how to change it.

I do appreciate the compliments though, so thank you! You are the loveliest blog friends a girl could hope to have.