Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's New Year's Eve!

This morning I woke up to a thick blanket of snow covering the ground. It surprised me because we had a spell of warmish weather here over Christmas that melted just about everything. I expected to see green again today. The snow caught me off guard.

I guess it's fitting. This being New Year's Eve and all. The snow for some reason seems symbolic to me. Like it's covering up all the failures of the past year and making way for the new one ahead.

Why is it that January first is the day we always mark for "starting fresh"? The day we decide to change something we don't like about ourselves, or do something that will improve something in our lives. We may decide to lose weight (big one here.....notice all the TV ads lately?)...or exercise more....or keep a neater house.....or read our bibles more....or stop smoking....the list goes on an on.

So why is it we do it now? Does hanging up a new calendar make it somehow easier or more time worthy? Or is it because we know that everyone around is also trying to "do better" this year too? The accountability factor perhaps? Or has it just been easier to tell ourselves these past few weeks (months) that we'll start fresh then - instead of now.

I really don't know. I guess for me, New Year's Eve always brings a time of reflection. I think about the changes in my life in the past 12 months. What I've accomplished. What I haven't. Who got married.....who got divorced. Who moved away....who came back home. Who
is no longer with us....

I'm a sap for nostalgia and I always get a little weepy as the big ball descends from it's perch in Times Square. Like I'm saying goodbye to a bit of my past. Not just turning another page in the proverbial book of life - but beginning a new chapter.

So what's going to be different for Lora this year? Sure....I want to lose weight. I want to exercise more. I want to keep a neater house. I want to read my bible more. But will I? Where does want meet will? For me - I've done what I always do. From Thanksgiving through Christmas I eat with abandon. I neglect all the things I said I'd do last year. I fall severely into the "I'll start January 1st" mode. From December 25th until the 31st I begin to think about my resolutions for the latest chapter in my life and always come up with several very nobles ones. I plot out my strategies and usually sail through the better part of January doing okay. And then - like most of us - I start to fall into the ruts of those old patterns that are carved so deeply into my psyche and all my noble intentions fall to the wayside.

Sound familiar?

So I've been thinking really hard all week. Why does this happen? Why can't I do this? And I've come to realize the paralyzing factor in my life. The ONE thing I really need to change that will hopefully make all the others fall into place.


And it's more than just the weight loss. It's my whole way of thinking. The way I've always lived my life. I put off unpleasant tasks. I've always told myself I work better under pressure but that's a cop out. It's the pressure due to the lack of time that makes me productive. But in the process I stress out and do less of a job than I probably would have.

In Lora's world, the bills are sailing through the postal system ON their due date - never before. Groceries are bought when something important runs out. Like coffee. Or toilet paper. Important papers for grad school are pounded away on the keyboard the night before they are due. I decide what I'm wearing to work while I'm in the shower. Laundry is done when I run out of underwear.

All of this causes stress. For me and those around me.

So why do I procrastinate? In my feeble mind do I think the problem or chore will somehow magically go away? What is more pressing that I can't do what needs to be done now instead of some other time? I wish I knew.

But there is one thing I do know. That if I continue to procrastinate - my life will continue to be stressful. I will continue to pay bills out of coffee and toilet paper...agonize over papers that are due for weeks (instead of just doing them and being done with it)...scramble in the morning for something to wear and do laundry at midnight so I don't have to "go commando" in the morning.

So I only have one resolution for 2009. To stop procrastinating. Perhaps then, the rest of my life will fall into place. If I can teach myself how to "do instead of say," I may just succeed at some of the things I hope to accomplish in this new year.

How about all of you? What do you have planned for 2009? It's a brand new year! There's fresh snow on the ground (at least here) and the ball will drop from Times Square at midnight.

Whether we're ready or not. I'm ready! Are you?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Usually my Christmas cards are something I begin shopping for early in the year (sometimes even in August!) I always want them to say just the right thing This year, although I looked high and low, nothing seemed to say just exactly what I was looking for.

It probably seems silly, to get so hung up over the message on a card, but Christmas is the one time of year when mentioning the name of Christ is acceptable. Oh, I know there are still those who would say that we should keep all the "Jesus" stuff out of Christmas - that it gets int he way of the holiday spirit (what ever that is.) but I like to take the opportunity at Christmas to dwell on all the "Jesus" stuff, because to me - that's what Christmas is.

Our society has secularized the season to such an extent that the babe in the manger is nothing more that that - a babe in a manger. We forget that He is the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, God himself. We tend to get so wrapped up in the preparations for the holiday (the gifts. the decorations, the baking, the parties...) that the whole awesomeness of Christmas slips right past us. We forget that the story is true, that it all really did happen some 2000 years ago.

It is more than just a magical night with a bright star, a few shepherds and a bunch of angels. God left the splendor of heaven to dwell in the body of a human being, with all of the frailties and imperfections, in order to redeem mankind. Hundreds of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled through His birth. The long awaited savior, the Messiah had arrived at last! How sad that as many rejected him then, many still do today.

It is my heartfelt prayer for all of my friends and loved ones, that this Christmas, Jesus is your central theme. Christianity is more than the church you go to, or the traditions you've been brought up with. It goes beyond your deeds or actions, because belonging to Christ is something we could never earn. If that were so, He came in vain.

Being a child of the King, is a that was given to us in the form of a babe in a manger, opened up to us in the miracles and teachings of a man in whom all the fullness of Deity dwelled, and culminated in in the opening of Heaven's gates through the death and resurrection of our Lord. But like any gift - it must first be received. I pray this Christmas that you take the gift as your own and that in the busyness of this holiday season, you take some time to reflect with genuine wonder and thanksgiving - the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas ~ Lora

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

See post below...

The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care....

Christmas arrives in 8 days. Whether I'm ready or not. And I'm not.

I have my shopping about 80% done. The Christmas letters have been printed and folded. They just need to be stuffed and stamped. There is still no furniture in the living room We plan on lugging the old couch that is stored at the new house over here and pulling up some old end tables from the basement to create a makeshift living space for Christmas morning when the kids come over to open presents.

The tree is up. But not much else. I still have several bins stacked in the near empty living room but I'm not sure how much will make its way to the rest of the house. I'm simplifying this year and it feels so very strange. Usually I have this little ritual where I turn on some Christmas music, pour myself a glass of wine and hum my way through the decorating process. It always begins with the tree and turns into a day long ordeal. It's so much fun. Especially when it's all over and I light the tree, burn some candles and bask in the glow of Christmas.

About two hours into the decorating process, I get the stockings out - three large stockings that I carefully made for each of my girls when they were very little and I had time to linger in my sewing room. Back in the day when I used to sew three matching outfits for them each Christmas and the throws of young motherhood when our engery is boundless and is only equalled by our dreams.

This part is always bittersweet because inside one of the stockings, tucked deep inside the toe, are two little note cards with handwritten messages - one from me to my mom and the other to my late husband. Each was written as a tribute of sorts. The one to my mom - the Christmas just before she died and the other to my husband - my first Christmas without him. They were written only for my eyes. Before I hang the stockings I take them out, read them, cry, pour myself a second glass of wine and resume decorating. I guess it makes me feel as if in some small way - each is still somehow a part of the Christmas at hand.

I don't know if I'll get everything up this year. I'm working over 60 hours this week. And there are loose ends to be tied up at the new house. And cookies to be baked. And presents to be wrapped. And parties to attend. And stockings to be hung....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two Weeks Under....

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle over here (translated S-T-R-E-S-S) I managed to read a book last week! I probably wouldn't have bothered at this busy holiday time (who has time to read a book right before Christmas??) But I was asked to review it and decided why not?

Turns out it was really great book - a mystery which is always right up mY alley - and a great de-stresser to boot! It has been some time since I picked up a real "Page-turner" - you know - a book that you can't just put down in spite of all the other things in life that are vying for you immediate attention.... Not since I read "The Shack" anyway.

The book (you're dying to know, right?) was called Two Weeks Under and was written by Rivka Tadjer. One of the reasons I agreed to do the review (in the midst of all the other millions of things on my plate) was because the storyline caught my eye. Being in the perpetual state of trying to lose weight that I am - the premise of this book - which is about losing weight by undergoing a two week, medically induced coma - was enough to pique my interest. Now doesn't that sound like an easy way to jump start the old diet!

But the story is more than juSt about the weight loss gimmick. Seems that a number of middle aged women that have tried this new "diet" are committing suicide. Hmmmm.... I won't go any further than that lest I spill the beans. Suffice to say the book is great and I couldn't put it down!

If I could say anything negative it might be the sprinkling of foul language. I guess in some circles of women - dropping the F-bomb is normal. Not in it bothered me a bit. Other than that the book was terrific! It kept my interest (which is hard to do these days) and was not predictable in the sense where you figure it all out way before the characters do.

On an aside - the sub plot of the book - deals with body image - and the main character makes some startling realizations about herself and who she is - weight or no weight. Something we all might need to take to heart.

I recommend this one, guys!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Remembering My Brother-In-Law....

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a fellow blogger regarding my late brother-in-law. Actually she was the person that was instrumental in getting me to start blogging. I was googling my bother-in-law's name (he was a writer - had published a book and wrote a syndicated column for the Buffalo News here in New York.) During my search I came across his name in one of her blog entries. Seems she was an avid fan of his and was lamenting that there were no copies left of his book to be found anywhere.

I commented on her blog and we fast became friends. I faithfully read her blog and after about 6 months, decided to start one of my own. Her blog has nothing to do with weight loss but it's packed with nuggets of spiritual truth and wisdom and find it truly delightful!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Seems a writer for the Buffalo News was also googling my late brother-in-law's name and stumbled upon her blog. He contacted her wondering if she knew any of his relatives that he could speak with regarding a column he was putting together as a tribute. She forwarded him to me and we've been chatting back and forth via phone and e-mail these past few weeks.

Yesterday the column was printed and he sent me a link (as I don't live in Buffalo where the paper is published.) I've included this link if you'd like to read it!

In the column, "Ed" is my late husband. His real name was Pat, but his brother always used middle names to protect our privacy. The quote by "Laurie" is mine.

It was so special to see a tribute to my brother-in-law. He died almost exactly one year after my own husband's passing. I miss them both so much. How special...the written word that lives on long after we do.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Early Morning Rambles...

The festivities went well here. I managed to entertain 18 people in a living room with no furniture. We set up two tables in there for eating (on the new rug!) where we pretty much hung out all evening - talking while the kiddies played in the family room (which does have furniture.)
Thank goodness for that Oxy cleaner stuff because my little niece (bless her heart) left a trail of cranberry sauce on the new (off white ) rug under her seat!
Last night we went to Lowe's and bought all the lighting for the new house. We also picked out the faux stone that will surround the entry way out side. So many decisions. It's fun - and it's not. The spending the money part anyway....

My eating has been horrible with a capital H. My 12 challenges have gone to the wayside and while I have only gained a pound...I know that there will be a delayed reaction coming on. I just have no real schedule these days. We eat at odd hours - often on the run and my desire to snack incessantly has been out of control. Part of me wants to just check it all and start fresh in the new year - but that's what I do every year and frankly - and it never works.

How is everyone else doing at this volatile time of year when food is everywhere and stress is abundant? Any survival tips?

I've got to get in's 6 am and I have to teach today and then be off to my overnight job at 5. This weekend I have three (yes, count 'em....three) plays to see for a graduate course I'm taking that have to be reviewed by next Thursday in the way of 4 page papers. Arghh!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I have carpet!!
I arrived home around 9:00 this morning from my job and immediately started helping hubby rip out the old carpeting (which embodied the living room, stairs and upper hallway.)

The installer showed up at 11 AM and had everything done by 2:30. It looks wonderful! And now I can entertain the in-laws and not be embarrassed by the state of the old rug. It was gross people - with a capital G!
Youngest daughter and hubby arrived around dinner time from Massachusetts. Let the holiday begin!
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We'll all eat too much long as it doesn't stat us on a month long roll, we'll be okay. Right??

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

It's 6:30 AM and I have a few free minutes to myself to sip some coffee and browse blogs. That's not a regular occurrence for me anymore these days. I worked my overnight job Wed-Fri last week...came home for the weekend and will leave in an hour to go back to the job until Wednesday. Then I come home and help hubby tear out all the carpet because the new rug is supposedly being installed that afternoon. We shall see.

In any event - after that I do some speed cleaning & cooking. I sense a bit of stress welling up in the already full pool (I was going to call it a "stress" pool - but that sounded too much like "cess" pool....)

Youngest daughter will arrive home from Massachusetts Wednesday also and I'm really looking forward to that! We haven't had her here for a Thanksgiving in years! And when we host the second dinner here at our house on Friday we have another major milestone. Hubby's brother and his wife (who are Jehovah's Witnesses and celebrate NO holidays) have agreed to come for dinner. As long as we don't call it Thanksgiving. Even though we're having turkey....and all the family will be there and of course...and we will be giving long as we don't recognize the celebration with a name - they will come.

They have NEVER attended any holiday, birthday or other special occasion with the family since they were married 25 years ago. Enter Lora 5 years ago. Who's persistent. Who just kept inviting them hoping (knowing) that eventually they'd give in. I'm the rebel. I send them Christmas cards every year. And I've invited the whole crew over for dinner before in mid December when my Christmas tree is up and the house is all decorated. I even went so far as to put on some holiday music but hubby squashed that. Said I was pushing it.

Anyway - we love these guys and want to spend time with them. So now we are! Hubby's mom is thrilled beyond words.

One last note before I end and finish packing for my overnight....Saturday hubby & I went to see a movie. First one in years! I think the last one was "Chronicles of Narnia." This one was called "Fire Proof" and it was excellent! Hubby cried more than I did. (He's sappy like that - which is one of the reasons I fell in love with him.) Anyway - if you're looking for a wholesome movie that embodies strong values - this is a must see.

If I don't check in before Thursday - y'all have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Working on my Attitude....

Gosh...I can remember when I'd trek off to the library just to make sure I blogged each day and if I missed a day I felt so...unconnected. Lately I've been so busy that it's just not on my priority list. I have seen that happen in blogland. Blogs come and go.....sometimes get resurrected and then slowly fade away into cyber space.

I'm not ready to do that yet. Even though my sporadic posts may seem to indicate otherwise. It's just that my life at this point is hectic to say the least. And I'm trying very hard to just let go and relax and not worry about what doesn't matter. Like hosting Thanksgiving here for the In-law's with most of my furniture gone. And serving dinner in our empty living room (that has been serving as "workshop central" as we've been remodeling here to get our house ready to sell.) Which means the rug that will hopefully be replaced before next Thursday (but probably won't) is spattered with paint, ground in sawdust and dirt! And the good dishes are in storage. And I have one couch and one love seat in the already small family room to take care of 15 people while we wait for dinner.

And then then there's Christmas. The house could and should've been done by then. But alas I'm married to a procrastinator that hems and haws before each decision. I keep saying "Get the drywall man on the books so when we're ready he is too!" But has hubby done that? Nooooo. He keeps putting off the essentials for things that are not on top of the priority list. Now we're ready and the drywall guy isn't.

I keep telling him "We HAVE to order those kitchen cabinets so they'll be here in time." But he wants to keep looking just in case there's a better deal. I'm all for better deals but we've been looking since June!

Okay. I'm not truly complaining here. I've got much to be thankful for and I'm going to focus on that. If the inevitable happens and we have to do Christmas here - there will just be a little tree with minimal decorations. Most of my stuff is packed and ready to move so it won't be the magical wonderland that I always try so hard to create each year. (Got that from my mom!)

It'll be different. But who knows. Maybe it will be the Christmas we always remember. That Christmas the year of the great move! Or maybe not.

But I've somewhat readjusted my attitude and keep repeating the mantra my late husband always clung to. Accept or change - but don't complain. I'm trying to keep my focus on God and what the season truly means. I'm praying for grace daily to accept my circumstances and still have a grateful heart. As we've been collecting to fill Thanksgiving baskets to give to the poor in our area - I'm remembering how having a dirty rug or few decorations is the least of their worries. And should be the least of mine too.

Lest I sound too Saintly - believe me - I struggle. Keeping one's eyes off of one's self isn't always easy. We weren't wired that way. So I'm looking to the Master Electrician to do some re-routing in this heart of mine. So this holiday season...I can see the true light.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Musings.....

I'm still on a screwy schedule and it's getting screwier. Now I alternate my overnight days and every other week I go Monday to Wednesday and then Wednesday to Monday. On the off days I try to sub in our district and then the rest of the time I play catch up on housework, laundry and working on the new house.

The ETA of being in there by Christmas is looking bleaker. The plumber (FINALLY) comes today. The electrician will hopefully get there this week to make some last minute changes. Then.....drum roll please...the drywall goes up! I can't wait to have some real walls so it starts looking like a house instead of a skeleton!

As much fun as I always thought it would be - there are so many decisions to make! Last night we stood in the future master bathroom and argued over the vanity size. I wanted the counter area to be big - as in I'd have my own turf - hubby would have his. He didn't get it. So we pretended to each be at our respective sinks - and I set my imaginary make up bag down....then my imaginary curling iron....then my imaginary blow drier....and he quickly realized that I'd be infringing on his territory. Not that men have all that much stuff, mind you. It was just a matter of his side vs my side. In any case, he finally understood and this morning I found sketches of the final plan and I have my extra long vanity area.

I'm getting excited as things get closer to being finished. Sometimes it feels like a dream because for the first time in my adult life I'll finally have something new - and done the way I want it to be - not the way someone else thought it should be. I have to pinch myself regularly. I'm so thankful!

Now it looks like we'll be hosting Thanksgiving here (at the old house) for hubby's family. My sister will do the big dinner for our side Thursday - and we'll host dinner for the in-laws that Friday. I'll be working that Mon-Wed so this will be tricky. Trickier yet is the living room is empty (as in no furniture) and we've been using that area as a "work station" as we fix up this place,so the old rug is covered with paint and sawdust. I'm going to try to get a new carpet in before turkey day. Hmmmm...I sense a bit of stress coming on.

Okay - gotta run to get to my job on time. I've been reading blogs just not time to comment right now. but trust me - I'm keeping tabs on you all!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Musings.....

I feel so out of the loop these days. So much to do to get the new house ready for the holidays! I seriously think we may not make it. Which will be youngest daughter reminded me "Mom, Christmas is wherever the family is - even if it's in a house that's half empty." You see, because we're anticipating this move to transition sometime in December, things are slowly getting packed up and stored away, given away or thrown away. And my house is a tad empty.

My goal is to move into the new place with as little clutter as possible. Living these past few months with much of my stuff already in boxes, I've learned to enjoy the simplicity. For so long I held onto items that had sentimental value to me...things that belonged to my mom, or that the kids made when little...or sometimes just ugly junk that I couldn't even remember its source - but I hung onto because it had been around so long I figured it would just be wrong to get rid of. How lame is that?

So slowly I'm parting with things and realizing that they are just that - things. That old chipped and cracked ceramic cherub that used to grace mom's bookshelf looks out of place at my house. It always has. No matter where I put it. But I always sigh as I dust around it and tell myself..."but it was mom's....I've got to keep it." But (again as one of my wise daughter's reminded me) it's not my mom. And to toss it isn't tossing away mom. So it's leaving.
There are a few wonderful things I'll never part with. But for the most part I'm doing a pretty good purge over here. Craig's list has been great for selling things that might still be useful or wanted by someone else. And I've found that if I set things nicely out by the curb, they usually disappear within a short time. And if not - then the trash man takes them away and soon.

Anyway - that's been my life thus far. Working odd hours - long hours - de-cluttering this place and trying to make the new place habitable.

On an aside - if you live in the U.S. I hope you got out and exercised your right to vote today. A lot is riding on this election. I voted with my conscience. Weighed the moral issues at stake and pulled the lever. I hope you all do the same!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Still Here.

Still on this busy schedule and not finding the time to blog, or comment. This week I'm working 64 hours. The laundry is mounting dangerously.... Hubby is trying to pitch in but he's working long hours too.

Needless to say I'm not exercising or eating very well. And we're entering the dreaded holiday zone (dreaded as far as eating and weight gain go!) Time to get a re-charge and get back on track.

If I haven't commented on your blogs please don't think I've abandoned you! I get on the computer for snippets of time and try to catch up when I can. I'm still here! I'm able to read blogs while at school during my free periods...but not comment. There's a block on that now.

Hope you all are hanging in there too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Lately I just haven't had the time to spend on the computer like I used to. I seem to have so much on my plate these days. (Not a real good metaphor, eh?) But honestly! I'm working 2 jobs (one which takes me overnight two nights) the other per-diem subbing so I never know what each day will bring. I lead a women's Bible study, teach Sunday School, am taking a graduate course and trying to put together a proposal for my thesis (a separate course next semester but one I need to prepare for now, as my thesis will be due next Spring.)

Did I mention we're still working on the new house which still *sigh* only has studs for walls at this point and absolutely MUST be done by Christmas! I refuse to host the holidays here as I have no furniture at present in my living room (gave it to my daughter when she moved out because I knew we wouldn't need it in the new place) and all my decorations are packed away for moving.

Can anyone say STRESS???

I'm trying to keep things in perspective. Prioritize and all that. And I have been saying no to some things. Like when our Pastor asked all of our small group leaders to spearhead a missions project in November. Nope. Nada. No can do.

On top of everything I'm supposed to be winning the weight loss war. I feel more like hoisting the white flag at this point. Sticking to my challenges has proven to be just that - a real challenge. Because friends - I'm stress eater. And believe you me (!) when I opened our stock report this month and saw how much of our retirement investments were wiped out - I ran straight for the Oreos.

Christmas is coming. Bills are due. Money is short.

Sorry - I had to vent. If I didn't I was headed straight for the Oreos again.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Farewell Summer.....

Last night I slept in my own bed for only the 2nd time in 10 days. In a few minutes I leave yet again to spend another night away. Tonight I'll be at the lake with my oldest daughter. But it's not exactly a pleasure trip. We're battening down the hatches for winter. You know....water off, antifreeze in drains, fridge emptied, can goods brought home, boats away, outdoor furniture stored.... I'm getting tired (and sad) just thinking about it.
Wasn't it just a short time ago that we were doing all of the above in reverse? I remember vividly standing on the end of the dock - looking across the lake and thinking how the WHOLE summer loomed ahead of us! That was 5 months ago *sigh*
There was a day when we spent more time at the lake than not during the average summer. First hubby was a teacher and I was a stay at home mom. We were truly blessed. I'm so glad we bought the place when we did - he had 4 wonderful summers there before he died.
Fast forward to hubby number two. He's self employed and the summers are his busiest times. Add building a house onto that and what do you have left? Four...maybe five quick trips to the lake if we're lucky. Although we did splurge and spend a whole week in July (!)

Next summer (God willing) will be better. The house will be done. Our lives (again...God willing) will be less hectic. I plan on spending much more time there. Even if I have to drag him. Or go alone (which I've been known to do.)

But for right now - I'm heading down to say goodbye. As always, just before I leave I'll pop my head back in the door (Mary Tyler Moore style...which means nothing if you never saw the last episode...) and whisper goodbye to the memories we made - this summer 0f 2008. I'll walk around the lakefront real quick and take in the view. And then I'll walk to the end of the dock and toss the obligatory rock into the lake that always heralds the end of the season. My middle daughter started this tradition years ago. Recently we started finding a pretty little rock and letting it rest on the railing of the deck all summer in order to "absorb" the memories. That's the one that will find its niche in the bottom of Lake Demmon tomorrow. With all the others. (I know - we're a really hoplessly, sappy, sentimental lot.)
Hopefully Sunday, I'll have time to catch up on blogs. Until then - enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Still Here....

I'm still here. Just getting used to this wacky schedule...being gone 2 nights out of the week with no computer and then a jaunt to the lake for the holiday weekend.

I've been pretty lax on my challenges. Being at this house every Wednesday through Friday has messed me up. All meals are included in the deal... but it's been strange. The woman I'm caring for eats weird things (and I'm told to "help myself"). Which is awkward....rummaging through some one's fridge or cupboards looking for something to eat. So when she goes out (as she often does...friends will pick her up and take her places) I usually make a run over to the local supermarket (which is a very bad thing for me to do) because they have a literal smorgasbord of buffet items all cooked and ready to take out as you please. And I crack every time. Not to mention the downtime there. I literally spend hours in "my room" with nothing but a TV and over 1300 channels to surf. So I tend to grab unhealthy snacks from home and nosh through out the day.

I know I have to make some major changes or I'll put on this weight I've taken off. Bringing my own meals....healthier snacks....filling my water bottle regularly.

And this weekend at the lake - my sister threw her back out so there was very little walking. And there was good food. We tend to throw caution to the wind when we're at the lake. Not good. I haven't even stepped on the scale since last Thursday and I feel bloated.

Things have just been so darn disorganized around here. I hate living between two places (well...actually 4 if you count 'em all!) This house, the new house, the cottage and my job. I feel so disoriented! I need routine!!

And now I may need to go to my "job" today instead of Wednesday to cover for the other live-in aide who's sick. And I haven't even unpacked all the way from the lake. ARGGH!

Okay. 'Nuff moaning.

Enjoy the picture of the lake we took this weekend, Fall is beautiful there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Latest Read....

Of course we stayed at the lake an extra night. Seems we always do. Me being unemployed and hubby being self-employed has its perks I guess.

I had fun with my sister & her family. It was so neat to look across the lake and know they were only a 10 minute walk or a 3 minute boat ride away!

Today I'm going to use my blog for plug. Not because anyone asked me to - just because I want to! A book review actually....

I just finished reading "The Shack" by William Young. It's a work of fiction in the sense that the story never really happened. But it's true in the sense that it's based on truth. If you read it, you'll know what I mean.

The first few chapters are slow. I put the book down several times before I finally picked it up and got past chapter four - where things pick up. After that I couldn't finish it fast enough! Very few times have I read something that has moved me as deeply or opened my eyes so - as this book has. My view of God has not changed. But it has been enhanced. I can understand the depth of His love so much better now. I can see the difference between religion and relationship much more clearly.

There is much controversy swirling around this book. The legalists are having a hey day. But I believe they are lifting 'catch phrases' from the text and making inferences that I frankly don't believe exist. But hey. Who am I? Just my opinion, that's all. In any event - I strongly would urge you guys to take a look at it. It's available in paperback. (Carried at the local public libraries too - but heavily on back order due to its popularity at the present time.)

I'd love to dialogue here about the book if you've read it. Or plan to. It's awesome!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Going To The Lake To See My Sis!

I've been scurrying around all day trying to get packed for a trip to the lake. This will be the first time we've been there that my sister is there in her new cottage! They closed on it last week and have been there since Tuesday. The lake is pretty quiet (read: dead) during the week so they have been itching for us to get there since...well...Tuesday!

I'm so excited! We've pretty much planned to eat most of our meals together - the hubby's and son-in-laws have plans for an early morning fishing date tomorrow (barring no rain) and I'm sure my sister & I (and our daughters - we each have one coming with a hubby) will take lots of walks and spend hours chatting the day away on their wonderful big deck!

We've talked to one another more on the phone these past 2 weeks than we have in the past 5 years. (used to call each other every day - way back when). So this has been nice. Our relationship has been resurrected by way of a small lake in the southern tier of New York. Cool beans!
About the pic - from left to right (youngest sis, lake sis, me , sister-in-law) I'm the oldest...can ya' tell?

On another note - today I went o Wendy's. ARGHHH! I ordered a #1 combo. DOUBLE ARGHH! I couldn't help myself. It was lunch time and I caved.

So much for my confession. I'm back on the FF wagon. No more relapses.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Zucchini Recipes....

I got a call just now that the woman I "house sit" with went into the hospital with an infection so I'm not needed this week. I hope she's okay. And on a selfish note - I'm really needing that $300 I won't be getting this week. Have faith Lora...have faith.

So hubby brought home yet more zucchini last night. I decided that maybe I would try my hand at some zucchini soup. I've had pumpkin soup before (it's to die for - honest!) so I figured maybe the zucchini version would be good too.

I found two recipes on the internet that caught my eye. One because it was easy and the other because it was touted as being the most awesome zucchini soup ever.

Don't believe everything you read.

I decided to try both as - as both recipes were different and well...I couldn't not try the most awesome zucchini soup ever. The first batch (the easy one) really was easy and it was wonderful! I will definitely make this one again. I made enough to freeze 6 pints of it. (Hubby and I both ate bowl as soon as it was see if we liked it. And we did!

The second batch - which called for chicken stock and laughing cow cheese was bland and yucky. We tried to doctor it up with some dehydrated onions, salt and some asiago cheese. That helped some but it was still nowhere comparable to the first batch which I'm posting below:

One very large zucchini

(the kind that hide in the garden and you don't spot them until they're about the size of a small child.) Well....not that big but you get my drift.

2 large onions

1 stick butter

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cans water

Chop the zucchini into cubes and dice the onions

Simmer in a covered pot with the butter until tender. (stir occasionally)

Blend 1 can soup & 1 can water in blender.

Add some of the zucchini mixture and some of the basil

Blend and pour into large container.

This part you do in cycles until all of the zucchini & onions are mixed with the soup & basil.... depending on the size of your blender.

When all is mixed together - pack into freezer containers and freeze.

I'm not sure about the calorie count - the stick of butter and the cream of chicken soup is divided up into 12 servings so I don't' think it's that high.

Anyhoo -it's really tasty and I'm looking forward to curling up with a bowl for lunch one day this winter!

My personal challenges are coming along...okay. I'm struggling the fruit & veggie thing. Getting lots of veggies with my evening meal (thanks to the abundant harvest in our garden this fall) but not so good on the fruit. I need to get to the market and stock up. Water - check. Fast food - check (except one slip up last week). I think I may have mentioned that before. Moving more - need to remind myself! Small plate - sometimes. Definitely smaller portions. Cleaning (or not cleaning) my plate - that's where I'm bombing. I finish the last bite and then rememberI was supposed to leave some!

I'm still plugging away though.

And last night - Biggest Loser! Great show as usual! It was hard to see the gray team go. They seem to have the deck stacked against them with the way ALL of their family overeats. I know they've managed to do well so far at home - I hope they can keep it up.

And the yellow team - what were they smoking? $10,000 is a lot of money - but no way would I have ever jeopardized my position above the yellow line! I'm glad the old guy is still in though. I want to see him get healthy.

Let me know if you try the soup or pie (yesterday) and what you think!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Simply Wonderful Sunday Night...

Last night was a perfect night. Not because anything special happened. It was in fact - quite ordinary. I was just sitting on the couch watching my husband play with our grandson. Mega Blocks were scattered across the floor. The room was awash in a an amber glow from the single lamp that was lit on the old table that sits in the corner. It was early evening and we had just finished dinner.

I can't really describe the emotions that had enveloped me except to say that I was at perfect peace. It didn't matter that I still don't have a teaching job. It didn't matter that a stack of bills were resting on the kitchen counter that didn't care if I had a job or not. Nothing really mattered except the moment.

Have you ever had one of those times that defy all human explanation? Where in the midst of the storm, God's love surrounds you and get a taste of that peace that surpasses all understanding? It's awesome. To be in the center of God's will and be content.

Perhaps I've finally learned to let go of my wants and embrace that part of the Lord's prayer that says Thy will be done. At least for now I have. Imperfect woman that I am....I have to remind myself repeatedly.

Dinner. Now that was awesome too!

I've been trying to be very creative with the abundant supply of zucchini that our garden is readily supplying us with. (I told hubby not to plant so much!) We've given lots away - but still - each evening I find another couple of the green monsters on my kitchen counter begging me to do something with them. The freezer holds many bags of shredded zucchini to use in future loaves of zucchini bread (when the ones already made and frozen are exhausted.)

We've grilled 'em, baked 'em, fried 'em.....and frankly...I'm zucchini'd out!

Until I came across this recipe in one of my healthy cook books (Eat Well -Live Well). It's called zucchini pie and it is incredible! Even hubby (my meat man) who balked all the way to the table - asked for seconds and raved about it! It's definitely something I'll make again. And again!

If you want to try it - here's the recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4 c. zucchini, thinly sliced

1 c. onions, coarsely chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I used 2 tsp fresh minced garlic)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 TBS. fresh chopped parsley or 1 TBS. dried

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried basil (I used 3 TBS. fresh, chopped)

2 tomatoes, chopped (I used 1 can of diced tomatoes)

2 eggs, well beaten (or 1/2 c. egg substitute)

2 1/2 c, part skim mozzarella, shredded

Saute zucchini & onion in oil until tender (10 min.)

Stir in dry ingredients and continue cooking 1 minute.

remove from heat.

Add tomatoes.

In separate bowl, blend eggs & cheese.

Coat pie pan with non-stick spray.

Pour mixture into pie plate.

Stir into vegetable mixture.

Bake 20 minutes or until knife cones out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes.

Serve in wedges.

For those doing WW (or similar) - 1 serving is 2 proteins, 1 complex carb, 1 simple carb & 2 fats.

It's awesome guys - truly awesome!

Friday, September 19, 2008

There's No place Like Home!

Well that wasn't so bad! I was really nervous about going into someone's home I'd never met before and living there for 2 whole days - eating. sleeping, showering seemed weird. But the woman and her husband were very nice. She has end stage cancer - still gets around with a walker (the cancer is in her spine now) but needs help getting dressed and preparing meals. There was a lot of down time that I spent in "my room" with a TV that had over 1000 channels. Too many choices!

Cool thing though - my bathroom (yes - I got my own) had one of those doctor's scales - you know, the real accurate ones with the sliding weights. And I weighed in at 186. Whoo hoo!

Right now I need to spend some time with my hubby. It feels good to be home! But surprisingly enough - I'm not hesitant to return next Wednesday.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Biggest Loser Thoughts....

I'm off in just a bit to my "new" job. A tad nervous but feeling calmer with all the nice thoughts of encouragement sent my way. Thanks guys!

I'm not sure if there is a computer there for me to use during my down time. if not - I'll check in Friday evening and let you know how it went.

Who watched The Biggest loser last night? I'm hooked already! And amazed (or maybe stunned) is a better word - at the losses the first week. Is that possible?? I'm thinking these folks pigged out tremendously just before the first weigh in so maybe a lot of it wasn't true weight. In the weeks to come we'll see what transpires.

I'm also eager to see how the guy with the major health concerns makes out. I wish ALL of the contestants could stay the whole time. I felt so bad for the couple that were voted off last night - but happy to see they kept with it lost more weight! Especially the woman - she looked awesome!

Well...gotta finish packing and get going soon.

Take care all and do share your thoughts about last night's show!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One more thing....

Two posts in one day ~ No, I'm not bored, just remembered that The Biggest Loser premiers tonight with the "Biggest Loser Families"! I received an e-mail from NBC inviting me to watch some previews and they were great! They also informed me that they're starting an interactive website called

The network has also started a an interactive website called Biggest Loser League. I've checked it out a little bit but plan to peruse more after tonight's show (when my mojo is in overdrive.) Let me know what you think of it.

Okay - that's all!

This and That....

Can you believe that here in upstate NY we got some of the aftermath of Hurricane Ike? Sunday night we got strong winds up to 60 mph that knocked out power to 60,000 people. We were among them. Our power was only down for about 25 hours and aside from lighting candles and making coffee the old fashioned way - we were fine. I kept thinking of those in Texas and counting my blessings.

Earlier Sunday my sister, niece & I went for a walk at one of our local parks. There is a really nice boardwalk that goes for quite a way over the Genesee River and ends up at the mouth of the river where it flows into lake Ontario. It was HOT! Almost 90 degrees (unusual for this time of year) but we still enjoyed ourselves. We did a little over 3 miles. We're hoping the next time to follow the trail in the other direction where we can see the water falls. The pic above is of part of the board walk that is about a mile long.

I've also decided that in light of no teaching jobs on the horizon I need to do something so that we can tackle this ginormous property tax bill looming over us this fall. New York has some of the highest property tax rates in the nation. What's that slogan song....I love New york...not always!

Anyhoo - my sister owns a company (she's an RN) that places live in companions with people that are elderly or ill. She has set me up with a 60 something year old woman that has cancer and needs help with daily activities. She says the woman is a lot like our mom and that I will really like her. I am going to split her care with another health aide and go to her home from Wednesday to Friday. To say I'm nervous would be an understatement. It's going to be very awkward living in a stranger's house - even if it's only 2 days a week. The woman is married so her husband will be there too. Strange. So I'll be sharing my meals with this family, sleeping a their house, showering's going to be awkward.

I guess I'll get used to it. It's certainly not what I had in mind for a job right now - but beggars can't be choosers.... Hopefully I'll pick up some per-diem sub jobs on my off time. I'm not sure if there will be computer access there (which would be crummy because sis says there is a lot of "down" time where I'll just be in "my room" until she needs me.) I'm going to the library today to get a bunch of books to tide me over and I suppose I'll be watching a lot of TV. I'm too old for new adventures! Years ago this wouldn't have phased me. But I'm doing what I gotta' do and trusting God has a plan. I have this gut feeling that I'm meant to be there for whatever reason.

On the personal challenge front - I've been slacking a little. I broke down Saturday and had a Big Mac. No fries or anything. I just had this craving and I figured since it had been well over 6 weeks since I went to the Golden Arches - that I would indulge. I did do some walking last week three times as well as my "parking farther" etc thing. But I have been remiss on my portion sizes (neglecting the small plate) so I need to work on that.

This week's challenge is to eat a healthy breakfast. All studies indicate that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I must confess that I often either skip it or opt for something that is sweet. I have such a major sweet tooth in the morning! A slice of zucchini bread with my coffee is heavenly. But not a wise decision when it's done daily. So I'm going to concentrate on this area. Opt for some whole grains, fruit and protein.

I'm also making a chart for myself that will serve to remind me of my weekly challenges. They are becoming greater in number and this peri-menopausal mind is like a sieve these days.

I hope the rest of you are biding well - sticking to whatever it is you've decided to stick to and making progress!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prayers for Texas....

Last night I woke up several times during the night to turn on the TV and see how Texas was doing. I felt guilty all warm and safe in my bed with my window open and a soft end-of-summer breeze drifting in while I knew that down south, thousands and thousands of people were not resting so peacefully. Many were evacuated to shelters where they stayed wondering about the fate of their homes while others were hunkered down where they were - riding it out with no electricity, while the winds and waters whipped around them. And then there were others stranded on roof tops, or oil freighters, or worse.

I prayed for the safety of people I didn't know. It seems surreal. The way we are all connected to one another when tragedy strikes - even though we may be on different sides of the country. Perhaps it's because Hurricane Ike decided to strike right on the heels of the anniversary of 9/11 that the kinship resonated so deeply with me. We are all connected in one way or another - if by nothing else - our humanity.

As John Donne so eloquently penned... "No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

I've tried in vain this morning to check up on fellow bloggers who live in Texas. Silly right? No power...and as if they'd be sitting in front of their computers anyway.

Let's collectively offer a prayer for those who have been touched by this disaster. May God draw near to them and keep them safe. My He instill in them hope...and faith that He will be with them in the days to come. And may He let each of us know what we can do to help.

(I'd say a donation to the Red Cross would be a great way to begin.....please pass that last thought on!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What We Learn While In The Trenches...

I've been lying low because frankly...I've been feeling a little low. I got passed over (yet once again) for the younger job candidate. In spite of the fact I've taught as a long term sub on 4 different occasions in this particular district. In spite of the fact that I have raving reviews from key people in each school I taught in. In spite of the fact that the previous art department head phoned my interviewers minutes before my interview to plug me.

They still chose the young one - fresh out of college.

I'm feeling better now though and actually have recovered more quickly from this disappointment than in the past. Probably because I've been trusting God a lot more - that in spite of the roadblocks - He has a plan that I can't yet see. Still - being human - the old ego has taken a bit of a brushing.

As I see it - it's their loss (does that sound prideful?) I don't mean it to be! It's just that sometimes people overlook very good qualities in a person because they're too distracted with the packaging instead of the contents. Ring a bell?

I wonder how many overweight people are brushed aside in life because they're...well....overweight! It's not fair. And it's certainly not right. If only we could all learn to look past the bias of color... or status... or age... or weight - we'd meet and learn to love some pretty darn nice people.

That's my sermon for today.

Still unemployed. Still wondering how I'm going to pay the bills. Still trusting God has a plan.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fried Pumpkin Blossoms and other good things about September!

I just got in from a nice walk. Hard to tell that summer is waning except for the tell-tale goldenrod that has taken over the roadside. Whenever I take a walk on a sunny summer day I'm taken back to my childhood days. I lived outside all summer and came in only when necessary! Hardly ever wore shoes (still don't if flip-flops don't count...)

I live in a rural area so there are stretches that encompass only woods, fields or crops. It's been dry since that big stretch of rain we had a few weeks back. The earth is cracked and the fields are parched. It's the first time we've had to water the gardens in a long while. All that rain did a number on the vegetables. Too much of a good thing I guess.

We only got one pumpkin and it died before it got to the size of grapefruit. Still...there are plenty of blossoms that at this point will never turn to anything before the first frost so I picked a bunch the other day and made some fried pumpkin blossoms. Before you gasp - they are only 54 calories per blossom in spite of the name. And two blossoms are just the right amount!

They're so easy.....!

I gently tear the blossom in two to make two flat halves, then dip them in a beaten egg, coat with crushed saltine crackers that have been seasoned with salt and pepper and then saute in a oil with a little butter. I're thinking...fried in oil and butter?? But these are delicacies that can only be indulged in this time of the year and as I said - the calorie count isn't all that high because you're only eating a small amount.
They were good fellow bloggers. Extremely good!
Gotta' go paint the trim in the kitchen - we're trying hard to get this place ready to sell soon. The goal is to have Thanksgiving in the new house. That will be a real feat!
Oh ~ the interview went well. At least from my perspective. We'll know how it went from theirs if they call and offer me the job.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Waist or Waste?

I have been deliberating all week - what my next challenge will be - or better stated -what new change will I incorporate into my life?

I've done well so far - except the exercise part. I need major mojo there. Otherwise things are sailing smoothly. So yesterday (as I finally found some time to peruse some of my favorite blogs) I got my answer to next week's challenge. Thank you JC for your inspiration! I'll recap what she wrote that turned on the light bulb for me....

When we have the option to leave some food on our plate (that we're not really hungry full anymore) or eat it- we often choose the latter for fear we might be wasting it. She notes that we're wasting it either way. because if we're not hungry for it anymore - then it's not going to be used by our bodies anyway (!) it's just going to be stored as fat. (aka wasted). Good point.

She also notes that most of us have been brought up with the "clean your plate" mentality and we need to switch gears. From now on it must be don't clean your plate!

This makes all the sense in the world to me. I've watched skinny people eat. And they never clean their plates. Often I've looked wistfully at their castoffs and wanted to scream "You're not going to eat that!" They push the last remnants around almost as if what's left repulses them. And in probably does. They're full. They dont' need what's left - they don't want what's left! They aren't worried about wasting anything. Maybe they've realized too, that they're wasting it either way. Or maybe they are just so in tune with their bodies that they know when they're full and stop. Either way - I doubt they even think about it. It's second nature to them. Which is what my own personal challenges are all about. Incorporating habits into my life that stick and become a part of who I am. That become...second nature.

And so...for next week's challenge I am going to become a member of the "Don't clean your Plate Club." I realize at first this will be hard. But if I can get over that mentality about the starving kids in China (or where ever it was my parents always told me) then I can teach myself to toss out what I'm not truly hungry for and not feel guilty. I'd rather the trash man gets it than my hips.

I've also decided that since the exercise part is coming along slowly - I need to rewrite this challenge - lest in my all or nothing mode I give up. So for now that challenge has been revamped to incorporate movement whenever I can. This translates to:

  • park farther way

  • take the stairs

  • lift weights during commercials or run in place

You get the drift. The important thing here is to stick with changes I can live with. Eventually I'll get the routine exercise thing going again. Maybe when I have a job again I can join the YMCA or take some evening exercise classes at our local schools.

Speaking of which - not sure I mentioned that the interview I had last Wednesday flopped. The one Monday is different. Say a prayer for me on this one.

Ciao and happy weekend!

Friday, September 5, 2008


It's Friday already! And so far it's been a good day. I got called for an interview next Monday in the district I do most of my subbing in. It's part time job - teaching art to elementary kids. We're talking very part time. If I got it - I could do per-diem subbing on the days I'm not working - or get a part time job somewhere else. No health insurance coverage (which stinks as hubby is self employed and we pay out of our pocket now... $733/month for two people which will increase to $1685 in March when COBRA runs out.) I'm sorry folks...something's wrong with the health care system here in the U.S. That equates to over $20,000 per year just to have health coverage. What's left over to live on?

Don't get me going!

Okay - so I said this was a good day so far - and it is! I have the interview (better than nothin' right?) and my sister & her hubby got the cottage on our lake! The owners threw just about everything but the kitchen sink (oh wait - the kitchen sink is included too!) into the deal! We're talking ALL the furniture which was purchased brand spanking new 6 years ago...all the deck furniture (which is that top of the line stuff that looks like a living room out doors)...the motor boat, the canoe, a paddle boat, a stainless gas grill...and too much more stuff to mention!

My sister is SO lucky and I am so happy she'll be on our lake! (the pic is looking at her new digs from the road. Directly across the lake to the right of the boat....and behind the our place. We can shout across the lake to each other....ride over in the boat in 2 minutes or walk in about 15. Way cool!)

Here's a little background....our husband's were best friends before we met either of them. Sis & I lived in the apartment across the street from them back in the day. History played itself out and we ended up marrying them. We did everything together as couples and when we bought our place (back in 1999) our dream was that they would buy a place too.

But life has a way of interrupting our best laid plans. Sis & her husband ended up getting a divorce. Long messy put a real strain on the relationship since our hubs were best buds. She moved on, met a nice guy and married him. Still, things were never the same.

Second part of the saga... shortly after we bought our cottage, hubby found out he had cancer. 2 1/2 years later - he was gone and I was left with a place on the lake - alone. Not the dream I'd intended.

Eventually I remarried and sis & I ever so slowly started putting our relationship back together again. Seriously - it wasn't until this past weekend that she came to the lake - that things finally felt like they used to. And totally unplanned - totally by a fluke (or perhaps the hand of God) she sees this cottage for sale (that didn't even have a for sale sign....hubby happened upon it on the Internet that day while looking for boats) and the next thing you know - she drags her husband down and they call the realtor and bingo - it's theirs!

So now the dream can continue!

Another reason this is good day (besides being Friday and all) is because the weather is great - warm - sunny - breezy - summery! And nothing puts me in a better mood than a day like that!

On the challenge front - things are good. I'm not doing that well on the exercise part - but I'm sticking to the rest pretty well and holding steady at the 7 pound loss. Haven't graced the drive though (or doors) of a FF place and don't even miss it! Drinking the water and missing that when I don't. Lots of veggies with the garden finally ready to harvest! Small plate....some of the time - but getting used to smaller portions. I haven't even really been too conscious of what I eat...aside from just eating less and getting more fruits & veggies. Yet still...I'm losing. Slowly. But I'm losing.

My challenges in the weeks to come will focus more on the foods.

Hope y'all have great plans for this wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Who Will Get The Prize?

Allrighty! I did this fair and square. Assigned a number to each person who commented and then tossed the numbers n a hat. (well...actually it was a bowl.) Then I had my daughter pick one.

And the winner is...drum roll please.....Patti from attitude is everything!

So Patti, if you'll e-mail your address to me at this address:, your stopwatch will be on the way! I'll also include the Couch 2 5k program basics.

Thanks guys, not only for commenting to let me know you're there (we all like that, right?) but also for the kind words , encouragement and prayers you sent my way this week.

Back Home Finally!

As usual, we decided to spend an extra day at the lake. I returned home late last night. I'll be going over the comments from last week - put the names in a hat and pick the winner of the stop watch later today!

Our weekend was fabulous! My sister came a day early with her son and it was the perfect way for him to be with family and spend some quiet time before leaving for Teen Challenge on Monday. I have great confidence that this will be exactly what he needs.

My niece & her hubby were traveling back from a trip to Nova Scotia and also decided to drop by and spend a few nights. We had a full house all weekend (13 of us in a tiny cottage) but it was wonderful and I was sorry to see it end!

While there - my sis happened to spot a cottage that was for sale across the lake (our lake is small - so across the lake means we could shout to one another from our docks). She brought her hubby back - and they put a purchase offer in on it last night! I am so excited that she could actually have a cottage on our lake! That was the dream late hubby & I had years ago when we bought the place.

I must confess that I was not too good at following my challenge while away. I did do the exercise part (knew I would there!) but not so good at the water part. I forgot my case of bottled water and don't care for the taste of the well water there. I drank a lot of crystal light...not sure if that counts.... I didn't use a smaller plate - but I think I did okay on my portion sizes. Not much fruit though. But lots of veggies. Sounds not so bad, right? But there were tons of baked goods and I helped myself more frequently than I should have. Yet still, surprisingly I didn't gain anything. I'm down 7 pounds since I started so I guess I'm actually doing something right.

I didn't start a new challenge for this week because I was at the lake and frankly didn't give it much thought. I think I'll spend the rest of this week getting back on track with he water and fruit and begin a new challenge next Sunday.

One tidbit of encouragement that made my weekend (!) Two people asked if I was losing weight. Both said my butt looked smaller. Yeah! My shorts are feeling looser than they have all summer. 7 pounds isn't a whole lot - but hearing those comments has made me feel more committed than ever now!

Hope you all had a great weekend - stop back to find out who the winner is later too!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Thank you for the virtual hugs and very real prayers that went out regarding my nephew. The intervention was a total success! When we all arrived my nephew was adamant about not going to Teen Challenge. He was insistent that he could beat this on his own (c'mon...beat heroin on your own??) We sat down outside on my sister's patio and awkwardly wondered what we should do or how we should begin. The pizza she had ordered arrived and we all grabbed a piece nervously not knowing what to do.

Finally my sister spoke up and told her son that all of of us there loved him, and had some thoughts we wanted to share. One by one we read the letters we'd prepared. It was highly, yet very inwardly emotional. Tears slipped silently down cheeks, sometimes the reader would have to pause to regain composure. My nephew sat stonefaced as we each shared our thoughts. Every letter was excellent and each built upon the next in a way that only could've been orchestrated by God.

When we finished my nephew cleared his throat and then spoke. He told us that we were all right. He did need help outside from himself and that yes, he would go to Teen Challenge because in the deepest part of his heart - he knows it is the only way.

It was a good evening. To see my family all gathered around - willing to drop whatever it was they had planned that evening - to come together for one of our own was incredible. The love and compassion in the air could not be ignored as it enveloped us last night in a circle of unity.

My sister, her husband and my nephew are going to join us at the lake this weekend. It will be bittersweet as we spend time with her son because after Monday we will not see him for some time. He is frightened. My sister is nervous. But I know that this is the best thing. We all know that God has big plans for my nephew. I am confident of this.

Again...thank you for your prayers.

This afternoon I'm heading for the lake with grandbaby. My daughter and her hubby are traveling in from Massachusetts tonight and I want to be there to welcome them. The other two daughters & their significant others will meet us there Friday. Hubby will arrive Saturday. I'm looking forward to a wonderful, final weekend of summer and family.

The exercise will come easy there. I never tire of walking around the lake. I'll have to work on the portion control but I think I can do it.

I'll be checking the comments from all week including today when I return on Monday. Good luck to all and have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Random thoughts on the Big Hole.

Job interview over.

Perfunctory thank you note is mailed.

Now the waiting game.

Tum de dum dum (can you hear my fingers drumming?) At least they aren't rifling through the cupboard looking for something to eat.

Tonight is the intervention. I've written my letter and said a whole lot of prayers. The rest is up to my nephew. And God, I'm hoping he chooses to go for help. It hurts to see my sister go through this. Thank you for the kind seems no one is immune to the ravages of drug addiction these days. Everyone is trying to fill up that big void in their lives with something. If not drugs...then alcohol, pornography, shopping, food. Gasp! Did I say food?

Face it. When we feel empty inside - the most logical thing to do is to try to fill ourselves up. With anything! I've been tying to re-wire those synapses in my brain to crave new things and abolish old habits. In the process I've dusted off my bible and invited God to fill up some of that emptiness. You know what? It's making a difference. In more areas than just the food. (confession here - Lora struggles in several areas.) But things are changing. And it's a good feeling. The less in control I am - the more control I have over trouble spots in my life. Does that makes sense to any of you or am I just rambling today?

Now if we can convince that dear nephew of mine to look elsewhere to fill the void (as in up) it will have been a good day.

I'm off for a walk right now. Summer's flying by and I want to eek every glorious moment left that I can! I'll check in tomorrow before I head for the lake. (Don't forget to leave those comments so your name gets in the hat!) And even though winter is coming - Cto5k works great on a treadmill too!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Good Day!

Today has been a productive day! I was able to glean a good bunch of peaches from an old peach tree that is growing wild in the hedge row. They're small, but sweet. It was nice to be out in the morning sun and as I ambled through the edge of the woods I spied a clearing where the kids used to have a "camp site" when they were little. The big old round sand stones are still pretty much in a circle where they left them so many years ago. I never let them make a real fire (!) but kids are pretty good at pretending. I paused for a few minutes to bask in the sunshine that was peeking through the trees and remember fast they grow up.

The thistles are starting to pop up and I made a mental note to go out and grab some this fall. I don't know what for....every year I think I'm going to do something with them...but I never do. Maybe paint them gold and make a miniature Christmas tree or something. Perhaps Martha Stewart will have some ideas. (Another mental note ~ pick up a Martha Stewart magazine.)

I also came across a lone apple tree left over from the remnant of an orchard that used to belong to the old farm next door. They actually look pretty big right now, smooth and no worm holes (yet) so I made another mental note to pick some when they ripen a little more.

Hubby brought some big zucchinis home from the garden at the other house last night so I spent the better part of the afternoon making zucchini bread. I'll bring a loaf to the lake this weekend and freeze the rest to savor on a winter afternoon with a cup of coffee if someone should come to call.

I'm getting ready to head out for a walk after I finish this post. (Part of that daily exercise I've incorporated into this week's challenge.) Speaking of which - is going quite well! The water has become almost habit and I actually crave it now. I don't think about fast food anymore. With the garden coming into production phase - there's no lacking of fresh veggies. And the fruit is so tasty this time of year that I'm craving that too. The exercise is going to be the hardest thing for me. Because if I miss a day I tend to want to throw in the towel as a day becomes two...then three... I need to work on that all or nothing mentality. I've lost the 7 pounds that I regained over the past few months and my shorts are fitting better than they have all summer.

On the family front....a few more details since this is pretty much an anonymous blog anyway.... my sister just found out that her son is using heroin. He's 20 and has had some rough times these past few years. He did a stint in rehab for pot and alcohol but relapsed. This time the family is staging an intervention tomorrow evening. She has things all lined up for him to go to a place called "Teen Challenge" which will (Lord willing) help him get on the right track and pull his life together.

Please keep us all in prayer. That we say the right things and that he receives what we're saying with love and understanding.

I have a job interview tomorrow for another *sigh* long term sub position. I need the money...but would much rather have something permanent that I can count on in the winter months when hubby's business slows down to almost a halt. And who knows if I'll even get this job?? (more prayers please?)

Okay - I need to get my loaves out of the oven and my exercise underway! A good day to all and thanks for the warm thoughts.

Ooh! And don't forget about the give away!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Okay blog buddies ~ here's the deal with my give-away!

I will be monitoring comments this week. At Midnight next Monday (EST in the US) I will record all the names of those who commented and put them in a hat. I'll draw one name and that lucky person will get a stop watch as well as a printout on the Couch to 5 K program.

If you aren't interested in revving yourself up to run 5 kilometers (3.11 miles) the stop watch also comes in real handy to time yourself doing little 60 second sprints sporadically during your walking regime.

I'll be away starting Thursday until next Monday - so feel free to comment on any posts between today and Thursday. We're heading off to the lake and as you computer down there....

I know this is a short post today.....we are having pretty serious crisis in my sister's family and I have much on my plate right now trying to help. Please keep us all in prayer - especially my sister and nephew who will be coming to the lake with us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Blog Party!

It's my turn to get in the fun with our Summer Blog Party!

I will be giving away a stop watch (same as the one I use) that comes in real handy when following the Couch to 5k program.

I have been away all weekend but will post more details tonight or tomorrow! (I'm off to church right now and then over to the other house to clean up after our family reunion.)

Be sure to check in tomorrow and I'll let you know how you can win!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rambling Thoughts.....

The fruits & veggies are going down (as in...I'm eating them!) I'm actually enjoying the fresh fruit which seems to be satisfying my sweet tooth. The water is second nature now. Of course I know that I'll always have to keep at it because it's the easiest habit to let go by the wayside. The smaller plate....sometimes I still forget to actually use it - but I have been consciously putting less on the plate and keeping it filled with veggies is helping too. As for the fast food - not been a problem. I think it was almost more out of boredom than anything else that kept me going there.

Next week's challenge for myself picks up where I left off a month ago. My exercise. For those of you who know me - I started the Couch 2 5K program and got myself to running 21 minutes without stopping. Not bad for a grandma. But the heat set in and I got lazy. No other excuse. Just plain lazy. So starting next week I'm hitting the road again. I'll have more details on that later.

Next week I'm also jumping in the Summer Blog Party with my own give away! More details on that to follow too!

Speaking of summer....has anyone in this hemisphere noticed the subtle changes that August brings? I mean - it's still officially summer here for two more months - but already I've noticed that it's getting darker sooner and the night air has that familiar nip that means fall is on its heels. I always hate to see summer end. I was born in the wrong climate. I was meant to live near an ocean....with palm trees. Alas, I live in upstate New York near Lake Ontario which translates to the dreaded lake effect snow. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on the dock at the lake in anticipation of the whole summer looming ahead. And now....Labor Day weekend is almost here and summer is about to wind down.

Okay...and why am I lamenting about all this now? Not sure. It's just something I always seem to do this time of year. Sorry (!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back from the Lake :-(

A new week (albeit a bit late - as I've just arrived home from the lake).

The bad news... I was a little lax in keeping with my challenges. I didn't use the smaller plate (mainly because with 6 of us there and mealtimes being somewhat hectic I just plain forgot.) Did I drink all the required water? Not sure. I didn't have my Brita Bottle with me to keep track. But I did try to down a glass everytime I passed the sink - and I downed a fair share of bottled water as well. I know I drank way more than I normally would have.

The fruit & veggie thing - actually that worked out well because we went into town on Saturday and bought some zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes & cucumbers to grill for dinner that evening. And I wasn't even remembering my the new challenge I'd given myself! And then Sunday one of our lake neighbors came by with some fresh melon and peaches for us!

The good news? I'm down another pound. And without really trying it seems!

Today I ate some mellon with my lunch. Tonight I'n bringing some corn on the cob, fresh sugar snap peas (to eat raw) and the rest of the grilled veggies we didn't finish at the lake to go with whatever meat hubby decides to grill over to the new house. We're going to have a campfire and eek out what's left of the nice summer nights now that the rain has subsided for a few days.

I'll admit it's getting tricky to juggle all these new challenges - but honestly - the water has become almost habit and I actually crave it now (they say that your sense of thirst is heightened as your body gets used to more water) and I'm finding this to be true. And the fast food thing - don't miss it. I truly don't!

Seeing my weight drop - almost effortlessly - as I incorporate these few changes into my lifestyle is very encouraging!

I know some of you have jumped on the bandwagon and are doing this along with me. This is great! Please keep commenting with your own progress reports....your challenges my differ from mine (we all have our weak spots) but the end result is the same. We're conquering our bad habits, incorporating new ones and changing the way we live. Bit by bit. Day by day. Pound by pound. How cool is that?!