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?!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Off to the Lake!

With this week winding down and Lora here claiming victory over her self made challenges - I'm heading off to the lake!

The water issue will be easy there. And yes, we have small plates at the cottage. Fast food? None down there. Hubby's going with me so we'll be taking the expressway all the way and no fast food places on that route anyway!

And now - a confession of sorts - though I don't really consider this a relapse....I stopped at McDonald's today. But I didn't order anything bad! I had to go to the rental property we have to do some last minute tidying before the tenants (aka college kids) arrive tomorrow and realized that I was missing lunch and my tummy was rumbling. So I got a Southwest grilled Chicken Salad. It's been a while since I had one and I felt strong enough to resist the urge to order a Big Mac & Fries. And you know what? When I got to the drive up widow I didn't even want anything else - except the salad.

When I arrive home Sunday (or Monday if we decide to stay an extra day) I'll have started my challenge for week four. Which is.....drum roll please....

Make sure I eat at least 4-5 servings of fruit and/or vegetables every day.

That's a biggie for me because I happen to be a carbohydrate loving gal - and if truth be told - I don't eat a whole lot of fruit. I'm hoping this will move me towards a healthier - cleaner way of eating. I can certainly use the fiber and the extra nutrition found in fruits and veggies.

Have I mentioned that I'm feeling much less bloated these days? I think it's ll the extra water I've been drinking - which is slowly become second nature to me. Which has been my whole intent here..... little changes - over time - that become a way of life.

Y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hanging in there!

I know I've used this pic before - but it bears repeating.

The small plate has been used for every meal and it truly makes a difference. I've gotten some great suggestions from some of you with methods to use when the small plate is not available (ie. when I'm somewhere besides home.)

~ create an imaginary border around the plate and only eat what's inside it

~ don't let any of my food touch

~ move my food to a salad or bread plate and box the rest to take home

Good thinking guys! Thanks! It's amazing how the power of suggestion can actually control what we eat and how full we think we are. I've been satisfied with what's on my little plate and done quite well. And of course all that water has been helping too. I've found that downing a glass before I eat helps make the tummy feel fuller too.

The water has still been my biggest struggle. Only because I'm forgetful. But I'm getting better!

The fast food hasn't been an issue at all. I don't even notice the Golden Arches now when I'm driving by. Grand baby never misses them though. He'll ask...."Gramma do we have any money?" And I'll say "No. Sorry babe." To which he responds "Okay. No McDonalds today....maybe tomorrow." Gotta love three year olds!

I hope that any of you who are following along with this are finding as much success as I am. For me - I'm finding that by looking at these small changes as permanent changes my whole mindset has somehow altered itself. I'm not denying myself - I'm choosing to do things differently.

And that has made the difference.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Challenge #3.....

Well, I've managed to get through the second week my personal challenges and I must say - I thought drinking the required amount of water would be the easiest of all challenges. After all - that one required putting something in my mouth - not the other way around. But it's going to be a struggle until it becomes second nature. I did manage to do pretty well most days. And I've avoided all ff joints for 2 weeks now. That actually was easier to do than I thought. And I don't even miss it.

Which brings me to week three. My personal challenge for this week is to use a smaller plate at every meal. I was doing that for a while and it worked pretty well. The problem smaller plate was too small (I don't have an in-between size in my set of dishes so I was using a saucer!) Now that was small! I had to crowd my food onto it just to get anything at all which was difficult to say the least. So I got myself a medium size plate (it measures 8 1/2 inches across) vs the normal 10 1/2 inches across... Which might not seem like a big difference - but you math geniuses out there would beg to differ, right?

Sparing you the details, the area of my smaller plate is approximately 60 square inches. The larger plate has an area of 86 square inches. That's 26 less square inches of space to put food. And if I can incorporate this one little change into my life permanently - I know it will make a difference over time. And I'm banking on the fact that once I've done this enough times - I'll automatically know what amount of food I should be eating so that when I'm at a place where only larger plates are available - I'll still be able to keep my food intake at the smaller level.

I know all of this seems too easy. Like little bitty baby steps - but it's really working for me so far. Just having to concentrate on one new thing each week is keeping me from feeling overwhelmed.

I'm sure it'll get a bit more complicated as each new week brings a new challenge - but I also realize that with each new week - it's one more week that I'll have been doing the previous challenges which have to get easier with time, right? RIGHT!

So here I am on the cusp of week three.

  • No fast food

  • 64 oz. of water ever day

  • eat all meals on my smaller plate

Yep. I can do this.

Friday, August 8, 2008


How am I doing on this week's challenge - drinking all that water? Actually - pretty good! I have been filling my 32 oz. Brita Bottle twice daily and sipping though out the day. I was going to try to set my computer to remind me (as suggested by Cammy) but alas - being the technologically challenged ace that I am - couldn't figure out how.

I have found that drinking a tall glass with my meals helps. But I still need to make sure I get in my milk (which I usually did with dinner ) now I'm saving it for bedtime. Got to have that calcium at my age...

I still have not succumbed to the fast food beast either. Taking this step by step is working for me so far. The few pounds that had crept back on this summer have left again. Good riddance!

It's raining cats & dogs outside right now (and yes...the tent is still set up) but at least it's standing! My sisters & I are going to try to squeeze in a camping trip in early September (in a camper). That'll be a challenge. When the four of us get together (sister in law included in that count) we tend to eat as much as we talk. Hopefully by then I'll have enough good habits going that it won't be as difficult as I'm imagining. I've got a month to instill some more good habits.

I've not much else to say today...would rather see what the rest of you are up to.

TGIF and have a great weekend :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Has anyone else been plagued with all the rain this summer? It seems to have rained more than I can ever remember! It clears up fast and gets hot (humid!) again quickly - but still! Enough already!

Our last night in the mountains it began raining as soon as we got in our tent and continued until about 11:00 AM (which meant I had to take the tent down in the rain and set it back up again when I got home so it could dry out.) Setting it up the second time went much smoother without the aid of a 3 year old...

Well -I decided to leave it up all day Monday to give it a good airing. And then yesterday I thought.... "better take that tent down could rain..." And no sooner had the thought crossed my mind and the thunder rumbled and it poured. I mean POURED!

So this morning I look out the window and the sun is shining (yay) but the tent had collapsed in the night! (I guess maybe I should've let grandbaby help me set it up the second time too!)

So now I must set the darn thing up yet a third time and let it air out. Gheesh!

On a more positive note - I got all my water in yesterday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Water Anyone?

You know....I almost felt like I was taking the easy road by making my week 2 challenge be to drink 64 oz. of water a day. Giving up fast food seemed like a feat. Just drinking water isn't all that hard.

Or is it?

It's day three of this challenge and I still haven't managed to do it! When I was working the bottle sat on my desk as a constant reminder. But being home I just get side tracked. So I guess I'm not feeling like such a slacker anymore by deciding to incorporate this new habit into my lifestyle. Because it's something I'm truly going to have to work on until it becomes ingrained. It's not as easy s I thought it would be.

Here are few more reasons to make this a habit in your lifestyle as well. Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. And it can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

And get this - for those of us women who feel a little "fuzzy in the head" (you know...we get scatterbrained and forget things at times?) well....not getting enough water could be the culprit.

So I'm trying to figure out a way to make sure I get my 8 glasses. Mizfit wears 8 bangle bracelets on one wrist and moves them one by one to the other wrist for each glass of water she drinks. I've heard others set their watch to beep 8 times though out the day as a reminder.

I'm going to have to come up with a strategy that work for me. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back Home....

I'm back and I survived the camping trip. No bear encounters (though a few were sighted by neighboring campers and I heard one walking through the site while huddled in the "safety" of my tent). I also managed to make it straight through with no stopping for fast food! I brought a tuna sandwich and grandbaby & I ate our lunch when we arrived at the campground.

The only thing that was a challenge was trying to set up a 21 year old canvas tent with poles with a 3 year year old "helping". He & I were the first to arrive (his mommy had to work and wouldn't be arriving till after midnight so he rode shotgun with me.)

Late hubby & I bought the aforementioned tent when we were newlyweds. (Dome tents hadn't been "invented" yet....) Over the years we progressed to a pop-up camper, a motor home and then a cottage. So this past weekend's trip was reverting full-circle. I hadn't set that tent up in years and it was hard to remember which pole went where and what to do first. And of course my helpful little grandson was re-arranging everything as fast as I could lay things out and when I said "hold this for gramma and don't let go!" - of course he let go. The people camping in the site across the street sat in their lawn chairs and watched me flounder for over an hour. I'm glad they were amused.

After it was finally set up, my daughter & her hubby from Massachusetts rolled in. She has been a camper since birth and was delighted to be finally camping again. Her hubby on the other hand had never camped a day in his life and looked at the tent with hesitation. My other daughter and her hubby arrived later and set up their tent next to ours and we all managed to survive the weekend. In spite of the hard ground. In spite of the rain. I spite of the fact no one remembered matches to light the stove the next morning for our coffee. (I did not resort to borrowing any from the lawn chair people who had watched the show the previous day. I walked a few sites down where no one knew how inept I was at setting up tents!)

My sister-in-law's place was a few miles down the road and we spent most of the time there with all of the family that had come in for the reunion. We had representatives from Oregon, California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and various part of new York State. All from one set of siblings and their offspring. It was fun and the weekend flew by too fast as always. And of course...this being late hubby's family - there were memories and tears as stories were told, photos were passed around and old cassette tapes played of he and his brothers singing...

Moving on ~ week 2 has begun in my 12 week challenge and this week as I continue to boycott fast food - I am drinking 64 oz. of water daily. And as I promised....some interesting water facts!

There are many forms of metabolism going on in your body right now, but the one everyone is talking about it the metabolism of fat. This is actually something that the liver does when it converts stored fat to energy. The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs.
Unfortunately, another of the liver's duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly. If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, lowering its total productivity. It then can't metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently as it could when the kidneys were pulling their own weight. If you allow this to happen, not only are you being unfair to your liver, but you're also setting yourself up to store fat!

When you give your body all the water it needs, it will get rid of what it doesn't need. It gets rid of the water it was holding onto in your ankles and your hips and thighs, maybe even around your belly. You are excreting much more than you realize. Your body figures it doesn't need to save these stores anymore; it's trusting that the water will keep coming, and if it does, eventually, the flushing (of both the body and the potty) will cease, allowing the human to return to a normal life. It's true. This is called the "breakthrough point." (Why Drinking Water Really
is the Key to Weight Loss by Maia Appleby)

I have a Brita Water bottle that I used to fill up twice daily when I was working and sip through out the day. But I've gotten lax and neglected it sorely these past few months. So this week's challenge for myself is to make sure I fill that thing up 2 times every day and drink it though out the 24 hour period. That'll equal 64 ounces and is what's required to keep the body running efficiently. (I've actually read that you should drink an extra 8 ounces for each 25 pounds you're overweight..... but for now I'm sticking to my 64 ounces.)

So now I have two things I'm working on. The fast food ban and the water. Ten more to go till a healthier me!

Hope you all had a great weekend and meet your own challenges this week!