Sunday, June 27, 2010
The past 2 weeks have been crazy busy. Besides it being the end of the fiscal year ... where you have to spend all your money, but at least as much as you got last year, and not more than you got, and not more than you'll get next year while also paying all the bills ... it is also the beginning of the vacation season so all the children are out of school and their mothers are looking for something to do ... and the vacationers are showing up wanting beach reads while they're at their cottage. Oh. And yes. We had the last of the school tours, because ... the children didn't get out of school till last week. Yup. crazy busy.
And as I wound things up, hit my targets, got my summer staff settled in - the lure of a real reward ... a Spa Day reward grew way beyond my ability to resist. I have some good things to talk about and share that are weight related, and I will, with another blog post, but this reward was for a job well done in my whole life and here's the Cook's tour.
We began here, in a shady parking spot at the Williamsburg Inn in my favorite tourist town: Colonial Williamsburg. Nothing anybody ever says about it being a reconstruction (It's fake! It's not real) will ever dim the delight I find in this wonderful brick covered bit of Virginia, and American, history. I seriously heart this place and visit it every chance I get.
My gf S and I always enjoy a shady walk among the glorious gardens.
These fabulous wisteria vines inspired thoughts of knitted cables.
Cool fountains tempted us to linger outdoors
Obviously we weren't the only one enjoying this lovely garden.
Inside everything was all cream and tan wood
My locker came stocked with goodies and I quickly took advantage of them.
I had never had a massage before and this was a sampler massage - 60 minutes of the different types of massages the spa offers. My favorite was the hot stone massage and I will go back for a full hour of those, but the reflexology massage was a close second.
I've been fighting off a sinus infection (with anti-biotics) - had even considered postponing this because I was pretty tired, but after a glorious salad and lots of fruit infused water, Juanita came to get me for my facial. I mentioned my sinus issues and she worked an acupressure miracle on my head. By the time she was through with me I could feel everything opening up inside my head. In fact, I am so over that sinus infection I'm beginning to wonder if I never really had it. Thank you Juanita - I know where to go next time one of these things comes along.
Well. durn. Somewhere on this computer are edited photos of before and after bess - but I can't find them. the unedited ones are too dark to see. The visible shots are up on Facebook, though, so you can have a look there if you need visual proof.
Well - you'll just have to take my word for it. I felt fabulous - totally pampered and detoxed. And I'll write about that later.
The coming week is going to be similarly crammed - heck - the whole summer will be - but I can think back on this sweet day of relaxation whenever I get stressed out and maybe, come fall, I'll treat myself to another one.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I live in a vacation area and summer is my busy time. We get extra summer help the way stores do at Christmas time. It's go go go all day long, especially this week, when we start up our special programs for children to keep them reading all summer long. This always coincides with our little town's summer festival and this year I was helping with that, as MC for the beauty pageants for just about every category of cute little child and pretty young girl you could imagine. This is small town america and every girl got a crown or a ribbon or flowers.
I know there are folk who hate beauty pageants but my own condemnation is reserved for the kind of thing where mothers doll their daughters up like prostitutes and tell them to shake their booty. There is another sort of pageant that isn't too different from playing dress up - where girls put on their prettiest dresses and come show their grandma and - call me shallow - but a cute child in a pretty dress will always make me smile. I think they are all the prettiest which is why I am not asked to be a judge. Since half of them have been through my story hour program for toddlers, they were pretty comfortable with me and 100% of the parents were sweethearts, though I hold out my own first place ribbon for the daddy who brought his 2 year old up on stage with balloons for all the little ones and spent the next 10 minutes leaping to the top of the tent to bring them back down, after wee hands had let them go. Talk about a melt your heart moment. Think Lake Woe-begone and you'll have an idea of what Saturday morning was like.
Of course I had to take in the fair afterwards and since the weather was the ubiquitous hundred degrees in the shade the town council must order up every year for this street fair, I was utterly wiped out on Sunday. Did nothing but eat watermelon and blueberries and drag myself one shady spot to another. it is Hot Hot Hot here in Virginia 2010 and if we make a corn crop it will be due to genetic experimentation to make a strain that grows without water. We haven't had rain in 10 days and each of those 10 days has kissed the 100 degree mark. Even wire grass is crisping beneath this relentless sunshine.
Barely back on my feet again Monday morning I was gearing up for the kick off program for our summer reading club. We always start the program with a magic show, if we can find a good magician and yesterday's was a real treat. He not only managed to use books from our collection in his program but let slip how good he thought the collection was - an unexpected little compliment that topped off a stellar program with a capacity crowd. You know you're doing something right when you forget to put the advertisement in the local paper but still get a sell out audience.
Today it's all about pirates and the audience is 6-10 year olds. There will be stories and a pirate song and a pirate craft and a treasure hunt in the library that requires reading and using the catalog. And there will be a treasure chest waiting for them when they get back to the meeting room. Tomorrow is the wee ones story hour that goes year around. And by golly, after that I am going to crash.
Oh - yes. and some of my staff and I are doing a self conducted drawing class on Monday's at noon. I work in a really really fun place. Oh. I am the boss in a really really fun place. A job really doesn't get better than that.
So where has that left my whole grain high nutritional eating plan? Well. Hmm. Not too bad. Last week there was chinese food for dinner one night and a white bread sub sandwich at a business working lunch meeting and crab cakes on white buns at the festival. There's a penalty to pay for eating the more processed flour products, at least, for me there is. I had some sugar cravings throughout the week. And who would know that eating half a watermelon, albeit a small one, was THAT many calories. Ahh well - no weight loss - but no weight gain.
This week I am doing a little better because the truth is - I prefer these whole grains. My order of whole wheat pastry flour arrived and if it ever cools off enough to crank up the oven I will bake some breads and see what recipes I like the best.
Yes. It's crazybusy time for me and in a week or so the company will begin arriving. Then it will be crazier busy time. And here I sit, with a huge smile on my face, because, obviously, I like it.
Hope you are liking your summer projects.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
who agreed with me that I can cut my BP meds in half and if, after a few months, I'm still smack on target, I can go off them. That has to be a plus. We caught up on a lot of other old business with the upshot that I will be working with a physical therapist in about 2 weeks, to help me with some exercise therapy. I suffer with loose long floppy ligaments. I don't get stiff muscles ever. But I do tear and injure because, as a friend of mine said - I can do it wrong 40 ways. The goal is sustainable exercise without issues - like last week's sciatica flare-up.
In other less cheerful medical news, Himself, who has struggled with detached retinas in both eyes the past few years, is bleeding from his good eye. We're back to the doctor today for him. All prayers for his stabilizing and continued vision are Most Welcome.
We're having unusually hot weather this month and it's sticky hot too but yesterday and this morning have at least brought some good showers. Corn around the edges of the fields is stunted but the bulk of it will flourish with this welcome and necessary rain. Early beans are sighing in relief too. Bracing ourselves for the return of Hot Hot Hot tomorrow.
I fell off the whole grain wagon yesterday - due to circumstances, not temptation - but only at lunch and don't you know - the sweet craving was back instantly. I was pawing the shelves for sweet last night. I found 12 ... what a joke! ... yup 12 chocolate chips in a little twist of a bag among the baking things. And I ate them too. but what WAS I thinking to not use up those last 12 chips in whatever it was I was cooking .... unless Himself has been snacking too.
Anyway - It's nice to see my "theory" confirmed - that if I eat refined grains I will probably snickersnack on sweets and not count them because ..."It was only 12 chocolate chips!!" And that's what i want to get a handle on.
In to work early today. Counting on being back here again, tomorrow.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Well - I certainly harvested the rewards of a diet rich in whole grains. There was a 2.5 lb weight loss this week and I am wondering if the two week climb had anything to do with hidden salt. Because 2.5 lbs in one week is a lot of lbs. to drop from such a small change.
Of course, I know switching from whole grains ... and limiting that to only 5 servings ... which turns out to be the new recommendation for women 51+ (hey, who knew?) - www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/grains_amo
would certainly make a change in the body chemistry. What I didn't realize was how differently the puzzle pieces would fit together. I've made the whole grain switch once before and found it really difficult because of the extra time it took to prepare the few whole grains I knew anything about. This time around I found bulgar - which does take time but hey - it's just soaking, not actually cooking or hanging around a kitchen making sure it doesn't burn. You don't have to flavor it like tabbouleh - it's delicious with pesto! And there is a commercially prepared whole wheat bread that I like alright. I've ordered in some WW pastry flour though, and I'm going to try baking my own bread with that - to see if I find something I really like.
The other thing is that I was able to satisfy myself with meals that contained zero grains. I don't have to have crackers or rolls with a salad lunch. I may - but I don't have to. I did double - and sometimes triple up on vegetables with my own home cooked dinners but that was part of the plan anyway. Add more vegetables, eat only whole grains, zero added sugars.
As for the added sugars - well, there were some products I indulged in this past week - one sweet spoonful of Nutella, and a white chocolate peanut butter spread that I am sure also has sugar in it. But otherwise I stayed away from the sweets. Yes. There were a few twinge moments - but I was aware of them and passed. Fortunately, blueberries this summer are absolutely delicious. I am eating 1-2 cups of them a day. I really love them served with a mix of low-fat ricotta cheese, almond flavoring and a dash of splenda. A dash of sugar would work also and I may switch to that later, but right now I'm okay with the artificial.
So. This week was an unqualified success. I will continue this program - well - honestly - I'll continue it till It's habit, since nobody could actually criticize eating more vegetables and whole grains. As for the added sugar treats - well - I think the big issue is my definition of a treat worthy situation, but for now - I'll pass on the sugar and revisit everything on the 4th of July.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I have always loved stories so it was the greatest disappointment in my young life when I started school and found I couldn't read. This was before anybody diagnosed learning disabilities in an exploding baby boomer world where good little girls who paid attention and answered questions in class were promoted anyway because there wasn't room in one class of 49 children to add another. With hope and a prayer I was promoted for 2 years while my wise kind mother coached my reading through endless horrible afternoons of School in Summer. Then suddenly, at about 8, all the neurons made the necessary new pathways in my brain and I could read. I went from not reading at all to chapter books, bypassing the easy picture books completely. And the first book I read was Laura Ingalls Wilder's LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS.
I am sure if the first real book I had read was MARVIN GOES TO THE MOON I would have become a rocket scientist but instead I spent most of my childhood fantasy life wishing I, too, had been a little pioneer girl. I read those books. I wrote fan mail to the author, (who, alas, had died the year before) and I made up games about riding my covered wagon across prairies, taking my dolls and animals along with me. And I wished wished wished I'd been born in 1852 instead of 1952.
I met Himself in college - he had had a country upbringing and the stories he told of his adventures and freedom, and the confidence he carries with him to this day that he gained from knowing his environment was a safe place, only cemented my belief that In The Country Is Better ... for me, at least. After a few years of city living one of us confessed to the other that we wanted to run away and live in our own little house in the big woods.
And so we did.
With no jobs waiting for us and no rural skills (though he always spoke so confidently about things that I believed he knew ALL about doing EVERYTHING. ) we picked a spot in rural Virginia, along the river, near where his mother had grown up. We camped in the woods for 2 months in the WWII buddy tent my father in law landed on Normandy Beach with. With hand tools and a campfire we built a cabin and cooked our meals. We had such adventures to rival Laura Ingalls Wilder herself - though there were no hostile Indians there were two escaped bank robbers "last seen walking north along Highway 17" which was scary enough to thrill the most fantasy filled mind. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. We lost about 50 lbs between us that summer, since sometimes the rain put out the cooking fire before the food was cooked and we lived in our car sometimes, smoking cigarettes and working crossword puzzles.
But slowly and surely Himself built us a wee little round cabin and I learned how to bake bread in a dutch oven over a campfire. And by September we had a floor, walls and a roof AND an old wood burning cookstove Himself found in Bertha Hayes' old cow shed and brought home to me in triumph.
Though I come from many many MANY generations of city dwellers, I've never once regretted the move to the country. One year later we had our darling son. Three years later I was hired by the library board to type catalog cards. 35 years later we are here in our cozy home on the banks of the river with dogs at our feet and lives that enrich us and, we hope, our community.
I would love to go back and live it again, but I hardly think there's a thing I would change. Here's a photo of Himself and me, half-way through finishing that little house - with cousin Peter in between us.
Get An Email Alert Each Time BESSHAILE Posts