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Bess goes to the spa

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. emoticon 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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/27/2010 10:12PM

    Glad you enjoyed yourself...sounds heavenly!!

Have a great week!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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EDWINA172 6/27/2010 1:49PM

    Sounds like you had a lovely time. Well deserved! Enjoy your summer.

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SHEILA1505 6/27/2010 1:26PM

    Oh Bess - you can also have a Manual Lymph Drainage facial and that clears the sinuses wonderfully well.
I am so glad that you enjoyed everything - also love the Hot Stone and the Reflexology sessions. I am not a spoiled brat though - I go to two of the best local beauty schools where treatments are a fraction of the cost of salons - and I get a pensioners discount too. Sometimes (as earlier this year) I am invited to participate as a "model" for exams or for research projects - 10 sessions of non-surgical face lift - worked wonders but I wonder how long the effects will last.

I hope you manage to commit yourself to a treatment once a month - you have earned it!


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WEDDWT 6/27/2010 1:23PM

    Go for it! Schedule one for the Fall season now!

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DEBNICU 6/27/2010 11:39AM

    How fantastic that you gave yourself that wonderful reward. I need to think of a reward. I just reached the 30# gone mark and when I lose another 6.7# I will be in onederland.
Way to treat yourself.

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JKTENTATIVE 6/27/2010 11:13AM

Sounds heavenly....think it is getting to be spa time for me too!

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JLITT62 6/27/2010 11:13AM

    OMG, how have you lived this long with a massage? Sadly, it's been a really, really long time since my last professional one (like a couple of years), but I just love massages. My mom doesn't like them -- doesn't like to be touched -- I don't understand!

Glad you had a good time. Looks heavenly.

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SLIMTHICK2 6/27/2010 9:23AM

    I was treated to a spa once totally enjoyed it. Yours is so much better. I loved the outdoor photos. Good that you treated yourself.

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SANDRAFIVE 6/27/2010 9:12AM

    Since I only live 20 mins. from Williamsburg you got me to wondering why I haven't been there in a while. Thanks for the reminder, it is a great place. emoticon

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crazy busy so I'm in a holding pattern

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/22/2010 3:50PM

    Sounds like you are enjoying life...what a great thing! Keep up the great work, and don't worry about the weight loss...concentrate on making healthy choices and establishing healthy you are...and the weight is bound to come off eventually!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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250STRONG 6/22/2010 9:26AM

    What a great write up. I'm so happy to have stumbled onto it. It is wonderful that you enjoy your job and it sounds like you are making the best of a busy time. Hope you get some cooler weather.

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CRAVE_FREE 6/22/2010 8:58AM

    Wow it sounds like so much fun! I have to say I am envious of you. Of course you are worn out from it all, but what a fun way to get worn out! I'm impressed that you have continued your conscious eating and trying for whole grains during the craziness. It shows that you have made the commitment to a healthy lifestyle!

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SHEILA1505 6/22/2010 8:21AM

    No wonder you are looking forward to your Friday massage - and you will have earned it


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JLITT62 6/22/2010 8:04AM

    I am tired just reading what you're doing! Glad you enjoy all the activities; sounds like you're doing great.

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Good visit with my dr.

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/22/2010 3:44PM

    Just catching up on my blog reading...

So happy to hear of your good news from the doctor...and I wish you and Himself the best in all your health issues!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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WEDDWT 6/16/2010 1:11PM

    for reducing your Rx - emoticon
for DH's eyes - prayers offered up

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250STRONG 6/16/2010 9:42AM

    Sounds great. Congrats on lowering your meds!

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EARTHSEAME 6/16/2010 9:38AM

    emoticon on reducing the blood pressure meds and emoticon for your husband's vision.

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SHEILA1505 6/16/2010 8:27AM

    Well done, you, on getting good feedback from the Doc.

Hugs and strength for your DH's eyes. Thinking of you with love.

Now that you have cleaned out the choc chips you can't eat them again - so back on the whole grains!


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JLITT62 6/16/2010 7:41AM

    Absolutely prayers for continued good vision!

And next time you find yourself in the throes of a search & destroy mission (hey, just thought that one up -- I like it, really describes it), you can have it as long as you drop & give me 10. At least that's what one of my spark buddies told me. So far it's working for me!

I am hoping I can ingrain the habit firmly enough before TOM rolls around again, because that's when the S&Ds start for me.

I think there's a blog here . . .

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A week of whole grains

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?) -

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/14/2010 5:03PM

    WTG...DEFINITELY a SUCCESSFUL week!! Congrats on your weight loss!!

Keep up the great work...YOU CAN DO IT!!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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JLITT62 6/13/2010 3:45PM

    I made chocolate hummus this week. You can google "chocolate hummus recipe". And it was good -- even DH seemed to enjoy it. A fair amount of sugar, but still far less sweet than nutella. I'll definitely be making it again!

Great job on adding in the grains. I find it really helps.

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BRADIA 6/13/2010 9:32AM

    I love whole grains, so I need to try a whole one or two weeks on them ans see what happens. Good for your loss.


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SHEILA1505 6/13/2010 7:43AM

    It's amazing how easy it is to get used to a salad lunch without any grains - I do add seeds though quite often. Also being conscious this week of sodium - have managed to keep it extremely low and never have added salt to my food but shocked at how much sodium lurks in general!
Since I discovered the peanut allergy I have no temptation in the form of PNB or Nutella :)and just love my berries sharp, without any form of sweetener

You are doing so well - love the 2.5 loss this week

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35 years ago today

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOOBIE0902 6/13/2010 2:20PM

    What a wonderful story!!! Rremember "The Wonder Years"......I didnt grow up in the city but it was definately cookie cutter suburbia.

Now we live in the country and I'll never live anywhere else. I love the peace and quiet too much to ever leave (except for another place in the country).


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ALIMESSA 6/12/2010 10:17PM

    Interesting story...I'm all for a good, fun camping trip...but only for a vacation type thing. I like the city life, even though I think there's lots we could all learn from the country way of life.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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JLITT62 6/12/2010 9:21AM

    Another vote to see the house as it is today!

I think I'm a city gal at heart. Or at least a surburbia gal. I have had a fantasy of living out in the boonies with the animals, plus chickens and maybe goats -- but the problem is my love of travel and eating out. Can be hard enough to travel now when you've got to pay someone to look after all the animals, can you imagine with goats & chickens?

We talked about buying land somewhere out in the Hill Country but never did.

Good for you for living out your dream.

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MYFEETHURT 6/12/2010 8:54AM

  Great story...really great story. I'd love to see more pics. I envy your country living. Guess that's why I love camping so much. O.K. You've made me want to go take a walk in some woods today. LOL Enjoy your day. mary

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