RUTHXG's SparkPeople Blog RUTHXG's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community My picture book! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It officially released in September! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The Spanish edition won an award! A silver medal in the Spanish Book category. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> "The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards bring increas... Sat, 11 Nov 2017 01:50:54 EST 28 lbs down & so happy Twenty-eight pounds off in 15 months! I'm a bit disappointed in not making it to 30 lbs, my Healthy Wage wager, by the deadline, but I've thought it over & decided to extend my regular payments for another six months (the only extension option) as an investment in myself--a time to lose the final 2 lbs, maybe more, & reestablish the healthy maintenance habits that will keep them off. At the end of the six months I'll get back more than half of what I will have put in since January 2016; $679 ... Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:49:08 EST Getting so close! At my sister's suggestion, I've started eating mostly protein & many fewer carbs than normal, to speed up loss in these last couple of weeks. I'm not a fan of Paleo as a long-term strategy (I'm mostly vegetarian), but I can do this for 10 days or so! <BR> <BR> It is kind of intoxicating to be spoken of as slim again & to have clothes fitting better. A sister is visiting & took a couple of photos of me yesterday; I keep looking at them because I can hardly believe that I'm finally almost ther... Tue, 11 Apr 2017 01:20:17 EST Relief, happiness First, X stopped harassing me. He dropped off the court-certified doc at my building on Thursday. Friday I took it to the other person who needs to sign; she'll get it back to me whenever she has time. Then I'll get my signature guarantee & let him know that he can pick it up in my entryway. Fortunately after he moved out, we changed all the locks in the common areas of the building, & I changed all my own locks. So that whole situation is under control. <BR> <BR> The national situation is a... Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:28:36 EST Ah, who knew Who knew I would need to process stuff in a private place right after becoming active here again? Sigh. Last night I dreamed of X; it was very unpleasant. I don't remember details, but I know I kept trying to avoid him. Somehow at one point he managed to kiss me on the lips through some kind of opening in a wall or door, like a letterbox. That's a crazy image, but in the dream I felt SO violated & enraged. <BR> <BR> The thing is, he's back in town & living with someone I know--who has taken ... Mon, 9 Jan 2017 15:31:28 EST In a hurry, but I'm back, at least for three months! By March 20, 2017, I need to make my Healthy Wage goal of a total loss of 30 lbs. I've got about 15 to go, so time to get serious! <BR> <BR> I still won't be able to post much here, as my focus needs to be on work, art, writing, & healthy activity. But the Spark fitness tracker is really useful to help motivate me to keep moving. I'm encouraged because after I gained a bit back in the fall, I LOST 1.4 lbs over Christmas/New Year's! So I know how to eat, i... Sat, 7 Jan 2017 14:36:15 EST PS: the 7-minute workout <link><BR>e-scientific-7-minute-workout/?_r=0 </link> <BR> <BR> This is one of my solutions for the exercise-distaste I wrote about in my New Year post! Keeping it short but challenging my whole body intensely. I got a nifty little timer that makes it super-easy to do each exercise for the requisite 30 seconds. And I printed out the blog post & am keeping it with the timer. <BR> <BR> I CANNOT do a pushup followed by a side rotation resting on my left h... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:53:16 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin', January Edition A week ago I made spicy Indonesian yam & peanut soup, a recipe from Anna Love's "Love Soup," which I got for Christmas. Food bloggers have posted the recipe online, so I don't have to type it out here. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>g/blog/table-talk-meatless-monday-indo<BR>nesian-yam-and-peanut-soup/article_6b8<BR>26532-3706-11e1-a2df-0019bb2963f4.html </link> <BR> <BR> In a word, yum! I used sweet potatoes instead of yams--fewer carbs & more vitamins. And the... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:45:05 EST Happy new year! And happy Seventh Day of Christmas! I always like to celebrate all twelve of them. <BR> <BR> I have definitely been thinking about my goals for 2014. I've been thinking longer term too. The thing is, I don't like tracking my food. I also have been feeling dislike for the main forms of exercise that are available to me--all but outdoor walking, which I love, but even there I've been rebelling against my normal outpace-everyone-else fast walking. <BR> <BR> At bottom this is about being tired ... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 17:19:56 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin', December 2013 Tonight I made spicy Indonesian Peanut Chicken, & it proved to be great comfort food on a COOOOLLLD winter night! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=926783 </link> <BR> <BR> This recipe is super-simple. I used 6 organic chicken thighs instead of one whole breast, so I increased everything else in the sauce. Since my grocery doesn't seem to carry Heinz chili sauce, I got a 10-oz can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos instead, & added a couple of dollops of... Mon, 30 Dec 2013 00:57:11 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' November-December bonus I made a Moroccan beet salad for Thanksgiving, & it was delicious! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>nd-beet-salad/ </link> <BR> <BR> Here's the deal: I have disliked red beets all my life, but I know beets are nutritious. This past spring at a workplace lunch with a Moroccan theme because we were entertaining a Dutch anthropologist author who works mostly in Africa (Cameroon actually--rather far from Morocco, but the food was good!), the caterer served a salad sh... Sun, 1 Dec 2013 23:06:08 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' November 2013 Thai-Inspired Pumpkin-Peanut Soup <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=155509 </link> <BR> <BR> This is another SparkRecipe, & another winner! I had gotten a pie pumpkin awhile back & was awaiting the moment & the right recipe to try something new with it. Was very happy to stumble across this recipe, as I love anything with peanuts & Thai flavors. <BR> <BR> I adapted it in several ways, of course. Besides the fresh-roasted pumpkin rather than canned, I used c... Sun, 10 Nov 2013 21:12:22 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 10 (I think!) Well, I've continued my besotted exploration of Moroccan food by trying out spicy carrot & chickpea tagine, a Sparkrecipe: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=358668 </link> <BR> <BR> I followed it exactly, multiplying all ingredients by 1.5 because I was going to take most of it to the home of some church friends who just had a new baby & wanted some leftovers for myself! (They are Nepali refugees, & the husband's aunt & grandmother live with them in th... Sun, 13 Oct 2013 00:16:23 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 10 (I think!) Well, I've continued my besotted exploration of Moroccan food by trying out spicy carrot & chickpea tagine, a Sparkrecipe: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=358668 </link> <BR> <BR> I followed it exactly, multiplying all ingredients by 1.5 because I was going to take most of it to the home of some church friends who just had a new baby & wanted some leftovers for myself! (They are Nepali refugees, & the husband's aunt & grandmother live with them in th... Sun, 13 Oct 2013 00:16:22 EST Trying it out <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Ta-daaaa! Even though I didn't have to assemble the elliptical, it has been some work to get everything together for it. Rented a truck & went out to pick it up as planned; it was a long drive, but the seller was nice, & my friend was so gracious & helpful. We wrestled it out of the truck & up a couple of small sets of steps into my condo, & then took the truck back to the lot. Dinner was yummy & my friend really ... Fri, 13 Sep 2013 17:40:35 EST Buying my elliptical! Today I did some more cogitating on the question of which elliptical to buy--read more reviews, considered my options. I could have bought a highly rated one for about $1,150 including delivery & assembly, & paid for it in 6 months with no interest. But I decided to check craigslist just in case, & found a very similar one, used just once (& of course already assembled), for $200! I read reviews of that model, & they were very positive; it has the longer adjustable stride that I need. And whe... Wed, 4 Sep 2013 19:45:08 EST Buying an elliptical! It just dawned on me today that once S moves out, I will have space for an elliptical! That room will be perfect. The guest rollaway bed is small & can be kept folded up when I don't have a guest. I will want to get a table for doing art & will keep supplies underneath it & in the wardrobe that's already in that room. There will be PLENTY of space left over for an elliptical. <BR> <BR> So I spent more time than I should have today scouting out possibilities online. Read lots of reviews & des... Wed, 7 Aug 2013 23:59:43 EST The next 7 weeks will tell me. I am in major reevaluation mode. Do I need to just accept where I am (164 lbs & BMI 23.5 today, well within normal though on the upper end) & focus on maintaining, or can I succeed in losing 14-15 lbs & THEN maintaining? I'm between 5'9" & 5'10" & I've been essentially maintaining between 155 & 165 for a couple of years now. A little chubbier than I'd prefer, but maybe this set point is very set, given my age. And maybe I'd prefer to stop failing at weight loss & start enjoying success at mai... Sat, 3 Aug 2013 15:07:21 EST Poetry & basil Last night I returned from a crammed but wonderful week in Boston, working on my writing with a very fine & generous poet, Brian Turner, at the Joiner Institute for the Study of War & Social Consequences. It was inspiring--exhausting & renovating at the same time. I stayed with friends & none of us got enough sleep (which was NOT because we were staying up late talking, but because we were overstimulated in a good way!), but we had rich hours sharing our poems & processing our lives. <BR> <... Sun, 30 Jun 2013 15:45:17 EST Oxygenated Sunday I spent Sunday afternoon clearing a raised bed of weeds so I could plant a few veggies I had bought! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> If everything thrives, I'll have Early Girl tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, sweet red peppers, & banana peppers--plus there are some huge chive plants & a couple of little lettuce plants that came up volunteer from my neighbor's plantings last year. <BR> <BR> And then I worked on my porch, gett... Wed, 19 Jun 2013 00:14:52 EST Protein powder question! I have posted this same question in the Starfish challenge discussion, but I want to throw it out here too, in hopes of figuring out a solution. It's about protein powder--specifically MRM whey protein powder, Dutch chocolate flavor. I haven't used protein powders in the past, but this one came highly recommended & I'm always on the lookout for ways to increase my protein without adding lots of sodium or sugar. This one is sweetened with stevia. I ordered a big container & really like it. It ... Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:26:05 EST GOODness The meeting with my spiritual director this morning was just what I needed. It included a contemplative prayer session in which I felt affirmed & blessed in my need to be alone in my home as part of my long-term healing from the many experiences of anger from those I loved & lived with. <BR> <BR> And I got in tons of exercise today--fast walking that really worked me. And I made one of my favorite (batch) dishes, peanut-garbanzo curry. <BR> <BR> S & I had a good talk after supper. Turns out... Wed, 5 Jun 2013 21:49:17 EST Dithering This is not related to weight or physical health, but I need to think it through & my blog seems a good place to do that. Please don't feel that you have to read this whole thing--though if you do & have some wisdom to share, that is welcome. <BR> <BR> Since September 2011 I've had a housemate, S. (Not a roommate--when you each have your own room, that college-era term can be misleading! <em>41</em> ) She is a few years younger than me, was divorced long ago & not in a current romantic re... Mon, 3 Jun 2013 18:32:29 EST My homemade muesli A_BIT_AT_A_TIME asked me for a recipe, & I'm glad to share it--I had posted it in Sparkrecipes quite a while back: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=187800 </link> <BR> <BR> It's infinitely adaptable. Currently I reduce the walnuts & pecans & include some chopped Brazil nuts & some sesame seeds. I never get tired of this breakfast! Tue, 28 May 2013 14:01:54 EST Week 2 check-in, spring-to-summer 5% challenge As of the end of the second week, I have lost 3.2 lbs! <em>244</em> I am not FEELING slimmer yet,so I was a bit apprehensive when I weighed myself this morning. But I ate within range all this week (going just a tad over last weekend) & surpassed my exercise-minutes goal (a good portion of it with challenging routines). And whaddya know, it paid off. <BR> <BR> I am going to give some credit to the vegetarian vindaloo I made last Sunday. I ate it for dinner every night this week (my housem... Sat, 25 May 2013 14:06:44 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 9 I'm having SO much fun with this challenge! This time I picked vegetarian vindaloo, a Chef Meg recipe: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=1972875 </link> <BR> <BR> Great success all around. I made this in a slow cooker, which simplified things--while the shallots & spices were sauteeing I dumped everything else into the crockpot & then just added the sauteed items & turned it on. It cooked on high for about 3 hours & then on low one more hour, which lef... Sun, 19 May 2013 20:59:29 EST LIFE. Managing mine. My goodness, God has been so good to me. Tomorrow I'm taking a personal day because the closing on my mortgage refinancing will be at noon in a suburb outside the city. It's such an occasion of joy for me!--not just because it will be a 15-year loan with very low interest, but also because it will be the occasion for recording the quitclaim deed & getting X's name off the title & mortgage. <BR> <BR> And I had already planned to drive to St. Louis this weekend to see my son, granddaughter, DI... Fri, 10 May 2013 00:03:48 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 8 So how could you fail with a recipe like chicken korma on SparkRecipes? <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=126076 </link> <BR> <BR> What I actually made was chickpea korma, as I'm spending this weekend with my wonderful vegan son, DIL, & granddaughter. Oh, it was great. Granddaughter (age 2) was most interested in the (separate) stir-fried broccoli, cauliflower, & baby corn, but her parents both ate korma seconds--I think her dad (who is super tall & sk... Sat, 27 Apr 2013 21:35:24 EST It is well with my soul I had my monthly session with my spiritual director this morning, & basically I spent the whole time telling her how happy & healed I am feeling these days. The house blessing was SUCH a nurturing experience for me; it brought closure to the bad old days & filled me with hope for the days to come. <BR> <BR> Last week the weight that I had gained the week before came back off. This week I'm trying to keep my vision of slimness at the forefront, to help me eat properly. I'm doing well with exe... Wed, 17 Apr 2013 22:57:59 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 7 (I skipped round 6.) The new recipe I tried today was chicken & white bean stuffed peppers. Link at the end. <BR> <BR> I made it with 4 large red sweet peppers, because they were less expensive than green, & one smaller green pepper that we already had in the fridge. I used organic chicken thighs instead of breasts, because that was what we had, & also because I really like thigh meat. I used both adobo chili pepper & a little salt--not sure why it calls for one or the other. The cilantro op... Wed, 10 Apr 2013 23:06:01 EST Disappointed In myself: I gained weight again this week. I know why--I indulged too often, & sleep/work issues meant that I didn't get in enough exercise. <BR> <BR> How to turn it around, especially mentally . . . I've gotta think this through. Sat, 6 Apr 2013 10:14:46 EST Toxic sweetness <link><BR>/08/f-vp-crowe-big-sugar.html </link> <BR> <BR> I've provided the link to an article detailing a dentist's research that revealed that the sugar industry's tactics are like those of Big Tobacco, mobilizing huge resources to cover up scientific evidence of the ways sugar does us harm. <BR> <BR> Very sobering! Tue, 2 Apr 2013 14:52:08 EST Time to buckle down / report on day of blessing Dang, I gained a little weight again this week! Just 0.4 lb, but it's in the wrong direction. And I'm not enamored of the recent photos of myself that I've seen. It's time for me to get focused so I can slim down to my Real Self. <BR> <BR> My principal orientation has to remain my personal motivation: looking great & saving $$ for overseas travel. But I'm also going to up the ante on the social dimension: I MUST track food every day except Sunday--& I won't allow myself to track for the Star... Sat, 30 Mar 2013 12:20:28 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 5 Anything goes in this round, & I decided to try Cheddar-Stuffed Black Bean & Mushroom Burgers: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=693849 </link> <BR> <BR> I was working with cooked-from-scratch beans & spaced out when measuring them. When I realized that I had pretty much doubled what I needed, I had already processed a goodly amount. I just froze the rest for use in another recipe. But I'm not sure how close my end product was to the proportions called... Sun, 17 Mar 2013 22:04:25 EST Sore throat is basically gone! I woke up today feeling MUCH better in the throat. I happily got some laundry started in the basement & went off on foot to get some exercise while doing a couple of errands. Came home loaded with groceries & made a new recipe for breakfast. But with the movement, my body was soon telling me that it still can't handle much. So now I'm ensconced on the futon again with a tray of tea similar to yesterday's. I'm going to focus on freelance work today, all done quietly on my laptop. Later this a... Sat, 16 Mar 2013 15:42:44 EST Urgent Care at home <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I woke up this a.m. feeling icky with a sore throat that has lasted several days--on the heels of a nasty cold. This sore throat hasn't morphed into a cold as I was expecting, though; it just stays sore, & I'm not coughing or sneezing or sniffling much at all. So I'm thinking it might be strep or bronchitis or something. <BR> <BR> I got up & called my doctor's medical group for a same-day appointment--but the soone... Fri, 15 Mar 2013 12:35:59 EST Hasn't it been great? Final day of Habit Blogging, & I declare the week a great success! Even though I won't be blogging about it daily from now on, making my 10:30-11 bedtime on weeknights (Sunday through Thursday) has become a higher priority for me & I intend to stick with it. It's become something I do faithfully to be my best & healthiest self. <em>43</em> Thanks, friends, for your cheers & encouraging comments. You strengthen me! <BR> <BR> I'm posting on Amtrak--taking a weekend trip to St. Louis to cele... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 19:29:03 EST Do I need motivation or advice? That's today's question. I think I answered it yesterday in regard to motivation: Right now the daily blogging & feedback are helping to maintain my motivation, but long term I want to internalize my motivation so that a good bedtime becomes just a normal part of self-care for me. The word "faithful," which struck a chord for me & for a couple of friends, will help me with that. (I like it about 100 times better than "dutiful," <em>30</em> though duty has its place.) <BR> <BR> As for advi... Thu, 7 Mar 2013 21:39:13 EST Improvement Last night I made it to bed about 5 minutes after 11--which was VERY virtuous of me considering that today is my work-from-home day, so I didn't need to be up as early this morning. And indeed this morning I let myself go back to sleep after waking naturally at 6:50. Got up a little after 8, did the Total Body Challenge routine (41 mins. total), & feel really really great now as I sit on my futon in the bay window, snow everywhere outside, a mug of tea at my side. <BR> <BR> Today's question ... Wed, 6 Mar 2013 13:47:38 EST How am I doing? Today's blog prompt is simply "How are you doing day to day?" <BR> <BR> It varies. First I'll respond at the level of working on the bedtime habit. I succeeded last night in getting into bed right at 11:00. <em>244</em> This did not lead to morning exercise success, unfortunately--I woke up more than an hour EARLY but then work issues required me to hurry off to the office. At least I took public transport because of an impending snowstorm, so I got in some good brisk walking to & from ... Tue, 5 Mar 2013 18:42:57 EST Habit blog: keeping on track Today's question is "What are you doing to encourage yourself and keep on track?" Well, now is a good time to think about STARTING that! As noted before, checking off the Other Goals related to sleep doesn't do much for me. Blogging about my need for adhering to my bedtime does help, though. It makes me accountable to you, my friends & teammates. <BR> <BR> Last night I missed the window by only about 10 minutes, which is definitely progress. Unfortunately I had a hard time falling asleep, th... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 14:54:05 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 4 (fish/seafood) Tonight I made Cajun Baked Catfish! <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=1077056 </link> <BR> <BR> I used extra virgin olive oil instead of canola. And Chef Meg put me on to smoked paprika; having never seen it in the modest little groceries where I shop, I had ordered some online. This was my first opportunity to use it! The recipe calls for regular paprika, but I figured the smoky flavor would combine really well with the Cajun flavors. <BR> <BR> Unfortunately m... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 23:01:52 EST Making it a habit? I'm not sure how much I can do to persuade myself to go to bed at a good time! Of course it's important to start GETTING READY for bed in time to land there by 10:30-11. It often takes me about half an hour in all, because besides putting away whatever I've been doing, I put out the next day's clothes to make morning easier, plus the exercise clothes I'm going to sleep in (I wear regular jammies only when I know I'm not going to exercise the next a.m.); take my nighttime supplements; floss, b... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 22:32:48 EST The key habit The habit I'm most remiss with is getting to bed at a decent time that (if I sleep well enough) will allow me to be up the next morning in time for significant exercise. So much hangs on hitting that 10:30-11:00 window, & it is SO easy for me to let it pass as I play solitaire, watch Miss Marple on Netflix, read the news, or work on a freelance project. I'm more of a night owl (though not extreme) than a morning person. But because my work commute is long, & because I am constantly fending of... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 13:12:00 EST The key habit The habit I'm most remiss with is getting to bed at a decent time that (if I sleep well enough) will allow me to be up the next morning in time for significant exercise. So much hangs on hitting that 10:30-11:00 window, & it is SO easy for me to let it pass as I play solitaire, watch Miss Marple on Netflix, read the news, or work on a freelance project. I'm more of a night owl (though not extreme) than a morning person. But because my work commute is long, & because I am constantly fending of... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 13:11:57 EST This is a really bad cold I get sick only very seldom; when I do it's because the virus is super-nasty. This cough sounds like my agonized lungs are trying to turn themselves inside out--it's REALLY deep in my chest. I also have a headache (rare for me) & now also sniffles. Pity party! <em>198</em> <BR> <BR> But I'm thankful. My mortgage refinancing is moving forward. It looks as if I'll get a 15-year loan with an interest rate under 3%. Another step toward repairing the financial harm caused by X . . . <BR> <BR... Tue, 26 Feb 2013 22:46:32 EST What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 3 Today my son & I collaborated to make a Sparkrecipe, Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Veggies, & it was delicious! I've moved the link to the end; maybe my cut/paste was the problem with the earlier link. <BR> <BR> Here in St. Louis where G. lives there are a couple of international markets, so even though I'm far from my very multiethnic Chicago neighborhood, we were able to find the green curry paste & lemongrass (actually frozen lemongrass pulp, easy to use). We did serve it over brown rice... Sat, 16 Feb 2013 22:57:10 EST Whew, what a week I gave myself a break from tracking food this week. It has been emotionally VERY difficult, & I need to be kind to myself. <BR> <BR> Here's the deal. Finally it's a good time to refinance my condo mortgage, to get ex's name off the title & loan; my neighbor has just sold his unit for a good price, which means mine will be appraised at a much higher value than it was last year, & my mortgage will no longer be under water. So Monday a.m. before work I stopped by the county recorder of deeds of... Fri, 8 Feb 2013 00:23:24 EST What's Cookin', Good-Lookin' recipe reviews, round 2 For round 1 I just commented in the thread, but now I'm going to do a proper review. Today (that is, yesterday, since it's now past midnight) I tried two new recipes! <BR> <BR> Oatmeal Whole Wheat Quick Bread <BR> <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=232432 </link> <BR> It really WAS quick, even though I took time to whirl the oats in the blender to get them closer to a flour texture. I made a double recipe so as to fill a loaf pan. After 20 minutes of baking it was... Sun, 3 Feb 2013 01:42:02 EST Jewelers' Row Two blog posts in a day! Well, it is fun to share how things turned out. <BR> <BR> I wore a dress (with fleece-lined tights--it IS winter!), a favorite scarf, tall boots, & my dress coat to my Jewelers' Row foray. I had no idea where to start, so I tried to enter the first jewelry store that I saw . . . & the door wouldn't open! Then the employee buzzed me in. I had never been in a store so fancy that they lock doors even in the middle of the day to keep out the riffraff! <BR> <BR> The youn... Sat, 19 Jan 2013 22:19:14 EST