Friday, October 31, 2008

The problems of having an "empty nest"

Have I mentioned that my 19 year old “baby” has moved out of the house?

Yes, I am officially an “empty nester”.

Except that the nest is far from empty – somehow, they never seem to take everything with them. My daughter has been moved out for 5 years – I just emptied “her” closet and have two boxes of things to take to her because I do not feel right throwing things out that belong to someone else. Then, who knows how many BOXES of things in the basement belong to my kids?

Of course, the most obvious thing my kids have left behind are their dogs. (Except for Michael – his dog lives with him). But Robert, Kathryn, Daniel and even Jim have all left their dogs behind (not that they’ve abandoned them, but they are not in pet-friendly circumstances.) So my nest is certainly not exactly empty.

I am working on getting rid of all extraneous “stuff” in my house, (decluttering) but that is taking time and is another story.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may have noticed that my husband is not always home. He works in Wyoming (we live in Alberta) so is not home every night for supper. The rotation he works is the best we’ve ever had since he started this career 8 1/2 years ago – he works 2 weeks and has 2 weeks off. That means, with travel time, he is home for about 12 days every month – all at once.

The rest of the month, I live alone. Really alone, now that Danny has moved to town. I don’t mind being alone and seldom get lonely, but I have discovered a pitfall of these living conditions – for me, at least.....

For the last 4 years or so, Daniel has been the only “kid” at home (except for temporary situations when Vinjelu and Kathryn have lived with us). When Daniel would go to camp for a week every summer, I looked at that time of being alone as a holiday. That is, I did not have to think about anyone else but me….didn’t have to answer him, consider him, cook for him, etc. Anyone who has lived with a teenage boy will know that they are sometimes ……shall we say…..difficult to live with. So, the week he was away, I went to bed when I wanted, got up when I wanted, ate when and whatever I wanted, and did whatever my little heart desired. (usually I chose a rather large project.... like reorganizing the office - I somehow always got more work done when he was away).

Well, Danny has been gone for almost a month now. He moved about a week before Jim came home for his 2 weeks off, and now I have been all alone again for 10 days.

You are probably wondering by now “what the heck is her point?!” I’m getting there…..

The day before Jim left I was at 216.6 lbs. In the week and a half following, I have bounced as low as 215.0 to as high as 217.0. Not a big fluctuation, it is true, but I don’t like bouncing around over a one week period. Since I weigh daily, I expect some ups and downs from day to day, but from week to week, there should be a steady downward trend.

I sat back the other day to think about what is going on in my life, how it is affecting my eating habits and lifestyle, and therefore my weight loss efforts. This is what I discovered:

I have been behaving the way I have always acted when Dan was gone for any length of time….as if I’m on a holiday. (Except this is not a holiday) I’ve not been disciplined in when I go to bed or when I get up and I have not been disciplined to remember to think ahead about supper. In fact, I’ve not even been disciplined enough to notice that it is suppertime (or lunch time) until I am so hungry I am shaking. Then, because I need to eat NOW, I do not have a proper meal.

Things could be a lot worse…..I could be eating junk. I’m not. The food itself is healthy, but usually my daily intake ends up being unbalanced.

Anyway, along with this lack of discipline I have been drinking more diet pop than normal (sweetened with Splenda) so then I am not drinking enough water .

Also, I have been feeling hungry all the time. Well, not really hungry, because I know I can’t be hungry right after I’ve eaten….more like “the munchies” – just a desire to eat for the sake of eating. I have not given in to this feeling more than once or twice, but it is annoying to have to deal with it.

None of these things are terrible, but put together, the general lack of discipline has me bouncing between 215 and 217 for over a week.

Wednesday of this week is when I realized what I had been doing. So I watched the clock Wednesday night and was in bed by midnight. I was up by 8 am, had my breakfast, and took out a steak for supper (planning ahead). I watched the time during the day, had my snack midmorning, had lunch at around 1, midafternoon snack was at about 3 (instead of 7 pm) and supper was cooked, eaten, and cleaned up by 7 pm. I had steak and steamed vegetables as well as some baked squash.

Surprise, surprise! I did not have “the munchies” after supper.

And, this morning I was DOWN .8 lbs. Of course, it could be just another bounce. Guess we’ll see tomorrow if having some discipline and order in my life will get me going on a continual (albeit gradual) downward trend.

Today, I’ve had my granddaughters over. They make sure mealtimes (and snack times) happen at the right times. As in…. “Grandma, Mom gives us a snack at 3:00 in the afternoon…’s 10 minutes after 3.” Funny, no one is coming in here and telling me it is 40 minutes past BEDtime! LOL. It is nice to hear little girl voices playing happily….I’ll probably not send them to bed before 9 which still gives me lots of time before MY bedtime.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I've been tagged by Hollie at to list six interesting things about myself.

"Interesting" is such a subjective term. What I think is interesting may be quite blase` to you, and more to the point, I can't think of anything about myself that I would consider to be interesting to y'all. But then, that is what everyone says when they do this exercise and I have yet to read one that I thought was uninteresting, so here goes.....

  1. I do not have TV. That is, I have a television, but no signal of any kind. We cancelled our satelite a few months ago because the TV (as in stations) just never came on. But I love to watch old TV shows on DVD. My favorites are The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, WKRP, and Mary Tyler Moore. Also Barney Miller. These shows make me laugh out loud - even when I am by myself. True comedy. I love to be made to laugh. My other favorite, which is not a comedy, is The Waltons. I feel like John and Olivia and their children are part of my own family.
  2. I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus, a child of God but I do not go to church and haven't (regularly) for about 15 years. In my previous church life, my husband and I were: Youth Pastors, Music pastors, Associate pastors, Small Group leaders, and my hubby was in charge of the sound system. All these jobs were volunteer (most were simultaneous). It took about 10 years to feel comfortable with myself without one of these "titles" attached to me because my identity had become so wrapped up in what I "did".
  3. Until 2006, the farthest I had travelled was to BC, Washington and California. Since then, I have driven through MOST of the states, LIVED in Louisiana, and traveled to England. Quite a change. I wish I could do more traveling........(musing)...Maybe if Vinjelu and Kathryn become famous, Jim and I can travel with them - they'll need a nanny after all, and Jim knows how to mix sound..... Of course, they would have to pretty famous to afford us! LOL
  4. The summer before I started grade 7, I read a book a day for the whole summer. My usual spot for reading was in the huge maple tree in our front yard.
  5. My name is legally spelled K A R E N. When I was 15, I saw the spelling K A R Y N and thought it looked much prettier so I started signing my name with the 'y'(besides, there were lots of Karens but I knew of no Karyns). I sign all legal documents, including cheques with an 'e' and all things personal with a 'y'. The funny thing is, I never have to think "Now, make sure you use an 'e' instead of a 'y'"....... But I am the only person who ever uses an 'e' for my name. Even my mother writes my name with a 'y'.
  6. I was not allowed to go to school dances in Junior High. The first school dance I went to was the fall dance in Grade 10. I felt like a 'bad girl' being least, at first I did. I felt like a 'mean girl' when I ditched the dork that had monopolised all my dances in the first set. The next guy to ask me to dance was NOT a dork....he was a hunk. I did not mind at all that he monopolized all the rest of my dances. In fact, he has monopolized the rest of my life - I have been married to him for almost 32 years. And he is still a hunk.

Now, I don't know if any of that is interesting to anyone, but now you know 6 things about me that I don't think I've included anywhere else on this blog.

Now, it is my turn to tag.........Lyn, Crystal, Lisa, Skye (I don't think I've seen this tag on your posts yet)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bustin' My Buttons

Literally and Figuratively.

WARNING: This post has little to do with weight losses or gains. I could be writing about the 2 lb gain I am showing in the last couple days, but that is not why I’m bustin’ my buttons.

Let me fill you in…..

Daughter Kathryn and SIL Vinjelu heard last October about an annual Canada-wide “Talent Search” by the Gospel Music Association Canada (hereafter referred to as GMAC) and sponsored by the Alberta Christian FM radio stations (henceforth referred to as SHINE FM).

It has been Vinjelu’s dream to be able to share his music by being able to perform it to audiences and have it recorded. I mean, this boy has been almost obsessed with this dream – not to the exclusion of reality or even other dreams, but (and this seems incredible to me) he writes a new song every day. This is true – I know, because he and Kath have lived with me on two (or is it 3?) different occasions. Vinjelu’s lyrics are very moving….I don’t think I’ve heard or read one song that I wasn’t touched or impressed in some way by the words.

But I digress…….

When they heard of the GMAC concert, they began to work toward being able to enter for 2008. Since at the time, Vinjelu was not allowed to work in Canada (he did not get a work visa until Jan 2008) and Kathryn was pregnant and suffering with morning sickness, their income was very small. Too small to think of saving money toward the entry fee and recording demos of the songs they would enter. But, being the resourceful couple that they are, they began to collect bottles, cans, and other recyclable containers. I do not know how much money they actually raised in this manner, but it certainly helped. Once Vinj could begin to earn a wage, they began to put cash toward their project. It was hard work and a sacrifice, but they not only saved the entry fee ($300) but also managed to have their 2 entry songs professionally recorded.

The contest took place Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Vinjelu entered his songs in two categories…..Songwriting and Performances. They were scheduled to perform in front of the judges on Thursday at noon. We would find out that there were auditions scheduled for every 15 minutes from 9 am until 4:30 pm both days (with a couple 20 minute breaks and a one hour lunch break each day).

Actually, they had been so focused on just getting entered, choosing the songs, and recording them, that they had not paid much attention to the format of the contest or even the prizes. They went into it with the primary goal of receiving constructive criticism from professionals, of their performance and songwriting.

I offered to go along to look after Seth during their performance. Kind of a long drive (3 hours to SW Calgary) in order to babysit for 10 minutes or less, but I wanted to show in a tangible way that I believe in their dream.

I left before the sun was up and arrived at the venue at about 10:45 am. I needed a restroom in a bad way so hurriedly gathered up my water bottles, book, phone…..into a book bag and ran into the building. (I gave you this seemingly unimportant information because it pertains to a later detail of my day)

I’ll skip over the details between my arrival and just before their audition except to set the stage a little……

The auditions were held in a smallish upstairs room with good acoustics, an impressive sound system, a small stage complete with lighting, monitors, a keyboard, stools, and a drum set. In front of the stage was a table at which 2 of the 5 judges were sitting. The other 3 ranged to their left, in overstuffed leather chairs. Other contestants were lounging on the matching couch as well as being lined up against the back wall or perched on folding chairs behind the front row of furniture. Between the doorway and the stairwell, there was a brightly lit hallway about 12 feet long. Since the room was small, any noises Seth made were immediately noticeable so we were utilizing the chairs just inside the door or the hallway itself.

So….the audition.

Despite the activity and noise around him, Seth had been peacefully asleep on a blanket on the hallway floor for about 20 minutes before Vinj and Kath were called to the stage. All was going according to Grandma’s plan – put baby to sleep so that I could video the performance. I turned on the video feature of my camera seconds before their background track began. As soon as Kathryn started to sing, however, Seth began to cry very loudly. I ran into the hall, wanting to stop his distraction as quickly as possible.

This is where I literally busted my buttons……as I bent down to pick him up, the middle button on my new shirt popped off….That is, the button right at the waist of a shirt that has a band around the waist before it drops below that to cover the hips. There is also a “tie” at the back which I had tied to be just a little snug in order to define my newly emerging waistline just a bit. That is probably why the button popped. (Later, after being constantly worried about whether or not the buttonless spot was gaping and showing my skin, I brought the tie around from the back and tied it across the trouble spot. It looked kind of retarded (like I didn’t know which way to put the ties) but at least I didn’t have to worry about exposing a part of my stomach.

Back on track….

I scooped up the baby and the button and then noticed that the music had stopped. I thought they’d been interrupted by the judges until the ‘rude person who brought a baby to an audition’ got things under control, because I heard Kathryn say something about “that’s our baby”. I found out later that Vinj had actually called the stop because the wrong track had been put on – it was not just background vocals. So, I stood behind and to the right of the judges, a 20 pound baby in one arm and a 2 pound camera held up in my other hand. Seth was perfectly quiet as he listened to his parents perform.

The second start went perfectly! They did SO well. I was excited for them – not only for doing so well, but because they were actually performing for professionals who were going to give them feedback – and in front of other impressively talented artists with the same hopes and dreams.

The spectator’s response was to cheer and clap. Get that – not just politely clap, as the majority of auditions earned – they cheered and clapped. The judges’ responses were all complimentary – so much so, that Kath offered the information that they had another song prepared. They were allowed to perform again. Only one other act that we had seen all morning (or into the afternoon) was asked to sing a second song – and she was very professional, with several years’ experience.

The response from the spectators and the judges was even more enthusiastic after the second song! I was so pleased for them. Other artists converged on Vinj and Kath when it was announced that there would be a one hour break in auditions so the judges could have lunch. Before they left the room, they had 2 unofficial invitations to come perform for youth groups.

*Maybe I should mention here that Vinj’s specialty is rap music – not something that is easy to take to your traditional adult church crowd.*

We had lunch in the dining room …it was a buffet including several different salads and fresh veggies (I took only the lettuce salad and fresh veggies from this offering), potatoes (which I skipped), carrots and a veggie stir fry (both of which I took) and roasted chicken pieces. It was good. I did not even walk past the dessert table.

I will now skip to 5:00 pm when the officials posted the lists of finalists. There were 6 finalists chosen in the “Artist” category and 8 finalists chosen in the “song” category. We were disappointed, of course, that their names were not on the list for Artist finalists, but that disappointment was quickly tempered with excitement at seeing Vinjelu’s name listed in the Song category for his song entitled “Weeping”. That meant that in spite of not making the artist finalists, they would still be able to perform in the finals at 7:30 pm. This was to be an open “mini concert” held in the sanctuary of the large church we had been at all day. The sound would be louder, there would be spotlights, and the audience would be larger. They were thrilled with the opportunity.

Supper was again served ….this time, though, it was $25 a plate. Vinj and Kath could not afford to spend $50 for supper! $25 seemed pretty steep to me, as well, so we braved the unfamiliar neighborhood in the big city at the tail end of rush hour. We had 1 hour to find a place to eat and get back for the sound checks and the pre-concert meeting.

We went to the food court at the mall nearby. I found a kiosk that offered Louisiana inspired food….served by Asians with very broken English! LOL At least they were easier to understand than the Asians I encountered in Louisiana….think Asian broken English mixed with Louisianan accent…..I had a hard enough time with the Louisianan accent(s) as it was, sometimes. (Now, don’t all you Southerners think badly of me….I love the southern accent, but my northern ears don’t always catch every word)

Again, I digress, sorry……

I chose this Asian staffed Louisiana food kiosk because they offered mashed potatoes, which we needed in order to feed Seth quickly and easily. Again, I’ll validate this weight loss blog by telling you I ordered Burbon Chicken (boneless, skinless..but I have no idea what ingredients were in the marinade it obviously soaked in before being cooked), carrots which were delicious and tasted fresh and delightfully without any buttery sauce, and green beans that were sinfully delectable. I am sure (knowing Louisiana cooking tendencies) that they were cooked in bacon grease or Crisco to make them taste so wonderful. Good thing I did not visit the dessert table at lunch.

Fast forward to the concert……


Some very talented singers, musicians, and songwriters shared the stage with Vinjelu and Kathryn. There was no immediate feedback from the judges this time – and a gentleman “ in the industry” was there from Nashville to MC the event. Again, I was so proud of my kids….they showcased Vinjelu’s song beautifully (they would not be judged on their performance, though…just on the technical aspects of the song itself). Still, it was no doubt gratifying and exciting to them to hear the hoots and whistles that erupted when their music ended. I know I was plenty proud.

A little interjection here….just before the contest started, one of the judges found Kathryn and told her that their performance ranked in the top 10 of all auditions….but there were only 6 finalist spots available. WOW!

There was a 15 – 20 minute wait after all artists had performed while the judges left the room to tabulate their scoresheets and make their decisions. We were entertained by one of the professional musicians that had been offering mentoring, advise, and information at the many seminars that had been offered to the contestants over the past 2 days.

The results were handed to the MC who opened the first envelope…..

”The winning song is.......

“WEEPING by Vinjelu Muyaba”.

The crowd actually erupted! My kids were obviously one of the favorites of the other artists.

NOW I was BUSTIN’ ALL MY BUTTONS!!!!! (figuratively speaking, of course) (just wanted to be clear on that point)

I could hardly see through my tears to try to get some photos between the heads of those in front of me. Below, you see Vinj, with the look of shock on his face, being presented to the audience by the MC.

After receiving his prize and hugging his wife, he came back and hugged me before we politely stuffed our excitement in order to “listen” to the awarding of the Artists category.


I am so pleased. As I said, Vinj is incredibly talented with words, but he is also one who is humble enough to be truly shocked at the recognition – shocked and grateful. The rest of us are not surprised, really, but Vinj was sincerely taken back. We are so pleased that his dream is moving forward one big step. (a GIANT step, actually)

Oh, what did they win?

$2000 cash, which is enough to have an entire CD made at a recording studio and a Roland Keyboard (retail value about $9500.00!!!...this will be sold to buy multiple instruments or to finance a tour, or to record another CD at a later date, or.....who knows? But it will be re-invested in their music)

The Artist winner was awarded cash and a similar gift as well as major performance opportunities and travel arrangements to another talent search contest in which they were automatically entered in the semi finals.

We were not sure, as of when I left them, if the songwriter was to receive any such opportunities…..guess I’ll find out when they finally find the time to phone me and catch me up on the details of their evening after I left.

One thing I know for sure, their song is to be played on the SHINE FM stations in Edmonton and Calgary.

My kids are going to be ON THE RADIO!!! (They are called “Another Way” BTW, if you are interested)

Since it was after 10 pm by this time, I pried myself away from all the excitement to begin my 3 hour journey home. I can only imagine how euphoric Vinjelu and Kathryn felt when I think of how I practically floated out into the cool night air toward my little car.

(Remember back near the beginning of this long post, I told you about my arrival at the venue and how I was in a hurry to get in and find a toilet? Well, here's where it comes into play....)

My excitement actually waned only a little as I approached my car and saw the dim glow of lights that had been on for the last 12 hours. The first gentleman I approached for a boost gladly complied, just as my hubby called. In between all the exciting details about Vinjelu’s win that I couldn’t stop talking about, Jim informed me that the vehicle being hooked up to my car likely would not have enough power to start my diesel motor – I would need a truck.

He was right.

There were only 2 trucks in the entire ½ empty parking lot. (What kind of cowboy town is this anyway? Only 2 trucks?!!!) I hurried back into the church, looking for likely owners of a truck. The first group of fellas I approached said no, they didn’t own a truck, but one of them offered booster cables. I told him I’d be back if the truck owner did not have any of his own. I found the owner of the biggest truck in the very next group of people I approached and my car was running in no time at all, thanks to Buck, the owner of the truck.

(No kidding...that was his name)

Since my car is a manual transmission, I was a little paranoid about making sure I didn’t stall it before it had a chance to charge, but once I was freewheeling on the highway, I only had to focus on trying to wipe the grin off my face and avoid the buttons that were still poppin’ all over the place.

I’m still grinning.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

4th of the 4th

This is a quick and cute little "tag" that I saw on Seashore's blog (

Go to the 4th folder in the pictures file on your computer....choose the 4th photo in that folder.

This is what I found in that spot:

It is actually a photo from my daughter's facebook album, taken this month.

Son (in law) Vinjelu with his son Seth....out for a walk.

If you want to do this, leave a comment here that you are doing it so I can go look at your 4th of the 4th.

Have a good day!

PS. My weight stayed the same after my unplanned indulgences yesterday. whew! Of course, it could show up tomorrow or the next day, yet.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I am going to expect a significant gain tomorrow morning (as in at least 1 pound).

Jim invited ourselves and everyone else to Robert and Lana's to watch the hockey game - Alberta rivalry....Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames. This idea was met with enthusiasm by everyone. Only Michael could not be there as he had to work.

We volunteered to bring some snacks...... A few months ago, Jim and I made a pact with each other to not provide snacks or "treats" to our children/grandchildren that are not healthy. With this in mind, Jim decided to get some crackers and cheese and sausage when we got to town.

I decided to make some cookies - but I wanted to make low fat so Lana could eat at least one. Every recipie for low fat cookies I could find called for applesauce. I had no applesauce and the store is 1/2 hr away so I chose to take my usual chocolate chip cookie recipie and tweak it to make it low fat, low cal, and healthy.

I used diet margarine instead of regular margarine.
I used Splenda instead of sugar.
I used Egg Beaters instead of eggs.
I used Whole Wheat flour instead of white flour.
I used Chocolate Chips - no substitues. BUT I measured them and used only 1 cup instead of just pouring them in.

Of course, I had to taste the batter.

It was not good.

I added 1/4 C brown sugar and 2 Tbs skim milk.

Better, but still not very good.

I added a banana.

Still didn't taste very much like cookies.

By this time, I had probably eaten the equivalent of 3 cookies.

I baked the dough. They came out to be pretty "cakey" and did not taste bad, as long as you didn't expect them to taste like cookies. I only had a bite, honest! I let Jim do the taste test.

When I was looking for applesauce, I came across a box of 94% fat free popcorn in large bags. I brought several boxes of this popcorn (in small bags) home with me when we moved back from Louisiana in the spring. We cannot get 94% fat free here. (at least, I haven't found any) The big bags are a whole 4 or even 6 carbs for me so I thought I would take this box to Lana so she could have an almost fat free treat.

After a quick supper (Meatloaf made with bison meat, carrots from our garden, and potatoes from our garden) we loaded up the "cakeys", the popcorn, and my water bottle and headed into town.

Our first stop was the grocery store where we bought some rice crackers, cheese, and sausage (I know, rather high in fat, but healthier than chips). I also picked up a box of Breyer's 98% fat free ice cream cups for Lana.

Kathryn brought whole wheat wraps which she spread with tuna and cream cheese then cut into bite size pieces.

To my surprise, the cookies were a hit! Danny said they were a cross between a cookie and a muffin. Everyone liked them alot. I still did not have one, and although I had to consciously NOT have a piece of sausage and cheese, it was not hard to resist.

My problem came after I finished my water - the second period of the game was over, and I was beginning to feel hungry. I had 2 of Kathryn's wraps (so good). Then Lana had made herself one of the bags of popcorn but could only eat 1/2. (She has the eating habits of the thin person she is.) She offered me the other half and I took it. That is 2 starches....on top of the approximately 3 cookies I had already "tasted" and whatever the wraps would have counted. THEN I remembered the "ice cream" I bought for Lana. Of course, when I showed them to her, she wanted one right away.

So did I.

2 more starches. I am only supposed to have 4 starches all day. I had already had 2 with my meals before I even left the house!

I feel overfull and more than a little disappointed with myself. I know it wasn't a whole lot, but I just felt like I was letting myself down. Usually, if I indulge, it is with forethought and planning. None of this was planned.

On a positive note, we had a fun family night and considering that it was planned at the last minute, we were very thankful that everyone (but Mike) could be there. Even Victoria came down from the city with Kaden. She brought her Flames (boo, hiss) jersey - mostly to torment Robert, I think. To make up for it, Kaden wore his Oilers bib.

Here are the jerseys on display tonight:

L to R: Kaden, Andrew, Victoria, Robert, Emma

On an even more positive note......The Oilers won!!!!! YAY! (Sorry, Lisa). This broke a fairly long-running "curse"..... for the last couple years, every time Jim and Robert have had the opportunity to watch an Oilers vs Flames game together, the Oilers lose. After tonight, no more.

I don't really know if it was a good game or not....except for the cheering...because I was having fun watching the babies play. Kaden started crawling today for the first time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Family Day

This is the first chance I've had to post about our Thanksgiving Day. I tried last night, but I
guess there were just too many people on our satelite internet across the country....watching the election results. That is what my man was doing - on his computer (we don't have TV). Since we are in the country, high speed internet is not available to us. There are some companies with wireless, but we are not in line with any of their transmitters. So, we are stuck with satelite or dialup. Satelite is not very fast, but it is like greased lightening compared to dial up. At any rate, we have to share bandwidth with folks all across the country so at high traffic times I just walk away.
Our Thanksgiving day started with daughter Kath, SIL Vinj, grandson Seth, and their friend from Toronto, Trish, arriving just as we were getting up. Soon, Son Daniel was up and about (he had arrived the night before) and then his friend (MR), who was home from college for the weekend walked in. Within an hour, I was taking orders for breakfast from 6 people. MR can not eat eggs (something to do with having worked in chicken barns all his life) so I mixed up a batch of waffles for him. Everyone else had poached eggs and toast and yogurt. Vinj had already gone to bed since he worked all night, drove 1/2 hr to pick up his family, then drove another 1/2 hr to get to our house.
My breakfast was on plan - one poached egg, one piece of toast, fat free, sugar free yogurt.
Jim and I worked for the next hour or so, cleaning up, making stuffing and getting the bird in the oven, while Dan and MR played guitars in the living room and the girls disappeared into the bathroom to curl hair and apply makeup.
That whirlwind had just settled when the next group arrived....Son Rob, DIL Lana, granddaughters Emma, Elizabeth and Sophia. By then, it was noon and of course, they were hungry.....I was informed that the girls had been offered lunch but had said they wanted to wait because "Grandma always has macaroni and cheese". LOL. It is true. Although I never eat the stuff, I always have some "Kraft Dinner" on hand for the girls. So, Mommy Lana made the girls some lunch and raided my fridge to find something for herself. She commented (more than once during the day) that "it is so nice to come here and know that I will be able to find things that I can eat because you always have healthy, low fat food in the house" (Lana is pregnant and has a gallstone so needs to eat fat free).
Son Andrew arrived, without his wife.....their puppy (1 yr old) Thor had broken his leg the day before and Keltie did not think they should bring him out. A couple hours later, Keltie called to say that Thor had to stay in his pen anyway because he kept wanting to chase his tail, etc. so she suggested they could bring him in his pen. Andrew went to get her later in the afternoon.
Back to this time, the kids had set up a table in the living room and were playing Monopoly.
starting at left: Robert, Daniel, Andrew, MR, Trish, Emma
Jim, Rob, and Andrew were all hungry so I made them each a couple grilled cheese sandwiches (fat free cheese slices on whole grain bread)
I stayed on plan by having a bowl of taco soup.
Here is 8 year old Emma. She is old enough to play games with the uncles and aunts. She loves to be a part of the adult activities.
As soon as they were finished with their lunches, Elizabeth (7) and Sophie (5) went out to play. Soon they were back in asking for a basket or something so they could pick apples. (crabapples) They were so excited about this - they were going to keep picking all day and take the apples home so Mommy could make pies or juice. This is what they came up with before they tired of it. At least there is plenty left for the birds over the winter. :)
Andrew came back with Keltie and poor Thor (a purebred Staffie). Everyone was properly sympathetic as Thor was put into his pen. Since our house is pretty small, he was right beside the action for the whole day/evening.
the break is just below his "ankle"
Keltie did much of her visiting sitting right beside Thor
The Monopoly game over, the game was changed to "Skipbo". The little girls joined in this game, and by this time MR had left and our brother in law Ken and nephew Scott had arrived. Jim's sister had the flu so stayed away. Scott and Dan went outside to play some catch......
Scott - still with his ipod sticking in his ear
Dan, making a pitch back. This is not just "playing catch"....this is "see who can make the other yelp in pain when the ball hits his glove"
While the boys are playing catch, Keltie is sitting with her dog, Vinj is still sleeping, and the rest are playing Skipbo, Lana is quietly "nesting" as she calls it......she is learning to knit - her current project, a blanket in both pink and blue since they don't know yet what sex the baby is.
About the time we begin to peel potatoes and carrots (I had pre-cooked the sweet potatoes and the beets the night before), Son Michael, DIL Victoria and grandson Kaden arrive.
I can always count on my man being my main helper at any family gathering. He washed dishes constantly (by hand) so that there was no mounting pile taking up space on the cupboards as well as peeled both potatoes and carrots.
"Uncle Mike" with Emma and Sophia
Kaden - 9 months old, showing off his 6 teeth
Robert....he's been an avid Oilers fan (NHL hockey) since he was about 7 years old. This year, he was chosen (he had to write an essay) to be part of an exclusive hockey pool hosted by the Oilers themselves. It is quite an honor. As part of the perks of being in this pool, he was given an authenic jersey with his last name on the back. He is quite proud of it, as you can see.
For some reason, at one point in the afternoon, the kitchen became "the place to be". Here is an idea of how small it is - and there are at least 8 people in there!
By mid afternoon, Vinj woke up and joined us. Here is a photo of he and Kathryn together:
We had one more guest arrive late in the day - Scott's girlfriend, JR (sister of Dan's friend MR). Scott and his dad picked her up when they left to get our extra table from their house - we had lent it to them last July.
Did I mention my kitchen is tiny? Counter space is limited to begin with and made even smaller by the fact that cupboard space is even more limited - meaning the counters are also storage for things that don't fit into cupboards. Somehow, we manage to feed up to 30 people out of that kitchen without injury to one another. LOL It has become a dance of sorts. It always amazes me that so many people can work together transferring food from pots to bowls to the tables without running into one another or dropping a bowl of potatoes. The girls help with setting the table and putting the food on the table, the boys find chairs for everyone, Lana usually makes the gravy, one of the boys carves the turkey (all have been taught to do a beautiful job of it by their Dad), I direct everything with Jim being my right hand man......
Lana brought her own fat free gravy and fat free stuffing (she had served turkey dinner to her parents the day before). I kept some sweet potatoes out and mashed them without margarine or marshmellows (just a pinch of brown sugar and some cinnamon) and I put the beets in the oven without the customary butter bath. I did not measure or weigh my food, but otherwise, I stayed on plan.
For dessert, I had made pumpkin pies. I don't normally make pies - in fact, when Dan saw me putting them in the oven he just about fainted. "You made pies, Mom!? You don't make pies!? I didn't know you could make a pie!"
I made the pie with fat free evaporated milk and eggbeaters so Lana could have some. I called her and told her to bring some kind of fat free topping for herself though, because I was serving real whipped cream.
I had a piece of pie and a big spoon of whipped cream. I did not feel bad about it at all.
Clean up is done by the boys. This has become a new tradition. At first, I thought "Wow, my boys are growing up...they are more than happy to help" Then I realized why they were so willing........
Towel Snapping Wars.
They had a huge testosterone-driven war at Christmas last year and apparently, they were just waiting to have a rematch.
Scott and Michael
I have always hated towel snapping and when they were young, I forbade it...."Someone will get their eye taken out" and all that. However, now that they are adults, I really have no control over it. I think Michael came out with the most wounds this time. Vinj calmly loaded the dishwasher in the midst of the snapping. I don't know what the brothers and cousin did, because Jim washed the plates and had already washed all the pots and pans. They did assure me that they worked, though.
The evening was rounded out with Poker. Those that don't play, entertained themselves with babies and little girls - and of course, music....someone is always playing a guitar, the piano, or violin (Dan only) at a family gathering.

Victoria and Kaden, Kathryn and Seth

Seth loves when anyone plays a guitar.

People started leaving in the approximate order they arrived. Jim and I walked each group out to their car - the evening was surprisingly warm for October. Michael and Victoria stayed until quite late....we don't get to visit with them as often as the others since they don't live as close by.

So, it was a full day, a full house, and I mostly stayed on plan. (inlcuding the 3 glasses of wine) The next day I was actually DOWN from the weight I was on Sunday. However, to be honest, I think that spike was an anomoly so I will have to be honest and say that I actually gained .4 pounds - that is still the status today.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Turkey Day coming up

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.

The temperature has dropped significantly in the last week. In fact, it was only a week ago that we were enjoying the 7th day in a row of over 70F with night time temperatures staying well above freezing.

In this time that the world economy is in upheaval, I think it is good to stop and think about those things that we are thankful for ..... the blessings in our lives. Besides, it IS Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for:
  • A good man that loves me, is kind to me, and encourages me in all things
  • Children who have grown to be good, decent adults who love their Dad and Mom and each other
  • Wonderful, loving spouses for my children - people who truely add to our family dynamic
  • Five of the cutest grandchildren on earth. I'm serious....they are the cutest!
  • Another grandchild on the way.....appearing to be growing healthy in spite of his/her mommy's health problems
  • A gorgeous view out my kitchen window AND out the living room window - Sunrises in the morning, sunsets in the evening.
  • I am thankful for the changes that have been happening in my mind, especially, over the last 10 months
  • I am thankful that I have lost 35 pounds and am feeling better about myself than ever before
  • I have 2 new nephews born this last week - twin boys who look just like their daddy (my brother)
  • My father-in-law has only 3 more radiation treatments left. He has been driving 2 hours every weekday for the last 3 months to recieve treatment, then 2 hours back home. EVERY DAY.
  • My husband has a job that allows him to do the work he enjoys and still be home for 2 weeks of every month
  • My youngest son seems to be finding some direction in his life
  • Old friends
  • New "blogger friends"
  • Extended family
  • My new ipod and speaker dock that my hubby gave me for my birthday - I love having music all day long
  • A hot bath at the end of a busy day

I could probably go on, but I won't.

Our family is coming over for Turkey Day on Monday. We have told them to come early and stay late and that we will be serving breakfast, lunch, and supper. I have no plans for the breakfast or lunch as yet (I don't really expect anyone to come early enough for breakfast) but supper will be :
  • Turkey,
  • dressing,
  • sweet potatoes (with brown sugar, marshmellows, margarine, cinnamon)
  • potatoes from my garden,
  • carrots from the garden,
  • beets from the garden.
  • I am making pumpkin pies tomorrow - only because there were no ready made pies left at the grocery store today. The ready made pies are WAY cheaper and just as good, but......

I need to consider my DIL who has a gallstone (but is pregnant so they haven't wanted to do surgery) and keep as many dishes zero fat as possible. This works with my weight loss goals, of course. I also have another DIL who is vegetarian so need lots of veggies - again, works with my goals. I am hoping it is a pleasant day so the kids can play outside for the afternoon.

I have little to report in regard to weight loss, etc. I got as low as 215.8 over the last week - and stayed there for about 3 or 4 days. Today I am up to 217. I always gain a little when hubby is home - must be the feeling of security. :) Or maybe it is just that I don't DO as much when he is home - we spend more time visiting, traveling around, and just hanging out together than we do working. Tomorrow will be a work day, to dig the potatoes, carrots and beets out of the garden before the ground freezes them in permanently.

I have been doing better with the water this week, thanks to Lyn's Habit a Week challenge.

Hope I can report a successful Thanksgiving Day - no "infractions", I hope. My weakness will be the dressing and the whipped cream on the pies. Wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quick look at my life today

I'm moving rather slowly today. I mentioned a few posts back that my hips sometimes give me is one of those days. I was full of energy yesterday and worked at turning a room full of stuff into a welcoming spare bedroom. Lots of physical labor, but like I said, I was full of energy - it was great! Today, for the first time since we started having babies, we have a room dedicated to having company! That feels good.

Yesterday, Lyn at posted a challenge of sorts - the first of 16 habits to establish in our lives that will result in a healthier lifestyle.....Drink your water. Before I read her post, I had discussed with my husband some of the "diet" goals I had for this week. The first was to drink all my water every day. I have been slack on this lately. So, the challenge was very timely for me. I actually set a timer to go off every 30 minutes to remind me to go have a drink. And, I got all 2000 ml in!

Something else that I have accomplished in the last couple days - I have gone through all my clothes and packed up 1 1/2 good size bins full of clothing that is too big! Hooray! The thing about having gained weight is that there were things in my closet that were too small but now fit, so I don't need to go replacing a whole lot. That was fun, let me tell you! And to think that I will be able to do it again, probably 2 more times!

I have another project that I am working on today - involving lots of carrying and toting from the trailer into the house. It would go alot faster if I wasn't so stiff.....well, at least my hip doesn't hurt as much as it did last time I posted about this problem. The good thing is that sitting makes it worse - moving helps a little (even though the movement is slow). That being said, I'd better finish up here so I can get moving again.....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Where my Head is at

I’ve noticed something recently……

I think far less about my weight lately than ever before.

In fact, I hardly ever think about how fat I must look to the person in the grocery line behind me or the person in the car beside me at the red light.

I no longer walk self consciously across the parking lot, and I seldom consider what a fat blob I look like when sitting on a couch (sofa).

What I do think about is food. But even that is different.

I no longer think longingly about nachos and cheese, dark chocolate, cookies, cake, ice cream……..I check labels and if there is a high fat, calorie or sodium count, any desire I had for that item is quickly squashed.

I do think about what I eat, if I’ve eaten, what kind of food I still need to eat, if I eat this or that will I be able to have supper…… I think carefully about food choices. I enjoy the foods that I have learned are healthy choices. I enjoy preparing food for myself, making sure there are good choices to eat when I am in a hurry or just plain lazy.

This new way of thinking has resulted in a slow but steady weight loss, but more importantly, it is setting me free. Free from self-hatred, self-consciousness, worry about what I look like, what people think of how I look, all that garbage.

I am still fat. My BMI still has me in the obese range. If you met me for the first time, you would probably think to yourself something about the fact that I am fat. But it doesn’t matter so much anymore.

I am not talking about not caring. I do care. I care enough to think about what I eat and how much I have moved today (I still need to work on that area, but I am now actually thinking about it). I care enough about myself to want to put healthy food into my body. I care enough about myself to not care what others think. I care enough to take time to look nice for myself.

This new thinking sometimes amazes me. I cannot believe it is even me at times.

Who would have thought that my most successful foray into weight loss would have me thinking less about my weight and more about food?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Success along the way

A Milestone was reached yesterday...... I decided to get some new jeans....IF I could get a smaller size. I also thought I'd get a top or two IF I could get a smaller size.

I chose some pants in a 22 and tops in size 20 or 2X. My current jeans are size 24 and have to be hiked up all the time. My current tops are size 22-24 or 2X - 3 X. I determined that if a size 20 shirt was too small, I would not buy anything - same with the pants. I wasn't about to buy anything in the same size because I KNOW that I will not be wearing them much longer.

I had to go out 4 times to get a size smaller than the ones I had chosen!

INCLUDING the pants! In fact, I got one pair in a size 20 (TWO sizes smaller) which are quite comfortable....actually bordering on being too big and a pair of jeans in a size 18!!!! The 18's are comfortable enough to sit in, but are tight enough to show every unsightly roll around my abdomen. I'll need to wear long shirts with them for now. I wasn't going to get them, but there was a "buy one, get one at 40% off" sale and I figured that getting them now at the discount was smarter than waiting until they looked better at full price. For the first time in my life, I did not feel guilty for buying something that I was going to "shrink into" because I KNOW that I will fit them - soon.

I bought a blouse in a size 20, a sleeveless, stylish top in a size 20, a little bolero jacket to wear over it, and a nice "jacket" to dress up my jeans in a 1X!!! I tried on the 2X and realized that it was too big. My daughter convinced me about a year ago that I needed to quit buying big, loose tops - that clothes that actually fit look better, otherwise I would have stuck with the 2X and not even tried the 1X. The 1X really looks alot better.

It was so FUN to be sending clothing back and asking for a smaller size! My first experience with that!

I walked out of that store feeling so good! Who cares what the scale says? Who cares how long this has taken? I AM getting there! And I am experiencing something I've never experienced before in all my other weight loss efforts - success along the way!