Monday, May 31, 2010

Food doctoring

Today, I played around with some ingredients in my refrigerator and came up with a really good dressing for my tomato salad. I took out my Costco tzatziki, the yogurt, garlic, and dill spread that has become a staple on my flatbread sandwiches. I was down to about a quarter of a container and decided to mash up a small avocado and add it to the mixture.

My tzatziki turned a lovely shade of celadon and had a subtle flavor of avocado. It was so yummy that I had it again for dinner, this time adding a dollop to my couscous. I might have been spotted licking the spoon.

Tomorrow, I will be working on the next food that needs my new concoction. I think it could be a baked potato.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Enjoying a lake view

Every once in a while, I check to see how many postings I have made since I started writing this blog on September 21, 2009. Drum roll….239. Then, I count the number of days that have elapsed since I started writing this blog. Drum roll…252. So, when people ask me about the blog, and I tell them that I write almost daily, I am, more precisely, writing 95% of the time.

Although I didn’t write yesterday, I didn’t take a day off from Claudette’s invitation to walk around Phoenix Lake. For those of you who are not in my Weight Watchers meeting, our leader informally organized a meetup to walk 5K at around a local lake. We would wear a green shirt and find others from her various meetings to keep us company.

I wore a purple shirt and did it yesterday, and my “group” consisted of my husband. We had plans today, so we got up early yesterday morning and headed out to the lake. Unfamiliar with the area, we set off into the great unknown and had perfect weather and a wonderful time. We got home just in time to get cleaned up and head out to a birthday party for our goddaughter, one of a set of twins, who turned four.

I have a picture as evidence to prove I was at the lake…but the better one is of my goddaughter’s smiling face as she blew out her birthday candles.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend sizzle

What’s on your schedule this holiday weekend? We have a birthday party, dinner with friends, a golf tournament for my husband, and serious barbecue work now that the weather is turning sunny.

We went to Costco this evening about 7 and lucked out by missing the crowds. We had the place almost to ourselves and loaded up the cart with the usual fruits and vegetables. I also decided to try a bag of Kirkland frozen shrimp because my father swears they are delicious.

I was so into the shrimp that I ordered shrimp fajitas when we hit El Encanto on our way home. It’s the first time I have tried that dish, and I asked the server to eliminate the tortillas. I was presented with a sizzling platter of shrimp, red peppers, green peppers, and onions and a second plate of rice and black beans. Yum, it was great.

Now that I am home, I have had to air out my clothing because the sizzling platter left a sizzling scent on everything. It was a small price to pay for a good meal.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BBQ blues

Turn off the rain. It’s the end of May, and I want to hang up my raincoat and store my boots. When is the part coming that I get to use my backyard?

When the weather is like this, it’s not conducive to using the BBQ. Being on Weight Watchers, it is so nice to be able to grill dinner and have no cleanup for what is supposed to be months of good weather. I feel like I got cheated out of pretty much the first month of it.

The Memorial Day weekend is supposed to offer some opportunity to redeem the weather issues and perhaps start a streak of BBQ that will end sometime in November. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and happy grilling…see, my optimism has already kicked into gear.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today was a pleasant day. I finished up my work about 5 and decided to run a few errands, one of which was going to Peet’s to turn in a certificate for one pound of coffee that had been given to me as a gift. I also wanted to see how much was on a gift card that was given to my husband as a thank you.

I chose the Anniversary Blend for my pound of coffee and found out that the gift card had $15.00 on it. I was ready to buy myself a cup of coffee with the gift card when the young man behind the counter, who I don’t think I can call a Barista because I believe that term belongs to Starbucks, offered me a complimentary cup of coffee. Wow, I was hitting the mother lode of freebies.

So, I enjoyed my free cup, kept my gift card intact, left with a pound of coffee and got to read the newspaper…what more could a girl want.

Now, I’m back home getting ready to make dinner. I know "what more" a girl could want…a chef.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Alex!

Today is my son’s birthday, and he is 27. It’s hard to believe that my youngest child is that age now because I sometimes feel like I am still in my 20’s, at least in my head. It’s fun to think back to the day he was born and to remember looking down at him wondering what he would be like when he was “all grown up.” Now, I know and I’m proud of him and that he is my son.

I miss having him with me at Weight Watchers on Tuesday mornings although I knew that once his new job began, he would be back to living and working in San Francisco. The commute to Novato on Monday evenings with dinner and a sleepover has come to an end. He is staying in the program on his own, and I am confident that he will succeed.

Meanwhile, back at this morning’s weigh-in, the good news is that I lost 1.4 pounds for a total of 28.6 pounds in 36 weeks. I am a mere 1.4 pounds from 30 pounds and bound and determined to achieve it in the next two weeks. A bit more activity should push me there.

I’m going to practice singing Happy Birthday now and will…

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't say "cheese"

Yesterday, I met some cheese. Not just any cheese, but some that had been brought home from Harrod’s, the famous London department store that sells everything, including cheese.

We spent the better part of the yesterday in San Francisco visiting our friends who just relocated back to the Bay Area from Virginia. The man is one of my husband’s closest friends from high school, and his new job takes him to London about once a month.

After a tour of their very cool city house, the guys left with our friend’s two young daughters and flew kites in the park. The women stayed behind and caught up. The cheese was left on the table to keep us company.

I decided to have a taste, just one, on a small cracker. I haven’t had much cheese since starting Weight Watchers, so it was a treat to taste this special kind. But…it was too much of a treat. I didn’t stop at one taste or even two. I had four small slices and then got control of the situation by moving it.

When dinner was served, I knew I had to adjust my portions to reflect the cheese debacle. Grilled steak, potatoes, vegetables and bread became two ounces of grilled steak, one small white potato, vegetables and no bread….and, of course, no dessert.

It all worked out point-wise, but I have to admit that I scared myself on how fast I could attack an innocent piece of cheese. Next time, if there is one, I just won’t take that first bite.

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

IGTBU club meeting

It was time to get together with the two couples who make up our “IGTBU” club and go out for dinner. For those of you who don’t remember what that stands for... “it’s good to be us.” Having dinner with good friends makes the food take a back seat to the camaraderie.

We went to Volpis, a family style Italian restaurant in Petaluma. It was my first time, but most of the others had been there before. When attending a family style restaurant, there is a good chance that there will be lots of food. So, I was ready for battle and made sure I knew the number of points I had going in and ate a snack of granola bars before leaving the house.

I was correct about the amount of food. There was a choice of the dinner, which came with soup, salad, pasta, entrée, dessert and coffee or a la carte. I went with the a la carte choice and had a piece of grilled salmon, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. Not exactly what comes to mind when you think “Italian”, but it worked great for me.

Now, I’m back home and have just finished my Giant Fudge Bar. It wasn’t an available choice at Volpis, but is still my favorite one point dessert.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jeans dreams

Friday is cleaning day at my house…clean sheets, loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away, house vacuumed and scrubbed down. I love sitting in my family room when it’s all done and admiring the results, including the elimination of all the dog hair. Of course, it reappears within minutes of sitting down, but I try not to remember that.

I also went through my closet today and bundled up some of the big clothes and gave them to Goodwill. I now own no pairs of jeans and will need to visit a store and purchase one pair to keep me going through the summer months. I’m looking forward to trying them on. That’s a novel concept because it has been years since I looked forward to trying anything on.

I think I am going to browse online and see what style is out there for the new, slimmer me. It’s like window shopping when the stores are closed because I know that I would never buy a pair of jeans without actually seeing them and making sure they fit.

But, a girl can dream….

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My patriotic Costco run

Another day, another Costco run. I find myself there more often these days because of Weight Watchers and the desire to buy large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables for discount prices. And, I live only 10 minutes away.

When I checked out, I was looking at the items I bought as they marched along the conveyor belt. I actually tried to figure out whose stuff this really was because the pre- Weight Watchers me would have owned very little of it.

I left with raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, whole-wheat flatbread, couscous, fresh shrimp, and a cooked chicken. No more large bags of assorted candy, sheet cakes or chips. Those days are “so over.”

My box of goodies looked so amazingly colorful as I unpacked it and put it away. It had a patriotic flare with its red, white and blue theme. I felt like I should salute...but instead, I ate some of it.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The tale of Mr. O and his scissors

When I was about eight years old, I was a “big girl.” My mother used to buy all of my clothes at Freeman’s Youth Center in New Jersey and the owner, Mr. O, knew us well. He also knew to cut the size labels out of anything that my mother bought for me because my size included the letter “X”.

I think my mother and Mr. O thought that I would figure out that my clothes were for plus sized girls and neither of them wanted to upset me. My mother did it to preserve my self-esteem…Mr. O probably went along with it to preserve the sale.

The funny thing about this is the fact that I didn’t realize that I was a “big girl” and probably wouldn’t have noticed that my size 8x dress was different than a size 8 dress. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and had become a “tall drink of water” that my mother revealed this piece of information to me.

Before joining Weight Watchers, I was shopping in the “big girl” department again. However, Mr. O. was long gone, and I was cutting the labels out of my own clothes. The “X” factor bugged me, and I kept imagining the scene where I was in an accident and the doctors found out the size of my clothing.

It’s weird how some stuff stays with you, basically forever. I don’t want to go back to hiding the truth…I want to control my weight.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hanging in there without the rope

Today, I had a flashback to my elementary school. Every year in “phys ed” there was the dreaded rope climbing segment. I would really try to climb the rope, but I couldn’t lift my own weight. I kept grabbing at the rope in the hopes I would miraculously start heading upwards. It never happened…I would slip backwards.

It was weigh-in day at Weight Watchers, and I am so close to losing 30 pounds that I can taste it. After a week of walking 16 miles around Washington DC, I was feeling like I was going to hit the magic number today.

It didn’t happen…I actually gained .8 pounds. I can’t figure it out and have decided that I’m not going to dwell on it. My body just doesn’t want to cooperate with me, and I slipped backwards.

The difference between this setback and the rope story is that the rope success never happened but the weight loss will happen. I ran out of time in elementary school and high school didn’t require rope climbing as part of the curriculum. So, I gave up.

I have all the time in the world to lose the weight. Wait and see me do it.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Home sweet home

I’m back home in Novato this evening after a wonderful four days with my grandson and his parents in Washington DC. It was tough saying goodbye knowing that it will probably be months before I see all of them again.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the walking I did while on this trip. My husband and I agreed that DC is a great place to explore and that we wish we could have stayed longer and seen more while we were there.

When we arrived at SFO this evening, we had over an hour to wait until the Marin Door to Door was going to show up and bring us home. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and the only choice for us was Subway.

I have not been to a Subway in many years bur know from my Weight Watchers friends and from my eTool that I could find a meal that would work. I found the picture of Jared hanging on the wall above the 6 gram options and chose a roast chicken breast sandwich. It was actually pretty tasty.

Jet lag is now attacking, and I’m off to bed.

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I'll have the Advil with a side of water

The tally is in…I have walked 16 miles in three days since arriving in Washington DC. That’s probably more miles than I have walked in 72 hours, ever.

Today was my grandson’s birthday party, and I got to enjoy seeing him being the center of attention with his one-year-old friends. Of course, at age one, the party- goers barely acknowledged each other, but it was fun to watch them in action.

When the guests had left, the adults were exhausted, and I went back to the hotel for a nap. I had the choice of taking a ride in my son’s car or walking, and I chose the walk. Then, when it was time to go back for dinner, I had the choice of a taxi or a walk, and I chose the walk. After dinner, I once again chose to walk back to my hotel. And that’s how eight of the 16 miles were logged in.

Now, I am ready for my usual Advil with a side of water.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy birthday Matt

Today is my grandson’s birthday. I started my day by heading out on foot to his house carrying his birthday present. It was 55 degrees yesterday when I walked the two miles and today it was 85…quite a difference especially when carrying a wrapped box.

When I arrived and after wringing out my clothing, we began the festivities. The party with the other children is tomorrow. Today was all about the family. We went out to lunch at t Turkish restaurant, and I had half of a delicious chicken sandwich. Then it was on to the playground for serious crawling around…him not me.

Dinner was a barbecue at his house and then came the birthday cake. We let him go crazy with his slice using his hands, and he was wearing it all over his body. He applauded himself after every bite and laughed hysterically through most of the experience. I've got to tell you that the part where he was face first into the cake looked pretty appealing to me.

I had a slice of cake and used the conventional fork approach. I saved a lot of points for my experience and think I might have been spotted applauding and laughing hysterically while enjoying it.

Happy 1st Birthday Matt!

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Turning one and walking four

I love Washington DC, and that’s where I am right now visiting my son, daughter-in-law and my grandson. I’m here for his first birthday party.

Today, I left the hotel and decided to walk to my son’s house. It’s two miles away and there is so much to see en route that the time passed quickly. I liked it so much that I decided to walk back at the end of the day. I logged four miles worth of activity points and was pleased with my initiative.

I haven’t seen my grandson in six months and we had a blast together. I realized, when I picked him up to put him in the swing at the playground, that he weighs just about what I lost in weight…28 pounds. I sure didn’t want to carry him around too long because he wore me out. Now, I remember why I was much more tired 34 weeks ago when I started Weight Watchers.

I have taken my two Advil to ward off the effects of the four miles and retired to my bed. Tomorrow is my grandson’s actual birthday, and I'm going to take a walk to his house to celebrate.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rah rah family

At yesterday’s Weight Watchers meeting, our leader, Claudette, wanted to know it anyone in the group was having trouble with a non-supportive friend or family member. We heard from a young woman who lives with her in-laws and is tempted by home cooked but “over the top” meals every day. We all tried to help her with suggestions and hope that she is able to succeed on her journey.

In my world lives a very supportive husband, a sister who cheers me on, a son who is also a member of Weight Watchers and a father who faithfully reads my postings. I can’t imagine what it would be like without them.

My husband walks me to Weight Watchers every Tuesday morning and walks me back home afterwards. Over the 34 weeks that I have been a member, he has lost 25 pounds as a result of the walks and the meals that I make for both of us that are Weight Watchers inspired.

It’s great to have a cheerleading squad behind you, and in case I haven’t said it lately…thank you.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week 34 yields another 1.2 pounds gone

I might have to go to bed by 9 this evening, as I am tired out. It was one of those running around days. But, it was a weight loss day, so I will go to sleep with a smile on my face. This is week 34 and the 223rd posting that I have made to this blog since joining Weight Watchers. I lost 1.2 pounds today, which gives me a total loss of 28 pounds.

As you can read, it doesn’t come off as one pound per week; otherwise I would have lost another six pounds by now. But, it does come off. I like to look at the weight- tracking chart on my Weight Watchers eTool because it reminds me that I am losing, on average, .8 pounds each week. Who cares how long it takes…it’s going in the right direction.

And that’s my report for this evening. I have eight minutes to finish posting this and climb under the covers. I’d better get a move on.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My "dream" weight

I’m back. If you are wondering where I went, I was right here in Novato, but my computer was in Corte Madera getting a bit of a tune-up. It was tired of my constant use and needed a new part. I was lost without it.

While I wasn’t writing, I was reading. I found a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine that said the average "Dream" weight loss is 38% of the dieter’s current weight. It went on to say that a:
• 31% weight loss would make the average dieter "Happy"
• 25% weight loss would be "Acceptable".
• 15.7% weight loss would be "Disappointing".
I am going to admit that the first dream weight loss is very close to accurate for me if I go back to when I started Weight Watchers. It was spooky to learn that I am like the “average” person who is trying to lose weight.

Think about your turning your dream into a realistic goal. I shoot for 10% at a time, and I am into my second 10%. I am more than happy with my success and will continue to chip away until I am healthy.

Tomorrow is weigh-in day, and I’ll see how much healthier I am.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our big night

If you haven’t seen the movie, Big Night, then you need to rent it. It was released in 1996, but if you like Stanley Tucci, Tony Shaloub and looking at some great food, it’s the film for you.

Let me give you the summary taken from IMDb:

Primo and Secondo are two brothers who have emigrated from Italy to open an Italian restaurant in America. Primo is the irascible and gifted chef, brilliant in his culinary genius, but determined not to squander his talent on making the routine dishes that customers expect. Secondo is the smooth front-man, trying to keep the restaurant financially afloat, despite few patrons other than a poor artist who pays with his paintings. The owner of the nearby Pascal's restaurant, enormously successful (despite its mediocre fare), offers a solution - he will call his friend, a big-time jazz musician, to play a special benefit at their restaurant. Primo begins to prepare his masterpiece, a feast of a lifetime, for the brothers' big night.

My husband and I watched the movie this evening. The importance of how a meal is prepared and served is evident in the way Primo creates every dish he serves. Even though we have seen this film several times, I don’t think I ever focused on the look of the food and realized how much I now enjoy the visual aspects rather than thinking only about how much of it I would have eaten if I had been there.

Ah, Weight Watchers….it has turned me into a film critic.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grazie Pasta Pomodoro

We had a lot of errands to do this evening and by the time we finished them, it was after 9. We were in the Vintage Oaks mall and decided to go to Pasta Pomodoro. It’s been a while since we have eaten there, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the calorie count next to every item. It sure made ordering easy.

I had a mixture of vegetables that had been roasted in olive oil and added shrimp as an extra. The calories were 446, and since I was carrying my iPhone, I was able to check the points before I ordered. I used nine points for the meal and arrived home with four points leftover for the day. That entitled me to use one of those points for my giant fudge bar.

I wish every restaurant provided this information. Taking the guess work out makes a Weight Watcher like me so much more confident in my dining out choices.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is one of my husband’s favorite holidays. He enjoys going out for Mexican food and the festive music that accompanies it. Today was no exception, and we decided to celebrate at lunch rather than dinner.

We arrived at El Encanto at about 3 p.m. for a late lunch. It was late by other peoples’ standards but perfect for us. The restaurant was actually very quiet because we were in between the partying. This wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for because there was no music. But, we had a great meal.

Because I am being very careful with my portions this week and trying to weigh everything on my scale, it was a bit difficult to figure out what I was going to eat. I decided to order rice and black beans with one chicken taco. I had the taco without cheese, salsa or sour cream…and even removed the taco shell. I took the shredded chicken, lettuce and tomato and added it to the rice and beans. It worked well.

When I counted the points for the meal I had concocted, I went towards the high side of points on all of the ingredients just to play it safe. After all, even on Cinco de Mayo, I wasn’t getting away with bringing my scale to the restaurant.

Now it’s after 9 and time for dinner. My trusted scale is going back to work, and I am going to pretend that there is a mariachi band in my kitchen.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What goes up will come down

Oh, oh, oh…not a happy camper today. Weigh-in day equaled a gain of .8 pounds. I’m not going to get crazy over this, but I do need to figure out the big WHY. I don’t ever have a week where I know that I have “let myself go.” I follow the program, track everything I eat, and that’s why it’s a bit frustrating to hit this kind of a week.

But, I’ve said it several times before. I will weigh everything this week to make sure I am accurate on my portions. I will try to get a few more miles under my belt in the walk department. And, I will continue to believe in myself.

I did try on the bathing suit that I bought on sale several months ago to see how it was fitting. Usually, that wouldn’t be the thing to do after a weight gain, but I know that I weigh less now than when I bought it. It fit quite well, and I look forward to wearing it when my pool is warm enough to float.

Now, I am heading to bed. Tomorrow is full of opportunities, and I want to be awake to enjoy them.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

50 pounds in 20 weeks...Kirstie Alley's approach

I read an article today, granted it was tabloid inspired, about Kirstie Alley. She supposedly has lost 50 pounds in five months, which is about 20 weeks for those of us, like me, who count things like that. Considering that she and I are about the same age, I should be impressed by that accomplishment…but I’m not.

She lost 75 pounds a couple of years ago with the help of Jenny Craig. Then, she gained 85 pounds after ending that program. I’m not sure that she is learning how to eat and what triggers her to eat because she gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time. She does, however, seem to be learning how to lose weight quickly. Not the lesson I’m interested in following.

I hope that this time, she succeeds. Knowing how much I don’t ever want to have to face losing 50 pounds in 50 weeks again, I can imagine how she must have felt knowing that she faced 85 pounds. Maybe, she will eventually get the concept of not rushing…it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

iPad...a 10 rating on a scale of 1 to 5

Here’s how it came out. The potatoes au gratin got a rating of 4 out of 5. The iPad…yes, my sixth sense was right…a 10 out of 5.

I would make the potatoes again, but they lost a point on the suggested cooking time. It was a good thing I looked in at them after 45 minutes because they were getting very dark and that was 15 minutes before they were supposed to be covered for another 20 minutes.

Now on to that iPad…fantastic. I loved it when the iPhone showed up a couple of years ago and believe that I can’t live without that piece of gear. I can see that the iPad is going to be just like that experience but it will happen even faster for me. My husband found a site that can download 27,000 books for free. I definitely will have lost the 50 pounds by the time I read all of them.

As much as I enjoy writing this post, I must get better acquainted with the newest member of the family. Of course, I’ll have to wrestle my husband for it.

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Potatoes au gratin versus iPad

We have two steaks from Costco ready to hit the grill when my husband comes home from work. I thought I’d try a weight Watchers recipe for potatoes au gratin because I finally invested in flour earlier in the week. It’s in the oven now, all “serving for 8” of it, because it seemed a shame to cut the recipe in half. We’ll just eat it over multiple nights because it looks like the type of thing that reheats well.

So, that’s my surprise for dinner, but I think my husband is coming home with an iPad, which is going to one up, by a mile, my potatoes au gratin. Sometimes I have a sixth sense about these things…he works for Apple a few days a week and the next wave of iPads were do to arrive in the store yesterday.

Tomorrow, I will report in on both the recipe and my sixth sense. For now, I’m going to enjoy the aroma of potatoes au gratin filling my kitchen…I hope they taste as good as they smell.

Talk to you soon.