Monday, July 21, 2014

Done and Did -- Week One of the 30-Day Challenge

"Wouldn't you like some potato chips with lunch?" I asked the Husband, as we waited for the light to turn green.

"Sure." He's such a sweetheart.

"Beer would taste good with potato chips. Shall we get some beer, too?"

"Absolutely!" I made a left into the supermaket parking lot.

"But, can you have chips?" he asked. I was on my second week of the 30-day health-and-fitness challenge.

"Yes, as long as they're not made from flour," I answered, easing the car into a parking spot far away from the door.

"You can't have beer then," he said.

I was momentarily bummed out. And, all this time we'd been driving around town doing errands, I'd been thinking of a gin and tonic. Not that I'm a big cocktail drinker,  But, today, I've been desiring an alcoholic drink. Then, my brain cells kicked in. "Alcohol is okay, as long as it's not past 7:30 PM."

"Are you sure? Beer is made from grain."

"Grains are okay. Flours, no. Any kind of flour. Not even gluten-free flours."

This 30-day challenge is going along as fine as can be. Kicking out flours and sugar has been easier than I thought, even when the Husband and the Mama are eating ice cream or pie for dessert. If it's not 7:30 PM yet, I eat an apple or some kind of fruit for my dessert. If it's past 7:30, I go bug Molly the Cat.

Interestingly, the daily exercise rule has been the hardest to do during the first week. I don't think I have ever purposely worked out for at least 60 minutes each day. Tops has been three or four days in a row, ranging from 30 to 50 minutes. When I chose to do the extreme challenge, I didn't think doing an extra 15 minutes of exercise would be as tough as it has been. Ha! But, I did it. I worked through the aches and tiredness. One of the things that kept me going was thinking of the Mama continually pushing herself at 92 years old to work in her garden everyday.

So, I'm giddily proud to say that I pedaled 62.8 miles on my fat pink cruiser bicycle and walked 2.2 miles during the first week of the challenge.

And, yes, I had three hands full of jalapeƱo potato chips and a bottle of summer ale with lunch today. Yum!

On to week two! Whooo-hooo!

Update: 7/22/2014 -- This is the second time I got the sugar gram wrong. First, I thought it was 28 grams, then 22 grams. I need to get new glasses. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

30 Days towards a Healthy Lifestyle

Tomorrow starts the 30-Day Sam Farr Challenge for me. Sam Farr is my representative  in the U.S. House of Representatives and last week he decided to take health educator Mary Toscano's invitation to a 30-day healthy lifestyle challenge. In so doing, he invited his constituents to join him.

In a nutshell, from tomorrow, July 12, until August 12, I will follow these three rules:
  • No food or alcohol after 7:30 PM.
  • No foods with flour (including gluten-free flours) or more than 20 grams of sugars (per serving).
  • Complete 1 hour of exercise of 10,000 steps daily.
I feel confident that I can handle rules #1 and #3 quite easily.

Thirty days without pasta, bread, cereal, ice cream, cookies, and pie? That will be the toughie for me. It's the primary reason I decided to take the challenge. I've slipped back into the habit of eating desserts, rolls, pasta, and such, knowing full well that they aren't good for my eczema, estrogen dominance, and right-at-the-border diabetes. I need to go cold turkey and I'm using this 30-day challenge to help me get through it.

So, what did I do yesterday, the last day I could indulge in flour and sugar. I ate pizza for lunch. And, at dinner, I ate pesto pasta and a BIG portion of double chocolate with fudge ice cream.

I am ready!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Bunch of Firsts in June

A Happy July First to you, Dear Readers!

And, because it's July first, I'm going to tell, and show, some of the firsts that the Husband and I experienced in June. Bottom line: summer is definitely here. Whooo-hooo!

As some of you know, I do another blog called Take 25 to Hollister, which is all about where we live in California. Yup, Hollister, California. Our history and culture is not at all like the fictional Hollister, California of clothing fame. If you're interested in knowing the difference, check out this post. But, I mention the blog because our first-time experiences took place in Hollister and nearby locations. You'll also probably notice the watermark on some of my photos. Now, on with the show and tell.

Hollister Airshow


Have you ever seen an air show from the flight line? It's definitely a different experience from suddenly stopping on the side of the road and peering up into the sky at the planes. That's how I've seen air shows in the past. The aerobatic pilots were amazing. I don't want to learn to fly anymore, but I wouldn't mind riding along with one of them. And, when I watched the WWII fighter trainers fly by, I got emotional thinking about their roles.

I also had another first. A local online news portal left a press pass for me, so I could cover the airshow. I didn't use it though, because I'd already bought tickets. But, I should've anyway for a souvenir, huh?

If you'd like to see more airshow photos, you can check out my Facebook album. You don't need to be a Facebook member or sign on to see it.

Greenhouse Tour

For the past few years,  greenhouse growers in nearby Monterey County open their doors to the public once a year. They give tours of their operations and give visitors the opportunity to purchase their gorgeous flowers and trees. The Husband and I managed to see four of the five greenhouse companies. Breathing in all that fresh oxygen made me quite mellow. I also have an album of our greenhouse tour, if you're interested.

Mission San Juan Bautista Fiesta Opening Procession

About seven miles west of Hollister is San Juan Bautista, which is named after Mission San Juan Bautista, one of the 21 missions that Spanish padres built in California between 1769 and 1833. The church holds an annual festival in honor of St. John the Baptist.

The fiesta began after mass with a procession from the mission, around the historical San Juan Bautista plaza, down to the main street of town, through part of town, and up to the historic olive grove where the fiesta was held. This year, the procession was led by a conchero dance troupe, which held a traditional blessing ceremony next to the statue of St. John the Baptist. Want to see more photos? Check out this album.

Hollister Hills

The Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area is few miles south of Hollister. Nearly every day, trucks loaded with dirt bikes, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles head up to the park. The Husband and I have often wanted to wander there, and we finally had the chance when we learned it had a nature area for hikers. On the map, it looks like a large area, but it's not. The longest trail is a mile, more or less. As we traipsed over a few low bridges, I thought what a gorgeous walk this would be after a spring rain.

The Parade

Another annual event that we have is the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo, which begins with a parade through downtown Hollister. This is the first year that I went without the Husband who was ill. It turned out he had a bad case of vertigo, which is another story. I certainly missed sitting next to him on the curb, which is truly the best view for watching parades.

Yes, I have a Facebook album of the parade. Here you go.

The Rodeo


Before the Husband came down with vertigo, I won free tickets to the rodeo. Whoo-hooo! We played it by ear and by the time of the rodeo, the Husband said he felt fine, though a bit wobbly, and was raring to go. And, so we saw our first rodeo ever. Yi-haw! Yup. I have an album of more photos that you can check out, if you'd like.

What a month! No wonder I feel tired. Now, it's time to go prune the tree and cut the lawn in the front yard. See ya.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hush, Mockingbird, Hush!

Our sweetie-cakes is bored.

How do I know Miss Molly by Golly is bored?

"Break time," she mewed. She hopped up on my desk, walked back and forth on my keyboard, and checked out what was on the computer, then plopped down in front of me, insisting that she be petted.

Molly rarely comes upstairs into the office in the morning on her own volition. (Ooooh, big word. Could my ability to recall vocabulary be coming back? Take that Menopause!) And, the only reason she normally doesn't care to seek out my attention at this time of the day is because she's enjoying herself in the Mama's garden.

So, why wasn't she there on this gorgeous summer day? Unfortunately, summer brings back her seasonal harasser—the mockingbird. Every time, Molly the Cat goes outside, the bird suddenly appears and screeches at her. Molly just sits and looks at it, as if saying, "What's your problem?" The mockingbird then swoops at her and as Molly retreats to the house, the bird tries to peck at her back.
When we hear the mockingbird, the Husband or I go out to chase it away. The mockingbird, alas, is no longer scared of either of us.

This year, the mockingbird has a partner, and they have made a nest either in the tree in the front yard or one of the persimmons in the back. Sometimes both of them are going at Molly. Poor baby.

I tell Molly that she needs to stand up for herself, to hiss and show them her claws. I even demonstrate. For a moment, I can get that mockingbird to scram, but it's more like we're arguing with each other. Molly mews at me, as if saying, "That's so undignified. I just want them to leave me alone."

So do we.

Hopefully, the mockingbird babies will be born soon and the family will fly away to their next port. Then, Molly can get back to her morning roaming and relaxing in the back yard.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Socks, Lovely Socks

I drew socks the other day because I bought some socks for the Mama and me. They are just as colorful as the ones in the picture. The Husband bought socks, too. He was the instigator, which meant he needed socks and the Mama must have forgotten to give him socks for Christmas. Actually, it was more like she forgot to tell me that she wanted to buy his annual Christmas bunch of socks. I should've remembered, but I haven't been good in that department either.

A couple weeks ago, I forgot about the Mama's doctor appointment. At least, I remembered the following day and called the doctor's office. We went on Friday for his five-minute examination to make sure she is still ticking. Yup, she is indeed. Her blood count actually went up,  and her blood pressure is that of a spring chicken. The Mama also gained a pound. She'd been losing a pound every four months for the past two years so I was very happy to hear the nurse say she was 110. The Mama's reaction. "I'm eating too much." Yeah, right. What she is doing is eating regular servings of food more than usual. And, now that it's summer, she's snacking on fresh fruit more. Yay, fresh fruit!

Every day, the Mama comes in with a couple of apricots that have dropped from up high. As she hands them to me, I make a mental note to go with the Husband to look up high into the tree to see where the apricots are hiding. Of course I forget. As I'm writing this I now remember that I planned to prune the butterfly bush yesterday afternoon. All I can say is that last night I finally cooked the eggplants, okra, and leftover roasted chicken into a stew for dinner.

Let me get back to the subject of socks. I can't remember the last time I bought an article of clothing for myself, unless the Mama's Christmas clothing gift for me counts. She gave me a cute pleated denim blouse that we both agreed look nice on me. Our tastes in clothes are quite different. She likes structured, tailored clothes while I like mine free and flowing. This bunch of socks amazingly had styles and colors that match our tastes.

The Mama told me to pick my socks first, but I said nope to that. Making choices is difficult for her, even picking socks. But, she did it, with Molly the Cat watching intently. The Mama gave me the socks I like, which were the orange and blue colored socks. I knew she would like the red and black colored ones.

Molly the Cat? She only wear socks in my imagination. Though, maybe she wouldn't mind wearing socks upon her dainty paws, especially when she's traipsing around the Mama's boxes of sprouting vegetables. Maybe then she wouldn't leave evidence of having been where she is not supposed to be. The other day, the Mama asked Molly, "Was that you who pulled the flowers off the eggplants?"  Molly the Cat merely walked away, without saying a mew. I wonder if she'd like to wear a sock on her swishy tail.