Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Only have time for a quick post today. The ocean scene is the view from Blackbeard's Castle (which we missed because it closes at 2:30 pm if you can imagine!). The other two are of the 99 Steps (which really has 103 steps...they don't make anymore sense there than we do here!) with me about to climb them and then me halfway up and ready to quit. These stair cases were built by the Danish and refered to as "streets" (or gades in Danish).

I'll try to post more tomorrow - love you all!!


Monday, January 29, 2007

Ahhhh....back from d'islands, mon.

If y'ever get de chance to go to St. Thomas, mon, be taking it! You never be da same!
I'm still having trouble getting back into the groove! In fact, I'm running about 50 minutes behind schedule today when I'm supposed to be catching up!! I just have to tell you about our first night, though.
We got to the resort about 10:30 local time after 12 hours of flying and layovers, and the first thing the gal said to us was, "I have some bad news. We don't have your room ready." The dh says why not, and she doesn't know. Okay.... Dh asks to speak to the manager, and she says he's not there. He presses further and she says he's not on the property. He's at a function and she can't reach him. I'm really tired and talk dh into looking at the room they have for us. I want to fight it out after a night's sleep.
The room was hideous. We called it Motel 6's evil twin. It was the plainest Janest excuse for a resort room I've ever seen or imagined. But it had a bed...a really hard bed. DH visits the bathroom and the toilet handle comes off in his hand. We call the office and a guy comes to fix it.
The view from our window is about a foot and a half of beach and some broken down boats.
We collapsed anyway. By now it's getting on toward midnight, and the people in the room next to us talk and talk and talk, heard clearly through their excuse for walls. We lay there and try to sleep.
About 1:00, there's a loud banging on the door of the next room. A guy is shouting about his room being flooded. There's two inches of water in his room, and he's not happy. More banging. Finally someone answers the door. More shouting.
Dh gets up to tell them to shut the f### up and learns this is the manager living next door to us. Dh is very cordial, but the manager won't speak to him. He comes back in and calls around but no one answers at the other resorts except the Ritz Carlton which is 3 times the rate we're paying. He comes back to bed.
A dog starts yapping. Oh, yeah.
We finally get to sleep. Early the next morning dh finds us a new resort and harangues the staff of this one until they give us a refund. We move to a beautiful place that's less expensive and vacation happily ever after - more on that tomorrow.
The moral to this story? Never stay at Secret Harbor in St. Thomas!!!
Have a great day!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Okay, guys, put your yolks back in your eggs...

That's right. New studies show that the yolk contains a substance that prevents cataracts and other forms of eye degeneration. The fat is not easily absorbed by the body and the cholesterol is the good kind according the the New England Journal of medicine. *sigh* it's hard to keep up!!

I'm excited today because I'm getting ready to head for St. Thomas - woo hoo!! I hope to finish the revisions on my current WIP during the long plane rides and layovers (total 12 hours). The rest of the time, I'm going to soak up so much sun, the rest of the world will have a blackout - hehehe.

IF, that is, the weather doesn't mess us up. They'd better have that runway cleared, baby, 'cause I'm takin' off!! (please, please, please).

Gotta run get the last of my stuff done now - talk to you after the 25th!!


Monday, January 15, 2007

This is the view out my back door, and I am truly iced in. Went to drive to my PT and couldn't back out of the driveway because of the thick sheet of ice blocking my back tires in. Thank goodness my darling son is going to pick me up tomorrow and run me around to my various appointments and errands. He's moved back to the dorms and I miss him already.

DH and I spent the weekend watching episodes of 24 Season 2. We're heading to St. Thomas on Thursday, and we're taking Season 3 with us...

I've started hitting the exercise hard and heavy, and I can't believe how good I feel - and not just physically. My body image has been off-kilter since the mastectomy, and the exercise is actually bringing it back to me. All that stuff they say about endorphins is true too. It really does bring on feelings of well being. Wow. Of course, the first week was a real drag - hated it. Second week was equally yuck. Third week - I kinda like it. Hmmm. I'm doing 25 mins cardio, 20 mins strength training and 30-35 minutes of stretches 4 or 5 days per week. I use and love it.

Read an article on trans fats, and boy, are *they* scary. According to labeling laws, there can be 500 mg of trans fats per serving and the company can still put that there's zero. 500 mg three times per day ups your chances of having a heart attack by 30%. The only way to avoid them is to avoid foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in the list of ingredients. That's just about freaking everything packaged. Wow. Trans fats cause your body to store most of its fat in the belly area, the worst place for heart disease (and a problem for me I don't want to make worse!). Watch those labels, kiddies!!

It's late. Gotta run. Love you all!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

I spent the whole day yesterday putting away Xmas stuff, and I almost have my house back - yippee!!! I love decorating for the holidays, but by this time I'm sick of it. This is the latest I've ever put it away. Unfortunately, I need to buy another big container to fit the rest of it into. Not so bad for me, but dh won't like it...hehehe

A writing friend is in town today, so as soon as I finish my blog and exercise, I'm going to meet her for a marathon writing day. I'm so excited!! Tonight we're going to dinner with some more friends. It'll be nice to have a day out.

I feel like my daily routine is starting to gel finally. It's been a challenge getting all these ornery ducks into a row and make them *stop* quacking at me all the time! I don't have time for everything, and it's been hard choosing what gets first priority. I have to keep reminding myself I don't have to complete every book, quilt and project this week... I am making progress. I am making progress. I am making progress.

Speaking of which - I'd better go exercise right now while I can make myself do it!

Love you all!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A friend I worked with was told by her doctor recently to drastically cut her fat intake and concentrate on healthy eating, and she's having trouble knowing where to start. Everyone has to find the method that works for them, but here are my top suggestions:

READ EVERY LABEL on everything you buy. The whole label, not just the summary of calories and fat grams. Avoid foods that have sugar or corn syrup listed as one of the first 5 ingredients (this is hard when buying bread, so you can make an exception there if you're not too sensitive to sugar). Avoid foods that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Get a little notebook for your purse and WRITE DOWN EVERY FAT GRAM CONSUMED. Trust me, you'll eat too much if you don't write it down.

MEASURE YOUR PORTIONS carefully. Most diets are wrecked by incorrect portion sizes. Don't guess - measure!!

NOT ALL OILS ARE EQUAL. I use only olive or canola oil for cooking (mostly olive) and olive or sometimes walnut or grapeseed oil for dressings. Here's some info on olive oil:

Olive oil
Although more expensive than other oils, olive oil has many health benefits. It has mono-unsaturated fat and is the preferred cooking oil in Mediterranean countries. Studies have found that consumption of olive oil can lower the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels and blood clot formation.
Research has also found that olive oil may influence body fat distribution, with less fat stored around the stomach.
Olive oil is thought to offer a number of other health benefits, including reduced risk of some cancers (such as breast cancer), reduced risk of diabetes and, possibly, a delayed onset of complications in established diabetes. It also contains many antioxidant phytochemicals that have many health benefits.
This oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives and comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include:
~ Extra virgin: Considered the best, this oil comes from the first pressing of the olives.
~ Virgin: Comes from the second pressing.
~ Pure: Undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining
~ Extra light: Undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.
When buying olive oil, it is best to select the extra virgin variety. In order to get maximum benefits, olive oil should be used to prepare salad dressings, as a seasoning for soups, for sauteing vegetables or for grilling.

DON'T EAT OUT PERIOD UNTIL YOUR CHOLESTEROL IS AT AN EXCEPTABLE LEVEL. It's too hard to control fat and sugar intake and to control portions. When you've reached your goals for weight and cholesterol, treat yourself to a single all-out meal at your favorite restaurant. After that, limit splurges to once per quarter. Once your levels are where you want them, you can eat out conservatively, but keep an eye on the scale in case you're consuming more fat and sugar than you think (happens a lot).

SUBSCRIBE TO A MOTIVATING MAGAZINE - I like Shape because it covers both diet and exercise as well as women's general health issues. They have skinny models, but there are also real women with realistic figures too. There are lots of others to choose from too.

EAT VEGGIES AS YOUR MAIN COURSE and your meat as a side dish. Choose only lean cuts and avoid the skin of chicken and turkey. Try to eat as wide a variety of vegetables as you can. I really don't like vegetables, so I've had to do a lot of experimenting to find ways to prepare them so that I like them. I often grind them up and hide them in other foods, but it's hard to get enough that way. A good way to do that is in soup (don't grind broccoli though - ick! Just cut it up really small). If you cut your veggies up small enough, you'll hardly know they're there as the flavor gets overwhelmed by the broth and spices.

EAT MOSTLY FISH, SHRIMP, AND CRAB and other seafoods (research and avoid high mercury content fish). Not only do these give you the Omega-3 fatty acids, you'll also consume much less fat for the same portions.

DON'T EAT MEAT, POULTRY OR SEAFOOD THAT'S CHARRED OR BLACKENED - the process creates carcinogens. And, of course, NOTHING BREADED AND FRIED. Tempura cooked shrimp should also be avoided.

TRY TO CONSUME A VARIETY OF GRAINS AND MAKE AT LEAST HALF OF THOSE WHOLE GRAINS. I really hate brown rice, so I use a lot of whole wheat flour, whole oat flour, oatmeal, and barley. That way I can eat white rice.

DO 20 MINUTES OF CARDIO 3 TIMES PER WEEK and work up to 30-45 minutes. I try to do my cardio every day so if something happens at the end of the week, I have it done. If I get in extra workouts - all the better!

STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY TRAINING are just as important to your health as cardio, especially in injury prevention such as my partial tear on my rotator cuff. That can be directly connected to my poor flexibility and poor posture. Poor conditioning is also the main culprit in back injuries such as ruptured disks. This type of training is also great for relieving gastro-intestinal symptoms and tension headaches. Okay, it just about walks on water...

Those are the biggies right now, and it's time for me to get busy writing for the day. I'll leave you with the recipe for the day:

Quick Shrimp Creole (yummy!)

7 oz. enriched white rice
28 oz diced tomatoes (can be stewed)
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp hot sauce (tabasco or louisiana)
1 tsp Creole seasoning (I use Chef Prudhomme's seafood magic)
1 lb peeled large shrimp (I use frozen)

Prepare rice and keep warm.

Saute green pepper, onion, and celery in olive oil until tender. Add garlic and saute another minute. Stir in tomatoes, hot sauce, and Creole seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in shrimp, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes or until heated through (frozen may take a bit longer). Serve over hot cooked rice.

Health to you all!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm feeling pretty up this morning. I got quite a bit done over the weekend. Now my challenge this week is to get a lot of writing done, starting this morning. I have the paranormal to finish and get emailed to the agent and then I'm starting the paranormal historical. I'm facilitating a class based on Todd Stone's book Novelist's Boot Camp (which I HIGHLY recommend to any would-be novelist) and my project for the class with be the paranormal historical. All attendees are going to try to complete a novel this year in the class.

I got a call from my daughter this weekend. She's been accepted into the European Graduate School's phD program which is awesome. If she's opts to take the offer the classes are all online except for a month each summer where she'll travel to Switzerland for a session of classes. They've said her professors for her second year will be the Quay brothers. She's doing her master's thesis on them (they're film directors), so she's extra excited about that. Yay, Laura!!

On a sadder note, Sean moves back to the dorms on Wednesday. I've really enjoyed having him back home during the holidays. He's such good company. My baby's grown up. Wow. Part of me is so proud to see him become a man, but the other part wants him to be my little boy forever. *sigh*

I have a new grandbaby too that I don't know if I've mentioned. That's his picture at the top of the post when he was one day old. His name is Brady and he was born December 13, and he's perfect!! (Did you expect any less?? hehehe). I went to see him on Thursday, and he stayed awake the whole time I was there. It was so fun. After that my other grandson, Alec, my granddaughter, Brooklyn, and I went to PetSmart and got Alec two hermit crabs for his habitat. Brooklyn wants crabs, too, she said. She talked about them all evening. I told her we'd get her some when she turns six if its okay with her mom.

Today's's got to be gratitude for God's creation of the family. What a blessing!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Time for the after-holiday Snoopy dance!!

To hear the music, go to I couldn't figure out how to put the music in my blog - is that possible? Ah well...perhaps some particularly delectable fly will let me know how to do it...

I've been officially off work since the end of October, and it seems I'm busier than ever!! Where does the time go? At least what I'm getting done are the things I want to get done. I think once I get a good routine down (without holiday business!), I'll be much less stressed.

The holidays were great, by the way. My new grandbaby was born December 13, and he's as handsome as can be. Nana is already terribly in love with him. I went to see him yesterday and he stayed awake most of the time and looked around. My daughter arrived from Boston on the 22nd, and it was sooooo good to see her. We drove to Texas to visit my mom and dad and had a great time. My son moved back from college for the holidays, and it feels like old times. I've really missed him! He goes back around the 10th.

In two weeks from yesterday, Lane and I will be jetting off for St. Thomas - woo hoo!! I can't wait to get somewhere tropical. We're not going to do a darn thing while we're there except lay on the beach, take naps, and relax. We may sign up for an outing or two, but we're not committing to anything.

My physical therapy for the little tear in my rotator cuff (shoulder) is going well. I can already feel the difference, but I can also tell it's going to take a long time to heal. In the meantime, I've begun my routine of stretching exercises, and today I'm going to check out According to my SHAPE magazine, you sign up for $15 a month and have access to 80 or so workout classes of all types. I want to do Yoga, pilates, and of course I must do strength training for osteoporosis and the cancer. I'll do more exercises in one week than I've done in my whole life combined!! They say it's never too late to start, and I hope that's right!

Gotta run. Got lots to do before I go to PT at 11:00. Make 2007 a year of health, everyone. I love all of you, and I want us all to be together for many years to come!!