Friday, October 29, 2010

My sweet dog-child, Lily

My sweet dog-child Lily passed away when I was at work yesterday. I had my TOPS meeting right after work and after that my mom followed me home to see her - but she was already gone. She had been going downhill this week. I had told Lily all morning and she knew that my mom (GaGa) was coming over and I believe that she waited to pass until she knew that I wouldn't be alone to find her.
My girl was so amazing...she fought back from heat stroke, hydrocephalus, COPD, enlarged heart, arthritis... but her little 8 pound body just couldn't fight anymore.

My heart is broken and I can't stop crying, but I am also remembering how very lucky that she and I found each other and that I had her in my life for 7 years.
A quote that I love that gives me comfort in times of loss of my 4-legged children:

"We who choose to surround ourselves

with lives even more temporary than our

own, live within a fragile circle;

easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps,

we would still live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only

certain immortality, never fully

understanding the necessary plan."

— Irving Townsend


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Etsy, Cat Illness, and Cat Bite!

I love the Etsy website for handmade goods.  Soon I will open up my store again and I just reopened my mom's Etsy store (she is a brilliant artist, but not good with the online business aspect of it so I am her business manager!).  I am so proud of her and her creations that I just wanted to share a few here.......her etsy site is GaGa's Sewing Room.  I just love how she combines cool fabrics and vintage lace, doilies, or hankies.

Here are some of her latest them!

Last week, one of my dear sweet cats, Buddy, was hospitalized with a complete blockage - he was near death.  He survived and came home and on Friday morning, I was trying to pill pop him his meds and he gave me a big, strong bite on the finger....OW!!!  I was happy that he was feisty, but OMG, the bite REALLY hurt.  By Saturday morning, it was swollen and bright red and had spread to my whole hand (pictures below are on Friday the following morning, my right hand was twice this size).  My doc on Saturday morning took one look and told me that this was VERY serious.  I guess that cats - all cats - have a specific bacteria in their mouths (Pastuerella).  I was given a super strong big dose of antibiotics in a shot in the behind :) and  was told to elevate my hand and put on a heating pad all weekend.  If it was not better on Sunday, I was to go immediately to the hospital to be admitted because I could lose sensation in my hand or worse!  Yikes....this was scary stuff - all because of a cat bite.  I am happy to report that I am now on the mend, although I am on strong antibiotics for 10 days and will have to continue to have the area monitored. 

 And this is my beloved little culprit, Buddy.  :)

I will be back more regularly with blogs on my weight loss (more than 50 pounds so far!!), recipes that are super yummy, crafts, giveaways, and of course more beloved cat photos of my four-legged furry children!



Sunday, August 1, 2010

I am a work in progress...

I am a work in progress... in all aspects of my life - health, weight, happiness, hope.

I have been on Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live eating plan for not even two months and I have lost almost 40 pounds.  I truly feel that I have found the perfect way to eat for me. 
 I have had many scale victories, which is great, but perhaps the most exciting thing for me right now is the non-scale victories I have had.  Specifically and most importantly, my health is getting better.  While I don't want to admit my weight here yet, I do still have more than 100 pounds to lose (that's the not the health news :) but just an FYI).  For many years, I have been on the highest dose of an expensive blood pressure medicine that also contained the highest dose of a diuretic.  Well, several weeks ago, I was feeling dizzy a lot and nauseous for reasons I couldn't identify.  I went to the doctor, and he feels that my blood pressure meds were too high and it was making me dehydrated and my electolytes were all off.  So, he put me on a new medicine, HALF the dose and NO DIURETIC. While not super low, my blood pressure is 120/70, which is the lowest it has been in at least 10 years.  WOOHOO!!  So far, no more dizziness.  I go back to the doc on Wed to confirm that my blood pressure is still under control but I think it will be good!

Another great victory occured at my TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meeting a few weeks ago. This is a weekly weight loss support group and we meet every week and weigh in at the scales.  Well, I hit a number on the scale that I haven't seen in more than 15 years.  I'll give myself another WOOHOO for that!

I love this eating plan.  I am eating three big and delicious meals each day (no between meal snacks) that include wonderful fresh vegetables, luscious fruits, yummy beans, plenty of water and more!.      

I feel energized lately which is fantastic and has also been a long time coming.  Seriously for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful!  Hopeful to lose the remaining weight, hopeful for today, and hopeful for what the future may hold.

In previous "diets" - and believe me, in my 45 years there have been too many to count - I have initially done well and if there was a setback, or whatever, I would give up and go back to my old eating patterns.  I have gained and lost so much weight over the years that I have lost count.  At times, just thinking about the amount of weight I need to lose has been overwhelming but no more.  I am taking one bite at a time, one decision at a time.  And this amazing Eat to Live plan is helping me.....I no longer have insatiable cravings, no longer have the desire to be obsessive compulsive with my food.  I am learning to feel at peace and at home in the body that I have right now at this very moment.  I am learning to cultivate kindness toward my body not only in the foods that I feed it, but in the thoughts that I have about it.

My next step in this journey to wellness is to start exercising.  Any movement is better than no movement! :)  I have osteoarthritis in both knees and currently use a forearm crutch.  As the weight comes off, I have less and less pain.  Although I know that cartilage won't grow back, my goal is to put off knee replacement for years and years and build up the strength in the muscles around my knees.  Actually my goal is to not have to use the crutches except for when I have flare-ups.  So...movement starts this week!

Now that I have rambled on, I will leave you with another gratuitous cat picture.  This is my sweet Marty sharing a joke with Baby Spike.  LOL.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My house a/c is broken and I am not a happy camper.  It broke last night and they can't come to fix it until Monday afternoon.  I just had a brand new a/c heat pump etc put in 3 years ago (thousands of dollars!) and now this.  Ugh.  I am lucky, however, to have a home protection insurance that no matter what needs to be done, I only pay my deductible of $75.  That is such a provision right now.  Three years ago when my a/c broke and I got new, I bought about 4/5 fans - luckily I kept them (note the massive dust on the black one...clearly I never thought I would use them again!).  But that is another thing I am grateful for...the fans not the dust! :)

The cats, pup and I are too hot to do anything today but lie around the house.  Being hot = no energy. I had big plans to get things done around here, but they will have to wait!  Oh darn, I can't do laundry tonight!  LOL
I have been enjoying lots of fresh fruit today!  These strawberries and blueberries are just AWESOME and so wonderful.  I bought so many that I am freezing some as well.  I used to just stick them in the freezer and they were just never right.  I read on another blog to put them on a cookie sheet/tray and stick the sheet in the freezer.  Then once they are frozen put them in their individual baggies and freeze them.  Works like a charm....who knew (well probably everyone, but now I know too!!).
Hope you all stay cool and I hope come Monday eve I am cool again too! 


Monday, July 5, 2010

Staycations are great...

Wow, the weather here in Virginia is brutal today.  This is the last day of my 4-day *staycation* and I have literally not left the is about 98 degrees, with tomorrow and Wednesday expected to be in the low 100's.  Ugh.  Even the squirrels are hot.

Friday, I had the girls - my nieces Mallory and Courtney, and my mom - over for our monthly scrapbooking party.  This time we concentrated on making their mom and my other sister birthday cards (my sisters are twins) as well as lots of fun bookmarks.  These girls - all three of them - are so talented and we have such fun!!

This is Mallory (age 9) being silly.  She is just learning cursive writing - note the sweet sentiment she wrote on Amy's card.

Sweet Courtney (age 12) contemplating her next creation.

My beautiful mom (who is also my best friend!).

My sweet little girl, Lily.  She is getting so old and has so many medical issues (COPD, Hydrocephalus, Arthritis, enlarged heart) and yet she just keeps doing so well.  She had her regular checkup at her vet on Friday morning and she is doing great.  She is 9 pounds, a little heavier than she should be, but that is due to the prednisone that she takes and is to be expected.  Boy she is such a little lovebug and so devoted to her mommy.  I literally stayed home Saturday, Sunday, and today so when I head back to work tomorrow, she will definitely be sad.  She is having a bad hair day here, but boy is she cute!!

A lazy Monday at home....

and this moment as I sit in my big overstuffed chair with my feet up on the ottoman, this is what I see (my sweet Freida)....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Books, Books, Books

Yikes.  I have so many books that I have purchased in the last year to read and they all are (and I am sure there are more in a few other piles or drawers around the house) - still unread. 

I have been so stressed this last year and have had so much on my plate that I just would tell myself that I "can't make time to read."  Yet, I believe that is exactly what my soul needs.  There is nothing better to me than to curl up in my big comfy chair and read a great book.  So, starting now, I am going to set aside time each week to do just that - curl up with one of my neglected books and take the time for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feeling Great...Eat to Live Update

Seriously, I am so pleased with my new Eat to Live diet (I hate that  I have been doing this for not even two weeks, and I have already lost 15 pounds and I eat a LOT.  Unbelievable.  Now I have a lot of weight to ultimately lose, so I'm sure it will come off faster at first, but the success has been even more of a motivator, not to mention that I am just feeling so much better!!

 I think for a non-vegan or non-vegetarian, this would be a hard way of eating to start...very extreme.  Luckily I have been a vegetarian for more than 15 years and have been a complete vegan for a year and a half so the transition has been very easy.

I haven't started making any special recipes, etc....still looking forward to that.  Right now I am doing the strict 6-week aggressive program....programming my mind and body to get past the food addiction.  If you had told me three weeks ago that I would not be able to eat some of my planned foods since I was full I would have laughed out loud.  And if you had told me that I could not have any between meal snacks, I would have said HA!  I would have said..." I can't go that long between eating."  When in actuality, I am NOT hungry between meals.

Breakfast and Lunch today (ignore the ugly paper plates and plastic - I was at work)....
(Is there a secret to peeling a pretty oranges are always so messy looking.....but at least they taste super yummy!!)

Until next time...


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eat to Live and a Lovely Farmers Market

A lovely friend gave me the Eat to Live book by Joel Fuhrman and I love it.  Officially started that eating plan today.  I have been vegan (and before that vegetarian) for a long time, but I always add way too many processed foods, etc.  This feels right to me.  Prior to this, I have lost 30 pounds so far this year, but at my current weight, I have so much more to lose.....more than 100 pounds.  But actually, even more important, or at least equally as important, I believe that this will improve my health (high blood pressure, severe osteoarthritis in both knees, etc), and even prolong my life.  That's a good great amazing thing!!

To that end, my wonderful mom ( who is also my best friend) and I took a drive down to my aunts in Gordonsville, VA (about an hour and half from my house) and about a half hour in found this fantastic farmers market.  YAY!  Luscious vegetables!! 

(I am so in love with both these large cherry tomatoes and the amazing tomatoes below!! YUMMY!)

I am continually amazed and just in awe of how beautiful Virginia is.  I am so happy to have been born, raised and still living in this beautiful state!!

And finally, I have to leave you with a few pictures of some of my beloved 4-legged reason....they just make me so happy!

Baby Spike....
and dear Henry as I try to work (well, okay, I am really on Facebook, but I had intentions of working!)

I could go on with pictures of my furry 4-legged children, but I'll save that for another day!!

Peace my friends,


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I try, folks, I really try

My goal, truly folks, is to be a good blogger and blog regularly. I will get there soon, I am hoping.  I think of things to blog about constantly but somehow lately, life has been getting in the way.

This past weekend, I was happy to get some cooking done. I like to cook things on the weekends that I can freeze portions of for future use and dinners.

I made a really great homemade vegetable broth that I then froze in individual 2-cup containers. It smelled WONDERFUL and I am really happy with it since it has no sodium and just fresh vegetables and water! Lovely.

Then I made two tofu loaves - soooo good and so low calorie.  I froze individual servings and was also able to share some with my mom, who had her first taste of tofu.  She loved it, so YAY!!
And finally, on Sunday, I made a really tasty black bean soup in the crock pot....and got to use some of my homemade vegetable broth!!  Delish!!

 And I would also like to share with you my beautiful grandmother, who just celebrated her 93rd birthday on Sunday.  She lives in a wonderful nursing home about 10 minutes from me.  Although she can be stubborn and spoiled sometimes, she is an amazing woman.  And heck, if you get to the age of 93, you can be stubborn and've earned it!!

See you next time - hopefully with not such a big gap in between blog posts!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday...and the livin' is easy!

Good afternoon, folks!  After a long week, the weekend is here! WOOT! My mom and I are meeting a group of our wonderful friends tonight so that will be fun. 

I lost about 2 pounds this week (I have my weigh-ins on Thursday nights).  Not as much as I had hoped, but considering my weekends are usually spent eating too much and all the wrong things (my obsessive compulsiveness rearing its ugly head).  Yet, when I plan and pack my breakfast and lunches during the work week, I eat very well and in moderation.  This weekend, so far, I am eating only healthy, good for me foods in all the right portions.  I know it's only Saturday, but normally by this time, I would be up probably a few pounds between Friday morning and Saturday morning.  I really have a food addiction and it is truly a day at a time.  I want to be healthy and happy.  If I can live with my conviction of being vegetarian for 15 years  before going vegan a year + ago, I can do this too.  It's all connected.

I had planned on doing only a whole foods diet , but have adapted it a bit for what I know will work for me.  I will still do mostly whole foods, but will include Ezekiel Breads occassionally, Gardein products occassionally, and the cereal I eat for breakfast during the week (with raw almonds and either sliced banana or strawberries).  So, not exactly all whole foods, but I think this is what is going to work for me.

So, for now, this is what I think will work for me and I am pleased with it.  Always a vegan diet, but not all whole foods! Healthy, yes, and that is most important for me right now.

Lunch just now was super yummy....a sprouted grain english muffin toasted, 2 tbsp hummus, with some Mediterranean tabbouleh added on top. It was REALLY good and quite satisfying.  Who knew....a measured portion would be enough....took me a while, but for today, I get it. :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!