The Week That Was

Never to be duplicated, I sincerely hope.
Started off with an infected tooth. Emergency visit to dentist. On antibiotics and painkillers, with a root canal scheduled for this coming Tuesday.

Then came my endoscopy procedure on Friday. Sedated completely with a camera and snipper thingy shoved down my throat. Remember the doc advising me to try not to belch. Came to during the procedure because I was belching loudly and incessantly and couldn’t help myself. (Found out later that during this procedure they blow your tummy up with air so they can see stuff better – hell, no wonder I was belching like a 12 year old boy!!!) So sorry Doc, hope you got what you went in there for, despite my reptile brain trying to belch your equipment back out at you. Guess I’ll find out in a week or so, when I see you again.

Then Friday night, recovering at home and finally able to stay awake for more than 20 minutes at a time (my goddess, what did they shoot me up with at the hospital???), I decide to start opening up my mail. Saw 5 weird transactions on my MasterCard bill. Just great. Someone has gotten my number somehow and is ripping me off. Bought themselves a cell phone from Fido, spent over $500 bucks at a salon (on what? It costs me $20 to get my hair cut), ate out several times at some Chinese eateries…in general, had themselves a good time committing fraud in my name.

The people at the credit card company were great though. They immediately shut down my card and are sending me a new one so hopefully that is the end of that.

The icing on the cake of The Week That Was is that I think I am finally experiencing some of those hot flashy thingies. Nothing too too dramatic. Just waves of heat coming over my body. If it doesn’t get any worse than this, I can deal.

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The Housework Game

Despite being genetically and culturally programmed to clean to a higher standard than a normal human being (I’m Dutch on both sides), I loath cleaning. I love a clean home, but I loath cleaning.

I loath the time it takes. I loath that it doesn’t last for more than a few days (or hours, when the kids were little). I loath the time it takes from more interesting and productive pursuits – like knitting, cooking or watching Slice. (My vice IS Slice.) I loath that I am being judged on how clean my home is (or isn’t). Did I mention I loath the time it takes?

But a clean home is so peaceful, so right, so comfortable, so welcoming, so…clean. So clean I must unless I can coerce someone else to do it for me. There was a time that I actually paid someone to clean my home. That lasted for a few short years back when the kids were teens. Now referred to as that time “Mizz D Was So Anemic She Could Have Died.” Thankfully I didn’t die, but IF I HAD DIED, AT LEAST MY HOUSE WOULD HAVE BEEN CLEAN. (And Dutch women everywhere can understand this sentiment. In fact next time I am going to Holland, I am going to check out the graveyards because I am sure there is a line on Dutch womens’ tombstones that says something to the effect that they wish they had spent more time cleaning.)

So, blood iron levels restored (thanks to a hysterectomy and Floradix Formula), I have no more excuses for poor housekeeping (according to Dutch women everywhere) so I am coming up with ways to make it, shall we say, more sporting – and thus, hopefully more tolerable.

I came up with the Housework Game Version 2: “How much housework can I get done in an hour?” I can do anything for an hour, right? I set the stove clock and I’m off and running.

Today I managed to:

  • vacuum the living room, TV room, kitchen, hallway, stairs, bedroom and upstairs bathroom
  • clean upstairs bathroom
  • wash kitchen floor

All with 2 minutes to spare on the clock.

Version 1 debuted a few years back – before I knew I was already a citizen of the foggy world of Anemia. It was called “How much housework can I get done before I finish this honkin‘ big glass of red wine?” The beauty of this game was that, by the time the glass was finished, I was ready to pour another and keep on cleanin‘. Yeah, good times. By the time the house was sparkling, I was too.

Now I am an abstainer so I need to come up with other ways to get the house clean. Anybody out there got some good ideas to make housekeeping more palatable?

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I think I found my Cake and Flowers…and maybe my Dress (style at least)

I saw the cover of this magazine in the grocery store and had to plunk down the 13 buckaroos for it. That is how strongly the picture of the cake affected me.

Although not enough not to alter it somewhat in my mind already, apparently – I see it draped with hydrangeas, not peonies.

Then today, I saw this book at Chapters. However, I did not buy it as I did with the magazine, having learned that I can probably find the cover photo online, which I did. This I love as a bouquet – well maybe not in its entirety, but I love the colour scheme and the droopy bits and the size of it. So picture this with hydrangeas sprinkled throughout somehow.
And last night on Say Yes to the Dress, I saw a dress that really intrigued me. Very simple, with straps and a bit of a train. No lace. It came blingless but the consultant wrapped a thin blingy belt around the empire waist and that sold me. This photo might be it, although it wasn’t in satin on the show, more like crepe or something else non-shiny. Now to find something similar around here, that I could afford, as Kleinfeld’s is too rich for this old broad’s blood.

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Sunday’s Run/Walk/Hike Adventure

In my madness yesterday I decided to run/walk home from work….a 16 K commitment…from my workplace in the City to my home in the Village. (JD dropped me off at my work on the way to his work so I could get a few things done before the week officially started.)

Not only that, I decided to stop at the grocery store about a third of the way into my run to pick up a package of turkey Italian sausage to add to the Tuscan White Bean soup I had simmering away in the crock pot at home. Oh yeah, and I also picked up a Nivea for Men chapstick for my beloved, who is complaining of dry lips (what with all of his outdoorsy apprentice golf-pro-ing duties and all).

So picture this – a chunky, middle-aged woman jogging along the side of the country road in the blazing heat and sun, clutching her eco-friendly shopping bag (green in principle but black in reality). She is running too fast because she wants to get her raw meat home before it spoils…yeah, and did I mention this woman went to university and majored in MICROBIOLOGY, especially that of FOOD. Brilliant idea, that.


She crosses the S River (the one that runs into the Village) at about the 8K mark (thank you, Garmin) and spies a sign that reads “S River Trail”. Looks lovely, shady, cool, inviting. She goes for it! Leaves the dusty country road and decides to follow the river home to the Village, on a trail she’s heard of but never been on before. Not exactly dressed for the trail – shorts and a t-shirt, but at least she’s got her newish Asics trail runners on.

At first it was great. Our gal is loving this – the trail is indeed beautiful and cool, though she can tell it is barely used. Many branches and even whole trees lie across the narrow trail and the foliage is pretty dense. So she can’t run at all – too dangerous – but she walks along quite briskly and is delighted with herself for taking this route, away from the hot asphalt and the speeding SUVs. She spies a great blue heron fishing in the river, as well as another dove-grey waterbird she has never seen before. Where is her camera when she needs it?!?!

At some points the trail is almost completely overgrown and our heroine is scanning the trees for blazes, feeling very adventurous indeed. She notices that she is really quite alone out here in the “wilds” between the City and the Village and wonders if there are any “wild things” about that might be attracted to her little package of raw meat. She remembers reading in the newspapers of a black bear sighting in the county a couple of years ago. She decides, if challenged by anything, she will throw the sausages in its general direction (after retrieving the brand new chapstick from the bag first of course) and run like hell. Yeah, that would be the plan. She continues on, still loving the trail and ruing her lack of camera.

She passes through some open areas where the weeds are quite high. She finds out that some of the weeds she has passed through (which looked naggingly familiar) are indeed, stinging nettle. She feels a little like Indiana Jones when she says to herself “Stinging Nettle. Why does it always have to be stinging nettle?!”

Her legs are getting scratched up, and the stinging nettle…er…stings, but that’s OK. She’s having the time of her life and wonders why she doesn’t get out like this more often. She passes a large marsh, thick with bull rushes taller than herself and majestic skeletons of dead trees rising above them. Who knew all this beauty was right in her own backyard?

Then she loses the trail in a damp meadow and decides to break her own trail through the waist high grasses over to a patch of forest, away from the river. Woohoo! She is only a few feet into the woods when she catches sight of a reddish-orange blaze. Back on the trail! There is a beautiful little brook babbling away in these woods and someone has created a makeshift bridge across it. More blazes – fantastic. This part of the trail is like something out of C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew. Our heroine thinks of the Wood between Worlds, where the toffee tree grew from a candy that fell out of someone’s pocket. She thinks, just for a moment, about dropping a Werther’s Original from her waist pack into the dark soil of the woods.

And that’s when things get yucky. It gets muddier and muddier and finally our gal loses a shoe to the black stuff. OK – fun’s over. Time to get the heck out of Dodge. She wrestles her beloved trail runner out of the sucking mud, slaps it back onto her now soaking foot (oh, her brand new running socks – ruined!!!!) and sees what looks to be a field or clearing up a slight hill. She carefully makes her way up to what she hopes is drier soil. But not carefully enough, as her other shoe slides toe-first and tongue-deep into the black stinking goo just as she is steps away from what she can now see as a soybean field. Just peachy!

She makes it onto the tractor trail of the soy field and realizes she is near the Townline Road that is the outer boundary of the Village. And begins following this trail along the edge of the field, stopping just once, to try a soybean, fresh from the pod. Hmmm…not bad.

More beauty – great clumps of Batchelor’s Buttons, snapdragons, goldenrod. The low brush she is walking through is doing a commendable job of scraping the mud off of the shoes. Life is looking good again. She emerges from the field onto someone’s driveway. Some people are partying in the back of a dilapidated house which is melded onto a barn. The home/barn owner, half in the bag, comes out to see the wild, scratched, mud and seed covered being clutching a little black shopping bag who has emerged from the field. “He made you walk, did he?” he offers in greeting. “Just walking home from the City by way of the S River Trail” she replies. This startles the party animal, who shouts back to his friends “She says she WALKED from the City!!!” A few more pleasantries are exchanged, and our fearless female gets onto the road and walks/runs the last few K back home.

Three and a half hours after she started her adventure, she leaves her disgusting shoes and socks outside her front door, puts the still OK (she hopes) sausage into the crockpot with the bubbling soup and heads into the bathroom for a much needed shower.

What ever shall I do to top this next week?

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In the Embryonic Stages of Menu Planning

OK, so I am tired of coming home in the evening, staring at the cupboards and the fridge and going “Now what?”

Menu planning is obviously the answer.

I love to cook. Like most things I love to do, I seldom allow myself the time to do it. (Gardening, running, painting, and knitting are just a few of the things that come immediately to mind here). But I am trying to change all that. And trying to eat healthier too, so menu planning is just the ticket.

In planning to plan (how’s that for dragging it out?), I am trying to come up with themes for each night of the week, to inspire and guide me in what recipes I want to make/try for the first time.

So far, this is what I’ve got:

Meatless Mondays
? Tuesdays
? Wednesdays
? Thursdays
Fishy Fridays
Souper Saturdays
Slow-Cooker Sundays

The middle of the week has got me baffled so far.
‘Talian Tuesdays?
One-pot Wednesdays? (Hey, I kinda like this one.)
Thai Thursdays?

I’ll keep thinking.

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Last week I saw a show on Slice that has piqued my interest:

It’s a reality show, transformation-style. Get together a bunch of women who have recently had their hearts broken savagely and stick them in a resort for 6 weeks with a bunch of experts to give them their mojo back. At the end of it all, they put on a burlesque show with their newly made-over fine selves, in front of their families and friends….and their exes!?!

I get the whole revenge aspect. Who hasn’t wanted to meet with someone who dissed them, or overlooked them, or crushed them, on a day when all the planets align and you LOOK, FEEL, ARE spectacular, at the top of your game? Wearing your most kick-a** shoes, a killer outfit, hair and makeup perfect (for once). It’s a wonderful little fantasy.

The Ex aspect though, not sure how I feel about that part of the show yet.

I am torn between the part of me that says: Yeah, show him what a doofus he was for dumping you! Sour grapes buddy – you can’t have her now! Look at what you’re missing, what you couldn’t see, that was there all along: a vibrant, sexy, confident woman!!!!

And the part of me that says: whoa….doesn’t this lock these women in with their exes for another 6 weeks at least, instead of them moving forward with their lives??? And I really hope the motivation for these ladies is to look and feel great for their own sakes….not just completion of the “looking this hot is the best revenge I can inflict on you” scenario.

The burlesque expert on the show intrigues me as well. Being a belly dance fan, I am also finding myself becoming a fan of burlesque costumes and dance (although I admit I know almost nothing about the art. It’s not stripping or pole dancing – that much I know). She dresses like a 40’s pinup (very cool!) and made a comment on the show that has stuck with me all week:

“Sexy is not comfortable”…meaning you have to work consciously at it all the time when performing! Something I think about when practicing belly dance. Reminding me to engage all of my muscles to execute the moves properly.

I am hooked. And I am going to keep on watching.

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I survived the 4 Day Jumpstart, barely

I managed to get thru the 4 day anti-bloat jumpstart and I’d better not EVER do that again!

Wow – was it tough! I can’t believe I used to eat a 1200 cal/day diet when on Weight Watchers many years ago. No wonder it messed me up and made me totally preoccupied with food. 1200 cal is not enough to get a person thru the day without hunger, headache, light-headedness. I felt weak most of the time too.

This experience made me think about all those people on the planet who just don’t get enough to eat on a daily basis, involuntarily. I promise to never let an opportunity to donate to the local food bank slip by me.

Anywho….. Day 3 was tough and Day 4 was super tough. It didn’t help that we were having a major crisis at work and I ended up putting in a 13 hour day on Day 4 (yesterday). I didn’t have any food left to eat and my staff person needed supper too so she suggested pizza. I ordered that sucker in and had 3 small pieces and thus regained some kind of sanity and stamina.

This probably affected my stats somewhat at the end of the jumpstart, but here they are and I am pleased nonetheless:

Weight – lost 1.4 lbs.
Waist – down 1″
Lower Abdomen – down 2″

Interesting how I lost so many inches in just 4 days, in my belly region. I can see it too. Yay! I didn’t take any other measurements though. Perhaps I should have?

Not bad for 4 days work, but not worth doing again, ever. It was an interesting experiment and I am glad I tried it. I learned I DO have the discipline required to alter my diet in order to lose weight. Today I am on the full Flat Belly Diet and loving it so far.

My plan is to start wedding dress shopping in the New Year with a New Bod. Oh yeah.

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The Flat Belly Objective

Tomorrow JD and I are starting the 4 Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart to the Flat Belly Diet. I bought the book (and the cookbook – amazing recipes!) after reviewing a copy at the Village Library. And I am a wee bit scared and exhilarated at the same time. The first 4 days are very restrictive, which I am not good at….but it’s only 4 days.

JD has had a fabulous spring and summer, weight-wise. He’s lost about 35 pounds. But still has a bit of a belly, hence his interest in the Flat Belly plan, besides being supportive of me. He is looking lean and yummy!

Me, well…I’ve stayed up and down within the same 5 or so pounds. I am eating healthier, but obviously still too much and I need to be more active. Since JD switched careers (desk job to apprentice golf pro), his activity levels have increased significantly and the weight has just melted off, even though he eats 4 times what I do. Men!

I got interested in the Flat Belly Diet because the food is stuff I love already, it looks easy, and it’s heart-healthy – always a priority with my genetics. Lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and the MUFAs: olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, chocolate…to name a few.

I never had a real belly problem until a few years ago, pregnancies excepted. I used to put on weight on my hips and legs and butt mostly, but now I am getting thick in the middle, which I know is the most dangerous place, health-wise, to put on fat.

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Yesterday’s LSD

The title of this blog post reminds me of a joke we used to tell when we were kids. Tim Horton was a professional hockey player, who died in a car crash in 1974, but not before starting a highly successful chain of coffee and doughnut shops that still bear his name today.

Kid A: Did you hear that when Tim Horton died, the police found LSD in his car?
Kid B: NO! Really?
Kid A: Yeah, the back seat was filled with Last Saturday’s Doughnuts.


My LSD stands for Long Slow Distance run. Yesterday I was hoping for 12 K, but only managed 7.5. Reasons: out-of-shape mainly, but also because it was STINKIN’ HOT (I ran in the afternoon as I didn’t have time to run in the morning). And an alarming new development – every time I did my requisite 3 minutes of running (I run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes, routinely), my stomach and esophagus just started burning – very uncomfortable.

I’ve been having issues with acid reflux since the spring and am going for an endoscopy later on this month to check things out. Let’s hope this episode was a one-of.

Other than the heat (external and internal), it was a lovely run along the Toogood Trail in Unionville and reminded me of all the things I love about this time of year.

I love Queen Annes’ Lace, above. I love fields of goldenrod and milkweed, and seeing teasels in flower, below:

Canada Geese, Running through the Marsh:

Wild Purple Asters against Goldenrod, White Asters and Red Leaves:

I think this is called Joe-Pye Weed. I love it and want it for my garden someday:

Wild Cucumber, White Berries on Red Stems:

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and a lovely little turtle:

More Mallards, paddling in the shade of a willow, and a Great Blue Heron:

Toogood Pond Trail:

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The Bride’s Book of Lists

A dear friend gifted me with this lovely book, by Amy Nebens.

Last night I took a really good look at it and have pronounced it fabulous and my new bible. As per the title, it is FULL of lists. And those lists will guide me (I want to write us, but I know who is going to be doing the bulk of this. JD’s schedule is so hectic I’ll be happy if he shows up to the nuptials on time!) as to what we (pretty much me, see above) want this wedding to be. As I read through the lists I am coming across things I hadn’t yet considered and want/need to…like music, vows, receiving line!

In addition to checklists (and tons of ideas and advice (e.g. Bridal salons require appointments. Who knew?), the book has pockets for clippings and a plastic page to insert business cards into. And a handy elastic ribbon to hold the whole thing shut once it becomes crammed with the above. Neat!

Mizz Nebens used to work for Martha Stewart Weddings. Is this a magazine or a book? Sigh. I have so much to learn about getting married!

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