Weight Loss Wednesday: Weeks Nine and Ten


This will be a challenge.

"Weight loss Wednesday" will be spent in California this week and then in Arkansas during Week Ten.

I'm thinking there's not going to be a whole lot of "weight-loss" going on.

"Weight Loss Wednesday" will return with on Week 11 with an update...wish me luck!

Stained Glass Dino


So what's up with the dinosaur?

Allison is an administrative assistant for Billings Productions Inc, a company that manufactures dinosaurs for zoos. museums, movies etc.

I guess somebody has to do it and she seems to like her job.

This year, Allison's birthday gift from us was a stained glass dinosaur.

My studio photographer (Mr. Something) documented the process...
It all starts with finding the right picture
...then cutting and grinding glass
...followed by inevitable bloodshed
...then 'foiling', piecing everything together, soldering

Applying a dark 'patina' to the solder
Eventually, a finished product
Admittedly, my stained glass art is far from perfect ...but it originates from my heart. 

    Weight Loss Wednesday: Week Eight


    Eight weeks. Six pounds down.

    Somehow I gained a pound last week. What's up with that? Intellectually, I know that we all experience daily fluctuations in our body weight. Unfortunately, I have yet to release myself from the bathroom scale's emotional grip.

    So, after getting off of the aforementioned scale, I brushed myself off, tied my hair back and headed for the gym. Following forty minutes on the Spinning Bike, 100 sit ups and a full circuit of upper body exercises, I got sidetracked. It seems the lure of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate was too great for me to resist.

    My disappointment at gaining a pound was assuaged by chocolate.

    I should have applied it directly to my hips.

    All About Duke


    Several years ago, I hired a "Pet Therapist" aka "Doggie Shrink" 
    to evaluate my first neurotic (but lovable) dog, Harlan.  
    Although Duke is my second anxiety-ridden pet, the cycle will be broken one day as he is getting a little older, a little grayer, is walking a little slower and in need of a 'boost' to get into the back seat of my car now and then.
    It was in 2000 when my Christmas gift from Mr. Something was a Gift Certificate for The Humane Society's Animal Shelter. He had thoughtfully anticipated Harlan's ultimate demise and knew that I would soon need another dog to love.

    Our adoptee was a one-year old, eighty pound Shepherd/Lab mix, we unimaginatively named, Duke.

    The animal shelter was somewhat traumatic. So many lonely dogs in need of someone to love them. Barking and panting with excitement as we approached their cages., it was painful knowing that many would soon die. It still is.

    But back to Duke's story.

    He was alone, sitting with his back toward us as we approached. As if on cue, he coquettishly looked over his shoulder with soulful, sad eyes. An understated but effective approach.

    Who could resist? He would be ours.

    It wasn't until the adoption papers were signed that we learned the real reason Duke was alone.  He did not play well with others and his temporary housing was "The Isolation Cage".

    A few days following his uneventful introduction to our home and his new brother, Harlan, Duke pretty much kept to himself.  Harlan was clearly insignificant to him, It was all about Duke, and still is. His favorite pastime? Chewing. Anything. At all.

    Providing our new family member with iced chew-rings, dog bones, rawhides and pigs ears to chew was futile.

    The day he snagged our outdoor spa cover and ripped it to shreds did nothing to promote familial harmony but when he polished off  Mr Something's six-foot tall peach tree, well... let's just say that little faux-pas created a lifetime rift in the relationship between my husband and the newbie.

    OK, so the chewing was somewhat obsessive and he was evidently self-absorbed but he was in a new environment and had just narrowly escaped death row. Who wouldn't be a little anxious?

    Ten years have passed since Duke came into our lives. The chewing stopped about eight years ago and has been replaced by (ahem) 'breaking wind' - a lot. But, despite Duke's intrinsic faults, Mr. Something continues to teach him tricks, give him treats and take him for walks.

    A good Dad.

    Duke Spotswood
     January 1999 - June 12th, 2013

    A sweet soul

    Funeral for a Firefighter


    Dallas Fire-Rescue Lieutenant Todd Krodle was only forty one years old when he died valiantly fighting fire last Sunday. He left behind a wife and two kids, ages 10 and 13.

    This morning, my very own Dallas firefighter husband and I attended Lt.Krodle's funeral. An approximate 2,000 mourners were in attendance. Firefighters came from all over the nation to honor a man who lost his life doing what he loved.
    Mourners eulogized Lt. Krodle as a man who loved God, his family and his job. Known for his solid work ethic and stamina, putting others needs before his own and practical jokes. Character traits that so many firefighters share. Who else would run into a burning building when everyone is running out?

    Lt. Krodle died while attempting to ventilate a roof of an apartment during a fire.

    Firefighters "ventilate" by climbing up a ladder onto the roof of a burning building while wearing approximately 75 lbs of gear (coat, pants, boots, helmets, air tank etc.). They typically use an axe or operate a chainsaw and cut through a roof in order to create an escape for the noxious gases and smoke from a fire. Imagine balancing yourself  on a roof, enveloped in thick smoke wearing 75 lbs in gear. Now think about the various weather conditions you could be exposed to. Sometimes it's ice, sometimes its rain. Last Sunday, it was 103F.

    My husband has always assured me that The Dallas Fire Department trains its personnel very well and is confident that the equipment and technology used is first class.

    Unfortunately that due to the very nature of his work, people will die. A sobering thought.

    Bagpipes were played as Lt. Krodle was placed on his own Station truck, manned with the men and women who he had worked with.

    At the end of his funeral, bells tolled in a pattern based on an original method of firefighter communication - the telegraph. Known as "tapping out", the telegraph operator would "tap out" the word "fell" with five measured dashes, a pause and then repeated two more times.

    Solemnly, the sound of bells tolling five times, pausing then repeating two more times are heard at the gravesite and transmitted simultaneously on all fire radio frequencies and to all station houses.

    Then silence. 

    Weight Loss Wednesday: Week Seven


    Seven weeks...seven pounds. Although I'm far from eating with wild abandon and I'm exercising more than I have in a year or two, those fat cells of mine are stubborn little suckers. So, last week I thought I would give "Michael Thurmond's Six Day Mini-Makeover" a 'go' in order to boost my metabolism. I lasted three days. Here's the breakdown...

    Michael Thurmond was the diet coach/fitness guy for "Extreme Makeover", a TV show that was on a few years back. People were featured who wanted an extreme makeover knowing that it would include diet, surgery and being away from their families for six weeks. They all ended up looking absolutely gorgeous after having  their teeth veneered, their faces lifted, their tummies tucked and their hair extended. The thing that I couldn't get over was just how they could lose so much weight after only six weeks. That's where Michael Thurmond came in. He developed a program where you first "Blueprint" your body type then choose the corresponding diet plan for that type.

    You've got your Body Type "A" - Endomorph, "B" - Endo/Mesomorph ...I'm sure you get it. In total, there are five body types to choose from.

    I chose Body Type "D" - Endo/Ectomorph. Truthfully, I chose that particular body type not because I think I am an "Endo/Ectomorph" but because (ahem) the corresponding eating plan seemed the easiest to follow.

    So I ran out to my local grocery store and bought a couple of pre-roasted rotisserie chickens and a pre-roasted turkey breast. What I learned by day 2 was that eating the same tasting chicken & turkey gets old. I had enough by day 3.

    This time around, I think I'll put a little more thought into it and season my poultry differently with each meal. After all, it's only six days.

    Disclaimer: I should make it clear that do not recommend or promote Michael Thurmond's diet plan and I have not received any compensation for featuring features of his "Six Day Mini Makeover" diet plan in this post. 

    Weight Loss Wednesday: Week Six

    Oooops. I did it again.
    Although I keep falling off of that weight-loss food-wagon , I am smug to report that I have continued working out. No weight loss this week could have very well been a gain and for that, I am thankful.

    Do You Always Tell The Truth?


    Do you always tell the truth?

    Today's NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Monthly) assignment topic was found via my cyber-friend, Heather at http://growingplacesnow.blogspot.com. "Do You Always Tell The Truth?" A virtual kick-in-the-ass for those of us who may need it - creatively speaking.

    God only knows I could use a proverbial "jump-start".

    It seems to me that my most recent obsession with losing weight has seriously impacted my imagination. The process of logic (weight loss = less caloric intake + more exercise) is very left brain dominant and has caused me to be neglectful of my right brain. That being said...

    Do you always tell the truth?

    Uhhhhh. I try.

    I admit that my past lies were conjured up to either prevent hurting someone's feelings or to elevate my sense of self-esteem. They were based on fear. Fear of losing love, friendship or self but in the end, these scenarios were not redeeming and caused me more distress than if I had come clean from the outset.

    "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain

     With a certain degree of difficulty, I have learned that many people respond alarmingly well to the truth (if delivered delicately) and honesty about oneself is a characteristic frequently admired. Who knew? 

     "People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty." 
    - Richard J. Needham

    Now, back to my assignment...I think today's topic has more to do with creating a work of fiction than a question to be taken literally. I'm not quite there yet but hmmmm, fiction... food for thought. 

    Weight Loss Wednesday: Week Five


    Many moons ago, there was a time when dropping five pounds in one week was as simple as just not eating. Exercise need not be involved. The weight would just fall off as long as I stuck to my Grapefruit Diet, Scarsdale Diet, Cider Vinegar Diet, Protein Shake Diet etc.

    After years of 'yo-yo' dieting, it became apparent that in order to drop a few pounds, I would have to add a little aerobic conditioning to my dieting regimen. My problem was that I really hated to sweat and since most aerobic exercise seemed to involve sweating, I took up swimming. Yes, it was somewhat inconvenient, gave me red eyes and caused my hair to become dry and brittle so when the 'fitness gurus' of the time announced that swimming was an ineffective way to lose weight (it uses small muscles - arms). That sealed it. So much for swimming.

    Now that I am in my mid-fifties, there is no getting around the sweating issue. It just is. I sweat in the air conditioned comfort of my home, sipping an ice-cold drink, while parked in front of an oscillating fan, watching TV. Aging is a bitch and my intolerance to sweating is just one of life's little kicks in the teeth. So I guess if I'm going to sweat anywayI might as well sweat on an Elliptical machine, a Treadmill or my newest exercise tool...the Spinning Bike. It's a mere 45 minutes out of my day sweating for a reason.

    PS: Total Weight Loss in 5 Weeks = 5 pounds.

    What I Have Learned This Week...
    • I've learned that "Fitness Gurus" do not always have all the answers. Swimming might not be the most effective way to burn calories but in my opinion, any exercise is a helluvalot better than no exercise.
    • I've remembered that coating your hair with conditioner before you swim laps is a good way of protecting your hair from potential dryness and Visine "gets the red out" of your eyes.
    • I've learned a new mantra... "Suck it up and do it". I don't like working out with weights and/or situps, but if I'm at the gym anyway, I just tell myself to "suck it up and do it". Seems to be working.
    • I've learned I should always bring tasty food to work. On the one day that I didn't bring a sweet peach, some juicy watermelon or tangy pineapple to work, I succumbed to a big-ass piece of Vanilla-Almond Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. Note to self: Bring tasty food to work.

    Paranoid in South America

    Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...