Sunday, April 21, 2013

Music for the Journey - Week 16

Music is a total constant. That's why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.”                                                                                                                                                   ― Sarah DessenJust Listen

My earliest memories of music were 78 rpm vinyl records spinning on the turnable, and Big Band tunes playing on my Grandpa's console radio that he kept in this beautiful mahogany cabinet with decorative gold leaf trim.

My mom was a big fan of Country Western; Gene Autry, Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash are the ones that I remember. My dad was never one much for music. I have no memories connecting him with music.

I remember sleeping over at my Grandma's house and she would play jazz or blues softly on the radio in the bedroom. I always thought that was such a pleasant way to drift off to sleep.

Then came the late elementary years and the discovery of rock and roll, no disco for me thank you very much. I remember drifting on a raft in the pool, watching the white fluffy clouds in the big blue sky floating along, and WLS out of Chicago cranked up on the radio (when my parents weren't home of course). I thought I was so cool.

The middle school and high school years were in the 1980's; Big Hair Bands, Heavy Metal and Punk. I liked them all. I have to say that Billy Idol was one of my favorites. Those were the years that music went from 78 rpm records to cassettes, and the best thing was to have a cassette player in your car. Cruising the beach in your 4-door cream colored Chevy Chevette with the music cranked up, those were the days.

Honestly I don't remember much about 1990's music, except maybe Madonna, and that was usually because she was doing something scandalous.

The early 2000's and we were very much into Contemporary Christian music. There are lots and lots of CD's and CD cases in our house from that era. Thank goodness for the dawning of the digital music age and the invention of the iPod.

Today I am kind of all over the place with my musically tastes. On my iPod right now you will find; Adele, The Decemberists, The Goo Goo Dolls and Hootie and the Blowfish. Recent favorite discoveries are Josh Garrels, Of Monsters and Men (thanks to The Voice, I love that show). I am also rediscovering a love of The Big Band era thanks to Grandpa and Pandora radio.

What's get the most play on your iPod right now?

The theme this week at 52 of You was Music - that worked out well didn't it?

My iPod

I am not musical instrument inclined, but this is my husband's 12 string guitar and my favorite of his five. I thought it would make for a fun self-portrait.

This week I lost: 0 lbs
Total weight loss: 7.5 lbs.

Holding steady :)


Glen and I competed in our first 5K. He ran, I walked fast. I think he finished in 23 minutes, I did it in 44:51 minutes. I kept a fairly fast steady pace the whole time, and was very pleased with my finish. I was happy there were quite a few walkers, and I was definitely not the last one across the finish line.

This is my favorite way to have asparagus:


1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)
  2. Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.
**Note: I use shredded Parmesan instead of grated, I like the taste of that better. I mix a little parmesan in the bowl, but sprinkle more on top once it is on the baking sheet.  The lemon juice adds nice flavor.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Needed a Personal Shopper - Week 15

“Crying is for plain women. Pretty women go shopping.” 
                                                                                  ― Oscar Wilde

I only intended to go in and look at the earrings, and maybe, just maybe find a pair that needed to go home with me. They have a wonderful array of dangling gems that sparkle when they catch the light. After a careful analysis and many holdings up to my ear, I chose a simple, casual pair, that suited me, a simple, casual girl.

Then I turned around, and the explosion of colors sucked me into the depths of the store, it happened so fast I didn't even know I was shopping until I had handed off the earrings, and had two skirts in my hand instead. They were then quickly taken out of my hand and placed in a dressing room. The clothes fitting adventure had begun.

I had shopped at this store many times before, but it was usually my daughter trying on the clothes. I would half-heartedly try things on, always thinking that I was too old for the styles here. Well, I can tell you that Eileen quickly put that myth to rest. Clothes were flying in and out of that dressing room faster than you can say Jiminy Cricket.

I love that Eileen took in to account that I am not a tall, skinny, blonde 20 something, but an average height, average weight, middle aged, artificially enhanced red head. She pulled things based on my coloring, my body type, and my hang up about hating my knees. Yet, she pushed me, gently, to try on things I never in a million years would have tried on by myself. Like this dress...

Which may or may not be hanging in my closet right now :) Who knew it would look so stinking cute on.

Now, I worked in retail for a number of years, so I am very attuned to good customer service, and Eileen rocked it! I appreciate that she wasn't just after the sale. She really wanted me to look good in what I bought. I tried on a dress that I really liked, but she wouldn't let me add it to the potential pile because of the way it bunched in the back just above the bra band. I appreciate that honesty.

Ladies, I would highly recommend taking a morning or an afternoon for yourself, going to a boutique with amazing customer service, step out of your comfort zone and try some new things on. It is startling what it can do for your self confidence.

Eileen, you are now my personal stylist for fun, new clothes. Time to put the solid colored shirts and jeans away and live a little.

*My thanks to Eileen at Tikal for your help and allowing me to take these pictures.

The theme this week at 52 of You was color. Thank heaven finally something fun to work on.

This week I gained: .5 lbs
Total weight loss: 7 lbs.

This week at personal training Maribeth got the hula hoop out. Now I haven't done this since I was a kid, so I was a bit skeptical that I could keep it, but I did, for almost two minutes. Apparently hula hooping is the big craze right now with weighted hula hoops for abdominal work.

This is the second time I have made this pasta salad. It is so good.

Creamy Bacon, Tomato and Avocado Pasta Salad

6 slices of bacon
1/2 lb. dried rotini pasta
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. dried dill
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado pitted and sliced

1. Cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain. Run cold water over the top until the pasta is cooled.
3. While your bacon and pasta are cooking, whisk mayonnaise, lemon, salt, garlic powder, pepper and dill together in a bowl.
4. Stir cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and reserved bacon into the dressing. Toss to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Serve.

* recipe source is

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pin Drop - Week 14

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” 
                                                                                                                                      ― Nicholas SparksThe Notebook

Last night Glen and I along with some friends of ours attended a unique music experience. We attended a Pin Drop Concert. The premise is that the patrons are asked to refrain from talking while the artist is performing. You can still applaud at the end of each song just like a regular concert.

We have all been to an event where the people around you are so noisy that you can't hear the speaker or the performers. 

Ever the skeptic, I wondered if people would actually sit quietly and listen. So I was on the lookout for offenders. I am happy to report that there was great adherence to the no talking rule. The only offenders I saw was the couple in front of us. She would occasionally look at her phone and then he would lean over and look at it too. Maybe they should have us check our mobile devices at the door :)

Maybe this Pin Drop mentality should be applied to all events and performances, that way the speaker or artist would always get the respect they deserve for sharing from their heart.

The theme this week at 52 of You was "Morning". I took these selfies while I was out early Friday morning shooting my Walk and Click adventure for my other blog.

I am sure that if anybody actually watches the surveillance tapes from the estate, they were probably wondering what this lady was doing in the middle of the waterless, water garden. Running back and forth from her camera and tripod to the low wall and iron gate. I am always so grateful that there aren't other people around when I do these self-portraits.

This week I lost: .5 lbs.
Total weight loss: 7.5 lbs.

Maribeth, my trainer must have finally decided I am serious enough about this training stuff. I had to get  weight lifter gloves, since my weights keep getting increased each week and it is starting to take a toll on my hands.

I like to make these sweet potatoes ahead of time and then just reheat when I want them for lunch to go with my turkey wrap.

Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

1/4 cup decent balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In large skillet bring vinegar and sugar to a boil.
3. Reduce until it starts to thicken. Add butter and salt. 
4. Over medium heat mix till smooth.
5. Place potatoes in pan and toss with sauce.
6. Spread mixture into a baking pan and roast stirring occasionally till potatoes are slightly browned on edges, about 40 minutes.
7. Serve immediately.