Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My dad passed away this morning. Thanks for letting me share some of my stress here the last couple of weeks. I won't link this post to the HYC website, since it's about a different kind of loss.
Thanks for all of your good wishes and thoughts for me and my family. I thought I'd post an old scrapbook page that I did years ago for a scrapbook contest in a magazine. It was a hero contest. I think the journaling sums up much of my dad's character- I'll retype it here. He was a very special man and he will be missed. Thanks for reading (and hope everyone else's losses this week were ones on the scale.) Take care.

My Father’s Blues

My Father’s blue is a warm blue country sky
over a deserted, unpaved road,
with a car pulling a camper,
us kids in the back complaining,
“No visiting, Dad!”
Until we meet the smiling faces of distant relatives
or friends from the past
and see the happiness that
company brought.
(Thank you, Dad, for your constant caring for others.)

My father’s blue is gray-blue eyes
looking at me with warmth and love.
A quiet man amidst my noisy uncles,
his gentle ways
and his strength of character and resolve
made us love him more.
We never had to guess
about his love for us.
He wanted our happiness most.
(Thank you, Dad, for loving us so well.)

My father’s blue is blue ink on callused hands.
He returned to school when we were young
earlier giving up a job as chemist
in an oil company
to study theology.
Late nights the light would be on
in his study
to his ceaseless working-
his studies, sermons and Christmas newsletters.
(Thank you, Dad, for your love of learning and your faith.)

My father’s blue is a pair of dusty blue jeans
worn in the garden.
Born on his family’s farm,
we grew up with his abundant gardens
in every town we lived.
Plates were scraped to compost,
strange practice to our friends.
The land was lovingly cared for,
And the neighbours all well fed.
(Thank you, Dad for your love and respect for the Earth.)

My father’s blue is ocean blue-
waves lapping gently against the stones on the beach,
smoothing sharp edges and blending.
In the end, none are so different.
All my life, I remember my father’s acceptance of others-
the poor girl in my class
who ate breakfast with us,
the stranger at the door
turned away by a visiting relative
and called back by my father-
invited in without gloating or smugness
or judgement.
No one ever knew.
(Thank you, Dad, for wanting to make the world a better place.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Exercising for New Stuff

I know one should exercise for the pure love of fitness, but sometimes what gets me out the door is the shopping. A good fitness purchase puts some pep in my step and improves my demeanor in facing the next workout. Is that wrong? I say "no"-though my dh might argue. (He's a better saver than me, but he's also not working out AT ALL these days. You can't take it with you when you go way before your wife due to lack of exercise, honey!) ;)

Currently I need shoes. Aren't these new Asics GEL Nimbus running shoes pretty? When I did my longest race (side note: the oldest road race in North America- and 30K in length), I had the Nimbus shoes in green. We (my 2 running partners and I) also bought matching green Adidas shirts and jackets. It was all very cute. People cheered for us along the route, "Go team green!" Very motivational and proof positive that a good shopping trip helps with the exercise routine. You also look better in race photos- well as good as the beet-red, de-makeuped and utterly exhausted can look.

In actual exercise news (and not future shopping excuse plotting), I successfully woke up (YEAH) and completed my 3rd studio session of boot camp this morning. (Yes, my dh is back to set the alarm properly.) It was a tough workout. I knew it was heading that way when the instructor intro'd it with "ok, this is a tough circuit today." It is always a bad sign when they are openly admitting it. It was good though. I have no upper body strength, so the whole weight bearing aspect to the studio class is a good thing. I really want to shape and tone my muscles, besides lose the weight. I love feeling "stronger". kwim? (No more sand kicked in my face at the beach.)

Anyway, I am thinking I need a new outfit to go with my new sprouting muscles and new Nimbus running shoes- wouldn't you say? ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

10% bay-bee!

The weight loss stuck (in spite of salty movie popcorn- we saw Journey to the Center of the Earth yesterday) and so I was down 2.5 pounds officially and met my 10% weight loss on my ww online tracker. Woo hoo! I'm in the 150s!

In other (somewhat boring to everyone not Janet) weight loss related news, I'm leaving for my boot camp stair workout- like as soon as I post this- even though it's a gazillion degrees out there (just as in Journey to the Center of the Earth, tying both my "news items" together with a little sweaty ribbon). I don't do well exercising in heat, but after missing Tuesday's studio class, I'm even more committed to not wussing out. Wish me cool breezes and shade- hopefully they do trails instead of working out in the full sun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The good, the bad and the very sleepy

I had kind of a bad and good day in terms of fitness commitment. First for the bad: I slept thru boot camp this morning. I know: boo! hiss!

I feel so bad about it. lol. My dh is away on business and I set his alarm clock myself ( yes, I'm QUITE dependent on his alarm clock setting and his form filling abilities as well ), but I did one of those waking up too early and looking at the clock things ( after staying up far too late ) and then, apparently, turned off the alarm clock while sleeping and didn't wake up until the boot camp was exactly starting. ugh! Youngest dd was downstairs watching TV and heard the alarm (so I know it went off), but didn't think to come and wake me up! not that I can blame a seven year old for my own slovenly behaviour. (can I? It would make me feel better. please? no? ok. moving on.)

Anyway, in GOOD fitness news, said extreme guilt at missing fore mentioned boot camp inspired me to get dressed immediately and go to the basement to work out- which I would NEVER have done without the guilt of the whole sad event- being tired and lazy and all, so the whole thing ended a little happily. I even fired up the wii fit as part of the workout and it, apparently, has been missing me for weeks- and called my mii (and ergo me) by the wrong name- those comedians at Nintendo, eh? I was down over 7 pounds from my last fitness test, so it's actually good in the motivation department to stay away from it for a bit. :)

In OTHER good fitness news, I signed up (last minute before the price went up) for my annual aerobics convention in TO in August. I was kind of holding off cause I'm not sure about things with my dad and all, but I decided to go for it, cause who really knows what tomorrow will bring anyway, ever? and I always love the convention so much. I go with my friend Sophia, do crazy numbers of step and various other aerobics classes for 3 days, and then crawl over to my TO sister's place for the night ( and I do mean crawl- it's like an aerobics marathon ). Presenters come from all over the world- famous fitness people who have videos and stuff- so the classes are amazing. side note: Kathy Smith ( anyone remember her videos? ) is the keynote speaker this year.

In weigh-in news, from my ww illegal scale peeking, I was down 2.5 pounds today (some partially lost but not revealed last week) so that brings me to the 150s. (A huge woo hoo from Janet on that one as it was my start of summer vacation goal and I'm only a couple of weeks off.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

LOAF(ing) (causes) MUFFIN(top)S

I am not ashamed to say (ok, kind of ashamed, but admitting it openly on the Internet and all) that today was a very lazy day for us. We pretty much lounged the entire day (except for dh who went to Zellers for stuff AND briefly vacuumed (kind of annoying us from our loafing spots on the couch). I DID manage to rouse myself to make muffins and, later, much later, dinner. My kids, ergo, had a late night, but it IS Saturday, right? My eldest dd was actually saying- as she finally went to bed- that tomorrow we should exercise. har. I'm training them well (except for today).
Anyway, I stayed within my points today- but obviously earned no APs. (( I didn't post yesterday, but I did make it to my second boot camp session, which was a killah: pure circuit with mat work after each machine exercise. It was wicked. My entire body was exhausted and trembly. Our train was on time getting home Thursday, but we still didn't get in until after 11pm.))

Anyway, the muffin pictured above is from a banana loaf recipe from the Complete Cooking Light recipe binder called Classic Banana Bread. I made it as a loaf recipe the first time, but found that for my family, muffins work better, so I shortened the cooking time to about 25 minutes and put the batter in a muffin pan. They turn out super as muffins. This would be our 3rd time having them and nary a muffin is wasted (which is saying a lot around here). They are nicely moist- perhaps from the combo of the low-fat yogurt and bananas?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

W is for WI Wednesday

Ok, now I'm amusing myself with pictures from my parents' computer. Isn't this sweet of my mom and dad? anywhooo... my dad actually had a pretty good day today and they let us give him some Boost (meal replacement drink) which he swallowed quite nicely and he did well with the physio lady who was checking him out, so we're feeling happier today.

My wi wasn't too bad, considering, either: I was down half a pound. I'll take it! Tomorrow we leave for a bit by train and my sister from Vancouver is flying in. We are planning to come back in the next couple of weeks, but by car! (I'm glad someone has a good Via story, btw- cause we're pretty fresh out.) Hopefully, there will be no delays and no brakes broken off anything tomorrow. Thanks everyone for the good wishes. It means a lot.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Checking In

I'm writing this entry (like my last) on my parents' computer in my dad's old study. This used to be a favourite spot for my dad, to come and work, read, study and sort many pictures on the computer. My dad was always great for taking pictures. When my youngest sister, Laurie, was a baby, he took a photography course. You know how sometimes the youngest child gets the least number of pictures? Not in our family. Laurie got all the amazingly clear ones (new 35mm camera) and the funky, original shots. In the many pictures he has scanned on his computer, I found this picture of him and me- possibly on the PEI ferry, on his computer. We always went on summer vacations in the car pulling the tent trailer. We had some nice moments with my dad today, but he's failing and the doctor says he can't eat anymore. He was always a health conscious man, but he loved his food and dessert. It's hard.

In terms of my weekly check in, I think I've stayed on track this week pretty well in spite of it being an emotional rollercoaster. I've had to guesstimate a number of points eating out in restaurants (where the menu is only in French, too). Anyway, I've tried to stay on track, but I'm not sure what the scale will say tomorrow a.m. I've not been peeking partly because I didn't know how to work my mother's scale. I asked her about it today though, so I think I can get it turned on for tomorrow. Thanks for any good thoughts for my dad.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

surviving free train food...

My eldest dd and I made it to Montreal last night after a very, very lengthy train ride. Fellow Canadians probably know all about Via and its delays (my dh wonders why they print a train schedule), but for those of you who don't know Viarail- I don't think it's ever on time? My daughter thinks that we're the problem and they'll stop taking our bookings when they hear our name. Anyway, our train tickets cost a grand total of 7 dollars and change because of the delays during our LAST train trip during March Break (coming and going from my parents). So while we did get a free trip this time, we won't get much of a break next time because they take the percentage off on what you actually paid for the tickets- so no reimbursement for pain and suffering this time. (dh wants me to get back the 7 bucks. lol)

Anyway, our train- just outside TO- ran over something that knocked the brakes off the first class carriage in front (ergo things could have been worse, eh?) and so we had to back up to the downtown station again (after sitting forever) and get the car taken off. The weight loss related part of this post is that during the rest of the trip, all items from the refreshment cart were free..and (drum roll) I withstood the lure of candy bars, chips, brownies, etc. etc. and didn't even buy something from the drink cart when I really, REALLY deserved a drink- so a NSV for Janet! Free food is tempting, but it still has calories, right?! (sometimes the free factor sucks you in- note the pushing and shoving at the sample tables @ Costco)

We spent the day with my Dad (who is looking pretty frail, but who was able to get out of bed for a walk and smiled at us when we came in :)) so today was a lot of sitting around. I ate fairly well and got dd to go for a walk with me tonight around my parents' pretty town. Thanks for any get well vibes sent our way yesterday. :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Third in the kebab series

Last night we had a third Kebab recipe from Cooking Light (July 2008)- the Italian Herbed Shrimp Kebabs with tomato bruschetta and grilled asparagus on the side. Dh- my head bbqer- has definitely improved his skills on the BBQ, but things like shrimp freak him out and he always choices the side of cooking longer than necessary "just in case," so the shrimp were tasty, but little chewy. I, also, think that I would grill the zucchini separately next time. Most of them didn't "look" very grilled. I think the largeness of the shrimp kept them from touching the bars of the grill. They were "cooked" enough to eat, however.

The bruschetta, which looks kind of crazy in this picture, was super tasty. This is the recipe (since it doesn't show up on line as it's a sidebar in the magazine).

Tomato bruschetta
Grill 4 slices of sourdough bread (1min each side)
Rub one side of each slice with a cut clove of garlic.
Combine 3/4c of chopped tomato, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp balsamatic vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil; 1/4 tsp salt.
Top each bread slice with 3 tbsp of tomato mixture.

On a personal note, I might not be blogging for a little while. I am off to my parents for a few days and I'm not sure if their Internet is up and running. I will try to check in. My dad is in the hospital. He was diagnosed awhile ago with lewey body and he now has double pneumonia. My mom called last night and I need to be there with her. Say a little prayer for my dad.

Friday, July 4, 2008

I survived boot camp...

... day one anyway! Yeah for exercising- though my muscles feel all tired and trembl-y right now! Our class started at 9:00am and it was a studio workout- so pretty much 3 rounds of intense 13 station circuit with some mat work before and after. Gotta get back to loving the plank position again. *sigh* I think this will be a very good thing and I'll see definite results. I really want to get back to regularly doing weights, so this, hopefully, will kick start that desire. I'd love to have better toned arms and legs, etc. etc. I haven't had my pre-session interview and measuring yet, but when I do, maybe I'll bravely post them and keep track of the results thru the summer.

On Wednesday is the outside stair work. The above picture is from the boot camp's Climb for Cancer they did awhile back. The man on the stairs is Brian, our trainer (from today anyway). He's very nice but kind of ruthless. Actually, he's a great trainer and very encouraging. The set of stairs picture is one of the sets that we work out on- we also run trails to OTHER stairs. They proceed to do crazy things like 2 stairs at a time, running the stairs, doing hill repeats below the stairs and then doing multiple laps of the stairs. Way more, in other words, than I would do by my lazy self.

Anyway it's a nice sunny day other there. Maybe I'll get some more cardio in through a walk or something! Happy 4th of July to any Americans who might read this! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weighing In On Pork

I'm posting kind of late for our time zone as I took my girls (with friends) to the movies (Wall*E- we really liked it) and now I feel like I was licking one of those large blocks of salt they have for cows. Salt licks, I think they are called? So my victorious weigh-in from this morning probably doesn't count anymore (evil, thou art movie popcorn), but I believe the rules state that the magic number stays in effect until next weigh-in, so I'm not breaking any ww rules by saying that I lost another 2.5 pounds officially this morning. woo hoo! (Janet is a happy girl for at least another week.) This also takes me over 15 pounds lost, so I can add some bling to the sidebar!

In bad Janet news, this head cold has reached the outer limits of unattractiveness in that my ears are blocked, my nose is red, my voice sounds like I smoke 3 packs a day (maybe that part's kind of sexy to some?) and I'm breaking into hacking coughs periodically- only broken up for those- wait for it-it's coming-extended sneezes that kind of tickle. Too much info on a weight loss blog, probably. Sorry. It hasn't really suppressed my will to consume all my points and then some, but it has killed the will to exercise. I'm going to strain for some tomorrow. Hopefully, my unexercised body will survive boot camp this Friday with the gang of fit sporty girls my friend (who organized the group) is friends with! If you don't hear from me after Friday, at least I'm 15 down for my funeral and can be dressed in my size 12 shorts. ;)

OK, if anyone is still reading this, I did enjoy my Canada Day evening BBQ in which I tried another kebab recipe from the July Cooking Light. I actually did their whole menu idea (from the Dinner Tonight section) so we had Pork Sate with Peanut Mirin Sauce and gingered sugar snap peas and basmati rice on the side. My whole family gave it a big thumbs up- dh still has that fear of pork, so his thumb wasn't enthusiastic on principal, but everyone said they liked it.

The one bone o' contention (not pictured above) was the sauce that you were supposed to put over the kebabs. I wasn't sure about it either- it looked very plain and runny. For one thing, unlike suggested by the editors of Cooking Light, my local grocery store does not carry "mirin" in the Asian food section. If I'd had more shopping time, I would have checked one of our local Chinese grocery stores for it. Anyway, in place of the 2 tbsp of mirin, I hesitantly added 1 tbsp of water. (If I'd had wine, I might have tried that instead.) I also couldn't find serrano chile, so I bought another type of hot pepper from the hot pepper selection at Fortinos. (chile= hot pepper, no?)

If you check the recipe link and look at their picture, adding the sauce adds those bits of green (cilantro) and peanut and it IS really tasty (I had a bite without it and with it). It adds a little kick and blast of flavour- even without the mirin. I tried to convince my family that they were missing some good sauce, but sadly got no takers. Next time I'll look harder for the Mirin.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Cookies!

Happy Canada Day! In celebration, I didn't make any maple leaf shaped rice Krispie treat (sidenote: we did actually make boring but tasty Rice Krispie squares last night for our Canada Day picnic today) or a red and white iced cake (ala Canadian Living), BUT I did my these "staff favourite" (as in CL staff) Chocolate Chip cookies. They look a little unimpressive pictured above, but they are very delicious. I made them from my Cooking Light Complete Recipe book, BUT the online recipe is here. It's strange that the name is different in the online version (so it took awhile to find the link to put here) Puffed Chocolate Chip Cookies as opposed to simply being called Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm going to check the recipe book.

ok, I'm back! YES, the name is different! Also ironic, my cookies are definitely "puffed"- they have a substantial puffiness to them and taste vaguely cakey, BUT the magazine picture has them much flatter and non-puffy. Not sure how they did this as it took ALL my efforts to measure out 1 tbsp of sticky cookie batter per cookie- can't imagine how they mushed down the sticky batter- a milky fork like my mother used to do on pb cookies, perhaps?!

A final interesting (to me) note, is that in the CL Complete Recipe book, the editors made a special note about not usually liking applesauce in recipes (intriguing, no? what with all our applesauce recipes at ww), but that in this particular recipe (you strain applesauce for it), they really liked it. My kids, as soon as they saw the applesauce, were complaining (lol), saying they can always taste the applesauce (we did muffins with sauce a little while back). The whole family loved these cookies though. They are very melty chocolate tasting. In my second batch I used a Splenda brown sugar mix I found at Costco. I'm not sure if that shaves anything off the points. (I'll have to check when I'm not feeling lazy about it.) As done according to recipe they are 2 pts for one, 3.5 pts for 2. (and you'll probably want two.)

In check-in for HYC news, I feel really good about my week. I thought my weight was staying steady (what with the snacks at the drive-in being salty and all), but I was down 1.5 pounds this a.m. Hopefully, I can hold it off until tomorrow.

Happy Canada to all the Canucks out there! Have a cookie or two, eh? :)