Friday, November 4, 2011

Things I'm lovin' right now

  • Fall - taking long walks through the multicolored leaves
  • Barnes & Noble - just spending a Saturday afternoon browsing in the books and reading all the magazines I can't afford to buy
  • Spending time with my daughter and baby grandson, Ivan, who's 6 months old (see photo above)
  • Pumpkins - on my porch, in a smoothie, in pie, pancakes, in a bowl, in a glass or any old way
  • Coffee drinks - I'm addicted to skim, sugar-free, non-whip vanilla lattes
  • Twitter - mostly reading other's tweets
  • Cookbooks - I have 80 at last count
  • My front porch - I love to sit out there and read magazine
  • Magazines - I won't tell how many I subscribe to but it isn't enough no matter how many there are

What are you lovin right now?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Mercury hit 112* F for the first time since 1936

No matter how you measure it, Yesterday it was hot in Topeka


"By Corey Jones Copyright 2011 . Tim Hrenchir Copyright 2011 ."

"If there is a silver lining in the searing heat wave scorching the Midwest, it is of its historic nature. Topekans can one day tell their offspring how they walked to summer school uphill both ways in temperatures that reached a staggering 112 degrees, melting the sidewalks.

Kids and grandkids may roll their eyes, but a portion of that story actually will be true.

Topekans on Tuesday sweltered through the capital city's highest temperature in nearly 75 years.

The National Weather Service reported the mercury topped out at 112 degrees Tuesday afternoon at its office near Philip Billard Municipal Airport.

Temperatures previously had last gotten that high locally on Aug. 15, 1936, when they reached 112 degrees, said Shawn Byrne, a meteorologist for the weather service's Topeka office.

The 112-degree reading also eclipsed the city's past record high for Aug. 2 of 106, set in 2010. The city's top heat index Tuesday also was 112.

The weather service reported Tuesday's temperature was among the six highest ever recorded in Topeka.

The other mercury readings on that list were:

■ The city's all-time high of 114, on July 24, 1936.

■ The city's record high for August of 113, recorded on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14, 1936.

■ 112, recorded on Aug. 10 and Aug. 15, 1936.

Byrne said Topeka set an unofficial all-time high Tuesday when the mercury reached 105 before noon, which was the city's highest such mark since the weather service in 1978 began keeping unofficial records of the highest temperatures recorded in the capital city by noon.

The weather service has been keeping weather records in Topeka since 1887.

Tuesday marked the 21st day this year that triple-digit temperatures had been recorded in Topeka. The city's record number of 100-degree days in a year is 59, set in 1936.

Topeka's highest number of triple-digit temperature days in a year since 1954, when it saw 30, came in 1980, when it recorded 24."

I'm praying that fall comes early.

How about you?

Friday, June 17, 2011


What's that you say? It's the fear of lightning and thunder and yes, I have it. I've been afraid of lightning since I was 9 years old. I remember walking beside an old brick building with my mother. A bolt of lightning hit the chimney of the building and bricks scattered all around me. I don't remember being hit by the falling bricks but my mother said that I opened my mouth to scream and no sound came out. I was struck dumb. Since then I cringe when I see lightning. It's a reflex. I don't run and hide under the bed like my cat does but I absolutely experience fear. Fortunately it's not bad enough that I need to seek treatment. I guess having a phobia makes me human and that's a good thing.

What's yours?

More later...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh what a tangled web

Spent a few minutes this morning sitting on my front porch in the mid 60 degree temps, holding my big black lap cat, and watching a crafty little spider make its web. The web spanned several feet  from pole to pole. I watched quietly. No need to destroy all the work that went into spinning it.After all, spiders help get rid of insects and the web wasn't in my way. I simply enjoyed the early morning example of the glorious things we can see in the natural world.

Then I went to work.

More later...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fishing for new ideas

Recently I had one of those amazing "ah-hah" moments. You know the kind where you stop what you are doing and let the thoughts ripple through your mind. It's the kind of feeling that is shown in comic strips as a light bulb glowing over someone's head. I love eating fish. I grew up in south Louisiana during a time when seafood was clean, plentiful, and definitely local. We used to buy directly from the men who were responsible for the catch. We didn't have to worry about oil spills in the Gulf. We didn't know about the dangers of overfishing because most of the folks out on the water were from small outfits with men who lived in the area. Often the fish was still thrashing around. Now that's a fresh catch folks. I was absolutely spoiled by what was available in the marketplace that was south Louisiana in the 60's. Not to mention that what we bought was inexpensive.

That was then. Today I live in a landlocked area in the middle of the country. Most of what is available has been frozen. I've been here for 16 years. I left the south on July 4, 1995. I don't remember buying fish to cook at home since then. I remember what I had then and wouldn't be happy with what I found in Topeka, KS. During my "ah-hah" moment that changed. I decided to seek out information on buying the best, most sustainable fish I could find locally. What kick-started my sea change (pardon the pun) was reading this article The Truth About Fish from the June 2011 issue of Self magazine. It got me to thinking. I decided to learn more about sustainable fishing and to start combing the area to make the best choices I could regarding buying seafood. I will begin eating fish again.

More later...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gratitude for a Wednesday

This morning I was standing in my doorway waiting for my ride. The sun was coming up over the houses across the street and I saw the yellow flowers blooming on the dandelions growing across my yard. They were beautiful even if they were just weeds. The sun's rays were glowing through the branches of the newly budded trees and I was thankful for the glorious morning I was enjoying. I started thinking about all the things I was grateful for. I have a home to live in - a roof over my head for protection. There is plenty of good healthy food in my kitchen waiting to be prepared. I have enough clothes to cover my body in between trips to the laundromat. I own a car even though it is currently not licensed to drive. A sweet cat purrs at my feet as he rubs against my legs and I have a job that I love to go to each day. My health is getting better every day with all the changes I have been able to make . I found myself content and happy and that is enough for me.

Are you grateful for what life has given you? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

See what a free dozen eggs caused

I was shopping at my local grocery yesterday and because I had a coupon for a free dozen I was checking out the selections of eggs. This is a small grocery for 2011 and their selection isn't always the greatest but I go by it on my way home from work every day. Convenience wins out on some days. I observed that they had some labeled cage-free. I was surprised but I know that cage-free means just that. The chickens may not be in cages but they can still be overcrowded into large buildings. It doesn't have to mean humanely treated. I don't eat eggs for the most part. I use them in making other types of food like pancakes on occasion. So it's not an overwhelming issue for me. However, yesterday I was reading a new blog I've found called Nutrition By Carrie. I noticed she also authors another blog Carrie's Urban Farm. Her most recent post showed photos of her chickens. In one photo someone was holding one of the chickens and their feathers looked so healthy and shiny. I started reading her posts about her experiences raising them and caring for them and I decided right then that I want my eggs, even though I only buy a couple of dozen a year, to come from hens who are cared for like them. Yes, I picked-up a carton of the regular eggs (that's what the coupon was for) but I've become politicized about eating eggs. From now on I'm only going to buy eggs from humanely raised chickens from local farms. Living in Kansas I assume they are available somewhere within reason.

Off of the soapbox for now...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Healthy Tuesday

It's a little after 8:30AM and here's a glimpse of what I've done for my health so far this morning:

Eaten two servings of fruit

Had two tablespoons of ground flax seeds

Enjoyed a 15 minute ride on my indoor bike

Drank a cup of green tea

Experienced a full range of upper body stretches

Applied sunscreen

Brushed and flossed my teeth

Taken my prescribed meds and supplements for the day

Not a bad start for being two and a half hours into my Tuesday.

What good things have you done for your health today?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Supermarket Vegan

It's been nearly a year and a half since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I remember wondering what I would be able to eat. It seemed as though everything I ate on a normal day contained gluten. I was lucky to find a local support group who helped me find my way into the world of gluten-free foods. I found some excellent blogs and began reading how others handled day-to-day life with Celiac. Over the last year I've phased out processed foods. I prefer eating foods that are naturally gluten-free: fruits, vegetables, some dairy, whole grains such as quinoa and millet and every now and then a little meat. I love collecting cookbooks and over the year I've gotten quite a few gluten-free ones. The problem is that most of them no longer meet my needs. They focus on baked goods using processed foods instead of whole foods. About two weeks ago I found the world of vegetarian and vegan bloggers and am finding all kinds of new things to try. This weekend I purchased what may turn out to be my favorite cookbook of the year Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein. I've already earmarked several recipes to try. I like the fact that she focuses on foods which are easily found in the average grocery store. No runs to the health food store every week.

It's amazing how small changes added up over time can turn life in such a different direction.
What's your favorite cookbook?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Upper Body Time

I keep singing "It's upper body time, it's upper body time" to the tune of the Howdy Doody theme song. I know, I'm really dating myself. Since I can't do much cardio due to the tear in my meniscus (at least til after I get the cortisone shot next Tuesday) I've been focusing on doing upper body strength work.

I'm doing dumbell lifts to strengthen my forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders and upper back. I love weight work. I do 3 sets of decreasing reps 15-12-10 using 5-10 lb weights. It's a pretty good workout. I follow it with some good old fashioned stretches from Bob Anderson's book Stretching for about 15 minutes. My muscles are nice and warm and tingly after that. I've used his movements for many years and they never fail me.

I do the weight workouts on alternating days and the stretching everyday. Love it!

More later...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


There's been a lot written in the press lately about the lack of sleep and obesity. There appears to be a correlation between the amount of time one spends sleeping and the amount of weight one carries. I find these articles disturbing because I've had a hard time sleeping more than 5 hours a night since my heart attack and my weight loss has stalled since then. For reasons other than my concern over my weight my primary care doc scheduled me for a sleep study. I put it off for several months but finally had it done on January 10, 2011. I was absolutely certain that I wouldn't be able to sleep hooked up to all those wires (head, chest, and legs). The room looked like one that could be found in any high class hotel. The bed was comfortable and quite cushy. Only the bathroom looked like any other hospital bathroom - clean, but sterile. It took nearly an hour to hook me up to the monitors. They even use glue to get the leads to stick in your hair (they use acetone to remove them). Strangely I had the best night's sleep I'd had in months. I decided that a lot of my problems had to do with sleep hygiene (that's what they called it). In other words, I had some poor sleep habits. Since then I turn out all the lights. I don't go to sleep with the TV on. I got new pillows. I make my bed every morning so that my sheets don't get covered in cat hair (it makes me itch). I also have cut way back on my caffeine intake. I don't drink caffeine after 9AM. It's all made a difference. I'm sleeping much better. I still get up between 4AM - 5AM but I go to sleep earlier. The lab report came back this week. I only snore lightly and occasionally which I was happy about. There are no signs of sleep apnea (which is what they were trying to rule out). They did notice periods of arousal associated with leg movements so there's a possibility of Periodic Limb Movement Disorder which is kind of like Restless Legs Syndrome. I can live with that. It's a funny thing about the caffeine and the sleep hygiene stuff. I would have sworn that none of that stuff mattered but it turns out that making changes has paid off. I now get closer to 7 hours a night and the weight is coming off again, slowly but that's ok.

How's your sleep?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Lest I begin to sound like Pollyanna I want to let you know that I faced a challenge yesterday. I am a type 2 diabetic and last night after walking for 20 min on the treadmill I had a low blood sugar event (for those of you to whom this will mean something it was 79). Not so low as to be dangerous but low enough that I was having symptoms. I get sweaty and shaky and I want SUGAR. Of course, I wasn’t prepared to treat the low right away. That’s a mistake a seasoned diabetic should never make. I waited until I got home and by then I was stumbling through the snow and ravenous. Let’s just say I didn’t make good choices. I ate way more than I needed. It was all healthy food but the quantity was much more than my body required. I was uncomfortably full and disappointed that I handled it badly. Today I brought extra snacks with me and I have my glucose tablets to take to the gym. If I have a low I will treat it immediately instead of waiting. Lesson learned – again.
More later...

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Self-talk. I didn’t think I did it but last night while riding my recumbent exercise bike I realized that I do. I found myself thinking things like:

I love riding my bike.

The energy I get from doing this is incredible.

I’ll sleep so well tonight,

I’m so glad I’m doing this.

Someone, a very long time ago, tried to get me to do affirmations and I couldn’t. I didn’t feel right saying positive things to myself. My self-opinion was too low at the time. I guess that’s changed because now I find that I am giving myself affirmations spontaneously at all hours of the day. I consider that to be a good thing. When those thoughts pop into my head I’m going to try and remember them so that I can write them down in my fitness logbook. That way when I need an extra dose of motivation I can read them and give myself a boost.

Do you engage in self-talk?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One small step..

I've been working on building up my endurance since I broke my ankle at the end of July 2010. Yesterday, I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill at 2.5 miles per hour for a total of 1.22 miles. That's the longest I've walked at one time since the surgery. It felt good to walk for that long. I'm very lucky to have a Fitness Center next door to my office. It makes coming up with excuses not to go a little difficult which is a good thing. I can't wait until the weather clears up and I can walk outside. My first goal is to make the loop around Washburn University's campus again. That's about a 2.5 mile walk and I was doing it daily before the accident. I can feel that reaching my goal is getting closer.

Today we're forecasted to get 10 inches of blowing snow. We already have several inches on the ground which is very pretty but not good for outdoor exercise.

More later...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Either change my habits or...

I love being around folks who are working on their lives. I seem to be drawn to them and the process they go through on the road to self- improvement. How does one effect change? Just do it? Plan? Strategize? I’m working on an idea based on a quote that got me to thinking about my own life. I found it in a magazine article on heart disease. A woman stated that she needed to “either change my habits or die”. I understand how she feels. I’ve come a long way these past two years but there’s still a lot of stuff that needs work. I’d love to wave a magic wand and be in the place I’d like to be in a few years. One example is getting off sugar – but I know it only works if I do one small thing at a time. So for now I’m cutting out the caffeine. I’m down to no caffeine before 5AM or after 10AM. I tell you that some days 10AM feels awfully early but I’m hanging in there. In a few weeks caffeine will be history in my life. I never thought it bothered me but I am sleeping so much better these days and I find that I’m calmer in general. It may be all in my head but that’s ok. I like the feeling and I plan to continue to feel this way.
More later...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mr and Mrs Logan Boese

May I introduce to you my daughter and her husband. They got married on October 30, 2010 in Atchison, KS. It was a Hallween themed wedding and everyone was supposed to come in costume. I came as the mother of the bride.