Oprah spoke to me…

I remember the day clearly.  It was December 28, 2015. I was in my living room, on the sofa and Spence was getting his morning HLN News fix. My focus was elsewhere.

Then I heard her voice. “Oprah?”.

She was talking about Weight Watchers and I recall this clearly, she said “If not now, when?”  I snatched the remote from Spence and backed it up. I heard the full message this time and I knew, when Oprah speaks to me, I listen.

Within a few hours, I’d signed up for Weight Watchers Online and identified the closest meeting site. I downloaded the app. I used my holiday-earned Kohls Cash and ordered a FitBit. I ordered a food scale on Amazon. I recommitted to my kitchen yoga practice (the only space where I don’t crash into furniture) and decided that the time had come for me to get serious about losing weight.

Today, one month later, I’ve attended three meetings. I’ve lost nearly 11 lbs. and am feeling great.  I’m still eating yummy food and drinking wine but in moderation and with mindfulness.  My house is full of fruits and vegetables as well as healthier snacks. I plan meals differently but I don’t feel deprived nor hungry. I’m lucky that I love all foods and enjoy cooking.  I’m moving much more now that my FitBit tracks every step – and compete with myself week over week.

Being very tall, I’ve had the luxury of being able to wear nearly all of my clothes with a 20-30 lb weight range. This is always a bit shocking when I talk to my shorter friends who tell me they can feel a 5 lb weight gain in their clothes.

As I approach my 60th birthday in May, I acknowledge a need to fine-tune my relationship with food. I’ve had several heart procedures, including a pacemaker, thyroid cancer, rotator cuff and gall bladder surgeries, a mild heart attack and a bout of shingles since turning 50.  As they say, “getting older ain’t for sissies”.  When Oprah spoke to me that day, “if not now, when?” resonated. Time for action….

Thank you Oprah, for sharing your experience and challenging us to join you on this journey. May we all enjoy success and lead healthier lives!

FullSizeRender 23
On the left, my usual wine glass. On the right, the one I use now. If I want a second glass of wine, I have to get up and walk to the kitchen to refill it.  Two bowls of fruit in the background…



59 Candles, 59 Things – part twenty eight

Thirty sixth thing: I’ve gotten behind on this series of 59 things that make me happy (to commemorate my 59th birthday last May) and realized that I better step it up before my 60th birthday in a few months!

Cookbooks make me happy. Not everyone will get this but there will be those that do. I’ve lost count of how many I have. When remodeling my kitchen, I painstakingly went through the lot of them as I unloaded the old pantry where they were crammed and wedged in. I’ve always said that a cookbook is worthy of keeping if there is one rockstar recipe (or more) inside. I parted with a pile, sharing them with my foodie co-workers.  In rennovating my kitchen, my design included special nooks to display those cookbooks that remained.

When my mom sold her house to move north a year ago, she offered up her cookbooks. I happily perused them, adding several more to my collection.

On gray, rainy or wintry mornings, it’s been my habit to pull a couple from their shelves and flip through them while sipping my tea. I’ve also been known to sit on my deck, enjoying my garden on a sunny day, sipping wine while enjoying a cookbook. There’s something comforting in looking at the photos and reading recipes, looking for that next winner! It makes me feel happy.

And hungry…

Stay tuned for more in this series and if you’re interested, check out prior posts for more of my 59 Things (under categories). 


Abandoned Shoes

Abandoned Shoes…can anyone else explain the mystery behind single shoes left along the roadside?

I’ve seen this over many years, in my home state as well as in several countries I’ve traveled.

And each time it puzzles me.

“What’s up?  Where’s the other shoe? Why does this keep happening?”

Am I the only one noticing these abandoned shoes? It’s a conundrum….

59 Candles, 59 Things – part twenty seven

Um, I beg to differ – I believe that’s exactly what it means.  Hope I’ve cleared that up…..
Thirty fifth thing: It seems appropriate that this next entry in my 59 Candles, 59 Things series is Thanksgiving, a time of year which I love and a meal that is likely my most favorite to prepare – and eat every year. And yes, it is one of the things that makes me ridiculously happy.

As the years have gone by, Spence and I have created our traditional Thanksgiving meal. Since retiring in February 2014, this meal is more enjoyable as I’m not under the gun to do the prep work the weekend prior or in evenings after working all day.  And there is alot of prep work though don’t read that as a complaint – it is self-imposed, from-scratch cooking that while time consuming, builds joyful anticipation of the flavorful meal to come.

The labor intensive dressing replete with chestnuts (scored, roasted, peeled and chopped) sage sausage, red and green apples, sauteed onion and celery with fresh picked herbs (that emerged unscathed despite last week’s record snowfall) and the partial bags artisan breads from the freezer,deliberately saved and cubed for this purpose.  A masterpiece to be sure (patting myself on the back). Since it’s our favorite part of the meal, I make what may seem to be a ridiculous amount of it and it never goes to waste.

Next my cranberry-orange relish prepared several days ago, including my secret addition, Grand Marnier liqueur.  This chutney-like relish adds a bit of fresh, tartness to a rich meal.

The 8-10 pound bone-in turkey breast, slathered under and over the skin with fresh-picked herb compound butter is in it’s first hour of cooking as I write this – and looks beautiful.

Add my gravy (which I’ve perfected over the years) finished with extra dry vermouth and a shot (or three) of Slap Ya Mama hot sauce plus a Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle, open a bottle of Sparkling Riesling and you know what’s on my dinner table today.

For dessert I made a perfect pumpkin pie!  I used one of the pie crusts from my freezer that I made with my own two hands, using my mom’s fabulous pie crust recipe as she mentored me a few weeks ago.

Oh yum! I love pie!
I’ve been geeky about Thanksgiving all week as the prep for the meal was coming together telling Spence repeatedly how excited I am.  My mom said “you’re like a kid waiting for Santa”. I think that’s accurate.

While dinner is cooking, we will watch the first of our two favorite (and traditional) Thanksgiving movies:

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • Grumpy Old Men

If you’d like any of my recipes, I’ve shared them on the blog. You’ll find recipes for the cranberry-orange relish, roasted chestnut, sausage & apple dressing, fresh-picked herb compound butter and pie crust!  

Happy Thanksgiving!