Category Archives: Family

Serenity in Solitude

Ever find life to be a little…..well…..manic?  I know I do.  The minute I step out the door I often feel like the world is going so much faster than it needs to.  I guess I’m getting old.   Let me rephrase that…..I AM getting old.

Between the connectivity within society via cellphones and other electronic marvels and the “acquire stuff”  lifestyle that the media and advertisers mercilessly promote, is it any wonder that we often feel like we’re trying to dart across an eight-lane freeway that’s full of freight trucks only to find that when we get to the other side we’ve got to jump the train tracks before the next commuter train roars through?

Stage 1 - Soft Pastel, Gouache, and Icky Masking Fluid

It affects kids and teenagers too.  They are seldom solitary.  Between school, friends, sports, and a plethora of other extra-curricular activities, they don’t get much alone-time.  Add to that the fact that their cellphones are seldom turned off and are constantly beeping the next incoming text, where can they escape to?  I’m still looking for the up-side to all of this connectivity.  I do know the down-side is the inability to escape negative peer pressure or  bullying.  In the olden days (way back in the 60’s and 70’s), you could just go home.  If you didn’t want to be around someone or deal with them, you didn’t answer their phone calls and just hung out with people you liked being with.  Now kids are subjected to all that negative stuff via Facebook and cellphones.  To me, that’s a real down-side.

I love my solitary time.  For some, me-time means going out with their friends, golfing, or traveling.  For me, me-time is the best when it’s just being able to be at home.  Whether it’s to knit, write, garden, paint, or build jewelry, it’s time that’s Mine.  While not strictly solitary as my hubby is usually around and about, he’s my best friend so it makes for a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.  Even when we travel, we’re happy to just put up a tent and stare at the lake for a week. It’s nice to just get away from all the zoom-zoom.

I encourage everyone reading this to try some quiet down-time.  Turn off the phones, shut off the computer, maybe even make the kids do the same.  Take some down time.  Some time for yourself and your family.  Talk to each other….listen to each other….have some fun reconnecting with each other without all the electronic bubble and fizz that has become such a huge part of your life.  Try it.  I dare ya.  Let me know how it goes.  I’m betting you’ll find some serenity…something we can all use a little more of.


Serenity in Solitude – Little Pink Houses Series

11″x15″ — Soft Pastel, Watercolour, Gouache, Archival Ink

And the Hubby of the Year Is…..

Mine.  Hands down.  At least to me.

I am incredibly blessed to have the single most patient, understanding, and supportive husband in the whole world.  He’s always there for me, supporting without pushing, encouraging without making a big deal out of everything, and just generally being ok with who I am, no matter what.

That makes this whole Weight Watchers journey soooo much easier.  He happily eats whatever I serve.  He always has, but he never complains that there’s something missing.  He doesn’t bemoan the lack of gravy, doesn’t whine about the low-fat cheese, doesn’t ever say “let’s just cheat and go to DQ”.  He does have some pounds he wants to drop, but he could easily make me feel like this process is somehow depriving him.  And he doesn’t.  EVER.

He also loves my Smashed Cauliflower.  Now he’s a real meat-and-potatoes type of guy.  He loves steak and prime rib and thinks Emeril’s right and “Pork Fat Rules”.  He’ll eat potatoes baked, mashed, scalloped, au gratin, steamed, grilled, roasted and fried.  He’ll eat instant potatoes with that Kraft Cheese powder that’s a shade of orange just short of radioactive.  And yet, Smashed Cauliflower has risen to the top of his Potato-list, even though he knows there’s not a single iota of potato in it.

Smashed Cauliflower, adapted from the South Beach Diet:

Try this in place of mashed potatoes.  Heck, try it in place of any kind of potatoes.  It’s positively yummy.  Just ask my hubby…..he loves this stuff.  He’s also lost 16 pounds.  Yay Rick!!!

Weekly loss:  0.8 lbs   Total loss:  8.4 lbs     Yay me too!

Oboy…New Toys!!

I love new stuff.    I especially love new stuff if it’s pretty.  And if it’s blue….particularly Tiffany Blue.

Ok, so my new toys aren’t exactly Tiffany Blue but they’re in the ballpark.  When I went to my Weight Watcher’s meeting this week I got my tools.  I didn’t get them last week and had to track online, which was fine, but I wanted the STUFF!

I’m blogging about this today because of the overwhelming interest and support I’ve received over the last 24 hours.  You guys rock!!

When you join, you need to be able to track what you’re eating.  At my second meeting I found out that some people don’t track.  I don’t have a clue how they manage to lose anything.  I tracked every single thing I consumed last week.  I became absolutely obsessive about it.  I’m sure once I’ve been on the program a while it will take less time, but for now, I’m ok with the time it’s taking.  I put myself on Project Status.  Yes, it’s slowing down the artistic process but I’m just going to do it anyway.

With my starter pack I got this spiffy, zippered binder to keep all the other goodies in.  LOVE the colour!

And I love all the pouches too.  It’s so organized!  Which is good….I have this “mess” issue, ya know?

So there’s lots of ways to track what you’re eating.  As I didn’t have this stuff last week I tracked online.  When you track online there’s also a function that allows you to calculate the points for the foods not in the guides as well as a recipe function.  You can take any of your favorite recipes and calculate the points for them.  It rocks!  Got a favorite cheesecake recipe?  Just enter the recipe and it will tell you how many points per serving.  Too many points per serving, then adjust either the recipe or the serving size.  The little calculator gives you the ability to calculate food points on foods AS YOU SHOP.  Wow.  I have NEVER had this much information about the food I eat and it’s so exciting.  This program enables you to take the label information and figure out what it MEANS, as opposed to just being befuddled by it all.  I’m all about information being power and this program makes me feel incredibly empowered and in control.  Not that I have control issues….well….much……..nevermind.

When you’re away from the computer there’s these handy-dandy little guides that list the points in foods AND in restaurant menu items.  Want to know how many points a Timbit is? This will tell you!  Yay!!  There is never any reason to wonder again whether you’re sabotaging yourself by eating half a donut.

All of these goodies are going to follow me around in my amazing Doggie Bag that my hubby bought me for Christmas  two years ago.  I used to use it to haul illicit alcohol to parties at my friend’s restaurant, but this is a much better use for it.  It will also hold my blogging camera and whatever else I need for my day.  My crazy, hectic day.  My days are crazy now…just wait until we start going to the pool.  I have to say though, to anyone who’s struggled with losing weight and wants to try again, I have never had the tools supplied by this program.  I know it’s only the first week, but honestly, I don’t see how I can lose.  Or not lose.  You know what I mean……

Be Good to Yourself

So I’m having a little bit of an identity crisis.  Not really, personally…..I’m pretty sure I know who I am.  At least I do most days.  The identity crisis involves this blog.

While I, like many women, am very good at guilt, I’m not liking the guilt I feel if I miss posting on the blog.  If I’m not posting, it’s most likely because I haven’t managed to get anything creative done on that particular day because life has, once again, intervened.  The thing is, I didn’t want this blog to be a lot about me.  There’s plenty of personal blogs out there and while I enjoy reading them, that’s just not me.  I don’t mind sharing, but the whole point to this blog was to motivate: to motivate both me and my readers.  Somehow I just don’t believe that me getting into a lot of personal stuff is where I want to go.

That being said, sometimes what’s taking me away from my creative path is just plain personal stuff.  Whether it’s spending time with my husband, friends, or family or whether it’s just the dreary daily obligations to house and home, some days I just get nothing creative done.  Truthfully, I don’t feel dreadfully guilty about that….it’s not having something to blog about that I feel guilty about.

One of the things keeping me from creating, and thereby keeping me from blogging, has been a personal issue.  I need to get healthy.  My husband needs to get healthy.  We’re both way too fat.  I love to cook and we eat well….too well.  Add to that the amazing cooking skills of my friends and family and we’re in trouble.  We’re surrounded by amazing food.  We also work really wonky hours which makes it hard to eat properly.  We’re through copping-out and making excuses though.  I joined Weight Watchers with my girlfriend and we’re going to start eating healthy…we just are.  So it’s hard….we need to just suck it up and do the work or we’re going to continue to be tired, worn-out, and stretched to the limit.  And did you know that on the new Weight Watchers almost all FRUITS and veggies are zero points??  Zip, zero, nada.  Free fruit.  How easy is that??

So having done that, I’m going to get back to creating.  Which means I’ll be back to blogging regularly.  By taking better care of myself…by taking the time to be good to myself, I’ll be a better me…with a better blog.  *grin* That’s the plan anyway.  Try it…be good to yourself.  It won’t hurt.  I promise.


Blah.  Blah blah blah.  That’s sort of how I’ve felt all week.  Part of it is the post-holiday blues, I’m sure, but I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things.

My blog has suffered from my blues.  My apologies to my regular readers for not getting my normal amount done here.  I’m going to try and make up for it with this post.  There’s a few new things to show you:

Jodi….one of my beautiful nieces….is one of those truly generous souls.  Not only is she trying to give me stuff (NICE stuff) all the time, she has a generosity of spirit that is a pleasure to bask in.  Like her mom, she’s warm and welcoming and loving.  She also has a wicked sense of humour that had us all rolling during Christmas dinner.  Just bringing that up pretty much ensures that my family is laughing right now.  ‘Nuff said.

Jodi likes simple designs.  Nothing frilly or over-done for her.  But she also likes unique things.  One of the most unique gemstones out there is Ametrine.  Ametrine happens when amethyst and citrine crystals grow together and you get a stone that is half purple and half yellow.  The photo doesn’t show the colour-play very well, but I do like the triangle-theme.

Vanessa, the next-oldest of my nieces, is so going to be a star.  Tall and willowy, with gorgeous red hair and knock-you-dead green eyes, she’s a young woman destined for greatness.  She’s slogging through her teen years as best she can, all the while devoting herself to her dancing.  I’m confident her natural grace will carry her through the toughest life can throw at her.

Austyn….my little moon-child.  If ever there was an old soul, it’s Austyn.  You can see it in her eyes.  There’s this sparkle that says “I get it”.  Quick to laugh and always a bunch of fun, Austyn always makes me smile.  Some people just sparkle all the way through.  Austyn is one of those people.

There you go.  Three pretties for three pretties.  My lovely nieces.  How on earth did I get so lucky??