The Bechdel test

I ran across this video on Twitter a few days ago and thought it was really interesting. In the past ten years, with the popularity of Buffy, Sidney Bristow of "Alias," and Zoe of "Firefly," I really thought that the zeitgeist of women in television and movies was changing. Now I see that, if it is changing, it's doing so at a glacial pace.

Today, I found both of these pictures in the same article at [Insert inarticulate cry of rage and despair here.]

Beautiful Blogger Award

I got my first award!! Thanks to Diane from "It's Time"!!

The rules that go along with this award are as follows:
1. Give this award to 7 bloggers.
2. Share 7 things about myself you do not know.

I would like to give this award to the following in random order:
1. Lynn - I don't know if you have a blog but you've been a great blog supporter, thank you!
2. Lindsay @ Healthy Stride
6. Juli @ Juli's Journey

7 Things about me you don't know:
1. I've been a DJ for dances since I was 14. (Family Business) - and we're doing it again!
2. Both my husband and I are the youngest of large families (we pretend to be mature).
3. I have a bad habit of cracking my knuckles (since 2nd grade)
4. When I was young, my family raised and bred dachsunds - my favorite kind of dog!
5. 2 of my kids have Autism, and 1 of my kids has ADD (young motherhood was interesting)
6. I am a picture taker nut! I love taking pics of family & friends - I'm on my 6th digital camera!
7. I am a big fan of Little House on the Prairie. I loved Albert and even got a signed picture!

New Huey video

A harmonious schooling session; the kerfuffle at 4:52 is not a spook but a trip. Huey is famously fumble-footed except when jumping 3' 6" cross country. Go figure.

Week 16!!

Weigh in this morning showed me having lost 5 pounds, and my man lost 6 pounds! WOW!! I have lost 61 pounds so far! My man has lost 66 pounds! We thought we had a slow week (too much checking the scales), BUT we both made efforts to drink LOTS of water and were pleasantly surprised this morning!
We checked our BMI today. My STARTING BMI was 49.6 and today it's at 38.8. My man's STARTING BMI was 41.8 and today it's at 31.7. He is so close to getting under 30 BMI and then he will be officially downgraded from "Obese fat" to just "fat". My man is more than 1/2 way to his goal!!!

I have a new Favorite Snack/Meal this week. I had ordered some powdered peanut butter (PB2) from Bell Plantation and it's been on backorder for like 2 months, but it came last week! I LOVE PB2!! For 2 T of Peanut Butter, it's only 45 calories and 1.5 g. fat. Compare that to normal pb which is more like 200 calories! And it tastes great and doesn't have the preservatives and hydrogenated oils as even the low fat pb do. I am SOLD!

I have the chocolate kind too and I LOVE to dip my medifast pretzels in the chocolate PB2. I've also mixed it with the Medifast hot cocoa and formed peanut butter cup balls! Love 'em! I need to order more of this stuff immediately!

This week I made an egg scramble for one of our L & G meals. I used 1 cup of egg whites (in "real eggs" carton), chopped peppers & mushrooms & celery, and some low fast cheese and scrambled it all together. SO yummy!

I also made this taco salad with ground turkey and lean ground beef with some taco seasoning, low fat cheese on top - all on a bed of romaine lettuce and some cucumbers. Delicious.
This week I have connected with several other people's blogs on their weight loss journeys. I have LOVED looking through their blogs and connecting. It's been SO inspiring. Lindsay, from Utah, on her blog "Healthy Stride" has already lost well over 100 pounds and is training for a 1/2 marathon. THAT is where I hope to be in less than a year.
SO inspiring.
I also was given a "Beautiful Blogger" award from Diane at her awesome blog "It's Time" who herself is also a great inspiration. Thank you Diane - I am truly honored! I will have to blog about the award and follow the rules for receiving it and awarding it to 7 others. Now to choose...

Fame & Knowledge

One day Dragon wanted to know how much money artists make from selling their paintings. I replied that I really didn't know but often their paintings are more valuable after the artist dies because their work isn't always truly appreciated during their own lifetime.

"A bit like famous musicians and composers of past centuries," I went on to explain. "Mozart, for example, was bankrupt when he died and was buried in a pauper's grave."

There was silence for a while.

The kind of silence you get when you know someone is processing information.

The kind of silence that you just know will produce a question, eventually.

I expected that question to be "What is a pauper's grave?" seeing as it isn't a term we use in everyday conversation.

But when Dragon opened his mouth the query that actually popped out took me completely by surprise.

"Who's Mozart?" he asked.

And this from the young man who has been studying music at school for the past 5 months!

(Not to mention that his father is a professional musician and his mother a music tutor.)

So the moral of this little tale? ....... Fame is only relative to the age in which you live and/or the circles in which you move, and knowledge isn't even that!


We went with some Argentine friends to Via Flaminia, a gelateria (ice cream shop) in the suburbs.

Rather, gelato shop; gelato being much softer than ice cream ...

... all the better to make INSANE, 2-FOOT-TALL, Magic Shell-type-hardened-chocolate covered ice cream cones!!! They are INSANE!!!!!! And not on the menu, so you have to be "in the know" to get their special ;)

Click the video to watch Neil's being made!

As Neil says at the end,


Random stuff that made me giggle

This is Simon, the electric schoolmaster. Now, I don't want to be entirely mean and snarky. There are probably many great uses for Simon. But my first thought was of the actual schoolmaster, Aron, that I got to lease while I lived in Lubbock. Which led me to wonder: Can Simon be programmed to be afraid of baggies? To randomly offer a capriole when cantering across the diagonal? I'm fairly skeptical about just how much knowledge will actually carry over from Simon to a flesh-and-blood equine.

And this, according to the blogosphere, is BP's planned logo redesign, undertaken before the mess in the Gulf. Should we laugh or cry?

Questacon - Courtesy of DCO

Every now and then DCO (Defence Community Organisation) decides it needs to do something for defence families. (It is DCO who organises the Christmas party each year.)

This year, in honour of Families Week, they shouted us all a trip to Questacon. We love going to Questacon but hadn't been for a couple years, so there was no way we were going to pass up this opportunity.

After registering at the DCO desk we entered the dinosaur exhibit. Teddy and Kitcat were fascinated, and a little scared. I had to reassure them that these dinosaurs were not going to burst through the barrier and eat them. They were manufactured reptiles with a very life-like 'skin' and their movements were quite realistic too. If it wasn't for the mechanical whir whir whir they made as they stretched their necks or turned their heads you may be forgiven for thinking they were alive .... from a distance anyway.Straight after that we had to go on the simulated roller coaster, "Track Attack", where I had to hold both Mousie and Kitcat steady so they wouldn't get thrown off the seat. Possum was looking after Teddy and Dragon was 'supposed' to be keeping an eye on Ducky. However I later found out that he was taken her to the back seat and tried to push her off every time the simulator went around a right-hand corner.

Possum, Dragon and Ducky then went off together while I took the three youngest girls into Mini Q - a special area for children aged 6 and under. They spent a bit of time pretending to be mechanics .... .... before cloning themselves in the magic mirror. Wow! What a lot of Teddies and Mousies. (There's a Kitcat or two in that photo as well.)Mousie found her true calling and spent some time being a vet. Teddy, in the background, is pretending to be one of the canine patients.We met up with the eldest three Half-dozen and kept exploring. We went in the 'earthquake house' where, once again, I had to reassure Kitcat and Teddy that it was just a simulated earthquake and no one was going to get hurt. They still clung tightly to my legs though.

While we were waiting in line to experience the earthquake we were able to watch the caged lightning. It 'fires' off every 15 minutes inside it's enormous wire-and-thick-glass enclosure. The younger girls hadn't seen it before and once again were terrified they would get hurt. They obviously have a lot of confidence in my ability to care for them and keep them safe!

This exhibit is called "Frozen Shadows". The screen is coated with a phosphorescent material. Strike a pose .... ... wait for the flash of light, then turn around and see your "frozen shadow" on the wall. We spent a lot of time here. Ducky kept trying to time her split-jump with the flash of light.After seeing everything there was to see it was that time. The time that the children love but that mum could definitely do without. Yes ... *sigh* ... it was time to be propelled from the galleries straight into the gift shop. So many things to see, touch, and cause a child to say "Hey mum! Come here! Look at this! Can I? Can I? Can I have it?" very frequently and extremely loudly.

I managed to escape with only two toot-whistles (for Kitcat and Teddy), a length of tubing which 'sings' as you swing it around your head (Mousie's choice) and a tiny toy koala (Ducky's last minute decision.) Possum and Dragon lost interest in anything once they found out the purchases were being funded by birthday money.

So thanks to DCO for a fun-filled afternoon, although it would have been nice if HB had had the day off to attend with us.

Guess What?

Bad News: about a year and half ago, I went through my clothes and sold or gave away all my tops and dresses that were smaller because I had pretty much given up that I'd ever fit into them again. Now that I KNOW I will be smaller and I've lost some weight.... I don't have smaller clothes to go into. So....

I was out yesterday running an errand with my man when we were right next to a "Fashion Bug" and decided out of the blue to just go in and try some things on. I haven't shopped there for like over 20 years. I have been wearing size 4x - 5x blouses. I like my blouses loose so they don't show my bulges. But lately all my blouses are quite roomy... "tents" my hubby calls them.

So I tried on a ton of clothes and realized that I have lost 2-3 blouse sizes! I now wear 1x-2x. And I used to wear size 28 pants, and now I fit into 24, so I lost 2 pant sizes. That is pretty cool. Can't wait to get even lower! I walked out of there with this new outfit.

I am so excited to actually go clothes shopping with a friend someday! I have NEVER done that, even as a youth, and I've always wanted to. That is one thing on my "Skinny bucket list" - to have a clothes shopping spree with a friend!

UPDATE!! (May 28th, 2010)
Went through the closet quickly this morning and pulled out 34 tents (oops, I mean tops) that are size 4x-5x and that wasn't even all of them. I mean, I have to leave a few to actually wear until I can get some more clothes! I am NOT sentimental about getting rid of these tops either, even though a few of them have been in my closet for over 10 years! IDIOS old clothes and old size!

Arizona in May...

Home Made Ice Cream!!
Hey Everyone!!
As some of you may know..this week Howard and I are in Arizona.  Yesterday while cruising a thrift shop I can across a Six Quart Ice cream maker!! For $4.99!!!! WELL! I just HAd to have THAT didn't I?? 

 Someday soon we are hoping to have some goats for milk and meat..And an Ice Cream maker fits right in with that agenda...But of course..If I am going to bring this puppy home..I wanted to make sure it Today we made Ice Cream.
The fruit is in the picture..however it will be added as a topping later. I will update the picture then. Here is my recipe.

8 organic farm fresh eggs ( oh yeah..NOT a low cholesterol treat by any means!!)
6 cups Homo milk
3 cups whipping cream
16 packets of stevia
3 TBLS vanilla extract.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and wisk until they are lemon yellow.

Add the 6 cups Homo Milk and stevia and wish thoroughly.
Tranfer into a double boiler ( which I don't have so I used a roasting pan of water and a sauce pan) And stirring slowly heat over high until custard thickens. Once the custard thickens..take out of the double boiler and allow to cool. While this is cooling prepare you ice cream maker.
Have Your husband ( or a handy teenager) pound a bag of ice  until it is fairly crushed.

When the Custard is cool..stir in the whipping cream and vanilla..and transfer it all into the cream container. Put the paddle inside..clip the lid on the contatiner and lock down the stirring motor.

Once it is all locked down..plug in the motor and turn it on.  While the cream container is spinning..start adding crushed ice, salt and water in layers around the spinning container.  I added crushed ice about 3 inches deep..then poured salt on the ice from a salt container doing two full loops around...then I poured in a half cup of cold water..I repeated this process until the ice,salt and water was 3 inches above the level of the cream mixture in the container.
Thirty minutes later..the ice cream make stopped..and this is what we had!!!


Even Though he got to lick the paddle..this delicious treat will be saved for after supper..when it will be garnished with fresh strawberries and blue berries!
CHEERS!! see me wearing two different shirts..because while it was mixing..we went outside and planted a cactus and I got STUCK!!

On the First Day of Delivery, My CSA Gave To Me ...

Four heads of lettuce, two pounds of spinach, two pounds of arugula, one bunch of radishes, and a sprig of mint and oregano.

Can you say ... SALAD?

I like salad as much as the next gal, but really, four heads of lettuce?

So I've been trying to make a dent in the bounty.

The first thing I made was an all-local salad: strawberries that we'd picked at the farm this weekend, arugula from the box, local goat cheese, and walnuts dried from our own tree.  (The walnut salvage was a total experiment by the way, which I don't expect will ever be repeated with any success.)

(Note the buttercup bouquet, fresh from the back yard weed bed.)

The amazing thing about this salad was that it didn't even need dressing.  The strawberries made a hint of sweet juice, and the goat cheese practically melted into the arugula leaves.

When I got home from yoga (where--I hope you're sitting down--I picked up an application for teacher training ... have not filled it out yet, but it's in my possession, which counts for something, right?), I made myself another salad for dinner, this time with the lettuce, a chopped Granny Smith apple, some toasted almonds, and some grated jack cheese.  This one did require a little balsalmic vinegar, but I didn't douse it because I wanted to actually taste the flavors.  I wound up making two, because I was ravenous.  Thankfully, we are down about a half a head of lettuce now.  Go, me.

So ... what do YOU do when you have simply too much lettuce?

Bantry Bay

Bantry Bay was the last place we visited in Ireland. We were there for two and a half days. It's a picture-postcard of a town, situated where a steep valley winds down out of the foothills and hugs the bay. The town runs up the valley, and it seems like every building is a different cheerful color.

Not to be outdone, the boats on the bay are equally colorful:

We saw a handmade sign for the "Whiddy Island Festival," so we decided to take the free ferry over to the island. All we found was a bleak, windswept island populated by a few dozen sheep and cattle. The "festival" consisted of a pub, a bouncy house, and sumo suits. I think that in Ireland, if you have a pub, then you have a festival.

Another super ride on Huey this evening. He offered bigger strides when I asked for a medium in trot, so he's starting to get the idea. We also schooled working canter to collected to working. That's easy-peasy for him.

Can't Believe I Forgot This Picture

From last weekend. So love him as a dad.


Week 15 and still going!

We have reached week 15 on our Quest to Change our Lives! It's been bumpy at times but we're STILL GOING! This week I lost 2 pounds and my man stayed the same. I just realized that I am the weight I was when I became pregnant with my first child which was 18 years ago. I haven't been this "skinny" for 18 years! That is huge to me! But I'm still too big have a ways to go.

My man found a suit at the Goodwill in Lincoln City when we were out at the beach and it fit him perfectly. He hasn't worn a suit for over 20 years! He looks SO fabulous! The picture does not do him justice! My man is SO HOT!!
We have lost a few inches since we started!!
My man: Me:
Neck 2" lost 1" lost
Bust 5" lost 1" lost
Waist 7.5" lost 7.5" lost
Hips 7" lost 7" lost
Thigh 1.5" lost 4" lost
Knee 2" lost 2.5" lost
Arm 3" lost 2.5" lost

I made this shrimp and fried yellow squash dish this week and used some fat free tartar sauce as my condiment. I prefer tartar sauce over cocktail sauce but my coach has an easy recipe for cocktail sauce I haven't tried yet.
This was a yummy meal. I broiled salmon in my oven and basted it with that mango orange bbq sauce that I've shown in a previous post. Then with the fried yellow squash it was quite satisfying!
My coach gave me the newest Medifast recipe book a few days ago and I tried my first recipe from it: Spicy Garlic Lime Shrimp. I used a red pepper since I didn't have a green one, and I used the spaghetti tofu noodles instead of angel hair because that's all I could find. It was pretty good and my man ate it too. Next time I think I'll use fresh shrimp instead of pre-cooked frozen shrimp. The noodles tasted totally like regular noodles.
I'm excited for these changes in our lives and I also feel a lot of opposition at times. I know the adversary does not want us making positive changes - he wants to keep us down. And sometimes I succumb to old feelings and past heartaches that bring me so much pain. But I work so hard to put those things behind me. That is my biggest battle and I fight it every day! I realized from a lesson today in church that patience is directly tied to our faith. Being patient in my heartaches and trials is being grateful for what the Lord has given me and serving Him and my family while KNOWING that all these things will work towards our good.

My Mantra for this week: Seek to do His will and Trust in Him.

Falling in love again

I had one of those rides today that make you fall in love with dressage all over again. Huey was eager, bendy, and listening, so I threw a bunch of stuff at him and he handled it all without turning into a stress ball, as is his wont. Trot-shoulder-in to a few strides of medium, 10-meter canter circles, counter canter, working canter to collected back to working. He only tried to throw his head twice, and instead he just started to raise it, and then I saw a thought bubble reading, "Aw, fiddlesticks, that never works," and he went right back to being soft.

Medium trot will probably be our biggest bugaboo, so I'm not asking for much, but am instead focusing on the downward transition to very collected trot for a few strides, then back to working trot. I want him to really sit down and build those butt muscles, and hopefully that will help him get the idea for medium.

Camilla had a jumping lesson on Huey yesterday, and I took pictures. Here's Air Huey doing his thing:

What a versatile gelding!

Strawberry Fields Forever (And Espresso Chip Cookies)

Today was one of those days that I wish I could bottle up and savor for a long, long time.  We spent the morning at our new organic farm CSA, picking our own strawberries, walking through the fields of herbs and lettuce that will arrive in our boxed share tomorrow (can't wait!), playing on the small playground, walking on the trails of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Reserve (where the CSA is located and leases land), visiting the nature center and butterfly house, eating a picnic under the trees, listening to a chorus of a thousand birds.

Then I went for a 5.5 mile run--still sucking wind a little with my new med, but made it nonetheless, came back and tore up the waist-high weeds from the raised bed garden so we can finally plant my winter squash, caking myself with dirt, biked to Borders with Ian to get his free book (for reading ten), came back and played with puzzles, and baked espresso chocolate chip cookies for a barbecue with friends tomorrow.

These are the sort of cookies you could eat with a cup of tea (or coffee) for breakfast, or now, enjoying the cool evening breeze of late spring.

Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup nondairy milk [I used soymilk]
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablepoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together non-dairy milk, oil, flax seeds, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Sift in flour, cinnamon, espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add quick-cooking oats and chocolate chips and stir until all ingredients are moistened.  This batter is very runny  ... I added about 1/2 c. more flour at this point, and the cookies came out a bit cakey, but they will turn out OK (chewy) if you just leave the batter as is.

Drop generous tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets.  Bake for 14 minutes, until cookies are slightly puffed and the edges appear dry.

Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes , then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in a loosely covered container.