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Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Wedding

My daughter was married last Saturday, October 6th, 2012 and it was an exciting time. All went well. I know a few of you who follow me on Facebook have seen some of these pictures but I wanted to post a bit about the amazing day. It began with torrential rain and cleared for a beautiful sunny fall day in Ottawa.

But first my weight. Yeah, I finally broke a two year plateau. Can we all clap our hands together. I finally reached 167 pounds—48 pounds lost forever. When I first started the journey to lose weight, I made a list of things I wanted and included:
  • I will walk my daughter down the aisle in a beautiful Mother of the Bride dress. 
Well let me tell you, I was smashing! I couldn't believe the photos of me that day. The dress fit perfectly, my new teeth shone and my hair dresser and makeup artist made me beautiful. And yes, I am not shy. I am proud to say I am 58 years old. But I don't think you could guess that from this photo.
Ready for pictures.

Now here is a photo montage of the rest of the day.
Dad & Son ready (almost). Need a shot of Scotch first.
Wearing the family tartan.
Pictures were taken before the ceremony so the photographer, did the First Look picture. As the groom approached, he told my daughter to turn to the right. Whoops, he meant his right. I love this photo. My daughter looked gorgeous.
First Look: My daughter and her soon to be husband
Copyright http://www.bhphotography.ca/
Wedding Party in shades of plum.
Copyright http://www.bhphotography.ca/
I Do!
Copyright http://www.bhphotography.ca/
Relaxing before the I Do's.
Holding our Wedding Photo from 31 years ago.
Cake matched the wedding dress by the Cake Whisperer
Reception at the Museum of Nature.
120 bows were tied on the backs of those Chiavari chairs.
Waiting for the reception to begin.
My one insistence was candles. Lots and lots of candles.
Still can't believe this is me!
After the ceremony in the Queen's Gallery of the Museum, we munched appetizers and had a few drinks with the dinosaurs in the exhibit.
Dinosaurs were locked in the Gallery for Night Wedding at the Museum.
Since it was Thanksgiving in Canada, we chose to serve a turkey dinner. Yum. Later in the evening, out came the dessert buffet: pies and macarons (click to see my Pin for little french meringue cookies) along with apple cider, hot chocolate and of course wedding cake. No one was left hungry for sure. Lots of dancing and visiting and surprises. The sister of the groom travelled from Washington, DC and sang Ave Maria during the ceremony and also sang the song, "j’t’aime tout court"  for the first dance between the Bride and Groom. Such a beautiful voice. 

One special moment for my hubby and me. The groom's sister along with the DJ/musician sang "The Rose" by Bette Midler. That was the song we walked down the aisle to 31 years ago and was our "first dance" which we never got to dance. Until this night. A beautiful surprise that they arranged during dinner. I sobbed the entire time. Couldn't keep those tears in check. 
Our First Dance to "The Rose"
We made it to bed at 2:00 am only to rise early to host a brunch for family and friends on Sunday morning. I think I was a bit insane when I thought up that idea. But we ate pounds and pounds of bacon and sausage, eggs, meatballs, sweets and treats as well as most of the stuff on this table.
Lots of food (and Mimosas to wash it down).
It was a good time. 

The happy couple spent the last week on their honeymoon in New York City. May they live happily ever after.

Now to figure out how to be a grandmother. For those who don't know yet, my daughter is expecting in mid February. A little girl for my little girl. In the pictures above, she is 5 months pregnant and glowing. 

I have one last gift to give them. I will finish my cross-stitch project called "The Wedding" that is about 75% done. I had to slack off over the last month to get ready for the actual wedding, but I'll be back to it soon.

And last but not least, my wish to be smashing at my daughters wedding came true. So dream big and never give up!

Sandy


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Just as Fun as Chicago

Barbara came to visit me on her way to a fishing camp way up in Northern Ontario and again on their way home last Saturday. And it was just like Chicago, minus 40 other girls.
Enjoying the Black Dog
K was with her too. What a sweetie. We laughed and talked. Drank a little wine (or maybe more than a little). Had a nice long dinner at the Black Dog restaurant in a village south of Ottawa, stopped in to play some slots (boy that girl brings luck to all around her), then hopped in the hot tub at home to talk some more.

They were off early on Sunday and I miss them already. Can't wait to make a trip to PA to visit.

Here is a pic of hubby and I at the restaurant:
Hubby was designated driver.
Just wanted to point out my new teeth. I love them so much. I had all my teeth covered with veneers, crowns and one bridge and have a final implant in September. I was so embarrassed with my yellow worn down teeth and am still getting used to smiling again.

One last photo. The servers at the restaurant were wearing these black feather hats. Barbara begged to have one so she could have her picture taken. And here she is.
Fascinator fit for a Queen
I can't make Chicago this year (daughter's wedding getting in the way!). But I want to tell everyone going to not be afraid or nervous. You will meet wonderful and life long friends along the way. Take lots and lots of pictures.

And keep blogging. It is amazing the people you will come to meet in this world.

Sandy


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Diets Do Work—It’s Maintenance Where We Fail

A few months ago, I spent a weekend with some of my weightloss buddies. We got together to celebrate a birthday. It was a perfect storm of get-togetherness.

So what is with this title. 

Well, I have maintained my weight loss for two years. My dream weight is still 10-15 pounds away but maybe that will always be. I think I realized I was in maintenance when I was with these other girls who I cherish. I met them through blogging and can't believe the friendships we have formed. We are all at different points in this “weight” journey but we're there for each other. 

One comment stuck that weekend as I stared puzzled into the pool. “I don’t compare myself to anyone. We are all different”. 
My dream number!

I felt guilty that I had struggled mightily to lose 40 pounds when some of you were hitting 100 pound or more losses. I have so wanted to post the picture I have of “50”. It was my dream. I did reach 49 pounds down 18 months ago but couldn't keep there. Those 5 pounds came back and have decided they kind of like living around my waist. My ticker sits at 44 pounds down and has for months. 

But it shouldn’t matter how big our losses are. We really are different. 

The big question is can we keep the weight off. 

I did. Or I have. But it's still one day at a time. 

Some of you may think—look at her—she hardly had any weight to lose. I know the catty thoughts that circulate. I can be catty myself. But constant weight cycling for more than 45 years was killing me. 

And guess what. Maintaining weight is different than losing weight. Yup, it finally hit me. I had been struggling to figure out why I wasn’t losing weight. I realized I had lost sight of the fact that I hadn’t gained any weight


I came across this quote by some doctor about Weight Loss vs Weight Maintenance which really said it all: 

“It seems somewhat similar to love and marriage. What gets you to the altar is likely to be quite different than what keeps you married in the long-term.

 [And] not recognizing this transition and adapting with different practices will also get you in trouble.”



Almost any diet out there—Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, Biggest Loser, drugs, bulimia, WLS—will help a person lose weight. 

But maintaining is different.

So what's the difference between maintaining and losing weight, even if you are not at that magic number you want as your “goal”? 

Dieting down to an ideal weight is work. You can't just quit doing all the things that got you there. I'm here to tell you and research backs me up that staying at a healthy weight requires effort, exercise and a long-term focus. But
  • You do not have to exercise 2 hours a day. Unless you want to. 
  • You do not have to count calories or track every morsel that passes through your mouth. Unless you want to. 
  • You do not have to “think” about food all the time. Unless you want to. 
  • You do have to figure out what works for you. 
If you don't change those new habits you won't keep the weight off—they take time but eventually it becomes a way of life. This chart I found says it all. 

What’s the difference? 
Goal
Weight loss
Weight maintenance
Duration
Temporary; short term
Life-long
Speed
Ranges from slow and steady or rapid.
What speed? I’m already here! The time is now!
Amount of change
Small to large changes. May “fall off the wagon” bigtime and backslide significantly.
Very small changes; awareness of slight fluctuations in weight from day to day. Quickly responds to very small deviations; gets back on track rapidly with little harm done.
Potential mindset
Learn new habits. “Get ‘er done”. Deprivation, limiting options.
Stick with good habits already learned. Patience. Persistence. Continuous adjustment. Flexibility within reason.
Composition of diet
Can range dramatically: low fat, low carb, Mediterranean, etc. Often a focus on strictly eliminating or limiting a certain macronutrient, or eating “special foods” (e.g. grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet).
Some variation, but most importantly, all involve careful monitoring and self-awareness.
Must be an eating pattern that can be sustained for life.
Typical   actions
Regular observation and monitoring. Regular exercise. Focus on food choices.
Daily observation and monitoring—including weigh-ins. Regular exercise. Ongoing, habitual healthy food choices

And one more finding: 62% of successful weight maintainers watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. Turn off the TV!

I'm in Maintenance and damn proud of it.

And maybe one day, I'll tweak some of the habits I've learned and lose those last 10 pounds.

Sandy

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When One Door Closes Another Door Opens



I found this picture a few weeks ago, printed it off and hung it in my cubicle. I just believe it is true in so many ways. We just have to be open to looking for that next door and not living so much in the past, reliving what was behind those old doors.

I sometimes think about the what-ifs. What if I had chosen:
  • A different University to attend: Would I have another BFF?
  • A different husband: Would my kids (if I had even had then!) be as great as the ones I have?
  • A different house when I moved to this city: Would I have met the same friends, neighbours…?
  • A different job: Would I be retired by now?
  • Not losing weight. Would I be depressed and hopeless about being fat?
  • To leave the house a few seconds earlier or a few seconds later this morning: Would I have been in an accident or missed an accident?
Yup, I sometimes think of these profound thoughts when I'm sitting on a teleconference staring at my photo and where I really don't care what the others are saying.

I'm always looking for those open doors. Hope you do to.

Sandy


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Only As Old As You Feel


It's been a bit busy for me over the last few weeks. At the end of June I visited my BFF in Hamilton and we spent a few days tearing down her above ground pool.

It was hard work but the best was realizing we really weren’t a couple of old ladies sitting around knitting. BFF had done the majority of work before I got there— draining the pool and starting to tear down the sides.

When I arrived we finished pulling it all down, cutting up the metal sides, loading up my SUV for the dump runs.

Taking off the Liner
That's how we get inside!

Screws out, knock it down.
Tin snips to cut 'er up.

I need a little break. It's getting dark.
No rest for the weary.

Recycling the aluminum.
Last load of garbage. Pool be gone!

All in all we were exhausted but thrilled that it was done. She had an estimate for someone to come do the work—$1900.

Stunning. 

When she added up the actual cost it came to under $30 for some garbage bags and the cost to dump two loads of garbage. Add to that a nice lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake to thank me and we felt like Rocky running up that set of steps with the music blaring.

Victory!
I am woman, hear me roar.

A well earned lunch at the beach.
Notice my brand new teeth.
Now I will say if I still had the 45 pounds hanging around my body, it would not have been easy. BFF too had lost about the same amount of weight. We work at it. We always will. 

Being in maintenance is a lot different from losing weight. I may never go lower but I’m good with that. I am rarely hungry but do eat well. My habits have changed. Small portions of good food, interspersed with some outrageously good “bad” foods. If I want something, I have it. 

Just not all the time.

I resisted for weeks making the Brownie in a Cup which is all over Pinterest. It takes 75 seconds to make a molten chocolate brownie. But I broke down and made it. Added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and OMG, heaven in a cup! 

I won’t hang my head low like I would have in the past. No more beating myself up. I have come to realize there are no “bad” foods or food that is off limits. But there is a Freak Out weight that Amy mentioned in a post. A weight that would make you sit up and stop gaining. Mine was 178. In February just before my Gallbladder surgery. 

And I did Freak Out. 

Blamed everything and anything except me. Talked myself into thinking I was a failure. 

So I gave myself a slap and am comfortably back to my low 170’s. It seems to be my set point—for now. There is no finish line, just a lot of reflection. No more beating myself up with negative thoughts. I’m not finished. I never will be. 

I feel refreshed. Empowered with being physical. No I’m not at the gym. But I am walking with my poles, working hard in my garden and if needed, I tear down pools for a lunch at the beach!


Next up, getting ready for my daughter's wedding. If we don't kill each other first.

Sandy

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Monday, July 16, 2012

“The Wedding” Cross Stitch Project—July Update

The plans for my daughter’s wedding are pretty well finalized for October 6th. The stitching has been slow going given all the other work around the house and I doubt it will be final by then. But I will try. I find it hard to sit inside under my magnifier and bright lights when the beautiful sunny weather beckons outside.

I estimate that the piece is about 50% done. Now that the bows are finished, things should move faster. The bows have multiple colours and multiple thread changes and took the most time. What is left is filling in the white and beige of the dress, the beadwork and finishing touches. It has been exciting watching the bride and groom grow on the canvas. 

Here is a link to the original post. These pictures show progression (most recent to oldest):
Bows done-July 2012
Bows are added.
More of the dress takes shape and the bouquet is almost done. 
The bouquet begins to appear. 
The Bride takes her place beside her groom. 

Back to Stitching!
Sandy

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's the Summer Soltice and it's Hot Hot Hot

It's the longest day of the year. Or it will be at 7:09 pm tonight. As of tomorrow we will lose a second and the countdown to Christmas begins. My neighbour still has his Christmas lights up.

But it is HOT HOT HOT. The car said it was 37 C. As I pondered what that would be in Fahrenheit, I did a big da.... It's 98.6F. As a nurse we always took a patient's temperature and 37C/98.6F was normal.

Which means way up here in the great green north, it is hot.

And I don't really mind the heat. Sure I have air conditioning at home, at work and in the car. At work, I'm bundled in a sweater. But losing weight sure reset my thermostat. I guess all that stomach fat kept me unseasonably hot.

I think the rest will have to be bullets:
  • Stephanie from Dreams of Skinny... mentioned today that she wished she had been born in the mid 1950's. That me! And I do remember Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Leave it to Beaver, walking to school. I don't really think I'm nostalgic about the 50's, 60's or 70's though. Except I'd be younger. She also said she is going to Disney. I am so jealous. Give Jacquie a big hug for me if you meet up with her.
  • My 2 week vacation starts this Friday night. Guess what my big plans are? First I'm visiting my BFF and we are taking down her above ground pool. Next Thursday, I have my final appointment to have my teeth redone. I'm having veneers, bridges, crowns put on all my teeth. Right now I have temporaries in and it is hard to chew. But I'll have a great smile! I really have an exciting life.
  • My daughter's wedding is in a little more than 3 months. She has everything, and I mean everything planned to a T. Spreadsheets galore. We just have to wait. I have my dress (I'll post a pic when I have it fitted). But have to find shoes. Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE buying shoes. I know, I'm weird. OMG, I just realized I'll need a purse too! Here's the contender:
  • I am cross-stitching a bride for her and am about 9/16th done. I think. Maybe a bit over half done. A new picture of my progress will be posted at the end of the month.
  • Which leads to Canada day which is July 1st. I'm having a big party with my sister and her family. I've been pinning (on Pinterest) lots of ideas to celebrate.
  • I've been working hard in the backyard, trimming, cutting, moving plants. Redesigning. I just love gardening. Except when it is 37F.
  • I wish I had more time. I want to get some scrapbooking projects done and there is just no time between Nordic walking, cross-stitching, gardening and tearing down pools. And add in shoe shopping and this girl needs a vacay!
To keep cool, I've been trying out a few Frozen Pom-aritas but might move on to the Vodka Lemon Slush. Yummers
Frozen Vodka Lemon Slush.
Vodka Lemon Slush
That's it for now. Hope you are all keeping cool.

Sandy


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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sharing a Secret—a new love in my life—Pinterest

The cat's out of the bag.

I’m a Pinner, meaning I go to blogs and websites and Pin stuff to my Pinterest boards. 

Here are My top Pins (they should link to the original website, but if not, click the link underneath):
I never would have thought I’d enjoy ‘Pinning’, I thought it was a gimmick. But in 4 short weeks it has led me to finding some wonderful websites and blogs to follow. These Pins allow you to link back to the website where you found something you liked instead of saving it in your favourites. 

Did you know...
You can clean water stains off stainless with a lemon? I found that trick two weeks ago and now I wander the house with my lemon, cleaning my taps. 

And I made THE best Lemony lemon bars in the world which most pinners are calling Lemon 'brownies' . But I made them. And ate them. Yummy! (see above link for recipe) 

I now have so many links to new websites and let me say, there are some great ones out there which show you how to do almost anything. Want to remove nail polish from a rug? How about finding inspiration to redecorate your bedroom. Or find some cool crafts for the kids this summer. Learn to knit and sew and make all sorts of gooey desserts. Decorate your backyard for a party. Find wedding inspiration. Get a good chuckle from a quote someone has posted. 

If you are inclined, click the Pinterest Button to the right and follow my pins. 

If you think you have something on your blog that you want people to pin, the instructions on how to add the button to Blogger are here. You can see my Pin it button at the bottom of this post. 

If you don’t have an account, you need to go to Pinterest.com. Initially I started following many of my friends from Facebook—Carm is a prolific pinner, as is Grace and Kristin and Angela and… oh so many others in this world. 

But be warned. 

You will find some wonderful stuff and some really weird stuff. I've already reported some porn and it is swiftly removed. 

Right now the fried pickle recipes are being pinned and re-pinned constantly. 

Haven't really gone for that recipe yet!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life is like a box of crayons

I envision my life to be like this quote written by John Mayer

"Life is like a box of crayons. Most people are the 8-color boxes, but what you're really looking for are the 64-color boxes with the sharpeners on the back. 

I fancy myself to be a 64-color box, though I've got a few missing. It's ok though, because I've got some more vibrant colors like periwinkle at my disposal. 

I have a bit of a problem though in that I can only meet the 8-color boxes. Does anyone else have that problem? 

I mean there are so many different colors of life, of feeling, of articulation… so when I meet someone who's an 8-color type.. I'm like, "hey girl, magenta!" and she's like, "oh, you mean purple!" and she goes off on her purple thing, and I'm like, "no - I want magenta!"" 

We truly do make the life we have and we alone control how each day will evolve. Some will be completely regimented, plan every minute, write down every morsel they eat, stay on the path well travelled. Each day, off they go on their "purple" thing. 

But some of us will be different and that is ok. We want "magenta". To color outside the lines. To break the routine and take a different path. To live in the moment. 

If life seems a bit dreary and colorless—black & white—use your box of crayons and go wild. Be different, don't be afraid to show your true colors. And if Razzle Dazzle Rose is the one your choose, don't let anyone tell you to put it away. Because tomorrow you might be Fuzzy Wuzzy, Mango Tango or Screamin' Green. And occasionally it's ok to be Brown or Blue or even Purple. 

So what are you? The 8-color box or the 64-color box?

Click these links to Crayola Colors:
List of 133 Crayola crayon colors
8 Pack Crayons: red, yellow, green, blue, brown, black, orange and purple!
64 Pack Crayons

ps: If you are like me and use the British/Canadian spelling of colour, please disregard my use of color as I was following the way the quote was written.

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Best Weekend Ever

I had the most amazing long weekend where we celebrated Victoria Day in memory of some long dead queen. But who can turn down a long weekend and the official start of summer.

My sister drove up from Toronto so there was a lot of visiting and partying. The weather was amazing. Hot and sunny Friday to Monday.

I had planned to paint my new guest room this weekend—the room that has been empty since my son moved out a few months ago.

Friday afternoon whilst sister did some sightseeing, I painted the trim then off we went to get some Benjamin Moore paint with the name of Muslin. A side trip for fajitas and a beer at the Lonestar restaurant sidetracked the rest of the day.

Saturday had me out for my Nordic Walking group. God I love walking with poles. We get a great upper body workout and by the time I get home I have that good "tired" feeling from exercise.

I then declared there would be no painting inside on such a glorius day. Painting can wait for a rainy day IMHO. So we pulled weeds, hauled out the patio furniture, washed everything down and sat to enjoy just being outside in the sun. Then it was off to my daughter's house for a BBQ and lovely sunset fire. I picked up the same outdoor firepit to burn real wood. We have a gas one but I love the snap crackle and pop of real wood burning. And it was cheap from Walmart.

Sunday was busy as other family was coming for a "gazebo raising" party. Sort of like a barn raising where the men work and the women cook. The men banged and read instructions in french until finally the gazebo was raised. The women (well it was mostly me) put together a great dinner and with the evening warm and dry we partied like it was 1999. Well not really. I think I was in bed by 10.
Gazebo raising excuse for a party!
We had a few of these:
Frozen Pomegranate Margarita
Frozen Pom-aritas
1 ounce POM 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 ounce tequila (or I used vodka)
1 ounce triple sec liqueur
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
11/2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water dissolved together)
Ice
Salt and lime for garnish (optional)
Preparation: Combine first 6 ingredients in an electric blender. Serve with salt or lime, if desired. 

Or click for this amazing Frozen Pomegranate Margarita recipe. Or find me on Pinterest! and Pin it! I'm at: ysandray@gmail.com.

Yummiest drink ever!

Monday was a day to recuperate. Reading, napping and just taking it easy.

But what an enjoyable and busy weekend to just enjoy life. I gotta do more of that because there is a saying: "You can sleep when you're dead."

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