Tuesday, February 26, 2013

52 in 2013 - #9 Theme of the Week: Domestic Animals

Meet Max (above). He is one of my two sweet-natured "granddogs." He is the younger of the two Corgis, a year younger than Zoe (below). We have watched them grow up from rambunctious puppies into sedate seniors. As you can see, Max is still patient with the grandkids, even when coaxed into wearing a birthday hat. Zoe, Max's plumper and older companion, is content, these days, to be left alone to nap and dream of days gone by.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Atta Girl!

I had my A1C lab work done last Thursday. The A1C test measures one's average blood sugar levels over a period of the last three months. This morning I saw my doctor to go over the results. My score has come down to 5.0, which falls in "Normal" range for someone without diabetes. That doesn't mean that I no longer have diabetes (once you have it, you have it for life), but it does mean that I currently have it under control, which is a big deal to me!

I've been using a three-pronged approach at controlling my blood glucose (BG):

1. I've been eating a moderately low carbohydrate diet (trying to keep it at about 75g to 80g spread out evenly throughout the day). It's a drastic change for me. No more sandwiches with two slices of bread; only half a potato, and only occasionally; ixnay on the pasta and pizza; no to most fruit, although I seem to be able to handle a few berries without a problem. Oh . . . and, of course, no to all those Daring Baker delicacies I used to create.

2. I try to exercise some - mostly walking - on days when my knees will allow it. Exercising is wonderful for lowering BG, as the body burns up carbs for energy.

3. Besides watching my carbs, I've also been keeping my calories between 1100 and 1300 a day. As a result I've lost 34 lb. (and more to come, I hope) since the beginning of October. Losing weight has also helped my BG numbers to come down.

My doctor was overjoyed with my progress. She says to keep doing what I'm doing. Keeping my BG level at or near the normal range will help me avoid all those nasty complications you hear and read about. It was great to get the reassurance from my doctor that I'm on the right course.

When I got home, Dan asked me how it went. "My doctor loves what I'm doing!" I reported, which prompted a big hug and an "I'm proud of you" from Dan. It was a good day!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ladies' Day 2013

Yesterday we, the ladies of the Temple church of Christ, hosted an area-wide Ladies' Day. We worked for months preparing for this event, so we were all happy that it was a big success. We had two speakers, one of them from our local congregation and another from out of town. Both of them presented excellent lessons.

Janet and Carla - our two speakers

Janet is multi-talented. Besides presenting one of the lessons, she painted this mural, using acrylic paints, onto a bulletin board (she did it in one afternoon and evening). Our theme was "I Come to the Garden." Other bulletin boards were decorated, as well, keeping with the garden theme.

I'm not sure of the final count, but we had in the neighborhood of 80 ladies who attended, and they came from a dozen or so different towns. 

For lunch, we prepared a salad buffet with salads of every kind - green/vegetable, fruit, pasta, meat, gelatin - all donated by our own ladies. For dessert we had a huge variety of pound cakes. The tables were decorated in springtime colors, with small gift bags at each place.

Most of the decorating and set-up was done on Friday. I was at the building from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (except for a lunch break) on Friday, so by the close of the meeting on Saturday, I was pretty tuckered out. I ended up calling it a day around 8:30 last night, and slept like a rock in a river bed all night long. But it was a sweet sleep, knowing that all of our hard work had been rewarded by a successful event.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Visit with the Kids and Grands

We drove to Spring on Monday morning to spend a day with the kids. We arrived around lunch time, and all of us, except Clara, went to lunch at Bullritos. It was Presidents' Day, so Chris and Robert both had the day off. Clara's school, on the other hand, had no holiday, much to our granddaughter's chagrin. Her mama told us that she lost count of how many times she had heard "Not fair" that morning before school. At 2:30 I went with Kelsey to fetch Clara from school, and, although "Hi Grandma!" were the first words out of her mouth, right on their heels came, "It wasn't fair that I had to go to school today."

Robert made the most of those first couple hours, when he had us all to himself. We played and played and played, and laughed and laughed and laughed. I tried to get some good pictures, but the little fellow is so active and wiggly that it's tough. Here are a couple of shots that, at least, show how much he is growing and changing. (Also see the photo in the post just prior to this one.)

Playing with Daddy. They both have Lego addictions.
After dinner, Clara had a hard decision to make. Should she bake something in her Easy Bake Oven, with Grandma? Or should she play Minecraft with Grandpa? There wasn't time for both since it was a school night. She finally decided to bake with Grandma, since that meant that she would get a little dessert afterward, with emphasis on the word "little" as the cookies were each about the size of a nickel.

There were just enough strawberry-with-lemon-frosting sandwich cookies for each of us to get one.
That evening there was a big thunder and lightning storm that moved in. After the little ones went to bed, we waited for a pause in the heavy rain and drove to our hotel, where we would spend the night. We hadn't been able to book a room in either of our usual hotels. This one was in an unfamiliar (to us) area of Houston, near the airport. One of the major roads we had to travel on was FM-1960. When we got there we found all of the traffic lights AND all of the street lights out, I guess because of the storm. It was a white-knuckle trip down that road. It was so dark that we couldn't tell where the intersections were, and we were concerned that cars coming from the cross streets would come through the intersections without stopping. Thanks, first, to the Lord, then to Dan's good driving, and, finally, to our GPS, we navigated it all safely. I'm not sure we've ever been more relieved to arrive at a home away from home.

For our trip back to Temple, on Tuesday morning, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky.

52 in 2013 - #8 Theme of the Week: Play

We drove over to see the grandkids this week. I seldom get very good photos of Robert, since he's a perpetual motion machine. But here's a rare one I got of him playing quietly with his tool box. The light was coming in the windows behind him, and I enhanced the silhouette effect in Photoshop.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

52 in 2013 - #7 Theme of the Week: Spring

I know. I know. The theme "SPRING" was intended to be about the season that follows winter, but I couldn't resist posting this.

I took this picture at the vintage car junk yard our Photo Meetup Group visited recently for a photo shoot. I doubt that there's much, if any, SPRING left in this old rusty SPRING.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Down Came the Rain

I'm sure you remember when the mail carrier came to our door, before Christmas, and announced, as he handed me a package, "The world's coolest rain gauge!" It was one of Dan's Christmas presents, and, thanks to the mailman, was no longer a secret. Well, I don't know if it's the "world's coolest," but it really is a cool rain gauge. It has a copper tube with a polycarbonate measurement tube and foam float inside. As the rain falls into the copper tube, the blue tube rises to indicate the water level, thus working on Archimedes' principle of water displacement.

FINALLY, in the wee hours of this morning, we had our first measurable rainfall since Dan put the gauge outside. About 3:00 a.m. I was startled out of my sound sleep by a robust and long-lasting thunder and lightning storm. The wind was howling and the rain (with a little bit of hail) was beating on our windows. It was an awesome display. I wasn't able to get back to sleep for a long time, and, when I finally did, along came Part II of the storm . . . a repeat of the first one. So, not much sleep for me last night, but it was a terrific light show, and here in Central Texas we are always grateful for rain.

This morning I went outside to see if Dan's World's Coolest Rain Gauge had done its job, and it had! It showed that we had been blessed with almost 2.5 inches of rain overnight.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

52 in 2013 - #6 Theme of the Week: Containers

Dan and I have "date night" once a week. Usually it's on Thursday evening, but this week we had to move it to Friday. We went to Sakura, a Japanese hibachi-style restaurant. This little pottery pot and cup were charming CONTAINERS for the green tea. (And now I am caught up with the calendar, after my late start at posting one photo per week.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

52 in 2013 - #5 Theme of the Week: Red

Guess where I was shopping yesterday! I took a few shots of the Valentine card display, but the RED of the Valentines didn't compare to the RED of these shopping carts, parked at the front of the store. I didn't have my camera with me, so this is from my iPhone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

52 in 2013 - #4 Theme of the Week: Macro

Because I started this 52-in-2013 challenge a little late, I'm three weeks behind. Maybe I'll double up this week to start catching up. 

I don't have a macro lens, but I do have a wide angle adapter that, when reversed, works pretty well as a macro. That's what I used here, on my high school ring. The shallow depth of field came in handy in this photo, since the focus is on the mascot and name of my high school rather than on my graduation date. Wow, that was a long time ago!

Cheer cheer for ole' Juneau's fame.
Hear all the echoes calling her name.
Send the red and black on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.

Although the odds be great or small,
Ole' Juneau's fame will win over all.
As her loyal sons go marching
Onward to victory!
Rah Rah Rah!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

52 in 2013 - #3 Theme of the Week: Shadow

Spring must be around the corner. The daylight is lasting longer each day. This evening I caught the last rays of the setting sun coming through the window blinds and casting a muted shadow on our textured living room wall.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sometimes the Magic Works. Sometimes It Doesn't

I'm trying with all my heart to keep my blood glucose level in control, and I've been pretty successful by eating a low-carbohydrate diet. I'm actually enjoying the challenge. For one thing, I feel better, physically, than I have in a long, long time. And I'm losing weight - around 28 lbs. so far.

But sometimes I just WANT to eat some PIZZA, which doesn't fit into my carb-budget. As I was surfing the Internet for some new ideas, I ran across several recipes for pizza crust made from - you won't believe this - cauliflower. The idea is to shred a half-head of cauliflower and microwave it for a few minutes to soften it. After it cools you mix it up with an egg, a cup of mozzarella, some Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. This makes a "dough" that you can pat into the pizza pan. You bake it to crisp it and then top with your pizza goodies and bake again.

So I tried it today.

Here's a picture of the crust before I baked it.

Here it is after the crust was crisped in the oven.

And here it is after it was topped and baked.

It looks yummy, doesn't it? Well, sometimes appearances are deceiving. The flavor was fine; I didn't think it had a strong cauliflower taste, although Dan took a bite or two and thought it did. But what was COMPLETELY WRONG about it was that the crust did not get crispy. I had to eat it with a fork, and even then the bites were limp.

What's the best part of a pizza? The crispy crust! I guess I'd just as soon do without as make this again. But I think I get an A for effort! I'll keep trying.

I don't mean to throw cauliflower under the bus, though. A couple weeks ago I did have a success with using shredded cauli as a substitute for rice in a fried rice dish. Dan thought it was good, but said he didn't think I should try to pass it off as fried rice. He said I should just call it fried cauliflower, and enjoy it for what it is.