Sunday, August 30, 2015

August Meditation

And then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?
     Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August Poetry

Pied Beauty 

Glory be to God for dappled things— 
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow; 
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; 
finches' wings; 
Landscape plotted and pieced—
fold, fallow, and plow; 
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
With swift, slow; 
sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
Praise Him. 

Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877

Friday, August 28, 2015

I need to lose 40 pounds.

I am obese and need to lose weight.  I have chosen the Weight Watchers online program to accomplish my goal of losing 40 pounds. There are other methods but this is the one I am going to do. 

I joined the online program for $ per month.  I am using the Simple Start plan for getting started.  This first week I am concentrating on Breakfast.  My week starts on Sunday and that will be my weigh in day. My beginning weight is 185. 

Here is my first week's Breakfast Meal Plan:

Meal Plan

     Breakfast -- Egg/English muffins, cantaloupe 

     Breakfast -- Fruit & Cheese Danish

     Breakfast -- Veggie Omelette 

     Breakfast -- Yogurt, Fruit, & Cereal

     Breakfast -- Oatmeal/Cream of Wheat with Berries 

     Breakfast -- Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Potatoes 

     Breakfast -- Breakfast Shake, Fruit

I want to try all of these and see which I like and which I don't, which a easy and which require more time and attention, and which I want to just tweak a bit to suit my taste. 

I have some of the ingredients but I made a shopping list for the things I need:

Weight Watchers Breakfast Shopping List

Light English muffins
Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
Fat Free Milk
Light Bread
Red bell pepper
Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
Unsweetened Shredded Wheat 

That's all for today.  Tomorrow is grocery shopping day and the plan begins Sunday. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

Rain, glorious rain!  Wednesday and Thursday was had some good soaking rain.  It was needed, perhaps not as much as California, Washington, & Oregon, but still needed. A second blessing is that the 100+ degree weather has dropped to the mid- to upper-80s. Yea! I have 4 cats and you would think the thunder and lightning might disrupt their daily sleeping but no they sleep through it all. Actually, I love to sleep when it is raining too.  

We loved the movie Wallace and Grommet several years ago.  The same company has a new movie using similar animated characters and really looked forward to seeing it. Well, we saw it Sunday afternoon and it was pretty much a disappointment. No where near as engaging as W and G. But on the good side, our daughter joined us and it was lovely to see her.  

My baby quilt is coming along nicely. I am doing the hand quilting in navy blue.  I wasn't sure if it would look right so I had some yellow thread on hand if the navy was too stark but fortunately, I'm happy with the navy so no ripping out needed.  

I finished reading All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank.  I'm rather embarrassed to admit enjoying it because it was such a piece of fluff.  But I did enjoy it.  I started reading The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson before we went on our trip and am just now getting back to it. It is about life in Britain in the years immediately following World War I. Very interesting. 

I thoroughly enjoyed not cooking or washing dishes during the cruise but we are back to reality now.  Cooking this week will include Shrimp Jambalaya, Fruited Chicken Salad, and Spaghetti and Meatballs. I have all the ingredients to make Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake but that is an autumn cake and it's just flat too hot to be autumn around here. It is really more ice cream for dessert weather these days. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows for now.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weight Watchers Chicken Marsala

I have not made this before but I am going to give it a try. I'll let you know how it turns out. 

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups sliced white or cremini mushrooms 
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. 

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and liquid is released, about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with thyme, salt, and pepper.  Push mushrooms to one side of skillet.  Place chicken in pan and cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side. 

Add wine to skillet and simmer 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of broth and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, stir together cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup broth until smooth; add to skillet. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce is bubbly and thickens, about 1-2 minutes, stirring mushrooms into sauce. 

Place 1 chicken breast on each plate and top evenly with mushroom sauce. 

Serve with steamed broccoli and 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta. 

Total 7 WW Points Plus. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Meditation

Without music, life would be a mistake. 
     Fredrick Nietzsche 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August Poetry

The Waning Moon 

And like a dying lady, lean and pale, 
Who totters forth, wrapped in a gauzy veil, 
Out of her chamber, led by the insane 
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain, 
The moon arose up in the murky East
 A white and shapeless mass. 
Art thou pale for weariness 
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, 
Wandering companionless 
Among the stars that have a different birth, 
And ever changing, like a joyless eye 
That finds no object worth its constancy? 

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1820

Friday, August 21, 2015

Goals for the Week August 23-29, 2015

     Daily Bible Reading
     Sayings of the Desert Fathers

     Daily Exercise DVD

     Baby quilt

    1776 by David McCullough -- JMM and I are reading this aloud to each other each evening. 
     All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank -- in progress, good so far. 
     The Great Silence by Juliette Nicolson -- in progress, very good so far. 
     The Great Divide by Matt Taibbi -- coming from library. 
     For the Love by Jen Hatmaker -- waiting for me in my Kindle. 
     Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake
     Shrimp Jambalaya 
     Fruited Chicken Salad
     Spaghetti and Meatballs

     Look for someone to refinish sewing machine cabinet. This cabinet is the one that my mother bought after Hurricane Carla ruined her previous sewing machine in 1961. The cabinet is in perfect condition but the original bleached oak has aged to a brownish orange. 

     See Shaun the Sheep with DH & DD
     Lunch with P&W&C&B
     Return reservations for BHS Class of 1965 Reunion

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Around OakMeadows

Around Oak Meadows

We had a lovely cruise on the Crown Princess through the Alaskan Inside Passage.  When we left home, it was 100+ and the cool temperatures were so welcome! However, I had not packed enough warm clothes.  When we reached Skagway, I had to buy a warm pullover sweater.  We went to Glacier Bay to see what is left of the magnificent glaciers; sad to say, they are rapidly receding.  I can't say enough about the wonderful service on the Crown Princess.  The food was wonderful and we did not have one single meal that was less than delicious. We are already planning another cruise next year. 

Grocery shopping, unpacking, and laundry took a full day.  But oh, how nice it is to be back home!

I took the baby quilt with me on the cruise and enjoyed hours of peaceful quilting and watching the ocean.  We were able to add a few birds to our life list--an albatross and a storm petrel. We also saw the whales. 

Lots of time for reading. I finished Death in a Strange County by Donna Leon. I enjoy the Comissario Brunetti mysteries most when she is writing about Venice and Brunetti's family.  I found the mystery itself and its solution rather contrived. I'm currently reading All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank. It is definitely light reading but quite enjoyable.  Joe and I are still reading 1776 by David McCullough; it is excellent.  

I am watching Foyle's War Season 8 and it just doesn't hold my interest, the way the earlier seasons that took place during WW II.  These episodes set during the immediate postwar period are accurate but just not as interesting. IMHO. 

All our barn swallows have left.  We had a total of 13 surviving babies this year.  We look forward to seeing them next spring.  The hummingbirds have not started their migration through yet but we have the feeder out just in case. 

That's about all the news from OakMeadows. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August Meditation

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. 
          Martin Luther King

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August Meditation

J.R.R. Tolkien
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nutmeg Mannikin

This morning while Joe and I were eating breakfast and chatting, we were casually noticing a group of 8 or so "sparrows" on the ground. Then Joe rubbed his eyes, blinked, and reached for the binoculars. He said those were not sparrows and I went to get the Sibley's.  They are an exotic from Southeast Asia which have been a popular caged bird for many years. They are fairly well established in the Southeastern United States.  This is the first time either of us have ever seen them. 

Cecil, the lion

Like many other people around the world, I was sickened by the images of the lion, Cecil, killed for sport by the dentist from the U.S.  The cruelty of it was horrifying. If anything good can come of it, perhaps the publicity will help end such horrible practices.  Killing for sport is not limited to lions in Zimbabwe. It goes on day after day after day, killing elephants and rhinos for ivory, and other animals to put their dead heads up on a wall. It is disgusting.  If it is necessary to kill in order to eat, that is one thing but to kill and call it sport, is depraved.  I truly wonder about humankind--we start wars and kill each other, we spend billions of dollars on the latest technology to kill each other with millions of people who simply want to live their lives peacefully caught in the middle. We have no respect for the environment on which our very lives depend. Sadly, it is not surprising that animals are killed as sport for trophies. 

August Poetry

The Pasture 
I'm going out to clean the pasture spring; 
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
 (And wait to watch the water clear, I may): 
I shan't be gone long.—You come too. 

I'm going out to fetch the little calf 
That's standing by the mother.  It's so young 
It totters when she licks it with her tongue. 
I shan't be gone long.—You come too. 

Robert Frost, 1913