Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I often talk about how much I miss 
the the incredible skies of New Mexico. 

That said, 
Mother Nature put on a pretty incredible show 
this evening.

These were all taken 
through an incredibly dirty windshield 
using my iPhone 4s.

The colors were sublime.

And look at that cloud bank 
rolling over the hills . . .

I just thought I'd share.

Hope your skies are as lovely as these.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Open Street and Monarchs

I know I haven't been posting a lot lately, 
but there just hasn't been a lot going on.

But today, there was a great event in Santa Cruz. 

Called Open Streets, 
it involved the closing of West Cliff Drive 
to all cars and motor vehicles.  
Usually a great place to walk, ride bikes or roller skate, 
this event amped up the whole atmosphere. 

There were drummers

Several animal booths, but this was my favorite.
A dedicated owner was trying to coax her pup through a tunnel.
He wasn't having any of it.

There were lots of bikes, unicycles,
and even this fellow.

There was also Zumba, Yoga
and even a rock climbing tower.
It was all free for the community to enjoy.

I thought this guy was very cool.

I liked that his body paint featured a tree
and he was set up beneath a beautiful old tree on the cliffs.

Someone had crafted these birds from old tin cans,
they decorated the walk.
Quite lovely.

These next two are for Russ

I believe he loves the pelicans as much as I do.

As an added bonus, after walking West Cliff,
we ended up at Natural Bridges State Park.
The Monarch butterflies migrate here every year,
and they're just beginning to arrive.

Beware, too many butterfly pictures here.

I love them so much,

I tried to edit my photos 
down to just a few

But still wanted to keep all of these.

My favorites from the day.

And this my special favorite.
Feel free to click to enlarge.

Just so you know, 
there will be many trips to the butterfly grove,
so more pictures will follow.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I've had several emails asking what we're up to . . .

Not a lot, but we are getting healthy, eating lots of veggies and fruit and other yummies.  We're particularly enjoying the Vitamix, making lots of smoothies.

We're also reaping the benefits of a friends humungous garden, lots of incredibly sweet vine ripened tomatoes and squash.

Here's what we eat at least twice a week.

I saute some onion and garlic in a hot pan, then add a good amount of sliced peppers (I used both red and yellow in this one).  Then, slice as much zuccini (squash) as you like.  When the squash is almost cooked through, add two or three large fresh tomatoes.  If you have some fresh basil, a good hit is also added.  Allow it to warm through till the tomatoes are warm but not mushy, and serve.

We like this with fish or chicken.  You can eat as much as you want, and the flavor is so bright and fresh, you'll want to eat a lot!

Oh, and yes, we're still working on the house.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We are Alive and Well

And truly, just have nothing interesting to post about.

 Thanks for all the inquiring emails, I promise to return when something blog-worthy occurs.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I'm taking the day off, and I realized I haven't posted in a while.

I love these days when I wake up and say I'm going to do just exactly what I want to do today, nothing else.  It's a gift I give myself occaisionally, and Terry is wonderful enough to just let me have them when I want.

So what's been going on?

Not a lot, more of the same, working in the house (not as much as we should admittedly), going to the gym (a lot!) and taking care of ourselves by being midful of what we eat.

We did do something along the eating lines, we bought a Vitamix!

As we are moving more into careful eating, we've become aware of how difficult it is to get in all the proper nutrition we need on a daily basis.  The truth is, both of our stomachs have shrunk, and we both find it's hard to eat really huge meals like we used to. 

We talked about it and decided that maybe the best way to go would be to drink some of our fruits and veggies for one meal a day.  After researching all the options, we decided a Vitamix is just what we needed.

The first thing I made was carrot soup.  A few carrots, some celery, garlic, lemon, jalapeno, cinnamon and a bit of water.  Boy was it ever good!  I really like that it cooks right in the blender, much less clean up that way.  Also, by making soup this way, I make exactly what we need for one meal, no leftovers! 

We've also made a bunch of smoothies, and you know what?  They're right, with the correct blend of fruit and such, you never even taste the spinach, kale or whatever.  So now we have our veggie input under control, and are we ever happy!

We also happened on a free flat of fresh strawberries.  Now, you know that strawberries never last long at all, so we cleaned them up, pureed them in the Vitamix and froze  them in one cup increments.  Now we have bunches of frozen strawberries for our drinks.

So here's my request.  Do any of you have any favorite blender recipes?  If so, please share, I'd love to  learn more.

That's it for today.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mexican Salad, YUM!

This is one of our favorite meals, it's hearty, good for you and tastes divine.

First you cube up one or two chicken breasts (one per person).  Also chop up some white onion, some garlic and some red peppers.  Spray a bit of Pam in a frying pan and throw the chicken in.  Add a bit of salt and pepper and cook over medium heat just until the cubed chicken is white, do not overcook!

Now pull the chicken out and place it in a bowl and put something over the top so it will continue to steam.  I usually use a paper plate.

Now a bit more Pam, then throw in the onions, garlic and peppers, and cook them just till their done.  At this point, the chicken should have steamed done and released a lot of liquid.  I don't like the juice but Terry does, so decide what to do with it, but don't put it back in the pan with the veggies, just the chicken.  At this point I add a very generous hit of cumin, a bit of chile powder and Cholula hot sauce to your taste (naturally we use Cholula!).  Add a couple of tablespoons of water to coat the mixture with the spices, then turn the heat off and let it sit.

Note: by cooking the chicken this way, it stays incredibly tender and never overcooks.  If you keep it in the pan when you add the veggies, the mixture gets too watery and the chicken overcooks and gets tough.

Now make your salad.  I like lettuce, some tomato, some more chopped red pepper and a bit of avocado.

When your salad is ready, put the warm chicken veggie mixture in the salad along with a couple of tablespoons of reduced sugar ketchup (tastes just the same as regular, a lot less sugar, i.e. carbs) and a couple of tablespoons of plain unflavored yogurt.

Now mix the whole thing thoroughly, till it looks kind of like yuck, but everything is well coated, and eat.

Sorry, there aren't any pictures, we just ate it all!

This is the best salad, very filling, full of flavor, quite low carb and right around 330 calories for a full meal.

Try it, I think you'll like it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elkhorn Slough

We decided that instead of going to the gym, today would be a perfect day for a walk by the seashore.  Monterey was our goal, but the weather gods were not in our favor.

By the time we got to Moss Landing, the sky was completely overcast and there was a brisk wind.  Since it seemed too cold to walk in that weather, we pulled over at Elkhorn Slough to eat our picnic.

Of course we had to take a few pictures, 
because the otters were out.

I wasn't entirely pleased with this shot, 
so I reworked it in computer.
Now it's one of my ArtyFarty shots.
(you can click and enlarge if you like).

It's funny how, when it comes to blossoms, 
I'm just as happy with weeds 
as I am with hothouse blooms.

There were also tons of sandpipers.

I think the way they rest on one leg is so cool.

We never did take a walk.

We came home, and Saint Terry went to the gym.

I took a nap.

Monday, August 20, 2012


If you've been following the blog for a while, you know I love to cook.  And bake.  And eat.

Obviously, we're eating a bit different these days, but I'm still cooking, just continuing my eternal search for recipes that will keep up healthy and happy.

When watching our food, we always head towards LowCarbLand. where our bodies seem to do the best.

Generally, this means watching those white foods, flour, sugar, potatoes, pasta, rice, you get the idea.

This isn't really a stretch for us.  We feel better eating this way and have found many substitutions that work fine.  I have several recipes for small cakes that are low carb, and while we really love FlatOut FlatBread, we still miss spongy bread.

Not really bread, but sandwiches.

We use flatbread for wraps and they are delicious, but I'm on the eternal quest for a real low carb bread.  On the advice of a friend (thanks Nancy) I recently tried Julian Bakery Low Carb Bread.  Nice taste, but it did raise my blood sugar quite a bit.  That combined with the cost ($7 a Loaf, YIKES) means we probably wont be buying it too often.

Then I was looking online and found something called Mr. Peanut Sandwich Bread.  Made with very few ingredients (and no flour/grains) I was intrigued.  For complete instructions, please click here, it's their recipe and they deserve all the credit

We get our peanut butter at the grocery store where you simply place dry roasted peanuts in a grinder.  It's clean, not too oily and has no other ingredients.  We like it a lot and that's what I started with.

So here we go.

Here's all the ingredients, very simple.

Peanut Butter (1 cup)
Eggs (3)
Baking Soda (1/2 teaspoon)
Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Vinegar (1 tablespoon)
Sweetener (1 packet, optional, I used it)

You mix the peanut butter and the eggs (1 at a time).
At first, I was afraid they weren't going to blend.

But after a few minutes, 
it smoothed out nicely.

Next you simply add the other ingredients,
blend well and smooth it in to a small bread pan

Then, place in the oven for 40 minutes.
I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical
but look at this!

Wow, Kind of cool, huh?
Here it is, out of the pan and sliced.
Lovely texture.

And it tastes really good.
It's like a nice nutty bread,
with only 1.5 carbs per slice.
(We got 16 slices from the loaf).

You can make a small sandwich with two slices 
or a regular size sandwich with four.

This ones going into my recipe book as a keeper.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On Food

This post isn't meant to disparage anyone and their way of eating, but I've been pondering food a lot lately and have begun to question a lot of things.

Do you think our attitude towards food is because we were never taught how to eat as children?  Or taught about nutrition as it relates to our food and body?

Well maybe you were but I never was.

I've always just looked at food as breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  There to be eaten because you're supposed to eat three meals a day and clean your plate.

And of course snacks.

Were you ever taught to stop when you were satisfied?  Not full, or finished, but to just take stock of where your body was and stop, because you were simply no longer hungry?  I never was.

I think that has been part of my problem.

And of course, food tastes good, and I love to cook and bake.

But since we've become concerned about health, I find myself looking at both my food and my body in different ways.  For the first time, I'm trying to be more aware of my body and the signals it sends,  Learning to eat to a sense of satisfaction, that is,  no longer hungry, rather than full.  By eating much slower and chewing thoroughly, I'm amazed at how little it takes to satisfy my hunger.

Combining this attitude with our exercise regime, we're feeling better than we have in years.

Please, if you've read this far, don't preach at me about what works for you.  I appreciate everyone's regime because I'm completely aware that what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.

I'm simply sharing what, after 64 years on the planet, seem to be completely new ideas to me.

Have a great weekend, we have yet another flea market tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Today was our very first swimming lesson.

Now keep in mind that we've been exercising pretty regularly for  a while now.  When we go to the gym we do a combination of Pilates, stationary bikes, weight machines, Qi Gong, aqua aerobics, you get the idea.  And on days when we don't go to the gym, we walk at least half an hour.  We're being good, we're committed to making our bodies healthy, which is why we signed up for swimming lessons.

Well, there is another reason.

Let me back up a bit here.  When I was six or so, our family went for a picnic at Anderson Dam, near San Jose.  I was playing by the waters edge, goofing around jumping in the water, which was maybe eight inches deep.  I remember telling my Mom "Look Mom, I'm learning to swim!  On my next jump, I went in over my head.  I guess I was playing near a shelf of land.  I remember opening my eyes and seeing nothing but murky water (yes, that vision is still with me).

The next thing I knew, my sister jumped in and pulled me out.

Ever since, while not exactly afraid of water, I haven't had much desire to swim.  In fact, I don't even like getting my face full under the shower head when bathing.  I'll get in the water and do aerobics, on a hot day I'll splash around, heck when I was a teenager, we had a pool in our backyard.  But I've never learned how to really swim.

It seems like such great exercise, and somehow, while I know it's still work, it seems a bit more enjoyable.  So, as I've said, we signed up for lessons.  Eight thirty minute lessons for each of us.  Individual attention, because that's what we need, we're barely able to navigate in the water.

So I went out and bought a bathing suit (and that's a whole other story, involving a trip to the seventh level of Hell . . .), bought some goggles and today we braved the pool

But somehow, I just wasn't at all prepared.

I guess I'm more used to an exercise that works a certain set of muscles. 

Let me tell you, swimming works everything all at once.

I'm pooped!

I went first and spent most of my time attempting to learn about keeping my body straight, my legs up, my head down and trying to make my body move through the water.   Oh yeah, and breathing.  How am I supposed to remember all of this at one time and remember to breath without inhaling half the swimming pool??

But we made it through the lessons, spent another thirty minutes or so practicing and actually made an appointment for another lesson.

We're tired, but determined. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We Meet the Coolest People

It's true.  No matter where we go or what we do, we seem to meet the nicest people.  It's a continual reminder that good friends are the real treasures in our life.

Today, we went over to our new friends Peggy and Louise's house where they introduced us to a whole new art form, felting.  We had never heard of it, have you?  Basically you take wool, and using soap, water and your hands, turn it into felt.

Now, keep in mind that I was in felting mode, not photography mode, so these pictures are for explanation only.  And truthfully, this blog is woefully incomplete, but I wanted to get it down while I remember as many details as possible.

Here goes.

You start with some netting, 
a piece of ordinary blue tarp, 
some unspun wool (Peggy says Merino is best), 
soap and water.

The tarp needs to be cut to the approximate size 
you want for your finished object.  
This was about five inches across.  
We were making small pots.

you gently pull the wool apart 
and lay it in one direction.

Now, I skipped taking pictures for about twenty steps (my bad) so I'll just try to keep you in the loop here.

You wet the felt, then wrap it around the edge of the circle.  Then you wrap the other side with wisps of wool, going in the same direction.

Next you lay and wet the wool in the opposite direction, repeating the above steps.  You do this for three layers, and if you want a design, at this point you add some other colors.

This was my first attempt, 
so I was under the impression 
I could actually work a design.  

Silly Rabbit

At this point, instead of just wetting it, 
you start adding soap.
Then you rub and rub and rub.  
What you are doing here is
 actually turning the wool strands into felt.

Here's a shot of Peggy's piece.  
It has been felted and is ready to go to the next step.

Next you cut a very small hole 
in the middle of your circle, 
making sure you cut right down to 
(but not through)
the tarp pattern.  
Then you carefully pull the tarp out 
through the hole, 
leaving you with a two sided disc 
with a hole in the middle.

Then you start working the piece into a shape.

You keep working the felt 
till you have a shape 
that brings a smile to your face.

Then you wash and wash and wash,
making sure to get all the soap out of the wool. 

And Voila!

Here's the three bowls we made today.

In the real world, 
these look much better than these photos. 
Colorful and so very tactile, 
each completely unique.

Here's Terry's. 
Dark and masculine, 
just like my Hunny Bunny.

One other thing . . .
Depending on how you layer your colors, 
your pot can be a different color on the inside.  

Peggy's was yellow.

Mine was red on the inside.

Now I know I haven't explained this very well, 
so if I've piqued your interest, 
you can look at some other 
explanations and examples 
here, or here, or here.

We had a great day!