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Showing posts from July, 2015

Day 81: Waking up to a trumpet!

Oy! I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and opened up the house.  Got a nice cool breeze flowing. Watered all the plants. Fed the dog. Let her out.  Got my ice water and then lay back down in my blissfully cool bedroom. I planned on getting back up at 8:00 a.m. to start my day with a trip to the gym.

Fast forward to 10:30 a.m!  My daughter worked late last night. She poked her head into my bedroom at 10:30. She told me she was making a smoothie and would I like to do pilates with her?

I had been deep in a dream and woke with a disconcerting start.  And grumpy at myself yet again for oversleeping. But I took a deep breath.  I cherish time with my adult children, especially when they ask for my company.

But then her husband woke up and they started making plans for their afternoon. His day off. She works in the evening. So I faded into the background. I made a nice breakfast of jalepeno garlic home fries, turkey bacon and scrambled eggs. But first I downed my spirulina energy powder with a bit of a …

Day 80: I survived!

It was 102 degrees today in Portland, Oregon.

Lord, how I miss 70 and drizzling!

But I am a survivor. I got up and watered the plants, opened all the windows, did some yoga stretches and headed out to the trail before it got too hot.  At 9:00 a.m., it was already too hot.  Bit I did a quick mile.  I had leftovers from my wonderful dinner last night. My son-in-law, son and daughter were still raving about my honey/sesame/sriracha chicken wings and potato salad. I need to write down my recipe before I forget what I did. I am famous were concocting a wonderful meal and then when I try to replicate it, falling short!

The wings, I tossed with some flour seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin and then baked for 15 minutes at 350. Then I flipped them over and baked another 15 minutes.  I mixed about 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce, a splash of worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons ketchup, and 1 teaspoon sugar. I basted the chicken with the sauce and sprinkled …

Day 79: Farewell DTA! Hello Daniil Trifonov!

I had a real day off today! 

I didn't go to Salem. My bible study friends went camping and one of my piano students is off on a European vacation.  That left one family at 3:30. And with temperatures predicted in the upper 90's, I decided to stay home.

I finished the last episode of Season 5 of Downton Abbey. I went to and read that the next season, Season 6 will be the last season!! What will I do? 

It sounds like Season 6 won't be out until 2016, so perhaps I can get my life back for a few months at least.

Today was a very relaxing summer day.  I started the day with yoga. My background music was "Piano Concert in A Major, K488 by Mozart" which was number 283 on the Classic FM Hall of fame.  I saw a youtube video with Daniil Trifonov as the soloist.  I was blown away.  Am now watching all the performances I can find by this amazing young Russian pianist.  htt…

Day 78 - 50 days of IF!

I am blogging from the public library today. One of my favorite places. Especially on a hot summer day!

I picked up a book I had on hold.  Ok.  It has to do with my Downton Abbey obsession. Now that I am about to finish the last season, I think I am just clinging for dear life. It is called The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. Many of my favorite things in one package: Food, book, Downton Abbey. Sigh.

Speaking of food, this morning my daughter and I decided to make artisan pizzas from scratch. So while she went to the gym, I mixed up the dough and set it on the stove to rise. Then I went for my belly walk. I did one mile.  I listened to All Classical 89.9. They were playing a Haydn Symphony, which was very pleasant to walk to! I started the day with 20 minutes of yoga. For background music, I listened to Edward Elgar's 1st Symphony, which is number 285 on Classic FM's Hall of Fame. Lovely piece to stretch to! 

When I…

Day 77: Bloody Mary Sunday and Lovely Summer Rain!

Oh this cooler weather is divine!  My daughter has several planter boxes filled with tomato plants, green pepper, banana pepper, parsley, yellow squash and rosemary on the deck that I have been watering all summer. I was worried about them.  Especially the tomatoes. But after they were pummelled by a good summer rain last night, they have perked up! And our zucchinis and pumpkins have blossoms on them! :)

My daughter is in the kitchen now making a big pot of vegetable beef soup. It smells heavenly.

We went out for our new tradition of Bloody Mary Sunday yesterday. My son joined us. It tickled me to be sitting in a bar with my two adult children.  They are still babies to me. And here we were having cocktails and hors d'oeuvres!
We went to the Ram in Clackamas.  My Bloody Mary was simply a work of art - especially the enourmous garnish! We gad fried Calamari and warm, soft pretzels with beer-cheese dip.  I know - carbs! Fried food! Aack!

But I made wonderful Vietnamese salad roll…

Day 76: My Downton Abbey Addiction - Better than a bag of chips!?

I finished watching Season 4 of Downton Abbey last night. LATE last night. I admit it. I am an addict!  I told myself that I would just watch one episode. But I was wide awake and so drawn into the plot.  I think I finally got to sleep about 2 a.m.

I have Season 5 on hold at the library.  This feels like my eating addiction.  Like saying I will just have one potato chip. But then when I can't seem to stop, telling myself that after I eat "the whole bag!" I will not do this again.  Sigh. I hope my days of food binging are over.  

But really, this Downton Abbey obsession is not harmless. I need to get to sleep earlier, so that I can start my day earlier. 

I am going to set a new bedtime of 11:30. That is reasonable.  Especially since I often do not get home until 10:00 when I have rehearsals.  If there is not time for DA that night, so be it.  After all, what will I do after I've viewed all the episodes?!

I pride myself on not being much of a television person.  Except…

Day 75: Let it Rain! :)

75. It sounds like a big, impressive number!

I must admit that I am very proud and impressed with myself for sticking with the program.

I really owe most of my success to this blog. It makes me accountable.  Even if noone reads a post, I am putting into writing what I have accomplished and I am being painfully honest.

This morning I had my usual battle with the snooze alarm. But it is breakfast with my mother day, so I do not have the luxury of sleeping in. So when my eyes popped open at 6:30 a.m., I popped up, poured a tall glass of ice water and made my bed to discourage the thought of diving back in!

It is pleasantly overcast.  The air is thick with the promise of rain.  RAIN! :)  I have the window open and fan blowing. The temperature is supposed to hit somewhere in the high 60's today.  Glorious! :) (But, yikes, I just checked the 7-day forecast.  100 degrees on Wednesday! Sigh. Global warming sucks!)

I won't have time to go to the trail today. But tomorrow for sure. I ca…

Day 74: Superwoman

Another late rising morning. Finally got out of bed at 10:30. But I did have rehearsal last night and didn't even get home until after 10 p.m. Then I had my lovely ice water whilst watching two episodes of Downton Abbey. The word "whilst" sounds quite British. I find myself speaking "proper" English after a Downton Abbey episode viewing. I am currently on Season 4, Episode 4.

I shan't feel guilty about my late mornings after a late night. Oh, maybe a little bit.

This morning I decided to exercise at home since I am short of time and it looks like it is already getting hot outside. Side note:  I read the weather forecast for tomorrow and it is predicting a high of only 77 degrees. Relief at last!

I am so pleased with my workout this morning.  I put on music from the Hall of Fame Classical list.  Ironically I am on #296, which is the Theme from Superman by John Williams!

I was so tickled to be doing yoga…

Day 73: Raising the Dead

I woke up feeling achy again, and did my old hitting of the snooze alarm this morning. But then I heard a text message come in. At exactly 9:00 a.m. when I absolutely needed to get up or start my day running late. 

It was from "Fish Food 4 Thought". It's a daily inspirational text I signed up for through 104.1 The Fish radio station. This is what it said:
"If God can somehow raise the dead, He can surely help you raise your head".

I actually laughed out loud!  I am committed to drawing closer to God.  And I have trouble getting out of bed on time in the morning. Why not bring it to Him in prayer?  Duh! lol

So now I am on track. I had my baked oatmeal for breakfast. It was really good. Not sweet at all. I put a little bit of coconut spread on top and microwaved it. Next is my run.

I am meeting some new students this afternoon. A whole family of kids that want to learn piano. Should be fun!

Then it is off to a rehearsal with my friend Judy. She plays recorder. And …

Day 72: Online Clothing and Lunch at the Taj Mahal!

Today was a very light day for me. I usually go down to Salem on Wednesday morning. I start at the gym and then meet up with some lady friends for a bible study and snacks. Then off to the home of four piano students, light dinner, train and home!

But next week will be my last week in Salem for the summer.  I will probably return in the fall. My students are too wonderful to leave!

So instead of the gym and bible study, I went to my old stomping grounds, a little Indian buffet style restaurant on State Street near the capitol. It's called Taj Mahal.

I used to eat there once a week or so when I lived in Salem.  But hadn't been back for many moons.

And I was so pleased with the improvements!  They had big bowls of fresh watermelon and cantaloupe.  The rest of the food was the same: Tandori chicken, aloo gobi (curried cauliflower and potatoes), dal (a lentil dish), rice, naan (an Indian flat bread), cilantro/mint chutney, rice pudding and fresh vegetables.  I loaded up my plate w…

Day 71: Walking with God

Today I woke up late.  Very sore and achy.  But it was cool and breezy outside.  I had my glass of ice water, ate my high fiber breakfast cereal and banana with almond milk.  And I read from my bible.

I just finished the book of Ezekiel two days ago. Today I started Daniel.  I smiled as I read the part where Daniel refuses to eat the rich, fatty food and wine offered to him and  his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego served at  King Nebuchadnezzar's table. Daniel asked for fresh vegetables and water.

"8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned yourc food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11Daniel then said to …

Day 70: This is My Lifestyle

It cooled off a bit last night, but this morning I did my Monday morning snooze alarm dance.  I guess I felt it was more important to get a few more hours in bed then get to the trail before the sun started to blaze. I find I really need to plan ahead if I am to wake up earlier than my natural 9:00 a.m. awakening, laying in bed trying to convince myself to move.  It would help to go to bed earlier. I am a natural night owl, and summer nights make for late bedtime!

Anyway, I'm going to run up to the gym and do some time on the treadmill.  Then off to the grocery store for some ingredients for today's soup. I'm making chicken, zucchini, tomato corn soup for lunch.

Then I have some piano students.  Looking ahead in my schedule, August will be the month to really push forward with my workouts. I will not be going to Salem in August.  I have a class I'm taking. So I"ll have more time to train and more time to practice.

My stats haven't changed much from last week. …

Day 69: Bloody Mary Sunday

Today was a very good day indeed!

A very hot day, but I think I am learning to deal with the heat.

I am down another pound, so that is good news!

I spent most of the day with my daughter.  She wanted to go shopping for a fancy dress for her Vegas trip with her husband later this summer.

I am not fond of mall shopping. So we made a deal. She would go to the gym with me and then take me to lunch. Then I would let her drag me around the mall (air conditioned mall!) in search of the perfect dress.

It worked like a dream! I am not above bribery! 

I worked out my back and biceps at the gym.  (Air conditioned gym!) 

We went to Sinju Sushi outside of Clackamas Mall. It was lovely. Dark wood, low lighting. Air conditioning! We had miso soup, edamame and a platter of sushi.  My daughter is a bartender. She was looking at their cocktail menu and asked if I would like a drink. A cocktail with lunch on a Sunday before shopping at the mall?  I had to think for a few seconds.  But I nodded my he…

Day 68: Reflecting on My Date Night! Happy Saturday!

I had the time of my life. I am blogging on Friday night. I just got home from downtown.  And an extraordinary experience!

It was like a date night, but better. Because I had a date with a Steinway piano! Just the two of us!

I have a friend who is retired. She and her husband live in a condo on the waterfront. They both play musical instruments.  We often get together and read through chamber music. I had lost touch with them when I moved to Salem. but now that I am back in Portland, we have reconnected. I did not know how much I missed playing chamber music.  I love playing my piano, but it can be lonely always playing alone.  Music does connect us! 

So I told her about my upcoming concert in August. And without missing a beat, she said I could come down and play the Steinway in the concert hall in her condo complex!  So after teaching all afternoon, I hopped on a bus and headed downtown.

Her condo is near the bottom of the tram that shuttles folks up to OHSU.  There is a Portland S…

Day 67: Down one pound!!

I woke up this morning feeling quite sore and stiff.  Mostly in my hamstrings. I think it was the stretching session with my daughter Monday night. But this kind of pain is good. It tells me progress is being made. So before my run, I am doing more stretching (and groaning!).  I usually stretch afterwards or in the evening, and throughout the day. And admittedly, I stretch my neck too much - the first few pops are a great relief, but as the day progresses, it gets really sore.  And at a certain point, it stops popping and then I get headaches.  So we are putting an end to the neck popping today!

I am hoping by dong some good stretches in the morning as well as evening, that I will have better runs.

I also hopped on the scale this morning, and I am down one more pound!


This puts me within 1 pound of my goal of 195 on 08/08/2015! I can do this. :)

I am giving a concert 08/23.  I hope to be closer to 190 (and further from 200) by then. One step at a time.

My next improvement on my…

Day 66: Never too busy for exercise! :)

Oh, today was a perfect day for a run! It was actually cool enough to put on a sweatshirt. And a slight drizzle as I headed out.  I had planned on doing a brisk mile, running half, but I got a phone call pertaining to my teaching schedule in the fall. So I used my walk as talk time. And it sped by! Did 2.5 miles.

For breakfast I had 1/2 grapefruit.,

Then I made my broccoli/cauliflower/sunflower seed salad. The original recipe calls for bacon bits, but my daughter had fried up the last of the bacon for her husband and brother this morning. Just as well! It is lower fat now! I made a dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, a dash of sugar, dijon mustard and vegannaise.  I added some dried cranberries. Yum!

I'm taking a batch of this salad to work to have on my break, plus a small broiled chicken breast.

I have a rehearsal, piano classes to teach and then another rehearsal. 

Busy day. But so glad I got my walk in. Before I head out, I'm going to do some crunches an…

Day 65: Drinking Shrub and Working on My Splits!

Today was a Salem day.

It was also the first day of my diet journal.  I've put it off long enough! I think to really be successful in my eating and exercise journey, I need to be truthful with myself about what I eat!

So here it is!

8:30 a.m. 1/2 grapefruit

9:30 a.m. 1 corn tortilla filled with 3 strips bacon, 1/4 sliced avocado, a few fresh spinach leaves, 3 pickled jalepeno slices and 1 teaspon vegannaise. 
I ate this at the Max station, waiting for the train down to Union Station.  This was a spontaneous creation - needed something quick as I flew out the door. It was very tasty!!

10:45 a.m.  1 bottle Columbia Gorge Carrot Beet Celery Juice.  130 calories.  I love this stuff. It has a very earthy flavor. Not too sweet and very low in calories.

Good Night Pluto!

It is late Tuesday night. I was talking to my daughter and her husband about the pictures  of Pluto. They really are spectacular! Tonight at choir practice the subject of Pluto also  came up. We are working on some choral/piano music by Gustav Holst "Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda". I am quite enjoying them - very intense and mysterious!  Gustav Holst also wrote "The Planets" which in my humble opinion, would  be great music to listen to while looking at pictures of Pluto!

I am feeling strong hunger pangs.  I cannot believe that as of today I have survived 36 days of intermittent fasting!  I do not eat after 7:00 p.m., most often not after 6:00 p.m. I usually have breakfast by 10 a.m.   This is a big change for someone whose favorite thing to do when she gets home from work is make a big bowl of hot, buttered popcorn and read recipes on the internet!

Just had to brag a bit.

Tomorrow I will go to the gym and work on my back and biceps.

But for now, "Good Night…

Day 64: Stats - Pounds are shedding, inches are melting. Yes! :)

I have been feeling a little frustrated, I must confess. I feel like I have made some major life changes, but the weight is coming off slower than I had hoped.  I went back in my blog to the first time I shared my stats, on May 26th.  That was about 6 weeks ago.  Below are my weight and measurements for May 26th. Below that are my weight and measurements for today.

I have lost 7 pounds in 6 weeks. And depending on what body part you are looking at, I have lost from 1 to 4 inches! Not so bad!  P.S. I have decided to start measuring my calves and ankles. Since I have picked up the pace with walking, and started light running, my calves and ankles have begun to look quite svelte!

Plus, I am feeling like my exercise regime has become a part of my life! This morning I was a little rushed for time, but I went to the trail and walked a brisk 1 mile interspersed with a little running (sore today). Then I went home and got out my yoga mat. I did crunches, stretching and plank. I brought my st…

Day 63: Solitude, Family, Friends and Rain!

Nothing touches the soul like holding a precious baby.  I spent the afternoon with my niece Brooke and her daughter Aurora on Sunday.  :) Such a miracle!

After our visit, I headed up to the Grotto.  I had some free time and was searching for some time alone with God. I found myself wandering around the gift shop in search of a book to inspire me as I sat in the Meditation Chapel on the cliff, pondering life, God and my place in all of this.
I found the perfect book - or perhaps it found me! "Out of Solitude" by Henri Nouwen.
It seems that lately, the theme of our group is healing. As I search for words of comfort for a friend who has just survived a breakup..As I cover my own wounds from harsh, judgmental words from my mother (which I feel were not meant to hurt me, but to cover her own pain and confusion), as I try to find strength to serve God and others, while enduring my own weakness and failings....I found deep meaning in these words from his section ent…

Day 62: Happy Trail, Avocado Breakfast Sandwich and the Grotto!

Ok. I feel better. I got up and did a brisk 1 mile walk on the trail. Stretched a bit. Had a tall glass of water.

I'm at Panera having tea and an avocado breakfast sandwich.

Next stop, the Grotto to walk the labyrinth.

Later, I am taking lunch to my niece and her baby girl - I guess that makes me a Great Aunt! :)

Happy Sunday!

Day 61: Attitude Adjustment

Today I was very grumpy. All day.  And I can totally attribute it to the fact that I overslept. Hence, I did not get my trail walk in.  I woke up with a start, showered and raced off to breakfast with my mom.  Ate way too much.  Taught piano all day. Ate some more. Was very cranky.

However, the weather was cooler.  This helped.

After work, I thought about putting on my shorts and heading to the trail. But it was overcast and looking like it would get dark soon. Plus I was just so grumpy. I didn't want to go to my beloved trail all grumpy.

So I put in a DVD I rented from the library.  It is called "Brazilian Body".  

Svelte young people dancing to wonderful Brazilian music.  But the upbeat, peppy voice of the instructor really got on my nerves.  I was about to press eject, when I accidently pressed "Main Menu".

Low and behold there was an option to play music only, without verbal instruction!

No talking! Just music and dancing.

This I could handle.

Granted, I…

Day 60: Zita Jefferson, HSP

Two Months!

Two whole months!

I am starting to settle into this lifestyle. But it is not easy. There have been many moments where I could feel the pull of the old me.

I have always been an overly sensitive person. Several years ago, I discovered a book entitled "The Highly Sensitive Person".  It should  have had my picture on it. There is even a website devoted to us HSP's.  Here are some of the questions to as yourself: (From
"Is this you?Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?Do you notice or enjoy delic…

Day 59:Will You Look at This?! Just Look at It! :)

Belly Walk/Run 420 steps Distance
2.28mi Steps
5460 Duration
40:00 Avg Pace
17:32 kCal 343

Would you look at this? Just look at it!  
I have improved my pace: 17:32 minute mile average, mostly walking. Belly walking, that is! :)
Toward the end of my walk, I ran 420 consecutive steps! Yay!
I am making salmon patties for lunch. I found a recipe that uses salmon and instant potato flakes. I think that would be healthier for me than bread crumbs. Still trying to avoid wheat when possible.
I had my 1/2 grapefruit for breakfast. And 1/2 cup Greek yogurt topped with muesli. And of course, copious amounts of water.
Lunch will be a salmon patty and salad.
I teach at the Community Music Center today and then have a 90 minute break before I accompany the ch…

Day 58: Chinn's

I had lunch at Chinn's in Salem today.  Ironic name, since I am trying to rid myself of some chins! lol  Chinn's is a little Chinese restaurant in the same parking lot as PhysiQ, the gym I go to on my Salem Wednesdays trek.  I have a confession. Their food is pretty good. But not healthy.  However, they have great prices! So I justify my lunch there by the price and the fact that I just worked out!  Usually I have egg foo young and pork chow mein. It comes with eggflower soup and a fortune cookie, tea and ice water.  But I usually feel bloated and miserable afterwards, so what is the point I ask?I have struggled with my Salem day in terms of eating.  I am usually there from noon until 5.  Hour bus ride there. Hour bus ride back to Portland. So packing a lunch is awkward.  I was happy to find Chinn's because of the price. But the portions are too large.  So I tried eating half and saving half for the ride home a few weeks ago. That worked pretty well. Especially since it w…

Day 57: Belly Walking, Antipasto Pasta Salad and 400 Consecutive Running Steps!

I woke up this morning feeling pretty darn good.  My neck was rather sore, so I did my hitting of the snooze alarm for awhile, why I let the cool air from the fan revive me.  It seems to have cooled down quite a bit last night. In fact, as I waited for the bus ride home last night after teaching, there was a gentle, refreshing breeze that I quite enjoyed.

Yesterday was a good day overall. I ate very healthy.  I had a moment between students where I felt the need for a small snack. I had not packed anything, so I stopped at a convenience store. I usually buy unsweetened iced tea to pick me up.  But I felt a little weak and was thinking some protein would do the trick. Usually I buy a small bag of nuts. But I took some time to read the calorie and sodium content on the back of the packages. Most of the small packages of various salted nuts were about 400 calories!  Luckily they had unsalted, raw almonds.  A 1.5 oz package had only 250 calories and 0 mg of sodium!  Success!

Cutting back…

Day 56: Hope

Again I had a big family feast yesterday.  We had chicken soft tacos, beans, chips and salsa and strawberry shortcake. But I stopped eating at 7:00 p.m. I feel I didn't overeat, except for I observed myself being quite drawn to the chips and salsa. Especially before dinner. We watched the USA women's soccer team defeat the Japanese team and win the World Cup!  Most exciting! I found myself reaching again and again for the bowl of chips and dunking in the salsa and crunching madly away. Then I noticed a look from my daughter.  I got hold of myself and stopped the manic munching!

But, as usual, I was dragging this morning.  I drank a lot of water last night. I stretched this morning. But after I watered the plants and took out the dog, I lay back down with the window open and fan blowing. Finally, a bit of sweet cool air upon my face!  This summer heat is maddening. 

So I did not go to the track this morning.  I am heading to the gym in about an hour. It is back/biceps day.  The …