With Friends Anything Is Fun

Today is Anita’s last day with me in Utah. I just have to say it’s been great. One of the best things about hanging out with your long-time friends is that you can enjoy yourselves without doing much at all. We did a lot of nothing this week.

It was a bit bright outside, so our selfie didn’t come out perfect.

We did have a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but since we didn’t have access to a car most of the time she was here, we spent a lot of time just hanging around the Canyons Village resort area. All the walking was a blast, and it sure used up a lot of energy. That meant we got to enjoy a lot of food, too! Thank goodness the pho and ramen restaurant finally opened, so we could eat there!

Anita, hungry for a beef bowl. Our friend the red crane is always present.

The shopping and sight-seeing was also fun, and we sure were grateful for the family visitors for taking us around. Yesterday we did a bit more shopping, and Anita got some great coral Zuni earrings. I’m so glad she got to have fun, while Kathleen and I were drooling over a huge jewelry selection AND Navajo blankets. Not bad ones!

That is one gorgeous building in downtown Park City.

My favorite thing she got is a huge cactus-shaped birdhouse thing. It’s going to be her “travel pillow” so she can get it on the plane. It is stuffed with excellent newspapers from Nepal!

Our new cactus friend. Note that I just HAD to buy some flowers to liven this place up.

The best part was just hanging around in the condo, eating our random foods, watching the snow, the birds and the one giant black cat that hangs around here. It was so good having someone to watch election coverage with and talk about things.

So many lovely statues in Park City.

And of course, the four seasons of Schitt’s Creek were a blast. Neither of us had laughed so much in a long time.

This is where we stopped. No watching until I get back to Austin!

She got out while the weather was still great, which is good, since a snowstorm is a-brewing. I’m sure the rest of us will figure out something fun this evening, though!

The intent of this post is just to say treasure your friends, and make the most of times you get to spend together. Usually Anita and I are both working a lot, so just hanging out was a real treat. Relaxing, truly relaxing, is rare, and I am glad we got to do it together. Only she and I would laugh when I pompously declare that I just realized that for every mountain, there is a valley (that’s after I looked at a team photo in the newspaper stuffed in the cactus and wondered where people played soccer in Nepal, with all those mountains).

Tell your friends you care about them! (Hey, friends, I care about you!) Write me!

Jiggity Jig

That’s right, friends, I finally came home (to my Austin house). Anita had kept it in perfectly great shape, as I knew she would. She and Pickle were really glad to see me and Vlassic. Vlassic was really glad to see my bed, where no one attacks him and forces him out.

I’ve really been enjoying all the home cooking at the ranch, since Kathleen is a great cook, and even Lee’s been making stuff that’s great. Plus Chris and his barbecue monster…mmm. BUT. Anita went to the local Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant and brought home some delicious pho. Oh how I had missed those seasonings. I ate every bit of it.

Yummmmmmm

Austin does have good food, even if you don’t go in a restaurant!

Nice vase. And at least I’m in a DIFFERENT basement this morning.

I finally got to give Anita the presents I’d bought her way back when I was visiting my stepsister. She liked the Persian lime olive oil and crackly lime green vase (I didn’t realize there was a theme to the gifts until just now). It was just nice to sit and talk and watch what I wanted to watch on television without feeling bad about inflicting it on others.

Also: internet. Oh how I have missed stable, functional internet.

And finally, the reason I dragged myself to Austin, finally, was to get my hair cut. Do you want to know why? LOOK:

Crap hair.
Carroty hair from last night. With Vlassic VERY glad to be with me.

I’ve spent a couple of weeks trying to wash out the hair color, and that has made it turn a scary carroty orange. Ugh. And the bangs. I can’t cut them myself. So, with numerous precautions and great care, new hair will emerge later today.

Plus, I’ll get to see the neighbors today, at a socially distant happy hour. I will be interested to see how that works.

And that’s all I have right now. More soon!

How Did That Health Plan Go, Suna?

So glad you asked, self! You may recall that my health checkup last fall didn’t look so good. My waist measurement and my triclycerides put me at risk of something bad, I’m not sure what. The new doctor I went to back in November told me to go home, eat less sugar and fewer carbohydrates and come back in early February. And losing ten percent of my body weight would be just great.

If you haven’t seen it on social media, I wanted to share this photo of the sunrise today reflected in my car. No filters!

I was trying that positive body image and eat what you want method, but I had to concede it wasn’t working out too well health- or pants-wise. So I did what I could without going into some unhealthy fixation on food or weight.

It’s early February, and I go in tomorrow. I got the bloodwork done last week (and the lady tried to gouge me to death). The results are IN!

I’m still eating eggs. You have to eat SOME cholesterol! Image by @clarebevanphotography via Twenty20

Happy day! I have knocked those bad ole triglycerides down to 129 from 203. I am back in the healthy range, though I was 116 in 2018, so I’ll keep working on it. Since I can’t change the other types of cholesterol (HDL 63 – unchanged, LDL 104 – slightly lower), I’ll try to eat the stuff I like better, anyway. I was pleased that my total cholesterol is now even lower than in 2018.

An Aside

This image is entitled “tasty muffins” on the royalty-free image source. Rub it in! Image by@melanie_thedreamer via Twenty20

While I’m trying my best to avoid refined sugar and white flour, rice and such, every time I get home to the ranch, the house is MORE full of loaves of bread, muffins, sweet rolls, chips, cookies, cakes…wow. It’s really been challenging to be moderate with that stuff, but I’ve done okay. Lee’s in heaven, since Chris and Kathleen eat the way he does! But hey, they live at my house full time, and I’m only there a few days a week. They should eat what they like. I can find veggies and fruit, because Kathleen does get that, too!

Back to Health

One of the things I did for the past few months is up my exercising a bit. I showed you earlier how well that was going, and I am happy to say all trends are on the rise! Thanks, Apple Watch.

And yes, I have lost weight. I can see it in my face. Not 10% of my body weight, though! With just changing to healthier eating and additional exercise, it’s coming off in a nice, slow way.

Ups and Downs of Small-Town Businesses

Now that I think Pickle and Vlassic are over their foam-eating issues, I can return to other topics. One that has especially interested me is how people in and around Cameron feel about the customer service mentality in the area. I may have mentioned that a couple days ago, Lee wrote a blog post about why Cameron has such a hard time keeping restaurants open.

Lee’s photo of the former Sonic, now up for sale.

Usually, our blog posts and Facebook business page posts get between 100-200 views/hits each. Not this one. The Facebook one has 2500 views and 14 shares. Mandi said the one on her page also got lots of shares. The website stats look hilarious. There were 1500 hits that day, which made the previous week look totally flat.

So, yeah, Lee’s thoughts on this topic struck a nerve. I’ve been hanging around Cameron for just nine years now, but I’ve seen so many places open and close right up. One has done it at least four times (I’m not naming names, just noting facts). When I talked to a former cafe owner, she said people would just walk off their jobs or not show up because they didn’t feel like it. Turnover was huge. Just a week or two ago we went to a local place where only the cashier had showed up, so she was trying to wait tables. It didn’t go well.

Continue reading “Ups and Downs of Small-Town Businesses”

Recipe: Farro and Beans

One of our readers asked for the recipe for the one-pot whole grain dish I made last night. It’s based on a package Anita bought at Central Market in Austin.

An ancient Roman grain!

Hooray. You can get it on Amazon. Farro is a type of whole grain dried wheat. It is apparently a much healthier option than rice. It’s also really tasty.

All you need to know about this stuff.

So, I made the recipe on the package (above) but added a can of white beans with the liquid. That added a hearty flavor. I also added a cup of carrots that were in the fridge. That added more nutrition and color. I added a little freeze dried onion and fancy pepper from Penzey’s. You could use red pepper or anything a little spicy. (If I had it, I would have used diced onion.)

The bean liquid added to the water in the instructions was enough to make the liquid cook down in just a couple minutes more than in the instructions.

This is the finished dish, as I showed this morning.

It was so good, and we had leftovers. I enjoy taking interesting things Anita finds at the hipster store and making them MINE.

There. I posted a recipe. By the way, one of our new succulents bloomed.

Weird, huh?

Other Habits to Change: Food and Drug Edition

TW: This is about medications and managing the types of food I eat.

The doctor I’d been going to since I moved to Texas retired recently (and somehow I missed being informed of that…guessing it went to some old email). She was a really nice, calm woman who never got excited about anything. She’d say we could try this, we could try that…what do you feel most comfortable with?

I’d been to other doctors in that practice, and all were fine, but since I have moved closer to another affiliated clinic, I decided to try one closer to home. Argh. Changing primary care physicians is NOT easy, since so few of them are taking new patients. I finally found a couple who didn’t have horrible reviews and chose the woman, just because, I guess.

My “Drug Habit”

I don’t like to take pills. Only if absolutely necessary. Photo credit @erimar via Twenty20

Yesterday at 7 am, minutes after I woke up, her office called to brightly ask what medications I need refilled and to inform me that “the doctor doesn’t do refills of alprazolam, just so you’ll know.” Well, huh. That drug is Xanax, which I’ve had as an “emergency backup” for decades. I generally take about 6 a year, maybe fewer, especially now that my panic attack issue is much better. So, I was interested in finding out more about that, perhaps when I was more awake. At least she didn’t say they were taking away my fluoxetine (Prozac), which makes me feel like a stereotype, but also makes me able to cope with stuff like a pro.

Continue reading “Other Habits to Change: Food and Drug Edition”

How’s the Weather? Active!

Yowee! Did we ever get a variety of weather yesterday! After a muggy morning, clouds began to build up, but rain kept going all around us (which often happens, at least in our perception. I guess severe weather is just going to be the norm as “global heating” continues.

Scary sky and dog looking for a toad (see next blog post)

The wind got whippier and whippier, though, and by the time we were getting Father’s Day dinner ready, it became quite breezy on the porch, where we spent a lot of time watching clouds make interesting formations.

Fresh vegetables and organic meat loaf. Farm living.

After eating our harvested squash, fresh beans, most delicious little roasted potatoes, and yum yum, a great meat loaf by Sara, we realized the wind was really, really hard and it was much cooler.

Continue reading “How’s the Weather? Active!”

Late Spring Bounty, Plus Drama, of Course

As the days grow longer and longer here in Texas, our harvest starts arriving. It’s lots earlier than in other parts of the US, where nothing’s ready until August, but hey, it gets hot here early.

Some Good News

This has been a great year, too, with the rain continuing to fall much later than usual. It’s raining now, in fact, and it’s only 79 degrees (too bad it was up to 93 at the end of our horseback ride this morning).

My shadow and the garden. Beans are to the right. Giant squash is in my shadow.

I think I’ve mentioned that our neighbor Tyler started a vegetable garden this year. Yesterday, as I was looking for chickens, I peeked in and saw a really, really big yellow squash. And Tyler is out of town.

So, this morning after putting up the horses and Fiona (who went with us on our whole ride and caused no trouble), Sara and I went in and harvested the giant squash and zucchini that were lying under the large, healthy vines. We have to hand it to Tyler, his fencing and netting combination have worked great to keep meddling animals, birds, and others out of his crops. We left him plenty of small squash to harvest for himself once he gets home.

Our buckets did not hold all the hugs squash, so I got creative. (photo by Sara Faivre)
Continue reading “Late Spring Bounty, Plus Drama, of Course”

Working on Community

When we first moved to the ranch, I was worried that it would be isolating living so far out here. That’s what Lee, the hermit, wanted. I wanted to have a community to enjoy life with, as well as some peace and quiet. I’m happy to report we are well on our way to a real community out here.

We missed the storms that hit Austin last night, but got cool clouds.

We were relieved to find a place near our friends Sara and Ralph, who warmly welcomed us when we first got here and really helped us set things up. And what would I do without my horse riding companion? Life would not be the same without these folks. We’ve also been lucky to make friends with Cathy, who lived at the cabin when we first arrived, and Tyler, who lives there now and does my snake handling.

When we added Mandi and her family over at Rattlesnake, wow, we could have been happier. They are so helpful in so many ways. One son cares for the horses and hens when I’m in Austin, and another has been helping Ralph with his mowing. Grateful for them.

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Self Aware Means Self Care

Last week I was in a mental vortex, tizzy, or something. I’m so glad I was aware that something was amiss, and that the only person who could do anything about it was ME.

So, what kind of self care can I do? Can you do it, too?

Exercise

This guy could use some yoga!

I realized yesterday that I hadn’t done any yoga in over two weeks, maybe three. Between work getting hectic and taking a week off, I was feeling sluggish and stiff.

I’ve gone to the class at work twice this week, and I can really tell it, both physically and mentally. I’m a lot more centered and my muscles feel well used, but good.

Continue reading “Self Aware Means Self Care”