May 2018

May 2018

Monday, December 28, 2015

No More Presents

Well, that's not exactly true. We will still give presents to our grandchildren on their birthdays and for Christmas. But, starting in 2016, we will no longer give presents to our adult children. And we will no longer send presents to the children of my nephews, and to the daughter of my grandsons's godfather. I'm done sending presents and never getting a thank you via text, email, or snail mail.

And one day our dream is to not give wrapped presents to our grandchildren either. Instead we want to take them on trips to new destinations and hope to be physically and financially able to do that with the boys in just a few years.

So our gift giving just got a lot simpler and easier much like our new holiday traditions. In both cases, the changes are all good.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas!

And this is how I feel about the 50+ degree weather we're having today. Errrrrr. . .

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Christmas Traditions

This is the first year since 2006 that I haven't watched one of the grandsons several days a week during the school year. That gave me plenty of time to prepare for Christmas. Ironically, this is also the first year since 2006 I haven't needed nearly as much time.

We slashed our gift-giving budget in half this year. I also decided to give easy gift cards to most of our recipients, using credit card points. There are two reasons for these changes. First, after a year of major purging, I no longer want to contribute to the stash of minimally-used items in other people's homes. Second, by using gift cards, people can get exactly what they want. I did take care to get gift cards at places I know the recipients frequent.

In addition to wrapping fewer gifts, I also spent much less time decorating the house this year. Again, that decision was primarily due to all the purging. I just couldn't handle a lot of holiday clutter. Plus, after preparing and serving a Thanksgiving dinner for 10, I wasn't up for going up and down the stairs with decorations as much as in previous years. Especially since hubby was down with a strained back muscle and couldn't help. Hubby's back problem also meant a four-foot tree this year, which took me 30 minutes to decorate instead of the hours it took to deck out an eight-footer.

Those are big changes, but there are more. For the first time in as long as I can remember, we're not hosting our Family Christmas on Christmas Eve. My daughter's family will be driving home from Disney World that day, so we moved our celebration to Saturday, December 26. Given that change, I figured why not simplify the menu too. This year, instead of Ina Garten's home-made chicken stew, we're having Sloppy Joes and store-bought slaw.

Yes, Christmas is definitely feeling different this year, and the spring-like weather isn't helping. But, while I'm feeling a bit disoriented as a result of so many changes, I'm also feeling relaxed. After a moment of melancholy a few days ago, I'm now ready to embrace many of this year's holiday changes, primarily spending and decorating less, as new traditions. I guess I was ready for some holiday changes and just didn't know it!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It's been a movie weekend for us. Today we say Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX 3D. To my surprise, it was 100% better than I expected. It's just that, when something's promoted as much as Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been, it usually never lives up to all the hype. But I'm betting true Star Wars fans are very happy this weekend.

Since I'm not a science fiction fan, however, I enjoyed yesterday's movie (Creed) more. But I'm glad I saw the new Star Wars movie, too, if for no other reason than to see familiar faces. Plus, by seeing the movie in IMAX today, AMC gave hubby and I each an exclusive poster I'm sure some Star Wars fans I know will love.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


After reading the positive review in Entertainment Weekly, we decided to see Creed today. I've never been a fan of boxing, even though my dad was when I was growing up. But I do remember enjoying the Rocky movies, so I was more than game to see the latest installment in the franchise.

I now agree Creed should be nominated for several Academy Awards, including best supporting actor for Sylvester Stallone's portrayal of a senior Rocky Balboa. Creed definitely gets my recommendation.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Activities

Over the weekend hubby and I participated in one of our favorite holiday traditions, the Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour. I shared some of my favorite things from the event on Facebook. Just click here to see the online album.

Then yesterday I had lunch with my dearest friend at Brio Tuscan Grille. It's a beautiful restaurant and the food is always delicious. We made it a true holiday lunch by adding a glass of Champagne and a scoop of gelato. So much fun!

Looking ahead hubby and I are excited about seeing Star Wars The Force Awakens this weekend, and enjoying Christmas brunch at Pere Marquette Lodge where we spent our honeymoon.

Christmas to me is the special activities and moments shared with loved ones. And I'm grateful to be able to experience so many of them.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weight Lose Logic – NOT!

Once I reach goal weight, I should be able to add 500 calories to my daily diet. Therefore, stands to reason, I should be able to eat an extra 200-300 calories right now and still maintain my current weight, which is 5-8 pounds over goal, depending on the day. In other words, if I add a few hundred calories a day a few times a week, I get that I won't lose weight but feel I should be able to still maintain my current weight lose.

That logic doesn't seem to be playing out, however. I've been fluctuating within three pounds for weeks, but for the last two days it's been three pounds up not down. I suspect it's the extra sugar and salt that's hidden in foods I don't normally eat. However, since I'm still counting calories, I just feel those minor indulgences should not be adding weight.

After the holidays, I won't be faced with situations offering foods outside my normal diet.  I also plan to hit the gym more often in an attempt to get hubby in shape for our May trip. I've offered to join him twice a week on the gym track. Every week he'll pick two days that fit his schedule and we'll go together even if I've been to the gym earlier that day. So I should be able to get back on track (pun intended) to losing those last 5-8 pounds before turning 65 in October 2016.

But, right now, I don't see how I'll ever be able to add 500 calories to my daily caloric intake. Given my recent experience, it seems to me I'll be on 1500 calories per day for the rest of my life if I don't want to gain weight. It's just not logical and drives me a little crazy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fun Illinois Weekend

Hubby and I drove to the Chicago area last Friday and returned yesterday. On Saturday we did the Holiday House Tour in Geneva, IL with my niece and sister. On Sunday hubby and I spent the day downtown, enjoying the holiday decorations, visiting the Christkindl Market, and checking out the Cloud Gate in Millennium park.

My niece, Margaret, and sister, Nancy,
in front of a Geneva shop.
All weekend the weather was perfect for walking outdoors with winter coats, upper 30s and low 40s with full sun. Unfortunately, many others thought so too. On Sunday the crowds were extremely heavy everywhere we went. At the Market it was shoulder-to-shoulder and I'm glad the grandsons weren't with us. They would have been miserable, and I would have been majorly stressed keeping track of them.

Nevertheless hubby and I had fun. It had been a long time since we'd been to Chicago and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy big cities. There's a special energy I feel walking among the skyscrapers. And I enjoy the plethora of stores and restaurants big cities offer. Even though I do very little shopping anymore, and can't eat much no matter how hard I try.

In summary, it was great to getaway for a few days, spend time outdoors, enjoy holiday activities, and visit with my niece and sister. Holiday fun with no need to cook, clean, or decorate!

For us, the best part of the Christkindl Market
was the opportunity to try authentic German food.
I loved looking at all the nutcrackers
at the Market.
The breathtaking tree in Macy's
Walnut Room.
The Cloud Gate behind the ice skating
rink, which was packed except when
the Zamboni was running.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Eating Smart Update

As of today I've lost eight pounds since April 1. And I'm finally accepting that lose as a great accomplishment. Apparently gone are the days of losing 2-3 pounds in a month by just counting calories. Today my 64-year-old self is proud of steadily losing a pound a month for eight straight months.

I'm also proud of not gaining weight over Thanksgiving week. In all honesty, I didn't even find it difficult. After eight months of limiting myself to 1500 calories a day, I suppose it's become an ingrained way of eating. Of course by also avoiding sweets that commitment is made easier, especially during the holidays.

I am still missing spring and summer fruits and vegetables. I'm doing my best with apples, oranges, and grapes, but I just don't enjoy them like I do melons, berries, plums, and peaches. I suppose there's always the option of frozen fruit, which I think I'll try soon. As the saying goes, "where there's a will there's a way!"