I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


This is somewhat in the realm of procrastinating, my last post. Let me say from the get-go that I hate dieting. I know I need to watch my weight. I was a slim girl, it seems not too long ago. Actually it has been 47 years since I was married. The excess weight seems to creep up on you. First you have babies, you gain a little with each one. I kept playing tennis which I did since age 12. I played until 42 when I decided to go back to school to study photography. Being in the ice cream business for 25 years did nothing to help my weight problems. I love to cook and my husband loves to eat. It's a problem. I've been reading and thinking about what I need to do.

There are many choices that we hear about. Healthy tossed salads are common diet fare.Dieting is one of those things that is completely integrated into American culture. On any given day, a huge portion of the U.S. population is "on a diet" and "counting calories" in one way or another. And look at how many of the diet names that you recognize:
The Atkins Diet
The Cabbage Soup Diet
The Grapefruit Diet
The Hollywood Miracle Diet
The Rice Diet
The Scarsdale Diet
The South Beach Diet
You probably recognize many of these names because you hear them all the time!

Have you ever wondered why, for so many people (and especially for anyone older than 30 years old), weight gain seems to be a fact of life? It's because the human body is way too efficient! It just does not take that much energy to maintain the human body at rest; and when exercising, the human body is amazingly frugal when it comes to turning food into motion. At rest (for example, while sitting and watching television, the human body burns only about 12 calories per pound of body weight per day. That means that if you weigh 150 pounds, your body uses only about:
150 X 12 = 1,800 calories per day
Twelve calories per pound per day is a rough estimate -- Those 1,800 calories are used to do everything you need to stay alive:
They keep your heart beating and lungs breathing.
They keep your internal organs operating properly.
They keep your brain running.
They keep your body warm. In motion, the human body also uses energy very efficiently. For example, a person running a marathon burns only about 2,600 calories. In other words, you burn only about 100 calories per mile when you are running.

You can see just how efficient the human body is if you compare your body to a car. A typical car in the United States gets between 15 and 30 miles per gallon of gasoline. A gallon of gas contains about 31,000 calories. That means that if a human being could drink gasoline instead of eating hamburgers to take in calories, a human being could run 26 miles on about one-twelfth of a gallon of gas. In other words, a human being gets more than 300 miles per gallon! If you put a human being on a bicycle to increase the efficiency, a human being can get well over 1,000 miles per gallon!

The 1,800 calories that a typical person at rest needs per day is just not that many. For example, if you go to your neighborhood McDonald's restaurant and order the Big Xtra meal, you will get a sandwich, a large order of french fries and a large Coke®. This meal contains:
710 calories in the sandwich
540 calories in the french fries
310 calories in the drink
A meal at McDonald's can add up to almost a whole day's worth of calories.
In other words, just this one meal provides 1,560 calories you need during a day. If you get an M&M® McFlurry™ with it for dessert, you'll get 630 more calories, so you are already consuming almost 2,200 calories just at this one meal!
Similarly, if you eat 12 SnackWell's Crème Sandwich Cookies -- which, if you think about it, really is not that hard to do -- you've taken in 660 calories. That's more than one-third of the daily caloric intake.
Three cookies contain 165 calories.

The point is that, in America and most other developed countries, it is incredibly easy to find and consume calories. You can see how the number of calories coming in can easily reach 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 per day without any effort at all. That's the problem.

The only way to lose fat is to consume fewer calories per day than your body needs. For every 3,500 calories that your body takes from its fat reserves, you lose 1 pound of body fat. You can create the deficit either by monitoring and restricting your intake of calories, or by exercising or both.

The idea behind most diets is simply to help you somehow lower the number of calories that you consume each day. That's all they do. In an effort to reduce the number calories you take in per day, here are several strategies:
  • Be conscious of every calorie you consume, and keep a daily journal.
  • Eliminate all calories that come in through drinking. In other words, drink water.
  • Eliminate white sugar. This eliminates all sorts of high-calorie foods:
    ice cream
    candy bars
  • Similarly, try eliminating all fried foods, including:
    potato chips
    cheese crisps
    french fries
    onion rings
    fried chicken
  • Try to replace high-density foods with low-density foods.
    Just about any fruit or vegetable in its natural state
    Many non-sugared breakfast cereals, like shredded wheat
    Rice cakes
    Unbuttered popcorn
    Whole-grain bread, preferably with lots of fiber
    Brown rice
  • Try wearing form-fitting clothes instead of sweats. The tight clothing acts as a subliminal reminder of what you are trying to accomplish.

Exercise is one tool you have to control your weight because exercise is a way to increase the number of calories that you burn in a day.

In the end, I think you need to make a life style change. You need an incentive to motivate you. My cousin's daughter is getting married in January in the Florida Keys. I'd like to look better so it's time to lose some weight. That would be my incentive. So I decided to try eDiets again. It's on the internet and you pay about $4 a week for their program. They offer different programs similar to Weight Watchers or Atkins. I lost 30 pounds with them about 6 years ago. Gained most of it back. You tell them about yourself, then you choose your meals once a week when you check in and post your current weight. You know what you have to shop for the week at the grocery story because they give you a shopping list. It works really well if you stick to it. Like most diets.

I've instituted a new regime in my kitchen. We weigh our portions and eat lots of fresh food. What is bad is when you eat out or go to friends for dinner. That happened to us this weekend. Oh no, I have to weigh in tomorrow morning. I'm so embarrassed, thank goodness it won't be at a meeting.

I found a great diet tip:

A great way to lose weight is to eat while you are naked and standing in front of a mirror. Restaurants will almost always throw you out before you can eat too much.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


The best way to get something done is to begin. Boy, that's easier said than done. Do you have those nagging tasks that have to be finished but you never seem to get around to it? I have a fair amount of those round to-its in my life.

Well I started this post around 6 AM and it's now 5 PM. How's that for procrastinating? In my defense, I did have 8 guests for lunch and swimming today. Is that an excuse? I was having a hard time getting my brain around this subject. Even though I have many unfinished projects, I know someone worse than me. He hasn't done his taxes in 10 years. That's playing with fire. The IRS is nothing to mess with. I know a lot of people who got themselves in trouble not filing the required irritating, annoying, aggravating tax returns. You can tell, I hate doing them too. I think it's the deadline that bothers me more than the forms. I must admit, I am smart enough to go to a smart tax accountant.

My worst procrastinating right now is not finishing up my darkroom. Also not framing some wonderful Japanese calligraphy. Now neither of these projects is very hard. I just have to get motivated.

I've taken time management courses and I make lists; the problem is I start 10 things at once and bounce from one to another. Eventually I get things done, but I cause myself a lot of grief in the process. So my blogging friends, give me some help here. What do you do to keep from procrastinating?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Tribute to Catherine A. Nardella, a 9/11 victim

I volunteered to write a tribute to Catherine A. Nardella on the 5th anniversary of her death. This is a project started by Bloggers to honor the innocent victims of that awful day...

I only know of Catherine through comments left on various websites. She was a person we would all be proud to know. She was brilliant, beautiful, gentle and loving. Her grieving sisters and niece made reference to her generous nature, her ever-present smile and the way she gave of herself to her family and community. High school friends grieve for her and co-workers gave the warmest assessment of her attitude and friendliness. She impacted many lives and is remembered by many as a very special person.

Her parents must have been so proud of Catherine. She was caring and giving, never expecting anything in return. From a large Italian-American family, one can only imagine the empty place in their hearts that can never be filled.

Catherine always strived to be a better person. She was active at her church and lent a helping hand to those in need. In particular, her priest spoke of her waiting each Sunday to help an elderly man down the stairs of the church. She was devoted to the church choir and she participated as a lector in the services. She was an individual who lived her best life. Catherine Nardella chose the person she wanted to be. Her loss is a loss to all of us.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Eye Candy

Eye Candy is an expression I've never used before but somehow it is appropriate to describe the show we saw at the Mirage Hotel on Sunday. It is called Love and is based on the Beatles song. I don't really like crowds and noise but my best friend wanted to see it so we went. We were celebrating their 45th and our 47th anniversaries.

View a trailer here from the Mirage hotel
This is a little longer and is fun to watch, see a tidbit here
And one more link for Love

Check out these websites. They have videos but the third one is longer and gives you a better idea about the show. It is worth sitting through to get a taste of the music and costumes.

The ushers were all wearing Bobby costumes and spoke with a British accent, it was very cute. The theater is 360 degrees and there are 2014 seats. We sat in the upper orchestra behind the sound booth. One of our friends is on the crew so he told me where to get the best seats. There are over 20 segments in the show, each is spectacular in their own way. We loved the one where the Beetle car comes apart on stage. You are overwhelmed, the volume of the music is an assault on your senses. There is so much visual and auditory stimuli that I felt uncomfortable at first. There are speakers built into each of the very comfortable seats. The costumes are amazing, the timing of the energetic cast was incredible to see. They were so graceful. I loved the segments with the yellow boots. The skateboarders were like ballet dancers who kept me mesmerized. But the part I absolutely loved was when a huge sheet of white parachute nylon came out of the stage and covered the entire audience. There are hanging transparent screens that have images projected that add to the visuals. At times, confetti and strands of colored streamers enveloped the audience. You felt as if you were a part of this happening. Believe me, I could see this show again. They have some really creative talent who put this show together, I understand it cost over a hundred million dollars to build. The crowds are filling this theater for 10 shows a week and Las Vegas has never seen advance ticket sales like this before. If you're coming to Las Vegas, you won't go wrong if you can get tickets to this show. It is worth every penny. Oh, did I tell you I saw the Beatles perform live at Comisky Park in Chicago? I couldn't even hear them that time (around 1965) because the teenyboppers were all screaming. This time, the original sound tracks were remastered by George Martin and his son, he was the Beatles original producer. It sounds like they are performing live in surround sound. Try it, you'll like it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Last weekend it was the 45th anniversary of our best friends. We have known each other for almost 40 years. This weekend (on Labor Day) it is my anniversary, or I should say, our anniversary. My hubby and I will be married 47 years. The 4 of us will celebrate by seeing one of the overpriced shows here on the Las Vegas strip. I hope it's good. More on that in another post.

I find it hard to believe that we have been married that long. When we first got married, I would warn hubby threateningly (when he displeased me), that he only had 49 years left on his contract. Then it became 45 years, 40 years, always a long time off in the future. Now he only has 3 years left, it isn't so funny anymore. I wonder how the years have gone by so quickly.

I was only 18 when I met my future husband, he was 26 and we were in college. He was going to school on the GI bill after serving 4 years in the Navy. We didn't start dating until the end of the school year, around the end of May. We married 3 months later. Most people didn't give us half a chance. They didn't think our marriage would survive. We were from different ethnic backgrounds and different religions. We barely knew each but I knew he was a decent guy and he impressed me with his worldly experience. Hubby had been all over the world, I had lived in the same place all my life. It was flattering that he loved me.

We planned a secret wedding, we were going to run off to the Justice of the Peace. One of my friends blew it, they said something to my sister, known to you as motherkitty. She spilled the beans to our mother. Oh, there was hell to pay, but we were adamant, we got married at the JP's with both our mothers in attendance. 10 days later we got married in the rabbi's study with all parents attending. None were really happy about the way we went about this. My new husband was a divorced Catholic. Against all odds, we have survived and endured.

We've shared our joys and hardships, we had 3 sons who have grown into decent adults. We had financial problems and worked together to build a business. We supported each other through health problems. Since we're both the oldest child in our respective families, we butted heads a lot...almost daily. It has to be a personality thing. Some of our friends call us the Bickersons. It's easy to let the rough spots overshadow the good parts of a life together. I feel blessed that my husband supported me in all my endeavors. We have a shared history, we still love each other and that's our life story. Happy Anniversary, Honey.