House Sitting, Day 2 – Kitty and Cougar

Today is Day 2 of house sitting for my parents, who are now somewhere on the great prairie, having spent 24 hours unwillingly in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, trying to get the Found On Road Dead (FORD) dealership to diagnose a major malfunction in their shiny, new, less-than-2000-miles-on-it, still-has-that-new-car-smell Fusion.  They gave up, left their lemon at the dealership, rented a car, and pressed on toward Wichita, Kansas, where good food and great company awaits. I only mention this to warn you that this may extend their intended time away and I may be writing “House Sitting, Day 7,” long after I’ve run out of things to say.  By then, my post may look more like a Facebook status update than an actual entry in my ridiculous chronicles.   “Day 7. Got up, fed cats, drank coffee.  Mmmm, coffee.” But it’s only Day 2 and I still have much to marvel at! … Continue reading…

House Sitting, Day 1

So, today is Tuesday.  Last night was the first night of a week house-sitting for my parents.  Just me.  Well, just me, three cats, some deer, and possibly a family of racoons – but they all stay outside.  This is the chronicle of my time away from my home and living in someone else’s. I decided to take this opportunity to clean out my sugar-and-junk food-infused system and return to the clean blood stream I knew and loved in my pre-Mike days.  Today is Day 1.  So far, I’ve done well.  No junk food, period.  Salad, salad, coffee, oat cake, and more salad. Dinner was booty from a raid on my parents’ garden (fully sanctioned of course) – corn on the cob, green beans, a carrot, and a cucumber.  After the gorging came the workout to sweat out some of the crap I ate over the weekend (and last night’s … Continue reading…

An Apple (or More) a Day

This year the tree was late getting started.  Winter held on several weeks longer than usual and the bees that normally pollinated the blossoms were staying out of the cold, wetter weather.  Eventually, they came out and made their rounds, and now after several weeks of hot, dry weather, the branches are so heavily laden with tart, crisp golden apples that they seem to bow to passersby and implore us to ease their burdens. I obliged. Fifteen minutes of picking yielded enough apples to make me cry out, “What in the world am I going to do with all these apples?!”  It was almost as if I were being controlled by the notion that I must use the apples wisely or risk retribution from the universe.   There was even a tinge of fear of failure.  See, what I normally do with store-bought apples is to put them into a … Continue reading…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars vs. Procrastination

A few weeks ago, I made some wheat-free chocolate protein bars that I was kind of excited about. They were baked chocolate bars made with almond and brown rice flour, with no added sugar apart from the small amount of coconut and the confectioner’s sugar in the sweet chocolate glaze. Initial reaction from all guinea pigs (um, I mean, “taste testers”) was positive. In my excitement, I shared my victory with a good friend, who several weeks later did something unexpected. She requested the recipe. (Insert radio silence… Insert blank stare of non-recognition.) I had meant to write it down. But, being the procrastinator that I am, I hadn’t gotten to it yet. See, although initially pleased with the outcome, I had discovered that a few days in the refrigerator made the bars dry and unappealing, so I was toying with variations in my mind and had intended to make … Continue reading…

My Body Is An Idiot

I’ve heard it countless times.  “Listen to your body.”  Your body, they say, will tell you what it needs. Craving meat?   Perhaps you’re low on iron or B-12. Have a hankering for pancakes?  You must need some carbohydrates. Need some chili on top of some Indian fry bread, smothered with Tillamook cheddar cheese, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions?  You obviously miss home and your mother’s embrace. So, if my body is so smart and can tell me what it needs through cravings, why does it always crave chips, chocolate, fat, pasta, and marshmallow pies?  If my body is so smart, it should be craving vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and seeds.  That’s all.  No Ho-Hos.  No Rolos or Brach’s caramels.  No maple bars or pecan sandies.  Just salad (naked salad, if it were really smart) and nuts, seeds, and legumes. The only conclusion I can make is that my … Continue reading…

Practicing Good Ladder Safety, Part 2

The Ladder

Just in case anyone is wondering, ladders have a sick sense of humor.  They cannot be trusted.  They will stay strong and support you for hundreds of passes up and down and back up again.  Then one day, they will go on strike and slide out from under you, most probably when you’re at the very top starting your descent, and send you toppling into a heaping ball of broken skin, bruises, and pain (and hopefully nothing worse).  At least that’s what happened to me.  Yesterday’s friendly and secure ladder became today’s ladder of evil trickery.                           Looks innocent enough, right? Ha!  Wrong!  Do not be fooled!  For this is what happens:                     So, the next time you go to use a ladder that has held steady for you … Continue reading…

Practicing Good Ladder Safety, Part 1

My partner, Mike, and I are deep in the throes of barn restoration.  A few years ago, Mike chucked in his life in Enumclaw, Washington, and moved  his family back to North Idaho where they began the monumental task of restoring and converting a 60+ year old dairy barn into a home.  Two years ago, I entered the picture and was immediately swept up in the work, drama, and occasional mayhem of the project.  Of course, it’s not all drudgery, sweat, and headaches.  We’ve learned to look on the lighter side of things, even though we do take our work very seriously.  Here, as you can see, we’re all about safety. As we progress through this project, I will post more photos, perhaps something along the lines of Mike dangling upside down from a rafter beam or doing a completely unnecessary handstand on the scaffolding.  You’ll just have to wait … Continue reading…

What Are You Doing Wrong?

I remember the moment I stopped reading women’s magazines like Shape, Fitness, and Women’s Health.  I can’t recall which magazine was the culprit, but I remember the article that woke me up.  It described the habits of several women who were doing almost everything according to the prescriptions laid out by these magazines and general consensus about the components of a healthy lifestyle:  diet, exercise, water, etc.  The article dissected their habits to determine shortfalls.  The following is not a direct passage from the article, but an ever-so-slightly exaggerated description: Q:  Roxanne’s kitchen is stocked with fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, salmon, lean cuts of meat, and whole grains.  She exercises daily and drinks plenty of water throughout the day.  She indulges in a cup of green tea when she feels the need to treat herself.  What’s she doing wrong? A:  Roxanne is doing almost everything right, but she’d do better … Continue reading…