Monday, April 24, 2017

Aurora Featherweight

So -- here's the little ad Mary put in the local "Shopper" newspaper:


Rita Farro LOVES HER SINGER FEATHERWEIGHT. (She attended a three-day workshop, put on by the famous Singer people -- and now she thinks she's an expert!!)

Bring your Singer Featherweight sewing machine to the First Annual Aurora Featherweight Workshop and she will share everything she learned. Including:

  • How to remove the old dry, lube from your Featherweight motor.
  • You will add NEW, FRESH lube to your motor.
  • How to adjust the belt, if your machine is sluggish.
  • When and where to properly oil your Featherweight.
  • Troubleshoot the most common problems.

You'll also receive a photocopy of an original booklet, with complete instructions about the care and maintenance of your Featherweight. The booklet also describes those six standard attachments that came with your machine.

You will be stunned by the beauty of the narrow hemmer -- and if we have time, you'll learn how to use your ruffler!! Nobody ever improved on this original design.



How did this happen? Well, Mary has a Featherweight, and it's about time for it to be oiled and lubed again...
And Mary's friend Nancy -- who DOESN'T ACTUALLY OWN A FEATHERWEIGHT -- put a lot of pressure on us to do a "workshop" in Aurora.  And her friend Linda DID recently buy -- hey -- WHY NOT??
We also showed Mary's finished "t-shirt quilt" -- using the ragged edge flannel technique...
We set up in a lovely big room at Mary's church...we used Mary's Featherweight as our "demo model"
Then, the women went to their own machines to do the actual cleaning, lube, etc.
At some point, it dawned on me that I was actually in WAY OVER MY HEAD...
I didn't get a good group picture -- but THEY DID GREAT!!
At the end of our half-day workshop, everybody plugged in their Featherweight, (I CROSSED MY FINGERS) -- AND THEY RAN PERFECTLY. Wow. I was thrilled. Thanks to Carmon and April Henry -- the REAL DEAL -- I knew just enough to help my students clean, oil and lube their Featherweight sewing machines.

 If you need any help with your Featherweight, go here...great tutorials, excellent advice, and they sell lots of parts, bobbins, etc: The Singer Featherweight Shop

MMWI:  249.6.  My body is very happy right now -- so it's enjoying this little plateau.  This week, the bad habit I'm gonna work on is NO SNACKING after 8:00 PM.    

Saturday, April 22, 2017

My Aurora Visit

The week after I got home from New York City, I made a quick trip up to Aurora, Minnesota to visit with Mary.
This is what greets you at the Hibbing, Minnesota airport.
A LOT of taxidermy...
A wall with 17 famous people (only one woman -- do you see her?)
My favorite!! The moose head is sticking out of a painted mural. 
I love a building and/or institution with a sense of humor.
We had a delicious pasty for lunch...
And breakfast with Mary's Aurora version of the TMBC...
A rare photo of Mary driving.
We did some GREAT shopping at the hospital thrift store, and an antique mall. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE TREASURE..!!
But, there was an ACTUAL REASON for me to be in Aurora...and you will NEVER GUESS what we were doing!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fat Camp Update

When I posted my two Frankensewing pictures the other day, I didn't realize they would strike everybody as my "before" and "after" photos from Fat Camp.
Many of you have written to ask what was my key to my weight-loss success.

Hey...if I knew the answer to that question, I'D BE RICH!!

Back in 2009, I saw a picture of myself at Elliott and Emily's wedding. I weighed 325 pounds and looked terrible. OH MY GOD, I was fat. I never wore that outfit again -- and that photo caused a click in my brain.  Over the next two years, I lost nearly 100 pounds.

But this time around is different. There was no one click in my brain... I just got lucky.

Really. I unexpectedly had the chance to go to Fat Camp -- I was in a position to say yes -- AND I DID!!

Weight has been my lifelong battle. I wrote the book, remember? LIFE IS NOT A DRESS SIZE...and I have always tried to make my life about something more important than how much I weigh. Which is why I have been reluctant to blog about "my weight loss journey".

The irony, of course, is that as much as I say I don't want to be defined by my weight -- I absolutely know I will have a better life -- and a much LONGER life if I can lose weight.

So, if anything I've done might inspire somebody out there to make some changes, I've decided to blog about it...a and then...


One thing I want to say is that there is no one "KEY" to success. What works for me may not work for you. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go to Fat Camp when I did. It changed my life. But, when I break it down...these three big things are actually three simple little things.

It's about outlook and habit...

1. I STOPPED WORRYING ABOUT FOOD. Before Fat Camp, I spent an inordinate amount of time every single day worrying about shopping, cooking, and planning what I would eat, what John would eat, whether or not we'd be going out for a meal... how to use the leftovers...yada yada.

Having a little Styrofoam box delivered to my room three times a day, at the right time, and in the proper proportions, was LIFE CHANGING. I learned that I didn't have to love everything I is just's not my happiness. A $2.50 Healthy Choice frozen entree is fine with me. If I'm lucky enough to go out to lunch with friends, I take half of it home for supper. If I feel like dessert -- my friends are happy to share it with me, and I am thrilled with just a few bites.

2. I DON'T SKIP MEALS. Ever. One of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life was skipping meals...thinking that if I was NOT eating those calories, I was doing good. But, now I understand that I shut down my metabolism. NOW -- I NEVER SKIP MEALS. I get it...I really get it...

Eating at regular times has become part of my job. I eat breakfast by 8:30. I love breakfast!! It can be cereal, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt or fruit. I eat lunch by 1:00, and supper before 7:00.

3. I QUIT SITTING IN MY CHAIR. Before Fat Camp, I was sitting in my chair 10 or 12 hours a day. SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING. I joined the YMCA, I go to Swimfit classes 4 or 5 times a week, I get on my treadmill, I take the kids to the park, I clean the basement, I walk around whenever I can...if I'm at the grocery store, in the parking lot, or at a thrift store -- I take the LONG WAY around. And then I do it one more time, just for good measure.


When I arrived at Fat Camp, Conn (my trainer) told me I was not the oldest client he ever had, nor was I the fattest client he ever had...But, at 67 years old, and nearly 300 pounds, I was definitely at the top of his list, "Least Likely To Succeed."

Yet -- here I am. Still doing it...making different choices, every single day, feeling better, and losing weight...bit by little bit. I am THRILLED to be able to take Lilly to New York City, and walk for miles, climb the subway steps and not worry about looking for a bench because I need to sit down. (good thing, because THERE ARE NO BENCHES in the Big Apple.)

Here's the big thing. I AM GRATEFUL. Grateful to be able to make these choices. I don't beat myself up about how I got this fat. It took a long time to gain the weight, and it will take a long time to lose it. That's okay with me. But I don't worry one bit about hitting a certain goal, or losing "X" amount of weight. No matter how much I weigh, I'm going to make the most out of EACH day I'm given...

Because I know LIFE IS NOT A DRESS SIZE...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sewing Weekend, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin!!

TIME TO MAKE YOUR TRAVEL PLANS for Beaver Dam, Wisconsin!!

MARY AND I have been invited to present our ALL NEW MIDWEST YA YA SISTER SHOW at the Nancy's 2017 Sewing Weekend in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. I AM SOO EXCITED!!

 May 4-6, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

It's the BEST GIRLFRIEND WEEKEND you can imagine!!
It is such a wonderful event!!  I absolutely love going to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin for Nancy's Sewing Weekend. 
They hang a wonderful quilt show.
During Mary's January visit,  TMBC went shopping for some new projects and ideas.
The best part of Sewing Weekend is that they OPEN THE WAREHOUSE!!
The last time we did our presentation in Beaver Dam, Judy and Chris (the Ya Ya Stalkers) came all the way from Portland, Oregon!!
One of our themes is Girlfriend Travel.....
We are looking forward to hanging out with Mike...(the President)
And doing some WAREHOUSE shopping of our own!!
John makes sure everybody gets on the buses -- to be taken all around town to the various locations...
GO FOR IT!! YOU DESERVE IT! Sewing, laughing, learning, visiting with your old friends -- making some new ones. IT JUST DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS, PEOPLE..!!


Nancy's 2017 Sewing Weekend in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Frankensewing TWO WAYS

It's been five months since I went to Fat Camp.

I cannot believe how much my life has changed. In soo many ways...all for the better!

And, all along the way -- FRANKENSEWING has made my journey interesting and fashionable!!

At first, I had to use my Frankensewing skills to make work-out clothes that would fit me.

My pre-fat-camp fashion show. I had to make every top this case, I put together two shirts to create ONE.
Then, along the way, as I continue to lose weight...(one ounce by ounce) I get to use my Frankensewing skills to make my clothes SMALLER..!!
Again, I put together TWO shirts to make ONE.  Only this time -- smaller!!  This San Francisco shirt was a 3X, and I cut four inches off each side, recut the armholes, and added sleeves from another shirt. It took about 10 minutes.  (great picture, Sandy!)
Here's the big question -- what do women do who cannot sew??

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2017 Easter Scavenger Hunt

For some reason -- I cannot load any photos up to the blog right now. So that seriously cramps my blogging style....and the pictures from Easter ARE DELIGHTFUL!!

But, hey -- life is all about compromise. And, even without pictures, I can share my MOST ENTERTAINING EASTER SCAVENGER HUNT!!

Lilly and Warren are 8 and 4 this year.  THE PERFECT AGE...
When Lilly and Warren got here, I started them off with this verbal clue:

I think the first clue for your hunt should be about fun...
so it's hidden under the puzzle that is done...
(they only had to think for a minute before the RUSHED to the puzzle table)...and found the next clue:

#1: To start your Easter Hunt, go to the room with the sink…
Then, to find your clue, look for something that is PINK…

#2 This clue is for Warren…now here’s where you must be…
Go to where your trains live…to find Clue Number THREE…

#3 GOOD JOB, KIDS, way to work together as a team…
Now go look where you lay your head when you dream…

#4 Now, look around and think about CLUE NUMBER FOUR
It’s in a white bucket on the other side of the big yellow door…

#5 Once upon a time, Lilly painted this little chair blue…
Now, look under the seat, to find your very next clue…

 #6 CLUE NUMBER SIX might a hard one to get…
Check under the bed of Grandpa’s favorite pet.

#7 For your very last clue -- you’ll have to GO OUTSIDE..
Look for your Easter gift…near something YOU RIDE…

The scavenger hunt took them all over the house, and then outside.  It was a beautiful day, and they ran and ran.  At every clue point, they found two bags...with two different toys...two butterfly nets, two bottles of bubbles, two kites, etc.  Mostly summer toys from the Dollar Store.

But IT DID NOT MATTER.  Neither one of them cared much about the presents I'd painstakingly wrapped (in grocery bags).  It was ALL ABOUT THE HUNT.  They figured out every clue in seconds...and, clearly, I'm gonna have to ramp up my game!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Where is Easter Dinner?

For the last ten years or so, I've been going to my niece's house for Easter dinner. At the time, both Ross and Elliott were living in distant states -- and John and I would have been alone. I was grateful for the invitation...and delighted NOT to be making a big holiday meal.
My sister Ronda, her daughter Nicole and me. 
This picture is from a coupla years ago...but you get the idea. Lots of people, plenty of food...
In the good old days, we had lots of little ones for the Easter Egg Hunt.
Life has been moving at warp speed...and last Wednesday, I realized that I hadn't heard from Nicole. Hummm...I wonder if she's having Easter dinner? Maybe she's downsizing her party? Maybe we're not invited?

So, I texted her:
Me:  Hey, Nicole!   Do you want to come to my house for Easter dinner?
Nicole:  That sounds, wait... I think I'm having company that day.
Me:  Anybody I know?

Then, I actually CALLED HER...(welcome to 1996, eh?)....and said I was afraid she was trying to get out of making Easter dinner.

She assured me that was not happening...she just assumed I would assume...that kind of thing.

So -- dinner was at 1:00.

TOMORROW I hope to have a current photo to share -- along with this year's Easter Scavenger Hunt!!

MMWI:  _249.4_______

Whatever the number ends up being, I am pleased with the week.  I even had a cream puff for Easter!!  But I didn't go habits are so much better nowadays...I go to four or five swimfit classes every week, and THAT IS SUCH AN IMPROVEMENT in my life habits, I can hardly believe it myself. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

March 19, Our Last Day, Part 2

Ali dropped us off at the Plaza Hotel.   I have no intention of going for the $30 pancakes in the Palm Court Restaurant...but, according to Google, there's a great food court on the lower level.
Ali listed about six movies that happen at the Plaza.  My favorite on his list was Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford in The Way We Were.  One day, when she's older, Lilly and I will watch that movie together, and she'll remember HER FIRST TIME at the Plaza...
This girl loves a revolving door...
And what's on the other side of that door is simply A-M-A-Z-I-N--G
The Palm Court has been painstakingly restored.  And OF COURSE YOU COULD EAT THERE...but, like I said, the pancakes are $25...
Instead -- we went down to the food court and shared a $8 quiche, and a Nutella pastry.  This was our last New York City game of Bananagrams.
Lilly knows all about Eloise at the Plaza.
On our way out -- one last mirror-picture.

Friday, April 14, 2017

March 19, Our Last Day

It was Sunday morning, March 19, 2017. Our flight was leaving LaGuardia at 3:30. Our driver (David) would be picking us up at Noon to take us to the airport. So, if we get up early -- we still have HALF A DAY in the city.
On our last morning, enjoying the view from our hotel room.
We're ready to go! Our plan was to eat breakfast at the Plaza Hotel.  (in the lower level food court).
We took the subway up to Columbus Circle.
At the entrance to Central Park, there was a Pedi-cab driver trying to sell us a "tour of the park".
I'd never considered a Pedicab tour. And, hey -- at $120 for a complete two hour tour of the park, I told him "'s our last morning, I don't have that much money, and we have to be back at our hotel by Noon."

Then, the driver (Ali) said since were there so early, he could do a one hour tour for $60. (a special deal just for us).

Still too much money...and too much time...

But Ali kept on pitching...
And I am a big fan of people working this hard to make a we agreed on an abbreviated 30-minute tour for $30.
Ali had already figured out that Lilly was a big DOG LOVER -- and he wanted her to see the statue of Balto. She was excited!!
Ali told Lilly that in New York City, dogs are not pets, but they are more like children. It was the first time Lilly saw dogs wearing little booties.
Ali took this picture of us, right before we left for our tour. I apologized for being so fat -- but he assured me the cab was meant for THREE PEOPLE...and this was not hard for him at all.
We went by Tavern on the Green, and I took the picture I forgot to take the day before...
Here's the problem. There was a half-marathon being run that morning, and Ali could not actually GET INTO CENTRAL PARK. Ugh. He tried and tried...but we were turned away by police, guarding the route, at every entrance. Ali kept pedaling...and giving us a tour all along the way. He was a HUGE MOVIE BUFF -- and he pointed out the building where they filmed Ghostbusters...and Maid in Manhattan...the Night at the Museum...and many other NYC movies. He pointed out the building where Jerry Seinfeld lives...The Dakota, where John Lennon was shot.

Ali kept pedaling up West Central Park, hoping at the next entrance, he'd be able to enter the park.  But that never happened.  Lilly and I were having a wonderful time. It was a cold, clear winter day -- and we were snug in the pedicab...and learning a lot about Central Park and all the magnificent buildings that surround it.

But Ali kept saying, "I am so sorry...I will not charge you...Do not do not have to pay...I will take you wherever you want to go. May I drive you down to your hotel? This is such a disappointment..."

But it was NOT a disappointment! Lilly's mission became to count the dogs we saw -- and after nearly an hour of riding around in Ali's pedicab, she had seen 75 dogs...most of them dressed up for their Sunday stroll...and many of them wearing winter booties. I don't think she'll ever forget that number...
 When Ali finally accepted we were NOT going to be able to get into the park, he took us to a spot on the stone wall surrounding Central Park -- where you can almost see the sculpture of Balto.  He told Lilly the story of Balto (we've since been to the library, and she's read two books about this famous dog.)  Ali also told her the cartoon movie was better than the Disney version.  (we'll watch both)...
After the most entertaining hour you can imagine, Ali pedaled us over to the Plaza Hotel. 
Ali took this last picture of us, getting out of his pedicab in front of the Plaza Hotel. His "non-tour" of Central Park had lasted for over an hour. He took us from 59th Street up to 100th Street, and back down again, pointing out details and information about all the beautiful 200 year old buildings along the way.
Ali had provided us with the PERFECT ending to our nearly PERFECT visit to New York City, but he was still apologizing for not being able to give us the proper tour of the park.  As he delivered us to the Plaza, he again insisted we pay nothing.

But I wanted this morning to be as memorable for Ali as it had been for us.  So I not only paid him, but I gave him a gigantic tip.