Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fat Camp: A Typical Day

There was a rhythm to every day of Fitness Camp. Every meal was delivered to our condo...so, we started the day with breakfast out on our little balcony...then we were down in the gym by 8:00.  The first workout session was 90 minutes. THEN, there would be an hour break...with a second morning session that was also 90 minutes.

Sometimes, we took the beach walk up to John's Pass (it's about a mile one way). So that's a two mile walk in SAND, people. And that's hard!!
But, it's SUCH A BEAUTIFUL WALK...Holy Cow...
There were birds, and shells, and....then....
Every morning -- the city sent out their fleet of John Deere tractors to comb the beach...
On this day, we were back to the gym in the afternoon for a Pilates session with Debbi.
IT WAS A BRUTAL workout...worse than the sled and those big ropes...ugh...
She looks like a harmless little woman -- but she is a little aerobics robot.  I'm pretty sure she's German.  And her legs and arms are steel springs...Kathleen lost 13.5 pounds in one week!!  GREAT JOB

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fat Camp: Day Four

I am not a "serious" coffee drinker.  The truth is, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a high class cup of coffee and a cup of Folger's from a Mr. Coffee machine. But, I love the ceremony of a morning cup of coffee....

There are several businesses on the street level of our condo building. A Real Estate office, the CFS gym -- and, lucky for me --  a beautiful little coffee shop called "The Sweet Brewnette".
It's one of those quirky little places -- with an eclectic interior, an interesting breakfast/lunch menu...
But, of course, I COULD ONLY DRINK THE COFFEE...and that was a special treat for me every day.
On this day -- I got to wear THIS GREAT SHIRT..!! (in the background, you can see I'm getting a good start on the puzzle)
Our morning workout was a walk on the beach -- and then....
A bridge walk!!  (Me, Hannah and Rhonda)...we walked over a long bridge -- to Treasure Island.
The bridges around Maderia Beach lift up to let the boats go through...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fat Camp: Day Three

Fat Camp, Day Three...
I started every day eating breakfast on the balcony...then choosing a new Frankensewed shirt. This was one of my favs...
Gee...I wonder why??
On this day, we were doing circuit training...moving from one station to the next in decreasing increments. I also Frankensewed these pants -- adding the big zebra stripe down the side so they would fit me...
I don't even know what some of these devices are called...
But they're all torture.
Me and Rhonda with Conn Mobly...the CFS Owner/Head trainer/ex-Marine
The ropes are brutal..
But nothing hurts as much as the sled.  Our trainer, Hannah, in the background...(setting up the torture obstacle course)
And, yes, pushing is much harder than pulling.
The ball weighs 6 pounds. (note the side stripe of my cute new stretchy pants)
The morning workout was so extreme, I needed to change shirts for the afternoon session...
But, we were done at 2:30 -- and then there's this...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fat Camp: Day Two

I'm not supposed to call it Fat Camp. THIS IS A FITNESS CAMP...

But, the truth is, I have lost a lot of fat. During the initial interview this year, I found out I've lost 5 1/2 inches around each arm. HOLY COW...yes, I was fat.

And I still have a long way to go. But I feel like, thanks to Fat Camp, I'm on the right road. For the first time in a long time...
One of my favorite Frankensewed tops.  It's actually an Iowa Redneck shirt!!
I cut away the too-tight neck, then cut the black back out, and added a white back that was 6"bigger...BOOM...new shirt.
Oh, I did add a new neckline that used to be on the bottom of these pants
And, on Day Two, I started a 750 piece puzzle...(I am an optimist).
Every morsel of food is delivered to the condo, each day.  The morning snack is a piece of fruit, and 12 nuts.
Rhonda and I always ate breakfast out on our balcony...with a view of a little bay...
And every day -- there was THIS WALK ON THE BEACH...
Some enterprising person made the perfect sand shark. It looked real!!
************** MMWI: 224.4 Hey -- it was Thanksgiving week. And I don't feel discouraged...I'm back in the pool at the YMCA...it's a journey, people!!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

CFS Fitness Camp: Day One

To review, last year, I accidentally attended a week-long fitness camp with my friend Rhonda Pierce. I didn't plan to go, I didn't do a lick of research (because I trust Rhonda), and I had very little hope.

But -- I went.  And it changed my life.  Something clicked in my head, I've lost 70 pounds, and I joined the YMCA.  So, this year -- we're back down to Florida for ROUND TWO...
Rhonda and I on Day One.  (I have enough Frankensewed shirts to stay for a month)...
This is where we stay, in a lovely two-bedroom condo.  The Gym is on the first floor...
Of course, I had to take my laptop...I was working on an interview for Inspired To Sew magazine...
Here's my bedroom (BEFORE I clutter it up)

Friday, November 24, 2017

I AM THE DUMPLING MASTER!!

As far as I'm concerned, one of the reasons a person WANTS to cook a turkey is so you can have leftovers...those delicious sandwiches...and -- then -- SOUP...

But, most of all -- DUMPLINGS...oh, my...they are SO DELICIOUS.

Last month, we had a sewing party at my sister Deena's house, and she was going to "try to make dumplings" for the first time.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  I am the dumpling master!!  So, we had a "dumpling demo" before our sewing party.

After I die -- the people I loved will remember two things I cooked with great fondness. First of all -- my homemade pesto. It is perfection.

The second thing will be my dumplings. After years of hit and miss -- I GOT THOSE SUCKERS DOWN PAT...and it's my #1 winter comfort food...
I am a BIG FAN of specialties -- whether it's food or sewing...

In both cases -- the food is simple, simple, simple. The TECHNIQUE is way more important than the RECIPE.

Dumplings recipe: (I always make a double batch)

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl oil
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Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Make a well in the center and add the milk and oil all at once. Mix it up with the fork until the wet is incorporated. (it will be thick -- don't overmix it).

COVER WITH A TOWEL AND LET IT STAND FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES. This makes a HUGE difference in your dumplings. They will start to rise in the bowl and get very tender. You cannot skip this step...trust me...

I often start with homemade soup.  I'll usually get three big bags of soup out of the Thanksgiving turkey. I put the soup in the freezer -- a bag of soup is a wonderful go-to meal to have. Ten minutes to thaw in the micro -- and you're in business.

The pan you use is very important. It should have a heavy bottom (you will not be able to stir the stew for at least 15 minutes) and a tight fitting lid. A glass lid is best -- because you can WATCH the dumplings steam up...

Use a flour slurry to turn your soup into a stew.  The stew should be just simmering -- not a rolling boil. If you accidentally get it too hot -- add a few ice cubes. Drop the dumplings into the soup, one spoon at a time (walnut-sized).  DO NOT CROWD the dumplings.

Cover the pot and SIMMER FOR 15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID during that time...

Here's the most important point. After your dumplings are cooked -- IMMEDIATELY REMOVE THEM FROM THE STEW. I use a large meat fork to lift them out of the pan -- on to a separate platter. If you leave them sit in the stew -- as they start to cool they will absorb the liquid and get very dense and heavy. You want the inside to stay dry and fluffy...

***************

We ate the dumplings before I could take a picture.  But, I'm telling you -- THEY WERE PERFECTION.  Light and fluffy -- completely dry in the middle.




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


Although some things never change -- Thanksgiving is not one of those things. A family is alive...which means it is always growing -- or shrinking. People come, people go (depending on the people, either one of those things could be the good news or the bad news).

Every family has their happy times. Birthday parties, graduations, good test scores, promotions, beautiful weddings, new babies.

Then there are the not-so-happy occasions. Kids move away. Couples get divorced and the dining room furniture is hauled off to the Goodwill. People die, they get sick, lose their jobs, or maybe their house burns down...

Every one of those things -- good or bad -- has one thing in common.

Change...


If you were having the perfect Thanksgiving....you probably would NOT be reading this blog today...So, I am going to assume that something about this day sucks.

You are not alone...Trust me...

If your day sucked -- if you feel lonely -- or somebody hurt your feelings -- or disappointed you...or you are dealing with a loss....well -- it's a very long line you're standing in...

Thanksgiving has become a holiday full of pressure.   Norman Rockwell painted a fictional picture that no family could live up to.  The people you THINK are having a better day than you are probably bored out of their minds, feeling jealous or resentful of their annoying siblings, pissed off at their ungrateful children, and have spent the entire day biting their tongues...

Chances are good they are deliberately telling you the Norman Rockwell-edited version of their day....pretending everything was perfect....because they fear YOU had a better Thanksgiving than THEY DID...

The good news is -- IT'S JUST ONE DAY!!

If today REALLY sucked -- my advice is to write it all down. Just for yourself. It is so interesting to read these journal entries AFTER the fact. It's how I learn. Every single time. If you write it down honestly -- then go back and read it next year, maybe you can PREVENT having another meltdown, crappy Thanksgiving.

But that almost always means you must embrace...that's right...let's say it together....

CHANGE!!!

************

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tie One On Day

If you're in the middle of a hectic day of Thanksgiving PREP -- take a deep breath. Today is the National "Tie One On Day", EllynAnne Geisel, who came up with the wonderful idea, told me there is no right or wrong way to do it.

TIE ONE ON DAY Give from the heart on Wednesday – then give thanks on Thursday
This Thanksgiving Eve, Tie One On (an apron of course!) and bring joy to the life of someone in need.

This year, every random act of kindness is being dedicated to the memory of Nancy Zieman....

Participation is easy and uplifting!
  • Simply wrap a loaf of bread or baked good in an apron
  • Tuck an encouraging note or prayer into the pocket
  • Present your offering to a neighbor, friend or person in your community who could benefit from your gesture of kindness
  • Tie One On – and put the “give” back into Thanksgiving
Tie One On Day™ is a win-win, for the participant and the receiver. And by embracing TOODay, you will make someone else’s day brighter.

****************

It's easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect. Your goal is to have the most beautiful table, moist turkey, perfect gravy, delicious pies...it's always more work than it should be. But none of that matters at the end of the day... It's about the people, people...

Appreciate your people. For who they are. For what they bring. Say some encouraging words...You never know if or when you might be saying the words they remember 40 years from now...Let them know you are proud. If not proud -- at least hopeful.

Kiss all the kids on the head. Tell them they are kind and smart and important... While every single thing you do today may not be appreciated -- Thanksgiving is one of those days that often remembers better than it lives...

2017 Frankensew Fitness

This week, I'm in Florida, WORKING OUT SIX HOURS A DAY...so I may not be able to write a real-time blog post....so, I'm going to publish some pictures of the Style Show of new Fat Fashions.

I did the unveiling of my creations at the TMBC party at Linda P's house...I SHOULD HAVE MADE THEM VOTE!!
I carried my new Frankensewed Fitness Wardrobe in my new carry-on suitcase.
This is the front of the bag...
This is the back of the bag.
This is one of my favorite outfits!!  (I am adding some leopard in with the zebra...very clever, eh?)
As if the zebra and fringe wasn't enough -- I added a glitter pouch.
But it's the WORDS that make this top my favorite. "If a man speaks in a forest, and his wife doesn't hear, is he still wrong?" 

Did I mention that our trainer, Conn Mobley, is an ex-Marine? I think I'll save this shirt for the last day...the workouts are already hard enough....I don't want to piss him off....