Halloween Memories from the 50s

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Growing up in a small New England town, Halloween was a big deal. We weren't the norm since both parents worked. Our father worked at the local Post Office and our mother was an R.N., typically working the graveyard shift so she could spend evenings with our family.

Our costumes were store-bought. You remember them - thin polyester/plastic-like material, scratchy and ill fitting. Most of them were one piece - you stepped into them and there was a skinny string tie at the back of your neck. There was a hard plastic mask that made it hard to breath and see at the same time. Often, that came off before the night was out. But if you were real lucky, your mask was just a mini one, black with eyeholes and it sat on top of your nose. Oh, did I mention how much the costumes itched? I think I was a witch most years. That was popular as well as ghosts and clowns. Superman was a hit, too.

When we got older, we sometimes got creative. Hobos were easy to fix, gypsies were fun, as well as cowboys since most of us had our toy guns (with holsters) and a cowboy hat - as evidenced by me in this photo (approx. age 5).

L-R: Aunt Anne Blanchard, Uncle Oscar Lamsa holding my youngest brother Kendall, my brother Charlie, me, neighborhood friends David and Stephen Marshall.

We always went trick or treating on the actual day of Halloween. We walked our own neighborhood while it was daylight and if we were lucky, there might be an early evening visit to relatives or even a school/church party.

The weather was another thing. I can remember many Halloweens when we were bundled up in several layers of clothing under our costumes since the temperature had dropped dramatically in that final week of October.

What do you remember about Halloween as a kid?

Ciao for now!

"I found a quilted heart..."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

No, I didn't, but many others have. I started following their Facebook page, I think I originally saw a shared story from another page and it intrigued me. Every day now, I see one or more story about finding their quilted hearts. Some of the stories will bring you to tears, others make you smile. But they're all good.

The instructions to participate are simple...

1.  Sew It:
Create a unique handcrafted heart. (Use original heart pictured above for inspiration.)
Attach a tag listing the web site www.ifoundaquiltedheart.com and a note that says, “I Need A Home.”

2.  Sow It:
Put it in a public place to be found by someone you don’t know.
Think of clever places where someone would not be expecting to see a quilted heart.

3.  So It: Can find a new home!

Want to learn more about this project? Maybe even participate? Your heart might be the highlight of someone's day.
Ciao for now!

October 13 2018: Enjoy the Simple Things

Saturday, October 13, 2018

“Simplicity will stand out, while complexity will get lost in the crowd.”
Kevin Barnett

Till next month...

Welcome to October....

Monday, October 8, 2018

Well, the month came in with a roar and we are still reeling a bit. We have had family in town from Colorado for the funeral of our grandson. They've been able to see some of their extended family while here and head back early (REALLY early) on Tuesday.

I thought I'd share a few snaps for this first week of October...

I bought this great pair of leggings from a local gal - bit warmer than my regular ones but now I'm ready for Halloween.

I got my skull mug from Amazon and I love it...heavy and huge at 30 oz. Perfect for my Skinny Pirates (Diet Coke and Captain Morgan)

In preparation for family arriving, we did some last minute clean-up and de-winterized the RV. We discovered the kitchen faucet had a leak that Stu wasn't able to fix. At ten years old with eight years of almost constant use, we opted to buy a new one. We found this at Lowe's and absolutely love it. Instead of the side sink sprayer that we rarely used, this one has a pull down nozzle and came with a side dispenser for detergent, hand wash or lotion (your choice).

At the same time, we finally ordered two narrow end tables from Amazon for either side of the loveseat in the RV. We liked the extra features in this one, USB plug-ins as well as a slide-out shelf for cups and storage below.

We've had some nice weather where we could sit on the deck in the late afternoon/early evening. Few bug bites, but worth it. The NUB? That's a Bluetooth speaker connected to our Amazon Echo in the house letting me listen to my tunes outside.

The #2doods are definitely enjoying the cooler weather, whether in the yard or on the deck.

The hummingbirds are still active, just not quite as active as the yellow jackets. Both are getting read for winter.

We got out for a nice motorcycle ride a couple of times...low 80's made for perfect riding temps.

Saturday we went to the Muddy Pond Volunteer Fire Department annual BBQ. Delicious and well run. I opted for just the sandwich plate (no bun), Stu opted for the Adult plate (no bun) and we both skipped the included dessert.

And last but not least, sometimes an accidental photo (snapped as I was putting my phone into my purse) turns out okay!

Ciao for now!

A mere shadow...

Friday, October 5, 2018

It's true - we're a mere shadow of our former selves. Why did we do it? When did we do it? How did we do it? Here's a bit of a recap as well as some hints/tips for those considering this as a new way of eating (it's not just a diet, it's a diet change for life).

The pluses, besides the weight loss and better health: we rarely feel hungry and we crave the bad foods less and less. We know we're eating healthier, too, even when we eat out we find it relatively easy to order something that fits our needs. No sauces or gravies, hold the dressing (best on the side), forgo the pasta, potatoes and bread. Even fast food places are used to people ordering burgers without the bun.

But don't discount the medical benefits. Stu was taking three different medications for hypertension and one for type 2 diabetes. Is off all the original meds and only taking a low dose of another med for his hypertension. His blood sugar is consistently in the 80-90s every day. He is still on a statin for cholesterol but doesn't get more blood work done for a couple more weeks to see if that has improved.
BEFORE Dec 2017 - 40# loss - AFTER Oct 2018
BEFORE Feb 2018 - 29# loss - AFTER Oct 2018
We opted to go sort of a lazy keto route (high protein/low carb). Lazy because we only tracked our intake of calories and carbs. We started out by calculating the number of calories needed to maintain our current weight, our BMI, then our calorie intake limits to get our percentages for tracking (we used MyFitnessPal.com to track - the free membership only allows using a percentage and then calculating that into grams).

From there we set Stu's initial calories to 1900 a day and mine at 1200. We both set a limit of 20-25 carbs per day using total carbs (true keto uses a special calculation for net carbs, subtracting fiber from carbs). We had friends interested and I wrote an email outlining some of what we were doing as well as tips for starting. I'm going to copy that here rather than reinvent the wheel.

  • Pick a date!
  • Get rid of anything in the house that won't be on the diet (Exception, something you don't "crave" and is good for kids/company. I kept rice meals for company. We also bought lo-carb tortilla wraps for sandwiches with company.)
  • Calculate your caloric and carb intake restrictions.
  • Chose how you will be calculating your intake. We used MyFitnessPal.com because I already had an account. I set up a second one for Stu and tracked for both of us. A bit of a pain but eventually he got the hang of what he could and couldn't eat and his limits.
  • Realize you will have bad days! Just go back on the diet as soon as you can.
  • After the first 10-15# loss, allow a splurge day but still try to keep carbs as low as you can. For example, where we used to get two large pizzas so we would have leftovers, instead we got one medium and split it.
  • DRINK WATER!!!! LOTS of water...twice what you think you will need.
  • Realize you may have up to a 5# water loss in the first week until your body adjusts.
  • Be sure to get fiber in your diet so you don't get constipated. We use mixed nuts (a serving of 20+/-) and green olives.
  • If you start to feel flu-like, you need to get your electrolytes back to normal. We use Mio Electrolyte version as an additive to water. You can also use Powerade Zero, it's pretty sweet so Stu cuts it 50/50 with water.
  • You can still bake but you will need some new items in your pantry: almond &/or coconut flour for one thing and a sweetener like Swerve. There are a gazillion recipes on the internet, just Google Keto and lo carb with the name of a recipe you like. You can even make 90 second Keto bread! We printed out two slightly different recipes and kept the one we liked best.
  • Our diet mostly consists of: eggs, bacon, sausage, beef, pork, chicken, sliced deli meats, hard cheeses, cream cheese, dill pickles, olives, mayo, real butter, real cream (although I still use 1/2&1/2) and most veggies. We look at the carbs in anything we are going to buy. We use low sugar catsup, for example.
  • Fruits are pretty much a no-no unless you can limit yourself to 2-3 strawberries of 8-10 blueberries. Bananas are definitely out initially.
  • Corn is out as are all legumes (beans, peanuts). Watch the amount of carrots, onions and Brussel sprouts. 

We rarely hit our calorie limits. We only watch calories and carbs. Stu is currently at 1800 calories, he started at 1900 but we had to adjust when he lost 30#. I'm at 1100-1200 calories and strive for the low end. We both try to stay under 25 carbs, preferably 20 or less. On our splurge days, we go for 30-35 max. We do a splurge day every 10-14 days. It might be a ice cream (one scoop in a junior cup rather than 2-3 in a large cone) or pizza (thin crust and 1/4 the size we used to get. We still get popcorn at the movies but the smallest size available rather than the jumbo refillable bucket.

We track using the free website & app, MyFtinessPal. There are a lot of tracking sites/apps, just find the one that works best for you. I chose to display calories, carbs, fiber, protein, fat in MyFitnessPal but we only closely watched the calories and carbs. We also only did total carbs, not net (a formula where you subtract fiber from total carbs to calculate net carbs).

I have a lot of recipes we have tried or plan to on Copy Me That - a great way to save recipes you find. I print them out but can refer to them online as needed and make notes. Here are the ones we currently have save.

Fat bombs, like the chocolate peanut butter ones I make and we love, help when you might feel hungry or crave a sweet treat. I also make sugar-free jello gummy bears for me since chewy candy is my downfall.

An air fryer is great for this WOE (way of eating) because of the minimal oil used (keeping calories in check). We have also fallen in love with Kerrygold Irish butter. We can even get it at Walmart. I also got our almond flour there. Swerve, for baking, I got on Amazon but it goes a long way.

There are a million, gazillion websites talking about keto/low carb and many folks will scoff when you mention it and others are like reformed drinkers when they discuss it. LOL! So we usually just say we are doing low carb even though we are closer to what is called lazy keto.

Remember, this is a new way of eating (WOE). It's for life or you will gain it all back, unfortunately.

Some results are obvious, Stu is down forty pounds and I'm almost at thirty pounds. Stu hasn't tracked measurements but because women lose more slowly, I tracked mine. Here were the results almost 2# ago.

So yes, new clothes have been needed for both of us. Stu was wearing waist size 38 pants (a little loose) and 36 (quite tight). Now he's wearing size 34. He's gone from XL shirts (and they were getting tight) to L and even a M in certain ones. Yesterday he pulled out a brand new white dress shirt, never worn, bought two years ago for cruises. He looked like he was wearing a bed sheet! New belts, new pants, new shorts, new shirts and a great new blazer for dress. I've gone from tight 14 pants to slightly loose size 12 and in one brand a 10. Tops have gone from XL to some L and and some M. So the same thing, new tops, bottoms and even my first classic black dress (that I may have bought too early and may have to get tailored). The biggest surprise is my shoes are getting loose!

One last note, just for the women...if you are on Facebook and you are sixty or older, I have a support group for those following a keto or low carb way of eating. It's not a research group and technically not a recipe group, although we do share recipes from time to time. It's a motivation, how are you doing, how can we help, sharing and caring group. (You must be over 60 and female!!) Women Losing it after 60: Keto/Low-Carb Support.

Ciao for now!

A Helping Hand (family): Munson and Waddell

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Anyone who has known us for very long understands we have a very large extended family - VERY large. This was not a first marriage for either of us, not even a second. We both were widowed from twenty year blended marriages, bringing to our marriage a number of kids and grandkids. Of course, then some of our kids found themselves in blended marriages as well. So our current total is:
  • 11 Kids with 9 living
  • 25 Grandkids with 24 living
  • 10 Great Grandkids
Yes, as I said, VERY large. In the last year we've had two significant changes.

My son-in-law, Eric Munson, from my late husband's side of the family is battling brain cancer. The same kind that took Senator John McCain. They have remained very positive and have faith he will be able to beat this. In the meantime, they need help. They have four children with one in college and one soon to be in college. In addition, they became legal guardians of their young nephew (and our great-grandson) after his father passed away. Here is the link to their GoFundMe page:

GoFundMe Request

This past weekend we had more tragic news. One of our grandsons was killed while on his job. Kenny Waddell was working on a project in neighboring Cookeville on the weekend. Here are more details per an interview with his co-worker as well as words from his widow.

As a tower climber for more than 12 years with his most recent position being a construction manager for MasTec Network Solutions, Waddell and Dale Darling did a pre-check of the new anchors to ensure that they were structurally secure and then proceeded to erect the new Rohn 25G tower.
Waddell was the only individual on the tower when he was preparing to attach the second set of guy wires at 70 feet. A previous set had been installed at the 40-foot level.
Darling (the co-worker) informed Wireless Estimator this morning that suddenly one guy let loose from the anchor and the tower collapsed, plummeting Waddell to the ground on the section he was tied off to.
Although one news report said that “apparently a guy wire stabilizing the tower on a turnbuckle snapped,” Darling said that it was not a failure of the guy wire or the half-inch turnbuckle, but it appeared to have been caused by a shackle failure. [source: Wireless Estimater.com]

He leaves behind his wife and five children, all under the age of seven, including two sets of twins. He was thirty years old. We first met him two years ago, he is our grandson from my daughter's marriage to his dad. We got to meet the entire family when they came to visit last March while Stu and Kenny worked on the design for what is becoming the Backend of Nowhere Garage. Once again, we have a GoFundMe link for anyone who can help, even $5:

GoFundMe Request

Yes, both these funds have already raised over $25k already, but think about the challenges and bills ahead for both families. They will be significant and on-going. Thank you for any help, even if it's just sharing their story link with your family and friends.

In the meantime, remember...
Ciao for now!

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