Thursday, April 28, 2011

Not Quite Easter Eggs

Sorry people. I have a lot on my mind lately and I want to express myself, but it’s piling up so fast I not only can’t get it all out, I just can’t get started. Unfortunately that’s sort of what happened to my other blog. I got behind and kept wanting to catch up before entering anything new. It never happened and that blog died. Well, maybe. I have something new to post there now, but perhaps I’ll just include it in this one instead, as I think most of my readers are following me here now anyway.

So, where to start. Oh my.....
Perhaps I’ll start with what I just mentioned above.

I’ve been geocaching for the first time this year, and while we didn’t go very far, I do like to tell people where and when I’ve been.

I live in a tiny village, but even here there are four caches available for those who want to look for them. I’ve found a couple of them before, and even another that no longer exists. Easter Sunday was a really nice day to go for a walk, so I took my hubby and headed out.

The first one we looked for (GC26GHY) was what they call a multi cache. That means the way point that is given is not the one where you will find the cache itself. We had to check out a sign at the given way point, find all the numbers on it and then do some mathematics using them. Finding all the numbers is not as easy as it sounds, but we managed, and got the math right too. We know that because the nice person who was giving the clues gave us a way to know for sure that we were arriving at the correct numbers without actually telling us what they were.

Then, that’s where we ran into trouble. One of the numbers would tell us the distance to the cache in metres, while the other was supposed to give us the bearing to the cache in degrees from True North. It said to project a way point on my GPS to calculate where the cache was located. Uh huh. Some of you may understand that but I sure didn’t. I’ll be having to consult my manual to see if my GPS model even does such a thing. I could have tried to walk in a circle, but between the canal and the river, I’m sure I would have drowned in the process.

Never mind. We’re brave souls and we set out to find it anyway. We have enough experience at this that we figured we’d have some idea of where to look.....or at least in which direction to look, and hope we’d find a logical hiding place along the way. What I found was that the beavers had been very busy since my last walk in that area. While I was checking that out, my hubby poked about in a few places, and then found the cache using what he referred to as "man sense." Lovely. I am the registered member of, by the way, and I just log him in as +1 after my caching name when we find a cache. So hey, he may have found it, but I’ll still get the credit :)

The other cache (GC1NWQ6) was also nearby. I had looked for it for a few moments last fall, when I first learned about it. I followed the clues and looked where it should have been and it wasn’t. I wasn’t dressed for the adventure so decided to come back someday and look again. I did, and since I didn’t find it where I had expected to previously, I handed off the GPS to the hubby and he went right too it. And yes, it was right where it should have been! It was NOT there when I looked. But I could see where some smart #@$ may have put it just to make things more difficult. Or maybe that’s where it actually belongs and some lazy person didn’t put it back there this time. Either way, we (he) found both caches that day, but it did wet our appetite to go hunting again soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Moving On While Holding Steady

I am more than two weeks into my 17 Day Diet. In fact, I have started the second cycle a couple of days early. I lost a total of six pounds on cycle one, which is what they call the first 17 days. I lost seven pounds the first week, but gained back three when I ate at Wendy’s, even though I did just have one of their small salad bowls. I lost just two of those pounds last week, but I lost several more cm from around my hips and waist, which is more important to me than any number I see on the scale. I actually fit into something now that I couldn’t button up two weeks ago, so I know I’m making progress.

The two other meals I’ve had at restaurants in the past couple of weeks have not affected me at all. That’s truly amazing when you consider what I ate on Saturday. For lunch we went to East Side Mario’s and I ate a large quarter chicken (white meat) and a salad that was dressed in far more oil than vinegar (even after I got the vinegar bottle from the waitress and tried to drown it). For supper I had steak and peas and a caesar salad. I really did expect to see the scale jump the next morning as this was the first red meat and non cleansing vegetable I’ve had in the past two weeks. And usually there is something magical about restaurant food that instantly puts three pounds on me overnight, no matter where we go, or what I choose from the menu. Yet it simply didn’t happen. My weight held at the same level as the day before.

So now, under the second cycle, I can eat other sea foods and various cuts of beef and pork as well as oatmeal, rice, potatoes, corn, beans and a lot of other things that were not included in the first cycle. At least, I can do that every second day. The idea is to keep my metabolism from getting used to what I’ve been putting into my body lately. I’m now trying to shake it up a little. It will be interesting to see what happens now. I’m still entitled to liberal portions, and I have never felt hungry during this experiment. I am happy that I can switch things up a bit now though.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Painting the Naked Truth

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m taking an online webinar on how to paint from photographs. It took me a long time to learn to paint what I saw in photos, though I discovered that even some very good photos don’t translate well into paintings. Now I’m learning how to redesign the photo so it will work better as a painting. I’m told I should just use the photo for inspiration, but not try to copy it. Don’t let it dictate what the painting will look like, the instructor, Johannes Vloothuis says.

Well, I must say that I have learned all kinds of helpful tidbits over the past 11 weeks, and will likely miss sitting in on these lessons after the course is over. Next week is our 12th and final weekend of classes. I will try to apply as much as I can into my paintings in the future, but right now I’m afraid I just don’t have the skill set to do that.

I was just starting to get some confidence as I had a display at a local church recently and it was well received. People were even asking if I wanted to sell some of the paintings I had there. And then I tried to do some of the recent homework for this webinar, and discovered that while I can reinvent a scene, I cannot produce an even half decent rendering of it with my paints. I need to paint what I see, not what I imagine, or wish was in front of me. Suddenly what I paint looks like something a child would do. My confidence has gone right out the window.

Now, I do remember, when I was trying to switch from decorative arts to fine arts, I had the same problem. But as time went on I got much better, so I suspect this will happen again. I’ll get the hang of it someday, hopefully. But it does remind me that I don’t happen to have one ounce of natural talent.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Perhaps a Slight Change of Plans

As of Saturday I have been on the 17 Day Diet for a week now, and I’ve lost 7 pounds so far. My hubby is not on the diet, but he has lost 10 pounds in the same time frame. He’s eating what I’m eating, plus the usual carbs in his oatmeal at breakfast, sandwich at lunch time and potatoes or rice at supper. But since I’m trying to lose weight, he thought he’d try too, and he’s cut back on cheese, desserts, and cereal at bedtime. I said cut back, not eliminated, and yet he’s lost 10 pounds. I don’t quite understand this.

I know why I’m losing weight. Carbohydrates create energy. The body needs this energy to function. When people eat less carbohydrates, their bodies turn to fat for energy. It doesn’t matter if it gets the fat from something you just ate, or the fat around your middle. If you didn’t eat any fat, then your body starts using what you’ve stored and you lose weight. That accounts for my weight loss. If I could figure out what accounts for his, I’d include some of the extras I see him eat.

Actually, on Sunday we had to go somewhere and ended up eating at Wendy’s. I chose a salad that came with chicken, while he had our usual chili with his side salad. The pecans that came with my salad came in a bag, and while I tasted them (they were sugar coated!) I didn’t put them on my salad. For dinner we had a chicken stir fry. I was supposed to just put garlic and ginger and soya sauce on that, but I made our usual sauce, which contains, amoung other things, cornstarch and brown sugar. I even got into the rice a bit. Hey, I’ve been good all week and 7 pounds in one week sounds wonderful, but seems like an unhealthy drop to me. Well, sure enough, my weight is up a couple of pounds this morning.

I’m also a bit dizzy, so I think I’m going to have a carb included day today, and eat the rest of the stir fry for lunch. I love seeing those numbers on the scale go down, but it won’t do me any good if I’m not healthy when I’m finished. Checking things out on the web, I find that low carb diets are good for lowering blood pressure. That’s the last thing I need, as mine is considered low to start with. It would likely explain the dizziness though.

I’ve enjoyed my meals on this plan though, so perhaps what I’ll do is skip ahead to the next 17 day cycle, as various carbs are included in that one. It’s still a weight loss plan, just not so accelerated as the first 17 day cycle is. I’m not giving up, just modifying the plan to suit my own body.