Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Day At The Park

Our day started out with Ralph’s visit to the dentist for a filling.  We both love our dentist, Dr. Sharon Verdinelli and even though there may be a little anxiety involved, there’s never any pain.

Dr. Sharon Verdinelli

You just know she’s not going to hurt you!  She’s great.  I’ve known Sharon since she was a teenager.  Her Mom, Joyce who runs the office was a client of mine when I was first a travel agent, more years ago than I think I’ll count at the moment! 😉  They’re all terrific at the office and treat their patients like family.  The Best!

When Ralph was finished, it was such a beautiful day, he suggested we grab some lunch and go to the park to eat.  Not a problem, I love to do that and it was a perfect day for it.  We grabbed lunch at Picasso’s and we were on our way.

When I say “the Park” I’m talking about the Red Bank Battlefield Park which is located on the Delaware River at the end of National Park, the town where we live.  Our family has a long-standing love for this park.  If I were to start talking about its place in my childhood and adult life, I could go on for hours.  It is a truly wonderful place and I’ll tell some of the stories as time goes on.

For today it was a great spot to have lunch.  There  are 2 pavilions for picnics and Ralph and I chose the one closet to the parking lot hoping that one might be quieter than the other one.  It was quiet and wonderful.

Lunch to go…

Ralph trying not to cooperate, but I got him anyway! 😉

Me ready to dig in!  We had a great time!

After lunch we went home and Ralph was feeling a little punky after his filling so he opted for a nap.  I had a chiropractor appointment soon so I was off to meet Gail and Alice for that.  This was my first to visit Dr. Maureen Wojciechowski.  Gail and Alice have been seeing her for many years.  She was terrific and I’m starting to feel better already!

After we were finished we stopped back at Gail’s house for a while.  While I was there, I got a text from Ele asking if I wanted to take a walk.  Since I hadn’t exercised, it sounded like a good idea to me!

Where shall we go…The Park!  Over the years, so much work has been done at the Park to make it  a great place to go.  There’s a beautiful walking trail along the river.

Kite flying!

The James and Ann Whitall House.  Very cool place, very cool history.

Two Sisters on a pier!  Tried to get the skyline behind, but…ah well…I keep working on it!

It was a great day and the weather was perfect.  As the summer progresses, I think we’ll try to make more use of the Park.  It’s so beautiful and a wonderful treasure to have grown up with in our back yard. 

Off to get some exercise and then grocery shopping.  I need to stock up on Everything!

Happy Thursday!!! 🙂




Finding Beauty Where You Can

Ralph and I headed out to our doctor appointments yesterday morning.  It’s about a 25 minute ride to our doctor’s office and we ran into a lot of traffic.  There is one particularly complicated traffic light where 2 very busy roads come together and everyone is trying to go everywhere.  It’s in a mall area and morning traffic is pretty crazy. 

I think we sat there for about 3 minutes.  I realized that directly across from where we were sitting was a speck of beauty. 

One of my favorite trees is the mimosa.  (I kind of like the drink, too! 😉  ) But seriously, I love this time of year because the mimosas are in bloom. 

It wasn’t easy to get this shot, as I said there was a lot of traffic and it wasn’t about to stop so that I could get my photo! I deleted quite a few because there was a blur of something in the shot, but here are my best two.

The tail end of an SUV…

The best one I got.  I look forward to the time I have a camera with a better telephoto lens that would allow me to get a close up of it.  But for now, I like this and it really did make me smile to see something so pretty amid all of the rush and traffic.  A nice piece of calm within the tumult.

Our appointments went well.  We’re both in pretty good shape and we both need basic blood work.  Mine needs to be done now, Ralph’s in October prior to his next appointment. 

I recently found out that you can actually set up an appointment to have your blood work done.  It elevates some of the waiting when you get there with will be a nice change.  I set it up for Friday morning. 

Now I just have to make sure I don’t eat after 8pm tonight.  I’m good at not eating when I’m trying to stay in control, but why is it that when you CAN’T eat, that’s when you want to do it the most??!!??  Not even a Tootsie Pop??!!?? 😦

Oh, well, I’ll make sure I have something satisfying for dinner so that I can carry it over.  I’ll just have to otherwise occupy myself.  Maybe I’ll get on my exercise bike.  That actually makes me less hungry.  That may work.

Off to Ralph’s dentist appointment a little later this morning.  Boy, with all these tune-ups he’s going to be in Great shape!  😉  I try to make sure he gets everything done that is necessary.  I want to keep him around for a Long time!

In fact, I have a chiropractor appointment this afternoon…we’re going to be the Bionic Couple! 

Trying to fit in a little sorting & packing today, too.  I’ve been slacking a bit. So I’m off to have a productive day.

Happy Wednesday!!

25 Burgers and One For Me!

I think I’ve finally mastered overnight oats in a jar (OOIAJ).  When I’ve tried it previously, I only added almond milk, I didn’t add Greek yogurt.  I think that was the trick.

This is an inside look!  I actually ate half of it before exercising, but it was very filling so I left the second half for after.

I decided I’d add some cinnamon to pump up the flavor a bit.

It really added to the flavor.  Next time I need to add it from the start.  I didn’t have any fruit to add and that would have made it even better.  As I say it was very filling, if I add fruit, it may turn into breakfast AND lunch!  Very good and I didn’t end up heating it in the microwave.  It would be a great trick to have up your sleeve for a travel day.  Have it ready and just grab before you go.  I’ll file that for future.

Have you ever noticed how some buildings that house restaurants somehow seem doomed.  One will open and then close in a short time, then another will open and then close and on and on…

There are several buildings in Woodbury like that.  The KFC turned into a Popeye’s.  The Taco Bell turned into an AT&T store. 😦  The building I’m speaking of started as I think a Burger King years ago.  There was a pizza place and then a fancier Italian restaurant.  In my opinion, I think it’s finally found it’s niche.

Let me tell you about 25 Burgers.  From what I know about it, it’s a chain of just 4 restaurants, but boy is the food good!  We’d been passing it saying that we needed to look it up on-line.  Since Gail and I are both vegetarians, we always wonder what we’ll eat at a place like this.  One day last week, we decided to stop and ask.  We didn’t think they were even open that early in the day but I ran in and asked the magic question, “Do you have veggie burgers?” The answer was “Yes” and not only do they have a veggie burger, they will prepare it in any of their 25 ways for you.  Not all because many of them have other types of added meat, but there are lots of options.

The decor is fun, with old movie star photos and great oldies music playing!

The basic veggie burger is the Athens Veggie Burger.  It uses the Original Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Patty.  They add feta cheese, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a multi-grain bun with Tzatziki sauce.  I actually think I got their onion bun.  Whatever it was it was DELICIOUS!!! 

Look at that…

Just look at it!!  It was so good and so filling.  They didn’t skimp on the feta which I thought they might.  It was great.  Ralph had suggested I order sweet potato fries with it because he knows I like them.  I didn’t because I was trying to be good. I’m glad I didn’t because I couldn’t have eaten them! 

The meatasauruses said that their burgers were really good, too.  Alice got regular fries and I sampled a few for quality control and they were Very good.  They’re seasoned but not too much.  Definitely worth an indulgence if I want to make it sometime.  Bet the sweet potato fries are just as good! 😉

The prices range from $6.50-$8.00 for a burger. Sides are extra.  It’s a little pricey for this area, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting them.  The burgers are Very good. They did a brisk business while we were there.

Brisk being the operative word because my only complaint is that it was Freezing in there.  I need to remember to bring a sweater the next time. (I didn’t say it would keep me away!)

Give 25 Burgers a try.  You certainly won’t have to eat the same thing every time you go.  Even the vegetarians have a choice! 🙂

We had a really good time there and I’d go back again! 🙂

Off to start the day.  Doctor appointments for both Ralph and Me.  Then we see where we go from there!

Happy Tuesday!

Bunny Days

On Saturday, on my drive to my Weight Watchers meeting I saw 3 bunnies!  I couldn’t believe it.  They were all spied along the same street.  It’s a very winding street with speed bumps and I like to think the speed bumps were there to keep the bunnies safe.  It was funny that when I got to the meeting and told my friend Debbie about the sighting she said “Do you talk to them and shoo them away and tell them to stay out of the street and be careful?”  I confessed that I did.  Guess that makes the speed bump comment a little less embarrassing… 😉

I’ve been thinking lately how I missed oat bran for breakfast.  I had stocked up on it the last time I bought it because the store had been out of it on my previous visit so I have plenty.  Sunday was the day.  Decided I’d feed my need.

Nice before photo…there is no “after” photo.  The reason is, I guess I really haven’t had oat bran in a while and the oat bran disgraced itself all over my microwave.  😦

The really annoying part is that I lost so much of it.  When I finally got the chance to eat it…after cleanup…it was delicious and I’ve decided I really need to have it for breakfast more often. 

I decided to try for a less messy breakfast for Monday and put together overnight oats in a jar (OOIAJ).

Still trying to get the hang of the overnight oats thing.  I added 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tsps Chia seeds and about 1 Tbsp of honey.  We’ll see if I like it cold or if I need to microwave it as I’ve had to in the past.

Did a few chores around the house and then Ralph decided we should go to the mall to use a birthday gift card to Sears (which I had found during cleanup!)  He needed a new sports jacket and thought that would be a good use of it.

After malling, we decided we were hungry.  Ralph is flexible and I decided that if I spoke up and suggested somewhere that would let me make good choices, I could stay on track.  I’m really getting excited about staying on track lately…have you noticed?!? 😉

On the way home, we stopped at Picasso’s Pizza again.  They have one of the best Big Tossed salads for only $5.00.  They also have excellent balsamic vinaigrette as I’ve mentioned before.

I like it because they add sweet bell peppers to it, a nice twist you don’t get on many salads.  Adds a lot of flavor.

When we got home, I was really tired for some reason.  I decided to relax and read while I watched a Law & Order: SVU marathon.  What could be better?

Accompanied by a Tootsie Pop…Wild Mango Berry…one of my new favorites!

Snacking was tough last night.  Couldn’t get myself under control.  I had popcorn and then I wanted something sweet.  I remembered I had the makings (what makings) for one of my favorite snacks.  Graham crackers and apple butter.  As sweet snacks go, it’s not too bad and it’s something that I don’t usually over indulge.  I enjoyed it.  Probably should have just had another Tootsie Pop… 😦

Anyway, this morning we’re back to bunnies.  Since I didn’t get any photos of the Saturday ones, here’s a Monday bunny. When I saw him out the window, I was sure he would scurry off before I got outside with my camera.  Fortunately, he did not!

He sat patiently for me.

Looks like the same photo, but actually it’s not.  When I tried to get closer…off he went.  I need a better telephoto!  Sometime soon…maybe…

Off now to eat my overnight oats, exercise and then on to perfect my sorting and packing skills.

Happy Monday!! 🙂

Changing Lives

You hear me talk about Weight Watchers a great deal.  Some of you may be tired of hearing it because you’re not interested in Weight Watchers or you’re afraid of Weight Watchers or you’re totally healthy and have a perfect body.   Whatever the reason might be why you don’t want to hear about it, I’m sure it’s valid.  I simply have a hard time NOT talking about it.

When I first joined, 24 years ago now, I had my own reservations about it.  I had heard about it for years, but you could never get any information about it unless you joined.  While I was in college, my roommate Barbara’s sister joined and she gave us the materials to look at.  By my brief examination of the information, I thought it was too complicated and I couldn’t possibly lose weight eating all of that food.

Many years later when on a Monday night, Gail, Alice and I stormed the basement of the Woodbury Heights Presbyterian Church, my mind was changed…eventually.  I remember listening to the orientation and thinking…”I can’t lose weight eating all of this food.”  I was wrong then and I am wrong to this day!  You can lose weight eating all of that food!

Over the years the program has changed many times until it morphed into the current Points Plus Program.  Some members were concerned about the changes.  In 24 years that I have been part of the program, members are always concerned when there are changes.  We are creatures of habit which is why so many of us need Weight Watchers in the first place.  Those habits need to change.  Weight Watchers works very hard to keep up with any new information regarding health and nutrition and incorporates that information into the program. 

Weight Watchers changes lives.  It changed mine and I will be forever grateful.

When I was in Florida recently, I had the first opportunity to attend a Weight Watchers meeting in a different area from my old familiar one.

The Weight Watchers meeting room in Dunedin, Florida about a 5 minute ride from where we were staying.  Very convenient!

Gail acting up when I tried to take her photo before the meeting!

This is Kelley, the leader of the meeting we attended.  She was enthusiastic and as you can see, I had a hard time getting a photo of her standing still.  Should have asked to take a photo of her, but she was happy to let me take photos of her in action!  Gail and Alice attend her meetings all the time when they’re in Florida.  I enjoyed the meeting and the experience very much.

Prior to reaching my goal at Weight Watchers, I talked about it so much that people thought I worked for Weight Watchers.  That always amused me.  When I finally did reach my goal, my leader, MaryLou had “the talk” with me.  When you reach goal and become a Lifetime member, members are offered the opportunity to work with Weight Watchers.  I took her up on her offer!  I was talking about it anyway!

I spent 15 wonderful years working for Weight Watchers.  On average I usually led 4 meetings a week at night after I finished my other job which at the time was as a travel agent.

Sadly, when I started to work in Mt. Holly and had a 25 mile commute each way, I had to give up my meetings.  It really broke my heart and I miss it all the time.  Since I do attend my Saturday morning meeting every week, I sometimes get to see members who used to attend my meetings.  It’s always a treat.  I miss them all.  I always felt that they helped me as much as I may have helped them.

Our Saturday morning meetings are exuberant and fun.  We are like a family and we all try to keep each other motivated and encouraged.  There are little groups within the group who e-mail and text throughout the week to keep each other going.

Frank, Joan and Darlene, our wonderful registration/weigh-in staff.  I had the good fortune to work with both Joan and Darlene during my years with Weight Watchers.  They are great ladies.  Frank actually made goal attending this class and now we have the pleasure of his company every week.  I always go to his scale (yes, I’m still superstitious after all these years. 😉  )  I tell him he’s my lucky charm…not sure if he believes me but I think he enjoys hearing it!

Now for the woman who changed my life…

My leader, MaryLou!!  She is the most wonderful woman.  She has helped me in so many ways and she is able to do that for everyone.  I remember when I was leading meetings how members became attached to me.  I truly think that is the relationship that develops with Weight Watchers leaders and their members.  The members that I see now from my meetings are still in my mind “my” members.  I’m just sharing them with MaryLou. 😉

She changed my life and Weight Watchers can change yours too.  Don’t be afraid of joining…the people you meet become like a part of your family.

Don’t expect me to stop talking about it.  It has become a part of the person I am.  I am so fortunate to have walked in there 24 years ago.  I am healthy and active because of the changes I made.

Now, I’m off to eat some Fruit!

Happy Sunday! 🙂

Egg-ceptional Days

After exercising on Friday, Ralph suggested that we go out to eat.  I was thinking breakfast, he thought lunch, so we compromised.  I had breakfast, he had lunch all at the Gateway Diner.  I had my new favorite, eggs with sliced tomatoes and rye toast with no butter.

I wanted to stay on track for the day because Saturday morning would find me weighing in at Weight Watchers. 

The afternoon brought trips to the Goodwill and Dollar Tree with Gail and Alice.  We love looking for bargains and these are the kinds of places we find ourselves.  I got a few treasures which I’ll get into in the next few days.

Probably because I didn’t actually have breakfast and had breakfast for lunch, I was hungry for dinner earlier than usual.  Ralph had his leftovers from lunch which only required heating up so he was taken care of.  I made myself one of my standard salads.

Romaine, spring mix, tomato and green bell pepper.

Topped with Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers and Ken’s Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Very good and very filling.

Snacking could have gotten out of control.  For some reason I was starving.  But this is where a little effort on one day can yield a big benefit on another.  I had lots of fruit, cut up, ready and available.  I had a big bowl of it and later, when I still had a craving for something, I had a little more and I stayed on track.  Hooray to Weight Watchers for making Fruit Free!!!

So what did all of that fruit-eating afford me???  A one pound weight loss at WW this morning!   🙂  I was so excited.  That brought me down to the weight I had been when we were in Florida.  The weight I had not experienced for a Very Long time.  I was excited to be sure. 

After WW, I didn’t have much time for celebration.  Today our town was having a town wide yard sale.  Because of that and because our next date for the Rummage Sale would be Fourth of July weekend and probably not a good idea, we had the sale today.  What a good idea!  There were lists made of all the locations participating and the Church was on the list.  We had so much traffic that sometimes we could hardly keep up.  The great thing is that now a lot of people who didn’t know about the monthly sale, now know about it and it will help us for future sales.

The really cool thing is that we made almost twice what we’ve made in the past.  I didn’t even have time to take any photos, because there was no goofing around.  But believe me, it was a great day.

When I got home, Ralph suggested I call Ele and we go to lunch.  I was pretty hungry since all I’d had this morning was coffee, a banana and a Luna Bar (Toasted Nuts n’ Cranberry, which was quite yummy!)

We wanted quick and easy.  We gathered up Ele and headed to Picasso’s Pizza.

Ralph waiting patiently.

Ralph looking serious with his pizza, which he and Ele both had.  I wanted it, but I’m trying hard to be good and I could get something I really love for fewer Points and less fat.

One of my favorites…pepper and egg sandwich with American cheese.  Delicious and filling!  Reminds me of my Mom.

Me and Ele…no we didn’t intend to dress like twins, just happens sometimes!! 🙂

Overall, it was a very good day.  Little Michael should be with us for the next few days, so we’re all looking forward to that. 

I’m tired now and I need a nap and a few more episodes of NCIS.  Gail has me hooked on this show.  I love it!  Plus I’m trying to finish a book.  I WILL finish it tonight.  Well, I hope I will…;-)

Happy Saturday!

Eat Your Fruit!

I sat down at my computer with my camera in my hand.  I opened the little door where the memory card should be and…EMPTY!   I look at the computer and there the little devil is sitting happily in its little slot waiting to do my bidding. 😦

Fortunately, yesterday was not a big photo day and I wasn’t happy with the photos I took and I wasn’t sure what I’d talk about today.  So as Ralph likes to say, Lift and Shift!

After exercise in the morning, I came home with Fruit on my mind.  I had half a watermelon, a pineapple and a cantaloupe to dismember.  Gee, I guess that’s not really a word a vegetarian should be using. Ok, disassemble.  Is that better.  I think so! 😉

I have gotten so enamored of fruit.  Before I started Weight Watchers, lo those many years ago I didn’t eat much of the things that were good for me.  As the years passed and I became more comfortable with the program, I started to eat the good things without thinking. 

But for some reason, I still never ate fruit very much.  I should have seen the indicators that there was something I was missing.  If I was ever at a party or a buffet and fruit was offered, I always gobbled it up.  I would buy simple things like apples, pears, oranges and I would never really eat them.  Many times the birds and yard critters would enjoy them because I let them get all funky in their baskets.

I think one of the things that got me to realize how wonderful fruit could be was the Clementine.  I disavow any knowledge of the Clementine until one Christmas (many years ago, now) my friend Valerie from Kansas City brought me a little crate of them.  I was not sure what they were, but I sure found out in a hurry!

I now pine for, I Long for, I CRAVE Clementines.  The sad thing is, you can’t get them year round.  Something I also didn’t realize.  They are wonderful and delicious and very inexpensive when they are in season.  As they start to go out of season they don’t taste so good AND they can be Very expensive.  I must confess that I have actually paid $9.99 for a crate of them.  I won’t do that anymore because, sadly they were terrible on top of being outrageously priced!

The season can stretch a little by finding mandarin oranges.  They’re tiny and taste almost the same, but their season fades too. 😦 

I love the Clementines because they work very well to keep me from eating other snacks which are not a good  choice.  Now that fruit is Free on Weight Watchers they’re even more of a welcome treat. Guess I’ll have to wait until next year.  😦

I’ll have to make do with the what we have now.  I’ve learned the joy of the seedless watermelon, and I can always get cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple at the local produce place.  Sadly, though the last couple of pineapples and cantaloupes were tiny and went bad very quickly.  There is something to the idea of buying local and I KNOW that pineapple and cantaloupe don’t grow in New Jersey.

Ralph and I enjoyed a Huge fruit combo bowl last night, which I can’t show you because I don’t have a photo!  Pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon and strawberries.  Excellent and filling. 

So since I didn’t have any other photos to share I’ll leave you with one I took in Florida.  It is a photo of a lemon, yes a lemon, not a grapefruit that came from Gail’s brother’s lemon tree.  My phone is in the photo to give you some scale.

Yes that’s a lemon.  Alice was bringing it home to have with her tea…boy, she Likes her tea!  I think that qualifies for Bigger Than My Head!

I got lots of sorting and packing accomplished yesterday.  I love the idea of listening to a book while I work.  It makes the time goe so quickly!  I actually finished the first book.  I had to stop to go to the library to get another one. 

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg: Book Cover

The Art of Mending was ok.

I’ve started In The Woods by Tana French.

In the Woods by Tana French: Book Cover

Pretty good so far.  We’ll see how it goes!

Off to exercise and then on to my project.  That basement is going to be sorted and cleared in NO time!


Happy Friday!!