beach, enjoying family, Having fun, love, Outer Banks, vacations, Writing

The Day After Vacation

My husband and I desperately needed a getaway.  The first two times this year that we tried to grab a vacation fate intervened and distinctly told us “NO!”  First, we missed the Steampunk World’s Fair because my husband’s small umbilical hernia decided to go rogue and need emergency surgery.  Then, a  month later we attempted a camping trip, but I ended up with Norovirus, courtesy of my grandson.  Knowing that we still had our August beach trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina coming up, my husband and I guarded our health like the Hope Diamond.  It seemed miraculous that we reached our day of departure unscathed and  happily made it to the shore of Kill Devil Hills on August 12th, as planned.

We had our usual blast.  We scoured the beach for shells and joked that our shell overlord would punish us if we didn’t find the best and brightest shells on the beach. (Yes, we’re slightly silly!)  We visited the newly renovated aquarium in Manteo. We ate a ton of delicious seafood from all of our favorite restaurants (I’m not weighing myself until next week!). We swam and sunned with SPF 50, went to an arts and crafts festival in Manteo, and a drag queen brunch in Nag’s Head.  We saw four really good movies and viewed the eclipse* whilst on the beach (unlike our “president,” we managed to look ONLY with our little paper eclipse glasses).  While these were all wonderful activities, my favorite part of the trip was limiting our usage of all screened devices and just talking, reconnecting, and remembering why we’re so great together.

Today, my husband is back to work with a better attitude. I’m home, reinvigorated, knowing that by the weekend things will get busy again, but that I’ll happily embrace what comes my way.

Here are some delicious highlights from our trip:

We managed to take in the gorgeous sunset on only one morning–we managed to sleep in all of the rest!

I’m usually a wine drinker, but I just had to try the Lemon Grass Ale at the Outer Bank’s Brewery.  Their food is also quite amazing!

The two drag queens pictured are Jennifer Werner  and Naomi Black at J.J. Brewbaker’s Eggs, Bacon and Diva’s Drag Brunch.  Both were so naturally funny and  just lovely people inside and out!

The NC Aquarium has a sea turtle rescue.  The turtle shown in the specialized tank is Izzy.  She suffers from a balance problem and was unable to dive down to feed.  She’s fitted with special weights that allow her to regain her balance.

The Osprey nest was outside of where we were seated at Basnight’s Lone Cedar restaurant in Nag’s Head. Ospreys mate for life and they shared their nest with their juvenile offspring. The food and view were awesome!

*The eclipse pictures are courtesy of my daughter.  They were shot in WV. In NC, the eclipse had slightly more coverage at it’s peak, but I had no devices to film it with. The rest of the pics were taken by me.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Appreciation, beach, blogging, Exercise, Having fun, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, weight loss journal, Writing

I’m Back!

We saw this little guy right before we left the house for the last time. (photo by me)
We saw this little guy right before we left the house for the last time. (photo by me)

Last night, my husband and I arrived home from the land of swaying palm trees, menacing alligators, lounging lizards, magical Spanish moss, and good, old fashioned Southern hospitality.  Unfortunately, as mentioned in my previous post, we were in Hilton Head, South Carolina taking care of things after the death of my father-in-law.

In spite of the dreary task of clearing out, cleaning, and preparing the home for sale, we managed, during our long work days, to seek out the good.  In fact, everything we set out to accomplish was completed, not only with the best of intentions, but with fate placing the best of people in our paths.  Here are some of the highlights–not in any particular order:

  • Spending one on one time with my husband, and confirming how well we get along and work together.
  • Unexpectedly ending up with the nicest, quietest room in the hotel we stayed at.
  • Our hotel being located right beside of the Okatie Ale House–they have the best food in town with lots of healthy choices (even though I didn’t always make the healthiest of choices)!
  • Picking and eating the last orange on the backyard tree.  Delish!
Right from the tree to our tummies!  Yum!! (photo by me)
Right from the tree to our tummies! Yum!! (photo by me)
  • Meeting, and getting to know, the new neighbors who lived beside of my father-in-law.
  • Finding the many letters and family pictures that my in-laws had saved. (Oh, my goodness, my husband was a cute baby!)
  • Visiting Beaufort, SC in between appointments, on our last day in SC.  What a quaint, artsy, beautiful city!
Could Beaufort, SC be any cuter?  The Spanish moss makes you feel like you're in a fairytale! (photo by me)
Could Beaufort, SC be any cuter? The Spanish moss makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale! (photo by me)
  • Finally getting a picture of one of the alligators residing in the neighborhood lagoon.
  • Seeing two anoles on the day we said goodbye to the house.
  • Getting lots of meaningful exercise while cleaning, climbing ladders and lifting boxes.
  • Eating ice cream at least 10 times while away and not gaining ANY weight!!
  • Discovering that everyone in Hilton Head dresses up and finding amazingly great sales at White House/Black Market (I’m talking $100 dress pants for $14.99!).  (I’d packed very quickly, and completely wrong, for the weather and area–now I won’t have to shop for Spring!)
  • Encountering lots of interesting, fun, quirky, and extremely polite people everywhere we went.
  • Coming home to my gorgeous family and sweet kitties!

Now, I’m off to finish unpacking and organizing the things we brought home.  We decided to each choose a special thing to keep from the house as a memory.  My husband chose some wooden carvings of sea creatures that were in his home from childhood.  I picked my mother-in-law’s everyday dishes (I’m not a fine China kinda girl!).  I’ve always loved them, and they certainly make me think of family dinners and good times at the beach.

I thought these would be a nice memento of good times shared with my in-laws.  (Photo by me)
I thought these would be a nice memento of good times shared with my in-laws. (Photo by me)

 

I hope everyone is doing well.  Thank you for your kind messages and well-wishes while we were away. 🙂

Finally, a shot of that elusive gator!  Can you see how well he blends in to the environment?  (photo by me)
Finally, a shot of that elusive gator! This is the smallest one.Can you see how well he blends in to the environment? (photo by me)

 

 

Appreciation, beach, Having fun, Lifeventure SoftFibre Trek Towel, Prize winner, Thankfulness, vacations, Writing

I’m a Winner! (For real!!)

 

I'll be lounging right here this summer with my brand new beach towel!!!! YAY!
I’ll be lounging right here this summer with my brand new beach towel!!!! YAY!

Lucky me!  I just found out that I’ve won a gorgeous Lifeventure SoftFibre Trek Towel from the wonderful Le and David at their fabulous blog Wise Monkeys Abroad. I encourage you to check out their blog; they’ve traveled to so many wonderful places and share amazing pictures and stories from their trips.

It’s funny, earlier today, my eldest daughter and I were discussing our annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  The beaches there hold so many special memories for our family.  It’s a nifty coincidence that I would win a beach towel on the same day that I was so reminiscing about the sunny shore!  I can’t wait to take some great pictures of my new towel on the beach this summer.

Thank you so much Le & David!

beach, blogging, Exercise, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, weight loss journal

A New Look & A Little Bit of Relaxation

 

0relaxAs promised, I’ve made a few changes to my blog, although the one big change that I need to make is to actually get back to writing more!  I’ve had the time, I just haven’t felt much like writing. I’m back to having some of the same health issues that I blogged about a few months ago.  I have a doctor’s appointment with labs on Friday and I’m hoping that I’m not on the fast-track to a hysterectomy.  Like most people, I’m not a fan of being in the hospital and I fear the down time from exercise will cause me to gain back some of my weight.

On to much more pleasant matters…  Yesterday, I went with my best friend to a class on conscious relaxation and stress management.  It was held at a nearby university, but was sponsored by a local wellness facility.  We did several relaxation activities that included progressive relaxation and guided imagery.  Usually, when I do guided imagery, my “go-to” image is me relaxing on the beach.  Yesterday, I still chose the warm, sandy beach as my relaxation spot, but instead of lounging, I imagined myself effortlessly running as the sea breeze whipped against my face and through my hair.  It’s interesting that I’ve changed my concept of what’s relaxing.

I did learn two facts about stress relief that I wasn’t aware of.  Some of you may already know these! 🙂  The first, is that sleep is not nearly as much of a stress reliever as conscious (meaning while we’re awake) relaxation.  Who would have thought that being securely snuggled down in my cuddly bed, snoozing away, isn’t REALLY relieving my stress as much as meditation, progressive muscle relation, or guided imagery?  The second fact is that we can’t relieve stress passively.  So, when you get home from work at the end of a rough day and just want to unwind in front of the television, physiologically, it’s not doing much for you in terms of stress relief.  Active engagement is required for true relaxation.  Participating in a favorite hobby, exercising, or using conscious relaxation techniques are much more soothing choices.

I have a weigh-in appointment today with my bariatric doctor.  This will be my first weigh-in since I’ve been on maintenance.  My doctor told me that adding the extra calories will cause me to gain back a few pounds before my weight levels off, so I’m eager to see where I’m at.  The gym scale is showing 137, only a one pound increase, so I hope the doc’s scale says the same!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!  My hubby and future son-in-law have promised to create my new header soon, so more changes in my blog’s look are to come.

 

What’s your favorite way to actively relax?

 

beach, blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Exercise, vacations, weight loss journal, Writing

Rest for the Rested? Yuck!

Friday evening, I ended up at our local hospital’s emergency room. Low blood pressure combined with dehydration, and borderline low iron (from a premenopausal issue that I’ve been dealing with for the past six weeks), had me very light-headed and weak.  After many tests, I was given fluids and allowed to come home. Thankfully, the doctor didn’t feel that my diet or exercise plan was the cause of my problem; it is the lovely six week-long period that I’ve been having 😦 .  His instructions were to call my regular doctor to be seen as soon as possible, get plenty of fluids, eat foods high in iron, take an iron supplement, and rest.

I’ve put the call in to my doctor and am now waiting for her reply.  Fluids? Check.  Foods high in iron? Check. Iron supplement?  Taken.  Rest?  Reluctantly.  Very reluctantly. Since Saturday I’ve been mostly sitting around and it doesn’t bode well with me.  I like being busy.  On Saturday, my daughters cooked my husband’s birthday dinner, while I hung out with him in the family room and made shell ornaments.  By Sunday, I was in dire need of crafting supplies, and my husband offered to take me on a quick run to Michael’s Arts and Crafts store.  I was excited to find beads and frames on sale for 40% off. Woo Hoo!!!  (It really is those little things in life that make me happy!) I also decided to pick up some Envirotex Lite Pour-on High Gloss Finish ( a clear polymer resin) and some, clear colored glass tiles and rounds to make faux stained glass window hangings.  My husband decide that it was time for me to have my own drill for installing eye hooks, so we swung by Home Depot and he got me a small Dremmel drill and some bits.  Even though I’ve built stage sets and used real power tools in my younger years, he doesn’t seem to trust me with his tools. Yet, years ago, it was him that I drove to the ER after he almost  amputated his finger with a circular saw.  Go figure! 🙂

So today, I’ll be waiting for the doctor’s callback, drinking tons of water, and arranging pretty pieces of glass in very nifty, weathered, “beachy” frames.  The weather conditions here are too humid for working with resin, but I can make my plans. The resin and glass window hanging in the background of this picture uses the same technique as I’ll be using.  It was purchased at one of my very favorite places, the Seagreen Gallery in Nag’s Head, NC.

I didn't make the lovely resin and cut glass window  hanging that's in the background of this pic, but the ones I plan to make will be using a similar technique. (Photo by me)
I didn’t make the lovely resin and cut glass window hanging that’s in the background of this pic, but the ones I plan to make will be using a similar technique. (Photo by me)

If you drop by, say hello; I’m not going anywhere! 🙂 

beach, blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Having fun, Travel, vacations

Making the Beach Last Just a Little Longer

We returned from our vacation Saturday on evening to clean house, nearly stocked refrigerator, and a freshly mown lawn, thus confirming the sheer awesomeness of our children.  Though we had mounds of things to unpack, my only desire was to brew a big cup of coffee and spend the rest of the evening catching up with them.  Only our oldest daughter was home, as my youngest daughter was officiating a wedding while her fiancé was doing the wedding photographs. By 11 pm everyone was home and we stayed up well into the night chatting and laughing.

On Sunday, I meant to start my unpacking and laundry early in the day, but I just couldn’t bring myself to begin the activities that signaled the true end to our vacation.  Instead, I grabbed a bucket and some towels and took the huge pile of seashells that we collected out to the patio to wash and sort. My daughters joined in, and a couple of hours later we had a bucketful of gorgeous, sand-free shells.

After this task, I should have accepted my fate and turned on my washer, but the sparkling clean shells beckoned a trip to Michael’s Arts and Crafts store for display jars and other beachy accoutrements.

Of course, Michael’s didn’t let me down, and I soon had ten lovely jars of King Triton’s treasures to decorate with and give as gifts.

Just a few of my shell jars! (photo by me)
Just a few of my shell jars! (photo by me)

At one of the craft shops in Nag’s Head, I bought this little ornament and decided to break out my beading tools to make a few, (well, maybe more than a few), of my own!

An oyster shell ornament from the Seagreen Gallery in Nag's Head, NC. (Photo by me)
An oyster shell ornament from the Seagreen Gallery in Nag’s Head, NC. (Photo by me)
One of the shell ornaments that I made. (photo by me)
One of the shell ornaments that I made. (photo by me)
Another of my creations. (Photo by me)
Another of my creations. (Photo by me)
Another ornament made by me. (Photo by me)
Another ornament made by me. (Photo by me)
Beachy goodies! (Photo by me)
Beachy goodies! (Photo by me)

 

 

 

 

Finally, around bedtime, I’d conjured up the gumption to begin unpacking.  As, I sit here preparing this post, my washer and dryer are thumping and humming their welcome home song.  My butt may temporarily be planted in my recliner typing, but my heart is most definitely still at the beach!

My husband hung this by out front door last night.  Beachy houses don't always have to be near the actual beach! (Photo by me)
My husband hung this by out front door last night. Beachy houses don’t always have to be near the actual beach! (Photo by me)