I Am That Monkey

Yesterday, I ran over to Costco to get more frozen strawberries. Since I was there, I went ahead and grabbed six more bunches of bananas.  I’d just bought a case on Monday but since I always have to have them ripening I figured it would be a good idea.


The line was pretty long and the man behind me got a good chance to look at the contents of my basket. 

Him: Do you have a monkey at home?

Me: I AM that monkey. Some days I eat as many as 21 bananas.

Him: Well, you know they have a LOT of sugar.

Me: I assure you, I’m probably one of the healthiest people you’ve ever met. 

He looks like he’s considering this for a little bit. Then…

Him: You only eat bananas?

Me: No, I eat all kinds of fruits and veggies. 

Him: Well, then, you’d better write a book!

I had to laugh. It was just such a funny conclusion for him to come to. I’m sure he noticed that my diet made me a friendly person and I’m sure he’ll be looking for my book. ;-)


I rode a bike! I haven’t been on a bike since I was a kid but I rode one today. Here’s my experience. 

The biggest thing I learned is that while I might be able to run with my mouth open, I should most definitely not ride a bike with my mouth open. LOL! I’m pretty sure my protein intake is higher today. ;-)  


So I did it. I violated the first rule of raw vegan eating and bonked. Here’s the update.

Please note: I have no desire to get caught up in obsessive calorie counting or restricted eating. I mainly just want to set a level so I know how many calories I need and what that looks like since I’m not always hungry! :-)


Since I started eating the high carb, low fat, raw vegan diet, I’ve listened to other raw foodies on YouTube extolling the virtues and deliciosity of mangoes. I didn’t think I’d ever eaten one and, honetlly, I wasn’t sure how.


I saw the red kind of mango at Aldi several months ago and the glambaby and I were going to try it. I’m so glad I tried it first or she would’ve probably thought I was trying to poison her. It wasn’t good. I’m not sure if it was unripe or what. I sincerely had no knowledge about mangoes.

On our first trip to Costco here, I saw the mangoes and mentioned to David that I rally wanted to try one but didn’t have any idea of how to know if they were ripe or not. A lady who was selecting some for herself turned around and gave me a mini mango class. It was so sweet of her but I wasn’t ready to buy a warehouse store quantity of something I wasn’t sure about so I didn’t get any mangoes that day.


 A few days later we were at a grocery store where I got one yellow mango to try using the instructions the lady at Costco gave me. And guess what? It was good! I liked it. 

I need to figure out how to get into them better.  I didn’t know what kind of a seed situation was inside. The first half was a mess and I basically sucked the flesh off the skin. But the second half I was able to cut into chunks that came off easily when I ate them. 

So, yum! I’ll definitely get some more mangoes. :-)

Book Review: House of Echoes

House of EchoesHouse of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great, creepy book. It reminded me somewhat of The Shining.

Ben and Caroline move with their family out of the City after Caroline loses her banking job and their oldest son has trouble at school. While looking at Ben’s grandma’s house after her passing, he notices The Crofts. They decide to buy it, renovate it, and turn it into an inn.

As they begin to work on the house, Caroline, who has had periods of depression, starts feeling put upon. She’s trying to turn the Inn into something out of a magazine and she feels like she’s doing it all by herself. Ben, a writer, is having trouble with his second book, and their older son Charlie, keeps withdrawing more and more spending hours outside.

The house and the town itself have a creepy history and it’s chilling and creepy to see how they finally get away from it all in the end.

I recommend this book. Great story, plot and it’s a page turner. :-)

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Book Review: Scent of Triumph

Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and PassionScent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion by Jan Moran

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulous book! I loved the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a perfumer from France and her family as they traveled through WWII.

Danielle is married to Max. They are on a ship to England the day that war breaks out. Danielle is pregnant with her second child and they have left their other son at home in Poland with Max’s mother, Sofia, as he was too young to travel with them. After they arrive, Max decides he needs to help the resistance. His half brother, Heinrich has turned into a full blown Nazi and they feel Max can help out by getting information from Heinrich. Sofia and Nicky are on the run with neighbors to get away from the Nazi’s.

Max loses his life and, try as she might to find him, Danielle loses Nicky and Sofia. She takes her daughter, niece and mother to America where her friend Jon’s sister lives to try and be safe and start over knowing she will never stop trying to find her son.

America is hard, as Danielle works as a shop girl. She wonders if she can ever get ahead. Finally, her boss invests in her perfumes and designs launching the career that will save them.

Jon writes to Danielle. He loves her but feels it’s too soon after Max’s death to tell her. She loves him but knows she can’t go back to London with her family while the war rages on. She ends up marrying another man after misunderstanding Jon’s intentions and he marries another woman whom he doesn’t really love.

The story is about a strong woman who goes through so much but refuses to quit. In the end she succeeds and has everything she wants.

Terrific book! I highly recommend it. :-)

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I Ran!

I was so excited to run this morning. I used to run all the time, completing as much as a 20k. I was a member of the Chicago Area Runners and I did races a couple of times a month. My favorite race was the Chicago Avenue On The Run that took place on Mother’s Day. My favorite distance was the 10k.

I don’t “look” like a runner. I’ve never been built that way. I’m built for distance, not speed. I was never fast but I was never the last person across the finish line either. 

It’s been a long, long time since I ran with any regularity. I ran some for fitness 15 years ago but it’s been since the early 90s since I was a regular runner.

Still, on my goals list I have a 5k, 10, half marathon and a whole marathon.

Before we left Tulsa, I told myself I’d start running again once I reached a certain weight. But since I’ve banished the scale now and have no clue how much I weigh, I decided that today would be a good day to start.

I’m still learning my way around here and I got a nice warmup walking to the trail where i wanted to run. I am pretty sure there’s got to be a better way to get there than the one I chose that included a LOT of stop lights and traffic. 

I got to the trail and started running. It was HARD. Every time a bike passed me I thought, “I need a bike”. More than once I thought, “I’m never doing this again” but an interesting thing happened on my walk home. Where I happened to get a little lost-ish thereby extending my cool down by about a half a mile. 

I thought, “You know what? I will do that again! It was good. I can’t believe I actually ran!” 

That put a smile on my face. :D

Like my friend Marie told me this a.m.

I know that’s true. I’m excited for that day. I’ve planned a half marathon in September and a full marathon in May of 2016. It will be so much fun to cross those off of my goals list. :)

Uncharted Territory. Literally.

I’m very competitive and for the past year or so, I’ve had an UP band. The UP band recorded my sleep, exercise, calories, weight, etc. 


In addition to the UP band, I also recorded all of my walks with the Runkeeper app. I liked to see if I could walk farther or faster than the last time, constantly competing with myself. 


I also would weigh myself. Every day. The scale was sort of my ruler. Let me give you some background.

I am really tall, 5’11″, and I have a large frame. When I went through puberty and got bigger than all of the rest of the girls in my class, I became very self conscious. I was, by no means, fat. But I felt fat because I was just so much bigger than my classmates. 

When I was in fifth or sixth grade, my mom started going to Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight. Once she reached her goal weight, she became a lecturer for Weight Watchers, inspiring others to join her in weight loss. When I told her that I felt like I was too heavy, she began feeding me in the Weight Watchers style, even sending me “diet ” lunches to school. Again, I wasn’t overweight. But I felt like I was.

In high school, in an attempt to drop a few pounds I started taking Ayds diet candy. Does that even sound good? It wasn’t. I had a job and I bought them myself but I hid them in my drawer because I was afraid my mom wouldn’t approve. Did I lose weight? No. Was I fat? No. Not even as a sophomore in high school was I fat. 

But I thought I was. 

After high school, I joined the Marine Corps. I was over weight (by USMC standards) by about five pounds which they told me I must lose before I went to boot camp. My recruiters told me to take laxatives and water pills. That combined with the running they had me do, helped me to lose the weight and be off to boot camp.

Of course, once in boot camp, because of the way I lost the weight, it came back and I was put on weight control. I had to eat the “diet” foods (lemon jello? really?) and show my tray to my drill instructor before I could sit down and eat the food on it. 

Thus began a cycle of weight loss via laxatives, water pills and exercise followed by weight gain, then weight control and finally an eating disorder. When I was 22, I was diagnosed with bulimarexia. I struggled with disordered eating my entire adult life until 1999 when I finally pushed myself over the edge and shut my metabolism down. 

I had decided to do a body building show for my 39th birthday. This might have been all well and good if I didn’t decide to do a pageant the week before. Anyone with half a brain knows that those are two very different looks. But I wanted to do it all. 

 I didn’t do well in either. 4th runner up at the pageant, last at the body building show. After that, my body just started shutting down. But I didn’t know it. I knew I was incredibly tired and I started gaining weight pretty rapidly. So, despite how awful I felt, I started running five miles a day. That didn’t last too long though because within a couple of weeks I was down and out. In bed. It hurt to lay there. I wasn’t sure what I had done to myself but I used every single moment I could bear it to research the internet to find some answers. 

I finally figured it out but it took me five doctors to get one doctor who would agree to do a free T-3 test. The cost of the test? $45. After the tens of thousands of dollars they spent finding nothing wrong with me, I was right and the free T-3 test showed that I had shut my metabolism down. 

I will forever be grateful to Dr. Wall for listening to me and doing the test. He said he’d do it, since I was insistent but that he was going to do other tests as well. I also had to start taking vitamins intravenously because it was the fastest way to get nutrition to my cells.

I had nearly died.

The shut down of my metabolism caused me to gain 100 pounds over three months, weight that hung around for quite a while. I was now, finally, fat. Weighing in at 270 pounds, I was fat and my joints ached, but I was alive. 

It was around three years later before I was able to start losing weight again. Even though it came off very slowly I was happy. It made me believe that I was healing, that my metabolism was back no matter how slow it was. 

Throughout all of this there was my scale. I felt like it was one of the last vestiges of the disordered eating. I just couldn’t let it go. But I had an unreasonable relationship with Mr. Scale.  If I lost weight on a day, I was happy. If I gained weight, I wasn’t. It directed my life for many long years.

When I was packing to move to San Jose, I debated with myself about leaving the scale in Tulsa. I wasn’t sure I could do it. It felt like I would be leaving a child behind. But in the end, I did. I left Mr. Scale right where he was and drove away.

We got to Arizona before I panicked over what I had done. I quickly texted two of my friends who were quick to assure me I had done the right thing. I calmed down. 

Today as I was walking I had a thought: I’m free. Yes, I’m free. 

For the first time in years, I have no idea what I weigh because I have no scale. I never replaced the UP band so I have no idea how many hours I’m sleeping or how many steps I’m taking in a day. I stopped recording my walks on the Runkeeper app because I walk extensively downtown and there are stop lights that must be obeyed. 

And guess what? I’m fine. 

I feel amazing when I walk like I always do when I eat a raw vegan diet. I’m walking a lot because I walk to the grocery store, or any number of places downtown. We are the last apartment before the stairway and I found out that the stairway lets me out right by my parking place. I use the stairs every time I go down or up unless I have the dog or I’m carrying something heavy. There’s a gym here where I ride the Lifecycle every morning in preparation for getting my real bike. How long do I ride? No idea. Somewhere around 35 to 45 minutes I speculate. But, really? It just doesn’t matter.

I’m more active than I’ve been in a long time and I have no idea of the numbers. It’s definitely uncharted territory and it will remain so. :-)


Book Review: At The Water’s Edge

At the Water's EdgeAt the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh how I loved this book! I wanted to read it because I’d read Water For Elephants and loved it.

This story is about Maddie, Ellis and Hank. Maddie and Ellis are married to each other and Hank is their best friend. They are wealthy and living the high life during World War II. Ellis gets himself declared color blind and Hugh gets himself declared flat footed so neither is able to serve in the military. Ellis’s father, a former Colonel, is disgusted with this fact and eventually cuts Ellis’s allowance off.

The men decide to go to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster, something Ellis’s dad did back in the day. They plan to get the monster on film thereby becoming famous in their own right and also redeeming the Colonel whom everyone thought manufactured photos of the monster.

They cross the sea on a supply transport. Right before they arrive, another ship is bombed and they go back to pull the sailors out of the burning sea. This spectacle changed the way Maddie looked at life in general.

While they are in Scotland, they stay at a guest house run by Angus, Meg and Anna and this is where the story actually begins.

I loved seeing Maddie’s character grow throughout the story. I loved that Ellis eventually got his and that Maddie got hers.

What a great book! I highly recommend it. :-)

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Book Review: Swan Dive

Swan Dive (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery #3)Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderful book by Kendel Lynn. I read the book that came before Swan Dive and fell in love with the character of Elliott Lisbon. She’s smart and, while she works running the Ballantine Foundation, she’s also working towards her private investigator’s license.

When one of the dancers in the foundation’s production of the Nutcracker turns up dead, Elliot is right in the middle of the scene of the crime. She works to find out what happens because she feels the police are going in the wrong direction.

The relationships between Maddy and Ransom are sorted out in this book and I’m happy with how that turned out. Maddy seems like a really great guy but Ransom seems the one she should be with.

This book was fun to read and kept me guessing until the very end. I’m looking forward to the next book! :-)

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