16
Nov
2017

I have a cardiologist (because of a terrible, terrible family history and a couple of minor episodes over the past decade).  I am terrified of my cardiologist. He sounds like a KGB agent grilling you in a dark alley.   Well, last year, after a long haul with my mother and her cancer and, and, and, stuff … I gained some weight.  Mind you, the doctor was already urging me to lose weight. So when I went in for my annual in 2016, he let me know how disappointed he was that I was worse, not better.

I made a commitment at the beginning of 2017 to really follow through and develop an exercise habit.  Not a casual, hey I walked a couple of times this week and strolled through the mall, habit. But a, hey, I need to hit at least 50 miles per month and do some other odds and ends habit.  I am nearing my 600 mile target for this year.   I figured I would not try to diet.   Let’s cement this habit first.

So, the benefit of all that walking and hiking and swimming is that now my resting heart rate is around 51 bpm.  And, I lost 12 pounds this year.

I had my annual check up this week.  We talked about how much good my exercise is doing me.  So much so, that the doctor says, if I continue to gradually take off the weight next year, we can cut out a BP medication.  Yay, me!

So, this coming year’s commitment is going to have to be to continue to improve my exercise load and efficiency AND really start eating healthier.  We talked about that, he and I, and we both know that he knows I was lying when I said I ate pretty healthy.  He wants me to cut out the fast food.

I will.

But today, I celebrated with a fabulously retro lunch of Cheetos and Coke.  One step backward and all that, y’all!  Going forward tomorrow.

18
May
2017

I like to think of myself as open-minded and adventurous when it comes to dining out. However, there’s also that inner person who wants a guarantee that I’ll love my meal, so sometimes it dampens the desire to experiment.

But for mother’s day this year we tried a coastal restaurant that is new to us.  Their specials board had many interesting offerings, so I decided to go for something brand new to me.

I tried the “savory” cheesecake (crab and asparagus), after convincing myself it was probably a lot like quiche. Only, it wasn’t.  It was very much like a real cheesecake, extremely dense and very cheesy. There was even a sauce on top that was too savory for this girl.  So, this time, going out on a limb resulted in some lunch disappointment.

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I did salvage my lunch with a fruit salad side that was absolutely delightful. But, I also managed to embarrass myself when I asked what the small round golden colored fruits were that resembled peeled grapes.  “Raisins.”  Um, duh. But, in my defense, they had soaked up moisture and did not look like raisins.  I promise, waitress-lady, I am not an idiot.

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1
Mar
2017

One year, not many moons ago, I decided to challenge myself for lent.  I mean, really choose something that was a sacrifice and would be non-trivial to follow through on.  I chose to forgo shopping for myself whether in stores or online.  No little treats, no clothing, no books.  I would also donate a weekly amount of money to represent my non-shopping savings to charity.

I remember announcing this to the family when they asked what I was doing.  My daughter’s eyes grew really big, and she gasped, “NO SHOPPING? HOW WILL WE EAT?”  I soothed her upset by explaining that it did not mean I would not do the grocery shopping, just that I would not be treating myself to the unnecessary items that seemed to find their way into my basket.  Like those little irresistible nail polishes you find on the endcaps.

I was successful. The last two weeks were rough.  And the hardest item to eliminate purchases of was books.  I spent a lot of time in the library checking things out.  Too bad that habit didn’t stick for long.  I love them too much not to own them.

This year, I am trying to similarly challenge myself.  I am toying with the idea of forgoing eating out in restaurants, but that might be a tad too rough, as it puts a damper on the occasional meet-up with friends I don’t regularly see.

14
Mar
2016

We recently discovered a new addition to the North Alabama dining landscape – The ToyBox Bistro. I’m telling you about it, but this isn’t a critical “restaurant review.” It is just an impression of a fun little spot from an appreciative fan. I first found out about the eatery from this recent article in AL.COM.

What really piqued my interest was this quote: “Toybox Bistro is a homage in some ways to Timon’s late husband, Steve, who died five years ago from cancer. Timon said Steve was ‘an enormous collector’ who filled her house with lots of cool, high-end toys and games.”

And what a dear, sweet homage it is. I always wondered what would become of these sorts of collections. I know that my current yarn fetish will happily be consumed by my sister, but what do you do with a lifelong acquisition of all things geeky and game related? The interior of the ToyBox Bistro is filled with action figures, games and gaming cards. It is absolutely adorable and if you know any gaming enthusiasts from aged 8 through 88, they will get a kick out of perusing the showcases.

(Apologies for the crappy photos, all I had was my cell phone and it was a little dark inside.)

A wall of action figures:

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Some wonderfully repurposed pendant light fixtures:

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Each table top, under glass, has a collection of playing cards including Munchkin, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cards Against Humanity, etc.

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The food is well-priced, well-prepared and quite tasty! They offer adult and kid friendly items such as hamburgers, hotdogs, wings, salads and various other dishes. Beer is also on tap. We tried their special “waffled mac & cheese” and found it surpassed our expectations. It’s basically Mac&Cheese done in a waffle iron – you will love it if you are one of those weirdos, like me, who loves the burnt crispy bit on the top of a casserole.

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Check them out. They are next door to Sugar Belle (owners of the cupcake assault vehicle in town).

Websites: ToyBox Bistro Facebook Page; Sugar Belle