The Last 4 Years

I was diagnosed with diabetes a little over 4 years ago.  I was at my heaviest weight then.  My A1c was over 9 !!!!  That’s outrageously high.  It scared the bejeezus out of me so I immediately went on a low carb diet and lost about 50 pounds.  Along with medication, that brought my A1c down to the low 5 range.  Some say that drastic reduction may not have been safe but that’s how it went.

Over a 4 year period, I gained about 15 pounds back which wasn’t so bad considering most statistics on weight loss.  When I did that crazy pesticide poisoning thing, I lost most of that gain and decided to get real about my health.  The pesticide scare really made a lasting impression.

Right now, I’m below that 50 pound loss and I’m getting excited about it.  The loss is a direct effect of the changes in my nutrition lifestyle.  Just so you can see where I was before that diabetic diagnosis, here’s a pic.  I’m not sure if this is my heaviest or not but it’s surely not a good weight!


This picture was taken at a retreat I used to host in Arkansas that we called “Quilter’s Romp”.  This insane getup was them bestowing me with all the garments worthy of a “Fearless Leader”.   What a group of great gals!  We always had a wonderful time at these retreats.

Bread Pudding_DeniseOriginal (2)          This picture was taken at another “Quilter’s Romp” held in Jasper, AR at a huge log cabin in the woods.  And a good reason, I gained so much weight and developed diabetes.  I’ll just blame this on Jan.  I was eating the leftovers of her Peach Bread Pudding.

Now onto better times.  After I lost that 50 pounds but had gained back 15 pounds, we have a pic of me and DH at my cousin Alice-Rachel’s wedding.  I felt much better and looked better in my clothes.DonSheryl (2)


But still too much weight.

This was taken this afternoon in the Paca barn.  Ignore the mess.

Me and Baby Ray

Me and Baby Ray

I’ve never compared pictures of myself at different times in my life so this has been kind of fun.

Baby Ray in case you don’t remember is our “blind” paca.  He can see some things but still runs into things.  This afternoon he ran into the fence twice.  He’s never going to be a big boy like our other boys and we don’t think he’ll even be as big a Bullet who is on the small side.  He gets plenty to eat and never lets anyone run him away from the food.  He’s just a smallish guy.  We love him!


Mmmmmm Good


If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know I’m working on my health.  I’ve done the “Fed Up” 10 day sugar challenge and since then I’ve stayed pretty much sugar free.  For about 3 weeks, I’ve been about 99% grain free.  I say 99% because I did slip a couple times….I ate a few pieces of onion blossom at Outback and I ate 2 small pieces of fried green tomatoes the other night.

I’ll admit that the grain-free is a much bigger challenge than sugar.  Practically everything on the shelf at the grocery store contains grain.  Look at the labels and you’ll be shocked!

We were at Olive Garden last night at a meeting regarding this year’s American Cancer Society “Relay For Life”.  I ate salad and passed on the croutons and their luscious garlic bread.  Don ate salad with croutons and the bread.  (Thank you Olive Garden for hosting the meeting) Gasp!  Well, to start with, I don’t really like croutons anyway so that was super easy and I’m not really a bread eater but I do love their garlic bread as do I love rolls at Ryans, Logans…etc…you get the idea…nice fluffy yeast rolls.

That wasn’t enough for dinner so we stopped on the way home and bought some Ahi Tuna steaks and I fixed those up for us.  I made the marinade found on this page and cooked them somewhere between medium rare and medium well.  We’re not quite ready to eat fish that is rare.  It was delicious.  I also boiled some potatoes and slathered them with butter.  Yum.  I don’t limit butter.  Fats are not your enemy!  They are required in your diet for several reasons.  One of the most important is to enhance satiety of food….it doesn’t empty as fast and you don’t get hungry as quickly after eating.

Keep in mind that I’m not going strictly any one kind of diet or another.  I’m interested in the concepts in Paleo and Primal but I’m not giving up dairy products, nor root vegetables (potatoes) or natural sweeteners in limited amounts.  Nor am I totally giving up my Truvia.  But—-I have severely restricted my sugar intake and obnoxious carbs (those that so impact my blood sugar) and I’m working on total elimination of wheat.  I may add some grains back to my nutrition.  And while I do need to lost more weight, that’s not the principle reason here….I want to be healthier and feel good.

I just finished reading “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis and after I muddled through all the scientific mumbo jumbo, I really found I could apply a lot of his teaching into my life.  And there are excellent recipes at the back of the book.  You can probably request it from your library.  That’s what I did.

I’ve read through some of “The Paleo Diet” and before I take it back to the library, I’m going to skim over it again.  Thanks to Beth, I’ve found a great blog called “Against All Grain“.  Read her story.  It’s nothing short of amazing.  I’ve joined “The 21 Day Sugar Detox” and am following it with some adjustments based on what I have in my kitchen.  The great thing about it is that you choose a date to start the detox and you get an email from her everyday with information and a suggested meal plan for that day.  That’s a huge help to me.

I’ve ordered a few kindle cook books that I’ll tell you about after I have a chance to download them and check them out.

So, how did I make the Garlic Asparagus Saute?  I kind of followed a recipe from “Wheat Belly”.  Here’s what I did.

Chopped off the ends of a bunch of clean, fresh asparagus and cut the remaining into approx. 2″ pieces.

Olive oil in the hot skillet followed by the asparagus.

Finely grated 4 cloves of garlic on top

Sprinkled with Mediterranean sea salt

A nice sprinkle of onion powder

Freshly ground pepper on top

Toss it in the hot skillet until well mixed and the asparagus turns bright green.

I ate it with a 4 ounce medium rare steak.

Yummmmmmmm.  And practically no carbs at all!

Just in case you’re thinking it’s extravagant to eat steak for lunch at home…..I shop for values.  I usually don’t buy steak for myself unless it’s marked down for quick sale.   I do buy filet mignon but I can usually get 2 meals from one steak.  I can get 2 or 3 meals from a ribeye depending on it’s size.  So, what that means is that I can eat good quality beef at prices less than I can go buy fast food for so no guilty feelings here.

If you love fresh asparagus, give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll love it as much as I do.


The OMG Category

This post falls into the OMG Category.  I could not believe what I was reading when I got the noon news in my inbox today.

There are sites that allow you to send pictures of a key and they will duplicate the key and mail the duplicate to you.  You don’t have to provide any kind of proof that you are the legal owner of the key (and how would you anyway?).  But you can be careful and avoid this from happening to you.

This is downright scary!  My keys are on a ring that is easily separated.  I have my vehicle keys on one end.  The other end has the keys to buildings.  In between the 2 ends is a connector.  All I have to do is do a little maneuver and I can hand off the vehicle keys and keep the other keys in my pocket where they belong because I don’t like the idea of others having access to my keys.  I did that long before I saw this and now I’m so glad I did.

Take a look at this.  It will make you more vigilant about protecting your keys.  It may save your life one day.

Cyber Key Duplicators


Too Darned Much STUFF

I have too darned much STUFF.  STUFF is taking over my life.  Actually STUFF has already taken over my life.

I was under the impression that when I moved my quilting to The Barn, it would relieve some of the burden this STUFF.  I was mistaken.  It just made it easier to get more STUFF.

Now that Don has plans to move me and my STUFF back to the house in a new studio, this STUFF has got to have some serious consideration.

Part of my Feedsack STUFF.....just part of it.  There's more in boxes in the house!

Part of my Feedsack STUFF…..just part of it. There’s more in boxes in the house!

The problem with the feedsacks is that I adore them.  They remind me of my childhood and my dearest Granny Dorsey.   I say I’m going to sell some of them but I never do.

I’ve got too much STUFF in the form of quilting fabrics.  Just take a look at this!


One side of the reds


Part of the Thimbleberries collection


Yellows and Oranges.  Yep, that’s a Gone With The Wind Feedsack at the top of the stack.  Love it!

There are similar shelves of greens, blues, browns, purples, novelties, batiks…etc….not to mention the shelves in the kitchen of yet-to-be-washed fabrics.

All this STUFF if NOT coming back to the house so I’m going to have to do some serious downsizing.  I need to get busy and start listing this fabric on one of the yahoo sale lists.

I think I’m going to cry.


Rewarding Results

I have gone crazy over plant propagation.  I love taking cuttings and making new plants.  And when they flower, it’s the most amazing feeling.

About 2 years ago, Chris and I got cuttings from a climbing rose from Beth and we spent the majority of a day preparing those and sticking them into a bucket of dirt.  Actually, there were so many cuttings I think I remember having 2 buckets full of cuttings but 1 bucket didn’t make it.



This is what the cuttings looked like after they took root.  It didn’t take them very long. to put out new leaves.  See how tiny they are?  The flowers are tiny also.  I have close to 2 dozen new plants from this bucket.

BethsRose500x425It is such a sweet little blossom but this plant is very thorny!

We also worked on Althea cuttings I got from an older friend.  There were 2 varieties.  One (my fave) had a small, baby pink, carnation type bloom.  Those didn’t live but I have plans to get more cuttings.  The other one is a lavender bloom and it’s very pretty.  Here’s what the bucket looked like with the cuttings.


Althea Cuttings

When I stick cuttings, I don’t use individual cups and I don’t use a special rooting medium like sand or vermiculite.  I use potting soil with alpaca beans mixed in.    I do dip each stalk into a rooting hormone before putting it into the soil mix.  I put all of one kind in a large pot or bucket together.  I think the cuttings like to be with each other.  I think there’s a synergy between the cuttings that improves the success rate.  I’m not a scientist but I’ve read that it’s true about Hibiscus and I believe it to be true about other plants.  That’s just my opinion.  And it works pretty well for me.

I check the pots at least twice a day so I don’t miss anything new going on!  I let them all grow in the pot together until they start climbing out of the pot.  Then I transplant them into their own little pots.

Two years later, here is a bloom.  LavenderAlthea500x375

My favorite plants to propagate are roses.  When we go to see Chris, he and I spend some time pruning rose bushes on the campus at Pinecrest.  It’s the only volunteer activity I can do as a parent since we live so far away.  Don’t worry.  I won’t get into trouble for cutting their bushes.  I got permission from administration.  We have no idea what the names of the bushes are but there are a large number of different varieties.  We put the cuttings from each bush in a separate garbage bag and when I get home, I prepare them for sticking.  I label the pot or bucket as unknown.    I’ve got several different containers going. This is the first bloom I’ve had from one of those rooted cuttings.  I would love to know what it’s name is.  I just love the bloom structure.  The bloom size is about 2″ tip to tip.


Still in the pot with it’s siblings.

So, here’s the process I use for propagating roses:

  • Take cuttings from new wood in the spring/old wood in the fall
  • Put the cuttings into a big trash can filled with water until I can work on them
  • Cut each branch into as many pieces as I think will work.  I cut just below a leaf node and make sure there are at least 2 leaf nodes on the stalk.  I prefer leaves on top but sometimes that’s not possible
  • Trim leaves by half to preserve energy during the rooting process
  • Lightly scrape a couple of strips in the outer layer of the stem just below the leaf node.
  • Keep all the prepared cuttings in a dish of water
  • Shake off excess water from the stem and dip into rooting hormone powder.  Shake off excess powder and stick the stem into the dirt covering at least the first leaf node, preferably the bottom 2.
  • Continue until you have filled the pot/bucket with all the prepared cuttings.
  • Place it in a dappled sunlight spot for rooting.  You want it to get sunlight but not be in the hot, burning sun.
  • Keep it moist, but not a soppy mess!
  • Watch and wait until you start to see new growth.
  • If a stalk turns brown, make a frowny face and pluck that sucker out and throw it away!

I think that’s all I have to share for today.


Cereal Killers Review Winner

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Spinning Along With Tour de Fleece

I’m not exactly on schedule.  I’m not even close to being on the schedule I set for myself.  But I’m making progress.  Who knew it would take 4 days to spin just 4 ounces of wool?  I did get it done last night.

Today, I’m working on plying it with a cool yarn I bought out at Weavin’ Place Saori Style in Folsom, LA.  It’s a thin (don’t know the weight), black with speckles, slubby silk yarn on a cone.

I LOVE the way it looks with the bright colors.  They peek through the silk and the black gives it all a continuity that I really like.

Yarn I spun from Loraine's roving left front.  Black silk yarn for plying on front right.  Plied yarn on the Hansen Mini Spinner.

Yarn I spun from Loraine’s roving left front. Black silk yarn for plying on front right. Plied yarn on the Hansen Mini Spinner.

My plying isn’t exactly even but I’m learning and it works for me.  :-)



Update on the Dear Hubby

His foot is much better.  I cleaned it every day.  We even did a little unorthodox treatment.  Sister Vivian told me to put a sliced potato on it and it would draw out all the icky stuff.  Don said no, no when I mentioned it to him but I had done some research by then.

He agreed to it the next day.  There’s scientific merit to it and there have even been medical papers written about it.  Most of the articles I read said to grate the potato and make a poultice with it.  I wasn’t comfortable with putting that on his foot with an opening where those pieces might get lodged so I just used a slice.

The first day I changed the potato every 4 hours and then a new potato for overnight.  The first slice was slimy and icky but each successive one was cleaner and so was his foot.  We were both pleasantly surprised.  We went back to the regular wound care the next afternoon.

He saw a podiatrist this morning.  The doc cleaned it all up real well and we found that there was no tunneling and that it’s just superficial.  Whew!  Don got a big lecture about diabetic foot care and even though I’m not yet this doc’s patient….so did I.  He didn’t like my little Croc sandals at all.

The best news for Don was that he got to go back to work today.  He’s got a pad in his left shoe now to change the way his foot makes pressure in the shoe.  As soon as insurance approval comes through, an orthotic will be made especially to fit that foot and he’ll be able to move it from shoe to shoe.

I’ve got an appointment next Monday with the doc to start my routine diabetic foot care with him.

But—-he wants me to get rid of all my sandals, flip flops, Crocs……and wear…….tennis shoes…..with worst of all…….SOCKS!  I hate socks!  He even wants me to wear tennis shoes (with socks) in the house.  I told him that wasn’t likely to happen…that I would wear slippers but probably wouldn’t do the shoes in the house thing.

So, I guess I have to gather up my Auburn Croc sandals and clogs and my Saints Croc clogs and all my other Crocs and the rest of my sandals and get rid of them.

I’m going to have to think about that.


Tour de Fleece Day One

Every year during Tour de France spinners all over the world do their own type of endurance test.  They spin every day during the race.  I started out doing it last year, but I gave up when I ran out of stuff to spin.  Grant you, that it wasn’t because I’m such a speedy, proficient spinner but rather it was because I just didn’t have a lot to work with.  Or maybe I just decided I wasn’t good enough at it to keep going.  That was a year ago and my memory isn’t so great!

Yesterday was actually Day One and I got a late start.  I had printed out the race schedule and decided I would organize my fiber stash into largest amount down to smallest one and then I would assign those to the longest mileage down to the shortest mileage.  I got that done and I still don’t have enough roving or top or battings ready for all the days of the event.

What that means is that I’ll have to drag out one of the drum carders and work up some batting to fill in with.  I’ve got Bullet’s fleece (white) from last year washed and ready to work with and I’ve got some nice grey Merino batts that I can use to make a nice batt.  I might even throw in some colored locks that I bought last year at the Mississippi Fiber Festival in Vicksburg.

My manual Brother drum carder is here in the house so I can do the work right here but I really like working with the electric Southern Comfort Products jumbo triple drum carder so I would have to go to The Barn to use it.  It’s too big to drag around.

So, do you want to see what I worked on yesterday?  I used some roving I bought from Loraine and it’s working up nicely.  It’s 4 ounces of Merino wool roving.  I love the way the colors kind of melt as they merge.

I didn’t even get 1/4th of it done so I’m already behind!  Yikes!  The fiber police may come get me.  :-)

Lovely Merino Wool roving hand dyed by Loraine.

Lovely Merino Wool roving hand dyed by Loraine. Her Etsy shop.

Tour de Fleece Day One500x375

About 1/4th of the roving was spun last night. Molly Mae is the background. She gives it a 2 paws up for great color!

I think my spinning is what you would call “thick and thin”.  It sure isn’t very consistent in size.  After I get this done, I’ll make a trip out to Weavin Place Saori Style to choose something to ply it with.  I think I might like to use a thin silk to go with it.  We are so lucky in our area to have such a great weaving/spinning studio nearby.  It takes me less than 30 minutes to get out there.  They also have an Etsy shop is you’d like to look around. Suggestions anyone as to what I should ply with?  Type of fiber?  Color?

Time to go see what I can muster up for Don for lunch.












It’s Always Something

Warning—if you have a weak tummy you may not want to read this.

Yesterday afternoon Don came home and immediately started getting ready for a shower.  That’s not his norm.  He usually works on something until late in the afternoon.  He said his foot was hurting like hell.  I went outside to transplant the newest tomato plants into a larger bucket.

When I came inside, he was lying on the sofa with a paper towel covering the bottom of his left foot.  He’s had a thick callous on that foot for months and when he was diagnosed with diabetes, I stopped him from trimming the callous with his knife.  He’s been using a pumice stone since then.

I was suspicious about the paper towel so I asked if he had been trimming it again and he admitted that he had and that he had drawn some “clear, pinkish fluid” from it.  I washed up and took a look.  There was an open area about the size of the shaft of a nail under the skin.  I pulled the skin back that he had cut and what came out was not clear….it was pus tinged with blood.  NOT GOOD!!!!  He also had a streak running from the opening up his foot to just about the ankle.

I didn’t know whether or not I should be angry about it because if he hadn’t done what he did….we might not have known he had an infection for quite a while.

To the walk in clinic we went because this was not something I was going to allow to wait until business hours this morning and before we signed in, the doc said we should go instead to the ER.

X-rays were done of the foot to make sure a foreign body was not the cause of the problem and that wasn’t it.  The doc rinsed it out with saline and took a culture, cleaned it with betadine and probed to see if there was tunneling.  There was an opening about the size of a quarter so he packed it with gauze, applied antibiotic ointment and covered it with a large bandaid.

During the wait, Don developed fever and chills.  We left with an Rx for an antibiotic, orders to stay off the foot, and a recommendation to see a podiatrist.  I made that appointment this morning.  The doc I really wanted him to see is out of town until the 14th so we had to go with one who could get him in Monday.

He’s already bored silly and who knows how long this non-weight bearing will last.  That depends on well the wound heals and how quickly.

I’ll pull the packing out tomorrow.  He isn’t going to like that because the doc didn’t moisten it with saline so it’s probably going to be stuck.

At least I have lots of experience with wound care so I can take care of all that for him.

What next?


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