Coffee Talkin’ – And An Announcement

Meditations in Motion

Time to get out those coffee (or tea) cups again, pull up a chair, and have a little virtual chat. Today, I have three things I would like to talk about over some java. Then an announcement. Let’s get started.

An Alarming Situation

In a previous post, I wrote about visiting our son and his family in Colorado this spring. We decided to drive rather than fly. It felt safer – we could have better control over whom we came in contact with.

A bonus of driving across country is that we got to see areas of the U.S. we have never seen before. Since we are retired, we have the time to drive at a leisurely pace.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

A freak spring snowstorm threatened to close the mountain pass that leads to the town where my son lives. After consultation with him, we decided we would either have to drive for 15 hours to get to Denver pronto or hunker down in Kansas for three days and wait for the storm to pass.

We chose the former option.

After driving for 15 hours, we arrived in Denver at 11:00 p.m. (1:00 a.m. Eastern time). Exhausted, we checked into our hotel, went to bed, and immediately fell asleep.

It seemed like two minutes later that I felt Bill gently shaking me to wake me up.

Honey,” he said, “we have to get up. The fire alarm is going off.

Yes, the fire alarm at our hotel was blaring.

At 4:00 a.m.

We had to evacuate.

I would have slept right through it.

Apparently, a prankster had pulled the fire alarm, thinking it would be hilarious to send hotel guests out into the parking lot in the middle of the night. A fire truck quickly showed up, determined there was no fire, and we were allowed back in.

I was not amused.

Bulgarian At Last

I wrote in an earlier post that my son gave me bacteria for Mother’s Day. Yogurt-making bacteria, that is.

He got me four heirloom strains that can be cultured at room temperature.

The fifth strain, however, was for Bulgarian-style yogurt. This culture must be mixed with milk and incubated at 110 degrees for 12 hours. My son informed me this is his favorite strain.

The problem was, how could I maintain a constant temperature of 110 degrees? My son has a fancy-schmancy oven that can heat to that temperature, but the lowest setting on my oven is 195 degrees. My yogurt culture would be scorched.

Bill to the rescue.

A package arrived last week addressed to me. I didn’t remember ordering anything and wondered what it could contain. My husband informed me he got me a present. Curious, I tore open the box. A new yogurt maker sat inside. 110 degrees was now possible.

I tried it out by making a batch of Bulgarian yogurt. My son is right – it is my favorite too.

Not the Reaction I Expected

When I was growing up, and even as a young woman, I always believed that the whole reason for eating dinner was to have dessert.

When my children were living at home, I made a meal, including a homemade dessert, every night.

Two years ago, I was shocked to learn that my cholesterol levels had skyrocketed. My doctor wanted to give me a prescription for a statin to lower my very high numbers, but I asked if I could have a chance to reduce it by making changes to my diet.

I planned to minimize my fat intake, focusing on decreasing the amount of saturated fat in my diet. 
Then a biology-teacher friend advised me it would be more effective to reduce my sugar intake.

I eliminated most foods with added sugar. My friend was correct. Cutting out sugar resulted in a cholesterol decrease of almost 50 points.

Over the past year, however, my strict diet rules relaxed. This spring was especially bad. There was always some excuse to break the no-sugar rule. First my grandson’s birthday and the accompanying cake, next came Easter dinner, when I made some killer chocolate chip cookies, then the local ice cream parlor reopened with their delicious homemade ice cream…you get the picture.

I was making so many exceptions that the exceptions became the new rule.

At my physical exam last month, I learned my cholesterol numbers went up by 25 points. Half of my hard-earned loss had evaporated.

My doctor’s response? “Meh! I’m not worried.

Y-you’re not?” I queried, astonished. I had imagined making sincere promises to redouble my no-sugar efforts.

No,” she said. “Your cholesterol ratio is still excellent. Allow yourself some treats now and then.

Apparently, my good cholesterol is very high, which raises my total cholesterol. I was not about to argue.

And Now, An Announcement

The day after this post goes live, I will be traveling to Cape Cod to visit my sister and brother-in-law.

We will return home for a short time, then head out to  Oregon to visit our son and daughter-in-law. We will not be home until early July.

I will respond to comments on this post, but I will not be posting again until the week of July 11.

I will miss interacting with all of you, but I am also looking forward to a little blog silence.

I hope to see you again in mid-July, refreshed, renewed, and ready to share my deep thoughts. Or maybe just write about swallowing a bug while running.

Until then, stay safe and remember to be kind!

You can find the places I link up here.

171 comments

  1. Safe travels Laurie and see you again in July!
    And we have chatted about sugar before and earlier this year I was having some and it snuck upon me! It i found that Alexis has a great ice cream – keto and almost no sugar – and then other little options –
    And your post about this reminded me how sugar and desserts are a huge part of our culture and I am just going to make sure I start feeling comfortable with saying No and leaving it at that.
    My good friend Mike modeled this for me – a while back someone offered him a granola bar (it was an all sugar kind of one) and he just quietly said that he did not want to put that in his body – the HFCS and empty food that pulls from health,
    So I guess I also want to model this more – that we aren’t feeling deprived by saying no.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen Bulgarian yogurt at some specialty stores and have not gotten around to trying it. I’m also trying to reduce my sugar habit too. I love dessert, but I need to realize they should only be occasional treats.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have great trips Laurie! We have spent many summer vacays on the Cape. My inlaws lived there for a time. Although seriously I think my husband likes the idea of it more than the reality — so much traffic in season (and we rarely ever went in season, except when the inlaws were still living there).

    I’m not at all shocked by your dr’s reaction. Even though sugar really is evil, the reality is few of us are really able to give it up long term. I wish I could!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am loving the Cape, Judy. I have been coming to this house for over 50 years – even before my sister and BIL were married. The traffic was not too bad, but we arrived at an “off” time.

      There is sugar in so many things where you don’t expect it – bread, almost all cereal, peanut butter, pickles….

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m very vigilant on getting things that don’t have sugar — I buy no salt, no sugar almond butter. But I have other things that have sugar. It’s definitely my Achilles’ heel.

        I think 8 had only been to the Cape once before I met my husband. We’ve been many times since, but we haven’t been in a few years (together, I did ran a half there a few years ago with a friend).

        Glad you’re enjoying your stay!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve heard that about cutting sugar to lower cholesterol, Laurie, and I’m glad to know it actually works. Also glad that your ratio is good enough to indulge in sweets every now and then (life’s too short and all that). I hope your time away and off the blog is restful and fun, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you back in July. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had never heard of the cholesterol/sugar link until my friend told me about it. I am glad I can have a treat every now and then too. I have already had my treat for June when we went for ice cream while visiting my sister! 🙂

      Like

  5. Have a great tip. I had a similar adventure with the fire alarm in Edinburgh some years ago. It was a nightmare!!!! At the arrival we didn’t find our baggage (lost?), at midnight the fire alarm and at 05:00 we were woken by the reception because the baggages had come! But not only ….. the morning after I had a 10 miles race that in the cold Scottish winter I had to run in t-shirt because the appropriate clothes were in my son’s bag who arrived late because he was “losing” time taking pictures. And not only…. in the afternoon Scotland won the rugby match against our Italy!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband and I went on an anniversary trip – and someone kept having fun with the fire alarm constantly! It became irritating very quickly! Thanks for the sugar tip on the cholesterol. While we had covid, my husband and I craved carbs – pasta, potatoes, breads – and ice cream. No broth for us! I just started a two week “stop” to all that to stop the cravings! Ugh! Have a delightful trip in June! Hopefully, no fire alarm pranks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good for you, treating yourself and not going off the rails. I don’t bake so sweets that aren’t bought aren’t around to tempt me, but I worry about salt as it seems salt is in everything, even in milk, which kind of blows my mind. Hope you’re still enjoying your Cape Cod holiday. I am trying to catch up, but doing as you suggested … meandering through and I went in reverse chronological order. I hope you’re getting some nice breezes – it’s been horribly hot here, but we will finally get a very small break Tuesday. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I always did when I fell behind – reverse chronological order. We are home now. We did have a wonderful visit. It has been cloudy and cool, but humid here – pretty good running weather! I am trying to build up my long runs ahead of the London Marathon. I think it will take me a while since I have been out of the marathon frame of mind for a while.

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      • That worked well for me Laurie and I took your advice to heart. I meandered through and read each of their posts in reverse chronological order and the people who post daily, I just read one or two. I hope to never have that happen again. We are going to have three nice weather days, then warm again. I’m looking forward to the brief cool spell. Glad you can get some long runs in. The UK may delay coming out of total lockdown due to the Delta variant, so good thing you have a few months to go before visiting. Will you have to arrive several days early due to jet lag in conjunction with the marathon? I think you were planning on your visit to Ireland afterward.

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      • I am glad to hear you did not stress over your backlog of posts. I am keeping a close eye on the state of the UK. I see they delayed coming out of lockdown until July. Keeping my fingers crossed for September. We are flying into London, but leaving right away for Dublin, where we will do an 8-day hike. We are then meeting our friends for 3 days in Dublin and 4 days in London if everything goes according to plan. I see that Americans are now allowed into the EU, which Ireland belongs to, so that part of the trip is OK. It’s just the London part that is in question. The marathon is the next-to-last day of the trip.

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      • Great – glad to hear the London leg of the trip is last on the agenda. I think Boris Johnson is being prudent … they’ve had such severe lockdowns there since the pandemic began. Canada is being careful as well – they just extended the ban on crossing the border until July 21st. I am not surprised about that at all. I was stressing about it initially but sat down and went thru last weekend before it got more out of hand. I’m so behind in sorting photos. I did some this morning as we had a very rainy day today. Every park will be waterlogged tomorrow, plus the heat and humidity is back. My regular park is not buggy and the Creek is lower than the walking path, so no worries about flooding.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We are supposed to have a rainy day tomorrow as well. Bill and I have plans to go through some of our old photos since we can’t work outside (I’m ashamed to tell you they are in shoe boxes!). We leave on Wednesday to visit our Oregon son and he asked us to bring some photos of his grandparents out for him. He wants to get some of them framed for a “family wall” he and his wife are making. I got up early today and started going through them, but it’s too big of a job.

        Funny thing I found – I don’t know if you remember a post I wrote a while back about me participating in a water ballet show when I was a kid and being embarrassed about my “grass skirt” made out of burlap. It was too long and got waterlogged. I found an old photo of me wearing the skirt! Too bad I didn’t find it before I wrote the post! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do remember that post Laurie! It is too bad – now you find it. I once wrote a post about a fedora-style hat with a feather and a stick pin my grandmother gave me. It was a windy night and we were walking to church for midnight mass. She gave me a vintage hatpin she’d had for years to wear so the hat wouldn’t fly off. The hat didn’t fly off but the hat pin was lost and we never found it the next day when looking for it. A few months after writing the post, I decided to scan in all my albums (family, trip and scrapbooks) … a massive job. But what did I find but a picture of me in the gray, fur-trimmed coat and that fedora. Have a wonderful time and safe travels tomorrow Laurie. P.S. – You’ll find those pictures on a Winter’s day when you have more time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The story about your hat, stickpin, and the windy night seems like it should find its way into a blog post sometime! We are having a great time in Oregon with our son and DIL. the forecast for Sunday is for 111 degrees!!! Winter sounds like a good time to go through old photos.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my with the heat wave in Oregon! I’ve been hearing that the heat wave stretches into British Columbia where their Summers are usually much cooler than ours. Yes, Winter has its advantages sometimes when ice and snow thwarts our respective running and walking regimens. Enjoy your time away Laurie!

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      • Hi Laurie – I follow Steve Hartman of CBS News on Twitter. He does human interest videos and this one is about Chris Nikic, whom I believe you did a post about last year? He was the young man, the first with Down Syndrome who completed the Ironman Challenge. Chris has helped this boy, also with Down Syndrome to get some accolades of his own. Very heartwarming story on Twitter:

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome Laurie – I figured it might be Chris based on what I remembered from your post last year. I really like Steve Hartman’s feature that he does every week. Always nice human interest stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Laurie, I have just returned from being off the grid camping and I see how you will also be having some “blog silence.” Oh, my, goodness…a fire alarm in a hotel. A agree…not amused. I had and used a yogurt maker when my daughters were young. You have inspired me to possibly try this again. Sugar is getting a bad rap for good reason. Possibly the 80/20 rule? Enjoy the time with your family. I look forward to reading your deep thoughts when you return. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I also have high good cholesterol, plus high bad. But I didn’t have to take statins either, because diet adjustments have tweaked it enough. I have dessert everyday, but am mindful of everything I eat. (In an indulgent kind of way) We stay in a hotel almost every weekend. One time, someone’s late night popcorn fix sent the whole hotel outside after the popcorn burned. it’s weird standing around in a nightgown among strangers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you for tweaking your diet enough to avoid taking statins. I hope my cholesterol stays in the acceptable range too!

      So weird about the popcorn thing! I did get dressed before I went outside. It was COLD that night!

      Like

  10. Wow, you are THE mom! homemade dessert with every meal? Holy cow. I feel really bad about some of my parenting choices regarding food. Now I feel worse haha. At least they now in their 30s and unscathed (I think).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just checking back, although speedreading through comments I saw you had a trip planned for September. I knew you were taking time off, but realize I am missing seeing you here. I hope you are able to make that trip, and hoping you and your family are doing well. Best and blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michele. I have been reading your posts this summer, although not always commenting. We visited one son in Oregon for 2+ weeks, then another in Colorado for 2 weeks, then we went to Alaska. I just never got back into a good writing routine. We leave for Ireland and the UK in a little over a week (I am doing the London Marathon). We are all doing well. Hope you and your family are doing well and enjoying these last days of summer. I have not decided whether to resume writing this fall. We won’t be back home until early October.

      Laurie

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Laurie, Thanks for responding. I always appreciate your comments, but it is your presence I have missed. At the same time I can understand. Traveling and family visits would complicate writing and the visits are always more important. It has been a relatively rough summer here, so my writing and reading, or vice versa has been sporadic. My husband had to have surgery the end of June, they removed the hardware they put in last October and did a total hip replacement. So lots of appointments of all kind, plus recovery etc. In sickness and health, for sure. I have written when I could for my own sanity. It sounds like an amazing summer and I am so glad that you are able to make the trip to do the London Marathon. Hope it is a great experience and happy for you that you can do it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So sorry to read about your hubby, Michele. A member of our running club had his hip replaced 2 years ago, and he is running again! I should mention that he is 80 now. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to your husband. I do miss the bloggers I have connected with over the years. For now, I will continue commenting, but I can’t commit to writing. I didn’t realize it would be so hard to start again once I stopped.

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      • Remember what Mother Superior said in Sound of Music , “When God closes a door, (somewhere) he opens a window! I think that’s the quote. Thanks for the good wishes for my husband. Really cool about your running friend, running at ! Wow! He is making progress and hoping to make the hunting trip with his brother in 5 weeks, so he continues to be motivated. I am hoping he can make the trip because I will try going home again while they hunt. One of the things I have learned from our blogging friends is that retirement does not have to be the same thing forever, changing what you do can be a meaningful part of life. As I continue to write and bake, I feel as though I am “looking for my life” trying to carefully discern the possibility of life in full retirement and what it might include. Blessings and prayers, Michele

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      • I have heard that quote before, but I never knew where it came from. I hope your hubby gets to go hunting in 5 weeks – both for his sake and for yours. I am sure you will figure out the “retirement thing”, Michele. I tried a few things that really weren’t for me when I first retired. I dropped the activities that didn’t fit and kept the ones that did. I bet you will do the same! 🙂

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      • Thanks and yes. Selfishly, I want him to be able to go for his own sake, but also because I have reservations in the same apartment as last year and plan to go home. I hpe to see classmates and friends, but if I only put my feet on Onset Beach at every opportunity, drive past my old homes and sit by the CC Canal, my cup will surely runneth over. Carefully discerning for sure.

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  12. I see you posted some recent comments, so I am calm now. It worried me that this was your most recent post in which you said you’d be back to posting in July.

    Like you, the ‘here and there’ occasional treats have become the rule for me in recent months and I hope to change it.

    Liked by 1 person

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