Goal!!!!! 11/2/20

John and I have been on our healthy eating plan since the middle of September, 2019. John reached his goal around two weeks ago after losing 50+ pounds and today I reached mine!  I am down 60 pounds and very proud of myself. Now the real goal is not to gain it back. I am very good at losing weight and I am super at gaining weight, maintaining weight has always been my biggest challenge.

Because I am feeling pretty good about myself, I took a bunch of selfies in the mirror.

Halloween celebration. 10/24/20

Today we travel over to Palo Alto to see Alex and Sam (and also Jon, Ryan, and Leigh.) We have come bearing sweet treats for Halloween.  Jonathan has made a brunch and we all enjoy sitting around distanced outside while we catch up.

Alex opening her goodie bag
Sam watching Leigh with her phone
Mary and John on the porch swing
Left to right, Jonathan, Sam, Alex, and Ryan in family Halloween costumes

Wine tasting at Imagery. 10/19/20

Today we visit Imagery Winery to pick up our shipment and I have also scheduled a wine tasting. We sit on their back patio with the tables set far apart. Our server is masked as are we except when sipping.  We have our own pens and disposable water. They have taken great pains to make sure we are safe.

John outside of Imagery Winery
Menu of wines tasted

It is a beautiful day and we enjoy our tasting. We buy some bottles and pick up our Wine Club shipment. It is almost like being normal.

John at tasting table
Yay for a day that seems almost normal

 

Sukkot. 10/5/20

Today we celebrate the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Traditionally it is celebrated outdoors in a rough enclosure called a succah much as ancient gatherers would have lived in the fields during the harvest. So we are eating on the patio tonight and have a vase full of “the four species” which are leaves from various plants and a citrus fruit. These are bundled together and waved to the four compass points plus up and down.

“Leviticus 23:40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.” Wikipedia 

I prepare stuffed cabbage which is also somehow traditional and Sarah makes a challah with her sour dough starter. We have not celebrated this holiday for almost 40 years but in this time of pandemic it is fun to have a special occasion.

Sarah’s challah rising
So delicious and expertly braided!
The four species
Sarah doing the waving
Stuffed cabbage

 

Rosh Hashannah celebration. 9/19/20

Tonight we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Since we have been basically in lockdown for months now, we have decided to celebrate in some way all the holidays available to us. At least it means getting the three of us around the table together, some planning (which is always fun), and a different menu than usual. Here are pictures from the evening—

Now that we have lost all this weight, we like to show off a bit in some pictures.

Mary and John both down over 50lbs.
Just Mary

We make and eat traditional foods. Sarah makes a round challah and I make autumn soup which is a bowlful of traditional foods – apple, pomegranate, squash. I also make a salad with another traditional food, golden beets. Part of our celebration is the rather odd tradition of making puns out of the traditional foods. It leads to many dad jokes and much hilarity.

Round challah
Autumn soup
Golden beet salad

 

Evacuating ourselves to St. George. August 24-31, 2020

After a weekend of thunderstorms which included a lot of lightning hits, California is ablaze with wildfires. The town next to ours is under an evacuation warning and we decide to get out of the fouled air and scary circumstances for a week in St. George, Utah. We rent a two bedroom “villa” in the complex where we used to have our vacation home.

Since Sarah is coming with us we have three drivers for the long trip. This is the first time we are on the road since the pandemic started and it is a little scary to be finding bathrooms and take-out food on the road. But it all goes smoothly and we reach St. George around 6 PM after a very early start.

We have had to make two reservations – one for the first night and then move into our digs for the the other six nights. The first one seems nice but we are so tired that we hardly notice it. The second one is unfortunately less nice and has many corners cut which seem like false savings for the owners. Polished concrete floors, terrible paper products, bad noise insulation, and no non-stick cookware are nits that really effect the quality of our stay. We even go out and buy a non-stick frying pan so we can cook eggs!

Living room in our villa
Dining area that we never used except to put our tennis bags on the table
Ill-equipped kitchen

Sarah spends her time moseying around, taking some pictures, accompanying me to the grocery store, and reading. John and I get up really early several days to play tennis. We walk over to the courts in the semi-darkness at 6:45 AM. St. George is really far west in the Mountain Time Zone. Although we can use the tennis courts, we cannot reserve one which makes me quite nervous as to whether our getting up before dawn will come to naught. However, although some other people use one of the courts there is always one open for us. It is warm early in the morning, usually in the low 70s but the sun does not emerge from behind the cliff until about 7:45 so the weather is tolerable. Later in the day it will be over 100F.

John ready to play
Mary on the court

Our other major activity is figuring what to make for dinner without our usual pantry to help out. A trip to our local grocery store, Harmon’s, is a daily activity. It is a beautiful, well-stocked store. Even Sarah is impressed.

Harmon’s

We also take a trip down memory lane and take a walk over to our old house. The landscaping has really grown. It definitely needs to be cut back. We look from the front and the back. We are afraid to get too close. While we are in St. George I am nostalgic for our old house and even look at real estate listings but everything is too expensive! Plus taking that 10+ hour drive is beyond what our old bones want to do.

Our old house from the front
The house from the back across the pond

Fortunately the fire does not reach our town and the fire teams do a great job getting it under control. By the time we get back the danger is passed and even the air has improved. I think we will consider taking another vacation to St. George, though.

48th wedding anniversary. July 17, 2020

Usually our anniversary entails dinner at a three Michelin starred restaurant or a trip to Europe, Wine Country, or Canada. This year is different. Due to the pandemic we must celebrate at home.

We make ourselves a fancy dinner, dine al fresco, and take selfies. We are still in love after all these years and our special day is worth celebrating anywhere!

First course – shrimp cocktail and crudites
Main course – fried scallops, new potatoes, and grilled asparagus
Special wine for a special occasion – Stonestreet 2015 Broken Road Vineyard Chardonnay
Awwww….

Tennis and lunch with Jon. July, 2020

One of the events that helps to keep us sane during the pandemic is that Jonathan comes over every weekend to play tennis and have lunch with us. Outside of grocery shopping and playing tennis with John, it is about the only thing that we do.

It feels like a real event. I spend time planning what we can eat for lunch and enlisting Sarah to help. We have had burgers, sausages, tacos, and fajitas so far. I am running out of good ideas!!

Jonathan setting up for a shot
John hitting a forehand
Mary with Jon and Sarah
Steak tacos and spicy beans!

 

Pandemic doings. 6/14/20

In case you have been wondering (Eileen!) what I have been doing during our quarantine which is now entering its 14th week, the answer is not much but not nothing. As a matter of fact I have written 29 blog posts but they are at the beginning of my blog not at the end. I am in the process of matching pictures (actual photographs) with my written commentary (as in a travel journal) and making entries. The blogs start in 1994 and are about our travels. It takes a lot of time and I only have completed two and have one from 1999 in the works. When I run out of written commentary I will just look at the rest of pictures from travels and events and with John, who has a remarkable memory, we will try to match memories to the pictures.

Some of the photographs are very slow to show up so you have to tap the blank square to see the pictures or be very patient.

Sarah’s poppies which were just buds in an earlier picture bloomed riotously in April. Sad news, though, gophers have attacked her garden and many of the plants she shepherded from seeds have been killed.

Poppies!
Sarah and her poppies
Irises

We have been cooking a lot! And sticking to our diet. We have both lost over 40 lbs. which is a remarkable achievement if I do say so myself. We have been eating a lot of vegetarian and vegan dinners. Here are a few.

Chickpeas with ditalini and vegetables
Orecchiette with broccoli and mushrooms
Shredded tofu with shiitakes and edamame
Chana dal and salad

Lastly here is a picture of me minus 43 lbs. My face, neck, arms, and legs have been the major recipients of the weight loss. I am thinking about maybe another 10 lbs. but it is slow going these days.

Mary

Finally we celebrated the graduation of Sam to middle school and Alex to high school in June. We sat outside at Jon’s house keeping our social distancing and had coffee and tea. Sarah made the graduates some of her renowned macaroons and we gave them books and gift certificates. It was really pleasant to spend time together after so long apart. We followed that up by playing tennis with Jon this weekend and then had lunch outdoors. We are still being very careful.

Jon and Sam
Alex with her new pink headphones
Alex opening a present
Candid Ryan and John

Oh, and I must not forget the masks I have made – two for John and five for me with more in the offing. I am a big proponent of wearing masks so if you are not wearing one when you are out, stop being a selfish twit and protect your neighbors from your germs!!! And do not forget to wash them between wearings.

My masks

Passover Seder. 4/8/20

Since the lockdown due to the coronavirus continues, we are having a small Seder—just the three of our household members. It is sad not to have the whole family here but we managed to have a good time anyway.

Lighting candles
Seder table
Paper bag plague puppets
John leaning on his left side
John holding one of our decrepit Haggadahs which we bought in 1972
Sarah dipping parsley in salt water
Mary showing the matzoh
Matzoh ball soup
Festive dinner
Sarah going to the door to invite Elijah in

Unfortunately the videos I took could not be put in my blog. (Or I do not know how to do it.)