Vacation Rule #2

Vacation Rule #2 – Don’t eat red meat. Or to put it more positively, do eat vegetables, tofu, chicken, fish and shellfish; veal if you must. Also do not kid yourself that the pork you get in a restaurant is “the other white meat.” Why do you think it tastes so much better than the dried out pork loin you get at home? Fat! These were happy, well-fed pigs before they became the giant, succulent chops on your plate. Also, just in case your entree comes with a sauce, it’s so much better calorie-wise poured on top of shrimp than steak.


We’ve arrived in Marco Island, FL and got all of our connections. So I am back to blogging.


It’s hard to imagine what to worry about while sitting next to the pool in 80 degree weather. Do we have enough wine? Shall we take a bike ride, play tennis or just laze about today? Yes, there are the crazy old people drivers on the road and a strange black accumulation under the refrigerator. But, on this first day of blogging on vacation, I think I will just say, “no worries today.” There ‘s always tomorrow.


Here’s a word I ran across in the Saturday puzzle.

sidereal – Of, relating to, or concerned with the stars or constellations; stellar. (

Try using this word during a romantic walk in the evening. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how it’s pronounced.

Snook’s Inn


Since we like to eat out (but not in Utah), and we get to do so in lots of different places, I thought I’d occasionally include a restaurant review.

Snook’s Inn, Marco Island, FL – We went to this place for lunch the first day we got here. We wanted some Florida island ambiance. Snook’s has plenty of ambiance. You can eat outside or inside right next to the water. People tie up their boats and come in for a meal. So, it definitely filled the bill for the island experience. We both ordered the Snook’s Inn luncheon specialty, grouper sandwich. It comes with salad bar and fries. You don’t see many salad bars anymore. It was typical except for a vat of large, half sour pickle pieces. Since I still I have to write my diet tip, let’s say I merely sampled a french fry or two in the interest of reporting. They tasted as if they had not been double fried. Not creamy enough on the inside and crispy on the outside. The grouper, however, was great – broiled so that it was just cooked through. The bun, however, was flabby and uninspired. Grade for Snook’s Inn – C+ (John says B-)

Vacation Rule #1

When I was a Weight Watchers leader, I made up five rules for not gaining weight on vacation. Here’s number 1.

Do something every day!

You’re some place new and different so go outside and do something! Take a walk, ride a bike, go for a swim, play golf, tennis, ski, anything. Every extra calorie you burn means something extra you can eat. In fact, and you know this, it’s true every day, vacation or not.


My blog is going to have a short hiatus while we get to our vacation site and have high speed internet hooked up.


A lot of people are afraid of flying. I used to be one of them. And while I’ll never be absolutely serene during a flight, I’ve come a long way. I needed to understand what was happening when planes fly. I learned about air foils and what acceleration and de-acceleration do to altitude. One thing that always freaked me out was how the pilot seemed to cut power shortly after takeoff. I guess I figured the pilot would just keep zooming up. It didn’t occur to me that the plane is told by the ground control where it is supposed to be. Understanding what is going on has made a big difference to me.

Just to show that I am not entirely fearless, though, in order to have a safe flight, before we leave someone has to say our family’s mantra, “Tell the pilot to drive safely.”


The other night we had dinner with our friends, Karen and George. There were so many delicious things to eat and drink. Cape Cod potato chips, guacamole, a lovely mushroom dip, and cheeses. Dinner followed with salad, ribs, roasted root vegetables, and mashed potatoes. Karen makes the best mashed potatoes ever! Later there was lemon cake. All this was washed down with bottles of wine. We brought along a 1991 Murietta’s Well Zinfandel.

So obviously the above is not a diet tip except maybe if you are going to splurge, splurge well. What I really wanted to write about was having a “go to” meal after a splurge. The next morning I had a piece of whole wheat toast with 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter. When I was on my long diet, I ate this combination a lot for breakfast. It’s a signal that party time is over and let’s get back on the straight and narrow. Do you have a “go to” meal?



Yesterday, I treated myself to a manicure and a pedicure. It made me think about the roots of those words. Obviously, the “man-” and “ped-” come from the Latin for hand and foot. But what about “cure?” It’s also from a Latin root meaning care.

Words are so interesting. Here’s a word about words.

etymology – The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another, identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its ancestral form where possible.



Do you worry about your health? I do. In my mind, I blow every little ache and pain into life-threatening diseases. I try not to burden those around me with this but, I would say that after worrying about children, it’s next in line. Of course, I know this is bad because worrying raises your stress level and so leaves you more prone to disease. This is a kind of no-win situation.

A magazine I get, “Vegetarian Times” (thank you for the subscription, Sarah) has listed seven super foods that can help one stay healthy and mentally acute. These are spinach, blueberries, tea, broccoli, tomatoes, soy and oats. Runners-up include olive oil, onions, garlic, walnuts, avocados and oranges. Of course, the amounts that they suggest eating would preclude having enough room to stuff anything else in. I also heard that curry is good for you, too. So my resolution #2 is to try to include these foods in my diet. To this end, we have already had a chickpea and tofu curry sauteed in olive oil with garlic, onions, carrots and cauliflower. It was quite good especially if you put in enough salt and tabasco.


In my years of working for Weight Watchers, we were given many tips to pass on to the members to help in their struggles. Things like drink wine spritzers instead of the real thing. How many people actually ever did that? Not me for sure. Most of the things that I am passing along are more what real people do in food laden situations.

Last night we went to a lovely party that was catered and had many yummy things to eat. I picked a table as far away from the food as possible. After getting the initial plateful, it was just too difficult to get back to the serving area.

Today’s tip? Don’t stand or sit next to the food at a party. There is no reason to make eating moderately more difficult than it has to be.


I had trouble with the Saturday “New York Times” crossword. I had to consult John to solve the northeast corner. This is a heinous crime in my book, worse than looking stuff up in the crossword puzzle dictionary but maybe not as bad as using the internet. Now, I am struggling with the Sunday puzzle. Obviously, I need more super foods. Or perhaps I need to keep an atlas in the bathroom so I could become more familiar with the lakes and rivers of Asia.

Here’s a word that John knew that I did not.

abri – a rock shelter formed by an overhang.

So I guess the next time we are hiking in Utah and the weather looks threatening, I’ll say, “Quick, let’s find an abri and stay out of this bad weather.” Sure I will.



Dear Kids, I worry about you. All the time. Incessantly. I want your lives to be perfect. I want you to be happy and have no worries. And most of all, I want you to be safe. I find as you get older, it is harder for me to protect you. I can’t control everything. Because I want smooth sailing for you, I am often too critical, trying to improve small aspects of your lives. I am sorry about that. Believe me, I turn over each critical remark thousands of times in my mind wishing I could take it back, realizing that living your own lives your own ways is more important than my trying to tidy up the edges and control outcomes for you. I could not ask for better, smarter, more caring and responsible people than you are. So, Resolution #1 for 2005, is to celebrate the fact that you’ve turned out so well and worry less.


Here’s my salad dressing recipe. Use this on salads or as a marinating liquid.

Make up a packet of Good Seasons Fat Free Italian Dressing according to the directions using balsamic vinegar. Add one teaspoon of olive oil. Shake. You will be amazed at the difference in taste.


Today’s word is familiar for this time of year, but it is an alternate meaning that I am focusing on today.

Resolution – This word can mean “a firm determination on a decided course of action.” But, it can also mean “to see something more clearly and distinguish a fineness of detail.”



What is it today with people not following the rules? And I’m not just talking about being polite, that is a whole other worry. Yesterday, I was standing in line at Best Buy, first in the “please wait here for next available representative,” and a guy just walks right past me and takes the next available representative (I guess “salesperson” must be demeaning.) Did I go up to the guy and say, “Excuse me, sir, I’m next in line?” No, you just don’t say that kind of thing nowadays without worrying that you might get shot. Don’t litter, use your turn signal, mute your cell phone, express lane – 10 items only, and I am sure you can think of a lot of other examples where people just don’t think the rules apply to them. So what am I worried about, anarchy? No, but life would be less stressful if everyone followed the rules.


When at a restaurant, is salad the dieter’s friend? The leafy greens and many of the other vegetables you find in salads are low in calories but the salad dressing is not. And most of the low-cal dressings available taste horrible. Many people order the dressing on the side. Then they dump it all over the salad. The little cup may contain more dressing than the chef would have given you in the first place. I have found the best way of dealing with dressing on the side is to dip just the ends of the tines of your fork in the dressing, spear a piece of lettuce and then enjoy. You get a little flavor of the dressing with each bite but don’t end up using all the dressing. For an even lower calorie way of dealing with the salad, dip once, spear twice. This technique works well with tartar sauce, too.

Tomorrow, an amazingly good low calorie dressing recipe!


If you are a crossword puzzle fan, you’ve got to love Will Shortz, crossword editor of the “New York Times” since 1993. Recently I discovered that he is also the puzzlemaster on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” Each week he presents a challenge for the audience to solve. One of the correct solvers plays an on-air game as well. I know the show is on at 6:40 AM Mountain time and 7:40 AM Pacific time. Too early for you to be up on a Sunday? The puzzle can also be found on the NPR website –

Here’s a word whose definition is very useful in crosswords due to its vowels.

sniggler -A person who fishes for eels; an eeler



What’s up, or should I say down, with the dollar? Against the Euro, the dollar is trading down almost $ .50 in the past three years. So, this should mean that American goods are flying off the shelves. But are they? What consumables do we produce? Clothing, shoes, small and larger electronics and furniture are all produced overseas where labor is cheaper. Count how many American vs. foreign cars you see on the road. Things that we do well such as finance, health care, distribution and intellectual property are difficult to export. What happens is that Americans buy increasingly more expensive foreign goods adding to a burgeoning trade deficit. The US government borrows money and drives up interest rates. More of our money goes to pay off our credit cards and to service this huge debt. What’s the solution?


Usually, when I go on a diet, it is all or nothing. I’m on it or I’m off. But since it’s the holiday season, the good choices I talked about yesterday are a little more difficult. So, obviously, it must be time to throw up your hands and give up. But the difference between making your best effort and no effort can relate to staying the same weight this week (or maybe even losing a little) and packing on another few pounds. If you have gone off the wagon a little, cut yourself some slack. Ultimately, you’ll get where you need to be and, really, nobody’s giving you style points anyway.


Here’s a word that I came across in my puzzling that sounds like its definition should be, “an agreement between internet users,” but means something totally different.

epact – the difference in days between the solar and lunar years