Archive | August 2013

Made to Crave: Eating for Two ~

Al and I vacationed in New England recently, and I really didn’t think that I would have THAT much trouble keeping with my new lifestyle eating choices that have paved the way for me to start losing the weight I’ve wanted to for so long.  All my life, really.  I took a couple of snack things ~ some granola bars and some fresh blueberries ~ and I figured I would just “punt” while we ate out for literally all of our meals during the eight days we stayed in Maine, Vermont and Lake George, NY. 

I  had steadily begun to lose pounds since July 15th, when I took on this gauntlet for the first time, for real.  I hadn’t yet begun to exercise due to back and knee issues, but I’d begun to eat differently, preferring fresh fruits and veggies and flavored water to chips, burgers, cookies and soda.  I gave up soda completely and loved it!  A pound down here, two pounds there, up one maybe, down two more.  But this trip would be the test I hadn’t yet had to endure, and I was determined.

I really didn’t have any idea how difficult it would be until we started having trouble finding restaurants in New England with healthier choices on their menu.  What made it harder is that eating establishments were hard to come by as far as being able to find a place to park or a place that didn’t already have a line out the door and around the block waiting to be seated.  Not to mention that we stayed at B & B’s, which feed you a pretty full, and sometimes gourmet, breakfast each morning.  No complaints there!  The first couple of days I kept up, declining certain foods that I knew were taboo, and trying to stick with water or lemonade.  It quickly became a losing battle and I found myself giving in to eating just whatever was there on the menu out of frustration and tiredness of fighting to find something healthy. 

I eventually became accustomed to “sharing” my meals with my husband, giving him the breads, the chips that came with the hot dog, the fries that came with everything, two of the three pancakes I was served at breakfast.  It was a double-edged sword, however, as I knew that as much as I didn’t want to indulge in those calories, I knew he shouldn’t either.  He was literally eating for two:  him and me!  I was sabotaging the both of us!

Lobster roll dinner from Portland Lobster Company

Lobster roll dinner from Portland Lobster Company

Although I ate my lobster, and he gave me his (as he didn’t like it!?), I gave him my bread, fries and cole slaw, and just ate the lobster at the above dinner from the Portland Lobster Company.  Although I tried to be “good”, I was fighting a losing battle as I eventually opted for a hot dog here, clam chowder there, an ice cream cone one night before bed, and let’s not forget the truffles from the Lake Champlain Chocolate Company.

Lake Champlain Chocolates

Lake Champlain Chocolates

I even finally gave in to at least 3 glasses of soda over the 8 days…. but I was pleased that it did not hold the pleasure for me that it once did.  Hence, I would easily go back to my flavored water.

The 5 course breakfasts at the Cornerstone Victorian B & B in Warrensburg were not to be trifled with, however.  I could not deny the decadence they served each morning, and the delightful desserts they offered each evening before bed.  Much as I tried.  I knew I would have to deal with these decisions when we got home and I reacquainted myself with my new best friend, my Weight Watchers scale.  Every calorie would have to be accounted for, and I would pay a price.  I expected it.

Even as tired as we were when we eventually did arrive home, I don’t think I wasted 15 minutes before I was tapping my foot on the scale to activate the digital monitor.  I stepped up, held my breath for a couple of seconds and waited, almost not wanting to look at the digital number that would reveal my poor food choices while away.  There it was… 313 pounds.  WHAT?  I had lost another two pounds somewhere!  I double-checked to see if they weren’t hanging off the side of the scale, hiding, but they were not!  I think I actually giggled like a school girl, right before I closed my eyes and thanked and praised God for being there with me every step of the way and, in some miraculous way, guarding me against the weight gain I’d anticipated.  It was all about Him!  I had strayed, but He had not.  And He never will.

To date I have lost 13 pounds since I began this journey on July 15h, 2013.  Thus far, I have not begun to actively exercise… this has only been accomplished through faith, changing my eating habits and calorie intake, and craving Him other than food.  However, as I posted on my Facebook page last night, my husband found and purchased me a three-wheel bike – a trike – the manual kind, not motorized.  I have health and balance issues that keep me from riding a “regular” two-wheeler.  After he goes over it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it’s safe, in perfect working order etc, I will begin riding my new tricycle just in time for the cooler fall weather.  Our rural road is mostly flat:  2 miles one way and 1 mile the other to the nearest cross roads.  And wide shoulders.  I’m looking forward to leashing up our Golden Retriever to keep me company and we’ll both exercise together!  We’ll see how the weight loss progresses after I begin getting more active!

 Until then, and until next time, thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my progress.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

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Cee’s Share Your World 2013: Week 28 ~

Wow!  I’m off the grid for just a week or so and I come back to Cee’s tough, thought-provoking questions in Share Your World!  Here we go:

 

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey)  I think I would best be described as Happy dwarf.  At least, most of the time.  My 8th dwarf would be “Kinky”… no, I will not elaborate.

Would you travel into outer space?  I’m pretty sure I would not travel into outer space, not unless I could be wrapped up in Capt Kirk’s arms tight and safe and sound (the “new” Kirk, Chris Pine).  I’m deathly afraid of heights and I think I would possibly get claustrophobic on anything other than the Enterprise.

If you were a tree, would you become a book or furniture?  Please describe.  I think I would want to be furniture.  I’m afraid, with all of the tablets and readers and electronic devices out there, books are going to become extinct.  That’s something I never want to have to worry about.  Unless the human race de-evolves into brain matter, we’re always going to need furniture to park our butts on.  Nothing like being wanted.

 

Which would you prefer:  a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure–intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks; or a contented bordering on happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends and family without such wide swings of fortune and mood?  I really have had my fill of adventure, intoxicating successes, but more likely stunning setbacks.  I’m liking “contented”, “secure”, “predictable” right now, and can’t get enough of my family.  I don’t need wide swings of fortune and mood anymore.  Keep me content and I’ll be your friend forever.

There you have it.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Thanks for stopping by for a looksee.  Until next time,  TTFN ~

     Tamara Eckstadt

Mainly Maine ~

We left for Portland, Maine, on Saturday morning around 8:30 a.m.   All research said we should be there around 7 hours later… plenty of time to make the check-in deadline at the bed and breakfast of between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.   However, our sources evidently did not take into consideration the tourist traffic that hit us hard as soon as we got onto the Mass Turnpike.   At one point, we were going about 20-25 mph, bumper-to-bumper and stop-and-go traffic.   When we finally got closer to our coastal destination, we decided to get off the insanity that was the turnpike and try a local Route 1 that would take us to Portland, but with hopefully less traffic.   We were banking that no one “knew about” Route 1.   Were we ever wrong!   The first 5 miles were great, until we started coming into small town after small town. They were all inundated with tourists, and it was dinner time by now. It took us 25 minutes to get through the first small town ~ it should’ve taken us about 5 minutes. Eventually, we arrived at our Portland B & B at 7:30 p.m. – almost 12 hours after leaving home, and over an hour “late” for check-in. The host/hostess left us an envelope with our key and instructions in the mailbox.

Our B & B, the Inn at Park Spring, was a quaint brick townhouse with Victorian interior decorating, but our room was small and our bathroom/shower even smaller. However, it was home for the next three nights, and we were ever so happy to have it! Parking was a little over a block away in this cityscape area. We weren’t far from anything, but because my walking ability is limited to about a block, we had to drive everywhere, which meant finding a place to park even closer to our ultimate destination ~ whether it be the Schooner cruise or dinner or shopping. What a nightmare! It got so Al would drop me off in front of our destination, then go find a place to park, usually several blocks away.

I don’t know what I was thinking when planning this little getaway. Portland is a city. A very BUSY city, with hordes of tourists at every turn. It was, however, beautiful and enjoyable. Just a little hectic for what we expected. Much of the Commercial Street shopping district had touristy shops from every walk of life. However, most seemed geared toward the younger, college-aged crowd… same with many of the restaurants. Most were Indian, Italian, European, bistro or “eclectic”. There were only a few that actually catered to the seafood menu. Portland Lobster Company was one such, and had delicious food ~ but it was VERY expensive for a help-yourself atmosphere. It was more like a hot dog stand. We each ordered lobster rolls w/fries and cole slaw … Al got a beer and I a Pepsi for $55.00. We eventually decided it was easier for us to go OUT of Portland to eat, down Route 1 there were some nicer restaurants, and even some favorites like Dairy Queen. Fortunately, breakfast was provided for at the B & B each morning.

On Monday we went on the Windjammer schooner cruise which took us out into the bay for a couple of hours. Being a lover of water, I especially loved this excursion. There weren’t a lot of guests on this cruise, but a few were kids that grew bored really fast. After the cruise on Monday, we traveled down along the coast to Old Orchard Beach, which consisted mainly of arcade games, souvenir shops and a decent carnival with rides. We’d hoped to park and take a look around, including seeing a beach, but the throngs of people prevented anything but a quick drive through and back to Portland again. Although we knew we were driving right along the coastline, the over abundance of hotels, motels, resorts and private residences kept us from even seeing a glimpse of the water. Monday night would be our last evening in Portland, as we would be heading out to Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday morning, so we were hoping to find a nice place to have a quiet dinner with relatively little parking issues. There was this little hole-in-the-wall place called “Andy’s Pub” amidst all the stores and restaurants that were packed with people, and we decided to give Andy’s a chance. I don’t know how this place remained undiscovered! It was a nice little pub w/restaurant that offered great food and a singer that started crooning around 7:00 p.m. It was quiet, only a couple other customers that were obviously locals remained. Even though we had to drop and park about 6-7 blocks away, it made for a nice final evening in Portland.

The next morning, Wednesday, we were off to Burlington.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about our excursion.  Check out our continued vacation to Burlington and then Lake George, NY.   TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

Take Me Away, Vermont ~

We had spent our first three nights of vacation in Portland, Maine, but now, Tuesday morning, it was time to head out to Burlington, Vermont, catching some scenery through New Hampshire along the way.  All of our travel resources said it would be about a four hour ride to Burlington.  So, once again, I settled in and let Al take the wheel.

 Since we were only spending one overnight in Burlington, I had booked us into more moderately priced accommodations at the Burlington Travelodge.  It was convenient, right off the highway and not far from downtown and the ferry crossing we would be taking on Wednesday.  I had visited Burlington some years ago when I worked a marathon there for the American Heart Association, and I remembered it being a nice, relatively calm college town full of interesting things to see and places to go.

 The weather from the get-go wasn’t fantastic.  Overcast and threatening rain.  When we pulled into the Travelodge, Al went in to secure our lodgings (which I had booked February 13, 2013) as a king size room on the ground floor.  He came out and had been given keys to a room on the second floor with two twin beds.  Needless to say, I took my internet confirmation in with me to confront the young girl at the counter.  We ended up with a decent king room on the second floor, and made our way with our luggage just as the rain began to pour.  Eventually we emerged to go to dinner… a local IHOP.  We had decided to do most of our sightseeing the next day after we checked out and before our ferry crossing to New York.

 Cruising around Burlington was eye-opening, to say the least.  It had been “built up” since I had been there, and was very overtly commercial.  Still, we drove around the college section, where most of the more interesting shops still were, and then we decided to take the short drive out to Ben and Jerry’s.  I think we got there around 10:00 a.m., and it was so overwhelmingly packed with people that we didn’t even get an ice cream.  People were heard saying that they’d waited in line for over an hour for an ice cream cone.  I didn’t need one that bad!  So back down into Burlington to stop and shop at some of the more interesting stores we came across, and we also stopped and visited a really pretty park right on the water. 

 

Once I saw the Lake Champlain Chocolate Company it was all over.  We had to go in, even though I knew I would not be splurging on decadence like I wanted to.  I had done enough “damage” to my weight loss goals and promises already.  I did not want to add insult to injury.  But I thought there might be some interesting photos to be taken, so we went in.  We did end up buying two truffles each ~ they were enormous, and enormously expensive.  But, it was only four truffles… okay, and a small candy bar too.  Al ate most of it.  Okay, Al ate half of it and I ate the other half.  We are saps when it comes to good chocolatiers.

There were a couple of other “unusual” stores that Al had to check out.  One was a lighting store that had several statues in their parking lot that were created from lighting materials and metal things.  Right up Al’s alley.  By lunch time we were heading for the ferry crossing and parked second in line to board the ferry.  There was a nice little restaurant right there on the dock, so we took time for lunch, as we had an hour before the next crossing.  While we had lunch, the rain returned and deluged the dock.  Thank goodness we were inside.  The enormous bowl of clam chowder I was enjoying kept me warm while the wind whipped at the restaurant windows.  All too soon it was time to get back into the car and prepare to drive onto the ferry to cross Lake Champlain.  The weather remained unsettled throughout the crossing, but the ride was smooth.  On the other side, we stopped and took time to get our bearings and find out just exactly we would be getting to Lake George from the ferry crossing.

 I was looking forward to our upcoming accommodations in Warrensburg, just a six miles from Lake George.  This vacation that was supposed to be a rest and relaxation time, was wearing me out.

 Thanks for stopping by and reading about our excursion in Burlington.  Be sure to check out our Portland, Maine and Warrensburg/Lake George adventures.   TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Lake George, NY ~

It was only about 2 hours from the ferry at Port Kent down the Northway Route 87 to Warrensburg.  By far the easiest part of our trip.  Warrensburg, where our B & B was located, was only about 6 miles from the tourist town of Lake George, New York.  Far enough that it was quiet, close enough to be there quickly.

We arrived at the Cornerstone Victorian Bed & Breakfast in Warrensburg in the late afternoon… plenty tired.  Our hosts had left for the day, but left us an envelope with welcoming instructions and an invitation to help ourselves to a special dessert kept in a common-area refrigerator (along with sodas, water etc).  Tonight’s dessert was cheesecake drizzled with raspberry sauce.  I really cannot say enough about this establishment.  I was in awe the moment we walked through the door into the foyer.  This was Victorian, and immaculate, to the absolute hilt.  Our room was like something from the Tudors.  We actually had step stools to get up onto the enormous bed!  Stained glass windows, air conditioning, a jacuzzi tub/shower for two in an enormous bathroom with heated tiled floors.  Satellite t.v. – not cable – but over 1,000 channels of the most mundane crap to watch!  We did not indulge much there.  The next morning we would find out that our five-course, candlelit breakfast was incredible gourmet food made from scratch by our hostess.  Served on fine china plates, we were offered course after course.  Orange juice was poured into crystal glasses and our silverware was real silver and very ornate.  We were to be very spoiled here, indeed.

Thursday mid morning, we decided to drive into Lake George to have a look around.  It was August 15th, and our 15th wedding anniversary.  We had reserved a spot on a romantic dinner cruise for that evening aboard one of the lake’s steam boats, and we wanted to go an explore where we would need to be around 5:30 p.m. that evening.  Lake George was quaint, bustling with tourists and lacking in parking (yet again).  We did manage to find a spot on a side street, and walked around looking to see what, if any, shops we would try to squeeze into.  Many were “biker-type” shops, with cheap tee shirts and gaudy wear.  Some were geared towards kids and teens, but we didn’t really find anything worth the struggle to get through.  I had to stop and sit several times on local benches just to relieve some of the back pain temporarily before we moved on.  We finally did find a decent, large gift/souvenir store and bought a few trinkets to bring home.  After lunch in Warrensburg, it was “quiet time” until it would be time to get ready for the cruise.

Did I mention that Lake George was hosting a “music fest” that very weekend?  Even though it was Thursday, and the events didn’t start till Friday, the atmosphere was manic and the crowds were strong.  When we went for the dinner cruise, we parked across the street from the docks at $10.00 a shot.  The wait for the cruise wasn’t long, and soon we were lined up and boarding smoothly.  I had made our reservations in February, so when we stepped on board, the staff who would seat us were extremely accommodating, nice and treated us like royalty.  Not sure if the early reservation had anything to do with that, but they did not treat others quite as “special”.  We were seated at a table for two, on the very back of the ship right at the huge window so we had perfect views.  We were also behind the singing duo that would be performing music etc for dancing later on.  It was perfect.  We would not be tripping over anyone, nor anyone over us.  It was very roomy.  Our dinner was available immediately upon being seated, and our waiter took a drink order and kept a tab for us.  The buffet was amazing… a variety of salads (finally!), roasted potatoes, chicken marsala, baked fish, roast beef cutting station, rolls and a variety of cooked vegetables.  Dessert would be served later.  We were about done with dinner before the ship ever finished boarding and backing out to leave the dock.  After dessert, we meandered around the four decked ship, taking photos and enjoying the warm breezes off the lake.  Occasionally, the singer/announcer would tell us whose mansion that is along with a smattering of history.  The cruise lasted about 2 hours and took us out around 15 miles and back to dock.  Music and dancing was enjoyable.  The ride was so smooth, even the full glasses of water on our table did not spill a drop.  After the cruise there would be fireworks, but we did not stay as we knew the traffic and crowds would be impassable afterwards.  Back to the Cornerstone B & B for tonight’s dessert:  red velvet cupcakes filled with cream cheese pudding… and the rest of the evening to celebrate our anniversary in private.

Friday morning was our last gourmet breakfast at the Cornerstone.  I did NOT want to leave.  The time at this elegant and beautiful home had been the best part of our entire vacation… even Al agreed.  But we packed up and took one last walk around the grounds, took just a few more pictures, and we checked out and were on our way back home.

Hope you enjoyed my sharing our little vacation with you.  Thanks for stopping by and checking it out.  Look for a recap of how things went “food-wise” in my next Made to Crave post coming soon.

TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt