Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good news on the Battle of the Bulge!

There is a new energy in The Humble Bungalow
it is infiltrating the larder and the fridge.
A full toss out has occurred ridding the kitchen of "bad food"
or rather food that I need not encounter or be tempted to eat!

The fridge had a few scary jars of outdated items which I am ashamed to say should have been tossed months ago!
I cannot blame that on my cleaning lady.
It's my fault.

I am singing the praises of proteins and vegetables.
Every meal I eat has some protein and every meal has lots of vegetables.
I am eating full fats, olive oil, butter and avocado.
A small amount of nuts...almonds mostly, and some almond butter.

Snacks are fresh fruit and in moderation.
My apple a day has been paired with a teaspoon of almond butter for dipping.

Breakfast is 2 eggs scrambled and some veggies on the side...
or mixed into a frittata or omelet.

I am still clinging on to milk in my tea...
let's not be too punishing shall we?

So far those changes have taken place and I am sure there will be a few more to conquer.

Reading blogs and online information has been ongoing for a few weeks behind the scenes.
Starting slow, with small things,
changing what works and what appeals to my palate seems like a sensible place to begin.

Keeping things simple suits me.

Tackling the minefield...
of the grocery store is quite an undertaking.
Avoiding the center aisles and focusing on the outer aisles seems to work for the most part.
Farmer's Markets are so much easier and friendly too.

My Market basket is as old as the hills...

Sturdy, faithful and commodious.
The leather handles have softened with age.

Hooray for the Farmer's Markets!
I love all the fresh produce and the array of colours.
Chatting with the vendors
getting their suggestions of what to try
how to prepare and cook the veggies
makes shopping so much more enjoyable.

I've also been culling out those diet books that have been gathering dust on the shelves.

I do not want to see another diet book wasting space in our tiny bungalow.
Embracing a new way of eating
a mindful and conscious change is in the works for this overweight Hostess.

I may fail
I may succeed
I might falter
I may cheat
but I am going to give it a valiant try.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained...
well maybe the wrong quote because I want to be losing not gaining!

I have had some good news finally!
The scale reports that I am 9 pounds lighter.
This may not seem worthy of celebration 
but for me it is wonderful news.

It is the encouragement that I need to keep my eye on the prize
to keep me focused on eating healthy meals and keep walking.

I have stopped eating bread and sugars
only very limited amounts of dairy have passed these lips.
Mr. HB will still be eating breads and pastas.
He is not overweight and would not want to give up the things he enjoys.

I am retraining my brain to love better healthier foods.
My sister keeps saying eat healthy 80% of the time and 20% of the time you can splurge.
Well my sister is a size 2 so she knows what she is talking about
so an older sister can learn from a younger sibling.

We have started taking Mother out to The Oak Bay Marina for dinner
early weekday when the dining room is not too noisy
(Mother refuses to get hearing aids!)
we have one glass of wine each
and share 3 appetizers.
Mother insists on creme brulee for dessert 
so we order one 
and get three spoons.

I have 2 small spoonfuls and a decaf coffee.
It does not feel like I am on a diet
and it's a lovely treat.

I am not stuffed nor am I hungry
and we all enjoy spending time together.

Learning to eat in a restaurant setting is going to be an ongoing work in progress.
I have figured out that salads with added protein are my best friends on the menu.

I feel like I have been rambling on for far too long...

Can you tell I'm excited?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pepper and Roses...

While I was out and about Pepper obviously ran around the Bungalow amusing herself and leaving in her wake
a few ducks no longer in a row!

One Duck down

Two Ducks down...

Pepper has a lot of energy plus she's inquisitive.
She's fit and treats the bungalow as if it were her playground.

I should have guessed that when we brought her home she would be ruling the roost!

playing in the wine rack
there were no bottles of wine so it was open season...

attacking the box

helping me fold the laundry!

She's got "purr"-sonality
and our lives have been enriched since she came into our world.

She's just so adorable even when she's sleeping...

she's rarely far from my side
she'd been watching over me during my cold
(here she's shying away from the camera)

she's great company
a pretty good little feline

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort ~
James Herriot

This magnificent bloom is David Austin's Abraham Darby.
The scent is sweet and heady
bringing in a few of these roses can send an intoxicating fragrant wafting around The Humble Bungalow.

Bourbon rose
I have forgotten it's name
another heavy scented specimen...
very thorny stems though so one needs to exercise caution when pruning or cutting...
wear long rose warrior gloves!

The roses and peonies are putting on a show
and the blue bells are fading...
there's a bunch of garden chores calling 
and in the nick of time my gardener is back.

Having "help" in the garden is very new to me
  I suppose when one gets to a "certain age" one needs to be mindful of how much and how long one toils
years back I could work for 6 or 8 hours with a couple of small breaks for tea and food...

these days I am lucky if I can do 4 hours before flagging...

Oh well I mustn't beat myself up
I must just accept my limitations 
and try to do so with a modicum of grace.

I think that I have become a "high maintenance" woman.
Not that I like the sound of this
but I fear it's true...

It is costing more to maintain The Humble Bungalow
not to mention what I spend at the hairdressers!

I suppose there will come a day when we give up on "Keeping Up Appearances."
but then would we start to resemble "Grey Gardens?"

perish the thought.....

Keep Smiling
and Press on...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Squared silky....scarves.

Greetings from The Humble Bungalow!
I am posting and hosting from the bed chamber.

Feeling a bit better but not totally rushing back to work...
I do like to share with my co-workers, however I do draw the line when it comes to germs.

Isn't orange a dazzling shade?

Hermes signature colour...
I do have scarves that are not made by Hermes.

Hand rolled silk squares are my preference.

This Lanvin scarf is the only orange accent I have in my wardrobe.
I know the magazines are showing all manner of tangerines clothes
but I have to buck the trends and stay with what suits me.

I'd rather add it in small doses, a sprinkling here a sprinkling there.
An enamel bangle, a scarf or possibly some Havaiana's....

Not wanting to attract attention is probably why I shy away from brights.

This very large square by an Italian maker drapes softly and can cover my shoulders.
This scarf came to me via Value Village
and if memory serves it was under $20.

Black and banana yellow run riot in this detailed patterned scarf
another large square which has been hiding away for far too long.
I found this in the antique mall near Pike Place Market in Seattle.

The Coach scarf was a Christmas gift from my son and his lovely wife.
a very extravagant gift indeed!

I find the squares are the most versatile scarves to work with...
there seems to be a great supply in the local shops.

Silky scarves are a great way 
to add a splash of colour
for me they make me feel a bit more "dressed up."
If you've shied away from silky squares I'd challenge you to go to a local thrift shop and buy one 
with a pattern and colours "that speak to you"
play around tying it different ways in front of the mirror
and get comfortable with your tying skills.

On my last Hermes scarf shopping adventure
the clerk mentioned that I was very adept tying the scarves...
she said most women that come in are very tentative and shy.
I say this not to brag but to support the theory that "practice makes perfect"
well maybe not "perfect" but "good enough" to impress the Hermes clerk!

I watched "The Queen" with Helen Mirren last night 
she wore many different Hermes scarves
wrapped over her head in her signature style keeping her hair tidy.
(A look that works for her but looks silly on me!)

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee coverage will be starting soon on the CBC.
I hope to be watching...
will you?

Laying about these past few days has been tedious
the sun has been shining and the birds have been singing their little hearts out.
I long to be outside mucking about in The Humble Bungalow Garden.

I finished reading the Post Mistress and I highly recommend it...
the author Sarah Blake spent some time at the VCCA
which reminds me
I must ask my artist friend Cheryl Fortier if she met her when she was studying there.

I am off to read a classic...
the thoughts and musings of a woman who is struggling with finding balance in her life.
I always come away from this with a bit more clarity.
Solitude and meditation, 
a room of one's own,
is what Anne Morrow Lindbergh needs
and finds it on a small island on the East Coast
where she lives in a rustic cabin steps away from a sandy beach...

Seeking some comfort and serenity
an escape from the sneezing and coughing 
that I want to ignore...

Glorious lilacs
lift my spirits.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning 
can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day ~ 
like writing a poem or saying a prayer ~
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunday, May 27, 2012

OOTD and a new Land's End dress...

Let's be realistic do you dress up when you are ill?

The Hostess does not.
Mother on the other hand, does...
she looks like she could go to the theatre or a party when she's ailing.

Mother's theory is that if one is dressed well
then one naturally feels better.
Sorry Mom
I am not living up to that standard.

I like comfort and to be cozy when I am sidelined and in bed.

Do you eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away?
I do.

Behold the simple black dress
Land's End 
this one is a keeper.

I will be wearing this a lot.
I can wear it with pearls
a funky necklace 
an armload of bangles
a scarf loosely tied at the neck
it can come to the farmer's market on Saturdays with my straw basket
 go to lunch with the gals
I could wear it on the boat and go beach combing 
tea with Mother
to work

I can wear this with flip flops or sandals
dress it up or dress it down.

It feels soft and easy to wear.
I'm excited about this super simple dress.

The best part is it was only $55
and if you shop their 30% sale this weekend you'll get free shipping!
(Land's End has no idea that I am promoting their products)

I am about to delve into the joy that is Country Living UK

Happy Sunday to you all.

Thanks for popping by...
until next time.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday morning...

I woke up early only to discover that I am coming down with a cold.....
but it's not a pity party here in The Humble Bungalow.
I jumped into the shower and let the hot water run and steam my sinuses
the kettle was put on
and tea was poured by Mr. HB.

I am sipping my second cup of tea...
planning to do a few necessary errands...
we are almost out of tissues and the fridge needs restocking.

Saturday morning and the weekend is about to begin.

The vegetable seeds were planted last weekend.

In the right raised bed are sweet peas
in the left we planted peas
yellow beets, swiss chard, zucchini
clematis is in back to lure the bees.

Fortunately we have a garden full of mason bees
 a heavy clay based soil that cracks 
and a shingle house
which provide many crevices for these bees to live has turned out to be a bonus.

These Mason bees have been in our garden since we moved in 30 years ago.

the lilies are thriving

 native camas in the park

a sea of blues

I ordered some black pants from Lands End and bought the large 
but when I put them on I was swimming in them!
I have re ordered the medium and hope that they fit better.
I wonder if perhaps the walking and mindful eating is paying off?
(one can hope!)

Pepper loves to sleep on our bed and she sleeps on my side at night.
My legs get cramped sometimes trying to accommodate her furry form.
When the bed is made she sleeps on my side too!
If I snuggle under the duvet this afternoon I am sure she'll be at my side.

This weekend will be a slow paced one so that I can rest up and get rid of this cold.
I am seeking comfort in the simple things
a warm mug of tea
cozy socks
a scarf
a soft sweater
some magazines to lose myself in
a novel
(The Post Mistress)
a blanket to wrap myself up in 
perhaps my Steiff bear will join me in bed...

I think I'll skip my walk.
I may buy a bar of really good chocolate
I have not had any chocolate for what seems like months
but in fact may be weeks.
(I'll allow myself one or two squares at the most)

Tell me all the exciting things that you'll be doing this weekend 
as I 'll be living vicariously through your adventures!
Be Well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


On my walk I saw something so strange that I had to look twice...
it was not a bird sighting or a whale spy hopping in the bay.
It was...
well you'll have to see it to believe it.

as seen
 on top of a man made rocky groyne
in the bay not too far from The Humble Bungalow.

Old love seat and chairs 
that someone has obviously dumped there.

In my opinion this is littering of the first order
it looks ridiculous 
makes our pristine waterfront look like a tip.

Bypassers were stopping their cars and hopping out to take pictures.
Some brave ladies, in heels no less...
scaled the rocks and logs and took photos of each other sitting 
on the
precariously perched pieces of furniture.

I stopped my walk to capture this image 
and then hastened on my merry way.

This must have been done under the cover of darkness
no one in their right mind would attempt this during daylight hours
I am sure there would be a substantial fined levied if the city caught them.

Maybe it was a Graduation prank...
there are lots of grad ceremonies going on and schools do try to "outdo" each other.
UBC engineers used to hang VW bugs from the Lion's Gate Bridge
at least they did that when I worked for UBC.
(that was back in the mid 70's)

Did your graduating class participate in any pranks?
I cannot remember what, if anything, my class did
but hey that was in 1973....
and we were still the peace and love generation.

Mr. HB and I were high school sweethearts
we've been together since I was 15 years old...
this is our song
and I am still in love with him....

Have a great Friday....

Salad daze....

In the spirit of health and weight reduction I am working my way to a more healthy style of eating.
Salads and proteins are my new go to partners in crime.
Colourful meals that could come from a spa are finding their way into the Humble Bungalow
a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

Salad daze
look at the colours!

Romaine and red lettuces, red onions, radishes, yellow peppers, black olives, tomatoes, and shredded carrots. 

There's lots of chewing involved so it takes longer to eat
add some lean chicken or steak
(about 3 ounces)

a small amount of dressing for added flavour
and lunch or dinner is ready.

Rebar basil vinaigrette
I made a batch and keep it in the fridge for a few days and use it sparingly...
olive oil is the base with lots of spices and basil leaves
it is delicious.

I am avoiding bread
although I did have two slices last evening with my bowl
of vegetable beef and bean soup.

No hunger pangs after dinner.

I have also been moderating the amount of wine I am consuming.
Funny that I could convince myself that a liquid could be calorie and sugar free!

Yesterday afternoon when I walked home from work the sound of dueling chainsaws could be heard before I rounded the corner and saw the chipper truck.
Our tree is gone...
the large acacia tree was felled in the garden yesterday 
so after work
we were dong some clean up
and Mr. HB stacked wood!

I did not get a long walk in but I did get a work out in the garden.

Thank you for all your emails of support 
on my recent post about the frustration of post menopausal weight loss.
They really mean a lot to me.

While life may not always be rosy
you can always grow roses!

Your Humble Hostess

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shine or tarnish what camp are you in?

Vintage Silverware has been frequently cropping up in the thrift shops in our area which makes me wonder if it has fallen out of flavour.
I am rather like a crow when it comes to shiny things so it's no surprise when I am lured by something that sparkles.
Mother has already given me the lion's share of the family silver as my sister dislikes polishing what Mother gave her and poor Mother shudders every time she sees the tarnished items!

Polishing days occur twice a year here in The Humble Bungalow
with the exception of the everyday silver teapot which needs monthly attention with Twinkle.

I purchased this wee drinks tray recently for under $20.

Perfumes, toiletries and jewelry would look attractive massed on top.

Dainty tea sandwiches, wee cakes...
there is no shortage of uses for this newbie.

Made in England and artfully carved.

Where do you stand on silver?
If you inherited a box of it would you use it and keep it gleaming or hide it away?
Or would you sell or donate it?

Just wondering if I am old fashioned!

Hope that your week is ticking along nicely...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Flowers, friends, and an avocado top...

The Humble Bungalow Garden is starting to bloom...
May is truly a great month for flowers.


Lilacs in mauve and white
(same tree!)


Pure white lilacs

showy pavement series rose

Pacific Iris dwarf variety

 my current read
I did buy this book because of the cover!


Lily of the valley
I have masses and masses of this plant.
I could probably set up a stand and sell it to people as they wander by...

love the scent 
"muguet de bois"

If the weather holds I'll take my tea down to this wee table 
sit in the sunshine and soak in some vitamin D
after I've done my weeding.

Later perhaps I'll soak in the tub with some restorative epsom salts
and  I might pop on this new top with white capri's.

Green is my favourite colour and this avocado shade called my name.

It's from the Joe Fresh line
perfect for summertime
light and rather gauzy.

I realized that I "need" to go sandal shopping
I only have one pair of decent sandals and they are going into their 4th year of service.
Flip flops are OK for casual wear 
(and I have two pairs)
but with a dress or a skirt I like to have something a little more stylish.

I looked at lots of shoes but nothing really spoke to me.
I don't want anything too heavy or verging on frumpy
and a bright colour would be fun.
And why are decent shoes so darned expensive?

My BFF got a fabulous dress for the wedding
and we found an unconstructed cover
rather like a sweater alternative 
soft light cotton
with great details that add a chic effect.
She also bought a new Roots cross body bag
and we lunched at Rebar and both enjoyed a delicious quinoa and wild rice salad with beans and avocado.
If you are looking for a fabulous vegetarian spot to lunch do not miss this diner.

Nothing like a fun day with my BFF and some successful shopping 
to put a contented happy smile on my face.

Hope that your weekend is ticking along nicely.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Someone is sending me a message....

Oh dear....
someone is sending me a message.

I remember that when I got on the phone when the children were young that they would go to great lengths to get my attention...
those were the days before cordless phones.
I had a 20 foot cord and a box of "telephone toys" these toys were only used when Mommy was chatting on the phone.
I can still hear " Mommy I have to pee"
"Mommy Stewart is drawing on the wall"
"Mommy I 'm hungry"
or worse a loud crash and a scream.

Well my children have grown and moved out of the nest...
we do have a cat who will do anything to get our attention...

if you don't hear from me for awhile
it's Pepper's fault!

Hope that your weekend has some time for relaxation.

maybe you'll chat on the phone to a friend
go shopping or enjoy lunch out

That's what I have planned for tomorrow
then later in the weekend
plant some vegetable seeds and work in the garden.
Weather permitting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Humble Bungalow May 2012

It's a sunny warm morning and I took my camera and walked about in the garden.
Preserving images of the garden in all it's glory keeps me motivated to maintain the weeding and pruning.
We watered for the first time last evening as there has been no rain and things were looking rather parched.

The peach coloured Rothschild variety azalea 
is putting on quite the show 
it's sweet, almost tropical, fragrance is heady.

The wee chartreuse euphorbia has filled in the front bed
(it's invasive so beware!)
The box wood has grown since I put it in last year and is looking rather sharp.

The azalea was purchased many years ago
we were inspired by Veronica Milner's estate and garden near Qualicum Beach.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana stayed there when they visited many moons ago.
The garden is now open to the public and I must get back up there sometime soon.
Perhaps this summer for a tour and some tea
you might like to visit...

Chairs at the ready 
tea on the porch 
sitting and watching
listening to birdsong
chatting with the passers by...

Gardening requires stamina and I find now that I can only toil for a few hours before resting.
When I was in my 40's I could work for 8 hours in a day
now that I am nearing 60 I am more comfortable working 3 or 4 and then taking a break.

Gardening is particularly hard on the hands and though I wear gloves I need some extra help.
Lotion is often applied before putting on my gloves and there is a warming effect that takes place when working
and the lotion is absorbed at the same time. 
( a mini spa treatment! )

Here's a helper
I rub it into my cuticles and let it soak in.
I keep it by my lap top so it's handy
and then I remember to use it.

There's a long weekend coming up and I plan to plant seeds in the vegetable garden
and go shopping with my BFF for a dress suitable for a summer garden wedding.

What have you planned to do this weekend?