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    Journal - Fourth Quarter 2000  

Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.       

October thru December 2000:

All entries are organized in reverse-chronological order so the newest entry is always at the
top. (If you're reading the journal for the first time, you might wish to start where I began
(the 3rd Quarter of 1999) and go to the bottom to begin reading.

3rd Quarter 1999 4th Quarter 1999 1st Quarter 2000 2nd Quarter 2000 3rd Quarter 2000
4th Quarter 2000 1st Quarter 2001 2nd Quarter 2001 3rd Quarter 2001 4th Quarter 2001
1st Quarter 2002 2nd Quarter 2002 3rd Quarter 2002 4th Quarter 2002 1st Quarter 2003
2nd Quarter 2003 3rd Quarter 2003 4th Quarter 2003 1st Quarter 2004  

December 2000:

December 30, 2000:
Everyone ready for the New Year? I find myself working today and probably tomorrow as well, but hope to spend a bit of time ringing in the new year with my husband, wrapping up work early tomorrow. I promised I would report in on Christmas with a bit more elaboration, so here goes.

First, as is always the tradition in our family, much of the holiday still revolved around -- you guessed it -- food. However, since we began low-carbing almost 2 years ago, our food choices were able to be smart ones but still scrumptious. I had tin after tin of Christmas cookies baked and ready when Stuart and Laura arrived. I made a double batch of Pfeffernusse Cookies (German Pepper Cookies), a triple batch of Old Fashioned "Sugar" Cookies, and a triple batch of butter cookies (recipe soon). I also made a big loaf of the Banana Sour Cream Bread (recipe from the December 12th Newsletter.) I was hoping to keep baking and cooking while they were here down to a minimum so we could have more time to visit and for last minute shopping, wrapping, etc. The baked goods were all totally delish, but the Pfeffernusse Cookies were my absolute favorite. I may have to start having them not just at Christmas. They're nearly impossible to tell from the "real" ones. While they were here, we had a really great Cherry Glazed Ham, a Turkey meal with the classic trimmings, and we even made sausage, biscuits, and gravy for breakfast one morning. They also took us out to an elegant meal at Peerless Mill Inn (if you're from the Dayton, Ohio area, you know this old and famous restaurant.) And one night we just enjoyed some Marion's Pizza (also a Dayton tradition.) I taught Laura a few low-carb cooking tricks and we had a chance to spend some great time together. It was a wonderful Christmas for me.

Someone wrote and asked me about my Christmas tree this year and I promised to take a photo or two, so here's one of them. The flash kept grabbing the curio cabinet glass, so excuse that. Here's one without the flash but it makes for a less "warm" photo. Lastly, here's a daytime shot. (Trees are not nearly so magical during the day, are they?) Laura also sent us a photo she took of their tree, so I'll share that as well. Both are before the gifts were placed under.

Now, in my last entry I mentioned that I would explain the "special" gift my son got for me... Sometime in the mid 1970's, my parents purchased a large, regal statue of a (life-sized) tiger that sat near the hearth of their fireplace as long as I can remember. I loved that tiger, and many of the old photos of their house include him as a centerpiece of this scene or that. Here are a few photos I grabbed out of Mother's Christmas album that show her hearth on various Christmases with the tiger stealing the scene. (These are scanned from old 70's Polaroids, so be kind...) When I lost my parents two years ago, I did not inherit the tiger, and in fact, I have not seen it since (long story) but have always smiled when I come across his many photos. Well, apparently, my son determined to find one just like him for me for Christmas this year. He began his search months ago, calling stores, checking catalogs, scouring antique stores and scoping out eBay on a daily basis. His twin was not to be found anywhere. He often found tiger statues of one sort or another, but they were always wrong. Frustrated, he was at a large department store in South Carolina shopping for other items with a buddy of his. Coming down the escalator, his buddy remarked, "Hey, there's your tiger." Stuart assumed his friend was teasing again, but as he turned, there it sat. It was grouped with a selection of other jungle-like pals -- part of a store display being broken down. He was a "prop." And clearly he'd been adorning displays for over 20 years. His "coat" was dull and someone had spilled spray paint on him. He'd seen better days. But it was the tiger. Stuart went to the nearest cashier to inquire about purchasing him and was told "no." He was store display property afterall, and not for sale. Stu asked to speak to a manager. The department manager said "no." He asked for the next higher up, and also got a "no." Finally Stuart insisted on speaking to the owner. They insisted he was probably already gone for the day -- it was after six, but Stu pressed for them to make the call. He was indeed still in his office, so Stuart told him the entire story of what that tiger had meant to his Mom. Stu reminded the man what bad shape the tiger was in and that his sale would be pure profit for the store since the tiger was not inventoried. They dickered on price, and in a few minutes, the tiger was under Stuart's arm and on his way through a snowy parking lot -- soon to be on his way to a new home in Ohio. Stuart and Laura cleaned him of the paint and restored his finish. He is truly stunning. He sat in a huge, oddly shaped Christmas "bag" near the tree until Christmas Eve when he officially became mine. I nearly cried when I saw him and Stuart relayed this tale to me. I received lots of other wonderful gifts, but this one was truly special. A gift of not only substance, but of memories. Here are some new photos of our "Christmas Tiger":
Our family wishes all of yours a healthful, happy, and prosperous 2001!

December 26, 2000:
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Sorry I was unable to get back here in time to make an entry yesterday, but it's been a crazy last two weeks as I am sure you can all relate to! I had a great Christmas and got to spend it with loved ones. My son and daughter-in-law outdid themselves this year picking the perfect gifts. I will elaborate on one special one in my next entry and as soon as I get caught up here. Thanks for all the Holiday wishes we received from everyone. They always mean the world to us! Oh, and I am at a 105 lb loss now! (Great Christmas gift!)

December 19, 2000:
Well, it's definitely not a fluke.. the plateau is officially broken. I'm continuing to lose and am now at a 104 lb loss !  Everything's rush, rush, rush right now. I'm running out of time and still have 4 more gifts to buy and at least 10 more to wrap. Plus, I'm behind in cookie making (my son and daughter-in-law are coming for Christmas), but hopefully I'll make it. There's a ton o' snow out there... brrrrr.. Back to work. Hope all of you are handling your low-carb Christmas with good cheer!

December 8, 2000:
I am in continuing celebration mode for finally getting out of this plateau I've been suffering for oh-so-very-long! I dropped another pound and a half the last two days and I feel better as well. I always have additional energy and clarity when my body's in fat-burning mode.

I have gotten so many wonderful letters of congratulations that I might not be able to answer them all, so I just want to say thank you here. It means a lot to me and all the support I've gotten over these months has helped me stay strong and positive when I couldn't get that d*#% scale to move an inch.

December 5, 2000:
Yippee! I can't believe I finally did it, folks. I'd just stopped obsessing over this ever-so-long plateau and then this morning, I looked down and I'd lost 100 pounds! Rather than drone on about it here, I've written a special piece about looking back and where I am now! Very, very cool. What a great early Christmas gift!

November 2000:

November 22, 2000:

Well, another Thanksgiving is upon us. As I write this, I've worked for 2 days on food for our Thanksgiving feast. As most of you have doubtless discovered, having Thanksgiving both low-carb and traditional, means doing everything completely from scratch. As I did my Thanksgiving meal shopping in my local groceries, I watched all around me as carts were filled with frozen and bakery Pumpkin Pies, Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mixes, Canned Candied Yams, and even pre-packaged mashed potatoes. For a moment it flitted across my mind, "how lucky they are that they can cut their work time so much with pre-made things..." And then the next thought was a "what was I thinking?! Lucky?! They're killing themselves." So I might be exhausted right now, but at least I feel good about what I am serving. My pumpkin pies came out simply awesome, and I have all the "fixin's" for my stuffing nearly done. It will be a mix of cornbread stuffing (made from our "Corn Bread" recipe here!) and regular bread stuffing (made with my low-carb bread crumbs.)

I have resigned myself to the fact that for the time being, my journal entries will stay sporadic. With this already hectic schedule of balancing work, this site (plus the newsletter) and my family, I am already at time limits, but the holidays will add to the mix. So I hope everyone will understand my concentrating on the other parts of the site right now as we continue Product Reviews, Recipe creation, and everything else.

And now, it's time for me to stop and give thanks for all I have and how far I've come. Let me ennumerate:
  • First, I acknowledge my faith that gets me through the frustrating times, the long hours, and the curves life throws you.
  • I am ever so thankful for my dear and wonderful husband. It's amazing that he can stand to be around me when I begin to rail for my "causes." He's gentle, steady, and always there. Richard, you are my rock.
  • I am grateful for the friends who stood by us and were there to help -- even on a moment's notice, when we found our lives turned upside down by a tornado.
  • I am very grateful to my visitors to the site. Your letters mean so much to me. I feel like many of you have become real friends.
  • I am grateful to our hard-working team of product reviewers who help to cook, clean up, offer ideas, and most of all, be my "test dummies."
  • I thank all my supportive friends who have been an important part of my life this past year -- Steve, Terri, Keith, Arne, Elaine, Lori, and others too numerous to name.
  • I thank a special little fellow who is a daily help to me who goes simply by the name "Ratbert" (cute, huh?)
  • I thank my son for helping me fight the good fight and for his dear wife for supporting him in this.
  • And lastly I thank Sylvia for bringing my spirituality back into focus when life was getting in the way.
Have a wonderful Turkey-Day, everyone!

October 2000:

October 31, 2000:
H A P P Y    H A L L O W E E N !
Eeekk.. Even more scary than Halloween is the fact that I let nearly a month go by without setting aside time to write in my journal. Every time I do that I get letters from people concerned about me. So, let me give you the 'skinny'...

Since my last journal entry we (my family and myself) threw ourselves headfirst into the Newsletter project here. Writing the articles, doing the research, testing new recipes and maintaining the subscriber rolls has proven to be a huge undertaking. You may have noticed we try not to do anything in a 'small way' here, so the newsletter is also a pretty large project.

Then there's the product reviews. Our e-mail tells us that those are one of the strongest driving forces that you come here for, so we've put our all into them. We usually have two meetings per week now to test, evaluate and then review all the new products that are coming out -- and believe me, at the rate they are hitting the market now, we are struggling to keep up. Just to give you a little background, a product review usually starts with a product suggestion at a previous meeting, or a vendor writing to tell us about one, or one of our visitors calling it to our attention. We get the product(s) in and schedule a meeting to do the evaluations (luckily we can often do several products at a meeting -- especially if they are similar in nature, like all baking products, etc.) We put together a list of the recipes we'll be trying them in (if they are a food/cooking product) as well as a list of the other items we'll need. Once the product is run through its paces, and we decide it's worthy of the Spotlight (you have no idea how many don't make it!), we do photography. We sometimes photograph the cookies, pies, etc that we made with it, and we always photograph the product itself for illustration use in the product review online. Everyone goes home, I do LOTS of cleanup, then I sit down and actually write the review (though I sometimes do notes only until I have time to write it up as a proper review.) Once the review is written, it gets put into html format for the site, and the photos have to be edited, masked, etc to properly display attractively online. It all gets uploaded and there you have it -- the final review. Then it's on to the next one.

Of course, a lot of this is also fun. I get to be very creative and we have fun getting together in the first place. But it is time consuming. In between, I work on articles for the site and try to answer as many as I can of the over 100 letters a day we receive. All the above has to be worked around my "real" job - the one where I make the money to buy my low-carb life. [grin] And I do try and set aside time everyday just to spend with Richard. He's my rock and he deserves not to be ignored. He's also been absolutely wonderful about helping around the house, doing laundry, caring for our kitties, and anything else he can lend a hand to.

So, the upshot of it is, my journal has suffered. It's unfortunate because it's my chance to really talk to all of you as well as to 'catch up'. It's usually very cathartic for me. I'd like to say I'll try to do better, but the schedule is getting even tighter over the next two months because of the holidays.

We had a Thanksgiving Planning area up last year and it's going to debut again this year, so we've been working hard on that as well and hopefully it will be available within a day or two.

And lastly, weight loss. Nope, not a darn thing. Can you believe it's been more than 4 months since I've shown a loss? It's waivered up and down a pound or two here or there and always settling back. I spoke to a couple of health professionals who told me it was not at all unusual for the body to go into a 'rest cycle' after losing a great deal and that it would move on when it was ready. They said they'd seen people stop losing for as much as 6-8 months during these 'rests', but I surely hope I don't have to wait that long to lose this last bit of weight come off. I've come so far, I really want to get to goal now.

Thanks for all your support, everyone. And if you haven't signed up for the newsletter yet, go do it!

October 1, 2000: I want to thank everyone that took the time to write to me and my husband and wish us well after the tornado. While we still have to contend with damage at the house from the winds, and will be fighting with the insurance company for some indefinite period of time over our car, we are mostly back to normal. We began having panel meetings this past week again for our product reviews (though we weren't ready to have them at our own house yet), and things are feeling more stable now.

We got literally hundreds of letters and even some e-cards from many of you and while it will take me awhile to catch up email-wise, Richard and I want you to know it meant a great deal to us.

Response to our newsletter subscription sign-up has been equally amazing. Getting out issue #1 got a bit delayed because of all this, but it will be out in a few days now. By the way, this coming Tuesday is the day I set aside for weigh-in (I'm only weighing every two weeks now so I don't frustrate myself to death!) so we'll see if being in a tornado takes a little weight off a person. [grin]

I've gotten the latest product reviews up and published and will work on getting some of the new recipes we've been devising over this last month up as soon as possible.

It's getting close to election time... I have to say I am a little frustrated at not being able to volunteer my time to my candidate's campaign this year. In previous years Richard and I were always very involved, but this year -- because Rich works for the Justice Department -- we are not allowed to publicly campaign for any party candidate. I remember a couple of elections back, Rich and I spent the weekend on the campaign with "our man." We got to work security with the secret service and it remains one of the coolest, most fun days I can remember. We spent the whole day meeting and greeting with famous folks. Notice how careful I've been not to mention any affiliation? [smile]