Saturday, January 12, 2008

Round Robin Challenge: Railroads

"A private railroad car is not an acquired taste. One takes to it immediately."

-Eleanore Robson Belmont

Gina, author of the blog, Gina's Space, submitted Railroads in our recent Round Robin Challenge Pool challenge, and I thought it might be especially fun to do now that it is winter. I look a ride to Old Sacramento, to get a photo or two at the Railroad Museum, but unfortunately the day I chose was not too good for taking photos! LOL! It was POURING RAIN. Raining buckets of cats and dogs I tell you!. LOL. It is a really beautiful section of Sacramento, and I know I will be getting there before winter is over, but for now I have a nice collection of photos from my archive. Some of them are from a visit I made to Old Sacramento, the day before Thanksgiving, in 2006. I hope they bring you a smile. :)

The Burlington Route, Virginia City, Nevada

Hayward Amtrak Station, Hayward, California

The very exciting and fun Steam Trains, located in Tilden Park, Berkeley, California

The Virginia City Train, Virginia City, Nevada

The Railway Express, vintage railroad car, Virginia City, Nevada

Be sure to visit all the participants for this challenge. We had a wonderful turnout, and I am sure you will enjoy seeing how everyone chose to meet the challenge. We have a lot of amazing photographers in the Round Robins. If you would like to join us, you are more then welcome. There is even still time to play this challenge. Just visit the official Round Robin blog, read the entry for this challenge, and then follow the directions. It's just that easy. If you have any questions, please feel free to email either Steven, Karen or myself and we will be happy to assist you!

Thank you Gina, for bringing me a smile with the challenge!

I also want to say WELCOME to all our new and returning players. It's good to have you with us!

-Carly :)

Linking List

Gina... Gina's Space

Carly... Ellipsis

Kim... Nekked Lizards

Vicki... Maracas

Karen... Outpost Mavarin

Lisa... Lisa's Chaos

Janet... Fond Of Photography

Cheryl... Life Thru My Lens

A Typical California Girl... Letting Crazy Take A Spin

Nan... Life Is Like A Lunchbox

Sandy... Meanderings

Betty... Biker Betty

Duane... Life The Universe And Everything

Suzanne... Living...Suzanne R's Life

Julie... Julie's Web Journal

Mary... Just A Happy Gypsy

Sandra... Strong Chemistry

Sarah... Charish-Me

Kiva... Eclectic Granny

Gattina... Keyhole Pictures

Martha... Perception

"Autumn Train"
Old Sacramento, California
November, 2006
Late Afternoon

Friday, January 11, 2008

Karen's Weekend Assignment #198: What Is Your Favorite Thing About Winter

"Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom. But we hope for it, we know it."

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Weekend Assignment #198: What is your favorite thing about winter? Whether you love this time of year, hate it, or merely endure it, you should be able to find something good to say about the season. What is it?

Extra Credit: What do you hate most about winter?

-Karen Funk Blocher

Winter is beautiful, and a bit challenging to this amateur photographer. :) The natural lighting can be hard to find through the puffy white clouds and foggy mist which tends to haunt us up here in the hills, but that in itself is part of the beauty of the season. I love watching the fog wafting up into the hills, and seeing the slow moving clouds dance around the bay. :) It's also the perfect time for cuddling up with Alan and Elvis. Big fluffy pillows and warm chenille throws make for a pleasant afternoon! If I do venture out, I usually look for my beautiful Snowy Egrets, which wear their winter plumage about this time of year, and I also look about for the first of the spring blossoms, which always appear in winter first. It can be a spectacular time of year, if the conditions are right. The camera can really bring winter's natural beauty to light!

Have a look see...

San Francisco On A Winter Day

Snowy Egret With Winter Plumage

Snowy Egret on the left, Great Egret on the right.

Daisy In January

Great Egret In Flight

Beautiful, Perfect Winter Bloom

Early Winter Blossom

Extra Credit: Well, hate is a strong word. I don't think there is anything all that negative about the season from my perspective. My hands hurt pretty bad, due to my Fibromyalgia, sometimes in winter, and I am not happy about that, but I don't really hate it. It's just something I must endure. That's life I guess. :)

"Winter Photos 2007"
Bay Area

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Praise Of The 100 Calorie Pack

"No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut."

-Channing Pollock

Okay, the holidays are over, and Alan's birthday is over and now it's back to reality, so, it must be said. I am Carly, and I am a diabetic. I have Type 2 diabetes, and what that means is, I have to watch a little bit closer then most people, what kind of nutritional decisions I make. I was given some phenomenal news last November by my personal care physician, she told me that in just under four months I had managed to lower my A1c test result into normal numbers. Not normal for diabetics, normal for the average human. Did it mean that I was no longer a diabetic? No. It means that I have things well under control. It meant that with a little more time, and the same consistently lower numbers, I would no longer be considered diabetic, but I need to also be aware that now that I have had a taste of the disease, there is a higher then likely chance that I could once again be diagnosed with full tilt boogie Type 2 Diabetes.

Sounds a bit contradictory, but really it makes all the sense in the world. To live in the best health possible, it would be a good idea to live as if I have diabetes. So I do. I have found the differences I have made in my food intake to be very easy to manage. I don't eat at fast food restaurants anymore, well, ok, I do, but I plan for my visits. I don't just go there on a whim. I have a pocket nutrition guide that tells me the fat and calorie content of fast food, and if I know I might be eating out, I plan for it. I have been trying different convenience foods, such as the new line of food at Safeway, Eating Right. The frozen dinners are the perfect size for lunch, and they taste really good. Some of my favorites are the Spaghetti and the Salisbury Steak. Both fill me, and my blood glucose reading 2 hours after the meal has always been well into my target range of 140-160 mg/dl. Although most days it reads at a much lower number. And I always eat my meals with a time limit of 30 minutes maximum.

Like everyone else, I get the munchies late in the day. I thought when I was first told that I had Type 2 Diabetes, that it meant I had to give up the snacking I loved. I especially crave snacks when I am on a long walk, or when Alan and I are playing a board game. POUT. Well, my doctor told me that I didn't have to give up much as a diabetic, and she is right. I am thrilled with the 100 calorie packs which have been around for a couple years. When I first started seeing them in the stores, I thought it was just another diet gimmick, but then one day I decided to give them a try.

I found out, when I did a random check on my blood, that 100 calories seems to be a magic number for me. When I get a craving for, say, cookies, I grab a 100 calorie pack of, Keebler Chocolate Grasshopper cookies, and it fills that momentary need for a little something to tide me over to dinner. I rarely, if ever, see a rise in my blood after eating one of these packs, but I am careful about when I indulge. I only eat one of these if it has been at least 2 hours since I ate a meal, and if it is more then 2 hours before my next meal. I know, I know a piece of fresh fruit would be better for me, and a lot of the time, I do grab a tangerine or an apple, but it's not realistic to give up the "bad stuff" all together. So, I now I just make better decisions on when and where I indulge. As you can see, lol, we love our snacking!

I visited a few websites this morning to, see what's being said about these 100 Calorie packs, and for the most part they are being praised, but there is a downside as well. For one thing, the cost. It's true, they are a bit more expensive, which is always the way with anything that is packaged for convenience. Sigh. I could probably save a little bit and buy a big bag, and weigh the snacks, and put them in individual Ziploc bags, but it does take time to do this, and then there is the willpower factor. How difficult it is to not sample here and there while I am bagging them up. Willpower is something we all struggle with... right? Which brings me to the other negative factor... the 100 calorie pack doesn't fill you. But a snack shouldn't replace a meal. I tend to look at as snack as something fun until I eat my next meal. So keeping things in a proper perspective is key as well.

For now, this all seems to be working for me. Diabetes is a little different experience for everyone who has it, and I am one of the lucky ones who caught her diabetes early in the disease. As I get older, it will be more and more difficult to manage, but it seems like having all this information and resources available to me, has only made it all easier. Last weekend, I joined the Discovery Channel's 2008 National Body Challenge. Have you heard of it? When you get the chance, drop by and have a look around. There are healthy recipes, and tips for living a more healthy lifestyle. It's fun. And the other day, I found an adorable website called, Hungry Girl. On that site you can find all kinds of information on food, dieting and nutrition. It's one of my new favorite websites. See the links below.

Sigh.This is going to sound strange, but I think being diagnosed with diabetes is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am enjoying taking care of myself, and learning new things. It is really fascinating to find out what different types of food does to my blood. It has been a eye opener what stress does to my blood sugar, and how exercise makes me feel better. Stress seems to be my biggest trigger. Like I said, George Bush gave me diabetes. LOL. But no, I have to take the responsibility here, letting George Bush irritate me is probably what gave me diabetes. LOL. That's all I'm saying. LOL.

I have some struggles ahead, such as adjusting my calorie maintenance so I maintain my weight, another important factor in things, but right now I am having fun, and even on days like today, when my Fibromyalgia causes my hands to hurt so bad I can barely type, I am smiling at my blood glucose number when I woke up this morning. It was 94mg/dl. Yay! And thank you 100 Calorie Packs for keeping me sane! I just wish it was this easy to control my cat Elvis's diabetes. Sigh.


Discovery Channel 2008 National Body Challenge

100 Calorie Packs: Do They Help With Weight Loss? (ABC News)

Weighing In On 100 Calorie Snack Packs (Boston Globe)

Hungry Girl

"100 Calorie Packs"
Berkeley, California
January 10th, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Alan...

"Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional."

-Chilli Davis

Yep, we are back from the snow, and now it's time to celebrate Alan's birthday! He is 46 years young today, and still the hunkiest hunk on the block. I wish I could figure out why he doesn't look a day older then when I met him in 1977. It's simply not fair, but it sure is fun. :)

Yesterday, we took our long ride to the snow, and we got as far as Colfax, California, when we were turned back for not having snow chains. Sometimes they let you through, but yesterday they were expecting snow showers in the Sierra, so we were out of luck. I am going to get a set of chains, but I think I will wait until later in the season when they are cheaper. We will get another chance to get up to the snow, maybe in a few weeks, it just depends on the whims of Mother Nature. :) I need some new snow boots anyway. :)

Back to today. Alan and I went out to lunch at Red Robin. YUM. I don't eat out very much anymore, not since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, but Alan received a certificate for a free hamburger lunch, so I thought it would be nice to have a little treat. I ordered a bowl of French Onion soup, which must have agreed with me, because 2 hours later my blood sugar was 130 mg/dl. A perfectly lovely, acceptable reading! And all is well. I am so happy Alan got to have the burger, he deserved that treat. He has been very supportive of my new eating habits, and most of the time eats the same thing I do. That helps this diabetic more then I can say. :)

Alan was thrilled with the results of the New Hampshire primary. Actually, we were both very pleasantly surprised. As I have mentioned before, he is voting for Hillary Clinton, while I am still a bit on the fence between Clinton and Edwards. I have a few more weeks to make up my mind, but I have to admit, I am beginning to lean towards Hillary. Hmmm... what to do, what to do.

Tonight we will probably just cuddle and watch something on TV. My birthday is coming up on June 29th, and we will probably do something very similar to what we did today, although by then we probably will be talking about how pleased we will be to see the end come to all those annoying political ads. LOL. Life is a cycle after all, and isn't it grand? :)

Happy Birthday Alan


"Happy Birthday Dear Alan"
Red Robin
Pleasanton, California
January 9, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

Snow Days

"All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field."

-Albert Einstein

Tomorrow is the New Hampshire Primary, do you know where your candidate is in the polls? After the debate last Saturday night, I am more sure then ever in the merits of John Edwards, but I must say, Hillary Clinton continues to impress me, and earn my respect as well. Obama, by contrast, is losing me more and more every day. I just don't have a strong enough faith in his abilities, to see him earn the nomination and to be eventually be president. I think he talks a very good game about change, but he really doesn't get down to specifics. I think Edwards and Clinton are much more clear and decisive on what their plans are if they are elected president.

I haven't completely closed my mind to Obama, because there is good chance he will win the nomination, and I want to believe in whoever is chosen on the democratic ticket, but I have to say, right now, he isn't someone I believe in. Just being a democrat is not enough. Hopefully, the next president of the United States will be a democrat, and so my vote will be reflecting the person I want to see in office for the next 8 years. I would like to have the same kind of faith in the next person I vote for, as I did for Bill Clinton in the 90's or Al Gore, in 2000. I wish I knew right now who the running mates of the candidates will be, because to me, it's just as important as who will be president. There is a lot to consider here.

Oh well, the California Primary isn't until February 5th. I still have some time to visit some websites and do some reading. As I mentioned before, Alan is planning on voting for Hillary Clinton, while I am still in favor of John Edwards, so we have had some really interesting conversations lately. So, while the New Hampshire Primary is happening tomorrow, I will be on my way to the snow to do my first new photos of 2008. The southern Sierra got a good dusting of snow from the last storms, and there is another strong system on the way. Hopefully I will be able to get some nice winter photos, and I am looking forward to the long car ride with Alan as well. Alan good for my moods, as well as my blood sugar. :) He's the best part of my future, well, he and Elvis. :)

Note: I will be gone very late tomorrow, so I won't have a Tuesday post, but look for me on Wednesday! I'll be back with new photos! :)

"Decision 2008"
Berkeley, California
Winter, 2008
Early Evening

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Friends Say I'm Acting Peculiarly...

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

-Victor Hugo

It's still raining here off and on. According to the news it will probably be raining for at least the next week or so. It's ok I suppose, rain has it's place, but it has certainly played with my moods and my sleep. I woke up really early this morning with all kinds of energy, and nowhere to take it. Sigh. So, I have this restlessness in me. What to do, what to do. I did spend a little time today looking over some of the upcoming movies that will be released this year. There is a lot to look forward to at the cinema. A new Indiana Jones movie, the big screen version of Sex And The City, which I am looking forward to BIG time, and there is a new X-Files movie in the works. Ahhhhh... David Duchovny... Yes, he could cure my restlessness. Yes, if anyone could he could. Oh David...

By Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac)

Can you hear me calling
Out your name
You know that I'm falling
And I don't know what to say

I'll speak a little louder
I'll even shout
You know that I'm proud
And I can't get the words out

Oh I
I want to be with you everywhere
Oh I
I want to be with you everywhere
Wanna be with you everywhere

Somethings happening
Happening to me
My friends say I'm acting peculiarly

C'mon baby
We better make a start
You better make soon
Before you break my heart

Oh I
I wanna be with you everywhere
Oh I
I want to be with you everywhere
Wanna be with you everywhere

Can you hear me calling
Out your name
You know I'm falling
And I don't know what to say

Come along baby
We better make a start
You better make it soon
Before you break my heart

Oh I
I want to be with you everywhere
Oh I
I want to be with you everywhere
Oh I
I want to be with you everywhere
Wanna be with you everywhere

:) I will have some new photos next week, but for now, enjoy the song and how it makes you feel.