Vivid Dawn's random ramblings

I’m too tired to think of a decent title. I probably should be in bed, but figured I ought to post something really quick.

More flowers have bloomed in my “secret/feral” garden. Yellow daffodils, red tulips and purple hyacinth.


On my way home from pet adoptions, I saw the little herd of deer that live in the field near my house. I actually stopped the car (and got out) to take pictures. That, of course, spooked them and by the time I got my phone ready and snapped a shot, all I got were the blurry tail-ends of the critters darting into the trees. Maybe I’ll get a better picture next time (gotta figure out my zoom, so I don’t have to leave the car to get up to the fence!)


Oh, and no hikes this week. Either too tired (Monday), didn’t have time (was in the city all day Wednesday and did extra chores for Gabi on Friday), and now it’s supposed to rain/snow next week. BUT! I did reach another goal…my weight this morning was lbs 80.2! YAY! I wanted to be that by my birthday next month, but maybe now the goal will just be to keep it on and not lose again! (I would also like to be 90 by the first day of summer, and 100 by winter)

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Happy Trails

I love the outdoors, but don’t go out and really enjoy them as much as I should. So I decided I’m going to go for a hike every week! (would really like to do it 3 times: on Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

While I like the nature junk in my own back yard just fine (the crocus flowers have died off, and been replaced by daffodils!), a change of scenery is nice too.


There are several hiking trails near my house, so I am going to try them one at a time. Today was Fernwood trail.

On the edge of the National Forest, adjacent the trail head, is “The Castle”. I suppose it is officially “Wardley Castle”, but I like it’s other title of “Fernwood Castle” better… it fits for the area more, and Mr. Wardley is trying to sell it (as of 2010, anyway. I don’t know it’s current status), so it won’t be “Wardley” forever anyway.

Fernwood Castle

Fernwood Castle

Anyhoo, onto the story of my first hike!

It seemed relatively easy at first. I am SO out of shape! I got to the little stream and already my heart was pounding and jumping. So I sat down to have a snack of granola bar and milk I had brought (and yes, I was good and put the wrapper back in my bag… there was enough litter around already, I didn’t feel the need to contribute to the eye-sores!)

Recovering from winter

Recovering from winter

Where I stopped to rest was obviously not too far along…you can still see the parking lot, for cryin’ out loud!  But after a snack and a rest, I got up and got going again…for about maybe 100 feet.

Stream rocks on the right side

Stream rocks on the right side

There is a wonderful view of the valley! I took a picture, but it doesn’t do it real justice. The picture is fuzzy, but in reality you can clearly see Antelope Drive and the roadway over the lake and out to the island.

In the ravine I heard rustling. It was loud enough I thought it might be something like a deer! But it turned out to be just a little squirrel darting around in the sticks. Come to think of it, that ravine is so steep I’m not sure a deer could be on the edge…maybe a mountain goat (which I think I’m too far west to ever see one)

Ravine and distant lake road

Ravine and distant lake road

Considering I had gone maybe only 200 meters, I didn’t want to wimp out yet. So I decided to go a little more…still rather slowly of course (more like an afternoon stroll than a hike! LOL). The trail was at a slight incline so far, but relatively easy… after the view of the ravine, though, it started getting steeper and I figured I better not risk totally wearing myself out for the day. There is a tree that’s already green (I wonder if it’s some sort of pine? It was little and scrawny though), about another 100 feet further, and that’s my goal for next time!

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Spring? HA!

So much for the first day of Spring being nice.

The weather had been quite nice the last couple weeks, and even warm enough I didn’t wear a jacket for a few days. Then the first day of Spring (yesterday) was dreary… cold, gray-skied, drizzling rain.  Last night there was a raging storm. The lightening was flashing literally every other second, the thunder was rolling and cracking constantly, howling wind and pounding hail (not too big, but about the size of pea gravel). In fact, it was such a ruckus that poor Nebbie jumped off the bed and went to hide. I got out of bed to watch the lightening, but of course as my luck would have it, the storm was to the North and my window only faces the south… so I didn’t see any actual bolts, just the blue-ish illumination of everything.

So anyhoo… This morning the sun was shining through my little bedroom window, so I figured it might end up being a nice day after all. I get dressed and go into the kitchen to be presented with this:

Mother Nature is confuzzled about what season it is...

Mother Nature is confuzzled about what season it is…

And no, that is not snow that is in the process of melting. That is NEW snow! And the weather forecast says more is on the way.

Alright, I understand that winter got a late start… but that doesn’t mean it has to be late leaving! It’s SPRING! I want my flowers and green grass and blue sunny skies back! Okay, gray skies and rain would be fine, but no white junk!  😦

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Soon…. SOON!

AURGH! It’s about freakin’ time! Spring is coming! YAY!! While it hasn’t “officially” started (not for another 4 days), the crocus flowers started blooming the other day!

The forecast says snow on Sunday, but it should stay up in the hills & mountains (or at least that’s what I’m hoping). Yes I know we need the moisture, but why can’t it just be rain? Rain doesn’t need to be scraped off the car for 10 minutes with numb fingertips, rain doesn’t need to be shoveled, and rain is slightly safer to drive in (though some people seem to think it’s TOTALLY safe and still end up sliding all over).

But soon Spring will be here, and winter will be gone (for a whole 4 months, but I enjoy the break while I can…at least I don’t live somewhere like Minnesota or Alaska!). Or maybe Mother Nature will have another PMS moment and drag it out like she did in 2010… it snowed on May 31! When I was camping! AURGH!  I really want to move to a sub-tropical place…

Anyhoo, I have proof that there is hope!

A few years ago my dad dug up the flower bed at the front of the house and moved all the dirt (including bulbs of crocus, iris, tulips and hyacinth) over by the little wooded area in the back yard. Despite the fact it started out as a huge mound of dirt, somehow the little flowers survived and after rain/snow/wind has evened out the ground, there’s now a sort of little “secret garden” area at the back corner of our property. It’s wonderful! Added to the fact that it’s right in front of the entrance to the little thicket my feral cats live in, is now my favorite place to sit outside in warm weather and have some “me time”.

The yellow ones are a group my dad missed when he remodeled in front. The white one is over at my little corner of heaven in the back yard.

Ha! Missed me!

Ha! Missed me!

Secret/feral garden

Secret/feral garden


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Food Survey (part 2)

I did another one.

Best board game snack? Chex mix Muddy Buddies


roasted or boiled hot dogs? No. Hot dogs are icky!


corn on or off the cob? creamed corn (off)


Meatloaf or roast beef? Meatloaf (but without “tomato puke” on it)


oatmeal with water or milk? MILK!


best sandwich when you’re super hungry? Nutella on white


Snack that is easy to overeat? dried fruit


rather eat three healthier cookies or one unhealthy cookie? all 4!


favorite topping for veggies? Ranch salad dressing


favorite fruit to cook with? pineapple


best raw veggie? Bell pepper ‘sticks’ (yellow/orange for sweet, green if I’m more in a tart mood)


best dip for raw veggies? Ranch salad dressing


who would you invite for a dinner party if you could invite anyone? Nobody, I’m extremely introvert ;p


favorite appetizer to eat off a toothpick? olives (green or black)


soup with crackers or bread? Bread


croutons or nuts in your salad? hulled sunflower seeds


cake with ice cream or whipped cream? both!


top a baked potato with… bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese, ranch salad dressing, more cheese!


top a bowl of healthy whole grain cereal with… milk


fries with ketchup or cheese? fry sauce (it’s a Utah thing)


favorite lazy Sunday morning breakfast? Nothing…if I’m up early enough on Sunday to have breakfast, it’s not very lazy! 😉 (okay, okay, french toast and fruit preserves)


best romantic dinner? Finger foods! Seriously, feed each other little bits of stuff…ain’t that romantic?


craziest sandwich you’ve made or eaten? I put ranch salad dressing instead of mayo, which apparently is crazy *shrug*


weirdest ice cream topping? bacon (Burger King does this…wtfrak???)


if elves existed what would you feed them? Well, if they’re pansies like Lilywell Greenleaf, probably something vegan. If they’re dark elves/Drow, probably some steak cooked medium rare..if cooked at all 😉


how do you like your marshmallows when you cook them over a campfire: flaming, lightly brown, burnt or slightly warmed? golden brown and crispy on the inside, mushy/gooey on the inside


salted peanuts or candied peanuts? chocolate covered


if you could travel anywhere for dinner, where would it be? I love to eat campfire dinners, so “the forest” I guess


best way to use syrup besides putting it on pancakes or waffles? *shrug?*


if you could eat sweets all day what would you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Anything with caramel and chocolate (except for Burger King’s bacon sundae…that’s just wrong!)


eating in the car: hot or not? not…too cramped to really enjoy food (and too complicated if you’re also trying to drive!)


pickles with a sandwich: hot or not? depends on the sandwich…lunch meat yes, peanut butter and jam NO


strawberry pie: hot or not? hot…with graham cracker crust and lots of whipped cream


hot sauce: hot or not? well that should be obvious 😉 (but no, I don’t like it)


spinach: hot or not? HOT! It’s even good cold 😉


sushi: hot or not? hot  YUMMY!!!


shrimp: hot or not? hot (and it’s good cold too)


favorite thing to eat with….


a fork: pie & cake


a spoon: pudding


a stick: marshmallows


your fingers: cherries


cinnamon bun or donut? donut


coated with icing or covered in a glaze? icing


favorite flavor Popsicle? grape


best hard candy? mint or butterscotch


what foods do you play with before you eat them? jelly beans (though it’s more like sorting, not playing)


do you like keeping your foods separated or mixing things up? depends on the foods…


picky eater or adventurous eater? I will try anything once – after that, picky depends on if I liked it or not!


best dried fruit? mango & papaya


most energizing snack? I haven’t the foggiest idea… (with my clunky ticker, I’m never energized!)

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Food survey

The dieting community I’m a member of had a food survey posted. So I decided to take it, just for fun.

1. How do you like your eggs? scrambled with lots of shredded cheddar cheese melted in with them

2. How do you take your coffee/tea? 1 drop with 8+ oz of milk

3. Favorite breakfast food? Fresh/warm croisoint with all natural fruit preserves (none of that junk with high fructose corn syrup and dyes)

4. Peanut butter, Almond butter, or Nutella? If PB,Smooth or crunchy? Nutella

5. What kind of dressing on your salad? Depends on my mood…usually buttermilk ranch or bleu cheese

6. Pepsi, Coke, or Sprite? Sprite. Root beer is my favorite soda-pop

7. You’re pressed for time, what do you make? Carnation Instant Breakfast powder in 10 oz whole milk

8. You’re feeling lazy. What do you order in (must choose something)? Call my sister to see if she has any leftovers in her fridge she wants to bring (too poor to order from a “fast food” place!)

9. You’re in a cooking mood. What do you make? …I’m NEVER in a cooking mood! But if I do, it’s usually slow-cooker stuff that I just dump in and leave for a few hours. Lamb with brown sugar and pinapple sauce is my favorite healthy food, berry cobbler is my favorite dessert.

10. What food reminds you of your childhood? Peanut butter…which is probably why I don’t like it (rough childhood)

11. What food can you remember hating that you now like? Tomatoes (like…not love!)

12. Is there a food that you currently refuse to eat? pickled beets

13. What was your favorite food as a kid? ice cream (and I still like it)

14. Favorite restaurant meal? roast elk with stewed cherries (had it in Wyoming on summer holiday a few years ago…yuuum! Worth the $40/plate price!)

15. Favorite junk food? Only one??? caramel filled chocolate stuff (Rolos, Mily Way, Caramelo, etc.)

16. Food creation that you love and others think is weird? Ranch salad dressing on meat

17. Favorite dessert? Just about anything if it has caramel in/on it, or caramel based

18. Food when you’re sick? ramen noodles and 100% mixed fruit juice

19. Food for celebrating/special occasions? seafood (lobster, preferably)

20. Frozen/Canned/Pre-made meal? The Bertoli bag stuff is pretty good.

21. Food you’re most confident preparing for guests? A glass of water.

22. Food you eat most often? (ex. I eat X every single day–which is more than you eat any other food) MILK!!!! Okay it’s not a food, but I -do- have it every day…several times a day. In fact, I think I am literally addicted, thanks to the casomorphin in it :p

23. Fruit you’re most likely to eat on a daily basis? Bananas, but that’s cuz they’re cheap. If I could afford it, cherries, mangos, mulberries

24. Veggie you’re most likely to eat on a daily basis? (notice i didn’t say “favorite”) None. If I could afford it, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts – produce is expensive!

25. Favorite packaged snack food? Flipz (chocolate covered pretzels). Or again, caramel stuff.

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Daily Meal Plan

I recently joined an online community for dieting. In the group of weight gain, it’s always being asked about what a good meal plan should consist of. Basically foods that you like to eat, and WILL eat (a lot of the members are recovering (or trying/want to) from an eating disorder like anorexia), as long as your daily caloric intake is no less than 2,500 and 3,000+ is optimal. I do not have an eating disorder, but it’s hard for me to gain/keep weight because of my deformed/weak/failing heart.

Many members want to be healthy, but find it hard to get so many calories in the typically healthy foods. However, junk foods are usually high in calories but don’t make you feel too full so you have room to eat more in another 2-3 hours. Now, while I can’t say that everybody should do this, I can say that MY doctor allows me to do this (eat lots of junk food, as long as I take a daily multivitamin). As such, here is a disclaimer, not just for legal issues, but for my own peace of mind.

This meal plan has been formulated for ME, with help/suggestions from my cardiologist. All food is REAL food; for instance, the eggs are real chicken laid, not imitation stuff. The milk I drink is from cows, not soy/almond/rice varieties. I understand if people want to be vegetarian/vegan for ethical reasons, and that’s fine. Also, I am not allergic to anything or have any other food restrictions for medical issues. All foods are full fat (milk is the “whole” 3.25%) and NEVER any “lite”, low calorie, low carb, or other typical diet variety.

Again, people should work with their own doctor to make a meal plan based on what that certain individual needs.

For each meal, I choose whatever I want to eat from the list. I have to eat as many items as will equal AT LEAST the number next to the meal title. Example: breakfast could be cheddar omelet and 1 PB toast and apple punch to total 540. Or I could just have 2 PB toast and apple punch for 600. Also, a lot of these foods can be eaten hot or cold as reasonable. My A.M. & P.M. drink is heated to be “hot chocolate” in the winter!

This list is not complete. It’s just what I eat the most often, on a regular basis.

Solid snack foods are listed at the bottom.


BREAKFAST: 500+ calories


170 = cheddar cheese omelet (1 medium egg with 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese scrambled into it)

180 = Pillsbury Toaster Strudel

240 = PB toast (1 slice white bread, 1 TBS peanut butter, 1 TBS fruit preserves)

250 = toast (1 slice white bread, 1 TBS dairy butter, 1 TBS fruit preserves)

280 = cold cereal, 8 oz milk (cereal is usually Reeses Puffs or S’mores by Kellogs)

??? = solid snack food (like a muffin or a donut)


120 = 8 oz Apple Punch (100% juice, not “cocktail” with corn syrup!) I usually only have juice for breakfast, and save my milk for all other meals. Milk and my berry flavored liquid multivitamin just tastes NASTY together!


A.M. snack: 500+ calories


330 = Carnation Instant Breakfast powder mixed with 10 oz milk (okay so this is technically a drink, but I consider it to be the base of my snack PLUS whatever else)

??? = solid snack food


LUNCH: 500+ calories


220+ = nachos (tortilla chips, 1/3 cup shredded cheese melted with salsa mixed into it for dipping the chips in)

250+ = salad (romaine lettuce, and other stuff for calories including raisins, chopped hard-boiled egg, chopped chicken, sliced olives, halved grapes, chopped apples, etc. & dressing…which is usually buttermilk ranch or bleu cheese)

250+ = chicken pasta salad – hot or cold (1 cup cooked pasta such as macaroni, bowtie, shell, etc., 1 TBS Miracle Whip, cubed chicken, halved green grapes, chunked pineapple)

300 = egg salad sandwich (hard-boiled egg mushed up with 1 TBS Miracle Whip on 2 slices white bread)

340 Honey-butter sandwich (1 TBS peanut butter & 1 TBS honey mixed together, 2 slices white bread)

350 = tuna salad sandwich (2 slices white bread, tuna, 1 TBS Miracle Whip)

350 = turkey & cheese sandwich (2 slices white bread, honey smoked turkey lunch meat, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1 TBS condiment such as buttermilk ranch salad dressing, honey mustard sauce, Miracle Whip, etc…whatever I’m in the mood for)

440 = PB & J sandwich (2 slices white bread, 2 TBS peanut butter, 1 TBS fruit preserves)

??? = anything from DINNER or SNACK list


100+ = soda pop, any flavor

120 = apple punch (8 oz)

200 = milk (10 oz)


P.M. snack: 500+ calories

330 Carnation Instant Breakfast powder mixed with 10 oz milk

??? solid snack food


DINNER: 500+ calories

??? = anything from LUNCH or SNACK list

350 = beef stew, 1 slice white bread (I always have bread with my stew to dip in the gravy!)

390 = ramen noodles

510 = “Russian ramen” (cook noodles in water and drain. Add seasoning packet to 2 TBS sour cream and mix well, then add to noodles and stir it all together!)

510 = beef burrito, 2 slices cheddar cheese, 1 TBS ranch salad dressing

And of course a drink of milk, punch or soda


BEDTIME SNACK: 300+ calories


220 = Oatmeal(1/2 cup oats, 5 oz milk)

320 = Banana oatmeal (1/2 cup oats, 5 oz milk, 1 banana mushed in)

500 = PB banana oatmeal (1/2 cup oats, 5 oz milk, 1 banana and 2 TBS peanut butter mushed in)


150 = 8 oz milk (I do not have soda or punch for bed, as they are not “snooze foods” with balanced carbs and protein to stimulate serotonin from your brain!)



140 = granola bar (Quaker chewy Dipps, usually)

140 = tropical dried fruit mix (1/4 cup)

190 = Blueberry muffin (Little Debbie brand)

200+ = donut

220-280 = candy bar (Snickers, PayDay and BabyRuth are my favorites)

350+ = ice cream sundae (1 cup ice cream of any flavor, sauce of any flavor such as caramel or chocolate (though I do like Jelly Belly strawberry cheesecake topping sauce!) drizzled, 4 maraschino cherries, and sometimes a scattering of Grape Nuts cereal if I want some crunch…I don’t like to eat real nuts!)

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One step forward, one step back

All those goals I set… sooo not happening. YET!  Hey, tomorrow is a new day, fresh start, and all that good junk.

I have taken a few pictures, but not every day like I wanted. Still, probably more in the last couple weeks than all of last year.

Articles….eh, I keep looking at the work list, and just can’t get into the writing mood. I really need to shape up with that though, because being in debt is starting to get more annoying than having to drudge through work.

Diet. Oiy! I was really good yesterday and ate 4 of 6 meals and got more than 2,000 calories. I even weighed an additional pound this morning (77.4 lbs). Then I ended up slacking off today about the diet thing. I did plan out meals, got everything all ready to go… then got distracted with other stuff and just didn’t bother being self disciplined enough to take breaks to eat. Bleh…so now my weight will probably go down to the starting mark again (76.6).

And of course blog posts aren’t getting done too often. But I did one now, really quick, before I go to bed early! (got my TV fixed yesterday and stayed up until 2am watching “Law & Order: S VU” for 8 hours)

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One down, many to go

Well, I got at least one goal accomplished…wrote an article. Now if it gets approved, rated with a high score and paid, I’ll be really happy! 

Tomorrow another article…one a day, so I can get $60+ a month. Yay!

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It’s that time again…setting goals and trying not to break them after a week or so. Here’s mine, in order of importance:


I am such a whiner…about everything! I need to remember that I’m living a WONDERFUL life, compared to other people, and I should be grateful rather than grudging about what’s “wrong”.

* Pray and read scriptures every day.

* Go to church at least once a month.

* Use less vulgarities (yup, I got a potty mouth. I should at least start using words that would be appropriate in front of kids if I have to cuss)


* Gain weight (15 pounds (to be 90+ lbs) by the end of the year at the latest! Sooner is better.)

* Eat healthy (or healthIER anyway)

* Take ALL medications and supplements (I’m bad about being lazy and “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow”. Not so bad with vitamins, but very bad with Coumadin!)

* Wear oxygen 15+ hours per day (7+ at night with AvAP, 5+ during the daytime)

* Wear AvAP no less than 5 nights a week.

* Walk 15-30 minutes 3+ times a week. As it is, I can barely make it halfway across a store parking lot without feeling like I’m gonna die. Gotta get my heart stronger!


* Spend time for ME and relaxing. I have been so busy lately with volunteering, working, and just saying “yes” to anybody who wants something. This year I would like to still help out as much as I can without getting burned out (which then leads to me to the complaining part, when I should be doing it heartfelt)
I would love to be able to go camping at least once a month during the warm season, and just sit around with a good book and hot drink for a while during the cold season and not have to worry about being selfish.

* Take at least one photo per day. I want to take one photo of the view out my front door every day, and at the end of the year compile a slide show of the changing of the seasons. I would also like to take 1+ pictures of things I find beautiful, interesting, fun or just plain random every day.

* Make at least one blog entry per week. (and of course this isn’t the first time I’ve set and broken that goal!)


* Don’t use credit. Pay everything with cash – if I can’t pay in full at the time, I don’t get the item/service. (exception is car stuff: insurance ($400/yearly) and car registration ($200/yearly). Had to use credit for new tires last year too as they were $300 all at once! And now my intake manifold gasket is leaking and gonna be a good $200 if I can do it myself…$700+ if I take it to a shop!)

* Pay off debt as much as possible. I will not be totally debt free this year (though that would certainly be nice!), but I need to stop just doing the minimum payments and put more into it so it gets done faster.

* Put money in savings…and keep it there! Last year I did have savings, though it was a “dedicated” account to remodel my apartment. I got that done! I probably should have another “dedication” or else I won’t have a clear reason not to dip into at random times.

* Earn extra money. I do have a fixed income, but it barely meets the requirements of meeting the above goals. It would be nice if I could get another $100 a month and split it between savings and debt paying.

That’s it, really. There are tons of other “little” things I want to improve, but mostly they tie into the bigger goals anyway. Now…let’s see how long I actually do all this!

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