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Dinner at DeCarlos

13 Dec

We eat at DeCarlos all the time. It is a wonderful restaurant for local people. We love to go there because we feel completely comfortable. Low lighting and no steps to enter the place make it easy for anyone using a walker or a wheelchair.  The parking is easy, too.  There are a whole lot of neighbors who use DeCarlos as their “go to” dinner spot.  And it is to their credit, that the waiters learn what drinks their regular patrons prefer.  They pride themselves on getting those drinks on the table, while the guests are still settling themselves into their chairs.

It is quiet because the tables are covered with table clothes, often two deep.  There is carpet on the floor and acoustical tile on the ceiling. The place is a lot bigger than it looks. It can seat something like a couple of hundred diners, in a night. Usually, it is NOT that crowded.  That is part of its charm.  Guests often feel like they are among the ‘few’ customers, in any given night.  But actually, the place has a lot more diners than are obvious at a glance.  There are several private rooms and alcoves and booths. Even if you sit out in the middle of the front room,  you can not really tell how full the place is.

We love going there. My 100 year old mother feels comfortable and cared for by the staff.  When they see she is coming in to the restaurant, the manager immediately grabs two pillows to put in her chair.  This is especially for her because she likes to move out of her wheelchair and sit in a regular chair. Almost every table seems to have at least one patron in a wheelchair, with a walker or at the very least with a cane.  There was a period a couple of years ago, when I was in a wheelchair, due to a broken ankle/leg and my mother was using a walker.  We were able to do just fine there, because it is so accommodating.The Italian cuisine is delicious and augmented with specials, which change daily.  They have wonderful things such as a whole steamed artichoke. This makes a low calorie, but delightful one dish meal when I am cutting calories. They usually have calves liver and bacon, which is “soul food” to me. The owner, Lucy DeCarlo runs a tight ship.  She is personable and friendly and often greets her guests in person.

The place which is located on Yuma Street behind the Spring Valley Shopping Center, is wonderfully near to our house. It requires little effort to go there.  The moment we walk in, we feel peace and familiarity.  I recommend it for those who may be physically impaired.

I often go there for lunch with a friend.  It even has a bar where one can sit and have drinks or a light meal.  This is the perfect neighborhood meeting place for enjoyable dining experience.  Don’t miss DeCarlos, if you are in North West Washington D. C. and feeling hungry. You won’t be disappointed.

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Staunton Hill

20 Oct

                      Staunton Hill

How lovely it was there and how much I enjoyed it. It was not just the writers workshop, but the beauty of the place and the surroundings and the PEACE that I found there.  I want to come back.
I went to Staunton Hill for a ‘memoir writers workshop’. The place was new to me, and in fact I was completely misled into thinking I was supposed to drive to Staunton, Virginia. NO! WRONG. That is not anywhere near where the PLACE, Staunton Hill, is located. It is below Lynchburg, far below, near a place called Brookneal, VA.
So I drove and drove and drove, having left Washington, D.C. at 3:30 pm on a Friday afternoon. That was a terrible mistake, right there. Eventually, and in the dark, I arrived at my destination. It was after 8:30 pm. I sat outside in my car, because I was trying to figure out: which was the front door. I could not reach anyone by cell phone as there was no signal in the driveway.

Finally, I left my car and took a chance on a door. It was opened by a lovely woman, all pale blond skin and hair. She was slender and pretty and welcoming. I knew I was in a good place immediately. The welcome was genuine and palpable. Janet Bruce is the owner of the Staunton Hill Center for Thought Creativity and Production. She and her husband used to run it together, but now, widowed, she does it by herself.

When I stepped inside, I saw a sleeping, long hair, black-and-tan dachshund that looked almost like my own boy, Magnus. So, of course they were great people who lived here. Dachshund owners understand each other.
It was still all confusing to me. The house was charming, but vast. The other participants and the leader were gathered there doing an exercise without me. I was hungry and tired. They brought me a tray with delicious food and offered wine, which I declined. We all introduced ourselves and chatted happily. Then I was shown to my room.

It turned out that mine was the Evangeline Bruce Suite. It was just marvelous. The bedroom was charming and had a fireplace and a wall full of a ‘breakfast china’ collection behind glass cabinet doors. The Queen size bed turned out to be extremely comfortable. Opening off the bedroom was a very modern bathroom with a glass-walled shower. And opening off that was “The Library” part of the suite, a room with a two facing walls of books, fascinating prints, and photos and sculptures. I wanted to immerse myself in that room. There was a comfortable desk and a good desk chair and great Internet signal. I was in Heaven. That library also opened with an outside door to the columned walkway that fronted all of the rooms.

In other words, the accommodations were just wonderful. They were comfortable and luxurious without being ostentatious. What a haven. What a marvelous place to shed ones cares and revitalize one’s energies.

Janet Bruce’s faithful next-in-command, Sarah Sargent, whom I knew from her earlier work with the VCCA (Virginia Center for the Creative Arts ) kept all moving smoothly. Our workshop group was fed by them, waited on by hired staff and constantly stimulated by new and beautiful surroundings and inventive meals.

The grounds are extensive. The driveway is a mile and a half long. A wonderful swimming pool is set in such lush grass one immediately wished to take off shoes and stockings and stand in it. The various gardens and expanses of lawn all sew peace and serenity into the soul. Where ever you look, in every direction, it is lovely. The ancient English Boxwood is healthy and luxuriant. The crenelated parapets and Eastern-looking columns constantly tease the eye. What a magical place.

Of course I could have worked on my memoir writing skills anywhere and learned a lot. But being in that magical place was so stimulating and engaging that it added immeasurably to the experience for all of us.

I long to return. And I will find a reason soon.

 

Copyright©. 2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Serious about weight loss and lifestyle change!

11 Sep

This David King, Long Term Solution weight loss program is seriously important to me. https://www.davidkingfitness.com/lts/
I am losing weight, but being careful, rather than being impossibly diligent. On the other hand, I am really pretty happy eating this way. It keeps me full and not hungry. Did I mention CLARITY??? My mind is clear. Chrystal clear in a way that I had nearly forgotten. Was it ever this clear? I am not sure. Eating this way makes a huge difference mentally.

I am concentrating on me. I have completely changed my eating habits. I went through my granddaughters wedding weekend without cheating. It was a big day. All that food and all that excitement did not tempt me. None of the drinks or the hors d’oeuvres passed my lips. I think a lot of people would have found this hard. But, not if they have been in a program where all the bad carbs and sugar are completely cleared out of their system. That is why it is so easy, now.
None of the sugar demons that David King is always talking about are in my body. I don’t feel like taking a week off for poor eating, and gaining 10 pounds back. I want to continue my steady but slow weight loss. It would be nice to speed it up, now that I am home in the city. I went on a 40 hour fast starting last Monday afternoon and ending it with lunch on Wednesday. That helped things along. Fasting for 40 hours is powerful. I have done this 4 times so far.
I do not want to eat boring food. Every sort of ethnic food is my favorite. I am not sorry, I can learn to eat those things without the rice. I do love rice and that is the one food that I have chosen as my cheat food for David King’s Fat-Shocker program.

Though I went through a week of prep and two weeks of Fat Shocker I only lost 2 pounds and that is not much compared to what some people lost. But I did not exercise twice a day, as they said we should. I did not eat purely unsalted food. And I could tell that my body was getting thinner. Even though it was not as MUCH thinner as I once thought I might be able to do during the 2 week intense phase. Since I was on vacation it was modified. For me it just was not that intense. IN fact, it was fairly easy for me. Because I was so focused on the way of eating outlined in his program.
I want to get thinner and fitter. I used to believe that in order to get thinner and fit I must work out with a trainer. It does not work. It did make me quite fit, but I lost NO WEIGHT. For women my age, there is only one way to lose weight. The old fashioned way. Changing your diet. Now there are different types of diets. The fastest one by far is the Keto Diet.
But there is a huge downside. Once you start eating normally again, it all stops working and you gain the weight back. Some people gain MORE than they had lost.

The answer is David King and his Nutritious Keto programs one of which is The Long Term Solution. I recommend it highly. It has changed my life.

If my weight was to creep back up, I would be in serious trouble. So, I must adjust to never eating the way I ate before …never…again. That is sort of sad. But, I actually like the way I must eat most of the time. My clear mind and feeling of alertness reminds me to stay focused. All that soul food that I love so much is simply NOT good for me. Many years ago, I used to drink Coca Cola all day. I loved cokes. I could not imagine how I would ever give them up. But I did. 30 years ago, I gave them up and have barely noticed since. Every once in a while I have one. At the movies sometimes, but they simply do not taste the same. So, if I can give them up, I guess I can give up ravioli! And pasta of all kinds, rice and noodles and potatoes and quinoa, couscous and every type of starch that I have enjoyed, so much. No more toast at breakfast or popovers or popcorn in movies. Corn is just as bad as wheat for causing me to gain weight. It is all GMO. And I want to avoid that…
This is going to be a different lifestyle for me. But, there are plenty of things I can eat. Sandwiches are out. Hoagies and wraps and pita type sandwiches, pizza, and even quiche is all a ‘no no’. But if I can be thin, which I am NOT yet, but if I can, it will be worth it.

I did not realize how much I wanted to be normal size, because it was so out of my reach. Now I see that I can do this, after all. I am very grateful to my daughter, Helen, for arranging it.(For badgering me until I signed up, actually)
My whole mindset is changed. With my head so clear, everything makes sense. And I have become hopeful and happy. You never know what you REALLY think, until something happens to give you a bit of clarity. Sometimes that is a desperate change, sometimes it is subtle. My 25 pound weight loss has given me a huge incentive to keep it up. I want to see how long it takes to lose another 25. Let’s make it 12 weeks allowing for unforeseen events. 12 weeks from now is about Thanksgiving. If I could lose 25 pounds by Thanksgiving that would mean that I will have lost 50 total. And I would be at a normal weight.
Now that is an attainable goal. I can do that. There will be no reason to eat sugar. No cookies, not any holiday foods, except wild rice casserole, which I will not give up. But, that is also OK. If I can have that, then I can give up the other things people like about holiday eating. If there is a turkey, I would love to have some stuffing. I believe I can just go on eating as I am and do OK. Lots of artichokes. And an occasional martini to make it festive now and then.
So perhaps without meaning to I have become a tiny bit obsessed with this weight thing. Because it keeps my mind clear. Writing is first of all, my favorite thing. It makes me happy every minute that I am doing it. All the while I am losing weight, a couple of pounds a week. That is a goal that will keep on giving, just as the writing does, in it’s own way. What a happy and exciting time this is. I am so grateful for it!

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright©. 2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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