Monday, March 30, 2015

Surprise! I'm not dead!

A short post this evening, to ease back into semi-regular updates.

My life has been super busy this year, mostly with political interests. West Virginia's legislature meets for 60 days each year, beginning in early January. As a member of the social media committee for my state Federation of Democratic Women, I spent a lot of time tweeting and Facebooking and blogging about bills and resolutions and issues, oh my.

About the time the session was winding down, a freelance job - an annual report for a local non-profit - fired up, and it will be finished up tomorrow.

Which means I'm back to regular, timely, personal blogging  day after tomorrow.

No fooling.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Still here

So completely uninspired to write. Apologies. I'll be back. Sometime.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The busy-ness continues

My volunteer work is, at times, all-consuming. I honestly don't remember how I used to spend my free time. When I have free time now, I can always find something to work on related to, of all things, politics.

I didn't used to be like this. While I've always thought government was of, by and for the people, it's hitting us hard here in West Virginia to realize that, really, it isn't. It's more like of, by and for the lobbyists. Or of, by and for the big donors. Or of, by and for the Koch Brothers.

Because really? The Koch Brothers and their shadow groups bought and paid for the current crop of Republican politicians (and I use that word in the most derogatory manner possible) sitting in the state capitol. And Republican politicians have no interest in making the lives of working families any better.

Most state legislatures are in session for only a couple months. Here in WV it's 60 days, and it can be extended and there are interim sessions throughout the year. But the bulk of the bills are passed (or not) in January and February.

But wait! This isn't a political blog, and you probably don't care much about West Virginia's woes. So. Moving on.

I began knitting a sweater, but I've only managed to get 1.5 inches of the lower edge of the back of it done in the last two weeks. I really need to rip it out and put this yarn away and find something that will work up a little more quickly. Because I want a new sweater sooner, rather than later. I feel like I've wasted a couple weeks, but really I haven't because I've only spent a couple hours, total, on that 1.5 inches.

My spring flowers are starting to peek up above the dirt already. I noticed the tulips yesterday, and then got to looking around and found snowdrops and daffodils. Those tulips – when I planted them they were pink, but now they're red and yellow and I don't like them at all. But I can't bear to dig them up when they're just showing up in the spring. So I dig them up when they're done blooming but CLEARLY I don't do a very good job because here they are again, this spring, ready to burst into their gaudy red-and-yellow glory. When I wanted pink.

I'm making great progress on my 100 miles per month plan. Even with three fewer days this month, and a couple travel days, I think I'm going to get there. I'm so grateful I'm able to walk this month at my age. I see many, many – far too many – women my age and younger who can't. So today I'm very thankful for legs and lungs and a heart that carries me into my days of busy-ness.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

When last we met …

I think I was bragging about nailing 100+ miles in January.

It's gonna take some serious walking to hit it in February. With three fewer days and a couple bad-weather days already, I've only managed 19 for the first week. No walking today, either, because I'll be in the car and on my butt in a meeting all day. But my attitude is good, and I've already planned to put in some extra (above my usual and customary four/day) miles in the coming weeks. If I don't hit 100, I'll at least come close.

I've been a busy Democrat since the election. You'd think things would slow down some, but nooooo. When your state legislature flips from blue to red, you suddenly pay a lot more attention to what's going on at the Capitol.

So far they want to allow smoking in public buildings, add a religious exemption to the public school vaccination policy, restrict abortions in a variety of ways (11 bills so far!), allow open carry without a license IF your gun was made in West Virginia, repeal the ACA in WV, repeal lemon laws, repeal regulations on above-ground water-storage tanks, repeal prevailing wage … lots of repealing going on … and more.

Also? There's a couple crazy Delegates who just don't get that whole rape thing.

Voter turnout in November was 37 percent. And it looks like some of those voters who stayed home are waking up to the realization that a GOP majority is not in their best interests.

Note to voters: We tried to tell you that.

At any rate, I'm feeling useful and committed to the cause. Being plugged in to a group actively working to turn this state back to blue is both challenging and rewarding. But I'm in it to win it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nailed it!

Somewhere along the line last month I agreed to be part of a two-woman effort to log 2015 miles in 2015. And, of course, I'd previously set a 1200-mile personal goal to get my three-year Daily Mile total to 3500.

Busting 100 miles per month would easily accomplish both goals, but hey. It's WINTER.

HOWEVER: The combination of milder-than-normal temperatures (for the most part), the FitBit and a change in my attitude paid off nicely.
I'm .0875 percent of the way toward completing both annual goals.

And we're more than a third of the way through winter. I've no idea what the long-term forecast for the month is, but the next few days look manageable, with maybe one day being a little too cold to walk outdoors.

I gotta tell you though – the FitBit makes a huge difference in whether my get up and go gets up and goes. I'm connected to a few friends who also have the devices and it's fun and a wee bit competitive to make sure I'm at or near the top of the weekly leaderboard. The only way to get and stay there is to keep moving.

I moved very little Thursday (for medical reasons) and Friday (for too-freaking-cold reasons), so I've dropped back to second. But today looks good – 40s and overcast – and I might log more than the customary four miles. February is a short month, and I'll have to miss at least one day due to an out-of-town meeting. (Which means drive-drive-drive-meeting-drive-drive-drive.) Padding the mileage while I can wouldn't hurt.

Time to look for a new knitting project. I'm on the last little bit of finishing work on the felted clogs (other than felting them), and the neck wrap is ready to deliver. And since the Super Bowl is tonight, I'm going to need something to work on. I think I want a new sweater. FOR ME. Which means, since I'm a knitter, I get to go shopping in the yarn closet, rather than the department store.

I used to have a great tunic-length, funnel-neck sweater that I literally wore out. It got so fuzzy and tattered looking I just couldn't bear to be seen in it. But I miss it. And it was all stockinette, top-down, and knitted in the round, so easy to manage while watching the Seahawks beat the Patriots. Heh.

Oh, how I wish it were the Broncos, though. SOB!

Friday, January 30, 2015

A public service announcement

I haven't written anything this week on purpose. Most blogs are, by their nature, all about the writer, whether it be day-to-day events or the writer's opinions about something or other.

This week would have been awful for you to read and for me to write, because it was spent anticipating yesterday's date with my doctor. For a colonoscopy.

Now that it's over – and I'm fine, perfectly fine, thankyouverymuch – I'm here to say if you're 50 or older, it's time to schedule one. You may need to have a screening before you're 50, depending on your risk factors. Recommendations here.

I'm in the high-risk category, with a first-degree relative – my mother – having been diagnosed when she was 55. She had surgery and was fine for three more years, but the cancer spread and the last year of her life she endured six different types of chemo. She was four years younger than I am now when she died.
But being in a high-risk category doesn't mean you're always on top of getting these things taken care of, especially when you only have a catastrophic health insurance plan. I've known for several years that I should schedule one, but it's an expensive test, and uncomfortable, and it's much much easier to put it off than to it is to just make the damned call.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a colonoscopy (along with many other screening procedures) is a covered preventive service under most insurance plans. Mine paid for 100 percent of the cost. That said, I probably would have paid for one had my insurance not covered it, because it has been a while since my last one. And because a friend's husband just got home from the hospital after surgery. For colon cancer. Found during a routine screening.

It's stuff like that that gets you to make the damned call.

I've had three screenings now, beginning when I was 50-ish. All have been normal. Each has been uncomfortable. If you know anyone who's had one, you've heard the prep is worse than the procedure and I won't disagree with that. The prep itself – drinking the mixture – isn't so awful, but the result of the prep is just evil.

Read up on it – Dr. Google has lots of advice on getting through it – and just get it over with. Once it's done, you'll be glad you did it. One more thing checked off the bucket list!

Finally, thanks, Obama … seriously … for making it possible for millions of Americans to get these screenings that help all of us stay healthy. Or healthier.

(And speaking of healthy: The nurse who was prepping me for the operating room was amazed that I don't take medication for anything. Combined with my normal heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and bloodwork, she said, "You're pretty darned healthy for a woman your age." I offered that I needed to lose a few pounds, and she said, "We all do, honey, we all do." Heh.)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Better this morning. So far.

I really had to lay low yesterday. I know some people can lose their lunch (or, in my case, breakfast) and feel terrific – I'm not one of those people. When I throw up I feel uneasy and ill for a long time afterward.

So I didn't walk, partly because of that and partly because it was just too freakin' cold! But yesterday was the first off-day after 10 straight days of four-mile-a-day walks, so I think I can give myself a pass.

And dinner stayed down. I went off-plan and had some saltines with my soup. And I had saltines a little earlier in the day, as well. Saltines when you're sick is a given, right? It will be interesting to see if that right-hip pain returns as a result.

I. Miss. Football.

That. Is. All.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Here's something annoying

I hate when I'm really, really hungry and I make the effort to make a good breakfast and then 10 minutes later I'm feeling sick to my stomach and it all comes back up again.

Especially when the dishwasher is broken.

Bacon and eggs and nothing to show for it except, dirty dishes, a spattered stove AND a bathroom to clean up.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lather, rinse repeat.

Soooooo, it's been a while. Again.

And, yes, I've been busy, but here's the thing. I usually write early-early in the morning, when nothing is pressing and the day's agenda hasn't even been set.

So busy isn't much of an excuse.

The truth is, there hasn't been much to write about.

You know I'm a Democrat, and wow did my President ever knock it out of the park last night!

You know I'm a knitter, and I've been knitting – a couple scarves (one delivered, one in progress), a pair of felted clogs that are oh-so-close to being ready to felt.

You know I'm back on track with the paleo plan. How many times can you write about meat and vegetables and homemade Larabars? I guess the real question is, how many times can YOU read about it?

You know I walk, nearly every day, and you know I bought a FitBit that's been tremendously helpful in motivating me to keep walking. (The intentional miles are at 65 – I'm ahead of last January's total, which was 64, so with 10 days to go this month I should nail 100.)
Can you spot the days I forgot to wear the FitBit?
So I feel like coming here every day and telling you I'm eating meat and vegetables and homemade Larabars and I took a walk and I knit in the evenings watching Jeopardy is just … boring.

But then there's this.

So I guess I'll keep writing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Even when I wear it …

Yes, I wore the FitBit today (and yesterday). Yesterday was great. I was glad to be home, I had some energy, I was looking forward to The Game. I logged a bunch o'steps, more than 13,000.

Today? Not so much.

I suppose, even though my team won, I'm feeling a bit of a letdown that the season is over. College football starts again in late August. Pro football is winding down – and my team is out of the playoffs already.

WVU men's basketball is doing well, so there's that. And March Madness isn't over until April nowadays, so by the time gardening season is in full swing I'll be tired of sports.

I. Will. Never. Be. Tired. Of. Sports.

At any rate … my usual bedtime is in the 8 to 8:30 range, but I watched until the final play last night and it was after midnight before I went to sleep. I was, of course, wide awake six hours later so instead of taking a walk this afternoon, I took a nap.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

FitBit FAIL!

So I left last Friday for Tennessee and realized more than two hours into my trip that I wasn't wearing my FitBit.

I wasn't too worried. I remembered throwing a bunch of electronic gadgetry into my laptop bag and figured I'd find it there.

Alas, I didn't. I kind of panicked – it sucks to think you've lost a hundred-dollar doodad less than two weeks after you got it – and called my husband.

He turned the house upside down until I finally suggested checking the sleep t-shirt hanging on a hook in the bathroom. BINGO! I'd packed clean jammies and forgotten to clip the FitBit to my travel outfit before I took off.

I took two walks while I was in TN, and used the activity tracker on the FitBit app on my phone. I'm guessing it estimated my steps, since the device was a few hundred miles away. The only steps that got counted Friday and Saturday were for those two intentional walks.

No steps yesterday until after I got home – after dark, too late (and too tired!) to walk.

At any rate, lesson learned. One more thing to pack next time I take off.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Perhaps I shouldn't have bragged

My first week using the FitBit was great, and I let both of you know about it. As has been said and proven many times, though, pride cometh before the fall.

In my defense, I know I would have been taking those four-mile walks this week if it weren't for this cold snap. It's truly not safe to be outdoors with negative-number wind chills. I have, therefore, logged far fewer steps this week than I'd planned to, and probably won't make it to 70,000.

I also woke up yesterday with a cold. Took some Alka-Seltzer Cold in the morning and vegged out all day. Turkey soup for dinner (I threw everything but the kitchen sink in the stockpot and it turned out great!) and then back to bed.

My hope with the resting marathon yesterday was that I would feel well enough to make the drive to Nashville-south today. And I do feel well enough, barely. I'm not as stuffy, my head isn't pounding (just pounding) and I'm sure I'll be fine. The iPod is loaded with new podcast episodes and I might even download an audiobook before I leave.

It's a long drive.

But always worth it to see family, and this trip I get to see both of the older grandchildren perform.

I hope by the time I come home my energy and motivation and joie de vivre has returned. It's quite amazing how quickly I can go from rah-rah-rah to sis-boom-BLAH.