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.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fitbit: Week 1

I didn't know I'd be getting a handy-dandy wrap-up at the end of the first week of using the FitBit. But I did, and wow. I think I did pretty well! Will be hard to keep it up this week, with the cold weather (currently 1° with a wind chill of -9°). Plus I'm going back to Nashville Friday for my granddaughter's final dance performance. She's chosen not to be in the spring recital and she starts college in the fall.

Anyhoo … here's part of the graphic for my first week:
For my yearly mileage goal, I'm only using the miles I actually walk intentionally. I get about 1.5 "extra" miles during the day. 

Food is going well … it feels good to be sugar-free again. My hip doesn't hurt, I have more energy, and I'm sleeping a little bit better.

Not much else to report ... and while it won't happen for next week's report, I can definitely promise a 100,000-step week at some point in the near future. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Countdown

It's the ...

6th day of the month.

5th day I've returned to a paleo food plan.

And I'm down ...

4 pounds.

Booyah!

I'm not saying paleo is right for you, but it sure is good for me. The hip pain I've been dealing with during the holidays? Gone. I credit that to abstaining from refined sugar and grains.

Oh, and I've walked every day this year, too. Getting ready to head out now. Have a good one!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Here we go

Both of you know how much I love, love, love gadgets. While my husband some may see the FitBit as a very expensive pedometer, I see it as a great motivator. I had originally planned to wait until yesterday to create my account and begin tracking, but I actually set it up the day after I bought it. So I've been a FitBitter since December 27.

Will it help? Who knows? I'm still learning how to use it, but I'm already talking myself into doing things NOW, rather than later, to get a little more activity in.

For instance, we have a bench inside our front door where we deposit things – boxes, reusable shopping bags, tools – that need to be returned to the garage. Instead of waiting until there's an armload, I don't even put things on the bench. The more trips to the garage I make, the more steps I take. And yes, that's been true all along, but now I'm counting them. And not just counting the steps, but adding up miles and making this little flower grow.

Yesterday marked the end of my vacation from paleo. This holiday season I've eaten all the things you're not supposed to eat on a paleo plan – sugar, grains, dairy, legumes – and I'm paying for it with increased weight, aches and pains, and much lower energy levels.

If I want to feel well – not just good, but WELL – I need to feed myself well. Simple as that. And paleo works FOR ME. The refrigerator and pantry are stocked with plenty of vegetables and protein and I am ready to rock it. I hope to reach my weight goal by my birthday. In order to get there I need to lose slightly less than two pounds per week. Which seems like a lot, and might not happen, but I did it in 2013.

I want to clean my clothes closet today. I've been pretty good the past year about giving things away that I haven't worn or that don't fit, but I haven't taken everything out of the closet and really assessed what works and what doesn't.

One thing I'm NOT getting rid of, no matter how big and sloppy it looks when I wear it, is my Ohio State University sweatshirt. I was only able to stay awake for the first quarter, which was fairly disappointing. To wake up and learn that the Buckeyes won was quite the happy surprise! I think my old sweatshirt will be a major part of my wardrobe between now and game day (Jan. 12).

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being supportive and thanks for sticking with this narcissistic collection of words, sentences and paragraphs. Both of you know I'm more than how I look or feel. But right now I'm seizing the moment and taking advantage of that whole fresh-start thing.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You can't look backward and forward at the same time.

But I'll try.

This blog covers four major areas of interest, with an occasional post/rant/photo about politics and/or social justice. Both of you already know what a blow Democrats in West Virginia took in November, so we. won't. go. there. As for the other stuff …

Knitting
I actually got a lot more knitting done in 2014 than I figured I would, it being an election year and all. I was busy, but turned out several projects, all of which ended up being gifts for grandchildren – doll sweaters, stuffed toys, a fuzzy scarf. I'm nearly finished with a scarf which will go to a friend "just because."

When I organized my yarn closet the last time, I created several kits – bags of yarn+pattern – and I'd like to get started on one of those when the scarf is finished. I gave away a couple of too-big sweaters last year and need to replenish MY wardrobe.

My granddaughter's dolls have plenty o'sweaters.

Running
As you both know, I don't run much any more. I'll pick up the pace on the downhill portion of my route once in a while, attaining speeds of up to 5 miles an hour at times! Speedy Gonzalez I'm not. I have, however, continued to walk steadily as much as the weather would allow.

My goal for 2014 was ambitious, and I missed the mark by a LOT. I'd hoped to nail 1500 miles, and yesterday made it to 1000. But I hadn't counted on a brutal winter, and I really dropped the ball during the summer.

I am, however, renewed and inspired and ready to rock walk in 2015. I like nice round numbers, so I'm going to walk two miles today to bring the total for 2013 and 2014 to 2,310 miles. My goal for 2015 will be to make the three-year total 3500, meaning I need to log 1190 miles for the coming year.

Reaping
The garden this year suffered. A lot. The deer ate what the weeds didn't smother. I just didn't have time to keep up with it, even though I cut the vegetable space by half. The mint-family herbs took over that bed and I finally just surrendered.

Next spring I'm moving the tomatoes to patio pots. The deer haven't bothered any squash in the big garden, so I'll plant plenty of summer and winter varieties, and hope to add cucumbers and onions. I might try beets again, because I love both the roots and the greens, but I will cover them with netting, in a [probably] feeble attempt to protect them from deer damage.

I'll plant herbs up close to the house and I want to convert the herb bed to a cutting garden made up of annuals, with a lilac or butterfly bush in the center of that circle. I have both planted elsewhere in our landscape and the deer haven't bothered them.

Eating
I continued with a mostly paleo plan in 2014, but definitely strayed. And paid for the straying with aching joints and low energy. I know what works for me. My success in 2013 was astonishing, and I'd like to erase 2014 from memory. I hit my lowest weight in November of 2013 and since then I've put back 30 pounds.

Which means my goal for 2015 is to get rid of those AND an additional 10. I've not followed any plan during the holidays, and have thoroughly enjoyed the treats and sweets I've chosen. But enough is enough. I plan to reach my goal using an 80/20 paleo-ish plan, a regular walking regimen, two rowing sessions per week and two weight-training sessions per week.

My attitude needs to change from "Why can't this just happen all by itself?" to "I can make this happen, one day at a time." Simple. Matter of fact. No drama.

Just do it.

And I have a new little motivator up my sleeve in my pocket to help me just do it. Santa brought a Fitbit One. I've been using it to count steps since I got it, but plan to track the daily walks/rowing sessions AND use it as a food log beginning tomorrow. Are you a Fitbit user? We could be friends – share progress, be cheerleaders for each other. Or not. It's already a pretty good cheerleader on its own.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Aaaaand … she's off!

We had a lovely day yesterday, quite busy, but lovely nonetheless. My husband's mother is pretty much housebound now, so we I catered her dinner. The whole deal – turkey and trimmings – transported from our house to hers.

My very first "real" job (other than babysitting) was working as a prep assistant for a caterer, so I know a little bit about how to manage such a task. But knowing how doesn't make it any easier.

She appreciated it very much, however, so it was worth it.

I'm leaving in an hour to visit my son and his family for a couple days, and then my husband's son and his family will be here for a couple days. The fun never stops!

Until it does. But when all the visiting and company is done and gone we've got … New Year's! And bowl games!

So, really, the fun never stops.

2015 is looking good for us already. We both feel well and are able to continue walking and appreciating what we have. We don't want a darned thing. My health insurance premium went down by a third and we each got raises (Social Security cost-of-living adjustments), so our financial health looks good, too.

I hope the end of your 2014 is a time of quiet reflection and gratitude, as it will be for us.

In a few days. HAH!