Friday, May 30, 2008

Technology sucks

C’mon, you know I’m right. Sometimes, anyway.

We wanted to move a television from the bedroom to a spare room we are now calling The Den. Sounds trĂ©s sophisticated, doesn’t it? There’s a hodgepodge of furniture in there: A wicker trunk stands in for a coffee table, one of those cheap folding tables serves as an end table and a director’s chair is one of the seating options. The television cost more than all the other pieces in that room combined.

But I digress.

In order to move the television, we had to have a technician come to crawl under our house and move the cable. Some people probably could have done this themselves. Believe me, if you’ve ever crawled under our house you would agree it was worth 50 bucks to have someone else do it.

It’s now all hooked up and the picture is great and we can hear Brian Williams at 6:30 p.m., just as we’d hoped. But this morning I tried playing a DVD, just to see if it worked, and – well, the picture shows up just fine, but Joe Scarborough’s voice was coming out of my granddaughter’s mouth.

Not pretty. Funny, but definitely not what I expected.

Some experimenting is in order. After I run, mow the yard, put the bedroom back together and maybe, maybe, wash the car. Or maybe the experiment will have to wait until tomorrow.

As promised, here’s a photo of the most recent wee knitting project.

Yeah, I know it looks like radioactive dog waste. But really, it’s an adorable and tiny tug toy for an adorable and tiny dog. His mom says she takes his toys away as soon as they get frayed. I hope she’ll let him chew this one to bits. A little fiber is good for the diet. Heh.

And his poop will look like radioactive dog waste!

(To make the toy, using wool yarn and large needles, loosely knit a tube of approximately 20 stitches for approximately 10 inches. Sew both ends shut. Throw it in the washing machine with a low water level, a little dish detergent and the temperature set on hot wash/cold rinse.

While it’s still wet, tie an overhand knot in each end of the tube. If the fabric looks dense enough to you, throw it in the dryer and you’re done. If you think it could be a little more felted – you don’t want to be able to see individual knitting stitches – toss it back in for another session in the washer.

Eventually it will look like dog waste. I promise!)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It works! Even when I don't!

That may be two too many exclamation points for some of you, but oh, well. Deal.

Week Two of the sunny southern eating plan was not quite as disciplined as Week One, and I still lost weight. I can’t even offer up any statistics for this week because I – gasp! – didn’t record a single bite eaten or step run.

Two more pounds gone, though, making a total of five in two weeks.

For both of you who are reading my drivel these days, that’s almost a miracle. For, oh, about the last seven years I’ve been able to reach a peak weight loss of half a pound a week. For a week or two. (Okay, that’s stretching it, but you get my drift. I’m not very good at losing weight.)

So I think I’ll keep doing this lean meat/chicken/vegetable thing for a while. You know, as an experiment. Just to see what happens. And when. Heh.

I’d really hoped to begin marathon training this coming Sunday. Something about the first day of the month really gets me jazzed about new training regimens. I am thisclose to being able to run three continuous miles outdoors; I can do it on the treadmill, but even slight slopes are challenging for me to ascend.

I’m slow, but that’s to be expected since I haven’t trained for anything since last fall. And the whole process of training is supposed to make one faster, right?

I did, however, impress myself (it doesn’t take much) this morning by clocking three continuous miles (out of a total of 4.25) in 34:34. I don’t think I’ve been able to crack a 12-minute mile in a year. (Remember: I’m old.)

And to wrap this whole thing up, I finished a little knitting project yesterday. I’ll try to put a photo up tomorrow. And I started the first of three little sweaters for the triplets; they will be Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day of the locusts

Looks like more and more of you are finding your way over from the old SK blog. Welcome! And thanks for all the birthday wishes – one of these years I'm going to quit having them.

Here’s an interesting theory about the cause of the current worldwide obesity epidemic, one that I’ve heard of or read about in the distant past, but it seems to be making a comeback in scientific circles.

It appears that locusts will eat and eat and eat until they’ve reached their protein quota. I’ve often heard that obese and overweight people will continue to eat until their bodies have consumed sufficient nutrients – vitamins and minerals – regardless of calories.

If you make it to the end of the article, a Dr. Tim Crowe discounts the high-protein theory, saying it’s been previously tested and not shown to offer a weight-loss advantage.

All I can say is that Sunday morning I had eggs and sausage at 7 a.m. – the only protein options at the hotel; if I’d been home I’d have had Canadian bacon or lean ham – and I wasn’t ready to eat again until late afternoon. We had an early dinner on the way home about 5 p.m.

And I lost weight over the weekend. I’m not claiming it until Thursday, the day I “officially” weigh in, but I’m encouraged.

I’m also not really pushing a high-protein plan. I’m just reporting what seems to be working for me. I’m sure one of these days I’m going to succumb to temptation – none of us gets fat because we only eat when we’re hungry, after all. Or at least I didn’t.

In the meantime, it’s chicken and eggs with lots o’ salad. The locusts sang, and they’re singing for me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another day year older

If I were one of the cool kids who had high-speed internet access, I’d download a video of the Beatles singing “Birthday” and post it here. If I could find one, that is.

But since sometimes – sometimes – my dial-up access hits the blazing speed of 26400bps, I think I’ll just plant that earworm and move on. It would take until my next birthday to download the damned thing.

I spent my birthday yesterday driving home from Ohio, where my husband and I met our triplet grandsons for the first time. All together now: Awwwww. One is home; the others are still in NICU but should be home soon.

I took my running gear with me but never managed to use it. I even remembered the Garmin this time. To make up for sitting on my ass holding babies all weekend, I ate extremely cleanly, eschewing bagels and donuts, requesting a bacon-free salad with oil and vinegar on the side (twice!) and substituting an extra order of grilled asparagus for the rice side dish that came with my cracked pepper salmon at dinner last night.

I just about broke my arm patting myself on the back.

Birthdays don’t have to be about overindulging in sugary cake or fat-laden dinners. And at my age, it probably makes more sense to eat healthfully than to eat crap. I figure I wouldn’t be where I am now if I’d been more careful on the previous 56 birthdays.

Oh, and all those other days in between.

Friday, May 23, 2008

And then there's …

the weight losing.

The Shrinking Knitter was all about losing weight, with some knitting thrown in to make it interesting.

So how could I begin a new blog and not talk about weight loss, at least part of the time? Well, I can’t. But I also can't make “weight loss” part of the title, as that puts the emphasis someplace I don’t want it to be.

“Weight loss” would make the title kind of cumbersome. Knit. Run. Lose Weight. Repeat. somehow just doesn’t do it for me. “Diet” might have worked, but that word is sooo politically incorrect these days. So. While losing weight is something I’ll be writing about from time to time, it’s not the be-all and end-all of this project.

I started this blog May 14, and I began Phase I of that most tropical of all “lifestyle changes” the following morning. Meaning yesterday was Weigh-In Day, the First.

Three pounds gone.

I’m not dancing for joy around here. I’ve done this before and look where I am now. (Well, I realize I haven’t posted any photos, so you really can’t look at where I am now. But trust me when I tell you I won’t be buying swimwear for the upcoming summer season here in North America.)

In other words, no need to get all excited about three pounds when they could just as easily return before next Thursday morning.

I use CalorieKing (the only standalone nutrition tracking software I’ve found that works on a Mac) to track my food and exercise, and just last night discovered a cool little feature that crunches the weekly calories in/calories out and spits out your daily averages:

I used to do that on a spreadsheet. I guess I’ll have to sneak in a little more activity to make up for that bit of typing I no longer have to do each week. Heh.

I haven’t run all week. Lots o’ walking miles, but no running at all. That needs to change; in order to begin training, I need to be able to run three miles continuously. Or so they say. Run/walk intervals are safer and – dare I say it? – easier on my lungs and legs.

The plan for Week Two? knit. RUN. repeat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The other thing on which I'm dithering

And, really, there should be no ifs, ands or buts about it. Strength-training should be a part of my fitness routine. No question.

But I don't wanna!

I need to slap myself upside the head and just get over it already. This article explains why.

I have a weight bench and barbells and dumbbells, oh my. I probably will need to dust the cobwebs off before I hoist anything, though.

This should be a no-brainer. It. Just. Isn't.

(And now that I've put it out there in the universe, maybe I'll be motivated to lift something heavier than my coffee mug today.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Should I or shouldn't I?

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true
and important principle of life
that the most likely way to reach a goal
is to be aiming not at that goal itself
but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.

~ Arnold Toynbee

My Google homepage includes a daily quote, and that was yesterday's. Rather timely for me, as I'm still dithering about whether to run a full marathon – my first – or a half this fall.

As I said yesterday, I've given myself plenty of time to train. I have two half-marathons under my belt. I'm in excellent health, except for the extra avoirdupois I'd like to shed.

My husband would prefer I run another half. He was with me at the Army 10-Miler last October, where a man half my age collapsed and died. He (my husband) watched the ambulance leave; to say it left a lasting impression is quite the understatement. He's thisclose to forbidding me to run a full marathon, but realizes he has no right to do so.

The quote makes me think that if I train for a full, I'll probably post a PR for a half. That's a good and worthy goal. My first half-marathon remains my PR; each subsequent race has resulted in a slower pace. That's only mildly discouraging; as M@rla commented yesterday, showing up/running/finishing is winning, no matter the pace.

Honestly, though, when I read the quote, my first thought was, "If I train for an Ironman, will I be ready for a full marathon in six months?"

Call me crazy.

The running

Since both of you readers have popped over from the old blog, I probably don't need to explain why this one includes the word "run" in the title. But for history's sake, I think I'll 'splain it anyway.

I took up running not quite two years ago, inspired by my husband's son who, on the morning of a big family party, went out for a 15-mile run. He was training for the 2006 New York City Marathon.

Those of us standing on the porch watching him trot down the road were astonished that anyone would go running on the morning of a party, let alone run 15 miles.

Even more astonishing, he spent the remainder of the day moving chairs around to accommodate guests, mingling with said guests, joining several of us for a late dinner and never once mentioned that he'd gone for an impossibly long run that morning.

He inspired two of us – me and my husband's cousin's wife – to get moving. She has since begun a regular running regimen and has completed two 5Ks. And running has become my primary form of intentional activity – the other is, of course, knitting. I've completed a four- and 10-mile race and two half-marathons.

I start training for another race next month, although since the event doesn't take place until late November I really could wait until July or August to begin.

I love training. I make a big chart and give myself a star for every completed run. I feel fit, physically and mentally, when I'm running regularly with a goal in the distance.

Middle-aged, overweight women don't win races, of course. But showing up at the starting line and crossing the finish line are winning moments nonetheless.

So. There you have it. The knitting, the running, the repeating of both, with all sorts of other things thrown in to keep life interesting.

Thanks for stopping by, thanks for linking me to your blogs and thanks for the inspiration you all provide for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The knitting

So. I bet you're wondering what, exactly, does "Knit. Run. Repeat." mean?

Or maybe not.

If you read the old blog, you know that I knit. A lot. Actually I don't knit as much as I used to, since I now live in southern Middle of Nowhere. My children and their families are scattered across the south, as well, so knitting isn't quite the obsession it was when I was sending mittens and sweaters and hats, oh my!, to Wisconsin.

But lots of babies have been born lately and my favorite, favorite gift has been Doddy. I've made five so far this year. The first was rather large, the second was somewhat smaller and the last three were smaller still. Because knitting three identical items? It gets kind of boring after the first.

Also this year I've made a cap and mittens for the two days a year my younger granddaughter will need them, and am working on a zip-front hoodie for her for Christmas.

So what if it's not even Memorial Day? When you're a knitter, ya gotta knit.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's just like starting over

Actually, it is starting over.

The old blog got to be quite a burden. I'm hoping to put not quite so much pressure on myself this time. I probably won't post every day. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that won't be happening.

While I'm still – always? – working on weight loss, I can't make it the be-all and end-all of my life, or my blog. I'm overweight, yes, but I'm fit and healthy according to labwork, and I can still run, albeit slowly.

So, like the header says, I knit and I run and I do both of them repeatedly. When I have something to say, I'll say it.

I do other things, too. I have grandchildren. On May 11, I had three; on May 12, I had six, with the birth of my husband's son's triplet boys. Okay, they're not really mine, they're mine by marriage, but I'm claiming them. Because who doesn't want more grandchildren?

I like to play around with my digital Rebel. I actually began Project 365 this year (you can find my photos here), but gave it up shortly after I quit posting on the old blog. Life just got to be too complicated to keep up with anything. So I pretty much gave up everything.

I'm an active and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama in this year's presidential election. And I'm profoundly disappointed that he didn't win a single county in last night's West Virginia primary. I live in the Mountain State, but I can't say I'm too proud of us this morning.

It feels good to be writing again, at least for now. I'm not sure what I have to say; I guess we'll be reading it together.

Thanks for stopping by.