Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Quote Day

We will receive not what we idly wish for
but what we justly earn.
Our rewards will always be
in exact proportion to our service.

~ Earl Nightingale

I probably used this quote on Shrinking Knitter some Friday, long ago. It still works, though.

I’ve spent my whole life wishing for things I couldn’t have. I can remember my mother telling me, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” I wish she’d kicked me harder. Heh.

The point is, if it’s worthy or valuable or something we really want, it’s probably not going to fall from the sky or show up in the mailbox. We’re going to have to put some effort into getting what we want. Always.

I know this is true, but I still make excuses for not doing the work. And it’s discouraging when I do do the work to not see results.

During this recent remodeling project I’ve sometimes been too busy to eat. When I do eat, it’s something healthful and in reasonable portions. Since yesterday was a fairly nice, if cold, day, I took a two-mile walk outside after painting the walls and before painting the woodwork.

I feel like I’m starting to get my old mojo back. I know what to eat. I know how to work out. And no one is going to do it for me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The forecast? Partly cloudy and cold.

The rest of this week will be cold and partly cloudy, except for tomorrow when it’s supposed to snow. Again. We’re fortunate not to have lost power the past couple of days, as so many others have. We kind of expected to, especially Tuesday when it was icy and yesterday when it was very windy.

Partly cloudy describes my mood most of the time lately. I do believe I’ve had enough winter for this year, thankyouverymuch.

When my husband first retired we thought we might make an annual winter trip to Florida. I know you Floridians hate snowbirds, but really, we’re very nice people. We went last year, but then the stock market tanked (and our retirement account with it), and it just doesn’t seem prudent to spend that much money to avoid a little cold weather.

My dad is still in the hospital, and he would rather be home if we head south, figuring his wife might need some help when he’s released. (He would be the first to tell you it sucks to get old.) Right now I’m planning to make a solo trip next month sometime.

As I’ve mentioned here previously, all my dad’s health issues stem from not managing his diabetes. I would say they stem from obesity, but not every fat person gets diabetes. Considering my family history, though, it’s on my horizon if I don’t get a handle on things soon. I ate well yesterday, but still haven’t found time to get on the treadmill.

Our bathroom worker bees are finished; I’m the only one left, and I’m the painter bee. While painting is a lot of work, it doesn’t quite fall into the aerobic category. Actually I just want to be outside.

If only it weren’t so darned cold.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It’s not what you say, it’s who you know


I donated ten bucks to Jennette’s Bop to the Top fund, she included my link in her blog and my traffic quadrupled! Thanks, Jennette! And great job on climbing 37 flights of stairs without puking or passing out. (I’m guessing all of J’s readers visited this guy’s blog – how brilliant was he to donate an odd number so his link would stand out in the crowd? Heh.)

We’re still in the midst of the bathroom remodeling project. We’re using the smaller guest bath until this is done (today? Maybe?), but my husband and I are both anxious to put the master bath back together, better than ever. Having one small room turned upside-down spreads havoc (and clutter) throughout the house.

All the crap that used to live in the bathroom is now jumbled in boxes and stored in the guest room. All the crap the workers are using to replace fixtures, lay tile and repair plumbing are piled on throw rugs in the living room. Oh, and on the countertops in the bathroom. The doors also are in the guest room, awaiting paint, which won’t happen until spring.

I painted one door (there are three) by hand and it looks horrible! I will eventurally spray-paint all the doors, but until it warms up we’re going to have coffee-with-cream walls, white woodwork and grey doors.


But the floor is great.

As you can imagine, when one’s home is awry, so is one’s eating and exercise plan. Pasta and some kind of sauce is just about the easiest meal to fix, and I have been kidding myself by thinking that slapping two coats of paint on a door is the same as walking 40 minutes on the treadmill.

Soon, I keep telling myself, all this will be over. When calm returns to my house, so too will the motivation and energy to do real workouts. And cook nutritious food. And eat reasonable amounts of it.

Hey. I can dream, can’t I?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poof! It's a pouf!

Done, done, done, done, done.

If you keep up with my Project 365 blog (yes, there are one or two people who actually look at it), then you’ve seen this project in progress. And you’ll see the same photo over there tomorrow.

The inspiration came from a photo in a magazine, which led me to find the designer here. My granddaughter loved the pouf, but we both thought $800 was a little steep for it. And besides, Grandma knits!

My stitches aren’t as big as the designer’s, but the fabric is probably denser, so I didn’t use a fabric covering over the polyester fiber filling.

My grandson wants one, and I think I’m going to incorporate some short rows into his so the top and bottom aren’t gathered so much.

Looking back over the past couple posts, I probably appear a little bipolar. I’m not, honestly, I’m just frustrated and tired. I appreciate your comments and good thoughts and commiseration – is that an example of misery loves company?

There’s so much going on around here, some of which I don’t want to share, and if food is your friend during bad times and good, then you naturally tend to go there.

Instead of the treadmill.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Quote Day

The greatest glory in living lies
not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.

~ Nelson Mandela

Because, seriously, what if we never got back up again?

At this point in my weight-losing life, I wonder if I’ll ever reach a normal weight again. It seemed so easy the first time I did it. (That was when my son was born, and he’s old enough to be President now.) Even the second time (12 years ago), while frustrating at first, yielded results after only a couple of months.

I was able to maintain both significant losses for a number of years, and then the pounds started creeping back on.

I’m healthy – blood levels are all normal or nearly so. The only medication I take is a mild diuretic. I can climb stairs without huffing and puffing, and I get plenty of sleep. But at the same time, I’m obese. I hate that word, but whoomp, there it is.

I have, in the past, wondered what would happen if I just quit trying. Well, from Christmas until Inauguration Day, that’s pretty much what happened, and I gained a good, solid six pounds. (We’re in the midst of a bathroom remodel and the scale is packed away right now, so I’m really guessing at the number.)

But the number doesn’t matter so much as what’s behind it. Why don’t I want to get back up? Why do I think one mini-cupcake or handful of chocolate chips or fill-in-the-blank won’t hurt? It always hurts. Always.

So why do I want to hurt myself? Knowing I can run up a flight of stairs doesn’t make me feel nearly as good as zipping up a pair of skinny jeans.

What will it take for me to get back up? I wish I knew.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I think too much

It occurred to me yesterday as I was walking on the treadmill that the new year has finally started. Now that President Obama has been sworn in, we can all turn over our new leaves and begin anew. Oh, and we can breathe again.

For me, personally, the first couple weeks of this year were filled with travel, and I’ve spent the past week getting ready for our inauguration party. We still have family members who are ill and we’re starting a bathroom remodel project today. Life goes on.

But this new chapter in our country’s history is something I, personally, have worked for and fought for and now that the first goal has been met I feel like it’s really and truly time to get busy with my own personal health plan again.

How can I work for national health care reform if I’m not in good shape, mentally and physically? For me, physical health leads to improved mental status. Right now I have to push myself to get on the treadmill. I would so much rather be outside, but it’s still too cold. Maybe tomorrow afternoon … it’s supposed to reach a high of 55, and that’s an ideal temperature for a good brisk walk.

I’m not ready to run again yet. I feel heavy and clumsy and ungraceful. But I have hope, in so many more ways now than I did just a week ago.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh, what a day

I bought several “01.20.09” lapel button a couple of years ago. My husband and I wore ours frequently and if someone figured it out and acted delighted, I handed one to them.

Finally, we can put them away.

We applauded, cried, cheered and sang during the inaugural ceremonies. The singing was especially funny – as the helicopter carrying former President and Mrs. Bush floated away, our little group sang the “Na, na, hey, hey, good-bye” song you often hear at championship sporting events.

We had a little personal drama as the party was starting. The phone rang and Caller ID showed that it was the hospital where my father is currently a guest. It is not good to get calls from a hospital, no matter what day of the week or what time of day. I picked up the phone with trepidation.

It was my dad, announcing he was going to have a pacemaker inserted at noon.

Now the doctors have been talking about pacing him since November, so all we can figure is that it must have been an urgent situation for them to suddenly decide – on Inauguration Day! – to stick one in him. He assured me that he’d called Washington and they were going to delay the speech until he was out of recovery. (My dad is a lifelong Democrat and is as happy about this election as he can be.)

He was, of course, kidding, which was oddly reassuring. If he can still make jokes about such things, then he must be okay, right? The next call came at 2 o’clock. The procedure went well; Dad’s heartbeat should be well above 35 by now. I talked with him last night before I went to the prison and he sounded great.

The prison meeting was beyond great. You can just imagine how a room full of first-time, non-violent offenders looking at years of lockdown under our current Draconian drug-sentencing laws might feel with a new administration taking the reins. Maybe, just maybe, some of Obama’s hope and promise will extend to sentencing reform.

And now it’s back to Real Life – working out and eating healthfully are Numbers One and Two on my list. My book client wants the project ready for print on Friday, and we start a bathroom remodeling project Thursday.

Our mayor wants to meet with me next week to begin working on materials for her re-election campaign. I think a little politics has seeped into my blood. Heh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How did you spend your MLK Day?

In addition to getting my house ready to host lunch for 20 today, my service project yesterday was to sort several large bags and boxes of yarn into separate boxes, by color, to donate to Alderson FPC’s Yarn Project. There’s about 500 balls of yarn in those boxes.

I knew I wouldn’t be able spend time away from home doing any kind of community service, and those bags of yarn have been in my garage for about six weeks now. So I sorted yarn as I listened to Oprah and felt like I’d made a contribution.

The real contribution will be when I deliver the yarn, which will be tonight, when I go to Alderson for my weekly volunteer gig. I spend an hour with more than 100 inmates every Tuesday evening; I imagine tonight will be even more special for all of us.

Next question: How will you spend today? (The comments are waiting, hint, hint.) I’m so lucky I don’t have to work, and my husband and I are so fortunate to have so many friends who are able to take time from their day to share this moment in history with us. We’ll be celebrating, along with the rest of the world, a new day in the life of America. I know I sound sappy, but I can’t help it. The time for cynicism is over. I wish the Obamas, the Bidens and our new Congress all the best.

We deserve it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

One day and a wake-up

At the prison where I volunteer (and probably at all prisons), the inmates describe their remaining days of incarceration thusly: “I’ve got three weeks and a wake-up,” or “Six days and a wake-up.”

Well, folks, we’re down to one day and a wake-up.

My husband and I toyed with the idea of going to Washington for Obama’s inauguration, but in the end decided to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of our family room. I have to admit to wishing I’d been there for yesterday’s We Are One concert, though.

We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Garth Brooks’ medley of American Pie, Shout and We Shall Be Free. (Catch it here on YouTube.) I’m a folk/rock/Dylan fan, and my husband loves classical music, especially Baroque, so for us to highlight country star Brooks is astonishing.

In the end, we thought it fitting that we have yet another party for the swearing-in ceremony – a luncheon for old farts, if you will, who probably won’t be awake for coverage of even the first fancy inaugural ball. Retirement has its advantages – you don’t have to schedule a day off work to watch history being made.

Overshadowing all this excitement is the fact that my dad is back in CCU. His doctors will be discussing implanting a pacemaker this morning. He has repeatedly assured me that he’s doing fine, is being well cared for and doesn’t need me to be there. I do, however, feel very torn – glad to be home to share the inauguration with my husband and our friends, but wishing I could be in Florida, to speak with Dad’s caregivers face-to-face and find out exactly what’s going on. Neither my dad nor his wife ask enough questions when the doctors breeze in and out of his room.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This is ridiculous

And, adding insult to injury, we’re not supposed to get out of the 30s all week. Brrrrr!

I walked two miles in 35 minutes at a 7 percent incline yesterday morning. The belt tends to slip when it’s cold (the treadmill is in our office on the second floor of the garage, which we only heat when we’re in it), but stays steady when the walking surface is inclined, so that factored into my plan. I thought I should keep it short since I haven’t really done much of anything for the past couple of weeks.

Since I’ve been home I’ve dropped two pounds – four-tenths of a pound per day. Heh. That would be 8.4 pounds by the end of the month, if I could keep up that pace. But we all know that fresh fat leaves our bodies more easily than the old stuff that’s been hanging around for a while.

I’m in party mode again; I’ve done a little shopping for Tuesday’s inauguration celebration but I need to get the rest of my supplies today and tomorrow. Sunday, of course, is reserved for football. The Manning boys are out of it, but I’ll still watch until the bitter end. And by the end of next week, we’ll have a remodeled master bathroom – if I can find time to go get those supplies.

The fun never stops.

ETA: I totally forgot it was Friday – so no quote post today. I’ll make it up to you, though, I promise!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The treadmill works!

I can’t remember (and am too lazy to check) if I mentioned our treadmill quit working New Year’s Day. I was jogging along and noticed that creepy smell of something electrical burning and then the treadmill suddenly stopped. In less than a minute it started up again, and about a minute later the burning smell was stronger and the machine quit again. I turned it off.

Here we are, two weeks and six pounds later, and we finally had someone come take a look at it. Turns out there’s an automatic cut-off so the motor won’t burn itself up, and the belt is a little off-center. Our friend who knows all things electrical said we can’t hurt it and if it quits again we just have to wait a couple minutes for it to cool down. He didn’t have the right size allen wrench (nor did I, no big surprise there) with him, so next time he comes – next week, to begin remodeling our bathroom – he’ll make the necessary adjustment to the belt and we’ll be good as new.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve missed the treadmill this week. Seriously! I never thought I’d say that. It’s too cold and windy to walk outside, I still haven’t fixed the rowing machine and I am, frankly, tired of sitting on my ass. Who knew my body craved exercise?

Of course if it was “just” exercise, I could have lifted some dumbbells. I actually did do some crunches and push-ups when I was traveling. So it’s still mind over matter, but with a working treadmill at least I’ll be able to work up a sweat in a way that is, to me, more pleasurable than lifting weights.

I can’t believe I just wrote that. I just hope I remember it in six weeks when winter is still here, it’s still too cold to walk outside and I’m still trying to lose some weight. Y’all have permission to remind me when you hear me bitching about that damned boring treadmill. Heh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do still knit

The proof is in the pudding photo.

That there is a Wonderful Wallaby, sans pouch, and the hood has been replaced by a sporty collar. Perfect for the eight-month-old triplets in your life. Heh.

The first one was delivered the weekend before Christmas. I’m turning into one of those knitters who wraps an unfinished project with the needles poking out of it, with a promise to finish it ASAP. The remaining two sweaters were mailed the day after Christmas. (There wasn’t much left to do on one; the other needed everything but the sleeves. Sign me up for speedknitting – surely it burns more calories than mere couchknitting?)

Thank you for your comments Monday. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and am glad there are no more trips on the immediate horizon. My husband and I will probably go to Florida in February, but we haven’t actually done any planning. Come to think of it, February could be considered “the immediate horizon,” since it’s already mid-January.

Yes, the tapeworm diet has been done. Not by me, but I’ve read about a woman who, in the ’60s, maybe?, ordered some diet pills from an ad in the back of a magazine and then shoved the package, unopened, on the top shelf of a closet when it was delivered. She forgot about it for months, and when she finally opened it, each segment of the tapeworm – the “pills” – had grown to be full-sized worms. The final pill, a different color from the others, was supposed to kill the critter. By the time you’d taken all the rest of them, you should have been thin.

Is that story true? I don’t know, but it was enough to gross me out and I’ve never responded to the lure of a too-good-to-be-true magazine ad. I should probably find and read the original account, every day. That kind of grossocity ought to kill my appetite, if nothing else.

Less than a week until the inauguration and, yes, we here at Chez Party are celebrating with friends. I’m thinking the next four years are going to be tough – cleaning up the Bush mess will take some time – so we need to party while we can. I can’t wait. Until then, though, I have a book to format (a freelance gig), a house to clean and some shopping to do.

Oh, and some weight to lose. And some yarn to knit. And some pictures to take. No reason to be bored this winter!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don’t leave home without it him

Two days of funeral, followed by six days with two of my grandchildren, punctuated by three days of driving – 1500 miles later I’m finally home!

I know when I leave my husband Home Alone, strange things will happen. And most of the time he’ll handle them. This time was no different. The power went out – he knew who to call – and at the same time something happened to the heat pump. When the electricity came back on, the heat wouldn’t, so he spent yesterday with He Who Knows About Heat Pumps. All I have to do is wash the dirty jeans he wore crawling around under the house.

Believe me, had I been home, I would have been the one crawling around under the house.

He is, however, a bit domestically challenged, a licensed physician who got shortchanged in the common-sense department. (Job security for me. Heh.)

For instance, I pulled a paper towel off the holder this morning and gasped in disbelief when nearly the entire roll came off with my selection. My husband, in changing the roll, dismantled the holder – the coolest object in my entire kitchen – and threw away the part vital to its smooth operation.

I had to dig through three trash bags to find it. All together now: Ewwwwwwww!

I have eaten poorly and exercised not at all since January 1, except for some crunches and a one-mile walk with my daughter’s dogs. I’m feelin’ it, and not in a good way. January’s nearly half over and I’m making backward progress.

With all the wondrous medical advances we’ve made since I was born, you’d think they could come up with a non-fatal wasting disease. I’m discouraged and lethargic – six extra pounds will do that to you – and while I know what I need to do, I just don’t feel like doing it. I hope I’m just tired from the trip and my energy and enthusiasm will return in a day or two. I can’t keep going like I have the past month.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Quote Day

Success is the ability to go
from failure to failure
without losing your enthusiasm.

Sir Winston Churchill

(I’m resurrecting Friday Quote Days here; I used to do them over at Shrinking Knitter and found them somewhat helpful. If not helpful for losing weight, then they were helpful for creating a blog post. Heh.)

Now how is it helpful to begin the year with a quote about failure? Well, I actually wish Sir Winston had chosen a different word – “challenge,” maybe, or “opportunity.” But I don’t really feel right editing the great Churchill.

The Bangkok Hoppin’ John was wonderful – very creamy and rich. I feel luckier already. Heh. And don’t forget to hop over to my 365 blog to see what good stuff I thought was photo-worthy.

As you are reading this, I’m driving to Indiana. It will be a difficult time, attending the memorial service for my friend, but I know I will learn more about her from her children, three of whom I’ve not yet met.

It may be a while until I can post again. I hope the first week of your new year is a good one.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hoppin' New Year!

I was born and raised in Ohio and my family always ate barbecued ribs and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. I’m not sure why pork and kraut is supposed to usher in good fortune, but that’s the custom where I come from.

Hmmm. Didn’t work too well last year, did it?

I moved to southern West Virginia 11 years ago, and for the past several years have added Hoppin’ John to our January 1st menu. I substitute Canadian bacon for ham hocks to try to healthy it up a little, and I do think it’s one of the most delicious dishes on the planet. My husband says he doesn’t care for it, but I think he just forgets from one Day One to the next. Or maybe he’d rather fill up on ribs.

This year I’m trying something even more different. We’ve been eating from the panty and freezer for the past couple of weeks, and I found a can of coconut milk on a shelf. Bangkok Hoppin’ John to the rescue!

I’ll let you know how it tastes … and a year from now, I’ll let you know how it worked. Heh.

I know I’ve been kind of whiny here lately, and that’s not fun for either of us. I woke up this morning thinking of my promise yesterday to look for the good stuff that happens every day. Because, you know, good stuff does happen. Every day.

I’ve been blinded by the dark – it’s time to let the light back in.