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Showing posts from April, 2009

Justin Thyme

Oh, I’m just so clever I can’t stand myself.

I finished planting the garden yesterday morning, early-early, and it started raining an hour later. It rained off and on all day yesterday and it’s raining now. A nice, steady soaker, just what a newly planted garden needs to get those little seeds to sprout.

Thanks for your comments from yesterday’s post. The nap didn’t happen and I had to take three Aleve – morning, afternoon, bedtime – to control the aches. I have to remind myself sometimes that my chronological age will be 58 next month. In my mind I’m still a young pup.

Here’s something interesting: On days I run, I eat like crazy. On days I don’t run, I eat very, very little. Is this psychological? Or is my body refueling even though I don’t want it to. I realize I need to refuel, but seriously I’m already carrying enough fuel to get an airliner from here to Europe. I’d like to dump some of it over the Atlantic, thankyouverymuch.

But I don’t seem to be able to stop that eating thing. I d…

The old grey mare and I have something in common

We truly ain’t what we used to be. I should probably speak for myself; the old grey mare may be just fine. I, on the other hand, am definitely not what I used to be.

I ran yesterday, four miles at the glacial pace of – are you ready? – 13:39. Parts of the run were fun (the downhill parts) but most of it was Just. Plain. Hard.

I had a post-run snack and then headed out to plant seeds. I’ve mentioned previously that I like to finish a project all in one session, and I had every intention of planting every seed I had, but after about 90 minutes I was done. So done. Unfortunately a little less than half the garden (it’s a big space) remains unplanted.

After I showered I proceeded to eat my house, an activity that continued for the remainder of the day. Good thing I don’t buy junk food; I managed to do plenty of damage with taboulleh (mmm) and Triscuits and low-fat cheese, oh my.

I creaked around here like an old lady all afternoon and evening. It was difficult to move, to go from a sitting to…

Sniff, sniff

Mowing in early spring makes my eyes water, my nose stuffy and my general disposition kinda cranky. While I do sort of enjoy the chore – I feel like a farmer out there on the mower – I definitely don’t enjoy the allergic reaction. Fortunately it’s usually short-lived.

Anne wondered how far Carrboro was from me. (And by the way, kudos to your parking lot buddies with all those hybrid cars!) It’s a four- to five-hour drive, probably closer to four. I’ve never driven straight to there from here (previously have gone with someone who lives in the area). It’s a very walkable area, and is also bike-friendly.

And Lori wanted to know if I’ve visited A Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Oh. My. Yes. My son has given me gift certificates there a couple times and it’s a wonderful experience. Totally different from Weaver Street, of course, but definitely worth the trip if you’re in the area.

I sound like a cheerleader for the Triangle, don’t I?

So the big decision today is: Plant or wait? It’s going to…

Good morning, sunshine!

After what seems like weeks of rainy, gloomy weather, we here in the Middle of Nowhere are suddenly experiencing spring. Glorious, sunny, beautiful spring, with wild dogwoods and redbuds in bloom and buzzing bees and lovely, lovely weather. Perfect for mowing.

Much of my life from April through October is spent cutting grass. Heh. We maintain three acres of it, so it takes quite a big chunk of time. I realize in most households mowing lawns is the boy’s job, but I kind of like doing it, and my husband wouldn’t know where to start.

Anyway, that’s on my agenda for this afternoon. The garden plot was tilled for the third and final time over the weekend, and is ready for planting. I’ll probably work on that tomorrow, since it’s supposed to rain – again – Wednesday and Thursday.

I’d hoped to post last Thursday, letting both of you who read this blog know that I was leaving town, but the dial-up connection was acting up and I couldn’t connect. I visited family in North Carolina (experiencing t…

Defining normal

Anne suggested yesterday that perhaps I need to define what normal is for me. Maybe I should have gone a little more in-depth when I wrote that sometimes I just want to be normal.

What I really want is to be a normal weight, the perfect number for my age and height. To be a normal weight would mean I could:
Run fasterWear clothes comfortablyGet more stuff done without running out of energyI have learned, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how to maintain my weight. I’ve been maintaining my initial South Beach Phase I loss for about four weeks now. Maybe six. The way I’ve been maintaining this small (eight to 10 pounds) loss is by making less-than-stellar food choices and not exercising every day.

In rereading yesterday’s whine post, I am struck that I listed two things I don’t want to continue doing. Redefining my goals, as I did today, I wrote in a more positive voice.

I know that my body likes to hold onto fat; it won’t release it easily. It takes effort on my part. It certainly is normal to w…

Sometimes ...

I just want to be normal. Meaning two things:
I don’t want to have to exercise every freaking day.I don’t want to watch what I eat.And sometimes I live as if I am normal. The past weekend was kind of like that. I did take a long walk on Saturday, but I made up for it at dinner. And breakfast on Sunday. I tried to rein it back in Sunday afternoon, but went back to “normal” yesterday, with no exercise and some not-very-good food choices.

Sigh. Maybe I need a Friday Quote Day every day, hmmm? But if one good weekly quote doesn’t help, why do I think a week’s worth would?

I’ll be gone again this coming weekend, and not in charge of the food. Not sure if I’ll be able to take time for a good run or not, but I’ll pack my gear and hope for the best.

Hope your week is starting off better than mine has. It’s kind of sad when you have to reboot on Tuesday. Grrr.

A complete time-sucker

Scrabble meets Tetris … and wastes more time than Solitaire. Seriously! My high score so far is 822. I’m ready for a standalone (rather than online) version of this game and I only found it last night. (I think a standalone would probably have a feature to record and store your game history.)

My husband and I were out of town for the weekend, visiting our triplet grandsons and their parents. I walked on Friday morning before we left and we took a long walk with the babies Saturday afternoon. And it wasn’t a leisurely stroll, either. Our son and daughter-in-law are very fit; when they walk, they don’t mess around!

Our hotel stay was less than wonderful, however, as the folks in the rooms across and beside us were late-night party people. Management came up twice to quiet the roar, but it did no good. I still have a lack-of-sleep hangover this morning. The older I get, the more consistent I need my sleep to be.

Of course, playing with three one-year-old boys could have something to do with…

Friday Quote Day

[Spring is] a true reconstructionist.
~ Henry Timrod

Isn’t that so true?

We had a lovely spring day here in the Middle of Nowhere yesterday, and while my exercise streak ended at two days (Tuesday and Wednesday), my yard is now completely mowed and all my seedlings have been transplanted to bigger pots. Next stop: the garden!

It occurred to me while I was playing in the potting soil that spring cleaning is no joke, and that it is not limited to our homes. These thoughts are not new or original, but are worth revisiting, at least once a year. Preferably in April. Heh.

We had a relatively mild winter, no snow to speak of and only a couple weeks of bitterly cold temperatures. And yet winter not only slows me down, it brings me down. Yesterday was such a change from both the winter months and the previous three days of cold, rainy, drab dreariness, I couldn’t help but feel energized and, well, better.

Better from what, I can’t really say. But better. And this morning when I stepped outside, I h…

How to get to prison

Most folks spend their lives trying to stay out of prison. Yesterday, F[F]M innocently (heh) posed the question of how one gets admitted.

I’ve been volunteering at Alderson Federal Prison Camp for several years now, and there are many, many ways to reserve a bed in a U.S. federal slammer. Our laws are so harsh that we provide three hots and a cot to tens of thousands more people, a large percentage of them women, than we did 30 years ago, before the mandatory minimum sentencing laws were passed in this country.

Thankfully some forward-thinking legislators are working to reverse this trend.

So how do you get in? Here are some ways the women at Alderson got there:

Choose the wrong boyfriend. If you live with a guy who is dealing drugs and he gets caught, you’re as guilty as he is, whether you knew he was dealing or not. According to the way our laws are interpreted, you should have known, and had you known you should have turned him in. This law can be applied to anyone who knows anyone who…

Beginning a new streak

Y’all know I won’t go five days in a row without a workout. I did an easy treadmill session of 45 minutes in the morning, 2.75 miles total. That’s all the time I had before I had to get cleaned up and go to a luncheon meeting at the prison.

The workout was easy-peasy. (I can’t quite believe I just wrote that.) Walking at 3.6mph (and a 4% incline) really isn’t much of a challenge, but I thought since I’d taken four days off I probably should do something easy. Today is Day Three of More Rain, so maybe I’ll do a little treadmill jogging today. It’s more likely, though, that I’ll just suck it up and run (I use that term loosely) in the rain.

The meeting at the prison was outstanding. These quarterly meetings of the Community Relations Board are a requirement at federal prisons, and I’ve been a member for several years. We get lunch and a short informational presentation by one of the prison departments. In the past we’ve seen firefighting demonstrations, been entertained by one of the choi…

Four days in a row …

without a workout.

This is not good, my friends. Especially when the scale number continues to go down. That’s not exactly any kind of incentive to hop on the treadmill, is it?

Yesterday I had to mow. Even though it was cold. And raining. Well, sprinkling. And I only did a little bit of what needed to be done. I wore gloves, a hat and a half-zip fleece jacket to mow my lawn. There is so much wrong with that picture.

My second job yesterday was grooming our older dog Molly. She’s part Australian shepherd, and thus is very furry. And she also seems to be extraordinarily sensitive to the heat. If the temperature is above 40, she lies on the cool bathroom tiles panting.

So I got out the clippers and an hour and a half later (and half a garbage bag of fur) we were done. The transformation is astonishing – she both looks and acts like a different dog.

I was covered in dog hair, of course, and the only thing I wanted to do was take a shower. And I’m not one to shower and then work out and get all…

Post-Easter wrap-up

My mother-in-law joined us for dinner yesterday. As long as deviled eggs are on the menu, she’s a very good guest. I fixed all my favorite foods: roast pork tenderloin, asparagus, sweet potatoes and strawberry shortcake. I even created a centerpiece using a few dyed eggs and some hard-cooked brown ones, the colors looked great with our new décor:

The meal was relatively healthy and I didn’t make enough to feed an army for a change.

We had a beautiful day here in the Middle of Nowhere, the kind of day that makes you want to mow the lawn for the first time of the season, except it’s Easter and no one mows on Easter. Our mower was in the shop for its spring tune-up until Saturday, and the grass doesn’t stop growing in April. It’s quite tall and, of course, today’s forecast (and tomorrow’s and Wednesday’s) is for rain. More rain. So good for growing grass.

To my utter surprise, I lost 1.5 pounds over the weekend. Must be those Cadbury caramel eggs. Heh.

Friday Quote Day

Success does not come to the most
righteous and rigorously disciplined
but to those who continue running.
~Amby Burfoot

I know some of you real runners will scoff when I report yesterday’s workout. But for someone who hasn’t run since November, I feel pretty good about it.

I got the newest issue of Runner’s World last week and it’s possibly the strangest editorial mix I’ve ever seen them publish. Much of the book is devoted to Boston Marathon coverage which, to any runner, is the top o’ the heap. If you’re not Kenyan or Ethiopian, you have almost no chance of actually winning a marathon, but with enough training? Well, you might qualify for Boston.

The article that really got me excited, though, was by Marc Parent, and it was all about the newbie. While I don’t consider myself a novice runner – I have a drawer full of tech shirts and shorts, I have a favorite brand of athletic sock, heck, I even have a Garmin – I loved how full of promise the article was. And since I read it night before l…

To answer a question

F[F]M left a comment in which she asked why my husband isn’t so keen on my running a full marathon. (I love that word “keen,” by the way.) There are several reasons why he’s been so negative, and he feels he’s perfectly justified. It almost goes beyond running a full to running in general.

He really doesn’t understand the lure of running. He lost 30 pounds since his first retirement (he just went back to work, part-time) by simply adding a long walk to his day. If he walks on the treadmill he goes for an hour, if he walks outside he likes to do a 10K, no matter how long it takes. He eats whatever he likes, but rarely eats during the day, saving all his calories for dinner and evening snacking. And sometimes middle-of-the-night snacking.

His philosophy is, ‘Why run if you can walk?’

Clearly, his metabolism and mine are at opposite ends of the spectrum. My blood sugar goes completely wacky if I don’t regular meals spaced out throughout the day. I will admit to not being as consistent as he…

Finally ...

I know y’all are getting tired of my whining about crappy dial-up internet service. May I just say that this morning I was connected for ONE HOUR before I could get the “Create Post” page to load? Grrr.

And I really don’t have much to say. I wanted to show you a detail of the lampshade I recovered and trimmed yesterday, because it just looks so cool. Wonder how long it will take for a photo to load?

Eight minutes. Eight minutes, people!

My husband and I have had semi-serious discussions about moving just because of the internet. We used to think city water would be the best thing to happen to the middle of nowhere. We’ve changed our mind. (Probably because we finally found someone who knew what was wrong with our pump and well, and properly fixed it. Two years ago. Knock on wood.)

Anyway, my hot glue gun and I had a good time yesterday morning and I only burned myself twice.

In knitting news, you can see the knitted I-cord trim at the upper and lower edges of the shade. I think it looks gr…

Let’s see, what shall I wear?

Sunday was a no-brainer as far as choosing clothing. With afternoon temperatures in the low 70s, it was time to pull out shorts and a tee-shirt. Today? Not so much.

It snowed last night. I believe I might wear a sweater today. And wool socks. It could be my last opportunity until November.

Yesterday was a no-exercise day, but I stayed busy, cleaning the master bath and then sealing the grout (finally!) in there, making some throw pillows for the living room and deciding to try again with the lampshades. My fabric stash is puny, but I had enough of a pretty beige and black tattersall check to cover both of them, and I like it better than what was there before.

My ribbon stash yielded nothing suitable for trim, though, so I got out the I-cord maker and started cranking out separate lengths of beige and black I-cord. I’m going to twist the two cords together and hot-glue it to the upper and lower edges of the shade. I might even post a photo.

I also put two-thirds of the grandchildren’s phot…

Look out! It's a bunny!

All together now: “Awww.”

So three bunnies have been sent to the triplets and one to my younger granddaughter and all that’s left to do is fix Easter dinner on Sunday.

I haven’t been tempted by a single Cadbury creme egg, Reece’s peanut-butter egg or marshmallow Peep. (The only thing Peeps are good for is exploding in the microwave anyway. Eating them? Gross!)

I’ve taken three long walks since you and I last got together and the result is a half-pound loss. A new number! Not new, really, I’ve been here before, but not in a long, long time. And this number has been there for three straight days, so I think it’s legit.

In addition to a five-miler yesterday, I also recovered the seat of a bench and refinished the curio cabinet. It looks wonderful – much, much better than I ever expected. I’m kind of afraid to sand anything off the edges to make it look shabby and old. So right now I’m not doing that. I’ll have to refinish a piece of scrap wood to practice on.

All that work yesterday meant I a…

Need yarn?

For you knitters out there, I have a bunch of yarn on eBay. Go to, click on "Advanced Search" and choose the "Search by Seller" option on the left side of the page. Search for "djy1" and the current listings will magically appear! Thanks for looking.

Friday Quote Day

Focusing your life solely on making a buck
shows a certain poverty of ambition.
It asks too little of yourself.
Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon
to something larger than yourself
that you realize your true potential.
~ Barack Obama

Okay, right off the bat you’re wondering what in the heck this quote has to do with weight loss, running, health, fitness or even knitting. Aren’t you?

I thought so.

Well, the answer is ‘nothing at all.’ But it has everything to do with this:

I was a tiny cog in the great wheel of Democrats who worked hard to elect Presdient Obama last fall. I spent many hours at campaign headquarters and many more at home creating and producing posters, signs, stickers and campaign buttons, among other volunteer activities.

During an event at headquarters, a woman introduced herself to me and said she had an idea for a book, but needed help putting it together. She wondered if I’d like to lend my graphic design skill…

Wonder of wonders

I still remember how to run.

We’ve had quite a spell of rainy days all strung together lately, meaning my workouts have been of the indoor-on-the-treadmill variety. But yesterday, while the clouds lingered the rain stopped and I decided to walk outside for an hour.

I headed out at a brisk pace, iPod in hand, and headed uphill. The first mile and a tenth of my route, starting at my driveway, is a steady climb. But what goes up must come down, and the combination of a downhill slope and a song that kicked it up a notch had me trotting, at least for a couple minutes.

Coming back, of course, that steady climb is a nice, gentle descent and I ended up jogging for a full 10 minutes.

I’m not going to be concerned with speed or miles right now, but just try to add a minute or two each time out. One of these days I’ll find I’ve been running steadily for three miles and then I can start race-training.

I had a conversation with my husband yesterday morning in which I explained to him that when I’m tra…