Thursday, April 30, 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 don’t get the same effect when I walk, either outdoors or on the treadmill. Which leads me to believe it’s psychological. I’ve worked sooo hard and it was sooo much more than what I usually do and I need to eat. I’m not consciously thinking this as I’m raiding the pantry, mind you. In fact, I’m telling myself I don’t need to eat, I’m not even hungry. And then I eat anyway.

I think I’ll just forget about fitness and weight loss and dieting today. My husband is out of town, so I’m going shopping. I need to find some kind of fencing solution for that garden. As soon as those seeds sprout, the deer will be coming by to investigate. Maybe I’ll just run them off. Heh.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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 a standing position, to walk even. I had to remind myself that I’d not only run four miles, but I’d also done some hard physical labor in the hot sun and I’m not as young as I used to be. I fell asleep at 11 p.m. and the OTC pain reliever wore off at 5 a.m. Old people take naps, don’t they?

Looking outside right now, it appears that I have a small window of opportunity to get the remaining seeds in the ground before it rains. And rains. And rains some more. Which is a good thing – if it rains, I won’t have to wrestle with the garden hose.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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 get cool again by the weekend – down to 45° Sunday night. I guess I could go ahead and plant seeds and wait until it’s a little warmer to plant seedlings. I’m anxious to get the seedlings in the ground so I can have their little plant stand for potted herbs.

But the first thing I’m doing (after posting this, of course) is running! Yes, I am! I feel kind of sluggish (sniff, sniff), but I’m not letting that get in my way today. Because tomorrow? It may rain.

Someone from Wasila, Alaska, visited the blog yesterday. Do you s’pose it was Sarah? Heh.

Monday, April 27, 2009

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 the icky green tree pollen that Marla fights with each spring), went to the NC Zoo (one of the prettiest zoos I’ve ever been to) and stopped in Carrboro on my way home.

I HEART Carrboro. I first visited there several years ago, falling in love with the laid-back vibe, the old-hippie atmosphere, the public art, the walkability, the funky little shops (we bought my wedding ring in one of them) and especially the Weaver Street Market.

I’ve spent the last couple of months looking locally for bulgar wheat (for taboulleh) and whole-wheat pastry flour (for homemade pasta), with no success whatsoever. The bulk-food bins at Weaver Street were well-stocked, and now, so am I. And I realize I could order this stuff on the internet, but somehow I just knew I’d be going back to Carrboro soon, and could buy it in person.

I had a great conversation with the guy behind the cheese counter (and bought a third of a pound of Roquefort at a very dear price, but since Roquefort will soon have an added tariff, I thought it prudent to buy while it was still only $24.99/pound). The checkout clerk was so nice and friendly, wishing me a safe trip home and telling me how much he liked living in the area. The market was crowded with families and friends, and no one was grumpy. No one!

Also? I’ve visited very few establishments where you could find three Priuses parked in a row, all sporting Obama bumper stickers. I belong in Carrboro. Can’t say that about the Middle of Nowhere, WV, where most of the cars are trucks and many of the front license plates sport Confederate flags.

Thanks for your comments on my last post. I was completely out of food control while I was gone, but got a great deal of walking done to make up for it. Truthfully, though, I didn’t think too much about it. I enjoyed myself, for four straight days, just like anyone else would if they were on a little weekend getaway. Now it’s back to normal, with sweet memories and renewed energy. Hope your weekend was as nice as mine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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 faster
  • Wear clothes comfortably
  • Get more stuff done without running out of energy
I 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 work hard to achieve goals. Normal-weight people get obsessed about their aspirations as much as I am about mine. They make plans and follow them. Sometimes they reach them, sometimes they don’t.

I want to be one of those people who reaches the goal, not stops short of it. I’ve done it before. I feel very strongly that I’ve dieted myself into a physical/metabolical state that makes losing weight much, much harder for me now than it was the first time I successfully shed a significant amount of weight (1973). Or even the second time (1997).

But as I’ve proven to myself, it’s not impossible for me to lose weight. What has worked already is pretty simple. Not a lot of fun, but simple:
  • Eating lean protein and lots of vegetables
  • Staying busy
  • Making time for daily exercise
That’s what it takes, that’s what’s normal for me. When I finally hit that magic number, only then can I redefine normal.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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.

Monday, April 20, 2009

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 my depleted energy levels! I’ll try to do better tomorrow. Today I feel rather disjointed and bleary. The perfect mindset for DeepLeap. Heh.

Friday, April 17, 2009

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 had this strange thought: If I’d been dressed in running gear, I’d just go flying down the driveway and up the mountain. I really felt that strong and light and energetic.

Good thing I had my pajamas on, eh?

The trees are in leaf, the daffodils are fading, the weeds are already taking over. It’s spring, for sure, finally. Time to renew, recharge, revitalize … reconstruct. Who’s joining me?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

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 has anything to do with drugs. So be careful. Here are a couple of cases worth noting. FAMM offers many more.

Choose the wrong lawyer. Should you catch a federal charge, you want to make sure you have good representation. Your boyfriend’s drug money won’t be available to pay your attorney’s fees, so having a well-paying job or coming from a family of means would be helpful. A good lawyer may not keep you out of prison entirely, but your stay might be shorter.

Be an addict. If you’re addicted to smoking crack, snorting coke, shooting heroin or using meth, or if you’re abusing prescription drugs (OxyContin, methadone, Vicodin, etc.), you’re probably looking over your shoulder, waiting for the feds to catch up with you. Or you’re so stoned out of your mind you don’t even care. They’ll probably find you, eventually, and you, too, can find yourself in a multi-year residential program for criminals.

Steal money from your employer. White-collar criminals end up in places like Alderson, because it’s a low-security facility. (So do first-time, non-violent offenders.) It might take years of skimming before you’re caught, so enjoy it while you can. More than likely you’ll be prohibited from working in your chosen field after your conviction, but you can learn new skills while you’re in prison – landscaping, culinary arts, motor vehicle repair, janitorial work – anything a prison needs to keep operating is a career opportunity.

Commit an act of fraud or perjury. That’s how Martha did it, and we all want to be like Martha, don’t we? Her stay was short (see “Choose the wrong lawyer,” above), she wasn’t involved with drug dealers and she’s managed to dot all her i’s and cross all her t’s since her release. Those of us working for sentencing reform thought, for a brief shining moment, that Martha might speak up on behalf of the wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters and sisters who are incarcerated under our conspiracy laws. Sadly, it hasn’t happened.

Violate your parole. Should you find yourself released from prison, you definitely want to be like Martha, crossing all those t’s and dotting all those i’s. If you forget to keep a date with your parole officer, or submit a dirty urine sample, or can’t find a job in the specified period of time, you could find yourself back in prison as a guest of the government.

That’s a short list of How to Get to Prison. As you can tell, I’m an advocate for the inmates and I believe in sentencing reform. Nothing would make me happier than for these first-time non-violent moms to be able to go home and raise their children, contribute to society and live good, honest lives. Whether their sentence is six years or 16, it generally takes about six months for them to learn all the lessons they need.

Okay, off the soapbox. Thanks for the question, F[F]M. I hope I never meet you in Alderson. Heh.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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 choirs, learned about new work opportunities for the inmates, etc. (Don’t get me started on “work” opportunities – it’s all about getting the most work for the least money and it amounts to slave labor, all dressed up in a “job training” package.)

Yesterday was the Education Department’s turn, and the program was presented by paws4prisons. A select group of inmates will be chosen to train assistance dogs which will eventually be placed with war veterans suffering from PTSD. This program appears to be a win-win-win, and I like nothing better than opportunities that truly help the inmates learn a better way of life.

One very cool thing that came out of the meeting is that inmate volunteers may be able to knit cage blankets for the dogs in the program. P4P currently spends $35 per blanket; they were very excited at the possibility of cutting that cost from their limited budget.

So what started out to be a good day (a little exercise) morphed into a GREAT one (a little knitting). I hope your day was just as fulfilling.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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 sweaty and take another shower.

So I’ll blame the lack of workout yesterday on the dog. That’s always a good excuse. Heh.

Monday, April 13, 2009

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 d├ęcor:

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, April 10, 2009

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 last, I woke up yesterday ready to run.

My decline in stamina from last fall to this spring was, in a word, evident. I drove to my favorite four-mile flat road, walked for a couple of minutes and then started trotting. I had the Shuffle with me and it didn’t take long for me to decide to walk for the length of one song and run (I use that word loosely, in that I was definitely moving faster than a walk, but it hardly qualified for a run) for the length of the next.

Toward the end I was walking one and running two. Improvement! Already!

In the hour I was out I covered 4.4 miles. That’s a 13:39 pace – nothing to brag about. And I ate like a truck driver the rest of the day. That’s nothing to brag about, either. (I felt truly hungry, although I probably could have distracted myself. Must. Work. On. That.)

At any rate, I feel confident and energetic and inspired and ready to rock. When you start at 13:39, you’re almost guaranteed to get better as time goes by.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

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 is with the daily hour (or more) of intentional activity, but even he agrees that when I try hard, the results are less than stellar.

(I’m having a bunch of labwork done next month, including another TSH to check for thyroid problems. I doubt if that’s the problem, but we won’t know until we do the tests.)

He’s a physician and has this silly notion that running is bad for your knees. (He’s not an orthopedist, however, he’s a psychiatrist; perhaps he thinks I’m crazy for wanting to run long distances.) ‘All that pounding, Debbi, it can’t be good for you.’ He’s specifically speaking of the pounding that happens when you run 26.2 miles at a stretch. I remind him that it’s only one day, for Pete’s sake, and he always comes up with a snappy retort. The last one was something about Dempsey only going 12 rounds. No comparison! Dempsey couldn’t take a break whenever he wanted to!

You don’t have to run to have bad knees. One of my neighbors is a horsewoman of normal weight (on the thin side, actually) and visually impaired. She’s never run for exercise and has very painful knees. Some runners develop knee problems; some don’t. So far my knee problems have been of the sports-injury type – rest has been the solution.

It probably didn’t help that he was with me at the Army Ten-Miler where a young man collapsed and died just short of the finish. My husband watched the ambulance take him away. If a young, healthy, athletic man can have a heart attack running, doesn’t a middle-aged, overweight woman have a better chance?

You see, he just doesn’t want to do his own laundry or cook his own meals. Or maybe he’s more concerned about the boredom factor in hanging out at the finish line for six hours waiting for me to cross it. Whatever the reasons, I still harbor the silly notion of doing a full in 2011, the year I turn 60. My husband would be on board with the idea if I were closer to a normal weight. So we’ve agreed that if I continue to shed the lard, he’ll support my decision to go for a long, long run in a couple of years.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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 great. Don’t tell me if you think it doesn’t. I’ll be crushed.

In further knitting news I started an afghan, because I hate the woven throw we’ve had in the living room for, literally, years. I hate knitting blankets, too, but I guess I hate the throw more than I hate knitting a new one. The pattern is in the spring issue of Vogue Knitting. I’m using a cream-colored wool and hoping it works. Swatch? Not for a blanket.

In fitness news, I got re-acquainted with the treadmill. We had a 50-minute date and I was quite a sweaty mess when we were finished. Heh.

In further fitness news that relates directly to running, I’ve made a verbal commitment to run the Richmond Half-Marathon again this year. It’s in November, so I have a long, long time to continue to lose some weight and then train for the run.

It’s so silly for me to call it a race.

At any rate, I feel more motivated to work out knowing there’s something on the schedule, even if it is seven months away.

Hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

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 photos on the wall above the piano. I dithered about painting the frames (they’re black), but in the end decided to leave them as is. That’s also what I’m going to do with the curio cabinet. I think.

Why only two-thirds of the grandchildren? I don’t have individual photos of the older two, but I’ve asked my daughter if she could send some.

Since I didn’t walk outside in the rain yesterday or inside on the treadmill, that’s definitely on the schedule today. Don’t know what other trouble I’ll get into, but you’ll hear about it tomorrow. If the internet cooperates, that is.

Monday, April 6, 2009

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 ate very little. I must find a way to keep busy for the 18 hours I’m not sleeping each day. It makes such a difference when you’re trying to create a calorie deficit. Heh.

Friday, April 3, 2009

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 skills to her project. The result is Birds Nearby, which was delivered this week.

It’s a lovely book describing 36 common birds in the Eastern United States. Each bird gets four pages: two with simple clues describing the bird, then a photo page and then a coloring page. It’s suitable for elementary-age school children.

But each of my grandchildren – from 11 months to 12 years – is getting one for Easter.

If I had more time I would try to tie Obama’s quote to health and fitness, because I can see how it could be done, especially if I cut everything but the last sentence. But what I love about the quote, and how it relates to my experience, is that I really wasn’t trying to make a buck.

I was electing a President.

If you’d like a copy of the book, please let me know. Betsy’s website isn’t quite ready for orders yet, but I can put you in touch with her.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

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 training I feel more motivated to actually get out and do something. (If you’ve been reading here for a while, you’ll recall that he doesn’t want me to run any races this year. He disputes that he said that, by the way. He says he doesn’t want me to run a full marathon. Evah!)

The upshot of the conversation is that I’m getting my mind back into running mode, and where the mind goes, the body will follow. (I know it’s usually the other way around, but in this case my mind has to be ready to run before my legs will accelerate.)

As for which races I’m going to enter, I need to think about that some more. One thing is for sure, though: Running – even at my slow pace – sure felt good.