Monday, June 29, 2009

Is it Monday already?

I'd love to have another weekend. Which probably sounds weird coming from someone who doesn't work during the week. Every day should be the same, right? But I still separate weekdays from weekends, and I'd like a little extra leisure time. Instead, I'll be mowing and weedeating.

Backtracking a bit, the rally in DC was definitely worth going to. The event was organized to push for a public option in the healthcare bill, but I felt there were plenty of single-payer supporters there. Edie Falco was the celebrity speaker, lots of union people shared their stories (union members, by far, made up the majority of the crowd, which was estimated at 10,000), and a few politicians spoke in favor of the public option.

We pretty much know single-payer won't happen this time around, and we're beginning to have doubts about the public option. Which leaves healthcare right where it is now: Insurance companies are in charge. Those who think single-payer means the government determines your healthcare treatment should stop and think about the current system, in which the insurer determines who you can see and whether they'll pay for treatment. And they charge you exorbitant premiums, have high deductibles and co-pays and create far too much administrative hassles for your physician's staff. We need a fundamental change, but I'm afraid the lobbyists' contributions speak louder than We The People.

Thank you, Sherry, for your comment, and it was good to meet you, too. I found the article you mentioned. I'd like to find which Democratic Senators are not on board with the public option. We need to write more letters, make more phone calls, get louder about this.

But enough about that.

Since I last posted, I've run once, walked twice (and walked a lot in DC) and knit nothing. I need to get this blog back to its original intention. The knitting, as I've mentioned before, has really slowed down since the death of Nancy, my best knitting buddy. I've sold a lot of yarn, but I still have a lifetime supply and I hope the knitting mojo returns. I haven't sold the good stuff – Nancy would approve of that.

I spray-painted a piece of furniture Saturday and yesterday and this morning I can barely talk or breathe. I don't recommend inhaling paint spray under any circumstances. I had to do the job in the garage and didn't realize how hazardous it really was. (Last time I spray-painted anything it was outdoors.) I figured with the garage door open, it wouldn't be a problem. My bad. Cough-cough.

I hope by tomorrow I feel strong enough to run. And I might even sit and knit a bit today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to Washington we go

First, on the fitness front, I took a five-mile walk yesterday, extending the route I ran Monday. Today I'll be driving all morning and walking around a big museum all afternoon. Tomorrow's walk will be short (1.1 miles from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill) and slow.

This will be a quick trip and, I hope, a successful one.

Success would be defined by the number of participants in this march for health-care reform. We know that single-payer isn't going to happen this year, but if our numbers are significant enough, perhaps the Powers That Be will be more open to the idea.

We can't line their campaign chests with millions of dollars, as the health sector (pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, hospitals and HMOs) can.

But we vote.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Knitting and running! On the same day!

Yes, kids, I actually managed to both knit and run yesterday, something that hasn't happened in a very long time.

Since my to-do list was as long as my shadow, I decided to do the run first thing. Usually when I run that's all I get done that day. But yesterday there were too many "must-dos" on the list, and I knew I would have to slog through them or else.

My husband took my car to work yesterday (his is in the shop) so my running route started in my driveway and went two miles out and back on my hilly road. I didn't expect a good time and certainly didn't get it – four miles in 58:25. But I felt good, had fun and didn't feel like I'd had a two-week layoff. Pretty amazing.

I got home and immediately tackled the floors, which hadn't been cleaned in, um, let's just say several days, shall we? With two shedding dogs and a husband who tracks in everything, it was getting kinda gross. I dust-mopped and then damp-mopped.

Before I left for the run I popped some laundry in, and when I got home I transferred the damp load to the dryer and put a new load in the washer. One more thing checked off.

Before my husband left for work, he asked me to keep an eye on the U.S. Open, so I took advantage of that request and sat down to eat lunch and then knit a bit (almost finished with a doll outfit).

The Open ended at 1:30-ish and I headed out to mow. And mow. And mow. Because today's schedule is pretty packed, I knew I'd have to cut all three acres in one day. Finished up about 4 p.m., got cleaned up and started dinner.

I made buttons and posters yesterday evening. The one thing left undone was ironing the t-shirt transfers onto the shirts. (See yesterday's post if you don't know what I'm talking about.) That won't take too long; I can squeeze it in sometime today.

The point of all this blather is to say that we can do what we set out to do if we put our minds to it. The tasks at hand seem to take up the time available, whether that time is a full day or a few hours. What I proved to myself yesterday is that running first thing in the morning doesn't mean I've used up my EQ (Energy Quotient) for the entire day. And I also learned that I need to take a little time to do something quiet and relaxing to gear up for the rest of the day.

Now to remember the lessons next time I feel like putting off the run.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The fruits vegetables of my labor

How cool is this?

Green beans, radishes and spinach, all from my garden. There are a few snow peas out there, one teensy tiny tomato and a whole lotta squash blossoms – a pretty good predictor of a whole lotta squash!

We're going to toss the spinach with some store-bought romaine for dinner tonight. Last night I added the radishes and green beans to potatoes and onions, dressed it with a (low-fat) mayonnaise-(non-fat) yogurt-horseradish dressing and called it potato salad. Very yummy.

I'm learning quite a bit from this garden.

I planted a row of sunflowers, which are doing very well, along the south side to act as a deer-preventing decoy. The fence I put up is enough to keep the deer out (so far), so I could have used the flower space for vegetables.

I should have planted more snow peas. Not very many of them came up; we'll be lucky to have enough for two stir-fries, the way it's looking now.

I enjoy vegetable gardening waaaaay more than flower gardening. The flowers along the driveway are very pretty, and I actually picked some over the weekend. But I'd rather eat my labor than look at it. Too bad I didn't figure this out years ago. I've been mowing three acres for the past 12 years; I could have been planting vegetable gardens all over the lawn!

Took a short walk yesterday, after a couple of well-deserved rest days. My arms no longer ache when I raise them. Hoeing weeds is hard work! I hope to take a longer one today, but I also have quite a to-do list to work on before we leave for our next activist trip to Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Four of us are going together – my husband and me and another couple. We're leaving early so we can visit the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Wednesday afternoon, and then Thursday morning we're donning matching red t-shirts and marching from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill in support of single-payer health care reform. I made the t-shirt transfers yesterday (using transfers for dark shirts, so they don't have to be printed in reverse), and will iron them on today.

I'm also making lots of these buttons to hand out while we're there. I live in one of the, um, less-progressive states in America, but wherever I wear my button I get positive comments.

I think I'll take my walk before I tackle that list, which includes mowing those three acres and cleaning the house, doing some laundry and watering the flowers. No rain in sight for the next few days – quite a change from this year's wet spring. The farmers around here will be able to make hay while the sun shines and hopefully it won't rain on our parade later this week.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Quote Day

Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are.

~ Theodore Roosevelt


Here's what I had yesterday, waiting under a tree for me to finish spreading topsoil.


And here's a not-very-good shot of the result.

I was out in the hot sun breaking my back for five hours yesterday. Most days I've had to stop after three. But I'm the kind of person who, when the end is in sight, just has to keep going.

That's a good thing in running, isn't it? I'll have to nurture that personality quirk.

My husband suggested I take today off. I still have six tomato plants to get in the ground and the vegetable garden needs some serious weeding. He has to work this morning, so what he doesn't know won't hurt him.

My biggest challenge yesterday was getting rid of an old, woody lavender plant that hasn't been pretty for a couple of years. It was huge! As I kept chopping away at it, I heard distinct buzzing and there were more bees than I would have expected hovering around a dead lavender bush. Turns out they'd built a nest in the roots.

I only got stung once.

Hope your weekend is a good one!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Overwhelmed … and almost done

The weeding continues; I figure I've put about 16 hours into this project so far, with another eight or 10 or 12 to go. I'm not putting "weed-pulling" on my resume, that's for sure!

I had a consult with my friend who owns a garden center yesterday afternoon, and together we chose the plants that will be replacing the weeds. Ferns and zebra grass and astilbe, oh my! And a couple other things I can't remember the name of. She kept encouraging me to call things by their real names instead of "that pink spiky thing."

I was overwhelmed with the selection and I am overwhelmed at the amount of physical labor remaining to be done and there are still three smallish spaces that need to be landscaped still. We didn't even talk about those spots. One thing at a time.

I guess that's how I should approach my race training, as well. When I finish the gardens, I can start running. But honestly, I can't do both.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alrighty then

Love, love, love what Marla said today: You can have anything you want, you just can't have everything you want.

I know I waste some time, probably lots of time, during my days, time that could be used doing one of the many activities I enjoy or pursuing a goal. I can rationalize that by telling myself I have "balance."

Whatever that is. Heh.

The biggest stumbling block I have right now is that it's been a while since I've run, and it's hard to get started again. Each time I've started again I have to walk a lot. That's discouraging, even though I know walking is as beneficial to my health as running. The running is for the half-marathon.

Anne asked why I wanted to do another half. You know, I'm not even sure which half I'm doing at this point. There are two in November on my radar, one in Richmond, VA (I did it last year and the woman I ran with would like to do it again), the other is in Florida (my dad said he would go anywhere in Florida to see me cross a finish line, and he's doing soooo well that maybe this should be the year).

The woman in Richmond is having some personal issues and I think that race may not happen for either of us. Which is good – the Florida run is later in the month.

But the real reason I want to run a half is that I want to run a full next spring. I think it'll be good for me, physically and psychologically, to have a half under my belt as I start training for the full.

I guess I need to think on this a bit more. I appreciate all your comments, private and here on the blog; you've helped me so much.

The biggest priority for me right now (and a huge time-sucker), is working on the health care reform issue. It is always on my mind, no matter what other activity I'm engaged in. My hometown city council (Wilmington, Ohio) just endorsed Ohio's HB159, which will provide comprehensive health coverage for all Ohioans. I guess if the U.S. Congress can't get it done, we'll have to go state-by-state. Kudos to Ohio!

Alrighty then

Love, love, love what Marla said today: You can have anything you want, you just can't have everything you want.

I know I waste some time, probably lots of time, during my days, time that could be used doing one of the many activities I enjoy or pursuing a goal. I can rationalize that by telling myself I have "balance."

Whatever that is. Heh.

The biggest stumbling block I have right now is that it's been a while since I've run, and it's hard to get started again. Each time I've started again I have to walk a lot. That's discouraging, even though I know walking is as beneficial to my health as running. The running is for the half-marathon.

Anne asked why I wanted to do another half. You know, I'm not even sure which half I'm doing at this point. There are two in November on my radar, one in Richmond, VA (I did it last year and the woman I ran with would like to do it again), the other is in Florida (my dad said he would go anywhere in Florida to see me cross a finish line, and he's doing soooo well that maybe this should be the year).

The woman in Richmond is having some personal issues and I think that race may not happen for either of us. Which is good – the Florida run is later in the month.

But the real reason I want to run a half is that I want to run a full next spring. I think it'll be good for me, physically and psychologically, to have a half under my belt as I start training for the full.

I guess I need to think on this a bit more. I appreciate all your comments, private and here on the blog; you've helped me so much.

The biggest priority for me right now (and a huge time-sucker), is working on the health care reform issue. It is always on my mind, no matter what other activity I'm engaged in. My hometown city council (Wilmington, Ohio) just endorsed Ohio's HB159, which will provide comprehensive health coverage for all Ohioans. I guess if the U.S. Congress can't get it done, we'll have to go state-by-state. Kudos to Ohio!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I want an answer

Here's my dilemma.

I'm 58, overweight (I made a rhyme!), and I want to run a half-marathon in November. I need to start training, um, yesterday. (I'm currently logging fewer than 10 base miles per week.)

But I also live in a huge field (three acres) that needs a weekly mowing, have a large, weedy vegetable garden, am redecorating and have four sadly neglected flower beds. Oh, and two dogs, a house and a husband. My husband is severely domestically challenged, so I'm the Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer around here. (And I don't have a regular job, thank goodness.)

When I run (jog, walk fast, whatever you want to call it), I'm done for the day. I like to get it done early in the day, when it's still cool. But four morning miles wipe me out. Did I mention I'm 58 and overweight?

When I decide to weed or mow or clean or paint, with the idea of running later in the day, I don't have the energy left to run.

I'm getting plenty of exercise, but quite different from huffing and puffing on a lonely country road. Pulling weeds and pushing wheelbarrows won't help me cross a finish line.

So do I just suck it up and force myself to do it all? I've tried, and it's absolutely exhausting. Sometimes, on a day I've run in the morning and worked outside in the afternoon, I've thought I would pass out.

It's out of my hands today, thank goodness. It's raining (again), I have a hair appointment this afternoon and my volunteer gig at the prison is tonight. A good day to do laundry and maybe clean out a kitchen cupboard or two.

Seriously, though, how do you folks who have nine-to-five jobs, houses, husbands, children, gardens, etc., get it all done?

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's all our fault

I assume if you're reading this blog you're living – or interested in living – a healthy lifestyle. (You also might be a knitter. Heh.)

You eat modest portions of healthful foods. You don't smoke. You watch your weight. You exercise.

So you might be surprised to learn that, according to one media pundit, those of us who exercise are putting more stress on the health care system.

Read it and weep with laughter. (Also? I refuse to link to the pundit's website. That's why the link goes to Kos.)

So, yes, I've been MIA for a week. We had company and I needed a break. Also, I discovered over the weekend that early morning is cooler than midday. Imagine that. I have a large, weedy vegetable garden and working in it at noon is decidedly more difficult than working in it at, say, 8 a.m.

Pulling weeds has been the sum total of my exercise this week. Not sure when I'll get back to a running program, but it needs to be soon if I'm going to run a half-marathon this fall.

My long driveway is lined on both sides with low rock walls and perennials. Last year my dad got sick at the beginning of the gardening season, and I didn't tend to the perennials at all. So this year I have two seasons worth of dead leaves and weeds to get rid of. I dumped ten wheelbarrows full of debris yesterday, and that's not even half of the work that remains.

We ate our first crops in our salad last night. Yes, my $100 garden experiment has, so far, yielded 50 cents worth of radishes. Yum. Can't wait for the green beans. Heh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jazzed

What a weekend! I’ve been running full-tilt since Friday night, and I really don’t see how that’s going to change for the next few days.

My intentional exercise has been limited to a long walk Saturday morning to buy strawberries from our Amish neighbors. (Two gallons! My husband came along to help tote them. Oh, and to pay for them. Heh.)

But the incidental activity has been off the chart, with more to come. I worked in the garden, weeding and transplanting seedlings, for a couple hours yesterday morning. (Finally, finally, I have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and cabbage growing outside. The green beans, spinach, radishes and flowers are all coming up great. The snow peas? I think rabbits like tender snow-pea shoots.)

Then I painted doors for nearly three hours yesterday afternoon. With more still to do.

The remainder of Saturday was spent cooking and cleaning in preparation for our Organizing for America event to discuss healthcare reform. If you’re a regular reader here, you know I support a single-payer plan. Even though that’s not going to happen this year, I feel certain we’re heading in that direction.

Our guests were like-minded. So much so that two of them will be joining us on our next trip to Washington, DC, to participate in a national rally later this month.

I guess my intentional activity for June 25 is already scheduled!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Quote Day

“I have no riches but my thought.
Yet these are wealth enough for me.”

~ Sara Teasdale

I’ve been reading a book called The Anderson Method, and then this quote popped up in my inbox this morning. Serendipity? Could be.

Some may think Anderson’s book is just more psycho-babble, yet another diet book to gather dust on the shelf, along with the others sitting there, once full of promise. I was hooked in the introduction, written by an endocrinologist, who asked if I had ever visited a physician hoping I had thyroid disease.

Guilty.

As I’ve been reading, I’ve realized that my husband followed this plan as he has lost weight in the past year and a half. He made weight loss and fitness a priority when he retired in December, 2007. It took about six months for him to lose between 35 and 40 pounds. He’s since lost another five or so and is now skinnier than he’s been since we met 16 years ago.

It’s basically a mind-over-matter method, with lots of visualization and positive self-talk. No recipes, no menu plans, no real details, either. The author would love it if you would contact one of his trained therapists for the full treatment.

Since none of them are handy to the Middle of Nowhere, I’ll be muddling along on my own. In addition to muddling, I’ll be modeling my behavior on that of someone whose success I’ve noticed and would like to attain for myself.

Betcha can’t guess who that might be!

P.S. Did 4.25 miles yesterday, in the very humid early afternoon. It felt great, especially the fourth mile, for some reason.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The best of intentions

Yesterday was National Running Day. Being a good little runner (and joiner) I added myself as a fan to their Facebook page and eagerly anticipated a gentle four-mile run in the morning, before it got too hot or too rainy.

If only I hadn’t called the dentist.

I had an appointment for a cleaning later this month, but I’ve had a toothache for a couple of weeks. I got brave Tuesday night and touched the offending tooth (the upper right back molar) and I swear I could have pulled it, had I been a tiny bit braver. Oh, and not driving my car at the time.

So I called to see if the tooth needed to be pulled prior to the cleaning or at the time of that procedure. Well, their 10 a.m. cancelled and if I could come in they’d take care of everything.

I wasn’t expecting that.

I had an hour and 45 minutes to shower and then drive for an hour (everywhere I go is an hour away) to pay for the privilege of experiencing excruciating pain. In addition to the cleaning and extraction, they did full-mouth X-rays, which I find very uncomfortable and which took the inexperienced technician way more than the promised 15 minutes.

Two hours and $225 later I was on my way. After picking up a few things at the grocery (because I can’t drive to the city and not pick up a few things at the grocery), I arrived home hungry and tired, but too sore to eat or rest. And definitely not able to run.

I’m feeling overwhelmed, still, at the chores around here that remain undone. But I can only do one thing at a time. Sitting in the dentist’s chair precluded me from painting doors, weeding flower beds, planting seedlings or cutting grass. The thunderstorm (and mouth pain) that followed me home from the dentist didn’t help, either.

But, as Scarlett said, tomorrow is another day. That would be today. If the weather cooperates, I’ll be outside most of the day. And part of that outside time will be my gentle four-mile run.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back in the groove? Not so much.

Traveling may be good for the soul, but it’s not-so-good for my routine.

There are four partially painted doors on my back patio, waiting for the finishing touches.

There are 30 or so seedlings waiting to be planted.

The grass is high and the weeds along the roadside are higher. Not to mention the weeds in the flower beds, which haven’t been touched this year at all.

I have dust-mopped my floors since I got home, but haven’t damp-mopped in far too long. Oh, and I did some laundry, but it’s still not folded or put away. Sigh.

The one positive thing I did yesterday to try to get my groove back was to take a walk. Not a very long one – 45 minutes, maybe – but I’m giving myself all kinds of credit for doing it. I just about had to walk down the driveway with my eyes closed.

That’s where all the messy flower beds are. Heh.

Today, I mow. Tomorrow I paint doors. Each of those activities will happen after I take a walk. And that’s what I’m doing as soon as I hit the publish button.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hello again ...

I was out of town for a few days. I wanted to get a quick post out, either before I left or while I was away, but obviously that didn’t happen. As you all know (and are sick of hearing about), my home internet access is slow, slow, slow. I was in a hurry to leave last week and the dial-up was operating at a Flinstonian speed. Then while I was gone, I was just too busy and distracted to try to write anything.

I went to visit my daughter and her family, specifically to watch my older granddaughter’s dance recital. I didn’t get to go last year (the first one I’ve missed since she started dancing), and the improvement was phenomenal! She’s so good – fluid, graceful, poised – with the perfect dancer’s body and moves and jumps.

I spent a lot of non-dance time with my grandson and son-in-law. One night it was just my grandson, who is eight, and myself, so we had a “date” at his favorite restaurant: a Chinese buffet. He really knows his way around, from the “pop” stickers to the lo mein. He ate nothing green, but did point out that he chose some peaches (along with ice cream) for dessert. He’s a funny kid, and we had a great time hanging out.

I saw my first ever 3-D movie with both grandchildren. What fun that was! It was a good story, a little sad in some parts and a little scary in others, but we stuck through the whole thing. (When my granddaughter was little we had to leave “Finding Nemo” because it frightened her.)

Anyway, I’m back and it’s the first day of the month and last month was crap as far as food and exercise goes and I’m not going to post a non-progress photo. So there. But I do feel motivated (having the first of the month fall on a Monday is sooo serendipitous, doncha think?) to get back on the horse, so to speak. The drive to and from my daughter’s is quite long, with much thinking time, and one of my fleeting thoughts was that if Barack Obama can find time to work out even while he’s running the country, then I ought to be able to fit a workout into my oh-so-dull schedule.

I don’t use the no-time-to-exercise excuse. I use the I-don’t-feel-like-it one. I’m at a very low point about dieting right now. Y’all know I’ve tried, over and over again, to get rid of these excess pounds. They seem to want to be friends for life. Eating healthfully, running, rowing, weight training – I know and have done all the right things over the past several years and have yet to make it to anything resembling normal for my height and age. It’s unbelievably frustrating to have excellent lab results and still not be able to lose weight. Am I doomed to be one of those in the fit-and-fat category? Sometimes it sure looks like it.

But since it is Monday, June 1, I’ll take that as a sign to press on, doing what all the magazine articles and websites and health gurus say to do: eat right and exercise and you will lose weight.

Snort.

In closing, I’d just like to express my sorrow and outrage and the murder of Dr. George Tiller. I’d like to see fewer abortions and more adoptions, but I believe in a woman’s right to choose. There’s something out of whack when you think it’s wrong to abort unborn babies but okay to kill living human beings.

At least in my opinion.