Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Quote Day

"Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that
you want."
~ Jim Rohn

Testing, testing. The Blogger page won't load so I'm going to try out
this new-fangled blog-by-e-mail option and see how it works. I *know*
it won't look right, but looks aren't everything, right?

Definitely right! This week's quote says it all.

If I'm happy with what I have – and I am – I'm free to work for
anything and everything I want. If I get it, great. But if I'm already
happy with what I have, it's not going to break my heart to not get
what I'm working for.

This kind of goes against the Puritan work-ethic grain. We think we
should achieve *all* our goals, especially the ones we're working our
asses off for. (Or should that be "especially the ones for which we're
working our asses off"?) It's not bad to want more, but if the
starting point is one of "okay-ness," then not having more isn't a
tragedy.

My physical needs are more than met, as are my emotional ones. I'm on
a continuing and rewarding spiritual quest. What's left?

Those pesky extra pounds, that's what. Accepting the current state of
my body is my biggest hurdle, particularly when I still remember being
thinner, running up hills, lifting heavy pieces of furniture, doing
just about whatever I wanted to do, physically. I'm limited by these
pounds and it's frustrating to be working so hard and seeing so little
reward.

But. But, but, but. Defining success as pounds lost isn't helpful. If
anyone can teach me to learn to be happy with what I have, I'm all ears.

Have a good weekend and a good next week. I'll have internet access,
but I kind of enjoy taking a technology break when I'm not at home, so
I don't know if I'll be checking in or not. Stay tuned! Oh, and if
you're so inclined, call your Congressional representative and ask him/
her to support single-payer health reform.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Real food for real people

So, my husband and I went to the movies yesterday. We like documentaries, and the nearest theatre which regularly features them is two hours away. Going to the movies is a day trip for us.

We saw Food, Inc., and decided on the way home we might become vegetarians. At the very least, we will seek out family farm-raised chicken, beef and pork. Turns out one of the farmers interviewed in the film is two, maybe two and a half hours from us, and sells his products to the public almost every Saturday.

So buying meat will be a day trip, as well.

At the very end of the film there were many suggestions flashed up randomly on the screen, ideas you can use to eat better. One was "Plant a garden. (Even a small one.)" My husband nudged me; he knows how much my garden means to me.

We have friends who are about as self-sustaining as you can get and not be Amish. We called them on our way home and invited ourselves to dinner. For the rest of our lives! Heh.

Interestingly, Time magazine published an article on the comeback of "real food," a response to consumers who were withdrawing from manufactured food. The article appeared October 12, 1987. Here we are, 22 years later, singing the same old song. Amazing.

It's kind of like health care reform, isn't it? Harry Truman wanted to implement an improved health care delivery system in the '40s. And here we are, 60 years later and much more deeply entrenched in the illness-for-profit game insurers love to play. In spite of my President's press conference last night, I have little hope for true reform as long as insurance companies continue to be a part of the mix. They're rushing to raise their premiums now, before reform passes.

Did anyone else notice that the phraseology was changed from "health care reform" to "health insurance reform?" That, at least, is more honest about what needs to be done. Actually, single payer is what needs to be done, but no one with any kind of power seems to be listening to us.

Some knitting news! I cast on for a sweater for me a couple days ago. The new issue of Knit Simple featured a lovely, comfortable cardigan that looked like just the kind of easy knitting I can handle right now. You can see it in the "9 to 5" preview; it's the fourth one in the row, bright red. I'm doing mine in periwinkle blue.

And I'm still walking. I refused to weigh myself this morning. If I'm walking for the sake of walking, I can't let the scale discourage me in any way whatsoever. I can't boycott it completely, but I think I'll wait until I get back from visiting my dad to check my weight again. That may or may not be a mistake.

My dad's a very good cook. Heh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grrr. Grrr. Grrr.

My e-mail is still broken. My ISP says it's the phone line. Verizon promised to come Monday but they still haven't shown up and I'm busier than usual and getting to the point where I Just. Don't. Care. I'm nearly ready to publish my phone number. If you want to know what's going on with me, give me a call!

I'm continuing my five-mile-a-day walking and continuing to see the number on the bathroom scale climb. Two more pounds Monday. TWO! I swear to you on my mother's grave that I'm not overeating and that I'm really exerting myself on these walks. I come home drenched in sweat. I take an Aleve morning and night to ward off muscle aches and pains. Remind me again why I'm doing this?

The bright spot in my life these days is my garden. I decided it's never too late to start a compost pile. Mowing the lawn has turned into mowing with a purpose: I raked four wheelbarrows full of grass clippings. As my dad says, cow manure started out as grass clippings, so it's the best "green" to use in a compost pile.

The other bright spot is that in three days I'll be heading south to visit my dad. I can turn this computer off and hope it magically fixes itself while I'm gone. I can take advantage of his high-speed access to look at YouTube videos and live streaming broadcasts and slow-loading flickr accounts. Be still my heart. Heh.

Time to walk … we've had some lovely cool weather lately, but both temperatures and humidity are creeping back up to summertime normals, so the earlier I get out there, the better I'll feel when I'm done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

67.7

Beginning July 7, I've walked a minimum of five miles every single day, bring the total up to 67.7 miles. I'll be walking between the raindrops today (as I also did on Friday), but ya know what? I won't melt. And walking outside – even in the rain – is better than walking on the treadmill.

Will I run again? I'm not sure. I might need to change the name of the blog. I think if I lost 20 pounds I'd feel better about running and certainly if I lost 40 I'd be right back at it. I'm a little concerned that pounding the road at 5 mph would affect my knees a little more than it does at 3.5 mph.

So. No fall race for me. My husband and I are thinking about going to Florida in January, maybe I'll find one there. Then again, maybe not. It's all contingent on my weight.

Now the good thing is I'm enjoying the walking whether I'm losing weight or not, and that was my goal. I wouldn't be lying if I told you I wish 67.7 miles had resulted in a couple pounds gone. But it hasn't, and that's – as Stuart Smiley would say – okay.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Quote Day

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear.
Action breeds confidence and courage.
If you want to conquer fear,
do not sit home and think about it.
Go out and get busy.”

~ Dale Carnegie

Whether I'm losing weight or not (I'm not), my daily walks are definitely beneficial to my mental health. I'm not surprised by this – certainly many of us have read about and/or experienced the emotional lift we get when we exert ourselves physically.

Sitting around thinking about how fat I am won't help me lose weight. And even though logging all these miles (52.2 since July 7) hasn't resulted in a loss (are you surprised, Marla? Me, neither!), I'm not going to stop walking.

I don't feel defeated, not at all. Astonishingly, I look forward to the walk each and every morning. It's the first thing I think about. As I mentioned yesterday I had to get it done early because the rest of the day was packed. The phone rang about five minutes after I finished yesterday – it was the doctor's office needing to reschedule my appointment. I thought about turning right around and taking another walk!

Then I came to my senses and did the errands I'd intended to do after I finished the doctor's appointment.

The point of today's blather – and today's quote – is that doing something is better than not doing something. If you're just starting a walking program, doing a little is better than doing a lot. I don't recommend trying to walk five miles if you've only been thinking about walking. Start small and slow, give yourself a chance for success, and define success.

The smart thing I did this time around was to not make the daily walk contingent on weight loss. The daily walk is, simply, a daily walk, something I enjoy, and a good way to start my day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I was wrong

My e-mail still is not fixed. My next move is to call the phone company. My ISP is more than willing to help, but now I can't get a dial tone on the line we usually use for the computer. So I'm doing computer stuff in the wee hours of the morning when civilized people don't make telephone calls. Heh.

Today I will be walking in the wee hours of the morning … I have a doctor's appointment at 10:30 and we have plans to visit some friends from mid-afternoon to evening. If my intention is to get five miles in every day, than now is the time.

It really doesn't matter much which phone line I'm using. I can open some web pages, but not others. I can send mail, but it's slow, and sometimes I can even send an attachment. It's not consistent and working with a techie over the phone is frustrating and tiresome.

I walked 10K with my husband yesterday. Instead of five hilly miles on our road, we went to his favorite spot, a flat, shady road that runs by a little creek. It's a lovely walk. When we finished, I picked about a quart of wild berries and now I have enough for another cobbler. Probably enough for a pie, actually.

My next knitting project will be this hat for my older granddaughter who love-love-loves all things Harry Potter. She was Hermione for Halloween the year the first book was published, and her enthusiasm hasn't waned in the ensuing years.

Gotta run. Er, walk. Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh, what a night

Last night was just about perfect.

We had a wonderful vegetarian meal for dinner, easy, delicious and I got to cook one of my zucchini!

Then we settled down to watch the All-Star game.

I was sitting with my favorite person (my husband), watching my President meet my favorite baseball player.

The first commercial was the Pepsi ad with still shots of my favorite singer and Will.I.Am singing one of my most favorite songs.

And then the American League won the game! Again! How perfect is that?

Walked five miles yesterday (with a little running), and am now getting ready to do today's five-miler. Today will be eight straight days ... they say 21 days makes something a habit. I hope I can make that happen.

Hope your day is as good as my night was!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I think it's fixed, I think it's fixed

At least I hope so.

I've been having trouble sending attachments using my e-mail program (Mail.app). It looks like it's finished sending, but freezes up right at the end of the process, resulting in an error message. I've been using my Gmail account to send photos this week, but I've had at least one person tell me he got a blank page when he was expecting a photo of my baby okra plant.

Twice yesterday I was able to send small photos using Mail. Let's hope the problem is solved. I believe it's the phone line, not the mail server. Now that we've had dry weather for a few days, perhaps the moisture which creates static and dropped transmissions has dried out.

Of course if a mouse has chewed through that phone line, all bets are off. (That's happened before. Think twice before you decide to chuck it all and move to the country.)

Here's one of the photos I've been trying to send – my first sunflower! I planted a whole row of those gorgeous red ones that sell for three bucks apiece in the shops. They'll look trés cool in my redecorated burgundy/beige/vanilla living room.

I walked 6.5 miles yesterday because I wanted to see if there were any blackberries growing along the rest of the road that makes up my usual five-mile route. (Our road forks 3.25 miles from our driveway.) I found one little bush, not enough to worry about, really, although I picked what I could on the way back. I also went down to our pond yesterday to see if there were any berries there, but it looks as though the birds and deer got there first.

Sometimes I can't quite believe I'm foraging for food. Heh. Honestly, though, it seems like these berries taste immensely better than the ones I pay $3.99/pint for at Tiny Kroger.

Picked the first yellow squash yesterday, along with two more zucchini. Pretty soon I'll have to quit counting the zukes – looks like we're going to have dozens. I feel like Bubba in Forrest Gump, reciting all the ways to cook shrimp, but with a green vegetable that's much easier to acquire: zucchini bread, fried zucchini, steamed zucchini, zucchini and tomatoes, etc., etc.

How do you like to prepare zucchini?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mmmm … blackberries

I tried to take a photo of the luscious blackberry cobbler I made night before last, but it didn't look very luscious at all. Take my word for it – and take my husband's word for it, too – it was quite yummy.

He ate all the crust from the top. I used a recipe from a Southern Living cookbook, which called for a biscuit topper but it was a little different from regular biscuit dough. It was very puffy and light.

We heated the remaining filling and ate it on waffles last night.

I'm totally carbed up now. Heh.

So, I walked 30 miles last week – five miles every day except Monday. It takes about 90 minutes (it's a very hilly route) and I haven't tried to talk myself out of it – or into it – at all.

My attitude has been that taking that walk is like applying antiperspirant, or brushing my teeth. I wouldn't not do it on a daily basis. So it hasn't mattered how hot it has been, or how busy I've been, or how fill-in-the-blank (tired? cranky? sore?) – I've just resolutely set off every day for a five-mile walk.

The point, of course, is eventually to lose some weight, but I haven't weighed myself. One week of walking will hardly make a difference on the scale. (Those of you who have "known" me for a long time – back to the Shrinking Knitter days – know how difficult it has been for me to go down a size or two.) But if I keep it up, eventually I should see some results.

At least that's the theory. In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy the walk for the walk's sake, not for any future benefits which might result.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

So excited I forgot the Friday quote

Yes, I was so all about bragging on myself yesterday that I forgot it was Friday, and around here Friday means "something to think about." So we'll do that today instead.

“Confidence is contagious.
So is lack of confidence.”
Michael O'Brien

When my husband retired more than a year ago, he started taking a daily walk. He weighed more than was comfortable for him, and probably qualified as "overweight" on the BMI scale. But more importantly, he just didn't feel good, or healthy, or trim.

So he took his daily walk and about six months later was teetering on the brink of "underweight."

Seriously.

He knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that taking a long walk every day would result in weight loss, no matter what else he did. (He progressed from three miles to five, and finally settled on 10K as his ideal distance.) Now that's confidence.

I've been a regular exerciser for years, but have never had that kind of confidence. My mind is convinced that my body is going to hang on to every pound it has, and so far my mind has been right, except for a two-year period about 12 years ago when I, too, was at a normal weight.

Recently I've been working on changing my attitude. I'm trying to "catch" my husband's core belief that a long walk, every day, will help me lose weight. We eat a varied and healthful diet. At the moment, I'm not eliminating anything but I'm also not overindulging in anything either. (Sugar, I'm lookin' at you!)

I'm working very hard on having the mindset of "I've done it before, I can do it again." I banish negative thoughts as soon as they cross my mind, and I don't have to work hard at all to enjoy the walking. I'm nearly ready to start running again.

Good thing, too, since a fall race is in my future.

So. Twenty miles down, 10 to go and this week will be done. (My weeks begin on Mondays.) I'm confident I can do it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shall we try for four?

I can hardly believe I've walked 15 miles this week – five miles a day for three consecutive days. I didn't walk Monday, opting to work in the garden for exercise that day, but you know … the garden needed some attention yesterday and I didn't neglect it just because I'd already walked that day. Hmmm. Do you s'pose I can walk and do some other type of physical exertion on a daily basis?

Heh. Of course I can. The question is whether I will.

Right now I'm thinking I will.

I stopped to chat with one of our Amish neighbors the other day. She was working in her garden (which is much larger and much, much neater than mine), but mentioned she'd gone for her morning walk before breakfast. I can only imagine what breakfast must be like for her, since she has 11 children and a husband to feed. She must have been out walking at 4 a.m.!

The point being, the Amish work all the livelong day and still find time to just … go for a walk.

They do follow one suggestion that modern trainers recommend, though: They take one day off each week. On Sunday, they rest, spending their days in study and prayer.

We had a lovely rain yesterday afternoon and evening, and the whole world seems washed clean this morning.

I think I'll go for a walk.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Two days in a row

Can she make it three?

Well, I might, if I hurry.

I took a five-mile walk both Tuesday and yesterday. (And I picked about a pint of berries on the way back. The ones edging our woods aren't quite ripe enough yet.)

But if I do walk again today it will have to be soon, as the sky is grey and the weather forecast is for rain and more rain. It's actually quite cool outside – this has been a most pleasant July, all in all.

The edamame and corn are pushing up through the dirt – I can't begin to describe how awesome I think it is when you cover a little seed with earth, add sunshine and water and then eat the fruit (or vegetable) of your labor just a few weeks later. Yes, Denise, it's a lot of work, but the rewards are more than worth it. I'm not that good at weeding, and this is the first year this plot of earth has been cultivated, so it's very weedy, but the good stuff is coming up anyway. Maybe next year I'll mulch the whole thing.

My weight is staying steady, which is to say I'm still not losing anything. I should be grateful I'm not gaining, I suppose, but I'm beginning to wonder if this is what I'll look like when my time is up. I expect I need to shake things up a bit, and I'm so-so close to giving up refined white sugar yet again. It's not like I'm chowing down on cookies and candy all day, but I know I've enjoyed more of it than is necessary or good for me.

I picked up my knitting needles last night and cast on for a Bitty Baby sweater for my younger granddaughter. It's a very simple sweater, and one I could easily duplicate in her size. Unfortunately I cast on (and knit 8 rows!) using a size 4 needle, instead of the size 0 I was supposed to use. So I'm starting over.

Story of my life. Heh.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I HEART vegetable gardening

Living in the Middle of Nowhere has its disadvantages (I'm lookin' at YOU, dial-up!). But having enough room to plant a large vegetable garden is not one of them. I've been able to saunter out to the garden two days in a row to harvest part of our dinner.

Monday night I sautéed seasoned chicken breasts in olive oil, then added lots o' veggies (including our first zucchini and some sugar snap peas), simmered it in a little orange juice until everything was yummy and served it over rice.

Last night I fixed my favorite pesto pasta concoction with chicken sausages and fresh vegetables.

So I'm on a roll with the clean eating and I walked five miles yesterday afternoon. It was hot, but there was a nice breeze and I found a patch of ripe blackberries. I'm going back today with a container!

We have wild blackberries at the edge of our woods, but they're not quite ready to pick yet. And usually the birds grab them before I get a chance. I hope there's enough for all of us this summer.

I've already dug up some garden stuff that didn't work out too well, and replanted those areas with sweet corn and edamame. Still to come: yellow squash (soon! There are lots of baby ones on the plants.), okra, cucumbers, tomatoes and Chinese cabbage.

You can have your grocery store on the corner. I'll take the one in my back yard. Yum!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still here

My computer – or, more likely, my internet connection – has been acting up for days. I'm taking advantage of what is probably a small window of opportunity to throw something up here lest both of you who read this blog think I've died.

We had company for the Fourth, as we always do, and I didn't spend any time on the computer at all. The trouble started on Thursday or Friday, so I thought maybe a few days of no activity would cure it, kind of like a cold. Hmmm – I guess that only works on people.

At any rate, it's time to get back to clean eating, regular activity and a healthy lifestyle which doesn't include dessert at every meal.

Last night as I was preparing the coffeemaker, I looked out to see a gorgeous sky:

And then when I turned around to go back in the house, I saw the full moon, peeking through the woods:

Okay, let's see if this will post now.