Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keep on keepin' on

What else can one do, when all is said and done?

My husband and I have been dealing with a situation involving a family member. Such situations tend to take their toll, after a while, and this one certainly has. But in some cases – and this is one of them – there's nothing to do but to put one foot in front of the other and keep on keepin' on.

It helps to have a sense of humor about it. It's difficult to find that sense of humor in the midst of chaos and crisis, but we've managed, a couple of times. It helps to have an outlet – someplace to rant and rave and yell about it, and that can be with friends (thanks E and M!) or in the shower or in the car. Hopefully it won't devolve into ranting at each other.

I want to eat and eat and eat when I get angry and frustrated. Instead of putting one foot in front of the other, I've been able to take a step back, to be still and recognize that external factors are driving me to the pantry door. Fortunately – so far! – I haven't jumped into the pantry. (And, truthfully, I wouldn't find much to sabotage myself with anyway. I mean, how much damage can dried pinto beans or canned tomatoes do?)

As long as I continue to eat from physical hunger instead of emotional hunger, I should be all right. I know for sure that eating won't satisfy emotional hunger.

What do you know for sure?

P.S. Thanks to Denise for pointing me in Jack's direction. I've added him to my Reader and am looking forward to digging into the archives.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Running

At the beginning of 2009, I had it in mind that I would at least run one half-marathon sometime during the year. Due to a variety of circumstances, that didn't happen. This past fall, I got the bright idea that I would run a full marathon in 2010. But I already know that won't happen either.

I'm setting limits for myself, even though I know I shouldn't. But being a practical sort, and knowing my weight-loss history, it will take a good long time before I'm in good enough physical shape to run 26.2 miles in one day. Hopefully in six or so hours.

I watched Running the Sahara today. My favorite line was this, spoken by the team leader to one of the three members who wanted to quit at about the halfway point:

"If you don't want excitement, run a marathon."

That might come across as a little elitist, but these guys truly didn't know what was coming next as they ran … and ran … and ran … across Africa. It's an amazing documentary and an amazing story and if you think of yourself as a runner – even a little bit – it's worth watching.

If I can lose five pounds a month for the next 10 months, I'll be in good enough shape to run a marathon. And there's one next November I'd like to try. But I can't make that commitment now, in December, 2009. I just can't.

If I lose five pounds a month for the next 10 months, I'll be in great shape to start training for a marathon. I can wrap my brain around that. It might be in the spring of 2011 or I might wait until that fall one. Maybe I'll do both.

But right now it's just silly to call myself a runner when my average pace is little more than a fast walk.

I'm not changing the name of the blog (again), though. For someone who was always picked last in gym class and never thought of myself as athletic, I do love to run. It's just going to take some time before I can get back out there and do it again.

Tell me, please, I'm not the only one out here who feels like this.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We don't need no stinkin' Mondays

Take that, Monday. And take that, January 1st, as well! The Official Debbi Does Dieting Regime (or, ODDDR, how appropriate is that) started Saturday, thankyouverymuch, and not a moment too soon. I saw a very scary number on the bathroom scale the day after Christmas, and decided enough was enough.

Enough peanut butter fudge. Enough snickerdoodles. Enough walnut caramels. Enough shortbread. Enough, enough, enough. We're back to clean eating here at Chez Knit Run Repeat, and it feels great.

So far.

I'm sure the day will come when I'm tempted beyond my limits, but I'm hoping I'll remember to come back to today's post and instantly regain my motivation, instead of lardage.

It's truly frightening how quickly weight can pile on. As I told my husband, though, new fat disappears more quickly than old fat does, so I hope to at least get rid of the holiday damage before our winter vacation next month. And since our winter vacation will take place in sunny Florida, we're hoping a daily long walk on the beach will help continue the downward trend. (He's gained a few too many pounds for his comfort, too. It's not just me!)

If you read any outstanding and motivating blog posts as the new year sweeps in, please let me know in the comments. I've been losing (and gaining) weight for far too long and need all the help I can get. Changing habits and reaching goals is better done with help from others. Trying to do this alone sucks, frankly, but since my social network is pretty much internet-based, then you guys are my Chosen Ones. I know you didn't volunteer, but you've been so helpful and supportive over the years (ever since the Shrinking Knitter days), that I know you won't mind giving me a pat on the back or a shout out every once in a while.

Who among you is ready to finally, finally get this done?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

 
You know the drill. Save the image, punch a hole
through the white circle on the right, tie a piece of yarn
through it and add it to your bookmark collection.

Oh, and have a very merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

I got home from my little trip last night and jumped right into Life As Usual. I feel like I've already had Christmas, since I got to visit with both my children and all of their children all at the same time. My daughter took some great photos of the three grandchildren and of all of us together, so for me, Noel et finis!

My husband and I will be going to an annual open house this evening, and we're looking forward to that. Otherwise, I'm back to cooking, cleaning, laundry and, um, shoveling snow. More than a foot of it piled up while I was gone. It's lovely, really, and it's the first white Christmas I can remember since I moved to West Virginia.

I know y'all are busy doing stuff, too busy to read blogs, so this is short, sweet and full of good wishes for a lovely holiday for all of you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Quote Day


Happy Friday before Christmas!

I'm heading west, but thanks to the Miracle of Blogger I was able to create this post ahead of time and schedule its publication for today. Didn't want to miss giving you your weekly gift just because I was going away for a few days.

I didn't say anything about the health care reform debacle yesterday. Too raw, maybe. But here goes.

Many in Congress are not doing a very good job of spreading light. Republicans who are fighting reform at every turn in order to see President Obama fail certainly fall into this category. Baucus, Lieberman and the rest of the so-called Democrats who are bought and paid for by insurance and healthcare corporations do, too. Even President Obama, who surely could have handled this whole mess with more strength and conviction, is guilty of not shining the way he could and should have.

But one Senator does shine, bright and clear and steadfast, and he is Bernie Sanders. His impassioned speech on the Senate floor Wednesday in support of a single-payer system brought tears to my eyes. He has never wavered in his conviction that health care is a human right.

Did you get that? Health care is a human right. It is not a commodity to be profited from or traded upon.

Senator Sanders concluded his speech by explaining how the country of Taiwan found itself in the same position we in the U.S. are now. Health care costs were out of control, its citizens were dying unnecessarily and they were looking for a solution. They studied health-care systems worldwide and eventually picked one on which to model their system. That one was the United States' Medicare model. Taiwan employs a Medicare-for-all health care plan, and we should, too.

Shine on, Senator Sanders, and thank you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breathe in, breathe out, move on

I love that Jimmy Buffet song. (Can you believe it? I listen to other-than-Dylan music!) He wrote it about New Orleans after Katrina, but it's applicable to many, many situations.

The Big DVD Project for my dad is done. I accidentally trashed it and emptied the trash when I was finished with it the first time, two days ago, so had to recreate it from scratch. Fortunately it was only a six-minute production (heh); it wasn't worth the time or money to download and purchase a data-recovery program. I will, however, execute a back-up the next time I do something like this.

Now that it's done I really do feel like I can breathe. Cards have been signed, sealed, stamped and sent. "Delivered" is up to the U.S. Postal Service; it's out of my hands. Today I will wrap gifts, do laundry, finish making treats and do some general tidying up.

I might even get a walk in, if I have some time this afternoon. I prefer morning exercise, but it's too cold then for me. Some people are learning to handle outdoor exercise in cold weather. I'm looking' at you, J-man! Morning workouts mean they get done; I'm sure both of you noticed my caveat – if I have time. 

If you haven't congratulated her yet, pop over to Fat[Free] Me's blog and give her a high five for giving her young self the best Christmas present ever. If I could give young people one piece of weight-loss advice, it would be this: Make the first time you lose it the last time, because it gets harder with each subsequent attempt. At some point in your life, after you've spend decades on the gaining/losing merry-go-round, your body will betray you, and while you might feel great and have wonderful lab results and be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, you will not be losing weight in any meaningful way.

Ask me how I know.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas lament

Why do I do this to myself year after year after year? And please, please tell me I'm not the only one.

Christmas comes but once a year, always on the same day, and – beginning every December 26, we all have a year to get ready for it. So how come I'm not ready and it's a measly nine days away? And for me, it's really a measly two days away, because I'll be celebrating the holidays with both my children and their families beginning Friday.

My to-do list this year was too long and was created too late. I won't get any doll clothes made for my younger granddaughter's Bitty Baby, but I did manage to get them cut out. I also knit a tiny sweater for her. I even sewed the buttons on in a somewhat timely manner! But without the outfits, I think I'll just save the sweater and send everything after the holidays. The present Santa forgot. Heh.

I'm working on an iMovie project for my dad and it's being rather recalcitrant. I've had all the material for it since August, but I guess Job One for me this fall has been Procrastination, because here it is, mid-December, and I'm encountering problems and have no time to fix them. Well, I do have time, if I give up sleeping, which is what I did this morning. Did you know four-thirty o'clock came more than once a day?

The one thing I did ahead of time was book airline tickets for my husband and myself for a little winter getaway next month. That's our present to each other, and all we have to do for that is throw some clothes in a bag and make it to the airport.

Let's hope we don't have a mid-January blizzard this year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Seen a shooting star tonight

Another blog post title brought to you by Bob Dylan. I'm getting in a rut here. If you're a casual Dylan listener, you probably aren't familiar with this song, which he recorded during the late '80s, a time in which only hard-core fans bought his albums. Like me. (And even I'm not hard-core enough to buy his Christmas CD. The reviews are horrible! It's for a good cause, but money's too tight these days.)

The Geminid meteor showers are putting on quite a show. If it wasn't so cold, I'd still be outside. In five minutes I saw half a dozen shooting stars streaking across the early-morning sky.

Here in the Middle of Nowhere we aren't affected by light pollution too much except to the south, but all I had to do was look up and toward the west to catch the performance. I love starting the day – and the week – with a smile, and falling stars always make me smile.

So. The weekend was good as far as food goes. I really feel as though I've got a handle on eating. Since I'm 58 years old, one could say it's about time! I'm cooking healthful meals from scratch probably 90 percent of the time. I use commercially canned tomatoes and mushrooms on pizza, for instance, but the whole-wheat crust and mozzarella are made from scratch and the onions came from the market down the road.

Since it's the holiday season, I've been baking and making treats, but I'm freezing them and everything will be given away. I thought I was done, but sometime in the middle of the night I remembered Snickerdoodles. My mother always made Snickerdoodles at Christmas time, so I will, too. And maybe some Snappy Turtles, another of her specialties.

While my eating has been acceptable, exercise has gone by the wayside. With the treadmill being cranky and the temperatures plummeting, I've seen that I need to figure out other alternatives. Should have a good opportunity for an outdoor walk today; maybe I'll come up with some good ideas while I'm walking.

I'm dithering about the marathon in April. I haven't lost any weight. Training starts in 11 days (if I want a four-month training period). There are other reasons to put it off, too. I'm not sure I could finish at my current weight, so that really needs to be Job One.

Maybe I'll go back out and wish on one of those falling stars. As the old saying goes, it's like chicken soup in a car wreck: It can't hurt!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Quote Day

It's the second Friday of December, and you know what that means … another present!



Or, as Franklin's friend Winston Churchill said: "Never, never, never, never give up."

Since I've seen myself as overweight since I was 11, and I'm still trying to get to what I consider a normal size, I guess I've been following the advice of both Roosevelt and Churchill for most of my life.

That's both bad and good. Bad because I tend to feel like I'm on a hamster wheel (or a treadmill, when it doesn't quit on me!), working really hard but not actually getting anywhere. I try not to let those thoughts enter my pretty little head too often, but when I'm trying on jeans – as I was yesterday – it's easy and comfortable to fall into those negative thoughts.

The good is that I continue to persevere. What drives me is that I've been thin before. I was younger, of course, and I was also an insane gym rat, but I know deep inside that the possibility of a normal body is still there.

And if what I'm doing now isn't working (and it isn't), it's time to start anew. You know what? January One is nearly here. Three weeks is soon enough. I'm not going to go crazy in the next three weeks, as I don't want to pile on even more that I eventually will get rid of. But I am going to enjoy the holidays and not focus too much on any kind of Plan.

At least that's how I feel right now. It's early, I didn't sleep well and my thinking could be clouded. Heh.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Idiot wind

Those of you who know and love me might know that today's title is brought to you by Bob Dylan.

And Mother Nature.

I worked out on the treadmill yesterday for 16 minutes. During that time the belt suddenly stopped moving three times. I figured that was a sign that maybe I should go for a walk outside, as the temperature was in the low 50s and it was nice and sunny.

About the time I made that decision, the wind started blowing. It hasn't really stopped yet, although it's slowed down considerably. As I was frantically trying to batten down the hatches yesterday around noon, I watched one of our pine trees snap off about two-thirds of the way down the trunk.

Our grill is laying on its side in the back yard, 50 feet from its usual spot on the patio. (It's a big, heavy grill; I can't believe the wind was strong enough to move it that far.) I found my compost bin an acre away on the side of a hill, and while I was rescuing it I noticed a highway crew moving a tree that had fallen from our woods across our road.

Oh, and the power was out for about four hours.

Quite an exciting day here in the Middle of Nowhere. At least if the wind is going to blow at blizzard levels, we could have had some snow! I think that might be coming today, although Mr. Weatherman has been wrong in his forecasts all week.

I had spent most of the morning in the kitchen making two loaves of bread, a batch of cottage cheese and a double batch of granola. I was in the middle of making vegetable soup when the electricity went off. Usually I simmer a pot of soup all afternoon. Since we wanted dinner at a decent hour, I had to reduce the simmer time considerably after our power returned, and the soup was wonderful! Nothing in it was cooked to death except the meat from the soup bone, which had simmered all morning. I've always made vegetable soup like my mother did – cooked to death. No more! Think of the time and energy I'll save from now on.

All in all, yesterday could have been a lot worse. We have a towering pine tree near the house that's still standing. I fell on a slippery walk, but only scraped my elbow. The compost bin might be repairable and if it isn't, it's not too expensive to replace. (I might find something I like better anyway.) My husband was out driving in all that wind, and nothing blew into his car.

The worst thing that happened was that I didn't get to walk. The best thing was I found a better way to make soup. It's all about silver linings.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Back to knitting

I'm afraid to read the news this morning. My husband watched all his favorite cable news programs last night and was full of Medicare-at-55 news when I finished watching The Biggest Loser finale. I'm not sure if I dreamed his conversations or if they were real!

The finale was very inspirational; the transformations from first day to last were incredible. Best of all, I made it past the halfway point of the Big Bad Boring Baby Blanket! Yeah, me!

Seed stitch takes longer to execute than stockinette, and the blanket has a wide border of seed stitch all the way around. The center is four large squares of alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette. And I'm knitting it using two strands of softball cotton in ivory.

Yawn.

I'm anxious to start a new project. I have an idea for a child's toy that I think I should be able to sell the pattern for, but I need to find time to create the prototype. Good thing I have triplets to knit for, since I think it will take three tries to get it right!

I took a three-mile walk outside yesterday. I had every intention of going five, but it was c-c-c-cold outside. After a mile I started sweating, but by then I was at the top of a hill and in a clearing and the wind just made my sweat turn to ice. Well, not really, but it sure felt like it!

Food has been good and I even lifted weights Monday. Will do that again today. This is quite the boring post, to go along with the boring baby blanket. Heh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Could we really have meaningful health care reform?

Depending on who you listen to, the answer is yes or no. Even when you only listen to conservatives or liberals, the answer is yes or no. But an intriguing idea was thrown around last night on a couple of MSNBC programs, giving me, yet again, a little hope.

My Senator, Jay Rockefeller, introduced a bill last year some time ago which would lower the age for Medicare eligibility to 55. It appears that an amendment to the current Senate health care bill might do just that.

I think Medicare should start at birth. It's not free health care, and it's not socialized medicine, no matter what you might hear. It's not going broke, either. Yes, reforms need to be put in place, but what's worse: private health insurance premiums rising 15 to 20 percent annually (or, in my case, 33 percent)? Or overhauling a government-administered program that works quite well.

If you didn't attend any of the Congressional town hall meetings this summer, you may have missed the geriatric crowd shouting, "Don't mess with my Medicare!" at the same time they were denouncing health care reform for the rest of us.

Anyway … the Senate switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Call today, and ask to be connected to your Senators' offices. Encourage your elected officials to vote YES for Senate Amendment 2837.

Thank you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Can't get blogger to work this a.m.

For some reason it seems not-right to e-mail a blog post. I guess I'm
used to doing it MY way, checking the formatting, blah, blah, blah,
and when Blogger is being uncooperative, I feel like e-mailing a post
is a last resort and not as good. And you probably don't even notice
the difference!

We were away for the weekend, so no weigh-in this morning. One thing I
thought about all weekend, though, was this:

I should only eat when I'm hungry (I didn't do this all the time, but
I certainly did it most of the time, which is a big victory), and

It's okay to be hungry.

We had a great time on our little mini-trip, but it was punctuated
with two pretty bad shocks. If you read the blog Bo vs. BAC, which is
listed in my sidebar, you already know that Bo lost his battle with
cancer Saturday morning. He was a friend of a friend of my son's; I
never met him, but felt like I knew his wife, who took over the blog
when he was too ill to post. They have a little girl who will never
see her Daddy again, and that's just too sad for words.

The other was learning that the 25-year-old son of an old friend had a
motorcycle accident in September, and is paralyzed from mid-chest to
his toes. He was just a little boy when I met him, eight or nine I
think. I haven't stayed in touch with my friend, but thanks to Google
was able to find an e-mail address and send a short note.

If I ever feel overwhelmed or that life is not treating me fairly (I
rarely feel that way, I'm just sayin'), I hope I remember Bo and
Brian. We all have so much for which to be grateful.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Quote Day

'Tis the first Friday of Christmas month, and you get a present! Save the image at left (I think all you have to do is click on it and it will open by itself in a new window), print it on cardstock, laminate it, punch a hole where the black circle is and tie some leftover yarn through the hole. Every time you use your new bookmark you'll think of me!

Actually, I hope you think of being ready – or getting ready – to change, not of me.

If willpower worked, we'd all be thin and sober, no one would smoke and everyone would finish what they started, be it a marathon or a home remodeling project or a boring, endless baby blanket.

(You can tell what's on my list of Things That Need To Be Finished, can't you?)

I'm sober and I no longer smoke. And it didn't take an ounce of willpower to accomplish either. I simply wanted to not drink or smoke more than I wanted to. I was ready to be a non-smoker and a recovering alcoholic.

Am I ready to be thin again? Are you?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The news

My husband and I (he more than I) are news junkies. He watches the stock ticker all day and is glued to MSNBC all evening, with breaks for Brian Williams at 6:30 and Jeopardy at 7:30. What to do with the 7 p.m. time slot? More news, of course.

If you watch The Daily Show in the early evening, you get the previous night's rerun, which is fine with us because we're watching MSNBC. (Or he is; I'm usually in bed by then.) The big news Tuesday was, of course, President Obama's speech to the American public justifying sending more troops to Afghanistan. For some, there is no justification. And for others, nothing President Obama does will ever be right … or right enough.

Jon Stewart didn't dwell on it, though. His big news story of the day was illustrated by a clever montage of talking heads. The background music was Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, and each clip was someone dithering about The Man Who Makes His Living Hitting a Ball with a Stick.

I had to climb back on the couch by the time it was over. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

I'm disappointed in Tiger's behavior, and any public figure should know better than to dally with someone not his/her spouse. The paparazzi are watching. All. The. Time.

If only someone in the film corps would take that kind of interest in, say, factory farms. Sure documentary makers have done so, but only nerds watch documentaries, right? (Yes, I am a nerd.)

I've been thinking about exercise lately, mostly because I can't do as much with this foot problem. But I've been thinking about food even more. Online nutrition counters are filled to overflowing with packaged, labeled, name-brand foods. Sure, the basics are in there, and I don't have too much trouble figuring out the data for my home-cooked meals. But it's astonishing to look up, say, "beef stew" and get three dozen results, all of which are either canned, frozen or dished up by a restaurant.

I'm convinced that processed foods are more responsible for rising obesity rates than their makers – or any official agency – will admit. Follow the money: It's cheaper to strip real food of its nutrients and then add some of them back, load it with preservatives and slap a "Healthy Choice" label on it. It's more convenient for consumers to buy a low-calorie frozen whatever, throw it in the microwave and call it lunch.

I have the luxury of being able to raise some of my food and barter for more. I still go to the grocery store – we haven't given up our soda addiction, and I don't raise coffee, tea, sugar, flour or olives (for olive oil). I've learned that organic carrots, for instance, taste better than non-organic ones. Therefore I eat them. I've ordered meat for the freezer from the man who raised the cow.

This is how I ate growing up. Our beef was always from a grass-fed 4-H cow. Chickens ran around the pen or yard until their time was up. My dad's garden was huge and he was very proud of being able to offer his family fresh, wholesome food.

I was not fat until we moved to a house located right across the street from a little mom-and-pop grocery store. I'm sure I had a sweet tooth prior to that move, but my choices were limited to what my mother cooked and served. By the time we moved to that house, I had an allowance and could cross the street by myself.

I was 11.

So here's what I hope will happen. If I go back to eating the way I did when I was seven, say – no second helpings, good fresh food, grass-fed beef – I hope to trick my body into thinking I weigh what a seven-year-old should weigh giving up some of the excess pounds without resorting to "diet food."

Diet food doesn't satisfy. One 100-calorie snack bag leads to three, or six, or however many are in the overpackaged, overpriced box. A low-calorie frozen meal does not a good lunch make, which is why one finds oneself standing in front of a vending machine (or a pantry door) at 3 p.m.

I had a good day yesterday. I did 30 minutes of interval training on the treadmill. I ate three meals of real food, had a few almonds in the afternoon (I didn't count, but it was definitely less than 22, which is an almond "serving"), and didn't snack last night.

Unless you count Jon Stewart as a snack.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Local channels

If you're a satellite dish customer, and you live in the Middle of Nowhere, you know all about the local-channel brouhaha. Our television set-up is this: We have a small TV in the house and a big-screen in our second-floor garage/office. The cable from the satellite dish had to be buried along the patio from one end of the house to the other, in order to reach the garage.

We used to get the four networks – ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, plus PBS – through satellite feeds from New York. Local stations didn't like that, of course, because we were watching New York advertisements. (We weren't listening to them, though: We mute commercials.) So the satellite companies had to discontinue our network feeds. If we wanted to watch any network television, we had to have a rooftop antenna.

Our antenna could only pick up CBS and Fox. ABC and PBS granted waivers so we could continue receiving the New York feed. But NBC wouldn't waiver us, and we have been unable to watch any NBC programming for more than a year. No Sunday Night Football. No Nightly News with Brian Williams.

No Biggest Loser.

You were wondering where this post was going, weren't you? I could hear your wheels spinning: How in the heck does satellite reception have anything to do with healthful eating, working out, losing weight? C'mon, you know that's what you were thinking.

Last week I learned that our satellite provider now offers local channels, no antenna required. I signed us up (saving $4.50/month!), and we couldn't be happier.

My husband really missed Brian's news-reading. Me? I came home from a meeting last night and promptly sat my ass down to watch a two-hour Biggest Loser at a "special time." I don't even know what the regular time is – probably while I'm at my meeting – but last night I was inspired and moved (and inspired to move) by the stories of the final four contestants of this season's program running a marathon.

Just in time: The season finale is next week. And the Country Music Marathon is 143 days from today.

My husband used to work out of town and I watched TBL every week, without fail. No matter what you think of their boot-camp techniques and product placement, watching someone lose a boatload of weight in a matter of a few weeks is amazing. I know it's not realistic for people with homes, families, jobs and responsibilities, nor is it realistic for people without cooks and trainers.

But if it gets someone me to pick up a dumbbell – or finally fix the rowing machine cable – then it's done its job.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A long, boring day

Yesterday absolutely dragged around the Middle of Nowhere. I would look at the clock and be so surprised that it wasn't two hours later. We even ate dinner (such as it was) early, hoping to speed up the evening hours.

Usually I think time is flying by, and this year certainly falls into that category. But every once in a while I get tripped up by a day that doesn't seem to want to end.

Today will, I hope, be a little more, um, interesting.

Dinner was interesting. I used the last of the Thanksgiving turkey to make white chili, one of our favorite cold-weather meals. The recipe calls for two 4-oz. cans of chopped green chiles, which I didn't have. I did, however, have some sliced homegrown hot peppers (they might be poblanos, I can't remember now) in the freezer. I made the mistake of using an equivalent amount.

Sheesh! I couldn't eat it, but my husband had four servings. He was sweating like it was the Fourth of July, though. I quickly made some peanut butter for my own meager feast. Homemade bread and homemade peanut butter were waaaaay more satisfying than five-alarm white chili.

Since it's December 1, and since the Middle of Nowhere has already had some snow, it's time to haul out my favorite time-suck: the Snowflake Generator! If you do a Google search for "snowflake generator," you'll get many, many hits but this has always been my favorite one. They've added a disclaimer this year: They want you to report an offensive snowflake if you see one. Hmmm.


I finished the third of the three hats I'm going to put in the triplets' stockings. Want the pattern? It's super-simple and super-fast to knit (I can make one watching a good football game) and it's free! Get it here. Instead of following the pattern exactly, I cast on 56 stitches using two strands of Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool and a size 9 needle. I knit a little more depth, and then decreased four stitches every round, to make a slightly flatter crown. This will fit a toddler; increase the number of stitches the length of the cap to make it larger.

I have a computer project to do today and I'm going to force myself to park my ass in front of the monitor and get it done, done, done. Film at eleven.