Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Missed it again

I decided to try to hit or break 75 minutes for five miles yesterday. (If you're a new reader and you think I'm a wimp, believe me, it's hard to do on the hilly route I take.) Missed it by 41 seconds. Grrr.

My problem is that I start out too slowly. The first mile takes a good 18 or 19 minutes, because it's all uphill. I need to learn to run up; so far, that's been more than I can manage. By the time I get to the last mile, I need to run it in 12 minutes or less to make my goal and, so far, that hasn't happened either. Close, but no cigar.

I need to clean my floors this morning and then go to town for a meet-and-greet with the Governor of West Virginia. My husband serves on a committee with the director of the Chamber of Commerce, who would like a good turnout this morning so I agreed to be a space-filler-upper.

What that means is that my activity du jour will be cleaning the floor.

Back to running/jogging/walking for a minute. Here's a dilemma I'm having. If 60 minutes of intentional activity per day will maintain weight for middle-aged women (that being the current theory), then it stands to reason that more activity should facilitate weight loss. If I run/jog my five miles, I naturally spend less time out there. (Yes, I realize I could run/jog farther, and I'm thinking of adding a mile to my route.) However, according to Garmin, a faster pace burns more calories.

Decisions, decisions.
  • Slower pace = fewer calories burned = more time spent
  • Faster pace = more calories burned = less time spent
I think the answer is in the previous paragraph.
  • Faster pace + longer distance = more calories burned = equivalent time spent
Grrr again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rainy days and Tuesdays …

Thanks for noticing and commenting on my new look. If I can't transform my body, at least I can transform the blog.

The new templates are in Blogger in Draft. I've been wishin' and hopin' for a three-column template for a long time, so when the announcement was made I hopped right over to check them out.

Interestingly, I rarely look at my blog page. I'm glad this new one is easy to read, and I love the way the title looks; I wouldn't have thought of white letters with a shadow on a tannish background. My brain says it wouldn't work, but it obviously does.

Took a long walk between rain showers yesterday, but since I didn't change into a sports bra I didn't run any of it. (Sorry, I know there are some guys who read the blog, and you have NO IDEA how lucky you are that you don't have to change all your clothes if you want to run.) Still, I made the five miles in 88:30. When I walk five in less than 90 minutes, I count it as good.

Back to Blogger in Draft for a minute – I had a lot of trouble uploading the daffodil photo and ended up having to go back to the old Blogger to accomplish the task. There are some documented issues with photo uploads in BiD, so if your blog is photo-heavy, I wouldn't recommend making the switch just yet.

The weather forecast looks better (actually, it looks amazing!) for the rest of the week. I dreamed about fencing the garden last night, so I might have to start working on a plan for that. The new Mother Earth News has an article on protective garden fences; I don't think I can afford what they recommend. Mother used to be all about frugality, back when I was a charter subscriber. Now? Not so much.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rainy days and Mondays

Channeling Karen Carpenter here ... maybe I'll get anorexia! (Bad joke, I'm sorry.)

I took a picture this morning of the most cheerful thing in my house. Because it is so not cheerful outside. (See title.)

I love daffodils. We had friends over last week to watch basketball, and in addition to the homegrown popcorn they brought for a snack, they brought a bouquet of old-fashioned double-bloomed daffs. I'm always too tired of gardening to plant bulbs in the fall, and then I'm jealous in the spring because everyone else has daffodils blooming but me.

I've written about these friends before; they are my inspiration and encyclopedia when it comes to gardening. They call their farm Meadow Mist. (The blog is here.) And if it weren't for them, we'd have had very little dinner last night. Their Meadow Mist eggs provided a delicious omelet which was topped with Meadow Mist cheddar. And our biscuits were topped with Meadow Mist plum jelly. Yum!

If by any chance you don't follow college basketball, may I be the first to let you know that West Virginia University made it to the Final Four? We play Duke on Saturday for a chance at the big prize – the national championship, which will be decided a week from tonight. Wonder how many peoples' brackets had WVU going to the big dance? (Not mine, but only because I didn't fill one out.)

We're all a little basketball-crazy here in West Virginia these days. This state, ranked so low in so many things, needs something to cheer for. It appears that a handful of tall, athletic college kids and a coach who refuses to wear a suit on the sidelines is it, at least this spring.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Quote Day

A man who wants something will find a way; 
a man who doesn't will find an excuse.
~ Stephen Dolley Jr.

Uh, Stephen, there are women who feel that way, as well. Harumph.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

(Bonus points if you know who said that. Probably too easy for this crowd!)

I want to lose weight. That's the "something." And I've been trying all kinds of ways, since childhood. Liquid diets, Ayds candies (they could never get away with calling them 'Ayds' nowadays!), Weight Watchers, a packaged food program that has since gone by the wayside, gyms (several!), going sugar-free (for five years) and running, among other methods and plans and schemes.

What I've learned for me (meaning it might not apply to you) is that – regarding food – each method works for a while. And then it doesn't work any more or, more accurately, I don't work it any more. None of those methods is sustainable over the long haul.

That's why I'm so happy to finally adopt a method of eating that centers on real food, home- or locally grown (for the most part) and home-cooked. Once in a great, great while I want to eat in a restaurant – a real restaurant where a member of the waitstaff presents food to me at a table, not the kind where a teenager hands me a bag through a window. But nearly all of my meals are served at home, by me and eaten with gratitude for the work that went into the raising, growing, preparing and cooking.

That it hasn't (so far) resulted in weight loss is not an excuse. I'm still searching for The Way, and I realize, after all these years, that The Way has to sustain me physically and emotionally. I need my food to satisfy my soul as well as my nutritional needs.

I'm maintaining my weight, within a couple of pounds, and have been since the first of the year. I've been monitoring my progress (or lack thereof) every two or three days, and will officially weigh in April 1. I'm not looking for excuses, just answers. My tenacity surprises even me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Despite the news ...

I walked/jogged my five miles yesterday and did it in 84 minutes. Not as fast as last week, obviously, but I think I was running on righteous anger then. Can't remember why, of course! I'm so glad anger dissipates as quickly as it does, at least around here.

Washington, D.C., however, is a different story. Yes, Democrats were angry when President Bush sent troops to Iran. I was in Washington with my husband during the Bush years and witnessed peaceable protests on the National Mall, with music and signs and chants. No spitting. No swearing. No references to Hitler.

Are we headed for another civil war? Is the division between the two political parties (or three if you count the Tea Party) such that we can find no common ground?

My opinion is that the opposition would never agree to anything President Obama thinks is good for the country, just because he's President Obama. If he suggested that it's wrong to kill kittens, Republicans would probably come up with a good reason to do so.

I shouldn't generalize. Some of you are probably Republicans, and I know you wouldn't advocate killing kittens. But if some major Republican leader doesn't step up and say enough is enough, I don't see this ending in a good way.

Much like my exercise and dieting efforts. (Aren't I clever to turn that rant right back into something relevant?) Each of us is different, and each of us needs to find our own way to health and fitness and a body with which we're comfortable. The fact that middle-aged women in general don't lose weight doesn't mean I won't, eventually, figure out a method that works.

Despite all previous evidence to the contrary.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hopeless? Possibly.

If you watched the news last night, you probably saw a story on how difficult it is for middle-aged women to lose weight. I was at my volunteer gig at Alderson FPC, so didn't see the broadcast, but here's the AP story.

While they are very careful not to say it's impossible, they point out just how much daily activity – one hour, every day – is necessary just to maintain a normal weight. In order to lose, the unspoken suggestion is to increase that activity even more and, of course, reduce calories.

The average age of the 34,000-plus women in the study was 54. They self-reported their activity level and weight; diet was not part of the study.

So. Anyone who's been watching my struggle, or struggling along with me, knows I fit right into the profile. Do the results of this study provide any comfort? Not. At. All.

In a way, I feel like a 16-year-old with a brand-new driver's license – no matter how fast I drive or what the weather conditions are or who calls on my cell phone – all those risks don't apply to me. I'm invincible, I can endure, I can even conquer because I'm me.

In another way, though, I feel completely defeated. If the goal of a daily hour of exercise is to lose weight, and a study shows that it won't help, then why bother?

There are, of course, other, better reasons to exercise. Daily activity is good for your heart, and weight-bearing exercise, such as the kind of walking I do, is excellent for maintaining bone density.

Diet certainly plays a role, and mine is, I believe, fairly healthy and at a level which should promote weight loss. But here's one of those knock-me-over-with-a-feather moments: Clearly, clearly I need to eat even less. And move even more. Because what I've been doing Just. Doesn't. Work.

I'm not sure I'm willing to go there. It's a lot to think about, and I already think about it all the time anyway.

No brilliant wrap-up today. Just – ahem – food for thought.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm back

Not sure who took over the blog yesterday, she sure was on a tear, wasn't she? Doesn't she realize this blog is about knitting and running and fitness and (more recently) locavoring? Heh.

So, back to the usual subjects.

Finished the back and started the front of the cotton top I pointed to a while back. Still. Don't. Like. Knitting. With. Cotton. I have enough of this yarn to knit a dress (I bought it with the intention of knitting a dress), and at this point I can't imagine knitting that much fabric with this fiber.)

Well, walking, anyway. I had to get my car serviced yesterday morning so I took the Garmin with me and walked while it was in the shop. 4.42 miles in 1:15:30 ... not bad for unfamiliar terrain and more traffic than I'm accustomed to here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Have completely ignored Jillian and the 30-Day Shred lately. I predicted this would happen and it has! It's the old self-fulfilling prophecy. If I'm outside walking and then I'm outside doing other stuff that needs to be done, I'm not inside shredding.

Today's the day (according to the Extension Service calendar) to seed turnips. I might or might not do that. They did pretty well with direct-seeding last year (until I accidentally dug them up prematurely, which is why this year's garden will have a map and row markers. And you thought row markers were knitting tools, heh.).

So there you have it. The weather has once again turned frightful. I made it from the house to the garage (where our home office is) in a mix of rain/sleet, with a snowflake or two added in just for good measure. The nice thing about snow in March is it doesn't last.

At least it never has before!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health care passes?

They're all calling it health care reform, all those pundits and politicians who breathlessly gush about how much good it's going to do for the American people. If you're a regular reader, you may remember that my version of reform is more accurately called health insurance reform, and would essentially take the for-profit insurance industry out of the loop.

Because, really, why should anyone profit from human suffering? Insurance companies provide wealth insurance, not health insurance. As soon as you get sick or hurt, they drop you or raise your premiums (well, they do that annually – or semi-annually – anyway), or decrease your coverage, or raise your premiums and decrease your coverage, or … well, I think you now know how I feel about health insurers.

The legislation which passed last night has some good things in it, but it is inexorably tied to the for-profit health-insurance industry. While it may help some Americans, it will absolutely – guaranteed – help insurance companies. And while I was glued to the trainwreck that was Congress last night, I'm not convinced that the job is finished.

The miracle of cable news is that one can watch government in action, up close and personal, live from the People's House. Alternating between Republicans and Democrats, one-by-one they took the microphone, the men and women we've elected to represent our best interests, and told us the health care bill before them was either flawed or wonderful. It was the same bill, not two bills, but you couldn't have known that if you were from, say, Italy or Wales or Taiwan.

Only in America.

Republicans will benefit from this bill, just as Democrats will. Americans will benefit, no matter their political stripe, or if they drink tea or coffee. The Republicans, none of whom crossed the aisle in the vote, weren't voting against health care reform. They were voting against Democrats and a Democrat-led agenda. I have stronger opinions about this, but I'm not going to share them publicly.

And blogs are pretty public.

The passage of this legislation paves the way for real reform. Now is the time to work harder, to make the bill better, to improve and tweak, to add measures that will make this legislation a true landmark in American history.

Medicare for All (Medicare being one of our other landmarks) is the right way to reform health care. Do it incrementally or do it all at once, but do it. It's what I've been working for, and I'm not stopping.

A side note to the Stupak Dozen or Eight or Four or however many there eventually turned out to be (and one of them was my Congressman): Don't preach about the sanctity of life and abortion language while you, at the same time, vote to fund two wars that have killed thousands of Americans and many, many more Afghans and Iraqis. Don't. Even. Go. There. That is hypocrisy of the highest order. Life is life, and sending soldiers to die in an immoral war is killing human life just as surely as you claim aborting a fetus is.

In my not-so-humble opinion.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surprise! A Saturday post!

I'm only here to brag about my walk yesterday. Remember last week when I said my next time goal was going to be 85 minutes? Well I nailed it and then some.

First, I want to show you the elevation of my usual route:

Now here's the best part:

75 minutes and 23 seconds! I tried so hard to get the last half mile done in six minutes, but I thought perhaps continuing to breathe would be better than falling over. Twenty-three seconds doesn't sound like very much time at all, but it's an eternity when you're not used to running any more.

That is all … enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Quote Day

Spring is a true reconstructionist.
~ Henry Timrod

And if it's true, what Henry said, then we should all be in the reconstructing mood, right?

Well, I am, and I can only speak for myself. 'Cause it's spring!

The garden shed, doorless though it is, has been swept clean and now shelters boxes of newspapers to put between the rows of my garden. Newspapers will rot right back into the soil and will (I hope) reduce the number of weeds I have to deal with later in the gardening season, when the fatigue sets in.

(I'm so jealous of all the little daffodils pushing their way up in my neighbors' yards. Gardening fatigue hits me hard just about the time you're supposed to plant bulbs in the fall. Thus, no daffs in my gardens.)

I've not tried the newspaper trick before, but I've read about it and it seems to make sense. If it doesn't work? Well, lesson learned.

And isn't that how it works in knitting and fitness (and lots of other life lessons, but since this blog is knitting and running, I'll stick to the topic)? I like walking in the morning. I've tried late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and after dinner, and a mid-morning walk seems to work best for me. It took some trial and error to figure that out, and it takes some major mind games to get me out the door when the chill is still in the air. But by the time I get home, I'm pleasantly warm and feeling pretty darned good about having the rest of the day to do other stuff.

Like clean garden sheds.

There are dozens of ways to manipulate string and sticks and end up with a piece of knitting. I've tried 'em all (I learned to knit when I was nine), and have found the method that works best for me. If someone comes up with something different (and they have – I'm looking at you, socks on two circulars!), I'll try it. Who knows, it might work better than my beloved 12-inch Addi Turbos. (I tried, it doesn't, but that's just me.)

And diets? How many freakin' diets have you tried in your lifetime? The comments would explode if you all answered that one. Finding a way to eat that
  • doesn't make me obsess about food
  • nourishes my body
  • satisfies my appetite and
  • doesn't break the bank
has been my almost-lifelong quest. (I started dieting when I was 11.)

Have I found it? I don't know, but at my age I'm running out of time; I'd better figure it out soon, before I start eating dirt. I will say that this past year of eating locally grown (sometimes backyard garden-grown) food has been the most satisfying way to nourish my soul and body simultaneously. I'm expanding the crop list to include melons, more greens and lots of beans (some of which will be dried), among other things.

I think eating fresh, locally grown vegetables and grass-fed beef just might satisfy my dieting criteria.

Took me long enough, doncha think?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I haven't bitched about the weather lately …

because there's nothing to bitch about!

So perhaps I should express my gratitude to Mother Nature for the booooooooootiful (that's how my younger granddaughter pronounces 'beautiful') week we've had here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Yesterday was especially nice – not too warm, not too cold, plenty of sun with some late-afternoon high clouds. My husband and I did our five-mile walk around noon and when we got back home I cleaned out a shed and started working on cleaning out the garage.

That will be a multi-day task.

We have two sheds on our property. I'd intended to convert the smaller one into the lawnmower shelter and add shelves to the larger one and make it a garden shed. But the smaller one already has shelves and would need to have a ramp added. I can save time and money by making all the gardening supplies fit into the smaller shed. The smaller shed needs a door. At one time it had a Dutch door (why? I have no idea), and the top half was gone. The lower half blew off its hinges in the last windstorm, but it's still there, propped against the shed, and it might be usable.

My tomato seedlings are coming up, the cabbages and onions have been moved to larger pots, I've decided not to start turnips inside, as they grew just fine with direct-seeding in the ground last year and I'm anxious to start planting outside, can you tell?

Getting back to yesterday's walk for a minute … our road is very hilly. The five-mile out-and-back route takes 90 minutes on a good day. As we hit the halfway mark, we realized we weren't going to make it. But at 3 miles we'd cut a little time off, and at 4 we were doing even better. (I wear a Garmin when we walk.) My husband wasn't as concerned with a 90-minute finish as I was, so he urged me to run if I wanted to.

I wouldn't exactly call it a run, but I jogged the last half mile and made it in 88 minutes! Yeah, me! It was mostly downhill, so my quads were very sore last night, but it was sooo worth it. I'm going to start adding more jogs to the walk. Next goal: 85!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Done, done, done!

If you're in the middle of knitting a big project, or if you're making a project in a yarn you don't especially enjoy knitting (why would you do that? Oh, it's cotton and the project is a sleeveless spring top), then I highly recommend taking a break to make a wool hat.

I finished this one in just a couple of days, and I'm so pleased with it. It's blocking on a dinner plate and since it's St. Patrick's Day, I'm calling it a tam. But when I send it to my granddaughter, it will again be a beret, because she's taking French and said her French teacher would "flip" if she knew I could make berets.

The nice thing about hats is they don't have to be laundered often; I think even a middle-schooler can manage its upkeep. If not, I can make another one!

Speaking of St. Patrick's Day (kiss me, I'm Irish – or at least part-Irish), I had intended to corn my own grass-fed beef this year, but didn't research the method in time to get 'er done. Did you know it takes three weeks to corn a brisket? So we're having store-bought corned beef (190 calories in a four-ounce serving) with cabbage, carrots and potatoes, and I'm going to try my hand at brown soda bread. If soda bread is as good as sourdough, I should probably plan to only eat once (dinner) today.

I've been making sourdough bread weekly for about a month now, and it gets better every time. My husband loves it; he can eat half a loaf by himself. I, on the other hand, weigh my single slice on my kitchen scale and savor it crumb by crumb.

Sorry for going AWOL yesterday, we had to spring my mother-in-law from the hospital and if you've ever had to spring anyone from the hospital you know it can take some time. By the time we got home, did our five-miler and played a game of Scrabble, I just wasn't in a blogging mood.

I have a new freelance project to work on, one in which I will barter my design skills for herb and asparagus plants! The best kind of payment, if you ask me!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Let's knit

Since we're not doing too well in the weight-loss department around here (3 of Friday's 3.5 are gone, but you wouldn't believe how hard I've worked to lose them!), let's talk knitting.

I'm working on two projects right now, which is a bit unusual for this normally one-at-a-time kinda gal. I'm making a cotton top for myself, and I already think I'm not going to finish it. I'm nearly ready to decrease for the armholes on the back piece, but it's measuring too big even for my big bad self. It is cotton, though, and I've worked with the yarn before so I know I will be able to shrink and/or stretch it to the proper dimension.

The bigger question is: Would I ever wear it? (The downloadable pattern is free, but you'll need to register on the Bernat website.) A few more shredding sessions with Jillian wouldn't hurt my upper arms. Or I could always add sleeves.

The other project is a very cool beret pattern I stumbled upon, and I'm making it in my older granddaughter's school colors. I checked with her first, of course – 13-year-olds are notorious for not wearing hand-knits, and I have no idea how young people feel about wearing school colors these days. (The staple colors of my high-school wardrobe were orange and black. But that was then.)

Anyway, the hat pattern is called Opus Spicatum, from Kelbourne Woolens, and you can find it and several other free, downloadable patterns here. The colors are slate blue and dark red, and I'm using Lamb's Pride wool. I'd much rather knit with wool than with cotton, so I'm enjoying switching between the two projects for the time being.

After I posted Friday morning (thank you for your comments, they helped. A little.), I went back to bed. I was up to play a game of Super Scrabble and to make dinner, but basically my husband was a bachelor Friday. I felt better Saturday and was thrilled that West Virginia won the Big East Championship Saturday night, and by yesterday I started feeling more normal again. I walked five miles and only ate two meals – I guess losing that hour to Daylight Savings Time took away my appetite. Heh.

All in all, though, I seem to walk around with a cloud over my head, a big cloud labeled Weight Loss, or Lack Thereof. At the beginning of the year I'd hoped to have lost at least 12 pounds by now. Just 12, not too much to ask for, or at least I didn't think it was too much. I have, instead, gained 3 pounds since Christmas, and I've done this by eating healthful, made-from-scratch meals, eliminating coffee creamer (the yummy Coffee-Mate sugar-free hazelnut which has nothing real in it at all), reducing the amount of both real and artificial sweeteners I use, counting calories, journaling, working out with weights and, more recently, taking long walks. Among other things.

Bottom line: If you want what I have, don't do what I do.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Quote Day

Never let the fear of striking out

get in your way.
~ George Herman "Babe" Ruth

I guess this is what keeps me going. I can't figure out any other philosophy that would keep me doing something, week after week after month after month after year after year, that results in so little success.

I've been weighing myself daily since the first of March, and I'm, um, striking out. I've started walking outside almost daily (five miles on hills); I'm still shredding myself with Jillian; I'm eating sensibly and healthfully, and I'm weighing, measuring and recording what I eat.

And this morning the scale read 3.5 pounds more than it did yesterday.

This is the part of weighing daily that drives me crazy. I understand the result is an average of the entire week, but seeing that horrible number this morning about did me in.

But you know, a good baseball player makes a ton o' cashmoneybucks by being good about 30 percent of the time. No one in the MLB even has a .500 batting average. .333 is pretty darned good. Meaning they strike out 70 percent of the time.

Maybe I should try a new bat. Or a new coach. Or a new team. One thing is for sure: I'm not leaving the game.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Okay, yesterday I didn't journal. And you know what? I ate like a crazy woman. Good thing I don't have a lot of crap in my house, but I didn't need to eat three slices of provolone for a "snack," or six pretzel rods, or a huge serving of a healthful, fiber-filled, homemade bean soup – full of fiber, low in fat, but pretty high in calories. A normal serving would have been enough.

So there you have it. I've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that journaling helps keep you on track.

The other hiccup around here is that I haven't done the 30-Day Shred in two days. I dreamed about doing it last night though (when I slept, I had a rough time staying asleep for some reason). Today's the day to get back on that horse, especially since it's raining and we might not get to walk outside.

As for food, I do better when I Just. Don't. Snack. I didn't grow up eating snacks during the day. We had three meals and sometimes, sometimes, we would have a little treat in the evening. Whenever we had a sitter we had popcorn and Pepsi – it was the only time we were ever allowed to drink soda. Occasionally we would all get in the car and drive to the A&W for root beer floats.

Until I was 11 we lived in the suburbs and we ate whatever Mom bought at the grocery. And we ate it at mealtimes. When I turned 11 my family moved to a small city, we lived across the street from a Mom-and-Pop grocery (with a candy counter!) and my brother and I started getting an allowance. I'm sure you've heard the expression, regarding drug addicts, that all their money goes straight up their noses? Well, that was me, only with candy. There was a big basket of apples on the counter, too, but my nickels went for Three Musketeers bars.

Yes. Nickels.

My dieting life started shortly thereafter. You can't eat candy bars every day and not pay consequences.

My dieting life in the past 10 years has been different, in that I've done almost everything right (the 80/20 rule) and I still can't seem to get rid of the excess lard. I might be one of those women who gets fatter instead of thinner after menopause. I might be on the cusp of hypothyroidism. There might be other factors of which I'm unaware – a large tumor in my belly, maybe? Hey, it could happen! Heh. (I maybe shouldn't joke about things like that.)

I guess the important thing is I haven't given up. I still want to run a full marathon in 2011. Right now, I'd just like to run a couple miles without stopping! Until I lose some weight, I'm asking for trouble – knee trouble, foot trouble, back trouble. Wanting to run is a great incentive to continue the struggle.

And now that it's getting a little warmer, and we can actually see spring and – gasp! – summer on the horizon, wanting to wear shorts is, too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The Washington Post reported yesterday that:

A new Gallup poll shows that people living in the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest obesity rates tend not to eat as healthfully or exercise as much as those in the least-obese communitites.

That's news? Who thinks this stuff up? (Note that the WP also misspelled "communities" – I copy/pasted the blurb directly from an e-mail. I coulda been a proofreader!)

I'm continuing to eat healthfully and exercise, thankyouverymuch, and anyway, my city wasn't on the list. Probably because it isn't a "metropolitan" area. And until the Middle of Nowhere can be considered metropolitan, I'm never going to be on that list!

Now that spring has sprung, my husband and I are able to walk outside together. I really slowed us down yesterday after I dropped the piano bench on my left foot. OUCH! I was vacuuming and had the bench tilted at just the right angle for X-treme slippage. My foot is quite swollen, but there's no bruise and I'm sure I'll live.

I'm also continuing to journal calories in/calories out. According to CalorieKing, if I continue to eat and exercise as I've been doing, I should be able to lose 11.3 pounds this month.

HAH! Like that's gonna happen. I'd be happy – no, thrilled!!! – with four. Seriously. A four-pound loss sounds like the impossible dream to me. (And if you're of a certain age, you can thank me for planting that earworm. Heh.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

They're here!

I heard them before I saw them. A new gracenote had been added to the
morning birdsong. I looked carefully at the maple in the front yard
and sure enough, there it was ... a robin!

Spring has sprung, people, the grass is riz! If I'd had more energy
last fall, I'd be seeing daffodils straining up through the snow-
covered mud.

And speaking of snow, it's beating a fast retreat. It is both
evaporating and melting, and I'm just thankful I don't live in a
floodplain. I have friends whose business is right next to the river,
though, and if we get any kind of rain later this week … oh, I don't
want to think about it.

Daily weigh-ins make me crazy. And depressed. And did I mention crazy?
Journaling hasn't been that big a deal and since my journaling program
also encourages exercise, I've been very good about getting the 30-Day
Shred done. The weather turned from winter to spring literally
overnight on Friday, and I got a couple nice long walks in over the
weekend (and another one today). Weighing daily, though, that's a big
deal. I guess I'm more of an instant-gratification kinda gal than I'd
like to think I am. Patience, grasshopper, patience. One pound gone so
far. BFD, but hey … a pound lost is better than a pound gained! Ask me
how I know! <smirk>

I loved the Oscars, and my husband even said the show was
"entertaining." We watched until the very end, which is remarkable for
someone (me) who usually is lights out at 9:30 p.m.!

Having trouble with Blogger today, so I'll cut this short. Manana!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Quote Day

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed
is always to try just one more time.
~ Thomas Edison

In spite of the setbacks I've experienced the past month, giving up doesn't cross my mind.

As I wrote earlier this week, what would I do, who would I be, if I weren't trying to lose weight?

Last month I only stepped on the scale a couple of times, and the last time I did (a couple of days before my first-of-the-month official weigh-in) was a gut-check reality slap in the face. I learned in a most decisive way that I need to keep an eye on my weight a leetle more frequently.

If my goal were to enjoy carefree meals, I'd certainly stick with the once-a-month date with the scale. But my goal is to be more comfortable when I move my body. A daily weigh-in which provides information, not judgment, seems to work for me.

And that's what it's all about, right? What works for me might not be the best solution for you. We all have to find our own way. But we all need a little help from each other in not giving up.

I will now attempt to post the sweater photo.

Success! The yarn is a silk and cotton blend by Sirdar called Opium. Not sure if it's still being produced or not; I've had it forever. This sweater is knit in a traditional gansey construction, in the round from the lower edge up and divided at the armholes. You knit the front and back top sections separately, join the shoulders and then pick up stitches around the armholes and knit the sleeves from the shoulder to the cuff. The sweater was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my younger granddaughter (who won't be the younger in July; did I tell you the triplets are having a little sister this summer?). However, I think it came out a little small to wait so long, so I might send it to her now.

One more image. Just two days until the Academy Awards! I saw very few nominated films this year, and was disappointed that one I saw (Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story) wasn't nominated. But Food, Inc. was, and seeing it was a life-changing experience for me. And I mean that literally.

Prior to seeing this documentary, I looked for the best price on food, paying little attention to country of origin. I hadn't hopped on the organic bandwagon; the prices are high and the quality of the trucked-in produce is marginal. Food, Inc. helped me see it's worth paying a little more for locally grown, good-quality, real food and meat. This film, Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Michael Pollan's three books about how we eat have changed my menu. I'm buying eggs from our Amish neighbors and fresh milk from the owner of a cow whose name I know. (If that ain't life-changing, I don't know what is!) And part of my spring and summer workout plan will be working in a garden that is twice the size of last year's.

Of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture, I only saw Up, which – seriously – has a better chance of winning in the Animated Feature category. And – seriously – it was a great movie. Even if you never see animated films, be sure to see this one. And be sure to watch the Oscars Sunday night! I miss spending Oscar night with my daughter, who used to throw an extravagant, all-girl party with tons of fancy food and decorations and prizes. We dished about the dresses more than the films; watching with my husband just doesn't compare.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Finished sweater ... no pix today

Well, I was going to post a photo of the finished gansey, but I'm so frustrated with the slowness of the internet that I'm giving up. This is the second time I've tried, letting it "rest" for a couple hours hasn't helped a thing.

I'm trying to load a couple of web pages which won't load. I'm trying to send an e-mail which won't send. I'm trying to clear old e-mails off the server, which shouldn't be my job but my ISP can't figure out why they won't automatically clear.

Grrr. Grrr. Grrr.

Thank you, Denise, for saying that two days of journaling is an accomplishment. I could so very easily have blown it off yesterday, as I was gone most of the day and I'm lazy about filling everything in at the end of the day. But your comment spurred me to action!

Now to hit the "publish" button and see if anything happens.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What a surprise!

It's snowing! Again!

Or at least it snowed last night, because the formerly cleared-off driveway is once again … get ready … WHITE!

Clearly, I'm not amused.

Still tracking food. Two days of journaling in a row, wow. I'm awesome.

Did I mention that I finished the little gansey I was working on? I'll try to get a picture to show you, it's very cute. Either the sleeves are too long or the body is too short, it looks out of proportion to me, but either way it's fixable. I'm hoping the sleeves are too long. Since they were knit from shoulder to cuff, it's easier to just unravel from the cuff and reknit it than it would be to cut off the lower edge of the sweater and knit down to add length. I've done both.

Not sure what's in store for today. As usual, the internets are s-l-o-w and the Weather Channel website is graphic-heavy and slow to load, even on a good day. Whatever it is, I'll handle it. Probably by staying indoors.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One day down, 30 to go

Or 300, maybe. Who knows how long I'm going to keep this streak going? Heh.

So I journaled yesterday, every bite, even the ones I shouldn't have eaten. I ended up eating a little more than I would have liked, but certainly not enough to do any damage to someone with a normal metabolism.

Of course we all know that's not me. Ahem.

I use a piece of standalone software called CalorieKing to track my food, and it provides a handy pie chart (mmm, pie) showing a breakdown of fats, carbs and proteins. I ate four times as much carbohydrate as protein and, unfortunately, most of it was of the starchy bread type, rather than the good-for-you vegetable type. It's useful to see your intake charted like that; visual aids are always helpful when planning menus.

I meant to mention that the Aetna check came on Friday. To say I was surprised that it arrived within their timeframe is a complete understatement. February 26 was the last day of their delivery window. It's going straight into my HSA so I can spend it on office visits that my still-overpriced Aetna policy doesn't cover.

Monday, March 1, 2010

So, how's that workin' for ya?

Um, not so much.

If you'll recall, I decided last December that 2010 would be The Year. The plan was to lose a measly five pounds a month for 10 months to get to a good weight for me. January was so-so – I lost 2.5 pounds, but wasn't discouraged and extended the deadline.

Well, it looks like 2011 might be The Year. Because February sucked, people. SUCKED! M@rla won't be calling me a bitch this month.

Jen's most recent post about body image hit a nerve with me. When it comes down to it, no matter how I feel, it's the number (and you all know the number I'm talkin' about) that provides the feedback, either positive or negative.

Today's the first of the month, my weigh-in day. I decided at the beginning of February to just do my workouts and eat reasonable portions of healthful foods and not get on the scale every day (or, honestly, two or three times a day). And so we're back to the title of this post.

I don't even want to tell you how much I gained. Let's just say it isn't pretty.

Like Jen, though, there are times (I wrote about it the other day) when I really have a good feeling about what I've been doing, and think I'm seeing progress. Jillian's workouts are hard; I've been managing to keep up, and I even think I'm seeing some improvement in performance, endurance, strength and stamina. I started doing the DVD around February 11th; I cut one session short and skipped two. That's not too bad for someone who is allergic to dumbbells.

Is it?

But back to February sucking … I have a glimmer of hope that February was the last month of the worst winter I've experienced since I moved to the Middle of Nowhere. It started in December with a big, beautiful snow right before Christmas. How pretty! How fun! A white Christmas! Awwwww!

It eventually melted, and there was a day or two where we actually saw grass instead of snow on the ground. And then we got hit again. And again. And again. And it started being not so pretty or fun, and, really, who wants a white Valentine's Day, anyway? The sun has been above the clouds for weeks, save one glorious warmish day where I got to actually walk outside – in the snow! – without a coat.

(I know the sun is above the clouds because I'm a private pilot and I've flown up there. Lots of times. My license isn't current and it's been a long time since I've been PIC* but I remember that there is a sun and it is up there. Above. The. Clouds.)

Today is the Dieter's Trifecta, where you combine the first of the month with a Monday following a miserable weigh-in. It's at this point where the professional dieter (I've been gaining and losing weight since I was 11 years old, so I think I qualify as a pro) either gives up – until the next time – or keeps on keepin' on. The KOKO-ing usually, during the Trifecta, includes Doing Something Different.

Because obviously what I've been doing isn't working.

As much as I loathe doing it, I'm going to – for one month – weigh, measure and write down everything I eat. There are no trips planned this month. I'm in charge of my food. I can use the journaling tool for information, not punishment or restriction. I have a calorie-per-day goal, and no food is off limits.

I'm very hopeful that I can soon add some long walks to my daily exercise routine. I'm well aware that a 20-minute workout, no matter how hard, doesn't really burn enough calories to make a significant difference on the scale, even though Jillian promises it will. My experience with weight training is that it takes a lot longer than two weeks to see The Number drop.

So. Here we go again. I wouldn't know how to quit doing this. My subconscious has been on a diet practically my whole life. How would I even begin to give up? The journaling will give me data that I can use to tweak the eating part of the plan. The weather will, I hope, give me the opportunity to add a long walk to the weight-training routine. In another month I can think about working in the yard and garden, for even more calorie burning and – dare I say it – pleasure?

After all is said and done, pleasure might be the missing link. Most of the things I do for enjoyment – knitting, crafting, cooking, baking, reading, writing, photography – don't burn calories. After a winter like this one, though, being physically active outdoors will be such a pleasure!

*Pilot In Command