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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.


Sounds like you could use a little encouragement to help you reach your weight-loss goals. Motivated by my cholesterol, BMI, waist measurement,vanity and the fact that I must attend a college reunion (!) in June, I went on a mission four weeks ago. It sounds like you are doing a lot of the right things. Here are some thoughts I had as I read your blog:

1. Stop weighing yourself daily. That is a recipe for failure, because your weight will fluctuate from hour to hour, day to day, week to week. Concentrate instead on how your clothes feel from wearing to wearing.

2. Cut way down on sodium. Sodium makes your body retain fluids, which in turn adds weight. There is sodium hidden in EVERY packaged or processed food, so sticking to fresh, whole foods where possible will help.

3. Most of us eat portions that are much too generous. Unless you are eating non-starchy vegetables, you need to stick to the serving size recommended on the package; e.g., no corn, potatoes,sweet potatoes, but as much of any other vegetable you want. Lean meat, no more than 3 oz. per serving. Fruit: melons, 1/2 cup; all other 1/4 cup.

4. I have been restricted to 1200 calories per day. That sounds like very little, but I eat six times a day and find it difficult to get in all the servings of fruits and vegetables I need to eat. It's a lot of food.

5. I eat one treat per day --anything from a slice of cheesecake to a small bag of cheese curls, but no more than 1 serving. That means that the cheesecake is only about a half-inch wide at the point and maybe one inch at the other end, but it is regular cheesecake. These treats do wonders to avoid my feeling deprived.

6. Get yourself a pedometer and see how many steps you take in a day. Then work toward increasing that number every day. I'm shooting for 10,000 per day, but am only at 6788 at this moment, and I have been on a walk with my dog, spent 20 minutes on a stationary bike and 15 minutes on a treadmill. Today will probably be the closest I have come to 10,000 in years, but I still won't get there yet.

Instead of concentrating on your weight, think about getting healthy. If you slip one day, forgive yourself and start over.

The best part of all this is that I have lost 10 pounds in these four weeks and I feel so much better. I have noticed a significant change in the fit of my clothers and my silhouette. I have been working out with weights, so the scale will probably show that I haven't lost anything this week because I have built muscle, which weighs more than fat. That's to be expected.

Cheer up and keep going. You can do this. Our blog friend Elora tells me she has lost 6 pounds since March 1 by just cutting out the sugar and increasing her exercise. Each of us will lose at a different pace, but it will take as long as it takes. I know you can do this.

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Update on the water: the circuit breaker tripped, either due to a power surge when the electricity came back on last night OR when lightning struck in the area. My neighbor's electric fence control box got hit in the same area. He was able to reset the circuit breaker for us and we have WATER! I think I'll go do a load of laundry. Heh.

It's all about the food

The dieting portion of this blog is temporarily suspended. Continue reading at your own risk.

If you’re going to throw a party, be sure to have good food and plenty of it. That’s my daughter’s philosophy, and I think it’s pretty good advice.

The members of the group who will be here Thursday night are middle-aged and older, so I think mostly traditional appetizers are in order. We’ll have Swedish meatballs and those little sausages cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, along with artichoke dip, hummus with vegetables and crackers, a bowl of cinnamon-spiced nuts and a fruit pizza.

Cupcakes are on the menu. Cupcakes sure seem to be popular these days – Google Blogsearch came up with 1,181,447 hits and is selling a boatload of cupcake cookbooks.

Mine are plain old chocolate, and will be decorated with the words “Yes We Can” on top. I think some will be iced in blue and some in white, with red lettering.

I’m also making pig candy. I first had this at one of my daughter’s Oscar parties s…

And the winner is …

Kitten with a Whiplash, who left two comments and it was the second (which had nothing to do with the contest) which won the prize. Congratulations, and since the Kitten was the only commenter who expressed any interest in actually winning it, I'm so glad the Universe took care of it. Heh.

What a weekend! But first, how was yours? I hope you did some fun stuff and got some necessary stuff done, as well. It's all about balance.

Saturday was our fun day (but we had to drive, drive, drive to get there and then drive, drive, drive home again, all in one day, boy was I tired). We went to my husband's granddaughter's first birthday party. In addition to a sweet little doll, suitable for ages 0+ (meaning it has no parts that will come loose, and do you know how difficult it is to find dolls for babies when you live in the Middle of Nowhere?), I made her this:

I haven't sewn anything in a month of Sundays, so was a little apprehensive about finishing it on time, but this p…