Tuesday, November 30, 2010

127.27

There's something about the symmetry of that number that I just love. And what, you may ask, does that number represent? That's the number of miles I walked/ran (mostly walked) during the second 30 days of my fitness odyssey.

My goal for November was to walk at least four miles per day and 125 miles for the month, and I totally nailed it. I will walk four more miles today (or maybe five, just for the helluvit), to complete the daily goal. I've been debating with myself (a dangerous exercise) about what goal to set for December. I'll report back tomorrow.

I've lost a total of three whole pounds in 60 days, or slightly more than a third of a pound per week. Pretty dismal, but at least I'm heading in the right direction. And I'm very hopeful that adding calories will, paradoxically, lead to weight loss, not weight maintenance or weight gain. If nothing else, at least I'm not suffering massive headaches, lack of energy and general crabbiness, as I did for one week when I kept the calories below 1000. That was brutal!

I've been knitting. I finished Little Red's hooded poncho (I didn't use a published pattern or I would leave a link), wove in all the stray ends and then "killed" it yesterday. Killing, if you haven't heard that term before, is another word for blocking but used more specifically when talking about acrylic yarn. I chose an acrylic blend for the poncho because it's for a child and because it was red and in my yarn closet. The lower edge, which was done in seed stitch, curled up, and so had to be blocked into submission.

I placed a wet towel over the garment and pressed it with a hot iron. The result is lovely – very drapey and the lower edge now lies flat. The first time I killed an acrylic item I was scared to death, as I didn't have a swatch to practice on. The results have always been surprisingly beautiful, and it's especially effective for baby blankets.

I also finished a pair of Fiber Trend's Felted Clogs. They should be dry enough to mail today.

Not sure what to do next. I had thought I might make a pair of flip-top mittens for my daughter-in-law, but they're moving to North Carolina and I'm not sure how useful they would be in a warmer climate. It's a given that I'll have to find a new project soon, though, as I can't seem to sit and watch television without working on something.

We had a delicious peanut soup with dinner last night. The peanut flavor was not overpowering, just a hint of it, and the rest of the spices gave it a complex flavor unlike anything we've eaten before. I used squash instead of sweet potatoes, and will definitely be making it again.

Finally, I ordered some photo puzzles on Friday from Mpix and they arrived yesterday! Talk about great service! I'm so impressed with these gifts, and I hope the three grandchildren who will be receiving them will enjoy them. I think this is a great gift idea for the person who has everything. The photos I chose were ones I took of each of the kids during the past year. I might make this an annual tradition, depending on how well-received they are.

Does anyone, other than toddlers, do jigsaw puzzles any more? Hmmm. I probably should have asked that question before I ordered!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Have you been tempted?

No, not by all the Thanksgiving leftovers (I have none! since we went out for dinner), but by all the sales, sales, SALES! Advertising bombs are going off everywhere you look, if you are even remotely "plugged in."

I'll admit I've clicked through to check prices on laptops, bedspreads and chairs, three things I'm looking for to add to my collection of stuff. Actually, the bedspread and chairs will be replacements for sadly worn-out stuff. We keep putting off replacing them because, well, just because.

The laptop, on the other hand, would be quite a luxury for me. I have a mini-mini-teeny-weeny laptop (the BlackBerry), and have decided that sometimes it's just too hard to do what I want to do on that two-inch screen. And I usually decide that instead of trudging over to the second-floor office in the garage, I'll just wait until later. And then I never do that thing I was going to do on the BlackBerry.

I'll be talking myself out of the laptop pretty soon. Who wants to bet?

Thanksgiving was the perfect day to begin the Great Calorie Experiment. According to this calculator (and thank you again, Shauna, for pointing me to their podcasts) here's the range of how much I should eat at different activity levels. I walk for more than an hour every day, but it's not what I would call 'hard exercise,' so I've put myself in the Moderately Active category.
I haven't even come close to eating that many calories on a daily basis. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I managed to eat around 1650 per day. Yesterday I didn't even make it to 1400. I had no idea it would be so hard to eat! That's never been my problem. Heh.

I'm going to keep at it, though, mostly because I have so much more energy! Yesterday, for example, was another hands-and-knees floor scrubbing, this time the hallways and kitchen. I moved furniture in the main living area and mopped all of that floor, as well. It took four hours from start to finish, no breaks, and then I walked four miles outdoors when I was done.

I can't do that eating 1200 calories or less per day. I'll admit I was pretty beat last night, but I'm almost 60 and that much activity probably should wear me out. I'm grateful I can even get down on my hands and knees; I know too many people younger than I who can't.

Weigh in is Wednesday, and I'm anxious to see what happens after the first week. My husband is very skeptical and only marginally supportive. Sometimes I feel like I have to sneak-eat, so he won't see me chowing down on that apple with peanut butter, for example, a couple hours before dinner.

That's another thing: I'm not eating crap to get those extra calories in. It's not difficult to eat healthful food in my house, because I don't buy crap. But I do have some baking supplies and it would be very easy to dig into that bag of Hershey's Kisses I bought to make Peanut Butter Blossoms, for example (nine Kisses are 200 calories). That doesn't seem like a good way to spend calories.

Hey! Who kidnapped the real Debbi, and when are you bringing her back? Heh.

Friday, November 26, 2010

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

Well, Thanksgiving is over, hurrah, hurrah. I'm going to post what I ate for dinner yesterday. As I approached the buffet, I was mindful of the idea of filling two-thirds of my plate with vegetables, limiting starchy carbs and having a reasonable portion of protein (which wasn't difficult, there was no dark turkey meat and I'm not fond of white meat). Here goes …

1 cup lightly dressed Caesar salad
1 deviled egg
1/4 cup Waldorf salad
2 oz. lean ham
1 oz. white meat turkey
1/2 c. stuffing
1/4 c. mashed potatoes
1 c. steamed green beans with garlic
1 c. sauteed summer squash with red peppers
1/2 piece pumpkin pie
2 Tbsp. chocolate frosting (from my husband's cake)

When it's all written down like that, it looks like a ton of food. And the calories added up to a half ton. Heh. But I didn't go back for seconds and, as my husband said, it was Thanksgiving, after all.

The hell of it was, I was hungry before the second football game was over. Grrr. So I ate an apple. I've heard if you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, you're not really hungry.

Today's quote is perfect for me. As both of you know, I've been toying with the idea of eating the number of calories I need to maintain my goal weight, and yet I'm scared s*#!less to try it. Someone like me – approaching 60, lifetime yo-yo dieter, screwed-up metabolism, yada, yada, yada – couldn't possibly lose weight eating that much, right?

My goal maintenance calorie total is 1700, which sounds like a mountain of food. But you know what? My total yesterday was less than that. It seems like a good time to begin. Sitting around thinking about it increases my fear of doing it. Time to take the plunge. You will, of course, be coming along for the ride, and I'll thank you in advance for putting up with my wailing and gnashing and bitching and moaning.

Who knows? Maybe we'll all be surprised and we can celebrate together. I know this much for sure: It will be more difficult to eat 1700 calories per day than it has been to eat 1200 or less.

A quick note to brag. I ran (love those new shoes!) most of four miles Wednesday, and the fourth mile was the fastest: 12:37. That's one second faster than my best half-marathon pace. Now all I need to do is build up the stamina to add another 25 miles to it, and I'll be ready for my marathon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving. I think.

Because I lost my father so recently, I haven't had much holiday spirit this Thanksgiving season. He visited me in September and we had Thanksgiving when he was here. I'm more grateful for that dinner than I can ever express.

Anyway, my mother-in-law took us out for dinner today, which would not usually be my preference, but it was fine this year.

I made careful choices at the buffet (no menu option was offered today), and just finished adding up the total for the mid-afternoon meal: 1067!

I don't *feel* like I just ate that much. In fact, I'll probably feel hungry later. I was careful to record everything as accurately as I could, but seriously, I can't get over how many calories I just ate.

I kind of wish I felt uncomfortably full. Maybe it would have been worth it.

At least I took time to walk this morning. Five miles, 90 minutes, no running today ... yesterday's good run (I did the last of my four miles in 12:37!) took its toll!

Hope your turkey was juicy and your whipped cream didn't separate. If the potatoes were lumpy, I'm sure you meant them to turn out that way. Heh. And if you're heading out for Black Friday tomorrow, be careful: It's a jungle out there!


Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some progress

Well, I've been weighing myself on Wednesdays and finally, finally, I've seen a tiny downward tick of the scale. Actually, for me, it's HUGE – two pounds – but considering I started this project October 1, and have so far lost a grand total of 3.5 pounds, I'd say I'm a bit behind schedule. Heh.

I basically starved myself to do it, averaging around 1000 calories per day. Not smart, I know, and not what I'd intended to do. I've been studying all these BMR and RMR and eat-at-your-goal-weight websites and am terrified that if I eat that much I'll be twice as big as I am now by my 60th birthday.

And, of course, I'd like to be considerably lighter than I am now by then (May 25, and don't you forget it!).

I expected to lose more than two pounds eating so little and exercising as much as I did. But I'll take it.

I felt like crap all week. Painful headaches every day, lightheadedness, irritable and crabby … this is stupid, stupid, stupid. And what I've done is set myself up to gain weight if I don't continue this regimen. Grrr. Like I said, stupid, stupid, stupid.

Okay, moving on. The new shoes are great! Very light, very cushiony, I can't wait to go out in them again. It was raining yesterday when I was ready to head out, so I hopped on the treadmill. You might remember the last time I ran on the treadmill it spontaneously quit after 17 minutes, emitting a burning smell and scaring me to death. It lasted 22 minutes yesterday, which was long enough for the rain to stop. The warm-up allowed me to begin the outdoor walk at a trot and I ended up running most of the route (not up the hills, though). Total combined effort (it's sooooo easy to run on the treadmill, and sooooo boring) was 4.17 miles in 60 minutes. Much better than I've been doing.

It's the shoes. Heh.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Next time you think you're too busy …

I got a note from my aunt yesterday. She's 87, I think, and we have such a good time talking about how things were done back in the old days. My dad was the only boy and the youngest of six. They grew up during the Depression and lived both richly and frugally. She included this poem in the envelope she sent:

The Perfect Day
Mama's mama, on a winter's day
milked the cows and fed them hay.
Slopped the hogs, saddled the mule,
and got the children off to school.
 Did the washing, mopped the floors,
washed the windows and did some chores.
Cooked a dish of home-dried fruit,
pressed her husband's Sunday suit.
 Swept the parlor, made the bed,
baked a dozen loaves of bread.
Split some wood and lugged it in,
enough to fill the kitchen bin.
 Cleaned the lamps and put in oil,
stewed some apples she thought might spoil.
Churned the butter, baked a cake,
then exclaimed, "For goodness sake,
the calves have got out of the pen!"
Went out and chased them in again.
Gathered the eggs and cleaned the stable,
returned to the house and set the table.
Cooked a supper that was delicious,
and after that she washed the dishes.
Fed the cat, sprinkled the clothes,
mended a basket full of hose.
Then opened the organ and began to play
"When we come to the end of a perfect day."

Whew! I don't even think our Amish neighbors work that hard! But I guess if Mama's mama's family wanted to eat, stay warm, wear clean clothes and live in a clean house, Mama's mama had to do it!

I love, love, love new running shoes!
Yesterday was pretty perfect around here. I had intended to walk four miles, as I'd done five on Sunday, but I ended up walking to the post office first, and then continuing on my customary four-mile route. Total mileage was 5.8. When I got home, my new kicks had been delivered!

I've never had red shoes before, do you think they'll make me start running? And running faster? These are Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11s, recommended in Runner's World for stability (in other words, they're good for Clydesdales) despite their very light weight. They're said to have a roomy toe box, which I need.

I'm looking forward to taking them out for a spin today. Will limit it to four miles, though. I'm not ready for five miles a day.

YET!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I lost 10 pounds this weekend!

Of knitting needles, that is.

Actually I don't even know if it was 10 pounds or not, I should have weighed them before I sent them to their new home. As it is, I feel like I've lightened my clutter, if not my waistline.

Still walking. Still mulling over what to do about food (eat more? less? the same? give up altogether?)  Blah. Blah. Blah.

Hope your week goes better than my weekend. Hope my week does, too! Heh.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Quote Day

I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step.
If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another.
In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.
I know that small attempts, repeated,
will complete any undertaking.
~ Og Mandino

Kind of a long quote this morning, your reward for offering suggestions and encouragement yesterday. Heh. Thanks to those of you who commented and e-mailed privately.

It's an appropriate quote, as I do like the daily walk for more reasons than just weight loss. Am I disappointed that my experience hasn't matched that of my husband? Certainly. He's equally baffled and urging me to get another TSH.

"Always I will take another step." I've mentioned previously that some kind of strength training probably is in order. I could easily add a 20-minute weightlifting session three days a week. Lord knows I have a few extra hours to spare. As I said yesterday, I have more time than money.

I've been researching (again, I've been there, done that, many times) BMR and RMR and calorie requirements and blah, blah, blah, which all seem to indicate I'm not eating enough. Frankly, I'm afraid to add more. If I can't lose weight with the current calorie deficit, how can adding calories help? It makes no sense to me, but I'm not rejecting it out of hand.

There are many websites on the internets that can tell you how many calories you need to maintain your weight, and it seems to make sense that eating the number of calories you need to maintain your ideal weight would, eventually, lead to achieving that goal. These online calculators take into account activity level, age and gender.

Maybe I just need to dive into the deep end of the pool, trusting the information and experience of thousands of others, instead of thinking I have all the answers.

'Cause clearly, I don't. Or I'd be skinny.

Anyway … after seven weeks, I'm a daily walker and will continue to be one, for the mental and physical rewards, if not for the reward of reducing my girth. That will come if it's supposed to.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Would Fill-In-The-Blank Do?

Today's walk, when it's completed (notice I said when, not if), will mark the end of seven weeks of taking a long (at least three miles) walk every day. From October 1 to October 27, I lost a total of 1.5 pounds. Since then?

Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing!

The goal, when I began this project (and isn't losing weight always a project?), was, in October, to walk three miles a day and to walk a total of 100 miles for the month. For this month, the goal is to walk four miles a day and to increase the monthly total to 125 miles.

I'm eating moderate portions of healthful, made-from-scratch food. Lots of vegetables. Grass-fed beef. Nothing Almost nothing packaged or processed. No fast food. The "bad" foods I consume are a shot of non-dairy sugar-free hazelnut creamer (15 calories) in my coffee once in a while and a Tootsie Pop (45 calories) every other day or so.

I track my calories a couple days a week, but not every day. I would estimate my daily caloric intake at 1200 to 1400.

Some of you would say that's too many, while others would say that's not enough. Like Goldilocks, I'd like to think it's just right: I'm hungry at mealtime, satisfied when I've eaten my single-serving meals and I'm not thinking about food All. The. Time.

According to this website (there are many others out there, I picked this one randomly from Google's list of suggested sites), I need to eat 2250 calories per day to maintain my current weight. To maintain my goal weight, I need to drop it to 1950. Since I'm eating far fewer calories than that generous number, clearly I should be losing more than two-tenths of a pound a week.

Which brings me back to the goals. Walking all those miles, just for the sake of walking, is a worthy goal, but the secondary goal – of course! – is to lose weight. I chose walking (and I've added some running) for a number of reasons.
  • I like being outdoors.
  • It's not expensive.
  • It's not difficult, just time-consuming.
  • I have more time than money.
  • My husband lost 40 pounds in about six months taking a walk every day.
  • Walking is good for my post-menopausal bones.
  • Ditto my heart.
  • I want to run a marathon next year, and I have to be in much better shape than I am now in order to complete it.
  • It's the one exercise I enjoy doing.
  • Blah, blah, blah.
It seems that I'm pretty good at accomplishing the primary goal – mileage – but not so great at the secondary goal – weight loss.

Decision time. Keep it up? Add something? Replace it with something else? What would the deity of your choice do?

Usually I don't ask for advice, and as you can tell I'm very reluctant to change anything. I keep thinking, 'This will work. Someday.' I'm just not sure how much longer to wait for Someday. If you do offer advice in the comments, please realize I've been on some kind of a diet since I was 11 years old. I know what to do, and I feel I'm doing a pretty good job of it with this plan.

The last resort would be to just accept that I'm going to be fit and fat the rest of my life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Did she or didn't she?

If you follow me on Facebook (and if you don't, I hope you will), you already know that:

THE STREAK IS ALIVE!

Film at 11. Or, more accurately, details manana.

Later, dudes and dudettes - I'm getting wet!


Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

This might be the day ...

the streak gets broken.

It's raining, and supposed to rain all day. I will have to coordinate my walking time with a let-up in the steady rain, if there is one, because I just don't feel like squishing my way through four miles.

You see, I've worn out my shoes, and my new ones won't be here for a few days since I just ordered them yesterday. How do I know my shoes are worn out? I have blisters on both big toes. I can ignore the pain once I start walking, but wet shoes and socks aren't going to help. I think I have some kind of cushioning bandage I can put on the blisters, if the rain lets up enough that I can get out the door.

This will be a true test of my determination.

We had the best dinner last night. I've made this soup many times, and we never tire of it.

After we ate what we wanted of Sunday's roast chicken, I put the leftovers and the carcass back in the crockpot, covered it with water and let it cook on low overnight. After it cooled yesterday morning, I separated the meat from the bones, strained the broth and put the soup together. I used cooked dried white beans instead of canned cannelini, and I added some dried shitakes, just because.

The recipe says it cooks in 18 minutes, and I've no doubt it would if you did it their way. My version took all day. Heh.

My neighbor offered me all the turnip, kale and mustard greens I wanted from his garden. All I had to do was pick them. So after yesterday's four-miler, I walked to his farm with a half-bushel basket, filled it to overflowing and walked back. That was a very satisfying way to add another half-mile to yesterday's total.

What else, what else? Oh, knitting! I had to rip out the red poncho and start over, because I hate to swatch. After a couple of inches I realized it was going to be waaaaay too big around for a three-year-old. I'm almost back to where I was when I ripped it out, but since it's on fewer stitches, it's quite a bit longer. So far, so good. I hope she's not so over Little Red Riding Hood by Christmas. Heh.

Monday, November 15, 2010

KOKO

That stand for "keep on keepin' on," and that's what I've been doing.

Despite the lack of weight loss, I've continued to walk daily since October 1. I'm up to four miles a day, and I've added a mile on a few of those days. Total mileage last week was 30.78 miles.

Not bad for an old broad. Heh.

Other than walking, I didn't get a lot done yesterday. Visited a friend for too short a time in the morning.  Helped my husband take some equipment to our pond, so he could clear out some brush. Dinner was crockpot rotisserie chicken (this recipe is fabulous!), along with spicy baked sweet potato fries and kale – all of which practically cooked itself.

Thanks for your comments on Friday's post. Twenty years is a long time to live in reality. Sometimes the pain of reality can be almost too much to bear. But the pain of blackouts, hangovers and other dire consequences is worse. As long as I remember that, I can manage. I also need to remember that I'm not in charge!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Quote Day

I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. 
~ Douglas Adams

This quote from Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a book I've never read, says everything I want to say on this very special day.

Twenty years ago today I made the decision to stop drinking. I have been a grateful recovering member of Alchoholics Anonymous ever since. I have a sponsor. I have a home group. I have a program.

I have a life.
I have serenity.
I have peace.

I may not have the perfect body, but I'm doing all I can to take care of it – quite a turnaround from my years of eating dinner at happy hour, blacking out for entire weekends and neglecting not just my health, but also my family, my job, my friends and my God.

He didn't neglect me, however. He brought me back from the edge of darkness. For the past 20 years I have lived in a world where I can reach out instead of push away, give instead of take and appreciate instead of complain. I don't always remember that, and I guess anniversaries pop up every year in order to sit us down and make us remember.

Thank you, God – and AA – for showing me the way to live a great life.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful

The astute among you will recognize the subject of today's post as a song title. Of course, I meant to say the weather is beautiful, and it has been for several days now.

Too bad I'm on this walking mission and haven't gotten much done besides mileage.

I know I said earlier this week that if there's something else big to do, I should do it first. That's not how it's worked out so far this week. I walk mid-morning and then I … don't get much more accomplished.

My low energy level is beginning to concern me. I'm giving it another week and then I think I'll call my doctor. My husband tries to be encouraging, telling me that most women my age don't walk four or five  miles a day, and that I shouldn't expect to be Mrs. Clean and Mrs. Gardener and Mrs. Lawn Service every day.

Anyhoo … that's about all I have to say about that.

The red poncho is coming along. I love any in-the-round pattern that starts with a whole bunch of stitches and decreases steadily until you have just a few. I started with 200 and will eventually get to 80 or so. I haven't figured that part out yet.

Here are pix of the two latest projects, fulled and almost ready to deliver. The bag needs a tag, which I will have to print, and the stocking needs the wee one's initial sewn on the cuff. I'm using green buttons and pink thread for that. Doesn't it look sweet enough to eat?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wait! Wait! It's not the weight … :-(

It being Wednesday morning, I dutifully stepped on the bathroom scale and expected to see a pretty good loss. I haven't lost any weight for a couple of weeks, so I'm due at least a pound or three, right?

Apparently not right, as I weigh the same today as I did two days ago, five days ago and two weeks ago.

Forty days of walking has produced some results, just not the one I was hoping for.
  • I'm getting very good at taking my own picture with my cell phone and posting it to Facebook while I'm trudging along.
  • I'm discovering that even though I'm heavier than I want to be, my legs can still surprise me by breaking into a run (well, a jog anyway) every once in a while.
  • I've actually run one continuous mile out of the four-mile route a couple times since the first of this month.
Walking three or four miles a day is not something most 59-year-old women do. I try to keep an attitude of gratitude in mind that not only can I do this, I want to. Perhaps that's the biggest surprise result: I can't imagine a day without walking.

At the same time, I can't imagine anyone else on the planet walking 40 days in a row and not losing more than 1.5 pounds. Except you. Heh.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hooked on slow cooking

I've been using my new slow cooker a lot this fall, and enjoying it very much. I was going to spring for the fancy-schmancy VersaWare model but instead found a suitable substitute at Sears, where I used a handy-dandy gift card.

I'm using recipes from a couple of cookbooks in my collection, and from the Better Homes and Gardens website, which has an amazing recipe collection. Whether you're looking for elegant or simple, healthful or decadent, easy or complicated, you'll find something for dinner browsing through their online slideshows.

The beauty of gardening is that when you find a recipe calling for butternut squash, say, you don't have to run to the grocery to buy a squash. It's right there in your, er, my garage, along with the cushaws and spaghetti squashes. (How about that … reaping and eating in the first three paragraphs!)

The downside of the BH&G website is that they also have an amazing collection of dessert recipes. The holidays are approaching, and there's nothing I like better than baking cookie gifts. I've been studying and printing cookies recipes for a couple of days, preparing for this once-a-year recreational activity. To me, baking is relaxing, creative and rewarding. As long as I remember to give most of it away, it's not even too hard on my waistline.

Knitting: I cast on for Little Red Riding Hood's poncho, using a double-strand of an ancient red-and-white tweed cotton/wool/acrylic blend I've had in my stash. This will be a good use for it. I've already tweaked the pattern to knit it in the round (because I'd rather knit than sew) instead of pieces which have to be connected to each other in the finishing stage. When it comes to the hood, I'll use instructions from the fabulous Wonderful Wallaby pattern, which I've made countless times. So, really, I'm not using the Paton's pattern much at all, except for a general idea of how many stitches to cast on.

I tweak recipes like that, too. Heh.

Running? I mixed in a little bit yesterday on the four-mile walk. The weather was perfect, and promises to be so all this week. I didn't need to wear a jacket and was plenty warm by the time I trotted up the driveway 64 minutes later. Four 16-minute miles doesn't sound very impressive, but at the risk of repeating myself, I'm short and my route is very hilly. So even if you're not impressed, I am.

Nothing like tooting your own horn!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mish mash of stuff

It's kind of hard to come up with stuff to talk about when the garden is not producing and all I'm doing is walking/running every day. The streak is alive, 38 days strong. I took it easy yesterday, no running and limited it to four miles, after a couple days with some running thrown in and a couple of five-milers.

I think I've mentioned previously that if I want to both walk and accomplish anything else, I have to schedule things carefully. If I have a major shopping trip, the walk has to happen first. If there's major housework to be done, the walk has to happen later.

Yesterday was a major housework day. You've probably had days where you've woken up and decided it can't wait another minute. I started working on the guest bathroom and decided while I was cleaning one, I might as well clean the other. I hands-and-knees scrubbed the floors, wiped down all the surfaces and then decided to run the sweeper over the rest of the house. After that, it was all I could do to walk; my knees wouldn't take anything more than that.

Lessee, what else has happened. Oh, I made a lime meringue pie Friday with limes from my tree. There are limes of all sizes on the branches, and blossoms, too, so it looks like it might be everbearing. I've given six away and used six in the pie and there are still half a dozen ripe ones ready for squeezing. Will have to figure out something to do with them, because I will not waste limes! Not a very good picture, because by the time I thought about taking one my husband had eaten half of it! I think pie pictures look best with just one piece withdrawn from the whole pie.

And, since the first word of the title of this blog is "Knit," I've finished another project, a tote bag, and will felt it and the Christmas stocking today. Not sure what's next. I'm looking for a pattern (will probably use this one) for a hooded poncho, which I want to make for our middle granddaughter.  She's three and asks to hear Little Red Riding Hood over and over and over again. She needs a red hooded poncho!

I leave you with this odd little photo. When I was in Florida last month for my dad's second memorial service, I found a tiny three-bladed propeller on the floor of his van. It used to be a clip-on air freshener – you slide it onto one of the slats of the air vent. The air-freshening part of the device is long gone, but seeing the prop spin reminds me so much of my dad. He loved to fly, he encouraged me to get my pilot's license and he enjoyed little things like propellers that spin in your car. That was Dad – all about fun!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Quote Day

Things start as hopes
and end up as habits.
~ Lillian Hellman

Yesterday was Day 35 of The Walk-Every-Day-Even-If-It-Kills-Me Plan. I did four miles, added some jogging into the mix (about three-quarters of a mile out of the first three, and I jogged the entire fourth mile without stopping), and it rained the entire time.

If I were going to take a day off, yesterday would have been it. So I think I've created a habit, and a good one for a change.

Then again, there's today. It's raining again (and believe me, I'm not complaining, we really need it), it's a wee bit colder and today's precipitation is supposed to be a "wintry mix." I gotta tell you though, when I was running (okay, jogging) that last mile yesterday, I knew nothing was going to prevent me from completing it. I haven't run that mile in a long, long time. It's the easiest one on my route, but it's also the last one and I'm usually ready to slow down by then. I felt like I could have run another one.

Thank goodness my driveway showed up. Heh.

Elora, a rainsuit would be counterproductive to my goals, but it's a great option for working outside. I'm not nearly as self-sufficient as you are, though, and I can easily postpone an outdoor chore until the weather is a bit friendlier. Your Marigold won't wait! I think a rainsuit would become very hot and cumbersome after a while. Even a hoodie is too hot after a couple miles.

I hope you've had some success building a new habit or breaking an old one. Tell me about it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Will the soaker we're having break my streak?

Sounds like a Magic 8 Ball question, doesn't it?

Seems likely.

The hourly forecast indicates a break in the action in the late afternoon. Both of you longtime readers know that's my least favorite time to walk. But I have to say this daily walking has become a little bit like She Who Must Be Obeyed: I have to get it done.

I love this weather, though. I love curling up with a bunch of magazines, or my knitting, or my dog, and just relaxing into my big leather chair. Once dinner's in the crockpot, there's nothing to do but wait for the rain to let up. Well, and maybe a load of laundry.

Hope you're having exactly the kind of weather you need today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The morning after

A Facebook friend who lives in Wisconsin posted this morning that he went to bed in a blue state and woke up in a red one – something that usually only happens to him when he travels. I'm grateful this morning that West Virginia has remained blue in the Senate. We only have three Congressional representatives, though, and two of them are now Republicans.

I'm grateful that my Congressman is the lone Democrat left representing West Virginia. My county elected him and our new moderate-Democrat Senator by about a 2-to-1 margin. But I'm disappointed that so many voters stayed home, not just here in West Virginia but throughout the country. I'm astonished that voters are disappointed in President Obama after less than two years in office, trying to untangle the twisted mess he inherited from his predecessor.

My hot-button issue is health care, a tepid law which Republicans and Tea Party candidates across the land have vowed to repeal. According to this blog, that's not likely to happen. But it's also not likely that the current law will be improved.


I voted for President Bush the second time, and my reasoning – flawed as it was – was because I thought he should clean up after himself. Well, a Republican majority in the House of Representatives has the opportunity to do that now. I hold slim hopes that they will. Their puffy speeches last night about reducing the deficit and creating jobs and "fixing" the economy are all talk and no action. I don't expect much of anything in the way of progress in the next two years. But I'm not going to say it can't be done. If they truly want what's best for the country, here's their chance to prove it.

Aren't you glad the election is over? You won't have to listen to my political drivel for another couple of years.

I walked 4.08 miles in 71 minutes yesterday morning. A little bit of jogging was involved in the fourth mile, and I felt pretty good for the entire walk. My weight stayed the same this week, which was disappointing after logging nearly 25 miles for the week. I'll just hope for a good loss next week. No travel plans, I'll be in charge of the kitchen, maybe that will tip the scales. So to speak.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Also ...

"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

I know it's not Friday, when I usually post a quote, but this is important. And appropriate. And IMPORTANT!


Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

Goals achieved

Got back from my little Halloween trip yesterday afternoon. I unloaded the car, but didn't even sit down in the house. I knew if I did I wouldn't feel like continuing the walking streak. It was after 3 p.m. when I started walking, I think, and I was tired after driving all day. But. I. Did. It! The streak is alive and well.

I had two goals for October. Primary goal was to walk at least three miles a day, and I nailed that. The secondary goal was to walk 100 miles for the month, which obviously meant I had to tack on a few extra miles. I totally nailed that, ending the month at 110.5 miles.

New goals for November are four miles a day and 125 miles. I already have two men in my life (my husband and my son-in-law) telling me to be careful, watch those joints, don't hurt yourself. Whether they turn out to be right or not, I have to say it's not terribly helpful to be warned and urged to go easy when I'm all fired up about increasing my mileage. I think, at this stage, the likelihood of injury would be greater if I tried to increase speed, which is not part of my goal. Yet.

Today's Election Day here in the U.S. I voted the first day we could early vote here in WV, so I'm a little weary of all the e-mails and Facebook suggestions to get to the polls. I just pray that those who do vote (or have voted) will not vote against their own interests, as the Tea Partiers seem wont to do. I saw a sign in North Carolina that said "Governing is NO Tea Party. Vote Democratic." I couldn't agree more.

This election campaign began the day after President Obama was elected, and the 2012 campaign begins tomorrow. Politics is wearisome, and because it's become a 365/24/7 event, its impact has been reduced dramatically. I hope the pundits are wrong about the likely outcome. They're saying Democrats are apathetic and won't vote, and predicting a huge win for Republicans.

President Obama has accomplished a lot so far, particularly in education, but his achievements haven't been well publicized. And it's been difficult to get very far when Republicans vote against every good idea, and Blue Dog Democrats demand that even those good ideas be watered down and served cold. Should Republicans prevail today, I see little else getting done for the next two years. Their ideas (repeal health care, privatize Social Security, preserve tax cuts for the wealthy, increase defense spending, etc.) don't seem to be for the greater good, and therefore Democrats won't be supportive. Everything the House passes (no matter who's in charge) dies in the Senate.

President Obama might as well work on his golf game. That's what Bush did. Somehow, though, I think he'll stand up for what's right and good and true, as I feel he's done since he took office. I hate seeing America so fractured and divided. Burying my head in the sand won't help heal her, though, and that's probably the biggest reason I voted. Does one vote count?

You bet it does.