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Showing posts from January, 2012

How's that workin' for ya?

Between January 1 and January 12 I lost two pounds, counting calories but not limiting any foods or food groups.

From January 12 to today, I've lost seven pounds, following the South Beach plan.

You do the math.

I've been going to the gym for a week now. Last week I was doing 2 sets of 10 reps at a reasonably difficult weight level on both upper- and lower-body Nautilus and Cybex machines. Yesterday I bumped it up to 12 reps, and I'm making sure the weight is heavy enough to be challenging. I probably should write down what I'm doing so I can see some progress, but that would mean carrying around a clipboard. Cumbersome!

And I'd probably look really serious about it, too. Heh.

In addition to circuit training, I'm treadmilling at an average speed of 3.5 mph, and a slight incline (3 or 4), for 42 minutes – precisely the amount of time it takes to watch an episode of Glee on the Nook. There are so many TV series available on Netflix that I've never seen, beca…

Go Places Surely

I know I'm not the last person on the planet to have a global positioning system in my car. While they've certainly come down in price in the last couple years, they're still a splurge (in my frugal opinion), and they're still not standard equipment on most new cars. (Interestingly, dropping a couple Franklins for a Garmin I can wear on my wrist seemed like a necessity back in my running days.) The airplane I used to fly was equipped with one, but it used latitude-longitude coordinates instead of ZIP codes and house numbers.

Anyway, the combination of Google Maps, Poynt, Mapquest and BlackBerry Maps has allowed me to get from Point A to Point B for several years now without getting too lost. Smartphones are, indeed, smart, and while the printed Mapquest directions are sometimes a little obtuse, they've done the job just fine, thankyouverymuch.

We recently inherited a GPS unit for the car. I installed plugged it into the cigarette lighter and tested it on a local dr…

Too much fun, too little time

Well, we're home again, home again, already, and it's back to whatever passes for normal life around here. Emptying the dishwasher. Making coffee. Letting the dog out. And in. And out. And in.

This is one of the very few times I haven't been all that excited to get home, despite what I said yesterday about appreciating it after you've been away. A trip to Asheville (or its Mini-Me, Carrboro, NC) is either too little or too much. This one was too little, I could have spent another day or two easily.

So what does a "too-much" trip look like? I wouldn't know personally, but I imagine it would be one in which you were willing to just walk away from whatever home was and start over in this new place that you've fallen in love with.

I spent a good part of the drive home comparing Asheville to Carrboro, imagining myself living in each of them. Asheville is hillier, bigger, there's more traffic. Carrboro is much more walkable/bikable and has a small-town …

You can look, but you'd better not touch

The cake pop shop wasn't yet open when we wandered by this morning. Their hours were noon to 7 – Ashevillians apparently start their days a little later than I do. Heh. At any rate, the caramel-covered cake pops (and marshmallows and pecans and other confections of unknown origin) made for pretty good eye candy, and not a speck of sugar was consumed in the process. (I don't remember the name of the store or I'd try to find a link. Perhaps I was drooling too much to pay attention to their signage.) ETA: Found the name in another photo! It's Kilwin's.

On our tour of the downtown area, we also went into a chocolate shop. There was a tiny table and two chairs in the corner of the store, and I went straight to the chair, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I was invited to see what a five-pound heart-shaped box of chocolates looked like (it was under glass, and thus safe), so I ventured into the center of the room but I dared not go up to the counter. It smelled heaven…

And we're off!

The last time my husband and I were in Asheville we met up at a huge rented house near the downtown area with my kids and their spouses/children. We were all coming from different directions and Asheville was the coolest destination that was equidistant for all of us.

That was seven years ago. The youngest member of the group, who was four at the time, put up with the shopping, the restaurants, the sightseeing very patiently, much more so than I would have when I was his age. But every once in a while, he would insist that we go back to our "bacation getaway."

So cute. I hope I never forget how he said it: wistfully, wishfully, and always willing to wait until we'd done one more thing.

I'm armed with multiple GPS navigation devices and looking forward to exploring the area again. We'll be hitting Earth Guild for sure, and Thomas Wolfe's restored home. Even though he can't go home again, we can. Heh.

Gotta pack ... hope y'all have a great weekend.


Remember those clogs I was working on throughout the college football bowl season? The first half of the first and littlest pair was done less than a month ago. And while my original goal was to make four pairs and then felt them all at once, I stopped after three:

I'm still going to make the fourth pair (they're for me) and, in fact, have already started the project. But my husband kept asking when his would be finished and I wanted to send the mother-daughter set off before summer.
My husband has never worn slippers, because he used to go outside every hour on the hour (I might be exaggerating a bit) to smoke. Now that he's a former smoker for almost a year(!), he can slip his cold feet into toasty warm wool clogs and relax every evening. Just like an old man.
He kind of makes fun of the old-man-ness of them, but he truly appreciates the warmth of wool. He only has two pairs of handknit wool socks (I should probably work on his sock drawer) and he loves wearing those dur…

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I promised you pictures …

and I deliver! I swear it took as long to edit these pictures as it did to clean the closet. Heh.

I feel NO NEED to buy fancy canvas containers to make the inside of a closet look good. Priority Mail boxes and other shipping containers are free. Those, a box cutter and packing tape are all I needed for storage solutions.

It took a good three hours to finish this job, which really isn't much considering the amount of crap I had stuffed in there. To reward myself at the end of it, I worked out. At my new gym!

Time for a progress report. I've been feeling really, really down this week, because I check my weight daily and I haven't seen any losses. Yesterday was the end of the two-week South Beach Phase 1 regimen, and I'd hoped to see some results. Until this morning, I felt unrewarded for all my hard work. (I can honestly say I've followed the plan pretty well. No sugar, no grains, if I've gotten off track at all it's in not eating enough vegetables with each …

BIG NEWS from the Middle of Nowhere

We have a gym! A gym, a gym, a gym. With machines. And weights. And wi-fi!

Oh, and I JOINED IT! Today. Four hours ago. I've already done my first workout, 2 sets of 10 reps on a dozen MACHINES and 20 minutes on a fancy-schmancy treadmill. Wanna know how fancy it is? I'm not making this up: JILLIAN talks to you on it! And you can travel the world with Google Maps if you want to.

I thought I'd better concentrate on not falling off, so I'll save the world travels for another day.

It's only twenty-five bucks a month, and the Grand Opening offer is if you sign up and pay for six months you get a month free, so of course I signed up and paid for six months. That'll take me to July 23, about the time the garden is exploding. I'll reassess whether I want six more months then or if I want to wait until September to re-up.

Not many people are this excited when they join a gym, but I'll tell you what: I've missed living near one for 15 years. It's still 12…

Tie one on

Great comments yesterday, thanks so much. No offense, RDK, but I think I'll try Agatha's suggestion and listen to "Footloose" when I need a little jolt. I'm so close to the brink of things a spoonful of sugar might put me over the edge. (My motto, back in the day, was "if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." Thank you again, AA, for saving my life.)

Okay, what does the title of today's post have to do with the price of tea in China? (Also? Happy Chinese New Year!)


What you see here represents every gift-giving occasion in my husband's father's life, as well as most of the ties from my husband's closet. I haven't counted them. I'm kind of afraid to.

I also haven't thrown them away, because apparently you can make lots of neatunusual interesting things from old ties. There are businesses devoted to upcycling ties into jewelry, clothing and accessories. I've seen photos of necktie sk…

The best-laid plans

When my husband returned from an errand yesterday at about noon, I still hadn't worked out. I was kind of waiting for him to come home so we could walk together. He took one look at me and said,
"You look like you could use a day off. Let's get away from here for the rest of the day. We can take care of some things in Blacksburg and have dinner out. It'll do you good." I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm not one to argue with not cooking dinner. No workout at all yesterday, but I was able to stick to the meat-and-salad plan at the restaurant. Not that it was easy, but I did it!

He brought home a couple pieces of memorabilia last week – a Chinese scroll given to his father in China during World War II and a certificate of appreciation from Franklin D. Roosevelt to his grandfather – that we wanted framed. We went to Michael's, chose matting and frames, paid a small fortune (but it's totally worth it to preserve these pieces of family…

Still no answer ...

on the logo. Maybe I'll make a video and it'll go viral on YouTube and out of the millions of people who view it, the original designer will come out of the woodwork and offer me lotsocashmoneybucks for the one remaining gimmetote left from that particular event.

Or not.

Moving on …

I originally dedicated my Project 365 blog (I guess it should be 366 this year, eh?) this year to food, glorious food. But you know what? You can take just so many pictures of meat and salad and it starts getting boring. And repetitive. And boring. A couple days ago I kind of circumvented the topic by posting food for the soul, but yesterday I just busted out totally and shot this.

People, it's waaay too early for daffodils. The first daff photo I took last year was of a bunch of them along a median strip. On March 23. The first asparagus started coming up March 15. I'm kind of afraid to go look at the asparagus bed. I haven't even cut back last year's dead stalks.

I continue to sta…

Oh, what a relief it is …

to wake up and realize it was all a dream.

It's taken nine days without sugar for my subconscious to break free and put me in one of the craziest using dreams I've ever had.

Recovering addicts/alcoholics frequently experience dreams in which they're high or drunk. I've had more than a few of those myself. But this is the first time I've ever had a similar dream about candy.


I'll tell you about it in a minute (this is your opportunity to go read someone else's blog if you don't want to be bored by my dream). First, though, I ran across this website while I was searching for the identity of the tote-bag logo. I contacted the site owner, a graphic designer living in Northern Ireland, and while he said chances were slim that he would be able to identify it, he agreed to take a look.

Okay, if you're still with me, here's my dream.

I was in the terminal of Yaeger Airport in Charleston, WV, getting ready to board a puddle-jumper that would take …

Hoarding, up close and personal

First, let's get this out of the way: yesterday was a strength-training day and I did, indeed, lift some weights. Four-pound and eight-pound dumbbells for presses, rows and curls, and mumble-mumble pound bodyweight for tricep dips, lunges and squats. Yay, me!

Now on to the hoarding.

My husband has spent nearly every day for the past two weeks helping a family member declutter several rooms of the big old house in which she has lived for the past 70 years. I've not been involved, thank you God, because

she's not my family member, and I'd rather recycle than toss (meaning not much of it would get thrown away).
My husband has no qualms about throwing things away. Most of the time.

However this project has, to a degree, turned into one of moving the clutter from her generation to his, with the idea that the next generation might gain some value or benefit from it.

Please don't plan to visit me soon, as my guest room is now a museum of collectibles. There's a tattere…

Using prison as a motivator

My husband was able to join me for my walk yesterday. He's been working on a project which takes him out of the house most days so it was a treat to have him tag along with me yesterday afternoon. It was grey and very windy, but warm enough that I didn't need a coat. Quite remarkable for January.

My New Year's goal of doing some strength training 3x/week has completely gone by the wayside. I guess seeing my daughter's results from just eating a low-carb diet (she doesn't work out) made me think I, too, could forego weight training. In fact, she and I have very different body types and very different metabolisms. She takes after her dad, clearly.

She's also 20 years younger than I, and all of us old folks know that even though it might have seemed hard at the time, losing weight 20 years ago was a heck of a lot easier than it is now.

Since it's Wednesday, and Wednesday was one of the days I'd committed to strength training, I'm going to find the moti…

One week done, three pounds gone

I'm smart enough not to say they're gone forever, since they've been gone forever before. Many times, just for the record. The three pounds last week are in addition to three pounds lost just counting calories the first 10 days of January. To sum up, since New Year's Day I've lost six pounds, half of that last week following the South Beach plan.

It's a miracle! Or a fluke, only time will tell.

It helps to be busy doing Other Stuff. My brain's go-to default is "let's eat!" so having a knitting project or a freelance design gig or some other compelling time-suck really helps, and if I have to create them, I'm going to.

The clog knitting isn't done yet, and there's not much football left. (If you're new here, I like to knit watching sports. It's difficult for me to do one without the other. They go together like South Beach-friendly ham and eggs. Heh.) I like college ball much better than pro, especially this year when my man …

Continuing the conversation

Denise's comment from yesterday's post jolted something in my brain, and I'd like to thank her for it.

If you're in recovery, you've probably already heard this, discussed this, felt this, learned this, accepted this:
The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear – primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.
12&12, p. 76, Step Seven
If you're not in recovery, it's worth thinking about.

Everything I wrote yesterday could have been summed up by simply stating I was afraid to be alone. I guess the deeper lesson I learned from my female forebears is that no matter how bad it is, it's better to be with someone than to be by yourself, to be dependent instead of independent.

So. Not. True.

But … it took me four husbands and 60 years to figure it out. I started figuring it out 20 years ago when I ditched the last husband. I was single for several years before I began dating my c…

Here's my answer

Denise left a thought-provoking comment yesterday, one which I've not been able to get out of my head. You can read her entire comment here, but the gist of it is this:

… what … would you tell your younger self now that you have the wisdom of age? (Aren't I so trendy, using Tangerine Tango to spruce up the question? Heh.)

I would begin the conversation at around age 12, and say emphatically that a woman doesn't need a man to be complete. We're fine just the way we are. Women can take care of themselves. Should you find yourself attracted to a man, enjoy the moment, but don't marry everyone you meet.

My grandmother scandalized the family by getting divorced when my mother, an only child, was 12, which coincided with the beginning of World War II. Grandma went to work for Sunshine Biscuits, making Krispy Saltines all day, while Grandpa went to the South Pacific. He remarried, had a daughter and got divorced before he left the Navy. And when he came back to Ohio, he and…

Don't get old

It seems that the older I get, the more winter weather affects my physical comfort. I'm not just talking about grabbing another layer of clothing to trap the heat, although I do that. I'm talking about the discomfort in my right hip, which I've been calling arthritis, although I don't have a real diagnosis. I'm 60, my hip hurts, why should I pay the doctor a hundred bucks to tell me I have arthritis? (Yes, my health insurance sucks. I can't wait to qualify for Medicare. And I will continue to work for single-payer health care – Medicare for all – until Congress passes such legislation. Or until hell freezes over, which will probably come first.)

I'm fortunate to be as old as I am and only have a cranky hip. It doesn't hurt as much when I'm walking or moving around, but when I sit down to relax it reminds me who's the boss.

Yesterday I twisted my left ankle. Right hip, left ankle, it sounds like a conspiracy to put me in a wheelchair. The ankle b…

One down, two to go

Friday the 13ths, that is. We'll have another in April and one in July, and the most you can have in one year is three. A third of the way done with the bad-luck Fridays.

I've had more unfortunate incidents happen on the Ides of March than any Friday the 13th, though, so I will keep calm and carry on today. And keep warm while I'm at it. The arctic cold front came through last night, dumping a good eighth of an inch of snow here in the Middle of Nowhere. The high today will be 28. I have a date with the elliptical later.

Thank you all for your encouragement as I begin this new way of eating. My daughter said it seemed like a sensible, healthful plan for her. She didn't try to encourage me to jump on board at all. She was simply being a good example, although she doesn't know it. I won't see her again until June, and I'm hoping against hope that I will be able to surprise her with a much-improved body by then.

Frankly, after all the chopping-prepping-cookin…

Insights from a trip to the grocery

When I travel for a few days, I usually leave the refrigerator fairly empty, as my husband doesn'twon't okay, can't cook (job security for me) and I don't want to come home to spoiled food.  The confluence of my return home and my decision to follow a South Beach plan meant I needed to stock up.

It's not like I didn't shop while I was at my daughter's. Heh. And never mind that I brought oat groats, wheat berries and brown rice home with me. Until I watched my daughter eat over the weekend, the idea of South Beach never crossed my mind. The grains are hidden in the pantry for now, but will be useful in a couple of weeks.

I went to Tiny Kroger yesterday without a list. I knew I needed vegetables and cheese, and thought I would have a look at other products that might work for me.

As both of you know, I enjoy cooking. I'd rather cook from scratch than open jars or cans (with the exception of mushrooms – canned mushrooms are so convenient).

So why was I in …

Check this OUT!

As both of you know, Pinterest is the new crack and I'm totally addicted. I was able to cut back slightly while I was away, simply because I thought it would be rude to stay glued to the computer at my daughter's house the way I'm glued to it at mine. And, wonder of wonders, I really didn't gawk much yesterday, since the day after a trip usually means laundry and cleaning and cooking a Real Meal for my husband instead of the toaster-oven cheese sandwiches he survives on when I travel.

But I digress.

I'm always excited to check out whatever new growth there might be in the indoor jungle, and I nearly yelped when I found this:

I recently pinned this method for re-growing celery, and then proceeded to chop off the root end of a limp bunch of celery from my crisper drawer and plop it in a glass with about a half inch of water. I think I did this a week ago. And there are leaves! Already! Tiny baby celery stalks are growing in my living room in January!

I'm astonish…

Game? What game?

I knew yesterday was a travel day, and the older I get the harder travel days are. That trip to Tennessee takes a good, solid seven hours. The trip TO my daughter's is less difficult – I'm excited to be going, I'm moving from EST to CST, so there's more day left when I get there, I have more energy starting out.

Coming home, though, I catch myself sliding onto the warning grooves at the edge of the highway. I literally have had to pull into a rest stop and sleep for a while the last two trips home. By the time I leave her neck of the woods and head toward mine, I've spent however many consecutive days on the go. This trip was an especially on-the-go one, punctuated at the end by building a bed, which was quite the project.

I didn't eat a single meal yesterday, only crappy gas-station-convenience-store snacks. Good thing I only filled up twice. And when I got home I knew I wouldn't be watching the BCS Championship game (congratulations, Alabama!) with my hus…

The party's over …

Time to put my singed credit card back in my wallet, throw away the tattered shopping lists, point my car toward the east and drive for about seven hours. Give or take.

Actually I never found time to go to a craft store – Michael's would be my preference – so I'm going to see if there's one with easy access to the highway on my way home and make that my lunchtime.

My daughter and I built an Ikea bed yesterday. It's quite sturdy and, of course, since it's Ikea it's also nicely designed. Very few actual "instructions" in the manual, the Swedes are more visual, I guess. There were swear words – and much sweating – however, and it's pretty amazing how sore my back and shoulders are this morning.

Really, assembling furniture should count as both cardio and strength training.

In addition to heading home, it's time for me to reset my food button. It's much too easy to eat pretzels – a snack I don't keep on hand – when they're right there …

And another thing I don't do much in the country …

is go to the movies.

With my grandson gone in one direction and my granddaughter in another, my daughter and I spent part of yesterday afternoon with George Clooney and his Descendants. Fascinating movie, good story and great acting, particularly by Shailene Woodley, who played Clooney's older daughter.

It's on Entertainment Weekly's list of 25 films to see before Oscar night. Whew. Checked that one off the list. Heh.

Set in Hawaii, I was struck by the dark cinematography. Long shots of sea and sky showed cloudy skies. City shots were hustle and bustle. Beach scenes were mostly messy, untidy, completely unlike the travel-brochure image most of us on the mainland have of the islands.

All in all, I give it two thumbs up. As if you care.

I will be missing my walk tomorrow, as I'll be driving all day and will lose an hour going from CST to EST. But I'm getting ready to head out now, and this will be the 14th consecutive day I've walked, beginning Christmas afternoo…

Country mouse goes to the city

When I have an opportunity, as I did yesterday, to spend time in a city, I begin to fantasize about actually living in one again. I don't know what I would call the blog, because leaving the Middle of Nowhere would mean the end of the reaping part. And I would miss that. A lot.But I had a very full and satisfying day in this city, and I could certainly get used to it.I'd probably need a lot more money, though.I was able to easily find the seeds and grains in bulk at Whole Foods, and picked up a few things at Trader Joe's, which was right around the corner. I was in a ritzy part of Nashville, but alas - no star sightings.I met my daughter for lunch downtown - YES, I DROVE DOWNTOWN - and found my way back to her house without incident.Traffic in my neighborhood isn't quite the same as it is here. The only time you'll get stuck behind a lomg line of cars back home is if you're in a funeral procession.And when I start dwelling on the whole "driving in traffic&…

Time to myself

Yes, I'm visiting family in another state, but they're all scattering to their respective schools and offices today and I have a day to myself. In a city. That has stores.

Both of you know how infrequently I shop, given that I live in the Middle of Nowhere. Tiny Kroger is a 12-mile, one-way drive from my house, and that's the closest place to buy basic groceries. They've just now begun selling cilantro, occasionally, but don't look for tahini or fish sauce or hot curry powder. (They're well-stocked on mild, thankyouverymuch.)

And fuhgeddaboutit if you're even remotely crafty. Michael's Arts and Crafts is an hour and a half away from my house. Here, though, I can be there in no time. My daughter's house is 10 minutes away from a mecca of consumerism.

I'm not a big consumer and I manage quite nicely with the internet. (Just ask my husband. Or pay my credit card bill.) But there are times when it's helpful to actually look at, touch, hold, exam…

Yay me.

So I'm filling up the car with gas and my green smoothie didn't last very long and I'm a hungry, hungry hippo. Er, blogger. I walked into the convenience store, asked if they had bananas, they didn't and I left. Empty-handed.

This is MAJOR for someone who thinks a road trip comes with permission to eat anything and everything.

So what if I'm hungry? I'M NOT GOING TO DIE.

Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

Orange you glad we won?

We sure are! Let's goooooo, Mountaineeeeeers!

I completely forgot to talk about getting ready for last night's football game yesterday. Because I was so busy talking about kitchen scales, apparently.

Thanks for your great ideas for other gadgets. I've never used a microplane. I have a box grater which works well for grating most cheeses, and I have a hand-turned Zyliss cheese grater for hard cheeses. So I guess I've never thought I needed a microplane. But maybe I do? Heh.

I also love my slow cooker, which I try to use at least once a week. And my immersion blender will be put to good use making a green smoothie for breakfast in just a few minutes. Great suggestions!

West Virginia got to play Clemson in the Orange Bowl last night and it ended up being a record-breaking blowout, the first really lopsided game of the bowl season. My husband has been dealing with some real stressors concerning a couple family members lately, and it was sooooo fun to see him laughing and h…

My can't-live-without-it kitchen gadget

I have a love-hate relationship with my bathroom scale. I, in fact, own two bathroom scales because I thought I NEEDED one that calculated body fat.

Wow, was that ever depressing.

It is now stored on a high shelf in the bathroom, and I use the other one for information. (At least I try, try, try to let it only give me information. I hate it when it tells me I've been "bad" or I'm a "loser." Sometimes I swear it does.)

My kitchen scale, however, is my BFF. I use it daily, for all kinds of things, some of which are not cooking-related. But really? It's one of the best tools for helping keep track of what you consume.

I bought an Escali several years ago. Its original purpose was to weigh yarn. We knitters sometimes run into great deals on unlabeled yarn. A scale that measures grams lets us know if we have enough to make a sweater or if we need to edit the pattern and just make a vest.

If one yard of yarn weighs X grams, then 100 grams = X yards. I think. …

It's a sign!

Just for fun, I went to the New Year's Resolution page I linked to yesterday. Here's what I got when I pressed the "Gimme" button:

I'll take my hope for the future any way I can get it.

It's a jungle in here!

In addition to recommitting to fitness and clean eating and all that crap, I've also recommitted to taking a daily photo. I'm going to do my best to take it with the Rebel instead of the BlackBerry, but honestly, some of my BB photos are pretty amazing. Like this one:

I'm going to use the photo blog this year for food pictures, probably just one meal a day. I know there are weight-loss/photo bloggers out there who hold themselves accountable by snapping a picture of every little and big thing they eat. But I'm not dragging the Rebel out every time I eat an orange, and I want to use the good camera for Project 365. I certainly get the idea of recording your daily intake with pictures, though. There's even an iPhone app that will count the calories you've eaten by analyzing your photos.

I'm not limiting my Rebel photos to food, though, which is what today's post's title is all about. All of our talk about losing weight once and for all, all the weight-…