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Showing posts from February, 2013

A first

Well, maybe not. But a first in a long, long time.

Last night we watched Argo on pay-per-view. AND I DID NOT KNIT!

That's right, folks, I finished the Irresponsible Tam a few days ago. (One of the most unflattering hats I've ever made, sorry to say. I tossed it.) And there's nothing easy on my needles at the moment, and easy knitting is required for television watching. So I simply turned out the lamp and we pretended we were in a theatre.

Our local movie place doesn't have an especially good sound system, so I'm glad it worked out that we could watch this film at home, where we could control the volume and actually hear what was going on. Lots of clandestine conversations would have been lost to both of us had we watched it at the Ritz.

You may have heard that you'll be on the edge of your seat the last 30 minutes of the film, even though you know how it ends. SO TRUE! It really was intense. Not my normal movie choice – I like comedies and romances more than t…

February 27 - Playing

The Slowest Loser

Late middle-aged woman embarks on yet another weight-loss scheme, this time determined to shed those pounds once and for all. No matter how long it takes, she will prevail in a way that will ensure she never has to go through the process again.

That's my pitch for a new reality TV series, starring me. Heh.

I watched this week's episode of The Biggest Loser while I worked out on the elliptical yesterday. The advantage of watching the recorded version, of course, is you can skip through the commercials, thus squeezing a two-hour program into about 88 minutes. About an hour into the process, I was ready to sit on my ass to finish the viewing, but my husband chose that moment to pop in to see how I was doing. Could I quit then? No, I could not.

Watching the contestants lose four, seven, 11 and 12 pounds in a week is so discouraging sometimes. Real life isn't like Biggest Loser life at all. Real life doesn't include Jillian cracking her whip. Real life means I'm the co…

February 26 - Quiet

Trying not to be selfish

While much of the United States is dealing with yet another winter storm, bad roads and massive snowfall, we're getting lots o' rain right now.

Which means there is an elliptical workout in the very near future for me.

I love walking outdoors and hate missing it, but it sure looks like today's going to be an indoor day. And maybe the next few days, as well.

And it feels small and mean of me to be lamenting my forced indoor workout, when so many, many others are truly suffering.

Also, there was a massive fire in Hinton, our county seat, last night, which destroyed more than a dozen historic homes. What a tremendous loss for those families and for the town. No injuries or deaths, thankfully, but oh, my goodness, what a loss.

The row of brick homes were built for railroaders, back when Hinton was a boom town. I loved that row of houses and am so sad they're gone.

February 25 - On Your Bedside Table

That went well

I fully expected to stay the same weight this week, based on a combination of

past experiencea weekend with little exertion andall restaurant meals for the past couple days.
So I was surprised shocked and pleased thrilled to see a 1.5-pound loss. It'll be nine weeks Wednesday when I put my nose to this grindstone, and in that time I've lost a total of 8.5 pounds. This is what I've hoped for and, more importantly, this is what I've planned for.

Had I stayed the same again this week, I'm not sure what I might have done. I'm just glad I don't have to figure it out. It looks like I'll be experiencing a stay-the-same/lose-a-little cycle, so the best thing I can do is not go off the deep end when I stay the same.

For the record, I was nearly 1400 calories under budget for the week. I went over the limit Saturday, but by only 42. (I shouldn't have licked the caramel sauce from my dessert plate at dinner, heh.) LoseIt! has reduced my budget by 10 calories pe…

February 24 - Cloud

February 23 - Word

About fast food

You know how we were talking about fast food oh, not that long ago? Well, when you travel, your options are limited. Fast food is convenient and cheap and easy. That said, we still rarely eat it.

Except for today.

It's Lent, so all those commercials for broiled cod sandwiches have been assaulting our senses for the past few days. If you watch the news, or Jeopardy, or any kind of televised sporting event, you've seen the one for Hardees' iteration of the sacrificial Lenten sandwich.

Let me tell you, neither that commercial nor any photographic representation of that sandwich resembles the real thing in any way, shape or form. In other words, don't bother.

The only thing that does work is … the advertising.

February 22 - Makes you smile

Brief thoughts on a couple of NYTimes articles

It hasn't really been all-dentures-all-the-time here in the Middle of Nowhere. It just seems like it.

A friend pointed me toward this recent New York Times article: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food by Michael Moss. I wasn't sure, at first, if I even cared to read it because I don't eat junk food. But the first paragraph hooked me and it didn't take long to draw comparisons between Moss's findings and those of David Kessler.

I bought and read Kessler's The End of Overeating when it was published in 2010. I can't say that it changed my way of eating all that much – I had been moving toward eating more healthfully long before the book's release. Kessler did, however, provide a lot of insight into how processed foods are manufactured in order to hook consumers into eating more, and eating more often. And, of course, the title was, um, intriguing. Had I been a junk-food junkie, I might have seen the light.

The Moss article, excerpted from his…

February 21 - Full


Well, I thought the new, ahem, "appliance" was going to come today, but it arrived yesterday instead. I kept my walking date, but we only went three miles so I would still have time to make it to the dentist's office before they closed for the day.

The new denture fits well without adhesive and looks great. The photo shows all three attempts at making me look less like a toothless old redneck. The top one is the original, which looked all right when I smiled but looked very fake and unnatural when my mouth was at rest.

The center image is the original piece after it had been relined. Too much gum and it fit horribly. I couldn't wear it for more than a couple hours without getting a massive headache.

The lower photo is the brand-new one that just came. I had to use lots of adhesive with the previous pieces, but this one fits well without it and I expect, as I get used to it, will continue to lock into place, just as the doctor has promised it would all along.

I guess …

February 20 - Where you stood

Fitting it all in

Kind of a late start today, even though I got up at the usual 6 a.m.-ish. (I thought you were supposed to be able to sleep late once you quit working at a regular job. Yes, taking care of my home is work, but it's certainly not anything I would call, um, regular! I am most definitely a lark when it comes to sleeping and waking.)

Anyhoo. I had a meeting with the owner of the garden center this morning and in order to be a good little wife I had to give up writing this morning to play a game of SuperScrabble with my husband. He's been on a roll lately, and I am not a very gracious loser, so it did start my day off pretty well to be able to STOMP him. Heh.

We take our SuperScrabble seriously here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Were it not for NaBloPoMo, I might have skipped writing today entirely, as I've very little to report. I walked yesterday afternoon and will walk again in a couple of hours. It's SuperWindy today, which is making the actual temperature of 29° feel like 1…

February 19 - I am …

The denture adventure continues

I'm so, so proud of myself.

Yesterday's tiny gain could have sent me right straight to McDonald's for something fried and fat or to Tiny Kroger for a delicious bakery creation for breakfast yesterday. I didn't eat breakfast before I went to the dentist, which is unusual, and maybe it was in the back of my mind that I'd grab something fast and yummy between the dentist and the oil change appointments. But I didn't. I'm not sure if skipping breakfast is better than eating something yummy, but I chose to skip.

The dentist appointment went great. HAD IT NOT, you can bet I would have been diving for doughnuts. But this try-in was perfect and looks good, better than I ever expected.

For anyone out there who may not know, I've been on an upper denture adventure since last June. I went in yesterday for the second third try-in. We're starting from scratch. Again. (I had two try-ins with the first set of dentures and they STILL didn't work.)

Here's wh…

February 18 - Something you don't like

Quickly ...

Gained a half-pound this week. I'm not quite sure how that's possible. I walked 21 miles last week and was under my calorie budget by more than 1600 calories – a full day's worth of food.

But, like Scarlett, I can't think about that now. I have a first-thing dentist appointment followed by a second-thing oil change followed by a walking date this afternoon. I still like the walking, whether it results in weight loss or not.

And, looking at the big picture, I've lost seven pounds in seven weeks. I'll be eating all my meals next weekend in restaurants, since we'll be out of town. Arghhhh. I don't look forward to any weekly weigh-in, and I'm already not looking forward to next Monday's.

This is EXACTLY why I thought monthly weigh-ins were preferable. Clearly that first one sent me over the edge, and clearly, I'm handling this week's result a little more pragmatically.

But still. I know both of you understand exactly how I feel. And you also…

February 17 - In your hand

Crazy good

A few things about the first half of the weekend that have been crazy good:

Driving my car!
We've been relying on and sharing my husband's two-wheel-drive, no-frills, standard-transmission, lightweight pick-up truck for transportation for nearly three weeks. We decided to take a longish drive to not-so-nearby Roanoke to see a movie yesterday, since the Escape is finally back home where it belongs. Setting the cruise control? Crazy good.Skipping lunch.
One look at me and you know I rarely skip a meal. The way the schedule worked out yesterday, however, there just wasn't time. We stopped at the co-op market across from the theatre and picked up a little locally made peanut-butter-topped-with-chocolate treat to eat before the movie started. I scanned the barcode and LoseIt! said it was 610 calories! So I only ate half of it. Still … a crazy good treat, lemme tell ya.Silver Linings Playbook.
What a good flick. I mean, WHAT A GOOD FLICK! It's at the tail end of its theatre r…

January 16 - Perfect

Two weeks, five days and five hours …

BUT WHO'S COUNTING?!?!? Very grateful it's fixed. The front end looks like a brand new car … because, well, it is!

February 15 - Inside your fridge

One foot in front of the other

Having and following a routine, a plan, a course of action is helpful when life gets, um, discouraging.

Things didn't work out well at the dentist yesterday because I didn't go to the dentist, as I had planned. Because he wasn't in. Which means the new appliance I wanted to have in place prior to an upcoming weekend getaway? Well, it's not going to be here.

I could have cried.

And the car? Remember the car that hit the deer nearly three weeks ago? It's apparently missing just one hose that was supposed to have been delivered yesterday BUT THE EMPLOYEE WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO PUT IT ON THE TRUCK FORGOT TO DO IT. The truck shows up at the auto-repair place with goodies for all the other jobs except ours.

You can't help but wonder about the efficiency, or lack thereof, in the modern workplace. I know I'm going to sound like an old curmudgeon, but back when I was working if something went wrong we fixed it.

I was an ad designer for a newspaper. We had deadlines. W…

February 14 - Love is …

Happy Heart Day!

I hope your Valentine's Day is simply lovely! So far, so good around here. My husband brought a rose home for me yesterday, which absolutely illustrates the compromising nature of our relationship.

We both would have tucked into a box of chocolates, which neither of us needs, so that wasn't even considered. I love, love, love flowers. If money were no object, I'd have fresh flowers every week, all over the house. He, on the other hand, thinks flowers are silly and useless and a complete waste of money.

A lovely, single red rose is his way of saying, "I acknowledge that you love flowers and thank you for letting me get away with one instead of a dozen." Heh.

Also, happy second day of Lent. Everyone who gave up sugar and/or chocolate for Lent is probably wishing Easter were later this year.

We're not Catholic and don't feel a religious need to make a Lenten sacrifice. But when we were walking together Tuesday we talked about what we could do to mark the seas…

February 13 - Walking

February 12 - Where you ate lunch


Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday 20 years ago. Restaurants tables were few and far between February 13, 1993, but my date and I managed to snag one after a short wait.

It was our first date. Who in the world has their first date on Valentine's Day weekend? All those other couples were looking dreamy-eyed at each other over candles and cassoulet, while he and I had typical first-date conversations: who's your favorite author, where did you grow up, how did you get sober? (I guess most folks don't share last-drunk stories on a first date. But since we met in AA, we probably did.)

He's my husband now, so I guess it all worked out. Heh.

We were in our 40s then. He'll be 70 later this year. Time flies when you're having fun.

Of course it's not all fun. I pout and throw things and threaten to run away when life gets to be too much for me. His style is to retreat and grow silent. But those times are few and far between, and as the years have passed, they have …

The diagnosis

So Hershey has an infection of unknown origin. Which, apparently, isn't unusual for older dogs. (Her vet said, "OH! I remember when she was just a tiny puppy! How is it possible that she's 10 years old already?" And she said it with exclamation points and ear rubs and lots of petting and cooing. I love Hershey's vet.)

Hershey's blood work revealed she had an elevated white blood count to go with a slight fever, and is now taking an antibiotic and an NSAID (apologies to those of you who saw my Facebook post yesterday in which I said she was getting a steroid) for pain.

This is the first time she's been sick (I know, amazing, right?), and I was truly worried. Yesterday was a very stressful day. I'm glad I have a built-in rest day each week, because I needed a Monday in which exercise was not on the schedule.

Yesterday also kind of got in the way of the big project I wanted to brag about finishing on Sunday. In my continuing quest to tidy up around here,…

February 11 - Entrance

For the love of the dog

I was all settled in to watch the Grammys, upstairs where the big-screen TV is, knitting in hand. I watched the red carpet show on E! and was about an hour into the awards program when my husband came upstairs and said Hershey was sick.

We'd noticed earlier in the day that she was shivering, which was odd because it certainly wasn't dog-chillingly cold yesterday. In fact, we enjoyed temperatures in the low 50s most of the afternoon. When the shaking hadn't stopped by mid-evening, we began to get worried enough to consult Dr. Google.

I looked up "shaking," "shivering" and "tremors" under Dog Symptoms in the Pet section of WebMD. Out of all the possibilities, she either might have the sudden and inexplicable "White Dog Shaking Syndrome," which was identified because it originally affected small white dogs but can affect all breeds, colors and sizes. OR she could have eaten something outside that has made her sick. Because the only thin…

February 10 - 3 o'clock


You know how "they" say to switch things up every now and then to keep it interesting? Could be a workout routine, could be your diet, could be (in my case) your husband. (My current is my fourth.)

(Okay I was kidding about "they" suggesting you switch husbands, but I'm not kidding that my current is my fourth. What can I say? I'm a slow learner. Or impatient. Or ...)

No, here's what's changing: I'm switching to the body-fat scale AND, to make life truly exciting, I'm switching my official weigh-in day to Monday, which is when LoseIt!'s week begins. Having the week begin on Monday and having my weigh-in recorded on Friday has been bugging the teeny-tiny-little OCD part of my brain.

For that matter, Daily Mile begins its week on Monday, as well. It'll be so nice to have everything tracked from the same starting point. (And while we're talking about Daily Mile, do check out the widget in the right-hand sidebar that shows my total m…

The photo du jour

Today's prompt was "guilty pleasure," which was kind of difficult. I don't watch Hoarders or read romance novels, two ideas that came immediately to mind. I don't, in general, feel much guilt about anything I do or say unless I need to. I sometimes lose my temper and snap at my husband unnecessarily. He gets the snap because he's in the line of fire, and I do feel guilty about that. I apologize and we move on. (He's extraordinarily good at accepting an apology.)

I expect to see lots of food photos to fulfill today's prompt, and I might have reposted the one of a McDonald's iced coffee I shot several weeks ago. That prompt was "favorite," but I captioned it as a "favorite guilty pleasure." The guilt comes from buying something at McDonald's more than from drinking an iced coffee. With cream. And sugar-free vanilla syrup.

I'm trying not to attach feelings to food. I'm not restricting or eliminating any foods from my &…

February 8 - Orange

Here's what I hate about the scale

I thought I was having a GREAT week. You know that feeling when you first wake up, before you actually get up, when you know you've done everything right and all's well with the world? And your body just feels thinner?

And it's Friday and you weigh yourself on Fridays and the &%@)%$&^% scale says you've gained a pound?

Please tell me you know that feeling, too.

I haven't gained a pound. I KNOW I haven't gained a pound. I pulled the other scale down off the shelf and it said I've lost two pounds. Yes, I know the other scale would show a gain if I'd been using it all along, but still. I suppose I should dance with the scale I came with.

Oh, but I'm so tempted to switch. It weighs in half-pound increments and calculates body fat. I would have to read the manual again to figure that part out, however.

This week was STELLAR. I ate much closer to the calorie goals. (Still under the goals, but by a much narrower margin.) And I hit two high spots wi…

February 7 - Your Name

The bounty of nature

Most of the nature my friend and I noted yesterday on our afternoon walk (which turned out to be a 10K, woo hoo for us!) was of the dearly departed kind. We saw a raccoon hand before we saw the remainder of the remains, quite a bit less of the same deer my husband and I saw a couple weeks ago and – for good measure – a dead skunk.

The rest of the walk was lovely, I promise. At one point we climbed down the riverbank to get closer to the water, and we took lots of photos along the way. My best shots ended up on Facebook via Instagram (here's one), but I saved one just for you.

I can't remember the last time I walked six miles. I don't think I went that far in a single session all last year, so it must have been the year before. I'm just happy I can still do it, although I was pretty wiped out the rest of the day. Glad I don't have an evening job.

Not all the wild animals around here are dead ones. Hershey got our attention by going a little nuts at the front door r…

February 6 - Soft

Venturing forth

I finally, finally got outdoors for a walk yesterday. Finished three miles in exactly an hour, thanks to a big of jogging in the third mile. Yes, I am slow. And old. And slow. (The first mile is ALL uphill, and I can rarely complete it in less than 22 minutes. Since it's an out-and-back route, that makes the third mile all DOWNHILL, which is – at times – a blast!)

My husband walked with me, but added two more miles to his route. I needed to get back home to take care of a batch of English muffin dough which was rising. I made him stop once we got off our property so I could take a picture: Proof that I did, indeed, leave the premises.

Got home, "baked" the muffins (which is done stovetop in a skillet), showered and went to the bank, grocery and gas station. Running errands is not usually something to which I look forward. It really did feel good to get out, though, amazingly good.

To top off my day of freedom, I … um … went to the prison. While some might not look at tha…

February 5 - Something you smelled

It's melting, it's melting!

The current local temperature, according to the weather widget on my phone, is 37°. I'll take that. It might rain, and I'll take that, too. It's probably not going to get too much warmer today, maybe five degrees, but RAIN CAN'T TURN INTO ICE AT 37°!

Which means I'm going out today. Did you hear that? I'M GOING OUT TODAY! In the truck. To town. And maybe even to walk!

I'm pretty darned proud of myself for climbing onto the elliptical every damned day for the past six days. Last time I was outdoors for exercise was exactly a week ago, when I alternated jogging and walking for a little more than four miles. And whether I am able to walk outdoors today or not, the very fact that the snow is melting and there won't be any additional ice (today) to keep me from going out is giving me hope, hope, HOPE!

Sometimes you just have to grab that string of hope and run with it.

Yesterday was less-than-productive, despite my good intentions. I ended up working on a fr…

February 4 - Hope

I am afflicted

cab•in fe•verNoun. Irritability, listlessness and restlessness resulting from prolonged confinement or isolation indoors during the winter. I am also, perhaps, a bit of a drama queen. It's not, after all, like I'm being held here against my will. And it's not, after all, like I don't have contact with the outside world. The television isn't broken and by golly neither are the internets. My phone works, and I have unlimited texting with my wireless plan.

In other words (or, as the young folk type, IOW), I've nothing about which to complain.


The farthest I've ventured from my front door since last Tuesday is to the detached garage, to go nowhere for 40 or 60 or 80 minutes on the elliptical. My husband and I even opted to watch last night's Super Bowl on the little TV in the house, rather than drag our asses (and our refreshments! and my knitting!) all the way over to the garage's second-floor family room with its huge-screen TV.

Six days hardly q…

February 3 - Beginning with E

February 2 - Pattern

February 1 - Fork

Friday Quote Day (an occasional reprise)

See, don't ever give up! Maybe sometimes you feel like 
a rotting old pile of firewood too, but you are actually 
full of incredible potential underneath. All you need is a 
heavy-duty sanding and some paint, and possibly some 
new handles on your drawers!
~ Lindsey, author of the Better After blog Lindsey features furniture (and sometimes room) makeovers over at Better After, and I LOVE the way she writes. When she wrote the lines I'm using for today's quote, she wrote them for me. And you, if you're also working toward a tough goal.

The number on the scale this morning was much more realistic than last Friday's. I might even get some work done around here today. (Last Friday I collapsed in a heap and didn't move all day.)

To recap: I stepped on the scale Christmas morning and saw a most horrifying number. My New Year's resolution to get fit, once and for all and I really mean it this time, began the next day. I'm using the LoseIt! app, and following the ca…