Thursday, February 28, 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 thrillers – but it certainly kept me engaged. The characters were well-cast, particularly the roles played by Alan Arkin and John Goodman.

Walked outdoors yesterday afternoon, surprise, surprise. The predicted precipitation held off all day. We have powdered sugar snow on the ground now, and I don't think we'll have any significant accumulation. The weather people are absolutely intent on covering their asses this year. We've been under far too many Winter Weather Advisories that just didn't happen, sending people running to the grocery for French toast bread, milk and eggs. And beer. Heh.

Because of the cold and slippery streets, I'll be working out indoors. Not sure how I'll distract myself. I have a few things on the DVR I could watch, and more than a few books/magazines on the Nook I could read.

One thing is for sure: While I'm on that machine, I'll be wishing I was outside.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27 - Playing

I think this needs no explanation ...

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 cook. No matter how much I want to be thinner, I will never spend four hours a day working out, as Francelina – the most recent contestant to go home – admitted she occasionally does.

The method I choose to lose weight and get healthy must be sustainable. It has to work for me for the long haul. Each and every time I've lost weight in the past I have gained it back, plus more. I've tried everything except the slow-and-steady approach I'm doing now. I've always done some plan that got it off sooner rather than later.

As I've said many times this year, I don't feel deprived or hungry or restricted or limited in any way. Nothing is forbidden. If I want a treat, I work it into the plan. I have consistently been below the calorie allotment. I've skipped a couple days of walking/working out and I really miss it, which shows me that it's doing as much for my mental health as it is for my physical health.

Weight training and yoga were lofty goals and I hope to make them a more regular part of my routine. I don't love them the way I love walking. I wish I did. But I have the rest of the year to work on that.

Christmas was nine weeks ago yesterday. I've lost 8.5 pounds. Would I love to drop 8.5 pounds in one week, as The Biggest Loser cast sometimes does? You betcha. But the slow road seems to be working just fine. If I don't get to my goal this year, I'll get there next year. What I'm not going to do is quit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26 - Quiet

Quiet is a very hard prompt. But the kitchen was quiet after I finished mixing
the filling for lemon bars, so it will have to do. The lemon bars are for our
dog sitter. He won't take money, so I try to keep him well supplied with goodies.

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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25 - On Your Bedside Table

I hate that it's so messy. And I can't escape the irony of the current issue of
"House Beautiful" atop that stack of unread magazines.

That went well

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

  • past experience
  • a weekend with little exertion and
  • all 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 per day this week. I won't even notice that. And I walked every day this week, for a total of 24 miles.

Our trip went very well. We met up with a couple who live in southwest Virginia. We enjoy their company very much, but only see them two or three times a year, and only when we wives get together to make the plans.

Our home base was Hendersonville, NC, which is a lovely little town and well worth visiting. Saturday morning we went to nearby Flat Rock to visit Carl Sandburg's home, Connemara, which has been maintained by the National Park Service since his death in the late 1960s. The home and grounds are lovely, and have been left intact, as if the family were going to return at any minute.

A grazing Nubian at Connemara.
Many people don't know that Mrs. Sandburg was known worldwide for her dairy goats. Her visitors, who sometimes traveled from Europe to purchase a kid, frequently asked, "And what does your husband do?" Fifteen goats are still kept at Connemara, all direct descendants of the original flock.

We lunched in Saluda, NC, a tiny little railroad town, the main street of which was lined with cafés and shops and galleries. Because we are old, we went back to the hotel to nap before dinner at the Mrs. G and Me bistro in downtown Hendersonville. The menu offered something for everyone and Mr. G came around as we were finishing up to personally thank us for dining with them.

Originally from Great Britain, he had no idea he was chatting up a table full of single-payer advocates. My husband asked his opinion of the American health care system and we got an earful! Appalling! Dreadful! Bloody awful! When he learned the two men at the table were physicians, he began to apologize, but we quickly assured him we agreed wholeheartedly. He, in turn, assured us that the Brits were quite satisfied with their National Health Service, despite what we might hear on Fox News.

I was plum tuckered out when we got home yesterday afternoon, but took a long rest in order to stay up to watch all of the (in my opinion) incredibly lackluster Academy Awards. Hollywood produced some spectacular films this year, but the program seemed uninspired and I thought Seth McFarlane was mean-spirited and a tad too sarcastic. Perhaps that's the way Hollywood is, as well. (Reviews of his hosting gig are glowing, however, so what do I know?)

I was left wishing I'd seen more of the films, especially Les Miserables, Argo and Life of Pi, which I originally had no interest in at all. Nice that they're either on pay-per-view or soon will be.

I was also left feeling great that I stayed up until the last statue was handed out, thus not missing Michelle Obama via satellite, opening the envelope and announcing that Argo had won. I think all the Republicans in the country just stopped going to the movies. Heh.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24 - Cloud

We have some pretty great clouds here in West Virginia. Our skies often
remind me of Wisconsin skies which, for me, are the gold standard of
beautiful skies. But of course, when the photo prompt is "cloud,"
there ain't a cloud in the sky from NC all the way home to WV.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23 - Word

Have nearly finished, only one chapter left. These are good words, classic
words, inspirational words. Words for the ages. Can't believe I've never read it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

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

Our digital photo frame is one of the best gifts EVER! I've loaded it with
family photos, of course, but also with some of my favorite Instagram shots.
Sometimes we sit and watch it like TV. Heh.

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 forthcoming book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, details the marketing strategies of the processed food industry. It's a fascinating and somewhat frightening article, considering that an exploratory meeting of food industry executives took place in 1999 with the goal of addressing the role of processed foods in the so-called obesity epidemic.

Since then the epidemic has become pandemic, and the fake-food manufacturers are offering New! Improved! versions of the same old crap, based on scientific studies that consumers really prefer cheap-and-easy over home-cooked and wholesome.

I'm not that consumer. Moss details one study which found that baby boomers eat snacks in lieu of meals, and I'm definitely not that consumer. But they're out there, and the manufacturers of foodlike substances aren't going away any time soon. The article is a cautionary tale; I expect the book will be moreso.

I read the article online, and as I approached the end of it, a pop-up suggested I might also enjoy an additional, shorter piece: The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors by Gretchen Reynolds. And I did. There's not much hard science in here at all, but I know that for me, spending my intentional-activity time outdoors just makes me feel better. Each of us is different, of course, and I'm not going to tell you you'll feel better, too. But if I have a choice between the elliptical/rowing machine/treadmill in my garage OR Indian Creek Road, 4-H Camp Road or the road I live on, I'm picking the road.

Sometimes there is no choice. This morning, for instance, we are currently experiencing the old wintry mix – 32°F, and freezing rain mixed with snow. I would not hesitate to walk when it's freezing outside (and I have my friend Lynne to thank for that, who sensibly points out that people ski when it's this cold), but I very definitely hesitate to walk when it's icy. I'm a little more cautious and a lot more prudent as winter winds down, having fallen on black ice once this year.

So I'll be heading for the elliptical and my recording of this week's The Biggest Loser, after which I will feel like I can read Jen's review of the episode. I could save a heck of a lot of time if I just skipped watching and read her wrap-ups every week. But I guarantee I wouldn't spend as much time on the elliptical.

This wintry-mix stuff should clear up by noon, and that's the target for getting out of Dodge. Hope you both have a great weekend. I'm going to meet up with some friends and then meet up with a poet.

Sort of.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21 - Full

Lately, my favorite breakfast is an English muffin spread with a ripe
avocado and topped with two poached eggs. 400 calories and it keeps
me full all morning and sometimes until mid-afternoon!


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 you have to start with a good fit first, though. I still have a bit of a gagging/choking feeling, but nothing like I did to begin with. He gave me some spray anesthetic (cherry-flavored!) to help that issue.

I'm not sure why the first one wasn't right, but there's no denying it wasn't. And now, a full EIGHT MONTHS and $1200-plus later, I can get on with my life without focusing every damned day on my teeth. (He didn't charge a dime for the second denture. I was astonished, but I guess sometimes it takes a couple attempts to get it right and they build that into the original cost.)

And guess what? SO CAN YOU! Heh.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20 - Where you stood

Those little green shoots are the daffodils, with buds. And it's only 29°!

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 19°. We're going to start out at 2 p.m., hopefully at the peak of the afternoon warmth. Got a couple nice pix walking yesterday, don't you think? Same barn from different directions.

We see this barn and outbuildings at the beginning of the walk.
Same barn from the opposite side, heading back to the car.
Last week I checked my weight every morning. That half-pound gain happened between the official Monday weigh-in and Tuesday, and I stayed the same all week. Perhaps that's helped me be able to accept the result this week.

I don't plan to weigh myself again until Monday, mostly because a weekend of restaurant meals is probably not going to look too good. But partly just to see how I react. I'm my own petri dish experiment, I guess, and in the end, I'll choose the method that allows me to feel the most OKAY on Mondays.

Honestly, though, I feel okay most of the time. I like the walking, I'm not hungry, I'm eating healthfully. I've not been very good about the yoga or weight training or drinking water, so there's a lot of room for improvement. All in all, though, the first eight weeks have been pretty good, both for me and to me.

Having something to focus on that I can't complain about: Priceless.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19 - I am …

hungry for breakfast! (Photo was taken at about 7:30 a.m.)

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 what happens at my dentist's when your natural teeth fall out and you have to get replacements (some practitioners do immediate dentures, mine doesn't):

  • The dentist extracts any remaining natural teeth.
  • You go home and hide for six to eight weeks. BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO UPPER TEETH.
  • After complete healing of your gums, you go back to the office to have an impression made.
  • You go back again a few days later to have a bite impression made. 
  • The dentist sends the impressions off to a lab where they make a fake set of dentures out of wax.
  • You go back again to try out the wax model. If it looks good and feels good and fits well, then …
  • The dentist sends it back to the lab for the real deal to be made.

When you live in the Middle of Nowhere, each step in the process takes about a week, after the healing period. The dental lab is two hours away by car, but two DAYS away by UPS. So, two days to deliver, a day or two to make, two days to return.

When I found out yesterday the lab was only two hours away, I volunteered to take the wax model to the lab myself, to save some time. We're going away this weekend and by making the four-hour round-trip drive yesterday, I will have have the new appliance Thursday. Instead of next Monday.

You don't know how I dreaded meeting up with our friends and eating in restaurants with the current set of upper dentures. They look HORRIBLE and they fit badly and they give me a headache and I can't eat with them. I envisioned a weekend from hell, truly.

My dentist was happy and I was happy and I left his office with my future happiness tucked in a little box. I still had to get the oil changed, so I left the car and called my husband and TOOK A WALK. It was only about 22 degrees, but I had a little excess energy I needed to get rid of. My husband came to town, left his car and went with me to the big city of Dunbar, WV.

We dropped the box off, were triply assured that it would be back at my dentist's office Thursday and went to lunch. At a Chinese buffet. Probably not the best choice, but when we do that we don't eat dinner. And it was Monday, my "free" day, the one day of the week when I give myself permission to exceed the calorie limit and not exercise. (By my estimate, I didn't even exceed the calorie limit. Yay, me!)

We made it back to Summers County by mid-afternoon, I dropped him off at his car and then … are you ready? … I took ANOTHER walk. It was warm and pretty and I wasn't about to waste a nice day. Combined with the morning walk I ended up logging 4.33 miles in an hour and 22 minutes. A pretty good pace, all in all.

I'm hoping to wrap this adventure up Friday morning and never speak of it again. And if it makes you squirmy that I'm speaking of it now, I apologize. I would have loved to have found someone's personal experience with the process to read as I was going through it, and that's the reason I'm spending so much time on it. My dental problems are the result of genetic bone loss, not poor hygiene, but people tend to assume that if you have dentures you never brushed your teeth. NOT TRUE! Sometimes it's just one of those expensive, painful, frustrating, almost never-ending life situations that happens.

And you've just finished reading a rather long PSA. Thanks for your patience. I hope I've helped. Heh.

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18 - Something you don't like

I think this "news" network has done a great deal of harm to the United States.

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 know there's really not much more I could have done. I'm still committed, somewhat discouraged and a little apprehensive. Okay, a lot.

Hope you had a great weekend, and here's to a good week. For all of us.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 17 - In your hand

Coffee. Mug. It's morning, so naturally this is what's in my hand.
(I love how the mug looks with this filter. Not so much my hand. Oh, well.)

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 run, so if you want to see it prior to Oscar night (next Sunday, and it's up for all of the big awards), go this week. The acting, the actors, the story, the ending – all of it works and we left the theatre feeling like maybe being crazy isn't such a bad thing after all. In other words, crazy can be good. (And keep in mind, my husband is a retired shrink.)

The Grandin.
A charming little treasure of a theatre, tucked in a crazy-cool neighborhood in Salem, Virginia, near Roanoke. A couple times a year we drive 90 miles, one way, to see an offbeat film that will never hit the southern West Virginia theatres. SLP actually has been playing here, but we felt like making a day of it, and we also wanted to visit the used bookstore there.

Too Many Books.
The dearth of bookstores in southern West Virginia is the crazy part of this paragraph. There used to be a Waldenbooks in one of the malls, but it closed up years ago, and was replaced by, oh, who knows? Probably a NASCAR fan shop. (No offense intended if you love NASCAR.) My husband's been on a Hemingway kick and I've been wanting to read Grapes of Wrath ever since I found the Tom Joad Lives Facebook page. Mission accomplished: Five paperbacks and a hardback Hemingway biography for around 30 bucks. A crazy good deal.
We couldn't help stopping for a cuppa before we headed back home. I had a mocha, he had a plain coffee (with a free refill) and while he started reading the biography I checked my texts. We began sharing our thoughts about the movie and the young lady next to us said she hadn't seen it yet, so we did our best to convince her that she needed to take a study break and go to see this crazy-good movie. 
Fiesta Crockpot Chicken.
My current favorite slow-cooker recipe is soooo easy to put together and soooo delicious and it's soooo crazy to have dinner on the table five minutes after you walk into the house after being gone for seven hours.
Mmmm, mmmm, good.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

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!

My little white car, back in its garage, right where it belongs.
(Held together with Democratic bumper stickers. Heh.)

February 15 - Inside your fridge

That bottle of rooster sauce is as essential to my cooking as salt and pepper is.

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. WHICH WE MET. I mentioned my schedule to my dentist last time I was in and he, I thought, made a note of it. And then he decided to take Thursday off. They're not open on Friday. My deadline for the procedure that needed to happen in order to be comfortable going on this trip was … yesterday. Thursday.

There's nothing to do but live with it, but I can live with it angry. For a while, anyway.

At the newspaper, the ad designers were the next-to-last ones in the office on deadline day. The client was king, and if the client didn't provide copy to the sales rep until the last minute, we ad designers were the ones who stayed late and finished it up and got it to the page designers so the paper could get printed and delivered on time. I don't think I ever, not once, clocked out on time on deadline day.

And the car? Well, back in the day, an ad designer occasionally had to drive to the client to pick up copy when the sales rep was tied up trying to get copy from another client. Or out with a sick child. Or sick themselves. You do what you have to do to keep the client happy and to make deadline.

The part needed for the car is in a warehouse in a city two hours away. Someone from that shop could have – should have – driven there to pick it up, bring it back, stick it where it's supposed to go and have that car ready when it was promised. (We have been told it would be ready every day this week. And the initial estimate for completion was February 13.)

I can only imagine what it's like to be an ad designer these days. The ability to transfer images and words electronically surely would speed up the whole process, right? More than likely it's squished those deadlines ever more tightly up against the printer's schedule. Nerve-wracking it would be, certainly.

I shouldn't be complaining. My life is good. I'm sitting in my toasty warm house in front of a fabulous and powerful little gadget dumping all my frustrations on both of you and drinking freshly made coffee from a handmade mug.

I haven't just been rescued from a crippled cruise ship. I'm not recovering from surgery. I'm not ill or injured. I haven't lost someone recently. I've been putting one foot in front of the other for 134 miles this year, and I'll add a couple more to that total today.

I have so much for which to be grateful. It would serve me well to remember what I have, instead of what I have not.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14 - Love is …

flowers for me, music for him. Happy Valentine's Day!

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 season. He's been on a clean-and-purge mission and would love for me to be there, as well. So we agreed that by the time Easter got here we would have divested ourselves of a lot of stuff, with the bulk of it going to Goodwill.

Then I found 40 Notes in 40 Days. And even though Day One has already happened, I think I'm going to play catch-up and complete the list. I probably won't be handwriting and mailing them if e-mail will work. Some of the people on my list are no longer living, so I might write my notes here on the blog. At any rate, I love the idea and am grateful to the Fat Pastor (who is getting less fat by the minute!) for creating it.

If you're not Catholic, do you have a Lenten mission?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13 - Walking

Y'all have seen HUNDREDS of pictures taken while I'm out walking.
It's so miserable outside today all I can do is walk from the house to the
garage so I can work out indoors on the elliptical. The irony is priceless.

February 12 - Where you ate lunch

I nearly always eat lunch at the dining room table. Homemade yogurt, fresh
strawberries, honey and chia seeds. Mmmmm.


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 grown fewer and farther.

Or at least I like to think so.

He still surprises me, and we're both pretty astonished – given our relationship histories – that we're still together 20 years later. The first couple years were touch-and-go. The third and fourth years we did the long-distance thing between Ohio and West Virginia. And then, we sealed the deal. I sold my house, quit my job and in 1997 moved to the Middle of Nowhere.

Because we are who we are, we didn't get married until 2006, but we lived happily in sin all those years.

He likes to eat and I like to cook, so that works out. We both like to read, but he prefers books and I'd rather use the Nook. He's learned to love walking and I've moved way left of the salad fork. (As both of you know!) Politics is now one of our common, shared interests. He'll never embrace technology and gadgets the way I do, and I'll never appreciate classical music the way he does.

We complement each other nicely, though. In the next 20 years, I'd like for him to learn to cook and he'd like for me to divest myself of some yarn. I've serious doubts about either of those things happening. But it's something to work toward.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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, I tackled the secretary, which is a lovely piece of furniture that, unfortunately, is a repository for odd bits and bobs of STUFF that I can, literally, shut the door on. The fold-down writing surface is perfect for hiding what lies behind.

(Also, it used to be green. A really horrible green. With gold-leaf trim. A roll of painter's tape and a few cans of spray paint were all it took to take it from icky to adorable.) At any rate, I give you … NEAT!

Now I need to move the laptop over there (what a hard job that's going to be. Heh.) and I can almost guarantee I'll be spending less time online and more time doing other, more constructive things. Because you see that chair? Not the most comfortable spot in the house.

But at least it's clean!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11 - Entrance

The other side of this door is actually the entrance. But it's identical to this
side, so I'm calling it good. This is the exit at the vet's office. Hershey is now
on antibiotics and a steroid for an infection of unspecified origin.

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 thing she eats inside is kibble. (Chocolate, for instance, is a people food that is poisonous to dogs and shaking is one of the symptoms of poisoning.)

She hasn't eaten any kibble since yesterday morning. Another symptom. She might be drinking more water than usual, it's hard to say. Maybe we're just looking for Things Out Of The Ordinary. (She reluctantly and slowly ate one of her favorite treats last night, but refused the less-favored ones we keep upstairs.)

At any rate, I abandoned the Grammys and Hershey and I went to bed early. I just wanted her to be comfortable, and I could easily find out if Mumford & Sons won anything in the morning. (I did get to see them perform, and was delighted that Adele won for Best Pop Solo.)

And so here we are, waiting until 8 a.m. when the vet's office opens and we can take her in. She hates-hates-hates riding in the car. She shakes like a leaf the entire time, and I dread making her go through that on top of the already continuous shivering she's experiencing anyway. I hope she knows we're doing it so that she'll eventually feel better again.

The weigh-in this morning was great, as I knew it would be. I compulsively checked my weight on the other scale as well. According to it, I've lost a total of five pounds since Christmas. According to the body-fat scale I've lost 7.5. I'll be sticking with the body-fat scale from now on. My body fat percentage is shockingly high (43%!), but no more so than it was when I bought the scale. So there's that. Jen, I will take your cautions about it under advisement, with many thanks. It will be a good lesson in treating these numbers as information only.

This is the part of being a dog-mom I really don't like. They can't tell you what's wrong, but you sure do know something is. Here's hoping Hershey will be feeling like her old self sooner rather than later.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10 - 3 o'clock

My husband and I in years past and my friend and I in weeks past have missed
seeing this guy, perched in a tree along Indian Creek. Until yesterday. At 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 miles this year. I'm really loving seeing that number get bigger. It's a nice counterpoint to the scale number.)

I expect a loss tomorrow. If you read my post on Friday, you'll recall there's a three-pound difference between my two sets of bathroom scales, with the body-fat scale showing the lower weight. So I feel like I'm giving myself a pass, in a way, but it's not just a pounds pass, it's an emotional pass, as well.

And who knows which one of them is weighing accurately? If I wanted to get real nitpicky about it, I could weigh myself on both of them and average the results. But I DON'T want to get nitpicky, I just want to follow my plan and lose a pound a week. I'm hoping on those weeks where I don't lose, there might be a slight difference in body fat. And if not? Well, I live in a county where three rivers conflux. There are plenty of bridges to jump from.


P.S. Sending good thoughts for strong muscles and endurance and, yes, patience, to my pals in the northeast and Canada. I hope your electricity stayed on and there's maybe a teen-ager nearby who can help you shovel out. So glad the storm has passed, but the aftereffects can be even more damaging. Wishing you well.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

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 "diet." If I want a treat, I work it into the daily calorie allotment, and that has included ice cream, guacamole and dark chocolate.

Some foods aren't worth the calories. I haven't had a pretzel or a potato chip in months (which might be more a function of my dental issues than my appetite, however). A hot dog on a bun is a lot of calories for very little satisfaction, but I certainly don't feel guilty eating one. Just still hungry when I've finished.

All that said, I still needed to come up with a guilty-pleasure subject for today. So here it is:

The guilty part comes from the saltine more than the butter. I have NO PROBLEM eating real butter, no matter which government agency or nationally known health guru says it's full of cholesterol and bad for my arteries. Butter is one of the few real packaged foods left in the modern market. The ingredients are cream and salt. Sometimes I even make my own butter.

I cook from scratch 99 percent of the time, using ingredients, not products. If a recipe calls for salsa, for instance, I grab a jar from the pantry that I made and canned last summer. I know what's in there. I read labels on the products I buy and very few items in my pantry have unpronounceable components.

Except for the saltines.
Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Barley Malt, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Whole Wheat Flour, Vegetable Shortening (Cottonseed Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Citric Acid, TBHQ [Antioxidant]), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Sodium Bicarbonate, Salt, Caramel Color, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Whey, Enzymes.
Even the dreaded HFCS is included in the list of ingredients.

So there you have it. My guilty pleasure is … a cracker. I'm such a badass when it comes to guilt.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February 8 - Orange

This was an easy one for me ... mmmmmmm-marmalade!

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 with my walking:

If only I hadn't gotten on the scale.

If I hadn't weighed myself, I'd be writing about how AMAZING it felt to be running yesterday. Well, jogging, but still. And I might be writing about dinner or the dentist appointment or drones or crazy Republicans.

Instead, I'm feeling cheated and lied to by that damned scale. And I'm in a snit. I believe I shall flounce away and pout for the rest of the day. At least until it's time to go walking.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7 - Your Name

Pretty self-explanatory.

The bounty of nature

© 2013 Debora J. McNeer
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.

© 2013 Debora J. McNeer
Not all the wild animals around here are dead ones. Hershey got our attention by going a little nuts at the front door recently, and we saw this this little fox ambling across the hayfield. He even hung around long enough for me to grab the DSLR and wish I had a longer lens!

My friend showed me a couple shots she took of a doe investigating the bird feeder on their patio. Not quite as up-close-and-personal as the one my husband hit recently, but close enough for a detailed shot!

I love these walks she and I take together. We talk the whole time; I think I can speak for both of us when I say the miles fly by. My husband likes that I have someone to walk with who likes to talk. He likes to think when he walks, so the time he and I spend together on our road is, um, pretty quiet. Nice, but quiet. I'd love to love walking just for the sake of walking, but honestly? Conversation helps.

I'm going to do the walk/jog thing again this morning. I have a dentist appointment in the afternoon. (I don't think I've mentioned we're starting over from scratch with the upper denture. Not. Fun.) And maybe when I get home I'll sit and knit and watch Monday's Biggest Loser. Every time I've watched it so far this season, I've been working out on the elliptical. Hoping not to feel the urge to do a last-chance workout before tomorrow morning's date with the scale.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February 6 - Soft

Soft. Soft. Soft Hershey ears.

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!)

Looking back up the driveway from the road.
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 that as a dream destination, it was exactly what I needed to add some perspective to my week of confinement.

Seriously. Being confined is a relative state, and I'm not sure a week of being snowed in really counts after all. So in the end, I'm just a whiny, ungrateful bitch.

AND I WORK HARD AT IT, she said, smiling.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5 - Something you smelled

I would have loved this prompt SO MUCH MORE if it had just been
the word "aroma." 'Something you smelled' just sounds nasty to me.
But coffee beans? Mmmmmm. Love the aroma of coffee beans.

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!

Those dark spots on the driveway are
where the snow used to be. Yay for melting!
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 friend's website for a while, then worked out, then fixed dinner (an old-fashioned chicken pot pie, yum!). I took a nap. I did NOT straighten up the secretary, nor did I go through the bookshelves.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Who among you will be joining me there? Heh.

Because I spent an hour on the elliptical yesterday, that 537-calorie serving of chicken pot pie didn't adversely affect my daily calorie count. In fact, I came in well below the target. I'm trying not to eat when I'm not hungry. I eat a snack when I want one. I eat three meals almost every day, I think I've skipped lunch a couple of times and breakfast once since the day after Christmas.

And I'm still having trouble eating at the level recommended by the LoseIt! app. Oh, well, it is what it is, as the young folk say. And if the weight is meant to come off, it will. If not? Oh, let's not go there. Okay?

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4 - Hope

I'm so shallow - I hope for lots of lofty things like world peace and
single-payer healthcare and gun control. But hoping
for the right number is easier to illustrate.
(And apologies if you've seen this photo before. It's a repost!)

I am afflicted

cabin fever
Noun. 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 qualifies as "prolonged." But I feel like a teen-aged girl who's been grounded. And it's not my fault! I've missed going to the movies and to a Super Bowl party this week because the road conditions have been less-than-ideal for travel in a lightweight, two-wheel-drive pick-up. Brutal cold moved in behind all that rain and there's a layer of ice hiding beneath a layer of snow. My car won't be fixed until Valentine's Day. A labor of love. Heh.

So. Little Miss Sunshine I'm not. But I've talked myself out of feeling sorry for myself in just a couple paragraphs. This, too, shall pass. The forecast looks better for tomorrow, and I might even get something done around here today.

Actually I got a lot done yesterday. I'd made a big batch of hummus to take to the party. When it began to look like we weren't going to make it, I started making additional game-day snacks for my husband and me, which kept me busy most of the afternoon. We had meatballs, homemade sesame crackers* with sliced cheese, pig candy**, crudités and guacamole, along with pita triangles and baked tortilla chips. It ended up being quite a spread.

There's a lot left over. I just had the most delicious breakfast of a slice of whole-grain toast spread with a couple tablespoons of guac and topped with a poached egg. QUITE tasty.

I went a little bit over the calorie goal yesterday, but only by 99. And I haven't missed a workout, but I find it much, much harder to go the distance, time wise, indoors on a machine as opposed to outdoors in nature. I can't wait to walk outside again. Maybe today, although more snow is predicted this afternoon. More than likely it will be tomorrow. The high temperature is supposed to be 40! I might not even have to wear a coat!

The other bit of productivity around here is that I finished my husband's mittens, the first one being completed Saturday evening while watching Hemingway and Gellhorn, and the second begun and finished watching the Super Bowl. Not too shabby, considering the yarn was black and the light (as well as my eyes!) less than perfect. His winter gloves do very little to keep his fingers warm when he walks outdoors. Mittens are better for that.

Still on my to-do list is to tackle that messy secretary. And I can always cull some books. Our bookshelves overfloweth, and may I just say that the Nook I bought two summers ago has saved those bookshelves from the weight of an additional 200 books? My husband still prefers paper and ink. (One of the Super Bowl commercials here was for U.S. Cellular, and starred a guy who was trying to keep his old phone running through a complicated Rube Goldbergesque set-up. That would be my husband, if he were at all mechanically inclined. Since my husband just got a new phone that looks remarkably like his old one, we both had to laugh at the ad.)

Better get to work. Y'all have a safe and productive day, and don't let those cabin fever germs get you.

* Next time I will replace the paprika with fresh minced garlic and add a smidgen of dark sesame oil.
** My variation is to cut each strip of bacon in half and tie it in a knot before coating it in brown sugar. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 3 - Beginning with E

This was my second attempt at this prompt. The first was the very tall
evergreen growing beside our garage and shot through the window
screen. I like this interpretation much better.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February 2 - Pattern

The pattern book I'm using to knit a pair of mittens for my husband.
And if you're a knitter, this book is essential, in my opinion. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1 - Fork

My very messy and not-big-enough silverware drawer.

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
© 2013 Debora J. McNeer
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 calorie guidelines there to lose a pound a week. I hope to lose 50 pounds this year.

I wanted my progress to be measured simply by staying within LoseIt's target calories each day and achieving my exercise goals, which are to:

  • walk or use the elliptical six days a week
  • do a short yoga session twice a week
  • do a light weight-lifting session twice a week

I planned to take Mondays off - no counting calories, have a little treat if I want and rest from exercise.

But I also want to know if the plan works for weight loss, so I decided to weigh myself on the 25th of every month. Just once a month, a quick check-in, because I was confident I would be at least one pound down for every week on plan.

Last week's two-pounds-in-a-month result was pretty devastating. I had eaten well below the calorie target each day and had only missed a couple workouts. Both of you suggested eating more. LoseIt! has done the research and knows what it takes, and I was, possibly, sabotaging and/or short-changing myself by creating a deficit each day. I vowed to stay on target and check the scales in a week.

Well, the week is up. I did great from Friday through Monday, staying either slightly below or barely above my daily calories. Tuesday was a tough, tough day and I barely ate anything; I came up short on calories Wednesday and yesterday, as well. I didn't know what to expect this morning.

I've been looking for, working for and hoping for a pound a week. And I got it. Five weeks, five pounds. I don't FOR A MINUTE think I lost three pounds this week. Last week was, as you both pointed out (gently, thank you) a fluke. So this week? Yay for me! Wait, I'm sorry:


Last Friday I really did feel like a rotting pile of firewood. Or maybe even what lies beneath a rotting pile of firewood. Today I feel (again) like a woman on a mission. Not a life-or-death one (although it may very well be one, I'd rather not know), but simply a let's-get-this-done one. Let's get back to a body that likes to move and doesn't hurt when it has to. Let's get back to enjoying shopping for clothes. Let's get back to being able to do XYZ, rather than making excuses not to.

Thanks for your advice last week, and for your sympathy and empathy and kindness. Thanks for your help. Thanks for coming along for the journey, one pound at a time.