Sunday, June 30, 2013

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Halfway there.

If you made a New Year's resolution to get fit, improve your health, lose weight, save money, fall in love or get divorced in 2013, well … how are you doing?

My day-after-Christmas commitment was to lose 50 pounds and walk 1,000 miles in 2013. In order to do that, I planned to count calories, log my food every day and average walking three miles each day.

So, how have I done?

There are 41 empty days on my exercise log, and just two on my food log. As of last Monday I'd lost 34.5 pounds, but I think tomorrow's weigh-in is going to be up a bit. I weigh myself daily and this week's scale readings have been all over the place.

My calorie-counting days aren't over, but I'm counting protein, vegetables and fruit, having eliminated legumes, dairy, grains and sugar when I started the Whole 30 plan on April 6. It's now the Whole 84. On Day Whole 90, I'm planning to have cake to celebrate my granddaughter's sixth birthday.

I hope it's worth it.

I began tracking my miles using dailymile on January 1. Here's how I've done:

As the end of June loomed, I started thinking about the mileage number I'd like to see at the halfway point of the year. I usually try to make it come out to an even number, but I realized that I had the opportunity to finish the sixth month with a sequential number IF I could put in back-to-back six-milers yesterday and today.

So I did.

And while I was at it, I auditioned a couple C25K apps. Because who knows? Maybe my "racing" days aren't over after all.

Okay, your turn. Are you happy with your accomplishments so far this year? Are you on track to meet your goals? Have you changed your mind, or your plan?

Do tell.

June 30 - Handwriting

I text. I type. I chat. I pay my bills online.
I don't write much any more.
But my granddaughter does. 

Photo op fail

For someone who is, as my husband lovingly likes to say, glued to her smartphone, I found myself unglued late yesterday morning, leaving the blog much poorer in photos today.

I set out to take a long walk early, phone in hand, and decided – on a whim – to do Day 1, Week 1 of a Couch to 5K app I'd downloaded a while ago. (Because I'm whimsical like that. Also, thanks for the inspiration, Gingerzingi!) Due to operator error, I ended up doing 20-ish minutes instead of the full 30, so I started over when I got to the turnaround of my out-and-back loop.

I'm going to find a new app and start over AGAIN, though, because the one I picked (because it was highly rated and free) doesn't give me all the cool stats Gingerzingi's does. (Or at least I can't figure out how to find them. I tried.) I am so inspired by her progress and would love to watch my speeds improve as the training advances.

Naturally I had a GPS application going, too, to track my total miles/speed, which ended up being 6.87 miles in 1:48:03, for an average pace of less than 16 minutes/mile.

By Nicubunu (Own work)
or GFDL (
via Wikimedia Commons
Running two GPS apps simultaneously seriously drained the battery, however, and I had to put it on the charger as soon as I got home. Thus, I couldn't take it with me when I hopped in the car to go pick cherries at a neighbor's who invited me to clean out his trees. If I wanted to.

Free cherries? When organic cherries are selling for $8 a pound at Tiny Kroger? I'm on it, doggone it!

There were many photo ops during this adventure. I could have gotten an up-close-and-personal view of the upper branches of a cherry tree from my 20-foot-high perch in a front loader. I could have shown you the carpet of cherries on the ground below the trees, after all the wind we had yesterday. I might have gotten an artsy-fartsy close-up shot of a single perfect specimen.

After a good 45 minutes balancing myself in that front loader, I was so stiff I could barely move, and my bucket was more than half full. My neighbor then said I wasn't leaving until he'd pitted them! Um, sure, I'll let someone else pit two gallons of cherries, thankyouverymuch. Turns out he had one of these:

It had belonged to his mother, but since he's the only family member with cherry trees (his mom, aunt, two cousins and a brother all live within a mile of each other – this is West Virginia, after all!), he confiscated it from her kitchen and put it to good – and speedy! – use before sending me on my way.

My two gallons yielded three quarts sans seeds and stems, and I am one happy cavewoman. They're in the freezer, ready for some kind of paleo-friendly crisp or cobbler this winter.

Vickie asked yesterday in a comment how many bananas I eat. According to LoseIt, bananas are my number-two favorite food (eggs are first), and I've eaten 75 of them in the past six months, 53 since beginning the paleo plan three months ago.

I don't know if cavewomen ate bananas or not, but this one does and will continue to do so. Portable and easy to eat, bananas are perfect for those of us beginning Year Two of the Denture Adventure. Heh.

A side note: A year ago right now, I was drinking campfire coffee brewed on the grill, we'd been without electricity for more than 12 hours, four of our pine trees had fallen over in front of our eyes and it would be another eight days (during a brutal heat wave) before the Mon Power crews made it out to the Middle of Nowhere. May we never have another derecho. And may you never experience one, either.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29 - In my bag

I eat more bananas than ever on the paleo plan. My little hand knit shopping bag
gets a real workout on market day! (And I'm almost finished with a second one!)

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28 - Red

Future guacamole. Mmmmm.

It's the heat. And the humidity.

Mostly the humidity, lately, as I don't think we've even hit 90 yet.

I work Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Generally that means "the cool of the day." I try to walk around 7 a.m. on those days, to avoid having to get it done later in the afternoon, when the heat has built up and my energy is at its lowest.

[Aging sucks, y'all. I shouldn't be complaining, since I'm still upright and breathing, but my stamina and endurance just aren't what they used to be.]

Maybe as I continue to lose weight (how's that for confidence?), my comfort level will increase. For this summer, though, I'm going to have to manage my walking time carefully. Earlier is better.

Early happened yesterday, but even though I said I wouldn't melt in the rain I apparently thought I might, as I turned around at the three-quarter mile point, logging 1.5 miles yesterday morning. It rained nearly the entire time I worked, so I paced back-and-forth inside the sales building for 15 minutes before deciding that might be a little compulsive. When it wasn't raining too hard I could check things off the to-do list – stick cuttings in dirt, tidy up the displays – and we even had a few customers. (Deer repellant is flying off the shelves.)

To up the weekly mileage, my husband and I decided to take advantage of a lull in the storms and take a longer walk. We left the house at 2 p.m., or "the heat of the day." Probably not our best idea. We lasted three miles and called it enough. I collapsed until dinner time and collapsed again after dinner, completely wiped out.

I'm beginning to wonder if I need to take a vitamin.

At least on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Heh.

I managed to get a tiny bit of landscape gardening done as soon as I got home from work. (I've just about given up on the vegetable garden, but maybe this weekend I can tackle some of the weeds.) I have brick planters in front of my house on both sides of the porch, which are in shade most of the day. I've spent tons o'bucks on shade shrubs over the years, but nothing survives.

Year before last I planted some hostas, and this year I've added more to the collection. I needed to move one yesterday to make room for an additional one, and I stuck a couple pink astilbe toward the front. Hopefully everything will survive and thrive. I'm happier with the planters this year than I've been in all the time I've lived here.

Sometimes you just have to give up what you'd like and accept what works.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27 - Into the sun

Had to cut my morning walk in half. Rain, rain, go away!
(Actually my garden could use some rain.)
I pointed the phone in the general direction of the morning sun,
but I don't think we're going to see any today.

So far this has been a less-than-stellar week

At least we're over the hump!

I'm not going to call it a bad week because I missed two workouts. Monday was a planned rest day. Yesterday was an active day, just not an intentionally active one. Dragging the hose around the garden center for a couple of hours is active, and I didn't sit down all morning.

But I can't count it as MILES. A bit obsessive I am, yes? Heh.

A big blue-and-green blob of rain and thunderstorms is directly west of us and moving east on the weather radar map. I have plenty of time to walk this morning before work if I can wake up enough to Just Do It.

Need. More. Coffee.

Actually, what I need is to think about Texas Senator Wendy Davis's epic filibuster – nearly 13 hours on her feet without a bathroom break or food or even a drink of water. What an inspiration. After the Supreme Court scuttled the Voting Rights Act, she may not even get to keep her state Senate seat.

But she'd make a fine governor.

On that note, I'm heading out for a four-miler. If it rains … so what. I've been rained on before and I haven't melted.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26 - Empty


It's very unusual for me to sleep late. Once the light of day starts creeping over the eastern mountains, I'm up and awake and raring to go.

Except this morning.

The plan was to walk three miles before work. Didn't happen. Looks like it's going to be an elliptical workout this afternoon in the air-conditioned comfort of the second floor of the garage. The afternoon temperature will hit the mid-80s and there's a good chance of rain today.

I must say … it felt good to sleep a little longer.

A Facebook friend posted this yesterday:
Short spurts of exercise might benefit some, but others can’t get enough of it. Whether they are running ultra marathons in the desert, obsessed with their gym schedules or replacing drug addictions with intense fitness regimens, many Americans find lengthy, frequent workouts to be as necessary as sleeping and eating. 
Is all this emphasis on exercise healthy, or dangerously compulsive? Can exercise like running be addictive?
I didn't reply because, in my opinion, a daily three-mile walk – while frequent – doesn't qualify as lengthy. As a recovering alky, I've known many who choose to replace bar time with a run and/or workout, and I did that in early sobriety, as well. I've also been a gym rat, but for me, exercise has never been as necessary as eating or sleeping. I've taken it and left it MANY times, for MANY reasons.

That said, I've felt better about myself this year than I have in a long, long time. My plan at Christmas was to walk 1000 miles in 2013, and I'm well on my way to achieving that goal. Many of the comments to my friend's question spoke to the mental-health benefits of daily exercise. There's a lot to be said for releasing endorphins, but I don't think walking at 3.5 mph does that.

The combination of finding a way to eat that gets rid of pain AND pounds combined with regular intentional activity has done a lot for my mental health. If that makes me compulsive, well, so be it.

How about you? What would you say in reply to my friend's question?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25 - Sharp

As we finished our five-mile walk this morning,
I turned and snapped a shot
of my sharp guy.

It is so cool …

to reach into my closet or dresser and pull out a nice-looking shirt and a pair of shorts or capris that look good together and I KNOW THEY WILL FIT.

I'm wearing a shirt today that I last wore six years ago. (I have a photo of myself wearing it while holding my newborn granddaughter. The one who will be six in two weeks.)

So. Frickin'. Cool.

A first

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. I was hungry All. Day. Long.

That hasn't happened since I began the paleo plan. In fact, I would say I'm rarely hungry, and when I am the hunger is appropriate: I haven't eaten in several hours.

Meals over the weekend were fine, but I ate fewer eggs than I usually do. Eggs fill me UP, and I need to put them back on the breakfast menu. I ended up skipping breakfast both Sunday and yesterday, and while I don't necessarily subscribe to the breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal philosophy, I have learned that I'm less hungry and more energetic when I eat it.

My husband and I drove to a nearby town to meet with an insurance agent and buy a short-term health plan for me. Aetna, which had been providing my coverage, is pulling out of the individual policy market here in WV (and in several other states, as well). I'd thought the last day was September 30, but it turns out it's Sunday. This coming Sunday. So we had to scramble a bit to get it taken care of.

It turns out to be a tiny bit better coverage with a significant reduction in the monthly premium. And it will tide me over until the health insurance exchanges go into effect January 1, 2014. You can begin the application process for those on October 1, and I will be first in line.

If ONLY the United States had the political will to pass a Medicare-for-all, single-payer plan. As long as insurance companies have lobbyists, though, that's not going to happen.


Insurance is the biggest gambling game around. You throw money in the pot every month, but the only way you win is if you get sick (health), have an accident (auto) or die (life). I'm not a big health-care consumer at all. I've paid thousands of dollars to Aetna since we lost my husband's employer-based coverage when he retired. I can count on my fingers the number of times I've seen a doctor since then.

And my policy didn't even cover office visits.

I take a Lasix a couple times a week for intermittent swelling of my ankles. Generic Lasix is one of the cheapest drugs on the market, so I don't even use my prescription benefit to buy it – it's on the $4 formulary at Tiny Kroger Pharmacy.

So six more months and health coverage should improve, premiums should go down (or, in my case, I think it will stay about the same as it is for the new short-term policy) and millions of U.S. citizens will still be without health insurance. If you live in a state in which your governor has decided not to expand Medicaid, well, I'm sorry you elected him or her. This map shows who is still on the fence.

It wouldn't hurt to make a phone call. Or 10. The more citizens who participate (Medicaid expansion will provide subsidies to lower income people), the lower ALL our premiums will be. And, theoretically, we'll be able to nip health problems in the bud, instead of waiting until it's so bad we have to visit an emergency room.

Or die.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24 - Negative space

Apple is a genius at the concept of negative space.

Soooo close

Lost another 1.5 pounds this week, for a total of 34.5 since Christmas and 27.5 since beginning a paleo plan on April 6. Another 1.5-pound loss will put me in the overweight range (rather than the obese one) on a standard BMI calculator. LoseIt says my BMI is 30.27.

Never thought I'd be thrilled to be overweight. Heh.

I had to do a three-step on the scale this week; the first number seemed too low, and it was. The second and third tries matched, so that's what I'm going with.

I still seem to have a distrust of the process. My concern is that if I have a big loss, as I did last week, it will be unsustainable and I'll make up for it with a gain the following week. Since April 6 I've had one small gain, and it wasn't unexpected.

All these weeks of consistent losses haven't been expected either, to tell you the truth!

If I get to the goal I set for myself at Christmas, I'll still be overweight. I'm rethinking the goal, obviously. Not because I think BMI is the best arbiter of a healthy weight, but because I'd love to again weigh what I did when I moved from Ohio 16 years ago.

Not sure if it's possible. Sixteen additional years generally makes it more difficult to lose. I guess we'll see if and when we get to my original goal.

Company leaves today ... it's been a great weekend, busy and fun, and a good way for them to begin a two-week trip. They'll be ending the trip with us, as well.

Something to look forward to!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22 - Enjoying life

I truly enjoy my daily walks, especially now that the hip pain is gone (along
with 30-plus pounds!) and it's more comfortable to get out there and get it done!

Date night!

West Virginia became a state 150 years ago on June 20, and the party is ON! My husband and I took the night off from normal activities – dinner, Jeopardy, yawn – and joined one of the local-ish celebrations.

First, we went to Ruby Tuesday's in Lewsiburg for dinner. For me, it was a repeat of the meal I had in May: grilled salmon, roasted spaghetti squash and grilled zucchini. It didn't disappoint. In fact when I edited the photo my stomach started growling! Yum!

After dinner we headed to Fairlea to the State Fairgrounds (I've lived 30 miles from there for 16 years and have yet to go to the state fair) for a free concert performed by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, followed by a terrific fireworks show. What a lovely night!

We don't go out much, mostly because there's not much to do that's in close proximity. This IS the Middle of Nowhere, after all. I'm glad we made the effort last night. With the nearly full moon rising behind the stage, a gentle breeze and grandstand seating, we were comfortable and well entertained.

We guessed which songs would have to be part of the repertoire, and we were right about all of them: Take Me Home Country Roads, West Virginia Hills, various patriotic numbers. We also heard two pieces by Aaron Copland, one the famous Lincoln Portrait and another about John Henry, whose legendary contest with a steam drill took place in nearby Talcott, WV.

Documentaries on West Virginia's history have been airing on public television all week. I don't watch television much at all, but I've seen part of a couple of the programs, and I recorded one. Since I'm a native of Ohio, I don't know much about WV's founding at all. I do know this: We are not all coal miners or hillbillies.

I learned last night, in a letter from the governor which was read to the audience, that West Virginia is the only state that seceded from the Confederacy during the Civil War. I tell you what, it made this little Democrat proud. I only wish some of my southern West Virginia neighbors would bury their Confederate flags and join the rest of the nation. (I HATE Confederate flags and all they symbolize!)

Today? Back to normal. The morning fog has burned off and our weekend guests won't be here until early afternoon, so I think the next thing on my agenda is the walk. Wishing you both a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21 - Lunchtime

Appetizers for lunch! Nitrate-free ham wrapped around pickle spears + a hard-boiled egg.

Soon, very soon …

my life will return to normal. Whatever that is.

With all the weekend travel lately, I feel like I've barely been keeping my head above water. My garden is a Mess-with-a-capital-M. The landscape bed badly needs weeding. There are spots all over our yard that need attention with the weedeater.

I've managed to keep the grass cut without having to use a hay baler, but even that has been a close call a couple of times. Our clothing has been cleaned on a regular basis, but I can't say as much for our house. I'm still showing up for work two mornings a week.

And we haven't missed a single meal. Heh.

We're having company this weekend and again on July 6, and then that's it. No more travel plans, no more guests coming, no more Big Events unless we throw something in spontaneously. (I think the triplets and their little sister and their parents might be visiting sometime this summer, but we haven't set anything up yet.) We've already had a crazy summer and today is the first day of it (in North America)!

After walking in the afternoon
heat Wednesday, I decided
early-morning fog with cooler
temperatures – or swimming in
air – was infinitely preferable!
I got a good start on the house yesterday and will finish it today. I brought home a bunch of hostas from the garden center yesterday that need to go in the ground, and I'll get some of the weed-whacking done. Probably not all of it, though.

It's a BIG yard.

One thing I haven't neglected is the 1000-mile goal. I've managed to keep on walking and am up to 526 miles with nine days left before the halfway point of the year. Still a bit ahead of schedule, and still loving every mile of it.

I have a walking date with my friend Lynne this morning. We haven't managed to walk together since May 3. She promised me 10 miles of stories, but I think we'll have to edit it to five. She works this afternoon and I have this house to clean, and a little more laundry to do, and some yard work to finish up, and a garden to tend, and company coming TOMORROW!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20 - Cute

Hershey hates having her picture taken. She always looks away at the last
second. Which, of course, makes her cuter than she already is!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19 - Currently reading

It takes me a long time to catch back up on blog-reading when I've been gone
for even a couple of days. Feedly has been a great replacement for the soon-to-
be-discontinued Google Reader. I'm also reading Gone Girl, but it's taking a while.

This morning's walk has been postponed due to …

I'm sooo not a fan of swimming in air, which is how I feel when I walk in dense fog. Oh, I've done it, when the day is scheduled to the hilt and I've no other options. But today? I have options. Heh.

I'm working from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., picking up a couple things I forgot at the market when I was in town yesterday and will then be able to get a few miles in. You know, when it's sunny and 80 degrees. I wish sunny and 60 happened more frequently, but OH, WELL. Skipping the morning walk allows me more time to spend with YOU! Aren't you lucky?

Thanks for your comments about the progress photo. That black v-neck tee is about as form-fitting as I'm allowing myself right now. It looks better on me than the photo suggests, but again: OH, WELL. I sure wasn't wearing it last summer. Or those capris, either.

The last time I saw most of the women I had lunch with yesterday was in February, and I was able to smile and thank them for their many compliments without being embarrassed or feeling awkward. No one asked how I was losing, though, and I didn't volunteer. This regimen, I've learned, isn't for everyone. My sister lasted 17 days, and I'm so sorry she couldn't wouldn't continue, as it was doing great things for her blood sugar (she has Type II diabetes).

My hope is that she will at least moderate her consumption of starchy carbs and sugar, and that's her hope, as well.

Being grain-, legume-, dairy- and sugar-free is no picnic, lemmetellya. (What's a picnic without macaroni salad, baked beans and homemade ice cream? A BURGER!) But FOR ME, wearing smaller sizes is way more fun than eating macaroni salad. Watching the scale continue to reveal lower numbers is much more gratifying than a side of baked beans.

And hearing all those nice compliments yesterday was A LOT sweeter than ice cream.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18 - Street

The view of our road from the end of the driveway.

Progress photo

Only because you asked for it.

That'll teach you. Heh.

Honestly? I just don't see that much difference. But 15 pounds is 15 pounds
(the difference between May and June), and I suppose it should be recorded for posterity, right?

It's a jungle out there

The weeds in both my flower beds and vegetable garden are getting the best of me. I try, I really do try, but this spring has been such a fabulous growing season it's hard to keep up. The pattern of a few days of warmth and sun followed by a day or so of rain has been the norm, and that's good for whatever's growing, be it food or weeds.

My Honeycrisp apple tree is dead. It didn't flower last spring or this, but it leafed out beautifully and I wasn't worried about it. I noticed its withered brown leaves while I was mowing yesterday. (The Granny Smith and Yellow Transparent are both doing well.) I'm so sad, but I've heard Honeycrisps are difficult to grow so I'm not really surprised to have lost it. I'm pretty sure I've also lost the ornamental Summer Chocolate mimosa I planted late last summer. It leafed out this spring, but one day all the little fronds just fell off. I'm going to keep it in the ground until next spring, to see it it's really dead or just mostly dead. Right now it's just a tall twig stuck in the ground. Rather ugly.

Eeek! A snake in the grass! There
are snakes in the jungle, right?
It's so good to be home for a while. My husband and I took a long walk together yesterday morning, something we haven't been able to do recently. We would have gone a bit further had he not noticed a copperhead sunning itself along the side of the road. I missed it completely; I guess my head was in the clouds, while my husband was paying attention! I stopped long enough to inspect it carefully and snap this blurry photo, and then I did an abrupt about-face. We got 6.3 miles in (I'd intended to do 7), but 6.3 was definitely enough, and a good start for this week.

Jen, I promise I'll get a progress picture up soon. I don't think I look much different from the last one, but it's good to update every 10 pounds or so. And I've lost 15 additional pounds since then (May 6). So, yes, it's time.

I'd hoped to walk this morning, but since we've had three or four days of sun and warmth, it is – of course! – raining. Today might be a rest day, or I might sneak a couple miles in later today. It doesn't generally rain all day long – just long enough to interfere with my schedule. I have a lunch meeting in town today and my volunteer gig at the prison tonight, so it will be challenging to fit some intentional activity into the day. Not impossible, though.

There's always the elliptical option.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm running out of adjectives

Astounded: astonished, blown away, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, surprised, shocked, gobsmacked (my personal favorite)

It's Monday, I ate catered food all weekend at a convention and I expected a tiny loss, if anything, for this week's weigh-in. I ate lightly Friday and didn't work out, ate very little Saturday (because there was very little available to eat that fit the plan) and did work out, and was pretty close to normal yesterday – slightly under the calorie target with a five-mile walk when I got home. Still, I didn't prepare the food, which was definitely oversalted (everyone remarked on it) and I just didn't feel as though I was

4.5 pounds lighter

than last Monday.

I didn't believe the scale the first time I stepped on it, so I did my two-out-of-three thing, and it recorded the same number the second try.

That's a total of 33 pounds since December 26. Twenty-six of those pounds have been since I began the paleo plan on April 6. I'm losing nearly half a pound A DAY since I stopped eating grains, legumes, dairy and sugar. I had previously lost half a pound a week.

I wore a beautiful skirt with a light cotton knit twinset for Saturday's banquet – blue, of course, since it was the National Federation of Democratic Women convention. Everything was too big. The long-sleeved cardigan did a fair job of hiding how big the tee beneath it was. The skirt slipped around my waist easily. I think I'll alter the skirt and find a new top to wear with it.

I never liked that twinset anyway. Heh.

I ate some cheese over the weekend – a slice of Havarti on a grilled portobello sandwich (sans bread) and some goat cheese on a salad. My gut definitely rebelled, which makes me wary of trying Greek yogurt.

I really, really, really miss Greek yogurt.

Conventions = swag, of course, and among the swag now in my trashcan are a couple of cookies and some mints. The custom-wrapped chocolate bars are in the freezer, probably to be tossed at a later date. Each attendee received a large canvas messenger bag and at each meeting and meal we received stuff to put in it: several lapel pins and a cup and and a red/white/blue lei and a can cozy (which I didn't bring home because I don't drink from cans) and a keychain and a fanny pack and my favorite:
Time to redecorate my car … heh.
Of course, there's much more work to be done before 2016. And most of the women from my county group are understandably burned out on campaigning. Most people I know want to give politics a rest.

But if you bleed blue, and if you care about what's happening to workers' rights, the environment, education, the poor, children and especially women in states where the GOP has taken over state legislatures, well … we cannot rest.

We simply can't.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

More …

Okay, so that meeting's over and we're free from now until 6. And I just couldn't wait to get back to you, and you, and you.

Also my room is being cleaned, so I'd rather be out here in the lobby soaking up the free wi-fi than in the room (where the wi-fi costs $12.95/day) dodging the maid.

Food has been … problematic. Yesterday wasn't too bad. I asked for a gluten-free entree for lunch, and the grilled chicken and sautéed summer vegetables were fine. I passed up the potatoes.

Dinner was substantial hors d'ouevres. I ate very little, but appreciated the presentation of potato chips in martini glasses.

Breakfast today was fruit for me, fruit and Danish for the other attendees. No protein. The cashews I brought with me came in handy mid-morning. I should have taken a picture of the lunch buffet: three kinds of sandwiches. I'm not sure what my luncheon companions thought about me taking one of each and then ditching the bread!

I couldn't take a picture of the lunch buffet because my phone didn't stay charged long enough. While the hotel is lovely and the service is excellent, it is not equipped with free wi-fi (except here in the lobby) and the battery drains quickly. Oh. Well.

It's probably fired back up by now, so I think I'm going to call it a blogging day and move on.

Hi, y'all!

Charleston, West Virginia, is alive and well and ROCKIN' with true-blue Democratic women this weekend. Our luncheon speaker was Christine Pelosi, who, in addition to being Nancy's kid, is the Platform Chair of the California Democratic Party. She spoke about the Dream Act. And the filibuster. And electing women. And the Fair Pay Act.

Tonight we're hearing from the President of the AFL-CIO. It just doesn't get much more Democrat than that.

The weather has been lovely, but we've been in meeting after meeting after meeting and I haven't even poked my nose out the front door of the hotel. I did, however, hit the treadmill at 6 this morning. Half an hour at 4.5 mph, which was blazing speed for me.

Uh-oh. Now that I look at the time, I'm supposed to be in a meeting RIGHT NOW. Adios!

To be continued …

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 13 - Kitchen

My house not only has a welcome mat at the front door, I have a welcome wall in my kitchen. 

Just in case you don't get The Weather Channel …

Wow. We've been under a severe thunderstorm warning since 11-ish this morning. The warning expires in 15 minutes (as I type), but we remain under a watch until 7 this evening. The power has blipped off and on a couple of times, but so far, so good. And, of course, it's not all about me. The midwest has been hit by storm after storm … if you're there, I hope you're safe!

I took my own advice and stashed some gallon jugs filled with water in the freezer. Two large iced-tea jugs are filled with drinking water.

Not having water during a power outage is the worst.

The internet is down, but I'm able to work through the magic of turning my phone into a mobile hot spot. Technology is THE BOMB!

Got a short walk in this morning before work – about 2.5 miles, the last full mile of which I ran jogged. That last mile is all downhill, and therefore both easy and fun to run. My pace for the entire distance was slightly faster than 16 minutes per mile. Considering that the route is an out-and-back and, therefore, the first mile is all UPhill, I'm pretty pleased.

For some reason – and this is very unusual lately – I can't get filled up today. I'm glad we have no pretzels, chips, cheese or ice cream in the house. This is the first day since I started my Whole 30 67 and counting that I've been hungry almost all day. I haven't eaten much lately (have been well under LoseIt's daily target calorie goal), so maybe my body is trying to make up for lost food.

I think – since the water still works – I'd do well to go grab a tall glass instead of trying to figure out what else I could eat.

Traveling again tomorrow. Hope to find time to post pictures, at least, but it all may have to wait until I return Sunday. The hotel charges $12.95 for in-room internet access, which I will not be buying. Wi-fi is free in the lobby, though, but the schedule is pretty tight. We shall see.

Our weather is coming from the northwest today. I've seen photos on Facebook of flooded roads and farms in central West Virginia, which is where I'm going. Should be an interesting trip.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12 - 11:00

We had a lovely rain this morning as I opened up at the garden center. It had
stopped by 11 a.m., but these hosta leaves looked so pretty with the raindrops
still sparkling on them. 

The halfway point

This morning's 3.26 mile-walk (the third mile of which was at the blistering pace of 15:03!), I'm officially halfway to my 1000-mile walking goal for 2013.
From my Daily Mile training page.
Not quite halfway into the year, finding myself more than halfway to my weight-loss goal and 500 miles into the walking goal has me feeling Pretty. Darned. Good.

Today is a work day, as is tomorrow, and then I'm off for the third consecutive weekend trip, this time to the National Federation of Democratic Women convention. It's local-ish (in Charleston, WV), so not a long, boring drive, but I'm leaving super-early Friday morning in order to be at the First-Timers Breakfast.

Which I probably won't eat. Heh.

The weather forecast for later today and through tomorrow does not look good at all for much of the midwest and mid-Atlantic. The prognosticators are even throwing out the word "derecho," which strikes terror into the hearts of the hundreds of thousands of us who experienced one last summer.

If you're in the projected path of the storm, stock up NOW on ice, non-perishables and bottled water. LOTS of bottled water. Put some water-filled jugs in your freezer, too, for additional cooling capability.

If you lose electrical power, don't expect it to come back on in a couple hours, or even a couple days. We were without electricity for nine days last year. Had I known, I would have grilled all the meat in the freezer, which we could have then kept chilled in coolers. We had to discard about $100 worth of grass-fed beef. SOB!

Wherever you are, I hope you have a great Wednesday ... stay safe!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11 - Something funny

Finding the volunteer tomatoes every spring is always a hoot. Last year I
 found half a dozen in the herb bed. This one came up in the asparagus bed.

Remember that scene in Bull Durham?

The one where Nuke is walking through the center of the team bus on the arm rests? And yelling?

WHAT?!? You don't? WHAT?!? You've never seen Bull Durham?!?

Here's the clip (NSFW) to which I'm referring:

Just why am I thinking about that specific bit of movie history this morning? Because …


I do, man. It's like … BETTER than GAINING!

I went for Mammogram, The Sequel, yesterday, calling before I went to town to make sure the machine was in good working order. It was. I wore that Dylan shirt and a pair of denim capris, because who needs to dress up for radiology? The first pair of capris I put on were too big. But because my closet resembles the misses' department of a department store, I had the next smaller size in stock.

The second pair have a side zipper which can be difficult to zip all the way to the top while they're on me. So I zipped them all the way up on the hanger and then put them on. Due to the way they're cut, they don't slip or fall down, and they fit perfectly and comfortably.

So. About losing weight. I love that:

  • I could take that photo yesterday and not want to hide behind something.
  • it's not all-food, all-the-time around the Middle of Nowhere any more.
  • the scale keeps moving down, almost daily, something it hasn't done in years.
  • this way of eating doesn't leave me wanting more.

Also. I love losing weight more than I love:

  • diet soda
  • sugar
  • grains
  • dairy
  • legumes

Priorities. FOR ME, finding out after all these years that replacing some foods (and food groups) with fat and protein and vegetables, oh my! would result in the dramatic and consistent losses I've experienced brings up quite a few feelings, mostly good but also a bit of regret, a negative feeling which I will not be stuffing down with food.

It took me a long time to throw up my hands and say, "Okay. Whatever. I've tried everything else, I might as well try this." What if I'd just been a little more willing a little sooner?

Then again, until I'd tried everything else, I might not have been ready to try this.

Everything happens in its own time, and it's all good. I've learned some valuable lessons, and I'm not done. What I've learned most is:


P.S. For Gingerzingi, truly raw cashews are, indeed, poisonous. My "raw" cashews were from Trader Joe's, and were undoubtedly steamed to remove the toxic substance.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10 - You!

Everyone looks better in black-and-white, right? Here I am, rocking a Bob Dylan
concert tee from his 1990 Under the Red Sky tour. I wouldn't have taken this
selfie in December. I'd have figured out some way to hide who I am. NO MORE!

History doesn't repeat itself!

At least not this week.

I was a little better prepared foodwise for this trip than I'd been for the previous one. I took some raw cashews, a banana and leftovers from Thursday's dinner for Friday's travel food. We were so busy all weekend there really wasn't much time to think about meals.


Friday evening was my granddaughter's dress rehearsal, which began at 5 and lasted until 8:30. I think. My son brought fast food for us – fresh fruit cups for all of us, chicken nuggets for them and a cut-up piece of grilled chicken for me, which he must have asked them to do because it wasn't on the online menu. It was just what I needed, just when I needed it.

Saturday morning – eggs. Followed by a Li'l Chef birthday party, where the children cooked their own lunch and the adults were offered … cupcakes. No, thank you. My daughter-in-law and I walked around outside (I wouldn't call it exercise, but we'd already walked two miles earlier) while the party was going on.

We had to be at the theatre at 4 for the 5 o'clock performance, which ended at 8-ish. So no dinner (I had some of the cashews at intermission), followed by banana splits. My banana was topped with sunflower butter and I passed on the ice cream, syrup and whipped cream.

More eggs before I hit the road yesterday morning. I had some cold roast beef from a deli for lunch – not the best choice, but the best choice available, and certainly not the worst.

All of this is leading up to the Monday weigh-in, of course. I was low on calories, obviously, but also low on exercise calories burned. Which was probably a good thing, because I might have found myself in one of those no-energy situations where I couldn't have finished comfortably. I made an effort to drink more water throughout the weekend – North Carolina is HOT, y'all – and did what I could with what I had.

And lost 1.5 pounds. I'm now at a total loss of 28.5 since Christmas and 21.5 since my first Whole30 began on April 6.

And I couldn't be more pleased with how things are going. Onward. And DOWNWARD!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8 - An animal

If I were home, you'd be seeing a photo of Hershey, of course.
But since I'm not, here are three of my granddaughter's stuffed animals.

June 7 - Bright

The brightest sight at the NC Welcome Center on an otherwise grey day.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Aaaaand we're off. Again.

Recital #2 is tomorrow near Raleigh, North Carolina. I'd originally thought I might just drive down in the morning and return Sunday, but that would leave me little-to-no time to spend with the family, so I called a couple days ago to alter the plans.
Me: Would it upset your weekend plans if I came down Friday and spent an extra night?
Daughter-in-Law: Oh, my, no! It never upsets our plans when you come for a visit!
Now that's a daughter-in-law! So gracious, and she seemed genuinely pleased that I was coming for an extra day. We'll go to the technical rehearsal together tonight, have plenty of family time tomorrow and attend the performance tomorrow night. I'll be back sometime Sunday.

I'd planned to walk this morning but it is precipitating at the moment and looks to continue for hours. I knocked out three miles yesterday morning, two of them in the rain, but it was dry when I started out. If I were training for a marathon and this was my only chance to get out there, I'd go. But I'm not, so I won't.

I'm truly glad for the rain, not because I get to miss a workout (I really enjoy my morning walks), but because I finally planted tomatoes and it's always good for them to have a nice long drink right after they hit the ground. I planted them in two smallish beds on either side of the garlic, which put out scapes in the last couple of days when I wasn't looking. I probably should have snapped those off right then and there, but I was intent on digging holes for the tomato plants. I won't have time to get to back to the garlic until Monday. (Scapes make great pesto, and snapping them off will provide more energy for the still-growing heads of garlic.)

Speaking of pesto, I took a jar of the basil variety from the freezer yesterday and mixed some into ground beef before I grilled burgers. What that means (in addition to IT WAS DELICIOUS) is that I've broken my Whole30 (which ended up being a Whole60) because my pesto has Parmesan in it. I can't imagine that the teeny bit of cheese added to that burger in the form of a tablespoon of pesto will make a difference in how I feel or what I weigh, but one never knows, does one? That's what this science experiment is all about.

And, of course, since the weekend will be spent in someone else's home and I'm not in charge of the food, I may be experimenting a bit more. I love the relaxed approach some of you have about meals, and I especially like the idea of being an 80/20 primal eater. It may be possible to stick with it 100 percent of the time, but for me, that would mean never traveling, never visiting anyone, never celebrating with food.

Food has been my enemy for decades. This plan has turned that around. I'm not scrounging around the pantry or refrigerator looking for something to fill whatever void was there. THERE IS NO VOID. I'm eating three meals a day most days (sometimes I skip lunch) and I'm usually only rrrrreally hungry in the morning. The combination of more protein/fat and zero starchy carbs is – miraculously – working for me. And for my sister. And another friend who started her Whole30 May 1.

It's a movement! A revolution! I know we're all a little late to the party, but whatev. We're here.

And we're staying. Or at least I am.

Finally, I saw this on Pinterest this morning. Y'all know how I call the local grocery Tiny Kroger? Because they don't stock cilantro in the produce department? Apparently Kroger is expanding in some areas in an effort to compete with Meier or SuperTarget. I think Tiny Kroger is safe. The only way they could expand it is to overtake the parking lot.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6 - Transport

These little carts will take your plants from our displays at the garden center
to your car. Fill 'em up!

A good day

Yesterday was National Running Day.

AND I RAN! Well, jogged. Running is still out of reach, but I managed to run about a third of my 4.5 miles. Running feels so good to me, especially now that some of the weight is coming off.

One of my paleo mentors asked me if gardening was easier now that I was carrying around fewer pounds. The answer is a definite and emphatic "yes." I can bend over so much easier than I used to; that alone is something to note and appreciate. And while I still get tired – gardening can be very physically taxing – the routine chores I take care of at the garden center don't leave me breathless, as they did in April.

Meaning, if yesterday had been National Ice Cream Day, I wouldn't have been tempted for even a second. That old saying, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin[ner] feels," is completely appropriate here.

Got three miles in earlier this morning, most of it in the rain, and now it's time to head for the most beautiful office in all of West Virginia. Later!

June 5 - Environment

I spend a lot of time outdoors, and can NOT understand why people litter.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 4 - After dark

I love my new tablet, to which I've added both the Kindle and Nook
reading apps. Now if only I would read more and play Mahjong less ...

As of this minute …

I have about six and a half hours before I need to be at work. We switched things up today, and I'm taking the afternoon shift. One of my co-workers was badly burned over the weekend and is still hospitalized, which means we're all pitching in a little more in different ways. I'll find out the extent of his injuries today.

Yesterday went well, until mid-afternoon, when my energy just completely ran out. I walked a little more than four miles with my husband early in the morning, then came back and tackled the garden from 9:30 until 2 p.m.

Of course not everything got done. My husband hauled mulch from the big pile on the other side of the yard, while I laid down cardboard around the rows and plants. I then piled the mulch on the cardboard in a (probably) futile attempt to keep the weeds at bay.

But by 2 o'clock I was, literally, spent. I collapsed in the grass next to the garden and ordered him to get me some WATER. Hungry, tired, dehydrated: I thought I was going to pass out. I made it back to the house, thinking I still had time to at least mow the front yard, but I ended up resting for a couple of hours.

Which was probably what I needed. My ambition exceeds my energy, and I need to remind myself that I am 62, after all, and I must learn to pace myself.

Next year's garden is going to be much smaller. Significantly smaller. Like, less than half what it is now. We're reclaiming the rest of it for lawn and I'm just going to have to be satisfied with less homegrown food.

And less work.

I think the latter will make up for the former.

P.S. I've updated yesterday's curry recipe to include servings. I usually eat a third of this for a serving, and my husband will eat the rest. If it were a published-in-a-magazine-or-on-the-web recipe, it would serve four.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fortunately …

it will be a while before I need to pack food for a road trip. Thanks for the suggestions, though! My next trip (this weekend) is just a four-hour drive, and the following weekend it's only a two-hour drive. I will be at the mercy of Other People's Cooking and I will deal with it the best way I can.

Losing weight is important to me, of course, but looking like a fanatic is something I want to avoid. I didn't have to avoid it at my daughter's, because no one was watching. My grandson wanted to make crepes for breakfast, but I just told him milk and flour kind of upset my stomach. He didn't question me at all and, in fact, jumped right into making almond milk and almond butter, which we later used for smoothies.

I would have done much better driving home on Sunday to stop at a restaurant and order something appropriate, as I did a couple of times in May. I didn't want to take the time. Lesson learned and problem solved. If this weekend's trip finds me at a not-so-perfect restaurant (and I suspect it might), well … I haven't tested any of the eliminated foods yet. I'll just look at it as an opportunity!

It felt great sitting down last night to a real meal full of vegetables and protein. I posted a photo and recipe for the simple and flavorful curry we had here. The chopping part is time-consuming, but once it's all thrown together and simmering you can go knit. Heh.

I walked four miles yesterday morning, then got cleaned up and headed to town for a mammogram smashogram. Unfortunately the machine was being cranky and we ended up rescheduling it for next Monday. I had other errands to take care of so it wasn't a completely wasted trip.

I think today's intentional activity will be limited to tilling the garden. It's a big garden and there's lots o'tilling to be done. The weather will be perfect for the job. I may have time to mow part of the yard when I'm done in the garden. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, not what you want to do. The mileage goal is certainly still within reach if I skip a day of walking.

The garden, however, won't prepare itself without a little help from me.

June 3 - On my table

A most delicious (and very easy) curry.
1 Tbsp. bacon grease or coconut oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 to 4 Tbsp. curry powder (I mix sweet and hot and use 4 Tbsp.)
1 large onion, cut in large chunks
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
6 small or 1 large sweet pepper
1 can mushroom stems and pieces
1 can lite coconut milk

Melt the bacon grease or coconut oil in a Dutch oven. Brown chicken thigh pieces over medium-high heat in fat until no longer pink. Add the curry powder and let cook until fragrant, a minute or two. Add the vegetables, allowing each to cook for a minute or two before adding the next one. Dump a can of coconut milk over the mixture and stir well to combine ingredients.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and allow the mixture to simmer for an hour. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium and cook so the juices thicken and reduce slightly.

Serves 4. Or two, generously.

Yum. Tastes just as good with pork instead of chicken and sweet potatoes instead of carrots.

Monday, June 3, 2013

It was bound to happen

After a long weekend away from my kitchen, and one in which I relied on too many Larabars and ate too few vegetables, I have – after eight weeks – gone backwards in the weight-loss mission.

Up half a pound. Half a pound! That's like nothing for someone like me, whose weight fluctuates wildly from morning to night and day to day. I'm not upset or discouraged or dismayed or worried or wondering if I'll ever lose another pound again ever, ever, ever.

I am, in fact, dancing with the one who brought me. The paleo plan has been working remarkably well, and I'm certainly not planning to change partners. Love the one you're with, and all that.

We were super-busy this weekend. Both grandchildren were performing Friday and Saturday nights, and Thursday was dress rehearsal. The performances went off without a hitch and I'm glad I was there to be a part of the excitement.

Meals, however, were catch as catch can, and finding decent paleo fast food is impossible. I'm sure the grilled chicken sandwich I had yesterday (sans bun) was loaded with salt, as was the bag of cashews I picked up at a convenient store when I got gas. I'd hoped to buy a banana there, but there were none to be had.

So much for good intentions. (And poor planning on my part.)

My activity level was a bit on the light side, as well. Three miles Thursday and Friday, a little less Saturday and none yesterday, which is the opposite end of the spectrum from my usual weekend activity.

All in all, though, I'm fine with the uptick. Onward. And downward!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2 - A moment

One of many identical grey-and-rainy moments spent in the car today,
traveling from TN back home to WV. At least the sun wasn't shining in my eyes!

June 1 - B is for …

bottle. A very cool milk bottle, looks old but is actually new from Target.