Wednesday, July 31, 2013

August Photo a Day prompts

I love Instagram and taking photos with my phone and following the prompts from FatMumSlim. Her tag line is "Living Life Inspired," and she really does. And she encourages her readers to do the same. Here's the list:
List created by Chantelle at her fatmumslim blog. 
And do follow this link to read more about the prompts and how they might be interpreted. Of course, anything goes … it's supposed to be fun, not frustrating.

Another number

Wowie wow wow wow.

Only had to do 4.1 this morning to hit this benchmark. The plan at the beginning of the year was to log 1000 miles in 2013, and I'm well on my way. I could probably change the goal, but the logical shift would be to 1200 – 100/month – and I'm not sure that's possible.

Fall is a busier time of year for us as far as travel goes, and traveling is the biggest roadblock (heh) to logging daily miles. So 1000 it is, and 1000 IT SHALL BE!

Hope y'all have a great day. That is all.

July 31 - Workspace

My sweet little secretary/desk, where the laptop lives. I'm not sure I'd call it
a workspace, exactly. Work has such a "workish" connotation. I enjoy the
time I spend here, feeling productive while sitting on my ass.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30 - Friendship

Me on the right, my husband/walking buddy/best friend on the left. When he
saw the photo apr├ęs filters, he interpreted it as meaning our personalities had
blurred. Deep thoughts by Mike McNeer. Heh.



Question du jour

First, thanks for all your comments and congratulatory notes, about the 5K and about yesterday's weigh-in. You keep me running! (You're welcome for that earworm.)

In yesterday's comments, Hils asked:
It sounds like you are one of the paleo people who also keeps track of calories--and I was wondering, how did you figure out what level to keep your calories at while eating paleo? Thanks! 
First, are there other paleo people who track calories? I'd love to be reading their blogs. Do let me know of any. Thanks!

I've been using LoseIt! to track my food since the spring of 2012. I haven't logged every bite, every day, but have been pretty consistent with it, and have been religious about it this year. Having the app on my phone really makes it easy to add items throughout the day.

Just ask my husband: He says the phone is attached to my body.

But I digress.

When you create your LoseIt! account, you set goals for both your weight and your rate of loss. If you'd like to end up weighing 140 and you want to lose two pounds a week, LoseIt! will calculate the number of calories you need to eat each day to make it happen, and will estimate when you can expect to see the magic number.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? What LoseIt! doesn't account for is the individual quirks inherent in each of our metabolisms. I ate at or below the recommended calorie level from January to March of this year and lost 7 pounds. At that time, my plan was to lose a pound a week. So I wasn't doing as well as the program predicted I would.

As noted in yesterday's numbers post (and Kitten, your comment cracked me UP!), I ended up GAINING 1.5 pounds in March. Enough was enough. At that point I was well and truly frustrated. I'd been faithfully counting calories and walking nearly three miles daily. AND I WAS GAINING WEIGHT!?!?!

Enter Whole30. I downloaded and read the free materials (I wasn't going to buy the book until I knew how I would tolerate the plan), went shopping and made the decision to continue following LoseIt!'s calorie recommendation.

Most primal/paleo folks don't count calories. Most primal/paleo folks have, um, more normal metabolisms than mine apparently is. Or maybe mine is normal under paleo conditions, but not while eating the Standard American Diet.

Whatever that is.

I thought I was eating healthfully last winter. I cooked from scratch, ate whole grains and healthy fats (but not too many!), used artificial sweeteners. My biggest treat was a McDonald's sugar-free French Vanilla iced coffee every once in a while – 120 calories for the large size.

I'm at a point where I would love to stop journaling my food, but I'm pretty compulsive about it, and plan to continue doing so at least until the end of this year. The calorie target right now is pretty low – 1149 per day. I honestly don't have any trouble staying below it, though, and am frequently well below it.

Here's the thing: Protein and fat are more filling than carbs. Doesn't matter what kind of carbs. Doesn't really matter what kind of protein and fat, either. My protein is largely animal-based, and my additional (other than what's in my bacon or chicken or ground beef) fats are mostly plant-based – olive and coconut oil, with an occasional pat of butter made from grass-fed cow's milk.

But who cares if one macronutrient is more filling than another if you graze all day?

And that's the biggest difference eating primally has made for me. I don't think about the next meal/snack/eating occasion as soon as I'm done with the last one. My bacon and eggs last all the way to dinner sometimes.

As both of you know, I'm now 62. Older people need fewer calories than you young whippersnappers do. 1149 might be way too low. But I'm satisfied, am rarely hungry (when I am, it seems to be at the appropriate time, i.e., when I wake up or if it's been several hours since my last meal) and I'm losing weight.

My big question is this, and if you have any experience with it – or if you know of a blogger who does – I'd love to have it answered:

Would I lose more if I ate more?

The BMR calculator over at Fat 2 Fit Radio suggests a moderately active 5'2" 62-year-old female with 40% body fat (I guessed at that number) who wants to lose 25 pounds should be eating 1925 calories per day.

Since we are all our own science experiments, the only way I'll know the answer is to do it.

But at this point, being in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp, I'm pretty unwilling to try. 

So, Hils, aren't you sorry you asked? You got the War and Peace answer, when the Reader's Digest version would have sufficed: I'm following LoseIt's daily calorie target.

I'm really glad you asked, though. Obviously I need to keep thinking about the right answer. For me.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29 - Perspective

My perspective leans to the left, wouldn't you say? Heh.

Still going down, down, down

Two and a half more pounds GONE this week.

Astonished. Amazed. It's now been four months since I began my Whole30 (which has grown, for the most part, into something like a Whole120), and I can't quite believe that I'm still losing weight.

The pace has slowed considerably, but down is down and losses are losses.

My mini-goal to weigh what I weighed when I got married by our seventh anniversary (which is next Monday) is thisclose – only half a pound to go.

LoseIt! offers many ways to analyze progress. There are charts and graphs and spreadsheets galore, for just about anything you'd like to track. Want to know what foods you've eaten the most of? There's a chart for that. Favorite exercise? There's a chart for that, as well.

I like this nutrient graph, which clearly illustrates – at least for me and my body – that increasing fat consumption will create weight loss. In my case, it looks like adding healthy fats, beginning in April, has helped me release weight dramatically!
Today was the first day I've exported my weight history to a spreadsheet, so I could figure out the monthly totals. I'm not especially proficient with Excel, and was probably in the art room when we studied statistics in high school. But spreadsheets can be useful at times, and today was one of them.

LoseIt! also tracks activity (the exercise-calories graph shows that May – the month with the greatest loss – was my most active month. Hmmm.), but I like keeping track of miles more than calories, and dailymile is pretty fun for that.
Below the mileage chart is another analytical graphic that tells me I've made it .03 of the way around the world and saved more than 35 gallons of gas since January 1. Which is a little silly, because I wouldn't have driven from one end of my road to another just for the helluvit, but it's nice to know. I guess.

The graphic above shows the current streak. The green arrow indicates the fastest day of the week (Saturday's 5K is part of that total), and the pink one points to the day with the most mileage. Take a minute to add this week's numbers. Or (if you're in a web browser) just look to the right. My previous goal of a 35-mile week got toasted! Forty miles! Pretty soon I'm gonna start training for another half-marathon. Maybe.

Apologies if all these numbers are making your eyes glaze over. I don't think about them much during the week, but I like to take a look at things on Mondays, especially at the end of another month. LoseIt! predicts I'll reach my goal – which I've definitely changed – on November 21. My original plan was to lose 50 pounds. I'm less than 10 pounds from that number this morning. But if I just keep plugging away at it, it would be nice to drop an additional 15 and squeak into the "normal" range on the BMI chart.

I know BMI is somewhat flawed. But the number that will get me there is also what I weighed when I left Ohio for the Middle of Nowhere, 16 years ago. I wouldn't mind seeing that again.

And for the first time in 16 years, I think it might be possible.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28 - This is new

My allergy to inexpensive metal costume jewelry is gone – yet another
benefit of the paleo diet. Or at least that's what I'm assuming. I suspect
sugar is the culprit; I remember this happening before when I gave up
sugar for five years. Worth the sacrifice? HELL TO THE YES!

Last-minute decision

Last night I went to a charity 5K race, which was the kick-off event for the annual Water Festival, held in Hinton, WV – about 12 miles from the Middle of Nowhere. I hadn't pre-registered, and really was still up in the air about going at all until late yesterday afternoon. It rained all day, the forecast wasn't good for the 8 p.m. start, I'm a morning person (and usually in bed by 8:30 p.m.), blah, blah, blah.

I recalled my feelings after that 5K in April, the one where I had registered as a runner but ended up joining the walkers. I felt like I'd let myself down, just a little bit, by not having an "official" time. But last night, even as I was driving into the park where the event was held, I still hadn't made up my mind. Walk or run?

As it happened, a friend texted me right about then. I told her where I was and she asked, at 7:31, "Running?" I told her I hadn't decided. At 7:40 I texted her again.

"Running. …"

The field was small. And young. Lots of kids from the local high-school track team, young parents pushing jogging strollers. There were a few middle-aged and up runners. I saw the woman who won our age group seven years ago at the John Henry Days four-mile race. The one where I was the last woman in, followed only by a man in his 70s.

The course was the same as the April race – three loops around the neighborhood adjacent to the city park. Nice and flat, and at 8 p.m. it was still light enough to see. In fact, the sun popped out just before the starting gun went off.

My strategy was to run three minutes and walk one. I had downloaded and programmed an interval timer to my phone before I left the house yesterday. (It's called the HIIT Interval Timer Program in the Google Play store, and was super-simple to set up.)

And we're off! I started toward the back of the pack, so as not to impede the progress of the young folk. And I pretty much stayed there, picking out a couple people I wanted to lap (and doing so), but not wanting to kill myself in the process. It was hard to force myself to walk those one-minute intervals, watching all those people fly past me, but in the end the plan worked.

In addition to the HIIT timer, I used MapMyRun to log my distance and pace.
I came in 46th overall, but I don't know how many runners were registered. More than 46, for sure, because I saw some come in after me.

I also don't know how many runners were in the women 60-to-64 age group.

But I was first! Woo hoo!

So. To sum up:

  • A PR – final time was 36:48
  • A blistering (for me) overall pace of 10:58
  • First place among women in my age group

All in all, not a bad night!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27 - Black + White

White dinnerware, black shadows.

Curses ... foiled!

According to yesterday's forecast, we weren't supposed to get any rain until this evening.

It is SO raining right now. Pouring, as a matter of fact.

My morning plan was to walk four miles. I'm supposed to do a local 5K tonight (not sure yet whether I'll register as a runner or walker). I don't even think if I were training for a distance race I'd go out in this rain. Sprinkles? Yes. Downpour? Uh-uh.

And it really is downpouring.

All the chairs we were painting yesterday are outside on now-soggy pieces of cardboard. Because it wasn't supposed to rain this morning, you see. So we left them out in order to get started again as soon as I got back from my morning walk.

Grrr.

We got the back and undersides of four chairs done and, of course, ran out of paint. Hopping in the car to get more took a couple of hours (as do most errands out here in the Middle of Nowhere), and I had some design work to do on the computer, plus dinner to fix, so we didn't even try to continue the project yesterday afternoon.

Hindsight's 20/20.

Yesterday was a very nice day, all in all. My husband and I walked in the morning. I did seven miles and he did six, but we were together most of the time. I snuck in my third Cto5K workout of the week, and it was the best by far! It's that flat road again, plus the conditions were perfect. A little cooler than we've been used to, and slightly less humid than it's been lately.
We had lunch, started painting, went to Lowe's, blah, blah, blah. He gathered kindling and firewood while I fixed dinner. Sounds like Little House on the Prairie, doesn't it? Heh.

I went through my closet the other day, trying on things I haven't worn in years. Some of them I'd never worn. A couple shirts still had the tags on them. I was so surprised that everything fit. There's this one hooded knit cardigan, pink and made out of some kind of fluffy, textured fabric. I swear I looked like one of those pastel marshmallows when I got it. (It was a gift; I'd never have bought it for myself, even as much as I love pink.)

I'll be wearing it this fall. And not feeling like a marshmallow, thankyouverymuch.

The rain appears to be letting up a bit. I might actually have a little window of rain-free opportunity here in a few minutes, according to the map. The internets are a little buggy this morning and I've probably bored you enough with my minutiae, and so I will sign off, wishing you a very good weekend.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26 - The everyday

Well, almost every day. Today is the 207th day of 2013. I've logged 663 miles
in 172 workouts. That averages out to 3.85 miles per walk. I've missed 35 days
this year. Current streak is 13 days. I've never tried to streak. Until now.

A lady of leisure I'm not

Retirement started off with a project. Or two. I got home from work, chopped back the petunias and a few perennials, watered the hostas and then we finally extracted the firepit from its box and put it together.

Today's project is to paint four of our wrought iron patio chairs so we can actually sit around the fire. There's an old log out there we could park our butts on, but chairs would be more comfortable.

And stylish! Because instead of boring old black paint, I bought bright tropical-colored paint! I'm really excited to see how they turn out. And if I hate them, well, I can always buy black and start over.

I'd planned to walk early-early this morning, but here it is after 8 a.m., with pea-soup-thick fog and a temperature in the low 50s. I was going to drive down to Indian Creek Road, which is my flat route, but I think it would be very spooky down there by myself. I can probably talk the husband into joining me a little later.

Today is Week 3, Day 3 of Cto5K. And the first week in which I will have completed all three workouts as directed. (If I manage to hit the right button today.)

So if you read the comments, you'll know I ordered new kicks, Wendy-Davis style. The greenhouse is a project for another day month year. Or possibly never, since we keep kicking around the idea of giving up our little bit of West Virginia paradise for a condo in North Carolina.

There's ample opportunity for activism in the Tarheel State. I might not be harvesting tomatoes or tending perennial beds there, but I'm betting I'd still not turn into an old retired lady who lunches.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 25 - Ground

How serendipitous that today's photo prompt – ground – works so well
with my last day of work at Groundworks. It's been great!

I made it!

No, I'm not talking about food.

Or a knitting project.

Or jewelry or a card or anything else crafty.

I didn't die and "they" (which in this case means Republicans in Congress) didn't take it away.
MY FIRST SOCIAL SECURITY DEPOSIT HAS BEEN DELIVERED!

I thought it would come in after midnight, but it actually showed up sometime yesterday.

I've been threatening to blow the first month's benefit – it's NOT an entitlement! – on something fun, but I'm basically a pretty practical kinda gal. I sort of want these, but I want to try them on before I buy them (the reviews say they run small), and the local running discount store doesn't carry that brand.

And if I only sort of want them, I probably shouldn't be buying them.

It might go toward a trip. I might find some new electronic gadget I can't live without. I'm seriously considering buying the materials for one of these.

One thing is for sure: I WILL do something fun with at least part of it.

Film at eleven!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24 - D is for …

Democrat, of course!

Following up

My intentions for yesterday were to put in six miles:
I do NOT believe a 90-minute workout burned 808 calories. LoseIt! says 463.
Clean the refrigerator, go grocery shopping and make deviled eggs:
The center of the egg plate will be filled with black, green and kalamata olives.
And bake a batch of zucchini muffins:
Yum. Really good recipe. Might add some chopped nuts next time.
Check, check and check! And I made it to the prison last night, as well, but we're not permitted to take photos there, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Today's weather looks better for a later run rather than the early-morning one I'd intended to do. I've already passed the window of opportunity, time-wise, but I'll have time this afternoon. And I might not have to water plants at work this morning with the overnight rain, so I won't wear myself out at work.

Speaking of wearing myself out … I don't do that as much as I did 30 pounds ago. Yesterday was a very busy day. The grocery run also included a little clothes-browsing (didn't buy anything – but Gingerzingi did, you should go check out her new wardrobe!) and a stop at the drugstore. I'd have to say a day like yesterday wouldn't – couldn't – have happened four months ago.

It's taken both a physical and mental shift to convince myself that I don't need a lie down after a six-mile walk/run. I actually like resting a bit following a workout, but it's become less of a necessity and more of a preference. And if it's a preference … well, it doesn't have to happen. It would just be nice if it did.

Other thoughts:
  • I'm so happy the royal baby has been born and appears to be healthy. I just wish the breathless commentary would STOP already.
  • Anthony Weiner doesn't deserve to even HAVE a penis.
The computer issues have cleared up. (Jen, the laptop is rarely on my lap, almost always on my desk, but I've thought I might need to elevate it. Thanks for the reminder.) I reset both the SRC and PRAM, something I hadn't done in a while. For some reason, I think the laptop doesn't need regular maintenance, although I was very careful about performing certain clean-up tasks on the G5.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23 - I drew this!

This is a pen-and-ink drawing I completed in 1984, of a radial engine on a
homebuilt aircraft. I took the photo of the engine at the annual Experimental
Aircraft Association convention in Oshkosh, WI. It's been years since I've
been to a convention; I used to never miss it. 

Now that the inbox is cleared out …

it's time to purge stuff from the laptop.

Now to keep up with the email and not let it get so out of hand. AGAIN.

Denise, my assumption is that the DirecTV control box will capture anything I tell it to record regardless of whether I have electricity in my house or not. Kind of like a cloud function. I've never tested it.

Also, I'm pretty sure waterlogged ground had something to do with the fallen tree that caused our power loss. At least we're not experiencing drought conditions this year, right?

I'm having some computer issues this morning. The fan keeps running, and sometimes revs up alarmingly, reminiscent of an engine run-up prior to takeoff. I've Googled and tried one solution, which worked for a while, but I think there might be something else creating the problem. SOB!

And, of course, now that I've written that paragraph, the fan noise quit.

Is that anything like stating your intention and suddenly finding yourself able to achieve it? (Like cleaning out the inbox? Heh.)

My intention for today is to put in another six miles (if it stops raining long enough. Or even if it doesn't. I WON'T MELT!). Then I need to clean out the refrigerator so I can go grocery shopping and fill it up again. I want to make a batch of zucchini muffins – I'm craving something baked –and I need to make a batch of deviled eggs to take to a friend's for dinner tomorrow. Aaaaand … tonight is prison night.

Yesterday I repeated Week 3, Day 1 of Cto5K. Today I will just run when I feel like it, which will probably be the downhills and flat parts. I had to run up some killer hills yesterday, and still can't make it all the way.

There's this one hill, which is quite long but not terribly steep. I set my gaze about 10 feet in front of me and adjusted my stride to be a bit shorter than usual. I've gleaned these tips for conquering hills from Coach Google. My discipline didn't last even halfway up the hill … almost as soon as I looked up and saw how much hill was left, I had to slow to a walk.

But that's better than six months ago, when I was plodding along for two or three miles at 3 mph and thinking I was such a badass. Heh. The run/walk yesterday took 90 minutes. Just think how fast I'll be next year!

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22 - Grey

I love her little grey muzzle. I hate that she's getting old, though.

If a tree falls on a power line

Mother Nature reminded us who's boss yesterday afternoon, lest we get all smug and think we're in charge. We were happily going about our business, which on Sunday afternoons usually means doing not much at all. The air conditioner kicked off, as it does during its cooling cycle, but the ceiling fan slowed down, too. One glance at the blank digital clock confirmed that the electricity was, indeed, off.

We'd had a heavy downpour and wind in the late morning, but it was 2:30 when the refrigerator quit humming. I called the Power Outage Hotline and began waiting.

The view from the porch, 7 p.m.-ish.
Fortunately the rain that had come through earlier brought with it slightly cooler temperatures. It was nice outside, actually. I grilled pork tenderloin chops and sliced tomatoes for dinner as we continued to wait.

As the day wore on into evening, we thought we might have to miss The Newsroom, which begins at 10 p.m. EDT (and is the best hour on television. Period). I'd already gone to bed, resigned to watching the recording. (A DVR programmed to record the entire season of a good show is, well, a beautiful thing.) But what's this? Lights on at 9:54!

I was one happy girl, after spending most of the day and evening not being a happy camper. I can rough it just fine, but I DON'T LIKE TO.

So. The mini-goal I alluded to yesterday? Was to put in a 35-mile week, which would have been the highest weekly mileage this year. I didn't make it. I walked way too late yesterday morning to be comfortable trying to get seven miles in. Ended up doing 31, my third-highest week since Christmas. I am, however, on an eight-day streak. Wonder how long I can keep that going? I walked a mile Saturday (after doing yoga in the morning) to keep the streak alive.

And the weigh-in? I am, officially, finally, HAPPILY overweight! My BMI dipped slightly below the obese level with a three-pound loss for the week.

Making it a total of 38 pounds for the year.

So far.

Hope your weekend was less eventful than mine. But if you weigh in on Monday morning, I hope the news was good!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21 - Fave food

Made the first batch of pesto yesterday. And then I found three jars
from last year's basil harvest in the freezer. I'm pesto-rich!

Figured it out!

Sometimes you have to hit old people over the head to make yourself clear. The new Gmail app works just like the old one, except there's no box to check. A statement at the top of the list clearly states "Tap on the sender icon to select a message."

Clear as can be. I feel kind stupid.

And old.

Still buried in e-mail

I recently wrote about my electronic clutter problem. I've been doing much better about keeping up with my favorite blogs. Feedly is a great reader app, and I especially like it on my tablet. Swipe, read, swipe, read and in no time I've gotten through 50 posts!

My inbox, however, is cluttered with more than 800 e-mails. I try to get through a hundred or so each day, unsubscribing when I truly don't think I'll ever care about reading something from that company, group or shop again. It's easier to manage e-mails at the computer, and I purposely chose an uncomfortable chair to put at my desk – to reduce the amount of time I spend with the laptop – so it's becoming less and less likely that I'm ever going to catch up.

The recent Gmail update for the tablet app sucks. Used to be you could just check boxes to batch-delete, which I was doing fairly regularly. Now you literally have to read each e-mail and tap the trashcan to get rid of it. I suppose that's good for those who sent the e-mails, but it's quite cumbersome for those who don't want to read them.

I went online and found I'm not the only one who doesn't like the upgrade. I learned how to go back to the previous iteration of the app, but it updates automatically in a day or two, so I quit jumping through that hoop.

I think I need a sick day, just to lie in bed with the laptop and take care of some bid-ness!

Instead, if I want to reach my secret mileage goal today I need to get off my ass and do seven miles. For some reason I'm not really feeling it this morning. You know what, though? THAT DOESN'T MATTER! Once I get out there and start putting one foot in front of the other, the mojo will kick in and I'll be fine.

I went to yoga class again yesterday morning. Man, that's hard. I was dripping with sweat by the time we got to corpse. Also? I think yoga burns way more calories than LoseIt! thinks it does. Oh. Well. I tried to walk with my husband for a little bit yesterday afternoon, but it was SO hot and SO humid that we only managed one mile. Plus, he walks a lot more slowly than I like to, so it seemed more like an effort than my usual fun run.

Fun run. Who EVER would have believed I'd be writing that a year ago?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 20 - Hot

Coffee. Of course. What else would I choose to shoot for a hot prompt? Heh.

Things I love

My job
I'm going to be so sad not to work at the garden center any more. My responsibilities this year have been opening in the morning (just two days a week) and watering everything, as well as helping customers and keeping things tidy. I haven't done a lot of potting, and that's fine with me. I like doing that, but I really like watering. I get to see every single plant in the nursery, what's new, what's doing well, what needs some attention … and especially what would look good in my own landscape!

XL T-shirts
I love how an XL tee covered a multitude of lumps and bumps when I was fat(ter), and now that I've dropped a few pounds makes me look kinda skinny. For instance: a collarbone peeking out of a too-big V-neck. Never thought I'd see that again!

Coffee
Especially hot coffee, ready and waiting in an insulated carafe, every morning. And the coffeemaker loaded and ready to go when I finish what's left in the carafe. Courtesy of my husband.

Pulling weeds
I don't actually like the pulling of the weeds, but I LOVE the result. It's been too hot to work on the weed project this week, but temperatures will be going back down to reasonable after today, and I'm very motivated to finish the herb bed and begin working on the vegetable garden. I saw an almost-ripe tomato out there yesterday!

Running
Wow, do I love running. Although I'm really still at the jogging stage. Maybe I should just call it "picking up the pace." My husband loves my running WAY less than I do, and cautions me DAILY to 'take it easy,' 'be careful,' 'don't hurt yourself.' I am careful and I haven't hurt myself, but I have to admit I haven't really taken it easy. I try to challenge myself, especially on Cto5K training days. I've been inching up the hills at a slightly faster pace, running halfway up some that I could barely walk up six months ago. Progress!

The hummingbird feeder
This has been the best $7 I've spent in a long, long time. Those little guys are SO entertaining! I've seen as many as three at a time, and there are only four feeding stations. Why did it take me so long to jump on the hummingbird-watching bandwagon? Maybe I thought that was something old people did. Even if it is – and even if I am – SO WHAT? I'm delighted. A shout-out to my friend Lynne, whose hummingbirds charmed and inspired me to the point where I had to get my own feeder. (She probably didn't want me as a nightly dinner guest, either.)

Fresh flowers in vases
I love flowers more than I ever thought I would. When I began gardening in earnest, I was all about food. Heirloom tomatoes and several varieties of squash and unusual (at least for me) beans. The vegetable garden these days has been pared down to a minimum, and the flower beds have taken center stage. I love bringing an armful of black-eyed susans or hydrangea blooms inside to brighten up our dining-room table. Next year's vegetable plot will be cut in half, to make it more manageable. It's that getting-old thing.

Getting old …
and being healthy, pain-free and able to enjoy finding new and interesting ways to fill my days. I'm not really old, right? Sixty-two is the new 50. RIGHT? I'm sure not getting any younger chronologically, but I feel better than I did when I was 61, so there's that progress thing again. HOWEVER … my first Social Security check gets deposited in less than a week. That's the kind of old-person benchmark I'm happy to claim!

YOUR TURN
One thing … what do you love? Don't think hard about it, just leave a quick comment. What have I forgotten? What would you add? What's on your list?

July 19 - Building

The building – not quite a shed, even – where soil amendments and bales of
potting soil are stored at the nursery. I love that even a storage shed gets a touch
of art with the painted wooden quilt block, and the style of diagonal wood walls.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Well, I screwed that up

Today was supposed to be Week 2, Day 3 of Cto5K. I again chose to pop the training workout into the middle of a longer walk/run session.

It didn't take long for the thick fog to cover the lenses of my glasses, rendering them useless, so I took them off and tucked them into the neckline of my shirt. When it came time to begin the Cto5K program, I hit the wrong button – since I'm blind without my glasses – and ended up doing Week 3, Day 1.

WHICH I WILL DO AGAIN ON MONDAY … the first day of my third week.

I'm NOT OCD, I'm NOT OCD, I'm NOT OCD.

The little feedback messages I was getting following each interval seemed off, for sure, but I didn't think much about it since it's still all new – both the training and the app. Anyway.

Here's last week's workouts:

And today's totals:
The last complete mile (before the .3 cool down) was at a 12:34 pace. And all downhill.

When I was auditioning apps, I attributed some of my problems with one of them to operator error. It appears I still have that issue. Heh. I wonder if I should look into contact lenses?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18 - Number

This will look very familiar to both of you ... probably not so much to those
who follow me on Instagram, though!

Yesterday, on a whim ...

I tried on the dress I wore for the blessing ceremony/wedding celebration my husband and I had with our families in September, 2006. (For those of you who may be new here, we eloped to Las Vegas in August of that year.)

Size 12. It fits.

Here's my favorite shot from the party, and here's a full-length shot of me in the dress (not terribly flattering, but oh, well.)

I didn't want to set the camera up to take a current shot, but one of these days, soon, I will.

I've had a mini-goal in my mind for the last month or so of weighing what I did when we were married on our anniversary, which is 18 days from today. That would mean a total loss – this time around, heh – of 41 pounds by August 5, six more pounds from the most recent Monday-morning weigh-in.

I'm not sure it's going to happen. As both of you know, my body doesn't release weight consistently or predictably. I've been quite surprised by some of the weigh-ins since I switched my eating plan in April, sometimes happily and sometimes not so much.

But anyway, my intention is now out there in the Universe. We'll see what happens.

This point in a dedicated weight-loss effort is fraught with peril. At least that's been my experience, so I'll just speak for myself. If any of you have had similar feelings or thoughts, feel free to jump in via the comments. These may not look like roadblocks, but believe me: They are. Or at least they have the potential to be.
My clothes fit.Shorts, pants, skirts, tops, outerwear, underwear – I can find something in my closet or dresser that fits and looks good for just about any occasion. I even tried on swimsuits last night, and I could get away with wearing one of them – also a size 12 – although the elastic in the legs is getting a little loose. That's the advantage of always having hope and never getting rid of those too-small clothes.
(I have tossed many pieces, of course, over the years, and I'm regretting some of those culling decisions. I used to have a blue shirt, embroidered all over, that I wish I had again, and I donated a lovely never-worn – it was too small when I bought it, and it would have cost more to return it than I paid for it! – top to Goodwill in January that I figured I'd never wear or look good in. Now I wonder if I should have at least given it a try.)
People are noticing.Especially after the haircut. I've gotten so much positive feedback, both in person and from Facebook friends, that it's pretty darned tempting to rest on my laurels.
I feel terrific.I do. My hip doesn't hurt. I have lots of energy. (Well, except for yesterday. Working outdoors all morning in the hot, hot sun and very close humidity really took it out of me.) But in general I can get a lot of stuff done in a day. I used to just figure, like Scarlett, that tomorrow is another day and it – whatever it is – would get done eventually. I'm not hungry, and cravings are minimal and easily satisfied.
I can do things comfortably I couldn't previously do.I'm talking about basic things like bending over to pick something up or tying my shoes. The combination of the hip pain and a big belly resulted in great discomfort when I dropped something. I have, however, steadfastly refused to buy a picker-upper. Or Velcro shoes.
I was training for my first half-marathon back in August of 2006, and I experienced the phenomenon of NOT losing weight during training. I don't remember what I weighed when I ran that race the following April. Let's just say it was Wedding Day Weight + X.

I had hoped, of course, to drop some lard when I stepped up my training. But I think I fell into the "you need to eat starchy carbs if you're going to run" trap. Pizza and pasta were my friends. That trap is deceptive, because I've been adding a little running to my almost-daily walks all summer and have yet to suffer any ill effects. And the only carbs I'm eating are from fruits and vegetables.

I can't stop now. As good as I feel now, I know I would feel a whole lot better if I weighed a whole lot less. I'm 15 pounds from the goal I set for myself on Christmas Day. I'm 29 pounds from the absolute upper limit of a normal BMI.

I can do this. One day, one meal, one walk at a time. I can do this.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17 - Inspiration

This is the logo, interpreted in metal, for the nursery where I've been working
the past several years. Next Wednesday will be my last day for this season,
or any season, as I've told them I won't be back next year. Time for me to  enjoy retirement!
The owners – now friends – have been a huge inspiration to me as I've landscaped
my yard, planted my gardens, and taken better care of the earth. Thanks, Groundworks!

New 'do

I decided a month or so ago it was time to shake things up a bit. My hair has been growing and growing and growing, and it was finally long enough to chop off for Locks of Love. My appointment was yesterday.
I LOVE IT!

All I ever did with that long hair was put it up in a pony bun. I French-braided it once or twice (which is an excellent arm workout, by the way), but mostly just brushed it back and twisted it up.

And if you're going to make your long hair look short, you might as well have short hair, right?

It looks better this morning than it did when I left my stylist's. Whose hair does that?!?!?

I took a quick-and-dirty selfie for Facebook, which you can see over there in the right sidebar, but I'm going to have to update that soon, because brushing it back off my forehead is an even better look than the bangs are.

SO HAPPY!

I'm thinking the chopped off part weighed AT LEAST a pound. Heh.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16 - Bottle

My eco-friendly aluminum personal hydration unit. Heh.

Lots on tap today

If it (a walk) is to be, it's up to me. And it had better happen earlier, because later is booked.

I have an appointment this morning at 10:45 followed by a lunch meeting at 12:30, after which I will pick up a few groceries and come home to do laundry, make dinner and then leave for my volunteer gig at the prison.

The walk will begin at 7 a.m., fog or no fog. It's really foggy this morning, pea-soup foggy, LONDON foggy. (I've never been to London, but I'm thinking they didn't create an entire brand of outerwear called London Fog for no good reason.) I really, really, really don't like walking when it's this foggy.

But I shall.

Yesterday I finished Week 2, Day 1 of Cto5K. The number of interval sets was reduced from 8 to 6 and each interval was 30 seconds longer. Which would have worked out fine if not for the hills. It's so much easier to walk out my door and start walking than it is to drive to a flatter route. Until I'm supposed to run up a hill.

I couldn't do a couple of them. I ran when I could – and y'all know that the word "run" should really be "jog," right? – and walked when I couldn't.
No matter. Progress is being made, even though it truly doesn't look like it from the results.

Working my training sessions into a longer walk works well for me. I walked/jogged for about 2.25 miles before I started the warm-up walk. There's no way to work it out so that all the running intervals are downhill, though. Too. Many. Hills. Once I was done with the training, I had 2.3 miles to go to get home, and I ran jogged as much of it as I could, including the entire last mile.

So that was fun. Heh.

Then I worked in the herb bed weed patch off and on for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon. The bed is a circle divided into eighths, and I was able to clean the weeds out of three slices.

Here's a handy tip if you ever decide to plant lemon balm: Put it in a bed all by itself.

The only thing I use lemon balm for is iced tea. I tie a large handful of leaves in a piece of cheesecloth and add it to the water, along with regular tea bags, when I make sun tea. It adds a light lemony flavor that is very refreshing.

Lemon balm, like mint, spreads like crazy. So does oregano. Or marjoram, whichever one I have planted out there. So does comfrey, I'm told, but this is my first year for it, so maybe I'll be able to keep it under control, since I know what to expect.

At any rate, three-eighths of the herb bed looks pretty darned good. I'm working my way around to the hard part, which is an entire slice of cilantro which is going to seed. I want to keep it going – I didn't have to buy cilantro plants or plant seeds this spring – but really? There's enough cilantro out there to stock a salsa kitchen. Or there was, it's pretty much dried up now.

Okay, that's it for now. I have 12 minutes to finish my coffee, get dressed and go swimming in air, which is what I call walking in fog. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15 - Outside my window

Sunrises are easier to capture with a lens than hummingbirds are.

By the numbers

It's official. As of this morning's weigh-in, I'm down 35 pounds since Christmas, thanks to a 1.5-pound loss this week. I've only lost two pounds in the past four weeks, but I'm still a loser! Yay, me!

My BMI has dropped a little more than six points. I'm still   j u s t   b a r e l y   in the obese category. Maybe next week I can celebrate BEING OVERWEIGHT! Heh.

I have 15 pounds to go to reach my stated goal of losing 50 pounds. You heard it here first: My stated goal may change when I hit that number.

When I began the calories in/calories out plan six months ago, I was full of motivation. When I began the GLDS-free plan three months ago, I was full of despair and frustration.

I am now, officially, full of hope. And I haven't had a lot of hope as far as weight loss goes in a long, long time.

My other first-of-the-year stated goal was to log 1000 walking miles. Two weeks past the halfway point of the year finds me well over the halfway point in miles, at 612. I'd wanted to log 30 miles this past week, but came up two miles shy. I could have done six yesterday, to hit that weekly goal, but four was plenty.

I didn't make the 30-mile mark because I went to a yoga class Saturday. I was concerned that if I walked or ran before the 9:30 a.m. session, I'd be too wiped out to give it the effort it deserved. Turned out I was too wiped out after the class to walk. Oh, and I also helped my husband with a project for an hour or so afterward, and I mowed the field (I hesitate to call it a lawn, or even a yard) we live in for three hours in the afternoon.

On some days, the number of hours one has to walk are dramatically cut short by circumstances.

So here we are, a Monday morning, the beginning of a new week and a whole new set of numbers recorded. The pounds lost and miles walked keep adding up.

Who could ask for anything more? Not me, certainly.

Signing off, and keeping it simple …

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 14 - Edible

I love it when the edibles come from my garden!

July 13 - 4:00

Cold iced tea, after mowing. Refreshing!

File this under WTF

I haven't watched even a minute of the George Zimmerman trial. My husband (who has a law degree, although he never practiced) has watched enough for both of us. I knew when I went to bed last night that the jury was still deliberating.

When something newsworthy or even (sometimes) just mildly interesting happens, I'll find a handwritten note on my laptop when I wake up. (He stays up later than I do.) I knew when I saw one this morning that it would be the verdict. I read it, more than half an hour ago as I sit here now, and I still feel like I've been punched in the gut.

This is America, where white men with guns rule. It's like the wild, wild west all over again.

Am I surprised? A bit. But honestly? Not much. It would be easy to blame it on Florida justice – it's not difficult to come up with at least a couple recent decisions out of the Sunshine State that seemed to be totally wrong. (Casey Anthony and the 2004 Presidential election come immediately to mind.)

More than likely it just comes down to this: The prosecution didn't prove its case.

At any rate, I'm sick and disheartened and angry and sad.

My husband attends church regularly; I don't. My spiritual life is rich and full; I don't feel the need to sit in community with others at a specific hour of the week. I pray a lot, mostly prayers of thanks, because I have a lot for which to be grateful.

I will, however, be in a church later today, at a special healing service for a minister who serves the church my husband attends. I will spend the hours from now until the service walking on my road and weeding my garden and thinking about a boy armed with Skittles and a man carrying a gun he shouldn't have had.

And when I get to church, I'll be praying for the healing of America.

Because we are most surely broken.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What a difference a flat road makes

It only took me two weeks, but I can now say I've completed Week One of Couch to 5K. A huge shout-out to Gingerzingi for inspiring me to begin it.

I know you're supposed to let a day or two go between workouts, but I got a little carried away yesterday when my husband and I were walking on Indian Creek Road. It's flat, since it runs alongside a meandering creek, and it was Friday and I was feeling pretty good. So I did back-to-back training runs smack-dab in the middle of a long walk.

My husband doesn't like to walk fast any more. There was a time when he would challenge himself to step up his pace, but those days are long gone. Nowadays he ambles. So yesterday's companionable walk turned into five miles for him and six for me, in the same amount of time.

Doing the Cto5K part on a flat road was a big improvement over my hilly route. See?
Here's the Thursday-to-Friday side-by-side comparison.
So I got home, had a little lunch and rested for a bit, with every intention of mowing the grass in the afternoon. I headed out at 2-ish, first to grab some antique software CDs for my husband to tie strings to. We're going to attach them to the fence around the garden, hoping they will scare the deer away.

As I was removing the envelopes from the pile of CDs, I heard an all-too-familiar sound. It was raining. Again. And a lot. Over the next four hours we had .8 of an inch.

And the grass – and weeds – keep on growing.

Jen asked in a comment how I liked The End of Overeating. Here's what I've written about it previously.

David Kessler, MD, points out how the food industry has employed sugar, salt and fat to hijack our collective appetite, which he contends has led to American's obesity epidemic. (Did you hear Mexico has overtaken the U.S. as the #1 fattest-country?) As a former head of the FDA, he has excellent credentials. But his advice on how to overcome it – think how bad you'll feel after you eat ice cream, for instance – isn't anything we haven't heard/read/said to ourselves before.

And it's not like food manufacturers are ditching their sugar-salt-fat formulas to make it any easier.

The book was published four years ago. I think there's been a slight shift in the last few years away from processed and fast foods, though I have no statistics to back that up. Maybe it's just that I hang out with people who cook at home and from scratch.

My own experience, from a five-year stretch 20 years ago AND over the past three months has shown me that going sugar-free is a very good thing. I also hopped on the low-fat bandwagon back in the day, and definitely lost weight, but also lost good skin tone and shiny hair. I've never worried much about salt, but I also don't use a lot of it.

In the end, reading the book was enlightening, but it didn't really change my eating habits. I was already a make-it-from-scratch cook, and the only thing I bought at McDonald's was iced coffee.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know what has been working for me. Ditching grains, legumes, dairy and sugar all at the same time would have been unthinkable to me until I was ready. I had to hit a point of frustration where I would try anything, and anything turned out to be the GLDS-free plan.

I sure as hell couldn't be approaching 12-minute miles (not that that's a fast pace, but it's fast for me!) if I were still hauling around 35 extra pounds.

Jen, I'll hang on to this book. If you don't want it, I can always take it to the library sale later. If you do, send me your address in a private message on Facebook and I'll pop it in the mail to you.

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12 - A bad habit

Too. Much. Screentime.

The purge beginneth

One shelf of magazines and one shelf of books have now been boxed up and are awaiting delivery to the library for the annual fall book sale.

All of the magazines are knitting-related, periodicals I haven't opened in years. I guess I'm now a former knitting publication hoarder. Nearly all of the books are knitting instruction, pattern or technique books. Do I really need three books devoted to knitting mittens? I think not.

I saved all of the Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits and Knitter's magazines in my inventory. I purged Knitter's a few years ago, saving only the ones I thought I might use in the future. Time to revisit each issue, I suppose.

And find another box.

I'm also divesting myself of a dozen diet books. That may or may not be all of them. Please tell me you have a similar collection on one of your bookshelves. I can't be the only one!
If you want one of these, speak up. I'll be glad to send any of them to you.
They're going to the library Saturday, though, so time is of the essence.
I haven't started on the cookbooks. Yet.

Knitting consumes much less of my leisure time than it did a few years ago. Southern-dwelling grandchildren don't need warm wooly sweaters, and they're all kind of picky about what they wear. It's disappointing to spend the amount of time it takes to knit an earflap hat when they really wanted the one from the Gap all their friends are wearing.

I don't need many sweaters here in southern West Virginia, but I found a couple lacy tunic patterns going through things yesterday that are now in the queue. (I just tried on the blue sweater I finished last year and it fits so much better than it did here.) I have plenty of hats and mittens and scarves, and the only thing currently on my needles is yet another Everlasting Bagstopper, this one in blue, and is intended to be offered as a door prize at a Democratic women's district luncheon next month.

If I can part with it. Heh.

Now that I've begun the purge, I'm motivated to continue. That's kind of how most things work, I guess. Getting started is hard, but once you get going it's kind of fun to watch the progress.

Kind of like losing weight, right?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11 - I wore this

Even a technical tee can't wick away the sweat that is pouring off me after today's run.

This is …

my usual and customary route (as recorded in MapMyRun), the one I've been doing the RunDouble Cto5K workouts on:


It's kinda cool to see a visual representation of the run/walk intervals. I'm surprised that the actual elevations don't look as KILLER as they are when you're out there on them, though.

I usually walk a half-mile before I begin the Cto5K part, and then run the last mile home.

Labels

First, @Gingerzingi: Did you see my response to your garlic question?

Second: Cto5K. Last week I did the first two days. Tuesday I repeated Day One. Hoping to repeat Day Two today. Which is really boring, since they (and Day Three) are all the same. OH WELL. Party prepping got the best of me last week, thus the lapse.

Now. Labels. No, not food labels. Very little of my food has a bar code slapped on it these days. I'm thinking of the "caveman" label that Diandra objected to in a recent comment. (I appreciate the comment, Diandra, you really made me think.)

I haven't studied what it means to Be Paleo. I would guess, from what I've skimmed on the interwebs, that such a lifestyle includes weight training or kettlebells or crossfit. (I could be wrong.) What I do know, for me, is this:
We can’t return to the paleolithic. We’re not cavemen. This isn’t about reenactment, and it never has been. We’re all here because we recognize the value in viewing our health, our food, our exercise, and our everyday behaviors through an evolutionary lens.
Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/12-easy-ways-to-primalize-your-everyday-life/#ixzz2YjXgcQZN
This isn't about reenactment.

It's just easier to type paleo or caveman/woman than it is to type grain-, legume, dairy- and sugar-free. I suppose I could start calling it my GLDS plan, but I'm okay calling it paleo or primal or caveman. It's descriptive, and I know what it means.

And I think you do, too.

No one out there in Whole30 Land is suggesting we kill and field-dress a deer before dinner. (Although that happens pretty frequently out here in the Middle of Nowhere.) What I get from the philosophy of the primal lifestyle is to avoid processed foods whenever possible, to eat as close to the source as one can afford (grass-fed, organic) and to move your body. (Is anyone hearing that song from Madagascar?)

My lifestyle leaves MUCH room for improvement.

My food budget is not infinite. I cannot afford to go completely organic, nor do I even buy and process my own fresh produce all the time. If pineapples are too dear, I buy canned in juice. I'm still eating regular grocery-store chicken, but my beef is grass-fed and my bacon is preservative-free. My go-to intentional activity is walking; I've yet to pick up a kettlebell, or even a dumbbell since I switched my eating plan in April.

Yoga is back in the mix, though, at least once a week.

I am, for sure, eating more healthfully than I did beginning the day after Christmas, when I started pursuing yet another weight-loss goal. I was thinking, as I was making egg salad yesterday morning before work, how easy it used to be to grab a chunk of cheese and a handful of crackers for breakfast. I nevereverever went anywhere without a snack tucked into my purse.

God forbid I should ever feel hungry.

Hunger is okay. Especially hunger first thing in the morning. It's a sign of good health to be hungry after a good night's sleep. I'm not going to die if my stomach growls. And my metabolism is not going to die if I don't feed myself every three hours.

I truly think (I hope this doesn't come back to bite me) I've found a way of eating that works for me. Whatever it's called, it's helping me reach a healthier weight. The less I weigh, the more easily I can move and thus I move more often.

I'd label that GOOD.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10 - Smooth

Smooth little seashell, part of the recent birthday-party decorations.

Reaping

I've pulled all the garlic and it looks good. The heads aren't quite as large as last year's, but they're plenty big. I didn't plant quite as much this year, which turned out to be a good thing since I still have quite a bit of last year's harvest "in stock."

I've been adding cherry tomatoes, both yellow and red, to salads for the past week or so, and there will be plenty more from the two pots on the patio. The garden tomatoes aren't doing very well. The plants are small and there are only one or two fruits on each one. I may have to – gasp! – buy tomatoes at the farmer's market for canning this year.

Half a dozen onions were large enough to dig up, and there will be many, many more. Yes, onions are cheap and easy to find at the market, but they're also easy to grow and I find it very satisfying to add a homegrown onion to our daily fare. At least for a couple months, until I run out of them.

Zucchini, as you probably know, can be prolific. I bought four plants and planted six hills of seeds. I've yet to harvest a single fruit. Every tiny zucchini on the plants has, so far, turned yellow. I've been pulling them off, hoping for green ones that will actually grow and this morning I found two. So we'll see.

The seeded plants are growing well but have no flowers yet, and I have rows of cucumbers, butternuts and cushaws, each growing like the weeds which have taken over most of the garden space.

I'm really, really hungry for gazpacho – I'm pretty sure cavewomen didn't have tomatoes, but for those of us in the modern world following a paleo plan, gazpacho has to be one of the more perfect dishes. I can't bring myself to pay $2.99/pound for tomatoes, which is what Tiny Kroger is still charging for them, when I'll have ripe ones in my back yard in a couple of weeks.

I didn't mind paying $2.49/pound for spaghetti squash when I found it at Big Huge Kroger when I went shopping yesterday. It took most of a $20 bill to pay for two large ones. I stopped at another market on the way home that had them for $1.39/pound, so I added one more to my inventory. And wished I'd stopped there first!

I started feeling not-so-great at dinner last night (chicken taco salad, mmmm), and took my temperature, which was a couple degrees higher than normal. No other symptoms, but I went to bed super-early and slept for 12 hours. Something must have been going on. It's over now, and I'm ready for a walk and then work. It's raining very lightly, but I think I'll walk between the raindrops and just do it.

Wouldn't that make a great motivational poster? Heh.

July 9 - 3 things

My initials in blocks of old-fashioned printer's type. Found a bucket of
them in the shop at my first job (as a typesetter) after my first divorce.
My boss said he used them as kindling in his fireplace!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I've turned into one of those people

I used to think they were snobs, or held themselves to an impossibly high standard. Maybe you've felt the same way, upon hearing that new couple announce they "don't watch television."

Well, I can't say I don't watch it at all. I spend half an hour a day with Alex Trebek. Because I'm old like that. And because my husband likes Jeopardy, so it's 30 minutes of quality time he and I spend together.

My husband also likes cable news. Me? Not so much. I've also turned into one of those people who gets her news, skewed as it is, from Facebook.

I started watching Beasts of the Southern Wild last night, but 10 minutes into it I couldn't see where it was going and wasn't interested enough to find out. I am, perhaps, a good candidate for Short Attention Span Theatre.


It's not that I don't get plenty of screen time. I'm at the computer or on my phone or tablet several hours daily. PRODUCTIVE hours, lemme tell ya. I log my daily food in LoseIt, use the MapMyRun app to track my daily workout, get my creativity on with Instagram and read your blogs on Feedly.

And then there's Pinterest.

I'm also an Imperial Mahjong whiz, and I'M CERTAIN I'm doing my brain a lot of good finding matches and tapping tiles. (My dad's wife got me hooked on mahjong. I've uninstalled it from every device I own, many times, but it's very cracklike for me. And as long as the laundry gets done and dinner is served, I'm not hurting anyone. Heh.)

I've lost so many paper lists halfway through a grocery run that I've started using an app (currently trying out ZipList) for shopping trips. Because while I might misplace a scrap of paper, my phone is permanently attached to my body.

Just ask my husband. Heh.

There are downsides to all this technology, of course. I haven't memorized a phone number in years. If I needed to reach my daughter, for instance, using your phone, I couldn't manage it AT ALL. She moved to a new house almost two years ago and I still don't know her address. It's in the palm of my hand (or on my laptop), and I've recently started saying you only need to know where to find information. Why waste brain cells memorizing something you can look up? Brain cells are a limited commodity, after all.

I'll get back to television soon. Pre-season pro football starts less than a month from now. (I know, pretty soon we're going to have year-round a year-round NFL schedule.) And college football begins August 29. Football is my reality TV, and I'll watch it all day long.

I could also watch the hummingbirds all day long. I took my first picture of one yesterday with the DSLR, and have been trying to catch one with the camera on my phone, a nearly impossible (for me) exercise. The feeder is hanging right outside the sliding glass door next to our dining table, and I can tell you that while last night's curried pork was delicious, I certainly wasn't paying as much attention to savoring my food as I was to watching the birds.

Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But it's an entertaining thing. And probably a better use of my time than playing mahjong.

I hope you don't think I'm a snob because I don't watch CNN. Or Dancing With the Stars. How about you? What are your go-to apps? And, more importantly, how do you get your news?