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Showing posts from 2014

You can't look backward and forward at the same time.

But I'll try.

This blog covers four major areas of interest, with an occasional post/rant/photo about politics and/or social justice. Both of you already know what a blow Democrats in West Virginia took in November, so we. won't. go. there. As for the other stuff …

Knitting
I actually got a lot more knitting done in 2014 than I figured I would, it being an election year and all. I was busy, but turned out several projects, all of which ended up being gifts for grandchildren – doll sweaters, stuffed toys, a fuzzy scarf. I'm nearly finished with a scarf which will go to a friend "just because."

When I organized my yarn closet the last time, I created several kits – bags of yarn+pattern – and I'd like to get started on one of those when the scarf is finished. I gave away a couple of too-big sweaters last year and need to replenish MY wardrobe.

My granddaughter's dolls have plenty o'sweaters.

Running
As you both know, I don't run much any more. I'll…

Aaaaand … she's off!

We had a lovely day yesterday, quite busy, but lovely nonetheless. My husband's mother is pretty much housebound now, so we I catered her dinner. The whole deal – turkey and trimmings – transported from our house to hers.

My very first "real" job (other than babysitting) was working as a prep assistant for a caterer, so I know a little bit about how to manage such a task. But knowing how doesn't make it any easier.

She appreciated it very much, however, so it was worth it.

I'm leaving in an hour to visit my son and his family for a couple days, and then my husband's son and his family will be here for a couple days. The fun never stops!

Until it does. But when all the visiting and company is done and gone we've got … New Year's! And bowl games!

So, really, the fun never stops.

2015 is looking good for us already. We both feel well and are able to continue walking and appreciating what we have. We don't want a darned thing. My health insurance prem…

Wishing you …

the happiest of Hanukkahs and the merriest of Christmases.

My day week is scheduled to the hilt and I know I won't have much time to pop in with updates for a few days, unless it's on the fly from my phone. But I would be remiss if I didn't thank you for another year of sticking with me through thin and thick.

My plan is to make next year another thin one. If I did it once …

In the meantime,


Making a list

The holidays here in the Middle of Nowhere are generally pretty quiet. We're going to an open house on Christmas Eve day and will spend Christmas at my mother-in-law's. We're taking dinner in to her.

I'm leaving the next day to visit my son and his family, and the day after I get home my husband's son and children are coming here.

Leaving me not much time to get things ready for them, so I spent yesterday cleaning the house. And while I was at it, I rearranged the living room furniture. The couch now faces the [non-working but filled with white candles] fireplace. The outside view used to be lush and green, but now that it's just brown and bare, I thought it would be nice to change things up a bit.

Nothing like adding to the workload, right?

My mother-in-law finally got specific and requested homemade candy for her gift. Here's a tip: Do NOT substitute almond milk for cow's milk when making fudge. All you get is fudge sauce. I added a bag of leftover ma…

Thirty-one

In order to hit 1000 walking miles this year, I need to get 31 more done before New Year's Day. That's about three miles a day for the next week and a half. I'll be on the road for two of those days, and we're having company for another two.

So … we'll see. I'm willing to bet I come up a couple miles short. But I'm still going to try.

My husband and I started out yesterday afternoon, at what was supposed to have been the warmest hour of the day, but turned back after less than half a mile. We didn't take into account the cool wind, and neither of us had dressed warmly enough. I kept walking up and down our long driveway to get a full mile in (I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but  that's another advantage of living in the Middle of Nowhere: No one saw me!)

It's supposed to get up to 40° this afternoon, and no wind. NO EXCUSES!

In other news, the remaining handmade gifts are being completed on schedule. I finished up a couple things for my Big Ba…

My sleep number

Eight. I get eight hours of sleep nearly every night. Some times it's an hour or so more. More often it's a couple hours less. But it averages out to eight hours per night over the course of a week, generally.
HOWEVER … my eight hours usually begins at 8-ish in the evening, meaning I'm wide awake at 4 a.m. And last night things really caught up with me and I went to sleep at 6. Right after dinner. Before the news. BEFORE JEOPARDY!
And I've been awake since 2 a.m.
On the bright side, I'm cooking spaghetti squash to freeze for future use, and the rinds will be ready to dispose of when the trash truck comes later this morning. I hate when discarded food remnants sit in a trash bag for a week. Early to rise means you get things DONE.
Next on my to-do list is to wrap all the Christmas presents. I have one more thing I need to make, a sewing project, and all the gifts are stacked up on the sewing table. Soooooo, first things first: Wrap, then cut fabric, then sew.
And th…

Let the holidays be OVER. Please.

I seem to have absolutely NO self-control this year. Not only can I not resist others' temptations (I'll spare you the descriptive food porn, just insert treat of your choice here), I am even making (and eating) some decidedly NON-paleo food items using ingredients that cause severe pain.

I guess that makes me a masochist.

My previous post was all about eating crappy-for-me food because I was cold and needed comforting. Apparently the myth of comfort food has been busted by scientists, so there goes that rationalization!

I have NO excuse for going off the deep end now. The furnace is fixed, the house is warm, we didn't break the bank, the Christmas shopping is done, the out-of-town gifts are on their way. One project remains unfinished, but there's still plenty o'time before it gets delivered in person the weekend after Christmas.

Sooooo … if Life is so Good, why am I sabotaging myself and my success?

That's a good question, I'm glad I asked.

Because it'…

Insert title here

Because I'm all out of creative ideas for titles this morning.

We're attending an open house this afternoon, at which there will be food, of course. Not the best day to begin working on my personal infrastructure, now that our home infrastructure is back on track.

I will admit to some very not-good choices the past couple weeks, which have proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm an emotional eater.

Not everyone believes that

I AM COLD = I MUST EAT CRAP
but apparently I do. (In case you're new here, our home heating system went out on Thanksgiving and wasn't replaced until December 11.) And I really, really, really paid for it yesterday.
I walked in the early afternoon (and listened to the next-to-last episode of Serial for the first two miles). The first three miles went well. I noticed a slight twinge of pain in my right hip, but that's been going on for a long time now, and I'm 63+ years old, and who doesn't experience slight aches and pains w…

Today's the day!

If you've been following along recently, you know our heating system has been dead for two weeks. We've been limping along with a couple of space heaters. The inside temperature this morning hovered just slightly above 50°. It's 28° outside. I wouldn't want to be the crew who will be working outside and under my house. But I can't wait for them to show up! They should be here around 9 a.m.
I've done a lot of knitting the last several days. 
Pink Kitty is done (except for the eyes). Once I sew the eyes on all four of the knitted toys, that family's gifts will be finished and ready to wrap. We never know what they'll enjoy or what they might already have. The last time we visited we took school supplies, and the boys said, "But Mom already bought us school supplies." Which, of course, I knew she would have, and what we brought them were just little crafty things to add to their already ample supply of crayons and stickers and glue sticks.
At lea…

Down the home stretch

The good thing about having no heat (installation of the new system might begin tomorrow, and we're definitely on schedule for Thursday) is that I've had lots of time to knit. I park myself in my little chair in front of my little TV in my little den with my little space heater and knit, knit, knit my little fingers to the bone.

The pink kitty (mine is solid pink, not striped like the original) – the fourth of four gifts for one set of grandchildren – is nearly done. AND IT LOOKS LIKE A KITTY! I was having doubts during the process, as it's knit all in one piece and it wasn't looking very kitty-like there for a while.

Stuffing works wonders on a shapeless piece of fabric.

All that's left to knit is the front legs. Then I need to sew button eyes on all four toys and they're DONE. (The children are 4-1/2 and 6-1/2, so no chance of swallowing buttons.)

Next up is the pink-and-purple scarf for my younger granddaughter, and I've also found a hat pattern I want t…

Being there

You can gracefully decline invitations to some events. There may be certain parties you'd rather not go to, some reunions that aren't so meaningful, date nights where you'd really rather be alone.

Your daughter's law school graduation ceremony?
You want to be there. Trust me.
She wasn't even sure she wanted to be there, but after all was said and done, after the processional and the speeches and the, well, the pomp and circumstance of it all, she was happy to have the memories.
And so were all of us who were with her.
She graduated third in her class, and was asked to stand for special recognition with the others in the top 10 percent.

She spent four years taking classes (and tests!) at a nontraditional law school, with classmates who, like her, worked during the day, had families and friends and responsibilities outside of school. Some major MAJOR life events happened during her years of study. Events that might have derailed a woman with less energy, determinatio…

Brrr

And the hits just keep on coming.

We knew we needed a new compressor for the heat pump. And we need a new furnace. Because the new compressor would be incompatible with the old unit, you see. (It's more complicated than that; you'll have to trust me. Something to do with refrigerant and the ozone layer and space travel.)

The entire deal is going to cost way more than we originally thought, but we are blessed. Rainy-day funds are there for times like these, right?

In the meantime, it's cold in here. I have a borrowed space heater blowing warmish air on me but it doesn't do much good in the large room in which my desk is located. It does a great job in the den, so I think that's where I'll spend most of my day. Knitting!

Red teddy bear is done (except for eyes – all the eyes for all the toys will be sewn on at the same time). I'm now working on a pink kitty for the youngest granddaughter, after which I'll start a pink-and-purple scarf for the next-to-young…

Half-full

So with the heat problem we're experiencing here in Ye Old Middle of Nowhere, you'd think – nay, you'd expect – some grumbling, right? (See yesterday's post if you're not aware of our issue.)

But that hasn't happened. In fact, the most grumbling so far has been from me, listening to the furnace run constantly, in a futile effort to keep the air warm.

Yesterday I got tired of listening to myself and adjusted the thermostat downward until the fan stopped running. The inside temperature has remained at about 60° ever since. With wool slippers and layered clothing, we're not uncomfortable at all.

My mood almost instantly changed from mumbly-grumbly to A-OK.

Granted I went to bed early, because, um, blankets! But really? I've not found anything to complain about since that constant fan noise stopped.
We're fortunate to have the money to have paid for that weekend service call.We plan to check on our homeowner's insurance, which could possibly cover pa…

Even when it's unseasonably warm …

it's cold.

I came home from my trip to NC to find a broken heat pump. It's not 100 percent broken – the fan blows air – but after a very expensive weekend visit from a technician, we learned we need a new compressor. The original one has somehow become grounded, rendering it useless for warming the air coming into the house.

I know NOTHING about heat pumps, other than what I've learned from Google this weekend.

What I do know is that it will be several days before a new compressor can be installed, it's going to cost lots o'bucks, and it's cold. Even the slightly warmer-than-normal outdoor temperatures aren't warm.

So we're wearing wool socks and multiple layers and huddling in the TV room with the door closed and a space heater running full-blast.

Our next electric bill will be astronomical.

The Emergency Heat setting on the heat pump doesn't provide any heat, again because of the compressor. I think. Without that critical component, we're stuc…

As you gather together

Whether you'll be spending your Thanksgiving with friends, family or all alone (which is sometimes a delicious option), I hope your heart is filled with gratitude for your blessings, great or small.

Happy Thanksgiving.

When I feel as I do this morning …

it's probably better to keep my thoughts to myself.

But THAT ain't happening! Heh.

I expected there would be no indictment against the Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown. I haven't looked at the evidence, and I didn't hear the witnesses. I can't say whether the grand jury decision is good or bad. It just is.

What I'm left with – and what I started with, once the facts began to come out – is why that officer had to kill that child. Why was deadly force necessary?

I'll grant you that the young man wasn't a fine, upstanding citizen. He wasn't helping the Little Sisters of the Poor. He'd just shoplifted cigars (and not even especially good ones) from a convenience store. He apparently tussled with the officer. He was a big guy, while the officer was of average build.

But who are we, when it's acceptable to kill someone for shoplifting?

Yes, that's simplifying it. But to me, that's the essence of it.

My opinion – and I'm…

You know what they say

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and write about something that might make that old saying – "be careful what you wish for" – happen in a bad way.

Because that's usually how "be careful what you wish for" happens.

Here's what I'd like. I'd like for food to be not so important, not so enticing, not so alluring.

And you know the only people who aren't interested in food are, um, sick.

I don't want to be sick.

I just don't want to think about food all the damned time.

My meals are pretty simple and largely the same: some kind of vegetable soup or stew with protein for dinner, bacon and eggs for breakfast, dinner leftovers for lunch. I try not to snack, but if I do it's a Larabar, either homemade or purchased. (The seasonal Gingerbread ones are delicious.)

See? Right there. I'm recommending food to you. Alluring food. Tastyyummymmmmmmmmmmgood food.

Cats have the reputation of being picky eaters. I know some people who go throu…

It's a date!

My husband and I are taking care of some business in town this morning and then heading to Christiansburg, VA, to browse, shop, eat out and spend some time with each other.

For a change.

He wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about the recent election as I was, and I was pretty busy, pretty much all the time. So when he suggested a couple days ago that we take Friday to spend together, I was all about it. We're both looking forward to picking up some holiday gifts and even shopping for ourselves.

What do we need? Not much, really. We're not really into acquiring more stuff. But we sure do need a day away from the house, where we tend to go our own ways and only really sit down together for dinner and, later, Jeopardy.

Last night instead of questions-and-answers, we watched college football (WVU lost, but not by much, and really should have won) with a short break for the President's speech on immigration.

To me, the plan seems fair and balanced, to borrow a phrase from one o…

Wow.

I just checked my workout log and I haven't walked in a week. Last time I was out was November 12. It's been a long, long time since I've been this lazy.

Except I've not really been lazy. It's been too cold – bitterly cold – to walk, and the idea of sitting in a cold, dark garage to use the rowing machine isn't all that appealing either.

I know, I know. Mind over matter, at least in the case of the rower.

I'm somewhat surprised to see the number on the scale inching downward, despite my lack of intentional activity. I've been sticking like glue to the paleo plan, and eating only when I'm hungry. And sometimes I'm really hungry, which my husband says is a sign of good health.

Also food tastes better when you're hungry.

The knitting continues, and I find myself cruising through Pinterest looking for sweater patterns. It's not like I don't have a ton of them already. And it's not like I couldn't swatch for gauge and start knitti…

Thank goodness for football

I'm not much of a TV watcher. I like The Newsroom, Season 3 of which HBO began broadcasting last Sunday. (I haven't watched last night's episode yet, but as soon as I get done here – that's the plan.) I also like House of Cards, which drops on Netflix in February, I do believe.

And I watch football. If it weren't for football, NO knitting would be getting done. As it is, darned little is getting done, but I'm on track to get the four toys for one set of grandchildren done.

These are the toys they asked for in August, I think? And they thought I'd be able to sit down and whip them out in an evening, while they slept. HAH!

The second of the four toys is done (except for sewing on button eyes). I used this pattern for Mr. Whale, but blue yarn at my grandson's request.

I'm nearly done knitting the pieces for this teddy bear, but in red and with the addition of a red bow tie. These kids have wonderful imaginations. I hope the finished projects live up to…

Oh, the weather outside's been frightful

I've hardly left my house the past few days. It's been bitterly cold, unusually cold for November in southern West Virginia. Friday was, in fact, a pajama day – I didn't even get dressed, the whole. damned. day.

We went out yesterday afternoon, to a funeral service, and then returned home to hunker down and watch football. Too cold – still – to walk.

I felt a little sorry for myself yesterday morning, as I saw that three of my Facebook friends were running the Richmond (VA) half-marathon. I remember doing that race. A long time ago. In another lifetime. But I'm happy for all of them. They all finished and one had a PR. So YAY for her!

I'm also feeling sorry for myself because of the weight I've gained this year. I was the thinnest I've been in years last year at Thanksgiving. The weight has been coming back on all. year. long. I haven't been 100 percent faithful to the paleo plan. Nor even 80 percent, clearly. The holidays are fast approaching and I won…

24 and so much more

So. Happy anniversary to me.

Today marks 24 years of continuous sobriety, 24 years of living life on life's terms, 24 years that I haven't (thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous) used alcohol or drugs to alter my reality or mask my feelings.

Those of you who know me up close and personal can attest to the fact that my feelings are, um, pretty much right up front. HAH! I know at least one person who'd love it if I would stuff them every once in a while. (No, he wouldn't. Not really.)

If you don't know my story, you can read the 16-year version of it here. What's happened in the eight years since?

I still live in the same house, I have the same dog, and I'm living with the same person. In fact I'd married that person just a few months before my 16th AA anniversary. I've now lived in the same house with the same person and had the same dog for a longer stretch than at any other time in my entire life. People, places, things and dogs used to fall by the waysid…

My Facebook meltdown

I threatened to quit using Facebook yesterday (on Facebook), and got more comments on a post than ever before. I think. But since I didn't post my threat in order to get comments, it really doesn't matter.

People are mean.

Not you, of course. And it's a free country. Sort of. I think the Koch Brothers have probably spent quite a bit of money buying it up, but the constitution still says you can say what you want.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Obviously I'm simplifying. The First Amendment has been and will continue to be debated. As it stands now, however, there's no law against bashing the President on Facebook. You can't threaten to kill him. That will get you a visit from the Feds. But you can lie about him and use racia…

Still shell-shocked. But rising.

Went to a little get-together last night, a post-mortem, if you will, with fellow Democrats from our women's group and our county executive committee. Quite a good crowd, not much gnashing of teeth, a good deal of enthusiasm and many questions about what comes next.

Most of West Virginia's politicians are Democrat-Lite. Our state party platform includes language that supports a woman's right to choose, but many-many-many of our Democratic legislators are pro-life. And now that our statehouse is Republican-controlled, you can bet the anti-abortion bills will be flowing like manna from HEAVEN.

(Whatever pro-life is. If you're pro-life, aren't you – or shouldn't you be – also anti-death penalty? Anti-war? Wouldn't you support early childhood education and food stamps and all the other social programs that help disadvantaged people LIVE? Unwanted children already born have LIFE. I'm pro-THEM.)

The opposition loves throwing the term pro-abortion around, whic…

Internet-less

As you might imagine, I have quite a few thoughts about Tuesday's election results. I also have no Internet, since early Wednesday morning. The universe is conspiring against me. Or perhaps protecting me from saying things I should probably keep to myself. I'm profoundly disappointed. Stunned. Still. And by the time the Internet is up and running again I'll have moved my thinking forward (one hopes!) to a more productive place. When the keyboard and screen are small - I'm using my phone and the blogger app - so is the number of words. Have a good Thursday. I'm trying.

A look back

Six years ago today, the front page of the New York Times looked like this. An historic day, and not at all unexpected. Candidate Obama swept through the country with charm and confidence and charisma.

The next day, I'm guessing, sales of Confederate flags and bumper stickers and license plates rose dramatically. I live in southern West Virginia and, until the 2008 election, I'd never seen a Confederate flag flying in someone's yard. Or if I had, I'd never noticed.

Electing our first black President changed America's character, and not for the better.

I had hopes. It certainly seemed like racism was on the decline, especially when considered from the perspective of one who grew up in the '60s. So much had changed in 50 years. Surely we were so over bigotry.

But we weren't. And we aren't. And despite all the good President Obama has done, all the improvements in job numbers and deficit reduction and consumer confidence, every major candidate in every maj…

My left foot

Some time ago, a long time ago, I had edema in my left foot. Chronic. Annoying. Unexplained.
I'm talking a really long time ago, probably back in the Shrinking Knitter days.

Yesterday it came back.
Ugh. It hurt to walk. I ended up taking a Lasix before bed. That's how bad it was – I was willing to get up to pee two or three times in order to get some relief.
All is normal this morning, but I'm left wondering what happened to cause it to return.
And, since I won't be visiting the doctor about it, I guess I'm just left to wonder.
Moving on.
Earlier this year the four littlest grandchildren asked for knitted toys. They thought I could whip them out in no time. First, they have no concept of time and second, they have no concept of how long it takes to knit a toy.
At any rate, the first one's done. I'm naming it Mitch – until it's delivered, of course. At that point it's out of my hands and the intended grandson can name it whatever he wants. But it doe…

Wow, it's early

I neglected to set the clocks back last night before I went to bed, so when I saw the digital display reading 5:34, I didn't think too much of it. I'd gone to bed around 9 last night, so I'd had plenty of sleep. I got up, checked my phone and saw that – THANK YOU END OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME – it was actually 4:34.

I couldn't go back to sleep, though. Didn't even try. I swear it takes me longer to get used to the autumn time change than it does the one in the spring.

Right now, at 6:30-ish, the morning light is just beginning to overtake the darkness. There was a slight chance of snow last night, which didn't happen here. I saw snow all through Virginia on my way home from North Carolina yesterday though.

The annual Halloween trip to visit my son and his family went well. The first full day I was there I got to spend with my younger granddaughter while both her parents were at work. The weather was PERFECT – moderate temperatures, lovely Carolina-blue skies, ve…

Morning has broken

Until my friend Wendy got her new iPhone, I didn't realize my Samsung Galaxy S4 had a panoramic option on the camera. I'd never even explored all the camera modes.

When I looked outside this morning as the morning light overtook the darkness, I saw the perfect vista for trying it out.

And the coolest thing is, the camera goes back to Auto Mode on its own … so I'm not taking a panorama the next time I snap a photo.

We had lovely weather yesterday. I did laundry and took a walk. On my way back from the walk I started feeling ill, and all I could do for the rest of the day was … rest.

But I'm back to normal this morning and the plan is to walk and mow. I'll be out of town for a few days – my husband and Hershey will be holding down the fort – but might get a chance to check in while I'm gone.

One thing I MUST do today is put the remaining spaghetti and butternut squashes in the garage. It's supposed to go below freezing one night while I'm gone, and I'…

Nine

I voted last Wednesday, West Virginia's first day of early voting for the general election this year, but there still are nine days until Election Day and another six days to vote early. There's really no excuse not to vote. Yes, Summers County is a large area and yes, there's only one early voting location – the county courthouse in Hinton – but I'm thinking nearly everyone needs to go to Hinton for something in the two weeks prior to November 4.

I could be wrong, of course. Now that I write that, I know one self-sufficient couple who studiously avoids Hinton, choosing to drive much farther to the next county for their few purchased necessities.

At any rate … early voting has probably been going on in your state, as well, and I hope that – if you're not able to take advantage of it – you'll show up on Election Day and exercise your fundamental right to have a voice in your governance. As money continues to buy politicians and sway the political process, I'…

On my wishlist

I pretty much have everything I need and want. I'm not pining away for any kind of new this or that stuff. But I would like for a few things to happen, preferably without my having to work too hard at it.

First, always first, is to achieve a weight-loss goal and then maintain it. I was sooooo close last year. Within 12 pounds. And now it's back to 20+. Which is better than 50+, to be sure, and I'm catching it earlier than I did a couple years ago. Those of you who struggle with weight loss know how much easier it is to put it on than to take it off.

I feel like I'm heading in the right direction, and the election season is almost over, which will help free up my time and energy to get back to basics. And to get back to walking daily.

Next … about that election … I really hope the Democrat message has been strong, persistent and positive enough to retain our majority in the state legislature, add a seat in Congress and keep retiring Jay Rockefeller's seat in the blue…

Somehow or another

I don't push this blog much. Most of the time I post a link to it from my Facebook page, but sometimes I forget to do that. I try to comment on others' blogs – a known way to steer traffic to one's own – but I'm not very good about that, either, especially lately.

I use the blog to brain dump and to remember stuff. I've been able to find the exact date something happened (derecho, anyone?) or a minor detail (was it 9 or 11 days we were without electricity and water?) in seconds with a targeted search.

Might not be as good for my brain, but it's great for my patience!

I also don't check my stats very often, because I'm not working too hard to be the world's most popular blogger. But I checked this morning and for some reason my knitting page is suddenly very popular. The majority of yesterday's referrals are from Ravelry.

Knowing where the starting point is doesn't answer the how or the why, though. Someone out there must have mentioned those…

You never know

When you're planning a large public event, you never know how many people will show up. How much food should you buy? How much coffee do you need to make? How many plates, cups, napkins, bowls? HOW MUCH FOOD?

We ran out of mac & cheese, slaw and chips last night at our Get Out The Vote Rally and Pig Roast, but there was plenty of pulled pork and soup beans for the latecomers. People just kept showing up, from 5 p.m. until well after 7.

All of us who helped plan it are very pleased, this morning after, with the turnout, the donations, the enthusiasm and the promises to vote for Democrats.

Actually I haven't talked to any of the rest of them, but I feel certain they're happy with the outcome. And I guarantee they're happy it's over and I double-guarantee they're happy (as am I) that Election Day is two weeks from today.

Early voting in West Virginia begins tomorrow. I plan to be there.

We had a lot of fun with a Gender Equality Bake Sale, too, and made our po…

Early adapter

Well, Apple updated its OS again. I wouldn't have known about it, probably, because I certainly wasn't looking. But since I saw the notice – somewhere, I don't even remember where – I OF COURSE immediately downloaded the update.

Immediately, of course, being a relative term, since millions of us were all downloading it at the same time. It literally took more than A DAY to update the OS and all the other applications that were affected.

So far, so good, even though my MacBookAir is pretty old. (The general rule of thumb is if your hardware is more than two years old, a new OS may not work all that well.)

The best best best thing, so far, is how much more hard drive space I have! Installing Yosemite reclaimed about 8GB. Once I find time to go through and delete the obscure, never-played, get-it-free songs on iTunes, I should have at least that much more.

I like to think my hard drive has a food baby, and once we get that digested it will get back to its slim and efficient …

Still here …

Still busy.

Still walking.

Still on track with the eating plan.

Still sleeping well (early to bed, early to rise).

AND LOSING!

Astonishingly, I've lost SIX pounds the last couple weeks. I reset my goal on my little weight monitor app and am starting anew. Again. I may never make my high-school weight again, but I can get close and I'll be much more fit than I was then.

One thing that's really been helpful is that rack of spaghetti and butternut squashes on my back porch. It's so great to have them "in stock." It's what I love most about gardening – not having to go to the market. When I had that huge, fabulous garden four years ago, I was able to preserve enough food to last four or five months plus eat my fill during the summer.

My garden is half the size it used to be and the deer ravage it every year. I was warned they would, as time went by, so my challenge next spring will be to container-garden the tomatoes and peppers and use the garden space for c…

This soup is the BOMB

My husband's birthday was yesterday, and I usually make him the copycat version of Outback's Walkabout Soup. It's a cheesy onion soup and takes a lot of prep work (All. Those. Onions.), but he loves it and deserves something special on his special day.

He asked me this year if we could have butternut squash soup instead. I'm not sure why he wanted to switch, but squash soup is much easier to make, so I said, "Sure, honey. Whatever you want!"

I wanted to do something different from our usually curried version, though, and came up with THE best soup we've ever eaten.

Seriously!

Who doesn't love a thick, creamy, savory soup on a dreary, rainy day?

From memory, here's how it went down. Best made on a lazy day when you're not in a hurry.

Squash Bomb Soup

Ingredients
1 large or 2 small butternut squash
1 pound mild ground sausage
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tblsp dried sage
1 can full-fat coconut milk

Rinse the squash b…

Soaker. Or not.

Looks like another all-day rain today, and I will definitely be hitting the rowing machine. There's enough water out there I could probably row through some of the ditches around here, if the ditch was wide enough. And if I had a rowboat.

I cleaned the garage yesterday. Didn't really de-clutter it much, but moved things around and swept. It was quite Halloween-y at times. I would move, say, a box and a dozen of those big black spiders would leap around, indignant at my disturbing their sleep! They are TRULY CREEPY, especially when a dozen of them start skittering around in front of you at the same time.

ICK.

Actually, another look at the radar shows it will probably stop raining, but it doesn't seem like the clouds are going to disperse. A cloudy-day walk is fine, though.

Either way, I'll be doing some kind of intentional activity today and I will enjoy it. Not for what will happen eventually, but because I truly do like how I feel when I move and use my limbs and musc…

So how's that workin' for you?

My tea experiment is over. Done. Finished. OVER!

Yesterday was the third day, and I grazed all.day.long. I don't think I ever wasn't eating something. Some of those foods were on-plan, but most of it was completely ridiculous.

Here's the thing: I like coffee. And I was feeling left-out and deprived by limiting myself to one mug a day, and then switching to herb tea. I wasn't enjoying making it, and I wasn't enjoying drinking it.

If you're not enjoying what you're doing and you're eating all day to make up for it – well, it's just not working. I don't feel a bit bad about myself for throwing in the tea towel after just three days.

My first-thing-this-morning decision to drink as much coffee as I want comes on the heels of reading a magazine article before I went to sleep last night. I don't subscribe to Paleo magazine, but I was given an issue last year and keep going back to one piece, by Adam Farrah, in which he writes:
It's the same wit…

A little breathing room

Last night my husband and I and several friends hosted a reception and fundraiser for a House of Delegates candidate here in our district. I've spent a lot of time this week thinking, planning, preparing, and putting things together for it, and now that it's over I'm left with … ungodly amounts of crackers.

It's a darned good thing I know and don't like how eating grains affects me. The prospect of stiff, aching hip and shoulder joints should keep me out of the supply. Besides … crackers? Meh. They're easily procured, should we run out and I decide I absolutely have to have one.

We brought lots of cheese home, as well, which my husband enjoys but which we don't often have on hand. Most of it went into the freezer. Dairy doesn't bother me in the same way grains do, but since my weight has decided to stay where it is, instead of going down – as I'd like it to – I'm going to avoid it as if it were a rare, disease-causing bacteria.

Also? Cheese, lik…

Doing WELL

I've missed one walk this week, when I really needed a down day. Burning the candle at both ends really takes it out of me and a recent rest day felt good. But I've MADE time to walk every other day and I know it's good for my body and my mind.

And because we're having such a beautiful fall this year, it's good for my soul, as well.

I'm still running behind on reading others' blogs and I apologize for that. It won't be long until life returns to whatever normal looks like.

I read yet another article a couple days ago suggesting caffeine might inhibit weight loss. Since I'm doing everything else by the book and the extra pounds aren't budging, I'm going to cut back gradually with the idea of switching completely to herb tea within a couple weeks. I don't have time for withdrawal headaches right now by going cold turkey.

The thing I love most about coffee is that it's right there, hot and ready to pour. Tea is a process: heating the wa…

One down, mumble-mumble to go

I've spent the last couple weeks trying to get organized for a month of upcoming events. Yesterday afternoon I crossed the first event off the list. I'd love to feel confident about conducting meetings and making sure all my ducks are in a row, but I end up just feeling scattered and wishing I'd done things better/differently/over.

But it's done. So there's that.

To add to the FUN around here last week, I agreed to do a short video for my friend's pottery business. And it really was fun. I haven't made a "movie" in years and years. I used to do lots of them – and people paid me! – for graduations, birthdays, etc., but the technology has improved so much that most folks can DIY them now.

Marcia, who's been blind since birth, can't, and so I'm always happy to help her when she needs anything to help promote her gallery.


Yesterday's meeting wasn't until 3 in the afternoon, so I decided, "Hey! Why not make another short video!…