Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31 - Polka Dots

My new umbrella! And the ONLY thing I could find in the whole house that was polka-dotted.

A walk! A walk! My kingdom for a walk!

Snow-covered Indian Creek
Monroe Co. WV
So yes, it was only 21° at noon-ish, but I was on a tight schedule yesterday. If I was going to sing in the sunshine, 21° was as good as it was going to get.

And it was okay. Actually, I got kind of warm toward the end of the fourth mile. Ended up doing five and loved almost every minute of it. It was very cold starting out, and it was a bit icy in one spot. But SO worth that bit of discomfort to get back outside and MOVE!

My husband came along. We blinked like moles in the bright sun after being cooped up for days on end. And we're planning to do it again today, but wearing fewer layers since the temperature is forecast to rocket into the 40s!
Certainly the most amazing sight we saw yesterday: frozen water
stream coming from the mouth of an under-the-road drainpipe.
I feel as though January has been an almost total bust as far as mileage goes. Fifty-nine so far, and with an additional five today that's far below my goal of 127 (4.1x31 – I need to average 4.1/day this year to hit 1500 by 12/31/14).

So I need to step it up! Which is just what I'm planning to do.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30 - Best invention ever

Well, this was a hard prompt. There are so many inventions I love and couldn't live without!
Light bulbs come to mind. Cars. COMPUTERS! But the printing press? Yeah, that's it for me. 

Was I busy yesterday or what?

Yes, yes I was.

Worked on a graphic design project and remarks for a meeting tonight. All. Day. Long. With a short break to run to town for a couple things, and then remembered on the way home that I forgot quite a few more. So I'm going back this morning.

Grrrr. I hate when that happens.


  • The car starts every time I turn the key, thanks to that new battery. 
  • The water has been working fine, although I think the line to the washer (which is located in our detached garage and, yes, that IS terribly unhandy, thankyouverymuch) is probably frozen. I didn't have laundry to do yesterday so I didn't check.
  • We've had no power outages lately and have stayed comfortably warm throughout the polar vortex.
  • We're both retired and have no need to navigate icy roads. I feel terrible for Atlantans and others in the south who've been affected by the latest winter storm.
  • The pantry, freezer and refrigerator are stocked. There's no way we would go hungry in the event of a weather emergency.

Always plenty for which to be grateful.

I finished two knitting projects yesterday. Finally wove in the ends on my blue On The Point vest, which I started last fall. Technically it's not finished until I block it (the points in the front are curling) and sew a closure on it, but I'm only going to put one pewter clasp at the top, so that won't take long. I'm pretty sure I have a clasp in stock. And the blocking won't take long, either.

The other project is the third pair of Felted Clogs for my daughter-in-law. I hope these fit. I'm going to watch them like a hawk so they don't shrink and end up too small again. I need the washer to work to felt them. Might get that done tomorrow, since the sun is out and the temperature will be above freezing. We have a little heat wave coming up and we're more than ready for it.

I bet you were surprised I wasn't here yesterday commenting on President Obama's State of the Union message, right? I figured you got as much commentary as you wanted or needed from the mainstream media outlets. Oh, and I was busy.

I will say one thing, though. Not my original thought, but well worth repeating: Democrats invited teachers and veterans and wounded warriors as guests. Republicans? Hannity and Duck Dynasty.

'Nuff said.

OH. I forgot! Yesterday was weigh-in day and GUESS WHAT?!? I stayed the same. Again.

Always plenty for which to be grateful. Heh.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 28 - Dinner

Breakfast! It's what's for dinner at least once a week here in the Middle of Nowhere.

RIP Pete Seeger

May he stay forever young in our hearts and our consciences. May we never forget his strong 
voice for social justice, for working people, for taking care of our environment and of each other.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27 - Something I bought

Texturizing Taffy – who wouldn't buy this? I like the jar even more than the product!
Need to remember to use it, though, or I'll never have a fancy crystal jar for my earrings.

The temperature. It has plummeted. And the Grammys. They were great.

I watched the Grammys last night, well most of the program, anyway, so I went to bed later than I usually do. And I woke up much later than I usually do. at 7:30 a.m. it was 41°, the winds were calm and I thought to myself, "I should just get dressed and walk RIGHT NOW." Because it's not going to get nicer as the day goes forward.

Well, I didn't follow through. I scrolled through my Facebook feed and watched the "Same Love" clip, which happened after I went to bed. I tweeted and commented and generally wasted my window of walking opportunity.
And you know how the news broadcasters report that the stock market either SOARS or PLUMMETS as it goes up or down? I'm here to tell you the temperature has plummeted. It's now (two hours later) 27 with the wind chill making it feel like 16. Winds are from the NNW at 12, gusting to 24 mph.

Only 51 days until spring.

The weather was fine for a walk late yesterday afternoon, and I managed three miles after my four-day break. I was quite bundled up, which made it more difficult to pick up the pace – three miles took an hour and five minutes – but it felt good to be out and I enjoyed the sunshine and mild air for a change.

I met a neighbor on my way up the mountain who volunteered to come plow our driveway, in case we needed to get out. He was concerned we wouldn't be able to make it in an emergency. Here's why:
I passed him again a quarter mile from home. He was done and the driveway was completely clear (and remains so this morning), as is the parking area in front of the garage.

You can't have better neighbors than we do.

He wouldn't take any money, but he's a dedicated volunteer firefighter, so we'll be making an extra donation to the department this year.

Back to the Grammys for a minute: I saw so much complaining about the new music and so much nostalgia for the way music used to be on my Facebook feed while the program aired. (Except for the country geezers. If you didn't see Willie, Kris and Merle you didn't miss A THING.) My daughter and her children help me keep up with new artists, and I'm so grateful. I don't want to be a curmudgeon about any kind of art.

Music and writing and painting – all of art – evolves and speaks to each of us in different ways. Art is valuable and so very worth supporting. If you don't like it, don't listen or read or view or buy. But how does putting someone else's art down elevate you or yours? (I'm not talking about either of you!)

Think about it. And then go watch that video and tell me you weren't moved.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26 - Fun stuff!

I couldn't even find a "fun stuff" subject for today, that's how blah it is here in the
Middle of Nowhere. But this latergram fits the prompt perfectly – two fortunes in one cookie!
From our lunch out on Friday. The cookies remained uneaten. Wonder how many wasted
fortune cookies get tossed in Chinese restaurants every day?

With any luck …

I'll be posting a photo from an OUTDOOR walk later this afternoon.

The temperature is supposed to be above freezing – in fact, it may even hit 40° – by around 4 p.m. There is a strange bright orb shining brightly from above, and according to the weather gods it will continue to do so.

Bitter cold returns tomorrow evening and lasts most of the week.

I'm sooooo over winter.

Before I take a walk (and I can't even BEGIN to tell you how much I'm looking forward to doing so) I'll be shoveling. We got another inch of snow overnight, coating the porch and creating a palette for bird and dog footprints.

I was sick yesterday. I haven't tossed my cookies (or, in this case, a Larabar) in quite a long time. I'm guessing it's been years since my stomach has been quite so upset. So I lounged around in my jammies all day and took it very easy. And even though I didn't eat much all day, my weight has ticked up a couple of pounds. I blame it on lack of activity and am trying not to get all bent out of shape about it. Heh. I had a back-to-basics breakfast of bacon and eggs and have planned a pretty basic lunch (tuna salad) and dinner (more bacon and eggs, with the addition of home-fried sweet potatoes).

Other than Friday's "I filed" post, I feel like life has been one long dreary weather report lately, punctuated with "I ate this" and "I didn't take a walk today."

Perhaps it's a bit of cabin fever. Or winter blahs. Whatever it is, it's a serious affliction and I want it GONE!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 25 - Taste of winter

There's nothing like a bowl of meaty chili to warm you up in winter.
My paleo version leaves the beans out but I make up for it with plenty
of chopped zucchini, red peppers and mushrooms.


Not only did my husband and I make it to town yesterday so I could register as a candidate, but we went on to a nearby CITY and had a late LUNCH in a RESTAURANT.

(Thanks for your good wishes about my filing, here and on Facebook and Instagram. I appreciate it!)

We found a Chinese buffet right after Christmas that has an amazing selection of paleo-friendly food. Lots of steamed vegetable choices, non-sugary chicken entrĂ©es, plenty of fresh fruit. My husband is a big eater and loves buffets. I've learned, over the years, to realize it's not necessary to eat my money's worth. (That was a hard one to learn!) So we're both happy … and I didn't have to cook dinner (I can always fend for myself without cooking) because he truly eats a whole days' worth of food – and maintains his weight.

Mostly because he maintains his workout schedule. Heh.

One of my flight instructors used exercise as a way to eat whatever he wanted. He was a runner, was skinny as a rail and ate like a PIG. I guess I just don't love exercise that much. I'd rather eat and exercise moderately than be a fitness bulimic.

But I digress.

I'm glad we went yesterday. Neither of us have ventured too far from home for about a week now and it was nice to get away. I was supposed to go to a WV Federation of Democratic Women board meeting today – about a three-hour drive, one way – but it was canceled because the entire state is under yet another winter storm warning. Four more inches of snow is on the way. SO THEY SAY.

The wind is fierce right now, although the temperature is, surprisingly, not that low at 21° F. And the snow is coming down sideways.

We might make it to the post office later today, but I don't think we're going to get much further than that.

We'll continue working on the decluttering/organizing project we started this month, and I'll cook something yummy for dinner and it's a great day to knit. Other than that – time to hunker down. Again.

Friday, January 24, 2014

All politics is local

So I was watching Jeopardy last night with my husband – it's our after-dinner mental cocktail, I suppose – when the phone rang. On the line was a friend encouraging me to get myself down to the county courthouse before today's deadline to file as a candidate for our county's Democratic Executive Committee.

Signing my life away for my party. Heh.
I've wanted to be a part of this committee for a long time, but these seats are kind of like Green Bay Packers season tickets. I wasn't going to throw my name in the hat and possibly step on someone else's toes.

However – my friend said both women from my district were stepping down. They'd found one replacement. Would I consider being the other one?

PERFECT! It's like winning your age group in a 5K when you're the only one in your age group.

But it's also new blood, and every county committee needs a transfusion once in a while. I hope to learn a lot, contribute what I can and help turn West Virginia BLUE!

How many times …

can one bitch about the weather?

It's cold. Again. My last walk was that lovely one in the snow on Tuesday. At least I think it was Tuesday.
My favorite shot from that walk, which seems like such a long, long time ago.
I shoveled a couple tire-track paths down the driveway yesterday and actually Got Out and Did Stuff. We hadn't picked up the mail all week. We needed almond milk and bananas and BACON. Heh.

My husband has been really dedicated to his treadmill workouts during the current cold snap, while my elliptical has been idle. I'll probably have to brush cobwebs off it if I work out today.

And that's a big "if." Yes, I know I should, but wow, do I ever have trouble working out indoors. The temperature Sunday is supposed to reach a balmy 39°. You can bet I'll be outside then.

My weight is stable and I just keep thinking, "Spring is on the way … spring is on the way …"

As long as I'm not going backwards, I guess I'm willing to tread water – so to speak – until I can get back outside regularly.

I'll be going out again today, after I got a rather serendipitous phone call yesterday evening. Exciting news from the Middle of Nowhere. Film at 11!

January 24 - Your space

If you asked my husband he would say the whole house and most of the garage is
"my" space. This photo is just a couple shelves of the hall closet in the guest wing
of our house. I cleaned and organized it a couple days ago. What I really need to do
is use some of this stuff up! I'm a hoarder when it comes to craft supplies.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 21 (Blue), 22 (Nice!) and 23 (Bedtime)

Lip balm in a blue tube. I have tubes everywhere – nightstand, purse, pockets.
It's not winter, it's lip balm season!

Nice! to wake up in the middle of a wintry night and find the electricity still humming.

Part of my bedtime routine is applying a bit of whipped coconut oil (the same stuff
you use for cooking, if you're following a paleo plan) to my face and neck. Just started
doing this a couple weeks ago, so the jury's still out on longterm skin benefits. It smells delicious!

Crafty lady

So the internet went out a couple days ago. It came back yesterday afternoon sometime, but I've spent most of the day digging the driveway out and going to town. We hadn't picked up the mail in a couple days and needed milk, fruit, yogurt and metal washers.

Because life just isn't complete without metal washers.

KIDDING! Here's what I did with them:
I'm going to a West Virginia Federation of Democratic Women (WVFDW) event Saturday, if I'm not snowed in AGAIN. We had to postpone our December meeting because of weather, and I have all these little goodie bags for the Christmas exchange. At the last minute I decided to add one more thing.

I'm like the knitter who finishes all the holiday projects and casts on for another one BECAUSE THERE'S TIME. Oh. Wait. I'm not like that knitter, I AM that knitter.

Anyhoo ... I coated the reverse (blank) side of a large conversation heart with Mod Podge and let it dry. Then I attached a magnet disk to the back. My dilemma was how to present it. I ended up making the business cards and adding a metal washer to attach the magnetic heart to.

I can't take credit for the idea. I saw it somewhere on Pinterest, and I think it's genius. I used it Christmas before last when I gave my daughter and daughters-in-law each a set of personalized glass magnets. It really does make for a nice presentation.

Shoveling the driveway (which is about .05 of a mile long) will have to count as the intentional activity du jour. Unless making a pot of no-bean chili counts as exercise.

Hoping you all are safe and warm and cozy, wherever you are. Unless you're in Australia, and then I'd love to send you some of this snow! You deserve a break!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A short one today

Blogging from my phone this morning. Our Internet has been down since yesterday afternoon. I spent some time with a tech person last night, trying to reset the modem or router or whatever it's called, to no avail. They promised it would be up and running by tomorrow.

Today's weight bounced back up a pound. As both of you know, I'm beginning to think this is it. Still on the plan - no reason to stop doing what has worked so well too relieve pain and clear up other nagging health issues.

I took a lovely four-mile winter walk yesterday. I posted photos on Facebook and would share the link if I could figure out how to do that from the phone.

They call them smartphones because they're smarter than we are. Heh.

My glutes and the front of my thighs are sore from the walk. So I guess it really was more of a hike. I'm glad I went. It will be way too cold to leave the house today.

I wish you warmth and sunshine, wherever you are. You deserve it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's winter. And it's snowing.

The sky! It's falling!
Because that's what it does in winter.

This is going to be an all-day event, with a predicted snowfall of four to eight inches. Four is as bad as eight if you're driving in it, I suppose.

I'm not going anywhere.

I got my car inspected and a new battery installed yesterday, and walked to Tiny Kroger while the work was being done. (After walking four miles earlier with my husband. PATTING MYSELF ON THE BACK HERE!) The grocery was jam-packed with folks buying milk, bread, eggs and peanut butter. Because the snowpocalypse! It's happening!

I bought bananas and cereal (for the husband), and said to the manager on my way out, "You must love winter weather forecasts!" He's such a nice guy. He said, "I don't, but I'm sure the company does!"

Because he has to drive on these mountain roads, too.

So. There will be shoveling today for intentional activity, instead of walking. Or maybe in addition. I haven't walked in the snow in a long, long time, and if I bundle up, it could be a very peaceful, meditative addition to my day.
It really is kinda pretty.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20 - To-do list

I'm sold on smartphone list apps. I've tried several, and have (so far) ended up using
this one for household chores. I also have one for gift ideas and one for groceries.
Must. Not. Lose. Phone.

My favorite MLK quote

I  printed this out a long time ago; it's stuck to my refrigerator among other important (and not-so) ephemera of my life:
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said many, many inspiring words during his brief time on earth. I love his passion and decency, his dignity and his commitment.

The Super Bowl, my diet, knitting, the weather, politics … all of that can wait.

It is right, on this day commemorating his birth (which was actually five days ago) – and on all days – to do for others, to work for peace.

To be love.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 19 - Breakfast

I take pictures of my meals ALL THE TIME. And then forgot to shoot my bacon and
eggs on a day when the prompt was "breakfast." This is AFTER breakfast!

59 Days

Less than two months and it'll be spring!

Oh, my, I can't wait. Obviously I have no choice, but SERIOUSLY! I'm so ready for warm.

Football is nearly over. College games are done and we will know tonight who plays in the Super Bowl two weeks from today. The Winter Olympics will then tide us over for a bit, until March Madness.

And then … gardening and running and going outside without a coat!

Like I said: I can't wait.

I was both a sloth (too cold to walk outside and I was unmotivated to get on the elliptical) and a hungry, hungry hippo yesterday. NOT a good combination. I can only be grateful that I don't have junk food in the house.

And that I can push the reset button this morning.

If I begin my day with a serious breakfast – bacon and eggs or a pumpkin mug muffin seem serious enough – I do well. If I begin with fruit, though … not so much. I'm not sure why that is, and I don't have to know. It's been a pretty consistent phenomenon and I'm going to pay attention to it.

We had a lovely dinner last night (thus resetting my day before the day was done), after a mostly snacky breakfast and lunch. I made a good old-fashioned beef stew from cubed grass-fed chuck roast, white sweet potatoes and organic carrots. I thickened it with arrowroot and practically licked the bowl when I was done.

Hershey did lick her bowl, after I mixed some of the gravy into her kibble. I found her food dish halfway across the kitchen floor when I took the dinner dishes in.

I can reset the exercise module today. It's already in the 30s (it never made it out of the 20s yesterday). I can bundle up and walk before the first game this afternoon.

Thanks for reading yesterday's water rant. You'd think a disaster like this would be the "what's-it-going-to-take" moment to embrace regulations and strengthen environmental laws.

Apparently not.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18 - Happy place

My happiest place lately has been my comfy chair, where I relax and knit in the evenings.
(Except I wasn't so happy watching the news last night.)


West Virginia has a water problem. A coal-cleaning chemical spill has fouled the Elk River and compromised safe water usage for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians.

I live a couple hours south of Charleston, the heart of the crisis, and am not affected. My most recent water problem was fixed in less than a day. Although I still hold my breath when I turn on a faucet.

Those who live in the nine affected counties served by WV American Water have not been using their water for nine days now.

To be fair, some zones have been given the all-clear. But customers are still noticing an odd odor. In some homes the water coming from the tap is green. Some are complaining about hyperchlorination. Pregnant women, children and the elderly are advised to continue drinking bottled water, begging the question: If it's not okay for them, how is it okay for everyone else?

Lawsuits have been filed, of course, and the company that was supposed to contain the chemical filed for bankruptcy yesterday, in an attempt to wriggle out of responsibility for paying for damages.

The Washington Post has been covering the story in depth all week. (Link goes to today's account of the bankruptcy filing and includes lots of background information.)

I'm astonished. Gobsmacked. Baffled. Sad. Sorry. Angry.

And pretty much helpless.

I saw Senator Manchin (D-WV) interviewed on television last night stating the issue "is not a coal problem, it is a chemical problem."


Democratic politicians in West Virginia are so protective of their Friends of Coal [Owners, not Miners] money that they're willing to sell the rest of the state down the polluted Elk River.

As a devoted Democrat, I don't know what to do. Really. I don't. I don't want West Virginia's legislature to be taken over by Republicans. After the last election we swore in the highest number of GOP Delegates in decades. West Virginia in 2014 could be the new North Carolina, which flipped from blue to red in dramatic fashion in 2012.

I don't want Jay Rockefeller's Senate seat (he's retiring) to be filled by the Republican daughter of a former WV governor with a dubious past. I don't want my Congressman (Nick Rahall, WV-3) beaten by a Republican-who-used-to-be-a-Democrat-who-used-to-be-a-Republican.

My philosophy – and it's been a hard lesson to learn, believe me – is that it's better to have a DINO in office than a red-blooded Republican, who won't even listen to Democrats' concerns. At least with a Democrat – even In Name Only – I can get my foot in the door. My Congressman knows me by name. That can happen when you're kinda loud and you live in a small state.

Unfortunately, listening to my concerns and voting in a manner which represents me – a small donor compared to Big Coal – are two very different things.

2014 is going to be a long, hard political year.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17 - Tiny

Who knew raisins could be so huge? Or maybe that plump raisin is saying,
"Who knew raisins could be so tiny?"

A generous gesture

There was ample opportunity for dressing up and looking presentable last weekend – dinner out on Friday evening, a dance concert Saturday and football- and Golden Globe-watching with friends on Sunday. My daughter always looks good (but I'm her mother, so I might be biased), especially when she's had time to primp.

As we left for the concert on Saturday I admired her lip gloss. I have a terrible time finding products that work for me. Aging lips are wrinkled around the edges. Mine are dry and weatherbeaten, as well. And I'm picky about how lip products taste. If I had my preference, every lip balm I own would be flavored with cinnamon.

Do you know how hard it is to find cinnamon lip gloss? (Actually I just Googled and here's one I didn't know about. And there's an Ulta near my son's home. Next time I visit …)

Anyway. Hers didn't smell or taste like cinnamon, but it was a pretty color and I admired it.

Next day, when my grandson and I came home from our walk and she came home from the grocery, she tossed me a package of Maybelline Mirrored Mauve #110. It has a wand applicator, which I like, and goes on smoothly, which I also like, and is actually about as protective as a heavier balm (think Burt's Bees).

And the color is as pretty on me as it is on her. See?
I offered to pay her for it, of course, and she declined, of course. But I snuck some bucks into her purse when she wasn't looking.

One generous gesture deserves another.

Also? This might be the first time I've ever written about cosmetics on either this blog or the previous one. Maybe. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16 - Sun

A lovely, lovely day today. This was the sky when I started my walk.
An hour and 20 minutes later – clouds and more clouds. Glad I got out when I did!

So here's a question for you …

Continuing the conversation from yesterday, in which I contemplated hanging out here (12 pounds above goal weight) for a while.

My reason for wanting to go lower is to get to a normal BMI. Losing 12 more pounds would let me squeak into the tippy-top of the normal range. And buy new clothes. Heh.

I've done little true research into the importance or health benefits of being at a BMI of 24.99 or below. I know only that once you hit a BMI of 25 you're overweight. My current BMI is 27. Ish.

I've also read that a paleo plan isn't good for you. (The conclusions presume the FDA knows what's good for each and every one of us. I think the FDA knows what's good for Big Food and Big Agriculture. BUT THAT'S JUST ME!)

One of you anonymously commented that I've developed a new relationship with food. [And called me "pal."] Would love to know who you were, so I can thank you personally for that attagirl. You're absolutely correct. I have changed how I relate to food, and it's all for the better.

  • I don't prowl the refrigerator or pantry searching for something when I'm not otherwise occupied.
  • I don't crave starchy carbs. In fact, I don't crave anything.
  • I eat when I'm hungry. (That was always such a difficult concept for me. I used to offer some treat or other to my husband, who would say, "No, thank you. I'm not hungry." And I was like, "What difference does that make? It tastes good!")
  • Sometimes I have to stay hungry for a little while until I can prepare something to assuage the hunger. AND I DON'T DIE WHILE I'M WAITING.

I won't go so far as to say food is simply fuel. I have truly enjoyed the off-plan foods I've eaten at birthdays and during the holidays. Special foods for special occasions are fun, and I've adopted the philosophy that if you want to eat cake, eat REAL cake. Don't try to substitute an almond-flour concoction topped with coconut-cream-frosting IF YOU WANT REAL CAKE. (Although that recipe sounds pretty good and pretty easy.)

But here's what I enjoy even more:

  • No hip pain.
  • No metal allergy.
  • Increased energy.
  • Increased mobility.

And a new one I just discovered a couple weeks ago. I used to have a superficial blood clot on my right ankle. It was pressing on a nerve, which resulted in the top of my foot and my ankle being perpetually numb. Which is waaaaaaay different from comfortably numb.

But I digress.

At one point I was so worried about this huge lump on my ankle that I went to the doctor. To illustrate the depth of my concern: This began a couple years ago, prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, when I had to pay full price for an office visit.

Dr. C was reassuring. Superficial clots aren't harmful, just ugly unsightly. He said I'd probably always have it, but sometimes they dissolve spontaneously.

The fact that the clot is now gone could be completely unrelated to my change in diet. I'd have to do some research to determine if there is a physiological connection. The coincidence is unmistakable, however, and I'm not turning back. Speaking only for me, a paleo plan offers too many benefits to return to a Standard American Diet.

And if you're still wondering exactly what paleo is, here's a flowchart. Because it's FUN.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 15 - Black+White

Eggs. It's what's for breakfast.

I'm tempted …

to say I'm done trying to lose any more weight.

I lost a pound this week, meaning I again have 12 to go to reach my goal. I've been at my current weight (or just slightly below) since early November. I've traveled a lot in the past couple months, which has affected my exercise routine more than my meal plan.

Maybe as the weather improves – spring is on the way, right? – and I get out more, and especially maybe when I begin running again these last few pounds will slip away.

In the meantime, I'm happy-happy-happy to have clothes (and shoes) that fit and look good. Oh, my, I'm having fun wearing cool footwear. I've also started wearing jewelry and using make-up. I guess I'm not hiding any more.

I know what to eat when I'm hungry and I don't miss what I've chosen not to have.

To be brutally honest, I miss cheese sometimes. But I've been able to add a little feta or parmesan or goat cheese to a salad once in a while with no ill effects. And even though cavewomen didn't have dark chocolate, modern followers of a paleo plan have deemed it acceptable, and I do indulge occasionally. It's better for me to not keep it in stock, however.

My original, last-Christmas goal was three pounds more than my current weight. I'm carrying the extra 12 pounds (from my revised goal) around the middle. I'm not comfortable tucking a shirt into a pair of jeans. Maybe instead of a weight goal, I should aspire to wearing a belt.

Or maybe I should quit analyzing and continue to feel good about how far I've come.

Satisfaction: What a concept.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14 - Three things

Actually, three of the same thing. These are three-ingredient mints from Trader Joes.
Honey, chocolate liquor and oil of peppermint. That's it! Very satisfying when the urge hits.

January 11, 12, 13 photos

Looking down. I actually used this for the next prompt, but it works for this one, too.

Colorful – the flowers my grandson and I bought for his sister's performance.

Makes me smile – Dark chocolate, yes, but going to Trader Joe's, too!

I hardly even opened the laptop

It's so much easier for me to blog from the computer than from the phone. As I promised last week, I took photos, I just didn't post them here. (They're on Instagram.) I'll get those up later.

My original plan had me leaving Friday and returning Sunday, but I ended up staying an extra day. The trip began with a dead car battery. THANK YOU, COLD WEATHER! We jumped it, drove to our local-ish service station and determined it was still holding a charge, but it's the original battery. Probably ought to replace it. Sooner rather than later. So, a late start, but no harm done.

The purpose of the trip was to watch my older granddaughter's winter dance concert, which was amazing and wonderful and beautiful. It was a great visit, one of the best. My daughter is low-carbing and we made some great food while I was there, especially this soup, which we modified by eliminating the tofu and doubling up on the pork and mushrooms. Oh, my, was it ever good!

The trip home was long and rainy and ended with a bit of frustrating news, which I'll get to in a couple of paragraphs. I took a shopping break, which is why it was such a long trip, but worth it for the new fancy jeans and cool shirt I found clearanced at Old Navy.

I'm on a social media team for our state Democratic women's organization and with the chemical spill in the Elk River Thursday, the team was very busy over the weekend. I think I managed to tweet a couple times, but the rest of the team knew I was going to be gone. They've done a great job covering a major disaster. West Virginia's population is about 1.8 million people. Three hundred thousand have been without water for cooking/bathing/drinking since Thursday.

Some areas were allowed to use their water yesterday, and the remaining areas – nine counties were involved altogether – should be back on board soon.

Our home was not affected by the spill, because we have a well. As I was driving home yesterday afternoon, my husband called to report that something was wrong with the water pump. We have no water pressure. An electrician came out last night to make sure all that electrical work we had done a couple weeks ago was still working. It is. Meaning it's a pump problem. And, of course, as our weather comes from the west, the rain I drove in almost all the way from Nashville is here today, further complicating well repairs.

I am BEYOND fed up with country living. I should change the blog name to Knit. Run. Suicide.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9 - Natural

Natural, cage-free, grain-fed eggs. I hope truth in advertising really is truth.
Otherwise I'm paying too much for incredible edible eggs.

The purge continues

I've managed, over the past few days, to whittle 14 magazine holders (12 issues each) down to this:
A less-than two-inch-high stack of patterns I want to keep, including three complete issues.

Just three more holders to go through and I'll be done.

My husband took two boxes to the library yesterday and will drop the remaining box off over the weekend.

In addition to preferring single-color, classic designs, I find I'm drawn to cabled patterns and lighter weight fabrics. I saved some patterns for summery things – swimsuit coverups and tank tops to wear with skirts.

I haven't needed swimsuit coverups or tank tops in quite a while.

I've asked my husband several times if he liked this or that men's pattern, and he's just not interested. He has a plain grey pullover and a dark green cardigan that he wears occasionally, but he's just not much of a sweater guy. And he's definitely not a vest wearer.

I do believe, once the current pair of socks for a guy are finished, that 2014 will be the year of knitting for

  • me and
  • my granddaughter's American Girl doll

Since those make up the majority of the patterns I saved.

In other news, I walked four miles yesterday afternoon, along frozen Indian Creek. I've only walked about 20 miles this year so far. Having a cold and having a polar vortex roar through tend to thwart one's plans.

How are you doing with your New Year's intentions?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 6 & 8 Photos

January 6 - the prompt was "happens every day." Coffee qualifies.

Today's prompt was "lucky number." I don't have one, so I'm using my son's.
I couldn't come up with any brilliant ideas for yesterday's prompt, which was "upside down." I saw some good interpretations on Instagram later ... including one the photographer took of herself in the reflection of a spoon. Very clever! Wish I'd thought of it!

No alerts. And a date.

For the first time in a week, we are not under some kind of dire weather emergency. No advisories, no warnings, no watches. It's still cold, but the wind chill is finally above zero. So yay for that.

Remember yesterday when I wondered where the deer were? Well this warm (cough, cough) weather has brought them out of the woods. I just chased half a dozen of them out of my front landscape bed. I think one of them was snacking on the bark of the redbud tree.

I don't care if deer go hungry. Really. I don't.

The birds are back, as well. I do care if the birds go hungry, and am now filling the feeder just about every day. Wonder how long 40 pounds of black oil sunflower seeds will last?

Apologies to you if you follow me on Facebook, as I shared this Daily Mile Year End Report graphic there yesterday:
This makes me think my 1500-mile goal for 2014 is absolutely within the realm of possibility. I only need to up the weekly distance by three or four miles, and while I haven't done well this first week of the year, my cold is pretty much over and I have a walking date with Lynne this afternoon. At 3:00 p.m. When it is supposed to be THIRTY-FIVE DEGREES!

And finally this morning, since Wednesday is my new official weigh-in day, I can report that I've gained a pound this year. But really I've lost a pound in the last couple of days. I feel like I'm on track and heading in the right direction. I'm not worried or anxious about regaining the weight I lost in 2013. The holidays affected my progress, to be sure, but honestly? You know what I'm going to say, right?

What you eat between New Year's and Christmas is more important than what you eat between Christmas and New Year's.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

News flash!

It's cold here in the northern hemisphere. The morning temperature at 6:30-ish was -8°. I've never experienced anything like this since moving to West Virginia nearly 17 years ago.

Then again, it is winter, after all. We expect it to be cold sometimes between Christmas and Easter.

But this is some serious cold.

The good news is the water pipes didn't freeze and the electricity stayed on. More good news: We have wool socks and sweaters. That's a little fringe benefit of having a knitter in the house.

There really is no bad news, as long as we have heat and water and warm clothing. Too many people  don't.

I haven't seen a deer in a couple of days. I'm assuming they're all hunkered down in the woods, sheltering in place. My bird feeder is full, but the birds aren't pecking at it this morning. I'm sure they know what they're doing, opting for warmth over food.

I'm making great progress on the knitting magazine project. I've decided to donate them to the library. I've only kept a dozen potential patterns from the scores of Vogue Knitting issues I've gone through. I will soon move on to Interweave Knits (which is my favorite). I went through Knitter's several years ago and sold the issues I had no interest in on eBay. I just don't want to deal with the hassle of selling and shipping what's left on my shelves.

The patterns I've saved are for single-color, very simple designs. A couple hats, but mostly sweaters. It's been interesting to see how I'm initially drawn to lace or color work, but when I ask myself if I'd wear it, the answer is no. I have quite a stash of sport weight wool in a variety of colors, and will use it for small Fair-Isle projects – mittens and caps, maybe a bag.

Santa brought my younger granddaughter an American Girl doll, so in addition to the little poncho I made while watching football last night (oh, how I wanted Auburn to pull it out!), I see a fun little knitted wardrobe in her future.

My daughter-in-law's clogs are finished (again! Third try's a charm!), and now it's on to a pair of socks, recently requested by a male friend who wears a size 12 shoe. I'm thinking boot socks out of worsted wool to speed up production.

I'm switching my official weigh-in day from Mondays to Wednesdays. January 1 was on a Wednesday, and I want to record it once a week from the beginning of the year (even though I weigh myself daily). I've been sticking with the paleo/primal plan, but have definitely been feeding my cold and I'm up a couple of pounds. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

The good thing is I'm not worried about it and I'm not throwing in the towel. I'm so grateful to have found a way to eat that produces weight loss and good health. I've never felt better.

Except for this cold. And the cold outside. Both of which will be gone SOON!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Later's better than not at all

STILL dealing with the remnants of this cold, which invaded my body nearly a week ago. Begone! I'm tired of it!

There has been a bit of improvement. I am generally more comfortable in the evening, thus giving me the false sense that I'm over it. But I wake up stuffy and congested, and I have NO energy for accomplishing anything. I have a to-do list. I just don't have the get-up-and-go to to-do it.

I also had a problem with my right eye being very watery, to the point that the skin around it was red, painful and irritated. Dr. Google had me convinced I had a blocked tear duct, but I'm fine now. Sometimes red, watery eyes go along with a cold, right?

So it was 29 degrees this morning at around 10 a.m. Dropped to 16 by noon and now, at 5:30 p.m., it's a bitterly cold 5°F. It will probably be 10 degrees colder than that by the time I wake up tomorrow. And the wind chill factor will take it down to -20°.

We're keeping the heater on in the garage and both cars are parked in it. (My husband usually parks his vehicle outdoors.) Hopefully the water pipes to the washer won't freeze.

In the house, we're going to open the cupboard doors beneath all of the sinks and keep water dripping from the kitchen faucet. I hope a steady drip, drip, drip overnight won't overfill the watering can. (I can't stand the idea of not collecting that water!)

Whenever there's a big weather event, we always joke about how the weather people get way too excited. Many times it turns out to be much ado about nothing. It appears this time they were right. We didn't get the anticipated snow, but we surely did get the cold and the wind.

Begone! I'm tired of it, too!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

December 5 - Found

Sometimes the old version is the best. Who needs a new, improved felted clog
pattern when this one (formerly lost) works so well?

She's okay, but …

her home, its contents and her car are total losses.

My co-volunteer for the Tuesday night meeting at the prison just called to let me know her house burned to the ground last week. I've been in her home one time, probably four years ago, and I still describe it to people, as it was filled with antiques and memorabilia.

All of it lost.

My friend is a musician. All her music, her violin, all the busts of Beethoven that filled the nooks and crannies of the house. All gone.

She's an animal lover. Her dog is okay, and her horses, but she can't find the cats.

She lost her mother several years ago, and her father just last year. All the photos … gone.

All her clothing. Her identity. Her books.


I'm at a loss for words.

But I do know where two too-big-for-me sweaters will be going. I just wish it were for a different reason.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 4 - Word to live by

All you need is …

I. Don't. Like. Being. Sick.

I wonder if my food indiscretions over the holidays helped set my system up to allow a cold germ to invade my body. Doesn't that sound absolutely crazy? But seriously, I've had just one or two sick days in the past eight months (since adopting a primal diet). I'm now on Day Four of Being Ill.

Oh, well. "They" say a cold lasts seven days or a week, whichever comes first. The combination of feeling under the weather and not wanting to be out IN the weather (so, so cold) kept me indoors and in my jammies all day yesterday.

Today, though, I have a walking date with my friend Lynne at 2 p.m. We haven't walked together in a very long time. And while I love walking with my husband, he's not quite as chatty as she is and the miles don't quite fly by as they do when I walk and talk at the same time. He's more of a meditative walker, I suppose.

I've either been ravenous (the first couple days) or had no appetite at all (yesterday) since I caught this cold. Hoping today will be more balanced, although so far I'm not at all hungry. Perhaps the smell of bacon will break through and wake up my taste buds.

Ya think? =)

Bad Weather, Part Two, arrives Monday night and Tuesday will be bitterly cold here. It being winter in the northern hemisphere, I suppose that's to be expected.

Doesn't mean I have to like it, though. Any more than I have to like being sick.

Therefore, I raise a cup of Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus (Orange Zest) to your health. And to mine.

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3 - My town

My town is 12 miles away. My garage is 30 yards away. I'm not walking 30 yards
to drive 12 miles to take a photo of my town. BECAUSE IT'S TOO COLD OUTSIDE!
Instead, here's my back yard.

Cold x 2

It is freakin' FREEZING outside! Way below freezing, in fact: 8 degrees, winds gusting to 30 mph, wind chill makes it feel like minus 9.

And I have a cold to go along with it.

It was chilly yesterday, but not so bad my husband and I couldn't walk. Even with a cold I felt like I could get some miles in. It began raining before we got to our halfway (two miles) point. I'm thinking walking in the rain probably wasn't the best self-care strategy I could have employed.

We knew this winter storm was headed our way, so when we got back to the car we went straight to town to fill up the gas tank and pick up cold medicine. And bacon. Because you can't survive a winter storm without bacon, right? Heh.

This is the third day I've felt bad, and the worst so far. I'm going to spend the day resting and drinking chicken broth, supplemented with Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus and vitamin C. My house could use a good cleaning, but the dust bunnies can wait another day or two.

I got through about a dozen of the oldest Vogue Knitting issues yesterday, saving only four patterns. All the magazines are in holders, and I can do a dozen or two every day. We have a wall of built-in bookshelves in our bedroom, holding mostly my books and magazines. The goal is to eventually empty the shelves and move them to the garage.

I'm making good progress on the latest knitting project – yet another pair of clogs – and am nearly ready to choose yarn for a pair of boot socks, a special request from an old friend. THEN I'll do the finishing work on a vest for me, knit the other leg warmer (also for me, and a victim of SSS [Second Sock Syndrome]) and think about which pullover I want to start for myself. Probably this one.

If you're in the path of the storm, I hope your power stays on and you stay warm. It looks quite brutal. Maybe even as brutal as the Weather Channel says it is. Take care!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2 - Begins with G

I have tons o'garlic this winter. Two big bags. Didn't even plant any this fall.
But I'm saving the biggest heads to plant next year.

If my dreams have anything to say about it …

my knitting intention will be cleaning out my knitting magazines. I ripped out or copied patterns in my sleep all. night. long.

I'm not sure which method I'll choose. Ripping out means discarding the remaining periodical, because I wouldn't feel right donating it if it wasn't complete. (Although there is a local group that might be willing to take them.) Copying favorite or potential patterns is a lot more work, and uses toner (if I use our copy machine) or ink (if I use the printer).

I'm leaning toward ripping.

I've been collecting knitting magazines for years and years – Interweave Knits, Knitters and Vogue Knitting are the big three, plus many, many, many other single issues that I haven't subscribed to but thought I couldn't live without. So many patterns are now available digitally; I store them all in Dropbox. Much better to have them in the cloud and instantly available, I think, than taking up all that physical shelf space.

With Dropbox, I also can organize them – folders for pullovers, cardigans, toys, household items, for instance – so whenever I want or need to knit a particular project, I can browse easily.

As for the gardening intention … I'm cutting the size of the vegetable garden in half, and will be growing tomatoes, green beans, onions, cucumbers, okra, peppers and squash. Those are the things we eat most; there's no need to grow anything else. I'll be cleaning up the herb bed, which is a disaster but at least it's not a large space to deal with, and this is the year I work on the perennial beds lining the driveway.

I'm in much better physical shape to tackle all these projects this year, and I don't have to do it all at once. I hope an hour a day, beginning in April, will have all areas done by the end of June. If not … well, I can always extend the arbitrary deadline on gardening.

I forgot to include in yesterday's list that I'm journaling my food again. I've been tracking exercise all along – it's so easy with MapMyRun. Tracking food isn't hard, it's just remembering to do it, either when I plan my meals for the day or after I eat. (I use LoseIt! for food journaling.)

Speaking of running, I did a little bit yesterday. The middle portion of a 10K walk was 30 minutes of 1/1 intervals. I'm much slower than I was last time I did this, but that's okay. It felt great to begin a new year by picking up the pace.

Other than a bit of a cold, I'm feeing well and confident and happy and inspired to make 2014 even better than 2013 was.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1 - Lunch

The remains of the ribs. We split the planned feast into two days' worth
of meals. Slow-roasted ribs and kraut for New Years' Day lunch. Delicious!


I was going to call this post Good Intentions or Worthy Intentions or something equally lofty and pretentious. In the end, though, plain old Intentions is enough.

During the flurry of channel-hopping we did last night (I'm still astonished I stayed up until midnight – haven't rung in the new year since 2000!), I heard someone say that instead of resolutions, s/he made intentions. It worked better for that person, and I do believe it might work for me.

Setting reasonable, achievable goals for myself last year was just what I needed to do. I was clear about the goals and about the steps I would have to take to accomplish them. The weight-loss one, especially, was well-thought-out. When my plan (counting calories, eating healthfully, walking consistently) didn't produce results, I changed the plan. And lost the weight.

It's actually a little difficult to remember how I felt when I set the 1000-mile goal. I can't even find the post where I said that's what I wanted to do. I found several referring to it as I made progress. Whatever. I'm pretty sure I thought averaging three miles a day would be about all I could handle, taking into account some days off for travel and weather.

Fifteen hundred miles would mean averaging slightly more than four daily miles. I've been doing that consistently since June. Therefore, I intend to log 1500 miles for 2014. I'd like it very much if 500 of them were running miles, and I wouldn't mind at all if half the total mileage ended up being running. But – just this once! heh – I'll be conservative.

Right now, walking/running 1500 miles is my main intention for the coming year. I do intend to continue following a primal/paleo eating plan, and would like for 12 more pounds to disappear at some point. But I don't have the same confidence about losing weight I did last fall. I've been maintaining a 50-plus-pound loss for a couple months now, though, and I hope to see some progress as time goes by.

The blog is called Knit. Run. Reap. Eat. I have the running and eating covered. Tomorrow I'll set some intentions for using up some of the stash and for this year's garden. In the meantime, you'll find me parked in front of the television watching football most of the day.

After I walk.