Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moving backwards

I guess I've officially taken a paleo break. I'm not happy about it. Paleo worked for me in so many ways. And it will work again, I'm sure of it.

This horrible winter and the dead refrigerator have conspired against me, sending me to the easiest and most comforting sustenance available: saltines and either butter or peanut butter.

Pretty much the opposite of a clean diet.

I'm dizzy this morning, lightheaded and shaky. I've had a banana and the aforementioned crackers. And, probably, too much coffee.

I'm back up a pound this week. At the beginning of the year I needed to lose 12 pounds to reach that magical "normal" BMI. Now it's 17. And that's definitely discouraging.

I'm the only one who can turn it around, though. And I will. I'm confident that lack of daily exercise + not-so-clean eating = crappy mood, extra pounds and, yes, a return of that nagging hip pain.

ALSO moving backwards: the state of West Virginia, where a bill passed the House of Delegates last night that would make it a felony to perform an abortion after 20 weeks. The bill now goes to the state Senate. I've written my Senators, urging them to keep the government out of women's health care.

It's not going to have a big impact on the number of procedures performed here in the Mountain State. It's pretty hard to have an abortion at any time, since we have just two clinics and West Virginia isn't the easiest state in which to get from place to place.

More importantly, women who learn at 20 weeks that there is something wrong with their health or the health of the fetus need to have the option. Women who's carried a fetus that long WANT that baby. They and their families are looking forward to the new addition to the family. They are making a heartbreaking and agonizing decision. It's not the state's business to interfere.

Imagine learning, on the 20th week plus third day, that the child you're carrying has died in utero. Should this bill become law, you would be required to deliver your stillborn child at term.

I've said all this before. I think. Sorry to repeat myself.

Today the House of Delegates will be voting on a bill that will allow security personnel in schools to carry weapons.

Gun rights: AYE!

Women's rights: NAY!

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24 - Half

Either these prompts are getting harder or I'm getting less creative as I, um, age.

Here we go again

Another round of cold weather settles in this week. Yesterday was soooo lovely – warm enough to walk outdoors (six miles!) in a short-sleeved t-shirt and without a jacket.

It's 24° right now, though, and only supposed to hit the 40s later. I have a meeting this afternoon; waiting to walk until later might not be an option. We'll see.

Over the next few days we will again see the wintry mix and the cold temperatures, along with jackets and mittens and caps, oh my.

We moved the old dead refrigerator out of the kitchen yesterday. My, my, that was a chore. Refrigerators have glides on them and it moved easily across the hard surface of the kitchen and hallway. But the only door on the back of the house wide enough to get it through is the sliding glass door in our bedroom, and that meant pushing the appliance over the carpeting. And the doorway was just wide enough. Maybe an inch to spare.

At any rate, it's now decorating the back patio. We look just like real West Virginians.

For five consecutive years, West Virginia has ranked dead-last in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In other words, we're the most miserable state in the country. And that makes me feel … miserable.

I'm in quite a blue mood this morning anyway. A restrictive abortion bill is likely to pass the state legislature this week. Another bill which would allow teachers to carry weapons in schools is making its way through the committee process. (The local-ish paper endorsed it, but there's no place I could find to comment on the editorial. Grrr.)

I'm going to a neighboring county Democrat women's meeting tomorrow night and I'm supposed to rally the troops and lead the pep rally and be encouraging about the state of the state.

Ah, well. I have approximately 18 hours to do a 180. I've been known to rally in far less time than that!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23 - This is were I relax

Bacon. Eggs. Homemade applesauce. Real Simple. Breeeeeeeathe.

Gotta run walk

Oh, the weather outside's delightful! Already 60°, mostly sunny, a gentle breeze, birdsong … what am I waiting for?

Since a baby polar vortex is coming through in a couple more days, I'm waiting for nothing and am totally going to get out for a long solo walk today.

My husband is at church, and his church is having a congregational dinner following the service. So I have lots o'time to get this walk done, but I'm not sure exactly why I'm procrastinating. It's really quite perfect outside.

We're bumbling along with the baby refrigerator still upstairs. It hasn't been totally awful, just mostly. Nine more days until delivery of the new kitchen-sized one.

Sigh.

In addition to skipping a couple days' worth of posts here, I've also skipped a couple photo prompts. I found nothing 'funny' to shoot Friday, nor any 'act of kindness' yesterday. In fact, it was a stretch to figure out how to illustrate today's prompt: 'this is where I relax.'

I don't relax, much. But as I said on Instagram, I like my meals to be leisurely, so capturing breakfast and a magazine was as good as it gets. (That photo will show up here in the next post.)

Okay. My food choices lately have been not so great, but with this weather I've no excuse not to walk. And so … I'm outta here!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Slammed.

When we last met, I was … oh I'd have to go back and read it to remember and seriously? I just don't have time.

I'm glad you have time to stop by today, though. Even if it's just for a minute. Which is about how much time I have.

My "busy-ness" is cyclical. Lately, and for the next month or so, it'll feel like I have a Real Job again. I have several design projects lined up, and the weather is mostly improving. I'll be ready to get the garden going just about the time the garden will be ready for me.

I love when it works out like that.

Thursday I was in the state capitol all day with a large gathering of Democratic women from around the state. It was our annual Lobby Day. The legislature is in session, and we're peddling our influence at least as hard as the right-to-lifers are. Except I think the RTL group has more money than we do.

Why is it we're still fighting the abortion fight again?

ANYWAY.

Yesterday I realized I had an afternoon meeting at which I needed to present a preliminary design. So I spent most of the morning working on that. And then the committee was spectacularly underwhelmed, so it's back to the drawing board on that project. So to speak.

No walking Thursday, unless you count walking all over the Capitol building (West Virginia's statehouse is truly a beautiful structure, inside and out). My husband and I two walks yesterday. We drove to our favorite little country road, but had to turn around at the half-mile mark. A live skunk nosing around a dead deer and a huge barking dog were signs, SIGNS, I tell you, that we should have walked at home.

So we did. One mile there and three miles here and I'm up to 60 miles for the month. Not where I want to be, but better than nothing.

Refrigerator update 
The model we wanted wasn't in stock and had to be ordered. In the meantime, I'm looking at the far-less-than-perfect situation of storing fresh food in the tiny dorm model in the garage/office as a fitness opportunity. Every time I need something from the little fridge I have to walk over to the garage and climb a flight of stairs. Needless to say I consolidate the trips as much as possible. But still … I'm running up and down stairs three or four times a day now.

I think we're going to bring the baby refrigerator over to the house today, though. My husband is less enthusiastic than I am about this exercise plan. The new refrigerator won't be delivered until March FOURTH. It has been … challenging … trying to keep leftovers to a minimum. We were surprised at how much food the baby fridge can store, but we don't want to add any extras if we can help it. Condiments, fresh vegetables, my husband's yogurt and a carton of milk are about all it can handle.

And now we're all caught up again. I hope you both have a more relaxing weekend than I'm going to. Looks like I'll get a little weight-training in carrying a refrigerator down a flight of stairs. And the old, broken one? It's going on the back porch for now.

I'm such a good little hillbilly. Heh.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20 - Peace

I was at the Capitol yesterday for a Democratic Women's event and one of my
friends was sporting a scarf with peace symbols printed on it. Perfect for the prompt.
And perfect for the world. Give peace a chance.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19 - Feet

Sweet little furry feet. She needs a pedi, though.

What a difference a day makes

It's no big secret that I've been struggling emotionally this winter. I put on a happy face, most of the time, but there've been days when that just hasn't been possible. I've never been so affected by cold, grey days as I have this year.

The good thing is I know I'm not alone.

And the good thing also is:

  • I'm not ill (our patient was released yesterday and we are very encouraged by her rapid recovery – IV anitbiotics are miracle drugs)
  • My house hasn't burned to the ground (as happened to a friend right around New Year's) and
  • We have enough savings to replace the dead refrigerator (even though we hadn't planned for a new major appliance purchase this year)

We had a couple hours to kill prior to the hospital discharge yesterday, and began our walk here at home. It was far too icy to even get down the driveway, so we drove to town and walked there, a little more than four miles! Oh, my, was that ever good for the soul.

The robins are fat and sassy and everywhere. They don't migrate south from our part of the state, but they surely do go into hiding when it's cold. It was wonderful seeing tree after tree along the river dotted with red-breasted robins. I tried to get a picture but they were camera-shy, and flew away upon my approach.

I have an appointment this morning, after which I hope to get a very long walk in – trying to make up that mileage – and then we'll be going refrigerator-shopping and out for dinner.

Another good thing? I lost a pound this week. Must be all that running up and down stairs to get to the tiny refrigerator on the second floor of the garage.

I hope, if you're as tired of winter as I am, that you also are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And that the tunnel isn't carved of snow drifts!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18 - Magic

The sunshine and warmer temperatures worked a little magic on my soul as I walked
along the New River near Bellepoint, WV, this morning.

And then there's Plan D

OR: That's a helluva way to clean the refrigerator.*

So yesterday's schedule got all discombobulated and the "walk" ended up being less than half a mile outside the hospital while our patient was undergoing a test. It was, indeed, nice enough to go further, but we (my husband and I, because Lynne and I had to bag our plans because of my discombobulated schedule) needed to get back to the room.

Why is it people get sicker after admission? Hospitals are no place to be when you're sick, lemme tell ya. We're certainly hoping for some improvement today.

And we're certainly hoping to take a longer walk today. The forecast high temperature for this afternoon is 51°! Hope springs eternal, ya know. Heh. I said "spring."

So we finally got home yesterday and I fixed bacon and omelettes for dinner (because Plan D didn't include eating out) and while we were eating I heard a loud POP from the kitchen. Hershey heard it, as well. She stood stock-still, hackles raised, while I investigated and found … nothing.

But a couple hours later there was this burnt electrical odor emanating from the refrigerator and the freezer wasn't freezing and by 8 o'clock we were hauling food from the house to the garage. Thank goodness we have a chest freezer and a dorm fridge over there. Everything fit, too, although it will be a bit inconvenient to cook and serve meals for a while.

Grrr.

The Google Appliance Center says it's probably not worth repairing a 15-year-old refrigerator with a blown capacitor (if that is, indeed, what it is). We certainly don't have time for refrigerator shopping with everything else that's going on here in the Middle of Nowhere. I'm really not sure what we're going to do.

Other than GO FOR A WALK THIS AFTERNOON!

*And now you know what I mean.

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17 - Vegetable

This is TOTALLY a vegetable, right? (Terra brand Sweet Potato Chips)

Plan the plans …

not the results.

Church was cancelled due to weather/bad roads yesterday.

Plan B
Go shopping. We're slowly moving our bulk staple purchases to Amazon's "subscribe and save" feature, but we still have a Sam's Club membership and we need a few things from there. Plus my husband needs a new phone, and there was a huge clearance sale advertised at Christopher & Banks. And we'd planned to eat out, as well.

However … we ended up with

Plan C
Spend the morning and much of the afternoon at the hospital with a family member. The issue isn't life-threatening, but an admission through the Emergency Department was deemed necessary. Fortunately I had a knitting project ready to go (you saw it if you saw yesterday's photo post), as my role was mostly chauffeur.

We left too late in the day to make it to the phone store, so we'll try again this morning. My husband will be able to make a hospital visit later while I … get ready … I'm almost afraid to say it … GO FOR A WALK! It's only 20° as I type, but by 2:30 this afternoon it should be in the mid-30s. Whoop-whoop!

You know it's been a bad winter when the mid-30s is worth a whoop-whoop.

Yesterday I blocked the socks I've been working on for a month and they are now dry and packaged and ready to pop in the mail. And pretty soon a special little girl will be getting a new outfit for her doll. Doll clothes really don't take much time to knit or sew. The outfit is a throwback to before my time, even – a poodle skirt and blouse, topped by a handknit cardigan. But she saw a photo and loved it. I think she just likes the idea of a skirt with a dog on it.

I do like knitting doll clothes. I use tiny needles and fine yarn, just as I do for most socks, but a doll-sized sweater doesn't take nearly as much time as a pair of adult socks. Not instant gratification, but close.

I guess I need to begin a knitting list, because I almost forgot about the mug cozy I promised a friend – another small needle/fine yarn project that won't take long. A couple other friends would love fingerless mitts to make typing a bit more comfortable in their too-cold offices. I'm more than happy to oblige.

This week is shaping up to be awfully busy. My daily walk will be a top priority as outdoor temperatures continue to climb. I'm more than ready for improved weather conditions, but hate that the snow melt + rain = flooding of the Greenbrier River. It won't affect us, but will most certainly create problems for the garden center along the river.

Nature, taking its course. It's a good thing to be prepared. Like I said earlier … plan the plans.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16 - Create

Creating with needles and yarn ... soon to be an American Girl cardigan. The socks are DONE!

If ...

you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life,
what would it be….and why?

On this morning after the Jordan Davis trial ended with a hung jury on the count of murder, I'm tempted to listen to rap or hip-hop music – LOUD – for the rest of my life.

I can't do that. I'm a fan, but I'm not A FAN, if you know what I mean. I like old-school hip-hop – Ton Loc, Outkast, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Although … Pharrell.

If I had to pick just one song, it would be the old Johnny Mercer tune "I Remember You." It's been covered by Ella and Frank Ifield and Tony Bennett and Slim Whitman and Art Garfunkel and, and, and. It's a beautiful song and I never get tired of listening to it.

Now as both of you know, I"m a Bob Dylan fan through and through. And while Bob didn't cover the Mercer tune, he did come up with his own lyrics and music using the same title. And it happens to be from one of my two favorite albums, both of which were rather obscure releases from the '80s. Dylan's "I Remember You" is from Empire Burlesque. My other fave CD is called Knocked Out Loaded.


If I were picking a favorite Dylan tune to listen to for the rest of my life, it would most definitely be "Forever Young." If you're new here, you might not know my maiden name is Young. The last time I was single I vowed that if I ever married I'd keep my maiden name the rest of my life.

Obviously when I took my vows I'd changed my mind. Heh.

I love that song not just because he wrote it for me (he DID! Totally!), but for the incredibly warm and inspiring lyrics

              May your heart always be joyful
              May your song always be sung
              May you stay forever young.

I've been feeling pretty low this past few days weeks months winter. I've had some good days, but mostly I've been grey and blue and dull and cold and blah. Our electricity went out last night – the icing on the cake, if you will – right about the time I was turning the oven on to warm up left over meat loaf for dinner.

So my husband and I ate cold meat loaf and homemade applesauce, after which we retired to the TV room with oil lamps, the better to read and knit by. That's the smallest room in the house and we were surprised at how much warmth two little oil lamps could produce. The lights came back on about four hours later; we really didn't suffer at all. And I finished the neverending socks!

During that time we listened to music from my iPod, which I keep docked on a charger/speaker that will play for a couple of hours without external power. And I started feeling …

better.

Amazingly, surprisingly, astonishingly better. It wasn't a particular genre or artist; I had the iPod on shuffle. But the nicest tunes popped up – Simon and Garfunkel, Mariah Carey, Dylan – of course, since there are more songs on the device by Dylan than by any other artist. Soothing and restful and pleasant tunes. The last song we listened to, as the lights came on, was "Church in the Wildwood" by The Gaithers, which happened to be the song my dad came out of a coma singing along with back in 2008. It also was my husband's grandfather's favorite song.

I felt like the universe knew what I needed to hear.

And since the weather forecast is for a warming trend, maybe the universe knows what I need in that department, as well.


I hope your Sunday is soothing and restful and pleasant. Selfishly, I hope mine is, as well.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15 - My drink of choice

Coffee. My drink of choice is always coffee.

Three days

Today will be the third consecutive day I haven't walked. I shoveled snow Thursday and I shoveled a lot more snow Friday, and during the Friday session tweaked my right knee and left ankle.

And even if my lower limbs were functioning perfectly, we're in the midst of that old familiar wintry mix, accompanied by very cold temperatures and very gusty winds. I can barely see the top of the mountain a half-mile to the west.

This winter has worn out its welcome.

And it's also worn my psyche and emotions down, down, down. I haven't felt this out of sorts in a long time. I want to dive into food, and I'll admit I've done a bit of that. Fortunately the food around here is pretty clean and on plan, but still. I'd rather just eat food, and not use it.

It's going to take some effort to get back on track. The best way for me to do that is to take a matter-of-fact attitude about the whole thing.

  • Yes, winter sucks.
  • No, there's nothing I can do about it.
  • So, I might as well do the next right thing.

What I should do today would be to pick up where I left off with the organizing and decluttering and tidying up.

But maybe I'll go finish the endless socks I started a couple weeks ago. (Only the toes on both + 15 more rows on one and they'll be ready to wash/block/dry/send to their new owner!)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13 - Perfect

Perfect way to use four cups of clean snow - paleo snow ice cream, topped with paleo granola.

At least we didn't get any ice

Sometimes you have to reeeeeeeeallllllly stretch to find something for which to be grateful.

Took this when I got up, about 6:45 a.m.
As both of you know, I'm pretty darned sick of winter. Our winter storm warning doesn't expire until this evening. The snow began to fall shortly after 3 yesterday afternoon and it's still snowing. We have nearly a foot of it right now. I'm going to have to exchange the plastic ruler for a yardstick soon.


Our electricity is still on. The heat pump is pumping, the water is running, THE COFFEE IS DONE!

And I have everything I need to make this. Heh.

The walking streak ended yesterday, after just 13 days. I simply couldn't force myself to walk outdoors when it was only 20° and I also couldn't force myself onto the treadmill or the elliptical. I'll be shoveling (and shoveling and shoveling) today, but there's not much point in starting that job until the snow moves on. 

Jen left a most sympathetic comment yesterday, and I do appreciate it. She's had to deal with a lot more snow than I have this winter. And we are of like minds: Enough, already! I am completely unmotivated to move my ass when it's this cold. I enjoyed walking one snowy day last month, but it would be pretty close to impossible to walk outside for pleasure today.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12 - Out+About

A large military aircraft buzzed our house yesterday as we were leaving to go for our walk.
It doesn't look very big in this picture, but it was flying at a very low altitude!
I don't plan to be out+about today. THANK YOU, WINTER!

None of my grandchildren …

have school today.

Which would be no big deal if they all lived in the same place. But their homes stretch from the Nashville, TN, metropolitan area to the Triangle in NC. We are all (including southern West Virginia) enjoying(?!?!?) yet another Winter Storm Warning or Watch or Advisory or Special Weather Statement.

Yesterday was lovely but cold. Lovely enough that the sun lured us outdoors for a walk. Cold enough that we made it a minimum-distance trek on Indian Creek. But: Four more miles added to this month's total; I'm up to 52 for the month now. I need to average 4.3 miles per day, every day, for the rest of the year, to hit 1500 miles.

Which sounds rather daunting when it's 20° and we're expecting another half a foot of snow.

Winter doesn't last forever, though.

It only seems like it.

Last night was my volunteer gig at the prison. Take a guess as to what the best part of prison is … if you picked the inmates, you would be right. The women who come to our Tuesday evening meeting are thoughtful, determined, empathetic, helpful and unfailingly positive. I have NO ROOM to complain about anything when I compare my tidy little life to the complicated challenges they face.

We were discussing how everything happens for a reason, and that you often don't know the reason until much, much later. Sometimes years later. And I said I still wasn't sure that my co-volunteer's house fire had to fall into that category. But her attitude has been incredible. For instance, she said she was concerned about her houseplants not surviving this winter weather, since she kept her house cool. Along comes a house fire … problem solved!

We were all rather tearful when she said her music group surprised her with the gift of a new viola. And bow. And chin rest. And case.

And the lesson here is to accept gifts graciously, and friendship warmly, and circumstances with humor and grace. We continually learn what we need to know to move forward in our lives. If we're open to the lesson.

So what's my lesson about gaining two more pounds? (I'm now up FIVE from mid-January.) I can only think it has something to do with dark chocolate. And bad weather. Heh.

C'mon, Spring! I'm ready!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11 - Mistake

The dinnerware I referred to in this morning's post. I hope I won't think it was a
mistake sometime in the future to have given away a set of dinnerware.

Double your … pleasure?

So I said I was going to go one mile, just to keep the streak alive. I'm kinda weird, though.

I can still see my house at the half-mile mark, and that just didn't seem like far enough away to count. So I ended up doing two miles yesterday instead of one, and the streak is still going.

Interestingly, I thought yesterday about using the elliptical for the sake of continuity. Glad I haven't released it from my clutches yet. It's sunny today and the mid-afternoon temperature will be decent enough (low 30s), but by Thursday we're supposed to have lots o' snow again.
Which is WAY depressing.

Forty-eight miles so far in February. I'm pretty happy about that. And I'm happy that my focus is on keeping the streak going rather than on losing weight. It makes a huge mental difference. I know walking 1300 miles last year contributed to the weight loss I was able to achieve. I know I will, eventually, hit that magic normal BMI if I keep on doing what I've been doing – moving daily and planning my meals using the paleo guidelines.

Moving on ... I keep finding and printing cleaning checklists. I have one tacked to the refrigerator and three on the dining room table, trying to decide if one or more will replace the one I've been I haven't been using. I get stuck on the decluttering part and neglect the cleaning altogether.

Over the weekend I packed up some dinnerware and flatware for my friend who recently lost her home in a fire. Then yesterday I packed up another set of dishes (who needs four sets, anyway?) to take to our local charity shop. I could keep going through closets and cupboards and finding things to get rid of with no problem. I kind of like doing this.

But I sure don't like to clean.

HOWEVER … I've changed my attitude about other things many times, proving that being an old dog doesn't necessarily mean I can't learn new tricks. (One of the other things we got rid of recently was our coffee grinder. Yes, I'm drinking pre-ground coffee, for the first time in, literally, YEARS. I was quite the coffee snob. But my countertop is so much cleaner without the coffee crumbs and clearer with that extra appliance outta here. Changes in attitude …)

Today I'm going to work on the guest room. There's a lot of stuff tucked in a lot of drawers in there, and I can live without, well, a lot of it.

Here I go.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10 - I am …

so tired of winter, so tired of snow, so tired of cold. That's what I am.

Making progress

My computer helpfully purged all my e-mail for me yesterday as I was going through it. All my husband's, as well. THANK YOU, LITTLE MAC!

Seriously, I've no idea what happened, but all of a sudden all of it vanished. And it's still gone. So yay for that, I guess. Saved me at least another hour of scrutinizing pleas to give money and offers to save money.

My e-mail isn't wasn't very exciting.

Today's walk certainly will be. With a predicted high temperature of only 31° and a 50 percent chance of snow, I think the yaktraks will be put to good use. As well as multiple layers of clothing.

My general rule is a four-mile minimum, but I'm willing to suspend that rule for today. I want to keep the streak going, but it really will be too cold (I think, since it's also supposed to be cloudy) to go the distance. I think I'll take a page from Roni Noone and make it a mile on inclement days.

(I only just began reading Roni's blog late last year. Don't ever call me an early adapter! She's been blogging for many years, and has maintained a 70-pound weight loss for many years, as well.) She takes a very common-sense approach to her daily meals, and she has this deal where you do intentional activity in a "what you can, when you can" manner. And then you tweet it with the hashtag #wycwyc.

I haven't participated because my #wycwyc activity is 25 squats while I brush my teeth. Every day.

That would get kind of boring on the Twitter.

Maybe not as boring as my posts here have been lately though. Walking. Weather. Cleaning.

I'm ready to PLANT SOMETHING!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9 - Details


Purging emails. Again.

I'm not sure why I can't seem to keep up with my inbox any more. It's a fact, though. I can't. Yesterday afternoon I noticed the number of unread messages had swelled to more than 600. Again. And I haven't even been traveling lately! (I rarely check my email when I'm on the road.)

So I began deleting. I still have nearly 400 to wade through.

I recently signed up for Lifehack's e-mail subscription, and while that accounts for less than one e-mail a day, it takes a little time to read it and a little more time to decide whether to click a link and read one of their lists or not. I should probably just mass-delete (not just Lifehack, but all of them) and begin anew.

That said, I'm glad I read this one.

Lifehack, in case you're not familiar with the website, offers advice. On just about anything. Much of the advice comes in the form of lists. 10 Things You Need To Do To Be A Gentleman. 21 Things You Are Doing Wrong Every Day. Not every article is in list form, but many are, and lists – to me, anyway – promise to be short, snappy and to the point. I like lists!

To get to the point, the list I zeroed in on this morning resonated because it illustrates what I've finally – after far too many years of struggle – done in order to be successful at losing some weight. If you don't want to click and read, the major point that hit me between the eyes was this:

I don't know what to do.

After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting AND after 10 years of steadily gaining weight – while all the time making efforts to lose it – 2013 turned out to be my year. It doesn't really matter why, but it's interesting.

To me, anyway.

"I don't know what to do" is last on the Lifehack list, but it was first on mine. I'd decided yet again to count calories and exercise in order to once and for all lose the lard, but three months into it I'd only seen a very slight downward trend. Admitting that what science said should work really wasn't working for me opened my mind. Throwing up my hands and realizing I wasn't sure what my next move allowed me to try something completely different.

I still didn't know if it would work. But nothing else had, and I was willing to try something different.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't want to. I had very negative feelings about restricting my food choices so severely. But knowing I'm not getting any younger (do any of us ever get younger?) and knowing I was only going to do the Whole 30 for 30 days (HAH!), I plunged ahead.

I'm glad I found that list this morning. I've been stuck at about the same weight since the beginning of November. I'd like to jumpstart the losing process and get to a BMI of 25. Some of the messages on that list have become pretty familiar.

Especially "what's the point."

My clothes – all smaller sizes than I used to wear – fit. They fit every time I put them on. I'm happy with the success I've had and feel good about how I look and feel for the first time in a very long time.

So what's the point of trying to achieve that normal BMI?

The point is to finish the job. The point is to not only feel healthy, but also to be healthy. I'm still not getting any younger. Imagine that. But there's still time. And for some reason, reading that list has been just the little kick in the ass I need – today, anyway – to keep on keepin' on.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8 - Water

Thankful for safe drinking water at my fingertips.
For now.

Stayin' alive

I climbed down the riverbank to get this shot.
It looks much gloomier than it really was! 
Nine consecutive days of walking, with a couple runs thrown in there, as well. Yay, me!

It's funny how much better – and how much less! – I eat when I make that daily walk a priority. Although when I walk I have 90 minutes to two hours LESS time every day to stuff my face.

So there's that.

And I've had so many meetings lately, all related to graphic or web design projects. Nice to be needed, but wow, I'm not used to being in business.

As soon as I finish breakfast I'm going to clean up my desk and clear some space on a nearby bookshelf to organize my various projects. I try to not have much in the way of paperwork, but some is inevitable and I don't want to lose anything. Right now the desk is pretty much buried, with a tiny space carved out for the laptop.

A little laundry, a little tidying and a whole lotta Olympics are on tap for the rest of the day. Hope you both have a nice, relaxing day, free of stress and discomfort and full of peace.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7 - Utensil

Stick a fork in it.

So that went well

I spent a good part of yesterday gathering together, in print and digital form, examples of my past graphic design work, as I would if I were applying for a position. The meeting I went to turned out to be not like that at all. I didn't have to show a thing (all those nerves for nothing!). I'm an appointed member of the committee, and I'll be working with another woman designing a local foundation's annual report.

Without "auditioning" at all. Yay!

The nice thing is that by prioritizing what needed to happen yesterday, I was able, after all, to take a short walk. Yay again! It was too cold to go much farther than two miles, so I didn't. But as I posted on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter – two miles is better than no miles.

Six days of February walks/runs = 32 miles – half the total distance for January. Which gives you some idea of just how brutal January was here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Looks like a mid- to late-afternoon walk will happen today, when the temperature rises to a balmy 34°. Which is better than yesterday's 22° by a long shot!

I made a paleo apple crisp-ish dessert a couple nights ago, which was a multi-step process, as I first had to make the granola topping. I must say, the completed dessert was tasty but the granola? Delicious! I could seriously eat too much of this.
On the left: Into the oven it goes. On the right: Topping the apple mixture.
No oats at all, but it sure looks – and tastes – like good old-fashioned granola.
I shopped for kid Valentines yesterday but didn't find anything I liked. So I think I'm going to make at least five of them (for the five-and-under grandchildren) after all. I have an old printer that should do the job. I found some silly riddles online and used a business card template to print the questions and answers separately. I'll slap the question on the front, the answers inside and call it DONE! I'll buy cards for the two older ones today.

Thanks for reading. This is very possibly the most boring post I've ever written. You are both THE BEST!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6 - C is for …

cashews!

A bit overwhelmed today

Too much to do and too little time to do it. And I hate to say it, but the thing that's going to get left out is the daily walk. I'd probably make time for it if it were a bit warmer, but it's not, and it's not going to be, and, well, you both know how I feel about the elliptical! Heh. I've walked 30 miles so far this month, so even at the end of today, if I don't walk, I will have averaged five miles/day for the month. I'd kinda like to keep the streak going, though.

We'll see.

I have to put together a portfolio to present to a group this afternoon. I should have worked on it yesterday, of course, but I walked and cooked and internetted (that's a word, right?) until the day got away from me.

I have to make or, more likely, buy and mail Valentines for the grandchildren. All year long I pin ideas for handmade Valentines and every February I end up buying cards and mailing them at the last minute. It's not like I don't know Valentine's Day is coming. It happens every year on the same day.

To be fair, I had some ideas ready to go this morning but my printer died. I might be able to print them from the old printer, and since I have to use that computer for some of the portfolio pieces I'll give it a try. I've ordered a replacement printer, one that supports AirPrint, which will come in very handy when I want to print something from my phone or tablet. The death of the old one was anticipated and maybe even celebrated, since it moved from useful to obsolete so quickly.

And I need to figure out something to throw into the slow cooker for dinner, since the afternoon meeting begins at 4 – about the time I usually start cooking.

Prioritizing:

  1. Slow cooker
  2. Portfolio
  3. Valentines

Not much on that list in the way of self-care but OH WELL. Some days are kinder than others.

This is not one of them.

Old Thomas knew whereof he spoke

The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is best. … No one knows, till he tries, how easily a habit of walking is acquired.                                                                                   ~ Thomas Jefferson
As both of you know, I'm a walker. I used to be a runner. I'd love to be a runner again. I try to pick up the pace a couple times a week and I do like interval training (I use the RunDouble app) very much.

But most of my 1300+ miles in 2013 were one foot in front of the other at about a 3mph pace.

Which is fine. Better than fine. Those 1300+ miles got me where I am today, which is within striking distance of a normal BMI.

And wearing size 10 jeans.

FOR ME, the combination of finding a way to eat PLUS all those steps resulted in the progress I've made. Just walking or just eating a paleo diet wouldn't have yielded the same results. I'm convinced of that.

For 2014, I've set a goal of 1500 miles. I'm already pretty far behind (thank you, Winter!), but just as I know that getting back to primal/paleo food basics is vital to my health and well-being (and weight loss!), I also know that I can catch up on my miles as the weather gets better.

In the meantime, my eyes and mind are wide open for inspiration and motivation.

Thank you, Mr. Jefferson!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Uh-oh.

It's not quite this bad. I wanted to lose 12 pounds this year and now I only need to lose 14. But clearly I'm going in the wrong direction.

And I'm to blame. I'm not going to lie: I had ice cream a couple nights ago and I've had more dark chocolate than is good for me lately.

Obviously!

HOWEVER … my favorite jeans are a little baggy and my wedding ring is looser than it's ever been. So, while it would be nice to report another stay-the-same week – or, even better, a loss – I think I'm okay with this little wake-up weigh-in.

It reinforces that what I've been doing – eating protein, vegetables and fruit; taking a daily walk, and doing some bodyweight exercises most days – works. It certainly works better than eating sugar.

I noticed when I got in the car after yesterday's walk/run that my right hip was a little achy, in the same way it used to hurt before I began the paleo plan. I never want to go back to limping down the road or, worse, choosing not to be active because I hurt too much.

My grandmother chose that route and ended up on oxygen and housebound for the last 10 years of her life.

Maybe it's not an uh-oh after all. Maybe it's just what I need to get back on track. Good thing we don't eat snacks while we watch the Olympics (as we do when we watch the Super Bowl)!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 4 - Childhood

From my first husband's childhood – a genuine Hopalong Cassidy watch. The strap
is leather, and there's not a speck of plastic on the whole thing. 

Some catching up

I love the symmetry:
I've been quite neglectful at responding to comments this week. With all our infrastructure problems lately, I've been lucky to even throw a post up. I'll try to amend my ways this morning.

For Annie B., who asked a week ago about a side dish in a photo, those are vegetables are just a combination of orange and white sweet potatoes. I'd never heard of white sweet potatoes until a friend who started a Whole 30 told me about them. They're a little more expensive than the orange variety, but they look like regular potatoes. Although they don't taste like them at all. For my friend, they were a little more husband-friendly. Heh.

At any rate, I baked one of each ahead of time. I diced them while the bacon was frying and then dumped them in the skillet, sprinkled them with freshly ground pepper and sea salt and let 'em cook. That dinner was a two-skillet affair. Good thing I save bacon grease. I could have added chopped onions to the potatoes, but I was too lazy to chop an onion that evening. It's a much better side dish with the onions, though.

For Jen, well it has been inconvenient – at times – to have the laundry room in the garage. The upside is that laundry always gets removed from the dryer AND folded. I'm not sure why it doesn't sit in the dryer all day as it has when I've had an in-house laundry room, but there you go. It just doesn't. I am always aware that clean clothes are waiting to be tended to, and I tend to them. I was briefly grateful for the garage setting when the water pipe froze and burst, but quickly realized that probably wouldn't have happened had the washer been in the house. HOWEVER, it turned out to be a good thing, because the plumber cleaned these little screens that trap sediment in the lines going into the washer and the machine works better than ever. (The reason the laundry is in the garage is because we couldn't find a replacement unit that fit in the space where one used to be in the house. They just don't make stacking units that small. Or they didn't when we needed them.)

For Beth: Thank you so much for noticing and commenting on that photo. You always make me think when I read your posts. And you made me think with your comment, as well. And my head doesn't even hurt from all that thinking! Seriously, though, I think both of my readers would do well to pop over and visit your blog.

For my ginger-haired blog buddy, thanks for affirming my decision to release the elliptical. Yesterday was the tipping point. It was soooo cold, and I wanted to get a workout in, and I just bundled up and headed out. It took a couple miles before I was warm enough to unzip my jacket, but I did, eventually, get just that warm. Which was pretty amazing, considering the wind and the temperature. I still (probably) won't walk when it's in the teens or when it's really icy, but yesterday proved to me that I really can handle a fairly cold outdoor walk.

I've been trying to walk an additional mile or two (above my 4.1-mile-per-day-goal-for-2014) to make up for the missed days last month. So far in February I've "banked" six miles.

And for Denise. I'm so very happy you're back to commenting regularly again. I thought about your perception of the multilingual America the Beautiful Coke commercial and certainly can see where the singalong factor might make it less appealing. Still, though, it must have struck a chord for those who don't speak English as their first language. Also, thanks for the heat-tape idea for those water pipes. The drywall had to be removed to make the repairs, and won't be replaced for a couple weeks. I'll be looking for heat tape in the meantime. Hopefully we won't ever have this problem again. Or at least for another 10 years.

OKAY. I think I've covered what needs to be covered. Let me know if I missed anything and:

KEEP THOSE COMMENTS COMING!
That is all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3 - Something orange

Trying not to go with the obvious here … raided the pantry for a jar of turmeric.

Six months until pre-season!

Well, my team lost. BIG-time lost. But I held up well, I think, and enjoyed Bruno's halftime show and many of the commercials.

And that's what the Super Bowl is all about, right? Heh.

The big surprise was Bob Dylan's Chrysler ad; the Dylan purists are accusing him of selling out. I was thrilled to know he could actually speak. In fact, I think he spoke more in those 60 seconds than in the dozen concerts I've been to combined.

News flash: America is a melting pot. We are a nation of immigrants. We didn't sprout here. We arrived here, from Europe and Asia and Africa.

We all loved it, back in the day, when Coca-Cola wanted to teach the world to sing. Coke is, after all, an international product. But last night? Coke's social media accounts were hate-bombed following the "America the Beautiful" ad, which was sung in several languages. Instead of 'Murican. The tweets and comments were filled with misspelled words, poor grammar and vows to switch to Sprite. A Coke product. The mind boggles.

There were so many things to love about the broadcast, especially President Obama's smackdown of Faux Noise during the O'Really interview during the pre-game. Also: Bruno. Coke. Dylan. Puppies.

I will not let the haters bring me down. I'm not yet sure what I can do about it (other than vote for Democrats), but I'm thinking.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2 - Favourite

My favourite type of jewelry to wear, hands down (ahem), is a bangle, cuff or bracelet.
(My photo prompts are written by an Aussie, thus the alternate spelling.)

Yesterday was, in a word, pretty perfect

I need to go backward a few days to illustrate exactly how perfect yesterday turned out to be.

I called my husband as I was leaving a meeting Thursday evening, to let him know I was on my way home. The meeting had gone really well, and I was on a post-good-time high. He acknowledged my excitement and said there was something wrong with the water pressure.

Way to deflate my balloon, honey!

When I got home I agreed that the pressure was, indeed, a little less strong than it normally is. It worked, though, and we even ran the dishwasher with no incident. We called the man who works on our well and he said we probably had a tiny leak in the water pipe. Which, of course, would have to grow into a major leak before we'd be able to find it.

Have I ever mentioned just how much I love country living?

We went to bed, hoping we'd still have at least a little water pressure by morning.

Late Friday morning we decided to take our Indian Creek walk. We opened the garage door and found … a flood.

HAHAHA! Who knew a tiny breach of less
than an inch could flood the entire garage?
The water pipe feeding the washer had burst. That water line has been there for 10 years. In all that time we've had a frozen pipe maybe twice, until this year. It froze three times in January, and I guess the third time's a charm.

So to speak.

We called a plumber who agreed to come yesterday to take a look and, hopefully, fix the problem. We managed to get the water to the garage turned off without having to turn off the supply to the house. You look for blessings wherever you can.

After we cleaned up the garage as best we could, we went for our walk and found all kinds of things for which to be grateful: that the washer wasn't in the house, that we got all that mess cleaned up and still had time and energy to go for a walk, that a plumber would be available so quickly, that we had enough clean clothes we didn't need to do laundry … you get the idea.

The plumber came, fixed the pipe and another nagging plumbing problem we've had for several months, charged an amazingly reasonable fee for all that work and yay! I can do laundry! Perfect!

And more perfect …

I walked to the post office while he was working, and didn't have to wear a coat. My husband and I took another walk along Indian Creek and I threw an interval training in there. It felt SO GOOD to run again! It's been ages and ages since I've run. Total distance yesterday was nearly eight miles – a BIG dent in my January deficit.

Heading out now, solo, to tack another five or six onto February's total. I will be wearing a jacket, as it's cooler today than yesterday, but rain is headed this way shortly after noon, so it's now or never.

One important thing I've learned after this difficult January: I'm much happier walking outdoors than inside on the elliptical. I think I'll sell it. I've managed to maintain my weight loss with half the mileage I'd like to have done, so I think maybe – maybe – it will be okay to send it out into the universe. It appears to have served its purpose for me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1 - You

We were supposed to take selfies today, but you've had enough of those lately, haven't you?