Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My birthday lunch

It felt really good to me to eat normal food on my birthday. We stopped at Ruby Tuesday's, as we'd planned, and I ordered a burger and onion rings. We had cake for dessert. (And cupcakes for breakfast!) There's a part of me that would just like to get off the food roller coaster I've been on my whole life, and just eat.

I know what happens, however, when I "just eat." I'm grateful to have found a way to eat that reduces pain and inflammation and also helps me lose a little weight. I've struggled for so long – I need to be okay with eating normal food once in a while.

And really? Since when is a big old pretzel burger "normal?" I might need to rethink a couple things. Heh.

I've been thinking about the family that sat near us in the restaurant. Mom, Dad, two little girls, and a grandpa, who was clearly Dad's dad.

Dad was opinionated. And loud. They were sitting at two tables-for-four pushed together, and the men were sitting at the heads of the long table. I feel fairly certain the dad spoke loudly so his dad could hear him.

But so could everyone else on our side of the restaurant.

He talked and talked and talked, mostly about church things. Bible camp. Going to hell if you don't do the right thing. The unfairness of having to pay for a school field trip for one of his daughters. (To her credit, she spoke up and said how much fun the trip was.)

I was uncomfortable. Dad, of course, paid no attention to us, as he was all about himself and his opinions. One of those.

The server was a young woman who happened to mention she was pregnant. Which started a whole new round of inappropriate conversation. She pulled out her phone to show off the ultrasound. Talked about trying on wedding dresses with a baby-bump pillow insertion. Accepted an extra-generous tip from Dad with effusive thanks.

I'm still trying to work it all out in my head why I was so put off by all of it. It was none of my business, and there wasn't a darned thing I could do about it. I wouldn't describe myself as religious. I do have a spiritual life, but I rarely discuss it and certainly not in a public place.

I don't much care for this judgmental side of me, and maybe my lesson was to learn to be more tolerant. I'm working on it.

But I hope I don't get tested again too soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

So this happened while I was gone

But the BIG EVENT of the weekend was my oldest granddaughter's high-school graduation. Commencement was lovely, her party on Sunday was lots of fun (and it didn't rain!), and I spent my 64th birthday driving home.

But I did get that burger at Ruby Tuesday, and I didn't know it but they also give you CUPCAKES!

So pretty much an off-plan weekend as far as food went, but hey. I'll totally go with the "it only happens once a year" excuse, and for Miss M, it only happens once in a lifetime. She has two additional graduations in her future, but you only leave high school once.

Lots of fun and family time. A bit of walking. I'm up to 70 miles for the month as of this morning. I could hit a hundred if I managed five-a-day for the rest of the month. I'll try. But if I don't make it, it's not going to ruin my life. Or even my month.

We brought the cupcakes home with us. Guess what I'm having for breakfast? Heh.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Graduation season

Thanks to my ginger friend, I added two more things to my to-do list, post-production, and crossed them off. I made a graduation card and gift for my granddaughter, who ends her high-school career Saturday.

This gift project is a Pinterest fail on my part. Sort of. I still have to make a graduation cap out of black cardstock for the lid, but that isn't the fail part.

The tiny scrolls (rolled-up money and parchment tied with a ribbon) were supposed to be rolled around the Smarties. I forgot that part. I went to considerable effort to find a bag of Smarties for the project, but then neglected to use them. So I'm going to put them in the gift bag – she is smart – and explain my mistake. Because I'm NOT unrolling all those tiny scrolls and redoing the gift. She would totally understand.

I hope.

Commencement is Saturday evening and her party is Sunday. I'm heading out in the morning and will be driving home Monday, while THE REST OF THE COUNTRY is celebrating … my birthday. Heh.

I'll be taking Ruby Tuesday up on their free birthday burger offer. It's one of the best birthday deals out there: a free burger, up to $9 value, no strings attached. Don't have to buy another one, all you have to do is sign up to receive the offer.

Of course if you don't care for Ruby Tuesday, don't bother, but it's one of my favorite spots, especially when I'm traveling.

I didn't work on the Keynote project yesterday, and won't have time again until next week. I mowed after I walked yesterday, and I have a meeting this afternoon. The laundry is already done, so I'll pack before dinner and then collapse. And most likely not sleep very well, since that's pretty much how I roll when I'm anticipating something.

I hope you all have a great weekend, doing fun stuff, relaxing, kicking off summer and remembering those who gave their lives so you can enjoy an extra day off. Seriously … Memorial Day is more about auto sales and picnics than honoring those who died in service. Why, back in my day we called it Decoration Day, and took fresh peonies to the cemetery to put on graves.

Not really, but I do remember my grandmother saying that last sentence. ACK! I'm turning into my grandmother! Get off my lawn, you whippersnapper!

And have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yesterday's gone

And I really didn't get to knock off much of that list.

But that doesn't mean I didn't get a lot of stuff done. I should have added "go to recycling center" and "visit Pat" to the list. Then I could have crossed them off. Heh.

My husband found a recycling center that takes anything with a cord (as well as everything else). And you know how things with cords tend to pile up after a while. Especially electronic things – broken monitors, anyone? We loaded some stuff into the truck and made the trip, dumping the treadmill – which hasn't worked in a very long time – and a cheap weight bench. And a monitor.

Afterward we visited a sick friend in the hospital. She's critically ill, and it was difficult to see her with all the monitors and tubes and equipment. She's in ICU and is receiving excellent care. I had dinner with her just a couple weeks ago …

I worked on the Keynote presentation for about 90 minutes when we got home. I don't know if PowerPoint does the same things Keynote does – my online research indicated Keynote's animation features are something PowerPoint can't do. Keynote is meeting my needs, and has so far been easy to learn. The big thing for me will be to make sure I hit the space bar in a timely manner in order to move the presentation along.

I keep thinking it's a movie, and will play itself.

Walked three miles yesterday, and am going to do four today. Slowly climbing out of the hole I've been in for longer than I like.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The green, green grass … and hay … and weeds

Side-of-the-road weeds, walking back home.
Oh, my, are the weeds ever, um, weedy.

I'm at a loss. Seriously. There's no way I can get a handle on them.

Maybe cardboard. Just cover them up and throw mulch on top and call it done. But I don't even have the motivation to do that. I just close my eyes when I walk down the driveway.

Which I did (walk, not close my eyes) yesterday! It was only two miles, but that was more than the previous day, and way more than half of last week. I wasn't short of breath, I wasn't tired, and my hip didn't hurt until I'd turned around to come back home.

I rested for a little bitty bit and then looked at my list – yes, I really did make one – and chose to work on the upstairs office.

Ran the sweeper, cleaned out two large lidded tubs of stuff, and made a workstation/craft table out of two filing cabinets and a door. The two tubs held some treasures – hand-signed photos and letters from West Virginia politicians Robert C. Byrd, Jay Rockefeller and Nick Rahall – along with two trash bags of detritus collected over several years.

I felt so good after I was done I almost wanted a cigarette. (I'm glad to report my mood has picked up every so slightly.)

I also did the laundry, ordered some supplies I need for the two meetings I'm doing (one in June, one in September), started the Keynote project (I'm loving Keynote, by the way), and added these items to the to-do list:


  • Pinterest
  • Dropbox
  • Drive

How sad is it that my organizational tools end up needing organizing?

For instance, my Dropbox has a knitting folder. So every time I find a knitting pattern I want to keep (but not print), I throw it in that folder. But knitting pattern titles are sometimes not especially descriptive. Would you know, for instance, that KFI_free_pattern-169143.pdf is a pattern for a large over-the-shoulder bag? No. You wouldn't. And neither would I.

So my plan is to put all the bag (mitten/cardigan/pullover/scarf) patterns in their own sub-folders. I want to do this with all the recipes, as well.

Which. Will. Take. A. Long. Time.

Too bad I just can't throw cardboard and mulch over the digital weeds.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Today? Maybe.

I've spent the past week being a lollygagger.

That may not be exactly what's going on, but the result is the same. You can't hit the ball if you don't swing at it.

To be fair, I've had a lot of pain and I'm sure you're as tired of reading about it as I am of writing about it. Or feeling it, for that matter. I would make an appointment if it were sharp, of sudden onset, or if it were truly debilitating.

I just hate seeing the doctor with a vague complaint that isn't any of those things. It's only annoying.

The harder thing this week has been an utter lack of energy and motivation. Am I depressed? Possibly, although I would have to call it endogenous, as there's no external reason AT ALL for me to be down in the dumps. I will be scheduling lab work next month, including thyroid tests, to make sure there's no physical reason for this fatigue. (I've just got too much going on this month to take the time. You know, it's hard work playing Dots and Scrabble on your phone with your leg elevated all afternoon! I'm busy, people, BUSY!)

Today I will make a list. A long to-do list It might be overwhelming to look at, but I know the reward of crossing things off will outweigh any potential dismay. I will put easy things on it – laundry, for instance, which pretty much does itself (thank the goddess I'm not Amish) – and I will put difficult and long-term things on it, too – that PowerPoint project, for instance.

In other news, Lucky updated his journal again. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a photo last week of some pink honeysuckle growing on our road. Well, he found some, too, on his last day hiking through Pennsylvania. If you Google for images of it, you'll see it's a real thing, but this is the first year I've seen it growing here. (I've been here for 18 years.)

He doesn't describe or write about it, but he'd previously mentioned that he'd "outwalked spring," because he'd stopped seeing wildflowers. So I guess spring is catching up with him.

Maybe my good mood will catch up with me today. I certainly hope so. Lollygagging is for … lollygaggers.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Taking a zero

Thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail call it "taking a zero" when they take a day off. They don't make any progress on a day when they kick back at a hostel or a friend's place or a hotel to rest, recharge and get some laundry done.


I took a zero yesterday from mileage and steps, and spent most of the afternoon resting. My sinuses are killing me, my hip needed the rest, and the rest of my body apparently did, as well. I napped. I read. I played games on my phone.

What I didn't do was mow. Or pull weeds. Or dig up the garden. Or cook (thank goodness for leftovers). Or paint.

Yesterday would have been a perfect day to paint. But I need to be in the right mood for it, and my energy level is just plain empty. I need to …



And do laundry? Nah, it can wait. Heh.

Because I just might take another zero today. Or I might not. Right now that's the direction I'm leaning toward, but the grass just keeps on growing, and we're in for a few days of rain here.

I wish I felt GOOD again. I just feel blah and worn out and tired, tired, tired.

This, too … I hope! … will pass. Sooner rather than later.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The fringe benefit of having guests for dinner


I'm one of those people who always overcooks when we have company. Therefore, I'm having part of the remainders for breakfast (a slice of pork tenderloin and a bowl of fruit salad), and my husband and I will have a repeat of last night's meal for dinner tonight.

The mashed sweet potatoes will need reinforcing. Or maybe replacing. We reallyreallyreally love mashed sweet potatoes.

The fourth "load."
The downside of having guests for dinner when the dishwasher is still broken is … multiple sinks full of dirty dishes. I bet I washed dishes four times yesterday, what with regular daytime meals + food prep for dinner.

But it happens so rarely – having dinner guests – that it's worth the extra effort.

And it's wonderful to cook once/eat two or three times.

The couple who visited are friends of my husband's, but they also have interests and experiences in common with me. They both have worked in the printing industry, which is how I made my living after my first divorce. That typesetting job led me to take graphic design classes, which eventually led me to publishing industry positions at two major companies in Ohio.

And a TON of volunteer work. Which I like doing very much, and which keeps me learning new things. The older I get, the more I realize that remaining teachable is a good thing.

It's nice to have something to teach, too. Another perk of getting old … experience to share and pass on to others.

The PowerPoint (or, more likely, Keynote) presentation falls into both categories. I'll be giving good, solid information in a venue I've not used in the past. But will very likely be using more of in the future, especially if I like it and it turns out well.

The outline is finished. Now it's on to creating the graphics and putting it all together.

Hope your day is as beautiful where you are as mine promises to be!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

12 into 40 equals

3.3333333. Ish.

That's my daily average mileage this month, which would get me to 100 miles if I kept it up for the next 19 days. But I did 124 in April. So now I'm competing with myself. Gotta go farther, gotta do more!

I need to just Get. Over. It.

One hundred miles a month is plenty for a woman who is less than a year from Medicare.

My right hip-to-knee begins hurting toward the end of every walk now. So the pain is definitely not food-related because my food is clean, clean, clean, and should have taken care of any inflammation issues by now.

At least that was my previous experience.

Sciatica? That's what my husband thinks. I changed the chair I sit in when I work at my desk. I love my sweet little antique doctor's-office chair, but he points out it wasn't meant for hour-plus-long sessions. His dad sat in it for a couple minutes at a time when the chair was in his office.

I switched to a sturdy oak chair with armrests and a cushioned seat. The seat is also longer than the hardwood circle of the other chair, providing more support to the upper leg.

I've been resting with my right leg elevated for an hour or so every day. I guess it all takes time.

And sciatica might not even be the issue. My pain doesn't travel down the back of my leg. It starts in the back, but goes down the side.

And further, I just don't want to go see a doctor for something as vague as "hip-and-leg pain that begins after I've walked three miles." My doctor is a practical man. He'd tell me to reduce my daily goal from four to three. Problem solved.

Anyway. Today is a clean-the-house and cook-lots-of-food day, because we're having company for dinner. One nice thing about being retired is you can make plans for just about any night of the week. And the recent heat we've been having has taken a hike. It's supposed to be sunny with temperatures topping out in the upper 60s.

Too cold to spend any time outdoors, looking at the weeds that still haven't been pulled. Heh.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Not from me … I did next to nothing yesterday. Didn't even get out of my jammies. Barely logged 2000 steps. It was one of those days.

But Lucky has updated his trail journal. He's halfway to Maine, well into Pennsylvania, and appears to be on schedule. His journal entries are easy to read and fascinating (to me, anyway). I cannot imagine hiking all those miles, day after day, for months and months.

Hell, I could barely get out of bed yesterday.

What happens if you have one of those days on the trail? You could, I guess, take a zero. But I think being out there, with all those unhiked miles ahead of you, would be enough of an incentive to get you out of your sleeping bag and on your feet.

I could use some of that kind of motivation lately.

I need to concentrate on what's in front of me, and stop looking at the big picture, especially where the gardens are concerned. I got one bed cleaned out Saturday. Half a bed got done a couple weeks ago. Seven beds altogether … I'm not making much gardening progress at all. Or painting, for that matter.

And I'll be giving a Power Point presentation next month, which is the current focus of my time and energy. I've never done a Power Point before. I'm tempted to make it in iMovie, but I know I'd run out of hard drive space before I came close to covering the material. But I'm familiar with iMovie. I'm not at all familiar with Power Point.

It can't be that difficult, can it?

We shall see.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing all moms a happy day.
I hope you don't have to cook your own dinner.
For some reason, that's really important to me this year.

And if you're not a mom … you have a happy day, too!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Making progress

It's been a week since the end of the Whole 30, and a week since I've checked my weight. I thought about weighing daily, but seeing that number every morning can be onerous. Once weekly is plenty. For now.

I lost a pound, so 11 total for 36 days. I expected to do better, but as long as I'm losing – even a little – I'll take it!

The meter reader came by yesterday and gave us the water pump meter reading, saving me a trip. We're doing fine there, as well – less than 1 kWh per day. It's still a mystery as to the why of the reduction in electrical usage, but perhaps it's one of those things one doesn't question.

Although every time we describe the situation to someone new, if they have a mechanical mind they're full of ideas and suggestions. My daughter-in-law's father was fascinated with the problem when I talked about it last weekend. He's probably still trying to figure it out.

They smell heavenly! And they're right outside
the kitchen window – a real treat when I'm doing
dishes. (No progress on the broken dishwasher.)
I'm making very slow progress in the gardens. I work on the weeds, but that doesn't happen every day. The lilacs finally burst open yesterday. I was beginning to think they weren't ever going to! All the lilac bushes in the county have been full of blooms for a week or so, while mine have remained tightly closed, making me wonder if I'd have to wait another year to actually see and smell them. This is the third year they've been in the ground. Must be the magic number.

I do a couple rows of knitting each evening, and I'll have a new sweater to wear probably around the 4th of July. Heh. But that's okay. And it's okay if it's too big. I love the look of a normal-sized person wearing a big old sloppy sweater. I fully intend to be normal-sized when it gets cold enough to wear sweaters again.

I've made NO progress on the indoor painting project. None. Zilch. Nada. Nil. ZERO. Between walking, daily household chores, mowing, volunteer projects, and travel, painting has been moved to the back burner. Sadly. I'm not even going to make a whisper of a promise about when I might get back to it. Who knows? I'm thinking the spirit is going to have to move me on this one.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Signed, sealed, delivered

That big graphic design project I've been working on for the past month or so? Just a little more effort and they'll be on their way.

The package arrived from the printer yesterday – and I really need to give a shout out to CatPrint for working closely with me and then expediting the shipping when there was a tiny glitch. I love when companies step up and take responsibility for a problem. They were able to get the order to me on the date I'd originally expected it.

I need to fold, seal, label, and stamp each newsletter, and take them to the post office. Then and only then will the job be done.

And then it's time to think about the next issue. The fun never stops.

There are a couple little things "wrong" with it – completely my fault – but nothing earth-shattering and easily correctible for the next piece. That almost always happens with a project like this. We'll work the bugs out as we move forward.

So. Coming soon! To a mailbox near you! That is, if you've subscribed … if you haven't, you can sign up here. Volume 1, Issue 3 mails in early August.

I'd love to chat a bit more … but I have some work to do!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A nice little break

And not much to write about today.

Because I was visiting family, and because I seldom write about my family (other than Hershey the dog), there's not much to say.

It was very good to get away. I've been home since February, when I went to Tennessee to attend my daughter's law school graduation. And I've been working on something – volunteer stuff or house stuff or Whole 30 stuff – for months. So it was good to get away.

Following a primal/paleo plan 90 percent of the time means you can have a couple "cheat" meals each week. I had one Saturday night, and got right back on track Sunday morning. It was HARD watching the rest of them eat cake for breakfast, but really? If I eat cake, I know I'm going to pay for it in more ways than is comfortable for me.


Stopped at Trader Joe's and the Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market on the way home. Two of my favorite places when I go to North Carolina.

I checked the electric meter at the water pump yesterday morning and we're still averaging 1 kWh per day, which our pump installer says is what we should be averaging. Since we've been using 20 kWh per day, and since during the cold months it jumped to 50, I'd say digging holes in the front yard was all he needed to do.

The lawn ornament is finally gone.
Seriously. He didn't do anything. Pulled the pump out of the ground, put it back, dug a bunch of holes with a backhoe looking for leaks, didn't find any, filled them back in, and charged us a reasonable amount of money for his trouble and effort.

I think I'll reduce my treks to check that meter to about once a week from here on out.

I have a lot of events and projects coming up, and I don't want to forget anything. It's good to be busy, but bad to drop the ball on something I said I would do. So the next thing on my to-do list is to … make a to-do list!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Whole 30 DONE!

Aren't you glad? Heh.

I'm not sure why this one went so well. The previous two I've tried were abandoned mid-stream, and the only successful Whole 30 under my belt was the first, in April 2013.

I was so desperate when I started that one. I'd been doing the move-more/eat-less/low-fat plan since Christmas 2012, and by early April had lost seven pounds. To me, that was little reward for great effort. Paleo was my last resort. If that didn't work, I planned to be fat and unhappy the rest of my life.

But it did work, and I kept at it and ended up getting to within 12 pounds of a normal BMI. Oh, that elusive number.

What I need to do is go back and figure out why I quit. What made me think I could maintain a significant weight loss by changing what was working? I blame my slide on the election – too many meals out of my control, too busy to walk, too often choosing food for stress relief.

But there's probably a deeper truth I'm not willing to explore.

At any rate … this month worked, emotionally and physically. I've felt clear-headed, energetic (most of the time), and on task. I still have some right hip pain, occasionally, but it's not debilitating and certainly not as bad as it was last month, when I would have to lie down for an hour after walking a couple miles.

I hit my mileage goal for the year, and have a couple extra miles in the bank. Which is good, since I'm traveling today and Sunday, and I have another short trip planned later this month. I was dedicated to getting my 400th mile in April. I ended up with 124 for the month and I'm at 402 for the year.


I'm not planning to stray too far from a Whole 30 plan going forward. I'll add nut flour and honey or maple syrup for an occasional mug muffin. (That one doesn't even use nut flour.) A scoop of banana "ice cream" once in a while. (That one certainly qualifies as Whole 30 as far as ingredients go, except it's served in a dessert bowl, instead of eaten out of hand.) I'll not feel as though my hands are tied when I eat out, or in someone's home.

In other words: 80/20 prevails. Which means four meals per week can be off-template.

Wow, that sounds like a lot. Maybe I'll go with the 90/10 plan. Heh.

Perhaps the best part of a Whole 30 is you only weigh yourself twice – once at the start and once at the finish. If you've been following along, you know I cheated and weighed myself once in the middle, when my enthusiasm began to lag.

But today's weigh-in was the official second one, and produced a grand total of 10 pounds lost.
  • That's one pound every three days. 
  • That's 2.5 pounds per week. 
Day 30 – and Whole 30 – DONE!

But not really. I just won't be yammering about it every day for the rest of my life. Thanks for sticking with me this month, through thick and thinner. I'm off for a little weekend getaway, and not sure if I'll be updating or not. But I'll be back Monday, and I hope you will, as well. Have a GREAT weekend!