Friday, March 31, 2006

I heart Dr. C

Of course I had my knitting with me when I went to the doctor yesterday. My appointment was at 10:30 and I didn't leave the office until noon. Plenty o' time for playing with yarn.

When he finally walked into the examination room, his face lit up as if I were a long-lost friend. Now I'm not a huge health-care consumer, so it surprises me even
when the nurses remember me from one visit to the next. He told me I looked really good, to which I replied that I'd cut my hair. And then he said the magic words:

"No, no! You look like you've lost some weight!" He glanced at my chart and confirmed that I had. And said, "You look so well!"

For someone visiting a physician's office, that statement was more than a little bit funny.

We talked for a bit, and it turns out that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, of which there are four types:
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Abdominal pain
I would be the first type. In other words, I'm full of shit. [Some Both of you already knew that, though, didn't you?]

He gave me samples of Zelnorm, a newish prescription drug which is supposed to treat [but not cure – this is one of those "we can manage it but we can't cure it" conditions] IBS. You've probably seen commercials for this product on the evening news. The irony of my taking a heavily advertised prescription drug will not be lost on anyone who knows me well. I've been against prescription drug advertising for the past several years, and it doesn't take much to get me on my soapbox about it.

I'll spare you.

Finally, I didn't have to convince him to order the less-invasive test first, considering how difficult my first colonoscopy was – he suggested it. Doesn't make the prep much easier, but it's a whole lot less expensive and traumatic!

I can't say enough good things about finding a doctor who listens. I grew up in a world where doctors told you what to do and take and eat [remember those single-sheet 'diet' plans they used to hand out?] to make you better. Today they offer choices, and expect you to think about what plan is going to work for you and your lifestyle. Nothing either of my doctors recommends will hurt me, but they offer alternatives and I get to pick. I used to be uncomfortable with this method of practicing medicine, but I've learned that ultimately it's up to me to choose a treatment I know I'll be able to live with. Literally.

The 'procedure' will be done Monday morning … Sunday should be fun.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Get thee to the doctor

My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1986, when she was 55. I'll be 55 in 55 days, so I'm going to the doctor this morning to schedule some kind of test.

I had a colonoscopy six years ago, I think, after some symptoms, but it was incomplete due to a weird anatomical problem. [Am I icking you out? So sorry!] I'm hoping I won't have to go through that again. I had to fast an additional day and have an additional test. I hope I can convince my doctor to start with the second test first, and if anything shows up then they can get more invasive. I don't expect any problems, either in scheduling or in results.

I bet that didn't make much sense at all to anyone but me. I guess you had to be there! But if you had any sense at all, you wouldn't have wanted to be there.

I'm putting off the intentional exercise until I get home this afternoon, although I'll be mopping that floor before I leave. I love coming home and seeing a clean floor. I might also come home with an area rug, so that the little dog footprints don't cover quite so much real estate! But then that would mean hauling out the vaccuum cleaner to clean the area rug, and it just gets so complicated!

Wasn't it Scott Peck who said, "Life is difficult."? If keeping my floor clean is the most difficult problem I have, then I'm one lucky woman.

Finally, a knitting tip: When you're making a garment in pieces [back, front, sleeves],
tie a knot in the cast-on tail for each row of ribbing. When you start the next piece, you'll be able to match them exactly, and you won't have to putz around clicking a counter or writing down how many rows you've done. Measuring the length doesn't work, as the ribbing won't match up when you seam the pieces.

Can you see those little knots? Sixteen rows of ribbing so far on the Prosperous Plum sweater I swatched for the other day.

I've never used Cotton Fleece before. I might be the only knitter my age who's never used it. I have quite a bit of it in the yarn closet, but I much prefer knitting with wool, and so haven't tried it. Cotton Fleece is 80 percent cotton, 20 percent wool, and that bit of wool really does add a bit of 'sproing' to the cotton, which normally is kind of hard on the hands.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


So when my neighbor and I were out walking yesterday, we were talking about the concept of snacking. And I just read the March 28 entry of Skinny Daily, in which Jonathan explains how he deals with snacking.

I don't have fond childhood memories of my mother offering snacks for comfort, or even offering many snacks at all. I walked home from elementary school with my friend Gretchen, whose mother subscribed to the 'nothin' says lovin' like something from the oven' philosophy. More often than not, my mother was ironing or maybe even touching her toes. The one snack event my siblings and I really looked forward to was when our parents went out for the evening and left us with a sitter, and we were allowed to have popcorn and Pepsi. No separation anxiety for us! Bring on the Jiffy Pop!

Perhaps I was snack-deprived. I've more than made up for it.

My neighbor is six months older than I, grew up in a completely different type of household and also doesn't remember having snacks on regular occasions. She said she does recall having juice and two dry little butter cookies at Girl Scout meetings. Probably the Shortbread.

It's a whole different world today. You won't find a weight-loss plan out there that doesn't include a scheduled snack or two. Snacking is recommended to stave off hunger and provide adequate nutrition, especially for athletes and dieters. And I don't think snacking is a bad thing. Snack choices, though? Another matter.

The snack-food industry just couldn't be healthier and, like all industry, strives to make itself an even more vital part of our daily lives. Oh, and also our economy. A recent snack-food trend is adding whole grains to products. According to Snack Food Association president Jim McCarthy, "Nutrition … has affected the way we manufacture, market and label our products." And of course, there's the convenience trend. McCarthy said we consumers are "just looking for something to open and eat." [source]

Apples now come pre-sliced in plastic bags. Hundred-calorie, foil-wrapped packages of cookies line the grocery shelves. Single-serve slices of cake tempt us in the bakery. No muss, no fuss, and bring on the mindless eating. [I wonder how many apples are in those cute little bags.]

So where am I going with this? I eat a finite number of calories each day, and I want those calories to count, to matter. It takes five minutes, or perhaps less, to rip open a bag and scarf down 100 calories worth of whole-grain cookie goodness, and I'm left wanting more. ['More' has always been my drug of choice.] I need to take some time to prepare my meals – and my snacks, when I have them.

I like anticipating how the popcorn will taste as I haul out the pan, wait for the two test kernels to pop, listen and watch as the steam escapes and the contents expand to slightly lift the lid. The aroma is as delicious as the popcorn itself. In the time it takes to prepare a pan of popcorn, I could have eaten three or four single-serving bags of Lance's White Cheddar.

The snack-food industry profits little from me. I make my own fruit salad, with melon, grapes, kiwi and berries. I mix my plain, non-fat yogurt with wheat germ and nuts, which means getting out three containers and actually making a bit of a mess. If my lunch menu suggests a sandwich and fruit, I save the fruit for later, if I'm satisfied with the sandwich. And later, when I'm ready for a snack, I wash the fruit, put it on a plate and enjoy it.

Besides, all that extra preparation uses more calories than opening a bag.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Go ahead. Make my day.

I mentioned the plans for the new sweater [the purple swatch] on a list a couple days ago, including what my modifications would be. One member wrote back and said it sounded like I was designing a whole new sweater! She's right – what I really liked about the pattern I pointed to was the stitch pattern. Everything else is going to be different. Hope to wash and dry the swatch today.

Yesterday I took two walks, mopped the acre of floor and lifted weights. I also teach a class at the prison on Monday nights which means another half-mile carrying a supply bag that weighs – I kid you not – 16 pounds. I am woman; hear me roar.

Food, on the other hand, was so-so. I rarely eat in the evening, but for some reason I was ravenous when I got home from jail. I had some low-fat cheddar [I just can't call it Cheddar] with a serving of Triscuits. That put me over the 1200-calorie limit, but it wasn't too bad as far as snacks go, and certainly could have been worse. I have both Easter candy and peanut butter ice cream within striking distance!

So Marla asked yesterday who the model/dancer/actress is in Prince's 'Black Sweat' video? Anybody know? I Googled my fingers off this morning and can't find a music-video equivalent to IMDB. The closest is this, but it didn't provide credits for that song. And the credits they do list are sketchy, at best.

My early walk yesterday was with my neighbor, who I have mentioned here before. She's a competitive equestrienne, makes and sells pottery in her own gift shop and is blind. She said since she's been turning her horses out all the time, instead of leaving them in stalls overnight [and thus having to clean stalls less often], she's noticed she's getting a little pudgy. So she and her dog have been doing a lot of walking. With me along, she feels safer in going further. So it's good for both of us.

As for her being 'pudgy' – I think not, although every woman at every size probably has something she'd like to change. My neighbor is probably a size 4. She's working really hard at not being a size 6. I said to her today how I hate the way I look and wish I could feel more comfortable in my clothes. And she really surprised me when she said, "Oh, but you're so pretty! You wouldn't believe how many people have told me how young-looking and attractive you are."

Well, knock me over with a feather. Or two. That felt so good to hear! She really made my day.

Monday, March 27, 2006

If it ain't broke

Trying to stay positive here … I gained two pounds this week. I don't want the number on the scale to rule my life, my mood, my day or my week. Ups and downs are to be expected. But I didn't expect a two-pound gain.

I didn't do everything right this past week. I did a lot right, but not everything. Nor will I ever do everything right! Last week's experience is something I can learn from. Moving on!

One of the cool things about eDiets is they have a wide variety of eating plans from which to choose. I've been using the Glycemic Impact Plan for three months, with moderate success. Which is way more success than I've had doing anything else on my own for the last couple years.

So yesterday I was noodling around the website checking out some of the other plans. I switched to one called Hypoglycemia/Low Sugar. I went back this morning to record my lack of progress and to print out this week's menus and recipes, and glanced through some of the meals [you can make substitutions for each meal or snack, which I rarely do, but the option is there].

Well. From what I've read about low glycemic index foods, I should steer clear of things like bananas, raisins and white potatoes – all of which are part of the Hypo/Low Sugar menus. [Does anyone else think of Mike Myers as the hyper-hypo on SNL when you hear or read the word 'hypoglycemia'?] It ended up being more trouble than it was worth to make substitutions for all the meals I would have had to, so I switched back to Glycemic Impact.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

And it ain't. I made some poor food choices a couple days last week and it's caught up with me. I still consumed an average of 1204 calories per day and worked out an average of an hour each day. Other weeks where I've had similar performance have yielded losses. So next week will be better, for two reasons:
  • Body weight fluctuates, day to day and week to week.
  • I'm not letting this get the best of me.
Is this the same person who was writing about how depressed and unmotivated she was only a few days ago? What have you done with the real Debbi?

I added some short-term goals to the sidebar. It will be difficult, at best, to reach the first mini weight-loss goal of 22 pounds by May 1, after this week. But I think I'll leave it there.

You'll notice the goals for the first full week of April are less than those for the other weeks. I'll be traveling, and I'm not going to stop in the middle of a long road trip the day I leave to take a 90-minute walk around a rest area. They all recommend setting 'realistic, achievable goals,' so that's what I did.

Knitting progress: The FLAK body is well underway. Instead of 100 hours to go, it's down to about 98. [That's supposed to be funny.] I started out using an Inox grey needle, but switched to a Susan Bates Quicksilver. If I had an Addi Turbo in the right size, I'd be using that. Switching to the slicker needle surface has made pushing all those stitches around a little easier, and that should make a difference in knitting comfort and speed. The great basketball games this weekend really helped improve my speed. George Mason's going to the Big Dance – were they on your brackets?

I also did a little swatch of the stitch pattern for this sweater:
I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in a color called Prosperous Plum. [Who names yarn colors, anyway?] I have a commercially made sweater using a variation of this stitch pattern, and I really like it. I'm glad to find a pattern using it, although I plan to make some modifications. The pattern is for a sleeveless turtleneck. Since I don't wear business attire, I don't need a turtleneck that I can put a jacket over, which is the only good reason for putting a turtleneck on a shell. In my opinion. I'm going to add long sleeves and make a deep V neckline. I know I'll have to wear this over a camisole or T-shirt. Or else you'll see the pudge through the holes in the stitch pattern.

Believe me, you don't want to see the pudge.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Batting 1000

If you are reading this from a account, in Riverside, CA, at about 11 a.m. your time, you are the 1000th visitor to my blog. [Ya gotta love Sitemeter.]

Thank you for stopping by. I wish I had prizes and balloons and confetti for you, but I don't. I certainly do appreciate your reading, though!

More small stuff

Those SparkPeople were reading my mind yesterday.

My morning routine is to make coffee, feed the dogs, read blogs, write this post and read e-mail. In that order. So yesterday, after I wrote the post about thinking small, I opened an e-mail from SparkPeople with this tantalizing teaser:
  • The surprising value of starting small
I'd post a link to the entire article, but unless you're a registered [free!] member, it probably wouldn't work. Oh, what the heck. Here's a link; if it doesn't work, don't say I didn't warn you. And do sign up! You can't beat the price, and the e-mailed tips are quite good.

[An aside: I'm not using their journal to record my food and activity. As I mentioned earlier this week, my standalone software fits my needs perfectly. I'm very happy with the information I've received via e-mail from them, though, and will remain a member as long as these tips are useful. I do love me some tips!]

Anyway. The gist of the article is that small changes are manageable, and will eventually produce big results. It's probably nothing you don't already know – use small bits of time for physical activity, make small substitutions, blah, blah, blah. [One of their suggestions was to use mustard instead of mayonnaise … to me, that's two different things. No way mustard is ever going to taste like mayonnaise! But I do sub light for regular when I want mayo, saving about 60 calories per tablespoon.]

I did better-but-not-great with the intentional exercise yesterday, and I did great with the food. I also have my good attitude back. I lifted weights [two sets of 20 reps of four different weight bench drills] and walked 1.75 miles in 30 minutes on the treadmill. It was very freaking cold yesterday, and even snowed. There's still snow on the ground this morning. Which is fine … as long as it's cold and snowy, I don't have to mow the grass. It's still very freaking cold, though, so I'll probably have to do another indoor workout today.

Here are pix from yesterday's adventures in knitting. First, before-and-after baskets:

Obviously I only took a before-felting shot of one of them. I can't remember what yarn I used for the green/purple one, but the orange/fuschia is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. The pattern is the Nantasket Basket, which you can purchase here.

And ... bunnies!

These bunnies are going to babies, and so shall remain tail-less. Free pattern here. The rest of yesterday's knitting was FLAK and more FLAK. I picked up the stitches for the body and started working down toward the lower edge, which I estimate will take about 100 hours to complete. (More than 300 stitches around on size 5 needles for more than 150 heavily cabled rounds. It took two basketball games to pick up the stitches and knit seven rounds.)

Yesterday I downloaded several [10 days' worth] of Renee's podcasts. The first one, which was 20 minutes long, took forever to download, and eventually I had to just stop doing anything else on the computer and let it work on that one thing, without having to divide its brain among several tasks. The other casts are much, much shorter. I've listened to four so far, and it's fun hearing her voice. I enjoy reading her blog very much; hearing her talk about her struggles, plans, hopes and dreams is even better.

Knitting podcasts tend to last half an hour or longer, and my network connection usually times out before the download is complete. Someday high-speed internet will make it out here to the Middle of Nowhere. At least one can hope. In the meantime, I'm grateful for what I have and am practicing patience.

In more ways than one.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thinking small

It occurred to me sometime in the past 24 hours that my current malaise could be because I'm looking too far ahead, and finding the journey before me to be torturous and long and dreadful. When I woke up this morning, the words "think small" were resonating in my brain. [Yesterday I took a small walk but ate large, and I'm sure my brain and body are trying to get me to reverse that process.]

You'll find bunches o' diet-tip websites counseling all of us good little weight-losers to set short-term goals. This is something I've not really done. I know what my eventual goal will be, and I know that I can realistically get there by next January. That sounds so far away. Why not just have a little [okay, a lot] of this today, since there's so much time to manage the damage later?

Clearly that's not a very good strategy for success.

Since the damage at this point is minimal, I'm glad my subconscious was working all night and then pounded me with insight at the crack of dawn. I've had less than a week of slacking off the intentional exercise, and only two days of overindulging the food. Good for me, for recognizing this now, before a month has gone by! This is progress! [There I go, being my own cheerleader!]

So. I'm going to try to set up some kind of short-term goal list in the sidebar, where I can check off each item as it is accomplished. Making this struggle public is very helpful, as I've mentioned previously.

One thing I'm reluctant to do is to actually say how much I weigh. [Yes, I know it is what it is, but it's pretty awful and I just hate putting it out there.] That might be helpful for some, but right now it doesn't seem helpful to me. And I'm doing this for me. From start to finish, I will have lost [get that? WILL! I'm going to do this!] between 60 and 65 pounds. But I'm not sure if I'll ever say what the beginning, current and ending weights were/are/will be.

Thinking small includes:
  • Small meals, smaller snacks
  • Small, achievable goals
  • Small, meaningful rewards
  • Small-er clothing sizes
  • Small, short-term expectations
All of these small thoughts should, eventually, produce big results. But I'm not thinking about that. No, no, no, not me.

When I wasn't rummaging around for snacks yesterday, I was knitting. I knit a lot yesterday, which means much sitting on my ass. Oh, well. I finally finished the clogs and a basket, both of which will be felted, and I finished two bunnies. Photos tomorrow. I think two bunnies will be it; I don't really need to send bunnies to two of the children I was thinking of. [What I really mean is I'm tired of making bunnies, and I haven't promised them to anyone.] I'll send these to the twins.

The pattern for the Spousal Equivalent's mother's sweater came, but the yarn isn't here yet. Perhaps today I'll get back to the FLAK. I blocked the sleeves; they look better than they did unblocked and I'm going to finish it as it is.

I wouldn't mind starting something New! Different! Exciting! Fun! Not that the FLAK isn't fun, but at this point I've memorized the cables and what's left is going round and round until the body, from the underarm to the lower edge, is done. All that will remain will be the neckline treatment. I should take advantage of the current cold snap to make a good dent in this. I won't want to work on it when it warms up.

It will warm up eventually, won't it?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thank you

I had no idea so many people were actually reading the Shrinking Knitter, and not just clicking through on their way to someplace else. Those of you who wrote to offer encouragement, I thank you. You helped me more than you'll ever know.

I did the four-mile walk yesterday morning. It was a beautiful morning and I was glad to get outside. Today it's grey, rainy and cold again, and it will be the whole weekend, if is accurate. Which it rarely is, but it's all I've got to go on.

The Spousal Equivalent is home for less than 16 hours, and then takes off for a long weekend in Vegas. It's slightly embarrassing that my guy's favorite vacation destination is the Glitter Capital of the West. I'll enjoy a weekend of uninterrupted basketball and knitting.

What a heartbreaker the WVU game was. Or so I heard. Once again, I couldn't stay awake to watch it, and CBS/DishNetwork wasn't showing it. SE said they did broadcast the last five minutes or so. Sounds like it was one for the ages, and the Mountaineers were thisclose to winning.

What's for dinner if you forgot to thaw the chicken, you like chickpeas and curry, and you have a bag of spinach in the refrigerator that really needs to be used or thrown away? You have this for dinner. So, so, so good. If you like chickpeas, of course.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Break on through

About a month ago, perhaps a little less, I wondered how I would manage when the pink cloud wore off. In late February I was riding high on enthusiasm and enjoying the newness of the eating plan. My body was working better than it had been in a long, long time. It still is, actually.

It's my mind that fails me now. So by putting this out there, by writing it down and by thinking about it, I hope I can overcome the negativity and ennui I'm experiencing. I'm eating fine, but I'm making all kinds of excuses to not move, not exercise, not work out, not … win.

When I last kept a journal, I would hit this emotional downturn and quit. I ignored the feelings, or rather gave in to them, and stopped whatever I'd been doing that had been working.

According to Sitemeter, about 15 people visit me virtually every day. I know I won't be letting you down if I stop writing. You'll find someplace else to go, somebody else to read. I've done it myself. When I first started reading fitness blogs, there was one [among several] I really liked. I read the archives and checked the site every day. Finally, after a couple weeks with no updates, I took her off my list. I went back last week and she had just started writing again, after six weeks. Nothing since then, but I'll keep checking.

Because I'm rooting for her. I'm cheering for everyone who puts him- or herself out there with this struggle.

I spend a lot of time rooting for other people. My family, of course, and the Spousal Equivalent, are first when it comes to my emotional support. I volunteer at a women's prison two nights a week, but those ladies – and they are ladies – and their stories stay with me all the time. I want them to succeed, while they are confined and when they are released. I want my friends to be happy and healthy and free of worry.

I know it sounds hokey, but I probably should spend some of my time being my own cheerleader.

Starting now.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Yesterday? Not so good.

I attempted a 30/30 rowing/treadmill workout yesterday morning and barely got past 10 minutes on the rower before I had to quit. Slight chest pain, nothing to worry about, and a general sense of malaise, and I gave up before I'd barely started. I hope to do better today.

It's fr-fr-freezing cold! Well, actually, it's quite a bit less than freezing [23 degrees!] right now. So the intentional activity will most definitely be of the indoor variety. Today might be the day to try one of those DVDs I bought recently.

Food yesterday was fine, though.

I started a post about the big debate going on regarding America's obesity epidemic. I actually care less about the condition of America's waistline than I do my own, selfish bitch that I am, but I do read my Google News Alerts about obesity, just to see if there are any new developments that might be useful, interesting or blow all the current theories out of the water.

Nothing so far. Eating less and moving more are touted to be the keys to reducing girth, last time I checked. I've been trying that for several years, but have not, in the past, made quite such a determined effort to eliminate refined sugar and white flour as I have since the beginning of this year. That, combined with increased intentional exercise, has been the magic formula. And I'm still only losing weight at the rate of 1.3 pounds per week.

I'll take it. It's better than staying the same or continuing to pack on the pounds.

When I was trying to write that other post, I thought about the diet industry, of which I am now and have been for years, a consumer.
Just as the pharmaceutical industry is more interested in treating your symptoms than in preventing or curing disease, the weight-loss industry has a financial stake in making sure we continue to want to pay for their help in losing weight.

Follow the money. If Miracle Weight-Loss Pill ABC really worked, wouldn't we all be taking it and wouldn't we all be thin? If Spectacular Diet Plan XYZ was the answer, why are we all still looking for a different one, one that works? Just as one size doesn't really fit all, one plan/pill/method doesn't fit all, either. I had to find what worked for me. Right now, a low-glycemic plan is working. But my body could turn on me in one or three or six months. It's happened before. Is it built into the plan that you'll enjoy some initial success and then stop making progress?

Who knows ...

Today, I'm feeling a little subdued and disheartened for some reason. I'm impatient and unsettled. I'd like to get back on the same horse I was on a month or so ago, full of enthusiasm and hope and energy.

Maybe tomorrow. Or, if I'm lucky, maybe an hour from now.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

For your inner geek

Thanks to DietGirl for the link to SparkPeople, which is a completely free and quite comprehensive weight-loss and fitness website. For those of you not on dial-up, this looks like a great resource. They walk you through a few goal-setting and assessment pages and then provide meal plans, shopping lists, exercise tips and message boards. And more!

For those of you [like me] on dial-up, and depending on your connection speed, navigating the site can be kind of a chore. [This is not a SparkPeople problem, of course … it's a dial-up problem.] I'm going to try it for a week or so, but use my eDiet food plan instead of the SparkPeople meal recommendations.

eDiets also provides nutrition and exercise logs and communities, as does Weight Watchers Online, but for a price. So if you feel like getting something for nothing, give SparkPeople a try.

I'm happy using my combination of eDiet menus and Don's Calorie Tracker, which is a standalone program for Mac OSX, for tracking duties. I love clicking one button in the Dock and having my daily log come up.

I did my 6.5-mile walk yesterday, and only had four dogs come out to greet me. Usually when I do that loop there are six, which is why I don't do that loop very often. I think today's intentional activity will be indoor rowing and treadmilling, as it has just started precipitating and the temperature is slightly above freezing.

I did no knitting yesterday. I made my granddaughter's birthday card, and wrapped and boxed up her gift to take to the post office today. And I taught my drawing class last night at the prison.
I've found when I do a long walk, I get very little else done. I was in bed by 9 p.m., and my leg muscles were aching. Whine, whine, whine.

I should have taken a Tylenol or a Tylenol PM, because I was awake and feeling some pain at 3:30. I gave up trying to go back to sleep an hour later, and I've been up now for-freaking-ever, it seems. If our predicted 'wintry mix' includes any sleet or ice, I'll be staying home tonight.

I thought this was the first day of spring?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Don't you just love Prince?

More than life itself.

I've been enjoying VH1 and VH1 Classic while I work out on the rowing machine and treadmill. A nudge of the remote and I can almost always find music to sweat to, instead of a commercial. [You know how much I love commericals by now, don't you?]

I have already downloaded Prince's newest single "Black Sweat" to the Shuffle, but a couple of days ago I saw the video for the first time.

The man does not have a wrinkle on his face. He will be 48 years old this year, and there Are. No. Wrinkles.

I happen to think he's talented beyond words, but you probably could have guessed that. I think I'll go dig up the other Prince CDs I have and download even more Princely goodness to Little-Miss-Helps-Me-Walk [aka the Shuffle].

Did you see who was at the early NCAA game yesterday? I thought he was in France. I'm sure he'd rather be at the game than home watching commercials! [Yes, I wrote to the CBS sports division. And I also write to my congressman and senators when I think they need to hear my opinion.] Brad won, by the way, in a stunning and thrilling upset. And so did West Virginia, although not in a stunning and thrilling upset. It was thrilling, though, watching their lead dwindle from 25 to 8 or 9 toward the end of the game.

Notice I didn't say watching them. All I could do was watch the score at the top of the screen, because neither of the feeds cared enough to show the WVU game to me. I think Thursday we will have all the feeds to ourselves, considering there are only eight games to be played this week.

I haven't mentioned the knitting in a while. The FLAK sleeves are finished, but I haven't taken photos yet, and the instructions for the rest of the sweater haven't been made available by the knitalong hostess. By the time this is posted I'll have finished [or nearly finished] knitting a pair of clogs pour moi. Felting follows. And, I'm going to make some of these adorable little bunnies for four babies/toddlers in my life, including the just-born twins. Finally! A decision! They take so little time to make, and are so sweet, especially for little girls, which all four of these children are.

Oh, yeah. Weigh-in was this morning. One more pound banished to wherever extra pounds end up. Am I excited?
Hell, yes!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I'll have what they're having

I made some reasonable choices for lunch yesterday at the Greenbrier, and left the table more than satisfied. I would have enjoyed the fried green tomato sandwich more, but if I toted up the pros and cons on a list, the cons would have outweighed [heh heh – get it? outweighed?] the pros.

[Yes, I realize normal people don't think about lunch choices in this manner. I'm. Not. Normal.]

So, a starter of black bean soup, of which I ate only half, followed by their signature chicken salad. This is not a leafy green salad with grilled chicken, but an old-fashioned "ladies' lunch" – a scoop of chicken salad surrounded by fresh melon, berries, kiwi and grapes. Instead of the customary muffins, they serve it with a wedge of onion focaccia. Yes, I ate the focaccia.
I had a hazelnut latte for dessert. I guesstimate that lunch came up to about 770 calories

One of my dining companions had the artichoke/spinach/crab dip with warm tortilla chips followed by a ginormous bacon cheeseburger and fries. The other had a big plate of shrimp and crabmeat with asparagus followed by key lime pie.

Won't it be great when I reach the point in my life where I don't have to analyze the food I eat in a restaurant? I'd love to be able to choose whatever sounds good from a menu, knowing that I can deal with the consequences later. Right now I don't feel like I can do that. I'm on this urgent mission, not to lose the weight as quickly as possible [because we all both know that ain't happening], but to stay on a steady path and not derail my efforts. I'm not quite at the point psychologically where I could pick myself up and get back on track after a food indulgence. It's still easier for me to eat less [I didn't eat breakfast yesterday, and only had cottage cheese and cantaloupe for dinner] to make up for a less-than-perfect choice than to work out more, although I did take time to work out for an hour yesterday morning.

What I wouldn't give for a healthy, efficient metabolism.

Oh, yes, Draper's Café did offer a couple of "spa cuisine" choices. To give you an idea of how tempting they were, one was an appetizer of chicken broth with enoki mushrooms. Thanksbutnothanks.

The rest of the day was fine. We wandered in and out of the various pricey little shops at the Greenbrier. In the jewelry shop, I was admiring a beautiful emerald-and-diamond ring. At lunch, the Spousal Equivalent handed me a [hah! You thought I was going to say 'velvet box,' didn't you?] piece of paper and asked me to guess how much the ring cost. My guess was a third of the actual $7,500 price. Can you tell I don't shop for gems very often? He had actually considered surprising me with the ring. We agreed that wasn't necessary.

Back home again, it was basketball-and-commercials until I couldn't keep my eyes open any more. Today will be more of the same. Let's goooooooo, Mountaineers!

Saturday, March 18, 2006


No, that doesn't stand for National Collegiate Athletic Association. It stands for:

Nauseating Commercials, Annoying Advertising

Some of us who live in the Middle of Nowhere have to get our television reception through these little grey plates attached to the side of our homes called satellite dishes. And one of the wonders of satellite technology is that for an extra five bucks or so each month, we can get both the East Coast and the West Coast
satellite feeds. Which basically means that if we miss something at 8, we can catch it again at 11.

Not that I'm ever awake at 11.

But the reason I like having both feeds is for sports. When my team plays a West Coast team, I am usually able to catch the broadcast. So when I settled down yesterday to watch the tournaments, I assumed that CBS would carry a different game on each feed. And that was their plan. [When you check the "Info" button on the remote, you did indeed get different games scheduled on each of the two CBS channels.]

BUT … what if one of the games was a snore? [As they apparently thought the WVU-So. Ill game was.] Well then they showed the same, more exciting game on both feeds. Just so you don't miss any thing from their Chosen Game, donchaknow.

Add to that the endless commercials, endlessly repeated, and by the middle of last evening I had to give up. Did Kentucky win?

At one point CBS decided to switch us back to our regularly scheduled game after a halftime commercial break. So we got a montage of clips from the first half, set to screechy music that you can't dance [or walk!] to, followed by – another commercial! – and then, finally, followed by the start of the second half. In the meantime, we could have been watching some Actual Basketball Action from one of the alternate games.

Applebee's is selling shrimp, set to the tune of the theme from 'Gilligan's Island.' That little ditty was annoying enough the first time around, thankyouverymuch. Cingular sells wireless service and guarantees fewer dropped calls. CBS has the best line-up of programming ever, and don't you dare miss Julia Louis-Dreyfuss [one announcer pronounced it Lou-IS instead of Lou-EE] in her new ditzy-mom program.

My mute button got a better workout than I did yesterday.

Okay, enough ranting. I refuse to give those advertisers any more air time.

I walked for 90 minutes outside yesterday, so I did get a pretty good workout, actually. The tax man has cometh and gone, and since my little Young at Heart Design Services business is so-so-so little, I don't even have to fill out and mail a form. [The accountant called it a 'hobby,' blesshisheart.] I'd thought I might shut 'er down, but the only form I've had to fill out all year is state sales tax, and God knows this state needs all the help it can get. So I'll keep at it.

Corned beef is salty. I'll be slugging back many bottles o' water today to make up for the yum of yesterday's dinner. And lunch today is at the fabulous Greenbrier's Draper Café. I know not yet what I'll choose. They have heart-friendly items on the menu, which will certainly fit the plan and also will certainly be delicious.

But they also have a killer fried green tomato sandwich with bacon and cheese that is To. Die. For.

Film at eleven.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I like to move it, move it

I chose not to work out Wednesday, as I do think it's important to have one rest day per week. [Even Jillian and Bob give the Losers a day off!] So yesterday I got back to bid-ness. And even though it was a lovely day – mid 50s, gentle breeze, sunny – I worked out on the rowing machine and treadmill, 30 minutes each.

Just an hour of intentional activity really got me revved up, and I got a lot accomplished yesterday. Vacuumed the office, changed the bath and bed linens, cleaned the glass on the front door [which should probably be done every day, but isn't!] and mopped the floors in the house. By mid-afternoon, I was ready to sit and knit and watch the opening rounds of the NCAA tournaments.

I had a bit of a snack attack in the late afternoon, so instead of eating the prescribed eDiet dinner, I just counted the Triscuits and low-fat cheese as dinner. Calorie count came in nearly the same as it would have been, although I can't say the nutritional value was even close.

Syracuse lost in the first round. I didn't stay up to watch the game, but I'm disappointed they didn't advance. They had an amazing run toward the end of their regular season, and it would have been fun to watch them continue.

And if I'm going to get everything done today that needs to get done before the WVU game at three-ish, I'd better get moving.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anchors aweigh

Well, the Navy wives were the biggest losers. I really didn't have a favorite team, but my favorite person was Amanda, a Marine wife who absolutely transformed herself by losing 66 pounds! It wasn't just her body that changed, but her whole attitude was completely different. She absolutely strutted up to the scale for the final weigh-in. She was always the one crying and saying she was dragging her team down. She rocks, plain and simple.

There's no way I won't exercise today. What I like about this program is how motivating it is. All the participants are winners, whether they end up with the prize or not, because they stick to a plan and push themselves to the limit. I have to admit that I seldom push myself too hard. Been there, done that. I want to find a way to incorporate activity into my routine in a manageable way, without killing myself.

It's good that I can talk about this project so much here – y'all can read it or not, but I seem to have to write about it. Otherwise I would be talking about it ad nauseum to the checkout girl, the postmaster and the guy who lives on the corner. I don't think anyone is as interested in what I'm doing about my weight as I am.

My food plan directs me to occasionally eat, as a snack, 'three wheat crackers' along with cottage cheese or low-fat mozzarella. I can handle Triscuits in limited quantities, but if the plan wants me to eat Triscuits it says 'Triscuits.' I kind of assume 'wheat crackers' means Wheat Thins, so I bought some yesterday. They are just too good. I logged every one of them that I ate yesterday [too bad Biggest Loser doesn't come on mid-afternoon!], and I'll be throwing the remainder of the box in the trash today. Thus endeth the Wheat Thin Experiment.

And thus beginneth a new day, one which will be filled with intentional exercise and necessary mopping and vacuuming of floors, in both the house and the office. The tax man cometh tomorrow, and we must have a tidy office for his visit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Simultaneous …

No, not that!

On my last coffee-refill trip, I saw the sun rising behind the east mountains [the Appalachians, actually] as the moon is setting behind the other [our little local hill known as Zion Mountain]. There is no common word for sunrise and sunset [I was searching the handy-dandy thesaurus widget for something like equinox], so you are left with an ellipsis in today's title.

So the February issue of KnitNet is up. Or maybe it's the April issue, early. Nah ... they tend to run behind in their publishing schedule.

[Aside: I worked in the publishing industry for many years, and for each hour that we missed our target press time, our company was charged massive amounts of cashmoneybucks. I guess having no press deadline is one advantage for web-publishing.]

At any rate, the editor's column this month is most insightful. She writes about learning life lessons from knitting in ways I had not looked at previously. I immediately related her points to my healthy-lifestyle project.

She talks about staying power, and that giving up means failing. How well do I know this! I've tried umpteen different weight-loss plans in the past half-dozen years or so, and as soon as I stopped working them – because the losses stopped or because I was bored or because of the new moon – I gained even more weight. I'm not unique; you read about people like me in the supermarket tabloids and women's magazines all the time.

She points out that the easy way leads to boredom, and that challenges help keep you interested and motivated. For me, this means I need to try different foods and workout routines. I could do better with the food, but I'm following a prescribed menu plan and have been reluctant to substitute. With a good food-count book and some common sense, that shouldn't be hard to do. The workouts shouldn't be a problem. In the last few weeks, I've bought four new and completely different exercise DVDs, as well as some resistance bands. I've no excuse to get bored, either physically or mentally, with my intentional activity.

She says fast doesn't last. Please, don't remind me. Or, rather, hit me over the head with it! The last time I lost weight, nearly 60 pounds vanished in about five months. They stayed gone for about five minutes. I've mentioned before that as soon as the scale hit 128, the pounds started climbing back on again. What did I learn from exercising like a maniac and eating no fat? I learned that I don't like exercising like a maniac and that fat tastes good. I've learned this time around that slow and steady really does win the race – or at least I'm hopeful it will – and that a little fat goes a long way. Back then, I also ate no sugar, but started using it again once I got to my goal. For me, sugar is not a Good Thing. So I am learning to live without it. Millions of people don't eat sugar. I'm one of them. Or at least I'm trying very hard to be.

She finally talks about making a good investment in tools and supplies. I take that to mean buying the best quality fruits and vegetables in the market. I take a big chunk of time out of every day for intentional exercise. I choose sturdy walking shoes and if I need to spend $11 for cushioned athletic socks, then I do. Because I don't care for the taste of our well water, I buy and drink bottled water. What it comes down to, for me, is that finally … finally … I'm worth taking this extra time and spending this extra money to get where I want and need to be.

I'm feeling pretty good this morning. Last night's meeting at the prison was so uplifting. Those women handle the toughest of situations – being told what to do every minute of their day, being torn from their families, knowing their children are suffering more than they are – with such grace and dignity and courage. They can choose to be pissed off and resentful, and some do. But those who walk tall, one day at a time, are the winners. They inspire me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


No, that's not my current weight. That was my score for the word 'sprights' when the Spousal Equivalent and I played Super Scrabble Sunday. I meant to brag about it yesterday and forgot. In SS, the four corners are Quadruple Word Scores and there are two Triple Word Score squares seven spaces in from each corner. So if you string a seven-letter word from the Triple Word to the Quadruple Word, you get to multiply your tile count by 12 and add 50. That's the highest single-word score either one of us has ever played.

Oh, yeah. I beat him. Competitive? Moi?

Well, I ended up walking to the post office and back, which is a little more than a mile and a half, and also did about a 20-minute weightlifting routine with barbells on the weight bench. I'd intended to take a day off, but walking to the post office is pretty routine, as I've been doing that almost every day since I moved here. Hardly even counts as exercise at this point. I'm happy I did the weights, and hope to make that happen three times a week.

It's cold here today, especially compared to the last three days when it's been in the 70s. It's supposed to go down to the mid-40s and be quite windy. We may have gusts up to 50 mph. That's probably the National Weather Service covering its ass, but still. I'd better make sure the patio furniture doesn't go flying off into the woods. [That happened once. Before I knew about lowering patio table umbrellas when the wind kicks up.]

The beginning drawing class I teach at Alderson Federal Prison Camp is a much larger group this time than I usually get. I had to get more five more pieces of Plexiglass, which we use in the learning process, as demonstrated in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Plexiglass, in spite of the fact it's not glass, is still heavy, and I'm up to 14 pieces now. I transferred all my teaching materials to a sturdy leather bag from the canvas one I'd been using.

When I get to the prison, I sign in and pick up my badge at the administration building and then have to walk up a long, steep hill to get to the recreation building, where the class is held. So, every Monday night I'll be getting a little additional weightlifting in. [You wondered where this was going, didn't you? I told you this blog was about weight loss!]

And the knitting? Still plugging away on the second sleeve of the FLAK.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Take two

I was shocked – SHOCKED! – to get on the scales this morning and see that I've lost two more pounds. That's a total of 13 in 10 weeks. Slow and steady and all that.

Last week I ate an average of 1224 calories per day, and did just slightly more than an hour of intentional exercise per day. [That's about 50 additional calories and 20 fewer minutes.] One of those days was a moving furniture/mopping day, so not even "exercise" in the sense that I used a machine or walked outside. Just housework. I can't believe how geeky I'm being about tallying the calories and activity minutes. I even have a line on my spreadsheet for number of calories burned per minute. [Last week? 6.9, down from a high of 7.6 about a month ago.]

I had every intention of walking the long loop yesterday, which is 6.6 miles. I walked about a mile and a half and was overcome with what I know was a hypoglycemic attack. Shaking, profuse sweating, dizziness, nausea. I had to stop for a while to collect myself, and turned around. It took an hour to go just three miles. I couldn't even listen to the Shuffle; it was too distracting. I had to really concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

So I came home and took my blood pressure, which was a little high. Tried to get a blood sugar but the monitor showed an error message twice and I was out of strips.

I shouldn't have been hypo. I had cereal with milk and fruit about two hours before I started out. I don't like to walk on a full stomach, but I know I should have some nourishment before exercising. I was sick in the middle of the night, so maybe it was more of a virus-y thing than a hypo attack.

I feel okay this morning – not great, but not sick. Last Monday was a day off, so this one might be, as well.

When I first moved here, I thought the fog that settled in the small valleys was smoke. It's really more of a very low cloud. The trees are ugly and bare right now, but one of those clouds is out there, nestled in front of a mountainside. Here's what it looks like in the fall:
Okay, it's time to get this party started. I think I'll go try on my jeans.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Tomorrow is weigh day [unlike payday, doncha know], a day I both dread and anticipate. Having eaten a bit of sugary chocolate this week, I don't know what to expect. I know that last week I felt thinner but stayed the same. This week I feel fatter, although my activity has been consistent and my food intake has been at or less than 1200 calories per day. Even on the chocolate day. So. Whatever happens, it'll be a suprise, because I haven't scale-hopped at all this week.

I haven't heard from my friend about the photos yet, but since she's blind and has to have at least two other people critique them for her, I don't really expect to hear anything until Tuesday. She asked me to put some rustic scenery-type photos in the shop for sale, though, so I must be doing something right.

I bought frames Friday, and have a great idea for one photo. As I walk, I go past several woods and I've been noticing that some of the trees have grapevines snaking up the trunks in all different directions. I think that might make a good subject. Will have to try it and see. It was too sunny yesterday to make it work.

It was gorgeous yesterday, really. Mid-70s and a light breeze. I walked slightly more than 5.5 miles outside. One thing I neglect when I walk so much is doing any kind of weight lifting. [I count the rowing machine as weight work, because it really does work the back and arm muscles as much as actual lifting does.] So now that I've written it, I'll start to make it happen. I hope.

Someone commented day before yesterday that she's read studies that discuss how dieting and exercise can wreck the metabolism. I hope she comes back with sources. I've not seen even one credible study.

I started the second sleeve of the FLAK, and so far it looks just like the first. heheheh [Since I usually do both sleeves at the same time, this is a Big Deal.] Since it's the second sleeve, I'm forcing myself to keep on keeping on. I'm kind of bored, having already done this once, and would like to start something new.

I ordered yarn and a pattern yesterday to make a sweater for the Spousal Equivalent's mother for Christmas next year. The only things I've ever made for her are accessories, although she's specifically asked for a sweater in the past. This one looks interesting to knit and it's just her style. The yarn I chose is Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in a grey-blue that will look good with just about anything.

I'd also like to do some felting. I still need to make clogs for me – I washed mine last week and the sole on the right one has worn through one layer. It's interesting that you can actually see the loops of the loose stitches, even though the felted fabric is solid. I'm thinking of doing some kind of big bag, too – a satchel or carbetbag or something like that. I'm not in so much of a hurry to make anything for the twins who were just born, since I've pretty much decided to make sweaters in a 12-month size.

Okay, off to finish the blog-reading du jour, and then get the rest of the day started.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Twin daughters of different mothers

So I was reading Act Boldly a minute or so ago, and found my twin. Beth said:

“And I am convinced that years of dieting screwed up my metabolism, messed up my body chemistry (e.g., insulin resistance), contributed to my inability to treat food like a normal person, and was largely the reason I got as fat as I did.”

As I commented to Beth, I’ve been saying this for the past half-dozen years of my weight-loss struggle. I have yet to speak with any physician [I’ve been to three endocrinologists, two gynecologists and an internist, and I live with a psychiatrist] who will even examine the possibility that dieting and, for me, excessive exercise can wreck one’s metabolism.

Exercise has been more of an issue for me than food. When I lost almost 60 pounds a dozen years ago, I was working out in a gym two hours a day. I added a two-mile run [from my home to the gym and back] in good weather. When I moved here to the Middle of Nowhere, I continued to exercise, but not at that level of intensity.

I also started eating sugar and quit smoking, all at the same time. A 'perfect storm' for a slide back into obesity.

Learning about insulin-resistance and finding a way to eat that’s compatible with the condition has been key for me. Unfortunately, because of my past working-out history, I also need to be much more active than I’d like. It’s working, slowly, and I need to remember this:

I will be alive, God willing, when the calendar flips from 2006 to 2007. If I continue to exercise regularly and eat sensibly, I should be at or near my goal by then. I can either stay as fat as I am now, or continue the mission.

Yesterday was a mostly positive day for me. I had errands to run in the morning and only forgot one thing! I then stopped to talk with someone from my congressman's office about health care, after which I loaded my car with my photography gear to go do my first real shoot [the photos turned out great!]. Finally I came home and walked outside for 90 minutes [four miles].

Food was so-so … I caved in and had some real chocolate, which means sugar, of course, while I was in town, and I'm not sure why that happened. [Well, I know that I made a bad choice, but what led up to it?] But I counted it in my daily total and will get back to being sugar-free today.

The first FLAK sleeve is done! And fits! I hope it will fit as an oversized, comfortable sweater next year. If it looks too sloppy, though, I've had fun knitting it and will find someone to give it to. Or rip it out and make a smaller one. I don't have to think about that now.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bagging the dolls

This post could just as easily have been titled "Seduced by cables."

The twins are here, quite tiny and still in the hospital. So I picked up a partially finished doll yesterday and cast on for an arm. Twice, because the first time I was using too large a needle. And before I even completed the hand, I quit. Threw the whole mess in the trash. I'll think of something else to send them and in the meantime I have only three inches left on the first sleeve of the FLAK. That will be mostly cuff, actually.

You see, I just couldn't keep working with that bright-and-shiny, kid-friendly [meaning acrylic] fiber when I could be using wool. I'm not a yarn snob, even though I know it sounds like I am. Even though I put the FLAK project in another room, so I wouldn't be tempted to pick it up, I kept thinking about how much fun it was, and how boring the doll was.

I think the twins will get sweaters made of machine-washable wool, or maybe Wool-Ease. Something they can wear next winter. Something with cables.

Much to do today, beginning with some errands this morning, and then a little meet-up with our congressman to talk about health care [that's not one of his big issues, but it's one of mine and he's my congressman and he's in my teeny-tiny-little-town in the Middle of Nowhere, so I'm doing my civic duty]. After that, I have my first official photography gig.

Then I will force myself to walk. [I much prefer to work out or walk in the morning. Once it's done, I don't have to think about it again. And I don't have to take two showers!] The weather today is supposed to be perfect – high 60s, thin clouds, a light breeze. The kind of day I love for taking a good long walk outside.

What a treat last night to find The Biggest Loser on again! [Just so you know, I am a little embarassed that I like a "reality" show as much as I do.] I find this program to be very motivating, and I'm glad it's back. I thought it would be next fall before another episode aired. The challenge this time is between a team of four Navy wives and four Marine wives. I don't have a favorite team – I want them all to win.

I want me to win, too. And if you're reading this, and you're struggling to lose weight, I want you to win, too!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A great way to start the day

My day begins with caffeine and the computer. The caffeine is in the kitchen, the computer isn't, meaning I occasionally [okay, more than occasionally] need to get up for a refill. Here's what caught my eye on one of my trips to the kitchen this morning:

I sometimes miss "city" things – coffeeshops, cinemas, bookstores, malls – but I will admit right here and now that when I lived in the city I never saw sunrises like the ones I see here in the Middle of Nowhere. This one took my breath away.

It's still too cold to walk early in the morning – it's right around freezing as I'm writing at 7 a.m. – but I can visualize myself getting up very early in the summer and seeing something like this as I round the last bend and head home. I'll have to remember to bring the camera to get a panoramic shot from the top of the hill.

I decided yesterday that the sleeve looked fine as it was; I have only a couple more inches to go and it will be time to determine how I want to cuff it. Or not. The beauty of aran knitting is that since it's not stockinette, the edge won't curl up and I might just continue the cabled patterns all the way to the lower edge of the sleeve. Plenty of time to think about that. Plenty of time to work on this sweater, actually, since it's wool and warm weather is rapidly approaching. I won't be wearing it until next year.

But aran knitting is seductive. It's hard to put it aside to work on acrylic stockinette-stitch toys when I could be enjoying the feel of wool and the challenge of the design. So far I haven't. Put it aside, that is.

For some reason I ate quite a bit less yesterday than I usually do – the food log says I consumed slightly more than 1000 calories. I was busy in the afternoon and had a meeting last night, so the opportunities to eat were a bit more limited than usual.

I only worked out for an hour yesterday – 30 minutes on the rower and 30 minutes on the treadmill. As it will be warmer this week, I'm sure I'll get some nice long walks in to bring my daily average up to the 80- or 90-minute range.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Picking myself up

Since I'm the only one who can change my thinking [among other things], perhaps it's best that I do.

Yesterday is over!
Done! I moped around all day, didn't work out, didn't clean, didn't do laundry. I was a Total Slug. But today is a new day, and I woke up early with renewed ambition. I didn't have to do the Thing I Didn't Want To Do yesterday, but I have to do it today and I don't feel as grumpy about it as I did.

Food was fine yesterday, thanks to not having anything tempting in the house. Today is trash day and I'm throwing away all the sugar-free candy. It truly didn't do me any favors. I have enough problems with my digestive system, thankyouverymuch!

I guess I'm officially Over the Hill. I won't be putting this on my Shuffle. Don't get me wrong – I like hip hop and rap, and I have some on the Shuffle. But Three-6-Mafia doesn't move me like 2 Live Crew, Sir Mix-a-Lot or The Diplomats. [To be perfectly honest, I have only five songs on the Shuffle that fall into the Rap/Hip-Hop category. I'm very ... um ... discerning. Music has to be lively, upbeat and have somewhat of a marching tempo to make the Shuffle cut.]

Knitting update: I'm a little further along with one of the dolls, but tempis is fugiting and I need to finish them and get them in the mail. I have about half a sleeve done, but it's kind of poufy-looking along the picked-up edge, so I'm going to rip it out and start over. I like the way the cables look, but the width of the sleeve looks out of proportion to the body and I won't be happy with it the way it is.

After moping around all day yesterday, I went to Alderson last night to teach my beginning drawing class. I'm humbled by the women I meet there. They teach me so much about acceptance, perseverance and attitude. Sure there are whiners and troublemakers among the inmate population, but most of the women I meet are handling the toughest of tough situations with grace and dignity, taking it one day at a time and making lemonade every day out of the lemons life has handed them.

I should take a lesson.

Monday, March 06, 2006

One frustration after another

The first, and biggest, is that I stayed the same weight this week. I averaged 82 minutes of activity daily, and consumed approximately 1150 calories daily. I was very hopeful that I would see a loss, and I don't know what more I can do. Today I feel like doing absolutely nothing.

My computer has had some problems. I think I have one solved, but it seems like it's working very slowly, for some unknown reason. Web pages load much more slowly than usual, although programs still run efficiently. I frequently have to refresh a web page before it's finished loading in order to view it.

I may be pressed into service today doing something I really don't want to do. I'm hoping I won't be called on, but I agreed to help if necessary. It's snowing, but the roads are clear, so I shouldn't have any trouble getting out if I need to.

Not a very cheery post today. To say I'm in a pissy mood would be an understatement.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Beware the sugar-free goodies

So I was in the little, closer town Thursday picking up the things I forgot when I was in the big town Wednesday. And I was seduced by a brightly colored foil package of Russell Stover Sugar-Free Caramel Drops. Each drop is about half the size of a malted-milk ball. Let me tell you, sugar-free chocolate is vastly improved over what it was the last time I tried it, which has been several years ago.

I went to my next stop, which had even more sugar-free variety, and I bought several little bags of treats. I haven't had a treat since January, when I visited my daughter and her family (who keep a large jar of M&Ms on the kitchen counter. I'm powerless; what more can I say?). A half or third of a serving of sugar-free candy has about 50 to 60 calories, which fits into my program just fine. There are "No Net Carbs!" Another tantalizing line of copy on the package says "Low Glycemic Index!" That was the line that tipped me over the edge.

Of course, there also is a warning that excessive consumption may result in … ahem … digestive upset. Believe me when I tell you that I did not overindulge, and I logged every bite. And boy was my gut rebelling last night. I might be able to get away with one little caramel drop a day. But I really think I wasted five or six bucks on candy that I just can't have.

I so wanted to be able to indulge in a little treat every once in a while. What I need to do is change my mind, not my appetite. Why can't a grape be as "treatful" as a caramel? How is it that apples are less seductive than chocolate?

Anyway. It was quite cold yesterday, with a few little spits of snow, so I chose to work out on the rowing machine and treadmill. Thirty minutes of rowing and 60 minutes walking at a steady, 3.6-mph pace, with the help of
Wonder Boys, which happened to be on television. This is possibly my second favorite movie, Accidental Tourist being the first. The stars! The writing! The soundtrack! I usually watch VH1, but I'm not a fan of heavy-metal music, and that was their feature when I decided to exercise.

The rest of the day was quiet, except for my stomach.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Put me in, Coach!

Spring training and movies, all rolled into one. Centerfield, one of the great sports songs from the best sports movie ever, was my theme song yesterday. Not only am I off injured reserve, I'm almost back up to full-time playing status.

This blog is really doing everything I wanted it to do. I wanted a place where I could spout off, be accountable, get or create motivation and just have a little fun. It seems like every time I say I am – or sometimes am not – going to do something, I turn around and challenge myself to do the opposite.

For instance, I said I was probably going to have to do yoga because my blisters hurt so bad. Well, the weather was lovely mid-morning and I needed to go get the mail anyway, so I put on the new Thorlo Running Socks [Maximum Protection Level 3] with my old, broken-in Reeboks [as well as some antibiotic cream and a Band-Aid] and didn't feel any pain at all. Got home, started the laundry and did 30 minutes on the rowing machine. I even started to do a medium-intensity workout on the treadmill, but stopped after 20 minutes. Just ran out of steam.

The point is that I did so much more than I'd told myself I could do!

And remember the other day when I said I wasn't going to pick up the FLAK? Because I wanted to make the dolls? Hmmm. Maybe not such a good example. Although I have worked on a doll the last two nights in a row, so I am making progress.

I also said I would probably do the laundry, work out and knit. Laundry is done! Workout is done! Guest room? Not decluttered, but that's okay. We're not expecting guests any time soon.

I got an e-mail yesterday from someone who apparently found the word 'osteoporosis' on my blog. The things people search for! Anyway, he asked if I would link to this information. I said I would, and so I am.

I'd better watch what I write. Some of those e-mail spammers who want to help me increase the size of my you-know-what may be lurking. I don't need any more mail from them, thankyouverymuch.

Finally, I read Franklin's blog every day. He's creative, talented, articulate, polite and funny. And he knits. He
was asked to create the gold medal for the Knitting Olympics, and a couple of people objected to it. One because the figure was nude, the other because the figure was male. You know, like the original Greek Olympians. You can read all the gory details if you visit his blog.

To celebrate nude men, freedom of expression and classical art, I give you Michelangelo's David:

And yes, I could have given him to you bigger – size is important, you know – but I'm on dial-up and this was faster.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Injured reserve

I may have to do yoga for my intentional exercise today, since one usually practices yoga barefoot.

I can barely stand to have a comfy, felted clog on my left foot, let alone lace-up athletic shoes. [Sorry, FlyLady, I'm not wearing shoes that tie! And no, I don't follow FL at all any more, but when I did, not wearing lace-up shoes was my personal rebellion against being told what to do every damned minute of the day.]

You see, I'm breaking in a new layer of skin on the top of one toe, and it's terribly painful. It woke me up in the middle of the night. I'm still limping. Wah, wah, wah.

I must be getting old. My doctor said it was time for a bone density test, which I have scheduled – along with the annual smash-o-gram – for later this year. I don't feel old enough to need a bone density test. I don't think I look old enough, either. But with the family history of osteoporosis, I guess it's the wise thing to do.

After the doctor visit I went to the mall to buy thick, cushioned sports socks. I chose two packages of really heavy-duty single pairs, and one three-pack, none of which were tagged with a price. The total came to about $35! I was shocked! Mind you, I don't mind spending $20 for yarn and 10 or 12 hours of my time to hand knit a pair of socks. The two single pairs were $11 each. Yikes! I'm sure they'll feel great, though, and am hoping they'll be cushiony enough that I can do an eight-mile walk again in the next week or so. Momentum is high, as is motivation.

I also bought a new pair of Reeboks. The shoes I wore the other day are Avias, but my old Reeboks have a roomier toe box. I'll save the Avias for less strenuous workouts.

I have much to do today. No laundry or cleaning has been accomplished all week. I guess the maid took the week off without telling me. I still need to put stuff away that I bought yesterday, and I'd love to make a dent in the cluttered guest room.

My guess is, however, that I will do the laundry, work out and knit. Film at eleven.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


No time to write a novella today. I have a doctor's appointment this morning and will spend the rest of the day running errands. When you live in the Middle of Nowhere, you have to plan ahead when you leave the old home place. But as it's the first of the month, it's time for a progress photo. It will look remarkably like the one in yesterday's entry. All I had to do was take off the jacket.

You'll notice I'm not wearing shoes. If I didn't have to go out, I would not be wearing them today, either. Next time I get the bright idea to walk eight miles, someone slap me. One of my errands is to find good, cushioned athletic socks. I used to wear a brand called WigWam, and they were excellent.

The good thing is that the rest of me feels great – especially mentally. Even though my pace was slow – only about 3.2 miles per hour – I got my heart rate up and felt like I'd really accomplished a good, hard workout. The additional three miles included two killer hills, a total of eight for the whole route.

Next month I'll put the January photo beside the April photo to see if there's a discernible difference. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. I also hope to be wearing jeans!