Sunday, April 30, 2006

The totally unscientific polls

Because I'm a knitter, I kind of knew ahead of time that the greatest percentage of those who voted would own more than 50 knitting books. I'm definitely in that camp! I started knitting when I was nine, knit off and on as an adult, quit for eight years due to carpal tunnel and started again after I had surgery on my wrists. I can't remember how long ago that was, probably 14 or 15 years. I really started knitting again in the late '90s, and that's when my book collection started.

Until then, I'd never heard of Elizabeth Zimmermann, Barbara Walker, Mary Thomas, Jacqueline Fee or Montse Stanley. Their books were among the first I bought.

My hands-down favorite book, for its detailed explanations and clear technique photographs is Beth Brown-Reisel's Knitting Ganseys. It's not a big, splashy, overdone tome, but a simple black-and-white paperback [with a four-color cover] that will fit in your bag and answer a lot of your questions. [Disclosure: I'm not connected with BB-R in any way whatsoever.]

I have sections of books on different techniques, lots of stitch dictionaries and many books of patterns, most of which I'll never make. And I'm pretty much out of 'collecting' mode at this point. I have plenty of inspiration at my fingertips, and not just on my shelves. The generosity of yarn companies and knitting designers, combined with the internet, means many quality knitting patterns can be found and printed with the click of a mouse, free!

I naturally assumed that those interested in weight loss and fitness would also collect books with a vengeance. I'm in the top category in that poll, as well, but most of you own less than a handful. I've struggled with my weight at
least as long as I've been knitting, so it makes sense that I would have lots of books offering plans for success. Success comes only when you actually follow the plan, however, and that's something I haven't been doing much of, until this year.

And once again, the internet comes to the rescue. I'll take some of the credit, of course. I'm the one actually doing the eating and exercise. But eDiets provided the plan and while it's not free, it's pretty darned cheap.

Leaving me more money for yarn. If I could eat yarn, I'd never go hungry. And no, I'm not creating a Stash Poll.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

C'est finis!

I finished the neckband and wove in the few remaining loose ends this morning, watching the sunrise. Since you've seen sunrise photos before, I won't bore you. But here's the purple pullover in all its glory! I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. The body is too small right now, but if all goes according to plan I should be able to wear it quite comfortably this fall. In fact, I may need to shorten the sleeves a bit.

I had to do the neckband twice, as I almost always do. You'd think I'd learn: I always pick up too few stitches to start with, and then can't get the sweater over my head. The second try was perfect.

This sweater started with a free pattern at Elann, but I changed it from a turtleneck to a V-neck and added sleeves. I was going to change the direction of the diagonal lines, but ended up doing them the way they were originally charted, and I think it looks great. I'd originally thought the lines would make me look even more hippy than I already am. Surprisingly, they don't. I'll take a final photo being worn when I don't look quite so stuffed into it – maybe in about 20 more pounds.

My new favorite running song is "Run Like Hell" from Pink Floyd's The Wall. I can really hit my stride when that one comes up on the Shuffle. Do you suppose Apple will make an iPod with a built-in lanyard like the Shuffle, or did they do that on purpose so you'd want one for hands-free listening [i.e., an exercise player] and one for docking and/or commuting? I do love not having to hold anything when I run.

Speaking of which, it's about time to hit the road. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous day; this whole week is supposed to be more of the same. Springtime in the Middle of Nowhere is beautiful beyond belief.

Update: Be sure to read Laurie's traffic report!

Friday, April 28, 2006


Week before last I added some running intervals to my long daily walk. Last week I could barely walk down a step. Running uses the front thigh muscles, apparently, or at least the running I do – flat surfaces and downhill.

So after a week off, I picked up the pace again yesterday. And while I was picking up the pace, I decided to increase my weight lifting efforts by adding a couple of dumbbell moves, and increaseing the number of reps I'd been doing on the bench.

Needless to say, I'm kind of sore today. It's been my experience, though, that getting 'back on the horse,' so to speak, is the best way to work out the kinks. So I'll be heading out as soon as I log off here to go kick my ass again.

I'd rather be an exercise addict than a food addict. [Anyone remember the little schoolgirl in Annie Hall? "I'd rather be a methadone addict than a heroin addict."]

Wow. That's going to get some strange hits.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

How do you spell I-N-S-O-M-N-I-A?

Cleaning closets.

At least that's how I spelled it last night.

My normal bedtime routine is to read a few pages of either the current book [which is Fat Politics – thanks again, Beth, for the recommendation] or the current New Yorker. It only takes a few pages, normally, to do the job, and I'm usually sound asleep by 10. Eleven at the latest.

Last night I was still wide awake at 11, so I got up and started trying on clothes.

I don't know about you, but my closets resemble department stores in one remarkable way – my clothes come in multiple sizes. The last time I was my current size was three years ago, almost to the day. Those jeans I wore in the last update photo? They're too big. I think I wore them once this month. No matter, though; I have three pairs in the next smaller size that fit fine.

Unfortunately, the 'next smaller size' is still Pretty Darned Big. But it was still a rather heady experience to be raiding my closets, deciding what to give to Goodwill, what to put in the spare room closet [for later] and what to put in the laundry.

I don't want to spend the rest of my life fighting my weight. I never want to lose this weight again.

Here's where I'm heading:

That photo was taken in the mid '90s, and I still have that dress, which is a size 8. For the first time in a very long time, I think I'll be able to wear it again. I didn't have this feeling three years ago, when
I was doing Weight Watchers Online. When I lose eight more pounds, I will reach the lowest weight I achieved on WW. That was in August, 2003, and I plateaued for two months. At that point, I started the slow, painful spiral back up. And up. And then some.


What a vain and boring post this has been! Blogging, though, has been helpful in staying on track this time. I don't know if one element of this trip has been more important or more crucial, or if the combination of strategies is what is doing the trick. All I know is that this time something is different.

And I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

And for you knitters ...

I'm curious about your knitting libraries, too:

How many knitting books [not magazines] do you own?
More than 50
Free polls from

You'll notice this poll's answer choices are much greater in number than those of the weight-loss book poll. I set both polls up based on my own library. Also, I belong to several knitting lists, and I know that knitters collect books almost as avidly as they, er ... we ... collect yarn. I promise I won't have a knitting magazine poll. Who has time to count that high?

I don't participate in any weight-loss lists. I've tried a few out, especially when I was a Weight Watchers Online member, but the messages tended to be simply a listing of what each member ate that day, followed by all the Yahoo garbage at the end of each message, repeated multiple times by the person replying, and sometimes including the last day's digest. Or two.

This also happens on a couple of knitting lists I belong to, but at least the content is [usually] more interesting than what one has eaten the previous day.

So if you know of any interesting, informative, supportive, non-whining weight-loss lists with successful reports and positive attitudes, pass them on! In the meantime, I'll stick with my favorite blogs. The few I have listed in the sidebar are by no means all that I read. Both the weight and yarn management lists need an update. Update: Done!

News flash: I started the push mower yesterday! Not on the first try; it had to sit in time-out while I mowed for an hour on the riding mower. The secret to my success was in pushing the primer button in s-l-o-w-l-y, letting it out even more s-l-o-w-l-y, and repeating that process three times. I'd been rather cavalierly just punching the button in and out, but my mower expert said that wasn't proper priming procedure. Much mowing ensued ... good thing, too, because it rained all night and it's downright cold here in the Middle of Nowhere today!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Great and Powerful O

I don't usually watch Oprah. I don't usually watch daytime television, actually, other than a random news check or a daytime baseball game. But I happened to catch yesterday's show. I can't really write about it. Dr. Robin was talking about how our mothers try to 'fix' what was broken in their lives, only to make it worse. I lost it when one of the mothers said she told her daughter how special and beautiful she was, because she'd never been told that. And then lost it again when the beautiful 19-year-old model described how ugly she felt she was.

The Spousal Equivalent was home and was shocked that I would identify and react so strongly to these women. I knew exactly how each of them felt. Exactly. And I said to him that, as an only child surrounded and raised by an extended, loving, supportive family, of course he didn't understand why I was so touched.

He said he had felt ugly for a couple of years because of something someone said, probably in late grade school or middle school. [We used to call it junior high.] A couple of years.

Women carry those ugly feelings around for their whole lives. At least I have.

I'm still processing all of this. In one way I feel completely narcissistic and vain, even thinking about how I look. Just about everything I read or watch, though, reinforces that women should be thin and pretty in order to be accepted and loved. In another way, I want to someday just get over it, already, and quit thinking about it at all.

Wouldn't that be a wonderful world?

Don't forget to vote!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Five steps forward, one step back

It's Monday, and you know what that means. I know you're all waiting breathlessly to see if The Shrinking Knitter maintained that phenomenal five-pound loss from last week. Well, despite an average daily calorie consumption of 1178 and despite averaging 88 minutes of intentional exercise daily, she didn't quite manage it. One pound up this week, for a total loss of 22 since January 1.

Seriously, I knew last week's five-pound drop was a fluke, and I'm much happier thinking I've lost four pounds in the past two weeks. That sounds much more reasonable to me. [Am I convincing you yet?]

So here's something I've been wondering about all both of you:

How many weight-loss/fitness books [not counting cookbooks] do you own?
More than 15
Free polls from
Results will be posted next Monday. Please vote only once. This is practice for next November. [smirk]

Moving on to fibery things, did you see this from today's New York Times? You may have to register to read the article, but registration is free. It seems sheep are more than earning their keep, at least in the Netherlands. Not only do they provide wool, milk and meat, but they also … well, read the story; there's an accompanying photo as well.

I hope your progress this week is everything you'd hoped for. I couldn't be more pleased with myself. Really! Honest! Would I lie to you?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

One sleeve is done!

And I went ahead and seamed the sleeve and side seam, and it looks great. No photo until it's finished, though. Right now it looks like a nice sweater with a bunch of strings hanging all over the place. I even picked up the stitches for the second sleeve last night, while we were watching Good Night and Good Luck.

That movie felt more like a documentary than a feature film, probably because it was only 90 minutes long and was presented in black-and-white. I'm too young to remember the McCarthy-era events, so it was probably more interesting for me than it was for the Spousal Equivalent. And, that's two consecutive Saturdays that we've enjoyed watching a Pay-Per-View movie together. If we make it a regular thing, I think I'll start doing Netflix. There's so little on regular television to watch these days.

We're having guests at Chez MiddleofNowhere today – some friends who've just moved back to the area will be spending the afternoon and staying for dinner. The floor needs a quick once-over with a damp mop before they come, but the rest of the house looks fine. I'll have plenty of time to walk this morning, and I still need to lift weights today.

I didn't do any intentional exercise yesterday at all. I slept 11 hours Friday night, woke up feeling crappy and went back to sleep for about three more hours.
That is so not like me. Spousal Equivalent said I've been pushing myself too hard for too long, and my body had had enough. But I'm back to normal – whatever that is – today, and eager for a nice long walk in the country. We have a possibility of storms later, I think.

We'll be dining on whole wheat pasta with chicken/spinach sausage, mushrooms, onions and peppers, with pesto sauce, and a salad, and I also have fresh pico de gallo to serve with baked tortilla chips for a bit of an afternoon nosh. All of which reminds me that I need to pick up some basil and cilantro plants for my little salsa garden. Got the tomato and pepper plants last week. Now to get them in the ground!

Enough nonsense here ... wishing all both of you a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

About that mower

My neighbor Tim, who takes care of our mowers, passed me while I was out walking a couple days ago, and gave me a couple mower-starting tips. I'd been thinking that he was successful because he is at least a foot taller than I am, and more than likely 10 times as strong. He says it's because I don't prime the mower properly. So I'll be trying his technique next week. Film at eleven.

And speaking of wildlife ... I saw our dogs playing with something when I got home from the grocery yesterday. Turns out it was this baby fox. No mother in sight; she must have been hanging out with the baby turtles' mother.

The Spousal Equivalent and I decided to try to capture the little guy in a box and release him down by our pond, which is far away from the house and dogs. We weren't fast enough, though. He started running, and our old, arthritic dog, Molly, suddenly had more energy than she's had in five years. We think she broke the little guy's back.

We feel horrible about it, but are trying to comfort ourselves with the fact that we tried. One or both dogs surely would have killed it eventually if we'd left it in the yard. Molly and Hershey have both brought home dead treasures before; we know they have the instinct. Mostly mice and moles, but one time Molly treed a groundhog [bet you didn't know – or care – they could climb trees, did you?] and killed it when it eventually fell.

I don't really feel like talking about knitting or dieting today. I know Molly was just doing what a dog is supposed to do, but it was an awful thing to watch.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I see dead ... um ... things

Living here in the middle of nowhere brings me in almost daily contact with a wide variety of wildlife. Birds of every color – bright gold, fiery scarlet, cobalt blue – swoop through the air. The scent of a skunk wandering through our property greeted me this morning when I let the dogs out.

On my walks I'm frequently surprised by deer bounding across the road in front of me. Wild turkey flocks roam the hills and there's also been a black bear seen on our road. Not by me, but I did see a mountain lion once.

But mostly, I see deadlife, not wildlife.

Two days ago, after a day of rain, I noticed three smashed baby turtles, each a little larger than a half dollar [anyone remember those?], about a foot apart. No mother in sight. A bit farther along I found one of those neon orange lizards, also smashed.

Yesterday it was a deer leg, in two parts. I can't imagine where the rest of the deer was, but there was a bone from the upper portion of a leg, picked clean by the turkey buzzards, and nearby was the lower portion, fur and hoof intact.

Totally gross.

But I guess when you live in the Middle of Nowhere, and you walk outside for exercise, you gotta take the gross with the good. I am, after all, trying to prolong my wild life as long as I can.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Temporary insanity

Yesterday I mentioned to the Spousal Equivalent [who was out of town] that I planned to mow, and that I hoped to mow the front yard – about half an acre – with the push mower instead of the riding mower.

The push mower is very hard to start. So hard, in fact, that last year I did not start it even one time. The weedeater and I got to be very good friends.

But there's a small slope at the edge of the yard along the road, on either side of the driveway, that really does need to be mowed occasionally, instead of whacked. So I figured after I mowed that hard part, I would move on to do the front yard.

I pulled the mower out of the shed, pushed it up to the driveway [when it does start, it starts more easily on a smooth, flat surface] and pulled the cord. About 30 times. Not even a sputter.

It just came back from its annual tune-up-and-sharpening trip, and I can only assume that the tuner-upper, my neighbor Tim, had started it. I gave it a break, hopped on the riding mower and did about an hour's work in the back yard, before trying again.

Second verse, same as the first. Except this time I kicked it a couple of times and said some swear words. I pushed the mower out of the shade, thinking maybe sitting in the warm sun would help when I tried to start it again. Back on the rider to finish the back and side yards. [We have about three acres altogether. Yeah, it's a load of fun.]

The third try – 30 pulls on the cord each time – had me in tears. I had to get cleaned up to go get a haircut, so I went inside, left a message for Tim, got a shower and headed for the hairdresser's. I left the push mower in the driveway with my work gloves on the handle, and hoped someone would steal it before I got home.

Now the whole point of wanting to cut the front yard with the push mower instead of the rider is that I would be exerting more effort. The discovery of a 'fat gene' at a time when everything we use to accomplish our tasks is designed to make accomplishing tasks easier is not, in my not-so-humble opinion, a coincidence. I wanted to put my muscle where my mouth is. So to speak.

My gloves were on the hood of the truck when I got home, and a small patch of grass had been cut. I called Tim and asked him why he didn't just go ahead and finish the job. I also told him how many times and with what effort I had tried and failed to start it. He said it started on the first pull for him. I told him I'd gotten it primed, kind of like opening a pickle jar.

At any rate, it fired right up for me, too, as I knew it would, since once it's been started it seems to remember what it's supposed to do. I mowed around things and down the slopes and even did some back-and-forth straight mowing for more than an hour. At this point I hadn't even touched the front yard. And I decided it was a good thing the Spousal Equivalent is a shrink, because I was definitely suffering from temporary insanity.

My Mowing Adventure began yesterday morning at about 9 a.m., and I finally got everything finished at 4 p.m. I started and ended on the riding mower. If I'd spent any more time with the push mower, I wouldn't even be able to type this morning. There are some muscles in your arm and back that are only used when pushing a recalcitrant lawn mower.

Bet you didn't know that, did you?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A knitting update

I've pretty much abandoned work on the FLAK until I finish the plum pullover. Here's some plummy progress:

I joined the front and back pieces at the shoulders with a three-needle bind-off and picked up stitches along the armscye to work the sleeve from the shoulder down. This is a shallow set-in sleeve, and very roomy; I didn't do any short-rowing at the upper part of the sleeve. There will eventually be a V-neckline [that little peach-colored blob you see is a stitch marker holding the center stitch of the V].

At least something knitterly is going on around here!

If you're at all interested in weight loss, you've probably read recent news articles about the discovery of a human gene that could contribute to the difficulty some of us have losing weight. Here's one article; you can Google for others.

In the article I point to, a photo of a fat mouse is captioned thusly [emphasis mine]:

"Rutgers researchers have identified a human gene, its protein product and the way in which the protein influences how the body processes fat, discoveries that may lead to drugs to control obesity and promote weight loss."

I'm so damned tired of hearing that drugs may be the answer. Defining obesity as a disease, as the IRS did in 2002 [in order to allow taxpayers to deduct the cost of medically recommended weight-loss treatment], creates a market for a pharmaceutical solution to a lifestyle problem.

Believe me, if I thought a drug would help me, I'd be first in line. I did, in fact, use Xenical for a while, with no results. And my insurance wouldn't pay for any of it. At a cost of nearly $10 per day, it wasn't worth it to me to refill the prescription.

When you shake my family tree, you'd better watch out, because fat people come tumbling down. It would be easy for me to blame genetics on the current state of my weight. But I've been successful at losing weight in the past. More than once.

What I'm not successful at is maintaining a weight loss for any significant period of time.

When I lived in a large city, I had a full-time job and went to a well-equipped gym every day. I also smoked, ate a low-fat diet and lived alone.

When I moved to the Middle of Nowhere, I stopped working and smoking, quit using fitness equipment [there are no gyms in the MofN] and began living with another person who eats far more than I ever have and has the metabolism to handle it. I call it the perfect storm for gaining weight. Do my genes have anything to do with it? Possibly. But there's no denying that my lifestyle changed dramatically and, eventually, so did my weight.

Why am I experiencing some success now? Several reasons, in my opinion:
  • I'm sticking with a food plan that is working for me.
  • I'm making time for vigorous exercise every day.
  • I'm mentally and emotionally ready to commit to these changes.
  • I'm saying to myself, every day, "I do not want to ever have to lose this weight again."
I'm still closer to fat than I am to thin. But I've only been successful at maintaining fat.

Big Pharma isn't about to help with that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Weight a minute

The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I remember feeling fairly frustrated at my lack of progress the first couple of months. At that time, I had chosen to eat a very low-fat diet [this was about 12 years ago, I think, when "they" recommended 20 grams of fat or less for weight loss], and I went to a wonderful gym every day.

The food wasn't that hard to manage; low-fat and fat-free products were plentiful, and I was determined. I had been doing Jazzercise for years, so felt somewhat fit. But working out on the cardio machines at the gym was really, really hard, and it took a couple of months before I felt comfortable there.

I remember the first time I used a Stairmaster. After five minutes at a fairly low level, supporting myself on the side rails, I was panting for breath. My feet were numb. Eventually, though, I worked my way up to 30 minutes straight at the highest level, without holding on.

[Aside: How could I have let myself get in such bad shape, after being that fit? Wail, wail, wail!]

Moving on ...

My lack of significant progress led me to hire a personal trainer to learn how to properly and effectively lift weights. I'd never lifted anything heavier than a baby, and certainly never lifted for fitness. We met once a week for a month, and then I had a follow-up session with him a month later.

If you've studied weight loss as if you were preparing for a final exam [as I have], then you know that increasing muscle mass boosts metabolic function – a more muscular body uses the calories you eat more efficiently. Lifting weights builds muscle; aerobic exercise, good for cardiovascular health and some fat-burning, just isn't enough.

Now I've known this all these years. But I don't like lifting weights. But my progress improved dramatically when I started adding weight training to my aerobic activities, and I was able to lose almost 60 pounds in five months.

Fast forward to now. The first couple of months of this year haven't been quite so frustrating, because my expectations are not as high this time as they were then. I know that at my age it's more difficult to shed pounds, partly due to hormonal changes and partly due to the naturally lowered metabolism we're stuck with as we get older.

Looking at my logs, though [yes, I'm somewhat geeky after all, and I have a spreadsheet and chart and everything!], I find an interesting trend. The first 12 weeks of this year, I lost 12 pounds. I started lifting weights on a regular basis March 25. I don't know why that was the day, but since then, I've lost 11 pounds.

I don't need to hit myself over the head with a dumbbell to know what I need to keep doing.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What the ...?

Okay. Today is weigh-in day for me. I will admit to some scale-hopping this week, so I expected a loss. I never accept the weight on the scale until I see it twice. This morning I checked three times, and the weight was the same each time.

This week, I lost five pounds.

To say I'm stunned would be an understatement!

Average calorie consumption this week was just slightly more than 1200 per day, and I averaged 85 minutes of daily intentional exercise.

You've all both probably noticed that I haven't recorded my starting, current or goal weights, as many other weight-loss bloggers do. I'm just not at a comfortable level of acceptance about sharing those numbers. I greatly admire those who do, and am especially inspired by those whose progress and goals are similar to mine.

I do post progress photos, though, and it probably isn't difficult to guess what I weigh [Step right up! Win a prize! Kidding!]

According to eDiets, I should reach my goal in 22 weeks. I think it will take longer; they base their future progress predictions on an average weight loss of two pounds per week. I have, so far, averaged 1.4 pounds per week. When I started this plan, I assumed it would take a year to get to goal. I still think so.

And I'm so completely okay with that. I would much rather spend a year learning what works and what doesn't for me, than blast it off in a few months and then struggle for years, as I have for the past several, fighting with myself to, as I say in the Shrinking Knitter header, 'regain the fit, healthy body I used to have.' For more great, inspirational conversation about finding what works, please go read Beth's blog. She's one of my heroes.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quick like a bunny

A friend used to urge her young children to pick up their toys/get their boots on/finish their meals 'quick like a bunny.' This post will also be quick like a bunny, as I'm pressed for time.

Computer was down this morning and I had to wait until 9 a.m. Eastern to call tech support. Thank goodness I bought the Apple Care plan when I bought the G5 last May. I probably could have found the solution online, but I would have had to drive 12 miles to use the computer at the library to get online to search for it. At any rate … I'm back, but busy.

Since I couldn't use the computer first thing, I decided to get the intentional exercise out of the way. I gotta tell you, I loved walking that early! I may make it a habit. I left the house at 7 a.m. The sun was up, but it was foggy-misty and beautiful. If the same conditions are present tomorrow, I'm taking the camera.

I covered the 6.6-mile loop in 100 minutes! I used to run the whole route, back when I was in great shape. This morning I ran between a third and half of it. [Remember, though, that running for short people is the same as walking fast for those of you with longer legs!]

Right now [noonish] I feel pretty good. Ask me in the morning, though.

I leave you, on this Easter Eve, with the funniest Easter greeting I've gotten this year:

Friday, April 14, 2006

No clever title comes to mind today

So Wednesday, Renee wrote: "… guess till I hit goal, there'll always be a part of me that is clinging to hope for dear life, praying that this day won't be the day that starts the spiral back to gaining weight."

I know how she feels.

I've been unsuccessful, until now, at releasing weight for such a long time that it absolutely feels like it won't last. I'm used to my body playing tricks on me, in all kinds of ways, so being able to actually lose weight, slowly and steadily, for more than three months falls into the miracle category for me. Call the Vatican!

And even getting to goal is no guarantee that it won't come back. When I lost weight the last time [almost 60 pounds in five months, about 10 years ago], I weighed 128 for about five minutes. That was the lowest weight I achieved. I stayed at around 135 [which is my current goal] for a year or two, and then it all came back. And more.

I hope I'm learning more about maintenance by losing more slowly this time. While losing is hard, and I'll never say it isn't, maintaining is harder. For me, all my life, it's been impossible. Otherwise, I wouldn't be blogging about losing weight, would I?

Knitting picture time!

The baskets I made a while ago were for my grandchildren for Easter. They've been delivered, so now I can show them to you filled with goodies.

The back of the pullover with the cool diagonal
lace stitch is done, and I've started the front. It looks too little in person, but the tape measure doesn't lie. It will be about 42 inches in circumference when it's put together, which will barely fit now, but should be a nice, comfy, slouchy sweater to wear over a t-shirt or camisole next fall. My creative granddaughter suggested a lime-green shirt for underneath, which would really be stepping out for me! I'll be on the lookout, though.

An updated FLAK photo is on my
other website – click on the FLAK button at the top of the page.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Getting back in the groove

My wee getaway has taken a slight toll on my desire and ability to blog. Actually the state of my yard and house are the real culprits. Here in the Middle of Nowhere it is most definitely grass-cutting season. My mower had been in the shop getting the oil changed and blade sharpened, but was here waiting for me when I got home. With a 5.5-mile walk in the morning, three acres of mowing and weed-whacking and a very shaggy dog to clip, the blog came in last place on my priority list yesterday. Actually, as all both of you know, it didn't even finish!

At any rate, the only thing on today's agenda is the floor and a trip to Sam's Club. I went to bed very early last night. Meaning I woke up very early this morning. So I should have plenty o' time to accomplish the tasks before me today.

One of my regular knitblog reads offers this for entertainment: Search Wikipedia for your birthday [sans year] and list three events, three births and three deaths from that day. I'm amazed at all the cool things that have happened on May 25. Here you go:

  • 1925 - John T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.
  • 1935 - Babe Ruth hits his 714th and last home run at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, setting a baseball record that will stand for 39 years.
  • 1961 - Apollo program: U.S. president John F. Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a "man on the moon" before the end of the decade.
  • 1803 - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and philosopher (d. 1882)
  • 1926 - Miles Davis, American jazz trumpeter (d. 1991)
  • 1963 - Mike Myers, Canadian actor and comedian
  • 1085 - Pope Gregory VII
  • 1261 - Pope Alexander IV
  • 1951 - Paula von Preradovic, Croatian-born writer (b. 1887)
I managed to get some knitting done while I was gone. The back of the Prosperous Plum Pullover is finished and I think the body of the FLAK is a couple inches longer. It's hard to tell, because the body is the endlessssss part. I'll try to get photos up tomorrow.

I didn't feel like eating yesterday. I suppose because I was so busy I just didn't think about it much. But when I finally came in and settled down to relax for a bit, all I wanted for dinner was Triscuits and cheese. Yesterday's total calorie count was 821 – not all Triscuits and cheese, of course! I hope I can get back on track today. My daughter spoiled me!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Home again

I'm back home again, and had a great little getaway visiting my daughter and her family. She had asked me ahead of time for my menu plan and shopping list, and had stocked up on everything I needed to stay on plan. She didn't fix anything different for the rest of the family, so I didn't feel weird or different. Which has given me a little more confidence when we have guests here ... we all have to eat anyway, and it's good, healthy food, so why not just serve it all around?

My biggest worry while there was finding time and opportunity to walk, which turned out to be not a problem at all. Their neighborhood has a great walking trail, which I took advantage of two mornings. I also took a couple walks with my grandchildren and played soccer with them in the back yard one afternoon for an hour.

Playing soccer was fun, and really shows me that what I'm doing is working. In the past when I've played with the children I've found I had to stop and rest, and actually been out of breath. I vowed to not be one of those old grandmothers who sits on the couch watching everyone else play. Being able to run for the ball and not get winded was a most pleasant surprise.

We had a Harry Potter marathon on Saturday, so now I'm caught up with all four films. My granddaughter will always beat me playing her HP trivia game, but I might be able to answer two or three questions now. Quite good movies, actually.

I didn't expect to lose any weight this week. I felt that last Monday's big loss was artificially induced, and didn't think I'd get much intentional exercise in while I was gone. So I was delighted to have lost another pound, for a total of 18. It's been 14 weeks now, and I'm not tired of the plan. The walking and weightlifting are becoming habits and I really feel like I'm doing something that will last.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I am not a geek

I understand a lot of how web browsers work, and can even do some basic coding when I need to. I can Google with the best of them and know how to make a clickable link when I send an e-mail. I'd rather have plain-text than html e-mails sent to me, because they generally take less time to download.

But I can't explain what happened this morning.

I, along with thousands of other people around the world, make a daily stop at dooce's blog. She's been changing the header on a monthly basis, and suggested that if the new header didn't show up to clear the cache and reload the page. Now I've been clearing cache files since I first started working with computers, umpty-mumble years ago, so that was no big deal. But after I did that, only the middle third of dooce's header showed up.

As I web-wandered through my other favorite blogs, many of them were missing pieces. I understand that it will take longer for each of the pages to load after a cache-clear, but some of them just gave up.

I switched browsers [I'm a big fan of Mozilla] and was able to get I Am That Girl Now to load in Firefox for G5. But it won't load at all in Mozilla. Many headers don't load. Some photos won't load. Sometimes I wish there was a tech support department down the hall, like I used to have when I worked at a real job.

Maybe I'll try restarting the computer.

I'll be traveling the remainder of this week, and probably won't be blogging. Yesterday was spent close to home; I'd forgotten how icky I would feel after the test I had done yesterday morning. I'm heading out for a walk in a few minutes and then will spend the day getting ready for a little spring getaway.

I find it pretty odd and interesting that I really had no trouble fasting Sunday – I recall feeling hungry only once all day – but then yesterday found myself rummaging around in the late afternoon for just about anything I could get my hands on. Good thing the things I can get my hands on are pretty healthy! But still, by about 4:30, and after some weird snacks like sugar-free bread-and-butter pickles, then some radishes, then a few walnuts, I decided just to go ahead and make dinner. I don't want to turn into one of those old people who eats dinner at 5 and then falls asleep before the evening news is over! [I might miss all those prescription drug commercials!]

What is it about late afternoon that has me wanting to eat? I usually have yogurt mixed with wheat germ and almonds around 2:30 or 3. So I shouldn't be hungry at 4. Maybe I should add another walk in the late afternoon, just to put my mind and body someplace other than my pantry.

Anyway. I'm planning to have a fun rest-of-the-week, and hope you are, too.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Have I got a diet plan for you!

Just spend a day drinking nothing but water and eating nothing but Jell-O, and top it off with the magic ingredients – a bottle of magnesium citrate, followed by Bisacodyl tablets.

I guarantee you'll lose weight, but I sure don't recommend it for the long haul.

At any rate, it's over! I lived! And that's the end of that. [No, no drama. You don't want no drama.]

I lost five pounds from last Monday to today. I think the two-pound gain last Monday was a fluke; by Wednesday I had lost that and on Thursday had lost an additional pound. The total loss is now 17 pounds.

This week's exercise goal probably won't be met. I had counted on being able to walk this afternoon, but unless I feel a whole lot better in a few hours, I don't think that'll happen. But I far exceeded last week's goal, so the two weeks combined should still yield results. Shouldn't they? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Average calories eaten per day: 1061
Average minutes exercise per day: 103

I didn't take a rest day last week, and didn't eat one day, which is why the calories are so low and the minutes are so high.

I *seriously* don't recommend laxatives for weight loss, just to be perfectly clear. I was thrilled to see such a big drop this morning, but that thrill isn't enough to make me fast and purge every Sunday. The eDiets plan is working great, the exercise is getting easier [and is, I think, key to continued success] and now it's back to normal.

Whatever that is.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring forward

I forgot to change the clocks last night. I think there are only three in the house that I have to manually change. Nice of the computer and television to be so self-sufficient! And I've already adjusted to the time change, having woken up at 4:45-ish, which is really 5:45-ish, which is my normal get-up time anyway.

I started walking yesterday morning thinking I would do the four-mile loop. The temperature was quite nice, although I was fighting the wind no matter which direction I was walking. At any rate, I ended up doing the 6.6-mile loop. This was the first time this year I haven't had to wear a jacket, and the back of my neck is sunburned! It felt great to be striding along the road, listening to bouncy music on the Shuffle and not feeling like walking was a chore.

When I woke up this morning the thought came to me that I might want to try doing yoga again. I haven't done it because it's just too uncomfortable with all the extra weight around my middle. But I think I could manage the modified practices on one or more of my yoga DVDs. I might pull one out this afternoon, to help me relax.

For once I don't much care about the NCAA men's basketball championship. WVU got knocked out early, but then it was fun rooting for George Mason. They just weren't on their game yesterday. After they lost to Florida, I decided to root for LSU, which was soundly defeated by UCLA. I don't have any feelings one way or the other about Florida or UCLA. Don't ask me for advice when you go to place your bets on the final.

Do you remember that cereal commercial from the late '80s on Saturday Night Live? I've a feeling that's what it's going to be like around Chez Debbi later on today. The prep beginneth now: clear broth, Jell-O [as long as it's not red] and [bless them!] black coffee or tea until noon. After that it's water, more water and, oh, these little pills that promise … oh, you don't want to know. But it'll all be over tomorrow morning.

For once I'm looking forward to the Monday morning weigh-in. [smirk]

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April Fool's!

I should have pasted my face on Renee Zellwegger's Chicago body, if I really wanted to play a trick. What the subject really means is how foolish I feel setting up the tripod and taking my own picture. Anyway. Progress has been made, don't you think?

In at least one big way, progress has really been made. Notice that I'm wearing jeans! Jeans that zip and snap. Big jeans, to be sure, but I couldn't wear them in January, when I started this project. I'm even still wearing them while I'm editing and uploading the photos, sitting – sitting! – on the exercise ball in front of the computer.

[For newcomers to The Shrinking Knitter, my daughter told me about a woman she knew who got amazing results by sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair when she was at her computer. I like the ball much better than the chair.]

And to fulfill a promise, here's a side-by-side comparison from January 1 to April 1:

Looking at the two pictures together, I don't see a whole lot of difference. But I am wearing jeans, so I guess that's something.

I've more than met my sidebar goals for this week, but I'm going to walk again today and tomorrow anyway. I fear I won't even come close to next week's goals. I may feel like working out Monday after my X-ray, but then again I may feel like taking it easy after all the trauma. [Don't you love the drama?] Traveling will take up much of the remainder of the week, but I'm planning to do what I can do.

I hope somebody plays a trick on you today! And I hope you forgive them!