Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tale of the Scale, Tuesday edition

Yeah, I'm a day late.. but not a pound short! Since I'm using the balance scales at the gym to measure weight loss, and they were closed on Christmas day, I couldn't report until today.

The news? After more than a month stuck at the same weight (but losing inches like mad) I had a 2 pound loss this week! Thank goodness. I was completely losing any incentive to continue. So now it's 10 inches lost (total), but only 6 pounds. Though those 6 pounds are likely fat.

Infact this weekend, I had to take in my bras! I'm not ready to fork over $50-100 on new ones, but they were getting too lose in the band. So with a handy-dandy stretch stitch on my machine, I brought them all in about 1". Can't do much more without really screwing up how the straps sit. I'm hoping, though, that I nurse these along until it's both a cup size change and a band size change that forces me to replace them.

Workout schedule this week:

Tuesday: gym for 30 minutes cardio on the treadmill and weight machines for arms/shoulders.

Wednesday: gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine and stabilization/stretching exercises.

Thursday: Off day. I'm back working with Guido. Today is a full-on workout. Then walk the dogs. Then collapse.

Friday: OFF. I will need it.

Saturday: See Wednesday.

Sunday: See Tuesday.

Monday: Off

Every day do some of the balance/stabilization moves at home, walk the dogs when weather allows. Get enough rest.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Most Memorable Christmas

Back when I was a single adult, I didn't have enough to do with my time. Working full time, attending grad school part-time and keeping up my apartment? Not enough. So I also volunteered with my local Red Cross Disaster Team. One weekend a month I was on call. And holidays. As a single, I'd volunteer for the holidays so those with kids and lots of family could spend their time home.

So it was that in 1982 I was catching up on some sleep on Christmas Eve, when the expected phone call awoke me. The call to action, however, wasn't a local house fire. An apartment building about 1.5 hours away had a major fire; the local unit was overwhelmed and needed help. Over 100 units were affected to varying degrees with residents coping with fire damage, smoke damage and water damage.

A dozen of us arrived at our downtown Cleveland office by 6 am., where we grabbed supplies and piled into 2 vans for long drive. The sun was rising as we pulled into the apartment parking lot.

We told the story: residents had left the fireproof doors from the lobby to their hallways open to make it easier for visitors to come and go; unfortunately, their lobby Christmas tree caught fire and without the doors working as resistance to ripped through parts of the building. Those lucky residents in halls where the firedoors were kept closed had nothing but some light smoke damage; the others lost significant amounts of their material lives.

We had a short organizational meeting in the complexes community center: the building had been gone over by a damage assessment team so we could tell people the extent of their damage; the apartment management was opening up any vacant apartments in other complexes to house those whose were not moving back anytime soon.

For the next 10 hours, I sat at table talking to people. After getting their apartment number, I'd check the map and tell them the extent of their damage. None of the residents had been allowed back in.

To most residents, it was relief to hear that they only had some water and light smoke damage. I gave them sheets explaining how to clean things. Their lives would recover soon.

Other were told that they had likely lost everything. The renters without insurance (and really? Who actually gets renter's insurance?) were directed to charities for replacement furniture, to discount houses for clothing and household basics. We directed people to the places for new glasses and replacement prescriptions.

Many of the residents were thankful for the calm we provided, for the help, for the assurances. Some would try to argue that deserved more; we would explain that we had to follow guidelines.

One of my clearest memories was a young man who had placed an engagement ring under his girlfriend's tree. The apartment was totalled. I made a note to have people keep an eye out for the ring, but I doubt it would ever be found.

After we worked, our director kindly took us all out for a holiday meal. The locals located a restaurant that happily served us. We sat at one large table like the extended family were that day, sharing a meal and retelling the stories of the day before heading back into our van for the ride home.

I think I got home about 11 pm. Christmas night. Turned on my own tree, poured myself a glass of eggnog and sat thankful that I could return to a normal life.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sorry for the quiet...

I've been working on being a better blogger... more chatty and engaged. However, I think I'm dealing with some holiday/gray day/ seasonal type of the blues. I'm stressing over things that usually roll off my back; I'm crying over commercials again.

And I really don't care to exacerbate it by writing about it.. or try to get over it by ignoring it. But it's so not something I want to make bloggable.

The sun was out today, and I got to spend out in it. That a good night's sleep and maybe I'll be back to my cheery self soon. (fingers crossed).


Monday, December 18, 2006

Scale of the Tale

Went into the gym today for my Monday workout and weigh-in. No change in the weight. Worse, I went in with the plan of 30 minutes on the rowing machine, 15 minutes of weight training and 15 minutes of stability moves.

I gave up on the rower after 20 minutes, did only 3 weight machines and then thought "screw it" and hit the shower. Not a good move. In the middle of a long hot shower (one thing I won't cut short) I decided I wasn't leaving without an appointment with Guido. I need to get back on track or I might as well quit right now and chalk it up to another failed try.

Turns out Guido wasn't in yet.. but was on his way. So I hung around a few minutes then begged for something any time this week. We have a session scheduled for tomorrow morning.

So bad decision: allowing myself to quit.

Good decision: recognizing the path I was on, and being pro-active about catching myself before things got too bad.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dog Blog Weekend...

It's the weekend before Christmas! Holiday cheerful insanity and way too much retail guilt shopping can drive to the comfort of our home, pets and laptops. What a perfect time for a little dog blogging. Except that my two are keeping warm by napping on the bed.

Nevermind. This week, I found a new-to-me blog: Doggie News. While many of us simply blog the details of our own personal pooches, the writer/editor of Doggie News, Steve Johnson, writes on dogs in general with short helpful posts that might interest all or only a few dog owners. Some posts are items we might find useful, others are hints and suggestions. This week there was even a recipe (for humans!) from a cookbook published by professional pooper-scoopers. I gotta admit. Even if I made these chicken wings.. there is no way I'd use their name!!

This week I saw his post on Bella's Hot/Cold Packs and wondered where these were when Katy had her surgery this past summer? I sure could have used one of these as none of my packs fit/worked/stayed her. And given that I have 2 active dogs, I'm going to have to add these to a wishlist.

Thursday Steve put up a great article on getting a puppy for Christmas. While the article repeats a lot of the news we hear every year, he wonderfully did include the suggestion of making sure to check animal shelters and rescue groups for the perfect pet. As an owner who has only had rescue dogs, I second his recommendation.

There's great information about microchipping, a vaccine for peridontal disease, and tons of topical news items in the archives. However, I gotta ask: WHO thought that A pooper-scooper Barbie was a good idea??

Note: This review, though completely my opinion, was paid for Doggie News and ReviewMe.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Shopping Online

An original painting by James Seward that I inherited this from my parents.
I love the colors in this piece.

If you do much shopping online, you want to know about RetailMeNot. When you're shopping at a retail spot online, you often see a box to get some kind of discount ("enter discount code here"). I hate when I see that box and don't know the code. I'm getting cheated out of a discount maybe!! Anyway what RetailMeNot does is keep track of all the coupons available and provide you with the codes. If you're interested in a code, click on the offer and voila.

Well, apparently not always voila. They even rate the success rate of using one of their coupon codes. Still... getting everything that is available for us to use when shopping? This is a good thing.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Tree. Part of "My Back Yard Series". I altered the colors... we didnt' have weather that was this weird.
Actually I'm playing around with using this image in my banner. Whatcha think?

My friend Karen, who's recovering from surgery, lent me one of her Pfaffs until mine is out of the shop. It's another 7550 just like mine, so I should be cooking with gas!! But today was taking up with running errands, so no time to sew. Tomorrow looks a lot more hopeful. I did get to the gym for a full hour of righteous sweating.

When real life maintainence items suck up your time, how do you compensate? Do you make intricate plans for the tomorrows that are as yet unsucked? Or rage against the sucking that is today?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tale of the Scale,12/11

Isn't Red Chard the perfect holiday vegetable?? All red and green and crinkled? Don't you love the nice shots I get with my new camera??

Finally a bit of good news in the Tale department. I am down a full pound from last week. And at this point, it won't be that indescribable "water weight" that everyone dismisses. It will be real weight. I attribute it three sessions on the rowing machine this past week. Works my ENTIRE BODY (well maybe not my forehead..or earlobes..). Saturday, though, when I got off it I could actually take a full stride. So my body is getting used to the abuse.

I meant to take body measurements today, but that's going to have to wait. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe Friday. Friday I have my annual physical (including stress test) so only a light, light breakfast. To distract myself, I may measure.

Still need to get the dogs out for a walk, but I'm waiting on 2 return phone calls. One for our car insurance and one for scheduling the surgery on my toe. Looks like 1/10 will be day!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Life maintainence and quizzes

This week has been taken up with repairmen, errands and other non-fun but necessary stuff. Had a fun outing yesterday with Clara, though. I have tons of idea rumbling around my brain, but I can't get anything to come clear when I actually have time to try and write.

So I fall back on the old standard: a quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Dedicated Reader

Book Snob

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

Fad Reader


What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Whatcha Doing Today?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Touched by Blogs/Travel Safe

Day 7 of Holidailies.

Wednesday, both on BlogHer and at A Stitch in Time, I wrote about craft bloggers with a personal connection to the Kim family. I crafted that post through teary vision. Why? I'm not completely sure. I have not met the Kims, nor shopped in Kati Kim's shop (Doe); the family is no closer to me than other families highlighted in the news.

However I read craft blogs almost every day. I get to know these bloggers: their style, their senses of humor, their heart. Many of these women do know Kati Kim and her family. And so it has been that through bloggers I learn about the family and feel their loss. Like a friend of a friend... a vicarious connection was formed. I cared because they cared. And their expressions of loss were the reason I cried.

Now for those of us, who have survived our Thanksgiving travels, what lessons can be learned from the tragedy of the Kim family? Travel safe.

  • Travel prepared. Have food and water with you when travelling distances. In wintertime, have blankets and extra clothing in your vehicle. Always carry water with you.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and give yourself extra travel time. Make sure someone knows your travel plans.
  • Make sure there is sufficient windshield washer fluid in the vehicle reservoir and that it is rated for freezing temperatures.
  • If you get stuck or stranded, don’t panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth. Wait for help to arrive. If you have a cell phone and are in an area with cell phone service, try calling for help. Try to always know your exact locations while driving.
And experts suggest that we pack survival kit to carry in your car carrying:
  • Ice scraper/snowbrush
  • Shovel
  • Sand or other type of traction aid/or chains in the mountains
  • Tow rope or chain
  • Booster cables
  • Road flares or warning lights. A mirror for signalling planes/helicopters overhead.
  • Gas line antifreeze
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Small tool kit
  • Extra clothing and foot wear
  • Non-perishable energy foods, like chocolate or granola bars, juice, instant coffee, tea, soup, and bottled water
  • Candles and a small tin can to hold the candle
  • Water proof matches
  • Instant heat pads.
I know. I know. I read this list, too and wonder how much space should I give up for an unlikely emergency? When it was the two of us (and maybe one dog) travelling 500 miles to the inlaws for a holiday, the car was usually packed to the gills. Where would we fit all these extra items? I don't know. And I won't guess if they would have helped James Kim save both his family and his own life.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

While The Cat's Away... What Play??

I had such plans for the week! With the spouser out of town for 10 days, I could see catching matinees of movies that he wouldn't wish to see (Shut Up and Sing); lots of non-stop projects around the house; some shopping. His trip is half-over and what has occurred:

  • workmen showing up to do one thing or another and keeping me home for half a day;
  • appointments.. again killing parts of each day.
I got some cleaning done, but not much. Enough to create chaos while working in a couple rooms. I started working on a biggish craft project only to have my Pfaff getcranky. I can't get a balanced stitch no matter what I try. Another plan sinking down the drain.

I have no doctors or repairmen scheduled for tomorrow. A whole day free (after my morning trip to the gym and a stop at the credit union and maybe stop at Staples. OK, there goes the entire morning!! See??)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tale of the Scale: 12/4/06

Down half a pound, which is kind of frustrating. And I don't retake body measurements for another week or two so I'm not sure if I'm getting leaner and the muscle building is explaining the change. My body does love to hold onto it's weight.

Went to the gym this morning and spent a half hour on rowing machine. Oh my Gahd!! I got up and could not take a normal step. I minced my way back to the weight machines, praying that the muscles would loosen up a bit. Stretch. Stretch. and all was better.

But I am going to be sore tomorrow in places I forgot I had. However, if I get a wooden-soled sandal, I think I can use the rowing machine while I'm recovering from my surgery. All a good thing.

I noticed something this weekend while on the treadmill. Nearly everyone in the gym wears earbuds/headphones of some kind. Some plug into the tv audio channels while walking/pedalling. Others have their IPods or MP3 players going.

I am the only one, though, who enjoys the music enough to head-bop while I'm exercising. Everyone else? No clue what they're listening to. So why are they even listening?

The diet part of this is still a conundrum. Halfway through the day I was way way low on carbs and protein and going to be way to high on fat. I cannot figure out how to adjust this during the day without simple choosing to eat lots fruits. Then I'm still low on protein and there doesn't seem to be a way to get protein without any fat. I'm still trying to decipher this.


GOOD/BAD DECISION? Halfway through the day I was way way low on carbs and protein and going to be way to high on fat. I cannot figure out how to adjust this during the day without simple choosing to eat lots fruits. Then I'm still low on protein and there doesn't seem to be a way to get protein without any fat. I'm still trying to decipher this.

Whatcha Doing Today? Gym. Sewing on ArtShare pieces. Pickles tonight.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hello Holidailies! 20 Things About Me

Thought I would explain a little bit about myself for anyone from Holidailies.


  1. am a middle-aged woman living in the suburbs with my spouser and our two dogs.
  2. love baseball. Hate most of the superstars. It's a team sport after all.
  3. walk with the dogs almost every day.
  4. take photographs while we walk (the sidewalk series).
  5. am working on losing weight and getting healthier.
  6. am going to have a joint replacement in a couple months (a big toe, who knew??)
  7. live in California (SF East Bay).
  8. grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and still cheer for those teams.
  9. spend way too much time alone.
  10. am a social liberal but a fiscal conservative. Does make me middle of the road?
  11. say I'm a quilter, but I haven't made a piece since spring.
  12. think I'm really a crafter.
  13. read in the bathtub.
  14. usually alternate reading scifi and mysteries.
  15. like to cook but rarely take the time.
  16. can have a dry, sardonic sense of humor that people don't get. Yeah, really dry.
  17. If I'm home, the tv is on. Usually loud enough to be heard anywhere in the house.
  18. write about crafts/hobbies/gardening/DIY for BlogHer
  19. visit zoos when I go to new towns.
  20. don't wear jewelry or perfume. The spouser claims this makes it really hard to buy presents for me.
About the photo: Potted Plant. Part of the Sidewalk Series. As I said, I frequently take pictures while I'm walking my dogs. When walking around a neighborhood, my rule is: anything I photograph while standing on the sidewalk is fair game. I cannot move up onto the lawn or driveway to closer or to get a better angle. One day's walk often yields a week's worth of blog photos.

When you need inspiration for a blogpost during one of these month-long posting challenges, these snapshots of life around you are great inspiration.

Whatcha Doing Today? heading to the gym, walking the dogs, working on my ArtShare pieces.

Digging the Dirt: Late Autumn

The habit of putting a garden bed "to sleep" by Halloween is probably still left over from living in the NE Ohio snowbelt. One learned that we could hear the dreaded words "lake effect snow" in early November. So I am amazed how much is still going on in other people's gardens!

The Irish Craftworker remembered just in time to plant garlic. If your ground isn't completely frozen yet, you can still get some garlic in. Some recommend planting it by the moon phase, but I've heard it is been done on the winter solstice.

Kasmira, too, is excited about a large winter sowing effort. She even pointed out a "how to" resource.

Fluffius Muppetus used found time to garden this time of year. One day last month, it was at 7 am.

Kate is all excited about her 'shrooms. And she explains about the mushroom shown above

The Fly Agaric has been associated with Christmas ornaments and other holiday decor since 1652.
Meanwhile, Nelumbo is planning for spring by planting her "gentle encouragement of earlier flower time by creating artificial conditions." bulbs now.

And crotchety gardener reminds us that winter in the northern hemisphere means summer in the south. In Australia, they are fighting either a major draught or wildfires.

Need a present for a gardener? Garden Rant lists garden book recommendations from Washington Post columnist Joel Lerner. While Heavy Petal shows the absolute cutest stocking stuffer: a Matchstick Garden.

Crossposted at BlogHer

Friday, December 01, 2006

Alone Again

Sunset, 11/18/06

Before the sun rose, I dropped the spouser off at SFO. He is travelling to France and Rotterdam for the next 10 days.

When he travels like this, I have "traditional" behaviors: the first couple days, I become quite antisocial. I might live in the same sweats for 2 days and nights; I eat poorly and what I can grab without thought from the fridge. I clean the house.

While I am in sweats, I'm trying to change the rest of the behavior. I did grab something totally unhealthy to eat, but I didn't eat it. Instead I gave it to the dogs.

I've started the house cleaning though. All the bedding has been stripped and is await it's turn in the washing machine. All the bed pillows have gone through hot water and bleach and are tumbling in the dryer. Did you know that you should wash your pillows to get rid of the dustmites (and dustmite poop)? Hot water with bleach and time in the dryer takes of the little buggers.

Everything else will hang on clothes lines outside to dry in the sunshine (oh, blessed bright light!!). It may take two days to get all the quilts and blankets laundered and dried, but it will be worth it.

Tonight, I will head to bed in the company of the dogs. We will all curl up on the bed like a cozy pack. A cozy pack with freshly laundered blankies! I will get to read in bed (something I can't do when the spouser is home... yeah, that's another post). Probably wearing the same sweats.

Tomorrow I'll wake up and yeah, pull on the same clothes. After breakfast, though, I'll head to gym for a workout and maybe call a friend for a coffee.

When some part of your normal everyday life changes, how do you respond?

CALORIES YESTERDAY? 1756 (yeah, higher than it's supposed to be)
GOOD/BAD DECISION? french fries for supper?? what was I thinking?