Monday, June 29, 2015

End of June...

Or as I like to call it, "Eatin' Month" - because it feels like June is one big celebration.  Which is OK, but boy howdy do we have lots of occasions to celebrate, and food ends up playing a big part.  June begins with my birthday, which not only includes the actual day of whatever special meal I choose, but also many extra treats from restaurant reward programs.  I think I managed the treats really well this year, by spreading them out over a couple of weeks, and also by sharing most of them. 

Here's what I had:  a cupcake from Blue Baker and a pastry from Panera - both of which I split with Jeff, and 16 oz of frozen yogurt from Yogurtland.  They let us count both of our bowls toward the 16 oz, which was nice, because that would have been way too much for me (and that's saying something, since I can do some serious damage with frozen yogurt).  I also had my annual frappucino from Starbucks - this is what I get with my birthday reward.  It was delicious, but seriously - they aren't fooling anyone.  It's a milkshake, not a coffee drink.  But I worked it into my daily calories just fine - as I told a friend, it wasn't the most nutritionally sound day, but I didn't go over 1200 calories, so I had that going for me.  There were also a few trips to Dairy Queen spread out over the month - what can I say, the chocolate dipped cone called.  I held it to ordering a small, while Jeff got a mini Blizzard, which is way better than either of us would have done even a few years ago.  Baby steps, right?

We also had our anniversary this month (31 years, egad!  back when I was a kid, people who'd been married that long were OLD!  how times have changed...) - we had a nice dinner and split a strawberry tart, which was amazing as always.  Then Jeff's birthday and Father's Day rolled in on the same day.  He wanted cheesecake, but a specific style (New York, really - but he just says plain and dry, which isn't an appetizing description).  So he had a piece of cheesecake and I had a couple of bites.  That was at lunchtime; for dinner, we split a BBQ sandwich and sweet potato fries, then walked over to have some frozen yogurt (conveniently located two doors down from the restaurant). 

I have to say that while everything was good, and we enjoyed all the food and treats, it's also nice to be finished with Eatin' Month and get back to just having treats on the weekend.  However, we do have a little vacation planned soon, where we'll be in a different part of the country, so of course we'll have to be adventurous with trying new food there.  It's like a vacation rule, I believe...but here's hoping we can keep our wits about us and continue to split most meals and treats, so we won't be rolling back into town with extra weight as a souvenir.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Mishmash

Did you know that MINI cars naturally gravitate toward each other?  It's most noticeable in parking lots:
The one on the left is a Clubman - biggest of the Minis.

I especially like it when I come out of wherever I've been to find that The Duchess has a new friend - it seems to be an unspoken rule that Minis park together.


Paco has been a lucky dog lately, because I have been buying him dog cookies from the Farmer's Market.  He LOVES these, and goes insane over them - way more than with the cookies I usually get from Petco.  I ended up having to put them in a mason jar because when I left them in the paper bag that they came in (you fill the bag with whatever cookies you want at the market), he would not stop standing up on his hind legs and trying to get them off of the counter.  Here he is, patiently waiting for the OK to eat his beloved cookie (this one is made with fresh blueberries and rice flour):
Focusing on the cookie...
Focusing on me...waiting for the "OK"
Ahh yes.  Cookie is MINE!
Paco sent a cookie care package to Abby and Koda...I bet you could have rung their doorbell and they wouldn't have stopped staring at the cookies in their mom's hand!


I don't think I've ever, in the 10 years we've had him, seen Kip look cuter:
That was one sleepy kitty!

Well, as long as I'm showing the other two, I better give Henry equal time:
He likes to shut out the world when he sleeps.


Quick knitting update:  I've been on a sock roll.  Made one, then I found some really interesting yarn and started looking for patterns for it.  Found a different way to do a toe-up sock, so I decided to try it with some other yarn that I've had for a while (not bought for socks, but I had enough to make a pair)...which means that I'm in the process of making three pairs of socks.  Unfortunately, two of them needed the same size needles, so I don't have a matching pair of socks yet.  But here's one that I finished:
Yarn is Adriafil Knitcol, colorway is Kandinsky Phantasy.  Pattern is Toe-Up Socks using German Short Rows by Staci Perry (but I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel).

Doing the German short rows was a fascinating way to make the toe, but I'm not convinced it's THE toe for feels a little hole-y on one side.  We'll see.  The yarn is 100% wool, with not much in the way of stretch.  After I blocked the first sock, I felt better about it fitting me, but for my next project with this pattern, I'll cast on more stitches and make it a little bit bigger.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WWU - 5.8 For 58!

June is birthday month around here, and Jeff's birthday was on Sunday, so he decided to be a copycat continue our family tradition and run 5.8 miles.  I told him he didn't have to do it, but noooo, he wanted to.  I also told him I really didn't want to run that far, and he was OK with that.  So on Saturday, our little group met up and set off running - Jeff and Brian veered off one direction to add on extra miles, while Cary, Andi, Julia and I more sensibly went the other direction for a nice three mile run.

But wait!  I have to tell you about the creepy moment that turned out to not be creepy:  We'd just gotten started when an approaching car slowed down, waaay down, and then stopped near us.  Stranger danger!  All senses went on high alert!  Then the passenger window was rolled down and we saw a teenage boy smiling at us...and we all realized it was the son of the owner of our running store, who happened to be at the wheel.  Whew!  No need to begin our self-defense ninja skills!

Back to the running:  We ran.  Yep.  It was our standard June run - hot, humid, no wind.  Not a lot to say about the quality of running, but as always, the quality of running friends was perfect.  We ladies ran three miles, and then walked back to the corner where Jeff would be turning in to run the last half mile or so with him.  In the meantime, I downed a bottle of water, and turns out, having a belly full of water doesn't make for a good run, so I only ran a little bit before walking - but hey, my intentions were good, right?
Breakfast for the pre-birthday boy.  

We all went to Blue Baker afterward.  Can't beat good food and our random conversation topics to top off a Saturday run.

Speaking of Jeff's birthday, on Sunday we went to a 1541 Pastries and Coffee for lunch - he wanted cheesecake, and when I searched online for restaurants who served cheesecake, this place came up.  I'd been there several years ago, but it's not located where I usually roam, so I kind of forgot about it.  Oh my, it was good, and we will be back!  We had a breakfast croissant sandwich, lattes (with cute art!), and Jeff got his cheesecake:
Happy birthday boy with his homemade cheesecake.
I got the koala bear while Jeff got the lion - rawr!

I gave Jeff a running outfit for his birthday - matching shirt, shorts and socks, plus an Orange Mud handheld water bottle.  I like my Hydraquiver from Orange Mud, but Jeff is a handheld guy, and his current bottle/holder is pretty worn, so I thought he should have a new one.  He's all set for our next training season now!


I've been running 2:1 intervals for quite a while now (run for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute), and I recently read a tip from Jeff Galloway, King of Interval Running (my title, but he was the one who made it so popular), where he mentioned that you pretty much do all of your recovering in the first 30 seconds of your walking break, and the second 30 seconds is where you tend to lose time, especially when you run longer distances, because you really slow down.  So I changed up my interval timer on my Garmin to reflect that - and felt OK with my Saturday run.  Different story with my run yesterday - it was rough, but I think the 100% humidity plus 75 degree temperature had a lot to do with that.  I'm not running longer distances yet, but even changing this during my 2.5 and 3 mile runs has made a bit of a difference in overall finish time.  Of course, running is so much more challenging right now with the hot weather that it's difficult to compare...but it's interesting to switch things up a bit.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Reruns - Not Just For Television Anymore

With summer here, I'm finding less time to be at my computer, which means less time for writing posts, so I'm going to throw in the occasional rerun.  I usually can't bang out my Monday posts quickly, and lately I've been busy doing other things, rather than blogging.  So I'm giving myself a break, and I hope y'all understand.  Meanwhile, here's an oldie but goodie that still speaks to me...and I hope it does to you, too.

(This post is from nearly four years ago, and I still feel the same way...although in rereading it, I sure am happy to be freed from swimming laps - running is my preferred way to exercise.  Also, my mom had her annual post-cancer checkup a few weeks ago and is still cancer-free, which is an excellent addendum!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Done!

(In the countless hours that I've logged swimming back and forth, I've had plenty of time to think.  And I've been composing this post in my head for about a month now.  I've worked through a lot, and it's gone from a bit of an angry tone to a much more calm, even-keeled, and accepting tone, and I'm finally ready to publish it...fair warning, it's a long one.)

I'm declaring myself done.  Done with dieting.  Done with always thinking I should be doing more.  Eating less.  Eating differently.  I'm tired of constantly having the "lose weight" thoughts always swirling.  I just want to be the me that I am now.  Not the me that I might be if I lost more weight.  Not the me that I was a year ago, when I was at my lowest weight of my adulthood.  Me.  Now.

I've been dieting for over 30 years now.  I started my first diet when I was in high school.  And looking back, no, I didn't need to lose any weight.  I was fine.  But let's not go there.  The past can't be changed, and we can rage all we want about crap that happened, but the fact is, crap happens to just about everyone.  And while it's OK to look back, it's easier if we can see our past with empathy to the likes of "it's a pity that happened" or "I'm sorry you had to go through that" - and then, release it and move on.  Forward.  Let that shit go, as much as you can.  For me, some days (weeks/months/years) it's fairly easy, and some days (weeks/months/years) it's not.  But I try to remind myself that I'm not the same person I was 30 years ago, or even last week.  Every day, every encounter with someone, every experience I have - it all adds up to a constantly changing, constantly evolving me.

Getting back to dieting.  Except for a few years when I was in my early 40s, I was ALWAYS either dieting, or feeling guilty about not dieting.  Those few years that I wasn't?  That was when I made a conscious choice to be overweight.  To accept my size, buy an entire wardrobe of clothes that fit my body, and to enjoy, without guilt, food.  Honestly, it was quite awesome!  Except for the constant heartburn, lack of energy, massive food bill (those dollar menus at the fast food places DO add up), and hating to see pictures of myself - but other than that, eating without guilt was fun.

However, with the graduation of my youngest child from high school looming, something made me want to give this whole dieting thing one last try.  And in May of 2008, I started my last diet, which, as you all know, I've documented on this blog.  Along the way, my focus went from losing weight, to changing my eating habits, from starting to exercise, to liking to exercise, and then I hit a major goal of losing 100 pounds.  But I never had an end in sight.  I never really had a goal weight.  I figured I'd just "know" when I was there. 

And then this year happened.  Two weeks in, I injured my ankle and lost my main source of exercise.  Two week later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  I stress ate and put on some weight.  At one point, I remember looking back at that thinner person from the previous summer and wondering why on earth I wasn't done with dieting then.  It's taken me some time, but this summer, as I worked at losing the weight I'd gained, I realized that I didn't want to be doing this for the rest of my life.  I don't want to be that person who is always focusing on calories, on "good" foods and "bad" foods and treats and denying myself and spending so much time looking for a freaking number on a scale that I don't allow myself to enjoy life.

So that's where I am.  Right here, right now.  Living in the moment; appreciating my body for all that I can do (hello crow! hello swimming!), and letting go of a lot of years of negative thinking when it comes to food.  No more dieting. That saga is done.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Mishmash

Is NOT this:
 And grabbing the wrong jar from the drawer resulted in this:
One hefty shake and my nose instantly told me something was wrong.  Dangit!!!  I recently cleared off my kitchen counter and put the pepper in my spice drawer, but even as I did so, I remember thinking "hey, that looks really similar to the cinnamon jar" - but of course I didn't move it.  Ended up ruining some Greek yogurt about a week later.  I was peeved - at myself, of course.  Pepper has now been put back on the counter, where it mocks me, Nelson-style:
I deserve that, Nelson...I do.


The Siiiimpsonnnss:
Obviously I watch way too much television in that I associate clouds like these with a TV show, but work with me here...
Our Simpsons minifig Lego family is growing! Seeing them in my family room (near the TV, of course) just makes me smile. 


We found a dog last week - we were driving home and this cute little dog was in our street.  He had this look on his face like "guys, I should not be out here...I made a BIG mistake" - he was really sweet.  Very clean, super soft ears, and no collar.  He came to me and I put him in our backyard, while Jeff got him some water.  I took some pictures and posted them to our local Facebook lost and found pets page and also our neighborhood website.  Played with him for a bit while Paco lost his marbles inside the house, then we locked Paco in his crate and let the dog inside.  What a good boy - he checked out the house, found Henry on the bed, DID NOTHING (I've never had a dog who doesn't go after cats, even the ones they live with), and after Henry hissed at him, the dog just turned around and left the room.
I sat at my desk, checking the FB page to see if anyone was looking for him.  Next thing I know, he's asleep on my foot.  I was not making plans to keep him, I swear - but dang, what a good dog!  His owners called after a while - turns out they live on our street, but they're fairly new, we've only been at the waving stage, and we've never seen a dog with them.  His name is Shiloh, and it's too bad Paco is so aggressive toward other dogs - this would be a fun playmate for him, especially since he lives so close by.


Have a good weekend, and Happy Father's Day to my dad!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WWU - Aloha 5K Virtual Run

I don't do a lot of virtual runs/races, but sometimes the medal is just too appealing and I can't resist registering.  Such was the case last year with the Beat the Blerch run, and then again this month, with the Aloha virtual run - you could register for either a 5K, 10K, or half marathon.  Naturally I chose the 5K because I'm no fool - it's June, it's Texas, and it's H-O-T hot!  The race is put on by Virtual Strides - they do one themed race each month, and every race has a charity beneficiary.  This run benefited the Breast Cancer Fund.

Saturday was the day for the run - Julia, Brian and I did it in town, while Cary and Cristy ran on the beach (lucky girls!).  We started at 6:30 am, but the sun was already up and not only was it hot, we had that fireball in the sky to contend with as well.  Somehow running in the dark makes the hot and humid weather not seem as might be a little bit of a mental thing, who knows.  All I can tell you is that it was 75 degrees, felt way hotter, and the only breeze came when a big truck blew past us on the road.  If there was any doubt, summer temperatures have arrived in Texas!

My bib - I printed it out, but didn't run with it because it would have been ruined by sweat.  Looks very nice hanging on my ring of race bibs...and it makes me want to go back to Hawaii right this instant!

Brian was our lead runner - well, he and the dogs, Abby and Koda.  They took off, rounded the corner, and that was the last Julia and I saw of them until we were finished...just like in a real race, LOL!  She and I settled in for our run, which was enjoyable - we haven't had a chance to run together in a couple of months, so we had a lot to catch up on.  I think the worst part was having the sun beating down on us - we will have to move our start time back to 6:00 am and get back to our vampire running (darkness suits us better).  We ran a big square loop - honestly, the hardest part was having to run past where we'd parked to get the extra bit of mileage needed to make it a 5K.  It's nice to run in familiar territory...not a lot of thinking required beyond putting one foot after the other.

Because you don't get your medals until after you complete the run and upload your results to the race website, I brought some leis for our post-run picture:
We have this shot where we're all looking at the camera and smiling, and about twelve shots of us bending down, trying to get Abby to sit and face the camera.  We finally gave up so we could take the picture and go to breakfast.

After the run, we headed to Blue Baker, where we had some good food (and a cinnamon twist, my favorite), great conversation, and as it turns out, fun tunes.  Somehow the conversation evolved into music, and snippets of everything from mariachi music to 90s hip hop to Raffi (OK, that would be me - my explanation of why I was unfamiliar with the early 90s music...children) were played via iPhones.  I love that you can mention a song and pretty much find it instantly and play it (in my head, you still have to wait for that song to come on the radio and hope you happen to be listening at the right time).  As usual, it was another great morning spent with running friends!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Volunteering - Can I Get a Witness?

One of the things I didn't anticipate doing as a hospital volunteer (in the gift shop, no less), was being needed as a witness when patients signed legal documents.  The policy at the hospital is that no paid staff can be a witness because it's considered a conflict of interest.  OK, then - that leaves the volunteers.  Two witnesses are needed, and I've been called upon to help out on occasion.  It's a strange feeling - I'm more than happy to help, of course - but let's face it, no one is signing these forms for entertainment.  One time a patient going into surgery signed over power of attorney to his/her spouse (I feel like I need to be really general here due to HIPAA regulations).  The other volunteer and I were brought into the pre op room and tried to stay out of the way of the nurse as she did her preparations, while the coordinator explained what the patient was signing.  When we were finished, I wasn't quite sure what to say:  "good luck" sounded too flippant, and yet I couldn't come up with anything else.

Another witness situation was much more intense.  We were summoned to a patient's room to witness the signing of a DNR (do not resuscitate) for a patient who was being transferred to the hospice facility.  GULP.  A family member was signing the form, while their loved one lay nearby in the hospital bed.  I'm sure there were some tough decisions being made in that room, and again, while I was happy to provide whatever miniscule help I could to them during that process, it also felt like I was invading a very private situation.  It was a somber reminder to me that while we get to see a lot of happy moments downstairs in the gift shop, there's also some way more serious things going on in other parts of the hospital.

Switching gears, a lot of those happy moments involve new babies.  It's so fun when family and friends of someone who is upstairs, either in labor, or who has just given birth, come into the gift shop to celebrate-shop.  The joy of a new baby is contagious, and I love that I get to share it with our customers.  We sell everything - pink and blue bubble gum cigars, balloons, flowers, door announcements, stuffed animals, adorable baby clothing, tiny's all so cute!

I've had many memorable customers, but my latest involves a very muscular man who came into the gift shop holding a pink-lined infant carrier.  Big guy with a tiny baby...or so I thought.  He walked in and turned toward our baby section, so I didn't get to see the baby.  Well, that wouldn't do!  I walked over to him, said hello, and looked into the carrier, only to see two cans of Vienna sausages.  That's it - no baby - just food!
I asked him where the baby was, and he told me she was still upstairs - she'd just been born and he was bringing the carrier in to take her home.  Still doesn't explain the Vienna sausages, but I guess when your wife is in the hospital having a baby, you grab what you can to eat?  Maybe Vienna sausages are the new protein for gym dudes, I don't know.

Anyway, he told me that this was their fourth child but first girl.  He was looking for something to give her, and after answering his questions on a couple of items, I left him alone to browse.  You guys.  He must have spent at least 20 minutes going over everything, trying to choose just the right gift for his new baby girl.  Eventually he came to the check out counter with a soft little teddy bear that was wearing a pink t-shirt with the saying "Daddy's Little Princess" on it.  The sight of this giant muscle man holding this tiny teddy bear was so sweet! 
(thanks to Google search, I found the exact bear)

I rang up the bear while my co-volunteer wrapped it in a bag with lots of pink tissue paper.  As the man left, he said he'd bring the baby by when they left to so we could see her...which we didn't think would happen for a hot minute - let's face it, when you, as a new mom, are being discharged from the hospital, the last thing you want to do is swing by the gift shop to show some random strangers your baby - but it was sweet of him to want to do that, regardless.

I like volunteering at the hospital - it brings me back to a great time in my life, when I was a candy striper in high school.  I like that I can still help people, or at least make them laugh or smile, at least for a moment.  And I'm grateful that I have the free time available to spend doing this.