Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taking Stock

a.k.a.: how the hell's it Wednesday already?!

Outside: Mostly cloudy...blessed relief from the brutal bathing the day star provides...can feel my reverse-seasonal-affective-disorder kicking in, and the stirrings of autumn somewhere beneath my bosom...

Inside: if my coworker across the way doesn't stop snorting through his nose every half hour, I'm going to shove nickels up his nostrils...

Wearing: black highwaters, navy top under blue and green paisley blouse, om earrings and mala beads...

Creating: not enough this week, plenty of ideas...tomato sauce if the tomatoes are still good, hoping to make progress on 2nd MIL sock...gotta start watching our dough, but I'd love to invest in some Ball freezer "jars"...

Going: to the flicks with Mom this weekend to catch Eat Pray Love...maybe to the doggie parade at the Arts Market, or maybe there just to produce the Y tonight to swim...

Reading: still knee-deep in Three Pillars of Zen...pulled out an old Tricycle mag...indulging in the complete fluff that is the September monster issue of Vogue...

Hoping: I can remain centered, get some stuff accomplished...and be kind to myself when not enough "stuff" gets accomplished :)

Monday, August 23, 2010


Yes, my inlaws' computer is new and shiny and fast, but thanks to the requirements of keeping a quite-manipulative-and-currently-in-a-contradictory-phase 4-year-old occupied, I never even got near the sucker.

Probably not a bad thing. But we're home (aahhhhhhh...) and settling in and I decide to hop onto the silly, brain-sucking box to get it out of the way, so I can chill the rest of the evening, unpack, watch an old House, and do something with my nails, which were quite neglected on this very sweaty weekend (I am officially tired of August and if it doesn't become September soon and bring with it at least a 10-degree drop in temperatures, I'm going to pitch a hissy)...

I go to jump on Daily Mile to log my wimpy weekend workouts (4 hours of power shopping with MIL, 2 days of running after small person while sweating more than I drank), and I can't log into Facebook. Hmm...must be a Daily Mile glitch. So I go to log onto Facebook...and it's down.

::GASP!!:: WTF!?!?! Facebook's NEVER down! I've got farms to plow and peeps to check in on and it's been 3 days and.....yeah, I need a bigger break from the computer, huh?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday musings

I swear, pictures next week!

Gotta love automated billing...QC sits next to Collections on my floor, and the phone conversations we overhear border on surreal at times...calling to collect on a company when it's obvious in the first minutes of the phone call that the client has completely forgotten they ever purchased a website, much less been paying for it for years..."yes, sir, you purchased the site back in February of 2005..."

And we wonder why the economy is in a slump...maybe we need to stop blaming the government and focus on the rocket scientists running the businesses?

On a similar tangent, I'm sending prayers out to my quiet, unassuming neighbor, whose name I didn't even know til this week...we've lived in our apartment complex for 12 years now, and for most of those, our neighbor across the front porch landing has been this quiet, overweight, my-ageish/probably a little older than me woman who lived alone and kept to herself. I imagined her occupation as something in nursing or caregiving, but really have no clue what she does for a living...her hours weren't regular. So haven't seen her for a couple of days, but didn't think anything of it. Last night I got home and the eviction notices from the cops and local court were stuck to her door. I hope she's OK, and I thank the gods for whatever presence of mind keeps me employed with a running car and a roof over our heads, because sometimes that really is all it comes down to...

Have a good weekend, y'all! Be good to yourselves!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Thursday stuff

I'm not wearing my beads today, because the stain on them has been weeping onto my skin and I don't want to mess up the nice white shirt I'm wearing ... which means instead of being attached to the material possession of the beads, I'm too attached to the shirt. Finding a balance with this buddhism stuff is a head-scratcher...

My hair likes my new shampoo. Just wish this windfall hadn't been purchased at the evil big-box store.

If you can spare a buck or three and know what Barnheart feels like, please visit Cold Antler to find out how to donate to Heartsong Farms, or check out Crystal's etsy shop. I can't imagine being foreclosed on with 5 kids; my head would explode. Looking forward to grabbing her apron pattern when I get paid tomorrow.

Did a half hour on the treadmill last night...wanted to swim today, but the pool's pretty crowded til like 7 p.m., and I'm thinking that getting things ready for SC will put my head in a better place. I've taken to doing laundry before we go rather than lugging it up there, and that helps my scattyness too.

The inlaws upgraded to a fresh computer with DSL, so I might actually get computer time this weekend. Normally I go completely offline, because they were still using AOL dial-up (GAH!) if they'd just build a Starbucks on their side of town, I'd be in the pink...Aiken has 1 Starbucks, and it's buried in the local Kroger across town. I know! How do those people live?!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Taking Stock

Outside: not worth discussing...same old sauna...I'm breaking out the fall colors in my wardrobe September 1st, heat be damned!

Inside: just had a tour group in our aisle, wonder if they're from the merger company... the conference rooms have been full lately, I'm betting it's integration meetings...

Wearing: cuffed jeans (with belt!), mocs, comfy purple and green pinstriped blouse (side note: recognizing that thinking that my mala beads are purty smacks of attachment to material possession...gotta work on that)

Creating: cuff on 2nd MIL sock by Friday, because I don't want to bring that project to SC (since we're visiting the person I'm giving it to), but I want to be up to working the pattern when we get back...also trying my hand at being present, which I see as creating a new way of being...meditated up to first spacer on beads last night with TV on in background and found the bead counting helped my concentration on the task...

Going: home for lunch to give Husby car for doctor's appointment...going to SC on Friday after work, staying til Monday lunchtime...

Reading: Being Upright by Reb Anderson and The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau...also hanging onto Ashley English's Keeping Chickens and Canning & Preserving, because I can't bear to give them back to the library until I own them outright...

Hoping: the family drama stays at a low boil this weekend, that I get pinches of time away to hang with nature, that it doesn't rain (because their house is positively claustrophobic when you're stuck inside it), and that everyone has nice birthdays while we're there, not necessarily in that order...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Actually, THIS should be the question of faith post...

So I figured shifting from hedonism to buddhism would have a few speed bumps, but something funny happened at lunch that helped me stay present and do right by me. We won't delve deeply into what was eaten at lunch, because it was total crap and still an area requiring I be more present...

So I headed out to grab something, with the frame of mind that I was going to pull $20 and hit McD's (::sigh:: I know, OK, believe me, I'm stopping) and Starbucks, which I've been craving since oh, sometime yesterday afternoon. I was pulling cash, because then I could pay cash and it wouldn't show up on the bank statement that I'd indulged in Starbucks. Yes, I realize that's pathetic...I've done it a few times before and it falls under the rationalization of I-work-hard-all-day-so-I-deserve-it-since-my-pain-management-case-of-a-husband-can't-do-much-more-than-watch-Military-Channel-and-perform-gravity-tests-on-our-couch.

That's really not me being bitter. But we're kind of hedonists, and I do work hard, so I can usually talk myself into the occasional indulgence. But the way I was going about it was certainly butting against the Eightfold Path (right intention, right discipline, right effort, take your pick), and Starbucks itself is definitely classified under sensual misconduct, the third precept. Sure, in Western culture, we can rationalize a little indulgence now and then (read: I know better than to try and give up Starbucks, cold turkey), but I'm also a person who, when imbibing a fresh breve latte or savoring the kick of an iced mocha, am inclined to think to myself, "oooohhhh, yeah, that's the stuff..." and well, that combined with the caffeine could definitely fall under sensual misconduct (heck, it's borderline fifth precept...substances which cause intoxication).

However, when I got to the bank I discovered that the drive-thru ATM was shut down, had a guy performing maintenance on it. Undaunted, I pulled into a parking space and got out to use the ATM on the side of the building, only to discover that that ATM was also down for maintenance.

I looked at the mala around my wrist, chuckled to myself, and the last 3 paragraphs went through my head as I grabbed lunch with my card, bypassed the Starbucks, and got my butt back to work. Looking forward to swimming at the Y tonight. 

Question of faith

So am I a total dilletante if I enjoy wearing these, not just because they help me maintain being present throughout my day and recognize when my brain needs a timeout, but also because I think they're really purty?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Full of hope Monday

endorphin: n, any of a group of endogenous peptides (as enkephalin) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some pharmacological effects (as pain relief) like those of opiates.

from Merriam-Webster

In case you were wondering, jogging is possible even if you're 100 pounds overweight with arthritic knees. I used to think that the selective editing on The Biggest Loser was borderline unrealistic because such large people were jogging on the treadmills. Turns out if your body is warmed up enough and the motivation's there, anything's possible. I know I have to be really careful with my knees...I certainly wasn't breaking any records with my light jogging on the cool-down Saturday at the Y, but I was struck by how EASY it felt...I wasn't laboring for breath, my lower body wasn't screaming...and the exquisite endorphins that followed me out to the parking lot and stuck around all evening as I read my books and finished one MIL sock...I'm really quite happy lately.

Random thought: clothes fit so comfortably when you wear a belt. Can't believe I forgot that, but weight gain introduces elastic waist pants onto the scene and belts fall to the really has been about 10 years since a belt was part of my wardrobe. My self-image is getting a nice jolt from wearing one again.

This week will fly by, but I hope to get some more pictures in before we head north...celebrating a couple of birthdays at Les's folks in SC this coming weekend. Also hoping to hit Hitchcock Woods while I'm there, avoid family strife, play with my niece, and meditate when I can't say what I'm thinking. Jumping into Buddhism with both feet, reading my books and trying to find what speaks to me loudest...or should I say quietest...and hitting the Y Tuesday through Thursday. Tonight I'm making pizza from scratch, creating at least one other meal to get us through the week, and cleaning where needed so the rest of the week will run smoothly and my head won't be addled :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

On a less busy week, there might be pictures...

Yeah, I know, talking out of my butt again...

Learned something about air mattresses this week...they're really only comfortable when you're so burned-out-ragged tired that you could basically sleep standing up if necessary (it's why they're so perfect for outdoor camping). Unfortunately, this was not the case on Wednesday night, so I crashed around midnight at Mom's place, woke up at least every hour (or every time I moved on the frickin' thing), and at 4:23 a.m., gave up and got dressed, numb from lack of sleep. We left on time and got to the beach hospital with time to spare, so thank gods, I was able to frequent the local Starbucks before taking Mom to her procedure. Didn't have to wait too long while they were taking care of her, but realized too, that rote activities such as reading or knitting (of which I'd brought plenty of both), aren't the best ways to stay awake on barely 4 hours of shuteye. I wasn't the only one struggling...there was at least one snorer in the waiting room.

They gave Mom an adequate amount of goofy juice, so she was feeling no pain afterward...we hit Panera for breakfast and then headed back to her place for naps. Sweet blessed relief, and by some miracle, the dog didn't nag me for playtime...she curled up at my feet and we slept for at least 2½ hours. Woke up feeling better, if not refreshed, and we grabbed dinner early at Chipotle (man, that place is addicting!). I offered to stay the night again Thursday, and my silly mommy couldn't hide her relief...she hadn't wanted to ask, but the pain was getting decent, even with a little medicinal help, and the dog ain't the most reliable critter in the housetraining department. So I crashed (on the couch...narrow, but MUCH better) last night. Les is pinch hitting today because I had to get back to work.

Yup, this blog's still a journal...ah well...

This weekend, hopefully getting to the Y, because I've missed 2 days in a row and I'm noticing the difference...Mom wants to see "Eat Pray Love" and I'll join her for that if she's up to it...I can tell that this weekend will go by quickly, and next weekend, we'll be in SC, so to keep myself from going postal about things not getting accomplished, I'm going to concentrate on lists: wish lists, to-do lists, budgeting, looking at the apartment and the next couple of months.

Down to the foot on MIL sock, have a pile of inches of stockinette to look forward to on the cardi, and am playing with the sleeve on the pullover for a change...SO nice to be digging into the UFOs. Reading Being Upright and the Three Pillars of Zen and looking forward to sitting zazen this weekend...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planning Wednesday

Increased my Paxil back to the prescribed amount, just for kicks, and that combined with the exercise seem to be settling my brain nicely. I'm more focused and not quite so scattered (yes, they can be two different things), and that's a relief with the extra activity I'm injecting into my daily sched. I'm learning very quickly that it's time to start making meals on the weekends to freeze, if I'm going to continue exercising right after work.

I'm waking up in a good mood. Underneath all the flab, I feel strong. There's even the beginnings of definition in my legs, which is almost laughable...since I'm so heavy, it takes a discerning eye to catch it, but I know my body's changing for the better, and that feeling sends me to the friggin' moon. Even the fact that the workouts have been harder the last couple of days doesn't deter me, because I know it's just my body getting used to the activity...breaking down and building up again. Remember that phrase from gym class?

I'm taking tomorrow off work to help my mom...she's having a rather yucky test performed on her back and needs someone close for the next day or two. Will also be taking this time to organize my household notebook, work on our budget, and get some knitting in. Since I'm not working out the next day or two, I'll be watching what I eat more carefully...I haven't been as diligent on my diet yet, been telling myself that I could keep eating like normal, since I've been on a plateau for years now, and will still lose weight since I'm finally actually burning calories. Yeah, I know it's a flawed train of it's about time to look more carefully at what's going into the body too, not just what I'm burning.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Feast or famine

The shots that have caught my eye of late...

Kind of got a thing for clouds...wonder if I'll miss having so much sky when we finally move northish. Pretty sure the hills and temperate climate will more than make up for it.

Someday I'll remember pictures before posting...

Today ain't it.

Swimming is a VERY sneaky workout. Feels completely easy on your body while you're doing it. Saturday morning, I hit the Y and pulled off 20 laps. Admittedly, it's a junior Olympic pool (half the size of full Olympic - 25 meters), and I was gasping for breath after each lap at first...but the swimming itself was like riding a bike. I was back in college, in that class I took for the sheer hell of it because I had the free time that year. I grew up not knowing much beyond regular Australian crawl...the college course added side stroke, back stroke, breast stroke, and diving to my repertoire...yes, I didn't dive until I was in my 20s. Can't dive at the Y, as it's strictly a lap pool, but I plowed through those 20 laps and each one got a little easier as I remembered how to regulate my breathing and concentrate on the economy of my movement.

Sunday I had hoped to tuck into the dining room a bit more...instead I could barely move my arms. Holy crap, the muscles that worked on that swim!

I feel beyond fantastic though, and I'm wearing a belt for the first time in about 10 years, to hold up my pants, so things are definitely changing for the better. I'm creating a schedule for myself for working out and sticking to it. I still need to make modifications to my diet, but I've already become much more cognizant of what goes into my body, so it's more about controlling emotional eating.

So the rest of this weekend was for resting. I knit on the MIL socks, my cardi, and my pullover, read a little...I'm in the middle of Farmer Boy (my fave of the Little House books), which I'm hoping will put me in the mood for Autumn and canning and making things from scratch.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Random ... and TGIWeekend!

Gonzo: Whoa...that was spooky.
Rizzo: Spooky?! I'm somewhere between bed wetting and a near-death experience!
~ Muppet Treasure Island

Not sure why I have that on the brain...except that there are 2 Muppet TI songs on my iPod. Love that little device. Tomorrow I'm getting my iTunes fixed...watched Life as a House last night, had a good cry, and realized I want the entire well as almost everything from the movie Rent, several current hip-hop selections, and a handful of free e-books. Need to catch up on my Garrison Keillor too...

Kurt: "Why do I have to be attracted to the dumb jock type? I mean, he's cheating off someone who thinks the square root of 4 is rainbows..."
~ Glee

My company solidified a rather large merger this week. Increases our business substantially and puts us seriously in debt. Meanwhile, work has almost completely dried up in the last month, and they have Career Opportunity signs out on the streets. Maybe I'm not meant to understand big business, but I'm getting a little worried again. I'd be up a serious creek without locomotion if I lost my job here. It's time to do some budgeting and projecting for the rest of the year.

Hitting farmer's market with Mom tomorrow, making an effort to hit the Y both days this weekend...otherwise, working on the house. Finally looking at knitting patterns again...may purchase the new issue of Knitcircus, it's a goldmine...also there's a pretty coat in Twist Collective I have my eye on. Feels really good to be interested in making stuff again :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Taking Stock

Outside: dog days...pant, pant, pant.....heat index above 100F...not enough rain...been eating lunch at my

Inside: too bright, makes my eyesight funny. This building has serious natural light, and yet they insist on full fluorescent lighting on top of it...grr...

Wearing: adorable beige highwaters with little embroidered lemons all over them, lemon yellow T, white blouse over it, black flats that look brown.

Creating: been a slow week, so far...turned the heel on the MIL sock, made Hamburger Helper last night :)

Going: to SC in 3 weeks...2 weekends to accomplish more "stuff"...

Reading: plowed through Poisonwood, at loose ends again. Time for another trip to the library soon. Skimmed Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up last night...excellent sock book, I'd like to own it and I don't even knit socks from the toe up yet...


Was thinking of things for this category, and couldn't get anything to fit, because the things I'm hoping for right now are entirely up to me...they're within my control, so I shouldn't be hoping about them, I should just be doing them. I want to continue feeling good about myself. I want to get to the Y a couple of times a week. I want to continue organizing and purging the apartment. I want to continue studying Buddhism, and recognize the good of living in the present.

Time to get started.

Monday, August 02, 2010

A good weekend...or, gone domesticated!

A productive weekend, thank goodness! We had the opportunity to travel to SC to celebrate Husby's grandmother's 90th in a family bash, or to truck down to the Tampa area to join my college buds in a long-awaited reunion. We blew off both opportunities (traveling really shreds Les, and it's not even technically Grandma's birthday for another month), and while I wish I could've gone to see my guys (from college), I'm also quite happy we stayed put. We simply don't have the dough to go gallavanting, and I feel so good about the small steps I made getting organized instead.

Honestly, it was a decision of knowing that the money I would be spending on a hotel room down in Tampa needed to be spent elsewhere. Last Friday the 23rd, I was innocently lolling around on my bed, talking on the phone with Lil Sis, when I dropped my right knee down and felt something give. The pain was so sharp and immediate, it made me lightheaded. I got off the phone with her and tried to straighten out my knee. No dice. I ever-so-carefully tried inching it outward by degrees and after a couple of minutes, it caught properly and straightened out. Took Advil (and a pinch of a Husby happy pill) and iced it the rest of the night.

I've never had a wake-up call affect me like that, but that's exactly what it was. I'm pretty sure it was a minor dislocation of my kneecap (based on my talks with my orthopedist a couple of years back about where my weaknesses were in that joint). I marched, well, limped, to the local YMCA the next day and signed my big ass up. Luckily, my company has a partnership with them, and the fees are affordable for just me. Poor Husby is quite jealous, but we just can't afford a family membership right now. My knee recovered within 24 hours, but it's brought home to me how weak my joints have gotten, where my arthritis issues are, and where I most need to work my body. I also started taking glucosamine-chondroitin supplements, and surprisingly, I'm already noticing a difference. Still working on making the Y a habit, but I was a serious hormone hostage last week...I'll do better this week.

So, can ya tell how happy I'll be when we have a) our own washer and dryer in our domicile, and b) a backyard clothesline? Saturday dawned with me hoofing it to Mom's to take advantage of her laundry facilities. It's so helpful having her so close, but I also don't mind paying for it sometimes and using the community washers at my complex, because at least that way I can get stuff done at home while I'm washing. By some miracle, I've never had anything stolen (in 12 years of residing at this complex), even though I leave stuff there....I just don't let it go far past the time when they're done. Probably means I'm due for a theft though, and I should go knock on wood... :)

Believe it or not, that bookcase shot is an improvement. That whole area still needs a lot of work, obviously, but I was most concerned on Sunday with reacquainting myself with what-all we have over there. Holy crap, the sheer number of books we own and don't want to part with is enough to make me nutty. I went into that area to clear off the table, and it ended up being the only area that didn't get touched. But I went through the boxes in that area, recycled a serious pile of paper, and got the most current Goodwill down to the car. Also moved the stereo back out there, which is a relief, as it's been taking up the whole top of my bedroom dresser for more than a year now, and we just don't listen to it enough to justify its placement in the bedroom. Heck, thanks to iTunes, the thing's practically a relic (dual cassettes, baby!), but still functions fine, so I moved it to the bookcase and got my primping station back. That gorgeous jewelry box (below) is a hand-me-down from Lil Sis; we traded at Christmastime, because she needed something smaller and I needed something bigger. Absolutely love the sucker, and now it's exactly at the right spot for putting on earrings in the mornings.

And apparently I'm an ace at gardening when I plant something, place a shade over it, and leave it the hell alone. My first peppers and tomatoes have died, as have the original basil and parsley, pitiful victims of overwatering. But after the ducks finally vacated the premises, I started a fresh tomato plant (with 2-year-old seed, even), as well as fresh basil, rosemary, and marjoram. I think the rosemary was a casualty of the ducks trying to nest in that big pot right after the last egg hatch, but when I smoothed out the soil, watered it only occasionally (since the rainy season is finally upon us), and left the screen door over the whole mess, viola! The tomato is the small pot, and the basil is coming up like gangbusters. I really should thin it, so it doesn't choke itself out...maybe I'll try my hand at some homemade pesto this coming weekend!


I'm in a really good place right now :)

I'm still young :)

"Do you remember
When you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?"

~ I Was a Teenage Anarchist by Against Me!

I'm there now. It's a good feeling.

Pictures after Y tonight. It was a good weekend. Happy Monday, y'all!