Monday, February 28, 2011

With dreams of a "normal" Spring...

Temps are sneaking up into the 80s during the day here, and aren't dropping low enough at night. Stepping outside to do laundry last night, I was cognizant of the non-change in the temperature between apartment and landing. Makes me will the electric bill next month, now that we're back to running the damn AC 24/7. Keeps me moving forward in my thinking.....February almost down, hitting 7 months to go.....I always act like it's time to get cracking, but now it'll start taking on a subjective urgency.

The landscape is doing the Spring thing, at least...the maples exploded in white blossoms last week, and my drive to work was streaked with magenta as the azaleas put on a show. That brings me up a bit, that and the new jeans I wore to work today...and the way my muscles feel after another beating at the Y yesterday. I'm glad I went back to weights; it's definitely necessary, and I swear it seems like my body builds muscle faster than it burns fat. I'm sure that's backwards, but hey, whatever gets my self-image rising, right?

Happy Monday, y'all!

Image from here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taking Stock

Wish I was there.

Outside: it's a GD FL travel brochure...75F, breezy...I'm wearing clothes too dark for this weather, nearly roasted in them going out to lunch.

Inside: Miraculously quiet...we'll see how long it lasts.

Wearing: fave black top, green pants, black flats...dreaming of jeans though. My work dress code is relaxed biz casual, which means you can get away with about everything except bare midriffs and wifebeaters. They even allow flip-flops now. I'll never feel comfortable wearing those to work (something about the noise they make.....and my age.....and my weird flat feet......and.....), but I need some more jeans, b/c one of my two precious pairs self-destructed last weekend from years of use and became cut-offs I can't wear in public.

I would look classy today, if I'd bothered to put foundation on...I'm wearing beautiful earrings and my hair's in a bun; but my Irish ruddy skin takes away from the effect, I fear...

"It wasn't vanity that made her act this way; it was self-respect."
~ Come a Stranger, Cynthia Voigt

Reading: Shifting away from Bob Greene's new book, because I'm pretty sure I can get what I need out of The Best Life Diet (which I already own) with one caveat: gotta actually read the damn thing all the way through and absorb its contents. I know, radical stuff...

Pulled out 206 Bones, because believe it or not, that's light reading for me. I got the Gardens Alive catalog in the mail yesterday, but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about the prospect of container gardening weighed against a rather squirrelly cat (during the seeding process), uncooperative neighborhood ducks (once the plants are on the porch), and an 8-month window of mass consolidation before exodus...still, if I don't at least try some herbs, the crave to put my hands in the dirt is going to send me 'round the bend! This weather is bringing the Barnheart front and center. I'm pricing small, portable greenhouse-type stuff...wish I could put electric fence out there >:) That'd show the little bastards...

Creating: I'm between projects. Downloaded a pile of free PDFs from Interweave and hope to snag Spring Knits and the latest Knitscene, as they both had projects that caught my eye. Will be casting on SOMETHING this weekend.

Going: nowhere's an errands and organizing weekend. Mom's visiting my godparents in Clearwater.

Weights at the Y tonight; cardio tomorrow. The PT exercises I did yesterday have my knees feeling creaky, but stronger; my spirit is buoyed by this discovery and I'll be adding more careful squats and step-leg lifts to my regimen. Thinking of adding 2 big changes to my morning routine: blow drying or styling my unruly mop and taking a walk...will keep all 6½ of you posted : )

Image from here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring has sprunk

I think the reason I call my car's color gold is because of Spring. It's a faded beige, but the big indicator of Spring in North Florida, pine pollen, has descended, and cars everywhere are covered in this golden dust. It's pretty and filthy at the same time.

Getting up to 80 today...I think I'm enjoying a bit of reverse seasonal affective disorder...the heat's really pissing me off.

Allergies are kicking up, there's a lot of coughing at work. I don't get hit badly enough to complain about it, thankfully. As a kid, I was allergic to grass and a handful of other stuff, but outgrew them all, I think.

However today, I'm dehydrated and my body feels as if I was run over by a life-sized Mighty Mo (my Lil Bro had the orange bulldozer...those things rocked!). Did too much at the Y yesterday. Not a bad thing; just means I'm a touch ornery today. And seriously achy.

I'm revving up to Monday slowly.

Caving on giving up dairy for now...I love it too much. I'll try more lowfat options, already drink 1% milk. Just not ready, I guess, and it seems silly to use almond milk in my coffee and then order a pizza at the end of the day.

I've been back in a rut, so working slowly back up to multiple Y days and better eating. Reading, and probably buying, Bob Greene's latest, as it's exactly what I need to unlock the reasons behind all my emotional eating.

The car's not going to need nearly as much work as we thought, so we indulged in a purchase or two: new printer with much cheaper refill cartridges, new toaster. Feels good to have the dough for stuff like that, but the rest is going in savings for the move.

Image from here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taking Stock

I'm forcing myself to get cheerful about the current weather change, because there's nothing to be gained from being grumpy about it. Spring, all 5 minutes of it, has arrived, I think, here in Florida. I say 5 minutes, because soon after these days come the days where you can't distinguish between it and summer unless you're looking at a calendar. I'm not out of my boots yet, but it's cranking up to mid-70s today and I was breaking into a sweat sitting in the car. Time to reorganize the closet...

Outside: Gorgeous, frickin' glorious, a goddamn postcard...

Inside: painful because it's so terrific outside...

Wearing: ancient blue sweater, pants, brown boots...

Reading: Michael Pollan's Food Rules, Structural Yoga, and my cookbooks, because we've been really lazy in the food department lately and it's got to stop...

Creating: almost done with hat #3, but it's vexing me...had to join new skein, and I usually just knot, rather than ply...but it's virgin wool and not holding the knots, so I'm going to have to add a sewn stitch in there somehow to be safe.....also creating move lists (FINALLY!) and starting some planning, like what kind of jobs I should try for, where money's coming from, etc.

Going: into the other boxy corner of the apartment to start culling...

Image from here. Anyone reading this from parts north, feel free to send me some snow :(

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dream vs. Reality

We all live inside our heads in various ways. I've been doing it since I was a tween. Back then, it was moving toward the ivy-covered walls of some institution of higher learning. I was going to take all the courses I wanted, because in my head, having to pay money to go to college wasn't an issue when I was a kid. No, we weren't rich; I just didn't clue into the fact that college cost serious dough back then, and that I (not my parents) would be somehow responsible for that debt. Thank goodness I'm finally shifting to the unschooling mentality a bit, because I still want to learn so damn much in this life, but I sure don't see having the dough to do it according to society's dictates.

Nowadays I'm inside my head about the move. Once I get us up there, my head will shift to finding our little patch of land. Between now and then is research; training myself in gardening, animal husbandry, finding our comfort zones in how we want to give back to the earth and feed ourselves. Pushing as much of reality into the dreams as possible, so I can have an accurate and learned grasp of what we're capable.

I just finished The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball. Really decent accounting of the hard-core, very-little-sleep, nose-to-grindstone work of a beginner farm. While I have zero desire to go as large as they did fresh out of the gate, it was still a clear picture of the serious work required every. single. day. to run a farm. Those of us who read Cold Antler with a wistful gleam in our eyes while toiling away on "city" work tend to bypass the fact that Jenna's happiness hinges in part, on rolling out of bed when it's still dark and postponing meals until the animals are fed.

It's important that reality overlap the dreams. This post made me laugh, while also understanding that it's completely literal and absolutely needs to be taken seriously.

Image from here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Thursday is past. It was quite an off day. Yesterday was better. My body is only mildly achy from last night's beating at the Y. I lifted weights for the first time in months and learned some things about my body.

Today I'll clean and organize. I have plans to hit the Y later. It's PT day; I'm going to have a trainer show me how to work the glute and hip machines so I don't make an ass of myself.

Check out Tammy Strobel's blog when you get a's an amazing resource for living simpler.

Today's going to be good.

Image from here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Character-Building Bull Fertilizer

Yea...right...tell that to my knees.

The morning started normally...throw together lunch, inhale breakfast, perk obscene amount of coffee. Kiss Husby goodbye. Set off on 12-minute interstate commute to work.

A quarter mile from my exit, the "Service Engine Soon" light kicks on, immediately followed by the engine starting to lag. Naturally, I was silently musing in my head at the time, about how the timing chain replacement needs to happen like, yesterday; so my first thought is that I've jinxed myself, even though I can tell from the feel of the engine that thankthegods, it's not that. No, likely I'd blown a belt, because we had repair techs warning us about those months ago. I pull off the shoulder and make it under the overpass (thankthegods #2, because it was rainy and gross out). Call AAA. Call Husby. Settle in to wait.

A solid hour and a half later (!).....tow truck was late because of other accidents...I won't digress by ranting about how you'd think in a state like Florida, its residents would be used to driving in the rain.....the tow truck guy finds me. He's cool, says not to worry about charges if we go over 5 miles and recommends a place cheaper than the one AAA originally was going to send me to.

You've heard me whine plenty of times about how my body has changed thanks to arthritis and obesity. I've always looked on it as an inconvenience, nothing more. Certainly not a disability. A temporary condition, to be sure. Still do. Nothing to see here...just another fat chick. But today's activities were yet another wake-up call, and I'm quite tired of learning things the hard way.

The tow truck was a standard semi with a flatbed. You don't realize how damn high those things are until you're climbing into one. Slid my bags onto the floor, which was at frickin' eye level, and managed to climb into the thing and avoid embarassment. I see the high handle, which could've made the job easier, after I'm seated, naturally.

Ten minutes later, we're at the auto repair shop. He hops out to touch base with the guys as to where to park my car in their crowded lot; I pick up my bags and open the door. Should've left bags on the floor and grabbed them after I'd negotiated my exit. I put my left foot down on the 2nd step, swing around, and my left knee gives out (it plain didn't have the strength to hold my weight, because I was out of balance). Wasn't expecting that, because it's the "good" knee. I slide out of the truck, landing hard on my right leg and getting the butt of my pants wet from the truck step. It was kind of like going bumpety-bump down the stairs, but vertically (and with all the grace of an elephant on roller skates). I strain my right knee and issue a verbal expletive.

Thankfully, no one sees this; I've been uncoordinated my whole life and am rather practiced at recovery (or at least, like to think I am). I shake it off, work the stiffness out of my knee, park myself in their waiting room, and they change out my belts. But in the back of my head, while I'm trying to distract myself by reading a library book, is that nagging voice...

I've done this to myself. There are parts of my body that I currently can't rely on, because of my weight and my arthritis. If I don't take very serious steps to lose the weight and retard the progression of the arthritis, I won't be able to run as I get older. Not run for pleasure, not run after children or animals; I won't be able to maintain the farm I ache for and dream of. I won't be able to live the quality of life that I'm setting out there for myself, if I don't make these changes now. Les can't help his disability; I CAN!

What's the big deal about running? With my body type, it may not even be realistic; but in my head, I've always been a runner. Which is roll-on-the-floor-hilarious, because I was never athletic, not in high school or college. But from the time I learned the cross-country courses in junior high gym class, my brain has pictured my body sailing over them with my long-legged stride. Running through woods and fields, running in neighborhoods. I'm a strong, beautiful, lean person, inside my head.

But of course, it's not even about the's about not having the strength you take for granted. I know I have a wealth of physical and mental endurance. The mental endurance got me through college and my time at AMC. And I've proved my physical endurance before, walking almost 15 miles in a day for the Avon 3-Day-that-turned-into-a-1-Day (yes, that was 8½ years ago...what's your point?).

But all the talking and planning and organizational capability in the world can't make up for not having the physical strength to achieve your dreams.

The only reason I'm not going to the Y tonight, is because my whole body aches from the fall I took. I'm spending the evening writing out my wellness plan.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Taking Stock

Blankety-blank photo editor isn't working for me.....

Wednesday, glorious Wednesday! Weather still sunny and cool. Mood has turned, thank goodness! Last week or so have been bleh, but today I'm back and rarin' to go. Updated most of my other blogs, and the brainpan is on overdrive. Looking forward to Y's been too long...

Outside: Mostly sunny, 50s...I can't understand how Yankees can be tired of winter, but then I start really thinking/remembering about what it's like to live in the white stuff, and I empathize.

Inside: Cool, sterile, boring...

Wearing: the winter pullover, black pants, black's in a bun.

Structural Yoga

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

The World Beneath

A Nation of Farmers

Food Rules

...and some other neat stuff, and just finished Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) ... an absolutely delightful guilty pleasure!

Creating: Lists, lists, and more lists as my brain starts really negotiating what's needed to pull off the move this year...oh, and I'm knitting that wool hat and some new scarves too...

Going: To Goodwill, to recycling center, maybe to Chamblin's...chippingchipping away at the apartment...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Just peeking over the side today. Not much to report. Weather sunny and cold, so I'm happy. Work is a bear. So's today's image :) My brain is filled with thoughts of the move....prayers that my stock options continue to climb, because whatever I pull from those means less money being pulled from the 401(k) to finance the move......what I'm going to do for a badly we need to keep downsizing in the apartment.....the evenings get away from me so damn easily.....tonight already feels like a wash, because I'll hit the Y after work and then do laundry.......but that doesn't mean I can't hit the closet or a box in between. Really need to stay the hell off the computer in the evenings...

Les still pitching in when he can....I almost want to cry with relief.

I'm fighting yeast and caffeine withdrawal headaches with yogurt and Advil. Eating habits about half and half these days, good and bad. Sticking to biking at Y for now and talking myself back into swimming.

The tax return came already; most of it went right into savings until we get off our butts and take the car in for service.

Image from here.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Taking Stock

Wish I was there :)

Outside: rain, rain, and more's quite weird how Floridians get conditioned to weather at particular times of the year...feels very strange having rain like this when it's not hurricane season. Perhaps the gods are getting me used to the idea of real seasons again, so NC won't be a shock.

Inside/Wearing: chilly...glad I'm wearing a sweater. My winter uniform consists of pullover sweaters and slacks or jeans, and I've barely been out of my boots since buying them this year. They probably make me look a little dumpy, but they're really too comfy for me to give a damn.

Creating: Started another hat with Soulemama's pattern (third time's the charm?), using worsted virgin wool. Learning that I need to modify hat patterns to fit my oversized head...I'll be adding several rows to her pattern before starting the crown this time.

Reading: oh, it's a mix...discovered Jon Katz and Sharon Astyk this week, and I want to transpose a healthy amount of Integrative Nutrition before giving it back next week, because we're watching pennies again so I'm feeling too frugal to buy it.

Going: Some friends are having a get-together again, bring your yarn and treats, on Saturday...then more cleaning/organizing on Sunday.

Image from here.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Brain meandering...

Removing gluten and dairy from my diet would be a lot easier if I wasn't addicted to oh, bread, cookies, pie, cake, ice cream, milk, most forms of cheese, milk chocolate...did I mention bread? oh, I 'bout milk?

Thankfully, this isn't for some urgent health reason...well, unless you count the fact that your average medical doctor would consider me a heart attack waiting to happen, if my heart hadn't already gotten the clean bill (though there's also enough material in my head for a post about how my superstitious nature is not looking forward to 42, because that was the year of my dad's first aortic dissection...). But I outgrew my milk allergy approximately 30 years ago, and I don't have celiac. My candida issues aren't even really chronic. I'm recognizing though, where I overeat and how my body feels after I eat those foods, and others (we won't go into the Greek tragedy that is an Irish girl realizing she really shouldn't eat white potatoes, like ever...or at least until her butt stops resembling a sack of them...). And I'm recognizing that if I ever want to lose this weight, then significant change needs to occur in my food lifestyle (trying not to call it a diet, because that word comes with the automatic failure button attached).

Sidebar: is it even possible/realistic/fair for women to have to combat eating lousy on the first day of the monthly fun? Isn't that the one day that women should be able to toss aside convention and let themselves do whatever the hell they want to, because the alternatives involve deprivation, epic mood swings, plotting revenge on imaginary enemies, and the fetal position....? I realize I just made the argument for women never making it into the Oval Office, but it can't be endocrine system is writing this post. And yes, I realize bad foods may contribute to the symptoms of PMS...just don't EVEN try to convince me of that on day to the hand.....moving on.....

I'm studying my exercise options this week as well. I want to spend several days a week at the Y, but I'm also realizing that pigeonholing my workouts into mainly cardio could be making my knee worse. So I'm studying alternative therapies, my old PT exercises, and yoga, while also looking at the weight-training regimen I started out with. I hope to blend all these activities into a fitness plan.

I think this is a long way around my dreaming up a wellness plan for this year (thanks to Melinda for the jump-start). I have the big goals...I see myself at 175# again. I'd love to do another 2 or 3 day walk for breast cancer and actually complete the blasted thing (I've said before what a twisted blessing and disappointment it was that the NY 2002 3-Day was shafted after the first day...I was nowhere near in shape for the darn thing). I'd love to bike places instead of drive. I have a full life planned, either with children, animals, or both, and I'll need to be healthy and fit to keep up with them. But I continue to not lose weight, because I'm not eating properly; and I'm recognizing that by setting smaller goals and keeping them, I'll develop the much-needed patience with myself to stay the hell off the scale and just concentrate on getting healthy.

Image from here.