Saturday, December 1, 2007

Setbacks, Cravings, Short Days, et al

I didn't intend for it to be this long between posts on my blog. I've thought many times the past several weeks about posting and just didn't get around to it. So let's far as the weight loss battle, I've lost a few more pounds since I last reported, but my rate of progress from several weeks ago has decreased. Going to Standard Time 4 weeks ago meant I could no longer walk after work from the ferry dock to my car a mile and a half away like I had been doing; too dark and dangerous. To compensate for this, I should instead be getting on my stepper for at least 20 minutes each evening, but I haven't done that. I have continued to do the walk to the dock on weekday mornings and will continue to unless the weather just gets too ugly. The sun is up (or at least close to up) by the time I park at 7:25-ish, so the only thing that will stop me is snow and ice.

Speaking of which, we have some today, over an inch so far. The Pierce County Crochet meeting was today, and I was thankful it ended early enough that I was able to drive home before it got dark. I would ordinarily go to that meeting with Dianne, but she and Margaret had one of their annual craft fairs today. Before the meeting, I stopped at JoAnn's in Tacoma and bought my first knitting loom, the small 10" rectangular variety, along with a small instruction/pattern booklet. Crochet will always be my passion and love, and needle knitting never will be even if I ever learn the basics. But looming is something I wanted to try since reading about it in a Crafter's Choice ad last month. I don't know if I will try it this month or keep plugging away at rewriting my recipes on the 4 x 6" cards and scanning them all on my nifty new Canon MP160 printer/scanner. But I'll report here on how it went after I do try it! The round loom is supposed to be a bit more versatile, but it recommends bulky yarn or 2 strands worked together, and I don't like working with something that bulky. So I thought I would start with the small rectangle loom that calls for standard worsted weight yarn, the weight of all my favorite yarns.

I also need to report that a few weeks ago, I got two sampler ghans assembled that I've wanted to get done for months. The first one consists of 20 12-inch squares arranged 4 x 5 squares, in various shades of burgundy, greens and beige/cream. Four or five were made by me and the others were obtained in online exchanges. The second is my magnificent "friends and family" ghan consisting of 56 8" squares that are all made from the following three yarns: Bernat Berella in soft peach and soft forest (a dusty pale green) and Bernat Mardi Gras in (dark) green. 16 of the squares were made by me and the other 40 were made by Dianne; her daughters Becky, Lisa and April; her mom Margaret and April's friend Shiloh. We each selected the yarn(s) we wanted and each of us made 6 or 7 squares for each of the others. My ghan is very beautiful and is being displayed in our living room. I plan to take pics of it as soon as I learn to use my new Nikon Coolpix digital camera, which I plan to do before the end of this year.

Another reason I have not made more progress on my weight loss the past few weeks does have to do with my cravings. When we had our housewarming, I was reintroduced to the combination of salty, crunchy pretzels or Triscuits combined with creamy, tangy dip. The combination, when that readily available, is too hard for me to resist. I've also eaten the whole dang box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in one evening a couple of times, which is ridiculous and I know better. I've only done it a couple of times because I absolutely have NO intention to undo the good I have done, with 19 pounds gone so far - which, while not outstanding for four months, is still forward progress. Yet, I need to do almost twice as well in the coming months in order to meet my original goal. That may not happen, especially with winter coming. But as long as I continue to go forward, even slowly, and not gain in December with all the goodies that abound, then I need to not beat myself up if I haven't reached my goal by April. It's not impossible, but I need to get back on track in short order. Hopefully I can report next time I post here that this will be the case.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Housewarming, and Three New Things I Love

I haven't gotten around to posting to my new blog lately, so thought I would now even though it's 11:48 p.m. and I'm getting sleepy. I just had a rare 3-day weekend and don't want it to end, even though it pretty much has ended. It doesn't feel like I had a 3-day weekend, since I was busy preparing for our looooong-awaited housewarming yesterday on the 13th, then actually had the housewarming, and spent today pretty much wiped out and trying to recover. (I also worked hard to complete my peach "sand dollar" ghan before people came over; it turned out beautifully and I hope to have a pic of it on my site soon.) I also haven't walked long-distance since Thursday all weekend, which is the first time since the end of July I missed walking for more than one day. And I've been snacking on dip, chips and crackers left over from the housewarming, as the relatively few people who came didn't eat much. So I will be surprised if I lost any weight at all this past week when I get weighed in tomorrow night at TOPS. I most likely will have a small gain. As of last Mon., had lost around 16 pounds, and fully plan to continue to press forward and get this weight OFF. So this is just a small temporary setback. (I don't want to say much about work on a public online blog, but it's been especially stressful the past two weeks, which didn't help the urge to munch this weekend.....) Everyone who did come loved our home and was very happy for us that we finally have a nice place to live in (now to pay for it in our lifetime!).

Three things I love that I've wanted to mention here -- one being very new, one being a couple years old, and one being more like 14 years old, but all being new to ME. I'll start with the one I discovered first, a few weeks ago. We have Showtime and The Movie Channel on our cable system, at least till the end of the year, on a 3-month trial. I doubt we will renew them; too expensive, but it's been fun having the extra selection of movies. I had never seen "Elizabethtown" before (we have Netflix but somehow missed renting this one) and now have watched it each time Showtime has repeated it the past few weeks. It is the story of a young man who experiences a monumental job failure followed by a family tragedy, and has a chance encounter with a young woman who is unphased by both. It is a touching combination of family reunion, romance, travelogue, and just the right timing altering a situation that seemed hopeless. It has become my 2nd favorite movie of this decade, topped only by "The Majestic" and, as with that movie, I will never tire of it.

The next delightful surprise was being sent a complimentary issue that I did not request of Cooks Illustrated magazine. I looked at it and it was SO skinny (only about 32 pages) and I thought, what the heck! Well, it contains NO ads whatsoever and to my amazement, unlike every other magazine where I rip out certain stories or items I want to keep and toss the rest, this entire little skinny magazine is a keeper. NO filler whatsoever; everything in it is valuable. Each issue is literally like a little mini-cooking encyclopedia! They take classic dishes anyone would want to make such as lasagna, peach cobbler, etc. and explain to you in plain English what ingredients and techniques you need to use to make the recipe great and WHY these ingredients and techniques make the difference. It also contains Consumer Reports types of articles where they compare different implements, ingredients, etc. and tell you which is the best and WHY. For instance, in this issue they compared baking pans and explained why a $9 pan is vastly superior to a $95 pan! I told my hubby about my amazement with this magazine. He was already familiar with it and had just acquired a 5-year supply someone was giving away on Freecycle! I have not had a chance to look through them yet but sure look forward to doing so. I just found out this weekend that this little gem of a magazine actually originated in '93, since I acquired the first-ever issue on eBay today! Am amazed no one bid against me, but it could be most other people also haven't discovered it. Hopefully more people will, because it just doesn't compare to any other cooking magazine.

The last new thing I love is a TV show that just premiered on ABC less than two weeks ago. I may not have watched it except that I saw one of its stars discussing it with Jay Leno the night before and was intrigued. I can usually tell with new network shows in the first few minutes if I want to keep watching it or not. This one started out in an unexpected manner, with a British man narrating in the background as if it were a fairytale. It was just weird enough to keep me tuned in to see how it would progress. It didn't take long before I realized I was hooked. "Pushing Daisies" is original, innovative, funny, entertaining, offbeat, whimsical, unexpected, addictive, and delightful. The lead character, Ned (a piemaker who works in a pie-shaped diner called "The Pie Hole"), discovered as a child that he has a special power whereby if he touches a "dead thing" (person or animal), it becomes alive, BUT if he touches it again, it stays dead forever. Also, if he keeps something alive for more than a minute, someone else in close proximity dies instead. 20 years later, he discovered his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Charles ("Chuck") had been murdered. He seeks her out and brings her back to life. They are now in love and always together, but they can never touch or she will die. They use his special power to solve crimes by his bringing a murdered person back to life and asking who killed them. But because he only has a minute before making them dead again, it is never enough to get any more than a cryptic clue. And it all takes place with the British man narrating in the background. It is just so funny, different and entertaining. I just love it and hope it will get the attention it deserves to stick around!

Well, I need to log off for now and reluctantly bring my weekend to an end, but wanted to first share these three new unexpected pleasures!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sloooooow Progress, But Progress......

I had mentioned last time how discouraging it was to have gone to TOPS a couple weeks ago and had their scale show no weight change, when my home scale clearly showed otherwise. But the following week, a week ago Monday, made up for it. This time it showed a loss of 3.75 pounds and I was tied for top loss of the week in the chapter! I sure wasn't expecting that. I got a basket with goodies such as 3 mini-bags of popcorn, 2 servings of Crystal Light, a can of tuna, 2 pieces of fruit and some change (you don't keep the basket, just what's in it). This week, I only lost a half-pound, which was disappointing considering I have literally been walking an extra 3 to 4 miles every day, including weekend days. But Rex did grill mushroom and swiss burgers one day, which are incredible but not exactly low-cal, and Dianne and I were together over the weekend and had a big appetizer platter at Applebee's for lunch on Sat.; not exactly low-cal either. So, though I have been doing good, I need to do even better. Rex has been very encouraging about all the walking I have been doing, and I WILL at long last lose this weight not just for myself and my health but for him; he's in great shape for, ahem, his age, and it's not fair that he should have had this sluggish tub of a wife all these years. I WILL have progress every week, and NOT just a half-pound!! He bought me some fruit (plums, nectarines and peaches); now the next trick is that I need to actually start eating it! Am SO bad about eating fruits and veggies.....

A week ago at work, Justin the IT guy walked in the door and startled me just as I was walking out of the kitchen with my yummy chicken-fried steak entree with potatoes and corn (which, I also used to have an English muffin with cheese along with it, oink, but no more). I dropped my yummy entree on the rug, which was bad enough since all I had to eat was a Zone bar and sunflower seeds, but some of the gravy dropped on my left ring finger and burned it (as in a second-degree burn). I hoped it would heal without the blister breaking, but it did break. So it's going to be quite visible for some time and take quite awhile to heal!

Have completed 87 rows of the green/teal/taupe ghan; it's going to have 140 to 144 rows depending on when a couple of the colors run out. The "sand dollar" soft peach ghan, I have 10 motifs done so far (worked on it a bit at Dianne's; the other ghan was getting too big to bring there to work on) so it's getting bulky to fit in my purse, but I can still work on one motif at a time on my commute up to the part of the last row where it gets joined. So I'll do that for awhile before starting the next small take-along project (possibly the spiderweb runner I want to make for my dresser). Speaking of spiders, a HUGE one was walking across the rug yesterday right by Rex's foot; I yelled and he stomped on it, ewwwww!! I keep telling him not to leave the danged front door wide open and risk letting in every insect in the neighborhood! I already lost count of how many dead bugs I've had to clean off the windowsills!

Haven't been to church now for three Sundays in a row, which I'm not happy about. The first two were mainly due to oversleeping because of having been so crazy-busy at work, which I realize is not a good excuse. This past Sunday, I did have a good excuse. I was staying over at Dianne's, and 15 minutes before I left, her mom called and was distraught due to tremors she was having, which in turn made Dianne distraught. So I went with her to mom's townhouse and prayed with her and mom and spent time with both of them. On one hand I felt I needed to go to church, but on the other hand I know this was more important.

Well, this Saturday was SUPPOSED to be our housewarming, but I realized a couple weeks ago we would not be ready. So I talked to Dianne about what Saturdays in Sept. or early Oct. would work for her. Sept. 22 won't work since she is getting together with a couple of high school friends, one of whom she hasn't seen for 40 years (!). Sept. 29 would have worked for her but not for me, since my employer is putting on THREE seminars the day before, so all the managers will be out and I couldn't have the day before off to prepare. Oct. 6 is her eldest daughter's birthday. Sooooo......I didn't want to go into mid-October, but Oct. 13 seems like it will work for both of us and give (I hope!) hubby adequate time to get the dogs' fencing repositioned to the side door/porch and get everything inside assembled, hung, etc. And the days still won't be too short or the weather too cold, and it's not too close to the holidays. So Oct. 13 it is, and I'm not moving it again! I requested the 12th as a vaca day to prepare, and I'm still taking off this Friday, which I originally scheduled when I thought the housewarming would be this Sat. Work has continued to be crazy and I NEED a day off! Looking very much forward to the upcoming 4-day weekend! And now it's 12:21 so I NEED to end this and go to bed!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Hours in My Day, Please!

Well....I went to my second meeting on Monday at the TOPS Chapter I originally planned to join. I really do like it; the ladies are really nice, and I do think I should join. I was going to on Monday; I'd already filled out all the paperwork, and they gave me my membership binder. But I didn't turn in my dues yet since I am still so stunned by my weigh-in. I started walking from the park n'ride to the ferry dock and back most days at the end of last month, which totals about an extra 3 miles walking each weekday. The walk in the morning is relaxing (and getting up 1/2 hour earlier has been surprisingly doable) while the walk in the evening -- when I am tired, hungry, the sun is beating down on me, and there is an ever-so-slight upward incline -- is exhausting (especially a day like yesterday when it was in the mid 80s; today went better). But I vowed to do it each day I possibly can. I also have definitely cut back on my portions and snacking. I knew I had lost about 2 pounds, based on our new digital bathroom scale. But to my shock, their scale showed no change (a "turtle" in TOPS lingo). How does a person weigh themself on the same scale, with the same amount of clothes (or lack thereof) at the same time of day, and one shows a loss and one doesn't?? Makes no sense, and it was very discouraging for their scale to lie and show me no encouragement for how good I've been. I totally plan to keep on keeping on and do even more than I have been. At the same time, part of the reason one goes to TOPS is to receive recognition for what they have done right. But I'll go back this Monday and see what happens. I had even taken a 3-mile round trip walk last Sun. afternoon, and it's unheard of for me to do that on a Sunday. I really do like walking. But when the days get short and the weather gets wet and blustery, sadly just a couple months away now, I will need to shift my walking to my Nordic Track Walkfit for the next several months....

I just found out this afternoom that the lady my employer hired to handle the hotels and the conference sponsorships, who has been having health issues and has only been at work about half the time lately (if that), was advised to resign by her doctor. We have been very shorthanded as it is, with one of the Program Directors on maternity leave and not scheduled to return till late next month. A young woman had been hired to take over her work and didn't give the job a chance; she lasted two whole weeks. (Then she had the nerve to expect reimbursement for the bus/ferry pass my boss agreed to pay for when she was an employee.) Now my boss is on vacation this week, and the owner (his mom) is about to go on vaca. She and the office manager were running a seminar today and again tomorrow, leaving just the office assistant and me. I am trying to confirm the last few speakers for several conferences that are not going to get done on time (for marketing purposes), meaning none of us will get the extra on-time bonus for those, and dealing with two program chairs who are acting like primadonnas. I am doing my best and my bosses totally know that, but I hate missing those bonuses. But what can I do; we can't twist peoples' arms to join our faculty or doubt them when they say they have a conflict. I am also trying to get mini-bios written for several upcoming brochures, get the proper accreditations sent in for each, call speakers to find out when they are sending their materials for the course books, and somehow answer calls from people registering or asking questions, which the assistant usually does, but he has to watch the live feed from the current conference and handle issues regarding that. I do like my job and am treated well, which is a nice switch from other places I have worked, but this is one of those weeks I wish I could clone myself!

I just signed up with a new web host tonight for my site (and likely my church site as well), and I am already blown away by their service. I have been pretty much satisfied with, the host I've used the past four years. Their uptime and customer service has been very good. But they are in Egypt, of all places, and sometimes there's been a bit of a language barrier when I've had questions. I also decided I wanted a Christian web host. And I wanted one that had the ability to host more than one site on one account, so I could consider moving the church site there too. After much online searching I found a small host called and was impressed with their prices and features. But I was even more impressed to receive prompt, courteous and understandable answers from the owner (!!!), Scott, at all hours of the day or evening!! I got my complete instructions on accessing my new file manager less than an hour after signing up! WOW!! I can already say I highly recommend, and likely wll have even more glowing things to say once I've had the pleasure of using their service!!

I was very glad to finally finish my pretty peach afghan with the burgundy popcorn flowers and green leaves (wove in the last of about 380 ends Sunday, yuk -- I think that's the last time I pick a pattern with that many ends to weave in). It came out really pretty. But it is still in a plastic bag on our new couch; I'm afraid to display it lest the dogs (especially Heidi) mistake it for a chew toy. So will have to decide what to do about that! Picture coming when I ever decide what to do about my camera situation! On the new ghan I started in the Fanfare stitch, which was supposed to be soft green, soft peach, deep teal and soft taupe, I ended up ripping out about 30 rows since I decided the peach (while beautiful on its own or with the soft green) clashed with the deep teal and the taupe. So now this ghan will be soft green, deep sea green, deep teal and soft taupe. I hated to rip all that out, but I like this combo much better, and plan to make a solid color ghan (likely the Sand Dollar join-as-you -go hexagons pattern) using the peach! Wel, enough of this gab for now and on to trying out my new web host!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

This and That

Well...I have had all positive responses to my short haircut. But I don't think I want to keep it this short. And the bad part about that is, it's going to be awkward to grow out. Well, if it starts looking really weird in the process, I'll have Valisa even it out. She did do a nice job; she always does. It doesn't look anywhere as full on the sides as the girl in the picture, but that's due to my fine-textured hair and not how she cut it. I'm not going to have a picture taken of me with this cut, what with being at my all-time high weight (well, about the same as the more recent pics on my site, but that's bad enough...). It's easy to take care of and will feel good in whatever remaining very warm days we have this season, but I prefer it chin length. This cut just feels too extreme. I always wanted it long, but don't see that ever happening, since I can't do anything with it when it gets past shoulder length.

On Monday I got a good idea for getting in a lot of extra walking before Rex gets my Nordic Track Walkfit ready to go (and while the weather is warm and the days are still long). I told him that night, "Tomorrow's the 31st, so don't buy my Kitsap Transit pass (to get the mile and a half from the park n'ride to the ferry dock. I'll get up a half-hour earlier and walk from there to the dock in the mornings, and walk most evenings unless I have somewhere to go or the weather's too warm." He thought it was a great idea and will also save us the $31.50 for the monthly pass (which. with the mortgage we have now, every cent counts). Even on days I need to take the bus in the evening and pay the $1.25, that won't be more than a few times a month. So I've done the walk the last three mornings and really enjoyed it. I allow myself plenty of time and the weather is so pleasant and cool that time of day. In the evening with the sun beating down on me, the walk is a lot harder. It got to 85 today so I took the bus today (but they still take the previous month's pass till the 5th!).

I went to the TOPS meeting last night. The people were very nice. But it just didn't feel right. I can't put my finger on why. But I felt I wanted to try at least one of the other local chapters that have evening meetings before deciding which to join. I contacted the Area Coordinator and told her the number given for the chapter I originally wanted to try (which is a bit closer and easier to get to) was out of service. She gave me the correct number and assured me that the chapter does exist. They meet on Mondays, so I will go there this coming Monday. I don't know if I have lost very much weight yet, but I plan to continue to be very careful with my portion control and continue the walking, which I can already feel in my legs. I pray I start seeing some results before too long, because I just can't stand to look at myself any more. I need to lose about 55 pounds to get to my goal. I WILL do it this time; I have to. Not just for my health and for Rex and others that care for me, but for my self-esteem. This has gone on waaaaaay, waaaaaaaaaaaay too long...

I have all 63 squares of my peach ghan with the burgundy flowers and green leaves completed and joined, and am working on the edging tonight. Then I will have about 380 ends to weave in, YUK! I always leave the ends till last; too much stopping and starting otherwise. So I'll chip away at that over the weekend. I also started another ghan today to carry along on my commute till it gets too big. It will alternate soft green, soft peach, deep teal and soft taupe (Bernat Berella) in the "Fanfare" stitch from my wonderful out-of-print "Adventures in Crocheting" book.

I'm concerned about (my best friend) Dianne's adorable little dog (a chihuahua/pom that looks like a chihuahua with a mask), Josh, age 7, who has been acting depressed and cries when she has to go out, which he never used to do. I urged her to see the vet today and she did. Will be anxious to hear what the vet has to say. I pray it's something that can be remedied quickly so the "pocket pooch", as I call him, will be his old self. She is SO attached to him...

I have some furniture news, but I will post about that in a few days on my other (home chronicle) blog that I'll be wrapping up soon! Back to my edging...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Welcome to my New Blog!

Well, I've been wanting to start a new "general purpose" blog for some time. I was originally going to have my blog at one of several Christian alternatives to MySpace, but I already have several online groups I belong to and not really time to devote to the extras that come with the networking sites. So I decided to go with just a blog. I created my home planning chronicle blog at but also looked at other blog hosts, but decided to stay with blogger (blogspot). There is a way to move one's blog to one's own site and maintain it there, so when I have time (ha ha), I will look into that...

My aforementioned home planning chronicle (which I used to think I would never have a home to chronicle) is at Now that I FINALLY am in my home after all these years (thank you, Lord), I will be wrapping up that blog after posting a few updated pictures (which has been delayed due to trying to determine whether I can get a camera I already have to do the job or have to buy another) but keep that one available for myself and others to read. I wanted a new blog to just report on everyday life as time permits, report on what I am currently crocheting, and, God willing, report on my weight loss which I MUST do something about instead of just talking about it. Hearing on Friday that my husband (8 years older and 3 inches taller than me) weighs 10 pounds less than me, though I wasn't surprised, was a wake-up call of sorts. Then that night, the lightbulb went on over my head and said, "rejoin TOPS". I did make some progress when I went there weekly several years ago, due to the accountability factor and the possibility of winning prizes, and just being around others who are likewise fighting the battle (have tried online lists but it's not the same thing). Had a nice conversation that night with a lady who heads up one of the local chapters and will be expecting me Wed. evening. Will report back on how that goes.

The only other current news, besides the pretty "keeper" afghan I'm currently working on (burgundy popcorn flowers with green leaves inside peach join as you go squares; there are 7 x 9 = 63 squares) is that I had Valisa cut my hair shorter yesterday than I've worn it in years (the home page pic depicts my usual length). I just felt it was time for a change. The pic I brought her is on, click on "ultra short" (though I don't really feel it's ULTRA short), first page, #1347. I don't know that it looks as good on the girl in the pic as on me, but we'll see what people at church and work think. Rex doesn't dislike it! Well, back to my crocheting!