Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Weekly Update of "the Noughties"! (12/31/09)

Happy New Year's Eve!

Wow...hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of, as Dietgirl calls this past decade, "the Noughties"! (Love that term!) And what a decade it has been for the Opposite Family! Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and I celebrated 10 wedding anniversaries (and hopefully many more to follow!), we discovered the Big Island of Hawaii and made a return to Kauai, we experienced the birth of our two children and their growth into big elementary school kids (Yeay! Done with diapers!), I took a pause in my career to be at home with Things 1 & 2 for several years, I made an unexpected and earlier return to career life than I'd planned, Mr Handsome-and-Handy took a voluntary sojourn from his career to experience the wonderful world of being the at-home parent, and of course, there was my equally unexpected return to health (and discovery of my newbie triathlete alter-ego!) via my mid-life health crisis. What an amazing time it's been!

I've learned so much this year. I think that, health and fitness-wise, Lyn summed it up nicely in her post titled The Resolution Habit, "...this losing weight thing, for me, no longer has a start point or an end point. Eating healthy and exercising just IS. It's an effort I make daily because it is part of who I am. It is an integral part of my life, not an on-again, off-again thing." That is the constant theme I've discovered on the blogs of those who are sustaining a large weight loss: there is no end point. I believe that everyone has some sort of continuous life challenge, a recurring thing that they have to deal with. For me, the quest to achieve a healthy-for-me body weight has always been and will continue to be part of my life challenge. The difference now is that instead of being a burden and a struggle that leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless, it has become something that is transforming me, in more ways than simply physical.
  • I've learned that I want my focus to not be solely on reaching my goal weight (which I adjusted this year to a more realistic yet still elusive 165, from the middle-of-"healthy"-BMI-range 143).
  • I've learned that I want my focus to be on gaining a more fit body, one that can do all of the crazy, new athletic dreams I have for it. (These dreams are, according to old high school friends, not truly new; they're just a twist on my old tendency to be kind of a show-off. ;-P)
  • I've learned that I can trust myself to get back on track when I stray off course.
  • I've learned that going to the gym can be fun and interesting, not an embarrassing drudgery...and that I can stick with the gym habit for an entire year (and beyond)! It's become a great tool in my fitness toolkit.
  • I've learned that I really enjoy reading and commenting on your blogs, and it gives me a lot of inspiration to be part of the blogging community. Thanks, everyone!
So...what's up for 2010? This time last year, I was inwardly groaning and "bah humbugging" at all the talk of "your new year's resolution." (I set one goal for this year, and it wasn't formed at new year's-it was formed after my first 5K.) I think it was my seeing something that wasn't there, an unspoken judgment: "you DO have one, DON'T you, you slacker?" Like it was something you HAD to have. Ugh! Who needs that kind of pressure? So please to NOT read that into my excitement to share with you some of my goals for the upcoming year; not even sure why I'm excited to share these, since they're sort of a continuation of things I was planning to do anyway, but here goes....
  • Continue to maintain good health numbers (a1c less than 6.0%; maintain good cholesterol numbers and raise my HDLs; maintain healthy blood pressure) through food, fitness, and medications+supplements prescribed by my doctor.
  • Reward my fitness efforts by completing 1 race event per quarter. This was such a treat for me in 2009, so I'm going to continue with it in 2010. For Q1, I've signed up for the "Stanford Tree-athlon" at the end of February! It will be my second sprint triathlon, and I'm excited. It's only 8.5 weeks away, so I need to haul myself back to a swimming pool and do my running and spinning more regularly. New thing for me this time: finding a wetsuit. I'm debating making a trek down to the rental place recommended by the event coordinators (about a 40 minute drive) OR trying an online rental place. Being new to wetsuits, I will probably do the former. I should call first, though, and find out how it works well ahead of time. Not sure what will fill Qs 2, 3, and 4 yet. I don't think I'll be moving on to Olympic distance triathlon this year; I feel like I really need more sprint tri experience. I might try running a half-marathon, though. I'd also like to volunteer at an event in 2010, perhaps the Pumpkin Run, and learn more about how the events are coordinated.
  • Log 1000 miles of activity this year (activity=walk, run, swim, bike, spin, elliptical, etc.). This goal's purpose is to motivate me during those times when I'm not feeling motivated by an upcoming race, especially when the season winds to a close. I got this idea from the fun I'm having in logging my workouts and seeing the mileage add up. I'm a little scared to even put this out there--1000 miles is kind of intimidating--but with consistent workouts, I can do this.
  • Go horseback riding; not just any old place, but with Blue Sky Riding Experience. This has to wait until after April, because the horses are off for the winter months. (I've always wanted to ride a Tennessee Walking Horse.)
  • Knit those 6 caps! (I'll be using the book Knitting for Peace; it has some preemie patterns and advice for knitting them.)

Progress This Week

Not sure I'd classify this past week as "making progress"...unless it was progressing through batches of cookies and my sugar-free toffee in a vacuum cleaner-like manner. *cough*. But it was a really wonderful time. We enjoyed Christmas at home...not exactly quiet, with the crack of a Nerf dart launcher cocking and tiny *thwaps* of the Nerf darts hitting the wall; the low muttered grumbling of grown-ups clipping the 5 gazillion wire ties of toys, picking tape out of My Little Pony hair, and assembling Hot Wheels sets before their first cup of coffee; the "grrrr-rrr-rrr" of the "Perry the Platypus" talking plush toy and shrieks of Things 1&2 battling over it (giving new meaning to the label "Boxing Day" on December 26); the begging to HURRY and OPEN this THING I MUST PLAY WITH RIGHT NOW!!! (repeated until all gifts opened and played with); the 50,000th playing of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" on whatever Pandora channel we had on (never liked that song, now it's on my "ick list" with Anne Murray's "Christmas in Killarney" and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer")--thank goodness Mr. H&H found the Christmas Island one. What was missing? The flash and camera-catchuk sound of photos being taken...Pubsgal dropped the ball and did not take any pictures on Christmas Day! (I could kick myself for not getting the wide-eyed, pre-present-opening shot. Not like I didn't have time; Thing 1 was up first, and he suggested opening presents later. "Around 2 o'clock." Hee hee! Riiiiight. Oh well.) We drove around and looking at lights in the evenings, had Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's brother's family over for "make your own pizza" dinner, foisted homemade cookies on our neighbors, and went on a "let's give Daddy some quiet time" outing to the park, bookstore, and Jamba Juice. *sigh*...what a holiday!

7-day blood glucose average: 101 (met goal of less than 120) <-I honestly have no idea how this was possible, given my intake. Next month's a1c will be interesting....
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 103 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: Oops. I'm up 2.6 pounds this week.

Food goals:
- Oh heavens. I did not stay within 1000 calories of weekly goal. Not by a long shot. I allowed the holidays to run rampant through my oh-so-careful tracking and consuming efforts. It was like the Cat in the Hat up in here. Guess I'm supplying the "Voom," and it won't tidy things up instantaneously.
- Fiber: I averaged 42 grams fiber/day. (Oh, thank goodness for one accomplished food goal!)

Exercise goals: While I did not meet the 5x30 goal, I did do 4x30.
Total mileage: 11.14 miles (tracked)
- Wednesday: 60 minutes - BodyPump class
- Thursday: Ow...ow...ow. Did nothing. Quads were recovering from back-to-back BodyStep and BodyPump classes.
- Friday: Nothing today, either.
- Saturday: 69 minutes of extremely light stuff - Rode stationary bike for 30 minutes (estimating 2 miles; I went slowly and did not have the bike turned on, but figured something was better than nothing while I was talking on the phone), plus 1.1 mile strolling with the dog.
- Sunday: 30 minutes - Did the donut run (2.37 miles). Bonus activity - Untracked but heart-rate-raising "playout" at the park later in the afternoon, in which I chased The Things all over the play structures.
- Monday: Felt great self-loathing at skipping my gym workout and for eating the rest of the box of sugar-free toffee. On the other hand, it's gone now.
- Tuesday: 56 minutes, 5.67 total miles, mixed bag workout at the gym - 15 minutes, 1.25 miles on the elliptical; 26 minutes, 2.28 miles on the treadmill; 10 minutes, 1.14 mile on the rowing machine; 5:30 minutes, 1 mile on the recumbent bike.

Sleep: I think we actually did get 7 hours/sleep per night. I slept poorly on Christmas Eve, much anticipation!

Monthly Measure

No changes during the past month. 2009 summary:
bust: +.5 from my lowest point; -1.5 from this time last year.
ribcage: +1.5 from my lowest point; -1 from this time last year.
waist: + .5 from my lowest point; -2.5 from this time last year.
hips: No change; still at my lowest point; -2.5 from this time last year.
thighs: +.5 in both left and right from my lowest point during the year; no change from this time last year.

Given that I'm only 5 pounds less than I was at year end of 2008, I'm interpreting this to mean that I've lost fat and gained muscle throughout my body. Yeay! I will continue to work toward these measurement shrinking in 2010, particularly the waist measurement, as it correlates to heart health.

Goals for Next Week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Return to tracking calories.
Make sure calories eaten are *worthy*.
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week. At least one run, one bike, one swim, and one BodyPump.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

Here's my entry to MizFit's Christmas Eve Bloggers' Virtual Talent Show! I had a more proper recording--which showed all of my head--but this one is much more reflective of the world of Pubsgal and the Opposite Family! Hope this gives you a smile, if not a good laugh. (Now, if only I had been able to convince Mr. Handsome-and-Handy to let me show the footage of him juggling my gym clothes while humming "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!")

To everyone out there reading, I wish you a wonderful holidays and a happy new year in 2010! To those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you the merriest! I hope everyone enjoys exactly the kind of time that you desire this time of year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Weekly Update, 12/23/09

Two Days Until Christmas!

Hi everyone! Here we are with only two more days until Christmas! Other than some baking for the neighbors, we're pretty much done with the preparations. Even though I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the holiday craziness, I enjoy the holidays quite a lot. I think one thing that makes it so crazy is that there are so many *possible* things to do and enjoy, but only so much time to do them in.

Aw, no tree picture this week. But I do have an update on..."Chia SpongeBob"!
We have sprouting!

Some, however, in places we weren't expecting...

Mr. SquarePants seems to have a back hair problem...

"Pay It Forward" Challenge Update: I didn't get any folks clamoring for hand-crafted Pubsgal items, and I was feeling a bit awkward about not being able to pay it forward, especially with Debby's superior craft skills. So I decided to put my knitting skills to good use, and I'll be paying it forward by making 3 little hats for Christie O's NICU virtual baby shower in 2010! Then the amazing Juice did a pay-it-forward post, and I proposed doing the same for her. Now I'm on the hook for 6 hats. (Maybe I should consider crochet...) With the shower in November, I've got over 1 month per hat.

Juice expressed interest in my handiwork, so here are some photos....

Here is Mr. Handsome & Handy's scarf, for motorcycle riding.
It's short, with a hole in one end to tuck the scarf through
(you can't really see that detail here very well).
Nice, dark, tweedy wool + cashmere, a little scratchy but not too bad.

Thing 1's scarf, in a nice, soft green yarn.
He picked the yarn on one of our outings.

This project went slowly due to the checkerboard pattern,
but I really love how it turned out.

And finally, Thing 2's lovey:

In case you're wondering, it's a *kitty*.

Maybe I should have saved this post for tomorrow? Anyhow, I'm breaking my sanity-preserving practice of weekly posting to participate in the Christmas Eve Blogger Talent Show! (See here for details.) See you tomorrow!

Progress last week:

7-day blood glucose average: 100 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 98 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -1.2 pounds. Hey, this balancing calories in vs. calories burned thing really does seem to be working! Fancy that!

Food goals:
- Ate lots of veggies.
- Got in at 1 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: 5/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Wow, I thought I hadn't made my 30 minutes/5 days goal, but looking back, I did, even though it wasn't hard core fitness all of the days.
Total mileage: 11.21 miles (tracked)
- Wednesday: 83 minutes - 1 hour walk, 23 minutes (6 miles) on stationary bike.
- Thursday: Nothing
- Friday: 30 minutes - Walked the dog.
- Saturday: 60 minutes - Spent about an hour strolling with our neighbors at the harbor to see the lights on the boats. The walking itself did not raise my heartrate, but keeping my kids from falling off the docks might have just a bit. Glad I didn't have to log an impromptu swim here.
- Sunday: Nothing
- Monday: 49 minutes - 35 minutes on the treadmill (3.01 miles) in the morning, 9 minutes on the stationary bike at home (2.2 miles), 5 minutes of strength exercises.
- Tuesday: 60 minutes - I tried the BodyStep class last night. I'm quite possibly the most uncoordinated BodyStep participant ever. But as Brooke noted in my DailyMile comments, "there is a spot in the back of the class made for people like us! :)". I had fun rocking my little spot in the back, nearly flying off the bench at one point, though trying to be careful about whacking people. (I'm really feeling it in the quads today.) The back of the class, though, is right next to the windows facing sidewalk-level outside the gym; hopefully I didn't give too many of my coworkers a good laugh on their way home....

Sleep: Missed the goal of 7 hours/night for at least 1 night. We went to a concert on Sunday night to hear surf guitar legend Dick Dale play. It was great!

Tracking stuff with online tools makes it easy to see the trouble spots...namely, the weekend. I don't know that I have a good strategy for this yet. The plan of action is to lose 1/2 pound per week, which is slow, but I'm at a point where I'd rather see slow progress than none at all. So hopefully around this time next year, I'll be whooping it up at goal weight! (Note - disregard the weight lost this week in the "My Progress" bubble, because I started tracking when I was on an upswing.)

Goals for this week:

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.

Weight goal: Maintain.

Food goals:
- Calories: Stay within 1000 calories of weekly goal. (Obviously, I will be adjusting this back down next week. ;-)
- Fiber: Average 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week, with at least 1 strength session worked in there.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.
- Enjoy a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weekly Update, 12/16/09

What's New?

First of all, Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating this festival of light and miracles! I'm not a religious person, but when I run across the WWJD acronym this time of year, I can't help but think that, historically, it would probably have more to do with applying light to a menorah rather than a tree and not stressing about what to buy the disciples. Sadly, though, He would not have known the joy of a potato latke, potatoes having been introduced to the Old World from the New World in the 1500s...I wonder how the holiday was observed back then? (Ah, count on History channel: "The Maccabbee soliders ate latkes made from cheese, vegetables, or fruits which were brought to them on the battlefields. However, they didn't eat potato latkes, as potatoes weren't available until the 16th century." Oooo...all of the above sound pretty tasty.)

Secondly, WOW!!! A big THANK YOU to MizFit and DietGirl for saying such nice things while sharing my bit o' blogger news during podcast #6 of Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone! I'm still floating! Christie O. was also featured in blogger news; way to go!!! (And not just her shrinkage, but her athletic feats--how many triathlons did you do this year, girlfriend?--and charitable work for NICU babies and their families were so inspiring to me this year!)

In other news, lots of miscellaneous stuff! The holidays have kept me busy, but I'm staying sane. (Probably because Mr. Handsome and Handy did all the work with the Christmas cards! I so owe him. But then, I did brave the post office....)

Things 1 & 2 have quite the social whirl...much more than the Mr. and me. TWO birthday parties over last weekend! At one party, which had a luau theme, the boy's mom had made this incredible lava cake and tiki gingerbread cookies. TOO cool! And a friend of theirs played "Happy Birthday" on the ukulele. *sigh*...I do so love things of Hawaii! The other was at an ice cream place, and the girl's parents had an ingenious idea: in lieu of gifts, everyone brought a gently-used, wrapped book, and then all the kids got to take one home. Of course, this had some unintended results...such as one of the boys grabbing one of the books we'd brought that was not wrapped in, er, particularly clueful wrap: "Pinkalicious" was probably not what he was expecting. Thing 2 ended up with a pretty book...that had a big wad of crusty, dried up (and looking mildewed) unidentifiable food object smashed in its pages.

It's not just a lava cake, but an entire scene!
I especially loved the palm trees made of those little tube-shaped cookies and sprigs of cilantro!
And the gummy fish cavorting through the blue jello sea is a nice touch, too!

I had to share this picture, too, of this Christmas tree that I pass when dropping off the kids to school. It's been grey weather here, and even when it's sunny this tree would be in deep shade; this tree dazzles, a little sparkly jewel set in the redwood forest.

"O Little Tree/In the Big Woods,/Pho-TOS don't do/You juuuuustice"

It's Not Just Toy Time for Kids!

For quite some time now, I've kept a paper log of everything related to my health and fitness goals: exercise, food, medicine/supplements, blood glucose levels, and miscellaneous stuff like flossing my teeth and fiber consumption. It's been a good system and it has helped me to develop much better habits overall. (Click to download the PDF if you're curious. And no, I don't think I ever did 3 runs in one week while tri training...more like 1-2 regular runs and 1 short run after spin class to simulate a "brick.")

I had resisted logging electronically, because I didn't want to have to log into a web site to enter data; I wanted to reduce it down to check boxes and simple jottings and to be able to track anywhere. Paper enabled me to do this. I tried some of the online calorie counters, but the databases had almost too much stuff in them, so I relied on the Calorie King book (and occasional forays online) when I needed nutritional data.

However...after I started tapering for my triathlon, my weight started going up. During training, I'd gotten more lax about portion control, because I'd been keeping up a level of activity that allowed me to maintain at a weight I felt comfortable with. Now, however, I'm in the "off season," and I drifted up to a weight I really didn't want to see again. I've lately been feeling that panicky, how-do-I-reverse-this-train-wreck feeling that so characterized pre-Opposite Life. So I unleashed the control freak within: I decided that I needed more data about calories, input vs. expenditure. And I found some shiny new "toys" to help me!

Toy #1: Daily Mile
While this doesn't calculate calorie expenditures, I do like the way it tracks time and miles for various activities (and I can track other non-mileage related fitness, too). It makes lots of nice charts, so I can see at-a-glance how I'm doing. I'm a visual person, so their graphics give me a representation of what I'm accomplishing through my regular workouts, now that the fitness and figure gains are more subtle. (Yeay, NSV numbers!) I also have it hooked up to Twitter, so it automatically tweets my workouts. The down sides: it's not available as an iPhone app, and Safari has issues with the login interface to the site. (I have to log in twice. Grr.) And when I'm playing catch-up with my logging, it gives the appearance on Twitter that I'm doing an insane amount of exercise in one day; wish it would post the actual date on the Twitter feed when your workout is not on the day you're posting it.

Toy #2: We Like to Lose It, Lose It!
So it wasn't until Mr. Handsome-and-Handy got an iPhone that I embarked on the wonderful adventure of playing with iPhone apps! I decided to give this one a whirl, because it was *free*, and I wasn't sure if I'd get into logging electronically. I'm LOVING it! (Of course, I now have about 70% of my usual food items entered in, so logging goes much more quickly.)

I'm not crazy about its database, but I can create my own foods and enter my own nutritional data, and I can create "recipes" by combining these foods. (For example, I made a "recipe" of my usual coffee+cream+almond milk, and then I can pull just the recipe into breakfast.) I can also copy a full meal from another day, and then modify it to fit a particular day.

This app does upload to a web site, and I can export my data, but after looking at the export in Excel, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate, at least on the export. But I'm finding that the data is helping me stay honest with myself about my calorie intake--through an at-a-glance chart--and it's helping my accountability. It forms a "plan" for you, based on age and the rate you want to lose (plus it has a maintenance option-very important!); right now, I have it set to "lose half a pound per week," and that has even been challenging, which tells me how far I've gotten off track!

I'm finding that it works best when I enter in as much of my day's meal plan as possible - for example, when I pack a lunch, I enter that in during the morning, too. This encourages me to plan my eating better, or at least pause to check before I dive in at dinner! And it also counts exercise; I'm sure it's not completely precise, but you can add custom exercise numbers if you have better data than is provided in their database. I like that it adds calories burned to your daily budget; you can still tell what is earned through activity vs. budgeted, but it seems to work like Weight Watchers' activity points. (It's like getting a reward for activity, but you know how much of a reward, rather than the vague, "Hey, I went to the gym! Now I can drink a big ol' milkshake" mentality that fitness articles warn about.) What I don't know is whether it adjusts one's calorie budget based on one's weight as one loses, and I suspect that the activity calorie burn data is an average vs. precise for one's weight. But right now, this is much more data than I was working with before, and I'm a happy camper. Oh, and I also like that it tracks nutrients, so I'm getting a better idea of my carb/protein/fat intake, saturated fat intake, and fiber intake!

The only downsides that I've encountered so far are (1) the inability to note time of meals, (2) no place for additional notes for a day - this would be handy for me, to note blood glucose levels and other miscellany, and (3) the amount of set-up required to make it work efficiently. Oh, and you can't create a recipe of zero calorie items; for example, I wanted to track my medicine and supplements via recipe. Once I assigned the proper calories to the fish oil pills, I was able to do this. (You can, however, create zero-calorie items individually; its database has items like water, coffee, and tea, if you want to track fluids.) (4) Restaurant/takeout dining will be very difficult to log; I wish Whole Foods would post nutritional data for their food bar items, for example. Oh, and party munching was tricky. At the party on Sunday, I just make one custom food item with a ballpark estimate, rather than enter every carrot stick and cheese cube. As long as I report accurately at least 80% of the time, I'm sure this will be a helpful tool.

Anyhow, time will tell how my new "toys" work for me; but so far, so good!

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 99 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 99 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -1 pound. Woot! Back in the 180's!

Food goals:
- 3/5 work days were food brought from home.
- Ate lots of veggies.
- Got in at least 3 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: Of the tracked days, 3/5 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Hmmm...didn't meet my 30 min/5 days goal. I'm sure there's some incidental exercise happening in there, with holiday errands cutting into the workout time, but I'm not counting that.
Total mileage: 22.26
- Wednesday: No activity
- Thursday: 38 minutes (3 miles) - Indoor cardio "triathlon" of elliptical + stairmaster + treadmill.
- Friday: No activity
- Saturday: No activity
- Sunday: No activity
- Monday: 50 minutes - 35 elliptical (2.5 miles) plus 15 minutes of strength exercises
- Tuesday: 60 minute spin class (16.76 miles)

Sleep: Missed the goal of 7 hours/night for at least 3 nights.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week, with at least 2 strength sessions worked in there.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Have fun and breathe-relax-staycalm-ooooohhhhmmmm about the holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "Pay it Forward" Challenge!

Happy Friday, everyone! It's a wet, blustery day in Northern California. So let's discuss something cozy: crafts!

One of the bloggers that I follow, Debby at debby weighs in, has a post on paying it forward. She is participating in a handmade gift "paying it forward" challenge. I was a little intimidated about participating, because she's a total crafting whiz...and while I enjoy crafting, too, I'm definitely not in her league. But I couldn't resist! (My handmade gifts tend to be in the realm of baking; uncomplicated but tidy knitting with gorgeous yarns, think scarves rather than, say, sweaters; and handmade greeting cards.)

Not sure how well this will work, either, given that nearly everyone who reads this also reads Debby. :-) But here are the details:
It’s a challenge of sorts. In a nutshell, it’s to send a handmade gift to 3 people.
I will make a handmade gift for the first 3 interested people who comment on this post.

I have 365 days to do it in

What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise!

The catch is that you must participate as well:

You must have a blog.

And before you leave your comment here, write up a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going. Just cut and paste this one if you like, which I did.

So, there you go…..if you’d like to receive a handmade gift from me sometime in the next 365 days, leave a comment here on my blog. I’m already thinking about what I’ll make and send…
Hmmm...not sure I have a good pay-it-forward story, but there's the old knitting superstition of "never knit a sweater for a boyfriend." I'm happy to say that I didn't have to go through the effort of knitting an entire sweater...I've driven men off with mere scarves and slippers. I did not knit anything for Mr. Handsome-and-Handy until we were married, though...come to think of it, I wear that scarf more than he does! ;-)

I popped over to my sister-in-law's the other evening, and I admired a wreath on her wall that was covered with vintage ornaments. It turns out she made it herself; she'd seen the idea at a local craft fair, and being a craft person herself, thought it would be fun! I'm kicking myself now for not having snapped a photo to show you all...if I get over there again during the holidays, I'll bring the regular camera and get a good one. you enjoy crafting? What are your favorite things to make?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scenes of Our Season (+weekly update 12/9/09)

I'm so sorry to not be around commenting like I usually do, but I'm immersed. Submerged. Almost-but-not-quite overwhelmed. But gladly so, with hard work and the joys of the season. I am reading, though, and enjoying all the photos of all y'all's holiday fun. So in lieu of rambling, I thought I'd share some scenes from our season.

Our new tree! Why is it so hard to get a nice photo of a Christmas tree?
(Notice the dog rear on right of photo, Cecelia and Juice?)
Ala Lori, some closeups of some of my favorite ornaments:

Here are snowmen for says "Let it Snow" and was a gift to Mr. Handsome-and-Handy on our first Christmas together, him being a transplanted Midwesterner.
I've gotten him a "let it snow"-themed gift each year.
The whale ornament is from our Hawaii Christmas a couple of years ago.

Thing 1's snowflake...

...Thing 2's snowflake...

...and one of the crocheted snowflakes made by my super-crafty grandmother! She has passed on; I'm glad we have some of her beautiful handiwork. (Including what she titled her "chocolate quilt," a double-wedding ring quilt in shades of brown. I always think of GramE when I see your quilts, Debby!)

And speaking of trees, some photos from our visit to the coolest tree farm ever!
(The Mythbusters even bought their trees there for their holiday special, in which they tested which additive helped trees retain their needles.
The property is full of swings hanging from the trees, like this tire swing.
(Your guys would love this place, Christie O!)

Oddly though, we don't go there to buy a tree. We go for the wreath-making! (And the firepit with marshmallows for roasting, and the hay bale maze, and the scenic beauty....)

A rare treat: snow up at our kids' school!
This happens about once a year, and not always then.

We weren't 100% sure of snow up there, so on the way up....
Thing 1: I'm going to build a snowman!
Me: There might not be enough snow...
Thing 1: I'll build a snow CHICKEN, then!
(He was too busy with the snowball fight, so Thing 2 and I made the snow chicken.)

A frosty playground...or, should I say, battleground?

Oooo, got him!

P.S. Health-wise, I'm back down to where I was 2 weeks ago; having more "playouts" and "bakeouts" and "shopouts" than "workouts"; and blood glucose averages good - 100 fasting, 98 overall.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy December!

Wow, it's December already?!? We're charging through the holidays, no?

Sparkly tree in the lobby at work...this photo doesn't do it justice.

How the Holiday Weekend Went

Thanksgiving and Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's birthday weekend went well. I kicked off the holidays with my personal "turkey trot" on Thanksgiving morning. After three days of not much activity, my body was rarin' to go! While I ran, I enjoyed the wonderful 2 Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast #5. I laughed out loud when Miz and Dietgirl read the letter from the listener who listens when he or she works out, and M&D wondered if others listened while *they* worked out. It was still dark when I did my run, so it was nice to have good virtual company.

Thanksgiving was a family potluck hosted by my sister-in-law's sister and her husband. (Would that make them my in-law in-laws?) Unfortunately, our hostess was down and out with the flu (and had removed herself to her mom's for the day); but my sister-in-law and her brother-in-law saved the day with their mad cooking & grilling skills. I'm usually not a big fan of turkey, but this turkey was smoked on the grill, and on one of the turkeys, there was *bacon*. Holy yum! Is there anything not made better by the magic touch of bacon? Of course, our host started whipping off the bacon slices onto a plate before I could get a photo for you all. Drat! This also solved the dilemma of what to feed my turkey-averse kids: they enjoyed the bacon quite a lot. I enjoyed quite a lot of turkey with its crispy, smokey skin...sort of like the bacon of the turkey, isn't it? (Or, as my good friend Wendy calls it, "meat candy.") My sister-in-law's gravy was magical. So I ate quite a lot of turkey, dibs and dabs of the starchy stuff, and I'm not sure why but I grabbed some of the green bean casserole. I don't even really care much for the green bean casserole. So yes, there was some mindless feeding. Thank goodness we brought a fruit and veggie tray, because aside from green bean casserole, there was nary a veg to be found. My plate feels naked when it doesn't wear green. (I also discovered the amazingness of Trader Joe's cilantro pecan dip! Yum! Goes very well with raw veggies.)

Having kids, as Miz pointed out in the podcast, is a blessing at family events, even when you really like your extended family. It gave me a great excuse to get outside and work off some of that food! I played lawn hockey and on the trampoline with the kids before and after dinner, which included some practical strength exercises of trying to climb a rope, hauling a rope up and down with kids hanging on it, and tricep pushups against the side of the trampoline. I have no idea what we're going to do at the next family gathering, because they are planning to get rid of their trampoline pretty soon! Aaaiiiee! Maybe we'll have to bring our mini inflatable jumpy.

One highlight of the evening was our host's grandfather's videos. His grandfather loved taking home movies, and it was wonderful seeing scenes of life from 1927. The family had a great sense of humor, so there were several funny stunts. Such as family members leaving the house, then sneaking back around, so there was this continual stream of people. Even more funny, you saw the occasional person sneaking back around. It was also quite historic, with video of Yosemite (people feeding bears by hand? yikes!) and a trip to a lumber camp and a day at the beach. Not to mention the clothing styles and old cars! (And apparently "buns" were as funny then as they are now. Gave me a reassuring sense of continuity, that.)

I did have a little holiday-induced perfectionist PMS panic going on...that feeling of, "It's almost December 1st...have you ordered your holiday cards yet?" *Gulp!* And, "There is nothing I could buy that will truly express how much I adore Mr. H&H. So hopefully this stuff he wanted and already knows about and this Star Trek beer glass will suffice." Although, I must say, nothing says familial affection like the Chia SpongeBob SquarePants that his brother & family got him. (Our people are big on goofy humor; this is the same brother that dressed up as a whoopie cushion last Halloween. ;-) It's open and on the hutch, and we're going to see if SpongeBob gets chia-headed in the estimated 2 weeks; this should work unless I get peckish for fiber and lick the chia off his head.

I also did a bit of overindulging in the carb/salt/fat foods over the weekend and not enough indulging in the veggies, which led to some increasing numerals mounting between my toes each morning and some snugness in the pantalones. Not to the extent of bad effect on the blood glucose levels, but the carb/fat/salt cravings kicked up a few notches. I've been doing some course correcting, telling myself that the cravings are normal and that if I stick to my plan, they will go away in a couple of days and I won't feel like I want to vacuum up a tin of nuts. I achieved a minor victory the last two nights in a row: I did not snack after dinner last night! Just ate my dinner, and was done. Finis! Finito! ("Finally!" you say. I know, huh?) It tends to be a very vulnerable time in my day. SpongeBob had better watch it tonight.

We also got a new tree on Saturday, after Mr. H&H spent 4 hours on Friday trying to change all the dead bulbs in our old artificial tree. The new one is slim and fits in our tiny house much better, plus the lights are LED and more efficient. Things 1 & 2 loved decorating it. Photos of that tree next time!

Monthly Measure
Well, last month's measure was up in most areas. I'm happy to report that bust is down .5, but thighs are up .5; other measurements unchanged. Which means that, from my lowest measurement, I'm still up 1" in waist, 1.5" in rib cage, and .5" in the thighs; however, bust and hips are at their low point.

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 102 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 101 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: +.4 from last week, and back to where I was 2 weeks ago. Still in the 190s, but given the scale trend over the weekend, I'm feeling grateful to be back on track.

Food goals:
- 2/3 work days were food brought from home.
- Ate lots of veggies. Used veggie & fruit tray for noshing at Thanksgiving, as planned.
- Got in at least 2 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: at least 3/7 days were over 30. Could have been better.

Exercise goals: Made 30/day for 4 days; missed the "get kids outside to play an hour a day" goal, other than Thanksgiving day.
Total mileage: 34.47 miles
- Wednesday: No activity
- Thursday: 60 minutes (4.83 miles) - my personal turkey trot!
- Friday: No activity
- Saturday: 40 minutes on the stationary bike (8 miles)
- Sunday: No activity
- Monday: 38 minutes run (3 miles); about 10 minutes of strength exercises later in the day.
- Tuesday: 60 minute spin class (18.64 miles)

Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night, except for Monday night.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Have fun and breathe-relax-staycalm-ooooohhhhmmmm about the holidays!