Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 - The Year of the House (and WW Week 12)

Alrighty then . . .

On Monday, I pulled the trigger on the first phase of work in my home - work that has needed to be done for pretty much since I moved here 11 years ago.

I've known from the beginning that my home had "water issues" in the basement, but my late mom was so enamored of the house that we went forward.  Two days before we closed, we did the final walk through and there was water in the crawl space.  While we were still in the house, our realtor called the seller's realtor, and the seller's realtor called the seller . . . and because the seller had left her phone and answering machine in the empty house (and we were still there), we heard the message, which was along the lines of, "We're going to have to address the water issues in your basement."

The seller absolutely knew about the problems . . . and I know that I could have sued her . . . but I found out that not long after the closing she fell over in a Walgreens.  She'd had a massive stroke and was in a nursing home.  It seemed to me to be the worst possible karma to sue a disabled woman, so I soldiered on and did what I could to alleviate the issues.  It was a pretty constant battle and it cost a lot of money.

It's going to cost even more now.  I'm getting what is called an interior drain tile put in my basement.  Back in the early 1960s when my home was built, they put in a drain tile around the foundation about 2 or three feet below the surface.  That's still there, but it does nothing for the water under the house.  I mean under the slab and under the footings.  There is water down there and the pressure of it pushing up against the slab has caused the slab to crack, and things still leak from time to time, but worse, it had made the entire house unstable, so it's still experiencing "settling" cracks when it's more than 50 years old.

I'd been told that to make the basement completely dry, I needed this interior drain tile.  It costs an obscene amount of money.  Still, once it's done (and it's guaranteed), my basement will never be wet again - in fact, I will be able to finish my basement should I want to, and the house will be stable again.

I am only the second owner of this house.  The seller was the original owner - and unfortunately, her husband had died about 16 years before I and my late mom bought the house.  The concept of preventive maintenance died along with him.

Again, I've done the best I could over the years, but it's time for some major things to be done.  I want to do the work that needs to be done - and I want to make the house as energy efficient as I can - and I'm not interested in replacing the windows.

I met with a contractor on Sunday and Phase I starts on Thursday.

Here's what Phase I entails:

Basement:
An interior drain tile in the basement.
New glass block windows in the basement
A new exit door in the basement
A new path for kitchen and washer water to meet up with the main sanitary sewer line in the basement
A new pit and sump pump with a battery backup, in the basement
Foam insulation where the foundation and the walls meet (apparently one of the worst spots for air leaks and drafts.

Attic:
Top off the insulation
Fix a former exterior wall that is now an interior wall - it's showing signs of condensation and possible mold.  This wall is now the West upper wall of my Sunroom.

Main Floor:
All windows and the front door to have their trim removed and foam insulation blown in all the way around to property seal any holes or air leaks.
Some reglazing of window panes, and they will make sure that all the windows (which are double hung) all open and close properly and easily.
A few ceiling fans replaced and everything switched over to LED lights (most every light in my home is on a dimmer, so this is slightly more complicated than I originally anticipated).

Yeah - it's a lot, and really, all I wanted was a new bathroom and a partial kitchen remodel  :-D  But the contractor said to make my list - and I did.  I put everything on it, and you do have to keep up with stuff - so I'm doing that.  These major things have been put off for some time, and now, as my cousin, ME says, "it's physical plant stuff.  You have to take care of the physical plant."

Ah, the joys of being a homeowner . . .

What this also means is that everything that's not mine has to be gotten out of the basement.  My stuff has to get moved over to the alcove.  The alcove was pretty much empty.  After my first big push last weekend, here's how things looked in the alcove:


 A lot of my stuff was already in boxes down there - like Christmas and Thanksgiving/Halloween stuff.  And you know, they quit making those boxes - I loved them  :-D  Story of my life . . .  I have some more regular boxes that I can put things in. 

I also have a tool cupboard that I need to go through today - and two tool boxes.  I only need one tool box.  I believe that I will have quite a nice donation to make to the Habitat Restore - they will take things like that.

Here's the other side of the alcove:














Once I had this preliminary stuff done, my cousins got the call to come and get their stuff out of my basement . . .  All that stuff on the left side belongs to ME, and all that stuff down at the end belongs to my other cousin, S.



Thankfully, they have all gotten their stuff out as of yesterday.  I, however, still have a few things to work on. Like this . . .


 This is not quite as bad as it looks - the plants are all now upstairs, and the smaller 2x2 stand behind the 2x4 stand is now cleaned up and is up in my guest room.  All the plants are out of the basement.  I'm trying to sell the 2x4 stand, but it's cleaned up and all the stuff is off of it.  The potting bench is is process, and my workout equipment all has wheels (thank God).

I got the call that the contractor wants to get preliminary stuff started on Thursday, so I'm bring up more and more bags to go to the Second Chance Shop - I can't get there until Saturday, so the stuff will rest in my living room until then. 

 So, I'm going to have some breakfast, and head back down to the basement.  I'm glad the weather isn't great - I don't mind being down there when it's cruddy outside.

Here's the WW Update - I had a minor binge on Friday night - it could have been worse.  I was hungry - and I was hungry because I was eating a LOT of sugar last week, which means I wasn't eating enough of the food that actually has good nutrition in it.  That means my body was still hungry because it didn't get enough healthy food last week.  Going to see what I can do about that this week.  I'm grateful to have dropped the .2 I picked up last week.  I'm thinking pretty hard about what I said at the very beginning - when I work the program, the program works for me.  If I get messed up it's because I'm trying to customize and use my WPs for junk.  A little bit of junk never hurt anyway, but I need to follow the Good Health Guidelines.  Long story short - I need to get back to eating more fruit and veg.  But for now, I need to get back down in that basement and finish up down there today.
  
Here's the Check In:

Weight: -0.2
Daily Points:  31
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 73)
Activity Points:  Earned 6 (ate 6)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter . . .

That's exactly what I did on November 8, 2014 - one week after I started back on program.  As part of one of the exercises in the Success Handbook, I was supposed to write my future self a letter.  I had one of my friends take it and mail it to me - all I asked was that she mail it to me sometime in January.

It arrived today in the mail, and I thought I would share it with you . . .

8 November 2014

Dearest J.A.,

As I am writing, you've just finished your first week back at WW and you lost 3 pounds.  Yay You!!  I want you to look at these photos that you took of yourself today in the sunroom.   
You do not have to hate this body.  If you are still feeling that way, please, let it go.  You can say goodbye to it, but don't forget to celebrate this body!  It got you this far.  The body in these photos is strong and sturdy.  It can walk a long way and it's way stronger than pretty much anyone you know.  Yay You Two Times!!!  You can remember where you came from, but it's time to let the past go.  Let go of whatever you have been holding on to - your hands need to be free now to catch all the amazing and wonderful stuff that is coming to you. 
By now, you are smaller than the body in these photos, so maybe take some new photos again, OK?  :-)  You're still you, though, that will never change - all those wonderful things that make you, you - you can never lose those.  They don't go away, so don't worry that you might lose them as you continue to shrink.  Your focus is nothing short of amazing, and I know you are happier. I hope you love yourself more than you did the day you wrote this.  I hope you might have gotten out of the house a couple of times, but if not, hang in.  You are on that path.
You are the strongest woman I know, A.  You are beautiful both inside and out.  Any man would be so lucky to have you in his life.  Your friends are lucky to have you, and so is your family - and your work.  You made it through the Holiday Season, and you're looking at a bright new year now.
I love that you have chosen to use pretty much every tool that WW has for you.  How is your Success Handbook going?  I love that you took these photos for it.  I love that you are so focused.  I love that you are so successful.  I love that you are so happy.  I love you.  You are truly now on the journey of your life.  You GO, Girl!!  2015 is ALL ABOUT YOU.  I mean it.  It's yours - so let the past go and fly.  And when you need to, remember this:
"I believe in you as you step forward in your life.
I'm inspired by you for keeping your dream alight . . .
for facing the challenge and achieving your goals.
I'm proud of you as I watch the bright light of your spirit
embrace the world."
When you read these words, think of your time on Iona and remember how it centered you and changed your life.  Know that your light and your dreams shine as brightly as they ever did.  Life is your banquet - remember what Auntie Mame said about it:  most poor bastards are starving to death.  You have everything you need - all the time, all the focus, all the love. Your dreams, your joy, your spirit - These things are not dimmed by the size of your ass.  Who the fuck cares about the size of your ass anyway?!  ;-D
Take good care of yourself, Sweetheart.  If you haven't had a massage yet, please schedule it ASAP, and if your left leg still hurts, go see Dr. O'C immediately.
All my love and all my support,
 A :-)
*****************************
I'm kinda verklempt now, and this was exactly what I needed to read today.
Sweet dreams.

p.s.  I'll see about taking some new photos this weekend, I have a spa day scheduled for Saturday, and I have an appointment with Dr. O'C in two weeks.

Monday, January 19, 2015

WW Week 11

Pokey again - sorry.  I have been really working in the house over this long weekend.  In early February I'm going to start some major work on the house, in the basement and in the attic - yeah, nothing fun or pretty to show people  :-D  But it needs to happen, and for it to happen, my basement needs to be cleared out.  One of my cousins has a lot of stuff down there, and I had to make the call yesterday to let him know he has two weeks to get stuff out.  He's not too excited . . .  oh well  :-S

It was funny - on Saturday I was looking around down there and realized that there were boxes that had not even been opened from the move 11 years ago.  I knew I needed to get down there and start cleaning stuff up and sorting and tossing.  And then, I met with the contractor yesterday, and made the decision to pull the trigger on the major stuff that has to happen to make this house (1) dry forever, and (2) stable.  The water issues under the house are affecting things up here IN the house.  It's time.  And, the attic needs some work and more insulation, etc, as do all the windows.  I'm not getting new windows, I'm working to make the existing windows more energy efficient, and the guys are going to find and seal all the air leaks.  So, nothing pretty, but all very, very necessary. 

The pretty stuff will happen in the next round  :-)

So - not looking like any vacations for me this year.  I'll likely make it out to piping school in SoCal, but that's probably going to be it for me this year.  However, I know I'm going to like my house even more by the time fall rolls around  :-)

I was up .2 on the scale on Saturday, and that kind of bothered me, which is probably why I didn't post on time - that, and I spent about 6 hours in the basement yesterday sorting and tossing and moving stuff. I was over a couple of WPs, but I did OK last week so I chalked it up to an off day.  And then, I kinda figured it out on Saturday night - at least I think I did . . . turns out I was constipated.  TMI?  Sorry - it happens.  I'm thinking next Saturday is going to look a little better on the scale.  At least I hope so. :-D

So - short check in - I have to get back to the basement, and I have at least a foot and a half stack of paper still to shred - There was a lot of really old stuff down there  :-D

Here's the Check In:

Weight: +0.2
Daily Points:  31
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 51)
Activity Points:  Earned 6 (ate 6)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Let's Talk About Veg, Baby . . .

So, Ely left a comment on my last post (thank you for that!) and asked about my meals and if they were protein/grain heavy, noting that vegetables seem to be a recurring theme for me.  Um . . . yes, and yes.  I grew up in an Irish household.  We're talking meat and potatoes.  And bread.  With a very small amount of veg - you know, like corn . . .  seriously, my mom always made sure there were green vegetables, but when I was a kid, most veggies came out of a can and they weren't very good - except for canned asparagus, which I still like to this day  :-D

Vegetables are definitely a recurring theme for me.  They have never been my first choice, plus, I'm a seasonal eater.  I generally want hot food in the winter, which means I really have to think about a salad to actually have one in the middle of the deep freeze here at this time of year.

Ely also suggested veggie smoothies, which - in theory, is a great suggestion.  Everyone likes these . . . except me, apparently  :-D  My cousin, ME, is always trying to get me to have a smoothie.  I have never been able to consider a smoothie a replacement for a meal.  A smoothie is something you drink . . . in my brain, that means I would be eating twice.  This is not a good plan for me.

More importantly, however, I think that the entire point of eating veggies - actually there is more than one point, but the main one - is to fill you up so you are not hungry.  A glass of liquid doesn't do that for me.  It never has.

Obviously, it's clear I need to focus more on the fruit/vegetable dynamic.  When Linda the Chicken Lady was staying with me for a few weeks.  I ate a LOT of vegetables.  That's because she eats a ton of them and she was cooking a lot (which was great  :-D).  So, it's not like I won't eat them (although there are some I won't).  It's more a matter of taking the time to prepare them.

I am often in the situation of having bought all sorts of veggies with the best of intentions, and having them rot before I can eat them.  This happens a lot.  So I'm buying smaller amounts whenever possible, and perhaps more importantly, I'm checking off the boxes on my tracker - I had fallen away from that - those boxes are all about the good health guidelines.  We're supposed to follow those every day  :-D

There's no one standing over my shoulder, making me follow the good health guidelines.  I mean, I'm the only person who is responsible for what I put in my mouth . . . perhaps it is time that I step up to the plate (see what I did there?  ;-)) as an adult and not a five-year-old . . .

Here's short list of the veggies I don't really like:
  • Raw tomatoes.  They make me gag.  However, I will cook certain dishes with them (my lasagna is killer), and I like ketchup, and salsa.  Go figure.  
  • Peas.  Blech.  
  • Okra.  Please don't attempt to change my mind.  Not happening.
  • Mushrooms.  I will eat them if they are well-hidden in something (e.g., my lasagna and my spinach burritos)
  • Celery.  I've been known to eat it once in a great while (Ants on a Log, anyone?).  
  • Radishes.  Too peppery
  • Cauliflower.  Too peppery, but I'm going to try roasting it - I think it might be OK like that
I like:
  • Red Peppers
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus (fresh or canned  :-D)
  • Beets  (my mom said that I was the only baby she ever met who liked beets.  I still like them - and I adore them pickled  :-) )
  • Spinach 
  • Brussels Sprouts  (roasted!)
  • Kale
  • Artichokes
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant

And of course I like the starchy veggies:

  • Corn (Yum!!)
  • Lima Beans (Yum!!)
  • Potatoes (what's not to like?!)
  • Parsnips
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash

Really - don't you just want to roast up a huge pan of root vegetables now?  :-D

There are probably a few I've left out, but it's not like I have a list a mile long of veggies I won't eat. I mean, the list of the ones I like is WAY longer, and for the most part, if a veggie is set before me, I'm going to eat it.  I think it's the preparation and the fact that veggies are just never the first thing I would reach for - for anything.

Think back . . .  when you fell and scraped your knee, did your mom say, "Come on, let's have a salad, you'll feel better."  Did she?  Mine didn't.  Treat and comfort foods were NOT of the green variety when I was growing up - more along the lines of candy, cake (still my favorite), or ice cream; and my favorite comfort foods are still a grilled cheese sandwich, red jello with Cool Whip, and Kraft dinner, more commonly known as mac and cheese.

I digress . . .

I've got a good list of veggies up there that I like.  I'm going to have to find some good ways to cook them that don't take 25 ingredients and two hours to prepare.

I'll keep you informed  :-)

Monday, January 12, 2015

WW Week 10

A bit late in posting this week.  Sorry!

A very cold week here in Chicagoland . . really cold.  So cold that all my car windows froze.  My car is in the garage . . . granted, it's not heated in there, but still . . . !  They unfroze yesterday when the temps edged up a bit.  A welcome respite.  It's going to be back in the single digits by this evening.

So last week I actually made a meal plan.  It absolutely did not go as I planned.  :-D  But at least I had something to start with, which was great.

Here's the main thing I did not take into consideration:  figuring out the actual points for each meal for each day.  Yeah, really.  How silly was that?! :-D  And then one of the things I planned on I never actually got made.  But I did make my mom's meatloaf recipe and make hockey pucks with it, i.e., I cooked it in the muffin tin.  Two hockey pucks = 1 serving.

Even though this didn't work out quite as I planned, I take it as a win.  At least I made a plan, which I have not yet done for this week, and I cooked and froze some food.  Yay me!!

I think it all just goes to show that it's never too late to learn.  I've been a WW member off and on since my high school days - and really, I was on the program back in the late 60s when my mom was a member.  She was cooking so I ate what she made  :-D  I joined for real in the late 1980s, which was when I reached goal and became a Lifetime member.  Clearly, I've been doing this for a really long time.  But things change, and the program changes.  Nutrition is a living science - it's always changing.  I like that I can continue to learn new things.

The entire week didn't work really well, so I'm going to break it down a bit further and see if I can do a day at a time.  And vegetables.  Still a pain . . . but I'm going to start checking off the boxes on my eTools tracker this week, and see if I can't get my vegetable intake up.  It's best for me.

This is my year.  I am returning to goal.  I'm already there - I just need to manifest it into my life.  :-)

Here's the Check In:

Weight: -1.4
Daily Points:  31
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 52)
Activity Points:  Earned 5 (ate 5)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

WW Week 9

I'm writing the beginning of this post before I head to my meeting.  I'm concerned that I might be up on the scale this week.  Would that be the end of the world?  Probably not - I think it would just mean that I'm not perfect . . .   Oooo, yeah, not perfect . . .

For as much work as I've done in this area - read Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection (maybe I need to read it again . . . ) - I still want to be perfect.  To be the good girl. 

But it's in the very title:  "Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are," and she says it in so many ways throughout the book. 

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.  It's about the choice to show up and be real.  the choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.
Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.  Research shows that perfectionism hampers success.  In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.
Healthy striving is self-focused: "How can I improve?"  Perfectionism is other-focused: "What will they think?


Well, this week, I am a human who ate more than was best for me.  In the past, that would have been my cue to walk away - to not go to WW today . . .  to wait until next week when I had a better handle on things . . . to use food for other than fuel to comfort myself on my failure to be perfect.  I'd like to say "how ridiculous is that?"  But you know, that's shaming - that's casting shame on my efforts this week, and that's not on.  It's not OK.  Because you know what?  It could have been a LOT worse that 15 extra points.  I could have thrown up my hands on Sunday when I chose to eat all the rest of the WPs.  I didn't.  I did the best I could throughout the week, and I went over.  I've gone over before, but somehow my brain thinks that 1 over is acceptable, where 15 equates to failure.

I often use more of my Weekly Points (or as one of my friends calls them:  Party Points  :-D) on Saturday and Sunday - and for two months this has worked really well for me.  I have some indulgences on the weekends and then I'm pretty cool for the weekdays.  Weekdays are always easier for me - being at home on the weekends has always been more challenging for me.  This week, I ate ALL of my WPs on Saturday and Sunday (the first two days of my food week), leaving me to do my best to stay at 31 Points daily for the other five days of the week.

That didn't go so well . . .  It would have gone a lot better had I managed to work more vegetables into my meals.

In addition this week, my more than four-pounds loss last week dropped me down another point category, from 32 to 31.  So, right off the bat, I had 7 fewer Points to work with.  I knew I wanted to step up my exercise, and I did - effectively giving me those 7 points back.  But I was 15 points over for the week.  That's a lot.  Guess I'll know in half an hour the results.  I wonder if the prednisone made my hungry after the fact.  I've heard that it makes a lot of people hungry, but that's never really been the case for me - it just makes me cranky and hold fluid.  And I know I'm just looking for something - other than myself - to blame, should blame become necessary.

Time to go and face the scale . . .

Well, I was up 2.2, but that actually seems somewhat reasonable, and part of it could be bounceback from all the drugs that were still in my system last week.

Got some great food planning ideas at today's meeting!  I'm looking forward to this week and to eating some different and healthy foods!

Here's the Check In:

Weight: +2.2
Daily Points:  31
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 60)
Activity Points:  Earned 7 (ate 7)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year.  It's still early in the day - time to still consider the year in its entirety.

Yesterday, I wrote that I would like to work on the following three things:
  1. Continue with Weight Watchers and reach my goal weight and reclaim my Lifetime Member at Goal status  :-)
  2. Practice my pipes more.  This is something I have not done very well really all year.  I would play my practice chanter all day long, but you don't compete on a practice chanter, and you don't play at church on a practice chanter.  So, this is the year to get my actual piping up to the same place my practice is.  That means more practice on my pipes.  And it probably means a schedule of practice.  
  3. Get my steps back up to 10,000 or more at least five days a week.  This will take some time, but exercise is definitely on the radar for me in 2015.
 But there are other things rolling around in my head on this first day of the year . . .

Here's a new blog I'm following:  Tasty Yummies  because this is where the really good black bean and quinoa recipe came from.  It's vegan and gluten free in case those things are important to you.  I'll put this one over on the sidebar  :-)
Next, I found some interesting things to do with Mason Jars.  
You can save money using the Mason Jar Money Method, which I apparently attempted in some form at some point. 
God only knows why there were peppermints in this jar that had pickled peaches in it from 2011 along with 13 bucks. 

Or you can make a Gratitude Mason Jar.  On one of her appearances on one of Oprah's shows Brene Brown (love her!) talked about gratitude as a "practice."  I talked some about this back in November.  I want to do this in 2015.  And I want to do it in pratice, not just in theory.  So now, the question today is how do I do it?

Do I write my three things down (I'm going with three) on little scraps of paper every day and put them in a Mason Jar?  Do I write them in this funky, exceptionally light weight journal?


Or do I find scraps of paper and have another Mason jar lying around the house?

No.  The funky journal is cool, but the pages are unlined - it's really for an artist.  And do I really need to haul a jar around with me when I travel, and have it out in the house when all I've done for the past year is divest stuff?   Yeah . . . no.

Eureka!  A red Moleskine  :-)  Big enough to write in, small enough to toss in my bag if necessary.  Win-win!






Alrighty then - Mason Money Jar (and I'm leaving that 13 bucks in there), and Red Gratitude.  Wish me luck on this journey  :-)