Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Keep On Keeping On . . .

Why did I buy all those leaves last summer/fall? 

Really - what was I thinking?!

The Guest Room stand:

Guest Room Stand_January 2012

A close up of that top shelf:

Plantlets_January 2012

Two shelves of the Sun Room stand (which is currently in the kitchen because the CHRISTMAS TREE is still not put away . . . ).  There's plenty of room here - at least for a few days, because . . .

Sun Room Stand_January 2012

. . .  here's the basement stand.  Top shelf, second tray from the right - I still have all those to pot up.  And that domed tray?  Leaves that weren't quite ready to be in the real world yet and a couple of crowns I had to restart.  And to tell the truth, on that second shelf, a few of those pots have multiple plantlets - I want them to get a little bit bigger before I split them up.

Basement_January 2012

On that second shelf, far right - plants in that tray will be going to Windy City, and the tray second from the left has plantlets for a friend of mine. 

So, I'm making progress, but please, will someone smack me the next time I mention "more leaves" or "going to an African violet show?"  The violets came before the yarn - I mean, I've been knitting since I was little, but I didn't acquire the huge yarn stash I have until the past four or five years.  This collecting tendency is giving me pause this morning.

I know, those of you who are not rolling your eyes and saying I have a screw loose, are probably looking at the upstairs stands and thinking, "What's the big deal?  It looks like there's plenty of space on those shelves."  Well, yeah, for now - all those babies are going to GROW.  At least that's the plan.  And the majority of them are standards.  On a 2x2 foot stand (those upstairs are that size), I can get probably four normal standards on a shelf - five if they are on the smallish side.  They like their own space and are not happy for long touching each other.  Can you visualize the chaos in a few months yet?


A Quick 2012 Goal Update

You might recall that one of my goals for 2012 was to have my office sofa cleared back off by February 1st . . .

The Couch_31 Jan 2012

This is looking like a fail.  I don't see this getting cleared off tonight when I have a tray of living things dow in the basement that must be dealt with sooner rather than later.  So - I am updating this goal.  I'm giving myself until March 1st.  Cross your fingers.  :-)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Will They Shape Up for Show, Part III

When last we saw our Shape Up for Show candidates, it was July (!) 

OK, I'm a little pokey . . .

I went a little crazy last summer and fall, buying a huge number of leaves and plantlets to increase my collection, and I think I bit off more than I can safely chew . . . normally I roll with about 50 varieties - right now, I have 147.  (Yes, really).  I did spend yesterday and part of Friday night working with the plants, and I'll spend more time today - and probably next weekend, too.  A lot of work . . .

I separated a lot of clumps of baby plantlets yesterday and will be doing a lot more of that today.  I am getting ready for a speaking engagement at the end of February for the Windy City Indoor Gardeners.  They meet at the Oak Park Conservatory, which is just an awesome place.  I've spoken to them about African violets a couple of times already.  Really nice group!  If you're in the Oak Park, Illinois area, come on by on February 26th at 1:30 p.m.  It's always good to see something green as we get toward the end of winter :-)

When I say I'm getting ready for this, I mean that I like to take plant material with me for their giveaway/raffle table.  That's why I'm working on potting up babies so much right now - they need a few weeks to get established and grow a little :-)

OK - back to Rainbow's Limelight ("RL) and Decelle's Triomphe (DT).

Let's take a look at progress thus far.  Here is RL:


L to R:  May 2011, July 2011, January 2012

I repotted again yesterday and here is RL now:

Rainbow's Limelight_08.012812

I probably should have taken that bottom right leaf, but it's going to go shortly.  RL is definitely looking better - you can really SEE the benefits of repotting when you look at the trio photo.  It seems to be shaping up into a much better rosette shape.  I was a little concerned about it back in July, but it's definitely looking better now.  I think there's hope for National  :-)

What about DT?


Again, L to R:  May 2011, July 2011, January 2012

And after repotting yesterday:


Again - looking better than when we last checked in.  I really took it down to the center crown.  The rosette is looking good to me, and I'm hoping this one will shape up, too  :-)

I have moved both of these plants onto my guest room light cart.  It seems to be the best place in the house for show plants.  I'll be checking in again with these before June  :-)

The African Violet Society of America's annual convention will be held in Detroit, Michigan, from June 3-10, 2012.  Convention info is available on the new AVSA website!  2012 is the year you want to attend, because it's going to be a joint show with the African Violet Society of Canada! 

Detroit is an easy drive for me, and I'm planning to attend and (obviously) hope to take plants to show  :-)  If you're close to that area, the showroom will be open to the public on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  I believe there is a small charge to enter the showroom, but it's nominal, and will definitely be worth it.  To my knowledge there has never been a joint show before - it's going to be awesome!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Here We Go!

Some of last night's work - mostly species.  It's very easy to tell which two plants are hybrids.  Care to make a guess:  :-)

Species Jan 2012

Here's my messy potting bench, waiting for me to get back downstairs!  One great thing that my ex did:  make this potting bench for me, and make it left-handed.  I did all the finish work (painting and sanding), but he built it.  It continues to serve me well..

Potting Bench Jan 2012

The result of inconsistent care . . . crowns that have to be restarted and leaves that haven't actually propagated yet.

Violets Jan 2012_01

More later - I've learned now that I can't stand on hard concrete (just standing - it's brutal)  for more than a couple of hours at a time, even with the new mat.  So, it was time to take a break :-)  And now, it's time to change my shoes for the next round (another precaution - I really baby the tootsies) and get back downstairs :-D

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Feet Hurt

No - not the plantar fasciitis again!  I've been working on plants for a couple of hours . . . OMG I should have had my head examined when I bought all those leaves last year!   My feet are tried from standing and working on the plants.

I did order an anti-fatigue mat from Amazon yesterday (and some pool shoes, and some tape for my label maker).  It was supposed to come on Saturday because I have that Amazon Prime dealy.  I'm so totally sold - everything came TODAY.  That's overnight - not two days.  I was thrilled!!  Put the mat right down and I think it's going to be a great addition to the potting area in the basement.

Of course my trainer did make me do 80 (yes, really) sit/stands this morning . . . my quads are already complaining.  :-D

Thursday, January 26, 2012


When I came home from my most recent trip, my porch (now shrub) goose had some new headgear.


(and I'm back to Flickr photos . . . more lines when I upload directly to Blogger.  What is up with that? :-(  )

This isn't going to be funny to you unless you are of a certain age and you grew up in the Chicagoland area.  but if you grew up here in the 60's, let me take you down memory lane for minute.  Enjoy  :-)

My cousin ME's husband, R, was the culprit - apparently he's been wanting to do this for some time.  He said, "now if we could only find a cement rabbit, you could knit it a hat."  A reference to Romberg Rabbit, one of the characters on the show. 

I grew up watching Frazier Thomas - the host of not only Garfield Goose and Friends, but also of Family Classics.  Anyone else long to hear that theme again?  :-)   I'd post it, but Blogger seems to be quite crabby this morning . . .

Anyway, I had picked up a copy of this book for R.  If you watched television in Chicagoland growing up, you might enjoy it.  I got my copy at the Art Institute, but they are also available directly from the Museum of Broadcast Communications (I got a Garfield t-shirt there one year for me and for another cousin!)

And on a completely unrelated topic, here's what my weekend is shaping up to look like . . . plantlets to pot up and plants to pot on.  Yikes!

Work to do

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ugh . . .

Remember when I said my body makes large leaps up and down?

Yeah - well, I'm up 8.2 pounds this week.  If I didn't know that this is a normal reaction for my body, I would be freaking out.  I had a rough week, but I know I didn't eat that much, and some of it's water.   So glad my food week starts again on Thursday!

It's just a number  :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Struggling . . .

What is going on with me?!

After a really great week on vacation with food and exercise, it's like I fell off a cliff. The news on the scale tomorrow - I'm afraid it will be up instead of down. I suppose this makes me human. One can only hope ;-) I'm not walking again today - and yesterday was a nightmare of unhealthy food choices, including a huge amount of sugar. The sugar started on vacation (after I weighed in), with a visit to the Centerville Pie Shop - apparently made famous by Oprah. Tori really wanted to go, and although I'm not a pie aficianado (my tastes are common: give me cake with frosting from the Jewel any day), they had some really good (and huge) cookies, called Hermits. It was the beginning of the end . . . I've been seeking sugar ever since.

My friend, Michelle at Boulderneigh, shared an article about sugar with me - and I have been wondering a lot about sugar all on my own, as well. Thus far, I do my best to stay away from high fructose corn syrup. Although "they" say sugar is sugar is sugar, somehow I don't quite agree. I try to use real sugar instead of fake sugar or sugars that have been chemically altered. White sugar in my tea, brown sugar on my oatmeal.

But the older I get, the more detrimental sugar consumption seems to be to my body. I ate cupcakes from the Jewel yesterday, and two cookies during the day from Corner Bakery (I also ate leftover pizza from a meeting at lunch because it was free (I don't really even like pizza all that much) and some fried chicken for dinner. I miss chicken and can only eat it once in awhile - fried was obviously not the best choice. It was not a good day . . . ). Every joint in my body is hurting this morning - which is why I chose not to walk. Perhaps a walk would have alleviated some of this pain congestion, in which case I will know by the time I get to work because I have a good walk every day to get there.

So. Now what? Yesterday was a nightmare of processed crap, none of which had much nutritional value of any sort, but I think the biggest culprit for how I'm feeling today would have to be the sugar. It would appear that sugar is something that I would do much better without - but one of the things I strive for is eating in a balanced way. That means that I know I'm not giving it up. In terms of balance, however, I'm way off the mark this past week - high (seriously high) levels of sugar and fat, and almost no vegetables at all . . . last night I went to the Jewel to shop - and thought I'd be doing a mega-shop. No - I bought almost all vegetables. Yay me! So now, there are choices in the house, which is a very good thing.

But back to sugar. When I met my friend, R, for lunch a few weeks ago, she gave me a Christmas present. She is much more imaginative than I am - she got me a gift certificate to a local yarn store and a bag full of interesting stuff that she's found or been using (I gave her a gift card to Amazon because she loves to read. Yes, I know. . . but I figured she'd use it :-) ). In the bag was a box of some Stevia in the Raw. She says she loves it. It appears to not have anything added to it, i.e., it has not been chemically altered in some way. I put it in the cupboard and didn't really think any more about it until this morning's aching joints.

I'm going to try it - I've got to figure out a way to get a handle on this sugar mania and learn how to manage it better. That's a key learning for me: Manage it. It's not realistic to say I'm never going to eat sugar again. One of the best things about Weight Watchers, for me, is that you really can eat whatever you want. There are no restrictions, so if you want to eat fewer carbs on some days, you can; or if you want to go vegetarian some days, you can. You learn to manage things - and I have to say that after a week with very few vegetables, I can see (and feel) how unbalanced I am.

So - the good news (you know that with me there is pretty much always some good news  :-) ) is that I have been more balanced these past few weeks, because I can truly feel the difference after a week of imbalance. Yay Me!!!  So, I'm learning.  This is good.

Stevia . . . I'll let you know how it goes. (I really hope it goes well :-) ).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jumping Back In . . .

Rough day yesterday - food wise.  I didn't go to the store - in fact, never got out of my jams.  All the laundry got done (and put away!) though.  I'm glad I built in the recovery day - but I wish I would have used it more efficiently.  Somehow, I needed to pretty much just sit around.

I did finish weaving my very first scarf, however, and that makes me pretty happy  :-)  

I'm not quite sure what to do next - I mean, I think I'm supposed to wash and block this just like I would a knitted item . . . maybe it will help my selvedge (did I spell that correctly?!) on the right  :-D  The warp is Wollmeise 100% in Barista WD, and the weft is Wollmeise 100% Flaschenpost.  As far as the next weaving project - well I have two more sets of Wollmeise picked out for two more of these scarves.  Scarves seem to be a good thing for me to continue with to get more and more comfortable with my loom.  The warp is beamed for the second but not lashed on in front yet.  I'll be able to do that sometime this week - or next weekend, hopefully.

I'm not walking this morning.  No excuse - just made the choice to not walk . . .  I ate a lot of sugar yesterday - and I'm beginning to see the correlation there.  I never want to do much the next day.  I'm having a very strong cup of tea . . . since I'm usually pretty much caffeine-free, I'm sure I'll be pretty zippy this morning.

Still, kinda wishing I was here . . .

Or here . . .

Or here . . .

Or here . . .

But I'm home, thinking about the memories  :-)  And wondering how much work is waiting for me at the office . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Home Again . . .

I've been traveling  :-)   I spent a week on Cape Cod with my Iona Sister, Tori, in retreat and relaxation.  It was a very good trip.

I feel strongly that I had been standing at the portal to the next phase/cycle in my life, and this week away helped me step through it - to continue to move forward.

The Cape in winter is very beautiful, and we were at a friend's cottage, so it was like home away from home.

My friend, Tori, and I are working through Brené Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.  I may have mentioned this already. If you are looking for something to expand your knowledge of yourself along this path, I highly recommend it. 

I went to WW to weigh in on Wednesday (yes, really  :-D), and I'm happy to report that I was down .6.  I'm thrilled, because I was weighing at night, and copious amounts of alcohol were consumed last week, along with a substantial amount of shellfish.  I did get walking in most days, and I did the travel work out my trainer gave me 1.5 times.  I would have done it 2 times, but I didn't have quite enough padding for my knees to do both planks and pushups the second time. 

I've just finished writing to Southwest about my experience with Sam and being able to get on my flight the next day thanks to his help, and the laundry is going.  It's 7 a.m.    On this trip - the first of the new year, I did something I have been trying to do consistently for some time:  I built in a recovery day.  So, although it would have been awesome to stay another day with my Iona sister, Tori, I came home yesterday.

I came home to a driveway that had to be snow blown.  Before I left last week I had to snow blow the driveway TWICE, and came home and had to do it all over again.  Twice.  Why twice?  Because there was so much snow that I had to do a cleanup run to get it all  :-D

So it goes.  It was a long travel day - We headed for the Hartford airport around 11:30, in the midst of another snowstorm.  Snow has been following me!  We were slightly delayed, but I got to Midway and then took the Orange line downtown and caught the 5:38 train home.  My cousins picked me up from the train and drove me home, which was nice because R hauled my suitcase through the snow into the house.  They suggested I wait and do the driveway this morning - but I was dressed for it, and I could tell that the snow was still light and fluffy.  This is critical, because I don't have a two-stage snow blower, and if the snow is heavy and wet, it clogs up alot.  But the snow was light, so even having to do the cleanup run, I was done by 7:40.

One of the best parts of traveling, is coming home again.  Yes, even when you have to clear your driveway before you can do anything else.  :-)

p.s.  I read FOUR books on vacation!!  I went to the local yarn store and I didn't buy any yarn.  In fact, I hardly knit at all on this trip.  Interesting . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I mean, really.  It wasn't even that much snow.  This is Chicago.  It's winter.  It SNOWS here.

I got right up to the desk to drop off my suitcase this morning and they cancelled my flight.  Something about no visibility . . .

Well, I do have to admit that there is no margin for error at Midway.  When you take off from there, the plane goes as fast as mechanically possible, and once it's airborne, it pretty much just goes straight up.  Yes, really.  And when you land there, you plunge out of the sky, bounce once on the runway and they jam the brakes on so hard you'd think you were on re-entry from space.  And you know, if they don't jam on the brakes, here's what happens.  The really big planes can't land there, the runways aren't long enough.

I think the phrase "coming in hot" was invented for Midway.  The airport can't expand any further - it's within the city limits and there are homes on every side.  So when you're dropping out of the sky, it's not like O'Hare, where there is a lot of space (because at O'Hare, they just use eminent domain and take what they want . . . ) around the runways.  No, you are flying right over peoples' homes and businesses.

I always warn people when they come to visit if they haven't flown in or out of Midway before, because it can be really startling.  Even to me.  Once, I was coming home on a late flight from Arizona.  Since I got the "sleep anywhere, anytime" gene from my mother, I got on the plane in AZ and promptly fell asleep, not waking up until we were at the very end of our descent.  I had a window seat - always my seat of choice - and as I came awake, I, of course, looked out the window.   And nearly screamed bloody murder.  For a split second, I thought we were coming in to O'Hare and that something had gone terribly wrong for me to be practically seeing in the windows of peoples' houses, which meant, of course, that we must be crashing, because there are no houses surrounding O'Hare.  Wide awake I was, then.  Har de har har.

A, is there a point to this rambling?

Oh.  Why yes, yes there is.  I should be in in Massachusetts by now, eating seafood and getting ready for a week long retreat with my Iona sister, Tori.  But I'm home, in my jams, my clothes having been removed and tossed into the laundry because they smell like exhaust because I had to snow blow the driveway because it snowed today and my stupid flight was cancelled right when I got up to the effing baggage drop off desk. 

To make the first part of a long story short, the woman at that baggage drop off desk assured me that I had the last seat on the same flight I had that leaves tomorrow.

So, I turn around, and go to work for a half day.  And I go online to check in for my flight tomorrow, and the website won't let me.  Because, apparently, the woman at the baggage drop desk didn't actually grab me that seat like she assured me she had . . .

I'm now going to make the second part of this long story short.  I had to spend at least 40 minutes on the phone with Southwest, and go through two people who swore up and down that they couldn't do anything and I would have to wait to get to Hartford (gateway to Massachusetts, and where my Iona sister, Tori, is picking me up) until the middle of the night tomorrow, to get to someone who could actually assist me.  His name is Sam. He rocks hard.  At least, I'm reasonably sure he does. I'm going to be sending along a compliment to the powers that be about Sam - tomorrow after I get to Hartford.

In the meantime - I'm home.  In my jams.  Eating hummus and carrots.  And some toast.  Toast sounds good, doesn't it?  There's no food here.  I was supposed to be on Cape Cod . . .

Oh, BTW, I was down 1.4 pounds when I weighed in on Wednesday.  Yay Me!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am . . .

Been thinking about this concept of honoring my body now, again. 

For all the times I looked in the mirror and told my reflection how disgusting I looked . . . or all the times that I just avoided the mirror altogether . . . or only looked in the makeup mirror . . .

As I have said here before, I believe that what we dwelll upon is what we bring to bear in our lives.  Thus, when I was constantly telling myself how fat I was and how disgusting, and how much I needed to lose weight, I was setting myself up for constant and continual failure.

What?   A, what are you talking about?!

Well, let me relanguage (I LOVE that concept :-) ).  Our minds are far more powerful than we give them credit for.  When you operate from a place of negativity, that's what you draw to you.  It's the law of attraction, the Secret, or as my mom called it: the Power of Positive Thought.  Call it what you will - what you dwell on in your mind is what you create in your reality.

So, if you spend your hours saying things like: "I have to lose weight."

Or if you see a morbidly obese person on the street, and you focus all your attention on them, saying, "I don't want to look like that."

You've just told your mind what you want.  The mind doesn't get the "not."  It only operates in the positive - and in the now.    When I would tell myself that I wanted to lose weight, my subconscious mind made sure that I always had to lose weight - because that's what I told it wanted to do.   When I would see someone on the street that I didn't want to look like - same thing.  The mind doesn't seem to get the "not." 

It's why I believe it's so important to operate from a place of love and hope.  To live in the present (as opposed to the future), and to come from a place of positive focus.  It's all about what I want - not what I don't want.   And once I figure that out, I bring it out of the future tense and into the present.  And I affirm it 'til the cows come home.

"I want to be thin and healthy," becomes:  "I am healthy and strong and lean."

Sometimes I leave little notes around the house with the affirmations that are the most important to me.

"I am willing to risk, even when I feel afraid."

"Do or do not - there is no try."  (Thank you, Yoda  :-) )

There are plenty more.  Find the ones you need for yourself - craft them carefully, in the present tense, and then repeat them.  Over and over.  Dwell on them.  Bring those things to bear in your life.  It's like what Wayne Dyer says:  "When you change the things you think about, the things you think about change."  How awesome is that?!  :-)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's 4 O'Clock!

Sometimes, you just need a day to catch up. 

I've been working on getting Christmas back into boxes and down to the basement.  I've got most of it done, but my feet are tired and it was time to take a break  :-)

Yesterday I had my semi-annual lunch with my high school friend, R.  High school was not a great time for me - it's safe to say that I did not peak there . . . R. is the only friend I keep in touch with from those years.  We are a week apart in age - and I the elder.  She delights in reminding me that I'm older than she is  ;-D

We always go to Gibson's in Rosemont (don't get the New York Strip - it's not as good as their other steak choices) and spend a leisurely 3 hours or so (it's never seriously crowded there for lunch on a Saturday, and we always tip the waiter really well), getting caught up on each other's life.  We go every year around our birthdays, and then again around Christmas. 

Usually, we have Pear Blossom martinis and dessert, but since both of us are focused on shrinkage, we ate relatively healthily.  Well, R did - I could have done better  :-D

I gotta tell ya - R and I look way better than a lot of our classmates . . . I don't know if it was good genes, or that we just took better care of ourselves over the years, but we congratulate ourselves about this every year. 

Here's to us.  Who's like us?   Damn few!  :-)

And then, my cousin, ME, invited me over for dinner.  Some of her long-time friends (I know them, too  :-) ), were coming for a girls' night, and I was very happy to go because they are flung to the four winds and having everyone in one place is a rare occurrence.

We had so much fun together!

I was supposed to have a dulcimer lesson this afternoon, but there was a plan change, so I've got a load of laundry in, and I'm about to roast some Brussels Sprouts (if they haven't gone over in the crisper) for dinner.  It's warm in Chicagoland - in the 40's again.  In January.  Not normal.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Sleepy Girl . . .

Just an awesome day!

I'll tell you about it tomorrow, though, because I am one sleepy girl  :-)

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's the Weekend . . .

. . . do what you wanna do!

Yesterday I was reminded that trying to hurry all the time is probably not best for me.  I managed to get my walk in (yes, I did get my ass down to the basement  :-) ), and then I decided I wanted a flat omelette for breakfast . . .

One egg, one egg white.  Check.
Red pepper and scallion.  Check
A piece of sharp cheddar.  Check

I went to pick up the bowl to whip up the eggs - and tipped it over.


Another egg, another egg white.  Check.
(thankfully I didn't have to cut up more veg)

All is going well . . .

. . . until I take the omelette from the pan, and it falls off the spatula, breaks in two, and ricochets off the counter and slides down the pantry cabinet door to the floor, leaving a trail of melted cheddar behind it.

Really?  Really????

5 Second Rule.

God knows what I ingested along with protein, but there wasn't time to both clean up and make another.  Better time management.  I'm working on it.

In other news of the day, I'm WEAVING!!!!  Hot Dog!!

That means I'm busting some stash!!!  The warp is Wollmeise 100%  in Barista WD, and the weft is Wollmeise 100% in Flaschenpost.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Move Your Ass . . .

Man, it's hard to get going this morning.  I just had a stern talk with my self:  "Get your ass downstairs  It's nearly 6 and you're not downstairs yet!  Do you want to be like that comic?  The one with the two dogs - and the one dog turns to the other and says: "What are New Year's resolutions?"  and the other dog says: "A to-do list for the first week of January."   Is that what you want? To be a failed to-do list?"

Harsh much?  Obviously, I still need to work on yesterday's topic . . .

In the meantime, I'm getting my ass downstairs.

Another Season Three episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation awaits . . .

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Checking In

The first weigh in after a good first week is usually heartening.  This one was no different.  I was down 6.6 on the scale today.  Yay Me!  I've decided to only weigh at my weekly WW meeting.  Weighing mid-week here on the scale at home never does me any favors.

I've been thinking about something my friend Amy, the Writing Weaver said in one of her comments, about taking an overall view of her body and then attempting to come to terms with it being just a number and learning to be happy with the body she has this year.

How awesome is that?  :-)

I have come to believe that in order for me to be successful on this path to myself, that I must embrace myself right where I am, right now.  Not 20 pounds from now.  Right now.  The self-hate and shame surrounding size and numbers that I have carried for so long is not best for me.  Baggage.  Baggage that no longer serves me.  How do I let it go?  It's followed me home more times than I can count.  I think that to truly let these painful things go, I have to embrace them, and thank them, and release them.

There's that word again.  Release . . .  Webster's defines it:  "to set free from restraint, confinement or servitude."  Well.  Self-hate.  Shame.  Restraint.  Confinement.  Servitude. 

Alrighty then.

So, here we go . . .

Body 'o mine, thank you for getting me this far.  You have done just a completely awesome job of taking care of me, and keeping me safe.  You are strong, and really quite healthy.  Thank you for that.  Thank you for sticking with me, and not giving out on me.  Thanks for all the pleasure you have afforded me.  Thank you for have all working parts.  Thank you for getting me to the train and to work every day.  Thank you for sleeping so well.  Thank you for dancing so well.  Thank you for doing such an awesome job. 

I'm sorry for all the times I hated your appearance.  Felt disgusted by your size and shape.  Or made fun of you first before anyone else could.  I am so sorry.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You are beautiful, just as you are.  Thank you.  I love you.

Body, you get to rest now, and let me take care of you.  I'm listening to what you're telling me, and I hear you.  You don't have to take care of me any longer by yourself, because I'm awake now, and I'm making the decisions.  You've done so well for so long all on your own.  I'm honored to step up.  Think what an awesome team we are!  You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are beautiful, just as you are. Thank you. I love you.

All that stuff we've been carrying around - I'm just going to set it down here.  Body, we don't need it any longer and we'll move faster without it.  You can trust me - I'm listening to you.  I hear you.  But that suitcase - it's just an old suitcases full of crap we don't need anymore.  A suitcase full of shame, restraint, negative self-talk, confinement, anger, and yes, servitude.  I don't think we're going to miss any of that stuff at all, Body.  :-)

I'm currently reading Brené Brown's book, I Thought it was Just Me (but it isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power.  I high recommend this book.  I would like to share with you her presentation at the TEDx conference in Houston in 2010.  It takes about 20 minutes to watch.

It's worth it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dog on the Loom

Yesterday I had a weaving lesson from PatsyZ.   

I took a class from someone in Michigan this summer, but there's nothing like working with a teacher who understands how I learn and whose style is similar to my own.  Patsy's been my spinning teacher for a number of years, and she was a weaver before she was a spinner - seemed like a no-brainer that she would be the person to really teach me how to weave. 

We cut off the warp that I had wound in Michigan - Dog on the Loom is a technical term (really  :-D), that's what they call it when you cut warp off.  I didn't want to make mug rugs anyway, besides which the yarns were icky together.

We worked from 2 until 7.  Yes, really.  She has de-mystified the math that is part and parcel of using a loom.  Yay!!  I wound my first Wollmeise warp for a scarf, and am in the process of warping the loom.  She's coming back soon for another lesson, and I'm going to be really weaving in no time at all  :-)  I prefer the look of plain weave so far . . . the look of overshot gives me vertigo.

Can't tell you how much better I feel about the entire process.  Of course, the sunroom is looking more and more like a studio instead of an actual room in my home.  At least this half of it does  :-D  Might be time for some focused straightening up in there.  But for now, I'd better focus and get downstairs and walk.

Chilly here today - could be time for the Industrial Strength Hat.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Just a Number . . .

I am a Lark in the Morning. 

I really am.  And I'm nearly caffeine-free.  This means that once I hit the tired wall, I have to go to bed.  I go to bed at 9 p.m. so I can get up at 5 a.m. and walk on the treadmill.  Today, because it's a federal holiday,  I have a day off (Yay!), so I met with my awesome trainer at the club this morning instead of in the evening.  O.M.G.  it is so amazing to work out in the morning!

I shared my 2012 goals and intentions with him and we strategized while he was pounding my ass.  Well, actually he was making me do 60 push ups and then do planks  :-D 

Here is something I know:  When you set the intention for something, things fall right into place in the most amazing and serendipitous ways . . .  Both of our schedules are very fluid and we've been trying different evenings lately, trying to find the best times.  In the past he hasn't been available for an early morning workout, but now, in the new year, guess what?  :-)

So, Wednesday will see me at 5:45 a.m., at the club, ready to work out.  I am so excited about this!  When I get home from work, I am usually wiped out - so freeing up two evenings a week is just huge for me.  Yay!!  We talked about how I would really need to attack this issue with all the focus and energy I have.

One of the other things we discussed was my plan to do a video once a week.  He suggested one of my yoga tapes (see how this stuff all falls into place?!).  We also discussed my shrinkage goal.  30 pounds by April 23rd seemed achievable until he said it was 16 weeks - and then, all of a sudden, I got a little scared.  Women's bodies change as we age - I don't know yet if 2 pounds a week is realistic - I hope it is, and if I'm doing what I need to do to take care of myself, it should be. My trainer thinks it is, but he also knows me pretty well and he wants me to succeed as much as I want me to succeed.  He was the one who suggested a range of 25-30, and so that goal has been adjusted to reflect that.  I'm all about the achievable  :-)

I'm also all about demystifying this stuff.  I think that many women feel that our worth is measured by what size we are.  There is constant judgment and shame surrounding size, and every year that passes brings with it more changes.  This constant shaming is unfortunate - have you watched telly lately?  Or picked up a magazine?  I know I don't look like the women (girls, actually) that I see in the media, and I'm tired of freaking out about it.   

Truth be told, I'm in pretty good shape.  The fact that I weight 241.8 pounds does not make me a bad person.  It merely makes me an obese person.  In another culture, I would be a goddess  :-D  Why yes, yes I did just tell you how much I weigh.  It's just a number.  It's a number, not a measure of my worth as a human.  It's just a number - it's not a measure of who I am (no matter what they say on the telly).  It's just one measure of my size at one fixed point in time - I mean, really!  If I drank an 8 oz. glass of water and got back on the scale, I would be half a pound heavier. 

I am tired of being bound by arbitrary crap.  That Angel of Freedom is on my shoulder - it's time to release the shame surrounding this stuff.  And so, I'm choosing to embrace the numbers because they are giving me something concrete to start with.  How else am I going to be able to have achievable, measurable goals?  :-)  So - what about it?  Here are the rest of my numbers - I'll check in with them again from time to time throughout the next few months. 

I'm 5' 7 3/4" tall ( I usually just say I'm 5' 8" - always wished I was as tall as my childhood friend, Priscilla (who just found this blog - how serendipitous is that?!  :-) ).  My Weight Watchers Lifetime Member Goal Weight is 134 pounds.  As mentioned before, I'm not sure that's realistic any longer, but I don't have to worry about it right now.  Right now, I just need to focus on the present and on my intention to be aligned with perfect health and wellness  :-)

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, my BMI is 37.  Anything over 30 equals obese.

On Friday, I had my blood pressure taken by a friend who is a nurse:   120/76   (Yay, Me!!!)

This morning, I found the damn tape measure, right where it should have been  ;-D  Arm/leg measurements are taken on my left because I'm left-handed I think they are larger than on my right.

Neck:  14"
Upper Arm:  14"
Wrist:  6"   (See, I think I was supposed to be a tall, thin dancer  ;-D)
The Girls:  48"
Under the Girls:  40"
Waist:  45"  (Thank you peri-menopause for this apple shape I never had before  :-S)
Hips (more commonly known around here as Ass):  53" 
Thigh:  29 3/4"
Calf:  16 1/2"
Ankle:  9"

And on a completely different topic, I would just like it known that I did, indeed, put the laundry away yesterday once it was done  :-)   AND, I emptied the dishwasher  :-D

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's a Tradition . . .

The annual New Year's Day sale at The Fold has become a kind of tradition.  This year, I met my friends Linda the Chicken Lady, and Joan out at Woodfield, and we drove the rest of the way in my car together.

We had the BEST TIME!!!

And guess what I got!

Wait for it . . . .

A Schacht Winding Stand!!!  Already put together!!!!   On Sale!!!!!!  Wheeeeee!!!!!  Oh, and some Addi Turbo's size 4's, and two bars of Olive Leaf soap and a little terry bag to use as a soap mitt.

Nope, no yarn.

Oh - I also got some books from the garage sale part of the sale - which was great.  I won't be keeping them - they will go to good use in the YOSS group throughout the year.

No, I told you already, I didn't get any yarn.

It was the chilliest day of winter so far, I think - I only wore a fleecy vest, so my arms were cold on my trips back forth to the auto.

Linda attempted to give me some weaving yarn!  I would very much like to have it because it's all cotton and I could make some dish towels with it - but I asked her to hold on to it for me a little while longer.  I just got my stash all put together and didn't want to add another huge amount so early in the Slash & Smash Your Stash challenge.

Once we were done shopping, we drove back to Woodfield and went to the Gaylord for the Indian buffet.  Yum!!!

Happy girls  :-)  We had just a super day!

And no, seriously - I'm not kidding - I didn't buy any yarn   :-D

Looking Within . . .

New year, new look, new hair, new photo.  Same content  :-)

And isn't that true about pretty much everything?  I can change it up 16 ways from Sunday, and I'm still who I am on the inside.  I still have this same spirit and this same attitude.  And yet, it's good to change it up sometimes  :-) 

Been thinking and thinking about goals and the words "reasonable" and "achievable."  And I've documented a few of mine for 2012 on a page (you can see the header up above (Blogger has this new behind the scenes interface that is similar to Wordpress now).

Foremost, I think, is the size of my ass.  Need I say anything more about that right now?  I think not.  I know what to do - and I'm doing it.  I wanted to do some measurements today (you know, measurable goals  :-) ), and would you believe that I cannot find the tape measure?!  It's here in this office somewhere . . . and I just can't find it at the present moment.  

One of the things I usually do on New Years Eve, is read the runes.  They are an oracle of the self (not a fortune-telling device) similar to the I Ching.   I have a couple other oracles that I use as well - All are introspective - after all, it's what inside - what we already know - that is often the most important guidance.  God sends his angels in all forms  :-)

And so, for me this reading was all about letting go of the past - how fitting, huh?  :-)  About cycles and rhythms, energy levels, compassion for myself along the path, about being, rather than doing, and about nourishing my soul, mind and heart with whatever brings me inspiration.

Wow - it could not have been a more fitting confirmation that this path to my self that I have been on is, indeed, the correct path for me.  Yay, Me!

Have you heard me talk about letting the past go before?  Probably.  How come?   How come we're talking about this again?   Didn't you get it right the first time, A?  Aren't you perfect, A?  Those words are hard to write . . . and I'm going to talk about perfectionism another day.  For now - what I know so far in my life, is that apparently, stuff you think you've worked through and dealt with, often comes back up at a new stage in your life so you can work it through and deal with it again.  Things change as we go through life . . . so here I am, letting go again.

And the angel to travel with me at this time of release (what an awesome word :-) ) is the Angel of Freedom.  I love that - letting go, releasing that which no longer serves me and freeing myself to become myself.  Shedding and renewal - I'm so ready.

The picture on the Angel Card is of an angel on the beach, with the sun shining, her angelic robes folded neatly on the sand and her wings open, halo in place - as she prepares to skinny dip!  :-D  She's obviously comfortable with her body - a good omen of things to come for me, I think.

Happy New Year, one and all.  My intention for you is all good things in 2012.  Find what makes your heart sing, and then dance like no one is watching . . .  :-)