Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stand By . . .

Of course - no Internet this morning.  I emailed them this afternoon from work and they did respond - and told me to CALL.  Buttheads.

I called and at least got an intelligent person this time.  And the service restored itself in the middle of our conversation . . . still, someone is coming out on Sunday afternoon and will also be looking at the telly AGAIN.

Cross your fingers.

In automobile news of the day - I'm reasonably sure I'm going to get it fixed.  I'm not feeling the love for a new car, so I think it best to get this one repaired and pray it lasts another 97,000 miles . . .

But really - is something in retrograde?  Today - two days before the deadline - I found out that somehow the form I filled out in 2010 for calendar year 2011, the form that ensures that all your medical claims are automatically forwarded to your flexible spending account (FSA) so that you get reimbursed for your our of pocket expenses - that form somehow never made it to the flexible spending account people.  Those folks in the know about such things say they don't have a copy of it.  I know I filled it out - I mean, I fill one out EVERY YEAR.  The person I turned it in to is no longer with the company.  I'm stone out of luck.  It took hours to download all the EOBs and mail in pharmacy stuff.  The good news is that all that stuff IS online and so getting to it was relatively easy, just time consuming.

Yes - I spent my entire afternoon uploading claims to my 2011 FSA.  I have more stuff here at home in my tax paperwork to upload tomorrow, but I can't find my cab receipts anywhere.  That's a problem.

I hate the thought that I might have left money in my FSA.  I guess it's a first world problem that I didn't notice I wasn't getting reimbursed . . . feeling pretty stupid.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Technical Difficulties

I don't know what's up with Comcast, but I'm about ready to switch over to AT&T.  I have not had reliable Internet since last Friday - it was intermittent on Saturday, and then gone ever since, until about an hour ago.

Just a quick update - it was a rough week with food and pain - and using food to try to sooth some of the pain.  In addition, I had more auto issues - with another repair close to two grand - haven't actually pulled the trigger on it yet, but it's most likely that I will be getting it fixed rather than getting a new one.

In the good news category - I started taking my anti-inflammatory again yesterday.  I have no idea how it works, I'm just glad it does - and glad it works so quickly.  Woke up with pain-free knees and leg bones for the first time since the doc had me stop it a few months ago.  He agreed that I could go back on it.  Yay, oh yay, oh YAY!

And, even with a week with no cardio (took a break to see if my knees/legs just needed a rest - um, no, that didn't work . . . ) and using food for other than fuel, I was still down .4 today at WW.  I am VERY grateful for that.  Seriously.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Holy Crap . . .

How can one human generate so F-ing much PAPER?????


I mean it.  I'm reasonably sure that the papers mate when I'm not looking and make MORE paper. 

The couch looks worse than ever, and I already got all the paper off it.  I've got a recycling bag nearly full, and I have quite a stack to shred.  I also have a stack of books and magazines that need to be put away. . .

Chaos 02

and do you see how full those shelves already are? I don't know what I'm going to do yet . . . The good news is:  I actually do have all the tax paperwork in one pile, so I have accomplished the first part of my intention for today.

Oh - and I lost one pound this last week  :-)  Yay!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Bit of This, a Bit of That

Today is my weigh-in day, so I'll have an update on that tomorrow.  In the meantime, I could not get going this morning.  I normally get up around 5, but just wasn't able to roll out of bed until about 6:30 this morning.  Wow!

A few weeks ago I went to the Missouri Fiber Retreat.  It was my second year teaching a sock knitting class, and I had a super class of students - they were just wonderful!!  The retreat itself is really an amazing time and I look forward to it every year.  I didn't take as many photos this year, but one of the classes I took was just outstanding:  Carol Hagan taught a class in silk ribbon embroidery.  I have a new obsession  :-D

Silk Embroidery

I made the black one on the left, and my friend, Marge, made the one on the right.  Aren't they beautiful?  Here's our class and the mess we made  :-D  That's Marge on the right, smiling at the camera, and that's my stuff there at the corner of the table.

Silk Embroidery Class

This is a class I could take again and again!

More recently, as mentioned in my last post, it's been all plants all the time around here since Saturday.  I finally finished everything on Sunday - here's a look at the guest room now:

Pre-Show 03

Yup - I had to go to TWO stands in the guest room, which leaves the sunroom a bit bereft, but I needed the space.  Even with the two, I might need to grab one more light for that bottom shelf.  If the standards grow as well as I'm hoping (with this warm weather), I will definitely need the space.  Having this many plants is a lot of work - good thing I love them  :-)  Still, I will be downsizing the collection after summer.  There are just too many to take care of well.  Unless of course I win the Lotto  ;-D

For the next few months, I will be following the guidance of one of my teachers, Dorothy K.  She taught me that "The difference between a good grower and a champion grower, is that the champion grower checks their plants every day."  I've already been in there this morning - and I'm sure I'll be checking again tonight, and hoping for some champion plants  :-)

Speaking of warm weather - it has been so beautiful here - in the 80's for days.  My magnolia tree is in full bloom - about a month early.  The viburnums are leafing out, as well as many of the trees in my neighborhood.  This early spring is such a gift!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Pre-Show Schedule

Well, I missed St. Pat's day wth my cousins because I've been working all day in the plant room. 

It's 12 weeks out from the national African violet convention, and I hope to have some plants to take to show.  That means a 12-week pre-show schedule to get them to bloom on time.  The pre-show schedule waits for no one, so I really had to get stuff done today.  The stand in my guest room is the show stand.  I have the most control over light there, and the ceiling fan works well.  This means that pretty much everything that was on this stand had to get moved to another stand for the duration.

Here is the top shelf - all semi's and mini's that were repotted today.  I don't usually grow a lot of these smaller plants.  I'm a standard grower.  I like them the best and they usually grow well for me.  I have killed my share of mini's.  The majority of these plants are semi's.  Three rows of them (see the yellow paper?  I marked them so I'd know which are which.  There is one row of mini's and then in the back a couple of rows of semi's that are not registered varieties but that have show potential.
Pre-Show 02

The other three shelves will have standards on them.  Probably 4 to 5 on each shelf.  These are in 4" pots and they are looking a little small . . . the rule of thumb is that the pot should be 1/3 of the diameter of the crown.  The one in the back on the right is close.  The other three have some growing to do.  They are young standards, but they have show potential  :-)
Pre-Show 01

It looks empty - but it won't in a couple of months.  Violets need air space.  You'll notice on the top shelf that those semi's and mini's are not close to touching either.

I look first for my plants that are registered varieties.  A plant doesn't need to be registered to be shown, but for me to enter it into a collection class, it must be registered, so I always start there.

I'm going to have to stop for the night, though, and finish the standards tomorrow.  I've been going since around 11 this morning and it's nearly midnight, but of course I had to take breaks  :-)  I did watch five episodes of Star Trek: TNG, though, and I've been up and down the basement stairs a million times. 

And funnily enough, the goofy chorus of Sir Greenbaum's Madrigal, one of the late Allan Sherman's parody songs, has been running through my head for the last hour:

All day with the mighty sword and the mighty steed and the mighty lance.
All day with that heavy shield and a pair of aluminum pants.

Except it sounds like this in my head:

All day with the potting mix and the potting tools and the baby plants.
All day with the basement stairs and a pair of aluminum pants.

Aluminum pants have nothing to do with African violets.  Aluminum pants are just funny.  I don't have any aluminum pants.  I don't particularly want any aluminum pants.  Just thinking about aluminum pants makes me laugh out loud, though.  I mean, really - think about it.  Aluminum pants.  Aren't you laughing now? 

I have no idea why I found his Jewish humor so hilarious, but I always did (and I was a little kid when he was famous and certainly had no idea what he was talking about). 

And now - it's time to go down the basement stairs one more time and clean up for the night.  I'll start back in in the morning.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Have a Theory

It can be done.  I did it.  Before I left last Thursday for the Missouri Fiber Retreat, I did a lot of planning.  I went at 5:45 a.m. for my workout with my trainer, and then also stayed and got my cardio in because I knew that there would be a lot of sitting over the weekend. 

Having "food issues" this year made this trip a bit more challenging.  As you know - I gave up bread and deep fried foods for Lent.  In addition, I'm allergic to chocolate and I can no longer eat poultry or crab.

What the hell?!

The chocolate's no big deal to me - if it made you feel the way it makes me feel, you wouldn't miss it either.  I've gotten good at avoiding poultry - I like to keep breathing, that makes that one pretty simple, as well.  Deep-fried food is not really a problem because I mainly did that so that I would be off chips for a couple of months. I don't eat much fried food at all anyway.

But . . . um . . . . I miss bread.  And when you're not eating bread, it's much more challenging to eat out.  No sandwiches, no rolls, no bagels, no cake, no cookies, no crackers - I counted all those things as bread.

So - I packed oatmeal and almonds and raisins for breakfast every day, and the hotel had bananas for free, so I had a good breakfast.  The breakfast at the retreat is great, but I'm not a cereal person, and was off bagels.  I had almonds and raisins for a snack every day, and both days I had hummus and carrots that I had brought with me.  I also had apples, and Kashi bars (which I love, but which are now 4 points+ so I don't have them very ofen - but they are very good for travel).  All in all, I did pretty well.  And I did walk on the treadmill in the hotel gym on Friday morning before everything jumped off.

So, the scale did reflect my efforts, and for that, I'm grateful. 

And on a completely different topic - I have a theory.  My knees and the tops of my shin bones have been hurting me a lot lately, and also my left hip.  Advil wasn't helping much, nor the anti-inflammatory I caved to yesterday.  

Last night, however, I had a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's.  Once a year I like to have one.  It's minty and although a milk shake would never be my drink of choice, once a year I like to have one.  This morning, nothing hurts

Seriously - perhaps I need to be drinking milk a little more often.  I pulled out the almond milk that's been in the fridge forever and had a glass this morning.  Only 2 points+ and it tasted pretty good.  I could be wrong I suppose, but don't you find it interesting that I have something with a lot of calcium in it and pretty much immediately my bones stop hurting?  I do.  Very interesting indeed.  I'm going to test it out this week and have a glass of almond milk every day.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wait for Me!!!

So much to share about the Missouri Fiber Retreat, but I can't seem to get a moment to get it all down on paper.  In the meantime, I was down 1.6 today.  Yay Me!!!!   This is with traveling all weekend, two steak dinners and another dinner out last night.  Massive planning happened for this past weekend.  I didn't eat very interesting food, but I didn't starve either.

More soon . . .

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Checking In

I should probably knock on wood, but I feel like I finally have my groove back. 

Working out in the early morning is just best for me, and I'm back up to 60 minutes on the treadmill, 4 to 5 times a week.  I feel like I've passed some invisible barrier this week, and it feels really, really good.

I was down 2.6 yesterday, and that puts me below 230 for the first time since September 2010.  That's right.  I've been playing with the same 15-20 pounds for 18 months.  There's a part of me that wants to smack myself for wasting so much time.  But the better part of me realizes that I had something to learn through all this. 

I was thinking about this the other day - It's about a year since my heels finally healed from plantar fasciitis.  I was weight training through this time, but getting back into a good cardio routine took me this long.  The fear of re-injury has never left me, and when I started to walk again, it was like 10 minutes at a time.  When I hit 40-45, I stayed there for probably six months.  I moved to to 45-50 a few months ago, and it's literally been just a few weeks that I'm back up to 60.  I plan to stay at 60.  My trainer says that 225 is the magic number for minutes of cardio in a week.  I shoot for 240 (because I suck at math and 240 is 4 times on the treadmill for an hour.  I got that covered  ;-D).

In one of the groups on Ravelry of which I'm a member, we were talking about The Biggest Loser.  It's the only reality TV that I watch, and it saddens me to see it stoop to the level of some of the other shows.  Yes, it's a competition, but in the earlier seasons there was a camaraderie that has been sorely lacking of late.  This season is as bad as the Icky Vicky and Horrible Heba season.  The majority of the people in the current cast are just plain mean.  It's not a pleasure to watch.  I don't feel inspired.  If my awesome trainer screamed and cursed at me the way Bob and Dolvett scream and curse at their teams, we would be having a serious conversation.

The concensus in the Ravelry group seems to be that the contestants are not stepping up.  There is part of me that agrees - I mean, they were the chosen few.  They had the brass ring pretty much handed to them.  They don't even have to reach for it, they just have to step up.  We think they should be succeeding and losing huge amounts each week just because they are there at the ranch.

But then, I think again, and I have to acknowledge that part of me that recognizes how hard change can be, and how frightening - and how frightening the fear of injury can be.  Many of the contestants on The Biggest Loser regain what they lost.  It's my guess that it is invariably because they didn't learn to work through their fears and they then use food for other than fuel.  Let's be real - did your mom ever say to you, "Oh, that's a nasty scrape, sweetheart.  Here, have a salad, it will make it all better."  Did she?  Mine never did, God love her.  We learn from an early age that food soothes a multitude of pain.  All sorts of pain . . .

And then I think a third time, and I recognize the excuses that the contestests are using as ones that I have used.  This past episode, the teams switched trainers, and it freaked out a number of the contestants.  One was frightened to get hurt and based all her success on Bob and didn't want to train with Dolvett.  I'm embarrassed to think how many times my Weight Watchers leader changed and I didn't like the new one, so I stopped going because "I don't like the leader" only to return after having done additional damage to myself.  I am happy to report that I have somehow managing to realize that the size of my ass is up to me, not the leader.  It's fear - fear of change, fear of injury, fear of whatever it is that holds one back.

Whatever the invisible barrier was for me - I believe I've moved past it and I'm picking up speed.  I'm going to be traveling this weekend, and I have spent hours planning food that I can bring with me (I even washed out the cooler) so that I am not at the mercy of what's put in front of me or is available at a drivethru, and I have my cardio already scheduled.  Yay Me!!

Time to be fearless. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In Like a Lion . . .

It was a blustery, chilly day yesterday, but my friend, M, and I headed to Little India for a fun-filled afternoon.  We had a great time!!  Lunch at a very good place called Tiffin, and in and out of stores looking at bangles, pashmina's and Indian wedding attire (not that anyone's getting married, that's just what is in all the stores and it's so beautiful!).  And we visited a yarn store that is closing.  I got a really lot of magazines and pattern books.

Bollywood Day
And I fell off the wagon and bought some yarn.  Karabella.  I've not used it before, and it is less than 400 yards - and is my most perfect green . . . oh well.  I am donating some extra yarn to the Missouri Fiber Retreat's annual raffle to compensate  :-)  (I thought this was a particularly good rationalization on my part ;-D).

The laundry is nearly done, and I've actually WATCHED a Netflix movie this morning.  50/50, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogan.  It's quite good and I recommend it highly.  I've also updated my Ravelry stash info - I've got a couple more items to enter, and that will be up to date.  Next I'm watching Winter's Bone.  So far, I don't much like it at all.  I'm save my last episode on the second Downton Abbey CD for later today  :-)

I'm starting to figure out what I will need to take with me to Missouri, and I have my teaching supplies set up in the sunroom - I need to make sure I have yarn for my students and that my demonstrator socks are ready in their various stages of completion  :-)   I'm teaching this year again at the Missouri Fiber Retreat and I'm so excited to be going, and seeing my gang of friends from Southwest Missouri!!   Yay!!

This will be my first real trip since I've been on such a roll with WW again.  The hotel has a small gym, so I will be able to get my cardio in on Friday and Saturday (Yay!).  Food may prove to be a bit more challenging this year since having given up bread and deep fried food for Lent, as well as avoiding poultry altogether.  I think my room has a fridge, so I will likely go to the store and get a few items so I have stuff I can actually eat throughout the day.

The dryer just buzzed . . .

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Checking in - February 2012

OK - after what seems like 24 hours straight of Monkee music, I'm wondering if I can stop now  :-D  I just keep listening to my favorites over and over - and truth be told, I'm loving hearing them again.  Picking out the tracks - really hearing the harmonies and the different musical lines.  Peter Tork's piano on Daydream Believer.  The hook of the song itself, and (if you're watching the video) that dance that Davy did.

That's probably only interesting to me, huh?  :-)

Well, I was down 1.2 pounds yesterday.  I was kinda hoping for more - you know, the no bread and no deep fried food thing - but I'll take the 1.2  :-)  My measurements are slowly making some changes, too, so that's happy news.  Yay!

My trainer and I both realized this morning, that since we've switched to early morning training sessions, I haven't missed or canceled.  Yay, Me!!

I'm down 10.2 pounds.  Almost halfway to my first goal, but I think I have to speed it up a bit to make it.