Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pay It Forward - Redux :-)

It's been some time since I've done this and my friend. Linda the Chicken Lady had this on her blog, and it just seemed like a good time to do it again  :-)

So!  I’m participating in a meme that I read about on A Windy City Gal's blog. Here are the guidelines:
1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise what you get, when you get it. I will give you no warning whatsoever.

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated regularly, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you  :-)).

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who comments…

Think of it: a whole year to make something -  anything - to share. Sounds like great fun to me, and completely do-able in the next 365 days. So, my blogging friends - leave a comment and let's go!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another Year

Yesterday was my birthday.  I suppose you'd figure that since I told you what I weigh, that I'd tell you how old I am . . . you'd be wrong  ;-D  My grandma always said that a woman who'll tell her age will tell anything, and when pressed, she'd say "I'm as old as my tongue and a wee bit older than my teeth."

That will have to do (although I'm reasonably sure I've mentioned my age before, so it's really not a big secret).


Anyway - I did lose three pounds last week, but tomorrow I'm quite sure I will be up due to birthday celebrations.  And although I don't regret any of them, I think I have learned an interesting lesson, because I don't feel that great today.

Could I have possibly, finally learned that food is best used as fuel with only the occasional focus on celebration?  Maybe.  I didn't make the best choices yesterday - and they were old choices.  A few of them were good (come on, who doesn't love cake?!) - but some were not as good as I thought they would be - or as I remember them being.  I find that very interesting.

I'm looking for a better way to do my stats page here on the blog, because it's not working for me at present.  And speaking of stats. . .

I did not achieve my goal of 25-30 pounds gone by my birthday.  I lost 17 (I'm using last week's numbers to give myself the benefit :-)).  I'm sorry I didn't make my goal, but I'm glad I'm 17 pounds smaller. 

So, it's time to set the next goal.  My next goal is to be under 200 pounds.  Back in Onederland.  That's about 25 pounds.  So - the next goal is another 25-30 pounds, but my time-frame needs to be a bit more realistic.  Although I thought four months was realistic for this before, I've realized my body is not 30 anymore (there's a clue ;-D) and it definitely is a slower path than it used to be.

I've also been thinking about something I heard awhile ago:  Never do something to lose weight that you're not willing to keep up to maintain.  (Or something to that effect.)  I have a life that I'm trying to live.  I can't work out for 8 hours a day - that's not realistic.  I'm not on The Biggest Loser - do you think those contestants continue to work out for 8 hours a day once they get home?  Prolly not - and do you see how many of them regain some of the weight they lost?

No, I'm still hanging in there with my trainer - and we agreed that as of my birthday yesterday my workouts would be stepping up - less rest, more movement.  And I am walking as much as I can.  I do work all day and I'm studying two musical instruments.  It's busy most of the time, Chez A. 

But I digress.

25 - 30 pounds is my next goal.  By Halloween.  That's 27 weeks.  Two more months than this last time.  I think that's got to be achievable.  I hope I get there sooner  :-) 

I will be running this by my trainer to make sure he thinks it's achievable based on my most recent results. 

And on that note - this is the first day of the rest of my life  :-) 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Comcast, you suck.

That is all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Exhaling . . .

I've spent the weekend in my jams and it's been just awesome.

Tuned my dulcimer . . . and popped two strings, thankfully on two different notes  :-D  For those of you not in the know, each note has two strings, so I can still play while waiting to catch up with my teacher to get a couple new ones  :-)

Had an awesome first lesson with my new pipe teacher - and found some things that need to be corrected.  The Canmore bag has lived its life and now has a leak.  I ordered a new bag - a hide one, which will be very different for me, and very interesting.  In addition, I'm making the change from cane reeds to synthetics.  Although my last teacher was a purist in this regard, I've decided that I need an instrument I can actually play, rather than fight with on a daily basis.  So, some reeds are on their way, too. 

Yesterday the power went out in the neighborhood.  ComEd said it was a blown fuse.  They were out on the double to fix it, and it happened to be right behind my house.  Since the power came back on, I have had Internet with no disruptions.  I don't know what's up with that.  And then I attempted to watch the Sox game today (Sox lose  :-(  ), and the telly tiled so badly in the wind that any remaining misgivings about cancelling my service left me immediately.

And I made a decision.  I decided that it probably was not realistic to think that I could do without telly for any great length of time - and so, I'm getting DirecTV.  I had it in SoCal many years ago and remember that I liked it.  It's much cheaper than cable.  AND they bundle Internet through AT&T, so I should have high speed access again at home in a week or two :-)

In the mean time - I'm hanging in here.  You may not see a post for a bit, but don't worry, I'll be back as soon as I'm able  :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The update this week is that I'm up 3.2 pounds today.  I know.  It's bizarre.  I had a rough few days, but not 3.2 pounds worth.  This is my body's pattern.  Some of it's water from salty food last night, some of it's bloat from adding bread back into my daily food, and some is too much food and not enough exercise.  Live and learn  :-)

What I really want to talk to you about today is joy.

Tonight I have my first lesson with my new piping teacher.  Tonight!!!  Good thing, too - my outside tenor drone is stuck in the stock and I can't get it loose . . . the reed still plays (amazingly enough). I play cane reeds.  There are plenty of new, synthetic reeds, but I don't like them as well.  This is because of my teacher in SoCal, Ian Whitelaw, who is a purist when it comes to bagpipes.  Cane reeds and sheepskin bags.  He let me get away with a Canmore bag, but since I've had these pipes, I've only ever played cane reeds.

It's funny how our spirits work, isn't it?  I was compelled to write morning pages this morning (a creativity technique espoused by Julia Cameron - they are an awesome tool), something I haven't done for quite some time.  They are a great tool for many reasons, and I have been very fragmented lately, so it makes sense that I would turn to this tried and true method of grounding myself.

I had to write them on the train because I didn't get them done first thing (which is preferred), but I was compelled to write today, so grabbed my journal and stuffed it in my already heavy bag as I was running out the door to the train.  I'm glad I did.  Morning pages often release amazing stuff - stuff that bubbles to the surface and can't get out any other way.  This morning, as my pen moved across the page I saw that I was writing about why I needed to start piping again. 

You know how you have those flashes of insight?  I had one this morning.  I realized that piping had held a lot of sad memories for me pertaining to my ex-husband. When I was playing the most (and the best) was when I was married to him.  That was actually a bit shocking for me.  I never connected piping to him consciously before, but obviously a huge piece of my subconscious did.

I think that's why I never really got into a rhythm here with a teacher when I returned from Southern California. I had a teacher for awhile, but we never really clicked into a good teacher/student pattern, and he moved even farther away than he was already, which made it difficult to figure out a lesson time - and he just wasn't that interested in teaching me.  I'm not surprised and I don't blame him - as I look back, I was not a great student at the time. 

To have this moment of clarity this morning was like a lightning bolt - clearly I needed more time and space for healing than I had realized.  That I would put down something for so long that I love so much is very telling in this regard.  I mean, I love piping.  I love the look on peoples' faces when I say that yes, I'm a bagpiper.  There was so much upheaval in my life at the time I stopped playing, that just moving through the day each day was often a supreme test of will. 

I did play last fall at church - they begged me for Amazing Grace on Reformation Sunday - it was a brutal struggle to get my pipes in any sort of shape to play in a 2-week period of time, but I did it, and I made it through one verse - when you don't play for five years, you don't have very much stamina, and the pipes are not an easy instrument to play under the best of circumstances.  Piping continued nudging back into my consciousness - numerous times in the past six months - but I wasn't open enough or able to respond consistently until earlier this week.  These decisions were made quickly - on instinct and intuition.  Sometimes you just have to trust that you know what you're doing, even if you really don't.

I read the runes for myself yesterday and it was so clear when I looked within (that's what the runes help you do, they are an oracle of the self  :-) ) that I am on the right path in terms of music in all its forms in my life.

And then this morning, another layer peeled away.  A bubble filled with joy made its way up through my consciousness and burst onto my morning pages, releasing deeply embedded pain and opening a new place in my heart ready to be filled with music.  My spirit is already dancing like no one is watching. 

Tonight I have my first lesson with my new piping teacher.  I can't even tell you how amazing that feels.

Pretty awesome stuff :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TV Free

Alrighty then. 

I cancelled my Comcast service as of April 16th - and AT&T said they can't come this Saturday.  I don't have another Saturday until May . . . so, rather than prevail upon my eternally patient cousin once again, I've decided to skip telly and Internet at home altogether for awhile. 

I have my hotspot and iPad, so I'll be able to check email and Ravelry and, of couse, blog.  I'm going to see how it goes.  I'll likely sign up with AT&T at some point, but I remember living in SoCal without cable for a few months and I loved it.  I can keep up with certain shows on On Demand online on my iPad if I really want to see them.

I'm already thinking about all the extra time I'm going to have  :-)  Since I'm about to start playing my bagpipes seriously again, I think this could be pretty amazing.  I'll let you know how it goes.

In other news of the day - bread makes you sleepy.  And bloated.  Guess I won't be having it as often as in the past.  Still, doing without it wasn't best for me either.  I had some today and my gut flora must be back on the case because I didn't have any issues like I had Sunday and yesterday.  It's just so interesting to me that my body makes it very clear what's best for it - if I will only listen.

Balance.  It's all about balance. 

And yes, you heard me.  I have a new bagpipe teacher.  I'm very very excited and happy about this  :-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carb Coma

Well, I made it.  All of Lent with no bread (except for last Sunday, which was communion Sunday and I figured that little piece of bread didn't count) and no deep fried food.

Yay Me!

So this morning -  I had two toaster waffles that were left over in the freezer from Shrove Tuesday, and I made some of my grandmother's soda bread for lunchtime.  I had a nice Easter lunch - I found a little lamb roast at the market on Friday, and so I picked it up and popped it in the oven earlier today.  Usually you can't find a little 2-pound roast, so I was grateful, because I really do love lamb.

And within hours, my body has made it quite clear to me that BALANCE is key . . . Lots of carbs in one day -  probably not best.  I will spare you the gory details, and will let it suffice to say that, at the present time, no one can say I'm full of shit.


Moving on.


Seriously, it will be so much easier at lunch in the coming days - it's been challenging, and also spendy to avoid bread at lunch every day in the city.  I'm very much looking forward to having a SANDWICH for lunch tomorrow.  Probably from Subway  :-)   And interestingly enough, I'm not craving chips and am thinking I can probably do without them for awhile longer.

Here are some photos from my day in the city yesterday with my friend M.  A fun day in Lincoln Park at the Lincoln Park Zoo, lunch at RJ Grunts (the very first LettuceEntertainYou restaurant), and then some knitting at Starbucks!  It was a lovely day  :-)

And what a beautiful city I live in :-) Zoo_01

And - here's the latest look at the show plants. They don't seem that much bigger to me in the last three weeks, but I'm hanging in and hoping for the best :-) Pre-Show 04

I'm thinking that some time on the treadmill might be a very good plan . . . but I am kinda feeling like a complete day of rest on this beautiful Easter Sunday  :-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It Continues . . .

I still have only intermittent Internet service - Comcast, I'm really disappointed in your inability to get this right.  Apparently it's their problem (how long did it take them to figure that out?!).  They rang on Sunday and said it was fixed.  It was.  For a day or two . . .

At any rate - there is some joy in Mudville today.  I took the auto in for a second opinion, and instead of coughing up another $1,800 bucks for what the dealership said was wrong . . . I paid $306 bucks and have a new, honest mechanic who will be taking care of my auto for the foreseeable future.

Oh Joy!  Oh Rapture!

This, seriously, is a huge load off my mind.  What a relief.  I didn't want a new car and was just not feeling the love for one.  I like the one I have and really wanted it to be fixed.  And so, it is  :-)

Oh, and I'm down another 1.4 pounds today, and my blood pressure is 108/60.  Yay Me!!!

It does appear, however, that I'm not going to make my shrinkage goal of 25-30 pounds by my birthday.  How is it that that is not depressing me?  How is it that that makes me say, "well, take what you get, and then set another goal and just keep moving forward."  How is that?  What clicked for me?  In the past, this kind of "failure" would have been reason enough for me to punish myself with food.  But I'm 17.2 pounds smaller than I was on December 28th when I started this.  I'm learning that it's not realistic to set a 10-pound-a-month goal any longer.  I'm learning what my body says it can do and learning to work with it instead of fighting it and making myself miserable in the process.  That's pretty amazing.

Oh yeah  :-)

It's been so interesting to see how my body is responding now as compared to when I was 30-something.  It's a much slower process, and yet, I feel better about it.  One disconcerting thing, however, is that the last time I weighed this, a couple of years ago, I wore a smaller size.

You know what that means, don't you?  Stuff is shifting.  It's bothersome.  My measurements will be on the Stats page shortly - I have shrunk a bit more, which is encouraging, and I had to move in a row of hooks on my bra.  That's kinda nice  :-)

On that wearing a smaller size - I probably do wear a smaller size already; however, the next smaller size in my closet is two sizes smaller than were I am right now . . . I'm not buying the interim size, so I'm just wearing baggy clothes until I can fit into the two sizes down ones in my closet.  To tell the truth, I kinda like baggy clothes  :-)

And I still really, really miss bread.  I can hardly wait for Easter Sunday!