Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's New Year's Eve . . .

For as long as I've been writing this blog, I think I share Barry Manilow's song every year at this time.  I've never been much for a big New Year's Eve celebration.  It's not my thing.  What is my thing is thinking on what I have accomplished and experienced in the year gone by, and looking a bit toward the future and what the new year might hold . . .

I managed to get my office cleaned up early on in the year . . . but just like water seeking its own level, my desk is currently a nightmare  :-D

I made it through THREE Polar Vortexes - a term I never even heard before.

I gained a lot of weight again earlier this year . . . the Strict Program for Three Months and being an ovo-pescetarian proved to not be sustainable over the long haul . . . but here is probably the best thing I did for myself this year:  I went back to Weight Watchers on November 1st, and have since dropped more than 20 pounds.  This is a good thing and since I was all about the balance this year, I feel like the pendulum has swung back to a much more reasonable way to live - and eat.

I reconnected with a childhood friend who, once again, lives just down the street from me  :-)

I only made it halfway through the year in my 365 Project.

A Year With My Yarn - well, it was moderately successful.  I did buy a little yarn, but not very much  :-)

I competed for the first time as a solo bagpiper in 2014.  It was, for the most part, a train wreck - at least where the marches were concerned.  I did pretty well with classical pipe music (Piobaireachd). On the whole, though, it wasn't very much fun.  If you're not in a band, you don't really have anyone to hang out with, and my teacher lives in SoCal, so I was pretty much by myself most of the time.  Still, there were some great moments - like medaling in Piobaireachd right out of the box  (second place in my grade at the Springfield, Illinois games) :-)     I'm still trying to make a decision about competing again in 2015. 

I struggled with the same things I have struggled with nearly every year - letting things go, eating less, practicing more, exercising more - plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose  :-)

A few injuries - well, who doesn't have those now and then?  Oh, and I found out that I have sleep apnea - and what a difference it's made to have my dental device and be really sleeping again.  Can't even tell you!

Lots of fiber events - and this looks like it will really change in 2015.  The Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair will not happen in 2015, but even more importantly, a number of people/vendors who have been staples at various events are retiring from them and the travel, or retiring altogether.  I think the fiber landscape is going to look a lot different in 2015.  I'm still "limiting my collection" in yarn and fiber, as well as my African violets.

So - I'm not sure I had any focused goals for 2014, but I made it through and I'm looking forward to 2015, but can you ever know what might be headed your way?  I'm not sure you can - I think there are some who are gifted in this way, but for the average bear, I don't think it's something we can know - nor should we really.  I mean, I love talking to the psychic at the Ren Faire when I go most years, but truthfully, I can't really member any predictions coming true from her.  That's OK.

I do have something I would like to accomplish in the beautiful New Year of 2015 . . .

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.

I think three things is enough to focus on, don't you?  

Happy New Year's Eve  :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

WW Week 8

Wow - well, I'm definitely better now.  Not 100%, but definitely better, and for that I am very, very grateful.  I took the last of the antibiotic yesterday, and this morning I took the last prednisone.  So glad to be done with both of them.  I also stopped the cough perls as of last night and will rely now on my asthma inhaler.  Hopefully I won't have to use it too much.  If I do, I'll get the cough perls back on board.  Their name is actually tessalon perls.  Of course I have the generic version, though.

I had no idea what to expect on the scale this morning.  I've been on a major antibiotic since Monday, and also on prednisone since Monday, and one of the things that prednisone usually does to me, is make my body a human swimming pool full of water.  I could tell that as the dose started to lessen (the short-course of prednisone goes 6-5-4-3-2-1 over the course of six days), my body started to release fluid.  I had no exercise whatsoever this past week, and in fact spent most of it propped up so I could sleep while attempting to recover from a nasty case of bronchitis.  I went one over my Weekly Points, so seeing a pretty substantial loss this morning was very welcome.

I have gone every week to WW since I started again on November 1st.  Sometimes I didn't stay for the meeting, but I went and I weighed.  I've worked with the weekly reader question(s) every week.  I slacked off on the Success Handbook, but picked it up again today because  I was up to the chapter about exercising, and my exercise has been off for most of the past two months.  I'm really happy to have done as well as I have without consistent exercise, and that's an area that I'm looking at as we move into the new year. 

I still have my two sessions a week scheduled with my trainer - those are early morning (5:30 a.m.) at the club on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  In the past, I was getting up and walking on the treadmill in my basement on the other days.  I have fallen out of that habit in the past year.  I had started up again but found that the treadmill aggravated the plantar fascia of my feet.  Since I want to avoid ever having plantar fasciitis again, I stopped and did as much of my walking outside as I could.  Now, it's getting colder here in Chicagoland, and snow will be on its way again soon.  I'm going to start very slowly on the treadmill again - and I'm not going to increase my speed much - that seemed to be the trigger last time.  Faster equals more pounding and that gave me a scare with foot pain.

So, I'll be crafting a plan this next week to see how I can do.  I'm not ready to start today only because I'm still recovering from bronchitis and I'm not willing to push myself too hard at the moment.  My ultimate goal, however, is to eventually get back up to 10,000 steps a day.  Some days I can do that (usually my workout days because we do a lot of walking there), but some days I don't get close.  I know that I feel better when I can exercise regularly, and I also sleep better.

Here's the Check In:

Weight:  -4.4
Daily Points:  32
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 50)
Activity Points:  Earned 0 (ate none)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Christmas Eve . . .

 . . . and I'm at home, missing another day of work.  I have been down for the count since Friday with the cold from hell which turned out to be bronchitis, and which so far has entailed an extremely horrid weekend, a trip to Urgent Care very early Monday morning, a chest x-ray to be sure it wasn't pneumonia, a flu test to be sure it wasn't flu, massive drugs including a brutal antibiotic and prednisone, and three days of work missed (with no pay because I'm out of annual leave).  Oh, and I won't be singing at church tonight.  I won't even be going to church tonight.  :-S  And it's Christmas Eve.

When you have asthma, anything that affects or settles in your lungs is always way worse than it is for a human whose lungs work like normal.  My asthma is very well-controlled.  I manage it really well - I had to learn how to do that.  But the fact that I have asthma is why I was given prednisone.  I hate it, but geez, it really works - in this case it reduced the massive swelling in my throat and neck and is keeping me from having a bad asthma attack as I continue to recover.  It's just the short course, so I'm thankful for that. 

After five days of a Kathleen Turner voice, my own voice sort of seems to be back today, and I sort of felt like I was on the upswing yesterday - but last night was another rough night, and since actually lying down is out of the question if I want to keep breathing and not cough to death, I've been sleeping propped up.  It doesn't make for the best night's sleep, let me tell you, and I still cannot draw a full deep breath without a massive coughing attack. I am tired to the point that hoofing it the block down to the train might as well be a frickin marathon in the Himalayas.

I've been too sick to knit, daytime telly sucks, and dammit, I washed my Fitbit.

What a whiner, huh?

Thankfully my Fitbit seems to still be working this time (so far),  and thankfully I was able to go to Urgent Care, and thankfully I have drugs that are helping me get well, and thankfully I don't have the flu, and I don't have pneumonia.  I don't get sick very often, but when I do, it always seems to be such a production - thank you, asthma.  Oh well . . .

Last night I had occasion to look over my blog posts from two years ago - and I realized that not much has changed in my life in a pretty long time.  I was talking about the same things then that I'm talking about now - and that got me wondering about a lot of things, but coming to the conclusion that perhaps there is nothing at all wrong with having a happy and stable life doing the things that I love. 

Time to put the kettle on for my millionth cup of green tea, and see if I can figure out the pay per view movies on DirecTV . . . wish me luck.

I hope that your life is happy and stable.  And I hope that you are not sick for Christmas. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

WW Week 7

OMG I have the worst cold.  It started as a sore throat - but there aren't any white patches, so I don't think it's strep.  Nor do I think an antibiotic would help.  It's likely just a virus that is going to have to run its course.  I'm bummed, though.  It's like a week before Christmas, and I sound like a bullfrog and feel like hammered dog poop. 


The cough is really rough - whatever is in my lungs is only just starting to break up a bit.  I've got some cough drugs, and some Robitussin DM, which doesn't really work for stopping the cough, but it does coat the throat, which makes things easier, and it has the gunk in it that will break up the solid mass that appears to be in my lungs . . .  And if I should start coughing up stuff in dayglo green and yellow, I'll be on the blower to my doctor to get that antibiotic after all.

I woke up around 3 struggling to breath through all the gunk in the way.  I never did get back to sleep all the way.  I see a nap in my near future. In fact, I think the majority of today will be spent on the sofa in the sunroom, hopefully napping. I've kicked the heat up to 70 and am about to put on a fleecy.  The tea should be just cool enough to drink now.  I'm hoping it will take the chill off.

I did run over to WW this morning - and warned everyone to use hand sanitizer after they touched my weigh-in book and materials.  I did not stay for the meeting though.  I don't like to miss.  I would rather stay.  But subjecting a bunch of people to this would not be kind six days before Christmas.  In that same vein, I'm not going to church tomorrow - and I'm doubtful now to be able to sing on Christmas Eve.

Blech.  Two times.

Yesterday I used my last few hours of annual leave to come home early, and I have resigned myself to the distinct possibility of a day or two of unpaid leave if this doesn't clear up by Monday.  I did do all the errands I had to do yesterday, which was smart of me.  And I have to tell you that the bar code reader that comes with WW's eTools is awesome beyond belief.  O.M.G.  Seriously!!!  Never again will I end up with 6 point tortillas when I really wanted 2 point ones.

After three weeks or so of small shrinkage, I was down 3.2 today.  I'll take that!

Here's the Check In:

Weight:  -3.2
Daily Points:  32
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 48)
Activity Points:  Earned 4 (ate 0)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

WW Week 6

Still moving forward here - albeit slowly.  This can be a challenging time of year, I think.  There seems to be food everywhere.  I was supposed to attend two luncheons this week.  I ended up only attending one, and the food wasn't great, so it was easy to do pretty well.  But I mean really - why would you choose the most bitter vegetable to serve (broccoli rabe - I think it was that, I nearly choked on it), and what restaurant worth its salt serves margarine instead of butter????  I should have realized that last part immediately, but it took me a bit.  I did realize right away that something was off with the taste, but initially I thought it was just unsalted butter.  I had a little more on the bread I was having, and a distinctly synthetic taste came through.  And then I was irritated with myself for not recognizing it sooner and saving myself a few points  :-D

Mrs. Field's Cookies arrived in the mail.  Thankfully they are packaged two together.  All the ones with chocolate in them will go to my cousins, but there are still six types (that's 12 cookies altogether) that I could eat.  If I choose to.  And they send a nutritional information sheet!!  :-D  Most of these cookies are already in the WW database, and the cheapest in points for any of them is 5 and many are quite a few more.  That would mean if you ate both of the cookies in the little pack, it would be 10 points or more.  Yeah, that makes you think twice for sure.  Still, I'll save that nutritional information sheet - just in case I decide I would like to have one.

A friend sent me a small seasonal bag of Lindt Peppermint White Chocolate Truffles.  Those are those little single wrap balls you see in stores, but they only come in peppermint at Christmas time.  And I love peppermint.  My friend thought they might be a good thing to put in the freezer for when I might want something sweet.  At 2 points each, they would be a better choice.  The problem there, is only having one - still, I think these will go into the freezer . . .  she suggested I put them in a frozen vegetable bag   :-D

One thing I didn't do as well on this week as I was doing when Linda was here, is vegetables.  They are just never my first choice of something to put in my mouth.  I had a piece of fruit today, and plan to have another this afternoon.  And I did pick up some Brussels Sprouts which I plan to roast tonight as part of dinner.  I do have a luncheon today and I'm hoping there will be a good greens choice for me to have.  Somehow I find it's always easier to eat salads and veggies when I'm in a restaurant.

I had two good workouts this week - and a wonderful massage.  I booked massages for the next two Mondays, as well.  I really needed them.

I did go over on points this week, by one.  I realize that's not that much.  But I can see that on the weeks when I do eat every single point, my loss is not as much as I might like.

I have moved over to a meeting location that's closer to my house.  I really like the leader at the farther location, and I know I'll continue to go there from time to time, but I think I'm going to stay mostly at the location that is closer to home.  The group of people there is very nice and I already feel at home there.  Plus they seem to have more stuff for sale in the meeting room.  Stuff I'm interested in.  Plus, I like the leader there, too. 

I'm finding that I'm liking my food week switch from Thursday-Wednesday to Saturday-Friday very much.  I often use the majority of my Weekly Points on Saturday and Sunday, but I usually use fewer during the work week, so this has been working out well for me.  Actually far better than I thought it would.  Yay!!

And now, I had best get these truffles in the freezer and out of my sight . . .   ;-D

Here's the Check In:

Weight:  -0.8
Daily Points:  32
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 50)
Activity Points:  Earned 7 (ate 7)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

WW Week 5

For a variety of reasons everything has been at sixes and sevens here for the past few weeks - I'm sorry about no real updates.

I continue to feel that returning to WW on November 1st was one of the best decisions I've made in a very long time.  Last week's loss was very small, but it was still a loss - and no real surprise after three weeks of substantial losses.  This week's loss was quite satisfactory and puts me just over 13 pounds gone (again :-) ).  I'm happy about that!

One of the things I have been doing is re-evaluating a lot of things in my life and trying to make some decisions about how I might want to move forward.  I know that piping is still very important to me, and I know that while I will always grow African violets, I don't need to grow as many as I have been the past few years.  Additionally, and I need to simplify their care.

To that end, today I decided to put all the violets back on reservoirs.  I have downsized substantially throughout the last few months, but I'm still finding that I'm having a little trouble keeping up with things.  So - back on reservoirs they go - it's not good for them to wilt from dryness too many times.

Christmas is in full swing - I managed to get to church last Sunday for the first Sunday of Advent.  It's my plan to attend throughout Advent, which means I'll be getting up and getting cracking early tomorrow.  Also for tomorrow my cousin and I have plans to go to the club and get a workout in.  I'm looking forward to that - after a few weeks of no exercise, I was able to get back on my schedule this week and got my two normal morning workouts in.  A third one will be a great addition for me.

Linda the Chicken Lady is safely across the country, and the house is really quiet without her and Hannah.  She's getting settled out in California.  I wonder if she's going to rename her blog!

Here's the Check In:

Weight:  -1.4
Daily Points:  32
Weekly Points:  49 (ate 49)
Activity Points:  Earned 5 (ate 5)