Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How I spent my three day weekend

Memorial Day weekend was dreary, rainy and downright boring. I hate to admit boredom because I could have made better of it--but I didn't--so it's really my own fault. As I've said many times, there's always something going on here, but I sometimes choose not to take advantage. Rich had to work all three days and you know how I like to whine about that. It's really not as bad as I make it sound, but I like to get a little sympathy once in awhile. Seriously, the man gets no holidays. And it's hard to take off a different day when there's so much going on and he has staff on vacation, etc. Mind you, he does not complain. I am the complainer in the family. (I've taken on this assignment with relish at times!)

I did get out to Alaska Ship Supply on Saturday and bought a bunch of flowers to plant in our boxes in the yard (above, still waiting to be planted).

And we re-potted two of our hanging ivies. Those of you who know me from years ago will be proud and astonished to know that I managed to keep these plants alive long enough to need larger pots.

Otherwise, I think I spent the whole weekend in the house. I was so bored that I even dragged out all the hoodies that had lost the strings from their hoods and reworked every last one of them.

Well, all but one grey one with a string that's gone missing. I also passed about another half hour searching for said string. So you know I was desperate for something to do.

Memorial Day is kind of a weird one for me. I was an Air Force brat so I have an appreciation for the life that is led by military folks. My dad sacrificed and my family sacrificed through my growing up years. I don't want to disparage people who choose this life and I know it is not an easy one, especially (b.i.g. understatement) for those in a combat zone. On the other hand, I am a peacenik and I don't want anyone else's husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend to die in an overseas adventure that didn't have to happen in the first place. I am not crazy about nationalistic thinking. I am not crazy about violence as a problem solver. I am not crazy about killing people to teach people that killing people is wrong. So I can't quite get worked up the way some people can when it comes to celebrating this holiday. My opinion is that the best way we can honor the troops is to bring them home to their families and friends and let them get on with the life they really wanted. I know that sounds naive and idealistic, but so be it. That's my wish.

We've been taking multivitamins along with our diet. I usually don't like to take any medication, prescription or over the counter, and Rich hands me the daily dose or I would probably never think of it. I did get a little bit hooked on those soft Gummy chewy vitamins last year when I was with Bonnie and Emery in Houston. I brought some back with me and have purchased a few bottles since, but ran out awhile back and couldn't find any here. I noticed these other chewables (notice the "centrum silver" designation--for us old folks) and just assumed they were similar. No. They were dry, flat, chalky tablets, kinda sour tasting. I put them aside immediately and we moved on to something else. Well, those ran out and tonight Rich offered me one of the chalky ones. I said, "No, they are gross." He said, "Think of it this way--they're almost like a sweet-tart! It seems like dessert!" After five weeks of no sugar, you know what? He was right! I kinda want another one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Confessions of a Carboholic

It's been a month since I've had any of my favorite little tastes...toast with butter and jam, bagels, English muffins, sandwiches, cereal, pasta, rice, tortillas....mmmmm. Not to mention anything sweet...no bottled tea with "just a hint of sugar" in it, no desserts, no brown sugar in my oatmeal, no ice cream snacks, you get the picture. Well, I have to admit that I've had a couple of tiny "cheats" when I was attending an activity and my willpower gave way. But they have been very few and far between. I *love* my carbs and I cannot believe I have stuck with this darned diet that does not allow me to partake. But as of yesterday, I have officially lost 10 pounds so I have to grudgingly proclaim that it is working. I've also been exercising, but not as much as I could. :)

I was a skinny kid, an uncurvy teenager and a small woman till my 30s. I always ate what I wanted and "had a good metabolism," whatever that means. Having three kids gave me some extra poundage that I never quite lost. I can remember hitting 112 (before you scream at me, remember I am only 4'11" and never broke 100 till I got pregnant the first time) and being shocked. SHOCKED. The worst part was when I told my ex and he thought I said "120," repeating it to his family. UGH. I was not happy. "120?!! NO WAY! I said 112!" I never thought I would reach 120! OMG!

Add more years and more pounds, a little gain here, a little loss there. Add a move to Alaska and a chef husband. Add inconsistent gym commitments, a little up and a little down but no significant loss to maintain. Add menopause. Not only did I surpass 120 but I was on my way to 130 when we got back from our last vacation. Yes, 129.5. My all-time high. How in the world did that happen?! I really do see now how weight gain just kinda creeps up on people a little bit at a time. Before you know it, you're in a struggle to get rid of it instead of just staying healthy all along.

Rich and I both decided we'd better do something now or we were on our way to health problems and a miserable old age (I am being dramatic, but you know what I mean). Mix in the fact that I finally had to give up and get the next larger jeans, which I was totally unhappy about. Beat in an upcoming trip to the Jersey shore where we did not want to be embarrassed. Recipe for disaster, no? "Time to get serious!" we exclaimed for the umpteenth time. Mind you, we have engaged in similar projects before. We have made ourselves go to the gym every. single. freakin. day. and limited our eating. We have lost a little (me) or a lot (Rich) and gained it all back when we stopped hiking when the weather turned and blew off those trips to the gym, combined with eating our way through yet another vacation. Face it, it's just not that much fun to be so darned healthy all the time.

So yesterday I broke the 120 barrier and am down to 119.5. I never thought I would be thrilled about that number, but I am. I still have a belly and my whole midsection is "out of whack." But progress is being made. Yippee! We have one more month before the shore so we will see how well I do. It's funny, but after a month, I don't really think about those foods nearly as much as I did at first. Yeah, I would still love some buttery, cheesy popcorn while being a couch potato watching a movie. I will say again that this is really no fun. But I guess it's not about fun, is it?!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's the End of the World as We Know it....and I Feel Fine

This little ground squirrel lives in our yard and has been enjoying taunting the cats lately. They sit on the window sill and stare while it chatters at them and watches back. I'm sure they'd love to catch it and make it dinner. I hope it realizes that they are harmless behind the window but not necessarily when they're out in the yard running at a full sprint.

Well, we did not get raptured yesterday after all. :) I saw a funny comment on Facebook (besides everyone listing their favorite songs for the day, hence the R.E.M. tune in the title of this post). It said, "I guess on Sunday we can't really console the Rapture people by saying 'Cheer up, it's not the end of the world.'" That made me laugh. Although I was not worried at all about the apocalypse (she says), I did have a very long and detailed nightmare involving a Princeton University football game, airplanes, Scrabble, a mushroom cloud and guns. Whew!

I put off dusting the furniture yesterday just in case the world did come to an end. Since it didn't, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the task today. Laundry I don't mind, doing dishes I don't mind, even cleaning the bathrooms doesn't bother me too much. Dusting is just a tedious and boring chore. But now it's done and I will ignore it for several more weeks, I'm sure.

Saturday I was up and dressed early (earlier than usual for a weekend, anyway) to attend a City Council meeting and then over to the USAFV Open House. The shelter looked really nice and all the staff did a fabulous job of welcoming visitors and showing them around, explaining USAFV's services and answering questions. Plus they had cookies and pies baking in the oven.

Tonight was book club, where we discussed Greg Mortenson's second book, Stones into Schools. We picked our books for the year back in September so it was coincidental that we happened to be reading it right as he's been involved in some controversy. You may have seen the story on "60 Minutes" a few weeks ago, in which there were questions raised about his organization's handling of financial matters and the authenticity of some of Greg's stories. We've read both Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools for book club and most of us are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It's possible that mistakes have been made but I'm still impressed with the very difficult work he's done and I know I would never have the heart nor the physical ability to do even a small portion of all he's accomplished. Hopefully the organization will take care of any lingering issues and their good work can go on. Steve and Goldfish hosted book club at Elaine's house because they are remodeling part of their kitchen. Thanks, Elaine, for having us, and GF for the great food. It was not on my current diet but I cheated a little. I told them not to tell Rich. Steve said, "what happens at book club stays at book club." :)

I talked with Aidan and Ally on the phone today. They are so cute! Aidan said he's having fun playing baseball, has had several hits and likes "running home" best. He's almost finished with school and is happy to be going on to second grade. Time flies! Ally had to tell me all the colors in her new bathing suit and that she is ready to go to the beach with us in July. Can't wait to see them!

Elle loves the "Annie song" and left us a cute message on our answering machine recently, where she sings, "tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow..." It's just adorable and I have to listen to it every day. It always makes me smile. And baby Beck is growing up way too fast. I am not going to recognize him when I see him next. See Sarah's blog to see him working on his crawling skills!

For the Emery watchers, she's just been to Houston for her last round of this first year's scans. Although all results are not yet in, Bonnie and David feel confident that everything's good. David saw Dr. Thompson in the hallway and he said the MRI was great. It looks like they had a fun trip, despite the medical stuff that had to be done. Check Bonnie's blog for more details and see the cool private plane they got to ride in. Wow, the folks in Amarillo have just been amazing in their support of our kids. We are very grateful!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's the Latest?

We had a busy weekend. Rich had to work all day and into the night on Saturday, which is usually his one day off for the week, because there was a big event going on. I decided to attack our bedroom closet, which was looking very messy and still contained a couple of boxes of clothes that had never been unpacked since we moved in almost a year ago. Not mine. I need all of mine!

After awhile, I ran over to Amelia's to meet up with Pipa, Donna, Pam and Paul who were having lunch before Paul headed for the ferry. When I got there, they were serenading him with Beatles songs (the words changed to fit the farewell situation). Wish I had a photo of that!

In the picture above, Paul is getting his ticket for the ferry to Homer.

Goodbye, Paul! We'll miss you! (Cheesy pose!)

About to drive the car on board.

Our ferry, the Tustamena, aka the Trusty Tusty.

It's a three day trip from here to Homer. Anybody wanna go?

Pam and Donna at the dock

After seeing Paul off, I came back home and literally spent hours and hours cleaning the closet. But I felt so productive and really glad to have everything in order!

Rich didn't get home till after 8 PM and was pretty beat so we just relaxed at home instead of going to the "Hoedown" at the hotel. It is usually a fun and crazy event but we didn't quite have the energy this year.

Sunday I met my friend Donna for brunch and we caught up with each other after both having been gone at different times since the first of the year. Seems like we have not seen each other much at all! It was great to chat and linger over brunch. From there, I ran over to a birthday party and visited for a few minutes with the birthday girl, Susan, and her family and friends. Then to the Methodist Church to drop off a bag of clothes from the aforementioned closet. The church has a "second blessings" sale a few times a year--you can pick out all kinds of stuff and pay whatever you think it's worth, or whatever you can afford. Pretty neat, huh? So Sunday volunteers were gathering items and sorting them and getting everything ready for the sale next weekend.

Then Donna and I met back up and went over to Paul's house to pack a couple of boxes of stuff to send to him once he gets settled. When we were finished, she came over to see our house and we continued our catch-up conversation. It was great fun to hang out.

Rich and I have both been busy at work and we've also been dieting and exercising in hopes of getting in shape for the Jersey shore. Ugh. I wish I could love healthy habits but they are not that deeply ingrained in me. I am a little bit lazy and I do love my carbs. :) But we are both doing really well and sticking with it, so we will see what the next six weeks bring.

We also might be buying Rich another vehicle. If you've never seen his "noisy, bumpy, dirty" car, as Aidan so aptly called it when he was here, you are really missing out. The door is falling off, it's all rusted out, and it's so noisy that the neighbors can use it for an alarm clock in the morning. There's some kind of weird trick to starting it, which I've never been able to master so I have never driven it ONCE in almost 7 years. Not that I really wanted to. haha He has been loathe to give it up and has had plenty of work done on it to keep it running but it is finally on its last legs (or wheels). We just found out that a friend is selling her Toyota Tacoma pickup so we are looking into it and may soon be the proud new owners of a small truck.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sunshine and Another Goodbye

Ajax and Kali were very excited about sunny Tuesday. They spied a ground squirrel and were beside themselves. He managed to evade them but they were convinced he was still somewhere nearby.

I had to keep an eye on them because this eagle was sitting right in our yard. Sometimes Ajax acts like he thinks he can take on an eagle but I have a feeling he would come out on the losing end. Kali steers clear for the most part. The cats were too busy sniffing out ground squirrels (or attempting) and chattering their teeth toward the little birds flying by. They ignored the eagle and it ignored them.

Another one of our friends, Paul, is moving away, leaving on the ferry on Saturday. Our little group of book-reading-movie-watching-potlucking-discussing-laughing-hanging out-ers is really dwindling. Although we were not quite in his "inner circle," we've greatly enjoyed getting to know him and sharing lots of things in common. It's gonna be sad not to see his smiling face around here any more, but there's always Anchorage and wherever else the future takes us all.

We had a final potluck with a few friends at Judi's last night. Paul is highly allergic to cats so has never even been to our house! Since Anne and Jeanette also had cats, Paul ended up hosting more than his share of events at his apartment. I would always say, "I'd be glad to have everyone over but we have the DREADED CATS!" When Rich and I were in Sonoma, I bought a few cards from the little old guy at the frame shop (see post here) and added them to my stack at home. I couldn't find a decent goodbye card at the local store so started digging through my stash. I asked Rich, "Is it mean to give Paul a card with a cat on it?!" He said, "Make it funny--say 'we're wheezing and sneezing just thinking about your leaving.'" So that's what we did.

Pipa in front, Pam, Judi, Rich, Jane, Paul

We may show up at the ferry dock with bon voyage signs on Saturday. We can be a little crazy like that. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Come on, Spring!

We have lots of daffodils coming up in our yard. I would have taken a picture of a larger group of them but I was afraid I would tumble down the hill. Now that would have been a good story.

And these are very close to the ground--you'd almost miss them if you weren't looking.

Thursday I worked the KUCB table at the school district's annual career fair. It was enjoyable chatting with everyone and seeing a bunch of kids I hadn't seen in awhile. I've been in town long enough to watch them grow up from 1st graders to 7th graders or, even more amazing, 6th graders to high school seniors. Check the KUCB blog if you want to see some of the fun.