My Weight Loss Progress

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Fitness

I take Sunday off officially from working out.  The reality is that I teach 3-year-old children in a church class. That is quite a workout itself!  Teaching these young children does not mean everyone sitting quietly in a chair. Oh no!  There are activity songs and verses galore!

This is Pete.
Jump, Pete, Jump!
One day I made a paper doll and called him Pete.  The idea of the lesson was for the children to begin to understand that their bodies have spirits that make them alive.  We put Pete on a chair, and then we all jumped up and down, trying to get Pete to jump with us. Of course he didn't!  The children said he couldn't see, so I drew on eyes, and then we jumped again...added a mouth...again...ears...again.  We all loved the activity and boy did I get a workout!

When the children get wiggly, I will have them stand up, do a few arm circles, stretch up high, and so forth, to release a bit of that energy and help them focus.  Now, the thing with children is that you have to lead by example, so I get lots and lots of exercise.  It's one of the most fun ways I know to exercise, but I've got to start taking a water bottle to class with me!  Which will no doubt mean needing mini cups, because if I have some, the children will want it too.  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Scale variations

I got myself a new scale!  It's shiny and pretty and it shows my weight as 0.6-0.8 pounds heavier than my old one.  Decision time!  Should I adjust my weight goals or simply accept the discrepancy and move on?  I can't quite decide which has the better emotional effect.

There are many scales out there that do fancy things like connect to Bluetooth, measure BMI, tell you how much fat you have, or bone density, or numerous other bells and whistles. They can cost anywhere from about $30 to $200.  According to Consumer Reports, none of them are terribly accurate on those other types of measurements, though they do weigh fairly consistently.  According to Amazon Ratings, many of them also have trouble with the wi-fi connections.  Apparently they still have a way to go to truly integrate their technology.

I don't want all those things; I just want a consistently accurate weight.  In order to find one that does that, I went back to Consumer Reports from 2010 (Thank you Public Library databases!) and looked at the earlier digital ratings.  I found most of the scales for sale on Amazon, so after executing a complicated cost/performance analysis, using the data from Consumer Reports and Amazon ratings, I chose a top-rated one that was under $25 and ordered it. I'm not thrilled with the design, but so far I haven't found scales in the red and gold I would like for my bathroom.

The one I chose after all that is the Taylor 7577, pictured above.  Now let's just hope the numbers go down consistently!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Halfway to partway.

I am halfway to my first goal, about 15% of the way to my total goal. I promised myself no new clothes until I reach that first goal, unless I get job interviews and absolutely have to go buy something for an interview.  I am looking forward to a couple of new shirts, hopefully in a smaller size by the time I reach that first goal.  If I can go down from a 2X to an XL, I will have a far greater selection of styles available.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

You're never too old to learn something new !?!

I was chatting with my son on Facebook the other day, and he commented that he wanted to express something a short way, but Facebook does not have an interrobang.  What, I asked, is an interrobang? 

Well, it's a short way to write that thing we used to do when we were kids, or like I did above, exclamation marks and question marks in a row to indicate question, surprise, and excitement all at once.  My problem is that I never knew whether the exclamation marks or question marks come first. Now you can just use "‽" and it is covered.  What‽  Really‽ Why would you want to do that‽  Well, it seems like it could be really useful. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work in this format either. I had to copy it from The World of Stuff. You can get the codes there too.

Now if I could just remember to use a single space instead of a double space at the end of a sentence, I would have it made. That was drilled into me so firmly in typing class that it's pure habit. If I do it here in my blog, it can leave an extra space at the beginning of a line. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Allergy Shots...starting over

Due to moving, I had to get retested for allergies. Even after more than two years of allergy shots, I still tested positive to nearly everything.  All the trees, grasses, pets, dust...everything but a few molds. I'm practically allergic to air.

My arm the day after allergy testing.  It's a good thing I'm not
planning to wear a sleeveless outfit in the next few days.
It sounds like the doctor is planning to get me up to much higher doses than the previous doctor did. I hope it is more effective this time around.  I would really like to be done with this eventually. He gave me a calendar of when the worst allergy season is in Indiana...but with all my allergies it's pretty much year-round.

I wonder, though, about something I just thought of.  I used to garden and did great through planting and growing season and then just kind of gave out and lost interest right about harvest season. I wonder now if that's when my fall allergies kicked in and it was just one thing too many for my system to handle.

He advised me to put allergy protectors on my mattress and pillow, to wash all the bedding in hot water at least once a week, and to clean the reservoir on my CPAP humidifier more often. Sometimes staying healthy is an awful lot of work.

He also advised me to run the fan on the furnace all the time instead of on auto, so the air is constantly circulating and getting filtered, and of course to change the filter regularly.  I didn't ask him about my houseplants.  I just keep them out of the bedroom and hope for the best.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I'm just not sure humans were meant to eat thistles anyway.

This is an "artichoke heart."

Love love love artichokes! They are so tasty and fun to eat. Unfortunately my tummy has stopped agreeing with me on the issue. The last few times I've eaten an artichoke I've gotten a stomachache afterwards. There goes another of my favorite foods, something I've eaten since childhood and have many happy memories of. I guess I can keep the memories without eating the food.

When my sister was a toddler, and I was about 7 years old, we noticed that she was using the artichoke leaves as a spoon to eat lots of mayonnaise. I thought it was the funniest thing ever.  We all dipped the leaves in mayonnaise, though I have since discovered I like mayonnaise combined with mustard a lot better. That's the way my husband's family eats them.

If you buy your artichokes at the store, they are usually huge and very expensive, but we lived near Watsonville, California, the artichoke capital of the world. There were artichoke stands, like fruit stands, where you could buy them a little cheaper and a lot fresher.  Somehow my mom discovered a place where they sold small artichokes, about the size of a small apple, for a very low price. We spend a few hours blanching them and bagging them for the freezer and enjoyed artichokes all through the winter.  The beauty of those small ones was that a single artichoke made a single serving. We each got our own, rather than having to cut them smaller down the middle.

To cook them, you can boil them for about 45 minutes, but my preference is to use the pressure-cooker, and they cook in 15-18 minutes without losing nearly as  much flavor.  You can add lemon juice to preserve the bright green color, but in my experience that slowed down the cooking, at least when boiling them, but I don't remember tasting the lemon.  So I guess it's all up to your personal preference.

My older sister did not like the artichoke heart. She would eat all the meaty part of the leaves and then give away the heart. We sure hoped to be on her good side those days. I think the heart is the best part.

Artichokes are so important in California that there's even an advisory board. If you've never had one, check out their instructions on  How to Eat an Artichoke.  There's also a Wiki with pictures, but it's a bit confusing. It shows cutting off them stem, then later it says to dip the stem into whatever dip is available.  Cut off the stem right at the base of the leaves and discard the long woody part.  Then, after they are cooked, you can eat the remaining bit of stem right along with the heart.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Social media is becoming more and more unsocial.

As part of my time/routine, I'm cutting back on how often I check on e-mail or Facebook. I don't even bother with Twitter.  It amazes me how little of value is posted on FB.  More and more, people just post memes or videos. They're cute, informational, disturbing, sometimes fake, or whatever, but they are not why I go there. I want to see people's real news. 

I know FB was designed originally for sharing of ideas academically, but then it mutated to being open to the public, and people shared personal pictures and news. Now I see less and less of that, and more "stuff."  I called it "junk" but then decided it was not an accurate term. Some of them may indeed be valuable messages, but I can waste a lot of time scrolling through them to find the real ones. I have to admit that I occasionally post a meme myself if it's particularly funny or I want to share it with a family member, but I try not to. 

When I think about it, I haven't even made a personal post for days, possibly weeks. (Does that make me a lurker?) When I do, it's usually because I want congratulations or sympathy!  I never understood why my siblings rarely go on, but I'm really starting to see it now. 

I stay on and check it, mainly because of a couple of particular family members who do post pictures often. (Thanks Holly!) I may just unfriend everyone else! 

I have one son who completely canceled his account, but his wife posts occasionally, and I enjoy her pictures. Another no longer uses it on his phone, and rarely on the computer.  His girlfriend rarely posts either.  Another son posts a lot of memes but he texts me directly or calls if he wants to tell me something. So Facebook becomes less and less valuable to me, and I am cutting back.

I do enjoy a local church group that posts announcements, needs, and things they have to give away. It's a great resource for that, one of the reasons I don't just give it up entirely. 

What does this have to do with fitness?  Well, fitness is also about mental and emotional health, and I'm coming to the conclusion that social media is providing very little of either for me at this time in my life.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Signs of Things to Come

I don't feel like I'm seeing any real visual difference in my body yet, but there are other signs of progress--signs that give me hope, encouragement, even determination to continue to seek for fitness and health. Positive Signs! 

 +  +  +  +

+   When I got dressed Friday morning I noticed that I had to go the a different hook than usual on a certain item of clothing. Upon checking the size, I realized I was wearing the smallest one I currently have, and I had to tighten it by about a half inch.  Yay!  So, I can't see any difference, but that's a sign as plain as can be.
+ When my husband came in from an activity while I was eating breakfast the same day, he said he was starting to see a difference in me from my exercising. I look a tiny bit more toned to him. Well, at least I know he's looking!  
+ I am feeling a bit better, not so depressed. I actually want to do things, though I'm so slow some days that I don't get much of them done, but I have made some progress in getting my home together.

+ On top of all that, I am losing cravings. It's like this time once I'd made up my mind, I don't eat when I shouldn't. Oh sure, I still like chocolate chunks, but I only eat them for a tiny energy boost on a tired afternoon, only if I'm hungry, and only a certain amount. Before I would eat more than that, and then want more. Now I am savoring the taste, eating it slowly, and stopping at the smaller amount.  It's pretty amazing.  I guess the difference is that I am not mindlessly eating anything I think about, but I am mindfully eating small amounts, paying attention to my body signals.  I am also trying on most days to only eat one kind of chocolate. 

If I have a small glass of chocolate milk, then no chocolate chunks, and no chocolate muffin.  

As you can tell, chocolate has been a weakness for me. I hadn't even realized it, until I started paying attention, and even more as I type this. I probably still eat more than I should, but I have cut way back, definitely a sign of progress. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sock it to me

Last summer, when we traveled, my feet started swelling up like crazy, especially my left food.  I talked with my doctor about it and he recommended I wear compression socks when I travel.  I bought a couple of pairs, but I also have several pairs of Dr. Scholl's Diabetic Socks in knee length. They are not as tight as compression socks. I don't have diabetes; I bought them originally because they are nice and warm and have thick, soft soles, and it gets cold in Iowa in the winter.  Since I was spending time outdoors catching buses and walking to class, I appreciated having nice warm socks.

Well, the compression socks did the trick, along with riding around with my seat back and my feet up on the dashboard.  I also discovered that with them I don't need the special plantar fasciitis socks I had been wearing.  I still ache once in a while, but generally as long as I wear good shoes and socks, that is enough.  Now I usually wear the Doctor Scholl's and I'm quite comfortable.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

If you are what you eat, what if you eat a Bratwurst? Are you then Wurst, Brat?

Just kidding around because I haven't much to write about today.  We had some of the missionaries over for dinner and had bratwursts. It was tasty.  It can really jazz up spaghetti sauce. It also contains a high percentage of fat, so it's a rare and small treat for me. I am really focusing on eating less, rather than on eating low-fat or any particular way, but I have become more conscious of stuff like that.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A tiny little hiccup in our plans

My husband has an upset stomach, which has somehow manifested itself in hiccups. Did you ever try to sleep when you hiccup loudly and often?  Or try to sleep next to someone with the hiccups?  We both ended up staying up until about 5 a.m., at which time he gave up and went downstairs to watch TV.  I went to bed and didn't wake up until around 11 a.m.

Although I intended to get right into my daily routine, I took a few minutes out to find and print some information on hiccups from reliable websites for him.  The tiny slip was that I checked Facebook updates really quickly. I did not, however, read posts, so it was a slip, not a lapse into old habits. Still, it tells me I need to watch it and be extra disciplined for the next few days.

It also sounds like the hiccups are gone at last. If they last more than 48 hours, it's advisable to go to a doctor, but short-term hiccups are just a nuisance but probably nothing serious.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

She lost me at 5:30 a.m., but I am so glad you asked about my daily routine.

I recently read a post by a blogger who was extolling the benefits of a daily routine, how it simplifies her life, makes it more meaningful, etc. and so forth.  She started out with "I get up at 5:30 every morning."  And right there she lost me.

5:30 every morning?  Um, night owl me?  Not likely!  I  had a paper route with my youngest son for about two weeks.  I actually got sick from getting up so early. Of course, that may have had to do with going to bed late, but regardless, you are not going to find me consistently getting up at 5:30 a.m.

However, one of my sweet followers, who also happens to be my daughter-in-law (Hi Helen!) asked about my daily routine, so that post is getting bounced to the top of my list.  I did get some ideas from the blogger, (I think it was Courtney Carver), but with my own twist.

1. I get up when I wake up. I don't currently have a job so I can get away with this. I head for the bathroom first thing--that's usually what gets me out of bed!
Not my actual bed!
2. Open the room-darkening curtains so they let light in. 

3. Make the bed. I got into that habit years ago. Having the bed made early on sets the tone for the whole day. It leaves me feeling committed to staying out of it, and refreshed by the tidy look of the room.
4. Wash my face with cold water. It wakes me up more, and helps clear my bleary eyes. Get dressed. 

5. Kneel next to my nicely-made bed and talk to my Heavenly Father.

6. Dress in workout clothes. Exercise, Shower. Dress.

7. Breakfast (and I usually sneak in a crossword puzzle here, since, like I said, I don't have a job to hurry off to. Of course, that's going to have to change one of these days, but for now I like the break.)
8. Write in my journal about the day before.  It doesn't have to  be long, but sometimes it is. It clears my thoughts and opens my heart and mind for the next activity, which is actually one of the most important.  I save it for almost last because I focus best  when I'm awake and have eaten.

  9.  Read my scriptures, and church lessons. Spend time                  pondering, sometimes writing or answering questions from              the study guides.  If I start losing focus, I call it quits for the day.
10. Now I'm almost ready for the rest of my day, but I sit and write a blog post before I go on Facebook or check e-mail. That's why I have been more consistent lately. It gives me a  place to vent my random thoughts about fitness and health  issues, but more importantly, it gives me accountability in a way.

Now I know that's a lot of steps, and it can take two-three hours, and not everyone has that kind of time, or wants to do that many things.  At first it took me a lot longer and used up all my energy, but gradually I am getting faster, and instead of feeling that I've used up my allotment for the day, I go off and find something interesting to do, like hang pictures, shop for paint, recover a chair, balance a bank statement, and oh yeah, look for job leads.  If I get tired I take a (puzzle) break or sit and read a book for a while so my body can get a rest.

Quickly transforming through a daily routine. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

These boots are made for walking. These shoes are made for falling down.

I decided next time it snows I'll wear boots to church, and not worry about what anyone thinks. We had so little snow--probably less than a quarter inch on the parking lot--but that was just enough for my feet to fly out from under me and send me flat on my back.

I am grateful that I fell on my back this time and not on the same knee and hand.  I picked myself up, made my way over to the car, and then drove across the parking lot to a space right in front of the church.  I went in, signaled to my husband to leave choir practice, and asked for a blessing from him and another elder from our church.  I was promised that it would not set me back and I would have no long-term damage.

Today I ache all over, especially my neck, but I still managed to do yoga and the rest of my daily routine. I am excited to do more in my home, which is still in half-messy mode from moving two months ago.  It's starting to look great, though.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

If the shoe fits, wear it. And if it doesn't fit, figure out why. Is it you or the shoe?

Books Ariel
These shoes are the ones my podiatrist recommended for
my narrow, high-arch feet. They have good ankle  support too.

Photo from

I was doing side steps in my exercise routine, and I noticed my feet slipping side to side in my shoes. This happened with both my favorite pairs of shoes.  On each pair, I had to tighten up the laces a tiny bit. It's the first sign of my body shrinking.  I was feeling discouraged because I don't think my waistline is any looser, or my body looking any more toned, but my feet started slipping in my shoes. That's encouraging.

I have already started seeing emotional and mental benefits of sticking to a daily routine that includes exercise, but it was nice to see the physical benefits, no matter how tiny, start to show up. Yay for shoes!

Reebok DMX Ride, Road Supreme, DMX Shear.
These shoes are some of the most comfortable
I've found for my narrow, high-arched feet.

Photo from

Friday, January 15, 2016

I woke up in love this morning...I woke up in bed this morning...I woke up in pain this morning...yeah, that's it.

Every now and again I have a pain flare for no identifiable reason. My neck and shoulders were very tense and painful when I woke up this morning. Perhaps it's because it's raining. Or maybe I overdid it with the screwdriver yesterday. That's a real screwdriver, as in putting shelves up, rewiring lamps, and other creative tasks.  Perhaps I ate something I shouldn't have.

At any rate, pain or not, determined to stay with my daily routine, I made the bed, said my prayers, opened the curtains (groaning at the rain) and headed downstairs for yoga.  I'm on Day 6 of 30 Days of Yoga, 6-pack abs. No, she's joking, but we did do a short session of core work. I had to use a pillow at first, but by the time we were through, I was able to lay my head flat on the ground and do some gentle curls.  I am down to a mild ache rather than the intense pain I started with.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I don't run

Shirt available at Spread Shirt, S-XXL

I grew up on a cattle ranch. We had a nice herd of polled (hornless) Hereford cows. They are gentle, and we could lure them into the corrals easily with a pickup load of hay.  They knew the sound of that truck horn meant feeding time, so when it was roundup time, Dad drove out there with hay in the pickup and they came running, following him wherever he went, even down to the corral. Cows are stupid.  Generally all we had to do was walk behind and watch for strays.

Most cows are stupid. There was always a wily cow or two who decided she did not want to go in with the herd. Maybe she just wasn't that hungry.  A cow like that would walk along placidly for a little while, lulling us into security, then take off up a hill or off on a side path.  When that happened, our job was to run around it--not behind it which chases it further away--but quickly go way off the the side and then herd that cow back into the bunch. You've probably seen it in Westerns, always on horseback, but we did this on foot.  It was always exhilarating to run around that cow and then see its surprise and hasty path back to the herd.

Herefords at Lower Preston Farm, Somerset, Great Britain
  © Copyright Sarah Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

That kind of running was fun.  Running just to run is not fun for me. In elementary and high school, I had to participate in physical education classes, which often included running just to run, or to pass off some arbitrary fitness number.  I did not much care for that.  I was proud of two of my sons for running cross-country in high school, but it was not my cup of tea.  For one thing, I was slow. Or maybe I was slow because I really didn't care.  I was faster when it really mattered, faster than a cow anyway.

When I got into my next few years of high school, Freshman PE finally behind me, I started playing soccer and speedaway, mostly in my gym classes.   Both of those games involved a great deal of running, but it was fun.  There was a goal, a ball to chase after, a "pen" to try to get it to.  I found I liked the half-back position best. It always seemed so much more involved that the other positions. It also involved a great deal of running, and I didn't mind the run.  But to run, just to run. No, thanks!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Is it political correctness, an international standard, or simply the internet causing all the confusion?

Through most of my life, there have been three size categories of women's clothing. There were "Misses" clothes, "Petite" Clothes, and "Women's Clothes."

Petite was the same as it is today. Women who are short wear petites so they don't have knee-length dresses hit at mid-calf, or extra fabric bunching above the waistline. It makes sense to me.

Misses was everything from size 0-16 or 18, but often you can't find anything smaller than a 6 or larger than a 16.  I'm not sure where truly tiny people are supposed to shop.

Women's clothing was about 16-18 on up to the biggest, depending on the clothing line. Sometimes marked with a W, a 16W would be bigger around than a 16.

Now, instead of Women's clothing, many manufacturers, stores, and websites are calling it Plus size. I guess that's more polite than calling it "chubby" or "husky" like children's clothing used to be labeled. I get most confused when I am browsing online. I can go into a store and quickly determine where the larger-size clothing is, but online the terms get all confused.  I'll see an ad for an adorable "Women's Coat" and click on the site, only to find out it is made no larger than a size 14.

Is this more of an international standard?  It makes more sense, really, because the whole "Misses" thing has no logic to it.  I am just having trouble at times sorting it all out.  Some websites clearly say "Plus Size"  which I like--as long as there is an adorable coat.  I found a red one on Groupon, and have been sorely tempted to order it.

For clothing, I am more prone to shop locally, so I can try things on, so this shouldn't matter. However, I like to get ideas of style and put things on Pinterest from the comfort of my computer chair.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Any great warrior is also a scholar, and a poet, and an artist. --Steven Seagal

powerful. you show off that chopped-off head, girl!
Link for credits

Today in yoga I managed to do one "downward dog." Just one, before I had to start babying my wrist again.  But hey, that's progress from three days ago!  Today's workout, 30 Days of Yoga, day 5, was a fairly short one, with several warrior poses. I could do them!  I thought about the significance of that. I am a warrior. I am fighting for my health, my strength, my very energy and quality of life.

Hangaku Gozen
I love the in the title above, because though I am still fighting depression and lack of energy, I can see progress. I suddenly started getting all sorts of great ideas for home decorating I want to do. I am beginning to open up the heart of an artist. I had to start making a list so I can pick a project and start on it instead of going in endless circles.

According to Google Translate, Hangaku Gozen (see picture at left) means "half the morning."  I think that's cool, the way it fits into my morning routine, which I am trying to narrow down to only half the morning. 

The following quote applies to my battle for fitness:

Jeanne d'Arc
I do what I do because it is the right thing to do. I am a warrior, and it is the way of the warrior to fight superior odds.  --Paul Watson  

It's not easy changing habits and health at my age, but it is the right thing to do for myself and possibly for my family. 

The next quote really reached my heart.  

“Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.” ― Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel

The light will shine brighter if the glass that contains it is clean and either unbroken or repaired.  I'm at repair stage myself. If you're reading this and you're young, please don't let yourself get into such a state of disrepair before you start mending and cleaning.  This is not the easy way, but I am a Warrior.

the truth about yoga for anti aging
Believe it or not--she was 95 years old and had been doing yoga for 75 years.

Monday, January 11, 2016

And the train went merrily along the track, until it got derailed by a flat tire.

Train, Engine, Railway, Travel, Transportation
Illustration from

I've done my morning routine for a whole week. Today I was on track for a record time with few distractions, and then the phone rang. I could not just ignore the phone, because my husband took the car to the shop to get a tire repaired, so I had to talk to him. 

It turned out that the tire shop was very busy. The first real snowstorm here apparently brought out all those people who suddenly realized they needed new tires, or snow tires mounted. Or, like me, flat tires because they ran over something they could not see?  The man at the shop told my husband that it would be 1:00 at the earliest before he could even look at my tire.  This was around 10:30 a.m., so naturally my husband didn't want to wait that long.  I paused in my journal writing, jumped in his car and went to pick him up. It was only about a 20 minute drive, round-trip, so I wasn't entirely derailed. It's just that an interruption like that can lead to other distractions, causing me to put off or not do the rest of my routine.

We got home, and I went right back to my journal and then personal study.  I won't be done by noon, but close to it.  A three-hour morning routine seems a bit long, doesn't it?  I'll blog another day about what I do during those three hours.

If I'd had such an interruption a week ago, I don't know if I would have gotten back on track.  I can already see the power of determination in habit forming, and plan to continue to implement my morning routine.  It feels so good, and now I have the afternoon ahead of me to do other things.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

What's with all these animals doing yoga anyway?

Image from

With my sore left wrist and sore right knee, yoga can get interesting at times. I modify, and then modify some more, but I am getting a little stronger.  

Downward Dog

Photo from Flickr, by Sarah Siblik.  License: Creative Commons

My version: Not even close, even if I put my weight on my fists instead of hands flat.
Photo from Flickr, by Mike Lewinski. License: Creative Commons


By Kennguru, on Wikimedia. Photo and Licensing.

Me: On my elbows. Or just on the floor. 

Cat and Cow

Photo Credit:

Me:  I'm okay if put my weight toward my left knee and right hand. I probably list a bit.

Child's Pose

I can do it! The pressure is off of my knees, and my wrist stretched out, so it's easy. I'm sure I don't look as pretty as this girl: 

Photo by Anne Wu, Flickr.

However, you're just as likely to find me like this: 

Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
I love Mary Cassatt's paintings.

Or this--now, that's a comfortable child!  Interestingly, this photo actually demonstrates a neck exercise.  

Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex

But hey, at least I'm stretching, right?  I've started following the "30 Days of Yoga" with Adriene.  I won't get done in 30 consecutive days, since I alternate it with a walking program and take Sundays off, but I just finished day 4. 

Adriene, Day 1

I figured out I can get YouTube with my Roku, so I can stream the videos to my TV without having to download them to a DVD.  The best part of it is that after the first two, there were no ads. I guess the advertisers figured nobody sticks with it. But I am!  Modified, yes, but I am doing something!

Friday, January 8, 2016

What I hate about being fat--the things we don't talk about

"Lynn loves long, hot showers."  From Bitstrips, a Facebook app.

It's a rather delicate subject, things that in the past we didn't talk about much, but today we can mention nearly anything, right?  So, I am going to mention the issue of personal hygiene.

All I have to say is this--it's harder to keep clean when there are places that are hard to reach.  Of course I manage--as other people do--but it can take a little longer. It's not just reaching, either. It's moving that roll of fat that is my belly and cleaning under it, and so forth.

One blessing I have is a shower with a hose. I highly recommend it. It's great for pregnant women too. It's great for anyone really. Now I can soap up and then pull down that shower head and rinse all the nooks and crannies to get the soap off.  It makes life easier and infinitely more pleasant for me. And I'm sure the people around me appreciate it that I don't smell. And then toweling dry--again with the reaching and stretching and moving and shifting body parts just to get dried off again.

Let me tell you a secret about that shower head. It also makes cleaning out the tub and shower so much easier!  You just scrub everything down and then lift off that shower head and let loose with the spray and voila! All rinsed off! I do recommend closing the door or shower curtain first though--or you'll need a few more of those oversize towels!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Did you celebrate Nollaig na mBan yesterday? Interesting that I could be celebrating a holiday that I never heard of.

Yesterday a Facebook post from "Find My Past" asked the question,
"Are you celebrating Nollaig na mBan today?
In Irish tradition, January 6th is 'Women's Christmas', the day when women, who shouldered most of the holiday-related workload, finally get the chance to kick back.
"Even if you're not fully celebrating the tradition, it might be a good day to do something nice for whoever in your household worked hard over the holidays!"
I laughed when I saw it, because I missed part of the daily routine I'm trying to establish as a habit, and then mostly goofed off all day.  Well, it looks like I had a great excuse.  Now for the other 365 days of 2016...I wonder what other holidays may come my way.
I found some interesting links about Little Christmas, or Women's Christmas, as it may also be called.  
Of course, there is Wikipedia, but for a modern take on it, check out How to Celebrate Nollaig na mBan (Women's Little Christmas) Today.  
Think about the song that says "Have yourself a merry little Christmas." Though the song appears to be written for Christmas itself, all but a few words apply equally well, if not better, to Nollaig na MBan. It's not just a day off, but a social day, in which the women go visiting or go out to tea. Next year I would like to truly take such a day. 
Just be sure you don't call it Little Women's Christmas!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

You already have my life history and two copies of my social security number and my wedding license and now you want to know my weight?

Getting a driver's license in a new state is a hassle, but my most recent move really took the cake! (Watch out for those food expressions, folks! Now I want cake. Chocolate.)

To shorten a terribly long and boring story, it took me three trips to the BMV to get my driving license and register my car.  On the third trip I finally got to the step of taking the written test for the driving license. The first question had to do with the stopping distance of trucks!  I was sure I was going to fail, but the rest of them were quite a bit easier. (I looked up the stopping distance of trucks later and found out I actually answered it right.)

My first driver's test was in this kind of car, 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air.
Photo Credit

In our state, you don't find out your score. It's simply Pass/Fail.  Fortunately, I passed, thus saving a fourth trip.  Then came the dreaded 'mug shot' picture, and the question that would have been even more dreaded if I had not forgotten that they ask it.

So there I am, sitting next to my husband, and they ask the question.

How much do you weigh?

While I know what I look like, I have avoided giving my husband a specific number. I really did not want him to know the exact number, which incidentally is about 40 pounds more than he weighs.  I thought briefly of lying, but really?  Is it worth it to lie?  Besides, the shape of my body gives evidence of the lie, though I could have gotten away with ten pounds or so I suppose.

So now he knows. 

And you know what?  He has not said one word.  Not. one. word.  The shame is all in my head.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Topical Drug We Apply Every Day

Illustration from
I was putting on antiperspirant one day and I noticed that the label was one of those peel-off kind that says "Drug Facts Inside."  Drug facts?  It's deodorant!  Well, it turns out the active ingredient is aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly 15.4%.  (AZG) This is what causes yellow stains on clothing. It's not the sweat--it's the deodorant, or more specifically, the AZG in the deodorant.

I don't know if it's bad for you or not. I do know that so-called "Natural" deodorants don't use it. We have also found the natural deodorants not to be as effective against odor or sweat, at least not on a healthy, active male body.

However, my husband has an allergic reaction to any kind of aluminum in deodorant, so he just has to put up with sweat. Sometimes the odor of that bothers my sensitive nose, but through trial and error we have learned that a combination of a daily shower, a natural deodorant, and Power Spray seem to do the trick.  Power Spray, not Power Stick. 
Though they are made by the same company, Power Stick is another aluminum-based deodorant. 

We found Power Spray at Dollar Tree, of all places. There is a choice of scents; we bought two different ones that I like. This is not an ad for Power Spray, nor a rant about AZG deodorants. I still wear my lovely powder-fresh antiperspirant, even while wondering about the effects of the AZG on my body. 

Incidentally, the "inactive" ingredients of my particular brand are nearly as scary sounding as AZG:
Elaeis guineensis (palm) kernel oil
Stearyl alcohol
C12-15 alkyl benzoate
PPG-14 butyl ether
Hydrogenated castor oil
Hydrogenated soybean oil
PEG-8 Distearate
Fragrance (made of what???) 
Hydrolized Corn Starch
behenyl alcohol

Monday, January 4, 2016

Where the Driveway Meets the Sidewalk

In late fall, I took a fall. (don't you just love the English language?)

About a month ago, I was leaving the home of a new friend in the dark. As I walked out to my car, I tripped right where the driveway meets the sidewalk.  Down I went, not just flat, but further due to the angle of the driveway going down. All my weight, kaboom!--onto concrete. My left hand and right knee caught the worst of it.

At first my hand felt quite swollen, but x-rays show no bones broken in my wrist. It has settled into a dull ache, unless I twist a certain way or try to use the muscles, like opening a jar lid. Then it really hurts! I still wear a wrist brace the majority of the time.

After about two weeks, my knee kept getting worse, to the point that a slight bump felt like someone was stabbing me from inside my knee. Again, I went to the clinic, and got my knee x-rayed. Nothing is broken, but I do have a preexisting bone spur. The doctor did suggest very little exercise for a couple more weeks to give my knee a chance to heal. So much for getting a jump start on exercise so that it's not a New Year's Resolution!

My has gradually been getting better. Now if I put weight on it, it feels like someone is holding a sharp knife to the inside of my knee, but not the stabbing sensation of before.  I think it's time to see an orthopedic specialist.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Wake-up Call on the Airplane

Off to vacation--
we would try to travel on the busiest day of the year, only to have bad weather all over the countryside!  After one cancelled flight, and one long-delayed one, we managed to get seat assignments for a plane headed to New York, a quick stop on the way to our actual destination.  The gate attendant asked if we were okay with the emergency exit row, and we said that was fine.

What I didn't know was that in the emergency row, the center armrest does not come up. Not only that, both armrests are solid, allowing no room to sort of spread out from under. I squeezed into the seat, where I sat for a little over an hour, pinched on both sides. The seat belt was a little shorter than usual, and I barely got it buckled without asking for an extender. My husband appreciated that we had a little more leg room, but it did not do me much good since I couldn't move enough to stretch my legs into it and relax.

I vowed to lose weight right then and there, since I can see how much it is affecting my lifestyle.  I also vowed to avoid emergency exit rows until I've gone down at least one size.

Friday, January 1, 2016

I'm Back--Time to Master Fitness once again!

I took some time out to get my master's degree. You know how you always get warned about the "Freshman 15"?  Well, let me tell you the "Master's 40" is worse, especially when you go back to get your degree in your fifties.

So here I am, a newly graduated Master of Arts in Library and Information Science (how's that for a mouthful?) and heavier than I have every been.  I have also not been feeling well, and my whole body is telling me that being overweight is a large part of the cause.

So here I am--and not just because it is January 1--I would have started earlier but for some injuries that I will blog about another day. I'll redo my markers to reflect current weight--the good news is I've lost 5 pounds already.