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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Manic Monday

I've been taking Tamoxifen for a little over a year now, without much trouble.  The only side effect I've noticed is night sweats.  I sleep in summer pajamas most of the time, lightweight capri bottoms and a tank top.  Walker comes home most mornings to find me sound asleep under the ceiling fan, covers kicked off.  He sleeps in flannel pants, a turtleneck, and a sweatshirt with the hood pulled up.

So when I got out of bed and rummaged through the closet for a sweatshirt, that should have been a red flag.  We both overslept on Monday.  When I finally woke up I had to dash for the shower.  Walker got up to make me something to eat before I had to leave for work, and he's the one who figured out that the furnace was out. The house was a brisk 55 degrees. 

Of course Walker, who knows nothing about the furnace, decides to take a look at it.  I'm still in the shower when I hear him banging away in the basement.  Our furnace is supposed to have two clips that hold the cover in place.  Without the cover on properly and the clip in place, the furnace won't run.  One of the clips broke long ago, and none of the heating places I called could get me another one.  They say those clips aren't made anymore.  We have to treat the remaining clip like it's made of glass.  We break it, we'll be putting in a new furnace.  Up in the shower, listening to the banging, I freaked out.

I didn't know I could still move that fast, but I was out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, and down the stairs in a blur.  I keep a paint can key next to the furnace to remove the cover clip when I change the filters, and I used that to adjust the clip.  A quarter turn and the furnace roared to life.  Crisis averted. I went back upstairs, finished my shower, ate a quick dinner, and got to work just in time.  Unfortunately, my coworker was out sick and the only person to cover for her was me.  Sigh.

On the plus side, I know I'm not supposed to weigh every day but I stepped on the scale before I hopped in the shower and I'm down half a pound since the day before.  Looks like my theory about the sodium in my Subway turkey sandwich might have been correct. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Spark

I'm choosing to be a glass-half-full kind of person today.  With that in mind - Wahoo! - I didn't gain any weight this week.  The scale read exactly the same as last week.  I was a little disappointed, because I did pretty well with the calorie tracking, but I know weight loss isn't necessarily an exact science.  Yesterday, we stopped at Subway for dinner, and while I had a turkey sandwich with no cheese and lots of veggies, I know that deli meat has lots of sodium.  Sometimes that's enough to cause a little water retention.  Or, you know, my metabolism may just be on strike.  Regardless, I'm slogging on.  If things don't pick up this week I'll think about making some changes.

We had a pretty good weekend.  We went to a birthday party for our neighbor and friend, the lovely Miss Lucille, who is eighty-five years young this week.  To pacify the blister on the bottom of my foot I wore extra thick socks and my new Hello Kitty Vans.  Okay, the Vans didn't help my blister but hey, they looked cute:

My mom has caught a bad cold, so Diva and I brought her some Campbell's Double Noodle along with the cutest brownies ever:

She promptly ate the ears off, which brought back memories of pretty much every chocolate Easter bunny I received as a child.  To this day my mom can't resist a chocolate ear.

My Diva got herself into some hot water a while back.  What she did was pretty typical ten-year-old behavior, but when her Gramma called her on the carpet, she lied.  Then I asked her about it, and she lied to me, too. Well, that's not going to fly.  It didn't take me too long to get her to confess, but I couldn't let the lying go so she was punished with ten chores: five for lying to me, and five for lying to Gramma.  Sunday morning I handed her my weekly cleaning list and retired to the sofa.  Walker changed the sheets and did the dishes, while Diva vacuumed, dusted, and cleaned both bathrooms.  She also folded three baskets of laundry.  All I had left to do was to mop the kitchen floor and water my plants.  Wahoo!  It's almost like being on vacation.  Diva does very good work for a ten-year-old.  I'd like to hire her.  It was fabulous having two extra hours to myself.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Injured Reserve

Tuesday afternoon I was chugging away on my elliptical when I started having stabbing pains in my left hip.  I don't think I did anything weird, but after a couple minutes the pains started getting worse so I slowed down until I finished my planned 20 minutes on the machine.  It quit hurting a few minutes later, but my leg was stiff whenever I got up from my desk that night at work, so I decided to stay off the elliptical for a couple days and just do my nightly walks outside.

Walking outside is a nice break in my workday, but on Friday I wore the wrong shoes, choosing my old favorite dress shoes because I couldn't remember why I stopped wearing them.  I remembered about halfway through my walk: they have little zippers on the side of each foot, and the right one won't stay up.  This makes the shoe too loose, my foot slides around a lot, and by the time I finished walking my loop I had a quarter sized blister on the bottom of my foot.  Yep, the bottom.  No getting around that. I get a reminder every time I take a step.

Then on Saturday, Walker, Diva, and I went grocery shopping.  I was digging around in my purse looking for the shopping list on the way into the store, but I should have been paying attention because one of the trucks in the parking lot had a big tow bar sticking out from it's backside and I walked smack into it.  Hard.  I hit the dang thing just under the knee on my right leg.  I was rewarded with a ginormous bruise in a really pretty shade of purple.

I think I'll just read a book today.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Writer's Block

I wish I had some fun stories to share with y'all, but I don't.  It's been a whole lot of work and not much else around here.  Doesn't make for many interesting posts.

The truth is, I feel like my life is on hold, like I'm just marking time til Spring.  We have lots of stuff on the calendar, just not for a while.  We didn't even get to go to the winter carnival this year; there was no winter and no snow, so the carnival activities were cancelled.  Can't have a snow sculpture contest when it's 45* outside. The annual festivities at the ski hill ain't gonna happen, either.  I guess the price you pay for lovely mild weather is all your "normal" entertainment goes away.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Spark

The bottom line this week is the loss of one full pound.  I'm good with that.  I did toy with the idea of stepping up the exercise and trying to cut the calories a little more, but decided to just keep doing what I'm doing.  The weight loss is slow, but it's steady, and right now the routines are manageable.  I lost a pound, even though Walker requested lasagna for Valentines Day and we ate it for leftovers twice more last week.  And he gave me chocolate.  And I did not make time to do my Zumba at all.  I did get some walking in, four out of five nights during my dinner break at work.  I kept my calories within the recommended range at Spark People.  I drank water.  When I went to work without remembering to pack a lunch, I dug into the stash of oatmeal and Medifast bars I keep in my desk instead of running to one of the half dozen fast food places in a three block radius of my office.  I did okay this week, and I'm not going to mess with success.

On Saturday I went down into the laundry room, where every pair of Capri pants in my possession was hanging on a clothing rack in order of size.  Real size, determined by a tape measure, regardless of what the tags said.  I tried them on, starting with the biggest.  The first two pair are definitely too big.  The third pair fit, a little loose.  The next three pair are a perfect fit.  The next three went on but were tight, and the last two?  Well, I won't be wearing them any time soon.  Even so, I should be able to cobble together a vacation wardrobe with what I already own, whether I stay the same size or keep shrinking.  I'm looking forward to getting to the small end of the rack, to getting rid of the too-big clothes, and to finally having some spare closet space.  Good goals, all.

This week my focus is on making sure the exercise gets done.  I enjoy it, it helps me, and honestly?  Even when we're crazy busy I'm sure there are thirty minutes a day I can spare, somewhere.  My job is to find that time and utilize it.  Spark People recommends exercising four days a week.  I'm going to do five this week, just to prove I can.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Week in Review

I've missed y'all!  Not sure how things got so far off track, but I think we're all caught up now.  The highlights from my lost week:

Walker and I celebrated Valentine's Day at home, with a lasagna dinner, some candles, and mushy greeting cards.  It was fabulous.  He brought me some flowers and a heart shaped tin filled with Ghiradelli chocolate and caramel squares, perfect for sharing. 

Wandered through Walmart and found one of my favorite movies.  In the five dollar bin, y'all!  Snapped that up and watched it one morning when I couldn't sleep.  This movie always makes me cry, but I love it. 

Babysat these adorable little girls, my puppy nieces.  We used to take care of them all the time but had to cut back when Ernie got sick.  I've missed their fuzzy little faces.   Judging from all the dancing they did when they got here, they missed us, too.

The rest of the week we worked, worked, and worked some more.  We had yet another water leak, which has been repaired and cleaned up.  I did my taxes, and while I'm happy to report that for the first time in many years I had no medical deductions, the downside to that is that I have to pay in.  I was hoping to break even, but no such luck.  So I'll be keeping my second job for a while longer.   At least I have options, right? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

I hope you all have a day filled with love and hugs and those yummy nuggets of chocolate that come in the red foil heart boxes.  My friend Cheri says, " I know a lot of people think it's a silly holiday HOWEVER, I love it. Any reminder to tell someone that you care about them can only be good right?"  I could not agree more, my friends.  Hugs to you all, and Happy Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Spark and a Little Rant

Up at the crack of dawn again.  Not sure why I'm not sleeping.  I've all but cut out caffeine and there's no real stress keeping me up.  My mom's theory is that I'm just so excited to start my day.  Who knows. 

Before I do my SparkPeople update, I want to rant, just a bit, on something that happened after the death of Whitney Houston yesterday.  Whitney Houston was an amazing artist but like so many talented performers, she was troubled.  So last night, at a pre-Grammy party, Tony Bennett gets up onstage and gives a little speech.  He cites Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and now Whitney Houston, all gone too soon.  I thought what was coming next was a plea to artists to stop using drugs.  Well, not quite.  Mr Bennett instead urged everyone in the audience to contact their legislators to legalize drugs.  He feels that if drugs were legal, people could get them from a licensed professional rather than off the street.  Sigh.

With all due respect to Mr Bennett, this is the most asinine thing I have heard in a long time.  First of all, Michael Jackson was not using street drugs.  He died of an overdose of drugs that were prescribed and administered by a medical doctor.  Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning.  Alcohol is already legal.  And nobody knows, yet, what caused Whitney Houston's death.  So, Mr Bennett, your comments hold no weight.  In my opinion, they were also inappropriate.

End of rant.  =)

On to my weekly Spark Update.  Sometime this week I passed the "ten pounds gone" milestone.  I'm currently down 10.6 pounds total.  I'm happy with that.  I'm not sure I'm being realistic with my goal of wearing my daisy Capris on vacation in April, but I'm in "wait and see" mode.  I did mark my calendar for the two weekends before we leave in case I need to go shopping.  I dread the idea of buying new clothes at this point, but I can't run around Disney in my pajamas. Which, now that I think about it, wouldn't work even if I wanted to try it, because earlier this week I got out of bed and my pajama pants fell off.  They are very loose.  I have two pair the same, so that pretty much ensures I'll be shopping for new jams, if nothing else.


Saturday, February 11, 2012


Saturday morning I got up early.  I didn't want to, but the last couple weeks I've been awake by 9:30.  Considering I go to bed at 6 am, well, that's not good.  But I can't seem to get back to sleep, so eventually I get up.  Today, I stayed in bed until almost 11 before I called it done. 

Before we could go visit the kitties, we stopped to drop off a gift for my friend Cheri.  Just before Christmas, Cheri was diagnosed with cancer.  She started chemotherapy a couple weeks ago.  Cheri is one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever known.  She truly lives with an open mind and an open heart.  She's been really amazing through this fight, but she has some bad days, too.  So I got her what I call "comfort in a box", the softest blanket you could ever imagine.  It's softer even than baby blankets.  It's made of fuzzy micro fleece.  Best of all, it comes with matching socks.  It's not much but I hope it makes her feel a little better on the bad days.

Cheri lives up in the north woods, but when she has treatments she stays here in town with her parents, so that's where we dropped the box.  Her dad answered the door and I explained who I was and that I wanted to leave the box for Cheri.  From somewhere in the house I heard Cheri's mom call "Hi!" to me.  I'd only met her once, years ago, but she remembered me, and she commented that I had been such a good friend to Cheri's brother, Mike.  That made me feel so good - that she remembered me, and that she knew of my friendship with Mike. 

When I started my current job, Mike was my mentor.  It was just the two of us, working the night shift together. I remember telling Walker when I was hired - before Mike and I met - that I really hoped we got along, cause there was no one else in the office at night.  Imagine how miserable it could have been.   The days that Mike and I worked together were the best days in this job.  When he retired it was bittersweet.  Mike and his wife moved overseas, where they had a beach house ready and waiting.  It's amazing to see him live his dream, but I sure miss him, and his lovely wife, too.  She is a fabulous cook, so Walker also misses her.  I keep up with them on Facebook. Their photos are gorgeous.  Someday, it would be incredible to visit.  Someday.  Walker would probably refuse to leave.

Anyway:  we had a nice, but brief, chat, with Cheri's parents. We couldn't linger because we had a load of supplies in the car and it was still so stinking cold, I didn't want the stuff to freeze.  The animal shelter was pleased to get our donation, and we spent about an hour visiting the dogs and kitties.  I've never thought seriously about getting a dog - we work too much for a dog - but there was this one dog there, a big girl, an older dog - and she was on the "extended stay" list, which means she's been there for at least a couple months.  It's a nice shelter, a big new building on a large lot, but she's been in that cage for months.  Of course I started crying.  Maybe visiting the animals wasn't such a great idea. What cheeses me is, I looked at pets on Craig's list and there were many offers for baby animals, several with comments like, "This is her fourth litter" and the like.  I really wish more people would spay and neuter.  There are so many beautiful animals looking for homes. 

After the visit we went to the mall.  I have half a dozen pieces of jewelry my aunt wants listed on eBay.  Well, I'm happy to do that, but I don't know what the stones are.  I was hoping someone at the mall could tell me.  There are half a dozen jewelry stores.  That was my main reason for stopping, so imagine how irritated I was when I realized I had not brought the jewelry with me.  Sigh.  Walker needed some new swim trunks, so we did shop for those, but he wasn't in a hurry and I really wanted to get those pieces listed this weekend.  In hindsight, the stores were probably busy, what with it being the last weekend before Valentine's Day.  I'll probably get better service going next weekend.

If I Didn't Know Better, I'd Think It Was Winter!

Looks like the party's over, at least for a while.  Sometime after I came home from work Friday morning, the temps started dropping and the wind picked up.  We went from 34 degrees to a wind chill of minus ten.  We've gotten way too used to forty degrees. 

I had to put the liner back in my new purple coat.  I had to find gloves.  I thought I would skip my walk on Friday evening, but almost instinctively I geared up and headed out right on time.  I told myself I didn't have to walk the whole 1.25 mile loop.  There are a couple places where I can short cut back to the office if I need to.  I passed them without hesitation.  When the cold got to be too much, I started jogging.  Yep, jogging.  I do not know where this person came from but she sure looks like me.  Only it can't be me because the only things that could make me voluntarily run would be one of the kids in trouble or a cattle prod.  Neither was in sight.  Yet I started jogging. When I wanted to quit, I picked a landmark up ahead and told myself I could go back to walking when I passed it.  Only when I actually did pass it, I just picked another landmark and kept jogging. 

So it seems I'm changing more than my eating habits.  And can I tell you?  It feels pretty darn good to know that I sucked it up and did something good for myself, even when I had a valid excuse to skip it.  Yay, me!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kitty Conversations

At the grocery store this morning I picked up a couple gallons of bleach and 64 cans of kitty food.  We'll be bringing these gifts to the animal shelter tomorrow.   Diva and I want to play with the kitties.  Consider it a bribe, LOL. 

Walker and I have been discussing getting another kitty, or two.  Walker is "sort of" okay with one baby kitten.  I think cats do well with a feline companion, so I'm lobbying for two.  I'm also not sure I want to dive into kitten-hood again.  I remember coming home from work when Ernie was a baby.  I could hear her yowling all the way down the hall to our apartment.   She would climb the curtains and get stuck up there. Every. Stinking. Day.  We weren't technically allowed to have pets so I was always tearing down the hall as fast as my tired feet would carry me.  I'm surprised nobody ratted us out with all her wailing.  Curtain climbing was only part of the battle.  There was shredded toilet paper, houseplants dug up and dragged around, flower vases knocked over (not to mention destroyed flowers and puddles of water), trash cans tipped over, and don't get me started on Christmas trees.  They are just one giant cat toy.  Ernie's brother, Sassy, used to drink the tree water and barf all over the model train I had under the tree.  Guess it was a good thing I didn't have a Nativity scene.  I'm going to have enough to atone for at the Pearly Gates without having to apologize for kitty barf on the Baby Jesus.

So kittens are fun but boy, they do take work.  Walker has never had the pleasure, he has no idea that two pounds of fur can wreak absolute havoc.  But he isn't thrilled with the idea of an older cat.  I pointed out that if we got a baby now, and she lived as long as Ernie, Walker would be 70 before that kitty crossed the bridge.  He wants to travel when he retires.  He had to give some thought to the idea that we'd be more tied to home if we had pets.  I think we need to put the whole conversation on the shelf for now.  If we're not 100% sure, we need to wait.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Zumba, Baby!

So long ago I don't remember when, I bought a Zumba kit:  a series of DVDs designed to teach a klutz like me Latin dancing for a great cardio workout.  I was gonna be buff in no time!  Just one problem: buying the kit isn't enough.  You actually have to open it, play it, and follow along.  Who knew?

So finally, after all these months, I opened the box.  I played the DVD.  I followed along.  I was so excited to FINALLY be learning Zumba.  I couldn't even pretend I was keeping up. 

I'm sure one of those DVDs has a tutorial explaining how to do the steps.  Being me, I didn't look for it.  I just jumped in to the first routine I found.  Hmmm.... might not be the best way to approach it.  So I trolled around online and found a Zumba for Wii game.  The reviews said it had instructions for each step, along with single song routines, short classes, moderate classes, long classes, and a section where you could program your own routine.  Ha!  This was exactly what I needed to get started.  I could move up to the DVD later.

When I opened the game I discovered it came with a "belt".  Wii games are video games that use a hand held controller.  For Zumba, you strap the belt on and put the controller in a pocket over your hip.  When you do the moves, the controller sends feedback showing if you're doing them right.  My first single song routine?  I got 54% of the moves right.  Not bad for a first try.  My second song I got 98%.  Who says I can't dance?  After five songs my average score was 84%.  I also learned I had burned 208 calories. 

The game starts out with some basic routines.  As you play, you earn "stars".  The stars add up and eventually, you "unlock" more songs and more routines.  I played long enough and well enough to earn over 20 stars, enough for an extra song.  It was so much fun ~ I can't wait to play again!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekly Spark

I don't know what I weigh this week.  Sunday morning I hopped on the scale and saw that I was down two pounds, let out a "Wohoo!" and hopped back off.  Walker heard me screeching and poked his head in the bathroom to inform me that the scale wasn't working.  Not sure how he could determine that, I hopped back on.  Up seven pounds.  Oh - that's how.

I changed the batteries and weighed myself four more times.  I was careful not to move the scale when I got on and off it.  I got four very different readings, from a two pound loss to a whopping nine pound gain.  We went shopping for a new scale that afternoon.  Of course, by then, I'd had a couple glasses of water and a Coke Zero, not to mention breakfast.  I like to weigh myself first thing, so I can get a consistent reading.  So I don't have an official weigh in this week.

Instead, I'm happy to report some measurements.  Spark People recommends taking your measurements once a month.  You don't have to, and it's something I've never done before.  I always just went by my weight.   But this time I thought, what the heck, and took some measurements when I started the plan.  One month later, I've lost one inch in my waist and one inch in my hips.  My upper arm stayed the same.  Spark People doesn't record bust measurements. 

I had a couple really hungry days this week.  I assume they're hormone related.  I used to get really hungry for three or four days before my cycle started, and I would crave salt like crazy.  I had a hysterectomy a couple years ago, but I still have the hungry days and the salt cravings every couple weeks.  I should probably start tracking it, so I can be better prepared.  I ended up going over my calorie limit by a couple hundred calories, but only once.  I figure that will balance with the couple days I was at the low end of the goal. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Great Big Sigh of Relief.....

Don't know if y'all noticed, but earlier this week Blogger decided my blog was spam and shut it down.  No warning, no recourse, nothing.  I just tried to open it and found it gone.  I've been having computer problems - I think I have a faulty router - so I thought that was it, until I got to my office and had the same issues there.  I dug around a bit after I got home again, and that's when I learned Blogger uses anti-spam software that shuts blogs down whenever one is flagged. One site said that if you leave too many comments, you'll be flagged as a spammer.  I don't remember how many comments I left last week but I doubt it was all that many, considering. Probably half a dozen a day. 

So I sent a request to Google, asking them to review my status.  I mean, there is no way anyone who actually read a couple pages would think my blog was spam, right?  But my research indicated that when blogs get shut down they usually stay that way.  So, to be on the safe side, I started a new blog.  The problem was, how to let my peeps know where I was and what had happened.  You aren't supposed to put blog addresses in the comments section of other blogs.  Didn't want to break any rules!  I was able to leave a couple comments with "formerly fortypoundsack" in the name field.  Mostly, I was just sick over the loss of my blog.  All my words and photos, all my comments from friends.....just.....gone.  I was pretty bummed.  And a little ticked off.

Imagine my glee when - ta dah! - Google waved their magic wand and reinstated me.  So relieved!  And very happy to be connected to y'all again.  I have to admit, I'm pretty lazy about my blog links.  I always click on the list in my sidebar to see what my blogger buddies are up to.  Without access to my blog I was scrambling to remember how I could find each of you again.  I'm going to save all the blogs I read as bookmarks, just in case I get shut down again. 

Never a dull moment around here, that's for sure!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Outside My House, Right Now

Not the best photo I've ever taken, but I love it anyway.  It's very peaceful outside this morning.  The sky is just starting to lighten.  The air is downright balmy.  I expect this little bit of snow we just got will be gone by nightfall. I hope you all have a great day.  I'm off to bed ~