Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 4 - Shake It Off

Starting the week with a holiday is always wonderful but the day was a blurr. I can’t tell you what I did but I know I enjoyed it. Good thing because I found a big problem as soon as I got to work, which put a damper on things.

I had majorly screwed up the allocations I’d done on Friday, so much so that they had to be reversed and rerun. 6,000 transactions! Oddly enough I didn’t beat myself up too much, which is my normal MO, getting over it almost immediately. The day flew and I enjoyed my first ever aqua boot camp, which is taught by a man and is a tough work out. I felt great when I left the pool then stopped at the bread store and found some alternative bread products that still work with the rotation. All good.

Wednesday – not so much. Nora found a mistake on the reconciliation sheet for the redone allocations. It was a typo that meant we were $3,000 short. Now we can make that up next quarter but that was another blow and I couldn’t shake it off. I was in a funk for the rest of the day, which ended with being assigned a nearly impossible database – the kind where I’ll program for ages and it’ll look great but be useless. I had steak ready for the grill so was planning on going right home but decided to swim as I drove out of the parking lot in hopes that exercising with my friends would turn my mood around. BTW, did you EVER think you’d hear those words out of my mouth? Anyway, I drove to the pool but when I couldn’t find a parking space, I didn’t have time to search so headed home anyway. An evening of PBS and knitting went a long way towards improving my mood.

Thursday started out better and I was trying to Shake it Off, which left me singing Taylor Swift all day. But then my co-worker started going on and on about the new project and by the end of the day I was done and had to leave my office because I couldn’t listen to it another minute. I was so happy to head to the pool at 5:00. I had packed a sandwich to eat in the car on the way to book club, which was a good discussion about The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan of Marley & Me fame.

There was more whining on Friday and I ended the day shut in Nora’s office doing the part of the new project that had been causing such drama for my office mate. How could a four day week be so long? It’s like my relaxing Monday had never happened! At least I’d had a productive day, stopping at Wal-Mart to pick up a new cat tower before work, getting new watch bands and batteries at lunch and I stopped at Best Buy on the way home. They gave me $53 in store credit for the headphones I won before Christmas, which I promptly put towards a new camera for my cruise. The TV and Roku for the craft room will have to wait. I’m hoping I can find a cheaper TV for the craft room than Best Buy had to offer. And what’s with the wall mount costing half as much as the TV? After an Aldi run to replenish my crisper, I was home for the weekend.

I had very little on my agenda so had a lovely weekend. I had everything but the laundry done on Saturday and even did some cooking at supper, which was my first since starting the rotation. I made a pork chop and cabbage skillet with applesauce based sauce. Not my most delicious dinner but not bad and at least it wasn’t grilled meat and veg, which is getting old. I finally was sleeping better too. All good.

Since everything was in order, on Sunday I slogged through the spare room. The bed was piled 3 feet deep with crap (I’m not exaggerating here) and there was stuff on the floor too. By the end of the day, I had a big pile for Goodwill, another pile of unraveling sweaters to share with the knitters on Monday had brought lots of stuff downstairs. All I had left to do was sort all the yarn, which is a ridiculous amount and will take time and light, which I’d lost by then. Between the slogging, I had also managed to knit a cute pair of booties for Shelley’s baby, who will arrive Thursday. Hopefully they’ll make it to RI in the mail by then.

I had wanted to have pasta for dinner (legal in the 1200 calorie week) but didn’t have any sauce in the freezer so I pulled out one of the turkey dinner leftovers from Thanksgiving. It was yummy and still within my 1200 calories for the day but not worth it since the sodium probably made me retain some water, which left me only using 3 pounds for the week. I’m up to 13 pounds in 2 weeks so it’s still good. I have high hopes for my mid-week weigh being back on a 600/900 week. It’s all good. Hopefully this week will have less drama than last week. Have a good one.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 3 - Ten Pounds Lighter

So, it wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated. When I did the Rotation Diet 25 years ago, I remember the 600 calorie days being brutal with headaches and starvation. But the new version has free veggies so this time was a cake walk. I wasn’t nearly as hungry between meals and when I was, I snacked on carrots and celery so it wasn’t bad at all. And it was only three days. I can do anything for three days.

My biggest concern had been doing Aqua Boot Camp on Tuesday with the killer instructor who has you throwing medicine balls in the pool. It was on Mondays last semester so I never went but it was Tuesdays now and that’s one of the days I go. But Lori’s father in law had died so Andrea and I went to the visitation in Omaha on Tuesday after work so I got a reprieve. I swam Wednesday and Thursday and lived to tell.

I had decided when I started the diet to only weigh myself on the mornings when I was changing calories. This had me on the scale Thursday morning and I was thrilled to see I’d lost six pounds in three days. So worth it. The rest of the week was 900 calories/day, which meant I could actually have a sandwich for lunch, which felt so normal after my baggies of meat, veg and crackers. I had already warned Layton that lunch would do our Friday lunches at HuHot during my 900 calorie weeks and that felt like a celebration of normalcy. Delicious too.

On Friday, my cell phone died. Well, it didn’t die but the charging port gave way so it was no longer chargeable. Now my flip phone is so old that my dad was with me when we bought it and he’s been gone since 2006. But I wasn’t interested in a smart phone. I still have a land line and use my iPad for apps so I was looking for another pay by the minute cheap phone. I talked to Verizon but anything that fit the bill would be a special order and I wanted a new phone now. I asked a few people at work, figuring everyone has an old phone in a drawer, but then had the inspiration to put a sign up on the mirror in the ladies’ room like people do for football tickets. Literally 5 minutes after I posted it, I had a cell phone in hand. Not only did Cheryl have one in a drawer, she had one in her desk drawer. Excellent! I stopped at Verizon on the way home and 30 minutes later had the new phone ready to go, complete with my transferred contacts. And this one was so much new than my old one that it feels like an upgrade. Nice.

The icing on the cake on Friday was coming home to a clean house. My new cleaning lady had come for the first time and finally I'd found a keeper. Everything she'd cleaned was spotless, especially the toilet, which had been a mess. She also did the little things like got rid of the cobwebs in the corner of my bedroom. I could not have been happier. What a wonderful way to start the long weekend. Did I mention how happy I was? : )

I had a Friends of the Library meeting on Saturday so was up and out early, which is always good. It was much warmer out and the snow was melting so I got outside a bit and did a few chores. Sunday was even warmer. After stripping my bed and hanging the sheets on the line, the next thing on my list was to prep food for the next week, which was 1200 calories/day so would feel almost normal. Normal except for absolutely no sugar that is. Anyway, I started prepping produce, which left me with another big bag of trimmings to go with the one in the fridge for Lori’s chickens. I called to see if she was home for a drop off and she said to bring over my knitting. It was so warm out that we sat on her front porch and knitted in the sun while drinking tea and watching her kittens scamper outside. I was only wearing a t-shirt and was perfectly comfortable. Nice. While I had planned on a more productive day, you have to take advantage of weather like that in January plus I still had Monday off to redeem myself.

Gotta love a Monday holiday. But the best part was the ten pounds I’d lost when I weighed myself first thing. Beautiful! The weight loss will slow down now that I’m going into a 1200 calorie week but I’d survived the first week with no problem and was ten pounds lighter. That’s the beauty of this diet – it’s easy to follow and the weight just falls off if you follow it to the letter. Just two more weeks to go and I’m actually excited to keep going. Yay!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week 2 - Preparing to Rotate

I started the week by getting a cold. It had been working on me since a dry, sore throat on Saturday night but didn’t materialize until Monday morning at work. I took a Claritin D and powered through but when I finished my monthly reports just after noon Tuesday, I gave up and headed home. I had a fever and chills that night and stayed home on Wednesday. It was bitter cold Wednesday so I was happy to be home and toasty, even if it was a snot fest.

I was back at work on Thursday but didn’t really feel much better until later that afternoon, when my energy came back. From there I just felt better and better. There had been no swimming all week and I’d just gone home every night to nurse my cold. I got lots of knitting done, of course. I took my last Claritin D on Thursday before bed, figuring I had no weekend commitments so I could just let the congestion be.

On the way home Friday, it was time to stock up on produce. I was preparing to start The Rotation Diet on Monday. It’s the diet Carolyn and I first did back in the 80’s, when I lost a bunch of weight and kept it off for a decade or more. Carolyn and her husband started rotating again last spring and Carolyn has lost 45 pounds and is a shadow of her former self. She’s inspired me to start rotating.

The diet is brutal but only lasts 3 weeks and I can handle anything for 3 weeks. The crux of it is you eat 600 calories for 3 days, 900 for 4 days, 1200 for a week and then you repeat the 600/900 week. When you’re done with that, you take at least a week off. The diet has been updated since the 80’s and now you have free vegetables so if you’re hungry between the tiny calorie meals, which I always was, you can eat from the veg list. So I went shopping for produce on the way home. A cart load. It’s all good.

Donna had been asking for a kool aid dyeing day for a long time so she came over on Saturday and we each dyed a skein. I overdyed some yellow to green and then spotted it with caramel colored dots. It was fun and a nice interlude in a weekend when I barely left the house. It was a nice quiet weekend, getting lots of things done in the house – chores, knitting and lots of produce prep. I never did get the Christmas tree down, mostly because I’m still enjoying it. But it will have to come down one night this week because I hired a new cleaning lady and she comes for the first time next Friday. I have high hopes for this one. She is a friend of a co-worker and as she walked around my house, she pointed out some of the very things I had problems with, like the cobwebs hanging from my bedroom ceiling and the dismally dirty toilet. Very high hopes. Stay tuned.

So the week is over and tomorrow the rotating begins. The first round will end on my birthday, which is also a week before I leave for the cruise. That seemed like perfect timing because this diet makes you ultra aware of everything you put in your mouth, which will be a good thing when I’m faced with all the cruise food. I’ll then start another rotation the day after I get back from the cruise. My head’s really in the game to eat healthier so I’m hopeful that I can drop some weight and keep if off. I’ll appreciate any encouragement I can get so feel free to send some my way. : )

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 1 - A Wonderful Break

When I started at UNL in 1998, having the week between Christmas and New Year’s off was new to me. My dad came for Christmas for the next eight years and so hanging with Norm was the focus of my breaks. When I started going to Rhode Island, I always tried to come back early enough to have a chunk of time at home. I made exhaustive to do lists and always ended break disappointed that many things hadn’t gotten done. Well, this was the first year I had zero expectations over break and it was wonderful! I ended up getting plenty done between the relaxing and knitting so it was all good. They say with age comes wisdom. Clearly that’s kicked in for me.

My flights were uneventful again, making this the first Christmas trip without any travel issues. I did forget my ear buds at Carolyn’s but I had enough time before my flight to go back through security to meet Carolyn at the curb and get back to my gate just in time to board. I’d also done early check in so had an A boarding pass, which was totally worth the $12.50. I got to Wahoo at 8:00, just missing checking in with the knitters at the library but it felt great to be home.

Monday was a veg day. I managed to unpack and start laundry but mostly sat on my butt knitting. Perfect. I had to leave the house on Tuesday to do year end deposits for Friends of the Library and ran a few errands while I was out but that was it. I did nada for New Year’s Eve, going to bed early. Worked for me.

Wednesday was my annual knitters’ tea so I got busy first thing in the morning – cleaning, pulling out china and teapots to wash, setting out cookies and making hot artichoke dip. All was ready at 1:30 when everyone arrived and we had a lovely afternoon sitting in the sun while knitting, chatting and eating yummy stuff. It’s a wonderful way to start the new year. Unfortunately I had stomach issues later in the evening that made for a bad night’s sleep. Too many sweets maybe? I need to add Pepto to my shopping list.

I cleaned everything up first thing the next morning and finally made a to do for the last 3 days of break. I had lunch with Lorri at Chip’s on Saturday but otherwise spent the last three days inside, plugging away at each day’s list between stretches of knitting. By the end of break, I’d gotten lots done, had plenty of time for relaxation and just enough interaction with friends. All good.

One last thing to mention – I fired yet another cleaning lady. What is it with me and cleaning ladies? This one was very nice and only used green, natural products. Unfortunately she didn’t make up for the lack of chemicals with extra elbow grease. I would walk in the door and the only way to tell she’d been there was the money being gone. The last straw was when I had to clean the bathroom before my tea and she’s only been there a week before. Then 2 minutes with scrubbing bubbles and a Magic Erasure had the bathroom sink cleaner than it’d been since she started. Enough! Why pay big money (50% more than my last cleaning lady) for such crap cleaning? So I ended the break telling her I was done and just to drop the key on Tuesday when she would have been “cleaning” my house. I’m going to give doing it myself a try again. Wish me luck.

I hope you all have had a nice start to 2015. I’m heading back to work rested and relaxed but with the beginning of a cold. I'm going to try to be at my desk at 8:00 rather than my usual 8:15. Would you call that a resolution? It’s not much of one but I’ll give it a try. I’ll probably fail within a few days but it’s worth a try. And my cold sheep (knitter's speak for a yarn diet) in 2015 is going fine but mostly because Lori gifted us all pink yarn at the tea and I got my first installment in the British sock yarn club on Friday. Isn't this gorgeous yarn? How cool that the first skein is orange. But I digress.... Did any of you make any resolutions? Do tell. Happy 2015.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 - Just One Word

I have been giving a lot of thought to the word for the year. I have never had a word as successful as my first, which was “enough” in 2009. After that one, I went all touchy feeling for a couple of years and failed completely to embrace them. Last year I went for something measurable – “cholesterol” – but failed on that one too. I think the problem has been that just having a word can’t force me into doing something. I have to be there mentally already and have the word just be the icing on the cake. So since I’ve been feeling the need to get rid of stuff again (the last great purge was in 2005 after my mom died), I’ve been considering words along those lines. Purge seemed too clinical and brought to mind puking so I was throwing around decrapification but that seemed negative too. Then my new office mate, Cindy, came up with Output. Eureka! Output is the opposite of one of my Gallup strengths, input, which I fight tooth and nail because the end result is too much stuff. And as Cindy pointed out, output can mean lots of things – outputs of energy, emotion, whatever. But I’ll be happy just to get some crap out of my house. I think this word is going to work out. Wish me luck.

Week 52 - Rhode Island Christmas

Christmas week! How did that get here so fast?

Monday was my last day at work and campus was deserted. I got lots of work done – shocking! – and the day was over in a flash. From there it was on to knitting and then home to finish packing. I went to bed ready to go.

My flights were completely uneventful, which is a wonderful thing at the holidays. I arrived on time and after a dinner of Don’s spinach pies (cross that off the must eat list), Carolyn and I made some lists and readied ourselves for the Christmas sprint.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve so after a supply run to Stop & Shop, the first thing on the agenda was to get the pudding steaming. Then it was on to all things salted caramel – salted caramel bread pudding for Christmas morning and chocolate tart with salted caramel on top for Christmas dinner dessert. Unfortunately there were casualties. I burned the tip of my left index finger on the bread pudding sauce and it was incredibly painful. Neosporin with pain reliever saved the day but I had a huge throbbing blister. Then Carolyn burned herself on the tart’s caramel so we were the walking wounded.

In addition to the burns, there was some drama over supper. I’d assumed David and Ronnie’s would be at 4:00 like every other year so I’d agreed to be at John’s mom’s for 6:00. Then the phone rang and Auntie Margaret said she and Bette were going to church at 4:00 so dinner was starting at 5:30 or 6:00. After beating myself up all afternoon trying to decide what to do, I called my aunt and she said to just go to John’s on schedule. While I still was feeling a bit guilty, at least it was settled. I got to David and Ronnie’s at 5:00 so got to see people as they arrived and just caught Auntie Margaret and Bette before I left. Then it was on to Marianne and Brian’s for our annual Christmas curry dinner. I do so enjoy this tradition. It’s just the four of us, the food and conversation are interesting and it’s an oasis of calm. From there it was home to fill stockings. Christmas was officially here.

Christmas morning started later than usual because Aaron is a teenager and so sleeps later. We had fun opening stockings then dug into the salted caramel bread pudding. Total fail! After all the work (and burns) it was absolutely tasteless. Good thing we had bacon and sausage because the pudding went right into the trash. Bummer. We started on the prime rib as soon as we cleared breakfast, determined to have it done on time for once. I made copious notes and it was done on time plus came out great. Yay! At least that went right. The potatoes were bland, sucking up every bit of sour cream and herbs and still tasting like nothing. The company was good with Carolyn’s parents joining us. The tart was a hit and was even better once it came to room temperature. One more event to go.

Friday was the open house. I started the day making cookies, there were a couple of runs to Stop & Shop, many trips up and down the stairs and all was in readiness by the 4:00 start time. Maruta and Deanne were both sick but otherwise the usual friends came. Matt plied us with delicious spiced pumpkin martinis and the hot artichoke dip was a hit, as usual. Everyone had a great time and we had everything cleaned up just in time to watch the Call the Midwife Holiday Special. It was the beginning of relaxation. Christmas was over and had been fun but the prep was grueling.

The only thing on the agenda for Saturday was lunch at The Elephant Room in Pawtuxet Village with Cornelia. At the last minute, Bob was able to come and we all had a great time, enjoying crepes and conversation. Dinner was leftover prime rib so it really was a relaxing day. The whole day was a balm for the soul. And get a load of the fun Eiffel Tower planter. Go Pawtuxet Village! Sunday was more of the same, with lunch at The Crow’s Nest (belly clams!) with Auntie Margaret and Bette. Our table was right next to the fireplace and we had another good time – good food and better company. I just love my aunt to pieces! After a Job Lot run (gotta do that, even at Christmas) I went home to pack. I’d have time in the morning but didn’t want to leave it until then for fear of not sleeping. It was a good decision.

It was another wonderful Christmas chez Carolyn. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful friend, who includes me in her family’s Christmas without batting an eyelash. She even lets me take over her house for the open house, which has now morphed into being for all our friends – hers, mine and ours. It’s all fun and I wouldn’t have Christmas any other way. Now to just get home as easily as I got to Rhode Island.