Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 4 - A Good Start

On my basement, which is the word of the year so I’m already making progress.

MLK weekend is always my weekend to catch up on things I wanted to get done over break and didn’t. And since this year’s break was shortened by travel issues, I had plenty to do. Having gotten all my regular chores done on the first 2 days of the long weekend, I’d saved Monday for going below ground. My goal was to make a dent in the storage room and that I did.

Now my basement is basically a big U – you start in the craft room at the bottom of the stairs, walk through that to the ebay room and through that to the back storage room. Since that room is full of boxes and doesn’t get used for anything else, it made sense to get that in order so that as I progressed backward to the other rooms, I’d have places to store things. But the storage room had flooded a couple of years ago so was full of boxes that had gotten wet so couldn’t be picked up and they had become the bases for piles of crap. I was down there most of the afternoon and by the time I was done, I’d reboxed everything and hauled a bunch of stuff up and into the trash can – water damaged ceiling tiles and all the gross cardboard mostly. I’d put down egg crate type florescent light fixture covers on the floor so the boxes would be above any future water issues. I’d also redone a shelf that had previously been balanced on fiberboard shelves, one of which had collapsed when it got water logged and lost integrity. By the time my energy waned, the only thing I had left to do was one shelf. Don’t get me wrong, there are other things that will need to be gone through and many more things will go out the door but my first pass was done. Yay!

What’s not to like about a short work week? Nothing. Work went well and I crossed lots of things off my list, including a big project that will be very useful going forward so I felt great about that. Wednesday was Backyard Farmer at UAAD over lunch, which featured the panelists from Nebraska’s locally produced garden show so that was fun. Thursday was Get Rec’d, which is a big wellness fair with lots of vendors and booths at the Rec Center. I cleaned up! I won 4 t-shirts plus the tank top they give out for going (that’ll probably never be on my body cuz no one sees my upper arms outside of the pool) plus gathered a bag full of freebies. But I also snacked my way through the tables then ended the day at a retirement party where they had the most delicious cake. I had 2 pieces of that. These were 1200 calorie days but it’s safe to say I exceeded that on Thursday. Oh well.

The work week was over and I was ready for the weekend. I slept way late for me on Saturday – 8:30! I had planned to not leave the house but realized that I could go through the bank drive thru in sweats and slippers with no one the wiser so did do that. Otherwise it was chores and heading back downstairs. My intent was just to clear the one shelf in the storage room that I hadn’t gotten to on Monday. But once I got going, I kept going. By the time I was done, I not only finished the shelf but finished the first pass in the ebay room and even started a bit of the craft room. I didn’t get far in there and it’ll require the most work by far but I was pleased with my progress. I brought up a few things for recycling as well as a big bag of paper to go through later. A BIG bag.

Sunday was left for cooking. I had made cabbage soup on Saturday but wanted to deal with the rest of the produce in the fridge since I had 4 more days of rotating before I leave for Florida and anything not eaten would be given away. I went through it all and had a big bag of scraps for Lori’s chickens and made a trek through the snow to the compost pile. When all was said and done, I had a big batch of applesauce (used up the last of Nancy’s apples plus some older ones from the fridge so had some to eat this week and 2 lots frozen), banana bread with blueberries and walnuts as a thank you for my neighbor who had shoveled my driveway on Tuesday so my cleaning lady could get up it, roasted cauliflower and baked chicken for dinners and berries ready for breakfasts. Eating healthy is all about being prepared and I now had plenty for the next four days.

So, a good week with a perfect combination of productivity and recharging. One of the things I found in the basement was a book of daily motivations for Highly Effective People (from the 7 Habits Stephen Covey thing) and the one I opened it to talked about P/PC balance, which is production/production capacity. Perfect! It’s taken a long time for me to come to grips with not feeling guilty about my recharge time. Let’s call it wisdom, shall we? And I’ll have lots of recharge time in the next week sitting on a warm beach in the Florida Keys. Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Week 3 - Drugs and Produce

Wondering about that title? Don’t worry. It’s all good.

This was the week I decided to put my anti-inflammatory drug to the test. Since I’ve been on it for ages, I wanted to see if I could do without it because after losing 65 pounds my knees have been much less problematic. And since it raises my blood pressure, which I also take meds for, I was hoping I could stop taking it. With Monday morning being my first time back at Power Pump, I took it then but that was my last for a bit. Well, it must have taken a few days to get it all out of my system because by Thursday I was aware of my knee with every step – not pain but I could feel my knees. When I realized I was beginning to walk differently, I knew my experiment had failed and I’d need to start taking it again. Too bad I didn’t take one right then because I woke up in the wee hours Friday morning and could not get comfortable because everything was hurting, not just my knee. I never fell back asleep so had to face Friday on only 4 hours of sleep. At least it was Friday and within a couple of hours of taking the pill, I was feeling better again. Better living through chemistry.

I was back to rotating so produce was pretty important in my week. But Saturday took it to a whole other level. Cindy, my cubie mate, had joined Bountiful Baskets before Christmas, which is a food buying co-op that focuses on produce. I had waited to participate until I was rotating again so had placed an order for a basket o’ produce for $15, which I needed to pick up in Lincoln early Saturday afternoon. To make a Lincoln trip on the weekend worth it (I drive there 5 days/week so rarely go on a weekend), I’d scheduled breakfast with Darla followed by some shopping. We met at Cook’s Café (best sausage in Lincoln) then hit Joann’s and Big Lots. By the time we were done there, we were beat so went to Starbuck’s in Target for a pick me up. We had intended to shop but never got around to it before I had to leave to get my produce.

Ridiculous! Here’s a pic of all the produce I got for $15. Since there are a few things that need to ripen, I figure this will last me weeks. And since I love finding just the right recipe to use up what I have, it all works. But I still had a bunch of produce in my fridge so when I got home mid-afternoon Saturday, at which point it was snowing, I happily stayed inside and got busy cooking. I roasted beets, leeks and kale, which cleared out the veggies and then I pulled out fruit to eat over the rest of the weekend so only new fruit would be in my crisper. With all that roasted veg, I had fun concocting things. Here’s a gratuitous foo pic of a yummy yet healthy dinner I made. It had a base of quinoa with mushrooms (a stocking stuffer from Carolyn) covered with roasted leeks/kale and leftover steak topped with cold sliced beets and crumbled goat cheese. Delish!

What else of note? Hmmm….. I went out to dinner on Tuesday night with Anne and Rene to celebrate Rene’s birthday. We also booked our next trip, taking advantage of a Southwest sale. We’ll be in DC in mid-April for cherry blossoms. Yay! Courtesy of Cindy’s Lincoln library card, I got season 4 of Boardwalk Empire so enjoyed that all week. We all met at the Engine House Café for breakfast on Thursday for Cindy’s birthday, which was a lot of fun. And I got a haircut after work that night. It’s weird being free Tuesday and Thursday evenings because those used to be my swimming nights. Time to readjust my after work schedule. I did love the Friday night water aerobics, which started my weekend exercised and showered. Nice.

Lastly, I ended the week with cozy knitting by Lori’s woodstove. It was bitter cold outside (high in the single digits) so I was the only one who braved the cold so we spent time online and have a plan, although not tickets yet pending John’s travel wisdom, for Scotland. And despite eating out several times, doing the best I could calorie wise each time, I had lost all the weight I’d gained over the holidays so was at -68 and will surely break 70 this rotation and hopefully a bit more. But the best part of the week was having Monday off. : )

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Week 2 - A Rude Return

I don’t know who thought having a Winter Workshop right after break was a good idea but this was the week for it. At least I didn’t have swimming so could go straight home after work every day.

The week started with monthly and quarterly reports to do before diving into the workshop. While I was scrambling on monthly reports on Monday morning, I got my foot caught in a wire and kicked my CPU over killing my computer dead. Our IT guy was on vacation so I had to put a call into his back up and wait. Not a good beginning to my work year but I was only down an hour so I plowed right back in. I did the bare minimum on the reports and was done by late Tuesday morning so started helping Cindy with last minute logistics for the workshop. My classes had the most sign ups so I would be facing rooms with 75+ people and had to do an hour of financial reporting that kept everyone, from beginners to advanced, riveted. I rehearsed in my head for days – in the car, in the shower, when I woke up in the wee hours – ALL THE TIME. By Wednesday morning, I was pretty exhausted. But it was time for the show.

I got to East Campus early and it was a good thing I did because there were some technical difficulties. With those solved by the helpful Union staff, I did my presentation with only a few hiccups. It was a bit awkward because I didn’t have a screen to look at so had to constantly turn around to see the projected screen behind me then turn back to the audience. I also deleted something in the first class that I’d need for the afternoon class so after sitting in on Mary’s travel class to take notes, I ran back to my office to recreate the deleted variant and wolf down some lunch before the afternoon sessions on City Campus. I had better equipment so the afternoon session went off without a hitch. I went to a Tips & Tricks class after mine and learned some great stuff. Then we packed everything up and headed back to the office. DONE! I went home and sat like a zombie in a chair. I knitted before bed (slept like a rock) but had to rip it all out the next morning. Thursday was a new day and was over in a flash just with catching up on emails and answering questions from my class. I finished my quarterly reports on Friday and it was time for the weekend. Talk about a quick week!

Since my break seemed so short after my travel woes, my intention for the weekend was to stay home. I had cancelled plans to go to an auction with Andrea when she told me her boyfriend would be going (yay!) so I happily sat knitting in the sun on Saturday morning. I had done some thrifting after work during the week so had some new clothes to wash and laundry took most of the day. It felt wonderful to be home and having a pleasant day with a nice mix of productivity and vegging. All my chores were done by early Sunday do I tackled putting new carpet on the kitty tower, which I’d taken down for the New Year’s tea and hadn’t put back up. Erica had dropped off carpet remnants so I was good to go. It took some time and the result was a patchwork of old and new carpet but I was happy to get it done and back up so the cats would have something besides my furniture to scratch. They also missed lounging on the platforms so it was all good. I was still enjoying my tree so made the decision to leave it up for one more week. I was happy about that too. The outside tree will stay up even longer but the inside one, which oddly still hasn’t dropped any needles despite not being watered in weeks, will have to go before the cleaning lady comes again. All doable.

On the diet front, I had also started rotating again on Friday so spent some time Saturday prepping produce for the week. I had been planning not to rotate in 2016 in favor of doing 2 600 calorie semi-fasting days/week but after the holidays, I couldn’t wait to get back to clean eating. I also needed to lose the 8 pounds I’d gained while eating everything in sight for almost 2 months. I felt instantly better after just half a day back on track. By the end of the weekend, I’d already lost 5 pounds so was happy with my decision to rotate again. Hopefully I can keep it up and lose 30-40 more pounds. Then I might be up for the slower, semi-fasting plan.

So the first week was over and I was ready for the new year. The next week would see the return of working out, which hopefully would help hasten new weight loss. And winter seemed here to stay, which always means more knitting time. All good, right? Happy 2016 everyone.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Week 1 - Holiday Travel Drama

So, Monday was all planned. Cornelia was picking me up at 9:00 for breakfast at our regular place and then taking me to the airport. We had our usual great time - tears, laughter and catching up - over a yummy breakfast. I checked the flight from the restaurant and it was still showing as on time so Cornelia dropped me off and I checked in. It had been a wonderful holiday but I was ready to be home. The plane pushed back right on time and I was on my way. Or so I thought.

The plane stopped 50 feet from the gate. There was weather in Chicago that was supposed to be gone by the time we landed but now it was stalled. First they said they'd know more in 15 minutes, at which point I called Carolyn to warn her. Then they said it'd be an hour so they went back to the gate and told us we could leave the plane but to come back. I left just long enough to use the ladies' and so was back when we got the word that the flight was cancelled. By the time I got off the plane, there were huge lines at the gate desk so when they said we could rebook online or by phone, I called Southwest and headed to baggage claim, hanging up after 45 minutes on hold. Carolyn picked me up and we headed back home. At least I wasn't stuck in Chicago! It took 2 hours on hold before I got through and I got the last seat on a flight on Wednesday. Not only had I lost the entire day and gotten nowhere but I'd be at Carolyn's for 2 more days, which wasn't the plan for either of our breaks. Oh well.

Tuesday was Carolyn's cleaning lady day so she'd already made plans to go to the movies. She was seeing Joy and Aaron was seeing Star Wars. I was super excited to see Star Wars so was happy about that. We had a nice, leisurely morning then headed to the theatre at noon. I absolutely LOVED the movie. It was as good as the first one and I was sucked in minute one. It's been a long time since I was so happy at the movies. And when we got home, we decided to make another Job Lot run to the big one on Elmwood, where I scored more fun stuff. We got spinach pies for dinner at Don's Pizza (yum!) so it was an absolutely lovely day. Tomorrow would be round 2 at the airport.

Since we were in the theatre when I needed to be checking in, (the new flight didn't come with the early bird check in I'd paid for on the first and I gave up after 30 mintues on hold when I called to ask about it) I had a B54 boarding position. Not good, especially because I was going to be on the same plane from RI to Omaha. I'd deal with that at the airport. 

Cornelia was on deck for another airport drop off but we ended up hanging at Carolyn's until after noon because my flight was delayed. When I finally got to the airport, I was talking to the agent about getting a better seat and it's a good thing I mentioned that I was flying to Omaha because they'd only booked me to Chicago. The 2nd leg of the flight was overbooked so it took a supervisor to ticket me through. The flight was late leaving but since I didn't have a connection, it was all good for me. I got back to Omaha 2 hours late and had to dig my car out of some snow before I could leave but I was home at last. I walked into my house at 8:00, took a shower and went to bed early. I had lots to accomplish and now had a much shorter break.

I unpacked Thursday but laundry would have to wait. I had to get ready for my New Year's knitters' tea, which meant reclaiming the house from the cats being inside for 8 days and pulling out teapots and serving pieces, moving furniture and clearing the bar. I got it all done and was baking by Friday morning - mini quiches and blueberry cake. Donna was the first to arrive just before 1:00 and the rest trickled in over the next hour. Here's a pic just before everyone dug into the treats. The sun was blazing into the back room and everyone had a great time. Andrea lingered to help me pick yarn for my next socks and ended up staying for dinner - homemade baked beans (I made them Thursday) and saugies (hot dogs I'd brought back from RI.) She left at 8:00 and I settled in for Sherlock. It was a good day but my break was over with just the weekend left. Where'd the time go? No fair.

The weekend was like any other weekend with laundry galore, cooking and chores. I got most of that done on Saturday because my goal for Sunday was packages, which meant making calendars. I put them together Sunday afternoon and prepped the package for Thomas and Dottie (I was sending him my dad's camera that he bought in Japan during the Korean War along with his late Christmas check) with Dottie's calendar snuck in with yarn for padding. I also had 2 lots of yarn to ship out that people had bought off Ravelry. I got those prepped and was ready for the Downton Abbey premier. While that was a nice end to break, I was still bummed at having had so little time at home. I certainly didn't feel ready to go back to work but what could I do. Happy New Year!

2016 - Just One Word

Well, I did just fine with Output in 2015. I'm glad I went with the generic word because I was thinking of stuff when I chose it but ended up succeeding in a more important way - weight. I lost 65 pounds in 2015, inspired by Carolyn's success. Lots of clothes left the house (output) as I lost weight and some other things did make it out the door too but the pounds going were clearly the star. I feel great! My knees don't bother me as much, I fit in airplane and theatre seats and I cannot believe it's me when I look in a mirror. All good. And I intend to keep it up and lose more. I can't say I have a specific number in mind. Just more. Because if I feel this great now, how much better will I feel when I lose more? I intend to find out.

All that said, I am going in a completely different direction with my word for 2016. It's nothing touchy feely. I'm going for something concrete. Literally. The word for 2016 is:


Yes, you read that right. 2016 will be the year I get my basement cleared out and organized. Because I have serious issues with the east wall, which will need to be reblocked most likely. And that's my plan for 2017 so I must get ready for it. So I'll be slogging through the entire basement, which will lead to some output, I'm sure. But that was 2015. Wish me luck.