Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week 13 - Happy in Spring

It was spring break week at UNL so with no swimming and another hour of daylight, I had high hopes to get outside after work. And with a podiatrist appointment at 9:00 on Monday and no power pump either, I got to sleep in on Monday. Now that’s a nice start to a week, especially when my Mondays are such long days with knitting after work. The weather was spectacular but knitting prevailed.

The weather was nice Tuesday too but I had the rescheduled knitting at Anne’s with Kate after work so enjoyed a lovely night of lasagna, knitting and chatting. Unfortunately the weather turned cold that night so working outside was off the list for the rest of the week. Bummer but I had to keep telling myself it’s only March.

The work week was fine. I had training both Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and both were in alternate rooms I’d never trained in because our training room was down for the count during the Payroll/AP remodel. Both rooms had challenges but I did manage some modified training so felt good about that. I was also the answer woman on Friday, doing a project that made my boss happy and another dig into ancient data files for one of the accountants, who thanked me in front of the boss. Golden, right?

On the diet front, I was preparing for another rotation but this one with added fat. I’d decided to stick with my regular rotation menus but add fat because what can you take away from a 600 calorie day and not keel over? So after a stock up at Aldi on Wednesday, I was ready to start a rotation on Thursday morning. With all the emphasis on fat I was short in the produce department but cobbled together a salad with grilled steak, homemade oil/vinegar salad dressing and a small avocado. Well, I ate the salad, which tasted like heaven with the added dressing, at 12:30 on Thursday and at 6:30 that night was still not hungry. I had to force myself to eat my swordfish and veg dinner only because I didn’t want to wake up starving in the wee hours. So, with the added fat completely stopping my hunger, it was now a matter of seeing if I would still lose weight.

Besides the lack of hunger, Thursday evening was particularly nice. I had just hung up with Andrea to let her know I’d be dropping something at the office on the way home when my radio station had a contest. I figured what the heck so called and won. It’s a $50 gift card to Defy Gravity, which I’ll never use but can donate to the library for a summer reading program prize. Then I stopped at the farm store in Wahoo in hopes of finding some of the Science Diet I’ve been feeding my cats for years that has been discontinued. Not only did I find 2 bags but they were $5 off. Nice to have a couple of months more on their regular food before I have to find something else. Then I got home to find 3 packages, which is always fun. I got some orange sandals I’d ordered (I tried some on in Florida but they didn’t have my size so when I found orange ones on clearance, I had to order them), a box of yarn from ebay (total score) and an herbal supplement for sleep that Carolyn had recommended. Adding that it was too cold to be outside so I could have fun knitting and watching TV with no guilt was the icing on the cake. Yay!

Saturday was the annual gardening conference in Council Bluffs, Iowa that I go to every year with 3 other master gardeners. I had purposely tried to choose different sessions topics/speakers than I normally do and so enjoyed learning some new things. The diet was out the windorw though. I ate the bag lunch that was included and had 2 hours of eating veggies in my last session, which was from one of my favorite speakers – Elaine Fenner. She’s a magician with veggies. It was a long but satisfying day and I had Sunday yet for productivity.

I started Sunday with a weigh in and was thrilled to see that I’d lost 6 pounds in 3 days of my rotation menus + fat. Now a bunch of that was water I’m sure but still. I then went on to slam through all the chores for the week. It was Easter but that’s a non-event for me. I usually try to spend it outside but with a weekend’s worth of chores to get done (and the cleaning lady was coming Tuesday so they had to be done), I didn’t have time. I did enjoy hanging out the laundry and managed to sneak in some yarn dyeing that came out exactly how I wanted (I was aiming for the color of red maples about to burst their buds - so a combo of the gray trunks and bright maroon buds) but the rest of the day was all inside. I spent the evening prepping all the produce in my fridge, ending with all kinds of healthy things to eat all week and 2 big bags of scraps for Lori’s chickens. All in all, it was a good end to a fun week and again, it’s still only March. I’ll get outside to garden in April. I do love spring. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 12 - Fun Full Saturday

So I started the week on moral high ground, getting up at o’dark thirty to go to Power Pump despite the time change. The boys both called in sick so it was quiet in the office but I had more data to pull (more from Friday’s request) first thing and again at the end of the day. I didn’t get to leave early so was rushed but it was a pleasant time, as always, knitting with friends.

There was a thunderstorm at 1:30 Tuesday morning that woke me up then my coffee pot went off at 2:30 (the clock display is hosed so resetting for the time change is always a challenge) so I got up to make my thermos so it would be hot for work. Needless to say, I was tired when the alarm went off at 5:50. I dropped my carload of donations at Goodwill over lunch and then went right home to cook noodles and broccoli to go with the stroganoff I’d made Sunday. Yum!

I had some drama on Wednesday night when I got home from swimming. I came home to find Wrennie, my skin and bones ancient kitty, covered with bloody spit and clawing at her mouth with her tongue hanging out. I couldn't see anything when I yanked her jaw open and I had no idea what to do. The act of opening her mouth must have fixed somthing though because she calmed down, slept and cleaned up her 3 icky feet. Then she wanted food. Thursday morning it's like it never happened. I wonder if she was losing a tooth or something? I thought I'd be taking her to the vet and probably putting her down. Big relief!

The rest of the week was same old same old – produce shopping at Fresh Thyme on Wednesday (love their ad overlap day!) and thrift shopping at lunch, without Dodie, on Thursday. I scored some nice yarn, which is always a treat. The week was over before I knew it.

I was double booked for Saturday. Despite having lunch plans with Andrea and Lori for their birthday, I couldn’t say no when Darla wanted to do breakfast. I met her at Cook’s CafĂ© for breakfast then we shopped at the nearby plaza – Big Lots, Joann’s and a brand new Tuesday Morning – until just before noon. After a quick stop at the market for ricotta, I headed to Wahoo. I just had time to drop my purchases before heading to Chips, where we had a nice lunch. The icing on the cake was the look of joy on Drae’s face when she opened the Victory Garden of Tomorrow chicken sign I’d bought her.

The weather was also worth mentioning. In the 2 hours we were at Chips, we saw it all – snow, both flurries and big flakes, sleet, hail and blazing sun. Luckily it was all done and just back to gloomy by the time we left but sheesh! Gotta love Nebraska weather.

My cousin Debbie called Saturday night. You could have knocked me over with a feather! She was calling to say she might be coming in May but we had a long catch up since we hadn’t talked in ages. What a nice end to a fun day.

Sunday was typical chores mostly. I did make a pan of lasagna to take to Anne’s on Tuesday night and a pie (strawberry/rhubarb) to take to knitting. It never got warm enough to work outside. The early time change screwed me up again this year. I want to be outside because it’s light late but it’s just not warm enough, despite the early spring this year. Oh well, maybe it will be next weekend. I live in hope.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week 11 - Stress and Yarn

It was a stressful week at work. Lots of trickle down stress – boss is stressed so supervisor is stressed and everyone shared down. Yikes! A co-worker and I vented over Starbuck’s one afternoon and I did some stress yarn shopping at lunch one day too. Something worked because by the end of the week, things were calming down. I had a nice dinner with the water aerobics gang on Thursday after work and it was looking good. Until I got a rush data request from the Vice Chancellor right at the end of the day Friday. Needless to say, I was ready for the weekend.

I had nothing scheduled for two whole days so vowed to dig in at home. My goal was to go through all of my clothes AGAIN and tackle the yarn mess in the spare room. The bed was piled with both clothes and yarn so they pretty much had to be tackled together. Luckily I had neatized most of the house early Friday when I woke up at 4:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep (how’s that for cup half full thinking?) so went home to an already picked up house, which meant I could start all the sooner.

After a quick trip to the bank Saturday, I started slogging. I cleared off the spare bed, dumping clothes in my bedroom and yarn in the front room. Since I wanted to do laundry sooner rather than later, I went through clothes first. I tried on at least 50 shirts, deciding as I went between hanging what fit, saving what would fit soon (hopefully) and splitting what was leaving the house between Goodwill and Helen. By mid-afternoon, I was done with the clothes and so started sorting yarn. I petered out late afternoon but still had all day Sunday.

The petering out coincided with some TV and knitting. Well, I got sucked into a pledge special on PBS by Dr. Mark Hyman. I had read and liked one of his early books – Ultra Metabolism – so was gripped by his new book – Eat Fat and Get Thin. He’s all about MUFA’s (monounsaturated fatty acids) and his new book was taking it a step further. He was espousing adding large amounts of fat to your diet on the premise that our bodies need fat and the whole low fat era has left our bodies starved, which he said has slowed our metabolisms and lead to binge eating in an attempt to replenish the fat we’ve excluded. Everything he said resonated with how I feel after a 3 week rotation where I’ve eaten almost no fat. The overeating and subsequent weight gains I’ve been experiencing on my off weeks were exactly what he was describing. I was going to have to find out more about this.

Anyway, I finished the rest of the yarn sorting and storage Sunday morning so spent a cozy afternoon cooking for the week. I made sloppy joes, cranberry walnut cole slaw and tapioca pudding for lunches, 2 pies for Pi Day (Monday) – one for work and one for knitting – and made hamburger stroganoff to eat for a couple of suppers. I was even a big girl and did all the dishes when I was done cooking. So all in all, it was a very satisfying weekend. I’d made it through my projects and chores, had a fridge full of food for the next week and had recuperated from the stressful work week. Nothing like playing with yarn to bring me back to center. : )

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Week 10 - Desperate for Recharge

For all intents and purposes, spring has arrived. Now it might end up snowing yet but in the meantime, I sat in shirtsleeves on a bench in the sun on Monday at Hazel Abel Park. It was a 600 calorie day so I’d already scarfed my lunch earlier so enjoyed the sunshine instead of food. Daffodils were just a few days from blooming and I had the park to myself. It was lovely.

The lack of calories left me energy free by the end of the day and I was moving in slow motion as I neatized the house after knitting so it’d be ready for the cleaning lady. I was determined to get it all done because I’d been sleeping badly and didn’t want anything hanging over my head. Alas, it didn’t help. I slept like crap again.

Tuesday was monthly reports so the day flew by. I had bought the ingredients to make a pan of lasagna for Helen, who is home recuperating from surgery. That’s what I thought anyway. I didn’t have any big cans of tomatoes but cobbled some sauce together and had it simmering when I went to pull the cheese out, only to find it was shredded cheddar instead of mozzarella. I had to get dressed again and head to the market. I put it into the oven and it was torture smelling it when I was on another 600 calorie day. Eyes on the prize! I was exhausted but couldn’t fall asleep again so got up and took a shower at 11:00, after which I finally fell asleep. I was beginning to think lack of vegging was having an impact.

I finally got some relaxing time on Wednesday – first with a lovely concert by the Chiarra String Quartet at the library over lunch then when I got home after swimming and sat watching Survivor and knitting. Finally some vegging! It helped because I slept well at last.

Bernie was on campus Thursday, which was kind of fun. Thousands of people lined the street in front of my office and we heard periodic cheering all morning while they waited to get into The Lied Center. I had a nice lunch at Noodles with Dodie and then went right home after work, which felt decadent. I slept well again so was beginning to feel better.

Friday was my normal lunch with Layton then I dropped my car at Auto Connection to have them unrotate my tires, which fixed the horrible road noise. I had corn chowder in the fridge for a knitting night at Anne’s so we could hang with Kate, who doesn’t swim anymore so we don’t see her. But she called Anne and cancelled (sick) so we bailed. I gave Anne half the chowder, went to the pool and then went home for the weekend. With dinner cancelled, my weekend was completely free and I was insanely excited about it.

My goal for Saturday was to sit in the sun and knit, staying in my jammies as long as possible. Success! I got up early, started knitting and didn’t get moving until 2:00. I can’t say I accomplished much of anything at all but it felt wonderful and was the much needed recharge time I was desperate for. I could barely keep my eyes open and went to bed at 8:30. Clearly much needed.

I woke up Sunday at 5:30 and felt like a new woman. I had the kitchen and family room picked up, dishes soaking and laundry done before the sun was up. It was also my first day not rotating so I had a yummy breakfast of oatmeal with raisins. How far I have come that that felt like a treat? 71 pounds down, btw. 

Anyway, when Lorri called to say she couldn’t stop after church because she needed to go to Omaha to pick something up at Barnes & Noble, I offered to go with so we could catch up on the way. We had a nice chat and did a bit of shopping but I was still home by 4:00 in time to enjoy a cup of tea. It was 75 degrees so I opened the windows and started cooking. Baked cauliflower cheese (another treat that’s still pretty darn healthy) and ham. Yum! Then I made bread pudding to take to knitting and steamed Brussels sprouts to go with a casserole I pulled from the freezer for later in the week. By the time I was done, it was time to sit down to the Downton Abbey finale. What a nice week and more spring weather to come. Enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Week 9 - Total Spring Fever

With gorgeous spring weather dominating the week, I couldn’t help but be in a great mood. Everything just seemed better with spring in the air – a new cashmere blend sweater that felt lucious and perfectly matched the shawlette I designed myself, going to the The Lady in the Van with Anne, losing more weight on a 1200 calorie week… All good. The work days flew by too. I trained 2 afternoons, which always makes them fly, and had meetings every other day (a rarity for me) so the work week was over in a flash. I may have overscheduled my weekend a bit but even that all worked out and I lived to tell. There seemed to be nothing that could befoul my mood. Spring is the absolute best season! Am I right?

The weekend started with a retirement party for one of my database customers at 4:30 on Friday, which I thoroughly enjoyed for the half hour I was there. Then it was off to swimming and then to the hospital to visit Helen. I stopped at Fresh Thyme on the way there to pick up a wrap to eat in the car and a lovely primrose for Helen. I got home at 9:00 and by the time I put groceries away, it was time for bed. Anne would be at my house at 8:45 to head to another auction in Fremont. 

This time Anne wanted the cone yarn. I was just going along for the ride. Denise, my auction buddy from last week, was there so Anne and I sat with her and the acutioneer recognized me and agreed when I suggested the yarn NOT be the last thing up for bid. He was true to his word and it was up just after noon. Unfortunately an antique dealer who wanted it all was there and kept bidding the price up, leaving just a few skimpy cones and odd cakes for Anne to get for $15. I wish I’d bought some for her when it was so cheap the week before. Oh well. She got some and we were on the road and back to my house by 3:00, which felt like a gift. I gave Anne 2 of the cones I’d gotten the previous week and caked some too. She left happy and I got to enjoy a cup of tea in the sunshine. Since Sunday would be another early day, I started my laundry too. I went to bed early because Sunday was another early day. If only I’d known how early….

I was scheduled to pick Andrea up at 9:30 for an Omaha run - something we hadn’t done in awhile. A Penzey’s coupon for 2 free jars of Pie Spice was our impetus for going but we had other things on the list. Well, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and was wide awake so got up and started plowing through the spare room. Our first stop was Goodwill so I figured I could cull some clothes that no longer fit to add to my donate pile. By 5:00, I’d reorganized the piles and there was stuff all over the floor but I was getting tired again so went back to bed. I thought I’d just lay there but at some point I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until 8:45. I had just enough time to eat some breakfast, get dressed and load the donations into the car before picking Drae up. I wasn’t even late. I only found one thing at the second of the two Goodwills we stopped at while waiting for Penzey’s to open but offloaded donations so it was still good. With our Pie Spice jars in hand, we hit Trader Joe’s and then Aldi before heading home. I was home mid-afternoon again so even though I’d had 2 early mornings, I had relaxing afternoons at home to make up for it. And the weather was still gorgeous so I enjoyed my first steak grilled outside on Sunday night. More spring wonderfulness. Gotta love it! Now to get those piles from the spare room and all my auction goodies put away before the cleaning lady. It’s always something. : )

Week 8 - Yarn Auction Fun

Starting the day off at the gym for a 6:30 Power Pump class means I have to do all my prep (clothes and food) the night before and still be up half an hour early, which puts me on the road at the time I’m normally getting up. Since I have knitting Monday nights at the library, it makes for a very long day but feels like a good start to the week so I try. Having missed it the previous week when I called in sick, I was ready to go this Monday but when I went out to my newly repaired car, the battery was dead! I called AAA but since it was a holiday, they said their regular person wasn’t available so they’d “put it out to dispatch,” whatever that meant. And the waiting began. Someone called at 7:00 to say they were on their way and my car was running by 7:30. I threw on clothes without showering (ick!) and headed to campus. The bill from Friday’s work was still on the front seat so I called my mechanic and said I’d be dropping it off. Checking the battery, hoses and such was the very thing I’d asked them to do that they’d clearly not done. They were very conciliatory and agreed to check it all as well as replace the battery. Fast forward to the end of the day when I was presented with a bill for $500, which added to what I’d spent last week exceeded my $1,000 limit that I swore would have me buying a new HRV. Well, the is absolutely the last money I’m putting into my trusty Fit.

With that drama over with, I was ready for some normal life with zero drama. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My cousin and I were going to Paint Yourself Silly for my birthday and we were 20 minutes into creating our masterpieces when she told me she has some irregular cells and so was having a hysterectomy the next week. Wow! Despite that, we had a great time and ended the night with some illicit ice cream and a promise that I’d visit in the hospital. Wednesday was pretty normal but then Thursday more drama reared its ugly head.

Anne and I had decided we’d bite the bullet and pay the big bucks for tickets to Scotland on United. We’d exhausted all the possibilities for a cheap flight so Anne would be using her miles and I’d be paying big bucks. She came over to my office after 5:00 and we got her miles account on one screen and the paying version up on the other and after 2 calls to United, we hit enter, getting seats next to each other on all the flights. Anne got a confirmation email immediately but I didn’t. After waiting 10 mintues, we gave up and headed home. Well, I arrived home to find an email from Chase saying they’d denied my purchase suspecting fraud. Really? Fraud on an airline ticket? Wouldn’t that be pretty darn easy to figure out? I called and they took the block off, saying that they’d conference in United and call me back. Well, they called back to say the hold time was too long so I’d have to call myself and wait on hold. OMG! You can imagine how unhappy I was at this point but what could I do? I waited on hold for 40 minutes and finally had my ticket. Enough drama already! But was it over? Nope.

The next morning I emailed our flight into to the travel agent who’s coordinating the trip, who immediately replied to say since we were getting in so much later (in order for Anne to use points, we opted for a 2 layover flight that gets us to Shannon overnight then had a regional flight to Edinburgh that arrives just after noon) than most of the people on the trip, we were on our own to get from the airport to our hotel. I immediately saw red and whipped off a scathing email. If transfers are included in a trip and they haven’t given you a time constraint up front, they damn well better be included! The woman waited until the end of the day to respond and said she’d work something out. Damn right! With that settled, I was ready for swimming and the weekend.

I was going to an auction in Fremont on Saturday, lured by a bunch of cone yarn and what I really wanted – a yarn tree to hold cones. I started a new pair of simple socks to knit while waiting to bid and got there at 9:15. I grabbed an empty seat next to 2 lovely ladies from Fremont and proceeded to have a fun morning yucking it up over the stuff up for bid, and putting an occaisional bid on something interesting. By the time Andrea arrived at 12:15, I’d spent a whopping $4 and had bought some fun, albeit unnecessary, items. Andrea bought lots of stuff and I scored a couple more, including a fabulous 50's saimese cat TV lamp, before they finally got to the yarn ~3:00. I had already sorted out the cones I wanted and talked to the ladies hovering near the yarn to encourage them not to bid it up since there was plenty for all of us. I bought the 16 cones I’d set aside for $1 each and then scored the fabulous yarn tree for $10 so was very pleased. By the end of the yarn bidding, it was going for $2.50/shelf of yarn, which one woman bought all of for $25. When the shelves were bare, I bought a plastic snap together one for $2.50 – my final score of the day. I was pretty tired and hungry so Drae and I went to HyVee for an early dinner then hit Goodwill. By the time I got home and it was almost 8:00. It was a long day but fun and I had all my treasures to sort through. Check out my fabulous new yarn tree and lamp!
It was gorgeous Sunday so I headed outside early, starting with emptying the car so I could then load it back up with recycling. I broke down a bunch of boxes in the garage then pulled the cases of boxes from the basement that had gotten wet. Then I took down the last of the Christmas decorations and did some general neatizing in the yard. When I went inside, I got all my chores done then started cooking, ending the day with a week’s worth of food ready to go and my first steak on the grill for dinner. Yum! I had totally redeemed myself after sitting on my butt knitting at the auction with a day of super productivity. And I would be in good shape for the work week, which is a lovely thing. And to top it all off, it truly seemed like spring was coming early, with flocks of robins eating the crabapples off my tree and V’s of geese heading north. I know we could have a foot of snow in a week but still. I’m going with spring fever. : )