Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Food and Folly, Free Things, and Finishing!

Becca works as part of the wait staff at a nursing home. I guess she's used to seeing this on residents plates and too used to spaghetti or mac and cheese at home!
My upstairs office is still a work in progress, but I really do like it up here. I've got enough of a set-up now to at least be functional. Still need to get a printer up here.
My fitness pal has a FREE food tracker (based on good old fashioned calorie counting), weight tracker, exercise tracker and community. All the things that weight watchers offers... but FREE!
And that's all she wrote folks! It feels so good to have kept up with this. I have the last 8 or so days of layouts to print out and tuck into my album and it is DONE for this year! With room to add next year...

Monday, September 27, 2010

On Food, Friends, and Fields

I have to admit that I haven't been feeling well for awhile, so I took no pictures at all for the last several days. To represent my lessons, I borrowed from the internet and old photos. The soccer photo is actually last year.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On Photos and Facebook

Monday I learned that a dentist appointment is a good excuse to leave home early and do a photo shoot!

Getting involved in said photo shoot can cause one to lose track of time and nearly be late for said dentist appointment.

But all is well that ends well... no cavities! 

Tuesday I learned that playing with the photos taken in said photo shoot could be a lot of fun!

In fact, I learned that one photo shoot could provide material for three days worth of lessons! Particularly when one begins feeling under the weather and too tired to pay attention to what one might be learning that day.

By Thursday morning, thanks to a ridiculous lack of sleep and inability to breathe, I was barely functioning. In fact, it was very reminiscent of this day.  In the past three days, I have emptied more Puffs Plus boxes than I care to count. And now I'm out ... off to get some more Sudafed Triple Action.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On Food and Photography

Jay and I had a dinner out. Even though I didn't finish the pasta OR the dessert, I left feeling uncomfortably stuffed. Then I looked up the calorie counts for these choices. Yikes! This single meal (if you ate it all) is 1900 calories!

The photos are from the TGI Friday's website. I didn't take my camera to dinner.

I didn't take my camera to the girls' soccer game today either. And I wished I had. The creek had beautiful dappled sun sparkling off it. There was a lovely shadow of the red covered bridge in the water. And there were lots of opportunities to get good photos of the girls playing (except they don't like me to take pictures at their games.) I may head over to the field tomorrow and see if I can catch some shots of the stream!

Friday, September 17, 2010

On Fruit and Friendship

On Fruit:
Yesterday's lesson was a little silly. But there it was. And I couldn't resist adding a little humor to this book! The note is DH's way of telling me I need to go to the grocery store.... as if the empty fruit basket weren't clue enough.

On Friendship (the real point of this post):

Some of you know me in the physical world. You may have known me for years. Some of you know me in the virtual world. You may have been following me for awhile and know quite a bit about me and my world. Or you may have only recently found my blog and are just getting to know me.  It doesn't matter.

Today's lesson came early this morning. I was working my way through Google Reader and the feeling washed over me like a gentle wave caressing the shore.

Physical or Virtual World - it doesn't matter. Old friend or New friend - it doesn't matter. Each connection we make, each bond we forge... are all REAL. And these friendships sustain me, they validate me, they feed my soul.

By 8:00 a.m. I knew this. I could feel the post stirring inside me. I left my computer to shower, dress, and contemplate. When I returned, I changed my page-a-day calendar to today's date and read this:

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  Anais Nin 

The Universe was definitely speaking to me this morning. And I felt that wave of gratitude grow and swell until you could have surfed on my happiness. I felt all those new worlds in me and I was amazed by the strength of the feeling.

It wasn't a single blog post. Or a particular email. Or even the song that was running through my head. It was the sum total of it all.

Do you know what a profound effect you have on my life, sitting there in your own world somewhere behind my computer screen?

Have I told you how much I appreciate you being here? How much I love the comments you leave? My world is more abundant, more vibrant, more beautiful because you are here.

So to each of you reading this, I just want to say thank you... Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for being a shoulder to lean on when I need to cry. Thank you for validating me. Thank you for supporting me and cheering me on.

Most of all, I want to thank you for being a friend.

And leave you with this:

Weekly Gratitude

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Sit There And Look Pretty

Remember when I mentioned that I would join any online creative challenge if it truly spoke to my heart?  Well, I did join this one and I completed the challenge early, so I'm posting my results!  The point of this challenge was to interpret (in any medium you wish) the phrase "Just sit there and look pretty."  The phrase immediately made me think of this scripture:

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Matt. 6:28-29)

Yes, flowers get to just sit there and look pretty. And I appreciate them for the wonderful job they do. They make excellent photography subjects because they don't run and hide or cover their blooms with their leaves right when you snap. They are patient and will put up with any length session. Gotta love that! So much easier than photographing teenagers!

For the challenge, I chose one of my photographs from the 3rd Annual Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk that I did in July in Greenville, SC. And then played to my heart's content in PSE8!  To give credit, I added the "All My Loving" texture from Kim Klassen, "define, sharp," "warmer," and "edge burn" actions from Pioneer Woman and several Photoshop Elements blending modes.  The font is tsp i of the morning which can be downloaded free from the font name link!

Click here to read the Emma Tree challenge information.  There is still time to join!  The challenge deadline is actually the 23rd, but there are some early entries! Click here to scroll through the Emma Tree blog and see other challenge entries as they come in.   :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Grumpiness and Gratitude

Third year in a row that Jay's benefits are being cut (higher employee contribution to medical insurance premiums, higher deductible and now co-insurance too) while at the same time wages are frozen. I can't help but wonder how much further backwards we can go... then I remember...

This was prompted by today's exercise in 30 Days to Living a Better Life in which we were asked to reflect on all of the things for which we are grateful.  In short order my list was 91 items long.

The highlights included:

My husband and three beautiful daughters, my best friends, extended family, my co-workers, my bloggy friends...

My home, my car, my computer, the Internet, my positive work environment, that I am able to work from home, that I make a decent wage, that I have health coverage...

Plenty to eat, Softlips cherry chapstick, Crest Pro-Health toothpaste, contact lenses, my camera, Photoshop Elements, great online classes and challenges, DARK CHOCOLATE...

the Ocean, the Sunrise, the Sunset, green grass, pretty flowers, baby doves hatching outside my bedroom window, music, art, good books and the people who write them...

Laughter, motivational quotes, scrapbooking, photography, quiet time to myself, learning something new every day.

What are YOU grateful for today???

Friday, September 10, 2010

On Working Up and Working Out

Having temporarily moved myself up from the office basement yesterday, I find I really do prefer it up here. This room has been in the "going to be the office someday" stage for two years now.  I need to convince DH to get the internet wired (I can use wireless but it is slower and I'm on all day for work) and finish up the little things so we can move me up here permanently.

By way of update, I am walking again today, although both knees are still "crunching" fiercely.  I did go to the gym and did some upper body strength training. I have an appointment with a personal trainer next Wednesday. She is just a few years younger than me and suffering from some of the same physical issues, so I think she'll be the perfect one to work with. Proud of myself for following through and not using the Doctor's "no gym" prescription as an excuse to slack off where it is totally unnecessary.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Painful Lesson

You may recall a prior mention of my knees hurting after being on the treadmill?  Well, the truth is that my knees have been bothering me for several months. I started noticing a crunching sound when I would walk downstairs. And although I used to be able to do a  half-hour on the elliptical, I was finding myself aching after 15-20 minutes. To the point where I really did have to stop. 

Yesterday, I went to the orthopedist to get it checked out.  Turns out I have chondromalacia patellae in both knees. Most likely aggravated to this point because I got bold enough to increase the intensity of my work-outs so I could lose some weight. Hah! No good deed goes unpunished. 

My doctor says I should not go the gym for at least two weeks.  Additionally, no yoga, no Zumba, no kneeling, no squatting, limit stairs, walking only on flat surfaces, no hills. Which means I can't even walk around the block where I live! This, just when I was at the point of being ready to sign up for a personal trainer and really get things going.  The intial treatment was an injection of cortisone into my right knee. If it works for the right, left will be next - in two weeks. The doctor warned me that some patients experience increased knee pain after the injection. I didn't think much of it because honestly, the pain has been more on the level of irritating and frustrating rather than debilitating.  So I came home feeling quite sorry for myself (wallowing in a little pity party actually) because I was just getting serious about my personal fitness and the Universe has to go and throw this huge boulder in my path. As the evening wound down, my pain level increased. By bedtime I was riding a wave of pain with an undertow of serious depression.  I didn't sleep well. I couldn't get comfortable.

I woke up stiff and in pain. I got woozy trying to get down the stairs for breakfast.  All those things my doctor told me not to do? Couldn't do them even if I wanted to! I emailed my office to let them know that I would be working from home and would call in for our meeting.  I brought my laptop up from the basement so I wouldn't have to negotiate the stairs all day.  I iced my stupid knee. I worked. I called in for the meeting. I worked some more.  Then I got mad. What the heck Universe? I mean, come on, I'm trying to get fit and now this??? Seriously, I was pissed off. Which is a good thing. Depression makes me unable to function, freezes me in my tracks.  Anger, on the other hand, spurs me to action. And next thing I know, I'm thinking around this freakin' roadblock. Over it. Through it. Under it. Whatever. I'll be damned if I'm going to let an effing knee thing knock me off the path to fitness or sideline my journey! Sorry, that's the way I talk when I get angry.

We'll see how the knee feels tomorrow.  And assuming I can walk again, I'm heading to the gym.  No, I'm not going to do anything to aggravate my knees or worsen my condition.  But I can talk to a personal trainer. I can do upper body strength training.  Maybe there are some core strengthening exercises I can do that won't aggravate my back or my knees.  Surely there must be something I can do beyond sitting on my ample backside?!

So yes, yesterday's lesson about not giving up too easily apparently stuck.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On Giving Up

photo source

I have been trying to follow along with "Namaste Yoga" on Fit TV (Discovery Channel). The yoga classes at my gym are far too advanced for me, even though they claim to be all levels. So I found this one on tv at 8:30 every morning and for the most part it is poses that I can do, or can modify. But yesterday... not so much. They were doing crane pose - where you balance your knees on your elbows thing -like this:
image source
Which is so NOT even in the realm of anything I can imagine doing right now! So rather than try to modify or do some other pose, I just quit. Sat on the sofa and watched them go through a series I couldn't mimic on a bet.  If only sitting on the sofa wishing I could be fit and flexible would get me there!  

I'm not one to beat myself up though. I turned on the show again this morning. Today I did better. The series was based on warrior pose as a start and I was able to modify what I couldn't do. One day at a time. One baby step at a time.  I will stick with it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Reading and Riding

I finished "The Girl" series on Sunday. Luckily I had done all my weekend chores on Saturday while Jay & the girls were at a Phillies game. So nobody could complain when I sat around all day reading!

And did you catch that self-portrait in the book cover?
Another procrastination item off the "to do" list. I had been asking to have my car detailed for about three years (every birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas, etc.) I put it on my list. Even though I was promised it for one of those events, it never happened.

But along came teenage drivers. And just in case you didn't know, teenage drivers are hazardous to the health and well being of your vehicle. One young lady scraped the drivers side front bumper into the garage door jamb and covered it with white latex paint transfer. A few months later, another young lady ran the passenger side into the garage door jamb, leaving paint transfer from the passenger door to the end of the sliding door. My car looked like crap!

But look at it now! The interior looks brand new. The detailers did such a wonderful job cleaning the leather and carpets. And the exterior, well all the areas where paint has chipped off or cracked is still there. The dent in the passenger side sliding door from the latest mishap is still there. But 98% of the paint transfer was successfully buffed out! Yes, it was worth every last penny.

This post is part of a series for the online class Learn Something New Every Day.

On Fitness and Finding Time

I have been procrastinating on buying new athletic shoes for far too long. Because to get them professionally fitted I have to go to a store that isn't on my way to or from anything else I do. In fact, it is decidedly out of the way. When I finally made up my mind to do it... NO BIG DEAL! My knees are still bothering me, but the new shoes are an improvement.  And if you are paying close attention, you'll notice I borrowed a bit of Mel's template to create this page! Thanks Mel!
On September 3rd the girls had off school and Jay had taken the day off work. So we were all home for a four day weekend. The only problem with that is I find it nearly impossible to find time for myself when everyone is here and wanting my attention. I finally managed to grab some time after everyone had gone to bed (I couldn't sleep anyway) to catch up on google reader, do my writing for the 30 Days to Living A Better Life challenge, and just think.

This post is part of a series of posts for the online course Learn Something New Every Day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Learn Something New

LSNED Cover Page

Day 1 Lesson
This post is the first of a series of posts for a class I am taking called "Learn Something New Every Day" at