Friday, February 29, 2008

About a cat


Yesterday afternoon I talked to the vet about Pan and the latest medication, and, well, it turned out to be an excellent night to already have ice cream in the house. And to sit and watch TV* with a cat on my lap, trying not to sniffle.

*The Bruins won, which was nice, like something was going right. It's kind of like they're trying to make me feel better lately.

As I mentioned last week, I had mixed feelings about the medication, because if it didn't work, I'd have to take him to the Place of Major Stress (aka the vet), but if it did work, that meant he has entered the phase of heart disease that is cruelly called Congenital Heart Failure*. And, after a week, it had indeed worked.

*I'm going to abbreviate it from now on. CHF might stand for Continued Heart Function, right? After all, his heart does continue to function, for now. Might be months, might be years ...

His breathing was definitely closer to normal after seven days on the medication, without that hiccup that disturbed me so. Which is good, of course. Except for the whole idea of if the medicine works, it's CHF.

What it boils down to is, he adds the new med to his regimen (can you believe my cat has a regimen?), and we're going to try him on a lower-salt food, and "keep his life as stress-free as possible".

Which on the one hand makes me nod, and on the other hand makes me laugh. Stress-free? How much stress does he have? He doesn't have a job or bills to pay or snow to shovel or to cook or clean up after himself (though there is the whole issue of bathing by tongue, but he seems fine with that) ... honestly, he's had quite a good life since June 27, 1998 when I picked him up from the Humane Society with his brother*.

*They're not actually blood brothers, but they don't know that.

I grant you, he'll be taking no long car trips, or even short ones unless emergency arises, but otherwise what? I should try not to yell at him when he bites my fingers. I think that's the most stress in his daily life these days, and to be honest he seems more startled than stressed if I yell. If he could speak (English), I expect he would say, "What, now you don't like that?" Because he always acts as if this is a new policy, a sudden change to what was previously not merely allowed, but encouraged by me. Even though I have never, not once, liked being bitten by him, or encouraged it in any way.

And the thing is, I know that after he's gone, that will be one of the things I remember about him. He used to bite my fingers, and he expected me to love it.

So, I'm feeling tense and fragile and other un-fun things. I'm braced for the next blow, and can't seem to relax my shoulders. I think perhaps I will go start a swatch with the sock yarn, the nice bright cheerful sock yarn. With a cat on my lap, perhaps. Gosh, sock needles are going to feel like toothpicks coming from the blanket and its US 11s.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thump! A Hit of Color in Winter

I'm quite sure that if I was shopping for sock yarn in August, this is not the colorway I would select. But that's the point, isn't it? It's February. Around here, February's colors are white, gray, and sand. My frequent preference for muted tones, blues and greens and so on, was not doing it, not lifting me out of February. And the blanket, which is coming nicely, is a pale yellow/off-white that isn't doing it either.

Still, see the heart?


It's a subtle effect, I admit. I'm finding the second repeat much easier because now I can see, and therefore "get", the pattern, instead of counting and knitting on faith alone (which will get you there, but you don't enjoy the ride as much).

I almost didn't go yarn shopping tonight, I didn't feel like it. Fortunately, I recognized that as a sign that the malaise was getting worse, and went anyway.

Have you knit with Lorna's Laces before? Have you touched it? I may be the only knitter around who hasn't, but my goodness, this feels nice. It's superwash, too. I can't wait to see how it knits up. I looked it up just now and there are so many colors that, if I like it, I may never use another sock yarn (assuming that I want to make socks again, which is not a certainty).

And yes, it's bright. That was the point, after all.


Colorway: Lorikeet, or as I shall call it, Banish February. Bought at Wild and Woolly in Lexington. Now I need to choose a pattern! But it can be pet yarn for a day or two while I decide. It's sitting nicely beside me now, I think it's reasonably well-behaved.

One place I can't avoid when in Lexington is Rancatore's. I just have to see if they have my favorite flavor in stock, which they don't always.

Oh, look, they did!


The other place I have to go in Lexington (except Tuesdays, when it's closed) is Wilson Farm. I mooned over the tulips and roses and other flowers, and thought about buying some hyacinths but in the end just sniffed and moved on. Here's what did come home with me, though:


Sufficient, yes? And that's not even showing the milk and potatoes, which don't really fit the color theme (but which I needed all the same).

Look at the color!


Up top, between the two Bartlett pears, is a red pear, bought just because it was good-looking. (I put it in the same paper bag as the other pears, to ripen. I hope they get along.) Clementines, a plum, star fruit, bananas, and some of the makings of The Salsa ... it does my heart good just looking at it all.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled February (already in progress), but with a lighter step.

After buying the yarn, I carried it into Wilson's with me, so I could keep looking at it. Is that normal?

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Random musings

Today's snow is supposed to turn to rain overnight, and as long as it does that, and without freezing into a sheet of ice, then okay. Still, it's only four days since the last storm, and I'm feeling very enough already.

In the Unhappy Irony Department, the dismal weather, which is provoking in me a dissatisfaction* with knitting in light yellow (officially antique white, but you say tomato), and has me craving color, also made it feel imprudent to stop for something as frivolous as yarn-shopping on the way home. (Actually, I didn't stop for milk, either.) I only cleared an inch off my car before leaving work, but it was falling slightly faster than I could clear, and overall I decided that it can wait another day. (In fact, by the time I got home, it was more rain than snow, but I still feel that erring on the side of caution was not a bad idea.)

*I am actually pleased with how the blanket is turning out, and will show it off soon, but it's just striking my winter-in-New-England soul as a little too bland this week.

I have decided, cautiously, to try another pair of socks, but I want to find some yarn that really calls to me, and use a different pattern, to see how my experience goes this time. I do have some of the Schaefer Anne left, and it made perfectly nice socks that I enjoy wearing, but I don't know if there's enough for two socks, and I'm not feeling like this is the time to try. This is time to reevaluate the question of whether I like knitting socks, and to a knitter that's a pretty serious question, right?

So new yarn, soft and pretty and not too wild, and since I want to touch it before I buy it, online shopping is out this time. And I must pick another pattern, too, of course. Something that will help the sock stay up, but isn't too busy or holey (I know, it's called lacy, but I don't want holes in my socks, even on purpose ones from a pattern).

Gee, I don't want much, do I? All that's left is to say, I'll know it when I see it, and I don't even know if that's true.

************

I was looking on my calendar to see how often I've had headaches recently, because they've been a little more frequent of late than they've been since I started this medication. Still not as bad as before, but it’s not a trend I want to reverse. I noticed something the recent headaches have in common that I find quite odd.

Weekends.

I've taken at least one dose of headache medicine (the when-the-headache-comes type, not the daily preventive) every weekend in January and February. In contrast, I took one in December and none in November.

What’s going on?

************

I came back from Florida two weeks ago, and I’m still peeling. This is not the kind of reminder of a trip, even a very good trip, that you want to go on for that long! (Note: I haven’t been peeling in the same place for two weeks, which I think would be a very bad sign. It started on the face, then the shoulders and upper arms, and now the forearms and back of hands. This should be the end of it, hopefully in a day or two.)

************

As I mentioned before, I've been doing the little exercise thing, which I don’t enjoy in the slightest by the way, and it occurred to me that I've also been sleeping well recently. Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not? There have certainly been times in my life when Tylenol PM has been a frequent visitor, that I don’t have trouble falling asleep so much as staying asleep, but not lately. There are plenty of possible reasons for this, but exercise is one of them.

And how'm I doing? I've been really working on this for 6 weeks, not counting the week when I took it easy after twisting my ankle. So far this week, I'm 4-for-4 on walking, and in previous weeks my percentages (yes, I figured it out) have been 75, 83, 90, 70, 100, and 100. Not bad!

As for the bike, I want to start keeping accurate track of when I do it, since I think that would provide positive reinforcement, but so far I haven't. Unofficially, though, I have been averaging my target of 3 weekdays and once each weekend, so that's going well, too.

Eating less, now? You know the Girl Scout cookies will be in any time, right?

************

Finally, the 6-word memoir:
I enjoy Shrink Lits, but it simply isn't my writing style. Equally, I find others’ six-word memoirs fun and clever, but I have trouble encapsulating myself. I've never been a woman of few words, once I’m started.

• Knit read cats hockey; read blog
• Family, friends, love; happy most days
• Hate self-editing; six words not enough

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Apparently, my job today is Cat Lap

And although I have spent most of the day doing just that, I am receiving considerable guff from the peanut gallery for stepping away from the couch. And while I love this cat tremendously, I must say that, having spent much of the aforementioned day providing him with his preferred place to sleep, and not cleaning or doing laundry or anything else that "needs" doing, I Do Not Appreciate this random yowling now. I would hate to complain about a day spent reading and watching TV, but I have a headache with upset stomach and it's making me crabby now.

And here is what he thinks about what I think:


Rauw-rauw!

Harold has gotten some lovin' today too, though not as much. Fortunately for his well-being and my sanity, he has not been bitching about it a lot, and in fact has spent most of the time elsewhere:


Wide load, isn't he?

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Friday, February 22, 2008

My Seven Things

Thanks for the comments on yesterday's post. I'm doing better today; obviously, ostriches have the right idea. (BTW, Leslie, so sorry to hear about your husband's condition, but how wonderful that he's doing all right.) I just find the phrase "congestive heart failure" so intrinsically scary that I was warping out over that as much as anything, I think. Who names these things?

Now for something completely different. Last week, Annalea tagged me with the seven things meme, so I've been trying to think of 7 things about me that haven't already been revealed. Let's see how it goes.

1. I never got over my first love. It was a '69 Cadillac convertible, red with a white top and red leather seats ... I loved that car! I'll have to dig up a picture and teach myself how to use the scanner, but if I get into that tonight this meme will never be finished.

2. I'm not just a Bruins fan, I'm a life-long Bruins fan. Proof?


According to the date on the back (where I added names as I heard them during broadcasts), I was 6 years and 4 months old when I started to document my love of all things Bruins.

I wish I knew if this idea came out of my mind or was prompted! I do love that after leading with the obvious (Bobby Orr), I went on to Gilles Gilbert (though I spelled it wrong). Speaking of spelling, though, on the back I spelled Bucyk correct, right after spelling John as "Jhon". Hmmm.

3. I spent a year in England between high school and college, at an all-girls boarding school. It was a very interesting experience, and I'm still in touch with my two closest friends from that year (although with one, it's more an e-mail every year or two than close touch).

4. I have traveled outside the US many times, including before I can even remember (Brazil, Grenada, Guyana). The countries I remember are:
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Canada (though only in the Maritimes)
  • England
  • France
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Spain
Looking at a map of Europe, I can see that since I took a bus to Austria, we must have gone through either Switzerland or Germany to get there. However, I don't remember which (it was 21 years ago, in my defense) so I won't put it on the list. Probably whichever one it was, was the border crossing we made in the middle of the night, where they came on the bus and woke us and told everyone to hold their passport over their head. Then someone took mine, and only mine, and walked off with it, while I struggled to wake up and figure out what was going on. (Everyone else had a British passport, except for one Malaysian diplomatic passport.) Of course they brought it back in a few minutes, but I did come close to panicking.

5. I am almost absurdly oversensitive to noises, smells, and other such phenomena. I almost went mad when a vent near my desk was rattling perpetually. I have headphones at work for when I just can't take the noises made by people thoughtlessly working around me :) and I could never work in trash collection. If you walk by me and took a cigarette break 10 minutes ago, I know. I know if the driver of the car in front of me is smoking. I've never smoked pot because the first time I smelled the smoke, I almost threw up.

6. I enjoy reading comic strips, cartoons, graphic novels, and so on. The comics are one of the reasons I get the daily paper. My brother and I used to read the Doonesbury collections when we were kids and enjoyed them greatly, despite how much meaning we had to be missing. We can still crack each other up with cryptic statements like, "I'm a reasonable man, MacArthur, so I know that this isn't snow." Or, "Actually, I spent the whole week watching TV, but he thinks I'm a genius." And I can tell you in excruciating detail why I say, "Oh, wow, look at the moon" whenever I notice it.

Calvin and Hobbes, For Better or For Worse, Baby Blues, The Far Side, Bloom County ... One of my new favorites is Little Dee, which is a comic strip of the familiar in-the-newspaper format, just your basic story of a little girl who got lost in the woods, being cared for by a bear, a dog, and a vulture. Oh, and they talk but she doesn't.

What?

There's a button on the right side of the page. Go on. You won't be sorry. The vulture, Vachel, knits. During an extended sea shanty, he's knitting straight from the sheep. Don't you have to see that? (He put it to music, even, and it's wonderful. To get to that, go here and scroll down to 11/07/07, or search for mp3.)

Even more recently, I've found* an online graphic-novel type comic called Girl Genius, which I just love, though it couldn't be more different from Little Dee. Why are the Jaegers my favorites, and their accents? For that matter, why Vachel, and not sweet Ted? My mind is a mystery even to me.

*Google Reader will make suggestions of other blogs I might enjoy, based on the ones I already subscribe to. Sometimes this means that they're recommending things I totally don't want (other Boston sports, or Boston news in general, or gluten-free interests since one blog I subscribe to is such). Most of them I turn down (the button actually says "No, thanks", so I get to be polite about it), but sometimes I quite like them, and Girl Genius I love!

7. I hate to tag people, in case anyone doesn't want to do the thing and is irritated or whatever by the tag. Though I have done it a few times, for some reason I'm not feeling up to it tonight, so I'm going to do the cop-out tag: if you're reading this, and you're interested enough to start thinking about what your seven things would be (and you have a blog), then do go blog about it, won't you? And comment here that you have? I love seeing inside people's heads (only metaphorically, though, uck). The rules are:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

*******************************************

Finally, about the weather (more snow today), I really, really agree with this guy, whoever he is/was:
The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.
--Patrick Young
That's it in a nutshell.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

This week ... oh, this week

There's a line in Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul that came to mind today:
Kate, who didn't realize that the day was still only softening her up for what was to come, made the mistake of thinking that it had just reached a climax of shock.
Substitute week for day, and here I am.

I wasn't happy to have my eyes dilated on Tuesday.

I was quite unhappy with my fouled-up oil change yesterday.

But.

Pan's had a little hitch to his breathing lately, which I probably wouldn't even notice except for his heart condition. I monitored it for a while to see if it would get better, or worse, and it did neither. I decided that I'd better get in touch with the vet just in case. Even though I'd rather pretend that everything was fine, you know. Because if ... something ... happened, I would never forgive myself if I hadn't done what I could. (Although I've already found that in cases like that, you'll blame yourself either way.)

So, yesterday I e-mailed the vet and explained the situation, because I don't want to bring him in unless I have to. He gets SO stressed at the vet, and stress is SO bad for his heart, blah blah blah. Of course I'll take him in if I have to, but do I have to?

I talked to the vet today, and after we discussed the options (which both suck, as the vet more or less said) (that's not the word he used, though), we're trying Pan on another medication first, to see if it helps. If not, I'll have to bring him in for an exam and possible x-ray.

The catch? I don't know if I want it to work, the new med. Because if it does, it means he has fluid in his lungs, which means congestive heart failure. That's hard to say, hard to type, and hard to face. Pan's my baby, I've had him for 9 years and 8 months, and I'm Not Ready for ... anything. You know.

Perhaps there is something to be said for being an ostrich. I have a week of giving this med before I talk to the vet again. If I just try not to think about ... things, would that be so bad?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why Me? Or rather, Why My Mazda?

Can a car have bad karma?

After getting over all the problems I had with the Mazda dealership, I thought perhaps I would try them again, but got freshly aggravated when I learned recently that although they advertise service hours until 7 PM most weeknights, the techs leave at 4. ("So you're not really open until 7," I pointed out, to which the little miss on the phone said snippily that well, you can pick up your car until 7. How helpful.)

So, I decided not to go there right now. Yes, I could go on a Saturday, but they keep pissing me off, and I don't feel like giving them my business, you know? But I am (over)due for an oil change, so I went in to NTB*, where I had had an oil change before without incident. I was going to have them look at my alignment, too, since the potholes have been wicked lately, but they didn't have a mechanic working tonight, they're shorthanded, oh fine just change the oil.

*National Tire and Battery, it's a chain

It took about 45 minutes, which I spent knitting the baby blanket, and then they were done and away I went.

Sort of.

I noticed the hesitant acceleration as I was leaving the parking lot. I turned onto the street and immediately knew something was wrong. There's a shopping plaza near there, so I went in to the parking lot to be sure I wasn't missing something before going back. And then I saw the smoke.

I was laying down a cloud of smoke like nothing you want to see. Oh, yuck! And my poor little car not 2 years old. It was foul.

I turned right around and limped back to NTB, and went storming back inside. I wanted to make An Entrance, hopefully in front of several prospective customers, but unfortunately the guy was out back, so I had to wait a moment before I could declaim, "What did you do to my car?!?"

To give him credit, he didn't hesitate or waffle before coming to see, and then when he brought the car around to the back I heard him tell someone that "This is a priority." Good reactions, both, if a bit too late...

It turns out, they overfilled it. Another 45 minute wait, essentially another oil change, and it drove just fine with no smoke aside from a puff when I first started it (which I half-expected). Hopefully, there will be no harm done. They did give me certificates for 2 free oil changes, but I very much don't want to go back there, for some strange reason. (Do I sound capricious to you?) If anyone's got a Tire Kingdom/Merchant's Tire & Auto/NTB near them and wants an oil change from them, send me your address.

And now I have to find a mechanic, for real. I thought I could put that off to Another Day, but enough is enough.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Can't Blog...

Eyes are dilated.

Damn eye doctor.

Tomorrow?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hear Me ... Whine?

When I spent my lovely evening at Logan Airport last Friday week, I bought a snack to go with my dinner, and was partly amused and slightly dismayed to see how they phrased their contact information on the package:


Dark Ages?

Tell me the truth. Am I actually aging before your eyes? Since I can remember life before household computers, VCRs, and cell phones ... am I a dinosaur now? Ouch.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Red-Letter Day

For several reasons, actually.

First, for Harold. About twice a year, he gets a new ... piece of plastic! Ta-da!

No, seriously, he practically peed his pants* waiting for me to get the shower curtain liner out of its bag, because he loves these bags. Do you know the kind I mean: clear plastic, kind of heavy or thick? He has a plastic fetish, have I mentioned that before? So he will bite the edge of the shower curtain, for example, and sometimes the plastic wrapping that the toilet paper rolls come in, but his absolute no question favorite is the bag that the shower curtain comes in.

*No, he's not really wearing pants. Not today, anyway. But he did achieve audible mewing, which is a big deal for him. He was a runt, and he's a very quiet cat. Which makes up somewhat for Pan, the noisy boy.

He actually kills these bags off faster than I change the shower curtain. He bites and bites and bites around the edge until I have to cut parts of the edge off because they're about to disintegrate. I already threw out the old one, but once he gets this one broken in, I'll see if I can capture the effect with the camera. Last time he needed one, I went out and bought a new one before its time, just so he could have the bag. Spoiled, much?

Another reason this is a red-letter day is that I have tomorrow off. Thus, 50% more weekend! It's giving my Sunday a lovely unrushed feel. Didn't get to the laundry? No problem, I'll just do it tomorrow. I've been spending a lot of time giving cats laps, which is only partly my laziness. They get so velcro-y when I've been away, and need lots of reassurance. I said to a friend yesterday that after I take a trip, Pan doesn't really trust me, and she looked at him on my lap and said it looked like he trusted me. I said no, he doesn't trust me not to leave him again, so he prefers to have me pinned down. He's also been throwing up a bit today, which worries me. It's probably nothing, of course, but given his heart condition, most things he does worry me somewhat. I have to balance the possible seriousness of the behavior with the known trauma of going to the vet, which is tough to balance. It's hard to be a parent, isn't it?

Now, to not end on that downer, who'd like some knitting content?

Because yes, I have been knitting. I've almost finished the gray mittens I started after the rainbow ones. I'm on the last thumb, and maybe I'll finish that tonight, but I also started a baby blanket for a friend (or, more correctly, a friend's baby-to-be), so the allure of the new project may win out. You know how that is. Little fiddly bit to finish something, or mysterious pull of shiny and new? Well. Anyway, I will finish that thumb soon, but. Soon may not be tonight.

I knit almost a whole mitten last Friday night, between the airport and the plane. Did I mention my flight out left over three hours late? Yup. Not, thankfully, that I was sitting on a plane that whole time: the incoming plane was late. Why, I don't know, but it meant I could wander around the terminal instead of being cramped in the little seat all that time. While I was sitting and knitting, a woman going by walked across to me, smiling, and told me that it was a long time since she had seen anyone knitting like I do (i.e., continental), which is the way she knits. I told her that my Norwegian grandmother taught me, and she said she was German. It was a nice little moment.

I had a three-quarter done mitten when I got to the airport, and a complete mitten and a three-quarter done one when I got to Florida. I only knit a little while I was there, having much relaxing and hanging out to do, plus it was warm, which was less knit-inducing for me.

Ahh, Florida. Already it seems like a million years ago. My face started peeling almost as soon as I got home, but that seems mostly done now. If I didn't see tanned arms when I get dressed, I might think it was a dream.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Perspective Can Change What You See

When you look at today's Google image:



... did you see it as the couple walking on the beach? Or, as was my first thought, walking near ice? (He should put that cane to better use: they could fall!)

It's a sweet image, really. Just the way my mind works during the current Endless Winter.

On to real news! The Yarn Harlot has posted a tour schedule for the new book, and she'll be at WEBS again!

April 27 -Northampton, MA, WEBS, 75 Service Center Road, Telephone: 800.367.9327 Time: 2pm
This event will be held at The Calvin Theater. The signing will be back at the store. Please RSVP at www.yarn.com.

I think I'm in. I haven't been to WEBS yet, despite how wonderful I hear it is, and it's only 2+ hours away, and for the event to be on a Sunday afternoon seems like it's made for a road trip. Anyone else interested?

P.S. The sun was out today. Thank you, Mother Nature! Don't think I didn't notice!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Even More Than the Warm...

... I miss the sun.

Day before yesterday, I was enjoying the sunshine as we ate lunch outdoors, and I was wearing shorts and flip-flops and a sleeveless shirt. (I got a little too much sun, even, not that it felt that way, giving me pink on my face and pink-and-red on my arms. They're a little tender, but not painful.)

This morning, it was back to layers'n'long johns and clearing 3+ inches of wet snow off the car before I could leave for work. Then it poured rain All Day Long. Tonight, it will freeze and render the world an ice rink.

Hmm.

From the way I feel about this (hint: not happy), it appears that it is not a coincidence that two different people have asked me this winter, in all seriousness, "Why do you live here?"

I struggled to conceal my high crankiness level all day, because let's face it, the nicest coworker out there isn't going to care that you're annoyed at having to return to work after several days off, let alone several days in Florida in February (getting away from Massachusetts in February, about which dirges have been written). Were the roles reversed, I wouldn't care. But boy, was I cranky.

Note: to the driver who cut me off on the way home*, if you noticed my lips moving, it was because I was singing along to the radio. Yeah, that's it. Although I will admit that some of the words I used were not in that song. Like "Learn to drive" and "Get off my road", for example. Among others.

*One of several, actually. Idiots seem to run in groups. Or as I frequently mutter to myself while driving, "Stupid people on wheels."

So, what can I give you other than whining?

A strawberry that is all such a thing should be:


Fresh-squoze orange juice to be:


Some shells from walking on the beach:


A sunset that fell so fast, I ran for the camera:


Ahhhh.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Florida Dreaming

I would be California Dreaming if I was going to visit my brother, but this time I'm going to visit my parents, so it's FL this weekend, hooray! I'm leaving after work tomorrow, and won't be back until Tuesday, so who knows when I'll blog next? It's not actually impossible that I'll post while I'm there, but it's unlikely, and once I'm back, the furry limpets may interfere with my computing for a while.

This is what they think of me leaving them, abandoning them forever.


As usual, I feel slightly sorry to leave them, but I'm looking forward to a few days off litter box duty. I'll spend a lovely few days in the sun, visiting with my parents, thawing, and then will return slightly recharged, to get through the rest of this neverending winterness. Sigh. Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Back on that wacky health plan

It's called Eat Less, Exercise More. It's a pretty radical plan, but maybe you've heard of it.

It worked before, so I'm fairly certain that it will work again, if I can just locate my willpower (now where did I put that?).

Strangely enough, the harder part for me is not the exercising. More than "none at all" isn't that much exercise, and although I don't enjoy it in any way shape or form*, not at all, I can make myself do it.

*Exception: walking on a beautiful day, especially on the beach

Keeping my hands off the food? Now that's hard. And it really does seem that they need to be done together, for me anyway (YMMV).

I did this a couple of years ago, starting when I was taking part in a study (does calcium-enriched orange juice, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, promote weight loss?), and then for a few more months on my own, and I did lose weight (although, as with most such premises, I credit the healthy diet and exercise, not the calcium-enriched orange juice). In fact, I lost around 25 pounds, which very much pleased me. Who would have thought that the crazy, wacky, out-there plan of eating less and exercising more would actually work? It's so radical! Has it ever been done before? Has anyone studied this?

I have, however, put some of those pounds back on, which I know because the clothes are getting tight around the middle again. (When I gain weight, it congregates at my mid-section.) So, I'm trying to be a good doobie, and getting back in control of myself.

Eat Less is hard. So far, I am not doing the "write down everything I eat" part, though I may if time goes by without much in the way of results. I found that to be a very helpful technique before, but I do think I'm pretty good now about being aware of what I eat, and how much. Willpower and portion control, sigh. I hate feeling hungry. Perhaps if I come up with a theme song to hum when I'm hungry, that would help? Get my mind off it? Preferably something better than, "I'm going to work that flab right off of my tum" (to the tune of "I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair", natch). I am trying to have healthy food choices in the house, and snacks to have at work, but what I really need is to convince myself not to eat the second I feel a hunger pang. Or when I'm bored. Or when something good is there. Or ... you get the picture.

So far, exercise is going better. I set a twofold goal, involving walking on breaks at work and actually (radical idea) using the exercise bike I have at home.

We always used to walk, a group of people in my department, but I got out of the habit last fall (and started gaining weight, hmmm), so I decided to start up again. Thirty minutes a day has to be better than zero, right? If it's too icky out (like yesterday morning, when I could have handled the cold OR the rain OR the inch of slush on the ground, but not all three), then there's a place upstairs that can be used as a makeshift track, so no weather excuses. No, it's not fun, but there we are.

As for the bike, it's a very basic model that someone at my last job was getting rid of, and this very nice guy delivered it to my apartment and carried it up two flights of stairs for me. It weighs a ton, why I don't know, and since I can't stand to use it without the TV on, it has to be in the living room, which is shall we say not a photogenic decorative option. I was looking at it a few weeks ago and thinking how I don't want to give it house-room if I'm not going to use it, and if it comes to using it or getting rid of it, I really ought to use it (see above re clothes getting tighter, and previous whines about money being tight too, thus not buying a whole new wardrobe). (I'm starting to dislike the word "tight" now.)

The goal I set was modest, since I don't want to set myself up to fail. I figured that once I get into the rhythm of it, I can up the numbers, but for now, I will try to do five minutes at a time*, at least three weekdays and once over the weekend. This doesn't mean that if I ride on Saturday, I won't ever ride on Sunday, just that if I can't face it, I won't. This week, for instance, I did Monday night, so when I was really tired last night, I didn't make myself. But I will tonight. I just know better than to set the goal of doing it every day. If I do, great, but if not, tomorrow is another day.

*And it's the longest five minutes imaginable. The first minute is fine, the second is okay, the third is not nice, the fourth and fifth never end, and then I stagger to the couch on jelly-legs and collapse. It takes at least ten minutes to want to walk ever again. I'm in such great shape!

So far, I'm keeping to the goals well. I missed a couple of walks last week, but I've been ten-for-ten more than once. The biking requires a little forethought, particularly on a weekend when I might think of it several times but "will just finish XYZ first", but I'm getting it into my mind that I need to do it, and it's working all right so far.

I wish that I got that mythical endorphin rush when I exercise. I've heard others say that they feel different, worse, if they don't work out, or better after they do, and I've never felt that. Exercising makes me feel tired, and that's about it. If it was just for the sake of my general health, I might never be able to make myself do it. That's so vague, you know? But when it comes to fitting into my clothes, well, that's something I can see.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

The cats need love

On my stitch and bitch nights, I always have to perform some kitty maintenance when I get home, so I'll keep this short. I finished the mittens! They fit, and they're warm. I liked them so much, I started another one right away:


And by the way, grocery shopping shortly after kickoff for the Super Bowl was an awesome time to go. There was virtually no one else in the store. I'm not sure I've ever been food shopping at a time when the employees outnumbered the customers. It rocked!

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sports weekend, right? I'll talk hockey.

So, events in my life this week took over, and I never did write about the NHL All-Star game from last weekend. The time has come!

To me, the all-star game itself, while mildly enjoyable, is the lower point of the weekend. I much prefer the skills competition held the previous day. (I'm also glad the NHL put the whole shebang back on a weekend, the way it was supposed to be: having it on a Wednesday night makes it seem even less important than it already is.) Not only do I enjoy watching the players testing their skills, they are so clearly having fun, it makes it more fun to watch.

Some of the players are miked, so the announcers can talk to them during the events, and the funniest guy this year was certainly Rick DiPietro. The Islanders goalie should definitely consider becoming an announcer after his playing days are done.

Chara had the hardest shot for the second consecutive year, and that event? Makes me doubt the sanity of goalies even more. Over 100 mile-per-hour shots, and you're going to stand in front of them? Ohhh-kay. Chara also had an assist during the game on Sunday, and Marc Savard scored the game-winning goal for the East in the final minute, giving Tim Thomas (who made some amazing saves) the victory (kind of; three goalies play for each side, but Thomas played the third period, so he was in net at the end). Plus, our wild child, Milan Lucic, scored in the Young Stars game on Saturday, so overall Boston was very well-represented.

My favorite moment from the game was when Ilya Kovalchuk made a great play on Evgeni Nabokov, and when Nabokov made the great save, fell backward dramatically on the ice as if he couldn't believe it (it's at the beginning of this video, and by the way, what did we do before YouTube?).

One thing I didn't like? Those uniforms.


With the stars down the side? To me, they looked like little-boy pajamas. Another reason to like the skills stuff, when the players wear their team uniforms, not the all-star uniforms. Gack.

Well, off to watch the Bruins/Red Wings game. They're leading the league, but hey, we beat the Eastern Conference leaders Thursday, who knows?

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Is it over yet?

The latest attempt to convince me that I am the sole person in at least a 200-mile radius who doesn't care about the Pats comes courtesy of this morning's Boston Globe*, which had an article about other things you could do on Sunday.

*which I'm not linking to because I have the devil of a time finding anything on their website, it's like they don't want real-paper readers to ever find anything electronically

Sounds good, right? Well, yes, but what went up my nose was the sub-head. The headline, in WWIII-size type, is "Instead", and under that it starts out,
"Let's say you just don't care. Or, more realistically, say you just can't take all those hours of pregame hoopla."
How about that. It's unrealistic that anyone could "not care", so we'll try to come up with some other reason that someone, anyone, might conceivably want to do anything else on Sunday. Could any opener more loudly cry, "My editor made me write this"?

And in case I need to say so, I don't care about the Giants, either. If they were to win, I would be happy for my father, who has been a Giants fan far longer than he has been a father; if the Patriots win, I will be happy for everyone who lives around here, since apparently they all care.

But either way, I don't care. I'll probably do my grocery shopping Sunday evening. I imagine the store will be pretty empty after kickoff, don't you think?

The Bruins beat Ottawa (Eastern Conference leaders) last night, by the way. Tomorrow night, they face the Western Conference and league leaders, Detroit. Isn't it a good weekend for hockey?

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