bits of string and sealing wax

my quest to achieve a balanced life

mostly complaining October 25, 2012

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 2:54 pm

The other day I had to renew about thirty items in my etsy shop at a charge of twenty cents an item.  When an item is listed on etsy it costs twenty cents, and that item will then be listed for six months or until it sells.  Believe me, having to renew thirty items because they did not sell in six months didn’t put a big grin on my face.  What it made me do was change my prices… again… for the umpteenth time.  The only plus is that I discovered Betsi Lite which is a free app that permits bulk edits to etsy listings.  What a time saver!  Without it a person  has to go into each item listing to edit it, and that burns away time like nothing if there are a multitude of items that need to be edited.

I am hoping and praying that November and December will be extremely successful selling months for me, because those are the top two shopping months of the year.  I want to be able to keep adding items to my shop, and I’d love to keep expanding on my merchandise, but I simply cannot do that when nothing is selling.    I believe I have 107 items stocked right now, and I significantly dropped prices in the hopes that perhaps etsy’s suggested pricing method isn’t always correct.  Yeah, I’d like to be able to use a simple formula to figure out my etsy prices, but if no product is moving maybe that formula isn’t always reliable.  At this point I feel that I’ve done everything correctly that is recommended for new shop owners to do, and I can’t help feeling like something just isn’t clicking.  So now I have retreated to my room all in a fluster and feeling that everything that I have done I have failed at.  Triple sigh.

This blog is going to be nothing but complaints complaints complaints.  On to my next one.

I’ve been thinking about throwing away my scale for the last several months, and today I have decided to get rid of it and get another one.  The only reason that I’ve not smashed it with a hammer or thrown it out is because it was a more expensive scale, and the stupid thing is only a year and a half old.  However, the readings go apeshit so frequently that I am now of the opinion that I need to cut my losses.  I picked it because I thought it was kind of pretty, and figured that a more expensive one would work better and last longer.  No such luck.  It’s a clear glass scale with silver in the corners, and can tell a person all sorts of info like muscle mass and bone density and blah blah blah.  What it can’t do is give clear readings anymore.  Sometimes I step onto it and it gives me a number that is about ten pounds under my last reading.  Although I’d love to believe the number I know it isn’t true.  So I will get off and step back on and then the number will swing to five pounds over my last weigh in.  It’ll read a different number each time I step on, and sometimes, eventually, whatever is making the scale crazy will stop and it will settle on a number that is most likely true.  If this happens I will get off and get on again several times to confirm it, and if the number stays the same three times I will record it.  Sillyness!  Today it told me that I weigh several pounds more than I did yesterday, which is flat out impossible, because I record my calorie intake every fricken day.  I’m not starting my period or anything either.  It’s the last straw.  The readings bounced around and bounced around until I gave up on the thing, and decided that I’ll just buy a cheap one that isn’t digital and doesn’t require batteries.

Grrrr.  There is one week left in the month, and I’ve been kicking ass on making it to my goal of 205.8, so seeing a number jump up three pounds overnight for no reason whatsoever really got me riled.  Each scale is slightly different though, so I’m hoping that purchasing a new one won’t throw my numbers off too much.  Quadruple sigh.

One non complaint in this blog- I finally found my soft tape measure the other day.  I had guessed in a previous blog that my waist was at least an inch smaller, and guess what?  It is two and a half inches smaller! That’s a huge difference for a 6.4 pound loss, don’t you think?  It is visibly noticeable though, and that’s for sure.  My boyfriend comments about my shrinking waistline pretty frequently, so at least visually things are going my way in spite of the irritation of a malfunctioning scale.

I worked out for forty five minutes to an hour every day for about two and a half weeks straight, and I believe that is what is mostly responsible for the waistline shrinkage.  For the last two and a half weeks I have been having trouble sleeping at night again (damn it) and haven’t been getting up as early.  I’ve been feeling groggy a lot and skipping the workouts, and opting to take walks instead.  Walking is great, but I don’t see fast results with it, so today I am going to force myself to start up aerobics again.

Someday I will no longer have to think about how much weight I’ve got to lose.   That will be a good day.

 

goals for the year October 20, 2012

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 12:40 pm

By now all of you probably know that I have become obsessed with myfitnesspal.  I have now been using it for three weeks, and am getting great results.  Well, this past week I thought that I would be a genius-and-a-half and tamper with something that was already giving me results.  Why?  Who the hell knows.  I guess I like to rock my own damn boat when the sailing is too smooth. The trouble started when I noticed that even though I had it set for a one pound loss per week I tended to net a lower amount of calories each day.  I was eating the calorie amount for a one and a half pound loss per week, so I thought I may as well change the setting.  HA fuckin’ ha.  Doing that made my brain go into “Oh-my-god-I-am-dieting-and-now-I-must-eat-the-universe-after-drenching-it-in-melted-cheese-and-hollandaise-sauce” mode.  For the last couple of days all I’ve wanted to do was eat enormous quantities of food, and I don’t even know why.  I looked at my allotted number of calories per day and it just felt too low.  Seeing a smaller number made me feel hungrier and more restricted.  Today I did myself a favor and set it back to the one pound loss.  I common sense slapped myself before things got out of hand.  I mean, geez, I came downstairs last night at around two a.m. and had a strong desire to smear chocolate sauce and Nutella across the kitchen counter, and then begin determinedly gnawing my way through it.

I’ve been considering switching the settings each week so that my body doesn’t get too used to any one thing, but after this weeks interesting results I question whether or not that is a good idea.  I think that if I switched the setting for a two pound loss my mind would blow up and I’d go and eat five pound cakes and chase ‘em down with a gallon of chocolate milk.  Eeew, I wouldn’t do that, but you see my point.  Apparently it is better for me to see a higher number and then consume a few hundred less than that per day than to see the lower number, go crazy, and feel too restricted.  Whatever, brain.  You may have won the battle but I will win the war.  So there.  My goal is to lose six pounds a month for October, November, and December, and then drop down to five pounds for January, February, and March, and then four pounds per month for April, May, and June.  That will bring me close to my goal (about four pounds away), and then I can reevaluate and decide what I want to do from there.  Whatever the case may be I ought to be able to get to my old weight (from my late teens and early twenties) in just under a year.

I strongly hope that during my year of weight loss I will achieve many other things other than physical health.  I am hoping that this year of change will help me figure out EXACTLY what I wish to choose as a career.  I want to figure out where I wish to live, and how I wish to fit into the world.  I figure that I’ve screwed around enough in my twenties and it is time to grow up and decide what kind of life I want.  Over the years I’ve bounced around so much that I question what it is exactly that I have to show for any of it.  Ya know, I’ve got a great boyfriend, a lot of good stories, fun memories, and an interesting outlook on life, but I don’t have financial security, a career, a real place in the world, and a complete sense of self.  I have many good bits drifting around in a sea of indecision and fearfulness.  I’d like to trim away my insecurities so that I can achieve that Glowey State that I miss so much.

It’s no longer about being able to fit into a dress.  I want a strong sense of self and purpose.  I want job satisfaction and plenty of money to spend on traveling and life’s extras.  I really hope that by the time I turn thirty next August I’ve got a lot of this stuff figured out.  Fingers crossed.

 

shrinking waist line and holiday hand jobs October 12, 2012

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 11:42 am

At the end of my nine months of dark drear I clocked in at 213 pounds.  That means I experienced a twenty pound gain after moving back from Sarasota.  Yipes yipes yipes.  Today I weighed in at 208.4, and I feel so happy about that four and a half pound loss.  Myfitnesspal has completely changed the way that I view weight loss and maintenance, so god fricken bless the folks that came up with that site, and doubley bless ‘em for creating an app for it for smart phones.

Even though I’ve only been tracking with it for two weeks and a few days it has quickly reshaped the way that I eat.  I’m not starving, suffering, or dieting.  What I am doing is being more aware of what a couple extra pieces of bread at meals will do to my body in the long run.  I can cut out snacks that don’t do much for me, and enjoy better meals because of it.  I’ve consumed cookies, candy bars, Pizza Hut (boyfriend pick), and Wendy’s, and still dropped 4.6 pounds.  It’s nice to have a win after so many months of stress and frustration.

It’s also nice to be working towards something, and still be able to enjoy the present moment.  I’m thinking more clearly and not having such a tough time making my big life decisions, and that is a blessing.  Cubby and I have had some intense, and even tearful conversations about our future together, which is fabulous.  I felt as though we were kind of stuck in limbo for a while there, and neither one of us really had a handle on how to move forward.  Now the two of us are getting things done and making progress together, and I can’t ask for more than that.  It’s like we are all happy and newly in love with each other all over again.  Hoo-fucking-ray for that.  It’s been so rough for both of us since last winter, and I am so excited that we’ll get to enjoy all the holidays in a calm house together.

Seriously.  Our holiday season was pretty warped a year ago.  Last year I thought it would be fun for the kids to help me decorate the house and the tree.  That’s a pretty standard fun thing for kids to do, right?  It escalated into my cousin having a fit, screaming for reasons we couldn’t fathom, and the kids being sent to bed early.  That is the opposite of happy holidays in my opinion.  I love love love love love Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and last year that whole chunk of time was way more stressful than it needed to be.  Last year we didn’t have money for a real tree, so we used a fake one that my mom gave me.  I am not a fan of fake trees.  This year we’re getting a ten foot tall live tree, and I don’t care what it takes.  If I have to give handeys to truckers behind the Ihop out by the interstate, so be it.  I believe in Christmas miracles, damn it.

Ya know, this started off as a blog post about my improving health and mental state, and now it has gradually shifted into me pledging to provide sexual favors in exchange for the promise of Christmas cheer.  I better get the hell off of this lappy.  Who knows what babbles my fingers will be producing next.

 

mushrooms, chardonnay, and foolish ramblings October 6, 2012

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 11:09 am

So I’ve got an old friend who is really into mushrooming, and I’m not talking about hallucinogenic substances here, folks.  He goes foraging every fall for edible mushrooms.  Last fall he gave me a bag of miatake mushrooms that he had dried in a dehydrator and I was totally hooked.  None of those mushrooms made it into any dishes because I ate them dried like chips.  The taste was so nutty and good that I vowed to go mushrooming myself one day.  Last week I remembered this vow, so The Cubs and I looked a bit at Bong (yup, that’s the name- you can look it up) State Recreational Park.  We didn’t have much luck.  I didn’t want to give up, so I called my friend the other day and asked him if he wanted to share some mushrooming knowledge with me, because I felt like if the two of us went together we’d do well.  The weather was totally weird this year, so it was supposedly a bad year for mushrooms but he said we could go anyway.  Boy oh boy was he thrilled that we went.  We found twenty pounds of mushrooms.  Yes.  That is what I said.  Twenty.  Pounds.

Miatakes grow at the bottom of well established oaks.  Here is what they look like.
My friend took this bad blurry pic of the biggest one that we nabbed.  This weighed over ten pounds.
He explained how miatakes were being used in cancer research on humans, and how good they are for the body.  He told me they are a great mushroom for newbies like me to hunt for because they only grow around the bases of old oaks, and there isn’t anything else that looks like them that is poisonous or harmful.  He’s been going mushrooming since he was a kid, and told me that he never never ever eats what he cannot identify, but miatakes are so easy to identify, and are so large, that it’s like striking a gold mine.
We went to several different areas and tromped around in the woods for a few hours.  Unfortunately, a lot of the ones we found were totally dried up and inedible.  They’ve got to be harvested with about a week and a half of coming up, or they dry out and get all hard and gross.  On the plus side, they pretty much grow in the same spots each year, so now he has new places to go to next fall.  (we’re planning on moving, so I probably won’t be here next fall)  In town the elder Italian and Greek populations harvest miatakes in the public parks, so he said unless you get there right away you are better off searching out in the county, which is what we were doing.
My friend told me that the cash value of the mushrooms we harvested was around six hundred dollars.  How crazy is that?  Miatakes are super expensive because they only grow in the midwest and in Japan, and are picky about where they will establish.  They require specific soil conditions which is why they clump up around old (and dead) oak trees.  Oaks happen to be one of my favorite trees, so I have no problem spotting them in the woods.
Cleaning them was a chore, but it was actually kind of relaxing.  Each layer has to be pulled apart, because rolly polly buggies like to hang out in the crevices.  The ones that are going to be dehydrated have to be torn into small pieces so that they all dry at the same time, and we were literally cleaning and pulling apart mushrooms for three hours.  Can you believe that?  There were two of us for pete’s sake, and we weren’t drinking that much chardonnay (at that point.)  Thankfully the mushrooms were extremely clean, and didn’t have much dirt in them at all.  He said sometimes they get a lot of dirt packed into the layers and it is a total pain in the ass to get the dirt out.  Shaking bugs out wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’m thankful they weren’t very dirty, cause three hours is a long damn time to be cleaning mushrooms.
On the way home we stopped and I bought a 48 ounce bottle of Yellowtail chardonnay.  My friend is a cook and a foodie, and he wanted to try roasting some mushrooms in the chardonnay.  The giant bottle was on sale, so it wasn’t much more costly than the normal human sized bottle.  I’d have been silly not to get the big bottle, right?  Yesterday I had a piece of toast, some raw almonds, and an apple at around ten thirty.  I didn’t want to go over my calories, so I got the brilliant idea that I’d just have chardonnay for dinner, and a few roasted mushrooms.  Ah, me.  I ought to have scanned the bottle right away, because then I would have known that the chardonnay is actually pretty low in calories, and I wouldn’t have gotten so totally all encompassing-ly shit faced.  I now know that half a forty eight ounce bottle of yellow tail chardonnay equals 228 calories.  I burned off more than that during my morning workout.  With all the calories I burned off yesterday figured in I ended up having 1,074 left over for the day.  I was completely blasted by seven pm, but dang it- I sure as hell didn’t go over my calories for the day.
Let me once again say how much I adore myfitnesspal.  I now see how truly simple it is to eat well.  Wanna eat extras during the day?  Fine, do that, just work out for a good forty five minutes every morning.  Wanna drink 24 ounces of chardonnay?  No problem, do twenty minutes of yoga, twenty minutes of aerobics, and maybe don’t skip dinner.  Where was I going wrong with my calories before?  Extra bread is the culprit.  Extra bread and snacking on cheese was how I was going over calories each day by about 280, and that little bit equaled out to me carrying around an extra forty eight pounds.  The math makes it simple for my half drunk silly brain to understand.  Now I carefully measure rice, pasta, and bready stuff, and make sure that most of my meals consist of veggies.  Suddenly it is the easiest thing in the world to do.  I even had Wendy’s for dinner the other night (homestyle chicken sandwich and a large fry, but no soda) cause I had salad for lunch and got in a really good workout.  I stayed within my calories and still got to have some terrible food that made my tummy smile with delight.  Good deal, right?
I actually thought about documenting myself eating a fast food meal once a day and still losing weight, but I would actually hate eating fast food ever day. I like it once in a while, but that’s it for me.  Still, wouldn’t that be a hilarious thing to document?  I think it’s so dumb that everybody these days is all “Oh, fast food is sooooo bad for you blah blah blah” ever since that damn Super Size Me documentary was done.  It isn’t McDonald’s fault that people are fat as hell here and their kids are fat as hell.  Take responsibility for yourself.  Jeez.  Those places weren’t created to be the sole food source to raise your children and yourselves on.  Fast food isn’t bad for people, people are bad for people.  K, I kinda went off on a tangent there.
This morning I was looking at myself in the mirror and noticed that I have definitely absolutely lost at least an inch to my waist line.  Unfortunately I can’t measure because I lost my damn soft tape measure thingy.  It’s nice to see these changes though!
Thank god I own the Cadillac of dehydrators (Excalibur 9 tray).  The sucker is full, but I still have two more batches of mushrooms to go.  And I am also quite hungover.  Have a good weekend, ladies and gents.
 

a common sense slap October 3, 2012

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 10:09 am

Thank you, Jewlz, for your comment on my last post.  I had mentioned that I was thinking of checking out the 17 day diet from the library, because I want to kick start my weight loss.  She said I was a retard, and should cut the shit.  Ok.  She didn’t actually leave that as a comment, but that is how my brain translated the words.  ;)  She wisely wrote that I don’t need quick fixes if I am looking for real and lasting change, and if I stick to what I am already doing it will work.  In other words, learn to eat properly for the rest of your life.  Don’t waste energy on massive calorie cuts and eliminating food groups, because you aren’t going to live that way forever.  Ah, I am thankful for her down to earth insightful feedback.

She is absolutely right.  I am sure the 17 Day Diet is great and works well, but why screw up a good thing?  I don’t want to eat grilled chicken and grilled fish all the time, and from what I have read that’s what I’d be eating the most of (lots of salads too, I guess).  I enjoy my vegetarian meals where my protein source comes from eggs, beans, nuts, or tofu.  I like meat once in a while, but definitely not every day, so why would I try to do a diet that requires daily meat eating?

Anywhoozles.  So I have shit canned that idea, though I still want to read The Beck Diet Solution.  Can any of you recommend a great diet/ nutrition book that doesn’t really come with a diet plan?  I want tips and pointers, but I’d like to create my own diet plans that cater to my moods and cravings.  Good advice is always welcome, but I’m not interested in eliminating food groups or removing any food entirely from my diet.

And now onto my next life change: weekly fasting.  For some time I have considered setting aside one day a week (either Sunday or Monday) to fast.  As I’ve been a supporter of the master cleanse from way back, I’d probably drink the master cleanse mix on the day of my weekly fast.  This would be a good day to try breathing exercises and to practice metaphysical healing techniques on myself.  I wish to have a designated day for relaxing yoga, meditation, nature walks, and self reflection.  I suppose that’s the idea behind keeping the Sabbath, but I am not a church goer nor have I interest in ever becoming one.  However, I definitely see the merit in having a sacred personal day each week, and I’d like to start trying it out to see what kind of changes it creates in my life.  I currently do a prayer ceremony and brief meditation almost every night before going to bed, but I feel like at this point in my life doing something more will have a positive effect.

Now that I am using myfitness pal each day it will be easy to refrain from going over calories the day after my fast, because I’ll know exactly what I am taking in.  Months and months ago when I first considered a fasting day I kinda hesitated, because I didn’t want to fall into a cycle of fasting for one day and bingeing the next day every single fricken week.  That is not what I want to do at all.  I want to fast one day, and then eat completely normally the next day.  I don’t want to binge the night before my fasting day, and using the myfitnesspal will help prevent that.  Having the numbers right there on my phone prevents me from lying to myself about what I’m taking in.

This is something that I’d like to do for the rest of my life if I find that it works for me.  Fasting has great health benefits, and seriously- doing the master cleanse for only one day is totally a breeze.  At this point, it will boost my weight loss (instead of a one pound loss per week, my guess is that it’ll be three for the first week, then two and a half, and then drop down to two a week), and will help me drop the twelve pounds that will get me back under 200- a huge plus.  Get it, huge?  Like the size of my ass?  As far as the rest of the week goes, I will still have myfitness pal set to a one pound loss per week.  I plan to give this a try next week to see how I feel about it, and then I’ll go from there.  Perhaps I’ll find that every other week is enough for me.

I got in a great workout today, and afterwards was looking in the mirror and noticing changes to my face and neck line.  Thank god that area is beginning to shift!  I can only hope that the second chin will be melted away in no time.  Working out each morning is doing a lot for my daily energy level and attitude.  I am really digging the changes, and can’t even imaging where I will be a month from now.

 

one week in the bag October 2, 2012

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 9:33 am

I have been using myfitnesspal for exactly one week now.  I only went over my calories on one day (usually had 120-360 calories left over at the end of the day) and didn’t get in a work out on one day.  I’ve been burning 350 - 680 calories each day with my workouts, and am pretty proud of myself for doing so well with them in the mornings.  I shoot for about fifty minutes, but definitely go over an hour on some days.  My long term goal is to work out for 45 minutes to an hour each day upon waking, and then get in a half an hour (or longer) walk in the evening after dinner.  We were doing great with walks for several weeks, but I noticed now that I am counting calories and working out in the morning I am not as adamant about taking an evening walk.  I’ll take it slow with getting the walks in again, because I don’t want to push myself or force anything.

I weighed myself this morning, but unfortunately wasn’t entirely sure what was I was at a week ago, so I’m not sure if I had a loss or not.  I plan on weighing in once a week on Tuesdays just to see how accurate the information on myfitnesspal is.  I only hope that I can consistently lose a pound a week by using it every day.

Since I’ve been making good progress I feel the need to reinforce the changes I am making with some “book” support.  I’d like to read The Beck Diet Solution (munch mentioned it in her last post, and as she is a sensible lass I though I’d give it a read) and The 17 Day Diet, but all copies are currently checked out from the libraries, so I think I’ll stroll in there and have them reserve ‘em for me.  I wanted to do a master cleanse or something as a kickstart to the myfitnesspal stuff (and hopefully to get myself under 200 again), and am considering trying the 17 Day Diet instead.  It has good reviews on amazon and sounds sensible- there are no permanent restrictions or anything.  The only thing that I’m not sure about is I believe the diet has a lot of fish eating and grilled chicken, and I don’t know if I’m keen on all the meat eating.  We’ll see.  I could do one round of the diet and then switch back to using the one pound loss per week on myfitnesspal.  The library should have a copy back in soon.  There is only one copy of The Beck Diet Solution, so I’ll be waiting until the end of October before it is available, but that’s alright.  I feel like reading one sensible diet related book a month will help keep me motivated.

Today I’ll be working out in my new office/meditation/workout room for the first time.  It is pretty much done in there, but I’ve not been able to complete the collage on the west wall so I haven’t posted the pictures yet.  Soon, my pretties, soon.  I am extremely happy with how well the room turned out, and am excited to utilize the space for working out.  It feels very peaceful and very me in there now, and will probably be a better area for aerobics than where I currently do them.

On my routine roster for the day I’ve got Hemalaaya’s Bollywood Booty followed by her Dance of the Kama Sutra DVD.  I just love that girl.  She is so positive and upbeat, and I have nearly every dvd that she’s come up with minus the yoga workouts.  I was such a yoga hater that I didn’t get the few that she does with yoga, but now they are on my wish list.  I love the bollywood dance stuff because it is fun and goes by quickly, and  the routines are done in segments if I want to break things up a bit.  They also get my heart rate going, and are a nice alternative to my Jane Fonda aerobics.  The Dance of the Kama Sutra probably isn’t what you think.  Tee hee hee.  It’s a slow kind of self love dance with some good stretching in it that is designed to help a gal get in touch with her inner sex goddess.  I am a fan.  I used to put it on before bed time because it is very relaxing and great for winding down.  I thought I’d opt for hula or belly dancing today, but I’m on a Hemalaaya kick, so why mess with it.

My body is clearly responding to the morning workouts, and I am already noticing a change in my sidelines and abs.  My arms are as jiggly and wobbly as ever, and I need to start using my hand weights for a few minutes each day after my other routines are done.  The extra weight in my face and arms are the jiggly bits that bug me the most.  The weight in my face is part of the reason that I wanted a kick start to my healthy eating plan.  I’m fifteen pounds away from not having an extra chin pad down there, and I’d like to turn that corner again as quickly as possible.

Nobody wants an extra chin.  For realsies.