26thJune

Louisville Bats

That’s not just the name of our baseball team, it also refers to the bats that cruise around the neighborhood right at dusk.  I wonder where they come from?  Several years ago, it became known in the neighborhood, that a particular house a couple of miles from us had an attic full of bats and had to be completely renovated.  Now, years later, we still see bats at dusk flying around the darkening skies.  I see a lot of them (meaning five or six each evening) because they often swoop down and take a sip from the pool.  I guess some folks might not like that but I rather enjoy it.  I relax in the spa and watch them flutter around searching for whatever it is that they search for.  On a few occasions, we’ve gotten up in the morning to find a bat caught in the pool skimmer, spreadeagled across the opening and hanging on for dear life.  Although I think they’re kind of cool, that doesn’t mean I want to handle them or get bitten.  I usually call one of the men-folk and they grab a pair of work gloves and pry the bat loose and then lay the poor exhausted thing down in the shade until it finally gets some strength back and flies away.

I was sitting in the spa yesterday evening, relaxing and watching the bats.  A summer breeze was stirring the trees and I was so contented.  Just watching the trees dance and the bats fluttering around the pool.  I snapped a picture of a couple of them flying around the trees over the spa.  I got to thinking about how different the neighborhood is going to be without our trees.  One of the things that attracted us to the neighborhood thirty years ago when we bought our house was the abundance of trees.  Huge things, towering over the houses.  Five years after we moved in, they took the houses across the street to widen the expressway and we had to fight and petition like crazy to get them to build a wall so we wouldn’t have to look at the expressway and endure the noise.  At least, they left the trees so we look out our front window to a field of grass and trees and a concrete wall.

Five years after that, they took our front easement, between the sidewalk and the road, and turned it into a drainage ditch.  I used to have flower beds out there but now we have a sloping ditch lined with gravel and a scant two inches of soil that supports the growth of grass but doesn’t work for flowers.

A few years after that, they took the easement in the back of our yard, did another drainage ditch and fenced it off.  They actually took six feet off our back yard.  That may not seem like much but we had the pool in the back corner and had a block patio around it.  Now the pool sits right against the fence and there’s barely enough room to walk behind it.

We have a small, private airport a couple of miles away.  It doesn’t bother us.  Maybe a half dozen small planes fly overhead each day.  They’re not noisy and we hardly notice them.  Six months ago, they informed us that most of the planes use GPS now and new regulations require the removal of any large trees in the flight path.  Our neighborhood is known for its’ trees.  And now they want to take them down.  We’ve been fighting it but I received a letter yesterday stating that they’re going to remove all the trees late next year and each resident will be given $2,500 for new landscaping.  Are you kidding me?  They’ll be taking down four huge trees in my yard and I’m not allowed to plant anything that will grow over 20′ tall.  I can’t imagine our neighborhood without the trees.  We have parties and cookouts and everyone marvels at how cool our yard is.  And what am I going to do with $2,500?  That doesn’t go very far in the landscaping business.  I’m really going to miss my trees.

What’s left?  They took the houses across the street and now they’ll take the trees across the street.  They took our easement in the front and they took the easement in the back.  Now they’re taking the trees in my yard and controlling the air over my house.  The only thing they haven’t taken is the ground under the house.

Enough griping for today.  Ex-DIL is supposed to come over to help clean house.  She said she’d be here around 10:00.  I don’t believe that’ll happen but I’d better get moving just in case.

I have a doctor’s appointment at 1:00 and I’ve procrastinated in filling out the three page medical history until now.  I hate these things.  Do you really need to know my husband’s date of birth and social security number?  Really?  And my father’s medical history and every surgery I’ve had since the day I was born?  And then, you want me there fifteen minutes before my appointed time so you can have me wait an hour before I get called back?

Can you tell I don’t want to go?

I’d rather stay here and clean out more cabinets or closets or something.

I cleaned out the kitchen pantry yesterday.  A cramped and crowded area with the water heater taking up half the space and four shelves full of food that tower three feet over my head and extend back three feet.  It’s so frustrating trying to do anything in there.  I had a brainstorm!  I moved a cabinet full of pots and pans into the pantry with all the stuff I rarely use onto the top shelf and way in the back.  All that special stuff like springform pans and bundt pans and muffin tins.  Then I moved a bunch of canned goods into the cabinet that used to house the pots and pans.  Hope that works better.  At least I can see everything now.  It was pretty bad.  Dusty cans of stuff in the very back of the pantry that I couldn’t see or reach without a step ladder.  You don’t even want to know about the expiration dates….

Okay, I’ve procrastinated enough.  Let me finish filling out these forms.

 

24thJune

Home Again!

Good Lord!  That trip to Gatlinburg just about did me in!

First day: Drove for six hours, checked in to cabin, drove through the park and took the scenic loop.  Saw two bears, deer and wild turkeys.  Got back and fixed dinner for kids, played Bingo with kids and played Left, Right and Center with kids.

Second Day; fixed breakfast for kids, went to Gatlinburg and toured the aquarium and shops.  Came back to cabin exhausted, fixed dinner for kids, played Bingo and Left Right and Center with kids.

Third Day; fixed breakfast for kids, went to Dollywood Splash Country and stayed till closing, dragged ourselves back to the cabin, fixed dinner for the kids and played Monopoly and Rummy with the kids.  Collapsed in bed at midnight.

Fourth Day; fixed breakfast for the kids, went to Dollywood, stood in lines all day in 95 degree heat.  Stayed till 7:00 and returned to cabin.  Fixed dinner for the kids and then returned to Gatlinburg to let the kids go through the Ripley’s Mirror Maze, Believe it or Not Museum and Haunted House.  Went to Dick’s Restaurant at 11:00 p.m. for appetizers and got back to the cabin after midnight.  Collapsed in bed.

Fifth Day; Fixed breakfast for kids, cleaned cabin and packed.  Went to Gatlinburg so the kids could get souvenirs, shopped for three hours and then drove six hours to get home.  Unpacked suitcases and collapsed.

Yesterday, I spent the day recovering from exhaustion and today I’m trying to focus on diet and exercise again.  Will let you know how that goes.

I don’t do too well posting with an I-phone but I thought I’d give it a try since I’m the only only one awake around here.

We’re in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and I’ve been sitting out here on the deck enjoying my coffee while I watched the sunrise over the mountains. In a few minutes I’ll go wake everyone up, fix French toast for all the kids and then we’re heading to Dollywood’s water park for the day. Hope we can all avoid getting sunburned. I bought a pretty heavy duty sunscreen and I’ll try to keep spraying down all the kids.

We drove six hours Monday to get here, checked into the cabin, went to the store, and then drove through the Smoky Mountains National Park. We got to see a couple of bears, wild turkeys, and several deer right at dusk and the kids really enjoyed it.
Yesterday, we went to the aquarium and spent the rest of the day walking around Gatlinburg and hitting the shops. We dragged ourselves back to the cabin around 9:00, soaked away the aches and pains in the spa and played bingo with the kids and finally went to bed around midnight.

Now, I guess I’d better get in there and see if I can get everybody up.

16thJune

Gray Day

I can’t believe how gray and dismal it looks outside!  It’s 10:30 and I still haven’t seen a glimpse of the sun.  It’s going to be hard to jump into that 70 degree pool if the sun isn’t shining.  The report says “partly cloudy with a chance of rain” but I’d hoped to work in the yard today.  On the other hand, maybe it’s a perfect day for yardwork since it won’t be so hot.

I didn’t post yesterday.  I woke at 7:45 to find DS moaning and holding his jaw with a toothache.  It figures…his dental insurance doesn’t kick in for another month.  We called his dentist and the recording said they were open on Friday’s from 8:15 to 2:00 so I grabbed a cup of coffee and ran him up there.  He’d been taking pain pills to no avail and he couldn’t drive.  We got there at 8:05 and waited…and waited…and waited.  We called the emergency numbers at 8:35 and left voice messages but no one ever called back.  Called the other location and left a message on that machine as well.

I drove down the road to the first dental office we came to.  They were closed.  The second one was closed.  The third one said they don’t do extractions of wisdom teeth.  The fourth one didn’t do extractions but charged him $63.00 to tell him so.  Finally, we got a call back from his dentist’s office and they apologized for not having another number on the recording but said they were open at the other location on the other side of town and could see him at 11:00.  By that time, it was 10:30 so we headed out for a 25 minute drive to get to the other location.  I dropped him off and came back home to get a shower.  He called at 12:00 and asked me to pick him up so I picked him up, drove back home and dropped him off and then went to get his prescriptions filled.  It was a 45 minute wait on the prescriptions so I went to the bank and then returned to pick them up.  I got home and it was almost 2:00.  So I spent almost all day dealing with dentists, son in pain, and prescriptions.

And THAT explains why I didn’t post yesterday.

I did, however, weigh myself yesterday, eat healthy and do my pool laps.  Down another pound.  Yay!!

The next door neighbor (40 or so, big guy with a big belly) says he’s going to climb up a 40 foot tree with a chain saw today and cut it down.  Maybe I won’t do yardwork.  I don’t want to see him impaled on our fence post. 

Little Sis and I are going to Gatlinburg Monday through Thursday so she can take her foster kids on a mini vacation.  I just looked up the cabin she rented and it doesn’t have internet so I guess I won’t be posting next week unless I take my laptop to a wifi hot spot.  I kinda hate to miss a whole week of posting.  It helps me stay on track.

14thJune

Up and at em!

Another day…more cleaning.  Today I want to get the hall closet cleaned out and throw out a bunch of books that are not only IN the bookshelf in the living room but also on top of it and stacked beside it.  I’m loath to throw out books.  I don’t know why.  I have no problem throwing out old DVDs and old CDs but I tend to collect and hang on to too many books.

Little sister is planning on having a yard sale and I guess I’ll send them to her.  Along with a ton of other stuff I keep setting aside.  Yesterday’s haul included five cookbooks, a set of Flintstones mugs (where did they come from and why were they stashed in the back of the top shelf of the cabinet?), a sterling silver cup that has “Johnathan Stewart Ware” engraved on it, (who the Hell is Jonathan Stewart Ware??)  five sets of salt and pepper shakers, a file cabinet, a stack of old clothes and a bunch of Christmas tins.  Why do we have all this junk????

Ex DIL is asleep out in the RV.  I sent her out there last night.  I’m not sure what the story is with her.  She showed up at 6:00 and apologized for not coming early like she said she would but proceeded to tell me about a job interview that she went to where she sat for 2 1/2 hours before being called back and told that they don’t have any openings.  She said, I figured I’d take a bus over here, spend the night and help you all day tomorrow.  I know her existence is dismal.  Car is broke down and needs a new transmission, air conditioning is out in her apartment, her sister and her niece have moved in with her, and she’s barely scraping by.  Thank God DGD, Holly, is spending the summer with dad traveling all over the country.

So DIL ate dinner, didn’t offer to do the dishes, went out for a swim, watched some TV and then went out to sleep in the air-conditioned RV.  I wonder what time she’ll get up?

Lest you think I’m heartless, you should know that both my ex DILs have put me through the wringer.  I’ve raised two of this one’s boys for the last nine years without any support at all from her or my son.  I asked her to claim them on her taxes the year before last so they would be eligible for Pell Grants for college and she was supposed to give us the $3,000 she got back in taxes for claiming them.  Instead, she took all the money and didn’t give us a penny.  I pretty much cut her off after that but I still do what I can to help with DGD, Holly.  I took Holly to the orthodontist a couple of weeks ago and DIL said she feels so bad about taking that money that she’d like to do something to make up for it.  She said, “I know you always do a total house-cleaning every summer when school lets out and I’d like to come over every Monday and Wednesday to help you out.”  I agreed but, so far, she’s only helped out for two hours and it’s been pretty aggravating.

On the diet front, I had a hard time with food yesterday.  Not in over-indulging but in the opposite extreme.  My Fitness Pal says I should consume 1,400 calories per day.  I was shocked yesterday evening when I entered my intake for the day and found that I’d only eaten 400 calories.  I’d been so busy I hadn’t paid much attention to it and I was almost ready for bed.  I ate yogurt for breakfast, a handful of cherries and a lite tossed salad for lunch, half a broiled chicken breast, another salad and some steamed broccoli for dinner.  I was frustrated and put together a flour tortilla shell with some low fat cheese and jalapenos and mixed a little salsa with an avocado.  Ate that and then felt stupid.  Like “why am I eating something like this when I’m not even hungry just to add some calories to the day’s intake?”  I’m going to try to be more cognizant of what I’m eating today.

And now, it’s time for me to get going.  I wonder if I should send one of the boys out to the RV to wake up DIL?  It might be less of a hassle to just leave her there.

Ex DIL owes me a bunch of money.  It was her suggestion to work some of it off by coming over every Monday and Wednesday “bright and early” to help me clean all day.  On Monday, that turned out to be 2:30 to 4:30.  As of now, it’s 11:30 and I haven’t heard from her.

On the bright side, I’ve lost a total of 4.5 pounds since I got back on track about 5 or 6 days ago.  Not sure of the time.  I’m real happy about that!  It should be a good day for jogging in the pool.  Temps are supposed to go to 81 today and we’re supposed to be in the 90s the rest of the week.

I’m feeling pretty irritated right now.  I’m a teacher and it seems like every summer when I get my summer break, the family thinks they’ve gotten a full-time maid.  Yes, I do jump in and start doing some heavy duty cleaning over the summer but it seems like they’ve gotten really lazy and aren’t doing what they usually do to help out.

Those of you who know me, know that I’ve griped for years about DH’s habit of throwing junk in boxes and drawers and anyplace else he can find to just get it out of sight instead of putting things where they belong.  The end product is cabinets, drawers, shelves, boxes and a host of other containers being stuffed with an assortment of junk.  He must have been looking for something this morning before he left for work because he’s evidently knocked over a box of his junk from the cabinet above the kitchen island.  I woke up to find spools of thread, nail clippers, staples, paper clips, screws, nuts and bolts, electrical tape, ink pens, batteries and a ton of other junk all over the kitchen floor.  Obviously, he was looking for something, knocked over the box and then high-tailed it out the door and left it all for me to pick up.  ARRRGGHH!

Looks like if anything is going to be done around here today, it’s going to be up to me. 

4:00 update - DIL didn’t call or show up (surprise, surprise) but I got two cabinets and the kitchen island cleaned out.  It was one of those “throw out tons of junk, add new shelf paper, scrub with an old toothbrush, clean and polish wood” kind of clean outs and I’m exhausted.  I just finished straightening the rest of the house and I’m dreading my pool laps but I’m committed to getting them done.  Guess I’ll do my laps and then I can fix dinner and call it a day.

5:00 Update - Laps just about killed me today.  I was fighting the urge to give it up the entire time.  My calves were burning and I just didn’t seem to have any energy.  Anyway, I got them done.  Even got a stubborn streak going and did an extra five laps just to prove the mind over body thing.  So I did 50 jogging laps and 5 walking laps to warm up and cool down.

And THEN, when I was sitting on the patio until I stopped dripping, DIL shows up.  Can you believe it?  Said she got tied up and couldn’t get here earlier but wants to spend the night and help me all day tomorrow.  Is she for real?

Here’s a delicious recipe that I’ve been been fixing for a while.  It’s healthy and delicious and it serves 8.  Although the recipes says it serves 8, we don’t use nearly all the dressing so I guess the calorie content is actually a lot lower than it says.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup splenda
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 pears - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix ketchup, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Gradually pour in oil, stirring constantly, until well blended.
  2. In a large serving bowl, toss together lettuce, blue cheese, pears, walnuts, and red onion. Pour dressing over salad, and toss well to coat.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 555 | Total Fat: 49.7g | Cholesterol: 14mg

So what is bright and early?  Yesterday, ex DIL said she would be here “bright and early” to help me clean house.  She got here at 2:30 and went home at 4:30.  It’s going to take her a long, long time to pay me back $3,000 by working those hours.  Granted; she worked pretty good while she was here but still…

Today, my little sister said she’ll be here bright and early.  She lives out of town and is bringing her two foster kids to swim and sit in the spa.  I was sleeping soooo good. (Thank you, Tylenol PM) and dragged myself out of bed at 8:00.  We’ll see what her interpretation of bright and early turns out to be.  She’s losing one of her foster kids next Wednesday when she’ll go to live with her dad and interviewing a new one today.  I’ll watch the two she has while she goes to meet the other one. 

The 10 year old girl that she has now (the one who’s going back to her dad next week) went for her regularly scheduled appointment with her psychiatrist yesterday and the shrink told her she needs to go on a diet and eat 1,000 calories a day.  What??? She weighs 165 which is way too much for a 4′ 8″ girl but I don’t think it’s the shrinks place to tell her she needs to go on a diet and she absolutely should not be limited to 1,000 calories a day. 

I did a google search for caloric requirements for children and the site said for her age, height and weight, she should aim for 1600 calories.  That sounds more like it.  Still, little sister is angry that the shrink told her to go on a diet in the first place.  And I don’t blame her.  The kid is dealing with her mother having drug issues and going to live with her father who lives four states away and she’s only met ten or twelve times in her entire life and then she gets told to go on a diet?  What’s wrong with people?  I say, teach her about healthy choices, throw her little butt in the pool and buy her a bicycle and helmet.

On the other hand, about the subject of weight, I’m hanging in there.  Finding it a hassle to use another site to enter my meals because something as simple as a salad has to be entered as a portion of romaine lettuce, another entry for a tomato, another for shredded carrots, another for the dressing, etc.  I may go back to just keeping track of it on here.  The hassle of entering everything on My Fitness Pal has made an easy task difficult and time consuming.  I ate healthy yesterday but didn’t enter all my food in the food diary because I didn’t want to fool with it.  Anyway, for the day, I had:

Breakfast: hard-boiled egg and 8 oz. tomato juice

Lunch - salad with romaine, tomato, a little bit of leftover grilled chicken breast, lite vineagrete and a teaspoon of Salad Crispings

Dinner - grilled ginger pork loin (in My Favorite Recipes), sliced tomato, baked apples with Splenda and cinnamon, and a one cup portion of scampi noodles.

Snack - a pear and a half cup frozen yogurt.

I guess I need to go to the other site and crank out the calorie total.  Then I’ll come back here and fill it in.  I didn’t get in the pool yesterday to do my laps because it was cloudy, rainy and chilly.  Today is supposed to be a lot better.

Later, chicklets!

And here are the facts:

  1. I stayed on track yesterday with calories and entered everything I ate on My Fitness. I consumed 1100 calories.  Not as much as I was supposed to but I guess it’s better to be under than over.
  2. I kept my hrm on for 24 hours and discovered that I burned 2,996 calories.  Kind of a nifty little bit of trivia.
  3. I did 50 laps in the pool.  45 of them jogging with 3 warmup and 2 cool down laps walking.
  4. I’ve lost 2.5 pounds since Saturday (or was it Friday?).  I’m sure most of it is water but it still feels pretty good.

Busy day today.  Ex DIL is supposed to come over and help me clean house.  Gotta run.  Have a wonderful day, ladies.

10thJune

Cleaning Up!

I really am back.  After avoiding issues for almost a year, I truly am back in the game.  It’s always hard to get going but I know if I just hang in there for a week or so, I’ll find it easier every day.

Lots of cleaning to do today.  Including cleaning up my act.  DIL owes me so much money it isn’t even funny.  She’ll never be able to pay it back and I’ve been bitter about it for a long time but she offered to help me clean house this summer to pay some of it back and I took her up on the offer.  She’s supposed to come over tomorrow to start.  My house, my weight, my job and my life have been pretty much out of control for the past year and I’m working hard to regain my confidence and control the things that have been holding me down.

Yesterday, I weighed myself for the first time in quite a while.  Ugghhh….I have a long road ahead.  I did my laps in the pool and cleaned the yard.  Today, I’m hoping to start recording my food intake and using my new HRM (which also shows calories burned) to keep track of things.  I’m interested to know how many calories I burn on an average day and had hoped to wear it all day  yesterday, including when I went to bed, but it got uncomfortable yesterday evening and I took it off.

Starting today, I’m recording what I eat so I can keep track of the calories consumed.  Starting with a breakfast of two hard-boiled eggs and a glass of tomato juice.  Then I’m getting to work.

9thJune

What a mess!

I’m feeling pretty good for the first time in a long time.  Off school for the summer and working on retirement effective September 1.  That will mean going back for 11 days next year. Way back when, I was hired ten days into the school year so I have to put in those ten days to get credit for the entire last year.

Retirement is a lot more work than I ever dreamed.  It means trips to Frankfort, collecting marriage licenses, birth certificates, original social security card, paperwork here, paperwork there, forms to be filled out by a kazillion different offices.  My part is done but our local school board says they can’t fill out their paperwork until after July 1st because, since I have to put in ten days of the next school year, they have to wait until everything rolls over to next year on July 1st.

In the fitness department, I’m anything but.  My back hurts, I weigh more than I’ve ever weighed in my entire life, my ankles hurt, yada, yada…. Yeah, I’ve really made a mess of things.

Still, I bought a new heart rate monitor.  Got my bike tires aired up and hit the pool yesterday.  I bought an underwater MP3 player to make my laps more interesting.  The pool was feeling pretty decent a couple of weeks ago but they we had several days of thunderstorms and cold weather and it’s now at 66 degrees.  Made for a very chilly workout yesterday but I felt good that I got in and did what I needed to do.  Nowhere near the 100 laps I used to do but it was pretty miserable.  I hung in for 35 laps before calling it quits.  I wasn’t really trying to push it.  Just making sure my underwater hrm and mp3 worked and figuring out how to use them.

I’m making a grocery list and heading to the store to stock up on healthy foods.  Need to pick up some tomato juice, eggs, yogurt and other breakfast items.

I downloaded ten songs on my new MP3 and, when I got in the pool and turned it on, it just kept playing the same three songs over and over.  Guess I’ll get off here and see if I can figure out how to use the thing before I hit the pool.  At least the weather is supposed to warm up.  Getting close to ninety today and that should raise the pool temperature.

Okay, let’s see what I can do to burn some calories.  According to my new hrm, I’ve only burned 72 calories in the last 30 minutes.  That was sitting her checking my email, updating this post, chatting with family on Facebook and planning a grocery list.  Now, let’s see what happens when I get moving!

1:30 Update - In the last hour and a half, I’ve watered the flowers (which means dragging the damn hose all over the place), cleaned out the spa (adding shock and chlorine, topping off the water, cleaning and changing the filter), done 40 laps in the pool (35 of them jogging and 5 walking) and taken a shower.  I averaged out the calories burned and found that I burned 91 calories for every 30 minutes.  Big difference from sitting on my butt.

Now I have to go to the store and start preparing for dinner.